Thursday, August 25, 2016

Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

Being a fit and healthy plus size momma to be means that I am doing what I can now to keep my body as healthy as possible during this pregnancy. But since I was already plus size before I got pregnant, I already had those dreaded stretch marks. Honestly, I think stretch marks tell a story about you. They shouldn't be looked at so negatively. They are what they are and we can't do anything about them once you have them but I understand completely about controlling them as much as you can especially during pregnancy.

I'm pretty fair skinned and new stretch marks are bright purple on me. But I haven't gotten any new ones this pregnancy, just my old ones are getting more elongated. You can compare my 27 weeks pictures to 36 weeks below! I just have my faded white ones. 

I got my stretch marks a few years into our marriage when I was eating whatever I wanted to eat because I thought, hey, I'm going to get pregnant right away, then I will breastfeed and lose all this weight!  But that didn't happen. It took us 8 years to get pregnant. During that time before I got pregnant though  I just kept eating whatever I wanted. Buying 2 doughnuts and a candy bar at the grocery store and eating them quickly on the way home from the store to "hide the evidence" of what I was doing from my husband. And slowly inside I was breaking. I was depressed because I wasn't getting pregnant. I felt like I was letting my husband down because I couldn't do the thing everyone else was able to do so naturally. And over a few years I went from 190's (I actually don't know how much I weighed on my wedding day!) to 240. And with that quick jump up in weight my body just over stretched. But I look at my stretch marks of what I learned. Because I finally started getting my stuff together around 7 years into our marriage. Working really hard to be healthier and exercise more. And I was! EXERCISING A TON! When I was finally at 197 is when we started the fertility round that got us pregnant. And by the time we were pregnant I was at 203. But my stretch marks were still with me as a reminder of how far I had come and what I learned.

With Mason I gained 52 pounds. I was at my heaviest when I delivered him. 255 pounds. And thankfully I didn't get new stretch marks because I used lotion on my belly all the time. Fast forward to this pregnancy and I knew I was going to end above 255 only because I started at 237 pounds and I was aiming to gain between 20-30 pounds. As scary as that number is to think about ending at 267, I knew it was a possibility. But I wanted to work really hard at keeping my stretch marks at bay. This pregnancy I have been using the Honest Company Belly Balm and it has been amazing. I might be more "stretched" than ever now but I have not gained any new stretch marks. And I think it is all because of this Belly Balm!

What is so great about it: 
  • A unique blend of organic butters, botanicals, and antioxidants for belly and body health
  • Organic shea butter, olive oil, tamanu oil, and calendula help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, improve elasticity, and hydrate for soft and supple skin
  • Jojoba, apricot kernel, rosehip, and tamanu oils help restore moisture and suppleness while smoothing marks and toning skin
  • Nourishing botanicals and omega oils penetrate deeply to soothe the itch of stretching skin
  • Helps soothe sensitive and extra dry skin
  • No harsh chemicals (ever!) — only soothing, certified organic ingredients
  • Hypoallergenic • Certified Organic • Vegetarian • Soothing • pH Balanced
What it doesn't have: 
Made without: petroleum, mineral oil, lanolin, gluten, parabens, phthalates, fragrances, dyes, or most common allergens.

We all have stretch marks. Wear them with pride because there is nothing you can do to erase them. Just like you can't erase your past, but you can embrace them for what they are and use things to help make your skin more elastic so that you don't increase your chances of getting more.

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bump Update: 36 Weeks

This past Saturday we had the baby shower. It was so great and so much fun. And I had the chance to perform my original song on the piano, A Mother's Hope, for all the ladies that attended! I wrote it last year after my miscarriage and it is about a hope for the future to raise a child that was lost through miscarriage. Honestly, I think it is the best one yet I have written. (Bet you didn't know I wrote music. Now you do!) Anyways, it was just really special to share that with the ladies and seemed appropriate so I did. Because of the kindness and generosity of our friends Elyse is going to be one fashionable baby!   
We also started school for Mason yesterday so that has been a big transition for our family. Getting used to new routines, new schedules. Getting everyone up and ready to go early and such. So it has been a pretty big week for us, PLUS hitting 36 weeks. Just doesn't seem possible that my due date is only 4 weeks away. Seems so far away but it isn't! 
Total Weight Gain: Gained 24.6 pounds total. Weight as of this morning 262.3 pounds. 

Symptoms: Smaller appetite, eating smaller meals throughout the day. Having to "go" a lot since she is head down. Hard time sleeping. Waddling and lower back soreness like nothing else! Man at the end of the day my back is just killing me! Oh and by the end of the day my feet and ankles are starting to swell a little. I blame having to walk and wait in the heat for the bus to arrive! ;) 
Baby’s Size: LARGE cantaloupe (~19-22 inches, 6 pounds- GOODNESS!)
Maternity Clothes: Yes, bottoms need to wear maternity or stretchy pants. Tops I wear maternity now and my bigger t-shirts but those are starting to get tight now. Wearing my new Fabletics sports bra in these pictures and LOVE THEM and the fun colors! A ton more coverage and super comfy!
Stretch Marks: I already have a ton that I got when I gained weight years ago. I think I am getting some new ones or my old was are just being stretched up higher on my belly. No bright purple ones just the faded white ones. I am using Honest Company belly balm right now though to help my belly stretch so I do not get any new ones. I apply it at night and right after I get out of the shower. 
Belly Button: Innie! I never had my belly button flatten out or pop out during my other 2 pregnancies, but this might be the one that I do! Every week it is getting closer! But you can see how much of an innie I have!

Braxton Hicks Contractions: I am getting them throughout the day now, many times a day. Including some strong ones that kind of make me stop and take a breath. I get two different kinds. Upper belly and lower belly, but never at the same time. (that would be labor!) Upper BH are generally caused by exercise and getting up and down too much and just a reminder to slow down and drink water. The other kind I am getting are lower belly ones that really take my breath away. I only get a couple of them a day, not as frequent as the others but these, yeah, remind me more of actual labor pains. They just happen when they want to happen!
Gender: GIRL!!! So excited about all the cute stuff we got for her! We have her coming home outfit and her picture props! So girly, and way too cute!
Sleep: I need to take a nap every day but I haven't been this week. And I am waking up many times a night to go to the bathroom or trying to get comfy. (If you see me make a comment on FB or IG at 2am this is why!) I am still getting up at night at 11:30pm, 1:30am, and 3:30am, 5:30 without fail. Always around 9pm for about an hour she likes to put on a show and be super active! 
Miss Anything: Sleeping comfortably flat on my back! Sleeping through the night. 
Cravings: Veggies and Comfort food like pasta and cereal. I want veggies and I want easy comfort food. 
Aversions: Sweets taste too sweet for me, so I can only handle a little at a time. I guess that is my only aversion and kind of good!
Excited About: 4 weeks until my due date. Tomorrow I have my doctor checkup and will be able to hear her heartbeat. But I think it is the start of exams... Also tomorrow is my chiropractor appointment, so I can get my back taken care of which will be nice! 

Workouts: Pretty well for this week! I got in 5 days of regular workouts this past week. I'm really enjoying, COUNTRY HEAT! I am trying to dance this baby out! If you are interested in joining BUSY MOM'S DANCE PARTY just click on the link to request to join and I will get in touch with you with all the details! My regular Workouts include: 21 Day Fix yoga & pilates Beachbody On Demand Active Maternity and Diary Of A Fit Mommy's Fit For Two 2nd Trimester workouts in daily. 
Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Easy DIY Decorating For Baby Showers


This past Saturday we had a baby shower to celebrate Elyse's upcoming arrival. We had such a great time but one of the really fun things that we did was DECORATE THE HOUSE! And to save money we used the clothing that we already had on hand. So, I have been collecting girl clothing for the past 4 years. Yes, 4 years. I knew we were going to be having a girl at some point, I didn't think it would take 4 years but it did. I just kept all the clothing in the back of a closet where I didn't have to look at it often and just let it build up. I didn't have a lot but we had some. (I did get most of it last year just before the miscarriage happened.) We were also given donated clothing from other moms of girls that had outgrown the clothing. So we used that too! We got lots of compliments on how cute the clothing was and everyone enjoyed seeing all the cute designs out there now.

So check out how to make easy, super cute, decorations for a baby shower.

What I did: 

-Bought some twine and double looped it so that it was thick enough to handle clothing being hung from it.

-I used the clear small command strips and attached them to the wall. Most were already up since we use them to decorate for christmas or other holidays!

-I ended up getting the clothing pins on line because I couldn't find them at Target, after doing 1.3 miles across the store being sent from one end to other by the reps there.

-Then we just got the clothing we had and hung it up!

-Pick a special outfit and hang it as a MAIN decoration. We used Elyse's coming home outfit (Worth The Wait by Mamabijou) hanging from the fireplace mantel which is where the guests put their gift.

We also used fresh flowers in the room that had the food, just to add a pop of color. And color coordinated table clothes for easy clean up! And the balloons were more for the boys to play with! But easy decorating.




Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Diet vs Lifestyle Change

For years I dieted. I have been on almost every diet out there because they all claimed to work. And most of them actually do work. If you follow their plans to a T! But one thing I never ever learned how to do was, what happens after the diet? How do I survive. And every single time after a diet, I ended up going right back to doing what I was before the diet, gaining weight and feeling horrible because I couldn't stick with the diet. 

ENTER LIFESTYLE CHANGE! What does that mean? Seriously we have all heard it. And who really wants to know the secret to actually obtaining a lifestyle change and not just another "diet"?

Lifestyle changes are hard. Giving up things and learning to live without them is one of the hardest things that anyone can do. A lifestyle change with health and fitness can almost be easier in a way though. You have to start out slow though. Here are my 5 tips to help you stay on track with your lifestyle change and ditch the diet train FOR GOOD!

ONE-
Find an exercise program that YOU LOVE! This is key! If you have something that you look forward to and want to do, you are more than likely to do it. If you hate doing lunges and squats. DON'T DO A WORKOUT THAT DOES ONLY THAT! If you LOVE DANCING, then DANCE, (Country Heat Busy Moms Dance Party begins Sept 1, if you want an fun and amazing way to exercise CHECK THIS OUT!) But sit down and figure out what you really enjoy doing and do it. Or for me, I really like a specific trainer. I have really enjoyed Autumn Calabrese's workouts. I love the realness she displays and the motivation she gives and that right there, makes me want to get all her workouts! So find what you love and GRAB ON TO IT!

TWO-
STOP restricting foods. To be successful in eating you have to actually eat. And be allowed to eat the foods you want to eat otherwise you are going to cheat and get way off point with your nutrition. Diets suck because most of them tell you to cut calories, or cut a food group. HOW IS THAT GOING TO BENEFIT YOU IN THE REAL WORLD? It doesn't. It just teaches you that to lose 5 pounds you have to cut carbs for 5 days. But that isn't real. And our bodies need carbs and healthy fats, and veggies and fruits and dang it our MINDS need sugar! A true lifestyle change is learning to eat the right foods and balancing it with the occasional treats so that you stay on plan and not get off track because you binge eat.

THREE-
Exercising every day isn't real life. And it is ok! There are times that I follow my workout plans to the T and I lose weight. But every few months I have to back off a little and let my body and mind get a little rest. Really, if you can aim for 5 days a week (every day that your kids have school) to workout you are doing better than most of the people in America! Most workout programs are 6 days a week but if you can aim for 5 days a week you are doing pretty dang good and you are still going to get results. If you want to get TRUE amazing results, every other month do a workout program FULL OUT! NO EXCUSES! 21 Day fix, just 3 weeks of 7 days a week is totally doable rather than 90 days of 7 days a week. (this is why 21 Day Fix is so popular!) Don't set your goals too high and be realistic with them!

FOUR-
Don't be too hard on yourself if it doesn't go as planned. It is never to late to try again and again and again! It takes time to get things to work and each time you try and stumble you learn something new about yourself. I guarantee it! So if you are trying something new and it doesn't work, try something else. The main thing is to have a support system in place to help you stay on track and not lose faith or hope.

FIVE-
Remember this is a journey. Keep track of it. Document it for yourself to see where you started from and what you went through and the end/what you are accomplishing. Plus looking back at your starting point really helps to inspire you to KEEP GOING! Make sure you take those dreaded "before, during and after" pictures. I know they suck and you don't want anyone else to see them, but at the end of the journey or at some point in your journey you might change your mind. And to see the results is AMAZING!

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey!

Friday, August 19, 2016

10 Questions To Ask Your Doctor In The Last Month of Pregnancy

I get asked all the time for the signs and signals of labors and what to expect. Sadly, even I don't recognize when I am in labor. With Mason, I was induced and never went into "spontaneous labor". And with Collin, I did as any expectant momma does and went to the hospital way too early only to get sent home. The next day, when I was actually in labor, I was in denial about it because I didn't want to be sent home again. I wanted to make sure it was the real deal. Well, Collin was born 35 minutes after I arrived at the hospital. That is a little too close!

But you better believe, as a momma to be with baby #3, I am still going to be asking most of these questions because...EVERY LABOR IS DIFFERENT! Check out my 10 questions you should ask your doc, with a little explanation on them from what I learned but CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR on what rules they have because every practice is different and ever circumstance is different.

1. What should I do if I think I am in labor? 

There are many different ways it feels like you are in labor. And sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and real contractions. Find out if there is an after hour number for your doctor's office to call. Put it in your phone! Show your birth partner how to find it in your phone too because you might not be able to do it if you are in the heat of labor! Ask if you should call the office first or go straight to the hospital. Or call the hospital. You need to know where to go and what to do and how to get ahold of your doctor or the on call doctor.

2. At what point should I go to the hospital?

Each doctor is different and the distance from your house to the hospital and what number baby this is can change the answer. There are a few rules that some doctors say, the 5:1:1, 4:1:1 or 3:1:1 rule. The first number in each set is if contractions are 5, 4 or 3 minutes apart. The second number is for how long the contraction is last for. The last number is how long the contractions have held this pattern. So if a doc says that they want you to go to the hospital following the 4:1:1 rule it would be read as, You are having contractions every 4 minutes, lasting a minute long for a whole hour. With Collin when I did finally go into labor by the time we were going in, I was 2:45:45. So I was having contractions every 2 minutes lasting for only 45 seconds for the last 45 minutes. We had to go to the hospital in rush hour traffic and it took us 45 min to get there. And again, Collin was born 35 minutes after we arrived (they broke my water right away too).

3. Is ______ normal?

Is extra vaginal discharge normal? Is this smell normal? What's the difference between bloody show and extra vaginal discharge? Are my boobs supposed to be crusty or leaking? Is it normal to have extra pressure? Feel like I have to pee every 10 minutes? Is it normal not to have a bowel movement for a couple of days? Is it normal for a bowel movement to hurt? Any of these questions you want to ask. Because at some point you are going to wonder.

4. Will I really have a bowel movement during labor?

This is one of those questions that no one really wants to talk about but hey SH%T happens! Especially when in labor. The uterus is applying pressure on your rectum and when you push, well, sometimes your rectum gets squeezed too. Like a toothpaste tube. It just happens. Often you won't even know when it happens. The docs and nurses are very private about it, unless you have my doc who has told me both times just to be silly (yes I still love him!), but normally you won't know it. But ask your doc about it. Because it can be scary and seem embarrassing, but honestly when you are at that point that sh%t happens you are going to be right at the end of your pushing stage and about to deliver and modesty and decorum are the last thing to matter!

5. How do Braxton Hicks contractions feel different than actual labor?

This is different for everyone. For me mine feel different because I have two different types of Braxton Hicks contractions, upper belly pains and lower belly pains. When they are combined then that is the feeling of labor for me. But there are some moms that don't have any Braxton Hicks, and some that have them so strong it is hard to tell. Ask your doc.

6. Will I be able to get my body back to how it was before baby and how long will it take get my body back after baby?

This varies for EVERY MOM! Including celebrities. General rule of thumb is it took 9 months to get this way it can take 9 months or more to get back. Or if you are like Diary of a fit mom or my sister in law, it can take less than a month. It all depends on your body, how much weight you gained, how much you exercised/exercise postpartum. And such. And just to put this out there...Don't not rely on breastfeeding to help you lose all your weight. I didn't lose 1 pound breastfeeding until I seriously made changes to my diet.

7. Where do I go when I arrive at the hospital?

Depending on when you go into labor might determine where in the hosptial you go in. For me, at night, I have to go to the ER then I will be taken to the Labor and Delivery Wing. During the day I go straight to Labor and Delivery and walk the mile long hallway that never ends!

8. What papers/documents should I bring to the hospital?

Make sure you have your hospital pre-registration card with you if you given one. Having your insurance card, drivers license or picture ID too. These are things to make sure you have ready to go in your wallet and in your purse by the door so your hubs or you can grab it quick. Also if you have a birth plan, pack that in your bag too. I actually have a little 5 star pocket folder that I put my birth plan in and keep with me becuase you will be given a lot of paperwork from the hospital and some to fill out after baby arrives at home to send off to Social Security and request for the baby's birth certificate.

9. How do I know if my water broke or if it is just pee or a slow leak.

I have heard that some mom to be's have a hard time knowing when their water breaks. For both of my labors, my water was broken and MAN DID I KNOW IT! And after it was broken I would have a gush of water with each contraction. But ask your doctor what the difference would be. Is there a smell. How to tell if there is a slow leak or if it is just urinary incontinence. The other question to ask is how soon do I get to the hospital if my water breaks at home or out and about? I asked this question when I was pregnant with Mason just before we were going on our Baby Moon 3 hours north in DC for the weekend. I remember my doc said that labor takes a long time for the first baby and that I would have plenty of time to get home and to the hospital if my water broke. Well, with Mason, he was born only 3.5 hours after they broke my water. Collin was born 35 minutes after my water was broken. So honestly you never know how long it will take! (I am thinking that this one will be born 3.5 minutes after my water is broken! Just fits the freaky pattern)

10. What will labor really be like? What should I expect?

This is not a silly question to ask. Do not go into labor not know what is going on. You have a right to know what is going ot happen. What could happen. Best and worse case scenarios. Your doctor will probably be honest with you and tell you what to expect. Ask at what point would they recommend you start pitocin if you labor stalled. When they recommend getting an epidural. What will happen if you don't have the baby within a certain time frame. What is that time frame that they doctor goes by to determine a good labor pattern. The pain of it. The burning sensation of the ring of fire. ASK. The doctors go through labor every single day. And sometimes they forget that this is your first time, or that you might experience different things this time around. I even asked my doc at the last appointment, should we expect this labor to be similar to Collin's? He said, NOPE! Every labor is different. The pushing and the outcome is the same but the process is all different. Ask what c-section recovery is like. Will you feel pain. What to expect with that too!

So. Ask your questions MOMS! Do your research. Have the questions already written down so you know what to ask. Take a pen and paper with you to write the answers down or have your birth partner with you so that you don't forget something. I always make it a point to ask at least 1 question at every appointment. Because I want to know. If you don't want to know the answers to these or other questions that is your choice too. You can go into labor totally blind, but know that labor is not always what it is shown like on TV or movies. It can be totally different. Often movie and TV depicitions of labor are speed up because labor can be a long time, a lot of sitting and waiting, or horrible consistent pains for hours or days.

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey!

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