Pampering Mama: Bathtime

I have always loved my baths, always. I was brought up with the idea that bath time is a relaxant. In my family, it is routine, bath and then bed, which is possibly why I equate my bath to that relaxed feeling. I can spend hours in the bath, sometimes to the point that my husband has to check on me to make sure I haven’t fallen asleep. That being said, I have yet to actually fall asleep in my bathtub.

I make a point to make the most out of my bath time. I have two bath pillows which I tend to alternate between. I have the Earth Therapeutics bath pillow, it has suction cups that stick it to my bath, and it is covered in terry cloth making it so comfy. I also have the full body bath lounger. It fits the length of my bathtub, a comfy cushion for me to lay out on, the pillow attached. This is the one I use if I really want to stretch out and relax, particularly if I am home alone for the evening and am planning to spend most of it in the bath. If I just want a shorter bath (usually maxing out at about 90 minutes, I use the Earth Therapeutics pillow.

There are a lot of things that I find can make my bath time even more relaxing. It is all about the mood and I like to do what I can to lift that. First off, I have an oil diffuser, I can fill it with any essential/aromatherapy oil, light a tealight candle and the scent gently and gradually fills the room.  I can change the scent depending on my mood but I tend to favour anything citrusy or minty.

I also have my Village Naturals Therapy mineral bath soaks, they have different kinds for different moods: Restless Nights, Aches & Pains, and Stress & Tension. They also come in a bubble bath form, I plan to try those next for something a little bit different than the salts.  The bath soaks, I have found, I have been excellent for my feet. I haven’t really had swollen ankles yet, but they can get incredibly sore if I’ve been on them a lot during the day or have gone for a longer walk (sometimes even just round the grocery store), and a little bit of time in the bath makes them feel a whole lot better when I use the bath soaks.

Sometimes you just can’t have a bath without bubbles, currently I’m using Deep Steep’s Rosemary and Mint bubble bath, which strongly appeals to my current love of all things mint.

I have to admit that I am making the most of my baths while I can. I know that come December and the arrival of my baby, these will be few and far between, and certainly will never last as long again. So I will continue to enjoy them for the remainder of my pregnancy, and it is not necessarily a bad thing to pamper myself like this. Relaxed Mama makes a relaxed baby.

What They Don’t Tell You

You hear so much about what it is like to be pregnant, things to look forward to (movement) and the things that suck (morning sickness). But there are plenty of things that they don’t tell you about pregnancy, all those not so glamorous ‘symptoms’ that come with being pregnant.

Here is what I have learnt over the last 24 weeks.

Nasal Congestion and Nosebleeds. I get stuffy a lot, most of the time to the point that my sinuses sting, and almost every day is another nosebleed. I’ve lost count of the number of mornings (or middle of the nights) when I have woken up with little blood stains on my pillow from my many, many nosebleeds.

Heartburn. Not quite as often as the nosebleeds, but starting to get more and more frequent as my pregnancy progresses. My heartburn can be particularly bad at night when I should be trying to sleep but am awake feeling annoyed about my heartburn.

Leg Cramps and other random pains. My legs cramp up, every so often I will stretch my leg and the muscle in the back of my leg pulls. Painful, annoying and uncomfortable, especially when it happens right as you get up for a bathroom run. In addition to the leg cramps, I’ve had arm cramps, my fingers get tingly a lot. And my stomach constantly feels like it is pulling, at times so bad I end up crawling around on the floor because I can’t walk.

Leaking. The other day I somehow managed to choke on air and during my coughing fit I had a minor accident in the middle of the store. Luckily no one else noticed, but it was definitely not my finest moment. I’ve also leaked a few times when I’ve sneezed. They never did say that pregnancy was glamorous.

Itchiness. Not too bad and can be easily dealt with, when it is not coming from inside my bump. Nothing I can do to reach that, other than just sit around feeling uncomfortable until it passes.

Gas. My word, I can rival my husband with this one. I even managed to rival my mother in law’s dog. And it can’t be controlled, they just seem to sneak out whenever they please. It’s fine when I’m at home, it’s just become the way it is. Horrible when I’m out in public.

I am enjoying my pregnancy, I really am. Just didn’t expect my body to change quite as much as it already has. I’m nervous to see what changes the next few weeks bring, and intrigued too. For someone so little to do so much to mama, it is an incredibly strange feeling.

Preparing The Nursery

As a first time mom, I have a very fuzzy idea of what exactly a baby needs. I’ve started making a list of things I know for sure:

-Crib
-Bedding
-Bottles
-Diapers, wipes, cream
-Clothes
-Dresser, furniture for the nursery
-Blankets

I’m still trying to decide on a theme for decorating the nursery. I’m almost certain I’m going with a Lion King theme, the bedding is adorable: light yellow, light green, light brown, with baby Simba wrapped in a leaf and doing various other things. It comes with the matching mobile and a lamp. It even has matching wall stickers! And it is perfect for a boy or girl.

I admittedly have very little idea about what else a baby needs, how necessary are changing tables and diaper genies? Are they essentials or just things that are nice to have. I already have a ton of clothes and bottles (even though I plan to breastfeed I managed to find a bunch of bottles on sale for real cheap), I even have a few little toys (teethers and the like), and a few blankets though probably not enough.

24 Weeks and Sleep

I don’t know what it is about pregnancy, but it seems ironic that at a time when I should be getting as much sleep as possible is the time when sleep seems to be getting harder and harder. It doesn’t seem to be one set thing keeping me awake, it can be a different problem every night.

Sometimes I am just not tired. Simple as. My bedtime seems to be getting later and later as the weeks progress. I’m just not getting tired like I should be. I’m also waking up a little earlier every day. I guess this is my brain and body adjusting to the fact that my sleeping habits really will change in a few months time. If the baby is awake, I will be awake, and my waking up in the morning seems to coincide with the baby starting to kick not too long after. Maybe I’m already sleeping when the baby sleeps.

Sometimes the heat is a factor in keeping me up. At times I can have kicked off my blankets and have my fan on its highest setting, and I still feel like I am melting, and if I’m melting I’m certainly not sleeping.

Sometimes I just cannot find a comfortable sleeping position. Ever since I was a little girl, I have been a tummy sleeper. That has always been my go to sleeping position. Even for the first half of my pregnancy I was ignoring the advice and sleeping on my stomach. I know every book and every website says that sleeping on your tummy is a no, but it was still my comfiest sleeping position, and I figured that if it was really that bad for me or my baby, then it wouldn’t be comfortable at all. For most things I am a big believer in listening to your body and not always the advice of others. If sleeping on my tummy wasn’t bothering me, then it also wasn’t bothering baby, and I’m pretty sure the most important thing right now is that I am well rested. If I’m healthy then my baby is fine.

The downside to that of course is that the last few weeks or so, sleeping on my stomach has stopped being the comfy position and my challenge now is finding a new position that works. But that isn’t as easy as it sounds. Nothing else feels right. Every so often I will find a new position that works, but they don’t last long. Either the baby moves, forcing me to find a new position, or I have to get up for some reason or other, but once I move, getting into a good position again is more difficult than you would think.

I have found a couple of things that help make it easier to get comfy at night. I have 3 body pillows that I have tried and tested, and all 3 of them work some of the time, though not all of the time. Guess it depends on my mood. If I am actually tired and sufficiently cool then they do make it easier to fall asleep. The 3 pillows I have are all different shapes and styles, in the beginning I got the Snoogle (recommended by friends who already have children) and it worked well enough, the problem is that it only really works when I want to sleep on my right side. It would work on the left side too except that it takes up almost the entire bed if I move it over to my left side, and that leaves zero room for my husband. With the Snoogle not quite working out the way I had hoped, I found the Leachco Back and Belly pillow, this one is nice because it lets me sleep on my left and right side, but also allows me to lay comfortably on my back. The downside is that it still takes up a good chunk of my queen size bed, and poor husband always ends up with it pushed up against him. And if the baby is in the wrong spot, laying on my back is just not happening. Finally, and still rather frustrated, I picked up the Embrace Memory Foam body pillow. This one is so far the best I’ve found, I just lay it on the bed and lay on it, and it contours perfectly to my body, somewhat allowing me to still sleep slightly on my stomach, and I do get the comfiest sleep when I use this one. The downside is that this is even bigger than my other too pillows, and again takes up the bed. And it still doesn’t work for me 100% of the time, usually for reasons I just can’t put my finger on.

All that being said, I find that I do powernap sometimes throughout the day. When I say powernap, I mean 20 minutes a couple of times a day, and those are enough to keep me energized. I guess this is the body’s way of preparing mama for the whole sleep when baby sleeps thing, as again, it seems my powernaps occur when baby is least active.

I am still looking for ways to help me get a good nights sleep, mostly it is through trial and error, and I’m hoping that over the next few weeks I will find a solution that works.

Popsicle Recipes

Here are a few recipes I have been playing around with to make my homemade popsicles.

Orange Strawberry Popsicles:
1 cup of strawberries
1 cup of orange juice.
Blend them up, pour into molds and freeze.

Strawberry Banana Popsicles:
1 cup of strawberries,
1/2 banana.
Blend them up, pour into molds and freeze.

Strawberry Apple Popsicles:
1 cup of strawberries
1 cup of apple juice.
Blend them up, pour into molds and freeze.

Raspberry Lemonade Popsicles:
1 cup of raspberries.
1 cup of lemonade.
Blend them up, pour into molds and freeze.

Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles:
1 cup of strawberries.
1 cup of lemonade.
Blend them up, pour into molds and freeze.

Blueberry Popsicles.
1 cup of blueberries.
1 cup of juice (mostly I use apple juice)
Blend them up, pour into molds and freeze.

The Summer, Heat and Tea

It is of course the middle of August right now, and so far this summer has been incredibly hot. I know that pregnancy increases your temperature but I have spent many a day literally melting. The heat, I have found, worsens my morning sickness, and melting and morning sickness is definitely not a pleasant combination.
It hasn’t been all bad though, I have found a few tricks to help combat the heat.

1. I treated myself to a kiddie pool, the crazy hot days I fill it up with cold water, get into my bathing suit and spend hours just sat in my little pool. It’s nice, a fun way to relax and enjoy the sun at the same time. Certainly beats hiding away inside. It is also great because I can use it next summer with the baby, and hopefully for quite a few summers to come.
2. Popsicles. So delicious, so awesome. Initially I was just having the store bought ones, but then I decided to get creative and started to make my own. It is so simple to do, just pour some fruit juice and a little bit of water into some popsicle molds, stick them in the freezer and a few hours later I have homemade popsicles! I can devour a half dozen or so in 20 minutes, but just one can help me cool down a significant amount.
3. Homemade Icecream! I have always been a huge lover of ice cream, but only this summer I have begun making my own. I got my ice cream maker and a recipe book, and I have been working my way through a selection of different flavours. Quite honestly, nothing beats sitting in my kiddie pool eating my ice cream, and it tastes even better knowing that I’ve made it myself.
4. Swimming. Whether I’m spending a day at the lake or a few hours at the local pool, I am always guaranteed a fun time. The water keeps me cool and the swimming is excellent exercise, and it is a great way for me to scout out places to go next summer with the little one.
5. Iced tea. I have always been a huge lover of tea, and I always enjoy trying out new teas. Sometimes I find a new favourite, and I enjoy finding them. Teas are great for keeping my hydrated, which also helps to keep me cool.

What ideas/tricks have you found to help beat the heat?

Parenting Is Imminent

It is hard at times to believe that in just a few months time, I am going to be a mom. I can’t even begin to imagine how much my life is going to change, granted for the better, but change nonetheless. I just know that it is going to change forever. I will be a mom and I am so incredibly excited for this new chapter in my life to start. I can’t wait to meet my little one, to watch him or her change and grow everyday. I’m excited to learn new ways to parent, squash my probably unrealistic ideas and attempt to become the best mom I can be, which at the end of the day is my only goal. I know it won’t be easy, I know I’m going to make a lot of mistakes along the way, but I make a promise to my child to always try my best, that is the only thing for sure that I know. Everything else I am sure I will learn along the way.

It is hard to believe that this time next year I will have an 8 month old child, I will be watching him or her learn to explore and navigate the world, and I will be a huge part of that. I plan to use this blog to document all of those adventures and every step of my own learning process. I am sure I have set ideas on how I am going to parent and I am fully aware that most of those will go out the window as soon as I am faced with an actual baby. It is very easy to have idealistic notions of parenting, I think it is hard not to be idealistic at times. I see others parent their children, some ideas I want to try for myself and some that make me want to do the exact opposite. It will be fun to find out what I stick to and what I drop as just not going to work.

I can’t wait to meet my baby. I can’t wait to see what the future is going to bring, I know it will be a big adventure and I hope that I can make the most out of every minute of it.

The Question: To find out or not…

I am 23 weeks pregnant now, and I’m really beginning to show. And it seems that one of the first questions I always get asked, without fail, is boy or girl. I don’t know what I’m having, and although I occasionally find myself waivering as to whether or not I want to find out, I am confident and happy with my decision to wait until the birth. Personally, I don’t think that you have to find out prior to the birth. The ultrasound technicians don’t always get it right anyway, and I have been enjoying the unknown. It has always been part of my birth plan that my husband should be the one to introduce my baby to me, I want him to tell me who our child is.
That being said, everyone always seems taken aback when I say I’m not finding out, I had no idea it was apparently unheard of now, but whatever. Mostly it is the rest of my family, mainly my inlaws, who *need* to know. They want to plan the baby shower in a colour coordinated way (so need to know pink or blue), they want to buy clothes and other items (again, pink or blue). I have found plenty of unisex items which are just adorable and I just don’t think it is necessary to find out. I will find out in December anyway and that will sneak up on me a lot sooner than it sounds. We will all meet my baby soon enough, and the question will be answered then.

Maternity Clothes

I have been wearing maternity clothes since around the same time I found out I was pregnant. Days after I had taken my home pregnancy test I could barely fit into any of my existing pants. To be honest, I was not looking forward to having to go out and buy maternity clothes. I had visions of having to spend the next 8 months or so wearing a horrendous looking paisley tent-like dress. And while I have come across a few outfits that are reminiscent of that, for the most part I have been pleasantly surprised.
The main problem I have come across is that a lot of the stores that carry maternity clothes do not seem to carry very many clothes for the current season. Seems bizarre to me. It’s the middle of August and warm out, I have no need or desire to buy big black sweaters, this particular sweater was a thicker material and there is no way I can see myself needing that until October at the earliest. And I have zero intention of buying fall maternity clothes in August. There is no way of telling or knowing whether or not I will be the size of a house by then.
I have found that if I want in season maternity clothes, which I do, I have to go to the specialty stores. True, they have some nice clothes, but most of what these stores carry are priced at almost double what I pay for my pre-pregnancy clothes. I get it, with few other alternatives they can charge whatever they want, but I somewhat resent having to spend that much money on clothes I will wear for at best a few months.
That being said, I have found a few nice outfits, nothing paisley and nothing tent-like, clothes that are exactly like something I would buy pregnant or not.
My most useful find has been my maternity bras. They are more like sports bras than anything you’d find at Victoria’s Secret, but they are incredibly comfy. With my body changing the way it is, these have been my happiest find. First, I found this bra from Lamaze, technically it is a sleep bra, but I wear it during the day and I just love it. The second one I found is this one from La Leche, which again is so comfy. And best of all, these bras are designed to make nursing easier so I will be able to keep wearing them even after the baby is born.
I have found maternity clothes that are just like something I would have chosen before pregnancy (and afterwards). I’ve found a couple of pairs of jeans that I love from Indigo Rein and Three Seasons, some summer dresses from Pea in the Pod and Three Seasons, and a gorgeous skirt from Motherhood. The other day I got a new pair of cargo pants from Jules and Jim and a couple of new tops from Everly Grey and Mommy Paradise. And not a single one of them is paisley!

I have to admit that I do have fun shopping for my maternity clothes, it is after all, something I will only get to do only a couple of times in my life so I do make the most of it.

23 Weeks and morning sickness

I am officially 23 weeks pregnant right now and I could not be feeling better. The first few months were horribly tough, I have been suffering from crazy morning sickness since the beginning. It is starting to let up now, but it has felt like forever since I just felt good. They don’t tell you that morning sickness can last all day for months on end. I found a few things that helped me get through it.

First of all, Preggie Pops have been incredible. They are essentially hard candies that have been designed to alleviate morning sickness. They are also a good and sneaky way to get a few calories into you when it is a battle to keep anything down at all. The ones I had came in four different flavours (sour lemon, sour orange, sour apple, and sour raspberry) and they were delicious. I’ve also been merrily sucking away on some cherry flavoured B-Natal Therapop suckers. Again, these are a hard candy, though these ones come on a stick which honestly you just can’t beat. They contain vitamin B6 and are again designed to help combat morning sickness, and are a good way to get a few extra calories.

Anything ginger seemed to help immensely too. I’m not a fan of ginger normally, but when I’m not feeling too well it often does just the job. I tried most things ginger, but I found that the one that worked the best was a herbal lemon and ginger tea from Twinings. Now, I love tea, but this has to be by far one of the best ones I’ve tried, and it made me feel better too. Can’t beat that. I tried a few other ginger based teas that I found to be vile, though hard to tell if that was the tea or the sickness but I can’t say I have any desire to try them again to find out.

Aside from that I have found that lots of fresh air can help, heat can make it worse which is unfortunate being that it is the middle of summer.  I’m thrilled that my morning sickness seems to be becoming less and less now, though it still pops up every couple of days or so. I am looking forward to the time when this part of my experience is over which hopefully won’t be too long now.