Mommy Monday: 23 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Happy Monday! Less than one week until viability - WOOHOO!!

That was SUCH a huge goal/landmark/accomplishment when I was pregnant with James, and even though this pregnancy isn't scary or high risk, it still feels great to be almost at that critical point!!

This has been a really great week...time spent with friends, quality family time, a doctor's appointment to hear the heartbeat, etc...it's just been a good one! :)

I'll keep this brief, but some highlights from the past week have been:

-A bbq playdate with James' friends from music class

-Family day at Ben's work and getting to see the building he works in

-A doctor's appointment and checking in on little man numero dos

-Taking James to his first play and him scooching his way up to the very front... he loved it!

-Family walk over the weekend

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My dress was sent to me by a company called Beachcoco and it is the COMFIEST, prettiest maternity dress. I love it A LOT. You can click here to get the dress ... it comes in 14 different colors and is under $25!

Here is this week's survey (and yes, I finally have a weight gain number for you this week haha):

How far along: 23 weeks 3 days

Total weight gain/loss: Up 19 lbs so far

Maternity clothes? Yes! Like this dress, for example: click here

Stretch marks? Yes, all around my belly button!

Sleep: James is waking up at around 5am these days...so that's not ideal. haha But I'm sure it's just a phase...RIGHT!?!?!?!?

Best moment this week: Seeing James having so much fun and making new friends at the play this morning! He is so much fun and so confident and SO sweet! I just love him!!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Yes, a lot!

Food cravings: Savory things! Pasta, cheesey things, gravy, meat...

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really! Thankfully!

Have you started to show yet: Yes, getting bigger and bigger by the day!

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out still... haha

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy AND veeerrrryyyyy moody. haha I alternate between so serene and happy and pleasant, and then a cranky raging grouch. So, it's been fun.

Symptoms: Hungry aaalll the time, shortness of breath, thirsty, tired. Not too intense in the symptoms department, which I'm thankful for!!

Thanks for reading and for following along on this journey!

OH! Before I go: Ben and I are now leaning towards having the boys share a room. We'll have the new baby sleep in our room in the Snoo for the first three to six months. But after that, we're thinking of just moving the baby right into James' room. Any other parents have experience with a toddler and a baby sharing a bedroom/any tips? Thanks in advance!

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Five Favorites

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Hi friends!

It's been awhile since I have done a Five Favorites post, so I thought it would be fun to get one up! I have been trying out some new products and brands lately and I have some things that I am LOVING. I can't wait to share!

Here we go:

  1.  Tarteist PRO Glow Highlight and Contour Palette
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I am obsessed with this palette! It is seriously *beautiful*, and smells amazing too - which is a bonus! I love love love the highlighter and it has the prettiest shade that I love using as an eye shadow. Highly recommend this! I received this palette in the Summer FabFitFun box, which brings me to my SECOND favorite thing at the moment...

2. FabFitFun Subscription Box (Use code AMC10 for $10 off your first box!)

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FabFitFun is a subscription box that comes to you every season full of FULL-SIZED products! The box contains various things related to beauty, fitness, tech, and lifestyle from brands like Moroccan Oil, Trina Turk, Tarte Cosmetics, Dermalogica, Dr. Brandt, and more. I have been dying to try out a box for a long long time because I've seen them posted all over social media. When FabFitFun reached out to me and asked me to be a #FabFitFunPartner I jumped at the opportunity! And let me tell you, the box did NOT disappoint. It is as amazing as I thought it would be - more so! I love all of the products and it is so fun that each season you get a new box filled with new goodies! They gave me a code for you guys: Use the code AMC10 and you'll get $10 off of your first box at FabFitFun.com!

3. Fawn Design Diaper Backpack

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I can't say enough good things about this diaper bag. Not only is it BEAUTIFUL, and totally does not look like a diaper bag, but it is also extremely functional. Now that I've been "momming" for a couple of years, I can say hands down that a backpack diaper bag is the way to go. Especially with a toddler. You need those hands (and arms) free, mama! This bag is great quality and I can fit so much into it. Get the bag here.

4. Knocked Up Fitness Prenatal Program

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You've heard me rave about the Core Rehab Program (click here for more info. on Core Rehab) for postpartum mamas and how it helped me to heal my abdominal separation after having my first son (read about my experience with the program here and here). Well, the creator of the Core Rehab Program has a program for pregnancy and it is just as amazing! I have been doing the prenatal workouts throughout this pregnancy and I love them and how they make me feel! You can learn more about the workouts by clicking here!

5. Made by Mary Zola Disc Necklace

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I have this necklace with 'james' on it and I just love it so so much. You can get it personalized to say whatever you want and I think it is so special. I wear it all the time (I switch off every day between this necklace and my mama and baby bird necklace!). I can't wait to get this necklace with the new baby's name on it once he arrives! I'll get it in an 18" chain and wear it with my 'james' disc necklace above it. This would make such a great gift for a new mom! For reference, the disc necklace I have is in the rose gold color, brushed metal, 16" chain. Click here for the necklace.

I hope you guys enjoyed this edition of Five Favorites! I'll do more of these, I promise. They are so fun to do.

Let me know what you are currently loving in the comments!

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Mommy Monday: 22 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

My USA shirt:  ILY Couture  (  click here for the shirt  ) // James' USA sweatshirt:  Old Navy  (  click here for the sweatshirt  )

Hi everyone! Happy Tuesday!

Sorry that no post went up yesterday, but I took the day off due to Memorial Day. I just wanted to take a moment to say how incredibly thankful I am for the men and women who have given their lives to defend our great nation and to protect our freedom. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten or taken for granted.

I just finished reading The Nightingale which was really really good! I definitely recommend it. You can get the book here. But I was in tears for a lot of it because I just kept thinking about how blessed I am to live in the United States of America, where I am free and safe and have plenty of food and clean water and where my children can grow up safe and with endless possibilities ahead of them. The book really made me realize how good we have it.

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Ok, now onto the point of this post! I'm 22 weeks pregnant and still feeling great! I'm trying to think if there is anything new at all since last week as far as my symptoms go or anything...but there really isn't!

Something really exciting, though! Ben was finally able to feel the baby kick! I'm so glad! It's such a special thing and I'm really happy that he was able to feel the baby at last!

I have my monthly appointment with my OB tomorrow. I can't wait to hear little man's heartbeat! These appointments are always so short - about 10 minutes or less, haha. But I always love checking in and hearing that my little boy is doing well!

I did want to share these maternity tank tops with you guys ...they are SO COMFORTABLE! They are also very affordable. I sized up one size and they are just absolutely my favorite thing right now - so comfortable!! Click here for the tank tops.

Wearing   the tank top   in this picture!   Click here for the tank top    - comes in so many different colors!

Wearing the tank top in this picture! Click here for the tank top  - comes in so many different colors!

Alright, here's this week's survey:

How far along: 22 weeks 3 days

Total weight gain/loss:  I have lost track, but I'll be weighed at my appointment tomorrow so I'll update you in next Monday's blog post!

Maternity clothes? Yes! The comfiest!

Stretch marks? Yes, all around my belly button!

Sleep: It's ok! James has been waking up pretty early in the morning and I'm not good about going to bed early, so it's been a bit rough. But not too bad!

Best moment this week: Ben feeling the baby kick for the first time! And watching James and Ben play out in the backyard together this weekend.

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: A lot! It's really picked up in the past week!

Food cravings: Savory things! Pasta, cheesey things, gravy, meat...

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really.

Have you started to show yet: Yes, getting big!

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out still.

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy! I was reeeaallly moody last week though! Like...CRANKY. haha

Symptoms: My restless leg has gotten better, thank goodness!! Starving all the time! Fatigued muscles...like, walking up the stairs makes my legs feel like they are going to fall off. haha

That's all for now! Still keeping up with my Knocked Up Fitness Prenatal Workouts, although definitely not every day. I'm really listening to my body and just doing what feels right...which has meant a lot of rest days. :) Click here for the prenatal program!

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Mommy Monday: 21 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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My kimono is from Pinkblush - they have so many cute ones!! Click here to see all the kimonos

Happy Monday! 21 weeks already...wow!

Today, my dad asked me what I was doing at this time during my last pregnancy, and it got me thinking. My pregnancies have been so different - thank God.

During my last pregnancy, at 21 weeks I had been on bedrest for one week and we were all holding our breaths, holding out for viability at 24 weeks. You can read my 21 week blog post from my first pregnancy here.

It's pretty emotional and surreal thinking back on all that we went through last time around. I am so incredibly thankful for how well this pregnancy is going. I seriously can't stop thanking God for letting me experience a "normal" pregnancy! I pray that it continues going as smoothly as it has thus far!

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On Saturday night, Ben and I had a date night! It was a blast. We went to this super fancy restaurant and it was just a really special, fun night. Our dinner reservation was for 8:45pm and it was a serious STRUGGLE to stay awake, haha. But we made it and had such a wonderful time. I love that man so much!

My dress is from Ingrid & Isabel, but it's no longer in stock. Click here for a similar one, and click here for a similar sleeveless version. I also LOVE this one.

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Now for my 21 week survey:

How far along: 21 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss:  I have no idea! I have my next doctor's appointment next week, so I'll update then!

Maternity clothes? Yes! Pinkblush and Target are my go-to!

Stretch marks? Yeeeessss...trying to embrace them! haha

Sleep: I've been a bit restless, so not great!

Best moment this week: Date night!!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: So much! :)

Food cravings: Muffins! Baked goods!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really.

Have you started to show yet: Yes, getting big!

Gender: Boy! Yay!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out still.

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy! But also grumpy. haha

Symptoms: RESTLESS LEG - it's so bad!! I didn't have this with James, and it is so so so very annoying!! Spider veins, stretch marks, bigger boobs, heart burn, always thirsty, congested, lower back is sore

Thanks for reading!! See you back next Monday for my 22 week update!

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What Postpartum Life Is REALLY Like

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I am honored to have written a piece for the Fit4Mom Blog about what postpartum life is REEEAAALLY like! You can read the full post here.

Now for an excerpt:

When I was pregnant with my first child, I had many preconceived notions about “postpartum life.” 

 

I had a vague idea about how life would change. But I intended to work the baby into MY life.

 

I knew I’d be tired, but there was no way I could even begin to comprehend what exactly I was in store for. I knew my body would probably be a little different. But if you work hard enough, I thought, your body didn’t have to change just because you were a mom.

 

Secretly, somewhat smugly, I judged moms that I saw juggling screaming, misbehaved children. MY kids would be well-behaved little adults...They wouldn’t eat junk food. They wouldn’t watch tv! I knew a bit about postpartum depression. I knew breastfeeding was hard for some. But these seemed like distant impossibilities. I was a happy, sound-minded person - I wouldn’t be sad! Especially not with a cute, fun little baby to play with! I was going to breastfeed.

 

No question about it!

 

Looking back now, almost two years later, pregnant with my second child, I realize how naive I was…how my world was about to be rocked in a way I never expected. The truth is this: having a baby is really and truly the most incredible, beautiful, wonderful, happiest thing in the world. I feel so blessed to have my son, to have been able to birth him, and to be able to raise him. But here is another truth: having a baby changes everything…

 

EVERYTHING.

Click here to continue reading...

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What has your postpartum experience been like? I'd love it if you'd share!

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Mommy Monday: 20 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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I hope all of you mamas out there had a wonderful Mother's Day!

We headed to the family cabin in Montana and unplugged for a long weekend...it was so refreshing and nice. We spent time reading, hiking around, and breathing in the fresh mountain air. No phones, no internet, no e-mails, no work. Just being in the moment with each other.

I'm 20 weeks pregnant now ... half way through this pregnancy and I can hardly even believe it! This pregnancy is FLYING by! It's seriously going so fast, I kind of want time to slow down a little bit. We aren't planning on having any more children after this, so this is my last time being pregnant and it is bittersweet. I feel so blessed to be able to experience pregnancy - TWICE! And I feel so incredibly blessed and thankful that this pregnancy is going so smoothly!

Ok, can we just talk about spider veins for a quick sec?? Um, I have gotten SO MANY lately! I only got a few after my pregnancy with James, but this time around my legs (particularly my knee area) is covered with them! Oh the joys of pregnancy symptoms. I'm not complaining...like I said I'm really thankful for every single part of this experience. I'm more just throwing that out there for those of you who may be experiencing the same thing. I am covered with spider veins and ever-growing stretch marks. But hey, my boobs are bigger so there's that!!

I've been feeling the baby move so much over this past week! It's really fun! I can feel his kicks and rolls getting stronger and more substantial and I think we'll be able to feel them from the outside any day now.

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I'm soaking up every second with my sweet little James. I'm so excited for him to have a little brother. I know adding another baby to our family will only add to his life, rather than detract from it. But it is still a bit sad to think of him not being the only baby any more. I know it will be an adjustment for us all! I am so excited to see James as a big brother!! He'll be so sweet with the baby, I just know it.

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Here's this week's survey:

How far along: 20 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss:  To be honest, I've lost track. I'll update this next time I get weighed at the doctor!

Maternity clothes? Pretty much exclusively!

Stretch marks? Some new ones...all of my stretch marks are around my belly button.

Sleep: Fine!

Best moment this week: Playing in the mountains with Ben and James.

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Yes, feeling a lot lately.

Food cravings: Mexican food, fruit

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really.

Have you started to show yet: Yes, getting big!

Gender: A boy! Hooray!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out still.

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!

Symptoms: Spider veins, stretch marks, bigger boobs, heart burn, always thirsty, congested, lower back is sore

Have a great week, friends!

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I know I look horrendous in this picture, but I just LOVE how James loves giving me kisses! He is seriously the sweetest!!!

I know I look horrendous in this picture, but I just LOVE how James loves giving me kisses! He is seriously the sweetest!!!

Mommy Monday: Gender Reveal! 19 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two

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It's a...BOY!

We are SO excited to finally be able to publicly announce that we're expecting our second little boy! We couldn't be more thrilled! Seriously, the idea of being a boy mom makes me so so incredibly happy! I am really excited that James will have a little brother to grow up with and for them to be able to play together!

We actually found out that we are having a boy at my 12 week ultrasound, so we've known for awhile. But I really wanted to wait until after our anatomy scan (which we just had a few hours ago!) to double check and confirm before we went ahead and told everyone. Just in case it actually turned out to be a girl, haha. 12 weeks is super early to be able to tell from an ultrasound, but the technician and the doctor were both pretty darn sure that they were seeing a boy. ;)

Even so, it was a relief to have the gender confirmed today at our anatomy scan!

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Speaking of the anatomy scan, everything went so well! Baby boy number two looked perfect and is growing just as he should be! My cervix is still closed up tight and long, just as IT should be. They even told me that I don't have to come in to have my cervix checked any more! I only need to come in if I have something I'm worried about or if I have new symptoms, so I'm basically a normal pregnant person now! Yippee!

I am so relieved and thankful that everything is well with the baby and with me! Such a nice change from our anatomy scan with James!! Read about our anatomy scan for my first pregnancy here.

Ok, on to this week's survey:

How far along: 19 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss:  Up around 11lbs

Maternity clothes? Yes! They are the comfiest!

Stretch marks? My old ones are looking so rough, haha

Sleep: It's been ok!

Best moment this week: Playdate with James' friends from music class!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Yes! So fun

Food cravings: Fruit, frozen blueberries

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really.

Have you started to show yet: Yes! People are starting to ask if I'm expecting...which means I'm at the point where there is no question that I'm pregnant!

Gender: Yes!! Another sweet boy!!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out still. This really freaks Ben out, haha.

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy! And emotional!

Symptoms: Acne, heart burn, bloody nose, congestion, light-headedness, round ligament pain.

Thank you all for the continued prayers and good vibes! So grateful for a smooth pregnancy thus far!

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Mommy Monday: 18 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Happy Monday!

I'm 18 weeks, two days pregnant and feeling great! I had an ultrasound last thursday to check my cervix since having the cerclage, and all looks perfect. My cervix was still over 4 cm and completely closed! I'm so thankful! I also got the clear to begin (gentle) workouts again... woohoo!

We go in next monday for our anatomy scan, so they will check my cervix again at that appointment. With my last pregnancy, we discovered my shortened cervix (only 1.2cm!!) at my 20 week anatomy scan, so it will be nice to pass that point in this pregnancy with no complications! Read about my experience during my last pregnancy here.

We also will be confirming the gender at the anatomy scan, so expect our gender reveal next week! We are so excited to FINALLY share what we are having with all of you! Go ahead and leave your guess in the comments: Boy or Girl?!?! :)

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It feels so nice to be able to start easing into some workouts again! I've been doing prenatal workouts from Knocked Up Fitness... click here to learn more about the workouts. They are amazing for pregnant mamas! Definitely check it out!

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I love this comfy, cute maternity top that I got from Target recently! I linked it and a few similar tops below!

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Alright, that's all for now! Here is this week's survey:

How far along: 18 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss:  As of my last week, up 10lbs since beginning of pregnancy.

Maternity clothes? Yes! Constantly on the hunt for cute, affordable pieces!

Stretch marks? Still no new ones yet!

Sleep: Super congested so it hasn't been great this week!

Best moment this week: Seeing the new baby flip and move around on the ultrasound last thursday!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Yes! The past few days I've felt a ton of movement!

Food cravings: Doughnuts. :) And Mexican food.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really.

Have you started to show yet: Yes!

Gender: Yes, announcing next week!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out. haha

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy/ Moody/ Emotional ... you name it!

Symptoms: Acne, round ligament pain has really amped up, tight muscles, tired, irritable, shortness of breath, forgetful...I'm a mess, haha.

See you back here next Monday, friends! Be sure to check back because we'll be announcing the GENDER!! HOORAY!

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Mommy Monday: 17 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Sorry that this post is going up a day late! This past week/weekend was packed!

Ben was at training for his new position at work, so James and I stayed with my parents all last week. We went to the tulip fields, and also visited a really cute park with a little farm. James LOVED seeing all of the animals! He was so adorable - he kept going and sitting down next to the chickens. And at the tulip fields, he had so much fun with all of the other little kids! He and the other little boys kept chasing each other and yelling in each other's faces. James had the time of his life, haha.

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We also had a fun play date with some of our friends from music class yesterday. I love watching James play with other kids! He is so adorable and I love watching him have fun and interact and explore!

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday - just my quick, monthly check. All was well! The baby's heartbeat sounded great and everything is going as it should be! On Thursday I have an ultrasound to check on my cervix. Prayers that there are no changes since I had the cerclage put in a few weeks ago!

Ok, I'll get to the survey in just a moment, but real quick: how beautiful is this dress?? You guys, it is not a maternity dress, but it works PERFECTLY with a bump! Win! And it comes in the most beautiful green floral print as well. Click here for the dress

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The best part is, this dress is UNDER $30!! And my shoes are only around $12! Click here for my shoes

Now for this week's survey:

How far along: 17 weeks 3 days

Total weight gain/loss:  As of my doctor's appointment yesterday, up 10lbs since beginning of pregnancy.

Maternity clothes? Yes! But trying to find lots of non-maternity pieces that will work through pregnancy as well!

Stretch marks? My old ones are showing hardcore now!

Sleep: Not bad!

Best moment this week: Watching James sit with the chickens at the farm, and watching him run around with all the other little kids at the tulip fields!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Not much, but a few little thumps!

Food cravings: Junk food. Give me ALL the junk food.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really.

Have you started to show yet: Yes!

Gender: Yes, but still not announcing quite yet!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Half in, half out. haha

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy/ Moody/ Emotional

Symptoms: Acne, aches, tight muscles, tired, SHORT TEMPER, haha

Thanks for reading! See you back here next Monday, when I'll fill you in on the results of my ultrasound!

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Mommy Monday: 16 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Happy (very late) Mommy Monday!

Don't mind the above pictures - I realized today that I had no pictures to share from this past week, haha... so I had my mom take these of me real quick! This past week has been pretty uneventful, really. Which is good! Fine by me!! I want this pregnancy to be as uneventful and boring as possible!

Honestly, nothing really new to report. I'm feeling great! All recovered from my cerclage, although my lower back is really sore ever since I had it done.

James and I are staying at my parents' house this week because Ben is at a training thing for his new position at work. We have lots of fun things planned for this week and I can't wait to tell you all about them in next week's Mommy Monday post!

Here is a fun little comparison I did the other day. The first picture is one I took back in January around the time I got pregnant. I was trying on swimsuits for our trip to Hawaii. The second picture is about 16 weeks later. Kind of cool to see the change in such a short amount of time!

Right around when I got pregnant, and then about 16 weeks later!

Right around when I got pregnant, and then about 16 weeks later!

Oh! I also wanted to mention that lately James and I have been doing so many more crafts and fun learning activities together! I love letting him play with different materials and he's been practicing color and letter matching! Let me know if you would like me to share any of the crafts and projects that we do!

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Ok, onto this week's survey:

How far along: 16 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss:  I didn't weigh myself this week but I'm assuming around the same as last week, ~6 lbs

Maternity clothes? Yes, some!

Stretch marks? No new ones yet! But my old ones are out in full glory, haha

Sleep: Fine! I have to get up quite a lot to pee, and my crazy dreams are back though.

Best moment this week: Watching James be the center of attention at music class! He has gotten so confident and is just thriving in that class, it's adorable! I'm so proud of him!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: A little bit, off and on!

Food cravings: Thai Food!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Vegetables :(

Have you started to show yet: Yes!

Gender: Yes, but still not announcing quite yet!

Labor Signs: Nope!

Belly Button in or out? Mostly in...starting to poke out on top though. So cute.

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy/ EMOTIONAL!!!!

Symptoms: Acne, weird dreams, having to pee all the time, constipation, congestion, back aches.

That's it for this week! Sorry it wasn't a very fun or exciting update, but as I said, that's fine with me!! No excitement please! Just a boring, standard, uneventful, safe, healthy pregnancy! See you back next Monday!

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Mommy Monday: 15 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two, Cerclage!

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Hi there, friends!

Friday I had my cerclage put in. I was so nervous for the surgery, even though it was planned this time and the whole thing was very relaxed. As of Friday, my cervix was still very long and normal looking, so that was great to hear, and I'm so glad that we did the cerclage before anything started changing or going south.

Even though I was super nervous, I also felt overwhelmed by a sense of peace and the knowledge that everything was going to be ok. It was such a great feeling - all of the prayers were really felt, so thank you to everyone sending them our way!

As I was waiting in the hospital room to be taken to the OR, I was overcome with emotions. I felt so incredibly thankful that I was able to have this surgery and that I was able to go through all of the scary hospital stuff in order to protect my new baby and keep it safe before anything went wrong.

Also, when I first checked in to the hospital, they sent me to the lab to get blood work done. I am a Certified Medical Assistant and have tons of experience drawing blood, but let me tell you - I HATE having my blood drawn. Like, HATE IT. I get so anxious and nervous and sweaty and so I was dreading having lab work done. Well, I got to the lab and check in, and the phlebotomist came out and said, "sorry to disappoint you, but you don't get to have a blood draw today!" I WAS SO HAPPY!! Already my second cerclage experience was going amazingly! haha

Then, I met with the anesthesiologist to discuss options and a game plan. With my first cerclage, I had a spinal, where I was numbed from my waist down and couldn't feel a thing. But I was wide awake and totally aware of what was going on and so stressed and nervous the whole time. The anesthesiologist this time said he could put me under with general anesthesia, or do a spinal. Although, he said that there was a nation-wide shortage of the medication they usually use for a spinal, so he'd have to use a different medication that takes a couple of hours longer to wear off. I told him whatever he thought was best for the baby. He decided to do the spinal, but said he'd give me something to help me relax too.

Well, whatever he gave me, the last thing I remember is being wheeled into the OR, rolled onto my side on the operating table, and the OR nurse rubbing my back as I *think* they gave me the spinal. The next thing I remember is being wheeled into recovery. I asked the anesthesiologist, "did I just fall asleep on my own or did you put me under?!" and he laughed and said, "I helped you out a bit!" haha I was SO CONFUSED!! I thought I had slept through the whole thing! I remember nothing! What I now think happened is that he gave me a sedative, so I probably was awake but just so relaxed and don't remember? I don't know, haha But it weirds me out to think that I was maybe chatting away saying who knows what during the surgery and don't remember ANYTHING!! HAHA

But, I am totally fine with whatever they did because it wasn't scary at all since I wasn't aware of what was happening and I don't remember a thing. I just remember going into the OR and leaving the OR, haha. Very pleasant!

I then had to wait a few hours for the spinal to wear off and to be able to move/feel my legs again. Then I got to go home. The whole thing was very easy and really no big deal. SUCH a different experience than the cerclage I had with my first pregnancy!! I'm so thankful for how everything went the day of my surgery and for my wonderful husband and my parents for taking such good care of me and of James during all of this!

Now, I'm 15 weeks pregnant, and everything is going well and I'm praying that the rest of this pregnancy stays as normal and uneventful as it has been thus far!!

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I've just been taking it easy the past couple of days. I'm feeling great, just sore. My back hurts a bit from the spinal, but it's getting better every day. I'm waiting on a call back from my doctor today to give me the "OK" to start lifting James and resuming my previous activity level. I'm dying to get outside and go for a walk around the neighborhood!

Yesterday afternoon I started having Braxton Hicks which I had basically MOST of my pregnancy with James (I think I may have irritable uterus), but since they started happening so soon after my cerclage I was of course freaking out a little. But they stopped and there was never any pain or bleeding so I'll mention it to my doctor when I talk to her today, but I'm pretty confident it's nothing to be concerned about. Braxton Hicks are oh-so-fun and I'm just preparing myself for  a lot of them over the next few months!

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Time for this week's survey!

How far along: 15 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss:  6 lbs

Maternity clothes? Yes, some!

Stretch marks? No new ones yet!

Sleep: Pretty good at the moment actually!

Best moment this week: Watching James and his little friend on their play date!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Yes! I've felt a few thumps over the past few days!

Food cravings: Pineapple, crunch wrap supreme, doughnuts :p

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really!

Have you started to show yet: Yes!

Gender: Yes, but still not announcing quite yet!

Labor Signs: Some Braxton Hicks over the past day or two since the cerclage.

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy/ EMOTIONAL!!!!

Symptoms: Congested, round ligament pain, emotional, peeing all the time, haha.

Thank you, again, for all of the prayers and positivity being sent our way! Please keep them coming!

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Mommy Monday: 14 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Click here for my dress (Comes in so many colors and under $100! It's my favorite dress ever!) // Click here for my shoes // Click here for my necklace (It's customized with James' name on it - you can get any name put on it! I love it so much!)

I hope you all had the happiest Easter!

We had such a fun weekend! Saturday we had a lazy morning and we all watched Homeward Bound together in our jammies and it was just such a nice, cozy day. Yesterday, James and I went to church with my parents. Then later, Ben James, Gunner, and I headed to my parents' house for dinner with extended family and an Easter egg hunt for little James. It was James' first Easter egg hunt and he did SO well!! He loved it! My cousins set it up for him and it was the cutest most fun thing!

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I was seriously dying over James' Easter outfit and how CUTE he looked!! His little tie was just the most adorable thing. I want to dress him up in fancy clothes every day!! His shirt is my favorite color - mint! And his slacks are a bit big so they will fit him for all of our events coming up through the summer!

I'm also so obsessed with the dress I wore - it's not a maternity dress. I barely squeezed myself into the dress and had to have Ben zip me up, haha but it worked with my little bump!! It's just the most feminine dress with such pretty detailing and I love the length. It's very classy and elegant and perfect for any occasion. It comes in a lot of colors and is under $100 which is SUCH a great price for the quality!! (Click here for my dress)

So, I am officially in the Second Trimester now!! Hooray!!

This week, I'm getting my cerclage, so please send all your thoughts and prayers and good vibes my way! I'm pretty nervous for the surgery and just want to get it over with!

Oh also, I found the BEST maternity jeans ever...seriously. If you're pregnant, GET THEM!

They are really comfortable (like leggings), and are super cute and actually fit well unlike a lot of maternity jeans. They come in several colors/ washes. Click here for the jeans!

Now, for this week's survey:

How far along: 14 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: 6 lbs

Maternity clothes? Yes! Like these maternity jeans I've been raving about!! (Click here for jeans)

Stretch marks? No new ones!

Sleep: Not great - SO congested!!

Best moment this week: James doing his Easter egg hunt! And watching James during the church service yesterday! He's so sweet!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: I *think* a few little flutters - but none that I'm absolutely positive about yet. I have an anterior placenta this time, so it will probably be harder for me to feel movement until later on.

Food cravings: Pineapple!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really!

Have you started to show yet: Oooooh yes. ;)

Gender: We know! But we're not announcing yet! ;)

Labor Signs: No.

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? Off! Wearing a place holder ring now! :p

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!

Symptoms: My weird dreams are gone, yay! Now symptoms include congestion, weakness, shortness of breath, and moodiness.

Have a great week, friends!!

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Mommy Monday: 13 Weeks Pregnant With Number Two!

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Happy Mommy Monday!

As I mentioned in last week's post (read last week's post here), I met with Maternal Fetal Medicine on Wednesday for a "pre-op consult" because I am getting another cerclage this pregnancy. You can read about my whole scary experience with finding out that I needed an emergency cerclage during my first pregnancy here.

This time around I was told right away: "Once a cerclage, always a cerclage". So, I got in the mindset. Last time around was so scary and unexpected and urgent and complicated. THIS time will be calm, planned, relaxed, no big deal, and not *necesssary*, just a precaution. As of my appointment on Wednesday, my cervix was still over 4cm which is GREAT - super long. At my 20 week scan during my first pregnancy, my cervix was down to 1.2cm, which is extremely short. I was SO relieved that my cervix was still so long at this week's scan!

So, basically, the doctor gave me two options:

1. Get a cerclage done in the next week or two as a precaution. That way, we make sure the cerclage is done under calm and controlled circumstances and that my cervix is super long and we wont have to worry about it the rest of the pregnancy.

2. Monitor my cervix every two weeks and if is starts to shorten, put a cerclage in.

With option two, I potentially would not need a cerclage at all if my cervix does not shorten - which sounds super appealing! BUT, my cervix could possibly shorten super quickly before it is caught and I could lose the baby. And a really short cervix like I had before makes a cerclage a lot more risky (ie, bleeding, puncturing the bladder, etc...) So, I decided to just do the cerclage now. I'll be scheduling it for in the next few weeks, so I'll keep you all updated on that!

Definitely not looking forward to it, BUT this time around will hopefully be a lot more relaxed and pleasant. :)

In other exciting news: WE FOUND OUT THE GENDER!!

I'm not going to say much more about this yet because we aren't going to publicly announce for awhile. The ultrasound tech asked me if I was going to be doing genetic testing, and I told her the ONLY reason I would do it would be to find out the gender sooner. She said, "Well, I can just look and see if I can tell" and I was like, oh YES. haha And she could. And the doctor confirmed. It's REEEAAALLLY early - like, usually you can't tell on an ultrasound until at least 18 weeks and I was only 12. But they were PRETTY confident. :)

So exciting. I can't wait to announce to you all when the time comes! Go ahead and post your guess in the comments below: Is baby Cohen number two a BOY or a GIRL??

Also, I have gotten a few requests about items that I think are necessary vs. unnecessary for a new baby. I'll try to put together a blog post soon going over all of this! If you have any specific questions feel free to leave them below and I'll answer them!

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Yesterday, Ben, James, Gunner, and I went for a drive into the National Forest where we live. We went exploring and Ben shot his bow and it was SUCH a beautiful day! Days like that make me so thankful for this growing family of mine! I am truly blessed!

Who else is doing the Knocked Up Fitness prenatal program with me?? Comment below and let me know so that we can hold each other accountable! And be sure to follow me on Instagram (@annamcohenblog) so we can check in with eachother! Click here to learn more about the Knocked Up Fitness Prenatal Program!

Ok, now for the weekly survey:

How far along: 13 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: Last Wednesday I was 116lbs at the doctor's office - but that's with clothes and shoes on. When I weigh myself at home I usually don't wear clothes, so that's where I got my pre-pregnancy weight of 107lbs. From here on out, I'll just use the weight from the doctor to make it easier and since I don't have a scale any more anyways to weigh myself at home. :)

Maternity clothes? A few pieces! Maternity leggings and pajamas are LIFE!

Stretch marks? No new ones, but I feel like my old ones are stretching back out. BOO!

Sleep: Oh my goodness, CAN'T GET COMFORTABLE. haha I'm scared. If I'm having trouble getting comfortable this early on, I don't know what I'm going to do come third trimester! Also, the insanely weird, horrible, detailed, REAL-feeling dreams are just getting worse! haha You guys, they are so bizarre!!!

Best moment this week: Hiking with my family in the mountains!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Not yet!

Food cravings: Crunch wrap supremes and sub sandwiches.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really!

Have you started to show yet: Yes, and I feel like I popped even more over the past day or two!

Gender: We know! But we're not announcing yet! ;)

Labor Signs: No.

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? On, but I'm going to take them off and put on my place holder ring soon because I already notice them getting super tight and it makes me claustrophobic.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy and emotional!!

Symptoms: Weird dreams, dry skin, acne, tired, congested, aching pelvis,

I'll see you guys back here next Monday for another update! And check back later this week for another non-mommy-monday post!

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Mommy Monday: 12 weeks pregnant with number two!

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Dress: Soprano (Exact pattern sold out, same dress in different color here and here) // Shoes: Target

Happy Monday, friends!

Welcome to the first round of Mommy Monday for pregnancy number two!

You guys: I started showing SO QUICKLY this time around!! Seriously, I think the moment I got pregnant my uterus was like, "Ok, this again!" and blew up. haha I was showing when we were in Hawaii and that was only at six weeks...granted I'm sure a lot of it was bloating, but still. I started showing waaaayyyy sooner than I did my first pregnancy. I'm glad I've announced that I'm pregnant because now I can just let it all hang out, haha.

This week I am going in for a pre-op consultation with Maternal Fetal Medicine because...yup, I have to get a cerclage again.

As of my eight week appointment, my cervix was still looking perfect and hadn't started shortening or anything, but my OB told me "once a cerclage, always a cerclage". So I'll be getting one put in at 14 weeks as a precaution. And at least this time around it wont be an emergency or a scary unknown hurried thing. I can plan ahead, prepare for it mentally, go in to the hospital in my pajamas and glasses (last time I was wearing tight jeans, high heels, and contact lenses...NOT COMFY POST-OP, haha). Oh, and this time I can tell the anesthesiologist ahead of time that I puked on the operating table last time, so they can plan ahead and give me medicine for that haha. Anyways, this time should be a much more pleasant and calm experience, God-willing! :)

So, this week is my pre-op consultation for all of that. I'll fill you guys in on all the details of that appointment in next monday's post. I'll be getting an ultrasound so I'm really looking forward to seeing the little one!

As I mentioned in my last post I'm not experiencing any morning sickness any more, so that has been wonderful! So much better in that regard, compared to my last pregnancy!

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You guys all know how much I love and adore the Core Rehab Program from Knocked Up Fitness, right? (Read about my posts on it here and here) Core Rehab helped me heal my abdominal separation postpartum and just helped me to get my body back to looking and feeling it's best after having James. Well, I'm so excited to be doing the Knocked Up Fitness Prenatal Program during my pregnancy this time around!!

You can learn more about the Knocked Up Fitness Prenatal Program here. I'd love it if some of you other pregnant mamas did it along with me! Let me know if you're doing it and we can hold each other accountable!

Ok, now to the weekly survey, which I'll be filling out each Monday, just like last time:

How far along: 12 weeks 2 days

Total weight gain/loss: Not sure! I haven't been weighing myself. I was 107lbs before I got pregnant.

Maternity clothes? Some! They are way more comfy, and like I said, I am getting so big so fast with this pregnancy that already some of my non-maternity clothes are getting too tight!

Stretch marks? Just the old ones so far!

Sleep: Not great! Having so many weird dreams and such bad allergies. I keep waking up with an itchy nose, haha.

Best moment this week: Hitting the 12 week mark! It just feels like a milestone, as we're basically out of the first trimester now!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Not yet!

Food cravings: None really! Sour candy has been my jam though!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Vegetables, unfortunately. Just the thought of them makes me gag. :(

Have you started to show yet: Yes, SO quickly this time around!

Gender: Don't know yet!

Labor Signs: No.

Belly Button in or out? In/flat

Wedding rings on or off? On.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy but SO emotional!!

Symptoms: Weird dreams, dry skin, acne, tired.

Pregnant Again!!

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If you follow me on social media, you saw that last weekend I announced that I'm PREGNANT! Ben and I are expecting our second baby in September and we are SO excited! Sorry it took me a week to get this blog post up... I actually started writing it last Sunday and...well, here we are! I'm pulling the #momlife card. ;) Going forward, I will have a new pregnancy post up every Monday for Mommy Monday, starting this Monday with my 12 week update!

We met with doctors and specialists this past fall to discuss our fears and concerns regarding trying for a second baby (if you aren't familiar with my story, I had a somewhat scary/stressful pregnancy with my first son, James). We felt confident after our talks - and after LOTS of deep thought and prayer - and felt like it was the right time to start trying. We both really want one more child, and our conversations with the doctors really helped to put our minds at ease. Read more about our thought process/concerns/conversations with doctors here in this blog post.

Anyways, once again we got pregnant right away! With James it was *literally* our first try, and with this one it was within a month. We feel so blessed and we were (are) SO excited! When I first took the pregnancy test and got the positive result, Ben wasn't home from work yet and I had just put James to bed. When I saw the two pink lines, I instantly fell on my knees and started sobbing. I prayed so hard and told God that I was SCARED - but so thankful. I know he has a plan for this baby and for our family, and I know that His hand will be on this pregnancy just as it was with James'.

After I spent some time crying and praying, I felt SO overwhelmed with peace and joy and the strongest sense that everything would be ok, no matter what happens, no matter what this crazy journey has in store for us...we'll be ok.

I told Ben when he got home from work and he was shocked but super happy and excited. He instantly wanted to tell everyone and we did tell all of our parents that night. I'm pretty sure he ended up telling all of his coworkers/siblings/etc... within a week or two. haha For some reason this time around was much harder to keep a secret. We just wanted to tell everyone right away. We ended up publicly announcing last Saturday when I was 11 weeks, which is slightly early. But we figured even if something ended up happening, we would want the love and support of our friends and family, and I would probably blog about it and share about it on social media anyways because that is like therapy and such a great outlet for me.

So, here we are! We had our first ultrasound at eight weeks and saw and heard the baby's heartbeat. It was so special. It was like a dream, reminding me so much of when we first saw and heard our little James. But this time feels so incredibly different as well. I nearly had an anxiety attack as Ben and I waited in the room for the ultrasound. It just brought back so many memories of all of those weekly ultrasounds, checking my cervix, holding my breath, praying desperately that they wouldn't see a change in my cervix and that our James would be safe. My last pregnancy and labor and delivery definitely changed me. It changed my entire perception of this process. But, while I am so much more aware of just how much can go wrong during a pregnancy, I feel such an incredible peace that it will all work out and that I will be able to handle anything that comes my way.

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First Trimester Symptoms

My main symptoms during the first trimester were fatigue, nausea, and CRRRAAAAAAZZZZYYYYYY dreams, haha. Seriously, the WEIRDEST most in depth, detailed, bizarre dreams. I'm still having them most nights, and I'll often times wake up in the morning thinking what. the. heck. haha

My fatigue hasn't been as bad this pregnancy as it was during my first trimester with James. Maybe it's because I have a toddler now and I just couldn't possibly give in to being exhausted because...well, it's just not possible to nap and lay around all day when you have a one and a half year old.

My morning sickness started around six weeks and lasted until around ten weeks. Which is much shorter than it was with my first pregnancy, and my nausea definitely was not nearly as bad this time. Now I don't have any morning sickness *knock on wood* and I'm hoping it stays away the rest of this pregnancy!

I will give more detailed updates in my 12 week post on monday! This is just a quick little intro to pregnancy number two! I'm not sure what I've gotten myself into by getting pregnant again and by signing up for two kids under three years old, but I'm sure that whatever is in store is going to be beautiful, wonderful, and perfect in it's own way and I am so thankful for this blessing and for getting to experience pregnancy again! I almost can't even believe that we're going to have another little one running around soon... it's too good to be true! James is going to be the BEST big brother! It's going to be so much fun!

Thank you for following along on this new adventure! As always, your thoughts, prayers, well-wishes, and good vibes are MUCH appreciated! And if you have any questions please don't ever hesitate to reach out either in the comments or through e-mail!

See you on Monday!

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Baby After Bedrest? My Thoughts On Baby Number Two

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Warning: This will be a long one, guys! It's probably the most personal blog post I've ever written.

If you've been following my blog for awhile, you know that my pregnancy with James turned out to be a really challenging and scary one, leading up to an even more frightening birth experience.

To summarize, I was given an emergency cerclage and put on bedrest at 20 weeks due to having a shortened cervix. Being on bedrest for the next 16+ weeks was the most challenging experience of my life, both mentally and physically. It was 16 weeks of being terrified for my baby's safety, my body deteriorating, and being bored and antsy and...it was just a really really emotional and hard time.

I ended up having my cerclage removed at around 36 weeks and I was taken off of bedrest at that time. At 39 weeks 3 days, I went in for my weekly check in with my doctor and he noted that my right leg was waaay more swollen than my left leg. He said he wanted to have me induced and to check for a blood clot. I was sent right over to the hospital where I was admitted and was told I would be given an ultrasound on my leg to check for blood clots. The doctor on call who would deliver James came in and basically told me that there was a good chance I would die suddenly and that she was very very concerned. When I told her I was scared she said "I think that's reasonable, I am too." Um. Without going on and on too much here, what AWFUL bedside manner. It REALLY messed me up, to put it lightly. I burst into tears and was horrified (read more details here). Bottom line, I DID NOT have a blood clot. They went ahead and broke my water and I went into labor and delivered James without any further complications. (Click here to read our birth story)

I haven't opened up too much about the mental aspects of how all of this affected me. I'm not sure I really want to. I have shared with my close family, because I DEFINITELY had (and still do have) a lot to work through. It was a traumatic experience from the moment I was told my cervix didn't look right at the anatomy scan. Then after all of that and being told I would die, I was thrust into the throes of new motherhood which is a huge life-altering experience on its own, let alone after all I had been through. I still struggle with everything that happened. I'm scared. My anxiety is through the roof. I'm more emotional. I'm more aware of how very quickly life can be taken away, and how fleeting and fragile and precious life is. I'm still healing emotionally, and probably will be for a long time. My experience, without trying to be too dramatic, has forever changed me - has forever changed my mind - and it will haunt me for the rest of my life in some form. BUT I ended up with the most beautiful little boy, and I am absolutely so grateful for how everything turned out!!

At first, Ben and I were pretty scared to even think about the possibility of having another baby. We both want more kids, but we are also SO SO SO VERY happy with just James. James is EVERYTHING. He is our perfect blessing - healthy, happy, strong, whole, beautiful, smart... we are so thankful for him and for the fact that we were blessed with a son and that we all came out of that pregnancy and labor and delivery SAFE. We are so thankful to be parents, and we thought "why mess with what we have?" Because what we have is perfect. Why risk having to go through that again? Why risk me dying? Why risk losing a baby if all didn't go well? I was suffering from PTSD and so so unbelievably scared to even consider doing that again.

As time went by, and James turned a year old, I began to feel a pang of baby fever. My little boy was becoming a toddler and babyhood was slipping away so quickly. I pictured having another little one close in age with James for him to play with. Ben and I talked, and decided that I should sit down with my doctor and talk about if it was a good idea for us to get pregnant again, or if it was NOT recommended. We didn't want to be selfish by getting pregnant again just because we wanted another kid, and then put the new baby at risk because of a shortened cervix, or risk me dying, or upset James' perfect, happy, charmed little life.

I met with my doctor and laid out all of my thoughts, concerns, fears, questions... he looked at me, smiled and said "have a baby!" He explained that bottom-line: I DID NOT HAVE A BLOODCLOT. Bottom-line: Nothing happened to the baby. Bottom-line: Everything turned out FINE and I made it nearly to my due date, and maybe would have longer if they hadn't moved things along. Bottom-line: we will NEVER know if I even NEEDED a cerclage and bedrest at all, because my cervix never changed and I maybe would have made it full term even without all of those precautions. Bottom-line: I may not even have any issues with my cervix next time around. My doctor said, "If you were my wife, we'd be having a baby. Hopefully I'll see you back here soon pregnant!"

I was relieved, but still skeptical. My doctor recommended that I meet with Maternal Fetal Medicine, since high risk pregnancies and all of that are their specialty. So I did. I met with ANOTHER doctor from MFM, and he basically told me the EXACT same things that my doctor had. This doctor told me that if I get pregnant again, I wont be put on bedrest because it has been found to do more harm than good in most cases, because of inactivity and how it can increase the risk of blood clots, and also how bad it is for a person mentally. He said I also wouldn't have a cerclage again. He explained that there is no scientific evidence that a cerclage or bedrest do any good or make any difference. He told me to get pregnant.

A number of emotions went through my head after my meetings with the doctors. I was relieved and excited. I felt a bit angry that I had been through a cerclage and bedrest for maybe no reason, but then quickly I felt guilt for feeling angry because God knows I would have done ANYTHING ANYTHING ANYTHING in the entire world to keep my son safe inside of me until he was able to survive in the world. I felt confused. I felt a LOT of skepticism. These doctors were not the doctor that did my cerclage and put me on bedrest and monitored me up until I was around 30 weeks pregnant - did they REALLY know??

Ben and I have discussed everything at length. Most of all, we don't want anything to negatively impact James. But having received such adamant and confident assurance and encouragement from two separate doctors, we feel very encouraged and excited that we have the option of trying for baby number two, if we choose to do so.

A lot of prayer is going on over here. Prayer for guidance and for strength and for the right decision to be made and for God's will to be made known. We will see what happens. We will see what we decide to do. But for now, I am clinging to the words of each of my doctors, telling me that I have to remember that EVERYTHING TURNED OUT TO BE OK. My son was born full-term and healthy, and I did not have a blood clot. I wouldn't be considered high risk going into another pregnancy.

I'm ok. James is ok. I am ok to get pregnant again.

But I'm still scared.

So we'll see. But that is where we are at. We have been given the go-ahead by two different doctors, and Ben and I would both love to have more children. But we'd also be SO SO SO fine with just having our bright, sweet, shining little boy! I am an only child and I loved it.

Whatever we decide to do and whatever happens, I pray that it is God's will.

So that's where we're at!

Have any of you had another child after having a scary or hard pregnancy and/or birth experience? I'd really love to hear your story if you have.

 

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One Year Old Update...We Have A Toddler!

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Hi friends!

Long time no talk! Life has been so crazy busy/wonderful lately, and I have SO much to fill you all in on (life update blog post coming soon!!)!

But, in today's post, I'll be focusing on one of the biggest things that's happened recently: James turned one year old! Isn't that so crazy?! The past year has gone so fast.

His birthday was July 23rd, so he will be 14 months old here in a week or so. He started walking around 13 months, and now he walks EVERYWHERE! It's so much fun! He seems to love the freedom that walking gives him and he always has the most proud look on his face when he is toddling around. It's so cute!

He has 10 teeth, including two big molars, and his hair is getting longer although it is still blonde and whispy. :) Just like mine was! I didn't have real, substantial hair until I was two. It was so blonde you could hardly see it, and that's how James' is.

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James LOVES water. Ben was away in Idaho hunting for elk the first two weeks of September, so James and I stayed at my parents' house on the lake. James had so much fun playing on the beach and wading, and he even stuck his face in the water and splashed around as I held him out in the deeper water. He loves it!

He is fearless and SO curious about everything. It's so different from how I was as a child and am today...I've always been timid and scared of getting hurt or getting in trouble. James has no fear...he charges ahead with enthusiasm and bravery and excitement, and it is so inspiring!

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Next Tuesday, James and I are starting a music class at the local children's museum! He really enjoys music and clapping and dancing, so I think he is really going to love this class! It's every Tuesday morning through December and I'm hoping we can make some mommy and baby friends!

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A year later and I FIIIINALLLLY feel like I have this mom thing figured out! I've totally fallen into stride and I've got a handle on things and life is just so beautiful and fun and relaxed now! :) I love being a mom so much, and James is just the most fun, wonderful, smart, sweet little boy. I'm so lucky to be his mommy! I love trying new things with him and watching him learn and explore. He is so friendly and bold, and it pushes me out of my comfort zone. Every time we go out in public, he makes friends! He waves and smiles at and chats with EVERYONE we pass, which forces me to come out of my shell a bit, because I'm so shy and like to fly under the radar, normally. It's good for me to be around James. I have a lot to learn from him! :)

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Anyways, I'm happy to be back blogging again. It was a much needed and very nice break, and like I said, I'll tell you ALLL about what I've been up to and why I stepped back from blogging/social media for a bit in my next post! Look out for lots of newness in the next few weeks, and LOTS of exciting collaborations and projects which I've been working on!

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Mommy Monday: Core Rehab, Part 1

If you've been following me for awhile on my blog and on Instagram, you know that I have diastasis recti (abdominal separation) since being pregnant with my son.

Diagram of diastasis recti - mine wasn't this severe at all, but this shows kind of what happens with abdominal separation!

Abdominal separation is very common postpartum. However, there is a shocking lack of information out there for mamas who have this. In fact, many women have abdominal separation and aren't even aware that they have it (learn how to check for it here), OR they have been told that the only way to FIX it is by having surgery. Which is NOT TRUE!!

When I was first pregnant with James, I was searching the internet for some exercises that I could do while pregnant. That's when I first came across Erica Ziel. Erica Ziel is the founder of Knocked Up Fitness and Core Athletica Inc.. She is an EXPERT in helping women to strengthen their deep core muscles in order to have a safer and easier pregnancy, delivery, and recovery. 

Erica Ziel

Now, Erica has developed the Core Rehab Program for postpartum mamas! The Core Rehab Program is designed for mamas who are interested in "rehabbing" their cores after all that they have been through with pregnancy and delivery. This includes working on posture, techniques for safely picking things up, and how to properly engage your deep core muscles to strengthen your core and help to repair abdominal separation.

Pregnancy can do a number on a woman's body, especially her core. Muscles and connective tissues are weakened, stretched, etc... It is important to strengthen your deep core and connective tissues postpartum in order to properly heal and to feel better. But, if you're like me, it can be overwhelming and even a little scary because

...where do you even BEGIN??

Erica was kind enough to let me do the Core Rehab Program in exchange for reviewing it. And I certainly hope you all know that I will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be honest in my reviews. I would never recommend something that I wasn't totally excited about or impressed by or that I didn't genuinely believe in. So, with that said, let me dive right in:

THE CORE REHAB PROGRAM HAS BEEN THE MOST LIFE-CHANGING, GREATEST THING FOR ME. And I truly mean that. 

The program consists of six phases, each broken up into two weeks. I am through the first two phases, and oh my goodness, the changes are so incredible. And I'm not just talking about physical changes, although I've certainly seen some. I'm talking about changes in the way that I feel.

After giving birth to James, my back KILLED me. I have scoliosis, so my back has always hurt me. But pregnancy and delivery just really really messed it up. Plus, being on bedrest didn't help because I basically lost all of the muscle tone that was helping to support my back. Add in the abdominal separation and weakened core, and I was basically a hot-postpartum-mess of pain, discomfort, and consequently - stress

My abdominal separation was minor: just about a finger tip and a half wide, and not very deep (only about to my first knuckle). My doctor told me to just take it easy and refrain from doing core exercises or anything other than cardio for two months or so and it should close up. Well, two months came and went and if anything, when I re-checked, it seemed like my separation had not closed up at all. (Granted, I probably hadn't been taking it as easy as I should have been...) In fact, I think my separation had even gotten a little worse. I was very stressed about this and just wanted my body to be fully healed so that I could get back into my regular exercise routine (exercise is SUCH a huge part of my life!!) and so that I could start building up my back muscles again to help with my scoliosis and pain management. 

I had seen some buzz about Erica's Core Rehab Program floating around the internet and social media and I was really curious about it. Then, I saw one of my friends on Instagram, Kristen Suppa (@well.balanced.home) post something about the program. I messaged her about it, and she connected me with Erica, and the next thing I knew, I was diving into the program with so much excitement and hope. (You can read Kristen's story at the bottom of this post!)

Within the first week of the program, I noticed a difference in how I felt. I was standing taller. I was feeling more supported through my core. I was making changes in the ways that I held my baby and in the way that I picked him and other things up from the floor. I was moving and standing and sitting differently. Even breathing differently!

I finally was being given the tools that I needed to begin to heal myself and FEEL BETTER. 

Now, I've finished phase two and I am so excited to say that when I re-checked my abdominal separation yesterday, I can no longer stick ANY of my finger in AND my separation is less than a finger tip wide, which is normal!! I am blown away with how quickly the program has helped me to heal, and I know that these quick results probably aren't the norm. I also know that I still have a long way to go. I'm going to be continuing to work through all of the phases, and I'll be writing a follow-up blog post once I've completed phase six so that I can update you all, so check back for that in a few months! I can't even imagine how amazing I'll feel once I've finished all of the phases!! 

Again, these are my honest opinions. I am not being paid to say any of this, I just genuinely am so excited about the Core Rehab Program and I want to tell all of you about it in case you are suffering from discomfort, or abdominal separation, or the stress of not knowing where to begin healing your core postpartum like I was. Whether you are three months postpartum or twenty years...Erica shows that it is possible to repair your diastasis recti, strengthen your core, and MOST IMPORTANTLY...feel better. 

The Core Rehab Program opens for enrollment tomorrow, on January 3rd. You can sign up here to receive more information and to be notified when enrollment is open. I don't get anything out of your signing up, other than the joy of knowing that you are going to receive the same loving guidance from Erica that I have. 

If you are a postpartum mama who has abdominal separation, OR even if you DON'T have abdominal separation but just feel like you need some help in strengthening your core, please consider this program, because it has seriously made such a difference for me. I could cry I am so thankful for the Core Rehab Program and Erica Ziel. I want you to feel better too. 

If you have questions, feel free to ask! And follow me (@annamcohenblog), @well.balanced.home and @knockedupfitness on Instagram for more daily updates! 

Here's to taking care of ourselves and to feeling GOOD postpartum!! :)

Kristen's Story:

I'm Kristen, and I'm a Mama of 2 little guys in New Jersey. My oldest is almost 2.5 and my youngest is 10 months. I got pregnant the second time around when my oldest was just 9 months old, and unfortunately I still had some ab separation from that first pregnancy. I was nervous that it would get a lot worse the second time around, and I actually reached out to Erica Ziel to ask about her Prenatal Workouts. She was super encouraging and suggested her Prenatal Sculpt Workout DVD and I was consistent with that (especially the core routine- which is gentle and safe for those with ab separation) throughout my pregnancy. I am thankful for those workouts because I had a very quick labor (3 hours from the first contraction to holding my baby!) and a smooth, easy recovery. As expected, I still had some ab separation postpartum, but I believe it would have been a lot worse (and my labor not as easy) had I not been proactive during my pregnancy and committed to those workouts. 

I ended up having a 2 finger gap from a few inches above my belly button, all the way down to my pubic bone, also the depth of my gap showed that my fascia was weak (something I learned about from Erica's tutorials)- the depth was almost to my second knuckle. I jumped on the opportunity to participate in Erica's newly released Core Rehab Program, and I just finished Phase 4. I am thrilled with how my body is feeling. I am a firm believer in doing what you can when you can and practicing patience with yourself during this season of motherhood where the babies are little and you don't get much time for yourself. Easier said than done (and I'm forever working on maintaining that mindset!), but that being said, it has taken me about 6 months to complete the 4 phases, and I am ok with that! The workouts are all under 20 minutes, and usually there are 1 or 2 videos to do each day, so you can split them throughout your day when you find a pocket of time. You stream them from your phone, iPad, etc. or follow PDF printouts, which is helpful as a busy Mama! I'll be starting the New Year with Phase 5, and I can't wait to see how I feel after I complete the final 2 phases! 

This program did more for me than almost closing my ab separation- it has given me more awareness in my everyday movements and posture than I ever had before, and I'm so thankful for that. My gap is now just localized to about 1 inch above my belly button and right at my belly button, and it is about 1 finger or less in width. Under my belly button, my gap is closed! The depth has improved significantly as well- it is about as deep as my first knuckle at this point and just localized to right around that small belly button area, so I am proof that the program can help to strengthen your fascia as well! Erica gives us so much valuable information in all of her videos and her excellent cueing during the workouts and tutorials that I can now truly connect to my core during activities in everyday life, and I just feel stronger and more intentional with my movements throughout my busy days. Of course, the bonus is how much flatter my tummy is and how much better my posture is. My husband even noticed my posture, so that's a win too! 

My advice to other Mamas and Mamas-to-be is that it is so important to practice self care and find some time for yourselves. Erica's programs are designed in such a way that they're very manageable and they will give you that time for yourself, while giving you your body confidence back! 

I love connecting with other Moms on Instagram (you can find me @well.balanced.home)- we all have SO much in common and can and should lean on each other for support when we need it! I'm so thankful to have connected with Anna through this community of Mamas- her Instagram account and blog always brighten my day! Looking forward to seeing her progress with this awesome program, and hope to connect with some of you as well! Happy New Year! 

 

Mommy Monday: Pregnancy & Postpartum Q&A, Part 1

Sweatshirt: ILY Couture

Yes, it's Wednesday...not Monday - I know, I know. First off, let me apologize that this post took SO LONG for me to get up! I'm sure any other mama will understand how it can be challenging to find the time to brush your hair every day, let alone write blog posts consistently...but regardless, I feel bad. I miss blogging regularly, and I'm working really hard to get back into the swing of things. But the truth is, this little man has taken over my life and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Jammies: Kickee Pants

So, if for a bit my posts are inconsistent, or even a little baby-heavy, please hang in there with me. I PROMISE I'm still here and I'm working hard to get back to a regular posting schedule. :)

Alright, without further ado, here is my pregnancy/postpartum/new mom Q&A! I'll do a few of these because I got SOOO many questions. Here is part 1.

You all sent over some GREAT questions. I told you nothing was off limits or too personal, and boy I got some tough questions! I'm excited to answer them, so let's get to it!

*Also, if you are a guy, or if you just aren't interested in reading some TMI stuff, then you best turn away now! :)*

How did you handle the daily anxieties of having a not so smooth pregnancy?

Meditation was HUGE for me during my pregnancy. I would meditate twice a day, and I would spend A LOT of time in prayer every day as well. Praying and meditating REALLY got me through all of the fear and stress and worry and frustration of being on bedrest and of my situation.

What pregnancy symptom surprised you the most?

EXHAUSTION!! I was blown away by the utter and overwhelming exhaustion that I experienced, particularly in the first trimester. Bloody noses were a surprise too.

I'm scared of childbirth and of tearing! How was your experience with this?

Believe me, I was SO SO SO SO SO scared of child birth. The thought of tearing freaked me out SO badly. I seriously had anxiety about the entire thing. I had an epidural (BEST THING EVER - I napped while in labor!) so I didn't feel a thing. Seriously, labor and delivery didn't even hurt at all for me. I HIGHLY recommend epidurals. If you choose to go natural, more power to you! That takes a lot of will power! But for me, not having any pain was just a huge blessing!! So, my point is, that I didn't even notice that I tore a bit. I had a 2nd degree tear which is the most common degree of tear. It's not a big deal and I got a few stitches which fell out on their own within a few weeks. It was REALLY sore and stung for weeks after giving birth, but healed up totally fine and was not a big deal. Now, I hear that some women tear REALLY badly - but luckily that was not my experience.

What has been the biggest challenge physically for recovery?

I have Diastasis Recti which is ab separation. Mine is so minor - less than a finger tip. But, that means that, while I got the ok to start working out again, I have to hold off on doing any ab work until my abs have come all the way back together. My doctor said that should be in about another month or so. It's been hard to not be able to do ab exercises because I'm really eager to get my core toned up.

Another huge challenge physically for recovery was just the bleeding and pain for the first six weeks or so postpartum. Basically, your whole uterus has to heal and empty itself of all of the fluid and everything as it shrinks back down to it's pre-pregnancy size. So, there is a lot of bleeding, a lot of discharge known as lochia, and a lot of pain, burning, itching, and stinging as things heal.

What are your postpartum must-haves?

Listen carefully... STOCK UP ON THESE THINGS:

~Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads

~Sitz Bath Spray

~Dermoplast Pain Relieving Spray

~Colace

~Bio-Oil

~Peribottle (They should send you home from the hospital with one of these, but if for some reason they don't, GET ONE NOW!!!)

~Jumbo pads. Or adult diapers. The bigger the better. :p

How do you balance breastfeeding and working out?

I breastfed for the first two months, and during that time I wasn't cleared yet to work out at that point, so I didn't really have to deal with this. My breastfeeding and working out only over lapped for a week or two, and I wasn't really doing anything strenuous at that point. But, I've read that breastfeeding before working out, or pumping right after working out and discarding the pumped breast milk can help if a baby doesn't like the taste.

I would love to know the diet you are eating while breastfeeding?

While breastfeeding I didn't follow a particular diet - I mostly just focused on eating healthy foods and avoiding alcohol (but I don't really ever drink anyways so that wasn't very hard!!).

Once in college a professor told us after you have a baby you never feel quite like yourself or the same ever again. That always stuck with me as odd. Surely you feel different, but never the same again? I'd love to hear your thoughts on that.

I definitely still feel like myself after having a baby. It's not so much a matter of not feeling like myself, it's just that my LIFE and circumstances and body have drastically changed forever. THAT is the challenging and scary and disconcerting bit. I feel like the same person who has just been through something life altering: something scary and wonderful and absolutely incredible. And now I am someone's mother and that is my life now - me, Anna, the same person I have always been, just with a whole new view on life. And one that I am SO thankful for and excited about!

Maybe that doesn't make any sense. I'm not sure I articulated my thoughts very clearly there. Bottom line - I feel like me, but my life is different. My day to day activities have changed completely. My body is different. It's been a big adjustment, but I am loving my new life and I feel like the very best me, like my purpose in life is being fulfilled! :) And I am starting to figure out how to fit the things I love doing back into my new life (like blogging... ;), as well as enjoying the new things that I love doing, such as playing with my son and cuddling with him and caring for him night and day.

Alright, that is all I have time for right now. But at least I got some of the questions answered, FINALLY, right?? I'll do Part 2 sometime in the near future. As always, continue to send me any questions you may have and I promise I'll get around to answering them!

xo, Anna

 

 

Mommy Monday: 38 Weeks!

I'll miss my shelf!!

Well, here I am! Still pregnant! haha Who would have EVER thought?! I seriously can't believe that, after assuming he'd be here early for so long, he is actually still in there! What a blessing! But also, let's be done now. haha Just kidding. He can, of course stay in as long as he needs to and I'm SO thankful that we've made it to full term!! What a relief! BUT. I'm freaking uncomfortable. haha My feet and legs are GINORMOUS - like...beyond swollen and tight and they HURT like heck!! I don't fit in any of my shoes! I'm having so many cramps and contractions. I officially full-on waddle now. I pee every five minutes. Oh boy...hahaha The last few weeks of pregnancy are no joke!

But, I'm still loving it. And I'm going to miss it so much once I'm not pregnant any more. It's just such a beautiful, exciting, special experience! I have been getting in some squats, stretching, and resistance band workouts, and I've been trying to walk more. It feels nice to be able to do little workouts again!! But I'm so swollen and big and lumbering that I honestly can't do much, haha.

On Friday we had a doctor's appointment. He checked my cervix, and as he was checking it he said, "Oh! I'm not going to be seeing you next week." When I asked why, he said he doesn't think I'll make it to the next appointment (this coming Friday). I was 2-3cm dilated and pretty much fully effaced. Now, we'll see, because I've read of people being more dilated than that and lasting several more weeks. SO. We'll see if he's right!

He also said that he was going to offer to sweep my membranes that day, but that he had called labor and delivery and they were pretty busy so he decided not to. But if I make to the next appointment he will do the sweep at that time! So, this coming Friday, if I'm still preggers, he'll do a sweep! For those of you who don't know, a membrane sweep is when the doctor inserts a finger into the cervix and gently separates the bag of water from the uterus. It's a natural way of trying to get things going. It only works to start labor if your body is already ready for it, so there is no risk. Can you believe that I'm at the point where the doctor is actually going to be doing something to try to help START LABOR?! What!? So exciting!! I can't wait!

In other exciting and TMI news, I lost my mucous plug. I'm not going to explain what this is, you can google it if you want. haha But let's just say that it is a sign that labor is coming! It really is just a matter of time now!

I've had bouts of really bad, painful contractions that come every 3-5 minutes or so, but they don't last for more than an hour and then they stop completely. So, not the real deal yet. But things are happening and little boy is going to be making his appearance very very soon!! Ben and I are just BEYOND excited for him to be born!! I've been walking a lot, eating spicy food, eating pineapple, etc... trying lots of tricks to naturally get labor going. Obviously I don't want to rush things so I haven't been going crazy. But I'm just so excited to finally get to hold him in my arms! It still feels surreal that at the end of this entire experience we are going to have a BABY.

It's Ben's birthday today!! And it was our 8 year wedding anniversary yesterday - read our love story here! I was kind of hoping that our son would be born on Saturday because then it would have been his birthday, our anniversary, and Ben's birthday all in a row. Plus, I thought it would be cool if Ben and I were both the same age when the baby was born. But, oh well! Ben will be 28 and I'll be 27! That's just fine! :)

How far along: 38 weeks 6 days

Total weight gain/loss: Up about 45lbs

Maternity clothes? Yes! Next pregnancy, I will be investing in more maternity pieces up front!! There's no point in buying more now, but I have NOTHING TO WEAR!!

Stretch marks? POSSIBLY a few little ones by my belly button...it's hard to tell! I'm hoping not though!!

Sleep: Not awful! Still getting up a lot to pee.

Best moment this week: Celebrating our 8 year wedding anniversary! <3

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Movement: Lots! :)

Food cravings: Ice cream, doughnuts, pineapple

Anything making you queasy or sick: No!

Have you started to show yet: Yes, I'm SO LARGE.

Gender: Boy!

Labor Signs: Contractions, cramps, intense pressure, sore inner thighs, lost my mucous plug!

Belly Button in or out? Flat and sort of in a bit more than it has been in awhile!

Wedding rings on or off? Off, but wearing a place holder ring!

Happy or Moody most of the time: Pretty happy this week interspersed with moments of emotional craziness. haha

Symptoms: Pelvic pressure, very swollen feet and legs (and hands and arms and face and everything), sore all over, thirsty, shortness of breath, contractions, cramping, peeing all the time.

Thanks for reading!! The countdown is ON! 8 days left until his due date! What do you think? What's your guess for when he'll be born?? Comment below and let me know!!

xo, Anna