Childbirth “Training”

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

In one of the posts I mentioned the hours I have to spend a day preparing for childbirth. I’ve often heard the intensity and strength of childbirth is compared to a marathon and the preparations needed being just as important.

So I’d like to break it down for you:

Kegels: 3 times a day

This one is easy. It’s best to start as soon as possible even before you’re pregnant to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to prevent issues with urinary leakage during pregnancy and after birth, as well as get them strong enough to push effectively. I have to say my PC muscles weren’t very strong when I started, some time after my 1st trimester nausea subsided. I use a iPhone app called Kegel Camp to train 3 times a day. The difference in my PC muscle strength now is amazing. It is a pain in the butt to remember to do them three times a day ( I have to put it on my daily to-do list), but it’s definitely worth it not having to pee your pants anytime you laugh or sneeze.

Strengthening exercises: 30 min

These were taken from the the Bradley Book and combined with a few pregnancy exercises. I mainly concentrated on my abs and my upper thighs , since those are the main things that will need endurance and strength when time comes to push the baby out. I have to admit that with the introduction of additional hypnobabies training (see below), I just haven’t been finding the time to do these lately . I feel really bummy about it, but I have to learn to accept that sometimes I can’t do it all. I just simply can’t fit it into my day anymore. I TRY to do them every day but I fail more often than I succeed.

Perineal massage: 10 min a day

Oh, this one is my favorite! NOT!

Guys, I gotta tell you – I was looking forward to doing it and preparing in that way and was waiting to turn 32 weeks to start. The massage has been shown useful in preventing muscle and skin tears during delivery and is to be done once a day 6-8 weeks before due date.

What I didn’t anticipate was how awful the first try was going to be. {If you don’t know how it’s done, look it up, so that you knew what I am talking about} I attempted to do it myself, but my big belly just didn’t let me get into a position where I could do it. So I did what most women do –  ask my husband. We got all set up, prepared the oil, and he tried it with 1 (!!!) finger. OH MY FREAKING GOD! I literally jumped back, looking at him like “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” It was really painful and the feeling wasn’t like anything I’ve felt before. After a few more attempts, I said “Screw it! We are waiting till next week to try again!”

The next week we resumed and now that I knew what to expect and used my relaxation techniques things went a lot smoother, but it’s definitely not a fun thing to do, I’ll tell ya! So 4 weeks later, there’s a HUGE improvement in elasticity, but you know what I think is the most valuable thing in doing the massage? It’s the familiarity with the feeling of what the baby’s head will feel like pressing on all the same parts while crowning. I can now imagine where “ring of fire” term came from. lol I am now actually prepared for that feeling and feel I can take a lot more than what  we’re doing, i.e. baby’s head.

Inversions: 3 times a day

I only had to do this for a few days. Back when Alexis was transverse, I did inversions ( 3 times a day to encourage her to flip. I don’t know whether that helped or she flipped on her own, but she was good and engaged a week later.

Walking: 40 min a day

(to encourage baby to flip head down when she was transverse)

I stopped doing it, because I started getting very strong Braxton Hicks a bit too often for my peace of mind. I’ll be resuming the walks after 38th week.

Finger drop 5 times a day

This is a relaxation technique to be done as a part of Hypnobabies course. You basically let your whole body go limp for about 5 minutes total, while doing the techniques they teach you in the Hypnobabies course 5 times a day is challenging but it’s also good  to force yourself to take a 5 minute break to relax.

Hypnosis track: 40 min a day

Again, this is a part of Hypnobabies program. Every day you’re supposed to listen to 1 Hypnosis track, preferably during the day, though I do delegate it to right before bed most of the time. It is THE BEST remedy against insomnia. It knocks me out in a matter of minutes and my husband loves it so much that he downloaded it on his iPhone as well and turns it on in the morning when he has trouble going back to sleep. (Speaking of sleep, since he started drinking that cherry extract he’s had no problems sleeping (cherry juice contains melatonin that helps regulate your sleep cycle)

Affirmations: 35 min a day

A non-hypnosis track that helps you set a positive tone in your mind about childbirth. It can be listened any time and I usually turn it on while writing a blog post or doing some work. It’s a great tool to ease worries and concerns about pregnancy and childbirth. It’s definitely helped me have a more positive outlook on things.

Partner script: 10 minutes every other day

This is something we do together. My birth partner (my husband) reads out a hypnosis script to me every other night while I practice my relaxation. It’s very helpful and I gotta say, having him read that script is much more powerful than the hypnosis tape.


I have to admit- it’s a lot! And it gets overwhelming sometimes. I try to make it my priority but it’s hard to do, since there’re always more pressing things to accomplish rather than prepare for this hypothetical, some-time-in-the-future event. It’s always extremely hard to do something that you can’t see the results for right away (or even know if it would work). But I guess all important things in life are like that: eating well and exercising for your health, going to school to advance in a career, parenting, saving money for the future- it all requires lots of patience and determination and in the end it’s always worth it.


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



How far along: 37 WEEKS!!!! FULL TERM!

Total weight gain: I’m at 171 lb. (+2 lbs this week, total at 35 lbs). My husband laughs at me, because at some point he was 178 lbs which is not far from my weight now! I laugh WITH him, because I know how much easier it is for me to lose weight than him 😛 So he might tease me (good-heartedly) now when he tries to help me get up, but I know I’ll be taunting him when the pounds just come off without much effort and he’s still trying to lose “the pregnancy weight” he gained.

Sleep: Oh my sides just hurt! I don’t like the idea of sleeping on my right side because vena cava is located more to the right and if I accidentally flip half way on my back in the middle of the night, the weight of the baby might block the blood flow. I read in a few places that pregnant women who sleep more on the right have a statistically double the chance of stillbirth. The link is weak, but it’s enough to make me flip over to my left every time I find myself sleeping on the right side. But man, I have to say, a few times a night I just HAVE to do it, because the left side feels bruised.

Maternity Clothes: Just the same old stuff I’ve blogged about before. I am obsessed with Boob Design and am patiently waiting for their US website launch this month, as well as the release of their spring collection. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway– 3 more days left!

Food cravings: Chocolate cake (considering I’m not a fan of anything chocolate)

Food aversions: I have finally conquered my aversion for beans, left over from the 1st trimester nausea. And I’m glad I did, because as of last week I stopped eating diary products to clear myself of milk proteins for breastfeeding and I need to get my protein somewhere. (Diary is the biggest allergen and can make the baby colicky, gassy, aside from many other things that I won’t get into. If you’re interested, I’d pick up a book called The Baby Bond: The New Science Behind What’s Really Important When Caring for Your Baby. The book does like to go on about things, but if you can sit through that, there is a TON of information, all backed up by studies, that is not to be missed: from breastfeeding to allergic reactions, to baby wearing and so on.)

Symptoms I HAVE: Nada! I mean, yeah, there are a few minor ones I’ve learned to live with: minor heartburn, minor fatigue, minor pelvic pain when Alexis decides to play. But overall, I am feeling better than I ever thought I would at this point. That fact makes hubby think that Alexis will come AFTER her due date. “You don’t look or feel like you’re about to pop!”- he says. I tend to agree, but of course anything out of the ordinary sends me into “Is this it? Why am I feeling so nauseous?” haha
My BH aren’t very frequent at this point, my boobs stopped leaking- so I might be far far away from actual labor :)

Doctor’s Appointment: I have my doc’s appointments every Thursday on my weekly anniversary. It was all good as usual. My OB seems very supportive of my Hypnobirth plan. We discussed the fact that my mom AND my sister both had fast labors (6 hours and 4 hours respectively with only 15 min pushing), so it’s possible I’ll go the same way. He also gave me his cell phone number to call in case there’s anyone who is giving us any hassle about following the birth plan in a non-emergency situation. I did opt out of cervical checks – he didn’t say a thing. So I’m very happy with my OB and super excited about birth.

Oh and Alexis disengaged! Boo! She’s about at -3 station (considering she was engaged my last appointment). It’s good because there’s noone to headbutt my cervix for the time being but bad because I’d like to know she’s getting closer to labor.

Movement: Evenings are her time! I love the movement! Even when she is hurting me, I still love feeling her move. It definitely beats worrying about why she isn’t moving. Now that Andrew can hear her heartbeat from the outside, I often ask him to listen when there is a stretch of a few hours without much movement. It’s so nice to have that reassurance. I hated the time before movements were felt. The only thing that saved us was the Doppler (which was the best purchase ever).

Belly Button: Total outie! I think it’s kinda cute!

Gender: GIRL!

Best moment of the week: I couldn’t remember so I asked hubby and his answer was “Hanging out with my baby!” :) Aw!

What I’m looking forward to:

Only 5 short days till my mom’s arrival. I’m already dreaming of all the awesome meals she’ll cook!!!!

What I miss:

SMOKED SALMON and normal people clothes! I have recently allowed myself to look through catalogues and websites for clothes because I feel I am close enough to wearing normal non-maternity stuff. I’m going to dance like a crazy girl when I fit into my NYC size skinny jeans (those are really really small), but before I do, I want to get some colorful skinny jeans in coral and yellow to wear in the meantime. YUM!

So I am officially full term and it feels good. I’ll slowly start natural labor induction after 38th week when my mom is here and everything is ready to go. What I mean by that is simply walking. I’ve been having strong BHs when I walk so I’ve stayed away from it. Once I’m done with week 38, I can resume walking again and not worry about contractions.
We are sort of ready for her to come. The seat has been installed, we took our car for service to make sure it’s in tip-top shape, birth plan is made and printed, hospital bag list is ready, hubby is trained, a few more things this weekend and Alexis officially has the go-ahead from us. The room is not fully finished yet, but she’ll be sleeping in a co-sleeper for the first 6 months anyways, so I’m not worried. This weekend we’ll do as much as possible, including pack the hospital bags, clean the room, wash her clothes and diapers, and organize everything. But mentally I am ready and excited! I cannot wait for this new chapter of our life to start- I’m definitely ready to be done with the last one!


BOOB DESIGN: Nursing and Maternity Brand {Pregnant with Style}

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

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

{Discover other weeks and maternity brands here}

BOOB DESIGN (5 winner giveaway)

This week I am super excited to bring to your attention {a rather unknown in the US} Scandinavian maternity and nursing brand BOOB!

It was founded by Mia Siepel, who after watching her sister nurse in the the cold of Stockholm autumn with half her body bare to the wind, decided that nursing mothers deserved better designed clothing that would make breastfeeding more pleasant and convenient. So that’s how Boob Design came to life.

Aside from the best freaking name for a maternity and nursing brand, Boob has what seems to me the most functional and at the same time cute and comfy maternity and nursing clothing out there.

Currently, Boob only delivers within the European Union, however in just a few weeks they will be launching a full US website and then maternity wear will never be the same. So if you’re pregnant/nursing, I’d suggest you sign up for their newsletter (top right) or like their FB page to be notified when the US website is up and running. Trust me you will not want to miss it!

You can visit their EU website right now and check out their styles. The main focus of Boob is maternity and nursing wear. Almost all maternity pieces double as a nursing pieces as well, so you’ll be able to wear them postpartum. Boob makes nursing easy and accessible without sacrificing the seamless look of the outfit. All your do is lift the top part of the top to expose the nipple – super easy and inconspicuous ( even for Target employees)

So here’s the breakdown of what I got to try and what I think about it.


I fell in love with the brand the second I put the first piece on.

These are the perfect PJs to wear around the house, sleep in, nurse in. They’re made out of organic cotton and are softer than any other PJs you might have. I haven’t gotten out of them since I received them, except to do laundry. And I haven’t been able to appreciate the best feature of these pjs yet, which is easy nursing access. As you might be able to see from the pictures below, the top part lifts up right below the boobs. I can’t wait to try out this feature. I know it’ll be my go-to sleepwear when Alexis comes.

This is definitely a must-have for maternity and breastfeeding!


I love love love love the concept of this set. It’s basically a matching nursing tee and a baby onesie. How adorable is that? I cannot wait to carry Alexis around in this outfit. The nursing top has the same feature of a flap that opens up for easy nursing, but as you can see from the pictures, you can’t even tell it’s two separate pieces of fabric. Boob has 5 different styles/colors in this set (see below) and you can win one today (see giveaway at the bottom, open to EU, US and Canada residents).

Both items are made from organic cotton as well, so they’re super soft and pleasant to wear.

This would make an AMAZING baby shower gift if you have friends/family who are expecting!!!!

Another piece from Boob Design I’m wearing in these photos are the maternity capri TREGGINGS. These super stretchy jean capri have a seamless (no pockets) back, which makes them more flattering and not bulky. I love the thin full belly band, that unlike in some other brands I’ve worn, doesn’t restrict your movement or press on your stomach. It can also be folded neatly to mid-stomach level ,as well as worn under the belly. I like these capri so much that I am considering having the band resewn when I’m done being pregnant for good to make them into a non-maternity item.

So here’s how you can win one of these
(styles are subject to stock availability)

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 Boob Design facebook page and write on their wall which design of the twinset you’d choose
The giveaway is open to US , EU 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 these items from Boob Design in exchange for my honest opinion.


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 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
2. Martha Steward canvas totes from
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