Pregnancy Update: 31 Weeks

I know I say this every time I write about something pregnancy-related but I can’t believe how quickly this pregnancy is going by. Seriously. I’m 31 weeks right now and that means I have only a little over two months to go. I’m not sure if I’m ready! Anyway, here’s what’s been going on since my 25 week update….

Continue reading “Pregnancy Update: 31 Weeks”

Jackson’s Birth Story

I am officially 29 weeks and 3 days pregnant today. That means in a mere 11 weeks (give or take) I will be welcoming another little one into the world. I don’t think I’ve fully grasped this yet! With my due date fast approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about my upcoming delivery, and reminiscing about Jackson’s. I never documented my experience with him, but I wanted to recap it now in case it helps anyone else who may be anxious about giving birth.

I was never one of those people who had a detailed written birth plan. I had preferences about how I wanted to deliver, but I’d read enough about how things often don’t go as planned, so I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment. At the end of the day, I wanted to do whatever would ensure a safe and healthy delivery for my baby and myself, and ultimately, I trusted my doctor to make this determination. For me, this wound up being a scheduled c-section.

Although I tried not to get my hopes up with a specific birth plan, when I first found out that Jackson was breech and the strong recommendation was a c-section, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. To be honest, I was crushed. It’s not because I had my heart set on a natural labor experience. I hadn’t planned on delivering in a birthing center or anything like that and I was pretty sure I’d get an epidural. Nevertheless, I really wanted to deliver Jackson how nature intended, and the thought of being cut open was frankly terrifying. I’d never undergone surgery before and I was dreading how recovery would be from a c-section. How would I be able to care for a newborn after major surgery? How would my body recover when I’m not able to sleep and rest like normal? How long would it take to be back on my feet? Would I suffer any complications? All that and more swirled through my head as I dealt with the realization that I wouldn’t be having a normal delivery.

I also worried that Jackson wouldn’t be getting the so-called benefits that babies who deliver vaginally experience. I’d read about how beneficial the mother’s bacteria can be when babies are exposed to it when going through the birth canal. And on the flip side, I worried about whether Jackson would be more susceptible to certain things (like asthma) because he had a c-section, as I’d also read. Basically, I worried about everything!

Because I wanted to avoid a c-section at all costs, I tried everything I could to get Jackson to turn. I even opted to do an external version, where a doctor tries to get the baby to flip by essentially pushing on it from the outside. This probably doesn’t sound like a big deal but trust me when I say it was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced (granted, I haven’t gone through labor). There’s a reason they recommend an epidural when you get one! I turned down the epidural not realizing how bad it would be and man, oh man, was it excruciating. Aside from the pain, Jackson didn’t tolerate it well and it caused his heart rate to drop significantly. Fortunately it got back to normal relatively quickly but that was enough for me to throw in the towel and come to terms with a c-section.

Despite all my worrying, I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised with how smoothly Jackson’s delivery went. I made sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before the surgery since I wouldn’t be sleeping well again in the near future, and I went into the hospital with some nerves, but mostly feeling relaxed and excited. The whole prep procedure didn’t take all that long and I was in surgery within a couple of hours. The actual surgery was also quite quick, especially the delivery part. I couldn’t time it but I want to say that Jackson was out after no more than 20-30 minutes. It was a really surreal experience. It took a bit longer for them to stitch me back up, but at that point I was on such a high that I didn’t even care or notice what was going on. I wasn’t able to hold Jackson immediately after he was delivered, which was a bummer, but David got to hold him and it was a really special moment.

I was anxious about how much pain I’d be in once the pain meds started to wear off a bit, but honestly, the discomfort for me was very tolerable. I was actually up on my feet later that night, and by the next day, I was walking the halls. All the advice I heard was to get moving as soon as possible to ensure a quicker recovery, and I really took that to heart. I honestly think the worse thing was the IV and catheter! Because I was recovering so well, I was discharged after just two nights (the standard stay after a c-section is 3 to 4). Once I got home, I never even had to take the prescription pain meds they gave me. I just popped ibuprofen and that did the trick for me. I don’t want to minimize the fact that a c-section is a major surgery, and everyone’s experience is different, but for me, recovery was about as easy as it could be. I definitely had to take it easy and slow for a while, but I never felt like I couldn’t do what I needed to do to care for the baby. The one not so great result of the surgery is my scar, which developed into an ugly raised line because my skin doesn’t scar well. But if that’s the only downside, I’ll take it.

After all of my anxiety and feelings of disappointment going into my delivery, after Jackson arrived I can honestly say that all of those emotions went away. I was so overwhelmed with love and joy for my new baby that how he got here just didn’t matter anymore. With my second baby, it’s still uncertain how I’m going to deliver, but I’m much less anxious this time around. As long as the end result is the same, that’s all that matters to me!

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The Best Maternity Leggings

The Best Maternity Leggings

I’m 27 weeks pregnant as of yesterday and I’ve officially reached that stage where things are starting to rub together that never did before. I am not one of those women who is “all belly” in pregnancy. In fact, my belly is pretty small as far as preggo bellies go. It’s everything else that’s expanding! Especially my butt. That was the case with Jackson too, so I guess it’s just how my body operates. Because of this, I find leggings to be the most comfortable thing to wear throughout the second and third trimesters. I know many other mamas-to-be are big leggings fans too. But as I’ve learned, all leggings are not created equal. After some trial and error I’ve found a few kinds that I love, and I’ve basically been wearing them on repeat every week for the past couple of months. I figured I’d share my faves for anyone else looking for good maternity leggings. Continue reading “The Best Maternity Leggings”

Jackson Update: 20 Months

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The last Jackson update I did was when he was ten months old and still technically a baby, so a current one is long overdue. I certainly can’t call him a baby anymore now that I have a full-fledged toddler on my hands who will be TWO in just a few months. Excuse me while I go cry a million tears into my coffee…. Jackson has changed so, so much even since he was 16 months or so, and it seems like he masters something new almost every week now. It’s amazing to watch and also a bit bittersweet since he’s growing up so fast (a little too fast in my opinion!). I’m trying to stay focused on the moment, even the seemingly mundane ones, because I know how fast he’ll be onto the next phase.  Continue reading “Jackson Update: 20 Months”

Pregnancy Update: 25 Weeks

24 Weeks

It’s been a while since I posted about my pregnancy and it’s going by in a flash, so I figured I’d share an update today. As of today, I am exactly 25 weeks along (the picture above is from a week ago). In a few more weeks I’ll be starting my third trimester, and in just 15 more weeks, we’ll be welcoming a new addition to our family! It’s truly hard for me to comprehend. This pregnancy has gone by so much faster than the first and I think it’s largely because I already have a little one this time around to focus so much of my attention on. With a rambunctious toddler, I almost forget sometimes that I’m even pregnant! What a difference from the first time around, where I was obsessing about every little thing (if you missed my post about pregnancy anxiety, you can read that here)!

So…what’s been going on lately? Here’s a quick rundown of my pregnancy over the past month. Continue reading “Pregnancy Update: 25 Weeks”

How to Manage Pregnancy Anxiety

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Being pregnant is one of the most exciting, joyful, and magical experiences you can have in life. It’s difficult to even put into words, really. Building a life and feeling it develop and grow inside you is truly amazing. But let’s be real. Pregnancy can also be incredibly anxiety provoking, especially in the uncertain early weeks, and even more so if you’ve dealt with a pregnancy loss before. Plus, if you’re dealing with negative physical symptoms on top of anxiety, those first weeks and months can be particularly challenging.

Although I hadn’t dealt with a previous loss and was fortunate not to experience any morning sickness or other major symptoms beyond fatigue, I was incredibly anxious during the whole first trimester with Jackson. I didn’t really start to ease up and relax until well into the second trimester. I tend to be a worrier in general and pregnancy just amplified this for me.

For the first several weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I must have taken 20 pregnancy tests just to affirm my pregnancy, I kid you not (In case you’re wondering I bought the cheap sticks off of Amazon that come with a ton of tests in a pack). I kept them in a little Ziploc baggie in a drawer by the side of my bed. It was totally irrational, but for some reason seeing the positive result on the test made me feel better and assured me that the pregnancy was progressing, even though that’s not necessarily the case. At one point, when I was about 8 weeks or so along, I took a test right before running out the door for an appointment and it didn’t show up as positive. I was convinced that I was going to miscarry and spent the whole afternoon worrying about it. Again, this wasn’t rational because a test would still show positive even if I was on the brink of a miscarriage, but anxiety often isn’t rational. I took another test later that evening that was positive, and I realized that the negative test must have been defective. When I went to my next doctor’s appointment and told him what happened, he said, “You’re definitely pregnant. I think you can stop taking pregnancy tests now.” He totally thought I was nuts, and I don’t really blame him. I stopped taking tests after that but I still got nervous about every little twinge or sensation early on and wondered if it was a sign of something abnormal.

For others who may be experiencing similar feelings, I’ve compiled a list of things that either helped me manage my anxiety during my first pregnancy, or that, in hindsight, I wish I’d done or hadn’t done to keep the anxiety at bay.

1. Use your support system: Some people don’t like sharing news of their pregnancy with anyone but their significant other until they’re close to or into the second trimester and I understand why, but I recommend telling at least one person beyond your spouse who you feel comfortable talking about your experience with (and ideally who can provide helpful input). It will help to keep you sane. I told my mom as soon as I took the first test at 6 weeks, and probably talked to her about one thing or another related to pregnancy every other day for weeks. I also confided in a few very close friends who had been through pregnancy before and who could understand what I was dealing with. It was so, so helpful to have an ear (or three) to listen to my worries and help talk me off the ledge.

2. Don’t Google: Repeat after me: Stay. Off. Google. I know it’s easier said than done, but try! It’s so tempting to look up things you’re concerned about when all it takes is the click of a button but, more often than not, what you uncover on the Internet will paint a much bleaker picture than the reality. Forums are particularly bad about this! Many more people post about negative experiences they’ve had than positive, so reading through forums for answers about questions you may have tends to only increase whatever anxiety you may be feeling. Leave the medical questions for your doctor.  

3. Limit the pregnancy books: When I found out I was pregnant the first time, I couldn’t wait to run out and pick up a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Am I the only one? It felt like some kind of right of passage and I was excited to learn everything I could about pregnancy. What I discovered though was that, when it comes to things like pregnancy, too much knowledge can actually be a bad thing. In reading through What to Expect and other books, I learned about complications that I’d never even heard of, and although they are incredibly rare, I couldn’t help but worry about them. When I spoke to my doctor about books further along in the pregnancy, he actually said that he didn’t recommend What to Expect for that very reason. Who knew? One book I did find helpful, which one of the bloggers I follow, Julie, recommended, is The Panic Free Pregnancy. It’s written by a doctor and really puts risks and concerns into perspective. For fun updates about what’s happening with the baby and your changing body, I found apps to be informative without providing too much unnecessary detail.

4. Exercise: As with any type of anxiety, exercise can really help cut down on pregnancy-related anxiety. I tried to stay active as much as possible throughout most of my pregnancy and I definitely think it helped me to relax. I took a break from working out in the first trimester because I was just so tired, but I wish I’d kept up with a little something because this is the time when I needed it the most. Keep in mind that exercise can be going for a walk around the neighborhood. It doesn’t have to involve hardcore intervals at the gym.     

5. Keep busy: I was working full-time in my first pregnancy and I still managed to find time to obsess and stress about lots of things. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been if I had more free time on my hands! Whether you’re working or not, I recommend distracting yourself with activities and things you enjoy so that you’re not as inclined to go down the rabbit hole of worry. Of course you need to also take it easy and rest as much as possible, since the first trimester takes a lot out of you, but to the extent that you can, I suggest keeping busy.

Looking back, I wish I could have chilled out more and just enjoyed the first part of pregnancy. Although I was beyond excited, early on, the anxiety often overshadowed my joy.  Fortunately, my second pregnancy has been much different and much more relaxed. It’s like night and day! I learned a few things the first time around and it has allowed me to be a lot more laid back.

I hope my tips help anyone else dealing with early-pregnancy nerves, and I’d love to hear what strategies worked for others!

Almond Butter Granola (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Almond Butter Granola

During my last Trader Joe’s run I discovered an almond butter granola and couldn’t resist picking it up. In all honesty, I may have liked it a little too much because it didn’t last more than two days in my house! Oops. There are certain things that I have a hard time eating in moderation (like chips) and apparently granola is one of them. Rather than buy it again, I decided to try my hand at making my own, healthier version, which I won’t be as tempted to inhale in a few sittings (or at least if I do, I won’t feel so bad about it!). The batch I whipped up uses a short list of very basic ingredients and is super tasty, but it’s free of the excess sugar and fat that’s common in traditional granolas.

Almond Butter Granola

Almond Butter Granola

I like to eat it sprinkled on top of almond yogurt with berries or even on its own with almond milk. As an aside, can I just say how obsessed I am with Kite Hill’s new Greek-style yogurt?! Have any of you tried it? I’ve never been big into yogurt, even before I decided to mostly ditch dairy, but I did enjoy Greek yogurt, and it’s something I sometimes miss. I was so excited to find Kite Hill’s dairy-free version at Whole Foods a couple weeks ago and it did not disappoint. I can’t get enough! I only buy the plain unsweetened kind because I don’t want the added sugar in the other varieties and prefer to add my own toppings, like granola! It is seriously delicious and if you’re a fan of Greek yogurt, I highly recommend giving it a try. Now, back to the granola….

Almond Butter Granola

Almond Butter Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped or slivered almonds
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2.5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix with your hands until the oats are evenly coated.
  • Spread out mixture on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool completely. The granola will be a bit soft until it fully cools.

*Adapted from Elizabeth Rider’s Easy Healthy Homemade Granola

Let me know how you like to eat granola and whether you have any tried and true recipes!

 

Almond Butter Granola

Non-Maternity Clothes That Are Cute AND Bump-Friendly

When you’re pregnant, there are certain articles of clothing that you just can’t avoid buying in maternity styles (hello pants). For both of my pregnancies, I started wearing maternity jeans before the end of the first trimester because the waistbands of my normal skinnies got too uncomfortable. But as much as possible, I try to buy regular clothing that works with my growing bump because I hate dropping money on things I’ll only wear for a matter of months. Fortunately, there are lots of regular clothes these days that work for most, if not all of pregnancy. With tunics and flowy styles being so in, it’s a great time to be pregnant! For this post I rounded up a number of tops (and a pair of jeggings) that are cute, bump-friendly, and affordable. Since I live in Connecticut and it’s currently winter, I’m focusing on colder weather options, but many of these items can be worn well into spring. 

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1. BP. Side Slit Tee ($19): I picked up this tee at Nordstrom over Thanksgiving before I was showing much because I love its length and hi/low hem. I have a long torso and I’m always on the hunt for basic long tees that I can wear with leggings or skinny jeans. This one fits the bill!

2. Halogen Knit Poplin Mix Top ($41.40; currently 40% off!): I came across this top this week and I’m seriously considering adding it to my cart. I love the contrasting colors and billowy sleeves and the fact that it’s stylish but also seems super comfy.

3. LUSH Perfect Roll Tab Sleeve Tunic ($27.90; currently 33% off!): I actually bought this tunic after I had my first baby when I was still carrying around excess baby weight, and it’s now perfect for my growing baby bump. If you’re looking for something a little more formal to wear to work, I highly recommend this top. I may pick it up in more colors.

4. Free People Easy Goes It Denim Leggings ($58): I own these in two washes–rich blue and black–and I made it up until 20 weeks of pregnancy wearing them comfortably. Because they’re jeggings and have an elasticized waistband, they have a lot of give, way more so than any of my other jeans. And they don’t bag out! I lived in these long before I got pregnant and was pleasantly surprised that I was able to wear them this long during pregnancy.

5. Free People Lover Rib Split Back Pullover ($40.80; currently 40% off!): Another Free People pick I recently discovered.  Free People is a good bet during pregnancy in general because the brand features so many drapey styles, but I often find the pricing to be a bit outside of what I like to spend. Fortunately many of their items go on sale and this particular top is majorly discounted right now! The one I ordered, in pink, is currently sold out, but it’s still available in black in all sizes.

6. Old Navy Pintuck Lace-Yoke Swing Top ($28; currently 20% off!): The flowy silhouette of this shirt works great with skinny jeans when not pregnant, and it’s also loose enough to cover a growing baby bump stylishly.

7. Old Navy Lux Rib-Neck Tunic ($22.99): This is a great basic and versatile tee that can be dressed up or down.  

8. Sylvia Alexander Women’s Poncho Turtleneck ($34.99): I’m not sure how much longer ponchos will be in style, but you may as well take advantage of the trend while you can! It doesn’t get much more comfortable than wearing the equivalent of a blanket. I really like the color and design of this one in particular.

9. The Limited Lace-Up Shaker Stitch Tunic Top ($47.40; 40% off): I like that this tunic is a bit more form fitting but still long enough to accommodate a belly. And the lace-up sides add a chic touch.

If you’re pregnant and searching for comfortable and stylish clothing options, I hope this provided some inspiration! And let me know if you have any non-maternity faves of your own.

Baby #2!

Bump pic #2

I couldn’t be happier to share that David and I are expecting baby number 2 this spring! The due date is three weeks before Jackson turns two. We shared the news with our families at Thanksgiving and on social media the Friday before Christmas, but I’m planning on creating some pregnancy-related content on the blog, so I wanted to announce it here as well. Believe it or not, I’m actually about halfway through the pregnancy already (I’ll be officially 20 weeks along on Monday), and fortunately, it has been uneventful so far. I can’t believe how fast the time is flying!

Although I’m a little nervous about how we’re going to manage two kiddos, I’m overjoyed to have the opportunity to be a mom to another little human. While motherhood certainly isn’t all fun and games, it has made me happier than I ever thought possible, and has enriched my life in so many wonderful ways. That probably sounds cheesy, but it’s true!

Stay tuned for more pregnancy content soon. In the meantime, if you have any advice to share on transitioning from one baby to two, I can take all the tips I can get!

One of Those Days

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Hello and happy Friday! I hope you have some fun weekend plans in store. Weather permitting, we’re going to a party on Saturday with a group of friends I’ve known forever and I’m really looking forward to it.

But backing up for a second, I want to talk about Wednesday. This past Wednesday I took Jackson for his first swim lesson at our local YMCA. (Quick sidebar, I’m no longer at my former job, which is why I was able to do this during the week. It’s kind of a long story and one for another post!) We have him in daycare twice a week and I wanted to find at least one activity to take him to on the days it’s just the two of us. I figured swim lessons would be great because he generally loves the water and enjoys being around other kids. This week was the first class, and I fully expected it to go well. I imagined Jackson having a ball and not wanting the class to end. Man, I could not have been more wrong! I’m not exaggerating when I say it was a complete and total disaster.

First, the main parking lot close to the entrance was completely full, so I had to go around the corner to an underground parking garage where they provide additional parking. That was also completely full. I finally found a spot on the other side of the building, a good 10-15 minutes later. This probably doesn’t sound like a big deal but when you’re toting a toddler and all of your swim gear in frigid temperatures and you have to walk a distance to get inside, it’s majorly annoying.

After the unexpected delay finding parking I was going to be late for the class, so I rushed with Jackson into the locker room. As soon as I set foot inside, he started wailing. Not just crying but full-on bawling with real tears and sobs. He is typically so joyful and happy and I still have no idea what set him off. I took him into the changing room to get him into his swimsuit and tried to calm him down, to no avail. I thought maybe once we got out of the locker room and into the pool he’d be distracted and would stop crying. Nope. The class started and we did intros, as best we could over Jackson’s screaming anyway, and I tried to get through the first exercise. When the crying continued without any sign of letting up, I just decided to throw in the towel and leave. He was obviously miserable and the crying was too disruptive to the other families.

So I dragged Jackson back to the locker room, still screaming, to get dressed to go home. Of course it’s freezing and winter and I was parked far away so I couldn’t just throw a shirt on him and call it a day. I spent another 15 minutes getting both of us out of our bathing suits (and his wet diaper) and into warm, dry clothes, hats, coats, etc. all while he continued screaming. I swear the staff must have thought I was torturing him! By the time I was finally ready to go, the class had ended and the other moms were starting to come into the locker room. I was on the brink of a meltdown myself at this point and on the verge of tears. As soon as we got outside Jackson stopped crying, of course, and he was mostly back to normal by the time we got home.  

The whole experience was unexpectedly negative and it left me feeling frustrated, guilty and defeated. But I reminded myself that some days are going to be like this. You can’t win ‘em all and that’s okay. I can’t let this one experience scare me off of trying other things. Although part of me never wants to go to swim lessons again and I’m kind of dreading it, I’m going to take Jackson again next week. Maybe he was having an off day this time or maybe he’s just not ready. We’ll see.

If you’re wondering why I’m sharing this it’s because I feel like we rarely see the full picture of parenting on social media. Usually it’s all smiles and rainbows and perfection (I’m guilty of this too), but days like this happen too, and I think it’s important to share that side as well. On that note, have you had a similar experience to this? Or do you have any words of wisdom to share about how to make next week’s lesson go a little more smoothly? I’d love to know!