Hello, Vivienne


“Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn on the marvelous, wonderful night you were born .”

I had been in prodromal labor for two weeks. If you’ve never heard of it, prodromal labor is when your body tricks your already exhausted, swollen, painfully sober self into thinking it’s going into real labor, only to have it disappear right at the moment you’re ready to grab the hospital bag and head out the door. It’s a sick joke, honestly – I pray your future babies spare you from this phenomenon .
On December 5, my first day of maternity leave, after a full 24 hours with not one contraction or sign of labor I was gearing up for another sleepless night of contraction timing and tossing and turning. I bounced on a labor ball while watching Monday Night Football with your father and your brother and felt the familiar tightening of the contractions start to come in waves. One after the other they came. They kept me up all night, and by sunrise on December 6 I was so uncomfortable I woke up your dad and told him it was time to go to the hospital. We took our time getting up. We drank coffee and I showered, brushed my hair and put my makeup on. Grandma came to get your brother and off we went. We checked in and I got hooked up to the monitors and then…the nurse sent us home. She told me to come back when I was in so much pain your dad’s voice made me want to kill him. Duly noted.
We had breakfast, just the two of us. We chatted and ate avocado toast and laughed. We didn’t get a ton of time alone, so it was nice. Those moments were our last moments of being unfinished, incomplete. Up until this day, we were a family pending. We were waiting for you to complete us, and that day had arrived. We borrowed Papa’s dog and walked the neighborhood. We walked and walked, every now and then I would have to stop to breathe through a contraction – and then we would keep going. Once we were done walking, the contractions were getting stronger and closer together. We sat in Papa’s living room while I walked, and writhed and swayed through my labor. Finally at one point I was bent over an armchair and saw my knuckles turning white from the pain and decided it was probably time to go back. Sure enough, this time they let us stay.
The intake was long. The nurse hooked me up to monitors and asked me a million questions. I cried silent tears from the pain while I waited for our room to be ready. When I arrived I was 4cm dilated – by the time I got to our delivery room I was 6cm and the anesthesiologist was on call for my epidural.
Once the epidural was placed it was easy going. I rested comfortably and chatted with your dad while he watched the news from an armchair close by. We joked about politics with the sweet nurse. We texted updates as I made progress. First I was 6cm, then 8cm, then my water broke. About 4.5 hours after we got to the hospital, it was time for me to push. I can remember feeling anxiety, but at the same time I had a sense of relief that my body had gotten me to this point on its own without any type of labor augmentation. After a slower, more complicated labor with your brother it was a welcome change. You were coming into the world on your terms. I think I gave 4 or 5 good solid pushes and there you were. Beautiful, pink and screaming. They put you right on my belly and it was like heaven opened right up. There you were, my sweet girl – all 8lbs 6oz of you. My rainbow baby. You had no idea how long and hard I had prayed for you and how much joy I felt at that moment you came earthside. Your daddy cried happy tears. He cut your umbilical cord and the nurse laid you on my chest. It was pure bliss, those first moments of skin to skin with you. You whimpered for about 5 minutes then found your way to the milkmakers, latched on and camped out there until I had to hand you over to your daddy. Your papa and grandma came right away and they brought your brother. He was awestruck by you.





I got right up and started walking around. Not one tear, not one stitch. Once again my body hasn’t failed me – it had birthed two, gorgeous babies without even flinching. I felt glorious. Powerful. Like I had hit a switch and landed on Mars. Birth high. There’s really nothing like it. Your daddy fell asleep in the recovery room but I couldn’t. I just stared at you until the sun came up. Those beautiful eyes. Those chubby cheeks. The way you looked just like your daddy and how annoying that was (LOL). You nursed like a champ and even gained weight when you were expected to lose some. We were so healthy they let us go home less than 24 hours after we got there. It was the most amazing experience. Looking back, it’s bittersweet because it was my last birth but what a birth it was. Fast and furious yet smooth and gentle. Just like you, my love.


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Things I Love: Evening Primrose Oil

So as everyone probably knows I am super pregnant. Like, stick a fork in me, I’m done. So of course, I’ve reached the point where the preparation for my actual birth starts to ramp up heavily. I already created a post singing the praises of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (read here). Now I want to share my love of another 3rd Trimester secret weapon, Evening Primrose Oil.

Evening Primrose Oil

I started taking Evening Primrose Oil at 36 weeks when I was pregnant with my son with hopes to use it’s prostglandin properties to prep my cervix for labor and hopefully prevent tearing. I had heard other women preach other benefits such as the shortening of labor or it causing you to dilate more quickly, etc. I did some research back then and had a pretty good outcome so I’m going to be taking it again and thought I would share. I’m not a doctor, birth worker, scientist, research expert, etc. – just a curious mom. 

There aren’t many studies available to prove or disprove the efficiency of Evening Primrose Oil’s benefits during pregnancy. Most researchers conclude that although there is anecdotal and historical evidence to suggest that this supplement can promote easier birth, prevent preterm delivery, induce labor, and ripen the cervix – there is simply more research needed to come to a more concrete conclusion (source).

So here is the basic rundown. Evening Primrose Oil is a natural supplement that has long been used to help efface the cervix in the last weeks of pregnancy, prevent perineal tearing, and promote a quicker, intervention-free birth.

Research is limited and inconclusive about the effect on the birth process itself (source), but there are studies to establish the positive effect the supplement can have on the skin as far as preventing perineal trauma during labor (source). There is also limited evidence on the actual effect the supplement can have on the cervix as far as dilation and effacement.

Anecdotal evidence should obviously be taken with a grain of salt, but in my experience, it did not help my body to progress at all. I didn’t have any significant dilation or effacement, period and ended up with an induction at 41 weeks. I did not, however, suffer any perineal trauma and that, my friends is why I continue to take it (lol).

I used the Nature’s Way Softgel Capsules in my first pregnancy and recently purchased them again for this one. They are available in 250mg, 500mg, 1000mg, and 1300mg dosages. The higher the dosage per pill, the less pills you have to take. I recommend the 500mg, which is what I use.

Here is the Evening Primrose Oil regimen I followed in my last pregnancy (and now, this one):

36 Weeks Pregnant: (1500mg per day)

37 Weeks Pregnant: (3000mg per day)

38 Weeks Pregnant: (4500mg per day)

39 Weeks Pregnant-Delivery: (6000mg per day)

Some women like to apply the EPO directly to the cervix, or use the oil for perineal massage. I did not do this the first time, and am not 100% sure if I will this time, either. If I do decide to apply topically, I will likely start at 40 weeks.

To do this, you just poke a hole in the softgel and insert it up as far as it will go, and it will dissolve. Wear a pantyliner since oil can leak out, and preferably apply at night before bed so you aren’t walking around with an oil capsule shoved up your hoo-ha. For perineal massage, you can cut open the capsule, dispense the oil in your hands and perform the manual stretches (ouch). Not a lot of experience with this on my part, so here’s a link to someone with a little more insight.

 

Bumpdate – 8 Months

How many weeks along: 35 Weeks

Gender: Girl!

Total Weight Gain22lbs.

Maternity Style: I am large. Living in leggings, tees, and sneakers these days. It’s still not cool enough to layer – and yes, I am quite annoyed about that.

Sleep: Some nights I sleep relatively well, some nights I toss and turn and spend 2-5AM scrolling through Pinterest in an attempt to get sleepy. It all depends. Getting out of bed has become quite the debacle, as well. 

What I’m missing: Sound sleep, cool weather, champagne…

Cravings: It’s still ice. So. Much. Ice. I dream of ice cubes. Did you know if you go to Sonic you can order a bag of their amazing, snowy ice? If you don’t have a Sonic near you then you can make your own with a similar texture by pouring Club Soda into ice cube trays, pouring them into a Ziploc once frozen, and crushing with a meat tenderizer (or hammer, if you must).

Symptoms: Insomnia. Breathlessness. Occasional bouts of nausea. Oh, and I got my first hemorrhoid this month. That was lovely.

Body Changes: I know I’m not as big as I feel, but I feel huge. Moving around is difficult. I can’t shave without contorting and tying my own shoes is becoming impossible.

Mood: Trying to live in the moment has been a recurring theme for me this pregnancy, since it’s likely my last. But I am feeling so done. I can’t lie. I’m ready to meet my baby girl, so ready that my anxiety is starting to kick in.

Highlights: My mother and BFF threw me a sprinkle this week! It was intimate and perfect. We had a ladies-only lunch with family and friends and I am so overwhelmed with the love and generosity bestowed upon baby girl and myself. There is nothing quite like being surrounded by women you love and admire. My favorite part was my amazing CAKE! Oh my gosh – so stunning and so delicious. I have to thank my cousin Shar for making it for me, she is so talented.


Looking Forward to: Nesting. Now that we have mostly everything we need it’s time to start washing newborn clothes, organizing bath supplies, sterilizing bottles and pump parts, packing hospital bags…I’ve slowly started to get things together but it is certainly overwhelming since we have a small space.

Exercise:  I’m still in the gym every week, 21 weeks and counting. Although every week I start to get slower, and my movement/balance is slowly deteriorating. I try not to get discouraged, because I know there’s a reason why that’s happening, but it’s hard. Exercise is usually about progress, and when  you’re pregnant, you’re continually getting larger and less agile. So some days it’s tough, but I still love going and I know I’ve benefited my body SO MUCH by continuing to stay active throughout my pregnancy. Fingers crossed it all pays off in the Labor & Delivery room.


On My Mind: I’m in the home stretch! There were times I felt it was going by SO slowly, and now that I’m here I’m looking back and realizing it flew by. It’s definitely bittersweet, but all I have on my mind right now is getting mentally and literally prepared for this sweet girl’s arrival.

Here’s some snaps from the camera roll this month!



Things I Love: Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

If there was ever a woman who refused to be pigeon-holed into one, single “mommy” category, that woman would be me.

I’ll eat sushi all 9 months, but won’t ever take a sip of wine.

I religiously take my prenatal vitamins, but they’re gummies – and generic ones at that.

I work a full time job and have days where I cry silent tears while wishing I could go 5 minutes without someone touching me or asking me for something, but practice (and swear by) many principles of attachment parenting.

And I wholeheartedly trust traditional medical science, but still embrace a few holistic methods in my 3rd Trimester to (hopefully) give me a more favorable birth experience.

One of my favorites is Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, which I discovered while pregnant with my son after reading that it was pretty much a magical labor elixir that had the potential to “train” your uterus to birth more effectively. Sign me up, right? I pulled up all the research studies I could find and learned that 1. There aren’t many studies available to prove or disprove the efficiency of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea‘s benefits during pregnancy (there typically aren’t many studies conducted on pregnant women anyway due to safety concerns, so this wasn’t particularly surprising) and 2. There is a tremendous amount of misinformation circulated about the tea on mommy blogs and forums, alike.

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So here is the basic rundown. Red Raspberry Leaf is a natural supplement that has been shown to tone the uterus so it is able to contract more effectively during labor. Throughout pregnancy, we experience practice contractions called Braxton Hicks. Basically, if your uterus is your bicep, and the Braxton Hicks contraction is the bicep curl, the Red Raspberry Leaf Tea acts as the dumbbell. It’s not there to bring on labor, start real contractions or have any effect whatsoever on your cervix – it’s simply a way to “train” your uterus (a muscle) so when the real labor begins, you’re getting good, effective output from your uterus during your contractions, which then has the potential to move the baby down the birth canal more quickly, thus shortening your labor.

The research studies show that the tea can, in fact, time shaved off your labor – specifically during the pushing phase – but some might deem the time minimal (often less than 20 minutes). But as someone who has pushed a baby out before, I personally don’t find 20 minutes anything to shake my head at. Trust me, I’ll take it. One study in particular showed that women who consume Red Raspberry Leaf tea are less likely to go pre or post-dates, require an artificial rupture of membranes, or have a cesarean section or forceps/vacuum assisted birth. Studies have shown no averse side effects in women, but at the same time are limited so the positive outcomes are limited as well.

So in summation, it can’t hurt. So I drink.

I purchase the Frontier Organics loose tea, and drink it from my Teami Tumbler (use code 10MEGAN and get 10% off). If you prefer teabags for the convenience, I like the Traditional Medicinals version, and you can get them at Target! If tea is not your thing, you can buy Red Raspberry Leaf in capsule form, like these ones from Nature’s Way.

Obviously all anecdotal evidence should be taken with a grain of salt but after drinking the tea in my first pregnancy I was able to push my 8lb 8oz baby in about 25 minutes after a 26 hour long induction. The tea clearly did not help me go into labor, as he was born at 41 weeks and I never dilated a centimeter on my own. But he was big, I was exhausted and still managed to get him out pretty efficiently. Good enough for me.

Here is the Red Raspberry Leaf Tea regimen I followed in both pregnancies (with recipes):

28-34 Weeks Pregnant – 2  Single Cups (16oz) / day

34-40 Weeks Pregnant – 4 Single Cups (32oz) / day

40+ Weeks Pregnant – Labor Day Tea 4 Cups (32oz) / day

Single Cup Recipe (Loose Tea):

Ingredients:

8oz Hot Water

1-2 Tsp. Loose Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Instructions:

Pour 8oz of Hot Water over 1-2 Tsp. of loose Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. Let tea steep for 5 minutes, then drink. I drink loose tea from my Teami Tumbler (which is designed for loose tea) but you can steep the tea using a Tea Infuser  (use 10MEGAN for 10% off) as well.

If you’d rather make a larger batch at once: Boil 8 cups of water in a stock pot, then add 8-16 Tsp. of Loose Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. Allow 10-15 minutes for the tea to steep, then pour through a strainer and into a pitcher.

Serve in 8oz portions either hot or over ice.

Spoiler: The tea does not taste like raspberry. Sorry. But you can add milk or sweeten to your preference to make it more palatable if the taste of black tea isn’t for you.

Labor Day Tea Recipe:

Ingredients:

4 Cups Water

1.5 Cups Loose Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Instructions:

Boil Water, then reduce to a simmer.

Add loose tea.

Steep for 20-30 minutes, then pour through a strainer into a pitcher.

Drink 32oz per day from 40 Weeks until you deliver.
 

Bumpdate – 7 Months

How many weeks along: 30 Weeks

Gender: Girl!

Total Weight Gain: 19lbs

Maternity Style: It’s still hot here. I shouldn’t complain but I’m going to anyway. I am SO ready for leggings and layering.

Sleep: Pregnancy insomnia reared her ugly head this month. I’m awake around 4-4:30AM like clockwork and it’s so hard to fall asleep, so most of the time I just lay awake until my alarm goes off. Which means I’m feeling lovely (sarcasm) by 5-6PM. I guess I should get used to it though, huh? 

What I’m missing: Weather below 80 degrees.

Cravings: Ice. Specifically that amazing, soft ice you can get from King Taco or Sonic. I could blissfully crunch on ice all day and all night. I’m actually dreaming about the lovely unlimited cups of soft ice they bring you in Labor & Delivery. My husband (who loathes the sound of people chewing) probably wants to rip his face off but, hey, happy wife happy life right?

Symptoms: Insomia.

Body Changes: This was probably the first month I didn’t have a big weight bump. Not too much has changed between weeks 24 & 30. Still in all my regular clothes (with the exception of my jeans, I go into more detail about my favorite maternity jeans here) and still feeling mostly comfortable.

Mood: I’ve got 10 weeks left, and it’s bittersweet. I go back and forth between wanting to savor these sweet little moments of pregnancy, and being SO READY to get her out and meet her already.

Highlights: We finally were able to agree on a name for our sweet girl, and we got to see her in 3D/4D at an elective 28 week ultrasound. She was breech, posterior and I have an anterior placenta so imagine a giant pillow resting in front of her face. It made it a little harder to get good images because of the shadows but we still made it out with some gems. I can see she has the sweetest, chubbiest cheeks already and her big brother’s button nose.

Looking Forward to: My baby sprinkle! I can’t wait to share some laughs with my loved ones over brunch. I had a huge, co-ed shower when I was pregnant with Dominic but wanted to keep it simple this time.

Exercise: Still in the gym every week with my trainer, Evelyn. I’m blessed to still have good movement (even though my balance is shot to hell) so we’re at 17 weeks of workouts and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon.

On My Mind: I’m thinking a lot about life with a newborn and wondering if it will be easier the second time around. All babies are different, but I’m not sure if I’m going to immediately fall back into the swing of baby life or if it will be a harder adjustment for me, especially because I have a preschooler in tow this time. One thing that makes me feel better is that Dom is such a good helper, and I know I’ll be grateful for the extra set of (little) hands when the time comes.

Here’s some snaps from the camera roll this month!

Pregnancy

10 weeks to go. 

That’s it. 

I’ve committed to end my time carrying babies after my little girl is born, so it’s bittersweet. 

Of course, nothing permanent has been done as of yet, and we never really know what is in the cards for us but I think I’ve made peace with being done. I’m inching towards 30, and my husband and I both agree that two children suit our lifestyle perfectly. I’m looking forward to watching them grow up together, as we grow older too. 

I can’t say that I don’t ever feel blue, though. 

I can feel my heart start to race whenever I catch myself rushing too much – I have to remind myself to stop and slow down so I can really savor every moment of this pregnancy. I don’t ever want to forget, and deep in my heart I’m afraid there are things I undoubtedly will. 

So I’m trying to close my eyes and really hold on to these moments when it’s just my girl and I. Her kicks and rolls. Tiny hiccups popping in my belly. Dominic’s chubby little hands gently rubbing my stomach and him whispering “Hi Baby” in the morning. The look on my husband’s face when I told him we were having a little girl, pure shock followed by instant panic. 

But most of all, I want to remember how I feel. Right now, at this moment. I want to remember how empowering it is to grow a human being inside my womb. To know that little cheeks and hands and delicious baby thighs are being manufactured with two cells, and my blood. I want to remember the curves of my body, soft but strong. I want to remember the fear that comes with carrying a baby after suffering a miscarriage. I want to remember how hard I prayed every night for my baby girl and how honored I am that she chose me to be her mama. 

I’ve dreamt of this journey my entire life. Once it comes to its end, I want to be able to think of the 3 tiny humans I carried inside me and remember, everything. But mostly the overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude that I’ve been lucky enough to have this experience. And then I’ll close this chapter, and begin a new one as a mother of two, and I pray I can remember to slow down and savor all the beautiful moments that it brings. Because I never, ever want to forget. 

Bumpdate – 6 Months

How many weeks along: 26 Weeks

Gender: Still a girl 🙂

Total Weight Gain: 18lbs.

Maternity Style: Still toughing it out through the summer with light tees/tanks and dresses. My go-to pieces this summer have been these super-comfy ribbed midi dresses from H&M. They’re non-maternity but I wear a Size M and they hug the bump well. I love how easy they are to accessorize and dress up or down.

Dress: H&M Shoes: Adidas

I also am still in love with my one and only pair of maternity jeans, the Lucas from Topshop. They are a distressed boyfriend jean and meant to fit a bit loose but I hate loose pants so I bought them a size down (Size 6 for me) and they fit perfectly. No saggy crotch or butt here!

lucas
Jeans: Topshop

Sleep: I hit a wall with sleep this month. I am so uncomfortable. I always thought those obnoxious pregnancy pillows were so ridiculous until I finally broke down and bought one and now I am forever changed. Sleep is just so much easier when you don’t have 10 small pillows stuffed under and between random body parts. The one I got is called the Snoogle by Leachco, you can get one here.

What I’m missing: We’re approaching football season and that means I’ll be missing beers and brunch with MIMOSAS! 😫

Cravings: Yogurt Parfaits with Granola. Chocolate Pie with fresh Whipped Cream. In N Out Burger (nothing new).

Symptoms: Heartburn. Restlessness.

Body Changes: Not too many complaints this month. Obviously my weight gain gives me anxiety but other than that, 6 months isn’t bad. You have enough baby in there to look actually pregnant and not just fat but not too much baby that you’re waddling around and looking uncomfortable LOL.

Mood: Anxious, but mostly happy.

Highlights: I started working on the kid’s shared nursery this month! The nesting has already begun and I’m sure it will only get worse LOL. The crib is built, and we’ve managed to re-organize Dom’s toys so they’re accessible but not underfoot. I hate, hate, hate clutter – so having a clean open floor is the main goal. Not easy with a preschooler who is obsessed with action figures 😉

Looking Forward to: 3D/4D Ultrasound! I can’t wait to see my baby’s sweet face.

Exercise: I’m 12 weeks into my workouts at Maternifit and I’m still getting my butt kicked! The best part of working with a trainer is that you can’t get complacent with your workouts, every week you switch it up so your body can’t get too used to any single exercise. Plus, I’m a working mom and it’s fire season for the husband – so I get very little time to myself. Chatting with my trainer, Evelyn for 45 minutes feels like a mini-vacation even though I’m exercising 🙂

On My Mind: This month I started to think a lot about Dominic. Specifically the moment when I’ll be leaving him to go to the hospital and give birth to our new baby girl. I cry every time my mind goes there, I can’t really help it. It’s something I know I’ll be unprepared for no matter how hard I try. He made me a mother, and he has been the absolute center of my universe for almost 4 years. I know our day to day lives are going to change immensely, and I have a lot of apprehension about how its going to affect him. He is strong, spirited, and stubborn – and he loves his mama. So I’m doing my best to prepare the both of us for this transition.

Here’s some snaps from the camera roll this month!

Pajamas: Forever 21
Dress: H&M

Lissette

Lissette was my husband’s mother. 

A year ago today, she tragically and suddenly lost her life. 

She should still be here, but she isn’t. 

She was in my life for a short time, just shy of 3 years. It’s easy to embellish a relationship when people die. I think it helps some people cope. I dont’t do that. The truth is we, unfortunately, never got to know each other as well as we could have. Just another reminder that we’re on borrowed time – and that every person you meet could be gone in the blink of an eye – so use your time wisely. 

I don’t speak about her death often. Like most uncomfortable things in my life, I think if I don’t acknowledge it, it’s not real. But in honor of her life, and her death, I want to share a story I’ve never shared with anyone until now. 

About 7 weeks into my pregnancy, I found myself in an Emergency Room waiting room. I had terrible abdominal pain and an off the charts white blood cell count. I was alone. 

I had betas done to test my pregnancy hormones – they came back high. Astronomically high. I relaxed. 5 hours later I had a follow up blood panel done. As I sat in that crowded waiting room, alone, with a Picc line still stuck in my arm I got the results back on my cell phone. My hormone levels had dropped. Significantly. I knew at that moment what was happening. I was losing my baby. Again. I sat in the waiting room with tears streaming down my face. I think at one point I sent a text to my husband that read “I don’t know why this is happening to me.” I felt like I was being punished. I had prayed for this baby every day. My rainbow baby. This was supposed to complete my family. How could this happen? I felt like a failure. 

 I was then on hour 6 of waiting. I was tired. I was devastated. I just wanted to go home, lie down and not wake up for a couple days. But a voice in the back of my head told me to stay. A calm washed over me. 

So I decided to stay. 

I had an ultrasound (during which I wasn’t allowed to look at the monitor) and was released back to the waiting room. Minutes passed like hours. The anxiety started to creep back slowly, but surely. I was tired. I was afraid. I wanted my mother, who was out of state. I wanted my husband, who was home with our son. I swallowed a golf ball sized lump in my throat and got up to ask for discharge papers. But a voice told me to stay. So I sat back down. I took a deep breath. I struck up conversations with some kind families waiting nearby. I felt that familiar calm wash over me. 

After 9 hours of waiting I was finally ready to see a doctor. My eyes were swollen, my contacts were foggy, my skin was sunken and sallow and I just couldn’t seem to stop shaking. A kind nurse gave me a warm blanket. I waited for the doctor to walk in and tell me what I already knew. 

He walked in and told me the unthinkable. 

There was a 7 week old fetus growing inside me. There was a perfect little heart beating. There were tiny bud-like limbs exactly where they should be. My baby was fine. I was fine. 

He walked out and I sat there for a good 5 minutes and let the news sink in. I walked out of the hospital after almost 10 hours like I was walking on air. I got in my car and drove home in complete silence.

All of a sudden I was overcome with a feeling of overwhelming gratitude. And in that moment I spoke to my mother in law, Lissette. 

I told her I knew she had been in the emergency room with me. I told her I knew she was the voice telling me to stay. I told her I knew she was the calm that would intermediately relieve me of my pain and anxiety. And I thanked her. 

I thought I was alone. But I really wasn’t. 

She was there. 

In Memory of Lissette

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Bumpdate – 5 months

How many weeks along: 21 Weeks

Gender: She’s a girl 🙂

Total Weight Gain: 12lbs

Maternity Style: As this belly starts to round out I’m slowly but surely getting my groove back. The summer weather isnt as easy to style around because there are less opportunities for layering (every pregnant woman’s BFF) but I’m managing.

Sleep: Sleeping on my stomach is pretty much a no at this point but still sleeping fairly well.

What I’m missing: Micheladas. Fitting into regular pants. Not having to apply Cocoa Butter every day (I hate the smell of Cocoa Butter – yuck).

Cravings: Cold drinks. Lemonade. Iced Tea. Beer. Coke in a glass bottle.

Symptoms: The heartburn is real. Other than that I’m smooth sailing. The 2nd Trimester is the bomb.

Body Changes: The second pregnancy is a real struggle. Even though I lost all the baby weight from my first pregnancy, there are just certain parts of your body that never go back to how they were. So when you do it again, it can be a little traumatizing to see yourself grow and shift and expand in a new body. I just have to remind myself it’s all for the best cause, and that if I lost all my baby weight once, I can do it again!

Mood: Happy. Excited. Anxious. Every day is a flurry of emotion.

Highlights: Our Level 2 Ultrasound during Week 19! It’s always amazing to get another little peek at our baby girl. We got this profile shot and I think she looks just like her brother did at this time 😉

19 Weeks

Looking Forward to: Starting to shop. I don’t like to buy a lot before the Level 2 Ultrasound because I’m a tad superstitious but now it’s about to be on and popping!

Exercise: Still putting in weekly work at Maternifit! Working out while pregnant is a trip. Obviously you’re still gaining weight and your body is still getting larger because you’re growing a person but that doesn’t mean you don’t see little changes here in there, like having more endurance, or seeing your form improve week by week, or feeling how thick and strong your legs are getting! It’s definitely empowering and after 8 weeks I’m loving it more than ever.

20 Weeks

On My Mind: Starting to feel a little anxious for the end result. I have to remind myself a lot to stop and enjoy every little moment, since this is likely my last time being pregnant. It’s just my nature to want to rush to the next step, but I’m trying to be mindful of all the little things I know I’ll miss when she gets here.

Here’s some snaps from Month 5!

19 Weeks
19 Weeks

 

19 Weeks.

Shake & Bake

I have an emotional connection to Shake & Bake.

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I know it’s just a package of seasoning and breadcrumbs and is probably chock full of GMOs and preservatives and sodium and whatever else Sanctimommies say I shouldn’t eat or feed my kids but – it lives in a special place inside my heart.

When I was a little girl (my whole life, actually) both of my parents worked outside the home. My mother worked as an outside sales representative and would drive all day visiting customers and leads in her territory. My father worked for the City and would commute 1.5+ hours each way in LA traffic (he still does this by the way, 29 years total. don’t ask me how  his brain hasn’t turned to scrambled eggs yet). He would leave before we woke up in the AM and he wouldn’t return until the evening (or later). So most of the time, mom was operating solo.

She would wake us up, dress us, feed us, pack lunches, get herself ready for work and drop us off at school before starting her day. She would pick us up from our Grandma’s house around 5PM every evening and we would head home so she could start dinner. The woman cooked every night. Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes she would cruise through McDonalds on the way to a cheerleading practice and she loved to order Pizzamania on Fridays (or days my dad would be working extra late) – but most of the time, we ate a home cooked meal at the table.

I have ribbed my mother endlessly throughout the years, because she would usually make the same 5-7 dinners on a rotation. Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Ground Beef Tacos, Crock Pot Roast with Veggies and Potatoes cooked in the beef drippings, Pizzamania, Shake & Bake – AND REPEAT.

She would always say that she couldn’t cook. Even though everything she made always tasted good, we believed her.

It wasn’t until I became a working mother myself, that I finally understood.

I understood the love and dedication that went into that Shake & Bake Dinner. I understood the beauty of it’s simplicity, and convenience. I understood the pressure she must have felt to prepare a meal for her family, no matter how tired, frustrated or stressed she was. I understood that after toggling back and forth between mother and professional woman for the past 12+ hours with little to no help, it probably felt amazing to be able to rip open a packet of Shake & Bake and have dinner on the table in 30 minutes. I have to shake my head at 9 year old me, at wonder why it didn’t occur to me then. She wasn’t a bad cook. She was a good mother.

So the other day, while grocery shopping for my own growing family, I happened to come across a box of Shake & Bake. Overcome with nostalgia, I threw it in my cart and went home. Later that evening, I ripped open the packet and dumped its contents into a large Ziploc bag, then threw in a few chicken breasts – and shook. I shook out the day’s little annoyances, I shook just as my mother had almost two decades prior, I just shook. Then I put on a pot of plain white rice and opened a bag of frozen green beans – just as she did.

As the smell of that juicy, delicious chicken baking filled my kitchen I began to feel my eyes well up with tears. Tears of happiness, tears from happy memories of a childhood spent eating dinner with my family at the kitchen table, but mostly – tears of gratitude for mother for teaching me that even on the days when you’re tired, stressed, overworked and overwhelmed – you’re still superwoman. Sometimes all you need is a packet of Shake & Bake.

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