In 2017 I was pregnant with our first baby- my Knox man. Mat and I were so extremely happy to see a positive pregnancy test. Now let me just start by saying, my mom is a Labor and Delivery RN and has been for my entire life plus some, so I
ASSUMED I knew all there was to know about being pregnant. After all, I have heard every miracle scenario story and every heartbreaking scenario out there which made me think I was more than prepared.
GIRRRRL LET ME TELL YOU HOW WRONG I WAS.. First off, every pregnancy is different, just like every baby is different. I did, however, have so much love and support coming at me from every angle that even some of the major parts of my pregnancy..the things some people deemed ¨miserable¨… were all just part of the pregnancy experience for me, so in a way, it was exciting! —>>It´s like when you are 8 years old and you have waited for Christmas all year.. then BOOM you go visit Santa in the mall but then have nearly a month to wait for the fun part when he actually visits your house with presents.. THAT is how I felt. I had waited my ENTIRE LIFE knowing that being a mom is what God created me to be, so then I was finally pregnant and living that dream just waiting for the big finale of holding my baby. Nothing could ruin that fun for me. There were a few things that were inconveniences (obviously, since ya know, growing a whole human and all) which led me to do a variety of things to make my pregnancies the actual bomb.com.
Walk, walk, walk, STRETCH, Repeat.
This is a big one! Staying active during pregnancy is very important. If you weren´t active before becoming pregnant, start slow with just walking short distances to avoid a strain on your body. Stretch regularly. This way you can tie your own shoes, shave your toes if you want, and if you have another kiddo running around, chasing them down is going to be a lot easier for you at 34 weeks if you are active consistently from the beginning. All of this doesn´t even compare with how beneficial exercise and stretching are for the labor aspect. After all- labor is.. well… LABOR!!! Hard work, using gobs of muscles, having to breathe at a rapid but steady pace and not pass out. Just do yourself a favor and stay active throughout those 40 weeks.
Water is good for the body and good for the soul…. Or so I found.. The increase in water I did with both of my pregnancies helped to alleviate headaches, allowed me to sleep harder (and fall asleep faster), and it curbed my desire to eat 24/7- with Aspen I seriously had to cool my jets on the eating.. water helped keep me full and to avoid the gobs of snacks that I would have regret if I had ate them. Water also added an extra pep in my step during the day. I had GOBS more energy when my water game was strong. Which really came in handy considering I teach 7th graders all day..
Birthing Classes/Hospital Tours
Having a mom that is the manager of the L&D department, you would think I would be fully prepared and comfortable in the hospital- WRONG. The hospital is still somewhat scary even though I have grown up in it. That being said: I highly recommend birthing classes AND a hospital tour. Birthing classes are very hands on, and I know tons of people who have found comfort from these classes because they provide support from L&D nurses or midwifes AND from fellow pregnant women. There are stretches and maneuvers for you to learn that will help when your baby says it´s go-time, and these classes walk you through the typical stages of labor, so you´re able to labor in the comfort of your home for as long as possible. Touring the hospital can allow some of that pre-labor anxiety to disappear. Check with your hospital and see if they are offering tours on certain dates/times, but I also recommend a newborn convention. Cooks Children´s hospital has a very large convention with vendors and classes combined. Pregnant parents can meet with specific vendors like photographers or attend the classes they offer. It was a BLAST!! I attended with my cousin (who delivered 11 days before me), so we were both able to bounce questions around. VERY beneficial!!
Prop those feet up
Pregnant women are known to swell, but there is a risk of blood clots and high blood pressure also attached to pregnancy, so it is very important that you prop your feet up (above the level of your heart) whenever possible. This will help keep your blood flow consistent and circulation good. I had edema SOOOO bad with both of my babies. Basically, you could choose a spot on my body to press on, for example my shins, and two minutes later the indention would still be there. My legs felt like play dough, and I was put on bed rest weeks before my due date in an attempt to get the swelling down. All of that said, prop up those toes! Stretch marks on your calves is not the goal, especially when it is due to gaining 40+ pounds of FLUID. So ABOVE THE HEART, GIRL GET ´EM UP!
Don´t take everything to heart
This is a tough one for pregnant women.. especially with hormones being what they are- jerks that just run wild through your body and make you feel like you´re not in control… You are going to have people stop you to give you advice regularly. They may tell you really great things, or they may see you eating something THEY don´t deem suitable for a pregnant woman and be sure to tell you how ¨bad¨ you are being to your unborn child (this happened to me during BOTH my pregnancies, and Mat was LIVID he wasn’t with me to tell them what he thinks of them..), but my advice is: BLOW THESE PEOPLE OFF! You just can´t fix certain levels of ignorant. You know what to eat while pregnant and a few cheats here and there are FINE!! Well worth it. So eat the cake, your baby will love it anyways haha! But really, at some point, you just gotta look those types of advisors in the eye and tell them you´ll pray for them—>> Then turn around and finish the sentence with ¨I pray you get stuck in a traffic jam for 45 minutes when you are racing to get home to your bathroom¨ because then at least you can get a good laugh out of it.
Soak it in
There is only so many weeks you will be pregnant in your entire life. Whether you will only have one baby, 4 babies, or pull a Duggar girl and pop out 20.. you still only have those weeks to be pregnant, so just enjoy it. That is the only time you will be connected physically and emotionally (on a certain level anyway) to your sweet baby. Soak in those hiccups they get every morning at 4am, laugh at those swift kicks that seem to be aimed directly at your bladder, and SHOW OFF that beautiful belly of yours! Yes, I know some people see no boundaries with a pregnant belly and they rub, or attempt to rub, your belly…. This can go one of two ways- either you choose to get infuriated and rub their belly back……. OR you just assume that belly rub is a blessing because that person just thought your belly was so beautiful that they couldn´t resist touching it…. You get to decide how you want to approach that subject. I chose to imagine each belly rub as a blessing because then it was a really happy ordeal rather than an issue involving my blood pressure spiking.
Pack Snacks in Advance
This is a big one!! I have already mentioned that I am a teacher, and that = eating lunch at 11:20 if I even have time to eat.. so snacks were a MUST. I made sure to pack healthy snacks to eat every few hours because otherwise I would eat junk in the teachers lounge, or I would skip food for the day and get home and want to eat every possible item in my pantry and fridge combined. Needless to say, meal prepping became my thing every Sunday. I LOVED IT!! I would take a few hours every Sunday to prep all the lunches and snacks for the week, and even prep the supper options. This saved time in the mornings, helped my throughout the day, and I discovered my love for cooking/meal prep.
Organize your life
This is a great stress reliever for me because once I am organized, things just seem easy. I have always been a HUGE planner, so when it came to preparing for my love bugs, I was all about it. I start all my major plans/life changes in my notebook where I list out things that have to be done, bought, dealt with. My list consisted of contacting HR at my work, getting in touch with my insurance to see exactly what steps needed to be taken, finding a theme for the nursery, finding a photographer for maternity photos (this branched off into then needing things like props and outfits), creating a registry, etc. If you need to see my full list of things on my list of MUST DO´s MUST HAVES for baby here. Just take everything one step at a time. It´s good to start early that way you´re not waiting until the last minute and stressing or adding any strain to get things completed.
TREAT Yo SELF
YAY for the fun prep to make your pregnancy easy breezy!!!! Getting a mani/pedi is fantastic even on a non-pregnant day, but the experience when your pregnant just seems to be SO MUCH BETTER. Plus, the employees at the nail salons I visited while pregnant were extra generous with the time on my foot massages and offered multiple drinks during my visit because they see my gigantic belly and instantly assume my feet hurt—>> & Let me just say- I will take that kind of sympathy any day! HaHa! Plus, when you leave you feel good about your pretty nails soooo when you look good- you feel good.
Prenatal massages are right up there with the pedicures for me. I went to my chiropractor and he would realign me, then a prenatal massage would follow. HOLY!! Talk about refreshing. Highly recommend this at the end of the week to start your weekend off right.
All things must come to an end..
I hope some of the advise listed is useful for you!! If you have anything to add that helped make your pregnancy easy breezy, please let me know! Above everything: ENJOY GROWING THAT SWEET BABY LOVE.