Wednesday, July 27, 2022

July 2022 Shopping Reflections

Thanks to my recent particularly intense busy period at the office, I'm way behind on writing that post I promised about my first trimester "items explicitly labeled as maternity wear" shopping. Hopefully I'll be able to get to it soon. In the meantime, here's my July 2022 shopping reflections post, now including both maternity wear and "regular" wardrobe purchases. 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in my earning a small commission - at no extra cost to you - if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

K and I are headed off on a beach vacation - I guess one could call it a "babymoon," given the timing - to Turks and Caicos very soon! I absolutely can't wait. After all my long hours at the office this year and all the business travel, I was desperately in need of a chill vacation. We don't plan to do very much at all besides sit on the beach and relax, and that will be amazing. 

Fashion - (Total: $235.25) 

  • Old Navy Maternity Rollover-Waist Linen-Blend Shorts, flax - $25.99 - Although I didn't really have the beginnings of a noticeable baby bump until around week 13 of pregnancy, I did have so much bloating on and off before then that I haven't really fit into non-maternity pants since week 9. And between weeks 6 and 9, I only felt comfortable in my most relaxed-fit jeans, mostly the Tibi Brancusi (also here). These shorts are primarily for my upcoming beach vacation, as I don't normally spend much time wearing anything but dresses in the summer. (While my office is still not back to its original business casual dress code, shorts would definitely be a bridge too far!) I liked these linen-blend shorts better than another pair of Old Navy maternity shorts I also tried on, these are a bit lighter in material and have a less bulky rollover waistband. 
  • Longchamp Le Pliage Filet Bag, white - $119.76* - (also here and here) This was admittedly a highly impulsive purchase, inspired in large part by some of Lumiere d'Helen's Instagram posts. I think it'd be reasonable to consider this a ridiculous price for a bag comprised almost entirely of cotton string, but I'm really enjoying carrying it so far, it's so light and is a fun look for summer. At present, I mainly use this for groceries or as a second bag - in addition to my recently-purchased Madewell woven leather Transport tote (also here) - while I'm commuting to or from work. 
  • J.Crew Cotton Voile Ruffle Beach Dress, navy - $44.75 - My bump's now big enough to pull up the hem on my old swimsuit cover-up from J.Crew, so I was in the market for a new one. This "beach dress" definitely seemed relaxed-fit enough that it should work for pregnancy, even if it's not labeled maternity wear. I liked both of these colors, so I decided to get both since we'll be spending a full week in Turks and Caicos, and I plan to be at the beach or pool most of that time. 
  • J.Crew Cotton Voile Ruffle Beach Dress, vivid flame - $44.75 - This beach dress runs extremely large, by the way. Pre-pregnancy, I was a true size M or 8 or 10 in most J.Crew tops and dresses, and the size S/M in this is huge on my current body! Part of it is my being only 5'3'', I guess, this item is definitely designed for someone taller - as are most regular-sizing clothes ever, admittedly - so it's maxi-length on me. The cotton voile is on the very light and arguably flimsy side of what one might expect, I don't think this would be suitable for most people to wear anywhere outside of poolside or the beach. 

This month, I also tried on the Quince 14k bold stacker ring, but returned it because I didn't like the way it looked on my hand. I tend to like the look of daintier rings, and also some very thick ones, but a lot of more medium-sized "bold" rings often don't suit me as well. I probably also need something between sizes 7 and 8 for my index finger, so anything that's only available in full ring sizes probably won't work. 

Monday, July 25, 2022

The Second Trimester (so Far)

We recently bought the Nuna Pipa Rx infant car seat from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (affiliate links), but it's now sold out. 

Oh my, things went rather sideways at work in the past few weeks - some big deadlines ended up being far more difficult than our team expected - so I'm generally quite behind on things I wanted to write for the blog. I'm completely exhausted, but at least I'm taking some vacation time soon, which will hopefully feel rejuvenating! 

This entire year has been fairly nonstop at the office for me. With that plus the added stress of big life events like the pregnancy and those government job interviews, it's all left me with basically no mental energy for anything except watching TV when I get home from work. I haven't really been able to get myself to read for fun most of this year. 

I'm now in my 20th week of pregnancy, partway through the second trimester. Some symptoms are better than in the first trimester, particularly the nausea, and also coffee and tea taste a bit more normal again, yay! But I don't think my energy levels have actually improved that much overall. Most of my symptoms are honestly still pretty similar in intensity to before, especially the acne and disruptions to my digestive system (alas, both things are quite un-fun!). 

For the past 4 weeks or so, I've had my first persistent enough symptom to want to raise it at my next prenatal appointment: My skin gets itchy throughout the day. I'm not usually great about moisturizing regularly with body lotion, but I started to be religious about it and that didn't even help so much. There's no rash or anything, and I don't think it's from dry skin either. Thankfully, this particular symptom is a little better now than it was around week 17. I think this is a fairly common side effect of pregnancy and is generally benign, but it can also be associated with some rare but serious side effects, so I'll still raise it at my next appointment.

I mentioned that I started getting a small but definite baby bump around week 13 (and that I've had enough bloating on and off since week 7 that I personally felt like I generally looked like I had a bump at least half the time, particularly towards the end of the day). But wow, all of a sudden in week 19, my bump really, really popped! 

It's definitely gotten to the point where even strangers can notice, and I grumble internally about how I feel like a beach ball. If the bump looks and feels this large at 19 weeks, I shudder to think about what I'll feel like past, say, 30 or 35 weeks. I definitely have a more difficult time now with the hot and humid NYC summer weather than I did pre-pregnancy, but at least the weather will hopefully cool down somewhat by the time I reach the third trimester... 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

June 2022 Shopping Reflections

Now that I've announced my pregnancy, I can also start talking about maternity clothes, which have been a part of my life for a while now. It's probably different for every pregnant person, but I was getting extremely bloated by week 7 of pregnancy - in late April - so I first started shopping for maternity clothes then. It also felt like I'd gone up most of a cup size by that time (and that measurement is still growing, though more slowly now). The bloating in my stomach has never really consistently gone down until very recently, around week 13, only to be replaced by the start of an actual bump. As a result, I haven't been inclined to wear anything particularly fitted at the waist or chest for months now.    

I now have a backlog of items from before June that still need to be listed in a shopping reflections post, because up to now, I've been omitting anything I bought solely for maternity wear reasons. For obvious reasons, I wasn't going to disclose any of those until I felt ready to announce the pregnancy more widely! 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in my earning a small commission - at no extra cost to you - if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

I'll probably write a separate first trimester maternity clothing-focused shopping reflections post soon. But after that, future maternity fashion purchases will go into my regular monthly shopping posts. Spoiler alert, it's taken some time to get used to the changes in my body - and I'm sure many more changes will come that I can't fully anticipate yet - so I'm not able to be as careful or minimalist about maternity wear purchases as I've tried to learn to be with my other shopping. 

Fashion - (TOTAL: $697.67)

  • Heinui Cora Dress, blue gingham linen - $309.99 - My first Heinui Cora dress in cotton voile (currently available again), worn without the belt, has proven to be the perfect summer maternity dress, even if it wasn't designed for that. The Cora is generously sized throughout the body, so it should be wearable until the end of NYC's typically long summer in late September, when I'll be almost in the third trimester. (It might also remain wearable much later in pregnancy, but cotton voile wouldn't suit cold weather.) Heinui has a few linen or cotton-linen blend Coras in various plaids and checks, and I thought this blue gingham would be pretty. This material is a medium-weight linen, a bit thicker than what LinenFox uses. I like the gingham and the Cora design, but cotton voile is better for hot, humid NYC days, so I reach for my other one more often. Because the linen is also heavier and thicker than the cotton, this dress doesn't flow and lay quite as closely to the body when it's unbelted. 
  • LinenFox - $234.84* - I put together a LinenFox order in May, picking items I thought would work as maternity clothing based on their detailed product measurements. But I probably underestimated how much my expanding bust and eventual bump wouldn't work well with the length of tops not specifically designed as maternity wear. 
    • Harper tunic, white - This top - which I got in size S because it's quite roomy - will work for a while with my 16 week bump and current bust size, but maybe not for that many weeks after. At some point, the hem of this top will be too short to cover everything, or it could get too small all around before then. 
    • Olive top, black - This one-size-only top is very wide and relaxed, but the hem is unfortunately quite short in the front, so the shape already doesn't work for my current body. This store photograph makes that really obvious, but I'd seen some Etsy review photographs that suggested differently. Alas, hopefully this top will fit me after pregnancy instead.
    • Anna dress, graphite grey - This dress - which I got in size L based on product measurements - is suitable as a maternity dress, at least for now. So that's one item in this order that fully works for my intended purpose! (The LinenFox "Summer" dress I bought a few years back also works well.) The shape of the Summer probably makes a better maternity dress actually, as the Anna's waistline hits me at an odd spot now, somewhat far under my bustline (but I don't have much of a waist anymore so it looks awkward). 
  • Birkenstock Arizona sandals, taupe suede, soft footbed - $152.43* - (also here and here) - It's been hard to find sandals now that my ankles and feet could expand a bit in the coming months. My old Fitflop "the Skinny" sandals are still comfortable, but Fitflop has redone the current version, the Lulu, and the sizing and feel just aren't the same anymore. I wanted to try the Mephisto Helen someone here recommended, but those are a bit narrow for me at the moment. So I've ended up with regular-width Birkenstock Arizonas, which are quite roomy. I found these reasonably comfortable out of the box, though they also felt more broken in and less stiff in the footbed after wearing them around outside for the better part of two days. My recommended size 38 based on my foot measurements - my feet were a somewhat wide women's 7.5 before the pandemic; I've felt they were starting to lean slightly bigger than that even before my pregnancy for whatever reason - is definitely the right width and length, but the straps are a little loose at the tightest setting. I may need to buy a leather hole punch to tighten the straps a bit. 

*Includes international shipping and/or sales tax. 

That's it for this fairly shopping-heavy month, though many of these were made-to-order items that were in the pipeline since May. I'm also hoping to get my first trimester shopping reflections post up in the next two weeks or so. 

And ugh, I don't really know what to say about all the bad things from our Supreme Court this term. I've always believed strongly in reproductive rights, have always been ardently pro-choice since I was old enough to understand what it meant. Pregnancy has only intensified those feelings. I just don't understand how anyone could believe in forcing this on anyone who doesn't want it, or in letting legislators interfere with decisions that should be made solely by patients and their doctors. 

Since the overturning of Roe, my mind often strays to things that are hardly the point, hardly the worst of the countless implications. When the draft opinion leaked, I mentioned how I was reminded of an older article about someone who needed to travel from NYC for a termination for medical reasons abortion at 32 weeks. New York and Connecticut - my most likely future home states during my reproductive years - abortion laws are essentially identical. Abortion is freely permitted until "viability", commonly thought to be 24 weeks (but occasionally 26 depending on the provider). 

After viability, there is a health or life of the pregnant person exception in both states, which I believe - in practice - generally means abortions are not typically available after that time due to lack of a consistent, universally acknowledged way to interpret or apply that standard to all possible facts, see e.g. this TikTok from a Maternal-Fetal Medicine physician in Texas. In other words, that type of exception is likely not exceptionally meaningful in practice, if it might require a doctor or hospital to consult an attorney to determine whether the case squarely falls into the legal exception. (I don't think life-saving care for pregnant persons that may harm a fetus is generally denied in NY or CT past viability, but I wasn't really able to find information about peoples' lived experiences with that.) 

As an attorney, albeit not one who has ever worked on medical issues, I have a general understanding of how lawyers advise clients in general. I can speculate about how lawyers approach advising hospitals or providers on health or life of the mother exceptions and other exceptions in their home state's abortion laws (and other state's abortion laws as well, to the extent other states try to penalize out-of-their-state conduct). In practice, attorneys and their clients are often fairly risk-averse when interpreting laws that could result in civil or criminal liability under certain circumstances. 

Just some of my fragmented thoughts in these times, touching on some of the broad implications of Roe's overturning and other preexisting issues affecting access to care...