Piper's First Days

We did get to come home from the hospital on Christmas Day. Rowan was very patient and waited for us to open her stocking. It was actually good timing to bring a baby home in terms of adjustment for Rowan...two solid days of Christmas celebration and opening presents provided a pretty good distraction from how her life is changing!

It's also been a huge help to be at my parent's house. Lots of extra hands to help...lots of playmates for Rowan, I think she's just barely registered my divided attention so far. My parents are both educators, so they're on Christmas break for another week. One of the best parts of this arrangement is that when Rowan wakes up in the morning, she can go downstairs on her own and play with Grandma and Grandpa, allowing us to catch a few extra hours of sleep if Piper is still sleeping. This is a luxury that most parents of 2 cannot fathom!

The days have passed in a bit of a fog...in a way that only a newborn's schedule can induce. All day I ask myself "when did I last nurse?" "how long has she been sleeping?" "when was her last diaper change?" "did I remember to take tylenol at 3:00?" and time seems to be measured by baby bowel movements and burps and longest length of adult REM sleep at night.

Joe worked at the house for part of the day today, and when he got back about 7:00, he wondered why Rowan was in her PJs so early. Because we never got out of our PJs today, of course!

We had to take Piper to the pediatrician yesterday and everything looks great. Breastfed babies are given a week to get back up to their birth weight....and at 4 days old, Piper already weighed 8 lbs, 6 oz, a full 2 oz bigger than her birth weight! Yes, I was proud. Both the doctor and the nurse asked what I was supplementing with. That's all my milk, thank you. And yes, it means my milk has come in, and come in with force! I've needed Piper the last few days more than she has needed me.

Some of you may know that I've been interested in becoming certified as a Lactation Consultant, so I feel quite confident and comfortable with nursing. I know what a latch should look like and feel like, know the trouble-shooting things to do to ensure a good latch, and just in general know a lot about breastfeeding. Knowing that Piper's latch was excellent, I felt like I was more sore than I should be after a few days of nursing. I checked out her frenulum and it seemed like maybe she was a bit "tongue-tied", meaning her frenulum is closer to the tip of her tongue, making it difficult to stick her tongue out of her mouth very far. I asked the pediatrician about it, and sure enough...she has a tight frenulum. It's not a bad case...just a bit tight. So now we have to decide whether or not to get it clipped. Usually people get it clipped if there are problems with breastfeeding...but since she is gaining weight and doing so well nursing, the answer isn't so clear about clipping or not. It's more about my discomfort.

You'll be glad to know that the tight frenulum is her only imperfection so far :)

I forgot what sleep deprivation feels like. I don't think I'm there yet...but give me another week and I'll be deep in. Thank goodness newborns sleep a lot during the day, otherwise the nights might just be unbearable. Like most newborns, I suppose, Piper prefers the warmth and comfort of our arms to sleep...and when we lay her down alone for sleep, it only lasts an hour or so. Even though we've done this baby thing once before, the constant questioning begins: do we bring her into bed with us, ensuring longer, albeit lighter for us, sleep? Will we be setting bad patterns with too much patting, rocking, sushing, assisting her to sleep? Should we offer her a pacifier already, will we disrupt her learning curve for nursing?

I think that the only sure thing about parenting is that you will question yourself constantly.

I'm trying to give myself some time here with no rules or worrying about schedules or patterns or "what other people might think"...and just going with my gut, doing what feels right, and most importantly: ENJOYING this child and her newness.

Oh yeah, and doing whatever it takes to get some sleep at night.

I think I've done a good job of enjoying Piper so far. I love the brief times during the day when she is awake and alert. She has been quite calm so far during these wake times, and just locks eyes with whoever is closest. We swear that she has been smiling...and not just gas smiles...social smiles. I know that everyone will say it's gas or coincidence, but the evidence is mounting by the day that these smiles are in response to human interaction, and one of these days we'll capture it on film.

Newborns are cute, for sure. Partly because their heads are so big in comparison to their bodies, and also because they are just so tiny and new and soft and easy to marvel at. Every new parent thinks that their baby is the cutest thing ever...and then sometimes they look back months or years later at photos and realize that the baby wasn't all that cute after all...their bonding hormones were just raging, ensuring they would care for this thing that looked like a drowned rat.

We don't think that Piper is the most beautiful newborn out there....of course we think she's cute, but I think we're rather objective about HOW cute she is (or isn't!) We've been laughing at some of the photos (we need to eventually post a bunch of the "rejects" that never get posted!) because she just looks SO BAD! Newborns are completely UN-self conscious, of course, so it can be great entertainment to watch them wake up, or fall asleep, and observe all the crazy faces they make....crossed eyes, horrible grimaces, red red skin, many of them amusingly ugly!

To see a few more pics from the last few days, click here.


Piper Jane's Birth Day

Piper's labor story began at about 3:00 AM on Tuesday when I was awakened by contractions. I'd been having strong braxton hicks contractions in the evenings for over a week, so at first I thought that's what I was feeling. When I couldn't get back to sleep and started paying attention to the close timing of the contractions, I quickly determined that this was the real deal. I was able to manage them in bed for awhile, just breathing through them and letting Joe continue to sleep. By 5:00 they had been coming consistently at intervals of 5 minutes or less and I decided that I should get final things packed for the hospital and wake Joe. My contractions intensified and I needed to stop what I was doing to get through them---being on my hands and knees or laying on a big exercise ball seemed to be the most comfortable position to weather the pain. I called the Doctor a bit after 6:00 and he instructed us to head to the hospital. My contractions were now closer to 3 minutes apart, and intense. Still, it felt a bit early to go to the hospital (of course I was thinking of Rowan's labor, which was over 20 hours). But since I had tested positive for Group B Strep a few weeks ago, I had to be on antibiotics during labor and ideally be on those for 4 hours before delivery. So off we went.

We arrived at the hospital and they put us in a triage room...where they basically determine if you are in labor or not. This was the most rotten part of the day. After checking dilation, they hook up all the monitors to see contractions and baby's heart rate...then check dilation again after an hour to see if labor is progressing. But you have to stay laying down in the bed because of all these monitors...and that's just the worst way to labor. Gravity is working against you...and for me, I just felt totally out of control of pain management. I wanted to be up, wanted to be on my knees, wanted to squat, wanted to lay out on a ball, wanted to do ANYTHING other than lay there flat on my back. But I guess that's the legal part of having a baby in a hospital...lots of rules, and one thing they've learned is that lots of people come in and are not actually in labor yet. The irony is that making you lay on your back is a great way to stop a labor that may have actually been progressing!

Once they determined I was in active labor (thank you very much), they moved us to a room where we could labor and deliver. By now the contractions were coming 1-2 minutes a part and I was making a lot of noise to get through them. I wasn't sure going in if I would get an epidural or not, and at this point opted for one. It was a huge relief. It felt so good to rest for a few hours before pushing. I was already dilated to 7 when I got the epidural, and by 11:30 I was completely dilated and ready to push. When the doctor did the final cervical check, he said that baby was turned face-up. That was the only point in labor that I felt a bit scared, because that is what precipitated 3 hours of pushing with Rowan. Thankfully, Piper turned around during my first few pushes...and within a half an hour, she was born. The pushing was exhilarating this time--I was alert and not weary, they positioned a mirror so I could watch everything perfectly. I remember lots of smiling at Joe between contractions, and during one break, I even said that this was kind of fun. And I meant it. Is there anything in life, truly, than can rival the birth of a child? I felt hyper-present during those 30 minutes....completely unaware of anything else in the entire universe, as though everything hinged on those moments, Piper's moments, in that room.

We saw her hair first...and marveled at this longish, darkish head when we were certain it would be bald, or at the very least blond. She crowned slowly, so I was able to avoid an episiotomy (just had a small tear), and once her shoulder was out, I got to reach down and help pull her the rest of the way out. I held her up over my abdomen to get a look between the legs, then put her skin to my skin right from the womb, where she remained for an hour before any of the silly hospital stuff they had to do to her.

I didn't recognize this child. What a strange feeling, to look upon a child who is yours, who you already love, and to not know who they are. Already, less than 36 hours later, I've memorized the curve of her cheek, the soft of her hair. She is mine. But right after birth, I wouldn't be able to pick her out from a line of babies. All puffiness and red and not really looking like Rowan, or me, or Joe. Who is this child? I remember feeling the same when Rowan was born. Who are you?

Birthing a second child is a different experience on many levels. For one, the comparisons already begin...and I had to be aware to focus on THIS experience, on THIS child, on THIS birth. But the comments would come so easily "with Rowan's birth," or "when Rowan was turned the wrong way" or "at this many hours in during Rowan's labor." I imagine that this is a foreshadowing of Piper's other milestones, and I have resolved to be diligent about the uniqueness of her story, her spirit. Oh to be a first child with nothing to compare you to!

The other big difference this time is seeing the experience through Rowan's eyes. That's been a really fun part. I was so excited to call her on the phone just 10 or 15 minutes after birth, and let her know that her dreams had come true! "Is it a girl?" she asked me tentatively. Yes, child, you got your sister. And she did rush to the hospital...in time to see Piper's first bath and give her lots of hugs and kisses. The photo below is of Rowan's very first glimpse of Piper....I'll never forget that look on her face. She first looked at me intently, a bit tentatively, as though her little heart knew the significance of this meeting, and when she felt re-assured enough by me, she looked down at Piper with such pride and happiness, I've just never seen an expression on her face quite like that before. I asked if she wanted to come sit with us on the bed, and she very politely replied "no, thank you." She just wanted to watch....which she did intently over the next few hours.

Her name. Piper Jane. It wasn't official until a few hours after birth because we hadn't decided for sure beforehand on names. We did know for sure that the middle name would be Jane. My maternal grandma died two years ago in January, and her name was Jane Lenore. Grandma had this spirit about her that was more than just a grandmotherly love. She was honest, funny, gorgeous until the day she died. So Jane is for her. Because I want Piper to have some of my grandma in her. Piper is really just a name that we have always admired, liked for it's quirkiness, for being unusual, and because we can just imagine a daughter of ours fitting into the name. There were a few other girl's names that were in contention...but after spending a few hours with her, Piper just seemed to suit her the best.

So Piper has mostly been sleeping, which has afforded me opportunity to write this all out while it is fresh. She had an okay night last night, although her deepest, longest sleeps have been reserved for the day times. She's nursing well and vigorously...deemed healthy on all the tests they've done...and we plan to go home tomorrow morning. What an unusual and blessed Christmas Day it will be!

My dad gave me this poem today that he wrote for Piper, and I want to share it with you. There is meaning in a birth so close to Christmas, and I love how my dad's poem connects us all not only to the manger, but to the animals there...as a reminder that we are called his sheep, and He our Shepard. The last line is reference to C.S. Lewis who talks about us as wooly sheep...and a good image for a child with a head full of hair like Piper's!

A Birth Poem for Piper Jane

Among ox and ass a baby divine.
In the stable of life comes new grandchild,

I look for the Savior in crib full of hay.
I see Him in Piper, in graced arms
now laid.

I pray she will know her life now is fully
In hands of the Shepherd, who sees us as

To see a few more pictures from yesterday, click here.

Have a great Christmas.


Piper Jane Cebulski

Hello friends and family. This is gonna be short and sweet. A larger post to come tomorrow when I have some brain cells functional to write with. We are elated to welcome this bundle of life into our lives. 8lbs 4oz. 21 inches long. Momma and baby are doing great. Dad is holding up ok despite having done far less than the two aforementioned ladies. Both of which are radiant beams of pure beauty! A couple of teaser pics. More to come manana.



Back in the summer we had a visit with our friends Ken and Gail Heffner and talked a lot about some of the possibilities for our future. We were still undecided about what was next for us, but we talked about the possibility of being in Grand Rapids, of buying a house, of maybe needing a temporary place to stay. Before we had even made the decision to move, the Heffners had offered that we could stay at their place should the need and situation arise.

I got to know the Heffners during my last few years at Calvin. Ken is the Director of Student Activities at Calvin, and one of his main contributions to Calvin and the Grand Rapids community has been the tremendous quality and quantity of bands and concerts he brings in. He’s also been an important voice in the realm of popular culture and how Christians should enter into it. Gail used to co-direct the Service-Learning Center at Calvin, where I worked my senior year and where I was prepared for the world of non-profits. I first met Ken and Gail through a friend because we were talking about starting an intentional community to live in for our senior year, and we heard that the Heffners had lived in intentional community in Pittsburgh before they moved to Michigan. Through our conversations with them, we eventually asked them to be mentors for our intentional community---committing to meet with us on a regular basis to talk through whatever issues came up, to give us guidance as we formed this new community. Pamoja was the name of our house…there were 6 of us living together, eating together, carpooling together, trying to know each other and love each other in an intentional way. The Heffners helped us tremendously through that process. I only lived at Pamoja for my senior year…but the cool thing is, it’s still going on! I think they are in their 11th year….and the Heffners are still their mentors! A month or so ago I got to sit in on one of their Sunday night meetings at the Heffner’s house---how neat to see this group of students and get to talk a bit about the early vision of Pamoja and what they are up to now.

This is a really long way to get to the present….but Ken and Gail have remained in our life, even when we moved from Grand Rapids, and each time we visited home we always looked forward to a yummy dessert and long conversation on their front porch. They have been like mentors to us, but not in a formal way, and have always provided us with good questions, solid guidance, and an excellent example of what marriage can look like after 20 and 25 years. Ken and Gail both have a knack for drawing people out with sincere interest and excellent questions, and they especially know how to engage younger people in a way that not only helps them grow, but offers enough respect to make them feel like friends.

The Heffners have 3 grown children (their youngest is a senior at Calvin) and a house big enough to fit them all, even though none still live at home. Their home also happens to be in Eastown, near Wilcox Park, which is one of the hippest neighborhoods in town. They gave us their attic space and newly added second full bathroom to use and live in for 2 months…allowing us to take over not only some of their space, but a certain level of their privacy and autonomy for that time period as well.

Ken and Gail are an inspiration to be around on many levels. They take creation care seriously, and diligently strive to work out the day-to-day meaning of loving God through loving the earth. So they actually pay attention to the kilowatt hours they use each month. They bike whenever and wherever possible. They have 2 vehicles but seldom use the second. They ride the bus. They buy local. They expanded their kitchen this summer and are most proud of all the materials they re-used, and the recycling center that extends one whole counter-length. They unplug stuff and turn stuff off when not using it. They compost. They collect the shower water as it’s getting warm to use to flush the toilet. They belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and freeze and can lots of veggies for the winter. They think of creative ways to use the kale and cabbage that comes for too many weeks during the summer. They introduced us to carrot fennel soup, lots of uses for squash, and dishes too numerous to count that use local foods in season.

They are great cooks…and make stuff that is unusual, mostly vegetarian, and as locally grown as possible. They invited us into their kitchen for any of it, and it was fun to watch and learn and help with some really great meals. As anyone who has lived in community knows, meals are a cornerstone of living together. No different at the Heffners. If you’re going to love each other, you eat together. You talk. You take time.

They are also refreshingly honest, candid, and real about family life and marriage. They have a uniquely close relationship with each of their children, and each of their children is an amazing person in their own right. It was neat for us to see a family and marriage (that isn't our own immediate families!) close up for a few months and to witness all the inner-workings. That was the true gift they gave us--not just the place to stay, but an open window into their world and relationship, giving us another solid example in our lives of how a family functions, all the good parts, all the challenges, and a hope for our own family and marriage that we will do as good of a job.

My main regret of our time together: not enough pictures. I go on a trip somewhere for a few days and take hundreds of photos....then I get hunkered down in daily life for a few months and forget to take any! I will have to make up for it during subsequent visits to the Heffners--meals and conversations that we are already looking forward to! Thank you, Ken and Gail, for loving us and for welcoming us into your home. We miss you guys already!


38 weeks

Joe wasn’t with us when we took the photos of my 37 week belly…so we decided to take a few more at 38 weeks so he could be in them. Or, I should say, our friend Gail gently (highly) encouraged us to take some photos together because we’d regret it otherwise. Gail is wanting to get a digital SLR, so she wanted to mess around with our camera and take a few shots to see what the digital SLR is like…so it all worked out! There are a few more shots at Flickr here.

I’m actually closer to 39 weeks now…and everything is great. I’m having weekly doctor’s appointments, and this week I was dilated to 1 cm and 50% effaced, and the baby's head has descended a bit. Not that that means anything is going to happen soon…just means things are progressing as they should towards delivery. I’m thankful to be very patient at this stage. People have been asking a lot this week if I’m ready to be done being pregnant, or if I am feeling impatient. I’m really not. I love being pregnant, I remember how hard a newborn is, and I’m just really trying to enjoy these last days with just Rowan, these last days getting a full night of sleep, these last days of feeling the intimacy of the baby within me.

Of course I’m eager to meet this child, to look it over, to name it, to smell it’s skin. That’s a given. But there is also some loss in thinking about not being pregnant anymore. Give me the full 40 weeks.

Rowan has her heart set on a sister. We’ve been talking a lot about what will happen when I go into labor, where she will stay, what it will all be like. I’ve told her that she will be the first one I call when the baby is born, and that I’ll either say “Rowan, you have a baby sister!” or “Rowan, you have a baby brother!” The other day we were talking about this with my mom, and Rowan said “if you call and tell me it’s a girl I will be SO excited I will tell EVERYONE that I have a sister and I will RUSH to the hospital to see you!” My mom then asked “what about if it’s a boy?” Rowan thought for a second, then said “well, I’m not going to rush.” This could be interesting!

I’m trying to prepare her for some of the not-so-pleasant parts about babies and about having to share her mom and dad with a sibling. Since she’s almost 4, I think she comprehends it all more than a 2 year old awaiting a sibling might. Not that she really has a CLUE how her life is about to change, but I sense that she understands me when I tell her there will be days when she wishes the baby were still in my belly. My hope is that when those days come, she won’t feel guilty or bad, but can tell me about it.

In other news, we are not living at the house yet. When will we learn to at least double the amount of time we think it will take to get a project done? Joe is working hard and enjoying the work…but the space is just not livable yet. It's going to be gorgeous when it's done, and we're going to live there for awhile....just not yet! We had been staying with our friends the Heffners (blog forthcoming) since mid-October, but decided to move back in with my parents to await labor and to bring the baby home. We moved our stuff over about a week ago and have been getting settled and nested. We had a wonderful stay with the Heffners, but it feels comfortable and right to be at home, and in many ways it will be a tremendous asset to be living here with a newborn. Lots of help with both Rowan and baby, meals, all the ways parents tend to pamper and take care of you!


37 weeks

Only a few weeks left to go in this pregnancy! I'm past the 37 weeks mark, and can't believe how fast it's gone. This is going to be a long post...it's been awhile, and I'm not even going to get to the non-pregnancy updates! So if you're not interested in lots of details about pregnancy, feel free to skip this post!

I feel more relaxed about this pregnancy (not that there hasn't been stress, and lots of life change, DURING the pregnancy!) than I did with Rowan, which I'm sure is no surprise to second-time moms. I haven't been as eager to read all the pregnancy and childbirth "how-to" books...not because I think I'm an expert or think I will just remember everything (after all, it was almost 4 years ago that Rowan was born!), but because I learned with the first one that all the preparation in the world cannot really prepare you for childbirth and parenting. There are so many ways that the story can unfold, no sense in getting all tied up to one hope or vision of what will be. Maybe that sentiment comes from a rough birth experience with Rowan (3 hours of pushing a posterior baby that never turned...just came out sunny-side-up!)...and not having it measure up to what my carefully thought-out birth plan outlined. I wish that I had been better at going with the flow...and not struggled for even one second with feelings of regret over what kind of birth I had.

Giving birth should not be associated with regret or guilt. Any woman that carries and then delivers a baby...no matter how she does it, via c-section, drug assisted or not, should not feel regret about that awesome feat.

So anyways, I've been more focused on the emotional/spiritual part of this pregnancy. It's surprised me during this advent season how meaningful it is to be so pregnant as we await Christmas. That's what advent is about...the anticipation and waiting for Christ's birth. I feel in tune with Mary, find myself thinking about her traveling to Bethlehem on a donkey at 9 months pregnant, only to not find a room...and ultimately give birth in a barn! It's a story we've heard a million times, but really...can you fathom how awkward she must have been? Can you fathom how scary it must have been to be away from home, trying to "nest" in a stinky stable surrounded by animals? Rowan has this one children's book with the story of Jesus' birth...the text is just the King James Version of the story, but the pictures paint it in a new light. One of my favorite pages is a sequence of Joseph trying (struggling) to get a big-bellied Mary hoisted onto the donkey, not successfully at first, both of them exhausted. I love those images.

The incarnation is a mystery we celebrate every year at Christmas. Being in my last month of pregnancy during the holiday season this year, feeling this baby's daily growth and kicks and stretching for room, wondering if my skin can stretch any tighter over the expanse of my uterus, catching glimpses of myself in the mirror and marvelling at the beauty of my new rounded form, dreaming every day about what this child will look like, what it will feel like at my breast....I have continually thought of Christ growing in Mary, of her pregnancy, of the wonder and holiness of it, that God grew in a woman's womb.

My hand constantly gravitates towards my belly, when I feel a kick or in hopes of feeling one, trying to guess at body parts, wanting to be as close to this child as I can. I love the feeling of life growing inside of me, can't get enough of it. I think of Mary, touching her belly, wondering what it will be like to be the mother of God. I think of Mary, putting her hands over her abdomen, feeling our future tumble inside of her.

One of my favorite poets is Luci Shaw, and she has this gorgeous poem about Mary and Jesus' birth...I've re-read it many times these last weeks. It's called "Mary's Song":

Blue homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot naked star
fallen to my arms. (Rest …
you who have had so far to come.)
Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies
whose vigor hurled a universe. He sleeps
whose eyelids have not closed before.
His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world. Charmed by doves' voices,
the whisper of straw, he dreams,
hearing no music from his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes
he is curtailed who overflowed all skies,
all years. Older than eternity, now he
is new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught
that I might be free, blind in my womb
to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.

My parents gave me a beautiful book during this pregnancy called "Great With Child" by Debra Reinstra. It's a personal account of her 3rd pregnancy, through the eyes of faith, and it's in line with Annie Lamott or Barbara Kingsolver for it's brutal honesty, humor, and feeling that you want to be friends with this person. Debra is actually an English professor at Calvin....I had her for a few classes, so that made it even more fun to read this book. I devoured it, really, because it was what I've been craving....not a book with endless warnings about what could or could not happen during pregnancy, labor, and delivery...but a book about what pregnancy, labor, and mothering look like fleshed out in a person's heart and soul. I recommend this book to anyone who is pregnant!

Then I just finished another book that Gail Heffner (a blog post is forthcoming about the Heffners...we have been staying at their house the last few months) lent to me called "Motherhood and God" by Margaret Hebblethwaite. She is Catholic, so that's been a bit of a different perspective, but it's along the same lines as Reinstra's book....rich in detail and candor about the nitty-gritty of pregnancy and motherhood as it intersects spirituality.

There is one passage from Hebblethwaite's book that I particularly like, especially since Rowan and I have had conversations lately about heaven, eternity, having new bodies (she's not totally keen on that idea, either), and resurrection:

"Paul writes 'the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality (1 cor. 15:52-53)'. Often in the past I have felt uncomfortable with this idea of a new body that is ours, yet different: in so far as it is different it has seemed not truly a body, and not truly mine, and yet it could not be the same as now if it belonged to eternity.

Perhaps it can be understood a little through the parallel with pregnancy: though we cannot imagine it in advance, perhaps when it happens it will have the same feel of rightness and fulfilment, as though the whole development of our earthly bodies has been a sort of puberty preparing us for the moment when in a truly physical way we shall move into a new phase. We shall find our bodies able to do things we never thought they could, a little bit like the way in pregnancy the whole metabolism switches into a new gear, works bigger and better than ever, nourishing and feeding not one but two bodies, or like the way we find our tummies can stretch to an extent we would never have believed possible has we not seen it in others, or like the way our bodies can open up and give birth to the fully grown baby--how could we have imagined that there would be room for a whole baby to come out in one piece if we had not the experience of others to go on? Maybe our new risen bodies will have that feel of unexpectedly fulfilled physicality, so that when we materialize and dematerialize (as the risen Christ did) we will feel not less ourselves, but more then ever ourselves."

My mom gave me a card the other day that had a drawing of a pregnant woman on the front...and it says "I never thought of myself as particularly perfect....until now."

I feel that way as I head into these last weeks of pregnancy.

My friend Jill Herweyer took all of these photos a few days ago...at exactly 37 weeks pregnant. Jill has ben taking more and more photos, and I've admired her keen photographic eye. So I asked her if I could set up my backdrop and lights, if she would lend me her good eye and take some photos. I think they turned out great...and you can see a bunch more on Flickr if you click here.