Operation: Feel Cute While Pregnant

Note: The (very cute) dress in these pictures is one I received for free for this post in partnership with PinkBlush!  All opinions are my own.


I've always been one of those people that loves being pregnant.

In the past I've heard women make comments about how pregnancy is not their favorite state, and while I could understand that with my head, I had no personal experience with that feeling.

This pregnancy has been a little different for me though.  It's not that I am not enjoying pregnancy this time (I am), but I don't feel as...cute?...this time around.  I finally understand a little better why other women have made those kind of comments.



However, I have determined to enjoy this pregnancy, and well, I learned a long time ago that if I am no longer feeling good about my appearance, it's probably time to change things up!  This is what I've done so far this pregnancy:

1. Changed my skincare routine.

In past pregnancies, I haven't worried too much about skincare.  I knew there were some skincare ingredients to be avoided, so I just grabbed an inexpensive moisturizer that looked clear of anything harmful, and the pregnancy glow kept me feeling good about it.  I figured out pretty quickly this time though that it was not going to be the same.  Maybe it's just because I am getting older, but my skin was dry and dull and crying out for some TLC, and I didn't want to postpone getting the good stuff until after baby.  So searched until I found some skincare products I was comfortable with during pregnancy, and I got into a really consistent skincare routine for the first time in my life!  Taking a little extra time on my skin makes me feel less worn out in the morning and night, because my face feels fresh and healthy.



2. I got a gym membership.

I have mentioned before that the weight is coming on alarmingly fast this time around - yikes!  After hearing me griping about it for a few weeks, Derek finally suggested that he add me to his gym membership.  

I have never actually worked out while being pregnant before (confession time), so this was a new thought.  But I tried out the gym, and it was glorious!  Not only do I weirdly enjoy the exercise bike, but heading to the gym a few times a week gives me some much needed refresh time in the evenings after a busy day with the kids.  I can't say the weight gain has slowed down any, but I do feel healthier regardless, which goes a long way in feeling more "cute" again.



3. I got new maternity clothes.

This is my fifth pregnancy, I figured it was time to refresh my maternity wardrobe!  A lot of the items I bought for my first pregnancy (seven years ago), are faded and out of style now.  Being stuck with faded, out-of-style clothes does not make you feel cuter during pregnancy, I'll tell you that.  In some ways it seems a pity to get new clothes that I'll only get to wear for a few more months since this is our last baby, but I decided not to feel bad about it.  If this is my last pregnancy, I should enjoy it, and after four pregnancies in those other clothes I figured I have earned a few new things.  






The dress in these pictures is my latest new piece from PinkBlush!  I love the fitted t-shirt dress silhouette, and it's fun during pregnancy since it shows off the belly.  The material of this one is perfect for more formal occasions (I wore it out on our anniversary), but I think it's easy to dress down too.  Since I do a lot more online shopping these days (it really is hard to try on clothes with four kids in tow), I've been browsing PinkBlush quite a bit this pregnancy, and they have so many cute maternity clothes!

So that's my strategy thus far in Operation: Feel Cute While Pregnant.  And I think it is working for me! Next up on the agenda...get a haircut.  In case you haven't been around that long, my hair length in these pictures is pretty long for me, and I'm ready to have less hair.  Stay tuned!





Guilt-Free Breastfeeding: Advice From A Mom Of Five



I partnered with/received compensation from Babywise.Life to write this post.  Even though this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

First I should probably clarify for new readers that I'm a mom of four on the outside and one in the oven, who I plan on nursing despite my difficult beginnings with breastfeeding!

I was never an obsessive breastfeeding advocate before I had a baby, but before Wyatt was born I knew I wanted to try to breastfeed him for a year.  I was pregnant with him seven years ago, and maybe this is the case with new mothers now as well, but I felt like the pressure to breastfeed was at the highest it had ever been.  There were plenty of studies about the benefits of breastfeeding, and I heard them all.  I felt that if I was really going to do the best for my baby, I had to try to make it to a year.  That’s what good new mothers did.

Wyatt was born at 37 weeks after an induction from pre-eclampsia, and all the nurses were surprised about how quickly he caught on to nursing.  They expected small babies to have a tougher time, but we didn’t seem to have any problems.  I left the hospital proud of my baby, and proud of myself that everything had gone so smoothly.

That didn’t last long.  

About a week after I brought him home from the hospital, we started having problems.  And by problems, I mean that I would cry out in pain every time he latched.  I couldn’t figure out what went wrong!  I talked to my doctor and lactation consultants, I read online great articles about breastfeeding trouble-shooting and about what a proper latch looks like.  But every time he went to eat, I ended up with tears streaming down my cheeks.

On top of that, I developed mastitis, which took a little time to be properly diagnosed.  I remember a few days being laid out on the couch with a fever and a hard knot in my chest, knowing I needed to nurse more often to try to get it out, but crying when I thought about it because I knew it was going to hurt so badly.

All this lasted about a month, and I started to almost resent when Wyatt would get hungry and want to eat.  Even though it wasn’t great for our relationship, I’d suck it up anyway, and scream in pain, and cry a little.  Finally someone told me something that I will never forget (even though I forget who exactly told me this amidst this painful newborn phase).  

Someone told me that your bond with your baby is more important than whether you breastfeed or not.

That little bit of advice meant so much to me - because someone had finally given me permission to let breastfeeding go if I needed to.   Someone had finally acknowledged that there are more important things in motherhood than whether I breastfed or not.

That advice helped me to take my doctor’s advice when she suggested I stop nursing on the affected side and just pump until there was some improvement.  That advice gave me permission to not breastfeed because I felt I had to, but only if I wanted to.

It was the most freeing thing I could have heard at that time in my motherhood journey, because it made me realize that breastfeeding is not what makes a person a good mother.  The love and care you have for your baby, and the bond that forms with or without breastfeeding, is what makes you a good mother.

I did end up finally healing and I nursed Wyatt until six months old.  Even with future troubles with my supply and nursing a baby with a food sensitivity (Gwen), nursing has been a such a sweet time with all my babies.  But it’s been sweeter yet knowing I breastfed my babies because I wanted to, and not because I was obligated to.  I am most proud today not of how long (or not long) I breastfed, but that it was a guilt-free journey.

So if I were to give advice to a brand-new mom today about breastfeeding, it would be that: Breastfeed because you want to, not because you have to.  Know that if everything doesn’t go as planned, you can fight through it and still have a successful breastfeeding story - or you can decide to let it go for the sake of reducing the stress on your bond, and that is a good choice too.  Your bond with your baby is not dependent on how successful you are at breastfeeding.  Loving your baby, and caring for their needs as best you can, until someday they don’t need you anymore - that’s what makes you a good mother.  Regardless of how this part of your motherhood story goes, it’s only one brief part, and not anywhere close to the most important.




Patriotic Gender Reveal Party!



Since we found out the gender of Baby #5 on July 3rd, I knew I wanted to do a patriotic-themed gender reveal party this time around! Kind of a late 4th Of July celebration/gender reveal.

It's pretty easy to do patriotic food too - I made some swirly patriotic fudge, and a s'more dip in the colors of an American flag.  Throw some American-inspired Hershey kisses and red, white and blue flowers in there, and there you go!














We served hamburgers to our guests, and asked everyone to bring a side to share - and there was plenty to eat!



We had our friends and family wear a pin with their guess.  I basically just cut up some decorations from Hobby Lobby and hot glued them onto pins - red hearts for a girl, blue hearts for a boy.






Everyone expects some sort of gender reveal party games at our parties, so I came up with a couple...

Game #1 - Guess how many pieces of candy are in the jar.  There were slightly more red M&M's for those who thought they would be talented candy guessers.  There were 311 pieces of candy, with $5 Starbucks gift card for the winner!

Game #2 - Our Baby Name Game involved learning the names of everyone in the room, and then coming up with a baby name (opposite of each person's gender) that starts with the same letter.  There may have been ulterior motives to this game, since we don't have a girl name pick out yet.  I got a couple ideas from everyone's sheets!  For participating, guests were entered into a drawing for another $5 Starbucks gift card (the promise of a prize just makes any little game so much more appealing).




I won't show all the pictures of our friends and family here, but we had a great party!  It was fun to visit with everyone and enjoy all the wonderful food that everyone brought!  And of course, our family dressed up in all our patriotic attire.

Finally, for the actual reveal we did a little contest too.  I made pudding/whipped cream pies for a "pie" eating contest...


In each pie was a paper with the combination to open this box:


I put a pink glow stick on the inside!  We had originally planned this party in the evening because we wanted to announce Baby's gender with a sparkler...but our county was put under a fire ban right before our party, so I resorted to a glow stick instead.  It worked out pretty well!  Everyone was extremely competitive and fought over the box, but in the end, my sister got to open it!



 

Baby #5 is a sweet baby GIRL, and we are so excited!  


Also, for those of you who entered your guess on Baby's Gender...the poll ended up being almost dead even for boy vs. girl guesses!  Thank you to everyone who participated, I had so much fun reading through all the guesses.  And the winner of the drawing from those who guessed correctly was...my blog friend Alex, from Inspiration Clothesline!  I'll shoot you an email soon Alex so I can send you your prize!












It's A GIRL! 22 Weeks (Baby #5)

 



In case you missed it on Monday, now you know - Baby #5 is a GIRL!  We are excited to have another little lady in our family!

We found out on Monday the 3rd, and then spent the next day celebrating 4th Of July.  I never got to write a post about that, so I thought, "Why not include it in this update?"  Little Girl's first fourth of July in the womb, and we announced the gender with a sparkler, so it seems appropriate!



Baby's First 4th (On The Inside)

We went to a fireworks show with my family on the 3rd after we found out the gender at dinner.  I coached the kids not to say ANYTHING about the baby, and they actually did really well!  They didn't let the secret out at all before our party, and I was pretty proud of them.  It's nice to know you can count on your kids not to say something when you don't want them to.

On the actual 4th we were invited to dinner with some friends, and they bought a bunch of fireworks to do in their culdesac - it was nice, because the fire ban was on by then so we couldn't do any sparklers or fireworks at our house!  At both fireworks show and the smaller fireworks with our friends, the kids were so into it.  They cheered every firework and jumped around and were generally just really excited.  Clyde loved the "little fireworks" (sparklers).  We left for the drive home right as a lot of fireworks shows were starting, and we got to watch three different shows from the car as we drove through town, with the kids cheering in the backseat!  It was so fun.  I have my eye on a good show for next year now, since we were able to scope out four different shows this year.






The only child not as into the fireworks was Clarice - she cried when it got too loud and wanted to be held every time a firework went off.  Poor sweetie.  She is generally fearless, so it surprised me a little, but I can't lie, I didn't hate the extra snuggles!




Alright, enough about Baby Five's first 4th of July, and back to the update!

How I'm Feeling

I have been feeling pretty good for the last couple weeks, but for some reason right around when we found out the gender my back started hurting!  I have been having such an easy pregnancy as far as back pain goes so far, so I can't complain too much, but my sciatic nerve pain is getting to me.  If I sit for too long on a soft surface, it's hard to get up without my lower back hurting.  I'm not sure what shifted in the last couple weeks to cause this, but something did.  I need an adjustment.




I have also been eating too much lately, and I got on the scale the other day, which was rather alarming.  I haven't been feeling good about the way I'm gaining weight, and decided it was probably time I started to be a little more regimented about working out during pregnancy.  Derek's gym let me try them out the other day, and I had so much fun riding on the stationary bike, and I felt energized afterward, so we're going to add me to the gym and my plan is to go at least 3 times a week.  I think it will be a great stress-reliever for me and also hopefully keep the weight gain to a reasonable level!  Or as I told Derek, at least if the weight continues to come on quick, I'll at least feel healthier.



Ready For A Girl?

Then obviously the big news is finding out we are expecting a sweet baby GIRL!  I am excited to know another piece of the puzzle of who this little one will be, and I find myself trying to figure out her personality now that I know it's a she.  I think she seems like a pretty relaxed baby so far.  She doesn't kick too hard, and I feel like there are some good sleep patterns developing because she only kicks during certain times of the day.  She is also in the proper position already, head down and facing my back, which I am happy about!





Look at her cute little pixie chin!

I will say, for some reason we were not really as prepared in a practical sense for a girl.  You'd think I would have been mentally preparing for either either gender, but I actually was trying to not get set on one or the other at all, so this practical unreadiness is totally by coincidence.  We just had more stuff ready to go if it was a boy, and until this point I didn't want to make plans for a girl, lest I get attached to the idea of a girl and it wasn't a girl.  Does that make sense?  So here is the status:

-I had a whole bag of boy hand-me-downs, but I cleaned out a bunch of our girl clothes before we found out I was pregnant, so this baby definitely needs her wardrobe filled in.  

-We had a boy name ready to go (leftover from when we were expecting the other boys), but we have absolutely no girl name at all.  Not even an idea.  

-For some reason I had a vision in my head for a boy nursery, but I couldn't figure out where to take a girl's nursery!

At first I was letting all this stress me out a little bit, but then again, all this extra preparation and planning will actually be pretty fun.  I spent this last week shopping for girl nursery items, and I'm really excited about the direction it's going!  We started looking at girl names, and I am reviewing my previous baby-naming system.  And as for clothes...the budget is a little stressful, but how can shopping for baby girl clothes not be fun?

So here is to the next few weeks of fresh plans for this little girl!!  And if you think of any baby girl names that go with my other kids' names, send them my way!

Stay tuned for photos of our patriotic gender reveal party coming next week!


Dress: Would you believe I got this at Sam's Club?
Earrings: Charming Charlie



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