Musings on Motherhood // Third Trimester Blues

7dfebb0d191afd89870fc7deb2c2ceb5

I’m struggling today. I have been for the past week. It’s raining. My child isn’t sleeping well so none of us are sleeping well. And I still have 11(ish) weeks until the end of this pregnancy. 11 weeks feels like 11 months to me right now.

I’ve given myself the pep talk. I know my body was made for this. I know that I want my baby to stay in my belly until she’s full term. I know the pain and stress of the NICU. I know that millions of women have done this millions of times. I know that I haven’t even reached the hardest part of the third trimester yet. But I can’t pull myself out of this funk.

My last pregnancy was rough. I was sick for the majority of it. I spent my days on the couch watching old episodes of Law & Order SVU and begging my husband to handle dinner. This time, I spend my days literally chasing my child around my apartment to stop her from sticking her hands in the toilet, climbing onto the kitchen island and choking on one of the random objects she insists on putting into her mouth. When I’m not doing that, I’m vacuuming goldfish crumbs off of the floors (only to find another pile as soon as I put the vacuum away) and trying to figure out why the urge to nest hits when your belly is so large, and your body is so uncomfortable, that most household tasks (ex: cleaning the bathtub) feel like a CrossFit session. Thankfully, my sickness subsided much earlier this time so I no longer have to worry about vomiting while parenting, but this is still hard. It’s really hard. And sometimes it feels like a sin to admit that.

I feel so blessed to be pregnant. I’m so honored to be a mom and I love both of my girls more than I could ever explain. I’m cherishing these last few months with Harper before she has to share me with her sister. That’s why I give in every time she wakes up crying and pointing to mommy and daddy’s room. I’m honored to be married to a man who loves his family so much that he gets up before the sun to support us. My goal is to match his work ethic inside our home. That’s why I stay up until I can barely keep my eyes open making sure the house is clean before I go to bed.

I love taking care of my family and none of my pregnancy complaints are directed at them (except maybe the sleep thing: please Harper, sleep through the night again!). But I’m worried that I won’t be able to keep all of this up for the next 11 weeks. I’m afraid my body is just going to give out on me. How in the world is my belly going to expand enough to fit a full-term baby? How in the world am I going to get the house ready for the baby with a toddler tornado running after me destroying everything? How am I going to keep cooking for my husband (not to mention make all of those Pinterest-recommended postpartum freezer meals) when standing up for too long gives me Braxton-Hicks contractions and makes me feel like I just ran a 10k? How am I going to keep rocking my first baby to sleep when my second baby’s position gives me the world’s worst heartburn and the strongest urge to pee as soon as we snuggle up in the rocking chair?

I know I will find a way. I know that my body was made for this. I know that this last trimester is going to fly by. I know that every ache, every pain and every unpleasant pregnancy symptom will be worth it when my beautiful baby girl is in my arms.

But today, I’m going to stay in my pajamas, bribe my child with snacks to get her to sit still on the couch, and allow myself to be tired.

 
 

13 in 31 // A Birthday Bucket List

I turned thirty-one last Friday and as a gift to myself, I created a Birthday Bucket List. As a mom, I spend 99% of my time focusing on Harper and not enough time focusing on myself. I haven’t finished a book in months. I only get my hair and nails done when I’m looking so rough that I can’t even stand it anymore. And I can’t even talk about the lack of writing I’ve done lately. I have a list of things I want to write, and blog posts I want to share, but I can never find the time (or the brain power) to actually sit down and do it. So, my overall goal this year, especially with a new baby on the way, is to get back to doing things that I enjoy. Not that I don’t enjoy raising Harper or being Sam’s wife. Those are my two most important roles and I love them so much. But I deserve, and need, a little time for myself too.

When creating my bucket list, I decided to flip my birthday number around and choose 13 things I wanted to do this year.  Some of them are specific things I can check off the list and others are goals that I want to work on throughout the year. Some are things for me to do by myself and others are things for us to do as a family. I know my list is specific to me, but I wanted to share it anyway because it may inspire some of you to create your own Birthday Bucket Lists. So here it is! (I’ve included a description or reason behind each one if you’re interested as well.)

1 // Read my Bible every day. – I have always been terrible at making this a daily habit. Sam ordered me a new Bible for my birthday and my #1 goal is to dive into it every.single.day.

2 // Blog more and launch a coordinating YouTube channel. – I love this blog so much and I hate that it has taken such a backseat in the last couple of years. I’ve also been wanting to start a YouTube channel for a while now, but I’ve been so nervous about it! I’m a major YouTube junkie though and I know that I would have so much fun with it so I’m just going to jump into it and see what happens. (More on that soon!)

3 // Visit the Kennedy Museum in Boston. – I’ve had a fascination with the Kennedy family ever since I was a kid and discovered that Jackie Kennedy and I share a birthday. I’ve been wanting to visit this museum for years and I’m definitely going to do it this year.

4 // Bring scrapbooking back! – I am so guilty of never printing pictures. Nearly all of the photos I’ve taken of Harper are on my iPhone or computer. I know that everything is digital now and that’s great, but I still love going through old pictures at my parents’ house and I want that for my kids. My plan is to go all the way back to the beginning of our marriage and start scrapbooking our little family. I think it’ll be a great creative outlet for me.

5 // Get “ready” everyday. – This should be a no-brainer, but it’s very easy as a stay-at-home mom to stay in your pajamas or sweats all day long. I’ve actually been pretty good about this lately, but I know it’s going to be tough again once the baby is born so I’m adding it to the list.

6 // Meal plan and cook at least 5 nights per week. – I’m trying to be more budget-conscious when it comes to feeding our family so I’ve started meal planning and cooking at home most nights. It’s already going really well and I want to challenge myself to keep it up all year.

7 // Treat writing like it’s my job (even if no one ever reads it). – I love to write and I’ve always dreamed of making a career out of it. I’ve spent a lot of time letting fear and self-doubt stop me. This year, I want to change that by “faking it til I make it.” I have no idea if I’ll ever be published outside of this blog, but it definitely won’t happen if I never actually write anything!

8 // Launch a foundation benefitting NICU families. – After Harper was born, I had this idea to start a foundation that creates care packages for NICU families. When Harper was in the NICU, we were given so many items (Halo SleepSacks, a quilt, etc.) that made that time so much easier and I want to do the same for other families. I have no idea how to start a foundation, but I’m going to figure it out and make it happen this year.

9 // Exercise regularly. – This isn’t about weight loss or fixing my body. Losing a little weight would definitely be a bonus, but it’s not my priority right now. I just want to be healthier and have more energy. My goal is to walk daily with my girls, start doing yoga again, and get back into spinning.

10 // Read at least one new book every month. – I love love love to read and I miss it so much. Reading is such a simple thing that I can do for myself that will simultaneously relax me and keep my brain from turning into mush.

11 // Make some new mom friends. – There is only one thing that I miss about living in the small town of Harrisonburg, Virginia: my mom friends. We went on walks, we did park playdates, and they’re all still there raising their babies without me. I have my sister-in-law and cousins here, and they are all invaluable to me, but I really need to get outside of my comfort zone and meet some new moms.

12 // Pick a weekly date night (and stick to it!) – I can count the number of dates Sam and I have been on since Harper was born and that is just not right. It’s not even because we’re afraid of leaving her with someone. We’re just guilty of not making the time. It doesn’t have to be a fancy restaurant, and we technically don’t even have to leave the house, but we need to make time, at least once a week, to remember that we are husband and wife first, parents second.

13 // Visit every museum in DC. – Sam is still new to the DC area and I love watching (forcing) him fall in love with my hometown. Showing him around also reintroduces me to all of the wonderful places I grew up visiting. I thought it would be fun to challenge ourselves as a family to visit every single museum in DC as a way to spend quality (and educational!) time together as a family.

And that’s my bucket list! I know it’s long, but these are all things that are important to me and I’m excited to take on this challenge. Someone remind me to check in with myself on my next birthday to see how many I accomplished. I hope it’s all 13! 

What would you put on your Birthday Bucket List?

 
 

Baby #2 Bumpdate // 28 Weeks

27 weeksHello Third Trimester! This pregnancy has flown by and I cannot believe we’re already in the home stretch. I’m just hoping time doesn’t start to stand still now because I am really feeling it now. I made all of my prenatal appointments for the remainder of the pregnancy yesterday and it made things really real. The nesting period has begun and my before baby to-do list has been solidified. I’m confident that this baby girl will come closer to her due date than Harper did, but I still want to get everything done early. Last time, I went to the hospital with no hospital bag, no diaper bag, no car seat. Harper didn’t even get a crib until months after she was born. This time, I plan to be prepared! I’m hoping to have everything finished by 35 weeks! I’ll write another post all about that soon. For now, let’s get to the bumpdate!

How far along are you? 28 weeks and 2 days.

How big is baby? She’s the size of an eggplant or a head of cauliflower. Around 2 pounds and 15-16 inches, according to my apps.

Total weight gain? 5.5 pounds as of yesterday.

How are you feeling? Oh man. I forgot about how much of a beating your body takes towards the end of pregnancy. I’m not sleeping well because I’m so uncomfortable. My heartburn and indigestion reach a peak at the end of every day. My sciatic pain comes at the most inconvenient times. And if I start doing too much, my belly feels so tight that I have to sit down. A new symptom I’ve been experiencing lately is headaches. I got them a lot in the first trimester, but they went away until last week. Now I’m getting one every day. I told my midwife about them yesterday and she said everything else looks good (like my blood pressure) and it was probably just from the lack of sleep. I’ve only had to take medicine once so they aren’t terrible, but they’re definitely annoying.

Any food cravings or aversions? I have had the strongest craving for peach cobbler lately. I actually bought all of the ingredients to make it last week, but then my mom’s friend made some and brought it over. Truly a gift from heaven! I’m back to craving Japanese food again too. As far as aversions, I’m still not really into fish/seafood, but I can eat it without getting sick. At this point, the only foods I’m avoiding are the ones that give me heartburn and indigestion.

What are you wearing a lot of lately? I may not have gained a lot of weight (yet), but my belly is BIG. And my butt is out of control. I’ve been living in maxi dresses and comfy pants. I’m in serious need of a few more maternity pieces, but I’m trying to wait until the weather cools down a bit because I’m loving the new Fall maternity pieces at Target.

Best moment this week? My 31st birthday was on Friday and it was also my cousin’s wedding day. I had the best weekend celebrating with her and spending time with my family. I’m still recovering though!

What are you looking forward to? Washing and organizing all of Harper’s baby clothes for the new baby!

 

 
 

Harper Elizabeth // 18 Month Update

IMG_2411It is finally time for another Harper update! She will be 19 months old next week and she has changed SO much since my last update at 12/13 months. We are deep into the baby to toddler transition over here and mommy is TIRED. Raising a toddler is tough enough, but adding pregnancy into the mix is no joke! Whenever I see a fellow pregnant mama out and about with her toddler(s), I mentally give her a fist bump because we are rockstars. (ALL moms are rockstars, by the way!) But as difficult as this phase has been, it has also been the most fun. Harper is so sweet and funny and smart and she learns new things everyday which is so exciting and rewarding for me. But before I go on and on about how awesome she is, let’s get into the update.

Stats

Weight: 24lbs 4oz (75th Percentile) – 4lbs 14.9oz at birth

Height: 33 inches (75th Percentile) – 19.75 inches at birth

Teeth: A new one pops up everyday lately! And her teeth are far too sharp for me to investigate so I’m not even really sure how many she has or which ones we’re waiting on.

Diaper Size: She can still fit a 4, but I changed our Honest bundle to 5s because I noticed that we were dealing with more frequent leaks.

Clothing Size: 18 months (12 months in dresses and shorts)

19956972_10104057708301909_4369585839801706145_o

Eating

Harper is a fantastic eater except for one tiny thing; she hates meat. She loves to eat so she’ll ask for meat if she sees you eating it and then, once she realizes what it is, she will either hand it back to you (already chewed up, of course) or throw it on the floor. Ugh. This has really forced me to get creative with her meals because I have to make sure she’s still getting protein and iron. Fruit, cheese and veggies can get pretty boring pretty quickly. So I’m on Pinterest constantly looking up toddler meal ideas to keep things interesting for both of us. Thankfully, she loves veggies. She’s obsessed with broccoli and cauliflower, but I honestly haven’t found a veggie she won’t eat. My current goal is to get all of us eating one meal so I’m not scrambling trying to get two dinners ready every night.

IMG_2320

Sleeping

Sleep has been rough for us for the past few months. Harper had a viral infection in May that turned into croup and the combination of the two completely wrecked her sleep. Then we moved in the middle of June and she got a bunch of new teeth and things went from bad to worse. There were a few weeks where she was in bed with us every single night. I’ve never been completely opposed to co-sleeping, and even enjoy it on occasion, but I can’t do it on a regular basis. For one thing, pregnancy sleep is rough enough without having to shield your belly from your toddler’s foot. And the other reason is that I need my nighttime breaks from parenting. My nights are sacred to me. I clean the kitchen while watching tv and hanging out with Sam. I take the longest, hottest shower possible. And then I do my stuff: blog, read, watch Golden Girls, enjoy the quiet. Needless to say, I am desperate to get her back to her normal sleeping routine so that I can have my nights back. Thankfully, we seem to be headed in the right direction this week and I’m praying that she’s completely back to normal before the baby arrives.

IMG_2124Milestones & Development

Harper started walking regularly around 14 months. Now, she’s a climber and spends her days giving me mini heart attacks (see first photo). She’s not super verbal yet. She babbles all day and says a handful of words (Dada, Hi, Bye, Please, Thank You, Oh Toodles, Elsa, All Done, Agua, and Baby), but she usually has to be prompted to say things. She understands nearly everything I say though, so I’m not too worried about it. She imitates everything which is hilarious. I’m not sure if this falls into the development category, but she’s also extremely friendly and outgoing. She says “Hi!” to everyone she passes, especially teenaged girls, and she loves meeting new people and making new friends. We went to musical storytime at the library for the first time yesterday. We were late and it was packed so I took her to the back of the room and tried to get her to sit in my lap, but she wriggled away, walked to the middle of the room and plopped down like she’d been going all her life. That is one of my favorite things about her.

IMG_2392

Likes: music, dancing, eating, going for walks in her stroller, bath time, FaceTime, spending time with her family (especially her cousins), watching movies in her new playroom, and Goldfish!

Dislikes: meat, being put down in her crib while still awake, getting her hair done (which is why it always looks so crazy!), and sitting in shopping carts.

IMG_2422

I hope you’ve enjoyed this (long) update on our sweet girl! She is seriously the busiest baby I’ve ever known, and she definitely has “selective toddler hearing,” but she makes up for it by being so dang sweet. I cannot wait to see her become a big sister in the Fall!

 
 

Baby #2 Bumpdate // 25 Weeks

19942606_10104055171485709_2855514461176994172_oI have been so bad at taking bump photos this pregnancy! This photo was taken at the Idina Menzel concert on Sunday night, which is the day I moved into my 25th week so this will have to do! Now let’s get to the bumpdate…

How far along are you? 25 weeks and 3 days.

How big is baby? As big as a head of cauliflower and as long as a large cucumber, according to The Bump and Glow Nurture apps.

Total weight gain? At my prenatal appointment on Thursday, I was up 3ish pounds from my starting weight. I’ve probably gained 6 or 7 pounds total though if you count the weight I lost during the first trimester. My goal is to stay between 15-25 pounds gained because my starting weight is on the high side, but I’m not stressing over it. I gained 10 pounds with Harper and she was born 6 weeks early. So if this baby goes full term, and my weight gain is consistent with that pregnancy, I’ll definitely fall within that range.

How are you feeling? I’m still vomit-free, thank the Lord! I do, however, feel nauseous every morning when I wake up. I eat plain cheerios in bed for a few minutes and then it usually goes away. I’m still having lots of sciatic and hip pain. One night last week, I got this terrible pain in my hip/groin area and walked with a limp for a few hours before bed. I also have to pee all.the.time! I can feel the third trimester quickly approaching.

Any food cravings or aversions? I think I’ve finally gotten out of the no-fish zone. I made salmon on Monday night and didn’t feel sick when it was time to eat it. My cravings have unfortunately been sweet lately. In fact, last night I sent Sam to the store for cupcake liners so I could bake rainbow chip cupcakes at 9pm. So bad!

Have you noticed any stretch marks? I have a funny stretch mark story this week. The other night, I got out of the shower and noticed a HUGE, bright red stretch mark next to my belly button (which is where my stretch marks from Harper are). I grabbed all belly oil and slathered it on and tried not to think about it. The next morning, though, I realized that it was just a long scratch! Harper has been jamming her little fingers into my belly button whenever we talk about the baby so she must’ve scratched me that day without me realizing it.

Best moment this week? I mentioned earlier that I went to the Idina Menzel concert on Sunday night. Baby girl must’ve really enjoyed it because she kicked me the entire time. It was so sweet because it reminded me of her big sister who loves music more than anything and dances all the time. I can’t wait to see them dancing together! My second best moment was last week during my maternal fetal medicine appointment. The doctor told me that my cervix looks good and the baby is growing well so I get a 6 week break before my next appointment! Yay!!

What are you looking forward to? As the mother of a preemie, I try really hard not to wish time away during my pregnancy. But I have to say that I’m really looking forward to Fall weather. These 90 degree temperatures are not ideal for pregnancy, especially when you have a 24 pound toddler to carry and chase around. I have half of the summer to go, but I’m extremely excited for those crisp, Fall mornings.

Poll: Did you have a baby shower for your second/third/etc. baby? 

 

 
 

1 2 3 16