One of the most common questions I get is baby product recommendations! There are SO MANY out there, so I'm always happy to share the products that have worked for our family in hopes of making things easier on you! The registry process can be a little bit overwhelming -- it's definitely not like a wedding registry where you know what you need...haha! Lets get to it:
I have a list of products that were helpful for the hospital & the first couple of weeks with a newborn here.
1. The Hatch sound machine & nightlight is one of the first products I recommend to new moms. It's so easy to use & can be controlled by an app on your phone! We use this in Hayes' nursery as a sound machine mostly, but the nightlight is nice for late-night nursing sessions.
2. The Love to Dream swaddle is a great one! Its a zipper swaddle and allows your baby to keep their hands near their face. Hayes did not like having his arms by his side when he slept, so this was great! They also make a transitional swaddle where the arms zip off for when your baby transitions into a sleep sack. Hayes sleeps in this now.
3. One of our favorite velcro swaddles is the Swaddle Me swaddle.
4. Newton Baby Crib Mattress. I CANNOT recommend this item enough. It's pricey, but worth the peace of mind. This mattress is completely breathable in case your little one flips over at night time. 100% worth it and we will buy this again for future babies.
5. Summer Infant Baby Monitor - we love this monitor! I like that this one can grow with your family - you are able to add up to 4 cameras! Doesn't require wifi which we liked in case we had a babysitter. We wanted to be able to just hand the babysitter the monitor rather than have them download an app.
6. Hayes gets a pacifier when he sleeps, and we use the bibs pacifiers. They're great and super cute!
7. Snuggle Me Organic - great for docking the baby when they're itty bitty knowing they can't roll over in it!
8. The magic sleepsuit - This was a wonderful thing to use when Hayes was transitioning out of the swaddle but wasn't quite ready for the sleep sack yet. It keeps them from rolling over & subdues their startle reflex.
1. Haaka. I will forever and always recommend this to new moms. It's a silicone breast "pump" that suctions to your breast while you nurse on the other. It catches let down so that you can build up a freezer stash of milk without having to actually use your manual or electric pump. Amazing. I used this so frequently and we filled up nearly 20 bags of milk with the Haaka!
2. Kiinde breast milk bags. These are great & easy to store. They also sell a warming system & an attachment to turn the bag into a bottle which we have as well!
3. Boppy Nursing Pillow. I used this all the time when he was itty bitty!
4. Boon feeding tool is great now that we are starting to introduce solids. It allows your little one to taste and suck on the food if it is a choking hazard!
5. EzPz mini mat.
6. EzPz mat for feeding solids.
7. Munchkin white hot safety spoons. They get white when the food is too hot!
8. Boon grass for drying bottles.
9. Boon silicone bottles.
1. Maxi Cosi stroller & car seat combo.
2. Boba wrap for babywearing.
3. Car seat mirror - we got one for each of our cars! It allows you to see your baby's face in your rear view!
4. Pacifier clips!
5. A good diaper bag! This Freshly Picked one is great.
6. In case your diaper bag doesn't come with one, a portable changing pad for those yucky out-and-about diaper changes.
1. The Lovevery Play mat. It looks great in your house & is designed to be developmentally stimulating for your child at every age.
2. Teething toys.
3. A lovey!
1. The Skiphop bath seat.
2. Some good soft washcloths.
3. Dr. Bronner's Baby Soap.
4. The Skip Hop bath accessories!
1. We love the Pehr and Mebie baby swaddles. They are so soft and adorable!
2. Gerber baby makes decently priced footed onesie zip pajamas. Cannot reco
mmend zip pajamas enough. No one wants to button pajamas in the middle of the night!
3. Clothes wise, we love Kate Quinn , H&M, Old Navy, Zara, and Parade Organics.
Shop Hayes's nursery here.
What a wild ride. My due date was 12/29/2019, and Hayes was born 5 days late on 1/3/2020. Those days in between were grueling and emotionally challenging, but the second they laid him on my chest everything was worth it.
I had been getting my cervix checked since 37 weeks, and seemed to be progressing well each time I went back to my midwives. At 39 weeks, I was 3 cm dilated (cervical opening), fully effaced (cervical thinness), and Hayes was at a 0 station (how low he is in my pelvis). They told me it was likely he'd come before my due date and we were so excited!!
But then we waited...and waited...and waited. Until 5 days AFTER my due date, he made his quick arrival!
On Friday, January 3, we were bored from sitting at home all day, so Harrison suggested that we go out for pizza and ice cream to get our minds off of the waiting game. Around 5:00, we went to Pizza Snob here in Fort Worth, each ate an entire pizza, then went to Melt and I got my favorite vegan chocolate ice cream cone. Some friends texted us on the way home & we made plans for them to come over around 7:00. We got home from ice cream around 6:30, and all of a sudden I had some intense period-like cramps. I had been cramping for the past week at this point, so I convinced myself this was just more pre-labor pains, and tried to fight through them. A couple more cramps later, I realized these were getting really painful.
I grabbed the exercise ball and tried to bounce and breathe through them, but the pain was escalating so quickly that I couldn't help but make noise through the cramps. Harrison was changing the laundry, and ran in when he heard me moaning from pain. We started the contraction timer app I had downloaded on my phone. They were about 2-3 minutes apart and lasting for a minute to a minute and a half. I knew that this meant it was labor.
We had always been told to follow the 4-1-1 rule for going into the hospital. This meant contractions that were 4 minutes apart, lasting for at least a minute, for at least an hour straight. Even though it had only been 30 minutes, we decided to call the midwives and they gave us the green light to come in. We quickly texted our friends not to come over, and were out of the house by 7:15 pm.
The drive to the hospital was HORRIBLE. Even though we live 10 minutes from the hospital, it felt like we were in the car forever. My contractions were getting stronger and I wasn't able to get into different positions to get comfortable.
Finally we got to the hospital after pulling up to the wrong entrance and made our way up to the Labor & Delivery floor. They put me in a room and asked me some questions while we waited for the midwife to come in and check on me. I was barely able to stand at this point and was answering the nurse's questions from all fours on the ground while Harrison ran to grab the things out of the car. The midwife came in and checked my cervix, and I was already dilated to 6 cm. She gave me a gown to change into and had me sit on the bed for 15 minutes while they got a solid reading of Hayes's heartbeat with the doppler on my belly. It was hard to sit still through contractions, but after it was over I was able to get up and move around into positions that were more comfortable.
Over the next 45 minutes or so, Harrison and I labored in the delivery room together. I ended up throwing up my pizza during contractions, but he would apply pressure to my lower back and rub my shoulders. I knew I wanted only Harrison in the room during labor, because of how calming his presence was. He would say things like "You've got this." "Your body was designed to do this." "You're one contraction closer to meeting him." and I swear he and the Holy Spirit were the only thing that got me through it.
Birthing classes came in handy during labor! It helped Harrison feel confident in the comfort measures he would take to help me, it helped me feel confident despite the pain because I was able to remind myself of the anatomy of what was going on, I knew what positions to try to get comfortable, and I felt prepared - like I had studied really really well for a test or something.
Around 8:45, the midwife came in and checked me again, and I was already dilated to 8 cm. Aka, the transition phase of labor. I knew things from here until I hit 10 cm were going to be rough, but I also knew how close I was to meeting Hayes. The midwife offered getting in the birthing tub to help ease the pain, and I obliged! As soon as I got in the warm water, the pain was significantly lowered. Harrison would drizzle warm water over my lower back during each contraction. We had worship music playing from a bluetooth speaker we brought, and I'd ask him to pray over me during contractions to help get me through them. I just kept having to reminding myself "This pain will not last forever," "He is almost here," "Your body was designed to do this," "You are strong." I got into different positions in the tub. I labored a lot on all fours, on my knees with my arms hanging over the tub, and in a semi-runner's lunge to allow gravity to help work Hayes down lower into my pelvis since my water still hadn't broken.
Around 10:00, the midwife came in to check me again and I was dilated to 9.5 cm. I knew what this meant. Time to push. She told me that if I felt the urge to push, that I could. Contractions became strong, and there was so much pressure down there, pushing felt good. As I began to push in the tub, the midwife grabbed the waterproof fetal doppler to listen to Hayes's heartrate. It was low. Really low. She immediately had me get out of the tub and walk back to the labor bed. They handed me an oxygen mask and all of the NICU nurses came in the room. Things got scary really quickly.
She had me lay on my left side with my right knee hiked up to my shoulder. I just kept looking at Harrison through my oxygen mask, terrified, as he reminded me to breathe. The midwife told me that Hayes was in distress and needed to get out quickly. She told me, "Push with all of your might, don't make any noise, just push." I pushed 4 times and then I heard her exclaim "We've got a head!" One more big push and his body was out and she laid him on my chest. What. a. moment. I just kept saying, "Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god." as I held him. He was born at 10:36 pm! The nurse clamped the cord, Harrison cut the umbilical cord, I gave him a kiss, and they whisked him away to the warmer to make sure his heart rate was regular.
Next, I birthed the placenta. With a push or two, and the help of the midwife tugging on the umbilical cord, the placenta slid right out. Next, the midwife and the nurse began pushing on my abdomen to get out the excess blood. This was pretty painful since my abdomen was so sore from pushing and contractions. It felt kind of like they were pushing on a bruise and I could feel the blood gushing out of me. Not the best.
I think one of the things I was most terrified for, pre-birth, knowing I was going to go naturally, was tearing. I hear this fear circulate throughout so many women, because the thought of tearing something *down there* seems absolutely awful. Truth is I had a second degree tear (skin and a little bit of muscle) and had no idea whatsoever. Seriously! After everything was out of me I asked the midwife, "Did I tear?" because I had no idea. There is so much pressure happening down there while pushing, you can't feel a thing. The nurse simply sprayed me with lidocaine, injected lidocaine after the spray set in, and then gave me stitches. Another thing I couldn't feel!
We got to sit and stare and do some skin-to-skin with Hayes in the Labor and Delivery room for an hour or so until they wheeled us up to the postpartum floor. They got us settled in and we met the Postpartum nurse. She suggested that I try to go pee since I was still bleeding pretty heavily. I had lost over a liter of blood during delivery, which is a lot for a vaginal birth. The nurse and Harrison helped me walk over to the bathroom. When I sat down I got super lightheaded, my ears got really hot, and I had a hard time seeing straight. I stood up, took a step, looked at Harrison, and crumbled to the ground as Harrison caught me. Two nurses ran in and tried to keep me awake, but I was so lightheaded. They eventually got me back over to the bed and kept me on fluids overnight.
We stared at Hayes for so long, kept looking at each other in awe of what had just happened, and were amazed at the providence of God. We had visitors all day, got to bask in the baby snuggles, and went home two days later. What an incredible experience!
As many of you guys know, our little boy, Hayes, was born on January 3, 2020! There were so many things I tried to prepare for when bringing Hayes home, but now being a week into recovery, I've learned what was helpful for me and wanted to share! To read my birth story, click here!
Some quick facts to give you some context:
- I gave birth unmedicated after a quick 4 hour labor at the hospital.
- I used a midwife group here in Fort Worth instead of an OBGYN.
- I labored in the birthing tub but ended up giving birth on the hospital bed.
- I had a 2nd degree tear (skin and a little bit of muscle).
So about an hour and a half after giving birth, I was wheeled to the postpartum floor of the hospital to begin what I knew was supposed to be another long process. I remember being excited holding our new baby, but also scared for the road ahead. I had lots of fears: "will my belly ever look the same?" "what am I going to feel like when I wake up tomorrow?" "will I ever be able to do a squat again?" etc. etc.
The first couple of hours in the postpartum floor, a lot of my fears were gone. The nurses were so caring and they explained so much to us. I had questions that felt "silly" like "How long is a normal amount of time to breastfeed? 10 minutes? 30 minutes? How often should I do it?" "Am I supposed to be bleeding this much?" "How long will I need to wear this adult diaper?"
Here's my list of things that we brought to the hospital that were useful for birth and postpartum:
- A hospital gown to change into. When I woke up the next morning in the same hospital gown I labored in, it felt soooo good to change into my own clothes. I brought this one from Target, since it was easy to unbutton and breastfeed and didn't require pants, it was easy & comfortable!
- Pillows from home. A good night's sleep was hard with hospital pillows.
-Nightlight and sound machine. The hospital room gets dark at night while we were sleeping, but leaving a light on made it hard to sleep, so we brought our Hatch Baby Sound Machine. It was great for playing white noise to help Hayes sleep, but also for being able to see just enough to nurse or change a diaper in the middle of the night.
- Nursing bras. Usually I would just go braless, but it was nice to have some nursing bras to wear under my nightgown for when visitors showed up! I got these from Target.
- A going home outfit for baby.
- Baby mittens or socks. The mittens we brought for Hayes to wear were WAY too big for his tiny hands, so we stuck socks on his hands to keep him from scratching his face and it worked great!
- Toiletries for you and your husband.
- More snacks. We brought some granola bars & trail mix, but we ended up getting way hungrier than we expected (especially when the hospital food was YUCK).
- Nursing pillow. I used the Boppy.
Unnecessary things we brought that I won't bring next time:
- So many changes of clothes. Moving was difficult since I was sore and tired, so changing clothes wasn't something I did as often as I thought I would. I think two pajama night gowns or some joggers with a button down shirt would suffice!
- Underwear. The hospital gives you mesh undies and a giant pad/diaper to wear since you will bleed for a little while. There was no need for me to bring my own panties...plus they probably wouldn't have fit the giant pad anyways LOL
- They have hats & swaddles, so we didn't need to bring our own.
- They have ice packs, mesh undies, witch hazel, and dermoplast (numbing) spray, so we didn't need to bring those (BUT definitely needed these once I got home).
Things that were useful for recovery once we got home from the hospital:
- Ice packs. I was sore down there for a couple of days, and ice packs were life-changing! Easy to use and no prep beforehand. These Frida Mom ones are great - I ordered a bunch on Amazon!
- Adult diapers. Yep. I just bought some random ones from Kroger and they worked great. The mesh undies the hospital gave me were fine for a short period of time, but always felt like they were falling down. The adult overnight diapers stayed up easier and were easier for me to throw away!
- Dermoplast Spray. They gave me this to use in the hospital and it was so nice! It's kind of like numbing spray for pain and itchiness. I didn't experience itchiness, but it was nice to numb some of the soreness down there with the spray.
- Peri bottle. The hospital gives you one of these since you can't wipe if you end up getting stitches. I filled mine with cold water and would squeeze it to clean myself off after peeing. The water feels so good. I'd recommend getting this peri bottle so that you don't have to stick your hand all the way in the toilet to squirt the water on you! You can totally just take the free one the hospital will have, though.
- Witch hazel. The hospital had cold witch hazel pads that felt good to lay inside my diaper. You can also buy witch hazel foam - I'd recommend this!
- Nipple soothies. Breastfeeding takes a little while to get used to. Nipples can get chapped and feel sore since you're feeding every 2-3 hours. These nipple soothies were cold and felt good to put inside my nursing bra the first couple of days!
- Nipple cream. The hospital gave me this lanolin nipple cream to help with chapped nipples. I've also been using this one that I'll rub on my nipples after feeding to help soothe them!
- Stool softener. I don't think you need to buy this, but just wanted to say they'll likely give you one of these in the hospital (if they don't, ask for it!). The first postpartum poop can be scary (even though it's totally not and you'll feel so much better after), and the stool softener was helpful.
- Snacks for home. We had a lot of people bringing us meals, which was wonderful, but I'd recommend stocking up on some quick snacks for late night breastfeeding! Disposable plates, forks, bowls, and spoons was also helpful to cut back on dishes!
Things that were useful for the first week with a newborn:
- Haakaa. A magical invention. So, once your milk comes in 2-3 days after birth, the breast that you are not nursing on can have what is called "letdown" where it starts producing (& dripping!!) milk. There's no reason you should waste that liquid gold or ruin a shirt over it. The Haakaa is a suction-cup that you put on the breast you are not nursing on, and it catches the let down. For me personally, I get around 1-2 ounces per feed from the opposite breast, so I'm saving and freezing it for later!
- Snuggle Me Organic. This is nice if you need to be hands-free for a little bit. Don't get me wrong, I'd trade anything for baby cuddles, but it's nice to set Hayes in this while I eat my breakfast or when it takes me a second to stand up. He loves it!
- Newborn footed onesies. We bought a ton of 0-3 sized onesies and a lot of newborn pants-less onesies that go with a pair of pants. If I were to go back, I'd buy more zipper footed onesies that have coverings over the hands for Hayes to lounge and sleep in throughout the day. This has been my favorite brand!
- a LOT of nursing bras (I have 6). We ended up having to make a target run to grab more since I only had 3. Since the boobs kinda leak milk whenever they want, it was nice to have at least 5 nursing bras to switch back and forth from. I like these and these.
- Sprout baby app. We discovered pretty quickly that we needed some help remembering things like "when did he last poop?" "when was the last time I fed him?" "ok which breast was that?" etc. My coworker recommended the Sprout Baby app. We ended up purchasing the $8 one instead of the free one so that my husband can add things from his phone too. There is a diaper section, nursing section, sleeping section, it has helpful development tips, you can mark memories & milestones, etc. We love it! It has been so helpful with keeping track of things throughout our day/night!
- Zip up swaddles. Don't get me wrong, I love all the adorable swaddles that are out there! We have a TON that we registered for. However, Hayes loves sleeping with his arms right next to his face, and keeps seeming to find a way to weasel them up there when we swaddle him in a muslin cloth swaddle. This swaddle was recommended to me by my sister (a postpartum nurse!) and has been so helpful. He still is nice and tight, but gets to keep his hands up by his face like he likes. Highly recommend.
There's so many changes that happen within the third trimester alone. All of a sudden I felt REALLY pregnant. Things got REALLY real. Time started to move REALLY quickly. Here's a couple of things that I experienced in the third trimester -
This became a definite thing. I felt like I was physically unable of walking normally because of all the weight sitting in my pelvis. I had always seen pregnant women waddling around and never understood how it could be comfortable, but it feels so much better on your pelvis to waddle back and forth than to try and walk upright. Strange, but real.
Round Ligament Pain.
Wow. This became a big thing. The round ligaments are the tiny strings that hold your belly up. They start out the thickness of dental floss and end up being as thick as your pinkie towards the end of pregnancy since they're holding up so much weight. When they are strained they make your belly feel tight, sharp pains. The chiropractor helped so much with this - she would massage my belly when I went in for adjustments & made room for baby. If you experience round ligament pain, I highly recommend a belly band to support your belly, seeing a chiropractor regularly, and rebozo stretches - these helped me a ton!
Braxton Hicks contractions.
AKA not actual contractions, but "practice contractions" your uterus does throughout pregnancy. They become more noticeable in the third trimester - mostly because your belly is bigger. They felt like a tightening of my skin on my stomach, but weren't painful.
Pelvic bone pain.
As the baby gets bigger, they put more and more pressure on your bones. That hormone, Relaxin, is flowing through your body as baby grows to make room, and it loosens your bones. My pelvic bone felt like it was crumbling under all of the pressure. Seeing a chiropractor weekly helped a ton with this as well - she would adjust my pelvic bone and spine when I saw her which helped ease some pain. Additionally, Spinning Babies has some good stretches we did nightly that Harrison and I found helpful, and was a fun way to include him!
I had never struggled with sleeping until I hit the third trimester of pregnancy. Going to sleep wasn't an issue, it was staying asleep that was hard. I found myself waking up in the middle of the night, wide awake in bed. I found that reading or laying in bed was helpful for me.
Group B Strep Test.
This is something that my provider will had me do around 36 weeks or so. They basically test you for a susceptibility to infection during labor. It can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, but most providers will recommend that if you test positive for GBS, that you go through a couple rounds of antibiotics once your water breaks to make sure you and baby are safe during labor. The test itself is a little odd, they have you stick a q-tip inside your vagina and then inside your rectum - so be prepared to get familiar with yourself down there LOL.
The first time my midwives checked my dilation was at 38 weeks pregnant. They use their fingers to measure how dilated (opened up) and effaced (thinned out) your cervix is. Sometimes they'll check the station of the baby too (how low they are in your pelvis). It's definitely uncomfortable, but not the worst thing and is super fast - it took her about 10 or 15 seconds total, and was the first time I had anything stuck up *there* all of pregnancy. I found it exciting to hear about the progress I was making! Here's how mine went: 37 weeks - 1 cm dilated & 60% effaced; 38 weeks - 2 cm dilated & 80% effaced, baby was at a -1 station; 39 weeks - 3 cm dilated, 90% effaced, baby was at a 0 station.
Sweeping the Membranes.
This was something my provider did at 39 weeks pregnant, and then again at my 40 week appointment since I was past my due date. Not all providers tell you before they do this - so make sure you do your research & ask your provider if this is a routine thing for them or not! My midwives only do this if you ask for it. Ouch - this was uncomfortable. Not horrible, but definitely uncomfy. Basically, while they check your cervix, they hook their fingers in between your cervix and the amniotic sac and separate the two, rubbing their fingers on the inside of your uterus. This releases prostaglandins, which have hormones in them that can help jump start labor. They say if it is a successful sweep, you could go into labor within 24-48 hours. In total, it took between 30-45 seconds, but definitely left me feeling crampy and sore afterwards.
Natural things we tried for induction. We're gettin real here, yall.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea - prepares uterus
60-80g of dates per day - softens cervix
Evening Primrose Oil (*cough* inserted...down there *cough*) - softens cervix
Sex - releases oxytocin (which cause contractions & semen has prostaglandins that soften cervix)
The Miles Circuit
Bouncing on an exercise ball
Going on walks & "curb walking"
Clary Sage oil
Pedicures & massaging pressure points
The third trimester is legit, yall. Things start getting real, discomforts are at an all time high, and the anticipation for your little one is ROUGH. Going past my due date was emotionally exhausting and I was not prepared for the waiting game the last couple of weeks. Most first time moms go past their due date, so prepare a date night with the hubs, try to relax, schedule a massage, pack your bag and pray for patience! They will come. You are almost there!!!
The second trimester (weeks 14 - 27) is such a milestone to get to! We finally shared the news about baby Hayes, a bump starts (for real) forming, maternity jeans make their way into your closet, and you can find out the gender of your little bub. Here are some highs and lows from trimester two:
SYMPTOMS: a little more nausea, headaches, backaches & a couple nosebleeds.
Who knew nosebleeds were a part of pregnancy??? Apparently pregnancy can make the vessels in your nose expand & your increased blood supply puts more pressure on the vessels, causing them to rupture more easily. I discovered this while puking in a Buccees bathroom during week 17...
Nausea slowed down in the second trimester for me but definitely didn't "just stop" like most people said it would. It slowed down to once or twice per week, then eventually tapered off around week 19 for me -- praise God.
My back began KILLING me. Especially my lower back. The sciatic nerve pain was tough & made it hard to stand up & sit down or walk long distances. It feels like a shooting pain in your lower back/top of your butt. I scheduled an appointment with Inner Light Chiropractic here in Fort Worth. They specialize in prenatal care & have been tremendous in providing stretches & adjusting me once per week. It's definitely not cheap, but it's worth it to make more room for baby Hayes in there.
I continued to take 400mg of magnesium daily to help with the headaches and avoid needing to take Tylenol.
EXCITING THINGS IN TRIMESTER TWO:
GENDER- most providers will allow you to find out the gender between 18-20 weeks. This changed EVERYTHING for us. We went from calling him "it" or "baby" to "he" and "him". For us, it made it all feel way more real. We decided to find out just the two of us. So we went to the anatomy scan at 18 weeks, had the ultrasound tech write down the gender on a piece of paper & put it in an envelope. We were so giddy! We picked out a lion & a bunny stuffed animal at Anthropologie & had the cashier wrap one of them according to what the envelope said. Then we got in the car & opened it as quickly as possible. It was so fun!!!! I cried, duh. PLUS the anatomy scan is SO COOL. It's the first time we got to see little Hayes since the 10 week appointment, where he just looked like a little jelly bean. This time around, he had arms, legs, a 4 chamber heart, we could see his brain and his fingers and watch him wiggle and move on the screen. So cool.
FEELING THEM MOVE - Yall. There is no other feeling like literally feeling a person move inside of you. Around week 17-18 I felt some smalllllllll flutters in my belly that felt different than normal gas bubbles or digestion. Usually this would happen if I was sitting still or after I'd drank something cold or sugary. As the trimester progressed, flutters turned into full on kicks & being able to see my stomach move. It's something I'll miss once pregnancy is over for sure.
A BUMP - like a for real bump. The first half of trimester two I felt like I was in that "is she pregnant or just a little chubby" category, but the second half...man oh man. The bump made its DEBUT around 20 weeks, where it felt like it just popped out overnight.
WORKING OUT - My energy has changed dramatically from Trimester 1 to Trimester 2! I feel less tired, more like I have a grip on my symptoms, and have actually enjoyed working out with my little bump. I'm still avoiding twisting/ab exercises and limiting jumping movements. Doing lots of steady cardio like the row machine & the stationary bike paired with upper body dumbbell workouts & squats. Don't forget those keagels ladies! You can find some workouts & stretches on my "pregnancy" highlight on my instagram!
THE NOT-SO-FUN PARTS:
Shortness of breath - literally am out of breath just talking.
Clothes not fitting like they used to - getting dressed is becoming a little more tricky. Highly recommend investing in a pair or two of good maternity jeans (especially if you'll be pregnant in the colder months). I bought one pair & borrowed two others from friends. This changed everything for me - it made getting dressed easier, I was more comfortable, and made me feel like a normal person. Also - there's no right or wrong time to start wearing these. If you're pants are getting tight -- do not delay buying a pair if you don't feel "pregnant enough yet". Just buy the dang pants. For other clothes, I stuck to basics like big sweaters or longer loose shirts so that I wouldn't have to go buy new clothes. But if you're able to buy a new wardrobe, GO FOR IT! Comfort is KEY.
Glucose test - this was NOT FUN for me. Around week 25, most providers have you come in and drink a suuuuuper sugary drink to test you for gestational diabetes. I chose the lemon lime flavor over orange, which basically just tastes like the syrup they put in the soda machine. Not cool. I had to drink the whole thing in under 3 minutes, wait an hour, then go get my blood drawn. The sugar made my heart race & made me sweaty - not fun at allllllllll.
Sleeping - Insomnia kicked in during the second trimester. I was waking up 2 times during the night to pee, then would have the hardest time falling back asleep. I would lay awake for 45 min to an hour after each bathroom break. I also began sleeping on my side - which is difficult for this stomach & back sleeper, but apparently it is the safest way to sleep while pregnant. (Sleeping on your back with a heavy baby in your belly can put too much pressure on your lungs, back, & vena cava, which carries most of the blood to the baby) I found that having a pillow in between my knees & one to tuck under my growing bump (so that it wouldn't hang) was the most comfortable. (I've heard they also sell pillow wedges on amazon that fit under your bump, too!)
PRODUCTS I'M LOVING:
This trilastin stretch mark cream. I've used a jar per trimester, and it has done it's job so far! I smother it on my belly and my boobs twice per day. I've also started using Bio Oil (a cheaper option) to avoid stretch marks & make my tummy less itchy as my skin thins out & stretches. No stretch marks yet, but I'm learning & trying to hold that loosely as I know most women get them - I think it's mostly genetics anyways.
Magnesium tablets - still taking 400 mg per day to avoid headaches, nausea, & leg cramps.
I registered on Amazon, because I liked the idea of having a bunch of brand options in one spot (& the free two day shipping, duh). But Babylist would be another good option!
I've been tracking the growth of our babe by using the Bump app! It gives you a weekly update on the baby's size, symptoms you'll experience, science, & lets you look at the baby in 3D!
Instagram accounts I'm loving - @expectingandempowered is great for Pregnancy & Postpartum workout guides, healing strategies, & general info from a PT. @legendairymilk - lots of good info on breastfeeding (warning: lots of boob pics!).
I'm 31 weeks pregnant now!! It's crazy how much the time flies, but at the same time I feel like I've been pregnant forever. We still have a little while to go, but it's feeling more and more real as we get closer! Let me know if there's anything you have questions about or what you experienced!
Oh dear, how the first trimester is full of ups and downs.
The first trimester is DIFFICULT. You're hiding the most massive secret ever, trying to still function like a normal human, but experiencing symptoms at an all time high (at least this is how it was for me). Clothes were starting to fit a little snug, we had wedding after wedding after wedding & I had to avoid the bar at all of them, blaming it on being the designated driver for the night. So if you're in the thick of it, I FEEL YOU.
I felt so much peace and comfort once our secret was out! We decided to wait until the end of the first trimester (12-13ish weeks) to tell the world about the little human growing inside of me. My midwife gave me some good advice for when we were deciding when we should tell people. She said "I'd recommend only telling the people that you'd feel comfortable grieving with if something were to happen." This is exactly what we chose to do. We told immediate family, close friends, my boss, and our City Group at church. We knew we needed to be surrounded by an army of people praying for us, but weren't ready to share such an intimate thing with the world quite yet.
Something that I wasn't prepared for during the first trimester: fear.
Once we found out that we were pregnant at 6 weeks, Google quickly became my worst enemy. I would spend my free time searching things like "how to avoid a miscarriage" "I have some cramps, what does this mean" "what can I eat while pregnant" and so many other things. I spent so much of my time those first couple of weeks worrying to the point of tears that we would lose the baby. We had to grow in the practice of gratitude towards God, rather than fear-filled pleading that He would give us a healthy baby. Our prayer quickly became "Thank you for giving us six weeks as parents. Lord, would you do it again tomorrow?" There truly is nothing more humbling than knowing you have no control over the tiny life growing inside of you.
We went through ups and downs of emotions throughout those first 12 weeks. Mostly bouncing back and forth between fear and ultimate joy and gratitude. We felt undeserving of a gift like this. We were overwhelmed with joy and I was (almost weekly) brought to tears when we would think about how much growth & good change was coming to our family. My advice to you: embrace the hormones. Cry if you need to. It's a big deal and it's okay to feel big feelings.
Things I craved: carbs, carbs, and more carbs.
I LIVED off of crackers, bread, and bagels. If you've been following me for a little while, you know I've touched on how I have struggled (& still do sometimes) with disordered eating. I used to be an avid calorie counter & avoider of foods that didn't offer protein or healthy fats, aka: carbs. So this was difficult for me in the first trimester. I was constantly hungry, the wrong smell could trigger nausea in an INSTANT, and I felt like I was eating a lot of "empty" foods. I remember talking about this with my midwife, and she assured me, "Eat what you can keep down. Don't overthink it. If all you can keep down is a cheeseburger, don't beat yourself up about it." The most simple advice I had received, but it changed a lot for me. Your body is RAGING with hormones - HCG, relaxin, estrogen, all of the things. Things are changing, and instead of trying to fight it, I recommend embracing it. The first trimester doesn't last forever!!
Things I couldn't stand: Meat, fish, or reheated vegetables.
Absolutely not. The break room at work was a no-go for me. Way too many smells. I will stick with my plain white rice and peanut butter toast, thank you.
Symptoms I had: Nausea, nausea, and more nausea. With a side of headaches & exhaustion.
I can vividly remember sitting in my office, gagging over my trash can, trying not to make too much noise because my coworkers didn't know I was pregnant yet. I told my boss, which was a great choice for the mornings where I came in late. My office had a bathroom with multiple stalls in it, so vomiting at work was quite the challenge. I discovered a private bathroom on a different floor and it quickly became my second home during my 8-hour stretch at work. Some women never experience nausea - and I envy you. I described the feeling to someone as "consistently feeling car sick all day long, but you can't get out of the car." No fun. So many people told me it would calm down in the second trimester, but truth is, it didn't for me -- our bodies are all SO DIFFERENT! Some foods that weren't as fun coming back out as they were going down: apples, nuts, eggs, yogurt, and enchiladas. Yikes.
Headaches: bad ones. I had never experienced migraines before pregnancy, and quite honestly wasn't incredibly empathetic to those who did. But during pregnancy, my goodness, now I know.
Exhaustion: I'm talking falling asleep at my desk at work, exhausted. I could take a 3 hour nap and still sleep through the night for 10 hours. I'm not typically the kind of person that needs endless hours of sleep to feel rested, I'm typically a 7-8 hours per night kind of girl, but during the first trimester, I was POOPED. The Lord taught me a lot about rest & the necessity of it. He taught me that it doesn't make me weak to need a nap (the Enneagram 3 in me cringed at this), that resting is part of being a human, and that growing a person is difficult. It's a lot of work, and work takes rest. And that's okay.
How I managed: Vitamins & taking it slow.
For the nausea - I took B6 constantly. I started by taking half a pill in the morning and half in the evening, but my midwife quickly ramped that up when I had only gained a pound the entire first trimester due to the excessive vomiting. I started taking one whole pill three times per day (morning, lunch, & night) which helped a ton. I also ate constantly. If I ate a meal that was too large (i.e. enchiladas....) I would throw them up or gag a ton. Your stomach doesn't have as much room to stretch as it did before and can make you nauseous if you eat too little or eat too much. I found that eating multiple small meals throughout the day was best for me. Protein was also a game changer. High protein foods like nuts, bars, and peanut butter kept me fuller longer & helped me avoid the nausea-induced hunger.
For the headaches - I took 400 mg of magnesium daily before I went to bed. Magnesium works well for headaches, leg cramps, and constipation. It is best absorbed through the skin, so my midwives recommended epsom salt baths pretty frequently, too!
For working out - I took things slow and had to learn how to listen to my body. I immediately cut out ab exercises & twisting movements completely to avoid diastasis recti (where your abs can separate as your stomach grows). I didn't lift much weight over my head, and scaled movements that involved a lot of jumping or running (mainly because it amped up the nausea for me). I didn't do workouts that were so intense that I wasn't able to hold a conversation while doing it - my midwives mentioned not letting your heart rate get over 150 bpm so that your body can still effectively deliver oxygen to the baby. Basically, listen to your body & don't overthink it.
For prenatals - the Fort Worth Pregnancy Center gives out 6 months of prenatal vitamins for free, so I've been taking those and making sure that I get adequate amounts of iron in my diet. I've always had low blood pressure, but during pregnancy it has been even lower for me since now my body is pumping extra blood and delivering so much of it to the baby.
The first trimester was a whirlwind for me. I hope this helped if you are experiencing similar symptoms or feelings or are just curious about what the first trimester is like! Pregnancy is a crazy cool thing, and know that the feelings you're feeling are likely normal. Feel free to reach out & ask questions!
I realized I had never done a recap of the crazy story of how we found out we were expecting - probably because the entire thing was a whirlwind, but so so incredible.
How we found out:
We had been married for about 11 months when we found out we were pregnant. We were shocked! Although we wanted kids within the next year or so and had always talked about having kids soon after we got married, we were not *entirely* planning to get pregnant within the first year of marriage. I had been on birth control & due to a change of jobs for me and subsequently a change of insurance, we had a two week gap where I wan't on the pill while I was getting my new insurance activated. Like my mom said, "it only takes one time!"
I had been feeling nauseous for a week or two in the beginning of May in 2019. I would eat something and go stand over the toilet feeling like I was going to gag, but wasn't sure what was going on. I was so tired and felt like I was fluffier than normal (but kept blaming it on our rather consistent pizza date nights LOL). I had started a new birth control with my new insurance, and googled symptoms...turns out they're the exact same symptoms as pregnancy. Something felt...off, but wasn't sure how to describe it to Harrison. We had gone to Austin for a wedding & I had a glass of wine and immediately felt like I was going to throw up, and I just had a feeling something was different. We went home & I texted my mom and asked her what the symptoms I was having could mean. She plainly responded, "have you taken a pregnancy test?" That Monday night on the way home from work, Harrison stopped and got a pregnancy test (4 to be exact). Harrison waited outside the bathroom while I peed on the stick, we waited, and it was...negative. I remember looking at him trying to hold back tears -- I hadn't realized how badly I wanted a baby until that moment. We sat on the couch and talked and prayed for our future family; I went to bed feeling exhausted and confused. I knew something in my body felt different.
The next morning, we woke up and went to our usual 5:00 am CrossFit class. I was WINDED during the warm up. Like having a hard time doing lunges, winded. Something was not right! We drove back home after the workout and I casually peed on the unused stick while Harrison was getting ready for work. I remember my mom saying that your pee is more "concentrated" in the mornings -- and it sure was. The stick gave me a positive almost instantly. I just held it up to Harrison and said "it's positive." and he said "no it was negative." "ya but this one is positive." I was confused and also couldn't believe it. I called my mom instantly and asked her "what does a positive pregnancy test mean?" "sweetheart, you're pregnant," she responded. Harrison and I just stared at each other in disbelief.
I was so overwhelmed and confused that I went to work and called my midwives on the way to work to schedule an appointment. She assured me that a morning pregnancy test is more accurate than an evening test. She told me that "a positive is a positive" but I still had such a hard time believing anyone that I was ACTUALLY pregnant. I kept thinking, don't people try for months to get pregnant??? How??
I couldn't focus all day long at work, and google led me to the Fort Worth Pregnancy Center. They do free lab-grade pregnancy tests! They are INCREDIBLE and our church is a huge supporter of them! I drove there on my way home, panicked and in search of answers. BUT when I got there, they were closing and had already taken back their last patient for the day. I made an appointment for 10 am the next morning and called in sick to work. I headed straight from the pregnancy center to Walgreens to pick up yet ANOTHER pregnancy test. I got home, peed on it, and it was negative. Cue the utter confusion.
I left to go to happy hour with 10+ of my girlfriends and had no idea what to do. I didn't order a drink (blamed it on feeling tired) and tried to engage in conversation, but was so out of it and distracted. All I could think about was my appointment the next morning & how our lives could change because of it.
The next morning, I woke up with so many knots in my stomach. I felt like I couldn't breathe driving to the Pregnancy Center. There was a torrential downpour while I was driving and the ladies at the Pregnancy Center called me to cancel my appointment because their parking lot was flooded. I told them on the phone, "I will park down the street and walk in the rain, but I need you to confirm this." I signed in, peed in a cup, and waited. The ladies came and got me and we went into a room to discuss the test. They had me use a dropper to take some drops of my urine and drop it on the test. Immediately it turned positive. We just stared at it and the woman said, "what do you see?" "a positive," I responded. "And what does that mean?" she asked. "That I'm pregnant," I responded. It was the first time I had actually said it out loud. It felt foreign. It was new. It was the first time I felt absolute peace flood over me in the past three days.
They gave me six months of prenatal vitamins & I left the appointment and cried out of relief and gratefulness in my car. I sent Harrison the picture and he immediately responded, "I'm gonna be a dad? And you're the mom?" His response was so simple and so sweet. We were so relieved and thrilled. The word we kept using to describe the feeling is "undeserving."
When Harrison came home from work, we cried and hugged and laughed and "oh my gosh"-ed over and over. We told our City Group that night and were flooded with tears and hugs and prayer. We told our families & close friends that day!
I was 6 weeks pregnant when we found out. Over the next couple of weeks, the fear sunk in that we weren't promised anything. That we had no control over anything. That we could lose the baby at any moment. Google became my worst enemy as I searched for the meaning behind every cramp, every feeling, and every "what not to eat while pregnant" blog. Our prayer quickly had to become one of gratitude rather than fear-filled and pleading. Nightly we learned to thank God for the six weeks He had given us as parents already. We thanked Him for the six weeks of carrying life, and asked Him that he would do it again the next day.
Pregnancy is scary! There is so little that you have control over. Your body starts to change, your hormones are changing, you feel a weight of responsibility that wasn't there before. And yet, how cool that the God of the universe created pregnancy? Out of all of the ways he could have brought people into this world, He chose the intimacy that pregnancy brings. He chose to remind us of our little control. He chose to grow us over a long period of time, that we would sacrifice ourselves, our bodies, our appetites, etc. for the sake of another's life. What a gift and what a Giver.