Pregnancy Week 24: Baby is movin’ and groovin’

I am 6 months pregnant this week and baby boy is as active as ever!

I’m feeling his kicks and flips on a daily basis, which has become my daily assurance that things are going “okay” in there.

To make things even more exciting, D felt the baby kick for the first time this Sunday! This happened after two weeks of me consistently shouting for him to come and feel the baby move…and the baby stopping every time he put his hand on my belly. Oops!

It was disappointing for him and frustrating for me. I swear he was moving just two seconds ago! Then I had a thought. What if the reason the baby stopped moving when D put his hand on my belly was due to me talking to D about the baby moving?

Was the sound of my voice causing our little guy to quiet down in there and listen?

It came to my attention that most of the times I had felt the baby kick strongly, I was sitting down and not speaking to anyone. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe not.

So this past Sunday night I decided on a plan to test out my “my baby is such a good listener he must be quieting down to listen to his mama speak” theory. While D and I were hanging out, watching The Office and playing Jenga, the baby started kicking around.

These kicks were the real deal and I could feel the pokes making their way to the surface of my belly.

Frantically, like a silent psychopath, I began waving my arms at D and making quiet snapping motions with my fingers. He must have thought I was trying to distract him from his next move in Jenga, because the man paid me no mind.

“Psst,” I whispered, “psst! Come feel, quick! The baby is kicking!”

I was nervous that even the whisper may have been too loud, as D quickly laid his hand across my stomach.

Then it happened. One big, strong kick from baby to daddy.

D’s eyes lit up in surprise and then he let out a happy laugh.

“That was a big one,” he beamed, “I’ve never felt even the smallest kick from him before, but he kicked me really hard! Oh my god!”

It was a such a great moment.

As a side note: what are the chances that baby boy’s in utero tendency to stop what he’s doing and listen to his mama will continue when he’s outside of the womb and well into his teenage years? High? Slim to none? Ahh well, I’ll enjoy this while it lasts at least!

There’s a little kicker in here somewhere!

Highlights:

•D feeling the baby kick!

•I got a free chocolate croissant at Starbucks for being pregnant (I could get used to that perk!)

•3 months now until we meet our baby

Lowlights

•I know I say this almost every week, but man my GERD is a real lowlight

•What is sleep? Insomnia has been crazy this week.

Week 23: (Unintentional) Belly Shirts

Week 23 of pregnancy means even the loosest pre-pregnancy shirts are holding on for dear life now.

I have reached the point in my pregnancy where even my loosest pre-maternity tops are holding onto dear life against my burgeoning baby bump.

Yesterday, in an early morning rush out the door, I threw on a (once loose) long sleeved shirt with a pair of leggings. Sure, the shirt felt a bit more snug than usual, but I shrugged it off because it had fit me fine the week before.

Well. As it turns out, this week is very different than the week before.

When I finally got around to looking in a mirror, I realized that there was about one inch of tummy peaking out from between my shirt and my leggings. An inch that no amount of pulling or tugging on my clothes could cover up.

I had inadvertently gone out of the house this morning looking like Backwoods Barbie: pregnant and in a belly shirt (with Uggs).

Oy. Not my best fashion moment lol

Needless to say, if you catch me in the maternity section of a Target this weekend, you know why I’m there.

“It’s all fun and games until your pants don’t fit.”

Highlights:

• feeling the baby move will always be a highlight

• almost getting my reflux under control (hopefully by the end of the week?)

• we are almost 100% on a baby name

Lowlights:

• a not-so-fun our of breath feeling after big meals

•weird upper abdominal pain when bloated, which I think could be from my hiatal hernia? Not fun

Week 22: One Chunky Baby!

Week 22 still has me in awe of the fact that I can now refer to the baby as a “him” instead of the gender-neutral “they,” thanks to his anatomy scan ultrasound this past Friday.

After months of being convinced I was having a girl, the realization that my “mother’s intuition” needs a little fine-tuning came in the form of a teeny weenie being pointed out on a doctor’s monitor!

We also got told that our little guy is measuring slightly big for his gestational age, at 1.3 lbs. So he’s a little chunker already!

Our baby boy!

We are over-the-moon excited to welcome our sweet baby boy to this world in June. And I’m finally able to shop my heart out for cute, non-gray scale, baby outfits. Thank god!

How I’m feeling this week

Round. My belly has definitely popped. Great for cute maternity pics. Not so great for my reflux and GERD. I feel like my stomach is getting pushed up higher and higher to make room for baby (which I think it actually is), making any reflux-related inflammation feel even more pronounced.

Also, sad. My uncle passed away this Sunday and my aunt (his wife) has just been placed into hospice care. With my uncle’s funeral and burial this weekend, and my aunt possibly passing any day, it has been an emotional week. I’ve been trying my best to think positive, as I’m worried that so much crying and cortisol could have a negative effect on the baby. But also, sad is sad and this really sucks.

Highlights

•the baby’s gender reveal brunch

•lots of movement from the baby!

•Actually SEEING my stomach move from the baby once this week

Lowlights

• reflux and GERD, per usual

•as the belly grows, it’s starting to get harder to get comfortable

Our Gender Reveal for Baby Winters

After finding out the gender with our doctor on Valentine’s Day, D and I hosted a small brunch for our family to share the exciting news.

*Skip to the bottom to find out baby’s gender! Or read through for a rundown on the party menu and decorations.*

(Our immediate family turned out to be almost 20 people, so maybe “small” isn’t that accurate. A smallish brunch for immediate family.)

I know the internet’s opinion on gender reveals is pretty divided, so I was worried that some of my family might look at this as me being “extra.” Thankfully, if they had any unkind opinions about it beforehand, they kept it to themselves .

It turned out to be a really nice afternoon spent with family and lots of good food. And it was the first real celebration of the baby, so it felt like a really special moment to share with everyone.

Below are some of the details for our gender reveal brunch:

The Menu

  • Assorted bagels
  • Bagel toppings: cream cheese, butter, smoked salmon, capers, lemon wedges, pickles and onions
  • Cheese platter with jam and crackers
  • Cold filet mignon with a creamy dill sauce
  • Fruit platter with fruit dip
  • Tres Leche cake (for the reveal)
  • Assorted juices and coffee

When your boyfriend is a former chef, the bagel spread gets a little fancy

The decorations

I tried to go low-key with the decorations, while still having some fun. D’s constant reminders to not go overboard were a helpful reminder because I was planning on going WAY harder on the pink and blue accessories. But hey, I love a good theme!

Not pictured: pink and blue balloons arranged throughout the house, gender reveal themed plates, cups, and napkins.

The Big Reveal!

It’s a…

Boy!!!!!!!! 😀

Week 21: Anatomy scan week

The moment that D and I have been waiting for since we found out that we couldn’t find out the gender via blood test is almost here!

This Friday we’ll be going for an anatomy scan ultrasound to check on all of the baby’s organs and we’ll get to find out the gender as well.

I feel like a little kid counting down the days until Christmas morning. The week can not go by fast enough for me!

How I feel

I feel pretty tired this week. I think my belly is starting to get to the size where, after a big meal, I feel out of breath. And bending down is starting to feel awkward.

Speaking of awkward…man, am I CLUMSY lately. I have been dropping and knocking over things left and right, much to D’s amusement! I can only imagine this getting worse as I get bigger. Pray for the breakable object around me because they don’t stand a chance!

I took this photo on Sunday right before D and I went for a walk around the mall “like old people do” (his words) so that I could get in some exercise without going to the gym. Hey, when it’s freezing outside, you have to improvise!

Highlights and Lowlights

Highlights: feeling the baby move regularly throughout the day now, got some comfy maternity bras, we find out the gender this week!!

Lowlights: have turned into a human wrecking ball because of my newfound clumsiness, weird sharp back pains, can no longer button my coat due to the bump being quite bumpin’.

I think that will probably be it in terms of post for this week. I’ve got tons of writing work on my plate and a family gender reveal party to get ready for. Plus life in general. But I’ll be back next week to share our baby’s gender and all about the reveal!

Is it messed up to let kids believe in Santa?

At the absurd hour of 3am last night, D and I were up discussing Santa Claus. How did we get there, you ask? The way most couple come into ridiculous arguments: we were talking about something completely different and then suddenly we were talking about whether or not we should raise our kids to believe in Santa.

This particular conversation started when D came into the bedroom around 3 last night, after falling asleep on the couch and waking up in a sweat.

“Why is it so hot in here? The heat isn’t on, right,” he asked, already taking off his shirt on his way to the bed.

(Side note: the heat in our building is notoriously weird. We often turn it off at night because, even if it’s set to 60 degrees, it will usually skyrocket to 75 somehow and leave us feeling like dried out starfish on a beach.)

“Of course it’s on. It was freezing in here!”

“You know that putting the heat up higher doesn’t make the apartment get warmer any faster, right?”

“Sure it does!”

“No. It doesn’t. You thinking that is like people believing in Santa Claus. It’s ridiculous.”

“It’s not the same as believing in Santa because this is actually real. And also, only kids believe in Santa.”

“Well our kids won’t.”

And this, dear reader, I like to fondly look back on as the point in the conversation where D thought he had just made a small statement and could now peacefully drift off to sleep in a cool, dark room.

He was mistaken.

I quickly jumped onto my high horse and went into a late-night monologue on why it’s important for our kids to believe in Santa.

It brings a sense of wonder and magic into their lives!

It lets them participate in all of those Christmas traditions in a way that only a kid who buys into the whole Santa thing can!

What if they don’t understand that Santa isn’t real and think that they are the only one of their friends that Santa doesn’t visit?

It’s TRADITION!

I’M not dealing with our mothers’ reaction if we were to tell them we told our kids there is no Santa!!

I made all of these very valid (to me) points, as Dave lay there shaking his head. At least, I imagine he was shaking his head. In reality, the room was very dark as we were both supposed to be sleeping.

What were his reasons for not wanting to raise our kids to believe in Santa? Well, they were simple and reasonable.

He hated the thought of starting off his relationship with this baby, and any of our future babies, with a lie. He felt like telling kids about a magical person who doesn’t exist, only to have them find out eventually that it is all a lie, is a serious breach of trust. How would they ever be able to trust us ever again??

Okay, I get it. No one likes lying to their kids. But the whole Santa Claus thing is different, right? It’s not a malicious thing and (as far as I know) has never crushed a child’s spirit when they found out. You just grow up and accept it as a childish belief.

But being that D is a very logical person, I figured there had to be more to his strong anti-Santa stance. So asked him how he found out there was no Santa.

Apparently, Little D had wandered down the stairs of his childhood home one mid-90’s Christmas Eve night and found a shocking scene.

The cookies he had left for Santa just hours before we’re being dunked and gobbled up by his dad, as his mom sat by the tree wrapping presents.

No Santa. No reindeer. And now, no trust that anything his parents said were true.

I then shared my own experience of finding the Christmas list I thought had been sent to Santa, in my moms purse. Being the people-pleasing kid that I was, I stuck the note back in her purse and pretended to believe in Santa still, as not to her her feelings (haha).

I wasn’t bothered by this breach of trust the way D was, but the more we talked the more it made sense. D is a hyper logical person and doesn’t care for lying, even if the truth is potentially hurtful. So I could see why the thought of lying to our kids, even for childhood magic reasons would bother him. And I told him so.

But also, I held my ground on Santa Claus.

Maybe our kids will be hyper logical like their dad and be hurt when they find out there’s no Santa. Or maybe they won’t. Maybe they will, like many people, like the tradition of believing in Santa and put on a show for their kids like we will do for them. We don’t know what kind of people they’ll be just yet.

For me, believing in Santa was a magical, fun part of my childhood and I want to give the baby and our future kids that experience as well. D is respecting that. And I’m respecting him by agreeing for him to respond “ask your mother because she knows about these things,” when asked anything Santa-related by the kids.

Finally, at almost 5 in the morning, we both fell back asleep. One of many future parenting decisions settled and a very tired morning ahead of us.

Found on Instagram: my parenting style (insert D cringing here lol)

My body, that I hated (a reflection on my body during pregnancy)

Unfortunately, two of my relatives are in the hospital right now. Yesterday I went to go see them both, and at one of the hospitals you had to go through a metal detector before entering. My mom quickly freaked out on the security guard when it was my turn to go through, shouting “she can’t go through there! She’s pregnant!” The (completely flustered) guard apologized and said that of course I didn’t have to go through and that I hadn’t looked pregnant to him. I mumbled a ‘thanks,’ and gave an awkward explanation that I’m pretty sure going through a metal detector is fine when you’re pregnant.

This interaction got me thinking about all of the things people, and myself, had said about my body since becoming pregnant. The comments have ranged from genuine disbelief that I could be pregnant (‘You don’t look pregnant at all! You’re so tiny!) to strangers asking me how far along I am, to my friends and family gaping at “how big” I’m getting so fast.

At 5 months pregnant, some days I look in the mirror and think, yes, definitely pregnant. But other days I look at my body and see something else. What I’ve really begun to notice is that the way I feel about my bump, and my body, tends to fluctuate with the last comment someone has said about it.

When someone says I’m barely showing I feel bummed that I don’t look pregnant enough. When someone comments some other woman they know is 5 months pregnant and isn’t nearly as big as me, I become self-conscious that maybe I’m gaining too much too fast. And when someone says that I have the cutest bump? Well that just makes my day.

I don’t like that their comments have such an effect on me. I know that recognizing this is happening is a good first step in stopping this see-saw of self-worth though, so I’m giving myself some credit for that. I’m trying to remind myself to come back to center. To focus on the way my body feels, the things it is doing to grow this baby, and to accept the fact that it needs to get bigger and fuller to do this well. Pregnancy is definitely a lesson in letting go in that way.

I wrote this poem last night after reflecting on all of the mixed reactions by strangers and family on my changing body:

This body, that I hated

This body, that I hated

That curved and dipped when it should have laid straight.

That smoothed where it should have rounded.

That pushed against buttons, and zippers, and stretchy dresses with not enough stretch.

That had been much too much and not enough, depending on the day or the latest trend.

This body, I hated

That softens and cradles

That nourishes and waters

That protects and grows

This body,

This body

This body, that I hated

Holds more love than I know what to do with

Week 20: Halfway there!

Ooohhh we’re halfway thereee! OOOHHH 20 weeks is hereeee!

Okay, I promise that’s it for the Bon Jovi portion of this post.

But yes, the bump and I have reached the 20 week mark. Meaning we are more or less halfway to doing our first high five with each other (I don’t know why, but whenever I picture the birthing process I always see myself high fiving the baby in a “we did it” gesture. Yes, I’m aware this is weird. No, I haven’t shared this image with my boyfriend yet haha).

According to my What to Expect App, my little chicken noodle is actually around the size of a sweet potato or banana, at 6.5 inches. And they weigh about 10 oz at this point.

Image: Shutterstock

One of the exciting aspects of being this far along is finally being able to find out the gender of our baby! We go for the anatomy scan next week, on Valentine’s Day. To be honest, finding out if we’re having a boy or a girl on one of my favorite holidays makes it worth having had to wait what felt like an eternity.

We’ll be having a small gender reveal with our close family that Sunday over brunch. I promise to share some pictures and the gender of our little one some time after that!

Braxton Hicks in the second trimester

At almost 20 weeks pregnant (tomorrow! Yay!) there are so many things that I’m enjoying about this time.

…then there’s my buddy Braxton Hicks.

These “practice contractions” scared the living daylights out of me a few weeks back. My stomach was hardening and cramping on and off all day, then the next, and the next.

Finally I called my OB, who called me in for an ultrasound to check my cervix and the baby. Both were thankfully fine and it was here that I learned exactly what Braxton Hicks contractions. Basically, they are false labor pains that in no way indicate actual labor. More like your body doing some practicing for “the big show.”

Waiting on my OB. Snacking on a chocolate bar.

Although there’s no harm in these false labor pains, my doctor still gave me some tips for how to prevent and/or ease them.

1. Stay hydrated. This is something that I’ve been really trying to keep on top of since talking with my OB. Dehydration can bring on Braxton Hicks, so I now make sure to always have a water bottle with me on hand. I’ve also been trying to drink at least 8 oz of water every morning when I wake up.

2. Listen to your body. My doctor isn’t a fan of prescribing bed rest and is realistic about the fact that most people can’t afford to stop working halfway into their pregnancy. But she did advise me to pay attention to the cues my body is sending me. If the cramps come on when I’m walking or lifting, pause and relax for a moment. If it’s a certain position while I’m sitting or laying down, either change positions or stand up for a bit to see if they ease up.

Since seeing my doctor, I’ve gotten used to the fact that most days I’ll feel these weird contraction/cramp feelings at least once, but they don’t freak me out nearly as much. I now know that as they aren’t anything to worry about (as long as they don’t occur consistently, they don’t get closer together in some sort of pattern, and there’s no bleeding).

So, thankfully, although my buddy Braxton Hicks is annoying, it isn’t actually harmful to the baby or me.

Pregnancy. What a weird, beautiful roller coaster ride, am I right??

Week 19: starting to look as pregnant as I feel

Pregnancy: 19 weeks, 4 days

Weight: +16 lb

Highlights: feeling the baby move, strangers starting to notice the bump, going on a Baby Moon with D

Lowlights: no more sleeping on my back, back pain (ouch!), peeing when I sneeze sometimes (what the WHAT?!)

Overall feeling: starting to “feel pregnant” way more often thanks to my bump and the little chicken nugget rolling around in there. It’s a fun/weird feeling!

Work and life have felt like a bit of a whirlwind lately. I’ve taken on freelance writing jobs through Upwork to hopefully keep some form of income rolling during my unpaid maternity leave. That, on top of nonprofit work, leaves me feeling ready for a nap most days (but too busy to take one).

I know all of this work and planning will pay off once baby is here though, so I won’t complain too much. And also, lots of (non-financial) aspects of baby planning have been really fun.

Like picking out a nursery theme! We’ve decided on Winnie the Pooh because D and I both loved the cartoons as kids. Also, it’s gender neutral, which is perfect since we won’t find out the sex until later this month.

We’ll be staying in our 1 bedroom apartment until the baby is about 6 months, so for now the theme will mostly be seen in the baby’s crib and toy selection. But we’re being clever with the space we have to make it work. I’ve even converted our old book case into a baby closet. The wallpaper is supposed to be a stylish version of 100 Acre Woods from Winnie the Pooh (I tried to find something whimsical yet still appropriate in an adult’s bedroom).

(Don’t mind the old mattress and wrapping papers! This whole room is a work-in-progress right now for baby and we just bought a new bed.)

I’ll share more pictures of our nursery nook progress as we go! I think once it’s all finished it’s going to look really nice and cozy for baby.

Well, that’s it for my week 19 update. Next week will be the halfway mark to meeting our sweet baby and on the 14th (Valentines Day!) we finally find out the gender. Can’t wait!