Babymoon. Maternity Pics. 33 Weeks 1 Day

Hello friends. Today I am 33 weeks and 1 day! I had a check-up earlier this week and baby sounds good! It drives me a little crazy that they don’t do ultrasounds, so all I get is the heartbeat on the doppler thing. I can’t wait to see her!

Anyway… Weekend before last Beau and I took a Babymoon to Las Vegas! But before I get to that I wanted to share a few maternity pics from my photo shoot the prior weekend…

 

I am pretty happy with the way the pictures turned out. There’s a whole bunch more but these are just a few of my favorites 🙂

Anyway… Las Vegas….

vegas

So we were wanting to take a short vacation before the baby arrives and were having trouble settling on a place. First of all, I didn’t want to take a lot of time off work because I need those hours for my maternity leave. But I wanted to go somewhere warmer and somewhat relaxing. I know Las Vegas is probably not what comes to mind when people think of relaxing vacations, but I have been there multiple times before, so there’d be no motivation to try and do too much (like there would be in a new city I’d never been to). So we settled on Las Vegas for three main reasons:

  • It is close enough that we could drive
  • We’ve been there before
  • I could treat myself to a massage at one of the fancy spas in the casinos on the strip (Which was soooo nice. I highly recommend Qua Spa at Ceasar’s Palace!)

 

The drawbacks were:

  • I can’t drink alcohol (which is readily available everywhere in Vegas!)
  • they allow smoking indoors on the casino floors.

Otherwise it was a really nice getaway where we ate delicious food and wandered around looking at the various attractions, and got plenty of sleep.

 

My sleep has continued to be erratic, and I haven’t really found a great solution for it. I am just hoping that somehow my body will know when I am about to go into labor and will give me a couple of nights of really good sleep before I pop!

Yesterday was International Women’s Day and I participated by going to the rally at my state capitol building… I am a bit too sleep deprived to write a blog post about it yet, but I expect I will have some thoughts together by next week. Have a great weekend everyone!

 

Did anyone else take a babymoon? Where did you go? 

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Doulas

Sorry I suck at blogging right now! I have so much to share I just haven’t had time to sit down and share it. Growing a baby is a lot of work! Today I am 31 weeks and 6 days! 

We interviewed our third Doula a couple weeks ago and I think we’ve found our winner! She seems really open and calming, just exactly what you’d want in a Doula, but almost just as important is that she is midwife certified and has attended around 300 births! She still charges less than the first Doula option we interviewed because she doesn’t offer any of the little extras. For instance, the first Doula takes notes about your birth during the process and writes you a birth story and also gives you some kind of trinket or charm after you’ve delivered. I am totally fine with passing up those little extras, in return for a more educated Doula who can come to my house and is certified to check my blood pressure, baby’s heart rate and my cervix for dilation while I am in labor, thus giving me a better opportunity to labor at home longer and knowing when I need to go to the hospital. I can’t tell you how reassuring this is.

I have had many friends give birth in their homes. Somehow it is more common in my area of the west than the general population. I assume this is something to do with the culture of frontierism and libertarianism. People around here are a little more suspicious of government and somehow that bleeds into modern medicine and doctors. Even some of my friends who I would consider to be more liberal on most issues (as opposed to libertarian) have chosen to give birth at home with midwives rather than at a hospital. However, I am not one who feels totally comfortable giving birth in my home without trained doctors and medical equipment on the ready should an emergency arise. 

I fall somewhere in the middle of showing up to the hospital and just doing whatever the doctor says, and not wanting the doctor involved at all. This is where the Doula/Midwife comes in. I think it is the best of both worlds to have a birth advocate who can keep me comfortable in my home for as long as possible, and help me to achieve an epidural-free hospital birth, which is my goal. 

I have a few reasons for wanting to try and epidural-free birth. The most important being that I have low blood pressure. Epidurals can cause your blood pressure to drop further, and if that happened to me and it tanked my blood pressure to be “too low” I would end up with an emergency c-section. That is the last thing I want. So that is the biggest reason, in addition to not wanting to be considered a “fall risk” and then restricted to the bed for the entirety of my laboring. Being able to move around and try different birth positions (squatting, all-fours, etc…) seems to be the key in finding the most effective way for an individual to give birth with the least amount of complications (delayed labor, tearing, etc…).

At the same time I am trying to keep an open mind and be gentle on  myself. If I end up in stalled labor without the epidural and the contractions are getting to be more than I can handle, I will allow myself to give into the epidural. I will not see this as a failure if it happens. As long as I bring a healthy baby girl into the world at the end of it all, it will be a successful birth. I truly believe that there are no wrong decisions to be made when it comes to giving birth, we all do what we feel is best for ourselves and our babies.

I have, unfortunately, encountered some people who have stronger opinions on the matter. I don’t bring up my birth plan in conversation with anyone, but if someone asks I am open to letting them know what my intentions are. I have been disappointed in a friend who recently gave birth, who I thought would be more sympathetic to the plight of pregnant women and the judgement we all receive, only to be met with comments like “women who want to have an un-medicated birth are trying be martyrs so they can brag about it” and “our ancestors who didn’t have pain medication in birth would think we were stupid to decline them.”

None of her comments have made me question my choices. It’s just sad that we as women place so much judgement on each other! I never once told her that choosing and epidural for her birth was bad in any way. It was the right choice for her. She had an easy, uncomplicated birth with no tearing. I am happy for her. It’s just that I want to try something different. We need to practice more acceptance of each other as women and not be so quick to compare ourselves to others or judge them for the choices they make.

On a positive note: Weekend before last I had a friend (a different friend) take some maternity photos of me! And then this last weekend Beau and I took a short babymoon to Las Vegas to enjoy some warmer weather and a some relaxation before this baby arrives! Expect updates on both soon! (if I can get my shit together and actually blog haha)

29 Weeks 1 Day and Erratic Sleeping

I am 29 weeks and 1 day today and it’s a weird space to be in. I feel close, yet so far, from my due date.

It’s still a month and a half before I even have a baby shower. That’s a decent amount of time. But it’s really approaching quicker than I realized. I can’t believe it’s already been 29 weeks! Crazy.

And my sleeping has decided to become very inconsistent. It seems like I am only sleeping well every-other night. I cannot figure out why. I was SOOO tired last night. I had had a pretty busy day….

When I got to work I discovered my tire was leaking air! I am lucky I made it to work without going flat! A couple of coworkers tried to help me get the lug nuts off but we couldn’t and I don’t have AAA. So we called maintenance and I was really lucky they were willing to help. Sent a big dude who got them off no problem. Had I been on the side of the road I would have had to hope that someone would take pity and stop in the middle of their morning commute!

Later on I had physical therapy for my rib/back pain. Being pregnant is all kinds of fun! The physical therapy is only very slowly starting to help with this pain. But at least it’s something.

That was at the end of the day, so I went straight from there to take my car to the auto shop before they closed for the day. They’re only a few blocks from my house, so I left my car there and walked home. They’re a small shop so they don’t keep a lot of inventory on hand and had to order the tires for me, to be delivered sometime this afternoon.  My boss is super nice and flexible so working from home today was not a problem while I wait on my car. [I am writing this on my lunch break for those concerned about my work ethic 😉 ]

THEN Beau and I met with a doula last night. She came over to talk about her process and strategies and see if we were a good match. She was really nice and a lot cheaper than the first doula we met with, but she’s also newer to this work. We are meeting with a third option this weekend so I think I will save all the doula details for another blog.

Anyway – you’d think with all that activity I’d fall right to sleep! Wrong. I was exhausted after the doula left and definitely felt ready to hit the hay. But for some reason (pregnancy) I couldn’t get comfortable no matter what I did. Then my mind started working and I couldn’t shut it off. I probably drifted in and out of sleep for a few hours and decided to try my luck on the couch. That was worse. Nothing was comfortable! So I went back up to my bed. I finally did doze off, though I am not sure what time.

When Beau woke me at my usual time this morning I felt terrible. I sent a quick email off to my boss about working from home since I didn’t know my car situation and then fell back asleep an extra hour. Luckily boss was totally cool with working from home because I would have been LATE had I had to get myself dressed and onto public transit to trek to work. Instead I worked in my jammies at my kitchen table until I could take a quick break to shower and get dressed and write this post!

The problem is this keeps happening. Every other night I can’t sleep and then I am exhausted and am able to fall asleep the next day but then the cycle starts all over again!

Anyone out there with pregnancy sleep problems have any advice? I am not sure I can do this for 11-ish more weeks!

 

Finding Balance

So I will be 28 weeks along tomorrow! I am officially in my third trimester – home stretch!

third-trimester

It’s becoming clearer to me by the day (by the minute!) that I need to take care of myself first and foremost. Because right now, caring for myself and my baby are one in the same.

But there are so many things happening so quickly in the world around us. It is hard not to want to simultaneously get outraged at ALL of it, and bury my head in the sand and ignore it all. I see friends on both extremes. The ones posting constant Facebook updates of what has is happening and how terrible it all is. It’s all happening so fast that there’s a new article, meme, or breaking news livestream at least every thirty minutes. It’s exhausting.

And then there’s the friends who are are asking when we can all go back to just posting cat videos and pictures of our food. Not wanting to address any of it.

I believe in  balance. I know I cannot get outraged about every issue – there are just too many of them. I am happy to show my support in many ways to many issues, but I cannot show up to every march and every rally.

So here are the things I am doing:

  • Calling or Emailing my Senators
    • it only takes five minutes to let your opinion be known
    • The staffers taking calls are usually polite and they have to pass your views onto the senators (even if it’s just tallying yays and nays on an issue)
    • I feel like I can speak up about a lot more issues if I restrict myself to doing just this one thing for most of the issues I am hearing about.
  • Re-posting information I find helpful and thorough on social media
    • I know this isn’t always helpful, I have said before that I am mostly preaching to the choir. Though I do have some friends with different views so perhaps I am reaching them in a small way
    • I discriminate which things I will share. Only things from trusted sources, nothing click-bait-y or extreme.
  • Commenting with Caution
    • If I feel someone genuinely wants to engage in a discussion, I am willing to oblige.
    • But only on topics I feel knowledgeable about! (this is key, don’t get into something unless you really know what you are talking about!)
    • If it turns petty I tune out. No reason to keep arguing with someone for the sake of arguing. That only drives a further wedge.
  • Get Educated
    • You cannot be an expert on all things, and that’s okay! If you feel strongly about an issue that is happening, learn more about that issue!
      • This goes in hand with the above, if you care about something and want to engage in conversation about it – learn all you can!
    • Focus on one or two issues that really hit home for you and try to learn as much as you can about them and how people are affected.
    • Do not feel guilty that you do not care about the same issues as other people. Do not let other people make you feel guilty for not latching onto their issues, and don’t get mad at others for having their own concerns. 
      • Change can take a really long time. You will burn out, we will all burn out, if we all try to take on every issue that comes across our Facebook feed. Let some of them go. Have faith that good, hard working people will stand up.
  • Marches and Rallies
    • Certain subjects do strike a chord with me more than others. For those issues I truly connect with, I think showing up in numbers does make a great impact. If I tried to go to them all, I would probably be burying my head in the sand already with exhaustion. Pick your battles. There’s going to be a lot, and you’re going to need to rested and prepared!

REMEMBER WE ARE ALL HUMANS. I am seeing friends post things on Facebook like: “Okay friends who supported Trump, is this really what you wanted? How can you keep supporting him after ‘X’ (chose anything he’s done in the last two weeks).” It is tempting to call people out and hold them accountable. The problem is, people who voted for Trump did so for a wide range of reasons. They may not agree with what he has been doing, but cognitive dissonance is a real thing. They may be struggling with their feelings about some of the things that are happening and if we call them out and ask them to defend Trump’s executive orders and tweets and press conferences before they’ve had a chance to REALLY think about it, you can bet that they will justify his actions. They will find some reason why what he is doing is okay, because we are all human, and we all defend the choices we make when we are pushed up against a wall.

I think the best strategy is to approach them with compassion. This is hard. But give them the space and the safety to come to their own conclusions about what is happening. Some will continue to defend everything he is doing, they will refuse to admit that anything he is doing is wrong and they will insist that liberals are overreacting. However, there will be others who say ‘this isn’t what I wanted’ and will slowly come around to understanding the potential damage of the way he is conducting business. But we cannot be tempted to force this view. We must stop ourselves from “I told you so’s!” Shaming and blaming are not how we move forward with progress.

If we get enraged by every issue. If we pick a fight with everyone with a differing view from our own. If we try to re-post every article and meme and purport to be experts on all topics. If we attend every rally and march. We will burn out. We will not be effective catalysts of change.

Everyone has different thresholds. Find your own balance.

What are some of the ways you find balance in your lives? 

Women’s March

Last weekend we witnessed the incredible coming together of millions of people all over the world to march for their voices to be heard. It was called the women’s march, but (unlike the good ole boys clubs of the past) all were welcome and included in this record breaking event.

march

What started as a march for women’s rights (already a broad topic in and of itself) quickly morphed to include ANY man, woman or child who felt that their voices were not being heard, that their government was not listening and did not care about them. This was a march to ‘take the power back.’ A march to remind our politicians, and our newly instated president, that they work for US. WE are in charge!

I have spent the last few weeks since the election trying to muster motivation to take charge and fight for change, only to actually feel powerless and silenced. I live in a big(ish) city that definitely leans liberal, as most cities do, but my state as a whole is about as conservative as they come. Sure, I shared plenty of articles and information on my Facebook, but let’s be honest – that’s probably just preaching to the crowd. My like-minded friends would like and share my posts and I, in return, would like and share theirs. Just a big circle jerk. But I couldn’t fathom any action that I could do that would actually make any difference.

But that changed a bit on Saturday with witnessing just how many people are feeling the same way I am. Luckily there were enough people who did feel like they could make a difference by organizing and energizing this movement. They didn’t feel powerless or silences, and I am so thankful they didn’t!

It doesn’t matter that we aren’t all rallying behind the same exact issue. What matters is that all of us – SO MANY OF US – are feeling unheard, unrepresented. 

It was invigorating! It was inspiring!

It was just what I needed to buckle down and say NO MORE. No more silence from me. It is too important to our future, to my daughter’s future, that I don’t just bury my head in the sand. Time to get involved.

So I signed up on the Women’s March 10 Actions in 100 Days email list. Anyone interested should do the same. The first action is to write a letter to your senators about your concerns that aren’t being heard. They have a template you can print off if you’d like.

I also came across this helpful article if you are shy about calling your representatives.

Since this is a private blog, I have been reluctant to share photos. But I am pretty sure no one in my real life has stumbled on this blog yet, so here I am with a bump photo from Sunday.

26-weeks

I haven’t really delved into any of the specific topics of #whyImarch, but this post is getting lengthy as it is. In the future, in addition to pregnancy and baby updates, you can expect me to weigh in on various topics I care about.

Feel free to ask me any questions you have, or please comment below on what issues are of concern to you right now! I would love to hear from you 

Blogger Award!

OH GOODNESS ME! Today I was nominated for a Blogger Award by this tiny blue house! For which I feel VERY honored. I have not been in this blogging game very long, so to be nominated really means a lot to me! I have loved keeping up with this tiny blue house, which is all about living a frugal, minimalist, humble life with her husband and daughter. She’s also been through some terrible losses and her strength really shows in her genuine, thoughtful blog posts.

Being nominated has also motivated me to dig my heels in and post. Last week I caught a terrible cold, and being 26 weeks pregnant with a head cold is pretty much the worst thing ever. I am past the worst of it, so I needed a little push to get myself to post a new blog update. Not that there isn’t plenty I want to say, I just haven’t found the words yet. Stay tuned for some thoughts on the happenings last weekend and the women’s march!

 

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have mentioned them and provide the link to the post you created.

blogger-recognition-award

How my blog started:

I’ve touched on this subject here and there in my blog posts, but the big reason I started a blog is that I was inspired by someone else’s blog! I started a blog was to share my infertility story. Infertility is awful and frustrating and I felt so discouraged and out of options other than IVF. Then I read someone’s blog and it gave me hope. It actually encouraged me to try a procedure that my doctor had said would probably not help me. So I went to a different doctor who thought we should give it a try, and voila! I got pregnant immediately! I felt that I needed to share my experience just in case there was one other person out there like me who felt that they were out of options. Just in case they stumbled on my experience and it gave them some hope and helped them achieve pregnancy. Now I am due with my first baby at the end of April, and so my blog is morphing a bit from the experience of trying to get pregnant, to now being pregnant, and eventually my adventures in motherhood. I am going through a lot of life changes and it’s fun to share those and find others who have gone before me to derive some knowledge from.

A couple of pieces of advice:

  1. Be Genuine. Sometime I read a blog post and I can really tell that the person is writing from the heart. Those are the posts I love most. They aren’t shying away from feelings or trying to appeal to too many people with differing views. They are just true to themselves and what they want to say. This helps your readers really feel connected to you and want to get to know you better.
  2. Read and Comment on Other Blogs. As a new blogger I get really excited when people ‘like’ or comment on a post I have written. It always makes me want to see who they are and what they are blogging about. This is how I’ve stumbled on some of my favorite blogs. It can also help inspire your writing to see what other people are saying.

My nominations:

Here are some of the blogs I follow, and links to a blog post of theirs that I enjoyed. I hope you will read through and find joy in them too!

 

A Big THANK YOU to anyone out there reading. Take a minute to check out these other blogs and drop me a comment on what you think! 

99 Days!

So I have been posting past experiences and not much of the ‘what is happening right now’ stuff. I am trying to get caught up to the now, but wanted to give readers some background to my journey. BUT today I looked at my pregnancy app. I don’t look at it every day, but I just happened to open it this morning at it said…

99-days

 

99 days to birth! I am down to double digits! I am getting more nervous and excited every day. I just faxed my FMLA leave request information to the HR department at my work. Having a baby as a full-time employee is a bit complicated. I am lucky enough to be employed by an employer who offers FMLA for maternity leave. I know that some smaller companies don’t have to. I am also lucky that I have accrued a lot of sick and vacation pay to help cover my loss of income while I am out. I will run out of it before I am back from leave, but it’s good to know I wont be going three months without pay. I can’t imagine what other women have to go through who don’t have the same options as me. It’s hard enough with support from your work.

Here’s the list of things to do now, and while on maternity leave, as it pertains to work:

NOW

  • Tell your supervisor!
  • Fill out FMLA request form and return to HR department with supervisor signature
  • Determine how much sick and vacation time you have available so you can take it while on FMLA
    • note: if you run out of your accumulated paid leave, the remainder of your leave will be unpaid. Because you don’t have money on paychecks you will not be able to make any paycheck reduction payments (so any bills that are paid directly from your check) – so plan ahead for that! This includes your health insurance. You will not lose your health insurance, but any back payments will be taken all at once when you return, so you may be paying two or three times as much on your first paycheck back. Plan for that too!)
  • Find out if your insurance payments will change by switching to a family plan, and by how much. Time to start budgeting for these changes!

WHILE ON MATERNITY LEAVE

  • As soon as she is born, get paperwork from hospital and forward it to HR department and let them know you are starting your maternity leave
  • Apply for a ‘life changing event’ through your insurance to switch to a family plan and/or add your new baby. It may take a bit to process but they will back-cover to the date of birth for any appointments for the baby you may have while you are processing everything.
  • You  may also want to enroll in a flexible spending account through your work. This will allow you to put aside tax-free money every month for child care expenses. They provide you with a ‘debit card’ of sorts that draws directly from your account. Some day care facilities will accept payment this way. If you chose not to do a flexible spending, you can apply for a tax refund at the end of the year. It just depends on if you’d rather have that savings along the way, or get a refund once a year. I haven’t decided which I will do yet.

 

I am sure there are more things I am forgetting. It feels a bit overwhelming at times, but I am sure it will all come together.

Mom’s who’ve been through this before… What am I missing? How was your experience handling all the paperwork while adjusting to a new baby?