I Had a Baby

I had a baby. I had a baby! I HAD A BABY! And I love her so goddamn much!

Ahhhhh!

Truthfully, I spent a good part of my life not sure if I’d ever have a child. I had a tough relationship with my parents, and that put me off having kids for a really long time. I was terrified I’d never be able to break the cycle of abuse and figured that the best and only way to ensure that didn’t happen was to not have children at all.

But then I met Bill. He, the army of friends I amassed, time, and lots of therapy helped me figure out how to communicate better and I realized I am not my parents and I could have a child and treat him or her the way I’d always wished I’d been treated.

Bill and I spent years creating an incredible life together. And then we decided it was so damn good we should add a baby. Now we have a beautiful baby girl. And I have been working every single day to make sure that she knows she’s fiercely loved, that the world is hers to conquer if she so pleases, that she doesn’t answer to anyone but herself, and that her happiness is the only thing that matters.

The Labor

I went into labor on June 27, 2019, after being scheduled for a c-section that night (I was already more than a week overdue). My water broke at around 1:30 a.m., but I wasn’t having any contractions, so I wasn’t convinced I was actually in labor. When Bill found me in the bathroom Googling “water broke no contractions what to do,” he insisted I shower and we go to the hospital. It was the right move! In the shower, my contractions leapt to 4-5 minutes apart.

But we were in for a long labor: 24 hours of it. I spent 23 hours of that actually laboring. I had irregular contractions until about 7 a.m., then the nurses put me on Pitocin to help the labor along. I lasted until about noon before the contractions were so painful I couldn’t handle it and requested an epidural. Can I just say that epidurals are INCREDIBLE? That was pretty much the only reason I survived the next 12ish hours as I absolutely crawled toward labor, hardly making any progress at all, before my doctor declared we’d need to do a c-section at around 12 midnight on June 28. The c-section was intense, as I got a little too much anesthesia and ended up numb from the neck down—but I survived.

Then, at 1:22 a.m., Bill and I said hello to our little Maya Papaya.

IMG_3702

Hi, Maya Papaya

Welcoming Maya into the world was completely surreal. It suddenly hit us: we have a baby! There are so many emotions those first few days (joy, excitement, fear, exhaustion), but mostly we were just plain happy. We’d look at this sweet little girl and her tiny fingers and toes and it was impossible not to feel like your heart might just burst. We had only just met her but we already loved her so, so much.

The first few days in the hospital were magical, totally crazy, and went by in a complete blur. It was almost like a fever dream. You’re sleep deprived and then you’re holding a tiny peanut that’s your baby but your body is also recovering and everyone wants to come visit and you’re trying to figure out how to care for this helpless little ball of sunshine that you love a painful amount and it’s a lot.

We were so happy to go home four days later so that we could happily start our new life.

IMG_3831

The First Six Weeks

The first few weeks have been beautiful and tough, with every minute feeling like its own kind of adventure. Bill and I are figuring out how to be parents while Maya is figuring out how to be a baby. I’ll say it’s gotten much easier, though each new day brings something a little different. Maya has already taught me that sometimes I just need to roll with it, come what may.

IMG_5679

Our first baby, Obi, has been a wonderful big brother to Maya. He’s wildly protective of her, checking on her whenever she makes a noise. (So, he hasn’t been getting much rest either!) When she’s upset, he’ll try to bring her his toy to cheer her up. He’s a good boy!

IMG_5916

Challenges and Breastfeeding

There have been a few challenges. Sleep, of course, is one, though we’ve settled into a bit of a pattern now. Maya’s initial slow weight gain was another, though she seems to be growing like a weed now. Breastfeeding has been another.

Breastfeeding is a little tough to talk about because there is so much judgment. The whole ‘breast is best’ mentality in many “mom circles” can be annoying at best and soul crushing at worst. I have always subscribed to the ‘fed is best‘ mentality, AKA do what you gotta do to get your little peanut fed and happy! And I went into my pregnancy thinking I would try breastfeeding but not be upset with myself if it didn’t work out. But the hospital we were in pushed breastfeeding really hard and I’m not immune from the world around me, either; I hear them loud and clear when they tell me to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months to a year.

For me, though breastfeeding logistically has worked out so well (Maya is a natural), my supply has been low from the beginning thanks to my PCOS, so exclusively breastfeeding has never been an option. Despite my casual attitude about breastfeeding going into pregnancy, the self-imposed guilt I’ve felt these last few weeks for combo feeding has been enormous. I have only, just this week, begun to be OK with it. I’m happy to share that after a long few weeks of mental anguish surrounding breastfeeding, I’m finally feeling confident in combo feeding and eager for those tough feelings to soon will be a distant memory.

Support and Sustenance

We’ve had lots of visitors and helpers, and my friends have been incredible by bringing me and Bill meals to help get us through those first couple of weeks. That whole it-takes-a-village thing is never more true than when you’ve had two hours of sleep and you can’t remember the last time you ate!

I’ve kept myself sane in the wee hours of the night by watching Whitney Port’s “I Love My Baby, But…” series on YouTube, and chatting on Reddit/Facebook with a community of women who’ve all had babies in June. On the non-baby-related front, I’ve also been listening to the Gilmore Guys podcast and binge-watching “The Hills” because of course.

However, by far the most important thing that’s kept me sane and happy has been Bill. Before we had Maya, we vowed to continue to prioritize our relationship as best we could. So we are doing our best to make sure the other person feels loved and supported during this crazy time. Bill is the best partner and co-parent I could ever have imagined. He’s so good with Maya and teaches me new things every day. I love watching him be a papa to her and she absolutely lights up whenever he’s around. It’s really magical. He’s also so good to me, not just offering help when he doesn’t have to but taking time to make sure that I’m doing well, too. I’m really lucky.

Maya_20.jpg

Onward

Six-week-old Maya is eating and sleeping like a champ. She’s playful and even more wiggly than she was when I was pregnant. She can hold her head up on her own. She mostly doesn’t mind tummy time. She likes warm baths. She loves walks and being nestled in a wrap close to our bodies. She’s able to coo. She recognizes her mama and papa. And now she’s smiling. Her smile is the best thing I’ve ever seen. She has already grown so much and part of me wishes I could freeze time and keep her tiny forever while the other part of me can’t wait to watch her grow and learn and take in this world around her.

Welcome to the world, baby girl. There’s so much for you to explore.

xo.

IMG_6346

I Had a Baby

I had a baby. I had a baby! I HAD A BABY! And I love her so goddamn much!

Ahhhhh!

Maya_20

Truthfully, I spent a good part of my life not sure if I’d ever have a child. I had a tough relationship with my parents, and that put me off having kids for a really long time. I was terrified I’d never be able to break the cycle of abuse and figured that the best and only way to ensure that didn’t happen was to not have children at all.

But then I met Bill. He, the army of friends I amassed, time, and lots of therapy helped me figure out how to communicate better and I realized I am not my parents and I could have a child and treat him or her the way I’d always wished I’d been treated.

I’m so happy Bill and I made that decision because now we have a beautiful baby girl. And I have been working every single day to make sure that she knows she’s loved fiercely, that the world is hers to conquer if she so pleases, that she doesn’t answer to anyone but herself, and that her happiness is the only thing that matters.

The Labor

I went into labor on June 27, 2019, after being scheduled for a c-section that night (I was already more than a week overdue). My water broke at around 1:30 a.m., but I wasn’t having any contractions, so I wasn’t convinced I was actually in labor. When Bill found me in the bathroom Googling “water broke no contractions what to do,” he insisted I shower and we go to the hospital. It was the right move! In the shower, my contractions leapt to 4-5 minutes apart.

But we were in for a long labor: 24 hours of it. I spent 23 hours of that actually laboring. I had irregular contractions until about 7 a.m., then the nurses put me on Pitocin to help the labor along. I lasted until about noon before the contractions were so painful I couldn’t handle it and requested an epidural. Can I just say that epidurals are INCREDIBLE? That was pretty much the only reason I survived the next 12ish hours as I absolutely crawled toward labor, hardly making any progress at all, before my doctor declared we’d need to do a c-section at around 12 midnight on June 28. The c-section was intense, as I got a little too much anesthesia and ended up numb from the neck down—but I survived.

Then, at 1:22 a.m., Bill and I said hello to our little Maya Papaya.

IMG_5650

Hi, Maya Papaya

Welcoming Maya into the world was completely surreal. It suddenly hit us: we have a baby! There are so many emotions those first few days (joy, excitement, fear, exhaustion), but mostly we were just plain happy. We’d look at this sweet little girl and her tiny fingers and toes and it was impossible not to feel like your heart might just burst. We had only just met her but we already loved her so, so much.

The first few days in the hospital were like a fever dream. You’re sleep deprived and then you’re holding a tiny peanut that’s your baby but your body is also recovering and everyone wants to come visit and you’re trying to figure out how to care for this helpless little ball of sunshine that you love a painful amount and it’s a lot.

We were so happy to go home four days later so that we could happily start our new life.

IMG_3831

The First Six Weeks

The first few weeks have been beautiful and tough, with every minute feeling like its own kind of adventure. Bill and I are figuring out how to be parents while Maya is figuring out how to be a baby. I’ll say it’s gotten much easier, though each new day brings something a little different. Maya has already taught me that sometimes I just need to roll with it, come what may.

Plus, Obi has been an amazing big brother! He is so protective of her, watching out for her every time she cries or makes a squeak, and can’t wait till she can play. (He already brings her his toys when she’s upset.)

IMG_5916

Challenges and Breastfeeding

There have been a few challenges. Sleep, of course, is one, though we’ve settled into a bit of a pattern now. Maya’s initial slow weight gain was another, though she seems to be growing like a weed now. Breastfeeding has been another.

Breastfeeding is a little tough to talk about because there is so much judgment around breastfeeding. The whole ‘breast is best’ mentality in the mom community can be annoying at best and completely crushing at worst. I have always subscribed to the ‘fed is best’ mentality, AKA do what you gotta do to get your little peanut fed and happy! But the hospital we were in pushed breastfeeding really hard and I’m not immune from the world around me, either; I hear them loud and clear when they tell me to breastfeed. I went into my pregnancy thinking I would try breastfeeding but not be upset with myself if it didn’t work out.

Here’s the shitty part: breastfeeding has totally worked out, Maya is a natural, but my supply has been low from the beginning as I have PCOS, so exclusively breastfeeding just wasn’t an option. The tremendous self-imposed guilt I’ve felt these last few weeks for combo feeding has been enormous.

However, most of that seemed to fade away this week and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because we’ve settled into a bit of a routine or maybe it’s just because I am learning to be kinder to myself, but as long as Maya is happy and healthy, I am happy and trying not to beat myself up over things out of my control. I’ve finally begun to let go of some of that guilt and just enjoy the ride!

Support and Sustenance

We’ve had lots of visitors and helpers, and my friends have been incredible by bringing me and Bill meals to help get us through those first couple of weeks. That whole it-takes-a-village thing is never more true than when you’ve had two hours of sleep and you can’t remember the last time you ate!

I’ve kept myself sane in the wee hours of the night by watching Whitney Port’s “I Love My Baby, But…” series on YouTube, and chatting on Reddit/Facebook with a community of women who’ve all had babies in June. On the non-baby-related front, I’ve also been listening to the Gilmore Guys podcast and binge-watching “The Hills” because of course.

However, by far the most important thing that’s kept me sane and happy has been Bill. Before we had Maya, we vowed to continue to prioritize our relationship as best we could. So we are doing our best to make sure the other person feels loved and supported during this crazy time. Bill is the best partner and co-parent I could ever have imagined. He’s so good with Maya and teaches me new things every day. I love watching him be a papa to her and she absolutely lights up whenever he’s around. It’s really magical. He’s also so good to me, not just offering help when he doesn’t have to but taking time to make sure that I’m doing well, too. I’m really lucky.

Onward

Six-week-old Maya is eating and sleeping like a champ. She’s playful and even more wiggly than she was when I was pregnant. She can hold her head up on her own. She mostly doesn’t mind tummy time. She likes warm baths. She loves walks and being nestled in a wrap close to our bodies. She’s able to coo. She recognizes her mama and papa. And now she’s smiling. Her smile is the best thing I’ve ever seen. She has already grown so much and part of me wishes I could freeze time and keep her tiny forever while the other part of me can’t wait to watch her grow and learn and create and experience things.

 

Welcome to the world, baby girl. There’s so much for you to explore.

xo.

Things I Did (and Wore) in May 2019

First and foremost: how amazing is this header photo? Bill and I stopped by the Happy Place exhibit in Boston in May and got a ton of great photos, including this one that I will cherish literally forever.

As my pregnancy has ticked on, I’ve continued to take lots less outfit photos than normal. It’s so true that pregnancy takes a toll on your body and your self image in ways you can’t anticipate—and as I’m also recycling the same outfits over and over, I find myself looking at the rest of my closet with total yearning. Sometimes I’ve even attempted to put old outfits on completely forgetting that they won’t fit at all and get disappointed when they don’t look right. Well, duh, you’re growing a baby?

For the month of May, I spent much of my time with friends, wrapping up the semester/commencement season at work, writing, and making the most of my weekends with Bill and Obi: visiting the local zoo, making a day in Boston, running to Ikea. I also celebrated my 31st birthday!

Here’s some of what I wore.

IMG_1967

Outfit details

  • Dress: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors
  • Shoes: Payless

IMG_2497

Outfit details

  • Dress: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Purse: TJ Maxx
  • Shoes: DSW

IMG_2639

Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe Julia
  • Kimono: Amazon
  • Shoes: DSW

And here’s a glimpse into what I did.

xo.

All Bellies Are Good Bellies; All Bodies Are Good Bodies

Just a reminder for the soon-to-be mamas—especially plus-size or fat soon-to-be mamas—out there, in case you needed to hear it…

In case some people have made you feel like your baby bump isn’t desirable

Or it’s too big

Or it’s too small

Or it doesn’t “pop” the way it should

Or it “pops” a little too much

Or it’s a B-bump rather than a traditional round bump

Or “you don’t even look pregnant!”

Or “Oh my God, you’re about to explode!” 

Or your stretch marks feel too prominent

Or you struggle to get off the couch

Or you can’t reach your toes

Or you feel disgusting

Or you have moments of, “For how much longer can I do this?”

Or you hate the way you look

Or you love the way you look but others make you feel like you shouldn’t

Or whatever—

Your body is good. Your baby bump is good. Your belly is good. You are good.

That’s all.

xo.

Baby Showers: Over the Moon with Gratitude

I’ve been feeling super grateful lately, especially as I’ve celebrated Baby C with not one but two baby showers recently.

Truth be told, I was dreading my baby shower. I do not do well as the center of attention in a room full of people where all eyes are on you. That’s one reason Bill and I straight up eloped

But I knew my family was really excited about the addition to our family, so a baby shower felt right. I was feeling really, really fortunate that so many of my loved ones wanted to share in our joy and to celebrate me and Bill and our soon-to-be new addition to the family. And that deserved a little celebrating.

So, with the help of family, we were able to pull together a truly lovely baby shower that kept some traditions in tact and bucked others.

There were no games, the venue was described as “different” by some, and little to no pink despite 1) us having a girl and 2) pink being my favorite color. But we kept the important things: good company, good food, and good gifts. What more can you really ask for?

I got to do it all again, too, when my work family threw me a baby shower, too—and on my 31st birthday, to boot! Talk about a celebration.

Bill and I are still feeling so humbled by the outpouring of love, kindness, generosity, and support from the crew of wonderful family and friends around us as we’ve inched closer to Baby C making her triumphant debut. They say it takes a village, and we have felt that so hard these last few months as everyone has reached out to figure out how they can help—from sharing their gently-loved baby items to pitching in to help with house projects to contributing to baby’s wardrobe or nursery or straight up offering good vibes.

To our people: thank you. Baby C has no idea how lucky she is!

xo.

What I Did (and Wore) in April 2019

Let’s be honest: the last few months have been wrapped up in All Things Baby. Even before I got pregnant, I told myself I wouldn’t let myself get so wrapped up in having a baby and becoming a mom that I’d forget about myself, my hobbies, and my life.

Though I haven’t done anything of those things, I did slightly underestimate just how much time goes into getting ready to have a baby. There’s a lot to do to get ready and I worried I’d hate it or feel like it didn’t fit in with my life at all or that it would be hard, but the transition has felt surprisingly… right.

As a natural planner (and overanalyzer, overthinker, etc.), I’ve liked making lists and having concrete things to work on as Bill and I have prepared to welcome a baby into our lives. But I guess I hadn’t realized how much things have shifted until I’ve looked back on what I’ve been up to and realized that much of it was centered around this new little life.

Bill and I have had lots of conversations together about how we want to make sure that we maintain our identities, both as individuals and as a couple, even after we add a new person into our family. We’re so excited to meet her, but also don’t want to completely change the life we were already really, really happy in. I can already feel the collective eyerolls from some parents: “Well, just you wait!” But we’re trying to look at having a baby not as something that will change everything about the life that we had before, but as something that will make the amazing life we already had even better, richer, and fuller in ways we hadn’t imagined before.

Obviously a lot of our time will be focused on that little thing called “raising a child.”

But it’s also important to us that we exist as people outside of our parental identities. I think that’s important not just for our sanity, but for hers, too. She should have two fully realized people as parents, who have interests and hobbies and friends and full, robust lives so she can determine what she’d like her full life to look like, too.

It’ll be an interesting balance as we forge ahead.

Especially when April was a month where our activities were pretty heavily baby-focused:

  • Took a “babymoon” to NYC
  • Buying myself a “push present” (AKA just spending money on myself) in the form of a beautiful new Nikon camera
  • Teaching myself to use said beautiful new Nikon camera
  • Feeling baby move regularly for the first times and capturing it on video
  • Taking some new headshots for my author life 
  • Getting a fresh new haircut
  • Desperately trying to teach myself how to do a salon blowout at home—and failing
  • Setting up the nursery
  • Savoring Beychella AGAIN with the release of the Homecoming documentary (love you, Bey)
  • Working a lot
  • Celebrating baby with a baby shower! 

The babymoon ended up being a blast. With me in my third trimester, we didn’t want to venture too far, but we also wanted to have a nice little weekend where we could focus on the two of us and get away from all things baby. (Sorry, boo thang.) We settled on New York City because I really wanted to take a trip down memory lane at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The story goes like this: Bill and I were friends before we dated. Senior year of high school, we shared a mutual friend, an English class, a gym class, and an art class. In art class, senior students traditionally took a field trip to NYC to check out some of the museums there, so sometime in the spring, he and I were part of the group of students who traveled up to the city. We found ourselves at the Met, where we were given an assignment (pick a piece of art to write something about), and we eventually ended up exploring part of the museum together.

I still remember what I was wearing—a white tank top, a pink stripe shrug that tied around my waist, some jeans. It was chilly inside the Met. I made a comment as such. He offered me his jacket.

I like to say, “And the rest is history,” but the truth is this: I turned him down on wearing the jacket, but I feel like a little piece of my heart opened up that day to the possibility that, hey, this cute guy might like me.

At some point, he asked me to hang out with him and his friends and go see a movie (Mission Impossible 3, in case you were wondering) and we had a really, really fun time. So, I got brave, too, and invited him to my birthday party, where we spent quite a bit of time chatting that night and having a good time.

Days later, with our senior year winding to a close, we swapped yearbooks. I wrote a totally boring, run-of-the-mill, “stay sweet” over the summer kind of message, but when he handed me my yearbook back, he told me not to read it right away.

When I worked up the courage to check out his passage, it turned out there wasn’t a message at all, but lyrics to a song by my then-favorite artist John Mayer:

Your phone was really broken
I tried your number twice
And if you need confirmation, baby I understand
It’s alright if you want me to…

The next line, left unwritten: Tell you you got my only heart.

RIGHT?!

And then, over AOL Instant Messenger, Bill asked me if I’d ever seen the movie Hustle and Flow. When I said no, he asked if I’d like to see it. I said yes. We set up a date for June 17—which is now our wedding anniversary, too, and could also be the day when we said hello to our little coconut. (My due date is June 19.)

So, yeah, it was nice to be nostalgic and take that trip down memory lane at the Met, even all pregnant and swollen as I was.

We also spent our baby moon with stops at the American Museum of Natural History, Hayden Planetarium, Levain Bakery, and Shake Shack (obviously). It was a really nice weekend.

As for some of the things that I wore, you’ll notice I started taking less body photos as my body has grown to accommodate the baby bump.

Sigh. Obviously part of that is feeling uncomfortable in this New Body.

And part of that reason is because I’m in the same 5-10 outfits over and over again because that’s all that fits!

We do what we can. 😉

IMG_0519

IMG_0547

Outfit details

  • Scarf: Payless (I think?)
  • Tank tops: Old Navy
  • Cardigan: Forever 21
  • Leggings: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Shoes: Nike

IMG_0686

Outfit details

  • Tank top: Old Navy
  • Cardigan: Old Navy
  • Purse: Marshall’s
  • Necklace: 25 Central
  • Leggings: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Shoes: Nike

IMG_1351

Outfit details

  • Dress: LuLaRoe
  • Cardigan: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Payless

IMG_1412

Outfit details

  • Dress: 25 Central
  • Shoes: Payless
  • THAT. HAIR. THAT. BLOWOUT: Ochoa Salon in East Longmeadow

IMG_1421

Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Hair: Ochoa Salon

xo.

What I Did (and Wore) in March 2019

Last I wrote, I’d just taken a trip to California. It was great to see my parents in their element and to spend some time in the sunshine, which I desperately craved after an already long winter.

And now as I write this it’s like, summer, dudes. Because apparently I can’t keep up with hobbies!

But I am super grateful for phones at this point in my life because I can look back on March and see what I did, and it was a pretty good month.

Anyway, what was I up to a few months ago?

  • Traveling to California to visit my parents before Baby names her debut
  • Seeing “Queer Eye”’s Tan France live at Smith College (yes, he was just as lovely and good looking in person as you imagine!)
  • Getting a 3D ultrasound of Baby (these things are kind of freaky, right?)
  • Planning the nursery
  • Celebrating our first baby Obi’s 7th birthday—Bill and I tried to give him an extra special day, as it’s his last birthday before he has to be kind to his baby sister, so we were a little extra (see pics below)
  • Seeing the first signs of a baby bump
  • Nabbing the newest iPhone
  • Celebrating some fun news with my husband
  • KonMari-ing the crap out of the house after binge-watching the Marie Kondo series on Netflix
  • Spending quality time with friends and my little nephew, O

 

 

(Side note: WHY do the circular image galleries look all stretched out on WordPress?!)

What a great month, y’all! And I captured almost NO outfit photos. Here are a few, though some are not the traditional mirror selfies.

IMG_0408

Outfit details

(Probs needed an undershirt beneath this tank top, but oh well.)

  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Sweater: Old Navy
  • Tank top: Target
  • Shoes: Nike

IMG_0587

Outfit details

  • Leggings: Old Navy
  • Tank top: Target
  • Sweater: Mom’s closet, duh
  • Shoes: Nike

IMG_0187

Outfit details

  • Tank tops: Old Navy
  • Cardigan: Forever 21
  • Shoes: Nike
  • Dog: Rescue — adopt, don’t shop, y’all

IMG_0074

Outfit details

  • Scarf: Hearst Castle
  • Cardigan: Old Navy
  • Tank top: Old Navy
  • Leggings: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Shoes: Payless

IMG_1260

IMG_1252

Tracking a small baby bump!

Outfit details

  • Maternity top: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Maternity jeans: Burlington Coat Factory
  • Shoes: Payless (RIP)

IMG_9849IMG_9864

Outfit details

  • Top: Marshall’s
  • Dress: Forever 21
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Shoes: DSW

Also, shout out to my goddamn phone for helping me keep track of what I’ve done with my life and when. Remember when you used to have to keep track of everything by journaling? Or, like, remembering? Now, I feel like my phone and its photos offer such an in-depth look at my life—at what I was doing, wearing, feeling, experiencing, and exploring—that I rarely need to write, which is good and bad because writing is kind of my first love.

Photography seems to be one of those things you can just kind of do. Writing is one of those things I have to actively make time for.

So, when things get hectic, guess which one falls by the wayside?

Don’t worry, though, writing. I’ll always come back to you.

xo.

Goin’ Back to Cali, Cali, Cali

My parents, my grandma, and I have officially mastered the four-day, cross-country vacation. This happened the first time in March 2017 and did a repeat this month — likely my final trip before baby arrives — and I couldn’t have asked for a better visit!

In truth, it will likely be a while before I can make another trip across the country to California, so I really wanted to make sure I could sneak at least another in before I hit the “do not travel” mark of pregnancy.

Last trip, the four of us managed to sneak in a Vegas trip; a trek to the beach; hikes; and more. This time around, we had a busy trip, too, but my tired, pregnant body was happy for some additional reprieves and rests at home, hanging out with each other and the dogs, too.

My mom and dad have started fostering dogs in Bakersfield to help prepare them as they transition from rescue to shelter to fur-ever home, so we were treated to EIGHT wonderful dogs: Cody, Reilly, Lexy, Zai, Denali, and Turbo (my parents’ dogs) as well as Sugar and Charlie, two fosters. It was honestly a puppy paradise full of dog snuggles, which is the best way to spend a vacation.

Plus, we also…

  • Searched for wild flowers and took in some gorgeous sights. California is truly breathtakingly beautiful. Even just a drive to and from certain places feels like an adventure because of all of the scenery to take in. We spent our first day there doing just that and it was great! Cali MUST be the king of rolling hills.
  • Conquered an Escape Room. I’ve always wanted to try an Escape Room, but never bit. It was so much fun to try one out with family. NBD, but we killed it in the Knight & Rook room at Bakersfield Escape Room.
  • Went on a Ross shopping spree. I am not so fortunate to have a Ross nearby, which is a true tragedy, so I love hitting up that store and spending lots of money when we’re there. This time, we were able to get some cute things for baby, too!
  • Toured Heart Castle. Bill and I toured Hearst Castle during our last visit, but my grandma and I didn’t get a chance to do so, so it was fun to go back there. We got an inside look at the stunning cottages! I fell in love with the roofs (and dedicated an Insta album to them here), but the entire place is magical and unreal.
  • Mused at the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. The seals are too cute to be ignored and given that we were already Hearst Castle, it made sense to take a look at these cuties again. Bonus: beach views!
  • Visited The Last Bookstore in LA. My mom sent me a link to this place a while back so it was a must-visit for me and I’m so happy we were able to make it happen. I love all bookstores, but this one was Instagrammable AF. Part bookstore, part art exhibit, it was like a slice of heaven for book lovers like me.

A great trip all around and so wonderful to see my parents. The next time they see me, I may have a little person around!

xo!

Being Fat and Pregnant

I’ve spent a lifetime hating my body.

I was a fat kid who turned into a fat teen who became a fat adult and I live in the U.S., where we are actively taught that being fat is not just unattractive, but unhealthy, worthy of ridiculedeserving of discrimination (even by medical professionals), and something you should actively be working to change at all times no matter what.

I also grew up in a household where I was told I was beautiful and didn’t have to change for anyone, while also knowing that these same family members were unhappy with their bodies, which very much looked like mine. And who could blame them? We are not immune from society and the world around us tells us that fat bodies are broken. I spent years trying to “fix” my body to make it something more appealing — not so much because I cared about my health but because I bought into this idea that my fatness meant I could never be worthy of good things. It didn’t help that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which made gaining weight breezy.

About two years ago I did lose a significant amount of weight for two real reasons: I was starting to experience some health issues; and my husband and I wanted to have a baby someday and I knew it would be easier if I weighed a little less. But I still never really appreciated my body. There was always something, I felt, that should change or be better.

Weirdly, getting pregnant has finally made it so I see the value in my body as it is.

I won’t lie: I still feel bad about my body most days. I’m putting weight on, obviously, and feeling much less confident in a body I had finally felt good in. I get down on myself because I don’t have the “perfect baby bump.” I fret over the fact that many well-meaning folks say they “can’t even tell” I’m pregnant. I stress.

But then I remember: I’m growing a person.

And doing that while actively battling against the odds of PCOS, which makes getting pregnant and staying pregnant hard.

Every day that passes feels like an accomplishment. Every tiny little kick feels like a victory, a reminder that my body is incredible as it is now, as it was, and as it will be.

I know I won’t feel beautiful and comfortable in this skin every day, but for some moments, I can. And, for the first time in my life, I am finally learning to appreciate this body of mine for its tremendous strength, for its growth, and for its resilience. To my body: thank you. And I’m sorry I haven’t loved you the way you’ve deserved.

Things I Did (and Wore) in February 2019

Thank baby Jesus that February is done and gone. I could deal with the winter if it was just, like, December and January. But that it extends into February? The AUDACITY!

I have serious pregnancy brain, too, meaning I can hardly remember what I did in the month. (Can still feel the harsh cold on my numb cheeks, though.) Thankfully, there are iPhone photos to remind me that I actually had a lovely time:

  • Celebrating Galentine’s Day with friends
  • Celebrating love on Valentine’s Day with my husband at our favorite tapas restaurant, Bocado (and, yes, we did take tons of photos of that food)
  • Enjoying Wormtown Brewery (beer for Bill, watching Bill drink beer for me)
  • Organizing the baby’s room and all of her magnificent clothes
  • Receiving the best gift ever for baby from a friend/colleague in the form of a Backstreet Boys hair bow (I’m just modeling it, I swear)
  • Fawning over our OG baby, Obi
  • Peeping up at the giant Super Wolf Blood Moon

Here’s what I wore, which was mostly just shades of the same thing…

IMG_9275

Outfit details

  • Dress: Shein, a place I actually do not recommend purchasing from because they cannot get proportions right and the sleeves on every single thing I purchased where a nightmare.
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: TJ Maxx

IMG_9295

Outfit details:

  • Dress wif pockets: 25 Central
  • Leggings: Kohl’s
  • Boots: DSW

IMG_9407

Outfit details

  • Dress: Target — dreamysigh. I just love this dress.
  • Cardigan: Target
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: TJ Maxx

IMG_9436

Outfit details

  • Dress: Old Navy
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: TJ Maxx

IMG_9738

Outfit details

  • Top: Shein (again, DO NOT RECOMMEND)
  • Tights: WeLoveColors.com
  • Boots: TJ Maxx

And what I did through pictures!

BTW, I’m digging myself out of a backlog of posts, so expect a few in the next couple of days.

xo!