gems from my pregnancy

Friday, August 9, 2021

A few pregnancy tips //
pregnancy is awesome. not every day. but most days. especially the first day you feel movement. & after each ultrasound. & when you lay in bed at night and think about meeting your little one. And when its over you forget you were ever pregnant. and you’re a bit sad that now, everywhere you go, you don’t always have your little love with you the way you did during your pregnancy. And then pregnancy seems like a different lifetime ago. And you will stare at your little babe day in and day out and think about how odd & fascinating & miraculous it is that they were inside you.
Or at least, I do.
Nevertheless, here are just a handful of tips that I learned along the way. I am in no way an expert & every pregnancy is so different that these may not apply at all.  However, I now can look back and reflect on my pregnancy and hopefully bless yours in some way with these little gems of advice. 
1. enjoy your sleep.
While there is no such thing as “banking” on sleep, be sure to enjoy catching Zzz’s while you have the opportunity. Although Little O is a great sleeper, babies are unpredictable and you will realize you took your uninterrupted nights of sleep for granted during your pregnancy. Now that Olivia is nearly 3 months old, she is sleeping about 12 hours (10pm-10am) with an occasional feeding thrown in there somewhere between 4am and 7am. Regardless, every night is a little different. Some nights she goes to bed earlier, closer to 9pm, and others she is up a little later. Without a baby, when you hit the hay is up to you. With one, life can be unpredictable.
Everyone also says to “nap when the baby naps,” or at least I felt like I heard that 500 times in the first month. That was the advice I seemed to get more than anything else. This can be challenging, (because sometimes you have to choose between taking a shower and eating lunch or an afternoon nap) but if I’m feeling extra tired, I try to abide by that rule. Bottom line, lack of sleep is only temporary, but enjoy your sleep during your pregnancy as much as you can. 
2. take notes.
During my pregnancy, I spent a few minutes every day writing down how I was feeling, what was happening with baby, what we did related to preparing for her (worked on the nursery, bought her an outfit, assembled her crib, etc.) and how much we already loved her and what we were looking most forward to after her arrival. The book, “Mom’s One Line A Day” is what I used, and it is a great way to keep track of little moments - the 1st ultrasound, hearing the heartbeat for the first time, first kicks, etc. that you won’t want to forget! 
3. be prepared.
Have newborn-sized clothes on hand just incase. Most NB sizing says “Up to 8 lbs.” Naturally, I figured Olivia would be between 7 and 9 when she was born and I wouldn’t need any NB clothes because she would fit in “0-3 Month” sizes (Typically labeled 7-12 lbs). Well, I was wrong. She was 7 lbs 9 oz when she was born and now she is almost 13 lbs and still in NB clothes! She has begun to fit some 0-3 Month sizes but the only onesies that fit her are NB sized, as well as most pants. If nothing else, buy a few sets of NB outfits on clearance (from Baby Gap or Carter’s) and leave the tags on. Carter’s allows for unlimited exchanges for different sizes at any time. You may think “Up to 8 lbs” isn’t worth investing into, but you will likely be surprised at how much use you can get out of them even when your babe weighs more than they say! She is only 11 weeks old and I’ve learned to throw out any & all tag-labels, because they are so far off it should be outlawed. 
4. have a plan.
Dustin & I decided we didn’t want any visitors until the day after Olivia was born. We wanted to just be a family of 3 for the first night. Having a baby is an extremely intimate, personal, and incredible experience. I wanted to enjoy our time together before anyone else had met her and this was very important to me. Therefore, when I went into labor, the only person I told was my Mom and she was on standby if I wanted her to come to the hospital. It was comforting to know she was praying for me and thinking of me, but ultimately I was so glad we made the decision we did to keep it private until the following day (Friday May 24) when we invited our families. However you choose to approach L&D, have a plan and discuss it with your hubby. The plan can relate to what car you’ll be taking, what needs to be packed, the route you’ll take, who you’ll call, what you’ll bring, etc. Knowing I wouldn’t be bombarded with visitors until we had gotten through the first 24 hours really took stress off me.
5. eat right & move.
Years ago, I think pregnancy was a time when women were expected to “eat for two.” After finding out I was pregnant, I decided that would not be my mantra, but instead I would eat for “1.1” - my regular healthy diet and a healthy snack when I was feeling hungry. I didn’t double my portions or increase my calories dramatically; I just followed how my body was feeling and what it was telling me. Because of this, my weight gain was great all throughout my pregnancy. Making healthy choices and continuing your exercise routine will benefit both you and baby in countless ways both during your pregnancy and afterward.
6. save save save. 
Although we had insurance coverage, we knew the cost of hospital bills would be high even with insurance. So early on in the pregnancy, we set up a savings account specifically for L&D/hospital bills & baby-related purchases (essentials like bedding, nursery items, my breast pump, baby monitor, etc.). We continued to add to it over time and when we had a baby purchase, we drew directly from it. After she was born, we still had a good amount of money left in it, which we used to pay our hospital bills. Just for reference, without insurance, we would have paid approximately $20,000 in hospital bills. Room and board for Olivia alone was nearly $3000 (even though she only took up 3 cubic feet!), plus all her 24-hour-old lab diagnostics and newborn screens, my room and board, an epidural ($980 before insurance!), my lab draws, all our clinic fees, and the L&D fee itself. Believe me, you will be SO glad you have an account to dip into when you start getting hospital bills in the mail and you’re just trying to adjust to life as a new momma. Having money that we saved and dedicated specifically for the baby bills took so much stress off both of us.
7. shop smart.
My last tip relates to maternity clothes. I didn’t start showing until I was about 22 weeks along (end of January). Because it was the winter and my belly hadn’t grown much, I was able to wear all my regular clothes through the fall and winter, including jeans/pants. Around 20 weeks, I purchased a black belly band and started using this when I was 25 weeks and could no longer zip my jeans! I knew going into pregnancy that I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on maternity clothes. Personally, I would rather invest that money into something for Olivia that she will keep forever (a special blanket, professional photography, etc.) than something I may never wear again. While I do hope to have more kiddos in the future, who knows what season it will be, if my body will change the same way it did in my first pregnancy (doubtful) and if I’ll still like the styles.So, to solve this problem I purchased only the essentials. If you’ve done any maternity clothes shopping, you’ve probably discovered how expensive it all is! The market knows women need maternity clothes at some point during their pregnancy, so they raise the prices because women don’t necessarily have a choice.
My solution was to buy the following:
·      3 maternity tanktops: one black, one white & one gray - Target
·      2 long sleeve basic maternity shirts: one black & one gray - Gap Maternity
·      3 short sleeve maternity t-shirts: one gray, one purple & one white
·      1 belly band - Target
·      1 pair of really comfy yoga pants in a Medium (one size up from what I normally would buy) - Target
·      3 “nice/dressy” maternity shirts for photos/special occasions/showers/etc - Motherhood Maternity at Rosedale
Of course I used all the discounts I could at Gap Maternity and I used my Redcard at Target, so I was able to save a little bit there. Because it was winter and then (finally) spring, I wore my basic tops and dressed them up with a fun bright necklace or one of my favorite scarves. After about 25 weeks, I pretty much lived in my yoga pants. Even though my regular jeans fit, putting a belly band on every day when I didn’t necessarily need to dress up for anything was too much work for me. (If you’re not there yet, you will be soon enough). Plus, you don’t really feel like wearing anything other than what is comfortable when you’re getting bigger by the day (or so it seems). Now, if you have to dress professionally for your job, obviously you will need more than what I purchased, but I felt like I wore each piece of clothing to the absolute fullest and if I don’t ever wear them again, no loss there.
That’s all I have for now, but I’m sure I will think of more as time passes. Right now I’m thinking about flipping the video monitor on, crawling into bed & catching some Zzzs.
Happy almost-Friday!

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