Posts Tagged ‘Pregnancy – Zippy’

At this point I’m almost seven months pregnant! I’ve been taking sporadic photos of myself starting at around 17 weeks (I didn’t really feel up to it prior, and my bump, while existent was not obviously a baby.) I love the idea of a maternity photo shoot, but it is one more expense that I just can’t justify right now. I consider myself a budding photographer, so I thought I would try my hand at some classic maternity bump shots. I figure if I love them, I’ve saved myself some money, and if not, I can always do professional maternity photos later.


One of my favorite maternity photos

Through trial and error – both playing with the camera, tripod and remote, and giving the camera to Domingo and insisting he practice before the baby comes – I think I’ve gotten a few good ones. Here are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way.

First, some general photography tips

  • Take photos frequently throughout your pregnancy (or at least as frequently as you can.) Don’t worry about having a once a week photo to chronicle your pregnancy journey, or whether you’re looking your best and well rested. I felt really guilty at first since I didn’t have weekly photos, and the guilt made me even less likely to pick of the camera.
    You may not love the way you look now, but at some point down the line you’ll be happy to have them. This happens to me all the time. I’m such a perfectionist that I’ll take 50 photos and hate them all because my hair is slightly out of place, or my shirt isn’t straight, or it’s cropped a different way than I want. A few weeks later, when you’re bigger and look even less rested and you’re suddenly glad you have them, messy hair and all. You don’t have to share the ones you don’t like, save them for YOU.

  • Take lots of photos every time you pick up the camera. Every photographer on every shot will have some excellent shots and some stinkers. The more you take, the more likely you are to have some were every aspect, from lighting to smile, lines up perfectly.

  • Don’t overlook the stinkers either. Sometimes weird angles, or accidently cropped photos can have a nice artistic effect. In fact, now is the perfect time to play with different angles and cropping. You never know when you will strike gold, and memory cards can hold an awful lot of photos.


    Happy Accident: Unintentionally crop

Tips specifically for maternity

  • Face the light source, so the light is on the bump. Whatever is light will be the focus of attention. If you’re like me, you want that to be the front – baby bump, boobs and face. We don’t need people focusing on my derriere! I like to shoot in the middle of the day, when there’s the most natural light possible, and supplement the natural light with an artificial light source if need be.


    Another Happy Accident: Unintentionally exposure that emphasizing the light source (and also an unintentional crop)
  • Have the camera pointed at your profile rather than your front for a more flattering angle that emphasizes the bump. A 3/4s turn where you’re not quite profile but not facing the camera either also works nicely. It also helps to bend the knees slightly rather than have a straight leg. A bent knee emphasizes curves and can help mask extra lbs.
  • Don’t look at the bump, look about six inches in front of it, especially if you’re not sticking out too much yet. Another good strategy when looking down is to give three quarters face rather than look straight at the camera. Looking down while facing the camera makes your nose and forehead prominent.


    In this one Domingo is looking at my bump and I’m looking a few inches in front of it. I’m also turned three quarters while Domingo is closer to facing the camera. I think it’s a more flattering angle on my face then his. If you look very closely, you can tell I’m not looking at the bump. I just wish my hips were turned a little more so my butt doesn’t look so big.
  • Pick a top that’s at least a little form fitting. The shirt in the above photo wasn’t very form fitting and hangs off my chest, hiding the shape of the bump. In a couple of the photos (like the one to the right), my bump is completely absent from the photo. It’s not so bad in the above photo with the placement of Domingo’s hand on the top of the bump to reveal its shape. But if you compare that photo to the ones with the light pink tank top (or the other photos from other posts) you’ll find the more form fitting ones a bit more flattering.
  • It helps if you stand in front of a simple surface like a blank wall. If I was more serious about this, I would get a backdrop. I plan on getting one before the baby comes so I can do newborn photography, but these days I’m just a little too busy with other chores. For now it’s not too big of a deal, it’s easy enough to edit out the background.


    Left is the original photo, right has the background edited out with a slight filter to look like a vignette. It’s not perfect. You can tell the wall has been digitally removed (the strands of hair are the giveaway.)

I really do own more than 2 maternity tops. I promise.

April 11, 2012

Still Not Sure

Back in March I mentioned that one of the day care workers didn’t realize I was still pregnant. I’ve been waiting for a time when strangers and acquaintances feel comfortable saying something. So far I’ve gotten a couple second glances and smiles, but no one has been brave enough to say anything.

Today we went out to Japanese for dinner. We’ve gone there about once a month (the loyalty card prints the dates of the last visit) for a couple of years now. The owner/hostess sat us down at a table without a word. I noticed her twice stealing a glance at my tummy while walking by, as if she wasn’t sure. It wasn’t until the end of the night that she made a comment that we should take care, especially me, with a slight nod towards my belly. She still didn’t come right out and say it, still hedging her bets in case I she was wrong. The last time we were in the Japanese restaurant, one of the waitresses asked if I had lost weight. She wanted to know what diet program I was on.

My total weight gain so far is of 5-8 lbs, depending on what you consider my starting weight. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I wasn’t eating much in the first trimester, or the beginning of the second trimester due to migraines. I already had an adequate supply of fat stores, which baby seems to have taken from, since Zippy is not just on track, but measuring ahead and very active. My face and arms had thinned out a bit. At almost thirty weeks pregnant, I still don’t weigh as much as I did right before my wedding. (Not that I’m complaining about my thinned out physic, mind you!) In a lot of ways, I feel prettier than I have in a long time. I guess for those who don’t see me on a regular basis, I may not look all that different when in a baggy sweater.

There are twelve(ish) weeks left to go with Zippy being an inside baby. I’m sure I will get much bigger in that time!

March 30, 2012

Hello 3rd Trimester

I can’t believe how fast time is flying! It feels like just yesterday I was in Hawaii with Domingo, newly pregnant, and excited about all the changes that were going to start happening. I was analyzing every little twinge I felt for signs of pregnancy symptoms. Every time my stomach was slightly unsettled I’d wonder if morning sickness was starting. June seemed so far away. The anatomy scanned seemed so far away. Even the second trimester seemed so far away.


3rd Trimester Bump

I’m beginning to wonder if the first time mom nerves will ever go away. When we first got pregnant I was terrified it would be a chemical pregnancy. Once we got to six weeks, I was sure it would be an ectopic pregnancy. Then I was worried that it would turn out to be a blighted ovum. I kept worrying that something was wrong, and it was too good to last. I figured once I saw a heartbeat, reached the second trimester or vitality day, I would stop worrying about something going wrong. Here we are starting the third trimester and I still get nervous every time I realize I can’t remember when her last kick was. Does this feeling ever go away?

At this point I think I’m done with tweaking the registry. I kind of have to be. We’re in the home stretch now – only 3 months to go! I’m happy with what we’re considering purchasing, but recently I’ve noticed I’m considering more and more expensive items. At least I’ve been good about finding good sales so far. We’ve enjoyed an average savings so far of 21% off of the everyday price (not the marked up ‘list’ price.)

In fairness, though, I’ve only purchased about 1/10th the items on the list. I’m probably going to have to cave and pay retail on the rest. *Cringe*. At this point, though, I can no longer wait for the best possible deals on most things. We have some clothes for baby, swaddle blankets and a place for her to sleep, so if she were to come tomorrow we wouldn’t be totally unprepared, but it’s time to stop postponing baby purchases. Really. I’m going to pay retail. Maybe if I say it myself often enough I will believe it.

I should also get my act together regarding our baby to-do list. When is nesting supposed to kick in again?! At least I’ve re-hung the fire alarms and plugged in the carbon monoxide tester. We’ve made progress on the house, too, albeit a small amount of progress. Six months pregnant and I can still assemble/dissemble furniture with the best of them. I just require more bathroom breaks.

I can check one thing off the baby to-do list; zippy is officially enrolled in daycare. As much as I’d love to keep Zippy home with me, I’d never finish my thesis. At the same time daycare is expensive, and my fellowship is ending this June. We decided a good compromise was to enroll Zippy in day care three days a week, and have her home with me the other two. Fortunately, the center we picked is extremely flexible.

I was pretty sure I wanted a day care center and not an in home provider. The in home providers here are licensed up to 8 kids per adult, including 2 infants, which just seemed like an awful lot for one person. The day care centers are licensed for 4 infants per adult, which seems more manageable to me.

I had been reading that the best day cares can fill up a year an advance, so I wanted to get a head start and started looking in mid January. I am not sure if it’s the area I live in, or the economy, or maybe I’m not looking at the ‘best ones’, but there were no problems with spaces with any of the centers we visited. Every day care was surprised I was visiting while pregnant. In fact, when I dropped off the paper work to enroll zippy today, one person asked me if I had brought in my baby girl to meet everyone. I replied by rubbing my tummy and saying “yup, she goes everywhere I do!” Everyone laughed. I guess my baby bump isn’t as noticeable as I think it is.

Despite what the books lead me to believe, there wasn’t a lot of difference between the centers we looked at. The day to day of the infants’ room was identical, right down to the activity planning sheets. The places were also within a small price delta of each other as well. I’m sure there are more differences for toddlers and pre-kindergarteners, but for infants the parents set most of the schedule. So we settled on one that gave me the best vibe, friendliest staff, and all around good feeling. I really liked the director of the day care center we choose. After I called to say we would be enrolling in her center, she even made sure I was aware of the coupon for free registration on the website. A woman after my own heart!

So now I need to get zippy’s “school supplies”. The director sent me home with a list of items to bring on Zippy’s first day. I was surprised at how much the day care center was requesting, including 2 sets of changes and a sleeper ‘just in case.’ It made me realize I am probably way under estimating how many clothes zippy will go through in a given day!

February 23, 2012

Early Nesting

Well, actually I _wish_ it was early nesting. I’ve actually been low energy lately, so it’s a lot of forcing myself off the couch. We’re making lists of things that need to happen before baby comes. Wow are there a lot of things that need to get done! We have 18 weeks left, give or take, and I’m starting to freak out a little.

First and foremost we need to make room for baby. Despite my best efforts, I’m still not great with clutter. I have _so much clothes_. We’re converting the guest room into a nursery, but that means figuring out what to do with everything currently being stored there. Over the past year the guest room has become a sort of office annex, with all the extra books, software, music CDs etc. We’ve already dealt with the music CDs by giving away the ones we no longer listen to. The books are harder, since most are still relevant reference materials that we use. I still have my text books from college, which I’m kind of attached to. Then there’s the furniture. I don’t even want to think about how to address that yet.

In terms of safety, half our smoke alarms are missing batteries. Woops. There’s also a new law in California to require carbon monoxide detectors for homes with attached garages as of July 1st. When we had structural work done to our house shortly after moving in, the city inspected the fire alarms (even though they were nowhere near the work.) If we have to do work again, or sell the home some day, a carbon monoxide detector will be needed for our home to be up to ‘code’. If we need to get one anyway, we might as well get one now to protect our growing family.

Then there’s the repair work. Our home’s previous owner was a bit of a DIYer, only he/she wasn’t very good. She screwed the toilet roll holder directly into the drywall, without reinforcements, so of course it’s loose and falling off. She also installed a makeshift window seat, that’s similarly loose and wobbly. Every time the cat jumps on it, I think it’s going to fall down. Not something we want when zippy starts cruising!

Lastly I want to do a deep clean. I know we’ll be doing only surface cleaning once the baby comes (vacuuming, whipping of surfaces, etc). I want to do one of those really deep cleanings you do before showing your house to be sold, getting into every nook and cranny. I’m also including minor fixes and repairs. That way, a few weeks (months?) of light cleaning won’t be so bad.

So much still to do, so little time.

February 15, 2012

Still a Girl

Today was our second anatomy scan (a/s). Yep, Zippy was so uncooperative last time that they weren’t able to get all the images they wanted to see the first time around, so we needed to repeat the scan. The previous technician sort of warned us this might happened. During today’s scan they look at everything again, including double checking her gender. This makes three ultrasounds were she was predicted to be a girl. While I suppose there’s always a chance an ultrasound was wrong, the odds that all three are wrong are pretty slim so I think it’s safe to paint the nursery.

Needing to go in for a second anatomy scan was a little nerve racking. We knew there was something they didn’t like on the first scan, so we would be seeing a perinatologist (a high risk specialist). It also didn’t help my fears that when they couldn’t reach me by phone they still went ahead and booked us at the earliest appointment. Our midwife tried to assure us that the doctor was just being cautious, and the only reason to bring us back in was because they didn’t get enough images the first time around. She said these things happen about a third of the time. When I kept asking questions she pulled up our file and let it slip that they needed more pictures of the brain. That’s when I really started to panic – it’s kind of an important organ!

But I’m happy to report everything looked great! She’s a very healthy little girl. What had concerned them before turned out to be just a miss measurement.

As an added benefit of the second anatomy scan, the specialists had one of those neat 4D ultrasound machines. (The first place we had the a/s didn’t have the capability.) This early, the 3D scan looks a little weird. I keep referring to it as the ‘lumpy baby’ or the ‘alien baby’.


Zippy at 13 weeks


Zippy at 21 weeks, lounging away

And I thought those predict what your future baby would look like simulates generated scary images!

The technician did confirm that her position is very close to the surface. This could be why we’ve been able to feel so much movement so early on. It’s also part of the reason why the ultrasound technicians always struggle with her. Just like in photography, the depth of field is determined partial by the focusing distance. Since zippy is so close to the surface, the focusing distance (distance between the ultrasound wand and zippy) is small. Therefore the depth of field is shallow. This means the technician often can’t focus on multiple things at once. The technician joked I needed more “padding” to make things easier. Ha!

I’m a little sad that this will be the last time we get to see our baby girl until she arrives. I have to admit I’m tempted to do an elective scan just to see her again at 30 weeks when the 3D scan will look less alien like. I’m torn. There’s no medical need for an additional scan, and I know once she’s born, the ultrasound pictures will not be as exciting as photos of her! On the other hand, she’s our first and no more ultrasounds means waiting 19ish weeks to see her again.

We’re 20 weeks today! I can’t believe how much I’m showing since this is our first. I think it has a lot to do with her position. A couple weeks ago Domingo started feeling fetal kicks from the outside. At only 18 weeks. That’s crazy early for a ‘first’! Despite the colossal 20 week bump, weight gain has been non-existent. For the first trimester into the beginning of the second trimester I’ve actually lost weight, but I had the weight to lose so I’m not complaining.

We had our anatomy scan a week ago, so I can happily report Zippy is a girl! She is doing great although she continues to be very active and a non-cooperator. During the appointment, the ultrasound technician saw my belly move with a colossal kick. We were only 19 weeks and 1 day at the time! Neither Domingo nor I saw it (though I did feel it), as we were focused on the monitor. But at least I know I’m not crazy when I say I can already feel so much movement. If the technician can see the kick, than it’s reasonable to assume Domingo really was feeling it.

As for the non-cooperation part, zippy was hanging out pretty low. The technician was having a hard time getting the images she needed, so she ended up tilting the table so my head was lower than my feet in hopes that gravity would help slide zippy into a better position. I think that is why she started kicking so feverishly, she didn’t want to move!

I can’t wait to meet our little girl, she has so much personality already.

January 21, 2012

Who will Zippy Be?

I’ve been thinking a lot about who zippy will be when he/she grows up. Zippy seems to have so much personality already, mooning the technician at our last ultrasound and I can feel zippy bouncing away. I’ve been thinking I’ve been feeling movement for a while, but there’s no mistaken it now. What once felt like a bubble popping a few weeks ago now feels like hard object pushing out.

I know one thing about zippy, zippy will never be the ‘cool’ kid. From the ultrasound it looks like zippy has inherited mom and dad’s dance skills, which is to say, lack of dance skills. It looks like zippy was trying to do the monkey by putting one arm up and the other down.

If lack of dance skills wasn’t enough to solidify zippy’s lack of coolness, Domingo and I are already planning fun weekend science projects and museum trips for when Zippy’s a little older. Boy or girl, Zippy will be playing with hexbugs and legos (when he/she is old enough of course!). I really want to make learning fun as possible early on, and I think the best way to do that is play activities that help build important skills like creativity and logic, like doing puzzles with mom and dad. We’re hoping to strongly encourage math and science when zippy starts school.

It’s hard not to picture Zippy as being a computer scientist one day, since that’s what both Mom and Dad are. Of course, kids don’t always follow in the parents footsteps, and given Zippy’s ultrasounds it seems clear that zippy has a stubborn streak. I think zippy will have no problem letting his/her will be known. Domingo predicts zippy will be one of those babies that prefers not to be swaddled, given how active he/she is. I am skeptical. Zippy has a lot of room now, but as we get further along zippy will be more used to confined places. Either that, or I’m going to end up some amazingly bruised insides.

I’ve also been wondering what zippy will look like. We have similar complexions and darker hair (though it was lighter for both of us as kids), so that seems like a given. I have light eyes (green with a blue recessive trait), and my husband has dark eyes with the light eye recessive gene, so zippy has a 50/50 shot of dark or light eyes. Even though we both have straight hair, we both have family members with very curly hair, so I think there’s a possibility of curls in Zippy’s future. I did try a couple of those simulators that take your photo and your partner’s photo and predict what baby will look like. They were all pretty horrifying. Domingo’s baby pictures are pretty cute, so I will just have to hope zippy takes after him.

December 19, 2011

1 + 1 = 3…

… for large values of 1.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the math joke.

As the title implies, Domingo and I are expecting our first child! We’re happy to report we’re out of the first trimester woods, so to speak, and while anything could happen, everything looks great. So far things have been relatively easy. I’m tired and not 100%, which is why we largely stayed in for black Friday, and why I haven’t been baking as much but that’s to be expected. I haven’t had traditional morning sickness, but I have had an icky, nauseous feeling. My main symptom has really been fatigue. But feeling exhausted, or even slightly nauseated, is not so unusual for me – hello grad school stress.


Here’s Zippy at 7 weeks.

I did learn that I need extra sleep. I have been going to bed one to two hours earlier, and still wake up at the same time. If I stay up until my normal bedtime (or worse, later) I get so tired I need a nap the next day. There was one time I took a nap upstairs, walked downstairs and decided it was time to nap on the couch! This was extra problematic because I started sleeping through meals.


Here’s Zippy again just shy of 10 weeks.

Domingo nicked named the baby “zippy” after our 10 week ultrasound. Baby was moving his/her little legs and arms like nobody’s business. We have a very active little baby. Zippy re-earned his/her nickname at the 13 week ultrasound when he/she would not sit still long enough for the technician to take her measurements! In fact, zippy kept turning over and mooning the technician. At one point the technician jiggled the ultrasound wand over my stomach to convince the baby to move into a better position. When she took another look, Zippy was doing a headstand, back still to the technician, butt facing out! It was too funny. I suspect we have a troublemaker in the making.


Zippy at 13 weeks, waving hello.

We did get an early prediction of gender, but I’m going to wait until we have confirmation at the anatomy scan before I tell everyone.

Needless to say, we’re both super excited!

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