Welcome Siena Jade!


Our baby girl is finally here! She arrived on Saturday, October 3 at 7:22 PM weighing 7 lbs 11 oz and coming in at 20.5 inches. We couldn’t be more full of love for this perfect little human. Being a mother is even more rewarding than I imagined and our little girl is a very eager eater (just like her parents) and overall very sweet and alert baby.  We are so enamored by her!


We got home from the hospital yesterday and are settling in well. I can’t wait to write up her birth story, which all starts Thursday at 11 PM (my last bumpdate was published while I was in early labor) and was the most intense 45 hours of my life. Stay tuned!

Bumpdate – 41 Weeks


41 weeks pregnant bumpdateThis is the update that no one ever thinks they’ll have to make! The 41 week mark. A lot of women hit this mark yet no one really every anticipates it. Our Bradley Method teacher told us that the average first time, low risk birth happens at 41 weeks, 1 day, so we were at least partially mentally prepared for this day to come. However, since I heard quite a few stories of babies coming at 38 weeks recently, I started to reconsider my original assumption that she’d be late. Well, we’re back to square one folks, because she is still hanging out inside me!

Donde Esta little one?

Donde Esta little one?

This week has been kind of an emotional roller coaster. I’m happy to say that the roller coaster has leveled out a bit and I’m feeling a lot more at peace with her coming when she decides. At this point I’ve had quite a few signs that she’s slowly making her way out on her own and yesterday’s ultrasound and non-stress tests indicated that she’s as healthy as can be (good fluid levels, placenta viable, heart rate stable, baby appears relaxed). Assuming my second non stress test on Monday goes as smoothly as yesterdays (and that she hasn’t already been born), I’ll likely be induced on Friday, October 9th. However, we have NOT yet set an induction date. Doctor is feeling good about our chances of delivering even before Monday so we may never even have to make an induction appointment.

Hooked up! I hope to have a portable monitoring device during labor otherwise it's going to be uncomfortable sitting for 20 minutes an hour!

Hooked up! I hope to have a portable monitoring device during labor otherwise it’s going to be uncomfortable sitting for 20 minutes an hour!

Although I was still very social this past week, I brought it down a notch from last week, especially toward the end. I just started having less desire to go out in public and stayed home more. As a result, I started AND finished my pregnancy scrap book, the house is clean and my entire to-do list is complete. My CPA license is expiring in December and I should really work on continuing education but I keep putting it off (I don’t work for a CPA firm anymore and am technically not working in accounting anymore but I like to keep it active).

41 weeks pregnant

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to check on me during this waiting period! I have felt the love!

How Many Weeks: 41

Baby The Size Of: Ultrasound yesterday said 7 lbs 8 oz but apparently it can be off by 2 pounds either way.

Weight Gain: Staying steady at around 42 lbs so it’s looking like that’ll be about the final number.

How I’m Feeling:  Anxious to meet her, analyzing every twinge but also getting more accepting of the fact that I can’t control any of it!

This episode of friends helped me laugh at myself and realize I won't actually be pregnant forever.

This episode of friends helped me laugh at myself and realize I won’t actually be pregnant forever.

Pregnancy Symptoms: Carpal tunnel, slightly swollen hands, fingers and feet, and I have to pee literally every 30 minutes, sometimes more frequently. I’m thankful I’m not at work just for the fact that I’d be in the bathroom 40 times a day.

Labor Signs: Well, my first signs of impending labor started just about a week ago and have continued on and off every day since then. I pretty much have Braxton Hicks contractions most of the day and several times I’ve also had menstrual-like cramps with them. On Wednesday they started up during yoga at around 10 a.m. and lasted until about 3 p.m. and seemed to get closer together and stronger, so I started timing them.  Eventually they fizzled- they say if you eat, drink, walk and/or sleep and they go away, then they aren’t real. I ate and they continued but after walking and trying to rest/sleep they went away.  Thursday I started to lose my plug (if you don’t know what this is, you probably don’t want to). The doctor also indicated at my ultrasound appointment yesterday that this baby is VERY low and that my cervix is very thin (still not doing any cervical checks though so I don’t know how dilated I am).  My fundal height also measured 2 cm shorter at this week’s appointment which is another sign of engagement. So basically my body is giving me every sign that it’s preparing for labor – I just need to be patient!

Sleep:  Sleep is getting worse for a few reasons, the first being that I have to pee 6 times a night and the second because of the contractions. There were a few nights that they were painful enough to keep me awake and a few times my mind was just spinning with the thought of being in early labor. I tried to focus on my relaxation techniques when I couldn’t sleep due to my mind turning and that seemed to help calm me down. I’m in bed 8-9 hours a night and I take a nap pretty much every day though so I’m still well rested.

Exercise: Four pre-natal yoga classes this week and 1 barre class plus 1-2 walks of varying length every day.

Reading: Lots of birth stories! Before the Ironman and pretty much every marathon I’ve ever ran, I read every race report I could get my hands on and it’s no different for birth stories. I read mostly natural birth stories but I will read all kinds! It’s really interesting to see how different they all are and how people describe their contractions and pain level.

Interesting Moments: There was a lot of hype around the full moon this week! All three different yoga instructors I took talked about its impact and it was everywhere. It definitely got my hopes up that our baby girl would be born but in retrospect I’m ok with her taking her time.

Wishing the full moon would help me out!

Wishing the full moon would help me out!

Best Moments: Celebrating our 2 year wedding anniversary last Saturday night (our anniversary was Monday but we were hopeful we’d have the baby thanks to the full moon). It was a great date night for Mike and I and I was thankful to get in one last fancy night out with him before we are parents.

Sunset on the night of our anniversary celebration

Sunset on the night of our anniversary celebration

We also have a wonderful afternoon at the beach on Sunday – the water and the sun felt amazing!

Sunday Hike & Beach Day with Asia and Mike.

Sunday Hike & Beach Day with Asia and Mike.

Missing:  Sleeping through the night. Oh wait – did you say that is just going to get worse!? ;)

Looking Forward To:  The holidays! I can’t wait to dress Siena up for Halloween (our neighborhood does a big block party!), showing her off to the entire extended family at Thanksgiving and dressing her up in a darling Christmas dress. The holidays will be extra special this year.

September Goal Recap and October Goal Setting

barre classes while pregnant

I wasn’t sure if I’d have had the baby when September came to a close and here we are, September 30th and no baby yet. I have a lot of emotions around that but luckily I’m getting some strong signals that she’s coming soon. But regardless, it’s time to talk about how my September goals went.

My goals in September were:

  1. Relaxation practice (including yoga) a minimum of 5 times a week
  2. Complete Squat Challenge (or keep going until baby arrives)
  3. At least 90 sec of holding a deep squat per day (this is an option for a pushing position and the average contraction in pushing phase is 45-90 seconds so it’s good to practice holding it for that long!)
  4. Keep up with yoga up until delivery
  5. Do something active (minimum being a walk) every day

I did a great job at relaxation this month! I was MUCH better about doing my relaxation practice (either using YouTube guided relaxations, listening to yoga music and visualizing birth or doing a relaxation practice with Mike) on top of all the yoga I did this month. In total, I did 24 relaxation sessions (with 10 being yoga sessions).  yoga while pregnant

I did not fully complete the squat challenge but I did give it a pretty good go! By the end of the month when the squats were getting to be close to 200, I decided to only do them when I felt fresh or wasn’t already doing a class like yoga or barre. I didn’t want to end up tiring myself out in case I went into labor. Plus, with the heat wave there were several days when the thought of getting all sweaty doing them wasn’t appealing! I did, however, hold the deep squat almost every day for at least 1.5 minutes, sometimes up to 2 minutes.

It’s safe to say that I achieved my “keep up with yoga” and “do something active daily” goals easily!

September Totals: 

  • ~20 hours of walking or hiking (wow!)
  • 10 yoga classes
  • 9 Xtend Barre classes
  • 24 relaxation practice sessions (including yoga)

    hiking 9 months pregnant

    5 mile hike at Torrey Pines 39 weeks pregnant

I’m feel fortunate of how I held up physically in my final month of pregnancy. I’m still working out daily and taking long walks at 40 weeks, 5 days pregnant and I don’t see any reason to stop until I give birth. I love taking long walks with friends or Mike and it has been a great replacement for running because I still get to enjoy the outdoors and sweat while chatting along with friends.

I’ve really come to love my prenatal yoga classes as they connect me with women who are experiencing the same things as I am and I don’t ever have to modify! We also tend to spend at least 5 minutes at the end of class connecting with baby during savasana. My Xtend Barre classes are also something I look forward to and that make me feel strong. I’m pretty excited that both studios (CAP wellness and Xtend Barre) have mommy and me workout classes! I can’t wait to come back with Siena for a fun workout with fellow new moms when the time is right.

Although I was a bit disappointed that running felt so crappy throughout pregnancy (I’m not sure I really had more than a handful of “good” runs and probably ran longer than I really should have, stopping at 33 weeks), I have become so much stronger in other ways. My arms are more sculpted thanks to yoga and barre classes (I do additional arm strengthening moves for the 10 minutes of class that they do abs so I get bonus arm sculpting) and my butt and thighs, although covered in an extra layer of cushion thanks to pregnancy pounds, are definitely stronger. I’ve become more centered and my yoga practice has grown leaps and bounds. Although I can’t work on inversions or advanced balance postures in yoga, my form in the most fundamental poses has dramatically improved. The shift in my focus from running (and specifically, qualifying for Boston) to more holistic, overall well-being centered goals has been therapeutic for me.

Sunday morning walk with Asia!

Sunday morning walk with Asia!

October Goals: 


That’s all. :)

Have you ever been forced to change your primary workout method and found that you grew stronger as an athlete? 

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing….

over 40 weeks pregnant

I’m getting all lyrical lately with the music quotes. In the words of Jack Johnson, I’m “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” for this baby to arrive! As I’m sure you all know, last night was not only a full moon, but a blood moon, harvest moon AND an eclipse. I was really hoping that the energy from the moon would help make things happen (there’s really no proof that it affects labor but lots of anecdotal evidence from hospital doctors and nurses that the ER and delivery room fills up on these nights), but…NADA. Mike and I headed out to the trails near our house to watch and it was stunning! I couldn’t help but think of Jason Mraz’s song about the energy between the sun and the moon, “Shine.” My favorite lyrics from the song are:

I keep a lamp over you, glowing in my heart
To keep from tripping over troublesome thoughts in the dark
We ain’t that different, we huddle underneath the same stars
I see who you really are
You’re every creature, every man, every woman and child
You’re the closest thing I’ll ever get to knowing God
Like the sun to the moon, I’ll send my love and light
A love like ours, it’ll fill the whole sky

When I first read the lyrics, I thought of the love I have for Mike. And then I re-read it and thought about Siena and it made me tear up (hormones eh!?!) thinking about this new love with her that I have yet to fully experience. I just can’t wait to meet her!

Labor is a time of transition. I’m sitting at a crossroads here, not able to move backward or forward without the impetus of labor. The eclipse is also a time of transition “marking opportunities for major completion and integration of much larger cycles of individual and collective growth. We can think of them like powerful threshold crossings or crucibles through which evolution occurs, marketing both an ending and a new beginning where we invite the next octave of understanding and wisdom into our lives” as well described by Shakti Sunfire (TheRhythmWay.com). My eclipse is just a little late.

2 years since the best day ever (so far).

2 years since the best day ever (so far).

Back to the Jack Johnson lyrics…I actually wouldn’t say I’ve been sitting. In usual Nicole fashion, I’ve been very active. Mike and I enjoyed the weekend but if I said we weren’t constantly wondering and talking about whether or not Siena would be making her grand debut, I’d be lying! Today is our 2 year wedding anniversary and we celebrated Saturday night with dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant , a walk during sunset and our favorite dessert – chocolate bread pudding from 3rd Corner.

Anniversary celebration!

Anniversary celebration!

Yesterday was a great day too and we headed to the beach to beat the heat (still in the 80s here) – we spent the majority of the time in the water and it felt absolutely amazing. I walked about 4-5 miles a day both Saturday and Sunday and did squats both days (and some other labor induction techniques) in hopes that the movement would help Siena get the picture but it didn’t help.  We also saw a movie (one of the things everyone says you must do one last time before baby), I got a mani/pedi, did prenatal yoga and wrapped up some lose ends on the to do list… at this point there’s not much to do but wait!

Sunday Sunday - Too bad you missed all the fun Siena!

Sunday Funday – Too bad you missed all the fun Siena!

So for now….we wait. I’m booking another prenatal massage! There’s gotta be some good to waiting!

Any tips for staying sane while waiting?! 

Bumpdate Week 40

 Today’s Siena’s due date! I’m still pregnant. I’m not surprised AT ALL, as I have been fully expecting to reach this day. However, I must admit I’ve been overanalyzing every twinge for the last 5 days or so, wondering if it’s a sign of labor.

I may be one of the only pregnant women to reach this point without a single person telling me that I’m “about to pop.” I actually even had someone tell me specifically that I don’t look “about to pop.” I guess it’s a blessing to appear (and honestly, feel) so comfortable but it’s truly incredible how many people feel the need to comment on the size of my belly in relation to how far along I am. In my personal opinion, it looks and feels like there’s a full size baby in there!


Meal prepping for after Siena’s birth

This week I started maternity leave and it has been wonderful (in California you get state disability pay up to 4 weeks before your due date). I’ve balanced time between socializing with friends (lunch every day with a different friend), exercising, being productive/running errands, spending quality time with Mike and napping. Last Saturday I spent the whole day at the spa at the Rancho Valencia hotel to celebrate Asia’s birthday and it was a wonderful treat.

The beautiful yoga studio at Rancho Valencia Resort

How Many Weeks: 40

Baby The Size Of: A Pumpkin (or, alternatively, a newborn baby).

How I’m Feeling:  In limbo. Stuck between anticipation and excitement to meet my baby girl and a bit of fear of the unknown of being a parent. I haven’t been super emotional during this pregnancy but I think that the coming week could get emotional as I wait!

Pregnancy Symptoms: I think I have carpal tunnel! My right pointer and middle finger are often numb…which is apparently a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome. Apparently it’s very common in pregnant women at this stage and nothing to worry about. I also have mild swelling in my feet and hands but shoes still fit (I did take off my rings).

Labor Signs: I actually had already written this post before today and had to modify this section this morning because I finally had some contractions! Last night around 8:30 or 9 I started to have some tightening and period-like cramping. It wasn’t consistent so we didn’t bother timing it – I know that things like this can happen for days or even weeks before labor starts so I tried not to get too excited. It definitely kept me up or a few hours and I woke again at 2 a.m. starving and having some of the same feelings. After I ate a bowl of cereal I went back to bed and woke up feeling a little different in the morning, but no real contractions. Hopefully this is a sign that she’s on her way soon! I’ve heard that none of the natural induction techniques really work but I’m still going to try some!

Sleep: Sleep is just OK at this point. I wouldn’t say it’s bad but I do wake up several times to use the bathroom and sometimes had a hard time falling asleep since I have so much on my mind. I also have been having very vivid dreams about parenthood and breast feeding, probably because I tend to read my “Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” book right before bed!

Maybe our last Sunday nightfish taco date night?!

Exercise: I truly love exercise and so I have spent this week doing quite a bit of it. I took 2 barre classes, 3 yoga classes and have several spent hours walking, including a few 1.5 hour walks. I’ve pretty much disproven that exercise and walking induce labor. Mike and I walked about 6 miles up and down Torrey Pines on Sunday and nothing! She’ll come when she’s ready….

All of my yoga and barre classes are thanks to the wonderful Wildfire Life and I just got a notification that they are reducing their price for a limited time to $99/month (instead of $149/month). Sign up now using this link for a free trial and then use code SWEATYFRIENDS at checkout to get the $99 price going forward (you must convert by Sept 29 for the $99 deal but they’ll throw in another free week since you’ll be cutting your trial short). It’s an amazing deal – you literally can’t get a membership to any boutique studio for less and this way you have unlimited access to HUNDREDS of studios for that price! Wildfire Life has studios in San Diego, Orange County and LA!

Unfortunately placed water bottle

Interesting Moments: The most entertaining and simultaneously disturbing moment of the week was when I got HIT ON while inside a bakery. Yes, I was at a bakery with my also pregnant neighbor, and a man came into the store and started to chat me up. At first I thought he was just being friendly but then he told me that he specifically came into the store to meet me because he saw me from across the shopping center. He began to compliment me, telling me I was looking very beautiful and my hair was nice. I said thank you and tried to use body language to give him the sign that I was freaked out but it didn’t work. He proceeded to walk me and my friend to our car and ask for my phone number to stay in touch!!! My friend loudly told him that my husband wouldn’t appreciate that and he still protested but then finally went away….it was very bizarre. There is no way that he could have not noticed I’m pregnant so the only thing I can think of is that he has a pregnancy fetish!?!? CREEP!

Best Moments: There were so many this week! The spa day with Asia was wonderful and I really enjoyed my hike with Mike on Sunday. I also got to spend a lot of quality time with my friend Allison who stays home with her 8 month son Beau.

long walk in the coast with Allison and Beau


coffee date with mike

Missing: Sleeping/laying on my back or stomach, being able to get in and out of bed easily, being able to see my toes and not feeling huge!

Looking Forward To: Meeting Siena. I’m ready when you are baby girl!

Postpartum Meal Prep

 I’m on maternity leave! Yahoo! I somehow created a massive to-do list for myself this week so I’ve been a busy bee already. I’ve discovered that a lot of people don’t work a typical 9-5 (or don’t work at all) because the stores and streets seem to be as busy on the weekdays as on a weekend around here.

One big thing on my pre-baby but post-work to-do list is to get our freezer and pantry as stocked as possible with some healthy and/or convenient options for eating during the crazy weeks following Siena’s birth. I’m lucky to have Mike around for the first four weeks so I’m sure if all of this food prep weren’t to get done we wouldn’t starve, but it’s nice to know that we have cheap and homemade healthy meals waiting for us at any time (if the zombie apocalypse happens you know where to go for food). I actually started this process last week by making a double batch of a vegetarian curry I made and putting half of it in the freezer.

 I did some research on the best way to approach my cooking, freezing and storing so I thought I’d share the insights I learned along the way:

  1. The crock pot is your friend. You can put all the ingredients of any crock pot recipe (except broth/water) into a freezer safe plastic bag in advance. The night before you plan to make the meal, move the freezer bag into the fridge and the next day drop it all into the crock pot along with your liquids and by dinner you’ll have a meal. It’s not the quickest process but it requires little labor once the prep is done.
  2. Get some good freezer safe AND oven safe glass tupperware. Although you need to fully defrost the dish before putting it in the oven, this means one less dish to wash.
  3. Trader Joe’s is also your friend. They have a great assortment of healthy, sometimes organic, frozen meals when you’re in a time crunch. I’m not a big pre-packaged meal person (usually there’s a ton of sodium and added unnecessary ingredients), but Trader Joe’s seems to keep things pretty clean (most of the time – be sure to check labels if you’re worried about sodium content or added soy/corn fillers).
  4. Make your own frozen brown rice. Packaged frozen brown rice is a rip off! We buy a 12 pound bag of organic brown rice from Costco which make rice incredibly cheap. Freezing it yourself is really easy and way cheaper than the pre-packaged frozen varieties. 
  5. Give yourself time. Ideally, you’ll start this process at least a couple weeks before baby is set to arrive. Start doubling recipes you’re already using for dinners and freezing some. Make brown rice while you’re watching TV at night. The project will seem way less daunting this way and it also means that you’re not buying all the groceries at once with the risk of going into labor and having most of them go bad by the time you get the energy to cook again.

The meals I made are (links to recipes in titles):

  1. Quinoa Kale Minestrone – I cooked this yesterday afternoon and froze the leftovers. I added an extra bell pepper, an extra 1/4 cup of quinoa, a can of kidney beans and a 2nd veggie broth to make it even more filling. 
  2. Lentil Spinach Cashew Curry - I actually made this one for dinner this week but tripled the usual recipe and then froze over half of it.
  3. Black Bean Yam Chili - I didn’t actually cook this one – just put all the ingredients except the water into the freezer safe ziplock.
  4. Sweet Potato, Zucchini and Chickpea Curry – I actually made this as a meal last week and just doubled the recipe and froze the leftovers.
  5. Frozen Brown Rice - I made about 6 cups of brown rice in the rice cooker, let it cool and put it in freezer safe containers to go with the above curries. I considered packaging it in 1 or 2 cup portions in freezer bags but ended up just using glass tupperware since I figured we’d defrost it at the same time as the lentil and sweet potato curries.

The frozen/packaged meals I bought:

  1. Costco Frozen Lasagna - Although they don’t have a vegetarian version, I still bought this since we do eat meat at least once a week. We ate a lot of this back during training for the Ironman – we’d put it in the oven and hop on the bike trainers for an hour or more ride and have a calorie dense meal by the time we were out of the shower! And since it’s a family sized portion, there are leftovers for at least 1-2 more meals (maybe more if you don’t have Ironman or breast-feeding induced hunger).
  2. Trader Joe’s Japanese Style Fried Rice, Tempeh and Peas – This meal has become one of my go-to easy weeknight meals. I sauté the tempeh with soy sauce first, then add in the fried rice and peas (also edamame if I have it). I usually steam broccoli and serve it on top as well (a fried egg would be good too!). Tempeh lasts quite a while in the fridge (about 3 months) so I’m not worried about it going bad before baby comes.  
  3. Nut Tacos – We discovered these little gems a few years ago after tasting a sample at Whole Foods. These convenient little tacos already include the shell and are filled with non-soy based vegan filling. I just add some avocado and salsa to them and serve with a veggie side and it’s an easy meal I can make in 15 minutes!
  4. Black Bean Burgers – With about 20g of protein in one 200 calorie patty, these are great even as a snack on their own but also easily served with a microwaved sweet potato with coconut oil and cinnamon on top (baked if you’ve got time) and a side of veggies.
  5. Amy’s Organic Lentil Soup (Costco) – Great for snacks or a with a salad or sandwich at lunch.
  6. Organic Bread & Peanut Butter – Just freeze the bread and it stays fresh for well over a month (or longer) and you can’t go wrong with peanut butter!

I’m hopeful that all this meal prep means that we won’t be eating pizza every night after Siena arrives (although I do love pizza – if you order one for us, I won’t turn it down!).

What is your favorite meal as leftovers? Do you ever freeze food for future enjoyment? 

Bump date Weeks 38-39

The end is near…but how near!?

39 weeks pregnant bump date

These last 2 weeks can be summed up in one word: HOT! San Diego has been hit with a heat wave and there have been some pretty uncomfortable moments. One night I even slept with a cold towel on my face and a fan on high directed straight at me. Not many houses near the beach in San Diego have air conditioning and ours is not an exception. I just keep thinking it’ll end soon and telling people I’m thankful I’m not yet on leave yet so that I can sit in my nice air conditioned office all day (but my last day of work was TODAY!!!).

I’m continuing to live and schedule my life just as I would if I weren’t possibly going to go into labor at any moment. Last weekend Asia and I had a fun day together starting with yoga and followed by the San Diego Restaurant Week kickoff event. There were over 40 vendors serving free samples of food and alcohol and although it was outdoors and 90 degrees, we had fun!

san diego restaurant week

I also went to a friend’s baby shower on Sunday and have been meeting friends for lunch nearly every day (I figure I’ll be eating lunch at home for a long time so it’s ok to blow the budget for now!). Mike and I continue to try to get in quality time, including our weekly pre-work coffee date and Sunday night date night. Tomorrow is Asia’s birthday and we have a spa day planned so I pretty much am willing this baby to at least wait one more day.

Showering Amber!

Showering Amber!

How Far Along: Currently 39 weeks, this covers weeks 38-39

Baby Size: A PUMPKIN! That seems big guys! I actually laughed because last week our Pregnant Chicken email pointed out that our baby is actually the size of a baby now, not a piece of produce.

Labor Signs: Although I don’t have any Braxton Hicks contractions still (I think anyway…), I’ve had a few signs that labor is coming, but there’s no real way to know what it means. The baby is definitely sitting quite low – my doctor had to put the Doppler very low to get her heart rate at my 38 week appointment (she first put it in the usual spot and had to move it down). I’m also getting random shooting pains down low and have a general feeling of heaviness in my tummy that wasn’t there before. I’m still trying not to get caught up in the frenzy of when she’ll come (which is a big reason why I’m not doing cervical checks with my doctor) and am just assuming she’ll come late so that I don’t go crazy with anticipation. The math nerd in me has been appreciating this website I found which calculates the odds of going into labor on any particular day and the odds that you’ll go into labor in the next 3, 5 or 7 days. You can also look at a future date and see what the odds are that you’ll have the baby by then.

38 weeks pregnant bump date

Symptoms: I think my feet have grown or are swollen, or a combination of both, as most of my shoes feel tighter (but still fit). My hands are also swollen a bit (my ring would probably come off with some effort but not easily) and in general my joints kind of ache a bit in my hands and feet. Never have I been one to have sensitive wrists during yoga moves, but lately I’ve noticed that some positions like downward dog are not exactly comfortable on my joints.

Maternity Clothes: Allison just got a bunch of her maternity clothes back from a friend and handed them all over to me so I’ve had a new outfit to wear every single day for the last week and a half! It’s been fun!

I got to wear a new (to me) dress to the San Diego Restaurant Week kickoff event last weekend

I got to wear a new (to me) dress to the San Diego Restaurant Week kickoff event last weekend

Movement: The hiccups continue, although not as frequently as in week 37. She’s also still moving a lot and sometimes it really hurts! Her head is down and body is on my left side so I get a lot of kicking on my right side. Sometimes she just jams her foot out and I can see it sticking out on the right side of my belly. I can push on it and she’ll move it in. I really enjoy feeling her move so I welcome all movements, even if they hurt sometimes.

Sleep: I’m still sleeping pretty well. Although I do wake up probably about 5 times in the night to either turn over or use the bathroom, I fall right back asleep and have been aiming to get 8-9 hours every single night, if not more on the weekends (if one more person tells me to “Sleep while I can” I’ll go crazy). The most annoying thing as this point is the fact that I’m usually a back sleeper and I have to sleep on my side  – because I’m putting all my weight + 40 preggo pounds onto one side, I wake up with my arm and/or hand asleep all the time! For a long time I still slept on my side, although some guidance suggests you should stop at 20 weeks (my doctor said it was ok), but for about 6-8 weeks it hasn’t been comfortable to lay on my back for very long anymore (even in yoga – I use bolsters and blocks to prop myself up or just lay on my side in savasana).

Exercise: At this point I hope to continue yoga, barre, long walks and squats until my due date as I haven’t had to change my habits thus far (yoga 2-3x/week, barre 2x/week, squats and walking nearly every day). I am loving prenatal yoga at CAP Wellness Center – it’s so nice to connect with other moms to be and the instructor includes special moments within the practice for us to bond with baby.

I am being more cautious about being overly tired after workouts – I don’t want to be low on energy or sore going into labor so I no longer sign up for classes in advance and instead try to play it by ear depending on how I’m feeling.

Hiking Torrey with Brooke

Hiking Torrey with Brooke

Today was my last 6 a.m. Xtend Barre class! I had a goal to make it to barre on my last day of work and I did it! Since I won’t be working anymore, I plan to take the later morning classes until baby comes.

Xtend Barre at 39 Weeks!

Xtend Barre at 39 Weeks!

Mood: Mostly happy, optimistic and excited. Sometimes irritable, mostly at work or when driving. Occasionally I get a little nervous for the birth and parenthood, but overall I’m looking forward to it.

Best Moments of the Last 2 Weeks: Mike and I have had some wonderful evenings and mornings together sitting our patio drinking coffee or eating together. I’ve also gotten to experience some pretty epic sunsets lately thanks to the hot weather! Mike was able to get this great photo of me on the beach last week during one of our walks. Since we decided not to do maternity photos, I was happy to get one beautiful and artistic bump shot to frame.

38 weeks pregnant

Missing: Running fast and hard, sleeping on my back, my old body, doing planks/push-ups/core work, not being winded when climbing stairs and walking, beer, wine…..

Looking Forward to: Seeing how my birth experience goes. There are so many possibilities and I am looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds!

Nursery Tour

coral grey mint nursery

The nursery took more thought, planning and effort than any other home project I’ve had to date. I’ve never been super invested in decorating my house (partially because we don’t own), but I’ve done quite a bit of nesting since we moved into our first real “home’ (we are still renting, but we now live in a 3 bedroom, 3 bath home and the owner allowed us to paint the walls of the nursery).

Of course, it all started with Pinterest. I quickly found myself being attracted to the arrow/tribal theme, although the color scheme changed to coral, mint and grey once we found out we were having a girl (I originally was looking at more blues/oranges with fox accents). I was attracted to the coral, mint and gold theme a little more than the grey, but ended up going with grey since it’ll work better if we have a boy for our 2nd and in general, is a little more timeless than gold, which tends to go in and out of style.

arrow nursery coral mint grey nursery

I have to give credit to the following people who helped with the nursery:

  • My husband Mike for buying the paint, painting the room and putting together the crib. nursery
  • My father in law Tom for helping paint the room.
  • My mother in law Nancy for her AMAZING sewing skills – she designed and sewed the valance, crib skirt (the one inside the crib), changing table organizer and pillow. She also came over and hung the valance herself (totally something I had no idea how to do). arrow nursery coral mint grey nursery
  • Both Tom and Nancy for purchasing the crib for us (and Jill and Matt for the mattress!). arrow nursery coral mint grey nursery
  • My friend Erin for purchasing the changing table. arrow nursery coral mint grey nursery
  • My Dad and Denice for the glider.
  • My friend Allison for making the adorable banner for the shower which I used as an additional crib skirt (outside of the crib). Also Allison for the coral S and various frames with arrows on the shelves. Allison also is the one responsible for the adorable frame with handmade headbands that’s sitting on the shelf in the closet – guests made the headbands at the shower. arrow nursery coral mint grey nursery
  • My aunt Kerry for the grey and white S on the book shelf. IMG_7771
  • My cousin Jaclyn for painting the fox painting hanging over the changing table.

    Thank you Jaclyn!

    Thank you Jaclyn!

  • My aunt Tearee for designing and printing the beautiful canvas with Siena’s name and meaning that we hung over the crib.
  • My friend Jenny for finding the adorable arrow picture frame.
    So many clothes!

    So many clothes!


I couldn’t be happier with how the room turned out and I can’t wait for Siena to see it!

The 5 Best and Worst Things About Being Pregnant

Now that I’ve been pregnant for over 38 weeks, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on my experience. In a lot of ways, pregnancy was nothing like I expected it to be. In some ways, it was harder and in some ways, it was easier. Everyone’s pregnancies are different and each woman will have a different experience being pregnant with each child, so there is no way to completely generalize the good and bad of pregnancy. However, based on my experience in the last 38 weeks, here’s what I personally enjoyed the most and the least.

The 5 Best Things About Being Pregnant

  1. Stronger Connections with Fellow Parents/Parents to Be.  I think my favorite thing about being pregnant is how many people I’ve gotten to know better that I may not have if I weren’t with child. Strangers come up to me and tell me stories about their children (such as when one man’s child hugged an obese man’s protruding stomach and looked up at him and said ‘Is there a baby in there!?’), I got a glimpse into my dermatologist’s life when he spoke fondly about how he is surrounded by women with a wife, two daughters and female pets, one of the senior VPs at my company sincerely told me that parenthood is the best thing that has ever happened to him, and I’ve had conversations with countless other people who I may not have normally been able to make an easy connection with. I’ve also created stronger bonds with friends and family who are are parents and are excited to share their pregnancy experiences, birth stories and parenting advice with me (which I may not always agree with but I appreciate hearing it). It’s been heartwarming to learn so much about other people’s lives simply based on the fact that I’m entering this club called “parenthood.”
  2. Reading the Weekly Pregnancy Update Emails.  Every single Friday I turn another week “more pregnant” and as a reward, I get two emails in my inbox which  read aloud to Mike. The emails provide facts about how my baby is progressing, how I should/may be feeling at this point and tips on things to do or think about in the coming weeks. I get one from Baby Center, which is more to the point and one from The Pregnant Chicken, which is witty and always makes us laugh. In the beginning the updates were pretty incredible (your baby grew lungs! your baby opened her eyes!) and now they are less astounding (your baby put on some fat) but I still look forward to reading them every week.

    I love the Pregnant Chicken!

    I love the Pregnant Chicken!

  3. Ice Cream. I picked up this lovely habit around the 5 month mark and I’ve pretty much scooped myself a bowl of ice cream about 5 nights a week on average since then. Ice cream has always been my favorite dessert but when not pregnant I would never allow myself to indulge this often. Probably contributed to a few pounds of my weight gain, but I could care less!
  4. Bradley Method Birth Classes. Mike and I spent 7 Sunday afternoons (we missed one class for our Baby Moon) in a three hour birthing class and I actually really, really enjoyed it. Not only did I find it fascinating, it was great to meet and bond with other couples in the same situation as us. The best part was the way it seemed to even make my bond with Mike even stronger and I am genuinely looking forward to the day I give birth and am not scared.

    Mike attempting to push a ping pong ball through a balloon to simulate childbirth during our last Bradley Class

    Mike attempting to push a ping pong ball through a balloon to simulate childbirth during our last Bradley Class

  5. Experiencing the Human Body Perform a Miracle (and Baby Kicks!). Sometimes I’m simply in awe of how my body has just known what to do to create a human life. It’s truly incredible that Siena was once the size of a poppy seed and now she’s a full size baby. Although all the information on pregnancy is overwhelming at times, there really isn’t much to creating a baby. The human body is pretty amazing (and it’s almost as incredible that I’ll be able to provide her with her most perfect food from my breasts as well). I definitely don’t take it for granted all that my body is able to do. And seriously, those kicks are amazing. I still get excited every time I feel her inside me – this is the definitely the thing I’ll miss most about being pregnant.

The 5 Worst Things About Being Pregnant

  1. Morning sickness. This is BY FAR the worst part of pregnancy. I kept expecting the final few weeks of pregnancy to be the worst but the non-stop 24/7 nausea was miserable. I only actually threw up once, but basically felt like I had a constant hangover from week 6 to week 13 or so. I would even wake up in the middle of the night nauseous!
  2. Birth Group Forums. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the pregnancy forums (I’m in a “September 2015″ birth group) but I’ve come to realize that I don’t have much in common with the women who actually do post in them. Not to mention, some women are really mean to each other on there! However, I can’t help but read them from time to time.
  3. Limitations on Workouts & No Real Racing. Although I really feel lucky to have been able to work out so much during my pregnancy (even through the nasty morning sickness!), there are definitely limitations on what I can do. I’m not running anymore and when I was running I wasn’t able to push myself to the limits that I previously did. Although I definitely think it’s all worth it and I’m really learning to appreciate restorative workouts like yoga, I do miss a good, adrenaline pumping workout and I love racing hard!

    In my happy place!

    In my happy place!

  4. No Alcohol.  I don’t consider myself a big drinker (anymore) but I do love a nice buzz from a couple beers on a Friday night after work, or the girl talk that comes from sharing a bottle of wine with a girlfriend. I also just genuinely enjoy the taste of a good craft beer, and I miss it immensely!

    Mmmm beer.

    Mmmm beer.

  5. Comments About Belly Size. I am TOTALLY someone who has commented on friends (but never a stranger’s) belly size in the past, saying things like “wow you’ve gotten so big” but I’ve learned my lesson. Belly size is a sensitive topic and although the majority of feedback I’ve received is that my belly is small, I still don’t love to hear it. Every woman wants to feel like their belly is tracking normally, yet I’m pretty sure not a single woman actually thinks their belly size is normal. I know women who are really sensitive about how big they look (never ask a woman if she’s having twins, and definitely don’t ask her if she’s sure when she says no), yet it seems to be the one thing that people can’t handle not commenting on.
    It took me a while to show - and it means nothing!

    It took me a while to show – and it means nothing!

    Overall, I would say I’ve had a very enjoyable pregnancy. There are some low moments and times when I feel like my body is not my own, but no matter what, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I am so excited to meet Siena and every sacrifice and moment of discomfort will be worth it. I haven’t even met her yet and I know it’s true. Now we just have to wait and see when we finally get to meet!

If you’ve been pregnant, what was your favorite and least favorite part? If you’ve never been pregnant, which part scares you the most!? 

Bumpdate Weeks 36-37

bumpdate 36 weeks pregnant

Full term WHAT!? I can’t believe that it’s almost the time when we get to meet our baby girl. I must say that I have a hard time telling people that I’m ready (since that seems to be the most common question at this point) – I am still a bit uncertain about how this baby is going to change our lives and am enjoying the final days/weeks/month of my “old life.” I’ve been scheduling get togethers with friends like it’s my job – trying to soak it all in before things change big time!

How Many Weeks: This covers weeks 36-37

Baby’s Size: As big as a winter melon or a stalk of swiss chard, depending on which app you use. That’s about 19-21 inches and according to the bump, anywhere from 6.2-9.2 pounds (although at my 37.5 week doctor appointment this morning the doctor guesses she’s in the high 6 pound range)!

Weight Gain: 38 pounds. As I’ve said before, I still feel great so I’m not worried about it.

37 weeks pregnant photo bump date

Movement: For the first time, I’ve noticed Siena has had the hiccups! She had them almost every day during the last week and it’s a funny feeling. The doctor reassured me that it’s actually a GOOD sign that she has the hiccups since it means that her central nervous system is fully developed.

Symptoms: I have no signs that this baby is making her way into the world anytime soon. I have no Braxton Hicks contractions, I still sleep fairly well (see below), I have plenty of energy, and I don’t have a backache, swelling, stretch marks, heart burn or any other end of pregnancy symptom. When people ask when I’m due they are always surprised to hear that I’m due on September 25. My ultrasounds and belly measurements have always been right on track, but the belly from an outsiders view just doesn’t seem to show my true progress! I’m certainly not complaining about these lack of symptoms and I hope that this just means I’m not going to have any of these common late pregnancy complaints.

Sleep: I still sleep pretty well, but I definitely wake up multiple times in the night to change sides and/or pee. I stopped using the Snoogle pillow and instead I just put a regular pillow between my knees. Even though I wake up more, I fall back asleep right away and I’m able to take naps on the weekends, so I don’t feel overly exhausted.

Purchasing: I finished both of my registries (Target and Amazon) using the completion discount. I had added a bunch of postpartum, breastfeeding and labor gear to my Amazon list as well and it’s all its way to me. I’m ready for you baby!

I didn't actually purchase these - they were a gift from my talented friend Tayler but I wanted to show them off!

I didn’t actually purchase these – they were a gift from my talented friend Tayler but I wanted to show them off!

Reading: I finished “Birthing the Bradley Way” and have been reviewing “Baby Wise” (I read most of it already) and just started “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.”

Maternity Clothes: Some of my shirts are starting to get TOO SHORT and sometimes the bottom of my stomach peeks out. It’s not ideal but I refuse to buy anything new!

Exercise: I am loving yoga, still going to barre two mornings a week before work, and I got in some spin classes in the last two weeks as well. I’m taking lots of long walks and/or hikes and am started the squat challenge on September 1.

Yoga is still my favorite prenatal workout

Yoga is still my favorite prenatal workout

Cravings/Aversions: Ice water is still a favorite (crushed ice please). Basically anything cold.

Best Moments: On Saturday I had went to a wonderful yoga class, grabbed a green juice after class and then headed to an incredibly relaxing prenatal massage. The masseuse started the massage with me on my back and then I was surprised when she said I could flip over and lay on my front side! There was a hole in the massage table that my belly fit right into and it was surprisingly comfortable. It felt so good to lay on my stomach and it was wonderful to get my back worked on for so long. I absolutely plan to get another prenatal massage if I’m still pregnant after I stop work on the 18th.

Trying the most amazing vegan restaurant before the Taylor Swift concert (Cafe Gratitude)

Trying the most amazing vegan restaurant before the Taylor Swift concert (Cafe Gratitude)


Another great moment was taking Siena to her first concert! Asia and I went to the Taylor Swift concert at Petco Park last Saturday night. Originally I was wondering how I’d be feeling at 36 weeks pregnant but I felt great! I even suggested we walk the 1.3 miles from our car to the restaurant before dinner and stayed up past midnight for the first time in months.

Interesting Moments: I almost had a stranger touch my belly for the first time while waiting in line for the bathroom at the Taylor Swift concert – but then she realized what she was doing and pulled her hand away before she actually touched me.

Final Preparations: The hospital bag is packed, the pack n’ play is assembled (we’re putting it downstairs so we have a changing station and bassinet on both floors), the nursery is done (full nursery tour post coming soon!) and all required purchases have been made. I also finished my Bradley Method book and have been reviewing the workbook and handouts we used in the classes. We hired a temp to take over my work while I’m out and we’ve already had 9 days of training and have another 9 to go before my last day of work (September 18th) so I feel good about leaving work. At this point, the baby could come at any time and we’re ready!

Missing: Beer! This weather has beer calling my name.

Looking Forward To: Meeting our girl! Ok – and possibly having a week or more off of work to relax before she comes!