3 Week Countdown and the Magic Question: Are You Ready???

our little girls face at 36 weeks ultra-sound

our little girls face at 36 weeks ultra-sound

“Are you ready?” This is the magic question at 9 months pregnant and 3 weeks to go until our planned C-Section on Aug. 8th! Everyone is asking me this from the check out lady at my local organic market to my family and friends. Ready? Hmmm, is anyone ever really “ready” to have a baby? This is the magic question and it seems to deserve a pretty amazing answer so I’ve been giving it a lot of thought.

Part of me wants to say YES! I have been ready to be a mother since I was about 10 years old and I started the “Mother’s Helpers” baby sitting service in our neighborhood in Tucson, AZ. All I wanted to do was baby sit everyone’s kids and soon after I launched my first business venture, I was booked solid and had to enlist other “mother’s helpers” to fill the load. I LOVED taking care of children and people just trusted me. This went on for years. There were a couple of families I baby sat for every summer in Coronado, CA when we vacationed there and truly there wasn’t anything that brought me more joy than watching those kids at night (and playing with them during the day on the beach as our families would hang out in one big group almost daily). The best!

By the time I was entering college I think I knew I was “weird” because when my girlfriends would talk about what they wanted to be when they grew up (in a very serious, slightly “I am woman hear me roar” but not like a loud roar, more of a cool roar because we went to NYU and thus were sort of above roaring kind of way)….the first thing that I thought was “a mom.” GASP! Dare I say that out loud? No, no, I’d pick something else to speak on but that was my real answer. I would even fantasize about being a mom sometimes and dream about how it would feel, how it would look, how I would be with my children. Those thoughts always brought me a lot of peace. I never thought I’d have to wait until 34 to actually become a mom but as life turns out in a perfect surprise in the way only life can, here I am and the other part of my dream is my partner in this mother thing- my partner in everything, my husband. The road to him wasn’t a perfect dream but being with him is and so because I’m with him, yeah, I’m “ready”.

But are we really ready? My latest pregnancy insomnia situation would tell you no- no we are NOT ready and let me tell you WHY (but let me wait until about 1:30am to start thinking about it and then I’ll tell you by about 3-4:45am). We’re not ready because we don’t know exactly how to deal with every single parenting situation I can think of between the hours of 12-5am. We aren’t ready because we haven’t discussed every single detail of how we’re going to do every single thing. We aren’t ready because of the unknown, because of the scary, because of our own issues that we’re still working on with in ourselves, because of our fears. We aren’t ready because I don’t even know all the reasons why we’re not ready but I know there are so many more of them!

So, no- we’re not “ready” but you know what we are….we’re “set.” We’re set to go. We’re set because I’ve got us so outrageously organized that we could go into labor right now (please God don’t let me go into labor right now) and everything from our hospital bags to the emergency call list to the baby’s nursery and all things needed to care for her are all set and done. THOSE things, are ready. We’re set because I’ve got a planned C-Section (because I have to have one and have finally come to terms with that at 9 months pregnant). While I re-coup I have all the help I need with family coming in and a night time doula, to allow me to heal while still being 100% there for our little girl. Everyone who’s going to be around her has taken the latest infant CPR training course and has had a shot necessary here in Washington because of an outbreak of whooping cough, which can be deadly to a newborn (really people please vaccinate your kids this is ridiculous). So we’re set on safety and support. We’re also set because I’ve read a ton about everything newborn related and feel pretty prepared. We’re set because I’ve decided how to set up doing things but have a back up plan if they don’t work well with our baby (remember man plans and God laughs). We’re set because we’re organized and we’re informed.

I feel like I’ve practiced my entire life for motherhood by watching other’s parent, by taking notes from my own parents, by baby sitting, being an observer, reading, dreaming about it. Even living my life and learning and growing, evolving into who I am today and all I know today was preparation. I feel like I’ve been preparing for this my whole life sometimes knowingly sometimes not. I am so set, so organized, so excited and over the moon about this that I can barely breathe as I think about holding her for the first time. I’m ready to be her mom as much as I can be today and tomorrow and the next and the next it’ll probably be the same answer.

I’m not ready to love her though….because I already do and truly, that’s all SHE really needs from me, isn’t it? There it is- magical answer to the magical question. Now I just have to get through the next 3 weeks and perhaps at some point, get some sleep (that may help me get even more ready).

 

 

Organizing for Peace

hanging to dry
If you are my mom, this photo is making you cry for the 2nd time. If you’re anyone other than my mom you’re probably wondering what’s going on here? So, this is the beginning of my “organizing for peace” project at home. What you see here are blankets, swaddle blankets, cloth bibs, onesies, baby tights, tiny newborn hats and socks and the sweetest little baby girl dresses I’ve ever seen, all hanging in my laundry room to air dry after their first non-toxic, delicate wash. We’ve been so blessed to have received all these things as gifts as well as some gorgeous hand-me-downs from a dear friend. Our little one is going to be snuggled, swaddled and dressed in some lovely items thanks to the kindness of others. We’re so touched. So, what is this organizing for peace concept and what the hell am I talking about? I’ll explain…

Through out my life I watched my mom organize, plan and multitask like no one I’ve ever seen– with ease. I was always there by her side as her little helper (and later as her actual more capable helper) to assist in whatever she was putting together. My mom organized huge charity galas and philanthropic events, political fundraisers and business events. She organized amazing birthday parties for family and friends, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs for us and even friend’s kids and family holidays. She had dinner parties all the time and with all this always going on, she organized and cooked dinner for our family almost every single night too. I learned from watching the master! Sure, I learned how to put events together, how to party plan well, how to raise money for good causes, how to manage to cook dinner while putting together 5 other things with out getting stressed out. All wonderful lessons but the most important lesson of all- I learned how to celebrate life.

Through all this organizing and multitasking, the underlying theme for every single thing was celebration of something positive. Brining joy into people’s lives through celebration and togetherness and making people happy. This was and IS my mom’s artistic gift. I’ve never met anyone who does it like she does. I feel I too got that gift although I am no where near a master like she is but, it’s kinda…”my thang.” I love getting people together. I love to celebrate life and make a point of letting the happy times shine bright in my life because there are most certainly, so many hard and sad times too.

So here I am, having a baby with the man of my dreams. The happiest time of my life. Not the easiest, but the happiest. We’re now 27 weeks pregnant and we’ve got about 12 weeks until I give birth. I’ve been told by many and I understand why, to have everything I need to have done, done 1 month before I’m supposed to give birth. This is to allow for (God forbid) an early birth taking place or bed rest, etc. So to me this REALLY means I have 8 weeks or so to get to a point where everything is done and I can just focus on resting up for baby girl’s arrival into our world. Now let me just say that my way is not for everyone, just as your way isn’t necessarily for me. This is just my space to share with you what I’m doing and if you find it helpful- then that makes me so happy! If you don’t agree with my style or do not find it helpful then that’s a-okay too! To each his own! There’s NO one size fits all way to do life, pregnancy or motherhood. Can I get a right on???!!! Okay so now that I’ve said THAT…here’s what I’m doing…

Organization = Peacefulness: When something this big, this life changing is about to happen- I want to be as prepared and organized about it as I can. I find this creates a peacefulness within me and thus a peacefulness around me. I believe our home is at peace when I create that peace (not just the candles lit and incense burning kind of peace- although I do that too). I believe my husband feels more relaxed when he gets home to a clean, organized home with a happy and mellow vibe no matter what his day was like. I believe I wake up feeling calm when I have put to rest all things I could the day before to create a new, fresh start to the new day. I also feel calm when I know what I need to do this day and feel I can achieve my goals. Organization is the first step to creating calm. Knowing what I need to do and then calmly, with out stress or sense of urgency, getting it done. It’s not hard to do and it feels quite good.

Make a list: I make a list of all the things I need to do to prepare for baby’s arrival and give myself plenty of time to accomplish this list (factoring in the days I do not feel well because I have many of them). If there are items on the list that require my husband’s involvement I create a separate list for him and clearly outline when I’d love for those things to be done. This makes it easy for him to help me and then he can feel good about creating the peace too!

Thank people in real time: When I get a gift for the baby or for us I add the detail of the gift to my list of thank-you’s and then immediately write that person a thank you note and send it (I’ve opted to go “green” with my thank-you’s and use www.punchbowl.com to send them out. They’re cute, I can get them done fast while doing 8 other things on my computer and people seem to love them.

Create One Registry: I used www.myregistry.com because you can add many different registries to it and combine them (although mine is mostly amazon.com) but your friends and family only have to deal with one link. It’s very user friendly for them. I use this for myself too. I have talked to new moms, read books, blogs, done tons of research all to figure out what we need and want. I added items to my registry that I will go and buy for us in the end if they’re not gifted. This way I have a solid and ongoing list of all the stuff I’ve learned we’d want or need. It keeps me organized and is easy for others who are sweet enough to treat us to things.

Nursery: A work in peaceful progress: As furniture, gifts and what not for the baby’s room and for the baby herself have arrived, I’ve been putting them in her nursery and closing the door. I haven’t really gone in that room until this past weekend, in order to begin my process. First I went through and opened all the things that require cleaning before touching her newborn baby skin. I put them in a laundry bag and set them aside. Then, I moved all the items in boxes that do not need to be dealt with right now against one wall. After that I vacuumed the room, cleaned and disinfected everything (including door knobs and windows, closet rods, etc. I used non-toxic and baby safe cleaning products to do so. After that, I put on a shelf in the closet some items that can be dealt with a little later (once I have a dresser and drawers to put things in, counter top space, etc) or things I don’t want sitting on the floor. This includes mom/dad’s diaper bags (which are so cute and we can’t wait to use)!

nursery boxes in a corner

mom:dad diaper bags in closet

 

 

 

 

 

The nursery chair was delivered already so I cleaned and vacuumed it and then sat and rested for a moment. This was a LOT of work. I spent hours doing all this. When you’re pregnant doing things like this can take a lot out of you. This ONLY reinforces my reasoning to do it NOW and not wait until I’m 8 months and huge and stressing. No thank you!

Stokke high chair box

nursery chair

The high chair we picked out is the Stokke….I put the accessories with it all together and this is one of the “dad to assemble” items that can wait. Other dad to assemble items include the crib and eventually there will be a changing table and dresser. These will all get done by the one month away mark for total peacefulness but are not on the “do right now” list as they don’t involve ME. The things that involve me need to get done sooner than later and while I’m having some feel good get sh-t done days!

Next I took my closet organizers that say 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, etc. 0-3 months and hangers closetand soft velvet pink baby girl hangers and got the closet set up for clothes. I did 2 loads of laundry using Honest detergent and no dryer sheets (you never know if you’re baby will react to those fibers so it’s best to go with out them). I hung what needed to air dry and otherwise did a low heat, delicate dryer setting for the rest. Then I folded everything that doesn’t have a home yet (because they require drawers) and put them in a large garbage bag. This way, they are clean, folded and ready to be put away when the dresser arrives and is assembled. Easy breezy. The rest, I began to hang up in order of sizing and as we get more things, I will just follow the same program as it comes. I cried only 4 times while folding baby blankets, baby socks, onesies, hanging up little dresses. Thank you pregnancy hormones for always keepin’ it real!!! 🙂 Finishing this nursery set up step felt SO good. I got much accomplished and am excited for next steps!

closet shot 3

closet shot 2

 

 

 

 

 

closet shot 1

closet filling up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note on our nursery: This room will be a shoe-free-dog-free-sickness-free-stress and drama-free zone. That means, our sweet dog and her hair- not allowed. Take your shoes off before entering. Please don’t come in here if you are fighting or have a cold (in fact don’t come over period no offense). If you are bringing any drama to our life or stress leave it at the door baby. This is the peace-zone and I want our baby to feel it and become it. I think it’s important to set up these concepts before the baby comes and agree with them as a couple because it’s realistic to imagine times where we’ll have to check each other on this or even….stand tall as a couple and just say “no” together, for the sake of our baby. Organizing for peace isn’t just about making lists or cleaning honey…so much more!!!

The Hospital Bag (mine and hers): I haven’t packed these yet. It’s still too early for me. But…it’s on my list and it will be packed before that month away date you betcha! I found this awesome list to help me pack mine and so I thought I’d share it with you!

My Bag:
1. Robe and towels, wash cloths
2. Shampoo, conditioner and soap, skin care products, etc.
3. Toothbrush and tooth paste
4. Make up, hair ties, hair stuff, ect. Don’t forget there will be people coming to visit and you may feel like looking a little nicer. (Or not but nice to have the stuff in case)
5. Pillow and soft and warm blanket
6. Ipod/music for delivery (for us it will be Bob Marley/Reggae mix from our wedding)
7. Sweats/lounge outfit, nursing/sleep bras and underwear
8. Socks and slippers
9. Going home outfit
10. Healthy snacks and water bottles
11. Pads for vaginal bleeding (can occur even w/c-section births so be prepared)
A note of what to grab on the way out:
-Camera
-Cell Phone and charger
-Computer and charger
Baby’s Bag:
1. 4 Receiving blankets
2. 2-3 Soft Blankets
3. Breastfeeding pillow
5.  The diaper bag: Pre-stocked with wipes and diapers of your choice, cream for diaper rash, etc.
6. 3-4 Burp Cloths
7. Breast Pump/nursing pads: The hospital will have both of these, as well, but it is something I would prefer to use my own of.
8. Bottle: Just in case breast feeding as issues you don’t want to be stuck with out getting the baby your milk ASAP
9. Nursing Cream
10. Baby Hat/Beanie: You need to keep the little ones head nice and warm
11. Socks: Also need to keep their little piggies warm!
12: Mittens: To keep them from scratching their poor little faces.
13. Pajamas/clothing: The hospital gives you a white onsies and that is it. So if you want your baby to wear anything else you better bring it!
14. Going home outfit! You know this is going to be photographed right? Right! I can’t wait to pick this out!
Be Ready Then Rest: There is nothing I find wrong with being totally ready, set, put away, cleaned and organized for our daughter’s arrival 4 weeks before she’s supposed to come. If I have learned anything from my pregnancy it’s that the fantasy isn’t always the reality. Just because I WANT to have 12 weeks of being able to put stuff together and get sorted out- doesn’t mean I WILL have that. I don’t feel great, I haven’t and who knows- it could get worse! So to be ready and have an extra 4 weeks to just rest and “be” before she comes…is 100% perfect and CALM to me.
An interesting side note on this entire concept is that being Jewish, there is a very “old school” and superstitious way of looking at this process which I am acutely aware of. This is, not to do anything until the baby is actually born and okay. There are variations on this but the most extreme one is to not bring anything into the home until the baby arrives because God forbid, the baby dies during birth (I know, gasp- hard to even type those words but THIS is where all this came from and I get it- the death of baby and mom was more common way back when and there were reasons for some of these beliefs and practices (but not in today’s world). So to me- the person who celebrates life every chance I get, who desires a totally peaceful, zen-like, calm space for her baby to come home to, who wants the people IN our home to be peaceful too, who believes organization leads to peacefulness….to me- this actually feels toxic, negative and kind of wrong. That’s just ME though- it may feel totally right for YOU! And you know, someday I hope my daughter will get to have a baby and she’ll decide what she wants to do and how she wants it to be done and I will support her choices and do whatever I can do to make her life happier, easier and more peaceful. Isn’t that my job? I’m her mommy. My job starts now and I’m doing all I can in the way I feel is right, to do a good job for her.
Oh, and btw, I am Jewish so yes, I have asked myself…what would I do God forbid something bad were to happen and all this is set up and done? You know, then I’ll deal with it then. But there’s no room in my body for negative thoughts because guess what? I’m growing a human. This little girl is inside me and I believe she gets all the energy good or bad that I give her. Also, thank God so far everything with her has checked out perfectly and so there’s currently no sign to worry about a thing. But do I worry? Sure I do. Just not too much because I also trust in the universe and God and in myself and even, in her, that it’s all going to be okay in the…
beginning.
With love and peacefulness I’m signing off to go organize a dinner while I clean the house because we’ve got new friends coming over and I think it’s time to celebrate some life!!!

 

 

 

Everything Under The Sun: This is a long one…

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I blame this blog on my hormones! I can’t pick one thing to write about so I’m going to write about everything! Which actually seems about right because at the moment and lately, I am all over the place with emotions and thoughts. I’m feeling everything under the sun as they say. (I wish it was sunny right now, ah, Seattle)…I digress. Okay so get ready this blog is going to get a little crazy! I’m going to give it to you straight and I’m going to tell it like it is. If you’re pregnant I say grab a snack and curl up honey, it’s about to get REAL here….

“How are you feeling?” This is the sweetest question and at times the most frustrating. Why? If you’re like me and you are having a rough pregnancy and not feeling well most of the time then answering this thoughtful question only forces you to talk about how not great you’re feeling. That said, it’s unavoidable and is always coming from a caring place no matter who’s asking. At almost 26 weeks pregnant, I’m a little sick of my answers as they’re often the same. Sometimes I just want to lie and say “great.” Mostly because I wish that could be my real answer. It’s not though. I have a headache every single day still. Sometimes it goes away, sometimes it morphs into a migraine. I’m also always exhausted and sometimes light headed or dizzy. Sometimes my stomach is a mess. Sometimes all of the above at the same time. How am I feeling? I’m feeling like I can’t remember what feeling amazing feels like. But, I know I will feel that way again.

The one thing that makes even the yuckiest day feel better? Feeling my baby girl moving inside me. She moves ALL the time now. She kicks, stretches, twists, turns. I don’t know what she’s up to in there but I feel her all the time and I LOVE it! I just revel in her movements daily (and nightly because she really gets going when it’s time to go to sleep- which of course then keeps me up).

Making this little girl makes every day I don’t feel well worth it and I’d do it again in a heart beat just so I can hear hers. Truest thing I can say. I can feel her inside me and I just hold those moments of serenity and peace, happiness and the purest joy one can feel. I hold them very tight and I say “thank you.” I couldn’t feel more blessed or grateful if I tried.

That doesn’t mean I’m all zen all the time over here though. Nope, not exactly….

“Out of respect for my decisions as a mother, please keep your opinions to yourself. You do things your way and I’ll do things my way. “ This is what I’d like to say to everyone who seems to have an opinion about how I should do things with my pregnancy, my birth and my newborn care. It seems everyone has an opinion these days and feels like it’s their duty to share it with you. It began the first time I got a pedicure when I was only 9 weeks pregnant. The nail tech doing my toes had a boat load to tell me about what I should and shouldn’t do while pregnant. She asked me questions about how I was going to do certain things when I gave birth and with newborn care. Oh my God lady really?  Now, this doesn’t mean that when I ASK someone I think is an amazing mother for advice on things that I don’t want to hear what she has to say. I DO! That’s why I’m ASKING!!!! It’s all the unsolicited chatter that’s both annoying and hard to tune out. These days everyone has an opinion and seems to want you to know it. Here is my take….

I have always wanted to be a mother. I’ve been studying moms for years- watching, learning, making mental notes about what I do or do not want to do when (if lucky enough) it’s my turn. I’ve read all the books I think important on pregnancy and newborn/childcare, I’m taking classes to get certified in infant CPR and newborn safety. I won’t let anyone be alone with my baby unless he/she is also certified in these courses because that’s my choice as a mother. I don’t take Tylenol for my daily headaches because that’s my choice as a mother. I don’t drink ANY alcohol while pregnant because that’s my choice as a mother. I eat insanely healthy making my fetus’ nutrition requirements in the womb my #1 food decision making factor and only occasionally go nuts on a food craving because that’s my choice as a mother. I’ve decided my baby will go right into her crib and not have to re-adjust to a crib after finally adjusting to a basinet, because that’s my choice as a mother. I will breastfeed. I will swaddle my baby, wear my baby and treat my newborn as if she’s still in the womb for the first 3-4 months of her life because that’s what I think based on all I have learned, is best for her. P.S. check out “The Happiest Baby on the Block” for more on this concept- I totally dig it. The list goes on but it’s my list because these are my choices as a mother. I own them. They belong to me. I didn’t make them lightly.

I will love her and care for her with all my heart, with all my might, with every once of everything I have inside me just like I’m trying to do now, because she’s my child. I am her mother. This is the most important thing I’ve ever done in my entire life so please, R.E.S.P.E.C.T me. Unless I ask you for advice, in which case bring it baby because if I’m asking you that means I truly value what you have to say. Oh and women who feel compelled to tell us pregnant ladies about horrific miscarriage/childbirth or death stories? Really? Keep it to yourself. Not cool. We’re worried enough as first time moms to be as-it-is! Can I get an amen?!?!?

“What’s Your Birth Plan?” Why is my birth plan your business? Why is my birth plan up for judgment? What if my birth plan isn’t at all what I’d want it to be because maybe, it’s not something I have the luxury to “plan” at all?! Perhaps this is personal and maybe not the grocery store clerk, hair dresser, society or anyone’s else’s business except for me and my husband? Perhaps. Although it certainly doesn’t seem that way. Since the beginning of my pregnancy I’ve been asked this question. I feel like there’s a lot of “chatter” going on in society these days around natural birth, using midwives vs doctors or being in water vs in a hospital. I’m all for au natural routes, trust me but I also value the medical field and I believe that OB’s are with us for a reason. Thank God for them. Seriously. So why am I so annoyed by this question? What’s the big deal? The big deal (to me) is:

#1 I would love to have natural childbirth with out an epidural, totally drug free and I would say bring on the labor pain baby let’s do this. I would LOVE to have that “birth plan.”

#2 I have to have a C-Section birth. I have no choice in the matter. I have had 4 opinions from OB’s/surgeons, etc. based on a medical circumstance I can do nothing about.

3# I’m 26 weeks pregnant and I still am working hard at making peace with my situation. This is not what I would want but I also have no choice. It’s too dangerous for me to have natural childbirth and could put me at risk of not being able to have another child- end-of-story.

What do people say when I tell them I have to have a C-Section birth?

“Oh my God WHY???”

“WHY would you want that???”

“Are you SURE you have to???”

“I’m SO sorry.”

“That’s SO not you! Really?”

I’ll wrap this up with my thoughts on all this. It’s pretty simple. If you’re wondering what someone’s birth plan is, make sure you’re asking with out judgment and with care because not everyone get’s to pick their birth plan and even if they do, it doesn’t always mean it’ll go that way. There are many births that start out natural and end up with C-Sections (1 out of 3 babies is born in the US via cesarean section) . There are also many women like myself who don’t have a choice in the matter. Don’t make us feel terrible about it. It’s not really kind. Be gentle with us pregnant ladies….we’re making life, we’re making a million small and large decisions every day about and for that life… it’s delicate and often private.

My take away on my childbirth situation? There’s not much I can control about it and that is very hard for me so I’m taking control of what I can:

– We will have Bob Marley playing during the entire thing so that the soundtrack to our wedding is also the sound track to our baby’s birth. (We had a Bob Marley cover bad at our wedding). (Note: we listen to a lot of reggae and she ALWAYS goes nuts in my tummy when we do and when her daddy dances around the house with me. So, it seems like she’d probably opt for this as well if I could ask her).

-I will be in the room with my husband. He’ll be the one right next to me holding my hand, looking in my eyes while our trusted doctor does what she needs to do. (I am often asked if my husband will watch the surgery since he’s a surgeon himself- no sir, he’ll be up by me, with me and we both trust our doctor enough to handle this beautifully no matter what comes her way).

-I will hold my baby as soon as humanly possible and show her more love than I can put into words.

That’s my plan. 🙂

Now for some much needed HUMOR….
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This is how I feel at least once a week these days. (If I’m really honest it’s probably more like 3-4x a week). My hormones are out of frickin’ control! I want to beat the sh-t out of them (and I’m not a violent person). I want to say “Hey! Hormones! Get outa my way I’m trying to be zen here!” Instead they have a tendency to just run over me like a train and leave me limp on the tracks not knowing what hit me. These pregnancy hormones are killer. They make you cry, they make you have anxiety, they magnify anything good or bad. Nothing really helps them except for time. In time, they pass. I don’t think there’s anything that can be said about this except- it’s hard. It sucks to feel taken over by some crazy force of nature and feel out of control of your emotions. It’s extra tough when it happens right before you have to be somewhere or right before your husband has to leave the house or right before you have to go to bed (because then you just- C-A-N-T go to bed). All I can say is this- try to breathe, this too shall pass and there’s always light at the end of the hormone tunnel of darkness and doom.

***Shout out to my amazing husband- you f-cking rock my world and deserve a metal for your awesomeness in calming me down, knowing just want to say, how to deal with my hormones and most important- for knowing how to turn it into laughter in the end. God you’re the best.

And for my last vent of the blog…the pregnancy bathing suit situation….

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“Can’t you just wear your old bikini bottoms with a bigger top?”- My husband

Mmmm, no. Not exactly. But I kind of love you more for thinking that I could. So, yes…I’m hunting for bathing suits and will be rocking them during the end of my pregnancy. Which means- even bigger boobs and a bigger belly! Maternity swimwear leaves a lot to be desired. I bought one little (okay fine not so little) black bikini and wore it twice at 23 weeks pregnant (below). Everything is even bigger now and I’ve got to buy a new suit just 3 weeks later! 1920170_10152216357264086_3737433014049087833_n

So I decided to do something I have never done…try on one pieces. Now, before you get all weird about this let me explain- I have TRIED to buy one pieces over the years, however I’m so short waisted that they are almost always ill fitting and thus I have never actually bought or worn one. I ordered a bunch of one pieces online (I highly recommend online shopping vs normal shopping while pregnant- it allows you to take bathroom breaks when you need to, take a break from trying things on when you feel you’ve had enough and it’s much easier on your ego in the privacy of your own home, with your own mirrors). As it turns out…my thought that my baby bump would somehow fill out the “extra” length in the one pieces that my torso is lacking was 100% wrong. Nope, same issues when pregnant. So, it looks like I will be that girl by the pool or at the beach in a bikini. Not because I’m trying to gross you out but because I’m too damn short waisted to rock a one piece. I apologize in advance. Feel free to look away.

Finding the right bikini isn’t so easy. I’m wearing a 34G bra but my bottom size isn’t that different than it was before so everything that fits the top is enormous on the bottom (nothing like a saggy bikini bottom, ew gross)! In the end I’m probably going to have to invest in 2 bathing suits and combine them to get one that fits. Also a quick note on why I can’t wear my old bikini bottoms like my hubby thinks I can…(bless his heart)…

#1 Brazilian cuts=not okay with a baby bump

#2 The bump shifts the way everything fits even bikini bottoms so I end up looking like I’m not wearing much on the bottom at all and that Brazilian cut quickly becomes a thong! Yikes!

So for all you mamas to be out there- if I can let my bump run free you can too! Come on join me and let’s wear our bumps out proudly this summer! Okay fine, join me so I’m not the only one!!!!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my hormonally charged blog. If you’re still reading this, you deserve a cupcake!

peanutbuttercupcakesmmmmmmmm……..

 

 

 

This Is and Is Not My Fantasy Pregnancy: all at the same time.

In bed all day that day

I’ve been vacillating on what this next blog should be about. Should I write about my new favorite this or that? Or should I share with you a couple new books I’m reading about newborn care? (I will don’t worry). Or, should I take a risk and do what feels really uncomfortable to do, which is write about how I’ve been feeling and perhaps share my reality to possibly help you with yours? Yes, that. So, here goes…

I’d like to dedicate this blog to a concept a friend shared with me years ago about being “mindful” and being able to be both really one thing and also really something else, all at the same time. Part of being mindful is accepting that it’s okay to be all the things you are at this moment, and there’s peace in that. I can be in bed with a migraine for 4 days straight and also so happy and grateful to be blessed with this pregnancy. I am all of the emotions and feelings in both of these things, all at once, with out judgment and that is okay. (And there’s my migraine selfie to the left from the other day).

Often times we feel we are only allowed to be all one thing. For ex. I’m pregnant and it’s this one thing I’ve dreamed about my whole life: becoming a mom some day and now I’m actually doing it. So, I think I should be grateful, elated, happy and bursting with joy all day and night. I do feel all those things in my heart and soul, but my pregnancy has not been an easy one. I often feel pretty horrible every single day. At 19 weeks pregnant now, I’ve not felt well for one day since about week 5 or so. Does that mean I am not SO happy to be pregnant? Not at all. In fact, ask my husband, on my hardest of days, in his hour of concern for me and feeling so bad for how I’m feeling, he asked me how I may be able to do this again if I have a similar pregnancy and with this little one running around? My answer to him with out blinking or taking a breathe was, “I’ll do this again. We’ll work it out.” Because I know that I will do this again because I do want more than one child and I know we will work it out. Whatever that means at the time, just like we are now. My desire to be a mother is greater than my need to feel wonderful for 9-10 months of my life. I can handle it because I am so grateful, blessed and happy to be this lucky to have my dream come true.

Each pregnancy is different. The one of my dreams was amazing. I had that “glow” about me…had tons of energy and felt very earth-mama-connected-zen-ed out-peaceful and full of life. The one in my dreams, man, it was awesome. Many women get to have that kind of pregnancy and they feel amazing the whole time. If this is you- you’re so lucky! Enjoy it! Many women (like me as it turns out) don’t have the easiest time. There can be issues with morning (or all day) sickness, headaches, fatigue, constipation, Thyroid issues, Anemia, dizziness and much more. Some women even have to be on bed rest (God forbid). For me, I was nauseous all night and day until about week 13-14 on top of daily headaches which at times turned into migraines. Sometimes those migraines would last for days and nights at a time. There were several days where getting into the shower, walking the dog, doing an errand, felt like a small feat. I have chosen not to take drugs as much as I can control during my pregnancy so, despite being told by my OB that Tylenol is “pregnancy safe” I only took it one time this whole time. (This is a personal choice and not for everyone).

The books and blogs say that if you’re suffering in your first trimester you’ll probably see the clouds part in the second one. You’ll miraculously feel a surge of energy, all your issues will subside and you’ll experience the “honeymoon” period of pregnancy. Well, around week 14 and my second trimester my nausea went away which was wonderful however, the headaches did not. In fact around week 16 they reared back up again and it was so bad that I wasn’t able to fly to my Grandmother’s funeral this past week because of it.

So, what now? Nothing. I just keep taking it one day at a time. I wake up and feel my growing belly and talk to my little girl in there (who is now fluttering around and dancing a bit- she get’s it from her mama). I tell her I love her, her father loves her, her grandparents and aunts and uncles love her. I tell her everything is going to be okay. I’m telling that to myself too. It can be scary to feel bad during pregnancy. It’s important to try to keep calm and peaceful and not let the worry or stress of feeling bad overcome you. So each day, I check and and see what I can do to try to work with what needs to be done that day and how I’m feeling. Then, I just do the best I can and make smart, safe choices all day with what I eat, what I do and do not do, for this baby I’m in charge of.

If you are having a hard pregnancy, it’s okay. The light isn’t at the end of the tunnel, it’s inside you, growing there, so let it shine from the inside out and be okay with it all. You can be upset about being in pain, exhausted from struggling through headaches and nausea all day AND also filled with the love and light inside you, for and around your baby. Shine on, even if it’s from the couch.

Note: If you’re suffering from headaches and don’t want to take Tylenol here are some tips and tricks I’ve found that can help:

-Drink tons of water

-Try small doses of caffeine

-Try some sugar (in my case fruit didn’t cut it, I had to actually eat some real refined sugar or chocolate which is sugar and caffeine).

-Move slowly. Getting up and down fast can cause your headache to pound more. Don’t forget your blood volume has increased by 50% and so this could also be why you’re having these issues. Move slowly honey…don’t have to rush, it helps.

-Listen to your body! If you’re body says to lay down, go lay down. If your body says to eat, go eat. If a long hot bath sounds like it may calm your nerves, go run one.

-Get a pregnancy massage by someone trained in prenatal massage. It can help relax and relive some of the pressure. 

-Try acupuncture with someone trained to work on pregnant women. It can help. 

 

 

 

Bring On The Stretching But Not The Stretch Marks!

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I’ve been asked many times what I’m doing to protect against stretch marks. Well first of all we should all understand that there’s only so much you can do to protect your skin from getting stretch marks because much of this will depend on your genetics. Chances are if your mom got them you might be prone to them too. That said there is no reason not to try with all your might to avoid them. One of the things that will most certainly help is not to gain too much weight too fast. It’s important to have a steady weight gain while pregnant and that will not only be healthy for you and baby but also it will allow your skin to stretch slowly. Other than that all I can say is lube it up!!! (Not that kind of lube)!

Here’s what I’m obsessed with and using diligently every day!

#1 Coconut Oil

If you’re like me and have sensitive skin you will love coconut oil. It’s SO calming to the skin, feels luxurious going on and lasts the whole day or night. I also put some in my hair before bed too as a conditioning treatment if I’m going to wash my hair in the morning. I’m loving the coconut oil from head to toe! Note #1: When you’re rubbing it on your body, make sure to really take your time with it and even it out everywhere. Get all the areas you can think of- it’s totally safe for the entire body. My husband always comments on how amazing I smell after I’ve had my coconut oil moment. Note #2: For sensitive/painful nipples this works wonders and my friends who are nursing tell me this is so helpful on nipples when nursing so I’m happy to share that with you although I’m not there yet! Soon enough!

The benefits of coconut oil go on and on it’s good for your insides and your outsides. I have some in the kitchen to cook with and some that’s in the bathroom for my moments of massaging my growing baby belly and body. Ladies, it’s nice to use that time to talk to your baby, embrace your new body and all the changes happening to you. Let go of any stress or concerns you’re feeling. Use the massage time to focus on loving yourself and that beautiful baby you’re growing inside. Lately when I do this, I can feel her flutter around and it’s just the most amazing thing. They respond to touch, sound and love even now.

#2 Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Butter

I did a ton of research when I found out I was pregnant to figure out which cream or lotion or potion I should use to avoid stretch marks. This is something I decided to start a regular daily regime with right away and before my belly even started to grow. Clearly I’m taking this quite seriously. I also realize that despite my efforts, I might get stretch marks anyway and if I do- I will embrace them because I got them from making our child inside my body. Buuuuuut….I’m doing all I can do avoid. So, Mama Mio Tummy Rub by far got the best reviews out there. I’ve been using it this entire time and I do just love it. As you can see with #1 I am using coconut oil as well. So what I do is I use the coconut oil all over and the Mama Mio Tummy Rub only around my belly and hips. It feels and smells wonderful and I plan to continue this all the way through and then when I’m on the other side and trying to get my body back.

#3 Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil

This oil is awesome but it also feels a bit more like oil than let’s say, the coconut oil I’m using. So, I have used this sparingly and only when I feel my skin is itchy (which will happen as your skin is stretching) or dry. I have a feeling as I start to stretch more and grow more I will add this oil into the mix even more and probably only on “problem areas” such as oh let’s see….my belly! Oh shoot I can’t call that area a “problem!” You know what I mean!

The bottom line on avoiding stretch marks is to try your best but also embrace reality. If you get them, you get them and you can wear em’ like a badge of mama honor and love them when you look at the smiling face of the baby you carried. Also, if you’re like me and you love being naked a little coconut and tummy rub secret- it makes your body look quite stunning right after massage time. And hey- if I do get stretch marks I’ll still dance around and want to enjoy being naked with those puppies on my body. I’ll be a mom and that’s frickin’ sexy! Own it ladies! Use these moments to love and embrace what’s going on. It’s beautiful, it’s a miracle and it can be sexy as hell if you let it be baby.

“No matter what, make sure your nails always look nice”- My mom

Safe nails1

Perhaps you’re like me and you can hear your mom inside your head saying “No matter what, make sure your nails always look nice” or perhaps you just dig the polished look. This thought came from my mom’s mom (who’s now 93 and yes, her nails look stunning) and has somehow made it’s way into my brain. I totally have an “oh my God my nails look terrible, I can’t go out like this” complex and really do try to have nice looking nails as much as possible (even if they’re painted black which is a look I love). Plus, who doesn’t love a little mani-pedi action whether you do it yourself or get it done at a salon. Well ladies, I am here to tell you that just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you have to ditch the manis and pedis! In fact quite the opposite!

If you’re concerned about the harsh chemicals in polish and polish removers with pregnancy, you have every right to be. That’s why you really should avoid them. Lucky for us, we now have more options than ever with pregnancy safe polish, removers, base coats and top coats. I have done some trial and error with this myself. As soon as we started TTC, I started using the safe products (just in case we did conceive, I didn’t want to risk the chemicals on my body).

safenails2

Here are my favorite brands many of which are now available in nail salons and all of which you can find online. I also found a pretty great nail polish remover (it takes a bit longer to get the polish off but it’s totally worth the peace of mind).

ManiPure

Butter

PRITI NYC

nailpolishremover

The important things to look for when picking nail polish and products that are pregnancy safe are:

What’s known as the “Toxic Trio,” Toulene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and formaldehyde. These chemicals can seep through your system right to your developing baby. It’s SO not worth it ladies.

Once you’ve invested in these safer polishes, the good news is, if you end up having a little girl then you can use this polish on her one day! Coming from a long line of women who think your nails should always look nice, it’ll be interesting to see if I end up programing my little girl the same way!

A note about manicures and pedicures at the salon: Make SURE to tell the nail technician that you are pregnant. It’s very important they know this as they may tweak the massage or what they use on you. I recommend bringing your own nail polish and remover in a bag with your own nail tools. This is not the time to get an infection from a nail salon ladies! Also make sure to check the over all cleanliness of the nail place. You have to make sure it’s pregnancy safe. I’d also make sure they have the water warm but not hot as pregnant women shouldn’t soak it extreme heat in general.

There’s nothing like that foot massage while you’re getting a pedicure. When you’re pregnant the foot massages can’t possibly happen to often.  I swear I live for it right now! If you can’t get a pedicure then go for it and ask your partner for a little foot rub and paint your own nails. It’ll be just as awesome if not more.

Dare to Bare….My Hair???

PureVibranceWe’ve all heard about the big hair issue of pregnancy. No, not how gorgeous and thick your tresses will get while your pregnant or how fast it will grow. I’m talking about the issue of whether to dye or not to dye. That is the question. Now if you’re like me, you always envisioned your pregnancy with this beautiful natural flowing mane of hair, looking all earth mama boho chic beautiful…natural and sexy. Right? Okay perhaps that’s just me. But the reality is that if you’ve been dying your hair or even highlighting and/or low lighting it (which is what I’ve been doing for years) then you will be forced to decide to either continue to do so while pregnant or let your roots run wild and your natural color show for all the world to see. There’s a ton of literature available about this issue but no hard medical facts that substantiate hair dye to be dangerous to the fetus. It is only suspected that hair dye on your scalp is potentially dangerous to your baby’s health. So, this decision is yours and for some of us it might be a big one. For me, it wasn’t hard to chose. I had pretty much decided to do pregnancy sans hair dye since before I even met my husband. That said…it was a process.

What I chose to do:

My hair is naturally blonde. My hair is also naturally curly. It’s kind of been my thing to have blonde big curly hair (even though I occasionally partake in a blow out for a little treat). Over the years however, I started to do the highlight thing and then the highlight/low light thing to give my hair dimension. As I’ve gotten older I can tell my natural blonde has gotten darker. It’s considered “mousey blonde” or “dirty blonde” at this point. Neither term sounds too appealing to me. Since I’ve gone so long with out seeing my hair in it’s complete natural state, all I have to go on is what color my eye brows are and other hair on my body. So, okay I’m still blonde but I don’t want to look “mousey” or “dirty.” When hair dressers have done my color in the past they often comment at how light my natural color still is. That’s always made me feel good but whenever my roots have grown out with highlights, to me they always look dark. That said, when I thought about growing my hair out and letting my roots go wild I immediately freaked at the thought of that horrible line you get when your roots grow out and then multiplied that look x9 months of growth! Oh hell no!

The beauty of planning to try to get pregnant and preparing body/mind/house and spirit prior to TTC also includes making time to get your hair in order! When we moved to Seattle in July I began my hair journey so that once we started TTC my hair would be where I wanted it to be for the duration of a pregnancy. The first thing I did was research colorists in my area and also people who are good with curly hair. If you are a curly girl, you will relate to this: cutting and coloring curls is totally different than cutting and coloring straight hair. When I lived in NYC I discovered Devachan and realized that cutting and coloring curls is an art and these people were the artists who wrote the book. Actually they did literally write a book!

Since my curly hair revelation I have tried to find Deva-trained hair dressers and colorists in every city I have lived in. It just so happens that in Seattle, they are all under one roof at the very chic and hip salon Vain. I made an appointment with a stylist there and explained to her that I wanted to get pregnant and while pregnant, I want to still look good (my hair at least). I explained my issue with growing out my roots and also the fact that I wasn’t exactly sure what color of blonde my natural hair really is anymore. So we devised a plan of attack. This was, to take out the highlights and match my low lights by doing an all over color that would wash out as I washed it over time. She promised me it wouldn’t be too dark in the end even though in the beginning it may seem that way. So, I went for it and sure enough….full freak out mode. It was not too dark it was WAY TOO DARK. I could hardly look at myself. This was not even blonde anymore this was looking brown! So, I went back for a fixer session a few weeks later after washing my hair like a mad woman 2-3x a day to try to get it to fade. The hair dresser was super sweet about it and realized that in fact this was maybe over kill. She did some kind of a rinse and toner and threw in some golden highlights that she felt were very close to my natural color so that as it grew out, it would blend and not have a line.

As it turns out, the second time in worked great and so began my growing out phase while anxiously waiting to see what my real color would look like. I still gave myself enough time to change the color if need be before TTC. Fortunately, I realize my natural color was pretty and I even started to get lots of compliments on my beautiful natural blonde curls! Who would have thought?! Don’t get me wrong as delighted as I am that I can live with this color for 9+ months, I will 100% be going to get some dimension added back in via color when I am done being a vessel for a little one. I miss having little funky streaks of lighter and darker shades mixed in, however now that I know I like my hair I will probably do highlights/low lights less frequently and more sparingly than before. I am starting to fall in love with my blonde shade…it’s more “goldie locks” and less “mousey locks” (thank you God or shall I say, thank you genetics)!!!!!

Hair Products I swear by that are baby safe too:

What I’ve been using on my hair, I am fortunate enough to be able to stick with through TTC and pregnancy because it’s all totally safe for baby! I go between two sets of hair products: Arbonne and DevaCurl (from the Devachan curly girls).

You’ll see me talk about Arbonne products a lot on this blog because everything they create is totally safe to use on your largest organ- your skin! I live for their products and I’m 100% about them for my skincare, my make-up and body care. The only place I let anything else touch me is when it comes to my curls because I can’t live with out my DevaCurl products and have found my hair is looking and feeling it’s best when I mix it up wit Arbonne! The DevaCurl products and Arbonne products are sulfate-free and paraban-free, which is very important. I’ll give you my scoop below:

My Arbonne picks for dry, thick, wavy, curly or color treated hair:

You can check them out directly through my site (yes I love Arbonne SO much I sell it and you can get amazing discounts through me). Click on “hair” and you’ll find Pure Vibrance Lustre Fortifying Shampoo, Pure Vibrance Fortifying Creme Conditioner and Pure Vibrance Texturizing Mousse, all of which I absolutely love! Not to mention it smells so good and never irritates my skin or face as it washes out.

If you’re a curly girl like me then you might become a lifer as I call myself, with Devachan products. You can buy them online.

I use:

No-Poo Cleanser

One Condition

Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam

Light Defining Gel

Good luck with your hair journey ladies and don’t worry, if you can’t dare to go bare while pregnant no one is judging you! (Well at least not me)!!!

Dreams DO come true…We’re Pregnant!!!!

double checking!

double checking!

Dec. 8th, 2013. The day our life changed forever!

We had been “going for it” for 2 months. The first month I went a little crazy…I cut out drinking, coffee, raw fish, unpasteurized cheese and was living like a pregnant woman JUST IN CASE we got pregnant. I also had a OB-gyn appointment that month with my new and super awesome doctor. At the appointment I explained to her what I was doing and she told me to “stop it.” Yep! She told me I was putting too much pressure on myself and too much focus around getting pregnant to actually “get” pregnant. She told me to just do life as normal and not worry about it and then I’ll be relaxed and I’ll have an easier time conceiving. She also told me to make sure we have sex on days 10,12,14 & 16 of my cycle (counting day 1 as period start day). So, after that appointment I went to meet my mom and my dear friend Barbara who was in town visiting Seattle and we had some oysters and a glass of wine! I follow directions well!

After that my husband and I just enjoyed life and I’m not going to lie, we had sex every single day that month just to really put it out there and go for it. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had making anything in my entire life! (Thanks honey)!!! Also yes, I did those silly shoulder stand yoga poses almost all the time after or I would just lay in bed for at least 15-20 minutes to give the sperm the best chance it had to do what it needed to do. It may or may not have made a difference but I did it anyway and if anything it often just cracked us both up (because I looked ridiculous).

Fast forward from period start date Nov. 8th to Sunday, Dec. 8th. There I was pushing myself to get on the elliptical machine despite how weirdly tired I was. I was also extremely thirsty so I chugged a huge glass of water then started my work out. About 15 minutes into my cardio I got this intense wave of nausea and dizziness. I had to stop, get off and sit down. I told my husband it must have been from the water chugging. Oh sure because that would make a lot of sense right? Not so much. My husband had been secretly wondering for a few days noticing how oddly tired I was and that I had an insane hamburger craving that week and even ate the entire burger and bun (extremely unusual for me). Not to mention the handful of very extreme emotional reactions I had had that week to things. So he asked me about my period. I said I was one day late. He looked at me and said “do you want to take a test?” With in a second my heart skipped a beat. “Yes!” So, he went to the store and bought us a pack of tests. My nerves were going crazy, they were all over the place. I wanted more than anything for the test to be positive but I also remembered my doctor telling me this could take up to a year to happen and that was normal.

Here goes nothing I thought and peed on the stick. I shut the bathroom door and waited in the kitchen with my husband. I was too nervous to go look so he decided to do it. This I will never forget…He took me in his arms, wiped my nervous tears away and said in the most calming, assuring and loving way, “No matter what it says, we’re in this together. We will get through anything good or bad. No matter what it’s going to be okay and I love you and am with you. No matter what we will have a baby even if we have to adopt. It’s going to be okay either way.” He meant it and I believed him. This calmed me and I said okay let’s find out. A moment later he emerged from the bathroom holding the stick to face him, looking down at it. My heart stopped and the world seemed to pause for what felt like an eternity. Then, he looked up at me and said, “Let me see the box…I want to make sure I know what the signs mean…” and turned the stick outward at me and I FREAKED OUT!!! And yes, showed him the box to reassure both of us!

Screams of joy, hugging and jumping up and down, tears of happiness and excitement went on for a while. Then…I had to double check, of course! So, we took one more test to confirm and then we made the best phone calls ever to our parents and immediate family. My mother’s first words were “I knew it! Every time I hung up the phone from you this week I told dad, “Sarah’s pregnant and she has no idea.” Never underestimate the power of a mom!!!

As exciting and happy as all of this is, what my husband told me before going to look at the test, he told me many more times after because things do happen in the beginning of pregnancy. It doesn’t always stick, people have miscarriages, life happens. But, I knew that no matter what, we were in it together in love and support and that I would be okay.

And now the pregnancy journey really begins!

Creating a pregnancy safe home!

02_APC_51_1Okay so your body is on the right path, you’re getting in to see your doctors, taking your folic acid, removing your goalie, picking your OB and now you need to do one more thing….get your home baby making friendly! It’s not just what we put into our body but it’s what we touch with our skin, what we breathe in, that needs to be baby making safe. This part can cost you a bit of money but I swear it’s so worth it for the peace of mind. Go into your cabinets, under your sink, into the laundry area of your house and throw out everything UNLESS it’s non-toxic and baby safe. If it is- keep it honey you’re a step ahead of the game! Then, go to amazon or your local store and replace these items with cleaning supplies and agents that are safe. Here’s a list of the brands I recommend:

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day

Seventh Generation

Babyganics

Method

Honest

Once you’ve switched over you can just continue using these safe products because trust me, once you get pregnant, it’s crucial not to be touching and inhaling chemicals. It’s all for the safety of the baby.