Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lessons from the 2nd Trimester

About 3 months ago I posted a list of lessons that I learned from my 1st trimester of pregnancy. It was a list of things I found helpful, and perhaps could help someone else during their pregnancy.

Well, the 3rd trimester has arrived and so I thought it was time to do a recap of the 2nd trimester, and pass on a few tips.

I hope they're helpful.

1. Therapedic™ Grand 3" Luxury Quilted Memory Foam Queen Mattress Topper This is my #1 piece of advice and one which you should not ignore. It is amazing. It is life changing. Buy it now. Even if you're not pregnant, male or female, you need one. It is 3 inches of the most amazing Therapedic foam you will ever experience. I am unsure how I made it for 28 years without it. It is worth every penny. Do not skimp and buy a cheaper one. Bed Bath and Beyond has 20% off coupons all the time, find one, buy this. Immediately.

You cannot sleep on your back after your 1st trimester as the weight of your growing uterus puts pressure on your vena cava. The pressure can cut off blood flow to you and your baby. Not good. However, sleeping on ones side...not comfortable. Your hips hurt, your shoulders hurt, your arms fall asleep. It's bad.

This is the answer. Thank me later.

2. This tip relates to the previous, so perhaps it should be #1 a., but we'll call it #2. A plain, simple, body pillow. They sell all kinds of maternity pillows, but for me, the $9.99 body pillow was the answer. I love this.

3. Always keep snacks with you. Husbands, always keep snacks for your wives. If she starts acting strange, irrational, exhausted, unable to put together coherent sentences, feed her. I had a hard time adjusting to a new eating schedule. It has helped me to eat small meals about 2-3 hours apart.  Keep snacks with you. Normal, every day hunger, pre-pregnancy, becomes all out rage/tears/exhaustion while pregnant. So, keep some little snacks with you so your blood sugar doesn't drop. And so you keep your friends.

I had a moment this past weekend where I had not eaten in WAY too long. Fortunately, I have amazing friends, who know me well, and understood the problem. So, instead of questioning my sanity or fighting with me, they found the fastest possible way to get me to a meal. And then forgave my moments of hunger insanity. However, you may not be around such compassionate company. Feed yourself often.

4. Drink a lot of water. Experts recommend Eight, 8-Ounce glasses of water per day while pregnant. Drink at least 8. And mix in a Gatorade if it's hot outside.  Really, really focus on drinking a lot of water. It will also help your gastrointestinal issues which you may experience. To put it politely.

5. So about those gastrointestinal issues, eat fiber. Lots of it. Fruits, veggies, fiber-rich cereal, whatever you need to do. Turns out pregnancy does some very interesting things to your insides. Consume fiber.

6. Air Travel. I traveled a lot throughout my pregnancy and was not comfortable with the full body scanners while pregnant. There are mixed reports on the safety of these scanners and while almost all research points to their safety, I personally, just wasn't comfortable. Everyone has the right to request a pat-down instead of the scanners, so for my first few flights, I opted for the pat down.

Then, I realized one interesting thing. Most airports have one line without the full body scanners. They are quite expensive, and they have not purchased them for every single line. So, if you are in a hurry, or don't want a pat down, just look for the line with the metal detector only, and no full body scanner. It saves you time, and an argument with TSA about the safety of the scanner. Most of the time they were beyond kind, but there were a few instances where the TSA agents thought it was appropriate to argue with me and my request to avoid the scanner.

7. Go to the dentist. Pregnancy puts you at increased risk for periodontal disease and bloody gums. It is most important at this time to care for your teeth. So do it, go to the dentist.

8. Whatever you are feeling, it is normal. I promise. You are going to go through some crazy emotions. I have cried at nearly every commercial during the Olympics. I was teary eyed when I arrived home last night and found that my dad dropped off some of his old tee shirts for me to wear to sleep because I thought it was so sweet. I had a melt down last week because I was, "bored with pregnancy". These are normal feelings. Well, I'm not a psychiatrist, but I think they are. So let's go with that.

9. Work out. I mean, this is a tip for life, but especially for pregnancy. So far, I still feel really great and I would say it's largely attributable to working out. Walk, bike, swim, do whatever you enjoy, but stay active. Your body goes through some very strange changes, and they are only made more difficult if you do not move. I know it's the last thing you're going to want to do, but do it.

10. Try to laugh. Pray that your husband has an excellent sense of humor. Crazy hormones are surging through your body, a little person is jabbing their hands, feet, head etc...into your belly, your body is growing every single day, people are making strange comments to you, strangers are grabbing your belly. You just have to laugh. It's essential. Don't take things to seriously.

*When the lady at the bakery grabs your belly and starts talking to it, just laugh it off.
*When you find yourself laying on the floor of your bedroom, too tired to shower, too tired to eat, and too hungry to sleep, just laugh.
*When you think it's perfectly normal to serve tater-tots and smoothies for dinner...laugh, and then go find more normal food.
*When you suddenly realize at midnight, you have spent the last 5 years spoiling and ruining your dogs past the point of training and remember that you are bringing an infant into their lives...just laugh. And then make a plan to fix that problem. But keep laughing.
*When you decide at 2:00pm on a workday, 4 months before your due date, that you do not have a plan for furniture assembly/delivery after the baby is born (more on this topic at a later date), and then email your best friends giving them very specific duties for getting the baby room together. Then, creating a room assembly itinerary and assigning duties along with a call tree to tell when your duty is complete. Just laugh.

It's really not worth being upset, stressed or scared. Well actually, it really is. So be all of those things too, but mostly, try to maintain your sense of humor. It really does help.

Monday, July 30, 2012


For both the dogs...and us. Maybe more for the dogs.

We took our last trip pre-baby this past weekend. Two of my closest girlfriends and I (two of the ones who are also pregnant) planned a trip to surprise our husbands. They knew we were going somewhere, but did not know where.  For months they have been trying to guess the destination, to no avail.

Jeremy was able to narrow down the choices as he knew we left Thursday afternoon and returned Sunday night. Jeremy has memorized the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport flight schedules and thus knows where we could possibly go that would fit into those time frames. He was also able to determine the airline based on that amount of information.

We surprised the men with a trip to Kennebunkport, Maine. It was fantastic. We did not see George Bush Sr. (who summers there). But, we did see his home, and his fishing boat. And his secret service boats. And his church, which I really, really wanted to visit on Sunday morning, so we could see him. Nobody else was on board. They thought we might look a bit out of place, six Jewish people going to Church on a Sunday morning. But I've never seen a president, current or former, in person.           

While we were gone, my amazing parents and sister/brother-in-law babysat our dogs. And I'm pretty sure the dogs are now depressed that they had to go back home.

Friday was Punky's 5th Birthday, so my mom bought a cake, and had a party for her. Really, I think she just wanted an excuse for cake...
Punky's 5th Birthday Cake (human cake)

Punky and her Grandma aka: Punky's favorite person in the entire world

Punky feasting on Birthday Cake at Grandma and Papa's house

And Stanley visited Camp Robyn and Jason for his weekend of fun where he walked the lakes, and went out to brunch. Needless to say, Stanley crashed and was a bit exhausted when he came home from his paradise.
Stanley, passed out.
Clearly everyone is ready to be Grandparents/Aunts/Uncles in October.

And if my dogs are any indication, I predict picking up the Franklet after babysitting, exhausted, on a sugar high, and in need of about a week of sleep.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Name Test

We were out to dinner a few weeks ago, celebrating one of my closest friend's birthdays. We were seated next to a very sweet couple with a 6 month old daughter. So, naturally, we talked babies. They sound like amazing parents and we had a great time talking to them.

They asked us if we had heard of the name test.

We looked at eachother quizically, trying to figure out if we should say...
"Yes!" - though we had no idea what it was, and the lie would be hard to keep up
"No..." - and look like uninformed parents-to-be
or Option C...which was the one we selected, which was sit there stone cold silent and awkward.

And then they informed us about the name test. Basically, it's a list of phrases, where you insert your potential baby name, to see if it will work.

When we were naming our dogs, we spent a lot of time trying out...PUNKY GO POTTY. Or....STANLEY GO TO YOUR SPOT.

So, clearly, you should do it with your child too. And I now present you with...the name test!

(Insert your potential baby name)

  1. Jane, could you please set the table?
  2. I am not joking around Jane, this is really important to me!
  3. Jane--Jane! Are you listening to me!?!
  4. Hello, Johnson Inc. this is Jane.
  5. Jane Smith, come on down! You're the next contestant!
  6. Hey Jane. How are you doing?
  7. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jane Smith.
  8. Jane! Pick up your toys. I am not going to ask you again.
  9. I am at Jane Smith's house.
  10. Do you Jane Smith take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?
  11. I talked to Jane this afternoon.
  12. I am sorry, Jane isn't here right now. Can I take a message?
  13. You'll have to see Jane Smith about that. She will know what to do.
  14. Yes? Jane? Do you have a question?
  15. Mr. Smith, if Jane would consistently turn her homework in--on time--she would be one of my star pupils.
  16. Would passenger Jane Smith please see the nearest ticket agent?
  17. Jane. Is that you?
  18. And the winner is... Jane Smith!
  19. Mommy! Jane ate my cookie!
  20. Hello, you've reached the voice mail of Jane Smith. I am away from my desk right now. Please leave a message and I will return your call as soon as possible.
  21. Jane, it's not the end of the world. It's just a car. You are more important than a car.
  22. Jane, I love you!
  23. Write back soon. Your Friend, Jane
  24. Does Jane like avocado?
  25. Jane, it's time for dinner.
  26. Jane, Smith. Spelled J-A-N-E.
  27. Oh, there you are Jane . I've been looking all over for you!
Still like Jane?

p.s. we are not naming the Franklet Jane Smith.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bumper Crop

It has been a hot, humid, miserable summer in Minnesota. Well for pregnant people at least. It's been a lovely, glorious summer in Minnesota for tomatoes. As evidenced by the bumper crop of tomatoes growing in my garden.

Check out this harvest! Yes, the Farmer Franks have successfully grown an amazing crop of tomatoes for once. Every year we try, many years we fail. Apparently miserable weather for humans, equates to amazing weather for crops.

Now, does anyone have a great tomato recipe they would like to share?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Paddle boarding

Okay finally, my paddle boarding update.

We did it! It was a BLAST! I loved it. My dad was the photographer, but we were boarding a bit too far out into the lake, so the pictures are blurry. Here is one of Jeremy, as proof. And, he didn't even wear a life jacket!!
We rented the paddle boards at Lake Calhoun, and the guy took one look at me, and was visibly shocked. He didn't say anything, but was kind-of stumbling over his words, and then finally said:
"Uh, I mean, you're pregnant, right? You really want to do this?"
It must have taken all of this guy's courage to say that, most guys are too afraid to call a girl out for being pregnant, but really, these days, it's quite obvious.
Another paddle boarding employee, this time female, walks over, looks at me, and says to the guy:
"This girl's fine. She has confidence, that's all you need."
Amen, sista! That's right!
And up I climb, unassisted, onto my paddle board. The guy tried to give me a few instructions, but before he could finish his first sentence, I was off and running. It took a minute to get my balance straight, given the 2 pound eggplant that I am currently carrying on my front side, but after that, I was just fine.

I started paddling out towards the middle of the lake, and then looked back to find my husband. I assumed he was right behind me paddling along.


He was still trying to get on the paddle board.

I reversed course, and returned to him, so we could paddle together. I started to get close to his board and he screamed:
Now this was the one and only time at which I thought I might fall off my board. But that was due to laughing, not instability.

I decided it was best to leave him alone, to learn the paddle board, and gain some confidence, while I paddled around. I expected to see him turn back around and swim to shore, call it a day.

To my surprise, after paddling around for a few minutes, he seemed to gain confidence. I paddled back over again and said, "Uh, should I still STAY AWAY?", and again, to my absolute surprise, he responded:
"No, it's kind-of fun now".
Yes, he found a water-sport that he considered 'fun'.
So I guess this would probably be the second time I almost fell off my board, but this time due to shock.

And so we paddled, and paddled, and had a great time.

We never fell in, remained completely dry. 

I highly recommend it! Anyone want to join me? It's going to be another scorcher this weekend....we could go paddle boarding again!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Baby Mamas

All of the pregnant mamas (circa 2006?)
I found a photo of all of us together. Three of my wonderful girlfriends, who are about to be mamas with me, and two of the husbands. Two of them were not in the picture yet at the time of this photo.

We look so young!

I'll post another in late January once all of the babies are born.

And no, Rachel, the one second from the left, is not my sister. Yes, yes, she does look more like me than my actual sister. But no, we are not related.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, I'm pretty happy this is my village! There are more villagers too...a lot of villagers, perhaps I should write another blog post about all of the amazing villagers who have been incredible already.

Blog post for another day. Villagers.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post for a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

I know I promised to let you know about stand up paddle boarding. And we did do it. And it was AMAZING, but there is something way more exciting to share.  Well, exciting to me at least.

I have been keeping some secrets for a very long time, and I am so stinkin' happy that I don't have to do it anymore. Two of my closest girlfriends are also pregnant! Well, really 3, but one is just a few days behind me, and has been public for a long time.

Yes, the two friends that I spend most of my free time with, whose families are like family to me, whose husbands are like brothers to me, who we have traveled all over the world with, who have been so amazingly supportive to me, my husband and family...are pregnant.
And we are all due within 3 months of each other.
And no, this was not a "1..2..3....everyone get pregnant because wouldn't that be soo fun".
But it turned out this way.
And it's amazing.

And today is the day the 3rd one could announce her pregnancy to the world.

And this makes for an extremely happy Kara.

This whole pregnancy thing is much more fun with buddies. And, I'm guessing, the whole parenting thing, way more fun with buddies.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Weekend plans

Jeremy and I frequent the Minneapolis chain of lakes for walks, runs or bike rides. We are typically at one of the lakes 3 times per week. We love them.

And lately, a new trend has hit the lakes...Stand up paddle boarding.
Perhaps this is an old trend, but it's new to the Minneapolis lakes.

And we want to try it.

You're not going to believe me when I say this, but it was actually Jeremy's idea . He's the one who wants to try this stand up paddle boarding! However, his reason is that he feels like it will allow him to be in the water, without actually getting wet. He doesn't like swimming.

And I am always up for any new sporting activity.

So this weekend, we are renting stand up paddle boards...and we are going to give it a shot!

I'll let you know how it goes!

Never fear, Jeremy has already informed me that I am required to wear a life jacket when we do this. However, the life jacket might not fit over my baby belly...perhaps water wings???

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Franklet update....
  Size of the baby?  
About 9 Inches Long, 1.7 pounds
About the size of an eggplant...
For some reason a spaghetti squash seems larger than an eggplant. And spaghetti squash was a few weeks ago, but I'll try not to question the app. They say eggplant, eggplant it is.
Maternity Clothes?  
Uh yes. I can still wear some longer, regular shirts and regular dresses, but the Franklet is getting LARGE! Here's the belly shot, though it scares me (this is a non-maternity shirt, but it's long and stretchy). Proof that I am quite small and that this baby is soon going to overtake my entire body...
25 Weeks

Stretch marks?  
Nope, not yet, still vigilant about lotion. 

Best Moments?  
We had our regular monthly checkup this week and had really only one question for the doctor. 
"Is there such thing as too much movement?"
Her answer, "No, not really, too little, yes, but not too much."
And then she got out the little doppler thing to try to read the Franklet's heart rate. Turns out our little one was squirming so much she could barely get a heart rate. I told her this baby was active. Like her mama. The doctor just kept laughing.

See above! She is moving a TON, and others can feel it now which is really fun. She is particularly active at night. The dogs lay on my belly and sit there while she squirms around. My pups are already protective of their little sister.
Food Cravings? 
Smoothies. Still smoothies. That's really the only thing. Last night Jeremy wanted ice cream, I wanted a smoothie. If I could live on smoothies I would do so. It does not help that it has been extremely warm in Minnesota lately, so smoothies are extra lovely in the heat.

Anything making you queasy or sick? 
Still off of chicken. It's possible I could eat it now, but the thought just makes me sick. So....no chicken.

What I'm looking forward to?  
Uh...October! I really just want to meet her!
Honestly, this is the best I have felt so far during my pregnancy. Nausea is gone, indigestion is mostly gone, I feel like myself. I am not at all uncomfortable (except the aforementioned inability to sleep). I feel great.   I'm doing my regular workouts, walking, spin class, yoga, elliptical etc...  I really feel awesome.

And now everyone asks about the name. So, I'll share my stock answer here. We have a couple of great options, are still looking at others, and will make our final decision once we can look her in the face. 
What if we named her Gertrude, and she comes out looking way more like a Francine?
Then poor Gertrude Frank would have to live her life wishing she was Francine Frank. And that would just not be fair.

So, for now, she's Franklet.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Sleep is a challenge these days.

Jeremy thinks it is the universe's way of training me to be a new mom.

I think it's cruel.

There is one major reason why I cannot sleep:

You cannot sleep on your back during your 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy because your growing belly puts too much pressure on your vena cava, which can cut off blood supply to the baby. Here is the more technical, medical explanation:
Why you cannot sleep on your back...

Stupid vena cava.

Very frustrating.

I always sleep on my back. Well, 90% of the time. The rest of the time I move all around. But generally, I sleep on my back. This is a big problem. It may not seem like it to you, but try, for one night, to sleep in your most uncomfortable position (i.e. if you are a side sleeper, sleep on your stomach).

Not so fun.

I'm not complaining because I'm thrilled to be pregnant. Well, okay, I'm kind of complaining, but it's more complaining-ish.

So to combat this problem, I have resorted to buying pillows. Many, many pillows. Every kind of pillow I can find.

The pregnancy Wedge

The Snoogle

The body pillow

Decorative pillows placed all around me to prevent me from rolling on my back.

And finally, a tempurpedic mattress cover thingey.

I am now up to 6 pillows at night.

6 pillows.

Punky is perplexed by my pillow collection...

Stan loves my pillow collection...
It is just not natural to sleep on one's side. If it was natural, people would not be born with shoulders. You see, I believe it is the shoulder that creates the fundamental problem with sleeping on one's side.

I just keep hoping that each morning, someone will come out with a research study stating that the whole "Don't sleep on your back" thing was incorrect.

Literally, I have dreams that I wake up, turn on the news, an the top headine is...
New report states sleeping on your back is the best way to a healthy pregnancy

But alas, no such news report yet.

Perhaps tomorrow.

Until then...we might need a larger bed to accommodate all of my pillows. I have been averaging about 1 pillow purchased per week. At this rate, we will be taken over by pillows very shortly.