5 Things I Learned Being Pregnant

It seems like just yesterday I was blinking my eyes rapidly and hyperventilating at the glowing digital “yes” staring back at me. Yet, here I am, 8 1/2 months pregnant, strangely attached to the bowling ball bump that makes it difficult to bend over without passing out. Nothing seems more natural than getting little kicks and jabs in what used to be my quiet stomach, and each new change doesn’t surprise me anymore.

Although I personally witnessed my mother being pregnant 10 times, it seemed like everything was new territory when I began my own journey to motherhood. Here’s five things I learned being pregnant.

1. Morning Sickness is a Joke

I don’t know who came up with term “morning” sickness, but they were a true optimist. For me, sickness was strongest whenever I was tired, which was often all day during my first trimester.

(I didn’t figure this out until around 12 weeks, and kept trying to live like I wasn’t using all my energy to create a life).

If nothing was staying down, lemonade and Taco Bell bean burritos were my best bet. Sorry, child.

2. People Will Comment A LOT on Your Body

“You’ve changed so much.”

“You don’t look pregnant from behind.”

“How much weight have you gained?”

“You don’t look fat . . . you just look husky.” (From a particularly good friend.)

More than ever, people are going to be giving their opinion on your changing body. You’ll find nothing is off limits. I didn’t mind at all . . . because obviously it was on the forefront of my mind! However, be forewarned. For some reason your pregnancy makes people comfortable sharing the weirdest TMI about their own bodies and births.

When someone told me I looked good, it meant more than I ever thought it could. Even if they were lying. I didn’t care.

The best time to lie is telling a pregnant lady she looks good.

3. You May Have a WAY Different Experience Than Your Mother

I assumed I would get varicose veins because my mother and both grandmothers struggled with them. However, I didn’t worry at all about stretch marks, because, after all, they’re mainly genetic, right?

Mother’s skin is flawless.

Well, while I still don’t have any purple veins streaking up my legs, I do have scars resembling claw marks on my body.

My mother didn’t throw up during pregnancy . . . I lost 10 pounds my first trimester from lack of “food retention.” Mother had trouble sleeping . . . I’m two weeks from D-day and still sleep like a rock. While our pregnancies do have some similarities, my pregnancy has not been just like my Mother’s.

Just know, you don’t know, until you experience pregnancy for yourself.

4. A Supportive Husband Is Underrated

Elisha loving me through this radical journey has allowed me to love myself. I cannot imagine undergoing this journey without him.

5. Anything Stretchy or Baggy is Automatically “Maternity”

Most of my maternity clothes are XS dresses that highlight my maternal curves, or XL garments in the women’s department. While I do have some staples like maternity jeans, and a few shirts, big sweaters paired with tight tank tops, or tube dresses did the trick.

Poorly proportioned “regular” clothes fit my growing bump perfectly.

Closing thoughts.

I look at pictures of myself just 8 months ago and think, “there was a time when I didn’t have this bump? There were days when I could jump when I played volleyball? I actually fit my feet into those heels?” 

The time of “just Elisha and Katie” is drawing to a close, but I couldn’t be more thankful for God’s timing.

I never imagined how pregnancy would humble me, give me a sense of vision for motherhood, force me to rely on the Lord’s strength, or knit Elisha and my lives together.

Now, to bring this child safely earth-side . . . 

What are some things you discovered during pregnancy?

The Kathryn Joy

 

 

 

I’m Getting Married!!!

Good news. The Tale Of My First Love, did not END in a breakup…

“Just Friends”

Soon after ending things, Elisha and I entered “real” relationships where we began to experience the security, happiness, and good vibes that one’s notorious other (usually) gives.

We bumped shoulders a couple times, but we didn’t talk much, and it was never awkward. Elisha and I knew vaguely what was happing in each other’s lives because his sisters were still my best friends, but I was happy and fulfilled and he was too.

A year and a half later, Elisha and I found ourselves both recently single and road tripping up to a wedding together with our sisters.

Although I was still struggling getting over my breakup, sincere admiration for how Elisha had matured was coupled with hurt for the recent pain he was going through. I felt we could relate.

“You and Elisha are so cute together, are you going to get back together?” A mutual friend asked after we hung out all weekend.

I laughed, “are you kidding me? Been there done that. We both know we could never work.”

That night I texted Elisha and told him I was sorry he was going through such a tough time emotionally, and I respected how he was recovering.

“Thanks. I respect you a lot, Katie Johnson, and I’m glad we can still be friends after our ‘funny’ experience . . . I don’t know how else to put it.”

We were mutually happy we could be friends after what happened, and over the next couple weeks Elisha initiated several random text convos.

Then, I went up to his house for Tucker’s graduation and I heard rumors circulating of “Elisha and Katie.”

Good graciousness, no. I thought to myself. 

Upset, I texted Elisha on the way home—making sure we were on the same page: just friends.

“Yeah, of course, just friends,” he replied. But he threw in that I was the “catch of the century.” 

“What? You had a DTR with Elisha?” Daddy asked. “You like this guy, Katie,”he sighed. “I don’t want to do this again.”

“No, I DON’T. Are you kidding? I would never go what we went through again! We are seriously just friends.”

One text conversation flowed into another and during witty sallies and meaningful conversations, we realized we both had changed. A lot.

He hinted that he liked me. I feigned ignorance.

He flirted and told me how amazing he thought I was. I flirted back and reminded him, “just friends, remember?”

After two months of talking, I saw him at 4th of July and it was . . . AWKWARD. All those hours texting, even a couple short phone calls, and he still ignored me, so I ignored him.

“Dude, what’s the deal?” I texted him late that night. “Are you always weird around girls, or just me? What’s worse, I’m finding myself attracted to you for all the wrong reasons.”

The next day, Elisha finally clearly declared his interest in me, “Do you just see me as an older brother, Katie?”

Sheesh. If I saw him as a brother, my feelings would be illegal in 49 states!

“No, it’s just that we don’t go together. We’d argue all the time, and, let’s face it, we don’t like being around each other in person . . . let’s not talk anymore.”

So, we stopped.

We saw each other two weeks later at the camp, and awkwardness was at an all-time high. During a 2 hour DTR, I frankly shared my concerns. When I told my friends what I told him, they said I was mean. Maybe, but I felt no shame.

After telling Elisha we needed to stop texting, he wrapped his strong arms around me in a crushing embrace. For a split-second my heart stopped, and I was angered at my own confusion.

Get a grip, Katie. There’s so much more to real-life than a hug. You guys are awkward. Remember?

Nevertheless, when our barn burned down, Elisha was the first person I texted. I needed support and he was there. Once again, I felt a tug at my soul. It was as if the little seed of childhood love, buried deep in my heart, was struggling to burst through the surface.

Yet still, my mind told me, “you will never work. Never.”

The Winds Change

“There is this Kathryn, who seems to be laughin’
At a guy like me, who just wants to care . . . “

That was the beginning of the song Elisha wrote me. We were texting . . . again. 

“I like you, Katie.”

“Stop.”

“I could be your boyfriend.”

“We are never, ever, ever, getting back together.”

The “just friends” status was questioned almost every day, but I continued to say “no.”

After that song, I told Elisha all my concerns, but he told me how he didn’t buy that junk. 

There, in the dark of the hallway with my phone light glowing, I started sobbing, and halfway admitted to myself and him that I hoped he was right. Maybe there was a possibility of real-life being as beautiful as our text conversations. Maybe.

Later that week, Elisha came down for the Man Camp my daddy puts on, and totally pursued my family which was big, big, points with me. He was a leader, a guy everyone liked, sweet, and (gotta admit) a total stud. By the last day of the camp, I realized I liked this man a lot more that I was aware, but advice from my cousin, uncle, and mother was that, “the timing is wrong.”

We couldn’t mess this up with bad timing . . . again.

“Okay. So, I Like You…”

“It’s late, men. Time for curfew!” Daddy finally called. The guys at The Achademy were huddled around Tiki Torches at 11 o’ clock at night.

“Hey, can I walk you to your car?” I whispered to Elisha.

“Yeah, of course.”

We went to the parking lot, but guys were coming with headlamps to get their stuff, so we moved further away. The headlamps seemed to follow.

“I don’t want to be seen with you way out here in the dark,” I whispered. “It will look bad.”

We kept going further into the darkness until we ended up behind a giant burm, and settled down on two cement blocks.

“Ok,” I started abruptly, “So, I like you, but . . . “

“Just stop there,” Elisha interrupted. “You like me?! Yessss.” He ran his hands through this dark hair laughing to himself. “You like me. Katie Johnson likes me!”

“Haha, yeah, I do. But we need to break. Like, for three months.”

Lights flooded around the burm and I heard shouts as we continued talking.

“I gotta go,” I told Elisha nervously. “This is going to look really bad.”

I began to get up to leave, but he pulled me into him. Our breathing was steady in the still night air, but I was stiff—scared I was going to be found behind a burm in the arms of a guy who I swore I was “just friends” with at midnight!

“I need to leave,” I pushed myself away and this time he let me go. We scrambled over the rocks to his car.

“Katie, I really like you,” he whispered softly.

“I like you too, but I don’t want to be found like this.”

“I get it.”

I pushed away, but not before he quickly kissed my forehead, leaving me to waltz half-drunk on emotions into the arms of the frantic sisters, best friend, uncle, and frustrated father.

“Don’t worry!” I muttered worriedly. “I can explain.”

Elisha and Katie 2.0

“Baby, guess I want to try, this may end up being a do or die,
We could be perfect, we could be disasters,
It will be worth it . . .”

We sent songs back and forth as we implemented breaks, guidelines, and rules into our stop and go relationship. One day I would be dreaming of forever, the next, I could see no light at the end of the tunnel. One thing was certain, I was madly in love with the man of my dreams, and I was willing to fight for him.

When Elisha and I finally starting “officially” dating, my respect grew quickly, as he pursued my family and gained my parents’ support. He was more than just a handsome face and talented man. He cherished me, led me in truth, and amazed me with his intentionality.

I was wary about entering a relationship where my heart could be crushed, so I quickly drilled him with questions, was frank with my concerns, and open about my flaws.

Within three weeks of becoming Elisha’s girlfriend, I knew I wanted my first love, to be my forever love.

I could write a book documenting our mistakes, our successes, and the wild ride it has been loving Elisha. But I’ll leave you with this, it was worth it. 

I wouldn’t trade our journey for the world. 

So many of you have asked me why I’m confident in the man I’m giving my life to in a few months, so here is the short answer…

Top 5 Things I LOVE about Elisha 

  1. I respect him, his relationship with God, and his heart like no other young man.
  2. He is honest and a man of integrity. I trust him implicitly.
  3. He knows me, yet he loves me unconditionally–even with my glaring weaknesses and flaws. His patience and kindness is next to none as I work on my immaturities.
  4. He’s a strong leader with vision and authority, but he still lets me be . . . well, crazy me.
  5. He’s basically everything you could ever want in man: athletic, tall, dark, handsome, intelligent, clever, thoughtful, creative, good at connecting with people, musical, intentional, romantic . . . a life-long learner, reader, deep-thinker, and hard-worker. Oh, and did I mention he’s hott?

I loved him for 12 years. And now I get to love him for life.

What’s not to love?

The Kathryn Joy

 

The Tale of My First Love

Childhood Crush

I pinched my freckled nose tight and peered under the trampoline at a pair of tan legs grounded in red, white, and blue skate shoes.

“I like that boy,” I whispered to my 7-year-old sister from the safety of my hideout.

“I like him too,” she smiled. “His name is Pete.”

“No, like, I like-like him,” I scowled. “His name is Elisha.”

“Those are ugly shoes,” Ky shrugged.

“Yeah, but look at those muscles!” 

Late that night at summer camp, I snuggled in bed with my three best friends–Kyla, and Annie and Lilja Voetberg–and shyly whispered about my crush.

“I’m still not sure what his name is,” I sighed. “I asked and he said to call him ‘Bo’.”

“I told you it’s Peter,” Ky mumbled sleepily.

“Elisha? You like our older brother!” Lilja groaned and rolled over in bed. “All the girls like him. Not you too!! He’s almost 13 and you’re only 8.”

Nevertheless, the first thing I did when I arrived home in California was scrawl in my journal, “I want to marry Elisha Peter Voetberg.”

Over the next 4 years, I only saw glimpses of Elisha at Camp Dwight each summer. I say ‘glimpses’ because he was always running around with the cool kids that could drive, stay up late, and eat sugar without asking their parents. Annie, Lilja and I went to sleep at 8:30pm, and I was wearing pull-ups to bed until I was 10.

Still, I would dream about Elisha each night, and try anything to impress him—back flips, sports, learning the fiddle (because he and his sisters played) and memorizing all the songs on his family’s CDs by heart. Still, we never talked.

I do remember giving him a half hug goodbye once. He was wearing a pink pin-stripped shirt and I nearly passed out with happiness.

He also got on Instant Messenger one New Year’s Eve when I was messaging Annie and told me I was a jerk. My heart flip-flopped and I wouldn’t have been happier if he told me he was in love.

“Katie, Elisha is too old, hun,” by babysitter told me late one night.

“Well, then I’ll grow up fast,” I shrugged and snuggled in my bed to pray the prayer I did every night: “Dear Jesus, Please let me marry Elisha.” 

From the Distance

Around 12 years old, I got tired of not being noticed—by Elisha, that is. Turns out, other boys my age thought I was cute, and my tomboy teasing turned into flirting and giddiness. However, every year at Camp, my heart would still flutter when I saw Elisha get on stage and perform on his mandolin. I’d make excuses to hang out with his friends, but still, we never talked.

“Do you still like him?” Lilja whispered.

“Of course not.” I sighed. “I admire a lot of things about him but I’m not going to be one of the hundreds of girls that like him.”

She rolled her eyes.

Then, I started hearing rumors of Elisha liking this girl or that girl falling for him. I realized he was 20 and I barely turned 15. He was going to be married before I even finished puberty.

I gave him up. (Although I still developed grudges against girls I heard he was crushing on). Besides, other guys told me they “were in love with me.”

The Beginning of the End

Finally, I turned 18, and my dad decided to let guys begin contacting me. A couple well-known suitors made public their desire to “get to know me” that week, and I was considering how to respond when an email popped up in my browser from ELISHA VOETBERG!!!!

Suddenly my heart stopped. Elisha Peter Voetberg, my first crush, the boy that was always out of reach, the catch of the century, wanted to get to know ME!

“Ahhhhhh!!!!!!” I jumped up on the bed and began screaming. Dizzy with excitement I didn’t even read the whole email and sprinted downstairs to my dad’s room.

“Oh my gosh,” I gasped, “tell me it’s not a joke. Tell me it’s. not. a. joke. Elisha . . . Elisha Voetberg . . . he wants . . . did you know this???! He wants to get to know me! Ahhhhhhh! I can’t even handle it!” I grabbed my head and jumped up and down.

Daddy shot Mother a ‘this-was-a-bad-idea’ glance and sighed, “let’s go upstairs, Katie.”

“Just tell me! Tell me! Is this real? Oh my WORD!”

Thus began a series of the dullest, most thought out, most anticipated letters ever written.

Our “approved” form of contact would have me clambering to the mailbox every day at 11:15am to check for a letter. It didn’t matter if Elisha wrote like he was writing the president, it didn’t matter that my dad read every word and censored everything I sent out, they were letters from him with his scrawling penmanship and light scent. He said I was a cool girl, and we talked about the weather and theology and any other emotionless fact.

Elisha and I hung out in person at a wedding a few weeks in.

It was awkward.

When we talked he would look over my head like he was trying to find someone in a crowd. I would alternate between following him around and ignoring him, but I told every girl I was writing Elisha Voetberg and they all fainted with jealously.

We hung out again. It was awkward again. Both of us would make small talk and then ignore each other. I wrote in my journal how insecure I was . . . maybe I wasn’t pretty enough for Elisha.

I was pretty sure Elisha didn’t like me, because he would get antsy when I was there and would then monologue for hours while I feigned interest and stared at his gorgeous eyes thinking “this is worth it.”

Then came Camp Dwight. The camp where I met my crush, the camp where I swooned over him for ten years. The CAMP.

“Elisha’s hot,” I whispered to Lilja as he performed at talent night.

She rolled her eyes, “you guys are SO awkward. I hate this.”

Love finally began to blossom and a light flirtation between Elisha and I occurred around the camp fire. As usual, it was awkward, but skydiving together was a highlight and I came home with a love-song written in my mind and hope in my heart.

“Mommy,” I smiled dreamily, “Elisha and I may actually get married!”

“I’m not ready for this,” Mama said, concerned.

Turns out, no one was ready, for the next week Daddy announced there would be no more letters between Elisha and I while he got to know him. There was no timeline for this “get to know” process and I sunk into the first depression I ever experienced. 

Elisha was allowed to come to my district volleyball championship and I felt awkwardness . . . again. Any momentum we had gained was completely gone, and all the dreams I had of running and jumping in his arms were realized as a stiff side-hug and painfully polite “hellos.”

Nevertheless, we still talked on the phone once a week. These calls were usually Elisha monologuing for an hour and me “mmm . . . oh . . .uh-huhing” as a mindless, frustrated, insecure girl.

I started to get fed-up with this “relationship” with prince charming.

It’s Over

Elisha came down to visit me in California that winter and we got in a family argument. Actually, we got in lots of them.

“You guys just need to be friends for the next year or two,” Daddy cautioned. “He’s not ready to get married.”

“I just want a boyfriend,” I sobbed. “I like him and I want to go on dates WITHOUT Kyla and Kelsey!”

Tension reached an all time high when Elisha decided to create an argument:

“I don’t think corn syrup is bad for you…” He  smiled smugly and waited for a response.

I took the bait . . . worn out and mad.

When we got home to Oregon, I still answered Elisha’s call, only to hear him say we should think of taking it slower . . . talking less, maybe even taking a break.

I was fed up.

This guy didn’t like me, he wouldn’t romance me, and my dad was ready to ship him to Africa to grow up. Typically a confident, good-with-guys kind of girl, I was sick of feeling insecure and unsure of myself. And he wanted to take it slower?! We were already going backwards.

“Elisha,” I wrote a final letter (that was never sent), “I’m kind of tired of this. You’re awesome, but whatever we are, whatever we’re doing, let’s stop.”

The next week, Elisha called for a final time, “Katie, it’s just too much pressure right now. I respect you, but I need to figure out what I’m doing with my life and I don’t think we make each other better. I’m not saying I’ll pretend we never happened . . . I liked you, but it’s over. Are you with me?”

I held back tears and nodded on the phone, “Yeah,” I whispered, “I totally understand. You’re right.”

After we hung up I walked down to my parent’s room with tears trickling down my cheeks. “He’s right,” I smiled through cloudy eyes. “I’m actually relieved. Like, it’s sad everything I’ve dreamed about for so long is over, but it actually feels good to be done with all that confusion!”

I laughed . . . and never looked back.

Well, actually I did look back over the next year and a half, but only with a cringe and grateful heart. We gave it our best shot and it didn’t work. Continue Reading.

 

Cheers to first loves!
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