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    Best of 2018 on the Blog + What’s to Come in 2019

    Best of 2018 on the Blog + What's to Come in 2019

    2018, you have been one of my favorites yet. I sometimes find myself having those “pinch me” moments after thinking about all that has happened this year.Best of 2018 on the Blog + What's to Come in 2019

    It is crazy to think about where I was three years ago at this time. Specifically on December 3, 2015. I was a newlywed living in an on overpriced but adorable apartment in Chelsea, recently fired from my job and feeling so incredibly lost in this world at the ripe age of 25.

    Fast forward a few years to today and I truly cannot believe how much has changed since then. Both professionally and personally. I started sharing end of the year reflections a couple years ago and they are one of my favorite blog posts to write for you! If you haven’t read 2016 and 2017’s, they are worth a read (or at least a skim) to gain a better idea on what has been happening over here for the past three years. And also where this blog even came from and the details of getting fired from my so-called “dream job”.

    I feel very different ending 2018 than I did this time last year. By the end of 2017, I was battling chronic stress, hormonal issues and was a one women circus running my business from my apartment. I can’t say much as changed in the circus department, but I have been able to better manage my stress levels (more on that here). A year ago I had hives all over my body, which to be honest I think were from stress and nothing to do with food looking back. I had the darkest circles under my eyes and while it may have appeared that everything was rainbows and butterflies to a stranger, I couldn’t have felt any worse physically and even mentally. Something I didn’t share much about on Instagram stories or my feed. I was running on zero. Think of the gas tank in your car completely out, not even on and still running. Basically stalled in the middle of the street. But I knew that wasn’t a way to go into another year, and it certainly wasn’t going to help me in the long run.

    I have always been someone who isn’t competitive whatsoever with others. Someone can do laps around me and I wouldn’t think twice. But when it comes to competing with myself, well that is a different story. I always try to do more and to be better in every way. I have a hard time settling and am constantly looking ahead at what is next. I am sure many of you can relate and yes, it is as exhausting as it sounds. This year though, that has taken a step back. Instead of focusing on becoming better all the time, I am focusing on just being me. The good, the bad and everything in between. This comes with skipping workouts when I just don’t feel like it and eating a gluten-filled pizza because it tastes pretty darn good. I don’t regret saying no to handfuls of collaborations, events and social things this year to be home with my husband, focusing on us instead of trying to be the social butterfly I usually am. I certainly don’t make effort to keep in touch with as many people as I used to and have learned to prioritize my friendships instead of trying to please and be friends with everyone. I remind myself that we all F up and that is okay. No one is perfect, nor should they have to be.

    Physically, I had a bit of a challenge this year. I stopped harping on my body a couple years ago when it comes to its appearance (story here) but when we begin doing infertility treatments, that put that relationship to the real test. It wasn’t easy watching my stomach bloat to the point of looking pregnant when at the time all I wanted to be was pregnant. It certainly wasn’t easy at first for me to mentally take hormones and “give in” that my holistic practices just weren’t cutting it to make a baby. But this year I have truly fallen in love with my body. And I don’t mean that in a “dayum you so fine” or superficial way. No, I never got abs and my stomach was constantly puffy for the first 6 months of the year thanks to hormones. But the moment I found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t even believe how f**king amazing my body is for allowing me to carry our baby. Something I dreamed of doing for what felt like forever. I truly fell in love with the experience of being pregnant. It showed me a new love for my body I never had before (more on pregnancy things here). There is so much more to having an amazing body than looking like a Victoria’s Secret model. The real amazing bodies are the ones that allow us to feel our best and grow a family inside our flipping BELLY. It is beyond crazy to me that it took me 28 years to truly realize this (here is some more info on getting pregnant: part one and part two of our infertility journey we shared).

    Best of 2018 on the Blog + What's to Come in 2019
    back in April during the fertility treatment.

    Now one of the most common questions I receive from you guys these days has to do with monetizing my blog and working with brands. I totally owe you a blog post just on this topic but for the sake of this post, I will keep it brief. My relationship with brands and products, or as I like to say “brand partners” has continued to evolve each year. And this is also how I sustain my business and make a living (crazy, unconventional and I love it). Some may say that is so cool and I am so lucky, and while I am eternally grateful to do what I do, it isn’t always easy. The constant up’s and down’s and there is no consistency. This year and gong into next, I have decreased the amount of products and brands I post about and really streamlined the collaboration process. I have continued to be a stickler about ingredients, brand culture and ask if I truly love the product before even thinking of working with them. If I don’t love the product or am hesitant on an ingredient or even just get a bad vibe from the brand, it isn’t happening. I value the trust of my readers too much to risk it to work with a brand that will pay a lot. Sure, there are many brands with big mama budgets that would pay me more than I make now, but who would trust me? I certainly wouldn’t if I was posting about products that are questionable with creepy ingredients. Your trust means everything to me and my brand. Continue Reading

  • lifestyle / pregnancy

    Digestive Issues During Pregnancy (aka Pooping While Pregnant)

    Digestive Issues During Pregnancy (aka Pooping While Pregnant)

    Yup – we are going there today friends. Digestive issues during pregnancy aka pooping while pregnant!

    Digestive Issues During Pregnancy (aka Pooping While Pregnant)

    Chances are if you had any interest in reading this blog post you are either pregnant and your poop schedule is way off or you aren’t pregnant but your poop schedule is still way off. Both totally common and I am happy to hear that I’m not the only one who is perfectly OK talking about their bowel movements.

    Going to the bathroom is such a taboo topic, especially with women. I personally have always been very open and blunt about my digestive health and that territory. Not to mention that being with Jord has made me even more open about it since he’s not the typical guy who thinks a girl doesn’t take a dayum poop. We have an extremely open (some may think too open) relationship but being with him has seriously made me become even more comfortable chatting about this topic.

    Let’s rewind a bit before diving into my tips for pooping while pregnant.

    I’m currently over 5 months pregnant (more than half way there – it’s crazy!) and before getting pregnant, I have always been what I like to call “regular” when it comes to going to the bathroom. Sure, everyone’s regular is different but for me that consists of 1-2x per day and always first thing when I wake up (usually between 7:30-8am). I am indeed one of those annoying people who’s schedule isn’t thrown off my travel or routine changes. Take me to Italy, California, Hawaii or really any time zone and I’ll still go when I wake up. I have never dealt with constipation and this something I never take for granted because I know how many people struggle to take a flipping poop every day.

    I joke that pooping is my favorite past time (ya, we are really getting deep here). Likely why I am hungry often and like to constantly be snacking – that system is usually flowing pretty well.

    But then things changed a bit when I entered my second trimester of pregnancy. Throughout the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, I didn’t notice any shifts in bowel movements. I went as per usual then around 17 weeks (also when I slowly started to grow my bump), I experienced my first day of constipation. I woke up on a Friday morning, went to brush my teeth and go to the bathroom as per usual and NADA. I sat there until my feet when numb. Jord started yelling at me to get up and start moving around so I did. I went and had breakfast, we went for our morning walk and I drank a ton of fluid but nothing. Long story short I went that entire day without going to the bathroom. I was not happy about it and also just felt so uncomfortable. It is the worst feeling ever to feel like you have to go but can’t. My stomach was killing me but nothing was happening. I sat there, I ate figs and probably stressed about it way too much (which likely doesn’t help).

    I downed a glass of magnesium powder mixed with water that evening right before bed. I happened to have some in my pantry (random, I know) and the next morning I woke up and went per usual. I messaged over a dozen of my friends who have had babies before asking if they ever had constipation while pregnant. Each one laughed and replied with a big old YES! Clearly thins’t wasn’t uncommon amongst the preggo community. Continue Reading

  • lifestyle / pregnancy

    Ezra Benjamin’s Birth Story

    Ezra Benjamin's Birth Story

    On January 26, 2019 at 1:10am we welcomed our little muffin, Ezra Benjamin Carpenter, into this world.Ezra Benjamin's Birth Story

    Ezra was born 4 weeks early. I was exactly 36 weeks the night my water broke and having him a month earlier than expected, wasn’t exactly something we anticipated happening.

    Call me crazy but intuitively, I knew he was going to be here as soon as he could.

    When we last spoke about pregnancy on the blog, I mentioned my OB put me on a mini “bedrest” of sorts when I was 35 weeks and 5 days. I lost my mucus plug a week prior and it continued to fall out in small pieces every single day. Then the contractions started. I was told these were likely Braxton Hicks contractions, but I knew these were different. They felt like period cramps on steroids (coming from someone who had insane cramps in high school!) and were very consistent in their timing. I’d have them for 5 minutes then they’d disappear for 30 seconds or so then they’d come right back. And this continued every single day for a week, all day! Likely my biggest physical sign that Ezra was coming soon.

    So now let’s get to the birth story from start to finish. It’s a long one, so cozy up with some cookies and milk and enjoy… Continue Reading

  • lifestyle / pregnancy

    Pregnancy: the Most Secure I Have Ever Been in my Body

    Pregnancy: the Most Secure I Have Ever Been in my Body
    Pregnancy: the Most Secure I Have Ever Been in my Body
    32 weeks pregnant!

    To anyone who compared my bump or your bump or anyone’s bump to good ol’ pizza pie,

    Pregnancy is one of the biggest changes a woman’s body goes through.

    Pregnancy is a very unique and beautiful experience.

    Pregnancy is something never to take for granted.

    Pregnancy is a vulnerable time filled with unexpected twists and turns.

    Pregnancy is a personal journey for each couple.

    Pregnancy is a time to be cherish and embraced.

    I always knew I wanted a family and to make lots of cutie little bubs. When I’d play ‘house’ as a kid, I would always have 4 kids (2 boys, 2 girls) and would dream of my fantasy family and having a fam crew of my own someday.

    I never thought about the experience of pregnancy itself though until it was time Jord and I were trying to start a family, but had a few setbacks in the whole fertility process. I didn’t realized how excited I was to actually carry our children until we struggled to. This was something I took for granted as I was growing up (as most women may) and never thought the experience of being pregnant wouldn’t be attainable for everyone. We learn from a young age that you grow up, get married and get pregnant. But unfortunately it isn’t as cookie-cutter for everyone. 

    The moment we received the news that we were expecting, a huge shift happened for me both mentally and physically. 

    For starters I gained a sense of femininity I felt was missing for years with my hormone imbalance. I have never felt more in love with my body for allowing me to start our dream family. This is something I truly am thankful for each and every day, especially knowing that not every woman can experience this for themselves. I look in the mirror at my growing bump and feel such a sense of happiness, comfort and pride. I’m more secure in myself physically than I have in my entire life, yet none of my clothes fit, every sweatshirt has turned into a crop top and I need an extra 10 minutes to get places because I move pretty darn slow.

    The past 32 weeks have taught me more about my body than I ever imagined. The biggest lesson of all being you have pretty much zero control over the crazy changes you will go through during this process. I have swollen ankles and feet that cause a ton of discomfort, back pains no matter which way I sit, stand or lay down, veins growing all over my legs and private area and so on. Your body is going to change, it’s going to grow, it’s going to have ups and downs and most importantly it’s going to carry a flipping miracle of life. 

    But like all amazing things in life, there comes some negative and challenging parts to this process. During my pregnancy as well as many others, one of the most challenging and surprising parts of the whole journey has been the unsolicited comments from others. Strangers, friends, family, anyone.

    I know that by putting myself out there on my blog and Instagram, there is always going to be chatter and people will always have something to say no matter what the situation may be. That is a part of life and I do pride myself on having a thick skin to handle it. Something that is needed when you are open about your life.

    But the second someone starts comparing my baby bump to looking like what they look like after they eat pizza, that thick skin turns into mama defense time. Even if someone doesn’t mean harm or means it as a compliment. Comparing a pregnant body and a beautifully round and precious bump to someone’s stomach after eating a sandwich or gluten or whatever the comparison may be, isn’t a compliment no matter which way you slice that pie (ha!). Or even worse, telling someone they don’t look pregnant.

    By now we all know how everyone’s body is different. No two women will carry their babies the same and that is one of the most beautiful and magical parts of pregnancy. It is our own unique journey that no one can come between. Whether that is a woman carrying her own child, having a surrogate, or whatever the situation may be. For those carrying their own children, it physically looks different for everyone. Some carry the baby weight in more than just their stomach. Some carry only in their stomach and some don’t even show until later on in the pregnancy while others show just a few weeks in. 

    But does it really matter what it looks like? As long as the baby and mama are healthy, who cares if they carry small or don’t gain as much weight as others? And on the opposite spectrum, who cares if someone puts on more weight than anticipated as long as their doctor says they’re in good shape, that’s all that matters. Just like any body, weight is carried different amongst every single person.  Continue Reading

  • fertility + hormones / lifestyle / pregnancy

    My First Trimester + Early Pregnancy Symptoms + Supplements

    11 weeks pregnant here!

    Oh my gosh, that was the fastest three months of my life but the first trimester is OVER!

    Technically I only had to keep it a secret for 10 weeks since I found out at 4 weeks already, but wow Three months of keeping a secret from my close friends and my fave people (aka you guys) was not so easy for me whatsoever.

    I was telling the cashier at the grocery store, random people in Europe, literally anyone that doesn’t actually care but it felt so good to just say out loud “I am pregnant!”. I also have been pretty cautious on blurting it out and being too overly excited since I know first hand what it is like to want to be pregnant so badly and seeing everyone around you get pregnant – that ISH is not easy. But it was always really important to me to be happy for anyone who was carrying a miracle of life (I am a cheese ball already). Even when it selfishly was hard, I was genuinely happy for all of my friends and anyone who announced their pregnancies. I never want anyone to go through the struggles of trying to conceive. Although it definitely does make you appreciate being pregnant in a whole new light.

    But let’s chat about the first trimester + my pregnancy symptoms, shall we?

    As we learned awhile ago, everyone’s body is very different in how it reacts and responds to changes. Especially with pregnancy.

    After going through a year of trying to conceive naturally and holistically then another three rounds of fertility treatments (more on that here and here), my body was in full on sensitivity mode. I would pee too much and my boob would ache a little and I’d think I was pregnant. But I quickly learned that most hormonal symptoms are pretty consistent across pregnancy and just being a woman. Especially when you are in the first few weeks of pregnancy (when most women don’t even know they are pregnant!). It can be quite deceiving. I didn’t even think I was pregnant at first because I didn’t have many symptoms at first (the vaginal progesterone made me feel more pregnant!).

    Here were my very few but main pregnancy symptoms during the two week wait from our IUI procedure until the day we found out I was pregnant (aka when I was 4 weeks along):

    • BOOOOOOBS were growing crazy fast
      • Maybe it’s because I naturally am a part of the itty bitty titty committee, but my boobs grew an entire cup size in what felt like  overnight. This happened about 1 week post IUI and a week into taking vaginal progesterone, which does indeed make your boobs swell and extra tender. I even FaceTimed my mom to show her my boobs and she couldn’t believe it. They really went from an A to a B in a day. As soon as we had the news I was pregnant, my mom claims she knew the second she saw my boobs (no visual here duh!).
    • Tired but not exhausted whatsoever 
      • I definitely didn’t have as much energy as my usual self. But knowing what pregnancy exhaustion feels like (more on that in a few min), this was nothing compared to a couple weeks later. I remember being in a workout class and having zero energy. I wanted to lay down and take a nap (I settled for laying on the mat instead – no shame).

    …That is literally it. So as you can imagine I was 100% shocked when I got the news I was pregnant. I had no implantation bleeding, nothing! Most women don’t know they are pregnant this early on so that is also why I didn’t feel too much. But now let’s get to the first trimester where it gets juicier. Continue Reading