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The Hospital Bag Post

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Well, it took weeks of planning and incomplete shopping lists and everything in between, but we are officially packed for the hospital. We have no idea if we have underpacked or overpacked or what have you. So, with that being said, you should definitely not look at this post as your one and only go-to packing list. Plus, much of this is likely to be hospital-specific and based upon what we know about what our hospital provides and offers. Also, if there is anything you recommend we add to our bags, please let us know in the comments below (especially if you delivered at Anne Arundel Medical Center because, well, you are our experts)!

So we actually packed several bags. Each with a different purpose. We’re planning on leaving most of them in the car until we are moved to the postpartum room after labor and delivery. So this is really quite a few lists.

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The Labor and Delivery Bag

  • Folder with all of our medical paperwork, FMLA and disability paperwork, birth plan, pooping and nursing chart (didn’t you get one of these in your breastfeeding class, too?),  etc.
  • A pen
  • His and hers cheap flip flops
  • Toiletries (we bit the bullet and just bought extras/ travel sized everything so that we’re good to go and can leave our bathroom in tact when we leave)
  • Makeup bag (same as with toiletries, I’ve got a second stash of my makeup and I’m using that instead of packing my life away… I figure it will be nice to have it all where I left it when we come home)
  • Hair ties (I packed an entire handful)
  • Clif bars for him (and me after I deliver)
  • Coconut water and applesauce for me
  • Chapstick
  • Swim trunks for him (I predict wanting to take showers during my labor and this way he can be with me… I’m sure my modesty will be out the window, but his will be alive and well)
  • Van Morrison CDs (this is a personal preference, but it’s in the bag)

We’ve also got a running list on the back of our door of things we need to pack before running out the door. These are also going into the labor and delivery bag and include:

  • Cell phones and chargers
  • Laptop and charger
  • Camera, extra memory card and charger
  • Hairdryer
  • My hairbrush (there is no duplicating this gem, and I can’t leave without it)
  • Any books we want to bring along
  • A reminder to feed the cats and do the litter one final time

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The Postpartum Mommy and Baby Bag

For me:

  • Lightweight, dark colored robe (I’ll probably wear just this the first day while I’m recovering and learning the ins and outs of nursing)
  • Black gym shorts (two pairs)
  • Black leggings- I can still wear my Zella leggings so those are going with me (three pairs)
  • Dark colored nursing tank tops (four tanks)
  • Nursing bras (I bought a few different styles, but I’m bringing the ones that are basically like sports bras to the hospital, who do I have to impress?)
  • Full zip hoodies (two)
  • Socks
  • One size too big black cotton panties (I figure I’ll use the hospital ones until it’s time to discharge)
  • Nursing pads
  • Soothing gel pads (for the girls)
  • Overnight, heavy duty pads (for down there… also, if nothing else, for when we discharge so it isn’t so bulky when I leave the hospital)
  • Lanolin
  • Prenatals for four days (in hopes we don’t use all four days worth)
  • Probiotics (I am GBS positive so I’ll need antibiotics during labor and I’d prefer avoiding a yeast infection during recovery…)

For baby:

  • A swaddle (we’re going to ask someone to take it home to our cats before we are discharged so they get used to his smell)
  • Mittens
  • Hats
  • Long-sleeved onesies in size newborn and 0-3 month (the kind that have the built-in mittens at the end of the sleeves)
  • Sleeping sack with long sleeves that have built-in mittens (that thing is one size fits all)
  • Leggings in size newborn and 0-3 month
  • Socks

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The Postpartum Daddy Bag

  • T-shirts
  • Hoodie
  • Gym shorts
  • Sweatpants
  • Boxers
  • Socks
  • Extra blanket for his bed
  • Folded up extra bag (we’ll be stashing away those baby necessities day after day… free is free, right?!)

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Other Bulky Items for Postpartum

  • Boppy pillow
  • Two pillows from home with colored pillowcases (our hospital stressed NOT bringing white pillowcases because they’ll assume the pillows are theirs)
  • Car seat

And that’s what we’ve got stashed away right now. Anything else we should pack? I’m tossing around the idea of buying one of those massage machines so Alex can keep it running on my back during labor. Is that obnoxious?

Documenting the Bump: Week 37

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Now that we’ve reached the “any day now” part of this journey, I decided it would be prudent of me to do these weekly instead of monthly-ish. You’re welcome. But, please, if I’m still doing these in 4 weeks, know that I’m not happy. Please come soon, little peanut. Please.

Also, I would like everyone to know that yes, this is the same dress that Sookie Stackhouse was wearing Sunday night during the True Blood series finale. I had it first. But the Duchess herself had it first-first. And that may or may not be why I bought it? Hmmm…

I feel full term. Did you know that was a feeling? Because it is. And I could describe it, but that won’t matter. I think it’s got to be some cruel way to bond all women together. Because, goodness, do I have respect for all women who bear children now that I can join the club.

My heartburn had eased up since he’s started his descent, but I had the worst case of it last night that woke me up. Oh, you guys, it was horrible. I was stuck on my side and couldn’t sit up without waking Alex to have him help me, and then I ate half a dozen Tums at one time. And poor Alex, still half asleep kept going “Do you want water or lemonade?” to which I replied “well, that would make things even more terrible…” and he just kept asking until I told him I was okay and could fall back asleep. Poor husbands.

Also entertaining: I flushed my debit card down the toilet today. It was in my cardigan pocket to hit up the cafe in our office and plop. I take up more space these days and sometimes I forget, bump into walls and stuff, and this time we had a sacrificial piece of plastic, I suppose. Certainly was good for a laugh or two. Did you even know those things flush? I watched it spin around and around and kept wondering if it would go down or if I’d have to valiantly fish it out. But they flush, they do!

I head to the OB in the morning and I’m considering opting out of the cervical check. As much as I want to know what’s happening, it certainly won’t make things happen any sooner by finding out. Plus, I was pretty miserable after last week’s check. But, knowing me, I’ll get it done anyway.

We installed our car seat this weekend! HE CAN COME! We still need to install the extra base in the other car when that arrives in the mail, but we’re ready! I haven’t taken the car seat back out (I should do that when I’m done with this blog post), so I’ve driven everywhere with an empty car seat hanging out. It’s not good for the anticipation part of this time period. I can see where his little head’s going to rest when I look in the rear view mirror through that baby mirror and it’s so difficult not to feel totally distracted.

So, anyway, yes, I’m still here. He’s still here. I can tell he is growing. He needs to come out before he outgrows his clothes! Goodness… in the meantime, I have to schedule a final hair appointment, take a few relaxing baths, date my husband a few times, plan on getting my nails done in a week or so….. we’re down to the wire. Yikes!

Baby Byland’s Nursery

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When it came time to discuss the nursery, Alex and I both envisioned a relatively gender neutral space for our baby. Boy or girl, we had the backbone of the nursery picked out for the little peanut pretty early on. The one question I was asked over and over again was, “Have you picked out a theme for the nursery yet?” to which I had the most difficult time answering.

The thing is, we didn’t want a theme. No animal safari or trains or dinosaurs or even triangles and circles. If I’ve learned anything about my style preferences over the years, it is that I grow tired of anything too theme-heavy or trendy. So that’s where we started. No theme.

The nursery has transformed a ton. It was originally our third bedroom, with a daybed for guests, but really it was a place to store things we wanted to forget or ignore. The carpet was beige and old, the molding was dark cherry, and the walls were beige and blueberry blue. It was the room we forgot even existed most of the time. Fortunately, we had leftover hardwood flooring in the attic and Alex was pretty sure it was enough to redo the floors. Sure enough, we had only enough flooring to refinish the nursery! But it was a priority for us- we’re both ridden with allergies and asthma and the thought of having a carpeted nursery sounded cruel for our little baby.

Up next was paint. Oh, the paint. I picked out a paint color that was way too minty. Then, I asked for them to take the green out of it. And then I finally went back a third time to Sherwin Williams and begged endlessly until they mixed the perfect gray for the walls. So, if you want to know the color, the best I can tell you is that it’s likely to be closest to “Light French Gray.” And we love it. We love this custom color so much that we’ve painted the other spare bedroom with it as well. We painted the trim white, something I was adamant on because the room’s too small to have such dark trim.

Before we could get down to the fun of decorating and furnishing, we also had to install a new ceiling fan, new closet door, new shades and curtains… this room had a complete overhaul. And it needed it. Alex is my hero for putting our baby’s nursery together over the past few months. He really let me take the reins and make most of the decisions solo. He trusted my vision and I am so happy with how it turned out.

We wanted a serene environment for the nursery. A place that would be calm and relaxing in the early morning hours and still a place of peace at the end of each night. Sometimes, we just sit in the room quietly because it really did live up to our expectations.

A few details that we added. There’s a few allusions to Where the Wild Things Are in the nursery. We knew that if we were having a boy, this would be as “theme-y” as it would get. We also started off with a simple color scheme of grays, whites, and french blues. When I framed the prints from Where the Wild Things Are, we loved how the muted colors in the prints played off of the neutral furniture and wall paint. So, we invited a little bit of color into the room. And, lastly, the elephants. I have a thing for baby elephants. I registered for elephant things and people bought us elephant things and you know what? I’m a fan.

So, welcome to our little man’s nursery. I hope you enjoy it.

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I’ve tried to list everything I could below so you know where it came from, but feel free to ask me any questions, too!

Documenting the Bump: Weeks 32-36

Against all odds, my uterus made it! Let’s take a moment to thank it.

Some of you know, others don’t, just how iffy it was as to whether or not my uterus would make it all the way to the ninth month. I have a bicornuate uterus, which basically means my uterus is shaped like a heart instead of a pear. It also can mean a lot of things for carrying a baby. Everything from a higher risk of miscarrying to stillbirths to pre-term labor to breech babies to, well, let’s just say it’s been a stressful ride. And as high of a risk as I was for everything going wrong, they told me there was also a chance everything would go just fine. Like textbook.

And it has.

So here we are. I’m full term on Monday, with a baby who is measuring perfectly and is upside down, deep in my pelvic bone ready to make his appearance the old fashioned way. I’m so proud of this kid already, defying the odds month after month.

But there’s a lot to say from these past few weeks and I’m just going to bullet list the highlights for you. Sound good?

  • My belly button hasn’t popped out and I really don’t think it’s going to. This makes me a bit sad. I wanted to have a pop-up timer like everyone else, but I always had a SUPER innie and it looks like it is just going to level out with my belly.
  • Realization: I haven’t cooked a full meal since I was knocked up. Let that settle for a minute…
  • Being nine months pregnant is a rite of passage. My bones and joints hurt in places and ways I didn’t know existed. Things are happening to my body that I wish never could happen (ahem, hemorrhoids). And why didn’t anyone tell me that I’d still be vomiting this far into pregnancy?! Getting in and out of bed is more difficult now than every before in my life, but somehow I find myself having to do it every few hours to use the bathroom. It’s unfair. Pregnancy is not for the weak.
  • Baby hiccups in utero are cute. Except at 2:00 in the morning when they keep you up for 45 minutes. Stop swallowing the amniotic fluid already, kid!
  • So…. if you asked me what my body looks like from below my belly button to my mid-thigh, I couldn’t tell you. This is a fascinating thing, not being able to see part of your frontside. I mean, we go our whole lives not being able to look at our backs without a mirror. But our fronts? It’s sort of unnerving. I rely on mirrors and my husband a lot these days.
  • Warning, TMI coming. Everyone talks about the dreaded mucus plug. What nobody tells you (except my OB who confirmed) is that it’s possible to slowly, progressively lose that thing. So I’ve been losing it for a week or so now. That’s fun….
  • Last Tuesday morning I did my daily under-belly check in the mirror (I can’t see down there anymore) and I still was stretch mark free. Twelve hours later, getting ready for bed guess what? I have a few little tiger marks under my belly button. This is what happens why your baby drops. The stretch marks show up. Grrrrr.
  • My weight has evened out. I’ve gained a pound in about 5 weeks (and I really have ice cream to thank for that pound). Baby is growing, but I’m thinning. It’s lovely. So my total weight gain this far teeters between 29 and 30 pounds and the doctor says it’s likely to stay there… unless I decide to eat more ice cream.
  • Also, Braxton Hicks. Goodness I had no idea just how many contractions you have before you are even in labor! Why isn’t this discussed more frequently? I’ve been walking around with contractions for over a month now!
  • Cervical checks are not fun.
  • His nursery is absolutely complete. It’s the best room in the house. He’s a lucky boy. And it’s all a bit funny since he’ll be sleeping in our room with us until he outgrows his bassinet.
  • I spent two hours mastering the art of opening and closing the stroller. Alex still is struggling.
  • I’m phasing into working from home full time. My commute is deadly long (60-90 minutes one way) and the doctors believe it’s best I stay closer to home and the hospital. So when I do go into work, I’m working funny hours where I go in before rush hour and leave mid-day, finishing my work day at home. I am so fortunate to have the ability to flex my schedule like this, and I’m also looking forward to teleworking 100% of the time as I get closer. I’m always uncomfortable these days, but at least I can be uncomfortable in my own home now.

We’re ready. I really mean it, I know I do. We are so ready to hold him and kiss him and tell him how much we love him. We’re ready for our lives to change for the rest of eternity. We’ve watched our labor and delivery classes, we’ve read the parenting books, we’re baby proofing the house. Everything is about to change and it’s really awesome to feel that timing is so perfect. Although, to be perfectly honest, I am also ready to have my body back, but that’s not happening until I’m done breastfeeding so…. the journey continues.

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You can see weeks 8-14 here, weeks 15-18 here, weeks 19-22 here, weeks 23-26 here, and weeks 27-31 here.

On Baby Registries

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Well, I need to start by telling you that this is nothing more than a pure, unsolicited review. Because I’m about to rave about a website and you are going to think I was paid to say these things. Nope. I just had such a good experience that I wanted to share the love.

Also, since I clearly don’t have a baby yet, this isn’t any sort of “what to put on your baby registry” post because, let’s face it, I will have no idea if anything we registered for turned out to be beneficial until this little dude actually arrives.

Anyway, now that we have the disclaimers out of the way, let’s talk BabyList Registry. This website is excellent. Amazing user experience.

So, to absolutely no surprise of anyone who knows me, I started researching what we would need for baby early on. Starting with the basics (carseats, cribs, strollers), I began reading consumer reviews, product recalls, comparison trackers… you name it. It all goes back to my theory that it’s better to buy something right the first time then have to replace a mediocre product later on. Saves you money. (Case in point, every single pair of Frye boots I’ve owned since forever ago. But that’s another story for a another day.)

Okay, so, once we safely made it into the second trimester, I bought a diaper bag to celebrate. This diaper bag (and even though I haven’t used it yet, I will recommend it just because it’s so lovely in person). Either way, that set the gears in motion for realizing babies need things and we’d ultimately need to put together a baby registry. The problem? Babies R Us and Target are really the only standard baby registry stores in Annapolis and I wasn’t completely thrilled with either of their selections on the other side of my 3 month research study on baby products (remember? see above). Plus some things we had chosen weren’t available in big box stores at all.

We thought about Amazon, but what if people wanted to visit a real store? That didn’t seem fair. And then I came across BabyList Registry. Which is essentially Pinterest for baby shopping. Seriously. They’ve got their little bookmarklet and you just pin (errrr, add) things to your registry from anywhere on the internet. Then, they’ll add comparison prices from other stores. So when someone picks an item, they can see options for where to buy the gift from.

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Sidenote: I love the bookmarklet feature. I can’t tell you how many times I have been out shopping, found an item that I knew I wanted to get a bride or a mom from their registry, but then felt torn because I was in the wrong store. It’s made me think “Can’t I just call Bed Bath and Beyond and tell them this item has been bought at Target?” I guess it doesn’t actually work that way, though.

Except at BabyList! Because BabyList allows you to reserve and item and buy it from wherever. I mean, think about how nice that is. I even got hand-me-down gifts and Craigslist gifts that people were able to reserve from our registry. Call me weird, but that made me so happy. 

So back to the fun little bookmarklet. It’s also an app. So you can pin (errr, add) items to your registry from your phone. Much more productive than pinning recipes you’ll never use, wouldn’t you say? You can also browse their catalog, inspiration registries (there’s even an Ikea inspired Scandinavian registry), and order registry insert cards.

They also give you space to write a little note for people to read. And, oh, get this, space to leave a little note on each and every item you register for. That includes other registries (we didn’t register anywhere else, but you can link your big box registry right to BabyList).

A perk we were concerned we’d miss out on was the completion discount programs. Have no fear, we actually got discount codes from several places using BabyList.

At the end of the day, we ended up very happy with the whole registry process. We browsed the big boxes for items whenever we went out. Still, to be honest, most of what we ended up registering for was based off of recommendations from friends and colleagues.

Anyway, if you are in the market for a baby registry, definitely consider BabyList. I’ve had several instances where I’ve actually corresponded with the real people behind the website (different reasons, all with positive outcomes) and that’s just so nice, isn’t it? I am so tired of the automated telephone service world we live in these days. Real people rock.

Mix It with Rum

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Just south of Annapolis, where the roads start narrowing to single lanes and the view begins to open up into miles of farmland, well, that’s where I grew up. We call it SoCo. Because, well, it’s the southernmost point of Anne Arundel County. South County. Even the high school is called Southern. Geography comes easy to those of us who grew up down there, I guess.

Anyway, things are slower down there. Summers consist of giant bon fires, fishing on the still waters of the Chesapeake Bay, and a lot of mosquitoes. Winters consist of pretty much the same, just with ice instead of mosquitoes. And we eat a lot of crabs. When I met Alex and he told me he was allergic to shellfish, I told him that was unacceptable because, well, it is not okay in SoCo. Turns out he isn’t allergic, and he can even pick a crab at a Maryland-speed now (we can pick a crab pretty fast…).

When I was little, Domino’s Pizza wouldn’t deliver to our house because we were off the grid just that much. It’s the sort of place where you accept having to drive at least fifteen minutes to get anywhere you need to go. But you do it, because it’s quieter at home.

There’s this place called Skipper’s Pier down in SoCo that will forever be a part of my memories. We’d go often, sometimes just me and my dad. Anyway, it’s exchanged owners a few times, but my favorite times at Skipper’s Pier were the times back when there was this huge train set that circled the ceiling of the bar. They’d turn the train on for me every single time. There was also a parrot (or some other breed of bird, who knows, I was a kid) out on the pier that would talk to you. They had good chicken fingers, too. We still love Skipper’s Pier. Even now, when I live a little bit closer to Annapolis and the hustle and bustle of DC and Baltimore, we drive to Skipper’s regularly. We’ve celebrated birthdays, graduations, you name it, we’ve gone down to Skipper’s.

So, this is all to say that I want to share this music video with you. If you haven’t heard the song, it’s a catchy little tune and I quite love it. It’s filmed entirely in SoCo. In fact, there’s a few people in here that anyone from SoCo would recognize. And the places, too. We’ve all been there.

So here you go. Enjoy.

Documenting the Bump: Weeks 27-31

My third trimester sure didn’t come quietly in the middle of the night this past month. In fact, since we last discussed this pregnancy, so much has happened and it’s actually a bit wild to look back on. What’s even more wild? The fact that we’re here, in the final, single digit weeks of this pregnancy. 

Health-wise, it’s been up and down for me. Major exhaustion found a way right back into my life. I really thought I’d left it back there in that first trimester. My glucose screening came back fine, but with a warning that I was on the “high end” of normal blood sugar levels. They might as well have told me I had gestational diabetes because I’ve taken it very seriously. I want to do another screening because I’m certain I’ve lowered it! At the very same time, and not as surprising, I found out my red blood cell county was low. Not low enough to put me on iron pills, but low enough to be concerning. This one made sense. I’ve been looking mighty pale and feeling mighty tired recently. I think the red meat is helping. God bless a good steak. On the plus side, things seem to be looking up. We’ll see next week when I head back to the docs.

The best thing I ever did in this pregnancy is start seeing a chiropractor again. I was to the point where I couldn’t actually sleep because my entire spine was killing me. I’ve been going 2-3 times per week now for a month and what a difference it has made. I’m sleeping through the night and I have very minimal lower back pains. My neck still hurts, just not as bad. I think I need a few adjustments a day to fix my neck completely. Plus, I can tell a difference in my posture. So that makes me happy. Oh, also, she may have been able to help my baby turn head down (which he isn’t going to be able to do easily because of the shape of my uterus). I’ll know on Monday. I’m crossing my fingers…. I think I feel his butt up by my belly button and his feet kick my right ribcage. But, I can’t figure out where his head is…. I’m praying it is down.

Let’s see, what else. Oh! My baby shower. As many of you know, this little guy could easily come early (but every day he proves that theory wrong). So, I was showered perhaps a few weeks earlier than most. It was incredible and beautiful and just amazing. This kid is spoiled rotten and he’s not even born yet. Lucky boy. I only wish I had more pictures to share with you all from my baby shower. It was a busy shower, you see. But I was able to share a little bit on Instagram here and here.

We’ve also been busy nesting. My OCD, Type A self started feeling rather anxious about our lackluster lists hanging out on our iPhones, scraps of paper, email chains…. it was driving me mad. So we sat down and listed it all. Every single thing we need to do before baby comes. Then, we highlighted it by what week we would get it done. And then, we made a new list that was divided by week. We should be all set to relax by early August. So far, we’ve knocked off things like installing a new kitchen faucet and new closet doors, updating doorknobs and fixing bathtubs. You know, the glamorous stuff. But it feels so good. The nursery is coming along, too. Little by little.

So the symptoms. Where to start? Braxton Hicks contractions are quite interesting. The other day I had them basically all day long. I texted Alex around 4:00 with a “I keep having contractions.” message that scared him a little bit. They don’t hurt, but they make my belly feel three times as heavy as it usually does. It’s strange. Oh, heartburn is endless, although it’s subsided a bit this week. Restless legs have picked up in the middle of the night. Oh. my. word. I hate them. The lack of air to my lungs is also a fun one. I have a feeling the Maryland swamp air quality and asthma aren’t helping there. What else…. I could keep going but I don’t want to scare anyone out of having babies.

All in all, I’m ready to meet our little boy. We’ve taken a few classes at our hospital this past month on breastfeeding and newborn care and c-sections (just in case)…. each time we leave the class, it starts to feel a bit more real. We also have our hospital route down to a science now. Eighteen to twenty-three minutes and we’re at the parking garage. Good to know, right?

I feel very ready. So go ahead and laugh, but I do. On the natural, mental, non-consumer level, I am ready. I’m ready for everything that comes with this little guy, good and bad. I can’t wait to hold him and look at every inch of him and watch his personality as it starts to develop. I can’t wait to teach him and love him and try my best to do the right thing with him. We keep thinking back to how quick it all happened. How we went from “let’s starting trying sometime soon” to “we’re having a baby” in such a short time period. But, every single day we are reminded even more how absolutely right the timing is. And, on a very, very humble note, how incredible lucky we’ve been with him. He keeps defying the odds and we are amazed by our son.

But, as much as I am ready, he’s got some fattening up to do. Best he stays put for another month or two.

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And the backlog, which is fascinating to look back on. I actually forgot what I looked like with a waist!

You can see weeks 8-14 here, weeks 15-18 here, weeks 19-22 here, and weeks 23-26 here

All of them in descending order? Just go here.

Bookworm: An Update 2.0

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I started out 2014 (over half a year ago, scary) vowing to read quite a list of books. Then, I realized just how tired and exhausting pregnancy would be for me. And I got stuck in a lull.

Many, many moons ago, I updated you on my reading progress. It was slightly pathetic, but at least I am honest, right? Things haven’t changed much since then. I’ve crept through a few more books on my list (which we’ll get to in a minute). But, mainly, there are other things I’ve been reading.

Things like:

  • Books on breastfeeding and vaccinations and prenatal nutrition. Is there such a thing as over preparing?
  • Anything I find on Pinterest. I’m going through a Pinterest moment. They happen. 
  • To-do lists. Oh, yes. Those. You should see our to-do lists before baby arrives. They are hefty.
  • Our bank account. People don’t always talk about that whole “maternity leave” side of having a baby. We have preparations to make.

So, that explains why the list below is quite thin. Nevertheless, here’s my more-than-half-a-year-later update.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: Honestly? This book is too long. I was mildly interested in it, but it went on and on and on and I just didn’t care enough about the characters to finish. I made it about 75% of the way through, so it counts for something.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd: This was good. A great book, really, but just good for Kidd. It’s no Secret Life of Bees. The story is fresh, unlike any other of its kind. It reminded me in many ways of The Kitchen House, which is probably a better book to pick up at the end of the day. Just a theory.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed: I thought I was going to love this one. I am a huge fan of hiking/ adventure stories and this is the first I’ve ever picked up that was written by a female. It took me awhile to get into it. I found myself thinking she was an idiot half of the time. The other half of the time, I just found it semi-boring. But, towards the end of her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail, it got interesting. I’m not sure what the movie will be like, but there certainly are scenes that will make for good cinema. This one was worth it in the end.

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson: I’m ready to have a son after this book, because I know my fair share of baseball trivia now! This wasn’t my favorite Bryson book, but it was pretty decent. I liken it to reading a history book, except this is all history you’ve likely never really paid attention to. And it’s good stuff. Maybe a little long, however, for what it is.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: After a string of mediocre reads, I finally dug into Gone Girl. Shhhh, don’t tell me, I’m only halfway through! But I also only started two days ago and I am hooked. What a great story! The twists and turns! I should’ve started this one months ago, because it’s really what I needed to ignite a passion for reading again. Also, side note, I didn’t realize Ben Affleck was going to play Nick, but I kind of pictured Ben Affleck as Nick when I started reading. Talk about great casting. I’ll be excited for this movie.

And for what I’ve got in the pipeline next:

The Giver by Lois Lowry: I really only remember somebody sliding down a hill at the end of this book. I’ve got to read it again before the movie. It’s driving me crazy.

And there’s the update for you. So, any books I need to add to my list? Reconstructing Amelia is already on there. It’s likely to come after The Giver. But anything else? I’m back on the reading bandwagon!

Second Trimester Must Haves

Oh, the joys of the second trimester second wind. I miss them daily. Overall, the second trimester is an absolute breeze after the terrible pits of the first trimester (in my experience, at least). That being said, your body is changing. A lot. Especially as you get closer and closer to that third and final trimester. So, I thought long and hard about what helped me enjoy the carefree days of the second trimester and I’ve put together this list to share with you.

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Instant Breakfast: For the mommas-to-be on the go, this was my morning lifesaver. You’ve passed the nausea woes (for the most part, I got hit pretty bad with carsickness at week 18). So if you find yourself commuting each morning (an hour plus for this girl), you are going to want something quick and nutritious to jump start your day. Plus, you will be starving. All. The. Time. Having a sweet tooth, Instant Breakfast particularly made me happy. Another plus? The calcium. Don’t forget to feed those bones. It’s so important during pregnancy!

Loose, comfortable workout gear: Along with this I should add, “a reasonable and flexible exercise routine.”  Ladies, the time is now. If you were like me and couldn’t find a speck of energy in those first 12 weeks, then you especially should pick up a good exercise routine in these three months. You’ve got a whole bunch weighing against you: a newly found appetite, those unhealthy cravings, a growing human, and hormones that want you to store every ounce of fat it can grab on your body. As the doctor told me, this is no excuse to avoid healthy lifestyle choices. Buy some comfortable workout gear that will make you feel good as your waistline expands, find an exercise routine that works with your schedule, and just do it. For me, it was a stockpile of four sizes too big gym shorts (seriously, trade in the size 4 shorts for the size 10…. It’s made me so happy) and three-mile walks around my neighborhood.

A baby registry: Guess what? It’s time to start planning! My advice to you? Research, research, research. Baby products are crazy! As a first time mom, I was completely unaware of the depths of safety features, the plight of the recall list, the range of prices, and just how consumeristic babies are! We skipped registering at a big box store (more on what we did instead, later) because I was sickened by the variation in prices as you went store to store. Goodness! Regardless, start your registry. If for no other reason than to have a place to organize your shopping list and your product choices. Somewhere between umbrella strollers and sleepers, it starts to feel overwhelming.

A babymoon: Do it. We were two seconds away from saving the money and skipping a vacation. Baby Byland hasn’t even arrived yet and we’re already reminiscing on the relaxation and togetherness that was our babymoon. It’s psychological, but you have to squeeze something in. Please, listen to me here! Things start feeling very chaotic and rushed when you reach those 30+ weeks.

Tums: Stock up. Experiment with the minty fresh pack and the smoothies pack and the chewables…. You will use them all. I thought I wouldn’t, that I was skirting by without heartburn and then bam. Somewhere around week 25 it happened. And it just happens more and more with each passing day.

Water: I failed miserably at coating my belly with any and all of the belly butter products I had bought. To be honest, I probably slathered a coating one time per week. However, I stayed very, very hydrated. You want to know something? I’m stretch mark free! And, no, I’m not just one of those lucky girls. I have stretch marks all over my body from an awfully fast growth spurt around the age of twelve. I get stretch marks. But, seriously, I swear it is in my water intake. Keep your skin elastic. Drink your water!

Fruits and veggies: Have them ready to go. You will need snacks. Because you will be hungry. You will always be hungry. You will think you were starving. And learn from me, a cinnamon roll and a donut do not count as healthy snacks. Stockpile fruits and veggies that can be taken on the go with you. You’ll be happy you did!

A camera: It’s incredible to look back and see how much our little dude has grown since the beginning of the 2nd trimester. Also, and I know this is going to sound vain, sometimes I look back on those early 2nd trimester weeks to remind myself how thin I used to be. You’re going to feel fat in the third trimester. So even if you feel fat in the 2nd, take a picture anyway. You’ll be happy you did in a few short months.

Documenting the Bump: Weeks 23-26

The past four weeks have likely been the most impactful weeks of pregnancy so far. The changes I’ve felt physically are undeniable and I’m feeling more “third trimester” than “second trimester” with each passing day. I’m getting used to pregnancy, if that makes any sense. Sort of like, I’ve been around the block now. I’m also beginning to feel comfortable with the idea of labor and delivery. Beginning, however, being the key word.

My weight gain throughout this entire journey has been a roller coaster. I lost weight during the first trimester, which didn’t surprise me because I had no appetite. My second trimester started off slow, gaining teeny tiny bits of weight back. Then, at my 24 week appointment, I had already gained 18 pounds. Nine of those pounds in just four weeks. It was hard, because I spent all of May absolutely starving. I couldn’t eat enough, no matter the time of day. But, because it’s rather important that my baby doesn’t grow too big too quick, I’ve been very careful. I’m still the same weight I was at my 24 week appointment and baby is, clearly, still growing. I’m walking often. I’m eating more salads. Nothing fancy.

Alex and I are beginning to feel like we already know our son. He has a routine that we look forward to each day. And we’re talking to him more these days. The cats are spending more time with him, too. Baci and Misha both love sitting on my belly and feeling him kick. They purr and close their eyes and we smile because we can already tell they can’t wait to meet their new kitten. I just hope they aren’t too bummed when he comes out a human.

Interestingly, as my belly grows and I feel my weight redistributing to my son, I’m getting more comfortable with my body. When your belly gets this big, you actually regain your waistline, which is nice. It’s a lot higher than it used to be, but that’s okay. It’s nice having a “smallest part of your waist” to accentuate again. Before I was just one big blob. Oh, and my boobs are still growing. Endlessly. I broke a bra last weekend. In public. It was terrible.

I’m so proud of my body, though. And I’m getting ever so eager to breastfeed and also so eager to see just what I’m capable of in these last few months. Still no stretch marks on my belly. Counting my blessings each day with that one. I’m predicting that the third trimester is going to be rough, but likely not as bad as the first. Plus, exciting things are happening.

We plan to have the nursery complete by Independence Day weekend, in case he comes early like we’ve been told he will. Then, we’ve got a few house projects to finish over the summer, but we’re looking at a fresh start by August. I’m keeping as positive of an attitude as I can about the summer heat. After all, I’ve got a pool across the street and a great excuse to keep ice cream in the house.

What’s the funniest is that some days I feel bigger than others, bump wise. I know it is because he’s moving around in there. I spent almost a full week with him sitting on my bladder and let me tell you. It felt like the pain you get from a UTI, but only when he felt like stretching his feet out. It was misery. Luckily, he finally moved.

I’m developing quite the back and neck pains, my feet swell by the end of the day, and my face is rounder than I ever remember it being before. I’m getting tired- tired in the way I felt the first three months. My energy wains quickly. I try my best not to complain and stick it out. I’ll begin going to the chiropractor in July. Until then, we’re just doing our best, me and my little peanut.

So bring on this third trimester. We’re so ready.

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