My Pregnancy Sins

Last night I had the pleasure of hanging out with a friend who just announced her pregnancy and we got to talking about all of things you’re “not supposed to do” while pregnant. Of course, someone else at the table hollered “That is all BS! People have been having babies forever and none of this mattered until recently!” We’ve all heard the debates and I thought it was time to confess all of the horrible-terrible things I’ve done while pregnant that haven’t killed me nor affected my growing baby, who is still trending “strong, average, healthy” according to my doctors.

Disclaimer: this is not advice nor permission to do anything differently than your own doctor advises! Only tales of what has worked for me personally.

Running
What I did: I ran regularly up until 5.5 months and wish I could have gone longer!
What my doctor said: My doctor was 100% okay with my running as I’d been doing it already, I was in good shape (oh god, how I miss that!), and it made me happy. Happy mama = happy baby. Just keep a conversational pace and stop if it becomes uncomfortable.
What other people said: Pregnancy sin! You need to be gentle with that growing baby! You don’t want to miscarry!
Verdict: I am so glad I got in as much exercise as I did when I could. It definitely improved my mood, regulated my sleeping and eating habits, and I can’t wait to show our race pictures to MM when he is older!

Drinking Caffeine
What I did: I drank 1-2 cups of half caffeinated coffee per day. At home, we mix Peet’s Major Dickenson’s Decaf with full strength grounds to cut the caffeine in half, just in case I want to luxury of drinking two cups.
What my doctor said: You can safely drink 2 cups of coffee or less than 200mg of caffeine daily without worry. 
What other people said: Caffeine will cause birth defects and increase your likelihood of miscarriage. Verbatim they said, “Um, excuse me. Are you supposed to be drinking caffeine right now?”
Verdict: With 9 months of experience now, I’ve concluded that I function better with small amounts of coffee. I know exactly what affect it has on my day, and can feel if I’ve had too much. It does absolutely mix into my baby’s amniotic fluid and I am mindful of that most of all. That said, I don’t really want to drink more than a cup of coffee a day anyway. It just hasn’t tasted as good since pregnancy, meh. I’ll continue having my cup of half caf to keep me neutral and will let you know if anything changes.

Drinking Alcohol
What I did: Before I found out I was pregnant (at 6 weeks) I drank alcohol on a weekly basis and even got (gasp!) drunk on two occasions. Now, in my third trimester I have a small glass of wine every couple of weeks and take sips of my husband’s beer because it tastes soo good!
What my doctor said: Don’t worry at all about the drinking in your first 6 weeks. It happens to everyone! Stressing out about it is actually worse than the drinking itself. And a glass of wine here and there in your second and third trimesters is just fine.
What other people said: “Oh my gosh! What did your doctor say?!” (about the first 6 weeks) And about the occasional glass of wine: “yeah, I heard that’s not a big deal.”
Verdict: Just like with coffee, I haven’t really wanted to consume alcohol— especially early on. The smell, taste, and often the thought of it was repulsive. But now, every once in a while a small glass of wine feels right. It’s calming, relaxing, and is starting to taste good again. My personal opinion is that Americans are extremists: all or nothing types who tend to need strong rules around what’s allowed and not allowed because they don’t trust themselves. Of course, I err on the side of caution myself. But I’ll still have a glass of champagne if there is a reason to celebrate!

Laying on my back
What I did: I lay on my back, often. In bed, in the bath tub, during massages. Sure, I lay on my side too. But sometimes nothing is as comfy as being flat on your dang back!
What my doctor said: Try to avoid laying on your back for long periods of time. It can cause problems with backaches, breathing, digestive system, low blood pressure and decrease in circulation to your heart and your baby. This is a result of your abdomen resting on your intestines and major blood vessels (the aorta and vena cava).
What other people said: I had no idea you couldn’t sleep on your back!! How does that even work?
Verdict: I don’t go out of my way to lay flat. It is getting less and less comfortable, the bigger I get! But if I wake up and find myself spread eagle, I don’t panic. [knock on wood] nothing problematic has happened to me so far.

Eating junk food
What I did: Oh boy. Y’all know I’m a healthy eater for the most part but if you have to break a diet for the sake of a baby its inevitable that you’re going to over indulge at times. If not now, then when, right? My junk food sins include: eating at In-In-Out Burger 3 times— no, 4 times! Taco Bell once, Carl’s Junior once, a lot of pizza, a lot of cereal (and other processed foods), and over the past several months I’ve eaten 3 entire pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream— yes, to myself. Gah!
What my doctor said: Be careful with the sugar intake. You’re healthy now, but don’t want to develop gestational diabetes or gain so much weight that it affects the baby.
What other people said: It’s going to take you a lot longer to lose that baby weight than put it on. Watch out!
Verdict: I wish I was eating these things guilt-free. But I still feel like crap after eating fast food or too much processed food— physically and emotionally. While I can’t promise I won’t eat at In-In-Out this weekend, I do agree that less is more in the junk food arena, even while pregnant. For me, it’s mostly about not wanting to develop any bad habits now that will be hard to break later on.

Wearing heels
What I did: Wear chunky heels or wedges regularly through 6 months pregnant, and sporadically now.
What the doctor said: As long as you’re comfortable and your feet aren’t swelling!
What other people said: Oh, honey! Please take those off. You can’t be comfortable! 
Verdict: I would wear heels again, for as long as I can comfortably! When you’re getting bigger/wider, anything that elongates your body feels good! I feel less frumpy and more powerful when I wear heels, and that improves my mood a great deal. These days I mostly opt for flat sandals because I’m afraid of falling or twisting an ankle more than anything. My balance just isn’t there anymore.

Eating soft cheeses
What I did: Ate soft cheese throughout my pregnancy (bleu, brie, cambozola, burrata, you name it).
What the doctor said: Make sure all of the cheese you eat is pasteurized and ensure everything has been properly refrigerated. The risk associated with soft cheese is basically the same as eating unwashed fruits and veggies or deli meat— the possibility of it containing listeria (harmful bacteria that anyone can contract but is especially scary if you’re pregnant for obvious reasons).
What other people said: I heard that moldy cheese can harm your baby.
Verdict: I will continue to eat soft yet pasteurized cheese, soft-serve ice cream, and questionably washed vegetables for that matter. The threat of listeria is no joke, but anything can be harmful really. I won’t sit on pins and needles waiting for something to off me and my offspring. Play it smart, know where your food is coming from and how its been handled. That’s my mantra anyway.

There ya have it. PHEW! What a relief. I feel like I’ve just gone to confessional. What are some of your “pregnancy sins”? Curious to know from some of the older generations what was off-limits when you were pregnant and how big of a deal people made of it. I’ve come to appreciate more progressive books like Expecting Better over the paranoia inducing What to Expect properties. Pregnancy should be a fun and hopeful time for all the smart mamas out there. I’m convinced that anyone mindful enough to get prenatal care is looking out for the best interest of their babies, and themselves and can make their own informed decisions.

 

 

 

 

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Shower for Mini Melbs, Part II

I am beyond fortunate to have a photographer friend in my life. Even though she is non-stop busy shooting weddings, engagements, newborns, and lifestyle portraits, Marcie always finds a way to make time to photograph our most cherished events as friends. I’m pleased to share a few photos she took from the shower the other day, and cannot wait for her to take pictures of Mini Melbs when he arrives too!

Marcie Lynn Photography -[opens in new window]

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Last Week in the Office & Shower for Mini Melbs, part 1

Hello, from my lunch-break! It’s the Tuesday of my final week in the office and its a quiet one. Most of my team and local colleagues are out this week which means I’m pretty lonely… but the slow separation seems fitting. Thinking ahead to next week when I won’t be making the long commute to San Bruno each day is surreal. I’m really that close to having this baby. I’m setting up meetings and lunches with people and ending each encounter with, “See ya next year!” or, “See ya when I’m a mom!” It feels a lot less like “sayanora suckas!” than I expected, and a lot more like, “Wish me luck… please!” and tad like, “don’t let anything too great happen while I’m gone!”

All that said, I am still feeling really good. Energy wise I’m on par with my usual self throughout the day. Only changes since last week are the the baby is running out of room and we’re both getting uncomfortable with that. Two nights ago, while laying on the couch I whimpered ouuuch on more than one occasion. I laid there for an hour watching and feeling as my little guy rolled himself over completely. It was very weird, uncomfortable, and fascinating all at once. And since he did whatever he did, I’ve been feeling a lot more pressure. I don’t think he dropped yet, but he placed a bulkier part of himself on my bladder and I can barely drive home without peeing all over myself, let alone heave myself into our Jeep anymore. Everything is suddenly VERY different, and I finally know what other pregnant women are talking about. So there’s that.

Now, with all of the strangeness this week has brought about already, I’d be remiss not to mention my baby shower! I think I’ll have to do a part 2 of this post though, once I get some better photos— but for now I can share that it was absolutely perfect in every way. From the moment I walked in the door, I was blown away by the level of decoration and detail from my friends and family who threw the shower for me. I felt like I walked into a colorful Pinterest board, complete with little pieces of cheese decorated like hedgehogs! The theme was loosely “color and animals” with an emphasis on orange and blue to match the nursery. All of the food was labor-intensive and handmade, as were the decorations. We had more than 20 guests and what seemed like 2 hours worth of opening presents. I can’t even express how loved I felt and how proud I feel now to bring a baby into such a loving environment with such incredible people. MM and I are so, so lucky.

Here are the couple of photos I was able to snap. Stay tuned for more, as well as sneak peek of some of the great gifts people got for us! Too, too good.

too cute to eat! almost.

too cute to eat! almost.

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after the party, we threw all the decorative banners on the crib which made for a cute snapshot. since then, Ive found actual homes and uses for all of these beauties!

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my mom saved the signage from our pregnancy announcement cake!

more too-cute snacks. stole this photo from my friend marcie, who also put together a cute slideshow on instagram (link right below)

more too-cute snacks. stole this photo from my friend marcie, who also put together a cute slideshow on instagram (link right below)

http://instagram.com/p/sENE6hL7zf/?modal=true

34 Week Update

almost 34 weeks

almost 34 weeks

Howdy everyone. I’m alllmost 34 weeks which is an exciting milestone for me. In just 3 weeks, I’ll be considered “full term” and in 6 weeks or so, I’ll probably be a mom. These are some seriously small numbers. Exciting, unnerving all at once! You may remember my post from last week about “30 Days of Mrs Melbs”, of which I’ve already enjoyed Day 1. I’m looking for more ideas on things I should do now, while it’s just me, myself, and I! As soon as my Leave from work kicks in, I want to have a great list of 100% selfish things to choose from: movies, sleep, and fancy dinners out go without saying! If you have other ideas, let me know!

Onto my update!

Mini Melbs
He is 5 pounds this week, according to the doctor and in the 60th percentile. Dr Duffy told me not to pay any attention to the ultrasound tech who said we were “measuring 2 weeks early” and to rest assured that my baby boy is not some behemoth! The fruit de jour is either a stinky yet delicious durian, or a honeydew mellon. He is keeping his eyes open while he’s awake now, and I can feel him hiccuping daily, typically as I’m trying to fall asleep.

Symptoms
This is the Week of Tums. I honestly don’t know if I’ve having heartburn or acid reflux, or indigestion, or all of the above… but I have a super annoying sensation in my upper torso constantly that’s caused me to tear through my bottle of papaya enzyme pills and am now eating disgusting minty Tums, five at a time. Melbs made what will now be known as his “famous” pasta sauce this week which I’ve eaten for 3 straight meals and I’m suuure the acidity in the tomatoes have something to do with this. But I refuse to stop eating good food… and I can’t stop/won’t stop eating spice! I’m a fiend. Hot sauce makes me happy and I’m just going to deal with the side-effects.

Sleep is meh. Getting plenty of sleep (generally 9:30-5:30) but keep waking up around 3 and unable to go back to sleep for an hour. I get songs stuck in my head that drive me crazy, have weird dreams that I have to process, or have work anxiety that I can’t turn off during this witching hour.

Lower back pain. I haven’t had a massage in 3 weeks (gasp!) and I definitely feel the tension build up in my hips and back. I still have a lot of massage “credits” to use up at work… I may have to go into the office covertly after I “leave” just to fulfill my quota.

Still hot (feels like menopause!), grunty, and feel like I’m a giant, waddling penguin. Melbs insists that the waddling is in my head, but I swear it feels weird.

Eating
Still not that hungry but ever-still a good eater! Lots of salads and sandwiches for lunch this week while at a work training, and lasagna and salad every night for dinner. Breakfast has been hit or miss— out of my normal routine, I tend to be skipping it lately. At noon I still feel full from dinner last night— heartburn and all. 

Exercise
I worked from home on Tuesday because I had a local Dr appt and between meetings, managed to do prenatal yoga, standing pilates, and my favorite strength training video. I had a lot of energy that day, but can’t say the same about the others! With a longer commute due to training (leaving at 7am and returning at 7pm) I haven’t worked out at all since then and don’t feel bad about it one bit. I had a dream the other night that I was running though and it felt sooo good! I was pregnant, weightless, and running along a coastal trail. That counts right?

Body Stuff
Wedding ring: on
Stretch marks: no (gratuitous belly pic for proof)
Belly button: after I eat, it pops out! Otherwise, its totally flat and weird
Swelling: if I’m outside then yes, my feet start to fill up like water balloons
Weight: still a pound per week and doctor says I’m doing great. Still not weighing myself at home!

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Baby Gear
I haven’t bought anything, but shower gifts are starting to come in! We received a gorgeous handmade quilt from Melbs’ grandmother, lots of swaddling blankets, onesies, a sleep sack, a manly baby carrier for Melbs, and a few other things I am waiting until the shower to open. The nursery is sure filling up!

Looking Forward To
Obviously the shower tomorrow! I’m getting my hair and nails done ahead of time which will be a nice treat. I’m looking forward to seeing all of our friends and family (some that we haven’t seen since the wedding!). I’m also growing intrigued by starting a Stroller Strides group in Oakland — basically an outdoor workout group for mom’s with babies in strollers! I’m doing some research on it now. Let me know if you have any experience with this organization!

 

colorful safari

33 Week Update

super bumpy for date-night @ 33 weeks

super bumpy for date-night @ 33 weeks

This week has been a long one! If you recall, Melbs and I were excited about taking some time off this week to join our good friends at Big Bend Lodge, to do some R&R in the wilderness this weekend. Unfortunately, there is a terrible forest fire up North and the trip was canceled… but it all worked out anyway because boy am I happy to be home this weekend, doing what I want most: to nest! 

Already two days into my weekend, I’ve hung some artwork in the nursery, did a ton of gardening, prepped meals for the whole week, and am currently baking some strawberry-banana bread for a picnic tomorrow. Yesterday I took a luxuriously long lunch with my best girl, Nala-dog and we enjoyed a 4 mile stroll around the Bay. I’m feeling great energy-wise during the day, but conking out hardcore once the “day” is done (nothing new). I go from energizer bunny to suddenly being SO TIRED I can either wash my face or brush my teeth before charging toward bed— but not both. I’m solar powered, apparently.

I’m going to skip the usual list format this week— it’s become too monotonous. My darn wedding ring is still on, I know you are dying to know. The only stretch marks I have are on my hips and thighs and I’ve had them since high school… and yep, sleeping is still sometimes restless.

So, what’s new this week? To start, I’m never hungry. Especially when busy, I’m forgetting to eat meals. I NEVER forget to eat meals. Ever. I guess it’s probably a combination of having less room to get “empty” feeling, and possibly the heat as well? I’m still dutifully gaining my pound per week, so I’m not alarmed in any way! Next, I’ve grown pretty tired of my skincare regime. I’ve been coco-buttering myself daily throughout the pregnancy and coconut oiling myself once per week during my “at home spa” Sunday. The smell of coconut… I’m over it. So, I am trying a new combo: Hemp Lotion (which I used religiously in college and love the smell), and Bio Oil (basically a mineral oil) on my belly. So far, loving the switch, and my skin is smoother than ever!

Nala continues to act detached and anxious. Anxious if she is not with both Melbs and me, and detached physically when we are all finally under the same roof. She used to  try to lay right on top of us while watching TV, or wouldn’t let us 20 minutes alone without petting her in some fashion. Now she kind of does her own thing. Maybe she’s finally mellowing out of her (5 year!) puppy phase, but maybe she knows deep down that someone else is taking her place? 

As for Mini Melbs, about all he has left to do is gain his baby fat (half of my whole lb per week)! He is skill kicking up a storm and now that I know he is heads-down it’s really cool visualizing what specifically he is doing in there! Answer: a LOT of the funky chicken.

What am I looking forward to? My baby shower! It’s just one week away and I can’t wait to see all of my friends and family come together to celebrate the arrival of Mini Melbs. I pretty much have the “Dream Team” hosting the event for me, so I know it’s going to be a great and memorable time for all. Having a baby shower is the first step in the very last phase, in my mind, of having a baby! It’s official then. Right? ;) 

Here are some pics of a few nursery doo-dads I pulled together this week (I just love that this isn’t a baby-baby room!), and of our yard, coming along nicely and one step closer to the magic-fiesta yard of my postpartum dreams!

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Highly scientific research

Lately I’ve been laying in bed for hours before falling asleep and after waking up. This means that yes, I’m becoming more tired and just want to lay down… but also that I’m being sucked into a black hole of research on my cell phone, tablet, and laptop.

What am I researching? Everything from what to expect during labor and delivery to real accounts from new parents, eg videos titled “the first 24 hours with our newborn.” I watch a ton of YouTube videos, actually. I like to look at preemie babies who were born at my gestational week to see what type of actual human is living inside me. I like to watch new moms review baby products, and demonstrations of cloth diapering.

I play soundtracks of newborns crying to see how Melbs reacts when it wakes him up, and what the dog and cat do in response to this awful sound. I test my own knowledge when listing “The only 5 things you should pack for the hospital”…

You could say I’ve gone over the deep end. You can say I’m over- hyping the whole experience for myself… but I am having so much fun learning, really! I feel comforted by seeing preemie babies and how cute new dads are when changing diapers. I de-stress while reading articles about new moms propping up their infants to watch them shower…hey! New moms can shower?! It makes it real and also less scary for me.

And clearly I’m not alone. People are creating this content for a reason. We are all curious and fascinated and want to be prepared. Kudos to the bloggers and vloggers and amateur documentary makers out there who can provide those of us who want it with new perspectives. I can’t wait to blog about what utter crap so many pregnancy books are… what fear mongering, medically and culturally charged loads of propaganda some of them are… I’m grateful to live in an era where I can diversify my stream of information!

Viva la internet!

Sincerely, Mrs Crazypants. 😆

30 days of Mrs Melbs

Today is Day #1 of what I hope will be a full 30 days of enjoying myself before I become a full-time mom. My maternity leave hasn’t begun yet but I have the day off for a previously scheduled camping trip, so I’m getting a head start. Plus, considering my little MM may come sooner than his due date, I should probably sneak in as many days I can ahead of September.

Okay, so what does a “day for myself” consist of? 
A day mostly to myself, doing something non-baby related — preferably something I won’t be able to do once MM comes. Rob a bank, fly to Vegas, ride a pony into the sunset… that sort of stuff, you know. ;)

I’ll be posting pics of my 30 days at instagr.am/mrsmelbs if you want to follow along over the next month+

Random pics from this week for funsies:
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testing out our moby wrap

testing out our moby wrap