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Full of Life: Mom-to-Mom Tips I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Pregnant Hardcover – April 14, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (April 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439110255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439110256
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.2 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nancy O’Dell is the host of NBC’s Access Hollywood. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her two stepsons, and her one-year-old daughter.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Pre-Conception

My husband, Keith, and I always knew we wanted to have kids. So after we had been married for a while, we wanted to expand our family. Keith already had two beautiful boys -- Tyler and Carson, whom I adore -- from his first marriage; they have their mom, and I'm their "Nommy," their Nancy mommy. But ever since I was young, I always knew I wanted to have a baby of my own. So there I was. I had met the man of my dreams, we had gotten married, I was beyond happy, and it felt like all the pieces were falling into place. So, let's do it, I thought. Let's have a baby!

The first thing I did after Keith and I decided to try to get pregnant was make an appointment with my gynecologist. "What do we need to do?" I asked. "Well," he said, laughing, "you need to have intercourse. And a lot of it." Yeah. I knew that one. But all kidding aside, I had questions...many questions.

The Numbers Game

I asked my doctor, "How long does it take for women to conceive?" The answer: Typical fertile couples (and I already knew Keith had swimmers) have a 20 percent chance of becoming pregnant with each cycle and an 85 percent chance of becoming pregnant within one year. It's true that a year is a long time, and can feel much longer when you're waiting for that little line to appear on a pregnancy test. But those odds seemed pretty good to me.

Peak Time

During that first visit, I also learned from my doctor when women are most fertile. In most cases, you're at peak fertility one to two days before ovulation and up to twenty-four hours after. The doctor explained that this had to do with the fact that while sperm cells can live two to three days inside of you, an egg survives for only twenty-four hours. Of course, as the doctor told me these things, I was taking meticulous mental notes. Pregnancy, or at least getting pregnant, suddenly seemed much more complicated than I'd initially thought. And to top it off, every celebrity I was covering for Access Hollywood seemed to be pregnant or had just given birth -- Angelina, Britney, Katie Holmes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mariska Hargitay. I could feel the pressure mounting.

Prep Work

One thing that didn't surprise me during my visit to the ob-gyn was when my doctor prescribed a prenatal vitamin for me. As a spokesperson for the March of Dimes, I know how important it is for all women who are even considering getting pregnant to take a prenatal vitamin. Here's why: Prenatal vitamins are high in folic acid, which can prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord (such as spina bifida). Not to mention, a prenatal vitamin helps provide extra amounts of iron and calcium. While a vitamin isn't a substitute for a healthy diet, it goes a long way toward making sure that women receive sufficient levels of the right minerals to create a healthy child.

Charting Ovulation

Back to the business of getting pregnant: we needed to have sex and we needed to have a lot of it. Doctor's orders! My husband wasn't complaining. But after weeks of diligently trying, when, at the end of the month, I'd get my period, I couldn't help but feel vaguely disappointed. Common sense told me there was nothing to be concerned about. I had read the websites and knew the statistics. And yet, I still felt defeated.

Several months into actively trying to put a bun in the oven, I decided to get serious. I was determined to address whatever was happening (or not happening) head on. So I began to chart my menstrual cycle meticulously. I bought an ovulation calculator, those pee sticks that can tell you when you're ovulating; a basal body thermometer to chart my fertility; and -- I kid you not -- a "fertility scope" (a mini-microscope type of device that you put on your tongue), which supposedly can detect whether you are ovulating based on the composition of your saliva. If there was a product on the market that could help me conceive, chances are I had it. Meanwhile, whenever my husband and I went out, we'd see pregnant women everywhere. And I swear it felt as if every other story I read for Access was about the "Hollywood Baby Boom." It was starting to feel personal. Why wasn't I pregnant?

The Buddy System

If you're feeling discouraged, my advice is: find a friend and buddy up. It helps to have sisterly support in your baby-making efforts, as well as someone to make you feel as if you're not alone in your quest to get pregnant. This really helped me. By happy coincidence, my very close childhood friend Abby was also trying to conceive at the same time. She and I would compare notes and share tips. That way, when another month rolled by and neither of us had a positive EPT stick to show for ourselves, we'd lift each other up with words of encouragement. "It'll happen next month. You'll see."

Abby had become my pregnancy partner in crime. The funny thing is that when I learned I was pregnant, I sat down at the computer to e-mail her my good news, only to discover an e-mail from her: she was pregnant, too! So, you see, the buddy system can work. Find a friend and partner up. Just be sure to pick someone with whom you can be open and honest. And if you don't have a buddy in your circle of friends who is trying to get pregnant, there are many pregnancy websites with forums where women can share their experiences.

Double the fun

If you wind up pregnant at the same time as a friend, consider a joint shower. My high school friends, Lane and Sonja, came up with this idea for me and Abby. It was like a mini high school reunion!

The Sex-a-thon

While we were trying to conceive, I spoke to another one of my childhood friends, Jan. I was telling her about how Keith and I had been trying and it wasn't working, and she stopped me midsentence and said, "I'll totally tell you how to get pregnant." And there, sitting on the beach in our hometown of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with both of our husbands next to us, Jan shared her method. She leaned in and said, "So here's what you have to do: have sex ten days in a row." Keith nodded with a big grin. Jan continued. "You have to have sex five days before your suspected ovulation date and five days after. And you have to do it at approximately the same time every day." Basically, it's like a sex-a-thon. The key, Jan explained, was committing to the rules. Keith and I looked at each other. We were in. So we followed the "ten days in a row" method. It didn't always result in our most romantic nights, but we stuck to the schedule. And you know what? It worked!

Just Relax

Looking back -- and this is an important note -- even though we followed the ten-day method, at the time I really didn't think I was going to get pregnant. I had started to believe we'd have to turn to science, which somehow took the pressure off and helped me to relax. The next thing I knew...BOOM! I was pregnant. We ended up conceiving 100 percent naturally. (Thank you, sex-a-thon!) I really believe it's because we were finally able to relax. So, try to relax! I know it's not easy, but I think it truly helps.

Hey, Lady! Turn Down Those Headlights

I knew that nausea, tender boobs, and exhaustion were possible signs of pregnancy. But I had never heard anything about hard nipples. It wasn't in any of my books, and none of my friends had mentioned they'd experienced it, which left me to discover this one on my own. Apparently, the elevation of the tiny glands around the nipple is one indication of pregnancy. However, I didn't know this when Keith and I were keeping our fingers crossed that we'd gotten pregnant. So, basically, I spent an entire week with my headlights on high.

The first time I noticed my extroverted nipples was in the shower. Why were they hard? I wondered. The water wasn't cold. And I certainly wasn't aroused at 6:00 a.m. Then I noticed them again when I was getting dressed for Access. I walked into Wardrobe, convinced they'd given me the wrong bra. "Where's the thicker bra? You know, the one I usually wear?" Of course, everyone thought I was crazy. "Nancy, this is the bra you always wear." And when I got home, my husband took one look at my high beams and figured his wife was in the mood. Little did we know that I had a bun cooking in the oven.

Are You Positive?

Home pregnancy tests have become so advanced that you can pee on a stick five days before you get your period and learn if you're with child. Which is exactly what I did. I couldn't wait until the first day of my missed period -- I needed to know as soon as possible.

So I peed on the stick and waited for the results. I tried to be Zen about it, but I swear, three minutes have never felt longer. When the time was up, I took a deep breath, turned the stick over, and there, smack dab in the middle of my EPT stick, was a very faint line. I called Keith in and said, "Am I crazy or is there a line there?" Keith thought he saw something, but he wasn't sure. I took two more tests -- same faint line results, but we both agreed that it looked like something was there. What it meant, if anything, was another story. I had to go to work, so I stuffed the remains of my various home pregnancy tests in my purse and ran out the door.

I was so excited I called my sister, Karen, and my mom with the "Guess what? I think I might be pregnant" news. My sister was cautiously optimistic and said, "I think maybe that's good news that you think you might be pregnant." I quizzed her on whether she thought the faint line meant I was pregnant, but she didn't know. Finally, I called my doctor for him to weigh in on what an almost-maybe-possibly line on a pregnancy test meant. He explained that the way the tests work is by detecting the presence of the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in the urine. So even though the line was faint, there was a good darn chance it meant I was pregnant! My doctor then told me to take the test again in the morning, when the p...


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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I loved this book so much I am going to share it with all of my pregnant friends!
Anne Alexander
A really fun read -- there are plenty of serious pregnancy books out there, but sometimes you just need to laugh about the crazy things that are happening to you!
Amazon Customer
There were so many helpful tips in the book that we have not read in other pregnancy books!
Matt P

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sharon T on April 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! It is such an entertaining read and with every story Nancy O'Dell tells, you learn a tip or piece of advice. I've never read one done this way before and I loved its format. It will make a great gift for my pregnant girlfriends as well. I watched Nancy O'Dell on The Today Show talking about her book with Meredith Viera. Meredith went on and on at how great the book is and I must agree!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By T.R.S. on May 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am in my sixth month of pregnancy and was looking for tips and advice that I had not already seen or heard. This book did not completely deliver. The tone of the book is of a new mother gushing over 1) How easy it was to get pregnant ("the ten days in a row method"). 2) How easy her labor was (She only had to push for 25 minutes. "It was all so much simpler than I had pictured." and 3) How she could not have survived the first few months without her night nurse. Not the typical experience for the average female. I think her celebrity had a lot to do with getting this book published.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Christina on September 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you would like to read a book by a self-centered celebrity gushing about her easy experience - buy this book.
The "tips" in this book were few and far between and most were silly (make sure you have a cute outfit to go home in & take a picture of the new family coming home). She doesn't cover most topics because she didn't experience them. This book would only be helpful if you have a pregnancy and birth EXACTLY like she did. While it is a short read, safe your time and read a book that gives well-rounded, researched information.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matt P on April 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I gave my wife this book as a gift because this is our first pregnancy. She couldn't put the book down and I got a big thank you for getting it as a gift for her. There were so many helpful tips in the book that we have not read in other pregnancy books! We love this beautiful book and are going to give it to our pregnant couple friends as a gift.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A really fun read -- there are plenty of serious pregnancy books out there, but sometimes you just need to laugh about the crazy things that are happening to you!
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By currant7 on September 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An insightful book on what Nancy O'Dell went through to get pregnant and during her pregnancy. I'm sure all mother's can relate to her stories one way or another. :)
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By nemetze on December 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ok, first of all I didn't know anything about the author so I don't agree about you will like it only if you are her fan. This is the first book that I've read about this topic, and I just loved it. It was pretty easy to read and I think it has very good advices and it's a good reference about what to expect when you are pregnant. It's funny that in some moments I have more information about some symptoms or things that may happen during the pregnancy, than some of my friends that are pregnant and have more children (by the way, i'm not even pregnant yet) but I can at least say "i read about it". it's a short book with good info.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have given this book to family members, friends and even acquaintances who are going to become new mommies. It's so much fun for the mom to receive a special gift in her first months and one that is a great guide!
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