Archive of ‘pregnancy’ category

Baby #2 // First Trimester Bumpdate

Pregnancy #2 AnnouncementIf you follow me on Instagram, you already heard our exciting news: we’re expecting baby #2 in October! And now you probably understand why there’s been radio silence on the blog the last few months. I am so so excited for this baby, but this pregnancy, like the last, has been wearing me out. By the afternoon, all I can do is lay on the couch and pray that Harper will play in one spot for a little while. But now that the secret is out, I wanted to summon the energy to sit down and write my first “bumpdate.” This one will cover everything from the time I found out until today. Going forward, I’ll probably do bi-weekly or monthly bumpdates.

How far along are you? 13 weeks, two days.

How big is baby? The size of a lemon which blows my mind. Time seems to be flying this pregnancy and, when I remember to check, I’m always blown away by how big the baby is.

Total weight gain? I’m actually down 3ish pounds from my starting weight. With Harper, I only gained 10 pounds and I lost it all within 2 or 3 weeks after she was born. But before you start hating me, I was overweight to start out with. I had goals to lose weight before I got pregnant again, but those plans failed and I started this pregnancy exactly where I was the last time. Thanks to my morning sickness, which I’ll discuss more below, I’ve lost a few pounds since the torture started.

How are you feeling? This pregnancy is very different from my first in many ways, but one thing that’s exactly the same is the vomiting. Every morning since just before 10 weeks, I wake up at 6:45am and throw up. Every. Single. Morning. Last time, I had constant nausea from 6 weeks until about 16. This time, the nausea comes and goes, usually after I eat. I have lots of heartburn and indigestion this time again, but I take Tums and Papaya Enzymes religiously so it never gets too bad. Overall, I feel better this time than I did with Harper so I try to focus on that.

How’s your sleep? I’m already sleeping with a pillow between my legs which is crazy to me because my baby is still so tiny. In the last week, the middle of the night bathroom visits started as well. So sleep isn’t fantastic right now. I also spend half the night afraid to wake up because I know that I’ll have to throw up when I do. Ugh.

Best moment this week? Announcing our pregnancy to the world. I’ve been telling close friends and family as I see them, but it’s always so fun to tell everyone. Now I can talk about it freely and stop worrying about whether people are wondering if I’m gaining tons of weight in my midsection for no reason.

What are you looking forward to? Our anatomy ultrasound next month. I cannot wait to find out if this little nugget is a boy or a girl. I find that I can bond with the baby so much more when I can call them by name (we already have names picked out). I’m also super excited to start figuring out what we’re going to do with the nursery and picking out clothes and all of that.

Any milestones this week? Last week, I met with my Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist for the first time. Because Harper was premature, and I have a high chance of having another preemie, I’ll be seeing a group of midwives and OBs as well as a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist. The MFM specialist will set up my progesterone shots (every week starting at 16 weeks) and check my cervix every two weeks to make sure that it isn’t shortening prematurely. All of that on top of my regular prenatal appointments. Just thinking about it all made me really stressed out, especially since I won’t be seeing any of the OBs or midwives I saw during my last pregnancy, but I am so happy with the team I’ve selected. I’ve been praying everyday that this baby will come in God’s perfect timing and I feel fully confident in that which is a huge milestone for me.

I think that’s it for my first bumpdate! I’m sure I’m forgetting something (pregnancy brain is real!) so if you have any questions or specific topics you want me to address in upcoming pregnancy posts, please let me know. Thank you to everyone who has already sent us congratulatory messages. You are all so sweet!

 

Mom & Baby Update // Week One

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If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that Sam and I received a belated Christmas present this year: our beautiful baby girl, Harper Elizabeth. She was born on Sunday, December 27th at 2:58pm. Our tiny miracle weighed 4 pounds, 14.9 ounces and she measures 19.25 inches. She has her daddy’s chin dimple, her mommy’s dark hair and, as of right now, the deepest blue eyes I’ve ever seen. She is an absolute doll and we are so in love with her.

I’m in the process of writing her birth story and I hope to have that up (in parts because it’s so long) next week. In the meantime, I wanted to start my baby/postpartum updates. I’ll be doing these weekly (on Sundays since she was born on a Sunday) in the beginning and I’ll transition into monthly updates once the changes slow down a bit. So here’s what happened during week one:

Baby

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Harper was born prematurely at 34 weeks which meant that she would have to spend at least a week, if not more, in the NICU. I knew this when my labor started, but nothing could prepare me for the moment that she was taken away by the nurses after she was born. Thankfully, we got to spend a little time with her before that happened, but it still hurt like hell and I sobbed into her hospital receiving blanket for a while after they took her away.

Thankfully, our stay in the NICU has been relatively easy, and everything that has come up has been extremely common in babies her age. She never needed oxygen and was able to regulate her own temperature from the beginning (although they still put her under the warming lamp just in case). Because of this, I immediately started asking them when she could come home. Unfortunately, her jaundice levels went up higher than they wanted them to which meant she had to be under a bilirubin light for a full day on day four. Seeing her in that closed bassinet, even though I know jaundice is common even in full term babies, sent me into the most emotional day I’ve had since she was born. It didn’t help that we also found out that she had a baby apnea spell (I doubt this is the medical term, but this is how the nurses at our hospital refer to it) while sleeping earlier that morning. Baby apnea is when a baby’s brain fails to remind it’s lungs to breathe. If it lasts longer than 15 seconds, an alarm goes off and the nurse will either stimulate the baby (which usually gets them breathing again) or will give the baby oxygen. This, like jaundice, is extremely common in premature babies because their brains missed out on a few key weeks of development in the womb. I know this, but it still scares me to death. Even worse, I was feeding Harper that same day (day four was basically the day from hell) when she had a very brief apnea moment. She was eating too fast and stopped breathing for just a few seconds. But in that time, I saw her lips turn a dusky color and I had a silent panic attack. It didn’t help that the NICU doctor and nurse who were working that day weren’t exactly warm and friendly. They kept threatening warning us about extended NICU stays and feeding tubes (because Harper was having trouble staying awake during feeds) and all of these other scary things that were true, but most likely didn’t need to be said in that moment. They also said she would have to stay in the NICU for 2-3 weeks. I cried for an hour after we left and we prayed nonstop for things to turn around.

By that evening, Harper’s jaundice levels had dropped and she was pacing herself while eating again. By the next morning, she was released from the bilirubin lights (by a different, much nicer doctor) and put back into an open bassinet. She hasn’t had an apnea spells since and she is eating like a champ so they never had to insert a feeding tube. Speaking of eating, Harper started off eating donor breastmilk because it took five days for my milk to come in. I’ve been pumping every three hours since Sunday night and I’m now producing more than enough milk for her. She is currently taking 45-50 ml of breastmilk every three hours and she also nurses for 10-15 minutes on each side when I nurse her (usually twice a day while she’s in the NICU). I don’t believe it’s any coincidence that Harper has been absolute rockstar since my milk came in. There is a reason that they say “Breast is Best.” I’m not here to bully anyone into breastfeeding, but I witnessed a major change in my child once all of her nutrition was supplied by me. She has only lost 2% of her body weight (the average is 10%) and she has even started to gain a little bit back. Breastfeeding/pumping is a full-time job, but I believe it is 100% worth it.

Because of all of these positive steps forward, today is our baby girl’s last day in the NICU! As long as nothing changes between now and 8am tomorrow morning, we will get to bring her home sometime tomorrow. Tonight, Sam and I will spend the night at the hospital and we will room-in with her (so we can get used to being full-time parents with the added security of having nurses and doctors right down the hall). She still has a few tests to pass (a carseat test, drinking from the bottle we plan to use at home, etc.), but we have full faith and confidence that nothing will stop us from walking out of those doors with a baby in hand tomorrow. Although our stay in the NICU was extremely difficult for me (I’ll write about that more later), I am so thankful that it was relatively easy. Harper did not need any procedures and never had any major health concerns. I cannot say the same for the some of the other babies and families we met during the past week. We pray for them every time we’re there. I also cannot express enough gratitude for the doctors and nurses who work in the NICU. They are all so dedicated to their jobs and you can see how much they love these babies. They taught Sam and I so much and we never worried once about the level of care she was receiving. We are so grateful for them.

Mommy

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Aside from the afterbirth cramps I get every time I pump, and the fact that I feel like there is nothing but air and mush in my belly now, I feel fantastic! I did a lot of research while I was pregnant and read a ton of birth stories. I always paid particular attention to the recovery portions of those stories because I feel like no one ever tells you about what really happens after the baby comes out. Because of this, I was expecting the absolute worst. I just knew I was going to be feeling like crap for weeks. But in reality, my recovery has been wonderful. I’ve had to remind myself that I just had a baby seven days ago.

I weighed myself for the first time since she arrived yesterday morning and I am 4.8 pounds lighter than I was when I got pregnant. I still can’t believe that. I think it’s a combination of losing weight during the first trimester, plus only gaining ten pounds during pregnancy and then pumping like a mad woman once she was born. It’ll be interesting to see how my weight changes in the coming weeks. I am always starving or thirsty these days because of all of the calories I burn while feeding or pumping. I’m trying to eat really healthy and to pay attention to how the foods I eat affect her, but when you’re living in 3 hour increments, it can be hard to make smart, healthy choices. I survived off of granola bars, goldfish and pretzels yesterday because I was running around trying to get things ready for her to come home. If anyone has any tips or advice on this, please let me know!

Emotionally, I was a bit of a wreck this week. Obviously, your hormones go a little haywire when you give birth and I definitely cried off and on all day the day she was born. And then, when she was taken to the NICU, I went a little…cold. I was in shock and pain and I couldn’t figure out how to deal with it. Then I got very, very afraid. Every time the monitors made any noise, or any time a nurse or doctor mentioned anything that seemed a little scary, I would lose it. I also felt like a bad mother for not sitting at her bedside 24 hours a day, even though I needed to allow myself to rest and recover before she came home. I am so thankful for Sam and my parents and siblings. They prayed with me and encouraged me and reminded me to have faith every single day. And slowly, but surely, my faith grew.

Another thing that helped me was reminding myself that I’m Harper’s mother and allowing my motherly instincts to kick in. Usually, Sam and I visit her together, but one day he went to the gym and I went alone. During that time, she had her first good nursing session and while she was eating, she looked straight into my eyes and held my finger with her tiny little hand. In that moment, not only did I fall even more in love with her, but I realized that she knew me, she trusted me, and she loved me too. She spent 34 weeks safely tucked into my belly and she remembers that every time I hold her. From that moment, I made bonding with her my number one priority and it has made a world of difference. My emotions are in check and I feel more confident than ever that I was made to be this little girl’s mom.

I apologize that this post ended up being so long. A lot can happen in one week! I hope you enjoyed reading our first update and I hope that it is especially helpful for those of you who are pregnant, are planning to get pregnant, or just had a baby. Please let me know if there are specific topics you want me to write about. Have a happy Sunday!!

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Bumpdate // Week 34

11046364_10102733893387609_6551138209420604039_nHappy Monday! It’s the last week of 2015! I know everyone always says this, but this year has absolutely flown by. This time last year, my family was celebrating my sister’s wedding and finishing up the planning for mine. This year, we’re all married, we’ve added a new baby to the family and we have one more on the way! I can’t believe how much has changed this year, but I am so excited to see what happens in 2016. And, of course, I am counting down the days until our little nugget joins us. We’ll be ringing in the New Year from my parents’ house, probably in pajamas, because my pregnant body is worn out from Christmas. Speaking of my pregnant body, let’s get to the bumpdate because there are a lot of changes happening!

How far along are you? 34 weeks and 3 days.

How big is baby? The size of a butternut squash. According to The Bump, she’s between 4.2 and 5.8 pounds and between 17 and 18 inches. I asked my midwife if I could find out how many pounds she is at my next ultrasound (at 36 weeks), but she said they usually only check the baby’s weight if it looks like he/she is measuring big or small. My baby is measuring perfectly, and has been throughout my entire pregnancy, so she said not to focus on it too much. I still might try to get it out of the ultrasound tech though. I’m so curious!

Total weight gain? 10 pounds! I’m glad to see that the baby is growing and putting some fat on her little body, but I’m also a little nervous that 10 will turn into 20 over the next 6 weeks. I wake up starving everyday now and find myself feeling hungry a lot more often so I expect this number to keep going up over the next few weeks.

How are you feeling? Santa pulled off a real Christmas miracle this week — I haven’t thrown up at all since I’ve been at my parents’ house! I even woke up on Christmas feeling fantastic. I’m still dealing with a lot of heartburn, but it’s just a regular part of my life right now. I’m also dealing with lots of body aches and leg cramps these days. I’ve also noticed my feet getting a tiny bit puffy the last couple of nights. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m 8 months pregnant and I need to take it easy.

Have you noticed any stretch marks yet? I still have a few stretch marks framing my belly button on each side. They’re still red and ugly, but I’m praying that they’ll fade over time. My belly is also super itchy all the time, which is annoying but reminds me to put my stretch mark cream on, so I hope that’s helping.

How’s your sleep? So bad. So so bad. My belly is sooo heavy which makes sleeping on my side difficult. She also throws a one-baby dance party in my belly every night as soon as I start falling asleep. And she wakes me up bright and early every morning with kicks or hiccups. And last night, I woke up three times to go to the bathroom. Basically, there’s just not a lot of sleep happening right now. I guess it’s preparation for what’s to come.

Best moment this week? For Christmas, Harper and I got matching Freshly Picked moccasins. Cutest thing ever! I also got a Tory Burch diaper bag that I’m obsessed with. I am totally ready for this mom thing!

What are you looking forward to? We scheduled our final (most-likely) ultrasound for 36 weeks and I cannot wait! We haven’t seen her since 24 weeks so I can’t wait to see how much she has changed.

Any milestones this week? I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this on the blog yet, but my midwife is pretty sure that she’s in the head-down position now. I’m pretty sure she’s right because whenever she has hiccups, I feel them in the lowest part of my belly. She was breech for a long time, so I’m really glad she decided to turn for us. One less thing for me to worry about when it comes to delivery!

 

 

Bumpdate // Week 33

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It’s officially the week of Christmas! I am SO excited. I absolutely love Christmas. Of course I love presents (giving and receiving), but my favorite things about Christmas are family time and family traditions. My family has doubled in size over the last few years (so crazy!) so our traditions have changed a bit, but we still spend as much time together as possible this time of year. I’m even more excited this year because Christmas and New Year’s are going to help get my mind off of waiting for this little nugget to become the twelfth member of the family in 7(ish) weeks!

How far along are you? 33 weeks and 3 days.

How big is baby? The size of a durian (whatever the heck that is) or a honeydew melon. Both The Bump and What To Expect say that she’s between 4 and 5 pounds now which blows my mind. I believe it though because she is getting HEAVY. I find myself always holding the bottom of my belly or my back, trying to relieve a little bit of pressure.

Total weight gain? 6.5 pounds, but I have another appointment with my midwife on Wednesday so I’m sure I’ll have some kind of update on this next week.

How are you feeling? Unfortunately, I’m still throwing up every morning. My heartburn is better on some days and worse on others, but I’m managing it. My main symptoms this week are mild headaches and body aches. My body is tired! On the bright side, I’m feeling great when it comes to being ready for the baby. I’m not feeling as anxious as I was anymore. I’m still nesting like crazy, but not in a stressful way anymore. I’m sure my husband is extremely grateful for that!

How’s your sleep? I slept in this morning for the first time in weeks, which was glorious, but overall sleep is not going well for me. I try to sleep on my left side, but my belly is so dang heavy that it makes me so uncomfortable. And don’t even get me started on turning over in bed. The cracking sounds my pelvis makes are loud enough to wake my neighbors.

Food cravings? Vanilla milkshakes from Cookout and pistachios. So random and weird, I know.

Food aversions? Still fish. I’m praying this aversion will disappear as soon as the baby is born.

Favorite places to shop for baby clothes? So far, my absolute favorite place to find baby clothes is Target. Their Circo line of baby clothes is extremely well priced ($4.50 each for bodysuits and leggings) and absolutely adorable. I literally cannot leave that store without getting at least one outfit. I also love Baby Gap. It can be a little pricey, but they have great sales all the time. I want their entire early Spring collection! I have $100 worth of baby clothes in my online shopping cart right now, but I’m hoping they have a big after Christmas sale. Moms, what are you favorite places to shop for your little ones?

Merry {Early} Christmas!!

 

Bumpdate // Week 32

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Time is flying! I feel like I just sat down to write my last bumpdate. This little nugget will be here SO soon and yet it still doesn’t feel soon enough. I’m so ready to meet her! I spent this last week nesting in a major way. I spent an entire day washing and folding all of her clothes, socks, blankets, burp cloths, bibs and towels. Then I recruited Sam to help me move all of my stuff (my desk, chair, books, etc.) out of the room so that we could make space for her crib and changing table. My to-do list is still crazy long, but I feel good about the progress we’ve made so far. I spend the better part of my days in her nursery rearranging things and trying to come up with creative ways to make this tiny space work. I’m worn out by the end of the day, but I couldn’t be any happier.

How far along are you? 32 weeks and 3 days.

How big is baby? The size of a squash and she could be anywhere between 2.5 and 3.5 pounds.

Total weight gain? 6.5ish pounds — I haven’t gained any weight in the last 6 weeks. I asked my midwife if I should be concerned, but she said that 1) because my BMI was on the higher side to begin with she didn’t want to me to gain more than 15-20 pounds anyway and 2) because my belly is growing at a consistent and normal pace, I have nothing to worry about. My belly consistently grows 2-3 centimeters between each prenatal appointment so the baby is obviously enjoying all of the carbs I’ve been eating lately.

How are you feeling? I spoke too soon last week: the vomiting and constant heartburn are back again. I still have a cold and I have absolutely no recollection of what “normal” feels like. Some days (most days?) I get really frustrated, but I’ve been able to distract myself by focusing on finishing the nursery and reminding myself that I am so so close to the finish line.

What are you wearing a lot of lately? Not much has changed in the maternity wear department. I’m still wearing all of my same leggings, maternity jeans and tops. I have to stick to long tops lately though because when I wear my usual t-shirts, I will walk by a mirror and see that my belly is hanging out of the bottom. I’m hoping that hasn’t happened in public yet!

How’s your sleep? Not great. It’s just very difficult to find a position that is completely comfortable for this growing body. Either I’m laying too flat (aggravating my heartburn), I’m propped up too much (which hurts my lower back) or I’m stuck on one side for too long (which makes my hips ache). Apparently most pregnant women deal with sleep issues during the third trimester so I’m just doing what I can to manage it. I try to go to bed at a decent time and I try to lay down and rest whenever I feel tired during the day after a rough night of sleep.

Food cravings? I cannot get enough Haribo gummi bears lately. I’ve always loved them, but I’ve lost track of how many bags I’ve consumed over the last few weeks. I’ve also been craving Red Robin’s crispy chicken sandwich for like two weeks. I can’t wait to get back to Northern VA for Christmas so I can get one.

Food aversions? Still seafood.

Best moment this week? We have a major storage issue in our house so the closet in the nursery is filled with my clothes and shoes. I still wanted to hang some of the baby’s clothes so my mom gave us an idea to build a little “wall closet” so that we could display some of her cutest outfits. Sam and I finally set aside some time on Saturday to tackle that project and it turned out sooo cute! I love it when the two of us work together to get ready for the baby. It’s like a little preview into parenthood.

What are you looking forward to? I’m really looking forward to going on a hospital tour with our Centering class next week. I know things are going to feel very real after that!

 

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