16 weeks.

Well, well, well, what have we here?


A BABY. A BABY IS WHAT WE HAVE HERE. Ok, well not exactly here, but on the way, because in the beginning of June we will be welcoming a little baby into this world! For those of you good at math – which is not me, since I routinely get confused about how long this gestating thing has been happening/will continue – this means that we are 16 weeks a long with approximately a million to go, which is simultaneously forever and not nearly enough time.

When we found out I was pregnant this fall, it took a long while for it to set in. So many people that we know, that we love, with whom we have wept and prayed, have walked the painful road of miscarriage and infertility, pain and loss. I spent the first weeks just waiting for it to happen, absolutely certain that something would go wrong, that this little soul wouldn’t make it. I lived every day with the phrase running through my head that I had no right to have this baby. That sounds awful to say, but it’s how I felt. I Googled everything that could go wrong until I was finally a tearful stressed-out pile in my doctor’s office and she officially banned me from any research until much later in the pregnancy.

And so in truly uncharacteristic form for me, I backed away from being prepared at being pregnant with everything in me. I stopped researching, stopped planning, stopped stressing and slowly let excitement swell up, timid at first but then rushing and strong. This is happening. This is real. That little heartbeat that sounds like a butterfly brushing against a microphone is alive and strong. I have no right to it, but it’s not about my rights- it’s about a strong life that exists.

This baby was the unspoken force behind so much of this fall. I was smugly convinced that I would be the pregnant woman with zero symptoms who breezed through pregnancy on a steady diet of vegetables and pretense. This lasted approximately 2 weeks, until I got dizzy in the middle of teaching, sprinted to the disgusting public restroom, and passed out on the floor. The next day I woke up and realize that the mere though of consuming a vegetable repulsed me. Broccoli? I hate you. The four cups of spinach I had been sautéing for breakfast? Disgusting. Cooking balanced meals? I would rather die. I started stumbling from bed straight to the cereal and keeping massive amounts of Easy Mac in my desk at work. Yes, I wanted to eat healthy, but SURVIVAL.

But beyond taking vitamins to offset my terrible diet of processed carbs and dutifully showing up to my doctor appointments… I am the worst pregnant woman ever. Have we done any research? No. Have we read any books? No. Do I even have that app that tells me what size of fruit or vegetable corresponds to my baby’s growth? No. Do we have names or plans or any clue how we are going to negotiate childcare? No, no, no. Did I Google “Old Wives tales to predict gender?” Ok, so actually yes to that last one. But I’m pretty sure that the very nature of research is that it is supposed to be the exact opposite.

Instead, we have been car shopping. And dissertation researching. And apartment hunting. And holding hands on the couch and staring at our tiny tree and imagining everything that will change. And doing all those million tiny things of life that become more pressing when you realize that a new little soul will be coming into your world. Because all those things like cars and apartments and dissertations both pale in importance, and take on a new importance.

Because this baby is already pretty important in our lives, as unreal as he or she still seems.


PS: But for real- I should probably read a book sometime, so like, is there some book or something that tells us what we are supposed to be doing? Because the blind are leading the blind over here.


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88 Responses to 16 weeks.

  1. abby says:

    OOOHHHMMMYGOSH!!! So excited for you two – love hearing about all your adventures, congrats on your new 18+ year one! Good job keeping it a secret, too…. little annoyed at that one, though. 😉

    • Hannah says:

      It was SO HARD to keep it a secret! I basically wanted to share on day one, and expended all my energy to keep it in from the Internet until we were further along. : )

  2. Kimberly says:

    I’m driving down the road, I see the subject line of this email and start screaming uncontrollably haha. Congratulations!!

  3. E.H says:

    CONGRATULATIONS! I am SO geeked and excited for you! 😀 And there is definitely one book you must read before your baby is born (but wait a bit until you’re close to baby coming into the world): “On Becoming Babywise.” http://www.amazon.com/On-Becoming-Baby-Wise-Nighttime/dp/1932740139. You can even get it at the library. Hands-down, take it from this experienced nanny, this is the best book ever for babies. You will thank me later. 😉 I recommend this book to all new moms. Even Scott recently said, “Even I know that there are two miracle workers: Jesus and Babywise.” He’s learning. 😛 If you want your little precious soul to be sleeping through the night by about two months and consequently becoming a very happy baby, then this is the book for you.

    I will share my next nanny recommendation when your baby turns 2. 😉

  4. Susannah says:

    I found “Expecting Better” by Emily Oster to be the best thing I read during pregnancy. She goes through all the worries and “don’ts” of pregnancy and explains the why, the statistics, and the actual risks. It’s very reassuring.

    And p.s. James is made almost entirely of banana bread because it’s all I wanted to eat and he’s healthy so take heart!

    • Hannah says:

      My doctor actually did recommend that one and I got it for Christmas! Hopefully there is a banana bread recipe tucked somewhere in there, because that sounds SO GOOD now.

  5. Lisa says:

    Congratulations!! Pregnancy is a crazy, exciting, and mind-boggling time for me so far too. I just announced on my blog and I’m 24 weeks, so you are already more organized at that than me. 🙂 I may be checking back on this post just because I see you are already getting some good advice. I’ll have to look at this Babywise book.

    Here’s to being new moms in 2016!

  6. Jamie says:

    So excited for you both! This is wonderful news!

    As far as book recommendations – my two favorite are Becoming Babywise ( great for setting up a schedule and helping your child learn to sleep) and the What to Expect series (What to Expect When You Are Pregnant; What to Expect the First Year).

  7. Charla says:

    Congratulations! There is nothing sweeter than a newborn! As far as books…I swear I read them ALL before having my boys (now 6 and 9.) But here’s the jist of what you need to know–every book can be contradicted by another. There is no right way or wrong way to bring a new person into the world, yet you will find that people will be divided into different parenting “camps” dependent on what they think is “best”. So be flexible yet informed, and PLEASE don’t set up any mountain you think you’re willing to die on (as far as childbirth and parenting is concerned) because something will inevitably NOT go according to plan and break the mold! There is no theory that is the “gospel truth” in parenting, so just rust the Lord and the instincts He’s given you. Everything will be just fine!

    • Rebekah Randolph says:

      I totally agree with this comment!!

      • Just trust in our Lord for his advise from His word in loving your new Soul, and take time to rest and especially after the birth. Rest and enjoy your baby, time flies by so fast as they grow. I know I have 5 daughters and 14 grandchildren & 2 great grandchildren and one on the way by June 1st!!

    • Hannah says:

      Great advice! And currently the only mountain I am willing to die on is when someone tries to limit my mac n’ cheese intake…so hopefully we are good! : )

  8. lavitaebene says:

    Congratulations! I have been reading your blog for over a year but am one of those creepy lurkers that never comments. I am very excited for you and sending you lots of good wishes.

  9. mrsroe says:

    Hurray!!! Congratulations!!!

  10. If you want a good book to make you feel good about pregnancy and the fact you are about to shift from just being a woman but also a mother, I HIGHLY suggest The Mindful Mom-to-Be it has been my favorite I have read thus far. Her approach to everything is a just enough hippy mixed with practical from a doula’s perspective. Also, The baby Whisperer made me WAY less stressed about caring for a screaming baby every day. So excited for you guys! It is a crazy journey and at some point you will be able to eat what you want again. Try hard to enjoy the process even in the moments when it is really hard as you watch yourself change both physically and emotionally. It is such a gift.

  11. Natalie says:

    Congratulations!!!! I screamed when I read this and I don’t even personally know you LOL! I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now but never comment. This is wonderful news! So excited for you both xo

  12. Meghan says:

    Congratulations! What beautiful pictures 😊 I am due with my first June 8th. Such an exciting, nerve wracking time!

  13. Congratulations! I am so excited for you both. I am another follower who has been reading the blog for years and not commenting much but this is awesome news!

  14. Danae says:

    Aaaahhhh!!!! This is amazing! So excited for you!

  15. Rebekah Randolph says:

    Yay! All I have to say is, you’re the mom. Ultimately you do what you want, not what some Official Book told you to do. 🙂

    (I got a lot of my best suggestions from blogs, and two books: The Happiest Baby On the Block, and the Bradley Childbirth Method book. I liked those. I do NOT like Babywise. But plenty of other people do, and guess what, YOU GET TO PICK because it’s your baby and your family! )

    Personally, I just focus on feeding the kid– and myself– and I kind of build everything around that for the first couple months. It isn’t always the most convenient but we’re happy and it seems to have worked out fine. 🙂

    • abby hummel says:

      I am also in the No-no-no-no-no-to-babywise camp but here’s the thing about books: BE A PARENT, NOT A BANDWAGON MEMBER. Look at your baby and figure out what they need. (I read parts of the “Baby whisperer” and “the no-cry sleep solution” which were both really good for us, but I have heard good things about that Happiest Baby on the Block option, and I don’t really hold strong allegiances to anything!) Annie slept like a dream and we were totally clueless about everything. I read the books and became way more routine-oriented from the start (in addition to knowing a lot more about what I was doing) with Thomas and… NO DICE. Whatever. Every baby is different, and I think that’s maybe the biggest problem with landing hard in any “camp” on the sleep training issue… if you follow a program and your baby is not cooperating or not sleeping through the night at a certain time or whatever, it easily becomes a THING. An I’m-failing-at-parenting or baby-is-failing-at-babying thing. And I think it can create a lot of resentment between mother and baby. I know lots of great moms who swear by sleep-training… but I have also seen it turn the baby into a “thing to be conquered” instead of a “person to be loved” sometimes. Thomas and Annie both did a decent job of settling into a routine by about 3 months, and I find it much easier to just rejoice on the days that we’re all running like a well-oiled machine than to have a “schedule” that hasn’t “worked” or something. And right about three months for both of them, I realized I could tell right away if their fussing was fussing that would settle down quickly or if it would just ramp up into a whole crying fit. It’s your kid, you’ll figure it out. I know someone who still lays with her 3-year-old and rubs her back until she falls asleep and that’s definitely not the way we roll either, so… you’ll find the middle ground that works for you. 🙂 Some babies sleep well, some babies can be coaxed into it, and some babies can’t for quite a while. No matter what, they don’t stay babies forever and it is a VERY short season of sacrifice in the grand scheme of parenting. Having that attitude is making my tough overnights much easier than if I was all “I HAVE BEEN WORKING MY SYSTEM AND YOU ARE NOT COOPERATING, CHILD.” Okay. BLOG COMMENT BOOK OVER. You are a good mom.

    • Hannah says:

      I like that simplification of child raising: must feed child and self. I CAN DO THIS.

  16. MH says:

    So I do not know you in real life, but I just said – wait, wasn’t she just running a half marathon and fitting into her wedding dress??
    I am old school – I liked the weekly emails from babycenter, and I have read the What to Expect books. I completely agree with the above – your child will have his or her own mind – things won’t always go as you plan… Informed yet flexible is good advice!

    • Hannah says:

      Ha! I did secretly enjoy the build up…. but to be fair: I ran that race SO SLOWLY AND POORLY that it should barely count. And as for the dress, it was a very forgiving style, but my pump was PUSHING at that waist and I didn’t stay in it too long! : )

  17. qwertyivana says:

    Congratulations!! Wishing you all the best in the beautiful journey that is to come 🙂

  18. Jackie says:

    This is amazing news!! I feel ya on the not reading anything but – I did n o t h i n g and those box Mac and cheese were a constant go-to for meal times!
    I’m praying for you and James and your beautiful baby and all that comes with preparing for a new member of your family 🙂

  19. Long-time reader who never comments, but I always love reading and figured it was time to come out of lurk-mode and say CONGRATULATIONS! You are going to be a wonderful mother and my only piece of advice is to ignore any negative advice. You’ll figure out what works for your family and you are going to love it! Congrats, again!

  20. Maria A. says:

    Congratulations!!!! So happy for the 3 of you! May u continue to be showered with blessings in every way! Merry Christmas 🎄

  21. Onni on sydämen valinta says:

    Congratulations!!! ❤ Like many other readers I'm so glad to hear this even though I don't know you. I was in the same situation last Christmas and still remember how unbelievable and exciting the thought of having a baby next Christmas felt. Have a very merry Christmas, just the two of you! It won't be the same next year. 🙂

  22. Patricia says:

    Congratulations! All the best for you and your growing family! May the Lord lead you and guide you in the practical steps and in the heart matters. You and your words mean a lot to a lot of people. Be blessed!

  23. RA says:

    Congratulations!! New year, new baby, new apartment, new car? All things new and bright and beautiful.

  24. Katie says:

    I’m 36 weeks along and still haven’t read a book. Trust your instincts, listen to your body and learn from the women and mothers who are in your life. Congrats and good luck!

    • Hannah says:

      I think you reach a certain point in pregnancy where you must be like, “meh- what’s the point?” Maybe I’ll just keep procrastinating until I reach that point.

  25. Vivian says:

    Congrats on the news! May God continue to bless you both and am sure this little bundle will bring you joy and a lot of LOVE!

  26. beetboxer3 says:

    Congratulations! So excited to share in all of the excitement on your blog! I read ‘Expecting Better’ and really appreciated the data/statistics elements. Helped me feel very informed – and some of her tangible advice near the end was helpful to me during my pregnancy with Asher when I was trying to avoid being induced for low fluid levels and navigate the epidural v. non-epidural decision.

    All your blog-Mom friends seem on point, though. Trust your Mom instincts. You’re a sharp, intelligent woman and have a great community around you to bounce ideas off of, so whatever you decide/what seems to fit your baby when they arrive will be best. Will be praying for a healthy baby. Can’t wait to meet him/her!!

  27. Raewyn says:

    Wonderful news Hannah!!!
    So thrilled for you.
    My advise, as a mother of 10, is to not overthink the process, but be informed.
    Here in NZ we can choose to have an independent midwife and I did that for my last 4 babies. I was far far more knowledgeable for those births than I ever was under a Dr.
    Just go with it and enjoy this new chapter xxx

  28. So happy for you two! I really benefited from reading a book or two that gave me some idea of what to expect–but that can be disillusioning if your pregnancy/birth experience/baby are not “by the book”. I totally agree with the above–other moms are a godsend resource!

  29. Kate says:

    Congratulations, Hannah!! So exciting! Go with your instincts more than books… YOU are the mommy and from my experience, what feels right usually is right for YOU and YOUR baby. We happen to love Dr. Sears. He has a book for everything. God bless on this most beautiful of adventures!!

  30. Caroline Louise says:

    Congratulations!!! I am a long time reader but rarely comment. I am so excited for you all! When I had my first I read Husband Coached Childbirth by Dr. Bradley mainly because it explains labor so well and I skimmed through his other book. My plan was actually to get an epideral but I didn’t have time so my plan backfired 😉 This time around I can barely remember what week I am ( a 1 year old does that to you!) so I have read nothing. I would recommend having a book on hand to help with scheduling after the baby comes. We personally liked Baby Wise although we didn’t follow it religiously. Have a Merry Christmas!

    • Hannah says:

      My plan has always been to get an epidural (which I admit with great trepidation, since I know some people are VERY against them!), but you’re right – plans can change and I should be prepared!

  31. Janina says:

    Congratulations! So excited for you guys. I hope you’ll continue to share little bits and pieces with us on the blog. Merry Christmas!

  32. Jamie Lynn Byram says:


  33. sanjaywa says:

    Congratulations! Exciting and joyful times ahead. My fav. pregnancy book was ‘Up the Duff’by Kaz Cooke. It’s an Australian book, written by a comedienne, and won’t have you in despair over all the things that could possibly go wrong.

  34. mandikorn says:

    I promise you there are no books out there that will prepare you for anything. Every mother is different, and every father is different, every marriage is different and there is no book that will fit your family unit and how your body will deal with pregnancy or birth. Do not do research it will only give you anxiety, only look at photographs of newborns and dream of the face that is forming inside your tummy right now. Take each day as it is…..and never think tomorrow is going to be better than today. Take this from someone who was sick, then never got a wink of sleep because my Boo would kick me every night until she came shooting into this world. Congrats on being in this place in your life, I would go back their in a heartbeat, but only if I had the knowledge that I do now, that everything is going to be ok and 4 1/2 years later, life is great and I still need to take each day at it comes.

  35. I’m so excited for you! Congratulations! You look fantastic. You’re going to be a great mom. 🙂

  36. Michelle says:

    I always enjoy your blog, but felt weird commenting since I don’t know you in real life. I’m very excited for you! I don’t think any new mom is ever quite ready, no matter how much preparing they do. It’s totally fine that you haven’t read a single book yet. Enjoy the little moments…like sitting with your husband on the couch.
    This blog always makes me happy! 🙂

  37. WomanLoved says:

    Wow, congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Having had three in just under three years, I can only say that it is ALL AMAZING, even the crappy bits, oh and I am the most moany pregnant woman ever, so don’t worry if some days you feel a bit like “enough already, where is this mini person?! ”
    The two best books I cannot recommend highly enough (and go back to EVERY time are ‘Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth’ by Ina May Gaskin SO helpful. Half the book is birth stories and the other half amazing research and understanding and insight from one of America’s most revered midwives. Some of is a bit hippy but the content is so sound and totally reassuring that you can do this. The second book is ‘Prayers and Promises for Supernatural Childbirth’ by Jackie Mize, because pain comes from fear and the more peaceful you are, the easier everything will be, and the best way to realise this is by getting your head right, ie.lined up with God’s truth. I found this especially helpful when desperate for a home birth after a previous cesarean section, it helped me enormously and I have had two very successful homebirths,despite number one being a section. Lots of love and prayers for you. Cassie x

  38. Rach says:

    I “accidentally” found out you were pregnant because I took 2 weeks off from the internet over the holidays and came back and made the mistake of just starting at the top! What?! Thrilled for yall! I’m right behind you, due at the end of June, but with Baby #3! My tips: find a friend who has done it already and will tell you what to really expect, ie, the one who will tell you they give you disposable underwear at the hospital which sounds weird but is actually perfect. That part isn’t in the books. I’m not a huge Babywise fan but have used with a grain of salt Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Same outcome, different process- you might combine, you might do one, you might do none. Finally- I have found that praying the Fruits of the Spirit over yourself, the hubs, the baby, your delivery team, your family…. all those folks…. to be a really peaceful and helpful way to work through anxious situations of all kinds. “Lord, please fill full of the fruit of the Spirit, full of love, joy, peace, patience…etc.” Baby not sleeping? The idea of labor a little scary? Doctor, Mom, Husband, Stranger has moment of poor words or actions? Fruit of the spirit on you! Congrats!

  39. Shannon says:

    This is so exciting, Hannah!!!! I would second the recommendation for the What to Expect Series. The first two books were my way-to-not-freak-out guides during pregnancy and Susanna’s first year. I also really appreciated that they present various “methods” and let you decide–no hammering on one way or guilt that you are a terrible parent because you decide to do things differently.

    I had to laugh at your description of being the perfectly healthy pregnant woman. That happened to me both times around. Thanks for making me not the only one who needs mac’n’cheese to survive morning sickness–not crackers and water 😉

    • Hannah says:

      Wait… BOTH TIMES AROUND??? Are you expecting again and how did I miss this???? Pour yourself another big bowl of mac n’ cheese and kick those feet up! Because, yeah, I kept on waiting to lose my appetite but that just never happened.

      • Shannon says:

        Yes, we are expecting again–this summer, too, actually 🙂 I sort of fail at facebook and blogging these days, so I just haven’t made a general announcement. But, yeah, the whole lose your appetite thing is a lie. Except maybe for those mythical movie pregnancies where nothing changes but the appearance of a cute basketball bump 😉

        All these reading suggestions are wonderful, but I would suggest pacing yourself, and maybe only reading a few. I found that both during pregnancy and the first year of parenting, more often than not reading parenting books left me crying and freaked out and completely overwhelmed. I would say the two best ways to prepare are for you and James to figure out what you want parenting and family life to look like for you and to talk to your mom / mother-in-law (and mom friends who you respect). Reading can help support those priorities–but it can also become a stumbling block. Somethings just don’t work for some families and other things are perfect; just don’t let yourself start feeling like a failure because plans that sounded great on the page aren’t working for you.

        Ok, I am going to get off my soapbox now 😉 Hope you are well!

  40. Heidi says:

    I have two book recommendations:

    Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife, by Peggy Vincent
    Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin

    I recommend these not because they are pro-midwife and full of natural birth stories (though those are both good things in their own right), but because they are ALSO full of dozens of stories of normal, safe births. I found that with Callan I read tons of horror stories and approached his birth more with fear that things could go wrong and a desire to anticipate every outcome (and he still threw me for a complete loop). With Seán, in large part because of these books, I was filled with encouragement from reading dozens of stories of women who had no trouble in childbirth (other than the usual pain). I felt that with Seán I was much more prepared for a normal birth and much more confident in my ability to labor and deliver; the peace of mind was invaluable. So just in case you’re reading too many horror stories (hopefully you’re following your doctor’s orders! 😉 ), these are good for reading about all the things that go right in childbirth.

    Also…yaaaay! I can’t remember if I said this but we are so excited for you guys (Alex is too; he just was quieter about it and didn’t squeal)!

  41. Tess says:

    Hi Hannah! I’ve been reading your blog for years and absolutely love it. You have such a way with words and manage to make your experiences really come alive with the perfect way you describe them. It’s always a treat to read your posts, and especially this one! I’m so thrilled and happy for you and James as you prepare to welcome your little one! I have an almost-two-year-old boy myself and I can’t wait to read all about your adventures as you guys navigate parenthood. I’m sure you’ll be amazing at it!!

    I wanted to write with two book suggestions. The #1 book I recommend to pregnant friends is “Sleeping with your baby” by Prof. James McKenna of Notre Dame. Even though the book is technically about co-sleeping, there is a LOT of other information in there that make it a super-informative and helpful read even if you don’t plan on co-sleeping. Prof McKenna is an international expert on infant sleep, and as an anthropologist, he does a great job explaining the physiological and biological background for why babies sleep the way they do. It’s a bit more academic but the book is short, and I’m sure you’ll handle the more academic information just fine! 🙂

    The other book I would recommend, if you plan to breastfeed, is “The womanly art of breastfeeding” (or any other book about the topic, really!). While I was pregnant, a good friend of mine who already had kids told me that she really wished she had learned more about breastfeeding while she was pregnant, because it can have a steep learning curve and she would have felt so much more confident and prepared if she had read up about it beforehand. That advice was so helpful to me that I try to pass it on to all my pregnant friends in turn. It’s just so much easier to get the hang of it if you’ve read about it and have some idea of what to expect!

    Finally, I wanted to give a quick heads’ up about a book I saw earlier commenters recommend. The practices outlined in the book Babywise have been linked to infants suffering from dehydration and failure to thrive. If you Google the book, some of the articles about this controversy will pop right up. That said, I think most parents are more than capable of using common sense and keeping their babies healthy, and I’m sure you guys will do just great, whether or not you decide to use that book! I just wanted to mention it so you are aware, but again, I’m sure it would not be an issue for you guys at all. 🙂

    I hope this is helpful! All the best to you, Hannah!

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