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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

16 Weeks: The Mystery of the Dreadful Weekends


This week has been a very long and very interesting week. My emotions are on a complete roller coaster ride right now and new symptoms are popping up…again! I have been eating well, thank goodness, and exercising when I can. Best of all, I feel great…except for during the weekends.
The weekends are a complete dread for me. Between Friday and Sunday my body goes through this normal routine of headaches, vomiting and exhaustion. I have no idea exactly WHY I go through this every single weekend, but I believe I have narrowed it down to either too much sleep, too much physical activity combined with not enough food and water, or a slack on taking my prenatals (I’m bad, I know!). Whatever it is, I dread the weekends. I’m hoping to one day figure it all out and actually enjoy a Saturday not keeled over the porcelain throne. I’m really tired of cleaning that thing daily.
Do you have any thoughts on what it could be? Is my body just doing all its work on the weekends sending my hormones on a surge during these days? Anyone?

 

My Current Diet

I am currently obsessssssed with yummy morning milkshakes loaded with 20 plus grams of protein and tons of healthy energy producing carbs. These nutrient loaded milkshakes keep me satisfied, energized and most importantly, busy while driving into work. I get a bit nauseous in the car so sipping continuously seems to help. This week I made a couple of varieties: strawberry banana, chocolate and PB and J! The PB and J was obviously my fave! Want the recipe!? You got it!

High Protein “PB and J” Milkshake

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 5 strawberries (or more!)
  • 1 packet of Justin’s Almond or Peanut Butter
  • 1 scoop of Sunwarrior’s Vanilla Warrior Blend Protein Powder (optional)
  • 2 cups almond milk and/or water
  • 1 tsp of maca powder
  • 1 small handful of ice
  • 1 Tbsp cacao nibs
    1. In a blender, blend together everything but the cacao nibs until well blended and smooth.
    2. Add in cacao nibs and do a quick blend just to mix and to break the nibs up a bit.
    3. Pour into your favorite cup, add your fave glass straw, sip and enjoy!

For lunch I’ve been sticking to small salads loaded with lots of olives – another yummy obsession of mine – usually topped with a creamy dressing for more of a fill. Mid-afternoon I snack on raw veggies or fruit such as celery sticks, carrots, peaches, figs or whatever is in season. As for dinner, I cook up whatever veggie I’m already making for my family and usually combine it with gluten-free noodles or rice for some heartiness.
Looking at my current menu, I guess you can say I’m trying to follow a “Raw Til 4” diet: raw fruits and veggies until 4 then a cooked meal after 4 or for dinner. It’s been working well for me and I don’t end up waking up in the middle of the night starving. As I say, if it works, then stick to it!

 

My Exercise Routine

Yeahh I don’t really have one but I can tell I need to start one. I will take a random walk or bike ride every now and then if the weather is really nice, but for the most part I’ve been sitting on my bum. During the evening I’m on my feet most and by the time I’m done my body is sore and completely exhausted. Therefore, I listen and rest. No need to overdo it.
However, I have thought about incorporating some prenatal yoga a few times a week. My body has been experiencing joint pains thanks to the relaxin hormone that is loosening up my joints for birth and I can tell a good light stretch is in order. I just need to make sure I take it easy J
Do you have any suggestions for a prenatal exercise that is easy on the body?

 

My Pregnancy

This week my body has been feeling quite sore all over: my pelvic bone, hip joints, tail bone and back to be specific. I think it’s a combination of relaxin, soreness from random exercises and the increase in sitting during the day. I used to stand all day at work and now I only stand to file, walk around the building or cook and clean.  That’s nothing compared to the 6-10 hours I am used to. My solution? Exercise more and stretch!
This week I’ve also been feeling those little flitters and flutters and some punches that some women feel around this time. At first I assumed they were just gas or digestion but I have now been able to distinguish the difference between bodily functions and baby movements….I think. I seem to only be able to feel these little movements when I’m sitting down with a slump. Weird but true. It’s an amazing feeling though, to feel your baby move. It gives me reassurance to know my little baby is alive and well. It can also leave me with severe anxiety should I not feel the baby move much at all. The joys of pregnancy! Overall, it’s been a fun new experience this week. Now I’m just waiting til baby gets big enough to where daddy and sister can feel the movements too!
In other news, I had one of my many 2 weeks appointments today. They were short staffed so I got stuck with one of the doctors as my technician for the day. As much as I like the doctors, having a technician can be more fun for me. Usually they spend more time searching around and they tend to always give you photos at the end of the day. They’re also more trustworthy when it comes to knowing the sex of your baby; not that the doctor doesn’t know. It’s just that the technicians tend to do it more often. J
Today I got no photos, very little viewing of my baby, and an unsure answer as to what the sex of my baby is. I was still happy to see my not-so-little one, but I would have been happier if I got to see a full view of my baby, see it move and possibly get a photo to share. Oh well, I guess I will have to wait til next time. It is, after all, only 2 weeks away! Overall, everything looked good. The heartbeat was at 150, which was lower than normal, but it made sense considering my little avocado was just chilling and not moving very much for the doctor…which was quite unusual. Any other time s/he is causing trouble. My cervix is measuring normal as well and my placenta is moving up away from my cervix; another plus considering it was a concern last time. All in all everything looks “normal” which is what we high-risk mommas want to hear.

I’m truly thankful that everything is looking normal and healthy so far. I can’t ask for anything else…well, maybe for more time. Yeah more time would be good.
Until next week J

*Beth*

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

From Food to Babies? A Special Announcement + A New Subject for the Blog


Hi!
So….how are you!? I know it’s been a while since we’ve talked but trust me when I say I have a very good reason why…and this time I truly do.
For the past 16 weeks my body has been adjusting to some major changes thanks to this little bundle called a baby. The journey has been both a blessing and a curse, but I am very happy to say that things have finally calmed down and I am now in the blissful stages of pregnancy. I am once again energetic, happy and best of all, able to eat.
With time permitting, my goal is to blog about my journey through pregnancy and motherhood as the health and environmentally conscience individual that I am. Building and raising a baby requires a lot of health and diet related decisions, which I hope you can help me with! It’s been 8 years since I was last pregnant and my ideals about food, health, etc. has completely changed making this feel like a whole new experience for me and my family. I also want to document this experience in hopes that it helps other like minded moms out there relate. After all, there’s nothing more comforting than knowing you’re not alone.
So to begin, I think it’s only best to back track on the last 15 weeks of my life as a newly pregnant momma. It’s an interesting story that should NOT go untold.

Discovery

Before my missed cycle, before I even took a stick test, I knew something was “wrong” with my body. I could tell my hormones were off by the random changes my body was going through. I guess learning to tune in and listen to my body finally paid off. The first thing I noticed was a sudden flare up of back acne. Random, large zits would pop up daily on my back and wouldn’t go away. At first I thought it was a reaction to the new shampoo I was using, but even after not using it for a week, the acne continued. (Keep in mind, my first pregnancy was symptom free from beginning to end.) That was sign number one.
The second thing I noticed was a swing in my emotions. Don’t get me wrong, as a woman and human being having emotional swings isn’t all that rare. It happens, but usually when I haven’t eaten right or during that time of the month; never mid-month when I’m usually my happiest self. In addition, I also noticed I became very annoyed with people being in my personal space. I couldn’t even take my daughter or husband being near my face, or in my bubble for a long period of time. It was sort of sad honestly because I felt like I was being mean and hateful. What happened to the happy, loving person I used to be?
After waiting a week after my missed period I finally took a test. My husband was convinced that my cycle was just off, but I knew that was not the case. Ever since I started my raw food journey, my cycle was on point every single month. It was so well scheduled I could plan trips around it without an issue. No way was it all of a sudden late. Of course, I was right. The test came out faintly positive. To be sure I took one more the following day and sure enough, we were having a baby!
It was a shock to us as this was totally unplanned, but we were no doubt happy and thrilled. Having lost two in 2013, and swearing we would never try again, we knew that this baby was a miracle from God.

Misery

The first few weeks of my pregnancy were quite a breeze. I had some sharp pains here and there, some cramping, along with tiny bouts of nausea, but nothing serious. I thought to myself, maybe this pregnancy will be just like my first: easy, breezy, and stress free. Haha, did I jinx that one.
All of a sudden, I was suffering from migraines that wouldn’t ease with water or sleep; severe nausea; strong food aversions; and eventually, severe vomiting. I could barely keep food or water down. My dreams of having a completely raw food pregnancy were toast. Instead, I was living off organic saltines, ice cubes, seltzer water and rice when I could manage it. My multi-vitamins weren’t staying down either, leading me to panic about the health of my baby. No vitamins, no healthy foods and little water….what kind of damage is this going to cause? As much as I wanted to take care of this little human inside of me, all I focused on was taking care of me. Eat, drink, throw up, sleep, repeat – that was my routine for 7 weeks straight.

Scared

It the midst of all the pregnancy horror, one day I noticed the early signs of an oncoming cycle or for those who are pregnant, a miscarriage. It frightened me to tears and I immediately called my doctor for an early appointment. Having miscarried before, the situation was nerve wrecking and left me anxious to eventually see my baby. Thankfully, all was well; really well actually. However, to be safe, the doctor prescribed me prometrium and scheduled me an ultrasound for that same day.
Now, many of you who know me very, very well, know medications are off the books for me unless there is a desperate need for them. If you don’t know what prometrium is, it’s basically a boost of progesterone hormones in order to help keep the uterus functioning properly. I researched, read and debated about whether or not I should pick up my prescription for almost two weeks. Finally I decided my answer would be no. Even though it could potentially help, at the end of the day, I learned it wouldn't prevent a miscarriage and the side effects made it seem like life could possibly be even more miserable and stressful, which was NOT what I needed. I determined I would leave it the hands of fate, or in my case, God. If this baby was meant to stay, then it will.
The ultrasound that day went perfect. Even though I was a complete mess, I finally got to see the reason why I was going through so much fuss. My little cocoon was doing just fine, measuring at 7 weeks, 1 day (weirdly almost 2 weeks prior to what I predicted), with a heartbeat of 136. Seeing him/her put my mind at ease, at least for the time being, and thankfully, all was well.
7 Weeks, 1 Day

Becoming High Risk

At my next appointment, aka my regularly scheduled “first” appointment, my doctor expressed her concerns about the shape of my uterus which she examined from the ultrasound scans. Instead of being the typical oval shaped that it should be, mine showed to be somewhat heart shaped or medically speaking, bicornuate. If this is your first time hearing about such an anomaly you’re reaction is probably similar to what mine was – “Cool. Okay. And?”.  Apparently, having such a unique shaped baby cave can actually put you at high risk. How?
A bicornuate uterus means that I have, what they like to call, two horns or two cavities as opposed to one: a right and a left. The baby settles into one side and happily grows. However, depending on the length of the “septum” in between the two cavities, the baby’s growth could be stunted. I could miscarry, go into preterm labor, or worse.
Now, let me reiterate just one more time how beautiful my first pregnancy went. No symptoms; easy labor; and THIS never came up. Never. And I was born with it! I never had an issue with it during my pregnancy so why should I now, right? I guess for once I’d like to curse the advancement of technology and its ability to now see a more accurate viewing of my screwed up baby cave. If it wasn’t for it, I wouldn’t be in this high risk situation. Of course, I’m sure miscarrying twice has something to do with it too and well, all complaining aside, it’s been a blessing. An expensive blessing, but a blessing. I do get to see my baby every 2 weeks!
My doctor sent me to the Maternal Fetal Associates of the Mid-Atlantic, a place that services high-risk patients, and where almost all pregnant women go for their First Trimester Screening, for a more thorough screening of my uterus to determine if the bicornuate diagnosis was accurate. Although difficult to see, the doctor stated that the diagnosis seemed accurate and asked me to come back every 2 weeks to keep an eye on everything and for my First Trimester Screening. My reaction, of course, was yippee, I get to see my baby every two weeks! What a way to keep my mind at ease! Being high-risk wasn’t so bad after all.

10 Weeks, 2 Days

The Benefits of Eating Raw Vegan

Even though I wasn’t doing so well with my diet, my body was still in amazing shape. The proof? The results of my blood work showed everything was doing fine. I was healthy, and, wait for it, NOT ANEMIC! Now anemia, especially among pregnant women, seems to be a major issue. Prior to becoming vegan and during my first pregnancy, I was anemic and prescribed those gosh awful iron pills to supplement. Ever since then I haven’t had my blood analyzed and therefore, never knew how my iron levels were...until now! Apparently I’m doing great! THANK YOU HEALTHY DIET and thank you greens!
Sorry, I had to boast a bit J
14 Weeks Baby Bump: 10% Baby, 90% fat and water retention!
 

First Trimester Screening

Nothing is more nerve wrecking than waiting for the results of these pregnancy tests and screenings. As a mother, all I wish is for a healthy baby, but when there’s a test that can determine otherwise, well, I worry.
The First Trimester Test is composed of two different tests: a blood test and a screening of the baby’s neural tubes. The blood test was easy, yet painful. Having lacked in fluids that day, drawing blood from my middle finger became a serious task for the nurse. All she needed was 5 drops and my finger was giving her nothing. Eventually she got what she needed, but in turn I got a seriously bruised middle finger that lasted a week. As for the screening, that I enjoyed because I was able to see my baby move in the process. At that time, s/he was measuring at 12 weeks, 3 days, exactly on point, with a heartbeat of around 160.
After about a week or so the result of my screening came in and everything looked great.  I could finally relax for a bit and finally go back to living my pregnant life semi-normally.
12 Weeks, 3 Days

The Present

Since my First Trimester Screening, I have had one other ultrasound, which again, showed that everything was doing great. The baby is growing exactly on point and so far, everything with me is also looking good. The only small concern they had was that my placenta was lying low towards my cervix, but apparently that’s normal early in the pregnancy. Whew.
To date I am 16 weeks along. The vomiting has significantly subsided and I am once again enjoying foods of all varieties. I am not 100% raw, but I do eat a lot of raw foods. I have gone from worrying about eating in general to now worrying about the safety of what I am consuming. From herbal teas, to protein powders, to even chocolate, everything seems to have a safety concern when it comes to being pregnant. In my future posts I’ll be addressing these concerns along with updates on my pregnancy.
 
14 Weeks, 1 Day
Well, I hope you’re as excited as I am to start this journey. As I expressed before, this is all pretty new to me, and I am going to need all the help I can get! I was never cautious about what I consumed or what activities I did with my first pregnancy. This go around, it’s all about making sure that I’m healthy and fit, because a healthy momma means a healthy baby!
So I want to know, what’s your go to snack!? I need ideas!

Beth