Practice Makes Perfect

The last few days have been insane. Friday night after Bry left for work I started having contractions. 2 hours of regular contractions that were about a 3 on a scale from 1-10. I called my doctor and was told to wait until I couldn’t talk through them, my water broke or I experienced bleeding. They were 30-40 seconds long and 2 minutes apart. I started running through everything in my head: I need to shower! I need to put the boppy in the hospital bag! I need to get dressed! I need to take care of Lily! I need to call Bryan!!

And then, they were gone. I woke up the next morning hungry, more than ready to hug and kiss my husband good morning and honestly a bit sad that our baby boy was still in my stomach, so far from my arms.

Bry and I took a nap and had breakfast then went for a 2 mile walk with Lily. In the midst of the walk I started to get slammed with contractions that were lasting just over a minute and were at least a 7 or 8 on a scale from 1-10. I’d have to start waddling as the contraction would come, then breathe really deeply, close my eyes and try my hardest not to tense up or clench my jaw. We finished our walk, drove home and ate some lunch. The contractions were still coming so we laid down and watched an episode of “How I Met Your Mother”. An hour later, the contractions ended as if they’d never begun.

I made it to 36.5 weeks pregnant, we’re guaranteed to have an August baby now and we’re ready any time he is. 3 hours of false labor later, I’m even more excited to meet our little man and ready for some contractions that will actually bring him into the world and into our arms. At the very least I got some practice on utilizing my breathing techniques during contractions 😉

For now, I’m loving and soaking up the moments we have left, just the 2 of us.

Babymoon

What’s a babymoon? It’s a trip one takes with their partner before the baby arrives. One last getaway, so to speak, to enjoy being two, focus on one another and take some time out to relax. Pregnancy and parenthood revolve around that little peanut, as they should, but a babymoon allows you to focus on the unit that brought everything together and strengthen it even more.

I think babymoons are incredibly important! Some people travel to foreign destinations like Aruba or Mexico. Some spend a week at the beach. But a babymoon doesn’t have to be an extravagant, bank breaking experience. Bry and I are certainly not rolling in dough. We’re in our early 20’s, recent college grads still getting on our feet. But still, we made it work and worked within our budget to find a way to still enjoy a babymoon without going even poorer (face it, babies are expensive on their own!)

At 26 weeks pregnant we took a weekend trip to a nearby waterfront town, St. Michaels. Our decision depended on many things. We wanted something affordable which mean driving distance (St. Michael’s was about 2 hours away), something relaxing and quiet (it’s a retirement community by the water, we didn’t want to be around a bunch of drunken or loud people–we’ll have enough LOUD when Jackson comes), something that would allow us to really enjoy one another. St. Michael’s was great for us! We ended up staying at a Bed & Breakfast that was in the heart of town. It was a bit pricier than a regular hotel but allowed us to relax even more, was centrally located so that we were able to walk EVERYWHERE and included breakfast. We walked to all of our meals, saved money in the months before our trip specifically for dinners out and brought snacks from home for midnight feedings.

Our entire trip lasted 3 days and 2 nights, took 4 hours of driving and cost us about $500 total. It was great! We could have kept the price down further by making meals in or eating at cheaper restaurants but honestly as our last getaway for a long time especially as just a twosome, it was worth the splurge. Do I recommend putting some money aside for a babymoon? YES! Even if it’s for a weekend. Even if it’s at a hotel down the street. That time together without any interruptions and time to focus on just one another really is necessary, in my opinion. If you can’t do an entire getaway try a night away, or even a few date nights here or there. With 4 weeks and 2 days left before D-day, we’re trying to make every date night count. After all, he could be here in 4 weeks or 4 days!

 

I have ADD 🙂

Pregnancy & Exercise

It took me a long time to figure out that exercise wasn’t a tool of abuse for my body. It wasn’t a “torture method” to be utilized when I overate, indulged in a bit too many sweets, my pants became tighter or life wasn’t panning out exactly as I’d hoped. I began running because it was my escape. My stress reliever and in many ways it still is. But I’ve also learned that exercise is something I can use for the rest of my life, a friend that will get me through this journey of life stronger and better prepared for whatever I face ahead. I run because I ENJOY it. There are so many wonderful ways to move your body that you should never settle for a type of exercise you don’t enjoy. You’re much less likely to stick with it if you force yourself to do it then if you truly find it enjoying, at least part of the time.

 

Pregnancy has taught me so much about myself, my body and my abilities. Instead of mentally feeling down because I missed a workout or I had a bad run, I am absolutely amazed that at over 6 months pregnant, with this miracle inside me, I even had the ability to run. Before, I’d think “run faster” or “run through the pain” or “pick it up!” Now I think “the biggest challenge is in just beginning. That first step out the door. The ability to just START”. I’ve learned that just getting out there is everything, whether it’s on the asphalt around the block or into the swimming pool or even on my yoga mat. It doesn’t matter how long I’m there for, how far or fast I go, how sore I feel afterward, the fact that I did something, got off my butt and moved is a huge accomplishment in and of itself. At 9 months pregnant on Friday I feel lucky and proud that I’ve kept up exercising throughout my pregnancy and hope it’ll make labor and motherhood just a bit easier.

 

Pregnancy, this incredible, remarkable journey, has taught me the greatest lesson of all:

Cherish everything.

Be thankful for every moment you have with your loved ones, for your ability to run, swim, hike, walk, even breathe. To be grateful for everything you’ve been blessed with even if it seems your life is so far off course or the going is almost unbearable there is someone out there who has it so much worse, and if you just remember to be thankful for what you DO have, to make the best of every situation, the pain you feel in those moments will one day be your greatest stepping stones rather than your boulders of obstacles.

 

I am no longer running. Not because it’s gotten uncomfortable or impossible but because I began having preterm labor symptoms at 33 weeks pregnant. In order to keep our baby boy baking a bit longer I hung up my Asics and took to long walks with Lily and Bry, swimming and light weights (rarely). Now I have to find my mojo to get back on the yoga mat…

Maternity Pictures

As a photographer, I like to document almost everything. I feel pictures are a way to capture moments and memories. Photographs are portals linking the present and future to the past, allowing viewers to be taken back to that moment captures in a series of pixels. One thing I knew from the beginning of my pregnancy was that I wanted to document this time.  9 months is a long time when you’re puking, growing and stretching, eating and planning your way through it but at the same time it seems like it flashes before your eyes. Especially once that new bundle of joy arrives. You forget about the past few months and are only aware of the precious little miracle that journey brought you to. I’ve tried my best through the past 35.33 weeks to document the changes in both pictures and words, to capture this experience to one day look back on and relive. For me, getting maternity pictures taken was a no brainer. This is the only time I will ever carry Jackson Wyatt in my belly. No matter how many pregnancies we have after this, none will ever be the exact same. None will ever include just me and our first born son again. This is one of those experiences that you will never get to recreate and so photographs are a great way to capture this fleeting time.

At 33.5 weeks pregnant I dragged my sleepy husband out of bed, made him dress up, begged my generous mommy to take my camera and instructed her to be “snap happy!” We went to a field by the daycare I grew up attending, right off the running path my husband and I frequent (in running shoes up until 33 weeks pregnant and now in walking shoes with Lily by our side). It was the perfect day: a bit overcast, cooler than the ridiculous heatwave temps we’d been experiencing and fairly unoccupied.

No professional photographer needed. No fancy clothes. No makeup and props. Just our little family off the beaten path capturing one of the most incredible experiences of our life.

I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. They truly capture US.

Planning Ahead

I’ve learned so many things during my pregnancy.  Namely that no matter how much you plan, no matter what you do, there’s very little that’s within your control. For example: morning sickness. Doesn’t always matter if you eat crackers before you get out of bed, eat a BRAT diet so there’s no possible way your body could reject food, take medicines to reduce nausea and eliminate vomiting or even wear seabands until there are permanent notches around your wrists.  Some days you’re going to be slammed with morning sickness and swear up and down that your husband had to birth the next child. Some days you’re going to learn the elegance of puking from a moving vehicle (or in the middle of a crowded cruise ship dining hall during formal dinner). Some days you’re going to feel like a million bucks (or just $5 even). In pregnancy, you can plan until you’re blue in the face and then, in a moment, everything can change.  This extends to: birth plans, due dates (let’s get real, baby will come when baby wants regardless of how much you hanky panky, spice up your food or exhaust yourself logging miles in your walking shoes), energy levels, food cravings and aversions, etc. These 9 months, your body belongs to baby and while you may be carrying him/her in your womb, he’s really pulling the strings.

With that said, there are things you can do to help you feel more prepared. Pack a hospital bag, make a to-do list, write a realistic/dream birth plan (which maintaining the knowledge that it may or may not happen that way), shower whenever you can, sleep when you can, soak up the last few days/weeks with your significant other and even meal plan. 

With less than 5 weeks until our due date, I’ve begun planning ahead in the meal department. I can’t control when he’s coming or even how except from my belly, but I can control having some healthy and fairly easy food to eat once we’re back home recovering and creating a routine. I’ve begun cooking meals that are freezable so that once baby is born we can easily open the freezer, stick the meal in the microwave or oven and dig in! Sure we could order food but it’s neither healthy nor cheap. We could eat frozen dinners but who needs 1,001 preservatives. There are doubtlessly going to be nights we order food in or enlist my mom to pick up some take out. But we’d like to have other choices as well. Choices that are cheap, fast and healthy.

First up: Breakfast bars

Makes 24 single bars

Ingredients

-1c unsweetened applesauce
-1.5c old fashioned oats
-1/4c craisins
-1/4c chopped walnuts
-3 ripe bananas
-1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Mix all ingredients in a large bowl
-Coat a 9″ X 13″ baking dish with nonstick spray
-Pour in mixture
-Cook 35 minutes or until top is no longer wet
-Let sit 10-15 minutes
-Cut into squares and freeze in tupperware (or enjoy immediately!)

These are perfect for quick breakfasts or snacks on the go, crumbled over yogurt or enjoyed even as dessert.