Pregnancy Must Haves

I know there are a million resources for what you need while pregnant, in the nursery, when baby comes, in your hospital bag, and everything in between. I LOVED being pregnant and also loved finding clothes and other things that made pregnancy the most comfortable while still being stylish.

First of all, sleep is SO important while you’re pregnant. As your belly grows, though, it becomes a little more uncomfortable to sleep than you’re used to. A pregnancy pillow to the rescue! You won’t regret this purchase.

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While your pants still fit, you just need a belly band to hold them up without zipping your zipper all the way.

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Next, when your pants don’t fit anymore, it doesn’t mean you have to give up being fashionable! Get a few pairs of full panel jeans that will last you throughout the pregnancy. These were my favorite.

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Pregnancy fashion, for me, meant mixing and matching for work and weekend outfits. These tops are easy to dress up or wear on the weekends. They’re SO comfortable and grow right along with you.

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If you aren’t one of the lucky ones that gets to wear jeans daily to work, you’ll need several pairs of pants. I loved full-panel pants, and these held up great throughout my pregnancy.

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Get yourself a couple of maternity dresses, especially for your baby shower! Pink Blush Maternity is the best.

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Make sure your underwear grows with you as well! These are nice and comfortable and sit below your bump.
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Not clothing related – Red Raspberry Leaf Tea helps tone your uterus. It’s also been found to lessen pain during labor and after giving birth. It’s nice to have at night before bed.

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I discovered essential oils while I was pregnant, and they were my skin’s saving grace. No face wash I tried worked at all to clean up my skin (one of the reasons I was sure Hudson was a girl), but oils did! I also used oils to help with the very frequent headaches I was getting. My favorite oils for pregnancy are frankincense, tea tree, lavender, PanAway, and peppermint. PS: All of these oils come in the Premium Starter Kit from Young Living, which you can get here (and I would love to tell you more about it and get you hooked up into our awesome oil-education groups!).

My favorite pregnancy journal is easily from Promptly. I got a couple different versions before discovering Promptly, but this was my favorite because it follows the baby from pregnancy to 18 years old! I love that everything will be in one place for Hudson.

So many things become more important or scarier while you’re pregnant. For instance, inhaling all those nasty chemicals while you’re cleaning like you have for years now makes you think about harming your unborn baby! My favorite book that talks all things clean living and cleaning is called Simply Clean by Becky Rapinchuk (Clean Mama). Seriously, you need this book.

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There is a ton of literature on babies and pregnancy, but What To Expect trumped them all for me. This book had an answer for everything I was wondering and right when I was wondering it. The app is great, too.

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Speaking of apps, my favorite app for tracking pregnancy was Glow Nurture. I also used Sprout and continue to use that to log Hudson’s growth at his monthly appointments.

Wishing you a happy and healthy pregnancy!

Instant Pot Baby Food Recipes

Here are some of my go-to puree recipes! Remember that you’ll need to add more/less liquid based on what your baby likes and how old he or she is. Find everything you need to get started making these easy recipes on this post.

Instant Pot Sweet Potato Puree

A baby favorite!

  • 3 sweet sweet potatoes
  • 2 cup water/bone broth
  1. Wash potatoes thoroughly.
  2. Place trivet in Instant Pot.
  3. Add 2 cups of water or bone broth.
  4. Place sweet potatoes on trivet. No need to peel; peels will fall off after cooking!
  5. Close lid to sealing.
  6. Set to manual for 15 minutes.
  7. Quick pressure release and transfer potatoes to separate bowl to cool. When they’re not hot to the touch, peel them.
  8. Start to puree by adding 1 cup of the liquid from cooking. Add the other cup as needed, puree, and pour into individual servings.

Instant Pot Carrot Puree

  • 16 ounces carrots
  • 1 cup broth or water
  1. Please trivet in Instant Pot.
  2. Pour 1 cup of water or broth into Instant Pot.
  3. Layer carrots on top of trivet.
  4. Close lid to sealing.
  5. Set to manual for 5 minutes.
  6. Quick pressure release and transfer to separate bowl to cool.
  7. Start to puree with only 1/4 cup of the liquid from cooking. Add more as needed. Puree and pour into individual servings.

Instant Pot Apple Puree

  • 6 apples
  • 1 cup broth or water
  1. Peel and cut apples.
  2. Place trivet in instant pot.
  3. Add 1 cup of broth of water to instant pot.
  4. Place apples on top of trivet.
  5. Close lid to sealing.
  6. Set to manual for 3 minutes.
  7. Quick pressure release then transfer to separate bowl to cool.
  8. Don’t add any liquid. Puree and pour into individual servings.

Instant Pot Sweet Pea Puree

  • 32 ounces sweet peas (buy them frozen!)
  • 1 cup broth or water
  1. Place trivet in Instant Pot.
  2. Add 1 cup of water or broth.
  3. Pour peas on top of trivet.
  4. Close to sealing.
  5. Set to “steam” for 1 minute.
  6. Quick pressure release then transfer to separate bowl to cool.
  7. Do not add any liquid. Puree and pour into individual servings.

Instant Pot Blueberry Puree

An easy blueberry puree for little babies – steam the skin!

  • 2 pint blueberries
  1. Place trivet inside Instant Pot.
  2. Pour 1 cup of water or bone broth into Instant Pot.
  3. Pour blueberries onto trivet.
  4. Close lid to sealing.
  5. Set to “steam” for 1 minute.
  6. Quick pressure release when timer goes off. Let blueberries sit in separate bowl.
  7. Don’t add extra liquid. Puree and pour into individual servings.

Instant Pot Baby Food Overview

I knew I wanted to make Hudson’s baby food. I wasn’t really sure how I was going to do it, but I knew I wanted to. After a little internet searching and some good books, I’ve successfully made all of the food he’s eaten for two months.

It should be said that I was (and still am) very interested in Baby Led Weaning. Hudson’s always been really strong and mobile, and has shown interest in food for a long time. He’s been able to sit without support since he was about five and a half months old. He’s able to grab things really well. I’m doing a somewhat “hybrid” form of Baby Led Weaning, and it’s working well for us. I’m making all of the purees that he’s eating in addition to any food he’s eating in its normal state.

Hudson eating carrots and avocado at 6 months.

If you want to make your own baby food and you have an Instant Pot, you pretty much have everything you need! The only other thing I use regularly is my Ninja blender or an immersion blender depending on what type of food it is.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, I could give you about a million reasons why you need one, but that’s for another time.

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Just some things to know before starting:

  1. I usually make a bunch of food once, and store the food in these little Ball jars. I found them at Walmart, but they’re available on Amazon and Target as well. They clean SO easily and keep the food fresh for up to three months in the freezer.
  2. I am OBSESSED with my silicon trivet for the Instant Pot. The one that comes with the pot works fine, but it’s hot to the touch when things are done cooking. Not the silicon one! It’s awesome for my weekly boiled eggs because I can cook and pick up right away. I don’t lose any eggs because it kind of folds up around them. You need one!
  3. Things are HOT when they come out of the Instant Pot, and it takes most things a while to cool down. If you put the hot, cooked food right into the Ninja blender, it’ll bubble up quite a bit and make a much bigger mess than you were already making. To avoid this, I usually cook something, put it in a bowl to rest for a bit, add something else into the Instant Pot, label the jars I’m about to pour into, and then blend the food that’s been resting. I use my favorite mixing bowls for this step (and if I’m using the immersion blender).
  4. I started with individual foods for Hudson and gave him that same food for three days. I started with sweet potatoes for three days. When he had no sign of allergy at all, I added in apples. He only had sweet potatoes and apples then for the next three days, so on and so forth. I’ve never noticed an adverse reaction to any food I’ve given him, but I felt like it was better to be safe than sorry.
  5. I use bone broth almost always as the liquid in the Instant Pot, and then I use it to get the puree to the desired consistency. If I don’t have bone broth on hand, I just use water.
    • You can read about the benefits of bone broth for babies here, here, and here.
  6. You don’t have to do everything! If it feels overwhelming, I’d start with something simple like carrots or peas that require little prep work.
  7. I find that I’m doing a big baby-food-prep-day about once a month as long as I plan a lot of purees at once.
  8. See my go-to puree recipes here!

Angel Baby Hart

I’ll never forget the day I got a positive pregnancy test.

It was cycle day 28, and just like every month’s day 28, I was ready to take a pregnancy test. I was also ready to see just one line on the test as I had gotten very used to in the past 11 months.

I took the test, did my makeup and hair, and got ready for school. I went back to the test later (honestly forgetting that I even took it) and SWORE I saw the faintest line. Then, I swore I was crazy; I had made up that line in my head.

I took the test to school with me that day, and had my friend Melody look at it (I just had to tell somebody!). She swore she saw the line, too. I truly couldn’t believe it. I could hardly wait until the next morning to take another test, that then was a little darker second line. I was too scared to tell Brenden (and get his hopes up) before I had a positive digital test. I was still pretty sure I was making up that extra line. Finally, on day 30, I got a positive digital test.

I could not wait to tell Brenden. I had bought the book “Dude, You’re Going to be a Dad” several months prior, and knew that’s how I wanted to tell him the news. I wrapped it up and told him I had forgotten to give him a Christmas present. He totally went with it. He was pretty confused at first when he opened it, but shortly after I finally got to share the joy and new unknown with him. We were SO excited. I can’t even explain it. I don’t think either of us really believed it at that point because we were so used to trying every month with no success. We were just so happy.

I wanted to tell everyone in the whole world that we were finally pregnant, but I knew better as it was very early. Perfectly, we had previously planned a trip to Mexico with my parents. We ordered special “Bun in the Oven” and “She’s eating for two, I’m drinking for three” shirts and were SO excited to tell them the news. It was so hard to keep this a secret from my mom, but we made it to Mexico and surprised them. I drank way too many virgin Bloody Marys while we were there, but wouldn’t have changed that for anything. I was finally pregnant!

I had had some light cramping during this time, but I wasn’t concerned. From what I read, some cramping and pulling pains happen at the beginning of pregnancy as things are stretching and preparing for the baby. I never had any spotting or bleeding, so I just convinced myself it was all part of growing a baby.

Other than that, I really had no pregnancy symptoms. I was so happy to talk to my mom about her pregnancies and felt so relieved to know that she never felt sick with any of us kids nor had any terrible pregnancy symptoms. I figured I was just going to be a lucky one.

During this time, I was actually praying for some symptoms, though. I just wanted to know this was real. For whatever reason, from that very first faint line, I felt like it was too good to be true. I told Brenden that lots of things can happen in the first trimester and that I was trying to not get my hopes up too much (pessimistic, I know), but he had a hard time with that mindset.

Thankfully, my doctor was letting me be seen at 8 weeks. That was my only saving grace in getting over my anxiety about not really being pregnant and this all being a big joke. I don’t know how women wait until 10 or even 12 weeks; the wait is HORRIBLE.

The day of the doctor’s appointment (February 10th), I was SO nervous. I had IEP meetings that day before the appointment and they truly couldn’t have gone fast enough. We were so excited to get there and see our baby and then go to dinner afterwards to break the news to Brenden’s family. I had made magnets for all the new aunts, uncles, and grandparents, and I was so excited to show them the Shutterfly book I had made of our trip to Mexico with a pregnancy reveal page at the end.

I had a really weird feeling from the moment I woke up on the 10th. I just felt like a fraud. I felt like there’s no way I was actually going to get to be a mom and that I had made up that I was pregnant in the first place. I never felt pregnant at all, and today someone would tell me that my fears were true.

We got to the doctor’s office, and got right in to a room. The ultrasound tech said she was so bored this day so she was ready to get me in right away. Man, this pregnancy stuff is awesome! I wondered if I was ever going to have a long wait or if it would always be this fast.

I got all prepped and ready, and she went straight to the ultrasound. She started clicking away on the computer and watching the screen. I sat so impatiently and nervously for her to say something. The first thing she said was “Hmmm…” and I knew it wasn’t good. I just laid there and waited for something else to be said.

Shortly after that, the doctor came in. He wasted no time, and said “It looked like you have a large sac, but there’s no baby seen on the ultrasound. This means the baby probably stopped developing around 5 weeks.”

5 weeks. When I started having the mild cramps.

I’ve never felt so sick in my life. The worst part, though, was Brenden’s face. He was so shocked (I think he assumed everything I was saying was me being dramatic and pessimistic). I knew he had never even dreamed that this would happen. He got up from his seat and stood right next to me and held my hand, which is when the tears started.

The doctor then said that I had two options, being at 8 weeks. I could wait another week for an ultrasound, and hope that I was wrong on my dates and the baby just wasn’t measuring 8 weeks yet. The other option was to go right away to the Beyer building and get my HCG levels done, and then go back again on Friday. In 48 hours, my HCG levels were supposed to double if it was going to be a “viable” pregnancy.

Of course we both agreed that I’d go get blood work done immediately. Waiting an entire week seemed so horrible.

We left, mostly in a fog, and went straight to the Beyer building. We checked in, I filled out paperwork, and was told it would be about 30 minutes. I sat there and sobbed. In front of at least 30 people I didn’t know, I just sobbed. I had to text my parents (I couldn’t have possibly made a coherent phone call) that things weren’t looking good. I just sat there for what seemed like an eternity and felt so sorry for us. The “why me?” and “What did I do wrong?” all started, and that is a super slippery slope.

It took an hour and a half for me to get called back, and I couldn’t even communicate with my nurse by this point. Bless her heart; she was SO sweet, but I just couldn’t even talk. She took my blood and we left.

I remember feeling so bad for Brenden. I had no idea what was happening to my body, but for some reason, I knew this was going to happen. He had no clue. He also had even less of an idea about what was going to happen to me and my body. He was so supportive, but I know he was incredibly upset, too.

I cried pretty much all night. I quickly tried to Google some information about what a miscarriage timeline would be like because I wasn’t really given any information at all at the doctor, and I wasn’t able to calm my brain enough to ask any questions. Now I had a million: What’s this going to feel like? How long will it take? Could the doctors be wrong?

I read a lot of possibilities about doctors being wrong about early diagnosed miscarriages. My only hope was that my HCG levels would double, I’d get to go back next week, and a healthy baby would be right there on the ultrasound screen.

I couldn’t go to work the next day; I was still sobbing at every thought my brain went to. I got the call around noon that day that my HCG levels were 36,000. That was, according to the doctor, “really good.”

You can bet that my hopes went up dramatically from there. The whole previous day, I had basically grieved the loss of my first baby. Then, there was hope. This is what all of the articles said; your HCG levels may be high but baby just isn’t detectable on the screen yet. So now, Friday was the big day.

I went in for blood work on Friday in a much better state than Wednesday. I was in and out of there, and now just had to wait on the next call that my numbers had doubled and that I may actually have a viable pregnancy.

I had to go back to 4 more IEP meetings that day. I looked at my phone around 2:00 and had a voicemail from the Women’s Center. I was so anxious to call them back, but I had another meeting.

Eventually, I was able to call back, and got the news I was dreading. My numbers had gone down to 30,000. At this point of pregnancy, there is no reason besides a miscarriage that numbers would be going down.

Ugh.

It just sucked. I felt so alone and hopeless. Even though Brenden has been nothing but incredible through this early version of “for better or for worse”, I felt so alone. I was so thankful that it was Friday and I could just cry and be with Brenden on the weekend. There just wasn’t anything else to be said; I knew it wasn’t going to result in a baby that we ever got to meet and hold. I think that’s the worst part; it wasn’t that I wasn’t pregnant or that I tricked myself into thinking I was. I was pregnant. A baby had started to grow, but we would never get to meet him or her. We never get to know if this first baby of ours was a boy or a girl, looked like me or Brenden, nothing.

The doctor said that I should call by Thursday if I hadn’t started cramping or bleeding. On Wednesday, I had some really intense, almost shooting pains. It didn’t feel like cramps at all, just a sharp pain. I got nervous (again) that they were wrong and I really was pregnant still. They told me to come in first thing Thursday morning for another ultrasound because I hadn’t begun to bleed at all and was having these intense pains.

This time, the doctor was there the whole time, and he explained why I was having the pain: the process was starting. My body has to expel all of what was supposed to be my baby through a tiny canal and it was going to hurt.

He told me that if he had to guess, I’d start bleeding within 5 days. He told me I could expect some clots and what it would look like and probably feel like. I’d done enough research by this time to know that I wanted to do this naturally if at all possible. He agreed and told me to call on Monday if it hadn’t begun. I cramped off and on all weekend, but no spotting or bleeding at all. The cramping was worsening, but it wasn’t anything debilitating.  Finally, Monday rolled around and I called to explain that I’d had no bleeding.

The doctor said I’d be at risk for infection if things didn’t get moving along quickly, and he prescribed me Misoprostol. I was super hesitant about this at first (I wanted to do it 100% naturally), but my body has always had a mind of its own, and I realized that this was going to be my best alternative. Also, at this point, I had been waiting nearly two weeks from the first day we found out the news and the waiting was about to drive me insane.

I plan to write a separate post about my day of Misoprostol and the actual miscarriage because the blogs I read about what to expect were the only things that helped me through the worry of what the process would be like.

Throughout this whole thing, I just can’t believe how little knowledge there is about miscarriage. One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. ONE IN FOUR. Still, all the information that I have acquired is from wonderfully written blogs or pregnancy loss websites.

From the second we found out that this probably wouldn’t result in a baby, I felt so shameful. I felt like I had the biggest secret ever that I just couldn’t share with anyone. No one wants to talk about my baby that’s never going to be born. No body can understand what it feels like to wait for that process to begin. The people that we have told have tried their best; I’m so sorry for your loss, you’re in my prayers, God has a plan. I know people that know feel awkward around me. I know it’s a huge elephant in the room and they know it’s all that’s on my mind. I don’t know how that will change, but I think it’s so sad.

It’s just so lonely. I can’t believe how many women I might know that have gone through this in silence and private mourning. It’s really frustrating to me that there seems to be so little support and information about this for it being so common.

I also hope that my story can help someone be a little more sensitive to couples when talking about pregnancy. The simple comments of “So when are you guys going to have a baby?” or “Gosh, everyone is pregnant!” hurt much worse than you can imagine.

We should’ve met Baby Hart #1 on September 23, 2016. I am already dreading that day of what could have been and the new start to our little family. I know there’s something better in the cards for us and that God wouldn’t bring us to this if he couldn’t get us through it, but this is hard.

It’s just hard.