Motherhood

1st Trimester Must Haves

Hello!

I’ve been getting a lot of requests for “pregnancy must haves”, so I thought it made sense to start at the beginning with my 1st Trimester! I’ll post my second trimester list at the end of the trimester so I can make sure to include everything that I’ve used.

I had a very “easy” first trimester, so my list is pretty minimal. But this is what I found worked for me!

  1. Garden of Life (My Kind Organics) Prenatal Vitamin

    I have been taking this same prenatal for a long time. Since we started trying to get pregnant. You’re supposed to start taking prenatal vitamins from the moment you start trying to get pregnant (ideally three months before). This is to ensure that your body is ready and has enough nutrients to grow a baby. You’re also supposed to take them the entire time you’re pregnant, as well as for the whole time that your breastfeeding… so needless to say, you’ll be taking these for a while! I picked this specific kind because it made the most sense to me. I generally try to fuel my body with healthy foods, so I wanted a prenatal that aligned with that. I love this It’s made with ground up fruits and vegetables, so you’re getting everything that you need, but it’s from natural sources. They’re made from 30 organic whole foods (like blueberries, blackberries, green bell peppers, ginger, red cabbage, kale, etc.). But don’t worry, they’re certified, and not some hippy-dippy alternative so you can be sure that you’re getting everything that your doctor recommends.

  2. Full Length Insoles

    My feet (specifically my left one) started KILLING me around Week 16. I started getting cramps right where my big toe meets the rest of my foot. And then because of that I would walk funny and then get cramps in the rest of my foot. I seriously couldn’t even walk a block! My husband did a lot of research (he’s a BIG research guy haha. Makes my life easier that he does it!), and found that it’s a combination of a few things. The first is the weight gain - I had gained about 10 pound at this point in a quick amount of time (as any pregnant woman would), and so my body wasn't used to that. The other thing is that when you’re pregnant you have more blood and your joints start to loosen to prepare for child birth. These two factors were making my arches flatten a bit, which would result in the foot pain. My husband ordered me insoles (only $20!) and I put them in my two most-worn shoes. The pain completely went away in a couple days!!! I’m definitely going to continue to wear them for the rest of my pregnancy… and maybe even longer, because why not? I actually tried another type before these - they weren’t full length, they were just little pads that went under your arches. I hated these as I found they slid around in my shoe even they were supposed to be sticky!

  3. Water bottles - CamelBak Eddy 2 Pack

    Ok, this is a bit of a random one, but I’ve been LOVING my water bottles lately. I find they make drinking water so much easier, because I just have water with me at all times. I’ve also been loving (craving? haha) extremely cold water this whole pregnancy so far. I have two water bottles that I rotate in and out of the fridge so that I always have “fridge water”. My husband is in charge of making sure that there’s a bottle in the fridge before we go to bed, so I can have it in the morning. He only forgot once… and I was so sad that he’s never forgotten again.

  4. Flax Seeds and Chia Seeds

    Flax and chia seeds have both been something that I start incorporating since I got pregnant… but I’m realizing now that I should have been eating more of them when I wasn’t pregnant too! They’re both high in Omega-3’s so I like adding either one or the other depending on what I’m eating. My usual breakfast is oatmeal (half a cup of dry oats), topped with either half an apple or a banana, chopped walnuts, blueberries, and a splash of almond milk. I’ll add in two tablespoons of ground flaxseed to the oatmeal when it’s nearly finished cooking the stove (this will seem like a lot, but I promise it mixes right in and you won’t even know it’s there). Remember to store your flax seeds in the fridge!

    If I’m having a snack (or a quicker breakfast), I’ll have two pieces of toast with peanut butter and jam, with ground chia seeds. I’ll actually spread out the peanut butter, and then sprinkle on a teaspoon of ground chia to each slice. Then when you spread the jam on top of that it kind of all mixes in with the jam so you can’t even notice it.

  5. Snacks - Pressed Fruit Bars

    While I never had morning sickness, I did have the occasional time where I felt like I need to eat RIGHT NOW or else I would feel a little faint. I’m not normally much of a snacker, but during the first trimester I always made sure to have snacks in my bag! I didn’t want to just be eating junk, so I tried to keep my snacks as healthy as possible.

  6. Pregnancy Books - What to Expect When You’re Expecting

    I’ll confess that I haven’t actually read any… but this is a classic and my husband has been reading it over the course of my pregnancy. He’s loves learning about medical things, so it’s almost fun for him haha. I benefit because he tells me the things that I need to know!

Every pregnancy is different… did I miss anything that you found was imperative? Let me know!

Week 22 Update

OHMYGOD THE HEARTBURN! I’ll get back to that later… but ohmygosh, the heartburn is killer haha. Just had to get it out there at the beginning of this post.

Alright - I’m done week 22! These past two weeks since I’ve done my last update have been pretty cool. Week 21 hit, and I suddenly felt pregnant… like for real. My stomach is harder (still not completely hard.. but harder), and I actually keep walking into things with it (like not opening doors wide enough, because I don’t know how big I am hahah). I’m obviously going to grow a lot more, but it’s still cool to see how much I’ve grown already! If I wear tighter dresses you can 100% tell I’m pregnant (in fact, someone congratulated me on my pregnancy for the first time who I hadn’t told I was pregnant! I was so excited haha), but if I wear t-shirt dresses or sweaters you can’t really…

Symptoms:

Heartburn - Ok, remember how at my last update I said that this only happened to me in the mornings, and that I could avoid it if I didn't eat after 9pm?! Well, I definitely jinxed myself. It seriously feels like I’m being actively stabbed for hours in the morning sometimes. It’s so painful. Thankfully it’s still not happening to me every morning, and it’s not happening to me after every meal (like it does most people who have it). I read up all about heartburn, and I’m finishing my meals by 7pm (about 4 hours before I go to sleep), and I’m avoiding greasy, spicy, and acidic foods. I’m really hoping this helps… I’ll keep you updated! I’m currently on day 3 of following this plan and I haven’t had any heart burn (I also go for walks every night after dinner which is supposed to help). Now I’m going to try eating fruit past 7pm to see if my body can handle that.

Back Pain - Nothing too bad, but I do get some back pain when I’ve been sitting too long (either a long car ride, or a long day at work). So maybe once a week I lay down on an electric heating pad and it feels magical!

Other updates:

Weight Gain - On the day that I hit 22 weeks, I had gained 16.7 pounds. They say that from here on out you should gain a pound a week, which will put me around 35 pounds which is right on track. I’m really not doing anything special other than making sure I’m eating enough nutritious calories. I’m not restricting my calories AT ALL.

The Size of the Baby - Ok, so one of my apps says a coconut… the other says a red pepper. I have no idea haha. Week 23 is a grapefruit though!

Kicks? - Ohmygod yes!!!! The day of the Raptors Parade (21 weeks exactly) he kicked and I could actually see it from the outside a little bit (a future sports fan, lol?), and then the next day my husband was able to feel it! Now he kicks so frequently!


Any questions about something I missed?! Let me know!

Week 20 Update

Hello!
I’m not going to do this every week (I don’t think enough changes for me weekly, but I’ll do it when I think enough has changed/there’s an update!). I’m officially done Week 20, and here’s where I’m at!

We did our anatomy scan at week 19... and it’s a boy! I’ve been SWEARING it’s a boy nearly the entire time (there was a two week period in the middle there where I thought maybe it was a girl), but I was 99% sure going into the scan that the baby was a boy.

The anatomy scan takes an entire hour, because it’s not just the sex that they’re finding out, but they’re checking how everything else is progressing as well. Two days later we met with our doctor and we went over the results (the doctor confirmed again that it was boy), and told us that everything else is looking how it should be.

Week 20 was the first week where I all of a sudden realized that I looked pregnant! If I wear a tight dress I look very obviously pregnant, but if I wear shorts and a baggy t-shirt you can’t tell… it’s still all about the clothes. I haven’t been buying anything specifically maternity yet, but I have been buying a few cheap dresses in a size larger than I normally would. T-shirt dresses are my staple for summer, and those are fitting me great still.

New symptoms:

Heartburn. OHMYGOD is this is painful. I didn’t even think it was heartburn the first time, because most pregnant women get it right after they eat a meal… but I was getting it about an hour after I would wake up in the morning. Luckily it’s only happened to me 4 times so far.. but ohmygod is it painful!!! It feels like I’m being stabbed in the heart for an hour straight…. Luckily I think I’ve figured it out how to stop it! It happened if I eat past 9pm or so - so I just make sure to not eat any late dinners. If I have to eat a late dinner, then I make sure to go for a walk afterwards, and that seems to keep it away. Let’s hope it stays this easy to keep at bay!

Shortness of Breath. Definitely not all the time, but my office is up two flights of stairs, and I definitely need to take a minute to catch my breath after I climb all those stairs!

Pee Breaks. Ok, remember how I had to go to the bathroom constantly during the first trimester? Well that’s back (to be honestly it never completely went away haha), but this time I think it’s because of the baby! I’m also still trying to drink a ton of water to stay hydrated, so pretty much every drive we go on involves multiple stops.

Other updates:

The Size of the Baby - He’s about the size of a banana today. I guess it makes sense that my stomach is starting to look like there’s really a baby in there.

Kicks? - I’m pretty sure that I can feel kicks now. very slight, and it kind of feels like a piece of popcorn being popped in my stomach? It doesn’t hurt or feel too uncomfortable… just weird!

Stretch marks? - None so far, but I think those usually come later. From everything I’ve read it’s mostly hereditary. It also doesn’t hurt to stay hydrated (inside and out - so lots of water, and moisturizer before bed). I’ve also heard that a lot of first time moms don’t notice them until after they give birth and their stomach goes back to it’s regular size… we’ll see!

Overall - I’m feeling great! Again, I hope it continues to stay this way :)

Top 10 Questions

Hi!

I’ve been getting a lot of the same questions, so I thought it would be easiest to answer them all here so they’re all in one place. I’ll answer them quickly here, and then I’ll get more details about some of the questions in future blog posts.

  1. When are you due?

    • At the end of October!

  2. Do you know the sex?

    • We just found out last week… it’s a BOY!

  3. Were you trying to have a baby?

    • Oh my god, yes. If you’re interested you can read about our story here.

  4. Will you raise your baby vegan?

    • Yes! My husband and I are both vegan, and a HUGE reason is because of the health benefits. It doesn't make sense to us to give our child animal products when we firmly believe that they’re not healthy/beneficial. The World Health Organization says that a well planned vegan diet is perfectly fine, so there ya go! Obviously when they’re old enough to make up their own mind they can do what they want… but we’ll just make sure that they know all the information so they can make an informed choice.

  5. Have you craved any non-vegan foods (like meat or dairy)?

    • I actually haven’t had any cravings at all so far… BUT if I did have a craving for meat, I still wouldn’t eat it… to me that’s like asking if I had a craving for dirt, or human flesh haha. It’s just not something I would eat as it doesn’t align with my morals. Plus, there are so many great alternatives these days that I would just eat a vegan version of something.

  6. Are you taking a prenatal?

  7. Did you have any morning sickness?

    • Thankfully no! My mom and grandma didn’t either… so I guess it’s genetics? Whatever the reason, I’m thankful for that!

  8. Are your families excited?

    • Ohmygosh YES! This little guy will be the first grandchild on both sides, so everyone is very excited.

  9. How much weight have you gained?

    • I’m 20 weeks as of June 10th, and I’ve gained about 14 pounds. It’s a little on the higher side, but I’m eating nutritious foods so I’m not worried about it at all. I was also on the smaller side before getting pregnant, so it’s all good!

  10. Is there anything you can’t eat while pregnant?

    • Since I’m vegan, the list is cut down by SO much. A lot of the list is deli meats, soft cheeses, etc. which I don’t eat anyway. It’s just unpasteurized juices and sprouts (since there’s a higher risk they can contain bad bacteria). I wrote a post about my pregnancy nutrition here !

Any more questions? Let me know!

1st Trimester Update

Ok, the first trimester ends around 14 weeks, so I’m a little late on this (ok few months), but better late than never!

When I first got pregnant, I SCOURED the internet looking for week by week updates so I could follow along and see if I was feeling similarly to anyone else out there.

…but then when as I was going through the first trimester, I kept thinking that what I was experiencing was too “boring” (which I know is a good thing!!), so I wasn’t going to post anything. I was talking to a friend and she was saying that every experience is important and that I should talk about it anyway. She pointed out that it might be nice for people who want to get pregnant in the future, to know that it’s not horrible for everyone.

(and if you’re reading this, and first trimester was horrible for you, I’m sorry! But know that even though it’s been relatively easy for me (so far), it definitely wasn’t easy for me to get pregnant in the first place (you can read about that here). I definitely had some symptoms, but nothing that was too bad.

I decided to google common common 1st Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms, to see what I had!

Morning Sickness - I didn’t have this and it took me a while to learn to be grateful haha. It’s such a common thing that you hear about, so I thought it meant that something might be wrong! After lots of reassurance from my doctor, I finally realized this was a blessing. My mom and grandma also didn’t have morning sickness - so maybe it was hereditary?

Food Cravings/Food Aversions - Even more common than cravings in the first trimester, are food aversions. I’d read sooo much about even the healthiest bloggers who couldn't stomach fruit or vegetables in the first trimester, and was scared that that would be me. A super common thing you hear about the first trimester, is just about making it through and to eat whatever your body will allow you to (your prenatal will help you get all the nutrients that you need anyway). I didn’t (and still don’t) have any cravings or aversions… though sometimes I pretend to have a craving for Chipotle haha.

Tender/Larger Breasts - Yes! My boobs went from an A to a B - I thought this would be a good thing, until I had to buy new bras haha. The tenderness was never too uncomfortable, and it mostly went away by the time the first trimester was over.

Increased Urination - OH MY GOD YES. I drink a lot of water, so I pee a ton anyway… but this was CRAZY during the first few weeks after I found out. It was ridiculous. I’d always heard of increased urination as a symptom later on in pregnancy when the baby pushes on your bladder… but turns out it’s a common one in early pregnancy too (apparently this is due to hormonal changes). I was convinced that I had a UTI for a while because I had to pee so much haha.

Constipation - Without going into too much detail… yes, kind of. This is because your body is trying to extract every single nutrient from the food that you eat, and it slows everything down. This went away before the first trimester was over.

Fatigue - Yes, slightly. Nothing too crazy, but I was definitely ready to go to bed after dinner on some nights! To be honest, it was a nice excuse to not stay out so late on weekends haha.

So overall, my first trimester experience wasn’t bad at all. I know it’s not the best time for a lot of people… so I guess I’m here to tell you that everyone is different and you future pregnancy might not be so bad? :)

Pregnancy Nutrition (vegan)

I was a tad nervous when I told my OBGYN and the nurses at the hospital that I was vegan - I’ve done a ton of research and I know it’s healthy (the World Health Organization agrees!), but I still wasn’t sure how they would react.

At the end of our first appointment, the nurse started going over everything I couldn’t eat. She was going on about no deli meats, no soft cheeses, no hot dogs, etc. (everything that I didn’t eat anyway). I told her that I was vegan (just so we didn’t waste her time with the list of things that I wouldn’t eat anyway), and she said, “Oh great! This will be so easy for you. The only things you can’t have are unpasteurized juices and sprouts”. I asked her if there was anything I should watch nutritionally since I’m vegan, and she said she couldn’t think of anything, and it was actually better because I was likely eating more fruits and vegetables than the average person anyway. I was so happy!

The same thing happened about a month later when we met with the OBGYN for the first time. He was so unfazed and we didn’t even talk about it and further.

Even though my blood work came back great, I still wanted to make sure I was on track so I started using an app called Cronometer. I LOVE it, and I actually used it occasionally before I was pregnant. You can use it on your computer or phone, and it’s a nutrition calculator (rather than a calorie counter). I enter in what I eat every single day and I can track to see how I’m doing. I try to hit all the targets everyday, but I’m more concerned about the overall trend rather than the day-to-day. I normally hit between 90-100% of my targets every day which is great!

I noticed that even though the doctor didn’t have any concerns, my calcium was consistently lower than 100% for the day. This actually ended up being an easy fix - I just add a cup of almond milk to my green smoothies and I’m covered (most store-bought ones are fortified with calcium). I’m glad that I was tracking this, or else I wouldn’t have known!

Like any other pregnant woman, I’m taking a daily prenatal. There’s a ton on the market, but it felt important to me to get one that was natural and made with real food. I found one by MyKind Organics, that I really love. It’s made with ground up fruits and vegetables, so you’re getting everything that you need, but it’s from natural sources.They’re made from 30 organic whole foods (like blueberries, blackberries, green bell peppers, ginger, red cabbage, kale, etc.) They’re more expensive that other ones, but I decided it was right for me. (They have one that you can take three times a day, or once a day. I do the once a day ones!). You’re supposed to start taking a prenatal before you even get pregnant, so since it was a process for us to get pregnant I ended up taking them for more than 8 months before we even got pregnant haha. You’re supposed to take prenatals before conception, during pregnancy, and while you’re breast feeding so we got a bundle of them since I’m going to be taking them for a while! They are large, but I got used to them super quick. I also just noticed that it’s suggested you take them with food… I need have (I take it right before bed), and my stomach has been perfectly fine!

Even though the expression is “eating for two”, you’re actually only supposed to have an extra 300-350 calories per day. Between a green smoothie (the one that I add almond milk to), and the occasional toast (see below), I find I’m good! I’m not limiting my calories AT ALL, and I’m eating when I’m hungry and making sure that the majority of it is nutritious food.

I normally ate pretty healthy, so the only things I added to my diet (other than the prenatal) are ground chia and ground flax. They’re both high in Omega 3s, and I add a tablespoon of ground flax seed to my oatmeal every morning (once my oats are nearly done, I just add it in to the pot and mix it in. I don’t even notice that it’s there.)

If I have a snack, I’ll have toast with peanut butter and jam and mix in a tablespoon of ground chia seed to the jam (my trick is to spread the peanut butter on the toast, and then sprinkle on the chia seeds. Then I spoon on the jam and mix it around the toast so the chia seeds become part of the jam… I hope that makes sense haha).

I weirdly find it fun to enter in all my foods and to try to hit 100% of my nutrients every day… :)

Questions? Let me know! Later on, I’ll do more specific “what I eat in a day while pregnant” posts. If you’re interested in snippets of what Im eating in the meantime, I share a lot of that on my instagram :)

Getting Pregnant is HARD!

This seems like the most natural place to start my new “Motherhood” section of the blog, so here we go!

It was a little bit of a journey for me to get pregnant, and it was pretty reassuring to read other stories on the internet as I was going through it so I think it’s so important to add my story as well. Infertility is more common than people think, and it’s important to talk about it. I’ve read HUNDREDS of infertility posts, and I just want to put a reminder out there that people post on there when they’re trying to get pregnant… not many people go back and share their success stories. They’re just so glad to move on from that and on to the next stage. While it can be reassuring to know that other people are going through it too, you can also get stuck in a depressing hole of sad stories and it feels like there’s no hope. So if you’re going through infertility right now, remember that!!

My story is obviously going to be different than others, but hopefully this helps!

Ok, here we go. I have a hormonal imbalance so we always had a feeling that it would be a bit harder for me to get pregnant. My specific hormonal imbalance called PCOS, and while I don’t have all the symptoms, I still have it. I went on the pill to start my period and haven’t really ever had a “natural” period. Right after I got married, I went off the pill (we switched to condoms). We didn't want to get pregnant for another year, but I wanted to see where my body was at and what it was naturally doing. I tracked my periods on an app called “Clue” (highly recommend), and they were all over the place. On average my cycle was 38 days long, but sometimes I wouldn’t have a period for up to 86 days. I tracked it for 11 months before we were ready to start trying. We started trying for a baby on July 2nd of 2018 (how funny is it that I remember the exact day we decided we were ready haha). I had already been in contact with my family doctor who referred me to an endocrinologist who I saw back in January of 2018. She had told me that because I had PCOS, that if we tried for 3 months and didn’t get pregnant, that she would refer me to a fertility clinic. Normally you have to try for a full year before you can be referred, and it’s actually rare to get pregnant on your first try (the opposite of what health class teaches you haha). ANYWAY - because I knew that this likely wasn’t going to go smoothly, I was ALL OVER the fertility sites. Basal Body Temperature is something that sounds hippy dippy, but it’s actually not. You take your temperature every single morning at the exact same time (before you literally do anything - not even get up, or drink water), and it tracks your temperature. A woman’s body naturally rises when she’s ovulating, and then will decrease when she gets her period. You can’t use your BBT to help you get pregnant in that specific month (but the time your temperature has risen, it’s too late), BUT it’s very helpful to look for patterns when you track it month over month. I used one called “Femometer” that I got from Amazon, that was linked to an app and I found it extremely easy to use. If you think you want to start trying to get pregnant in the next year or so, I would highly suggest tracking your BBT now so you can get an idea of what your body is doing (it won’t work if you’re on the pill).

Ok - so after three months and nothing, we went to Mount Sinai Fertility Clinic. They’re amazing, and we had a great experience there. The first couple months are them doing tests on you and your partner. They won’t try to help you get pregnant until they know that your body is ready for a baby. This involves lots of blood work, some shots, transvaganial ultrasounds (not as bad as they seem), and lots of questions. I even printed out all my information from apps about my period and my BBT to show the doctor (#keener). He implied that I was extra, but that it was actually very helpful hahahah. My husband had his sperm tested and all was good there (which was a relief to know that we only had my hormonal imbalance to worry about!). My specific hormone imbalance meant that I had great eggs… they just weren’t releasing on their own all the time.

For the first couple months they started us with “timed intercourse”. That means that I would go in every other day for them to take my blood and do a transvaginal ultrasound (it’s honestly not bad, I promise. Not like a pap test - AT ALL). Once they were confident that I was going to ovulate soon, they would give us three dates and tell us exactly when to have sex (#romantic). This on it’s own wasn’t working, so then they moved on to the next step which was medication. I would still go in for the usual tests, but then they gave me a pill to take daily for 5 days (along with the timed intercourse) just before I was supposed to ovulate. This helped my eggs to release. It didn’t mean that I would necessarily get pregnant, it would just help to “level the playing field” so I had the same chance as anyone else. They start you on the lowest dose, because the higher they go the more likely your chance to have twins (or triplets!). The first month was not successful, but I actually wasn’t stressed about it. For the first time in this whole process I felt reassured that we were DOING something. So, I went through the process for a second month… and it happened!!!! We were NOT expecting it to happen with that low dose of medication and were obviously so so so so so happy! We ended up trying for about 8 months before it happened.
The clinic tells you not to take a pregnancy test, but instead I had to go get blood work. I must be the only person in the world who followed their instructions, because when the nurse called me she said, “did you know you’re pregnant?”, and I was like “Actually?!” and then burst into tears.

And there you have it. I’ll be 20 weeks pregnant on Monday, and it’s hard to believe that we’re halfway there already!