Pregnancy Advice for When You Haven’t Told Anyone But Need Some Help Anyways

When you get pregnant for the first time, you want to talk to moms and find out if your experience is normal and when some symptoms might end. BUT! You might not be ready to tell anybody yet that you’re pregnant (I know we waited until the 2nd trimester). You might also worry that women who have had 2+ kids might not remember all the feelings from the first kid. So, what’s a lady to do? If you find yourself in this position, I’ve got your back! I was in your shoes just a short 9 months ago…excited to be pregnant, not yet ready to tell anyone, and in desperate need of advice. Looking back, here’s my advice to my 6-week pregnant self and any other first trimester mamas out there:

First off, how fantastic! Whether or not you meant to get pregnant, it’s amazing how our bodies can make another human being.

Second, making a human being is hard work. You’ve probably already figured that out, between the nausea and the exhaustion as your body creates the placenta and starts growing that tiny human inside you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get easier. Take naps and enjoy them.

Third, I am so sorry if you have morning sickness. Or afternoon sickness. Or evening sickness. Or all day sickness. Whether you have nausea or vomiting or both, the experience sucks. If/when you do have morning sickness, here are a few things that might be good to know::

  • Unfortunately, you can’t take PeptoBismol (I know because I asked)
  • Have saltine crackers on hand at all times. I went through so many saltines during my first trimester. After about 7 weeks, I even kept a bag of saltines on my nightstand so I could eat a few first thing in the morning. If I did get out of bed without eating my saltines, my stomach would revolt and I would dry heave within a few minutes. So, saltines are your best friend.
  • Have ginger ale on hand. Eating saltines and drinking ginger ale got me through many lunches at work…and dinners after work when my stomach could handle anything else. Though, given the very high sugar content, I saved ginger ale for when nothing else worked.
  • Instead, go for ginger tea. Ginger-lemon tea is easily available and a good option to get some ginger without all the sugar from ginger ale.
  • Ginger snaps are also great. Enjoying ginger snaps dipped in ginger-lemon tea was a favorite snack early in my pregnancy.
  • If you can find them, ginger candies are amazing at reducing nausea. Ginger candies seem to come in 2 main forms – chews and crystallized ginger. The chews are very chewy and not as concentrated as the crystallized ginger. The crystallized ginger is very strong and helpful if you need something fast acting. The downside to ginger candies though is that you might need to keep eating them to enjoy the effects.

Fourth, yes, morning sickness should end at the end of the first trimester. This isn’t a guarantee (and you’ll hear horror stories from people about moms who had morning sickness the whole time), but it is the norm. Yes, I know moms who suffered the whole time. But I know even more moms who only suffered for the first trimester. My experience was that I woke up the morning of the 2nd trimester and my morning sickness was pretty much gone (it’s wasn’t quite overnight, but close). Hopefully you will also get over morning sickness at the end of the first trimester.

Fifth, you’ll get through this.

Sixth, you can go out and buy all the books (a popular one is What to Expect When You’re Expecting), but I only read 1 book – Expecting Better by Emily Oster. This book was well-written and goes into the nuances behind many of the pregnancy rules, which is why it was my favorite. Ms. Oster didn’t just accept the general advice, such as ‘no alcohol’ or ‘don’t clean litter boxes’ – she researched why. This book will give you some clarification about why you shouldn’t eat deli meat and how much alcohol you can drink if you feel comfortable with it and why you can actually clean the litter box but probably shouldn’t garden. If you only read one pregnancy book, read Expecting Better.

Seventh, yes, there are so many rules. And they suck. You’ll feel frustrated and annoyed by all the things you suddenly can’t do. I remember being extremely pissed that, all of a sudden, I wasn’t supposed to lift more than 20 lbs when I was used to replacing the water cooler at work and hoisting 100 lb Way Pup up onto the bed. I was also pissed that I suddenly wasn’t supposed to enjoy my eggs over-easy (the best way to eat eggs). There are more rules and people will treat you as a fragile little egg and your mom and mother-in-law will be astounded at the things you aren’t supposed to do that they were allowed to do. All the rules are extremely frustrating and annoying, and it’s totally fine if you break down and cry on the floor of your kitchen at how restricting it can be to be pregnant when you learn about yet another rule (you won’t be the first because I already did that). It’ll be okay and you’ll eventually learn to live with the rules.

Eighth, talk to other moms with whom you feel comfortable sharing your news. We’ve all been pregnant (unless we adopted) and we all support you. You’ll especially want to talk to your mom because her pregnancy with you is probably how your pregnancy will go. She can also commiserate with you and tell you more stories. This is a great chance to learn more about your mom. For example, you might learn that, when people wanted to feel the baby move, she would tell them to put a hand on one side of her stomach and she would quickly push the baby from the other side. When you first hear this, you might think, ‘cool trick!’ before realizing that you were the baby getting pushed quickly. For another example, your mom might be the one to tell you about keeping saltines on your nightstand and what a lifesaver that will be.

Ninth, try to enjoy being pregnant but it’s okay if you don’t. Even if you really, really, really wanted this baby, the reality of being pregnant hits you like a ton of bricks every day and it can hurt. It’s okay if you go through periods of not feeling excited. Other people might not understand (mainly men and non-moms), but there are a surprising number of us moms who experience unhappiness and overwhelm at being pregnant. You are not alone. Again, you might find yourself crying on your kitchen floor while your husband curiously asks why you don’t seem excited about the baby (and again, you won’t be the first to do this because I already did).

Tenth, your doctor’s office will have you pee into a cup at every single appointment to test for sugar and protein in your urine. Just a head’s up. They’ll also weigh you, take your blood pressure, and listen to the heartbeat. Listening to the heartbeat is easiest if you wear pants or a skirt and a shirt to the appointment so you can simply move your shirt out of the way instead of having to either pull up your dress or change into a gown.

Finally, these next 8 months or so really will go by so quickly. The moments will stretch on forever and each week will probably bring some new symptom or discomfort. But, you’ll also get to feel your baby move for the first time and hear his or her little hummingbird heartbeat. You’ll be amazed at how generous people can be with baby gifts and how good food tastes when you satisfy a craving (seriously, that was the best chocolate milkshake I have ever had). You’ll appreciate the second trimester when you feel the best. And of course, you’ll eventually have your own tiny human all too soon.

Congratulations, good luck, you got this, and I’m here if you ever have questions or comments. I know I go on about how busy I am, but I can and will always make time for helping others.

Pregnancy photo with Way Pup at the end of the first trimester when I was ready to start telling people – good thing too! I wasn’t able to hide that baby bump for very long!

Help Your Fur Friend Who Doesn’t Like Fireworks

Happy 4th of July! To my readers in the US, I hope you get a day off and are able to enjoy it 🙂 Today’s post is mainly about helping pets who are afraid of fireworks.

Way Pup and me all decked out in our red and white celebrating the 4th of July a couple of years ago

Brief Life Update

You may have noticed that it’s been a few weeks since my last post. For the first time this year, this isn’t because I’ve been too tired or too busy…I just haven’t felt as if there was anything I particularly had to share and I promised myself and you that I wouldn’t clutter up your inbox unless I had something to say. Because I didn’t have anything to say, there were no posts. Any post would have been purely just to have another post out there, not because I had something valuable to share with you.

The past few weeks have been busy and an opportunity for me to practice everything I’ve worked to learn over the past many years in order to keep our lives running as smoothly as possible. We were lucky enough to have renters move into our old house, so that’s covered now, though there is still some work left to do at the old house that we started before my pregnancy and need to finish. However, it was confirmed that Way Pup tore his other ACL (yep, he tore the first ACL last year) and had surgery two weeks ago. Recovery is going really well thankfully! Now, he has 2 matching metal plates and severe arthritis on his rear knees. Thankfully, dogs only have 2 ACLs and the surgery to fix it replaces his ACLs with metal plates instead of repairing the ACLs (unlike in humans), so he can’t tear either ACL anymore. Taking care of Way Pup has replaced the time we spent at the old house.

Our Fur Friends Don’t Like Fireworks

Speaking of Way Pup and the 4th of July, today is a big day for fireworks all across the county (though chances are, fireworks have been going off for about a week now). I admitted last year that I don’t like fireworks. They’re just not my thing. Thankfully, Way Pup couldn’t care less about fireworks. He simply doesn’t register that they’re happening (see image below).

Way Pup not caring about fireworks last year on July 4

However, there are lots and lots of pets and animals out there who become absolutely terrified of fireworks. You know who else can get freaked out by fireworks? People suffering from PTSD, such as veterans or anyone who has lived amongst or dealt with gun violence. As a pet owner/mom and someone connected very closely with the military, this matters a lot to me. There’s no way to get rid of all the fireworks shows out there (not practical), but there are definitely ways to help our friends. While I would love to post about how to help people who don’t like fireworks, that topic isn’t as familiar to me as helping animals who don’t like fireworks.

Helping All Pets Who Don’t Like Fireworks (Even if You Don’t Have a Pet)

First off, here’s a tip for everyone: DRIVE CAREFULLY. Even if you don’t have a pet, know that a lot of pets will run away from home tonight. These are probably pets who are used to being on a leash with their owner and not used to being out alone at night with loud noises all around. So, please, please, please be careful when you’re driving so that you don’t accidentally hit a dog or cat.

Helping Your Pet Who Doesn’t Like Fireworks

If you do have a pet, here are a few things to keep in mind to help your pet when there are fireworks:

  • If you do nothing else, put your pet inside! If your pet is outside, there is a chance that he or she could get out and run away. A few years ago, some family friends put their dog outside during a fireworks show and she freaked out. The dog got out from her yard and ended up getting run over in the street. Yes, this is sad. Yes, this happens.
  • If you have to let your pet outside, keep him or her on a leash. See sad story above. It doesn’t matter if your pet doesn’t care about fireworks. Way Pup will still be on a leash when I take him outside to do his business because I can’t risk anything happening to him. He’ll also be on his leash well before and well after the fireworks have ended just in case somebody decides to set off fireworks early or late. That way, we won’t be caught off guard.
  • If your dog freaks out both inside and outside, give your pet a safe place to get away. One option is to crate your pup or cat and cover the crate with blankets to make a secure cave. Or let your dog or cat hide under the bed during the fireworks displays. Thundershirts are also a popular option for dogs. We used one for a previous dog who didn’t like fireworks or thunderstorms, and it helped her quite a bit.
  • Turn on some white noise, the TV, or music to help cover up the sounds of fireworks. Even if you usually don’t leave noise on while you’re gone, consider doing it while there are fireworks going off. Your pet will probably appreciate it.
  • If you know your pup or cat will be terrified no matter way, talk to your vet. Today may be a lost cause, in which case, good luck! But if you have some time, talk to your vet about medication. You might not want to give your pet additional drugs, but that might be better than letting your pet become wild with fear.
  • Consider staying home or getting home before the fireworks shows start so you can help comfort a scared pet. Your pet knows and trusts you, and would probably prefer that you be home with them. That way, you can snuggle with them and let them know that everything will be alright soon.
  • Make sure your pet is microchipped! You should do this regardless of fireworks season, but in the event that your pet gets away, a microchip can make all the difference in making sure your pet comes home. So many dogs and cats run away on the 4th and many of them end up in shelters. Making sure that your pet is microchipped can mean the difference between you spending hours calling and visiting shelters, and the shelter calling you right away to let you know where your pet is. If you haven’t microchipped your pet, do it as soon as possible. If you have microchipped your pet, good for you! Now, make sure the information is up to date. I made sure to update Way Pup’s information within a couple of weeks of our moving to the new house.

Short Bit of Advice for Talking to Someone Who Doesn’t Like Fireworks.

If you know someone who doesn’t like fireworks, don’t make a big deal about it. If you happen to love fireworks, don’t make someone else feel guilty for not liking fireworks. There’s a good chance that they really like something that you don’t, and hopefully they wouldn’t try to make you feel bad for not liking their thing. So, if you’re with someone who doesn’t like fireworks, there’s not need to make a big deal out of it. Instead, you can ask what they do like about the 4th of July or simply say, “Yeah, fireworks aren’t for everyone.” then change topics.

With that, I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July and enjoy celebrating!

Get Your Priorities Straight When Life Gets Crazy

Y’all, life gets so crazy sometimes. And I’ve been more distracted the past 6 ½ months than I’ve ever been! Not so much distracted as my mind isn’t able to focus on as much. It’s like part of my brain has been removed and there’s only so much space left in there to process and keep track of everything. I thought I had life decently well figured out and that I’d learned a few lessons about getting through and being productive, but the joke was on me. Being pregnant and trying to do a lot has certainly upped the ante on my quality of life.

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How to Be Excited for a Long Distance Pregnant Friend

You have a friend who announced that she’s pregnant – YAY! If you’ve been pregnant before, you already have an idea of how you can be supportive. However, if you haven’t been pregnant before or haven’t really had anybody else close to you get pregnant, you may not be entirely sure how to show your support – especially if you live far away. You want to be a great friend and you want to say/do the right things. I’ve had several friends get pregnant, but my closest friends have been far away and my local friends haven’t been very close. As a result, I never knew what to say or how to be supportive, particularly because I was so not at a stage where I wanted kids. Or if I’d been having baby fever and wanted kids but had been unsuccessful so far, it would have been hard knowing how best to support my friends. So, if you don’t live near your pregnant friend or don’t know how to support her, here are some easy ways to show your support!

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How 3 Little Things Help Me From Getting Too Overwhelmed

Last week, I shared about some big life stuff going on in the Way house – busy jobs, moving, and baby! I’ve also discussed how I initially struggled with my New Year’s Resolutions because everything was in flux (and still is, somewhat). So, how am I doing with all that’s on my plate and how I am doing at getting it all done? Meh. Recently, most days I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water.

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