Category Archives: Pregnancy

Packing our bags for our biggest summer adventure yet

This “Flavor Your Adventure” post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more snack ideas to “Flavor Your Adventure” this summer, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Just the other day, I was feeling sorry for myself when I realized we have no big adventures planned for this summer. My co-workers have been galavanting all over Europe and friends are taking some pretty fabulous trips. Then, I started thinking how uh, I guess we DO have a big adventure planned for the summer — we’re having a baby! We even have to pack for this big adventure. For someone who packs for trips a week in advance, one would think our bags have been packed for weeks now. But, with a busy summer schedule and perhaps a little trauma from my last pregnancy, it just kept dropping down on the priority list. But we finally got around to it, and here’s what we’re packing:

My bag:

  • Two nightgowns (one to possibly labor in and one for postpartum)
  • Two nursing bras and two nursing tanks
  • Wunder Unders
  • Oiselle lux track pants
  • Zip up hoodie
  • Three options for baby’s coming home outfit — in two different sizes
  • Toiletries
  • Headphones and an external speaker for listening to my Hypnobabies tracks
  • Swaddle blankets
  • Flip flops and slipper socks
  • Extra copies of our birth plan

J’s bag:

  • A couple of outfits
  • Toiletries
  • Hypnobabies birth partners’ guide

Postpartum tote:

  • Nursing pillows
  • Books – the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn
  • Kindle
  • Nursing pads and nipple balm



  • A cooler that J calls “the placenta cooler,” which is fitting because, well, my placenta will be going in it
  • Camera bag with our DSLR
  • Birth ball (we may or may not bring our own or just use one at the hospital)
  • Our own pillows
  • SNACKS. In J’s mind, this is the most important thing we’re packing. I’ll be honest, even if I’m not up for eating during labor (which I’m allowed to do), I’ll be glad we have these for the middle of the night AND because J gets h-a-n-g-r-y. So far we have:
    • Coconut water to keep me hydrated throughout labor
    • Blue Diamond lightly salted and (my favorite) roasted salted almonds – some satisfying, healthy fatsIMG_4094
    • Granola bars – an easy, portable snack. I try to find a brand that doesn’t have too much sugar.
    • Beef jerky – protein!
    • Gummy bears – I love anything gummy, and these might be good for some sugar during labor?
    • White cheddar Pirate’s Booty – I’m addicted to this stuff.

Am I overpacked? Yep! I usually do, and I knew that I’d especially be prone to overpacking for this.

Any other snacks we should throw in the bag?

What big summer adventures do you have planned?


Third Trimester Recap: Weeks 33 – 34

Just over one month to go! And today I’ve reached the 35/35 milestone (35 weeks pregnant and 35 days to go). The last couple of weeks I’ve noticed that while I still have some time to go, my body seems to be getting ready (or at least moving in that direction) to give birth. Two possible signs: my steady weight gain has seemed to slow down and some of my Braxton Hicks are quite a bit more intense than they’ve been.

Life has been moving super fast. Work is busy, we were both a part of a friend’s wedding last weekend, I’ve been nesting like crazy, my parents came into town and we’re still working on the kitchen remodel. Right about now, I’m pretty happy that I decided early on to keep the month of July open, with no plans.

A couple of weekends ago, J ran Grandma’s marathon. After a lot of going back and forth, I decided to take the trip and I’m really glad I did. It was fun to cheer on J and his brother-in-law and all of the runners and it’s always good to spend time with J’s sister and our nephews. I have to admit, I’m glad J is done with marathon training (for now). It’s nice to have him around more often 🙂


Overall, I’m feeling pretty good. Sleep is still no bueno and I had a migraine a couple of days ago, but seeing a chiropractor has really helped me feel pretty decent during the day. Although, I’m glad I can work from home pretty often because I need to change positions frequently throughout the day. Our last doctor appointment was exciting — our doctor said that basically, baby could come any day now (hopefully he will wait a bit longer, but he could come now and they wouldn’t try to stop labor at this point). He’s also still head down, which is great. He’s not in the greatest position yet (his back end is on one side and legs/feet on the other) but we still have time, so I’m trying not to freak out yet!

We got some things knocked off the to-do list, including:

  • Finished up all of our childbirth education classes
  • Loaded Hypnobabies tracks on my iPhone and the iPad
  • Washed a couple loads of baby clothes and blankets
  • Bought some items for postpartum recovery
  • Purchased some things off of our registry (like our diaper bag (!) and the baby monitor) since our next baby shower isn’t until September

Priorities for the next couple of weeks

  • Install car seat and have it inspected
  • Prepare FREEZER MEALS!
  • Hang nursery art
  • Finish the kitchen – We’ve ordered our countertops and are really close to having the plumbing all ready to go for the sink, dishwasher and waterline to the ice maker in the freezer. We also still need to install the microhood and backsplash. But it’s getting there.

Just a few more days of a hectic schedule and then things slow down quite a bit and I cannot wait!

Third Trimester Recap: Weeks 31 – 32

50 days to go!

The days during the last couple of weeks have felt like I’m repeatedly going through a series of events that include:

  • Go to bed. Wake up a zillion times because either I have to go to the bathroom or my hip pain causes me to need to change positions.
  • Wake up super early because it’s no use trying to sleep anymore.
  • Be tired all day. If it’s the weekend, take a nap.
  • Eat lots of snacks throughout the day.
  • Drink a ton of water. Pee a million times.
  • Feel so tired by the time 9 p.m. rolls around, I can hardly see straight.
  • Repeat.

I did start seeing a chiropractor during week 31. WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG?! Seriously. Life changing. I’m still having that hip pain at night, but it’s improved and during the day, I’m feeling a lot better than I had been.

This past weekend, some friends threw me a lovely baseball-themed baby shower!


I loved the activities they had planned. Like, all of the guests created a page of an alphabet book that they later bound and gave to me.


Guests also got entered into a prize raffle if they brought us a pack of diapers 🙂 I’m feeling more stocked up now!

Of course we all took a selfie with Jen’s selfie stick.


After getting pregnant again, I wasn’t sure I wanted to have a shower, but I’m really glad I did and that I have such amazing friends who wanted to throw me one! And between this shower and my work one, we’re feeling really good about the short list of items we need to go out and buy to absolutely have on hand before baby arrives.

Our 32 week doctor appointment was quick and easy. I got my TDAP booster shot and baby was still head down. Fingers crossed he stays that way! Two more bi-weekly appointments and then they start taking place every week!

Finally, here’s another kitchen progress picture. The cabinets are all installed and some doors are on. And the range is in — it’s SO nice to have an oven again.


Weeks 31-32 snapshot:

  • My first and second trimester maternity clothes have stopped fitting. Thank goodness for my friend Katrina, who is letting me borrow some clothes to get me through the next month and a half.
  • I walked the Flag Day 5K this past Saturday in 58:34. Definitely slowing down from the last 5K I walked, but felt good for the most part!
  • I’m feeling lots of movement these days. I will never get sick of feeling the punches, kicks and rolls!
  • Overall, I’m feeling very ready for baby to arrive. This past weekend, we got to meet our friends’ brand new adorable baby and then after my shower, I went into major nesting mode and got a bunch of things put away and organized. J also got the rest of the trim up and floating shelves hung up in the nursery. I also had ordered a glider cushion a month ago on Etsy and that arrived this week. Here are a couple of nursery photos!



Third Trimester Recap: Weeks 29-30


Feeling sore and large — that’s how I’d sum up the past couple of weeks. But at the suggestion of my acupuncturist, I picked up some epsom salt and have been getting in a few soaks. Not only have the baths been super relaxing, I feel like the epsom salt has been really good for my sore, aching joints and muscles. I even had a couple nights of decent sleep!

We also had a great first prenatal meeting with our doula, Angie. Already, her presence makes me feel calm and reassured — I’d say that’s definitely a good sign! We spent the two hours talking about my last pregnancy and delivery, important pieces of this birth plan and fun things like eating my placenta (as much as I actually want to do this, I’m having it encapsulated instead) — it’s all getting so real. Our next meeting is going to be somewhere around 34-35 weeks. I also borrowed a nice stack of books and a DVD from her lending library.

The day after our meeting with Angie, we had our VBAC consult. My doctor is a family practice doctor, which means that if for some reason after I attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after a cesarean), or TOLAC (trial of labor after a cesarean), it isn’t successful and I need a repeat cesarean, an OB would perform the surgery. So J and I met with an OB who took a look through my medical records and cesarean surgery notes to make sure he agreed that I’d be a good candidate for a VBAC. I wasn’t nervous because I’ve done a ton of research into this, my doctor is supportive, the last OB I was seeing was supportive, and we took a VBAC education course already, but a small part of me was afraid that the OB would say something that totally changed my plans. Luckily, it was a quick conversation and he said I’m a “great candidate” for a VBAC and have a high probability for success.

We took a newborn class called All About Babies this past weekend. It went over things like how to soothe your baby, when to call your health care provider, etc. Here’s J giving our “baby” a bath:

His face is because I'm taking his picture, not because of the bath/diapering. Or so he tells me.

His face is because I’m taking his picture, not because of the bath/diapering. Or so he tells me.

We’re also now halfway done with our Hypnobabies classes. I’ve been surprised that the weekly 3.5 hour class actually goes by pretty quickly and we’ve been doing a good job of keeping up on our homework.

Finally, more kitchen progress!


Cutest little dishwasher ever. Also, that’s not the final color of the cabinets.

Looking forward to: July. June is incredibly busy since I’ve scheduled everything I want to get done, dinners with people I want to see, etc. prior to July. I’m hoping to spend July trying to relax as much as possible since baby could show up in July! July also means that J will be done with marathon training! (His marathon is June 20.)

Most embarrassing moment: I had my first official pregnancy breakdown on our way to/once we arrived at our VBAC consult appointment. I somehow mixed up the street name for where the clinic was located and got us lost and we were late to our appointment. This was particularly stressful for me since I: 1) Don’t like making mistakes and 2) HATE being late to things. After crying in the waiting room and again in the exam room, I felt sufficiently silly and pulled myself together.

Most surreal moment: My co-workers threw me a baby shower!


It was such a nice shower, complete with an adorable diaper cake, (truly) fun games, delicious lemon cake and awesome and thoughtful gifts. It still didn’t feel real that I was actually having a baby shower — incredible.

Current stresses: Trying to stay on top of kick counting and then deciding if baby is moving enough/same as usual, etc. I understand why kick counting is so controversial. Also, getting everything done that’s on my to-do list! Also, overbooking myself. Bad idea when 30+ weeks pregnant. Breakdowns happen (see: Most embarrassing moment, above.)

Third Trimester Recap: Weeks 27-28

Ohhh man, a part of me can’t believe we’re in the third trimester already, and the other part of me feels like it’s going to be forever until we meet our rainbow baby. (Rainbow baby. For those unfamiliar with the term, it means a baby born following a loss. I’m not a fan of the term, but sometimes it’s the best term to use.)

Right on cue, fatigue set back in last week, at the beginning of the third trimester. I napped both days of the weekend.

Oh, and remember our kitchen remodel project? Yeah, that’s still going on. Going on six and a half months without a proper kitchen! But it’s SO going to be worth it. It’s just hard not to be able to contribute as much to its progress these days.

Floor is grouted!

Floor is grouted!

I’m feeling pretty nesty these days, and inspired by this book, I’ve been tidying up like crazy. Also, we got some fun baby items handed down to us this past week. One big haul came from the lovely Laura, who I finally got to meet in person!

Mother’s Day was two weekends ago. I’m not going to lie and say that it was any easier of a day for me than it was last year, even with my little guy kicking away all day. Last year, it was especially rough, since it came less than two weeks after we got Charlie’s diagnosis. But this year, I felt caught in the middle of feeling like those who wished me a Happy Mother’s Day were referring to the fact that I’m expecting, and not that I’m already a mom. But some sweet and thoughtful messages from friends who specifically mentioned Charlie turned my day around and then there was this amazing gift from Jen:


We also had our 28 week appointment. Baby’s heart rate was great and the doctor felt to see how he was positioned. He was head down, curled up with his backside near my belly button. He had us feel where baby’s head and butt were — it was so cool! I also had more blood drawn and scheduled my VBAC consult. Even though I had been going in for appointments every two weeks, we’re officially on that schedule now until 36 weeks, when it’ll change to weekly appointments.

Weeks 27-28 snapshot:

  • New symptoms – waking up in the middle of the night with hip pain.
  • More intense Braxton Hicks contractions.
  • Started Hypnobabies class.
  • Looking forward to: my baby shower in less than one month!
  • I started kick counting. I’m hoping this provides more reassurance than anxiety. So far, it’s a toss up.
  • Most relaxing moment: an amazing prenatal massage. Deborah is a magic-maker.
  • The weirdest moment: feeling what might have been a knee or elbow sticking out of my belly.
  • The most special moment was walking with friends and family in honor of Charlie at the Faith’s Lodge Hope Walks and Rolls 5K.

Even with our kitchen progress, we’re also managing to cross things off of the baby to-do list. Next up: After not even having one name we like at all, we are really close to picking one! Also, we are meeting with our doula next week and then we can get started on (and finish) our birth plan. Lots going on!

Second Trimester Recap

Weeks 14 – 16
I kicked off the second trimester with a weekend trip to Atlanta with Andrea to visit friends Kate, Brian and her new baby! It was a great trip, but I was still dealing with some of the fatigue from the first trimester, so we didn’t exactly hit the town in the evenings.

Starting to show. Also, biscuits made this pregnant lady very happy!

 A few days after we got back from Atlanta, I came down with the worst head cold I’d had in years. And since I couldn’t take anything for it, I spent the next full week absolutely miserable (and telling anyone who’d listen about it). I also switched doctors (again) and had a great 16 week appointment with my new, new doctor. J and I toured one hospital we were considering delivering at and I set up some appointments to interview doulas.
Sometime during week 16, I noticed that maybe I was feeling some movement. This was definitely earlier than with Charlie, but that’s common for many reasons, one being that second time moms are now familiar with what movement feels like. Since we had the early genetic testing done, the only lab I had to have done  at my 16 week appointment was an Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) draw.
We also announced the gender to some close friends and family by sending them some ol’ fashioned snail mail. They either got a scratch off card or a confetti-bomb that announced Baby Nelson is a boy! It felt good to take small steps like this one to start celebrating this pregnancy, rather than fearing it.
Weeks 17 – 19
After my cold went away, I started to realize just how amazing the second trimester can be. My energy was back and I started walking daily, which did wonders for my mood as well. I also had to set up some additional doula interviews because I the doula I chose found out she was pregnant right after we sat down for an interview.
I started feeling like it was time to start actually getting some things done in preparation for this baby, so I signed up for some childbirth education classes, including Hypnobabies. We also got the AFP results back during week 17 and everything looked good.
I also really popped at the beginning of week 17!
At the end of week 19, I chose another doula (who, thankfully, wasn’t also pregnant). Super excited to be working with her! Also at the end of week 19, was our level two ultrasound with the perinatologists. This was the time period when we found out that Charlie had a likely fatal condition, so you can imagine the anticipation for this scan this time around. I wrote more about this day here.
Following our good news, I made an announcement (of sorts) here on the blog.
Symptoms that showed up during weeks 17-19:
  • Round ligament pain. I experienced round ligament pain when I was pregnant with Charlie, and it led to me deciding to stop running around 20 weeks. This time around, it showed up a bit earlier, but so far I’ve been able to work through it since I’m only walking and not running this time around. Case in point: I walked the Point Bock Run 5 miler and was able to keep a pretty good pace throughout!
  • The fatigue noticeably decreased
Weeks 20 – 22
It didn’t happen right away, but the anxiety that hung over me constantly for the first four months of my pregnancy, started to gradually lift after we got the all clear at the anatomy scan. J got to meet my new doctor at our 20 week appointment and the doctor did something cool — he handed J the doppler and let him find the heartbeat! Just reason #2,352,855 that I’m so happy to have found this new doctor.
Following a couple of good appointments, we decided to make our first baby purchases — an ottoman and some art for the nursery. And a crib. Setting up the crib together was as exciting as I always thought it would be, but it was also bittersweet.
My parents came for a weekend visit during week 22 and they brought a glider for us to use and the dresser/changing table from when I was a baby. It’ll be fun to have that in the nursery!
Lastly, we realized that we should probably get serious finding a daycare, considering most daycares in the Cities have waiting lists, so we went on a few tours and turned in applications. Hopefully we can get a spot secured and cross that off the list!
Symptoms that showed up during weeks 20-22:
  • No new symptoms, but definitely getting bigger and feeling it!

Weeks 23 – 26

At the end of week 23, I walked Goldy’s 5K. I also started noticing more frequent (though not yet consistent) movement and kicks throughout the day.
I made an appointment with a prenatal personal trainer during week 24 — a separate post on that coming soon. We also finished our registry which felt huge to me. With the help of my good friend Jen, I had registered for some things at Babies ‘R’ Us shortly before we got Charlie’s diagnosis. I had an unpleasant conversation with a Babies ‘R’ Us employee who called to check in to see if I needed help finishing my registry and worked for months to get off of their mailing and email lists. So, I was pretty proud of us for getting our registry taken care of!
We also went away for one night for a mini-babymoon. As I was laying in bed, ready to fall asleep, I saw my first kick from the outside. That was probably one of the coolest moments of the second trimester, not to mention, this is when J also felt his first “for sure” kick.
The following week, we celebrated Jesse’s birthday at the perfect place for a pregnant lady — a sushi restaurant!
(Sarcasm. I obviously didn’t get to indulge in the good stuff.)
That night, for the first time, I experienced kicks waking me up out of a sound sleep and keeping me from falling back asleep. It might have been the only time in my life where I wasn’t seriously pissed about being woken up. That’s true love right there, because I love my sleep.
A big milestone we got past during week 25 was my gestational diabetes test. I passed and my iron levels also looked good.
I had my first official session with my new personal trainer. It was awesome and I felt great moving my body in a ways besides just walking. Lifting weights made me feel strong again. And I surprised myself with how much strength I actually hadn’t lost.
We also toured another hospital and started looking at the pros and cons of the two hospitals we’re deciding between. I can’t believe it’s almost time to need to make that decision and get pre-registered!
At the end of week 26, I ended up in the hospital because I thought I might be leaking amniotic fluid. (More on that, here.) Luckily, they were able to rule that out and I had a non-stress test done while I was there. Baby looked great — really active.
Symptoms that showed up during weeks 23-26
  • The worst cramp in my calf I’ve ever experienced. Have you ever had a Charlie horse? It was like that, but one million times worse because it just kept cramping over and over and I could feel the knots pulsing. It was awful. Two days later, I was still sore.
  • Seasonal allergies, way worse than usual
Well, that was….long. Planning to do a few regular third trimester updates, rather than one big, long one like I did for the first and second trimesters.

First Trimester Recap

Weeks 3 – 6
We had a plan. We felt ready to start trying to get pregnant again, and so after I got back from my trip to Vegas, we started trying. A few weeks later, we took a trip to my hometown to run a race with my mom and on that trip, I felt nauseated here and there and immediately, I knew I was pregnant. Once we got home from my parents’ house, I couldn’t get in the house fast enough to take a pregnancy test. And of course, it confirmed what I already knew.
I spent the first week after finding out we were pregnant, feeling surprisingly calm. I also kept having sneaking suspicions that I was pregnant with a girl (hormones do weird things to you). It was Thanksgiving weekend and I ran a turkey trot. Little did I know, those calm feelings were about to come to an end. Extreme anxiety hit me the next week — along with extreme fatigue.
Given that I had an early miscarriage the first time I was pregnant, and my heightened anxiety from just losing Charlie months prior, I was able to convince my new OBGYN practice to let me come in for some lab work to make sure that the pregnancy hormone levels in my body were increasing the way they were supposed to. After a long weekend wait, my results came back and things looked good.
Symptoms that showed up during weeks 3-6
  • By the end of week six, my nausea was getting worse and food (mostly fresh fruit and bagels) was the only cure. I also was able to get in for a very early ultrasound where they saw a heartbeat was already present.
Weeks 7 – 9
My anxiety just kept building to the point of being unbearable, so I joined a pregnancy after loss support group and started seeing my therapist again on a weekly basis. My new OB brought up the idea of going on medication, but I didn’t feel comfortable going on anything — at least in the first trimester.* I decided I’d try and manage without. I had an appointment with the nurse practitioner at my new OB’s office and had another ultrasound done. Baby was measuring right on track with a strong heartbeat, but they also noticed that I had a small subchorionic hemmorhage. This is apparently a very common occurrence, but they recommended that I not go overboard with physical activity for the rest of the first trimester. While they assured me this was nothing to worry about, it definitely added to my anxiety.
Another work holiday party spent abstaining from alcohol :) No bump yet!

Another work holiday party spent abstaining from alcohol 🙂 No bump yet!

Symptoms that showed up during weeks 7-9
  • I’ve never felt as bloated in my life as I felt during those weeks
  • Worsening nausea when I got hungry
  • Extreme fatigue
Weeks 10 – 13
Although I felt a little better after joining the support group and starting to see my therapist on a weekly basis, I still was having daily panic attacks, feeling convinced that the baby wasn’t going to live. At my first prenatal appointment, the nurse practitioner said that I should call anytime I wanted reassurance and I could come in so they could check for a heartbeat. Unfortunately, when I finally broke down and called to see if the clinic could get me in and check for fetal heart tones, they wouldn’t let me talk to the nurse and said it was too early and have to wait for my appointment the next week.
Charlie’s heart condition wasn’t genetic, but he did have a chromosomal abnormality that was found after he died. We went into this pregnancy wanting as much information as possible, so we decided to have an early genetic screening blood test called verifi done at 10 weeks. We got the results back more than one week later and everything came back negative (that’s a good thing) AND we found out we were having a boy.
Sometime during this time period, I polished off a one pound bag of gummy bears in less than 36 hours. I also was lucky enough to start blogging for the site Pregnancy After Loss Support as a Bump Day Blogger. At the end of week 12, I also finally decided to do something about being unhappy with the care I was receiving from my new OB and made an appointment with a new practice to transfer my care.
Symptoms that showed up in weeks 10-13:
  • Insomnia that set in at 4 a.m., multiple nights in a row
  • Fatigue continued and nausea became an all day thing
  • Woke up two nights in a row with night sweats
  • Slight round ligament pain at night or when I sneeze
  • The least fun symptom that showed up in weeks 10-13? The return of my migraines. And since there’s no taking any meds strong enough to make a difference, I started going for weekly acupuncture appointments which did seem to help.
 I spent most of the first trimester anxious, nauseated and tired, but kept trucking along. I owe a lot to my amazing support system that kept me going through everything. Stay tuned for a second trimester recap coming soon!
*A note to say that if I’m being completely honest, looking back, I’m not sure if I made the right decision not being on any medication to help manage my anxiety and depressive symptoms. There’s a lot of good, long-term research out there on certain medications that have been found to be safe during pregnancy and being anxious isn’t healthy for the baby (or for me, either) so I don’t feel like there’s a right answer — it really should be a decision you make with your healthcare provider and partner/spouse/etc.