Introducing Nathan Felix! a birth story

Hello! I want to introduce the newest love of my life: Nathan Felix!

IMG_0307

He was born at November 20 measuring 6 lbs, 15 oz and 20 inches long! He is absolutely perfect! Here’s a moderately abridged version of his birth story:

On Wednesday, November 18, I had my 39 week checkup with my OB. Following my my 35 and 37 week ultrasounds, I had an additional ultrasound and appointment to measure the baby’s growth progress. The ultrasound took over an hour and the radiologist was clearly trying to find better measurements because baby kept measuring below 10th percentile (the cutoff for “normal”). They finally put him at 11th percentile for size and sent me to my OB. Then my blood pressure was elevated again and here’s what my doctor said to me (I’ll never forget): “You’re done being pregnant now, right?” She then explained that due to the baby’s size, my elevated fluid levels and high blood pressure, there was no point in staying pregnant past 40 weeks and we should probably start the induction process that night.

Uhhhhh WHAT?! My mom (thank goodness she was with me!) and I were in shock. The OB said that I should report to the hospital that night for some medicine to help progress my labor and then we’d make some decisions. So Chris came and met me, we dropped the dog off at grandparent camp and headed to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. They set up me up with the monitors and of course my blood pressure was normal again. The gave me meds, kept me on the monitor for a few hours, then sent us home for our last night in our home without a baby. The next day we went back, got more medicine and were sent out for a few hours. I announced that I would not be going home without a baby, so they let me come back. We walked out of the hospital and down toward Fenway Park to Target to buy slippers where I promptly went into labor…then we got dinner and called and Uber back to the hospital. The sent us back up to triage, set me back up on the monitor, and informed us that there were 3 emergency c-sections ahead of me and no beds in labor and delivery, so sit tight. Eventually I fell asleep on the gurney and Chris fell asleep sitting up in a chair with his head against a sharps container and my labor stopped completely (womp womp). At 3:30 am they finally sent us up to L&D and started Pitocin (synthetic oxytocin, which is the hormone that starts labor). I went right into heavy labor. My contractions were right on top of one another and I demanded an epidural (I was much nicer once the drugs settled in). The nurse asked me about my birth plan and I explained that literally NOTHING about what was happening was on my plan and now I wanted drugs (I had originally envisioned a totally natural birth, which was no longer in the cards for me). I got the epi around 7:30, they turned the pitocin off around 9 and I progressed on my own for several hours. Around noontime I started shaking really violently and was told that it was a normal part of labor since my contractions were really strong…but then I spiked a temperature of 102.8 and the baby’s heart rate was getting really high. The nurses and doctors said that they usually only treat fevers up to 100.4 before other medical intervention (like a c-section), so I got really scared, but the antibiotics and tylenol kicked in really quick and I was fully dilated and it was almost baby time. They explained that due to my fever and the baby’s elevated heart rate, s/he would have to go to the NICU right after birth and get meds. That was also really scary, because I certainly did not want to be separated from my brand new baby. Then all of a sudden it was time to push.

I was expecting this part to be like the movies: tons of doctors, nurses and interns, screaming, crying, etc etc etc. Instead, it was super calm. The only people in the room were our nurse, Chris, me and the doctor checking in from time to time. It was eerily quiet. No screaming, no music, no obnoxious words of encouragement (Thanks Chris!) and 2 hours later, the OB announced “one more long steady push” and then all of a sudden she held a baby up over me and said “JUST LIKE DADDY!” and there was Nathan at 3:31 pm! There he was! Chris and I couldn’t believe he was here, and he was a boy! He scored an 8/9 on his APGAR, we did some skin to skin and then they took up to the NICU.

We stayed in the hospital for 3 nights because they couldn’t really figure out what caused my infection, so we were both on IV antibiotics despite neither of us having a fever after birth. We finally went home on Monday morning where my parents and Gloria met us and we started our life as a real family!

Nathan and I are doing great so far! We had his 2 week pediatrician’s appointment yesterday and he’s up to 8 lbs, 7 oz. The doctor couldn’t even believe it, since most babies are working on getting back to birth weight at 2 weeks. I guess you could say he’s a good eater, since he eats every 2 hours, day and night! We’ve been walking outside every day and starting to go into public a little. He’s such a little doll and we’re just head over heels in love.

So that’s where we’re at right now! Motherhood is a crazy thing. All of a sudden my life changed completely and I went from being pregnant to being a mom. I’m already forgetting the trials and tribulations of being enormously pregnant (and I almost fit back into my jeans thanks to my piglet son). I’m not exactly eating great, but we’re doing the best we can. I love being a mom and now can’t picture my life any other way (sorry for the gross new mom rant) (I’m not really sorry)

xoR

The Pregnancy Weight Gain Diaries

Hi everyone!!! I know I start every post with an apology for my absence, and this is no different! Things have been so crazy getting ready for baby! I am officially 5 days until my due date, although my OB didn’t really seem to think the baby was in any real hurry to come out…but Mommy is!

Funny-Illustrations-Pregnancy-Struggles

c/o @kosogkaos

I wanted to share a little story with all of you that I hope will be helpful. At 35 weeks (about a month ago), I had an ultrasound just to make sure the baby was head down and everything was looking good. At that appointment, my doctor explained that they baby was measuring a little on the small side (which I was super surprised about) and they’d like to do a follow up in a few weeks. She didn’t seem real concerned, but any concern at all is scary for a first time mom like me! So 2 weeks later I went for a follow up and during the scan I found myself way over analyzing everything the ultrasound tech said (or didn’t say). She said the baby was small (panic) and my amniotic fluid was high (panic), and everything looked fine (PANIC she didn’t say perfect!). Overall, the doctors were happy with the baby’s growth, s/he is just on the smaller side and these estimates can be way off and I should stop panicking (yeah, right). Fast forward another week and I’m at my 38 week appointment. I’ve been very diligent about not finding not knowing my weight throughout my entire pregnancy. I get on the scale backwards every week and remind the medical assistant that I do not want to know the number. Well, I got on the scale backwards and figured since the assistant knew me by now, I didn’t need to remind her. Guess again. She put her hand on my belly to maneuver around me to see the display, then announced my weight. It felt like I had been kicked in the gut.

“Oh, no, I don’t want to know!” I cried as she announced

“Oh! Oops! Did I mess up?? Sorry!” She giggled.

I literally started to vibrate. Of course then she took my blood pressure and it was through the roof. She left me in the room to undress and I took many deep breaths to keep away tears. “Don’t panic, relax, it’s ok” I said aloud to the sterile room. “Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale”.

The doctor came in and said that since my blood pressure had been steadily rising for the past few weeks (news to me!), she was going to redo my blood pressure measure and then we’d decide if I needed testing for preeclampsia. I explained that hearing my weight may have triggered the spike and the follow up measure was more normal, albeit a bit elevated. She sent me for testing anyway, it came back normal.

I cried in my car, as I often do, and called on my support team (Chris, my mom, my best friends) to calm me down when breathing wasn’t doing the trick. “You look great!”,”The baby needs you to gain weight”, “You’re doing everything right”, “It’s all in your belly!”, everyone told me. I didn’t feel better.

The next day, of course I got online and started looking for tips and tricks for losing baby weight. That was a mistake, as is googling most pregnancy related topics. I kept finding bloggers explaining “OH EM GEE I was sooooo gross during my pregnancy. I ate Little Debbies and didn’t work out at all and I gained THIRTY pounds! EWWWW”. Which made me feel exactly 0% better for the following reasons: A. I have been eating really well. B. I’ve worked out and stayed active through my whole pregnancy and C. I’ve gained 40 pounds. That’s right. Forty. 4-0. And I have at least another week of pregnancy.

So I share this story with you for a few reasons. One reason is that, similar to when I was researching Gestational Diabetes (I really never learn), the internet is filled with scary stories and worst case scenarios. Also, every pregnancy is totally different. I stayed active, ate well and did everything I was “supposed” to do and gained more than the OB/GYN recommended 25-35 pounds. I know other women that gained more and others that gained less. And some that have gained none at all. All healthy pregnancies. Would I have preferred to never know this number? Yeah, sure. Do I feel more empowered now that I do know it and was able to come to peace with a number that doesn’t hold power over me any more? Yeah, definitely. I know I did everything right during this pregnancy, including the occasional ice cream and pizza. I could have restricted my intake and pushed my workouts to my limit throughout these past 9 months, but I’d be miserable…and no better off.

Just like my pre-pregnancy weight, this scale number is just another number. My pre-pregnancy weight was higher than I thought it should have been, but I was also my healthiest, fittest and happiest. A reminder of what that looks like:

IMG_8232

Had I not been happy, fit and healthy, I probably would not have been able to get pregnant. Yes, I do hope that I can get back to that body, but I’m also trying to give myself some space to be a new mom and not push myself too quickly. Right now I’m trying to refocus my thoughts and energy. There’s nothing I can do about the weight now, and probably not a lot I could’ve done to begin with. My body will be different after baby, and that’s OK. I will be different! Here’s what 39 weeks looks like around here:

IMG_0232

So that’s my pep talk (for myself and for all of you). Pretty soon these concerns will seem really silly. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Have a great week!

xoR

Hello October: Last Full Month Before Baby!

hello-october-2

Hello there! Happy Friday! This was our first 5 day week since starting school and I am WIPED.

Tomorrow I hit 33 weeks, which seems oddly far along and also realized that now that it’s October, we’re having a baby next month. Whoa. Is it just me, or did this pregnancy fly by?! From what I’ve read, the baby is now almost at birth height, could weigh between 4-6 pounds, and will likely gain half a pound between now and birth! Which, of course, means that I’ll gain at least that much…

Now that I’m growing exponentially, I have had a visits from my old pal ED. I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job keeping ED at bay, but once in awhile he stops by for a good ol’ pity party. Thoughts like, “I will never get back to my pre-pregnancy body?” or “I’ll never have time to workout.” or “I’m freaking huge” do pop into my head, and I’ve worked really hard to fight back. At the end of the day (or pregnancy), none of those things really matter. My priorities have shifted and really my main concern is being a good mom. Being a fit mom doesn’t mean I’m doing a good job. Losing all my baby weight doesn’t make me better than anyone else. What matters is that I’m present and caring for the baby and for myself. Is it easy to see past this big belly and into the future of waist lines and visible toes? No. So when ED shows up uninvited, I put my hands on my big baby belly and feel my little one wiggling around. I’m pretty sure this will all be worth it.

Anyway, my energy seems to be coming back in waves and I’ve been trying to take advantage of any awake time I’ve had. This week, Gloria and I went for a long walk, I hit the gym twice, and I plan to do an online prenatal yoga class this afternoon. I split my gym workouts into legs/back/chest, and arms/shoulders and think they went pretty well! If you’re feeling wild (or aren’t pregnant),  you could probably squeeze these into one big workout.

Prenatal Legs, Chest, Back Workout

  • Time: approx. 30 minutes
  • Print

Complete each exercise for 3 rounds of 10-15 reps. Be sure to get a solid 30-90 seconds of rest between sets.

Warm up: 10 minute walk (3.5 mph 2.0 incline)

  • Leg Press
  • Kettlebell Straight Leg Deadlift
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Seated Chest Fly
  • Seated Chest press (machine)
  • Lat pull down (wide grip)
  • Reverse grip lat pull down

Cool Down: 10 minute walk (3.0 mph 2.0 incline)

Arms and Shoulders Workout

  • Time: approx 30 minutes
  • Print

Complete each exercise in the circuit for 10-12 reps before moving to the next exercise. Complete 3 rounds of each circuit.

Warm up: 10 minute walk (3.5 mph, 2.0 incline)

Circuit 1: Bicep Curls, Overhead tricep extension, Kettlebell upright row

Circuit 2: Cable hammer curl, Cable tricep pushdown, bent over reverse fly

Cool down: 10 minute walk (3.0 mph 2.0 incline)

Complete every workout with a gym selfie, obviously.

That’s pretty much it for me! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

xoR

The Trials and Tribulations of Trimester Three

Hi Everyone!

I know Flex and Shout has been pretty quiet lately, so I wanted to just give everyone a little update. School started 2 weeks ago and it’s been pretty busy. I guess I knew starting the year at the beginning of my third trimester wouldn’t be a breeze, but I wasn’t really prepared for how it would actually feel.

I feel tired. Super duper tired. Like, “putting my shoes on takes too much effort” tired. My workouts have been reduced to some walking and some very basic weight training. I’ve been using the nautilus machines at the gym, which helps balance the weight and focuses the exercise on each body part. Plus, I’ve been experiencing terrible reflux and a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions, especially when I work out, which have slowed me down even more. So overall…the third trimester hasn’t been my cutest.

In other news, my girlfriends threw me the loveliest little baby shower this past weekend! My friends came in from all over the country including Texas, New York, New Hampshire and Indiana! Talk about a loved baby and mama! It was a nice distraction from the heartburn and fatigue. IMG_9837

Another thing I’ve noticed in the third trimester is a serious amount of body growth. I went from “pretty pregnant” to “enormously pregnant” seemingly overnight. I even outgrew my shoes…which was cool… Oy!

IMG_9811

Remember that pic on the left? That was literally RIGHT before I found out I was pregnant and at the peak of my physical fitness. Well, things are certainly looking different these days, but I have to say I still feel pretty confident and strong, regardless of the negative symptoms I’ve been experiencing. It really is cool to see your body change and grow and know the baby is changing and growing inside! Sure, it would be nice to fit into my normal shoes and not struggle to bend my fingers when it’s humid…but I think it’ll be worth it (I’m pretty sure it will!).

IMG_9847 (1)

10 more weeks until we meet this little monster. Hope everyone’s having a fabulous week!

xoR

EMOM for A (pre-)Mom!

Hello! I come to you all with news! Last week I wrote that I had taken my 1-hr glucose test and was waiting for the results. Well a few hours after posting, my OB’s office called to tell me that I had failed my test. This might sound sort of silly, but I had a SLEW of emotions after finding out. As someone that takes my diet very seriously, it was hard not to feel guilty and responsible for failing this test (my glucose level was 142 and the cutoff is 130). I very definitely cried some big ol’ preggo tears. After some serious internet researching and crowd sourcing, I found out that it is VERY common to fail the 1-hr test and pass the follow-up 3-hr test. Additionally, while Gestational Diabetes can be caused by an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle, it is also heavily impacted by genetics. With my father having Type 2 diabetes and my mother having GD with both my brother and me, it was at much higher risk despite by healthy lifestyle.  This gave me some reassurance, but honestly I was still extremely nervous that I would be placed on a restricted Gestational Diabetes diet…which really didn’t sound like a great idea for someone with a history of significant eating disorders. I watched my carbs and sugar from Thursday through the weekend in preparation for the dreaded fasted 3-hr test.

I began fasting around 8 pm on Sunday night, arrived at the lab at 7:30 armed with my iPad, some saved up DVR shows, a new book, and a giant bottle of water. My blood was tested right away, then I drank my delicious (read: disgusting) breakfast and sat in the waiting room until 10:30, having blood drawn every hour on the hour. I bee lined it straight to Starbucks afterward for a breakfast sandwich and a cup of coffee, then to the beach to forget about test results for the rest of the afternoon, not feeling particularly confident.

Beach Belly

When I got home, my land line (I know, we’re primitive) had a message. It was the nurse calling 1 hour after I left the lab…I had passed! What a relief! I had cheese and crackers to celebrate. I share this story with you for a few reasons. In my online scouring, I really didn’t see a lot of personal stories around GD. As a first time mom, any complication (no matter the size) is incredibly scary! I just want other mommies and pre-mommies to know that it’s ok to feel afraid, and that while you’re probably going to feel guilt and mom shame for various reasons throughout pregnancy, childbirth and child raising, do not let the internet get to you. You’re doing a great job, and you’re going to be a great mom! (This is my daily mirror pep talk. Feel free to borrow!).

Anyway, I wanted to share a new workout with you that is great for preggo’s and non-preggo’s alike! EMOM stands for Every Minute On the Minute and found it’s origins in crossfit. Basically, you do each exercise when the clock hits :00 for a designated number of reps. Whatever time you have left after completing all the reps until the next minute is rest. Here’s some more info on EMOM. It sounds easy because you  sometimes end up with a lot of rest, but it moves quickly and some exercises take longer than others. Here is a 20 minute EMOM that I did on Sunday. Let me tell you, I was seriously sweaty after just 20 minutes using modified movements…so listen to your body and pull back when it seems hard!

20 Minute EMOM Workout

20 Min EMOM

You can increase or decrease the difficulty of this workout by adding or subtracting weight (I did body weight squats and push-ups on my knees), or rounds if you’d like to make it longer or shorter.

I finished up this workout with the following “cash out” (which is just another name for ‘finisher’):

That’s it for me! I have this week and next to soak in the end of summer before returning to work for 12 weeks. Have a fab week!

xoR

Smooth Operator: the time I discovered smoothies

Hi Everyone! Hope you’re all having a fab week!

Yesterday Chris and I met with our OB and she reiterated how ridiculous active and uncooperative our baby is…which isn’t all that surprising considering his/her parents…Everything was healthy and perfect, though, so it was a nice meeting! I also had my glucose loading challenge test yesterday. I had to drink a whole bottle of orange stuff (akin to flat orange Fanta on steroids) and then have my glucose level checked 1 hour later. I’ll get the results today. However, it reminded me of a time in grad school when I volunteered for an eating disorder study for individuals who had recovered (I definitely had not recovered at that time). I was made to drink a giant beverage and told it contained 900 calories. They then measured my level of anxiety based on report and took blood. I lied and lied and lied saying I felt fine and had no problem with the calories. I had a relapse that very day. This time was obviously much different: I drank the drink, had my blood drawn, ate lunch, ate dinner, moved on. Ta-Da! It certainly feels a lot better this way.

Anyway, I know I’m late to the game, but as of this week I am WAY into smoothies. I’ve been having a hard time eating vegetables lately with my heartburn and little bouts of nausea, and chicken salad and pasta really isn’t fulfilling my healthy food quota each day (although delicious). I’ve never really liked smoothies. I really prefer to chew my food, but since I’m having a hard time doing that, smoothies seem to be the most logical solution at the moment. Here is my fave recipe that I’m currently loving for it’s nutritional stats, taste, and ease:

Green Protein Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • .5 medium banana
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • Ice

Add all ingredients to blender, whirl, inhale.

Here are a few more that I’ve tried and really enjoy:

I really prefer smoothies with fruits and veggies, since it gives you more nutritional bang for your buck. Plus they’re green…which really adds to the “Suburban Mom” vibe that I’ve been riding: designer handbag, big sunglasses, SUV, green smoothie, resting bitch face, 7 months pregnant. Try it out😉

Oh, and this is the little single serving blender that I bought:

Blender

That’s it for me! What kind of smoothies do you like?! Let me know in the comments!

xoR

Hot Child, Summer in the…Suburbs

Hi! It’s been a minute since I last wrote! Hope you’re all doing fabulously! I’ve been super busy with preggo stuff…like sleeping and eating, so I really couldn’t be bothered…

Really it’s been a super quiet summer here, which is so nice. Pregnancy is treating me well, and as of right now I’m just eating, growing, sleeping, and trying to stay as active as possible. I have some new fun symptoms like a super itchy/hairy belly (akin to a Yeti), swelling feet (like little foot shaped balloons), and intermittent narcolepsy (like on Monday when I got dressed to work out, then woke up 2 and a half hours later on the couch). Otherwise, things are going well! Baby has been dancing up a storm and seems to enjoy mommy and daddy’s off key, obnoxious singing, giant cats sleeping and vibrating him or her, and soccer practice with mommy’s bladder!

Since coming home from California, my diet has really been different. I wrote about loosening up while on vacation, and I’ve really been able to keep up with it! Baby seems to want lots of sandwiches, ice cream, and sweet drinks (HELLO Starbucks Very Berry Hibiscus Refreshers). My workouts have been holding steady, but I’ve had to start modifying for my growing belly. For example: my belly nearly reaches the floor during pushups, so I need to use a bench or the wall. I’ve had to stop attending rowing classes because my knees hit my belly, which compress my lungs, which is really not good for anyone. Plus it’s been approximately a trillion degrees with a billion percent humidity every day, so walking outside is really not an option. There are plenty of other options!

Here’s a full body workout that I wrote yesterday! You’ll need a TRX or suspension system, a set of dumbbells and some sort of step (I used an actual stair, but you could use a chair, a bench, whatever). Make sure to rest as much as you need! My rest intervals used to be 30-60 seconds, but now I need a solid 60-90 seconds at minimum to recover after each set. Take your time and remember that form is REALLY important when you’re pregnant. Maintaining core strength and balance should are my current #1 priority while exercising and proper form ensures that!

IMG_1085

And just in case you’re wondering how I’m looking these days (I know you are):

IMG_9602

Here I am in all my fuzzy belly glory! Charlie seems to approve from above in his new cat perch. What a creep. That’s pretty much it for me for now! I hope you all have a fantastic week!

xoR