Monday, January 18, 2021

Pregnancy Q & A - Volume 2

I'm currently 39 weeks, so I figured it was time for another (and most likely the last) pregnancy update. If you're interested, you can read my first one here

Overall pregnancy has treated me really well, and I definitely do not take that for granted. Honestly I felt pretty fantastic until about 36 weeks. From then on I just struggled with being out of breath and getting used to being, well, bigger. Heartburn has been a big part of my pregnancy, as well, and over the last two weeks the struggle has been real getting pants or shoes on. 

Nights have been sleepless for a while, and bathroom visits are countless. I remember thinking a few weeks ago that I couldn't pee more, but boy was I wrong. I feel like I visit the bathroom 10x+ an hour. LOL! Anxiety has officially set in since baby boy's arrival could be any day now. Truly, I think that's been the hardest part for me, the 'not knowing.' What I do know is that we couldn't be more excited for his arrival, and have everything ready and waiting for him. 

Any updates on the baby's name?
No! We've narrowed it down to a handful that we like, but we're still waiting until we meet him to make the final decision (not much longer)! 

Do you have a birth plan?
Birth plans are just that - plans. Nothing is set in stone as there are an infinite number of scenarios that could arise during delivery. I've been told that 90% of the time most birth plans are thrown out the window, so instead of getting my mind set on something, I've decided to just focus on what matters most, which is getting baby out safely. What my 'plan' does include is my doctors name and number, requests for the umbilical cord and cord clamping, as well as skin-to-skin, and lastly medical intervention. 

Will you have a baby vaginally or via C-section?
As of now the plan is vaginally, but honestly I'll do whatever is necessary when the day comes.

Do you plan to get an epidural?

Are you scared about giving birth?
Eh, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about having a baby. The pain sounds excruciating, but women have been doing it for eons, and I know I'm as mentally and physically prepared as I can be. I'm actually more scared for postpartum recovery and all that it entails. 

Do you plan to breastfeed?

I do not plan to breastfeed for a number of reasons, but the main one is due to medication I take for my arthritis. In order to have a happy, healthy baby, mom has to be healthy, as well. This means taking my meds and feeling my best are important. There isn't enough data out there showing how much of the medicine is excreted into the milk supply and the effects it may have on a baby. Also to be honest, I don't feel the need or desire to breastfeed. That is what's best for me. 

There is so much emphasis and pressure put on breastfeeding which makes no sense to me. I could care less what anyone else chooses to do or why - it is their body, their child, their decision. All this does is causes us to judge ourselves and second guess our decision(s), which isn't fair and is completely ridiculous in my opinion. A fed baby is a happy baby. Bottom line. 

Will your family be coming in to see the baby?
Yes! We will have both our parents come in after we get settled in and have a routine down.

Will you have a nanny/help?
We are getting a night nurse that will come four nights a week from 7pm-7am. She will start as soon as the baby gets here. This initial help was the #1 recommendation we received from all our friends. They said it is the best gift you can give to one another. Not only will it help give us time to recover and rest a bit, but we've been told they're a great resource to have on hand, and can show you how to do everything 'newborn.'  

What stroller are you getting?
We have the Doona to use as a car seat/travel stroller, and also the new Silver Cross Wave as our everyday stroller - it's stunning! 

 What diaper bag will you be using?

I'll use purses that I have (most likely my Goyard GM tote), with a Tote Savvy insert. I also got a backpack that's a diaper bag from Silver Cross that matches our stroller. I like it because it's masculine enough, which makes it great for dads too!

What have you been using to prevent/help with stretch marks?

I was using Saje Mother's Wellness Oil at night, and absolutely loved it. It smells delicious and goes on thick, but not sticky. Once I finished the bottle, I started using the Earth Mama Belly Butter and Earth Mama Belly Oil that I had on hand. I honestly am not sure whether they've made/will make a difference, but we'll see.  

Do you plan to share your registry?

I am happy to do a post on this if it's something you're interested in. Let me know!

How much weight have you gained?

Just under 25 pounds. 

How have you stayed so motivated?

To be honest I'm not great at relaxing. It is very hard for me to just chill and do nothing. That being said, there have definitely been times, especially over the last few days, that I've had to force myself to just stop. 

Walking and continuing to workout is something I've loved having the ability to do during my pregnancy. It has helped me clear my head and just escape and not focus solely on the baby, baby stuff, to-do lists, etc.. Although I'm working out less than I was, I'm still getting in something active about four days a week. Some days that's going for a 2-3 mile walk, or going to barre class at 5:45 am (pregnancy insomnia is real)! Other days the most I can do is trail behind Adam and Safari on our neighborhood walks, but something is better than nothing! 

Continuing to eat healthy has also been important to me, although I certainly haven't deprived myself of anything whatsoever. I am still having dessert every single night, but luckily my other cravings have been more on the nutritious side - apples, oranges, and peanut butter! 

I also think I've stayed motivated and focused on getting things done because I know there'll be a lot less time for me once the baby arrives. I won't and haven't been beating myself up over the small things, but if I can work ahead on something now, I figure why not. 

Are you nervous for how Safari will react when the baby gets here?

Safari definitely knows something is up, and has gone back and forth from being attached to me to ignoring me. We'll be taking her to her daycare/boarding when we go into labor and most likely will leave her there for ~ a week while we're at the hospital and getting settled in back at home. I'm a little worried for how she's going to act/transition, but have so many friends that had pets before they had children, and have been told to expect a bit of regression (pottys in house, acts up). We're prepared for it to take time, but I know that even when baby boy is here, Safari is bound to still get a lot of 1-1 attention. 

Will you be sharing the baby's nursery?

Yes, sometime soon! I have wanted to make sure all the finishing touches were done before sharing it. It's been such a labor of love and is truly my favorite room in the house. It is incredibly charming and so relaxing. Stay tuned!

What are you most excited for?

Honestly, I am just excited for him to get here.....and to not be pregnant anymore. Like I've said before, I've been very lucky to have a smooth pregnancy, but I'm ready to have my body back to myself, and to sleep on my stomach again! I'm excited for this new chapter and the thought of my little family and Adam as a dad makes me smile. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

My Baby Shower!

Last month we celebrated baby boy with the most wonderful (and Covid safe) baby shower. Although our plans had to pivot because of the pandemic, and then inclement weather, the day was one that I'll truly never forget.


Baby boy's celebration took place at the most charming venue, Thirteen48, which is located in the Heights. Thirteen48 is a historic home that is now an event venue specializing in intimate gatherings and 'micro experiences.' The house is really unique and has so many quaint details. They have a spacious back patio, as well as a large front yard and wrap around porch. The photos speak for themselves. 

The owners of the venue also do event planning, as well as creating, designing and building custom pieces. The majority of the pieces in their space - from chandeliers to tables - were crafted by them. I loved this because it meant I could commission some pieces that not only would add to the day, but ultimately I could take home with me after and use as décor in the nursery. Among those pieces were the 'Born to be Wild' macramé sign, and the Welcome Sign (which will be replaced with his name shortly)! 

I knew having a safari themed shower was definitely what I wanted for baby boy. I fell in love with Africa when I went on my first safari in Kenya and Tanzania when I was 10 years old, so the theme seemed inevitable.  I wanted it to be different and not babyish or immature, but to exude a more 'Out of Africa' type of feel. When I discussed this with the team at the venue, they came back to me with the perfect design concept - 'Tell Me a Story of Africa.' The details read: "Lots of greenery with pops of color in teals and orange to remind us of sunsets on the plains. Lighter creams and gold will be used as accents to reflect the majesty of the African Safari. Animal décor elements will be brought in using 3D painting on acrylic that is simple yet playful. Styled around the idea of a children's book about an African Safari.' Swoon!  

Making Our Shower Covid Safe 

Having a very special and unique baby shower was something I've always wanted. Plus, with the year that we've all had, an excuse to celebrate was certainly in order. Due my autoimmune disease, coupled with the fact that I'm pregnant, safety was of the utmost importance to me. When I started brainstorming of what I could do for my baby shower that would be safe for me, as well as my guests, a few things came to mind (including not having a shower at all - the thought broke my heart). Due to our mild climate this time of year, I knew having an outside shower would thankfully be possible. I also felt as though it was appropriate to ask guests to wear masks. It may not be the cutest look, but I knew it would put my mind at ease. 

When it came to guest count, we did a 'staggered attendance.' The shower was divided into three one-hour increments where only 10 guests were present at once. Even though we had use of the entire interior and exterior of the venue, we were able to keep things completely distanced that way. The original plan was to have the shower be on the back patio, but as it turned out, rain blessed us on our special day so we had to come up with  change of plans the night before. 

We decided to move as much as we could to the covered wrap around porch on the front of the house. I specifically wanted to be outside for my own peace of mind, so we set up my Lioness Den just off the entrance of the house. This 'den' was designed so that I could have a socially distant perch (haha) to greet everyone and talk to all my friends, but also to ensure that I could safely maintain a significant amount of distance away, as well. 

I was situated on the far left side!


One of the things I love most about Houston, is how many fantastic creatives and fantastic small businesses there are here. In addition to Thirteen48, I was also able to work with several other vendors for the shower. Of course the venue outsourced to several people as well, but I wanted to give a shout out to the ones I specifically worked directly with:) 

I came across Pretty Baked on Instagram and instantly fell in love (and awe) with their incredible one-of-a-kind letter and number cakes. I knew I had to have one at the baby shower! I shared with them the theme of the shower, as well as the invite and couldn't have been happier with the BOY cake they created. The attention to detail, including animal print chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate safari animals made the cakes almost too pretty to eat....almost. Get 10% off orders over $50 with the promo code ASHLEYN.

Christina, the owner of BITES, and I met last year and had an instant connection. Her passion for her craft is obvious to see, and she truly aims to please - a true perfectionist. She goes above and beyond, and her cheese and charcuterie plates were certainly an instant hit at the party. Luckily since I was the host, I got to try all three uniquely crafted plates she created, and she was kind enough to have a tray waiting for Adam and I to take home with us, as well! She offers everything from individual (and Covid friendly!) 'bites' like we had at the shower, to gift boxes, platters and grand over-the-top spreads. 

I am a huge fan of the carrot cake from Dessert Gallery, and have been visiting their bakery on Kirby for years. Since I found out I was pregnant and have been craving sweets non-stop, I cannot tell you how many cakes/slices I've eaten. Since they've been a large part of my pregnancy, they had to be part of my shower. 
I wanted to add an additional 'sweet' to the food spread, and thought cupcakes from their bakery, as well as cookies and cake pops as party favors, would be a great addition to the party. The custom cupcakes they created literally matched my shower invitation. Be sure to look closely - isn't it amazing? The cookies were perfectly on trend for the day as well, and I couldn't get over how sweet the little animals were. 

I've been seeing marquee letters pop up everywhere from weddings, to birthdays and of course, baby showers. I loved the idea of having some at my baby shower, and also thought it would be a great way to 'welcome' guests to the event. Alpha-Lit was fantastic to work with, and even with the rain, they ensured that everything worked seamlessly, and were incredibly professional and easy to work with. The OH BABY letters certainly made for a grand entrance and a great photo-op!

I've worked with Minted for years, and cannot rave about the company enough. They always offer something special and are so easy to work with. Although they're not local, I've created a close relationship through my blog, and I love how they go above and beyond.  

I've used them for everything from our Christmas cards, to our wedding invitations, to the drapes, lampshade and pillows in baby boy's nursery (be sure to check back soon for my reveal). For the shower, they not only created the invitations, but they also did the 'Thank You' stickers for the candles that each guest received, as well as our 'Thank You' cards, and goody bag tags.  

My Dress

No special day is complete without a special outfit, of course! My dress was made by David Peck, which should come as no surprise to any of my avid readers, followers or friends. David has created several outfits for me for special occasions over the years (ahem, my wedding dress), so it was a no brainer finding an excuse to work with him again. 

Although a sequin gown may have been a bit untraditional and unexpected for a daytime baby shower, it made me feel like a princess. When you're pregnant, let me tell you, you'll take any opportunity to feel nice/good in your body. I also wanted to really "celebrate" the big day since we've all missed out on so much in the last year, that I figured a fancy dress would just be the icing on the cake. 

We picked out this gorgeous material that complimented the décor, but could definitely be worn to any event in the future. David created a silhouette that was not only figuring flattering, but comfortable, and he completed the look with a coordinating mask! 

"A baby makes love stronger, the days shorter, the nights longer, savings smaller, and a home happier." Having a chance to celebrate baby boy and this milestone event in our lives was truly a joyous and special occasion. 

If there is any detail I didn't cover or question you have, please let me know! 


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