Hello, third trimester! | Pregnancy update

(Written over a week ago but my pregnant brain forgot to post it!)

Hey there, third trimester! I cannot believe you are here.

As you know, this blog is typically dedicated to bookish content, but as my life is evolving, I’m sure my reading habits will too! That being said, you may start to see some lifestyle-inspired posts on here as I navigate motherhood, my career, and all things books!

So, how am I doing?

Pretty good, I’d say! As a first-time mom, pregnancy has been quite a journey for me as I experience all of the known (and let’s be honest, unknown) symptoms that come with growing a human being. There were a lot of tears, panicked phone calls to the doctor, and texts to mom friends to help me understand what I was feeling. From “is this pain normal?” to “can I eat mayonnaise?”, I am beyond grateful for the support I’ve received these past seven months! And I’m sure these moms will be there for me two-fold once the baby joins us in February!

First Trimester

I found out I was pregnant at about 4 weeks when I noticed some sensations that I never felt before. From aches in my breasts and the beginnings of heartburn to cramps and nausea, I knew very early on that we were pregnant. I took an at-home test, but the results came out negative, so I decided to wait another few days before testing again. I just knew my body and noticed that something was different.

Over the next few days, the pregnancy test strips in our ovulation kit got darker, so I called my doctor who then sent me to get bloodwork to officially confirm. Ian and I drove there on a Saturday morning, I got my bloodwork done, and within the hour, we were clapping looking at the test results that said I was four weeks pregnant! We got a celebratory breakfast that day.

I couldn’t believe it. Ian and I went for a walk that day, and I held my belly in amazement. We found out our baby was the size of a poppyseed, and her nickname, Poppy, was born. It would be a few more weeks before we found out what we were having and what we would officially name her when she comes!

I will not lie; the first twelve weeks were super stressful. I was afraid every time I went to the bathroom, I was afraid with every cramp. When we heard the heartbeat at 8 weeks, Ian and I held hands and cried. With COVID cases increasing this summer, I was super grateful that Ian could be with me for these appointments.

When I experienced some spotting, panic set in. I know that spotting is completely normal now (especially if it’s brown), but my incredible team of doctors called me in to listen to her heartbeat to ensure that everything was OK. After that, I took some deep breaths, put my meditation app on, and started doing prenatal yoga to help ease the stress.

In the first trimester, my biggest complaint was nausea. It was constant. The *gestures* world calls it morning sickness, but I felt nauseous all day long. The only time I didn’t feel nauseous was when I slept, and even then I would wake up to waves of nausea. Combining nausea with the summer heat, I spent the majority of my time in the air conditioning sipping ginger ale and eating saltines.

By 12 weeks, we were ready for genetic testing and to learn the sex of the baby. We spoke with these amazing women at our hospital and paid for genetic screening. It was incredible to learn that they were able to scan the baby for any genetic issues and determine the sex by pulling her DNA out of my blood. Science is remarkable. That two-week wait was torture, but we got the phone call from one of the doctors excited to share the news: we were having a baby girl with “boringly normal” genetic results!

Second Trimester

By around 12 weeks, my nausea went away, so I was ready to take on what many women call the “golden age” of trimesters. This is when most of your symptoms dissipate: nausea, sore breasts, cramping … and you have your energy back and feel amazing as you watch your body grow.

Sure … OK.

My nausea went away, but my heartburn didn’t! It got so bad that I am on medication to help ease the symptoms. And boy, it works! Thank goodness. I did get some of my energy back … but in waves. I’d have weeks where I felt super energized, and other weeks when I could only get up, work, eat, shower, and go to bed. And that was enough!

But what really threw me this trimester was sciatica and round ligament pain …. yeeeowwcch! As the baby is growing, she was really hitting on some nerves (LOL!) that make it feel like my entire right leg is tingly, numb, and hot. The pain is sometimes unbearable, so I got myself two pregnancy pillows (one giant one and this amazing pillow for sleeping) and planted myself on the couch. I learned that this will go away once the baby comes. My doctor recommended light stretching and listening to my body when I needed to. If I needed to sit down, sit down! If I needed to go for a walk to get things moving, go outside! If I needed to do some yoga, do some yoga!

Well, once I had sciatica down, the round ligament pain came … on my left side! At least my pain was balanced. I learned the importance of heating pads, belly bands, and getting up slowwwlyyy to avoid pulling or aggravating anything.

Despite these aches and pains, watching my body grow has been absolutely amazing. Around 17 weeks, I felt little flutters in my belly called “quickening,” and those little tickles and flutters have turned into full-on kicks and rolls from our little girl. She is VERY active. I feel her kick and move most of the day, and she kicks right before bed (and sometimes during the night) and greets me with kicks every morning as I start to rouse from bed. I love feeling her move ….!

As I approached the third trimester (within the last few weeks or so), I’ve developed this deep need to start nesting. Ian and I have been hard at work completing her nursery. Ian built wainscoting in her room and we painted it a lovely two-tone mauve. Her crib is here and built as well as her dresser, rug, and bookshelf (filled with books already … thanks to my amazing friends!!). All we need is the glider and we can start hanging up some décor and fill her drawers with the bags of clothes I’ve already received. It really takes a village, and this little girl is so lucky already.

So, third trimester: I welcome you. We are excited to celebrate the holidays in anticipation of meeting our sweet baby, and I look forward to seeing what these next 12 weeks will bring!

25 Movies to Watch at Christmastime

Red bows. Christmas trees. Garland. Reindeer. Ornaments and lights. Music. Joy. Stockings. Snow. Elves. Giving. Family. Cookies.

Doesn’t that list bring a smile to your face?

Me too.

The holiday season is here, and in our home, we celebrate Christmas. Like. Really celebrate. We deck our halls to the extreme.

One thing that I love to do during the holiday season (besides make holiday scrapbook cards … blog post to come about that) is watch an abundance of Christmas movies. Yes, I have a schedule that I follow. It’s fine. I’m fine.

To have some fun, I wanted to share 25 of my favorite Christmas movies with you just in case you need some ideas throughout the month. And, I want to hear yours! Anyway, here goes:

The Polar Express

A Christmas Carol

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

A Christmas Story

The Year Without a Santa Claus

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Home Alone

Home Alone 2

Little Women

Jack Frost

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

The Santa Clause

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

The Holiday

The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow

Frosty the Snowman

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Rudolph’s Shiny New Year

Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey

Frosty’s Winter Wonderland

Eloise at Christmastime

Love Actually

Reflections | NaNoWriMo

Coffee, Cup, Table, Drink, Beverage, Espresso, Tea, Mug

It’s officially the end of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and after my first attempt at participating in the challenge, I have some thoughts

Wait. Go back. Refresh my memory on NaNoWriMo?

Sure. NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit that hosts National Novel Writing Month every November, inspiring creatives to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I’ve known about NaNoWriMo for some time, and this year, I wanted to give it a whirl. I set out to write the first five chapters of a book that I’ve had in my mind for years, and I knew from the start that I would not be able to meet 50K words in 30 days. Between work, pregnancy exhaustion, and other daily tasks, I wanted to be realistic so I wouldn’t be disappointed come November 30. Overall, my goal was just to write more creatively in November.

So. How did I do?

It depends on who you ask. But if you’re asking me, I did the best I could. The first week of November was a HUGE success. I was writing one hour a night and flew through the first three chapters of my book. I was feeling energized, creative, and inspired. I loved writing dialogue and creating a world of my own.

Then, I hit a wall. A big, ol’ pregnancy wall. After work (where I write 8-12 hours a day, mind you…), all I wanted to do was eat, watch a show, read a book, shower, and go to bed. Rinse. Repeat. November was a blur, my friends. I honestly haven’t touched my book since that first week in November.

Instead of writing, I did read 8 books and wrote 9 blog posts. So, while I was not writing for my book, I was still writing, which is what I wanted to do in the first place. I call that a success. I also completed every entry in my gratitude journal for November. Something I never did before!

While I am in high spirits, it’s still really hard to watch people meet their goals. I get a little envy, I do admit. I wonder what may be wrong with me that I can’t find the drive to write my own novel. It’s important that I continue to remind myself that I am not them. They are different people with different schedules and priorities. Could I have prioritized NaNoWriMo? Yes. Did I do things that brought me joy on the weeknights and weekends instead? Yes. I had a great month, so that’s all that matters.

I guess I wouldn’t say that I failed. I still wrote three chapters and got further in this book than ever before. And that’s a victory. I always said that this past month was about the journey, not the final product. I am happy to say that I participated in NaNoWriMo as best as I could, and look forward to trying again next year!

How about you? Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Did you meet your goals? I want to hear all about it!

December Hopefuls

Christmas, Presents, Gifts, Winter, December

Ahh. The holiday season. *wipes tear*

Welcome.

December is a busy time, so I never anticipate that I will read much. There are two books that I do plan to read this month, and they are annual reads.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol

I have reread this book every year around Christmas time for the past 10 years. It’s such a classic, and I love the story (and film adaptations)!

Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

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I received this book from a friend last year, and I will be reading it annually. The book is a series of letters that Tolkien wrote his kids while pretending to be Father Christmas. The letters are hilarious, filled with troublesome polar bears and elves and incredible pictures that Tolkien drew himself. Ian and I would read each other a letter every night before bed, and I can’t wait to continue the tradition this year!

What else am I reading?

Glad you asked.

The Poppy War (The Poppy War, #1)

I picked this up last week and flew through the first 130 pages. This book is a historical military fantasy and I was captivated the moment I started. The main character, Rin, is so interesting.

Britt-Marie Was Here

Do I expect to get my heart torn out by Backman yet again? Yes. Will I continue to read his books knowing I will ugly cry, holding my chest and wondering why the world is so cruel and beautiful at the same time? Also yes.

Hoping that I will finish both of these books in January! Who knows — maybe I’ll finish one of these this month!

What are you reading?

And, see what I’ve read so far in 2021!

January Wrap-Up

February Wrap-Up

March Wrap-Up

April Wrap-Up

May to September Wrap-Up

October Wrap-Up

November Wrap-Up