I´ve never been a motherly-type of a woman.
You know those girls, who always enjoyed playing with their dolls. They adored dressing, feeding, and taking care of them and knew from an early age, that being a mom is one of the things they love to be the most in this life.
Well… I was never one of them.
I was a chubby, boy-like kid and my mom had to put a ribbon on my head for people not to ask: “What´s your son´s name?” I loved playing outside and getting dirty, climbing the trees, and trying to keep up with my two older cousins. My hair didn´t start growing until the 1st grade. I hated dresses and skirts and couldn´t care less about dolls or taking care of them.
Growing up when people asked me who I wanted to be, “a mom” was nothing that ever popped in my head.
Getting into my college years and early professional life, I was also never the type of woman who was endeared by holding someone else´s baby or babysitting, playing with them. As terrible of a human being as it sounds for myself even- I was never just a fan of small kids.
I had always envisioned having a family though, but it seemed still somehow so far off. I just had other things on my mind.
Thus far, as you can tell, I seemed to myself not too much of mom-material and sometimes felt pretty bad for it. Everything changed when Nick and I got serious and I could really start seeing the vision.
“He will definitely be the father of my children,” I remember thinking. When you know, then you know…
Fast forward a few years- having a daughter now has been BY FAR the most fulfilling and amazing experience of my life. Carrying her for 40 weeks was truly a great honor and now I have dived into motherhood and love it more than anything. Seems that the mom-gene was still somewhere inside me:D (up until that point I questioned if it was)
Anyone can relate?
Okay. Now to the pregnancy time itself…
New Years Eve. We had got a positive test result in the same morning. Since Nick was doing 75Hard challenge and wasn´t drinking alcohol I could hide behind that and tell our friends I was doing it with him;)
I wrote about this period and getting pregnant in a previous blog post (“Bumpy road to pregnancy”), so I won´t focus now too much on this part. I’ll just say, that Camilla was my second pregnancy and a very, very expected and hoped for child.
As I look at my pregnancy diary and think back, I have very few pictures and even notes from the first trimester. Mentally the first trimester was definitely the hardest for me. Since the last time I was pregnant, my heart was totally broken, I guess I tried to protect it this time without having any evidence or memories if it would happen again. Silly thought maybe now, but then it made sense to me.
I was just scared….
I hoped SO much that everything will go well. I was also very paranoid. I associated every “weird” feeling with “something has definitely happened to the baby.” To get confirmation and peace of mind, I had an ultrasound at 6+6; 8+2; 10+1, and 12+4 weeks. So at the end of the first trimester, I had already had 4 of them whereas some women have three in their entire pregnancy. Every time I left the hospital with a deep, grateful sigh. “The baby is still in there.”
Physically I was blessed with a very easy 1st trimester. I never threw up or had intense nausea. I was definitely more tired (especially in the middle of the day) and had some headaches, but not to the extent that I had to stay in bed or take naps. I just went to bed a little earlier than usual and really protected my sleep-schedule.
I remember even googling if it is okay to feel that okay in your first trimester:D
I know that women who have had harder 1st trimesters reading this might think- “I wish I had it that easy.” I, on the other hand, was secretly hoping for more nausea to “feel like being pregnant, ” because that´s what I had encountered around me and thought it should be. Funny how our brains work sometimes.
So physically a very doable first trimester, mentally very, very rough one.
At that time I had just confirmed to be one of the faces of the Nike Training Club campaign. The first person other than Nick who I shared our pregnancy with was not my mom or best friend, but NTC-s organizer:D Greetings to you, Kelly:)
I was used to doing high-intensity strength and endurance workouts, but now those seemed too much. I read a lot about the correlations between working out and miscarriages and although there isn´t a strong proven link, it still mentally didn´t make sense to me to do burpee-marathons and jumping jacks. Especially when I already was a little scary-cat in my head.
When I got pregnant I had just done two Nike Training Club 50 workout challenges, was in a good form, and absolutely sure that my belly will show right away:)
I started doing the calmer yoga- classes in order to show up and at least do something. I told the other trainers, who were used to seeing me in their trainings that I had a knee- injury and I had to give it some recovery-time:D Just a little white lie. Oooops:)
My greatest cravings were tomato and pickle juice, salty pastries, and porridge. I ate carrot-buns every day and Nick looked at me like a weirdo when I was gulping down pickle juice from the jar leaving the pickles themselves to him:D I also crushed a whole bunch of cookies. I didn´t really have any foods which smell made me cringe or nauseous.
12-week ultrasound (last ultrasound together with Nick)- Everything with the baby is good. The Baby´s gender is not confirmed yet. Dang, it!
13 week belly
Around week 16 one of my friends who knew about the pregnancy asked me to send a picture of the belly-bump. I understood then, that I had been so afraid, that I literally hadn´t taken a picture of my belly in the last 3 months (other than the one above).
2nd April (week 18, the belly has popped!:))- finally allowing myself to believe what´s happening and starting to capture and enjoy the journey
It actually got real to me when we shared the news on social media between 18-19 weeks. When so many people sent their congratulations then I finally celebrated myself too- “Wow, we are actually having a baby.”:D
Week 19-20– It was the week of Easter and I was visiting my mom. I shared with her that I hadn´t felt the baby kick yet and that was a bit concerning to me. I had the placenta in the front wall and I knew that could delay the kicks, but the worry (read: another huge mental crash) crept in again. One of my acquaintances is a midwife and she happened to have a doppler at home to hear the baby´s heartbeat. That evening I got the doppler and between the weeks 19-23 (when the kicks were still rare and soft) listened to the heartbeat every time I needed peace in my heart. The most beautiful and precious sound in the world.
This picture has nothing to do with my pregnancy, but scrolling back to see what photos I had, around week 20 I ran into this and got a good laugh:D Mine and Nick´s faces swapped:D Wanted to see how the “combination of our genes” could look like:D
Week 20-21 – As you read before already in the first trimester I had multiple ultrasounds. The half-way point wasn´t any different. I headed to this fetus anatomy ultrasound excited to learn about the sex of the baby and get confirmation that everything is going the way it should. Came out the baby was in a position, that her body was not fully visible in the ultrasound. The doctor could check some of the important body-parts, but not all of them thoroughly. I got a new time a week later.
That appointed morning, excited, I headed to the same hospital room. AGAIN the baby had taken a position where the end of her spine wasn´t fully visible. We agreed for me to come the next day.
I knew all along that patience is one of the most important lessons this little one will come to teach me, but …. already??
The next day in the morning the situation was still the same and now it already seemed funny to me. In the evening the baby had finally turned so that all the vital points were possible to be analyzed and everything was good. Yet another deep sigh.
I don´t know how throughout this pregnancy I was such a worrier. I am generally pretty calm and positive, but now Nick had to remind me very frequently to not get in my head and stop taking everything so damn seriously. “Liisa…. relaaaaaaax, she´s okay” he´d say all the time.
Although I tried to remind myself constantly, that the number 1 priority is that the baby is healthy, deep in my heart I was really, really hoping our first baby will be a girl. When we had talked about kids and family with Nick, we somehow always referred to our first-born as a “she”. Now we got confirmation that our previous visualization was a reality. We were having a daughter! We could not have been happier.
The winning “Team Pink.” IT`S A GIRL!
In the second trimester, I formed some pregnancy habits, that I kept until pretty much the last day before birth. One of my strongest beliefs is controlling the things that are in our control and putting our focus and self-worth into those. I really believe that after the worrisome first part of the pregnancy, these core habits helped me to maintain a good routine, and now looking back also snap back later. Here are a few of those:
- Moving and getting some physical exercise. I walked 1,5-2 hours (10-13 km) pretty much every morning covering 465 km in 7th month; 462 km in 8th and 444 km in the 9th month. Since it was the lockdown time anyway and not too many options of going out, this was MY time. I loved being in the fresh air and especially doing it first thing in the morning. On some walks, my belly went hard and I had to rest a bit, but it wasn´t anything too bad.
Winter and summer walks
- Drinking a lot of water. A LOT! That was a habit I had already before, but now it was even more elevated. Did it get annoying when on longer trips Nick had to stop a thousand times for me to use the bathroom? Probably. Was it worth it though? 100%!:)
- Listening to baby seminars, audiobooks, and preparing myself. For me, knowledge is a source of confidence. I don´t like “winging it” in pretty much any part of my life, so I figured taking care of a human being, 100% dependent on me, is definitely not a place to do that too. The goal for me was not to do everything “by the book,” the goal was to listen to my body and balance it with what I had learned. To know enough to form my own opinion. I read books, did a 20 seminar course, looked at some other webinars, watched youtube- videos, asked my friends. Not all of it was definitely necessary, but whatever gave me peace of mind at that time was healthy and helpful.
- Tried to eat as healthy as I could. This worked better at the beginning of the pregnancy when I had the previous good habits but got worse and worse as the months rolled by. The carrots became chocolates and cottage cheese gummy bears.
Most days (at the beginning) I maintained the previous healthy habits, but some days had to leave myself reminders not to go on crazy food adventures and eat EVERYTHING we had
- No whining. At the very beginning of the pregnancy, I promised myself that I will not complain about anything. This was exactly what I had wished and hoped for and it would be hypocritical to now not choose to be happy about it. As you read before I was scared in the first part of the pregnancy, but I wasn´t whining.
- Trusted my body and mind. I feel that in the parenthood world it is so easy to compare. It starts already during the pregnancy- some have bigger bellies than others. Some gain 10 kgs, some 20, some 30. Some get more complications than others. Some like to get the baby stuff earlier, some later. Some want very specific brands, some prefer aftermarket. It´s ALL FINE! Being apart of baby groups you see women talking, sharing about their experience and it is so easy to get caught up in what others are doing. As much as I researched and talked with people I still trusted that whatever I had decided I´ll stick to it and not worry or compare.
One of my very favourite things during the 2nd trimester was to see Nick´s involvement and reactions. He was literally the sweetest!
Every week we read from an app about the size and development of the baby. He talked with the baby every day. Every night before bed he gave me a good-night kiss and then held his hands on my stomach and chatted with the baby. I don´t know how much of it is a coincidence and how much actual effect, but the baby was moving more when she was hearing Nick´s voice. I still remember Nick saying- “Hey sweetie, it´s papa here.” Or “Give papa a little kick.” I had tears in my eyes looking at it.
The baby liked to be on my left side of the stomach all the time and Nick had a theory that it´s because he sleeps on that side of me.
Nick was also having a little tapping-communication with her and he was sure the baby was answering to him. Again- this might sound a little funny, but hey- it was so sweet how the were already becoming buddies.
First little body for the nugget
In the 2nd (and 3rd) trimester I was also veeeeery emotional. Everything and anything brought tears to my eyes. Whether it was a touching movie or a sunny day, some pictures, or sometimes even an ordinary moment was enough to get the waterworks going. Every feeling was somehow elevated.
All the pregnancy moods
Week 25: We started getting some things for the baby (the stroller, the bed, carseat etc). I made a gigantic Excel and for weeks was soooo overwhelmed with all the million options for every product. Step-by-step I made a plan though and started executing on it.
First baby things
Week 31-32– At the beginning of July, week 31 at the midwife´s appointment my belly measured smaller than at that moment was normal, so I was sent to another ultrasound. Everyone kept saying “Oh, your belly is so small” and at that point, I actually started thinking too: “Well… what if the baby is not growing the way she should?”
In the ultrasound, the baby measured smaller than average, but nothing to the extent that there was something wrong. The baby was still in the breech position (tuharseis) and I knew that if she doesn´t turn head-down soon we need to do the manual turning or decide for a c-section.
Since we have a technology-free bedroom, this here is literally one of three pictures taken there during 2020. I just wanted to remember how I built a pillow-tower every evening to give relief to my slowly more and more swollen feet.
Although at that week there is still plenty of time for the baby to turn around, I started doing different exercises to motivate her to do that. I watched all kinds of videos and since I didn´t want to do the manual, outside turning nor c-section, I was ready to try anything. I was doing hip-exercises with the bouncing ball, I held cold on top of my stomach and warm at the bottom for her to turn towards the lower part. I was watching TV with my knees on the couch and my head lower. I even did the flashlight technique where I showed the light to the belly for her to see “the light at the end of the tunnel”:D
Motivating the baby to turn head down:D Watching TV head down, booty up was very interesting:D
Week 31-32– We were planning to go to a baby-moon and enjoy one last trip the two of us. I consulted with multiple midwives and friends about recommendation and risks travelling at that stage. I was feeling great, but with the Covid restrictions added to the mix, we decided to make the most of Estonian summer.
Answering emails with feet in cold water:D
Week 32 (pregnancy book)- “Dear Camilla, you are really growing and making momma´s rib-cage expand. I don´t have really any other pains other than the feeling like someone has punched me in my ribs. If this is what it takes for you to grow happily and healthy, then I´ll take it:) Keep growing, little one.”
Third trimester strong kicks and a very popped belly button
Week 33– (pregnancy book)”Mila… Momma and Papa put together your bed today. We hope that you will get the sweetest dreams and best sleep in it. We love you so much and we are excited to meet you.”
“Babe, I have another little project for you for the evening”
Week 34-35– I did a belly photoshoot and we make some pictures with our wedding photographer. Between weeks 32-36 I felt as beautiful as I had ever felt. The belly was big already, but it wasn´t heavy for me. I wore tight clothes and stuck it out every moment I could. I was so proud! “Look- I am growing a human!”. I strongly suggest every women to capture that time in some photos. It doesn´t have to be a fancy photoshoot, but to have something to look back at is so precious.
Loving the wait
Week 36: I have no idea if my flashlight and hip moving exercises had helped, but by this week she had turned around and was head down, ready to make her entrance into the world:)
Week 37: Overnight I have gained 1,5 kilos and my fingers and toes are way bigger than usual. I go to the hospital just in case to eliminate the option of preeclampsia. They look at the baby´s heartbeat and everything is the way it should. No signs of her wanting to start getting out.
Week 37-39: Organized my closet. Cleaned EVERYTHING. I truly felt like the baby will come and do a dust-control:D Also food-prepped a bunch of chicken- cottage cheese patties, tomato soup, and beef-bean mixture. That was areal a blessing in the first weeks to eat home-made food without the need to pour time into it. Future mommas- if there is anything that will help you in the first weeks- this is it!
Week 38-39: It started to get heavy! My legs were swollen and only a few pairs of sneakers barely fit me. I got varicose veins and it was uncomfortable to sleep. The baby was kicking stronger and stronger and it felt like my ribs were bruised. Now I didn´t feel like the maternal goddess I had seemed to myself a few weeks ago. Nothing overly hard though. Just the normal differences in the body while carrying a little one with you. I was soooo excited though! Any time now… any time.
Week 40: The schedule was cleared and we were ready!
Total I had gained 14 kg-s. 9 in the first 8 months and 5 in the final month. In the last one, I literally ate anything and everything I could get my hands on. I´d order a bunch of groceries and snacks with the idea of those lasting a little longer, but every time ended up destroying all the sweets and junk in an evening or two. If I hadn´t moved as much as I did I probably would have ended up gaining muuuuuch more.
If the first 8 months I tried to stay somewhat healthy, then last month I destroyed an absolutely unbelievable amount of candies, cookies, and ice-cream
Week 40 +3– Camilla is born (days leading up to it in Camilla´s birth story blog). Best day of my life!
To sum up, all pregnancies are different and not to be compared in an unhealthy way. I do believe though that some of the pregnancy is ” in our head” and many things under our control. I believe that no matter the extent of pregnancy effects, women are the most beautiful during that time and should be so proud of baking those little miracles.
I personally could not have asked for a better pregnancy and am very grateful to have this experience. It was truly such a special time and I felt the prettiest I´ve ever felt. It is still insane to me how women are able to do everything they do and I sure have a heck more respect for my body than I previously did. Carrying a little human inside made me more humble, grateful, scared, emotional, empowered, amazed. It made me more of everything!