They said what??

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The other day when I was asked for the third time in a week, if my girls were twins… ummm over a year apart… I started to think about all the funny to outright rude things I have been asked in the last couple years when out with my litter (“litter” originally an auto correct, but if the shoe fits).

“Of course, these aren’t all your children, are they?”

“You are a very brave woman”

“Are you a daycare group?”

“You must be busy” … on the daily along with another crowd fav “you have your hands full”

“You should get a TV for your bedroom”

“Your husband is getting a vasectomy right??”

“Please tell me you’re done”

“I would rather die than have kids this close in age”

And the winner “didn’t your husband even let you have a nap after the last one?”

Heard any good ones?

 

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Preparing your body for Pregnancy 4

Part 4: Getting Fit if you’re Fat

This is a sensitive issue.  I completely understand!  After 3 very closely spaced pregnancies, and lots of  bedrest I gained a lot of weight.  It took me just over a year to lose the close to 50lbs I had gained.

Being overweight when you get pregnant puts you at risk for many issues, like high blood pressure, diabetes, a big baby (think about the stitches!!), and later your baby has a higher chance of being overweight.  These are long term issues, which may make it easy to put aside.  But the elephant in the room is that if you’re bigger when you’re trying to get pregnant – guess what?  You’re just going to get bigger!!  If you’re already feeling it, it’s not going to get any easier!  Even in the best of pregnancies moving around is challenging, being overweight makes it much harder and many times more exhausting.

How do we know if we should drop some weight?  Check your BMI on a calculator.

If you are over a BMI of 25, you most likely have weight to lose.  In some cases, if you are under a BMI of 25 you may still have weight to lose.  You should be at a weight where you feel energetic, and feel confident.  For me, this is around a BMI of 22/23 because I have a small frame, and I am still nursing.  But when I was not nursing, it was lower.  However, someone with a larger build might be much more comfortable around 25.

I think there are hundreds of ways that people could los weight, so do what works for you, as long as you are eating healthfully.

How did I lose the weight?

I think a lot of the success I had was due to the fact that I was tracking my food, weight and workouts.

I kept track of what I ate on MyNetDiary which is a calorie calculator.  The goal was not to be overly strict, but studies have shown that people who keep track of their food tend to eat less.  I had a range of calories that I would consume depending on my activity level, and if I was hungry I would eat closer to the top end of my calorie range.  (1500 to 1800)  If there were days that I consumed much more than I planned, like at a special dinner, than I might go as low as 1250 the next day.  Because I am nursing I stayed above 1200, and listen to my body.

I tried to get on the scale once or twice a week.  I didn’t want to get obsessive about it, but if I let it go too long, I would also slack on the other areas of my plan.

I went to the gym when I could.  This means I had a plan to go 3 times a week.  If I couldn’t go then I would try to go for a good walk, or get up earlier and go for a jog on the treadmill.

I focused on eating whole foods, which means food you could find on a farm, or make in your own kitchen.  I ate lots of fruits and veggies.

I drank lots of water.

If you want a treat, try to eat just half and see if it will satisfy you.

Eat more mindfully, slowly enjoying each bite.

The main change that I experienced was to avoid being excessively strict, but aim for a balanced approach.  I stopped feeling guilty about eating foods that are not perfectly healthy.  If I really wanted a piece of delicious chocolate cake, I would plan for it calorically, and make sure it was the best darn cake… or wait for the chocolate chip cookies Grandma makes when she visits. YUM!

 

 

 

Preparing your body for Pregnancy 2

Part 2: Natural Health Tips & Tricks

Today, let’s go through a few extra steps you can take at home to make your journey to motherhood a little less bumpy.

The reason I say less bumpy is because if you end up needing a fertility expert, you will most likely be introducing unnatural chemicals into your body.

Here are some vitamins and supplements for the future mom:

  1. Pre-natal.  You’re thinking, DUH!  But just hold on… For all 3 of my pregnancies, taking a pre-natal vitamin caused me to throw up within a minute.  However, I had been taking pre-natals for years just in case.  Since, I had been taking prenatals regularly, I was able to quit taking them as soon as the vitamins caused the vomiting.
  2. Folic acid.  This should be part of your pre-natal.  However, if you have any predispositions to genetic issues, (I have a heart condition), I was advised to take twice the recommended amount of folic acid leading up to and between pregnancies.  As far as research shows at the moment, taking a higher dose of folic acid is fine.  It has also been found to decrease the risk of genetic issues.  Before taking any supplement or vitamin at a dose different than the recommended amount, check with your health care provider.
  3. Chaste tree is helpful for women who have long cycles, or are having anovulatory (non ovulating) cycles.  Take it for 1 month, max 3 months while trying to conceive, and stop as soon as you find out you are growing a little person.
  4. Vitamin D.  This boosts your immune system, and no one wants to get busy with a snotty spouse… so take it and make sure your guy is taking it too! (note: if your guy is willing, give him a zinc supplement, it will boost his virility.  Some men’s vitamins have it included.)
  5. B6.  During my first pregnancy I had extreme issues with vomiting/nausea and grudgingly ended up needing to take anti-nausea medication.  However, when I got pregnant for the second time, I researched the contents of the medication (diclectin), it is essentially gravol and B6.  So as soon as I find myself pregnant, I start taking B6, and it is MAGIC!!
  6. Fish Oil.  For so many reasons, you need to be taking your omega 3’s.  It thins your blood, which is excellent for pregnancy, (note: stop taking this as you get close to your due date so you can clot easily).  But the highlight of fish oils is that it boosts your baby’s brain, and helps mom with “pregnancy brain”, which has been frequently attributed to the baby stealing all your omega 3’s.
  7. Magnesium at night for leg cramps, difficulty sleeping, and …. umm… no nice way to say it.. but bathroom challenges… *blush*

*Note: Excessive drinking, smoking and coffee should be eliminated, because they affect your absorption of nutrients.

3 Further steps to take when thinking of getting pregnant:

  1. Get your spine checked by a Chiropractor that has experience in this area.  The nerves that go to your reproductive organs come from the lower back.  If your spine is not aligned properly, it’s like the wifi signal is low in your ovaries and uterus.  They are not going to function properly, because they are not getting the signals sent from the body.
  2. Try acupuncture.  Acupuncture has been getting great results with fertility.
  3. If you are overweight, or obese, lose the weight!  Fat stores impact your hormones and can decrease your fertility.

The joyous ones

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When I had my first baby, I had no idea the challenges awaiting me.  One particular time, I just wanted my baby boy to stop crying so I could get a load of laundry into the wash. I tried everything in the little booklet the hospital gave me, to quiet him down. Nothing worked.  I remember feeling my pulse race, my skin getting red and hot, and this new and unexpected anger coming up as my baby cried and cried.

I gently put the screaming baby down.  Walked over to the garbage can.  Kicked it clear across the room. … did it solve anything? …. no. Did I feel better?  A little…. but not much.

I’ve since gotten a lot more comfortable with the unpredictability of newborns. I have also since read about how when you react with anger (or any emotion) consistently, you train your brain to continue to react with anger to similar stimuli.  This is called neuroplasticity.  So the more I practice reacting gracefully to the dumped cup of juice, pulled hair, interrupted nap time, the more naturally a graceful reaction will come.

Around this time, it so happened that in a mother’s group I was attending, we did a book study on the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. My chapter was “Keeping a contented heart”.  There were 2 parts that impacted me profoundly.  The first, was when the writer tried to play the “glad game”, where she tried to be glad about everything for a whole week.   I love the glad game, because everyone has their moments where they want to kick a trash can across the room.  But, I’ve noticed the kids are much more cheerful when mom is glad.  Since reading this book, I have actually woken the kids up to my singing… (feel free to call children’s services).  Moms really do have an amazing power to make a moment good or bad.  Yesterday, Elise was trying to help me by collecting the cups that are often left everywhere on the main floor.  She unknowingly grabbed my jumbo sized full coffee cup and spilled it everywhere.  She looked up at me, about to burst into tears.  I gave her a big goofy grin and scooped her up.  We grabbed the paper towels and cleaned it all up together.  I thanked her a bunch of times for helping, and now she begs for paper towels to help clean everything (even imaginary messes).

The second part I loved was a prayer to “shield the joyous ones”.  I loved the prayer to shield the joyous, because although you want to treasure every moment with your little circus, there are moments that can potentially take away that pure joy.  For example, when you go to the grocery store, if you have more than one or two little kids following you, people are staring… (and apparently feel strong urges to score your parenting abilities).  It can be a little tough keeping your sunny disposition when one of your kids decides it would be a good time to have a huge fit.  *Cough Caleb *.  But I’ll keep praying that these little bumps along the road don’t change that feeling of amazement that the hospital let me take these little bundles home with me… for keeps!

This post is best read while listening to, Keep on the sunny side by the Whites.

 

Postpartum belly band… worth the investment?

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Have you had a baby or are you about to pop that first baby out?  Have you checked out the post baby belly picture gallery on babycenter.com?  After looking at some wrinkly, stretch marked, pendulous tummies you might be scared. … dare I say it… for good reason. *gasp*

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(but clearly totally worth it!)

You may or may not have heard about this trend of wrapping your belly post partum.  Is it going to undoubtedly get you back into your pre-baby jeans a few weeks later.  I’m going to go with – no.

This pregnancy, facing my third c-section in 3 years I wanted two things.  I wanted people not to innocently ask me “when are you due”, while I am holding my 1 month old baby.  And I wanted less back pain postpartum.  With my first two pregnancies, within a few days of leaving the hospital, I was in tears putting on my underwear, (not just cuz they were that uh-gly) and needed help walking to the bathroom.  … giving birth is so glamorous.

I dove right in to this trend.  I bought the least expensive option though.  It went on as soon as I got home from the hospital.  I noticed right away that it really helped reduce the uterine bulge within days.  So I didn’t look pregnant!!  I felt a lot more confident leaving the house.  Mission accomplished.  I also felt a lot of relief on my back, and had little to no back discomfort.  When I wasn’t wearing it, I really noticed how much support it was providing me.  The long stashed away chiropractor inside me was smiling.

The negatives I found were that it was very weird to wear the band underneath clothes.  There were a lot of strange lumps and bumps.  There were also a few times that I found it irritated my c-section incision.

When I ordered my belly band, I also got a hip binder.  I would not recommend wasting your money on this.  I really really really wanted to love the product, because these hips just keep widening to prepare for natural births that never happen.  These hips DO lie (ack, sorry, couldn’t resist).  I could never get it to stay in place, and it was too annoying to remove every time I had to use the bathroom. … let’s face it, with 2 toddlers and a newborn, this lady does not need any more hassles trying to pee!

Now, at just over 6 weeks postpartum, do I look any different than the other two deliveries? …. Nope. But would I do it again? Definitely. I was a lot more comfortable chasing little people around.

As a disclaimer, I wore the belly band 24 hours a day, from about 3 days postpartum, until I hit 5 weeks postpartum. At 5 weeks, I started to wean myself of the postpartum wrap.  At 6 weeks postpartum, I was happy to completely ditch the belly band.