Friyay Workout and The {Labor} Birth Plan

Friday, October 30, 2015
It's Friday! We're very excited for the Halloween Weekend! I can finally bring out Aria's fairy costume that I've had hidden for the last month and a half.

After we got it, she wouldn't take the wings off. Although it was extremely cute to see her bounce around in her fairy wings...I could just see the downfall of the wings, and the sadness that would have ensued once they were ruined.
Mommy made a judgement call and hid that sucker.

For a fun Halloween themed workout, check out The Great Pumpkin Workout by Katalyst Health!
So fun and completely awesome that she created this! I did the workout during nap time, making a couple of modifications for the belly, and it was great!!!

Let's talk about birth!

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Preparing for Birth. You can find it here
I have had a number of questions about making a birth plan, what each of the options I talked about in that post meant, and why it was important to us. So, I decided to break down how we made our birth plan, into a series of posts to help other mama's out there prepare for their births as well.

The series will include:

Birth Plan: End of Pregnancy - Last week's post. You can find it here
Birth Plan: Labor
Birth Plan: Birth
Birth Plan: Postpartum
Choosing a Care Provider

We left off last week talking about the End of Pregnancy Birth Plan. This week we're picking up discussing the different options we weighed for the labor portion of our birth plan. 
During labor there are a lot of different directions things can go. Knowing what is important to you and what options you have to work with, can help you feel as comfortable as possible, which is very important for the birth process. 

These are the options we discussed for our labor process: 

Internal Exams: 
During labor, internal exams are a hands on way for your care provider to check your progress (ie. how many centimeters you are dilated). Generally, you will be checked upon arrival at your birth place. After that initial check, there are a number of factors that determine how many more times you are checked. Something to think about is that every time you are checked, bacteria are being introduced into your vagina. Additionally, being checked too often can be disruptive to labor because it can interfere with a mothers rhythm, or if she hasn't progressed to where she thought, it can be disappointing. 

I am not a fan of multiple internal exams. I'd prefer not to have anything disrupt my rhythm during labor. I trust my body and know that without constantly being checked, this baby will come out.  Unless anything out of the ordinary arises, we wanted a care provider who would be comfortable checking only when I arrive at the birth center, and not again until I am displaying signs that I'm ready to push. 

Routine IV: 
Many birth places require a routine IV. This allows them to be able to administer pain medication, antibiotics or fluids, in a timely manner, should they be needed. Now, many birth places allow a hep lock (which is just a port for the IV), rather than a full IV. That's a nice option if you aren't all in for an IV. 

With the type of birth we are planning and me being low risk, pending everything heads in the direction of a normal birth, an IV is not necessary. It was important to me to find a birth place where an IV was not protocol. 

Mobility During Labor:
There are a number of reasons why freedom to move around can be so important during labor! 

1. Contractions are often so much more difficult to manage laying down! It's natural and it feels better to move during labor. 

2. In labor, gravity is your friend! Contractions work by pulling open the cervix, while moving baby down towards the birth canal. Being upright and active is a very effective way to use gravity to help the cervix open. Using gravity to help open the cervix can also help avoid failure to progress. 

3. By moving into different positions, you're allowing the baby to shift and also move into the best positions to move his/her way down. Remaining in one position doesn't allow baby to move as he needs to for birth. 

4. Your pelvis is made of two halves on either side and the sacrum. These bones shift and move during labor, to allow baby to move down and ultimately to be birthed. Mom being able to move allows baby to use the space your pelvis is making, to move into optimal birthing position. 

5. Once you have reached 10cm and it is time to push, the position of the baby is important. If the baby is still in an odd position, it can make pushing much harder and much less effective. By taking advantage of movement during contractions, you are doing everything you can to help baby move into the best position. 

Even if you are planning an epidural, taking advantage of movement prior to having the epidural can do wonderful things for baby's position and managing contractions! Once you have the epidural you are generally restricted to the bed, however you can still move in bed. You can ask to be shifted from side to side, helping baby move his way down. You can also place pillows or a peanut ball between your legs, while on each side, to open your hips and make room for baby to move down. 

During my birth with Aria I was restricted to the hospital bed in triage. My contractions were coming very quickly and fiercely, yet I was only 2cm dilated. The nurses thought I was being a huge wimp and they treated me as so. They would not let me out of bed, and told me "You  need to lay down and relax". Yes, they actually said those words. That didn't help me relax. For an hour and a half I was in so much pain because I wasn't allowed to get up and move with my contractions or get into a comfortable position.

Finally they moved me to a labor and delivery room, and I begged them to let me walk, instead of being wheeled. The moment I got up, the world changed. I was also in transition at this point, which no one knew. Even still, just being able to get up and move the way my body was naturally trying to, helped an unbelievable amount with how I felt emotionally and physically. 
Of coarse within minutes of getting into the room, I was pushing out a baby and everyone was all "Hm. I guess she wasn't being overdramatic". 

For this birth it is most important to me to have the freedom to move and let my body do one of the most amazing things that it was designed to do. 

Eating/Drinking during Labor:
Whether long or short, labor and birth are the hardest work your body has ever done. When labor does end up being long, having some calories in way of food or drink, can help you sustain your energy for the duration, as well as giving you the energy when it comes time to push. 

Fetal Monitoring:
Fetal monitoring monitors your baby's heart rate and your contractions during labor to see how he is coping. For different situations, you may be required to have continuous fetal monitoring (ie. epidural, induction). Some birth places offer intermittent fetal monitoring, where they check the baby's heart rate periodically. 

It was important to me to have the option for intermittent fetal monitoring. I had continuous fetal monitoring last time and it severely restricted my movements during labor. Additionally, according to the American College of Nurses and Midwives, for low risk birth, intermittent fetal monitoring is associated with better outcomes, fewer cesareans and forceps and vacuum deliveries. 

Water can be an amazing tool to cope with contractions and help you to feel relaxed during labor. As a doula, I have seen it do marvelous things! I did not have the option to use it last time and that was very important to me this time around. 

Pain Management: 
Pain management is important to discuss with your birth team, so they know where you stand and can support you in any way possible. There are other pain management medications in addition to the epidural (various narcotics, nitrous oxide). Not every birth place offers them all, which is why this is a good question to ask. Asking this question early on will also give you the opportunity to research the pain management and medication options, and decide which one(s) you are open to during labor. 

Aria's birth was so fast and furious, and I had no idea what was happening to me. I was begging for pain relief, even though I swore up and down that I wouldn't want it. This time I wanted to birth in a  place where there wasn't any medication available, so that I'd know it wasn't even an option. 

An episiotomy is a surgical incision of the perineum and the posterior vaginal wall, done during the second stage of labor, to enlarge the opening for the baby to pass though. 

The necessity of episiotomies vary by circumstance, but overall they are not typically necessary for a normal birth situation. Some care providers do them more freely than others. Some will give you the option to tear instead. 
And the really good ones will help direct you when the baby's head starts crowing, when to breathe, when to push and when to stop, while massaging the area, to guide baby's head gently through and keep you from tearing too badly. 

If this is one of the things you have feelings towards, I'd suggest looking around online for some information on the subject and thinking about what you feel most comfortable with. There are a few different strong view points on this topic. Then talk to your care provider and see where they stand. Knowing ahead of time is nicer than finding out at the last minute.

The one thing I can say was amazing about the woman who delivered Aria was that she expertly coached me through crowning, while massaging my perineum and I did not tear at all.

For this birth we were looking for a care provider who would provide the same awesome care in that area!

What was/is in your labor birth plan?

32 Weeks and More

Thursday, October 29, 2015
Good afternoon friends. How is this Thursday treating you? It's unusually warm here in Connecticut and it's confusing us. Two days ago we were in boots and scarves...and today it's 70 degrees.

We had to take an impromptu trip to the grocery store mid week, this week.

Like a total noob, I forgot my grocery list when I went shopping on Sunday and in 4 days we already ran out of produce and eggs. Meal planning at it's best.
No wonder the grocery bill was so cheap.

What can I say...we're hungry hungry.

Exhibit A.

Spoiler alert...I've already eaten almost all of those olives.

Well, here we are...32 Weeks. 

Baby size: 16.7in, the size of a large jicama. I've never seen a whole jicama up close and personal, so I'll take the internets word for it. 

Weight gained: 24 pounds. Strangely enough I seem to be slowing down.

Overall: Overall I'm feeling big. Aside from that, I'm still feeling good physically!

Symtoms: Heartburn like a beast. I ate an avocado yesterday and it gave me heartburn. Varicose veins are getting more intense looking, and achy feeling in certain areas. I've just accepted them. It helps that it's now cold outside and I can wear pants all day without sweating my face off. My braxton hicks contractions are continuing to increase.
And somehow...I'm completely unsure of how this is even possible...but my boobs have gotten even bigger! They're starting to scare me.

Cravings: I'm not really craving anything specific. Everything sounds pretty good right about now.

Aversions: There's nothing new on the aversion front, but just today (for the first time in 6 weeks) I was feeling like eating some chicken with my eggs. Unfortunately it made me very nauseous immediately after, and the thought of it now makes me feel queasy. This is one interesting baby. I wonder what her motives are.

Exercise: I'm still exercising regularly, just a little slower than normal. I do short runs when I can get them in. Yoga, Pilates and Strength training all at home. Spinning on Saturdays at the gym. I am continuing to focus on core strengthening (gotta keep that pelvis in place), and squats. I'll need that pelvic floor and leg strength when it comes time for labor, and squats are the key.

Stretch Marks: Somehow, by the grace of the universe, I don't have any stretch marks. I didn't get them with Aria, but with Aria my belly grew a lot slower. I was sure something would pop up here soon.

Maternity Clothes: Some of my maternity clothes are getting to be too small. Ugh! That's when you know you're in trouble. I really don't want to buy anything new. It feels like such a waste of money with 2 months to go. But at the same time, I can't have my belly hanging out of my shirts all the time. What to do...

Baby's Position: Head down y'all. I kind of already knew this because I can feel her little rump up at the top all the time. Aria was also head down nice and early.

Sleep: I'm having a hell of a time sleeping lately. My body is so exhausted by the end of the day, but I can't seem to fall asleep until midnight every night. And Aria wakes up around 5:30am. I'm in a huge sleep deficit.

Conversations with my doula: Our doula came for a visit last weekend to catch up and talk about things that were on our mind. One of the big things we discussed was how she is going to support PJ and I to work together during labor. There is a common misconception that doulas take the place of partners during labor. Even though PJ knows what doulas do, from me, it's a different experience when it's your birth.

He expressed that he didn't really know what his role would be during labor, having our doula there too.
Our doula talked about how her role is to support both of us to work together. PJ knows me in an intimate way that she doesn't. And she knows things about birth that he doesn't. She said she will watch us and see how we are working together, then she will offer him ideas on additional ways he could support me with, respect to what I'm experiencing at the moment (which can change in the blink of an eye).
For example, she if the time calls for it, she can show him how to and where to do the counter pressure and massage techniques to help me manage contractions.

All the while, she will be offering support in another ways. Perhaps she will be keeping me focused on the present (instead of panicking like I did last time), while helping me through breathing. Ensuring I stay hydrated and well nourished with calories to keep my energy up. Watching for indications baby may be posterior or that it may be time for a position change. Ensuring me that my body is doing exactly what it is supposed to.
Perhaps the roles will be reversed and Pj will be helping me focus and breathe, while she is doing counter pressure and massage.

Because of her experience with birth, she will also be able to help guide Pj through what I may be experiencing in the moment, to help him understand better.
(That was one of his other concerns. Last time he said he felt lost and very much in the dark about what I was going through, and it was scary for him, even though he had read all the books and watched the documentaries.)

There are 100 different ways she could support us together thorough labor. We can make all the plans in the world, but until we see how my labor is unfolding and the support that is necessary, all we can do is talk about these ideas.

It felt good and comforting to talk about the different ideas. The important thing we both took away from the conversation is that she is there to support us both and  help us work together through this big experience.

Well friends, Pizza Wednesday at the in-laws, was moved to Thursday this week. Which means I have a run ahead of me this afternoon! It better go figure out which running attire I can squeeze myself into.

Have a great day!

Somaluxe Review

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Hello Wednesday! Today I have a natural skin and hair care review for you guys! 

The great people over at Lady Soma, sent me a few natural and holistic face and hair products to try.  

Lady Soma is an all natural, healthy and holistic source for probiotic supplements and skincare, which are all specially formulated for women needs. Lady Soma's products are designed to assist in maintaining healthy and active lifestyles. 

I'm very particular about what I put on my skin. It has been known to be finicky with most products. The simpler and more natural products are, the better my skin reacts to them. I love what Lady Soma stands for, and I appreciate the holistic approach they use. 

Plant stem cells, peptides and amino acids in one advanced anti-aging formula. Stimulates new skin cells, collagen production and skin cell longevity. 

I really enjoyed the Somaluxe Stem Cell and Peptide Complex. I used it every night before bed. I liked how it went on smooth, evenly and it wasn't too moisturizing. I have oily skin, so most night time treatments are far too greasy for me. This one left my skin feeling very soft, very smooth and not at all heavy. 

This Clarifying and Restoring Shampoo and Exotic Oil Therapy Conditioner is infused with organic essential oils, coconut, avocado and argan oil. 

I love this Shampoo and Conditioner combination! The shampoo smells of delicious lime essential oils. The light lather and natural ingredients made my hair feel very clean but not dry. The moisturizing oils in the conditioner, made my hair feel incredibly soft and shiny. The only thing I wasn't a big fan of, was the coconut scent of the conditioner. 

Rich blend of soothing restorative ingredients to moisturize and strengthen lips. Provides long lasting lip moisture and restores lip vitality. 

I really liked the smell of this lip rescue! It was very light and gentle. I didn't care much for the moisturizing properties though. I found myself applying it more often than usual.

Somaluxe Raspberry Red Lip Gloss

An organic blend of antioxidant rich ingredients and herbal extracts. The cocoa and shea butter in the formula moisturize lips, while raspberry and natural minerals provide a red, rich shimmer.

The color of this gloss is beautiful. It's the slightest tint, to add a little color. I wore it underneath my chapstick and it was a very pretty light red. 

To read more about Lady Soma and to see more of their great products: 

Disclaimer: I received these products to review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own. 

Quick and Dirty Arm Workout

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Good morning friends! How are you? Things over here are moving right along.

Lately every day has been insanely busy. Between activities, appointments, groceries, keeping up with the house, endless loads of laundry and all of the other mommy things that fall in there...I'm squeezing in workouts when I can and where I can.

This time of year, PJ's schedule doesn't allow him to be available to us that often, during the weekdays. Many times when he is home, he is working. Luckily this generally only lasts until December.  

So unless the stars align, workouts can outside of the house be tough to get in. I do most at home lately, when I can squeeze them in to our busy day. It's all about being flexible. 
During the weekdays I usually don't get to the gym because the child care hours don't work with our schedule. They are only early in the morning (when we have set activities...gymnastic, toddler classes, etc.) or in the evening (dinner time). Like I said...the stars just haven't been aligning lately. 

But you know what...I don't let that stop me! When the day's don't allow for me to get out to the gym (ahem...every day lately), I'm always doing strength workouts, HIIT, yoga, pilates and taking extra walks with Aria and the dogs. Lately Aria and I even race across the backyard over and over again.
She's pretty fast.

Luckily Wednesdays (pizza day at the grandparents) and weekends I can always get out to the gym or for a run.

Today's schedule is jam packed and PJ will be home late, so I banged out this arm workout early in the morning. This afternoon yoga, and squats of coarse, are on the menu. 

It's all upper body with some core stabilization integrated (ie. the exercise ball).

You don't have to use the exercise ball, but I recommend it as it forces your body to work harder to stabilize your core while you do the exercises. Additionally, if you're super pregnant like me, it puts your pelvis, hips and back into an extremely comfortable position!

Hello open hips and counter pressure!

This workout is great because the movements most people are familiar with, so there isn't much of a learning curve that goes with it. And if you aren't familiar with the exercises, they aren't at all complicated to learn, so it won't take long to get the hang of it. I've included links to an example each movement, in the workout, incase needed and for form tips.

It's quick because there is very little rest. It's dirty because the "very little rest" part really burns in the best way possible. Also because of the constant movement, it get's your heart pumping, sneaking in some cardio as well. 

For this workout I recommend lighter weights. Anywhere between 3 and 10, depending on what you are comfortable with. I used 8's today but I often use 5's as well. 

Before beginning, sit up straight and take a few deep breaths to activate your diaphragm and core. Feel your belly rise on the inhale and fall on the exhale. You're delivering nutrients to your entire body, balancing your hormonal system and firing up those muscles in your core, all just by breathing!

If you are pregnant like me, after you take your breaths, alternate reaching and really stretching your arms, up toward the sky a few times. Feel your body making room and space opening up as you reach. Something about that stretch is so delicious to me, especially at this point in pregnancy. 

The workout: 

12 laying dumbbell chest press (This exercise is still comfortable to me at this point in pregnancy because of the stability ball's perfect support. If it is not comfortable to you, replace it with push ups on your knees or wall push ups)

Complete each exercise, ideally, with no rest between. If you feel you need rest, of coarse pay attention to your body, but try to keep it minimal, to reap the benefits!

Repeat 3 times. Take a 60 second rest between each round. 

This workout feels so good and it is really quick. I squeezed it in, in the 15 minutes before we left for Aria's toddler class. 

Enjoy your Tuesday everyone!

Things I'm Loving

Monday, October 26, 2015

Good morning!

I can't believe this is the last week of October! Halloween is just a few days away and I don't even have a costume. For shame!

One of my favorite things that PJ and I had in common when we first met, was our shared love of Halloween. We both used to go all out planning and creating, months in advance for our costumes. We would plan a huge halloween party, spend months making decorations and then seriously partying down.

The last big Halloween year we had was 2012. I dressed up as The Corpse Bride and I spent 2 whole months making my costume!

Now, things are so busy, all of that has fallen to the wayside. It makes me sad to think about it. Hopefully next year we can get our act together and make something great happen! I'd love to start having the annual Halloween parties again.

Okay, enough of the depressing talk. Here are some things I'm loving this past week:

1. That Aria cannot get enough of smelling these roses PJ gave me.

She also keeps saying "Daddy give Mommy the flowers.", which is adorable. Now that we have a daughter, I love the little things PJ does even more than I already did (which I didn't think was possible). I love that she see's him do little things for me to show his love. Like giving me flowers, or stopping me, as I frantically hustle through the house to get things done, to give me a long long hug and to tell me he appreciates me. She's watching and learning about relationships.

2. Dr. Aria is constantly checking to make sure all members of the family are healthy. When she decides someone is not, she goes into her kitchen, makes a plate of pretend food and tea, and says "Here, this make you feel better."
I die.

3. This article:

52 Thoughts You Have Watching Hocus Pocus as an Adult

So on point!

4. This salad I had for dinner Saturday night:

Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Red Cabbage, Apple, Carrots and Tofu.

5. This prenatal yoga flow:

6. This article: 5 Pregnancy Exercise Myths Debunked and the 3 Most Important Muscles to Workout During Pregnancy. 

7. Daydreaming about getting back into racing shape after pregnancy. I'm really excited to start working hard again and to use everything I've learned about postnatal recovery and fitness, on myself. I feel like experiencing it first hand, especially while coming back from this pelvic injury, is going to give me even more tools and understanding for my postnatal fitness clients and for my awesome readers!

8. This nail polish color:

Essie: Chinchilly

9. This picture of PJ and Aria:

10. And The Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch Station on Pandora.

Especially when it plays my jam.

What are you loving lately? 

{End of Pregnancy} Birth Plan

Friday, October 23, 2015

Happy Friday friends! What are you up to today? We have a fun morning at the park planned, followed by a great Third Trimester Arm Burner (which I will post) and a run!
Oh, and there is the endless laundry that needs to be done.

Two weeks ago I wrote a post about Preparing for Birth. (You can find it here.)
I have had a few questions about making a birth plan, what each of the options I talked about meant, and why it was important to us. So, I decided to break down how we made our birth plan, into a series of posts to help other mama's out there prepare for their births as well.

The series will include:

Birth Plan: End of Pregnancy
Birth Plan: Labor
Birth Plan: Birth
Birth Plan: Postpartum

We don't have a written birth plan to hand to anyone when we get to the Birth Center. When it comes time for labor, your birth team is trained to take care of you and baby. They do so under the guidelines of their standards and their unique protocols, in addition to the protocols of the birth place. By having a care provider who shares the same standards and values as you, a written birth plan becomes unnecessary.

We did use a birth plan template to identify what is and isn't an important part of our birth experience, so that we could interview and find a care provider who is right for us. By finding that care provider who shares the same values and follows protocols that we are comfortable with, the type of birth we want is normal practice for them.

Birth is unpredictable. While the biology is the same, each labor and each birth are completely different. There are so many variations of how it can go and things that can come up. It's nearly impossible to discuss every variation of what could happen, ahead of time. This is another reason it is important to have a care provider you are on the same page with, and trust.

I want to start by saying that I don't believe there is any one right way to give birth. Birth is a personal experience for each family, and the most important thing is that the mother is given options, and makes the decisions that are right for her. What that looks like is different for every woman. This is what is right for us.

The first part of the birth plan we worked on was our End of Pregnancy Plan.

As you approach the end of pregnancy, some options will be presented at prenatal appointments. It was important to us to know where the care provider we chose, stood on these topics.

Internal Exams:  Towards the end of pregnancy, care providers often offer to check your cervix to see if you are dilated or effaced.
For my last pregnancy, I was in support of being checked. However, when they checked me at my 39 week appointment, I was not dilated or effaced at all. It was so disappointing. That was until less than 24 hours later when I was holding Aria.
I have also had birth clients who have been walking around 4cm dilated for weeks before going into labor.

Unfortunately internal exams at the end of pregnancy are not an accurate indication of when a woman will go into labor. If anything, it can just make you anxious.
Because I have seen so many variations of this, I'd prefer not to be checked this time.

Membrane Stripping: Membrane stripping is when your care provider inserts a finger into your cervix and separates the amniotic sac from the side of the uterus, near the cervix. This can jostle things around enough to help kickstart labor, only if your body is ready to go into labor. If it is not, then it'll likely just make you cramp a little and maybe cause some spotting. Your care provider may offer to do this for you around your due date.

For me, I didn't want a care provider where this was something they commonly did before or on the due date. I would like the option to try it if I go overdue. But, I didn't want it to be common practice before I even reach my due date (some CP's do that). Additionally, I wanted to be sure that they would obtain my permission prior to stripping my membranes (some CP's also do that).

Time limit to go overdue: Different care providers are comfortable with letting mom's go overdue different lengths of time. The max is generally 14 days. I wanted to be sure I would have the full 2 weeks to go into labor naturally, on my own.

Induction options: Should I go the full two weeks overdue, I wanted to know what options I would have for induction. With there being seven different ways to induce labor (yes, seven!), I wanted to know that pitocin would be at the bottom of the list.

Membranes rupturing prior to arriving at birth place: About 10 percent of women's waters break before labor starts. If you end up being one of the 10 percent, this can be a great question to know the answer to. Once your membranes rupture, many care providers have a time limit for how long you can be home waiting for labor to start, or laboring if it has started. If you are planning a low intervention birth, the time you are allowed to remain home, can be very important.

If you are group b strep positive, no matter where you give birth, you will be instructed to come in if your waters break, so that you can receive antibiotics. 

Options for breech presentation: Should our little girl be presenting breech, I wanted to know what options/suggestions would be offered to help her turn. Basically, it was important to me that my care providers be comfortable with trying everything possible, before considering a cesarean.

These are some of the most common options and topics that you will come across as you near the end of pregnancy. Research them, think about them, decide which are important to you for your birth experience and talk about them with your CP. A good care provider will respect the fact that you are doing your research and they will also want this to be the best experience for you.

Also, If you are looking for a pregnancy and birth book, The Birth Partner, by Penny Simkin, can be a great place to start. It's an informative, neutral, pregnancy and birth book, that doesn't sway one way or the other.

For example: Mom's who are looking for a medicated birth will find a breakdown of all of the different medication options there are, and different considerations for each. Mom's who are looking to have a medication free birth will find a ton of great support options, and suggestions for managing discomfort during a medication free labor. And if you aren't sure which way you are leaning, this book has laid out both paths for you, so you can make an informed decision.

It's a thorough guide to prepare for childbirth and all of the different options you will have leading up to your due date, during labor and birth and the postpartum period. It really covers everything. It's broken down into sections to make it easy to follow and locate anything specific you are looking for. I've found it to be very helpful for mom's as well as partners.

Be sure to check in next week when we talk about the Labor part of the birth plan! Have a great Friday!

What's in your End of Pregnancy Plan? 

What I Ate Wednesday

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Yesterday was a big day over here!!! After 6 weeks I was finally cleared to run! Granted, it was only one a test. But hey, it was running!

Overall, it felt amazing to get back out there! No pelvic discomfort whatsoever! 
Running yesterday, at 31 weeks pregnant, did feel very different from my last comfortable run, 6 weeks ago. I guess 23 extra pounds will do that to you. I was getting some braxton hicks contractions and I was definitely moving slowww. 

I'm not trying to win any races anytime slow is okay with me. As long as I'm still moving. 

This afternoon I go back to my chiropractor to see how my pelvis held up on the run, and to get the final word on if I can run again today! 

Today's WIAW is themed OMG I'm so hungry, what can I make and shove into my mouth in the next 4 minutes???!!! This baby is demanding meals be big, delicious and quickly available. 

Breakfast: Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant (from last nights dinner), Arugula, Tahini, Sourdough Toast, topped with Hemp Seeds. 

Lunch: Massive Salad. Spinach, Arugula, Tomato, Cucumber, Pumpkin Seeds and a Quinoa Blackbean Burger on top. 

Snack: Extremely brown banana that I didn't want to go to waste. Mushy and delicious.

Lunch #2: Oatmeal, Walnuts and Blackberries. 

Dinner: Sauteed Tofu, Crockpot Sweet Potato, Spinach Salad, more Zucchini and Eggplant.

Obviously I haven't reached that point in pregnancy where you can't fit much into your stomach. 

Snack {AKA It's 9pm and I feel like I haven't eaten}: Coconut milk yogurt, blueberries and cheerios. 


I had to go to bed within 2 hours of the yogurt, otherwise I would have been hungry again. 
Kidding. We all know I have no problem waking up in the middle of the night to eat. I can thank Ironman training for introducing me to that. 

Happy Wednesday Friends!

What are you eating today? 

Do you eat exceptionally brown bananas to avoid wasting them? 

Baby Two {What I'll Do Differently}

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Happy Tuesday Friends! Today is a very exciting day. Yesterday at my chiropractic appointment I was cleared to run 1 mile today, as a test!!! This is a VERY big deal. It has been 6 weeks since I've been able to run any distance whatsoever. Not to mention, just a few weeks ago we weren't sure if I would run again during this pregnancy! Big day guys, big day!

I can't wait to let you know how it goes!

With Zoe on the way in just a couple of months, (where has this year gone), I've been thinking about things we will do differently this time around. Then, I read a post on another blog I love, A Healthy Slice of Life, where Brittany talked about what she will do differently with her second baby. So I felt inspired to write about our plans.

I don't mean do things differently in a way that we made any colossal mistakes in any of our choices with Aria. What I mean is now that we are experienced (Haha...I actually laughed a little when I wrote that). There are things that we know we want to do this time and things that we will leave out of the equation.

Zoe is her own baby. I can already tell she has a different personality from Aria, just by the way she moves, and her patterns, inside the womb. I'm sure there will be a lot of things we do differently, without planning or thinking about them, just to meet the needs of this completely different baby. And we have a toddler now, which changes our circumstances as well.
There will also be some things that she is drawn to and needs, that will be similar to Aria, because they are both cut from the same cloth.

Things we will do the same: 

Freezing Meals. I will prep and freeze crockpot meals a few weeks before Zoe is born. This was a life saver with Aria. I prepped and froze 20 crockpot meals the month before my due date. Between those and the food people brought over, it was one less thing we had to think about for the first few weeks!

Breastfeeding. I will breastfeed again {or pump}. Hopefully this time around we don't run into the same struggles as with Aria, which led to me exclusively pumping. But if we do, I am prepared to pump for her as well. We have a lot of great support for breastfeeding, in hopes that we can be successful this time around.

Co-sleep. Zoe will sleep in our room. We don't have a time limit for how long we let babies stay in our room. Aria was tough when it came to sleep. She needed the comfort of being close to me, in order to sleep, for a long time. And when she slept happy...guess who else slept happy. So we let her stay in our room as long as was necessary. It became obvious when it was time for her to move to her room, and it was a much easier transition than I thought it would be. With Zoe we will do the same. Once she shows signs of being comfortable enough to be in her own room, then we will consider moving her.

Babywearing. I loved wearing Aria. I have so many great memories of Pj and I both wearing her. As a newborn Aria had bad reflux, and wearing her helped soothe her tremendously. With our breastfeeding struggles, I also felt that wearing her gave us that bonding time we were missing out on. As she got older, it was just more comfortable and convenient for both of us. I actually didn't even use her stroller until becoming pregnant this time around (when Aria was a year and a half). There are a ton of benefits to babywearing for baby and mom as well!

Things we will do differently: 

Letting go. I will not stress or feel guilty if I struggle with breastfeeding. The mom guilt got to me big time with Aria. When our breastfeeding struggles we at their height, she was going on nursing strikes for entire days, because of my oversupply. I didn't have the support or knowledge to really understand what was going on. That coupled with the hormones was a disaster waiting to happen. I experienced a lot of guilt and sadness around our struggles. I couldn't sleep and I cried a lot. I felt like pumping and feeding Aria with a bottle meant I was failing her.
This time I give myself permission to not feel guilty. If I have to pump, then that's what I'll do. Happily. Whatever I can give will be my best, and that's all I can ask of myself.

Cloth diaper from birth. With Aria we didn't start cloth diapering until 8 weeks. We have accumulated a stash of newborn and small diapers for Zoe, so we can start right from day 1. We love cloth diapering for a ton of reasons. One big one being cost. It has saved us a lot of money. I also love the environmental factor of not producing as much waste...because that's how I roll. Aria has also never had a diaper rash in cloth. The handful of times she has gotten them, was when she was in a disposable. Our favorite clothe diapers are Charlie Banana.

We won't buy as much "stuff". For Aria we bought everything. If it was on a list somewhere, we got it. We were totally set. Then when Aria came, we quickly realized we didn't need 3/4 of it. The best was the expensive bassinet that I just had to have. Aria would not sleep in it. Not even one time.
This time around we are only buying necessities.

Pictures. I'll print more pictures. I took a ton of pictures when Aria was a baby, as most new parents do. But I didn't print them. We also didn't have any professional pictures done. We were so engulfed in the madness that is new parenthood that we just forgot about professional pictures that entire first year. I regret that now. We are going to have pictures taken of both Aria and Zoe together throughout the first year, this time.

Asking for help. I won't be afraid to admit if I'm struggling and I'll ask for help. I have a hard time asking for help, as many other mom's do. There's something ingrained in us that makes us feel like we have to be able to do everything, otherwise we are a failure. I've learned that the phrase "It takes a village" really rings true to motherhood and raising children and that asking for help isn't a actually shows strength.

What did/will you do differently with baby two?

What did/will you do the same?

10 {Surprise} Protein Sources

Monday, October 19, 2015
Good morning! How was your weekend? Ours was really great.

Friday I was met with an amazing surprise at my chiropractic appointment. I was cleared to go to the gym AND to a spinning class!!!! What????!!!!!!

After 6 weeks of being on very very limited exercise, it pretty much felt like Christmas.

SaturdayI suited up in the dark, at 6:30am, to make it to a 7:00 class.

I spy a baby bump making it's way back into the gym...

As much as I wanted to go in there and just kill it, I didn't. I went in, left my ego at the door, and took it very moderately, respecting my body and all of the hard work it has been doing to heal.
Just to get moving like that, felt incredible though.

Sunday I kept it simple and did 30 minutes of yoga at home, plus this easy strength and core workout:

15 Squats
10 Modified Push Ups
15 Wall Slide
10 Upright Row
15 Leg Raises
10 Overhead Extension

(2 Rounds)

I'm taking it slow, but feeling so good to be getting back in the saddle!

Everyone loves protein. It's always a big topic in almost every health circle. And rightfully so, as protein helps your body repair cells and make new ones. Adult women need about 46 grams per day and pregnant or breastfeeding women need about 70 grams per day. Athletes need even more, depending on their training goals.

It comes in many sizes, shapes and forms. The most widely talked about being meats, eggs and dairy, which are all great sources of protein. But, there are a ton of other fantastic protein sources hiding right under our noses!

10 {Surprise} Protein Sources

1. Hemp Seeds 10 grams of protein in 3 tablespoons

Oh I love hemp seeds. They can easily be made into hemp milk, used to top cereal, thrown into muffins, cookies or protein balls! We even blend them with zucchini and marinara sauce, to make green pizza sauce.

2. Baked Potato 6 grams

They also have lots of magnesium, folate, potassium, Vitamin B-6 and Vitamin C.

3. Sundried Tomatos 7.6 grams of protein per cup

I just toss them into a salad for an extra kick of protein. Or onto your pasta dish!

4. Rice and Beans 7 grams per cup

As a side dish this packs a pretty good protein punch!

5. Peas 8 grams per cup

Peas are part of the legume family, and are high in protein. You can actually make a yummy pesto with peas. Blend peas, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon and parmesan cheese. I've seen recipes where the lemon is switched out with mint, as well.

6. Pumpkin Seeds 19 grams per half cup

Pumpkin seeds, like a lot of other seeds, are a protein powerhouse. I toss them on a salad, in yogurt, or eat them plain, in the car.

7. Edamame Beans 17 grams per cup

Edamame beans are delicious to eat alone, or to throw into chili and soup.

8. Spinach 6 grams per cup

If your salads are as ridiculously huge as mine, you can easily double this number with a healthy sized spinach salad. Another way to sneak in a serving of spinach is to blend it into a smoothie. You can't even taste it. This is an easy way to get kids to enjoy spinach as well.

9. Oats 26 grams per cup

I always forget about oats! They have so much protein and you can do so many things with them. We love overnight oats in our house. Here is our favorite, fast and easy Overnight Oats Recipe.

10. Avocado 7 grams per fruit

As if there weren't enough reasons to love avocados. We love to eat them with a little lemon juice, a tiny bit of salt, and a spoon...right out of the peel!

Enjoy your protein packed day!

What's your favorite surprise source of protein? 

30 Weeks

Friday, October 16, 2015
It's Friday!!! You know it's going to be a good day when Target gives you a pleasant surprise first thing! Aria and I had to make a quick run to get dog food and as we checked out, the cashier handed me a $5 gift card for Starbucks!

What!!! Thanks lady! You have no idea how much I was craving this decaffeinated vanilla latte treat!!!


Here we are...30 weeks pregnant and I'm feeling good!

Black is slimming, right?

Baby size: 15.7in, the size of a cabbage

Weight gained: 23 pounds

Overall: I feel so good lately! As I mentioned in yesterdays post on core work during pregnancy, my pelvis is healing so well. Being fully functional is really doing wonders for morale around here.

I've been working so hard and after weeks it's finally paying off. THAT is a good feeling.

Symptoms: Heartburn like a beast.
I'm still retaining water and puffy in the cheeks. I'm thinking that's just going to be the way things are from here on out. I looked through my third trimester pictures from my pregnancy with Aria and I was pretty puffy.
I'm also having Braxton Hicks contractions like it's my job! All day long! Especially when we walk Harper.

My varicose veins are getting worse. From my pelvis down, they are everywhere. The back of my entire right knee area is purple with varicose and spider veins. And they ache...mostly in the evening. With the baby getting heavier and putting more pressure down there, most of the time I feel like I've been punched in the vagina.
But you know what....I'm okay with it as long as my pelvis continues feeling this good!

Cravings: Cereal. Especially at night. I've been having a bowl of cereal after dinner almost every night. Also, peanut butter and banana with almond milk. Yesterday I craved sautéed spinach and broccoli, which was a relief after all of these peanut butter and cereal cravings.

Aversions: Nothing new.

Belly Button: Full on outie status!!!

Weird thing I cried about this week: I was looking around on Facebook last weekend and saw the new music video for Brothers Osborne. (I went to high school with these boys.) While I was watching the video I got overwhelmed with emotion and started crying because I was just so happy for them! Mind you, I haven't seen these guys in oh, about 15 years, so it's not like were buddies or anything. But the whole thing just made me so emotional.

Exercise: My pelvis is healing beautifully. I'm so happy and a little surprised. With how bad the pain was and how quickly it was becoming misaligned after adjustments, in addition to the fact that my midsection would continue to put on weight and the relaxin would keep flowing, I was sure that it was a permanent part of this pregnancy.
After 6 weeks of adjustments almost daily, core work, and yoga, I just feel so good.

My fitness routine right now is prenatal yoga in the morning, followed by core work. I take Aria and Harper on 2, two mile walks per day. Plus there's chasing around Aria all day.

Things I worry about at night: Being able to give enough attention to two kids. I worry that one will feel less loved.

Breastfeeding- We had some struggles with Aria, which resulted in me Exclusively Pumping for her. While I was thankful to have that option so I could give her breastmilk, it wasn't ideal. You can read about my breastfeeding and pumping experiences here:

All Things Boobs {A Breastfeeding Post}
Another Boob Post

Since having Aria I have done a lot more research on breastfeeding than I did last time, taken classes and trainings, and worked with helping others learn to breastfeed. I'm hoping this time we will be successful.

Enjoy your Friday everyone!

Core Exercises for Pregnancy

Thursday, October 15, 2015
Good morning! How is everyone? We are happy happy over here. Mostly because Thursday is Aria's "nasty sticks" class. That's gymnastics for anyone who doesn't speak Aria. 

I had a simple pink and green breakfast this morning. Sometimes you just need a little color in your morning.

Avocado, radish, spinach, sourdough toast
Aria (after eating 2 of her own breakfasts) walked over and peeked on the table at my breakfast. Then in the cutest of cute voices said "Oh peese mama, can I have some?" while doing the "please" sign.

I just can't say no to that.

Even though she speaks in sentences now, she still signs the words she learned as a baby. I love it.

After breakfast we got dressed and I of coarse wore my uniform...leggings and a sweater.
Leggings all day long.

People keep telling me that because I'm 33, I can't wear leggings out of the house anymore. That's insane. I mean, there's a 70% chance that at any time I could break into a run, some yoga, or another workout of some sort. Leggings are a necessity!

And of course theres my absolute disdain for real pants. That too.

I have been thinking a lot about core work and stabilization the past 6 weeks, because of the pelvic injury I've been dealing with, how painful and limiting it has been and because it could have been prevented. 

Three months prior to my first pregnancy, I had just finished spending a year training for Ironman. That entire year, I was swimming, biking and running enough hours a week for it to be a second job. I was in the best shape of my life. I felt like I was entering into pregnancy in the best possible place and giving my baby and my body all the right things.

I had a strong pregnancy, continuing to swim, bike, run throughout until the day I went into labor. I even raced 5 times through that pregnancy.
The entire pregnancy I neglected to do any core training. Zero. I didn't know any better.

After having my daughter I was so eager to get back to training, that as soon as I felt good enough, I jumped right back into running. I didn't bother to start with strengthening the core, that had done so much hard work the past 10 months and that I had been unknowingly neglecting. I didn't take care to let it heal and rest for the appropriate amount of time. I didn't properly build back up any of the strength I had lost, nor did I allow the muscles that had been working so hard to overcompensate for the ones that were not activating, to heal while reactivating the others.
Again...I didn't know any better.

The incredibly weak internal core, and an incredibly painful pelvic injury that has resurfaced in this pregnancy. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take care of your core during pregnancy.

Pregnancy is an optimal time to ensure that you are doing some core training. The muscles of your core stabilize your entire body and create a strong, protected area for your baby. As our bodies change throughout pregnancy, the increasing weight in the midsection coupled with the hormones relaxing our joints throughout the body, put a lot of extra stress on the spine and pelvis. This can not only lead to discomfort, but it sets the stage for a chain reaction of muscles overcompensating to correct the imbalance, leaving your core weak and vulnerable.

The thing about it is, it's also easy to do! It just takes a little bit of time every day and a few exercises!

This time around I am paying special attention to my core! Strengthening, stabilizing and stretching. It has already helped me out of the hole of this injury, which is amazing because I'm not getting any smaller right now and because the hormones in my body are still extremely present. Which means, that even with all of the added stress of pregnancy, the exercises are doing exactly what they are supposed to.
All of the training and certifications I worked for, these past 2 years have really opened my eyes and given me the tools to help myself and help other women...and I love it.

Your core is essentially a box made up of your diaphragm, transverse abdominus and your pelvic floor.


The diaphragm is essential for maintaining appropriate intra-abdominal pressure, which is a primary ingredient to a functional core (Fit for Birth). A strong functional diaphragm enables the other core muscles to activate properly and strongly.

Transverse Abdominus

The TVA is the deepest of the four abdominal layers. Think of it as a corset on either side of your abdomen. When functioning properly, it stabilizes the spine and entire core.

Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor muscles form the bottom of the core box, supporting the uterus, vagina, bladder, bowels and inner organs of the abdomen. Additionally, the pelvic floor can indirectly cause sacroiliac joint pain, when not functioning properly (Fit for Birth).

Below are a couple of my favorite core strengthening exercises for pregnancy that you can do any time, anywhere! They are easy and appropriate for any level of fitness!

Diaphragmatic Breathing - Begin by laying comfortably on your back, with your knees bent and your head supported by a pillow. This position is generally the easiest to learn the proper technique because you can see and feel the rising and falling of the belly and ribcage easily. Place one hand on your upper abdomen below your sternum. Breathe in deeply and take notice of your hand rising and your belly expanding. Your ribcage should also expand during the inhalation.
Exhale slowly, feeling your belly and rib cage relax into a resting position.

Once you feel comfortable breathing using your diaphragm in a laying position, move to seated position and standing. Practice for 1 -2 minutes a few times a day.

This exercise may not seem like a lot, but it engages and activates your entire core. Your diaphragm also regulates the entire musculoskeletal system, gastro-intestinal system, hormonal system and central nervous system (Fit for Birth). All important parts of your body to have working properly when you are nourishing a baby!

Cat/Cow - Begin on your hands and knees, with your arms directly under your shoulders, planted on the ground, and your knees hips width (or more, depending on how pregnant you are and what's comfortable) apart, directly under your hips with a flat back.

As you inhale, arch your back, reaching your tailbone upwards and your chest forwards, allowing your head to gaze forward softly (cow).
As you exhale, round your spine towards the sky, using your breath to gently pull your baby up towards you, allowing your head to follow your spine (cat).

Start with 5 rounds. You can do this a few times a day.

Squats - "Squat 300 times a day and you are going to give birth quickly" - Ina May Gaskin

Heck yea!

Squats can be done holding on to an object for support or on your own. Both are very beneficial, so do what's comfortable for you.

Stand with feet a shoulder width or more (depending on what is comfortable) apart. Tighten your abdominal muscles and relax your shoulders, while lowering your tailbone to the floor (as if you were trying to sit down in a chair). Lower to about halfway between your standing height, and the floor and pause there for a count of 5 -10 seconds. Lift slowly and bring the rest of your body into alignment. Start with one set of 10 repetitions. As you get stronger and are able to hold the pose longer, increase your time.

Wall slides -Position yourself with your back against a wall, with your feet a little bit forward, leaning against the wall. Inhale as you lower into a sitting position, then exhale as you push back up. Start with 15 reps.

One Leg Balance - Stand with feet hips distance apart and arms on your hips, or stretched out on each side, like an airplane. Lift one foot slightly off the ground and move it forwards out in front of you, then out to the side, then back behind you, while balancing on the other. Switch legs.

During pregnancy your center of gravity shifts. Be mindful of that and do this exercise only if you are comfortably balanced on one foot.

You can start with 10 reps on each side.

Birth Ball - Just sitting on your birth ball, rather than in a chair or on a couch is fantastic for your core! Sitting on the birth ball encourage you to assume the proper posture, engaging your core and back muscles without even thinking about it. Make it a normal routine to sit on it at home, and you could even take it to work if your workspace allows for it!

Enjoy the day friends! We are off for a long walk to the park.

Disclaimer: This information is derived from experience and training as a certified Personal trainer, a certified Fit for Birth Pre and Postnatal Exercise Specialist, a doula, and my own experience as an athlete. Always consult your doctor or midwife before starting a new exercise program. 

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