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.

STATS:

Her size: WATERMELON

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:

L-A-B-O-R!

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.

1. LABOR SIGNS

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.


3. FRIENDS

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.

4. SUPER COOL THANKS to TYDESIGNS

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!

5. CATS AND ORGANICS

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

6. MY PLACE

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…

7. GIFTS

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.

8. INSTAGRAM

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


ORGANIC CLOTHING

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.

 

BUNGALOW BEBE

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

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.

 BAMBINO LAND

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

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


SPUNKY STORK

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.

B NATURE ORGANICS

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

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

MY NATURAL BABY BOUTIQUE

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.

STATS:

Her size: WATERMELON

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.

VITAMINS and SUPPLEMENTS

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.



DHA
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.

Photo Share Tuesday: Mom is here

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

So finally the day that I didn’t think would ever come is here. My mom has safely arrived from Russia, having endured a 48 hour trip: an overnight train ride, a 10 hour flight and 2 connections in the US. In the past few days we’ve been enjoying her cooking and her presence! It’s nice to have her around and it seems like it’s always been that way.

She’s very funny when it comes to my belly moving and me telling her what Alexis is doing there. I guess back when she was pregnant in Russia, there were no ultrasounds, they didn’t know the sex of the baby or much about the development of the baby, so it was just something that was happening TO them, rather than a human life growing. She’s a bit freaked out about labor, I can see that every time I mention it. There is no way she’d want to be in the delivery room and no way I’d want her there, because I’d be concerned with how SHE’S handling it rather than concentrate on relaxation techniques.

She’ll be here until end of May. I’m really excited that she’ll get to be with Alexis as a baby and not just a newborn, she’ll get to bond with her and speak Russian to her. It’s also HUGE help for me to practice my Russian so that I can speak it more fluently when Alexis arrives.

So without further edo, here are the first shots of my mom and I, first and probably last ones with my pregnant belly. I am also working on taking some of the last shots of the nursery. It won’t be 100% complete when Alexis comes, since I am still not sure what to put on certain shelves and in certain drawers, but it’ll be close to the final state.

A s far as labor signs, I don’t really have any. I feel great, I am resting a lot until week 39 when I am going to start walking a lot and I always get contractions while walking. And otherwise, we’re just waiting for Alexis to decide she’s ready. The hospital bags are as packed as they can be right now (will do a post on that), the birth plan is signed, the car seat is installed, my mom is here- we are ALL READY!

Safety in organic

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


I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, so I am very glad I finally have the time and the resources to put this in writing, and have 2 baby related giveaways.

A few months ago after doing some research, my husband and I decided that it was important to us to somewhat continue the natural approach we’ve been using in this pregnancy further into Alexis’s life.

We committed to making sure that we buy organic clothes and bedding  for her for as long as we can. The initial goal for clothes being six months, bedding-indefinitely.

It’s well known how incredibly sensitive an infant’s skin and system are and that her lungs, digestive system and brain are still developing outside the womb, so using items that are  softer, more pleasant to her skin and most importantly are free of harmful dyes and chemicals was something that we considered of value.

I remember thinking a while ago: It’s just clothing/bedding . How harmful can it be?  Well, it turns out a normal 100% cotton top is usually far from being just cotton.

With the advance in manufacturing (and subsequently the amount of money to be made on mass produced cheap clothing), companies are doing all they can to cut costs and make things cheaper and more efficient. That results in clothing that is full of pesticides, chemicals, flame retardants, ammonia, metals, formaldehyde and artificial dyes. Aside from all these harmful substances leeching into the baby’s system, there’s also a big possibility of them being a big allergen for small babies, especially those born to parents with sensitivities. The skin of a baby is much thinner and less oily than an adult’s, which makes it more porous and their immune system isn’t strong enough yet to handle the toxins, even in small amounts. And unfortunately, washing clothes doesn’t remove all the chemicals and pesticides ( though it does help somewhat).

The problem with cotton is that it’s very susceptible to pests and insects, so in order to increase production and profits, companies have to  spray the crops with an unreal amount of pesticides and insecticides. According to Organic Consumers Association, “just 2.4% of the world’s arable land is planted with cotton, yet it accounts for 24% of the world’s insecticide market and 11% of sale of global pesticides, making it the most pesticide-intensive crop grown on the planet.”  And think about this: five out of top 9 pesticides being used on cotton are known cancer causing chemicals.  1/3 Pound of chemicals are typically used in the production of one cotton T-shirt.  And this is the stuff that sits on your baby for days, your baby sleeps on it, breathes it, touches it – quite disconcerting.

Now we both realize that at this point, it is impossible to get away from all or even the majority of dangers in our environment, but just like in pregnancy we’d like to try to do as much as we can handle. At least until her body is not as sensitive to things as it will be in the beginning. And anyone with allergies would probably benefit even more from switching to organic.

So I’ll leave the clothing for the next post, but here’s what I found out about bedding. Buying organic bedding and sleepwear is just a no-brainer, as a newborn she will be spending MOST of her time sleeping on her sheets and mattress, breathing whatever they have to offer. Organic mattresses are really expensive, sheets are much more affordable, so are mattress pads, changing pads and protectors. But after reading some information about SIDS and it’s very possible link to the chemicals in our baby mattresses ( thanks to a blog reader). Here’s a shorter simple explanation behind the theory and science. After reading a bit, it blew my mind to find out what the baby mattresses are made of : petroleum, vinyl,  pesticides, cancer causing substances, and then to comply with stupid government fire safety regulations, they’re sprayed with horrible flame retardants.

So after a lot of procrastination and looking around and after we tried out a Naturepedic changing pad (see below), we just purchased a Naturepedic organic mattress. We also have organic sheets from different brands ( those are really cheap), as well as organic changing pad covers. Anything that I know my baby will be spending a lot of time on/in, I want it in organic if possible. I’ll try to write a post about my Black Friday purchases (I know I promised), a lot of which were organic since I had just read about it all, mentioning where I got them and how much they cost, in case anyone is looking to switch to organic as well. But here are a few popular baby related things that actually come in natural and/or organic option.

NATUREPEDIC ORGANIC CHANGING PAD (giveaway below)

One thing that hit me right away was “NO SMELL!”. You know how you get things, you unpack them from that vinyl wrapping and you get a good whiff of glue-like, plastic-y smell. None of that here. This one didn’t smell like ANYTHING! That was a very reassuring thing for me. It’s waterproof and easy to clean, but not made out of vinyl and other toxic chemicals. They use a  clear non-allergenic 100% polyethylene food-grade waterproof coating.  The filling is 100% organic cotton without pesticides and chemicals. There’s no latex which can be an issue in allergic people.

The pad is also really really sturdy and of good quality. I can see us using it for 2-3 years without having to replace it versus a cheap $25 pad that is flimsy and toxic. It also has the standard straps and clips to attach them to a dresser in the back, as well as safety belt. It’s also deeper and curvier than other changing pads I’ve seen which I can imagine will be a big bonus. It is more expensive than other pads on the market ($99) but from what I can see, along with other people’s feedback and reviews, the money is well spent, just from the longevity standpoint. And aside from that, you can’t put a price on your baby’s health. You can buy it here (Naturepedic) or here (Amazon). You can also enter our giveaway for a chance to get one for free ( please see the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of the post for the giveaway)

ORGANIC BRESTFRIEND

Everyone I talked to recommended that I get a Brestfriend as a breastfeeding pillow. I loved that they had an organic option. Unfortunately, it’s only the cover that’s organic, not the actual pillow, but I realize that they’re not in the business of making organic breastfeeding pillow, so I really appreciate at least having the option to purchase an organic cover, since I’ll be spending many many hours breastfeeding Alexis. The cover can be bought separately for $17 if you already own a BrestFriend, or you can buy the pillow with the cover for $48 right now on Amazon (down from $60). I will write more about my experience with the pillow once I get to try it out, but I wanted to mention it here, since it fits in the whole organic theme.

 

 ALLERGYSTORE.COM

This is a good website to bookmark. It basically stocks all kind of natural and organic products, as well as allergy related supplies. You can buy safe non-toxic laundry detergents, asthma care, air cleaners, pet allergy products, organic and hypoallergenic bedding. I used two items from the website: an organic crib blanket (sale $26.95) and a waterproof wool mattress pad ($89.95).

The crib blanket reminds me of being a kid and spending summers with grandma in the country: natural, comfy, hand knitted blankets that were spread all over the country cottage. The waterproof wool pad was a little bit of surprise for me. I didn’t know that wool is a natural flame retardant and is waterproof. If you don’t want to use toxic waterproof padding for your crib mattress, you could opt for wool. Check out the picture below of water droplets just sitting on the wool pad-  they don’t soak in. Pretty cool!

Also, baby’s bedding and clothing need to be washed in a different detergent than our adult clothes, one that’s hypoallergenic and safe. Allergystore.com stocks the best one: OxyPrime and Oxy Clean, which I am a fan of. And if you have allergies, try the Allersearch.

 

I am also finding out that a lot of brand name baby items now come in an organic option. Like…

HALO SLEEPSACK 

A well known original wearable blanket comes in an organic option seen below ($32.95 or $28.95 on Amazon). It’s only 6 dollars cheaper than the non-organic option and I consider it $6 well spent. I’ll write more about how it works on an actual baby when Alexis arrives, but I thought that it was definitely worth including into the post. Halo also has the swaddle version of this blanket which is perfect for newborn babies.

 

SHI SHU BABY (giveaway below)

 

Have you noticed how difficult it is to find soft comfy cozy baby blankets that aren’t made out of polyester, fake fur or other synthetic fabrics?

Meet Shi Shu Baby!

Made of bamboo and cotton – super soft and pleasant to skin without the use of synthetics. It’s a REALLY BIG blanket- perfect as a stroller blanket or a crib blanket. It’s awesome for cold weather babies plus toddlers will love the feel of it, too.

Tamre, the founder, actually came up with the idea for the blanket when all her gifted blankets made her little baby hot and rashy. Bamboo is perfect for babies because it regulates their temperature and is naturally antibacterial. It comes in adorable sweet colors – perfect to match any nursery. I can’t wait to finish Alexis’s room and hang this very blanket on the crib as a design piece until I can use it with her when she’s a little bit older.

You can enter our giveaway below for a chance to win this blanket or you can visit Shi Shu Baby website to purchase one ($88)

I am actually going to put the SHI SHU HOME throw on my wish list, because I want to have a matching throw and will strongly hint to my husband that I want it for Christmas ( what a perfect cozy gift)

 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclosure: I received no compensation for my reviews other than free samples of the products. All opinions are 100% my own.


38 Weeks Bump Update

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

STATS:

Her size: BIG GIRL READY TO COME OUT

How far along: 38 WEEKS!!!! Wow 38 weeks just seems so much more substantial than 37 weeks for some reason!

Total weight gain: I’m at 174 lb. (+3 lbs this week, total at 38 lbs).  Seriously? I mean what the hell! I don’t understand my weight gain whatsoever. The only thing that saves me from being pissed at it is that I don’t look like I’m gaining that much weight..and the fact that I am almost done…and the fact that weight loss has always been easy for me, since I know exactly what my body needs. But still seeing these numbers on the scale and not having a clue where it’s coming from, considering I eat really really healthy (+ a few small treats a day) is a little confusing.

Sleep: My sides really hurt, but otherwise it’s pretty solid sleep even with bathroom break interruptions.

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

Food cravings: None really at this point.

Food aversions: cooked tomatoes- they give me wicked heartburn

Symptoms I HAVE: This morning I woke up and for the first time during pregnancy looked down to see somewhat swollen feet. Whoa! They weren’t majorly swollen (when you press on them there’s no indentation), but it sort of concerned me. I measured my BP and it was fine, called the nurse to just run it past her since it’s a pretty sudden symptom and she said that as long as my BP is good, it’s nothing to worry about, most women get swelling early in their third trimester.

Heartburn- YUCK! This sucker picked up this week! A few times, I even had to take half a Tums and drink by-carb ( I only take it when it’s really really bad).

Otherwise, I feel great! No back pain, no pains in general- really expected to be more miserable towards the end.

Doctor’s Appointment: Everything was fine as usual. I brought my birth plan (which I will post soon) and had my OB look it over  and sign it. He said that the only two things that he foresees us having a problem withwhen it comes to the L&D nurses was the “no IV” and “no continuous monitoring”.  Again, he reiterated calling his cell if there’s a problem and also telling the nurses to call him in when I’m dilated to 10 cm rather than wait till she’s crowned, which is when they usually call him in  (because of my family history of fast labors and pushing and because of my body build).

Also I could see a marked changed in his attitude towards me going for un-medicated birth and using hypnosis for relaxation. He started our relationship with the “why take the pain if you can have an epidural” attitude, which is where I was at that point as well. When I first told him about my plan for hypnobabies, he smiled and I felt like he was letting me do what I wanted but was pretty skeptical of whether it would work or if I’d pull through. This appointment, hubby and I both got an impression that he was actually routing for me to go without an epidural. A few times he said: “You can definitely do it!”  and “You won’t need an epidural” and seemed genuinely excited! I’m really glad for his support!

Movement: This girl loves to move! It’s especially fun when her  head presses on my nerve in my crotch! lol

Belly Button: Outie

Gender: GIRL! Though…… we never got it confirmed. We had our 20 week anatomy scan when we were told a girl, and the only other u/s we had, she kept her legs tightly closed. So we hope we’re not going to be “surprised” in the delivery room!

Best moment of the week: I have two this week! My mom has finally arrived and it’s so awesome! I feel all is now well in the world and Alexis can come whenever she’d like. My mom is amazing help, but also a huge distraction because all I want to do now and hang out with her :) She’s so funny with Alexis and my stomach, so gentle and curious and cute! I guess they never thought of the baby as a real baby back then, they didn’t know anything about what’s going on inside. So this whole “it’s a real baby inside you” thing is new to her. She sees her a her granddaughter even though she’s not here yet.

Another awesome moment this week was a surprise mini-shower from my friends, Michelle and Christine. I totally didn’t expect it, and was completely oblivious to the clues (read my attitude towards traditional baby showers post)!  They did such a  good job, though- I had no suspicions and was completely caught of guard and we had such a nice time ( and no cheesy shower games haha). I was coming over Michelle’s to hang out with her while my hubby was flying to NYC, in case I’d get in labor and I literally almost put sweats and a tee on to go over there and at the last second she insisted we take “last bump” photos together, so I was forced to at least put on a dress. hahaha I still laugh at how oblivious I was of all the clues that were out there.

I love you, girls! I’m so lucky I have you here close by!

That really makes me want to do a baby party when Alexis comes! Hope I can pull it off!

What I’m looking forward to:

I am really excited about experiencing childbirth and seeing Alexis for the first time and just understanding  what this whole “being a parent” thing is all about.

What I miss:

Not being helpless. My husband is even more protective of me and Alexis now that she’s almost here, so he won’t let me do anything. He wants her to cook till 39 weeks, because the doc said that’s where most of the time they’re truly done developing, so I am not even “allowed” to go for a walk or clean or move around much in case it’ll kick start labor. I’m personally fine with her coming this week, but I do understand what he’s saying so I just smile and do what he says, realizing that in 1 week things will change and it’ll be mostly me having sleepless nights and breastfeeding on cue with as much help from him as possible.

 

So I almost feel like it’s possible this is my last update! :)

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.

 

Christmas Photos

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

This was our first year sending out Christmas cards. It was somehow not important before we had a kid on the way. Now that Alexis is in the picture, we both suddenly felt the need to reach out to friends and family on Christmas. Getting around to taking Christmas photos wasn’t as easy as deciding that we needed to send cards. Finally, when we couldn’t wait any longer, we quickly got dressed, put make up on for the first time in weeks (me) and as the sun was setting and we were loosing most of our light took off to the one place we were almost sure would be decorated at this point.

Both crabby, without any desire to pose, with business calls coming in constantly, we somehow pulled it off.

Note: All the shots were taken and edited by me, using a tripod, a remote, 50mm and Lightroom (even though I tend to be pretty good at hiding the remote, you might be able to spot it in my hand in some of these)

At this point everyone, even my oversees friends, has already received the cards, so I feel I’m not spoiling the surprise for anyone by posting these. {Patti, yes, you know who you are, I have sent you TWO cards and each time they keep coming back with “wrong address” stamp on it. I now give up! But please know that we did send it and we think of you and Bernie often}

Red dress is from Isabella Oliver Maternity Collection

and what is a shoot without some outtakes.