Friday, May 15, 2015

Surviving the 3rd trimester

After you have a baby, one of the first questions after "How are you sleeping?" is "So when are you having a second?"  It's surprising how many people ask that.  I don't know if we'll have a second, we're just having a really good time getting to know Luca and enjoying this newborn stage.  He's already changing so quickly.  It's amazing how much stuff you forget, so I wanted to jot down a few of my 3rd trimester essentials just in case a second comes along.

I think I was pretty lucky in my third trimester.  I heard people talk about feeling like they just wanted to get the baby out of them and that they were so uncomfortable they were over being pregnant. Some friends felt like that early into the third trimester.  But I never really felt that way.  By the very end I was just anxious to meet our baby (and find out if we had a son or daughter!). But I was still pretty comfortable.

That said, there were some things that made the third trimester a lot easier for me.

I did yoga throughout my entire pregnancy.  I went to a prenatal class once a week and then did stretches at home at night before bed.  Honestly, I think this was the #1 best thing I did during pregnancy.  I don't know how women survive pregnancy without it. I also did a pilates reformer class about once a week. It wasn't prenatal but the instructor modified things for me as I got further along.
I loved this tea and drank a small pot of it almost every night starting at 36 weeks.  I also brewed red raspberry leaf tea which is said to help your labor progress.  I'm not sure if it did anything but my doctor said my active labor stage progressed much faster than was expected.  And if anything, while it felt like so much was out of my hands, making this tea every night made me feel like I had a bit of control and was helping things along.

A friend recommended taking evening primrose oil during my 3rd trimester.  I took two a day until 38 weeks and then took four a day. Like the tea, there's no way to tell if it actually helped things.  But it made me feel like I was doing something to help and I had a really fast recovery.

 We were incredibly blessed to have three different people host showers for Luca's arrival.  One of my goals while on maternity leave was to send all of our thank you cards before I went into labor.  Friends and family were so incredibly generous, I had to re-order stationary several times just to write them all. I ordered some gorgeous cards from Sugar Paper LA. Target also has a really selection at great prices - favorites here and here.

I was skeptical at first but now I'm a total believer in the benefits of acupuncture. I started going for my migraine pain and continued through pregnancy.  It was wonderful to have an hour to just lay down and relax in the middle of the day. At 38 weeks, my acupuncturist started doing some techniques to help induce labor.  That afternoon was the first time I felt my first contractions. I scheduled 2 more sessions after that and had to cancel the last one because my water broke.

Friends warn you about lots of things during pregnancy but it's hard to imagine it happening to you... until it does. Like not being able to cross your legs or not being able to tie your shoes.  I laughed when I had to contort myself to reach to tie my shoes and then finally gave in and wore slip-on shoes for the last few weeks of pregnancy. I thought I had avoided the feet swelling stage too, but during my last few weeks of work, by the end of the day my feet were so swollen.  At night I used Luca's infant tub and soaked my feet in warm water with bath salts.

I've mentioned it before, but the bumpnest pillow was such an essential item for my sleep in both the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

{2 1/2 weeks}

{5 weeks}


Monday, April 20, 2015

Luca Michael - Our birth story

It's hard to believe Luca is already almost 3 weeks old.  It doesn't sound like much time at all, somehow these have been the longest days of my life but they also seem to have flown by.

I probably should have written this sooner, details keep escaping me, but I've been meaning to get Luca's birth story down so I can remember it.

{Luca Michael - 1 day old}

My due date was March 27, 2015, but for most of my pregnancy I had it in my head that he would be born on March 21st.  The first day of spring just seemed like a nice day to have a baby, plus one week early sounded nice too.  My self-imposed due date came and went.  And then my actual due date came and went.  I'm not sure I was ready for labor but I was definitely ready to no longer be pregnant.    

I was drinking gallons of 3rd trimester tea and red raspberry leaf tea, taking evening primrose oil, taking long walks and doing prenatal yoga - lots of squats!  I went to my acupuncturist several times in those last few weeks as well, which I think helped prepare me, and if nothing else, gave me an hour of relaxation.

My water broke at 8am on March 31st, but I wasn't feeling any contractions. I called my doctor and she said that there was no rush, but to head to the hospital soon.  I called Dan at work and told him not to rush, but that he should head home.  (He was home in 20 minutes - a record time.) I took a shower and packed a few last minute items and we headed to the hospital.  

We checked in at 9.30am. I didn't start feeling contractions for a couple hours so Dan got us coffee and breakfast at a nearby cafe. And we waited...

I started feeling contractions in the early afternoon.  They checked me around 2pm and told me I was 1 1/2 cm.  I held it together, but inside I burst into tears.  I knew I wanted an epidural, but didn't want to get it too soon and risk slowing down the labor. Also, I didn't want to be stuck in bed since I thought walking and moving around would help things along.

After a few hours later, and many more painful contractions later, they checked my again and I was 4cm.  The doctor told me that if I wanted an epidural then she would want me to have pitocin too.  I was trying to avoid pitocin, so I decided to wait a bit longer and keep moving.  Every so often the nurses would monitor my contractions and the baby's heartbeat but other than that I was out of bed and walking around the room.

By 6pm I couldn't take the pain any longer and asked (begged) for the epidural. An hour and a half later it came. I was 6cm. That epidural was a total game changer. They estimated that the baby wouldn't come before 5 or 6am the next morning and they told us to get some rest. My mom and best friend, Amanda, who had been there with us, left shortly thereafter. We promised to call as soon as anything changed.  I was exhausted and looking forward to some sleep.

An hour or so later, I started feeling a lot of pressure. It felt like my sit bones were bruised like after a spin class with no padded seat. The anesthesiologist came back and gave me a bit more, which helped a little.  But I was feeling a lot of pressure pretty regularly, so I called the nurse.  She looked at the monitor and said my contractions were getting really close together.  They checked me and were shocked to find out that the head was right there. They said we'd start pushing in about 20 minutes.  Dan bolted upright from his chair/bed.

He immediately called my mom and Amanda so they could make it back in time for the birth. The doctor then told me that first births can take up to 3 hours of pushing so she wanted me to prepare myself. That was news to me and I was not at all ready for 3 more hours even with the epidural. 

It may have been the hardest thing I've ever done, but 40 minutes later at 12:46am, Luca was here.  Dan and I were both shocked when we saw he was a boy.  I had a feeling for most of my pregnancy that we were having a girl and Dan just really believed in my intuition.  Dan had even been brainstorming names when we first got to the hospital and he'd only written down girl names.  I know you're not supposed to say this, but I really wanted a boy, so I was pretty thrilled.

When he came out, they immediately put him on my stomach.  He didn't make a sound and was a blue / gray color.  After a few seconds, when he still didn't cry, they moved him to the warmer and a nurse started rubbing him all over to stimulate him.  I'm a bit fuzzy on this part but Amanda and Dan said that there was a lot of talking in low voices and a nurse immediately got on the phone.  I just stared at Luca and the nurse with him.  I don't know how long it was but it felt like an eternity.  I watched his color slowly change from gray to pink and then finally we heard a cry.  A huge weight lifted from the room once that cry came.

They brought him back to me and I just couldn't stop staring.  My Dad arrived soon after that. 

{my parents - Grandpa & Gram}

Dan called his parents who immediately got in the car and drove an hour and half to meet their grandson.  

{Dan's parents - Cece and Papa Skip}

Our parents opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate and Luca was passed around for the next few hours.  I don't think he was in the bassinet much at all during our time in the hospital.

We were anxious to get home and thankfully both Luca and I were given a clean bill of health and my doctor discharged us the next afternoon.

I know I may be speaking too soon but aside from a couple really tough days in the beginning, Luca has been an absolute angel.  I feel like I may have wished him into being.
I really can't believe he's ours.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Surviving the first trimester and surviving the second trimester

Surviving the first trimester

As I head into my third trimester, I wanted to jot down my favorite items so far for my pregnancy.  There was a lot of trial and error to find what worked for me.  

My first and second trimesters looked very similar, hence the title of this post.
I had morning sickness almost every day until part way though my second trimester.  Then it switched to about once a week.

These are the items that worked best for me:

Morning sickness:
Breakfast - I wouldn't normally eat breakfast first thing in the morning.  But very early on in my pregnancy I found that I needed to eat something before I left for work to help curb the nausea (and then usually when I got to work as well).  Oatmeal with raisins and chia seeds was perfect for me.  Comfort foods seemed to work best for me and oatmeal helped me to stay full. And chia seeds are SO GOOD for you especially during your pregnancy.

Earth Mama Angel Baby  - I am in love with these products! My mom gave me the Mama-To-Be kit and I have loved everything in it.  The morning wellness tea was one of the only teas I could drink when I was nauseous. The heartburn tea and peaceful mama teas are great too.  The Happy Mama spray is so refreshing.  And I love the body butter and stretch oil.

Trader Joe's ginger chews - A friend recommended these to me for nausea before I even got pregnant.  They help my nausea from migraines.  I have been really turned off from sweets during this pregnancy so they didn't work great for me.  But for others with a sweet tooth, they could be good.

Zofran - I don't love taking medication every day, but I would not have made it to work during my first trimester had I not had a prescription for Zofran.  I take this for migraines too and it works incredibly quickly.

Water - Staying hydrated is definitely hard when dealing with morning sickness.  Normally, I like room temperature water but drinking it made me feel ill.  For a couple weeks early on, I didn't drink any water whatsoever because it just didn't sound good.  I finally figured out that if I loaded it with ice I couldn't get enough.  I have a large starbucks tumbler that I fill up multiple times per day. 

Vitamins - The Honest Company now has one-a-day prenatal vitamins which is so amazing. They have never upset my stomach, even if I after eaten yet.  I had been taking their three-a-day ones since before getting pregnant, but that became difficult with the morning sickness.  On days when the morning sickness was pretty bad, I took gummy prenatals that I found at Whole Foods.

Books - Your Pregnancy week-by-week and Praying Through Your Pregnancy showed up on my doorstep after I told a sweet friend about our pregnancy.  Both books have been incredibly informative and invaluable to me.

Chewable Papaya Enzymes - A few times during my second trimester I had a couple nights of heartburn.  My acupuncturist recommended eating Chewable Papaya Enzymes after meals and I haven't had any trouble since!  I found them at Whole Foods.

Ovia App - There are tons of pregnancy apps out there.  I've been really happy with Ovia. It has a really easy to use food safety guide, that I've used quite frequently when we're out at restaurants.

Bump nest pillow - I not usually a fan of household items that only have one specific task, like we don't have an apple slicer or a mango peeler, etc.  I swore during my pregnancy I would try not to buy things that were impractical and could be used for only a couple months.  I remember specifically thinking I would never buy a pregnancy pillow.  We have so many pillows in our house, I figured surrounding myself with them would be just as good (and free!). A few weeks into my second trimester, I was waking up throughout the night uncomfortable or on my back, which made me nervous.  I ordered the bump nest pillow and I have never looked back.  It is well worth the $100 price tag.

Snacks - I could go from full to ravenous in what felt like minutes, especially early in my pregnancy.  Having snacks near was great and helped with morning sickness too.  Finding healthy ones I wanted to eat proved difficult though.  I looked for protein, calcium and things that would keep me full. Some of my favorites - trail mix from Trader Joe's or I made my own at Whole Foods, hard-boiled eggs, string cheese, yogurt, bistro boxes from Starbucks.  I haven't had many cravings, more food aversions than anything, but I have craved super cold orange slices and homemade limeade or lemonade.

Bella band - This was a life saver when my pants were starting to get a bit tight from all the snacking but I wasn't yet big enough to wear maternity clothes. I'm expecting to wear this again after pregnancy to transition back into my non-maternity jeans.

Blanqi tank - Every pregnant woman needs a blanqi support tank!  I have worn mine every single day of my pregnancy since purchasing it. It is a bit pricey, but it is so worth it.  I can not say enough good things about it.  Every one of my pregnant friends in the future will be getting one.  A huge thanks to my sweet friend Morgan who sent me a second one when I told her I was wearing it every day and washing it on Sunday's :) They also offer another tank that has "ultra-support".  I loved the support of this one, but the top just didn't fit me right.

Seamless crossover bra - I started sleeping in seamless bras early in my pregnancy.  It was just so much more comfortable and underwire was not my friend.  This one is great, because I should be able to use it for nursing after.

Hope this helps!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Weekend in Carmel - Point Lobos

I posted last week about our mini babymoon weekend in Carmel.  

On one of the days Dan spent a few hours with his best friend and old roommate watching college football.  After a rather large breakfast at La Playa Hotel, I decided to skip football and go for a walk.  {The hotel had made-to-order waffle and omelet bars and I tried both!}

Just 10 minutes south of downtown Carmel is Point Lobos.  We spend a lot of time in Carmel but I'd never been there and after seeing a post on Amanda's blog, I knew I had to go. Funny, how sometimes it takes a newbie to the area to show you something new about a place you've been a million times before.

I stuck to some pretty easy trails that led straight out to the water and just spent an hour or so there. 

Hikes like this always make me feel so lucky I live in California.  It's just so pretty here!   

When I have more time, I'll definitely head back to some of the longer trails.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Weekend in Carmel - Babymoon

A few weekends ago we attended the wedding of some very close friends in Carmel.  Since I absolutely adore Carmel, we decided to make a long weekend of it and call it our babymoon.  Hopefully, we'll have a couple weekend mini-babymoons :)

We stayed at La Playa Carmel in downtown Carmel which was amazing. It's walking distance to the adorable downtown and beach.  We had an ocean view room so we left the windows open and woke up to the sounds of the ocean. 

The grounds of the hotel were absolutely gorgeous.  

Sunday morning we woke up and took a walk through the neighborhood and to the beach.

The homes in downtown Carmel are some of my favorites.  They look like they could be straight out of a fairytale.

And it helps that they're just a couple blocks from the beach.

{18/19 weeks pregnant and after a very large and very delicious breakfast at La Playa Carmel}

The best part of the weekend was celebrating the marriage of these two at their gorgeous wedding and rehearsal dinner.  

The rehearsal dinner was held at the grooms tasting room Caraccioli Cellars in downtown Carmel.  A place not to be missed! 


Monday, September 29, 2014

One year later...

Yesterday was our first wedding anniversary.  We spent it driving 9 hours home from Oregon where we had spent the last few days at our friends' gorgeous wedding. 

We also announced some exciting news to our family and friends.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Strawberry Oat Muffins {recipe}

We hosted Mother's Day this weekend, and I'm starting to realize you end up with loads of leftovers when hosting.  I really dislike letting food go to waste. So last night after making a delicious crust-less quiche thrown together from all our leftovers {recipe to come!}, I saw the flat of strawberries in our fridge and knew I had to figure out something to do with them.

Amanda's recipe has been my go to muffin recipe of late.  I switch it up depending on what fruit I have on hand and I've been substituting the olive oil with coconut oil that gives them a much more decadent taste.

I love flipping through Marina's recipe book and saw a muffin recipe with rolled oats, found them in my pantry and decided to give it a go. 

These muffins were quite possibly the best I've ever made.  I'm disappointed I only made 1 batch.

Strawberry Oat Muffins
{makes about 1 dozen}
inspired by and adapted from Amanda and Marina

1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
raw sugar, for sprinkling on top

It's best to make this recipe by hand instead of using a stand mixer.  Your muffins will come out lighter and fluffier that way.

Preheat over to 400 degrees F.

In large bowl combine flour, rolled oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. 

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with melted coconut oil (make sure the oil isn't too hot or it will cook the egg).  Stir in the greek yogurt.  Add sugar and vanilla and mix until combined.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour wet ingredients into it.  Using a rubber spatula, give it 3 stirs.  Add in chopped strawberries (less 1/8 cup), and stir until batter is just barely combined.  Some dry flour may be visible - that's okay! You don't want to over mix.

Fill a greased muffin pan {lined or not} with the batter to the top for each cup. Place the remaining strawberries on top of each muffin and gently push into the batter.  Generously sprinkle raw sugar over the top of each muffin.

Place in 400 degree F oven. Turn oven down to 375 degrees F and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top and a cake tester or toothpick comes out dry.  

If using liners, immediately remove them from the pan and place them on a cooling rack. Otherwise let them sit a minute or two in the pan and then place on a cooling rack.

{Placing in a hotter oven will help the muffins rise, giving you a lighter fluffier muffin.}



I've been using vitacost for most of my grocery needs lately.  You can get $10 off your order through this link. **I get $10 too :) I promise you'll love it!
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