28 weeks and back to school for professor van’t land

Week 28 and the start of the THIRD TRIMESTER!! Thank goodness. 
It also marks the beginning of Drew’s spring semester at Trinity where he is teaching three courses, including a new political science class. I snagged a ‘first day of class’ shot on his way out the door this thursday:

He has somehow managed to already memorize the names of all 80+ of his students and is full of hope and energy for what the semester will bring. This man was made to teach! 
(who else could look this fresh and excited about an 8am class?)
I have been trying to create some structure for my days home, puttering around the house during my good a.m. hours before giving in to an afternoon and evening spent mostly on the couch. New pregnancy weirdness includes Braxton Hicks contractions that go on for hours without relaxing and pelvic pain that feels like these children are literally clawing their way out of my body. But! I am sleeping a bit better this week and that makes such a difference. 
I don’t know how women on actual, strict bed rest survive this season. It is misery enough to realize my own limitations, I can’t imagine if they were coupled with a medical necessity like keeping pre-term labor at bay or something similar. I am incredibly thankful that these little ones are still safely tucked inside and show no signs of making an early arrival. Still, the loneliness and long weeks stretch ahead and it is hard not to feel a little lost in this in-between. 
This week I got to attend a local mops group with a friend from church and was so encouraged to be welcomed into a community of strong women who shared their advice, encouragement and stories. One mother of twin girls shared stories of her pregnancy difficulties (which I have developed a twisted penchant for!) and helped me feel so normal for all the exhaustion and emotional weariness that is weighing me down. Another new friend (a fairly recent suburban transplant herself) shares my sense of out-of-placeness in this suburban landscape, longing for city life where one encounters neighbors at coffee shops and libraries, on sidewalks and in parks. (And yet, there we were in a suburban church fellowship hall, sharing life together 🙂 Even as I still feel a bit like I’m playing at this “mom” role, it was such a kind and gracious welcoming into the ranks of the amazing women who have gone before me through labor and into the long job of parenting their little ones. 
We have started taking a childbirth/pregnancy class with a  fantastic teacher/doula who lives in our area. Because we were the only ones to sign up for her class starting last week, she’s coming to us and giving us a private version in our own living room. It has been so great! This past week we focused on nutrition and relaxation techniques, both for now and in labor. I learned I should be aiming for 4000 calories a day (!) and about 140 grams of protein. She helped us break down a healthy diet for a twin pregnancy and it’s actually not as daunting as it first seemed…so long as I eat every hour or two for all my waking hours. 🙂 It was fascinating to learn about how a calorie deficiency can hurt the babies because protein calories will be consumed for energy rather than their baby building/placenta sustaining properties. I find it so remarkable that my body knows how to do all this, even craving certain things to satisfy deficiencies in my diet before I realize I need them. (Granted, today I was craving a pitcher of ice-cold sangria and I think all that points to is a weariness of winter and too much time on pinterest.)
We’ll spend the next 6 weeks in this class and then hopefully it won’t be too much longer until we’ve got babies in our arms! Friends of ours from church delivered their sweet little twin girls this morning and I am so jealous! I have reached the stage where strangers are asking how long before I’m due and I have to explain it could be two more months with this ever-growing belly. It seems like years away! 

big belly. 
Today I was looking back at pictures of myself in this shirt at week 21 when I thought I was so huge…I don’t even want to imagine my size 7 weeks from now. I’ve almost maxed out the elastics in my shirts as it is! 
And here’s a far more realistic portrayal of life lately, taken just after our five minute mini-photo shoot. What you can’t see is how I’m panting and a little sweaty from all the hard work of standing upright and waddling around the apartment.
growing people is work!

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