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Surviving the First Trimester

First-Trimester-Survival-Tools-600

I know it probably could’ve been worse. The constant nausea was the issue I had the toughest time with. Luckily, I work from home so I was able to wear comfortable clothing and take walks/naps as needed. I have no idea how some women get dressed up and go work on their feet for 8-10 hours, 5 days a week feeling like that. If you are one of those women, you win everything.

Of course there were other symptoms I was not exactly prepared for (increased body temperature, rapidly growing body parts, extreme exhaustion and frequent crying) but those have all outlasted both my first and second trimesters and are apparently here to stay for the rest of the party.

Below are a few tools that made the first 12 weeks (and those that followed) bearable. I’d love to hear any tricks or treats that you found to be helpful too!

1. S’Well Water Bottles – These non-toxic, BPA free, insulated bottles keep drinks cold up to 24 hours. When I say cold, I mean the ice literally stays frozen all-day, even in a hot car, sweltering sand or the afternoon heat. Mine might as well have been surgically attached to my hand during those summer days here and while we were traveling though Italy. I still don’t leave home without it. Spend one South Florida second with this bottle and you will be a believer. Plus, if you like hot drinks, these bottles will keep yours steamy for up to 12 hours.

2. Preggie Pop Drops – Nothing else was a match for the constant nausea that consumed my life from weeks 6-13. I tried ginger everything, pretzels, crackers, if it worked for someone somewhere I gave it a shot. These little sour candies were my best friend. I kept them in every purse and bag I owned and popped one anytime the nausea became unbearable. They helped tremendously, tasted great, and were discreet so I could keep my pregnancy under wraps during the early weeks.

3. The What to Expect App – Dave and I decided to share our news with only family and our very closest friends during the first trimester. I don’t regret that decision but it was a bit limiting in terms of being able to ask other moms about what was and wasn’t supposed to be happening to my body during that time. I didn’t want to bombard my doctors or take google’s word on everything so I found this free little app (and the book behind it) to be quite helpful. I still enjoy checking in to see how my baby’s developing each week.

4. My best friend Vitamix – I know what you are thinking. I must’ve been out of my mind to spend several hundred dollars on a blender. Thankfully, we found ours at Costco for a $150 less than they are listed for online but even if we had not, it would still be worth it. I doubt we’ve gone one day without using it since we brought it home in February. My quick math says that means it has cost us less than a dollar a day to enjoy and we will still get a lifetime guarantee’s worth of use out of it going forward. Need I say more?  This whirling wonder was crucial for me when I was too nauseous to cook myself a meal. Even now at 31 weeks, it is my first stop out of bed each morning to make sure I get some healthy goodness down to start the day.

5. Netflix – If you are like most people and have a TV in your house, you can probably skip this one. Dave and I decided to eliminate television from our home a few years ago and I could not be more happy with that decision. I hate noise and commercials have a way of sending me over the edge. Plus the cost to get any decent television channels made it an easy choice for us. We stay too busy most of the time to even notice. However, when you are physically and mentally incapable of doing anything productive you are left with nothing to do but veg. This is where Netflix came in. I took in entire seasons of Downton Abbey and Parenthood. I’d say that was $10/month well spent.

6. Protein Powder – To my surprise, I found that consuming protein rather than carbs actually kept my nausea at bay longer. However, meat was literally the last thing I wanted (thank you Forks Over Knives) so I decided to give powdered protein a try. I chose one from Garden of Life because I am familiar with their products but I am sure any would do the trick.  I’d throw a half-scoop into my smoothies each morning and felt almost instant relief from the nausea. I still use it every morning mixed with spinach, kale, OJ and frozen fruit in the Vitamix for a power smoothie to hold me and baby over until we decide what’s for breakfast.

7. Praying Through Your Pregnancy – I am cheating a little here since I did not begin this book until my second trimester but I wish I would’ve had it sooner. It is a week-by-week guide to what is happening in your pregnancy along with scripture and prayers that correlate with your baby’s developmental stage. It even has a section in each chapter to journal what you are feeling and praying that week. I have really enjoyed the Christian perspective on the experience and it has served as a great reminder of what a miracle is taking place inside of me.

12-weeks

 

Jessica - Thanks for sharing! I totally just bought a couple of these things for a care package for my newly pregnant friend! I love Parenthood too and I am way behind on Downton Abbey.November 18, 2013 – 3:08 pm

How I Became Pregnant

May-14

I think most of you can figure out the logistics but for me there was much more to the story.

Becoming a mamma was always something I’ve planned on doing but truthfully, not a life-stage I gave a whole lot of thought to. Since college, I have watched nearly all of my friends enter into motherhood while I worked and focused my energy on growing and maintaining my photography business. Through my business I’ve met some of my dearest friends, traveled to places I never would’ve imagined and overcome challenges that have shaped me into who I am today. I felt tremendously blessed and fulfilled to have the opportunity to do something I loved. As a result, (selfish as it may seem) the concept of motherhood was not one I could reconcile with the passion I had for my career. How would I maintain my workload, travel, invest into my client relationships and be a good mom? The answer never came. So I waited.

Life was good. The business was steady, things were great in my marriage but I still did not have an answer to the FAQ of when Dave and I were going to have kids. Knowing that time was marching on, and learning that getting pregnant may not be as easy as they told us in high school, I began to give it more thought. I dug deeper into my hesitations and found something I was not expecting: fear, and a lot of it. Turns out I was afraid of pretty much everything that involved losing control. Financially, physically, mentally; if it meant letting someone else take the reigns, I was terrified.  I believed everything was going great because I was working so hard to keep it that way. In other words, my trust was in myself alone.

This is why I could not answer the question of how to do it all. Now I know the answer: I can’t.

But here’s the amazing part: I am not supposed to. No one is.

We were each created by a perfectly loving Father in Heaven. He intricately made us to rely on Him. Sure, he gave us free will and a sound mind to go about our days here on Earth, but He also wired us to function most effectively when we let Him steer.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” -1 Peter 5:6-7 

This was not an easy lesson for me to learn. Like I said, I’m most comfortable when I am in control and the thought of relinquishing that generated even more fears. What if God’s plan doesn’t follow my plan? What if He took away everything I have worked so hard for? What if He wants me to face difficulties? I really was not excited about any of those possibilities.

Then I remembered who God is: perfect, loving, full of all knowledge, gracious and merciful.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7

I came to realize, and truly believe in my heart, that whatever God had in store for me was good. Maybe not the kind of “good” I would hope for but definitely the kind I’d need. I know this because only He can see what my future holds, here on Earth and eternally. Since my view is limited to the past and present, I have to let go and trust that His choices for my future are exactly what I would chose if I could view my life from the same perspective He does.

“Perfect love casts out fear” -1 John 4:18

I had no more need to fear. I was finally able to let go.

I stopped running from that which I was unsure of and on May 14th 2013, found out I was pregnant.

Today marks week 31 of my pregnancy and as I sit here feeling my precious daughter wiggling around inside of me I can truly say that I am not afraid. I know that God’s timing, provision and plan are perfect and that He loves me. I am so excited to see what He has in store for me and my family in the adventure ahead.

 

Jessica - I love this, Jess! This whole post really hits home for me. I know that I’ve always wanted kids but never put thought into when but now that it’s coming down to it, I’m scared of the unknown too! I really look forward to following along on your blog. 🙂November 18, 2013 – 2:36 pm

Kathy Cornett - Thanks for sharing! It’s great to hear of your lack of faith and then fullness of faith. Your fears and troubles will be washed away when you see the face of Baby C. You will feel a bit foolish for ever wondering and questioning this adventure. I loved every honest moment of this post! It’s always freeing to “get real with yourself!”
Love you and this new blog!November 18, 2013 – 3:37 pm

Jillian Tree - I remember being fearful before we started trying for children as well. God truly answers prayers, and motherhood & the love you feel for your little girl (even more once she’s out!) truly is something indescribably beautiful. My baby girl (now 8 months) is such a happy, bright light in our lives & I wish I could go back & tell myself not to feel anxious! He truly knows best 🙂November 18, 2013 – 5:03 pm

Alisia Thompson - I love love love this beautiful post! Giving up (my illusion of) control is a constant struggle for me and I was touched by reading about your journey. Thanks for sharing 🙂November 18, 2013 – 11:30 pm

Heather Davis - I’m so excited to follow you on this incredible journey! Thanks for sharing! I love it! xoNovember 19, 2013 – 2:56 am

Tsehay - Jessica,

Your journey is truly remarkable and the faith you have in our Christ is even more so inspiring. So glad He helped you find your way back to Him. I somehow ended up on your blog, how? I have no idea but it’s exactly what I needed to read today, so thank you for sharing your journey. You’re going to be such an amazing mother, Congrats!

All the best,
TsehayDecember 16, 2013 – 6:09 pm

Haley Sheffield - Jessica,
I cannot thank you enough for sharing this. I am right there in the same place of this journey. Scared to let go. Scared to move into new, uncharted waters. I am a huge fan of your work, but am also so grateful to come across your personal blog. Thank you for your transparency and for giving such peace and hope to those who look on. Congratulations on your sweet little one. Praying 2014 is the best chapter yet.
In His Love,
HaleyDecember 30, 2013 – 3:57 pm