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Maternity Photos (part 1)

Finally! Sorry it took so long but I hope you’ll agree it was totally worth the wait.

We found Rebecca Reichman through our doctor’s office actually. Her gorgeous work is hanging everywhere and I knew we had to check her out for her newborn photography. We then found out that by booking a newborn session we also got a maternity session. So, thanks to a generous birthday gift from my mom and a little bit of a technical error (explained at the end of this post), we found ourselves with dozens of gorgeous maternity photos.

Here are my favorites.

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Interjecting here to say I adore this picture. My belly looks so perfect. Loooove.

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This last one is my very, very favorite. She captured the glow of our love for this baby perfectly. I can’t wait to see how the newborn photos come out.

Friday will be part 2 which is the shoot we did with my sister. They are equally amazing and worth the wait. Trust me.

Maternity Photos (part 1)

Finally! Sorry it took so long but I hope you’ll agree it was totally worth the wait.

We found Rebecca Reichman through our doctor’s office actually. Her gorgeous work is hanging everywhere and I knew we had to check her out for her newborn photography. We then found out that by booking a newborn session we also got a maternity session. So, thanks to a generous birthday gift from my mom and a little bit of a technical error (explained at the end of this post), we found ourselves with dozens of gorgeous maternity photos.

Here are my favorites.

DSC_9319 watermark

DSC_9321 watermark

DSC_9322 watermark

DSC_9329 watermark

Interjecting here to say I adore this picture. My belly looks so perfect. Loooove.

DSC_9330 watermark

DSC_9344 watermark

DSC_9354 watermark

DSC_9369 watermark


DSC_9392 watermark

DSC_9405 watermark

This last one is my very, very favorite. She captured the glow of our love for this baby perfectly. I can’t wait to see how the newborn photos come out.

Friday will be part 2 which is the shoot we did with my sister. They are equally amazing and worth the wait. Trust me.

Chicago Auto Show: Pregnant Style

If you are like me before I’d gone to the auto show you probably can’t understand how miles of cars for hours could be interesting. I mean, that’s basically rush hour, right?

Except it’s so much fun. I’ll let the pictures convince you.


We’re the nerdiest rockers. Or the rockingest nerds…




Joel’s shirt seems extra appropriate in this picture.


Trek meets DC. (p.s. I wish I would have gotten a picture of the actual Superman car because it was ridiculously awesome. I was too distracted with making Joel do cheesy poses. Oops.)

all the cars

I have no idea why sitting in cars is so much fun. But it is!


Joel being super classy. Ahem.

Remember my dilemma about whether or not I should rent a wheelchair? Yeah, I didn’t get one. It just felt too silly, especially with a bunch of 80 something year olds walking around just fine (mostly in the Cadillac and Lexus areas. What?). We just went at an easy pace, I wore ugly gym shoes and I sat down. A lot.


Loungin’ like a boss.


A lot of my sitting was in cars. Although the getting in and out with my giant belly wasn’t always the easiest.

My only complaint was I couldn’t do my favorite event at the auto show, the Jeep off road simulation track.

jeep pout

“Not recommended for women who are pregnant.” Annoying.

It was such a great time, as it is every year, even if I couldn’t ride in a Jeep going over a couple bumps at five miles an hour. Not bitter. Nope.

Seriously though, I’m not a car type of girl necessarily but the auto show is always a blast. I can’t wait to take our 11 month old little guy next year.

35 weeks


I’m not feeling very inspired to write this post. Probably because I’ve been resisting the urge to crawl into a hole lately, the reasons for which I explained in this post.

I’m not sure if it’s because of those reasons or just extra hormones or a combination but I’ve reached the weepy portion of this pregnancy. I thought I had before but suddenly things have cranked themselves up a notch. Best example lately was when Joel asked me to find him the post I wrote about why I don’t do Valentine’s Day for a post he was writing. Dummy me read through it and got to the part about my childhood dog dying and I had a complete. melt. down.

I’m talking full on, gasping, hysterical crying.

I grabbed Phoebe and started bawling into her fur about how she was going to die someday too. Poor Joel just sat next to me with a mixture of sympathy and total bewilderment. I mean, my dog died 13 years ago, it’s hardly fresh enough for that kind of reaction. In the middle of my sobs I looked up and saw both Phoebe and Joel staring at me like O_O and just as fast as I melted down I realized how funny it was and started laughing hysterically. Joel then started laughing so hard that he choked.

So yeah, living with me has been a bit of a roller coaster lately. Joel really deserves some kind of medal or something.

Thankfully we have some fun plans for this weekend so hopefully I’ll be able to snap out of this funk.

Tomorrow Joel and I have plans to attend the Chicago Auto Show which I am both excited and nervous about. Why nervous? Because lately it doesn’t take much physical activity to make my lower back and pelvis feel like it’s trying to break itself in half. So fun. If you’ve ever been to the auto show you know it’s huge and even without being pregnant my legs and back could get sore after all that walking. Throw in a 4-5lb human sitting in my pelvis and I’m not sure how I’m going to make it. Joel wants to rent a wheelchair for me but that just feels completely ridiculous. I want to go and I don’t want to be in extreme pain so I may let him talk me into it but, ugh it just feels so melodramatic. I’m pregnant not handicapped.

Someone tell me if it’s really ridiculous or if I should just get over myself.

Saturday we have an interview scheduled at the daycare we plan to send our little guy. I was supposed to be going back to work this March but I took another furlough so I won’t be going back until next March. I’m not sure how that will factor into the daycare thing as I don’t plan to send him if I’m not working. But the interview was scheduled before we knew about the furlough so I guess we’ll see how things go. I feel like a real parent, interviewing a daycare. I guess I should get used to that feeling as I am about to actually be a real parent. I can’t quite wrap my head around that idea yet.

And last but not least, we finally got the maternity pictures! They deserve their own post but I’ll put this one up as a sneak peek.

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More coming next week!


34 Weeks


All my shirts have to be worn with a long tank top under them now. Otherwise, as you can see from the picture, my underbelly would get cold.

I brought up my belly button to my midwife yesterday. Not because I’m worried about it but because I knew she’d see it anyway when she measured me and checked the heartbeat (both perfect by the way. He’s a healthy growing boy). She just said, “Oh yeah that will happen” and that unless I saw drainage I shouldn’t worry. She then proceeded to tell me that my actual belly button would get flat and may even pop out… as if I might not know that either. Is it just me or is not knowing a nine year old scar could get irritated and knowing belly buttons pop out during pregnancy not on the same level? Or am I just the only human who didn’t know about belly button ring scars?

We scheduled our next appointment in two weeks where we’ll go over the birth plan and do my Group B Strep test. Then we’ll be starting weekly appointments. Eek!

We also took a big step and bought Baby Boy a car seat.


While shopping I got to do something I’ve wanted to do forever. Twice!


Dumb? Maybe, but clearly it made me happy.

I know I said I’d have maternity pictures to post this week but there was a bit of a snag with them. We got the disc with the photos and Joel noticed the resolution wasn’t as big as we expected it to be. When he contacted the photographer she realized she had shot on the wrong setting and what we have is as big as it gets.

She was really awesome about it though and offered us our choice of either a reshoot or giving us all the pictures from the shoot. I’m too in love with what we shot to try to recreate it. I was even sad about certain pictures not making the cut. So, we chose to get all the pictures. They’ll still print up to a decent size, I’m not sure we would have blown them up to giant wall sized anyway. So I’m really pleased with how it worked out, it’ll just be a bit longer to get them and post them. Sorry!

We also did a gorgeous outdoor maternity shoot with my very talented sister. It was pretty cold but not too bad for a January in the midwest. The pictures turned out really gorgeous. As Joel gets some free time (ha) to edit them I’ll be posting those too.

I’m such a picture tease.

Thanks teenage me

At 13 I started my rebellious phase and became obsessed with getting my belly button pierced. It was the coolest thing ever and I had to get it done.

Only I was 13. And I did not receive an allowance or have any kind of job. So even if I could have found a place that would do it, I had no way to pay for it. Instead of giving up on it I decided to do it myself. With a safety pin. In a church bathroom.


I thought it was amazing. Looking back all I can think is how lucky I am that I didn’t give myself an infection or blood poisoning or something. It was also way too shallow (which probably saved me from that infection) and I never would have gotten an actual belly button ring in it because duh, safety pin.

Of course I couldn’t keep it a secret, what’s the point of piercing something if you can’t show it off, am I right? So my mom found out. And, being an intelligent adult, she asked me to take it out. I didn’t want to so she made a deal with me, if I’d take out my (really poorly done) piercing she would take me to have it done on my 18th birthday and she’d even pay for it.

I guess she figured I’d outgrow the desire. Ha. She kept her word though. On my 18th birthday she and I went to a reputable piercing place and that was my birthday present that year.

Fast forward to last year when I first found out I was pregnant. I decided I didn’t want it to stretch out and at 26 I figured I had kind of grown out of it anyway. I left it out even after we lost that pregnancy and I basically assumed it had closed up by now.

In the last week or two my tummy has been growing at an even more rapid pace and in my last weekly update I mentioned that my scar was getting uncomfortable. I then noticed some red streaks around it and thought, here come the stretch marks. Only the red was just around my scar. And then I noticed it was changing. The other night it was really uncomfortable and so I messed with it a bit and noticed some white gunk inside the scar. After messing with it some more I’m not sure if it was lotion that got caught in there or actually a sign of infection. Either way, gross.

It’s now red and painful to the touch.


I had a closer picture to show but frankly, it grossed me out and it’s my belly button. You get the idea.

I’ve been much more careful to avoid getting lotion in it and I’ve been cleaning it twice daily with a q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. It still hurts but I haven’t noticed any more gunk in the actual scar, which leads me to believe (hope?) it was in fact just lotion caught in there.

The thing is, I figured that a nine year old scar wouldn’t get irritated. I mean, if it’s completely healed skin, how can it right? When I posted about it on Facebook several people said that the same thing had happened to their belly button scar when they got pregnant. I very much had a “Why did no one tell me this could be a thing?” moment.

I thought my biggest worry with my belly button piercing during pregnancy was it stretching out and looking ugly. Turns out it can be quite painful too. I’d like to say that if I’d known I wouldn’t have gotten it done… but who am I kidding? I was a stubborn teen then, nothing was going to stop me, not even some future theoretical pregnancy. Thanks a lot teenage me.

33 weeks


I’m getting to the feeling huge stage. And I have so much growing left to do. Oof.

One thing I’m fascinated by is my belly button. It’s still in but I can feel it stretching, mostly in my belly button ring scar. I’m wondering, for those of you who have already done this, when did your belly button pop out? Or did any of you have it never pop out? Because it seems like there’s quite a lot left to go.

The highlight of this week was this past Saturday we got real (aka not iPhone) maternity pictures taken. I was super nervous for some reason but I’m thrilled with how they turned out. I can’t wait to share them with you all. The photographer should be mailing them out soon. They definitely deserve their own post so be on the lookout for that, hopefully sometime next week.

The rest of the week didn’t live up to the good start unfortunately. Nothing bad happened, I’ve just felt like crap. My nausea and food aversions kicked it up a notch for some reason. I’ve basically been living off Chobani, grapefruits, nachos and Nutella sandwiches. Those are eaten separately by the way. No crazy food mixtures for this pregnant lady. I have been forcing myself to try to eat other things, because ya know, growing a human takes nutrients. Nothing really goes over well though. I am grateful that I’m not actually getting sick or anything. It is frustrating to be SO HUNGRY and have nearly all food sound disgusting. I am over it.

Despite my horrible nutrition this kid is growing. How do I know? Because he’s squeezing my lungs. This week I’ve had the pleasure of the holy crap I cannot get a breath feeling. That and my heart racing. That’s fun too. They seem to be related and stretching out, either by lying down or standing, seems to remedy it. It’s still incredibly unpleasant. Yay, pregnancy!

Another pregnancy milestone I hit was buying some Tums. I have never in my life had to take them. I have been incredibly lucky in that any heartburn I’ve experienced has been remedied with a glass of milk. The other night the only thing I could think of to eat were nachos with tons of jalapenos so I figured it would be wise to pick some up. I didn’t end up needing them but they’re on my nightstand just in case.

Sorry this post is basically a big fat whine. I try to be positive but every once in awhile pregnancy symptoms wear me down. Every time this little guy kicks and wiggles, especially when he does it because Joel came home, my heart melts and I know it’s worth it. Not going to lie, the uncomfortableness is making me all that much more anxious to meet this little guy. I suppose that’s the point.

32 Weeks

32 weeks belly

32 √∑ 4 = 8

Eight months pregnant you guys!

It’s kind of blowing my mind that I hit eight months today. I mean, I’m 8 weeks from my due date. I guess 8 is my lucky number this week.

I had another check up yesterday and everything looks great. Baby boy is finally head down again which means I don’t feel like he’s trying to headbutt his way through my side anymore. Of course I am ridiculous and was a bit worried that, even though I was feeling him just as much, I wasn’t feeling him as strongly. So, ya know, my brain instantly goes to oh em gee what if that means something is wrong?! My midwife said he switched positions though and that’s likely why I’m not feeling him as strongly. Then naturally last night he was back to trying to kick his way out, only this time his escape plan was my ribs. I’m such a silly pregnant lady sometimes.

I’ve still been dancing at least twice a week. We’re currently rehearsing for a performance in about a month and while I’ve been planning on performing I thought I better ask just to be safe. When I asked my midwife when I should plan on stopping dance her answer was my favorite thing ever. “When you’re crowning.” Well okay then. So if you want to see a nine months pregnant lady performing in a hip hop version of Alice in Wonderland let me know and I’ll get you the details.

This coming weekend we’re going to get maternity photos taken. It’s a birthday present from my mom and I’m incredibly excited to see how they turn out. I’m not sure if we’ll have them by next week but as soon as we get them I’ll be sure to post.

Short update this week. I think it’s mostly because I’m in shock over being eight freaking months pregnant. Eight.


The doula dilemma

When we started this pregnancy I never questioned whether I wanted a doula at my birth, it was just a given. I’ve read the statistics about reduction in c-sections and requests for pain medication etc. Add the fact that Joel was so nervous about my childbirth that he actually asked if I’d be mad if he waited in the waiting room like they did in the 1950’s (Obviously my answer was hell yes I’d be mad!). It just seemed like a no-brainer.

When I realized how expensive they can be I was a little discouraged but I found out the practice we’re going to has doulas on staff at a much lower rate than hiring a private doula. Win!

Except now I’m having second thoughts.

While the practice doula is significantly less than a private one it’s still a good amount of money for us. So, I’m going to try and sum up why I’m having doubts and hopefully you all can tell me if there’s some big thing I’m overlooking that will make it worth the money.

1. We won’t get to have a personal relationship with the doula. There are three that rotate on call so we get who we get. We’ve met one and she was really nice but I’m worried we’ll end up with someone we’ve never met and end up clashing personality wise somehow.

2. A big benefit I keep hearing is that a doula comes to your house and helps gauge when you should actually go into the hospital¬† so you’re not “on the clock” sooner than you have to be. The doulas from the practice don’t do that. They get called to come in once we’re in the hospital and confirmed in active labor. If I’m not very dilated they won’t come even if the hospital decides to keep me there.

3. No home post partum visits. I’m not too concerned about this but it’s a benefit I keep hearing about so I thought I’d list it.

4. Only halfway through the Bradley Method classes Joel is feeling pretty confident about being my primary coach.

5. My mom will be there as a secondary coach. She is an RN. She also has had 6 natural births, 5 of which were at home. She has been a coach for six of my two sisters’ kids. I have watched her interact with the nurses at some of those births and she is very good at understanding exactly what is being recommended and explaining to my sisters why it is necessary or not.

6. I trust the doctor and midwives of the practice. They have an extremely low c-section rate and are huge advocates of natural childbirth. I trust that they will not recommend anything out of convenience or because they “want to get to their golf game.” If they feel I need an intervention I trust they will explain the reasons and that it will be in the best interest of me and the baby. I don’t foresee us needing a doula to advocate for us.

Given all those reasons I’m not sure what purpose a doula would serve that isn’t being served by Joel and my mom as coaches. Wouldn’t a doula just be redundant? Or am I missing something big here? I will spend the money if I can find a really good reason because I want my birth to go as smoothly as possible. At this point though I’m feeling like the support network I have set up is sufficient and adding a doula would be doing nothing more than adding an additional expense.

Am I wrong?


31 Weeks

Just wanted to start this post by saying a huge thank you to all of you who signed and shared the petition from yesterday. Plus all the wonderfully thoughtful birthday wishes. It made my day incredibly special. If you missed yesterday’s post, please sign and share this petition to help my friend with a debilitating condition. She really is amazing and I want to do anything I can to help her.


Anyway, this week was pretty low key, which was actually nice. Joel and I had no plans for the whole weekend, other than our regularly scheduled Bradley Method class on Sunday night. That meant a lot of lazing around and soaking up some of our last times together before our world is rocked by this little guy inside me.


Bliss. Seriously.

Joel is getting more comfortable with talking to our little guy through my belly. It took him awhile, which is understandable honestly. I mean, if I want to talk to Baby Boy I can be as goofy or silly or serious as I want in privacy. Joel on the other hand has to talk to him in front of me. I can see how it would be awkward to know what to say. I generally try to be quiet and let them have their own time but we were trying to get Baby Boy to move for a video (seriously, it looks like alien sometimes already) and I managed to snap this during that time. It’s completely candid, he thought the video’s focus was on my belly and he certainly didn’t know I was taking a picture within the video.


My heart practically explodes when I see it.

This kid is so strong. I know I mentioned it last week but it still surprises me. The other day he poked his head out so far into my hand it actually made me gasp out loud. Seriously, I’m surprised I couldn’t see his facial expression. He is also quite opinionated. He goes nuts after I take a shower. Not sure if the hot water wakes him up or he’s protesting it ending or he likes the massages he gets when I lotion my belly but no matter what time of day he has some of his most active times after I take a shower. His other most active time is when I go to bed. He often has strong opinions about which way I lie down. He has protested me laying on my left or right side so hard that I’ve had to roll over. Sometimes neither side is okay with him. Of course I’m not supposed to lie flat on my back and the whole, one hip propped up with a pillow position, can really kill my back. So going to sleep at night is… fun. Thankfully he has yet to really wake me up from kicking. My bladder takes care of the waking me up part.

My lower back has been feeling better thanks to this sexy thing.


I know, down boys.

But seriously, if you’re pregnant and experiencing lower back and hip pain I highly recommend purchasing one. My pain was to the point of me barely being able to walk by night time, and that’s when I took it easy during the day. Joel’s nickname for me is Ducky and let’s just say I earned it with my pregnant “swagger.” With this belt things have gotten way better. I didn’t wear it yesterday and I noticed a huge difference. I only wear it around the house because it’s a bit uncomfortable without a layer of clothing between it and my skin and it’s not exactly the fashion statement I want to make. Still, it’s been a lifesaver. This is the one I have. This isn’t sponsored and that’s not an affiliate link, my mom gave it to me for Christmas. I just really like it so I thought I’d pass on the information.

This weekend should be a lot of fun. I’m going out tonight with Joel to celebrate my birthday (since he had work and school all. day. long. yesterday) and tomorrow I’m celebrating with my family. Because just one celebration for my birthday? Psh.

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