4 Ways To Stay Connected with Your Husband After Having a Baby

Becoming a mother has been a transformative experience. I can live on a lot less sleep than I thought, I can be awoken from the deepest of sleep if I hear my baby stirring and I care much less about my needs or wants now that I have this little life depending on me.

However, it can be easy for me to get so caught up in baby care, especially during the newborn weeks that my husband can take a backseat. Of course, this isn’t intentional but her needs often take priority during this season of life. Now that my baby is just over five months and we are more settled into our parenting roles this is the advice I would give to a new mom who desires to keep her marriage healthy while navigating into parenthood.

1. Know Your Love Language and ASK FOR IT

A lot of the time we are told to know our partners love language so we can love them better. I agree it is important to study your spouse and learn how to fill their love tank. However, when you are postpartum and sleep deprived it’s so important to take care of yourself so that you, in turn, can care for others.

Personally, my love language is physical touch. For me, I need at least 20 seconds of a good, cuddly hug from my husband. After that, I feel so energized, cherished and taken care of. Instead of expecting my husband to read my mind when I’m feeling down I will ask or tell him I need a hug.

If you don’t know your love language take this quiz and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to help you be the best version of yourself for your family.

2. Get Creative With Date Night

Pre-baby date nights were easy. We could stay out late and be spontaneous. Post-baby we’ve had to make a few adjustments. Such as bringing our baby to dinner with us, eating out on a less busy night like Sunday and bringing my nursing cover. As long as we don’t stay out too long, our baby has done great whenever we’ve gone out to eat.

Another option for date night is having your hubby run out to grab a pizza (feta, pineapple, peppers and buffalo chicken was a recent favourite) and then watching a movie after your baby is in bed.

Date night can be tricky with a new baby but it’s not impossible to set aside time for just you and your hubby. Even if the baby has to tag along with you it is important to have intentional couple time.

3. Check in with Your Hubby

One thing that helps me feel connected to my husband is our chats before bed. This doesn’t happen every night because he works continental shifts where he works nights sometimes. However, we often catch up when he gets home.

If we don’t see each other at night we will text throughout the day. I try to be intentional to encourage my husband. I thank him for working hard for our family or I’ll send him pictures of our baby.

4. Affirm Actions You Appreciate in Your Husband

Along with encouraging my husband, I try to notice the things he does well and point them out to him. When we magnify positive attributes in our husbands they are more likely to keep doing those things. If your hubby is really good at responding to your baby’s needs or comforting her be sure to point this out to him.

Positive affirmation is rewarding and people will keep doing things they are appreciated for. Refrain from criticizing and try to speak about the good your husband is doing instead.

A new baby brings a lot of changes to a couple’s dynamic. It can be easy for both mom and dad to shift attention off of each other and onto the new bundle of joy. However, it is important to remember that the best thing you can do for your baby is to have a healthy and thriving relationship with your spouse.

The point is to not put pressure on yourselves, these are just suggestions you may not have thought of or already do. Either way, it’s important that you make an effort to care for your marriage.

Remember staying connected doesn’t have to include a formal or scheduled date night. It just takes remembering to communicate with your spouse, telling them what you need to feel loved, affirming what they are doing well and making time to do things you enjoy together with or around your baby’s schedule.

 

Letting Go of Unmet Expectations in Marriage

A lot of the time life can feel unfair. Part of this feeling comes from expectations being unmet. I certainly expected my present circumstances to be different. I thought I’d work before having a baby, that I’d be in my own home, that I’d live near my family and friends. However, that’s not how life turned out. At times I feel jaded, sad and to be honest angry. I want control of my life.

Lately, I’ve been wrestling with this idea of control over my life. It doesn’t seem fair at times that my expectations of my current reality are unmet. I want to call the shots and know where my future is headed.

Instead of trusting in God’s timing.

Instead of submitting to my husband’s leadership over our family.

Instead of dying to self daily. 

I don’t want to give more grace or forgiveness or understanding or kindness than is being shown to me in return. When as a Christ follower that is exactly what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to follow Jesus example and be kind and tenderhearted and forgiving to those who mock me or treat me wrong. Yet my flesh fights so hard against what I know the spirit wants me to do. Consequently, I often give into the flesh because it’s easy and I’m tired.

My dissatisfaction with certain aspects of my life spiral into a cycle of being miserable. If I’m not happy my thinking is why should the people around me be happy too (the people that I care about and love most). Therefore I’m going to complain, nag and not be as grateful as I should. In my sinful and selfish heart, I want to make it known how I feel.

The common thread here is “I”. Being that I’m married and it’s no longer just “I” but two people striving to be one, I can’t continue living my life through a single self-centred lense.

Yes, it’s not fair that I can’t sleep through the night because I have to feed our precious baby from my healthy and fully functional body. It’s also not fair that my husband has to shoulder all of the financial burdens of our family. I’m only giving one simple example of how our life together isn’t always fair in our share of duties, I could go on. Trust me I’m pretty good at keeping a list of how unequal our contributions are (at least that how it feels sometimes).

I always thought I’d be that wife that wouldn’t mind giving more than I’m getting in return. In reality, I’m actually pretty selfish and would rather be served than serve. At the core of dying to self is serving others. True service like Jesus demonstrated is done out of love without an expectation of receiving anything back in return. Often I want recognition, praise or a returned favour. To me, that’s fair-to give and then get. However, that’s not what I’m called to do.

Perhaps so much of my unsatisfaction which stems from unmet expectations could become obsolete if instead, I decided to truly serve without expectation. If I’m only living for the praise of men I’ll have received my reward here instead of a true reward from God.

Too often I’m focused on earthly things, the day to day minutiae instead of an eternal perspective. Where the annoyances that seem so monumental are less irrelevant than they seem and perhaps they are meant to sanctify me. If life was easy and fun and comfortable I wouldn’t need to change anything or question how I could improve. It’s beneficial to me in light of eternity and becoming more like Jesus to undergo unfavourable circumstances.

I want to resolve to have a changed perspective during 2018. I want to remember that “hard is not the same thing as bad”, to die to self as I serve my family and to live for the praise of my heavenly Father over the temporal praise of men.


Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galations 1:10

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Galations 2:20

Letting Go of Unmet Expectations in Marriage | Courtney Kramer

Everything No One Told Me About Postpartum

Lyla is six weeks old and I finally feel like I’m emerging from the postpartum fog. I expected birthing her to be hard but I was not prepared for the unique and unexpected trials of postpartum life. Of course, I’m so happy to have my sweet daughter but I’m not enjoying the challenges postpartum has brought to me personally. Everyone’s recovery and experiences are different but I want to share my experience in the hope that if you are pregnant or postpartum we can support each other in our journeys.

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Breastfeeding: learning to breastfeed, engorgement, leaky breasts…

Breastfeeding is natural, yes but it’s a skill that both you and baby have to learn. I thought I was prepared to breastfeed, I took a class and read a giant book on the subject. Yet I still struggled to get a good latch (I had to stay at the hospital and work on breastfeeding before being discharged) and to keep my baby alert enough to feed (we had to strip her down to her diaper to feed and use a cold cloth and tickle her to keep her focused). I ended up having to hand express colostrum and feed it through a syringe. Couple these challenges with the afterpains of birth, lack of sleep and a small crowded hospital room-not fun!

I also wasn’t prepared for the seemingly endless hours of feeding known as cluster feeding. Usually, this occurs at night when you are exhausted and wondering how you can stay awake enough to keep nursing. One consolation is that when baby is done you both can finally sleep…for a short few hours.

A few days after finding out what cluster feeding was my milk came in. I was not prepared for how engorged, heavy and lumpy I felt. Not to mention the pain of being so full. However, I was advised to take a hot shower, try some hand expression to relieve some of the engorgement and firmly push down and out on the ducts while nursing to release some pressure.

Finally, don’t forget those breast pads because one look at your baby and the milk can come “pouring” out of your breasts. I was astounded at first by how much milk I was leaking.

Helpful Breastfeeding Supports:

  • My Brest Friend pillow
  • towels, burp cloths, swaddle blankets-anything to wipe up milk dripping on you and the baby
  • co-sleeping + lay down feeding
  • a supportive partner
  • Netflix
  • inexpensive nursing bra’s + bralettes (trust me you’re going to be leaking a lot of milk all over your bra’s)
  • Milkies Milk Saver-this is worn on the breast not used for feeding to catch any milk, it works great and surprisingly catches a lot of milk! It also prevents the mess from leaking.

I’m very thankful for the ability to breastfeed my baby. However, there have been many times where I’ve wanted to give up, partly to get a break from being the sole, on-demand feeder. According to the parenting forums around month, three things will get easier so I’m holding out for that.

Baby Blues

I thought pregnancy messed with my emotions. Well, postpartum really messed things up. Physiologically your progesterone drops (which affects one’s mood) and prolactin increase in order to breastfeed which is good. However, these changes can really affect one’s mental state. For example, I cry when I don’t want to. I’ll be talking to my husband trying to explain something that’s bothering me and I’ll well up with tears. Which make the issue seem way bigger than it really is. In reality, I can’t help the tears from falling out. I’m not trying to get a reaction out of him, my body is just taking over my tear ducts.

Aside from crying are the feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and fear. At times I feel incapable of my role or that I’m doing it wrong. I especially feel this way when I have to get up in the middle of the night and lift her out of her bed to feed or change her. I love my daughter but sometimes I just can’t extend myself any more than I have. This leads to thoughts of “If this is so hard, how could I ever going to care for multiple children?”. I do have a lot of support and encouragement around me but obviously, we are our own worst critic.

Finally, self-care is so important during this period. This is something I discussed with my midwife and she noted how if I take care of myself I will be a better mom. Although I knew this it was a reminder I needed to hear. I try to get out for a daily walk at 2pm each day, I make a point to shower at least every other day, I keep ingredients on hand to make a filling, protein-rich smoothie that I can drink while nursing and somedays I’ll quickly do my makeup while the baby is in her swing and I try to wear something that I feel cute in.

Even though things have gotten better over the last few weeks, my midwife noted that postpartum depression can occur anytime up to two years after giving birth. It’s not always easy to address mental health issues but it is so important to make sure you are taking care of yourself and get support when you need it. Finally, one thing I appreciated was at each of our appointments my midwife would ask how my mood was. Being that I trusted my health care provider I could be open to her about my concerns and she was able to provide any resources I might need.

Bleeding + Padsicles

After giving birth you bleed a lot. Especially in the first few days. This is known as lochia and is due to the placenta being removed. The body has to heal the place where the placenta was attached and until that occurs you bleed. This makes sense because the placenta transferred everything baby needed through blood vessels and when the placenta came out at birth the area has to heal.

Lochia is just another fun thing to deal with after giving birth. Thankfully I have a few tips that can make this time more bearable!

First use disposable type underwear (think Depends, you can get a free sample on their website) for the first few days when the flow is the heaviest (so much better coverage than what the hospital provides). For the rest of the days Always Overnight pads (the purple ones) are great. They have two wings and are super long which provides a lot of coverage. Also, buy some throwaway larger pairs of underwear for the postpartum period. Finally padsicles. Basically, take your pads pour some witch hazel (to help with healing) over them, aloe vera and if you want lavender oil, fold them back up in the wrapper and using a large Ziploc bag store them in the freezer until needed. You can wear them straight from the freezer or thaw them out for a few minutes. Either way the coolness feels amazing, especially during those first very sore weeks.

4th Trimester

Understanding the 4th-trimester concept has changed the way I view my baby’s needs during this newborn period and has allowed me to not feel guilty for putting other things on hold.

The idea of a fourth trimester is about seeing the first three months as baby’s adjustment to the world. They spent the last 9 months in utero, all cozy, warm and constantly fed. On the outside babies still have the same needs to be near to mom, lots of cuddles, feeling secure, eating on demand, sleeping…

With this view in mind, I’ve tried to put less pressure on myself in regards to anything that would take me away from the baby. If I’m stuck on the couch cluster feeding for a few hours and just watching Netflix I don’t feel guilty.

Especially in the first few weeks when you’re healing, in pain and can barely walk it’s best to just lay low. Your family, visitors and friends should understand and will most likely be willing to help out with meals, dishes, cleaning or anything else you need.

Remember babies are only babies for such a short time so savour each moment!

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Everything No One Told Me About Pospartum


The Christian Postpartum Course by Angie Tolpin

Nothing in this post is sponsored. However, I did want to share one final resource I stumbled upon thanks to Audrey Rollofs Instagram story about a postpartum course offered by her friend Angie Tolpin of the blog Courageous Mom. Audrey herself struggled a lot postpartum (her sweet daughter Ember is 2 months old), she had troubles breastfeeding and mastitis twice. Since Angie was a personal friend she was able to reach out to her for support. Unfortunately not everyone has a friend like Angie. That is why she created the Christian Postpartum Course.

Who is Angie Tolpin? 

Angie is a mom of 7 with a heart for helping moms in all areas of pregnancy, birth, postpartum and parenting. She created a course that combines practical advice and tips along with a biblical perspective. She even addresses intimacy after having a baby.

Angie shares that:

Unfortunately, many women are not willing to talk about postpartum and those who do, are shining God’s glory in ministering to their sisters in humanity through sharing what God has taught them, but many times they either cannot offer Biblical insight ALONG WITH PRACTICAL TEACHING THAT HELPS or they are not offering that teaching from a Biblical perspective at all.

To find out more about the course click here.


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’s Birth Story

Welcome to our family Lyla Dawn Kramer <3

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The past two and half weeks have been filled with so much change, so much love and a lot of learning!

We are so thankful for the safe and healthy arrival of our sweet 7lb 9oz, 54 cm Lyla Dawn. She is truly the greatest blessing me and Mike have ever been given and we are so in awe of our precious daughter.

Now onto the birth story!

Baby K’s due date of  Tuesday, October 17 came and went to our dismay. On Friday, October 20th I had my 40-week midwife appointment. Since Mike was working my mom accompanied me. Prior to this appointment, my midwife had discussed doing a stretch and sweep to help labour commence.

Thankfully my cervix was facing forward which made the procedure somewhat more bearable. Although it was painful especially in my back, which I did not expect. Nonetheless, I bore through it hoping I would get to meet my baby soon.

I was happy and surprised to learn I was dilated to a 3 as I hadn’t felt much significant pain other than a few jabs of back or stomach discomfort before this appointment. This also meant if I had to get induced my body was ready and would not need to be prepped by another procedure to open up my cervix. At this point, we impatiently waited for Baby K to start things. However, I was prepared to be overdue as most first babies don’t come early.

The rest of the day I felt tired and not super great. Other than a bit of cramping I really didn’t have any signs that labour was imminent. I did try to walk a bit around the mall with my mom before having lunch and heading home and resting.

If my labour did not progress naturally I would be induced the following Friday and undergo two more ultrasounds to ensure the baby was doing well. Nothing happened all weekend so on Tuesday I headed to my ultrasound appointment with Mike.

Everything looked good until we got to the movement part of the test….

One of four things the technician was looking to see was Baby K flexing her hands a few times. She moved her hands a little bit but not satisfactorily for the test. We met with the radiologist and after he tried to get her to move and she wouldn’t he advised us to come back the next day for a followup ultrasound. He also called our midwife and gave her the results of the test. The midwife had us go to the hospital for a non-stress test where they monitored the baby’s heartbeat and I pressed a button every time I felt her move. Thankfully the test turned out fine and Baby K gave some good movements.

Our midwife also met us at the hospital and we discussed the possibility to be induced the next day instead of in two days (since we would have to come back to have our follow up ultrasound anyways). The hospital had an opening for an induction and since I was already 41 weeks 1 day I bumped two other women off the list in terms of priority.

The following morning we headed to the hospital for our ultrasound. After being triaged in the maternal unit we waited about two and half hours for the doctor.  At this point we were both tired, frustrated with the long wait and wondering whether we would still get induced that day.

We completed the ultrasound and Baby K did great! She was a lot more active than the previous day. Unfortunately, though, the hospital was behind on inductions and we were told to go home and wait for a phone call to come back.

As much of a letdown as it was going another day without having the hope of meeting Baby K we were both tired and being able to get extra sleep, clean and prepare some food was a good thing.

The next morning I received a call from my midwife at 9 to update me on the hospital. More women had gone into spontaneous labour (lucky them!) and there were not any available beds. She said she would call me back around noon with another update. The upside was every day longer we waited our priority on the induction list increased.

At 11:30 our midwife called to tell us the hospital had a bed for us and we should head to the hospital as soon as possible. We quickly texted our families to share the anticipated news that we were finally being induced and drove the half hour to the hospital…

Click here to read Part 2!

My Birth Story


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

Baby K’s Baby Shower

I’m currently 39 weeks pregnant which means we are one week from my due date of October 17! I can’t believe how fast this pregnancy has flown by after the beginning stages feeling like they lasted forever. Alas, we are all ready for Baby K (thanks in part to the generosity of my baby shower) and are so anxious to meet her and introduce her to everyone.

Our wonderful church family hosted the most beautiful shower

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Me, my mom, sister and grandma’s <3
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Such a beautiful and well-planned shower hosted by our church family! Baby K got spoiled <3
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I can’t even handle the cuteness of this coat!

I’m also set to officially graduate on October 27! Currently, I’m unsure if I will be able to attend the ceremony. Yet I am going to try my best not to miss this monumental moment. Upon graduating and having Baby K I plan to take some time off. Although in the interim I would like to volunteer within my field, attend some networking events and a Home Economics conference in March.

Baby K is not the only change to our lives this fall, as Michael has started a new transportation job in a steel factory and as a result, we are moving. Although all these changes are good for us I’m also sad to be closing a chapter of our lives.

On the one hand, I appreciate that upon moving we will be less than 20 minutes from Mike’s work rather than an hour and he won’t have to traverse snowy, deer infested backroads anymore. Although moving is not fun, packing up our apartment has helped me pass the time while waiting for Baby K. Furthermore we will be closer to Mike’s family and still within an hour of my family.

However leaving our quaint small town, possibly our church and an area that I’ve lived in my whole life to move to the outskirts of a large city with a newborn is not the easiest transition. That being said we did only move to our current location to allow me to finish University and knew that eventually, we would be relocating. Nonetheless, I will miss the walkability of our neighbourhood, our late night McDonald’s runs and the charming rural atmosphere of our community. Our first tiny apartment and wonderful town we’ve called home for the past year and a half will always hold many special memories for us.

To be honest, as I think about these changes I can often get wrapped up in my emotions. As I want things to stay the same although I know that’s not the best for us. I wonder if we will be able to find the same community we experience now with our church, whether I’ll meet other young moms and make friends and how long we will live in this next location.

I can at times get too consumed with worrying and certainly hearing others concerns also makes me worry more.  Yet, at the end of the day, I quell my fears by trusting that a lot of what’s happening in my life is not in my hands. We prayed for God to open up this opportunity for a better position for Michael and he proceeded through the hiring process fairly quickly. Furthermore, He provided a larger place for us to live that we could move into not long after the baby comes. Plus Michael only has to commute a long distance for a limited time. Certainly, there are upsides to relocating and I don’t need to worry about the future.

I have to put my trust not in man, or my husband or other people but in God. I know that no matter what happens or where we move He will watch over me and protect me. The best thing I can do when I feel uncertain or overwhelmed is to pray about the situation. Only God can change hearts, or direct others steps. I may have an influence but God has the power to effect His will in our lives.

A man’s heart devises his way: but the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

I have to leave my anxieties, worries, and questions with God. I have to trust my husband and know that these next steps are what is best for us as a family, although it’s not easy for us, it’s good. As a wife, I want to be supportive of my husband.

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phillipians 4:6

I’m not perfect at espousing these truths and sometimes my pregnancy hormones make me cry when I think about all the coming adjustments. Most of the time I am excited and look forward to the future but other times I feel uncertain of this new chapter. I will have family close by so that is a huge blessing for sure.

However, my deepest desire and comfort rests not in man but in trusting God through prayer and dwelling on His word.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from Him.
Truly He is my rock and my salvation;
    He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to Him,
    for God is our refuge.

Psalms 62:5-8

3rd Trimester Update

In lieu of being 37 weeks tomorrow 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 this 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 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. 

A First Time Mom's Third Trimester Update


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

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST BE SURE TO CLICK BELOW TO SHARE IT

 

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

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST BE SURE TO CLICK BELOW TO SHARE IT

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