My Second Pregnancy

January 17, 2013 By: Jenna Category: baby

I’ve been trying to sit and get this post written for weeks now, but it was always pushed aside because other things felt more important. You know, bills, emails, taxes, birth prep, etc. I know I’ll regret it if I don’t write about my pregnancy before I write about the birth though, especially if this baby I’m carrying is a girl because I think someday she will want to know what it was like for me to carry her around in my womb and birth her.

I only have about 15 minutes to write this post, and then I need to go pick up T1 from school (I decided to finish it up later in the evening because it wasn’t possible to say all I wanted in 15 minutes). That is what life is like after the first child comes, never enough time for anything. I couldn’t possibly have imagined how much more difficult and trying pregnancy would be with a toddler/preschooler in the house. But I’m getting ahead of myself and I want to start at the beginning.

We knew we wanted T1 to have a sibling, but weren’t sure what we wanted the timing to be. Our plans were for me to go back to school, bust my bum getting in shape for our trip to Thailand where I would frolic on the beach in skimpy swimwear and delight in my accomplishments over the year, and then start working toward expanding our family. Instead I found myself showing a pregnancy test to my friend Paige in May of 2012 and asking her how this was all going to work. Her response was exactly what I needed to hear: “The decision is made for you Jenna. Now all you have to do is move forward.” My graduation gift to That Husband was an etch-a-sketch with the words “T2 February 2013″ scrawled across the board. (And yes, I really did write T2 on it!)

With T1 I seem to have been sick for about a weekend, with a bit of nausea off and on throughout the first trimester. This pregnancy was much different, with all-day all-night sickness from about 6 1/2 weeks to around the 17 week mark. I wouldn’t describe it as morning sickness, not in the traditional sense, as I never felt like I wanted to throw up. A better description would be 24/7 hypoglycemia, which made me feel like I had to eat all day and every night (which is difficult when you feel so awful that even heating up a cup-of-noodles feels overwhelming (yes, I ate that cheap ramen stuff, that’s how bad things were)). Running a half-marathon at the 10-week mark while barely able to get out of bed each day will forever remain one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. I was bed-ridden for the entire weekend after the race was over. During this time I lived away from TH and T1 and it was lonely and miserable. I could barely feed myself, I had to take extra classes to meet my graduation deadline, and there was no one to turn to at the end of the day to help me feel like it was all going to be okay. There were a lot of nights where I cried myself to sleep. At the 12 week mark I was sure that the sickness would reside, little did I know I still had several weeks to go. Read more →

The Shape of Things To Come

October 03, 2012 By: Jenna Category: Personal

I’ve been blogging consistently for around 5 years now, and I thought that nothing would ever slow me down. I posted all the way through my first pregnancy, and started up again a few days after the birth. Bloggers come and go, but I thought I would be posting on an almost-daily basis for the rest of my life. That Wife had become an integral part of who I am. Others dropped their blogs completely, or took long month- or year-long breaks, but I assumed that would never be me.

Then I found out I was pregnant, and went back to school, and we moved across the country (in two parts) and I was so sick. Now I’m months behind in relation to things like categorizing receipts on Mint and answering emails and I haven’t photographed anything Jenna Cole related for months and I miss it so. Every day feels like a race and by the time I put T1 in bed the thought of sitting at my computer and drafting a post feels overwhelming. Instead I’ve been spending more time talking to That Husband when he gets home from work and reading (right now it’s Tomatoland, which is appalling and something you should definitely read).

All of the pictures I’ve been using for my posts lately have been on my phone because that’s just how my life is now.  I like this one because it encapsulates the things that have been keeping me so busy: T1, T2 (I’m sleeping around 9-10 hours/night on average), and the picture in the top left corner is something I finished hanging right before I took the picture. Now to tackle the rest of the home decorating, which is very slow going (though I’m not complaining, I love our hardwood floors and being out of an apartment).

Actually, Instagram has turned into a mini-blogging outlet of sorts for me. I’m user @thatwife if you want to see what we’re up to on a daily basis. Read more →

2010 in Review

January 01, 2011 By: Jenna Category: Personal

I’ve seen a few bloggers do posts like this in the last few days, and I love it for a few reasons. It’s a great way for me to look back in a few years and remember what my year was like. It’s also a great way to point out some favorite posts from the past year to any new readers!

January

I wrote about my struggle with pregnancy weight gain and accepting my new body shape. I started eating in the style of the Real Food movement, something I am still doing today. I started answering questions on Formspring, and kept doing so even when it felt like everyone else was dropping out. To date I’ve answered almost 3500 questions! That’s a whole lot of talking about myself :). Baby was going to arrive in a few moments and I knew the time would go by in a blink, so I started thinking about the post-partum period.

February

I talked about Good/Better/Best, and I’m still working to do better each day. We stressed about what we would name T1. I admitted that I pee my panties a little bit sometimes. We had a snow day in Dallas (very rare) and I went exploring in a wooded area near my house, coming frighteningly close to getting lost!

March

I gave you a tour of our apartment at Villa Miranda in Dallas. I made baklava for the first time, something I would most definitely like to do again. My stomach exploded with stretch marks, a part of my pregnancy that is still with me to this day. I had maternity photos taken by my friend Bethany! I devoted a post to my caring and devoted husband. I was showered with love at my baby shower. This was an exciting month, but the highlight was most definitely finding out that we were moving to Chicago!

April

I wrote about how I had been preparing my body to have a baby. I tried live blogging general conference, something I’d like to do again in the future but probably won’t happen now that I have a baby to entertain! I was getting so little sleep that it started to consume my thoughts, which of course led to a post here on That Wife. I wrote one final letter to T1 in embryo. Finally, T1 arrived! I wasn’t producing enough milk, which starved our son, and so I started supplementing with formula and wrapping him in a biliblanket to treat the jaundice which resulted.

May

I posted the story of T1′s birth, and tried to answer your birth questions. I wrote about how we are paying for our expenses while at business school, even though TH isn’t currently working. Stopped breastfeeding. Ignited a whole lot of controversy why I wrote my interpretation of the LDS views on mothers working outside the home. Highlighted ways that blogging had made me a better person. I had the first of many awful OBGYN appointments. My diet changed once again as we drastically cut back on the amount of meat we consume.

June

We used cloth diapers! I wrote candidly about what post-partum recovery is like. Let’s stop using “retard” and “gay” is derogatory terms! We buzzed T1′s hair, which made you all a little crazy. I realized that mommy blogging kind of sucks sometimes. Yet another sucky OBGYN appointment. That Food Diary was launched. I showed what it’s like to take care of a 4 month old. We had a little family outing at the Dr. Pepper Festival in Dublin. I took a little break from blogging.

July

I fed the missionaries, which was a big deal because it was my first experience trying to cook a meal for guests and manage a baby at the same time. I caught on to the idea of voting with my food dollars. We flew to Washington for T1′s baby blessing. T1 had two notable firsts, swimming and laughing. I became obsessed with the farmer’s market.

August

I’m a baby-wearin’ mama, and changed my eating habits even more drastically. We found an AMAZING apartment. Sadly, this caused us to give up cloth diapering. I spent time with e-friends at a pool party at my apartment building, a soda shop in Dallas, and in Boston.

September

We moved to Chicago and suffered through weeks and weeks without internet. I was able to spend some time with long-time reader Sophia and the Chicago bees. I attempted to save money and dye my hair myself, which was most definitely not a good idea. I grossed a whole lot of people out by creating a placenta print and posting pictures of the process. I came to terms with being a self-taught photographer. That Wife Book Club was launched! We struggled with juggling our baby at church, and I talked about postnatal cuddling. No internet was stressful, but TH not having a passport weeks before we were set to leave for Europe was most definitely a low point for us.

October

We went to Europe!!! (A trip I still need to post about in full.) I stressed about greeting my in-laws with a kiss, they introduced T1 to solid foods. I advocated for less helicopter parenting. T1 dressed as the Sleep Bandit for Halloween. My parents came.

November

T1 gained two teeth. I dressed up as the housing bubble and TH was a mortgage backed security for a University of Chicago MBA party. I officially lost 25 pounds. I attempted to go to Ikea alone with a baby, which was a very bad idea. We spent Thanksgiving in Washington after the wedding of TH’s best friend brought to the Pacific Northwest.

December

We want to shave T1′s hair yet again. I finally finished revamping my Jenna Cole sites. I pulled off a holiday party for That Wife blog readers, with about 10 people in attendance, and vowed to do that no more than once a year. I posted my thoughts on motherhood so far, T1 started crawling, I spoke in church, we joined some CSAs, and I showed what it’s like to run around after an 8 month old all day. We didn’t buy T1 anything for Christmas, and we decided we won’t be telling him Santa is real. We flew to Utah for 7 days and spent some time at a house in Heber City with my parents, we were spoiled by the amount of gifts we received and I felt a little guilty because I am so fortunate. Our entire family loved this way of spending Christmas enough that we’re considering repeating it next year.

You know what? After going through all of these posts and reviewing the past year, I realized that I really, really loved 2010. I feel like it’s an appropriate time for a little letter.

Dear 2011,I bet you can’t beat 2010 on the awesomeness scale. But why don’t you give it a try?

Love,

That Wife

Happy New Year friends!

Postpartum Recovery

June 03, 2010 By: Jenna Category: baby

Yeah, what you will read below is pretty awful. He was worth it.

Before OMGMom published her post Bodily Functions After Baby I had no idea how much work it was to do something as normal as using the restroom. Before I gave birth I decided that I wanted to keep a log of my recover for the first few weeks, to give all of you a better idea what recovering from a vaginal birth is like. The italicized text below is being added in now, 7 weeks later, for clarification in certain areas. Otherwise what you are writing is copied directly from my iphone, where I took noted in between feedings and bathroom breaks (or sometimes during bathroom breaks, as relieving my bowels was terrifying and I was often in there a long time trying to convince myself I could do it!)

First Few Days After Birth

Walking from birth tub to bed with cord dangling between my legs, feels so strange
Superficial tear on perineum that did not go through muscle
Tears on both labia
Passing gas is a bit painful and scary
Fever, shakes and chills, rotated between chattering teeth and sweaty forehead for a few days
Urinating burns my tears, urination would continue to burn my perineal tear for several weeks
Relief from hospital frozen pads or pads drenched in witch hazel and frozen, my friend gifted me these ice packs that you stuff in your undies that you get from the hospital. I cannot recommend with enough urgency how important it is that you get as many of these pads as possible. I also made my own ice pads by drenching menstrual pads in witch hazel and freezing them.
Blood everywhere, each time I urinate, totally normal.
The thought of a bowel movement is terrifying, I am so sore down there.
Taking stool softeners every few hours
Going to try fiber one brownies per Rebecca and flax seed smoothies, recipe for brownies found here. (My mom used metamucil instead of Fiber One and they were really good!)
Trying to drink water but dread the thought of having to urinate again
Completely incontinent, pee my diaper as I walk to the bathroom
So tired I can hardly sleep, even though I have plenty of help
Uncontrollable shivering
Temp sitting at 100.3 unless I take Tylenol
Witch hazel soaked frozen pads are my favorite thing

Day 4

Realize skin is ultra sensitive which may be causing headaches

Day 5

I am terrified of my first bowel movement but it’s not bad at all, yes it took 5 days after the birth!
I am up and moving around more
I get very tired and sore and want to sit down after standing for 5 mins or more

Day 6

I start sitting down on the toilet to pee, previously I had been squatting awkwardly.
All of my stool softerners catch up with me, you can imagine what this meant.
I smell awful down there
I am still wearing diapers
I clean up our room, get ready and go take bluebonnet pictures
I don’t groan as much when I get up
The pee still makes my tears burn, still doing bottle/Tucks/Calendula routine, as described by Mandy in her post.
Wish I had more frozen pads from the hospital
My feet are still swelling, tonight feel as bad as they did during pregnancy
Nipples are very sore from breastfeeding
Realizing I need more short sleeve post pregnancy figure flattering nursing appropriate tops in my wardrobe
Tummy is a big saggy depressing mess
Down to 205 lbs, I believe I was somewhere between 215-220 when I went into labor.
Can’t seem to wear enough deodorant
Sweating when sleeping or when I over exert myslef
Felt really great as I went to bed, minus the burning after peeing
Thinking I might be close to feeling 100% minus the nether region pain tomorrow

Day 7

200 lbs
Felt fantastic all day but still lots of pressure in nether regions if I stand for so long. Applying pressure with my hand when standing helps but I can’t really do that in public. Working on holding urine in when I have to pee to learn to use the muscles again. I think now that the pain and pressure down below was due to the UTI I had, as soon as I started treating my UTI on day 14 that pressure went away.

Day 8

196 lbs
Bowel movement while applying pressure to perineum, this is the day I discovered the importance of applying pressure to the perineum while having a BM. No longer felt like my tears were going to split open whenever I did that!

Day 9

Peeing pants when laughing
Peeing while squatting
Still sore, trip to Target all by myself

Day 10

Not sore when getting up and down anymore
Can sit on toilet fully

Day 11

Had first bm without applying pressure on perineum
Only hurts to bounce on birth ball or sit on edge of things

Day 12

Had to go pee but decided to try and hold it and pump instead – dam broke and I peed all over chair, carpet, myself. This last day I was sitting in my nursing chair, pumping, and I didn’t feel like disconnecting my udder suckers and going to the bathroom. 30 minutes later when I was done pumping I could feel that I was about to lose control of my bladder. I tried so hard to hold it in, but I failed and a gush of bloody urine ran out all over me, my beautiful chair, and the carpet. My sweet husband cleaned it all up but I felt awful about what I had done and did a better job of running to the bathroom whenever I felt the urge from then on.

The current state of my stretch marks, taken while lying down. No, I don’t believe they could have been prevented, as I don’t think the lotions and creams prevent stretch marks. Good thing I don’t wear bikinis, eh?

That’s the end of my notes, but by that point I was feeling great so I didn’t really have anything to track. I started exercising around day 15-16, going on walks with my sister, but I’ll talk more about my exercise past, present, and future in another post.
I’m debating showing you a shot of my body at 38 weeks and another shot of my body now, 8 weeks after birth. It’s not a pretty sight though and I’m frustrated by the slow progress I’m making. I’m grateful for my easy birth and quick recovery though!

A Few Misc Thoughts

Expect more disagreements with your spouse. You are both going to be sleep deprived. It’s difficult for the one staying home with the child to feel like they are appreciated for all they do. Remember that you as the stay at home parent get to experience the good AND the bad while your spouse is gone, but those good times are oh so sweet.

You won’t be able to get as much done as you were before. It’s impossible to understand what new parents mean when they say this, because how much time can a baby really take up, right? Being able to shower is something to celebrate. Often I don’t eat until 2:00 in the afternoon. Either I have to get out and walk with him in the carrier, or I have to use up some of his precious naptime to try to play DDR or use a workout DVD. Sometimes he will start crying in the middle of my efforts and I have to sit down for 20 minutes and feed him. I personally find it very difficult to get up and start exercising again after my body has cooled down completely.

Weight loss sucks like no other. Finding time to exercise is difficult, walking just doesn’t seem to be enough but without a jogging stroller I can’t do anything much more intense than that. I feel frustrated daily that I’m not breastfeeding, as I hear women talking about how they lost a 1/2 pound per week without really doing anything while breastfeeding. I’ve been exercising 5-6 days per week for a month now and have little progress on the scale to show for it. Let’s not even get into how difficult it is to find the time to put meals together. The temptation to buy prepackaged microwaveable meals is high.

The bleeding that continues after birth, called lochia,  is impressive. Enormous clots. I bought a huge pack of Depends style pads, which I needed both for the incontinence and the bleeding.

You can function on 6-8 hour night shifts where you are waking up every two hours, staying awake for 20-30 minutes at a time for a feeding. Functioning on so little sleep before baby seemed impossible, but somehow I’ve survived.

Mommy guilt is very very real. I let him scream for a little while so I can finish loading  the dishwasher or move the laundry and feel the guilt. I feel bad about not breastfeeding. Someone suggested I shouldn’t be taking him out in his stroller yet. I have to remind myself I’m doing the best I can. Also, the movie Babies did wonders for me. If that sweet African baby can chew on old bones of dead animals and drink out of dirty streams and survive, I’m sure P will be just fine.

Sex will feel completely different. I don’t talk publicly about our sex life so I won’t be giving you any details, but… it’s not only a bit scary at first, it feels distinctly different.

I still get a weird tightness down there when I sit on the toilet. I think it’s because I still am not relaxing my muscles correctly? I should be doing kegels again but I keep forgetting. I should also start using the Epi-No to develop some muscle tone, but I’m still afraid.

A neat house helps me feel in control of my life. I can’t control when he will be sleeping or when he wants to eat or when he will have to be changed or when he will just scream for no reason at all. I can prioritize my time (read: blogging takes a backseat) to make sure that the moments I do have to myself are devoted to ordering the space around me.

I still don’t fit into any of my old clothes. Spanx are my new best friend. See “weight loss sucks like no other” above.

Ask your husband to take pictures of you with your baby. It’s been 7 weeks, I’ve got a $3000 camera in my closet, and I now have like 5 photos with my son. I need to be more vocal about asking That Husband to pick up the camera and snap some pictures of the two of us together.

People will judge you for it (seriously, I don’t know why), but it’s okay to carry your baby around in your arms when you are out grocery shopping or at the post office. Speak up when they tell you crap like “Support his head!”, I know I wish I would start doing so. I don’t need any extra mommy guilt coming from outside sources.

Babies are incredibly resilient. And cute. I’m amazed how much pride I feel when I think about him or receive compliments from others regarding how cute he is. He’s the best thing I’ve ever made.

Pregnancy/Labor Status

April 10, 2010 By: Jenna Category: baby

NOTE: This post will sit as the first post on That Wife until after baby comes. Scroll down to check if there is any new content for you to enjoy!

Not to come across as grumpy pregnant lady, but there aren’t enough people out there who read this post. I know everyone is anxious to meet That 1, but I assure you, no one is more anxious than I am. Though I work each time to remind myself that inquiry after inquiry are coming out of a place of love I admit that what feels like a constant barrage is still a bit tough to handle when I’m working so hard to accept the fact that I don’t know exactly when this pregnant stage of my life is going to end. I’m at 40 weeks and if all continues to go as well as it is I won’t be going to the hospital for an induction until the 42 week mark, which means we all potentially have a long time to wait before T1 makes his/her big debut.

In an attempt to help keep everyone informed I’ve decided to make this a sticky post, filled with updates on signs of labor beginning, updates at the beginning of labor, etc. If you want to know how I’m doing, you’ll be able to find out everything you want to know right here. I’ll probably keep posting new content as well, but I’ve also considered taking a break and building up a supply for my post-baby time as well. Sometime within the next two weeks though, you’ll refresh That Wife or log on to Twitter and see the big announcement I’ve been waiting so long to make. Until then…

Saturday, April 10

I actually have an update for everyone! Didn’t think that would be the case, but I woke up this morning to a toilet and panties full of bloody show. (Seriously, pregnancy is so glamorous.) According to the American Pregnancy Association bloody show is also an indication that the mucus plug is being passed and that “Labor could be hours, days, or even weeks away as the cervix gradually opens over time.” Yeah, that’s right, labor could be hours, days, or even weeks away. So pretty much this rite of passage means very little in terms of letting me know when labor is actually going to start, but it is likely that I will deliver within a week or so AND I’m celebrating because it means of chances of needing to medically induce are a lot slimmer now.

After buying a nice little contraction timing app I can see that contractions are averaging at 20-30 min intervals lasting 45 secs each (if you’ve given birth before you know this doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot). My Mom is flying down in the morning as she has decided that it’s really important to her to be here (and we are more than happy to have her!). If things continue at this pace I doubt I will have a baby any earlier than Monday, likely later. We blew up the birth tub to test things out today and I saw chunks of mucus plug in the toilet several tomes today. It’s nice to feel like things are happening, though I admit I can already see myself getting very frustrated if things don’t progress steadily over the next day or so.

I don’t necessarily like having them, but I do find the contractions fascinating as they roll up and over me like a wave, at this point building to an intensity I would rate as about a 4 on a scale of 1-10, and then slowly receding again. It really is a sensation unlike any other.

Sunday, April 11

After about 4 hours of good solid sleep I woke up at 3:30 am with contractions less than 10 minutes apart and strong enough that I couldn’t fall asleep. I ate, then took a bath and some Tylenol PM as advised by my midwife (technically she told me to take Benadryl but we only had Tylenol PM in the house), and that killed things off enough that I was able to fall back asleep for a few hours. I woke up and baked baby’s birthday cake, but when I pulled the pans out of the oven to cool I realized that contractions had all but stopped. Frustrating because Kelli Nicole was already halfway to Dallas by now and I didn’t want to make her turn around and go home. Now the apartment is filled with myself, TH, my mom, and Kelli, all of us waiting for contractions to rev back up again. Kelli and I went for a nice long walk, and as of 6:30 pm I’m back to contractions that are just under a minute, 10 minutes apart.

So, no April 11th baby. Maybe tomorrow?

      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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