Baby Bump

I actually started blogging in 2008, when I had an infant, was working full-time, and being a single mom. Blogging was great, I even felt like a mini-celebrity for a while.

That’s how I transitioned to writing product reviews on Amazon; it started with getting all these coupons from the American Baby magazine publication — and because I lived in NYC, I got to enjoy all their trade shows and other big events from baby companies.

I figured since I still have a few (long) months to go, and being a housewife is so tedious, I’d write more in-depth about my pregnancy. Even though I’m a housewife now, I did work while I was pregnant, and under very stressful circumstances.

Now, you might hear of some women who love being pregnant. They have that pregnancy “glow”, great skin and hair, and never get sick — that’s not me. Although, with my daughter, it wasn’t nearly as bad (that was actually how I knew this baby would be a boy). I got very sick with my first baby, a boy. My hair also looked like a dried up mess… actually, I kind of looked like I fell out of a tree for 9 months. (I did have very nice hair and skin while I was pregnant with Ava though.)

I will say this, even though my pregnancy was miserable, I had some awesome post-partum changes, which I felt made up for the 9 months of misery — especially since, unlike the pregnancy changes, these were permanent.

Now, you might hear that some women get bigger feet, varicose veins, moles, stretch marks, etc. — I was very proud of the fact that I left the hospital in my size 3 jeans… both times.

But, that’s not to say I didn’t have unhappy body changes too! And to make you feel better, a break down of all the good (and bad) changes that happened — but remember, every woman is different, so don’t compare.

After Ollie was born, I noticed I had stretch marks on my butt and hips — although they weren’t very noticeable. (I was fortunate that they weren’t the purple-ish or blue-ish marks that some women get.) Really, I still wore a bikini even after my second was born, in fact:

Two fat babies later…

I would say that my C-section scar from Ava is way worse than any stretch marks, and you’d have to have your face right up to my ass to see the stretch marks (and the only person who has his face in my ass is my hubby, ha!).

I was petite before pregnancy, and didn’t gain much during pregnancy either; so although the skin did stretch, it isn’t very noticeable. (We are always our own worse critic though.) To help if you’re worried about getting the deep purple stretch marks because you’ve gained more weight than you wanted or expected, I hear lotion works wonder for helping to loosen up the skin. I personally never used it because during pregnancy my skin is very prone to acne, but if you don’t have pregnancy acne, then Palmer’s Cocoa Butter oil really makes your skin very soft.

I don’t really care about bikinis anymore now though, since I’m at that age where I just don’t feel I should — I mean, I’ve also stopped wearing crop-tops at 18, mini-skirts at 25, and anything leather at 21 too… but, I did still cared about wearing a bikini all the way until I was 31; at 34 I started wearing a one-piece:

I actually bought this bathing suit to wear for my honeymoon; at 34, I felt my bikini days belonged with my crop-tops and mini-skirts.

So don’t believe for definite that having a baby means not being able to wear a bikini again, or that you’ll lose your beach body — just look to the above photos as proof that every woman is different. Like I said, those pictures were  after TWO babies (oh, and just in case you’re wondering: one was 8 pounds, and the other was 7.5 pounds; so they weren’t small babies either!).

Now, my feet didn’t get bigger with either pregnancy, and I didn’t get any spider veins or varicose veins, but my nose did get wider when I was pregnant with Ava. People think I’m crazy, but these are subtle changes that only you would realize — because let’s be real, no one else is going to realize that you’re wearing size 6.5 shoes instead of a 6, right? As stated, these are subtle changes, I’m not talking Michael Jackson nose change… but unfortunately, it was a permanent change (I’d rather have bigger feet if given a choice!).

After my daughter was born, my hair was also falling out in clumps. Seriously, I felt I was going bald! The opposite with my boy; I had stringy hair during pregnancy, and nice hair afterwards. Both conditions were temporary for me; but many women do experience significant hair loss postpartum though, and a lot of it is hormones and hereditary causes.

This is going to sound super bizarre… but I had very nice teeth during my girl pregnancy.

The boobs… I never had big boobs to begin with, and even after both pregnancy, they stayed perky! Evidence (excuse my lobster tan):

Sagging may be a concern for women with big breasts though, as the skin on the breasts stretch A LOT during pregnancy, and even afterwards, as milk fills up the breasts.

Big breasted women will probably see some degree of sagging, but that’s to be expected — I mean, it’s the law of gravity; which is why I kind of like having small boobs, they stay perky! (If you’re a big breasted woman, there’s nothing a good bra can’t hold up!)

I had a vaginal birth with my son, and it actually helped a lot with menstrual cramps. My periods used to last for like 8 days; even on the 10th day my underwear would be stained with dried up blood that was still making its way out of the cervix. After my son, I only had cramps for the first two days, and my period was over by the 7th day; and the bleeding was only heavy the first two days — before, I used to get terrible blot clots with extremely heavy bleeding for like 5 days before the bleeding got lighter by the 6th or 7th day!

I had terrible acne with my boy pregnancy, I had very nice skin with my girl. I’d get these pimples on my chin, jawline, or my cheeks — like I was a teenager all over again! My skin is also super dry during my boy pregnancy; but I think it’s because I get so dehydrated from throwing up all the time.

With my first two pregnancies, I actually realized I was pregnant because I had a yeast infection both times. Ewww, I know — but pregnancy is kind of disgusting, if women are actually being honest about it.

I really want to be blunt about it, because I was 24 when I got pregnant the first time, and the smartphone hadn’t made its way into the US market yet; and because I think that so many women are just embarrassed by so many things during pregnancy that they don’t know what’s normal or not, or are afraid to bring it up to their doctor… and because I don’t want you to use Wikipedia as a diagnosis.

But the yeast infection wasn’t even the worse; I had these heavy vaginal discharges with my boy pregnancy, that I seriously wondered if something was wrong. It’s called leukorrhea, and it’s similar to the regular vaginal secretion that every woman gets, even non-pregnant women (ALL you women know exactly what I’m talking about too, so don’t pretend or deny!) — during ovulation, you produce more of it than at other times of your cycle; but during pregnancy, there’s an abundance of it! When you’re not pregnant, you might notice it while wiping, or during ovulation when you can actually feel that mucus-like glob ruining your underwear… but during pregnancy, it’s always there, and so much of it too!

But even that’s not as bad as when the baby gets bigger and presses up against your diaphragm making it hard to breathe easily, or when he pushes down on your bladder — which can cause you to leak urine when you sneeze or cough; this is especially problematic with petite women carrying big babies!

So these are MY good and bad pregnancy related body changes; so if you’re going through some of it yourself, don’t despair; or if you’re having completely different changes, know that many woman out there will share a similar (if not exact) change as you too. A lot of these changes are subtle and only noticeable to ourselves; and sure some of these changes are very noticeable too… I had a girlfriend whose body got completely “ruined” (yes, big purple stretch marks all over the place, and worse); but honestly, most women don’t care once their baby is born… and need I remind you, everyone gets old and wrinkles, less hair, less attractive each year; I mean, even Cher would feel silly at her age wearing a thong! But, at least you’ll have children who hopefully loves you and won’t stick you in a nursing home when you’re senile (hey, I’m just being realistic, have you watched the news!?).

The most exciting part is the last trimester, when you can physically see the baby moving just by looking at your belly — for you first time moms, you’ll know what I’m talking about when you get to those last months! Hang in there. ♡

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Second Trimester

I’m 22 weeks, and am halfway there!

I had a very nice Christmas week home in NYC with my mom and family. It snowed, and I had really missed the crisp winter air in the city. I didn’t go anywhere… but a few times I had opened the back door to the yard, or stood looking out the back window, and felt the sharp cold wind on my face… and it felt wonderful. My mom cooked and spoiled me. She made all my favorite Chinese foods, and I had the best Chinese vegetable soup to help with dehydration.

I did pass out at the Atlanta Airport from dehydration; that was scary (and very embarrassing). That happened one other time while I was home, but thankfully my hubby and Ava were home too. Both times I was able to lower myself down before blacking out, thus preventing myself from falling.

I treated myself to a new pair of Blowfish knee-high boots, since I feel very blah lately. They are just as cute as my Steve Madden boots, but way more comfortable. It’s low heels, so still very stylish and sexy without being too high to walk in (since I now waddle).

My morning sickness has gotten better, I’m not nearly as sick as I was before; but now I can’t sleep for more than like 3 hours before waking up. I’m very uncomfortable and the baby is giving me all sorts of aches and pains. I am still very congested and usually constipated — not fun!

I wish I was home for my mom to take care of me, but I had missed my hubby greatly while I was home. (My mom had said my baby son loves Chinese food, and I agree.)

If Georgia didn’t suck so much and I didn’t think the state was such a disaster, I would change to Tricare Standard like I used to have when I was pregnant with Ava, and use civilian doctors instead; but I’m hoping we’ll be in NC before the baby is born, and I’m just too lazy to go seeking any doctors at the moment.

I can feel the baby moving. I’m still craving fruit salads and hot lime water with honey (that’s what my mom makes for me all the time — and besides, I just think the NYC water taste a whole lot better than the water in Georgia, even though I boil water no matter where I am).

The baby is putting pressure on other organs in my body. I am very out of breath a lot of times, I get full very easily and then throw everything up; I’m also very gassy too. My acne has cleared up a lot (thank God), but my hair still looks somewhat flat and stringy. My skin is also super dry, but I don’t know if it’s from me being dehydrated, the terrible water in GA, or the humid weather in Georgia… my nails look great though, very long and hard.

I no longer have that weird white gunk on my tongue, but my teeth feels very yucky from always throwing up; I should brush more since I’m always puking, but I’m too lazy to. Thank God my cleaning is next month, because I feel my teeth aren’t as white as they should be — all that acid content can’t be good for my teeth enamel.

I am super congested with snots in my nose, and mucus in my throat. I’ve also been getting headaches. My ears feel very waxy. My nipples are humongous… and also since the baby is bigger, he’s pressing on my bladder — a few times when I had a very strenuous coughing fit, I actually peed on myself. It isn’t so bad when it happens at home and I can clean myself and change, but it’s awful when you’re outside. I remember with Ollie, that it didn’t happen until like the last two months, and it got so bad I had to wear panty-liners; I didn’t have that problem with Ava though.

I am waiting for my third trimester impatiently. I want to evict this baby already!

Grandpa ♡

Grandpa was one of the last few WWII veterans left. He was drafted at 18 years old towards the end of the war into the Army; he had wanted to enlist at 16 because his two older brothers were already drafted into the war and were MIA (thank God they were found after the war; one was with the Marines in the Pacific and injured during the Battle for Okinawa, but both were eventually accounted for). His oldest and youngest sons, Uncle Ed and Uncle Tom were both in the Airforce; with Uncle Ed being a pilot during Desert Storm.

He was very proud of his service. (Dan got to carry Grandpa’s flag from the Color Guard after the ceremony.) ♡

New Year

Welcome to 2018.

My hubby got leave to attend Grandpa’s funeral.

Yesterday I had order flowers to be delivered to Grandma in Cincinnati and Aunt Diane’s family in California. The California one was a headache because the flowers were expensive, and there’s a 3 hour time difference, and for some weird reason Diane’s youngest daughter re-routed the flowers to the funeral home instead. (I had ordered them as a personal bouquet for the family, not as a floral arrangement for the funeral.)

Grandpa was one of the few surviving veterans of WWII, and will have a military burial with a Catholic mass service.

Him and Grandma were married for 62 happy years. He retired from the United States Postal Service; and has three successful sons: Uncle Ed, who’s a Delta airline pilot; the Dr. (my father-in-law, who is a pediatrician); and Uncle Tom, who followed in Grandpa’s footsteps and works at the USPS.

We were so disappointed that we couldn’t spend Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa… (And Jimmy Carter still hasn’t died yet! — My hubby had to spend Christmas by his lonesome self just in case Carter died — I’m not even joking!)

We all love Grandpa and Grandma so much. ♡

It’s been a very long new year already.

Shutterfly Review

My photographer, Ed, is amazing. He took our engagement pictures at the NYC Botanical Garden in the freezing early March weather, and then he travelled to Cincinnati for our wedding pictures. I appreciate him a lot.

We used Shutterfly for our printing service. I was a bit worried because the bigger prints are expensive, and depending on what kind of printing is being done, might not look good… but if the camera is high-end lenses, the resolution is high enough, and you didn’t do all sorts of weird photo-editing like soften the image to hide the wrinkles and blemishes, then that shouldn’t be a problem. So I decided to purchase a gallery wrapped canvas art printing from Shutterfly.

It was a 16×16 size, with no framing. It cost about $100, and even with a discount it still came out to $65 — the larger sized ones are about $200 without framing. So you’re really taking a gamble with your money if it doesn’t come out good. (It’s not like you’re getting them at the print department at Wal-Mart for $5 or something!)

I was very happy with the print. It looks good. With canvas prints, it won’t be as sharp as photo printing; but I do like how it turned out. It looks very nice in-person. It was delivered in a few days, and shipped very securely too, to protect the picture from being damaged.

It looks great in-person, definitely worth the money! The print quality is excellent.

I took a picture with my camera-phone of the canvas print so you can see what it looks like — but trust me, the canvas print looks great in-person instead!

I kind of wish I had chosen this photo as our main “big photo” instead — since it is only 16×16, you can’t see our entire bridal party (we had six altogether), and you can’t see the landscape or entirety of our beautiful gazebo. I chose this photo though because it was one of our few candid photos of us, and it was right after our ceremony.

These are our other prints from Shutterfly (excuse my messy table, I just got back from the Atlanta Airport!) — only the canvas one is new.

The first one is glossy print 8×10, next is matte print 11×14, matte print 20×30 (our “main sized wedding photo”); glossy print 10×13; and our new canvas print at the end. (We got our wooden frames at Better Homes & Gardens from Target.)

Make sure your resolution is high enough for quality prints on larger sizes; something that looks good on a 4×6, or 5×7, or even an 8×10, could look very pixel on larger sizes.

One of my friends had taken a picture that I liked, it looked sharp and good on the camera, but when I printed it out, the print was very pixel — meaning when blown up on print, our faces looked distorted. (The good thing was it was a Wal-Mart print that cost under $20.)

A photographer with a professional camera will always give you high resolution pictures; but I have photos that friends took on their phones that I liked too, and for those I printed them out in 4×6 for a regular photo album.

I highly recommend Shutterfly for larger sized quality prints for home decor if you have high resolution pictures for your wedding and you don’t want to spend thousand of dollars for studio prints.

NYE

2017…

Like 2016, the year had it’s ups and downs, with my hubby being one of my greatest blessings. We got engaged after 8 months, and he has truly turned out to be as amazing a husband as I had ever hoped for in 2017. We had a wonderful (short) 6 months engagement, beautiful wedding, a lovely honeymoon, and now a honeymoon-baby (the baby is due on our wedding anniversary week in 2018, so he’ll be born within our first year of marriage — the “honeymoon period”!). ♡

But like 2016, 2017 ended on a death.

Although, I was more devastated by Shari’s passing in 2016 because it was more personal to me. It was the first time I’ve experienced the death of someone I had a personal relationship with. This has been an especially hard week for my mom-in-law who has to deal with two deaths back-to-back of family members that she was very closed to during the holidays.

Despite the heart aches, I continue to count my blessings with everything God has given me. I can’t look back, because the past only makes me weaker. I have so much to be grateful for.

Dealing with any sort of loss is hard. I wish the year had ended on a happy note, but sometimes I think a bad ending reminds me of how many things I do have to be thankful for — I mean, I’ve gotten everything I’ve ever wanted, ever since I was 13 and wrote out my list after reading The Great Gatsby. (I don’t have the list anymore, but I surprisingly still remember it.)

2018 will be better. I will make it better. ♡

(This was a wonderful week in Key Largo, at the most beautiful private resort) – I hit the jackpot with my hubby, he’s the greatest guy, I am so blessed. God loves me the most. ♡

Decembers

I hate December.

The only good thing about December is that it’s the last month before a new year.

My poor hubby — his aunt passed this Christmas from an aneurysm, and now five days later, today, his grandpa passed. Although it was kind of surprising with his aunt (and an awful day for it to happen), his grandpa’s health was failing. He died from a heart attack.

My heart is especially feeling heavy for my in-laws, as the whole family is very close. And my parent-in-laws are actually in California at the moment, since they flew in the next day because of my hubby’s aunt — and now to fly back home to Cincinnati to deal with the death of another relative… what a miserable holiday.

Grandpa lived a very long life. (90 years old — the man was drafted in WWII, that’s how old he was!) He was married for 62 years. We are very sad that the patriarch of the family didn’t live to see his first great-grandson; since his whole side of the family has given him great-granddaughters instead. He will be greatly missed. ♡

I hate Decembers.

My puppy…

Saw a picture on my Facebook that made me nostalgic… saying goodbye to my puppy Leo in March (even though he hasn’t been a puppy since 2012, I still call him my puppy).

Kind of miss my little house in Iowa, with my little front yard, garden, and porch — I forgot how big Leo was (he practically took up the whole couch). I hope he’s happy on Elmer’s farm; I get pictures of him on the farm every once in a while.

Can’t believe how fast the year has went already.