Everything Under The Sun: This is a long one…

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I blame this blog on my hormones! I can’t pick one thing to write about so I’m going to write about everything! Which actually seems about right because at the moment and lately, I am all over the place with emotions and thoughts. I’m feeling everything under the sun as they say. (I wish it was sunny right now, ah, Seattle)…I digress. Okay so get ready this blog is going to get a little crazy! I’m going to give it to you straight and I’m going to tell it like it is. If you’re pregnant I say grab a snack and curl up honey, it’s about to get REAL here….

“How are you feeling?” This is the sweetest question and at times the most frustrating. Why? If you’re like me and you are having a rough pregnancy and not feeling well most of the time then answering this thoughtful question only forces you to talk about how not great you’re feeling. That said, it’s unavoidable and is always coming from a caring place no matter who’s asking. At almost 26 weeks pregnant, I’m a little sick of my answers as they’re often the same. Sometimes I just want to lie and say “great.” Mostly because I wish that could be my real answer. It’s not though. I have a headache every single day still. Sometimes it goes away, sometimes it morphs into a migraine. I’m also always exhausted and sometimes light headed or dizzy. Sometimes my stomach is a mess. Sometimes all of the above at the same time. How am I feeling? I’m feeling like I can’t remember what feeling amazing feels like. But, I know I will feel that way again.

The one thing that makes even the yuckiest day feel better? Feeling my baby girl moving inside me. She moves ALL the time now. She kicks, stretches, twists, turns. I don’t know what she’s up to in there but I feel her all the time and I LOVE it! I just revel in her movements daily (and nightly because she really gets going when it’s time to go to sleep- which of course then keeps me up).

Making this little girl makes every day I don’t feel well worth it and I’d do it again in a heart beat just so I can hear hers. Truest thing I can say. I can feel her inside me and I just hold those moments of serenity and peace, happiness and the purest joy one can feel. I hold them very tight and I say “thank you.” I couldn’t feel more blessed or grateful if I tried.

That doesn’t mean I’m all zen all the time over here though. Nope, not exactly….

“Out of respect for my decisions as a mother, please keep your opinions to yourself. You do things your way and I’ll do things my way. “ This is what I’d like to say to everyone who seems to have an opinion about how I should do things with my pregnancy, my birth and my newborn care. It seems everyone has an opinion these days and feels like it’s their duty to share it with you. It began the first time I got a pedicure when I was only 9 weeks pregnant. The nail tech doing my toes had a boat load to tell me about what I should and shouldn’t do while pregnant. She asked me questions about how I was going to do certain things when I gave birth and with newborn care. Oh my God lady really?  Now, this doesn’t mean that when I ASK someone I think is an amazing mother for advice on things that I don’t want to hear what she has to say. I DO! That’s why I’m ASKING!!!! It’s all the unsolicited chatter that’s both annoying and hard to tune out. These days everyone has an opinion and seems to want you to know it. Here is my take….

I have always wanted to be a mother. I’ve been studying moms for years- watching, learning, making mental notes about what I do or do not want to do when (if lucky enough) it’s my turn. I’ve read all the books I think important on pregnancy and newborn/childcare, I’m taking classes to get certified in infant CPR and newborn safety. I won’t let anyone be alone with my baby unless he/she is also certified in these courses because that’s my choice as a mother. I don’t take Tylenol for my daily headaches because that’s my choice as a mother. I don’t drink ANY alcohol while pregnant because that’s my choice as a mother. I eat insanely healthy making my fetus’ nutrition requirements in the womb my #1 food decision making factor and only occasionally go nuts on a food craving because that’s my choice as a mother. I’ve decided my baby will go right into her crib and not have to re-adjust to a crib after finally adjusting to a basinet, because that’s my choice as a mother. I will breastfeed. I will swaddle my baby, wear my baby and treat my newborn as if she’s still in the womb for the first 3-4 months of her life because that’s what I think based on all I have learned, is best for her. P.S. check out “The Happiest Baby on the Block” for more on this concept- I totally dig it. The list goes on but it’s my list because these are my choices as a mother. I own them. They belong to me. I didn’t make them lightly.

I will love her and care for her with all my heart, with all my might, with every once of everything I have inside me just like I’m trying to do now, because she’s my child. I am her mother. This is the most important thing I’ve ever done in my entire life so please, R.E.S.P.E.C.T me. Unless I ask you for advice, in which case bring it baby because if I’m asking you that means I truly value what you have to say. Oh and women who feel compelled to tell us pregnant ladies about horrific miscarriage/childbirth or death stories? Really? Keep it to yourself. Not cool. We’re worried enough as first time moms to be as-it-is! Can I get an amen?!?!?

“What’s Your Birth Plan?” Why is my birth plan your business? Why is my birth plan up for judgment? What if my birth plan isn’t at all what I’d want it to be because maybe, it’s not something I have the luxury to “plan” at all?! Perhaps this is personal and maybe not the grocery store clerk, hair dresser, society or anyone’s else’s business except for me and my husband? Perhaps. Although it certainly doesn’t seem that way. Since the beginning of my pregnancy I’ve been asked this question. I feel like there’s a lot of “chatter” going on in society these days around natural birth, using midwives vs doctors or being in water vs in a hospital. I’m all for au natural routes, trust me but I also value the medical field and I believe that OB’s are with us for a reason. Thank God for them. Seriously. So why am I so annoyed by this question? What’s the big deal? The big deal (to me) is:

#1 I would love to have natural childbirth with out an epidural, totally drug free and I would say bring on the labor pain baby let’s do this. I would LOVE to have that “birth plan.”

#2 I have to have a C-Section birth. I have no choice in the matter. I have had 4 opinions from OB’s/surgeons, etc. based on a medical circumstance I can do nothing about.

3# I’m 26 weeks pregnant and I still am working hard at making peace with my situation. This is not what I would want but I also have no choice. It’s too dangerous for me to have natural childbirth and could put me at risk of not being able to have another child- end-of-story.

What do people say when I tell them I have to have a C-Section birth?

“Oh my God WHY???”

“WHY would you want that???”

“Are you SURE you have to???”

“I’m SO sorry.”

“That’s SO not you! Really?”

I’ll wrap this up with my thoughts on all this. It’s pretty simple. If you’re wondering what someone’s birth plan is, make sure you’re asking with out judgment and with care because not everyone get’s to pick their birth plan and even if they do, it doesn’t always mean it’ll go that way. There are many births that start out natural and end up with C-Sections (1 out of 3 babies is born in the US via cesarean section) . There are also many women like myself who don’t have a choice in the matter. Don’t make us feel terrible about it. It’s not really kind. Be gentle with us pregnant ladies….we’re making life, we’re making a million small and large decisions every day about and for that life… it’s delicate and often private.

My take away on my childbirth situation? There’s not much I can control about it and that is very hard for me so I’m taking control of what I can:

– We will have Bob Marley playing during the entire thing so that the soundtrack to our wedding is also the sound track to our baby’s birth. (We had a Bob Marley cover bad at our wedding). (Note: we listen to a lot of reggae and she ALWAYS goes nuts in my tummy when we do and when her daddy dances around the house with me. So, it seems like she’d probably opt for this as well if I could ask her).

-I will be in the room with my husband. He’ll be the one right next to me holding my hand, looking in my eyes while our trusted doctor does what she needs to do. (I am often asked if my husband will watch the surgery since he’s a surgeon himself- no sir, he’ll be up by me, with me and we both trust our doctor enough to handle this beautifully no matter what comes her way).

-I will hold my baby as soon as humanly possible and show her more love than I can put into words.

That’s my plan. 🙂

Now for some much needed HUMOR….
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This is how I feel at least once a week these days. (If I’m really honest it’s probably more like 3-4x a week). My hormones are out of frickin’ control! I want to beat the sh-t out of them (and I’m not a violent person). I want to say “Hey! Hormones! Get outa my way I’m trying to be zen here!” Instead they have a tendency to just run over me like a train and leave me limp on the tracks not knowing what hit me. These pregnancy hormones are killer. They make you cry, they make you have anxiety, they magnify anything good or bad. Nothing really helps them except for time. In time, they pass. I don’t think there’s anything that can be said about this except- it’s hard. It sucks to feel taken over by some crazy force of nature and feel out of control of your emotions. It’s extra tough when it happens right before you have to be somewhere or right before your husband has to leave the house or right before you have to go to bed (because then you just- C-A-N-T go to bed). All I can say is this- try to breathe, this too shall pass and there’s always light at the end of the hormone tunnel of darkness and doom.

***Shout out to my amazing husband- you f-cking rock my world and deserve a metal for your awesomeness in calming me down, knowing just want to say, how to deal with my hormones and most important- for knowing how to turn it into laughter in the end. God you’re the best.

And for my last vent of the blog…the pregnancy bathing suit situation….

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“Can’t you just wear your old bikini bottoms with a bigger top?”- My husband

Mmmm, no. Not exactly. But I kind of love you more for thinking that I could. So, yes…I’m hunting for bathing suits and will be rocking them during the end of my pregnancy. Which means- even bigger boobs and a bigger belly! Maternity swimwear leaves a lot to be desired. I bought one little (okay fine not so little) black bikini and wore it twice at 23 weeks pregnant (below). Everything is even bigger now and I’ve got to buy a new suit just 3 weeks later! 1920170_10152216357264086_3737433014049087833_n

So I decided to do something I have never done…try on one pieces. Now, before you get all weird about this let me explain- I have TRIED to buy one pieces over the years, however I’m so short waisted that they are almost always ill fitting and thus I have never actually bought or worn one. I ordered a bunch of one pieces online (I highly recommend online shopping vs normal shopping while pregnant- it allows you to take bathroom breaks when you need to, take a break from trying things on when you feel you’ve had enough and it’s much easier on your ego in the privacy of your own home, with your own mirrors). As it turns out…my thought that my baby bump would somehow fill out the “extra” length in the one pieces that my torso is lacking was 100% wrong. Nope, same issues when pregnant. So, it looks like I will be that girl by the pool or at the beach in a bikini. Not because I’m trying to gross you out but because I’m too damn short waisted to rock a one piece. I apologize in advance. Feel free to look away.

Finding the right bikini isn’t so easy. I’m wearing a 34G bra but my bottom size isn’t that different than it was before so everything that fits the top is enormous on the bottom (nothing like a saggy bikini bottom, ew gross)! In the end I’m probably going to have to invest in 2 bathing suits and combine them to get one that fits. Also a quick note on why I can’t wear my old bikini bottoms like my hubby thinks I can…(bless his heart)…

#1 Brazilian cuts=not okay with a baby bump

#2 The bump shifts the way everything fits even bikini bottoms so I end up looking like I’m not wearing much on the bottom at all and that Brazilian cut quickly becomes a thong! Yikes!

So for all you mamas to be out there- if I can let my bump run free you can too! Come on join me and let’s wear our bumps out proudly this summer! Okay fine, join me so I’m not the only one!!!!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my hormonally charged blog. If you’re still reading this, you deserve a cupcake!

peanutbuttercupcakesmmmmmmmm……..

 

 

 

Getting Your Body Ready

smooches from the elliptical getting ready for baby!

smooches from the elliptical getting ready for baby!

Getting your body ready is crucial and goes a little bit beyond the obvious ones you’ve probably heard about like; cut down on alcohol, cut down on caffeine, put down the crack pipe (okay no but seriously if you are doing anything harmful to your body stop it right now), don’t use artificial sweeteners, etc. For example, (page out of my own book here) have you had your wisdom teeth out? What’s the status of your dental health? Stop drop and make an appointment to get your teeth and gums checked out. Pregnancy lasts for a while and you do not want to need any dental work during that time so get it done now! I had to have my wisdom teeth removed which requires taking lot’s of drugs so I booked my surgery well before TTC so that I would have time to heal and the yucky drugs would be out of my system.  It’s not just the dentist you need to see but your gynecologist as well. I suggest getting a check up and blood work to check and make sure mom to be is in perfect health before TTC. If there are any issues you want time to try to address them before you TTC. Going to your gynecologist is crucial. You should have a pap smear and make sure you get a clean bill of health “down there” before you press go.

The next part of getting your body ready is to look at your eating habits, your weight and your fitness level. There’s something very important to address before we get into this part. That is, every woman is different and should only compare themselves to themselves. Don’t compare yourself to your best friend, that celebrity you’re sort of obsessed with or even your mom or me. You are unique and your journey is your own. Your body is one of a kind and you know it better than anyone else. You know how it handles foods and what exercises it prefers. So that said, it’s time to check in with you. Are you at a healthy weight? Do you eat a balanced and healthy diet? Do you drink mostly water or do you drink sodas? Do you try to eat an organic diet? Do you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables? And the big one…do you exercise and how often? What kind of cardiovascular shape are you in? I’m not going to tell you exactly how you should eat or work out or what you should weigh, only that you do need to do some self-evaluation about all of these things before TTC. If some changes need to be made then give yourself TIME to make the changes before you go for it.

What I chose to do:

I mentioned I got my wisdom teeth pulled and saw the dentist, the gynecologist and got a full blood work panel done including a full Thyroid check because I have a Thyroid issue.

Note on Thyroid: If you are like me and have a thyroid issue make SURE to get your levels checked before you TTC and do not TTC until you get your numbers in a good range. When you are TTC you run the risk of not being able to get pregnant or if you do get pregnant, not being able to keep the pregnancy going if you are Hyper or Hypo Thyroid. Once you are pregnant, the OB will monitor your Thyroid levels very carefully as they can shift a lot due to the surge of hormones. It is possible that your Thyroid medication may need to be tweaked here or there during pregnancy for the safety of the baby.
Once I did my self-evaluation of health, I started to sloooooowly making some changes. Slow is key ladies; if you ease into changes, they won’t be such a big deal. For example, I love coffee. My body seems to feel like it “needs” coffee to get going in the morning. So, I took this one slow. I cut down from 3 to 2 cups then 2 to 1 cup over the period of about 4 months. My body never went into shock and it didn’t feel like I was depriving it of something it loves.

As far as eating goes, I’m an extremely healthy, organic, balanced eater and cook as is. I have always loved eating healthy and constantly finding new and fun ways to cook and enjoy healthy food. I eat a ton of fruit and veggies (lot’s of good greens on that list) and choose to drink water (sometimes with lemon) all day long vs. anything else. (Although I did like iced tea and that had to go along with my coffee). On this front I just chose to continue eating as I do but one major change I made was to allow myself to cheat a little more and not stress about it. Now you might be thinking…Sarah, seriously? That’s your big food change? I know it sounds silly and even annoying, but the truth is; in preparing to be pregnant you need to start to re-wire your brain. When you are pregnant you will not be trying to stay slim or loose weight or be obsessing over eating perfectly to stay at a certain weight or in those favorite skinny jeans of yours. Nope that whole neurotic mess we put ourselves through daily (come on we all do it) will need to go out the window for 9-10 months plus however long you choose to breastfeed (if you choose to). So…yep! I decided to chill the f-out on myself and if I felt like some ice cream or popcorn or indulging in a piece of bread dipped in olive oil before dinner, I would! Other than that…chef Sarah kept it about the same.

My fitness level was in pretty good standing but I made a deal with myself when we moved to Seattle in July (and I started on this process). The deal was that I was going to work hard to get my body as strong as I could (with in reason, ladies you can’t get pregnant with zero body fat) to hopefully house a growing human the best I could! Important areas I chose to try to work on were back and core strength (to carry all that extra weight around in front of me one day I was going to need it)! So I signed up at this amazing Pilates studio I discovered (LAB5 Fitness) on Broadway in Seattle owned by this sweet couple). The studio is a few blocks walking from my apt and they have amazing reformer classes with awesome instructors. Also, my hubby and I invested in our family health by purchasing an elliptical machine for our home. This way no matter what the weather is outside or what time it is (not limited by a gym) we could get our cardio in. So, I decided to get my tush moving and in just a couple of months I was shocked at the transformation. My body was more “ripped” than it’d been in years plus I was in a great place with my stamina on my cardio (this is VERY important while pregnant).

Like with all new habits sometimes we get a little extreme. I will note that my husband did pull me aside one day and ask me to chill out my working out just a bit because he was concerned I was over-doing it and we wouldn’t be able to conceive because of it. (He’s a physician and was speaking from a knowledgeable place and also a loving one). I listened and I chilled out a bit, which didn’t even show on my body at all, but I knew he was right. It’s not about killing yourself it’s about preparing your body for something truly special.

Folic Acid/Prenatal Vitamins:

Taking Folic Acid is one of the most important things you can do before TTC. Ideally you’ll give yourself about 3 month on it before you TTC. You can also start taking prenatal vitamins (which should contain folic acid) if you want to but you don’t have to. Just so long as you get your folic acid in.

The skinny on Folic Acid is this:  (Note: Check with your doctor before taking anything, always).
Folic acid is a pregnancy superhero! Taking a prenatal vitamin with the recommended 800 (mcg) of folic acid before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of your baby’s brain and spinal cord. Folic acid, which is also called folate, is a B vitamin. Folic acid plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and helps your baby’s neural tube develop into his/her brain and spinal cord. Birth defects occur within the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy. So it’s important to have folic acid in your system during those early stages when your baby’s brain and spinal cord are developing.