Postpartum Survival Tips

The nice thing about a second baby is you have a general idea of what to expect during the postpartum period. Though of course things won’t be exactly the same as before, at least you have an idea of certain things you’ll have to endure. The first time around both Joe and I had no clue and no one really talked to me much about what recovery from a birth looked like. Below are my tips and things I planned in advance to help us prepare for Emilia’s arrival. Hopefully it’ll be beneficial to some new mamas out there. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Meal Prep – I talked about this previously but Joe and I prepped quite a few meals while I was pregnant. I also stocked up on some snacks during my last grocery trip because when breastfeeding initially I was ravenous. Literally I can eat pretty much constantly. I wanted to make sure I had some healthy options so I wasn’t tempted by junk food and didn’t have to make Joe run out to the store frequently.
  2. Instacart or Other Grocery Delivery – Though it is more pricey, grocery delivery can be a life saver during the early weeks/months. The last thing I want to do is go grocery shopping right now and I’d rather have Joe at home helping here as opposed to running lots of errands. If you can, have a friend pick up the groceries for you if delivery isn’t an option. Knowing that we might be spending more money on convenience is helpful so it’s not such a shock.
  3. Postpartum Doula and/or Friends to Help Out – With Enzo we didn’t enlist too many people to help us out during the postpartum period. We did have family visit which was great while it lasted, but we could definitely have used the help of a postpartum doula and/or more friends stepping in. Especially with basic tasks such as dishes, laundry and light cleaning. We’ve hired an overnight doula this time to help periodically and she came for the first time last night. Basically she took baby all night and brought her to me when she needed to be fed. I got some decent chunks of sleep and Joe was able to sleep all night uninterrupted. We will also have one come over during the day time periodically to help with household tasks and run errands when we need it. This can also be pricey but since sleep is so crucial to my mental health, we felt it was an investment worthy of taking. We’ve also been more open/honest with our friends up front and pre-asking for help. It’s hard for me to ask for help and I think society makes me (us) feel that we should be able to do it all on our own. But this is not how it was meant to be. We need to swallow our pride a bit and reach out when we need it.
  4. First Postpartum Poo – So this isn’t the most lovely topic to discuss but it’s something I had no idea about with Enzo. The first postpartum poo can be pretty awful if you’re not prepared for it. I won’t go into details but with Enzo it was not my most pleasant moment. This time around I opted to not take stool softeners (as I don’t think they helped the first time) and instead focused on eating really well the last few weeks of pregnancy (lots of fruits/veggies, avoiding lots of junk and foods that normally can stop you up). And have been continuing to eat this way now that I’m postpartum. I also have been snacking on dried prunes throughout the day and drinking lots of water. This time it was honestly a piece of cake. Here’s a humorous article about this topic that might be useful. Current mamas should be able to relate!
  5. Rest – With Enzo I don’t think I prioritized rest as much as I should have. This time around, Joe and I discussed the need for me to truly rest for at least the first week meaning he will need to take on the majority of the housework and caring for Enzo (once he’s back in our care) and letting me mostly handle Emilia. It is hard for me to constantly ask for help and for Joe to get me this and that, but I know it will be beneficial to my physical and mental health. We’ve been lounging around, watching movies, reading and trying to nap when we can especially with Enzo staying with family. There will be plenty of time to be busy again.
  6. Placenta – I did not do anything with my placenta with Enzo. This time, my midwife (per her usual practice) prepared it and froze it in small pieces to be used in smoothies. The thought of it grosses me out but Joe has graciously been making me smoothies every day. I haven’t done tons of research but from moms I know that have either encapsulated or used their placenta raw, it’s been beneficial for recovery in many ways. Something to consider.
  7. Herbs – I stocked up on some herbs/supplements that I thought might be helpful including Happy Ducts (for lactation support), Sleepy Nights (for restlessness), Natural Calm (also to help with sleep), Stress Relief (for anxiety) and a good probiotic since I just finished antibiotics from my bout with pneumonia.
  8. Nipple Cream and Nursing Pads – I have a natural nipple cream that I really like and some comfy nursing pads to help with the initial breastfeeding sore nipples and leaky boobs. The things we do for our babies! ๐Ÿ™‚
  9. Freezer Pads – This is something I also did with Enzo. I took some overnight pads and sprayed them down with a mixture of witch hazel and lavender oil then stuck them in the freezer. They feel really good during the first days of being sore and help promote healing.
  10. Mom’s Group – With Enzo I really didn’t have any mom friends in Austin that I could reach out to or relate to. When he was around 3 months old I joined a local mom’s group that met once a week for about 5 weeks. It was nice to just be with other women going through the same thing as me and I’m still friends with those ladies which has been amazing. I’m planning on going back to this same group again. I highly recommend new mamas get involved with other mamas somehow. It is extremely beneficial.
  11. Therapist – I’ve mentioned this before as well but I have a therapist lined up to start meeting with in a few weeks. Even if I’m not in the depths of postpartum depression/anxiety, I think it will be a huge help for me to keep everything in check. And if I’m doing well, then I don’t have to see her as frequently. If you are prone to mood disorders, it might be a good idea to at least know who you can reach out to for help.
  12. Prayer – I probably should put this at number one, but prayer is going to be extra important for me during the postpartum period. It can be really easy to get caught up in the busyness of day-to-day and forget to stop and pray, but I know it’s crucial to my mental health as well as my relationship with God. It’s something I want to really focus on and maintain during the early postpartum period and beyond.

Any other mamas have tips for surviving the initial postpartum period?

Spread the Word:

Baby Emilia’s Birth Story

Emilia Kay Pattavina entered this world Sun., March 12 at 1:01 a.m., two days before her due date. We were truly blessed with a smooth (though not easy!) labor and delivery and she was safely born at home as we had been planning. Below is her full birth story. It is long and may be too descriptive for some so a fair warning.

Early Friday morning around 2 a.m. I woke up to go to the bathroom and when I went back to bed I started having mild contractions. They were spaced about 10 minutes apart and were uncomfortable but not too painful. I was so tired I just kept trying to fall back asleep. I got up for a little bit, ate a snack and was able to sleep through some of it but by 6 a.m. they had completely stopped. I went and saw my midwife that morning and she said it was normal to have false labor contractions with a second baby and didn’t necessarily think I’d have the baby that day or even over the weekend. By that night around 5 p.m. I started having the same type of contractions that were uncomfortable but didn’t completely stop me in my tracks. They lasted off and on until about 10 p.m. and some throughout the night.

I woke up again around 2 a.m. Saturday morning with the same thing but I was able to mostly sleep through these ones. I just kept telling baby I was too tired to go into labor right then. I wanted to sleep! Around 7 a.m. that morning I lost my mucous plug but still wasn’t confident that things were for sure happening. Joe and I had planned on going to see a movie Saturday early afternoon and I was really determined to take advantage of our date since we knew it wouldn’t be too much longer before baby arrived. I was still having contractions all morning long but they were so sporadic and still not very intense. We decided to go see the movie (Logan – which was actually really disappointing though it was nice to get out). My contractions pretty much stopped though I had a few during the movie.

We got home that afternoon and they were still happening at the same intensity. It was getting somewhat frustrating because I either wanted it to be the real thing or for the contractions to stop…it was getting exhausting. I was talking with my midwife throughout this time and she had me try walking the neighborhood (Enzo and I got poured on!), take a bath, take a nap and eat to see if they would pick up. They still hadn’t and she said I could either try using the breastpump or wait until the sun went down to see what happened. I opted for waiting.

By 6-7 p.m. my contractions were starting to get more intense and I wasn’t able to really ignore them and felt I had to start focusing/working through them. Enzo was home and I decided it would probably be a good idea for him to go to our neighbors for the night just in case. Good decision on our part! By around 8 p.m. or so the contractions were closer to 5-6 minutes apart and the intensity had increased some. My midwife decided to start heading over though it was still early. From about the time she arrived until around 11 p.m., the intensity of my contractions had increased but they were still not that close together.

The pain (or sensations as my midwife kept calling it) was shooting across my lower abdomen and low back. I was trying lots of different positions (yoga ball, squats, leaning over the bed or on a wall) and Joe was there every time I needed him massaging my back and reminding me to relax as I was having trouble not tensing up during each one. The birth pool was ready around 10 p.m. or so and I hung out in there for a while. Again, intensity still strong but not close together. My midwife had me start tracking them again and at one point they were 8 minutes apart. She decided to check to see how far dilated I was and said the baby was really low which was why my contractions were so intense. She was about to tell me my dilation and I wouldn’t let her. I knew if I found out I was still really far, that it would get in my head. She thought it would be a good idea for me to lay down for a while and try to rest/sleep between contractions to see if that would get things moving. She gave me some herbs to relax and Joe and I laid down for an hour or so. The contractions were getting more frequent and more intense during this time.

She came back to check on me around midnight and tried to remind me to relax and surrender during the contractions and imagine things moving down and opening up. I’m pretty confident the reason I was “stuck” and not progressing as quickly earlier was because I was scared to let go. With Enzo, I had an epidural around 4 cm dilated and I never experienced what full labor felt like. I was scared, and though I wanted to be done, I didn’t want to go through it.

My midwife then suggested trying to sit in the shower on a birthing chair with the water hitting my back. I think that position, being alone and focusing on relaxing through contractions (so counter-intuitive!) truly helped move things along very quickly. The contractions were getting much closer together, lasting longer and were the most intense they’d been. After I got out of the shower (not sure how long I was in there) I was alternating between sitting on the yoga ball and kneeling on the floor over the side of the bed. At this point, my midwife and midwife’s assistant were in the room with Joe and I (previously they had really been leaving us alone except for a few checks here and there). I was really out of it at this point but I knew if they were all in the room, I had to be getting closer.

For the last few contractions I was still kneeling on the floor leaning over the bed and I honestly think it was the worst pain I’ve ever felt. They were so intense and just kept going and I couldn’t catch a break. The last full one before I was ready to push caused my lower back to spasm and that was almost worse than the contractions themselves. My back just wouldn’t release and my midwife had Joe squeeze my hips together from behind which was really helpful. All of a sudden I knew I needed to push and I wanted the baby out right then.

I told them it was happening and they quickly covered the floor and got ready to catch baby. I started pushing as hard as I could but my midwife kept telling me to slow down and wait for the contractions. I did not want to listen and just wanted it out. Very quickly I felt what people have described as the “ring of fire” when the baby’s head passes through and that’s basically what it felt like.ย  My water never broke during labor and my midwife broke it while I was pushing. Within 5-6 minutes Emilia was out and laying on a pillow in front of me (I’m still on my knees on the floor at this point). It is crazy to me that you can go from screaming in terrible pain to feeling a complete release and satisfaction when it’s finally over. As soon as she was out the pain was gone. They were going to try and get me up onto the bed with her still attached but the cord was pretty short. As we were moving, the placenta just came out on it’s own and I didn’t have to deliver it separately.

I managed to get up on the bed with Emilia on my chest but I ended up having more cramping/pain that I couldn’t relax through. Joe took her for a bit so I could sit in the bath to try and calm everything down. I was really sore and felt a lot of throbbing/cramps that took a while to fully subside. I also ended up needing about 7 stitches from tearing which was my least favorite part. Once the stitches were done I could finally rest with Emilia and try to latch her on for the first time. They did her newborn exam and cleaned her up all at the foot of the bed. The midwife and assistant cleaned up everything, prepared my placenta and went over postpartum instructions for me and baby. They were gone around 4 a.m. and it was just us. I was still on an adrenaline high and in shock and I didn’t fall asleep until 6:30 a.m. or so.

I’m so incredibly happy with how everything went. I’ve been praying about the birth for a long time and God fully came through for us. Early on in my labor I went to the Bible app on my phone for some verse or inspiration that might help me and the verse of the day was Psalm 16:8 – “I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” I kept picturing Jesus literally at my right hand and supporting me. With that verse, Joe’s support and prayers, prayers from family and friends and my midwife, I felt lifted up and supported throughout. Joe also paused to pray with me periodically throughout which was amazing. Though it took me a little while to get over my mental block of letting labor fully happen, I feel that everything went so smoothly.

I think I’m still on a high and emotionally am feeling really good though I know with sleep deprivation and changing hormones, that can change very soon. Enzo is also with Joe’s sister for the week so we’re able to take this time to really get to know our little one and relax. I feel pretty confident that if I had given birth in the hospital I would have gotten an epidural. I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with it. I had one with Enzo and it helped me relax and get my labor to progress. But I was hoping for a different experience this time. In the hospital, knowing I had an option of taking the pain away, I probably would have done it. But being at home gave me no option in that moment and I was able to work through it.

I’m so thankful to everyone who has prayed and lifted us up during this pregnancy and specifically for labor and delivery. Also, very thankful for those who I know will continue to support us during the postpartum period as we adjust to being a family of four. Welcome to the world our little rainbow! ๐Ÿ™‚

Spread the Word:

Biweekly Update: 38 Weeks

My official due date is only 12 days away! I’ve been pretty sick the past week and a half so I really haven’t been able to focus much on baby, solely on resting and trying to get better. It started like a normal cold (thanks Enzo or Joe!) and seemed to get better but then got extremely worse about a week into it. I had chills, body aches, high fever and lots of congestion/coughing. I went to the doctor and they tested me for the flu which was negative and just said I needed to treat the symptoms.

Two days later, I was coughing so much in the middles of the night that I really didn’t sleep and ended up straining my shoulder. I honestly thought I dislocated it because it hurt so bad and I had Joe take me to the ER to get it checked out. My shoulder ended up just being strained and thankfully feels much better now. But through a chest x-ray they found pneumonia in my left lung. I’m on antibiotics and everything with baby and my blood work all checked out fine. I’m feeling a little better but still having some intense coughing fits and lots of congestion. Praying these antibiotics work to get me over this. I’m not thrilled about taking antibiotics right before giving birth but I think it’s the best option to help me get over this infection. My body just couldn’t fight it on it’s own.

How far along: 38 weeks

Size of baby: Pineapple

Gender: Still holding out for a girl.

Movement: Those big full body movements are super uncomfortable. I can’t believe there’s a 7 lb living being in there!

Sleep: Depends on the night but pretty well despite being sick and up coughing. Been extra tired the last week or so.

Workouts: Non-existent for the past two weeks besides one yoga class. My pelvic pain and cramping have finally subsided but this virus I have has knocked me down completely.

Symptoms: Pregnancy-wise I actually feel fine besides just being tired. Hoping baby decides to wait to make his/her debut until I’m healed!

Cravings/aversions: Being sick my appetite has not been great but I’ve been trying to force myself to eat as much as I can handle because I know baby needs it. I just haven’t wanted to cook at all and am tired of meal-planning. I’ve been tempted to start eating our freezer meals but holding out because I know how badly we’ll need them once baby arrives!

Missing anything: being active. I’m not good at just sitting/relaxing for long periods of time and I’ve been doing a lot of that these last two weeks.

Best part of the week: In preparation for the possibilities of dealing with postpartum depression again, I have a therapist lined up to have on hand if/when I need her. We had an initial meeting to just go over things and I thought I really wouldn’t have anything to talk about. Boy was I wrong! It was great to get some tools that will help when things start getting hard, regardless if I actually get PPD or not. Not sure if it’s strange for a therapy appointment to be the best part of the week but it was just so helpful. Otherwise just trying to enjoy our time as a family now despite being so sick.

Canโ€™t wait for: finding out if we’re having a boy or girl and officially deciding on a name once we see that sweet baby! Getting to finally see him/her and start that next chapter of our lives.

Spread the Word:

Biweekly Update: 36 Weeks

Holy moly…four weeks until due date! I’ve been trying to finalize all last minute prep items as much as possible (getting remaining baby items, freezer meals, postpartum prep) and trying not to freak out too much about how soon baby will be here. I think we are just about done prepping freezer meals which hopefully will be a huge lifesaver once baby is here and we aren’t getting meals delivered from friends anymore. Below is a list I’ve been working from. I haven’t made all this but we’ve got a big chunk done. Thankfully we have a large deep freezer to store all this stuff! Baby updates below.

Meal Recipe
Quinoa fried rice
Crock-pot pork stuffed peppers
Crockpot fajita chicken
Sloppy joes
Paleo egg cups (use ham)
Sausage and veggie skillet
Raspberry Muffins
Taco Pasta
Feta spinach egg bake
Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake
Almond joy bars
Beef stew
Baked mustard lime chicken
Sweet potato soup
Lactation energy bites
Cooked rice/quinoa
Cooked black beans
Sausage apple egg cups
Blueberry baked oatmeal
Broccoli rice cups
Cooked lentils
Crockpot breakfast casserole
Chicken noodle soup

How far along: 36 weeks

Size of baby: Head of romaine lettuce

Gender: Everyone thinks it’s a girl…only time will tell!

Movement: Some days baby is super quiet, other days crazy active. Still getting hiccups periodically too. Those rib kicks are killer!

Sleep: Man how I’m going to miss my sleep once baby comes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Workouts: I was having quite a bit of pelvic ligament pain and laid off a lot on working out including walks and yoga. I just started walking a bit more and am planning on going back to yoga this weekend. I don’t want to lose all my strength/endurance before labor but I’m also trying to be aware of my body and rest as much as needed.

Symptoms: Just normal tiredness/fatigue as I reach the end. It’s been really difficult to lift/carry Enzo and I’ve been trying not to as much as I can. I was also having some cramping this week. The midwife gave me some herbs to help and so far things have been better. I’m not quite ready for baby yet!

Cravings/aversions: For the most part food has been sounding really good though I still have queasy moments periodically. I’m really excited to make these molten lava cakes this weekend! Also making a huge batch of black beans and rice loaded w/guacamole which sounds super comforting right now too.

Missing anything: It will be nice to get back to my non-pregnant self though I know I’ll have mixed feelings and miss being pregnant once baby is here.

Best part of the week: Had an amazing baby shower with friends in Austin which was a huge blessing. Also got to see Dashboard Confessional in concert with Joe and had another night out at a fancy hotel downtown for Joe’s work party. Squeezing in those last date nights while we have the chance.

Canโ€™t wait for: Some more relaxing evenings. My days are pretty busy the next couple of weeks but our nights are going to be really chill which I’m looking forward to.



Spread the Word:

Biweekly Update: 34 Weeks

I’m going to be saying this from here on out, but I can’t believe how close baby’s due date is! I can now say that my baby is due next month (March) which is insane. The biggest thing I’ve been thinking about/planning for over the past couple of weeks is my postpartum plan. With Enzo I had no idea what postpartum life would look like for me, for my body, for my relationship with Joe, etc. And now that I have an idea of how difficult it can be, I’ve been thinking through how I want this postpartum experience to look. Of course, there are going to be things that I can’t plan on and will be out of my control, but it’s nice to have somewhat of a plan in place for how we are going to take care of our family.

My midwife provided a postpartum planning notebook that has been really beneficial. It talks about my expectations for how long I want to rest, how my marriage will be affected, how to nourish myself while breastfeeding and taking care of another child, how to set up boundaries with visitors and how to really ask for help when we need it (food, cleaning, laundry, babysitting, etc.). I feel that we have a good support system in Austin, along with some family who will be able to visit, which will be a huge help. I don’t think we started asking for help with Enzo until later on and we probably could have used it much sooner. We also have a postpartum doula lined up to help overnight and will probably use one during the day at times too.

The biggest part of my postpartum experience that I want to be prepared for is the recurrence of postpartum depression and/or anxiety. Since I have a history of it, I have a higher chance of getting it again. Though I am more prepared and both Joe and I know what to look for, it doesn’t mean it can’t happen again. I do have a therapist already lined up to use if I need and my midwife is fully aware and ready to help me as well. And this time I have people in my life that I know I can reach out to and not be ashamed to talk with if I am experiencing any of those negative thoughts/feelings again. Though I’m prepared and know it’s possible, it still makes me nervous as it was such a dark time for all of us. I hated not feeling like myself and all the negative emotions that I had. It’s been a huge prayer of mine for God to protect me during that time and also to protect our marriage as it definitely put a strain. I know no matter what that God will pull us through whatever lays ahead. I will need to constantly remind myself of that and stay in prayer. On to baby updates.

How far along: 34 weeks

Size of baby: Cantaloupe

Gender: Can’t wait to find out!

Movement: The other day I was saying to a friend that I haven’t felt any baby hiccups like I did with Enzo. And of course that night as I’m sitting down to read, the hiccups started! Enzo’s hiccups continued after he was born and it was always right when you were trying to put him to sleep. Hiccups would start and all efforts to get some sleep were gone…

Sleep: Pretty good though the early morning hours I feel that I wake up a lot with weird dreams and I always get congested at night so it’s harder to breath. But probably still better than I will be sleeping once baby is here. ๐Ÿ™‚

Workouts: I got to go to another prenatal yoga class while I was in Omaha which was awesome. If I have even a little bit of energy when Enzo is napping I try to get in at least a 20 minutes prenatal workout from YouTube. They are getting a lot harder to do but I think it’s important to maintain my strength and endurance as much as I can if I want to have a positive labor experience.

Maternity clothes: I can probably remove this from future posts as I can’t really fit into regular clothes at this point.

Symptoms: Last week I was feeling really awful with nausea and tiredness and just feeling down. I went to see my midwife on probably the worst day I was having and told her about what was going on. I was having a hard time eating well and would get super hungry but nothing sounded good, then I would eat and feel worse. She recommended going back to the basics of the first trimester and trying to eat small amounts, especially protein, every couple hours, including once before bed and the middle of the night. And also recommended a liquid iron supplement to help with the tiredness. Forcing myself to eat when I didn’t want to was really hard but it did help. A few days later I started feeling so much better and had more energy again. There are still moments when I feel queasy and smells are bugging me, but overall I feel semi-normal now. Also been experiencing more pelvic pain which is making longer walks pretty difficult.

Cravings/aversions: Pears have been sounding really good to me and I’ve been snacking on a lot of salted cashews and almonds. I’m still addicted to chocolate and am hoping for some chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day (hint Joe!!). I also had Culver’s Frozen Custard the other night topped with raspberries and cashews…it was delicious!

Missing anything: Nothing really at this point, especially being so close to the end. Things I “can’t do” anymore seem pretty normal now.

Best part of the week: Had one last visit to Omaha to see my family/friends before baby comes. It was nice though I am ready to be done traveling as we have done so much this last year. I’m glad we were able to come and let Enzo have a lot of good quality time with the fam. Also had a fun night out with some mom friends I haven’t seen in a while and an awesome date night to celebrate Joe’s birthday.

Canโ€™t wait for: Fun weekends coming up. Celebrating Joe’s birthday, having a game night, birthing class, getting to see Dashboard Confessional in concert and having my baby shower in Austin. Lots of good stuff to look forward to.

Spread the Word:

Biweekly Update: 32 Weeks

It’s getting real folks…baby will be here before we know it! I’ve started gathering all the supplies I need for my home birth (per my midwife’s instructions) and have a refresher birthing class coming up in a few weeks. Yikes!

How far along: 32 weeks

Size of baby: Honeydew melon

Gender: Still leaning girl.

Movement: Pretty uncomfortable at this point especially when I’m trying to go to sleep as that’s baby’s most active time.

Sleep: Sleeping pretty well (I even slept in until 8 a.m. two nights in one week!). Though my intense dreams are bothering me some nights.

Workouts: I’ve started doing these Mommy Fit Challenge workouts again. I’ve gone through the videos maybe 2-3 times now and just do them when I can without sticking to some strict schedule. When I first started doing them, I could make it through fairly well but now it’s getting rough and I’m wiped out afterwards! I couldn’t even finish the 25 minutes workout today…

Maternity clothes: Pretty much.

Symptoms: Tiredness and some queasiness reminiscent of the first trimester which isn’t fun. I know for some women it can come back in the third trimester so it’s normal, but making eating a little more difficult as it’s hard to find something to eat that sounds good most days. Also, I’m not sure if it’s the weather or if I’ve been getting allergies again, but with all the rain and clouds we’ve been having I’ve just been feeling bleh. No motivation, no energy. I need some sunshine in my life!

Cravings/aversions: Man did I have some amazing food in Washington D.C. The fact that my work was paying for it all probably helped. ๐Ÿ™‚ My favorite was a restaurant called Zaytinya. It was Mediterranean and we got the chef’s choice which was an insane amount of small plates that they kept bringing. The hummus, yogurt dip and fried Brussels sprouts were amazing. I think I ate hummus everyday I was there, it sounded so good! I had a delicious dark chocolate mousse at a steakhouse one night too that was to die for. I’m also still addicted to quinoa, which seems weird, but it’s super satisfying to me right now.

Missing anything: Nothing’s sticking out to me.

Best part of the week: My trip to D.C. did turn out better than expected. Everything went well at the conference and I got to enjoy some downtime and visit the Natural History Museum and Air & Space Museum which was cool (they’re free!). And having no kiddo responsibilities was pretty nice. ๐Ÿ™‚

Canโ€™t wait for: One final trip to Omaha this week. This will be our last trip for a while since we’ll be done traveling once baby is here, at least during the first months. I am ready though to just be in Austin and start finalizing preparations for baby’s arrival.

Spread the Word:

Pesto Beef & Veggie Noddles

It’s been a really long time since I posted a recipe on here! I’ve been addicted to these Austin-based veggie noodles and couldn’t help but try and make a recipe for the blog. They are super easy to use and fairly inexpensive. I haven’t bought my own spiralizer yet and so these noodles are my go-to when I want something pasta-like and want to avoid grains. You could mix this up by using chicken instead of ground beef and add in your other favorite veggies. Use your favorite store-bought pesto or make your own fairly easily. I’m already craving this meal again! Leftovers didn’t last long in our house…


Pesto Beef & Veggie Noddles

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly


  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 bell pepper (chopped)
  • 2 10.7 oz packages veggie noodles (e.g. spiralized zucchini, sweet potato or butternut squash)
  • Pesto, storebought or homemade (to taste)
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt/pepper


Step 1
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is cooked through. Add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.
Step 2
Add in the chopped bell pepper and more salt/pepper if needed and cook until bell pepper is tender.
Step 3
Add packages of spiralized noodles and lower heat to medium. Cook, stirring as needed, until noodles have softened.
Step 4
Toss with as much pesto as you'd like and serve.
Spread the Word:

Biweekly Update: 30 Weeks

How far along: 30 weeks

Size of baby: Large cabbage

Gender: So hard not knowing still!

Movement: Movements are getting a little more uncomfortable now especially when baby is turning around in there. He/she likes to jab me in the right hip bone and towards my right ribs.

Sleep: Still sleeping pretty well though my snoring has been keeping Joe up. Pretty sure the snoring won’t stop until a few months postpartum if it’s anything like last time.

Workouts: Continuing to do strength and yoga workouts at home when I can squeeze them in.

Maternity clothes: For sure!

Symptoms: Getting tired more easily has been hitting me a bit this week. It’s so weird to huff and puff when I feel like I’m hardly doing anything at all. Also, having to say lots of prayers for patience with Enzo as I seem to get frustrated a lot more easily.

Cravings/aversions: No crazy cravings right now but trying to get back on the healthy bandwagon after a lot of splurges last month. This week we had chicken stuffed with sundried tomatoes and tahini then wrapped in bacon, roasted green beans and sweet potatoes. Completely addicted to salted cashews & almonds right now too! Also obsessed with these spiralized noodles made from a company based in Austin. They make four kinds (sweet potato, butternut squash, zucchini and beets). Have a recipe post coming soon featuring them.

Missing anything: I did miss having a mimosa New Year’s Day but had some yummy French toast so that made up for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Best part of the week: Family visiting…sad they had to leave.

Canโ€™t wait for: Mixed emotions but I’m going on a work trip to Washington D.C. for four nights, leaving Joe alone with Enzo. I’m glad they get to have some bonding time together but I know I’ll still miss being here. Though this is the first solo trip I’ve taken in a really long time. I’m going to try and enjoy it since I have a feeling it will be a while before I get another one.

Spread the Word:

Biweekly Update: 28 Weeks

I’m so glad to be in Austin and settled for at least a little bit. This past weekend was the first time our little family was here all together in over a month. It was so nice! I’m also looking forward to celebrating Christmas here and having family visit instead of having to travel again.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned our birth plans here or not. We are planning on having a home birth with a wonderful, experienced midwife and her assistant. This was our plan with my previous pregnancy that we lost and I still felt strongly that this is what I wanted this time around as well. Our experience in the hospital with Enzo wasn’t really great. You can read about it here. It didn’t turn out how I wanted and I ended up with a lot more interventions than I would have liked though I didn’t have a C-section. Home births are definitely not for everyone and I completely understand why moms want to give birth at the hospital whether it’s a medical necessity or not, but it’s just not for us this time. And luckily Joe is completely on board.

We did look into birth centers as an option but with my past history of having a MRSA staph infection, it was going to be more stressful. They would’ve had to continually test my skin for MRSA throughout my pregnancy and if it came back positive (it can be negative sometimes and positive others), they wouldn’t let me give birth there. I didn’t want to risk that and have to worry about it. I’m thankful to know a handful of women in Austin who have had home births and can share their stories with me. I am nervous about no pain medications since I ended up with an epidural with Enzo, but I know many women have done it before me and many will after me!

Onto this week’s updates.

img_20161217_202918How far along: 28 weeks

Size of baby: Eggplant

Gender: we’ll know so soon!

Movement: I cannot figure out what position this little booger is in. I feel movements in all parts of my belly, though he/she prefers the right side. Hoping baby will be head down soon!

Sleep: I’m sleeping like a rock. We decided to turn off Enzo’s baby monitor overnight (I like using it to know when he’s up in the morning and for naps). With our doors open, if he’s up screaming we’ll definitely hear him. I didn’t realize how much that monitor was affecting my sleep because I’ve been sleeping much longer stretches without waking up now. I’m also managing to go some nights without any bathroom trips! Not sure how much longer that will last.

Workouts: I finally got to go to an in-person prenatal yoga class this weekend after over a month. I’m hoping to go once a week as many times as I can before baby comes. I haven’t gotten to go nearly as much as I did with Enzo and I’m missing it!

Maternity clothes: No doubt about that.

Symptoms: Over my stomach bug which is awesome. Otherwise feeling pretty good. Getting winded much more easily which I expected. Lifting Enzo, especially into the crib, is getting much harder too. Also, my belly button finally decided to become an outie. It’s been on the fence for a while. ๐Ÿ™‚

img_20161223_113405Cravings/aversions: Being pregnant during Christmas is just unfair. I like to think my willpower is pretty good, but while pregnant it’s so hard for me to turn down foods I might not normally eat. I did really want s’mores this week so I went to Whole Foods to try and get the “healthiest” ingredients I could find to make them. I also just made some grain-free salmon cakes that were super yummy with pesto on the side. I cannot wait to make these peppermint chocolate cookies this week! Also really craving a huge pile of spaghetti and meatballs. I really need to get food off my brain…

Missing anything: I am going to miss Joe and my annual Christmas Eve tradition of drinking buttery nipples (Baileys and Butterscotch Schnapps). I tried finding a non-alcoholic version but I don’t think it exists. Don’t ask me why we started that tradition because I honestly don’t know. I did end up making a non-alcoholic Baileys and some butterscotch syrup so I can pretend it’s the real deal.

Best part of the week: Being in Austin together!

Canโ€™t wait for: Christmas of course and my family visits.

Spread the Word:

Biweekly Update: 26 Weeks

img_20161203_082916This week has been just about as crazy as the last few. Joe’s grandpa unfortunately passed away and he went to Omaha for the funeral this weekend. I wish I could be there with him but it’s just wasn’t feasible for us right now with all the traveling we’ve been doing. Enzo also caught a nasty stomach bug that he decided to share with me over the weekend. He also now has a cold. Good times. ๐Ÿ™‚

The third trimester is here! The first went super slow and the second just flew by. I’m sure the third is going to go just as fast. I was chatting with some friends who are due around the same time as me and also have toddlers the same age. We all really feel that these pregnancies are so much different than the first ones. I think we all could agree that trying to connect with this new baby is much more difficult this time around and sometimes I honestly forget I’m pregnant because my mind is focused on so many other things, including taking care of Enzo. Also, knowing what to expect during the newborn phase (ie. no sleep…) is a little more stressful because we know it’s coming. Unlike with Enzo I didn’t really have a clue how hard that part would be until it hit me in the face. One positive thing about doing this before is that we do know there will be a light at the end of the tunnel and that we will be sleeping at some point again. Maybe I’ll get lucky and this baby will sleep well much sooner. I can dream right?

See below for updates this week.

How far along: 26 weeks

Size of baby: as long as a celery stalk.

Gender: Enzo still thinks it’s a girl.

Movement: All over the place! Especially at night and early morning.

Sleep: Still sleeping pretty well which is a true blessing. Crazy dreams are waking me up especially in the early morning but overall feeling rested throughout the day.

Workouts: Trying to get some yoga and strength training in throughout the week though it’s not always easy to do.

Maternity clothes: For sure! Thankful for maternity leggings and long sweaters now that the weather is cooling down.

img_20161211_201400Symptoms: Feeling good. Still get the occasional bout of heartburn or digestive upset but if I watch what I eat it’s not as bad. I tried so hard to avoid Enzo’s stomach bug but it hit me hard over the weekend. I’m still not 100% and feel queasy like I did in the first trimester. Hoping it passes soon and isn’t a new symptom that’s going to stick around for a while.

Cravings/aversions: I need to eat something chocolate everyday (but I think I might have been that way before pregnancy…). I haven’t been in the mood to cook much this week and have been using stuff from our freezer a lot to make easier meals. We’re also trying HomeChef this week (meal delivery where they give you ingredients and you cook it). Might try to do that after baby comes so giving it a trial run.

Missing anything: Nothing is sticking out to me right now. Though Joe did ask me what the first thing I want to do is that I can’t do now. I said after the baby comes, I want a big glass of red wine and a runny egg on top of a burger with some pink in the middle. ๐Ÿ™‚

Best part of the week: Getting home safely from Kansas City and a weekend getaway in Wimberley with Joe. Thankful for family who watched Enzo so we could get a break!

Canโ€™t wait for: Taking in all the Christmas activities and enjoying the rest of the year. Also baking some delicious looking gingerbread cupcakes this weekend.

Spread the Word: