Saturday, September 27, 2014

Our Baby Shower

Yesterday's Workout:
2 mile walk 

I know I'm a little delayed on this post, but better late than never! Last month, we hosted our baby shower at our home in the back yard. I wanted to keep it low key, laid back, and comfortable. The theme was rustic and revolved around DIY projects I found while surfing Pinterest late at night. My mom and I began planning early and had pretty much everything done by the time summer even began. We gambled with the weather that day. We opted to go sans party tent, figuring if it ended up raining, we could move it inside. Luck was on our side because the weather could not have been more perfect. It was a beautiful New England summer day.

We had the most amazing day among our family and friends. There were a few moments through the shower where I had to step aside and regroup myself - it was a surreal day for me and one I will never forget. Brent and I are very aware how lucky we are to have such wonderful people in our lives, but to see the love and support given to our baby left me speechless. It truly does take a village. I held it together, but as soon as I started unpacking the gifts later that week, there were tears. So many happy tears. Hey, no one ever said pregnant women are the most emotionally stable creatures.

Anywho, enough with the hormonal pregnant lady!

Decoration, mason jars, and burlap - oh my!
Jasper wanted nothing more than to rip through all the bags and find the stuffed animals.
Baby Mo is fully equipped for football season!
Can't wait to bundle our little munchkin in this shark robe ahhh!
The stuffed animal slayer watching very patiently.

Friends for almost 20 years now! Dom and Baby Mo are going to be little buds!

Baby Mo's NY Grandma! 
Brent and Ang
Baby Mo's Auntie Ally, love this girl and couldn't have done the shower without her!
Mom and Dad-to-be 
Yes, we absolutely had an ice cream sundae bar. Along with a cookie bar. And cupcakes. And cannolis. And whoopie pies.  
Mom and I - this lady is seriously going to be the best grandma in the world

Friday, September 26, 2014

An Honest Post

Yesterday's Workout:
40 min prenatal Barre3 online workout

As I approach the end of my pregnancy - aka the nine month hiatus of grueling workouts and weight maintenance - I am faced with anticipating the next step: post-pregnancy. While overall exciting, it stresses me out. With that next stage comes these somewhat novel expectations for new mothers to return to their pre-pregnancy selves within months, even weeks. The first reaction from people when I tell them I plan to nurse is "that's great - you'll lose all your pregnancy weight in no time that way!" I smile and know deep down, it's reassuring to hear, but I find myself fighting back tears anyway. I hate feeling pressured to look a certain way by some arbitrary deadline; to be ashamed of the change my body has undergone since January.

The truth is I love my pregnant body. Ever since day one of peeing on the stick, I have felt amazing. Creating life has given me the confidence I wish I had my first 28 years of life. I'm 5'1" and weigh 150 lbs right now, yet somehow, I feel better about myself than I did when I was 120 lbs last year at this time and wearing size 2 jeans: the jeans that have been sitting collecting dust in the back of my closet for the past 6 months now. Every morning, I take a long look at my giant belly in the mirror and relish it. While I don't have stretch marks, my torso now resembles a map of tiny blue roads, courtesy of my skin being stretched to reveal the network of vessels responsible for keeping my baby oxygenated for the past 8 months. I know that after next month, everything will slowly return to normal, beginning with my body, and I almost mourn that thought. My growing belly is a constant reminder of how incredible the female body is to be able to do what it does. For the last 8 months, my body has constantly been working on growing this life inside of me; every minute of every day, every sip of water, every bite of food, every breath, it has all gone towards creating and sustaining this baby boy. How can I not be proud of that? It's been the greatest accomplishment in my life so far.

The changes that pregnancy has brought to me go beyond my body though. From the second I took that test, my entire mentality shifted. Any last bit of selfishness I had in me was cast aside immediately. Every decision I made became about this little person I had never even met. I no longer associated myself as a wife, daughter, sister, or friend. I was now a mother, and this became my identity. I learned immediately there were no lengths I would not go to in order to protect the pea-sized mass of cells I had growing inside me. I knew I was lucky to be gifted the experience of pregnancy, and making sure this baby has everything he needs to survive has been my entire purpose for the past 8 months.

Perhaps that is the hardest part of letting go of pregnancy? Knowing that once he is out in the world, my body is no longer his safe house. There will be no barrier to protect him. Many things will be left out of my control. That is the scariest thought in the world to me right now. So again, I have to remind myself to take a step back and live in the moment. I will never get another opportunity to be a first time expecting mother. It's difficult to let go of that.

So while I gear up for the infinite number of changes that I'll be experiencing over the next month, I'm making a promise to myself to cherish every small moment until his birth. I will continue to look into the mirror every morning, place my hands over my belly and whisper hello to my son. I will continue to go home after work every day, close the door to my room, and sit in silence for 10 minutes on the floor as I practice breathing and connecting with my baby. This has become my favorite part of the day. I will keep giggling when I feel his hiccups low in my belly, and I will continue fighting back frustration when I feel his feet kick hard into my ribs. While it may be uncomfortable at times, I love every ounce of movement I feel knowing he is alive and well. I will take every step with a smile because I know he is always safe as long as I am carrying him inside of me.

It's been an honor, little guy. Mom and Dad can't wait to meet you soon!

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Yesterday's Workout:
20 minute walk with Jasper
Bicep/Tricep circuit
Yoga for sciatica

I attempted a short walk yesterday with Jasper - the weather was too good to resist. We made it about a mile before I felt the sciatic pain kick in, so we headed on home where I continued my workout with some weights and yoga. I can't begin to tell you how great it felt to be outside and active again, even if just for a short period of time.

I also began to revisit my Barre3 online workouts the other day. I've explored a few of the prenatal workouts, and even in the 2 weeks I've gone without running, I feel like I've managed to fall out of shape already! I said this to Brent, who couldn't resist an eye roll and sarcastically commenting on how he's sure it has nothing to do with the fact I'm 8 months pregnant and still under the impression I can workout 6 days a week without feeling fatigued. Perhaps he has a point? Either way, I'm really glad I have these Barre3 workouts to turn to now as a nice low impact option to keep my body in check and prepare for labor.

I have to admit, I was very uninspired in the kitchen during the summer months. Most of our meals involved grilled meat of sorts with a salad. I was far too lazy to prepare fun side dishes, and I ended up becoming very bored by food in general. Minus dessert. I seemed to have no problem getting excited over a scoop of ice cream. I don't know what it is about the fall season, but it makes me want to be in the kitchen. All. The. Time. Cooking, baking, you name it.

We tried this ridiculously simple chicken stir-fry dinner the other night, followed exactly as is (recipe here), and I can't wait to try it again using other mix-ins (celery, carrots, peppers, cashews, water chestnuts).

I'm going to start preparing freezer meals for my maternity leave in the upcoming weeks, so I'll make sure to share those as well!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

34 Weeks

Yesterday's Workout:
40 min prenatal yoga workout + 10 mins of sciatica stretches

I'm still on cloud 9 from our 34 week appointment yesterday. We had our growth scan and were surprised with a 3D ultrasound to get a closer look at our baby boy!

He is extremely active, so it was making it hard on the ultrasound tech to get a good shot, but he finally cooperated for a few minutes to get a look at his cute lil face! He is incredible - we love him so much already!

I know the growth scans have a 15% error associated with them, but Baby Mo is measuring at 4 lbs 9 ounces, in the 30th percentile - a peanut like his mom. Of course, his head is measuring larger for his size - we have his daddy to thank for that one! The doctor estimated his birth weight to be in the 7 lb range, so I'm looking forward to seeing how accurate it is. I'm honestly quite relieved because there ain't no way this 5'1" frame is pushing out a 9 lb baby! All in all, he is super healthy with a heart rate of 142, and he's already head down, which I'm excited about because I'm really hoping to deliver naturally. Only 6 weeks left to go until we get to meet him ahhh!!

We were also able to finish up the last of the nursery this weekend. I can't wait to do a nursery reveal post! I sat down on Sunday morning before the football game started and entered into artist-mode. The canvases I used were once my grandmother's - she was a very talented painter in her day! - and I felt it was a nice memento to have in the nursery. In keeping with the nursery theme, I painted simple jungle animals using fun colors in the background. We plan on hanging them over the dresser/changing table.

I have more good news! Last week, I mentioned I was dealing with some pretty nasty sciatica and was unable to walk much. Well, I visited the chiropractor as a last-resort effort to make the final 7 weeks of my pregnancy not excruciatingly painful, and it worked! For those like me who have never been to a chiropractor, I cannot recommend it enough. During my first visit, my body movement was analyzed in order to pinpoint where the problem area was, and the chiropractor was able to determine it was originating from my mid-back. He had me do a simple standing spinal twist to either side - turns out I could barely twist towards the left. So he had me lay on my side, and he massaged out the muscle down the spine using his elbow - this part was not entirely comfortable, I will admit. In fact, it hurt like a bitch and made me question my decision to try this. It also made me question my ability to handle labor in a sane manner, but that's an entirely different subject. Then the real effed up part began. He starts contorting my body into a position and explains to me he's going to apply pressure, and I'm going to hear some cracks that might sound alarming but will not hurt. I took a deep breath in, and on the exhale, I heard a series of snap, crackle, pops that resembled the sound popcorn makes in a microwave when it's at its peak popping stage. No, it didn't hurt, but it was a little unnerving to hear, nonetheless. I flipped over, and he repeated the process on my other side - realigning my spine. It is essentially the same act as when you crack your knuckles, and the result is the release of air between the joints. Finally, he had me lay on my back, squeezing a pillow on my chest, where he continued to apply his body weight into the pillow to finish the alignment process. When I stood up to walk around, I noticed immediately that my right hip was no longer popping when I walked, and the pain was already at about 50% of what it was before my visit. He had me sit back on ice for 15 minutes to relieve the inflammation. I returned later in the week for some minor re-alignment, and by the following day, I was able to walk almost pain-free. I'm continuing to ice my tailbone area daily, and I've been doing light yoga 5x a week. I haven't ventured as far as going for a brisk walk just yet, but I'm hoping by the weekend I will be able to do a mile at a time.

In the meantime, I've been thoroughly enjoying downtime in our new recliner. We bought this specifically with the baby in mind, and Brent and I now have to practically flip coins to determine who gets dibs on it at night. Jasper hated the damn thing at first because it has a motor (he's a huge baby), and now he gets mad because it's really not big enough for him to be in it, too. That doesn't stop him from trying though...

Also, fall seems to be starting earlier than usual in these parts, which means pumpkin everything in this house. I baked these delicious pumpkin cinnamon buns this weekend - to DIE for - and I plan to make them again to freeze away for my maternity leave.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

33 Weeks

The weeks are flying by lately - what happened to the whole "the last trimester is going to crawl by" theory that everyone kept insisting?? In all honesty, as much as I love being pregnant and will thoroughly miss it, I am entirely ready for this phase to end so that we can finally meet our little guy. We've been working hard preparing for his arrival. Many hours are dedicated to the nursery on the weekends, and we aim to be done this week. We have everything we need - it's just a matter of finding the hours in the week to put together the dresser, organize all the clothes, and my own personal to-do: work on the wall decor. I'm planning to paint a few pictures to go with our nursery theme - nothing too crazy, but I really wanted to be able to add my own touch to the room somehow. It's obviously as low as can be on the priority list - turns out painted wall art isn't high on the newborn necessity list - so I'm thinking it might be a nice October project, as the due date nears closer and my energy level continues to dwindle. Once it's done, I'll be including a nursery post!

I have an unfortunate update as well...I am officially done with running for the remainder of the pregnancy. Last Saturday was it. I woke up early, hopped on the treadmill for a short jog and felt so good that I continued until I had run 4 miles. I stretched, showered, sat down to eat breakfast, and when I stood up, my right side went completely numb when I stepped down. It was a tear-inducing electrical shot down the whole back side of my leg from my tailbone to my foot. I knew this pain very well as a runner and have had it off and on since running track in high school. It's something I was anticipating as my pregnancy progressed, since so many women experience it towards the end of pregnancy.

The dreaded sciatica.

Every time I say the word, it makes me feel like an 80-year-old Italian grandmother. Please tell me your grandmas all complained about it, too? I even hobble like I'm elderly now.

Throughout last week, I tried icing it multiple times a day (provided temporary relief), yoga for sciatica (YouTube is a great resource), and limiting my activity to allow time for it to heal. The pain remained constant, and towards the end of the week, my hip started popping when I walked. I talked to my doctor about it, and she highly recommended massage therapy or chiropractic care. Prenatal massage therapy is ridiculously expensive ($80-100 per visit) and not covered by insurance, so I went the chiropractic route. I learned my spine needed to be realigned - a common problem in pregnancy as the belly expands, center of gravity shifts, and the growing baby applies downward pressure - and after receiving presses that made my bones crackle and pop the same way popcorn does in a microwave, I felt some relief for the first time in 10 days. The relief was somewhat short-lived, but I was told the scar tissue needs to heal before any, if at all, permanent relief is met. So until then, I'm going to continue with chiropractic therapy and supplement with light yoga. And cuddle with this guy.