I sat in your nursery tonight and cried a little as I listened to music and folded your soft little blankets. It was one of the few times during this pregnancy I've actually cried (I seriously thought I'd cry a lot more). This time it was not out of frustration over being sick (hello, first trimester) nor was it out of fear for how you're getting here (hello natural birth!) but for other things.
For how tiny your hands will be.
For how you will be swaddled in the blankets I'm lovingly folding.
For how fiercely your daddy is going to love you.
For how it's made him and I closer.
And for how long we have waited to fill the role of your mom and dad.
I have been pregnant with you for 214 glorious days. And at just over 30 weeks in, I feel you move and see you move and your dad and I can't wait to meet this little person that's making me feel oh so huge. Oh so hungry. And oh so very tired.
My third trimester has had its up and downs. Ups are of course feeling and seeing our babe move around. Our beautiful baby shower and the countdown that is now in the double digits. You are very active little one and I can't wait to see your little personality.
Sleeping has gotten challenging, but your heartbeat is strong and wonderful. So the tossing and turning is totally worth it. The bladder kicks, eh we can talk about that when you get here. ;)
We are packing our hospital bag soon, so of course I've been on Pinterest everyday getting the best tips. I'm also making my birth playlists (one with lyrics of Christian music, the other just soft instrumentals in case I don't want to hear vocals) if you have any great Christian song suggestions as a focal point for natural birth PLEASE leave in the comments below. I only have 4-5 so far. Which only takes me through 12-15 minutes of labor. Haha. I'm going to need some more.
Other than that, the biggest thing that's been on our hearts and minds lately is my placenta. I have a low lying placenta and if it doesn't move I will have to have a C-Section, which we really want to avoid. So we are asking for prayers that as my uterus continues to grow God will move it up and out of the way so I can labor and deliver the babes as naturally as possible.
But, I know. It's in His hands. Whatever will be, will be. And in the end a beautiful baby will arrive.
And we just couldn't be more excited.
Our Baby Shower
This past weekend Mr. Charming and I celebrated a day I've been dreaming about my whole life. As a lover of celebrations, babies and all things party planning, I prayed that one day I'd have a baby shower of my very own.
This was a huge life milestone for us. After the loss of our first pregnancy and over three years of trying to get pregnant, this day felt like it may never come and as the months ticked by in this pregnancy and my sister in law offered to throw us a shower at her home, the anticipation grew and grew right up until the day of the party.
It's hard to describe in words what this day meant to us and felt like for me, but below through details and photos, I hope to share with you, that very special day.
Walking into the party was absolutely magical and as I caught a glimpse of each detail, my heart soared. My sister-in-law, along with my sisters, didn't forget a thing and it was truly the Pinterest shower of my dreams, haha.
As I walked in I saw old photographs of Mr. Charming and I as babies, with places for guests to offer us advice and suggest baby names (because we still have no idea what to call this little nugget.) My niece Amber, an artist, painted a beautiful tree on canvas for guests to use stamps to guess the baby's gender that we are so excited to hang in the nursery. (75% Boy, 25% Girl it came out to by the way.)
Along with colorful swags and delicate touches, my sister Felicia (who flew in from Wyoming and whom I hadn't seen in 15 years) painted an adorable 'P' sign to use as our guest book.
The room was filled with adorable pieces that we can cherish and keep forever.
My sisters had planned an array of fun games for all the guests. Measure the Belly was humorous because, I think out of 60 guests, all but three totally overshot. Thank goodness for a small baby bump! haha. They also played a "Guess What's In The Baby Basket" game and afterwards I got to take home the basket filled with all kinds of amazing goodies and natural baby care products.
There was also a baby word scramble and a pool to guess the baby's birthday. My due date is August 5th, so the people that guessed August 11th and 12th aren't allowed at the next party, haha, jk. No but seriously.
During one of the games, it was nice to have a moment alone with my mama. We didn't get a chance to see each other for Mother's Day, so we snuck off and exchanged gifts. I had framed her an ultrasound photo of Baby P's latest photo. It was special to be able to give her one of the baby's first pictures.
Since so many family parties, events and holidays revolve around food I can't eat, it was important that the food at my baby shower would be safe foods that both I myself, and my guests with similar food sensitivities, auto immune disorders or allergies could enjoy as well. I wanted to make all my guests comfortable in a setting one is rarely comfortable in with those food obstacles.
The chicken salad, fresh meat and cheese spread (both dairy AND vegan cheese options available!) went over great and were paired with vegetables, fruit skewers, Paleo almond herb crackers, gluten-free chips and more. It was delicious and very filling!
The dessert table was BEAUTIFUL and featured traditional desserts and regular cupcakes, as well as my own recipe for my gluten-free and dairy-free frosted white naked cake.
It was my first time making a party cake and it went over AMAZINGLY well. It showed me I definitely need to make larger ones in the future. It was gone before anyone touched a traditional cupcakes. Due to the fact I used coconut sugar instead of white sugar, it almost had a hint of spice cake flavor. I used an organic frosting and dye-free sprinkles to top it off and make it festive! The recipe and more details on the cake can be seen here.
The table was sweet and colorful and matched the pastel rainbow theme. The reason behind the rainbow theme was three fold and so, so special. First, because Baby P is our Rainbow Baby (or miracle baby after a loss), second, pastel colors worked with not knowing the baby's gender and third, Somewhere Over The Rainbow was one of the reasons I became a singer at such a young age. So I was swooning over all of the decor.
Not only were we showered with love, we were showered with so many amazing things to take home for Baby. All the gifts were so special and many people asked what my favorite things of the day were. While I loved every single thing, there were some items that really stuck out and that grabbed a place in my heart.
My mother-in-law bought us a piece of art I'd been eyeing for the nursery that read "I never knew how much I loved your father, until I saw how much he loves you." Baby P isn't even here yet, and I know there is so much truth to that. I adore my husband more each day I'm married to him, but picturing him holding our baby, I just melt into a puddle of goo.
Some of the clothes were just too cute to handle, and the handmade blankets and baby books showed so much love and support for our little growing family.
There were just SO many favorite moments of the day and my heart was just so full and still is. I am beyond blessed and so grateful and can't wait for this baby to experience all the love and support I know is here for him or her.
Another huge thank you to my hostesses, my sister in law Tiffani and my sister Ashley (both pictured above with me and Mr. Charming.) It was perfectly perfect and a day I'll remember forever.
Again, if you want the recipe to my Dye-Free Rainbow Sprinkled Naked White Cake, click here.
What was your favorite part of your baby shower? Do you have a go-to gluten-free party cake recipe that is always a hit? I'd love to hear in the comments below!
What's In YOUR Baby's Formula?
As I sit here in the beginning stages of our baby's nursery I think about all the wishes I wish for our little one. All of the things I already want to protect him or her from. Everything I've learned about our world. Our food source. It's scary, but there's hope and definitely things we can do to make change.
Since becoming pregnant, it's become so much more than just making recipes. So much more than just cooking organically. It's been more about research, educating and becoming educated about what is truly being fed to our children. What we put in their bodies, on their delicate skin. These little innocent babes, who trust us to fuel them right from the very beginning.
Today, I wanted to talk about nanoparticles and get a little scientific in this space today. While I plan to exclusively breastfeed, we can never know if and when we may need to supplement with formula, and for those mothers who formula feed, we need to be educated on (and have the right to know) what's in these powders and liquids we are having our tiny little humans consume.
Partnering with Friends of the Earth, I got to learn a lot of eye opening facts about what is in some of the top brands of baby formula, and though I suspected shady ingredients, I can tell you it's not good.
Friends of the Earth, a grassroots company, hired some of America's top laboratory scientists to break down what it is we are up against, explored exactly what these findings mean and what we, as parents and consumers, can do to make a positive change. For not only our own children, but children of the future.
We are going to highlight their findings of hazardous nano-ingredients, namely nanoparticles, found within infant formulas. Like most additives and chemical ingredients, little is made known to the public about what these are and what the risks are to the health of our babies and to us. What was found was this: six popular brands of formulas were tested and were found to include three types of nanoparticles including “needle-like” nano hydroxyapatite, nano TiO2 (titanium dioxide) and nano silica dioxide. All items, and I hope this isn't just me, that I just simply don't want my new baby consuming. Or anyone for that matter.
Just like artificial colors, anti-caking agents and flavorings, we have to ask ourselves, at what point does risk outweigh benefit? With ingredients, (if you can even call them that), such as these, I believe they don't have a place in our food and I believe it's time we start urging more companies and the FDA to remove them. They are not needed, they are not safe to consume and there needs to be more education.
But I digress, let's touch a little more on nanoparticles before moving on to the companies who are using them.
When used in baby formula, nanoparticles pose their greatest risk, due to the infants vulnerable physiology. A baby's immune, central nervous, reproductive and digestive systems are still developing. With this in mind, when we expose them to unnecessary toxins, it can lead to irreversible damage that can cause disease throughout life. Scientists have proven that consuming these products cause kidney and liver damage and are toxic even at low doses, as well as contributing to gut inflammation, which if you know my background and how I ended up as a blogger and a nutritionist you know I'm no stranger to. So why are we allowing this to continue?
It is important for U.S. consumers to know that manufacturers are not required to list nanomaterial ingredients on product packaging in the United States. In our investigation, Friends of the Earth did not find any baby formulas that listed nanoparticles as ingredients, including the samples we found to contain nanoparticles via laboratory testing.
Are nanoparticles used in other kinds of products?
Many nanomaterials have already entered wide-scale commercial use and can be found in hundreds of products, including transparent sunscreens; light-diffracting cosmetics; penetration enhanced moisturizers; stain-, moisture- and odor-repellent fabrics; long-lasting paints and furniture varnishes; antibacterial household appliances such as vacuum cleaners, refrigerators and air conditioners; and sporting equipment. Beyond baby formulas, children’s products that contain engineered nanoparticles include skincare products and sunscreens, supplements, food containers, pacifiers, teethers, blankets, toys and stuffed animals, baby bottles, toothbrushes, baby carriages, bibs, baby clothing and many other products. So it is a widespread problem that needs to be addressed.
Are there alternatives available for baby formula?
In terms of using nano as a calcium supplement, there are many other calcium sources that can be used instead of nano hydroxyapatite, especially the needle-like form. Alternatives include non-nano calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. Calcium used in foods and supplements contains varying amounts of actual elemental calcium. So yes, the nano TiO2 could be replaced with other ingredients,
So now that we have this information, what can we do?
Well, the first piece of action we can take is signing the petition to fight against these companies using the particles.
Second, we can continue to do thorough research for the betterment of our bodies and our children, choosing the healthiest options when it comes to what we are feeding our family. Opting to make change through where we spend our money and opting for healthier options against the mainstream companies using these potentially dangerous particles.
And lastly, join us during the Facebook party on May 19th at 6PM PST to speak with the researchers and Mamavation on these findings.
Where have you made healthy changes in your children's diet? And have you heard of nanoparticles and other artificial ingredients in infant formula? Would love for you to comment below and join in the conversation.
For more information visit the Friends Of The Earth website at www.FOE.org or search for one of the nanomaterials experts available for contact: ● Ian Illuminato, Lead Researcher and author of the report, Friends of the Earth ● Lisa Archer, Director, Friends of the Earth Food & Technology Program and Mom ● Tracey Woodruff, Reproductive Health researcher, UCSF ● Mark Mitchell, MD, National Medical Association ● Martha Arguello, Physicians for Social Responsibility - Los Angeles
This post was created as part of Friend of the Earth Blogger Partnership in which I was financially compensated to be a part of. My opinions are based on my own experiences and are entirely my own.
My Pregnancy: Month SEVEN
How far along? 28 weeks
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Yeah. that's still happening. Haha. Starting to see a little change in my face. Mostly all bump though!
Clothing Options? Maxi dresses for the winnnnnnn! Took me FOR EV ER to find a dress for my Baby Shower, but after three days, eight stores and many, many moments in the fitting room, I found one I loved!
Pregnancy Symptoms? Achey, hungry ALL. THE. TIME. And starting to feel that fatigue come back. Also, pregnancy brain, forgetfulness and the fog is REAL ladies. REAL.
Sleep: Haha. Haha. Mr. Charming got me a Snoogle <3 But between the aches, the big belly, having to pee 3-4 times a night and congestion, it hasn't been easy. Guess this is God's way of prepping us for all those nights to be up feeding our babes.
Best Moment of Month SEVEN: We hit the THIRD Trimester! There were SO many. I celebrated my first Mother's Day with the family at a dinner the weekend before. And Mr. Charming gave me the most BEAUTIFUL Mother's Day. He took me to a beautiful resort for breakfast and blessed me with gorgeous solitaire earrings and a tennis bracelet, as I don't have a jewelry collection aside from my wedding ring. In addition my sisters hosted the Baby Shower of my dreams, which you can read all about here - I made an amazing gluten and dairy free white cake, which you can get the recipe for here, and I attended two events where I got to meet more new moms in my area and I won prizes for Baby P. A GREAT month!
Biggest Fear of Month SEVEN: That I won't sleep good again until after the baby comes and starts sleeping, haha.
Movement: Still tons of flips, body slams, ninja kicks. haha. Mr. Charming can see the baby move from the outside! It's been an amazing bonding experience.
Food cravings: Sweets :( I taste tested A LOT of my cake. Not going to lie.
Aversions: Not much, super hungry right now. Onions are still iffy.
Belly Button: In or Out? Totally out and Mr. Charming cracks up when I laugh and it pops out further.
Mood: So, so happy.
Looking Forward To: June! Father's Day, my birthday and we start our birth classes soon.
In other news... We have started crossing off a lot of our baby to do list, which has made me feel really good about my OCD planning tendencies. Still a lot to do, but we are chipping away at it.