Saturday, July 13, 2013

Third Trimester Gripes

After our overabundance of chorizo went away, I was back to the same breakfast as always. I've really just been having my smoothie followed by a late breakfast/lunch several hours later around noon. This is because I don't really get hungry again until that time. I have also been having more interest in fish, especially the smoked wild salmon from Costco. It's something that my husband always bought but seemed too fishy for my taste until now. Below is breakfast/lunch: eggs with whitefish salad and fresh dill, eggs with smoked salmon and butternut squash homefries (with the last link of chorizo cooked in) and a platter I made up for my husband and I one afternoon that has smoked salmon, fresh dill, primal crackers and a dairy-free cream-cheese type spread I "whipped" up.

Third Trimester Gripes
Swelling- I will say I've been fairly lucky and/or it's the diet and the primal lifestyle, but I haven't experienced much swelling. There have been a couple of days when I pulled off my socks and there were some serious elastic-band marks in my legs... but nothing worse than that. Sitting down and putting the feet up seems to be the best remedy. I have also read that sleeping on your left side is the best way to avoid the problem, but again it hasn't been a significant gripe for me. I would also imagine keeping up on fluid regulation will alleviate the possibility of it collecting anywhere.
Hemorrhoids- Nobody really wants to talk about hemorrhoids, so I will do it. I am pretty sure that these are inevitable. They will happen, no matter how great your diet and exercise, though these things probably make a big difference. Now, I can't speak for a 20 or 25 year-old butt-hole, but 33 years of use is a different story perhaps. The only thing you can do is take it easy on the area and hope it doesn't get much worse during labor. I highly recommend flushable wipes. I wish I had started using these when I was 10.
Babycenter says:
"Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. Some women get them for the first time while they're pregnant. And if you've had them before pregnancy, you're quite likely to have them again now. They may also develop while you're pushing during the second stage of labor and are a common early postpartum complaint. In most cases, hemorrhoids that developed during pregnancy will begin to resolve soon after you give birth, especially if you're careful to avoid constipation."
Smaller stomach- I definitely have experienced a change in the amount of food I can eat at once. I even lost a couple of pounds this trimester because of it. So, I decided to try to eat more food at more times during the day. I also probably overstuffed myself a few times to make up for the lost weight. My midwife said there was nothing to worry about and that she didn't find me or the baby to be the least bit lacking in good health. The other unfortunate thing about this is the heartburn aspect of the stomach's placement.
Heartburn- It hasn't been terrible for me. I've experienced it a couple of nights when I ate closer to bedtime and ate high acid foods such as tomato sauce. There was one night that I felt like I would vomit every time I tried to lay down. I did buy some tums and this was all it took to make me feel better. Granted, I'm pretty sure they aren't primal/paleo but they are tiny and a last minute fix. Obviously the best prevention is to know what triggers it and stop eating it.
Smaller bladder- Isn't it so disappointing to rush to the bathroom and sit down expecting a flow of relief and all you get are a couple of drops...? I basically just told myself to forget it. I'm just not going to pee. I don't really have to go desperately. I just have that sensation. And, hey I can get a little pelvic floor workout out of it. That'll show you, you heavy baby! And then one time I sneezed violently. Wah wahhhh....
Sickness/Colds- Yes, even the most primal people get sick. And yes, I am categorizing myself as a "most primal person." However, on the night after my husband returned from his Colorado ski vacation with a little bit of a cold, I happened to be enjoying a little bit of a cheat. During most of my 3rd trimester I have been having a major sweet-tooth. I have been satisfying it with extra spoonfuls of applesauce and organic fruit leather. To the average person this seems like a ridiculous excuse for a cheat. Fruit! Please. Well, add to that a 4-pack of natural ginger-ale made with the biggest inflammatory agent I could ingest: cane sugar. I wasn't just downing the entire 4-pack. I was actually just sipping it and watering it down over the period of a week or so. However, I am sure that I made my system vulnerable to the lovely little dose of bacteria my husband was so eager to share with me.
This was not the first time I have experienced a little sickness during this pregnancy. The other two times came with an overall fatigued feeling, a day of drinking copious amounts of broth and some quality bed time. It took less than 48 hours to recover each time. Yay for my kick-ass immune system!
This time is different. After about 2 or 3 days I had just about kicked my cold to the curb. Just when I was feeling almost to the end of recovery, I had a major setback. I went to eat at a place where I was led to believe they were serving pizza with no grains in the crust. I trusted these people making my food. This was a big mistake on my part. As soon as we had finished our meals, my husband and I felt a gassy, bloating feeling. This is my body's own grain-o-meter. I don't experience this unless I've eaten a grain, and since we had been without any this entire 9 months... mine was on high-alert. Needless to say, my skin rash (more on that below) became itchy and very noticeable, my nasal passages became more inflamed and began to produce much more mucous, I became more of a victim to this previous cold and woke up in the morning with a slight headache. This was not a good situation for a body that is already doing too much at such a stage in pregnancy. I am still in the last few days of recovery from what has lasted a week longer than it should have. No amount of broth, rest, vitamins or balanced meals could take this cold down faster than it has taken me to beat it. Oh, the joy of grains!
The bottom line is, as long as you know what you are eating, you will probably know what did it to you. I definitely also feel that the third trimester seems like the most vulnerable time in the pregnancy, or maybe it's just that way for me because of my sweet-tooth.

***This is about the time my water broke. I am finally finishing the posts to the best of my memory and will move on to one about my son's birth story. I apologize that these posts are so long overdue.***

Hiccups- This baby gets the hiccups at least twice a day. It's great because he is practicing breathing, but it's reallllly becoming annoying. It's especially irritating because there is no way to stop it and it feels like my whole belly is throbbing.
Loosening of the pelvis- Every time I get up, I feel like my crotch is going to rip open because there is no support in the area. Well, maybe it's not that bad, but I do sometimes wonder if it spreading my legs too wide even to get out of a car, might cause a head to poke out. I can certainly not do anything along the lines of lunges.
Baby Positioning- This may be a common worry in the third trimester. For me, I couldn't tell where my baby was and once he changed into an unrecognizable position for even the midwife, I had to get an ultrasound to see what we were dealing with. Turns out the baby was head down but facing the side or the wrong side. (I'll tell you it's a little late for me to remember or to matter) I did try to take an herbal supplement that would supposedly help the positioning, although by the time I figured out the correct dosage I went into labor. I tried a couple of movements on Spinning Babies but am convinced that one of them is what caused my water to break. This is not to say that I don't recommend trying these positions. I am simply baffled as to why my labor started this way and am looking for an excuse, as well as I really don't know.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fish Oil and Stretch Marks

My husband and I received a meat grinder as a wedding gift and we finally got all of the materials together to try our hands at making sausage! It was really fun and surprisingly easy. We bought pork casing from the butcher at Whole Foods (which cost us maybe $2), some extra pounds of pork from our CSA farm and some unfamiliar peppers to come together to make Chorizo! haHA! Now I have a stash of chorizo that I'm getting a little tiny bit tired of eating. Nonetheless, here it is in all of it's glory.

And my husband makes his first appearance. Hope he doesn't mind. I have so many other pictures of meals that I have really been enjoying over the last couple of months. I will add that I haven't had any issues with food since my mentions of it during the beginning of my pregnancy. Anything goes! That is, anything primal/paleo containing no dairy, grains, legumes, caffeine, chemicals, or otherwise and very little starch and almost no sugar. All of this being said, I apologize if you aren't into looking at my food because this next little bit may annoy you.

From top down: 1 & 2) pear-berry tart, 3) broccoli slaw and lamb chili with liver in it, 4) sautéed cabbage, broccoli and roasted salmon, 5) chicken thighs with mushroom/white wine gravy, 6) shrimp salad stuffed avocado
Below: 7) quick cereal - nuts, raisins, shredded coconut in coconut milk, 8) cauliflower rice and roasted halibut, 9) fish burrito and side salad, 10) giant meatloaf (before entering the oven), 11) ground beef tacos and side salad, 12) seafood gumbolaya (I'm not really sure what gumbo or jambalaya are, but this is my version) with side salad, 13) meatballs on zucchini pancake with roasted acorn squash and spinach

 Almost 100% of the ingredients in the above meals are either organic, grass-fed, wild, pastured, or antibiotic/hormone free right down to the very seasoning. This is how we do it.
On to the real meat of this post...

Fish Oil and Stretch Marks
I can't quite remember what brought me to this line of thinking, whether it was a spa offer on Groupon, some beauty product add, or possibly a post from another blog I follow. However, it all started with collagen. For some reason I've been hearing the phrase collagen and elastin in my head every once in a while. I began to think about special skin care products that people use for anti-aging properties, special expensive serums and creams.
In the beginning I wanted to try a couple of different products to help me fight off stretch marks. In this post I listed them. The only one I didn't actually purchase was the bio-oil. What I ended up using most of the time was just a standard bottle of tourist coconut oil that I bought in Hawaii for $8. I just rub some on my belly, breasts, thighs, side to lower back and arms almost every time I get out of the shower or every-other time. I couldn't tell you if this is what is doing the trick or not. The reason why I didn't really use the Mother's blend oil is because I didn't care for the smell. The main ingredient was coconut oil, so why bother. I had the coconut oil itself.
Back to collagen, the component that is "vital for skin elasticity." I decided to look into what foods the highest amounts of collagen. The answer I found that interested me the most listed Omega-3 fatty acid as being an essential building block of skin rebuilding and renewal. Aha! Fish oil! I take a ton of the stuff. I have at the very least 4000 mg each day and some days I remember to take an extra dose which gives me another 2000 mg.
Well, you be the judge... does it look like it's working?

At 33 weeks pregnant I have not yet discovered one stretch mark. Some people might say that it could be genetics, that if my mother didn't have them I wouldn't either, etc...  During my high-school years my breasts developed quite rapidly and I got my fair share of stretch marks "up top" to prove it. So, I know that I was "pre-determined" to get them during pregnancy. To my joy, this hasn't happened. Yet.
This became so obvious to me when I finally thought about it. You really have to take care of your skin from the inside for it to stay youthful and healthy. I am almost certain that my skin looks the way it does because of the amount of fish oil I take.

Collagen plays another important role during pregnancy or more importantly, labor. 
"Collagen is also present in all the smooth muscle tissues, blood vessels digestive tract, heart, gallbladder, kidneys and bladder holding the cells and tissues together. Collagen is even the major component of the hair and nails." "Collagen is the main component of connective tissue, and is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up about 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content."
Something that I learned over the weekend in my "Out of Hospital Childbirth Preparation" class was that the cervix, the opening of the uterus, is made up mostly of collagen. This page has really in depth information about this fact, but here's a quote from the site: "The human cervix consists mainly of extracellular connective tissue. The predominant molecules of this extracellular matrix are type 1 and type 3 collagen, with a small amount of type 4 collagen at the basement membrane."
Wouldn't it make sense that dilation of the cervix during the first stage of labor would be more efficient within a person who regularly supports their body's collagen renewal? This is my thinking. If the fish oil I take is truly helping the elasticity of my skin, then it should help with the elasticity of my cervix during dilation in labor.
I'm so proud of my possible discovery and will have more to report once I've gone through labor.

After I got pregnant my eyesight went to shit. Now that 4-5 months have passed since the birth I am excited to report that not only did my eyesight return to normal but it also improved! My prescription went down from (- .75) to (- .5). My optometrist asked me if I take fish oil. Of course I bragged about the copious amounts I ingest. He said it is very good for the eyes. Obviously! After mentioning this to fellow CrossFit gym members, two of them reported the same results. One girl's prescription improved by 100 points! I definitely credit this change to my fish oil intake and overall change of diet. I believe it will continue to improve too. It's amazing what we can do for our bodies when we give them the right nutrients!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pics and Passing the Torch

This morning for breakfast I had a huge piece of bacon, which tasted especially amazing today. It must be a really good batch. I also had 2 pastured eggs with sauteed greens, red onion, fresh dill and some smoked salmon. Delicious! I can't believe that I can eat the salmon and not be turned-off by it. It used to be a little too much for me at times.

It looks like a ton of food, but it's really on a salad plate with a smaller fork next to a small glass. Funny coincidence.

I am lucky enough to have amazingly talented artist friends, one of whom is a photographer that enjoys playing with different ideas as much as I do. This guy took our wedding photos, my boudoir photos (for a book I made for my husband as a wedding gift), and now some maternity photos. I had this idea about a pulp-inspired shoot and he had some ideas of his own. Together, I think we made a little magic. For a sample of his portfolio, check out Gordon Dooley.

This last photo is from our boudoir shoot. It doesn't hurt that he lives very close to an amazing outdoor location in Newport Beach, California.
I am also adding some quick iphone shots into the belly pics page.

Passing the Torch
I am coming up on my due date pretty quickly. At that point, I will continue to post as a new parent, but no longer be "primal and pregnant." I am putting the word out there to anyone who IS pregnant and following a primal lifestyle. Consider this an invitation to contribute your experiences along your journey. Send me your stories to post and share with other curious soon-to-be-moms. We would like to hear what you are thinking about, how you are coping with the everyday changes a pregnant woman goes through as well as how you stay primal and fit. Email me if you are interested and tell me a little bit about yourself.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Preparing for Baby, Nesting

What do I need to prepare for the baby?
As I come closer to my due date (just about 2 months) I am not only having a great time playing around in the "baby room" but thinking about the birth and what things I will need that day and during the immediate days to follow. I have been reading a book that a friend passed on to me at a rapid pace and am already about a quarter of the way through it.
What to Expect the First Year

Many of the things covered in this book helped me cover some of those items I didn't think of.
Get a nursing bra?- My question was whether or not to get one so I can leave the house to get more? Or at least be somewhat covered in case I need to run somewhere...
What I decided to do was get a couple of wireless cami-type bras that are super comfortable as well as easy to whip a boob out of if need be. They are comfortable and I'm wearing them already. My reasoning is that I will never know exactly how big I'm gonna need the bra to be until the "milk comes in." Sounds like a milkman will be showing up. Cute image, but no. Also, from what I've been reading about the frequency of feedings and napping (both by me and the baby), it doesn't sound like I will really be getting dressed all that often. So, on that note...
Sleepwear- I bought myself a pair of pj's that are a button up top and pants. The buttons make for easy access for nursing. Now I can at least look somewhat presentable when I've been in and out of bed all day. The bras I got will give a little support underneath as well. I also made sure that the sleepwear is season-appropriate. It will still be winter when the baby comes, so I bought flannel. I may also get myself something a little lighter when the time comes.
Diapers- This is an obvious one of course, but there are specifics to discuss. We have decided that we would like to try using cloth diapers. I also decided that in the beginning, disposable would be more practical for the learning process, especially with those first few diapers being filled with meconium. I have a friend who gave me a 40 pack of the best diapers you can get as far as bio-degradable/planet-friendly is concerned. I have learned that I will need to take care of as many as 7-10 dirty and wet diapers in the first few days. That being said, I can maybe get through the first week on this pack. So, I am ordering 2 more packs to cover myself for hopefully the first 3 weeks. The ones we're looking at are made by Seventh Generation.

After we get through the majority of those, we will see how big the baby is and re-evaluate. That will be a good time to start getting our cloth diapers and covers together. I must remember to consult my group of knowledgeable mothers on their recommended brands!
Baby Wipes- I am buying a couple of packs of biodegradable wipes from the same company as well as I wanted to make some of my own. I figured that if I am going to be washing cloth diapers, it shouldn't be too much of a big deal to add the wipes to the load. I took some hand me down receiving blankets and cut them to size (to fit in a wipes-warmer I also inherited). Just a few blankets made 4 dozen wipes... which apparently will last only a few days.

For the liquid on the wipes I decided to go with some advice on a website I came across and get a soap foaming pump. I plan to use Dr. Bronner's tea-tree scented soap concentrate. This soap is made with all organic oils and ingredients and the first ingredient is coconut oil, which sounds great to me since I've been using it on myself. It doesn't take much of this stuff added to water to get a nice foam going. I will most likely squirt each wipe as I use it with the foam instead of leaving them all sitting in liquid. We will see when the time comes, if this is a practical method or not.
Must have items registry items- This is just a list of stuff I did not even think to add to my registry until I spoke with a mother of 3 (2 of which only having just arrived in August):
*Nail clippers/scissors
*Sunscreen (won't need for a little while, but it's good to look into brands)
*Nasal aspirator
*Baby thermometers
*Pacifiers (we don't want to use them regularly but will have an emergency pair)
*Teethers (can be needed within a couple of months)
*Size range clothing - Newborn stuff is very small, so I went back and registered for mostly 0-3 months      and 6-9 months and have a very few hand-me-down newborn items. I was a big baby and therefore expect a big one myself...
*Coconut oil - instead of diaper rash cream, lotion, anything... has anti-bacterial properties
Hello nipples!- Nipple care seems to be a huge deal, which is cool because I've had them all this time and now they are gonna get some use. I've been reading about bleeding, cracking, mastitis, plugged ducts and infections and all kinds of good stuff. I decided to stock up on necessary nipple needs. I am ordering Lasinoh gel pads and lanolin cream. I have a bag full of nursing pads that were leftovers from a mommy friend. So, those are taken care of. The gel pads look really cool because they can be warmed up or put in the fridge for cooling relief. Apparently you're also supposed to let your nipples air-out. "Don't mind me guys.... I'm just letting my nipples air-out." That'll go over well when company's here. Haha.

We have a second room in our apartment which would be the baby's room, but we also need it for guests. So, I haven't really got all of my baby things set up. I do have most of the gifts laying out so I can look at them or pet the especially soft blankets he got. It won't be a full-on nursery until he starts sleeping in his own room. We decided that we will have the baby sleep with us and are ordering a co-sleeper to pull up right next to the bed. Why are we co-sleeping? Well, firstly because I will be breastfeeding and nothing could be more convenient than having the little guy at an arm's length for those late night feedings.
The second reason he is sleeping with us makes me think of when we got our first puppy, Olive. We tried to "crate-train" her at night and lost hours of sleep during that month or so. She would cry and cry and even got her mouth stuck in the metal grid door trying to get out. We brought her into our room, which made it a little bit better. The first night we decided to let her sleep in our bed with us, she slept with no problems and we all woke up late the next morning and it's been that way ever since. The poor little girl just wanted to be near a warm body. She didn't know any different from being with her mom and litter-mates. My point being that this little guy has been with me for 7+ months. Why would I stick him in the other room just because he came out? Imagine how terrifying that must be for a newborn to go from a warm tiny space with a heartbeat to a cold and dark expansive room.
So our guest/baby room will be for play and hanging out on the daybed when we have no one staying with us.

I put some black contact paper with retro-looking yellow flowers on the inside of the hutch for an extra touch. I wasn't worried that it might not look masculine enough. We also have the "Bumbo" seat with removable tray. There was a recall of these because people were putting them on counters and table tops with their baby in it and then walking away. Go figure, some of the babys fell and hurt themselves. I think I will manage to be smarter than that.
The blue thing on the hutch is a baby bath with a robe and sock set on top of it. We've already got a small collection of books for whenever bedtime stories start. Looks like we're on our way to being prepared? Not nearly.
Our bedroom needs a complete overhall. I got a changing station, painted it and papered the shelves with a thick wrapping paper that has a faux birch bark look. This will go in our room. Yes, I am partial to turquoise right now. I was gonna go for black except this will match the color on the armoire I painted (staying out in the hall).

We also have a crib for unattended napping in our room. The co-sleeper is still missing and if I can wedge the glider in there, we are golden. This excludes my mission to find a way to hang a mobile when the ceiling is impenetrable concrete, and the shelving I'd like to put up with other assorted baby eye-candy.
I guess the nesting instinct is me going into the room with the baby clothes and petting the blankets and working on little projects in there. I am enjoying looking at all the stuff we have for him and imagining a little baby laying on the shaggy rug and rolling around. Yes, it is currently my favorite room in the house. My next order of business is making the actual room we will be spending the first month or two in fully equipped with diaper changing, breastfeeding and sleeping necessities. If we could just install a kitchen upstairs, we'd be set.
Note to self: I also need a diaper pail!

My mother-in-law is making me and Ellis a needlepoint masterpiece to hang on his door. I'm so excited to see how it will turn out. This is the inspiration collage I made up for her.

I know some of this decor stuff can be boring, but I'm all over it. So, I tried to limit it all to this post. We will see how our bedroom pans out and possibly go over it's functions and maybe some of the cute little things I wanna do in there. It's blog related, I swear.... Nesting is a "primal" instinct...

On the food side of things, I made this amazingly easy meat sauce which we ate over yam starch noodles called No Oodles. Still primal and going strong! (And seriously looking forward to my first reunion with coffee - decaf while breastfeeding, of course)

To make this: I bought 2lbs. grass-fed beef from Trader Joe's and their package of fresh organic basil. Browned the meat in a giant sauce pan with big splashes of red wine, coffee (one of my cooking secrets), and about 1/2 tbs. sea salt. Then added one can of kirkland brand organic tomato sauce and one can of their organic diced tomatoes (which I put in the bullet with some fresh thyme, garlic powder, onion powder). I poured half of that in with the meat and kept enough liquid in the bullet to mix with the whole bunch of basil minus the big stems. Oh yes, and a little bit of oregano. You can also use straight up italian seasoning. I always taste as I go and add this and that accordingly. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Questions and Latest Concerns

I am halfway through week 30 and still eating the same things for breakfast. I have my smoothie hopefully followed by a trip to the bathroom and then cook my 2 eggs, spinach and bacon with a slathering of salsa. My last post expressed that I thought I may be needing something stronger in my smoothies to make them work properly, but I am convinced it was the legumes I ate that caused me irregularity for a couple of days following. Everything has been back to normal except on the days I use coconut milk instead of coconut water... go figure. It really is down to specifics!

What is with the charley horses? Many mornings in my second trimester I woke up with a charley horse (leg cramp) in either one or both of my legs. I have had these before, mainly in high-school, which begs the assumption that it is from either sports or growing or both. These are different. They are not as intense thankfully. God knows it would be super difficult to shoot straight up in the night to grab the cramped leg and try to relieve it. Instead I lay there trying to use my other leg to pull my toes toward me, even when the other leg is cramped too. Obviously the cramp is bearable enough that I can manage this. As far as I have ever known, this is the best way to stop the cramping immediately- to get your toes flexed up toward your shin, stretching that back calf muscle that is cramping. It works every time.
Why does this happen? Numerous sites say that it is not really known but possibly caused by the weight of the uterus and growing baby on the blood vessels in the spine. This makes the most sense to me because whenever it happens, I am awakened lying on my back. The weight of the baby and everything else seems to restrict blood flow enough to cause the cramping. It is much better than waking up with the pins and needles of two legs that are asleep!
Why do I feel dizzy? I am in my second day of feeling a little dizzy. It started yesterday when I got to the gym but was not so bad that I couldn't work out. I am also feeling it a little this morning. When I googled dizziness during pregnancy most of the answers came back the same. Causes could be dehydration, overheating, lack of protein or proper nutrition, getting up or moving too quickly (yeah, sure), restricted blood flow due to specific positions or anemia. The only one that makes remote sense to me could be hydration, but otherwise I'm not convinced. The first thing I thought of when I got dizzy was my sophomore math teacher (what was her name???) wearing something around her wrists. I hadn't even noticed these black bands until she told us all that she was wearing them because it helped with her equilibrium during pregnancy, and she had not in fact tried to slit her wrists. Funny. I think they were magnets or something to that effect.
This makes sense! When the body all of a sudden has something sticking out in front, why wouldn't it throw off a person's sense of balance? Even a search into "equilibrium during pregnancy" didn't produce much for explanation. The best explanation I can find comes from WebMD"During your second trimester, you may feel dizzy or light-headed. Your body is now shunting more blood to your uterus and growing baby -- and less to your head and upper body. Your body also needs more food. You may have dips in blood sugar if you don’t eat enough, which can make you feel light-headed. Finally, your blood vessels are relaxed and widened in response to pregnancy hormones, which lowers your blood pressure. In total, these factors can bring on a dizzy spell."
It's not the answer I was looking for but it explains a little more than the others. This may be a question for the midwife.
Is that why my hair and nails look amazing? Because I just have naturally beautiful hair and nails, of course? Well, no... not really. The pre-natal vitamins are to blame for the healthy flowing mane and fast-growing nails. I had noticed early in my pregnancy that my nails seemed to be growing much faster than I could anxiously pick them. This had me starting to think that I might actually have something to manicure at some point! A friend pointed out that it was because of the vitamins that everything was looking splendid and healthy. Alas, every time I was a day away from scheduling a manicure, I would break one of my nails and as far as hair grows, nobody enjoys "five o'clock shadow" in their armpits. I literally checked my pits one morning on the way to the gym and by the time I was getting out of the post-workout shower I was blinking in disbelief that I already had significant stubble. Maybe I pushed a little too hard during those thrusters!
What is wrong with my eyes? I am squinting like crazy and it's driving me NUTS! I have been wearing contacts for years and haven't had a change in prescription since I got them. Now I find myself blinking and squinting, holding my hand to shade my eyes at night and just struggling to see as if I never put the contacts in. This really bothered me and it is something I googled immediately. Yes, your eyesight changes when you get pregnant. It gets worse during the pregnancy (I noticed it in the middle of the 2nd trimester) and will not improve until the birth, up to 6 months afterward or not at all. The chances of it not correcting itself are slim, but who wants to worry about that? It's annoying and is probably the cause of many pregnancy headaches, but just not worth the trip to the optometrist for corrective measures.
Did I just pee myself? No, that is the joy of pregnancy discharge. It's not a ton, but enough to wonder if there is a wet spot showing on the outside of my pants. Sorry to be graphic, and this is something guys will never understand (having a hole that leaks every once in a while). If it really seems like an excessive amount, you may actually have a yeast infection. I take probiotics and know that they prevent things like yeast in your system, so I'm okay in that department. Thankfully I have the joy of changing my undies every once in a while and knowing that it's perfectly normal.
How am I supposed to remember that? Don't get mad at me because I didn't remember what you wanted for your birthday, or the conversation we had a week ago, or even the food I ordered yesterday. I have no recollection of those words even coming out of my mouth and in fact, I'm pretty sure I've never said anything like that in my entire life. No, this is not me turning into my dad. I seriously cannot think straight these days as you may be able to tell by the fact that I forgot where I was going mid-sentence. While I am pregnant I am, as some say, developing new grey matter and other's would say losing it. It is a common fact. Whether it is because the blood is not circulating oxygen to the brain as effectively or because the entire body is working on something else, it is sometimes called "pregnesia." I'm fine with that are you?
This little blurb is only one of the many supporting articles to this fact and also suggests that it is possibly caused by increased hormone levels. Although I have made myself look a little bit stupid while trying to teach a class with a significant amount of "dead air," I don't seem to be forgetting stuff that pertains to the new addition to the family. I am just hoping that I am not reading all of these baby books for nothing, because I would hate to forget all of the great stuff I have learned.

Latest Concerns
These are just things that we are thinking about and looking into now that I am so far along in the pregnancy.
Homebirthing Class- My husband has signed us up for a two day class on "Out of Hospital Birth." It is on Saturday and Sunday January 26th and 27th in Brooklyn, NY and is best to be attended by both parents. He will be leaving town on the second day, so I will have to go alone. However, I am looking forward to it and am very curious what kind of info our $350 will buy us. We booked through Tribeca Parenting which was recommended by our midwife. We are all about learning in this growing family!
Circumcision- This was something that came up early on in the pregnancy when we started to discuss what the sex of the baby might be. Everyone's opinions are different as were mine and my husbands. He was against it and I was for it. His view is that it is barbaric mutilation and completely unnecessary. He also happens to be Jewish which means it is a traditional part of the religious background he comes from. My concerns were those that came from what I gathered from other people. Not having it done could cause humiliation, discomfort, infection, confusion... etc... and all of the other stuff people say. I was even concerned that his own family members might have a reaction infront of him and possibly cause some emotional damage. After speaking with a few of my close and trusted friends who have recently had boys, I feel much more comfortable with not having my son circumcised. I respect their opinions more than the foolish ones I've formed from social standards. I can wholly admit my reasons were superficial and dumb. I plan to do my best as a parent to spare him the physical trauma of circumcision as well as any possible emotional insult for not having it done. I am somewhat ashamed that I let my insecurities get the better of me and am glad that we (my husband and I) addressed this topic early enough for me to prevent any mistakes or further conflict.
Vaccinations- Do you or do you not want to vaccinate your child? You also have the option of doing some vaccinations and leaving others out. While my husband does the scientific research and reading, I do a little of my own gathering of info from these same women I respect and trust about their personal choices and reasoning. Not to mention the fact that injecting anything unnecessary into the body of a baby that is a day old is absolutely ludicrous to me. We have friends that have forgone vaccinations entirely, followed a slower timetable with them and some who have stopped halfway through because of their own regrets. I trust my husband's extremely thorough research and whatever decision he draws from it, but I absolutely do not want anything going into my child until he is at LEAST 6 months to a year, if at all.
Pediatricians- Through Tribeca Parenting we have found a pediatrician that not only takes our insurance but works through a “less medicine is often the best medicine" approach. To us, it makes sense to not be pushed into a routine of bringing our child to the doctor for every sneeze and sniffle. What can I say? We really are into the caveman lifestyle....
Swimming Lessons- This is just something that I want to mention that is available and something that we will probably take advantage of in the summer when the baby is about 4-5 months old. The infant swimming resource has instructors that teach babies of all ages how to flip over onto their back and stay afloat if they should find themselves in deep water. I have a friend who's daughter was in the hospital after having fallen into the family's koi pond. It was a terrifying thing to hear, but the 2 year-old made a full recovery.
Baby Communication- Remembering that my same friend had taught her children to sign as a helpful form of communication before they could fully speak, I registered for a book called Baby Signs: How to Talk with Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk. I loved it and highly recommend it to anyone who is expecting! It makes so much sense for you and your child. Some people believe it will slow the learning for regular speech but the opposite is true. Babies who start signing before speaking are more likely to speak sooner, among many other benefits. We have already started to practice some of the signs even though the baby will most likely not grasp the concept until around 6 months old. They say that as soon as your child understands the sign for waving bye-bye, he/she will be able to understand the use of other signs.

Some great things to think about!
I did get a workout in on Thursday...

Working Out
Thursday's WOD

2 rounds

800m row
20 pull ups
20 front squats #65
20 toes to bar  (I did toes-to-as-high-as-I-could-get-them)
20 power clean #65  (I did hang cleans)

for time: somewhere around 35 min.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Second Trimester, 3D Ultrasound and Paleo Thanksgiving

I just wanted to give an example of how much spinach I actually eat every morning with my eggs and bacon or sausage. Never underestimate the power of greens!

Second Trimester
I can feel the romance of the 2nd trimester that has been described in my books. It has been easy and wonderful this past couple of months. I've been watching my belly grow, feeling my baby's play and admittingly visiting the gym only about once a week. I am now at 26 weeks and just passed my 100 days-til-due-date mark. I talk to the baby sometimes, sing and try to guess which end is which and what is poking out under my hands. Sometimes I get up and feel the baby in an awkward position and so I massage a little and give him/her time to re-adjust angles. I think the hard wide part of the baby is it's back as it curls up facing my spine. Both of the last ultrasounds have shown the baby facing the rear and using "our" placenta like a pillow. The movements are definitely getting stronger and seemingly more frequent. I think the baby has put on another pound in just the last two weeks. I wish I could somehow find out the weight! My parents were out for the holiday and even commented on my increase in belly size during that time.
I have gained 12 lbs. so far and am still eating the same things. I still have my smoothie every morning followed by a breakfast of egg, spinach and bacon or another breakfast meat. Over the last couple of days, the trusty poop-smoothie has not worked (smoothie does not contain actual poop, just pooping aids). I have suspicions about this problem coming from either my hectic mornings or my recent dinner containing falafel and hummus - the deliciously digestive-disturbing legume based combo. I am pretty sure it was worth the the cheat, but let's hope the problem can correct itself or the third trimester may prove to call for a stronger morning concoction. I did also start taking an extra probiotic alongside what comes in the greens in my smoothie which seems to at least provide some relief later in the day. But, I would so much rather be back to my usual rhythm.
The best part of this trimester is how I feel and how I feel I look. I finally get to be that woman with the beautiful round belly that is so much fun to accessorize. I feel beautiful and have never been more pleased with what I see in the mirror. No sign of stretch marks but I am a little bummed to no-longer have an "inny" belly-button.

3D Ultrasound
My sister told me some while ago about someone who recommended going to an elective ultrasound company to get the 3D and 4D experience. I decided that since both sets of grandparents would be in town for Thanksgiving, it would be the perfect time to reveal the baby's gender. I also was sure they had never and possibly would never get to have an experience like this in their lifetimes. How can you argue with that? Overall it was an awesome experience. I got to see the baby's little hand come up and hold onto his/her ear. I got to see yawning and eyes opening, legs crossed at the feet and soft, full little lips. My baby is so beautiful. I can't wait to have that little face inches from mine!
We had considered doing this again when the baby was a little further along, however things I have heard about the ultrasound waves possibly causing damage to those little vulnerable cells has changed our view. I can't say I would recommend this to anyone without doing the proper research beforehand, as we should have done. I know that I at least picked a place that was run by currently hospital employed technicians instead of someone who has been at a 2-day training seminar. Really look into the company you are going with if you decide to go through with it. There are companies all over that are basically a business-in-a-box and could not possibly offer services with years of training to back them up. Ask questions about training and certifications and be thorough!
This is what we got to see:

Paleo Thanksgiving
This was my first Thanksgiving hosting family in my house and cooking the entire menu for them. It turned out perfect! The menu looked like this:

Organic spinach salad with caramelized onions, toasted pecans, goat cheese and cranberry vinaigrette
Roasted pearl onions with sea salt
Organic mushroom, cherry and hot italian (pastured) sausage stuffing (complete with paleo bread crumbs)
Roasted brussel sprouts with smoky bacon ends
Mashed organic rosemary and thyme sweet potatoes and turnips
Brined roasted organic, pastured turkey with gravy
Homemade grass-fed corned beef
Homemade organic cranberry sauce

Dessert: Primal organic apple pie & Dark chocolate nut and pumpkin custard bars

I brined the turkey overnight on Wednesday and took it out in the morning on Thursday. This turkey turned out amazing. I really didn't even touch it after I put it in the oven. I didn't even have time to baste it once because I was so busy with everything else. It was perfectly cooked, moist and flavored throughout the bird. Since it was an organic, pasture raised bird and the extra parts were still with it (giblets, etc...), I took them  and put them in a sauce pan with a little white wine and let them create a stock. It's a good thing I had done this because there wasn't really any juice in the roasting pan. I took the stock and poured it in the roasting pan and it picked up all the cooked drippings (probably why the gravy was so dark- pic above). To this liquid I added a tsp or so of arrowroot and it thickened up nicely. Salted to taste and this gravy was fabulously rich!
The stuffing was also amazing. This was really an experiment that came out tremendously successful. I will be making it again for Christmas and posting the recipe on the Primal Pantry beforehand. I used cherries, mushrooms, celery, onions and hot italian sausage. I roasted them with a little white wine and seasoning then created a slab of almond-flour crust for the top. When the mixture was just about done I put the crust on top, let it bake and then cracked it open and stirred it in with the filling. The only thing that didn't make it in was toasted walnuts. I had a guest that wasn't a fan of nuts, so I intended on toasting them and putting them on the side but never got to it. I would've liked that little extra crunch but I cannot complain. This may have been my favorite dish on the table!

Working Out
My last WOD was:

3 Rounds

20 - 14 lbs wall balls
20 - SDHP 16kg KB
20 - step-ups (24 inches)
20 - push press 45 lbs.
Row 500 meters

for time (I did 28:26)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dogs and Pregnancy

Well, we made it through our first hurricane. We are very lucky, our little family of 4 and 1/2. Our building is a giant cement block in the center of Staten Island on the top of a hill. This put us out of harms way from the downed trees, flooding, giant waves and other chaos that went on in many unfortunate neighborhoods.
These two furry children (Dexter and Olive) were showing their sensitivity to the weather earlier in the week. I could feel the pressure changes in my head and I'm sure it was doubly so for them!

Dogs and Pregnancy
I was very curious to see when and how my dogs would understand that I am pregnant. Sometimes I think they absolutely know and other times, I'm not so sure. They definitely are in the process of learning not to jump up on me when they say hello.
In the beginning I thought that if they smelled my pee, their magical noses would pick up on my chemical changes. Not sure if that worked. Then I figured they must just smell the new hormones I am producing anyway. I wondered if they could hear anything with their head close to my growing belly. Perhaps I overestimate that sense just a little.
The first thing I really noticed was when I am at the gym (our business), Olive (the bigger, older one) barks at everyone who walks in the door. She knows pretty much every single member by now and at some point had become totally un-phased by the constant people coming and going. When I am there, it is different. Next, I realized this was going to make it impossible for me to walk with her outside off-leash because she runs up barking at anyone she sees. It doesn't help that she does not consider me to be the "pack leader" as the Dog Whisperer would say. This is partly my husband's fault for "barking" over my orders when I try to command the dogs.
I will say that they are both a little extra clingy to me lately. Who wouldn't like the extra love! When we are out walking in the woods, Olive likes to be by my side more than usual. She also wants to sit behind me on the couch when we eat dinner and curl around me. It's cute until I want to lean back and be comfortable.
There was one instance when I was sitting and Olive went to jump up and put her paws on my lap but moved them out to the sides so as not to hit my belly. I thought for sure this was a sign she knew! But now it seems like she forgot entirely that my lap is disappearing.
I've read about a couple of similar behavior changes in online articles here and here.
I am only 5 1/2 months along, starting to really look pregnant and am very curious to see how this progresses with the two dogs. Dexter, the littler one, has such a laid back attitude and wants to cuddle with anyone and everyone at all times. So, I haven't really noticed any changes in that behavior. He may be a little bummed when I start calling someone else "my little baby."
As for the birthing process, since they will both be here when it happens in the house, it should be interesting. I think Olive's tendency to be over anxious in certain situations may take over and she may end up in the corner shaking. I hope not, but we have yet to see.
I can't wait for them to meet their new pack member!