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Keep it moving, baby!

July 21, 2014
Tally and siblings

Ms. Pepper continues to grow! Her bones are beginning to solidify and the result is that she is leaching the calcium from my bones to meet her needs-and kicking me like crazy! Due to this, my midwife recommended that I increase my daily dosage of the Pregnancy Plus CalMag by an additional capsule. She hopes that this will help to stave off any cramping or charlie horse like pains in my legs, as this is the typical side effect women experience during this stage of pregnancy. Prior to doing this, you will want to touch base with your physician or midwife for feedback, as some women can experience negative side effects, like diarrhea, when adding more Magnesium to their diets. So, always good to double check!

Now that my belly is growing and growing, I have officially moved over to maternity clothes. I had no idea how hard it was going to be to find clothes that are not only stylish but also affordable! There are a lot of designer maternity lines, that of course have beautiful options, but my lifestyle and my pocket book don’t really coincide with the designer options available. Being over half way through, I hope to only be wearing the clothes for another couple of months. Our large retail stores here in Bellingham don’t offer maternity sections, except the newly opened H&M! I am going to give them a plug here, because the clothes and price point cannot be beat. They are chic and most importantly comfortable, and it is nice to feel ‘good’ again getting ready in the morning. If you do not have an H&M in your area, they do offer online shopping too! The only items that H&M did not offer were workout clothes. I, luckily, work in a causal work environment where we are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes. Most days a group of us do try and get out and exercise during our breaks. We are within walking distance to a great running trail and tennis club, which are two of my favorite past times! I have found Target to be the best resource for stretchy pants, and loose fitting bra tops. As someone who started this path to motherhood in the A cup category, the new revelation of boobs has definitely thrown me for a loop. I never had to really worry about “support,” but now keeping the girls in place during a workout is essential!

Deer family

Throughout my pregnancy, I have tried my best to maintain a fitness routine, whether that be walking/running for an hour, hiking with my dogs, playing tennis, or taking a fitness class. My goal being to maintain a good level of endurance, which I have heard is the greatest asset you can bring into the delivery room. Obviously, keeping up the cardio also helps to keep the extra cravings and the “what the heck, I’m pregnant” gorges in check. My family recently went on our annual reunion, and we are a very active bunch! Most days started with a hiking or kayaking, followed by some mid-day tennis, and then a swim to follow. Although I was very grateful for the motivation to keep me moving, I did have to play the "I am pregnant, give me a break" card more than once. Luckily, my sister has been there, and could sympathize with my napping and wuss-like behavior! I have been diligent about listening to my body, which I feel is so important. Some days, like today, I have every intention of exercising but my body just tells me “no.” Taking time to relax and unwind, I have found, is just as important to both my physical and mental wellbeing.

Also, during exercise, knowing my limits and scaling back my “usual” performance levels to accommodate my changing body has become essential. Getting used to my belly, and how it affects my balance, has been the hardest. As an adult you don’t really think about falling down… yes, it happens occasionally but the repercussions are not as extreme as they can be when you are pregnant. On a hike recently, I misstepped. . . . . the non-pregnant me would have recovered fine, but the pregnant me felt completely out of control of my body, and took a tumble. We were both just fine, but it was definitely a wake up call. So, although I do encourage all of my fellow pregsters to keep up the activity, I do caution you to take care with your level of activity and to understand your “normal” is now completely different.

The one exercise to increase without inhibition is the Kegal exercise! The more the merrier is what I have been told by my midwife and friends that are moms. The Kegal exercise will help to strengthen your vaginal muscles, which will come in handy throughout the delivery, but also will help to make recovery much easier. Luckily, this is an exercise that can be done throughout the day, anytime and anywhere. Reminders are great… I have a note in my car, to help me to utilize my commute for some good exercising! We all need motivation and reminders no matter how fit or out of shape you are, because exercise is work. The best quote I have heard is: “The worst workout you can have, is the one you don’t do!” So, keep up the activity ladies… your hubs, baby, and of course YOU, will thank you later!

Baby Kicks

July 9, 2014 Tally at 20 weeks

Every mom is different in their process of bonding with baby. Some ‘moms to be’, like me, really want to know the sex to help bridge a connection to baby as they grow. Up until now, I really felt no emotional connection to the little person growing inside of me. I had not felt any movement, and so far had just been sick and tired all the time. I began referring to baby as the “Succubus,” as this little life had completely transformed mine, and was causing me a bit of an emotional and physical upheaval. My sister told me not to worry, once you feel baby move, it will begin to feel real. I sure hoped she was right! My body started to change quite a bit in the next couple of weeks. I began to experience the sharp and highly uncomfortable pains from the round ligament stretching. At first I thought these were early contractions due to the amount of pain associated with them. Wowza… did they take my breath away, and some even took me to my knees. I am not afraid to admit that I definitely began to have some doubts about my au natural birth plan due to the pain. Luckily, they were short lived. However, with the frequency of the pain I was experiencing and the fact that I had not felt baby move, my midwife thought we should get in for an ultrasound sooner than later – just to be sure. I couldn’t agree more… and I was hoping that seeing her would help me to bond more. For some reason, it felt weird to name baby before seeing her, so she remained the ‘Succubus’ much to my husband’s dismay.

I went into the ultrasound with butterflies of excitement and anxiety, partly due to the fact that I was about to pee my pants. To get a good look at your cervix, they ask that you come in with a full bladder. What they don’t anticipate is the wait time most of us experience at the doctor’s office. I was about to burst! Luckily, my technician was pregnant and understanding of my pain. She took the pictures she needed, and let me use the bathroom, so we could actually enjoy the rest of the appointment. My physical relief was matched with emotional relief when we got to see our baby girl in front of us. Granted, we still needed a bit of direction from our tech as to what we were actually seeing… is that her butt?. . . ‘No, that is her face!’ You know, the usual questions! Much to my surprise, my placenta was actually located on my backside vs. the front, which was a possible suggestion as to why I hadn’t felt her yet. The frontal location of the placenta would be absorbing the kicks and movements she was making, so it was awesome and reassuring to see how much she was moving around, and that she was healthy and strong.

Pepper Lyn

Once we got to see our little girl, my husband insisted that we determine a name for her as soon as possible. He feared that she would soon begin to hear us talking about her, and us calling her the ‘Succubus.’ Luckily for us, the path to a name was not too challenging for us because we knew that we wanted to use family names from both sides. So, I am pleased to announce, Ms. Pepper Lynn to the world.

A few days after the appointment, my pains stopped, and I literally woke up one morning to a baby belly. It was official… I had popped! I had moved out of the “you look different” questions, to the “wow, you are pregnant” exclamations. I have begun to religiously use of my DreamBelly Butter and DreamBelly Cream, as well as increase my water intake significantly, to help to stave off stretch marks. Fingers crossed! My midwife informed me that my abdominal muscles had finally torn, and that Pepper’s growth would be much more visible from here on out. My morning sickness has also subsided, and I am starting to feel less like a zombie. I have not felt the energy that you read about, and some ‘moms to be’ rave about, but my life definitely changed the day I felt her move. It was an incredible feeling, almost breathtaking. She gave me a good hard punch during a massage, I think to tell me, “Ok mom, I know this is relaxing and all, laying on your stomach, but you are crushing me!” No more laying on the stomach for me. Feeling her inside of me did solidify a bond, and now I find myself talking to her all the time. My husband was a little jealous, I think, until he was able to feel her move on Father’s Day. Thank goodness Pepper remembered to get him something! Not only has this deepened his connection with her, it has brought the two of us even closer, as we bond over her and our future family.

I hope you had a happy 4th!

- Tally

Getting to Know Me...

July 1, 2014 Tally's BFP

Hello all! I would like to welcome you all on my journey to motherhood. To give you some background about myself, I will start from the beginning. My name is Tally, and I am currently a mom to a family of four-legged kids - our dogs, Rebel & Cosmo and our cat-dog, Gus (he thinks he is a dog). Living in the Pacific Northwest, I am an outdoor enthusiast as well as a DIY diva. I starting working at Fairhaven Health in 2011. The company’s products and mission, as you may know, are to support women from preconception through nursing, and boy did I learn a lot about myself and my cycles while working here! I was dating my current husband when I began work here, and we were using hormonal birth control. The knowledge that I gleaned from my work here empowered me to take charge of my own fertility, and for us, natural family planning into my own hands. By using the OvaCue Fertility Monitor, I was able to accurately pinpoint my ovulation naturally, and take steps to avoid pregnancy. Once we were ready to begin this journey into parenthood, I then adjusted use of the unit and utilized the OvaCue with the goal of pregnancy. Being in an industry where I speak and interact with clients daily that are struggling to achieve pregnancy, the OvaCue definitely made me feel confident in my ability to monitor my cycles accurately as we began our TTC efforts.

Another great perk of the job is all the great supplements that we offer! I began use of our Pregnancy Plus Prenatal, Omega 3s, and Cal-Mag supplements from the get go, and I'm still taking them. These general health and wellness supplements are invaluable for women in their maternal years! Even though I pride myself in living a healthy and active lifestyle, our diets do not provide us with all the vitamin support necessary to live our best life. These particular wellness support supplements ensure that we are getting proper support, and the use of a prenatal is recommend to women 6 months prior to actively trying to conceive. Having the supplements in my system helped me to transition easily into using them during pregnancy when we received our BFP in February! The only additional supplement I needed to add was Vitamin D, which I probably should have been using already being that I live in the PNW.

The early phase of my pregnancy was, overall, nothing to write home about. Like most, I did suffer from daily bouts of nausea. I think the term “morning sickness” shouldn’t be allowed in pregnancy books and articles, as my nausea lasted all day long. I was able to grin and bare it with the use of our PregEase supplement. Not to say that most of my days, from week 6-16, didn’t include at least one dash to the bathroom, or sink, or the trash bag in my car, I hate to complain at all about it. The moment you complain about pregnancy woes… oh my, the stories you hear! I have heard the gambit of feedback, and it makes me so grateful for the little misery I had.

I would say the worst part of my first trimester was how much we, as a couple, struggled with deciding on how we wanted to bring this little person into the world. Doctor or Midwife? Hospital or BirthCenter? Genetic Testing or not? We started at the doctor’s office, thinking that my beloved OBGYN of 8 years could help direct me. When I called to make my appointment I was informed that as of January 2014, my doctor would no longer be delivering babies. As you can imagine… this was the last thing that I wanted to hear. The nurse heard the panic in my voice, and quickly informed me of the great new co-op of physicians available to support me. I would meet with each doctor throughout my pregnancy and whomever was on call that day, would be my doctor. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am not overly comfortable with strangers around my lady parts. This seemed like dating, after a break up, and I was just not up for it again. With that chip on my shoulder, we went to our first appointment. In walks the doctor, and I immediately felt panic. He left the room to get the test results, and I immediately turned to my husband and said, “I can’t do this! He is younger than me! How many babies could he have delivered?” Obviously, a complete overreaction for a person who has probably a decade of medical experience, and my husband just smiled and said, “Probably not younger, but he could definitely be your same age.” Bless his heart! We made it through our appointment, but I still didn’t feel good about the “only” option provided.

This is when I looked to the midwife community, and found a perfect fit. This midwife acted as my little sister’s doula during the birth of my niece, and I was very impressed by her and her demeanor. Great, problem solved right? Not quite, my husband, liked the idea of having the baby at the hospital for safety reasons (which I respected) but I have always hated hospitals, and that is why the idea of using a midwife/birth center appealed to me to begin with. Hospitals have never been a place of comfort for me, and I feel my anxiety rise just walking through those sliding doors. Also, I am a complete baby when it comes to needles. I know, I know - wait 9 months right? But truthfully, the idea of an epidural scares me more than giving birth. Most definitely, you can have a natural birth in the hospital, like my sister did, but they still require IVs and monitoring and all the stuff that I hate! Luckily, after meeting with our midwife, my husband was completely put at ease as to her skills and ability to help me through the birth process in a safe and monitored environment.

Phew, ok. Midwife, check. BirthCenter, check. But the next biggie on the list… to test or not to test? My husband is older than me, and although I am not quite in the mandatory testing age bracket, research is now linking paternal age to baby’s health concerns too! With that being said, the options provided for standard testing, did not appeal to us at all. The risks, not to mention the large needles required, did not offer enough incentive to receive feedback of 1/200 chance. At least not for us. Luckily, our local lab had recently begun offering the new genetic test, Panaroma. This test is simply a blood draw from mom that is then sent down to a company in California where it is processed. In lay person speak, what they do is spin my blood so fast that they can remove my DNA and just look at baby’s. Therefore, they can do a complete genetic screen and provide accuracy at 99%. Amazing, huh? The other awesome thing, because they have DNA, you can find out baby’s sex earlier than the 20 weeks. So, we are happy to report a healthy baby girl!

Now, to decide the name…

- Tally

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