Saturday, April 26, 2014

Natural Child Birth and Baby Lizards

My mother introduced me to Bill Cosbys stand up comedy when I was a teenager.
I remember driving to her house in her Saturn listening to his funny skits.
Of course, as a teenager, I didn't fully understand all the jokes or all his lines, but it was good enough to keep my sister and I rolling in the back seat.

Now that I'm expecting, I get asked the plethora of questions that every pregnant woman must endure, including some bizarre ones that I hope others don't have to answer....
"When are you due?" (July 6th)
"Do you know what your having" (We're hoping it's a baby ....)
"Were you trying to have a baby?" (Yes.... <evil glare>)
"Do your parents know you are having a baby?" (Yes... ??? ... Why???) (Apparently I look young)
"Are you out going to cosleep?" (No, but we will be using a bedside cosleeper)
"Are you going to breastfeed?" (I hope so!)
"Are you going to return to work?" (No, thanks to my handsome hubby!)

And of course the real kicker... 
"What's your birth plan?"

Everytime I get asked this question, I think back to my car rides filled with Bill Cosby.
Particularly, I think of this skit entitled "Natural Child Birth"

If you can't watch the video, the script is found below.
Feel free to skip it if you watched the video. 

Natural Child Birth, by Bill Cosby
Needless to say, we felt qualified to handle having children, and we planned to have children.
We sat in the back seat of a car, and discussed it. Children.
We wanted to have children and bring them up.
And we spoke to God about the children and we were afraid to ask God for specific things.
We felt that it might be too much.
We said to God, ''Please give us a healthy child,'' and we left it at that, not knowing that God is a generous God, but also has a sense of humor, and that if you leave that much open for God, some wonderful jokes are going to come about.
Still being intellectuals, my wife and l decided to bring our first child into the world by way of natural childbirth.
Now, we were intellectuals, mind you, which means that intellectuals go to study things that people do naturally.
You see, let's think about it.
Childbirth is a natural thing.
The pains come automatically, the muscles tighten and push down and the mother is there and all you need, as they say in every movie, is hot water.
''Get the hot water,'' and they just send some fool, runs, ''Hot water,'' you know, and bothers everybody in the world for hot water.
But even if you don't have hot water, the baby's going to come.
Ker-boom! Natural. Nature takes its course.
Whammo! And there it is. You understand? You just need somebody there to grab a hold, you know, to grab the rope, you know.
''There, keep pulling there, it's coming, l'll be right there in a second.'' See? Natural childbirth. People do it all around the deprived countries, quote, unquote, ''deprived countries of the world.'' 
Women... The lady's out there picking the rice or doing whatever in the thing and all of a sudden you say, ''Ooh!'' Blam! The child falls out, they cut the cord, tie it and the kid's there with the rice, with the mother, you know. Natural childbirth.
lntellectuals go to class to study how to do this.
My wife and l sat in class to learn how to have natural childbirth.
And the first thing they teach you is that 
you have to breathe properly, see? So when you press down on the muscles, there's breathing: 
<whistling breathing sounds>
That's my wife's job. So she's there, <whistling breathing sounds> And she was good. Now the father's job...
And the father must be there for these classes.
And they give the father a diploma also.
And if you don't get a diploma, you cannot come to the birth.
See? So my job is to bend my wife in half and say ''Push!'' 
Now if l don't go to class, l don't get a diploma for this, so l can't come to the birth.
So my wife is there <whistling breathing sounds> And l'm there: ''Push.'' And l'm the cheerleader: ''Push him out, shove him out, way out! Push him out, shove him out, way out!'' And my wife is a wonderful breather <whistling breathing sounds> And we were the best in our class.
And l began to breathe with my wife, macho style.
Zoph Woph Waef Woph Push, push.
Zoph Woph Waef Woph Push, push.
<whistling breathing sounds>
We went to parties and people asked us to breathe.
''Ladies and gentlemen, the breathing Cosbys!'' <whistling breathing sounds> Push, push! 

Natural childbirth. Natural childbirth means no drugs will be administered into the female's body during the delivery. The father can have all he wants.
On the ninth month, my wife called to me from the balcony of our California home: ''Bill!'' <whistling breathing sounds> I became excited. l said, ''Push!'' Then l remembered, we have to go to the hospital for the natural childbirth.
So l run into the car. l got a Ferrari.
l do 104 from the garage to the front door.
So my wife comes out. She gets in the car.
180, and we're breathing. Zoph Woph Waef Woph
 Push, push. <whistling breathing sounds>
And l'm in my Ferrari, man, $17,000 Ferrari, and my wife says, ''Oh!'' l say, ''No, dear, please, wait, not here.  No, not in the Ferrari, please.'' And l pull over. 
"We go in the bushes, we go in the bushes, but no, not in the car, dear.?
She's ''Oh, Bill, can l...'' Hold everything. l'll get you there." Vroooooooooom, So we pull up to the hospital. The Marx Brothers jump out: ''Whoo! Ha! Whoo-hoo, whoo-hoo!'' Put my wife in a wheelchair.  Run her down to the delivery room. l signed her in, they put the hat on me, the thing on backwards, booties on the shoes.
l run into the delivery room. They got my wife all prepped and her legs way up in the stirrups... <whistling breathing sounds>.
And the doctor's sitting there like Johnny Bench.
Now, the first real pain hit my wife.
And my wife said: ffffffffffffffffffffffffff, And l said, ''Push?'' 

Carol Burnett described what labor pains feel like.  
She said, ''Take your bottom lip and pull it over your head.'' 
The second pain hit: whoo! 
My wife said: waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, and stood up...
in the stirrups....Grabbed my bottom lip...and said, ''l want morphine!'' 
l said, ''But dear...'Zoph Woph Waef Woph."  She said, ''You shut up! You did this to me!'' And on the next contraction, she told everybody in the delivery room that my parents were never married.
Now we're back to breathing: <whistling breathing sounds> and l'm sitting there, ''Push, push.'' 
My wife's getting tired. ''l don't wanna push anymore, I
 don't wanna push.'' "No, you've got to push, dear.  Come on, dear, you've gotta." ''l don't wanna. Oh, no, no. Tell them to give me something.'' "No, you can do it. " ''No, l don't wanna graduate from the class anymore. l just wanna--'' Please, come on, you can do it. "
l look in the rearview mirror and l see the head. And Johnny Bench is still sitting there, like....
So l said, ''lsn't that the head?'' He said, ''Yeah.'' l said, ''Well, go get it.'' He said, ''lt's stuck.'' l said, ''Well, get the salad spoons, man!'' 
So... So he gets the salad spoons and the baby comes out. POP!!!

Now this is the greatest moment...i
n our lives.
This is what we asked God for.
This is what we wanted to see if we could make.
And l look at it.
And they started to clean it off.
And it wasn't getting any better.
And l went over to my wife and l kissed her ever so gently on the lips and l said, ''Darling, l love you very, very much.  You just had a lizard.'' 
Because the thing changed colors three times.
And the neck and head wouldn't work, it just kept <imitates a loose head on a loose body> And l said to the doctor, ''Can you put this back? '''Cause it isn't done yet. lt needs to cook another three months maybe.'' 
But the hospital made us take it home.

Now... This is our first baby. 
I have no idea what to expect in the delivery room, but Bill gives me quite a descriptive image.

So, to answer everyone's question, "what's your birth plan?" :

Our birth plan:
1. have a baby, a healthy baby.
The End.

Two weeks ago at my last appointment, I told my OB that I didn't have a birth plan.
She said THANK YOU with a huge smile on her face.
She said that births hardly ever go according to plan, and then mothers just get stubborn and disappointed.  
And she said that my birth would be especially hard to plan for, and thinks our "let's just have a baby" attitude is perfect. 

Due to my cervical scar tissue, I have a high risk of premature delivery.  However, I also have a high risk of having a cervix that will not dilate.  
And there is no way to know which way it will go until it starts to happen.
She said I might deliver before 36 weeks or I might go into labor at 41 weeks with a completely closed and hard cervix.
A c-section is a very realistic option for me. 
Even if I start to dilate, the OBs are hesitant to say that I would dilate past 4cm due to the scar tissue not being as "stretchy" if you will.... Which would mean I would need a c-section anyway...
However, my cervix has been a champ through these first 30 weeks and I might get to have a vaginal delivery.

I have "ideas" of how a vaginal delivery would go...
Say everything with my cervix is great and I get to actually push... I'm going to say that I don't want an epidural... I might opt for other meds, but im just not terribly excited to get a needle in my spine.
However, with that being said, I obviously would have a spinal block if i need a c-section.... See where this whole "planning" thing gets complicated?

I just want a delivery that will be the least stressful on the baby.
And I totally trust my OBs to know what is best... 
I know that "MY body is made for this", and that "MY body will know what to do"... But frankly, id trust the doctors that have delivered thousands of babies over my incompetent cervix.  

I know there are pros and cons for both vaginal births vs. c sections, and that there are pros and cons for both unmedicated births vs. medicated births, but in the end the result is the same.
A baby is born and a miracle has been performed!

I want to say that I'm going to be strong and try to have a natural child birth like Mrs. Cosby... But if I end up going for an epidural...I will not be disappointed, and I know my baby won't be disappointed, nor will my husband.

So until the baby decides to make it's grand entrance, I'll just practice some breathing techniques like the above intellectuals and pray for the best! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pregnancy Guilt & Infertility

This weekend marked a big milestone in our pregnancy.
We hit the third trimester and if my incompetent cervix decided to give out right now, baby has a 95% chance of survival.
Lord knows we are not through with this pregnancy yet, but God willing, we are in the final stretches and the thought of having a baby in our arms is quickly becoming more of a reality! 

And now that we are closing in on the end of our pregnancy and the beginning of parenthood, I felt compelled to write about my pregnancy guilt.

As some of you I know, Matt and I struggled with infertility.  Surprisingly, my infertility had nothing to do with my cervical cancer.  On top of having 80% of my cervix removed, I had other issues... Go figure.  My body does not naturally produce enough progesterone to let my eggs mature long enough before they are released from my ovaries.  In other words, every month that I cycled my body released an egg that could never become fertilized.  

A few thousand dollars and a couple years later, we had found the source of our infertility AND we were able to treat it. 
We started the wonder drug Clomid and we became pregnant during our first month of treatment!

According to my OBG, a normal woman's progesterone levels post ovulation are normally higher than 15nmol/l - we will just say "15" because I don't have the medical degree to can explain what "nmol/l" even means. Ideally, they are higher than 30, but 15 does the trick as well.  
So, prior to even considering clomid as an option, I had my progesterone levels checked.  
The first test I was a 15.5!  I passed.  Sort of.  15 was too low to say that I was actually ovulating a healthy egg.  
So my OBG wanted to get another count.
The second test I was an 8. 
My 8 meant that I ovulated a premature egg into a premature uterus.  Even in a perfect uterus with perfect sperm (which my husband is proud to have) :) my imperfect egg would never turn into a baby.  
Thus, the clomid was prescribed. 

One month after I started my clomid cycle, I was pregnant!
The clomid had done it's job- my brain had been tricked into thinking that it wasn't getting ANY progesterone, so it made extra.  My progesterone level the month I was on clomid was 44! 
We only told family and a few close friends before I hit 12 weeks just to be sure that our little buddy was going to stick around.  
And now, 28 weeks into the pregnancy, with the lords help we will have a healthy baby sometime in the next 3 months! 

I cannot explain the happiness that is in our hearts knowing that we will soon get to meet this little baby.  We have prepped a nursery, we are constantly daydreaming about our future roping/fishing/road-tripping buddy, and we are so SO blessed to have been given this pregnancy, this life.  

And yet there is a part of me that feels guilty. 
If you read this blog post, you know how Matt and I felt about Gods plan and infertility treatments. 
We trusted that since we could not get pregnant alone, we had been given the chance to use medical assistance to see if pregnancy was still in store for us.  And we knew that if it wasn't in our plan, no amount of drugs or treatments would give us a baby.  
But.... It was in our plan - thank you Jesus - and we will soon be expecting a baby!

But now ... What do I say to my friends who still are unable to conceive?
I used to be the woman listening to others tell them "don't worry, it'll happen" and "just keep practicing" and "my best friends - sisters - ex fiances - cousin couldn't get pregnant either" .....
So I obviously don't say those things...
I never ask when someone is going to start having kids as you never know if that question will hurt them.
I try not to give any advice to women who want a baby but seem so desperately far from it - I always just say that I will pray for them, that I will pray that The Lord will bless them with a child.  
I try to be sensitive of others and I always remind myself that there are SO many women who struggle with infertility. 
And now, I'm in the OTHER category.
IM the pregnant one. 
I'm no longer the one struggling with infertility.

But we DID struggle with it!
I have the medical bills, lab results and X-rays to prove it!  
I still remember the pain and the frustration and the anger and the sadness of not getting a positive test.

And yet now, I know the joy and the love and the happiness and the excitement of getting a positive test. 

I'm not a woman who is fertile, and yet I am no longer a woman who is infertile.
And I have struggled with this. 
And I have guilt.

I have guilt that maybe it came too easy - one little pill and BAM, all my problems were fixed.  What about others that go through IUI and then IVF, and then another IVF.... Or the ones that have miscarriage after miscarriage.  And what about the women that go through all the treatments possible just to endure a failed adoption?

I have guilt that when I mention my pregnancy or upload my bump pictures to Facebook or blog about the magical kicks in my belly, that other women feel like im gloating, like I'm rubbing it in.  Or that others just assume my journey to pregnancy was an easy one, even an unexpected one. 

I have guilt that I've surprisingly had an easy pregnancy so far.  My doctors kept a very close eye on me, I had vaginal exams every 2 weeks starting at 12 weeks along, and I was encouraged to have as little activity as possible.  And here I am, 28 weeks along, no complications.  No crazy morning sickness.  No bleeding.  I'm healthy!

But even with this guilt, I have not downplayed my excitement, nor have I hidden my pregnancy from anyone.  I know that this baby is here because it was supposed to bless our lives!  We prayed and God answered... But it was more than an answer, it was already predetermined!  He knew it would happen, we just had to be patient.  And because I know that this baby is supposed to be mine, I am not afraid to show this belly off and I am so overjoyed to have this pregnancy smile on my face.  
I don't want to offend others, but I also want to relish in this pregnancy because this baby is such a blessing, such a miracle.  I want to share Gods blessing and I want others to see our joy.  

This isn't the kind of guilt that makes me feel sorry or apologetic.  
It's the kind of guilt that creates awkward conversations between friends or stares in the doctors waiting room.  
It's hard to be guilty for something you know is right, for something you wanted so much.  

Normally, guilt comes with regret.  I do not regret treating my fertility.  I do not regret the pain of the treatments, nor the deficit in our bank account.

Guilt usually also comes with sadness.  I am not sad that I am soon to be a mother - it is something I've daydreamed about for years.  And I have enough faith in God to say that I'm not sad for other women who are struggling with their fertility.  I feel empathy, but no sadness.  We are all on our own journeys and God has made these journeys what they are for a reason, for a reason far beyond our knowledge and understanding.  
Sure, you can say that the only reason I am saying this is because I am pregnant, because I'm going to be a mother.  But if clomid was never to have worked for us, or if I had miscarried, or even if this pregnancy doesn't go as planned, I would have and will still trust in The Lord that he is looking out for me, that he knows what is best for me and that he will only put circumstances in my life that will uplift Him and that will give me hope and will give me a future.  

I know that I shouldn't feel guilty for becoming pregnant.
And I know that most everyone is happy for Matt and I.
I guess I just want others to know that once an "infertile woman" becomes pregnant, her worries and her sadness don't just go away.  She will be so excited for her pregnancy, but she will also feel guilt.  She will be thinking about all the other women she met on her infertility journey and she will be hoping that everyone is as blessed as her to one day carry a health baby, to one day find a treatment that works.  

If you read this and are struggling with infertility, please look at my belly bump as a symbol of hope!
I'm like you - I've struggled - but now it's my turn to celebrate.
And I hope you celebrate with me, and I will pray for your turn to come in Gods timing. 

Infertility changes you forever.
Pregnancy, babies, children, families - it's all different now in my eyes. 
God has truly blessed us, and I will try to focus on that instead of the guilt that I sometimes feel.

So here's to my turn.  And I'll be praying for yours. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

24 Weeks (okay... 27 weeks!)

6 months along : 24-27 weeks! 
And Im 27 weeks... yes its almost 7 months... almost is the key word.
The 100 day countdown has begun!

Matt has some problems getting my EOS to focus on me and not the door, so we did some practice shots....
I just have problems. Period.

im pretty sure my forearms and my hands are the only things that haven't changed size!

Its amazing how much the baby can grow in just 1 month!

How far along: 27 weeks, 1 day. Apparently my "monthly pictures" have become pics at the END of the month... Which still meets the criteria I suppose... Technically I'm still 6 months along until this Sunday when I'll be 28 weeks and at the beginning of my 7th month.  But holy moly, time is flying! Official countdown till our due date is only 88 days!!! Which means only 68 days till baby is FULL TERM! 68 days is a whole lotta growin' still, so bake you little bun, BAKE!
Weight Gain/Loss: +9lbs more, total gain of 27lbs, totaling 149lbs. I started at 122lbs... So tipping the scale at almost 150lbs is such an odd experience... For one, I can't even see the numbers on the scale because my belly covers them!!!  And secondly... I don't want to!  I know that I'm still very much at a healthy weight considering I'm growing a human inside of me, but wow... Those numbers are not pretty!!!  And to think that I might have to see "160" pop up in the next 2-3 months.... Eeeeek. 
Maternity Clothes: Yes yes yes.  My wardrobe includes : yoga/stretchy pants, maternity pants, dresses made of stretchy knit, maternity shirts, maternity underwear (!!!!) (so comfy btw), and some big ol jammies.... I haven't bought maternity jammies yet, but I did buy medium sleep shirts... And when I held them up they were HUGE compared to my XS of the past... And they fit...what a slap to the face. 
Sleep:  Great!! I wake up about 6 times a night to go potty, but I waddle to the bathroom and waddle right back to bed.  And if I don't step on a rawhide chew or stub my toe on a sleeping dog, I normally fall right back asleep.  And at one of these potty sessions, normally between 2-3am baby needs cookies, so I have 2 Oreos, a swig of milk, and then back to sleep.  :)
Best Moment This Week: I altered a sleep-shirt into a birthing gown!  It's black which is my favorite color to wear, it's knit which is much better than starchy cotton, and it will be cuter than the hospital gowns they provide... It will also keep me from showing the world my tushy as I put snap tape all the way down the back of it.  I also altered some tanks, nightgowns and dresses so that they are nursing friendly!  I had been given a bunch of nursing bras by a few different ladies, most of which were too small for my growing goods.  So I got an idea to make some alterations to some items so that I wouldn't have to splurge and buy those pricey nursing tanks and pajamas!  What do you think?!

Here's the back of the gown, snap tape ALL the way down!
Why dont hospitals do this to theirs? Consider the average person dressed in a hospital gown - no one wants to see their backside...
Snap tape along both shoulders to allow for IV, nursing and skin to skin.
Two tanks that I've have for-ev-ver (think sandlot here...) that I simply cut the strap off the front attachment, then hand sewed in snaps. 
For this nighty, I cut the nursing snaps off an old gifted nursing bra and sewed them onto the straps.  Instant nursing nighty!
This nighty didn't have thin straps so I wasn't sure what to do with it.. I could use rivet snaps, or snap tape, but it's a really silky material and I wasn't sure how it would hold up.  Then I saw the hook and eyes on one of the bras I had been given.  Solution!!!  I think this one is my favorite... Excuse the red thread... You can't see it from the outside so I frankly didn't care to change it :) 
For this dress, I added the nursing snaps and the bra straps to the original straps of this dress.  This dress was a handmedown from a friend and had some good use so the elasticity in the straps was no where to be found, and they weren't adjustable!  So my goodies looked pretty low and pitiful in them.  I figured if I attached the bra straps to the dress straps it would give it more structure and support... And it did! 

Disclaimer: I'm not planning on wearing these outside the house, so I wasn't too worried on what they looked like, just as long as they were functional.  They should hold up pretty well! 

Miss Anything: Still missing being horseback, but would I trade it for this lovely baby inside me? No way.  I also miss restaurants that are back in Cali... I've been craving CPK especially their cilantro lime fettuccini, In & Out, Carls Jr western bacon cheese burger, anything from Panera, Splash Cafe fish tacos with the avocado dressing, Jaffa Cafe chicken shwarmas, anything from Coldstone, the list is pretty much endless. So I guess other than foods, I'm not missing anything much... And I wonder why I've gained 27 pounds!
Movement:  This babe is a ninja.  In the 26th week your amniotic fluid starts decreasing and they say you are supposed to feel more and more - and I can tell you, this baby wants out!  Punching and kicking and stretching... Wowza!  It's only 2lbs and is only 14 inches long, but it's a Kung fu fighter! 
Food Craving:  See the things I miss... I could relist them but then I'll just make myself more hungry!  I am eating my weight in breakfast cereal tho...
Showing:  Yes.  There is no hiding this bun or this oven... 
Gender Prediction:  So far it's a healthy baby :) 
Labor Signs:  When we had our first fertility consultation, our OB said that my realistic goal for my first pregnancy would be to carry to 26 weeks.  We have made it to 26 weeks+!!!  So now that the baby is "viable" they will not be measuring my cervix for changes unless I have contractions or notice fluid.  I am starting to get Braxton hicks, but other than that things are good!  GOD is good!!!  The OB asked me to have my bags packed at 26 weeks, so mommy, daddy and baby all have bags ready to go.  I'm not planning on using them for at least another month or so, but baby will come when baby is ready. (Just stay in there little peaches!!! Only 10 more weeks till your fully cooked!) 
Belly Button: Out-ish.  And I'm so glad I took my belly ring out ASAP because I think it will look relatively normal post pregnancy... I'm pretty sure it has closed up, but as long as it doesn't make me look like I have 3 belly buttons, I'll survive! 
Wedding Ring: On - with plenty of room for swelling fingers, but I hope that doesn't happen!  
Mood:  fabulous!  They say the second trimester is when you feel your best... But I swear the further along I go the better I feel!!!  I'm not as tired anymore as I'm sleeping better, I no longer have those awful ligament pains, I constantly feel our little baby moving and growing, it's fabulous! Baby alternates from breech to head down, so the little buddy does occasionally kick me in the ribs, but it's not a constant pain and I love feeling it kick.  When baby is breech, it stands/kicks on my bladder which is a very interesting feeling... "I gotta pee....nevermind, it's gone.... Oh my goodness move out of my way it's coming!!!....nevermind, false alarm". Then I sneeze and it's all over... Literally.
Weekly Wisdom:  I can't believe that this pregnancy is so far along, that we will get to meet this baby in  less than 3 months!!!  I am trying to enjoy and soak up Every. Single. Minute.  And I feel like I do a pretty good job.  And I'm still in awe that I am going to have a baby, that Matt is going to be a daddy, that God has blessed us with this child!!! 

Side Notes:
I'll officially be in the third trimester on Sunday!!!  
Babies nursery is good to go, it just needs a fresh coat of new paint... Any takers?!
Before i fall asleep, I lay in bed and imagine who this baby will be... Is it a sweet Sonora?  Or is it a baby Bridger?  Will this baby come at night or in the day time?  Will it look like its handsome daddy or will it come out with red hair? I get teary eyed just imagining the day we get to hold this sweet baby.  And it's coming so soon!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pregnancy Must Haves : How to Survive the First 20 Weeks

Now that I'm 26+ weeks into this pregnancy, I have decided I have adequate experience to post my "survival tips" & my "must-haves" for the first half of pregnancy. 

Granted, I'm not as experienced as you mommas with multiple kiddos, but I'm pretty sure every woman who goes through the first 20 weeks of pregnancy gets her own opinion on which items she feels are necessary to survival.  I mean...she is carrying a baby inside of her... That alone should give someone enough credit :)

So, without further adieu, my list.
(In no particular order)

Or the "shhhhhnnnnooooooogle" as I like to call it. 
This bad boy will be your cuddle buddy.  
You already have a cuddle buddy?  Trust me... The Snoogle beats a snoring hubby any day! (Sorry Matt) 
When I started getting terrible round ligament pain, nothing could help me sleep.
Then I got this lover... And boy did it change my sleeping!  I still got the ligament pain, but I could at least curl up in the fetal position and stay that way!!!  
I never had to worry about ending up on my belly, and it almost always keeps me off my back.
It's also perfect to have between your thighs/knees as you sleep so that your hips won't start aching from being "out of place".
I got mine at motherhood maternity, but you can buy them in many stores and many websites. 
Tip: Hubby will hate it... But just remind him that it's "for the baby" :)

The cookie of all ginger cookies.
This little sweetie is light and delicious.  
The ginger helps settle your nauseous stomach in the first trimester, and is much tastier than eating saltines.  
I found mine at the market in town... I'm pretty sure Abertsons would have them, and if not, they could order them for you. 
Tip: Hubby will love these... They are just too yummy to resist a taste.. And once you taste them, you can't just stop at one. Keep them hidden.

3. The Belly Maternity Band.
I have this little jewel in White, Black and Tan.
I really feel this thing is better than wearing a tank top under your shirt as it doesn't add layers and it stays in place!
When your jeans start to get a little (ok, a LOT) snug, get one of these belly bands and no one will ever know that your pants aren't buttoned!
I like to loop a hair tie through my button hole and around the button.  THEN I wear this on top... The hair tie keeps my pants a bit more snug than if they were just undone, and the belly band keeps all the goods hidden.  
Now that I'm 26 weeks, I even have jeans that won't zip... And you can still use this!
I also heard it's good for post delivery when you are breast feeding.  You can wear it to give you a little more coverage if you have to lift your top for nursing.  
I have both the BeBand from target and the TummySleeve from motherhood maternity.  I think the BeBand stays a little more snug as it has sizes to choose from, where the TummySleeve is one size.  
Tip: There is a seamless tag imprinted on both... Just make sure you wear it right side out so that you don't look "tacky" and then have that one Gucci adorned Benz driving lady at the market tell you that your tag was showing and that it was "tacky" ..... Lady, I'm growing a baby right now, you're lucky I have clothes on at all!

All doctors recommends staying overly hydrated during pregnancy, especially in those early months when you may be throwing up a bit.  
I don't know about you, but drinking water is so much easier for me to remember to do when I always have it in front of me.  
And when I have a straw.  
Sometimes I do get sick of plain ol water, so I will fill my cup almost full with water and then add a splash of juice or a splash of a caffiene free soda like Hawaiian punch or Squirt.  Mmmm.
Tip: I have had multiple plastic water cups, but they always seem to break or crack or smell funny.  This one is my new favorite - stainless steel! 

5. Sparkling Water: Perrier and LaCroix.

Perrier: Ol Reliable, around since 1898!!!  My mother used to drink this when I was just a wee one.  She always had the lemon lime flavored one.  I never really liked it much until I started trying to drink less soda and more water.  I soon discovered that I missed the carbonation that soda had.  I didn't miss the flavor, I didn't miss the caffiene.  I missed the bubbles.  I craved the bubbles.  I needed the bubbles.
So I tried this, and I was hooked.  I can turn down a soda any day if I have this as an option.  
(Or S.Pellegrino with both a lemon AND a lime)

LaCroix: New Age sparkling water.  Originally made in 1981, but not widely distributed until 1996.  My mother would LOVE this water.  Not only does this water come in a CAN - which is so much cheaper than buying bottles - but it comes in 11... ELEVEN flavors, including unflavored or "pure", cherry-lime, apple-berry, peach-pear, coconut, lime, lemon, orange, berry, cran-raspberry and grapefruit. 

I try to only drink soda every so often.  (As in one soda every 2-3 days)
But I can't go a day without bubbles.
So I turn to Perrier and LaCroix.  
When I was about 12 weeks along, I needed the bubbles even more desperately then I ever had before... The carbonation does wonderful things for an upset tummy.
I never had the morning sickness that doubled you over, or the kind that brought you to the porcelain throne, but I did have the kind that made you dizzy just to stand at times.
These delicious drinks made all the difference.
You can find them both in almost any market or gas station.
Tip: Totally try out each flavor... Especially since your tastes change all the time during pregnancy, it's nice to have a few different ones in the pantry. 

These are my vits of choice.  I've never had a problem with taking pills (so not a hint to any kind of self harm I swear!) but I have always had a problem with not throwing up my vitamins.  I don't think I have a weak stomach - I can gut and skin a hog with the best of em - but for some reason, vitamins make me queasy, even if taken after a meal.
These gummies are gentle on my tummy.
And they don't even taste that bad as they are flavored with carrot and blueberry juices.
My doc still has me on an additional 2mg of Folic Acid QD and an extra D3 supplement (about 1000iuQD), but I've known many women who just take this chewable and have very healthy pregnancies and babies. 
(Extra folate is just excreted by your body, but don't overdo it on the extra D3)
Here's the stats on these gummies: 
Vit A: 4000iu - 50%dv
Vit C: 30mg - 50%dv
Vit D: 400iu - 100%dv
Vit E: 15iu - 50%dv
Niacin: 20mg - 100%dv
Vit B6: 2.5mg - 100%dv
Vit B12: 8mcg - 100%dv
Folic Acid: 800mcg - 100%dv
Iron: 0mg - 0%dv 
Zinc: 3.8mg - 25%dv
It also does contain 65mg Omega3 and 50mg DHA, but the dv hasn't been established. 
I buy mine at the drugstore.  I swore cosco had them, but they were nowhere to be found during my last cosco run.
Tip: I'm really bad at remembering to actually take these every day, so I put stickers by the calendar and every morning after I take them I put a little butterfly sticker on the day of the month... That way it's an easy reminder to take them when I haven't!  Also, my husband is now aware of when I do or do not take them, and he is great to remind me that "the baby needs vitamins".

Not the lotion, the good ol tub o butter. 
The kind that makes your hands greasy for the rest of the day.
The kind that makes you repel water the next morning while in the shower. 
This stuff works.
Now... I could lie and say that I have great skin and that I'm just not the kind of person that would get stretch marks... But I am that kind of person.  
A few years ago I lost about 15lbs in just a few days due to a medication switch and my boobs and my butt just shrank!  I had no idea that you could get stretch marks from losing weight too quickly!!!  So, my teeny little butt and my size A cup boobies were covered in stretch marks. 
The moment I found out I was expecting, I started using cocoa butter.
I lathered it on all the growing areas - boobs, belly, love handles, butt and thighs.
And 22 weeks later (as I found out I was pregnant at week 4) I have yet to have a new stretch mark.
I do get itchy skin every once and a while so I know my skin is changing, but I keep it lathered up enough so that it doesn't get dry enough to get stretch marks.  
It is kind of pricey, but I've only gone through 2 tubs so far... So I'm thinking 4 tubs total for 9 months? Not too bad, and worth every penny.
If only it kept away the cellulite... :(
I get mine at target, but I've seen it at the market too.
Tip: When you don't feel like getting your hands oily, take this little tub to your hunny and tell him you need to be lubed up and where... Chances are he will not turn you down.  You might even get a back rub too :)

If your face reacts to pregnancy anything like mine did, you will need some routine hydration. 
This stuff is brilliant.
The gel seems to make this lotion last all day and even throughout the night.
However, during the first few months my skin was a mess due to all those lovely pregnancy hormones.
I had lizard skin on my forehead, and this lotion kept it manageable.
I put this on before I put on my foundation, and my peely skin never shows through. 
Also, it's nice and satiny which leaves your skin feeling hydrated but not sticky. 
I buy my Clinique at Macys but you can also order it offline where it will often come with free shipping and free goodies. 
Tip: if you haven't used it before, ask the Clinique counter for a sample.  If you like it, buy the "super" sized one... It lasts forever and is a better buy.

I had begun a journal the day after I found out I was pregnant.  I wanted to keep track of all my feelings, all my symptoms, what Matt and I were excited about, our questions, my "firsts", my dr visits, etc.
I especially needed to keep track of it all so I could blog about it later!!!
Now that I'm safely past my 1st trimester, I don't use it as much since i write everything straight on the blog or post it to fb.  
However, this little teal "one line a day" journal is very handy.  It gives you space for about 1-2 sentences and is small enough to keep in your purse, or later in your diaper bag.  
I think it'll be nice to go back through it each year and see what I was doing or what happened the year before. 
I found my little book at target, but I'm sure you can get them at bookstores or online at amazon. 
Tip: Keep your book somewhere visible so you'll be more likely to write in it daily. 

"I am lovin these tights!  They're Fantastic!  They lend support everywhere you need it, but they breathe! ... These tights, I'm tellin you - the best!" - TJ off Gilmore Girls.

TJ is pretty ridiculous... BUT he is so right about these leggings!
They give you the belly support you need, they don't bunch up, and they are not see through! 
I wish I could wear them everyday, but alas, some occasions call for real pants and not leggings.  
They are perfect for days spent around the house or for running errands. 
And I'm excited to pair them with loose tops now that spring is here! 
I got mine at target.  I need to go back and see if they have other colors! 
Tip: If you're first and second trimester is mainly in the winter months like mine were, especially if you live where it's below 0*F like I do, make sure that you take the time to shave your legs before wearing these out in public... If you catch my drift...

11. A TV Show Series 
My classic go-to tv show is Gilmore Girls.
It happens to be fabulous for expecting mommas as there are 6 pregnancies throughout the series!
There are lots of fun mother-daughter laughs, father-daughter moments, and cute little anecdotes about pregnancies. 
It's always good for a laugh! 

Reba is another tv show that is fabulous to watch!
My sister got me season one when she found out I was pregnant, and my hubby has since bought me the remainder of the seasons. 
I have to admit that I'm only on season 4 but it's great so far!
There are pregnancies, babies, father-son, father-daughter, mother-daughter, mother-son, mixed families - it's just terrific for a 30 min sitcom :) 
And Van is hilarious, he makes every episode worth watching! 

The first trimester I didn't feel Iike doing much besides sleeping or lounging as I was either exhausted or nauseous.  
You'll need to have a few good books to read, some good snacks and drinks, and some good tv shows.
If you don't have any favorites, try one of these two... I'm sure you'll like one of them. 
Tip: I'm in no way endorsing that I support teenage pregnancy nor do I fully agree with any of the other socially or morally shocking moments in the above tv shows... However, it's not trash tv like a reality show, yet it's also not the discovery channel or PBS.  It's something to help pass a couple nauseous hours and to help you laugh and smile and to look forward to the new baby to come! 

12. Doterra Peppermint Beadlets
Peppermint is said to aid in the treatment of nausea.
These little guys are about the size of a water droplet, maybe even smaller. 
They are filled with peppermint essential oil.
You just pop one in your mouth and not only will it help tame your nausea, but it will also freshen your breath!
DoTerra oils are not sold in stores, but you can buy them from a rep, including me! :)
Tip: don't take too much peppermint as too much will give you a tummy ache and/or heartburn.

13. A hubby. 
I could forego numbers 1-12 just to make sure I had this guy.
He has been the best husband and friend a girl could ask for.
He lets me slack on my chores around the house, he offers to fix dinner (BBQ, Mac n cheese, or spaghetti) :), and he will even give me a massage here and there.
Now that I'm becoming more and more like an elephant seal, he is even being sweeter.
He helps me off the floor when I'm stuck sitting criss-cross-applesauce, he gets me things when my fat booty is too tired or lazy to get them myself, and he has started to help me with my feet/socks/shoes since bending over is becoming increasingly problematic.
He loves to feel the little buddy moving around inside me and he is always eager to tell it goodmorning or goodnight or that we love it :)
He is going to be the best daddy.
And if you don't have a hubby, I'd recommend anyone close to you who you're around all the time. :)
Support is a huge thing to have when you're growing another human inside of you. 
Tip: the hunk pictured above is taken... Sorry ladies! I'd like to say that I snatched him up, but the truth is he snatched me before I even knew what hit me! Now we both have the ball & chain and are loving every minute of our lifetime sentence :)

That's about it for the first half of pregnancy ... What would you add to the list?