Weeks 33-36 Pregnancy Update

I’m still a bit behind on writing these pregnancy updates and honestly at this point I feel like all of the weeks are sort of blurring together. Being finished with work has taken some getting used to but I’m thankful for the time I’ve had to rest and start my nesting.

Brendan and I got settled into our new apartment pretty quickly. We had family coming into town for my baby shower 2 weeks after we moved, so that helped motivate us to get things unpacked and into their proper places. We still have artwork to hang up, but besides that our new place is feeling pretty cozy.

Baby Shower #2

We had my second baby shower on Saturday July 28th. It was such a sweet time celebrating my little Sunshine Babe! We had family come all the way from Florida and New Jersey to help celebrate.

I was gifted lots of cute baby clothes, homemade baby blankets, Target and Amazon gift cards, crib sheets, a few natural toys, a baby bath, a Boppy, a Fisher Price Rock n Play Sleeper, and lots of other thoughtful things for the baby.

Doula Prenatal Visit

The day before my baby shower our doula came over to our apartment for our second prenatal visit with her. This time we were going over comfort measures and positions for pregnancy and birth.

We learned how to use a rebozo for “sifting” (seriously so amazing! Look it up.), and different exercises that Brendan can help me do every week to help ease the tension in my body from carrying baby in my womb and to help keep my body strong for an easier labor and recovery. I love how these exercises give Brendan a chance to be even more involved and have an active roll in this pregnancy.

After we went over comfort measures we just visited with each other and chatted about all things pregnancy, labor, and postpartum recovery. I’m so thankful that we decided to hire a doula – she has been such a comfort to have!

Home Visit With Midwife

The first weekend in August we had our home visit with our midwife and her assistant. During this visit we gave our midwife and her assistant a tour of our apartment so that they know where everything is when they come for the birth of the baby. She also went over everything that came in our home birth kit and explained what it is all used for and brought her birthing tub over for us to keep for the birth. And of course she checked on the baby’s heartbeat and growth and we talked about the different stages of labor, when to call her, etc.

After this visit it really started to sink in that we are now in the home stretch of this pregnancy.

That’s all for now!

33 Weeks, 2 Days Pregnant 
34 Weeks, 4 Days Pregnant – All dressed up for my baby shower 
35 Weeks, 4 Days Pregnant 

Weeks 25-28 Pregnancy Update

Hello Third Trimester! I honestly can’t believe that I’ve already arrived to the final stretch of this pregnancy. At this stage in my pregnancy I feel like things have been flowing without much physical change, but there have been a few changes with life during the past few weeks.

Travel

Within the past 4 weeks Brendan and I have been on two mini vacations. The first was a trip to New York City at the end of May to celebrate our 2 year wedding anniversary! We celebrated both our honeymoon and our 1 year wedding anniversary in New York City as well, so it seemed fitting to visit our favorite city once again before we become a family of 3.

In years past we thoroughly planned out our NYC trips – hitting up lots of tourist-y spots and seeing all of the main attractions the city has to offer. But this time we really didn’t plan a whole lot. We decided to stay in Queens this time vs. Manhattan and it was definitely a fun change.

We do a lot of walking when we are in NYC (I’m talking walking at least 15 miles on foot throughout the day), but this time I couldn’t get around as fast. I guess that’s what happens when you’re 25 weeks pregnant! This trip taught me that it’s okay to slow down and enjoy time together with my husband and that it’s okay to listen to my body and allow myself to be pregnant.

Our second mini vacation was a trip to Delaware to visit Brendan’s family at the beginning of June. We were hoping for some nice sunshine filled days spent lounging on the beach, but the weather ended up being rainy and in the 60s most of the time we were there. We did get one beach day in though and we had a nice time.

We’re Moving!

After what feels like months and months of searching for a new apartment and praying about whether we should stay in Roanoke or move back to Lynchburg, we finally found a bigger, cozy apartment at a wonderful apartment complex in Lynchburg!

While I’m sad to be leaving Roanoke and all of my amazing co-workers and our Bible study group, I’m looking forward to being back in the city where Brendan and I met and to be just that much closer to my family. I’ve loved living in our little downtown apartment – its something that I always wanted to experience. But I must say I am thrilled to move into our new, bigger apartment and start my nesting and setting up the baby’s nursery!

Doula and Birthing Classes

While we were away on our trip to NYC we signed up for our very first birthing classes in Roanoke and found a wonderful local doula (who just happens to teach the birthing classes). A friend of mine recommended my doula to me and so far she has been absolutely amazing! Originally Brendan and I weren’t planning on having a doula for the birth of our son, mostly to save money. But the more we thought about it and read about the benefits of having a doula the more it felt right for us to hire one. If you are in the Roanoke/Lynchburg area and are looking for a doula, shoot me a message and I’d be happy to give you some recommendations!

We chose to enroll in Hypnobirthing classes instead of classes that are taught at the local hospitals in our area. These classes take place over 5 weeks and teach methods of deep relaxation, different breathing techniques, and learning how to surrender to your body and your baby during the birthing process.

I have loved everything about these classes! I love how this method really lets Brendan get involved in the birthing process and how it has helped us bond more with each other and our baby. I’ve also noticed that not only am I learning how to go into a deep relaxation for when I’m in labor, but I have been able to use the calm breathing method throughout my day-to-day life. And most of all, it has helped me build confidence in myself and my body and my ability to birth naturally. Brendan and I have also learned to not listen to people’s negative comments about the birth we are envisioning and the horror stories of birth they have experienced. It really has been such a freeing and empowering experience and I would highly recommend this class!

How I’m Feeling Physically

Honestly besides my belly continuing to swell, I really haven’t felt much different physically. Some days I definitely feel more “pregnant” than others, but so far I’m still feeling pretty energetic and healthy. My little Sunshine Babe is still on the small side, but no doubt he is growing and getting stronger everyday!

So far I haven’t had any swelling, no headaches, no stretch marks, and I haven’t been bothered by the heat. I have only had very mild heartburn on occasion and the other week I noticed that I was getting the occasional calf cramp in the middle of the night. But those have been my only discomforts, nothing to complain about though!

And one of the most exciting physical changes that has come with my transition into the third trimester is that I have started to produce colostrum! Two days before I hit 28 weeks I started lactating, and it really took me by surprise. But I am just amazed at my body and it’s ability to not only grow and nurture my son in my womb, but also to produce the most nourishing food he could ever receive when he arrives – “golden liquid”, the sweet nectar that is colostrum.

We have so many exciting life changes happening within the next few months and I am just trying to focus on being present and enjoying every little kick, wiggle, and hiccup while Sunshine Babe is still in my womb. This journey is magically beautiful!

25 weeks pregnant – In New York City by the Hudson River
25 weeks, 6 days pregnant
25 weeks, 7 days pregnant
27 weeks pregnant
27 weeks, 7 days pregnant – Sunshine Babe’s first time at the beach
Hello Third Trimester! 28 weeks pregnant
Hello Third Trimester! 28 weeks pregnant

Weeks 21-24 Pregnancy Update

These past few weeks feel as if they have blurred and blended together. As I sit down to type this post I’m trying to think back and recall how I’ve been feeling and what milestones me and my little sunshine babe have met.

Between finding out the gender of our baby, Brendan flying out of state for a week of training, and the two of us celebrating 2 very happy years of marriage with a trip to New York City, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind of excitement!

22 Week Ultrasound

On Friday May 4th, Brendan and I went for my second and last ultrasound. We were excited to see our baby again and to find out the gender!

During the first few weeks of my pregnancy I thought I was having a girl – I had always thought that I wanted a little girl first and Brendan said that he thought he’d like a girl too. But despite all of the old wives tales and dreams I had, I really couldn’t tell whether or not I was carrying a boy or a girl. It wasn’t until the night before our ultrasound that I had a strong feeling that I was carrying a little boy.

The lady performing our ultrasound waited until the last 15 minutes of our ultrasound to tell us that we are having a boy! Even though I had been preparing myself for this news, I was still so surprised. For the longest time I thought I was pregnant with a little girl, so it took a little bit of time to sink in that Brendan and I are going to be blessed with a son.

Gender Reveal

The very next day (May 5th) Brendan and I shared the news with all of our friends and family.  We had a special little gender reveal for each set of parents. For Brendan’s family we sent them two numbered envelopes that were filled with either pink or blue confetti and then we did a video call with them and Brendan’s brother and had them open the correct envelope.

Then for my parents we had a gender reveal balloon that we filled with blue confetti and had them pop at their house. I think both of our family’s were guessing it would be a boy.   I also did a little gender reveal for my co-workers since I went into work to use the helium tank to blow the balloon up. All of my co-workers dressed in either pink or blue and it was seriously the sweetest thing. My heart is so full knowing how much my little guy is loved already.

How I’m Feeling Physically 

The second trimester has been good to me. Over the past few weeks I’ve had more energy, I’ve been working out more often, and I’ve been motivated to eat much healthier than I did in the first trimester. I think the sunshine and warm spring time weather have really helped with my mood too.

What I’m Eating

For the most part I’ve been eating all of the foods I normally would, except I’ve added dairy and some farm fresh organic eggs back into my diet for the time being. This is simply to help me get more protein. There are still times when I feel guilty about eating dairy again because I really did want to have a vegan pregnancy, but I know that I’m doing the right thing for my body and my baby.

Since the temperature has been consistently in the upper 70s and 80s recently, I’ve been eating lots of smoothies (Green Mango smoothies are my favorite), almond milk yogurt, and fresh fruits like watermelon, pineapple, and strawberries. Since getting enough protein has been a struggle for me, I’ve also been incorporating Garden of Life’s Raw Protein and Greens powder into shakes and smoothies to get that extra protein my little guy needs.

And it seems that I’ve finally found my first and only real pregnancy craving – ice cream! Strawberry cheesecake to be exact. I’m not proud of this and I honestly think that it’s my body’s way of telling me that I need more protein. So I’ve been allowing myself ice cream here and there and limiting my dairy consumption elsewhere.

That’s all for now!

21 Weeks Pregnant 
21 Weeks Pregnant 
24 Weeks Pregnant 
24 Weeks Pregnant 
24 Weeks Pregnant 
24 Weeks, 5 Days Pregnant 
24 Weeks, 5 Days Pregnant 

Weeks 17-20 Pregnancy Update

Me and my little Sunshine Babe have officially reached the halfway point on our magical little journey together! 20 weeks has come a lot sooner than I thought it would and I still find myself in disbelief that this is my life right now and I am a mother-in-the-making.

How I’m Feeling Physically

This month has been basically the same as last month. While it’s not what it was prior to me becoming pregnant, my energy levels have been pretty steady throughout the day. I’m able to go about my days normally, but I do get tired earlier in the evenings.

I haven’t been consistent with going to the gym, but I have been trying to do low-key workouts at home. I’ve mostly been focusing on doing plenty of squats, stretches, some weight lifting, and walking outside when the weather is nice.

I’ve noticed that my face is getting fuller and I’m a bit softer all over. If I’m being honest, I really don’t like looking at myself in the mirror right now. It’s hard to see my face and my body changing like this because it brings back memories of what it felt like to be heavier and overweight during my first year in college. I worked so hard to lose that weight and to get healthier, and now to see the weight coming back can be defeating. I know that I’m gaining weight for a good reason and it’s not because I’m neglecting my health. Nevertheless, some days are harder than others.

What I’m Eating 

Originally my goal was to stay vegan throughout my pregnancy, but sadly that hasn’t happened. I wish I could say that my baby has been plant-based since conception, but that’s just not the truth. I’ll write a more in-depth post about my diet in the coming weeks to explain further.

Foods I have been eating more often recently include organic farm fresh eggs that my parents buy from their friends, lots of dairy-free yogurt for protein, veggie sandwiches, berries, raw nuts, dried mango, and green smoothies.

I still haven’t really had any cravings. I have noticed that I’ll get hooked on a certain food for a week or two and eat it a lot, and then not want it anymore. A few weeks ago that was veggie subs. So I guess that’s my equivalent to cravings.

How I’m Feeling Emotionally 

This whole pregnancy is just flying by and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! I’ve been sleeping well, I haven’t had any aches or pains, I haven’t been sick, and I am so excited and looking forward to the whole birthing experience.

I think mindset is very important when it comes to how you approach your pregnancy and your ever changing body. Yes, there are days when I feel defeated about my weight gain and there are even times when family members have tried to throw doubt and negativity my way. But I am choosing to be happy and move past all of my negative thoughts and the doubt that other people are casting on me.

God has chosen me to walk this journey and to carry this baby and I trust that He is going to take care of me and guide me along the way. Will everything continue to be smooth sailing? Maybe not. But I’m trusting that everything happens for a reason and that what’s meant to be will happen at just the right time.

17 Weeks Pregnant
18 Weeks Pregnant 
19 Weeks Pregnant 
20 Weeks Pregnant 

Searching For The Right Model of Prenatal Care

Written: 2/21/2018

First Impressions of Birth

Growing up I enjoyed hearing stories about how my mom gave birth to me and my siblings. When I became a teenager I was intrigued to learn more about the birthing process, what it was like being in the hospital delivery room, how long it took, and my dad’s reaction to the whole process. I then started to imagine what it would be like for me to give birth and have my own baby someday. But I never once thought about whether I would have my baby at home or in the hospital.

I knew about home births and water births when I was in my late teens, and I had even watched some reality TV shows where women gave birth at home. But if you had told me 8 years ago that one day I would be considering a home birth for myself, I would have said you were crazy.

Even though I grew up knowing about home births, I never thought that would be an option for me. It just wasn’t the “normal” model of birth you hear about in the United States. My mom had me and my 4 siblings in the hospital, and I had only ever heard stories about women giving birth in the hospital. All I really knew was that birth was supposed to hurt severely and that you needed to be in the hospital to have the help of doctors and their hospital equipment to have a safe birth.

Thankfully, my mom never painted birth as something to be fearful of. She said it hurt, but that it is so worth it and you forget about the pain once your baby is in your arms. Sadly, most young women hear horror stories from their mothers, mother-in-laws, friends, and even television shows about how painful labor and birth is. And that is their first taste of what birth will be like.

I didn’t start taking my health seriously until I was about 18 years-old. I wasn’t really into natural medicine back then, but I was skeptical of doctors and our modern healthcare system. Over the years I’ve become more educated on natural holistic medicine and herbalism, and I tend to shy away from doctors as much as possible. So when I started daydreaming more about becoming pregnant and having a baby of my own, I naturally started thinking about and researching midwives and natural birth.

Even before getting pregnant, I was very fascinated with natural birth and home births. I found myself following several different Instagram accounts of women who were planning on having a natural home birth and I even read a book called Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block last summer, so I could do my research and get educated on the differences between a hospital birth and a home birth.

The Hunt For the Right Midwife

Finding the right prenatal care provider for this pregnancy has not been easy. I started searching for midwives and birthing centers in my area last summer before getting pregnant. I wanted to do my research and be prepared for when the time came. At this point, seeing an obstetrician was not an option for me. I knew I wanted to have a midwife for my prenatal care, whether I was to give birth in a hospital or at a birthing center. I knew of one birthing center that was about 15 minutes away from where I lived and it had good reviews. So, as soon as I found out I was pregnant I contacted the birthing center and set up a time to meet with the midwife there for a free consultation.

I was a bit nervous but mostly excited when I went to see the midwife at the birthing center. As soon as she took me back to a room to chat, she calculated when I was due. She said I was due right at the beginning of September, and unfortunately that was the one month that she didn’t take clients because she takes the whole month off for vacation. So, that was about it. There was nothing she could do for me. She gave me a couple names of other midwives in the area, but they only did home births, not a birthing center birth.

I left the birthing center trying not to be beaten down, but I couldn’t help but cry and feel defeated. I honestly didn’t know where to go from there. Thankfully, it was still very early on in my pregnancy, so I knew I had time to figure things out. Even though I was feeling very discouraged when I left the birthing center, there was a part of me that knew it happened for a reason.

At that point, I hadn’t told anyone that I was pregnant besides our close family, so I really felt like I didn’t know where to turn. I looked up a couple of other birthing centers that were about 30 minutes away from me, but I could just tell by looking at their website that it wasn’t meant to be. So, I decided to reach out to a girl that I had known in college who I knew was pregnant and was into natural birth and midwives, and she just so happened to live in the nearby area.

Even though I wasn’t close friends with this girl, she was so open to sharing with me and was so sweet and encouraging. God knew that I needed her in that moment, and I was so glad I decided to reach out. She told me of the midwife that she was using and said that she had been amazing thus far. Thankfully, this midwife lives in my area and was affordable.

Disappointment

In the meantime before I scheduled a visit to meet with this midwife, I decided to go ahead and schedule an appointment with a women’s center in Lynchburg to get a check up and an ultrasound (since I still hadn’t seen a health care provider at this point). I chose to go see a nurse midwife in Lynchburg instead of Roanoke because I had family that recommended the place to me. So, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and visit this women’s center for one visit, even if I chose not to continue seeing them.

I just wanted to see my baby and to know that things were okay.

Well, I set up the appointment for my ultrasound and Brendan asked his manager to come into work later that day so that he could come with me to the appointment. Even though I wasn’t thrilled about going to a women’s center, we were both excited and looking forward to seeing our baby for the first time. So we got up and drove all the way to Lynchburg for our appointment at 11a.m. only to get there and have the receptionist tell me that they had called to let me know they had rescheduled my appointment for 9:30 a.m. and that I had missed it. We both couldn’t believe it. I told her that I had gotten a voicemail on Friday with a reminder that my appointment was at 11a.m. (I even had the voicemail saved on my phone), but that I had never received a call telling me that the time was changed. She sat there looking uninterested and said there were no more openings that day and there was nothing she could do for me but schedule me for a different day.

Me and Brendan walked out feeling angry, upset, and discouraged. I had taken off work to make this appointment, and Brendan had asked to come into work late, and we both took an hour out of our day to drive to Lynchburg for the appointment. And on top of that, Brendan then had to turn around and drive four and a half hours to get to his client for work. I couldn’t hold the hot stinging tears back any longer, and I let them flow. I felt so helpless. Here I was at the second appointment I had made to see a midwife, and it didn’t work out. I felt like I kept trying to do what’s best for the baby, to make sure he or she was okay, and I kept failing them.

I had planned on hanging out in Lynchburg for the rest of the afternoon, taking myself out to lunch and then going shopping. But all of a sudden I had no desire to do any of that. As I watched Brendan drive away on his way to work, I couldn’t help but feel lost. I drove to Goodwill to do some book shopping, but couldn’t find the motivation to get out of my car. I just sat in my car for an hour crying, and talking to Brendan, my mom, my aunt, and my second mama. I knew that there was a reason for the appointment cancelation and I knew that God would take care of everything. But I just needed a moment to sit and feel all of the emotions that were racing through my mind.

Falling Into Place

Thankfully things really started looking up for me and the baby later that week. After our disappointing appointment cancelation on Monday, Brendan made a few phone calls to find a good place for us to get an ultrasound in Roanoke. He ended up finding a place a few minutes away from where we live and the price was actually cheaper than what we would have paid at the women’s center in Lynchburg (even with our insurance). So I called the place and made an appointment for our first ultrasound! Unlike the people at the women’s center, this lady was so sweet and seemed genuinely interested and excited for me. I felt like it was God telling that He had orchestrated everything that happened on Monday for a reason – to save us money and to put us in the hands of someone who genuinely cares and is in our area.

The day after that I had a free consultation set up with a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) in Roanoke (the one my friend had recommended to me). This consultation was to go over her model of care (the Midwife Model of Care), tell me about her studies and experience, and to go over everything she can and can’t do as a CPM. This midwife specializes in home births in the Roanoke and Lynchburg area.

The meeting went so well and I was so pleased with her. I loved how calm and friendly she was, how she made me feel like my baby and I truly mattered, and how she went over everything in such detail with me. She was very open and honest with me about the things she can and cannot do as a CPM, and I so appreciated her raw openness. She provided me with a lot of paperwork, articles on home brith, and nutrition information to take home and go over. I left feeling like things were finally falling into place and that everything was slowly coming together.

Brendan and I originally thought we wanted to give birth at a birthing center with a midwife. This seemed like the best in-between option for us since we knew we didn’t want to give birth at a hospital unless it was medically necessary, and a home birth with our first baby seemed a bit daunting. But the further along we got on this journey to find the right prenatal care, the more it became apparent to us that a home birth seemed to be in our near future.

I truly believe that things didn’t work out with the birthing center and women’s center I visited because we were meant to have a home birth. Some said that I should maybe plan on giving birth at a hospital since the first CPM I visited didn’t work out and since, after all, a hospital is probably safer for a first time birth. That didn’t sit well with me though and I continued to pray, trust my intuition, and keep searching.

It’s great to be open minded and listen to people’s advice, but in the end, you have to do what’s right for you and your baby, whether other people approve of that or not. Trust the process, trust the journey, trust your intuition, and above all trust God.

Weeks 13-16 Pregnancy Update

Written: 3/21/2018

Time for another Pregnancy update! Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a whole lot to say when I write these monthly recaps, but I feel it’s important for me to share how I’m feeling and any changes I may be experiencing.

First Ultrasound

On March 5th I had my very first ultrasound. By this time I was 13 going on 14 weeks. Most women have their first ultrasound around 10 weeks, but as I’ve mentioned in another one of my posts Brendan and I had a hard time finding the right prenatal care provider. Brendan did a little research for me and found this wonderful place in Roanoke that does ultrasounds for a reasonable price, so I called and made the appointment.

Thankfully Brendan was able to go into work late that day so that he could come with me to the ultrasound. The attention and care I received at this ultrasound was phenomenal! The lady who performed the ultrasound turned out to be the sweetest person. She walked Brendan and I through every step, went over everything in great detail, and answered every question we had. And she seemed to love her job and genuinely care about me and my baby. She even explained to me that she had worked in the hospital setting before and that most doctors that perform sonograms prefer to keep the room as dark as possible so they can keep interaction with the patient to a minimum. I was thankful that my experience with her was nothing like that.

Seeing our little baby for the first time was such a beautiful experience. I was in awe of God’s beautiful creation and humbled that He chose me to carry this little babe. And then hearing the little heartbeat was incredible. I knew I was pregnant before, but I think in that moment it really started to sink in for Brendan and me that we made this little life together and that in a few short months we’re going to be parents.

Everything went really well and the baby is healthy. I was amazed at the detail we got to see on the sonogram. We saw all ten little fingers and toes, the spine, and the teeth embedded in the gums. And this little babe sure is active! He/she was moving all over the place. The lady that performed the ultrasound had Brendan hold out his hand to show us that from the head to the little bum, our baby is about the length of Brendan’s ring finger.

Our ultrasound session lasted for an hour and gave us time to get to see and admire our baby, ask questions, and voice any concerns. The whole experience was wonderful and I walked out of the room smiling.

Pregnancy Announcement

Brendan and I officially announced our pregnancy on March 12th at 14 weeks 6 days. The week before that I told all of my co-workers that I was pregnant and seeing all of their reactions was the sweetest thing. I was so excited to finally tell everyone! And now this pregnancy is truly starting to feel real.

Midwife Visit

I had my first official visit with my midwife during week 15. Again, I was a lot further along for my first prenatal visit than most women are, but I’m just thankful that I took the time to find the right midwife that I felt comfortable with.

My first visit consisted of going over paper work and doing all of the necessary routine things such as checking my pulse, blood pressure, and temperature and then listening to the baby’s heartbeat. All was well and normal. We also did a urine test and blood work.

Honestly, the blood work has been the only part of this pregnancy that I have been a bit nervous about (forget the whole birthing process! Having blood drawn is what makes me uneasy). The last time I had my blood drawn to be tested I felt dizzy and shaky afterwards and it was not a pleasant experience. I told my midwife about this and she had me lie down right away and just try to relax and focus on my breathing. I asked her how much blood she was taking before we started and she held up several vials to show me the amount (I didn’t count them). As I lay there focusing on my breathing my midwife talked to me about yoga – where I practiced, how often I did it, etc. And before I knew it we were done! I was surprised at how quickly it went and was very pleased with how gentle and calming my midwife was. Such a better experience than I’ve had with doctors and nurses in the past!

Now that the blood work is done, I think the worst is behind me.

How I’m Feeling Physically

I’ve been feeling really good physically. Around 14 weeks I really started to show for the first time and it seemed like my little belly came out of hiding overnight. I’m really loving that it’s truly a baby bump now and not bloating!

I’ve gained about 7 pounds so far, which my midwife says is right on target. While I know that my weight gain is a good thing because it means my baby is growing, it’s still a little scary to step on the scale and see that I am the heaviest I have been in years. This pregnancy has taught me to love my body and it’s ability to grow and carry another life. I’ve also learned to mentally accept the fact that it’s okay to eat 3 normal sized meals a day (something I struggled with up until I became pregnant). I guess my fear is that I will gain weight and then not be able to lose it after the baby is born, which I know isn’t true. It’s definitely a humbling experience and there are still many lessons for me to learn on this journey.

So far I haven’t had trouble sleeping or any aches and pains, just a lot of fatigue in the evenings and sometimes throughout the day. I feel like I’m turning into a fuddy-duddy because I can’t stay awake through movies at night and I fall asleep on the couch at 9 and 10 pm regularly. But I guess my body needs the rest so that baby can have more energy to grow and thrive.

That’s all for now! It’s hard to believe that in 4 short weeks I will be half way through this pregnancy. So far I am loving being pregnant and I am so excited and blessed to be on this journey.

15 Weeks Pregnant
15 Weeks Pregnant 

Pregnancy Update Weeks 0-4

I’m a little late in sharing these pregnancy updates, but since Brendan and I decided to keep our pregnancy a secret until around 12 weeks I didn’t plan on sharing these right away. Regardless of the timing, I wanted to document how my first pregnancy is progressing and share it with you all.What an exciting time in our lives this is!

As I mentioned in a previous post of mine, Brendan and I found out I was pregnant on Christmas Eve last year. It was still really early at that point, so I took a second test on December 29th, the day my period was supposed to start. Sure enough, there was no denying those two little pink lines on the test.

I was about 4 weeks along by the time I found out I was pregnant. We ended up being off by about a week or more on far along I was. We were basing it on the conception date, but later learned that doctors and midwives base the due date on when the day of your last period was.

During the first few weeks I felt pretty normal, just a bit more tired than usual. I had cut back on my caffeine intake at this point (I had been drinking on average around 3 cups of coffee a day), but was still drinking a small cup of coffee in the mornings that was at or under the recommended 200mg of caffeine. I was still eating regularly and so inspired to cook and try new recipes. I stopped taking my regular supplements of Evening Primrose Oil, Vitamin E, Activated Charcoal, and Echinacea that I was taking prior to becoming pregnant, and I also stopped drinking most of my go-to herbal teas, just to be on the safe side.

I really didn’t feel a shift in my body at this point, I just had that feeling that something was a little different. There were a few days when I noticed my breasts were a bit swollen and tender, and I had some light cramps, all symptoms I usually experience right before my period starts. I was holding my breath during those first few weeks, because I really thought and felt deep down that I was pregnant, but didn’t want to get my hopes up too soon.

How did you feel the first few weeks of your pregnancy? Did you have any changes in your body right away, or did it take a few more weeks before they really kicked in?

Becoming Pregnant – Shift in Mindset and Body and Letting God Lead the Way

Written: 2/13/2018

On December 24th 2017, Christmas Eve, my life changed. The day before, I had a fitful night’s sleep because I was both anxious and excited for the morning to come. I’m normally one to laze around in bed for at least 30 minutes after I wake up if I have nowhere in particular to be, but on the morning of the 24th I was awake by 6am while Brendan lay sleeping beside me. I quietly crawled out of bed and snuck into the bathroom, trying not to wake Brendan. And then, for the first time in my life, I took a pregnancy test. And ever so faintly on that little stick, two little pink lines slowly began to appear, and I knew that Christmas would be a memorable one.

I debated on whether or not to take the test, since it was still days before my period was supposed to start. But I just had this internal feeling that something had shifted inside of my body, that something was beginning to form itself in my womb. Call me crazy, but I believe in being in touch with our bodies and learning to listen to the subtle signals our bodies whisper to us. I could have waited another week or so to take the test, but I really wanted to know if I was pregnant, and if the results came back positive I wanted to tell Brendan that evening. I thought it would be a cute early Christmas gift.

I kept quiet all day long and didn’t tell Brendan until later that night after our Christmas Eve service at church. I felt so happy and giddy all day and wondered if he could tell that I was keeping a little secret. Turns out he really had no clue. I wrapped the pregnancy test in a little tissue paper and had him open it that night. He looked so confused when he opened it, and the lines were so faint he thought I was telling him that I wasn’t pregnant. It was a sweet little moment we shared together – realizing that it was still so very early to be sure, but also knowing that we very well might be parents in the making.

* * * * * * * * *

Ever since I was a teenager, I knew that I wanted to get married and have a family of my own some day. However, I never considered myself a baby person or someone who liked working with kids. Sure, some of them were cute, but for the most part all I could see were snotty noses and sticky little germ-y fingers. I loved hanging out with Brendan’s 6 year-old niece when we were dating and I didn’t mind being around and playing with kids of family friends. But in general, kids just made me nervous. And as much as I knew I wanted to have children of my own some day, I just didn’t feel ready.

When Brendan and I got married (I was 22 years-old at the time) I said that, ideally, I wanted to start having kids by the time I was 25. (Of course, we both agreed that if I got pregnant right away then it was God’s will for us to have a baby.) I’ve always had the desire to be a younger mom – the thought of being 30 years-old and having my first child just did not appeal to me in anyway. But For the first year of our marriage, I was more than happy for it to be just me, Brendan, and our kitty Cheetah. And up until last summer, these were my honest feelings. And I honored that and didn’t rush into anything that I wasn’t ready for.

But last summer, I felt something shift inside of me. More and more I found myself being drawn to books about pregnancy and natural birth and following moms on Instagram and bloggers who were around my age and pregnant. I found myself feeling excited for the day that I would become pregnant and be able to carry a wee babe of my own in my womb. This desire led me to really focus on hormone balance and trying to naturally enhance my fertility.

I spent the last half of the summer focusing on preparing my body for pregnancy, whenever we decided the time was right. At that point, Brendan and I hadn’t really talked about trying to get pregnant anytime soon. I had mentioned it here and there, but we both felt that we weren’t ready yet. And then as autumn approached, something completely changed inside of me. My mindset shifted and suddenly I was thinking about becoming pregnant every day. My body also felt ready. I guess this is the sensation that some call “baby fever”. As if overnight, doubt gave way to faith and certainty. Brendan and I started talking about trying to get pregnant and praying that God would let us know when the time was right.

It can be scary transitioning from maiden to mother. To know that you no longer are just responsible for your own health and your own life, but that of your unborn baby’s. There were times before I actually became pregnant that I got a little nervous, even though it was what I knew I wanted. And it was at times like this that Brendan gently reminded me that I needed to let go of that anxiousness, and trust that if God meant for us to get pregnant that He would take care of us and provide us with what we needed and equip us to be good parents.

These first few weeks of pregnancy have almost felt like a hazy dream. There are days when I feel an overwhelming excitement at the thought of being pregnant and carrying a little one in my womb. And then there are days when I feel a little nervous and wonder if I am ready to be a mother. Both of these are very natural feelings. But on the days when I feel doubt, I remind myself of how blessed I am to be carrying a baby. I think about how there are some women out there that want nothing more than to become pregnant. I don’t want to take one moment of this pregnancy for granted, because every day with this baby growing in my womb is a blessing and a gift from God.

I hope to share more about my pregnancy journey with you all in the weeks to come. I want to be raw, open, and honest when sharing about this pregnancy with you all. I think it’s so important for us mothers and mothers-to-be to be able to share about the highs and lows of pregnancy, and to know that we are not alone during this beautiful journey.

Weeks 5-8 Pregnancy Update

Written: 2/18/2018

Time for another pregnancy update! If you hadn’t noticed the pattern already, I plan on updating you guys on how my pregnancy is progressing in 4 week increments on each of these “pregnancy Update” blog posts. So, updating you as each month passes.

By the time week 5 rolled around I started feeling a bit more tired throughout the day and my breasts had become swollen and constantly sore. I read that this was completely normal and often the first signs that a woman is pregnant, so I gladly welcomed these changes to my body.

We decided that we would tell both sets of parents that we were expecting once I hit the 5 week mark. We had originally thought about waiting until we were a bit further along, because that tends to be the “normal” thing to do. But I really wanted to share my joy with somebody else, and I wanted to be able to have someone to talk to, like my mom. So we decided that we would visit my parents over the weekend (January 6th) and give them the big news. We FaceTimed Brendan’s family the next evening and told them. Seeing both of our parents’ and siblings reactions was so sweet and definitely a moment I will remember for the rest of my life ❤

We could have easily waited a bit longer to tell our families, in fact most people do wait to tell their families until they are at least 7-10 weeks along. And the main reason for that is because it is still such an early and fragile time, anything can happen at that point. But, regardless of whether I continued to carry my baby or not, I wanted our families to know and I wanted to have that extra support and prayers from them. So we told them, and had them promise us they would keep it to themselves for the time being.

It was actually right around the time I was nearing the end of my 5th week that things took a turn. The day that we told Brendan’s parents I was pregnant, we had gone to the gym for a workout. While at the gym, I started feeling dizzy and a bit nauseous. And by the time we got home that evening I was so worn out and tired. And just like that, the fatigue and nauseousness hit and became an everyday thing. That week I also started experiencing some of my first food aversions.

For the past few months I had really been into Thai food and my go-to dinner was a homemade Coconut Curry Bangkok Noodle bowl. I made it earlier that week and just the thought of the leftovers in the fridge made me feel sick. Salads and steamed veggies also sounded like the last thing that I wanted to eat. I was still able to eat most things, but cooking was not something I wanted to think about doing anymore.

The nauseousness that morning sickness brings continued on pretty strongly as I approached week 6. I’d say that weeks 6-7 of this pregnancy have been the hardest on my body. It felt like overnight a switch was flipped and all of a sudden I started experiencing fatigue, nausea, and food aversions.

I no longer felt like drinking coffee in the mornings, raw veggies were off the menu, and all of my normal go-to dishes sounded so unappetizing to me. I felt bad for not wanting to drink green juices or eat salads, but at this point I knew I needed to eat what I could so my baby could get the nutrients he or she needed. Crackers, rice cakes, and toast became some of my go-to snack and breakfast foods. I was also drinking lots of ice cold lemon water and bringing ginger tea with lemon with me to work to help keep nausea at bay.

I’m normally a pretty energetic person, but fatigue hit me and lasted throughout the entire day. I also started experiencing heartburn regularly, whether I ate spicy food or not, which was such a strange sensation for someone who has only ever experienced it twice before. When I’d come home from work I’d be ready to make a cozy spot for myself on the couch and stay there until it was time to go to bed. Honestly, I started feeling like a different person. I simply couldn’t imagine how people put up with fatigue and heartburn regularly.

It was during these weeks that I became tired and spacey feeling at work. Throw in the nausea and I was just not my normal self at work. I was worried that there would be days when I’d have to call out and tell my manager what was going on (because I never call out of work). But thankfully I always had enough energy to get me through the work day. And I quickly learned that as long as I ate small snacks throughout the day, even if I didn’t feel like eating, it helped make the nausea go away.

At the start of January I set some fitness goals for myself – I wanted to workout/go to the gym 3 times a week and I wanted to do yoga daily. Well, once the nausea and fatigue kicked in, I quickly realized that the gym was not going to happen. I felt really defeated, and felt as if I was letting myself and my baby down. I knew that exercise was important for me, but I also realized that I was going to have to take a step back and listen to my body and rest when I needed it. Thankfully, I did continue doing yoga daily, which helped tremendously.

As week 7 came to a close, I noticed I had one day where I felt I had a bit more energy and didn’t really feel nauseous. Then, another day passed and there was no nausea. I wondered why all of a sudden the feeling had subsided, but knew that my hormones were all over the place and each day could look different.

Up until the end of my 7th week, I hadn’t been taking a prenatal supplement. I had recently bought a plant based natural prenatal supplement from my favorite health food store in Lynchburg called Health Nut Nutrition, but I hadn’t taken it yet because I hadn’t seen a midwife to confirm it was okay, and I was also afraid it might make me feel sick. But, I decided to do my own research and came to the conclusion that it would be fine to take the supplement.

And it seemed almost as if by magic that my nausea completely subsided and I had more energy. I honestly think the prenatal supplement is to thank for this! I’ve read that B vitamins help with nausea, and since there are several B vitamins in my supplement I truly believe it helped. Makes me wish that I had started taking the supplement sooner, but I’m thankful I am feeling better now. And I’m truly grateful for the fact that I never actually threw up, just experienced some slight nausea. I’ve heard horror stories about some women experiencing severe morning sickness throughout their pregnancy. Whether it was the fact that I try to eat a pretty clean healthy diet for the most part, or because of the prenatal supplement, I’m beyond grateful that the morning sickness phase wasn’t any worse.

Besides the fatigue, nausea, and heartburn, I feel like I have been constantly bloated. No matter what I eat, even if it’s a light salad, my stomach swells to an uncomfortable size. This is the only symptom that continued on through week 7-8, thankfully. I’ve read that eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day can help with bloating, so I might need to try that and see if that helps. There are some days when I feel and look 6 months pregnant from the bloating. But in reality I’ve only gained about 2 pounds so far, right on track for a healthy first trimester weight gain.

Mentally and emotionally I’ve been feeling pretty positive and upbeat. I’m excited to be pregnant and looking forward to the whole birthing process. Some days it still doesn’t feel real, but I feel like the further along I get and the more people we tell, the more real this babe I’m carrying in my womb feels to me.

Me at 7 Weeks Pregnant 

Weeks 9-12 Pregnancy Update

Written: 3/4/2018

Here we are, coming to the close of the first trimester! It seems surreal that 12 weeks has gone by so quickly. When I first found out I was pregnant it felt like 12 weeks was many moons away and there were days when I didn’t think I would be able to keep my little secret for that long.

Week 9 started with a blazing Super Blue Blood Moon in the sky – truly a beautiful thing to behold. At this point I was still experiencing fatigue, bloating, and just the slightest bit of nausea. But overall I was feeling better. Brendan and I even made a weekend trip to Charlotte, NC to celebrate our 5 year dating anniversary.

What I’m Eating

My normal go-to foods have slowly started to become appealing to me again, and I’ve been able to get back in the kitchen to do some cooking. Motivation and inspiration to meal prep and try new recipes is still at an all time low though.

I haven’t really experienced any food cravings thus far, but I have found a few go-to’s that leave me feeling nourished and happy. I’ve been drinking plenty of natural high pulp orange juice in the mornings to make sure I’m getting enough folate and also to get some extra vitamin C. Avocado toast with black pepper, sea salt, and greens is one of my favorite breakfasts at the moment. And I have been eating plenty of almond milk and dairy-free yogurts that are packed with plant-based protein for lunches. I usually top my granola with ground flax seeds (a great source of Omega-3s), walnuts, and fresh organic berries.

How I’m Feeling Physically

This last month of the first trimester had been great for me. While I still find myself tired in the evenings after work, I’ve had more energy and motivation to get things done throughout the day. My nausea has completely subsided and heartburn seems to have subsided for the time being as well.

I’m still feeling bloated about 95 percent of the time, but I’m hoping and praying that this will ease as time goes on and my body continues to adjust to all of these changes. There is definitely a small little bump visible now and my pants are starting to get slightly more snug, but I don’t think it’s really noticeable to anyone else.

And a huge victory for me this month is that I am finally feeling well enough to go to the gym again. I’m taking it easy and not pushing myself too hard, but it felt so great to really move my body again. I also went for a 4 mile walk on the greenway when we had a very mild 80 degree day at the end of February. The fresh air, sunshine, and exercise gave me new life and energy.

Keeping My Immune System Strong

When I first found out I was pregnant and had to give up most of my go-to herbal teas and supplements, I was worried about how I was going to keep my immune system strong enough to fight off all of the illnesses that are going around this time of year. The germaphobe that I am became paranoid when my co-workers started getting sick and then Brendan came home one weekend with a slight cold.

Thankfully, I have found ways to continue to build my immune system naturally during this time. I am currently taking my prenatal supplement, which has plenty of immune boosting vitamins that are important, and I’m still taking a daily probiotic to keep my gut happy and balanced. In addition to that I’ve been eating citrus fruits that are rich in vitamin c, Brendan and I are still drinking our weekly ginger shots, and I’ve also been taking a few drops of elderberry elixir in my water when I’ve been around people that are sick or I feel a bit run down. And of course, I still take a shot of apple cider vinegar diluted in water every day.

And so far so good. Brendan got over his little cold pretty quickly and I never caught it (thank goodness). There are still natural immune boosters out there that are perfectly safe for me to take during pregnancy, it’s just taken a bit more research to find what options are safe.

That’s all of the updates I have for now! How were you feeling during the end of your first trimester?

Not the most flattering picture, but here I am at 11 weeks pregnant. Starting to see a slight bump. 
11 Weeks Pregnant
12 Weeks Pregnant