Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Week 28 and 29: We have a Midwife!!! Home birth bound.

P.S. I know this is a month late…better late than never!

The past two weeks have been extremely exciting! For starters, my husband and I made a final decision to go with a home/water birth and chose a midwife who we both absolutely adore!

For the past several months - actually, ever since I started this pregnancy journey - the desire for a home/water birth sat on the sidelines as I attempted to manage the diagnosed, “high-risk” situation I was in. As I inched closer and closer to my delivery date, my anxiety increased as I debated on how exactly I would talk to my OB about my desires for a natural birth. Our discussion about alternate glucose testing didn’t go well, so I could only imagine what sort of response I would receive when I handed him my birth plan to look over. My requirements were extensive and completely “out-of-the-norm”. I just knew that very few would truly be met. However, no matter how anxious I got, I stuck with the OB because I felt that being in a “high-risk” situation, it was the right thing to do for the safety of my baby.

Then I met a wonderful friend who enlightened me more about home births and recommended a few midwives to contact and consider. After contacting our chosen midwife, I discovered that my condition, unless severe, is not really a high-risk situation at all. While we do not know the actual length of the septum that forms my bicornuate uterus, we’re positive it’s not long enough to cause any damage to me or my baby’s development. Yep, all this time, I could have had a less stressful, WAY less expensive pregnancy. I mean, I’m grateful that the doctors were being cautious and I no doubt, enjoyed seeing my baby girl every couple of weeks, but the amount of anxiety I had to endure and the amount of money that I had to put out was not worth it at all. Lesson learned. This alone validated my decision to switch to a midwife; even if I did have to put more money out. At least I knew I would finally be in the care of women who truly CARE about me, my body and my baby and follow the same traditional methods that I so strongly believe in.

After making this decision, finding our wonderful midwife and finally making the switch, I have to say that I am BEYOND relieved. The birth plan is basically out the window (for the most part); our midwife has been paid in full so I have no more financial worries (except for getting reimbursed from insurance – that’s a story for another day); and last, I can actually enjoy preparing for my birth! I couldn’t be happier!

Besides choosing a midwife, I not only had my first appt with my midwife but I also had my babyshower! I told you it was an exciting two weeks. J

 

Week 28

As I mentioned above, the first thing we did this week was choose our midwife, Kim Haines, midwife and owner of Barefoot Journey Midwifery and Co-Op. After meeting with Kim at our free consultation, my husband and I both agreed that she was the perfect candidate for the new ‘provider’ position. Her personality was catchy, she was easy to talk to as well as to understand, and we both loved her attention to details. Oh, and her price? Incomparable. Just looking at her website you get an idea of all the services you get for one set price. When you consider how much you fork up for prenatal care and for a hospital birth, THIS is nothing! AND if you can work it right, you may actually get partially reimbursed by your insurance company. So basically, at the end of the day, I’m paying very little for the best care that I actually WANT! How can you say “No” to that? You don’t. J
 
 
 

Week 29


The following weekend after meeting and choosing my midwife, I had my babyshower! When my mom first mentioned a babyshower a month or so back, I was a bit hesitant since this was my second child and I didn’t want to look greedy. After having it though, I’m so glad we went ahead with it! It was just a small get together with family and friends that turned out to be a huge success thanks to my mom’s efforts and fabulous party planning skills. That day I couldn’t have been more blessed…and more tired! HAHA.
 

 
Oh, and the overwhelming amount of gifts! It made me realize that I still  have a lot to do to prep for this baby. Aaaah!

The next day I had my first appointment with my wonderful midwife! We went over all the details of our contract and discussed sort of how things would go from now until the day I deliver. She taught me how to test my urine for certain things such as proteins and we tested my glucose via a finger prick which turned out to be perfect. She then had me lie down flat on my back in order to feel where the baby was positioned.  Come to find out the little booger is not only diagonally breeched, but she’s also in the OP, or Occiput Posterior, position. In other words, her bum is down towards my pelvis and she’s facing outward towards my belly button as opposed to inward towards my spine. What does this mean!? Well, not much now, but if she remains like this and doesn’t move into the right position, then momma is going to be doing some serious body work to get her to adjust. It also means I made the perfect decision to go with a midwife. At least I know she’ll deliver a breeched baby if necessary. The OB would send my butt straight to the ER for a C-Section. THAT was NOT gonna happen!  

While lying down we also listened to the baby’s heart beat using a fetoscope, which was unique and different. Instead of hearing the loud, rhythmic heartbeat that you get with a doppler, I heard a faint, muffled heartbeat straight from the womb. That made the fact that I’m carrying a tiny human being so much more real! It was amazing! Thankfully, I was able to hold back my happy tears as to not scare my midwife, but honestly to hear my baby girl’s heartbeat in that way pulled the deepest strings of my heart. I fell so much more in love with her that day and my excitement to soon see her, grew dramatically.  Can’t wait!

Other notes from my appointment include:
  • Weight – 144 Lbs
  • Blood Pressure – 116/70
  • Due Date – January 2nd (Yes, we’re currently going with my LMP)
By the end of my appointment I had a list of fun things to do:
  • Visit Spinningbabies.com and practice moves to get the baby to move into the optimal position
  • Schedule an all-day natural birthing class
  • Massage my perineum to prevent tearing
I also added:
  • Continue practicing hypnobirthing techniques
  • Complete billing paperwork for insurance reimbursement
  • Figure out which oils to purchase for labor and delivery
  • Rest and relax!
That last one is still a toughy, but I’m learning.
 
 
 
 
As for the rest....

My Diet


Breakfast: Kombucha, yogurt parfaits, overnight oats and an occasional smoothie
Lunch: Salads galore!
Dinner: Cooked greens, potatoes, squash and veggies usually with rice
Snacks: Apples and nut butter, bananas, dried fruit, raw trail mix, popcorn
Cravings: Anything salty, fresh, baked bread, cheese and chocolate. Horrible!

My Exercise Routine


Nothing is better than a ½ mile walk with my pup. I’m also doing some stretching when I can.
 
 
 

Pregnancy Symptoms 


The baby moves frequently which I love to feel. The pressure of the weight, however, has caused a lot of hip and pelvic pain. Stretching seems to give some relief but honestly, I think it’s just all part of the fun.  Gotta love it!

Short and sweet. Nothing to complain about. Nothing to brag about either. Just cruising along on the pregnancy boat. Our final destination is not too far away!

Wohoo!


Beth

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Weeks 24 – 27: Living Happily Uncomfortable + Birthing Options: Home vs Hospital

 

In the past month my belly has grown at a rapid rate. I think my belly has finally reached the maximum amount it can “normally” stretch before the real skin stretching begins. Every day my belly feels like it is being pushed out to abnormal lengths. It’s tight, heavy and uuuuuuuuuncomfortable! And when she moves…ouch! BUT I’m not complaining because I’m happy! All this stretching means that my baby girl is growing which is super important. The only downside? My clothing options are decreasing by the day.  My only pair of work pants are becoming extremely uncomfortable to wear; my jeans, while fit with a rubber band, tend to fall consistently; and my belly is beginning to outgrow my favorite dresses. Is it time for a trip to the consignment shop for maternity clothes? Yes, yes I think so.

In other news, I’ve been doing some serious thinking on whether or not I want to give birth to my baby in a hospital as I had originally planned. While it may be a better option financially, personally I fear that my requests as listed on my birth plan would not be met or completely ignored. I want a natural, stress free, medical intervention free birth. Will I get that at a hospital? Not likely. So I have decided to weigh my options and see what it takes to have a midwife instead of an OB and a home birth instead of a hospital birth. I just feel a home birth will be so much more personal and relaxing. I’ll be able to choose the way I labor, the way I deliver and what to do with my baby after she is born. I’ll have freedom! My body, my baby, my choice.
Have you had any experience with a midwife or home birth? If so, how was it?

DIET

Breakfast: I have been adding some variety to my breakfast lately. (Shocker, I know!). I still love me a delicious parfait loaded with banana and pomegranate seeds topped with nuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds and flax. Superfood heaven right there! I’ve also been testing out a few fruit smoothies as well as a few hearty, creamy smoothies like pumpkin pie. Yumm! My most recent obsession is apples, nut butter and banana! We went apple picking 2 weekends ago and my house WAS loaded with apples, so I decided why not indulge in as many as I can! I’ve almost hit that “I’m sick of ‘em” point. Almost.
Lunch: Nothing new here. Still salads, salads and MORE salads with my fave dressing: lemon garlic tahini! Nom nom nooooom!
Dinner: Still eating what’s in season. I have a serious obsession now with greens. I literally CRAVE cooked greens with garlic and lemon (Can you see a pattern here!?). Soooooo good!  Sometimes I’ll throw in some olives or tomatoes or even chickpeas. Seriously, ridiculously, obsessively good.
Snacks: Sprouted Trail Mix and Hummus top the list! Oh and cookies. Exclusively Angela’s (From Oh She Glows) Vegan, Gluten Free ChocolateChip Cookies. I can, and sometimes do, eat them all….day….long! Call me pregnant cookie monster. It’s that serious. Cookie, cookie, cookie, coooooookie!
 
Cravings: Greens, soups, and cookies

 

EXERCISE

I still take my dog, Rex, on a daily walk around the neighborhood. It takes us anywhere between 15-30 minutes and is approximately ¼ - ½ a mile. Not too far but a nice, brisk walk none the less. Now that it’s getting a lot colder outside, I’m all for quick and easy.

I’ve also been trying to incorporate a prenatal yoga class or two during the week. It’s sad to see how weak I am ever since I lost all of my  weight and gained it all back. My muscles lack the tone and strength that they used to have. Hopefully the yoga plus the walking will help me gain some of that back. It’s been really nice to relax, breath and stretch! I can really feel it in my back and hips. They love me J
 

PREGNANCY

Weeks 24 and 25

Honestly, at this point, I don’t recall much about weeks 24 and 25 except for the fact that I was growing by the day.  Time is flying by so fast and with the fall/holiday season in full swing, we’ve been busy baking goodies, picking apples, attending festivals and enjoying the cooler weather. My pregnancy has become such a part of my life that I literally have to write down things about my pregnancy in order for me to remember. Sad.
24 Weeks!


25 Weeks!

Week 26
In week 26 I started dealing with some nausea, especially after I ate. I was afraid that I was going to have to deal with the third trimester morning sickness, but thankfully it went away after a few days. My daughter was recovering from a pretty bad cold so I wonder if maybe I caught a small bit of it.

As for the rest of the week, well, it was quite busy. First, my husband came home with a new, slightly used, Nissan Pathfinder after realizing that in a few months we would be traveling with not only a child and a baby, but also with a grown pup. With our family quickly expanding, it was only smart to purchase a vehicle that would comfortably fit us all. So far, the family, including Rex, is totally loving it!
That weekend, we drove our new vehicle up to Graves Mountain to attend their annual Apple Fest. While it was wet and a bit chilly, the time spent with family and our pup was still enjoyable. What surprised me the most was that even after all that standing and walking, I was not sore! How is that!? I get home, stand for 4 hours and I feel like my body was hit by a truck. Weird.



Lastly, I forced my husband to drive me into “town” to seek out maternity clothes at a consignment shop that I had heard so much about. While the selection of my size, my style clothing was very small, I still walked out with three dresses and a pair of hideous, yet comfortable dress pants for only $40. A deal!? I think so. I’m in love with dresses and wish to wear them all the time. I have a feeling consignment shopping will be my new favorite hobby for the next couple of months. After all, I’m not getting smaller. Just ask my husband…
On Sunday morning, while lying in bed waiting for my husband to wake up.

Husband: “I’m hungry!”
Me: “Well, I don’t know what you’re going to eat. I need to go grocery shopping. Eat your pork rinds from yesterday.”

Husband: “I’m hungry! I’m hungry!”

Me: (Lifting shirt to watch belly move)
Husband: “Well, we can tell SOMEONE’s being well fed!”

We both busted out laughing! Yes, my husband called me fat but at the same time I couldn’t be mad because he honestly had a point. Have you seen this thing!?
26 Weeks!
 
Week 27
In week 27 I started dealing with a new pregnancy symptom: feet swelling.  Every evening my feet, especially my left foot, would swell to the point that it was visibly puffy and red. It wasn’t painful or uncomfortable, but I could definitely feel it. Knowing that swelling, while normal, can also be a sign of a serious condition such as preeclampsia, I took precautions and rested a soon as it became visible. Elevating my feet seemed to help and the swelling would be gone by morning. The odd thing is, the swelling occurred all week long, until Friday. From Friday into the weekend, I dealt with very little if any swelling. So weird.

I’ve also been dealing with boosting my self confidence. The lack of clothing options, plus my hatred for the maternity dress pants that I find absolutely unfitting, has left me a bit down in the dumps. I desire to be beautiful and somewhat sexy yet all I see is frumpy. My hair is dragging, my beautiful long nails, all broken and my feet and legs slightly swollen. I hope I can get out of this rut soon because I know I’m beautiful. I just have to see it for myself. It doesn’t help that I’m a bottle full of raging hormones. I used to never cry and now I cry 2-3 times a day! The joys of pregnancy!
Week 27!

On Friday, I had my one month checkup at the OB. Everything is looking great. The baby is growing, again, on point! Her head, belly and femur all measure perfectly. Her heartbeat was rapid; between the 140’s – 150’s. She weighed in at around 2lbs and 5oz and was smiling for us while watching her on the 3D cam. Every time I see her I fall more and more in love with her. She’s already perfect.
 

 
As for momma, I gained 10lbs in one month!! Yes, I’m 137lbs right now! I finally reached my pre-pregnancy weight, plus some, which was good news for everyone. My BP was 120/74; normal for me. And the swelling, according to my doc, is completely normal. Checking in perfect!
That day, reality finally hit. This baby is coming SOON! My doctor notified me that after my next appointment I would be visiting every 2 weeks to make sure I’m progressing well. Every two weeks!? Am I seriously that close!? All I could do was panic. I have so much to do!

 

Checklist

And then there’s this…. I don’t even know where to start

  1. Decide on type of birth and contact a midwife ASAP
  2. Find a hypnobirthing class
  3. Stock up on needed oils for delivery and post partum
  4. Continue yoga routine
  5. Finish baby registry for babyshower
  6. Stress less and ENJOY pregnancy

That last one is a doozy…
Any advice!?

Until next time, enjoy the cooler weather and have a Happy Halloween!

Beth

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weeks 22 and 23: Baby Bump Alert!


The past couple of weeks have been quite hectic with the new puppy settling in and going from newborn to toddler in just two weeks. I’m chasing him around, getting him out of trouble, and constantly correcting him when he does something inappropriate, like climbing right out of his playpen. He’s a mess but we love him none the less and he’s definitely giving me some serious training for when the baby comes. Not only will I have managed to learn to once again multi-task while trying to watch an attention needing baby, but I’m also getting used to waking up in the middle of the night, spending all my free-time cleaning and doing chores, and most importantly, walking around and doing tasks as quietly as possible so I don’t wake up the sleeping pup. It’s actually quite hilarious HOW similar having a puppy is to having a very young child and HOW similar my responsibilities and actions are. To all pet ONLY owners whom for years I disregarded as being “parents”, I apologize. You ARE a parent. It’s hard work!
See his face!? Full of food!
Aside from puppy duty, I have been trying my best to take it easy in order to prevent the aching pelvic and back pains I encounter at the end of every day. Unfortunately, the  moment I get home I tend to get into this must-get-things-done-now mode and completely forget to take a break every 30 minutes or so until it’s too late and my body is screaming for rest. By 8:30pm everything from my waist down hurts; my tummy is contracting; my feet are swollen; and I’m straight up exhausted to the point I usually crash around 9:00pm. I’ve realized resting is a must, along with drinking more water. Haven’t been too good at that either… Oh the woes of a pregnant mother!
Other than that the pregnancy has been going well! Wohoo!

Ready for an update!?

DIET

Breakfast: For the past two weeks I have had a serious crush on yogurt parfaits. Fresh fruit, creamy plain coconut yogurt and nutty, crunchy nuts and seeds make the perfect hearty breakfast for the morning time. My favorite combinations include peaches and cream and strawberry banana. What I am a bit disappointed about though is the lack of protein in coconut yogurt. It contains a ton of fiber and some really good for you carbs (sans the sugar), but it lacks the protein you may find in regular greek yogurt. So now I’m on a search for high protein vegan yogurt that doesn’t contain soy. Any brands you know of?
I’m also starting to crave creamy, delicious green smoothies again so I’m sure I’ll be posting about those next week!

Lunch: I’m surprisingly doing very well on having one salad a day. This delicious recipe for Avocado Hummus by The Veggie Indian definitely helps! Mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, green onions and a huge dollop of hummus makes the perfect salad.  Yummy!
On my days home, I sometimes make a warm, cooked meal for lunch as opposed to a salad. My go to has been a spinach/greens and chickpea curry! Onions, garlic, spinach, chickpeas, tomatoes, bell peppers, and LOTS of curry powder with a splash of milk makes me smile every single time. The warming spices are just perfect for this time year as fall is slowly settling in to place. Mmm mmm!

Dinner: Speaking of fall, for the first time in my life, I am soooooo happy it is here! About a month prior to fall hitting, I was craving for everything fall like: pumpkin spice, apples, winter squash, cooler weather, etc and now that it’s here, I honestly couldn’t be more happy! With fall produce slowly hitting the shelves of the farmer’s market, I have been getting my fill whenever I possibly can! Apples are a daily snack and dinner is either a sweet potato or winter squash. Hearty, filling and oh so yummy!!! I’m sure I’ll eventually be sick of fall produce but until then, eat on I say!
Snacks and Cravings: Still enjoying my weekly growler fill of local kombucha. It’s my go to every single morning! Apples are a snacking staple, especially when combined with some sort of nut butter, which I consume a jar of per week. Yes, you read that right; one jar per week. I also love snacking on trail mixes. My favorite is Living Intention’s Sprouted Mixed BerryTrail Mix which I buy by the bulk at WholeFoods. That stuff is nature’s candy and trust me, I consume it like candy! It’s addicting. Thank goodness it’s loaded with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

As for cravings, every time I smell popcorn I want popcorn. However, I have been trying my best to NOT cave in to that craving since corn is a common food allergy. It’s been hard! I also want all things chocolate - no surprise there - and fresh bread! The worse craving I have had is for cheese. Yes, cheese and NO, vegan cheese does not do…except when it’s on pizza. I’ll admit I take a nibble here and there of my daughter raw, local cheddar cheese but I haven’t caved in and eaten an entire bowl of mac n cheese or anything of that sort. Will power is key, but man is the struggle real!

EXERCISE

I can’t even…. The puppy gives me enough exercise. I do go on walks with my pup and chase him around continuously. I probably need to restart my yoga considering I’m in more pain now than I was before. I just need to find the motivation…


MY PREGNANCY

23 Weeks and 4 Days!
I had my very last 2 week appointment on Friday (*sniff*) and everything looked well. The baby’s head, while still measuring small in comparison to the rest of her body, is proving to be growing at a normal rate. It hasn’t caught up to her body but it hasn’t gotten smaller either so the concern of hindered growth is now behind us…at least for now. She’s gotten big that is for sure and so has momma!

22 Weeks: Thinking I may need to retire that dress soon.

If you recall from my very first post, I had lost a significant amount of weight, almost 15 pounds to be exact, due to severe nausea and vomiting. Eating was impossible and so my body suffered. After the 15th week I began feeling better and started consuming whole foods and meals again. At first I didn’t gain any weight but I didn’t lose any either. Then slowly I gained my weight back. Last month I had gained 4 pounds and weighed in at 119. This past Friday I weighed in at a whopping 127! Yes, I am back at my pre-pregnancy weight, and trust me you can tell! My belly has gone from adorably small to this huge soccer ball sized belly that is always tight and uncomfortable to carry around. The weight gain definitely explains why I’ve been having so much back and pelvic pain. It also explains why I’ve had to start putting away some of my clothes for post-pregnancy use. Waaaaahhhh! BUT I’m still happy because I know I’m healthy and my body is just growing like it’s supposed to. Now, instead of looking questionably pregnant, I look officially pregnant! Wohoo!

23 Weeks!
As for symptoms, I haven’t dealt with much except for the evening pelvic, back, and leg pains and well, gas. I actually have really HORRIBLE gas. I know that may be too much information for some of you but seriously I haven’t dealt with chronic gas this funky since I was eating gluten and beans. I mean it’s bad and every day! I can’t escape it! No matter what I eat, I get it. Must be a pregnancy thing. I feel so bad though because it’s so unpleasant that my puppy runs away from me when he smells it. HAHA! Anyways, other than those two things, no other weird or funky symptoms, thank goodness. I’m actually feeling normal sans the giant belly I’m carrying around nowadays. Can’t complain.

GOALS

Seeing as I’m past the half-way point I feel like now is a better time than never to really start prepping for this baby and to prep my body for labor and delivery. In order for that to happen, Mrs. Procrastinator needs a goal list. So here we go.
  1. Workout at least 5 days a week for at least 10 minutes – walking, yoga, etc
  2. Drink more than 3 bottles of water
  3. Begin drinking pregnancy tea
  4. Research and start practicing hypnobirthing techniques
  5. Start Registry
Let’s see how well I do this week before I add any more than 5.

Until then I'm  going to enjoy this beautiful FALL weather and honestly, so should you!

Beth

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weeks 20 and 21: Celebrating the Half Way Mark!

I’m so excited that I finally made it to the half way mark!! I’ve been anxiously waiting for this moment and it has finally arrived. I can now “relax” considering things are going well. The baby is doing well and so am I. We’ve made it this far and that deserves a celebration!

For most women, celebrating the half way mark means pedicures, massages or new wardrobes but for me, well, I did something a bit out of the ordinary. Okay, it was WAY out of the ordinary. Momma adopted herself a new puppy!

 
Yes, we added a new member to the family. Our Rex boy is a beautiful blend of purebred Golden Retriever and Black Lab Mix. He’s spunky and energetic with tons of love to give. We love him to death,.but boy has he been giving us some serious training! Right now, at only 7 weeks old, he needs to be taken out every two hours at night. Yes, my husband and I get up every two hours. He needs to be fed, pooped picked up, bathed, etc. Sound familiar!? Yes, Rex is our little baby. He’s a handful but hey, we figured, might as well get some training in before our baby girl comes right!?

 
What have you done or purchased to celebrate your half way mark!?

My Pregnancy: Weeks 20 and 21

My Diet

Breakfast – I’m still chowing down on chia/yogurt/fruit parfaits. An occasional apple and nut butter or smoothie or even a grapefruit gets thrown in from time to time but yogurt is hitting the spot right now. Creamy, sweet goodness. Mmmm!
Lunch – I’m still eating salads every day although I’m starting to get a bit sick of them. I haven’t been very creative with them, but even so, salads are becoming….eh. Time to start finding something new to enjoy! Any ideas?
Dinner – Dinner is still usually something cooked. I’m in love with winter squash or sweet potatoes right now slathered in vegan butter and sprinkled with salt. Some green onions is a fun addition every now and then.
Snacks  - Still drinking kombucha for a morning boost. I’m also craving and enjoying organic vegetable juice. There’s something about cold tomato juice that just hits the spot for me. Yumm! So does chocolate :P Oh and roasted seeds, especially pumpkin seeds, are another addiction of mine right now. Love crackin’ and chewin’ on them!
My diet right now is a bit bland and boring. I’ve been so busy taking care of the new pup and creating lunches for my daughter that my food has sort of been pushed to the back burner. No worries though. My focus is healthy foods…whether or not they hit the spot.

Exercise

Sooooo I was doing great with my daily prenatal yoga until the pup came. However, the exercise didn’t end there. No, actually I’m more active (and more exhausted!) than before! I’m constantly up and down two flights of stairs since the pup sleeps downstairs in the basement, and I’m always running around the house and outside keeping the pup active.  It’s an exhausting task but at least my heart stays pumping. I’m hoping to get back into prenatal yoga this week. Wish me luck!

My Pregnancy

The last two weeks have been pretty smooth sailing. The baby has been moving around A LOT and I feel every flutter, kick and punch. She’s an active one and I am quite okay with that. I love it actually!
On the unfortunate side, my clothes are beginning to get a bit snug or straight up not fitting at all. I’m down to one pair of capri style yoga pants and white capris for the summer. Some of my dresses are still working for me, but that won’t last long. Fall is definitely coming as the mornings have been getting quite chilly. Thank goodness for the long sleeve maternity shirts I found at all of these consignment shops I have been going to these past couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to attending a few more within the next few months. Whatever I can do to find cheap maternity clothes, I will do. Why spend hundreds on clothes I’ll only be wearing for a couple of months?

21 weeks with one of my consignment shop Ts. Sorry for the mess!
 
As for the baby, this past Friday, my husband and I attended my 20 week scan. This was my hubby’s first time going to an appointment and it was long, yet fun to watch. They viewed everything, from the uterine arteries to the baby’s bottom. We had to confirm just one more time that it was a girl. Hehe! As I mentioned, she was a serious mover. She moved around a lot during the appointment and made it a bit difficult to get every shot that the docs needed. We did happily get some good photos this go around which totally made my day. She’s grown so much!

 
 
The results of the test, so far, have been positive minus a few minor concerns. First, the baby was measuring 4 days behind schedule. Seeing as this was the first time they measured her via head circumference as opposed to crown-to-rump, it’s no surprise that her age is a bit off. However, because she’s measuring over 3 days behind, the doctors want to continue measuring her every 2 weeks to make sure she’s growing normally and to make sure that the bicornuate uterus isn’t hindering her growth. The other concern they have is with my heartbeat.
When measuring the pulses of the uterine arteries, the doctors discovered that my heartbeat is irregular. I recalled having this same issue when I was in the hospital getting ready to deliver my first daughter. While being poked, prodded and what not the doctors learned my heartbeat was irregular and ordered an EKG. From what I remember, it was nothing to be concerned about. A heart murmur or palpitation I think. I’m assuming the case is the same this go around as well. I never had any heart issues before being pregnant so I’m guessing this is just another pregnancy symptom. I mean my body is working overtime to pump blood. However, the doc recommends an EKG. Whether or not I will get one is another story.

Other than that, everything is going well with the baby and well, that’s all I really want!!

Have you or someone you know dealt with similar pregnancy complications, major or minor? If so, how did you or she deal with it? It can be quite stressful at times!

Beth

Monday, August 25, 2014

19 Weeks: Feeling Overwhelmed + Thoughts on Food Safety

I can’t believe that tomorrow I will have hit the halfway mark of my pregnancy! The first half was quite a journey full of new experiences, but I am looking forward to finishing the second leg of this amazing race. So far everything has been going really well and I pray it stays that way for the remainder of this pregnancy! However, one thing I never expected to feel was so overwhelmed with all the choices I have to make.

For some reason this go around I am more aware of the decisions I have to make about myself and my baby. From doctors, to vaccines, to baby equipment, to birth plans I couldn’t be more overwhelmed with the number of things that have to be done, phone calls that have to be made, decisions that have to be decided. I know I still have at least 16 weeks to go, but I feel the need to be prepared this go around. And what about baby stuff? There are so many consignment shops and used goods being sold right now. Do I buy now or wait? Not sure why I’m so anxious - maybe it’s the perfectionist in me currently in overdrive - but I am trying my best to just take it slow and enjoy my pregnancy. After all, I only have 20 weeks max left.
During your pregnancy were you as anxious as I am to be prepared or did you just go with the flow?

This Week’s Update:

Diet

Breakfast: This week I have been enjoying this awesome new breakfast parfait by Food Matters. It’s loaded with protein, carbs and healthy fats to keep anyone happy and satisfied throughout the morning. The bottom half is a combo of chia seeds, coconut, mixed nuts and seeds and oats soaked overnight in almond milk and flavored with maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. It is topped off with plain greek coconut yogurt, berries and some cacao nibs for a crunch and served with an extra drizzle of raw honey or maple syrup to give you a sweet, hearty, creamy breakfast that will you make you crave for more. Seriously, it’s that good.

High Protein, Superfood Breakfast Parfait
Serves One
 
 
  • 2 Tbsp whole oats
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 Tbsp raw nuts and seeds
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • Drizzle of maple syrup (about ½ Tbsp), plus more to top
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 4 ounces of plain, greek coconut yogurt
  • ¼ cup berries or preferred fruit
  • Cacao nibs, bee pollen, hemp seeds, goji berries, etc to top (optional)
    1. In a 16 ounce jar, combine the oats, chia seeds, coconut, nuts and almond milk. Stir well and soak overnight in the fridge.
    2. The following morning, mix in the maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla.
    3. Top the chia mix with yogurt, berries and preferred toppings.
    4. Serve with an extra drizzle of maple syrup or raw honey, to taste.

Lunch/Dinner: Nothing special here. More salads, more olives, more tahini, more goodness! I’ve been enjoying some delicious grilled veggies at dinner time. Whatever is in season goes into my belly J
Snacks: Still drowning myself in local kombucha! This week’s flavor is strawberry mint!! Yummy! I do have to take it easy though. I feel energized and a bit “buzzy” after having a small glass (even though that’s from the Vitamin Bs NOT alcohol) and the probiotics, well, seem to be running through me. That whole constipation when you’re pregnant stuff…yeah, I never have that issue, especially when drinking kombucha.
Is it safe to drink kombucha while pregnant? Haha that is the number one question I have been asking for practically everything I consume. From cacao powder, to maca, to kombucha, to herbal teas, every product purchased or consumed has been through that question. Is it safe?
I have battled time and time again with this question and I have concluded that as long as I consume these foods in small amounts or in moderation, then they are safe to consume as long as my body accepts them. For example, I have realized I need to slow it down a bit on the kombucha. My portions have been cut from 8 ounces to 4 ounces in order for my body to adjust. If or when I feel I’m okay consuming more I will. The same goes for cacao, maca, cilantro, tea, etc. Now those foods that doctors and nutritionists say avoid, I avoid. I won’t take the risk if there is one. But I don’t see a huge risk in enjoying wholesome, raw foods. As long as I research, listen to my body and consume in moderation, my baby will be just fine.
Other snacks I’ve been munching on include trail mixes, celery and hummus or nut butter, apples, and nutritional bars from Go Raw, Vega, etc.  Nom nommy!

Exercise

Hahahaha!!!! I have been doing MORE than just sitting on my tush! I have been exercising! Not just walks or biking either, but yoga! Yep, free prenatal yoga thanks to YouTube. I’m currently only doing 10-12 minutes a day in order for my body to adjust. Having not worked out for several weeks now, my body needs to adjust to the stretching and strength training that comes with yoga. So far I have been loving it and so has my body. My body doesn’t feel as sore or as tight, and my back doesn’t hurt as bad. I definitely plan on continuing yoga throughout the rest of my pregnancy, increasing the time as I regain my strength and balance. I may throw in some pilates too J

My Pregnancy

19 Weeks Wearing Shirt I Bought At Consignment Shop
 
This week hasn’t been too eventful. I did have a regular appointment with my new OBGYN which was fun. I decided to switch from a large practice to a small practice located in my own county for several reasons. I have to say I am very proud of my decision to switch. Not only do I feel more important and cared for at this practice, but the doctors are awesome, and our local hospital has an amazing birthing center focused around mother-baby connection. They also seem to have a very natural approach to birthing, seeing as the birth and stay all takes place in one room. and they have a Jacuzzi tub you can relax in while laboring. I’m super excited to be birthing at this hospital and I pray my experience is as good as I’m expecting it to be.
At my appointment I finally learned I have gained some good weight; five (5lbs) pounds to be exact…in one month! Not a whole lot in terms of numbers, but my clothes beg to differ. A majority of my clothes are quite snug and some don’t even fit anymore L It’s a bit depressing, but every time I look in the mirror I realize I look pregnant and not just fat anymore!! Wohoo!! I’ll take that! In terms of clothes, maternity sweaters, yoga pants and dresses have all become my go-to for pregnancy wardrobe. Whatever makes me feel sexy J
Speaking of clothes, I did hit up a consignment shop this past weekend and I have to say I am quite obsessed. I have come to realize over the years that used clothes and items are aye okay. I used to be that shallow, germaphobic individual who would try her best to purchase everything new, but I have come to realize used is cheaper and just as good (as long as it doesn’t deal with the continuous contact with any kind of bodily fluids like breast pumps…those I still by new. Still a germaphobe).  I bought a few things for my 7-year old as well a few maternity clothes for me. Unfortunately I bought nothing for the baby. The moment I stepped in and looked around I became extremely overwhelmed. What do I buy? Do I really need it? Will this work in our planned nursery? Finally I called it quits and just searched for goodies for me and my daughter. I came to terms that now was not the time to buy baby stuff. I am just not ready yet.
As for symptoms, only back pain and TONS of baby movement! I feel her movements all day long and they are getting stronger as well as higher. As for the back pain, the pillow in between the knees has really been helping. I seem to be sleeping better too ever since I started it. Thank goodness!

This week I have to say has been busy but fabulous. I feel great, look great and I’m eating great! It’s about time! J

Beth

 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

18 Weeks: Boy or Girl!?


Another week surprisingly gone! It’s been very busy with school having started on Monday. I was so focused on planning, prepping and perfecting meal plans and schedules that I didn’t realize the last week of summer was already over. Thankfully, my busy planning has paid off. Everything has been smooth sailing so far. Let’s pray it stays that way!
In terms of my pregnancy, this week has been full of changes and exciting news. My body has once again been going through some major physical and emotional changes, which I will discuss more below. Also, we finally confirmed the sex of the baby yesterday at my 18 week cervical check up and I cannot WAIT to share the fabulous news with you all!
So here’s this week’s update:

 

My Diet

Breakfast – The milkshake train has finally left the yummy station. While I still enjoy a chocolate or banana almond butter one at least once a week, my body has been craving for other things such as jackfruit, chia puddings and kombucha.
Last week I picked up a 17 pound jackfruit baby to finally kill my cravings that have been lingering for the past 2 weeks. After an hour plus of prying the pod babies from the stringy hands of the mother, I enjoyed a beautiful bowl of juicy, crunchy, sweet jackfruit. It was completely satisfying; I was genuinely happy.
 
Jackfruit served as my breakfast for two days straight until I learned that jackfruit, in large amounts, was not recommended for pregnant women due to its laxative properties and high Vitamin A content, which combined with a multi, could lead to overdose. So I decided to turn the jackfruit from breakfast into a small treat and found other meals, such as chia pudding and fruit, to serve as my breakfast.
Another thing I’ve been craving is kombucha. During the first trimester, I could barely take the taste of the local kombucha I had been purchasing on a weekly basis. My taste buds were extremely sensitive to the tart flavor and so I had to quit my habit until my appetite and taste buds returned to normal.
On Saturday, while visiting a local brewery with my husband, I stopped by my local kombucha brewer, MTO Kombucha, for a taste of one of their flavors on tap. I was a bit scared to taste it in fear that it would send my taste buds into a fit, but thakfully I loved it! I purchased a growler of Hops flavored booch to bring home, and I’ve been drinking an 8 ounce glass every morning to boost my energy and get my morning started! I heart kombucha and so does my tummy!
Oh, here's my favorite chia pudding recipe from this week...
Blueberry Muffin Chia Pudding
  • 3 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp of maple syrup (or more to taste)
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • Cacao nibs and/or almond slices, to top
    1. In a small jar, combine the chia seeds and almond milk and stir well. Allow to sit in teh fridge overnight.
    2. In the morning, or before eating, add the vanilla, maple syrup and cinnamon. Stir well to combine.
    3. Top with blueberries, coconut, almond slices and whatever else you like!
    4. Enjoy!
Lunch – The kale salad kick has sort of left too. I’m still addicted to tahini dressings and olives, but I’ve been adding them to fresh, leafy salads and zucchini noodles as opposed to kale. Nothing has changed though. Every meal is still loaded with creamy, lemony, garlicky, briney goodness. J
Dinner – I haven’t been doing very well with dinner this week. Every evening has been mostly me snacking on celery and nut butter, fruit, rice or cabbage. Not very healthy I know…but it was one of those weeks.
Snacks – I’m still munching on Peeled Snacks trail mix with chocolate and I have sort of an addiction to So Delicious ice cream, especially the Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl! Soooo good! Other snacks include celery or apples with nut butter, dates, veggies and hummus, and fruit!

My Exercise Routine

Still biking and walking! I’m planning a few yoga routines this week to get some stretching in. The most difficult part has been finding a time in my busy schedule to workout. I’m so busy from the time I wake up to the time my daughter goes to bed that my usual workout time around 7pm or so is now my “rest and get ready for bed” time. My body is just exhausted. However, I have made a commitment to work out once every day no matter what. Short walks, bike, yoga, whatever, I just need to get this body moving..even if it is for only 10 minutes!

My Pregnancy

The post everyone has been waiting for!
Let’s start with those crazy symptoms shall we? This week I have noticed a serious change in my emotional state. While I am a pretty happy, carefree person most of the day, I can become very emotional, clingy and extremely needy in the afternoons. I cry…a lot… and I feel the need to have my husband’s full attention from the time he gets home to the time I fall asleep.
I’m not sure why I turn into this crazy, dramatic being come the evening times but it’s causing a lot of stress on me and my husband. He’s confused because all of sudden I’ve gone from independent to high maintenance and I’m confused because I’m afraid I’m hitting some sort of depression mode. Thankfully, last night I finally realized that I need to get a hold of my emotions and start communicating, through words, how I feel and what I want. I can’t expect him to understand something I don’t even understand.  I’ve also decided to start adding meditation back into my routine. Hopefully that’ll help me not only gain control of my emotions, but also help me sleep better at night.
Besides the emo issues, everything has been going well. I do have some common symptoms such as pregnancy insomnia, body aches and an increased appetite with a decreasing size in my stomach. The last symptom is the least fun as a foodie. My eyes and plate are always a lot larger than my stomach.
 
This week I also grew...a lot! I literally woke up with a belly that was not only larger, but higher as well! This has resulted in more movement that I can feel even when standing! I used to only be able to feel the baby move when sitting, but now I feel it move all the time! Of course, the emo side of me freaks out when baby moves a lot one day and not the next. One day when I was on a paranoid high, I found this and decided to save it and keep it with me at all times! A little reminder that everything is okay J
 
Now for the reveal! On Monday I visited the high-risk doctor for my 18 week cervical check up AND to ask for confirmation on the sex of the baby. After hearing everything was looking perfect and normal, the nurse moved forward with confirming that our baby is……
 
 
Image From: https://www.freemanhealth.com/EGreeting/CardDetails.aspx/?id=14&sid=1&cardid=1
 
Yep! We are having another little princess! Clearly God thinks we need more females to rule the world! I do not disagree J
 
As an announcement I decided to crop a portion of this hilarious video of a baby reveal gone wrong. It has been a joke since the beginning of our pregnancy that my husband’s reaction would be very similar to this little boy’s since my husband wanted a boy super bad. While not exactly the sex we were hoping for, both my husband and I are extremely thrilled and truly blessed no matter what. We’re just happy to be having a baby! As for my daughter, well, she screamed in glee!
After revealing the sex, my nurse tried her best to get some sort of pretty profile pic of my daughter. Unfortunately, the little booger would not cooperate. Instead she hid behind the placenta and gave us this…can you spot the baby!??


Overall, it has been another successful week. While I’m still working hard to adjust to the every day changes of pregnancy, all in all, I’m happy and healthy. My baby is looking healthy and growing beautifully. I couldn’t ask for anything else.

Now to search for a male puppy for my husband…he’s going to need it to counter the rising estrogen levels in this home! Hehe!
See you next week!

Beth

Monday, August 11, 2014

17 Weeks: Resources, Tools and Supplements for a Successful Plant Based Pregnancy


I can’t believe I’m 2 weeks away from the halfway mark! I feel like it wasn’t so long ago that I discovered I was not only pregnant, but 2 weeks behind my expected schedule. I thought to myself that day, this is going to be the longest pregnancy ever. While time has seemed to slow down a bit, realizing that I’m almost 18 weeks is sort of scary. Where did the last 10 weeks go? The realization has definitely set me in panic mode as I start thinking about all the decisions I have to make. As a chronic procrastinator, for the first time in my life, I’m actually well ahead of the game. I’ve already been reading, researching and writing down all the decisions I have to make. From cord blood banking to how I want my baby to be handled in the delivery room to the dreaded decision of pediatricians and such. I’m very thankful I started early because it’s taking some time to figure it all out. Of course, I couldn’t have gotten through without some useful resources. From books to sites, I’m going to share with you everything I have found helpful so far.
 

Books

When I first discovered I was pregnant, my desire was to follow a fully raw diet. Being new to the whole concept of eating healthy and plant based while pregnant, I wanted to find some helpful resources that could guide me through my pregnancy. I wanted to make sure I was getting all the nutrients I needed for me and baby.
The one book I have found most helpful so far is called “Well-Rounded:The Ultimate Guide to a Raw Food Pregnancy” by Joanna Stevens. I had purchased the book along with her other book, “The Milk Way: The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding on a Raw Food Diet”.  “Well-Rounded” has served me well so far. Not only does it contain valuable information about the nutrients necessary for a growing baby, but it also contains information on caring for your body and preparing for birth, along with helpful tips on how to make living with a newborn a bit easier for mom. I use her book very often as a reference as I continue to figure out what to eat and what decisions to make.

 
I do want to note, Joanna’s book is not just for the rawsies; it’s for vegans and vegetarians too! As you will learn, Joanna didn’t follow a 100% raw food diet. She also included some kefir as well as cooked foods when she so desired. I have learned in the past few weeks that it’s all about balance and listening to your body, pregnant or not.
If you’re new to a plant based diet and/or pregnancy all together, then some other helpful books include “The Everything Vegan PregnancyBook” and “Your Vegetarian Pregnancy”.  I have both and each one is loaded with information from A to Z about both veganism and pregnancy. They also contain some delicious, nutritious, easy to make recipes as well.
Last, my sister just lent me a book called “Pregnancy Sucks” by Joanne Kimes. I have yet to fully dive into it, but from reading a page or so I can already tell this book is a must read. Not only is it humorous but it sheds some light on the not-so-glamorous side of pregnancy. It’ll make mommas like me who have been head over the toilet bowl feel much better about not being alone in the miserable pregnant woman department.

Websites

Besides the oh-so-famous Babycenter website, here are a few others you may find helpful, especially when following a predominantly plant-based pregnancy.
Joanna Steven’s Blog: The author of the “Well-Rounded” book also has an extremely informative blog. I love reading her articles about pregnancy and parenting seeing as her ideals seems to match up well with mine. She also shares some great info on nutrition as well as recipes that are healthy and delicious.

Oh She Glows: Angela, author of the “Oh She Glows” blog is currently in her third trimester and has been blogging about her pregnancy along with the all the delicious foods she loves to make and eat while pregnant. I find her website helpful when it comes to making delicious, complete, vegan meals that will not only satisfy, but provide the nutrients my baby and I need. Her growing section, “baby” is also full of helpful resources as well!

The Detoxinista: Megan, author of  “The Detoxinista” blog, just had a beautiful baby a little less than a year ago and has been sharing with the world her pregnancy as well as her life as a new mother. Her site is also full of helpful resources, product reviews as well as good-for-you recipes to satisfy both the pregnant and nursing momma.  

BabyCenter App: Okay, this isn’t a site, but it’s the one and only app at this moment that I have been using to track my pregnancy. What I love about the BabyCenter App is that it gives you little tidbits of info as well as an activity to do daily. For example, today they shared a little baby joke and gave me the task of trying a relaxation technique to help me sleep better. I find the app fun and it keeps me on track.

Supplements

I know that supplements are not exactly a resource, but I feel they belong in this post considering it’s one of the first things you research and purchase, along with books and sites, when you first discover you’re pregnant.
I didn’t do too much research on which prenatal to purchase. I figured with a well-balanced, nutrient dense diet, my prenatal would serve as a supplement and nothing else. I was partially right. After reading Joanna’s book, I realized I needed to make sure my parental multi-vitamin contained all the necessary nutrients, in its correct form. Thankfully my prenatal is pretty good. I personally chose to take the Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal by Garden ofLife due to the fact that it’s raw, plant-based, and predominantly organic.

 
I also take an Omega-3 supplement, Algae Omega, by NordicNaturals. The Omega-3s are sourced from algae as opposed to fish making it 100% plant based as well. I do not take a Vitamin B-12 supplement at this moment. Since my multi-vitamin contains 100% B-12 already, I don’t want to overdo it. I know that our bodies do not absorb all of the nutrients from supplements and food, but as long as I’m not deficient, I’m good.  
I know there are several other brands of vegan/raw prenatals and omega supplements out there to choose from. It can get overwhelming to decide which one is best. Take your time to research before deciding. Just know that anything is always better than nothing.

Do you have any go-to resources for pregnancy and/or parenting?

This week:

My Diet


I’m still stuck on protein milkshakes for breakfast. They seem to hit the spot every time and they keep me well satisfied. I noticed that if I don’t have one in the morning time, I snack like the Cookie Monster at a cookie shop; it never ends.
My new obsession has been raw kale salads for lunch. I honestly can’t get enough of them. The weird thing is, I have been eating the same salad everyday for over a week! If you have been following us for a while you know I rarely eat the same thing twice; especially not in the same week! I don’t know what it is, but the earthiness of the kale combined with the tangy creaminess of the dressing and the briney saltiness of olives just makes every kale salad I have consumed the best freakin’ think I have ever tasted. It’s crazy I know.
My go to recipe has been the Weekend Glow Salad by Angela from “Oh She Glows”. The dressing is so good, I swear to you, you’ll lick the bowl clean.

 
As for dinner, I’m still whipping up extras of whatever cooked sides my family eats. This past week I got to indulge on crunchy black bean tacos with lettuce, tomatoes and fresh guac as well as a bowl cilantro-lime rice, fajita veggies and guac to top it off. Yeah, we’re Mexican food lovers.
Ooh and snacks! Oh man I’m a horrible product purchaser when it comes to snacks. My favorite find this week are the new, organic trail mixes by Peeled Snacks! I am currently in love with the Coco Nosh flavor: bananas, mango, coconut , peanut, cashews and dark chocolate! Even though the bag says 6 servings, it usually only lasts two! Soooo good! You must find and grab ASAP!

 
In other news, I have been venturing out a bit and enjoying some wild caught seafood. I’m not sure why I am so drawn to seafood, but it’s the one, non-vegan food that I have been really wanting most during this pregnancy. As a person who believes in listening to her body and not being a food perfectionist, I have decided to give into these desires. I have enjoyed crabs, fish as well as mussels on very rare occasions. I do not consume them daily, not even weekly. Just once in a while. I have found consuming seafood once in a while to not only satisfy the craving, but I usually feel very nourished. The healthy omegas combined with the multiple vitamins and minerals does not make me feel guilty at all about feeding my body or my baby this food.

My Exercise Routine

Yep, haven’t been doing well in this department, I have been walking more often, which is a plus, but I still need to get some stretching in. My body is aching all over!

My Pregnancy

17 weeks, shrunken belly
This week has been pretty uneventful in terms of symptoms. Nothing new at least. Sleeping has been less than restful as I continue to toss, turn, and wake up multiple times in the middle of the night. Only having two sleep position options is no fun; especially when you’re not used to them. I’m hoping the purchase of a whole body pillow does the trick.
I have been feeling the baby move more now that my uterus has moved up and out a bit. I seem to feel the movements most in the evening time when I’m lounging on the couch or at night when I’m lying in bed.  I think we may have a night owl on our hands. Either way, I love the new feeling. It not only confirms my baby is doing well, but there’s something about it that just makes me smile and feel so wonderful and blessed.
Next week I should know the sex of our baby! Wish us luck and pray, boy, boy, boy!

Beth