Celebrating Pregnancy Month by Month

Celebrating Pregnancy Month by Month | RaisingArrows.netCarrying a new little life is such a blessing!  Every pregnancy, I try to find ways to celebrate the new life within.  Despite morning sickness, aches and pains, and fears, it is important to me to try to find even the tiniest of ways to celebrate these amazing months I have been blessed with.  Today, I want to share with you some of these the celebrations!

I’ve put together a Celebrating Pregnancy printable to print off and keep handy throughout your pregnancy.  I’ve also included links and other ideas below that show these celebrations in action!

Month 1:
Learn a New Skill

Celebrating Pregnancy Month by Month - Month 1:  Learn a New Skill (post includes tons of ideas and a FREE printable!) | RaisingArrows.netMost women don’t even know they are pregnant at this point, so purposefully celebrating your pregnancy will be a tad bit difficult.  However, if you are planning to become pregnant (and even if you are not!), this is a great time to celebrate by learning a new skill that has “baby inclinations”.  Think quilting, diaper making, crocheting or knitting, cake decorating or scrapbooking.  Craftsy.com has some great online classes you can take, or ask another crafty friend to walk you through the process!

Month 2:
Host a Freezer Meal Party

Celebrating Pregnancy Month by Month - Month 2:  Host a Freezer Meal Party!  (post includes tons of ideas & a FREE printable!) | RaisingArrows.netYou’ve had the excitement of seeing that pregnancy test turn positive, now what?  Most women deal with some sort of “slow down” in their life in the first trimester, either due to morning sickness or exhaustion or other factors.  Month 2 (before you start this slow down) is a great time to have a Freezer Meal Party!  These meals are not for when the baby is born, but rather for the days when you are just too tired or too sick to cook in the first trimester.

Freezer Meal Party Pinterest Board
Organizing a Freezer Meal Party with Friends
Host a Slow Cooker Freezer Meal Party
Freezer to Slow Cooker Printable Menu

Month 3:
Luxuriate

Celebrating Pregnancy Month by Month - Month 3:  Luxuriate (post included tons of ideas + a FREE printable!) | RaisingArrows.netYou are probably still not feeling your best, so now is the perfect time to do some at-home pampering.  I enjoy long Epsom salt baths with candles and music, followed by some yummy smelling lotion.  A really luxurious bath product is Philosophy Cinnamon Buns Bath Gel (don’t croak when you see the price – it is worth every penny – as long as you keep it out of the reach of little hands!).  Be sure to go with smells that do not bother you.  Sniff them in the store before you buy!  Light the candles, slip into a nice, warm bath, and turn on your favorite music.

As for music, listen to something that relaxes you.  A new feature from Amazon that I am really enjoying is Amazon Prime Music.  There is a huge list of FREE albums/songs that you can listen to from your phone, tablet, or computer.  I really like piano music and Enya, so I have a lot of Enya’s albums in the my list as well as The Piano Guys and George Winston.  All you have to do is download the app and start searching for your favorites!

Month 4:
Enjoy Nature

Celebrating Pregnancy Month by Month - Month 4:  Enjoy Nature (post includes tons of ideas + FREE printable) | RaisingArrows.netNow that you are starting to feel better, it’s time to soak up some nature and take time to reflect and look forward.  Think about the past several months, plan for the next several.  Talk to baby.  Pray.  Really take the time to see the world around you.  Enjoy the sunshine, the rain, the trees, the flowers, the intricate details of creation.  You and your baby are a part of that amazing gift of creation.  Don’t squander the time.

Month 5:
Plan Date Nights and Outings with Your Spouse

Celebrating Pregnancy Month by Month - Month 5:  Plan Date Nights and Outings with your Spouse (post includes tons a ideas + FREE printable) | RaisingArrows.net

You’re feeling that 2nd Trimester awesomeness, so take advantage of it!  Sit down with your spouse and plan out some fun outings and date nights.  Go to places you haven’t been before.  Take a day trip, or even an overnight excursion!  Talk about baby plans, and relish your time!

Month 6:
Buy (or Make) Something New For You

Celebrating Pregnancy Month by Month - Month 6:  Buy (or Make) Something New for You ( post includes tons of ideas + FREE printable) | RaisingArrows.net

Now is the time to indulge that ever-expanding belly with something new!  If you are super-crafty, you can make something, but I prefer to purchase something instead.  I typically end up purchasing maternity clothes, but whatever you choose, make it something you can use NOW.  I would encourage you to buy at least one piece that is brand new and super nice because you will have it for years (and babies) to come.

Rainbow Maternity Skirt - Celebrating Pregnancy Month by Month - Month 6 My favorite purchase this time around was a Rainbow Denim Maternity Skirt from Deborah & Co.  (Today through Labor Day, you can use code: LABORDAY5 to get $5 off any $50 order and orders of $100 or more receive a FREE SCARF included in their package!  Scarves are one of my favorite maternity accessories! Click HERE to start shopping!)

Month 7:
Do Something Nice for Yourself

Celebrating pregnancy Month by Month - Month 7:  Do Something Nice for Yourself (post includes tons of ideas + FREE printable) | RaisingArrows.netWhat is that one thing you would really like to do, but just don’t seem to do for yourself?  Is it a new haircut?  Maybe a massage?  Perhaps it is a piece of jewelry to celebrate your pregnancy?  This month do something fun that is just for you!

Due Date Jewelry
Coming Soon Necklace
Ring My Neck – necklace for when your ring no longer fits
Massage & Pregnancy article

Month 8:
Buy (or Make) Something New for Baby

Celebrating Pregnancy Month by Month - Month 8:  Buy (or make) Something New for Baby (post includes tons of resources + FREE printable) | RaisingArrows.net

Even if you don’t know baby’s gender, you can purchase something this month that is just for baby.  This is my 9th baby, but I still feel it is super important to get something that is just for THIS baby.  One thing I’ve done this time around is order several products from Mother’s Lounge.  I have a coupon code that will get you these products FREE FOR SHIPPING!

RAISINGARROWS9
is the code and the products you can get include:

nursing pillow
baby leggings
baby sling
car seat cover
nursing cover

(The above links are individual sites.  You can use the code on each site!)

Month 9:  
Host a Baby Tea or Another Freezer Meal Party

Celebrating Pregnancy Month by Month - Month 9:  Host a Baby Tea or Another Freezer Meal Party (post includes tons of ideas + FREE printable) | RaisingArrows.net

A Baby Tea isn’t like hosting your own baby shower, but more like hosting a tea party with your girlfriends.  It’s not about gifts, but about swapping birth stories and encouragement and savoring those final days of pregnancy.

Sample Baby Tea Menu:
Red Raspberry Tea
Mini Baby Rattle Cupcakes (or keep it simple and just have mini cupcakes)
Onesie Sugar Cookies
Baby Bib Petite Sandwiches

Have a basket with slips of paper for everyone to write favorite labor verses and well wishes for the new baby.

Labor & Delivery Verses
Scripture Meditations for the Overdue Mama
Scriptural Encouragement for Preparing & Giving Birth

If you aren’t wanting to do a Baby Tea, then how about another Freezer Meal Party to put away meals for after baby arrives?  Enjoy the time with friends and family!

DOWNLOAD CELEBRATING YOUR PREGNANCY MONTH BY MONTH PRINTABLE!


Celebrating Pregnancy
Trimester by Trimester

I also wanted to include some Trimester by Trimester ideas for you since babies are unpredictable and can often come before 9 months or well after 9 months.

1st Trimester Ideas:

Come up with a fun way to announce your pregnancy to your husband, your children, your extended family and friends.

Get a basket and keep lots of fruit on hand in the basket for easy snacks and great nutritional value.  Treat yourself to some fruits you haven’t tried before.

Watch baby shows on television or online.

Make freezer meals for those days when you aren’t feeling up to cooking.

Read my Ultimate Guide to Morning Sickness – just in case ;)

Start a Pregnancy Journal.

Take long baths.

Play relaxing music.

Make a Baby Ticker to put in your emails, on your blog, or to post to social media.  Here’s mine:

baby development

2nd Trimester Ideas:

Get outside and enjoy nature.

Plan some time with your spouse.

Buy some new or new-to-you maternity clothes.

Have fun trying to predict baby’s gender.

Get a massage.

Get a manicure or pedicure or both.

Play music for baby.

Talk to baby and relish this time.

Plan some fun activities to do with your other children.

3rd Trimester Ideas:

Make a Daily Final Countdown.

Make a list of things you need for baby.

Make a list of things you need to take to the hospital.

Get the baby things ready and create a precious space just for baby (no matter how small it may be).

Buy something new for baby.

Make something for baby.

Host a low-key tea party with your friends and family.

My Pregnancy & Babies board on Pinterest

Pregnancy & Babies board on Pinterest - Celebrating Pregnancy Month by Month | RaisingArrows.net

 Have a blessed 9 months!

Week 23 Pregnancy Update

baby development
This past week has felt very busy, but a good busy. Because of the Simplified Organization eCourse, I’ve been steadily working through the difficult areas of our home with my husband and children. There are boxes my husband is going through that haven’t been gone through in several moves!  It feels so good to be finding homes for everything!

We also had our carpets cleaned by a friend from church who does that type of thing professionally.  When we moved into this rental, the carpets had been “cleaned”, but sadly, I think our landlords got taken by whatever company was doing the job because the job was not done.  The carpets look so much better now!

I was so thankful that we were already well on our way through the decluttering and organizing process when we had the carpets cleaned because moving furniture and other items was not nearly the chore it would have been had nothing had a home.

Now, everything feels fresh for baby’s arrival…even though we are still 4 months out!

I have a doctor’s appointment this week.  Many of you know from previous pregnancies that we travel quite a distance to go to an obstetrician who will VBAC me.  I am a VBA2C (Vaginal Birth After 2 Cesareans), so not many doctors will even see me.  (You can read my Birthing Story HERE.)

I always look forward to my appointments because they help to mark the time until baby arrives.  We have also been blessed with doctors who are more like friends than doctors.  And of course, the windshield time driving the distance to the appointment with Ty is always welcome. :)

A couple of pregnancy-related things I’ve noticed this past week…
1.  If I don’t take my magnesium, I get Restless Legs something fierce.
2.  I am having pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel this pregnancy.

Both of these things I’ve had in the past to varying degrees.  The carpal tunnel actually started following my 2nd child’s birth.  My family doctor at the time informed me that pregnancy hormones will create carpal tunnel like issues that eventually resolve themselves.  Sure enough, a few months later, the symptoms were gone.

This time around, the symptoms started coming on this past week – 22 weeks.  Any repetitive motion tends to aggravate it.  My best tip is to pretend you have a rubber band strung between your thumb and pinky and stretch your hand in and out to relieve the tingling.  It always makes me very grateful I only have to deal with this during pregnancy.  I feel for the people who deal with this all time.

Restless Legs (RLS) is much the same way.  There are people who deal with this condition outside of pregnancy.  I know mine has a stopping point no matter how crazy I feel.  For those who live with it day in and day out, I would highly suggest looking into a magnesium deficiency.

I don’t have any decent photos from this past week because I was too busy working on the house, but you can imagine me with my hair piled on top of my head, humming to The Piano Guys, with tomato-stained hands sifting through years of junk in boxes we keep moving form house to house!

Have a blessed and productive week!

Week 22 Pregnancy Update

baby development

So….
Is anyone else ready for Autumn?

It has been a HOT week here and it seems more of the same is to come.  August is always hot here, so I’m certainly ready for September and {hopefully} cooler temps!

Take a look at that ticker, would ya!  11 inches!  Baby is nearly a foot long!  So amazing!  I am really getting anxious to meet this little one.  In fact, this past week, I’ve done some early nesting projects.

1.  Working on rearranging our bedroom to accommodate the baby.  In the process, I hung up our BABY sign and the mother and baby sketch by Breezy Brookshire.

Baby sign & sketch from Breezy Tulip Studio

You can read about how we make a special place for baby without a nursery in this post.

2.  Washing up baby clothes, sunning them (because they always end up stained after being stored no matter how clean they were when you put them away!), and going through cloth diapers.

I really pared down my diaper stash this past year (thank you, Vanessa, for helping me sell them!), so I’m looking for a few more to add, plus, make a few of my own just for this baby.  I’ll probably add a couple of Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers (they are my favorite little baby covers) and maybe some Kissaluvs (I used to own a couple of these and loved them!).

The diapers I make will be a cotton print or flannel outer and sherpa or cotton velour inner.  I’ve thought about purchasing the Very Baby pattern, but haven’t quite convinced myself (anyone want to convince me?).

3.  I’ve been canning & preserving like crazy!  Despite the fact my hips lock up regularly while working in the kitchen, I have still managed to do up hundreds of tomatoes and sandhill plums.  Next week, I’ll have a post linking to all the recipes I have used this season!

Tomatoes!

4.  I’m also trying to declutter the house.  There just seems to be too much stuff in this house!  This week, I’ve gotten rid of 2 large garbage bags of stuff and I’m hoping for more!

I really need to go through our basement, but that feels almost impossible.  We had a flood earlier in the summer and everything was thrown onto pallets in haste.  I’m not sure where anything is and going down there just stresses me out.  Ty and I joke about cleaning it the next time we move…but, frankly, that’s not very funny.

Baby is moving well.  Garin, our 3 year old, loves to feel baby move and talk to baby and tell baby he loves him/her (he waffles between the two genders ;) ).  I always tell him baby loves him to, and he always asks how I know.  I tell him to put his ear to mommy’s tummy and listen closely.  He thinks that is very funny…which makes his dimples show…which makes his mama smile.

Garin on trampoline in Colorado

(these are photos of Garin on our recent vacation to the mountains -
the trampoline made his hair all crazy)

The Ultimate Guide to Morning Sickness Resources

The Ultimate Guide to Morning Sickness Remedies | RaisingArrows.netBefore I became pregnant with my first child, I could count on one hand the number of times I had thrown up.  Now, I am quite familiar with the nausea and vomiting that seem to plague my pregnancies.

While I do not think there is one answer for every person out there, I do think there are things that work for some and things that at least ease the morning sickness for others.

This post is a compilation of things I have tried, things I have heard of from others, and also general coping tactics for those weeks when the couch holds you hostage.  I’m going to include my own personal notes, but please know this morning sickness thing is super personal and what works for one might not work for another and vice-versa.  (Note:  any ideas and suggestions you have will be added to the list…well, as long as they aren’t too off the wall ;) )

My only disclaimer is that I’m not a doctor, I’m just a mom who has lived through this thing called morning sickness 9 times over in the last 16 years.

Expert?  No.  Field tester?  Most definitely!

And frankly, for some of us this thing called morning sickness is a trial that must be endured.  I’m not in the camp of people who believe every ailment our human bodies go through is fixable.  Sometimes morning sickness is that “thorn in the flesh” Paul speaks of in the Bible, and that is where faith meets fire.  From there, it is up to us to be willing to make a sacrifice of love toward this new little person being knit within.

(Another Disclaimer:  Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a serious condition in pregnancy.  If your vomiting is continual, you are losing a significant amount of weight, and cannot keep anything down for 24 hours or more, please see your doctor.)

Over-the-Counter “Traditional” Remedies:
Seabands
Emetrol
Um…neither of these worked…at all.
Unisom & B6 combo – Unisom at night, B6 in the morning, many people swear by this.  It did help me some.

Prescription Medicines (always use with well-informed caution):
ZofranI have a friend who considered this her “miracle drug.”  While it allowed me to actually sit up, it by no means stopped the vomiting.  You can read about my experience with it last pregnancy HERE.  By the way, it does cause constipation.
ReglanCauses severe drowsiness and did not work for me.
ProchlorperazineSome say it is safe, others say no.  I took one pill of Compazine and had a panic attack.  And no, the vomiting did not stop.
Decletin – Common in Canada, but a lot of controversy surrounding its safety.
B ShotI thought it worked for a bit.  Then, it didn’t.

Natural Remedies:
Ginger - I drank ginger tea with a couple of my babies.  It helps while you drink it.  Afterward, not so much…but it does give you something to throw up.  Sorry, just being honest.  My favorite was from Earth Mama.  You can also buy Ginger Gum.
1 TBSP of hydrated Bentonite clay in the morning (with a cup of water or juice) - the idea of this grosses me out, but I had a reader say it worked.
Baby Bliss - I really wanted this to work.  It didn’t.
Higher Protein Diet
Lemon Ice - Fill a blender jar/pitcher with ice, peel and seed a lemon, add a little water or sprite and then blend to snow cone consistency. Eat small spoonfuls. (from Betty at Peace Creek on the Prairie)
MagnesiumYou can read how this was working for me at 9 weeks and how I was using it – magnesium oil, Epsom Salts, supplements.  This did help, but it did not take the vomiting away completely and it was very easy to get “behind” on keeping my magnesium stores full.
Juice Fastagain, this is something I just don’t think I could stomach, but I do know someone who benefitted from this greatly.
Acupuncture/MassageWhile I have never used acupuncture, I can attest to how much better I felt when my oldest daughter would give me a back and neck massage.  She would often do this at night to put me to sleep – which frankly, was often the best morning sickness reprieve.
Giving into your Cravings - for me, what I craved was often the only thing I would keep down.
Ocean MineralsI don’t really know anything about this, but a reader suggested them as a big help to her.
Preggie Pops (or other hard candy) – I am NOT a hard candy fan, but it does help me during pregnancy…especially when I have to be in a car.  One reader mentioned mint flavors helping, and I agree.
Avoid sugar & caffeine - honestly, neither one of these appeal to me when I’m feeling sick.
Beans – um…I hate beans…pregnant or not, but one commenter says they cured her morning sickness when she ate them every couple of hours.
Peppermint Oil – I’ve heard mixed opinions about whether or not peppermint oil is safe during pregnancy.  I chose to use it as aromatherapy only.  It was not uncommon for me to  go to sleep at night with a bottle of peppermint oil in my hand because I would lay there and take occasional whiffs of it.  A diffuser necklace might be a good idea here.
Kombucha Tea – This is a fermented tea that we drink fairly regularly, but when I’m sick, I don’t do a good job taking care of my scoby.  Might have to rethink this next time.
Alkalizing your body – This I had not heard of, but you can find more information in this post from Sacred Mommyhood.
Lemon/Lime – I did eat quite a few lime juice freezer pops.

 

Homeopathic Remedies:
Pegasus Homeopathics v.m.t 30C
Sepia

Other:
Soda (some say particularly Coca-Cola) 
- This helped me for about a week and then it just made me sicker.  It’s like my body gets used to a remedy and decides it doesn’t work anymore!  One reader mentioned Virgil’s Root Beer as a huge help to her.

Blog articles, websites, and books on morning sickness and handling every day life:

The Protein/Morning Sickness Connection from Raising Arrows
Morning Sickness and My To-Do List from Raising Arrows
Homeschooling and the Morning Sickness Factor from Raising Arrows
Suffering in Pregnancy (an anonymous guest post on Raising Arrows)
My Morning Sickness Story from Artful Homemaking
Coping with Morning Sickness from Sacred Mommyhood
MyMorningSickness.com - If I remember right, years ago, the information on this site was free; however, it looks to me like it is now in ebook form, but there is still a lot of free content on the site.
Trust & Obey (used to be Whining Puker) – her left hand sidebar has all the information from her posts on hyperemesis gravidarum (my spell checker doesn’t even want to accept those as words, but trust me, they are)
Morning Sickness Survival
from A Mama’s Story
How to Spiritually Survive Morning Sickness from The Modest Mom Blog
How to Physically Survive Morning Sickness from The Modest Mom Blog
Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize – I have not read this.
Pink Stork – Site with products dedicated to relieving morning sickness.

I also have a chapter on morning sickness in my ebook Large Family Homeschooling because let’s face it, if you have a lot of kiddos and you homeschool, chances are, you’ve homeschooled with morning sickness. ;)

Large Family Homeschooling - releases April 1!

Feel free to talk amongst yourselves about any of these “remedies” and anything else you may have found that helps.  Or, if nothing else, feel free to commiserate with one another.  ;)  Some day, you won’t feel so awful anymore, but I know in the midst of it all, it feels as if that day will never come.  ((HUGS))

Week 21 Pregnancy Update

baby development

Baby weighs almost a pound according to the ticker above!  Yippee!!

This past week our family took a vacation to Colorado.  I didn’t sleep real well, but I did have plenty of time to read and relax and enjoy the cooler mountain air.  I have lots of food for thought that to share that will most certainly make it to the blog sometime in the coming months!

Amy_Ty North Clear Creek Falls

I’ve hit the point in pregnancy where people assume I am due any day.  I am often asked when I’m due, and my answer is always, “Not until December.”  I’m not sure when December won’t seem so very far away, but for now prefacing my answer with the words “not until” seems like the thing to do.

The topic of baby names has begun to be something we’re kicking around.  We already had a couple of boy names picked out (I guess when you have a string of boys, you tend to think you’ll only have boys and that’s what you naturally gravitate toward?), but we are starting to come up with a few girl names as well.  We don’t really like to share the names we are considering because there’s really no sense in people giving us their opinion of our choice prior to baby’s birth.  Once baby is here, they can’t do much about the name we’ve chosen. ;)

Oh, and for those of you who are desperately wondering if we found out what gender baby is at our 19 week sonogram, the answer is…sort of.  Those of you who have followed Raising Arrows through several pregnancies know that we never let the sonographer tell us what the baby is, but we always look for ourselves.  It leaves that “shadow of a doubt” in our minds and keeps us still wondering until baby arrives.  Do we have an inkling?  Yes.  Am I going to tell you?  Nope.

Now, what do we do about our inklings?  Well, I tend to make up a few diapers and other little things in that gender.  I also pull out just a few gowns and onesies that are gender-specific.  However, the bulk majority of items I prepare for baby are gender neutral.  We have plenty of these to keep us stocked until mama feels like rifling through clothes tubs to find the more gender-specific items after baby arrives.

Such an exciting time!

So, do you find out if you are having a boy or a girl?  How do you handle prepping baby things?  

Week 20 Pregnancy Update

I know this update is going to seem like it came on the heels of last week’s update since I waited until my mid-week sonogram, but hey, 20 weeks is something to celebrate!

baby development

HALFWAY THERE!!!

20 weeks always sort of sneaks up on me, but it is such a wonderful surprise!  Like I said last week, I begin to finally feel like planning for baby’s arrival at 20 weeks.  It’s all downhill from here, and often it goes really fast (at least it does until maybe the last month :) ).  So, you’ll probably see me pinning things to my Pregnancy & Baby Pinterest board:

Pregnancy & Babies Pinterest Board from Amy @ RaisingArrows.net

You’ll hopefully find me in my sewing room too!  I always like to make a little something handmade for the new baby.  Sometimes it is a simple quilt or some cute little cloth diapers, but whatever it is, it is specifically for the new baby – never owned/worn/used by another child in the household.

I also got a nursing pillow through NursingPillow.com:
Use Promotion Code raisingarrows9 TODAY!

The code on the graphic above gives you one for FREE (you’ll have to pay shipping, but it was so worth it!).  I’ve never had a “real” nursing pillow, so I’m looking forward to trying it out!

By the way, August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.  While I’ve never had any issues with being able to nurse in public, I know people who have.  Honestly, breastfeeding my babies is one of my favorite parts of having a new baby, and I count it as a privilege and a blessing to do so.  (If you’ve never read my article about breastfeeding Emily, I’d encourage you to do so.  I’ve also written about my Breastfeeding Journey in a series of posts HERE, but it could use an update since it ended with Baby #7).

What’s your favorite part of having a new baby?  I’d love to hear what things about that newborn stage are precious to you!