Sincerely, Brianna Leigh

Third Trimester: 28 Weeks

I can't believe how fast this pregnancy has gone - I'm officially in my third trimester!


But at the same time, I also can't believe how slowwwww this pregnancy has gone. I find myself thinking more often than not that I still have 12 weeks to go and it feels like forever away. Regardless, I know that it'll fly by and that there is so much planned in these next 12 weeks that our sweet boy's due date will be here before we know it! It's also a blessing that we still have some time because there is a ton that still needs to be done before his arrival. A ton.

I didn't really keep up with this pregnancy on social media or do any "bumpdates", but there's just something about making it to this milestone that I wanted to capture and remember. Not only am I bonding with my son, but as we near his arrival, I'm picturing life with him. I'm picturing our family and what that's going to look like. His face. His laughs. His cries. His every feature and the first moments of our family's newest addition. I seriously can't wait!

I guess it doesn't help that my brother and his wife just recently welcomed their son, who is now two months old. He's the first baby in our immediate family, and we're just eating him up! We take advantage of any time we get to see him and spoil him rotten. And every time, I yearn for my own. Who would've thought that baby fever could surge so immensely within a woman who is 7 months pregnant?! But let me tell you, it's very real and very strong. Thank goodness our sweet babe is already growing big and strong and I don't have to wait much longer to pinch his sweet cheeks!

Baby Size
Our sweet boy is measuring at 2lbs 11oz, about the size of an eggplant, apparently.

Cravings
I've thankfully not had any weird or strange cravings during this pregnancy. I love pickles at all times (except the first trimester when I was too sick to eat anything but bread), and when I do have a craving (hello, meat and spaghetti randomly one morning), my family is more than willing to oblige. Thanks mom and dad! :) Also, WATER. Give me all the water!

Aversions
I really try to stay away from fried, greasy foods. They don't sit well with me and I regret it for sometimes days after eating it. It's just not worth it! Other than that, there's nothing that I just honestly can't stand. (hello, I love food.)

Symptoms
I'm starting to notice some swelling in my hands and feet. My wedding ring is getting tighter and tighter every day, so that'll probably have to come off soon, as much as it pains me! The past few days, I've also noticed I'm started to get winded just being on my feet and doing normal things, so I guess our sweet boy is reminding me to take it easy and that he needs my energy! I've also been struggling with heartburn and indigestion recently, but I'm getting through it. All worth it!

Movement
Our sweet boy moves and kicks around randomly throughout the day. However, after a minor fender bender last week, I'm hyper aware of his movement, which was nonexistent this past Saturday until about 8pm. The first kick that day had me in tears just to be relieved to feel him and know he was ok.


I was monitored in Labor & Delivery triage for 4 hours after the fender bender just to be sure everything was okay, and after blood tests, an ultrasound, and the constant monitoring of his heartbeat, all tests came back completely normal and I was discharged. After all the tests, I knew logically that he was probably fine and just moved less that day, but my mama heart was hurting and worried that I hadn't felt him at all. Yesterday and today, however, he's moving like normal, thank God!

What I Miss Most
SLEEP. Point blank. I hadn't slept well at night or longer than only 2 hours for the last month or so, and it's been weighing on me. Everyone keeps saying that it's baby's way of preparing me for when he's born and is up crying and feeding through the night. BUT, it's miserable because it's more like insomnia. It's not that I don't have time to sleep, because I do. I just can't. My mind isn't even racing - I'm just staring blankly at the ceiling and can't get comfortable. So, I finally caved and bought a pregnancy pillow. I've used it the past three nights and I'm finally sleeping well through the night! I still get up to run to the restroom a few times a night as expected, but I don't struggle to fall back asleep and I actually rest well. Thank God for this invention, as it's saving my sanity! I was trying to hold out and not spend the money on one, but I don't regret it for a single second. It's worth every penny!



What I'm Looking Forward To 
I have my first baby shower this weekend, and I'm super excited to be getting more things for our son! I'm loving all the baby things, obviously, so I can't wait. But moreso than that, I'm really looking forward to Cory moving back to Texas and us being reunited as a family! He has yet to feel our baby kick and move, so I'm very excited for him to experience this last trimester with me and our boy. I miss him like crazy and just want him here more than anything.

So, that's what the beginning of this third trimester has been like! It still feels so surreal sometimes, to be honest. But I'm soaking up this time being pregnant with our first baby boy and seriously can't wait to meet him!

Finding (or at least looking for) Myself

For the first time in what feels like forever, I'm coming to this space not knowing exactly what's going to stream from my fingertips - not knowing exactly the form that the feelings and emotions inside of me are going to take. But here I am. *you've been warned*

Hello, stranger.

My faith is something I've always said was strong. It's something that I've always had in the forefront of my mind and thought I actively acted on and pursued. Especially over the past couple of years, I've been put in so many situations that there was absolutely no doubt it was God moving in my life: being surrounded by my coworkers while going through my divorce, meeting Cory after much frustration with dating, attending a Women's Conference the night before my life changed forever...I could go on and on. And I probably should, but I don't want to veer off course too much and be dragged down by old wounds and hurt feelings. Included in those moments, though, were so many firsts for me that absolutely opened my eyes to what my heart and soul yearned for. I attended and sort of created my very first Bible Study (it didn't make it too far, but it was definitely prosperous for me!), I researched different versions of the Bible to really try to help me dig deeper and understand His Word, I surrounded myself with inspiration - mostly in the form of following women on different social media platforms that I believed were truly seeking the Lord and turning to Him daily, I dated post-divorce and looked for happiness.

And I guess I thought that was good enough. That I had already come so far from where I started just attending church on Sundays and going through the motions of praying before a meal or before bed. I had started seeking Him and really seeing Him in my surroundings - in coworkers and friends and strangers alike. This was progress, and it had my heart pounding in the thrill of it all.

But then, South Carolina happened. I moved away from all of those inspirations and God-centered people (and my support system), to a place where I knew nothing and no one. I definitely don't regret it by any means because it helped me grow in so many ways and so many huge life moments happened for me while there - it'll always hold a special place in my heart. BUT, it was hard. It was a journey I only thought I was prepared for but was ultimately kidding myself completely. Because while there, I broke. I quit. I gave up. I didn't want to look for the inspiration I once yearned for on a daily basis. I didn't want to find a new church home. I didn't want to settle down and stay. I was hurt and I was homesick and I prayed. For a little while anyway. And after several months and so many huge moments later (hello, getting engaged, pregnancy news, and getting married), I was still stuck. And what's worse, I allowed myself to stop engaging in things I once found such solace and joy and purpose in (hello, blogging, journaling, Bible reading, praying, exploring, finding friends...). Yes, depression reared its ugly head, but I felt it was so much more than that. I felt a loss of purpose. I felt a loss of my faith and belonging and joy and happiness. Yes, I was completely filled with bliss with my new husband and our two adorable puppies that I miss dearly. Yes, I loved the adventures we were having and the traveling we were doing. Yes, I loved our little (growing) family and wanted to see it thrive. But there was something in me that knew it wouldn't - not while we were where we were and going through the motions that we were. Something had to change again. So much was missing and my soul was crushed with each day that I couldn't sew it all together - I couldn't miraculously "fix" the brokenness that was myself.

And I didn't have God in my corner to turn to (because I didn't let Him).

At least, that's what I told myself. I stopped praying. I stopped seeking. I stopped completely. And it's a lesson that I'm only now coming to terms with - to not give up wanting more from Him, to not stop seeking the Lord, to not throw in the towel.

Now that I'm back in Texas, I feel at "home" again. In so many ways, there's familiarity here, but there's also a newness that I never thought I could feel or see here. Things just aren't the same as they were when I left. I've changed, my friends have changed, my job has changed, my family has changed - so much change! And there's still a fear in my heart with an unknown future: a possible date that my husband and puppies will be here with me for good and our family reunited, not knowing the house we'll bring our son home to, not being able to "nest" when the calling hits me, not knowing what life is going to look like when our son is born, much less just next month, what kind of jobs Cory and I will both have - the list goes on and on and on. With the familiarity comes unsteady waters, and I'm absolutely scared to tread them. But little by little, I'm finding myself again - or at least discovering who I am now.


With that, I've slowly started turning back to God. Letting go of anger I once held onto so tightly towards Him, having the want again to look for Him in my surroundings, and to truly and honestly want to seek Him again, if even just the littlest of ways. I've also started to slowly incorporate some old loves of mine (hi blogging again and reading and journaling) with some new loves, or at least changes from an old routine. After all, I'm in charge of my own happiness, right? And I'm getting there, slowly but surely. I'm at least attempting to make progress instead of just succumbing to the fact that I'm broken.

On Nurturing

I guess you could say that nurturing is in my DNA - it's seriously a huge part of who I am, as I always put myself last and make sure others around me are happy and taken care of. That their needs are met, even if that means I'd be upset in the end. To me, it's natural and a no-brainer. I always want my friends and family to be happy, and if I can do something to make that happen, you can guarantee that I'll go out of my way to see that it's done.

But reflecting upon that brought up some questions that left me wondering...
:: Do I take it too far?
:: Do I nurture myself?
:: What about me?

It's pretty safe to say that 2016 was HARD. I feel like I could talk about it forever because with so many ups and downs, it's kind of left me in a whirlwind. And I admitted that I lost myself when I moved to the East Coast. I hated who I was there and what it did to me. I wasn't "me", not really, and I was okay with that for a long time. However, going into a new year and being back in Texas has me filled with so much hope and joy. And some sadness because I miss my husband like crazy more and more every day (but that's not the point right now).

I've been thinking about all the ways I wish 2017 would be so much better than 2016, which led me to think about a new word for this year. I've done it the past few years (see: 2015 & 2016) and wanted to really reflect on what I hoped for in 2017 - and then it came to me: nurture.


nur·ture
[ˈnərCHər]

VERB


  1. care for and encourage the growth or development of:
synonyms: bring up · care for · take care of · look after · tend · rear

Being a nurturer by nature, you'd think this would be simple, almost a cop-out of sorts. But instead, it's going to push me and allow me to really focus on what's important this year.


In 2017, I'm going to focus on nurturing:

:: myself (whoa).
I want to nurture my feelings and emotions and overall well-being. I want to personally grow this year in so many ways, and the only way to do that is to care for myself and encourage myself to keep going - to keep growing. In that, I'm also nurturing things I enjoy that took a BIG back seat this past year, like reading, blogging, photography, journaling, etc. With that, I've already nurtured this blog some with a brand new look! A new year, a new look, right? I'm also going to be a mom this year, and this screams more "soothing" and caring, and grown up. Maybe? I could be wrong, but I'm loving this new space!

:: my husband.
Cory means the absolute world to me, and I honestly don't know where I'd be without him. We've already been through so much, and we're honestly closer than ever even though we're over a thousand miles apart right now! I want to nurture him and encourage him to grow in whatever ways he wishes to this year. His hopes, his dreams, his wants - I want to care for those with him.

:: our son.
I want and intend to nurture our son beyond belief (that still feels so surreal - our son)! In just a few short months, our sweet boy will be here, and I want to care for him in every way a mother should and does. I want to hold him and soothe him and continuously remind him that I am here for him in whatever capacity he needs of me. I will help him grow big and strong, as I know he'll help me grow, too. He'll make me a mother, and that is a gift that I could never repay enough.

:: relationships with my family.
Through everything that's transpired over the last few years (see: divorce, moving), I know now more than ever (even though it was already super important to me) just how important family is. Not only to support me through my lows in life, but also to celebrate in the joyous occasions and to laugh with when I just need to escape reality for a while. I don't want to lose that, so I'm also going to focus on nurturing those relationships. Mom, Dad, Hilary, Josh - you've been warned :).

:: my faith.
I mentioned a little about the struggle I've been in with my faith here, and it's still really been weighing on me. I want so badly to get back into His good graces and be in a better relationship with God. I want to study His Word and be close with Him again, so this is another relationship I'm really going to focus on nurturing this year. My relationship with the Lord. It's something I want and need so very badly.


In reflecting, I've also realized that I've been nurtured a lot this year, and we're only 6 days into the new year! Cory has been so sweet and giving me attention all over the place as best he can from being so far away. We text, flirt, call, FaceTime - you name it! Thank God for technology or I'd be an absolute wreck being away from him. He's really been the best and I couldn't even begin to thank him enough. And have I mentioned that I MISS HIM LIKE CRAZY? Oh, I have? Ok. Just checking! I've also been oh so nurtured by my family. They have been seriously amazing through all the changes and transitions lately and I'm soaking it all in. It's what my heart and soul needs oh so badly and it feels so good to be in the presence of their comfort, love, and support. They're my people! And they nurture me well.

I'm praying that this year is fruitful and honestly, calm. But I also realize that's pretty much a joke seeing as we'll have a newborn! I'm excited for this journey and am looking forward to seeing what this year holds for our little (growing) family!
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