Happy Tuesday! We had an incredible weekend. It started on Friday with really great news about Maxwell’s health. Our poor little babe hasn’t been feeling so well, but I wanted to keep it private until we knew exactly what was going on. I’m going to talk more about that on Thursday when I do his 2 month update. All is well though, so don’t you worry!
Drew + I went on our first after baby date on Saturday. As first time parents, it might have taken us a wee bit longer than I expected to feel comfortable leaving Max…and we may have gone 3 minutes away… BUT, we did it! We wanted to try The Lone Girl Brewery in Waunakee + my parents were happy to come babysit as they had Max all to themselves. We loved The Lone Girl! Delicious drinks (had my first post baby drink, a berry mojito) + food!
Onto the blog of the day…
Britni + I went to the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse together + both ran track. When Drew, Max, + I took our family trip up to La Crosse a few weekends ago, I was able to catch up with her. We introduced our babes + talked about our pregnancy/postpartum experiences.
It’s easy for me to sit here + tell you guys how important working out + eating well is. BUT, I wanted to bring Brit on the blog today because not only can she attest to this, but we can SEE the difference. Just like me, Brit wants to encourage women to be healthy + empower them to workout during pregnancy (+ always!). Thanks for coming on BalancedAmes girlfriend. Here we go!
Ames: What held you back from working out when you were pregnancy with Everett (baby #1)?
Brit: Being a first time mom (FTM) I let the thoughts of “what if” control my early pregnancy. I allowed myself to believe that exercise could potentially cause a miscarriage. I had been training for another half marathon when I got pregnant with Everett, so looking back I know I could’ve continued my normal exercise routine (in moderation). But those negative thoughts kept creeping into my head. The first trimester tiredness is no joke. Ames: I completely agree! I couldn’t nap enough. Plus I was returning to work after a summer off, leaving almost zero energy for me to workout in the evenings. By the time I hit the second trimester, I had another excuse for myself, “you can’t workout if you haven’t been doing it throughout the entire pregnancy”. I tried walking in my third trimester but had gained so much weight that I could only make it a few minutes before my heartrate would skyrocket and I would have to stop.
Ames: How did you feel working out with Charlotte?
Brit: I felt empowered! I loved being able to maintain a regular workout schedule during 38 weeks of my pregnancy, I stopped working out after having a manual version at week 38 with an induction at week 39. It gave me so much energy, especially with a 2.5 year old. I especially loved going to my weekly Pilates barre class to hear, “wow you are awesome” “you look great” “you were my inspiration to continue when I didn’t think I could continue”. Having a support system and people empowering you makes the world of difference when exercising while growing a little. At week 24, I started a workout Facebook group that followed the Tone It Up Challenge. I made sure to get cardio and strength training in 5 days a week. My cardio had to switch to biking or walking after week 31 after going into the hospital with bleeding following a 3 mile run. But they thought it was due to a kidney stone (possibly) and nothing to do with the baby. So I was given the green light to continue on with my Tone It Up workout routine. I loved seeing the gains in muscle even when pregnant!
Ames: What was the difference in weight gain? If you don’t mind me asking 😉
Brit: With Everett I gained 60 pounds!!! YIKES! At my last doctors appointment I reached the 199 lb. mark, there is no doubt after IV bags and Pitocin, I was well over 200. With Charlotte I gained 31 pounds.
Ames: What was the difference in energy/how you felt during pregnancy?
Brit: Completely different! This time around I even had a 2.5 year old to chase. With a toddler and working, I wasn’t able to get a workout in until 7:30-8 at night but knew how much I enjoyed that time of day and the benefits for both myself and Charlotte. Exercising also kept building my mental and emotional health during pregnancy. I was overall happy! Just the self-confidence exercising gave me was huge. During pregnancy, there are so many emotions, self-talk, negative mindsets and self-doubt but I found having this self-confidence allowed me to keep that positive mindset throughout. I love looking back at the weekly progress photos, not only was a growing a healthy baby but I was gaining muscle and strength. My desire to continue my workout routine was knowing how unhappy I was/am looking back at my pregnancy with Everett and my postpartum experience. I had to do the three hour glucose test with Everett and passed by a point. The final 10 weeks of pregnancy with Everett, I felt horrible. I was tired, depressed (mostly from the scale), I had slightly higher blood pressure, my entire body swelled…especially my ankles, I couldn’t even stand to wear shoes (I really wish I would have taken pictures of the skin folds over top my sandal straps) and my mood towards those around me was unpleasant (my students would agree, lol). I was being told by my doctor how my weight gain was “not good” and I needed to slow that down, adding to my negative mindset. With Charlotte, I felt so great and all those negatives from Everett’s pregnancy weren’t there and I 100% contribute that to making that time to exercise 5-6 days a week. Ames: Here is the blog I wrote about Exercise During Pregnancy.
Ames: We talked about how you got some negative comments for being active during pregnancy. Can you tell us about that experience/what people said to you?
Brit: From early on, I heard the classic miscarriage talk (such a misconception!) but as I continued on in pregnancy, many people who knew me when I was pregnant with Everett started questioning my eating and/or exercising routine. I was told after posting a comparison photo at week 22 that I “looked better during pregnancy with Everett”. Pregnancies with the same mom can be completely different and I was so unhealthy with Everett. I’m confessing to you guys. So better? No! As my pregnancy continued, I gained the recommended amount of weight at the recommended rates. However, because the two pregnancies looked SO different on me, there were rumors that I wasn’t eating enough and people kept asking me if I should be that active during pregnancy. A good friend confided in me that people were asking her questions about my eating habits and they were “worried about me”. Even the “you don’t even look pregnant or you look tiny” can be meant and said negatively. Those comments angered and saddened me but didn’t deter me. I knew I was doing everything right for myself and Charlotte. It is hard to be around people during pregnancy that want to tear you down when this is the time women need positive influencers to help stay strong.
Ames: I know we’ve also talked about eating during pregnancy. How were the two pregnancies different in terms of how you fueled yourself + the little bean?
Brit: As you can tell by the weight gain, they were very different! As a FTM, I took the “you are eating for two” thing seriously, very seriously. I also let my cravings win. For a few months straight, I packed a swiss cake roll in my lunch bag and my worse craving…Mini Cadbury Eggs! It was so bad that I actually had a Cadbury egg dispenser on my teaching podium. At my worst, I put down close to three bags in one day!!! Yes, that is correct! I also would eat them covered in peanut butter! During my pregnancy with Everett, I was coaching basketball for 4+ months so often my dinners were at concession stands and each time a candy bar was my dessert and treats that parents would bring into the locker room or bus after the games.
When I got pregnant with Charley, I knew I wanted a different experience both during pregnancy and postpartum. A friend recommended the book “What to Eat When You’re Pregnant: A Week-by-Week Guide to Support Your Health and Your Baby’s Development”. This book completely changed my view on fueling myself and Charley. I was brought to tears reading about the link to a mother’s weight gain during pregnancy and diabetes for the baby later in life. I knew that I needed to do what was best for my child and for her life. This book helped me develop a healthy mindset. With Charley, I also had different cravings. I made sure I paid attention to the healthy cravings vs. the unhealthy ones. I was obsessed with high protein foods (those PB energy balls were an amazing snack) as well as grapefruit. Both these two cravings kept my weight gain in check and allowed me to even build muscle as I was working out to prepare my body for birth. After Everett was born, I decided to make all of his food as he was starting to eat solids and in doing so, we switched to a more natural/organic way of eating substituting more turkey and chicken vs. beef, substituting whole wheat flour vs. white flour, and substituting natural sugars or cane juice vs. refined sugars.
Ames: Best advice for pregnant mommas?
Brit: Do what is best for you, your family, and your growing little. Take time for yourself and make sure to treat yourself every once and awhile! Educate yourself but try not to “GOOGLE” everything. Stay active in any way you can during pregnancy. Find a healthcare professional that fits into the type of birthing experience you envision and don’t be afraid to speak up with your worries, questions and wants! Ames: I was just telling my girlfriend how important is to advocate for yourself in the delivery room. The resident wanted me to deliver in the hospital bed, and I told her “I’m not doing that, so we’re going to have to figure something else out.”
Ames: Now that you are postpartum again, did you notice any difference in this period?
Brit: The difference in my two kids was about 3.5 pounds, so that alone made a big difference. With Everett, I was on pain medication for close to two months and continue complications. I remember trying to go for a mile walk with Everett and I could barely push the stroller up a gradual incline trail. I was tired, sore, and unhappy every time I looked at pictures of myself or looked in the mirror. I kept hearing continue to breastfeed, you will lose all the weight. But for some women that is simply not the case! I ended up breastfeeding for a full year and as soon as I was done the weight started to come off. I was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism a year after Everett was born and controlling that helped the weight loss as well. After his delivery and postpartum experience, I wasn’t sure I wanted to have another baby. It took me 2 full years to heal completely physically and mentally. I made the decision to try and get in the best shape prior to getting pregnant again. I started to cut out added sugars and processed foods as well as adding in yoga, strength training, and cardio. I was able to lose 70 pounds (the weight I gained with E + 10 more pounds) and felt great. So when I got pregnant with Charley, I knew I wanted to continue to feel that great and make sure that I was fueling myself and the little growing babes in the best way.
Now that I am almost 4 months postpartum, WOW have the two experiences been completing different. I remember walking out of the hospital and saying to Brad “it feels so great to walk out of the hospital not feeling like death”. I started walking slowly with Charlotte right away and after my 3 week check, I added weighted arm workouts. At week 5, I took a BirthFit class that focused on adding back activity properly and safely. I learned how to address my diastasis recti with proper core work and ways to help strengthen my pelvic floor muscle without doing Kegels! With Everett I started running right at 6 weeks and ended up hurting my pelvic floor, which I didn’t know because I just figured running was supposed to hurt my pubic symphysis (the area right between the pubic bone) and continued to push through it. With Charlotte, I went for a slow/short run at week 7 and felt pain about 1 mile in and knew my body wasn’t ready. I did jump back into my Pilates routine at week 6 with modifications when needed and engagement of my pelvic floor with proper pelvic tilt. I try to get a workout in daily but without crunches and long runs! I am still have 17 pounds to lose, but I know my body this time around and I know that I carry that extra weight when breastfeeding and some of the weight can be attributed to gaining muscle back. Just a little size difference….I started postpartum with Everett wearing size 14 shorts (I had to go buy all new clothes) and with Charlotte a size 4 (but my clothes do fit differently, especially in the hips and shoulders).
Ames: You also saw a women’s health physical therapist. Would you be willing to discuss why you went + the benefits + experience you had?
Brit: I had no idea that there was pelvic floor PTs until I was discussing how painful sex was at a girl’s night over a YEAR after having Everett. I had no idea how bad my delivery was on my pelvic floor until I saw one. With Everett, I had third degree tearing and an episiotomy and had a lot of scar tissue built up from the healing process. There is this stigma that pain and incontinence are normal after becoming a mom but that is not normal! It was an experience that pushed me out of my comfort zone, I don’t think I was ready to have electric simulation in and around those areas, but I am grateful for the experience. I had a month of recovery but was given the tools and exercises to regain strength and functionality to my pelvic floor. Ames: If you missed my friend Lauren, a pelvic floor physical therapist on the blog..read that here. She provided some really great knowledge that Brit experienced + learned with her PT. In my personal experience, I saw a women’s health physical therapist BEFORE Max came for preventative care + preparation. I also just saw one yesterday to see how everything is healing postpartum. I asked my OB for a referral + she was happy to write one!
Ames: Best tips for maternity workout clothes? (I just made my regular working out clothes S-T-R-E-T-C-H for the most part).
Brit: I agree, stretchy and comfy! Like you, I made most of my regular workout clothing work for pregnancy. I like to have a few pieces that I feel show off a part of the body I am confident in. I have an Athleta tank that almost looks like it is on backwards but it shows of the shoulders perfectly and is forgiving in the mid-section. I did buy a few new pieces to keep me motivated and feeling great. Treating myself to new workout clothes has continued into postpartum as well finding pieces that make me feel good about my new mom body, high waist are key! Ames: High waisted is everything postpartum!
Ames: Any difference in deliveries? I know Charley had a little bit of a scare 🙁
Brit: Both deliveries had their challenges. Everett’s I had no idea my water had broken and was just in for a routine OB appointment. Because of this I had to be induced due to the risk of infection. After praying my husband would back it back for Colorado in time, I ended up pushing for just short of 5 hours. At hour 3 they told me my chances of a vaginal delivery were only around 5% but being a collegiate athlete, I was too competitive to let that be the case. After forceps, vacuum, and an episiotomy later, Everett was born at 9 lbs 3 oz! With Charlotte, she was breech and I had to go through a successful manual version at week 38 and scheduled for induction at week 39 to reduce the risk of flipping back around. As a mom, you are always worrying about the little babe and I was experiencing extreme anxiety fearing that the cord was around her neck after the version. So induction at 39 weeks was very appealing to help reduce the anxiety. I went in on early Sunday morning and was given a medication to “soften” my cervix. My L&D nurse told me gravity would be my best friend and be get up and move around. So I did just that by bouncing on the ball, squatting in place, and walking. I started contracting every 45 seconds and they continued to become intense after my water was broke. I wanted to try and do this birth all natural but with the contractions every 30-45 seconds, Charlotte was not getting a break and started to get stressed. I decided to get an epidural around 5 pm but it only worked on my left side. Charlotte’s heartrate dropped from 135 to almost nothing and wasn’t being picked up on the monitor so they called for an emergency C-section. I had such amazing nurses and midwife that they looked at me and said “let’s get her out!” I wasn’t complete but they knew she was going to be little so instructed me to push her out and let me tell you as a mother and not hearing your little babes heartrate anymore and after a week full of worries I WANTED to use every muscle to get her out safely. As I started my first push, I became completely dilated and was able to push her out in 4 pushes. The cord was wrapped around her neck and because I was contracting so frequently, she came through the birth canal incredibly fast. I wasn’t able to see her for 15-20 minutes (which felt like forever) but hearing her first cry was something I will never forget! After all said and done, my two midwives contributed getting her out so quickly to my core strength from exercising during pregnancy.
Thank you Brit for coming on the blog! She wrote these answers while taking care of her two littles! Also, I want to compliment Brit on her honesty. You do not often come across a women that is able to be so honest about her weight, bad habits (in her first pregnancy with E), + experiences. I can tell you this is how she is in person too…she just isn’t in to sugar coating. And I love it.