Michelle Merhar helps Houstonians across the city plan their day with her morning traffic report on Fox 26. It is difficult enough to wake up at 2:00 A.M. everyday to deliver the traffic report, but Michelle is currently facing an additional challenge: her first pregnancy. We asked Michelle if she would give us the inside scoop on how she’s managing her work load & pregnancy, her advice for other expectant moms, what she’s been craving and more. Read on for the full story!
Have you had any pregnancy cravings?
–Nothing too specific, but I can’t get enough Blue Bell Ice Cream, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fresh fruit! And don’t leave me alone with a box of Girl Scout cookies—they WILL disappear quickly! Overall, my husband and I have tried to remain pretty healthy: lean meats and TONS of fresh fruit and veggies. I make a “green smoothie” several times a week and we love it!
What is the oddest question someone has asked you during your pregnancy?
–I can’t think of just one question, but I’ve learned that nothing is off limits. Suddenly, you’re pregnant and anyone who knows anything about babies or pregnancy asks you whatever. And people love to volunteer unsolicited information and stories about their experience or their wife/loved ones experience!
How do manage to wake up at 2 am and do the news? What time do you go to sleep?
–It was quite the challenge especially in the 1st trimester! I really didn’t think I was going to make it. I would be ‘okay’ from 2 until about 7 am and then the morning sickness would settle in and not fade until bedtime! Plus, my first trimester matched up with Houston Restaurant Weeks, so we were hosting these amazing chefs who would cook for us live in the studio. Normally, this would be heavenly, but when you’re so sensitive to smells and certain foods, it was killer to sit there and smell seafood and decadent foods being cooked everyday while trying to get through the morning show. I just kept telling myself that this whole experience is such a blessing and the not-so-desirable parts wouldn’t last forever. It also helped that all my co-workers are SO supportive. They always had encouraging stories to share and were always so excited to share every little milestone with me. I will say my bedtime became a little earlier (8 pm) and naps became not just an option, but a necessity! Sometimes I wouldn’t even plan one—I would just “crash” with my dogs and sleep away the afternoon!
What has been your favorite look or outfit to stay stylish while pregnant? Do you have a favorite maternity designer or store?
–I love the Bella Band. My best friend got me one as soon as she found out I was pregnant—and it really was a savior. Since it’s been mostly winter-time for my pregnancy, tights and long tops/sweaters were great and looser dresses have been my favorite. I mostly found tops that weren’t ‘officially’ maternity, but cut in a way that was perfect for my growing belly. I finally ditched the heels about 2 weeks ago and I’m in ONLY flats now. (I’m clumsy enough in 5 inch heels without being pregnant!)
What things about being pregnant do you feel you weren’t prepared for?
–All the stories. Everything from trying to get pregnant to morning sickness ordeals and even labor/delivery details! It seems like once you go through this experience that everyone has something to share or ask—and NOTHING is off limits! It actually created stronger and unexpected relationships with lots of people! Most stories are very helpful, but after a while you’ll get a few stories that freak you out and I finally learned to just take one day at a time and do my best to take good care of myself. Also, I had a hard time breathing which surprised me—from sleeping to reporting to trying to exercise, shortness of breath was a frequent symptom up until a few weeks ago. I’m not sure that I was really fully prepared for any of it! Everyone’s experience is relatable but totally different. The baby’s movements were magical, but sometimes very uncomfortable and it was fun to actually experience her shifting, rolling and even kicking in there! I also wasn’t prepared for the response from our FOX 26 viewers. I got emails, Facebook and Twitter messages and questions everyday with “Congrats” and “Are you…?” and “Hang in there….” That was pretty humbling but fun because I got to know some viewers on a more personal level!
Oh, and my hair was amazing for a little while! Really thick and full and although it didn’t last long, it was fun to have it grow really fast and gain thickness.
What is your favorite pregnancy book?
–Of course I read most of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” I also enjoyed “What to Eat When You’re Expecting” and in the 2nd/3rd trimester started checking out lots of books at the library. I found it fascinating to read about lots of different opinions, studies, nutrition and options for delivery. There is so much information and I felt like I was my own biggest advocate—so I did my best to read as much as I could and educate myself while still trying to stay stress-free and relaxed.
Do you have any advice or recommendations for other working moms on how to balance busy work schedule and pregnancy?
–I am such a busy-body. I like to clean my own house and we enjoy doing the yard work, ironing our clothes instead of heading to dry cleaners, cook meals….you name it, but I quickly found that relaxation and reducing stress was imperative. I didn’t feel bad about having a cleaning service come once and we’ve hired a landscaping crew to help us with the yard, I didn’t feel guilty about just not wanting to cook anything and I’m on a first-name basis with our dry cleaners. So I guess asking for help was something I had to learn and it turns out was worth-while! Also, saying “no”. I had to learn to relax more, put up my feet and take it easy—which was especially hard as we went through the holidays. It was important to me to stay well and calm.
Did you debate on finding out the sex of the baby? Did your husband agree with your choice?
–We couldn’t wait to find out! We could have cared less if it was a boy or girl, but we are both thrilled to be expecting a baby GIRL! (My husband especially!) It’s been fun seeing him handle dainty girl clothes and learn to like pink and glitter! I know she will have him wrapped around her finger! Even if technology ‘got it wrong’ and we end up having a boy…we’re still elated and have a boy name ready to go!
How did you decide on the baby’s name?
–We really wanted a family name and mostly liked more ‘traditional’ names. We decided to honor my husband’s mother (who passed away when he was young). Her name was Gail. My mom thought Abigail would be cute…”Abby” for short and we knew immediately that it was perfect. We decided on Anne for her middle name because almost every female in both of our families either has Anne as a first name or middle name. We felt like Abigail Anne really represented both of our families nicely. We also loved that Abigail has biblical ties. We learned all about who she was in the Bible and loved that she was a small but powerful part.
What were your inspirations when decorating the nursery?
–Our home is beach inspired and that carried over into her room. We searched and searched for a soft pink and blue style for her bedding and never really found anything we were head-over-heels excited about. We checked out Pottery Barn Kids and agreed the “Savannah” collection was darling. I loved the vintage, beach-y floral design and we also selected the white ruffle curtains. They are very feminine and sweet. I thought they would be cute for her as she grows up! We decided not to paint and so far, everything has come together nicely! My best girlfriends threw a baby shower for me and parts of the decorations they made became decorations in her room!