Pretty Pushers Giveaway

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy, PREGNANCY FASHION, Pregnant With Style, PRODUCTS

As you might have read in the first part of my Birth Story, I was given an opportunity to try out a Pretty Pushers gown.

While many might not think what you wear while laboring matters, I think the right clothes help a person relax better and feel more “themselves”. For some people that might mean wearing your own clothes, for others- a hospital gown, then there are those who like to go naked and those who feel that childbirth is a special enough event to wear a special gown. And of course, let’s not forget hospital protocols, many of which don’t allow for personal clothes and need a gown that has proper access to medical devices such as an epidural and monitoring.

Pretty Pushers is a company that makes those special labor gowns. The gowns are only $24-28 and are meant to be thrown out after labor, which is very convenient since you don’t have to worry about getting it dirty. They come in a variety of colors and themes, my two favorites of which are “I dream of sushi” (because I truly couldn’t wait to have sushi) and “I dream of coffee”, since it’s my favorite lavender color.

I spent my whole labor in a Pretty Pushers gown and the nurses had no problems with attaching me to monitors or checking me and everyone commented on what a cute gown I wore and how they’d never seen anything like that. My 2nd shift nurse said “Well, you sure do look fabulous!” :) Yes, thank you, definitely something I WANT TO HEAR on my labor day! :)


Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BUMP UPDATES, My Pregnancy, PREGNANCY

Labor Update

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy, PREGNANCY

Just a quick update.

Last night after lots of walking, sex, Miles circuit, and a “Baby come out” hypnosis script I started having strong contractions that fit the pattern of real labor contractions (from the standpoint that they originate in the back, travel around to the front, kind of like a belt). The painless contractions I had before were just tightening and light cramps.

We stayed up timing them till 2 am, they were coming 8-10 min apart on average, lasting 45-60 seconds.
At 2 we decided to sleep a bit, though I’m not sure how much sleep I got since the contractions were strong enough that they kept waking me up.
At 6 am we went for a walk and went back to sleep till 11 or so.

The intensity isn’t so strong now since I’m moving around now (lying with contractions is the worst), but they are still 8-10 min apart.
I do occasionally have to stop talking or walking when one comes, while others are a bit less intense as long as I’m not lying down.

To be honest I’m not sure what it all means… I can tell these are the real deal (at least more real than the Monday ones were), but I’m not sure whether I’m going to progress and when. The 4 hours of more frequent but painless Monday contractions dilated me to 1 cm and effaced me by 40%, so I am hoping these stronger contractions are doing a bit more.

In a strange masochistic way I look forward to each contraction, but I guess it’s better than dreading them since I’m sure I’ll get to that point.

For the girls with my EDD who are also racing against the Thursday induction clock (Jordan and Jessica), I’m not exactly sure what made my contractions pick up in intensity and I’m not the kind of person to assign things to anything but proven facts, but…
I felt that the Miles Circuit (recommended by some of you) and the “Baby Come out” hypnobabies script that Crystal, a reader from Canada, who also happens to be a hypno doula, was so kind to email me, were the two things that helped things move along. That’s when I noticed the pick up in contractions, whether that’s what caused it or not.

I’ll be running out for errands now, with at least our labor and postpartum bags in the car in case this progresses quickly all of a sudden. But my hope is that by this evening/next morning the contractions will get close together.

On a separate note, I know a lot of you have been waiting for Boob Design to open their US store and I can tell you it’s finally here! (read about Boob Design here)
I don’t believe the spring line is out yet last time I checked, but you can snag some nursing and maternity items on winter clearance in the meantime.

Also, if you’re into organic clothes, B Nature that I wrote about here is having an amazing 50% off sale on super cute organic baby sets on GILT, too.

Latest belly shots:

{sorry for the lame cell phone shots}

40 weeks 1 day


Wearing: Boob Nursing shirt from spring collection and one of the 2 bottoms that still fit my belly: a maternity skirt my friend gave me.

40 weeks 3 days


Wearing: Another Boob Nursing shirt from spring collection and the other one of the 2 bottoms that still fit my belly: a maternity skirt my friend gave me.

Do you guys see a pattern? I’m out of maternity clothes :) Lexie, come out!

Birth Plan

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy, PREGNANCY

PLEASE READ: I can’t believe I have to make this disclosure but after a lot of initial unsolicited and close-minded (and some helpful and nice) input on the hospital bag post, I’d like to say this:

This is MY birth plan. I am NOT interested in what YOU think my birth is going to be like. Nor what YOU think my hospital will or will not allow, nor what YOU think I can or cannot do.
I did run this whole thing past my OB who delivers exclusively at the hospital I’ll be in and got an approval and signature on everything with a few maybes, with his cell phone number to call in case something isn’t working out.

That being said, you’re welcome to share your experience of YOUR birth and birth plans, as well as give advice based on FACTS pertaining to MY birth specifically, as long as you have read previous posts and know exactly where I stand (in other words, you aren’t a first time visitor who seems to think that they know anything about what I want or need).
I’m very interested in any hypnobabies/hypnobirth birth plans and how things worked out.
Before commenting, please read Childbirth training post, if you haven’t before. Thank you!

I am quite open to many things if need be, however this is my best case scenario of how I’d like things to go in case of a normal uncomplicated and not drawn out labor.
My awesome OB agreed pretty much with everything and as he was going through the points, he kept going “That’s how it normally is” to almost every point.

Obviously, this plan is going to have to be modified, if Alexis doesn’t show up by Thursday and I have to go in for an induction. A few things on here will go straight out the door in an induction situation.
{And obviously, this isn’t the format I used for the actual birth plan. This is just a breakdown. }


Note: since I’ll be doing hypnosis for relaxation, my husband will be the one communicating with the nurses most of the time.

  • Minimum personnel in the room. No interns or students in the delivery room.
    I’ll be doing hypnosis so I want it as quiet as possible. They can teach kids on someone else. {people relax, it is said as a joke. My own good friend and MIL are both nurses, recently out of training. I just won’t be able to concentrate on hypnosis with people in and out of the room}
  • No regular cervical checks. I don’t want to be informed of progress, either.
    I’m really digging the emotional stages of labor and see them over and over again in birth stories I read, so I would rather go by that since it’s more accurate than dilation. Funny story: my sister who gave birth in Russia 18 years ago told me about her experience. She basically had painless contractions that started at 8pm. At 12am (4 hours later), they suddenly picked up and she was screaming in pain. They checked her- 4cm. No way she can labor for hours like that she thought (there were no epidurals available). 30 minutes later- she was 10 cm and ready to push. My nephew came out with 4 pushes. Another great example of how emotional stages of labor are way more indicative of progress than dilation ( if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can read it in Bradley Book)
  • No IV unless necessary (hep lock is fine).
    Truth be told I really don’t even want a hep lock. I don’t know how comfortable or uncomfortable I will be and I’d really like to avoid have a needle attached to my arm. Or being pumped full of fluids. But I realize I might not be able to not have either. I am, however, open to an IV, if for some reason, I am unable to hydrate properly and/or my labor is taking a long time. Fluids have its use- that’s for sure- just not as a routine thing in every labor. This was the first item that doc said we might have an issue with the nurses over.
  • No drugs whatsoever (including induction drugs, unless we agreed to them prior to ).
    I don’t want any painkillers, no Demerol or anything of that kind. I’d go for an epidural if I can’t handle the intensity of childbirth before going for other drugs.
  • No Cytotec if induction is necessary
    OB said they don’t ever use it anyways.
  • No amniotomy.
    Really needs no explanation. My doc agrees.
  • I’d like to be able to drink liquids, eat easily digested foods (fruit) during labor, if needed.
    Doc insists that I will not WANT to eat once I’m in active labor. Im not disagreeing but I’d like to decide for myself. I’m not planning on eating anything but easily digested foods, like fruit or juices, or maybe those bars I packed in early labor.
  • No continuous fetal monitoring. 20 minutes on , 20 minutes off is fine.
    This according to the doc is going to be a hard one. The funny part is I totally understand why they want to monitor, however I don’t want to be tethered down. I might be perfectly comfortable in bed and then sure bring it on. But based on everything I’ve read that’s usually not the case. So we are going to allow 20 on and off initially because I totally get why they want it and sort of play it by ear otherwise. If I am comfortable using hypnosis in bed or where the monitor can reach, I am not opposed to constant monitoring, but if it’s going to limit the type of relaxation techniques I can use, then it’s going to have to go. OB wasn’t happy about it, because he gets to track all his laboring patients on his iPhone ( how cool is that?), but he’s too sweet and caring to say no.
  • No epidural unless we specifically ask for it ourselves.
    This is sort of a no-brainer, but I just don’t want to be asked if I want an epidural until I request it myself.
  • No loud noises or push coaching.
    That only refers to initial pushing. Once the head is crowning, my OB will be directing my pushing to prevent tears. I don’t tend to need a lot of loud cheering on and we don’t want the atmosphere to be crazy loud, so none of that “PUSH! PUSH PUSH!” for me. On the other hand maybe I’ll be surprised and that’s exactly what will get me going.
  • I would prefer not to spend any time lying flat on my back, including during pushing stage.
    This one is non-negotiable! Half the hospital births I’ve seen they have women lying on their backs. 45 degree angle is fine, on my back- no!
  • I’d like to push in a sitting squat or whatever position I find comfortable.
    This one I’m really curious about what position I will find best to push it. No way to know until you get there :)
  • No episiotomy.
    Luckily doc agrees.
  • During the pushing stage, I would appreciate warm moist compresses and perineal massage to reduce risk of tearing.
    It’d be really cool if doc remembers to do that. Otherwise hopefully hubby will be in a gathered enough state to remind him.
  • No pulling on baby’s head. I would like to push her out myself.
  • Please delay cord clamping for at least 1-2 minutes. The cord clamping thing was initially “until it’s done pulsating”. After discussing it with the doctor he said that the longer you keep the cord unclamped and the more blood gets in (plus he brought up something to do with the baby being above mothers chest or something like that), the more bilirubin needs to be broken down. So it’s a fine balance between “yes you want the baby to take as much blood as possible to prevent anemia but at the same time you might run the risk of severe jaundice that’s a lot more dangerous”. To be honest I haven’t had time (or more like desire) to look up and see if what he’s saying is correct. He is a really caring doctor so I doubt he’d be saying something that it’s partially true. So we decided to let the cord pulsate for a few minutes and then clamp it. That way we get some extra blood into Alexis, but don’t run a big risk of jaundice.


  • We will provide blankets and will dry the baby ourselves {Actually, Andrew will as I’ll be “busy” with other things)
  • Please allow us time to get to know our baby and breastfeed (1-2 hours) before any newborn procedures.
  • All newborn procedures to be done in the room
  • Please no baths
  • Please keep low voices and be gentle
  • Please no eye ointment and no Hep B vaccine.
  • ABSOLUTELY NO formula, sugar water, water.
  • NO artificial nipples (pacifiers or bottles)
Hope this helps some of you who are in the process of writing a birth plan. I will have to change it if induction is necessary by Thursday. I don’t think I’ll post the updated plan since there’ll be far more important things to do. What I will do, however, is write a post on how it worked out for us. I assume, things won’t go exactly as we want, so concessions will have to be made, and it’ll be interesting to see how it all works out.

Hospital Bags

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy, PREGNANCY

After getting the most amazing and helpful answers from readers on what to pack for the hospital, our bags are packed and ready, so here’s the breakdown:

We decided to pack separate bags for each stage: labor/delivery, postpartum, baby and my husband’s brilliant idea of a “just in case” bag. And leave everything in the car except for the particular bag we need for that stage. That way we can bring a lot but not have to carry it all at once into the hospital room..
We have a large SUV, so we felt it was better to bring all we think we MIGHT need, since space isn’t an issue, rather than have to drive 20 minutes home and 20 back for that one thing.

Our labor bag:

This is the only bag we’ll be bringing in with us INTO the hospital when we first check in. Plus a few items that are too big to pack into a bag.

1. Swim trunks for hubby in case he needs to get in the shower/bath with me

2. Lavender oil diffuser. I’ve been using lavender oil while meditating to set a relaxing association, so arometherapy should help me relax even further in an unfamiliar environment while laboring

3. Fuzzy socks. I am a huge fan of warm soft “fuzzy” socks, so I got some for myself and thicker socks for hubby to walk around the room and be comfy in

4. Pretty pushers delivery gown for the labor. It has the perfect monitor and spinal (if needed) access and is meant to be disposed of once the delivery is over.

5. Super old comfy flats for the hospital

6. Flash difusser. I honestly don’t believe we’ll use it, since hubby isn’t “trained” to use flash, but I thought I’d put it in just in case. On top of it, lots of hair ties and a few headbands

7. Organic receiving blanket from Bambino Land to cover Alexis in while she is on my chest right after delivery. An organic Lukeeno onesie from Best Baby Organics (in case we’ll want to dress her right away. Which just made me realize that I need to pack a diaper as well in this bag.

8. Pads

9. Massage ball

10. Snack bars (my favorite kind)

11. Cheap oversized target underwear to be thrown out after labor

12. Blow up “thingy” for the birth ball

13. Speakers for the iPhone, so that I can play the Pushing Track of Hypnobabies out loud

14. External Flash ( which will probably not get used, because hubby doesn’t know how to and I’ll be preoccupied with other things, like pushing a baby out of my va-jay-jay)

15. Gatoraid (I am not a fan of gatoraid, but comparing the inrgedients of pedialite to gatoraid, I decided to go with this). To keep hydrated obviously. Though I’ll probably prefer water….

Not Pictured ( because I am still using the items or they’re too big to go into a bag and will just get packed in the trunk):

  • birth Ball and Base
  • camera, tripod, remote
  • fruit to snack on
  • a big body pillow for support
  • lots of other pillows
  • camera batter charger
  • hypnobabies guide
  • fuzzy blanket
  • lip balm

Our post partum bag:

This bag will get brought out when I get transferred from the delivery room into the recovery room.

  1. Clothes for hubby
  2. My Brest friend
  3. Towels. I packed old-ish towels, since half of you said they loved having their own towels and others didn’t like the idea of ruining them.
  4. More Target underwear I don’t mind throwing out afterwards.
  5. Lounge clothes for me that I don’t mind ruining, as well as some leggings and tops for when visitors come.
  6. Breastpads
  7. Toiletries, mother’s milk tea, nipple cream
  8. The biggest pads I could find
  9. More fuzzy socks :)
  10. My favorite item: cute designer hospital gown from Dear Johnnies. This will be the middle ground between wearing my own clothes and an ugly hospital gown. The nurses will have easy access to check me, and I will still feel cute ( well as cute as you can feel immediately after labor haha)
Not Pictured:
  • Blow up mattress for hubby to sleep on ( rather then the horrible pull out couch), since he’ll be spending every minute at the hospital
  • Tarp to put on the floor under the mattress so that it wasn’t gathering all kind of nasties from the hospital floor
  • Make up bag
  • Sweater
  • Sleep and nursing bras
  • A miracle healing lotion from Zita West (I’ll be blogging about this one- it’s amazing)
  • Our laptops
  • Lactation consultant’s number
  • Fuzzy robe ( do you notice a pattern? I love fuzzy fluffy things)
  • My going home outfit from Boob Design‘s spring line (that I didn’t even have at the time of writing this)

Our baby bag (my favorite):

This gets brought out from the car after the deliver is over and we’re in the recovery room.

  1. A few cloth diapers. As a new cloth diaper-er and a new mom, I am of course completely lost at the prospect of cloth diapering, I am hoping I’ll figure things out as I go. The reason why I packed 5 of them is because I don’t know how each brand will fit. After each day, I will give my mom a bag of dirty diapers and she’ll bring clean ones the next day. Luckily, babies aren’t supposed to poop too much in the first 2 days.
  2. RH Organic outfit: gown and hat. In case none of the pants/onesies fit
  3. Socks and a few more organic outfits of different lengths and sizes
  4. Cloth wipes (with a tea tree oil solution I made. Not pictured)
  5. Wet diaper bag to store dirty diapers in until my mom can take it home to wash.
  6. Miracle Blanket swaddle.
  7. What we think will be the going home outfit. From Sage Creek Organics.
  8. My favorite Shi Shu Blanket for the car seat in case it’s coldish.
  9. Bambino Land swaddle

Just in case bag

Just in case bag isn’t really a bag but a collection of random items thrown in the car JUST IN CASE. We’ve got:

Food “Bag”

My first “order” will be my favorite sushi roll, smoked salmon focaccia bread and a freshly made Napoleon cake! YUM!

That’s a pretty massive list, huh? But I feel like we won’t miss anything this way and everything will just sit in the car until we need it, so it’s not going to be inconvenient.

This was actually a lot of fun to write, probably because it makes it more real that soon we’ll need and get to use all those things.


UPDATE: Since I’ve been asked so much how my bags worked out, I’ll post a link here to the Reflections on Birth Experience post where I write about what did and did not get used.
Also read:

Also read:

Birth Story Part I
Birth Story Part II
Reflections on Birth Experience
Breastfeeding Journey
Breastfeeding Products that Helped 

40 WEEKS – Bump Update

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BUMP UPDATES, My Pregnancy, PREGNANCY


I really didn’t think I was going to get to write this update or get to use this photo I took just in case.

My initial feelings were that I’ll go past my due date. Then they changed and I felt I’ll go into labor at 38 weeks. When 38 weeks came and went, I honestly had no clue when or where it’d hit me. That was a good state of mind to be in. Then the contractions came in, close together and at regular intervals and I was confident real labor would follow within 1-2 days. That was Monday night. It’s Thursday and we’re still waiting. I have gone through regular contractions, passed my plug, “cleaned out my intestines”, had a crazy nesting urge ( all one after another)- and here I am again- no clue when it’ll happen lol
What I tried to avoid by not getting my dilation checked, I couldn’t avoid by being able to recognize the pre-labor signs: getting impatient. The funny part is I am in no way impatient to “get Alexis out”. I do want to meet her NOW but I’d be perfectly fine waiting till she is ready. The fact that I’m feeling better than I have ever felt during this pregnancy, despite a full term baby inside of me is contributing to this ( and astounds me at the same time). So my impatience is coming solely from that Monday when I felt the first contractions really close together for hours and was sure that was it. When IT didn’t happen within 4 days, I suddenly wanted it to happen so bad. Funny how mind works.
So after this doctor’s appointment I am officially done watching for signs and concentrating on doing all the safe things that help the labor move along as well as enjoy last week of pregnancy.



How far along: 40 WEEKS!!!! I am officially due today!

Total weight gain: 176lbs (1 lb this week). I have gained a round 40 lbs. It’s funny because during all the updates throughout pregnancy I have considered not sharing my weight gain or my thoughts and feelings on it. It’s a touchy subject for many women, and oh my, how much speculation it has brought. So I’ve considered doing what most other preggo bloggers do and just skip the weight section. But every time I think that, I also realize that it would defeat the whole purpose of trying to keep a record of this pregnancy and more importantly share it with other women who might be pregnant now or in the future. I’ve always tried to be as honest and upfront about this experience as possible, including my thoughts and feelings, my expectations and my realities, regardless of what kind of reactions they might bring on. And you know what? In the end, I know  what I will appreciate is reading back about every detail of the pregnancy as well as share it with other girls going through the same stages. My favorite pregnant bloggers really tell it how it is, not just 1 word answers and numbers on a questionnaire. They lament, they worry, they talk about their fears and joys. I also know that these efforts to stay honest regardless of how ulgy or uncomfortable it is are appreciated by many readers who are pregnant or trying to conceive. I get so many emails daily thanking me for the information or asking questions and I am sorry I can’t promptly answer them ( though I always do after some time), but do know that I appreciate them all. You emails and your comments make me want to keep this up even when I am insanely busy.
So I want to continue that into post partum weight loss. Pounds, nutrition, pictures, updates. First maybe weekly, then occasionally. I don’t know if I’ll have time for it AND Alexis’s updates, but if I can pull it off, I’d like to do it.

Sleep: My body is sore, I pee about 6 times a night, I wake up early and am restless- but it’s still good sleep for being 40 weeks pregnant.

Maternity Clothes: I can’t comfortably fit my belly into most of my maternity pants at this point, so it’s all about dresses for me.

Food cravings: Anything fresh!

Food aversions: Beans

Symptoms I HAVE:
Heartburn – still there, still strong! Can’t wait to be done with it.

I am really amazed at how good I feel. I always thought that by 40 weeks I’d be soooo miserable I’d want the baby out! I do want Alexis out because I’m anxious to meet her and start that chapter of our lives, but not because I AM DYING to be done. I feel really good! I can go on long walks, I have decent energy, it’s better than I ever expected. I am ready to be done with pregnancy in general but only because it’s been just too freaking long!

Stretchmarks: None so far, but the longer Lexi decides to stay inside, the more likely I am to get some.

Doctor’s Appointment: As I was going on this apointment, I knew I was going to get hit with “the induction talk”. Obviously, anyone would like to avoid an induction, but it’s the kind of thing that just hangs over you once you hit your due date without a baby in your arms. On one hand, I’ve read/heard too many stories about babies dying at 40 weeks 3 days and so on and so forth and I know it’s a dangerous time for babies in the womb due to their cramped quarters, but on the other hand, induction isn’t something you want to do unless absolutely necessary. So you walk this fine balance between risk on one side and risk on the other.

That being said, I love my OB and I trust him to have my interests in mind, he is really great. However, I do know he has a certain bias toward the way things are done, so I make sure I research and read myself, but then also listen to what he says and his experience and knowledge. He wants to induce at 41 weeks, he feels more comfortable that way. I get it. He’d rather deliver a baby with any means possible than lose one. I’m there with him too. And that’s why I am listening.

When I told him about my concerns when it comes to inductions (the usual ones: increased risk c section, fetal distress, likelihood of need for epidural, stronger than normal contractions), he assured me that when Pitocin is administered correctly, in the right dosage individually for every woman and adjusted correctly, it should not differ from what your natural labor should be like. The issue arises when OBs don’t do it carefully and patiently. The way it’s SUPPOSED TO work is if you are supposed to have a 6 hour labor naturally, you’d labor for 6 hours from the start of pitocin as well (once it has a chance to kick in), if you were meant to labor 16 hours, you would do the same on Pitocin. What he says makes sense to me and I have to trust him as a medical professional that I chose for a reason ( I had interviewed quite a few OBs in the area, before finding him).

There’s no other reasons for induction for me, like medical problems or baby weight ( she measured 7lb 8 oz last week). We also know exactly when we conceived, so her gestational age is spot on, she wouldn’t be born too soon. From everything I’ve read (and my OB said the same thing), when you’re that close to labor, sometimes just some Cervadil would kick-start it.

So that being said, my husband and I do tend to agree with our OB. I’ll probably want to wait just a day after 41 weeks, but right now we’re discussing dates, since we need to “schedule” it by tomorrow. In the meantime, we’re doing anything and everything safe and sane to help Alexis come out before then. I feel that she will come out before 41 weeks and if not, a proper induction isn’t the worst thing that can happen. More than anything we want her here safe and healthy.

Also, as you all know, I’ve been declining cervical checks at my appointments ( for a few reasons), but this time he got us to do it :) Basically, after I told him about my sister’s labor (4 hours to get to 4 cm with painless contractions, 30 minutes of very painful contractions that took her from 4cm to 10 cm, and then 4 pushes to get the baby out), coupled with my mom’s 7 hour first labor AND simple curiosity plus looming induction, he thought checking dilation might give us a heads up on when I should come to the hospital. If I am dilated to 3 cm right now, it’d be wise to get to the hospital almost right away since there’s a chance I’ll fly through active labor and transition, like my sis. If my weak contractions on Monday didn’t dilate me at all, then I mostly likely have time to labor at home before going to L&D. Thinking back at that, I don’t know that either one of those cases would have really told us that, but we were curious if the Monday contractions dilated me and how much. The answer was as disappointing as I would expect it to be- right down the middle- 1 cm dilated and 40% effaced- so it basically told us NOTHING. However, I did get to practice my hypnosis technique for the first time on a more real thing (cervical check) and it was….well interesting….

So the bottomline, I hope Alexis comes on her own before the induction. If an induction does happen, I’m not going to broken up about it. I will attempt to still use hypnosis with it (though I feel I am less likely to succeed, which is the attitude I have to work on in the coming week) and not go with an epidural. If I do end up with an epidural, I’m fine with that too. I will try a few techniques to help the labor get going. And I will take this time to relax and enjoy the few days that I have left with actual free time on my hands.

Movement: She’s been as active as before, which is a really great reassurance that she’s doing good.

Belly Button: Outie.

Gender: GIRL!

Best moment of the week:

  • The evening I realized I was having close time-able contractions- the thought that it might be labor is just so amazing.
  • Yesterday when I got my package from Boob Design with adorable nursing clothes and a dress that I am hoping to wear as a going home dress ( however, based on your guys’ advice on Facebook, I will definitely take 2 back up outfits: 1 for that chance that going home photos are the last thing I want to do, and 1 in case I do want photos but the dress is not something I am comfortable wearing).
  • We also resolved a few matters that have been hanging over us and received
    one of our strollers, so it was a GREAT day overall.

What I’m looking forward to:


What I miss:

Smoked salmon
Liking all food again

Again: In case I go into labor, I will try to have Andrew do a quick post to tell you all that it’s show time. I will most definitely post something on my Facebook page and that’s also probably how I am going to be updating you all in the first day or so. So if I disappear with no posts, it’s most likely NOT due to labor.

Updates, events and photos

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, FUN TIMES, LIFE, My Pregnancy, PHOTO, PREGNANCY

Let me start with the updates that I am sure you’re most interested in :)

I am a few days from being 40 weeks and this is what’s been happening in my world.


Last night after having some random contractions during the day, we went for a brisk walk. When we got back home, I decided to time those “random contractions”. Well, they were coming 2-3 minutes apart and lasting about 1 minute long. They were almost completely painless- the cramping felt like the beginning of a period cramping- so I was mostly basing the timing on the tightening. After an hour of those, we started thinking that maybe we should go to sleep, in case they get more intense later in the night. I continued timing them as we got ready for bed. Then a thought occurred to me- you’re supposed to go to the hospital when your contractions are 5 min or less apart lasting 1 minute for an hour. At that point I’d been having much more frequent contractions than that for 1.5 hours.  Noone ever talks about the intensity or the pain when they determine whether you should go to the hospital. And I’ve heard of women who have painless contractions… so next came Mr. Google. Yes, in fact, women have labored and had painless contractions until the last few minutes. So we figured maybe we should stay up and time them a bit more. Fast forward 2.5 hours, we’re super tired and the contractions have stayed under 5 minutes apart 1 minute long. However, since we didn’t see an increasing frequency pattern ( in fact, I went from 2 minutes apart one hour, to 3 minutes the next, 4 minutes the next, 5 minutes the last hour), we decided that, since true labor would have contractions increasing in frequency and strength, we were safe to go to bed.

This morning…. my contractions have stayed somewhere under 10 minutes apart lasting 45-60 seconds. So the “no hospital” decision was the right one. I remember reading that contractions that are more than 45 seconds long actually dilate your cervix. So who knows? Maybe had we gone to the hospital, they’d find out I am 3 cm dilated or so and keep me there, which is the last thing I’d want, if my labor is going to be slow to pick up.

This evening… I stopped counting and tracking contractions- it’s too exhausting. I just hope that when they pick up for real, I’ll know. And a little bit ahead of time to make it to the hospital before transition hits :)

So we’ll see what happens tonight and tomorrow, but it appears that the early early labor has started. Let’s hope it doesn’t stop. Alexis, we are READY!

P.S. I did take my last 40 week bare belly shot today just in case I do go into full labor before Thursday. So you’re all getting a 40 week update regardless.

2.  MOM

We haven’t been doing much. Just clothes shopping, food shopping, hanging out at home. She’s been cooking a lot, which is great, because the way we eat (no processed foods), it’s always either washing, cutting, cooking, cleaning or eating and it had been taking us HOURS a day until my mom arrived. We did get out to pick out some flowers for my ghastly looking backyard that I completely neglected during pregnancy.  She was happy to plant some flowers for me, so we went to pick some.

It’s so strange for me to see myself in these photos. I got that pregnant swollen look (even though I am not actually swollen) that you see on pretty much every pregnant woman by the end of her pregnancy. It’s obvious other people who don’t know me don’t see it, because I keep getting stopped places by people who want to comment on the fact that if they didn’t see my stomach they wouldn’t know I am pregnant (which is hard to believe). I just smile and thank them, and then walk away partially thinking “You, guys, just don’t know what I am supposed to look like” and partially thanking them in my head for brightening my hour and making me feel just a little bit better.


Just wanted to share a picture of my gorgeous friends and their gorgeous babies… and of course me with my tongue out…. They sort of ambushed me, so I was completely unprepared looks-wise.


Jess and Beth from TYDESIGNS drew this sketch of preggo me ( obviously back before the whale status). Isn’t it cool!? Don’t we wish we looked like that in real life? *sigh*
Thanks guys!


I am convinced our cats know the difference between organic and non-organic. Jake is obsessed with any item that is organic in our house. Changing pad, mattress, our organic comforter ( he would sleep on it for days when we first got it). I am letting him “explore” just a little bit and not putting covers on stuff yet, so that I didn’t have to wash them a million times before Lexi comes. But I guess we got the comfort  endorsement from him :) lol


Do you all have “your spot”?

I have this nook in our house at the top of the stairs where I hang out, blog, read, do hypnosis training. We recently bought a double recliner for it, so that I could breastfeed Alexis in a semi-reclined position (helps with establishing breastfeeding due to gravity) in a quiet comfortable place without having to go all the way to the nursery. Now I literally spend most of my time there. We didn’t decorate for Christmas this year, because then we’d just have to take it all off right as I am approaching my due date, but I did hang some ornaments on our fake tree and wrapped lights around the railing. I think I am going to keep it that way for the time being, too…


I am always completely humbled and touched when someone cares enough about us and Alexis to send her a sweet gift like that. Especially if that person and I have never met in real life. My blog friend Natalia sent Lexi a russian book of rhymes (rhymes I forgot I used to know and love). It’s going to be so much fun reading them to her. Thank you, girl! And thank you to everyone else who sent Alexis a card or a little something or called. You guys rock!

or check out this adorable baby book from Anastasia (who is a blog friend turned RL friend )

Speaking of packages, I received an opened empty envelope that looks like this (below) a few days ago. There’s no return address, I have no idea who it’s from. It looked like it was opened at the post office, which is really really sad :( I hope I get a hold of a person who sent it to at least say thank you for whatever was in there.


And finally an Instagram collage of photos I haven’t shared for the past few weeks. Just random cell phone shots of pregnancy stages.


I really really hope my next  real-time post will be from the hospital. In the meantime, I’m planning on scheduling a few posts to get published in case I do go into labor.

Organic Clothing

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, My Pregnancy, PRODUCTS


As a follow up to my organic post, here are a few organic clothing brands that I found that I really like.
Some are cheaper, others are more expensive, so you sort of have to see what  fits your budget and your style.



This company was started in 2007 in New York, with a few very unique girl and boy pieces. All clothes is made with 100% organic cotton and Fair Trade practices. I love some of their girly girl dresses they sell  and cool boy shorts. They offer US and  international shipping  and you can find their brand in many retail and online stores, as well.

Eva Spin Dress: $19.60
Simply Cris Romper: $32.00


Finn&Emma has the most adorable organic outfits. It doesn’t help that it’s all in shades of lavender which has been my favorite color lately. Super cute designs, my favorite by far. The details like little flowers and decorations are even more precious. Prices range from $25-$40. And you can find a range of super cute accessories like booties, bibs, hats, blankets, crib bedding and toys. I am definitely buying a few of their organic toys once I know what Alexis needs and likes.

This Flower Footie is $38

Eva Spin Dress:

A fun spunky brand that has the brightest cutest girl dresses (check out the Eva Spin Dress:) and cute boy onesies. Owls is a common theme, as you can see below. Their designs are definitely unique – not something you’ll see just anywhere. Prices range from $12 for a onesie to $39 for a dress.

Eva Spin Dress: below is $16 (sale)

Eva Spin Dress: are on sale for $14

Eva Spin Dress:

2Chix has Eva Spin Dress: too, including 2 Eva Spin Dress:, for a boy and a girl.

They come in natural colors, so no bleaching or dyes there and can be bought for $38 each.


Founded by one creative thinker, one nature lover and two little boys, Bambino Land is the kind of online store that has all that you need: organic crib sheets, receiving blankets, hooded towels, kimono gowns, hats, swaddles, yoga outfits, bibs, burp cloths, washcloths.

The gowns have no annoying tags that irritate the baby’s skin, which was one of my concerns ( babies are uncofortable enough to deal with scratchy tags) and are soft to touch.

You might want to check out Bambino Land’s adorable organic muslin swaddling blankets. As soft as Aden &Anais ( and they get softer with each wash), but organic and cheaper if you buy them in a set or two or more, these swaddles have really fun designs.


Best Baby Organics is a full service online retailer of organic goods and products. Check out the under $15 category for deals. You can get a 3 pack organic onesies for boys for only $15.99

You can also find organic maternity items, as well as body care there. It’s a one stop shopping for organic needs. Below you can see the house brand Lukeeno onesie and t-shirt.

The organic onesie can be bought  for $16

The Lukeeno top is $16, as well


This is all about custom organic clothes. Each piece is handprinted to order. They’ve got adorable colorful onesies with sweet names: Sweatpea, Bananas, Trouble, Sweet, Cookie, as well as clever taglines like “When I grow up, I want to be a Zombie”. My personal favorite is a onesie with Muggle written on it in Harry Potter font :) Price is $27 for a onesie and $29 for a long sleeved bodysuit, like the one on the right. You can also custom order an item if you wish here.


This brand’s style scream organics. Natural colors and designs, soft fabric crafted out of a 40 yard thread count which makes it durable and breathable. You just want to wrap up your baby in the soft pastel pinks, wheat and olive colored and light brown Eva Spin Dress:andEva Spin Dress:. Even the packaging it comes in looks natural and is made of recycled paper, but cute nonetheless.
I love their little sock booties and the stitching detail adds a little bit of a flare to the simple ensembles. The sleeves of the gown have baby hand pockets to keep them from scratching themselves.

One of my favorite items on the website is their winter and summer start up kit. If you don’t want to mess around finding the right organic clothes, you can order a winter or summer  newborn start up kit for only $182.5

Gown below is $25.50

Booties are $24


Funkoos was started by a team of parents who saw a need for cheaper high quality organic baby apparel.

Their online store is very user-friendly and straight-forward. It’s divided into Newborn girl, Newborn boy, Baby boy and Baby girl sections, so the right clothes is always easy to find. Funkoos brand clothes are simple with soft colors and cute embroderies. You can actually buy organic jeans there, which is the first time I found something this mainstream in organic.

The gown on the right can be bought for $29.99


This all-in-one organic baby boutique carries many different brands of organic clothes and accessories. It  has a pretty good selection of organic toys, organic baby slings, cart covers, clothing, skin care and pretty much anything you’d need for natural baby care. The photos below are of the most adorable organic set of security blanket ($22) and a hoodie towel ($36) by Swaddle Designs.  The security blanket is Shiloh’s (Pitt and Jolie’s kid) favorite item.

The boutique also has its own gift registry which is really easy to set up and use, so you can take advantage of that for your baby showers. Speaking of baby showers, there are really fun mom and baby gift sets available.

And for a limited time for our readers, use code “pbb15” to get 15% off.

So these are the main organic stores I’ve been looking through and shopping at. I have a few more brands that I adore, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to find an online retailer for them, except for occasional Zulily sale.

Once Alexis arrives and gets a chance to try these out, I’ll write a bit about her experiences and favorites and try to get some giveaways of organic clothes for you, guys.

39 Weeks Bump Update

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BUMP UPDATES, My Pregnancy, PREGNANCY

Before I go into the 39 week update, I’d like to tell you about this dress. It’s a convertible dress from 2chix Maternity that I just received and decided to wear to my OB appointment. I KID YOU NOT, every single person that crossed our path that day commented on it. Seriously! I had people look into our exam room while we were waiting asking me where I got the dress. And that’s considering I look like a whale at this point in my 39 weeks (I’m a tall girl + pregnancy weight = makes me look pretty big in general).
Personally I wore the dress because it’s insanely comfortable- the fabric is very soft, light and  very flowy. I am in love with the color!  But I didn’t expect it too cause such a reaction from passerbys and the office staff at the doctor’s office. And it’s a convertible dress, meaning you can wear it many different ways (as a halter, criss cross, off the shoulder, one shoulder, tube dress, one shoulder, cap sleeve, etc) – I wore it criss-cross and then later in the day created a little off the shoulder look like in the picture. I don’t think it’s specifically a maternity dress but it definitely fits well in maternity even at my 39 weeks. You can buy it here in coral, blue and black and it can even be worn as a skirt. I know I’ll be digging it post-partum when I get my body back, so you’ll be seeing me in this dress much more.



How far along: 39 WEEKS!!!! It just doesn’t get old. I never thought I’d be that far along- it’s pretty cool.

Total weight gain: I’m at 175 lb. (+1 lbs this week, total at 39 lbs). It looks like I’ll hit the round 40 lbs of weight gain,which still blows my mind. I am curious and excited to see how it comes off though.

Sleep: Sleep is good, it’s just hard to get up 3-4 times a night, surrounded by massive pillows and dragging your huge belly over the edge of the bed. Luckily I can still do it without outside help :)

Maternity Clothes: Dresses, yoga pants and fitted tshirts is what I’m most comfy in.

Food cravings: SWEETS :))))))

Food aversions: Anything that I have been eating for a long time. I like change.

Symptoms I HAVE:
Heartburn that goes from mild to strong depending on what I eat
Low pelvic shocks from Alexis’s head once in a while
Occasional unreasonable irritability (twice so far the whole pregnancy, both this week)
And a new one these past two days: Bruised upper inner thighs ( from her head, I assume)

But otherwise, I am really comfortable and feel great!

Stretchmarks: I completely forgot about this  question, until reader “Lola” reminded me about it. I guess because there hasn’t been any change for so many weeks, I stopped updating it. So…. I still have no stretchmarks. The area around my belly button looks VERY stretched and very thin and I can see capillaries, but no actual stretchmarks yet. Almost every evening I keep finding a reddish spot and pointing it to hubby who assures me it doesn’t look like a stretchmark and he is always right, because the spot goes away the next day.  And I continue to be very diligent about moisturizing my belly with Mama Mio Tummy Oil and drinking lots of water . I have one week left and while it doesn’t look like I’m going to get any stretchies, anything is possible before and after birth.

Doctor’s Appointment: Everything looked great as usual. This time the doc couldn’t really feel her head, so he wanted to make sure she’s still head down. We got sent to an ultrasound. I was hoping to see her face one more time but she was just too low. She is head down and is measuring 7lbs 8 oz at the moment, though I know these measurements are usually pretty inaccurate. My AFI (amniotic fluid index) is perfect at 11.8, which is something I was concerned about knowing that it diminishes towards the end of pregnancy. And we finally got to verify that she is in fact a SHE! Andrew received a print out of her head and I got her circled labia lol

Movement: She has her active times during 7-10pm hours and morning hours. She sleeps really well at night. I wonder if that’s going to transfer into real world at all. I did read that there are some theories about that.

Belly Button: Outie

Gender: GIRL!

Best moment of the week:
Just being this far along and knowing Alexis is going to be here soon.
It was pretty nice to finish the nursery ( almost finish… I don’t think it’ll ever be 100% finished, since I am planning on continuously adding things)
Hanging out with my girls sans babies during a movie night that was more of a “let’s talk about penises and sex” night rather  than the actual “watching a movie” night.

What I’m looking forward to:

I am EXTREMELY curious to see how my labor starts! Am I going to be in early labor for many hours or will it hit me like a truck? And of course the question is WHEN WHEN WHEN!
I am not impatient to get Alexis out, aside from wanting to meet her and keep her safe, but I am very interested to see how the labor goes for me.

What I miss:

It’s 39 weeks, so that means I got the go-ahead from hubby to finally walk and be active and work as hard as I want ( he wanted me to take it easy before then). I’m enjoying this newfound sense of independence :) I can finally see a glimpse of my normal life on the horizon and cannot wait for Alexis to come and change its definition. I can’t miss anything right now, because it’s not too long until I get to do it all again.

So another week of possible start of labor. Everyone is taking guesses and I am the only one who doesn’t have a clue!

I am planning a few posts for the next week, unless I go into labor. Here’s what I have in the works:

  • Hospital Bags (what we packed)
  •  Organic Baby clothes and where to buy them
  • Our Birth Plan
  • A random happenings/picture post

Again: In case I go into labor, I will try to have Andrew do a quick post to tell you all that it’s show time. I will most definitely post something on my Facebook page and that’s also probably how I am going to be updating you all in the first day or so. So if I disappear with no posts, it’s most likely NOT due to labor.

Supplements during pre-conception and pregnancy

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy, Pre-CONCEPTION

I’ve gotten so many emails about the supplements I am taking during pregnancy and took before conception that I decided to write a post. It seems a lot of people are having trouble finding the right prenatals they are happy with. I’ll also place this post under the Preconception and Pregnancy Resources at the top of the page.

Speaking of those pages, few of you might know that these two pages (PRE-CONCEPTION RESOURCES AND PREGNANCY RESOURCES) is where I have placed links to more informative posts I was writing as I was going through preparations for TTC and pregnancy and will continue updating them. They are articles, posts and links to things I found useful while preparing to conceive and during pregnancy, as well as what I did during the pre-TTC period and pregnancy recaps, along with helpful products and books. If you’re TTC or pregnant, go check it out, you might find a few useful things there.


Note: I am not here to give medical advice. All the information in this post and on this blog is my personal opinion derived from many books and studies I have found. You need to use your own situation and resources to decide if what is right for you.

When we first decided to TTC and started preparing our bodies for the first month of trying to conceive, I did a little bit of research as to what vitamins we could take to make our bodies healthy and strong in preparation for pregnancy. At that point, pretty much any prenatal supplement would do the job. However, knowing that many vitamins and minerals do have a toxicity level, my goal was to find a prenatal supplement that didn’t have mega doses of certain vitamins. Some prenatals LOVE jamming 500% or more of vitamins into the pill, and not only is it unnecessary, but could be very dangerous when it comes to pregnancy.

TTC Supplement

So my initial pre-TTC prenatal supplement was from Solgar Prenatal Nutrients. It has a perfect amount of vitamins/minerals, without exceeding 100% of RDA,except for Iron (which is supposed to be higher for pregnant women anyways) and Vit. C ( which doesn’t really have a toxicity level) (view the supplement label here)

It’s important to go into pregnancy with adequate stores of iron, which sets you up not to be deficient later and you also need 200% of regular DV of folic acid which is 800mg. It’s extremely important to take folic acid supplements prior to conception as the neural tube develops in the first 30 days of pregnancy (before most women know they are pregnant) and supplementing folic acid can prevent many cases of neural tube defects.

For your man:

Get him a zinc and selenium supplement which helps sperm health and production. A standard one a day men’s pill like one below should do just fine

DHA supplement

Taking DHA or eating fatty fish (such as salmon, sardines and herring) is going to help with your baby’s brain development once you get pregnant. I started with an algae based vegetarian DHA from Solgar. I liked the idea of not having to deal with mercury and dioxins from fish based supplements. Soon I realized it wasn’t enough DHA (only 200mg) and to get it to the recommended 1g, I’d have to take 5 pills a day, which would become very costly. That’s where the Environmental Defense Fund website came in handy with their Fish Oil Supplement Guide and after checking out a bunch of DHA brands, I decided that I really liked Nordic Naturals (I had read good things about them before as well). It has a nice strawberry taste, contains 1g of DHA in it and it’s really well refined, so you don’t have to worry about mercury and dioxins.

So that’s where I was during the pre-conception stage….

Then pregnancy came and with it, came a lot of new reading and researching.

I found out that as little as 3/4 of Daily Value of vitamin E has been linked with heart defects. My OB tipped me off about that when I ran my prenatals past him but the prenatal he offered that had 50% of vitamin E was flawed in other areas. The worst part is that ingesting more than 3/4 of the recommended amount of vitamin E (from food AND supplements) BEFORE and DURING pregnancy increased the risk of heart abnormalities in babies 9 fold (according to the study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology). You just CAN’T WIN, can you? Keep in mind that some DHA supplements use vitamin E as a preservative so count that in too (it’ll list it on the label).

So I decided that the only way to truly do a good job with my prenatals is to “build my own”. Rather than take 2 massive pills, I decided to buy all separate supplements.

Most people’s diets get sufficient amounts of some vitamins and minerals. Everyone’s diet is different, therefore everyone’s needs are different. In order NOT to have to take literally up to 25 different pills a day, I set out to figure out what my diet is deficient in and only supplement those plus some. After tracking my food intake for a week or so using NutritionData, I figured out that as a {mostly} vegetarian eater, I was perfect on all vitamins except B, and all minerals except iron and zinc. I actually continued tracking my food intake and vitamins and attempting to get all of my 100% of RDA from foods, but anything I was deficient that day I could always pop a supplement for, without throwing the rest out of wack.

So I assume most of you aren’t going to want to go to the extent of tracking your food intake and some of you might not have time for it, so I’ll try to break it down as easily as I can.

If you’re mainly a vegetable/fruit/grain eater, you’ll need the same supplementation as me. If you tend to eat fewer vegetables and more meat products, you need to check your A,C,K, folate consumption.

Here is my supplement breakdown:

{ Morning: 500mg of Calcium + 1000 mg DHA. (links are to the actual supplements I take) }

Calcium needed supplementation just in case ( I did eat enough dairy to meet my RDA, but I’d like to keep my teeth and bones when I am done making babies, so I wanted to be sure). It needs to be taken at a different time of the day than iron, since it interferes with iron absoption (which is hard to absorb as it is). In addition to that, only 500mg of calcium can be absorbed at a time, so if you want to supplement more, you need to break it down into 500mg servings over the day. Make sure your brand comes with vitamin D for better absorption as well.

is almost always deficient in most people, unless you literally eat fatty fish daily, and with every child your DHA stores dimish, so it’s even more important to supplement in subsequent pregnancies. There’s been a study in nursing women that showed that taking as much as 2-4 grams of DHA increased their child’s intelligence accordingly, so the supplementation doesn’t stop with pregnancy, but continues into breastfeeding and beyond. If you’re formula feeding, it’s trickier, since not all formula companies care to add DHA, however it’s possible to find one that does have a good amount of DHA (don’t be fooled by the marketing ploy of adding a negligent amount of DHA and stating “source of DHA” on the can)

{ Evening: Vit. C+Iron+Zinc+Copper+B complex+Folic Acid (links are to the actual supplements I take) }

Vitamin C – besides it being harder to overdose on, vitamin C is just a good vitamin to supplement. In my case, the reason for supplementation was that Iron is better absorbed if taken with vitamin C. You can accomplish the same thing if you take your iron with orange juice or eat a grapefruit. The challenge is to find a pill that doesn’t give you 1000% of vitamin C. So I break mine into two and take half the amount (250mg) at one time. Most fruit/vegetable eaters don’t need supplementation unless they want better iron absorption.

Iron – this one really doesn’t need explanation. Unless you eat A LOT OF iron rich foods, you probably need supplementation at one point of the pregnancy or the other. I used Gentle Iron from Solgar from the beginning and I haven’t had much trouble with it making me sick or constipated (like some iron supplements do). Don’t take it close to a calcium rich meal or with your calcium supplement. It inhibits absorption. Iron is the reason I take all these pills in the evening, because I figured if I were to get sick from it, I’d be fast asleep by the time it hits me and I won’t notice it as much :) So the evening time just stayed.

Zinc and Copper- I don’t actually need copper supplement on daily basis, however the rule of thumb is to supplement copper if you supplement zinc and visa versa. They are in a very finicky balance in our system and supplementing one without the other can throw the whole balance off. Unless you know you eat plenty of copper, I wouldn’t supplement zinc without it. Since these two tend to come in 200% dv form, I break them in two as well.

B vitamins Complex – this pill complex includes all B vitamins in no more than 100% DV, plus 400mg of folic acid. Since I don’t eat meat, or drink too much dairy, I need supplementation. If you’re a meat eater, you might not. This one from Sundowns was the best one I found.

Folic Acid – this one is a must from day “MINUS 30” of pregnancy. The RDA for pregnant women is 800mg. Since I get 400 mg from my B complex, I only need to supplement an additional 400mg.

So that’s where I am at right now. I guess once I start breastfeeding, I’ll have to review the breakdown of vitamins necessary for breastfeeding and adjust accordingly.

Hope this helps a few of you who ran into the same trouble with prenatals as I did, but haven’t had a chance to email me.