Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Necessities for Pregnancy

1. Water
I am not the best at drinking water and man, you have to pee ALL.THE.TIME. but it is vitally important for you and the baby. Buy a new water bottle if that helps make it a bit more special!

2. Bra
The comfort of a good bra cannot be beat, especially when you grow 1-5 sizes during pregnancy. One of my friends loaned me her maternity clothes, including a bra, and there was a point that I had to finally buy another one because I became, quite honestly, frightened to even put the bra on. Big warning sign! It doesn't have to be fancy or spendy, it just needs to fit well and give you some good support. Eventually, you'll also be adding some nursing bras/tops to your wardrobe as well.

3. Underwear
Some can wear their normal underwear during pregnancy (below the bump) and some go without completely. I sized up my regular underwear and while it kind of works, it really isn't my favorite thing to fight with on a daily basis. I'm on a budget and so close to the end that I am just dealing with what I got but I highly recommend grabbing some high-waisted or very comfy and soft underwear that can make you feel secure and happy.

4. Prenatal Vitamins
You might be sick for a majority of your pregnancy; you might not. You might LOVE food and eat really, really well; you might not. No matter what, prenatal vitamins are key in making sure you are getting the right nutrients and vitamins for not only yourself but also the baby. I have a really hard time eating the first 4-5 months and felt so much better knowing that at least I was getting vitamins and minerals that were essential for the development of the babe. In addition to my prenatal vitamins, I am also taking an Omega-3 supplement, magnesium, and vitamin D3. Make sure you talk with your doctor and also be willing to try a few different brands of prenatals (even the gummies!) as each person reacts differently.

5. Grabber
Now, I didn't buy this but I really wish I would have! Sitting on the couch and the remote or water bottle is just out of my reach. Not a problem early on in pregnancy but once that belly is a growin,' it is just a huge hurdle to try and get the simplest of things. I would have liked to have used it to pick up things off the floor that I just cannot bend down to reach because, for real, it becomes a feat of gravity and flexibility towards the end of pregnancy. Just embrace it!

6. A Pregnancy Book
Let me reiterate the "A" as in one (maybe two) part. It is really helpful to get a straight-forward, no frills pregnancy book for reference and random questions that might come up. I got a great book from my doctor's office and that, along with the Panic-Free Pregnancy book, I was feeling pretty good. This is all personal preference of course and I think the best thing is to go check out a bunch of different styles and perspectives before settling on one or two to be your go-to reference.

7. Yoga Pants
I was told that maternity pants are awesome and so comfortable! Well, that was not my experience. I struggled with ones that were too big or too small, full panel or just stretchy, and of course you are continuing to grow and change so these issues just keep rotating. I became more and more dependent on my yoga pants since they were the perfect length and looked good enough that, when paired with a cute top, could work pretty much anywhere. I get my yoga pants at Target for relatively cheap and they hold pretty well, too. Trust me, just have these as a back-up in case there are days when you aren't feeling the greatest or need to run a million errands and don't want to deal with droopy pants (seriously, so much pulling up of the pants!).

8. Nausea Helpers
Don't worry, I am not going to mention the word "ginger" over and over again here because that was something that didn't help me at all. I bought the expensive Preggie Drops and they actually worked really well! The sweet/sourness may have just been a distraction but dang, they tasted so good and I felt better after wards. Peppermint candies also seemed to help but mostly after a meal. Another thing that worked for me was carbonated waters (Dasani is my favorite, La Croix is the most popular). Some sites say that this can make heartburn worse but I found that it actually settled my stomach really well and gave me some variety when I was just drinking plain water all day long.

9. Someone To Talk To
This is important. I am not big on opening up or seeking help from others (believe it or not) just because I enjoy the fact that I am a strong, self-sufficient person but it has been so amazing to have others reach out to me and share some of their own stories. I texted, messaged and Instagrammed with friends to make sure what I was feeling was "normal," or to ask advice about random things like the pregnancy underwear, how to deal with visitors in the hospital, and what some of the biggest surprises were while they were pregnant.  Just getting a few different perspectives and insights was so helpful and reassuring.

The best I advice I got over and over again is that you have to do what is best for you. Your pregnancy symptoms may be different, your plan for birth may be different, and your child may be different but you always have to do what is best for you, your child, and your family. <3

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, I truly struggled with the nausea 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!