Friday, October 30, 2015

Pregnancy Update: 26 Weeks

I actually remembered to ask the Mister to take my picture one night this week.  However, I didn't really think through that my black shirt against that dark brown chest may make it hard to see where my belly stopped! Hopefully you can tell!  Also, please pardon my rainy day hair.  We've had a humid week.

Baby's size: She's as big as an eggplant (according to What to Expect), a head of lettuce (according to The Bump), or a slow loris (according to the "weird-but-cute animals" theme on OviaPregnancy).

This is what a slow loris looks like, if you were wondering.
(gif is from

What I'm wearing: This evening will be the only day I've worked this week (and it's my last day - whoop, whoop!), so I've spent most of this week in work-out capris, t-shirts, and sweatshirts.  It's still too warm for most of my sweaters (ugh), so when I do have to wear "real clothes" it's my Liz Lange maternity jeans (pictured above) or my black ponte leggings/pants paired with a stretchy maternity shirt and sometimes a cardigan.  (I pretty much live in that black Liz Lange maternity shirt that's also pictured above - I didn't think I'd ever like any maternity shirt with the ruched sides, but I am obsessed with that one and am thinking I'll probably have to buy it in another color.)

Weight gained:  I didn't gain any weight this week, so I'm still at 24 pounds.  I'm pretty relieved I finally stopped putting on weight like crazy, but I know I need to keep gaining a little because the baby has to grow and stay nourished.  Hopefully my weight will continue increasing but at a much slower pace than it has the past couple weeks because my goal was to have gained no more than 18 pounds by this point.  I didn't really change anything as far as my exercise or diet this week (I feel like I'm hungry all the time, and I snack whenever I'm hungry, but I try to keep it as healthy as I can stomach), so it's hard to know what I did right this week that I wasn't doing before.

The Mister and me at a beautiful wedding of some friends of ours this past Saturday - I was really happy to find that loose, comfy dress at a discount store last week.  People kept saying they couldn't tell I was pregnant (much less six months!), which is hilarious to me because I feel HUGE, but I guess it may not be obvious to folks who don't know what I normally look like since I don't have a big bump. (FYI - That's the end of my sleeve sticking out behind me, not my butt.  It's not THAT big... yet.)

Working out: With my work schedule slowing down, I was able to walk the dogs every morning this week other than one day when it was pouring.  I was even able to go 5 miles on Monday when it was cooler and my round ligament pain wasn't terrible!  On the other days I had to stick to my 40 minute, 2 mile route because the weather was a little warmer.  I was also able to either do a barre or yoga DVD 3 days this week - that's pretty good for me!  However, I can feel my balance going when I try to do barre (I'm glad nobody is watching me while I'm falling over constantly).  For the prenatal yoga, I've started doing the third trimester modifications using a chair for balance and support on most of the poses, even though I'm not quite out of the second trimester yet.  I've found I need the little bit of help and reassurance already.  We didn't make it to the gym last weekend because we ended up staying out of town the whole time, and we have a busy weekend planned again, so I'm not sure when we'll be able to go (as I've mentioned before, I don't like going without Chris right now, just to be super safe, and he's usually not available to go with me during the work week).  I'm finding myself really looking forward to getting back in the gym and lifting heavy once the baby is here and I've healed, but I'm definitely willing to be patient and stick with my easier exercise routine right now.

New Symptoms:  My main new symptom this week has been a lot of discomfort and pain in my abdomen, mostly on the lower right side but I feel it in other places too.  I think it's just very intense round ligament pain, and I'm hoping it's a sign baby is stretching out and moving up a little as she grows since she's been crammed down at the bottom of my uterus for months.

Also, I've started feeling really sick if I don't eat immediately when I'm hungry.  I almost need to set a timer for every two hours or so to make sure I get some food in my stomach before I start to feel yucky.

I was thinking I was some kind of weirdo because I wasn't having Braxton Hicks contractions yet, and it seems like everyone else does by this point in their pregnancy.  But I have been having a sensation since almost the very beginning of my pregnancy that feels like all the muscles on the front of my stomach are tightening for no particular reason.  The only thing that sometimes helps is rubbing my stomach and taking deep breaths to try to relax the muscles.  I assumed that couldn't be Braxton Hicks because it started so early on, but I read somewhere this week that they can start as early as 6 weeks, so I guess that is what I've been feeling.  They're the most pronounced when I'm on my feet for a long time, especially when I'm busy, like when I'm cooking and cleaning.

Days until my next appointment: Five!  Our next appointment is this coming Wednesday.  We haven't been since 21-22 weeks, so I'm excited to go back and check that everything is progressing as it should be.  It'll also be a relief to hear the results of our follow-up anatomy scan we did a couple weeks ago since they weren't able to get a good view of everything on the first one.

Food aversions: I'm not averse to much right now - mostly just plain water as I have been the whole time.  I'm also not digging raw veggies just because they're hard for me to digest right now, so I burp up the taste for a while after I eat them. : (

Food cravings: Chocolate milk, ice cream, Wendy's cheeseburgers, pumpkin pie, and Halloween candy (those mini candy bars and gummies of all kinds) - I still haven't bought any, trying to hold out till tomorrow!

How I'm sleeping: I was sleeping pretty well earlier this week, but these past couple nights I'm back to waking up every two hours or so (especially when you add that tender, stretchy abdominal pain I've been feeling).  I was hoping I could make time for a nap today, but it doesn't look like it's gonna happen!

What I'm looking forward to in the near future: We start our childbirth classes next week!  Even though I'm a little nervous to see and hear exactly what the labor and delivery process is all about, I do want to go into it informed and as ready as I can be.  

Feeling baby move: I'm feeling her move a lot more (sometimes I think she's trying to bust out of there!).  I think these next couple weeks is when I'm supposed to start REALLY feeling her all the time, so I'm excited about that.  When she's in the right position, I can see her moving from the outside now, but, of course, when I try to take a video or call Chris over to see she stops.

Innie or outie?: Still an innie!

It's so hard to believe I'm almost in the third trimester!  When I look back at this summer and spring, I feel like I've been pregnant a long time, but day to day the time is flying by.  Tomorrow is already Halloween and then the holidays will be right around the corner, followed shortly by the arrival of our little one!

We're planning to go to Raleigh tomorrow to watch the NC State vs. Clemson game at my brother's house and celebrate Halloween.  Originally we were going to try to go the game, but we decided we could save the money and "tailgate" in his backyard.

Celebrating the holiday last night at Chris's battery's "trunk or treat!"  Chris said our trunk was boring, but I was pretty proud of my paint drip pumpkins.  And our lights blinked and made scary noises (even though I brought AA instead of AAA batteries, so we had to keep pressing the little "try me" button from the store to make them work)!  Apparently black was my color this week... sorry it's so hard to see my bump in all these pics.

Have a safe and very happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ramblings about the Refugee Crisis

Anybody who knows me well will tell you politics are a big, important part of my life.  I listen to a lot of talk radio, watch the news quite a bit, and am generally very passionate about politics (and I have a hard time understanding people who are apathetic about politics because the decisions made by politicians impact our lives immeasurably).  However, I've made a point to keep my political opinions off of this blog, mostly just due to the fact that it's not what I want this space to be about.  However, the refugee crisis in the Middle East, particularly pertaining to the persecution of Christians, has been weighing heavy on my heart and mind lately, so I thought it was only appropriate that I write a post about my thoughts.  A little research into the topic will show you it's not a particularly partisan issue, so I thought it was a safe enough middle ground to be able to discuss it here.

Although we're all frequently hearing bits and pieces of what's going on in the Middle East, especially concerning ISIS, the first moment I remember really starting to consider the fear and devastation that was a part of life for Christians in areas that were being overtaken by conflict was about a year ago when I saw this video a friend of mine shared on facebook.

Even though the video is a dramatization, showing what it would be like if a conflict came to the UK (or really any other Western country), it's the kind of thing that sticks with you.  Over the past year, I've found myself thinking of this video often, especially as we hear of mass beheadings of Christians and survivors of cities conquered by ISIS and similar groups being forced to flee from their homes and normal lives.

So, the question is, as always, "What can we do?"  I definitely don't have the answer to that question.  It would be easy to say, "Let's bring them all here!" Some European countries have done just that, allowing large numbers of refugees in.  Our country has given the okay for at least 10,000 Syrian refugees to come to the US in the next year.  But allowing folks from the Middle East into the US and Europe does present the risk of undercover radicals sneaking in, which could have potentially devastating results.  I'm bringing a child into this world at the beginning of 2016 - and I want her to be in the most comfortable, safe world possible.  Part of me wants to say, "of course they should be allowed in the US," while the new, protective parent in me is terrified of the idea of even one or two people with terrible intentions slipping through the cracks and being allowed in.

I guess, in the short term, we can be more aware of what's happening in the Middle East.  We can pray for the Christians overseas (and the refugees of other faiths) and try to never take for granted our life of comfort and relative safety.  There are some charities, like Save the Children (they made that video above) that help children within the countries and at refugee camps.  If you google "charities that help refugees," you can find a list of groups that you can research and decide if you want to contribute (I haven't thoroughly looked into any of these, so I don't want to give advice about which ones are the most trustworthy and helpful).

Like I said, I don't consider myself an expert on the subject, and I surely don't have a potential solution, but I do think it's important to at least open up a dialogue about our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and what they're going through.  We so often get caught up on little things in our daily lives that it's easy to forget something so awful and sad can be happening an ocean away.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pregnancy Update: 25 Weeks

Check me out!  I'm doing pregnancy updates on back-to-back weeks!  I told you I'd be better at this blogging thing once I wasn't working so much.

Baby's size: "What to Expect" says baby is as big as a rutabaga, and according to "The Bump" she's about the size of a cauliflower.  She should be somewhere between 9 and 14.8 inches long and weighing in at about 1.5-2.5 pounds.  At my second anatomy scan on Friday, the technician said baby was weighing close to 2 pounds and that she may be a little further along than we thought, but that it was just by a few days and that's not a substantial enough difference to change my due date.  This week, I discovered a new pregnancy app (OviaPregnancy) that lets you choose a theme other than "fruits & vegetables" to be used to give updates on items that are close to baby in size.  I  chose "weird-but-cute animals."  My mom says it's creepy, but the Mister and I have thoroughly enjoyed imagining the baby as the size of a prairie dog.

What I'm wearing: For a few days this weekend, the weather was actually seasonal, and I was able to break out the ponchos and sweaters I've so been looking forward to wearing.  But, alas, it's unseasonably warm again today (and it will be for the rest of the week), so it's back to maternity jeans and unflattering t-shirts.  Non-pregnant me would LOVE this weather, but pregnant me wants to be able to wear stretchy, comfy sweaters over this baby bump!

Weight gained:  After my walk this morning, my weight gain was at 24 pounds. : ( I know, I know... I'm putting on weight like crazy, and I don't know why.  We were out of town this weekend in Raleigh at the state fair and then a music festival, and I didn't eat great, but I don't feel like I was terrible either (other than one fried delicacy at the fair, but when in Rome).   Even more, we were walking miles a day, and at the music festival I had to go down and back up two steep flights of stairs to go to the restroom I was frequenting.  I'm exercising every day and making good food choices (maybe not great choices because not everything that's healthy is appetizing right now, but I could be eating a lot worse!).  I don't think it's fluid retention because I don't really have any swelling in my hands and feet.  It's easy to get discouraged, but I'm trying to keep a good attitude and continue to make healthy choices for baby and me.  When I'm not pregnant, I'm someone who gains weight very easily, so it could be that I'm just consuming a few too many calories each day, but I only eat when I'm hungry - and I feel like I'm hungry all the time right now!

Sorry, selfies again : ( I forgot to ask Chris to take some photos of me last night.

Working out: The doggies and I are still walking every day, and I try to go further on the cooler mornings.  This week, my longest walks have been around three miles because I keep having to turn around earlier than I would like due to pain in my lower abdomen.  It's a stretchy muscle pain that I'm guessing is just round ligament related, but it becomes very painful after I've walked for a mile or two.  From what I've found on Google from ladies who experience the same discomfort, it's not anything to worry about, just my muscles getting tired and weak after standing and moving for a long time.  I've seen support bands in the maternity sections at some stores, so I'm thinking I may buy one of those and see if it gives me the bit of help I need to stretch out my walks a little longer. When I take these longer walks, I'm very tired afterward and usually have to take a nap in the afternoon.  That's a little frustrating because I always have a to-do list, but I'm willing to sacrifice an hour or two of nap time to be sure I'm getting my exercise.  I'm still doing thirty minutes of barre or yoga on the days I'm up to it to try to keep at least some of my muscle tone through this pregnancy.  We didn't go to the gym any this weekend since we were out of town - hopefully we'll be able to go at least once this coming weekend. 

New Symptoms:  This weekend, I started having "pinchy" pains in my shoulders and ribs.  It's not consistent and the location moves a lot, so I think it must be more nerve related than muscle related.  These pains make me a little anxious because they make my shoulders and torso very tight... hard to explain but very uncomfortable.

My shortness of breath has become much more pronounced recently.  I can't hurry anywhere or I have to stop for a moment and catch my breath.  It's especially noticeable when I'm talking on the phone - I can't carry on a conversation well if I try to multitask while talking.  I have to sit down and relax to be able to chat for a long period of time.

Apparently this is normal but it's very strange - I'm allergic to my engagement ring and wedding band!  I've developed an allergy to platinum.  While I'm at home, I take my rings off because the skin under them is becoming red, flaky, and itchy.  It's not so bad I can't wear the rings at all, so I'm thankful I can at least keep them on when I'm at work or running errands.  From what I've read, the allergy usually goes away after pregnancy.  So weird!

In general, I'm just feeling much more pregnant lately.  Bending down to shave, pick things up, put on my shoes, etc., has become very uncomfortable.  Even getting up and down from the couch makes me groan.  I read somewhere this week that my uterus is now the size of a soccer ball, so that would explain why everything feels squished.  Luckily, this discomfort is at its worst at night when my tummy is full of dinner and I'm worn out, so I have Chris around to pick things up for me and help me when I need something from another room.

Days until my next appointment: Our next appointment is November 4th, exactly two weeks from today.  The follow-up anatomy scan went well last Friday.  Baby is still breech at the bottom of my uterus with all of her limbs contorted above her body, but she cooperated enough that we were at least able to get all the photos the practitioner needs to make sure she's developing normally.  The technician didn't mention anything, so I'm assuming everything is okay, but we'll get that verified at our appointment.  Chris had to leave before they called me back (he had a meeting he couldn't miss), but I was able to see all of her arms and legs and hands and feet.  She's looking like a real little person!  According to my pregnancy apps, her hair is gaining its pigment this week.  It's so cool to think she's really starting to look like she will when she makes her grand entrance.

Food aversions: Plain water, smoothies, raw veggies (like carrots and broccoli, I still love salad)

Food cravings: Same as last week - Caesar salad, chocolate milk, coffee ice cream, Japanese and Chinese food, ground beef, and a new one, Sour Patch Kids (haven't given in to this craving yet, but I know I will when I buy Halloween candy)

How I'm sleeping: I'm sleeping okay but I'm waking up a lot and having a hard time sleeping in.  One night this weekend I went to bed exhausted after midnight and couldn't make myself sleep past 7 am.  To make matters worse, I think the dogs realize I'm not in a deep sleep and that I'm tossing and turning a lot because they're waking me up much more frequently to take them out.  We keep saying we need to transition them to sleeping in the crate before the baby arrives, but we don't follow through on that.  We tried one night and ended up letting them out because they looked so sad.  We're already doing great at this whole parenting thing. ; )

What I'm looking forward to in the near future: At 28 weeks, I'm supposed to be able to feel the baby move pretty consistently when she's awake.  I think that will be really reassuring to know she's doing alright and is moving around in there.

Feeling baby move: On that note, I can feel her move about the same amount as last week.  Sometimes it's really pronounced and other times I can't feel her at all.

Innie or outie?: Still an innie for sure, but I can tell it's gotten a little shallower.  We shall see!

I'm working tomorrow (it may be my last shift, but I'm not completely sure - I told them they could schedule me through October 31st) and then we have a wedding to attend this weekend, so I'm thinking this will probably be my last day checking in until next week.  Talk to you then!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Our Method of Meal Planning

I am, admittedly, the worst about waiting until 4:00 in the afternoon to go to the grocery store and get a dinner plan together.  When I wait until the last minute, I'm battling crowds at the store and then end up cooking way later than I would like because I don't start as early as I could if I already had the ingredients on hand.  After we found out I was pregnant, I started making the effort to have healthy dinners each night and do my meal planning on the weekends so I wouldn't be scrambling in the evenings.  This little bit of extra effort has made a huge difference in the quality of our meals, the amount of money we spend at the grocery store, and my stress level around dinner time, so I thought I'd share my little system with you in case anyone else could make use of it.

At some point during the weekend, usually on Sunday afternoon, I count up the number of nights we will be eating dinner at home and use my iPhone to find a recipe or recipes online for each dinner.  Sometimes I search Pinterest for something like, "healthy meals for pregnancy," but I've found on Pinterest you see a lot of the same recipe over and over, so I also use plain old Google as well.  As I find recipes, I screenshot the ingredient list and steps for cooking on my phone.  Thank goodness for screenshotting!  This way I don't have to worry about writing the recipes down, emailing them to myself, or anything like that.  I just have them in the picture library on my phone that I can easily access while cooking.

Next, I pull out one of my trusty legal pads (Am I the only one who has these things all over my house?) and write out an ingredient list for the grocery store.  I divide this list up by days so I can use it for reference later regarding which meal I want to cook which night.  Over the weeks, as I've built up my collection of spices, flours, oils, etc., these lists have begun to consist of mostly just fresh produce and herbs, meat (sometimes - we usually have at least one vegetarian meal a week), and quinoa, noodles, or other sides to have with our entrees.  So, even though I've had to make the investment in some different spices and oils, I'm saving money now by just having to buy a few (healthy!) ingredients per meal.  And if I'm using chicken a couple nights during the week, I can buy the big pack of tenderloins that only costs $5-$7.

I typically head to the grocery store on my own on Sunday evening because the Mister hates shopping.  Even though I'd love for him to join me, I do sometimes enjoy the time on my own to concentrate and feel prepared for the week ahead.  Even though this trip is usually between $100-$150 once I include our weekly incidentals and all the snacks I need to get through the days as a pregnant lady, it's far cheaper than it would be for me to go to the grocery store every night and spend $30-$50 on whatever caught my eye.

And that's it!  I use the screenshots on my phone and my master list each night.  The Mister lets me know when he's on the way home from work - his commute is about forty minutes so that gives me just enough time to prepare dinner.  We feel good about the meals we're eating (and feeding our growing baby secondhand), and there is something so nice about opening up the fridge and knowing it's stocked for the whole week with healthy choices.  Not to mention there are usually leftovers for me to have the next day for lunch, so I get to enjoy the benefits twice.

We were out of town this whole weekend, which meant I didn't get to follow my usual meal planning method, and I'm definitely feeling the effects!  I think we're going to use a coupon for a restaurant nearby tonight.  Gotta go out every once in a while, right?  I'm looking forward to getting my act together again this weekend. : )

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pregnancy Update: 24 Weeks

I definitely didn't mean to let nine weeks pass between these pregnancy updates!  But I should have known that would be the case because September is a crazy month for us - our anniversary and both of our birthdays are in September.  We went to the beach for Labor Day/our anniversary weekend, had family come stay with us for the Mister's birthday, and have otherwise just felt much busier than usual.  The good news is... I'm almost done working!  That's a weird sentence to type.  My "stay-at-home mom-hood"  starts in less than two weeks!  I only have a couple more shifts, and then I'm done working for now.  It may seem early since the baby isn't due till February 1st, but we officially found out this week that the Mister will be promoted to Captain, which means we'll be moving away sometime next spring.  So, before baby's arrival, I'll be overseeing the house being painted, the carpets being cleaned, and all the other little things that will have to be done before we can put the house on the market.  Not to mention getting prepared for the little one!  We obviously hope I'll carry the baby till 40 weeks, but we have to be prepared for earlier than that, which means we'll need to pack our hospital bag, install the car seat, and have somewhere for this kiddo to sleep and have diapers changed by Christmas time.  Needless to say, I'm thankful I won't have to worry about work in the coming months and can focus on my growing to-do list!  And, fingers crossed, I'll have more spare time to share bits of our life here!  I have a long list of posts I want to share with y'all that I haven't found the time to write.

During my long blogging hiatus, we found out our baby is a GIRL!  What a lovely feeling it is to be able to use a pronoun other than "it" when referring to HER. : ) I'd never known true temptation before walking through the section of baby girl clothes at a department store with the knowledge I'm allowed to buy pink and flowers and all of the cuteness.  We're really enjoying ourselves.

Baby's size: According to "The Bump," baby is the size of a cantaloupe this week!  But "What to Expect" says she is as big as an ear of corn.  Those two produce items seem very different in size to me, but Chris says the fruit and vegetable comparisons are based more on length than on weight.  Either way, she should be weighing in at about 1 1/2 pounds and measuring in somewhere between 9 and 11 inches.  She's been doing a ton of growing, but still has a lot more to do - she'll gain about 6 ounces a week every week until she's born!

This is hopefully NOT the way he will hold our newborn.

What I'm wearing: Although I was really looking forward to breaking out my comfy fall wardrobe, the cooler weather is stubbornly holding out on us here in NC.  This time last year I was wearing sweaters and scarves, but it's looking like we're going to be stuck in the "in between" weather for at least another week.  It's hard enough to know how to dress for cool mornings and warm days when I'm not pregnant!  I did find a pair of maternity jeans I love - the basic light washed Liz Lange ones that Target carries.  They're more "jeggings" and super comfy.  I bought them in the next size up in a darker shade as well, but that may have been a waste of money because I still have a lot of growing room in the ones I'm wearing now.  For my birthday, I got a couple Forever 21 ponchos that I adore, but like I said, the weather isn't really cooperating with me on wearing those.  My uniform for work has basically been some stretchy black ponte pants paired with the tops I can still fit in that I rotate through (luckily I can get away with that since I don't work every day of the week).  I'm not quite big enough for maternity tops yet, but I've sized out of most of my nice work shirts - another reason I'm ready for cozy sweaters!  I can still get away with a couple of my dresses, but I don't think the temperature or my tummy are going to let that happen much longer.

Weight gained:  As of this morning, I've gained right at 20 pounds.  I'm a little bummed by that because I was hoping to gain no more than 25 pounds during pregnancy, and there's no way I'll be able to only gain 5 more before February (baby still has 6 or 7 pounds to grow on her own!).  The formula I was trying to stick to was no more than 4 pounds during the first trimester and then a pound a week after that (maximum would be about 16 pounds right now).  I was right on track with that, but my weight shot up by about 5 pounds a month or so ago when I went to the emergency room for a UTI and they gave me fluids.  I haven't been able to make up for that quick weight gain in the weeks since.  It could be that I was dehydrated from the beginning and needed a little more water in my body.  I'm taking comfort in the fact that I'm doing better about drinking lots of fluids each day, eating fairly healthy, and exercising regularly.  My practitioner doesn't seem concerned about my weight, so I'm just trying to relax and do everything I can to keep baby and me healthy, and that means eating when I'm hungry and making the best food choices I can stomach at the time. : )  I still have folks telling me they didn't know I was pregnant and that I don't look like I've gained weight, which I think is due to the fact that I'm carrying very low.  My bump looks really obvious in these photos, but with some of my looser shirts paired with non-maternity, stretchy pants, you still can't see it poking out.

Sorry for all the selfies!  I need to remember to ask Chris to take these bump photos when he's home!

How I'm changing other than my bump: Chris said last night my face is starting to fill out a little.  It's hard for me to notice those smaller changes, but I can definitely see some puffiness under my eyes.  My skin looks a lot tighter and more youthful on my face, which is a nice pregnancy perk!  Even though I've been weightlifting a little (yay! - more on that to follow), it's not quite enough to combat the flabbiness that I feel like I've got going on all over - I'm not getting hung up on it, though.  I know I'll be able to push it hard in the gym once the baby is born and I no longer have to worry about jeopardizing her safety.

Working out: Now that it's at least a little cooler in the mornings, I've been able to take the dogs on longer walks (all three of us get a little exhausted if it's above 60 degrees or so).  Last fall/winter, I was going on 4-5 mile walks each day, and I'm hoping I'll be able to do that again once the temperature starts to really drop.  Of course, I'm being careful to listen to my body - I turned around early the other day when I started to have a lot of round ligament pain.  Hopefully that won't be a recurring problem!  I'm also trying to do 30 minutes of one of my barre or prenatal yoga DVDs each day after my walk, but I'm back to having some queasiness and have been experiencing a little fatigue, so I'm not as good about that as I was a couple months ago.  As I mentioned before, I am so happy to be back to weightlifting some - I really missed it!  Even though it's mostly only on the weekends when Chris is around to go with me, and I'm super weak right now from taking so much time off, it feels awesome to be back in the gym. (I'd probably be fine going by myself, but I take a lot of comfort in having Chris there to spot me and help me make sure I'm doing exercises safely.)  I've been making a big effort to exercise every day lately.  I used to take the day off when I worked in the morning or on weekend days when Chris was home, but now I try to fit at least a 30 minute walk in at some point EVERY day.  I've read so much about how this regular exercise is important for my health and baby's well-being and that it can help make delivery easier.  I'm all about that!  

Symptoms: Last time I updated y'all, I jinxed myself by saying I wasn't throwing up anymore.  The very next week the spontaneous episodes of barfing came back.  I'm glad to report that hasn't happened again in over a month, but I still feel sick pretty frequently.  My acid reflux got rough as well after my last post, and my practitioner prescribed Zantac for that.  The prescription has helped a lot, both with my reflux and nausea.

My acne is a still bad at this point - I'm staying very broken out on my cheeks.  Recently, I started using essential oils around our house and for medicinal purposes, and I've been putting a little Melaleuca (tea tree) oil or lavender oil on my trouble spots after I wash my face.  I can tell a difference with the oils, so I'm going to keep that up!

Some days, I don't have any trouble with fatigue... Other days, I hit a wall in the afternoon and have no choice but to take a nap.  I'm thankful it's not consistent or especially limiting at this point.  A little nap is nice every few days!

My bladder definitely feels pregnant now!  I think that's partially due to the fact that baby is hanging out so low and pushing on everything down there.  Running errands means a lot of finding public bathrooms!  But I'm happy that I'm doing better about staying hydrated, so I'll take the constant tinkling as a side effect of that.

At my last appointment, I mentioned my lower back and hip pain to my practitioner, and she said it sounds like sciatica.  Luckily, it doesn't bother me much anymore during the day, but I do have a good bit of pain when I'm in bed and when I get up after sitting in the same place for a while.  I'm thankful I don't have much discomfort in my hip when I try to exercise because that would be frustrating.

Like everyone warned me about when I revealed I was pregnant, I have so many FEELINGS.  It's like I've lost the ability to feel just a little mad or a little sad or a little happy.  If I'm mad, I'm raging... If I'm sad, I'm crying.  I know it's par for the course, but it really is surprising how all-consuming my emotions are right now.

I don't know if this is a common pregnancy symptom or not, but I'm very jumpy.  When I see a bug or a shadow out of the corner of my eye, I feel myself startle and my heart skip a beat, even if my brain is registering that what I'm seeing isn't a threat.  I guess maybe it's my maternal instincts kicking in - in hyperdrive!

Days until my next appointment: Because our girl was nestled down in a ball at the bottom of my uterus last time we tried to do an anatomy scan, the ultrasound technician couldn't get good photos of her spine and kidneys and such, so we're going back for another anatomy scan tomorrow.  I'm excited to see the baby again and get confirmation that everything looks like it's developing the way it should be!  Then our next appointment is November 4th, so a couple more weeks...

Food aversions: Plain water, broccoli, grilled cheese

Food cravings: Caesar salad, chocolate milk, coffee ice cream, Japanese and Chinese food (sweet and sour chicken, teriyaki chicken, fried rice, egg rolls), ground beef (this one is weird because I'm usually not much of a red meat eater)

How I'm sleeping: I'm waking up once or twice a night to pee, and I'm just generally restless due to the sciatica pain.  I tried the pillow between the legs trick, but it didn't give me any relief.  Some nights are good and some nights are rough.  And I'm having CRAZY dreams!  Most of them aren't scary, but they're all very vivid.

What I'm looking forward to in the near future: November is going to be my month to get a lot of baby preparation work done, so I'm looking forward to the feeling of accomplishment and relief that I know will come with being at least a little more ready for her arrival.
Also, one of my best friends' baby boy is due in November, and I'm so excited for her and her husband!  I can't wait to see what their little one looks like and to watch them become parents. : )

Feeling baby move: I can definitely feel her moving around in there now, and my ability to feel it is becoming more and more consistent.  It's still mostly internal, so I'm eagerly anticipating the coming weeks when it will be easier to feel her from the outside so Chris can experience it too!  He's felt a few little twitches and kicks when she's really active, but I'm hoping her movements will become more pronounced soon.

Innie or outie?: Still definitely an innie right now!  I'm wondering if it's going to stay that way because it looks nowhere close to poking out.  Perhaps that will change if/when she decides to move up a little in my abdomen as she grows.

Dang, I'd wanted this update to be shorter than the last, but I think it may be longer!  I just have so much to tell you guys!  Overall, everything is going really great because baby and I are both healthy, and I can deal with a few pesky symptoms when I get to trade them in for baby kicks and buying little onesies and tiny hats with bear ears.


In other news, I had my hair dyed back to its natural color.  I've been doing the ombre/sombre thing for over a year now, and I loved it, but it's nice to feel like myself again when I look in the mirror while all these other changes are happening to my body!

We have a very exciting weekend ahead including the NC State Fair tomorrow night and the American Roots Music Festival on Saturday and Sunday!  I'm going to try to take lots of photos to share with you here.  Have a great weekend!