New Year.

pexels-photo-285173

I know the thing to say these days is how crappy 2017 was, and believe me, many parts of it were (and beyond crappy, more like… unbelievable? Is this real life? What is happening?).

But as I continue to reckon with all of that (perhaps a blog post for another day?), I can’t help but be grateful for much of what 2017 brought our family, from a promotion and new opportunities at work for me and Kevin, to plenty of travel, and, yes, the impending arrival of our little nugget.

As I get used to writing ‘2018,’ I’m also trying to think about what this coming year will bring. I don’t think I have one specific resolution or action item in mind this year; instead, I have a few things I’ve been thinking about:

Learning to roll with it. If you’ve ever seen my planner (and you probably haven’t, because I guard it with my life, because I am crazy), you know I like to be prepared. While I do think I do a pretty good job of handling stress and reacting to adversity, I like to know what’s coming, have a plan, and feel in control. With a baby on the way, I know I have to find a way to let that go and get better at just taking life as it comes. This will be tested almost immediately as we learned this week that the baby will be arriving earlier than expected. I am going to be induced at 37-38 weeks (likely sometime between Feb. 21-28) due to my newly-discovered gestational hypertension. I am happy the doctors are taking it seriously and watching me so carefully, because of course all we really care about is a healthy kiddo, but feeling like we just lost 2-3 weeks of preparation is stressful. And not what we planned for! See, I have a lot to learn.

Slowing down. It can be hard to stop and smell the roses in these busy times we live in, and I know for me, life often becomes an exhausting stream of post-it notes, Twitter feeds, and text messages, with little time spent actually stopping to appreciate what goes on in between. You know, the things that actually matter. When the little one gets here, I hope I am able to put down my phone more often and spend time being present in the moments. And then maybe I’ll Instagram them. 🙂

Taking care of myself. I do a pretty good job of eating well and working out, but I know that when things get out of whack, those are often the first to go. If work gets busy, I’ll skip the gym after, and if we’re running somewhere in a hurry, we’ll get fast food. I want to stay on track and not get derailed so easily, because I deserve to take care of myself and make those things a priority. Also, let’s all drink more water!

I am sure there are other things I’ll want to focus on as the year goes on, but for now, I’m going to spend the next 7 or 8 weeks waiting patiently for Baby Copp to get here and just remembering what’s important. I know 2018 is going to be full of changes, but also full of joy. I feel really lucky.

My 10 Favorites

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 9.27.00 PM

They say the second trimester is the best, and for me that’s been the case after a meh first three months. I’m feeling good, not super stressed out (yet), and getting excited. So I figured it was a good time to reflect on my 10 favorite parts of pregnancy, so far:

10. Nursery planning.

While we’ve only purchased a couple things so far, we have mostly everything planned out and decided on, and I’ve reignited my relationship with Etsy. I can see nesting become a very real thing over the next few months.

9. The anatomy scan.

Getting to see so much detail at my 20-week ultrasound was wild, and having Kevin and my mom there made it all the more fun. It was hard to insist we still didn’t want to know the sex, but it was so cool to see little arms and legs and a face that looked (mostly) like a baby and not a blob.

8. Learning to give myself a break.

At some point over the last couple weeks, I had a moment of clarity. I’ve gotten a lot better at just giving myself a break and accepting that these days aren’t all easy, but that I’m doing my best. If I have a day where I’m too tired to work out, I’m learning to forgive myself, and the same goes for a day where I eat like crap and want to do nothing all night after work. I can only get away with this for so long!

7. Decaf Starbucks drinks.

I’ve still been drinking caffeine this whole time (trying to abide by the 200 mg/day recommendation), but it was still great to realize you can order any of the fun Starbucks drinks in decaf. A world without peppermint mochas is not a world I want to live in.

6. Maternity pants.

If I can offer pregnant ladies one piece of advice, it’s this: Invest in the maternity pants with the band that covers your bump. None of the below-the-belly stuff. SERIOUSLY. I might not stop wearing them, ever.

5. A football season to remember.

While not necessarily pregnancy-related, I’m always going to remember the fall before the baby came when both of my football teams were amazing. The Eagles are 10-2 and Georgia is headed to the playoff next month. I can’t wait to tell Baby what he or she missed! (Though, technically, they were in the stadium for one of each!)

4. Thanksgiving 5K.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, I ran a 5K with Kevin and my sister, and it was the first time this whole pregnancy that I felt good – well, decent – while running. I’ve mostly given up on it in favor of doing a Beachbody workout at home or using the elliptical or walking at the gym, but that day it felt okay. I didn’t have to walk at all except stopping a few times to stretch, and even though my time was 15 minutes (!) slower than my lifetime PR and about 10 minutes slower than my times from the modern era, I was proud of myself for doing it and amazed that my body could actually finish. All of you gals who run regularly the whole time, even doing crazy things like half marathons, I salute you.

3. Talking about it.

I don’t love attention, that’s for sure, but it is nice to have a built-in item for small talk (my nemesis). People sure do like to ask questions, but I haven’t gotten any of the weird ones yet!

2. The kicking.

The first time I felt a kick – and was sure it was a kick – was surreal, and everything that has happened since the first little one, like feeling it from the outside and actually seeing it move, has been more and more bizarre but so cool. I’ll never forget Kevin’s face the first time he got to feel it, too.

1. Imagining.

One of my favorite pastimes is thinking about what life will be like once the baby is here. I know it will be hard (and I’m sure I don’t even have a remote grasp on how hard) and life will never again be like it is now, but there’s something about the prospect of our new life that is so exciting. It’s like my mom’s favorite quote goes: “Do you think we will do ___________ with Baby?” I want to do all of it.

November 18.

rainbow-silver-lining_shutterstock_274343975

Today would have been my due date in my first pregnancy.

Though I only knew I was pregnant for eight days, we knew the due date was November 18, and eight days was enough time to imagine what life would be like with him or her here.

That’s why I’ve had trouble with the term “chemical pregnancy,” which is technically what I experienced – a very early miscarriage that ends before an ultrasound would have detected the fetus but that still shows up on a pregnancy test. I’ve read so many times that most/many women who experience chemical pregnancies don’t even realize they’re pregnant at all, and think they’re simply getting their period, but I can say that when you’re trying to have a baby and testing on the first possible day you can, you know. Getting a positive test and then going through what you know is a miscarriage is heartbreaking, no matter how early it is. On the other hand, the “chemical” part of it helped me wrap my head around what happened, because (without getting too political over here) it was really only chemical in nature. Our bodies are amazing – they know when something isn’t right and they deal with it. Now, at almost 24 weeks and going through everything for the first time at all of these stages, I’m counting my blessings and trying to stop and appreciate God’s timing. I can’t wait to meet this little one.

I’m so glad women are starting to share their stories of loss more and more – honestly, I’ve spoken to so many people and even reconnected with a few old friends about shared experiences, and it’s really eye-opening how many women have gone through this. My heart goes out to anyone who has experienced loss, no matter how far along you may have been, and also to anyone still trying for their baby. It is such a stressful, all-consuming feeling, and I know I will continue praying, worrying, and hoping for the best this time around until he or she gets here, and I’m sure, long after that.

 

Changes for all of us.

Now that I – and the other human in this equation (hi, husband!) have had a few months to process what’s going on and anticipate what awaits us as I approach 20 weeks pregnant, I can’t help but think about how this big change is going to impact our other family member.

UntitledFor those of you who know my sweet Mikey, you know the amount of love he has to give, but also the amount of love he *insists* on receiving from everyone around him. He will scoop your hand with his nose to get you to pet him, and mope when you’re focused on something other than him. I take full responsibility for this charming-yet-annoying trait of his, and it is what, for better or worse, has kept us a one-dog household. Even though I have wanted a second furry friend for a while now, and assumed we’d get one as soon as we bought our house, I’m always left wondering how my spoiled little guy would do when forced to share the attention all the time. He does well with other dogs, just not when they’re in his space. And even then, he isn’t mean or aggressive, but grows concerned about his toys and doesn’t seem interested in sharing them or the attention.

That brings me, obviously, to our current situation, and how our lives will be so very different by the springtime. I worry about Mikey – not because I think he will do anything dangerous (though we will take the necessary precautions in introducing him to the baby), but because of how he’ll adjust. You can’t warn a dog that change is coming; unlike us, they can’t prepare, they can’t take time to wrap their brain around it, they can’t do research, and they can’t plan accordingly. One day, things will just be different for him and that will be that.

All I can do now, and what we’ve started doing, is actively including him in things and telling him that he’s “helping.” Again, if you’ve met Mikey, you know how smart he is – he has a very real understanding of what it means to “help” and he loves knowing he’s involved. We do it primarily with taking the trash out, telling him it’s time to help, and letting him come outside with us. It’s a routine. My plan is to do this with more mundane household tasks over the next few months and then with baby-related things, letting him come in the nursery with me and making him feel a part of it all.

Let me wrap up by saying: I know there are more important issues at hand in our world than whether or not my dog will feel neglected when I have a baby, but for now, this is my reality and it’s something that’s been on my mind. Parents with babies and pets: how did this process go for you, and what tips do you have for us?

 

 

1st Trimester (& then some) Update

Apparently I’m going to always remember that Best Western in Bar Harbor, Maine, where I found out I was pregnant at the end of a long day of whale-watching, sightseeing, and dinner on the water. I knew I could start testing during our vacation, and for some reason, I felt pulled to pack the tests rather than simply to wait until we got home a few days later. I ended up taking a test the day before I was “supposed to” (patience is not my specialty), and it blinked positive in what felt like a nanosecond. With my very brief first pregnancy back in March (more on that another day), all the tests I took seemed to take forever to make up their minds, and the non-digital ones showed the faintest of second pink lines, and all that suddenly made sense after seeing this one. I remember flinging (literally) the test in Kevin’s direction, and we spent the last few days of our trip absorbing the news, cautiously optimistic before I could get in to see the OB the following week.

The past 3-ish months have been an interesting confluence of nerves, excitement, and nausea. Before I forget all the specific weirdness as pregnancy brain sets in, I wanted to share an update on what the first trimester was like for me (spoiler: not great!).

Nausea

I started to feel sick almost immediately after we got home and after I saw the doctor to confirm everything; whether it was mental or it just hit me quickly, I don’t know. I bought the morning sickness trifecta of Preggie Pop Drops, Quease Ease, and Sea Bands – all of which worked to a degree – but I was absolutely miserable until I started taking Diclegis. It’s like, the only morning sickness medication out there, and I can’t sing its praises enough. It literally jolted me back to life, took my morning sickness away almost completely (also, the term morning sickness is not accurate, at all), and most importantly, gave me a burst of energy that had been missing for the previous few weeks. After napping in my car during lunch at work on more than one occasion, it was a welcomed change.

I say all this not to complain but to help myself remember, because now, at going on 18 weeks, I feel like a new person, and it’s easy to forget what that time was like. Even though it wasn’t fun, I feel lucky to be pregnant and am glad I can shift my attention to more fun things now that I’ve turned the second trimester corner.

Doctor

I’ve been very happy with my experience at my OB, the same office I visited for all things lady-related prior to getting pregnant. They have a team of two doctors and two midwives, and you see everyone at some point in the office so you’ve met them all because anyone could be on call when the moment arrives. I had my first ultrasound at almost eight weeks, and the next one is scheduled for 20 weeks – the anatomy scan. It was surreal and also a big relief to see the baby that first time, especially after a miscarriage. I still, now, have a hard time believing it’s really in there, even as I’m getting bigger. But seeing the heartbeat flicker and learning everything was okay was a big milestone. We’ve gotten to listen to the heartbeat two additional times using the Doppler, which is also crazy – it’s so fast! I can’t wait to see it again – it will be so much bigger this time! By then we’ll be halfway there.

Fitness and Nutrition

This has been tough for me, in large part because of how crappy I felt at the beginning. I didn’t want to eat anything but bagels, frozen burritos, and McDonald’s, and keeping up my running routine was virtually out of the question (though I did run two 5k’s, somehow). I’ve gained 15 pounds so far in 17 weeks, which is more than recommended for this point, but now that I’m feeling better I’m trying to focus on eating healthier foods – back to smoothies in the morning, salads for lunch, and something good for me at dinner – and getting back in an exercise routine, even if it’s just walking or using the elliptical for a half hour every day. I haven’t had any cravings to this point (unless you count the McDonald’s, which I think was more just a desire for carbs and comfort food) – it was mainly just aversions in the first trimester. Several of our weekly Blue Apron meals made me sick to think about, and I couldn’t drink hot coffee, which normally flows through my veins. But no specific cravings to speak of.

Sleep

This is the one (and only?) area that has gotten worse with time. In the beginning I was so tired that I basically fell asleep immediately each night, and could get a pretty restful night’s sleep, but lately I’ve been waking up at least 3-4 times a night to pee, and then I can’t get back to sleep. I bought a Snoogle, which I haven’t started using yet – for now I’m sleeping on my side with a regular pillow next to me. I don’t know what I’m waiting for other than to get a little bigger, I guess. But sleep is definitely worse now than it was in the first trimester.

Thoughts

In general, I’ve been lucky to have had a pretty positive experience to this point. Aside from not feeling great for the first several weeks, I’ve enjoyed everything that goes along with this, and I’m looking forward to all that’s left. My mood has been pretty steady, no crazy mood swings except two meltdowns: 1) When my fried egg sandwich at the diner came out not cooked all the way through and Kevin and I agreed I shouldn’t eat it, and I sobbed, and 2) When I dropped my bottle of non-alcoholic wine in the driveway and it shattered, and I sobbed even harder. (More on the non-alcoholic wine later – I AM IN LOVE AND I WANT THE COMPANY TO HIRE ME BECAUSE I AM BASICALLY ALREADY AN EVANGELIST.) I have one weird superstition to confess, which seems so odd to me because I’m not normally superstitious, and that is that I still have two tampons in my purse that I cannot for the life of me make myself take out. It just seems like taking them out is bad luck, admitting I don’t need them and that this is really happening, like I’d jinx it. It’s so, so weird. I think about it every day. And yet, there they sit. I haven’t felt the baby move yet, at least nothing that I’m sure about, but I’m confident that will happen soon. I had fun buying maternity clothes with my mom – they make them really cute these days and I’m enjoying the excuse to wear leggings and big shirts almost every day. It’s possible I will keep wearing maternity clothes always, because they’re wonderful. The biggest thing on my mind at this point is what the future holds in terms of my job – I love what I do and I never imagined myself as a stay-at-home-mom, but some days the thought of leaving my kid at daycare makes me sad and panicked, so… I am hopeful we can work out some sort of in-between situation that I don’t think I’ve dreamed up yet. Just trying to plan anything (Lord knows I am a planner) has given me to-do list on to-do list, from finances to the nursery to imagining how I’ll juggle it all and what life will be like 5 months from now. It’s a lot but it’s awesome.

I love this time of year anyway, so here’s to a fun fall and holiday season, and continuing to count down to #BabyCopp!

 

Buckets.

Yay for my first blog post! The idea of having a blog has been a bit of a daunting thought for me, even though I work in social media and run a blog for my job. I had a personal blog years ago that I never ended up sharing with anyone, I think because I was afraid of what people might think about it. It’s hard to put yourself out there. My goal with this one is to be confident enough to share my life and experiences, and hopefully it helps me savor the little things along the way!

A bit about me: I’m a 30-something living on the outskirts of Philadelphia, doing the best I can to juggle the responsibilities of “adulting” – a husband, a job, a dog, a house, two families in the area, and the challenge to stay healthy for myself and for the family we want to grow. For years now, my focus as I set goals has been balance. I sometimes like to think of life as a series of buckets. There’s the work bucket. The family bucket. A bucket for running and one for my relationship with Jesus. The sum total of the buckets is my life, and I want to keep them all full and give them each the attention they deserve. I don’t know if it makes total sense, or if anyone else operates the same way, but it helps me stay focused on what’s important and also reminds me that I’m made up of many parts, often spilling over into one another. That’s what I hope this blog will be – documenting my journey in the day-to-day, yes, but also in a big-picture sense, as I perhaps gain new buckets and lose others – thanks for coming along!