I found out I really was pregnant on the day of my last final in the first semester of my final year in University. We really weren’t sure I was pregnant before that because hey – a lot of stress can cause a missed period and finals and papers are stressful! Pregnancy during university meant I didn’t have much time to look into preparing for a baby. Even with parenting videos and birthing classes, if I could go back I would do a lot of things differently. And now that I am pregnant again let me share with you what I learned from the first time, and what we are doing differently this time!
This is a big difference from my first pregnancy. I watched videos on the sort of stretching and breathing exercises to do while pregnant last time, but I never remembered to follow through on them. Come delivery, my body did not know what it was doing. Also, maybe I kept my epidural dose a little too high close to pushing time. But I digress. Stretching, and later on practising breathing exercises, really could have helped me handle delivery better. So this time I made a plan. I looked up safe exercises to do while pregnant and originally narrowed it down to four. Then I found pictures of them all and typed a name for each activity underneath. After that I printed the document and started trying it out.
It turns out doing a “plank” is really hard when you aren’t already in shape. I cut that one from the routine. And after Little Fox destroyed the first paper printed the doc without that one. (Note: don’t leave reminder papers in reach of small children)!
Having the sheet out is a visible reminder for what I need to do to prepare my body for delivery. If the paper is somewhere I don’t see it, I don’t do the exercises. I was doing the stretches daily until we moved, and then I stopped. I didn’t put the paper somewhere I’d look and remember. Moving the sheet is all it takes to build that habit back into my routine! I’m not going to advise you on what exercises and stretches to do, because I am not a doctor and don’t know much. Your doctor probably has some good recommendations for what is safe and helpful.
Planning Meals for Newborn Month in Advance
I’ve never really been comfortable in the kitchen. This is a skill I am slowly working on. Meal planning is also something I’ve been looking into, and we do have some basic plans in place for that. But that isn’t what I mean by planning meals for the month we have a newborn.
Not enough sleep, two little ones to look after, and suddenly it’s time to eat. What am I going to do? When Little Fox was born, I probably ate too many granola bars and not enough of anything else. The bars were conveniently by where I nursed, and didn’t require any work. I regret that we didn’t have more frozen foods and pre-cooked meals for me to eat during that time. And this time, besides myself, I’m also going to have a toddler to feed. I want to do better than just relying on granola bars for a month this time.
What we are doing to fix that is simple. We’re planning some easy frozen meals that can be quickly reheated for me and Little Fox. My mother in law is basically and expert in freezing foods. She’s helped me out a lot since Little Fox’s birth by cooking and freezing chicken for us, among other things. I’m going to work with her to stock the freezer with healthy and nutritious foods for at least three weeks. And I’m leaving room in the budget for some frozen meals from the grocery store if we run out too quickly.
On a related note, we got paper plates and cups for when we moved so that we could use them during the first week of unpacking. Only we bought from Costco so we have some leftover from the bulk amounts. These are being saved to use when our new baby is born. Less dishes means a less stressed overtired Mama!
Listening to My Body – And Resting
When I was in university it was easy to sit around a lot of the time, for studying and classes. But I also had classes which were far-ish apart with only ten minutes between them. And by then I’d need a bathroom break too. Because pregnant. Sometimes I think I pushed myself harder than I should have. I had friends in both classes (one of which had two older children and therefore understood pregnancy. What I should have done was asked for help carrying my backpack between those classes. Or for one of those friends to tell the professor I might be two-three minutes late. I also rushed to catch the bus a few times. While waiting is inconvenient (and the standing uncomfortable) I should have been more relaxed.
Now that I have a 16 month old, I have even more reason not to relax. Little Fox is always making messes, pulling things apart, and eating/making dishes. There is always cleaning or tidying I could be doing. And while I can sit still on one spot of the floor to play with her, Little Fox is wandering everywhere. All the time.
This pregnancy I am being extra mindful of how my body is doing. Am I feeling warm? A little dizzy? Thirsty? Tired? By paying attention to how my body is feeling I can rest when I need to. It is still hard not to push myself to keep working, especially as Little Fox trashes the living room. Thankfully, with my organizing systems, when I am feeling well it takes me 10 minutes or less to clean up even her worst messes!
Making Busy Bags
I’ve been gathering craft supplies from the Dollar Tree and Amazon to put together Busy Bags. I was listening to a homeschool podcast when I heard a mom talk about these. She uses them to keep the little ones busy while she does school with the older kids. But I found they are also recommended by moms to entertain a toddler while breastfeeding a baby. Since we want a large family, these will have a long shelf life in our family. I loved this official busy bags book, which contains various ideas adaptable to various young ages and stages. (Amazon.com currently has a sale on this book)!
Along with ideas from the busy bag book, I am keeping a couple sensory activities ready and planned for Little Fox to try after our new child is born. Painting construction paper with water, for example. I am going to make a list of activities and supplies in advance. Then when I can’t think of what to do, I’ll check my list and viola, an activity ready to go!
Taking Advantage of Having Two Free Hands
After Little Fox was born, I was surprised at how much I couldn’t do with one hand. To be honest I hadn’t really thought about if before. Even though my mother in law brought it up. Newborns sleep a lot… I thought that meant lots of time to myself! Well it didn’t because it turned out I needed the sleep too.
This time I’m doing all the projects I’m interested in before the little one comes. Making the “Busy Bags” I mentioned above is on my priority list. I also plan to get stuff together for my husband’s birthday (which should be a month and a half to two months after new baby comes). Other things I want to do include adding more recent stuff to Little Fox’s baby book, crafting, and reading some of my larger books that are hard to hold in one hand. (With all my rest on the couch time, the reading plans are going quite well).
A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy
This is definitely my favourite pregnancy book. I did use this last pregnancy, but I didn’t get it until later in the pregnancy. This time I get to enjoy it from the beginning. Even if you are in your last trimester, I think this book is a lovely read. There are several mom contributors who talk about their different experiences of pregnancy, and discuss some of the challenges that may be faced during pregnancy. Aside from that wealth of information, the author goes through the mysteries of the rosary and relates them to the experience of pregnancy. Every week there is spiritual homework and prayers for your pregnancy. I love it. I am going to use this for all my pregnancies! And that is why I am highly recommending it to you.
Special Offer Baby Registry
As I have mentioned before, we are working with Amazon to present you with affiliate links. When you click on those links and make a purchase on Amazon, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. This money goes towards supporting our family’s ministry and building up this blog. But Amazon does more than just sell products, and that is why we want to let you know about these special deals.
First of all, a special offer going on with Amazon.ca right now! If you build a baby registry and add $50 of Seventh Generation products (they do eco-friendly diapers, wipes, and cleaning products, you could have a chance to win $2500 of products from your registry! Amazing right? You have until December 31st, 2018, to be entered into the sweepstakes. You will be automatically entered by having the Seventh Generation products in your registry. How easy is that? Click the banner below to enter.
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