In our new series, Pregnancy Diaries, we ask expecting women to jot down every pregnancy-related detail of their lives for a week. Work-related conundrums, struggles with IVF, and a whole lot of nausea, ahead. To kick off the series, we have a 28-year-old Carroll Gardens resident who consults for her husband’s company. She’s 35 weeks pregnant.
Number of kids: Just this little boy on the way!
How long did it take you to conceive? I was on the pill off and on for ten years, and I went off of it in the spring of 2015, but my husband and I didn’t start trying until that December. We were blessed to get pregnant on the first try, but that pregnancy sadly ended in miscarriage in February 2016 (the baby passed at 8 weeks, and I started to miscarry at 9 weeks and 3 days). I was grateful to have been able to miscarry at home with no complications. I grieved that loss for about three months, and then was ecstatic to get pregnant again in April.
Any other details relevant to your pregnancy? This pregnancy has thankfully gone very smoothly. I had low progesterone at the beginning of my pregnancy, so I was on supplements for the first trimester. I also had low levels of the protein PAPP-A when I had my nuchal scan at 12 weeks, which means that I need additional monitoring from 34 weeks until I have the baby. Additionally, I had pretty bad nausea for about 18 weeks with plenty of vomiting. I started feeling the baby move around 15 weeks, which is apparently very early. We found out that the baby is a boy at 20 weeks.
8:45 a.m. — I wake up later than I would have liked to, as I was up a lot of the night obsessing over all of the things we have to do before baby comes, and the fact that we haven’t decided on a name yet. Naming a human=so daunting! I haven’t been sleeping well for weeks anyway, due to hip pain and constant trips to the bathroom, but this anxiety-riddled insomnia has left me even more drained than usual.
My husband and I have a business meeting at 10 am (I consultant/freelance with his company), and since he’s been working from basically from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day to wrap things up before he goes out of town for a few days (he’s leaving this evening), I wanted to take some time to connect over coffee before we leave. I drag myself out of bed; quite literally (getting out of bed when you weigh over 200 lbs and have no core strength is quite the feat), and head down to chat with my man before we head out for our meeting.
12 p.m. —The meeting went well, and now I’m headed to the hospital where I’m having my and baby’s first “non-stress test.” At my routine nuchal scan at 12 weeks, I was found to have a low PAPP-A count. Low PAPP-A (a pregnancy-related protein) can be associated with placental problems later in pregnancy, so starting today, I have to go to the hospital weekly to monitor the baby’s heart rate and get a sonogram to make sure he’s healthy and growing properly.
While baby boy is having his heart rate recorded, I answer e-mails and work on my “Baby” folder of to-do lists in my beloved Wunderlist app, which makes me feel way more organized than I actually am. I need to assemble the bassinet that the baby will sleep in for the first few months, put the infant bassinet attachment onto my stroller, and figure out how the heck our infant car seat works. My nesting instinct has been going totally haywire for the past few weeks, and I’m just dying to have everything perfectly in place so I’m ready—or as ready as I can be!—whenever baby boy decides to make his debut.
1:45 p.m. —Good news: Baby is looking great! He showed off for the nurses by moving a ton. Very proud of my active little boy. The bad news: the appointment took almost two hours and I’m starving by the end. I treat myself to a cab home to get myself in front of my fridge as quickly as possible, and have leftover homemade soup and cheese and crackers for lunch. After eating, my body is screaming at me to take a nap (a common occurrence now that I’m deep into the third trimester), but there’s work to do. I work on researching sources for an upcoming article I’m writing, and prep for a work phone call at 4 pm.
5 p.m. —After finishing my work call, I head out to run some errands. My final stop: picking up the rug for our nursery at UPS. On my way out, a man who had been in the UPS store asks if I need a cab. I said yes, and he tells me that he’s a taxi driver, takes my rug for me, loads it into his green cab, and proceeds to drive me the few blocks home, free of charge. He even carries the rug up the stoop to my front door. I feel like the luckiest lady ever. Merry Christmas, indeed! It’s incredible how kind New Yorkers can be, especially to a pregnant lady that looks like she’s about to pop (aka me).
7 p.m. —I make some fried rice for dinner and try to go to bed early, but end up waiting up for my husband, who’s landing in Miami around midnight. Once we chat, I finally go to sleep.
5 a.m. —I’m up early to pee, of course. My bladder was doing remarkably well for awhile, but that all changed about a month ago. Now I’m up at least three to four times a night. Usually, I’m able to get back to sleep pretty quickly after peeing, but tonight I’m sleeping alone for the first time in a long time, and my anxiety ends up catching up to me. Since I had a miscarriage before this pregnancy, I’m pretty constantly worried that I will lose this child, and the closer I get to meeting him, the scarier it is. I’m so close to motherhood I can almost taste it, and I’m falling more and more in love with my son every minute. I end up letting out the emotion in big, pathetic sobs, which actually feels pretty good. I call Neil and he helps to reassure me that Junior is just fine, and he’s going to make it here. Amazingly, baby boy is up and moving with me from 5 am to 7 am (he’s usually only awake for 30 minutes to an hour at a time), which is so reassuring. I read for a bit and eventually make it back to sleep.
8 a.m. —Alarm goes off. I lead a middle school girls’ youth group at my church, and I’m supposed to meet my co-leader for breakfast to discuss how things are going, but I get a text that unfortunately she woke up sick. I feel awful for my friend, but grateful to get some extra rest. I decide to snooze until 10.
10 a.m. —Up and at ‘em, but not feeling rested in the slightest. Drag myself up and have some coffee and bran cereal with blueberries. My doula texts to check in with me, and I tell her about my night of panicked tears about she baby. She sweetly says that I should have called her, and that she’d try to come by and visit with me that evening. I tell her not to worry, but that I appreciate her care and concern. Having a doula is seriously the only thing that has given me any chill about childbirth; this woman is the best. I hop into an Uber and head to Park Slope for my doctor appointment.
11 a.m. —At the doctor, I leave a urine sample. It’s comical how you get so used to peeing in a cup and giving blood blood over the course of your pregnancy. I have my blood pressure and weight recorded. Blood pressure normal, and I weigh 210 lbs. I’m not normally very concerned about what I weigh (I don’t own a scale and only get weighed at the doctor), but I have to say, hitting 200 lbs was kind of shocking for me, as was surpassing my husband’s weight. At the same time, I know that all that matters is that the baby and I are healthy, so I shake off the scale shock.
I get shown to a room and am told to strip down below my waist, because today I have to get my vagina and anus swabbed for Group B strep, which is a bacteria that’s harmless for mothers but can be very harmful to babies if it’s present at delivery. If I test positive, I’ll have to go to the hospital early on in labor so I can be given antibiotics. I’m definitely hoping to avoid that, because antibiotics suck, and I’m hoping to labor at home as long as possible.
11:30 a.m. —Waiting, waiting. Despite the fact that I’m wearing only socks and a long-sleeve t-shirt, my room feels like it’s about 90 degrees and I am sweating. In reality, it’s probably more like 75, but at this point in pregnancy, if I’m in a space that’s heated past 60 degrees, I am basically pouring sweat. Very thankful to be super pregnant in the dead of winter and not in the humid heat of a New York City summer.
The midwife comes in, gives me my swab, and does a quick ultrasound to check the baby’s heartbeat, which is chugging away. I’m grateful that my practice does these quick ultrasounds every time. There’s nothing better than getting glimpses of my sweet baby.
Before leaving, the midwife asks about who will be joining me for labor. I answer that it will be my husband and my doula. She asks if I’m hoping to go without pain meds, and I say yes, and we discuss it a bit. She eventually says, “Well, let’s see if you can do it,” but quickly corrects herself to say, “I mean, you CAN do it.” Hell yeah, I can! …I think. Yikes.
1 p.m. —Head home for lunch, work, house cleaning, and Christmas gift ordering. I had every intention of getting all of my holiday shopping done by November this year, since I’ve been working part-time and had no excuse. Well, here I am, once again, madly ordering items at the last minute, and very likely going over budget. I have got to get better at this Christmas thing.
3 p.m. —I take a break from my laptop to open up and assemble a couple of pieces for the nursery that arrived. I open up the rug that I picked up last night, and am pleasantly surprised by how perfect it is; it’s a vibrant blue/teal color, but it’s nicely distressed so that it appears to be vintage. I open up and assemble a lamp that I ordered from Urban Outfitters, and it’s so annoyingly packed that my entire living room ends up covered in pieces of cardboard and tiny styrofoam particles that fly everywhere like electrostatic snow. This is especially annoying, because bending over is basically impossible these days, so cleaning up this mess will literally be painful.
5:30 p.m. —I head out for an early dinner with my best friend. I’m really looking forward to seeing her and talking to her about the baby anxiety that I had last night, since I know she’ll make me feel better. She generously listens to me go on and on about how scared I am to lose this kid, especially now that I am so close to meeting him. She says many wise things to me, but one that stands out is: “Tara, what’s your job right now?” I reply, “To love my kid?” She nods. I realize that I have no control over how long I’ll have with my son, but I know that I can love the heck out of him and enjoy him every minute that he’s here. I head home for the night feeling infinitely calmer.
10 a.m. —Wake up after another pretty restless night of sleep feeling crappy. Even though my anxiety has lessened, I still feel restless, and having my husband away doesn’t help—I’m just so used to having a sleep buddy. I have some coffee and breakfast. At least it snowed the night before, which is pretty and happy-making.
11 a.m. —A new friend texts and asks if I’d be up to get tea that day, and I suggest that she comes over to my place for tea that afternoon. Then, I freak out a little bit, because I remember that my living room is covered with styrofoam snow and packing supplies that I never cleaned up! I decide that there’s no time like the present to whip this apartment into shape, which I need to do anyway because I have friends coming over the next day for a mini baby shower that they’re throwing me. I pick up, wipe down, and vacuum the whole apartment, then take a shower and get dressed.
2 p.m. —My friend comes over, and it’s great to see her. We enjoy our tea with pastries that she brought, and chat the afternoon away. Eventually dinnertime rolls around, so we order food and chat some more. I appreciate having the company while my husband is away having a “babymoon” with his brother instead of with me, since I’m past the point of being able to travel. I try not to hate him when he sends me a picture of him drinking a pina colada at an outdoor bar in Key West…hey, the man works hard. He deserves it.
8 p.m. —My friend heads home and I fit in some work and reading in before heading for bed.
8:30 a.m.—I get up, get ready, and head to my 10:30 church service in Park Slope. The service is awesome, as always; amazing teaching, incredible music, and a great community of people with lots of kids running around. It’s the best part of my week.
12:30 p.m. —Get out of church and head back to my neighborhood to meet a friend who is generously traveling from the Upper East Side to Brooklyn to have brunch with me. As much as I like to believe that I have it in me to schlep to Manhattan and back these days, in reality, walking even a few blocks is kind of a struggle.
1 p.m. —I meet up with my friend at my and my husband’s store, Regular Visitors, in Boerum Hill. We just opened the store last month, and we’re so grateful that it’s been doing well. It’s a modern general store with a coffee bar and a newsstand, and it makes me so happy to visit, browse our products, and just take in the atmosphere. I love seeing our neighbors stopping in to enjoy the store as well. While I’m there, I pick up a couple of products from our women’s accessories line, Odeme (a hair band set on an oversized brass safety pin, and a seafoam-green nail polish), for the holiday party that we’re having for the youth group tomorrow night. The girls are super-excited for the party and Secret Santa gift exchange; they absolutely light up my life.
1:30 p.m. —My friend and I head over to Building on Bond, a great little neighborhood spot, for brunch. After brunch, we head to my place so I can give her a tour; she hadn’t seen the new, bigger apartment that we moved into in preparation for baby. She heads home, and I start to prep the house for my friends to come over for the shower.
5:30 p.m. —My friends from church arrive to start setting up for the shower. They decided on a brunch-for-dinner potluck theme, so one of them brings an egg and sausage casserole, another brings a peach French toast casserole, and other ladies bring supplies for mocktails, fruit, and bacon. We have such a nice time sitting around my dining room table and chatting. They generously give me a wonderful plush book, Are You My Mother?—and of course I start to cry as soon as I look at it—and a gift certificate to a nail salon around the corner from me for a little pre-labor pampering. After we eat, we go and sit in my living room and chat, and then they take turns praying for me, the baby, the labor process and my marriage. The whole evening is just so special and sacred, and I feel so loved and cared for and grateful.
10 p.m. —They all eventually head home, and my husband arrives from the airport right as they’re walking down my stoop. I heat up leftovers for him and we relax and catch up a bit before heading to bed.
8:30 a.m. —I get up, have breakfast and coffee, and do boring adulting things like checking e-mails, calling UPS customer service, and working on my online banking and my Mint.com account. I check in with my editor about a freelance story that’s coming up, then take a shower, get dressed, and start prepping things for my handyman, who’s coming at 1:00 to help assemble our nursery furniture.
1:00 p.m. —Make a quick lunch from things in our almost-bare fridge. Get a notification that our handyman has to reschedule because his previous job is taking too long. I’m disappointed, but glad that I have extra time today to get work and to-dos done. I use the rest of the afternoon to clean, work, and write thank-you cards to all of the generous friends and family that keep showering our lucky kid with awesome gifts.
4:00 p.m. —I take a break to chat with my husband’s sister, who had her baby boy only a couple of weeks ago. She tells me the story of her birth (woman is a rockstar!) and tells me how things have been going so far with getting into a routine with newborn Graham. Listening to her positive outlook on her birth story and first few weeks with baby is so reassuring; it really takes some of my anxiety away.
5:00 p.m. —I head out to the store to pick up cookie-baking supplies for the youth group holiday party tonight. I grab ingredients for triple ginger and salted chocolate chip cookies, plus sparkling cider, and UberPool over to one of the girls’ homes in Park Slope.
9:30 p.m. —The party was a success! We had such a fun time baking, exchanging presents, and playing games, but when it’s all over, I’m pretty worn out, and a little queasy from eating too many cookies. (Don’t tell my doula, who forbade me from eating sugar for the remainder of my pregnancy since my baby is already measuring pretty big. It’s the holidays, right?!). I arrive home and am asleep by 11 pm, which is much needed.
7:30 a.m. —I wake up feeling much better, even though I slept as restlessly as ever. Make a mental note that early to bed and early to rise is WAY better than late to bed and late to rise. Have coffee, breakfast, and finish the last couple of thank-you cards in the huge stack that I’ve been working on.
9:30 a.m. —I get ready and head into Manhattan to meet a lovely old friend for brunch, and then head to my therapist’s office for my first appointment in four weeks. I’m so grateful to see her and empty my brain of all of the hormone-fueled craziness that’s been swirling around for a month.
1:30 p.m. —After therapy, I run into a Starbucks for a small chai latte before getting on the train back to Brooklyn. As I walk the rest of the way to the train, I realize that I have to pee AGAIN, even though it’s only been about fifteen minutes since I last used the bathroom. I remember that the Herald Square Gap has a bathroom and run in, only to be glibly told that the bathroom is no longer available. I almost start crying, because is it really that hard to just let a super-pregnant woman use your employees-only bathroom? I hold it together and hop on the train, praying that the trip goes quickly.
2:00 p.m. —Make it back to my neighborhood and dash into Regular Visitors, which happens to be right above the Bergen Street F stop, to use the bathroom. Thank the Lord. Pop in to say hi to the hubs and the RV sales team and browse around a bit, happy to see that inventory for some products is running a bit low—Christmas shopping is in full swing!
3:00 p.m. —Get home and meet the woman who’s cleaning my house this afternoon. As much as I usually try to do all of the cleaning myself, doing serious scrubbing on my hands and knees just ain’t happening these days, so I’m grateful that I’m able to pass off those duties. While the apartment gets cleaned, I work on the various stories that I have in the works—reaching out to sources, doing market research, etc.—and order even more Christmas gifts, because somehow the holiday shopping never seems to end.
7:00 p.m. —Head out to meet a friend for dinner. We end up having an amazing heart-to-heart over a delicious dinner at Rucola [Link: http://www.rucolabrooklyn.com/%5D, one of my favorite restaurants of all time, but we don’t end up leaving until 10:30…which is pathetically the latest that I’ve been out of the house in a really long time.
12:00 a.m. —Finally head to bed.
7:30 a.m. —Wake up early, and despite my semi-late night, I’m feeling pretty good again. I have breakfast and coffee, do the dishes, and clean out the fridge. Doing the dishes and cleaning out the fridge are so difficult that eventually I bring over a chair to sit in while I scrub the shelves in the fridge—so much bending over! I had no idea how difficult the simplest tasks could become when you’re carrying a 7 lb meatloaf in your body.
9:00 a.m. —I sit down to prep for an interview that I have with a makeup artist later this afternoon. As soon as I sit, baby boy starts wriggling around and kicking. Enjoying and observing his movements and even interacting with him by poking back when he pokes me is just the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
10:30 a.m. —I had lunch plans with one of my oldest friends (buds since 6th grade!), who is also pregnant and due six weeks after me, but she texts to tell me that she has to cancel. I’m bummed—I love hanging out with this friend and talking all things pregnancy and babies with her, since I don’t have a ton of close friends that are currently pregnant—but also relieved, because my short-ish night of sleep has caught up to me. I decide to allow myself a rare nap, telling myself that I only have about four weeks to focus on self-care before baby arrives.
12:00 p.m. —I get up and feel much better. I get dressed and head out for a Chipotle lunch and a big grocery shop at Trader Joe’s. At this stage in the game, I’m basically wearing maternity leggings and Ugg boots every day, which is not at all exciting or cute. I didn’t think I’d get to a point where putting on even maternity jeans and flat shoes would be uncomfortable, and yet…here I am. Thankful that I work from home so my co-workers don’t have to watch me descend into to total sartorial abandon.
2:30 p.m. —I arrive back home, unload the groceries, make a cup of tea, and have my interview with my lovely makeup artist friend. Then, I catch up on e-mails, my online banking, and my Mint.com account. Balk at the amount of money I’ve spent this month on furniture and other items for baby, childbirth prep, and Christmas gifts. A perfect December storm. Yikes.
4:30 p.m. —Start prepping and finish cleaning for my church Life Group, which is being held at my house tonight because our usual hosts just had a baby. Life Group is like a dinner party every week, where a group of us get together, one person or couple cooks, and we hang out, pray, and discuss world events or Bible chapters that we’ve been studying. Tonight, a couple is bringing Boeuf Bourguignon and haricots verts, and I’m making brown butter and sage mashed potatoes. Yum. We have a great time eating and chatting, but of course I start to crash around 9:30. By the time everyone leaves around 10:30, I barely have the energy to help Neil clean up before I head upstairs to head to bed.
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