Pregnancy Update | 1st & 2nd Trimester

Hard to believe I’m on the last week of my second trimester! The first trimester crawled by but the second one went be so fast! Towards the end though, I was starting to feel it.


How far along? 4 weeks on the left, 25 weeks on the right

How big is Baby?  The size of head of cauliflower.

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Baby Developments: “At 27 weeks pregnant, baby is as big as a head of lettuce. The average 27-week fetus measures 14.4 inches and weighs 1.9 pounds. But baby’s not just getting bigger—he or she is also getting smarter.
Inside your 27 weeks belly, baby’s practicing inhaling and exhaling with his or her rapidly developing lungs. And it’s official: Baby’s showing brain activity! From here on out, baby’s brain will keep getting more complex, turning that 27-week fetus into a real smarty pants.”
OB Appointments: My OB appointments are every 4 weeks. So far they’ve been good and uneventful. My blood pressure is usually around 108/60 and Baby’s heartbeat ranges from 140-160bpm. I am measuring right on target and my glucose appointment – to determine whether or not I have gestational diabetes – is next week, the first week of my 3rd trimester. Once in my 3rd trimester, the appointments increase in frequency.

Exercise? For most of the first trimester I kept up my exercise routine: Volleyball class Tuesday and Thursday mornings and working out for 30mins – 1 hour afterward. Once my sickness kicked in I didn’t workout or go to class as much. I anticipated that may happen so I registered to audit the volleyball class – I was able to participate but I wasn’t taking it for credit so I didn’t have to be there. Attendance was optional.
2nd trimester: I made sure to always take the stairs at work instead of the elevator.

Weight Gain? I don’t have (or want) a scale at home so the only time I check my weight is at my doctor’s appointments. The first trimester I didn’t gain or lose any weight. Actually I probably did both but since I was sick it balanced out in the end. Now that I’m halfway there my weight is up a total of 10lbs. I’m right on target for gaining the appropriate amount of weight.

I’ve never been one to care much about the numbers on the scale (hence why I don’t even have a scale). If you are eating properly and exercising regularly, your body will reflect that. If not, your body will reflect that too. I don’t necessarily need numbers to tell me that. Plus, I think I’d start obsessing over every pound if I had regular access to a scale.

It’s funny because when I stepped on the scale and saw that I had gained weight I was discouraged even though I was perfectly on track. I think it was just an automatic reaction to weight gain. Our whole lives society tells us that weight gain is synonymous with only bad things. “You’ve gained weight” has never been a compliment. So it’s a little difficult to reprogram your brain as soon as you get pregnant to think that weight gain = good. It was difficult at first but now it doesn’t bother me!

Sleep? In the beginning sleep was pretty rough. I’ve never had trouble sleeping through the night but as soon as I got pregnant (this was one of those clues) I could not sleep through the night. I’d usually wake up around 3am and be up for hours. Sometimes I may have been able to fall back asleep briefly before my morning classes.
2nd trimester sleep improved a lot. I was able to sleep through most nights. The most difficult part is just being bigger. It’s a whole ordeal just to turn from side to side.

Symptoms? In the first trimester I was hit with every symptom imaginable. My naïve pre-pregnant self though I knew what it’d be like or at least could imagine what it’d be like. But I was not prepared for it. I honestly didn’t think that I would throw up at all, let alone weeks and weeks on end. I had all the usual symptoms but the most notable were nausea, a bionic sense of smell, and tiredness.
Nausea: this was by far the worst. It didn’t hit until around week 7. For the first few weeks when I wasn’t nauseous, I was actually worried something was wrong because pregnancy felt too easy. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I started throwing up every. single. day. mornings mostly but sometimes all day. After a few weeks the nausea went away but I was still throwing up because my gag reflexes were SO sensitive. I couldn’t even take my prenatals. I had to camp out in the bathroom.. literally! I brought in a camping chair and blankets and set up a little place for myself. I would start getting ready for school, get sick, and then have to run to catch the bus so I could still make it to class on time. #pregnantincollege
Bionic sense of smell: exactly how it sounds. I could walk out my front door and smell the dumpsters. Upon opening the fridge I could smell everything that was about to go bad. I could smell everything that was cooked in the microwave just by walking past it (one of the clues I was pregnant). And it was only the bad smells. I would burn an candle and put it right next to my nose and nada.
Tiredness: this was also pretty bad. For the most part I was just too exhausted to do anything! I was usually asleep by 6pm. I remember getting through the front door and sitting down on the steps leading up to the rest of the apartment because I just did not have the energy to make it up there. If Simeon came in the door after me he’d have to push me up the stairs from behind. I’ve never been able to take naps during the day but as soon as I got pregnant, napping wasn’t so hard anymore.

I remember thinking multiple times “why do people of this twice?!” I mean the first time I can see.. you didn’t know what you were getting yourself into. But to do this to yourself again?! The response was always: you’ll forget about the pain and sickness. During my first trimester I would have never believed them. But now that I’m finishing up my second trimester I must say: as AWFUL as those 3 months were, it does get better. And the second trimester is as they say: the golden trimester. These past couple of weeks I’ve been getting a taste of the 3rd trimester life.

Food cravings? I haven’t had many cravings throughout the pregnancy. There was a time when Subway was the only thing that sounded good. I’m eating more sweets than usual. I used to NEVER eat anything sweet- I never really liked cakes, cookies, or brownies. Now during pregnancy I won’t seek it out but I won’t turn it down, either.

Food aversions? Yes. During the first trimester, almost all food could fall into this category. Anything with a strong smell or anything that was cooked and filled the apartment with its aroma would make me sick. I can probably count on 2 hands the amount of times I cooked during the first trimester. Coffee was a major aversion for the longest time. I’m not a coffee drinker anyway but smelled soooo bad!! Simeon was a rockstar and would occasionally brew his coffee out on the deck. I’ve been able to tolerate the smell now. Now, about the only food aversion that stuck around is ramen.

Mood? For the most part my mood has been pretty good. (I’m sure Simeon might have a different opinion.) There were a couple moments of break downs- throwing up, no sleep, and being sick and tired for months kinda wears on you after a while.

Queasy or Sick? Yes, all throughout the 1st trimester but not anymore!!

Best moments: Simeon felt Baby move! Baby was kicking pretty hard one night when we were relaxing by the fireplace. Simeon put his hand on my stomach and he felt Baby kick for the first time in Week 17! It was so special.

I think the baby was on jetlag, too because there were almost 3 days where I barely felt any movement. I was starting to worry because I would usually feel Baby after eating but wasn’t able to. I started trying other things to get Baby to move- drinking carbonation, eating a cold popsicle, laying on my stomach, poking my stomach, and even shining a flashlight on my stomach (I read that works)- but nothing! Finally when I was telling Simeon about being worried about it and we were praying together, Baby started moving 🙂 I was only 17/18 weeks so I was lucky to feel baby as early as 15 weeks.

Telling family was a pretty special time too – everyone is so excited!

We got 4 ultrasounds and got to see Baby 4 times! The last one was 3D/4D and we got lots of pictures from them.

Towards the end of the 2nd trimester, Simeon is able to feel almost all of Baby’s kicks. It’s such a special time – Simeon and I will be sitting down together and when Baby starts kicking I’ll grab his hand and put it on my belly. We don’t know what he’s trying to communicate so we just make it up 🙂

Worst moments: Going to the bathroom all the time. The baby is positioned in such a way that walking makes me have to go to the bathroom. Even if I have nothing in my system! This made walking around Stockholm difficult because there are little to no free public restrooms. We had to time our coffee shop breaks just right.

Being sick while in school and battling with 2 schools to let me graduate– things were pretty hairy up until the DAY BEFORE GRADUATION.

End of 2nd trimester pelvic pain and soreness. It’s so painful to stand up and walk from a sitting position. I can’t walk right away, I have to give my body a minute or two to adjust or I feel like my pelvis will give out and I’ll be on the floor! I’m hunched over like a little old lady. I started seeing a chiropractor and applying kinesiology tape – same-ish concept as a maternity belt – as an attempt to redistribute the weight. I’ve experienced a *little* relief but at least it’s not getting worse. Thankfully my back doesn’t hurt!

What I miss? Taking medicine for colds, putting on socks without sound effects, being able to bend over, and sleeping on my back. In the first trimester it felt like a long list of “No’s” but now I don’t care what I have to give up for my little baby, feeling his kicks are worth it.

What I’m looking forward to? Holding our little baby!! It’s hard to explain but I feel like I’m already bonding with this little one. I think Simeon is too but not on the scale that I get to so I can’t wait for Simeon to be able to hold him and bond with him.

Agreeing on a name. Simeon and I both have a name that we like.. but they aren’t the same name.. We still have a few months to work it out but each passing day solidifies our own choices in our mind. As a joke I started calling the baby by the name I want and Simeon did the same for the name he wants.. Simeon said, “Well, I guess we’ll just see which one he responds to.”

Milestones? We found out baby is a boy! I can’t explain it but I KNEW this baby was a boy from pretty early on. #mothersintuition We actually found out at 16 weeks but didn’t tell anyone until our anatomy scan ultrasound at 20 weeks.


Just like I KNEW this baby was a boy, I KNOW the name I’ve picked out is the right name for him.. I can’t explain it – it just came to me.. I just feel it.. But Simeon’s not buying it.

Quotes & Stories: As this post is already fairly long, I’m creating a separate post for all the fun quotes and stories of this pregnancy.

Simeon’s Thoughts: Simeon’s thought are so special that they also get their own post. 🙂

Non pregnancy related things: We are house/apartment hunting! Our one bedroom apartment has served us well but we are looking for something else. At this time there aren’t many great housing options – that haven’t been turned into college student housing.. Now we are looking for a bigger but cheaper place to rent once our lease ends in May so we can save more for a house.

I graduated!! A few days after I finished my final class I got a job and started working full-time. I’m an Office Services Coordinator (fancy way of saying Receptionist) at a tax/accounting firm. It’s a seasonal position during tax season so the timing is perfect! The only difficult thing is that Simeon and I are now on opposite schedules but it’s only temporary.

All in all this second trimester has gone by so fast. Even with the pain and pressure and the inability to get out of bed or off the couch without help, I’m really enjoying pregnancy! I park in the “for new and expectant mothers” spaces at the grocery store and feel no shame. Feeling the kicks every day is a big plus and makes it all worth it. I always have my little buddy with me. I can’t wait to meet him in person 🙂



Valentine’s Day

This was our last Valentine’s day without kiddos and what a great last one it was! Simeon had the day off so he took charge this year.

Simeon and I have been Valentines for 6 years now!

I was going to make him breakfast in bed early before I left for work but as romantic of a gesture as that sounds, I thought my hubby would appreciate sleeping in more. So I got his coffee all prepped and put together a french toast mix for him to quickly fry up when he got up.


I came home from work to the smell of fried shrimp and a SPOTLESS apartment!!!


The breaded and fried shrimp… most of which I have eaten.. 🙂


There were a dozen roses waiting for me on the table along with a nail painting station. (I’ve been asking Simeon to paint my nails for me for days- fun fact: with Simeon’s artistic skill and ability to focus, he is phenomenal at painting nails- much better then I could ever hope to be.)

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As if the clean house, roses, and meal wasn’t enough, Simeon had another gift for me!


He said he looked for the classiest looking perfume.

Simeon calls it an old tradition because on our first Valentine’s Day together (6 years ago!), he got me Versace- 1/4 of which I still have. He considers it a joy to slowly build up my nice perfume collection.


We sat down at a beautifully set table and ate the most delicious new york strip steaks I’ve ever eaten. Simeon had them marinating for a bit and it paid off. I generally don’t like much pink in the middle (so I probably shouldn’t be eating steak..) but Simeon made sure to get the thin kind so they wouldn’t have to cook long and dry out.


Sparkling cider and more flowers!

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Afterwards, Simeon and I were sitting on the couch discussing baby names and then I promptly fell asleep at 8:30pm.

And that was the end of a very wonderful Valentine’s Day 🙂

Valentine’s Days through the years:


Caption: “I have the best boyfriend ever!” Simeon had a dozen roses delivered to my door 🙂


I posted this photo to his FB wall.



Our first year of marriage! Simeon worked the night shift and had flowers waiting for me when I woke up. I rearranged our living room so we could have an indoor picnic.


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I came home from school again to a clean house and wonderful candlelit atmosphere!

Next year we’ll have a little Valentine!


Summer Plans

I just bought tickets for Japan. And South Korea. And I’m leaving THIS month :O

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This summer I am volunteering at an English immersion summer camp, USA Summer Camp, in JAPAN!! My university has a partnership with Guy Healy, Japan, the summer camp, and they sponsor around 100 college students (20 from my school) every summer to be camp counselors. Minus spending money and a few administrative fees here and there, the camp pays for it all- including airfare to and from Japan (and a bonus trip to South Korea to see my friend)! #score. I am so incredibly thankful for this opportunity.

Guy Healy (second from right) with Caroline Kennedy, the US Ambassador to Japan.

“USA Summer Camp is a unique English camp experience bonding counselors from the United States with campers in Japan. About 100 counselors are selected and invited each summer to Japan to work with campers of all ages and in all parts of Japan.” Camps will consist of nine 3-day camps stretching 6-7 weeks starting early July and ending late August. American Counselors (ACs) will be “friends” who enjoy meals, recreation and free time with their campers. The AC’s responsibility is the campers.” That will be me!

Camps are held in 6 different locations throughout the country. I got my team placement and I am stationed in…

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Semester in Review

Today is officially the first Monday of my summer vacation! The semester is over!! I haven’t been able to post a lot because, well, I’ve been so busy. Keep scrolling and you’ll see why.

Lots of mixed feelings. This semester was filled with meeting new people, new experiences, and lots of goodbyes. I like being in class and learning, even exams aren’t that bad.  But, I do not like all the homework, papers, and busy work. I’ve written well over 60-70 pages this semester. And that’s just counting the 10 page research papers due for each class. If you add up all the assignments, essays, project reports, and reaction papers, I’ve written well over 100 pages this semester alone. Phew.

Let’s start at the very beginning.


1st semester at a new school in a new town. I was searching for an international club at my new school and when I googled it, I found an potluck at a church for international student welcome week. Simeon and I met some pretty cool people including Gea, Jorick, Jordi, and Marvin from the Netherlands, and Liridon from Sweden there.16252167_10154209364630778_1587941063223948494_o

School got off to a quick start. I signed up for 6 classes: International Relations, Geography of Latin America, Sociolinguistics, Modern Russia, International Security (can you tell I’m an International Studies major?), and Volleyball. UWP includes textbooks in with tuition fees so everyone gets textbooks from the bookstore.

The first week was full of welcome parties. Gea and I went to the Intervarsity chili cook-off and I participated in my first nerf gun war. UWP was playing in hockey. Chinese New Year was also in January so the university was having a celebration.


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How to Learn the Hard Way

Despite how it sounds, learning the hard way is really not that hard at all. It can be achieved by these three simple steps: adopt a strong sense of indestructibility, disregard advice, and make rash decisions.

A perfect storm has been brewing for quite some time now. And it just struck. In the form of an electric storm. It’s been electronic-frying. Literally.

My external hard drive broke. Everything from the last 5+ years was on there: wedding photos, travel pictures from 9 different countries, the entirety of not 1, not 2, but 3 old computers, important documents, videos for editing, the list goes on. None of it was backed up.

Now not everything was in my control but I sure made things worse by: perceived indestructibility, paying no mind to advice, and rash decisions. If you like the path of most resistance, be like me and follow these three steps, You too will be treading an uphill path with maximum difficulty in no time.

Adopt a Strong Sense of Indestructibility:

Younger folks, this comes easily to us. We’re young, things don’t really affect us. They say to stretch before working out but who does really? Sure, you may be a little sore after but it goes away in a few hours. We’ve also mastered the art of surviving on little sleep. We can stay out all night and still be chipper the next day. We’re young. Our bodies bounce instead of break.

Not only are our bodies indestructible, but we are impervious to consequences. Our decisions affect only us and only in good ways. When you see someone in a bad situation, remember, that’s a them problem. It will never happen to you.

I can count two separate occasions in the past week where the conversation focused on hard drive failure. I even watched a YouTube video of a girl’s external hard drive breaking and the data was not backed up. It NEVER crossed my mind that I needed to back up my data. That hard drive was my only copy. That would’t happen to me. That couldn’t happen to me.

*Bonus points if you adopt a “sucks to be you” mentality when seeing others in bad situations.

Disregard Advice:

Advice can be difficult to hear sometimes. We like doing things our way. When someone gives us input, especially unsolicited, that’s just a bother. I mean, how much wiser than us can a person be? Who do they think they are, telling us what to do!

When someone gives you advice, don’t listen. Tune it out. Stick your fingers in your ears and shout, “LA LA LA” if you have to. They aren’t going to tell you anything you don’t know anyway, so why listen?

I remember it like it was yesterday (because it was), “Don’t go downloading random recovery software on the computer. We don’t know what’s on there and we don’t want a virus.” Huh? Sorry, I didn’t catch that. I couldn’t hear you over the fingers jammed in my ears.

*Bonus points if the advice comes from a loved one, whose only goal is to help you.

Make Rash Decisions:

Caution is for the weak. Refrain from using it. Thinking through things slows you down. Keep this in mind when thinking through your decisions. Better yet, don’t think through decisions! Just do it. Careful thought requires patience. Ain’t nobody got time for dat.

“Just be patient and wait for the parts that we ordered to come. Maybe that will fix it.” <– And ignore that, too. That’s starting to sound like rational thinking. The drive can only be improved by running multiple software programs on it right away. This has absolutely no potential to damage the files even further. Act now, think later.

To be fair almost all of the recovery programs I downloaded were perfectly fine. But since this is neither horse shoes nor hand grenades, almost does not count. Fast forward 24 hours later and a virus is attacking the computer (which incidentally isn’t backed up, either).

*Bonus points if you make rash decisions WHILE disregarding advice. 2 for 1.


Follow these 3 simple steps and you have yourself the hard way. Can’t remember all of them? Do not despair. Even if you just do one of these steps, you will still be on the path of difficulty in no time. OR, learn from my mistakes, and do the opposite of everything I just told you.

How to Help Refugees Here

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me… Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

portraits-dubuque-iowa-29-of-112I have been working with refugees and migrants for about 5 years now. In the grand scheme of things, that may not sound like much but that’s almost 1/4th of my life. I am excited for the sudden swelling of support for refugees and migrants.

Travelling to a foreign land can be exciting yes, but also terrifying. Even more so when you are forced to flee your home for fear of your life and resettle in a land you may or may not know anything about. God has given me a heart for the international population here in America and I’ve made it my mission to love these strangers in this foreign land. I invite you to do so with me.

Put down your protest signs and open your arms. Open your homes. 

Standing for hours demonstrating how much you dislike something is one thing. You have every right to [peacefully] do this. Spending those same hours mentoring and volunteering to take refugees shopping for basic needs, furniture, and food is another.

Say the protests work. The order is reversed. Refugees come in. Then what? Are those hundreds of thousands of people protesting going to redirect their efforts to resettling the refugees they fought so hard to allow in? Guess what people: THERE ARE REFUGEES HERE RIGHT NOW IN NEED OF HELP. You don’t have to wait for a reversal of the order. You can help right now!! Here’s how:

Teach English.

Become a conversation partner and teach English. You don’t need to be a qualified teacher to help someone with their English. If you can read this and have patience, you are qualified to help people work on their English. Talk with them. Listen to them. Give them a chance to practice their English and make mistakes in an encouraging environment. This does wonders for the language confidence level. Just because they may not be able to communicate right away does not mean they aren’t smart! One of my dear friends, and one of the bravest people I know, came to college in the United States for her second masters degree after teaching finance for years in Korea. You would never know that unless you took the time to string together the sentences of her beautiful broken English. Most of those coming over have been to college and have steady jobs. Those degrees don’t always transfer here and they have to start all over.

Be a friend and a mentor.

Along with taking refugees shopping and helping out with basic needs, volunteer to be a mentor. Once the basic needs are covered, people need a friend. They need someone to show them the ropes: American survival skills.

As someone who has had the pleasure of visiting other countries, I can tell you just how helpless it feels when you can’t even take care of your own basic needs! We fail to properly appreciate living in familiar territory, at least I did. For instance: how to get from Point A to Point B. When fleeing a country, a car isn’t necessarily a top priority of things to bring with you. Money isn’t typically in abundance to afford a new car so one is forced to rely on public transportation. Navigating the [non-existent] public transportation system here in the US is already challenging for me as an American and English is my native language. Just imagine navigating through cities you barely know in a 2nd 3rd or even 4th language. Offer rides to the grocery store. Things as simple as mailing a letter and grocery shopping become daunting tasks.

Show them how to: get insurance, set up a phone plan, get a driver’s license, etc. Help them figure out where to take their kids when they get sick, etc. Explain the difference between what Americans say vs. what they really mean. Ex.: “We should hang out sometime” is more a way of saying we could be friends and doesn’t mean get out your calendar and fix a date right then and there.

Had I not had someone showing me how to navigate the roads and rules of the land, I’d probably still be on a train to nowhere, figuratively and literally.

How do we find refugees already here? 

I’m glad you asked.

Here is a link to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) page. Clicking on your state will bring you to a page with all the main volunteer agency affiliates near you.

Don’t see one within feasible driving distance from your town? Don’t despair. Partner with an organization in your community. Do a little research to find out who heads up resettlement in your community and get in touch: call, email or march over to them. World Relief, an organization dedicated to resettling refugees, is constantly looking for volunteers.

Other ways to help:

Don’t have time to give? Give old clothes or donate money. Go through your closet and donate clothes you don’t wear anymore. Research organizations to make sure your money is actually going to help the refugees.

Still can’t find refugees but want to help the international community and immigrants? Go to a local school or the international department of the local college. Most universities have an English mentor/ conversation partner program for the international students and they won’t turn you away. If they don’t have one, start one. My first college didn’t have one so I found some willing volunteers at a local church and we sat down with the International Student Coordinator to discuss ways the community can get involved with the international students.

Lastly, love them.

Love them like Christ loves you. Love them like you would love Christ. Love and treat them like you would want your loved ones treated if the situations were reversed. These people are sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, and children. Maybe not yours, but somebody’s.

Pray for them. Ask God to provide for their needs. Pray for their safety fleeing their home country and travelling. Pray for their spiritual condition. What an amazing opportunity to share the gospel with people who may have never heard it before. What an amazing opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Matthew 25: 35-40 says: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”