Guess what guess what guess what! We’re expecting a tiny new member of the Real Balanced and Nelson family!
We excitedly announced our news on social media recently and were blown away by the incredible support we received from so many of you!
I wanted to write this post (a much more personal one than I would usually publish on my site) to share how we’ve been doing and to answer some of the questions I’ve received.
But, before we get there, for anyone who is experiencing or has experienced infertility, or miscarriage, or the loss of a child, know that you’ve been on my mind since the moment we learned about this pregnancy. I understand if this content isn’t something you can or want to read. Just please know you’re being thought about.
Basic Info on Baby Nelson
Estimated Due Date: January 8, 2020.
Weeks Along: About 14 weeks.
Found Out: Early May.
Bump Size: Awkwardly bloated looking. Nothing fits like it used to and I just feel uncomfortably bigger (likely due to the extra water weight that I’m carrying).
First Ultrasound: June 3, 2019. It couldn’t have come sooner. I was so anxious for that first look at baby and, once we saw the heartbeat on the monitor, I just stared at it dumbfounded for several minutes.
Our Doctor: Amazing. Kind. Compassionate. A listener. I can’t say enough about how wonderful she is. She’s based out of Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.
Told Family The News: Started sharing the news at 8 weeks. We shared with family whenever we had the opportunity to see them in person. We were really fortunate that schedules just so happened to line up that many of our out-of-town grandparents were visiting Milwaukee, so we were able to share the news with them in-person, versus a phone or video call. The support from every single family member was, in a word, overwhelming. This baby has a lot of love being sent their way and we are beyond grateful for that!
Second Ultrasound: June 27, 2019. We are going through genetic counseling, so this second ultrasound was at that appointment. I was just over 12 weeks along at that point, so baby looked MUCH bigger compared to the 9-week scan. It’s incredible how quickly they grow and, omg, modern science is WILD! I couldn’t believe how clear the image was. At this scan, we saw baby lift their hand straight up, separate their fingers, and open their mouth up wide. Cue tears.
Told Friends The News: Started sharing the news with very close friends around 11 weeks. Most of our friends don’t live nearby, so we mainly told them via text message. Ryan was, however, able to tell his best friend in-person and I was able to tell my best friend over the phone. (Funny side note: both of our best friends share a birthday of January 9, so baby might have their birthday!)
Third Ultrasound: July 8, 2019. Scheduled monthly appointment with a Physician’s Assistant at my Doctor’s office. This was the first time I was able to hear the baby’s heartbeat (we previously had only ever seen it beating on a monitor without sound). It was amazing! I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that my body has two different heartbeats right now!
Baby’s Current Size: A peach! 🤗
Gender: We don’t know yet, but will be finding out mid-August! Yeeeeee!
Names: Chosen! But, we will not be sharing with anyone until baby makes an arrival.
Following A Low-Carb Diet: Yes, I have been! The first trimester brought on A LOT of food aversions (more on that a little later), so even thinking about the foods I would normally eat (protein and fat) made me feel queasy, which did make eating my normal meals really challenging. I did eat a higher carb meal at one point in May and, that night, had one of the worst night terrors I’ve ever had. So, yeah, carbs weren’t going to work if I wanted to sleep (which I desperately did. ALL of the time). Now that I’m able to eat normally again, I am back to craving my favorite keto-friendly foods. I eat a lot of beef, bacon, eggs, vegetables (mostly broccoli, radishes, and jicama), pickles, olives, avocado, dairy products, and seeds.
Exercise: The first month of pregnancy, I was still working out 2-3 days a week. Now that we’ve moved and I no longer have a gym membership, my activity level is lessened in terms of lifting weights in a gym-setting, but with all of the recent packing and moving into a new house, I still get plenty of movement in. My plan going forward is to just continue walking as often as I can and maybe trying to find a local (or online) prenatal yoga or pilates class.
Plans For Work: I will be taking maternity leave immediately after the baby arrives, but will likely work a few hours a day (when I have the time) once we are all settled back home. Recipes will be published as normal, so don’t worry about RB going silent during this time! My team and I will simply be working ahead throughout the remainder of 2019 to make sure content is published regularly for you all while I’m away. For Ryan, he will be home with us for about 4 weeks, give or take, before he heads back to work.
Plans For Living Arrangements: We just moved! To a beautiful 2-bedroom townhome. For a little background, April and May of 2019 contained A LOT of planning and decision-making. Ryan was in the midst of getting a new job, our lease at our old house was ending, and we were just finding out we were pregnant. At the time, we obviously felt VERY overwhelmed, but it actually was a perfect storm of timing out some major life decisions. We were able to decide many areas of our lives based on knowing a baby would be in the picture. Now that we’re out on the other side of it, we’re really happy and relieved the timing went down the way it did.
Keto During Pregnancy
The question many of you have asked: “are you following keto while pregnant?”
And the answer is, yes!
Am I checking my ketone levels? No. I don’t feel like maintaining a strict state of ketosis is as important to me now as it had been in the past. The goal right now is more so to eat nutrient-dense, low-carb foods, rather than reach and maintain ketosis.
Even with all of my food aversions during my first trimester (there were SO many), I ate a pretty strict low-carb diet, excluding one day that I ate a lot of carbs and had an awful night terror that same night. Never again.
Aside from carb content, I am most concerned with ingredients in foods, which is something I’ve always been hyper-aware of. If I can control the ingredients, I do not buy or eat anything with inflammatory oils (like canola oil), I limit soy (with the exception of some Lily’s chocolate bars every so often), and I try to buy and eat organic fruits and vegetables when possible (I’m far from perfect here though).
I am not tracking my macros, but I am tracking my body weight. At this point, I have gained about 3 pounds since the time I found out I was pregnant, which is perfectly normal during the first trimester. I expect to gain much more during the next trimester.
The foods I have been craving the most: scrambled eggs, bacon, sardines, cheese (specifically cheese curds), pickles, olives, sunflower seeds, my Roasted Radishes, and my Flourless Pancakes. Plus, I desperately want sushi and deli meat but, for safety reasons, I won’t be eating either of these until baby arrives. (I’ve already asked (read: “begged”) my parents to plan to bring sushi to the hospital. 🙃)
The Beginning of My First Trimester In a Nutshell
A rollercoaster of emotions. Mostly really sad, depressed emotions. The month of May (the month we found out that we’re pregnant) was extremely rough for me.
My hormones were clearly very “out of whack” and my brain felt like cottage cheese. I wasn’t my normal work-all-the-time-because-it’s-so-fun-Sara. Because my brain was so foggy, I missed, get this, FIVE work meetings. (Two of those five meetings that I missed? Yeah, the same meeting. I rescheduled it after missing the first one and I still missed the rescheduled time.) It was mortifying and so unlike me to act this way.
All of this led me down a really bad path of emotions. I work at home alone, so I felt beyond lonely, especially since the pregnancy was still a secret so I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, so then I’d cry, then I’d stop working, then I’d feel badly that I wasn’t working, then I’d cry, then I’d take a nap, then I was hungry but nothing sounded appetizing, so I’d cry. I felt completely out of control with my emotions.
I don’t say ANY of this to sound ungrateful, but purely just to share that not every facet of my pregnancy (and I assume this goes for many women) is even remotely perfect or Instagram-worthy. The first two months were really messy and sad. Hormones are powerful and when they are working on overdrive while building a baby, weird things can happen.
This leads me to saying that I have never-ending respect to pregnant women who are nurses, teachers, or purely do anything that includes moving around throughout the day. Honestly, how do you guys do it?! Sincere shout-out if this is you! I was a pile-of-nothing for weeks. I laid on my couch all day every day.
The End of My First Trimester
It has been so much better. I mean, SO SO SO much better. I can eat food again. I am happy. I am motivated. I am excited. I am sleeping better.
I finally feel like I’m over the hump and that my second trimester is going to be a lot easier than the first.
I am beyond happy that my moods are stabilizing and improving and, even more than me, I know Ryan is thrilled about this too. 😅
First Trimester Things That I’ve Been Doing
Using Pregnancy Apps: I really like The Bump and Ovia apps. I check The Bump every day to see a new daily fact about baby (usually related to the size of the baby that day) and Ovia to read about the changes in the baby’s body and my body.
Following An Online Community: This has been both a very bad and a very good idea. In the early parts of finding out that we were expecting, this community was great because I hadn’t told anyone (aside from Ryan) and I had 0.00 idea on ANYTHING related to pregnancy. This online community was full of people who I could learn from to see if my symptoms were normal or what I should be expecting that particular week. But, this community became very bad as I began to read so many stories of loss that I became completely petrified. Finally, after experiencing so much anxiety, Ryan asked me to stop checking these threads for awhile. It was a good call. I took some time off and started to feel better and more confident about the outlook of our baby. Now, I am again checking my online community daily and it’s back to being a place of comfort with people who are experiencing a lot of the same things that I am.
Cleaning Up My Beauty and Hygiene Routine: I previously used “pretty clean” products across the board, but my beauty routine still had a lot of room for improvement. Since finding out I was pregnant, I have switched to virtually every makeup product that Mineral Fusion offers. Their products are great and contain safe ingredients. Plus, I’ve found other brands where I like the ingredients and feel they are safe for both me and the baby. Here are all of the products I’ve switched over to:
- Foundation: Mineral Fusion Liquid Foundation in “Warm 2”
- Blush: Mineral Fusion Powder Blush in “Flashy”
- Mascara: Mineral Fusion Volumizing Mascara in “Jet”
- Nail Polish: Orly Breathable in “Pamper Me”
- Dry Shampoo: Primally Pure Dry Shampoo for Dark Locks (I was able to get a discount code for you guys, so if you’re interested in trying this dry shampoo (because it’s honestly THE BEST), feel free to use code “realbalanced” at checkout for 10% off your order!)
- Self Tanner: Beauty By Earth Tanning Lotion
- Face Wash: Alaffia Everyday Coconut Fair Trade Coconut Cleansing Face Wash
- Toner: Mineral Fusion Facial Toner
- Moisturizer: André Lorent Crazy Beautiful Face Créme
- Toothpaste: David’s Natural Toothpaste
Cleaning Up My Household Cleaning Products: We were sort of a “hit or miss” when it came to nontoxic household cleaning products. We have always used Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap, but many of our other cleaning products are not-so-great. Now that I’m pregnant, we’ve purchased and are using some cleaner cleaning products:
- Hand Soap: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Hand Soap
- Dish Soap: Mrs. Meyer’s Liquid Dish Soap
- Multi-Surface Cleaning Spray: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner
- Laundry Detergent: Molly’s Suds Unscented Laundry Powder
- Dryer Balls: Molly’s Suds 100% Wool Dryer Balls
- Laundry Whitener: Molly’s Suds Oxygen Whitener
We could still use some major improvement in the area of nontoxic cleaning products, so if you have suggestions, please feel free to share them in the comments of this post!
Thank you for all of your support, especially for those of you who are not interested in having kids or reading about having kids. We totally understand this isn’t for everyone, so I appreciate you letting me gush for a bit. We love you guys!