3rd Trimester Update

In lieu of being 37 weeks tomorrow (third trimester) and officially early term over preterm, I thought it was time to give one last pregnancy update.

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I was thinking about my third trimester experiences compared to previous trimesters and I think this trimester just may be my favourite. Although at times I feel really uncomfortable, hot, tired and don’t sleep through the night because I’m up to pee around five times a night, I am sort of loving third trimester.

A few reasons why the third trimester has been my favourite are:

I finally look pregnant.

At my last appointment, the midwife noted I have a long torso and therefore I carry pretty small. Yet I’m still within the normal range of measurements at each appointment so there is nothing to worry about. Nonetheless, people have only started recently commenting that I’m finally showing in an obvious way. While I appreciate their comments I’m not bothered that I tend to carry small. As long as my midwife is not worried and I’m continuing to gain weight I’m happy with my bump.

On the plus side, I can still wear most of my pre-pregnancy clothes and don’t have too much trouble maneuvering around. Although sometimes when I lean forward to grab something my stomach hits the spacebar on my laptop and pauses Netflix :p

We’re almost ready for Baby K to come

In the last few weeks, we’ve set up our crib, stroller and installed the car seat. Plus we’re all registered at the hospital and I completed my breastfeeding class (which I highly recommend, it was so helpful having proper breastfeeding techniques explained and being able to ask questions of the public health nurse). Seeing all these visible reminders that soon there is going to be a baby here with us is a bit surreal!

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I still have to wash all of her clothes, we need blankets and newborn diapers but other than that we have lots of wipes, diaper cream, her bath, baby soap, and lotion among other essentials. I’m feeling mostly ready but I’m waiting till after our shower to see if there are any last minute things we might need.

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Shoutout to my mom for washing Baby K’s clothes for me <3
I can feel big movements from Baby K

In previous trimesters I felt little kicks, jabs, and somersaults from Baby K. Now I can feel her pushing against my stomach. Sometimes I can feel her little foot poking my right side. At other times she makes my whole stomach move almost in waves. It’s so cool knowing she’s growing bigger each day and is almost ready to come out.

Overall this third trimester has gone fairly well, especially considered to the first trimester, I really am feeling pretty good.

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I’m getting really excited to finally meet Baby K but at the same time, I’m anticipating some big changes. At times life feels a little daunting and overwhelming. I know that all these changes are good and definitely things to be thankful for.

Nonetheless having a baby for the first time is daunting because I’ve never done this before. However, I’m thankful to have a lot of support from family and friends.

If you have any tips for being a new mom please leave me a comment below. I am very open to any advice people want to give me, because I am very new at this and want to be prepared as best I can. 

I was thinking about my third trimester experiences compared to previous trimesters and I think this trimester just may be my favourite. Although at times I feel really uncomfortable, hot, tired and don't sleep through the night I am sort of loving third trimester.


For more on my pregnancy and postpartum journey read:
1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

I’m Scared to Have the Sex Talk with my Daughter One Day

Can anyone else relate to feeling nervous about the sex talk? With the Whole Story, there is no need to fear. 

I know I’m a long way off from having to answer any awkward questions about sex just yet. Still, the thought of navigating this tricky subject makes me nervous!

As I’ve gone through pregnancy and the closer I get to having my baby the reality of parenting sets in more each day: I am actually going to have to teach this child about life. Right now I’m super focused on preparing to keep her alive. However, I know the infant stage is short and beyond that, I’ll have to learn other practical parenting skills. Like knowing how to teach her about her body and answering the tough questions like “where do babies come from?” and “what’s a period?”.

As an avid learner and a lover of research, I’m always on the lookout for resources from more experienced parents and especially moms on the best approach to teach Baby K about subjects that I’m not sure how to best approach. For me, the sex talk, puberty and growing up are all subjects that seem just a little bit more intimidating than helping with a math problem or teaching manners.

Puberty Was the Worst

To be honest as a child puberty was the worst part of growing up. I couldn’t even say the word “bra” without cringing. Being the oldest girl in my family I had to go through all those awkward changes first. While my younger sister who had no reserve would bluntly ask me the most awkward and personal questions about what I was going through. I found the whole process embarrassing, unpleasant and not something I openly wanted to talk about (even with my mom).

Although I had a few conversations with my mom about puberty, I was also given a book on the changes my body would go through and of course I learned a few things at school. Other than that I kind of just figured things out on my own. I know I wasn’t the only one!

Often times our own parents didn’t receive adequate information, so how are they supposed to know what to tell us?

I’m sure you can relate to not loving puberty and dreading having the “talk” with your own children. It’s not a subject that everyone feels super comfortable broaching.

The Whole Story Can Help

Thankfully things can be different! Plus they don’t have to be awkward either. What if you could approach talking about sex, puberty and growing up with your daughter in a way that is fun and low stress?

Perhaps you’ve heard of popular marriage blogger and speaker Sheila Wray Gregoire from to Love, Honour and Vacuum? I’m excited to share that she has launched a course led by her two daughters (who are the same age as me and my sister) all about puberty, sex and growing up. It’s called the Whole Story: Not-so-scary talks about Sex, Puberty, and Growing Up and it’s an online video course for moms and daughters to learn about puberty, sex and growing up. As followup moms can use the discussion questions to keep the conversation going.

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My favourite part of this course is that it doesn’t replace the mom’s role. Instead, it starts the conversation you may be fearing in a way that is fun, relatable and safe! Plus each video is only 3-5 minutes long.

Let’s face it our kids are going to hear stuff about sex from their friends, school, and the media. Shouldn’t we be proactive and make sure their primary source of information is us as parents? I know that if Baby K ever has any questions about sex or her body I would want her to come to me first. I don’t want her to receive confusing or misinformed information. Instead, I want her to feel comfortable about her body and confident in bringing me her questions.

I may not know where to start in talking about puberty with my daughter when the time comes, but I’m glad to have The Whole Story as a starting point. I wish I’d had something similar available when I was growing up!

The Whole Story: Sex Talk Resource
I also love that the course includes two versions: one for 10-12-year-olds and one for 13-15-year-olds. These age groups have different needs. Younger girls need factual, practical information whereas teens need to discuss and understand the more emotionally driven and nuanced topics like porn, masturbation, and dating.

The younger version covers:

    • her period
  • body changes
  • sex and how babies are made
  • boys and peer pressure
  • taking care of her body

The older version covers:

    • troubleshooting issues with her period
  • relationships with guys
  • how to handle social issues like online bullying, peer pressure, friends
  • honouring God while living in a highly sexualized world
  • styling yourself in a way that sends a positive message

If you’re ready to start the conversation about puberty, sex and growing up with your daughter in a way that is fun, low stress and way less awkward than when we had the talk check out the Whole Story!

Do you have any awkward experiences of going through puberty? 

What do you wish would have gone differently for you when learning about puberty, sex and growing up?


*affiliate link used

Healthy Pregnancy Snacks

In a previous post, I mentioned a few of the foods that are helping me get through my pregnancy, stay healthy and keep me filled between meals. As a nutrition student about to graduate and become a PHEc, I have some knowledge on the nutrition requirements during pregnancy and what constitutes a healthy snack. Today I wanted to share a few of my favourite snack ideas and why they are a great choice during pregnancy!

Healthy Pregnancy Snacks

First, I want to note some important nutrients to consume during pregnancy and why you need them.

Iron

Health Canada recommends taking a multivitamin that contains 16-20 mg of Iron (along with 400 mcg of folic acid). Although some women may require more, be sure to consult your doctor.

One’s diet should also contain iron from a variety of sources.

There are 2 types of iron: heme and non-heme.

Heme iron is available in meat, poultry, and fish and is more bioavailable to the body. Whereas non-heme iron is found in eggs, plants, legumes, vegetables, grains, and nuts.

To better absorb iron from non-heme sources consume inhibitor foods along with the non-heme foods. For example, vitamin C (found in broccoli, potatoes, or sweet peppers) greatly increases absorption along with calcium over 300 mg or phytate (found in breakfast cereals or legumes) or heme sources of iron (poultry). Be sure to avoid consuming caffeine within one hour of eating iron-rich foods as it decreases the amount of iron able to be absorbed.

Why do I need iron?

Iron is an essential part of proteins such as enzymes and hemoglobin.

Hemoglobin moves oxygen to our cells to facilitate metabolism, so basically, oxygen provides energy for our cells to function.

During pregnancy the amount of blood in a woman greatly increases to support the developing baby, therefore more iron is needed daily.

Once the baby is born it has a 6 month supply of iron, that is why at 6 months of age it is recommended by dieticians to feed your baby iron-rich foods.

How do I get more iron in pregnancy?

Aside from obvious sources of iron like red meat, iron can also be found in legumes and vegetables which are a great way to save money and increase your fibre and vitamin intake.

For example:

lentils: 3/4 C contains up to 4.9 mg

chickpeas: 3/4 C contains 2.4 mg

spinach: 1/2 C cooked, contains up to 3.4 mg (also a source of vitamin C which aids in iron absorption)

For a more complete list of foods that contain iron click here.

To increase my iron intake I like to make the following salad. It’s great to store in the fridge for a quick lunch or as a side to supper (pairs great with salmon). It also contains cheese to aid in calcium consumption.

Savory Lentil Salad:

Ingredients:

1 cup lentils, black beans, or chickpeas

2 cups spinach, chopped (or substitute frozen)

2 cups carrots, grated

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons sodium reduced soy sauce or tamari sauce

1-2 teaspoons ginger, chopped

1 clove garlic

1 cup diced cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, Havarti or gouda, I typically use what I have on hand)

Preparation:

Drain beans thoroughly under cold running water or cook according to stove top instructions on package.

Mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

Toss beans with mixed ingredients to cover in dressing.

Adapted from: All You Need is Cheese, Spring 2012

Folate

As I noted above it’s imperative to take a prenatal vitamin prior to conception in order to supply your body with adequate folate (400mg). Also, ensure your prenatal vitamin contains B12.

Why do I need folate?

Folate is a B vitamin essential for cell division, spinal cord development and synthesizing nucleic acids like DNA and amino acids. Furthermore, folate also prevents the risk of developing a neural tube defect such as spina bifida or anencephaly.

A neural tube defect (which can occur in the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman knows she is pregnant) is when the neural tube does not close properly.

How do I get more folate in pregnancy?

In light of folates important role for fetal development, the Canadian government has mandated fortifying white flour, enriched pasta, and enriched cornmeal.

However, Health Canada recommends that in addition to taking a prenatal vitamin pregnant women also consume folate from their diet. Some sources of folate include:

  • lentils 175 mL
  • black beans 175 mL
  • okra 125 mL
  • asparagus and spinach, cooked 125 mL
  • orange juice from concentrate 125 mL
  • eggs 2 large
  • corn 125 mL
  • kiwifruit 1 large
  • clementine 1 fruit

A great tool to use to ensure your eating is on track is the My Food Guide Servings Tracker or the website or app eaTracker. The eaTracker app helps with meal planning, setting goals, analyzing your food intake and tracking activity.

My Favourite Pregnancy Snacks + Why They are a Healthy Choice

  • veggies (cucumbers, carrots, peppers) + hummus
    • the vegetables provide fibre which is important to help combat constipation during pregnancy and the hummus is a great source of folate, iron, protein, and fibre
  • bagel with peanut butter
    • a whole wheat bagel contains fibre and is fortified with folate, plus 2 T of peanut butter contains 8 g of protein
    • try to buy all natural peanut butter because it contains just peanuts without added sugar, be sure to store it in the refrigerator after opening to prevent the oils from separating
  • plain yogurt with 1 tsp honey, berries + ground flaxseed or chia seeds
    • plain yogurt is a source of calcium and contains no added sugar, plus 1 C contains 8.5 grams of protein and yogurt contains probiotics essential for digestion
    • the berries are a source of antioxidants
    • the flaxseed + chia seeds both contain omega-3 fats needed for brain and eye development
  • overnight oats
    • oats provide soluble fibre which aids in digestion and controlling cholesterol levels, plus it helps you feel full and avoid snacking on less nutritious foods
  • smoothie with 4 T peanut butter, 1 banana, 1/2 C oats, 1 C plain yogurt, 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/2 C liquid (almond beverage, milk)
    • the peanut butter contains 16 g of protein
    • calcium is provided in the yogurt which aids in heart, nerve and muscle growth along with bone and teeth development
  • pancakes
    • these pancakes include both protein and fibre to keep you feeling full and energized all day long
    • I like to make a batch of pancakes and then snack on them when I’m feeling hungry
    • this recipe is a high protein mix, you can save money instead of buying the store version, plus it’s a lot healthier!
  • sliced apple with cheese + whole grain crackers
    • the apple with skin on contains fibre + vitamin C
    • the cheese contains protein and calcium
    • a whole grain cracker provides fibre
  • popcorn
    • not only is this snack cost effective, it’s low in calories (without butter), and this whole grain provides fibre
  • oatmeal bites
    • besides the source of fibre, these bites contain protein from the peanut butter or chia seeds and omega-3 fats from adding ground flax seed or chia seeds
    • These are so easy to make and are great to snack on when you have a craving for something sweet!

Remember you are growing a baby and as you progress through pregnancy and even as you breastfeed your caloric intake is higher than before pregnancy. The dieticians from Eat Right, recommend the following calorie intake each trimester:

1st trimester-no increase

2nd trimester-an additional 350 calories per day

3rd trimester-and additional 450 calories per day

Try to include foods such as lean meats, whole grains, dairy, vegetables, and fruit to ensure you are getting adequate nutrients.

Pregnancy is a lot of work! Eating healthy, nutritious foods will only make your experience better and give your baby the best chance of thriving.

What are/were some of your favourite pregnancy snacks?


Sources:

Canada, H. (2013). Prenatal Nutrition Guidelines for Health Professionals – Folate Contributes to a Healthy Pregnancy – Canada.caCanada.ca. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/reports-publications/nutrition-healthy-eating/prenatal-nutrition-guidelines-health-professionals-folate-contributes-healthy-pregnancy-2009.html

Eating for a healthy pregnancy – Eat Right Ontario . (2017). Eatrightontario.ca. Retrieved 11 September 2017, from https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Pregnancy/Eating-for-a-healthy-pregnancy.aspx

Food Sources of Iron. (2016). Dietitians of Canada. Retrieved 13 July 2017, from https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Minerals/Food-Sources-of-Iron.aspx

Healthy Weight during Pregnancy. (2017). www.eatright.org. Retrieved 8 September 2017, from http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/pregnancy/prenatal-wellness/healthy-weight-during-pregnancy

Thinking About Having a Baby. (2017). Dietitians of Canada. Retrieved 13 July 2017, from https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Pregnancy/Thinking-of-having-a-Baby.aspx

Prenatal Nutrition Guidelines for Health Professionals: Iron Contributes to a Healthy Pregnancy [Health Canada, 2009]. (2017). Hc-sc.gc.ca. Retrieved 5 April 2017, from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/pubs/nutrition/iron-fer-eng.php


To read more pregnancy updates check out the following posts:

2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)

In part one of this series, I talked about everything I didn’t expect during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. Now that I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy I thought I’d share a few more tidbits I’ve been learning about pregnancy and birth.

To read Part 1 click here

In part one of this series, I talked about everything I didn't expect during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy.

You Don’t Need a Ton of Maternity Clothes

Prior to being pregnant, I dreamed of the day I would start buying cute maternity outfits. Then I realized a lot of my clothes would work just fine aside from jeans and a few tops.

If you think about it most longer sweaters and tank tops, shorts and stretchy dresses can still be worn while pregnant. The only major purchases I’ve made have been for jeans (these ones from Old Navy have great reviews + don’t forget to sign up for Ebates to earn 4% cash back!), leggings (also from Old Navy), and a few dresses (one bodycon, a chambray with buttons perfect for breastfeeding and a black and white polka dot dress). Plus a few tanks for layering which will also be great for postpartum and nursing.

The Second Half Goes by Way Faster!

Before 20 weeks and really before I started showing the weeks sort of dragged by very slowly. Now that I’m in the third trimester and in the 30’s for weeks time is moving faster. The baby also feels a lot bigger now and I’m much more aware of her presence than in previous weeks.

I also have midwife appointments every two weeks. Checking up on the baby this often has given me something to look forward to and made the imminence of birth more prevalent in my thoughts.

As time goes on we’re also taking more steps to prepare for the baby, like registering for gifts, building our crib, getting a stroller and setting dates for showers.

Feeling Your Baby Kick is the Most Exhilarating and Comforting Experience

The first time I felt Baby K move I was sitting in my chair working on my online school courses. It felt like nothing I have ever felt before in my stomach so I knew it was the baby making little movements. As the weeks went on her kicks became more pronounced and my husband was able to feel them as well. One time he put his head on my stomach and she kicked him hard on the ear!

It’s such an incredible experience to know your baby is alive inside of you and so powerful in their little movements. It’s also reassuring to feel them move around rather than having to wait to hear the heartbeat at each appointment.

Read Up on Breastfeeding + Birth

As a first-time mom and someone who hasn’t had a lot of experience with babies, I’m not really sure what to expect when Baby K comes. Although a few people have told me your instincts kick in once the baby comes and to not worry. At the same time, I’ve still been doing a lot of reading and asking questions to those who have kids.

One thing I’m really glad I decided to read up on is breastfeeding. I wasn’t really planning to read a book on this subject but while I was at the library a new book from the La Leche League, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding was on display. I thought it would be a good idea to familiarize myself with this topic because I really want to breastfeed for a long time. I know a lot of women can struggle with breastfeeding, so I wanted to make sure I had resources in place before beginning this journey in case I need help down the road.

I’m also signed up for a free breastfeeding class with our public health unit about a month before the baby comes. I know I can’t anticipate what problems I may run into but I can inform myself of strategies to deal with possible obstacles.

In addition to researching breastfeeding, I’ve also tried to learn about labour and birth. Although I understand the biological mechanisms related to birth the actual experience of it can be quite different. I’ve read a lot of birth stories online and watched some YouTube videos on different birth experiences from having an epidural to a cesarian section to having to spend time in the NICU. For me, it’s important to be informed about possible situations that I could encounter and to learn from others experiences. As much as I hope my birth will go smoothly I know that unforeseen situations arise and that’s okay. At the end of the day what I most want and pray for is a healthy baby.

If You Want to Have an Unmedicated Birth Prepare for One

One of the main reasons I chose midwifery care over a doctor for my pregnancy was my desire to have an unmedicated birth. I know that may seem like a lofty goal or unnecessary in the world of modern medicine but I really feel strongly it’s the right choice for me. I also have to credit my mom for inspiring me to desire a natural birth experience and to choose a midwife because she made the same choice for the birth of me and my sister.

Additionally, I’m more comfortable with this model of care since my pregnancy so far has been healthy and without complication. I also find it interesting that most births around the world are attended by midwives and having a doctor present for birth has only become common in the last couple centuries. However, each woman along with her partner has to decide what is best for their particular situation and do what they feel comfortable with. It is also important to research the difference between the midwifery model of care and the techno-medical model of care to be fully informed what one’s options are regarding care during pregnancy and birth.

One book I have found very helpful is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. As a midwife, Ina May approaches childbirth as a natural part of life that a woman’s body is fully capable of the undertaking without the use of pain medication, and unnecessary medical interventions. Instead, she outlines strategies to cope with the pain such as soaking in a tub, massage, positive affirmations, a dimly lit room, an atmosphere of relaxation and calm, moving around in labour, letting gravity work for you, eating and drinking during labour and trusting the women’s body to perform. Granted not all midwives exactly line up with her views and not all doctors use unnecessary medical interventions.

Nonetheless, as a mom to be I want to be aware of how I can best be prepared and what points I want to talk about with my midwives to ensure we are all on the same page for birth.

The following video is a Ted Talk given by Ina May that better explains her views on birth and why it is not something that needs to be feared.

Research Baby Must-Have Products and What Other Mom’s Regret Buying

Currently, I live in a very small apartment. As such I don’t want or need a ton of baby stuff. The most helpful thing I’ve done to ensure I’m not adding too many things to my registry or to buy list is watching YouTube videos and reading blogs from other first time and more experienced moms on what products have been most useful for them. I also find it super helpful to learn about products that they thought they were going to need but ended up regretting.

A few must-have products I’ve included on my registry are:

Some not as essential products include:

  • wipe warmer
  • diaper genie
  • change table
  • nursing pillow
  • expensive diaper bag
  • bottle warmer

Every baby is different and these lists aren’t universal but before spending a lot of money I like to make sure I’m buying a product that is worth my investment.

My favourite YouTube videos for baby product reviews:

People are Very Generous <3

Finally, when people find out you’re expecting, especially your first they can be very generous. I’ve had a few moms from our church give us hand me down baby clothes and extra baby products they didn’t use. As well our families have been extra generous in supplying the larger baby items we will need.

As a first-time mom, being somewhat young and not having a ton of extra income to splurge on baby things I have been so overwhelmed with people’s generosity towards our little family. Once again God has shown us that He will provide for us and we don’t have to worry. God gave us Baby K in His timing and we knew that He would help us provide for this little blessing.

I know that one day when I can help out a young family I’ll understand how much it will mean to them.


For more information on midwifery check out the following resources:

Canadian Association of Midwives

American College of Nurse-Midwives

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/GlobalMidwifery.asp

The State of the World’s Midwifery


For more on my pregnancy and postpartum journey read:
1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

Baby K Gender Reveal!

We are having a GIRL!

 

Paintball Gender Reveal

We are so excited to welcome our little girl this October!

We didn’t paint this tree stump. While looking for parks to host our party we first visited this park. As we took a walk around Mike noticed a message on this tree stump. We walked over and could not believe what it said! This was before we had found out we were having a girl. Immediately we knew God was confirming our intuition and that this was the park for the party. 


Almost from the beginning of my pregnancy, I knew we were having a girl. I was 99% sure, even Michael had an inkling our baby was a girl. We even bought a pink snowsuit on clearance back in February because I was so certain. Now I cannot wait to see our babe in her soft, cuddly snowsuit this winter! <3 I’m also excited to buy tons of bows! If you know of any good Etsy shops (that ship to Canada) please leave a comment! I just adore baby’s in bows.

We also decided early on to host a gender reveal party and we knew we wanted to involve paintball in the reveal. Originally we were going to shoot blue or pink paintballs but it’s nearly impossible to find those colours. Instead, we filled various balloons with pink paint and shot at them with our guns (be sure to watch the video below to see how we did this).

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The grandpa’s with their t-shirts

My  father-in-law’s wife made up t-shirts for the grandpa’s to have as a keepsake since fathers day was the next day. I know the shirts look various colours but that is due to the colour of paintballs we used. Since the paint is water based it will wash out but the pink paint is fabric paint and permanent.

Prior to the party, we had our 20-week ultrasound at the hospital, unfortunately, their policy includes not revealing the gender during the appointment. Following that extremely disappointing day, we had to wait another week and a half to find out from our midwife that we were indeed having a girl.

We were both thrilled to finally find out our baby was a little girl. Especially because we had absolutely no boy names chosen and only a couple girl names we both liked. With that being said, we have chosen to keep our baby’s name a secret until she is born.

After we found out the gender we began to plan for the party. June 17 was the perfect day to gather with family and close friends at an outdoor local park to celebrate. I made strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (adapted from this cake recipe, just cook for 15-20 minutes), and we had hamburgers and sausage along with other snacks brought by our guests.

Another fun thing we did was have our guests wear the colour they predicted of the gender. Surprisingly we had a pretty even split between blue and pink.

Following the reveal, we played some minute to win it games, which are always a hit!

The first game we played involved solving a simple 9 piece puzzle blindfolded with assistance from a partner using limited words. The second game involved blowing up a balloon, placing it under one’s shirt, holding a ping pong ball between the legs and waddling over to a cup and dropping the ball in. This was so hilarious to watch! Finally, we played a game called bottle to bottle where two baby bottles (or 2L pop bottles filled with gum balls) are taped at the opening but a divider is placed using tape and skittles have to be shaken from one side to the other. It’s a lot harder than it looks!

Overall despite getting rained on at the beginning, we had a wonderful gender reveal for Baby K. To see how we executed our gender reveal or to see a demonstration of the games we played be sure to check out our Vlog below!

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To read more pregnancy updates check out the following posts:

2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)

Before I found out I was expecting I could not wait to be pregnant. I used to tell my husband that “I would be so happy if I was pregnant!” because I just knew that pregnancy would be amazing like everyone says and plus you get this cute bump to show off. I had no idea how much work it is to be pregnant! Despite the downsides of pregnancy I can never take for granted the ability to carry a child and I am grateful for this privilege every day. Especially the fact that I’m able to go through this experience with my husband. This has made the journey so much more special.

As I found out pregnancy isn’t all having a wonderful glow and feeling baby kicks. There are days when you don’t want to leave the house or you just go back to bed because you’re so sick. I wasn’t prepared for this reality before becoming pregnant. I’m one of those people who have to experience something before I can form an opinion on it. Pregnancy has definitely been one of those things.

If you’re a first-time mom to be or even hope to have kids one day I hope this post will be informative and encouraging <3

Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy

1. The first trimester is awful

Basically, you enter a level of exhaustion unknown to those not pregnant. This occurs partly because your body is creating a new ORGAN also known as the placenta. It’s a lot of work to grow this structure and your constant desire to sleep will keep you alerted to this new phenomenon.

Couple exhaustion and not wanting to do anything but lie on the couch with intense nausea and vomiting. Now all women experience this symptom to a varying degree (I threw up as much as 12 times a day). Either way, it is not pleasant.

Try your best to stay hydrated and nourished. Some of my favourite things to drink and eat were cold smoothies (to soothe my throat) or popsicles, applesauce, yogurt, cold sliced oranges (I was obsessed), baked potatoes, plain bread and of course ginger ale. Later on, I also started drinking ginger peach tea in the morning and cold lemon water during the day (both help with nausea).

You may become averse to certain smells or foods (such as eggs). Some women take offence to a smell so bad they have to leave the room or they will start gagging.

Another symptom I experienced in the first trimester was feelings of sadness and being overwhelmed because it felt like nausea would never end. Sometimes I would burst into tears on the bathroom floor after puking or lying in bed because I was so tired.  At the same time, I was worried about falling behind in school and all the extra things my husband had to take on because I just couldn’t do anything other than rest.

At the same time, it’s so important to have support when you’re pregnant especially in the beginning stages. Even if someone can come over for a few hours and help clean your house or even bring a meal it can make a huge difference! One thing I really appreciated was my mom coming over. One day, she brought over food for us, cleaned up our apartment and even washed my hair. She went through the same symptoms when she was pregnant with me (and teaching school), so it was nice to have someone who understood exactly what I was going through.

2. Early midwife/doctor appointments aren’t very exciting

My very favourite appointment was the one where we could finally hear the baby’s heartbeat at around 8-10 weeks. I could listen to that sound all day! Prior to that we basically just talked with our doctor after confirming I was pregnant and then at our first midwife appointment we just made sure I was a good fit for midwifery. I was also given requisitions for blood work and our first ultrasound. Even now at 21 weeks my appointments mainly consist of talking about how I’m feeling, getting updates on any tests or ultrasounds and then listening to the heartbeat.

One thing I do appreciate about having a midwife is the appointments are scheduled for an hour and they don’t rush you even if you run over your time. In contrast to having an OB where you only get to see them for a limited time.

In the beginning, there are a lot of appointments to attend and schedule. At the same time, it’s all exciting and new and everything is for the baby which is very special.

3. Don’t expect to start showing until at least your 5th month

With your first pregnancy, all of your abdominal and uterine muscles are pretty tight since a baby has never stretched them out before. As such your stomach doesn’t grow too much in the first half of pregnancy. However, everybody is different and you may show earlier or later in your pregnancy.

I’m almost 21 weeks and still don’t have a very noticeable “bump”. When I look in the mirror I can see that I look pregnant but I’m still able to wear all my normal clothes. In fact, wearing a loose shirt or dress I don’t even appear pregnant to others. Sometimes I’m okay with this because I don’t want the attention of people looking at me or touching my stomach. At other times I wish people could see that I’m pregnant so they could understand why I’m maybe a little tired or slower or why I’m parking in the expectant mother spot.

4. You think about food all the time

I’ve studied nutrition in undergrad so I am very aware of the nutrient needs of the body especially before, during and after pregnancy while breastfeeding. Even though I have this knowledge I still find it difficult at times to keep up with eating enough. I struggle with this for a few reasons. First, I experienced morning sickness for about 6 weeks until it got more manageable so I basically had no appetite. Secondly, I’m not a very big eater, so having to eat every 2-3 hours is not something I’m used to. Thankfully pregnancy has increased my appetite when I do eat and I’ve learned what types of foods I like to eat best.

Before talking more about food, it is imperative whether one is already expecting or thinking they may conceive to be taking a prenatal supplement. In fact, Dieticians of Canada recommends that every woman of childbearing age should take one or at least 3 months before you become pregnant. When choosing a prenatal vitamin look for one that contains 400 mcg of folic acid, vitamin B12, and 16-20 mg of iron.

Now onto the food! Usually, in a typical day, I will eat

Breakfast: 1/4-1/2 C oatmeal with half a sliced apple, 1/4 C raisins, cinnamon and milk heated in the microwave for 2 minutes. Not only is this meal filling because of the fibre from the oats it helps prevent constipation which is a symptom many pregnant women face as the smooth muscles of the intestines relax.

Snack: plain yogurt with honey, granola, chia seeds and fruit, applesauce, cheese and crackers, a can of tuna with mayo on crackers or hummus and rice crackers.

Lunch: leftovers, or part of a crustless quiche made with veggies or sometimes a salad with fruit, nuts, and cheese.

Supper: meat or fish such as ribs, pork, beef or chicken with a vegetable or salad and either potato, sweet potatoes or rice. Some of my go-to suppers include: stir-fry, baked chicken thighs finished with bbq sauce and bread crumbs, pasta bake with tuna, fajitas in the crock pot or chilli with black beans or lentils (also a great source of folate).

Typically after supper, I’ll have another snack like fruit and yogurt or a PB and J sandwich.

I’m pretty much thinking about food all day. I always ensure to have my water by my side. I like juicing half a lemon and adding it to my water because it tastes like sugar-free lemonade and I tend to drink more water that way. I also find it helpful to have a container with a straw so I can quickly sip water whenever I need it.

One more thing I would add is to be aware of how much sugar you are consuming. It is very important your blood sugar stays consistent rather than fluctuating. As this can affect the baby’s growth. Eating wholesome meals filled with fibre, fruit, and vegetables will ensure you are not craving sugar throughout the day.

Be sure to check out my post on Healthy Pregnancy Snacks for more ideas!

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5. Trust your instincts

Ever since finding out I was pregnant (even before when I suspected I was) my mom instincts and protective instincts have been very present. I’m highly aware of activities that could be dangerous for me or my spouse.

Overall though I feel a lot braver. I know I would do anything for my child, even before they are here. If someone says something about our baby or I’m not okay with something I feel a lot more freedom to speak up and not care as much what other people think. I want the best for my baby and I know that I have to trust my gut.

If you feel like something is wrong or you have a question call your midwife or doctor or go to the emergency room. You’re pregnant and your health and the baby’s health are a priority. Don’t let other people discourage you from asking for help. Or entice you to do things you absolutely don’t want to do. You know what is best for your child and no one else should have that power over you.

As I said above I am incredibly grateful to be pregnant and to be halfway through my pregnancy. I hope that any new moms find this post helpful and insightful <3

For any seasoned moms, what are some things you would add to this list?

To Read Part 2 Click Here


Sources:

Prenatal Nutrition Guidelines for Health Professionals: Folate Contributes to a Healthy Pregnancy [Health Canada, 2009]. (2017). Hc-sc.gc.ca. Retrieved 10 June 2017, from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/pubs/nutrition/folate-eng.php

Do I Need a Supplement?. (2013). Dietitians of Canada. Retrieved 10 June 2017, from https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Supplements/Do-I-Need-a-Supplement-.aspx


To read more pregnancy updates check out the following posts:

1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

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Second Trimester Update (21W2D)

I’m officially feeling pretty normal (finally!). Although I do still get sick some mornings since I have stopped taking Diclectin. However, other than getting sick once or twice a week I have been feeling really good.

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Exciting things about the second trimester:

  • feeling the baby move! Last week (20 weeks) I was sitting in my chair at my desk working on my online classes late in the evening and I felt movement in my stomach that was not from me and like nothing I have ever felt. It felt like Baby K was doing somersaults inside of me. It felt pretty cool and I for sure knew it was the baby moving. This past weekend I felt the baby kick my hand while lying in bed. Michael also got to feel the baby move <3 We are both loving this new stage of pregnancy!
  • finding out the gender! We had our 20-week ultrasound a week and a half ago. It was quite a long one because they look at the baby’s anatomy. I enjoyed it because I just got to lay there and it felt like a stomach massage. Unfortunately, at the hospital, our midwife clinic sent us to the technician could not tell us the gender. We were both very disappointed in having to wait even longer. We are planning on throwing a gender reveal party and posting the result on our YouTube channel.

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Cravings

I haven’t had a ton of cravings. I usually crave salty over sweet foods. However, I did have a random craving for mint Oreos and I’ve really been wanting ice cream like the cones from McDonalds or DQ. Other than that I really enjoy comfort type food. Tonight I finally made chicken pot pie (this recipe is so good and pretty easy) and it was amazing. Also foods like mashed potatoes, homemade mac n’ cheese, soup, anything with gravy or PB and J or grilled cheese sandwiches when I get hungry at night.

Body Changes

In the past week, I have really started to feel pregnant. I can tell I’m growing and my bump is becoming a bit more visible depending on what I’m wearing. I like wearing fitted dresses because they’re not pants and my bump is more visible. Also, sleep has become a little uncomfortable because I’m trying to only sleep on my sides in order to not cut off circulation by sleeping on my back, although I find that position really comfortable. Thankfully I’m able to get a lot of sleep and take naps because I get tired throughout the day or after cooking.

A few people have commented that I have a pregnancy glow and my hair feels the healthiest it has ever been. I’m definitely enjoying those perks.

I also find that even though I’m drinking a lot more water than normal my mouth feels dry.

Overall I’ve been feeling great since about 16 weeks. I’m trying to savour this time because I know things are going to get a lot more uncomfortable. Although I am excited to look bigger and buy some maternity clothes.

We are also very thankful that our 20-week ultrasound showed a healthy, well-developing baby. Baby K is about 10″ long and weighs just over 10 oz, about the size of a carrot.

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For more on my pregnancy and postpartum journey read:
1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding

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First Trimester Update

As of today, I am 12 weeks! I am so happy to be coming out of the first trimester. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the second trimester so my hopes are somewhat high that I’ll be feeling better and more energized. Today I wanted to take a moment and share how my first trimester has been.

First Trimester Update

Choosing to be Thankful

At 6 weeks I found out to my joy and surprise that I was indeed expecting. Initially, I was shocked but also very happy. I have always wanted and dreamed of having a family, yet I never really thought it would happen this soon. Before I go on though I want to express how truly grateful I am for this pregnancy and that I don’t take the ability to conceive or carry a child lightly. I am very aware of the high rate of miscarriage and the myriad of difficulties many women face when trying to conceive. As I write and share my experiences I always try to keep in mind the experiences of others and be sensitive. I thank God every day for this precious life inside of me. Although I don’t enjoy feeling sick or throwing up, each time I do it reminds me of the gift I’m blessed to carry. During the low times, I’ve tried to remember this and not complain about how unglamorous pregnancy can sometimes feel.

Pregnancy Surprises

Yes, pregnancy is not easy but I am so grateful to be able to experience it. One thing that has surprised me is how emotional I’ve been. A lot of times I try to hold back the tears but if I watch anything remotely sad I can feel the tears start. For example, I was watching a prank video on YouTube with Mike of this guy proposing to his girlfriend in a mall, but she rejected him. The whole crowd of people just laughed at him, except for one guy who gave him a hug. I just could not help crying even though I suspected it was fake. I just felt so bad for the poor guy. I also cry when I’ve been sick and throwing up constantly and it seems like I’ll never feel like myself again or be able to eat. Sometimes it’s hard to see an end. I also have no idea what it’s going to be like to have a baby. I’m excited in the sense that I will have my own baby. At the same time, I’m scared because I feel so unprepared and inexperienced. Maybe my emotions are how I’m expressing this fear and just how overwhelmed I sometimes feel. Either way, sometimes it feels good to cry.

Something that has really helped during the low times is reading scripture. This blog has some really great encouraging verses to meditate on during pregnancy. I also find that reading a few chapters from the Bible before bed is very powerful. I am reminded of how alive God’s word is and how much strength I gain from it.  I would really encourage you to make time for God, even if you’re feeling sick or down.

Eating and Craving

As I mentioned above eating and keeping food down has been a struggle. I find I don’t have the biggest appetite and when I try to eat more than I can, I feel sick after. Usually, I just try to eat small manageable snacks throughout the day like apples and cheese, peanut butter on an English muffin, yogurt with fruit, oranges (I love fresh, juicy fruit!), milk, a bagel, applesauce, smoothies, soup or sandwiches. My medication has at least allowed me to keep more food down during the day, which I am so grateful for.

Energy

Physically, I have noticed an increase in energy since around week 10. I was able to clean up a bit and do some laundry this past weekend which was awesome. I feel so much better when things are clean and put away. I find that after being out for a few hours I get tired and need a nap when I get home. I don’t feel guilty about sleeping because I know this is only a temporary luxury! Overall I haven’t felt generally sick as I did before, I would say I feel good about 60% of the time. In the morning and evening’s I get nauseous or after long car rides. I would also say I have a ‘baby’ baby bump beginning to show, which makes me super excited! One lady at church even noticed I was beginning to show a teeny bit (:

Overall I haven’t felt generally sick as I did before, I would say I feel good about 60% of the time. In the morning and evening’s I get nauseous or after long car rides. I would also say I have a ‘baby’ baby bump beginning to show, which makes me super excited! One lady at church even noticed I was beginning to show a teeny bit (:

I am feeling a lot better than I did and I’m looking forward to finishing classes soon. I have two more papers and then studying for four exams during April. Following that, I’ll be taking a few summer courses to finish my degree and graduate in October!

THANK YOU! <3

Lastly, I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me either on here or otherwise. I read every comment and message and it honestly means so much to me! <3 Michael and I are so grateful for everyone’s love, support and excitement during this very special time in our life! <3 I look forward to sharing more updates!


For more on my pregnancy and postpartum journey read:
1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding
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And Baby Makes 3 Newlywed Reflections~ Month 10

To read the rest of this series click here: Newlywed Reflections

Get ready for baby Kramer coming October 2017!

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I realize my last post was a little bit on the sad side, looking back I realize my hormones were going crazy during that time and as a result, my perspective wasn’t the clearest. I also had a super busy week full of meetings, assignments, presentations and just trying to make it through to reading week. Thankfully I made it to reading week and spent most of the week relaxing, puking and trying to keep down food :p Overall the break was much appreciated even if I wasn’t feeling the greatest! I also realized how important it is to prioritize self-care and not procrastinate on my assignments. I’m working on taking more downtime for myself, whether that’s reading, taking a bath or going for a walk and starting early on my assignments.

How we found out:

After a very stressful week prior to reading week, I was feeling very tired and starting to feel under the weather. On Saturday I went out during the day with my mom, in town.

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I had an unusually big appetite, but I was also exhausted and feeling sick by the afternoon, so I went home. At home, I was really sick, went to bed crying and slept for most of the day. Michael was gone to his friend’s house, so I texted him and told him how I had been feeling. He questioned whether I could possibly be pregnant, but I brushed it off and said I’d take a test the next day to rule it out (although my period was two weeks late at the time and I had been having vivid dreams for the past week, I was in denial about being pregnant). I woke up Sunday morning and immediately took a test (a long time ago we ordered these cheap tests from Amazon, they saved us a ton of money and I ended up being able to take 4 tests to confirm). To my utter surprise and amazement, the test immediately showed two pink lines!

I went into the bedroom and collapsed on the bed and told Michael to go look. He was still half asleep though and didn’t really fully realize what I was telling him. After he looked at the test he wanted me to take another one, to make sure. Once again the test turned positive right away. At this point, we were both shocked and just overwhelmed by this new reality. I was really happy when we found out and couldn’t stop smiling the entire day. Although at first, we didn’t feel the exact same emotions, we eventually both came around are both really excited to be welcoming our baby this October!

Young Marriage: Baby Makes 3

How I’ve Been Feeling

This first trimester has been rough! At six weeks nausea hit me hard. Thankfully I was on Reading Week, I was able to just rest and not go anywhere. I have to take a moment and give a huge shoutout to my incredible husband, who took the BEST care of me. He was by my side as I puked, he did dishes, got groceries, brought me food, always ensured I had various fluids, made me smoothies and fulfilled my prescription among other things he does to take care of me. Plus he did all this while working nights. Honestly, he is my hero <3

I still feel sick right when I wake up and later in the day. Other than that it has been more manageable and I’m starting to catch up on my schoolwork. Week six was the worst and since then it has gotten gradually better. I know from my mom and grandma they were both sick for 5 months, so I’m not expecting it to completely stop anytime soon 🙁 Although I am very grateful for diclectin!

I’m currently 10 weeks, 6 days. Almost out of first trimester! Although this trimester has been rough, I am very grateful to be pregnant. I truly cherish the privilege to be able to carry a life within me <3

Be sure to keep checking in with my blog as I plan on posting pregnancy updates regularly!

Here’s fun little video I made with my husband on our pregnancy announcement

CLICK HERE TO READ: Being Married Young is Hard Newlywed Reflections~Month 9

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CLICK HERE TO READ: 5 Things I Would Say to a New Bride Newlywed Reflections~Month 11

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To read more pregnancy updates check out the following posts:

1st Trimester Update
2nd Trimester Update (21W2D)
3rd Trimester Update
Everything No One Tells You About Your First Pregnancy (Part 1)
Everything No One Tells You About You’re First Pregnancy (Part 2)
Baby K’s Birth Story + Baby K’s Birth Story Part 2
Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum
What to Eat While Breastfeeding