Behind my fit Pregnancies

Mama Mama, Workin' Out

I have always been active. As a kid and teenager I played sports, was involved with horses, loved hiking and climbing trees, and just about anything that kept my body busy. Over the last ten years, I have dedicated my life to being healthy and active, and at the age of 20, I decided to make my love for fitness official when I went to school for personal training.

That was almost 9 years ago now, and as the time goes by I continue to adapt, adjust, and advocate my passion.

I’ve done one-on-one training, group bootcamp classes, trained and coached myself for a bikini competition, coached youth sports, and have learned to keep my body healthy as I go from a long-distance runner to a strong mama who isn’t afraid to lift more than her kids.

Long story short, fitness is a part of who I am. Fitness is a part of my past, as it is a huge part of the future I plan for myself and my children.

During the last five of those 10 years, I have been pregnant three times. Currently, I am 21+ weeks pregnant with my third, and have continued to not only maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, but that has kept me very consistent with my composition and athletic abilities between each pregnancy.

(When I say “athletic abilities” I also mean I am able to move my body as it’s MADE to be moved. Nothing heroic or olympian by any means.)

When I got pregnant with my first, I was mostly still a runner, but did plenty of light weight and body weight exercises to maintain balance. I was right around 110 pounds, and 14% body fat. I continued to walk/jog and do lighter workouts throughout the pregnancy. Parker was born 10 weeks early, and no one knows why to this day.

With my second pregnancy, I was actually pregnant while on stage at a bikini competition where I was 111 pounds, and 11% body fat. Obviously my body was nourished as it should be, or I wouldn’t have gotten pregnant. I lifted heavy throughout this whole pregnancy as well as walked and hiked. I was the strongest and leanest I’ve ever been when I got pregnant with my second. I stopped lifting heavy (and continued to lift lighter weights) ONLY about a month before our daughter was born. She was 38+ weeks and a healthy baby. Labor was quick and as perfect as it gets.

I began this pregnancy at 111 pounds, and 13% body fat. This pregnancy has been the hardest on me physically, as I have had a million more stresses, adjustments in our personal lives, and with having the two kiddos at home full time…one in which I am home-schooling. My body aches more, and it begs me for more frequent workouts or at least more activity. Not only is my body feeling the changes, but my stress levels could use the workouts as well. I also know, if I were to get in even small, less intense workouts, I would have more energy to chase after my two kiddos, the two goats, the two dogs, and make sure the chicks, chickens and bunny all get the attention they deserve as well. Energy is very much needed. 

Regardless, I have still been able to get in 1, maybe 2 workouts a week, as well as a walk or so. With the weather changing, and me being the constantly cold woman I am, our Bob isn’t getting in as many outings as we would all like. Though I am very blessed and thankful for the ability to be even as active as I am now, there are days I have a hard time with either feeling like I need more so I don’t lash out and allow stress to win, or there are people who make it worse by telling me to “don’t over-do it”, “lifting weights isn’t safe during pregnancy” or “go eat a pizza, you are pregnant” and it makes me crazy.

The reality is, my body is used to exercise, and God made our bodies (yes…even as women) with the ability to move and be fit. And most importantly, I know my body.

Here’s the thing: Who wouldn’t want to reap the benefits of exercise during pregnancy anyways?!

  1. Squats help prevent back and pelvic pain, as well as increase and strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
  2. Walking, swimming, and/or light impact activities help keep yours and baby’s weight in check, while also helping to prevent gestational diabetes, regulating blood pressure, and kicking stress to the curb. Walking for me also helps loosen up any aches and discomforts pregnancy might be creating.
  3. According to Ina May Gaskins, you should squat 300 times a day for a quicker birth.
  4. More energy!
  5. Upper body weight/strength training helps improve posture that may be thrown off because of your already changing body and baby belly.
  6. And, once baby is born, you bounce back and heal so much faster! And then, the greatest benefit of all is allowing your littles to witness their mama in action living a fit lifestyle so that they too grow a passion for the same.

For me personally, I will always recommend an active lifestyle. Even during pregnancy. Obviously each woman and each pregnancy is different, so finding ways to adjust to fit your needs is important. Because of my background, I am confident that I can use my body appropriately and safely while exercising. Having good form, knowledge of lifts, and knowing my body’s limits is all crucial…but not something I worry about. No, it’s not a fad, or an attempt for attention. It’s a lifestyle, one that began ten years ago, and only continues to adapt, adjust and one I’ll continue to advocate.

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A few weeks before my first was born, and 7 months post first pregnancy. 

8 months preg 8 months post

8 months pregnant with baby #2, and 8 months post baby #2

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5 weeks pregnant with baby #2

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Working out with lighter weights a couple weeks before Ava was born.

 

 

 

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Message 2 my Kids #38

Mama Mama

Ava girl, you stink.

Your poopy diapers are the worst. Probably because your Daddy is who keeps pooping in them.

I’m going to have to have a talk with that Daddy.

(Every time I ask Avaley if she’s pooped, she flat out says “no…Dada” which is both adorable, and hilarious, but still, no less stinky.)

Progesterone and Specialists

Mama Mama

My husband and I had just gotten to Gold Beach the night before our baby shower, Friday January 31st, 2014 when we ran into a friend at the store and I started feeling slightly crampy around my lower belly. Our friend noticed and asked in a joking manner, “Are you having your baby now!?”  We laughed, shrugged it off, and returned to my father-in-laws house for the remainder of the night.

Sometime shortly after Javin and I both fell asleep, I was in and out of the bathroom, uncomfortable, on my knees, curled in a ball…nothing made me feel better so I dozed when I could but spent the majority of the night in pain.

In the morning, my father-in-law saw my behavior and called the hospital to see if a doctor would be available to see me, he insisted we go get checked out. I mean, I was bending over the couch and could hardly move, but being as this was our first child, and we still had 10 more weeks until our due date, being in labor wasn’t even an option. Was it?!

At this time, the hospital in our tiny little home town wasn’t delivering babies, they were not staffed or prepared for it. But being as I came in and was already 6 cm dilated and progressing quickly, they made an exception. Yes we were ahead of schedule, and yes, I had a baby shower planned, but we were also having a baby.

Though the circumstances were not ideal, I remember feeling so calm, while I sensed everyone around me was a ball of nerves. My husband and both our moms were emotional, and there was nothing I could do at this point besides play things out.

Labor and delivery was tough for me. My body had began labor the night before (I know now) and when I got to the hospital they gave me I believe indomethacin to attempt to slow/stop labor. They would not fly me because I was already progressed further than they would have like, and so our only option was to wait for a team to fly in from Medford, to assist with the baby and take him to the NICU there once he was born. Because the doctors were trying to somewhat regulate and keep my labor on their schedule, my body was confused when they then broke my water to begin labor again.

Once I began to push, it wasn’t long at all until our son, Parker, was born. 10 weeks early, breathing on his own, and 3lb 12oz of all our love. After I delivered the placenta the doctors then saw there had been an abruption, and I had a large blood clot that worried them enough that they insisted I stay the night for monitoring. The most difficult night in my life was this night. My first born had just been flown 3 and a half hours away and I didn’t get to hold, admire, or nurture him. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect since this was NOT a part of our birth plan.

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Long story short, we spent 6 weeks in the hospital, allowing Parker to mature. I lived in the hospital with him, while my husband continued schooling and working full time back home on the coast. I was his advocate, and I am so thankful I could be there to stand up for him and what I felt was appropriate. I saw many other babies have multiple set-backs during our stay, and we were so blessed to be able to bring our baby home even weeks before his original due date.

Once Parker turned one, we knew we would want to start trying for another baby soon. And when we got pregnant, I was in the best shape of my life. I actually was pregnant with our daughter while I attended a bikini competition and as lean and strong as I’ve ever been.

Our journey with Avaley’s pregnancy was much different than Parkers. I changed midwifes, and knew I wanted a more natural approach to birth this time around. My midwives suggested I go see a specialist and discuss progesterone shots to possibly help prevent preterm birth with this pregnancy since the placental abruption I had with Parker was from an unknown cause.

So I did, and we came to the conclusion that we would begin shots at 20 weeks, and continue them once a week for 17 weeks until I reached “full term”.

These shots sucked. They were a pain in the ass, literally.

Every Friday my husband would stick a large needle into my rear-end muscle, and have to slowly inject a thick, oily, hormone-filled shot over 60 seconds. For two days after each shot I could hardly sit, lay, or touch near the injection site. Down my leg ached, and felt as though I had been injected with cement. I grew moody and grouchy, partly because I was in pain, and partly because of the extra hormones I am sure. Because I was even more uncomfortable, and even more moody, I had less sex-drive. After each shot my stomach would turn, and I’d be in the bathroom the following day more frequently than I would have liked. I also remember having headaches frequently following the shots.

The truth of the matter was, I was scared to have another preemie. We were blessed with Parker, he had no significant issues from being born so early, where in many preterm births, that is not the case. I also felt obligated to follow the recommendations of my midwives because I didn’t want another hospital birth either, and I needed them happy with the choices I was making. So we toughed it out and took the shots.

In addition to taking these shots, I had multiple additional ultrasounds to determine if my cervix ever shortened, which it never did. And it never was short before beginning the shots as well.

Come 37+ weeks, I had no more shots, and I lost my mucus plug. After this, I began very inconsistent contractions. I was so hopeful for a baby on my birthday, or even on Christmas, but that didn’t happen. December 29th, my water broke at about 11:00 at night. True, more consistent contractions began almost instantly and we grabbed our bag and headed to the birthing center. I was so thankful we were to term, I was free of any medical intervention, and I could do as I pleased while I labored. Shower, ball, and bath. Avaley was born in the water at just after 2:00 am and we had a healthy baby girl whom I carried for 38+ weeks. Her daddy got to cut the umbilical cord, and I got to hold her first thing. It was magical. Everything I had hoped for.

Now, here we are, 14 weeks pregnant with our third child, and we’ve arrived at the dreaded progesterone dilemma again.

This time around, I’ve done more research, asked more questions, and discussed more with my husband about what we should do as far as taking progesterone shots goes.

My midwives again are sending me to another specialist. My husband and I will see them in a couple days. I was adamant about Javin coming with me this time, because I didn’t want to forget anything, or feel pressured without him being there. Part of me also knows Javin doesn’t want me to take the shots, and has had strong opinions about that from the beginning. So it will be good for both of us to be a part of this meeting and doctors appointment. I don’t want to take the shots either, not just because they hurt, and are incredibly expensive, but as I said, I’ve done my research. 

During my second pregnancy I received 17 Makena hydroxyprogesterone caporate injections. I began my research at the source, the Makena website. The “negative side-affects” list is never-ending, and many quite severe. Blood clots, yellowing of skin and eyes (which indicated liver complications) etc. However, I already knew how my body reacted so I wasn’t going to spend my time there.

Ingredients: Man-made and chemical form of progresterone (which only makes up 25% of each injection), sesame oil, and preservatives.

Stress level officially through the roof! So, 75% of each injection is actually GMO sesame and preservative junk?!

Okay…moving on.

In a clinical study, certain complications or events associated with pregnancy occurred more often in women who received Makena. These included miscarriage (pregnancy loss before 20 weeks of pregnancy), stillbirth (fetal death occurring during or after the 20th week of pregnancy), hospital admission for preterm labor, preeclampsia (high blood pressure and too much protein in your urine), gestational hypertension (high blood pressure caused by pregnancy), gestational diabetes, and oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid levels).

This was taken directly from the Makena website. I re-read that paragraph multiple times, and even had Javin read it to make sure my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me.

“complications occurred MORE OFTEN in women who recieved Makena.”

I realize that clinical studies are very difficult to utilize for true results, because each individual is so different that there is no way to actually compare these women properly. So I began a full-on obsession with digging deeper into this. To spare you all the never-ending data, I’ll just say I came out of this feeling frustrated, and discouraged more than anything. I know my brain and my heart say these shots aren’t necessary, and there’s absolutely NO WAY of telling if they did or didn’t play a part in Avaley’s full-term pregnancy. Pharmaceuticals scare me for a lot of reasons, and I chose to use them as little as possible in our lives. (We don’t even take ibuprofen.) And where are the studies showing that these shots are not affecting the babies, and that down the road there wont be learning complications or some other negative side-effect because of the progesterone shots?!

There’s no way of truly knowing these things. The only thing we can do is pray for guidance, and trust God’s plan.

So we are meeting with a doctor at Maternal Fetal Medicine in just a few days, and after that appointment, I’m not going to trust a specialist or anyone else. I am going to follow my gut.

It has gotten me this far. 

 

 

 

 

Bless Our Home

Mama Mama, Our Homely Farm

This last week and a half the tension and chaos has been through the roof. We spent a full 7 nights away from our home, 3 being on a mandatory evacuation because of an out of control forest fire, the others because I didn’t want to return with the kids if my husband wasn’t going to be with us, just in case the fire grew our way more.

The Chetco Bar Fire, it’s growing daily and is still after all this time, 0% contained, and it is waaaayyy too close to home.

So, since Javin has this week off for hunting season, we came home to check on things and clean up a bit.

While we were home we got a call that the drywaller was going to be coming, so I felt it was time we do something to really make this home ours while we had studs opened up. It was time to do something that could help bless this house and those who live in it.

In almost every room there are walls opened up and no flooring. So I grabbed a sharpie and list of bible verses I’ve had stashed aways and went to work.

The kids’ bedroom, their playroom, our bedroom, the kitchen, the kids’ bathroom, the laundry room, and the living room all have verses within them. They will be covered up, yes, but they will always be a part of the house now.

It’s actually pretty amazing how good a small project like this can make you feel even in a mess of emotions.

 

Sight Words to Learn

Homeschooling, Mama Mama

Sight words.

What are they, and what are the importance of them?

Sight words are commonly used words that young children are encouraged to memorize as a whole by sight, so that they can automatically recognize these words in print without having to use any strategies to decode. 

The level before reading, that’s where sight words come in handy.

Many kids learn sight words best through memorization rather than phonics. I plan to play it by ear and see how Parker takes on this challenge. If he shows me he should advance a little, we will add more phonics into our daily sight word lessons. Either way, I believe that for early readers, memorizing sight words is invaluable for literacy.

There are many words our son already knows, can recognize, spell, and write himself. However, in order to help encourage growth we are beginning a list of sight words once we start home-schooling in a few weeks. The list of words I have put together are ones that are small enough so that they are not overwhelming, but common enough to be used frequently in stories, and workbooks he may use and come across. I also added words that tie easily into biblical teachings, because for our family, that is important as well.

This is a rough list of the words I put together this morning. I say “rough” because I am sure I will adjust, and add at some point in our lessons. I am sure I have forgotten or not thought of a few important words, so those will be added in as necessary. My plan for the words is to split them up evenly through out the school year, a new letter every week. Because the school year is 43 weeks long, and there are only 26 letters, we will repeat them for review.

Parker wont be four until February, so again, the fact that I get to do these lessons with him already just blows my mind. The kid has a brain for learning. 

 

sight words

*Note that there are not many “x” words, so I added a couple that still use the letter, just not at the beginning. *

I am uncertain as to how I will utilize all the words. I have a few ideas. Either I will make flash cards, use dry erase boards, use magnet letters, or one of the many other creative ideas I will pull out of my hat! To be honest, I am sure each week will be a different strategy, to keep interest.

 

Message 2 my Kids # 52

Mama Mama

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While you were away for the night at Grammy’s, Mama cleaned up all your toys, all your crayons, all the mess, swept and organized. An hour after you came home it looks as though the mess was never gone.

How can two tiny humans possibly be as destructive as a hurricane!?

No Such Thing as Super Mom

Mama Mama

Some days I feel like I am on fire! Chores get done, kids are fed full and balanced meals, animals around the farm are happy, one or more of the many projects around the construction zone got checked off, we did arts and crafts, and even took a nature walk, and I made it through the day alive.

Then are are days and nights like yesterday.

My threenager would not listen, and every time I either asked or told him to do something I heard “I don’t want to” or there was a gigantic break down. Then, my youngest, Avaley, she could not for the life of her sit with Daddy, snuggle Daddy, or sleep in her own bed. She had to be on mama at all times, or kicking me, or touching my face or poking at any part of me she could. And for some reason, from the hours of 1:30 am – 3:00 am she was awake and tossing and turning in bed. Half dozing, half smiley. Which means I was awake, doing the same, because she was in my bed. No cries, or discomfort, just being a turd.

My weakness comes with my overactive brain. Definitely not a super power.

Once I was awake because I was so frustrated that she was not only in my space, but wouldn’t stop moving…I irritated myself to the point I was fully awake and then my mind wouldn’t shut off. I began thinking about all the things causing stress in my life right now.

  1. House construction. If we could just get the drywall done, we could paint, and we could get moved into the bedrooms upstairs, and if the kids had their own room it would be easier to MAKE them sleep in their own beds. Then this would not be happening.
  2. Money. Everything we are doing is costing too much money.
  3. Our third baby we are growing inside me right now. I was doubting ever fiber of my being last night because this new baby means another many years of not being able to sleep next to my husband, and more chaos and more cleaning up after, and more head butting and body slamming toss and turns at night.
  4. Back to the third baby. I saw the midwife yesterday and all day I worried about everything we talked about. I am going to have to go see a specialist again, to determine whether or not I should take progesterone shots with this pregnancy since Avaley was to term. There are so many questions, factors, and honestly, I don’t even think the specialist knows, but progesterone is really THE ONLY “option” for women who have had a preterm birth in the past. I’ve been doing my research myself, and I am at a lost for how I feel about it. I am praying my gut gives me some sort of sign sometime soon.
  5. Then I began thinking about today…what should our day look like? This is Javin’s ONE DAY OFF he has with us here at the house, so I know we are going to try to cram too many projects into too little time. We will start with banana pancakes, swimming lessons, picking up the durango while we are in town because it’s been in the shop (another cost we can’t afford). We will need to go to Freddie’s because we are out of fruits and vegetables, I’d like to organize the garage enough so that I can get my gym equipment in there and out of the living room, which means I need to get that slider out! So maybe I’ll try to sell that, then the crib and a few other things can be moved upstairs to the bedrooms for storage for now, the insulation needs finished, the dining room/craft table needs cleaned, and at some point, I need to prep and put together the meatballs we are having for dinner. Which reminds me, I need to take that meat out to thaw!
  6. After this shitstorm, I realized I needed to breathe and pray. So in order to not wake Javin and Parker, who were managing to sleep through the majority of Avaley’s craziness, I whispered calm thoughts to God.
  7. I got up to pee for the second time, checked the clock, it was 3:47. Crawled into bed and FINALLY fell asleep.

And though I got VERY. LITTLE. SLEEP. last night, and woke up before the sun did this morning, the first thing I wanted to put on my list of to-dos, was a workout.

Taking care of me, is more important some days than anything else because If i don’t take care of Mom, Mom can’t properly take care of everyone else. So even though there’s a list of to-dos a mile long that I made mental note of in the middle of the night, I am changing the game plan and making me a priority today so that I can feel my best and hopefully be as productive as possible. That’s how I have to do it.

And I remind myself:

supermom

There’s no such thing as super mom. And today, I’m going to wing it like every other day.

Preschool Home-school Themes

Homeschooling, Mama Mama

Being mama full time definitely is a lot of work. Emotionally, as well as physically, it’s very demanding of me. But, I wouldn’t want my “job” to be anything other than this. This is the most important job I could ever have. And since our oldest, Parker, is somehow almost at school age, I begin a new adventure!

Parker will be four years old in February, so this September, when school season begins, we will start a preschool routine. I think I might be more excited about this than anyone else, mostly because I know I now have more excuses to get creative and be a kid and learn myself.

Preschool…usually fun stuff. 

However, still very educational.

Our boy is ahead of the game in a sense that he has been learning for the past two years, and to him, “school work” has always been fun.

A few days ago, while my husband was home, I had a chance to actually put together a full school year of weekly preschool themes in which I plan to schedule my weekly and daily work around. I figured for the youngsters, themes are something to look forward to every Monday morning. (Heck, even us adults like themes, am I right?!)

I figured I would share our list of weekly themes, in case there are any other mamas out there who are stumped at where to begin with homeschooling a preschooler, or even a kiddo at an older age.

Preschool Homeschooling Themes rainbow

We are teaching based on our core values, Biblical references, and Oregon guidelines for early learning and kindergarten through the Department of Education.

Each day of the week will be broken up into individual lessons based around the overall theme. In addition to the weekly themes, I will be creating a list of sight words that will be learned alphabetically as the year progresses. 

As for Avaley, she will be two at the end of December, so we will come up with a “younger” version of many of the same activities Parker will be doing. She is still learning shapes, colors, animals, and things like that.

I now have a month to finish getting everything in order, and I know August is going to fly by! This is a new thing to me, homeschooling. So if there are any other moms with any pointers and/or advice, it would be very much appreciated! 

 

A Third Tiny Little Poppy Seed

Mama Mama

As you know, our family has been discussing the idea of a third baby for the last eight months. Before our second, Avaley, had her first birthday we decided it wasn’t time. (My husband actually decided, he was certain he was not ready. Which is quite alright, I don’t think I was ready either.) And after our positive test a few months ago that didn’t hold, we made plans to wait until the end of summer and then decide if or when we should have another baby.

Well, here we are, not quite at the end of July, a couple months ahead of schedule and we found out over a week ago that without any planning, God decided we were ready for that third baby!

When life gives you lemons…or a tiny little poppy seed…you fill your heart with so much love that any nerves, confusion, and stress just melts away.

The nerves. Emotionally, maternally, I have wanted another baby for a while. Logically, sometimes I think I am crazy.

I had given myself goals, that I hadn’t fully accomplished. We are not fully living in our house, and wont be for months still. My husbands schedule at work is beyond inconsistent and makes it so he doesn’t get to join us for dinners or many important family times. We have a big house, but the layout isn’t ideal for three children so now we have to get even more creative with space. Do we need a bigger car? Holy cow, I do not want to take progesterone shots again! And how in the world am I ever going to grocery shop with three babies!? Some days getting by with two that are so close in age and still young is challenging enough.

First thing’s first. For me, I need to stay sane and feel healthy. 

My goal was to get back into tip-top shape before getting pregnant again so that not only can the pregnancy also be active and healthy, and labor be smooth, but I can bounce back like I did after both my others. I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be, but I know my body can still gain strength even during this time. I lifted all the way through my second pregnancy and Ava’s birth was perfect.

Not a horrible starting point.

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Fit pregnancy here I come!

As far as getting creative goes, I’m good at that. And thankfully, so are many many others on Pinterest.

We are in fact going to need a new vehicle in the near future, but not only because of a third baby, it’s just about time. Not sure how we are going to pull that one off though.

The shots. Dreaded and hated and literally the one thing that makes me angry about being pregnant. I already know the midwives are going to strongly suggest them, which means I will have a little time to research and try to come up with an alternative, but when it comes down to it, a healthy and to term baby is important.

Everything else, the day-to-day, we will figure it out. A little time, a little prayer, and a lot of love. We will find what works for us, there’s no doubt.

There’s only a million and a half things going on right now, but you know what?!

We are having a third baby. Another blessing. And we are super excited about that!

**Note: I am not sure exactly how far along I am. I wont see the midwife for another ten days.**