Monday, July 1, 2013

Top Things to Prepare for When You are Expecting (1/5 in First 4 Months Series)

As always, these blogs are just about me and my family and what worked for us. I'm not so naive as to believe that everything we do is right or if you do differently than us, it is wrong.  All families and children are different.  I do not judge you or anyone else negatively if and when you choose different routes with your children.

Top things to prepare for when you are expecting:

Every pregnancy is different.  Some people thrive pregnant, others, like myself, are not good at it at all.  I was in pain the whole time.  I wish I would have been blissed-out the way my mother describes how she felt all four times she was pregnant.  I was not.  I LOVED feeling Hartly move inside of me.  Other than that, I just hurt. With Tayo, pregnancy was a lot smoother for me, lol.  But, I did miss feeling him grow inside of me.  Preparation, for obvious reasons, was different for both.

Regardless of whether you love being pregnant or not, there are certain things you can do for you and baby while pregnant. Things that felt right to me when I was pregnant may be viewed as extreme by others.  As always, do what feels right to you.  

Sleep: You are growing a baby - sleep, sleep, sleep.  Not because of what (I find annoying) people say about, 'sleep now because you won't for the next 5 years (totally untrue, after first 3 months, by the way - more on that in another post), but sleep because you are growing a whole person... from scratch.  You need your rest.  Do not feel bad about it.  In fact, feel bad if you don't rest/sleep when you are tired.  The best thing for you and baby is sleep and rest.
Miracle in progress - Both my boys in utero
Food: For me, I cut out all caffeine, alcohol and non-natural sugars.  I tried to eat well, but was not super restrictive beyond cutting out the above.  I was also vegetarian (now vegan) at the time.  I was seeing a nutritionist to make sure that all my levels were good and baby was getting what he needed. Moderation is key.  Do not restrict but do not overindulge.  It is not good for the baby and certainly will be something you regret later, after baby is born.  True you are eating for two but one of the two is, for most of the pregnancy, under 4 lbs.  You do not need that much extra food.  I found I just ate more often, but not too much more total. 

Extracurricular:  I worked out the whole time I was pregnant.  I would caution against starting anything new (unless it is just walking, which, honestly, is the healthiest thing one can do for anyway) but keep doing a modified version of what you were already doing when you got pregnant.  For me I was in an intense martial arts Krav Maga program at the time.  This is usually a partner sport with lots of physical impact and bruising is the norm.  I chose to continue but I just did the same stuff with a punching bag, instead of a partner.

Krav Maga at 5 months pregnant

chemicals:  Again, this was what made Frank and me comfortable but everyone is different.  I did not step foot into a nail salon or get my hair colored while pregnant.  I avoided people who were smoking and I went out of my way to not use chemicals or cleaning products. I also took no medications (even when I got sick a couple of times - I was a school teacher when pregnant with Hartly and exposed to little kids' germs daily) but chose home remedies instead.  I avoided people who were sick and I washed my hands a lot.

Talking to baby:  Frank and I constantly touched and spoke to my belly.  We told him we loved him and we couldn't wait until he was in our arms. And we continue to talk to our children.  Please, I implore you, look in your babies' eyes and talk to them - from day one.  They understand WAY more than people think and they learn the value of eye contact.

Products:  We knew that we wanted to co-sleep for the first few months.  We really didn't buy too many products ahead of time.  We had the nursery painted (when I wasn't home) and I had a glider, a crib, and a dresser... I will get into products a little later in more detail but I would remind you, at the start, baby really does not need much the first 3-4 months, except you. 

Remember: A baby will rock and shake and turn your world upside down.  It is the most indescribable and incredible miracle and life changer ever.  Will it be hard, absolutely.  Will it be mind blowing awesome, even more so.  Keep in mind that it is also what you make of it.  Frank and I did not stop traveling, we just modified our travels.  We did not stop going out.  We did not stop sleeping.  We did not stop being intimate.  We did not stop seeing our friends.  Find what is important to you and you can keep all of those things, albeit it a little modified.

Fears: I was (I don't think Frank was) a little scared that Frank's and my relationship would slip through the cracks.  We know people's relationships who did after baby.  I believe, we fell more in love after Hartly was born (and again now with Tayo). 

3 loves of my life
With adoption:  Although Tayo didn't grow in my body, once we found out about him (probably long before as an idea, but specifically when we knew about him), he definitely grew in our hearts.  We told Hartly about him and kept a sticker chart count down sheet. We talked about Tayo...  We talked about Hartly and Tayo and what having a little baby would be like and discussed hypotheticals (what do you think a baby does? Can you play soccer with a baby? Can you pick him up? Who is going to take care of the baby? naseaum).  We named Tayo and we bought little things for him.  I kept a journal, just like with Hartly.  

Every person and pregnancy will be different.  This was just a snapshot of ours...

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