My biggest fears about becoming a mom

This past weekend Jeremy and I attended John Muir’s Prepared Childbirth class, a full-day dedicated to learning all about labor and delivery in the company of 15-20 other expecting couples.

Aside from all the great information we learned about labor positions, pain, coping mechanisms, and intervention options (more on that in my weekly pregnancy update: Pregnancy & Produce later this week), there was one part of the class that really stood out to me. After lunch, our instructor had us all individually share our biggest fears/anxieties about becoming parents with the larger group. What followed was a really interesting discussion that covered a wide assortment of fears and concerns and it got me thinking more about my own fears about becoming a mom.

So, in the spirit of sharing, I thought I would talk more about those here in the hopes other mamas-to-be and new moms can relate. But, before I dig into my insecurities, I do want to preface this by saying I use the word “fears” lightly here. I think it’s perfectly normal to be nervous, scared, excited, and overjoyed about the impending arrival of a baby, so in no way am I suggesting these feelings are all-consuming or unhealthy. They are just things that occupy moments in my mind throughout the average day as I continue down my pregnancy journey.

So here it goes.

Support

I’ve shared in several past posts that both mine and my husband’s families are back home in Canada. Therefore, we will be doing this whole parenthood thing largely without them nearby. We are fortunate that all of our immediate family are planning to visit soon after babes arrives, but this definitely isn’t the same as being able to call on your Mom, Dad, Mother-in-Law or Sister-in-Law in the middle of the night when you are exhausted and just need someone to come over to help or ensure your sanity.

Many of of my friends with children say having their families close by is so valuable (hello built-in babysitters!) and those who don’t have their families near also express how much they wish they were. So this is a big fear for me – that we have opted to set up our lives and grow our family 3,000 miles away from our go-to support system. However, it helps when I take a step back and remember why we chose to move and establish our lives here in Northern California and to know that even though our families aren’t a simple drive away, that doesn’t diminish the level of support they will provide us through this next chapter of our lives.

This was the fear I brought up in our group discussion on the weekend and our instructor told me about a group called MuirMommies, where moms with newborns get together once a week for an hour to socialize, get out of the house, and to also talk with experts about what is going on with them and their babies in the first few months of their lives. So, I immediately came home and registered for this group. We start in March!

My takeaway: Absorb and appreciate every single moment of support we receive from our families when they are here as well as when they are afar and work on building a support system close by for the times when we really just need to get out or talk to someone who is in the same position as us.

Being Prepared

I had a dream a few weeks ago that Baby Evans was here and I was in the process of changing his/her diaper when I realized I didn’t have any supplies nearby. I then proceeded to have a complete meltdown because I realized I couldn’t just simply walk out of the room or away from the situation to get what I needed without taking the baby with me. When I woke up, I was actually quite shaken up, coming to the realization that this little baby is going to need me every moment of the day and that I will always need to put his/her wellbeing before my own. I don’t mean to sound selfish here, but just the simple act of needing to go get something and not being able to as easily as I once did set me off a little.

However, I know that I have an incredibly supportive partner who will be there every step of the way to track down diapers/wipes or to be with the baby while I do those things. I also know that having to pick up babes to go retrieve something is not even remotely worth worrying about. It’s just funny how fears and anxieties manifest themselves in dreams.

My takeaway: I’ve already stocked our nursery with all the essential items and even created two Baby & Me baskets for the other main rooms in our home so hopefully this nightmare will not come true – at least in the first several weeks anyway. Feeling prepared = being prepared in my mind so whatever I can do now to ease this fears is completely worth the time and effort.

Playing with a Newborn

So much time is spent thinking about labor, delivery, recovery, and really just surviving the first few days with a newborn, that I hadn’t really stopped to think, “What do I do with him/her once he/she is here?” How do you play with a newborn? What does that even mean and what do I need to get in advance so that I can play and encourage their growth and development? (see, I like to be prepared.)

Our instructor told us about a book called Retro Baby, which offers a whole bunch of back-to-basic ideas for playtime that don’t require high-priced gadgets or technology. I love this idea, as I think focusing on truly bonding with our baby during these initial weeks is more important than anything else. Being able to do that through 1:1 activities that stimulate brain development seems like, well, a no-brainer.

My takeaway: I immediately came home and put this book on my baby shower registry. Simple as that!

Fur Babies Meet Real Baby

I hope this one doesn’t seem trivial, but I am definitely concerned about how our two cats are going to react to our new arrival. I mentioned in a recent post that I have started to have more of my friend’s kids come over to the house just so our cats can get used to these little humans in advance, but that doesn’t totally alleviate my concerns. Cats in general tend to be less predictable than dogs and they have the ability to get into spaces quicker and easier, often without us even knowing. So there are concerns around accidentally leaving the nursery door open and the cats getting in or them being in there and us locking them in by accident. Even just typing that makes my heart tense up.

The other concern is that Liam, my fur baby, tends to be quite territorial just in general. He has a history of acting up, whether it’s messing outside of his litter bin, scratching at furniture, or just being an all around asshole to our other cat. I am not sure how he will react when he is no longer the center of attention.

My husband actually brought this up during our group discussion and while we didn’t really get a ton of information to ease the fears, our instructor did just reinforce the notion that we will have to be super diligent about where the cats are in relation to the baby at all times. We never want to be sorry we didn’t take the extra minute to double-check surroundings.

My takeaway: Be extra cautious, but also do not discount how big of a change this will be for our cats too. It may sound funny if you don’t have pets, but they need to go through the transition too and anything we can do to help that before the baby arrives and once he/she is here is definitely high on the to-do list. I’ve been reading quite a bit about how to start preparing the cats, such as bringing out clean diapers for them to smell and allowing them in the nursery only when one of us is present. We will continue to do these types of things in the hopes it helps ease their transition.

While going around the entire room, many couples expressed fears that were echoed by the entire group, from anxiety about being able to breastfeed to concerns about how their marriage will be affected by their newborn’s arrival. For me, these are definitely areas of concern as well, but I am more of the mindset of just letting go a little and trusting in my body and it’s purpose as well as the strength of the relationship I have with my husband because after all, if I didn’t think we could be great parents while remaining great partners, Baby Evans wouldn’t be kicking up a storm inside my belly at this exact moment.

Did you have any major fears or anxieties about becoming a parent? How did you work through them? I would love to know!

-Caitlyn

 

Pregnancy & Produce: 19-21 Weeks

In making my way through weeks 19-21 of pregnancy, baby has been the size of a mango (19 weeks), a banana (20 weeks), and … endive (21 weeks). A very strange list of ingredients if you were to combine them into, say, a salad.

You might be thinking that a banana doesn’t seem as big as a mango and that was my first thought as well, but, interestingly enough, at 20 weeks babies are measured from crown (head) to heel, instead of crown to rump since their legs have developed more and now give a better indication of growth over the duration of the pregnancy. Therefore, a banana is longer than a mango and that is why it follows in the produce journey that is pregnancy-mapping.

Don’t say I never taught you anything.

You may have noticed that I have been a tad M.I.A the last few weeks and that is because I was back home in Ontario, Canada visiting with my family and friends. I opted not to write while I away because A) I was very busy and B) I wanted to enjoy my time there without the pressure to write and post frequent updates. The beauty is that you now get a lovely roundup of the last few weeks of pregnancy stuff PLUS some details about my trip. How exciting.

So, let’s get to it. From a symptoms standpoint, I have been feeling really great the last few weeks, which is a blessing. Everyone says the second trimester is the best one (no morning sickness and you’re not as big as a house … yet) and I can attest to that. However, I have been feeling a variety of pregnancy-related symptoms (I always want to call these side effects instead of symptoms …) some good and some bad, so here is a brief list just for fun:

  • Back Pain. Yikes. I really did not expect this kind of pain at only ~20 weeks, but I have to admit, this has been the worst part of my pregnancy so far. I am a very petite person, and gaining ~15 pounds in less than four months has done a number on my poor back. The pain is really in my mid-to-lower back and I can tell it’s largely due to my body trying to compensate for this beautiful belly. My sister-in-law, who is a physiotherapist, has recommended I see a chiropractor due to some misalignment in my lower back, so I will be talking to my OB about that this Friday at my check-up appointment. I also had a 60-minute prenatal massage this morning, which helped immensely. However, it became very obvious that the muscles that are in so much pain in my mid-back line up pretty closely to the apex of my baby bump, so these poor guys will need to be taken care of well over the next few months. Between these two services, and my regular prenatal yoga, I am hoping I can keep this pain at bay because I have another 4 months and likely another ~20 pounds to go. Pray for me.
  • Earwax. I promised I would be real with you about pregnancy, so here is a not-so-fun and kind of odd side effect of pregnancy: increased earwax. I was noticing this for a little while (as an avid Q-Tip user) and decided to consult Dr. Google to see if it was related to pregnancy. Turns out, pretty much everything happening in my body is related to pregnancy so that’s fun. Another thing to blame hormones for.
  • Sweet Tooth. Still going strong. I just want all the desserts and treats. During my visit back home, I attended the beautiful wedding of a dear friend of mine and unbeknownst to me (I’ve always wanted to use that word and bang, it just felt so right right there) she had a MASSIVE dessert bar set up at the end of the evening. However, had I known this in advance, I would NOT have eaten any dinner and just opted to eat one of everything on that table instead. Bless her heart, she even offered to let me take a full cake home with me. I didn’t, but would you really judge if I did? To bring this point home, here is a snapshot of some of the delicious treats I managed to consume while I was home in Canada:
  • Baby Movements. Hands down the best part of pregnancy is feeling your baby move around inside you. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced, which would make sense, because when have I ever had another human being doing summersaults and karate chops in my belly? But in all seriousness, the initial flutters I felt a few weeks ago have grown both in force and in frequency. I found out during my 20-week anatomical scan that I have an anterior placenta (my placenta is on the front size of my uterus, meaning it is between me and the baby) which means it may take a little longer to feel those movements from the outside, but we are eagerly waiting for that moment when the kicks become noticeable to someone other than me. My husband is going to lose his mind, I can’t even wait. Here are a few photos from my 20-week ultrasound (note that my baby is amazing and is already waving to us and how friggin cute his/her little face is):

Warning: The next bullet is going to be TMI for family members so you may want to just skip it and move right along. But, in the interest of being truthful and honest, I am including it. Mom/Dad/Aunt Dar/Mama Evans … seriously. Just move along.

  • Sex. Guys, you can’t have all this crazy stuff going on with your body and expect that sex isn’t going to be a little different and since most bloggers don’t go there, I am going to. Sex while pregnant is just kind of weird. I don’t really know how else to say it. It’s not a bad weird, it’s just … well, different. For one, my body now includes a watermelon-sized belly that it did not just a few short weeks ago. So, that makes certain movements difficult or downright impossible. Getting off the couch is a struggle, so not sure how you think other things go down, but … let’s just be real. Like, I ran into a postcard rack in a store the other day because I was completely unaware of my new diameter. Range of motion is limiting by the minute here. Also, while you’re pregnant, there is a lot of swelling and blood flow and god knows what else happening so that means there is some not-so-lovely added pressure and … (I can’t believe I am writing this) extra lubrication. All of this just makes this beautiful act that got us into this situation in the first place just a little funny. Luckily, my husband is amazing and we can laugh a little about the whole thing.

Moving on … family you can pick back up here.

My trip home was amazing. I usually end up back home during the winter months, so it was really nice to be back at the start of fall, even though it was insanely hot for September. The leaves were starting to change, which makes my parents’ home even more gorgeous. See for yourself:

I spent time with my closest friends and my family, which makes my heart feel so full and warm. It was fun celebrating my pregnancy with everyone since no one had seen me and the baby bump yet. I think it became more real when they could see the changes I have been going through physically and everyone was very excited to say their first hellos to Baby Evans. I am also proud to say I have family and friends that respect personal space and ask before touching the baby bump. Take note random lady on the subway who decided to come right into my space and touch my belly.

My time was spent largely eating everything, shopping for me and for baby, and visiting people everywhere in between Hamilton and Toronto. I was even able to squeeze in a visit with my 85-year-old Grandma, who recently moved into a pretty swanky retirement home. Nothing like being pregnant in a retirement home … the quintessential symbol of youth.

My friends and I suck at remembering and then following through with taking photos, so I don’t have any to share from our chic night out on the town, but I did manage to capture this really great shot of me and my mom, who is stunning and cannot wait to be a Grandma.

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Well, that’s all from me for now. I am in suspense waiting to see what the produce gods offer up for Week 22. Needless to say I will not be jamming three weeks into one post again because this was exhausting to write and finding a photo that has all 3 of those ingredients in it was nearly impossible. Just don’t look closely for the banana …

-Caitlyn

Pregnancy & Produce: 18 Weeks

I am officially 18 weeks pregnant, which means I’ve reached the four month mark. Only five to go! Baby is apparently the size of an artichoke, which seems like the beginning of what I can assume will be a series of odd produce comparisons. I mean, an artichoke? There was nothing maybe a little more cute than that?

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Image courtesy of The Bump

Parents-in-Training: Kid Visits and Mini Golf

This week we participated in a series of parents-in-training events. This wasn’t intentional, but looking back at the week I realize we are starting to do “parent-y” things now. First, I welcomed my best friend and goddaughter over for lunch and a park playdate. I normally head to their house for visits, but last week they came to me, which was so nice! I also had another friend and her three kids over, which also turned into a park playdate.

In both scenarios we tested out my new stroller, which was very exciting. Turns out its super easy to use and very versatile, easily accommodating a 16-month old and a 6-month old. So check that box on getting baby-ready! Already killing this whole mom thing. (We opted for the Chicco Brave LE Travel System – Genesis. We found a gently used one on Facebook Marketplace and got a GREAT deal on it.)

With these visits, I also realized how non-toddler proof our house is. Everywhere you turn there are breakable things little hands just can’t wait to touch. So note to self, purchase baby gates and remove breakable items lower than waist height if you don’t want to have hundreds of tiny panic attacks within an hour.

Another really great thing about these visits is that we are really starting to see how our two cats react to small children. They’ve never really spent any time with kids, so we’ve been very curious to see how they do. To my very pleasant surprise, Liam (my kitty) seems to LOVE being around kids. He’s very tolerable of their unpredictable behavior and even approaches them to rub against them. To any of you who know Liam, this is really great news. It’s no surprise Jeremy and I have been a little concerned about how he will be with the new baby. After all, he is my baby and can be quite territorial. Moose on the other hand, just doesn’t really want to be a part of the whole kid socializing thing, which is fine by me. I mean, I don’t know if I would want to be chased around the house by a little human either. So, this is great news all around. So proud of our little fur babies!

Jeremy and I also decided to play a little mini golf this past weekend. In his words, “it’s low-impact for a pregnant woman”, which is hilarious and quite true. As a matter of fact, we actually saw several other pregnant couples on the course. Turns out, it’s good prep for parenthood. Who doesn’t love mini golf? So long happy hour at chic downtown bards and say hello to places that keep kids entertained for more than an hour. Parenting win.

Week 18 Symptoms: Stretching Skin, Sleeplessness, and Back Pain (Oh my!)

As this pregnancy progresses, I think it’s wise (and therapeutic for me) to continue to update you on the lovely and not-so lovely symptoms I’m experiencing along the way.

I was pleasantly surprised to feel some relief in the skin-stretching department this week. Not sure why this has happened, but I welcome it. However, this is partnered with thoughts such as, “Is the baby okay?” … “Is she/he still in there?” … “Am I not growing anymore?” all of which are irrational, but I am confident any other pregnant woman would tell you these thoughts run constantly in their mind. If you aren’t experiencing discomfort on a regular basis, you automatically wonder if something is wrong. Doesn’t that seem a little ironic?

I’ve also been having a really hard time sleeping. This isn’t really a new symptom, but definitely one that is taking it’s toll as the weeks continue. I find I am tossing and turning so much as I try to get and stay comfortable throughout the night. This often involves flipping from side-to-side, trying to avoid sleeping on my back, and moving my pregnancy wedge and other support pillows around with me. I finally asked my doctor about pregnancy-safe remedies, and she recommend trying melatonin so I’ve been taking it for the last week or so and it seems to be helping. When I wake, I am able to fall back asleep faster so that means less time lying away in discomfort.

In conjunction with restlessness during sleep, I’m also experiencing quite a bit of back pain. I wake up feeling like I am 80-years-old. Once I get moving in the day, it gets better, but I’m now walking around the house with my pregnancy wedge and heat pack in tow. Pregnancy is really glamorous guys. I don’t know if it’s just all the tossing and turning, the added pressure my growing uterus is putting on my insides, or what, but I can only imagine both the sleep and back pain issues are not going to disappear any time soon.

Any remedies or suggestions would be greatly appreciated at this point. 

I am still refraining from buying the Snoogle, but if you swear by it, I would love to know more.

Baby Updates: Heartbeat and Flutters

What has made all this discomfort tolerable this past week is a) I heard the baby’s heartbeat again at my 18-week OB check-up and b) I felt baby’s first little flutters this week. Nothing puts those crazy thoughts about whether baby is still in there to rest than to hear and feel him/her inside you. The heartbeat was strong and healthy, which is so great and the flutters feel exactly like you read about. It’s an experience that is hard to explain, but once you feel it, you know exactly what it is. For me, they feel like little pops or wave-like sensations. They are definitely different from cramping or gas (two other common symptoms of pregnancy, ugh). But, man, it’s an awesome feeling.

Now, we await baby’s first kicks, which should start in the next few weeks. I cannot wait to feel those and for Jeremy to be able to feel his baby too. That will be such a special moment for him.

Birth Plan

Lastly, I spent some time last week working on my birth plan. That might sound crazy to some, but honestly, there are a lot of different things to consider and having never gone through this before or really spent much time with any new moms, it’s something I am taking very seriously and dedicating the right amount of time to researching my options.

Before I was pregnant, I had always said if I had a child, I just wanted to schedule a C-section and call it a day. This thought process was really derived from my anxiety, which is rooted in a fear of the unknown and not having control of every situation. However, as I have shared earlier in this journey, I’ve really learned to let go of that fear during my pregnancy. With that, I am opting for a vaginal birth, providing that is the safest route to bring our little one into the world. I just really think our bodies know how to prepare for this moment and I want to give my body the chance to do what it’s supposed to. That doesn’t mean I am opposed to a C-section if it’s deemed necessary, but my “plan” is to try not to have one.

One important call out on this topic is that I put “plan” in quotations because, after a great chat with my OB, my birth “plan” is really just a set of goals. A plan feels really structured and finite, when birth is anything but those two things. If you are so focused on your “plan”, you open yourself up to a lot of disappointment when things veer off the path. So my goals are as follows:

  • Vaginal birth if safe
  • C-section if necessary (also my preference if vacuum/forceps are required)
  • Avoid being induced/any labor augmentation unless baby is in distress
  • Remain as mobile as possible during early and active labor
  • Hold off on an epidural as long as possible (since it restricts your ability to move around)
  • Attempt to deliver in alternative birthing positions (squatting, on side, etc. depending on epidural status)
  • No episiotomy (would prefer to tear naturally if that happens)
  • Immediate skin-to-skin contact with baby
  • Breastfeed as soon as possible after birth with support of a lactation specialist (if available)

There are some more details, but these are my high-level goals for now. Of course, the ultimate goal is to bring our baby into the world in the safest way possible (for him/he and me) so whatever needs to be done for that to happen, is A-OK with me.

Did you have a birth plan or birth goals? I would love to hear from other moms about your birth experience.

Well, that is all from week 18. The next few weeks are going to be really exciting with our 20-week anatomical scan coming up (a little earlier than 20 weeks) and a visit home to see my family and friends so expect lots of updates and photos on Instagram in the coming days.

-Caitlyn

 

Welcome to my crib: Our nursery

Yes, I am only four months pregnant and our nursery is done. For some reason, this seems to shock everyone, but we just couldn’t wait to design our baby’s special room. We started this project the same week we found out we were expecting and we are beyond thrilled with how it turned out.

So without further adieu, here it is! I’ve noted all the little details below, but if you have any questions about anything in the room, please reach out. Happy to share more information with you.

Note: I am sharing direct links when available, but I do not receive a commission or anything for any purchases made. I am just sharing in case you are interested.

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Paint color: Clark & Kensington Pop Quiz

This was actually round two of paint color selection and I am so much happier with this one. Since we don’t know baby’s gender (and won’t until he/she makes their appearance), we were opting for a gender-neutral color. We first started with a very light green, but I felt the color was too stimulating and I wanted something calmer. This color was inspired oddly enough by the office walls in the early episodes of Suits. I know, weird, but that’s the truth.

4×6 Area Rug: Target

I was hesitant to put a rug on top of carpet, but am so happy I did. It focuses the room and adds a nice texture. I definitely recommend it, but suggest layering textures. Since our carpet is low pile, I picked this chevron shag rug to contrast and I think it works nicely. It will be a nice space for tummy time with babes in the months ahead.

Crib and Changing Table: Ikea

Can anyone go wrong with Ikea? This crib and changing table are the exact same ones my best friend has so I went and purchased them too. They are simple, clean, and very affordable. I took a brief look at other cribs and was just shocked by the price. This crib accommodates a growing child, converting into a toddler bed for when the time comes. We have a changing pad on our registry, so that will be a later addition.

Curtains: Target

Picking curtains was probably the most stressful part of this whole project. So. Many. Options. I ended up ordering two different sets, one more sheer than the other, and hung both to compare. The sheer felt too feminine, so I picked this set. The pattern kind of reminds me of tree branches, which I liked since we initially started with an woodland animal theme. We also have California shutters, so the room will be very dark without curtains, but I think they tie the room together nicely and add warmth.

Storage: Target, Amazon, and Ikea

The storage bins on the changing table shelves are from Target. I originally wanted to go with woven wooden bins, but to be honest, they were all just so expensive and I didn’t see the point. These were $5.00 each (on sale) and are plastic, which makes for really easy clean-up in case they ever are involved in a diaper-changing emergency. Right now, they are filled with diapers, wipes, and onesies. Yes, I already have all of those too.

The large white bins in the closet are likely very recognizable. They are the Drona Box from Ikea. The smaller chevron-patterned bins I found on Amazon. I like having the flexibility of different sizes in the closet. The larger bins will store clothes for when babes is older and the smaller bins work for easy-access items now.

Glider: Amazon (DaVinci)

After a lot of research, I finally pulled the trigger on this glider and surprisingly found it on Amazon (my Prime membership is my life). The glider has great mobility and came with a free ottoman. The tall back works really well for my husband, who is 6′, and the ottoman caters more to me. It’s a lot smaller overall than most other gliders I looked at. This room isn’t very big, so I wanted to make sure the chair looked proportionate in the space. It’s extremely comfortable and I eagerly await many long nights in this chair. For now, it serves as a lovely reading space.

Side Table: Overstock

This item took a while to pick out too. I knew I wanted a white side table for beside the glider, but for the life of me I couldn’t find one I liked. I then found this one on Overstock.com and really love it. The hexagon top is unique and the three legs are off-centered so its very interesting to look at. I also think the wooden legs add some much-needed earthy texture to the room, when every other finish is white.

Art: Etsy

The baby animal portraits were the first thing I purchased for the nursery. I saw them on Pinterest and fell in love with them. I found them from a seller on Etsy and selected six of my favorites. I had them printed at Walgreens and framed them in 8×10 matted white frames I purchased from Ikea. I think they are so adorable and can’t wait to teach babes about all the animals. I’ve also seen these popping up in nurseries all over Pinterest and Instagram, so they must be trendy.

The other piece of art in our nursery is really special to me. I wanted a sentimental piece, so I had this sign made by a woman on Etsy. It reads, “you are my sunshine” and I chose that phrase because my mom always calls me Sunshine. The piece is made completely out of wood and the text is handwritten. I think it’s really elegant, minimalist, and best of all, it means a lot to me. I can’t wait to pass along the nickname to babes.

Door Sign: Hobby Lobby

When I saw this “Welcome to my crib” sign, I knew I had to have it. How cute is it? It likely won’t stay on the door handle, as it makes a lot of noise when we close the door, but for now, it’s adorable and I love it.

Overall, we are really happy with the nursery. The room is right at the top of our stairs so every time I walk by, I smile. For now, it seems to be a favorite napping place for our cats. Truthfully, I think they think we made this room for them. Soft carpet, small bed … can you blame them?

Hopefully, they will be interested in sharing.

-Caitlyn

Pregnancy & Produce: 17 Weeks

So my weekly update is a bit late this week, so apologies for that, but I am still excited to share all of my random thoughts and experiences from last week with you.

Week 17 means baby is the size of a pomegranate, weighing in at a whopping six ounces!

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Image courtesy of The Bump

Within the last week or so, my baby bump as definitely popped out to the point where strangers on public transit are giving up their seats for me, so that’s exciting for so many reasons. It also means absolutely nothing from pre-pregnancy life fits so I’ve placed an order for a slew of maternity jeans and tights to get me through the next five months.

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Look at that bump!

I also have noticed that between weeks 15 and 17 there must be a fetal growth spurt, because a) the baby bump (hello!) and b) I literally cannot eat enough. Pretty sure my husband is seriously questioning where all this food is going, because I can eat two times as much as him at dinner and then be craving something else an hour later.

With all this growth has comes some unpleasant skin stretching feelings. Like, I can literally feel the skin on my stomach stretching and it’s downright painful. I’ve heard from a few mom friends that moisturizing during these times is key to prevent stretch marks, so that is what I am doing. I am armed and ready with Kiehl’s Corps de Creme and Mother’s Special Blend. I am basically just a walking, lathered-up food monster these days.

Pregnancy is so beautiful.

What doesn’t go well with lubed-up skin? Heat. We have been going through a serious heat wave here in Northern California and the triple digits are making me feel like I am melting. So really, I am a melting, lathered-up food monster. Sweet.

In this crazy heat, Jeremy and I continue to push through our six-week tennis lesson commitment and I can tell you that doing any type of activity when it’s 110 out is hard. Playing tennis in 110 degree weather while pregnant is impossible. I find myself drinking more water than humanely possible, then having to pee 100 times, all while trying to learn a new sport. I’m hoping I am painting a clear picture of what this looks like, because truthfully, it’s a bit hilarious. We have just one more week to go and then I will be stopping lessons until sometime in the future after I come back to life after having a baby. The good thing is, my volley returns are surprisingly good. This is primarily because I am terrified of being hit in the stomach with a tennis ball. The maternal instinct is strong!

Let’s see, what else is going on?

 

I finally selected a glider for our nursery and it arrived this week. I think my Amazon delivery man is really unimpressed with the volume of purchases lately. But hey, you don’t want to deliver a 100lb chair? Don’t make it available on Amazon! But, I am absolutely in love with this glider and if I didn’t have any other responsibilities in life, I would never leave that chair. With this last piece of the puzzle, the nursery is finally complete so stay tuned because I will be photographing it and sharing all the details with you in the coming week or so. Also, Jeremy and I are convinced that our two cats think we designed this room for them. They live in it now and the glider is no exception. Exhibit A:

FullSizeRender 6

Lastly, Jeremy and I are also gearing up to head back to Canada for a wedding in a few weeks. I will be staying there for 10 days to visit with our families and friends and I cannot wait. I was talking with a girlfriend the other day and she was so surprised to hear that my parents haven’t seen me in person since I became pregnant. Aside from FaceTime and photos, no one from home has seen me so I am super excited to go home and spend time with them. I think it will feel a lot more real to everyone once they see the bump in person.

Anyway, lot’s going on and it’s all good stuff. Just want to say a quick thank you again for all of your support and messages on my last post regarding the job update. There has actually been a lovely turn of events that I will share with you soon, but needless to say I fully support the idea that everything happens for a reason and we sometimes just need to sit back and let life happen. All of your encouragement means the world to me, so thank you!

-Caitlyn

When life gives you sour lemons…

I was planning to post my week 17 update today, but sometimes real life happens and we need to change things up a little.

I very recently, as in the last hour, found out I didn’t get the job I interviewed for last week. If you read my post from a few weeks ago, you may understand just how difficult this news is to receive.

I am not above understanding that we don’t always get what we want. I am very fortunate to have experienced a lot of success in my life to date and I realize that others may just be a better fit or more qualified for a role than I am. However, in these situations, doesn’t it always just feel a little personal?

Everyone will try to tell you it’s not, but, at the end of the day they didn’t pick me and to be honest with you, that feels pretty personal.

I was really excited about this opportunity. On paper, it was a dream job at a dream company. During my in-person interviews, I felt even more eager to impress, land the job, and prove that I could perform even better than they expected me to right away. The people were great and the atmosphere was humming. I left feeling really confident and optimistic good news would only be a few days away.

I even filled two online shopping carts with more work-friendly maternity wear. I was ready.

So, today kind of sucks. I find myself fighting negative thoughts that I am not good enough or that I wasn’t what they wanted. Whether or not that is true, my mind can sometimes be my worst enemy.

Trying to find a new job while pregnant has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced from an emotional standpoint. At times, a huge part of me feels like maybe this is just my time to focus on myself and everything that goes with becoming a mother – a role that is so special and so unbelievably rewarding that I do really want to savor every second of it. These feelings make me question whether I should even pursue a new full-time job and at times, these feelings also make me doubt my ability to focus my attention on my career.

But then, in preparing for the many rounds of interviews I’ve been going through over the last three months and once again opting to hit the “apply” button, I know in my heart and in my gut just how important my career is to me and that doubting my abilities to be both a mother and a professional woman is really just fear of not being good enough at either.

I knew if I got this job it would be challenging. I would be taking on a major stressor at a time in my life that is already riddled with change and varying emotions. I knew my husband and I would have to have many conversations about how we want to raise our baby and think really hard about childcare options, with both of us working full-time jobs. But, I still wanted it and that’s the part that makes today’s news just really difficult.

So now, I am just feeling a tad stuck and think I just need to spend some time thinking through my next move. I have a few really great freelance opportunities that I think might be the best option for me at this point. It’s not that I wasn’t excited or passionate about them, because I definitely am, I just had my sights set on something else for a while so I need to  go back and revisit this ever-changing master plan.

What I do know though is there will be no more hiding or disguising my pregnancy, because at four months pregnant, babes is showing and I proudly want him/her to.

So I’m moving forward with my head up, my mind cleared (thanks to the therapeutic benefits of writing and sharing this) and focusing on the next thing life has to offer. After all, the lemons may be sour right now, but something sweet could be just around the corner.

-Caitlyn

 

 

He or she: What will babes be?

“Do you know what you’re having?”

Hands down, this is always the second question people ask me after I tell them I am pregnant. People, and not just those in my life, seem to be obsessed with finding out their baby’s gender. When I first got pregnant, I read so many blog posts and online articles about how early you can find out and how some mamas-to-be even decide to do first-trimester genetic tests just to find out the sex of their baby earlier than the standard 20-week anatomical ultrasound. I think I read recently that somewhere around 85% of mamas-to-be find out the baby’s gender now. While I can certainly appreciate the desire to want to know, I hate to break it to all of you, but hubby and I are opting for the full-blown surprise on this one.

Why did we decide to not find out our baby’s gender? A few reasons.

Shock Value

Before we were even pregnant, Jeremy and I talked about this. I actually was always on Team Find Out, but he wasn’t. When I asked him why, his reason not only melted my heart, but it also made me do a complete 180 in my thinking. He said that as adults, there are very few true surprises left in life and having your baby’s gender revealed at birth really is the ultimate surprise.

I mean, really, how sweet is that?

Both or Neither

While I agreed with Jeremy, I also knew we had to be on the same page with the decision because there was no way I would be able to find out and then have to keep it a secret from him. As I have declared before, I am a horrible secret-keeper. So one of us knowing was just not going to be an option.

Fashion Crisis

Another thing that has become more clear to me now is that knowing or not knowing isn’t really changing how we prepare for baby’s arrival. Honestly, if anything, it’s saving us some money in not being able to go out buy a ton of adorable outfits (yet!). But, I am not a girly girl, so if babes happens to be a girl, I don’t foresee myself dressing her in pink ribbons, bows, and tutus. In fact, I actually prefer neutrals anyway so any clothing bought-to-date has fallen in the grey, blue, white, and yellow color palettes. While it might make it a tad difficult for friends and family members to buy cutesy outfits for when babes grows, I am okay with that. I find shopping in both the girls and boys sections yields some amazing finds. Who knew I was so progressive?

Nursery Decor

If you saw the sneak peek preview of our nursery in a few of my latest Instagram posts, you will also notice it’s very gender neutral. The walls are a teal blue and all of the furniture and accents are white. Personally, I find this palette very calming and soothing and it would have been my preference, even if I knew the gender.

Naming

When it comes to naming, I think it’s just as easy to have ideas for both a boy and a girl. This was another thing Jeremy and I talked about before we were pregnant, so we’ve been pretty set on our names since the very beginning.

Doesn’t all of this just seem a lot less stressful than people make it out to be?

Whether you agree with our logic or not, the truth of the matter is that in 23 weeks (plus a few days), my husband and I will get the surprise of our lives and I cannot wait for that moment.

Did you find out your baby’s gender? What was your reasoning for doing so or not? I would love to hear your stories so please feel free to share them with me.

-Caitlyn