34 WEEKS

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I posted an update to Instagram yesterday and wanted to share here too.

I had a grocery story clerk say to me this week, “Wow, you look like you’re ready to pop!” To which I responded, “Thank you!” enthusiastically and wholeheartedly. She looked at me confused. The five seconds were too short to explain all about the preterm labor, the hospital visits, the thought that I would never make it to 34 weeks let alone look “ready to pop” in this pregnancy. It was all I dreamed of hearing at 28 weeks in the ambulance. And here I am, still standing, buying groceries, pregnant at 34 weeks and looking like a healthy, normal, pregnant person. My perspective, along with nearly everything else, has changed. What a compliment, looking so full term. I’ll take it, every time.

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Two weeks ago I shared this:

Once you’ve experienced a pregnancy related complication, of any kind, you can’t “unsee” it. It changes you, you carry it with you. A part of the innocence and joy of an uncomplicated pregnancy is lost. There are other wonderful things too, that enter in. Like all of your friends showing up in both big and small ways, daily. And having your perspective and priorities shift to what really matters. And gratitude for all the little things. But there is still a loss. It’s like you took the red pill in the matrix, you can’t go back. We are different people for going through this. There’s a new layer of understanding and connectedness with people who have experienced similar things. People continue to reach out and connect with us, offering their stories, their empathy, their encouragement. We’re still so “in” it right now that it’s a difficult place to share from, and I don’t even really know what I think about all of it yet, or how I will look back on this season. But I do know that we are getting though it and we are finding joy, even in the middle of all the unknowns. It is not an easy place to be, and at times disorienting and filled with so much uncertainty, but there is a different kind of richness and depth to it, and there is so much good here too.

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We have now reached a milestone that originally seemed so far off. We are rejoicing. And yet, while we are breathing a huge sigh of relief, we also still don’t know how this story ends. We continue to take it one day at a time and are grateful for all the little wins. This pregnancy has taken nearly every ounce of my mental, physical and emotional strength, and as we near the finish line I feel so much like I’ve run a marathon, except maybe that a marathon would have been easier. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever worked for, and it’s not over yet. I’m doing my best at trying to enjoy this pregnancy again, which six weeks ago I didn’t think was possible. I’m finding joy in the small and big moments, and I keep going. Just a few more weeks till full term.

Thanks for being in it with us.

PREGNANCY FAVORITES, ROUND TWO

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This pregnancy, to put it mildly, has not been easy for me. It’s felt like one very long road. And we’re still very much in it. I know that the difficult things are where we grow the most, and I know that the end result, a baby, a precious life, is so worth it. While challenging, there are a few items that are helping me through it. These are some things I’m liking this time around.

Collagen. How I make my decaf lattes into essentially a protein shake (10 grams!) with this. I even took the travel sticks with me on our babymoon to Arizona, that’s how committed I am. I add it to my milk frother and blend the collagen and the nut milk together, and it makes the creamiest, foamiest, protein-packed lattes.

You may remember from my stories a while back that I started making my own almond milk and was officially converted. The process in my blender became a little time consuming and tedious, and I ended up just buying it more often out of convenience. I recently discovered the Almond Cow, and it eliminates the straining step, and clean up is so much easier than with the cheesecloths I was using. So thrilled to have an easier solution for fresh, plant-based milks. Use code ALLIESEIDEL for $15 off and free shipping.

Nordic Naturals. My go-to for omega three’s. I like their Prenatal and Postnatal formulas, and we will be using their Baby Vitamin D Drops again with this baby.

Water bottle. Any will do. I’ve thrown this one around for three years and while pricey, I still love it.

I finally found a natural nail polish I like. Intended for kids, it’s non-toxic and free of fumes and chemicals, which I especially appreciate in pregnancy. It’s not as long lasting as the chemical formulas, so I use the base and top coat and sealer to gain a few extra days.

My mom got me these slippers while I was on bed rest and they are life changing. They run small, size up for the best fit.

Still my favorite maternity jeans.

Making sparkling water at home with this on repeat.

I have worn this every day for about a week now. Possibly the best maternity dress ever made, the fabric and fit is amazing.

Loving these! Hoping they make your pregnancies (or just daily life!) a little easier too.

Shared in partnership with Almond Cow, Vital Proteins, and Nordic Naturals. Some links are affiliate. All words and opinions are my own.

EASTER BASKET IDEAS

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We’re slowly coming out of the fog of preterm labor, and finding our new normal. I don’t think of it as “back to normal,” because I honestly feel like a different person after having gone through that experience. My entire perspective has changed, along with my priorities, and what I used to think of as “important.” All the non-essentials have been filtered out from my life, and the essentials, namely, continuing to grow this baby to as full-term as I can get, have taken precedent.

It may seen trivial to share an “Easter Basket Gift Ideas” blog post in the middle of this, but in some ways, it’s helpful for me to have something else to think about for a little bit, and it’s also significant in that it means things have calmed down enough to be out of current crisis. I could not have imagined writing this post two weeks ago, but today I get to. It turned out much more “baby girl” than “toddler boy” than I planned, but those are the kinds of things I’m thinking about these days. It was really fun for me to put together. Enjoy!

Cuddle and Kind Dolls. I think I share this every year, but we can’t get enough. They are ethically made, hand knit dolls that give back 10 meals to a child in need with every purchase. They just came out with some new ones, this is Penelope the flamingo, and there are more darling, limited edition ones for Easter.

Plus-Plus, pastel edition. We got these for Christmas last year and they get tons of use. The pastel colors are perfect for an Easter basket. They also just came out with these puzzles which we love, and these tubes are great for travel.

Bannor Toys. Beautifully hand made wooden toys. The personalization option makes it extra special. They have a darling Easter matching game set that is perfect for basket filling.

Slumberkins. Started by a counselor and a teacher, this company aims to provide social/emotional support to children through plush dolls and books. The Family Change Fox is especially applicable for us as we think about welcoming a new baby.

Clamfeet. The cutest soft-soled, handmade baby shoes. In matching sizes for mama!

Smaller items:

Egg Shaped Chalk

Water Wow - great for travel

Dot Markers

GlowSticks - fun for the bath

Musical Egg Shakers

Wikki Stix

Happy basket filling!

Shared in partnership with Cuddle and Kind, Plus Plus, Bannor Toys, Slumberkins, and Clamfeet. All opinions are my own.