So I've hit the 34 week mark, crazy. For whatever reason, everything is starting to feel a lot more real. In less than 6 weeks, we will have a new member of the family - making our family a unit of four. Not only that, but we will be in the midst of caring for a newborn and meeting a new little personality. I'm getting really excited to see how good my memory is at recalling the ins and outs of motherhood to a newborn. This means breastfeeding all over again (I only got a 5 month break from breastfeeding because I breastfeed Lincoln until I was about 4 months pregnant), nap schedules, spit up and all of the glory that goes along with a new babe. At the same time, we are trying to prep Lincoln for the newest member of the fam. This means telling him about mama's growing belly (that he now says looks like a volleyball) and engraining the idea that this baby will be here with us... forever. Wow. Crazy to think that we will have a new normal. I have a certain amount of nostalgia for what we currently have, because it feels so perfect, but also know that the best is yet to come. Can't wait to meet this little sweet one.
Maternity Look: First off, I want to give a huge shoutout to PinkBlush. They have provided Cate + I with the cutest maternity clothes throughout both of our pregnancies. I honestly wouldn't feel the same without the opportunity to pick from a collection of well-priced, adorable maternity clothes that pushes me outside of my day-to-day sweat pant look and into a more feminine ensemble. This last round of dresses that Cate helped me pick from their site have been my favorite. They are not only cute and girly, but are also super comfortable (key at this point in my pregnancy). I am one of those girls who likes to wear the heck out of an outfit, which means picking clothing that I can really *wear* throughout the day and feel comfortable in. The Black Striped Button Up Midi Maternity Dress pictured in the photo above is all of that, plus some. It truly is so comfortable that I can wear it walking to the park, around the house all while feeling beautiful and put-together for Ryan when he gets home from work. If you are a preggo mama, totally check out their site here. You won't regret it!
Diet: So last week I posted about my 24-hour virus that I got that left me feeling horrible for a few days. This also contributed to a weight loss of about 2 pounds. This week, I'm confident to say that I likely gained that weight back, plus some. I have been eating really healthy, but also think that my body is doing what it needs to do to make baby comfortable and growing adequately. I am also pretty confident that this little babe could be a boy (for several reasons), which means that he may need more food - not sure if that is a myth, all I know is that Lincoln was a champion eater. Because this baby is measuring two weeks ahead of the general weight guideline, I further think it is a boy. While I try not to obsess about the scale, it's also crazy to see your weight go up 4 pounds in a matter of days - especially when you are eating how you normally do. I go to the doctor on Monday, so I will have a more accurate picture of where I'm at. Needless to say, I will for sure stay around 30 pounds, plus or minus. I'm totally thankful to God for this - seriously - because my last pregnancy really took a toll on me mentally (having put on nearly double what I have gained this pregnancy - yes I gained close to 60 pounds). If anything, I really hope to be an encouragement for mamas, letting them know that any sort of weight gain is totally amazing and welcomed. Last time, having gained double the encouraged amount, I often had feelings of sadness and anger. As much as I loved being pregnant, the weight gain and number on the scale was a straight up struggle. A little anecdote... at the end of my pregnancy I had stopped looking at the scale and then one doctor's appointment I finally caved and looked, and saw that I had gained 55 POUNDS! That night when Ryan got home, he found me sobbing uncontrollably in the bathroom. Mentally, it was just so hard to be so in love with welcoming and carrying our baby, but at the same time I was so hurt and angry about all of the weight that I had gained and the changes that my body had gone through. It really was this love/hate relationship with loving being pregnant and the prospect of meeting our baby, but also hating all of the weight that I had gained. Anyways, I just hope that mamas reading this know that I am on your side. Yes - this time I got lucky - I really watched what I ate, but I also think my body was more in tune with how to carry a baby. I wasn't on bed rest and I had an unbelievable pregnancy - thank God. Last time, it was very different (in terms of weight gain). I just hope to be a voice of reason, encouraging you to love on yourself, your pregnancy and your body. Know that you can and will lose the weight if you put your mind to it, and not all pregnancies are created equal. Every woman is different, every body is different and you should be proud that you have a healthy little one inside of you -- and are able to carry and birth a baby!
Exercise: I've been exercising a lot, which makes me feel amazing -- this is really the main reason that I do exercise -- so that I have energy throughout the rest of the day. My main priority is keeping my body healthy and also being able to give Lincoln all that he needs right now, which is a lot of activity and adventures throughout the day. The days I don't exercise, I notice that I feel more sluggish and Lincoln and I don't do as much. To make sure that I exercise, I get up first thing in the morning, feed Lincoln, and then we head out to the YMCA. I get my hour workout in, either doing a step class, spin class or a silver sneaker's type class (lol), then we head home. He takes a nap, I get ready and then we are ready to tackle the day. This routine has really set me up to be in a great position mentally and physically in the third trimester. I love love love my step class as my number one workout routine - and I participate in this class Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is moderately intense cardio and sculpting class, which is perfect for pregnant women. All I have to watch out for is keeping my balance on the step and also modifying certain ab exercises - these are big "no-no's" while preggo. Spin class is also good but gets uncomfortable on the bike. My other go-to workout lately (on Monday, Wednesday and Friday) has been a beginning group cardio class, also known as a silver sneaker's type workout. I'm not sure if it is actually Silver Sneakers, but the class is full of about fifty men and women over the age of 75! This class is PERFECT for a pregnant mama, late in her third trimester. The pace of the workout isn't too fast, yet there is a nice amount of cardio and weight-lifting that isn't too taxing on the body. I have come to love this class on my more "off days" combined with the more intense step class on my "on days." I encourage preggo mamas to look into this. Not only is it fun, but the older people really appreciate having a younger face in the class!
Pregnancy Symptoms: So I'm trying to think of pregnancy symptoms I have at this point and I'm drawing a blank. I will say that my belly is getting HUGE. I often feel that dry, itchy skin feeling on my belly because of how thin the skin is stretching. Last weekend, I also started having MAJOR Braxton Hicks contractions as we were walking around the Country Music Hall of Fame. They were so intense that I had to lean on the side of the stroller constantly. I knew these weren't actual contractions because I now know the difference, but it was crazy how much my belly changed shape and was tightening. There is a certain part of me that actually likes feeling these Braxton Hicks because it reminds me that my body is preparing for labor. Other than that, I can't really think of too much more... I still go to the restroom a ton because how much baby has dropped although it feels easier to breath at this point. My acid reflux has also gotten a heck of a lot better. I really don't have much of it unless I go out to eat and eat something really rich. I don't have much swelling at this point - my wedding ring still fits perfectly and my feet and hands don't look or feel very puffy. I also haven't gotten that line down my belly yet - so weird.
Thoughts on Boy or Girl: So I won't go into too much detail, but I'm pretty sure we are having a little boy. Thus, the nursery theme I have tried to incorporate more and more 'boy' in just in case my urge is correct.
Doctor's Visits: I have a doctor's appointment for my 34 week checkup on Monday. I believe this is only routine at this point. Not sure when doctor begins to check how dilated I am.. or if I even want that. I have heard stories of women going into labor prematurely as a result.. trying not to be paranoid about it though. It is fun to see how much you've dilated, but I also wonder, why do I need to know? More importantly, I see the urologist on Friday. This person is a specialist who will tell us more about the kidney dilation and how we need to proceed with that. I've gotten a ton of encouragement from mamas telling me their stories about how it went away on it's own. I'm still hoping this will happen in our situation - that baby's kidneys will somehow heal on their own. I'm trying not to stress about it at all, and really I know that it will be ok, but it is always a bummer to have anything wrong, even if the doctor tells you it really isn't anything to worry about. Prayers for our little one on that front!
Delivery: I'll have my delivery checklist reposted soon. I really haven't given it that much thought this time around. My strategy is simply to throw everything together last minute and to get to the hospital to meet our baby! haha! I also know that we really need to install the newborn carseat.. ahh so crazy to think we will be pulling it out again. It gives me chills of excitement thinking about meeting out baby and making it real by installing the carseat. Other preparations for delivery are non-existent. Again, I am getting an epidural (I think), unless my labor is super fast and easy.. but whose ever is? lol. I also thought about getting the private suite at our hospital for $150 more a night... if it was worth it, but after talking to several mamas who delivery at the same hospital, 3 out of 4 said not worth it.
Nursery: Baby's nursery is coming together nicely. I ordered some cute removable wallpaper which I am excited to post about after installation. The bohemian look has taken a bit of a jungle theme, so that's fun. Again, I am going more masculine just in case my instincts are right. So far, I haven't gotten baby any new clothes!! I am just going to use what I had for Lincoln and then once I know boy or girl after birth, I will start buying a few cute items.
That's all for now. Thanks so much for sharing in this journey and thoughts + prayers to all of the mamas out there!