My First Pregnancy Must-Haves & Updates

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Candid pregnancy blog update! From the unique nursery theme and music-loving Baby Lenhof to health updates, cravings, physical therapy insights and more!

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I announced the exciting news on Instagram a few weeks ago, but I finally have a moment to share with all my wonderful House Fur readers that I’m expecting my first baby! The anticipation for September 8, 2024, to arrive is real—I’m thrilled to meet my little one soon! Today is May 14, 2024, and I’m currently 23 weeks and 2 days along, which means just 3 more months to go! Time is truly flying! This journey is a blessing, and the experience of nurturing a life within me is nothing short of miraculous and beautiful. I shared a version of this blog post on my photography business blog as well: www.studio29blog.com. 

My Pregnancy Has Been – Dare I Say, A Breeze!?!

Overall my pregnancy has been relatively “a breeze.” I am half-way through and I consistently working out, still working full-time, have a healthy appetite, able to go on long walks with Kenzo, do yard work. Basically, I just have an earlier bedtime!

Pain and discomfort have been really bad on somedays and nearly nonexistent on others. The major pain I do have, is being caused by a sore shoulder/scapula and the return of my hiatal hernia. I will go more into how I am resolving those issues later.

Physically, my only “complaint” is the complete exhaustion I feel after long work days or tough workouts. The exhaustion sometimes carries into the next day – it is unreal! But, I know this is all normal and part of growing a little human inside me.

Emotionally and mentally, however, it has been quite the rollercoaster. From the excitement of finding out I was pregnant to the fear and doubt that crept in during the first trimester, it has been a journey filled with ups and downs.

But as my belly continues to grow and I feel my baby move, all the doubts and fears melt away. It’s an indescribable feeling – knowing that there is a tiny little being growing inside of me.

ren pregnancy weekly pregnancy polaroids

First Trimester Notes

During my first trimester, I only had one or two days of actual intense nausea. I found that homemade Ginger Shots and Organic Ginger Tea were the cure for that! I also drank a lot of Whole Milk – more than usual.

My go-to snack was Triscuits and Oyster Crackers and you could find me on the couch half asleep nearly every evening weeks 6-14 watching re-runs of Supermarket Sweep.

Mentally and emotionally it has been extremely tough because we lost my beloved Vîk on March 27. I’ve lost pets before, but this one hit me the hardest. I’ve never felt physically pain from sadness before. And it had me in quite a low state of mind that was hard to shake.

I am forever grateful for my loving husband Caleb for helping me on my “really bad days.” I’ve never felt more taken care of than I have during this pregnancy, and adding the grieving of Vík to the mix was a whole new level. A big thank you to all my clients and friends who continued to reach out even weeks after, just to check in on me.

My Pregnancy Must-Haves

First Trimester Pregnancy Updates & Memories

Notable Updates @ 5-19 Weeks

  • We took 2 positive tests on December 29, 2024. I took one in the morning, given our plans for an early New Year’s celebration with our friends Keri and Brad that evening. I rushed and mistakenly assumed it was negative. But later that morning I felt “off” after I had my morning latte. Just a little abnormal tummy pains. Later that day, we were getting ready to go over to the Moore’s house and I looked in the garbage can and saw that the test faintly said, “positive,” so Caleb suggested I take another one, just in case. We were out of tests, so while I was blow drying my hair and such, Caleb went to Walgreens and picked up another pregnancy test. I took it, Caleb set the timer, and 4 minutes later we had another faint positive!! We went to over to our friends house and played it cool. Caleb made me secretive mocktails that evening and the rest is history!
  • That morning, we snapped some polaroids to capture the thrill of those positive test results – it was our way of bottling up that first wave of joy and my pre-bump figure. We figured, why not make it a thing So, we decided to take a weekly polaroid, aiming to gather a whole collection of memories from this pregnancy journey.
  • At week 6, I had a doctor’s appointment at KindBody (the place we did the initial fertility testing and “Bubble Saline Test” – which I am certain helped us get pregnant!) and we went over all bloodwork lab results and confirmed the pregnancy via an ultra sound!
  • We opted out of the genetic testing – no point in stressing over something that is out of my control.
  • Nausea is slight, but Ginger Tea is keeping it away! As long as I drink one or two cups a day, I am good to go!
  • I am overall feeling and looking completely normal, except for the insane tiredness! Week 11 is when really kicked in and holy cow – the exhaustion is no joke!
  • Week 12 – played my last hockey game this weekend and went to the morning Yeti Skate for the last time. Mark my words, I’ll be back in 2025 after Baby Lenhof comes!
  • Week 14 we met our OB and I love her so much! We gave her our tentative birth plan and she approved it!
  • Weeks 15-19, we finally got to tell all our parents!! Everyone is so excited for us and telling them was so special!

my pregnancy weekly pregnancy polaroids

20 weeks pregnant in minneapolis
20 weeks pregnant in Minneapolis for Sophie’s First Holy Communion

Notable Updates @ 20-21 Weeks

  • Thankfully not as tired !! Very happy I’ve been getting back to lifting & workouts with Caleb at the gym. Missing hockey, but making sure to keep my legs as strong as possible so I can get back into it next year!
  • I’m also really enjoying long walks – Kenzo has been a good sport!
  • Baby Lenhof is looking & sounding perfect according to our anatomy scan last week and my bump has officially joined the party.
  • Physical Therapy at Breathe in Motion has been a lifesaver for my sore hiatal hernia, shoulder, hips & giving me back my sleep. I had hernia surgery in October 2020 to remove several umbilical and hiatal hernias but during our workout on Easter morning, my hiatal hernia poked through and it was large and in charge – and very painful. So, I immediately emailed my friend Molly, at Breathe in Motion, and she thankfully got me in that Monday and we got to work!! I signed up for a package and now I see her every Monday. I was noticing relief just after 2 days of seeing her. My sleep was better, I was able to breathe easier, and my shoulder pain had decreased.
  • Lime Citrus Recess & Mango Lychee Zyn have been my go-to drinks! Naval Oranges are still my one and only food craving. Cannot complain!
  • Swapped out my office chair for a medicine ball a few weeks ago (thanks, Caleb) and that has made my long editing hours behind a computer WAY more tolerable.
  • We’ve decided on a nursery color scheme & theme!
  • I’m still heavily grieving the loss of my best friend and heading home and being home is the hardest. I really dislike this new normal: looking at the floor beside me and not seeing him, not waking up at night to let him go potty, fill his water bowl for the 18th time or feeling him snuggling up into a teenie circle at my feet, not hearing his howler monkey cry anytime I walk in the door or mention let’s go on a “walk”, making my morning coffee and expecting him to politely scratch at the pantry door requesting his odd, yet most favorite of all time treat, Rachel Ray Soup Bones. I don’t like this new privacy – I miss my Velcro boy. I really wish he was here for our weekly photos and gotten to witness my growing bump & rest his head on baby L.
  • We have Baby L’s anatomy scan this Tuesday – we are not going to find out the gender. I’m still completely unaware and have no inkling or intuition. I just know it’s going to love dogs & be a hockey player.
  • Caleb felt baby Lenhof moving for the first time on April 24, 2024 @ ~6:30am.
  • Naval oranges are still my jam. Also been really enjoying morning smoothies: 2 scoops collagen protein powder, 2tbs organic peanut butter, creatine powder, 1/4 cup organic blueberries (fresh or frozen), one , 1/4 cup vanilla organic grass fed regular yogurt or Greek yogurt.
  • I’ve discovered some truly remarkable vintage decorations for the nursery, and I’m thrilled about it. The theme is quite unique – Doggy Mid Century Modern, focusing on advertisements from the 1940s-1970s featuring German Shepherds & Akitas.
  • I am rewatching Mad Men from start to finish again for the 8 or 9th time – I can’t remember. But I love realizing certain character development/growth or seeing new things/decor/cars in the scenes that I never noticed before. It’s the perfect show to keep me company whilst I edit photos.
  • Baby Lenhof likes music and the sound of Caleb cheering for the Milwaukee Bucks – I never feel more movement than when music is playing or Caleb is cheering.
  • Kenzo turns 10 this weekend and I’m really excited for this years birthday theme!

ren at OB for 20 week anatomy scan

Notable Updates @ 22 Weeks

  • Baby Lenhof has been taking all the moisture from my skin and it has been painful and very “snowy.” I’ve been making my own whipped body butter for a few years now because I naturally have very dry skin, but this level of dryness is a whole new level. Even my OB is shocked. BUT! I finally found something that is seeming to help!! Yes, at 22 weeks, a new brand of Beef Tallow has been healing all my cuts, snowy skin, and softening the extreme itchy rough patches!
  • I feel incredibly calm! Normally, I’m a highly anxious person, always overthinking, striving to please others, struggling to sleep, and frequently stressed. However, somehow being pregnant has made me super chill about things that would normally have me in a tizzy. This is such a welcome change for both Caleb and myself!
  • PT with Molly at Breathe in Motion is still continuing to help me! My hernia is still causing me some discomfort, but it’s no longer as painful and I’m not waking up multiple times in the night because of it! We’ve been working on left shoulder/scapula mobility, easing the scar tissue from my hernia surgery, pelvic floor work, monitoring my diastasis recti and coning*, and strengthening/loosening my hips. *You can read more about coning below.

My Quick Advice for Fellow Expectant Mothers:

You might notice a vertical ridge appearing on your abdomen, particularly when moving from lying or sitting positions, or during certain exercises. If you observe that this ridge becomes more pronounced with specific workouts, consider modifying or avoiding these activities for the time being. Personally, I experience coning when sitting up directly; therefore, it’s crucial for me to roll to my side and use my arms to push myself up.

Notable Updates at Week 23

  • Our weekly polaroid photo tradition continues! I LOVE being able to compare my growing belly week by week! The transformation is a constant reminder of the incredible capabilities of the human body.
  • May 12, 2024 I celebrated my first Mother’s Day – not as a just doggy mommy!
  • During my OB appointment today, we found out that the baby’s heartbeat is between 135-145 BPM, indicating perfect health!
  • As of week 23, I weigh 137.5 pounds. Starting from 122 pounds when we first discovered I was pregnant, I’m pleased with my healthy weight gain for the baby’s sake.
  • I’ve resumed adding weight to my deadlifts! After a pause during my first trimester, I’ve cautiously returned to lifting these past few weeks. Initially sticking to just the bar to maintain my form and range of motion, I’ve recently progressed to adding 5 lb plates to the 45 lb bar, and this weekend, I moved up to 10 lb plates. It feels amazing to be progressing!
  • Molly, my physical therapist, has designed an outstanding workout plan that targets both upper and lower body muscles. It’s been both fun and challenging, and I’m truly grateful for her expertise!
  • On Mother’s Day my Mom asked if we had names picked out, and the answer is yes! We have had the name picked out for awhile and we are so excited about it! We are keeping the name a secret from friends and family members.
  • Baby Lenhof is so active! Last night on the couch 4/13 I and pretty sure she/he was giving me feisty punches or little kicks! I could see my belly bulging and it was almost ticklish! I really love how much I can feel him/her now – it is  such a special and bonding experience. It’s delightful to see a baby bump now, unlike before when I just felt like I had a big brunch. haha
  • We will photograph our 3rd wedding of the year this weekend! Caleb ordered me some amazing new balance supportive sneakers and I got some compression socks – I am ready to rock!!

ren pregnancy weekly pregnancy polaroids photograph

What Is Coning During Pregnancy

Coning is what people call it when you see a sort of ridge running down the middle of your belly. It might be a sign of something called abdominal diastasis or diastasis recti (DR). This happens when the connective tissue smack dab in the middle of your abdomen, known as the linea alba, gets stretched out and rips away from your six-pack muscles, aka the rectus abdominis. These muscles cover the front of your belly.

Normally, the linea alba is pretty flexible, letting you twist, bend, and even carry a baby without a hitch. But if it gets too much pressure, it can stretch way too much, kind of like pulling a seam too far apart on a shirt. When the gap in your six-pack hits 2cm, doctors diagnose diastasis recti.

Conclusion

As you can tell, my pregnancy journey has been a mix of emotions and experiences. But through it all, the love and support from my husband, family and friends have made it all worth it. And as I eagerly await the arrival of our little one, I am grateful for every moment and memory that has been made along the way. Here’s to many more milestones and memories in the months to come! Cheers! Thank you for reading my pregnancy update so far, stay tuned for more!

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