Posts in "Pregnancy"
Fourth Trimester Recap
Fourth Trimester Recap | Freckled Italian

I never really bought into the idea of a “fourth trimester” of pregnancy, but now that I have a three-month-old I really see how those first three months postpartum can feel a lot like a continuation of everything you went through in the nine months before. Obviously you aren’t pregnant anymore, but your body is still going through a ton of changes and every day there’s something new, either with you or this new little human.

Here's a look at those first few months for us:

Postpartum Symptoms:

  • My heartburn went away within a day of Sophie being born. My skin also started clearing up right away.

  • I had seriously crazy night sweats for at least a month. I would wake up completely drenched and have to change clothes.

  • When I was pregnant, I started having low back and hip pain (mostly on the left side). After Sophie was born, the pain was on the right side and got so bad that I was limping around and at one point couldn't even walk. I started seeing a chiropractor and after about a month the pain went away and my hips started feeling normal again. She said it was probably from the relaxin, which is the hormone that gets released to loosen up your ligaments in preparation for birth.

  • My stomach was super squishy and it turns out that I had some ab separation. I felt like I had lost every bit of ab strength and it felt so weird. It's gotten a bit better but I actually probably need to see a physical therapist to fix it.

  • Right before Christmas I wound up with a slight case of mastitis, which was kind of scary--I had a really high fever and body aches and chills. I totally thought I was getting the flu, but luckily my midwife wrote me a prescription for antibiotics and it cleared right up.

  • At right about 3 months postpartum my hair has started falling out in pretty sizeable clumps.

Food/Diet:

  • I finally had my cold turkey sandwich (along with a spicy tuna roll) for breakfast in the hospital after Sophie was born (she was born at 5:30 AM).

  • I've been so focused on producing enough milk for Sophie that I haven't really been counting calories or anything, although I am starting to try to cut out treats and processed snacks. I was absolutely starving the first few weeks of nursing, and there are still days where I feel like I could eat everything in my kitchen, but for the most part my day looks like this:

    • Oatmeal for breakfast, then a latte after I've pumped some milk.

    • String cheese, hard-boiled eggs, or veggies with Ranch as a snack.

    • A big salad with turkey or a turkey wrap/sandwich for lunch.

    • One of these no-bake lactation bites as a snack.

    • Meat and veggies, maybe some rice for dinner.

    • Usually some cookies, chocolate chips, or something else sweet (this is what I'm slowly cutting down on).

  • Overall I'm trying to make healthy choices when I can and be kind to myself when I'm craving something or feeling insatiable--breastfeeding is no joke! I still have 15-20 pounds to lose to get to my pre-pregnancy weight but I'm trying to take my time with it so I don't screw up my supply, as frustrating as that can be sometimes.

  • I drink a ton of water—I’m always thirsty.

  • While I was pregnant I was eating a lot more gluten than usual and it wasn’t bothering me like it used to. I thought after the baby came my stomach might start bugging me again but it hasn’t, so I’ve been enjoying the occasional burger with a bun or toast, etc. I don’t really understand it but I’m all about it.

Exercise:

  • I tried to go on a run about 4 weeks pospartum and it wasn't super successful--I felt really weak and I was still in a lot of pain, so I decided to wait until my 6 week check up to start exercising agin. I did do a 30-40 second plank every day and some push-ups here and there, but otherwise I tried to rest. It was really hard for me to be so inactive, even when I was recovering from the birth.

  • Now I run 2-3 times a week with Ender, and we walk 30-40 minutes a day.

  • I try to take at least 1 barre class a week, sometimes 2. My friend Mary (who owns the studio where I teach) will occasionally come in one day during the week and watch Sophie so I can take a lunchtime class, which is so nice.

  • I'd like to join the YMCA but the branch nearest me doesn't have childwatch, which is really my biggest need right now. I've been doing a lot of at-home stuff like squats and lunges, and this spring we're planning to buy a few things to set up a little at-home gym in our garage.

New Rituals/About Our "Schedule:"

  • I take a shower every night before bed. It's not much, but it's kind of my "me time" that I can count on every day no matter what.

  • I started pumping a few weeks after Sophie was born so Rob could give her a bedtime bottle and I could go to sleep earlier. I chose a pump (the Freemie Freedom pump) through my insurance because some people in a Facebook group I'm part of mentioned that they liked it and for a couple months I thought I liked it too, having nothing to compare it to. But after a while I realized it wasn't the best--it leaked all the time, it was slow and loud, and because it goes inside your bra, you can't see how much you're pumping, which wouldn't be an issue but if it's not on perfectly it just doesn't work, so a lot of the time I'd be "pumping" for half an hour and take it out to find absolutely no milk. (I may or may not have cried over this in the past.)

    • Lansinoh sent me their SmartPump to try (you'll see a sponsored post on my Instagram feed about it soon), and it has been a game-changer. I used to think I could only pump 2-4 ounces a day because I was feeding Sophie so much, but now I still feed her on demand and manage to pump 8-10 ounces in a day (usually over 3 pumping sessions). It's enough for a nighttime bottle and a few ounces for the freezer.

  • I'm exclusively breastfeeding Sophie and it's going pretty well! I had to use a nipple shield for a long time because she wasn't latching without it. For a while I wanted to drop it but she would get really frustrated when I tried to get her to latch without it, so after a while (and some encouragement from friends who also had to use the shield in the past) I decided to just commit to using it and letting her tell me when she was done with it. Right around 3 months she started latching on her own and now we rarely use the shield--it's been really nice to know I can feed her when I'm out and about and not have to dig through my bag or worry about packing one more thing.

Sleep:

  • When we first came home from the hospital Sophie was sleeping great, and we'd sometimes have to wake her up to eat. She was hungry every 2-3 hours, so we had the crib next to our bed and I'd get her up and go to the nursery to feed her. Then she stopped sleeping in the crib even for 20 minutes, so for most of December and January we had to basically take turns holding her, which was brutal. We got a different bassinet with a newborn insert (this one) and she liked it a lot more--it didn't happen overnight but eventually she started sleeping longer stretches (2-3 hours for sure, sometimes 5-6). I think it was a combination of the new bassinet and just letting her take her time. Easier said than done, I know, but I think time was a big factor.

  • I'm hoping to start a real bedtime routine with Sophie soon, where we actually put her down in the crib and let her fall asleep on her own, but for now I nurse her until she dozes off and we put her in the Rock N Play and watch TV together for a while before I hit the hay and Rob stays up a few more hours before giving her a bottle and putting her to bed in the bedside bassinet. She sleeps from 9 or 10 PM, has her bottle between 11:30 and 12:30, then sleeps again until 6 or 7 AM, although last week she was getting me up to nurse a lot more than usual through the night.

  • Sophie naps pretty regularly and I'm starting to think about getting her on a daily schedule, but I'm still not sure. For some reason this whole eat-wake-sleep thing really stresses me out so we're still just kind of feeding her and playing with her and letting her sleep whenever. I'd love to hear any of your experiences or methods if you have them!

Lifesavers/Tips and Tricks/Products We Love:

  • We have an Amazon subscription for diapers, wipes, toilet paper, dog food, and paper towels. We also get espresso delivered every month from Four Barrel Coffee. We used InstaCart (that's a referral link that'll give you $10 off your first order) to deliver groceries a few times when Rob first went back to work and I wasn't sure how to navigate the grocery store on my own with the baby. It is really nice to never have to worry about picking up the things we get delivered from Amazon though, especially since they're the things we go through most regularly. And it's amazing always having really fresh coffee.

  • My friend Teri sent us a package with some baby stuff from BeautyCounter, and Sophie absolutely loves this baby balm after a bath. It's so cute.

I think that's it for now! If you have questions let me know! I've had some people request a breastfeeding post, so I'd love to hear questions about that or any more specific ideas for other motherhood/baby posts. I love sharing this stuff and I love hearing from you too, so please feel free to chime in with some of your own experiences! 

This post contains affiliate links.

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Third Trimester Recap
Third Trimester Recap | Freckled Italian

Sweater and jeans c/o Pink Blush Maternity

I can barely believe we're here already! I'll be 38 weeks tomorrow and baby could come any day now (hopefully not too soon though, because we still have to put the car seat in)! I'm getting a little more uncomfortable by the day and trying really hard not to complain--I've had a pretty amazing pregnancy so far with no complications and for that, I feel really lucky.

So without further ado, here's my final trimester recap! It's been so fun keeping these notes throughout this pregnancy. I think the third trimester has definitely been the toughest for me so far, but we're getting so close and I know it's going to be so amazing when we finally get to meet this kid.

Cravings:

  • Cottage cheese--recently I've been eating it with Trader Joe's grain-free granola, some sliced bananas, and a little pumpkin pie spice sprinkled overtop

  • Grapes

  • Ice cream and pretty much any dessert, especially hot fudge sundaes

  • My go-to lunch was a gluten-free tortilla wrap with cheese, heated up turkey, mayo, some bacon, and lots of spinach

  • Smoothies again, which was a nice change of pace from all the junk I've been eating

Symptoms/Week-byWeek:

  • Heartburn

    • My heartburn has been worse than ever--it started in my second trimester but has pretty much only gotten worse as the baby has gotten bigger. Every few days I'll actually wake up in the middle of the night (usually 1-2 AM) and throw up. So fun!

    • I found that Zantac works pretty well (I take it twice a day whether I feel like I need it or not), but the biggest way to control it is to eat small meals, have a super early dinner, and not eat anything after 8 PM (7:00 is better but doesn't always happen, especially if I teach night classes at the Pure Barre studio).

  • 30-32 weeks I think I started feeling baby hiccups, which are so cute. They feel a lot different than regular kicks and you can tell her whole body is moving when she gets them.

  • Swelling

    • When I got off the plane after flying from California to Virginia my ankles were really swollen, and that was the first time I noticed it. They went down again after a few hours but around 30-32 weeks my feet and ankles would swell so much and actually hurt. None of my shoes fit me except for my Birkenstocks and my Uggs right now, and I had to buy a pair of tennis shoes two whole sizes larger than I usually wear!

    • 31-32 weeks I had to retire my wedding bands and engagement ring because they were getting a little too hard to take off and I was afraid they'd end up stuck and I'd have to get them cut off or something. I ordered this Qalo ring for when I'm working out or walking Ender or teaching Pure Barre; and I got a really pretty little 14K recycled gold band from Cat Makes Things in San Francisco to wear other times. I miss my regular jewelry but its been fun trying out some new stuff, and I think I'll wear the gold ring on my right hand after the baby gets here.

    • Around 35-36 weeks I bought a few pairs of compression socks and they helped so much. I wear them all the time. My hands actually started swelling a bit around this time as well and they really hurt in the mornings and evenings--sometimes my fingers actually get stuck like I have arthritis or something.

  • My skin is still pretty messed up--my chin and nose are all broken out and they get really red and dry. It cleared up a little around 33 weeks but still isn't back to 100%. I've been using this mask (affiliate link) a few times a week and it seems to calm everything down a bit. (It also smells amazing.)

  • My ribs, lower back, and hips hurt so much most of the time, especially at the end of the day.

  • Around 33-34 weeks sleeping started getting a little uncomfortable--I don't feel super tired or anything during the day but I definitely have to have enough pillows plus my Snoogle and carefully support my self getting in and out of bed. I've messed up my back getting up in the morning at least twice. I also feel like I've lost all of my ab strength and really have to work hard to get up from lying down positions, and Rob has to pull me up from the couch if he's around.

  • I take an epsom salt bath at least twice a week and it's amazing.

Exercise:

Ender and I are still walking 40 minutes-an hour most mornings and I take class (either Pure Barre or PB Empower) about twice a week. I taught 6-10 classes a week right up to 38 weeks (this morning was my last class!), so I might try to get in a few more times and work out, although I really can't do any abs anymore. I'm really slow and achey all the time but I really do feel better when I get some exercise.

I feel really grateful to have been able to stay active this whole time, even if I do sometimes catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror or (even worse!) the self-facing camera on my phone and I don't exactly love what I see, but I'm trying to remind myself that I need to gain weight so this baby can be healthy. My growing belly has brought me a lot of joy, it's the double chin and flabby arms/legs/butt that I could do without. 

Other Stuff:

I listened to a few episodes of the Fear Free Childbirth podcast and I really liked it. I haven't done a ton of reading or classes or anything to prepare for labor and delivery and instead have been focusing on getting into a positive headspace about it--I'm actually really excited to experience it all. 

We've been working with a new dog trainer on some stuff with Ender and I think it's helped him listen to us a lot better. He's not allowed on the couch or bed anymore which has been really hard for me because I love cuddling with him, but I think he needs a little more structure and boundaries so I'm glad we started before the baby shows up. (I had someone ask for more information about this and can definitely share more details as we continue working with the trainer, if you guys are interested!)

I dropped a cinnamon roll on the floor and cried about it. 

Minted was nice enough to give us the gorgeous invitations we sent out for my baby shower in Virginia and I absolutely loved them. It was so special to have them get involved since they've gifted us so many things through every milestone of our relationship so far, from our wedding invites to the holiday cards we send out every year.

Minted Baby Shower Invite | Freckled Italian

My aunts here in the Bay Area threw us a couples shower in Pacifica and we had the best time--they did this fun game where everyone wrote down their guesses for the date of birth, baby's weight and length, hair color, name, and a really sweet section where they filled in what qualities they hope she gets from me and from Rob. I'll definitely be looking back on those and treasuring them for years to come.

I got the Tdap vaccine and was pretty proud of myself--Rob may have had to come with me and hold my hand/calm me down a little bit (injections are kind of my biggest real-life fear in the world), but it was a great experience overall and it made me realize that I'll seriously do anything for my daughter. It reminded me of how I used to be unable to swallow pills so I just didn't take vitamins, and I've thrown back a huge prenatal vitamin every day without fail these past 8 and a half months (and a gross iron supplement more recently).

This belly band (affiliate link) has been really great for giving me some extra support throughout the day and also letting me get some use out of shirts that aren't really long enough to cover my growing belly.

I think the weirdest thing for me has been getting special treatment from people: women letting me go to the bathroom before them, people offering me their seat, a guy at the post office offering to carry my packages out to the car for me. We were at Rob's company summer party and a nice man offered to drive us to the parking lot in a golf cart and my first reaction was to wonder why he thought I wouldn't want to walk to the car--sometimes I think I forget I'm pregnant.

Non-Pregnant Person Things I'm Excited About: 

  • Not feeling like I'm going to throw my back out (or pee) every time I sneeze or cough.

  • Having a glass of wine or a cocktail.

  • Sushi and a COLD TURKEY SANDWICH FINALLY OH MY GOD.

  • Eating dinner at a normal time and not having heartburn keep me up all night.

  • Going on a nice long run--I stopped running a while before getting pregnant and never felt comfortable starting up again, but I've really been missing it the past few months.

  • Most importantly, holding my baby and finally getting to meet her.

And that's that! If you are or have been pregnant before I'd love to hear if you had similar or different experiences. As always, let me know if you have any questions! Thanks so much for reading these posts, it's really been nice to document this time in my life.

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Second Trimester Recap
Second Trimester Recap | Freckled Italian

I'm back with another trimester recap, this time a couple weeks early (I'm 25 weeks as of yesterday but couldn't wait to share this kind of long post with you guys)! The second trimester has been interesting because I finally feel pregnant, which sometimes means I feel completely normal (plus 20 pounds) and other days I can barely get out of bed.

Cravings:

  • mac and cheese (I would buy the gluten-free boxed junk from the store and it was great)

  • breakfast sandwiches (especially sausage egg and cheese on an everything bagel with mayo or GF toast with egg and cheese and mayo--seriously, it was mostly about the mayo)

  • rice cakes with cream cheese and Everything But the Bagel Seasoning or some mayo and sliced tomato

  • McDonalds...I would get a "You Pick Two" like once a week. My go-to order is a McChicken and a McDouble. So gross but so incredibly good.

  • milkshakes or vanilla soft serve

  • really cold ice water--I'm talking more ice than water in the glass

  • hash browns

  • Greek food

  • peaches and watermelon

  • "5 year old dinners" ie cheesy burger skillet things over GF noodles, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, or GF pasta with butter and parmesan

  • I made a reservation at 10PM from bed on my phone one night to go to Benihana later that week and dreamed of hibachi

Symptoms/Week-by-Week:

  • Started experiencing what's called round ligament pain as my lower abs started expanding.

  • Tailbone pain--so bad that I would sometimes gasp a little when I rocked back on the floor at the barre studio.

  • I think I might have some slight ab separation but I'm not 100% sure.

  • Headaches

  • Heartburn

  • My hips are starting to hurt--when I walk or stretch I can hear and feel them creaking/popping. I've read that it's from hormones that release to open up your joints and get your body ready for labor and delivery, which is pretty freaky if you think about it, but I'll take all the help I can get!

  • My skin has never looked worse--my nose and chin are breaking out like crazy into this rash that's half acne, half just dryness and irritation. It's gross and it kind of hurts and I'm not sure if it's because of hormones or a new face wash I was using or because I'm eating a lot more dairy than usual. My lips also feel really dry (especially the bottom one) and I can't seem to drink enough water or use enough lip balm.

I was so excited about the second trimester because I had heard so many things about being less nauseated and having more energy, but on day 1 of week 12 exactly I started throwing up, which was kind of frustrating--I was really hoping to feel better and stop eating so much junk food. Before that point I had been really nauseated but only actually puked if I coughed too hard or accidentally gagged while brushing my teeth...cute, I know. But suddenly I was so nauseated that I would just vomit. Finally around week 21 the nausea passed, but my cravings went from "I have to eat this hash brown or I'll throw up" to "I want to eat this hash brown/McChicken/ice cream cone and I'm not throwing up so let's do it!" 

Week 16-17 I started feeling the baby move. It felt like a tiny twitch at first and I thought I was making it up, but after a few weeks it was getting stronger and happening at the same time every day. I think it was around week 21 that we could start seeing the kicks from the outside and Rob was able to finally feel them with his hand on my belly. So fun.

20 weeks we found out it's a girl!

At 22 weeks I wondered if pregnancy brain was a real thing because I totally blanked out twice in one day teaching Pure Barre classes. It was pretty funny but also quite embarrasing.

Around 24 weeks I felt like I finally wasn't sick at all and hadn't been for a while, most days my energy levels were normal, and I could start eating whatever I wanted, so I started cutting out some of the processed junk I had made part of my diet every day. I'm nothing close to keto but definitely taking a step closer to Paleo--I'm trying to incorporate some greens into every meal and cut back significantly on the McDonald's.

Exercise: 

I'm still taking Pure Barre 3-4 times a week and walking Ender almost every day. I was teaching 8 classes at the studio every week in July which felt like a lot but now I'm teaching 4, which is a nice break and gives me more time to actually take class myself. I feel like I want to start swimming because lately I've been missing running but I don't think I should start that now. We're coming out with a new cardio class at Pure Barre so I've been taking practice classes with some of my teacher friends and I'm excited for that to launch next week. We're thinking about buying an erg so I can start rowing after the baby comes--Rob goes to the gym at work and he's been rowing a bit as well, so it'd be fun to have one at home.

Other Stuff:

  • We decided to use Babylist for our registry, and it's been really fun--I like that you can pick stuff from anywhere online. You don't get the perks of registering from certain stores, but the flexibility has been really great for us.

  • I got a Snoogle (affiliate link) and it's the best. Ender is also obsessed with it and sometimes I come into my room and find him napping in it.

  • My belly button is starting to pop out and it's bizarre and hilarious.

  • One night I randomly started thinking about our daughter going to college and Ender not being alive anymore and I totally lost my shit, sobbing into my pillow like a little kid. It was ridiculous.

  • I bought this dress (affiliate link) for my baby shower and I love it so much. It's so different from a lot of the stuff I wear (ie neutrals), but the print is gorgeous and it's really flattering on. I can't wait to wear it.

  • I got a prenatal massage the other day because my back was bothering me and it was pretty enjoyable--I felt like the pressure wasn't enough but the massage therapist was very adamant about staying away from pressure points and stuff like that, which I guess makes sense.

  • We know what names we like but can't seem to pick one--I actually think we might narrow it down to two or three names and then wait until she's actually here to pick something. With 15 weeks to go I feel like I could change my mind so many times that naming her now doesn't even mean anything yet.

  • I still want a cold turkey sandwich more than anything. I started making grilled cheese sandwiches with hot turkey but it's just not the same.

  • The hardest thing to get used to is having what I've started calling "throwaway days" where I'm either too tired or just don't feel well enough to get much done. I'll feel really good for a while and then be kind of thrown off when I wake up groggy or achey. Working primarily from home can be a challenge, especially when you have a headache or just want to eat some popcorn and watch TV all afternoon. Sometimes I'll set my alarm for a 30 minute nap and wake up an hour and a half later like a zombie. I'm trying to learn to give myself a little bit of a break and rest when I need to, even if it means my to-do list gets pushed back a few days. Teaching, blogging, and working on another cookbook definitely keeps me busy and I have a bad habit of biting off more than I can chew sometimes because a lot of the time throughout the year I feel like I'm not doing enough professionally, so I try to make up for it whenever I can, whether I'm also growing a human or not.

As always, let me know if you have questions or comments! I'd love to hear from you if you've had a similar (or totally different) experience!

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