Pregnancy Journey: Baby Maher (#1)
2017 has absolutely flown by, cannot believe we are nearing the end of the year. We've known about our little bundle of love since June and we've shared the news publicly but before you know it, this little babe is going to make it's debut and I don't want to forget how amazing this journey has been.
The first trimester (0-13w):
What a strange and magical experience finding out you are carrying a little human. It's such an exciting time but we didn't share this news with most people until 16 weeks had passed. Weeks of sipping fake cocktails and containing ourselves with this groundbreaking news was really hard.
I still feel extremely blessed to have had a great pregnancy experience, especially in the first trimester. I had a very distinct feeling and a few telling signs that made it known to me that I was pregnant but never had any experience with morning sickness or painful side effects that many women experience. To be honest, I felt completely normal and not even pregnant most of the first trimester so it was kind of a surreal experience really letting it sink in that we were growing a human and this was really happening!
Weeks go by during the first trimester that make you wonder and even worry sometimes if that little babe is still in there - I definitely had a sense of relief when we snuck into the second trimester but even more when I started to feel the little critter kick; daily reminders that he or she was in there doing just fine.
I will say that I had a few "out of the ordinary" moments...
I was extremely tired. Taking naps on a regular basis is not my thing, in fact I rarely take naps unless it's a truly lazy Sunday afternoon and I have zero other productive things I could be doing. During the first trimester I felt an overwhelming sense of exhaustion like clockwork everyday around 2pm. I did everything I could from laying my head down at my desk in the middle of the day! Going for walks with the dog and getting a little fresh air or saving my daily cup of coffee for the 2:00 hour was beneficial. (No, I did not give up coffee - the Doctors told me I could safely drink 200mg a day and well, yes please.)
Carbs, bland food and junk. I didn't have a ton of cravings during the first trimester but I will admit that I purchased a few boxes of mac and cheese right away. I found myself craving foods I used to eat in my early childhood like buttered noodles with steamed broccoli, cheese and crackers, mac and cheese... It didn't last terribly long but strange things happen! Don't give in to all of them. My cravings are much more intense into the second trimester - stay tuned for more on that.
More me time. Another amazing thing that came out of this is that once I found out I was pregnant I wanted to do more things for me. I started reading (for research and pleasure) again, took up a prenatal yoga class at Blooma at 12 weeks which has been a must for me and really tried to carve out time enjoying the things I love more. Whether it's alone time, date night or time for you and babe to spend together, I highly recommend stepping back and enjoying these 9 months as best you can.
All in all, the first 13 weeks FLEW by for me and there were many times I wanted it to speed up so we could share the good news but also times when I wanted it to slow down; there are so many things that come to mind that you want to prepare yourself for and enjoy.
Do your research. I found or was given a few books that I really enjoyed following each week to educate me on what was going on in my body and with babe. This is especially important in the first trimester because I wasn't feeling a whole lot and was curious! Our weekly markers are on Sunday so each Sunday morning Colton and I read our weekly updates. I also invested in a few pregnancy cookbooks that were nice to follow because they point out the essential nutrients you should focus on each week or trimester and make it a bit easier to plan meals for the week. Here are a few fun and practical resources I've enjoyed:
- The Bump App: The Bump app is great for quick weekly updates and tracking pregnancy; they also have a 3d view of what your baby is developing or how it's growing each week. They also have a large library of articles written by other parents, resources and FAQs on the app.
- The Mama Natural: I personally wanted to approach my pregnancy more on the natural side; this book is a bit more detailed week to week guide on pregnancy and childbirth but there is some good to know info in it that you won't find everywhere. It is written more from a "doula" perspective and I found that I didn't want to take everything in this book SUPER seriously - let's be honest, I have to be on my phone and I'm not about to get a "wi-fi shield", but to each their own. Buy The Mama Natural here.
- The Pregnancy Countdown: This book was gifted to me by a good (also pregnant) girlfriend. It's a concise and very practical book full of weekly tips and advice from other parents for the whole nine months. I love that this is a quick read one day a week - it's raw and real advice from real parents and even throws in a good laugh here and there. Get it here.
- The Whole 9 Months: A week by week pregnancy guide to food! This makes it easy to get the right nutrients at the right time for you and your growing babe. The recipes are super simple, I actually spiced them up a bit and modified. I found myself a bit overwhelmed and busy at times so this made grocery shopping easy!
- One for the dads: The dad's like to research too believe it or not. I bought Colton this down to earth guide for dads to be - testimonials from real dads and new insight into the emotional, financial, and physical effects of parenthood on men.
The second trimester (13-27w):
This is where things get real! We shared with the world that we were expecting at 16 weeks and whew it felt good to get that off our chest. At 16 weeks I started seeing the SLIGHTEST little bump too - but was still able to wear normal clothes! I think it was at about 20 weeks when I finally caved and bought a few pairs of maternity jeans/pants.
Specific cravings started in at about 20 weeks and really got serious at 22 weeks... it started with pasta and pizza (which isn't that out of the ordinary for me), but also included Oreos, Cherry Coke and Dr Pepper (I never drink pop!), ice cream and I started craving lots of dairy and went from a black coffee drinker to coffee and cream gal. Now (at 25 weeks) I just crave pure carbs in general; I'm talking bagels, waffles, pancakes... feels totally against my religion but I will say that I don't get tired after eating carbs like normally - seems like your body is craving things like this for a reason and is putting it to good use. I'm just trying my best to balance it and keep up the physical routine and make sure to squeeze in my yoga!
I started sleeping on my side at about 20 weeks, which was really hard for me because I'm a dedicated back sleeper. Word to the wise, you probably don't need the fancy pillow... they are all so large and what the heck do you do with that when you are NOT pregnant?! I have found that a bolster or simply a king size pillow does the job. My favorite position is on the left side, with a pillow between the knees (bent) - then straighten your left leg, it's life-changing. The best sleep position during pregnancy is on your side. Even better, sleep on your left side to increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby. But hey, you can only sleep on one side for so long without those hips getting sore so mix it up.
The kicks! I was anxiously awaiting for the day when this little guy would start nudging me to let me know he or she was "still kickin". I remember feeling very subtle movements (very low) starting at about 20 weeks, mostly when I ate - ha! By week 22 these movements were indescribable and very recognizable as baby "punting me". We've got a real mover and doctor says baby is a healthy one so yay!
Prenatal yoga/classes: I was a yogi before but even if you were not, prenatal yoga can be truly life-changing on your pregnancy journey. I started going to Blooma studio at 12 weeks due to some amazing referrals and have LOVED it - it's been my safe place, alone time and a reason to carve out some quality time with the babe. The community here is more than just a group of yogis; it's a non-judgmental, open space full of other moms and parents to be all sharing one space. Blooma offers fitness classes for pregnant or non-pregnant mommas as well as a plethora of educational classes and resources - plus these people are pretty amazing in and of themselves. Super bonus, these classes go well beyond the day that your little one makes their debut; they offer classes for tots, childcare and classes that welcome kiddos.
Resources: It can be super overwhelming thinking about all the things that you have to do or don't know! My advice? Find a resource or multiple resources that you can lean on - recommendations are the best way to gain these. I found out about Blooma, AMMA, The Childbirth Collective all from friends and have been great communities and resources. I still have tons of research to do and lots of upcoming classes but am feeling a bit more at ease after chatting with people I know that have also had great experiences.
Choosing your birth center: You likely will already have your options narrowed down based on where your clinic is but choosing your birthing route, location and all the decisions that go with it are all very personal decisions that can weigh heavy on you. Choosing your birthplace via recommendation from a person that you align with is a great option but I think it all comes down to how you feel in that space. Tour all locations you are considering, ask all the questions about what the locations offer and most of all, know what is important to you in a birth place. You (and your partner) have to be comfortable and confident in this space. Luckily, this one has time on it's side; you have plenty of time to make your final decision on your birthplace - so sleep on it!
Childcare options: This one is daunting for us. First of all, having to think about leaving this little tot somewhere without us makes me sad! That being said, childcare a reality for most parents and I know that because I love what I do, I will also need some me time to do what I love after babe comes. Apparently you can't start looking too early on this one - when I thought I was ahead of the game, I came to find that many locations are months or even years out from booking infant care in particular because they can't accomodate many. Stay tuned on this because we are definitely still looking into our options, but we've leaned heavily again on recommendations from friends that have kiddos, are expecting or that have nannied. Care.com seems to be a great resource and we've also been checking out near by childcare educational centers and montessories.
I can't believe we only have two more weeks left in the second trimester, I want to slow this journey down! Stay tuned for more decision making and more amazing discoveries and experiences.
Also, we've officially decided we are not finding out the gender - sorry folks, you'll have to hang on a bit longer!