Healthy Pregnancy: Exercise

January 20th, 2012 by Rachel

As I mentioned in the last post, I had been working out regularly before getting pregnant. While working out at my gym, one of my friends/gym-mates was pregnant, and I got to see this amazing athlete work out through her whole pregnancy. (Seriously, I couldn’t keep up with her on sprints and she was 34 weeks pregnant! I know I’m slow, but it was a bit demoralizing.) I was inspired by her speed, strength and that she kept with it all the way through.

Watching her made me start thinking about and researching the benefits of exercise during pregnancy, and it made me resolve not to turn into a lump the day I found out I was pregnant. As I mentioned before, my pregnancy with Sugar was not the healthiest. I walked some during the pregnancy, but that was it, and my walking as more like strolling without getting sweaty, so is that really working out? Even people on the Biggest Loser do more than that! Read more »

Healthy Pregnancy: Nutrition

January 14th, 2012 by Rachel

This is a continuation on the healthy pregnancy posts I wrote during my last weeks of pregnancy with Speedy.

During my pregnancy with Sugar, I was training to be a Bradley instructor. I followed the Brewer Pregnancy Diet completely, often manipulating it to fit my tastes. For instance, I needed to consume four servings of milk/dairy products a day. Since I didn’t always feel like drinking a glass of milk, how about I bake some chocolate chip cookies to go with that milk? Never mind that I would eat several balls of dough and three chocolate chip cookies later to go with that milk. Craving fettucine alfredo? It works! Dairy, protein, fats and whole wheat pasta (not to mention a whole stick of butter). I would eat whatever I felt like and however much I wanted. I baked cookies, muffins, and bread galore. It was wonderful. I swelled up like a balloon, broke out in a horrible pregnancy rash the last few weeks, and my rear end couldn’t fit into any of my maternity pants by the end of my pregnancy. I carried an extra 20 pounds around for over 6 months after she was born until I began working out gradually and I lost it over the next six months or so. Read more »

Healthy Pregnancy: Preparation

January 10th, 2012 by Rachel

I was going through some old posts that I drafted a couple weeks before Speedy was born. They did not get posted since we spent that final week in Austin in the hospital and hotel with Sugar, not resting and waiting for a baby at home and posting on the blog.

I wrote this short series of posts out of the amazement that I had in having such a great pregnancy (and now amazing postpartum period, too). I used fertility pills without any kind of secondary effects.

Aug. 2011 – Since I am a full-term pregnant woman, waiting for her baby, I spend a lot of time thinking about pregnancy and birth. Some of you understand completely. I know that each pregnancy is different, but this pregnancy has been so much better than the last, and I want to share some of the things I have learned the hard way with others. Keep in mind that I am not a medical professional, and nothing I say here should be construed as medical advice. Your particular situation should be discussed with your care provider.

My pregnancy with Bud was fairly typical–nausea and vomiting through the first 15ish weeks, aches and pains, etc. With Sugar, I was sick multiple times a day until at least 16 weeks, had terrible aches and pains, gained a ton of weight that took over a year to lose, got a pregnancy rash, and had postpartum depression for five months after she was born. All this as I was doing everything “right” and training as a childbirth educator. You can imagine that the thought of another pregnancy filled me with terror. Thankfully, the Lord had other plans for me, and led me to some great resources that made this experience completely different from the last.

Preparing for Pregnancy
After all of the nausea of profuse vomiting I experienced with Sugar, the idea of another pregnancy filled me with dread and terror. I remember crying just thinking about the dark days of throwing up everything I had worked so hard to consume. My midwife suggested that I try a liver cleanse in preparation for pregnancy, and that caused some bells to ring in my mind. I remembered reading somewhere that hyperemesis can be a result of poor liver function, as well as the pregnancy rash PUPPS (which I had around 38 weeks with Sugar). I figured a liver cleanse couldn’t hurt anything, so I picked one up at HEB that was a two-week, gentle cleanse, and I followed it with several weeks of taking milk thistle extract (which contains silymarin, which has been shown to help improve liver function in those with liver issues.)

After I found out I was pregnant, I stopped taking the milk thistle since its effects in pregnancy are not known. I was pleased that this was my easiest pregnancy as far as nausea and vomiting are concerned, and I only actually threw up food a few times, but still experienced mild sickness upon waking until about 20 weeks, compared to all the way until Sugar was born. Will I do a liver cleanse again someday if/when the Lord leads us to add more children to our family? You bet! There were no side effects other than feeling better during the first trimester, and no pregnancy rash either!

This will be a short series, with a few other topics to come, so stay tuned! The first will be dedicated to 100 moms’ pick: pack n play with changing table.

Speedy’s Birth Story

August 28th, 2011 by Rachel

Last weekend, Sugar started complaining of abdominal pain and was refusing to eat. It was really bad on Sunday morning, and her abdomen was tender to the touch, distended and she was in a great deal of pain. We took her to urgent care at noon, where they determined her appendix had ruptured and was contained in a sac. She and Thomas rode to Austin in an ambulance to Dell Children’s where a surgeon told us late that night it was perhaps not an appendix but rather a birth defect known as Meckel’s Diverticulum and would require open abdominal surgery. Despite being 38.5 weeks pregnant I had ridden down there to be with them. My midwife advised bringing all of our birth kit supplies, just in case, and she would meet us at the hotel if necessary. However, due to the emotional stress of everything, it was most likely that my body would not go into labor at all. Sugar had open abdominal surgery Monday morning where they removed the diverticulum, part of her intestines where it was attached, reattached her intestine, and removed her appendix which was right next to everything and a bit inflamed, just in case.

Her recovery was going to be at least through the week. I stayed in a hotel with my mom and Bud, and Thomas had hospital duty with Sugar. I was up there with her during the day each day. On Wednesday night, she took her first steps (and wouldn’t stop going!) and we walked the hospital halls with her until 8:30. Walking out of the hospital that night, my mom and I had to stop twice due to strong contractions, but they were not much stronger or unlike any contractions I had been experiencing all week long.

That night, I slept great. At 2:30, I woke up with a contraction (again, not strong enough to have me thinking I was in labor), and went to the bathroom. I got back in bed, praying for Sugar and for the baby to wait to come until next week. I had a couple contractions, but I slept until I woke up at 3:30, very, very hungry. I got up and went to the bathroom again and ate some yogurt with a plastic fork, dribbling all over my nightgown. I got back in bed and fell right back to sleep. I woke up with a strong contraction that I had to breathe through, but dozed off immediately afterward, having a really strange dream. I had another really strong contraction that I had to breathe through, rolled over and heard a pop. I got up, ran to the bathroom where yes, my water had broken. It was 4:41 a.m. I called my midwife who packed up immediately for the hour and 45 minute drive. I called Thomas, who immediately began rushing about the hospital room to head my way. My mom was getting dressed to go be at the hospital with Sugar, and she called my dad and his wife to come and get Bud from the hotel.

I would not let Thomas get off the phone with me as contractions were very strong and painful, and I was having a very difficult time coping with them. I was standing on a puddle pad, dripping water everywhere. Thomas arrived at 5:15ish and I was having contractions one on top of another, kneeling next to the bed, saying, “I can’t do this,” and praying for God to help me get through it. I just knew I was going to be only 4 cm dilated when my midwife arrived and I would have a very hard labor. After a few contractions with Thomas there, I felt my body bearing down and pushing. I reached down and could feel the head. I told Thomas to call 911, it was 5:26 and my midwife was over an hour away. I was very concerned because I could see that there was meconium in the water. I climbed up on the bed and began pushing.

Paramedics arrived within a few minutes, along with the firefighters and stretcher. Through all of this, Bud was asleep on the couch in the living room area of the hotel room. I was in the middle of pushing when the paramedic ran over to me, grabbing my arm and asking if I was in labor. I yelled at him to stop touching me. He asked if I was pushing and I told him to shut up. He told me they needed to get me on the stretcher, and I told him I was not getting up off this bed. The other paramedic (a woman), said that I was crowning and could just stay on the bed. Male paramedic grabbed a cord clamp and I told him he would not be clamping that cord until a few minutes after the baby was born. Thomas explained that I am a birthing instructor, and female paramedic seemed to listen to me more then. Next push, baby’s head was out with the cord around the neck. Male paramedic did a great job suctioning baby’s nose and mouth to remove any meconium so he wouldn’t aspirate it. Male paramedic said he had to clamp and cut the cord since it was around baby’s neck, and I told him no, he needed to try and slip the cord over his head. Female paramedic gave it a try, and it came right over. Next push, the body was out and slipped onto the bed. It was 5:42 a.m., just one hour after I realized I was indeed in labor.

It was a boy! Very vigorous and pink, lustily crying. After a minute, they cut the cord and wrapped him in blankets and some foil stuff to keep him warm. I climbed onto the stretcher and they put him on me, and wheeled me out the hotel, down a glass elevator in the lobby and into the ambulance for Thomas’ second ambulance ride in one week. Bud slept through everything until the baby was born, but woke up and one of the firefighters sat with him (per my instructions). Thankfully, my dad and Debbi arrived just after I got on the stretcher and took care of him.

We got to the hospital and I delivered the placenta, they wiped down the baby and I got to nurse him. My midwife arrived and was there to encourage us and help with the transition to the hospital. Thankfully, it was a fairly baby-friendly hospital, and Speedy never left my sight. They even let us deny the antibiotic eye ointment, Heb B and Vitamin K. Their normal policy is for a 48 hour stay, but they let us go the next morning. Thomas took me back to the hotel to nurse and rest, and then we went up to visit Sugar and let her meet her brother. That day happened to be my birthday, so we had a nice birthday dinner in the hospital cafeteria (where Sugar ate real food!) and we had a birthday cake. Our whole family was reunited on Saturday together with Bud, Sugar and Speedy all being in the same place, and Sugar was released from the hospital Saturday afternoon.

Speedy is a very strong boy, intense in his nursing and brought my milk in within 48 hours of his birth. He seems to be in a big hurry ever since his birth! While things did not go as planned, everything worked out great. The Lord has been so good to us and carried us through the craziest week of our lives so far. His timing is perfect, and we rest in knowing that.

Speedy Supercinski
7 pounds, 8 ounces, 20 inches long
August 25, 2011 at 5:42 a.m.

The scene of all the action, he was born on the bed on the left.

38 Weeks Update

August 15th, 2011 by Rachel

If you are really interested in this stuff, which I know not everyone is, I have a comparison shot of 37 weeks with Sugar here. I think I was bigger with her.

How far along: 38 weeks (tomorrow)
Size of baby: 6-7 pounds
Total weight gain: 33 pounds (now I’m starting to wonder why I ever posted this in the first place)
Maternity clothes: shirts are barely fitting these days. Happy that I can still wear elastic-waist shorts and skirts from non-maternity days which means my rear end hasn’t grown as much as I thought.
Gender: still no clue, but we have narrowed down names that we both like. I’m so glad that we won’t have a nameless child for a few days!
Movement: lots of knees, feet and hands
Sleep: good, just two bathroom breaks a night, but my hips are starting to complain about all this side sleeping
What I miss: not being so tired. I could take two naps a day if I could.
Cravings: just need some meat
Symptoms: tons of contractions
Best moments of the month: I have moved from busily crossing things off my to-do list, to “leisurely” waiting, which is nice. I don’t have the energy for much else these days. I also have enjoyed going to my deep water aerobics class twice a week. It feels great, and it is a good workout, too. I’m the youngest there by about 15-20 years, but it is still fun. Also, several of my students have had their babies over the past few weeks, and it has been wonderful to see all these sweet little newborns. I can’t wait to hold our baby soon!

34 Weeks Update

July 25th, 2011 by Rachel

This is a little late since I will be 35 weeks tomorrow, but oh well!

How far along: 34 weeks
Size of baby: about the size of a head of cantaloupe, approx. 4-5 pounds
Total weight gain: 30 pounds
Maternity clothes: are shrinking, or I’m just getting bigger. This baby is all out in front, so almost all my dresses are suddenly too short (see above photo)
Gender: just waiting… the heart rate is the same as Sugar, but that is only right 50% of the time. No names yet. Anyone want to babysit our children so we can have some time to work on names without falling asleep?
Movement: getting less violent as baby is getting more confined. Baby is posterior, so all the kicks are right out in front.
Sleep: good, just this week I am having to get up twice a night to go to the bathroom. I’ve been spoiled.
What I miss: my hips not hurting. My walking loop is starting to take longer every week. I think I am walking more side-to-side than I was in previous weeks.
Cravings: nothing strange or overpowering, just still needing to eat all the time
Symptoms: achy pelvis, Braxton Hicks contractions
Best moments of the month: Getting a lot of stuff done in preparation for the baby coming. We finished new shelving in Bud’s closet to make it easier to store things and prepare to move a lot of Sugar’s stuff in there. I had a baby shower with the ladies from church that was such a sweet time to be encouraged and prayed over (and I got a ton of disposable diapers to last the first month until I am ready to start washing cloth.) I started taking a water aerobics class that is wonderful! It is amazing not to feel pregnant for an hour, while getting some exercise, too. I am finishing my last Bradley class tonight. While I will miss seeing everyone weekly, I am glad I won’t have to get the house all in order every week. I also finished all my certification requirements and received certification as a labor doula!

30ish Weeks Update

June 28th, 2011 by Rachel

You may recall a very similar picture to this around 16ish weeks. I’ve definitely grown!

How far along: 30 weeks
Size of baby: about the size of a head of cabbage, approx. 3 pounds
Total weight gain: 26 pounds
Maternity clothes: Yes, and even those are getting small. Why is it that shirts that I bought with the other two pregnancies are so much shorter than the latest?
Gender: I still have no real feelings either way, poor child, and we have yet to narrow down our names
Movement: tons – this baby is a mover and shaker
Sleep: fairly well. If I roll over to my back (despite a pillow stuffed behind me), I wake up gasping for breath and feeling like I am suffocating. Not my favorite part of pregnancy, but it has been going on for some time.
What I miss: being able to do more physically
Cravings: nothing strange or overpowering, just still needing to eat all the time
Symptoms: achy pelvis, Braxton Hicks contractions
Best moment of the week: ordered the birth kit already, and actually started thinking a lot more about the birth. I love that my midwife asks pointed questions about my thoughts, fears, and expectations involving it. Though I spend so much time teaching this to others, I neglect to consider it myself. (What can I say, I’m sleepy!) I decided that while I am not overly excited about all that comes with it (not the baby, the other parts), I’m not scared of it and I’m glad it is normally just one hard day.

26 Weeks Pregnant

May 26th, 2011 by Rachel

A lovely picture taken post-workout by Sugar. She held the camera straight!

How far along: 26 weeks
Size of baby: approx. 14 inches head to heel, almost 2 pounds
Total weight gain: 18 pounds
Maternity clothes: yes, only. Some shirts are already getting too short. What’s up with that?
Gender: don’t know and we won’t find out, I’m starting to go with the kids and think it might be a boy.
Movement: lots – so many hard, belly shaking kicks these days. Also some dramatic movements of baby sticking its bottom out really far.
Sleep: really well most nights in spite of frequent bathroom breaks
What I miss: still miss being able to do workouts at the gym as I start growing bigger and bigger
Cravings: none really, just need to eat some protein every two hours
Symptoms: nothing out of the ordinary, achy hips and feet are probably the biggest
Best moment of the week: I sewed some old prefold diapers I was given by a friend into fitteds. I need a baby to try them on, but I think they will work. It’s my first project for the baby! I also purchased a co-sleeper and made a nice, long to-do list. Hopefully I can start crossing some things off it soon.

22 Weeks Update

April 28th, 2011 by Rachel

It is amazing that I am over halfway through with this pregnancy, which reminds me, I need to get busy getting ready for a new baby!

How far along: 22 weeks
Size of baby: about a pound and 11 inches long (according to Baby Center, the size of a spaghetti squash, but I’m rather sick of the fruit and veggie comparisions)
Total weight gain: a couple weeks ago it was 16 pounds
Maternity clothes: all the way, but I have a few “fat pants” I can still button
Gender: don’t know and we won’t find out. I have no inclination yet.
Movement: this baby is a mover and shaker with few subtle movements and lots of dramatic kicks and flips
Sleep: sleeping great
What I miss: being fast in my workouts
Cravings: none right now
Symptoms: achy feet
Best moment of the week: We had a diagnostic ultrasound a couple weeks ago, and it was fun to take the kids to see. We got some great views of the baby, and all checked out well. During the ultrasound, sweet Bud said he was sad that he would never get to be a momma with a baby in his belly someday.

One last funny story. We were all riding in the van the other day, and I was telling Thomas about how some ladies I had just met that morning were shocked that I was 20 weeks pregnant because I was so tiny. I said that I certainly don’t feel tiny. Bud piped up from the back seat, “You just need to ignore them, Momma. Hold your chin up and say to yourself, ‘I know I’m big, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else says!'” It was so hard not to laugh at his sweet advice.

17 Weeks Update

March 23rd, 2011 by Rachel

Everyone had to jump in and show their baby bellies, too. I think I might switch to updates like this to keep my rambling at a minimum.

How far along: 17 weeks
Size of baby: about the size of a turnip, about 5 inches long from crown to bottom
Total weight gain: already 12 pounds (and I’ve been eating so carefully and working out 4-5 times a week, oh well!)
Maternity clothes: about halfway in maternity shirts and pants–I still can wear many regular pants and some looser shirts
Gender: don’t know and we won’t find out. I have no inclination yet.
Movement: feeling lots of little kicks and flops
Sleep: sleeping great
What I miss: not needing a nap everyday
Cravings: none right now
Symptoms: looseness in my hips is giving me some aches, but otherwise, nothing else. I’m not feeling queasy anymore which is wonderful!
Best moment of the week: feeling kicks in the middle of a very hectic morning tutoring in our homeschool class. I normally don’t feel anything until I am still and the kids are asleep.