Happy summer, friends! We’ve been hanging out in South Bohemia as a new little family since our release from the hospital and it’s been such a nice slow time getting adjusted to the rhythms of life with a newborn. Our little one is already two months old now and I’ve been so lucky to have Alex off work until the start of the new school year and here at home. Thanks again for all the kind well wishes, messages and even gifts from some dear online friends.
I never got to do a third trimester recap (clearly) – it was my shortest and unexpectedly toughest trimester, having been diagnosed with two serious health issues (fortunately which did not effect our babe, in the end), but before I knew it, our Mouse was here!
We got these beautiful photos taken while the rhododendrons and lilacs were still in bloom in mid-May right here in South Bohemia to celebrate the coming of our late-spring flower and I wanted to share a couple of my favorites with you. It’s amazing now to know I would go into labor less than a month after they were taken!
One thing I loved in late pregnancy: swimming! The amazing weightless feeling of forgetting that you are pregnant – nobody can stare at you (ok, unless they are a cheeky kid with goggles, I guess) and you feel freakishly normal… that is, until you pull your body out of the water. That was amazing!
One thing I wish I would’ve brought to my labor: a straw!!! I was so thirsty that Alex fashioned one with some sort of plastic tubing he found somewhere (I was clearly desperate).
One thing I was super glad to have brought to my labor: a portable speaker and a “relaxing birth” playlist (on Spotify). Although I was interested in the idea of having music at the birth, I wasn’t sure how it would be or if I would really want it, but when we entered the delivery room and saw how spacious and private it was, I knew we should give music a go. It was one of my favorite things about my labor!
What I ate most in my third trimester: eggs, fish & cheese! These were approved foods from my diet that I could have as much as I wanted, even though I definitely missed sweets and carbs.
Pregnancy was a really sweet, hopeful and very optimistic time, but gosh it’s nice to be on the other side. It feels like I had been pregnant forever. I did prenatal yoga 3x a week since the end of my first trimester, but it was so nice to do a normal child’s pose again, to curl up in a ball, to lay on my back! Woohoo! To not stress as much about a wee bit of caffeine or alcohol, not to mention my food choices (hello ice cream, my old friend), and being able to walk at a normal or even brisk pace! Bliss! I’m currently doing a lot of gentle postpartum classes whenever time allows and really enjoying those, not to mention swimming again.
One thing people just do not talk enough about: breastfeeding. I had no idea what a “journey” it would be, about equal to pregnancy in its trials and dedication necessary. Our Western society typically does not support it as much as it ought to, which results in so many mothers giving up on it, and I do not blame them one bit. It’s a huge lifestyle shift, one more immediate than even pregnancy. To be tied to a little person through your boobs for several months or even years! It’s big, to say the least. I am pleased it seems to be going well for us so far although I will be ready for the non-newborn pace of eating when we get to it!
Some pregnancy and parenting books I’ve read over the past year, most of which I recommend…
The First Forty Days by Heng Ou – Was brilliant for postpartum, even though I spent almost half of my first forty in the hospital! I had Alex mixing up herbs for me, it was quite funny. 5/5
Natural Health after Birth by Aviva Romm – The original First Forty Days! With a heavy emphasis on herbs and lots of opinions, I enjoyed it more than Romm’s prenatal book. Although most useful during the “first forty”, this book is actually intended for the first year after birth! 4/5
Hypnobirthing: Practical Ways to Make Your Birth Better by Siobhan Miller – If I hadn’t read this, would I have had such a positive birth story? Probably not. Can’t recommend this book enough. 5/5
Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman – Highly entertaining and with lots of food for thought. I’m a sucker for motherhood expat books! 4/5
The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Genevieve Howland – A really fun one to read alongside your pregnancy! 4/5
Expecting Better by Emily Oster – A fact/data-driven look at the myriad of choices or situations you may be faced with during pregnancy. You could read this at any point in your journey from Week 5 to Week 39 and gain a lot from it, in my opinion. 4/5
The Montessori Baby by Simone Davies – A good introduction to Montessori principles with some really interesting suggestions. 3/5
The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Romm – Not as good as the postpartum book of Romm’s, heavily emphasizes a “natural” birth, avoiding hospitals. Could’ve skipped this one, but really earthy-crunchy may appreciate it. 2/5
What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff – The classic handbook. Conventional, helpful, American. 4/5
What to Expect: The First Year by Heidi Murkoff – Reading this one now (and will be for, well, the next year) and it’s been so helpful! 5/5
I also recommend the online courses from The Positive Birth Company! I didn’t get a lot of time to go through them before I went into labor, but the punch of information they pack for the price makes them well worth it.
If I miss anything about being pregnant which isn’t people giving up their seat for you on the bus (hah), it’s the little kicks… when they were gentle. But now I have the big kicker with me on the outside 🙂
All photos by Šárka at Supermintphoto.