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



It was so cold this morning that I jumped out of bed and quickly put clothes on without realizing that my bra is inside out until I took these pictures- haha!
Oh and I was taking these shots when hubby brought me an ice-cream cone- I couldn’t let it melt while I took pictures :)


Her size: Still cantaloupe, almost watermelon.

How far along: 36 WEEKS!!!! OH YEAH!!!!! 1 more week to full term.

Total weight gain: 169 lb.  (+1 lbs this week, total at 33 lbs). According to my OB, I haven’t gained anything this week, but weighing yourself in the middle of the day with clothes and shoes on isn’t as accurate, so I’m going by my morning weigh ins.

Sleep: Still good. I am pretty much used to getting up many times a night to pee which is a good sign for the upcoming middle of the night baby-thon. I also started waking up “concerned” with whether Alexis is moving or not. She doesn’t move at night, so I wake up to go pee, all worried that she’s not moving. As soon as I get back into bed, I put my hands around my belly and wait for her to stir. She does move almost immediately and I go back to sleep only to wake up a few hours later and repeat it all again.

Maternity Clothes: Just the same old stuff I’ve blogged about before

Food cravings: Cucumbers, cakes

Food aversions: none

Symptoms I HAVE: Occasional major pelvic pains. When Alexis is moving, sometimes her head presses on SOMETHING in my pelvic bone (nerve? bone?) and it really hurts- like a jolt of shock. Sometimes it lasts for hours of her squirming around. The other day I was helping hubby take this super difficult 3 hour test and she wouldn’t stop moving. I couldn’t even use my relaxation techniques, because I had to be concentrating on the questions. I guess it’s a good sign meaning she’s deeper in my pelvis and possibly settling even more down.

I had 2 leg cramps this week for the first time this pregnancy, so I probably need to up my calcium intake a bit more.

And finally, I am almost always tired, but feel really great otherwise!

Doctor’s Appointment: Yesterday. I got all negative on Strep B and cultures, which was good news. BP was excellent, no swelling, good heartbeat and measurements. Based on the external exam, Alexis appears to be at about 0 station (which is why I was feeling pain). So everything is fine, now we just have to wait till she decides to arrive. Next appointment is in a week and I am sure they’re going to want to check my cervix for progress, which I totally don’t see the medical need for, since it doesn’t predict how close you are to labor. I’ll go into labor when I do, so why check it.

Movement: She’s very active. I guess they’re supposed to slow down due to cramped space, but it seems like she’s only starting and I like it that way. The more movement, the more brain development happens in these last weeks, since synapses are created by experiences. So I don’t care if she has to punch me multiple times a day- You go girl! Oh and she’s insanely strong now and her feet are big :) lol

Belly Button: Outie. That area of my belly is stretching the most and the skin looks almost translucent and reddish. If I am going to get stretchmarks, something tells me that’s where they will first appear.

Gender: GIRL!

Best moment of the week: WOW I can’t remember what I did yesterday, let alone this whole week. Oh, there was Christmas (lol), that was really nice. But mostly I am just buried under a load of last minute baby preparations and work.

What I’m looking forward to:

Being full term next week- that’s just soooo exciting! And then the week after that my mom arrives. Let’s just hope I don’t go into labor before then!

And I am almost giddy about my labor starting- seriously I can’t wait!

What I miss:

Not watching every little thing that goes into my mouth or on my body.

What else?

  • The realization of Alexis being pretty much ready to go hit me hard. I still don’t have a lot of basic items like diaper pails and baby care items (I have a 49 point list on my Wunderlist). We still haven’t read the newborn books, since we’ve been trying to get through other attachment parenting books, as well as breastfeeding books and baby brain books. So most likely I am going to have to stop any work projects going on that aren’t urgent and get all that ordered and if she doesn’t show up early, attempt to get the work stuff accomplished before she arrives. So today I am knee deep in ordering baby essentials.
  • It’s probably every pregnant woman’s feeling but I think she’ll come before 40 weeks ( which would be my preference, since I don’t want to drive myself crazy with “OMG are we gonna have to induce?”)
And finally a closer belly shot. Because of the direct light, I don’t think you can even make out my belly in the bump update shots (the front ones), so it looks more like a belly here. With that uneven side where Lexi rests her feet lol.

Evolution of My Attitude Towards Childbirth

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

My attitude towards labor and delivery has changed DRASTICALLY from the time before I got pregnant, then pregnant, then VERY pregnant, to NOW.

Before I was pregnant, birth was a hypothetical painful dreadful experience that we all have to deal with one day. It’s not something I wanted to think about at the time.

Once I got pregnant, that attitude changed to “yes it’s going to be horrible, but whatever it takes to bring my little baby into this world”.

After I watched some less-than-PG13 youtube videos of birth, I was horrified and was CONVINCED that the only way to do this was to “hook myself up to an epidural and try not to look down”. Once the fear passed and I got used to the idea of birth and the imagery of it, I was dreading it less, however I strongly felt that there was no reason for me to try natural birth, since we have things like epidurals that will keep you comfortable with minimal risk. I don’t know my pain threshold and I didn’t want to exactly test it ( I still don’t) and with everything that I read about an epidural, while I’d love to avoid it, I  just didn’t feel like the side effects justified going through so much pain.

There are some things that I can be strong about and blow people’s mind with my willpower, and there are others that I just don’t think I can do (running is a great example). We all do what we know we are capable of and I did not think I was capable of going through the pain of childbirth without an epidural. I also knew I definitely didn’t want any pain relievers aside from an epidural, so I figured I’d deal with the pain until I could get an epidural and hopefully I’d get it around 5 cm, so  it wouldn’t stall my labor.

I continued reading books about birth and relaxation techniques. I read the Bradley book along with the Bradley Partner book and found the information invaluable but not enough to change my mind about the epidural. It did help me understand the process better and that it’s natural and the mechanics of contractions and not to fear them as much but to relax during them. It really really helped me understand what really happens when the uterus contracts. I felt like that knowledge would take me to my 5 cm until I could get an epidural. I also loved reading about the emotional signposts of labor rather than going by dilation to judge the progress. It just made sense. {I’d be very curious to hear from any of you who knew about the emotional signposts going into labor , whether you recognized them  and whether it helped you know where you were at}

However, nothing in Bradley method made me think that I would want a natural birth, nothing promised it’d be roses and champagne and the best experience of my life, so I still wanted an epidural, BUT now I was willing to have a wait-and-see attitude. I wanted to see if I could do it naturally with the tools the Bradley book provided me and if not, I was perfectly ok with an epidural.

A few weeks later, I was reading one of the million pregnancy books I read weekly and they mentioned hypnobirth. I had been seeing the name “hypnobirth” and “hypnobabies” as ads on random birth related websites, but I always steered clear of them because 1.) I thought “hypnobirthing” had something to do with laboring under hypnosis and 2.) “Hypnobabies” just sounded strange… Babies under hypnosis? I didn’t even realize it was a labor technique. What do babies have to do with it?  I didn’t even want to look into it- I thought it was weird.

That was until one of my books mentioned hypnobirth saying that it’s a relaxation method for unmedicated birth and that some people swear they have painless “pleasant” experiences. I was intrigued. I instantly jumped on my iPhone and looked up some information. There was a lot of “sales pitches” online, so i was still skeptical even after I read about how it works. That was until I decided to look for videos on youtube, in case someone filmed a hypnobirth. Of course, someone did and I just kept watching hypnobirth video after hypnobirth video and I couldn’t believe that these women were completely relaxed, not screaming, not writhing in agony ( which is what we see everywhere else), not blaming their husbands for knocking them up (lol). One woman was so relaxed that her midwife completely missed the baby slipping out of her with 1 single sound “Agh”!

So the days of watching hypnobirth videos and researching began….

If I can have a natural birth without the agony that everyone else promises, and all you have to do is put some work and preparations into it (hello? It’s my specialty),then I am all for it!

To make a long story short, I settled on Hypnobabies program. If you know what hypnosis birth is all about, then skip the next part, but I wanted to write a bit about the concept of these programs for future mamas.

Basically, the concept is the following ( whether it’s hypnobirth or hypnobabies or any other hypnosis program):

It is a self-hypnosis technique, where you get yourself into a state of relaxation and “hypnosis” while staying completely lucid and awake. You feel the same, you feel normal, just really really relaxed. It is achieved via a lot of training and practicing. According to these programs ( and many birth stories I read), childbirth doesn’t have to be painful. It is often made painful by the fear-tension-pain cycle ( which makes sense based on the stuff I read in Bradley books on how the uterus contracts). We have been conditioned to think that childbirth is super painful and it is what we expect and thus it is what we get. When a contraction comes in, we dread it, tense up (which is a completely natural reaction), make uterus muscles work harder, pull harder, creating more pain than we need to. If you fully relax your body, you will feel pressure, discomfort but not pain. However, this full relaxation doesn’t just come easy. It requires weeks and weeks of practicing, concentration and most importantly weeks of changing your attitude towards what childbirth SHOULD BE like.  Not expecting pain, but expecting tugging pressure sensations.

I did find it very true that just the simple expectation of pain (fear) makes you so tense and it’s such a normal reaction you don’t notice it. It first rang true with me when we started doing perineal massage (more on that later). Fighting the fear is really really hard. I’m sure anyone who has gone through “painful” contractions will tell you how you start DREADING the next one.

All this made sense to me. I was still a bit skeptical, but I was convinced that if I had any chance at unmedicated childbirth, this is it and I might as well give it a try. Oh and there are people that undergo surgeries with hypnosis techniques without anesthesia (those that can’t have anesthesia), so if that’s not an argument to give this a try, then I don’t know what is.

Next came picking the program… from what I understood Hypnobirth was the original hypnosis based birthing program with a book and a CD and Hypnobabies is a refined hypnosis childbirth class that takes you step by step to learning how to relax using self-hypnosis (you can buy the whole home study package here). It is much more expensive, but very convenient in how structured it is. I went with Hypnobabies because I didn’t have time to mess around ( I think I was 26 weeks or so).

So I’ve been working this program for almost 10 weeks now and my attitude towards childbirth is very different now. I am looking forward to it, I am more or less confident in my ability to handle it, I am DEFINITELY NOT afraid of childbirth anymore. The realist in me keeps wanting to continue being skeptical about the efficiency of this program, however I am set on following the program, and doing what it says, believing what it says and not second guessing myself  or over-analysing everything (which is hard). One of the big parts of the programs is staying away from negative imagery and stories about childbirth (because they perpetuate that fear-tension-pain cycle) and truly believing that it’s going to be a wonderful experience. And that’s what I’ve been doing.

Obviously, I haven’t gone through birth yet to tell you whether this program is effective or not, whether it worked for me or not, but I feel that training and preparing is the least I can do to hope for a more pleasant experience.

This is getting to be way too long of a post, so I’ll stop right here and will have to continue in another post about the training that I’ve been doing, what it entails and other non-hypnosis preparations for childbirth, our birth plan (wants and “do-not-wants”) and our baby hospital plan.


Resources mentioned in this post:

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way: Revised Edition

Husband-Coached Childbirth (Fifth Edition): The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth

Hypnobabies Home Study Course for Expectant Mothers Plus 2 Bonus Cds

HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing (3rd Edition)



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


Her size: We’re a large cantaloupe this week! Getting closer and closer to a watermelon.

How far along: 35 WEEKS. Yesterday was the famous 35/35 – 35 weeks along with 35 days to go.

Total weight gain: 168 lb.  (+2 lbs this week, total at 32 lbs).  I guess I gotta get used to this 2 lbs a week thing. I can tell Alexis is gaining a lot, she’s getting bigger and stronger with each day. Starting from about 28 weeks, I’ve been trying to make sure my protein intake is adequate, which isn’t exactly easy for a person who doesn’t eat meat, so all I have to rely on is diary products, cheese and occasional well cooked shrimp or sardines (low in mercury and dioxins). I’ve had sort of an aversion to beans this whole pregnancy, so I can’t even eat them without grimacing. I’m pretty sure that’s where the extra weight gain is coming from, which makes me feel good because I know protein is something that is crucial for her development and her brain.

Sleep: The bathroom trips are out of control. Seriously, it feels like I get up 10 times a night (it’s really about 4-5 times). I can’t cut down on my evening water intake though, because I get so thirsty at night. Getting up 5 times a night doesn’t really bother me as much as I’d imagine it would, so I’m still pretty content with my sleep (minus the occasional nightmares)

Maternity Clothes: Just the same old stuff I’ve blogged about before

Food cravings: Anything sweet and fruit.

Food aversions: none

Symptoms I HAVE: Lots of little Lexi punches, occasional heartburn, occasional pelvic pressure. But otherwise I feel great! No stretchmarks so far either, so I have my fingers crossed (and tummy lubed up). BTW, I don’t think I ever mentioned but my skin cleared up. I had broken out pretty badly in the first trimester and it lasted throughout the 2nd trimester, but now it seems everything is settled in. I still don’t have the skin I had before pregnancy, but I attribute it to the fact that I am not using the same products, since they aren’t 100% “pregnancy approved”.

Doctor’s Appointment:  Yesterday for strep B test. Now I am switched over visiting the doctor’s office once a week.

Movement: The strong punches have started. I feel she’s trying to poke out of me with her butt! She is REALLY strong. It doesn’t necessarily hurt, but it’s not exactly pleasant. I do love her movements no matter how uncomfortable it gets. She seems to love my hipbone, because it gets kicked all the time.  I keep meaning to videotape her moving in my belly but miss her every time.

Belly Button: Outie.

Gender: GIRL!

Best moment of the week: I love feeling good. It’s surprising to me that I’m that far along and don’t have much to complain about in terms of aches. I do have occasional pains, but they don’t seem to bother me much. So I’m enjoying this part of the pregnancy.

What I’m looking forward to:

I should be looking forward to the holidays, but this year it’s going to be low key. We are having a nice Christmas dinner at our friends’ house, which is making me feel a little better about skipping most of the festivities ( we didn’t even decorate, because then we’d have to take all the decor down right as Lexi is supposed to arrive.

Another friend of ours is hosting an amazing New Year’s party this year at his mansion that we decided not to go to :(  But I swear that’s the last party we’ll have to miss (bummer :( ). We went back and forth considering going, but it’s just too close to our due date, too many people (flu season), and too much smoke.  Just to give you an idea of the scale of parties he throws: there’s gonna be valet parking at his house as well as a bus he rented that will take anyone home who doesn’t want to worry about not drinking and driving. There’s also going to be a separate area of the house set up for kids/teenagers with their own food and DJ, which I thought was a neat idea.

What I miss:


What else?

  •  I recently read something I’d like to share with you guys. If you aren’t subscribed to my Facebook page, you might have missed this. It was an article about pain fighting foods and one of those foods are cherries (or pretty much any berries), which was nice to know. But specifically, they found out that 2 tablespoons of cherry extract (cherry juice concentrate) is 10 times more effective at fighting inflammation than aspirin. If you read anything about inflammation in our bodies, you know that it has a lot of negative effects on our health and we all have it (from foods we eat and medications we take and just from living life), so it’s nice to know that something so natural and easy can be done to counteract that.  Any junk foods we eat add to that silent inflammation inside of us, and a lot of healthy foods are inflammatory as well. So I ordered a bottle of cherry concentrate  and read some reviews on it too. It seems to really work, as amazing as it sounds (lots of people treat pain due to arthritis  with cherry concentrate). This is the one I got: Tart Is Smart Tart Cherry Concentrate, 32-Ounce Bottle, in case you’re interested. NOTE: I am not taking it during pregnancy, just in case, so I bought it for my husband. I would research about the effect of cherry extract/juice/concentrate in pregnancy before taking it.
  • Another thing I’d like to mention is Isabella Oliver is having a 50% off sale. I wish I had more than a month left in my pregnancy because I’d love to get a few more of those dresses and skirts. But for those of you out there pregnant and looking for a super classy and elegant maternity brand, check it out: 50% off Isabella Oliver
  • A fellow “recently preggo, now with a baby” blogger Megan is holding her first child related giveaway. And she’d love for those interested to enter check it out!
I think that’s it for today! If I am not back before Christmas,  I wish you all the best time ever, whether it’s quite or crazy!


NURSERY UPDATE: Part II {bits and pieces}

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

{Note: I lost this post in yesterday’s server crash, so here we go again. Unfortunately, all your comments got deleted along with the post :( But I did appreciate every single one of them!}


As we are finishing up our work on the nursery, it’s starting to slowly dawn on us that this room will be soon occupied by a crying, cooing, pouting baby girl, our daughter!

You get caught up in building this perfect room and it takes so long, because there are so many choices and never that unlimited amount of money that we’d all like to have, that you forget why exactly you’re doing it. Crazy – we’re going to have a new human being that we created. I know it’s old news to most people, since everyone had to come to this world that way, but to me it feels like noone has ever gone through it and we are the first people on the planet to have a baby.

So at this point, every major piece of furniture has been ordered and/or delivered. Most decor items have arrived and been spray painted white. The only important piece that we don’t have is the recliner, which should arrive early January. So since the room isn’t exactly put together, I figured I’d do a detail update for you. Keep in mind, most of the shelves items are only there as placeholders right now, blinds aren’t fully installed, cords will be wrapped into a baby proof cord winder and a night table will be placed next to a chair when the chair bothers to show up.


This is one of my favorite things in the room. I spent quite a bit of time looking for a perfect mobile as it can really set the mood in the room. I wanted something handmade and subtle, girly and romantic. When I found Magical Whimsy store, I knew that was it. At first, I couldn’t decide between this one in lavender and the one in the pictures below. I thought the first one would just blend into the room too much and I have a huge tendency to go too matchy-matchy, so getting a color that wasn’t lavender or yellow (two primary ones of the room) was a bit of a risk (for me). When I got the mobile, though, I instantly knew it was perfect. It’s like it was made for this room. I have to tell you, I was incredibly impressed with the quality ( I spent the next few days gushing over it). It is REALLY well made – Denise  knows what she’s doing. Check out her Magical Whimsy Etsy shop here for all kind of paper creations.

I will probably have a black and white mobile that attaches to the crib (for Alexis’s development) but to be honest I doubt she’ll be spending much time in the crib when she’s awake, so I might not even need it. But this is definitely a decorative piece that the room wouldn’t be the same without. I know where I’ll be ordering all my future mobiles ( if we have another baby).


The original plan was to buy some colorful art for the walls since the rest of the room is so subtle, with walls being almost white. It would have ended up being around $350 and after some thinking (and nudging from a friend) I decided to instead see if I can find some similar pastel colors in my own photography and frame that. Eventually those will be replaced with family photos and headshots of Alexis, but for now I think it worked out pretty well.
The top shots (pictured below) were taken in spring at Universal Studios and the bottom ones on Florida and Antigua beaches.


The source of our nightmares! I had a very specific image of a dresser that I wanted. I saw a picture on one of the nursery room websites and couldn’t get it out of my mind. After searching out all the online stores, I realized that a dresser like this cannot be found and similar ones are way over a thousand dollars so the only option was to buy a used one and refinish. Then I got lucky- I got REALLY lucky. A few days after I made that decision, an oak dresser popped up on craigslist. We snatched it up for $100 along with a matching nightstand (you can see the before picture here). I figured we’d refinish it ( and by we, of course, I mean hubby) and save a ton of money in the process. Well, enter the 4 weekends that I now call “I hate my wife for making me refinish this dresser”. It turns out refinishing a piece of furniture is harder than we thought. Based on all the blogs I’ve read, it seemed like these ladies would just whip a dresser into shape with no problems. That was not our case!

So let’s just say there was a lot of complaining and bitching and freaking out ( from hubby’s side- he REALLY didn’t want to refinish the damn thing) and there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t go and do it myself, because the fumes are super toxic, so finally I declared the project a failure and we hired a lady to do it for us. Long story short, while I am happy with the exterior job, we ended up having to pay $500 to get it refinished (along with a nightstand), she put too light of a paint coat on the drawers and neglected to apply a polyurethane coating, which hubby still had to do himself.

In addition to that, Andrew spilled polyurethane on the carpet in the process ( yes the carpet was covered, but in the best fashion of Murphy’s law it got spilled on the only part that was NOT covered- at least that’s the story hubby tells me). He spent the next few weekends trying to clean it up and soften it with paint thinner which stunk up the room. We then had to clean the carpet with hot water extraction to get the chemicals and the smell out. So yeah I am telling you – A DISASTER! That was one of the reasons you didn’t see any updates- there was nothing to show!

However, finally, it’s all behind us and we have two {almost} perfect pieces EXACTLY the way I had them in my head. You won’t see the nightstand this time, since it was out of the room temporarily, so I didn’t take any pictures. So that’ll be for the next update along with the chair, mirror, nightlight, lamp and a few other items.

The pad on the dresser is an Organic Changing Pad from Naturepedic. Unfortunately, I won’t get to have one of those cute changing pad covers for it, unless I find a cute organic one, as well.

Because the drawers were so badly painted, I had to make a liner for each one of them, using foam boards cut to size and fabric wrapped around them and glued to the back. I’ll show more photos of that in the next update.

Above the changing pad I wanted to hang something light and pretty, and very subtle. Butterfly Mobile was cheap and perfectly inconspicuous, but a really pretty sight from Alexis’s viewpoint.


Here we lucked out. I had three gorgeous shelves ( in light oak again) that were gathering dust in one of the closets. They were bought on a clearance sale on homedecorators.com about 4 years ago and we never put them up because they didn’t really match our decor. Oh how glad I was we had them laying around! A coat of primer and a coat of paint and the shelves turned into the perfect princess room decor.

{Some of the items on the shelves are there as placeholders only. I will have to find and buy a few baby things to go there}

But here’s what’s going to stay for the time being.


This was my first canvas purchase! I’ve always wanted to buy a canvas, but whenever I’d check the prices out, it’d be something ridiculous like $200. That’s until i found Easy Canvas Prints ( well, technically they found me)

I was offered to try out their website and canvas – Umm… YEAH!

I ordered a 16×20 photo canvas with the standard wrap (.75). I picked this photo because it almost perfectly matched the color scheme of the nursery ( the accents of yellow), plus babies love faces (especially their parents’ faces). After Lexi arrives, I’ll order a few canvas using her newborn pictures (which I cannot wait to take, btw!)

The ordering process was super easy: upload, position, pick size, order. Plus Easy Canvas Prints have promotions all the freaking time, so you can get a canvas for a really good price. I liked it so much that a week after I received this canvas, I ordered another one for our living room (using this photo). Right now they’re having a Get 20% Off + an 8?x10? Canvas Free + Free Shipping When You Spend $60 promotion that you can get by clicking on the link (the discount is automatically applied at check out).

This statue is one of the few things currently on the shelves that will actually stay there. I got it from Zulily– I think it adds some well needed color to the room. There’s also a big crown that’ll go next to it, that is currently in the process of being painted.

This frame might or might not stay, with a picture of Alexis in it. Yellow flower will probably go or get snipped a bit since our cats chewed the heck out of the fake grass :) The starfish will stay and might or might not get repainted depending on what else I get for the shelves. The pink rose bouquet was something I made to be put in front of whatever picture frame we’ll hang there. I am NOT a crafty person so this and a few other things would be the extent of my craftiness. Not much to it: a few small flowers from Micheal’s, a see through rubber thin hair tie, some glitter spray and a glass jar.


Finally the most colorful corner of the room – the closet.

Here’s the breakdown:

1. Martha Steward Storage from HomeDecorators.com
2. Martha Steward canvas totes from Homedecorators.com
3. Bunting from Starlit Nest etsy shop
4. Cubes backing- handmade. I simply wrapped the backing in fabric and glued it together.
5. Closet door knobs: PBK

Msc items on shelves are there as placeholders.


So there you have it!

I am very happy with the direction we’re going in. I wanted something bright and light, but at the same time with lots of color. I think we’re on the right track. We still have to figure something out for bookshelves. I want a part of the bookshelf to be low enough for Alexis to grab the books on her own when she’s mobile and for book covers to be facing outwards rather than to the side, since that helps babies pick their own books and be more interested in reading.

Let me know what you think and hopefully early January you’ll get to see the room as a whole. That is if Alexis doesn’t decide to show up early.

Jules et Jim Maternity – Party Dress – {Pregnancy With Style} review and giveaway

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


Welcome to Week 10 of Pregnant with Style feature, a weekly low down on the cutest and little known maternity brands.

{Discover other weeks and maternity brands here}

JULES et JIM Maternity

“Jules likes seeing his pregnant wife sexy. Jim prefers the classic, refined look.
Together Jules & Jim make up a line of maternity clothing in tune with new trends, at once comfortable and urbane”

With the Holidays approaching, I can see thousands of pregnant women in America scrambling trying to find an appropriate and hot Christmas or New Year’s outfit.
My party outfit came from Jim et Jules maternity
I am a sucker for anything sparkly when it comes to party dresses, so I was very excited to receive this dress.

When I first tried it on, before I even had a chance to look in the mirror, I showed it to my husband and he LOVED IT! He adores  when I wear sexy sparkly dresses more than me, and I am sure the last nine months of yoga pants and t-shirts left him longing for his old “glamorous” Elena. 
I was a bit conscious about showing this much leg, considering my legs aren’t the same size they used to be, but I think the loose top (plus heels) balanced it out and made my legs appear much skinnier than  they are ( seriously, I feel my legs look MUCH bigger in real life- I don’t know what happened in some of these pictures, so I’m assuming it’s the dress)
I also loved the back of the dress – so elegant- made me feel less like a big pregnant woman, and more like a a pre-pregnancy me who’d would wear draped backs and sparkly dresses and jeweled heels- aaahhhhhh!!!!!
The other part of the outfit was the cardigan, which is totally appropriate for a winter party ( even though we live in Florida) and I have found fits pretty much any other dress I own. I ended up wearing a blue dress to dinner, with the cardigan  that dressed it up so well! 
That would be a good idea for a party, if you want to wear a dress you already own.
You can check out Jules&Jim collection here and buy it at different retailers and online shops, including Amazon.
You can also check them out on Facebook.

And one lucky reader who enters this giveaway will win a party dress or another item of their choice (subject to stock availability) from Jules&Jim.
So go ahead and enter below. The rules are pretty much the same, and this time it’s open to Canada as well, since J&J are a Canadian company! So yay to that!

and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are two mandatory entries, after which you will have additional entries available,
and 1 daily entry for which you can come back to enter daily.
The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Make sure to notate how you’re following the blog in the extra info field (entry #1). The entry won’t count if that information is missing.
Please make sure to visit Jules & Jim facebook page and post on their wall what you’d like to win (entry #2). 
The giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

UPDATE: You can now log into the Rafflecopter through Facebook or just by using your name/email.

If you have a blog, there’re 2 entries each worth 10 points ( post our button on your blog’s sidebar and blog about the giveaway)


{If you’re not sure how to use to enter, feel free to watch this video tutorial or email me at contact {at} prebabyblog {dot} com
Otherwise, make sure to read everything carefully. Click the DO IT link first, then I’VE DONE IT once the action is completed}

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Disclosure: I received this item from Jules&Jim in exchange for my honest opinion.

Conception Misconceptions

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

I find it funny sometimes how TV shows and movies misrepresent certain things to help fit them into the storyline or their timeline. Sometimes, though, I feel like those things have the potential of harming/hurting the less educated/knowledgable viewers or younger audience.

You all heard about the fuss over Glee and the adoption storyline they were going to run. From what I remember, they were going to have Quinn give her baby up for adoption and then later change her mind and take the baby back or something along those lines.  The adoption activists got a wind of it and rightfully made it a big deal asking the studio to change their storyline. Whatever the real story was there, it is not right to give people an impression that couldn’t be further from the truth ( like that you can give your baby up for adoption and then months/years later change your mind and take it back). Because while most people tend to research their options, others ( especially young and inexperienced) can be too overwhelmed by the prospect of what they are about to do and simply rely on misconceptions they’ve picked up on TV.

So the other day I was watching last season’s episode of Parenthood where Julia and her hubby were trying to conceive and there was a conversation between her and Sarah about “how long it has taken them to conceive and that surely there was a problem with one of them, since it has been a WHOLE 4 months and nothing”.

I mean, seriously? A WHOLE 4 MONTHS????

Any book or doctor will tell you that it takes an average healthy couple 4-6 months to conceive, with some taking 1 year BEFORE there’s a need to worry about infertility. Anyone who doesn’t know that going into TTC is either not ready to have a baby, because obviously they didn’t  prepare properly, OR is most likely going to be in a world of hurt if it takes them a few months longer than expected.

Now, I know you might say that it took us 1 month to conceive, so I have no right to say anything(which would be rude, btw),  BUT we did spend a whole year preparing for that first month of TTC (reading books, changing eating habits, exercising, not smoking, not drinking, doing tests, taking care of health problems, doing dental work, taking prenatals etc), doing more than most people do while TTCing, so who knows how long it would have taken us to conceive, had we started the second the decision was made? And aside from that, I was going into it fully expecting it to take 4-6 months or more.

So while the show’s screw up was a minor one, I think it’s slightly unfair to those who have been trying for a few months or longer and creates misconceptions for those who aren’t having kids yet.

The other thing that made me chuckle on the show is how Julia was holding off her horny husband for 48 hours so that he’s “save up his sperm” until the day of ovulation. There are multiple studies which show that waiting to have sex to increase sperm count actually lowers your chances of conception in a man with normal sperm counts, because that means you have less sex ( for men with low sperm counts it has shown to work if you time it right). And then finally, waiting until she ovulates? Really? If you have sex ON the day of ovulation, your chances of conception are actually much lower (5% i think- don’t quote me on that one), than having sex a day or two PRIOR to ovulation (12-15% chance of conception, again I’m just remembering from the top of my head). So it’s all about depositing “the goods” in a timely and continuous manner until you hear “The eagle has landed!”

I just find it funny, because I remember before we decided to have a baby, I was one of those people who thought that it’s better to wait a few days before having sex because he’ll have more swimmers. I bet I got it from some TV show :) haha

Guest Post: Top pregnancy Precautions to Take

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

{This is a guest post from The Pregnancy Zone}

Top Pregnancy Precautions to Take

It used to be that women were urged to take care, and refrain from a great many activities when pregnant; however we now know that it is possible for women to live full and active lives all throughout pregnancy. In fact we now know that the more active a woman is during pregnancy, the better it is for her and her unborn child.

However what we also do know is that pregnancy is recognized as a period of compromised immunity and that women need to take certain precautions to avoid getting sick during this time for the sake of their own health as well as their baby’s proper growth.


It is prudent to take the following common Pregnancy Precautions –

  • Fish is good to eat during pregnancy and otherwise, however certain kinds of fish are bad for pregnant women due to their possible mercury content. Avoid tilefish, swordfish, king mackerel or shark and eat no more than 12 ounces of fish in a week. Here is a complete list of safe and unsafe fish to refer to.
  • Avoid close contact with people who have illnesses or communicable infections because pregnant women have reduced immunity and may catch something more readily during this time.
  • Avoid Listeria by making sure that no unpasteurized dairy products or uncooked or partly cooked meats are consumed. Soft cheeses such as feta, goat, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses are best not eaten. Listeriosis is able to cross the placenta over to the fetus and as such is a serious illness if contracted during pregnancy and even otherwise.
  • Other food-borne infections such as toxoplasmosis and salmonella are also very dangerous during pregnancy and should be guarded against by avoiding handling or eating raw or partly cooked meat, pate, meat spread, deli meat, raw eggs or sauces/foods containing raw eggs. Be careful if you have to handle cat litter (have someone else do it for a while), and also be careful when working in the garden or handling soil (use gloves).
  • Food borne illnesses could also transmit through raw veggies or cut and peeled fruit so be sure to eat only fresh produce that is cooked or at least has been washed thoroughly and properly cleaned and cut with clean cutlery. Remember bacteria can also flourish on your cutting or chopping boards so make sure these are properly cleaned as well.
  • Be careful about any and all medication that you take – even a pain killer for a headache, an allergy pill and so called natural or herbal medications, should all be cleared with a doctor before being consumed during pregnancy.
  • Avoid saunas and hot tubs during pregnancy since they can raise the body temperature to dangerously high levels. Such overheating can cause problems for the baby and may negatively impact development.
  • If possible avoid contact with chemicals such as harsh cleaning agents and so on. Also if possible avoid salon procedures such as hair coloring, tinting, straightening or perming, since the possible impact of such chemicals and the possibility of their leaching into the mother’s system is not yet fully understood.

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by ThePregnancyZone.com. The blog offers complete week by week Pregnancy information and topics relating to Preparing for the Pregnancy, Pregnancy Stages, Labor & Delivery, Pregnancy Issues, Health Issues, Parental care etc.


Photo Share Tuesday

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

beachtrip 4

Finally getting around to posting the photos taken at the beach the other day.

Life is still busy. You think “Oh as soon as I am done with this big project, I’ll have more time for other things”. And then magically another project gets thrown in your lap and you’re still scrambling.

Aside from that, I am loving life right now. Alexis, head down and in the proper position, constantly jabbing me with her feet in my side is one the best parts of my day :) I just think it’s so cute.  I am feeling better than ever, aside from minor fatigue and heartburn, looking forward to January and my mom coming. Our Xmas cards have arrived and I’ll probably spend the whole day addressing and signing them. And going on a hospital tour this evening, which is something I’ve been looking forward to. I hope I don’t get freaked out in the process.

So these photos are from a beach trip a week or two ago. I felt like I needed me some wind in my hair and ocean smell in my clothes. So we took off. Hubby came with us and sat on his laptop working while we spent a few hours taking pictures and chasing a pre-toddler :)

Christine pretty much spent the entire time running after Emma, who is a curious fun little girl. And I spent my entire time devouring delicious fries ( that place has amazing fries and the only place I ever get to have them), snapping pictures and thinking about how in just a year, it’ll be me running non-stop as Alexis tries to explore the world.

Hope you enjoyed a little coastal moodiness and I will see you for my 34th week update on Thursday.

This week is full of appointments with pediatricians, hospital classes, errands and other craziness.

Oh and now that the Pregnancy Goodies giveaway is over ( and yes I do have the winners, I just have to check their entries), you should see another Pregnancy With Style post for a Christmas/New Year dress and a giveaway.

Link Up

{Don’t forget to post the Photo Share Tuesday button, if you’re linking up}

Gift Guide

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

I keep seeing all these gift guides online and I thought I’d make my own DREAM gift guide! Some of these gifts are quite unrealistic, unless you are really well off, but don’t we all wish we could spend unlimited amount of money on our loved ones? So dream here with me and maybe you’ll get some useful ideas, too.

For your loved one (female):

A diamond necklace ( or bracelet or earrings) like this one from 77diamonds.com

It’s small, subtle and sophisticated.

For a mom on-the-go who loves taking snapshots of her little one (unless she has a DSLR)

I love this camera. It’s what a pro photographer would use as a point-and-shoot. It records full  1080p HD video, has an ultra wide angle lens (24mm) and a great low light performance. And it’s currently 35% off on Amazon

Canon Powershot ELPH 300 HS

For a man in your life, who likes finer things in life:

Montblanc Meisterstuck Classic Ballpoint Pen

and/or a matching Montblanc Wallet

I bought this pen and this wallet for  my husband’s birthday. He’s obsessed with Montblanc.The pen is awesome, but the wallet is my true love. I own one as well ( a female version) and this wallet lasts YEARS and still looks great ( unless you’re me, who doesn’t care how much an item costs and throws it into her purse along with everything else there and get it all scratched up, just like her expensive sunglasses- I really gotta do something about that horrible habit of mine)

For a friend with a DSLR who’s new to photography

Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8

My next lens, for sure. I’d pick this particular lens over a similar Canon, because it’s cheaper and most importantly MUCH MUCH lighter. The Canon version is like shooting with a brick. This is great for landscape, as well as portraiture, has a constant aperture of 2.8 which means you’ll have plenty of light to shoot in gloomy or indoor conditions.

For a special kid  who loves music or  for a new baby:

Cranberry Red Baloon CD, a children’s album with soft songs that are perfect for rainy days or going to sleep.

Singing on the album – Art Garfunkel, Bruce Johnston from the Beach Boys, John
Cowsill from The Cowsills and Vicki Peterson from The Bangles!!
Buy it here

For an aspiring photographer:

Photoshop Lightroom 3 – License

It’s my go-to editing program. If you or your friend has an .edu account, you can get this at 1/3 of the retail price.

Photoshop Lightroom 3 - License

For a sexy fashionable girlfriend

What is better than aLittle Black Dress

Bette D.

For your pregnant friend:

Graco Prenatal Listener – 2J00

A super cool device that lets you spy on your unborn baby, listen to its kicks, hicupps, sounds, movements, etc

For a guy who’s really into music

A Portable speaker with awesome sound: Altec Speaker. Run on batteries rather than a USB charge like most, which means you don’t have to drain your poor iPhone battery to listen to it.

For your friend who keeps trying to lose weight but doesn’t own a scale :)

Eat Smart Scale

Your mom or sister


My mom LOVES receiving Blurb books with photos of our time together. These are my favorite photo books, quality-wise and feature-wise.

For a friend’s adorable daughter

Tea Collection Flowery Fun 5-Piece Set

Yeah I can’t get enough of their fun styles.

For a couple that is TTCing

Get Ready to Get Pregnant

By far, the best pre-conception book out there! It was and is my pre-conception BIBLE! Get it for ANYONE who’s thinking about TTC or are in the process of TTC!

For that crazy cat(or dog) lady

Laser pointers are SO LAST SEASON!

Interactive Pet Laser

A girly girl who loves looking pretty

One word: Yummy Make up Set, Celebutante

Your cool guyfriend/boyfriend/husband

Pinstripe Blazer

Rugged mixed with stylish- a total YES!