Family Portraits, pregnancy

(Probably) My Last Pregnancy Update + Maternity Shoot Pics

The feeling of time this pregnancy has been all over the place–I felt like the first 20 weeks could not have flown by any faster (and could scarcely believe we were already at our 20-week gender reveal and anatomy ultrasound), only to have the next 3 months of the pregnancy drag on for what felt like years. I was expecting the last month of the pregnancy to be the same (just because I’m so uncomfortable and feel huge and can’t sleep well, plus it felt soooo slow the first time around), but actually, I’m kind of in shock that we’re already halfway through June and that I’m officially in the final stretch.

I had a 36-week ultrasound yesterday to make sure everything still looks okay (which ended up being a bit of a disappointment, just because we wanted a good 3-D picture of the baby’s face and didn’t get it, and the whole thing felt super rushed because they were WAY far behind schedule and my full bladder (which you have to have for all ultrasounds like this) just couldn’t take much more after I’d already had to wait for a really long time to be taken back). Thankfully though, everything looked great and the baby’s in the correct position, so I can’t be *too* disappointed about it–just relieved that everything is looking good for his upcoming delivery.

I also had my first internal check at the appointment and my Strep B test. I don’t know about the Strep B yet (and won’t until my next appointment), but I’d already dilated to a 3 and was 80% effaced, with the baby sitting suuuuper low at a -1 station (she actually had to feel around the baby’s head to get my cervix measurement!). I’ve been feeling fairly constant prelabor signs for about two weeks now (lots of cramping, pressure, frequent Braxton Hicks contractions), so it was a relief that they were all getting me somewhere.

However, as exciting as all this progress is, it does make me a bit nervous—it’s looking more and more likely that I won’t go the full 40 weeks with this pregnancy, which means I have limited time to do all the last-minute stuff (install the car seat, set up a place for the baby to sleep in our room, pack our hospital bag, etc.). It also makes me nervous because all the arrangements I’ve made with my family to have certain people come up to help me with certain things (my sister coming up to be my birth coach, my mom coming up to watch Raven) might not work out as originally planned, as my sister is in Europe until the beginning of July. (Luckily, my other sister has agreed to step in as my back-up birth coach—she just lives quite a bit further away, so I’m hoping she’ll be able to make it up here in time!)

I’m currently writing this around 5:30 a.m. (an hour earlier than I typically wake up), just because I was thinking too much about the arrival of the baby last night and kept having dreams that I was going into labor already and that no one could come up to help me. We hadn’t exactly planned on having this baby in June (and really, we might still make it to July), but hearing the doctor tell me that I’d better have my hospital bag packed and that I was not cleared to leave the county after Father’s Day this weekend, well…it makes everything a LOT more real. I’m sure excited to meet our son, though!

Reflections on the Pregnancy

Since the beginning, I’ve had 3 goals of how I wanted this pregnancy to be different than my first:

  1. I wanted to keep exercising throughout my pregnancy and keep my weight gain MUCH lower than it was last time
  2. I wanted to ease up about allowing myself to take the doctor-approved medications or treatments during the pregnancy that would help me feel better (I was just too paranoid before about them possibly having side effects for the baby–even when my doctor had cleared them–that I just let myself be miserable rather than take anything the first time)
  3. I wanted to take weekly pictures (as I hardly have any pictures of my first pregnancy, especially after about 5 or 6 months along)

I would say that on all counts, this pregnancy has been a success (though it hasn’t necessarily been an EASY pregnancy by any means, as I was sick a LOT throughout with almost every flu virus or cold or stomach bug that I possibly could have gotten).

First, the exercise and weight gain–I went to my hip hop class on Tuesday of this week, which means that I also met my (unpublished) sub-goal of making it to the 36-week mark and still be exercising. I had full plans to continue going to my exercise classes twice a week until the very end, but based on something my doctor said yesterday, I’m not sure I’m cleared to do so (so I need to call and clarify what she meant). If I am still cleared, I’ll plan on continuing to go, though I’ve been having to modify certain moves for awhile now. My exercise routine has basically consisted of two relatively high-intensity dance cardio classes per week (each one around an hour), as well as frequent walks when we can fit them in or the weather has permitted, and I also was pretty good at doing weights until about the third trimester.

All in all, the exercise has helped me feel immensely better about myself this pregnancy, and it’s also helped the weight gain. Rather than the 50 pounds I gained with my first, I’ve gained around 29-30 this pregnancy so far, and I don’t imagine it will go above the recommended 35-lb. mark before I have the baby. The exercise has also seemingly helped a LOT with swelling—my legs and ankles and face and hands were QUITE swollen and retaining a lot of fluid the first time around, but this time (even though it’s been much hotter outside, as this is a part-summer pregnancy), I haven’t had hardly any. Due to less weight gain and much less swelling, I’ve overall just felt a lot better about myself and a lot more confident (and it’s been easier to brush aside any comments about how big I look, just because I know that for me, I actually am smaller this pregnancy).

Due to being sick, I really HAD to learn to let myself take a lot of the medications on the safe list, just because I never would have gotten better (or been able to function at all) otherwise. I ended up taking anti-nausea meds in the first trimester (which seemed to help me a fair amount), and I ended up taking everything from allergy meds to cough syrup to massive amounts of Tylenol throughout, just because I was taken down by sickness so much on a monthly basis (boo).

Lastly, I’m also pleased to report that I haven’t missed a single weekly photo. Initially, I was doing my weekly photo every Sunday (which is the one I post to my Instagram) AND one in the bathroom mirror, where I was trying to wear the same shirt and get the same angle and such throughout. Well, the bathroom one kept slipping my mind after about 18 weeks, so I gave that up. I’m really happy that I have some weekly pics throughout though, and I LOVE the pictures we got at the mini maternity photo shoot we did with our friends (our friend is a landscape photographer and his wife is also expecting, so we decided to do a little photo session tradeout so we could both get some pics of our pregnancies). Note: To make it easier, we just took all the pics on my camera and had me do all the post-processing, so these shots were taken by @elevatephotographut but I had permission to do the edits/post-processing myself. These are important things to clarify in the photography world!

All in all, despite the seemingly constant flow of sickness I’ve had this pregnancy, I overall feel really good about it–I’m proud of myself for sticking with my exercise routine the whole time and following through on the weight gain limits, and I also love that I consistently posted weekly updates to my IG as well as wrote down some of the symptoms I got and when (so that I’ll have a better record to compare future pregnancies to, which I also missed having this time).

I don’t know if Baby Boy will be here in one week or in four, but we’re sure excited to meet him either way! EEK!

Note: For some more pics from this session (and for more frequent updates on the pregnancy), check out my Instagram.

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