Candy + Bagel

Responsibly Handmade Fashion by Jean Chung


Life Things: Birth Plans

Life ThingsJean ChungComment

In somewhat of an Off-Topic post, I thought I would share the birth plan I made for Logan's arrival. I'm no longer the control freak that I used to be, but I still love having plans and spreadsheets and what not (much like how I'm managing my current destash challenge!).

As someone who lived her entire life not wishing to be pregnant and had no interest in babies, I had merely heard of birth plans before it was time for my own delivery. I wasn't sure whether there was a template to follow, much like how you would write your resumes, or whether the hospitals provide forms (they do, but if you do get them, know that these forms are extremely simplified versions of what you could write for yourself).

So what is a birth plan? Now that I have gone through the childbirth classes with the most amazing instructor ever and actually gone through the delivery, I think of it as how I envision my most ideal labor and delivery situation to be. 

Everyone told me that I was brave to try for a drug-free birth, how it's going to be horrible, and not go according to the plan. 

Well, that's what people as said about pregnancy too but my pregnancy was just wonderful, and people were amazed at how easy it went, right?  So I had conviction this time, that this too will work out the way I planned.


In the end, everything went according to the plan and I had a very quiet, drug-free, intimate birthing experience. My midwife and nurse were very hands off and my baby was happy, no fetal distress, I didn't even scream in pain because I was so focused on breathing through the contractions with my husband's counting. 

And I am convinced that my wonderful experience was due to how much I believed in my husband and my ability to bring this baby into the world the way we were comfortablet with, and how much we believed in our ability. I kept telling myself that my body was made to do this; that no drugs or medical intervention is needed to do something so naturally human. I was fearless because I had a great birthing partner and a baby who would know what to do on mommy's body. 

So here it is: My Birth Plan

Disclaimer: You can use the file to create your own birth plans but please do not share or distribute my birth plan anywhere. This is part of a very personal, private experience.  




Logan in his first week. Squishy but pretty skinny.

Logan in his first week. Squishy but pretty skinny.

Life Things: Knitting, Sewing, and Blogging Plans for the next few weeks

Life ThingsJean ChungComment

We are now 1 week away from my due date, so I thought it was the right time to talk about my blog plans for the next few weeks following Baby Logan's arrival.

Obviously, I won't be able to blog as often as I did with a newborn. As this is our first child, we have no idea what it is going to be like! Will it just be chaotic? Or will we at least have an hour or two of peace where we could have some personal time? Will I even feel up to sitting in front of the computer? 

Since there are so many unknown factors that could potentially affect this one-woman operation, I plan on posting once or twice per week, just catching up on the current WIPs/FOs. I plan on doing a lot of all-over-Stockinette projects and baby tube socks while watching the baby. I'll also have several sewing projects to share with you, as well as sewing pattern reviews! 

But I will definitely be posting things more often on my Instagram account: @candyandbagel. Taking pictures of my projects and the baby, spending 15 seconds on editing/writing, and pressing Send... THAT, I can do. :D  So in the meantime, definitely follow me on Instagram to keep in touch! 

My in-laws are coming tomorrow from Taiwan, and they'll be staying here until the baby's arrival, and fortunately, my MIL can stay longer to help us get used to our new lives :) 


Life Things: Products I loved during pregnancy

Life ThingsJean Chung2 Comments

I still have a couple more weeks to go in my pregnancy, provided that Logan will arrive close to his due date, so I thought putting together a list of things I loved during this pregnancy would be helpful. As a first timer, there were a lot of things I didn't know in the beginning, so I did a lot of research. And although I have NO PLANS to get pregnant again ANY TIME SOON after this one, I think it'll be a good reminder/list for baby shower gift ideas too!

1 Mama Bee Belly Butter $13.00  | 2 Aura Cacia Organic Sweet Almond Oil $13.65  | 3 Belly Bandit Flawless Belly  $49.95  | 4 Maeband Maternity Band $21.95  Maeband Etsy Store  | 5 Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment $18.00  | 6 Organic Peppermint Tea $4.49/box  | 7 MegaFood Blood Builder  local WholeFoods stores  

1 Mama Bee Belly Butter $13.00 | 2 Aura Cacia Organic Sweet Almond Oil $13.65 | 3 Belly Bandit Flawless Belly  $49.95 | 4 Maeband Maternity Band $21.95 Maeband Etsy Store | 5 Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment $18.00 | 6 Organic Peppermint Tea $4.49/box | 7 MegaFood Blood Builder local WholeFoods stores 

1. Mama Bee Belly Butter

When I first learned that I was pregnant, the main thing I was worried about was changes I would be going through appearance-wise. So many times have I heard, "I used to be _____, but 'ever since I had kids,' I am now _____. Oh.. you'll see when you have kids yourself." type of complaints from so many older women and I just did NOT want to be like that. Shallow? Perhaps. But it was important to me to feel like myself even though I am becoming a mother.

I wanted something natural and fragrance-free, and this product had very good feedback on Amazon's review page. I ended up going through the entire tub and got a second tub just a few weeks ago. I started using the product at Week 10 (I know, a bit too early), and yes, my belly never really grew that big -- at the end of 37th week as of now, I'm still measuring 30th week -- but I never had to deal with itchy skin or stretch marks. I used this in the morning and sweet almond oil at night, put on the Flawless Belly wrap to keep the moisture in, and my skin was indeed flawless all throughout this pregnancy.

2. Aura Cacia Organic Sweet Almond Oil

This one wasn't a new addition to my skincare routine. Since I was in high school, I used this Sweet Almond Oil with rosemary, tea tree, or lavender essential oil, depending on my needs. I use rosemary oil as anti-wrinkle blend on my neck area. 

There are a lot of people who stay away from essential oils during pregnancy, I've since learned. The decision has to be yours, but I used essential oils throughout my pregnancy. There are almost no research showing any dangerous effects of topical use of essential oils   during pregnancy; the popular tonic oil from Clarins that many pregnant women swear by also contains herbal essential oils, including rosemary. For the first 35 weeks of my pregnancy, I didn't even know that some people are cautious with herbs like rosemary during pregnancy (rosemary, in medicinal quantity, is said to cause contractions; the quantity used in cooking, like rosemary chicken, is perfectly safe), so I used rosemary oil and sweet almond oil on my stomach almost every night with no problem. I am taking it with me in my hospital bag, along with the lavender oil.

Whenever I use oils on my body, I try to stick to the organic oils, to be on the safe side. Because it's definitely more oily than the Belly Butter, I put it on before bed.  

3. Belly Bandit Flawless Belly

This one was absolutely the most frequently used item during this pregnancy. From about Week 15, I wore it EVERYDAY. I didn't show much until Week 30, so I didn't need it to "lift" or "support" my belly, but I could definitely tell the difference when I wore it with Belly Butter or the oil. My stomach felt so much more moisturized and soft. 

It even came with 1 oz Mama Mio stretch mark butter, but unfortunately it contained wheat germ oil, and I'm Celiac, so I had to give that away. 

Now at 38th week, the Flawless Belly also serves as a belly band for those shirts that became too short for me to wear alone. I wear this and then wear my regular tops like shirts or tshirts, so that my belly won't show. :D 

4. Maeband Maternity Band

Did I mention that I was super worried about my appearance in the beginning? (I still am) I bought this Maternity Band on Etsy in Week 8 or something. I just assumed that my belly will start growing exponentially and that I won't be able to wear any of my clothes very soon.

Well at Week 38, I am still wearing my regular jeans with the button closed and fit into some of my dresses with zippers as well. But sometimes when I have to sit for a long time and Logan starts hiccuping, the skin around the jeans button feel very very weird. So starting around 36th week, when I know I'll be sitting in the car for a while or something, I zip up but leave the button undone, and use this band instead. It's easily covered with the Flawless Belly wrap or long cami tops I wear under t-shirts. 

On a side note, this is why I want to tell you if you're a expecting mom for the first time, don't go buying maternity clothes too soon. You might not need to buy any, because nobody knows how big you'll get, and when. If you buy maternity clothes too early, they may never be worn before the weather changes. I still have not bought any maternity clothes. I still wear my regular jeans, and I can still find some dresses to wear in my closet for more formal functions. I am small, but I was always the one to gain weight very easily, so I just assumed I would gain a ton of weight on this pregnancy too. I never knew I would only be gaining 16 lbs by 38th week.  

So definitely, wait till you really need maternity clothes before you go shopping. You may be able to just get through with some modification. 

5. Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment

Last week, I noticed my nails were peeling. I've always had brittle nails before finding out about my Celiac disease, and they have gotten much better since I found out and changed my diet. But I needed something for my nails and the bottle of Nailtique Formula was too old to use (I hadn't needed to use it since the dietary changes). 

I just joined Julep Maven club in the beginning of this year, so I added this Nail Treatment to my box in the February box. I started using it last week, and I really think this is as good as the Nailtique Formula one that I swore by before, but I like this one better because it has pink shade and makes my nails look very well manicured.

6. Organic Peppermint Tea

Again, there are some people who will tell you about some dangers of herbal tea during pregnancy. There are almost no research showing that drinking herbal tea is dangerous during pregnancy (medicinal use is different because they use herbs in much larger quantities). 

Peppermint tea has always been a part of my diet. I started drinking it when I was first diagnosed with gastritis, and I love how it helps me digest. I didn't stop drinking it just because I was pregnant. I just changed the brand to an organic one. And I still love it, and think that it's one of the major reasons why I never had morning sickness or heartburns.

7. MegaFood Blood Builder

My doctor recommended that I start taking iron supplement even though my hemoglobin level was still fine.

I did some research and found this brand of supplement. Especially on pregnancy forums, people said this one didn't have any negative side effects such as constipation or nausea like other brands.

I found it at my local Whole Foods store, and am glad that I didn't experience any side effects from it. I am familiar with iron deficiency, since I always got dizzy and weak before getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease, but I'm still feeling fine, no dizziness. Some reviews I've read also said that their hemoglobin level went from low to normal within a month of taking this! I haven't done any blood test since the 2nd trimester so I don't know but I'm thinking it's a good sign that I haven't experienced any typical signs of iron deficiency.


So these are all my favorites. And some of these, I am going to be using even after the baby. And now I have to ask, if you've been pregnant before, were there any products you really loved or found very helpful? 


Disclaimer: I purchased all the products mentioned in this post. The opinions in this post and blog are entirely mine, and I was not otherwise paid, compensated, contracted, or obligated to review this product.