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I am so excited to finally be posting our maternity pictures!

Having maternity pictures taken was something I knew I wanted to do as soon as we found out we were having a baby. Pictures are so important to me because they will always always be a reminder of the things you have done and experienced.

These were taken when I was 37 weeks pregnant so only two weeks before little man showed up. It took quite a while to get them done because we had to keep rescheduling. I was so worried that at 37 weeks I would be too “big” for the pictures but I like being able to see the size of my stomach only a short while before Cohen was born. It still so surprising that I carried a little baby around inside me for 9 months!

It was such a wonderful experience and now such an adventure having him a part of my life now. I want to be with him all the time, cuddling him, and smothering him with kisses. His little noises are so cute to listen to and I am just so glad that I have these pictures to remind me of the time I was pregnant. It was definitely one of the happiest times in my life and now it’s even better with him here.

*My dress is from ASOS (red is sold out – blue, mint, gray, pink)

Photos: Harlow Moon Photography

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Pregnant Silhouette| Birth Story

Cohen’s Birth Story

During the morning hours on Friday, I felt a sharp jolt; like when your cell phone buzzes, only this was inside my body underneath my left rib.

It made me question whether it was some sort of sign and that the baby was coming soon.

That evening, I started having severe pain in my left hip. I couldn’t stand up quickly or walk around very easily. I didn’t think much about it since there were many different aches and pains now that my due date was close.

At about 9:45 PM, I got up from my desk to use the bathroom.

While seated, I felt a sharp pain and a gush of water go into the toilet.

I was afraid to look but when I did, saw that the water was red. I could feel the panic beginning to start and tried to calm myself down.

I stood up and immediately started crying. I knew what this meant and suddenly felt so scared because I wasn’t sure what would happen next or what I was supposed to do.

My first inclination was to grab my Natural Childbirth book and look it up, hahaha. I didn’t because I knew it wouldn’t tell me much since there was no standardized list of events when it came to labor.

I decided to text my mom instead and when she didn’t reply I called her.

I told her I’d lost my plug and burst into heavy sobs. I told her I was panicking and freaked out. She asked if I had any pain or contractions yet and I said no. She told me I would be okay and that my contractions would probably begin during the night and I needed to get in bed and try to sleep.

I texted AJ next and told him my water had broken but I wasn’t in any pain. He called me right away and asked if he needed to leave work. I said no, that I was fine, but he said he’d be home soon.

After talking with him, I somehow decided that I needed to prepare the house for the baby. I went to the linen drawers and started changing the sheets on the bed. Then I did the dishes in the sink, started straightening up the house and ensuring his room was all ready for him.

By 11:30 PM my back was aching and I was so exhausted I just wanted to sleep. We got in bed and watched Castle on the iPad until both falling asleep.

Around 6 AM the next morning I started having pain in my lower abdomen. Pain that felt like burning flames but could be relieved when I went to the bathroom. I got up 2 or 3 times before finally checking the clock, 6:50 AM. After that I began timing them to see how far apart they were. They were roughly 12-17 minutes apart.

When the pain began each time, my entire body would get really hot and I couldn’t lay down any longer. I would stand up and pace the living room or head into the bathroom trying to relieve myself until the pain died down except now that wasn’t working.

Once the pain stopped, I was chilled to the bone; so freezing cold I put on sweat pants, a sweat shirt, socks, and wrapped a blanket around my shoulders.

I moved to the living room and laid on the couch because it was easier to get up and down when another flaming pain hit.

At about 8 AM, AJ woke up and asked if there was anything he could do, anything I needed. I told him I was hungry so he made some cream of wheat with butter. It tasted so good and the warm food was so comforting to my freezing body.

The pains continued coming and I started pacing in the living room. Sometimes they weren’t that painful and lasted only a few short seconds. Other times they were so unbearable I was wishing I could take the pain away somehow.

I was trying hard to breathe deeply through each one but relaxing was difficult when the pain was so intense. My mom began texting both of us asking how things were progressing. She said she thought the baby was sitting on my bladder which was why I felt like relieving myself would help relieve the pain.

By 9:30 AM, AJ left to get some ice for chewing. I could tell he needed something to do, some way to help me.

My mom came over at 10:00 AM and we started timing each contraction to see how far apart they were.

By 11:30 AM, I was in so much pain I couldn’t bear to have any lights on or listen to any noise from the tv. We decided it was time to get checked-in and it was lucky we did because I was already dilated to a three. We were told that it would take another 7 hours before being fully dilated so we resigned ourselves to the waiting game.

I was checked again at 3 PM and had already dilated to a seven. It looked like things were speeding up a little bit. Yay!

At 6 PM, I was fully dilated and told I could begin pushing. This marks the longest, most strenuous 2 and a half hours (roughly) of my entire life. I had decided from the very beginning that I would give birth naturally. No epidural, no pitocin, all me. When I told people they would always laugh and say I wouldn’t make it, that I would give in. I knew that I wouldn’t and I didn’t. At 8:45 PM, I pushed that baby into this world and it was an absolute miracle.

Those 2 1/2 hours were so long and so hard that I wanted to give up. I wanted to stop, to be done. When each contraction ended, I felt as though there was no way I could do it again. The pain was so intense, so unbearable yet all I could do was breathe and push through it. I had to keep going.

Many times, I would completely fall asleep in between the contractions. I knew this was a saving grace because it felt like it was never going to end.

AJ was a complete sweetheart and held my hand the entire time. Even when his face scrunched up in pain from me squeezing his fingers, he still held on when the next contraction began.

When I finally held that little boy in my arms, I was so stunned it was over. It was so much work and so painful I couldn’t believe that people would actually say that natural childbirth was painless. It most definitely was not. Of course once I had him in my arms, I started joking that yeah, that whole ordeal was completely painless. Everyone laughed but I just laid there shocked, staring at him thinking, “This is him. I did it. It’s over.” I was completely exhilarated that I’d made it through, that little Cohen was here safe and sound.

I was told to start talking to him. I had no idea what to say to him so I just started introducing him to everyone in the room. I told him how hard I had worked to get him here and that he didn’t have a name yet but we’d come up with a good one.

They cleaned him up, did some checking, and then weighed him. We all took turns guessing but were surprised when they said he weighed 8 lbs 11 oz. I couldn’t believe it. Everyone was amazed he’d fit inside me somehow. At 39 and a half weeks, he was ready to be here.

When all the exhilaration started wearing off and we were left alone, I could feel the exhaustion settling in. After such a long, long day, I was more than happy to go to sleep; so very happy it was all over.

Now, sitting here, holding this little guy in my arms, I have never felt so much love for such a tiny human being in my entire life. All the pain, all the struggle, it was completely worth it.

He was worth it.

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Baby Announcement | Pregnancy UpdateBaby Announcement

He’s here!!!

I literally couldn’t be anymore excited to announce that Cohen Cook is officially here.

He was born at 39 1/2 weeks on Saturday at 8:45 PM weighing in at 8 lbs. 11 oz. and was 21 inches long!

I haven’t quite decided if I want to post his birth story but I think if enough people want to hear it then maybe I will.

Either way, AJ and I are both over the moon that Cohen is now here safe and sound. I am in blissful heaven holding him all the time and staring at him like a creeper while he sleeps.

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Pregnancy Update | Baby Announcement

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39 Weeks Pregnancy Update

39 Weeks Pregnancy Update

Baby’s gender:

Boy

Baby’s size:

It’s likely he already measures about 20 inches and weighs a bit over 7 pounds – about the size of a mini-watermelon. (Boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls.)

Baby’s development:

Your baby’s waiting to greet the world! He continues to build a layer of fat to help control his body temperature after birth. The outer layers of his skin are sloughing off as new skin forms underneath.

My weight gain:

35 lbs

Craving:

Water and more water

Feeling: 

More calm now that the time is almost over. It’s more of a finality than anything; an acceptance that he could come any day now. It is both thrilling and frightening. The fact that those 9 months have already past is so bizarre. This little guy is nearly here.

Things of Note:

Random people have started asking me how much longer I have left. It’s kind of fun to reply with “I’m done!” hahaha.

We set up the nursery and things are getting organized. I still feel like there’s things I need to do. It’s hard knowing if I have enough blankets, socks, etc. I worry about the littlest things apparently.  I try to remind myself that those things aren’t as important and I can worry about them as they come. I want to be prepared and I think this entire ordeal is so overwhelming that I try to take control of some of the small issues so at least I have some grip on things.

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39 Weeks Pregnancy Update

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38 Weeks Pregnancy Update

38 Weeks Pregnancy Update

Baby’s gender:

Boy

Baby’s size:

Your baby has really plumped up. He weighs about 6.8 pounds and is over 19 1/2 inches long (about the size of a leek).

Baby’s development:

He has a firm grasp, which you’ll soon be able to test when you hold his hand for the first time! His organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb. Wondering what color your baby’s eyes will be? If he’s born with brown eyes, they’ll likely stay brown. If he’s born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time she’s 9 months old.

My weight gain:

34 lbs

Craving:

Apple juice and water

Feeling: 

Curious about when he’ll actually come. I had a very strong impression over the weekend that he would be early. I didn’t know how early or if that would even be true but it kind of kicked me into gear as far as getting things ready for when he’s here.

Things of Note:

We finally set up the crib! It was so fun to see it come together and I always look at it whenever I pass by the nursery. I can’t wait until he is here and able to sleep in it. I always think “I hope he likes it” even though he probably will never really care, hahaha.

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38 Weeks Pregnancy Update

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37 Weeks Pregnancy Update

37 Weeks Pregnancy Update

Baby’s gender:

Boy

Baby’s size:

He now weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel, about the size of a bunch of Swiss chard.

Baby’s development:

Your due date is very close now, but doctors don’t consider your baby “full term” until 39 weeks. Spending the next two weeks in the womb allows your baby’s brain and lungs to fully mature.

Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long.

My weight gain:

33 lbs

Craving:

Water – I can’t go anywhere without a water bottle on hand. If I forget, I have to stop somewhere and pick some up. It’s definitely a pain but if it’s helping this little bun grow then I am happy to do it.

Feeling: 

Nervous and anxious. Nervous I am not going to have everything done in time and anxious to have my body back, hahaha! Getting out of bed is a struggle, getting out of the car is a struggle, picking stuff up off the floor is like “ehhh, it can stay there.” I wish I had someone to follow me around and put my shoes on or clip my seatbelt. It’s really crazy how easy it is to get winded by the simplest things.

Grocery shopping or walking anywhere too quickly sends me into a series of serious side aches. I have to stop and look around pretending I’m fine while slowly dying inside from the pain.

Things of Note:

I have always hated taking baths but ever since being pregnant I could literally lay in the tub all day long. Half the time I’m asking myself whether I’ve waited long enough to get back in. I love to just lay there soaking and usually only get out when the water becomes too cold or I get too hot. I never fill it up all the way because I’ve heard hot water can be bad during pregnancy so I always make sure my entire belly is exposed, out of the water. I honestly don’t even know if that matters but it’s so wonderful to just lay there suspended. I should’ve gotten a pass to a pool somewhere or something, haha.

Also, my belly button has officially popped out. AJ always pokes it and tells me my turkey is done.

Details from above:

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37 Weeks Pregnancy Update

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36 weeks pregnancy update

36 Weeks Pregnancy Update (9 months!)

Baby’s gender:

Boy

Baby’s size:

Baby is gaining about an ounce a day. He now weighs almost 6 pounds and is more than 18 1/2 inches long (about the size of a head of romaine lettuce).

Baby’s development:

He’s shedding most of the downy hair that covered his body, as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that protected his skin during his nine-month amniotic bath.

Most likely he’s in a head-down position, but if not, your practitioner may suggest scheduling an external cephalic version (ECV). In an ECV, the practitioner applies pressure to your abdomen to manually manipulate your baby into a head-down position. Luckily baby boy’s been head down for the past 6 week so we are good there!

My weight gain:

31 lbs

Craving:

Water, water, water

Feeling: 

Anxious to get things done! I need to start thinking about stock-piling the fridge with food and such, unpacking and washing clothes and deep cleaning around the house.

Things of Note:

This belly feels like it has gotten huge in the past few weeks. I never really know what to say when people ask me how I’m feeling so I usually just say “really big!” It’s wonderful knowing that the bigger I get though the healthier this baby will be. I can only hope and pray that he comes into this world healthy and strong.

I’ve been to a few baby showers now and am feeling more and more prepared for this little guy to be here. Diapers, wipes, soaps, clothing, toys, his little supply has grown and I’ve busily been trying to organize everything so I can find things when he needs something.

Details from above:

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36 Weeks Pregnancy Update

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35 weeks Pregnancy Update35 Weeks Pregnancy Update

Baby’s gender:

Boy

Baby’s size:

Baby boy is over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds – about the size of a honeydew melon.

Baby’s development:

Your baby doesn’t have much room to maneuver now that it’s so snug in your womb, he isn’t likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times he kicks should remain about the same.

His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products.

Most of his basic physical development is now complete – he’ll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.

My weight gain:

30 lbs

Craving:

Ice and orange juice for some reason is suuuuuuuper tasty!

Feeling: 

Nervous! It’s getting so close and I don’t feel ready yet!

Things of Note:

I have started experiencing what I like to call burning burps. Nothing drastic is happening, I am literally going about my day when I will randomly feel this burning in my throat. I assume it’s related to heart burn or indigestion or the fact that my stomach is probably smashed into my esophagus but it is extremely uncomfortable. I started drinking more water hoping it would tame it down when a friend handed me two antacids and voila, it was gone! I couldn’t believe it. I started noticing that it happened more often after eating citrus and around Christmas time I was eating 2-3 oranges a day so I picked up a bottle of those chalky pepper-minty goodnesses and really wish I had a lot sooner.

I feel like I am way behind on this aspect but I started reading a few books about labor and birth. I am currently reading HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method which I don’t have any info on yet since I just started yesterday, whomp. I feel kind of weird reading it because I thought it was a “free spirit” type read but my doctor told me she recently experienced “the nicest birth.” I immediately was like “what do you mean? what’s a nice birth?” She said the woman had done hypnobirthing and was completely relaxed and calm the entire time. Of course she had a support group of about 5 people at her birth but I immediately felt inadequate as though I’d already failed as a mother. All I’d done up to that point, as far as preparations go, was nothing so I think that’s my problem. I kid, well so I watched a few youtube videos and kind of had the jist of things, but I decided to pick up the book anyways and be the next “nicest birth” this lady had ever experienced. {Uh yeah right, I’ll just be right here under the bed for the remainder of this pregnancy since that’s the best solution I can think of for solving my impending delivery of this baby.)

I recently finished reading A Good Birth, a Safe Birth and only found it to be semi-helpful. It explains a lot about hospitals versus home births and the pros and cons of each. After skimming through all the traumatizing experiences different women had during their births I dug into a little of the nitty gritty on labor itself. I love the science aspect of it and really want to know exactly what my body is doing during labor; why certain things happen and how it triggers the next thing, etc. When the book ended without really getting into a lot of that I was kind of disappointed and immediately started trying to find a second read that would be more in depth and that’s when I started the Hypno book above.

I did read Baby Wise about two years ago when all my friends were having babies and was completely clueless in all their baby conversations because I didn’t have kids yet. It was terrible because I became that annoying friend giving advice when I didn’t even have a child yet. I will most likely end up rereading it again but not til after I can write a 20 page paper on labor, delivery, and mastering a “nice” birth, as mentioned above.

I have also read Bringing up Bebe which I read back when we were talking about getting pregnant. It was an interesting book to read though it’s a completely different story when your baby is almost here and you don’t live in France with all the benefits of their childcare or nutritional food support system, *sigh.

On another note: I also heard that Raspberry Leaf tea helps with labor….anyone else heard this and tried it? I’d love to hear about your experience. Gracias!

P.s. This is my new favorite sweater. It’s basically a blanket you can wear outside, double points!

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35 Weeks Pregnancy Update

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