Where do I begin?! So it’s been over 4 weeks since baby Jack’s arrival. I keep meaning to sit down and write it all out, but life with a newborn is far from structured (something I am very used to and fond of) but day by day, I get a little more confident and we get to know each other more. I am slowly figuring out this little guy and vice versa, it is quite the adventure!
So here we go! “How long was your labour” is something I’ve been asked a few times but mine was a bit more complicated than that. I had what some refer to as “prodromal labour” or “start and stop labour”.
my last pregnancy selfie on the Sunday when contractions were happening
I am not sure if any of you have experience with that but let me paint a picture, Friday evening around 8pm I thought I was in labour as my contractions were getting more intense and closer together. I finally fall sleep, wake up Saturday and they are gone. Saturday evening, 8pm it happens again, except this time more intense. My midwife comes over around 11pm to check how dilated I am- 2cm. WHAT?! She says have a gravol and a bath and try to sleep (and if you cannot you know you’re in real labour), I finally fall asleep and wake Sunday and they are gone. As you can imagine, by Sunday I was feeling exhausted, so I literally stayed in bed all day. I had barely slept the days before and I was getting frustrated with these false alarms and my body was telling me to rest! Sure enough, around 4pm contractions began slowly and by 8pm they were more intense than the days prior. I had a bath, went to sleep and woke up around 11pm thinking I wet the bed. I had heard that many people felt that way when their water breaks but it was not much at all so I stood up to go to washroom and get a towel (just in case it was my water breaking) and next thing I know my water breaks aggressively! Not just a trickle, a lot! And what they don’t tell you (or see in movies) is that it keeps breaking- over and over again, with LOTS OF WATER. By 3am we were at the hospital and my midwife tells me that I am only 3cm dilated and they cannot admit me until 4-5cm. They suggested a “stretch and sweep” or to just walk around the hospital for two hours to encourage dilation. I opted for that and let me tell you, those 2 hours felt like 12! I have never been in more pain in my life. I felt the contractions in my upper thighs and in my back, which I did not expect at all! There is no way to really explain contractions but it is a fully body feeling and it is intense. It felt way better to sit through the contractions but I was told to walk... so I walked and through a lot of contractions my water would break again. So I’m literally waddling around the hospital, grunting, growling, crying and wearing a make shift diaper. The two hours pass and I’m still only 3cm dilated! I felt defeated, discouraged and exhausted! I had been going through this false labour for three days now. My midwife team (being the angels that they are) saw how drained I was already and admitted me. They gave me a needle of gravol (in my behind) and said it may help me sleep. It did not! I spent about 45 minutes in the shower working through contractions while Jesse slept.
Fast forward to 9am, my team comes in and they suggest to be induced to get things moving (because my water had already broken almost 10 hours prior). If my water hadn’t broken I could wait it out but without the water barrier there and them constantly checking for dilation, it essentially starts a 24 hour clock and they worry about infection and complications (at this point, we were almost halfway to 24 hours). When people say they are getting "induced" it usually means they are put on an IV drug called pitocin which mimics your bodies release of “oxytocin”. Oxytocin usually signals your body to dilate (amongst other things) so pitocin is the drug version of this when people need a little help to get things moving, which it does! They say when people are put on this, the pain and intensity goes from 0 to 60. Usually people’s body gradually works up to this pain level, contractions and dilation. Since I had been going through contractions off and on for three days already, I did not find they got more painful, I found they got closer together. I was having the level of pain I had already been experiencing but with about 30 seconds in between. Let’s rewind a tad.... my goal throughout pregnancy was to have "as natural of a birth as possible" but I made it clear I was open to whatever needed to happen to get him into this world as I realize (even more so now) that not much was in my control. So that OG plan went out the window very quickly and I was EXTREMELY okay with that. I got induced + about two hours later I got the epidural and it was the best thing I could have done for the process. By the time I had the epidural, I was in the most pain I had ever experienced in my life and I kept asking when the anesthesiologist was coming to give me the epidural (in my head I was like hurry the f up!!!). People have asked me if that epidural needle hurts... oh my gosh no! You barely feel it in contrast to your contractions. It took about 10 minutes to kick in and slowly my contraction pains disappeared and all I could feel was the pressure in my pelvis when they were happening. Having the epidural allowed me to relax and let my body do what it needed to do (I think the build up of 3 days had my mind + body in a tense state and I wasn't allowing myself to just let it happen). This was around noon and by 4pm I was fully dilated (wahoo!) and they were getting me ready for the grand finale, pushing! When they knew I was getting closer to being fully dilated, they told me to try not to get any more epidural medication so that I could feel the pushing (an epidural is an IV drip that you top up on your own- I used to think it was just one needle and not a continuous thing). With that being said, I could feel most of the pushing, which was a good thing because it helped with the process! They were a bit worried I was going to have to have a c section as he had a bigger head and I have a smaller birth canal, but I did everything in my power to make sure that did not happen. I know that sometimes there is no choice but for me, I felt there was! I started pushing at 430 and by 551pm, he arrived! On May 20th (Victoria Day) 3 days early, Jack was born and weighed 8lbs + measured 21 inches long. I could not believe he was here, it happened so suddenly. One moment they are coaching me to push and the next, he is on my chest. Child birth is truly mind blowing! Within a few minutes, he was doing the "breast crawl" (if you don't know what that is- google it, its fascinating) and he was ready to feed. I had to get second degree stitches (but they numb you for it, hallelujah). My midwives coached me on breastfeeding while this was all going down and the next thing you know, we are getting ready to go home! Because my epidural had pretty much worn off and that I was in a birth centre (Alongside Midwife Unit at Markham Stouffville Hospital), we left and were home by 9pm. Literally 3 hours later, we were home with our boy! It was CRAZY! But I am so happy we were able to sleep in our own bed and be in our own environment.
Jack, in the same sweater Jesse wore home from the hospital when he was born (in 1986, knit by his grandma)
For the birth, I had my doula, 3 midwives (1 student, my midwife + the hospital midwife) + Jesse there. They were my cheerleaders, my support system, my encouragement, my angels! It was through their guidance and positive words that I was able to get through it all. Even though my "birth plan" changed drastically, I am so happy with how it went down because at the end of the day, I felt extremely supported and it was such a positive experience with amazing people. AND, it brought me JACK! WHICH WAS WORTH EVERY OUNCE OF PAIN, 3 DAYS OF FALSE LABOUR AND THE 39.5 WEEKS OF PREGNANCY (I loved pregnancy though)!
our first family photo at home the next morning (in our own bed!)
JACK HEENAN KERVIN
If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on Instagram (@kale.ahhh) or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to answer any questions on pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, childbirth, post partum, etc! I am happy to chat about it all and am an open book!
This was such an exciting milestone. Making it to the 3rd trimester and realizing how close baby's arrival was!
28 & 29 Weeks
Baby is getting so much bigger (he weighs around 3lbs and is around 15 inches long), belly is growing, energy is great, sleep is deep and restful!
I started going to acupuncture again with my favourite, Anne Matthews of Energy Tree Studios. Anne suggests going before pregnancy and during the 1st and 3rd trimesters. So not only was I excited to reach the 3rd trimester milestone because it marked getting closer to meet the babe, but it meant getting to see Anne again while feeling amazing in her heavenly studio!
The third trimester is busy! I now see my midwife every two weeks, have enrolled in a prenatal course and we found our doula (a birth coach/emotional support). Just to recap, my plan is to have as natural of a birth as possible with my midwife + doula present in the new midwife unit at Markham Stouffville Hospital. I would love to have a water birth as well as I am a water baby (swimming since 6 months and was a competitive swimmer my entire adolescence so being in the water to me is freeing and very calming). This midwife unit is the first of its kind in Canada and the room consists of natural aids such as birthing chairs, a birthing pool, a double murphy bed, medicine balls etc. Although this is my goal, I keep saying "I don't have a plan" as some things are entirely out of your control. This baby will come out the way it wants to and I am open to whatever will get him here as healthy as possible!
28 weeks is also when you take your "glucose test" i.e where they check for gestational diabetes along with other things. You drink a VERY sugary orange beverage within 5 minutes and they take your blood test an hour later to essentially see how your body reacts and is able to break down the sugar (and how much is left in your bloodstream after that hour). Mine came back great (phew!) and they also told me my iron was incredible. I am not bragging here but I want to point out why I think this is the case. I take 2x iron tissue salts every single day religiously. My homeopath recommended them to me when I told her I was pregnant and they essentially help me absorb and assimilate iron more efficiently in my system, so I swear they work! She says she gives to her children during the winter months to help prevent getting sick! Ask your naturopath or homeopath for more details (or email me if you have questions, my homeopath does Skype sessions!)
30 & 31 Weeks
We have started meeting our doula where we discussed everything from our "birth plan" to learning about the stages of labour. She is a ray of sunshine and I am so excited that she will be part of our birth.
32 & 33 Weeks
Baby is approximately 4.5lbs and boy can I feel that when I am lying or sitting down. He is taking up more and more room each week and I can feel that on my lungs the most! Because there is so much less room in my torso, my appetite has been affected too as I have less room in my stomach so get full very easily. My stomach has also become SO much more sensitive to certain foods. Without being too graphic, when I eat foods that have too much dairy or sugar, it does not sit well- AT ALL!
Other than that, my sleeps are still very deep and everything is going well!
34- 36 Weeks
At this point, I finally feel VERY pregnant. My torso is still quite compact but he is taking up every square inch of it and I can definitely feel it! At 34 weeks I started to incorporate new techniques into my life to get ready for labour. I have started doing more hip opening stretches, sitting on my exercise ball when possible, drinking raspberry leaf tea (helps get your uterine muscles ready- some swear by it others don't!), and eating dates every day (some people believe it helps get your cervix ready, so I just have two energy balls every day).
By 36 weeks I am feeling a lot of pressure in both my ribs and pelvis. I was told that could mean he is long or just how he is positioned. He probably weighs about 6lbs now which is crazy to think! One more week to go until I am "full term" meaning if baby arrives between 37-40 weeks, he is not premature and is good to go! The last few weeks are all about finishing touches and putting on extra fat for baby. We have finished our prenatal classes which were INCREDIBLE (will touch on that in a different blog post), met with our doula on numerous occasions to discuss our plans, and I have also enrolled in a breastfeeding course to give me some tips and tricks for when the time comes.
I started to get acid reflux/heart burn a couple times a week with certain foods: too much sugar, tomatoes, apples, anything very acidic! I tried to combat it with natural remedies like ginger, apple cider vinegar, chamomile tea which slightly worked but I eventually bought tums (I usually try and use herbs, whole foods and other natural remedies first). On a couple occasions I actually threw up because my esophagus was so acidic and that made me feel a tad better. I only had this feeling once before in my life (after 4 days in Vegas after my SIL's bachelorette party haha!) It essentially felt like a lump in my throat and on some occasions I actually felt the "burning" sensation that is often talked about. It is not painful, just annoying and uncomfortable at times (like before bed)!
At this stage in pregnancy, I am still sleeping very well but getting up at least 3 times a night to go to the washroom. Baby is on top of bladder and I feel that the most at night! I try not to drink water 3 hours before bed but it does not make that much of a difference to be honest! I do feel some relief on my breathing/lungs which means baby is moving lower rather than higher now. He is descending! WOW
Our bodies start to release a hormone called "relaxin" during the last few weeks of pregnancy to get us ready for labour. This hormone is just like it sounds, its loosening up our joints and muscles (relaxin' us haha)... but it is not localized, meaning I feel it everywhere! At times I feel like Gumby where I am walking into things, sitting or standing in weird ways where I may hyperextend my joints and then stand up and feel achy.
Overall, I would summarize these last weeks as more pressure + aches. I can feel my body getting ready for labour and it is VERY fascinating. This is probably why the last month of pregnancy is often negatively portrayed for being uncomfortable. It definitely is at times but just like in labour, there is purpose for it! Anytime I feel a charlie horse in my leg or pressure in my bladder, I remind myself there is purpose for this feeling and it is just my body getting ready. I am all about empowering mantras so keep saying "there is purpose in the pain" which is something I am using now and hope to incorporate during labour.
STAY TUNED FOR MY NEXT BLOG POST! It will cover the last few weeks of pregnancy and labour! eeeeeeeeee, I cannot believe it is almost here! For now I will just be "nesting" and getting our house and lives as ready as possible for this baby. I keep joking I am adding more feminine touches to my home before I am outnumbered by boys (see below)!
I sit here, 34 weeks pregnant thinking of my "to do list" for the next 6 weeks, sobbing uncontrollably. I am a very organized person, and have so much in order for when baby comes, but today more than ever, I need my mom. I need her hug, I need to hear her voice on the other end of the line telling me "honey, it is going to be ok, just compartmentalize"- something she always told me to do when I felt worried or anxious. Although I am 31 years old, I have realized you are never too old to need your mother. As the days get closer to becoming a mother myself, I think of what she would have been doing in these moments, how excited she would be, and how much love and support she would be giving. I will be honest, these moments flicker through my mind occasionally, but today it has me in shambles. They say grief comes in "waves" but as time passes and those moments become less frequent, these "waves" are more like tsunamis. Today is one of those "tsunami" days for me and I thought I would share it because I know I am not the first (or the last) person to go through it, but perhaps talking about it will bring a sense of comfort to others (as well as provide a way for me to channel my emotions and articulate how + why I am feeling this way).
My mom passed away 4 years ago next month. May is always a hard month for me since her passing. Her birthday is May 3rd, then there is Mother's Day, and finally the anniversary of her death is May 29th. When we found out baby was due in the month of May, I knew she had a hand in the timing. Although she knew this journey would be tough for me at times without her, she knew the joy that would come in this month would help remove any dark clouds. It makes me so happy thinking of my May baby and the light he will bring.
My mom was a ray of sunshine. I don't even think I am being biased when I say this, she was so full of love and so loved. This became evident during the days of her visitations and funeral. The funeral home we used (a very popular/busy one in mid Toronto) told us they had never seen the building so packed. That is a true and very touching testament to who she was as a person and how many people were affected by her passing. She had a way of making people feel at ease, making people laugh so easily + making light of any situation. She really was a ray of sunshine, bringing light with her everywhere and leaving every place she touched better off. Most days, this empowers me to follow in her footsteps, but today it stings. Today I think of all the moments she is missing and my heart hurts. My mom lost both of her parents by the time she was 28 and I always felt their absence. I always imagined what my relationship with them would have been like and how our lives would all be different. It makes me think of her early days as a new mom and how much she must have needed her own mother in that time. To put it into context, her firstborn (my brother) came into this world 3 months premature, just weeks after her own father's passing. I cannot even imagine how hard that must have been going through that. It makes me feel bad that I did not understand how hard that must have been until now, I feel guilty that our relationship was so one sided at times.
I know there are going to be many tough moments when my baby is born and throughout the rest of my life for that matter. Many moments where I think of the "what if's" and the "what could have beens" and that is okay. Feeling these things is okay! In fact, it is perfectly healthy and normal. I know I need to have these days and not just bottle them all up, for my own health and wellbeing. What is not okay is staying stuck in these moments and allowing them to cripples us. So although today is really hard, I let myself feel through each emotion but not dwell on any "poor me" or "this is not fair" mentalities. We all have pains, we all have struggles, every person's journey is different but not always easy. So my advice to anyone feeling pain, sadness, hurt... is to feel through them. Feel each and every single emotion, don't bottle it up, don't mask it, just feel it and then pick yourself up and remind yourself about the good things going on in your life, the reasons you have to be happy, and the wonderful people you are surrounded by. Although my mom is not here physically, she is here spiritually and helping picking me back up again, I can feel it. Jesse's grandma told me something that stuck with me in regards to grieving. She said that it is so easy to be consumed by sadness and much less effort. But our loved ones would not want that, they would want us to make effort into feeling happy and positive each day, even if it's really hard. So beautiful is that. Happiness, although not always easy, is worth every effort.
When are you due? May 23rd
What are you having? A boy
Have you decided on a name? Yes! We chose one before we got pregnant
Do you have cravings? Not really nope! Nothing more than usual (meaning when I am not pregnant)
How is your sleep? Do you use a maternity pillow? My sleeping is still very good unless I have to wake up to go to the bathroom (lots of pressure from baby on bladder) so I try not to have water a couple of hours before bed to prevent waking up. I tried to use a pregnancy pillow but felt so suffocated! So now I just sleep with a regular pillow between my legs on my side (+ an eye mask for deeper sleeps)
Do you have a birth plan? I don't like the idea of a "birth plan" because I don't want to get extremely fixated on a certain outcome. I know that a lot is out of my control when it comes to child birth and the baby decides a lot! So I am open to whatever is needed to get this baby in the world in the most healthy way possible. In a perfect world, I would be able to do it drug free and have a water birth but we shall see!
How long did it take you to get pregnant? Around 2 months. We are very, very lucky! On average it takes women 6 months but we live in a world where we expect things to happen right away. So do not get discouraged if its not happening right away! For some women it's more, for some less.
Did you do anything to prepare for pregnancy? YES! So much. I prepped my body for about 3-6 months, read more about that here
Have you gained a lot of weight? When do people gain the most weight? I have learned that there are really no pregnancy rules with weight. They have certain guidelines based on your BMI (to make sure you gain enough/not too much) but there is so much happening within our bodies that I think those should be thrown out the window and people should just focus on feeling their best, eating balanced and staying active (whatever that means for you). I have also realized there is a lot of negative body talk around pregnancy weight gain and people like to only emphasize those types of stories. Every body carries a baby so differently too, pregnancy is individualized! So when people say "you gain the most weight in the the third trimester" or "you feel like crap in the first trimester" I don't listen to these types of things. My body is going to do what it has to do and I don't want to get these ideas in my head about how it is supposed to go. With that being said, my weight has fluctuated throughout pregnancy but I will likely gain around 12-15lbs total throughout pregnancy. We shall see though!
What is your favourite aspect of pregnancy? Everything! It is SO incredibly amazing feeling him grow and move at this stage though!
What is your least favourite? At this point, probably how hard breathing is at certain times (mainly when I am sitting down and there is a lot of pressure and compression of my lungs). His bum is also in my right rib so I find I have to maneuver how I'm sitting so he's not digging too much into it. The most comfortable position is lying on my side stretched out (think: "draw me like one of your french girls" scene in titanic where Rose is sprawled on her side HA!)
Do you feel movement a lot? When did that start? The "bubbly" feeling began around 16/17 weeks, "flipping" was around 19/20 weeks and kicks began around 23 weeks or so. It started to get very crazy around 26/27 weeks and now it is to the point where I can see it through clothes.
When did you start to show? I had a mini bump around 23/24 weeks. I am currently 33 weeks and my bump isn't "very big" but there is still some time (7 weeks roughly)! I get told on a regular basis I do not look as far along as I am but this goes back to my point about weight gain/how you carry. Every body is SOOO different so don't get fixated on that! I have wide ribs (I was a competitive swimmer) so my theory is kind of like when you have a long torso, there is more room for baby to spread out! Also, someone told me this before pregnancy and it has stuck with me...
They said pregnancy is the one time in your life when people think it's normal to comment on your body size. They say things like "you are so big" or "you are so small" but in reality we do not want to hear either. Being too big makes you feel like you're doing something wrong, and being too small makes you feel like you are as well! Food for thought!
What supplements are you taking? I should be taking prenatals every day but I often forget. I took them diligently for the 2-3 months leading up to pregnancy as well as during my first trimester. The only things I am diligent about are b12, vitamin d and my homeopathic iron tissue salts (these help me absorb iron more efficiently instead of taking an iron supplement)
What foods have you been avoiding? With great sadness I say this... many superfoods! A lot of super foods are medicinal or detoxifying which should be avoided during pregnancy. It is best to eat simple whole foods to grow and nourish the baby! Also I have not been drinking alcohol. I know some people do in their third trimester but for me personally, I know alcohol affects me greatly when I have only one glass of wine so I cannot imagine what it would do to my baby. To each's own though! With that being said, I am looking forward to some wine with dinner when baby is born! Also, soft or unpasteurized cheeses I have been having the odd time (although I did not during my first trimester)
What foods have you been loving? I am not a big meat eater but I love having ground beef once a week these days! I eat a lot of eggs, sprouted bread, yogurt hemp seeds, bananas, cashew butter, avocado, and usually something sweet once a day. We are big fans of frozen chocolate in this house for desserts too!
Do you go to the washroom more or less? I am definitely comfortable talking about this but a lot of people get squeamish and think "girls don't do that". Well those people are full of $#*% (pun fully intended HA!) Nothing has changed with that for me at all and in regards to #1- a lot more frequently at this point because there is so much more pressure on the bladder and less room in it!
Has your skin changed at all? I noticed it was getting a bit blotchy during my second trimester so I started using May Lindstorm's "Problem Solver" face mask and it has made a significant difference! I have a few small broken capillaries on my face as well that I have been told can be lasered off post pregnancy.
Do you have an OBGYN or midwife? I have a midwife which basically do everything an OBGYN do but often take more holistic approaches during pregnancy and child birth. They are not against epidurals or c sections they just try the most natural solutions first. I also have a doula- which is very different than both and is essentially a birth coach and emotional support system (think of them like birth cheerleaders! WOOO)
Where did you register? Mainly on Amazon (I am an Amazon fanatic!) because of its wide array of products and lower price points. For the bigger items (like stroller and car seat) I registered at Bed Bath and Beyond's baby department which is called BuyBuyBaby
What brands did you register for?
- Stroller: Uppababy Cruz
- Car seat: Nuna Pipa
- Nursery: I got a nursery set from Wayfair
- Monitor: Motorola
- Others: Boppy nursing pillow, Boppy lounger, Skip Hop baby bouncer, Phil&Ted lobster high chair, Skip Hop activity gym, Play with Pieces play mat, and more items such thermometers, bottle warmers, bottles, baby wraps, etc.
- Things I am borrowing or bought second hand: Baby Bjorn bouncer, swing, portable bassinet! Facebook marketplace is great for second hand baby stuff, borrowing from friends who are on a different baby timeline than you is also a great idea (i.e. they have a 1 year old and you have a newborn so your children will need different things at different times. Looking at your Becca!)
Have you been working out a lot? No, I just walk a lot and have started to do labour preparation stretches but cut back on my cardiovascular fitness. I am normally a cardio fanatic but for some reason my body is telling me to slow down during pregnancy... so I am listening! I am definitely excited to train for some running races and get back to Soul Cycle after though! A lot of people do this throughout, and that is amazing! For some reason it was not working out for me and I found it would deplete my energy and I would feel exhausted afterwards so I listened to my body. Once again, this is individualized! So just tune into what your body is saying.
Have you found that you are more tired? Not at all! Minus the above mentioned with cardio. I also found the first 2-3 weeks of pregnancy I was very tired but after that it has been smooth sailing! I still have 7 weeks to go though, so we shall see! Side note: my family has crazy amounts of energy though. We are naturally very energetic people and my (almost) 70 year old father is often referred to as an "energizer bunny" so that might play a role, genetics!
Are you going to breastfeed? If I can, heck yes! You just never know how your body will function- but if all goes well, I would love to! With that being said (sorry if this is TMI) but I currently leak every couple of days and this began in the second trimester but picked up more in the third. FYI this is very normal!
Where did you buy your maternity clothes?
Occasion dresses: Pink Blush
Leggings: Lululemon Align (they are not maternity but they are so comfortable and fit you before, after, and during pregnancy)
Tops: Old Navy, Gap, Pink Blush, Aerie!
That is all for now! I am happy to answer anymore questions you may have! Feel free to email me directly at email@example.com!
HOPE YOU ENJOYED!
GUYS! I am so touched at the feedback, support, and the conversations started from my blog post on my First Trimester! Tearing up thinking about it and I am not sure if that is because of the pregnancy hormones or because it was just so special to hear from so many people about their own journeys, issues, and ups/downs. Let's chalk it up to both!
With that being said, let's talk about my SECOND TRIMESTER. Once again, I am going to be super up front about it all and I welcome Instagram messages, emails, etc. No question is too weird for me! My guess is this blog post will be slightly different than my first trimester as instead of feelings it might be more about changes in my body and the growing of the bump! Once again I am writing this throughout my second trimester and that ranges from weeks 14- 27. FYI for people who don't know, pregnancy is usually 40 weeks!
14- 15 weeks
Is it just me or did you do a happy dance when the second trimester began? I didn't have a bad first trimester but milestones in pregnancy are THE FRICKING BEST! Also the first trimester feels like its 20 years long because most of it is in secret so it will a breath of fresh air and I wanted to yell "I AM PREGNANT to the world"- I refrained though.
- The top of my stomach and the bottom are hard. It is still slighlty squishy but I am obsessed with touching it and making Jesse too as well
- I am still in regular clothes (although I have ordered maternity ones on standby from Pink Blush- love their stuff!) but let's just say I have to undo the button of my jeans after a big meal and baggy fall sweaters are wonderful
- Energy is great, appetite is back to normal most of the time, I feel bursts of nausea every so often, growing pain/cramps are a thing and I know this little guy or gal is getting ready for a serious growth spurt
- I am focused on my diet again, and making sure I get plenty of healthy fats in and clean protein sources. The better I am with both of these, the better I feel! FYI we should try to aim for about half of our body weight in protein each day
- I am obsessed with looking up bump pictures of the week I am in so I plan to share them with you in case anyone out there feels the same way. Every night before bed I find myself looking up hashtags like #14weekbump #15weekspregnant. Also, I am loving all the online forums and have been even since before my pregnancy! There is quite the sisterhood and support system out there so if you are ever feeling alone, check them out!
This is when the fun stuff started to happen.
At around 16 weeks I felt what I call "tickles" along my belly and kind of felt like air bubbles tickling my stomach. I dismissed this for about a week not really thinking much of it and then realized OMG this is what people call "flutters". Everyone describes it differently so I just dismissed it thinking it was nothing (even though I have never felt this type of sensation in my life). With that being said, pay attention to your body and do not get caught up on what other people are feeling as that is what confused me! It truly was such an exciting moment when I finally put two and two together!
Around 18 weeks is when the "tickles" changed to kicks/flips. For me these weeks fell over our holidays (December- early January) so as you can imagine, I was not eating as clean as I usually do which meant a lot more dairy! I find this next part quite funny. I dismissed baby movement once again because I was caught up thinking it would feel a certain way. I thought what felt like stomach turning (or being on a roller coaster and going down a cliff) and stomach spasms were because I was eating too much dairy. NOPE, once again, I was wrong! You think I would have learned my lesson two weeks earlier but on Christmas eve (what a special occasion to first make the connection), I felt the baby "flip". To me it felt like a fish flipping in my stomach. From that point forward, baby has been quite active, especially when I have anything with sugar (refined or natural) which helped me realize sugar can really affect the baby (and not in a good way, even though it is nice to feel him). YES, HIM. That brings me to my next point...
19- 20 weeks. We found out the gender! We are having a boy! We had a gender reveal party where we found out the same time our family and friends did. Our lovely ultrasound technician was nice enough to secretly write it down for us and we sealed shut. As my husband is an avid golfer, we decided to find out by him hitting a golf ball and it exploded either blue or pink. In case this confuses you, we ordered a "gender reveal" golf ball set on Amazon which comes with both a ball that explodes blue and one that is pink (there is a sticker on it). One of our family members got the job of reading the secret envelope and handing us the corresponding ball. It was SO much fun! For anyone looking to actually find out their baby's gender before birth, I would highly suggest finding out at the same time as your family and friends. I will cherish that moment forever and tear up just thinking about all the love, support and excitement we shared that day. It really did not matter if that ball exploded blue or pink (even though my husband cheered aggressively loud when it was blue...), we just want a healthy + happy baby! On a side note: I knew it was a boy all along. I just knew! I would tell everyone who would listen it was a boy and that I was 99% sure of it. Turns out, I was right! Let's see if my other predictions come true (date and weight!). We have already decided on the baby's name as well (it was actually decided upon before we even got pregnant)!
It is true what they say, belly pops overnight and I feel like I woke up one morning and it was much bigger (still not extremely obvious) but definitely a bump!
Sometimes I struggle with saying this next part because:
1. I don't want to jinx it (silly me)
2. I feel guilty and do not want anothers to compare their journey to mine, feel bad or even think I am one of those obnoxious pregnant people painting the wrong picture (silly me again)
I LOVE pregnancy! I feel really great and have pretty much the entire time (minus some annoying food aversions in first trimester). I realized though that these stories also need to be told. I need to speak my truth and not avoid sharing it for the above fears. Every body is different, every pregnancy is different, every experience is very different. That is all your really need to know! It does not make you better or worse of a person, it just makes you a person. I have been very lucky and have (so far) had a great pregnancy. I do not know what is to come and if this feeling will last until child birth but right now all I can say is, this experience has truly been amazing. One thing I definitely think has made a positive impact is me tracking and being aware of my protein intake. I have been very diligent about making sure I get enough protein each day while minimizing sugars. Full disclosure: I have not been great with taking supplements every day (minus b12 and some iron tissue salts I got from my homeopathic practitioner)
22 + 23 weeks
Apparently the baby sleeps 12-14 hours a day (according to my pregnancy app, "the bump") which makes total sense as the moment I lie in bed (8pm-ish) to start winding down for the night, I feel this little guy start going crazy (apparently we have opposite sleep patterns- hopefully this changes at birth! ha). This is also probably paired with the fact that its when I get the most quiet during the day and can recognize these feelings better. When I drink something cold, eat something sugary, or if a cat lies on my stomach and purrs (he feels the vibration), he goes even more wild which is the best feeling EVER!
24 + 25 Weeks
$#*@ is getting very real. This baby is strong and I feel him kicking more frequently and much stronger. With 15 more weeks to go I cannot believe he will get even stronger and bigger. I went into pregnancy thinking I would have a bump right away which is not true at all (for some people it might be!), but mine didn't really start showing until 23 weeks.
So many people ask me what my weird cravings are or what feels different and I feel like I am disappointing them when I say not much! My appetite is not very different at all (the odd time I feel hungrier), I don't have any crazy cravings, and the only thing that has really changed is my belly size and the ability to bend down.
This may be TMI but at 24 weeks a tiny bit of breast milk/colostrum came in. This is very normal! It was very shocking and amazing at the same time. My body is getting ready for breastfeeding and that is incredible!
26 + 27 Weeks
The last two weeks of my 2nd trimester! HOLY where did the time go. Nursery is set up, name is picked. Bump has grown a lot, but the craziest part that is starting to make it more real than anything- when I lay down, I can feel (and somewhat guess) how he is positioned! When I wake up in the morning I usually have his bum in the air on my right side or his leg in my right rib.
One thing I forgot to mention throughout this trimester is in regards to my skin. I have a couple broken capillaries underneath my left eye from this pregnancy. I have been told it is quite common and a few of you have reached out to me to tell me you had/have it on your chest. I have been told some go away on their own but facial ones usually have to be lasered off post pregnancy.
These past few weeks I have been craving hamburgers more with all the crunchy toppings but no other cravings to report. I usually like having beef once a week. My appetite has not increased at all either. A lot of these pregnancy rumours I have heard about are not true for me: i.e. hunger, energy, swelling, (so far!), sleeping issues, etc. I feel incredible and hope that continues for my last trimester!
Other things that happened this trimester: we enrolled in prenatal classes (that take place in my third trimester), we finalized our baby registry (most of mine is from Amazon because it has everything and I am obsessed with it), we set a shower date (in third trimester), we started researching doulas (more to come on that one!), I started reading the book Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, we went on a "baby moon" to Bahamas since it is one of the only tropical places that is Zika free, I had multiple pre-natal massages, we took a second mini baby moon to Niagara on the Lake where we stayed at Pillar and Post (I had one of my massages in their spa there, heavenly). Jesse and I have also created a "baby bucket list"! It is not like our life is going to end but we know for a while it will change a lot (at least for a while)! So ours mostly consists of restaurants we want to try out and sleep as much as we can.
Stay tuned for my 3rd trimester journey that will come to you in a couple months (baby is due May 23rd)!
PS- the leggings I am wearing in these pictures are Lululemon's Align in 25" length. I was told by countless woman they are a godsend for all stages of life and even grow with you while pregnant (shocking but its true!), and they are so right! I bought two pairs and love them! They are not maternity but are so lightweight and do not have any pressure on your stomach at all (which a lot of maternity or regular leggings do)!
This was a planned pregnancy, but when the pregnancy test read positive, I was still shocked! No word of a lie, I texted two of my besties saying "HOLY $#*@, I AM PREGNANT!" Complete shock, even for people trying to have a baby!
Let's rewind even more here. They suggest not telling people until the first trimester is done, which takes you to 12 weeks or 3 months pregnant (some people even say 14 weeks). That is a long time to not tell people! I get why they say that because in the first trimester, there is a higher chance of something going wrong. Let's just say that I went to 2 weddings and probably at least 10 social gatherings (3 of which were large thanksgiving get togethers) during that time with at least 5 people asking me when we want to have a baby or checking what I was drinking (and proceeded to smell my cup lol). For anyone who knows me, I am a person who is VERY expressive (my emotions show very easily, both good and bad), so as you can imagine, this was hard. We ended up telling more people than we planned to because my husband is also an excited teddy bear who wears his heart on his sleeve. Oh well, c'est la vie! But that brings us to today... I have been wanting to share this with you all so badly! So truth be told, I started writing this blog post almost 10 weeks ago so I wouldn't forget a thing so that I could help others down the line and maybe even be insightful to some men!
Some information about me:
- My pre pregnancy health plan: we decided we wanted to start trying in the summer so the 6 months leading up to that time frame, I really ramped up my health. I worked on my immune system + digestion (through acupuncture and minimizing of certain foods- gluten, dairy, alcohol, refined sugar). I got my health in order and up to date: holistic dentist, homeopathic practitioner, naturopath, massages, colon hydrotherapy, etc. My self care game was strong and better than ever! 3 months beforehand I started taking pre-natal vitamins and my husband starting taking an array of supplements that were suggested to me by Anne Matthews (Energy Tree Anne, my acupuncturist who happens to specialize in fertility but when I started seeing her it was just for general wellbeing and digestion- more on her later). I worked on getting my business in order, becoming more efficient in all areas of my life, decluttering my life, minimizing stress and making room for this baby. It was truly a beautiful time as it was filled with so much self love + self respect. I would highly recommend giving yourself time to do this if you are thinking of having a baby in the near future.
- Due date: May 23rd 2019
- Gender: TBD, I really thought it was a boy but now I am torn! I will find out around NYE time frame (20 weeks)
- Birth plan: I went with a midwife but will be having my baby in a birthing centre within a hospital. All I want is a healthy baby and would like to try the natural route, but am open to whatever is needed to get this little bean safely here! So no "birth plan" really as not much is in my control!
- MAJOR QUESTIONS I GOT: I am definitely ok with lots of questions and not uncomfortable with most of them probably because it was a quick process for us but just be very cautious with the questions you ask women of the child bearing age/stage i.e. "when are you having kids", "how long did it take", etc. It is VERY common in this day and age to try for long periods of time. They say average is 6 months so even though some people think they are being nice asking someone when they are having a baby, they could be a year into trying and very discouraged at this point. My point being, just ask yourself if someone could potentially be hurt by a question you ask. Anyways, I plan to be VERY up front, candid + blunt with my pregnancy/birth/motherhood journey so consider me an exception (or an oversharer haha!)
But here we go...
- How long did we try for: started beginning of July and was pregnant by end of August so I would say around 8 weeks! We are SO SO lucky and grateful for this as well!
- Did you know you were pregnant: TMI coming your way... my heart/intuition said "yes", but my brain said "no". Another little reminder to get out of your head and follow your instincts. The moment your egg is implanted in your uterine wall is called "implantation". This is around the exact same time you would be getting your expected next period and some of the symptoms are the exact same. For me, I had mild cramping so thought "ok we are out this month", some spotting (which can be called implantation spotting), and breast tenderness (which I normally do not get with my regular monthly period). Two days before I took a pregnancy test, I had what felt like tingling in my fallopian tubes/uterus area and at one point a very sharp feeling there too. I had never felt this before so I was very confused!
- People have different measures of first trimester, but it is 12-14 weeks longs and dates back to the first day of your last period. So basically when you expect your next period, around 4 weeks after your last, that is when you find out. And the good part is, you are already 4 weeks then (even though the baby was likely conceived between 2-3 weeks) Crazy right!?
Week 4 & 5
After finding out I was pregnant (2 days before my sister in laws wedding where I was a bridesmaids and co-MC), I was already mildly nauseas at certain times of the day, sleeping earlier and my breasts were starting to get tender (if this is TMI for you I would suggest to stop reading and to never read my pregnancy posts or to SUCK IT UP as this is a huge part of life LOL! I will still love you though). My energy during the day was very good!
Supplements- I was already taking pre-natal vitamins beforehand (I started taking in early summer) and continued taking them (I used Seroyal brand but switched to Mega Food)
Diet- most foods still but I noticed dairy made me feel nauseas. SO thirsty all the time too!
Exercise- HARD NO. I tried to but it made me feel nauseas.
Self Care- acupuncture once a week, warm epsom salt baths a couple times a week, lots of water, bed early!
Week 6 & 7
Morning sickness is a thing! Week 6 was my worst week hands down. I was lucky enough to only have it during a small time frame every day (830-10am) if I had not eaten enough so I learned very quickly that if my stomach wasn't coated with oatmeal, saltine crackers or toast, I would be throwing up (I only threw up three times in total but felt nauseas a lot during these weeks). Magically enough though, even on mornings I got sick, I felt better afterwards and the rest of the day was just breast tenderness, going to bed by 9pm and eating really simple foods! Also waking up at 3am to pee every night.
Supplements- I was taking my pre-natal during the afternoon with food when I knew they would not be coming back up. I was also taking b6 twice a day to help with nausea, b12 for energy, and magnesium before bed on some nights to help relax (all Seroyal products)
Diet- these were the weeks that changed a lot. Most foods seem unappealing to me and I was only consuming super simple carbohydrates basic. My diet basically consisted of: saltine crackers, toast, apples, gingerale, sometimes herbal teas, lots of water, pastas. I could not stomach most vegetables, meats, cheese, black teas, etc. Most of the time I would be forcing myself to eat because I knew if I didn't, I would be sick. Let's just say, scrolling through my Instagram feed made me feel queasy. My husband was always suggesting different foods to eat and make, and I would tell him to hold that thought for a few weeks. For a foodie, this adjustment was hard! ALSO still consuming so much water. I would feel so thirsty at times (think waking up at 3am hungover and feeling like you have never had a sip of water in your life and your mouth feels like a desert). My energy during the day was great still!
Exercise- I stopped spinning and doing HIIT workouts as they sometimes made me feel so tired after like I drained all my energy I had for the day. So I vowed to get in 8-10k steps a day (using my fitbit) for the time being
Self Care- acupuncture once a week, warm epsom baths a few times a week (the magnesium is great for nausea), bed by 9pm.
Week 8 & 9
The biggest difference in these weeks (and saddest) was my appetite. I frigging LOVE food and most seemed pretty gross to me. I didn't like cooking for myself, vegetables seemed gross, most meat seemed disgusting and carbs were my best friend (and so was bloating because I was carb-loading) ha! By the end of week 9 is when things started to change for the better but all in all weeks 6-10 were pretty dang good!! I think I had it very good for a pregnant lady. My biggest change was my appetite throughout. Those 5 weeks seemed like eternity! Still chugging water like its my job. I had good energy throughout the days still!
Exercise- 8-10k steps a day, started to spin again and do some strength training
Self Care- bed was now by 830pm! GRANDMA STATUS. It felt really food though and overall my sleeping in the first trimester has been AMAZING! Like 7-9 hours, mostly uninterrupted sleep.
HALLLLLEEELUJAAAAAAAAAH! My appetite was starting to come back and my first craving was crunchy vegetables and dill dip. I also wanted to cook and bake again which was so nice. I started to feel like me again!
Exercise- I feel like an old woman when I say this but I love going to the gym and walking on the treadmill for 60-90 minutes which is usually around 5-8km and watching a TV show, catching up on work emails, etc. I LOVE IT! I also am spinning once a week and doing HIIT 1-2x/week but LOVE ME SOME BRISK WALKING!
Self Care- same old, same old. Bed early. Sleeping well.
Week 11 & 12
Nausea started to come back but mainly just in the mornings when I woke up. Certain foods seemed gross again. I can also feel my stomach starting to grow and expand more as I have light cramping every so often. Baby is getting ready to start growing more and more! By week 12 its the size of a plum. I had my ultrasound (see below) where I saw my little nugget and it felt very really and was such a special moment. If you zoom in on the face, I swear I see a smile and have been telling anyone who will listen the baby already "has my nose".
Crying over nothing is a thing. It has happened to me twice (so far) in this pregnancy and I am sure will happen a lot more. It looks like this... MAJOR TEARS. husband- "Whats wrong?!"... me- "NOTHING! I DONT KNOW!"...
Exercise- still loving my treadmill walks. I am actually getting way more steps in than pre-pregnancy which is funny. Hopefully counteracting all the carbs I have been consuming.
THIS WEEK! If you are reading this when I actually posted this (3rd week of November) I am currently 13 weeks pregnant and my baby is the size of a lemon!
I am so excited to continue to share my pregnancy journey with you all! If I had to sum up my first trimester and pregnancy so far it would be...
Positives: My energy levels overall were really great! My nausea at the worst of times was maybe a 3/10 (I am very lucky) and I only got sick 3 times which was mainly in week 6! I have slept very well throughout and my dreams have been very vivid. My thirst has been strong which is a bonus as I have consumed more water than ever which is great on many levels!
Obstacles: mild nausea, but the hardest part for me was food aversions and major changes in my appetite! I said this already but as a foodie, not being able to make and eat all different types of foods was hard! This is a pretty good problem to have in the grand scheme of things as some women experience all day nausea and vomiting, cannot sleep, have low energy and feel like garbage.
I WAS AND STILL AM VERY LUCKY!! There is a lot out of your control in pregnancy and I still have a lot to learn but now that I am moving towards my second trimester I am super excited to see what it has in store. I have been told it is the "honeymoon" trimester which (typically) consists of you feeling back to normal, and your bump appearing. Speaking of "honeymoons" we have booked a "baby moon" to the Bahamas in December as it is one of the few places in the Caribbean that is "Low Risk Zika". Anyways, if you have any questions please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to help, hear any suggestions you might have on baby products, classes, etc.
- 2 cups all purpose gluten free flour*
- 1 + 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (from a carton)
- 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips (you can use regular chocolate chips too)
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
- 1 tbsp. vanilla (I really like vanilla)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and use a cupcake pan with added liners
- Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, coconut sugar, salt + baking soda)
- Next, add all the wet ingredients (eggs, vanilla, coconut milk, butter/coconut oil) and stir until well combined. I use a fork over a whisk as I often find the mixture gets caught in the middle of a whisk
- Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and spoon around 2 tbsp. into each cupcake liner. Repeat for all 12 cupcakes
- Cook for 15- 20 minutes (I cooked for 17 minutes but it sometimes depends on the strength of your oven) and let cool for at least 10 minutes
Serve with: butter, nut butter + hemp seeds, or on its own!
*if you live in Canada, get this all purpose gluten free flour at Winners/Home Sense/Marshalls- they usually have some in stock for so much cheaper than anywhere else!)
Slow Cooker Chicken Wings
- 3 lbs organic chicken wings
- 1/2 bottle chosen foods chipotle ranch (or another healthy sauce alternative)
- 1 tbsp. ghee or butter
- Place all the wings in a slow cooker and cover with sauce and butter
- Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5-6 hours
- Optional: after wings have been slow cooked, spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook for 10 minutes at 375 degrees until crispier
That's it! Serve with baked fries, mashed potatoes, celery, carrots, salad, you name it!
- The dip is Primal Kitchen Ranch (from Whole Foods)
- The fries are Alexia brand waffle fries (baked in the oven)
- Organic chicken wings were purchased at Costco
- Chosen Foods Chipotle Ranch was purchased at Healthy Planet
Still working on perfecting these babies, but here is my recipe in the meantime!
gluten , dairy + refined sugar free
- 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips
- 20-30 pecan halves
- 1 cup caramel*
- 1 cup dates
- 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- First, mix together all the caramel ingredients in a food processor and blend until fully combined into a sticky paste. If it is too soft, add more dates or place in the freezer
- Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop 1 tbsp. of the caramel mixture onto the pan. Flatten with the back of spoon and place 2 pecans on top of the caramel (see below photo for clarity). Repeat until caramel has been used up + place in freezer for at least 30 minutes
- Once the caramel/pecan have frozen, melt chocolate in double broiler (my preference) or microwave. Drizzle approximately 1 tbsp. of melted chocolate onto each caramel/pecan and cover as much as possible. Repeat until each caramel is covered entirely and place in freezer again for at least 30 minutes
VOILA! easy, peasy + delicious
- 1 cup dates
- 3/4 cup natural nut butter (cashew, almond or peanut)
- 3/4 cup vegan or regular chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil (melted)
- Sea salt crystals (regular sea salt works too)
- Mix together dates, nut butter + coconut oil in a food processor until fully combined
- Roll mixture into balls and place in fridge or freezer for at least 15 mins
- Melt chocolate chips in double broiler or microwave (I suggest double broiler if possible as I don't love microwaves!)
- Roll each ball in melted chocolate and cover entirely. Sprinkle with sea salt right away before chocolate hardens
- Place bites in freezer or fridge for at least 15 more minutes
I HOPE YOU ENJOY THEM AS MUCH AS I DO!! enjoy xo