Pregnancy

My 4 Pregnancy Must-Haves

As a pretty easy-going pregnant woman, I wanted to share my four simple pregnancy must-haves with you. When you first find out you’re pregnant, you want to make sure you are prepared, so you end up on a Google or Pinterest rabbit hole of lists upon lists of stuff you just have to have to have a successful pregnancy. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be super complicated… and this is coming from the girl who bought pickles in preparation for cravings that I just never had.

Now I just want to reiterate the easy-going part. Don’t hate me, but I have yet to get morning sickness, nausea, or cravings. So my list is simple, because my pregnancies have been simple. I won’t recommend any item that I haven’t actually used, tried, and found helpful. So with that being said, my list doesn’t have anything to help those awful pregnancy symptoms that I have not had to deal with. If you are dealing with those things, I think my list can be a great starting point for general pregnancy and I hope you find it something on here helpful!

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter

This lotion/cream has been amazing through both of my pregnancies so far. With Hazel, I tried a few different stretch mark keep-away creams before finding the Burt’s Bees option and it is by far my favorite. It feels like lotion – not too thick, not too gooey, not too greasy – and absorbs really easily. Others I tried, I felt so gross afterward that I didn’t even want to put on a shirt, because it would stick to me as would everything else. This is NOT like that. I feel like it works best applying it right after a shower or bath. You can even use it on your breasts, butt, and thighs… really anywhere you could get a stretch mark. With my previous pregnancy, I used it through the second and third trimester and have no stretch marks. This pregnancy, I have used it since the first trimester, so fingers crossed I get the same results.

Multiple Pillows

I am not typically a lot of pillows person or a fluffy pillow person. PrePregnancy I sleep with one ridiculously flat pillow. When I got pregnant the first time everyone was telling me I needed to get a pregnancy pillow. I looked them up and contemplated for a long time and decided not to get one and to see how long I could sleep comfortably with what I had. I like sleeping near my husband too and many of those pregnancy pillows make it hard for two to sleep comfortably in bed together. So I start out with my usual sleeping arrangement and as my pregnancy progresses and belly gets larger, I just add a pillow. Around the second trimester when I can no longer sleep on my stomach, I add a pillow between my knees and one extra pillow under my head. Then as the heartburn worsens, I just add a pillow behind my head and adjust the angle at which I’m sleeping. Otherwise, I don’t need anything fancy.

Tums

Heartburn is one of my number one pregnancy symptoms. It hit me hard the first time and it is hitting me even harder this time. Tums has been my saving grace. Last time, I had to go into the office, so I kept some in my purse and by my bed. This time I’m working from home, so I just have a ginormous bottle next to my bed. So far during this pregnancy, I have only had heartburn at night, so I pop two Tums right before I lay down and then through the night depending on how uncomfortable I am. This stuff helps me so much that as soon as I run out, I am already planning my trip to the store to replenish my stash. I cannot recommend having some Tums on hand during your pregnancy.

Comfy Shoes

Finding a pair of shoes that don’t kill my feet or make them swell up like sausages has been a bit of a challenge. With my first pregnancy my feet grew a bit, so most of my shoes didn’t fit after the second trimester. I ended up wearing these knock-off Birkenstock sandals from Marshalls every single day all day to the point where the soles literally detached. This time my slip on Birks have not been doing me any favors and my Adidas tennis shoes have been my go-to. I cannot stress enough how much wearing comfortable shoes can change your whole demeanor during pregnancy especially at the end of a long day. I wear those tennis shoes a lot and often times look super dorky, but I just don’t care.

Okay, so that’s it. Just four things I use pretty much all through my pregnancies. Obviously there are days that I need a massage or a heating pad or some Tylenol, but these are my four tried and true must-haves that help my pregnancies from beginning to end. 🙂

Pregnancy

When You’re Nine Months Pregnant…

Pregnancy is hard. The third trimester is harder. And the ninth month is the hardest!

I’m currently in my ninth month of pregnancy – fortieth week to be exact. The anticipation of going into labor is ridiculously frustrating. I question if every strange movement is a contraction, but so far none of them have been painful or reoccurring. I tell my baby that today is a great day to be born and exclaim how badly we want to meet her, but so far she is content staying put.

During your last couple of weeks of pregnancy, you start to really feel pregnant – if you haven’t already. I started sleeping less and less, my feet, hands, and face started to swell, my pelvis and hips felt like they were falling apart, I had to pee every half hour, and my emotions started going haywire. I am well aware that I am a mess and don’t need anyone reminding me of that or bugging me about labor or baby stuff, but people are going to do it anyway.

Here are my “favorite” things that often occur during the ninth month of pregnancy:

How Are You Feeling?

Every. Single. Person. is going to ask you how you are feeling… as if it isn’t obvious or if they haven’t been there before. It amazes me that moms will ask moms-to-be how they are doing a week before their due date. C’mon people, use your common sense! Obviously, I am exhausted, achy, tired, emotional, and ready for this baby to be out. Don’t ask me how I’m feeling unless you really want to hear me drone on and on about how much being nine months pregnant sucks, because it sucks.

I’m So Excited To Meet Your Baby!

Lots of friends and family and general acquaintances will exclaim how much they can’t wait to meet your baby. I know they are saying this to be sweet and kind and most are genuine, but I never know how to reply. I typically go with, “Oh I know, I can’t wait either.” But really I’m saying is, “I’m WAYYYY more excited than you, but thanks.”

Walking Your Baby Out

By thirty-eight/thirty-nine weeks, you are generally ready for this baby to come out. You’ve had enough of the feeling like crap, the nursery is done, the bags are packed, and now all you’re doing is waiting… and waiting… and waiting. One thing you will inevitably start to do is walk. And walk a lot. Walking can help induce labor naturally by utilizing gravity and by the swaying of your hips. I went on five walks on Monday alone.

You’ve Gained That Much!?

People will ask you how much weight you’ve gained. In the beginning, I didn’t mind sharing and I still don’t mind necessarily, but the reactions I get are so across the board that I’m starting to want to keep the number to myself. I’m not ashamed, but I am a bit self-conscious about it. Just this past weekend, I was asked how much I’d gained and I said forty pounds and the reaction I got was this person gasping and repeating “forty pounds” in a long, drawn out, breathy reply. I gave them the benefit of the doubt and assumed they didn’t mean anything by it, but seriously… I’m carrying a living human being in my abdomen that has to eat and grow just as I have to eat and grow. If you’re going to ask the question, you have to be able to respectfully handle the answer.

Good Luck With Your Baby Coming On-Time

This one is probably the most irritating. As a pregnant woman who sees a midwife on a regular basis, has successfully completed a pregnancy/birthing class, and has read approximately three pregnancy/birth books, I would appreciate you giving me the courtesy of assuming I know a little something about this process. Knowing when a baby will be born is not an exact science – technically a baby can come (healthy) as early as thirty-eight weeks and as late as forty-two weeks. So as ready as I am for this baby to be born, I have been telling friends and family that we are crossing our fingers she comes any day now and I’ll tell people that I don’t see all the time that hopefully I’ll have good news for them this week. Many have replied very rudely or in a joking manner that I’m silly for thinking my baby will come early or on-time… and look at me as if I’m an unprepared idiot. Thanks, but no thanks for that inconsiderate and unwanted comment. There is nothing wrong with hoping that your baby comes early or on-time.

So if you have any friends that are pregnant, take it from my personal experience, and refrain from asking the annoying questions or reacting in an inconsiderate way on certain topics. Just be encouraging, keep your unsolicited advice to yourself, and/or talk to her about something besides the pregnancy. Trust me, she will thank you!!

Pregnancy

It’s Baby Month!

Hello April… and hello baby!

I cannot believe that what was once the size of a lentil seed is now a 5+ pound child that is expected to be arriving in 24 days! I am literally so full of shock and awe and every other emotion you can think of.

March was a bit of a slow month for me on the blog. Not that I didn’t have a lot to say, but I have been so busy and this pregnancy has been kicking my butt. I know I post all the cute pictures and the updates that make it sound like it’s not so bad – and it isn’t that bad – but pregnancy does come with some set backs. Take last week for example: I got a migraine on Tuesday mid-morning, then another on Wednesday evening, then another on Thursday morning and night, then another on Friday morning, then another on Saturday night. It was the week from pregnancy Hell. Migraines are brutal all in themselves, but they are even more brutal when you can’t take the medicine you normally would and you can’t get into a comfortable position to sleep and you are more emotional than ever. Fun times!

But today is a new month and I am taking strides to get my stress, anxiety, and sleep levels under control. I can’t do much about my hormones, but I can take magnesium, get on a sleep schedule, don’t skip meals, breathe, take breaks from staring at the computer screen, take naps when needed, and generally let stressful things roll off my back. We have approximately three weeks left and I am determined to keep them migraine-free.

On another note, thank you for all of your prayers and positive thoughts – our sweet Hazel turned into the ideal head down position last week! This is a HUGE important step in the birthing process, but especially for the kind of birth we are hoping to have. Now that Hazel is positioned correctly, we can continue to plan our natural birth. We have been doing a lot of research and prep for this kind of birth and we are so excited that Hazel cooperated and we can create a truly amazing experience.

So the hubs and I have a little less than a month to get everything prepared for baby. Honestly, we have accomplished a lot, but still have a few important things to do. This week our goal is to get the car seat bases installed in both of our cars (but at least his!), write out our birth plan, and pack our birth bag. Just whenever we have time, we will be pre-washing baby’s clothes and building the bassinet. Then once all of that is done, it is just a waiting game!

Pregnancy

The Bump Blues

In complete transparency, I want to let you know that this pregnancy has been absolutely wonderful, but not without worry, complications, or insecurity.

For majority of this pregnancy, I have just felt like me with a bit more exhaustion. It wasn’t until the last few weeks that I have been hit – and hit hard! – with all the crazy emotions that typically accompany pregnancy. I can thank my new, strong hormones for these emotions. These hormones have really targeted my insecurities and bringing all of my self-consciousness to the forefront of my mind.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I dreamed about my growing bump and changing body. It all seemed so magical – and on good days, it still does! But one day a couple weeks ago, I woke up and just felt huge. Like really, really heavy. Obviously this is bound to happen when a little thing like me is carrying around a few pounds of baby in their midsection. But as a person who has never really struggled with their weight before, I had never felt anything quite like this, and my mind just didn’t know how to handle it.

I began to struggle with finding clothes that fit me and that I felt good and confident in. This is also just a typical side-effect of pregnancy, but it just felt so much more than that to me. I started seeing myself in pictures and noticing how thick and round my face was becoming and focusing on the breakouts that I can’t seem to cure. I would feel my thighs rub together and stare down at my swollen feet and be disgusted. Then I fell into the compare game – which is dangerous when you aren’t pregnant, but so much more so when you are – and I would look around at the other pregnant women I know and wonder how they still look so good and I just look so thick and huge.

I haven’t had too many cravings, but lately I have just wanted sugar… and lots of it! I have always drank way too much soda, but was never into baked goods or typical sweets, but now I want ice cream, cake, and candy. I had been hating on myself and crying in secret, but finally broke down last week in the car after a snack run. I felt guilty the whole time I was walking around grabbing snacks and sweets that I wanted, but when I finally purchased everything and made it back to the apartment, I fell apart. Just uncontrollably sobbing that I had no self-control in what I ate and it was my fault that I was getting so fat. I cried and cried until I had no more tears. That night I admitted to my husband about how I was feeling. He is so kind and reminded me that I was beautiful, but I needed to believe it for myself.

The next day we went to our midwife appointment and it turned out I hadn’t gained any weight since the last time I was here. She assured me that I looked great and was gaining weight at a healthy rate. After learning this, I felt a little better knowing that this weight is really just baby and being pregnant. I knew I was just being ridiculously hard on myself, but I can’t even explain what it is like to be a small, skinny person your whole life and then to just be big – no matter what the reason.

Over the last week, I have been spending a lot of time in prayer; asking God to remind me that I am beautiful, because he created me and that my pregnancy is perfect, because it was designed by him. I have also been reminding myself that every woman, pregnancy, and baby is different, so I can’t expect all pregnant women to look the same. My mindset has really changed and although I still feel uncomfortable and self-conscious in most of the clothes I have to wear, I have started to see the beauty in my body again and focusing more on all the awesome baby movement I feel and what the future holds for me.

Pregnancy

Becoming a “Baby” Mama

Being pregnant, one of my biggest fears is that some judgmental person somewhere is going to assume I am a teenager. I have frequent thoughts of older women staring or whispering as I pass them in the grocery store and I have worried that these hypothetical people will make a comment toward me about my age or ability to care for a child.

I remember stories my mom told me of being at the park with my brother and I when someone would walk by and shake their head muttering “babies having babies.” Stories like those – not your fault mom! – have haunted me, because I know I look young, really young. I have struggled with confidence in my adulthood because of my baby face making me feel inferior to those around me and I want to avoid feeling that way in my motherhood.

I know that I can’t stop people from doing or saying what they will about seeing a young girl with a baby bump (or baby), but I can stop myself from overreacting or putting any thought into it. If something of this nature does happen, I should just ignore it or smile and say nothing, but that is so much easier said than done. Part of me wants to stand up for myself and shout from the rooftops that I am an extremely capable woman in her mid-twenties while the other part of me wants to get in their face and tell them to mind their own business, but I know neither of those fantasies would do any good.

Although I do not have a problem with teenage girls who find themselves pregnant and choose to keep their baby, I don’t want to be mistaken for one. I am proud of the choices I have made in order to create this life that I am bringing my daughter into. I am proud to be a college graduate, full-time employed, married woman. I am proud to be becoming a mother. And no one – and I mean no one – is going to take that away from me!

Any of you mom’s out there ever run into a situation where you were judged for just being young? How did you react?