Signs you are on baby #3

Signs you are on baby #3

– You pee on the stick and immediately gain ten pounds.

– You start wearing maternity clothes at about 8 weeks.

– By month 5, people are already asking if you are close to giving birth.

– With your first, you knew how far along you were to the day.  Second was to the month.  With #3 you are doing well if you actually remember your due date.

– Monthly bump pics?  Nah, you only take a pic of your belly when you start feeling so guilty about being halfway through your pregnancy with no pictures of the baby bump.

31 weeks.  Cuz I was feeling guilty.
31 weeks. Cuz I was feeling guilty.

– You are 7 months along and haven’t bought anything yet.  Baby boy won’t really mind pink towels and bedding, right?

– The chart you used to meticulously track your weight gain with numbers 1 and 2 has only two entries in it.  And they are probably wrong.

– You beg your doctor not to make you come in every three weeks and stretch it to five if possible.  I mean, really, what is the point of so many appointments?

– All those appointments?  Yeah, your husband hasn’t been to a single one this time around.

– Your only fear about labor and delivery is having the baby in the car on the way to the hospital (my plan if we are stuck in traffic?  Flag down any scooter and hitch a ride.  I am NOT having a baby on Hamra street!!!)

You are (too) skinny.

You are (too) skinny.

(In order to fully understand this post, make sure you read my previous post on the topic, You are fat.)

This is the comment that I get daily.  “Wow, you are getting skinny.”

Now most would think that is a compliment.  But I can tell that it isn’t meant that way because when I say “thank you,” I get a shocked look and some have even said, “oh, you think that is good?”

Now to set the record straight, all that has happened is I’ve lost the baby weight.  If you didn’t know me and saw me on the street, I would look very average to you.  But, I gain a lot of weight when I am pregnant.  50 pounds with Ruby – which is twice as much as recommended!  And I’m also one of those lucky women who lose it all while breastfeeding.  So now I’m just back to normal with some extra pooch around my mid-section (darn you diastasis recti!)

But when I try to explain that I just look skinny because people are picturing me pregnant with an extra 50 pounds, no one actually believes me.  “Are you sure you aren’t sick?  Are you eating well?  WHY are you getting so skinny?”

I just can’t figure it out.  If getting fat is bad and getting skinny is bad… maybe it’s just changing that’s viewed negatively?

It doesn’t bother me nearly as much as when people told me I was fat not knowing I was pregnant and nothing compares to being asked why I still had a belly when my baby was only 2 months old, but at the same time, it’s the principle of it.  I don’t think people, especially men, should be commenting about a woman’s body – even more so if it’s intended negatively.

I’m curious to hear what the comments will be after a summer in the States… good Mexican food and driving everywhere instead of walking are sure to add a few pounds.  And this time I won’t have the pregnancy excuse!!

Delivery wishes – Birth plan

Delivery wishes – Birth plan

The purpose of this blog is to share our experience as a little American family living in Beirut.  I save work and ministry stories for our newsletters.  I upload bajillions of pictures of our girls on facebook.  But the blog is mostly for my thoughts and experiences related to life in Lebanon.

This is one of those posts that’s not for everyone.  About once a week I get a blog hit from someone googling “delivery wishes.”  I always wonder when I see that what exactly they were looking for and if they found it on my blog.

So I thought I’d share my birth plan that I gave to my doctor before Ruby’s birth.  Obviously a birth plan is a very personal thing – very specific to each individual woman and pregnancy.  But I found it really helpful in writing mine to read over what others had written, so I’ll throw mine out there as well for anyone who is trying to figure out what is important to them in their birth experience.

Last chance for those of you who just want to read about silly language mistakes to bail!  :)

First of all, keep in mind that this birth plan is for a VBAC in Beirut, Lebanon.  There are several points on here that I’m sure my American readers will think are silly to include because they are things taken for granted in the States.  If you want to know more about the reasons I came up with this plan, you can read about it in the post Delivery wishes that I wrote leading up to Ruby’s birth.

So, here is what we gave to my doctor:

Birth Plan


– Freedom to move, walk, change positions as I feel comfortable
– No IV, only hep-lock in case of emergency
– Limited cervical checks
– No epidural, other meds unless I ask for them
– Fetal monitoring?*


– Would like to push when I feel the urge, not just because I hit 10cm
– Freedom to choose various pushing positions (not just on my back)
– Prefer natural tear to routine episiotomy, but prefer episiotomy to vacuum or forcep delivery
– Immediate skin to skin
– Delay cord clamping until it stops pulsing
– Would like to initiate breastfeeding ASAP

Baby care

– No glucose, formula or pacifiers
– Husband will remain with baby at all times

* The fetal monitoring was something I was unsure about.  The problem with the fetal monitor is that it limits your movement.  Initially my doctor said that she’d monitor the baby periodically and while I was attached to the monitor I would have to be in bed, which I was really hoping to avoid.  When I arrived at the hospital, I was already at 10cm, and my doctor wanted me hooked up right away, but there was enough length on the cord that I could move around as much as I needed, as long as I stayed close to the bed, which was just fine because I was pushing, not walking around trying to deal with contractions at that point.

So, that was my birth plan.  I hope it’s helpful to someone out there!  Happy to answer any questions or clarify anything if that helps.  If you are interested in reading how it all went, you can find that post here.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.  :)

Belly tales

Belly tales

An obviously pregnant belly really brings out the best in people here.  I rarely wait in lines, have a hard time convincing people I can carry my own grocery bags, and am given lots of blessings as I go about my way.

The other day I was waiting by the side of the road for a friend to pick me up.  The traffic was terrible, so I was out there for quite a while.  The sweet old man in the carpet shop I was standing in front of brought me a chair and covered it with a rug for me to sit on.  Super sweet.

It also brings some great laughs from the girls.  Today one was talking about how belly buttons grow when you have a baby in your belly.  I showed them mine and she oohed and ahhed… not about my belly button, but in her words…. “Wow.  It’s so white.”

Another of our girls hasn’t been eating her lunch at school, but has been eating chocolate and candy that her friends are giving her (as evidenced by candy wrappers found daily in her backpack).  One of the housemoms told her that she can’t eat so much junk food or she will get a fat belly.

Her response?

“I wanna be like Miss Nicolette!”

around 24 weeks
Inshallah Sabi

Inshallah Sabi

“God willing, it will be a boy!”

Before we knew Isla was a girl, this is what everyone told me.  Friends, acquaintances, strangers on the street, all offered their prayers that the baby in my belly would be born a boy.  Even after we knew she was a girl, I had a few people tell me that it could still change (Inshallah!).

I’ve gotten it even more with this pregnancy, because we already have our girl.

Obviously, a healthy baby is the most important thing, but both Caleb and I were actually hoping for another girl… for a number of reasons – my work with the girls, having two girls close in age, already having all the clothes we’ll need are just a few.

I had my monthly appointment this week and the doctor asked me if I wanted to know the gender of the baby.  She looked for a bit and then said, very timidly, “I think….. I think it’s a girl.”  I caught my breath and asked her, “you think it’s a girl or you know it’s a girl??  Because we really want a girl.”  She was shocked and told me she was sure it was a girl, but WHY did we want another girl???  I explained a bit and she told me that I made her day.  We chatted a little more about it and she said that she gets a tad nervous anytime she knows a family already has a daughter, because they naturally want a boy.  She was so excited that I was so excited about another little girl that she kept telling me over and over again how I had made her day.

So, we are having a baby girl!  And we couldn’t be more thrilled about it!  Now we just have to figure out how to deal with the “I’m so sorry” that we will inevitably get (mostly from strangers, our friends here are excited too!) when I answer their “inshallah Sabi” with “actually, we are having a girl!”

You are fat.

You are fat.


There.  Now that the big announcement is out of the way ;) I can post this blog I’ve been wanting to write for the past month! :)

When we arrived back in Beirut, I was about 8 weeks pregnant.  I hadn’t seen a doctor yet, so we hadn’t told anyone yet except our immediate family in the States.  I’m one of those really fortunate girls that doesn’t get morning sickness when I’m pregnant (so far!).  I feel really nauseous, especially in the evenings, but that problem is solved if I eat.  Continually.

So, the continuous eating combined with three months of amazing Mexican food while in the States meant that I came back to Lebanon carrying an extra 7 or so pounds.  I was feeling a bit self conscious about it – if you’ve ever been pregnant, you understand… I was in that “looking fat but not yet obviously pregnant stage.”

And everyone felt the need to comment.

Doorman at building I frequent often: “Wow!  You got fat in America.”

Guards that we pass by every day, to my husband: “You still look the same – thin.”  And to me:  “You, not really.”

I know this is totally a Lebanese thing.  When I lost the baby weight after Isla, everyone commented on that as well.  But what I can’t figure out is which one is a good comment.  In the States, people often congratulate you on weight lost, especially if it is something they know you have worked really hard to do.  But here, the comments about my shrinking frame were mostly accompanied by a “tsk, tsk.”

So, does that mean that it’s a good thing that I “got fat” in America?  I’m not so sure.  In a country where 70-80% of the women have had plastic surgery (!!!), it seems contraindicated that gaining weight would be a good thing.  And I’ve definitely heard my fair share of negative comments about other people who are overweight.  But would they really tell me such a negative thing about myself to my face?  I’m leaning towards yes, but I’m not quite sure.

I do know that in many cultures, being heavy is actually considered a very good thing – it means you are wealthy, or eat well, or are blessed by God, or many other things.  I’m just still trying to figure out what it means here.  For now, let the comments continue…. at least I have a good excuse (for the next 6 months at least)!