Preggo Reads.

Pregnancy Reads

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When I found out I was pregnant with Eleanor, I couldn’t wait to get reading on all things pregnancy, birth and babies. BUT… I was scared that I was going to jinx things by delving too far into believing I was pregnant. It’s crazy, but it’s true. I had serious pregnancy anxiety!

Over the course of my pregnancy (especially once I could feel her kick) my fears subsided and I dove head first into any and all reading material I could get my hands on. This list contains some of my favorite pregnancy related reads!

Lucie’s List – You guys, this site and the email newsletter (based on where you are in pregnancy/postpartum) rocked my socks. I was on here all the time and actually looked forward to every email I received — which is not something I can say about pretty much any other newsletter I get. There is a wealth of information here on anything and everything pregnancy/baby/birth. (Just a note: the newsletter gets EVEN BETTER during postpartum. She’s got tips, notes on baby milestones and all sorts of other good stuff to help you feel like you’re on the right parenting path.)

The Wise Baby – As much as I loved the newsletter from Lucie’s List, my all-time favorite site was The Wise Baby. I was on this page multiple times per week looking at product reviews and absorbing the new mom favorites post. They took a bit of a hiatus over the winter, but they’re starting to post again. If you do only two things it’s look at this site and sign up for the Lucie’s List newsletter.

Bringing Up Bebe – This was one of the first books I read because I could rationalize that it wasn’t totally a pregnancy/baby book. I love reading about the way different people/cultures do things and this book was no different. The author was very relatable and did an excellent job comparing and contrasting pregnancy, birth and child rearing in the US vs. France. I liked this book so much that I had a hard time putting it down and it made me want to move to France for reasons other than croissants. It had a lot of good information on parenting in general with more philosophies to remember than hard and fast rules to follow. Read this, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

The Pregnancy Bible – I ordered this book from Amazon after seeing it on a list of “best pregnancy books”. It’s really comprehensive and covers just about anything you’d want to know about pregnancy as well as what comes after. It was really interesting to see/read about how the body changes as well as go in depth about what is happening at each step along the way. My only critique of this book is that it didn’t go as deep into some topics as I would have liked. Overall, it was just a great general guide.

Natural Hospital Birth – I was hoping to have a natural birth, in a hospital… hence the purchase of this book. I really like the approach the author took in respecting the expertise of the medical staff, but also trusting in your body and standing up for what you want. It was the perfect mix for me since I’m neither 100% crunchy mama nor 100% I believe medicine is king. There were some really great helpful tips as well as practical applications to help make a natural hospital birth a reality. I would definitely recommend this if that’s the approach you’re wanting to take.

Ina May’s Guild To Childbirth – This is the quintessential natural child birth book. Ina May is the country’s most renowned midwife and this books spares no detail in what natural child birth looks like — however, it does it in an empowering way. I think you’d be hard pressed not to believe you’re capable of natural labor after reading this book, though being capable and willing are different things entirely! If natural childbirth is the path you’re planning to take this book is a MUST READ.

During the course of my pregnancy, I also read Birthing From Within. It was WAY too crunchy mama for me and I ended up scanning the pages and wishing I hadn’t spent the money on it. I can definitely see how some people would enjoy this approach, but it wasn’t for me. To each their own.

Introducing…

I suppose the three month mark is an appropriate time to introduce our newest addition. I’m not terribly on top of my timing here, but before I launch further into her birth story and more of my favorites, I thought it best to showcase the newest member of our family.

Eleanor Anne.jpg

She’s even better than anything we could have ever dreamed up and we feel so blessed to call her ours.

It all feels broken.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched, but are felt in the heart. - Helen Keller // LifeLoveandGarlic.com

This has been a tough year for me. There were certainly bright spots, but when I look back on it (at least right now) it’s full of dim, sharp, hurty things and I want nothing more than to fast forward my life to a time when it all just hurts a little less. I find myself begging for the days to pass, the weeks to fly and the months to blur together.

I’ve mentioned that we sold our house and lived with my in-laws & my mom for two months. What I may have left out is that right at the tail end of that my Dad died, on June 30, unexpectedly. He had been deteriorating for years, but for all intents and purposes he was stable. Until he wasn’t. We, also, had scheduled our move (without, obviously, knowing he would pass away) for 3 days later — starting July 3. To say that week was awful would be an immense understatement.

As the weeks wore on, the memorial passed and though still mourning, I was fighting my way through the fog. Christian and I decided that I would stop taking Clomid (helping us ovulate/conceive with my PCOS) for a couple of months since I was grieving, stressed and just not in the right frame of mind to be trying to get pregnant.

On August 27, Christian’s birthday, I found out — very unexpectedly — that I was pregnant (without drugs). It seems as if there would be a light at the end of this dark tunnel, after all. I immediately began having cramping (no bleeding) and very sore boobs, both of which I was reassured by the nurse at my OB/GYN office were normal.

It’s funny how finding out something like this quickly changes everything. Where would we put a nursery? What projects do we need to put on fast forward to get the house in a little better shape? What will maternity leave look like? Crap, I can’t go to one of my best friend’s weddings. Should I buy new dress pants or just wait until I need the maternity ones? What will I wear on our trip in November if I don’t fit in my clothes? Let’s talk about names. Let’s spend many, many, many hours researching pre-natal vitamins and stalking pregnancy boards on The Bump to feel even the slightest bit of pregnant camaraderie.

You get the idea. Our due date was initially set for May 3. I couldn’t wait. It was almost like having a school year baby — in in the fall, out in the spring.

After the initial positive test, I called my doctor to set up my 8 week appointment. September 23. I circled it on the calendar and methodically counted down the 26 days that would take to get there. Which, for the record, were the slowest 26 days of my life.

Christian took the afternoon off to go with me. We loaded up the car and drove to Parker (about 20 minutes from our house) where my doctor had moved her practice. After signing in, a urine sample and a short wait in the waiting room we were taken back for our first ultra sound and I couldn’t wait. My stomach was a mixture of nervous butterflies and knots — I wanted to see that little heart beat more than I wanted anything on this earth. As soon as the black and white images flashed on the screen I began searching for any sign of a heartbeat, any flicker.

I didn’t see one.

The tech told us she was going to check my ovaries, cervix etc. before circling back to the baby. But, I knew it wasn’t good. As she rounded back to the baby, you could tell. There was nothing resembling a heartbeat. She said she was very sorry, but that it appeared the baby had stopped growing about a week earlier and wasn’t showing a heartbeat.

All I could think was that she had to be wrong, this had to be wrong. How could the baby I prayed for, prayed over daily and wanted so badly just be gone? Not after the year I’ve had, there’s no way that this could really be happening. No possible way.

But, it was.

My doctor assured me that I hadn’t done anything to cause this, that most likely it was a chromosomal issue that my body hadn’t allowed to continue. After meeting with my doctor, I was sent home with Cytotec (to induce my miscarriage since my body hadn’t started on its own) as well as Percocet and Zofran to help combat the impending side effects of what was about to happen. That night, I sucked it up. We had family in town and my brother-in-law’s 30th birthday to celebrate. I went, I smiled, I broke apart on the inside.

Wednesday morning, after a good cry on the phone with one of my best friends, I made it to the office. Tried to hold it together and ended up leaving because all the emotions I was trying to hold in just wouldn’t be jailed any more and the sobs weren’t exactly conducive to a productive office environment.

I started the Cytotec Wednesday night — needing the uncertainty to end — thinking that maybe if I put the process of the miscarriage behind me rather than letting it linger I would feel better, less defeated. From what I’ve heard about miscarriage, there isn’t a good option – between DNC, “the pills” and trying to pass it naturally… no option seems to have much up on any of the others. The Cytotec induced labor like waves of cramping and a whole host of symptoms that had me very sick for the next four days. During that time I, also, had to go back in for a Rhogam shot due to Christian and I having different (negative vs. positive) blood types.

Passing your baby at home, no matter how small, is nothing I would wish on anyone…miscarriage is nothing I would wish upon anyone.

My follow-up appointment was the next Tuesday — I still had more to “pass”, but it appeared that “the pills” had done their job. I had hoped that I would feel better and more on the mend. But, I don’t. I feel more defeated, frightened and heartbroken than ever. I’m trying to process, trying to find things in my control, all without much avail.

This baby made me a Mom, though I will never get to hold my baby, watch it grow — I will always cherish the time I got to spend carrying him/her and know that we’ll be reunited one day. And, truthfully, this is what I’m holding on to and what is helping me push through.

I’m sharing this because I was blindsided by my miscarriage and felt/feel very isolated by what has happened. Miscarriage is extremely common, possibly in upwards of 1 in 4 pregnancies. Personally, I didn’t know anyone that had shared their miscarriage story, that could fully understand what I was feeling, what I was grieving. Miscarriage is something a lot of people don’t talk about – it’s hard, it’s grief, it’s uncomfortable. But, it happens and we shouldn’t be ashamed, we shouldn’t hide it in our hearts, we need to be open to talking about it.

Today, October 15, is Infant Loss and Remembrance Day. This post isn’t something I’m super comfortable putting out there, but if it makes even one person feel less alone, then it’s worth it. 

Finally Friday.

Finally Friday.

If I had to dub this week something, I would dub it the week of the corn chip. And, the week of the rain. First of all, my diet has been squeaky clean this week with the exception of corn chips (and a touch of gluten-free/healthified chex mix). The corn chips started with a stop of at my Mom’s earlier this week to try out her freshly made salsa, then dinner at a Mexican restaurant with a friend, then a Mexican catered lunch at work. I can pass up the flour tortillas and the cheese just fine… but you offer me a slightly salted, crispy corn chip and all bets are off.

Also, have you heard about the rain in Colorado? They’re calling it the 100 year flood. I’ve lived here my entire life and have never seen rain this hard for this long. It’s crazy and wet and sad and glorious all at the same time. My heart is so sad for those that are suffering damage, leaks and flooding — it’s absolutely mind-blowing to see all the photos and videos of normal streets turned into rushing torrents of muddy water. On the positive note it’s nice to have a reason to wear pj’s from the moment you walk in the door and feel totally justified spending the evening snuggled in your bed watching episode after episode of Rules of Engagement (in which Jeff makes me laugh every minute).

This weekend is a total toss-up — the only thing I know for sure is that I’ll be having dinner with my Dad tonight. Otherwise it will be a mishmash of wrapping up ceiling painting, debating whether to start installing our wood floors and living out of the kitchen and our bed room, the only two rooms that aren’t full to the brim with couches, tables, chairs and other furniture. Having a house in renovation flux really forces you to be flexible in the way you live. Dinner on the bed? Sure, why not.

What are you up to this weekend? If you’re in Colorado, I hope you’re staying safe & dry!

Here are my finds from around the interwebs:

It turns out that I’m right at that age where people are starting to get pregnant, share the news and pop out kids. This site/app that keeps all your friends and family informed on your delivery status looks insanely perfect for abating all those constant questions and texts about “is he/she here yet”. Plus, it’s easy to use (and cute) to boot.

I’ve already put this recipe for Zucchini crust pizza on the menu plan for next week. With our over abundance of squash varieties we’re getting really creative in ways to use them. Shredded, sliced, blended, grilled, roasted, sautéed, baked, and on and on and on.

In order to burn off all those corn chips, I probably need to start/re-start a fitness routine that actually has a schedule. When I do this, I’m going to add this quick AB workout video to help spice things up.

How many times have you prevented yourself from starting something because you knew you wouldn’t be able to do it as well as you’d like. [slowly raises hand] Personally, I don’t like to feel like I can’t even meet my own standards so I’ll let ideas and projects stall instead of giving them my all. This, my friends, is called perfectionism and at its heart it’s ridiculous. Here are a few ways to beat perfectionism to a pulp that I intend to try.

This article on how to, successfully, use Facebook for you business is one of the best I’ve seen. It’s officially book marked for sharing and using and re-reading. If you’re looking to up your game, there are some really great (easy) ideas to help you get started strategically.

Do you ever have those quick moments of intense feeling when you want to tell your best friend (or husband or mom or sister or co-worker) just how much you love/appreciate them? But… you don’t. Yeah. That happens. If everyone were a little more proactive about truth-telling and self-expression I wonder where the world would be?

This layout of a “Fat Loss Template” was an interesting read. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with all the science out there these days it’s hard to know where to start. I feel this is a pretty good place.

And lastly, have you seen these Fridge Coasters — I want the polka dot ones in Orange or Yellow (I think). Now I just have to measure my shelves/drawers.

Let’s Chat.

I love all the tea time, coffee break and catch-up posts floating around… and I’m a big-time lover of lists, so merge the two and I’ve got myself a perfect blog post! Bam! So, instead of a Finally Friday post, let’s catch up…

Getting In Some Baby Snuggles

 

[Getting in some after work baby snuggles last night]

My Sisters Baby: 

My sister had her sweet baby boy on April 24 and I can’t get enough of him… his wrinkly little hands, sweet little face and snugly little body. There’s something about him being my sisters baby that makes me just *that* much more comfortable. With other people’s children (even my other nieces and nephew) there’s always been this worry that they don’t trust me not to break their kid (or even soothe them when they’re upset). With Sarah, I’m just a lot less worried that she doesn’t trust me. Plus, I can beg to hold him, feed him, change him… (no shame)… and she won’t judge me too much.

On remodeling our house:

We’re living in complete chaos right now… while we do have counter tops and a sink (after 1.5 weeks without), all of our dishes and appliances are either jammed in the pantry, residing in the office or covering our kitchen table. There isn’t an end in sight, either. We’ve got another week ahead of us in the world of cabinet painting and then we’re painting the first floor and redoing all the flooring. It makes me tired just thinking about it. Having a house that feels like home (and like us) will be worth it in the end, but it’s keeping us on our toes for now!

Eating Well:

As you probably know by now, one of my goals for the year was to start feeling better. Along  with that goal was to get stronger, eat better and hopefully lose some weight. I didn’t want to conquer the weight thing head on because at this phase in my life I’m a lot more focused on being healthy rather than being a size 2. Ahem. Also, wine + cookies are a few ingredients in the recipe for my happiness.

I have however embarked on two 24-day Challenges through Advocare and have been really limiting the dairy, wheat (most grains) and sugar in my life. Last Friday marked the end of the second challenge and while I was so excited to eat a freakin’ slice of pizza, I can also say that I’ve been feeling SO much better on the whole (and as a bonus sleeping better too).

TV:

I’m sick of our TV. Or, more precisely, all three of them. They seem like this time suck attached to all the major rooms in our home and I find myself gravitating towards them when I’m either avoiding or lacking something to do. Netflix this or DVR that takes over most nights after we’ve eaten and cleaned up dinner. I would quit (get ready for the lamest excuse you’ve ever heard), but I’ve invested X amount of months into some shows (I’m looking at you Elementary, Big Bang Theory and Nashville) and want to see how the seasons wrap up without waiting until September. So, while I work on a solution for a more healthy TV relationship, know that I’m giving our TV the side eye each time I turn it on.

Warmer Weather: 

I’m almost overwhelmed by the joy I feel when I wake up and see the sun peeking in through my blinds. As I get older I’m finding more and more patterns with the way I feel (in all aspects) with one of the major changes in my attitude/outlook on life hinging on the seasons plus the amount of warm temperatures/sunshine. Spring and summer (and even fall) hold such hope, I’m drinking it all in and trying not to get too addicted. Also, is it weird that I’m already dreading November when it shifts back to dreary-ville?

Getting Up Early:

I’ve started several posts that talk about how I’ve been a little crazed and over scheduled – it seemed like there just weren’t enough hours in the day to enjoy (and/or do) life. I was just checking things off my list (even the good things) and not allowing myself the time to really enjoy the moment. Plus, there are some remedial life tasks that just weren’t happening which added to the stress load. All of this to say that I’ve been working on my morning routine, specifically getting up early. Out of the last 8 work days, I was up at least 30 minutes earlier than usual and some days over an hour earlier than usual. I love the extra time I have to get ready without scrambling, take the dogs for a walk or just do the dishes. It’s making such a difference… hoping that I can make it a forever habit.


That’s where I am today. I’m also thankful it’s Friday! Finally.

Winter at the lake.

This past weekend my family took a little trip to Grand Lake, CO. I found the deal on one of those daily deal sites and in my head Grand Lake was a suburb (or something like that) outside of Winter Park. It was a great deal and I figured we could kill two birds with one stone – family vacay and skiing/boarding.

Well, turns out, I was wrong. Grand Lake is about 45 minutes away, and not so much in the mountains as in the foothills. Christian claims I “misrepresented the trip”, I claim that I’m an idiot and generally have no idea what I’m doing. You say to-may-toes, I say to-ma-toes. We reached the “lake house” which sounds way fancier that what it really was. Honestly, I don’t know how to describe it… looked like a woodsy motel from the outside, but felt like a cabin on the inside. Make of that what you will. It had a fireplace which was the only real pre-requisite that I had. Oh, Christian had a good time. See that smile? That equals happy and fun.

Christian and Megan - Winter 2013

Now, this was the first vacation I’d been on with my sister in over 3.5 years. The last one was this trip to San Fran in which we made fun of my mom and I called her “scrump” for several days. She later pointed out to me that the definition of scrump on urban dictionary is not a flattering one, I say – again – I have no idea what I’m doing (or saying for that matter). We spent the evenings trying to figure out where those “weird” smells were coming from. She brought her two dogs, she’s pregnant, I have stomach issues and both our husbands/our mom tend to be more discreet on the subject… all this to say it was often hard to tell. Here’s the ladies.

Stout/Smaha Ladies!

Turns out, though, that it was Winter Carnival in Grand Lake. This is like a toned down, lamer, snowmobile filled version of the Corn Carnival in Gladbrook, IA from my youth. Only with a lot more people dressed in creepy costumes and snow sculptures. See said sculptures below.

The Cheshire Cat.

We also went “shooting” — if you can claim standing on the side of a road, shooting at a hill and pretending to be doing nothing of the sort when cars drive by is “shooting”. Also it was a small gun. Please tell me, of the two pretty ladies below, who is the most threatening. In my mind, it’s a toss-up. Between my mom with her little purse and my pregnant sister wearing a cow hat, they are both equally frightening in their own right.

My Mom - with a gun! Honey Boo Boo in 15 years.

Is it just me or could my sister be the future of Honey Boo Boo? I also shot the gun, but only once because it hurt my hand. In other new, I’m a wuss. Overall the weekend was a good one. Lots of laughs, discussions on babies (re: baby fever) and time with my family. I sure do love them. Each and every one. Also, it was cold and there were fireworks.

Grand Lake Fireworks

I’ve got the fever. Baby Fever.

I’ve got baby fever.You’re pregnant… I’m probably going to stare at you. You have a baby… my insides are secretly (or not so secretly) screaming to snuggle that little bundle of love, for hours. You want to talk cloth diapers… I’m your girl. Pay no mind to the fact that I don’t have a child, am not pregnant and don’t have plans to get knocked up anytime soon. Say hello to my upcoming wedding anniversary (1 year) in October. That anniversary means we’ve still got plenty of that honeymooning, lovey dovey, sugar pumpkin pants to get out before we start talking placentas and baby names. Right?I guess this is what they mean when they talk about your “internal clock” starting to tick. People, I just turned 26 — I figured I had at least another good five years before I longingly started perusing the baby section in target and talking myself out of buying the baby swing on the clearance rack… because, you know, someday. If you’ll take a moment to get nostalgic with me… there was this post about the horrors of babyness. The screwed up lady bits, mucus plugs and other disgusting and painful things I was in no rush to figure out. Well, hello hormones… you rule every other part of my life, why not add in severe baby cravings and a curiosity about breast pumps.I’m hoping it’s a phase, because it’s hard to focus on the gloriousness of sleeping in, leaving the house when I want, going to Disney World, drinking wine and eating sushi with my uterus going to battle for poopy diapers and sleepless nights.

Until the day dawns that I’m ready to commit to bringing a life into this world (which is not today or any day in the very near future), I’ll just standby encouraging my sister (cough, to get on it) and friends to work on going easy with their birth control.

P.S. On a side note I’ve re-committed myself to not getting knocked up in any months that would result in having Children during the months of July, August or September. No more August Babies – and if you’re my friend, or have any of God’s good sense you’ll give it some thought avoid those months as well.

P.P.S. Shortly after I posted this, originally, my sister announced she’s pregnant. How’s that for luck. Hello wonderful world of babyness without the awful world of poopy diaperness.