Zoe’s Birth Story

They say it is common for first babies to arrive late.
Well… August 15th came and went.
Baby girl was over due.

I never pictured her being late. I just thought she would come exactly on her due date. Why wouldn’t she?
Anyway, I had been off work for two full weeks, and everything was ready. My breast pump had arrived, my hospital bag packed, my birth plan written, took a tour of the hospital, nursery ready, car seat in the car. Now, my husband and I were just patiently waiting to meet our baby.

At 40 weeks, I was huge, feet swelling, uncomfortable. However, I still managed to go to the pool, grab lunch with friends… I even had one last dinner at Quarterdeck, a local crab house. I tried to keep moving in hopes to get the labor going.

I had an induction date scheduled for August 24th, 2015 at 9:00pm, in hopes she would be born on August 25th. But I was praying she would arrive sooner than that. The longer your baby stays inside, the bigger they grow. I also wanted to spend as much time with her as I could, considering I am heading back to work in late October.
On Monday, August 17th, my husband and I went to the doctor for a final ultrasound. They also checked my contractions, and fluid levels. Everything was good. The doctor predicted she would come in the next day or two.

That night I started to feel labor pains. I didn’t sleep well, and when morning came I started having contractions. I booked an appointment with my doctor so she could check my progress.
My doctor (Amy Porter) told me I was 4 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. My contractions were 5-7 mins apart. She informed me that I was in the early stages of labor and that depending on my comfort level, I could go to the hospital or head back home to labor. I wanted to spend as little time as possible in the hospital so I went home. As I went home, Dr. Porter called over to Labor and Delivery to update them on my status, and let Dr. Paik (the on call doctor) know to expect my arrival later that day. Porter was confident, that I wouldn’t be going to bed that night with out a baby in my arms.

Around 4:00 pm, contractions were way more intense and closer together. So my husband and I decided to head to the hospital. My mom met us there as well.

When I got to the hospital I felt like maybe I should turn home. I wasn’t screaming in pain like they do in the movies. But I also didn’t want to miss the opportunity to have an epidural if I needed one.

The nurse checked my progress and again I was only 4 centimeters. Dr. Paik came in and told me she thought it was best to labor more at home. Although I was having consistent contractions, she thought I was to calm. She told me come back when contractions are so intense that I can barely walk or talk.

At 10:30, my contractions were consistently 2 mins apart. So I headed back to the hospital. At 11:00 pm I was admitted. I was still only 4 centimeters dilated. I was a little annoyed that there wasn’t any change. I was also starting to get pretty tired. I wanted to try to go as long as I could with out drugs. Plus an epidural is known to slow down your labor.

At 1 AM, I got the epidural. I was laboring in my back. But two hours later I realized I was still feeling pain. At 3 AM, I ended up having a second epidural. Finally it worked and I was able to relax.

My husband was with me the whole time. We decided not to call any other family members. There was no point calling them in the middle of tbe night when I wasn’t having any progress.

In the morning, August 19th, Dr. Porter came in to check my progress. She was very confident that we would have a baby while it was still light outside.

However, at this point I was 5 centimeters dilated. A little progress, but not much. She decided to break my water in hopes to get things moving. A couple hours later she checked my progress and there was little change.

The next step was pitocin. I wanted to try to avoid pitocin because in some cases it can lower the baby’s heart rate, putting the baby under stress. Anyway, at this point I was willing to try whatever to get things moving. Pitocin is used to induce labor, and in most cases it makes you dilate really quickly. Not in my case.

Dr. Porter came in to check and there was no progress. She gave me more pitocin to see if that would help, but it didn’t.

It was then that Dr. Porter asked me, “How big is this baby?”

At 36 weeks, I had an ultrasound that measured all of her limbs. They predicted at that point she was 6.5 lbs. in the 58 percentile. I started to freak out because I still had 4 weeks to go. Babies grow the most in the last month. However, I also heard that those predictions are just estimates that aren’t always accurate.

Well turns out their predictions were right on the money.

The therory behind why my labor was not progressing quickly: The baby’s head puts pressure on the cervics to helps with dilation. Turns out my baby is a big baby. Although, her head was low and in the right position, my pelvic area was to narrow for her head to put pressure on the cervix.

So the next step was unplanned C-Section.

I never ever imagined that I would have a C-Section. It just never crossed my mind. I watched all of the natural child birth documentaries. I always thought I would just have a quick natural vaginal labor.

I was a little freaked out, but something had to happen… I had been laboring for over 36 hours. I asked my husband if he was okay with me having a C-Section, and he said whatever the doctor and I thought was best.

Around 3:30, I texted my mom to let her know, that I was being prepared for a C-Section.

My husband was by my side the whole time. I was freaking out and started to cry. He comforted me and I quickly pulled it together. I didn’t want the stress I was feeling make my baby stressed.

I was wheeled to the operating room. The whole medical team introduced themselves. The anesthesiologist numbed me from the nipples down. They put up a screen so I couldn’t see anything. My husband held my hand.

Finally, on August 19th, at 4:19 pm, I heard my baby cry for the very first time. I immediately felt relief, saying to myself, “Oh thank God!” I felt overwhelmed with love.


Then I saw a glimpse of my baby as the nurse went to clean her up. She was all purple, white, a little bloody. My husband left my side to see the baby and he got some great photos too. My head was turned in the direction of my baby. I could see the nurse cleaning her off. I kept trying to see my husbands facial expression. I kept trying to see my baby. Finally my husband brought our baby girl to me, it was only for a second but at least it was something.


Then we were off to the recovery room. It was there that I was given my baby. We did skin on skin and she latched on. We breast fed for probably 45 mins until we were able to be transferred to a mommy and baby room.

Everything happened so fast. But I’m glad because the quicker I could get my hands on my baby the sooner we could start bonding.

Although, a C-Section was not in our plans, there are some positive things about C-section births. ( I will write about this in my next post.)

And at the end of the day, the most important thing is that both me and my newborn are healthy and safe.

It is hard to believe two weeks has gone by.
Our baby girl, Zoe Annalise Leonard was born on August 19, 2015 at 4:19 PM. She weighed in at 8 pounds 15 ounces, 20.8 inches long. She is the sweetest, most snuggley baby ever. So cute she is always making her mommy and daddy laugh.


Happy two weeks baby Zoe!!

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

My Top Pregnancy Q & A

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My Top Pregnancy Q & A

I explained to you in my previous post, that pregnancy brings on a never ending interrogation.  People ask you a ton of questions. Some of these questions can be quite annoying while others are fun. These are the most common questions I get asked, along with my personal answers.  

 

1) How are you feeling? 

Knock on wood – I don’t want to jinks myself. But as of now, I am feeling good, hopefully, everything will stay that way. The only time I felt really uncomfortable, was the last 3 weeks of work. The uncomfortable feeling began around 35 weeks. It was like I flipped a switch. My feet began to swell. My belly button popped out. I couldn’t get out of bed, I had to roll over. None of the clothes I owned seemed to fit. I was on my feet all week at work, and feeling really heavy. Not very sexy at all. I’m really glad I have had the last two weeks to relax at home before the baby comes. It has made a huge difference in my swelling feet. I feel pretty rested and energized. However, I am still resting up for delivery day. It is going to be a pretty intense workout.

2) Are you having a boy or a girl?

Although, everyone guesses boy, because my baby bump goes straight out. I am not having a boy. Instead, I am having a sweet beautiful baby girl.

3) Have you come up with a name? What name have you chosen?

Names are hard to decide on, but I have had a long list for a while. There are tons of beautiful names out there, but finally my husband and I have narrowed it down to two names. We are going to decide when we meet our baby.

3) Is the baby nursery ready? What is the color scheme or nursery theme?

Yes, please ready my Nursery post, for ideas and inspiration.

4) What foods have you been craving?

I never had weird food cravings. Really the only thing I have craved this whole pregnancy has been FRUIT. At the moment, I eat watermelon, every day. I also make fresh watermelon juice.

5) Did you experience morning sickness? What pregnancy symptoms have you had?

I did not experience morning sickness. In some occasions, when I didn’t have a chance to eat, I would feel a little queasy, but never threw up. However, I did experience other symptoms, such as pregnancy brain, fatigue, nesting, swelling feet.

6) Did you have a maternity photo session?

Yes I did, and it was lovely. Check out the photos. If you are planning to do a maternity photo shoot check out these tips.

7) Have you been running? In what ways have you been staying active? 

No, I have not been running. I never though I would say this… but I don’t enjoy running pregnant at all. I will write a future post in more detail about why I have chosen not to run while pregnant.

However, I have stayed pretty active, and still have fitness goals. I have been doing some light weight, and body weight exercises, walking, and a little swimming. (Swimming is awesome when you have swelling feet.)  But out of everything I fell in love with prenatal yoga. I started at Journey Yoga Studio, but have been alternating every week between  Refresh Yoga Studio, and Mind the Mat Yoga Studio.

8) How much weight have your gained?

I have gained 33 pounds.  At first I was really worried about the weight gain, but my doctors are not. As long as your doctors don’t see a problem, and you are staying active and eating healthy, don’t worry about it. Weight gain is out of your control. It will be interesting to see how much I loose on delivery day, and once I start working out intensely again.

9) Where are you registered?

I am registered at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon. I got pretty overwhelmed with creating a baby registry. If you feel the same read my, How to Create a Baby Registry, blog post for tips.

10) Did you have a baby shower? 

Yes, we had a bumble bee themed baby shower, in celebration of mom and pop to be(e) and Baby Leonard to be(e.)

11) Did you have a baby moon?

Yes, we did have a baby moon. At the end, of April, we escaped the cold and went down to Del Ray Beach, Florida and South Beach Miami. It was amazing.  We also took another beach trip in late June, to Martha’s Vineyard.

12) When is the due date?

My due date is August 15th, 2015. 3 more days to go. Hopefully, she will not come too late.

13) Have you taken a birthing class?

Nope! I’m just going to wing it. I trust my body, and my doctors. Plus, prenatal yoga has helped me with deep hip openers, strengthening the pelvic floor, breathing techniques, and birthing positions.  I am also going to use some of my marathon mental strategies, such as having a Mantra, and listening to music to help me push through.

14) What is your birthing plan? Are you going to be natural? Are you going to have an epidural?

As long as my baby and I are safe, I am going to stay natural/drug free as long as possible. But again, I don’t know how I will feel because this is my first time. I’m not opposed to an epidural. I also wrote a short birthing plan, which focuses on key points that are important to me, for after delivery.

15) Are you having a home birth or hospital birth?

Hospital birth.

16) Are you using a midwife/doula or an OB?

Nurses and OB at the hospital.

17) Are you going to breastfeed?

Breast is best for baby, so if these boobs work, then yes I plan on it. But because this is my first time, I’m just going to see what happens. Plus, every baby and mom are different – it may be easy for some and harder for others.

18) What are you doing for child care?

Still figuring it out. But, again I’m going to try an idea I have and see if it is a good fit.

19) How much time are you taking off for maternity leave?

 

About 10 weeks. I am hoping baby isn’t too late, so I have as much time with her as I can get.

20) When do you return back to work?

I plan to go back to work October 18th.

So there you have it my top pregnancy Q & A – the most common questions I have gotten while pregnant. I hope you enjoyed the answers.

To all the moms out there – What pregnancy question have you been asked? 

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Nursery: To do, or NOT to do.

When you are pregnant, you get asked the same questions over and over. One of the repetitive questions asked is – “Do you have the baby’s nursery ready?” Everyone wants to know what color scheme and cute baby theme the nursery will be. And although, coming up with ideas, and putting the nursery together is one of the most fun things to do to prepare for your baby, it isn’t a top priority. 

At first the questions about the baby’s room really annoyed me. I always have a long list of more important things to accomplish. For example, finding a pediatrician, and researching delayed cord clamping, although these things are not as fun as interior design, they are much more important.

Plus, your baby doesn’t really know what they are looking at. With that being said, all of the cute nursery accessories are not really for baby, but rather to please mom.

I didn’t worry too much about the baby’s room. And, when it comes to baby stuff, I have tried to stay as minimalist as possible. At this point, I have the essentials, and feel successful with keeping things minimal. But even the essentials need to be put away somewhere.

However, as time went on… suddenly, my mind changed… I had a total change of heart.

Maybe it was the urge to nest. Maybe it was the pile of baby stuff, in the corner of my living room.  Whatever it was… at 8 months pregnant, I found myself eager to start putting the baby’s room together.

In late June, when we got home from Martha’s Vineyard, I had a total freak out. I literally started to cry, sobbing, “There is shit everywhere, and the baby’s room isn’t done.”

My husband came to the rescue! I will never forget his response. He calmly said, “Babe, I got this shit.” Then he ran upstairs and painted the baby’s room and set up the crib.

Now, I’m not the type of person to half ass a job. If I’m going to do something, I give it my all. So now that I have decided to prepare a nursery, I’m going all out.  After that, I was able to organize things. We got a bookcase from Pottery Barn baby. We ordered a rug. Blinds went up. Things were looking good. My baby more than anyone, deserves a beautiful space in our home, to call her own.

I will reveal our baby’s nursery in a later post. But for now, I would like to share with you some baby rooms that inspired me. I used these rooms as a guide to help me create my own.

Our color scheme for our baby’s nursery is Gray walls, White furniture, and accents of Pink.  Our theme is elephants. Elephants are special to my husband and I because we visited an elephant sanctuary when we were in Thailand. We have a special love for elephants. And we plan to frame photos of us riding the elephants we played with in Chang Mai.

1) The picture below goes with our color scheme. I love the pink window treatments, shelves, chandelier, crib, mirror, and dresser with changing pad on top. cafdd8e9466edb60d8020eddd0233c25

2) Again photo below has our color scheme. I like the mirror, the chandelier, the photo gallery, and the dresser with changing pad idea. 2a6221f6c824215cc3799b53ae34bf25

3) Photo below has our color scheme. I love the pink window treatments, with a decorative rug. I also love the chandelier. We are planning on keeping our window treatments simple because we have a pattern on our rug.

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4) In the photo below, I like the chandelier, the mobile, and the pink elephant toy.31be20d080f5f87553043a83fc9d62c7

5) The photo below has our color scheme. I like the chandelier, and the elephant stuffed animal. I also like the window treatments. This is another option for us, if we can’t find pink black out curtains that we like. 3eb175da4aaeaccb08e367f4e1a3a91d

 

6) The room below is my FAVORITE!! I absolutely love this room. The crib in this picture is the exact same one we have for our baby. I love the mirror, the crib skirt, the shelves, and the gold dot decals. I also love the vintage dresser, with changing pad on top.

009ca98875228a0b002edd22f58059737) I LOVE this sitting area – that can be used for nursing or reading. At the moment we do not have a space for a chair because we still have a full size bed and adult dresser in the room. But I absolutely love this. I did get a basket. Baskets can be used in many different ways. I also have a fuzzy pillow in gray. I hope to have a space similar to this in the near future.

3fe44e2511d68bc61127200f6ced18c28) I love all the elephants in this room. If you love elephants and need to create a gender neutral room, this room would be great inspiration for you. d04c63782f5d0220b9a1cfd8933168129) I love this big elephant toy. I also love the shag rug and the black crib, similar style to the one we got for our baby, but in black instead of white.

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10) Below is the exact crib we have, but in black instead of white. I also love the small chandelier in this photo. I love the framed art – we are doing white frames and pink frames instead of black. The rug in the picture is similar to the one we have, but in blue instead of pink. 82702546eba93384e7c5555220d23571

 

11) In this last picture I am going to share with you, I love all the elephants, the shelves, and the dresser with the changing pad on top. The rug is very similar to the one we have in our baby’s room, but blue instead of pink. 50f32e65bb6c02cc8b858e3bf06569ce12) If you are really into books. This reading corner is a very fun idea. The way to collect a ton of children’s books is to have people bring your books instead of cards for your baby shower.

a9d75d30adb96a08f47b089a4a328a88Anyway, these were all of the photos that most inspired me on setting up the perfect nursery for my baby. I hope they help inspire you as much as they did for me. I promise to share with you in the near future some photos of my baby’s room.

but in the mean time…

I would love to hear from you… please comment below…

Do you think it is a necessity to have a baby’s nursery?

What is your favorite color scheme and theme for a baby nursery?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

 

 

Nesting: My favorite Pregnancy Symptom!

“One of the many beautiful things that happens during pregnancy is the urge to nest, or create a snug, peaceful cocoon for your new family member.”  – Alicia Silverstone, The Kindmama

This couldn’t be more true.

I purge on a regular basis, constantly cleaning out, replacing the old with the new. But during this pregnancy, it was on a much deeper level. I let go of things that I had been holding on to for a while. Then my husband and I finally completed the mandatory home projects that we kept making excuses about and putting off.

When we accumulate a lot of stuff, energy stagnates. Each possession carries weight, as do the dust and dirt that can settle in little nooks and crannies” -Alicia Silverstone, The Kindmama

Again true statement.

I have written about our 1945 duplex before, and if you can recall, I have revealed in the past that this 1945 duplex, although charming, is a small place. Because of the size, I have always tried to live as minimalist as possible. However, living minimalist is quite the challenge – over the years things got cluttered. Getting rid of old stuff was crucial to make room for the baby’s essentials. As I got rid of old stuff, and washed away dirt and dust, a weight was lifted. When I replaced the old with the new, the once stale energy shifted to a fresh, light, positive vibe. Even little changes can make a huge difference.

The idea to- “Hold off on large-scale changes to your home,” is suggested in the book The Kindmama.

But what exactly defines a large scale project. You may consider some of the projects I completed, on the large scale size, but I stayed stress free. And completing these projects brought my husband and I both happiness and comfort. So in conclusion, I recommend that you determine the stress level of the project and ask your pregnant self… once this project is completed will I feel more content.

Your home is your sanctuary. It needs to be a place that expresses your identity. It needs to be a space you can enjoy, and feel completely comfortable and relaxed in, especially when bringing a newborn home. Because of this idea, we decided to just do it all.

REPLACED THE WINDOWS

In late March, my husband and I researched different types of windows. Once we determined what would be best for our house, we scheduled for them to be replaced. This wasn’t a cheap project, but it is worth it in the long run, and will cut costs on our bills. Because of how old our house is, it was also checked for lead – thank goodness it is lead free. We don’t want a toxic chemicals like that around our new baby.

The window replacement only took one day to complete. However, our whole house was covered with white dust particles. It needed a major scrub down. And we had to open all the windows to air out the house. Note: “Air rugs and bedding outside in the sun, the original antibacterial purifier.” – The Kindmama

BLINDS

We had cheap, old, dusty blinds, that were there when we bought the house. My min pin loved to stick his nose in between the blinds and bark at neighbors while they walked by. Replacing the blinds was a must. I couldn’t have a barking dog, and crying baby. We now have beautiful white wooden blinds on the first floor, and shades in the bedrooms. The Min Pin can’t look out and bark anymore, and the windows look complete. Window treatments can make or break a room. It is a very little change, that has made a huge difference.

NEW FENCE

We replaced the old fence with a new one. This project was definitely a necessity. Our old fence was a very run down chain linked fence that actually never completely closed, (again there before we bought the house.) We have two small dogs, and because the fence never closed, we always have to supervise the dogs while they are in the yard. Now that the new fence is up, we are able to let the dogs enjoy the yard by themselves, which will help when the baby comes. Plus, the fence looks awesome! In the future we may paint it white, but for the time being we’ll see how the wood ages.

PAINTED BOTH BEDROOMS

When we moved in, we loved the kitchen/dining room wall color. But the rest of the colors in the house had to go. I painted the living room, but never got to the bedrooms. Both bedrooms were a very ugly mauve color. They were definitely in need of a fresh new coat of paint.

We painted our bedroom a Benjamin Moore color called African Violet, it is a gray lavender. This color couldn’t be more perfect. It goes great with our dark framed bed, and the amethyst knobs we have on our white dresser.

Then we painted our guest room, now baby’s room. The color is also a Benjamin Moore color, called Baltic Gray. Gray walls, white furniture, and accents of pink, makes this baby nursery elegant but sweet. Perfect for a baby girl!

BABY’S NURSERY 

I’m going to give you a sneak peek of the nursery, and write a detailed post a little later.

baby's room inspo

ORGANIZED BABY ESSENTIALS

After our baby shower, I went through everything, and figured out what else we needed. Then I organized everything and found a proper home for each item.

REPLACED OLD LIVING ROOM RUG

I replaced the old living room rug with a fresh new one. Besides the baby’s room, I am probably most proud of this.

Because I have dogs, I don’t invest in really expensive rugs. Plus, I like fun patterned rugs, that in time, I may get sick of. These are the reasons that I don’t feel bad about throwing out my old rug, when I get bored of it.

Although, finding the new rug was a major hunt. My old rug was three years old, but very run down. There is no way I could put my beautiful baby on it for tummy time. It had to go! Note: Below is a photo of the old rug. Take a look at how the rug influences the color in the sectional and wall color.

old rug

It took several months to find the right rug, but I finally did… WOW…  it transformed the whole room! The room looks bigger! The wall color looks totally different. And it not only goes great with all of the rustic details that are through out my house, but it is clean and soft enough for the baby to enjoy tummy time on.new rug

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ART WORK

My husband is picky about art work. He wants to support local artists or some how have the art connected to us personally in some way. Well my mom had a photo from our wedding printed on a huge canvas. The canvas is amazing! It again brings out the wall color, looks great with the rug, and has a rustic vibe.

NESTING

Nesting has become my favorite pregnancy symptom because things that needed to get done, finally did. It is crazy how even the smallest changes make a huge difference. It feels so good to purge the old and replace with new. Because it is human nature to grow and evolve, so should your living space.  Everything is clean and fresh, and we are ready for our baby’s arrival. Can’t wait to meet her!

This post is dedicated to my husband.

Although, I was the pregnant one in need of nesting, I want to thank my husband for all the hard work he did! He is amazing, and worked hard to make our home exactly what we desired.

Erik, Thank you, I love you to the moon and back!

Did you have the urge to nest when you were pregnant? What home projects have you accomplished lately? 

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

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Our Bumble Bee themed Baby Shower

I love the month of June.

And this year June was busy.

Literally, every weekend was booked.

My two favorite weekends this June were…  the weekend we had our baby shower, and the weekend my husband and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary.

(Because I already wrote a short anniversary post.) Lets talk about the baby shower.

This shower was super special to me, because I never had a bridal shower, so this was my very first shower ever. The shower was planned by my mom and older sister. My younger sister and cousin came down to help with preparations. These ladies went above and beyond. I couldn’t have asked for a more fabulous shower.

It is finally summer and I am having a summer baby.

I also love everything seasonal… so my sister and I came up with a bumble bee theme. This theme was totally appropriate because it celebrates both our baby to be(e) and my husband and I… as mama and papa to be(e).

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Everything was yellow.

Yellow flowers… 

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more flowers…

10424323_10102571046963326_6424111744360407629_nyellow bumble bees…11406636_10102570943011646_3724344667608763612_n

lemons and lemonade screaming summer, summer baby.

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We had the most delicious food ever. I’ve been pretty obsessed with watermelon so of course I had to have some. 10341974_10102570975546446_3965448181379601562_n

more food…

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food was everywhere…

11401034_10102570975571396_1914957495128536103_nmoss and bee detail was a nice touch.

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My bff Mariana had the most amazing cake made for the shower! 535952_10102571049363516_856342138403581851_nBee hive cake with a baby on top…

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This cake tasted amazing too!

As I said earlier, my mom, sisters, and cousin went above and beyond.

There were cute decorations all over the place. These small details were so perfect. 

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There were two shrines.

A grandma one…1795658_10102570969254056_5629331531719633638_n

and a shrine in honor of my husband and I and our growing family.

11407029_10102570943046576_4456407192958739110_nOne of my favorite things about this shower was that we had both men and woman guests. All girl showers are fun, but not my style. It was important to me to include my husband. So this shower, definitely had more of a summer party vibe. It was great getting everyone together.

My husband and I and the baby to be! 

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Some of the boys…
11402722_10102571074837466_3359765712500071828_nBFFs Rachel and I… 

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BFF Mariana and I with her baby Jasper…11393035_10102571064987206_3182942543286090071_n

Me and baby Jasper. One of the cutest baby boys I know. He even wore shorts with bumble bees on them for the occasion. 

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Lindsay and I, at the time, both pregnant with baby girls. Her baby Piper was born last month. 

11351165_10102571068390386_3620987603205127943_n-1All of us Dorsey girls…

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Another thing that I loved about this shower was that we made it an open house. It started at 4:00, but because it was an open house our guests could come and go as they pleased. This also meant that I didn’t rush through opening baby gifts. Instead I opened them either when the individual was leaving or later on my own time, when I could really take my time enjoying each present as I opened. (Note: If you have the time to hang out at your shower, I highly recommend an open house. That way you can spend the time, but your guest can come and go as the please.)

Everyone showered us with the best gifts. We are so lucky!

These are just a few I got pictures of…

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My sisters, the aunts to be, got us this… 

11148406_10102571047477296_6265009010668054714_nThe Small’s got Erik a present that he can use with the baby.

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We got some amazing handmade stuff…

including a quilt from Erik’s grandma, and a blanket from my Aunt... (blanket is in the photo.)

11248806_10102571081359396_1377958907931538776_nA beautiful knitted pair of socks and hat, made by Erik’s mom, grandma to be. 

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We didn’t want the shower to end, so we let it go on pretty late. It was really fun to hang out, later that night on my mom’s back deck. 10537020_10102571088594896_177979312647970216_n-1I am so lucky I was able to have such a beautiful shower. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who helped plan and prep this shower – especially, my mom, Sue Small, my sisters, my cousin Colleen, and my BFF Mariana. I also want to thank everyone who came to celebrate with us – you showered us with the most precious baby gifts and it was fun seeing everyone. And to those who couldn’t make it, I am also very thankful, you went out of your way to send baby Leonard beautiful, thoughtful baby gifts – Thank you so much.

thanks bee(Thank you cards made by Sue Small.)

It is hard to believe that our bumble bee themed baby shower was almost two months ago. Now that it is August, it is baby Leonard’s birthday month. Erik and I are beyond excited to meet our baby girl in 2 weeks. As we wait for her arrival, I am spending the rest of this time reading baby books, relaxing and enjoying the bump.

What is your favorite baby shower theme? What is your favorite baby gift to give?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Maternity Leave

Leaving work yesterday was bitter sweet, super sweet.

Bitter because…

Yesterday was my last day at the salon until my return in late October.

There hasn’t been a time when I haven’t worked, so it is weird to think I don’t have work tomorrow.

In the past, if I took 2 or 3 weeks off it was because I was (busy) traveling.

Which makes me question… do I even know how to just chill, rest, relax?

Sweet because…

My body needs rest.

Through out this pregnancy, I’ve been pretty comfortable, feeling strong and well, but around 3 weeks ago (35 weeks pregnant) things started to change, and my feet started to swell. My body was telling me… slow down and rest.

A good friend of mine, explained that the last couple weeks are the worst. They are bad, because it is God’s way of getting us over the fear of labor. If there were no bad pregnancy weeks, woman would want to stay pregnant forever.

As a hair stylist, I don’t sit down. This last week was very tiring for me, squeezing in all of my favorite clients, and being on my feet all day.

Super Sweet because…

Today is my first day of Maternity leave.

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My baby is due to arrive in 2 weeks. I can’t wait to meet her, see what she looks like, and give her a name.

People always ask, “Are you ready?” well… are you really ever ready? I am as ready as I can be. And my body is definitely ready.

 

Mostly, everything is done…

So these next two weeks will be filled with…

Resting.

Relaxing at the pool.

Reading baby books.

Preparing some meals and freezing them.

I need to be as rested as possible for delivery day.

It is going to be the most intense work out ever. 

super woman preg

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

My favorite Maternity clothing brand: Part 2- STORQ

To most woman, Fashion is important, and even more so for a mama to be.

For us, pregnant ladies, we want to have a stylish bump. However, it becomes difficult to find clothing, when every day our bodies change, growing bigger and bigger.

Earlier this week, I introduced you to one of my favorite maternity clothing brands, Ingrid & Isabel. Today, it is all about my other favorite – STORQ!

STORQ is all about the basics.

They only have a couple main pieces, which include – a skirt, leggings, dress, and tank top. But that is pretty much all you need. On their website, they provide videos showing different ways you can use these four pieces by pairing them with accessories you may already have. All of the products come in only two options, black and white, however this summer the dress came in a couple different colors. Storq

They have bundles, which is a more affordable way to get a couple items, all at once. These bundles also make a great gift, if you have a friend or family member who is newly pregnant.

It has always been a challenge for me, to find clothes that are both stylish and comfortable. Well STORQ does both. This is really important when you are pregnant, because unfortunately pregnancy is not always comfortable.

When it comes to clothing, I first received the white tank top as a gift. I loved it so much that I then purchased both the black tank top and the black leggings. I have been living in these three pieces, pairing them with a denim vest or boots. The leggings are the softest pants I own.

They also have some beauty products.

I fell in love with the lipstick and Belly products.

The lipstick is an organic, bright red/orange color, called Wild Child. It feels good on your lips and brightens up your whole face. Storq lip

When it comes to the belly products, I have both the belly bombe and belly oil. During the winter I made my own body butter, but I like to switch things up, and once I got my hands on this belly combo, I fell in love. It is important to take care of your belly, to avoid stretch marks. So far I haven’t had one stretch mark. The belly balm and belly oil are both soothing and hydrating. Storq belly

Now that my baby is coming in 2 weeks, I am on the hunt for the best nursing bras. Well guess what? STORQ just came out with intimates. Because none of STORQ’s products have ever disappointed me, I went for the bundle. These pieces arrived in a quick 2 days. Again, the fabric they use is so extremely soft.

Storq intimatesThere is one more item, that I have purchased, but because of popularity, I am still waiting for it to arrive. I am waiting for is the Carryall bag, aka baby bag.

Storq carryallI wasn’t going to get a baby bag, I was just going to use my lululemon bag, but when STORQ came out with this bag a month ago, I had to have it. I can’t wait for it to arrive in early August.

STORQ has the softest, most comfortable, basic maternity clothing. If you want a stylish bump, STORQ is the way to go.

Have you tried STORQ? What is your favorite STORQ item?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

 

 

My favorite Maternity clothing brands: Part 1- Ingrid & Isabel

Note: I am breaking this post into two parts. This post Part 1, will focus on my favorite maternity pieces from Ingrid & Isabel. Tomorrow, I will post Part 2 which will focus on my favorite maternity pieces from STORQ.

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Fashion…

One of my favorite things, but also one of the things I find hardest to deal with during pregnancy.

I have always been a very petite, athletic, woman, who never had to worry much about fitting into clothes. I could wear whatever I wanted, whatever I thought was fashionable, with out worrying if the clothing was flattering. (Bring on the crop tops.)

But now as a pregnant woman, every day, I wake up bigger. Because of my constant changing body, a dress that fit just last week, may not fit today.35529c5dd9a53feca99930f8959eebe3In the early stages of pregnancy, I would always ask myself, “Does this outfit make me look fat, or pregnant?” Now in the later stages, there is no mistaking, doubting, or questioning it… I am pregnant, and this is my baby bump, not a food baby.

So what have I been wearing?

Honestly, I have avoided buying to much maternity clothing because it is expensive, and pregnancy is only for a short time. I have been wearing tons of Free People, my favorite.  Most of the clothing from Free People is loose, flowy, and bohemian.  Even for my maternity photo shoot I wore nothing maternity. The majority of my outfits were from Free People.

I also feel pretty lucky, being my biggest during the summer. It is much easier to wear a maxi dress, then to try to zip up a winter coat over a huge baby bump. Plus winter clothing is always more expensive then summer clothes. Also around 35 weeks, my feet started to swell, and there is no way I can squeeze into winter boots, instead I am barefoot most of the time, but when I wear shoes they are all open… flip flops and birkenstocks.

When it comes to maternity fashion, I will admit, maternity clothes have come a long way since our moms were pregnant, but today something is still missing or lacking. I find myself on a constant search for fashionable maternity clothing that isn’t difficult to wear.

Finally, during this epic search for the perfect maternity clothes, I found two brands that I love, Ingrid & Isabel and STORQ. I have invested in some of their core pieces. This post is part 1 of 2 and will focus on Ingrid & Isabel.

Ingrid & Isabel

I absolutely love the maternity clothing brand Ingrid & Isabel.

1) The first thing I purchased from them was the bellaband in white.home_hero_bellabandThe bellaband allows you to wear any of your regular pants, shorts, or any pieces of clothing that you no longer can zip. This small piece of clothing saved me from having to invest in maternity jeans. What do you do? Simple, leave your pants unzipped and slide the bellaband over the unzipped area. No one will ever know your pants are unzipped, and you can fold the bellaband down (still hiding your zipper), or wear it high above your bump for extra support.

2) Another item by Ingrid & Isabel, that I pretty much live in, is the Active Capri Pant with Crossover Panel in jet black. 1257_00016_2_4I am an athlete, who has a closet full of lululemon. Although, I still wear some of my lululemon comfortably, most of it is too tight. Along with the bellaband, these pants were one of the maternity items I purchased early on (around 3 months.) Now, that I am 9 months pregnant they still fit, and I am still wearing them all the time. They are not only great for when I am active, (wearing them to prenatal yoga), but they are great to just wear whenever. Again, the cross over panel is key, because you can fold it down, or wear it high above your bump for extra support. They also have a long pant option, I went for the capri, because during the winter I wore boots with them, and now during the summer time I am able to wear them as capri with out getting overly hot.

3) This ruffle bikini bottom has saved me at the pool and beach. 1131_01_1_4Most of my bikinis are brazilian cut, but the brazilian bikini was NOT going to cut it during pregnancy. Now, I have too many bumps (boobs, booty, baby bump) and if I am going to let the baby bump hang out, all of the other bumps need full coverage. This ruffle bottom gave me the coverage I needed, and it is still cute and flirty.  There I am below wearing the ruffle bottom on the beach, when I was only 22 weeks pregnant. Now that I am 37 weeks pregnant, these bottoms still fit and give me the coverage I need. bump selfie 24) My latest purchase was the Seamless Drop Cup Nursing Bras in black, picture shows white option. 1270_00_1_4Now that I am in the last stages of my pregnancy, the search for maternity clothes has ended, and the search for nursing clothes, including nursing bras and tanks, has started. One thing that is important when purchasing nursing bras is to have a couple different kinds. It is very important to have al least one that does not have underwire. So far this bra is very comfortable. I’ll do a more detailed post on it once I use it when baby arrives.  

So there you have it…

If you are looking for maternity clothes, you will not be disappointed with these items from Ingrid & Isabel.

Have you tried anything from Ingrid & Isabel? What are your favorite Maternity brands?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

All images (except the one of myself) on this page are from the Ingrid & Isabel website.

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Tips for Perfecting your Maternity Photo Shoot

Last monday, I published a blog post on my Maternity photo shoot. Thank you so much for all the kind words regarding the beauty of the photos. I’m glad all of you enjoyed them. Because I highly recommend all mothers to be, to have a maternity photo session of their very own, I thought I would share with you a couple tips.

1. Research your photographer. (I am not a photographer, but have worked closely with some. This is what I know.) Although, most photographers use digital, I have heard of some in the DC area who specialize in film. Some photographers may use a flash, while others use natural light. This is important because it will effect the time of day you will do your photo shoot. While most may edit their photos, there are still some photographers who do not. Most photographers have a specialty. Some may be fashion photographers, who shoot mainly in a studio or on set, while others may actually specialize in maternity and birthing photography. Whatever it may be, prioritize what is important to you in a photographer.  At the end of the day, all photographers are artists, who have a unique artistic style. The best way to discover their unique artistic style is by simply examining their portfolio. So look at their website and social media accounts such as instagram… Do you like what you see? Do you like their work? Also on their social media pages you may have the opportunity to read comments and reviews.  If you do not know a photographer, get recommendations from friends. I highly suggest meeting up with your photographer prior to the shoot. That way you two can get to know each other.  This also gives you an opportunity to seek professional advice, ask any questions, and talk about ideas you may have. The closer you know your photographer, the more comfortable your will be. In my eyes, the most important thing is to find a photographer, you feel very comfortable around. Being pregnant can be uncomfortable at times, but you do not want to look uncomfortable in you maternity photos. I was lucky enough to work with Raiza, from Raiza Vega Photography. I not only fell in love with her portfolio on her website, but she is also a good friend. Because of this, I felt totally comfortable during my photo shoot, and it shows in the photos.

2. Determine what vibe you want your photos to have? This was one of the first questions my photographer asked me. 

Below are ideas of some of my favorite vibes. 

Do you want a fashion editorial vibe?

The photos below of Liv Tyler and Gisele Bundchen are examples of maternity photos that have a fashion vibe. These photos were both taken inside and have simple green backgrounds.

Do you want a nature vibe?

The photos below are examples of a nature vibe. All of these photos were taken outside, using natural light. A nature vibe, can also have a bohemian earthy feel. Dresses that flow, flower crowns, and crop tops are all great prop accessories you can wear during your shoot. The background will be the nature found at the location you choose. The timing of your shoot will depend on what kind of sunlight your photographer feels is best to work with.

D0 you want an urban vibe?

Below is an example of an urban vibe photo. While capturing an urban vibe, most photos will be taken outside, with the busy city in the background. Another option is to capture, urban details, such as cobble stone roads or graffiti art. In my photo shoot, we definitely took advantage of the cobble stone road in Old Town.

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Do you want a sexy vibe?

Kourtney Kardashian defines sexy. Below are examples of her sexy maternity photo shoot. Because of the nudity all of these photos were taken inside, with a simple background, most likely done by a fashion photographer.

Tips for choosing a vibe.

Keep in mind, that the vibe you choose for your photos, will influence the clothing you will wear, and the location you will choose. So once you and your photographer determine the vibe of your photo shoot, you can choose clothing, location, and time. For my maternity photo shoot, a location that could capture both a nature vibe and urban vibe was important to me. I chose bohemian style clothing. I wore a flower crown in some photos and a hat in others.

3. Determine what your wardrobe will be, and decide on time and location?

I touched on wardrobe, time and location above. However, I have some additional clothing tips. Keep in mind you don’t have to wear only one outfit. Choose a couple different options, and make sure your location has a bathroom or area you can make a wardrobe change. Decide on whether you will expose your baby bump in some photos. Crop tops and robes with a front opening are great options, to expose your bump. Whatever clothing you choose, make sure you are comfortable and feel beautiful. Your clothing does not have to be maternity. I didn’t wear any maternity clothing in my shoot.

4. Decide whether you want to include anyone else in your photos. 

I chose to have my photos of just me and my bump, celebrating motherhood. However, including your significant other or even your other child/children can be a really beautiful touch. Below are some examples.

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5. Determine the best time during your pregnancy to have your photo taken.

Every woman’s body is unique. Every pregnancy is different. Some women show right away, while others don’t have an established baby bump until later in their pregnancy. Because I am petite I began to show right away.  I had my maternity photo shoot when I was 29 weeks pregnant, in other words, 7 months. This way I had an established baby bump, but didn’t feel uncomfortably huge. Remember, you want to celebrate your bump, but you also want to feel comfortable.

6. What props will you use?

Above I mentioned wardrobe “prop” accessories, such as, a hat, flower crown, or crop top. These prop accessories really help enhance or define the vibe you choose for your photo shoot. However, there is also another type of prop you may want to include in some of your photos. These props will represent your baby. It could be a picture of your ultrasound. It could be a pair of baby booties or shoes, or maybe even a full outfit. But bring a couple cute baby items, nothing is sweeter.

7. Find inspiration and examples.

Your photographer will use her artistic eye, and make your photos fabulous. However, sometimes it is helpful to have some inspiration and example ideas to show your photographer. It is always helpful to show both, ideas you love, and some you hate. But ultimately, your photographer will use her professional judgement to determine what will work for you and what will not depending on, location, vibe, clothing, lighting, etc. All of the examples on this post I found on instagram and pinterest. I highly recommend searching both instagram and pinterest to find inspiration. For more inspiration, check out your photographer’s website, or find maternity blog posts. And don’t forget to take a look at my maternity blog post for ideas.

I hope that helps. Now get out there and celebrate your baby bump!

Have you done a maternity photo shoot? How did it go?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Maternity Photo Shoot

Growing up with a house full of girls, I grew up always knowing “Girls Rock!”

Maybe it is because I am an American, growing up with the idea of the American Dream. But I have always had the confidence that I can do anything- anything is possible, the sky is the limit.

These ideas have also pushed me to be a better stronger athlete. I always try. Maybe I can… run further and faster. Maybe I can… lift heavier and stretch deeper. Mentally, I always tell myself, I can do that, I can do more.

Physically, I see the results in reaching new PRs. Physically, I see changes in my body, stronger, leaner. I always say,  “Just try. You will be surprised what your body can do.”

Now that I am pregnant these ideas have never been more true. Girls Rock!

As a pregnant woman, I really have no control over my changing body. At first this really annoyed me, but now more than ever this female body of mine, continues to surprise me. Everyday, my bump gets bigger, reminding me of what my body is capable of… It shouts, “Look what I can do!”

The female body is absolutely amazing – creating and housing a new life. Once again, physically, I see my body transform, from a once lean and fit athlete, to a now curvy strong mother to be.

Maternity Photo Shoot

I decided a maternity photo shoot would be the best way to document my changing body, while also celebrating the beauty of my next life chapter – motherhood.

For this shoot, I was very lucky to work with Raiza, owner and photographer of Raiza Vega Photography. She is a very talented photographer in the DC and Norther Virginia area.

I knew, I would be dressed in a very feminine bohemian outfit, but I was unsure of the location. Raiza suggested Old Town, Alexandria, because it has different areas, so we could capture both, a nature and an urban vibe. She also chose a time in which she could use natuaral light perfectly.

As for my wardrobe, I had a couple different outfits. However, my main pieces were from Free People – note: I did not wear anything maternity in these photos. To go along with my bohemian wardrobe, I handmade a flower crown.  11163792_10102540758381886_7699681482017457825_nWell here you go. Below are some of my favorite photos captured during the shoot. Enjoy!

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My maternity photo shoot was a really fun experience! I highly recommend every mama to be have a maternity photo session of their own. Now is the time to embrace how beautiful you are and celebrate motherhood. You will always have memories of this special time, but a photo makes these special moments timeless. Memories may fade, but photos last forever.

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

*All of these photos were taken by Raiza Vega from Raiza Vega Photography, and are protected under copyright laws. 

 

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