Catching Up: life as a pregnant working mom

Wow, it’s been a while. How ya been? 

Me, you know, just makin’ babies and pushing through. NBD. 

Actually, it felt like a pretty big deal. In fact, it took everything in me to get through work, baby cookin’, parenting our rambunctious 2 yr old, and everything else on my plate the last 6 months! 

Here’s a quick recap:

I was pregnant. Super pregnant. And my body, despite being pretty fit and active at conception, went into full blown pregnant blob mode. My brain worked about as well as a last generation iPhone who won’t install new updates… and my ligaments were as stretchy and unsupportive as my maternity wear spandex. 

My anxiety about possible miscarriage definitely impacted my activity for the rest of the pregnancy, and my diet was sort of survival mode. I ate Gf bread with Swiss cheese more days than I’d like to admit… not even as a grilled cheese. We’re talking “I’m so tired just give me a slice of cheese and a piece of bread and leave me in peace” (It was a sorry sight). 

By 36 weeks I started having regular, intense contractions almost daily in the afternoons and evenings. Some of it was probably triggered by lifting and chasing after Ziva, and some by sitting and working on my couch (working from home the couch was the only spot that didn’t lead to hip pain after sitting for long periods on the computer). It made it nearly impossible to focus on my work, and I became convinced baby girl was coming early. Working full-time, having a 2 year old, and being super-pregnant meant we had not done almost anything to prepare for the baby’s arrival, so at 37 weeks I decided to take advantage of California’s maternity leave. I stopped working so that I could prepare myself emotionally, physically, and our home for the arrival of our little rainbow. 

I spent 2 wonderful weeks clearing out space for a 4th human in our modest 2 bedroom apartment, walking and being as active as possible, spending “me-time” and quality time with my mom and sister, and just generally preparing myself for labor and being a new mom again. By my appointment at 39 weeks, I was more than ready to meet this little girl on the outside. 

At 39 weeks and 2 days, after having a few “real” contractions in the morning, I went in for a cervical sweep at 10am, only to find I was already 4.5 cm dilated! Long story short, I walked, bounced, and waited all day to let the contractions get stronger for “real labor” to start before heading into L&D to get checked. That’s when things got a little crazy, but that’s a story for another post ūüėČ. 

2nd Trimester: Energy and Exercise

I did it! I climbed back on the wagon, stuck my trusty old 21 Day Fix DVD in the player, and FINALLY got back to a real workout! 

I know, I’m a freakin’ champion. Thank you, thank you. Now let me enjoy my reward:

That first trimester hits me like a ton of bricks. This was my 4th time dragging myself through the exhaustion, nausea, and fatigue… but the prize is worth the pain, and hopefully this time around I’ll get to hold a new little person in my arms in just 22 weeks and 6 days. But who’s counting? 

I’ve tried to keep moving by taking walks and doing dance workouts here and there, but I’ve seriously struggled with finding the time, energy, and motivation to do a more intense workout. 

Well, today I’m feeling pretty good. I got pretty solid sleep last night for one of a handful of times in last 19 months (thank you Ziva!) and there were no errands to run or business to handle. 

The stars aligned and my desire to move outweighed my desire to lay like a puddle on a pillow of cotton. 

What was my workout of choice? Total Body Cardio with my homegirl Autumn Calabrese. I started my postpartum weight loss with the 21 Day Fix, why not start my pregnancy fitness with the same? I modified some stretches to my comfort level, changed the ab workouts to avoid laying on my back, and went all in!  I used these alternative ab exercises from What to Expect in place of the round 4 floor exercises. 

I FEEL GREAT. I just wish I’d gotten back to it a little sooner since working out actually helps minimize my pregnancy symptoms. 

I’ll admit it, after losing the 1st baby and having the Sub-chorionic hematoma while pregnant with Ziva, and losing the 3rd baby, I have a bit of a semi-subconscious fear of doing anything with my body that could jeopardize the pregnancy. Even if many women and their doctors find it perfectly acceptable to continue working out at their pre-pregnancy capacity, I hold back and hesitate a little with each move. That’s okay though, I’ve decided, as long as I keep moving! 

We have some big news…

Our family is growing by 1! Baby ‘Betsky #2 is 16 weeks along, due March 29th!

We can’t wait to meet this little one and are praying for another little rainbow like their big sis. 

Ziva’s been practicing her big sister skills on her Monkey and Baby, and she’s reading up to be ready for her promotion. 

Big Changes Part 1: Cross country move, miscarriage and answers

Whew. We did it!

We successfully moved across the country with a 15 month old, dog, and household of stuff. It’s been an incredibly hard, exhausting, exciting, and challenging spring so far and I don’t even know where to begin. So, I’ll just jump on in. This could get long, so I’m going to break it up into a 3 part series. You can read Part 2 and 3 Here and Here.

Pregnancy and Miscarriage

Positive Test_ReadySetSarahBlog

We found out in early March that we were expecting baby #2! We were THRILLED! I always wanted my kids close together and I wanted to start working on #2 just in case we experienced any trouble (like the first pregnancy which ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks). The timing was a bit insane, since we were prepping for a cross-country move May 7th, but we couldn’t wait to show up in California with a little stowaway! Well, things didn’t go as planned… do they ever?

First, at what we calculated to be our 8 week appointment (based on my last period), the baby was only measuring 5 weeks. Strange… but our dates could very well have been off since my cycle was nowhere near regular yet. Then, a week later we went back to find a 6 week baby with a little steady heartbeat! A bit slow, but the Doc¬†figured it was just getting going.

Baby’s heartbeat.

Whew, it felt like we were in the clear and everything from there on out would be the (relatively) uneventful, smooth, and healthy pregnancy I’d always dreamed of… then I saw the tiniest bit of blood the Friday before what would be¬†our ¬†8 week appointment (based on the new dates adjusted at the first appointment). Okay, I’ve spotted with both my previous pregnancies…. those went 50/50, miscarriage/live birth. I trusted my gut and got in that day to have the baby checked.

The baby’s heartbeat was gone. It had stopped developing sometime in the 6th week after we saw it last.

This couldn’t be happening.

I was in shock, disbelief, numb.

Another miscarriage.


All our plans for another little November baby (like the first we miscarried which was due Nov 2nd, this baby’s adjusted due date was November 15th) were crushed. It took 3 weeks of bleeding before I finally miscarried fully. I had worked from home for a week waiting to pass the baby, but ended up miscarrying in the office on my last day before leaving for our big move to California. April 23rd. Almost exactly 2 years after I miscarried my first baby.

I Love You Forever_ReadySetSarahBlog

I packed away our Sister Bear and Baby bear shirts along with my hopes and dreams for these little siblings who would grow up so close in age. I pushed down the excitement for seeing Ziva as a big sister. I forced myself to see the silver linings this time around. At least I wouldn’t be having morning sickness and fatigue as I packed for the big move, at least I’d be able to lift things, at least, at least, at least…

I promise you, there was and is no silver lining that makes pregnancy loss of a wanted baby feel okay. There’s no silver lining good enough to replace the weight of a newborn in your arms, the kicks of a little growing baby, the joy of their first smiles, the love, the person they become. There just isn’t.

At least this time I had Ziva. At least this time I could hold her and find joy in her as she grows and changes… at least this time I know that I can survive, and life will go on, and eventually the sharpness of the pain dulls.

At least I was preparing to move back home where I could be close with my family and have a wide network of support for whatever the future holds. Our little family of 3 (4 with doggy Brinkley) would continue and move forward and move on, missing one more little angel.

Pregnancy Progression Photos

I had been waiting to share these until we had the final shot, and luckily I took a quick snapshot the Friday afternoon before I had our little Z. ¬†It’s so strange to look back now at the “before” photo… makes me a little weepy to think how far I have to go to get back.

Original starting point photo from pregnancy 1 (I was too nervous to take one this time around). 8-12 Weeks
Original starting point photo from pregnancy 1 (I was too nervous to take one this time around). 8-12 Weeks

This pregnancy progression is really going to start at just about 20 weeks. So, here goes:


20 Weeks!
20 Weeks!
24 Weeks! (6 Months Pregnant)
24 Weeks! (6 Months Pregnant)
7 months!
7 months!
8 Months!
8 Months!
9 months!
9 months!

And finally, this was taken at 39 weeks. I gave birth to our beautiful daughter at 39 weeks and 2 days.


The day before Ziva arrived!
The day before Ziva arrived!

It was a long haul, but worth every minute. I can’t believe little Z has already been here 3 months! Time just doesn’t slow down at all, seems to just keep spinning faster. Before we know it she’ll be toddling around like her big cousin Stella.¬†As hard as it was at moments, with the hip pain, the back aches and the waddling, I can’t wait to (hopefully) do it all again someday. Until then, we’ll snuggle this little bugger.


Z and Daddy, Mother's Day 2015
Z and Daddy, Mother’s Day 2015

My Pregnancy Survival List

Here we are, 7 weeks postpartum! How did we get here so fast? When I wrote this up I was starting what I thought would be the last week of my pregnancy… it turned out I had less than 2 days to go! So, here are the things that got me through my 39 weeks and 2 days (most item names are links)-

Preggie Pop Drops
Preggie Pop Drops

Preggie Pop Drops: In the first trimester I had these little suckers on me at all times. I had metal-cottonmouth along with nausea a lot in the first trimester,  and the cottonmouth persisted throughout. These sour candy suckers are great for managing the dryness and nausea. Other sour candies do the job, but these were particularly great.

Glass water bottles:¬†I drink a lot of water. I mean a whole lot. I’m a pretty thirsty girl regularly, and with a constant dry mouth I’ve been drinking even more. I have always carried around water bottles and¬†once I found out I was pregnant again I decided to commit to only drinking out of glass bottles to avoid exposing the fetus to too much BPA. I’m sure I wasn’t able to totally eliminate it, but every little effort helps (I hope). I havea couple glass bottles, some cheaper than others. The one linked here is a good one though I don’t have this exact bottle.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Stretch Oil
Earth Mama Angel Baby Stretch Oil

Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Stretch Oil: From what I’ve read stretch marks are mostly genetic and aren’t¬†stopped with topical lotions or oils…. but who cares? This stuff smells good and moisturized¬†my skin so the stretching itched a lot less. I tried BioOil and didn’t like the¬†smell as much. Maybe the natural stretch oil did work, I only have a few on the bottom side of my big ol’ belly (postpartum update- those few look a lot worse once the baby is out… I’m not sure if these strechies could have been stopped but at least the oil felt nice).

Boden Maternity Leggings: I received a pair of these in a big bag of hand-me-down maternity clothes and it was love at first touch. These leggings are SOOO soft, comfortable, and stretchy. There are no tight seems. I’ve had a hard time with any tightness pressing on my tummy and these have been the number 1 most comfortable thing I can wear (other leggings I had bought on Zullily became too uncomfortable in the last months and I had to stop wearing them). I recently bought another pair to rotate in, as well as a smaller pair for postpartum lounging (which have been amazingly comfortable as I still can’t fit my regular pants).

Old Navy Maternity Rib-Knit Jersey Tanks: So comfy! I wore these to bed, lounging on the weekends, and under a cardigan at work. absolutely my most comfy maternity shirt.

Maternity pillow and extra pillows: I have two different pregnancy pillows (I bought myself the Boppy Pregnancy Pillow, and my sister gave me the Bean pillow as a gift). I like them both, but if I was to buy again I would look for one that goes around both sides of my body (Like the Leachco one shown below). I switch sides throughout the night and without a pillow on each side it became difficult to maneuver. Eventually I switched back to just a regular pillow between my knees to make the roll-over a little easier.

This is the pillow I wish I'd had.
This is the pillow I wish I’d had.

Massage tools: In our birth class we got a chance to practice back massages¬†on each other to see what might help with back pain during labor. They passed around a bag of massage tools to try out and I fell in love with the roller ball tool. I hope it makes it back into the labor bag, because we’ve been using it all the time! It’s great for allowing Brian to apply extra pressure to my lower back without wearing out his fingers. We also go a wooden massage tool that is great for the total back and shoulders. I recommend trying out massage tools that might work for you during pregnancy and labor. It’s worth it. (Postpartum update- I don’t think we used them much during the actual labor, but it was SO worth having them during the pregnancy for my aches and pain).

Prenatal massage: I¬†feel¬†a little silly that it took me until week 39 to go in for a massage. I let my anxiety about triggering labor get the better of me and waited until I was full-term to get rubbed down. I am seriously wishing I had tried it earlier because it was amazing.¬†My body has felt so foreign to me as it’s grown and changed. Being touched and feeling comfortable in my body on the table was AMAZING. I was totally comfortable in the side laying position and if I don’t have baby by next weekend I’m going to try to go again. For local ladies- Brian got me a gift certificate to Balance Massage and Spa¬†(in Dixboro¬†on Plymouth road) and it was great. I had Jerry and I definitely recommend him. (Postpartum update- ¬†I did go into labor the next day (with some early labor starting that night), but I don’t think it was related).

Prenatal chiropractic adjustments:¬†I wish I could say I got adjustments throughout the whole pregnancy but after we moved to Ann Arbor, and then when winter set in, it became really difficult to drive back to Royal Oak to see my chiropractor. I did go a few times throughout though, and I think the adjustments really helped with my back and hip pains. I had a relatively easy labor as well, and it could be partially due to having good alignment. My chiropractic office has three docs that are all do prenatal and pediatric chiropractic work. (Postpartum update- I can’t wait to go postpartum since the breastfeeding is killing my back).


Ziva Pearl Has Arrived!

Introducing our brand new beautiful little girl, Ziva Pearl!

Born at 6:25 pm on February 21st, all 7 lbs 5oz of her entered our lives and swept us off our feet. It’s been a wild month of getting to know each other, visiting with family, and huffing as much baby smell as possible. I plan on sharing our full birth story soon. It was an incredible, empowering experience and I’m still a little amazed that it happened! We feel so lucky that it went as well as it did, and even luckier to have little Ziva finally in our arms.






Take Each Day

There is just SO MUCH ANTICIPATION during the pregnancy journey.

When will we get pregnant?
When can I test? Is it too early?

When will I start to really show? I just look bloated!

Are we going to make it to 12 weeks?
Can we find out the gender yet?

It’s going to take FOREVER to get to the 3rd trimester.

Oh my goodness, how will I ever wait 7 more weeks?

Wait, ONLY 7 more weeks? How will we ever be ready?

It’s a constant dialogue with myself, overly excited and impatient mixed with a little fear of what each new step and milestone might bring. During our first pregnancy I could barely contain myself. My impatience constantly got the better of me and I was counting down the days till we would be 12 weeks and could tell everyone. I sometimes would wish we could jump to November and meet the little one right away.

After we lost the first and discovered we were pregnant again, I decided that this time I would try harder to be present in each and every day. To appreciate each moment in the journey, not wishing for it to pass more quickly, or longing for the end — or even the next week. It’s been tough, but amazingly it has also helped the time fly by. Each time I find myself longing for the next milestone, I quickly remember that I’d rather enjoy today. The next step isn’t promised, and today is where I am.

That may sound a bit morbid, but it actually has been a beautiful and helpful way to experience things… Particularly when I’m uncomfortable.

Now that we are in the final months there are moments that I can’t help but wish for the hip stretching and lower back pain to just go away. I think about how much I wish we could be at due day already so that I could have my little one in my arms…. but I’m always brought back to remembering how grateful I am that I’m able to have these experiences. I still have fears about whether we’ll really ever get to meet her. I would rather be uncomfortable now and wait for the right time, than wish the time away and take it for granted.

Today I am 33 weeks and 2 days. Sure, I immediately started counting down the days until she will be big enough for a safe full term delivery… but then I stop myself. These last 7 weeks are going to be some of the hardest to get through patiently, but they are important. With patience we WILL get through them one way or another. Now more than ever I need to remember to stay present in each day, to not look forward to next week, never being satisfied with how far we ARE.

The more I focus on today, each day, the faster the journey to Feb 26th will be.


3 Pregnant Short Girl Problems

1) We aren’t getting taller, just wider. We still need short/ankle length pants! If you think finding regular pants in the right length is hard in normal pants, good luck with preggo pants!

2) Realizing how often I lean on my tummy to reach things… like the faucet in the kitchen. It just seems to get further away each week. Not to mention that I now wipe the counter with the underside of my belly in the bathroom when I reach for the soap!

3) There’s not much room to grow in this itty bitty frame. Hello quickly expanding waistline (and everything-else-line).

Sometimes it can be funny having a basketball under your shirt, and I’m sure some of these are things that even our long legged friends experience during their pregnancies. I’ll admit, as tough as some things are, I’m enjoying the journey as we get closer to D-day (delivery day).

The Day that Almost Was

Tomorrow is significant for what it’s not.

It was the day that we thought we might have our first child. It was the day that I memorized immediately after finding out we were pregnant last February. It was my due date.

Now, it’s just Sunday.

It may seem silly to hold on to the date, like it once held some magic. Especially silly since most babies aren’t born on their due date. Truth is, the baby measured small at that first and only ultrasound. They probably would have moved the date¬†about 4 days like they did this time around. But still, the anticipation of November 2nd has stuck with me.

In April all I could think was, “Oh G*d, I hope we are pregnant again by Nov 2nd, or I’m not sure how I’ll manage the day.” In truth, sitting here almost 6 months pregnant it does seem to ease a bit of the hurt. The loss. But I can’t shake the feeling that something was taken. That this day was supposed to mean something.

Sometimes when I get sad thinking about the first baby, I remind myself that I am grateful for the one inside me now. Maybe, just maybe it had to happen this way so that we’d get this particular little spirit, due on the very same day we found out we were pregnant with the first.

Sometimes I think I’m silly for mourning something that really almost never was. Just 12 weeks. But, in my heart I know fiercely that I felt that little spirit with me… And I felt them leave. It was like someone had left the room. Like the opposite of the feeling you get when someone is watching you, the feeling of absence.

Have a very merry unbirthday little one.

You are missed. You are loved. You were, and I will never be the same.


For more on our experience with pregnancy loss: