The Home Stretch

third-trimester

 

So it’s the third trimester….the “home stretch” as every single person I speak to keeps calling it. Calling this time of pregnancy the “home stretch” is totally appropriate though. Really it’s a stretch in every sense. Your tummy is stretching barely able to keep up with this growing baby and feels like it couldn’t possibly stretch more (but it can and it will, not to worry or at least that’s what everyone tells me). Also, just about every thing you try to do feels like a stretch because your body is limited by this soccer ball in the middle of it. That ball doesn’t bend in half like your tummy used to (back when you had a waist and not a person growing there). You’re unable to sleep through the night (if at all) and so just getting through the day and doing “normal” things feels like a serious stretch of what energy you have left. Then there’s the mental part of the stretch because you’ve got “pregnancy brain” and are suddenly quite forgetful and absent minded, so trying to get through making a to do list or getting everything done in one day seems like a mental stretch (one that sometimes doesn’t quite touch it’s toes). Also your hormones are getting a little out of control again and now you’re just playing catch up with them constantly.

I’ve been a little quiet lately because in my home stretch my migraines have picked back up and have really been kicking my pregnant butt on the daily. On the days I don’t have a really bad headache, I usually have a medium one and am exhausted from the day of migraine prior. I’m not sleeping through most nights because of back pain and tummy pain (my stretching tummy is killing me around the belly button, which I found out is my stomach muscles stretching apart down the middle of my tummy to make room baby’s growing body). The tossing and turning and trying to get comfy all night leaves me pretty tired during most days. Then there’s the really wonderful reason for being tired….the baby thinks night time is time to dance, party, twist turn and kick the sh-t out of me! I can only say that I may be looking at the clock at 3am thinking…really? But, I’m smiling because I love feeling her it makes me so happy. It’s on some other level of amazing every single time. Then there’s the necessity of eating which is something I often want to do but man whenever I do it now- hellllloooo indigestion!!! I have never really experienced anything quite like it. It feels like the food I ate is sitting in my chest and can’t move and it hurts and makes eating hard. That said I have to eat and feed this baby so I just get it done, try to make it healthy and eat less at a time as slow as I can to help things along. Popping Tums is helpful but doesn’t seem to do that much. It’s just a part of the home stretch for me (and I know many other moms to be too). Oh and then there’s needing pee all the time and the bladder pressure of the baby- but I’m pretty used to that now. I chalk all this stuff up to being in the home stretch and third trimester and so I’m not feeling all “poor me this is sooo hard” but more like….”58 days and counting until I meet my daughter and I can hardly wait.”

The one thing (other than sex, which I highly recommend to all pregnant, tired and maybe a little stressed out ladies) that has brought me relief from all the above is my prenatal massages. One of the massage therapists told me to look up what my internal organs look like in the third trimester- that it would make a lot of what I’m experiencing make much more sense. She is right! As you can see from the photo above…things are in places they normally wouldn’t be and many of the home stretch and third trimester aches and pains are explained just by looking at this photo. I mean- check out where the stomach is for example?!? Wowzer! Also, if you ARE pregnant I suggest you share this photo with your partner because it will help them understand things a lot too. We had a good laugh about everything when I showed it to my hubby. Someone can tell you your organs are all messed up but there’s something about the visual! Wooo baby!

So it’s all stretching and it’s almost time for the baby to come home…try to do what I’m doing and enjoy the moments you can, focus on the happy times and the feel good movements of your baby, of the excitement of starting to set up your nursery, of watching and feeling your baby get the hiccups for the first time, of that look on your partners face when he feels the baby going nuts inside you. Soak it all up because soon enough, life is going to change forever and if you’re like me, you know these moments matter while it’s still just you two. Even if you don’t feel well, there’s still joy here because no matter what even in the worst migraine ridden, exhausted and overly hormonal day…at the end of this home stretch is your baby in your arms and you can always think of that, for smiles.

 

 

This Is and Is Not My Fantasy Pregnancy: all at the same time.

In bed all day that day

I’ve been vacillating on what this next blog should be about. Should I write about my new favorite this or that? Or should I share with you a couple new books I’m reading about newborn care? (I will don’t worry). Or, should I take a risk and do what feels really uncomfortable to do, which is write about how I’ve been feeling and perhaps share my reality to possibly help you with yours? Yes, that. So, here goes…

I’d like to dedicate this blog to a concept a friend shared with me years ago about being “mindful” and being able to be both really one thing and also really something else, all at the same time. Part of being mindful is accepting that it’s okay to be all the things you are at this moment, and there’s peace in that. I can be in bed with a migraine for 4 days straight and also so happy and grateful to be blessed with this pregnancy. I am all of the emotions and feelings in both of these things, all at once, with out judgment and that is okay. (And there’s my migraine selfie to the left from the other day).

Often times we feel we are only allowed to be all one thing. For ex. I’m pregnant and it’s this one thing I’ve dreamed about my whole life: becoming a mom some day and now I’m actually doing it. So, I think I should be grateful, elated, happy and bursting with joy all day and night. I do feel all those things in my heart and soul, but my pregnancy has not been an easy one. I often feel pretty horrible every single day. At 19 weeks pregnant now, I’ve not felt well for one day since about week 5 or so. Does that mean I am not SO happy to be pregnant? Not at all. In fact, ask my husband, on my hardest of days, in his hour of concern for me and feeling so bad for how I’m feeling, he asked me how I may be able to do this again if I have a similar pregnancy and with this little one running around? My answer to him with out blinking or taking a breathe was, “I’ll do this again. We’ll work it out.” Because I know that I will do this again because I do want more than one child and I know we will work it out. Whatever that means at the time, just like we are now. My desire to be a mother is greater than my need to feel wonderful for 9-10 months of my life. I can handle it because I am so grateful, blessed and happy to be this lucky to have my dream come true.

Each pregnancy is different. The one of my dreams was amazing. I had that “glow” about me…had tons of energy and felt very earth-mama-connected-zen-ed out-peaceful and full of life. The one in my dreams, man, it was awesome. Many women get to have that kind of pregnancy and they feel amazing the whole time. If this is you- you’re so lucky! Enjoy it! Many women (like me as it turns out) don’t have the easiest time. There can be issues with morning (or all day) sickness, headaches, fatigue, constipation, Thyroid issues, Anemia, dizziness and much more. Some women even have to be on bed rest (God forbid). For me, I was nauseous all night and day until about week 13-14 on top of daily headaches which at times turned into migraines. Sometimes those migraines would last for days and nights at a time. There were several days where getting into the shower, walking the dog, doing an errand, felt like a small feat. I have chosen not to take drugs as much as I can control during my pregnancy so, despite being told by my OB that Tylenol is “pregnancy safe” I only took it one time this whole time. (This is a personal choice and not for everyone).

The books and blogs say that if you’re suffering in your first trimester you’ll probably see the clouds part in the second one. You’ll miraculously feel a surge of energy, all your issues will subside and you’ll experience the “honeymoon” period of pregnancy. Well, around week 14 and my second trimester my nausea went away which was wonderful however, the headaches did not. In fact around week 16 they reared back up again and it was so bad that I wasn’t able to fly to my Grandmother’s funeral this past week because of it.

So, what now? Nothing. I just keep taking it one day at a time. I wake up and feel my growing belly and talk to my little girl in there (who is now fluttering around and dancing a bit- she get’s it from her mama). I tell her I love her, her father loves her, her grandparents and aunts and uncles love her. I tell her everything is going to be okay. I’m telling that to myself too. It can be scary to feel bad during pregnancy. It’s important to try to keep calm and peaceful and not let the worry or stress of feeling bad overcome you. So each day, I check and and see what I can do to try to work with what needs to be done that day and how I’m feeling. Then, I just do the best I can and make smart, safe choices all day with what I eat, what I do and do not do, for this baby I’m in charge of.

If you are having a hard pregnancy, it’s okay. The light isn’t at the end of the tunnel, it’s inside you, growing there, so let it shine from the inside out and be okay with it all. You can be upset about being in pain, exhausted from struggling through headaches and nausea all day AND also filled with the love and light inside you, for and around your baby. Shine on, even if it’s from the couch.

Note: If you’re suffering from headaches and don’t want to take Tylenol here are some tips and tricks I’ve found that can help:

-Drink tons of water

-Try small doses of caffeine

-Try some sugar (in my case fruit didn’t cut it, I had to actually eat some real refined sugar or chocolate which is sugar and caffeine).

-Move slowly. Getting up and down fast can cause your headache to pound more. Don’t forget your blood volume has increased by 50% and so this could also be why you’re having these issues. Move slowly honey…don’t have to rush, it helps.

-Listen to your body! If you’re body says to lay down, go lay down. If your body says to eat, go eat. If a long hot bath sounds like it may calm your nerves, go run one.

-Get a pregnancy massage by someone trained in prenatal massage. It can help relax and relive some of the pressure. 

-Try acupuncture with someone trained to work on pregnant women. It can help. 

 

 

 

To Gluten Or Not To Gluten, That Is The Question

This one eats wheat...

This one eats wheat…

This one can not....

This one can not.             

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did your mom ever do “this little piggy” with you when you were little? Ya know: “This little piggy went to the market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef, this little piggy had none, this little piggy cried wee wee wee all the way home.”

Well our family’s version would be like:

“This little piggy has Celiac, this little piggy does not, this little piggy fell in love with that little piggy and went gluten-free, this little piggy got pregnant and got one shelf in the kitchen for wheat at home.”  Or something like that.

So what do you do when you get pregnant and you have food allergies in the household? How do you give your baby the best chance at not having issues as possible, knowing he/she is genetically predisposed to them? Note: When I say issues I’m not talking about how this little piggy tends to be overly sensitive and emotional and that little piggy can be a little neurotic and overly analytical. Those “issues” are going to be a toss up in that mixed up genetic soup we’re serving. I’m focusing here on food issues only.

When I was dating my now husband, he found out he had Celiac Disease. We weren’t living together yet but I made sure my apartment was 100% Gluten-Free to support his new life change. He had to make some sad changes in diet and I wanted him to know he had my full support. Also, I didn’t want to risk him being at my place and just grabbing something to snack on with out paying attention and getting poisoned. The horror! So, right then and there, the day of the test results, we began our Gluten-Free living. Now, that isn’t to say when I was out to eat that I would eat only Gluten- Free, but if I was eating out with my man, I usually would since he’d often eat off my plate plus I never liked making him feel left out. This of course continued through us moving in together, at dinners and parties I throw- anything that goes on in our home is Gluten-Free. It works well when his brother (who also discovered his Celiac Disease around the same time) or my brother (who is Gluten-Free for sinus issues and allergies) are in town. In fact, my brother is also dairy free. You should see what goes on around family holidays it’s a whole thing!

When we became pregnant, my husband who loves medical research more than anyone I have ever met, put his skills to work. He tried to learn about what I should do with my eating. Since the baby has a Celiac daddy and a wheat tolerant mommy does it mean it’s a 50/50 chance of Celiac? Well here’s the scoop. There’s no documented research that provides us with any certain answer to these questions regarding gluten. However, my husband did find this extremely helpful study about nut allergies. We know many people with children who have severe nut allergies and we don’t wish that on our little peanut either. Can you imagine? She’s got Celiac and a deadly nut allergy? God forbid. Okay it’s all too much to worry about sometimes I tell you. I just want to give her the best chance I can control to be as healthy as possible.

If we go by this study, not only will I make SURE to eat my nuts (easy I am a peanut butter and cashew a-holic) but I will also make sure to introduce wheat into my pregnancy diet. This way since I can tolerate wheat, our baby girl will get to be exposed to it too! And then honey from there it’s just a big ‘ol fingers crossed!!!

So, now we have a cabinet just for moi, in the kitchen that contains some whole wheat crackers and random little nibbles I like (and haven’t had in quite some time since the Celiac revelation). Only on occasion, if my hubby has been on call and up all night operating and is super sleepy will he go into that cabinet and you can hear me from across the apartment yelling “wheat! wheat! stop!” It’s like I have super powers on that one cabinet I tell ya. When we eat out now I make a point to eat gluten because although at home I have a little, I really still don’t bring too much into the home that I can’t share with my man. Also, let’s face it at 3am if he gets “snacky” after being called in, I’m in the other room asleep and not there to scream “wheat!”

So this little piggy loves that Gluten-Free little piggy and we really hope our little piggy in the womb is enjoying the healthy variety she’s getting fed. Now off to Trader Joes and the local Co-op market I go!

Dare to Bare….My Hair???

PureVibranceWe’ve all heard about the big hair issue of pregnancy. No, not how gorgeous and thick your tresses will get while your pregnant or how fast it will grow. I’m talking about the issue of whether to dye or not to dye. That is the question. Now if you’re like me, you always envisioned your pregnancy with this beautiful natural flowing mane of hair, looking all earth mama boho chic beautiful…natural and sexy. Right? Okay perhaps that’s just me. But the reality is that if you’ve been dying your hair or even highlighting and/or low lighting it (which is what I’ve been doing for years) then you will be forced to decide to either continue to do so while pregnant or let your roots run wild and your natural color show for all the world to see. There’s a ton of literature available about this issue but no hard medical facts that substantiate hair dye to be dangerous to the fetus. It is only suspected that hair dye on your scalp is potentially dangerous to your baby’s health. So, this decision is yours and for some of us it might be a big one. For me, it wasn’t hard to chose. I had pretty much decided to do pregnancy sans hair dye since before I even met my husband. That said…it was a process.

What I chose to do:

My hair is naturally blonde. My hair is also naturally curly. It’s kind of been my thing to have blonde big curly hair (even though I occasionally partake in a blow out for a little treat). Over the years however, I started to do the highlight thing and then the highlight/low light thing to give my hair dimension. As I’ve gotten older I can tell my natural blonde has gotten darker. It’s considered “mousey blonde” or “dirty blonde” at this point. Neither term sounds too appealing to me. Since I’ve gone so long with out seeing my hair in it’s complete natural state, all I have to go on is what color my eye brows are and other hair on my body. So, okay I’m still blonde but I don’t want to look “mousey” or “dirty.” When hair dressers have done my color in the past they often comment at how light my natural color still is. That’s always made me feel good but whenever my roots have grown out with highlights, to me they always look dark. That said, when I thought about growing my hair out and letting my roots go wild I immediately freaked at the thought of that horrible line you get when your roots grow out and then multiplied that look x9 months of growth! Oh hell no!

The beauty of planning to try to get pregnant and preparing body/mind/house and spirit prior to TTC also includes making time to get your hair in order! When we moved to Seattle in July I began my hair journey so that once we started TTC my hair would be where I wanted it to be for the duration of a pregnancy. The first thing I did was research colorists in my area and also people who are good with curly hair. If you are a curly girl, you will relate to this: cutting and coloring curls is totally different than cutting and coloring straight hair. When I lived in NYC I discovered Devachan and realized that cutting and coloring curls is an art and these people were the artists who wrote the book. Actually they did literally write a book!

Since my curly hair revelation I have tried to find Deva-trained hair dressers and colorists in every city I have lived in. It just so happens that in Seattle, they are all under one roof at the very chic and hip salon Vain. I made an appointment with a stylist there and explained to her that I wanted to get pregnant and while pregnant, I want to still look good (my hair at least). I explained my issue with growing out my roots and also the fact that I wasn’t exactly sure what color of blonde my natural hair really is anymore. So we devised a plan of attack. This was, to take out the highlights and match my low lights by doing an all over color that would wash out as I washed it over time. She promised me it wouldn’t be too dark in the end even though in the beginning it may seem that way. So, I went for it and sure enough….full freak out mode. It was not too dark it was WAY TOO DARK. I could hardly look at myself. This was not even blonde anymore this was looking brown! So, I went back for a fixer session a few weeks later after washing my hair like a mad woman 2-3x a day to try to get it to fade. The hair dresser was super sweet about it and realized that in fact this was maybe over kill. She did some kind of a rinse and toner and threw in some golden highlights that she felt were very close to my natural color so that as it grew out, it would blend and not have a line.

As it turns out, the second time in worked great and so began my growing out phase while anxiously waiting to see what my real color would look like. I still gave myself enough time to change the color if need be before TTC. Fortunately, I realize my natural color was pretty and I even started to get lots of compliments on my beautiful natural blonde curls! Who would have thought?! Don’t get me wrong as delighted as I am that I can live with this color for 9+ months, I will 100% be going to get some dimension added back in via color when I am done being a vessel for a little one. I miss having little funky streaks of lighter and darker shades mixed in, however now that I know I like my hair I will probably do highlights/low lights less frequently and more sparingly than before. I am starting to fall in love with my blonde shade…it’s more “goldie locks” and less “mousey locks” (thank you God or shall I say, thank you genetics)!!!!!

Hair Products I swear by that are baby safe too:

What I’ve been using on my hair, I am fortunate enough to be able to stick with through TTC and pregnancy because it’s all totally safe for baby! I go between two sets of hair products: Arbonne and DevaCurl (from the Devachan curly girls).

You’ll see me talk about Arbonne products a lot on this blog because everything they create is totally safe to use on your largest organ- your skin! I live for their products and I’m 100% about them for my skincare, my make-up and body care. The only place I let anything else touch me is when it comes to my curls because I can’t live with out my DevaCurl products and have found my hair is looking and feeling it’s best when I mix it up wit Arbonne! The DevaCurl products and Arbonne products are sulfate-free and paraban-free, which is very important. I’ll give you my scoop below:

My Arbonne picks for dry, thick, wavy, curly or color treated hair:

You can check them out directly through my site (yes I love Arbonne SO much I sell it and you can get amazing discounts through me). Click on “hair” and you’ll find Pure Vibrance Lustre Fortifying Shampoo, Pure Vibrance Fortifying Creme Conditioner and Pure Vibrance Texturizing Mousse, all of which I absolutely love! Not to mention it smells so good and never irritates my skin or face as it washes out.

If you’re a curly girl like me then you might become a lifer as I call myself, with Devachan products. You can buy them online.

I use:

No-Poo Cleanser

One Condition

Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam

Light Defining Gel

Good luck with your hair journey ladies and don’t worry, if you can’t dare to go bare while pregnant no one is judging you! (Well at least not me)!!!

Modern Medicine Rocks

no this isn't my belly but it's a cute one!

no this isn’t my belly but it’s a cute one!

I’d like to preface this blog by saying that although I think modern medicine rocks, it does not mean that I don’t believe in doing things as natural and organic as possible. I personally try to eat and live as natural, organic, safe and pure as possible. That doesn’t mean I can’t ALSO partake and benefit from modern medicine. To me there is room for it all in life and being inclusive not exclusive when it comes to health. So ya, modern medicine rocks!

Why does it rock? So many reasons but let’s focus on why it rocks for pregnancy and what’s going on that’s hot right now. First off this year is even better than last year for expectant mothers because we now have access to even more non-invasive tests than mothers that came before us. I’d like to focus on this because if you are reading this and expecting I urge you to consider looking into this new test called Chromosomal Aberration Screening which is prenatal genetic testing. It was brought to my attention by our dear family friend, Dr. Eric Topol. Check out Eric speaking on it here. This test was also recently featured in the New York Times.

What we did with this information:

Okay so first of all, because my husband and I are both Ashkenazi Jews, we knew that I needed to be tested for being a carrier of Tay-Sachs disease. The way it works is if the mother is a carrier then you check the father, but if the mother is not a carrier then you’re in the clear. Since we knew that we wanted to try to start a family sooner than later after we got married, I decided to get a full genetic panel done before we even got married. Knowledge is power people! This full genetic panel would be useful for anyone considering getting pregnant. It checks for so many things I was in shock when the report came back negative for 3 pages of weird genetic diseases I had never heard of! If you are interested in doing this I suggest you ask your OB-gyn as there are many different options available and different cultural background have different risks associated with them. It’s very good to know what your risks are and then make decisions from there with your partner.

Knowing that we had that panel done and everything checked out fine was a great start but not enough information once we found out we were pregnant. My husband began to do extensive research on the companies doing the genetic prenatal testing. What we found out was that the main options were:

Verifi

MaterniT21

Harmony

Panorama

We narrowed it down to MaterniT21 and Verifi until I found out that MaterniT21 won’t give the test to anyone under 35 years old. 35 seems to be the magic number with all these test mostly when it comes to insurance. It seems as though if you’re 35 and up you will most likely be able to get this test covered but if you’re not then it’s likely your insurance will deny the claim. Each company has different set ups with payment. I suggest you do your own research and evaluation of this financially. Also call your insurance and get as much information as you can from them before making a choice. We opted to go with the company Verinata that does the Verfi test.

I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for this test’s availability to me. With one tube of blood taken at 11 weeks we were able to find out with in 4 days that our fetus tested negative for the following covered by Verifi: Trisomies 21, 18, and 13; optional expansion detects sex-chromo- some abnormalities (monosomy X, XXX, XXY, and XYY) and may aid in stratifying the risk of X-linked disorders (e.g., hemo- philia, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, and ambiguous genitalia). The big one in this test is Downs Syndrome. It tests 99.9% accurate for Downs Syndrome. When my doctor’s office called with the results of this test my heart felt peaceful, grateful and relieved.  All I could think is “Modern Medicine Rocks!”

I hope that in a while from now the insurance companies will start to let women get covered for these tests who are under 35. I am 34 and when we give birth will be months from 35. To me, the risk I have is the same as it would be if I were a few months older. The process is what it is right now but I really hope it changes and this test becomes much more affordable. We can only make this happen by having more women get these tests and spread the awareness about them to wake up the insurance companies! My fingers and toes are crossed on this one. For now though, I am one grateful mamma to be for that tube of blood and what my results were from it.

Creating a pregnancy safe home!

02_APC_51_1Okay so your body is on the right path, you’re getting in to see your doctors, taking your folic acid, removing your goalie, picking your OB and now you need to do one more thing….get your home baby making friendly! It’s not just what we put into our body but it’s what we touch with our skin, what we breathe in, that needs to be baby making safe. This part can cost you a bit of money but I swear it’s so worth it for the peace of mind. Go into your cabinets, under your sink, into the laundry area of your house and throw out everything UNLESS it’s non-toxic and baby safe. If it is- keep it honey you’re a step ahead of the game! Then, go to amazon or your local store and replace these items with cleaning supplies and agents that are safe. Here’s a list of the brands I recommend:

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day

Seventh Generation

Babyganics

Method

Honest

Once you’ve switched over you can just continue using these safe products because trust me, once you get pregnant, it’s crucial not to be touching and inhaling chemicals. It’s all for the safety of the baby.

Getting ready for the best part…Making a baby!

1329697687758_4339331You’ve probably heard this saying; people talking about getting pregnant saying “we pulled the goalie” to start trying. Well, I’m stealing it and rolling with it even though I’m not really a fan of hockey and could probably come up with something more unique. Ah well. So yes, we had a goalie and that goalie needed to be pulled to TTC. I had a Mirena IUD that needed to be removed. I’m not a big fan of pain but for some reason I chose to book my IUD removal the same week as my wisdom teeth removal! I think at the moment I was thinking just get it all done fast but whoa momma! That was one helluvah week! Why am I talking about this? Because if you want to get pregnant and you have an IUD that needs to be removed, it’s possible your body will need a month or two (1-2 menstrual cycles) to regroup from having the IUD in. I don’t recommend TTC until you let your body heal first. Go for some condoms they won’t kill you. Or if you go unprotected just please keep this in mind. The same goes for going off the pill I would assume although I didn’t go through that so I’d ask your doctor.

Once you’ve removed the goalie and you’re body is ready to rock then do what we did… JUST HAVE FUN! Do not stress! Do not obsess over your baby tracker AP that you bought for your iphone that tells you what days you are fertile or ovulating. Just glance at it here and there to know where you may be at (these things aren’t foolproof) and then just go and get busy with your partner and enjoy this time. I can honestly tell you there is nothing more connected and sexier than making love with your person, trying to make a baby. It’s the most beautiful thing ever. Or at least, it was for us. And on that note…DO NOT GOOGLE! Don’t Google things like “when should we have sex to get pregnant?” You will find a million things that will only confuse you and take the sexy away from the process. My advice? Just have a lot of sex and make sure to have sex every day around your ovulation. My doctor told me this so I will pass it on to you:

Cycle day #1= you get your period (so you count from that day).

Have Sex on days: 10,12,14,16. She says she swears by it!

Here are a couple more notes on the TTC fun part:

  1. Do not use lube it kills sperm as does saliva so try to get naturally turned on.
  2. Doing yoga style shoulder or head stands after sex while TTC isn’t proven to work but if you’re flexible and strong enough it can’t hurt (I totally did it and it caused many laughter filled moments in our post sexy time).
  3. If you get your period and you’re TTC…do not stress out just keep HAVING FUN with it. Stress makes your fertility poop out which is the opposite of what you want! It’s only time to be concerned if it’s nearing one year or if you have other medical issues (which you should talk to your OB about before you start TTC).
  4. Your partner might be a little nervous at first- this is normal. The reality is we all spend our entire adult lives trying NOT to get pregnant and here we are all of a sudden trying TO get pregnant. It’s a little bit mind-blowing. That said once he/she’s come to grips with that and they’re all in…that’s where it gets really fun, special and HOT! See I told you pregnancy nerds are hot!

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.

Getting Ready Mentally: great books to read and more!

Nerds are cool but PREGNANCY NERDS ARE HOT!

My husband calls me a “pregnancy nerd.” He says this with a look of pride and admiration. He’s an MD-PhD (and the coolest nerd on the planet). He says this not because it takes one to know one, but because it’s awesome to take this seriously and educate yourself before you start.

It’s totally true, I have become a complete nerd about our pregnancy and that started BEFORE we even conceived! I got my nerdy-on months before we “went for it.” Let me explain why; this (making a baby/being a mom) is in my world, the MOST important thing I have ever done and will ever do in life. So, I decided to learn as much about doing it as possible. This included what I needed to do before we “went for it”. It may come as a surprise to you that in fact there is a lot you can do before you start trying to conceive (TTC).

It’s my hope that I can make your journey a little easier by sharing what I learned, what I did and what I geeked out on along the way.

Picking your OB:

This is a very important relationship and you want to feel totally comfortable with this doctor, with the practice they are in and the hospital they deliver at.

If you have family or friends to ask for referrals then you’re lucky. For us, we’d just moved to a new city and didn’t know anyone so I had to do it on my own. The way I went about this was to start with my insurance and get a list of OB-gyn’s in my area. Then I googled the hospitals near us in Seattle that have Neonatal care. I personally do not want to give birth at a hospital that doesn’t have this. Here’s what you’re looking for.

So then I took the names of the OB-gyn’s that deliver at Swedish from my list and started looking them up online (this included yelp reviews). I spent hours and hours on this. I finally narrowed it down and realized that the top rated people covered by my insurance, in my area, that deliver at Swedish are ALL in the same practice! So, I called and started to try to get into someone there. Then, I asked the owner of my pilates studio who’s lived in Seattle forever and seems to know everything if she knew of anyone great. She then gave me a name of the OB-gyn that I now go to that was a part of this fabulous practice. Once you choose, I suggest you go make an appointment and start seeing this person right away for your pap and a little chat about TTC.

Let’s geek out:

I’m listing the books I loved and the order in which I suggest reading them. The first two I suggest reading before you TTC as there’s a lot of helpful information in there. Keep these books to go back to once you’re pregnant.

“Getting Ready to Get Pregnant: Your Complete Pregnancy guide to Making a Smart and Healthy Baby” by Michael C. LU, MD

“The Mother of all Pregnancy Books” by Ann Douglas

“Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy” From Doctors who are parents too

“The Girlfriends Guide To Pregnancy” by Vicki Iovine

“From The hips” by Rebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris


Note: I will add to this list as I read more great books!