Coffee Chat: What I Wish I Knew Before Getting Pregnant

12.10.2017
What I wish I knew before getting pregnant

I learned a lot about myself through this pregnancy journey. I learned a lot about my own body through being pregnant. My husband and I learned a lot about insurance and finances. We have done a whole lotta learning these past 9 months and there's a lot I wish I had known before we got pregnant. I'm going to be really honest in this post and a little vulnerable with what I share. So let's pretend we're talking over coffee and that I'm not a total stranger. 

Finances:
Babies are expensive, y'all. Any seasoned mom will tell you this without batting an eyelash. I'm so thankful we had a savings stash before getting pregnant. Granted, most of it went towards our house we bought this summer, but it was still there and we had some leftover after the downpayment and initial upgrades to our home. 

What I didn't know was that we would not only have to pay for our doctors visits, but our doctors office would also require money up front for the delivery. Say what?! This is a pretty standard practice. Ask a lot of questions before paying anything though. As long as you are nice, your doctors office will be more than happy to explain and walk you through everything. 

Then, I learned that the hospital would also want money up front before delivery. Like, a lot of money. Because our insurance had just started over in September and we hadn't payed ANYTHING toward the deductible, the hospital wanted the entire deductible plus 20%. That's a whole lotta money, y'all! Again, don't be shy about asking questions. The woman I spoke with in financing with the hospital was super nice and incredibly helpful, and didn't mind explaining things to me several times. 

What we'll be doing differently next time:
Researching our insurance options, and recognizing that while it's convenient, our employer insurance may not be the best one for us anymore. 
Calling the hospital as soon as we find out we are pregnant and pre-registering earlier so we aren't hit with a big bill toward the end of pregnancy when things are already stressful. 

Emotions
My emotions didn't spiral out of control until the last month of pregnancy. I found myself crying constantly, and over silly things, like running out of chips that I wanted to eat with a hot dog. I got seriously mad at my husband one night because he put his cold feet on me in bed. And then I cried for quite a while because I felt horrible for snapping at him.

Tommy is so patient with me and I am so thankful for it. Let's be real; nobody wants to be around you when you're a grouch. But my wonderful husband has patiently stood by my side and talked me through my rollercoaster of emotions. He gently points out when a reaction I have to something isn't normal and is probably related to raging hormones.

How I'm coping now:
I make sure I am self aware of my emotions and I apologize to my husband when I've said something in anger. I try my best to be aware of when I should be rightfully upset and when I should let things roll off my back. It's difficult when I'm so sensitive to everything, but a good practice. 

Body Changes
Your body does NOT stay the same while pregnant. I knew I would experience a lot of changes, but outside of a growing belly I didn't think much about what those changes would look like. Things like weight gain, adult acne, hair, and yes, bodily fluids were all quite surprising for me. Being pregnant made me realize just how amazing my body is, but it also made me realize that I need to take care of my body for more than just myself. 

I'm going to be vulnerable right here. I have gained 40 pounds so far in this pregnancy. I know the normal weight gain is anywhere between 35-50 pounds, so I know I'm within the normal range. But let's be real that in this day and age everything is about looking your best postpartum. Well, the reality is that I gained a lot of weight and I know it's not going to just drop off as soon as this baby is evicted. I still have two weeks to go. That's two weeks of baby boy growing and that's two weeks of probably more weight gain. 

I'm a little nervous about fitting back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. I'm worried about what I will look like. BUT my body just made a HUMAN! Like, what?! That's amazing. And I'm sure that my body image won't be at the forefront of my mind when I'm holding that tiny blessing in my arms those first few weeks. 

What I'll change next time:
I'll probably try to reign in the sugar cravings, but in all honestly I'm happy with my body and proud of all the hard work it's been doing! 

For all my mommy friends and pregnant friends, what are some thing you wish you had known before getting pregnant or having kids? I'd love for you to share with me!

Until next time, xoxo

You can find me on Bloglovin'!

You can now find me on Bloglovin'!

<a href="https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/19207237/?claim=2qqvv45q99b">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Before Baby Arrives

12.08.2017

I feel like there are a million and five things that need to be done before baby arrives. Maybe because it's the Christmas season and the busiest time of the year. Or maybe because we're two weeks from my due date and I don't think baby boy is going to wait until then to make an appearance.

I texted my poor husband a weekend to-do list today and I'm quite certain I freaked him out a little with wanting to get so much done in one weekend.

So, now I realize I need to prioritize our to-do list and promise myself I won't be upset if something doesn't get done right when I want it to be done. In other words, I won't let my raging hormones make me burst into tears because some fuzz got left on the carpet after vacuuming.

1. Deep cleaning. Seriously, our house needs it badly with three animals plus us. Soon to be two animals as a friend will be taking our cat, but still. That's a lot of animal hair. We decided to purchase a carpet cleaner and it arrived yesterday! We hit the baby's room first and it made a HUGE difference in the carpet. We are replacing the carpet next summer, so this quick fix will do for now. (affiliate link in picture)


2. Christmas decorating. We have a lot of family coming into town for the birth of our little one, which means they will be here for Christmas. Hubs has been working hard to make our sad front yard look festive. We finally bought and flocked our tree and it will be making it's way into the house tomorrow to be decorated. Pictures to come of our first Christmas in our new home! 

3. Thank you cards. I'm the WORST at writing thank you's. My mom tried her best to instill this habit in me when I was younger and it simply didn't stick. So I'm taking tonight to write and address thank you's for all the gifts we've received and get them sent out no later than tomorrow. 

4. One last date night. While I'm incredibly excited for our family to grow and to welcome baby into the world, I am also a little sad that it won't just be me and hubs anymore. So we are going to celebrate us with one last night out together before he arrives. 

5. Pick a pediatrician. I know, I know, I should not have waited until the last second to mark this off my to-do list. Between work and preparing for baby to come home this got put on the back burner. My advice for soon to be moms? Do your research and get this done EARLY! 

Thankfully I have an awesome husband who is more than willing to share the load and keep me on track with getting things done in a timely manner. 

Preparing for Maternity Leave

12.07.2017

Since I became pregnant I've been excited at the thought of getting to take off work to spend time and bond with little man. But I'm also a teacher, the kind of teacher who will come to work sick rather than spend time planning for a sub because it's honestly more exhausting to plan for a sub than to just suck it up and go to work.

I was so overwhelmed and didn't know what to leave for a long term sub so they could successfully run my classroom, so I put it off...and continued to put it off until Thanksgiving break. I scoured the internet trying to find resources and tips from other teachers.

Finally I sat down at the computer and just started typing out every single thing I do each day. I tried not to leave out any details. I wanted my sub to completely know our daily routines to make the transition as smooth as possible. And actually, typing all those things out has helped me to feel more organized for myself!

I think that a lot of those substitute resources on TeachersPayTeachers are really great, but I also don't think you need to spend money to have a sub binder that is useful.

Here is what I included in my sub binder:

1. Class lists- we use class numbers so I made sure I had extra copies of this list that my sub could use as a checklist or whatever else she may need it for.

2. How we get home- kind of a given, but I also included what kind of car my students parents drive so she knew what to be on the lookout for at pickup.

3. Drills and emergency procedures- also a given, but I included where to find emergency exit posters and school phone extensions.

4. Routines- the daily routines that NEVER change. Morning meeting, lunch, recess, snack, afternoon clean up, etc.

5. Guided reading and guided math- these were a little more difficult to type out, but I essentially included the procedures for literacy and math stations. I needed my sub to come in and actually see these in action to fully understand how they look each day.

6. Parent contact- I also highlighted which parents were best reached by email and which were best reached by phone call.

7. Rewards and classroom management- I use a lot of positive reinforcement, and I don't want that to change while I'm gone. I'm so thankful I found a sub that shares my feelings about this!

8. Student computer login cards- multiple copies in case they get lost (which they will; they're first graders).

9. Homework, spelling, and grading procedures- we don't use number grades in first grade, so it can be super confusing to grade first grade work

10. Curriculum and lesson plans- my team will handle the planning while I am gone (they are the best) but it's still nice for my sub to know the scope and sequence for the year so she knows what's coming up for the next unit.

I was also able to have my sub come in and shadow me for a couple of days to see everything in action. It eased my mind to know that my students are familiar with her before I leave. Since we are exactly two weeks from my due date and all my coworkers are betting I'll go into labor early, I feel confident that my kids are in excellent hands.

Pregnancy Must Haves

12.05.2017
Until the past couple of weeks I haven't considered myself to be a very needy pregnant person. But I did have a few products that I absolutely loved having while pregnant.

1. Belly bands
These were my lifesaver! Throughout my whole pregnancy I only bought 3 pairs of maternity pants, and I ripped a hole in the butt of 2 of them. (once when I was at work!) They were not working out for me. And as my belly grew my last pair of maternity pants started to sag, and that was certainly not a pretty sight. So, I turned to belly bands. I can comfortably wear my jeans without the hassle of trying to button them and I don't have to worry about them sagging because the band has a silicon lining to help it stick to your pants and keep them up. Click the picture to find this band on Amazon (affiliate link).
 

2. Stretch mark cream
So I'll be totally honest when I say I don't believe there is ANY product out there that can prevent stretch marks completely. Your skin is literally stretching as baby grows. Nothing stops that from happening. I didn't notice my own stretch marks until later in my pregnancy, but that wasn't the reason I started using the cream. My belly itches ALL THE TIME. I am constantly messing with my shirt and trying to relieve the itch. I tried regular lotion, but it really didn't help a ton. Stretch mark cream actually helps fight the itch and gives me some semblance of relief. 

3. Body pillow 
We're a pretty frugal family and it literally hurt my wallet to think about spending a huge amount of money on a fancy pregnancy pillow. I'm sure they feel amazing, but I found a body pillow from Walmart provided the same support and comfort I needed in order to sleep through the night. This late into pregnancy I feel sore pretty much 24/7 so even my pillow isn't helping much at this point, but it was great throughout the rest of my pregnancy. 

4. Epsom salts
Epsom salt baths are the best thing ever. Of course, you have to be careful the bath water isn't too hot for baby, but otherwise they are a great source of relief. I'm a first grade teacher and constantly on the move, but taking a warm bath and at least soaking my feet at the end of the day is the best feeling in the world. 

I have been a pretty low maintenance preggo and really don't feel like I missed out on much by not having all the essentials you see all over Pinterest. The only thing I would go back and spend money on (and I will definitely buy for the next pregnancy) is some kind of back and belly support to help with sciatic nerve pain. 

Baby Nursery

12.04.2017
I spent so much time browsing Pinterest looking for the perfect nursery theme for baby boy. Even before we knew what we were having I was gathering ideas for what his or her room would look like.


Once we found out we were having a boy, hubs and I sat down together to look at nursery ideas and decide on a theme together. His grandparents graciously offered to purchase nursery furniture for us, so we started there. We settled on gray furniture that we could use with baby number two when the time came.

This was where hubs and I were a house divided. He wanted a superhero themed room and I wanted an elephant themed room. We compromised and painted his room bright colors to eventually go with a superhero theme and I registered for all things elephants for when he's still tiny.

We hit up Lowe's and bought a bright blue and bright yellow paint and got right to work painting baby's room. We thought the two colors would be a lot of fun and add character to his nursery. To pull the room together we added white trim all around the room. Picking out the trim and putting it up took the longest. We kept putting it off because we couldn't find a style that wouldn't break the bank.


We finally found a plain white style that was relatively cheap, and it pulled the whole room together and made it really look complete.

After all that it was just a matter of organization and hanging decorations. We still have a couple of pieces to hang, but besides that his room is totally ready for his arrival. He'll be spending his first few weeks home in our room, so even if we need to make changes to his room it won't be like he was really using it anyways.


I really had to learn to let go of some control when it came to organizing his room. I needed to realize that I wasn't the only one who would be using it and it needed to work for both me and my husband. The space is super tiny so we were really limited on how we could arrange the room. For me, it was important that the glider be able to move freely for late night feedings. For hubs, it was creating as much space as possible while still having access to everything we needed.

I'm so happy with how the nursery turned out. It's completely perfect for little man and he'll continue to grow into it as the years go on.


My Favorite Part of Pregnancy

12.03.2017
I seriously loved being pregnant. From first finding out and seeing those pink lines on the pregnancy test to struggling to push myself out of the couch with my huge belly. There is something so special about feeling your little one growing inside of you every day.

I'm in this phase of life where it seems as though everyone I know is either pregnant, or just gave birth to a little one. And I love hearing about everyone's pregnancy, because we all experienced something different.

I am very thankful that our pregnancy was low risk and we were just able to enjoy seeing my belly grow each week. It was also SUCH an easy pregnancy, I'll be excited to go through it again with baby number 2! (but not for while!)

My first trimester was probably the most difficult part of my entire pregnancy. I would feel fantastic all day, until around 5, and then I would get incredibly nauseous. I hated eating dinner because I felt so sick to my stomach. Meat grossed me out, and still does. I'm hoping that will end when baby is finally born. I only got sick once though, and it was after a flight and long car ride, so it could have been attributed to motion sickness. Once I hit the second trimester I was feeling great. School was out for summer too, so that could have had something to do with it.


I feel as though I didn't really POP until around 34 weeks. That was when I noticed my belly was getting in the way of literally everything and I was having a harder and harder time maneuvering around my classroom and house.

Now, at almost 38 weeks, everything feels incredibly difficult. My students giggle as I scoot around in my rolling chair while they work, but my feet are just SO sore. I'm still enjoying being pregnant, but the excitement of meeting our son is overwhelming.


The BEST part of being pregnant (in my opinion) has been developing a bond with my son in the womb. I love laying on the couch and "playing" with him: as he pushes his tiny feet out, I like to push back with my fingers. I'll talk to him whenever I gently push on his feet and I like to think he recognizes my touch as well as my voice. I will definitely miss those moments when it was just me and him when he's born.

Also, those crazy looking baby faces are from our 4D ultrasound! Such a fun experience. If you're able to get one of these done, I would highly suggest doing it! It was definitely worth the money!

Until next time, xoxo.