Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy’

I want you here… I want you safe…

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

I’ve been spending these past few days thinking about a lot of things. Trying to digest my feelings and imagine the future.

The first part of the pregnancy has been perfect from the emotional standpoint. I spent these 5 months taking care of myself, taking it easy, being calm and at peace. I’ve tuned into my inner self and paid all the attention to the baby growing inside of me. Thinking about her, feeding her, day dreaming, planning. Never in my life have I been so in tune with my inner self, so focused on myself. Though, it’s funny because it never felt like I was focusing on myself per se, but more on the baby inside of me. Everything I do, I do with her in mind. I hear that is normal once you become a parent, that all of a sudden the world revolves around this little person in your arms. Except, the world is spinning in a different direction already and I still have 4 months to go.

At the same time, with everything that I am paying attention to ( nutrition, her kicks, singing songs to her, resting and not overextending myself even when I want to), I can’t help but wonder if I’ll ever feel like my normal self again. I know I will have this bundle to take care of with a new set of “sacrifices” and constant attention, but will I ever get to be selfish again. Will I get to do things I love doing, but with Alexis in tow? Will I still see friends often? Will we travel? Will we have constant house guests like before? Will we go to the beach all the time? Will we drive up to Disney every 2 weeks?

I feel that once Alexis comes, it’ll be all about her in a way I can’t even comprehend right now. But has anyone out there been able to integrate babies into their life, while never sacrificing the quality of their care? I hope so- I want to share so many things with her:

I can’t wait to take her for a stroll in the park.
I can’t wait to spread a checkered blanket on the beach and have her soak up the sun and the sea.
I can’t wait to go shopping with a stroller ( weird, huh?).
I can’t wait to take her out on a boat.
I can’t wait to show her off to all my friends.
I can’t wait to host a baby party after her birth.
I can’t wait to take her to Disney over and over and over again.
I can’t wait to breastfeed.
I want to see her first happy emotions.
I want to go out for sushi ( finally) and this time have my daughter (wow!) next to me.
I want to spend typical Floridian days like I used to before pregnancy and this time, I want her to enjoy and experience them with me.
I want to sit on a hammock with her sleeping in my arms, drinking lemonade and reading a book.

I also like the idea of not feeling like anything and everything I do and put in and on my body has the potential of hurting her in some way. I feel like her life right now is dependent on my body doing the right thing and on me making the right judgements about what I do. It hurts me so bad to read about premature deliveries and incompetent cervices and stillbirths, because right now if my body decides to do something wrong, she won’t have a chance of survival. At 24 weeks, the viability, that chance goes up to 50%. But that’s not good enough. I want her safe in my arms, so that I could protect her from “myself”. Does that make sense?

I also hope I can have time to do it all. I hope life doesn’t kick me in the ass and takes the wind out from under me. I have girlfriends who do it all, who have amazing daughters, and fulfilling careers, they have fun, spend time with their kids – somehow they manage. I’m grateful that I have these women to look up to. I am grateful I have my mom. She’s the most amazing example of a mother one could ever have. Most of these women didn’t have help, they did it all on their own.

I am grateful I have a devoted husband to help me. With his help, I know it will be possible to be the kind of parent I’ve always wanted to be. The attentive, loving, caring, selfless, fun parent.

And at the same time I can’t wait for the curve balls life with a newborn will throw me. I am ready, I welcome it! Is it strange to look forward to sleepless nights, to diaper changes, to labor and delivery?

Here’s to the rest of the pregnancy, here’s to learning, here’s to taking life as it comes.

{ As I got done writing this post, I realized that I had’t “tuned” into Alexis in a few hours, haven’t consciously talked to her or listened to her inside of me. So I lay back for a second and put my hands on my stomach and said: “Hey, little girl! I’m here and I miss you!” And as if she knew what I was feeling or heard me, she gave me a strong kick, and then another and then another… I gotta tell you, I’m getting to love this secret communication between us}

22 Week Bump Update

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

All my bump update photos are always taken on the exact day I hit the next week ( Thursday, according to conception date set by me, not the doctors). So on Thursday morning I woke up and felt happy and felt like having fun ( I usually dread taking these photos- too much work- gotta put clothes on, do something with hair, hopefully put some make up on). I still didn’t put make up on, or wash my hair ( I know gross), but this outfit made me happy, so I figured I’d take goofier photos than usual. And also just FYI for those who wondered, I never ever edit anything on these bump photos (what would be the point?), except for the pimples on my face ( because it’s so bad right now) and most of the time I have no make up on ( unless it’s obvious that I do). Normally I don’t get out of the house without at least some make up on.


How far along: 22 weeks.

How big is baby: The size of a papaya and almost a pound.

Total weight gain: 2 pounds again (149lb) this week, for a total of approximately 13 pounds from the start of the pregnancy.

Yeah, as you can see the cookies didn’t stop last week :) lol I am now done with whatever we had at home and if we don’t buy any more, I should be just fine. Still eating really well otherwise.

Sleep: I have been going to bed later than I should, so the sleep hasn’t been very restful, but I am changing it this week.

Maternity Clothes: Lots of leggings, some maternity work out pants, maternity jeans on occasion when I feel like it, but mostly pre-pregnancy dresses and skirts.

Best moment of the week:

Alexis playing patty-cakes with Andrew. ( read below)

Food cravings : Soft cookies and lots of fruit

Food aversions: none


Heartburn – oh I had it bad for a few days this week. Like my throat is ON FIRE!!!!!
Rash – I can’t tell if it’s getting better or not. I don’t think it’s getting worse so that’s good. It did spread to the rest of my body in certain spots, but very manageable so far.
Acne – it has not gotten better at all. So i figured I am stuck with it for a while now.


Alexis is very active when I am sitting or lying down. These are my favorite times of the day.

So the other day, we were hanging out on the couch talking… Alexis had been super active all day. She was moving and kicking, so my husband put his hand on my belly and pushed softly. She responded with a kick. He waited a few seconds and pushed back again, she kicked his hand again. They went on exchanging pushes for quite a long time, until he stopped pushing back. It was so much fun – it was obviously random- she was actually responding to his pushes. So amazing! Andrew kept gushing over it for the next two days which was so cute “I had my first game with our daughter!”

She’s already such a daddy’s girl!

Also, one day this week, she moved in a way where i could tell it was her head pushing into my side, so we gently pet her on the head- you could actually feel a big hard area. I didn’t think those things were possible until much later in the pregnancy, so it was very cool.

Gender: Girly girl!

What I’m looking forward to:
This weekend and more nursery work. Husband will be working on the casings and assembling the crib. YAY!
It’s probably time to start interviewing pediatricians, too!

What I miss:
Nothing! I love our little baby girl so much, I refuse to miss anything at the moment!

Next appt: October 6th

Posts I am currently working on:
Nursery Update
Pre-conception Fitness Check
Maternity Brands Reviews and Giveaways
Cloth Diaper Reviews

Maternity and Non-Maternity Clothing

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Daily, My Pregnancy, PREGNANCY FASHION, Pregnancy Q of the week

My Journey to finding comfortable and stylish maternity clothes.
Chapter 1: Buying non-maternity clothes for maternity wear.


{above: maternity style shoot we did for one of the Selfie Saturday.
These photos were taken by my hubby.
I posted the ones I took on my photography blog here.
Note: the dress is not that see-through.
I pulled the lining up to let the light come through and show the shape of my baby belly}

Those that have been following me from the beginning might remember that I started this pregnancy with a massive aversion to maternity clothes. As a newly pregnant girl who likes to look cute, I just couldn’t come to terms with the fact that being pregnant had to mean suddenly having to buy clothes at Old Navy or something equally tragic. And while some might argue that Old Navy isn’t the epitome of cheap unattractive clothing, their maternity line is definitely nausea inducing. {note: I do have admit that Old Navy has improved greatly since last time I’ve been to their store/website, which was about 5 years ago, but their maternity line is still pretty horrible).

So not knowing any better ( and I’m sure it’s going to be a recurrent theme, now that I’m on my way to mommyhood) I swore to NEVER buy/wear maternity clothes, except for when absolutely necessary. I figured I’d continue to wear my pre-pregnancy clothing as long as I can and then buy only a few pieces.

So I was pretty excited to buy a few non-maternity items in my “new” size that I can hopefully wear post-partum. One morning while obsessively checking the new “offerings” at MYHABIT ( a 50-70% off designer and non-designer sale site by Amazon), because the damn things sell out faster than Zulily, I saw a maternity line as one of their sales. I don’t even remember the name of the line, but it was cheap enough and I was curious enough to try it out. So I quickly added a few items to my cart and hit check out.

To make a long story short, I had to return 4 out of 6 items. Why? Because it was exactly what I expected. The pattern that I thought “maybe maybe maybe” could be cute in person was, in fact, exactly what makes maternity clothing so horrible. The shorts that I assumed just looked “funky” on the model were, in fact, the typical “mom shorts”. The dresses made me look like a whale, a whale covered with the most unattractive old lady pattern.

So needless to say, this cemented my decision to NEVER EVER look at maternity clothing again :)

Fast forward to today, and I gotta tell you, I did manage to find a FEW maternity clothing companies that I actually get excited about! And I finally see the reason to buy actual maternity clothes, especially if you’re working during pregnancy. I cannot wait to hold a few giveaways for all your pregnant and TTCing readers and share these discoveries with you.  So stay tuned!

But for now, I’d like to show you, guys, what I bought on my quest to find non-maternity maternity appropriate attire.

Before we proceed, I have to tell you, I’m obsessed with dresses. When I go shopping, I buy dresses. I don’t know, whether it’s my lack of styling abilities or the girl within me but dresses are my favorite things to wear. They’re comfy, easy to put on, and easy to match up, no mess and easy to fit in when you’re pregnant ( seems like easy is what I am digging these days). So you’ll be seeing a lot of dresses here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!


Dress #1:

Ok, this is not an everyday dress by any stretch imagination. My hubby bought it for my birthday for several reasons.

  1. I LOVED IT and showed it to him ( and he actually remembered)
  2. It’s so feminine…
  3. It will accommodate my growing belly

Once I received the dress, I quickly realized that there will be very few occasions where I’ll get to wear this one during pregnancy and only with leggings, but it doesn’t mean I don’t still love it. And the bonus is I’ll be definitely wearing it post-partum.

Dress #2

You’ve seen a little bit of this one before. My friend Elena sent me a gift card to VS for my birthday and I bought two non-maternity dresses that I’ll be able to wear during pregnancy.  This was one of them.

Dress # 3

The other dress I bought with the gift card. I don’t tend to wear things that hang or slouch, but  this was too perfect for my future belly. It is actually hot pink ( you can’t tell in this light)

Dress #4

You saw this dress in our GENDER REVEAL VIDEO. I didn’t particularly like this dress online, but I ordered it because it was LITERALLY THE ONLY LIGHT PINK DRESS I could find. I needed a soft pink dress ( for a girl) and my husband wore light blue ( for a boy) to go the ultrasound. And for some reason, this is not the season for soft pink. I ordered 3 different dresses online and had them delivered and then sent them back, before I finally got this one the day of the ultrasound. It was good enough and I was desperate enough, so I kept it. All in all, I think it’s kind of cute and girlie.

Dress #5:

Are we seeing a pattern here? A lot of red, right? Why am I drawn to red all of a sudden? I don’t know, probably compensating for lack of stylish clothes that fits.
So super cute dress… very loose  and romantic. I love it.

Dress #6

My favorite non-maternity dress, because it’s comfy enough to ALMOST feel like one designed for pregnant women.

Dress #7

Last one I promise! This is an actual maternity dress ( the one I bought from MYHABIT). It has a nice feel and is big and roomy. I figured when I get really big it might come in handy.

Maternity Shirt:

My second maternity item. I feels like a normal shirt, so at least I can wear it post-partum as well. The fabric is really soft and I like the feel of a simply tank with a few frills.

Non-maternity shirt and jeans :

Shirt: After ordering it, I realized i had a similar shirt from a NYC designer I worked for who paid me in clothes (yeah, how fair is that?), but yellow is just such an irresistible color, I HAD to keep it. It makes me happy.

Jeans: I got these as a part of a non-maternity order, they were cheap- I figured I’d throw them in, for the time when I am so big  I need them or so cold I have to wear them.
So maternity jeans, huh? I’ve heard a lot about them! I gotta tell you though…. Do you think it’d be weird if I wore them when I am not pregnant?… and… Why don’t they make jeans with stretchy bands for non-pregnant people?

More red:

You’ve seen this before in my 20 week post. I bought 4 pairs of leggings of different colors and they’re just so much fun to wear. I wear them mostly at home, but once it gets colder, I’ll be layering them with a whole bunch of things.

And finally,

a ton of stretchy long tank tops. I love how they hug my belly and how they look on a pregnant body.  I am lucky to be in South Florida, so I get to wear these tank tops pretty much year round. I know most of you aren’t in the same climate, so I’ll be writing about really nice maternity options for colder climates and different lifestyles.
I feel there will be fewer options, the bigger I get and the colder it gets and I will have to make new purchases and re-assess my maternity clothing status. And I have to tell you that after trying out some true maternity clothing designed to be comfortable and stylish and support my growing belly, I am starting to come around on this whole “no maternity clothes” issue.

UPDATE: As some of you pointed out, none of these options are breasfeeding friendly ( except for a dress or two), which is not something I even thought about in early pregnancy when I was buying these. I’m definitely planning on breastfeeding and have found a few companies with great  maternity outfits for that make nursing easy.

I can’t wait to write more about it and, like I mentioned before, we’ll be having a few maternity giveaways, so don’t forget to subscribe (on the sidebar) and if you want to make sure you stay in touch and get all the updates, LIKE our Facebook Page {I’ve been a lot more active on it lately}

So today’s question for you:



21 Week Bump Update

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

Is it me or do I look significantly bigger this week than I did last week? I can’t tell if it’s the leggings or a different closer lens I used…


How far along: 21 weeks.

How big is baby: The size of a carrot. She’s kicking a lot now and has grown eyebrows.

Total weight gain: 2 pounds (147lb) this week, for a total of  approximately 11 pounds from the start of the pregnancy.

I have something to say about this whole pregnancy weight gain. I now see how women gain 50-60 pounds during pregnancy ( considering the actual baby/pregnancy weight gain is about 25lbs). It must be that a pregnant woman’s body hangs onto every calorie, because the ONE week that I let myself have more sweets than I normally do was the week I gained more than normal. I had hubby buy frozen white chocolate macadamia nut cookies for me, but instead of making just 2 of them at a time like I asked, he would make a batch of 6. Well, those things are INSANELY good ( but ridiculously bad for you), so being right in front of my face, I’d slowly eat all six in a matter of a few hours. And then he’d make more the next day. It is hard to resist something so “comforting” when you feel crappy ( and let’s admit something here, pregnancy is no walk in the park and “crappy” describes most days) and when you have the excuse (albeit, a wrong one) of “eating for two”….

And while I never fooled myself with the whole “eating for two” notion, it was still a lot harder to resist those cookies that it would be in a non-pregnant state ( or at least I felt worse about eating them, than I would if I wasn’t pregnant). So the point I am trying to make is that for 8 weeks of my 2nd trimester I have been gaining the appropriate pound a week, and the one week I “let myself go” ( by my definition), was the week where I gained 2(!!!) pounds. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

It is way more important to me to make sure my baby girl gets the right nutrition (and cookies aint it) and I stay in shape than  to have a minute long enjoyment of some  over-processed cookie. Before pregnancy, I loved the phrase “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels!“, now it has taken on a different meaning for me. It’s about my unborn child’s health and also about realizing that while I might not see the benefit of NOT eating the cookies RIGHT NOW, since I am getting bigger every day, but that delayed gratification of losing the baby weight fast and with no problems is worth a lot more to me than the sweetness of an extra cookie.

Sleep: Lots of bathroom breaks but good overall.

Maternity Clothes: Maternity jeans because they’re comfy and cover up my legs when I am too lazy to shave them haha. It’s way too hot for jeans though, so I only wear them when I know I’ll be inside most of the time. Otherwise, my old larger shorts and capris + leggings and all of my tops still fit.

Best moment of the week:

This week has been pretty much full of work. I try to stay away from the stressful part of it, but this evening it really got to me. That’s another reason to take it easy and do something mundane and non-stressful: taxes, marketing, etc.  Once you get involved, you can’t just pull away. So I had a really bad afternoon with some work stress and  then I go on the my Facebook page and there’s this sweetest message from Mitch! It sooooo brightened up my day!

Food cravings : Those damned macadamia nut cookies. Though, to be honest, I couldn’t have resisted them, but oh no, I had to learn my lesson.

Food aversions: I think I am back to normal self as far as eating goes. At least I am working really hard on my past aversions mentally.


Heartburn – mild and occasional
Round Ligament Pains – I finally felt real round ligament pains. What I thought might have been them was really just gas pains or whatever else. The suckers hurt when you get up, but they feel exactly like little muscle cramps/pulls
Rash –  Oh goodie! I got my first non-standard wonderful symptom, a rash. How wonderful! So far it’s all over my boobies, and slowly spending onto my back and itches like hell (doesn’t appear to be PUPPS though). I am doing some Jedi mind control to prevent myself from scratching it and am trying to completely ignore it in hopes of it going away. My skin has always been very eager to release histamine at any scratch and this isn’t an exception. So the less I scratch it, the more benign it seems to be. I am really really hoping, it’ll go away soon and isn’t one of those things “only cured by delivery”. Anyone had something similar?


This girl is a kicker and mover. She has a specific pattern now and is very active during those times.
The other day, Andrew put his ear onto my stomach to see if he can hear her heartbeat without a doppler, and Alexis KICKED him in the cheek! I laughed soooo hard, because the kick literally came out of nowhere. She also can definitely hear us and reacts when we try to talk/sing to her. If she’s moving around and kicking and hears her daddy’s voice, or me singing to her, she stops immediately, and doesn’t resume until we stop singing/talking.

Gender: Girly girl!

What I’m looking forward to:
So since last weekend was a bust ( hubby forgot to pick up the paint from the store), this weekend we’re loaded with barely violet paint and ready to go. I am really excited about the color and how toned down it is and should have photos posted next week.

What I miss:
Sushi! It doesn’t help that all my facebook and instagram friends decided it is sushi week and proceeded to have sushi daily and post pictures of that. Ugh!

Next appt: October 6th




What we eat and what we cook

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Cooking, Health and Fitness, My Pregnancy

I’ve been asked to post our usual meals multiple times. There are quite a few reasons why it took me this long to get around to it, and why this post is far from what I imagined to be.

  1. Up until recently I hate food with all my soul ( thank you 1st trimester) and the prospect of thinking about food, let alone writing about it would send me into gagging spells.
  2. I hate photographing food. First of all, it’s BORING! Secondly, when I’m in the midst of my craziness where I try to cook, cut, saute, bake and prep 3 different meals at the time (multitasker+perfectionist=crazy person), the last thing I want to do is bring down my DSLR and attempt to get good photos of every step. NOT. GOING.TO.HAPPEN.
  3. Since I can’t get around to photographing food, I resort to quickly snapping some pictures with my iphone. And those photos offend my sense of beauty. Yuck!
  4. Most of the time, our meals are simply things I come up with or throw together out of whatever available vegetables/whole grains we have. So there are  no real recipes for what we do. We just come up with it on the go. I can remember only 1 or 2 occasions where I actually managed to PLAN for a meal (i.e. buy ingredients and actually make it before said ingredients went bad in our Florida humidity)
  5. If I didn’t take a picture, I don’t see the point in posting a recipe- how on earth would you know what you’re cooking.

That being said, I have put together a tiny example of SOME meals we’ve made that I managed to take a picture of.

Before pregnancy, I was a vegetarian who on occasion had smoked salmon (my weakness), almost no diary and eggs. So basically, I was almost a vegan. With pregnancy that had to change to make sure I get an adequate amount of protein, so I went back to drinking milk, eating cheese and eggs, and making an exception for 1 fish for its nutritional value and almost complete lack of dioxins and mercury (sardines). My husband is a vegan and has been that way since October 2010. So basically whenever we cook for both of us, it’s always vegan, and then I add whatever I need to for myself ( cheese, sardines,etc).

Just for the sake of full disclosure, I really think cheese is “evil” and I will be happy to drop it again once I don’t need as much protein, but for now, I need its evilness for the calories and protein punch.

THE ONLY 1 RULE I have while cooking is IT HAS TO BE HEALTHY AND MAKE SENSE NUTRITIONALLY. If I am cooking something relatively “empty” in nutrition, I always add extra vegetables or greens.

Let’s start with SPICY KALE STEW

I found the recipe on Epicurious a long time ago and we would make this stew ALL THE FREAKING TIME. It’s not bland at all and it goes great with rice or stand alone.

This was before I was pregnant, and since then we switched to cooking on stainless steel only. We bought this stainless steel cookware set to compliment what we already have. I really recommend it if you’re looking to switch from Teflon ( which can become very dangerous as it gets old) to stainless steel. It was on a huge sale on MYHABIT, so we managed to grab it for $275.

NEXT: Vegetarian/Vegan Lasagna

I couldn’t find  whole grain lasagna squares, but I wanted to try making a vegetarian lasagna, so I settled with traditional white lasagna. Also, I’d suggest getting pre-cooked ones, instead.
It’s really pretty easy- you can layer the lasagna with whatever your heart desires. I chose spinach and pesto for one stripe of lasagna; spinach, pesto and black beans for another  and finally choped and sauteed garlic and mushrooms for the third. You can read the recipe for a lasagna here and adjust it any way you’d like.


This recipe isn’t for everyone. If you’re squirmy about fish and smells, you might not enjoy cooking it. I find sardines are a tastier and much healthier version of tuna fish. So if you think of it that way, this will be a staple.
The recipe is here
This ROCKS as leftovers the next day! I always use any type of whole grain pasta I have at the house and this ends up being one of my go-to meals if I am lacking calories or nutrition for the day.
Sauce/Vegetable side.

This is one of these meals where I just throw a bunch of things together and hope they stick. This one stuck!
Almost all our meals start with garlic, sauteed until it’s fragrant. Aside from the fact that garlic is good for you, it flavors vegetarian meals to a point where even an omnivore won’t miss meat.  It takes vegetables and pasta from bland to super tasty.

So we saute garlic in hot oil for about 2 minutes, then add chopped tomatoes and cook on low heat, preferably covered to contain the moisture in. I usually add whatever nutritious greens I can find in the fridge, like spinach, kale , collard greens. In this case it’s chopped spinach, since cooked spinach (and tomatoes for that matter) beats its uncooked counterpart in nutrition (read here).

After a bit of sauteing on low heat covered, until the mixture gets thickened, you add it to whatever it is you were making it for: whole grain pasta, brown rice, beans, etc.

Vegetable shrimp burrito
When I am really low on protein for the day and don’t want any more cheese or milk or eggs, I go to shrimp. I saute it really well in part oil, part water (you only need to get it to opaque, but since I am pregnant, I usually cook the shit out of it). So for this meal, I needed something fast. I had left overs from the mix of vegetables I made the other day (eggplant,mushrooms, tomatoes, olives), so I added them to the shrimp in a whole wheat tortilla, cut some scallions for taste. And done.
Some other miscellaneous stuff:
Vegetable kabobs
Roasted potatoes with dill and olive oil {when i am too lazy to think of anything, this is the easier meal ever and super tasty}
A mix of everything on the planet {this would probably represents all the nutrition a person needs}: Whole grain couscous, black and kidney beans sauteed with tomatoes, roasted potatoes, pickles, sauteed zucchini, spinach and mushrooms, whole grain tortilla chips and green olives. A great example of throwing things together.
And a ton of salads of course

I love my ceasar salads. I make my own dressing ( Parmesan, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, mustard, organic mayo, garlic and anchovies )
This salad saved my buck when I was sick. It’s nothing more than cucumbers and tomatoes in canola oil with salt. But it’s so fresh that it was the only thing I could eat without gagging.
Romaine, cherry tomatoes, green olives, dill and garlic dressing.
Another smorgasbord of things: cucumbers, avocado, olives, tomatoes, canola oil.
We always have a salad for lunch, so I just throw together whatever is in the refrigerator and is healthy.
Again, sorry for such horrible pictures and see you on Thursday or Friday for the 21st week update.

Photo Recap of First Half of the Pregnancy+ Ramblings

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

I can’t believe I am now half way to having Alexis, and at the same time I cannot believe I have  that much more to go! 4 months seems like so little but at the same time it’s too long to wait to meet our precious daughter.
I keep reading about women who lost their babies at 36 weeks or later and it just breaks my heart so much and scares me at the same time. How do you recover from that? From carrying the baby for 9 months, dreaming and waiting for it and then “bam!” in one second, it’s gone. All the possibilities and potential of a new life- just gone!

Really makes me want those 4 months to go by fast and have Alexis safe in my arms, where I can protect her. That’s on my mind 24/7. Literally.

I did a little collage of the body changes I went through since getting pregnant.

A few weeks are missing:
week 3 when I found out we were pregnant ( a week after conception), because no changes were apparent yet;
week 7 because that was the worst week of my morning sickness.
You can see the photo large if you click on it.

The first half of the pregnancy was hard, mostly due to nausea and tiredness and general food aversion. It’s difficult to eat perfectly for the health of your baby when even looking at food is the last thing you want to do. I am very proud I got through it with perfect nutrition. I can’t say it didn’t leave any scars, though. Those weeks of forcing certain nutritious foods down my throat, rather than chewing on bland and empty crackers, left me gagging at the thought of them. I am over it now, I think, but it took longer than normal, because of the “emotional trauma” of it all.
No regrets though – I’d do the exact same thing all over again. Only the best for my baby even if I have to “torture” myself.
But I think we underestimate how easy our life is because we are made so that we “like” food and how difficult it is to eat well when you don’t. I wonder if there’s a disorder where all food makes you queasy… A person with that disorder must have a miserable existence. It makes sense that nature and evolution made it so that we enjoyed eating, because otherwise…well it’s just sad and difficult.


Below is the front belly shot. I stopped taking them after the ninth week for some reason. Probably because there wasn’t much change from the front. Now that my belly is really growing though, I’ll resume the front belly shot.

One thing I can say though: “Whew! I’m glad I’m in the 2nd trimster!”

It’s glorious! Well, as glorious as pregnancy can be…. with fatigue and weird hunger spells and aches and pains, but still glorious compared to the horribleness that the first trimester represents. Certain days I almost feel normal, I go about doing “normal” things, only to be reminded an hour later that there’s a baby inside that requires “mommy” to take it easy. And I do. Because I have the most caring and understanding and involved husband in the world who will do all these things for me ( well, almost all and with a lot of nagging) that I am unable to do, so that I wouldn’t “strain” myself too much.

I’m still wondering when the uncomfortable part of the second half starts… Do I have a month or so of feeling good? Is it supposed to start now? Luckily, I have no ligament pains, no back pains (unless I overdo it), sleep is somewhat comfortable.

I am happy I’ve been able to take conceptual photos throughout the pregnancy. I want to do a pregnancy book. Not your typical book with belly shots, but a true depiction of our journey through pregnancy via conceptual images – things we did, events that happened, places we went to, along with a message to our little one, who’ll hopefully be able to read it on day.

These are some of the shots I have for now.

1,2. The day we found out Alexis was there
3. The day we got proof she was real
5. The 3 months I spent miserably nauseous
6. The day we heard her heartbeat on our home doppler
7. The day I hoped she was a girl
8. The months we spent walking every morning
9. The time you could finally see my belly
10. The day I started planning the nursery
11,12,13,14. The day we found out she was healthy and a “SHE”
15,16. The time our first baby gifts started arriving.

There are still many more concepts swirling in my head:
Reading pregnancy books shot
Being ravenously hungry shot
Painting her nursery shot
Assembling the crib shot
The visible kick shot


It seems like forever ago that we tested “for fun” and saw that faint line on the pregnancy test mere 6 days after conception.
We couldn’t be happier though! She’s what we planned, she’s all we wanted!


20 WEEKS BUMP UPDATE – Half way there!

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

Are you digging my red leggings? I bought a few leggings on clearance  in bright colors just for fun and I’m just loving the red right now.
I find it interesting how you almost can’t see my belly from the front, while it’s really popping out from the side. It’s definitely more than previous weeks though, so I think I’ll start taking a front picture too. I really love seeing our pregnant ladies’ front shots- they look adorable!


How far along: 20 weeks.

How big is baby: The size of a banana. She’s producing meconium that she will hopefully wait to pass until she’s safety out of the womb.

Total weight gain: 1 pound (145lb) this week, for a total of  approximately 9 pounds from the start of the pregnancy.

Sleep: I’m managing. Still using 5 pillows which is working pretty well. I still get up 3-4 times a night to go to the bathroom. I think it’s because I drink a lot of water all day long and before bed, as well as when I get up to pee ( a bit counterproductive, don’t you think?), but the frequent bathroom trips don’t seem to disturb my sleep too much. I go back to sleep with no problems.

Maternity Clothes: Let’s see… I did buy a few pieces of actual maternity clothes, just for fun, however I haven’t had a chance to wear any yet. Mostly I wear bottoms that used to be really loose on me pre-pregnancy and all of my tops still fit.  Otherwise, I’ve been buying non-maternity outfits that I could possibly wear during pregnancy, at least until I am really big. Speaking of purchases, I am getting ready to write an outfit post with my latest clothing purchases (some maternity and some non-maternity), I already took all the pictures, so I just have to put it together. Is it something you’d be interested in reading? I’ve been trying to buy pregnancy friendly items, in 1 size up from my pre-pregnancy size, hoping that I can still wear them post-partum.

Best moment of the week:

Wow! I don’t think I even remember what I did this week, besides work, and lots of baby/nursery planning.

I guess the best parts of my week were:
1. Buying our first set of clothes for Alexis- I couldn’t resist ( Zulily is evil, I am telling you! You cannot walk away unscathed if you’re pregnant or a mom. That being said, *whispering*  “Go sign up, it’s awesome!”). Oh and I will definitely be doing a post about the stuff we’re buying for Alexis. So cute!
2. Receiving some of our first baby gifts from friends ALL over the world! (Thank you, Olesya, Eric, Iris, Olga, Zoltan and Barbara!) So much fun and makes it sooo real!

Food cravings : I’m good here. No strong cravings, just trying to eat as healthy as possible. I did switch my one daily indulgence from pistachio ice-cream cone to a chocolate cone ( that’s considering I’m not a huge fan of anything chocolate)

Food aversions: Nothing here either. I still don’t necessarily LIKE food, but nothing particular that makes me want to vomit.


Being out of breath, occasional heartburn, insane HUNGER, break outs, lots of movement, Braxton Hicks.
I somehow thought it was too early for BH, but after having occasional cramping for 3 days, I called my OB and the nurse reassured me that it’s fine, as long as I don’t have more than 6 an hour in a lying position ( mine are always when I’m on my feet for 15 minutes or more). Also, i thought BH were supposed to be painless. They feel like pre-menstrual cramping to me.


Alexis getting more and more active! She’s been kicking regularly since the first time we felt her, but this past week it REALLY picked up. That little girl is so strong that she startles me all the time. It’s so much fun watching my belly move, though. I can’t imagine her getting bigger and stronger, to be honest – it feels like a little bit more  growth and she’ll poke through my skin.

Gender: Adorable healthy girl

What I’m looking forward to:
Going to the fabric store to figure out what type of fabric I want for Alexis’s bedding. My sister from Russia will be sewing it and, like with everything, I want to order the fabric online, however I honestly don’t have a very good idea of what satin or silk or other types of fabric look like (lol).
Hubby painting the nursery this weekend ( if we can somehow un-bury ourselves from the backlog of work things to be done)

What I miss:
Sushi again
Getting my hair highlighted (ugh! I hate my roots. And it’d be fine if i was going to the beach more often and doing my usual things, because my hair gets bleached in the sun almost to the point where i don’t even need to do highlights, but having limited sun exposure (good for skin, bad for hair))

Next appt: October 6th




18 Week Bump update + First Movements ( that we both felt!)

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


How far along: 18 weeks.

How big is baby: The length of a bell pepper, he/she can hear ( so all those songs I sing and books I read are not going to waste), flex those tiny muscles, and show off its gender specific genitalia.

Total weight gain: 2 pounds (143lb) this week, for a total of  approximately 7 pounds from the start of the pregnancy. So at this point I am caught up with my first and second trimester (4 weeks) requirement.

Sleep: I decided to hold off buying a body pillow until I feel that surrounding myself with 5 separate pillows just doesn’t do it anymore. At this point I have 2 pillows behind me, two in front and one at my head and it works well. I have no trouble turning around to either side and am actually starting to enjoy sleep a lot ( aside from 3 bathroom trips). It’s funny that they say that your bathroom trips are supposed to decrease in the 2nd trimester, because for me, there has been no change at all.


Best moment of the week:
Read below in the movement section
Seeing friends on Wednesday ( I have a few photos to share that I hope to post next week here and on Selfie Magic)

Food cravings :
Nothing really this week. I’ve mellowed out with my peaches, though I still eat a lot of them . I started been able to eat Romaine again and made my favorite delicious ceasar salad with a home made ceasar dressing. I did ask my friend Elena to make me crepes, which I stuffed with Romaine, tomatoes and pickles and vegan ranch dressing (yum).

Food aversions: Veggie burgers. One of my most favorite things to eat now grosses me out. Being pregnant is really funny- it’s like your body is truly taken over by someone/something else. I can’t even stand my husband’s breath after he eats one :)


I have some new players here this week:

Pregnancy brain – It always  made me smirk whenever I read about pregnancy brain. Not that I was skeptical, but I wondered if it was something that not-so-smart women invented as an excuse – haha! Well, I can tell you – it’s definitely NOT an excuse. On a normal non-pregnant day, I am sharp, on the ball, with excellent memory, multitasking like crazy, get work done and manage some of my husband’s work activities. Everyone who knows me can rely on me remembering what they asked me to do and never has to remind me of important things or push me along.
NOW- whether it’s pregnancy brain or just me being pre-occupied with feeding myself right and nursery thoughts or whatnot, but I have been LITERALLY forgetting the most simple things: I forget to email people back, to call clients, to check on things, I forget what I am talking about and lose my train of thought often. Then I remember that I had to do something and one second later I forget again. Seriously, it’s that bad.  I am usually reminding hubby about work things, but this week I had to tell him: “Listen, there’s something going on with me and I simply cannot trust myself to remember certain things, so if I tell you I need to do something, please understand that most likely I’ll forget, so it’ll be your responsibility to remind me.” I basically told him to start riding my ass (lol), which is something I always have to do to him and never the opposite.

Being out of breath – pretty much after any activity.

Stretchmarks – none so far. My skin looks nice and glossy.

Hunger – Very very hungry all the time. My taste for sweets (other than ice cream which came back earlier) has returned, but I am keeping it in check, of course.

Heartburn –  Very mild, at the end of the day, depending on what I ate that day. By the way, heartburn is supposed to subside in 2nd and return in 3rd trimester, right? Is that how it works?

Skin – Still suffering. It went from a  million little breakouts to more defined inflamed spots.

So that little kick I wrote about last week was, in fact, our first movement ( hubby’s loving being right). I didn’t want to ascribe to much to it until I felt more and knew it was a movement. This past week I’ve been feeling a lot of dancing in “ma belleh”. It started early in the week with a few weird rolls, which were, like the first, so faint that I’d ask myself whether I even felt them afterwards. On Wednesday or Tuesday, I felt a few little rolls that made me realize without a doubt in my mind that those were actual movements. They were still very faint but there were a few more of them. And right on the day I turn 18 weeks ( Thursday) something amazing happened. I was lying in bed in the morning chatting with my husband. I felt a few rolls and some movement, that was more definite that other times. I brought it to his attention and we both lay there watching my stomach and talking to the baby while I told him when it kicked. The baby might been liking the attention because it continued moving. After some time, Andrew left to go to the bathroom and I kept feeling the movements. At some point, it kicked so hard it startled me. So I lay there looking down and enjoying the first real movement, when I could SWEAR I saw my skin move! I called Andrew back and he tried to put his hand on my stomach. I kept telling him “You won’t feel anything until the baby gets stronger at about 23 weeks or so”, so after a while he took his hand away. After a few minutes, we BOTH saw my belly skin move a bit  ( so I WASN’T imagining it the first time). Hubby put his hand back there waiting for the baby to kick. I felt a few rolls and he looks up at me and says “I felt that!”.
“Yeah, right!” -I answer.” You could not have possibly felt that”. And right at that moment, as if to prove me and the medical books WRONG, the baby kicked so hard ( it felt like a little tiny foot jab) right under Andrew’s hand, that BOTH ME AND MY HUSBAND GASPED at the SAME TIME! That’s when I knew he DID feel it!

The first several hours I was just shocked. I was so set on the fact that Andrew won’t be able to feel what I feel for quite a few weeks that this event baffled me! I am not sure if we were just lucky to have his hand be in the right place and time, or our baby is a “Hercules” like my mom says, but I am very grateful that he got to experience the kicks this early on. Needless to say, he has since been trying to feel the baby everytime I let him know it’s kicking ( which is really adorable to watch). But it hasn’t kicked this hard ( except for a few occasional singular kicks) or this consistently since. One time I was skyping with my mom and gasped from a strong kick while talking :) but it’s always a single event and the baby stops moving shortly after that.

Also, I’d like to mention that to me the movement felt nothing like butterflies. Some people compare it to gas bubbles, but after I finally felt it, I realized that I’d never had “gas bubbles” before ( just gas pains), so what I was feeling couldn’t be gas. I guess, if I didn’t know I had an actual baby inside of me and I felt a movement like that, the only plausible explanation would have been gas. But being pregnant, there was little doubt that it was movement, except for the fact that the first ones were so faint, I wasn’t sure I even felt anything.

Gender: 5 MORE DAYS! I guess this is as good time as any to let you know how we’re doing the gender thing. I will not be announcing the results immediately. In fact, I won’t even tell my mom or know it myself for the first few hours. We’ll be doing a video with a “grand” reveal that I will post on Friday or Saturday ( depends on how fast I can get it edited). Until that video is ready, noone will know the sex :) ( thanks to Lauren for this great idea!) This will be very hard for me, since I simply cannot keep secrets when they are my own. But I am very excited about it!

To be honest, I don’t have a feeling about our baby’s sex anymore. I have absolutely no idea if it’s a boy or a girl. But I’d like to open a poll for you guys to start guessing (see the sidebar)

What I’m looking forward to:
Finding out the sex and making our gender reveal video
Making sure everything is ok with our baby at the  anatomy scan next week.

What I miss:
Looking good. Having my skin and hair back. OMG-getting my hair done! I want highlights so bad :) Good old sushi.

Next appt: September 1st, the big one

17 Weeks Bump Update

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


How far along: 17 weeks.

How big is baby: It’s a Turnip. The baby can probably hear now so we’ve been singing him/her songs and reading books. Its cartilage is turning into bone, which probably means I should concentrate on getting more calcium, so that it wasn’t drained from my teeth and bones. It’s also gaining fat which is very important and soon I will be feeling the kicks which should be one of the most exciting part of pregnancy.

Total weight gain: 4 pounds (141lb) YAY! While, I was never afraid of pregnancy weight gain, I’ve never thought that I’d be ACTUALLY happy watching the numbers on scale climb, but I am. It’s been relatively difficult/slow for me to gain weight. Every pregnant woman worries about the well-being of her unborn baby and the only way for us to track the growth is through our weight gain.

Sleep: Figuring it out, getting used to sleeping on my sides. Still haven’t bought the body pillow, I am using 3 pillows currently. I still do wake up twice or three times a night to go pee, and dealing with pillows, so it’s tough but manageable.

Best moment of the week:
Getting started on cleaning out the nursery. I haven’t been working on the design, because I want the nursery to be gender specific.

Food cravings { again, these are not real cravings (i.e. I can easily resist them), but here are things I’ve been “enjoying” more than other foods I eat}:
PEACHES! OMG I’ve been eating 6 peaches a day! Love anything fresh and juicy. Out of junk stuff, I only eat 1/4 of a cup of Haggen Daaz pistachio ice cream twice a day, but man do I enjoy that 1/4 of a cup.

Food aversions: Bread

Nausea – Pretty much gone, unless you count the unpleasant feeling in your stomach that fullness and heartburn bring on.

Hunger – Need to eat once an hour, preferably something fresh, like a fruit or cucumbers

Heartburn – Mild to medium heartburn all week. Due to a tip from one of the readers, I looked up papaya enzyme pills, and while I wouldn’t take them while pregnant due to some other ingredients, I found out that papayas themselves have the same effect. So I’ve been eating papaya when heartburn strikes and it seems to help.

Skin – Still pretty bad.

Movement: I felt something that seemed like a gas bubble or movement, but there’s no way to know whether it’s one or the other, so I choose to discount it, since it didn’t continue. Hubby keeps saying “You felt your first kick!” which is kinda annoying :)

Gender: At our 20 week ultrasound on September 1st.

What I’m looking forward to:
Finding the time to sit down and plan the nursery.
Working on my pregnancy photo book. I’ve been periodically taking themed pregnancy self-portraits for a pregnancy book. Basically it will be a book with my thoughts, feelings and photos that would portray the whole pregnancy experience. I am not too far along due to pregnancy symptoms and general laziness but today I was able to take another planned shot- our daily morning walk, a part of whatever meger exercises I get to do these days ( I do some light strength training and cardio as well). And yes, I totally look fat here and not pregnant :) lol

What I miss:
Feeling not pregnant.

Next appt: September 1st, the big one

14 weeks

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

Now according to ALL sources, I’m in my 2nd trimester and I can definitely feel it.

Ok, where is my BUMP, though? Seriously? I’ve been wider than normal for weeks. If you compare my pictures to those before pregnancy or at 5 weeks, I’m definitely showing, but I don’t have a bump. When I put clothes on, I look like a normal non-pregnant woman. Those who know me, would probably think that I packed on a few pounds and don’t have abs of steel anymore haha.
I guess I am glad I’m not showing yet, because that means I can still sleep on my stomach, and wear semi-normal clothes. But this week I did have to resort to my last pair of non-stretchy jeans that used to be super baggy on me and I could take off without unbuttoning and wore shorts that had to be tied with a rubber band ( what an awesome invention!). So that’s my progress in the bump area.
Thankfully, I still have quite a few stretchy jeans ( though most of them are from my NYC days, which means they’re a size 0 and 1- YIKES!- I definitely cannot fit into those even in my non-pregnant good-looking state)



How far along: 14 weeks.

How big is baby: It’s a LEMON.

Total weight gain: I can definitely say I’ve gained at least 2 pounds ( I am at 138lb right now), which is great. I’ve been gaining a pound a week since week 12.

Sleep: Going to bed earlier has been important for good sleep. I wake up much earlier than I’m used to, but  also go to bed by 9-10pm, which is very early for a non-pregnant me.

Best moment of the week: 
Being able to handle food and help out with cooking. My nausea is ALMOST gone, with occasional bad days. And this week I felt good enough to even get some cooking done.
Putting make up on –  I don’t dig walking around looking like death.
Getting a cleaning – I somehow love those, because it makes me feel fresh and new. Plus I was glad to see that I’m doing relatively good with my gums, which is often a problem in pregnancy.

Food cravings: Nada. I can eat sweets again, though. So I have a small cookie or two a day to satisfy the need for something fun. Otherwise, I’m loving plums, peaches, anything fresh.

Food aversions: I can ALMOST think of fish again. And I had some walnuts this week ( wasn’t happy about it, but didn’t throw them up either).

Nausea – Getting better and better. I have days where I feel so blah from low grade nausea and others when I almost don’t feel it if I don’t think about it.
Heartburn – still there, but not as bad this week. Not sure what I am doing differently.
Skin – Last week it almost got better and this week I am back with all kinds of stuff popping back up. Ugh!
Leukorrhea – oh what fun pregnancy is lol {I thought my water leaked or I peed my pants haha}

Gender: At our 20 week ultrasound in September

What I’m looking forward to: having a permanent housekeeper so that I didn’t have to feel so guilty about not wanting to do any housework. I was always under the impression that it’s super expensive to have one, since it costs 250 bucks to have people come and clean our house (4000 sq feet). However, after doing some research I realized that you can hire a local lady for $10/hour to come in daily or every other day. It’s totally worth it for us right now and I am super duper excited about having a clean house again.

 What I miss:
Nothing right at the moment. The nausea is getting better and just that little is making me love life again (LOL).

Next appt: August 5th

{pregnancy skin care} – What I use during pregnancy, after hours and hours of research- whew! it’s a bitch
{evolution of shape}- an in-pictures look at where I was fitness and weight wise in the last 8 years
{guest post by hubby about going vegan}- I’ve been meaning to get this one done since the GET FIT challenge. It’s really an amazing story.
{recipes and food}- I’ve had so many people ask me about this one, and I’m so sorry but it’s been hard for me talking about food while being nauseous. I’ll attempt to do a post or two with some things that we cook.