Thursday, January 12, 2017

Surprises of Pregnancy

I am 35 (turning 36 this year) and am definitely one of the last of my friends to get pregnant so I am fairly well versed in pregnancy and all of the ups and downs. I can't be surprised by the "morning sickness" (that lasts all day) or the hormones (all the feelings) or the cravings. I was surprised by a few things and through the good and the bad of pregnancy, I will always be grateful to get to experience this crazy adventure.

😓 Downs:
(I say "downs" in terms of challenges that I have had; it's all worth it to have a healthy pregnancy and baby)

1. Gender disappointment
This is a controversial topic but something that I struggled with after learning we were having a girl. I was a nanny to two little boys a long time ago and decided that I wanted only boys (not realistic, I know). My fiancee is one of three brothers, one of which has three boys himself. I thought, success! Boys run in his family so we will totally have a boy! Once we were pregnant, I started planning with the idea that we were having a boy (see a theme here?). My pregnancy symptoms weren't really showing me one way or the other what we might be having but after finally getting the confirmation, I was a little let down. I wasn't sure what to do with girls! I wasn't crazy into pink, tutus, princess stuff or any of the stereotypical girl things. I didn't really even know where to start and then....I started thinking about raising a teenage girl in this world. Oy. It just got my anxieties up and I felt overwhelmed. We have since gotten very excited that we are having a girl (of course) and embraced the fact that I get to pass on a lot of what my mom taught me growing up: strength, independence and budgeting (ha!). And you can bet that her closet is full of fluffy pink outfits along with robot and raccoon onesies.

2. Morning sickness/braces
The morning sickness wasn't a surprise but, when paired with braces, was/is that I truly struggled with to the point that I was miserable. I never got physically sick (knock on wood) but I was just constantly nauseous until a few weeks into my second trimester and it has since come back a little bit in the third. I tried eating a snack first thing in the morning and then was supposed to snack throughout the day to help keep the nausea at bay. The issue is that with braces (and I had just gotten rubber bands on), eating throughout the day is so much harder. I must plan for snacks and meals because I can't exactly just grab some nuts or a sandwich or a salad. I need things that are easy to eat with braces (especially after tightening/adjustments) but also sounds mildly appealing. Those two attributes separately are not a problem; together, they are a serious pain in the butt. I got to a point where I just didn't want to eat. Kyle tried hard to just put food in front of me but that poor guy hasn't had the easiest time. I learned what foods are always easy for me to eat (cheese and grapes, bananas, smoothies, applesauce, popcorn) and that I had to keep liquids up (apple juice, coconut water, decaf iced coffee).

The one good thing about having braces during time is that I believe it has limited some of the goodies I have been craving. Because I was already overweight before getting pregnant, I was cautious of gaining too much weight and also maintaining a good diet to provide nutrition to the little babe. Some of my cravings have been Skittles, cinnamon bears, Swedish Fish, Red Vines and anything like that BUT because of braces, I don't dare even try. (I did manage to have a few Skittles during the holidays and they were heavenly). So while it would be fun to be able to indulge in those kind of cravings, it has also helped me find healthier alternatives or just ignore them all together. Don't worry, I have had plenty of chocolate milk, root beer floats, and homemade chocolate chip cookies to balance everything out!

3. Working
After my temp position ended, I was left with a kind of lull in what to do as far as work. I always assumed that I would work up until I gave birth, go on maternity leave, and then return to work full-time. Although I interviewed for positions, nothing ended up panning out, including trying a temp agency. With the timing of my last job and the holidays, things were so busy anyways that I constantly wondered how everyone else did it. I assume that if I had a work schedule the entire time I was pregnant, it would be easy to keep working but now the thought of working eight hour days just seems exhausting. I am currently a stay-at-home "housewife" and after managing all of the holiday craziness, am strictly focused on house prep for baby. That all seemed mundane but it really has been a lot of work, especially on those days that the pregnancy exhaustion kicks in. Like, I get tired just going to the grocery store! Oh, and insomnia is my best friend these days so that doesn't play well to a healthy schedule either. Besides having some stir-crazy moments (damn ice and snow!), I know I have been lucky to been able to take this time off and am trying to be present in the moment before life changes. 

💜 Ups:

1. Feeling much more comfortable with my body
I have always had body image issues. I felt the need to hide my muffin top or cover my arms during the summer and have constantly thought about good food choices, the need to workout more and the desire to have the perfect wardrobe if only I was skinny. As my belly grew, I struggled to accept my expanding waistline but by the end of the first trimester, I started to happily embrace a rounder tummy. Instead of blousy tops, I wanted more fitted tops and slowly adapted to the maternity pants (full panel only, please!). As my belly has grown oh so much, I have really embraced feeling confident in what my body is capable of doing. Through the aches and pains, I see how my body has adapted and am truly in awe.

2. Wonder of what the female body can do
To go along with my first point, it is stunning how a woman's body adapts to growing a child. Organs move, joints loosen, blood volume increases and you get a few weird benefits like thicker hair (mine just doesn't get oily anymore) or good skin (that comes and goes). Now that I am around 34 weeks along and looking towards the end goal of a healthy delivery, it is truly amazing that our bodies know exactly what to do and when to do it and it will eventually birth a child.

3. Nesting
We have a small, two-bedroom apartment, which I have cleaned and reorganized several times. We are constantly trying to get rid of stuff and make the most of the limited storage space that we have. Since having a fantastic baby shower and getting all of the stuff we needed for baby, our stuff seemed even less important. I could care less about hanging on to extra notebooks or CDs because WE NEED THE SPACE! It has been incredibly fun to plan out a nursery, figure out what I want for our child as far as "stuff" and also try to make our entire apartment feel like home. As my energy bursts come and go, I try to finally get pictures on the wall, clean all of the cobwebs off the light fixtures and wonder why I have to have so many travel tumblers and bread pans (I still have no idea).

4. Movement
The feeling of little babe in my stomach and knowing that she is continuing to grow and get stronger every day is....amazing. That word doesn't seem to really describe it but it is a mix of reassuring, surreal and grounding. When people say that they will miss being pregnant, I now know what they mean.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Adventure of Pregnancy

Back in May 2016, I found out I was pregnant. It was after a week of feeling like I definitely had the plague or at least some sort of food poisoning. I had a rocky health situation over the past year due to stressful work conditions so while this wasn't completely out of the ordinary, I really wasn't sure what was going on.

I had just started a temp job and was happy to be working again when some of my anxieties came back. I was mystified because I wasn't stressed out and it was a pretty easy-going position. I went to my doctor and did all of the tests and everything came back clear and healthy so I figured, okay, I will just deal with my stress holistically and focus on my quality of life. That next week was when I thought I had the plague and then a week after that, my period hadn't come and my doctor recommended waiting a few more days for a pregnancy test. My fiancee and I had just started trying to get pregnant and I always assumed we would take a while to get pregnant due to age and just life happenstances.

The morning we found out, I made sure to get into the bathroom right away. I didn't think I would see a positive pregnancy test at all and when those two lines appeared, I just said "Oh my god." I repeated it over and over again until Kyle came knocking on the door to ask if everything was okay. After a few seconds, I came out to show him the test. Basically...."Umm....the test is positive." (And then I proceeded to take two more tests!)

We had to get ready to go to work but seriously, we weren't quite sure what to think! For the rest of the day, my head spun and I went into action mode. I researched an OB/GYN and worked to just chill out and remain calm until everything was verified. Kyle was cool and calm because, hello, we were trying to get pregnant, but I was just stunned. This was actually something that was happening!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

And Now, 2016!

Along with every other blogger, I figured I should write down some of my major goals for the year.

My goals last year were very simple....and I just checked them a week ago!

"Goals for 2015 include reading a book every month, trying out a new restaurant weekly, losing the 25 pounds that I have packed on since moving back to Portland in 2013, and getting my teeth fixed up (terrifying isn't even a good enough word for this one)."

And did I actually achieve any of these? Well, I read a good handful of books, K & I tried out a few new restaurants (Cibo is a new favorite!), I have lost all of three pounds (small victories?) and I got braces in October (holy crap!). There have been some good changes this year and some struggles, and all of that just makes me want to be and do so much better this year. I want to set achievable goals and also small, baby steps that mean I will actually accomplish something.


  • Blog more and intentionally. 
My numbers have been pretty sad for the last few years. After my mom passed away, I just didn't feel like I had it in me to blog anymore. It seemed pointless and I wasn't really doing anything exciting that would be worthy of updating. I would love to have a place where I can document the new recipes I plan to make, some of my Portland adventures, and also just general life stuff.

  • Integrate more stress-relieving and relaxation techniques into my daily life.
To those that are close to me, they know that the last year has been stressful. For Christmas, I got stress-relieving adult coloring books, candles, and fragrances. There was definitely a theme! So in the attempt to better my mental and physical state (stress has kicked my ass!), I want to make sure to take even 10 minutes per day doing something relaxing. This includes yoga, hot baths, coloring, crochet, and cooking. 

  • Make two new recipes per month. 
Again with the cooking! My happy place is baking; I love trying new recipes and sharing with other people but I really want to cut down on sugar and pastries/baked goodies are a huge temptation for me. I'll still bake here and there (and experiment with vegan and gluten-free baking) but I want to become more skilled in making healthy meals. 

  • Get significant physical activity twice a week. 
See what I did there? I am not making myself go to the gym only (have a gym membership, haven't been since October, not sure whether to keep or cancel) but want to intentionally get significant exercise at least twice a week. When the weather is nicer, K & I like going on ridiculously long walks around Portland. Exploring the neighborhoods, judging people's landscaping, and chatting about life stuff is one of my favorite things. I want to incorporate yoga into my morning routine to help with stress and flexibility. I want to try Zumba at least once this year! And I am also very, very intrigued by the thought of aerial yoga classes, too! Oh, and I had a dream where I was legitimately running and felt so free and happy so clearly my mind and body want me to be active. Hello!

  • Do one super cool, totally random thing each month. 
Self explanatory, right? 

  • Pay off all credit card debt. 

  • Take my daily vitamins, omega-3 and calcium supplements. 
That should be plenty to aim for in the new year. I wish that feeling of excitement and motivation right after the new year continued all year!

Oh and my favorite picture of myself this year: