I wanted to share a round-up of things I've found useful, interesting, or not at all helpful while on this pregnancy journey. It got kind of long with all the pics, so be aware. :)
This is a stretch-mark cream that allegedly has scientific studies backing up its effectivity. I heard about it on a blog and ordered some. I think I got some on Amazon, but it's not there anymore. I saw a link to this Spanish site
. I only use it once a day--not sure if it's supposed to be twice. I haven't seen any stretch marks yet, but I know that genetics and maybe luck plays a big part. However, I also put it on my upper outer thighs, on my high-school stretch marks, and I swear the skin there feels much smoother, softer, and the marks are much less visible. I should probably order another tube!
The Pregnant Body
I also heard about this book on a blog, and it is one of the coolest things I've seen! It's a big hardcover book that's part textbook, part coffee table book (if anatomy is something you like having on your coffee table). There are photos of a female body with the fetus for each month, and they're almost life-size. In between are lots of scientific drawings, photos/images, and facts about what's developing each week or month. Completely, totally fascinating, and I would recommend this for any pregnant person and their partner.
For at least ten years, my bed has been a nest that includes lots of extra pillows or stuffed friends. I sleep on the side a lot, and I noticed that my knees/hips/back would hurt a lot, but that a pillow between my knees eliminated all of that. Being pregnant is a great excuse for this, and it's even more necessary and comfortable to have pillows surrounding me. The body pillow is for my legs/knees/feet (yes, I like all of them to be cushioned/elevated, even if I'm on my back), and then I have pillows etc on both sides of me. My body pillow is one I found at Costco that's soft but not too thin/squishy (photo is a random body pillow from macys.com).
I got one at Target
early in the summer when my trousers were getting a little tight. I used it a couple times but it was annoying, because I was in that in-between stage of not exactly needing it but not exactly able to go without. For the rest of the summer I wore skirts and dresses, which was way more comfortable and easy.
And then! I figured out the most awesome thing, and this is my best secret advice: I use the belly band as a tube top!
Just for sitting around the house and sleeping. It's so much better than any bra-type thing--I hate straps!
Mostly I was interested in reading about twins, so all of these may not be helpful or applicable for singleton-pregnant ladies.
What To Expect When You're Expecting:
I wasn't going to read this because I'd heard it was annoying. I found a previous edition at a thrift shop and then someone gifted me the newer one. I've read most of it in parts, and while it's not the most annoying book of the bunch, it's definitely not one of my favorites. Partly because it's organized so terribly. In that it's not organized at all. You don't need to read this.
Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
Got this one as a gift as well, but I haven't even opened it. Oops. I'm sure it's better and more scientific than What To Expect.
When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads
This was the first twins book I read, and it's always on everyone's recommended-reading list for expectant twin mamas. I rather HATED this book. First of all, it reads like it's freaking Cosmo magazine, with the way anecdotes are written. Second, it's written by this doctor who directs a program, and the entire thing is all about her own method and how amazing and successful it is. Which I guess is her right, seeing as how it's her book and all, but after awhile I realized how very un-objective it is. Third, a huge chunk of the book is about food/eating/nutrition. She says straight out that even if you're a vegetarian, you should really eat meat or at least eggs while you're pregnant. I am very vegetarian, not for moral reasons or anything preachy, but I've been a weird/nonmeat eater for literally most of my life. Even if I wanted to suddenly eat fish and chicken for the health of the fetuses, after never having them for at least thirty years, I can't imagine that my body would react well. She goes on to include sample menus and daily lists of food, and it's actually laughable how much it is. Like, it takes two pages of the book to list out everything you should eat in ONE DAY. And I don't doubt that she's right and that it's a good idea...it just doesn't seem terribly realistic.
We listened to this one in the car during our road trip. Mister Melancholy doesn't read as often as I do, but when he does, he reads a lot of intellectual magazines or nonfiction (like that brick of an LBJ biography that came out this year). I've wanted him to read some of the advice-type books that I read (below) so that he would have the same frame of reference and so that I wouldn't have to explain everything to him. He reluctantly read parts of them, but agreed that he should read more, and an audiobook while a captive audience driving through the emptiness that is most of Wyoming was a good match. Some of the "tips" are pretty silly ("Write loving thoughts in your pregnancy journal!" "Get a private room at the hospital!"), but some were thought-provoking and helpful. In particular, she has a list of good twin baby products and websites. (Of course, that's the downside of an audio book--we have to either track down a PDF that came with it or see if we can find that section to listen to again and take notes.)
This was a fun book to read, because it's more about experience and what happens after two babies arrive. She is always very clear about sharing what they did and what worked for them, and acknowledges that that may not work for everyone, and she doesn't come across judgmental at all. This book gets really into the nitty-gritty of everyday life with twin babies--talks about schedules, daily duties (diapers, bottles, keeping charts of those), options for night feedings, etc. I really appreciate the specifics--I think that's so helpful. Also, there was a chapter on gear--what you need two of and what you only need one of. Again, really helpful for that kind of specificity.
Ready Or Not
A mama of twin one-year-olds lent me this one this summer. It's very similar to the book above, in that it chronicles this woman's family's experience and suggestions. It's not organized very well at all, but it was still helpful to read about her experience and advice. This one also has suggestions and advice about gear, and it was a little different than the other one.
(Truthfully, I should probably read both of these again in the next couple months and take some notes or something--I've already forgotten a lot of the helpful information!)
Obviously regular yoga pants lasted a long time in the clothing rotation. My long ones got too tight under my belly, but I have some softer, knee-length ones that are still comfy.
Also, I found several of these convertible skirt/dresses
. You can fold over the top to make it a skirt. They're really soft and swingy, and I can still wear them even now (and obviously they can be worn very comfortably without being pregnant too!). I found all three of mine at Marshall's for ten or fifteen dollars. (Here's one I'm wearing as a dress--you can see how the green part can be folded/scrunched to be a skirt top.)
The first maternity clothes I bought were really early on; I got a few tops and a dress from the Liz Lange Maternity Target line
. They looked good before I started showing, and they still look good.
Then in mid-July I got a big pile of on-sale maternity clothes at Old Navy during one of their sales/open a credit line and save extra deals. Normally I would never do that, but I got like eight things for under eighty bucks. Honestly, I never shop at Old Navy anyway, because it's so cheap. But if there's ever a time for cheap clothes, it's being pregnant for a season or two! I got a few shirts, two dresses, and a pair of jeans. (Aw look at my little tummy!)
Those jeans were not at all comfortable--the panel wasn't as soft as I would have liked, and it would actually fall down, and then the jeans would sag. I felt like I needed a belt to hold the stupid jeans up. I posted about my dilemma on facebook, and a friend recommended Destination Maternity.
First I bought these jeans
because they don't have a belly panel and they look cute. I ordered the large and the button in front just barely closed, but they were still too big and baggy. I went into one of the stores and tried on the medium, but the button would not close. Bummer.
Then the salesgirl brought me these jeans
(or something similar!) and said they're a best-seller and promised they'd be comfortable. I tried them on and they felt much better than the Old Navy jeans--they were lighter and they definitely stayed up a little better. Plus the panel is softer and stays up nicer. I've happily worn these jeans all day on multiple occasions. And while I definitely have to tug them up at times, overall they're very comfortable. I don't think I'll be wearing the Old Navy ones ever again (must remember to put those in a consign pile).
These drawstring sweats-type pants
are fantastic. I'm wearing them right now. Soft, comfy, perfect for lounging.
Lastly, I went to a baby/kid consignment sale last month and got a pile of warmer maternity tops/sweaters. That is definitely the way to go! That one was the Just Between Friends Sale
and it happens twice a year in many locations around the country. There have been a handful of other large, organized consignment around Portland this fall too. Which makes me happy, because in a few months I'll have a way to get my used maternity/baby things out to someone else who needs them at a great price.