Maternity Photos!

So every now and then I do this thing where I post something totally self-serving and entirely un-humble (as if that wasn't already the entire reason behind me blogging in general), and — spoiler alert — this is gonna be one of those times.

This past weekend, I had my maternity photoshoot with Taylor & Ben, and I could not be more thrilled with how the pictures turned out! You guys know that I talk a big game about self-love and body confidence, and honestly it's been easier than ever to legitimately love my body while it's been baking this tiny human. Pregnancy absolutely changes your perception of your body, and while the physical symptoms of this pregnancy haven't been easy for me, the mental and emotional changes I've gone through with regard to my feelings about my body have been very positive.

All that being said, I was still a little bit nervous that as a plus size mama-to-be, I wouldn't be able to achieve the "look" that I was going for with my maternity photos. I didn't want all this body-positive energy to be suddenly snuffed out by feeling bad about myself in photo-form, after all! Well, turns out neither my weight nor the 100% humidity destroying the hair I had carefully curled at 6 AM that morning could stop this photo magic from happening!

  

 

 

I remain eternally grateful to have such talented photographers in the family, not to mention the devoted willingness of a husband who absolutely hates having his picture taken, haha.

I've got my next OB appointment tomorrow morning, so I'll be delaying this week's pregnancy update 'til Thursday so I can make a full report. 'Til then…!

Foxlet: Week 31

Here we are at week 31, and time definitely is NOT slowing down! 9 weeks to go… hopefully! At my last OB appointment they said I was measuring a week ahead, which I know could be accurate or could mean absolutely nothing. Even with all their measurements and technology, it’s still hard for doctors to accurately predict these things. I know the statistics all say that first time moms are faaaaar more likely to go past their due date than go into labor early, but I just can’t help my FTM paranoia and think I’m not gonna make it that far. Watch me eat these words in like 9 weeks when I’m totally overdue and absolutely miserable though, lol.

Every day I do a little bit more nesting — washing sheets or blankets, hanging stuff on walls, putting clothes on hangers. I think I just love spending time in her room, haha. Even though I know she won’t even be using the nursery for a while after we bring her home, it just feels nice to be down there. Surrounded by all “her” stuff, hehe.

Foxlet’s Size: At 31 weeks, Baby Foxlet is around 3 1/3 pounds and as big as a coconut, an American football, or one of those giant tubs of Nutella (mmmm… Nutella…)

Weight: I’ve gained more pound this week, making me almost back up to my initial weight! Huzzah!

Symptoms: Eh, you know, more of the same whining from me. Pregnancy hurts, man! Heartburn still hits me hard every night, and my SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction — basically lots o’ vag pain) has been pretty bad lately. I wear a pregnancy support belt at home (or tape up my belly with KT Tape) most days.

I’ve also still got this lingering dry cough (I suspect it may be somehow related to my heartburn, as I don’t feel sick otherwise!) and the latest new symptom is this super sharp, stabby pain that I get occasionally right over my rib, under my right boob. It feels like my rib is literally stabbing me — maybe Baby Foxlet has gotten so big she’s pushing part of my body into my rib bone or something? It usually flares up if I’m bending/leaning over or reaching forward for something, and will subside if I lay back. But yeah, not fun at all and definitely something I’ll be bringing up at my doctor’s appointment next week (if not calling about sooner. It really hurts!)

Emotions: Lol, do I even need to comment on this anymore? Still a total mess like, all the time. Sean and I watched Okja on Netflix which, having heard nothing about, I thought was gonna be a feel-good family-friendly movie but actually turned out to be a commentary on the factory farming industry. By the time the credits were rolling, I was a hot sobbing mess, loudly proclaiming through my tears all about how I was never eating meat again. (It didn’t last very long as I had chicken for dinner last night… although I’m still pretty sure I won’t be able to eat pork again for quite some time.) That said, the movie was very good! Just, you know, maybe not great to watch while pregnant and also right after having pork dumplings for dinner.

Cravings/Aversions: I’m back at the stage where I can never really decide what I want to eat, although I’m hungry like, all the time. Current favorites are still all things fruit, salads (especially with poppyseed dressing), and bagels with chive cream cheese.

Sleep: My heartburn has been making sleep more and more challenging. I basically have to prop myself somewhat upright so that the acid doesn’t burn my esophagus (something I was kind of used to doing before — I dealt with acid reflux pre-pregnancy too), but doing so a lot of pressure on my tailbone and makes that hurt. Plus, if I lay in any one position for too long, then go to change positions it hurts like hell because of my SPD. Basically, it takes me a hella long time to get comfortable and fall asleep. Probably every preggo’s problem at this stage, I know, but I’m still going to complain about it! Gahaha.

That said, I continue to be incredibly grateful that I work from home and have a flexible schedule so I can always tack on a bit more sleep in the mornings if I’ve had a bad night before. I’m also already making use of the Sleep Sheep noise machine that my friend gifted me, as it really is soothing to fall asleep to the dulcet sound of waves rippling upon the shore… She may have to fight me for it once she’s sleeping in her own room, ahahaha.

Purchases: My latest purchases have all been storage related, as I needed plastic drawers and tubs to get her clothes and toys and all her other odds and ends organized. I’m pretty happy with the system I have in place, and am planning on posting a full nursery “tour” once we really get everything finalized and in place.

Looking forward to… my registry completion discount activating at the end of this week so I can finally pick up the last remaining things that we need to prepare for this little one! It’s not a lot of “fun” stuff, mainly things like a changing pad, baby gate (or, more accurately, doggy gate), diaper stuff, mattress covers, and mommy necessities like boob pads and stuff. Super sexy.

NOT looking forward to… Getting my TDAP shot, probably at my appointment next week. I totally believe in its necessity to protect Foxlet from whooping cough (among other things), but the last time I got one (when my niece Kira was born), my arm hurt for like 3 days. Oh, the sacrifices we make for our children! 😉

Foxlet: Weeks 29 + 30

So, you’ve heard about my baby shower, but I forgot to mention my other good news from last week: I passed my glucose tolerance test! Huzzah! No gestational diabetes for this gal!

I’m definitely feeling veeeeeery pregnant these days. It’s not super comfortable, I’ll admit: I’m always either too hot or too cold, I’ve got my waddle on, and back pain is a pretty consistent part of life right now. Guess that’s the price we pay for the belly!

29 weeks on the left, 30 on the right!
Foxlet’s Size: At 30 weeks, Baby Foxlet is around 3 pounds and as long as a zucchini or bag of chips!

Weight: Continuing to hold steady with no new gains for the past couple of weeks. Technically still clocking in 2 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight, although as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not sure how accurate that “initial” weight really was since I was so bloated at the beginning of my pregnancy. So I might have actually gained a few pounds? Can’t be sure.

I’ve had a few flickers of anxiety about not gaining any weight, but my OB’s office is definitely not concerned at all (after all, I started with lots of extra fluff for her to survive on!), so I’m trying not to fixate on it. And after all, gaining a ton of weight during pregnancy was one of my pre-pregnancy fears (I always figured I’d be the type who gains like 100 pounds, lol), so I guess I really shouldn’t be complaining!

Symptoms: Back pain, continued heartburn (especially at night), exhaustion, and I’ve had this annoying persistent cough in the back of my throat for about a week now. Looks like that mythical “feeling good” window people told me about never really opened for me, lol.

Emotions: The emotions are still there, for sure, and I cry minimum once per day over a variety of things. Anything can trigger me these days — anything. They might be upset tears over fearing that I’m going to be a terrible mom, or happy tears how Sean kisses my belly before he leaves for work, or ridiculous tears over accidentally overcooking the potatoes for potato salad. You’re welcome, everyone who knows me!

Cravings/Aversions: Nothing super specific on either end. I’ve been eating a lot more lately, and getting hungry at night. Still liking raw veggies and fruit, and sweet stuff. Reeeeeeally missing salmon sushi, man.

Sleep: Ughhhhhh. Terrible. My back pain has been making it really hard to get comfortable at night.

Purchases: Thanks to the shower, we really have all the essentials and then some at this point, so aside from picking up a few of the less cute and glamorous things that I’ll be needing (breast pads, diaper inserts, nipple cream, oh my!), we are in really good shape. I’ve also received even more hand-me-downs from my wonderful friend Breanne, which means that Baby Foxlet is sure to be the most fashionable baby ever.

Looking forward to… CM Week, our annual Community Manager work conference! This year’s is taking place during the first week of August.

NOT looking forward to… traveling to San Francisco for CM Week. I know, that sounds super contradictory, but it’s just that while I’m excited for so many things: seeing my coworkers that I only see once a year, getting to get reenergized and reinvigorated for work, and all of that… the actual thought of traveling across the country at 34 weeks is giving me a lot of anxiety.

I know it’s totally safe for the baby, and my doctor says you can fly until 36 or 37 weeks, but I still can’t help this irrational fear that I’m going to go into premature labor and have this baby in California, lol. I know, I know, 34 weeks would be SUPER early, and I haven’t shown any risk factors or issues this pregnancy (in fact, it’s been quite textbook in general.) And first-time moms are statistically more likely to go overdue than give birth before their due date. But I still can’t help being anxious about it. After all, if anyone was going to have some kind of crazy thing happen during the home stretch of her pregnancy, wouldn’t it be me? The Blizzard Wedding Girl?

I do have a checkup the week before I’ll be flying out and intend on asking my OB to be very thorough to make sure everything really looks A-OK, which will hopefully help alleviate my fears. In the meantime, those of you who have traveled late in your pregnancies — got any tips for me on making the flight over to the West Coast as un-terrible as possible?

Foxlet: Weeks 23 – 25

Hihi! Wow, I’m definitely overdue for an update! Time is really starting to fly — I feel like I’m staring down the barrel of my third trimester, and things keep moving more and more quickly. I spent last week in Atlanta with my also-pregnant sister, getting to see my beautiful nieces and going on what we dubbed our #sistermoon!

Basically, we booked ourselves an overnight stay at a fancy spa, ate some fancy meals, and spent some serious QT together. It was pretty great! Of course, the actual pregnancy pampering stuff was only a small part of my visit — I spent the rest of the time partying with my awesome nieces and scaring people away with how white my belly is, ahaha:

 

I also got to attend Mia’s very first dance recital! She was a little rockstar, and I got to experience what it must be like to be a pageant mom by loading up a 4-year-old with makeup and a sock bun.

It was a great trip, though one that ended a little more bittersweetly than usual when I realized that it might be the last time I see my nieces for quite a while! I’ll get to see my sister again in a few weeks when she comes up for my baby shower, but I might not see the girls until Christmas! Which, yes, okay, I realize isn’t really that far away, but given that I’m accustomed to getting to see them pretty much every other month, it certainly feels like eons. Although Sean pointed out that I miiiiiight have a few other things on my mind in the interim anyway, so maybe it really will seem like no time at all, lol.

And speaking of those other things, on with the Foxlet update?

Foxlet’s Size: At 25 weeks (today!), she is apparently the size of a myriad of different fruits: cantaloupe, rutabaga, acorn squash? Take your pick. She’s also apparently the size of a baseball mitt, which seems ginormous!

Weight Gained: I have officially gained another pound, which brings me back up to 7 pounds below my “starting” weight.

Symptoms: The past few weeks have been good on the food/nausea front (thank goodness!) but kind of terrible on the aches & pains front. I’ve been dealing with some pretty harsh SPD, or symphysis pubis dysfunction (also referred to as pelvic girdle pain), which basically means that because my ligaments have gone all loosey goosey to make it easier to, y’now, squeeze a watermelon out of my hoo-haa, the alignment of my pelvis has gotten a little out of whack. It’s very painful to change positions in bed when I’m laying down, and hurts to do things that requires putting weight on one leg (like putting on/taking off pants or getting out of my car.)

I’m also dealing with some heartburn and insomnia, which I’m actually pretty used to since non-pregnant Gretchen had heartburn/acid reflux and don’t really sleep all that well anyway. Both just seem to be popping up a little more frequently is all. Also a symptom lately:

PREGNANCY BRAIN IS SO REAL.

Emotions: LOL, what do you think? After I got back from my trip, I literally cried into Sean’s shirt for like 15 minutes straight over how much I missed him, how I missed the dogs so much, how I wouldn’t see the girls until Christmas… not to mention the fact that every episode of Grey’s Anatomy that I’m rewatching right now turns me into a potential tear-bomb. Basically, if you see me, there’s like a 70% chance I’m either currently crying, just cried, or am about to cry. Just ignore it.

Cravings: Still craving fresh fruit and raw veggies, along with all things sushi-related… le sigh. Cooked rolls are delicious, of course, but they just don’t fill the void that salmon nigiri has left in my life.

Aversions: No real specific or strong aversions have popped back up, so huzzah!

Sleep: As mentioned, I’ve been battling insomnia every few of nights, and have to sleep with like 3849283498 pillows (much to Sean’s delight.) My mom surprise gifted me with a new body pillow though, which I slept with last night and am in looooooorve with.

Purchases: Haven’t made any personal baby-related purchases lately, but I have been extremely fortunate to be the recipient of several gifts lately — including the entire stockpile of baby girl clothes that have lasted my sister through raising two awesome little girls. I brought an entire extra suitcase with me to Atlanta, and was only able to fit like a third of the stuff she’s handing over to me!

I feel super blessed to be able to get so much awesome clothing (granted, much of which I think I bought for Mia & Kira in the first place, lol) and baby stuff. It’s definitely nurturing that nesting feeling, too. I just want to get everything here, put away, and organized in her room. 🙂

In other news: Tomorrow morning I go in for my glucose screening test, which involves me drinking a super sweet drink and then getting my blood drawn an hour later to check and see if I’m at risk for gestational diabetes. Whether or not I could have GD has weighed on me pretty heavily so far this pregnancy, so even though I really hope that I don’t, I’m thinking it’ll be a relief just to know either way. (Well, technically even if I test positive on this screening, it doesn’t necessarily mean I have it for sure, but that I’ll have to undergo an additional, secondary blood test to find out.) So… onward!

 

Foxlet: Weeks 21 + 22

Aloha! Welcome to Week 22!! We had our anatomy scan last week, which was awesome — it was really long and sooooo much fun to see so much of Foxlet in such close detail! The ultrasound tech said that everything looked perfect/normal (the best word you can hear!), and, quelling my last lingering fears that my 16-week elective ultrasound had been wrong, she says Foxlet is definitely a girl.

It’s crazy how much she looks like a, well, real baby now — she has little lips (I saw a cupid’s bow!) and nose and 10 little fingers and 10 little toes… I already can’t wait to meet her! In the meantime, I’ve been pouring all my budding mama-instincts into over-mothering Harry and Daxter instead.

Yep, that’s their new elevated dog bowl set, since my old man Harry (he’s 13!) has been having back problems/arthritis in his hind quarters, and it seems to flare up when he bends down to eat. My babieeeeeeees. <3

Anyway, on with the update, eh?,

Foxlet’s Size: Foxlet is the size of a papaya, a spaghetti squash, or a guinea pig. Which, honestly, seems huge! At my ultrasound last week, they said she was measuring exactly on track for how far along I am, and weighed 15 oz.

Weight Gained: I’m still stickin’ with the status quo — no gains or losses in the past few weeks, and still sitting around 10 pounds down in total (although I’m starting to wonder if I maybe was bloated or whatever when I logged my original pre-pregnancy weight, and that initial huge loss wasn’t really anything. ::shrug::)

Symptoms: Ugh, I got paaaaaaain, man. Nobody talks about how pregnancy, well, hurts! Between the stretching and expanding of my uterus, the boob pain as they grow to monstrous proportions, back pain, and a kind of general ache in my, er, crotchal region, this baby-baking business really isn’t a picnic. TMI? Weeeell, sorry, I’m just trying to prepare you the way nobody did for me!

Foxlet is also kicking and punching the crap out of my organs, which gives me all kinds of feelings. I mean, it’s amazing and reassuring and awesome to feel her inside me and know that she’s strong and doing well, but also totally weird and tbh, sometimes I kind of… hate it? I feel bad saying that, because I know that this life inside of me is a total miracle, and I should be grateful for each twinge and flip (and honestly, I am!), but it’s also a really foreign, alien feeling. Like, I guess I just get uncomfortable sometimes with this very literal reminder that there’s a human being in there.

On the bright side symptom-wise, my appetite is back and I actually get hungry these days! Of course, my uterus must be cramping up on my stomach because I can only eat so much in a sitting, but hey, I’ll take it! I mean, getting to enjoy food again is a really nice change of pace in my pregnancy.

Emotions: Pregnant Chicken posted an alarmingly accurate (and also hilarious) list of reasons why pregnant women cry, and it’s pretty much my actual life:

 
I mean, the other day, after begging Sean to go to Chipotle for lunch, eagerly watching my order get made, and being super excited to eat it, I started crying because the second I stuck my fork into my burrito bowl, I didn’t want it anymore. Also, this video that I saw making its way around Facebook on Mother’s Day had me BAWLING for, oh man, I don’t even know how long. Watch at your own risk:

Cravings: My Hot Pocket craving has been replaced with Jimmy Dean Croissant Breakfast Sandwiches. Yes, it is very specific. They are delicious. I eat one every single morning.

Aversions: Nothing specific right now, incredibly! I actually ate pizza for the first time in like 5 1/2 months this past week, and other than still having trouble figuring out what I want to eat in general, nothing seems to terrible to me right now. I’m sure that will change quickly, but huzzah for the meantime!

Sleep: Le sigh. Sleep has been absolutely TERRIBLEEEEE lately. Insomnia, unable to get comfortable, having to sleep with 19293825834 pillows, being hyper-sensitive to all noise (including Harry’s nightly ritual of licking himself, ughhhhhhh), and waking up a bunch in the night. I’m hoping this is just a temporary symptom because I neeeeeeds to sleep.

Purchases: I’ve been keeping my promise not to do any window shopping in the baby aisle and it seems to be working! To fill my consumerist void, however, I have been filling my registry with all sorts of fun stuff, heh.

Life Happenings: Sean and I had the pleasure of attending my friend’s wedding in Culpeper a couple weekends ago, where I cried literally the second she started walking down the aisle and got soda-drunk in lieu of partaking in the bar.

Things have also been running full-throttle at work, with a different event every week and some big promos and whatnot in the works. I think I’m trying to cram in as much stuff as possible before I’m even bigger/more exhausted/feeling terrible again, lol. Good thing my job is the besssstttttt so it’s all fun even when there’s a ton going on!

Missing… SUSHIIIIIII. I got partial relief to my deep sushi cravings with some cooked rolls while out at lunch with my coworker, Kimberly, but hot damn do I miss my raw salmon and spicy tuna. Technically, I’ve read that eating raw sushi when pregnant is okay if it’s from a reputable place that you trust, but I guess I just feel like I’ll be too judged/it’s not worth the risk. We’ll see how long my mindset stays that way if the craving continues though!

Looking Forward to… getting our name choices narrowed down! I’ve had a top choice name in mind since long before getting pregnant, but I have a pretty lengthy list of additional names that I really like. I think I want to have something like a Top 3 figured out when I go into labor, and then see what feels right/fits her. I’m way too wishy-washy to fully commit to a name before seeing what she looks like… I just know I’d pull a Rachel from Friends and be all, “That’s not her name!”

I’ve got so much going on this month, I’m really glad that I’m feeling better. Lots of work stuff keeping me busy for this week and next, and then Memorial Day weekend brings another friend’s wedding, plus I’ll be headed back to visit my sister in Atlanta for our #sistermoon! Cheers!