Third Trimester Update



I can't believe I'm actually writing this, but I think the third trimester was my favorite trimester this pregnancy. Everyone raves about the second trimester- how you have higher energy, aren't too big, and overall can really enjoy the pregnancy- but that wasn't true for me. If you read my two second trimester updates, you know I suffered from intense rib pain and low blood pressure that would make me nauseous out of nowhere. While I LOVED getting to feel her kick, and the kicks getting stronger and more consistent, I didn't feel good physically.

Despite getting bigger and bigger in my third trimester, my health improved, making me feel 1000x better. While my blood pressure remained on the low side, I didn't have any of the negative effects of it (like nausea and dizziness). My rib pain slowly started to subside (I'm assuming as she dropped). And my energy was actually relatively high. I think it was higher than the second trimester because I was able to see a light at the end of the tunnel, sort of speak. In the first trimester, I thought the morning sickness would never end. In the second trimester, I thought the intense rib pain would never go away. But in the third trimester, I was all of a sudden able to count down the remaining weeks of my pregnancy and my energy sky-rocketed- I could do this!

My eating has been relatively the same. Ever since the first trimester, I've been eating relatively healthy (with a cheat meal a few times a week and candy here and there). So far I've gained approximately 23 pounds (and I'm 38 weeks). My doctor is happy with how things are progressing. Baby continues to grow (my stomach is huge! but everything else is relatively the same). As for exercise, I've been walking for 45 minutes 6 times a week and going to prenatal pilates 2-3 times a week.

Sleeping started becoming an issue around 34 weeks. I wake up so many times to pee that it's a very broken sleep. But I guess it's preparing me for what's to come (although I know nothing can really do that or compare). And I have an insane burning sensation just above my stomach, near my bra line. Apparently it is very common, because your skin is very thin and sensitive there, and it is being stretched to the max. But compared to my rib pain, I'll take it any day. Lastly, because of how big she is, it can sometimes be a challenge to breathe or feel my blood circulate properly. For a while, she was hitting a nerve in my leg that made it really uncomfortable. Also, I need to sleep with a few pillows so that I'm a bit upright and can breathe better. But honestly, these issues haven't gotten me down. They are a bit annoying, but nothing that's made me feel like I couldn't get through it.

I'm starting to get SO excited for her to finally be here. It seemed so far away for so long, and now it's just a couple more days or weeks!

What I Packed in My Hospital Bag



I'm officially almost 37 weeks (I can't believe it!) I've been working on what to pack in my hospital bag for a few weeks. After asking a bunch of friends, and doing a lot of research online, I think I've boiled it down to the necessities (and maybe some superfluous things that sounded good to me, lol). It'll be interesting to see what I actually end up using (maybe I'll do a follow-up post?). Anyway, I hope this helpful for you! xoxo


For you:


For baby:


For hubby:

  • 3 sets of loungewear/pajamas
  • Slides
  • Any toiletries besides the ones I packed above
  • Pillow and blanket
  • Snacks
  • Cash for the vending machine
  • Google chrome cast (well, this is actually for me, in case I'm at the early stages of labor for a long time and want to watch a movie)

Second Trimester Update: Weeks 21-28



I just read my Second Trimester Update: Weeks 13-20 to remind myself of where I left off. I kind of feel bad for myself, not knowing what was to come haha. When it comes to pregnancy you do really need to take it a few weeks at a time, since so much changes throughout the 9 (almost 10) months.

In week 23 I started having feelings of carpal tunnel in my right hand. Luckily I had a doctor's appointment that week. He said it was common for pregnant women to experience carpal tunnel, as there is a lot of inflammation and that could push against a nerve in your wrist/hand. That only lasted a few days and hasn't returned.

In week 24 is when the real pain began. I started getting intense chest pain. The pain would get so bad that I couldn't even continue a conversation. It almost felt like a heart attack, but I didn't have any of the accompanying symptoms of a heart attack so I wasn't concerned. Sometimes it felt like the pain would start in the middle of my chest, and other times it felt like it would start in my back (near my bra line). But wow, was it painful. I called my doctor and he said my symptoms sounded skeletal and suggested that I see a chiropractor.

I went to see Dr. Berlin in LA (probably the most well-known chiropractor to treat pregnant women). He thought that I had costochondritis (inflammation of the cartilage in the rib cage) and that the baby was growing and squishing my ribs, which was hitting a nerve in my back causing extreme pain. He worked on my costochondritis and after a few sessions, it pretty much disappeared.  The rib pain/nerve pain in my back, however, is still very much present. And it's pretty terrible. Sometimes it's just annoying, but most of the time it nearly brings me to tears. I'm hoping the more she drops, the less she will squish my ribs and therefore the less nerve pain I will experience.

Besides the rib pain/nerve pain, I feel pretty good. My energy is pretty high and my appetite is normal. I just started experiencing some heartburn this week and some difficulty sleeping (before this week I had 0 trouble sleeping through the night).

For exercise, I'm power walking (power, not so much lol) every morning and doing prenatal pilates 3 days a week.

As for weight gain, I've gained a total of 15 pounds so far. Some weeks I gain a couple and other weeks it stays consistent. My doctor is very happy with my progress so far. I'm assuming I will gain another 10-15 by my due date.

I still have very low blood pressure but luckily haven't experienced any negative side effects from it lately. I make sure to stay very hydrated and eat every 2 hours or so.

Her movements are very strong now and I'm just getting more and more excited for the day we finally get to meet her. I'm starting to buy all of the baby stuff (amazon items, clothing etc) and finishing up her nursery. I'm definitely an anti-procrastinator, but to me this is the fun part. Only 11 weeks to go! xox

My Amazon Baby List



When I announced my pregnancy, I asked everyone I knew and trusted for their baby list. I figured there would be tons of overlap, and I could consolidate the various lists into one. I read one, and then another and then another. Shit...they were all different. How could that be?? How many diaper pails, bottle warmers, and baby monitors could there be?! The answer is a ton. I needed to rethink my game plan. My best friend, Fallon, had a baby 5 months ago and she was my go-to for all pregnancy-related questions. I decided to essentially copy everything she bought (with some minor variation). Last time I was in Montreal we spent hours building my Amazon cart of all the essentials you need. These are the products she actually uses every day, not just ones that are on your registry. We have since spent hours refining the cart (because yes, I'm crazy like that). Bear in mind that I'm not having a shower, so Ray and I are personally paying for 95% of these things. I wanted to make sure I chose the right stuff. This morning I finally clicked check out on my cart (yikes!) but it needed to be done, haha. The below is exactly what I bought.  I hope this list is helpful! xox

Nursery

  • The Newton Baby Mattress- we (as in Fallon and I, lol) went with this one because very breathable. I'll take any safety precautions I can. 
  • Crib Sheet- I went with this one. No real reason. I wanted plain white. I'll probably end up with a few and rotate 
  • Baby Shusher- This wasn't on Fal's list but I've read on several blogs that this is key. 
  • Baby Swing- Fal's baby loves to be in this. I didn't purchase it yet in case anyone wants to buy us a gift. If we don't get it as a gift I'll order it once she's here. 
  • Bouncer- this is another item that I really want but I'm going to wait and see if anyone wants to get it for us as a gift, since it is more expensive. 
  • On the Go Travel Sound Soother- okay so this isn't for the nursery but for on-the-go (just didn't want to make a separate category). Fal said it's amazing to attach to the stroller.
  • Mirror for car- again, this isn't for the nursery but for travel. Picked up this mirror. They all look good. This one was well-priced 
  • Baby head shaping pillow- to prevent flat head
  • Nightlight for nursery- this is on my list. This is another item I didn't purchase yet but if we don't receive it as a gift, I'll buy it
  • Nightlight for our room- Got this cheaper one for our room to put next to the rocking chair

Clothing (I'm going to do a separate post on clothing but here are two things I bought on Amazon)

  • Kickee Pants- I purchased this black-footed zipper onesie on Amazon and it's literally the softest onesie ever. Its made of mostly bamboo cotton, which baby girl needs...obviously ;). They make the best solid colors. 
  • SwaddleMe- Fal told me that this swaddle was the easiest to use. They're a bit pricey but apparently make all of the difference when your baby is fussy, you're sleep-deprived and you just need them cocooned. 
Bath Time
Baby Care 101
  • Thermometer- Fal actually suggested the old school thermometer you use in their bum, since it's supposed to be the most accurate for a newborn. But I'm just not sure about doing that lol. So for now, I got this one. We'll see if I change my mind when she is here. If you are going to use an old school one, make sure you also buy these
  • Nail Trimmer- There are so many of these but Fal has this one, so I got this one. 
  • Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water

Diapering

  • Pampers Pure- apparently they give you a ton of newborn diapers at the hospital in the US but I still got these 
  • Changing Pad- I went with the 4-sided one so she doesn't bang her head. And it's waterproof. 
  • Waterproof Changing Pad Liners- to put on top of changing pad cover when changing her
  • Skip Hop Diaper Changing Pad Bag- Fal says this is key for changing the baby when you're out of the house. 
  • Aden + Anais Changing Pad Cover- went with this simple white muslin cover. I'll probably purchase 2-3 more before she comes. 
  • Diaper Genie- okay, so this was super controversial (even on my Instagram!). I asked on Instagram for people's favorites and got soo many different answers (and people feel quite strongly about their choice). Fal has the Ubbi but I really wanted the foot pedal. If I don't like it then I'll just get another one. It's not the biggest investment. 
  • Water wipes
  • Aquaphor diaper cream- Fal loves this one because it's clear
Nursing
Some other things that I didn't get but that I'm considering
  • Wipe Warmer- some people love it, other people say it's useless
  • Boppy- not for feeding but for her to rest on
  • Soft bather- not sure why, seems superfluous but I still want it
  • Baby nasal aspirator- gross but I think I need it
  • Dock a tot- I would do this or the boppy (or none, haven't decided)
  • And of course the baby monitor, which we haven't chosen yet. I'm leaning towards this one



Tips for Putting Together a Gender Reveal Shoot



As I mentioned in a previous post, Ray and I decided to do a gender reveal just the two of us. If we lived in Montreal, we would have definitely done it with our family. But since we are alone in LA, it was just the two of us. Because it was just going to be us, I knew I wanted to have it documented. That way we could show our families the reveal, share it on IG and one day show it to our baby girl. I started brainstorming and Pinteresting our shoot a few weeks before. In my research and trial and error, I came across a few tips that I thought I'd share with you if you are ever planning a gender reveal shoot.

Don't cheap out on the balloons. When I first started researching Oh Baby balloons I found the perfect ones on Party City for only $13! Win! Ha, a joke. They came and the letters were so small. It was not at all the effect I was looking for. But what did I seriously expect for $13? I then called the store I was buying the gender reveal balloon from and a few other stores and they were so expensive (like $20 a balloon, yikes!). I got a bit creative and called the party stores downtown, and they were significantly cheaper (came to like $8 a balloon with the helium). I'm so glad that I didn't settle for the mini Party City balloons (that would have been a bust), but found something in the medium price range. At first, I thought even that was expensive, but after receiving all of the pics from the shoot, I'm glad I spent the money. The pics are everything I wanted and I'm going to blow a few up for the nursery. As for the gender reveal balloon, most places charged around the same amount. I did a lot of research online and some reviews said that the balloon popped in the car (my nightmare)! So I spent a bit more and went to a fancy store in Santa Monica. Worth it since it didn't pop in our 30-minute car ride!

You can never have enough confetti.  It was Felicia, my photographer's, idea to add confetti to the shoot. Honestly, at first, I wasn't so sure about it. Would it be too disco-themed, rather than baby-themed? But, wow, it made such a difference in the pictures. We took a few without confetti and then added confetti and the ones before were such a bust! I'm telling you, it adds the best effects (especially against a white backdrop). I stuck with silver and gold confetti and you can never have enough!

Bring props that are meaningful to you. When I was talking with Felicia about the shoot, I showed her some inspo pics/videos. A lot of them had cupcakes in the baby's gender etc. We were trying to think about what would be the best fit for us. Cupcakes? We don't really eat them...Macaroons? Not our thing...Everything just felt disingenuous. That's when we decided to include Luca in the shoot and have him wear a pink or blue bow-tie depending on the gender. It was so us and I couldn't be happier that he's in the pics.

Bring gender color options for after the reveal. For us, this related to the bow-ties. I bought this pack from Amazon and brought all of the blue shades and pink shades with us, so we were prepared either way. I also bought 6 blue balloons and 6 pink balloons, so I would have them in the pics once we knew the gender.

Bring a few outfit options and let the photographer help. I probably brought way too many outfit options, but I really trusted Felicia. I knew she would know what color would look best and what would be the most flattering (especially with my bump...well actually bloat lol). She suggested I wear a white shirt with the reveal part and I'm so happy I did because the pink pops perfectly.

Record it on a phone at the same time. While Felicia took pictures, we had my phone recording the entire thing. It's so special to have. From our nerves before popping the balloon, to our faces (especially mine) when we realized it was a girl, to our reactions after it kind of settled in, it's really nice to get to watch back. Pictures are great, but there's nothing like a full video.

Second Trimester Update: Weeks 13-20


Originally I thought I would do one blog post recapping each trimester. However, over the past 2 weeks, I have felt SIGNIFICANTLY better than I did from weeks 13-20 (I'm 22 weeks today). So, I decided to split the second-trimester recaps into two. Quite honestly, I feel pretty amazing right now (which is crazy for me to say). I kind of feel like I did before I was pregnant, just with a bump, hungrier and a bit of lower back pain. I thought it would be good to recap the past couple of months before I erase them from my memory forever haha.

The first half of the second trimester was very rough for me, I'm not going to lie. I think this was partly due to my expectation that the second trimester is the easiest (essentially your old self with a bump). Unfortunately for me, this wasn't the case. There is a part of me in writing this post that worries it will come off as just complaining. While this isn't my intention, in trying to be authentic and real I do feel like I need to be honest about my struggles over the past couple of months and not sugar coat it. So let's get right in.

I expected that after feeling sick in the first trimester, I would feel healthy and strong in my second. I am normally a very energetic person, who thrives off of eating healthy, feeling fit and rarely getting sick. Due to my morning sickness and food aversions in the first trimester, I was eating a lot of shit (salads just did not do it for me). I felt nauseous and tired. I naively assumed that the second trimester would be the complete opposite.

The first time I realized that I wouldn't be bouncing back to my old self so quickly was around week 15. I went for a run in the morning and then went to visit my friend downstairs.  I was kind of hungry but figured I'd wait for 30 minutes for Ray to get home so that we could go eat together. After speaking to her for a bit, I opened her door to head back upstairs. As soon as I opened her door, the hallway started spinning and I started sweating. I immediately walked back into her apartment and lied on the couch. Luckily, she's been pregnant twice before and knew the drill. I fanned myself while she went to get me juice and after a few minutes, it passed. I won't lie, while she remained very calm I was secretly freaked out. WTF just happened?! The only time I have ever come close to fainting was a blood test. And now I was fainting just because? That's when I learned the importance of drinking 2-3 liters of water a day and not really letting myself get hungry.

The following week I headed to Montreal to visit my mom before Italy. One night I took a relaxing bath, as I used to do every night before bed. After my bath, I sat on the couch talking to my mom when all of a sudden I got so hot and turned around and threw up. It literally came out of nowhere. It was Friday night but I emailed my doctor and thankfully he wrote me back very quickly. He said I likely got overheated in the bath and that my blood pressure probably dropped, which made me nauseous. He told me to make sure I stayed really hydrated, was eating well and not to get too hot. I won't lie, it freaked me out. Again, I am used to being someone who is extremely healthy. I all of a sudden felt fragile, in this weird way. At any moment would I faint? Throw up? I was constantly making sure I was eating and drinking and staying cool. When we got back to LA a similar thing happened. I woke up out of nowhere sweating and threw up. Luckily I had my monthly doctor's visit coming up.

At my doctor's appointment, we determined that my blood pressure was pretty low. While I've learned that doctors are more concerned with high blood pressure during pregnancy than low blood pressure, we did a blood test to ensure there was nothing underlying that was causing my low blood pressure. It turns out that everything looked good, it was just a symptom of being pregnant. My doctor stressed the need for me to be eating and drinking a lot, so as to avoid the symptoms I was experiencing.

I had to essentially make sure I was eating and drinking all of the time, even if I didn't necessarily feel hungry. Otherwise, I would feel woozy. When I woke up in the morning (obviously hadn't eaten in a couple of hours), I would feel light-headed. It was only after I digested some food that I felt better. My morning routine became a lot more slow-paced. I stocked up on snacks and didn't let more than 1.5-2 hours pass before snacking. This was definitely a change for me, as I was used to eating when I was hungry and not eating when I wasn't. I know that this sounds like a dumb complaint, but if going 2 hours without eating could make you throw up, it's kind of scary.

Because I was eating a lot, I gained a lot of weight quickly. I only gained 2 pounds in the first trimester and I've gained around 8-11 pounds so far this trimester. Most of the weight I gained from weeks 13-20 happened from weeks 16-19.

My last complaint is my skin. I started breaking out on my chin like crazy and wasn't sure what products I could use to help with it. Luckily I had an appointment with Shani and she showed me what I could continue to use (which was almost everything I used before, minus the retinol).

Now to the good stuff. My energy slowly has increased from weeks 13-20. I've been doing pilates three times a week and loving it. I've replaced my morning runs with morning walks (and still run about once a week). At the beginning of my pregnancy, I couldn't run since I would get completely out of breath, and so I just stopped exercising in the morning. This was not good for my mental health. I realized how important it was for me to have a morning routine, to get my heart rate up (even if it's just a bit) and clear my head, before a day of work. So now I power walk and I actually really enjoy my mornings. It's definitely not the same as a good run, but it's okay for now.

Most of my food aversions are gone. I've been able to go back to eating really healthy, which is nice (especially for how much I have to eat). The only thing I still can't eat is cooked salmon- it grosses me out.

Now to the absolute best part of weeks 13-20-- feeling baby girl kick. When I first started feeling her kick in week 18, I just wanted to spend all of my time lying down with my hand on my stomach waiting for her to kick. I didn't want to miss one opportunity to feel it. By week 19, the kicks became stronger and more frequent throughout the day. Ray was able to start feeling her. I was someone who would get anxious before each doctor's appointment, waiting to hear the heartbeat to make sure she was okay. Getting the constant reassurance every day that she is moving is an incredible feeling.

It honestly makes me feel so guilty for complaining about the above. The reward of this whole pregnancy journey makes it worth it a million times over. I honestly feel so incredibly lucky and grateful to be on this journey-- so then who am I to complain? Parts of me feel like I should just suck it up, and only focus on the positive and what there is to be grateful for. Yet, I know that while part of that is true, the fact is pregnancy can be difficult. And as I've mentioned several times, my goal is to be as authentic and real as possible. If you sugar coat everything, those going through the hard times will just feel alone in the process.

I'm now in week 22 and most of my complaints above are gone. I'm going to soak in the next couple of weeks until the third trimester haha. I promise to update you on the second half when the time comes! xo

Our Journey to Pregnancy


This is the most personal blog post I've ever written. Yet, I feel compelled to share our story. While it wasn't a long road to the positive pregnancy test, I know that any journey can be both daunting and exciting. I remember when we started discussing trying, I would research blog posts on people's journeys to pregnancy. And, surprisingly, there aren't so many out there! People will say how long they tried for, etc., but they don't give you a lot of details. And when you're beginning your journey, you want the details! Of course, it goes without saying that everyone's situation is different, and therefore learning about someone else's journey won't exactly be helpful for you. Nevertheless, there is something comforting about reading people's different experiences, seeing what you can possibly expect, etc (or at least, it was for me). So here is our story.

We found out that we were expecting on April 8th (at 3 weeks and 5 days). But let's back up a little (actually, a lot). When I was 14 I got my period for the first time. When I was 15 I got my period for the second time. Yup, I only got it once a year. My doctor decided that I should go on birth control to try and regulate my period but before that, I was told to get an ultrasound to make sure everything looked okay. I remember sitting in the waiting room, annoyed that I kept on having to drink more and more water so that they could properly perform the abdominal ultrasound and annoyed that I was there in the first place. Just put me on the pill and let's move on, I thought to myself. My mom turned to me and said that one day I would care. And boy was she right. My saving grace over the next 15 years was knowing that everything looked okay in that ultrasound. Every time I went to a new doctor, they would ask me about my history. When I told them I only got a period twice before I went on birth control, their eyes always widened and inevitably they would suggest that it's possible I have polycystic ovaries, but it was impossible to tell until I went off the pill. I remember one time asking a doctor (I switched doctors after this incident) if it would be difficult for me to get pregnant and she responded that if I got my period once a year, I would have one chance per year to conceive (this is total BS by the way). I almost fainted.

And so, for 15 years, I was frightened that it would be difficult for me to get pregnant. Yet, every doctor suggested that there was no point in me going off birth control until I was ready to start trying (or a little before). At that time we would see if I had any issues.

Over Labor Day weekend I decided to stop birth control. My first time in over 15 years (zero breaks in between). I was SO nervous that I wouldn't get my period. 41 days later, I got my period. I literally cried of relief. My cycles would range from 32 days to 41 days, with most of them on the longer side. I was just happy to get a period and didn't pay much to the length of my cycles. When we got closer to wanting to start to try, I decided to start tracking my cycles.

I used the ClearBlue advanced digital ovulation sticks. The first day you use the stick, you always get an empty circle. You continue to get an empty circle until the test detects a rise in estrogen. It will then indicate a flashing happy face, meaning it is a high fertility window and you have a chance of getting pregnant. When the test detects an LH surge, it will show a solid happy face, indicating peak fertility.

The first time I used it, it worked perfectly. And my cycle was 31 days that cycle. I felt confident that getting pregnant would be easy. The next month I tracked my cycle again. You only start testing around Day 7 of your cycle. Day 1 (which was around Day 7 of my cycle) showed an empty circle. Day 2 showed a flashing happy face. I knew this couldn't be possible because my cycles were long and this would indicate a very short cycle. Sure enough, there was a flashing happy face the entire month. Uh oh...That's when I started googling and it wasn't good. What I came across the most was that if you have polycystic ovary syndrome, ovulation kits won't work for you, since you have a persistently high level of LH. My fear that had been in the back of my mind for so many years was seemingly being confirmed with this test. The next month we decided to start trying and I tracked my cycle. The same thing happened again- I had flashing happy faces essentially the entire month. The next month (our second cycle trying), I started tracking on Day 7 (empty circle) and Day 8 I had the flashing happy face. Not good (so I thought).

I decided to call my doctor and see if there was something I should do differently (I have since changed doctors FYI). She said that she thought I wasn't actually ovulating during my long cycles. She suggested that I could come in for an ultrasound if I wanted to see if I was actually ovulating. So on Day 15 of my cycle, I went in for an ultrasound and there was one dominant follicle (which is a good sign!), but it was small and not an indication that I was about to ovulate. My other ovary looked polycystic (the notes read "PCOS??"). They suggested that I return 4 days later to see if it grew. So on Day 19 I returned and it grew, but just a little. Not a good sign. At that time the nurse said I should come back in 2 days, but if it didn't grow by then, we would consider our options for the next month, including a round of Clomid. They didn't look super optimistic, tbh. So 2 days later, on Day 21, I returned. The follicle grew! I was about to ovulate. Both the nurse and the ultrasound technician looked kind of shocked. I was SO relieved. And sure enough, that day we conceived.

I am so beyond grateful that I got pregnant so quickly. In those couple of months (which is NOTHING compared to what many women go through), I felt anxious and stressed. After all, I had so many years of doctors being uncertain whether it would be difficult for me to get pregnant. The ovulation kits and the first two ultrasounds seemed to confirm that fear. So getting pregnant in my second month of trying was truly a miracle. Would I have gotten pregnant so quickly had I not gone in for the ultrasounds? Probably not. It was such a long cycle I don't think I would have timed it correctly. I also was under the impression that long cycles like I had was an indication it would be difficult to conceive- I guess that's not always the case. I'm really glad I was proactive and went in to check things out- I think it saved me from a lot of anxiety and uncertainty.

All I can say for those who are trying is that when people say "enjoy the process", it is kind of BS. When you decide you're really ready for a baby, it's kind of all you can think about. It's really difficult to go with the flow and have one foot in and one foot out when it has to do with your body. I would suggest getting as much information from your doctor as possible. And, if offered, take advantage of any help they offer (like an ultrasound to see if you are actually ovulating). It may not be spontaneous etc., but it could really save you a lot of anxiety. Plus, I actually like our story, which is funny but something I'll obviously keep private ;).