38 Weeks | Making A Nest

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Let’s talk about nesting. It’s f’reals, y’all. Since day 1 of this pregnancy I’ve been feeling like quite the homebody. And with that, we’ve been transforming our home into a nest.

Over the past few months we’ve moved the Braid office out of my house and into it’s own space, put together a nursery, bought a king-size bed and overhauled our master bedroom, made a legit guest bedroom, cleaned out our basement, organized the kitchen pantry, had a custom dining table made, and made a trip to IKEA. Yet, with all of that our house hasn’t felt quite complete. We’re constantly waiting on curtain or furniture deliveries and have piles of baby things to be opened, washed, assembled, and organized.

But just in the past couple of days there has been a burst of energy and things are beginning to really fall in place. And not just around our house – which is truly starting to feel like a home I’d like to bring my baby into. I’ve been working like crazy too – everything from client projects to writing + coaching, to blogging here, and writing some more over here. That said, I’m looking forward to a solid 8 weeks of maternity leave to really energize our nest with the little family we’ve created.

Field Notes & Other Observations: 
• I’ve definitely gotten to the point where I’m actively keeping my eyes peeled for signs of labor. I’m definitely moving in that direction with more intense contractions accompanied with period-like cramps.
• My belly is consistently measuring 2 weeks small but the baby is growing like a champ.
• I have good days and I have bad days. I’ll admit. I cried a little after midnight on New Years because I was just feeling so done with the mental transition and physical obligation that is pregnancy. But the next morning I woke up a warrior.
• My workouts have slowed down significantly. I’m still walking, lifting light weights, and taking Barre3 classes but I’m not trying to be a hero. I take breaks when I need them.
• I wanted to mention that I have been taking a protein supplement while pregnant. The only one I feel comfortable with is Jarrow Whey Organic protein (100% whey – no other ingredients) – and I just take 17g a day. If you’re pregnant, be sure to ask your doctor or midwife if something like that is right for you – but more importantly, listen to your gut.
• Maternity leave: I’m asked about the specifics of my maternity leave a lot. So here it goes: I will be working up until I have the baby. I’m not sure what I would be doing otherwise. I am planning on taking 8 weeks off to learn how to be a mom. Jeremy will be taking 4 weeks off with us. Hopefully, I still be able to blog here once or twice a week but things may get a little quiet around here.
• Child care: We’ve looked into hiring a full time babysitter or maybe going the daycare route. I’m still figuring it out what’s best but know I will make the right decision for our family when the time comes. If I’m a work-at-home mom it will only be a temporary measure (day care wait lists are INSANE). I am confident I can be a great mom and a great business person but probably not at the same time. And both are important to the health of my household.
• I’m secretly hoping I don’t have to take a 39 week photo next week (I typically take it on Sunday or Monday).

37 Weeks | The Count Down Begins

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37 weeks means that, according to statistics, I can pretty much birth a thriving baby at any point starting now. So it could happen later today. Or it could be 3 weeks from now. Even as I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable, I’ve also found myself at times feeling surprisingly patient for the arrival. I’m ready / not ready. I’ve found myself with spurts of energy to get the house in order* and parenting books read – only to be coupled with a dose of denial and procrastination (What? I need a hospital bag? And a printed & signed birth plan?).

I also am very aware of each meal possibly being my last before baby. I ask myself “Will this obscene amount of caramel corn I’m eating give me the energy I need to push a baby out?” I’ve been battling the Christmastime sugar demons with eggs & oats in the morning and salmon and veggies in the evening. I also have been cautious about what color to paint my nails – I’m just not sure I want to bring our baby into this world with disco glitter nails. (Or maybe I do!?) Important decisions to be made, my friends.

Field Notes & Other Observations
• The baby has dropped and is in prime position to be born. His head is right where my pubic bone is. My midwife spent a lot of time with me yesterday showing me where all of his body parts were. It’s so cool to know where to pat his little bottom when I can feel him with hiccups.
• The baby is measuring on target – everything is progressing as it should.
• I don’t spend much time talking to the baby at all. I’m constantly thinking about him and rubbing on my belly or responding to his movements but I don’t read to him, talk to him, or put headphones on my belly. (I’m also not one to talk to my cats or to myself when I’m alone).
• I’ve been getting nauseated and super crampy in the evenings. The cramps feel like period cramps that start low in my abdomen and wrap around my back. I’ve been soaking in Epsom salt baths every evening and that seems to alleviate any discomfort.
• So, the more I read (and hear) about breastfeeding the more complicated and confusing it seems. I feel like the attitude towards having birth preferences is to remain flexible to whatever can happen but the attitude toward breastfeeding is that you better keep trying and stick with it no matter what happens or your baby will grow up to be an undernourished sociopath. That said, I’ve decided to hope for the best and remain flexible.
• Right now the baby is still moving around like a champ. Though, his sharp jabs have begun to feel a little more like rolls.
• He still doesn’t have a name. I think people think we’re keeping it a secret, but truly we just have no idea. Again, we have a short list of about 5 names that we’re seriously considering (Spike included). But again, I can’t even decide what color to paint my nails right now, much less name a baby. So we’re going to wait to greet him into this world before we commit to anything.

*Note: Jeremy is actually the one getting the house in order. He’s been amazing at getting stuff done around here.

 Anatomy of an Outfit:
• Vest – Patagonia
• Flannel – JCP
• Tee – BCBG
• Leggings – GAP (Maternity)
• Boots – UGGS

P.S. As of right now I’m more like 38 weeks pregnant. Which is significant when it comes to the count down.

 

36 Weeks | All The Things

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After finalizing the content and launching my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Subscription, wrapping up the last of my 1:1 creative coaching sessions, followed by a minor meltdown of my own (ah, the weight of being a pregnant and perhaps an overly ambitious business owner) I kind of feel like not talking about my feelings right now.

So let’s talk about The Stuff, shall we? You see, I have these fantasies of a minimalism and simplicity but at my core I love my things. Surrounding myself with beautifully designed things and aesthetically pleasing objects makes me happy. I went on a pretty serious shopping hiatus for a couple years. Sure, I still bought things but not with the same passion, enthusiasm, or frequency that I once was capable of. Until I became pregnant. I bought a king size organic memory foam mattress. I bought a massive platform bed with a quilted headboard that almost reaches the ceiling. I bought a new car. I bought maternity clothes, that a couple months of hindsight makes clear I didn’t really need like I thought I did.

And then as this baby started to become more real-deal I started receiving and buying all the baby things. And this is more complicated than you would think if you’re not trying to fill your house to the brim with all the decidedly not-so-well-designed baby things. Why so tricky? Two things:

1. You don’t really know what you’re going to need.
I’m so grateful to have momma friends and family who fill me in on what’s what. But every baby is different and responds to different things. So while one friend tells me I NEED a vibrating chair another tells me I need to kind that rocks back and forth. Do I get both? How do I know which is the right choice!?

2. Everything is ugly. Okay. Maybe not baby clothes. I pretty much become a pile of sentimental girly mush when it comes to an adorable tiny onesie. But all the other baby things are clearly designed by people who think parents turn into babies themselves when they become pregnant. Or they cost a bajillion dollars and lack the functionality babies desire. For example:

BabyChair

Of course I wanted the one on the right for $200. But we got the one on the left for $38. I tried convincing myself it was stylish because “it’s like lamb fur! … ?”. I’m willing to spend a pretty penny on good design but not something a baby will use (or potentially not use at all) and be over with in the blink of an eye.

Here are All The Things (or at least a few of them) we have purchased or received as gifts (the generosity of our friends + family and even blog readers is humbling):
• Ergo Baby Carrier – this is the first thing we bought
• Sakura Bloom baby wrap – yup, I’m all about wearing that baby
• Car Seat + Stroller – holy hell. This was really complicated (stroller system? rear facing? weights / sizes? etc.). We almost didn’t even get a stroller but our friends & family convinced us we were being crazy people. We ended up with the Eddie Bauer Target stroller + carseat combo.
• Vintage crib – a hand-me-down from my sister.
• Co-sleeper – we imagine the baby will be in the bed with us for a while, if that’s what we all end up preferring. I debated getting a co-sleeper because I feel confident we aren’t going to smother our baby in our sleep. And what if he likes his crib better and we never use the co-sleeper? See… this is pretty much the dilemma I face with every baby thing we buy.
• Cloth Diapers – yeah, you knew we’d go there, didn’t you? We got a variety of diapers to start off with – just to see which ones work best for us and baby. Our friends-in-the-know hooked us up with disposables for the first few weeks (days?) too. We also had to get special laundry detergent and butt paste so the diapers remain absorbent.
• Diaper hamper bags (full size + travel size) – for the soiled cloth diapers
• Changing Pad – We have a flat pad that we can just lay on the bed + a contoured one that fits on top of a dresser in the baby’s room.
• King Size Mattress Protector – if baby is sleeping with us we’ve got to make sure that brand new organic memory foam mattress is well protected.
• Swaddlers – Again, my friends-in-the-know hooked us up with these.
• Vibrating bouncy seat – as seen above
• Bumpo seat – well designed AND affordable!
• Diaper bag c/o Shop Good – (it’s not really a diaper bag.)
• Baby Books – next to baby clothes, baby books are pretty much the fun and adorable part of buying things for baby
• Baby Miscellaneous – baby clothes, blankets, burp cloths, socks, first-aid supplies, crib sheets
• Momma Miscellaneous – breast feeding things (like a milk storage stuff), belly bandit (for getting everything back in place after birth), birthing things (like essential oils, robes, heavy duty maxi pads, etc.)

Even with all that I still sometimes feel like I’m missing something or am not entirely prepared. But other than doing a good load of laundry, and finalizing the nursery, we’re pretty much ready for baby boy to arrive. My doula promises me that all the baby really needs is some love and a booby (and we all know I got a booby or two for him).

Field Notes & Other Observations: 
• I tested positive for Group B Strep (GBS). This is basically a bacteria common in lots of women (like yeast or any other gut bacteria) – but if passed on to the baby during birth it could be harmful or potentially fatal. So what it means is that I’ll have to take antibiotics during labor to help protect my little guy. I’m also looking into natural solutions for trying to get the actual GBS under control before I actually give birth (though, I’m totally comfortable with and will be taking antibiotics too.)
• Braxton-Hicks Contractions + Cramps – So I’ve been having “practice contractions” for months now. But in the past couple of weeks they’ve started feeling more like period cramps.
• Gradual Changes – I met with my doula (whom Jeremy and I both love) this week and she told me that changes from here are going to be very gradual – and that eventually those gradual changes will lead to labor. It’s interesting to think that the process begins way far in advance when movies + shows depict it as a clear line between pregnancy + labor.
• Moon Cycles – Okay, so my doula also told me that the moon phase you were born under, or conceived the baby under, is likely the moon phase you’ll give birth to your baby under. With that, I predict baby boy will get here around Jan. 11. I also charted it out for one of my pregnant mama friends and her predicted due date aligned with her moon phase!
• Working Out – I’m definitely taking more breaks and getting more easily winded when working out. But still going strong on the daily!
• Little Ninja – So the baby is still moving around like a ninja. I can feel him all the way down to my pubic bone, at both of my hips, and then up into my ribs. All at the same time. I think if I miss anything about being pregnant it will be feeling the baby move around. I love it. I also like to comfort him by patting his little back when he gets the hiccups.
• Kick Counts – At this point I’m supposed to be tracking the baby’s movement and make sure he’s kicking at least 10x per hour. I would be a neurotic mess and probably always at the hospital to get a non-stress test (for baby) if I actually did this.
• Sleep – it’s getting more difficult.

Anatomy of an Outfit:
• Shirt & Dress – Blue Seven (not maternity)
• Shoes – c/o Tieks

35 Weeks | Family History

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Confession: I’ve started losing sleep over the anticipation of giving birth. The baby books and iPhone apps warned me about this and I was all “Psah. I’m a warrior. I got this.” I still try to give myself a good dose of positive affirmation mixed with a little delusion that it’s going to be no big deal but sometimes the middle-of-the-night gremlins get the best of me and I start to let my mind wander to the pain and the worst case scenarios. I try to put a stop to the horror stories and remind myself that I’m going to be a birthing badass and fall back asleep while imagining how I’d like the experience to go down.

One of the things that gives me comfort and confidence is my family history and genetic predisposition to birthing a baby like a champ. With my mom’s first pregnancy and delivery she simply thought she had eaten some bad food one night. After a few trips to the bathroom she realized that my sister was crowning (that means the top of the baby’s head is visible and coming out). Her and my dad waddled across the street to the local hospital and a few minutes later my sister was born. My brother and I arrived in similar fashion. Though, I just discovered the other day that my mom would have epidurals just before pushing. This information shocked me – I always thought my mom did it all natural, plus she’s terrified of needles. But she revealed that she was terrified of feeling the pain of her vagina being cut by the doctor (episiotomy) to make it more convenient for him to get the baby out. I hear this is no longer a common practice at most mother-baby friendly hospitals.

And then there was my sister. She was the first pregnant person I had daily interactions with. She was so sick, puking 8 times a day, for pretty much the entire 9 months of her pregnancy. But her unmedicated labor and delivery was a breeze that lasted about 3 hours total. Tara didn’t have a strong stance against a medicated birth but just simply couldn’t be bothered. My mom and I were on pins and needles in the waiting room while my sister labored (we’re not a party in the delivery room kind of family). I decided to get up and walk by her room, even though loitering in the hallway at a hospital is strongly discouraged. Through the closed door I could hear her pushing – it was unlike any noise I’d ever heard come from my sister and honestly, it scared me. Then I heard a baby cry – I ran back to the waiting room to tell my mom. After the delivery I remember being with Tara in her room – in my memory it was just the two of us – or maybe I was just laser focused on her. Even the baby had been taken to NICU for observation over a case of the hiccups. She had her knees bent under the stiff white hospital sheet and her legs were trembling – blood slowly soaking the sheets under her. She was so blissed out and happily chowing down on some cherry pie after 9 months of keeping nothing down. I was so proud of her and had her recount all the details to me. Tara has always been the best story teller even after giving birth.

I don’t need to be reminded that every woman has a different experience when it comes to birthing babies. But I’ll absolutely be drawing on the power of my mom and sister when it comes to delivery day.

Field Notes & Other Observations: 
• My belly is measures 33.5 weeks. That’s a little on the small side but it’s getting bigger with each appointment and continues to measure within 2 weeks of my actual pregnancy, which means it’s no big deal.
• I mentioned about half-way through the pregnancy that I had gained a significant amount of weight rather rapidly. So I only feel like it’s fair to share that that the big gains seemed to have happened more at the beginning of the pregnancy and my weight gain in the latter half hasn’t been nearly as dramatic. In fact, over the last two weeks I haven’t gained any weight at all.
• I mention above losing sleep over labor & delivery anxiety but I also lose sleep over the fact that this kid doesn’t yet have a car seat, washed laundry, or you know … a name.
• Baby boy is kicking and moving around like a champ. He seems to have super active days followed by more chill and restful days. It’s fun to feel him wake up and start moving to our voices when we wake up in the morning.
• We had our last Hypnobirthing class last week. Our key takeaway from the whole experience is the more chill you can be going into labor the less tension, fear, and pain you’ll feel. And what Hypnobirthing gives you are a bunch of tools for chilling out – from breathing to scripts for visualization to practical and specific information about what’s happening to your body as you give birth. It was a good experience and I’d recommend it to anyone.
• Both my mom and sister had their first baby 2 weeks early. I’m due mid-January. You can probably do the math.

Anatomy of an Outfit: 
• Sweatshirt – Gap (I think this is Maternity…)
• Tee & Leggings – BCBG (not maternity)
• Wool Socks – I have no idea…
• Boots – Uggs
• Hat – Aldo

P.S. I was hoping the marker I had been using for the overlays would hold out 40 weeks… but today it finally ran out of ink. Maybe this is a sign baby will come sooner than later? 

34 Weeks | Bebe Time

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Time is such a funny thing. In some ways, I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. At times I’m impatient to get this baby out of my body and can’t wait for January to get here. Other times, I feel like the weeks are flying by a bit too quickly (this week for instance) and feel like I could use a bit more time to prewash cloth diapers, get the nursery completed, and maybe install a car seat in my MINI. I also want to take time to really experience this pregnancy. Unless you’re a constantly knocked-up Duggar it’s a pretty rare opportunity to feel a baby tumbling around in your belly. And of course, I could also use more time to organize, write, publish, and launch all the projects I’ve got lined up before I take 8 weeks of maternity leave off work. And finally, I want to appreciate the time Jeremy and I have together right now – just the two of us.

Field Notes & Other Observations: 
• Just when I thought my bruised ribs and squished lungs couldn’t take much more of my ever-expanding uterus the baby dropped down a little. With that, I’m able to feel him a bit more in my pelvis. Sometimes he sends sharp punches to my crotch and I can often feel his head rolling around down there. It’s pretty amazing the nooks and crannies this baby can get into.
• My body (specifically, my awesome boobies) has started producing tiny amounts of colostrum – this is the nutrient dense stuff that happens before your milk comes in. I’m equally amazed and weirded out.
• With that… I’m pretty surprised by how many people ask me if I plan on breastfeeding. I had NO idea it was such a hot topic before I got pregnant. I also had no idea how complicated it can be. I just assumed boobies + a baby = breastfeeding. No big deal, right? Apparently not. Just like natural birthing and all things parenting I definitely have my preferences, breastfeeding being one of them, but will not strictly adhere to a plan if it’s just not in the cards.
• We’ve been receiving so many thoughtful and special gifts for this little guy. I will be sharing more of those over the next few weeks.
• We still don’t have a name. At this point it’s not so much that we want to meet him to see what he’s like first (though, hopefully that will help us in determining what his name will be) but it’s more like meeting him will give us a pretty hard deadline for making the decision. But based on the reactions I’ve been getting from our short list of possibilities, I can promise you will probably completely love or totally hate whatever we choose.
• Finally, because I’m getting farther along I should specify that these posts go up about a week behind how far along I actually am. So today I’m actually 35 weeks. Which means this baby will be at term in just 2 short weeks!

Anatomy of an Outfit: 
Romper – BCBG (non-maternity)
Leggings – Gap (maternity)
Boots – Fiorentini + Baker
Crystal necklace – Shop Good