On Saturday (Christmas Day), I noticed my body starting to make some changes. I was feeling slightly more fatigued than I had been that week and took multiple cat naps. After one cat nap in the afternoon, I noticed a lot of pressure in my pelvis. No contractions but a little back pain. I got up and went to the bathroom. When I was done I did a double take in the mirror and realized a big difference. My belly was different. My belly was lower. Baby boy had dropped. I was ecstatic at this realization. Finally, things were progressing and moving in the right direction.
Throughout the holiday I continued looking at my bump and how it had changed. I also continued staying active and eating dates in case labor was truly just around the corner.
Sunday night (December 26th), I went to bed at 9:30pm. I woke up at 11:30pm in some pain and discomfort. I tried just brushing it off and continue sleeping. The pain and discomfort was similar to menstrual and diarrhea cramps. The pain also wrapped around to my back and down my legs. Since pain came and went, I decided to start timing my pains and what I suspected were contractions. At first the pain was every 15 minutes apart and lasting a minute, then every 8 minutes apart, then bounced around between every 4 minutes to every 20 minutes. As the pain continued throughout the night, I decided to call the on call number for my OB office and ask their opinion on what to do and if I needed to go to L & D.
After being on hold for a full hour, at 2:45am a nurse finally answered. She asked me some questions and I explained to her what I was feeling. The pain was not unbearable by any means, but I truly felt like what I was feeling were indeed contractions. After the nurse’s over the phone assessment, it was determined that I should go into L & D to be checked in case it was truly labor.
At 3:50am, Charles and I walked into L & D triage on the 4th floor of the hospital. I was immediately, assessed and hooked up to monitors. Baby’s heart rate was excellent around 145, and some very light contractions were starting to show up on the monitor at roughly 8 minutes apart. My nurse gave me a cervical check said I was about 1 cm dilated on the outside of my cervix but closed on the inside and 50% effaced.
After an hour of being monitored, a midwife came and spoke to me. She said that I was likely not in active labor but early labor. It was possible I could go into labor anytime or I could just be in early labor for a week or so. She also mentioned that she noticed in my chart that I had had Covid at around 32 weeks. Within the last few days it had just became a new hospital protocol that if moms in the third trimester test positive for Covid, they would have a scheduled induction at 39 weeks.
Once we were cleared to leave, we scheduled our induction for Thursday December 30th @ 7:30am. I was getting very excited that my body was starting to show signs of labor, and that we would meet our boy sometime that week.
Hi, I’m Andrea! How do I know Kaylee, you ask? Well, Kaylee and I have been best friends for half our lives. If you ever get a chance to ask her how we met, do it. It’s quite the story! Today, I’d like to share with you about body image. However, before we dive into such a deeply personal topic, I should tell you a little about me. I enjoy crafting, hiking, anything nature-related, good conversations, board games, changing seasons, experimenting in the kitchen, and all things Christmas. Oh, and my husband is my favorite. We met in college (another great story for another time) and have been married for three years. We have an active, inquisitive 19-month-old son and are expecting a baby girl around Thanksgiving.
Enough about me. Let’s talk body image.
Remember when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) had their first child and gave the public their first look at their new baby? In the photos released, a beaming but tired William and Kate snuggled their newest addition. Kate wore a beautiful dress that tucked in at her waist and revealed her postpartum baby bump. To my surprise, media in the US centered not on the sweet little bundle of joy, but rather on Kate’s newly postpartum body. I couldn’t believe that after waiting 9-10 months to meet their baby, the public was more interested in how small Kate’s waist was, the fact that her belly still bulged little, and other features not worth noting.
While stigmas surrounding body image affect every person, childbearing women especially experience this reality in a deep and raw way. Some women I’ve known have a newfound security in their body image while pregnant or even after birth, finding pride in what their bodies can do and how many incredible changes they face to nourish and care for a child. Other women face deeper and more extreme struggles when they don’t have the perfectly round baby bump they’ve always pictured, or stretch marks tear across new areas of their bodies, or they face pain with their previously normal activities such as walking, intimacy, or even sitting.
Pregnancy has a way of impacting every portion of our being, from physical to emotional to spiritual. From the moment conception takes place, our bodies begin a long process of growing, changing, and morphing in new ways. With my first pregnancy, I pictured glowing skin smiling through morning sickness, a perfectly round little baby bump, and minimal weight gain that would slough off with a few months of breastfeeding. Boy, was I wrong. I was instead met with an overall feeling of puffiness from my face to my toes almost immediately after conceiving. My fatigue was overwhelming. I didn’t just feel tired. I looked tired. Acne popped up. When my bump began to show (much earlier than anticipated, I should add), I was met with more insecurity. I’ve always had a rough relationship with my stomach. Attracting more attention to an area I’ve always wanted to downplay brought up even more feelings of insecurity, especially considering the many unwelcome hands touching it (another topic altogether). Yes, I was absolutely thankful to be pregnant, but I just didn’t look or feel the way I had pictured.
Once I was in the midst of the second half of my pregnancy, my weight gain – while in the healthy range on doctor’s office charts – felt like too much. My jeans were tight and my maternity shirts that had fit me at 18 weeks were creeping too high on my stomach while my bust pushed them too low on my chest. Everything was changing. By 30 weeks, my stomach had reached its limit for how far it could stretch. I tried creams, but my genetics won out. Stretch marks began to span across my growing belly. When I found the first one, I felt panic rise in my chest. “What?! This early?! How many more will I get before my baby arrives?” I’m glad I didn’t know the answer then. I needed time to accept and appreciate my changing body.
Eventually, I couldn’t see my toes. I could hardly do a patchwork job of shaving my legs. I was too uncomfortable to do much of anything. Basic hygiene took loads of effort. I didn’t feel very human anymore. I used to be excited for this stage of pregnancy when I was obviously pregnant and feeling every movement of my little son…but the discomfort nearly outweighed the excitement. Then I faced guilt for feeling this way. Much of my pregnancy was not what I had pictured.
Then, the day came. The day.I gave birth to my miracle son, my sweet little boy. I had pictured this moment in my mind’s eye countless times. I’d heard women say everything in their world melted away the moment they saw their baby, and nothing else mattered. It’s a bit of a dramatized statement, but it holds some truth. Looking at my son and recognizing that I was his most crucial caregiver brought new perspective to my life. My dislikes about the current state of my body didn’t matter so much anymore. I had more to think about than the size of my waist or how many stretch marks I had acquired.
Regardless of a shift in perspective, I still had the same body to sleep in, eat in, and see naked in the bathroom mirror. I had the same body to move in, breathe in, and use to care for my new baby. I had to come to terms with what it was. I remember lying in the bathtub at the hospital the first chance I had to bathe after birth. I was exhausted and thankful that I had completed the birthing process. Then, I looked at my stomach…and I couldn’t believe the words that came to my mind. “My stomach is floating.” That once-full belly with a little pregnancy fat and a little pregnancy stretch was floating. My stomach muscles were too tired and stretched to hold it. I felt another wave of panic. “Will my stomach always be like this?! How will I ever run again? How will I ever find another dress that makes me feel beautiful?” But thankfully, I was too tired to dwell on these things for long.
In the weeks following birth, I was still too tired to do much fretting about what my body looked like. I was caring for a new life 24/7 and adjusting to a new level of responsibility and purpose for me. Eventually, as I emerged from the fog of caring for a newborn, my insecurities began to eat at me again. It took longer than I had imagined for my stomach muscles to tighten again. My extra weight wouldn’t budge much until I had stopped nursing my son. Yet, this round of dealing with insecurities looked different than it had throughout my pregnancy. This time, I had a newfound empowerment. Yes, I was stretched out, tired, scarred, and a few pounds heavier than I wanted to be…but I had carried a life. I wore the battle scars of nourishing another human from the inside out. I plumbed the depths of my heart and mind for strength I didn’t know I could ever muster during the most uncomfortable moments of pregnancy, in that birthing suite, and in the middle of the night fits of colic. And in those moments, I had the opportunity to reassess my purpose in life, and how that intense difficulty served to point me to the One who made me, sustains me, and gave me my son to care for. He gave me meaning and purpose and used even my lowest moments to teach me about himself and draw me in to his incredible grace and tenderness.
Call me crazy, but I’ve found more confidence and strength in my postpartum body than I ever had in my pre-baby body with my flat, smooth stomach and well-exercised body. Defining my purpose and looking beyond the moment to remember it was more impactful than a few stretch marks could ever be. I’ve been scarred by childbearing…but the confidence I’ve found has meant more than any of my previous body ideals. And that confidence could only be found in seeing beyond the moment and shifting my perspective to my body’s purpose. I am so much more than my body.
Whether you’ve ever experienced pregnancy, birth, or caring for a baby postpartum, you’re bound to at least experience some form of body image issues. Remember, your body is a vehicle to carry out your purpose in life. It’s not the prize at the end of a race. You have a chance to live every day in this vehicle that will continually morph throughout your life, with or without childbearing. And it’s worth it. Don’t let your body be what defines you. It’s about what you do with your body that matters. Who are you? What do you think? What makes you tic? How do you spend your time? What gives you purpose?
39 weeks pregnant! Baby Boy is in between the size of a pumpkin and a watermelon. Something exciting happened this week. Baby officially dropped which means we are one step closer to starting labor and meeting our baby. ❤️
Mommy and Daddy and anxiously awaiting Baby Bears arrival. I am officially on maternity leave and have loads of appointments scheduled.
Today I have an appointment with my midwife where I am hoping to get a membrane sweep and schedule an induction in case he decides to be stubborn and not come out on his own.
Later in the morning, I am also scheduled for a pregnancy massage. My midwife made a recommendation that I get a massage in hopes that it will induce labor.
This past week I have also been trying to induce labor at home in different ways, including walking up and down stairs, curb stepping, eating dates, doing figure 8’s with my hips, the miles circuit and yoga.
This weeks symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, nesting, frequent urination, Braxton Hicks, irregular contractions, pelvic and back pain, and lots of baby kicks.
I’m praying baby comes before the end of the year! ❤️
So as many of you know, I’ve stayed pretty on top of documenting and taking photos of my pregnancy and bump progress. One thing I really wish I was able to do, is take some professional maternity photos. For weeks I tried budgeting for photos and we simply just didn’t have the funds. Then I tried reaching out to different family members and friends to take the photos, but it seemed like every time we tried to schedule something there was either bad weather or someone was exposed to Covid.
Thankfully at 35 weeks, my Mama took some time out of her day to take a few cute maternity pictures of us. They turned out adorable and I’m thankful for what we have! 🥰
Baby Bear, we love you so much and can’t wait to meet you! 💕
34 weeks pregnant with 6 weeks (or less) to go! This week baby is the size of Butternut Squash! How fitting it is with it being Thanksgiving weekend!
Symptoms this week include, back aches, fatigue, joint pain (in my hips and pelvis), colostrum, dry skin, moodiness, slight spotting and lots of baby movements. At my last appointment I gained 2.6 lbs, which means I’ve gained a total of 5.6 lbs this pregnancy so far.
My weeks are filled with working 38 hours or less, non stress tests twice a week, and preparing for baby boy’s arrival when I have the energy. We are getting so excited to meet him, and I’m starting to do some light exercises now, in order to prepare for birth.
Only 6 weeks or less for this pregnancy, and I want to hear from you! What’s your guess? When do you think Baby Rhames will arrive?
Friends, I am happy to say we have finally picked out a name for our son, of whom is due very soon. Picking out a name wasn’t as easy as we thought. Since I am a teacher and have been for almost 6 years now, I have come across a lot of names in my career that, let’s say have left an impression on me. Whether it was negative or positive, there are just some names that I couldn’t possibly name my son.
So far, Charles and I have shared Baby Bear’s name with only a few close family members and friends. However, I don’t plan to reveal his name on here until after he is born. I have decided however that I will give you guys a hint.
Hope you’re ready because here is your hint!
Baby’s first name starts with an M and is biblical.
I would love to hear your guesses on what you think Baby Bear’s first name is!
Already 33 weeks pregnant, with 7 weeks to go! The third trimester is flying! Baby Boy is the size of a stalk of celery and roughly 4 lbs.
This week mama is trying, but mama is tired. Testing positive for Covid and being quarantined for almost two weeks was not in the plans, but thankfully Baby Boy and I are surviving and getting through.
Baby and I had a non stress test done and a check in with our midwife this morning and so far all is going well. Since I have GD and tested positive with Covid so close to delivery, I am now considered to have a high risk pregnancy. From here on out, baby and I will be monitored closely through non stress tests and at least one more ultrasound.
Covid is scary, and Covid is exhausting. I’m truly thankful for my husband who has been taking such good care of us as well as my doctors to make sure we will be on the mend very soon.
On the plus side, since I have been home so much these past 10+ days we have been able to…
Get hospital bags packed and ready to go.
Finalize our birth plan
Wash all of baby’s clothes
Watch endless hours of movies on Disney+ 🥰
Thank you everyone who has been praying and checking in on us. Please continue to pray for us as we get through this Covid junk as well as the rest of my pregnancy. ❤️
Officially 8 months pregnant! 32 weeks and Baby Boy is the size of a squash! We only have 8 weeks to go!
This week has been crazy and I’m a little late posting a bump update, but trust me… I’ve had a good reason. About a week ago I was exposed to someone with Covid. I got a test on Wednesday and tested negative. I started to develop Covid/flu like symptoms Wednesday night. I got retested yesterday (Sunday) and tested positive for Covid.
This week has been exhausting, challenging and scary to say the least. I am fully vaccinated, and have known full well that I could still get Covid while vaccinated but I can honestly say I did not expect to get Covid 8 months pregnant. I have developed pretty much all the symptoms of Covid these last 6 days including cough, fever, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, diarrhea, headaches, loss of smell and partial loss of taste.
A lot is up in the air at the moment as I am still waiting to hear from my OB about any testing or extra monitoring for baby and I that may need to be done. All in all, I’m doing okay. It honestly depends on the moment.
Baby is still moving and grooving which gives me great peace of mind. I am also doing my best to rest and take it easy at home while I can before I return to work and leave for maternity leave in a few weeks.
I would appreciate any prayers and good thoughts for my hubby, baby and I. It’s a scary time and there is so much unknown still about Covid. Regardless of our fears we are still doing our best to trust and have faith that we will get through this and all be okay and healthy very soon. ❤️
We currently live in a one bedroom apartment, so we will be sharing a sleeping space with Baby Bear at least for the first couple of months. Hopefully we will have a bigger space where baby will have his own room and place to store his toys, but still be able to sleep in our room until he turns 1. We got our travel size bassinet/ pack n’ play off of Amazon! It is a Graco brand and so far we love it! It’s perfect if you are working with a small space.
I found these cubes off of Amazon, and decided to use them to store Baby’s clothes, hats, swaddles, burp cloths and toys.
Baby Boy has 3 swaddles and over 30 hats all ranging in different sizes. He’s a winter baby being born in Michigan, so hopefully these hats will keep his head warm.
Baby Boy has a large amount of burp cloths and cloth diapers. I was told that cloth diapers work great as burp cloths!
Baby also has an abundance of books, and mommy has a thing for sloths so of course he has some sloths.
I plan to have all size newborn and 3 month clothes washed and ready to go before baby arrives.
Books, books, and more books. This year due to covid, I had a virtual book party instead of a baby shower, and let me tell you…. Baby was blessed with more than enough books.
We have lots of blankets washed and ready! Some are quilts, some knitted and some Sherpa.
Socks, booties, slippers and shoes are all organized in here.
Diapers and wipes are easily accessible and near the bassinet which is where we plan to change baby a majority of the time.
Diaper caddy is full of diapers, Vaseline, wipes, burp cloths, corn starch and first aid kit.
Thanks for stopping by my tour of Baby Boy’s nursery!
We are 30 weeks pregnant, and Baby Boy is the size of a Cantaloupe! Can you believe it? We only have 10 weeks left until we meet our Baby Bear!
This week I started checking my blood sugar four times a day, and so far all my numbers have been in range. This week I’ve been really struggling with sleep. I know they say you don’t sleep in the third trimester, and I guess I thought they were kidding. If I’m not waking up because I have to pee I’m usually waking up because baby is kicking me, I’m hungry, can’t get comfortable, have Braxton Hicks or I’m hot.
Other symptoms I’ve been having this week include fatigue, slight feet swelling and cramps, itchy belly, the starting of stretch marks, colostrum, acne, discharge, varicose veins, frequent urination and just lots of aches and pains.
So far we have the nursery about 85% complete! Still waiting on a few things like washing the rest of baby’s clothes, getting a hamper, diaper genie, and any other essentials I can’t think of at the moment.
Our hospital bag is about 50% complete and I still need to pick up a few things including deodorant, dry shampoo, snacks, going home clothes etc.
Here is to 30 weeks and only 10 weeks to go! January 6th can’t come soon enough!!!!!