Postpartum Talk

    One of the hardest parts throughout pregnancy is the different changes to your body and the fluctuation of hormones. You gain weight and it might still be there after you deliver your baby. A lot of people say breastfeeding will help you loose weight but that’s not always the case. I am just starting to loose it after a year, as I wean my son. Yesterday I finally got my original wedding band around my finger! I’m happy I didn’t get it re-sized and now I can wear it again. I thought I would never fit into it! Just like my pre-pregnancy wardrobe.

    I went shopping this past weekend, in my other closet. What a relief for my hubby to know that it was my closet and not a store. I admit I’m a little bit of a shop-aholic. I’m one of those girls that has forty pairs of shoes. I didn’t know what to do with all of them when my feet swelled up two sizes up. I was in shock. I guess I didn’t realize that not only my waistline would change but my shoe size as well. I’m happy to say that I’m almost back down to my regular size but it did take a year. So my shopping spree consisted of many surprises, I haven’t seen my clothes for a year and nine months! All of my clothes were stashed in boxes and I finally had a chance to go through it all. I was filled with happiness to see all of my pre-baby clothes but saddened that I might not be able to fit into most of them. Yes I am aware that my waist isn’t a size 26 anymore unfortunately but there’s still hope. I was excited to fit into some of my old shirts again. I kept most of my clothes to give me another year to try to fit into them. I promise to you readers that by next February 2st 2015 if I do not fit into something I’m giving it away. It’s different for everyone. Some women can just give birth and be back to their pre-pregnancy size jeans the next day. It doesn’t always work that way so don’t feel defeated. The joy of having your little one in your arms always overcomes the weight battles. It took me one long year to physically recover from my birth, but that’s also because I jumped back in and quickly returned to school a week later. I don’t recommend that to anyone. It’s not beneficial for the mother or the baby to be separated so early on. The first few weeks of your baby’s life are sacred and you should be there as much as you can. In eastern medicine they recommend that the mother stays home for a whole month and doesn’t go outside. She isn’t supposed to go out into the cold or wash her hair. Birth is thought to be a reset button for your body and introducing cold into your body will increase the time it takes to recover. Acupuncture is great to get postpartum to help restore the deficiencies in your body!

     I’m starting a cleanse on Monday. It’s the standard process purification. I will keep you updated how it goes but its time for a change. Its time to detox. Get rid of all the bad junk food that I’ve eaten over the past year because there just wasn’t enough time for homemade food. There’s never enough time to stand by the stove and cook all day when you’re a mom, wife, and a graduate student. Sometimes I wake up and am already exhausted from my long to do list for the day. Yet its time for a change. You need to look after yourself so you have enough energy to take care of your little one. Buy a yoga mat and use it at home. Spend 15 minutes per day to start working on strengthening your abdominal muscles.

 

This is what I learned in my yoga class this week which is great to do 6-8 weeks postpartum! Start to strengthen those abs!

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In yoga this pose is called:  Naukasana (boat pose)
Lie in the base position, palms down.
Keep the eyes open throughout.
Breathe in deeply. Hold the breath and then raise the legs, arms, shoulders, head and trunk off the ground.
The shoulders and feet should be no more than 15 cm off the floor. Balance the body on the buttocks and keep the spine straight.
The arms should be held at the same level and in line with the toes. The hands should be open with the palms down.
Look towards the toes.
Remain in the final position and hold the breath. Count to 5 mentally (or for longer if possible).
Breathe out and return to the supine position. Be careful not to injure the back of the head while returning to the floor.
Relax the whole body.
This is one round.
Practice 3 to 5 rounds.
Relax in shavasana after each round, gently pushing out the abdomen with inhalation to relax the stomach muscles.
Breathing: Inhale before raising the body.
Retain the breath while raising, tensing and lowering the body. Exhale in the base position.
Awareness: On the breath, movement, mental counting and tensing of the body (especially the abdominal muscles) in the final position.
Benefits: This asana stimulates the muscular, digestive, circulatory, nervous and hormonal systems, tones all the organs and removes lethargy. It is especially useful for eliminating nervous tension and bringing about deep relaxation. If practiced upon waking it immediately restores freshness.

Look out for breastfeeding tips next week and an update on my purification diet. I will definitely include some recipes for morning veggie shakes!

HAPPY FRIDAY!

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A Special Moment

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Since there’s only a few days left until our special day it only felt right to write about it…

I slammed the car door. I just got out of clinic and finished up a ten hour day. I couldn’t wait to head home and relax something that has been hard to do this past week. My last patient of the day was a handful to say the least but I put that all behind me as I thought about the conversation I had earlier that day with my doctor. I drove my five minutes back home and finally sat on my recliner couch with my huge swollen feet in the air. I was exhausted. As I stood to grab some food I had left over from my lunch I just felt like I peed my pants. A whoop of wetness just trickled down my legs. I went to change and ignored it. I was leaking all day but the doctor said that was normal so I proceeded to eat my Mediterranean wrap. As I got up the second time I had to go change my clothes again, this time I started feeling anxious. This is not normal. They describe when your water breaks usually it’s like a hose and spills everywhere but that’s not how mine was so I didn’t think of it being anything all day. I called my doula just in case and she told me to call my doctor, then it all started. Anxiety hit. I was by myself and my husband was probably on a rig in Los Angeles driving a patient somewhere. He was an EMT at that time and definitely far away when I called him. He was able to only get back home by ten o’clock at night but luckily for me I had friends that stayed and calmed me down while we waited. This was scary. This is not how I wanted my birth to go. This was not how I wrote it all out. We were supposed to have early labor at home and then drive to the hospital during active labor. I wasn’t getting any contractions.

Once my husband finally picked me up, it would take us an hour to get to the hospital but we stopped by Carls Jr. before we hit the freeway anyway. At the hospital they tested if it was really amniotic fluid and once they said it was they admitted me. No pressure but this baby needs to be delivered as soon as possible since my water broke. Ok here I am imagining that I am not having any contractions and I am depriving my baby amniotic fluid. No one told me that the placenta makes new amniotic fluid every 3 hours. Did you know that? So here I am 7 in the morning pacing the hallways with my doula. Come on contractions! I keep telling her how I don’t want Pitocin because I know I will have to get an epidural in the end. Tears filled my eyes, I became shaky. I didn’t want Pitocin. Guess what? I got Pitocin and an epidural about ten hours later. I was honestly going to pass out if I didn’t get an epidural.

Looking back I’m wondering if this all happened just because my mind was so set on the cascade of interventions or the fact that I had 12 hour days my whole ninth month of pregnancy and not enough rest. I mean I was just exhausted. They kept checking me to see if my cervix dilated but it was stuck at 4cm. Who does that? Who keeps checking? It made me feel defeated hour upon hour when I didn’t hear any progress. My doula and my husband were great though in the hours that I didn’t have an epidural. I remember when my first contraction started. We were playing a really fun card game to get our minds off of everything. I can’t remember right now what the game was but I was laughing and smiling, trying to concentrate on winning. All of sudden I had to drop those cards, I couldn’t concentrate anymore. Fear set in. Pain came on and so did my sympathetic system. I could feel how tight my whole body was. We tried so many different positions and the birthing ball; nothing seemed to help the pain go away. I don’t regret getting the epidural. I was able to sleep and get ready for the pushing part. Forty hours later our bundle of joy arrived and I do not regret any part of my labor. Yes it didn’t go how I wanted to but I wasn’t as educated on the whole birth process as I am today. I didn’t allow my body to just let go. Having those contractions and going through the birth canal is very beneficial to the baby and looking back I am happy I went through that pain to give him those benefits. Being a mom is a sacrifice and it starts as soon as you’re pregnant. In four days my little one will be one and I still remember some of the details of my birth. If you’re asking if I would do it again? I definitely would even though I know there will be pain involved. I can’t wait to celebrate our first year together. He’s such a funny guy, just like his papa.

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The Importance of a Powerful Mind & a Doula

    As I complete my Doula workshop and become a DONA trained Doula many emotions fill my mind. “Mind over matter” is something I learned at my yoga class that I am currently taking but it was also reinforced during my workshop this past weekend. The mind plays such an important role in not just the birth process but everything else surrounding us. You have to conquer your mind before anything else. Educate your mind and exercise it. Use relaxation techniques. Learn to relax and just let go. These are all important for labor.

When at home lay on a yoga mat. Close your eyes. Turn on some calming music without any words. Focus on yourself. Listen to your breathing. Breathe in through the nose and out through your mouth. Imagine an object and focus on it. Release the tension in your shoulders, arms, hands, legs, and feet. Lay there for ten minutes and don’t think about anything. Train your mind to relax. That’s the first step to preparing for childbirth. I can’t stress how important that is and I wish I knew how to relax in my first birth. I was so concentrated on the fact that I wanted my birth a certain way and I didn’t want a C-section or get induced. I was more stressed over trying to control my body than my mind. Stress creates tension in your muscles and turns on your sympathetic system or in other words your “flight or fight mode.” How are you supposed to give birth when your whole body is tensed ready to run away? You need to relax so that your cervix can open up. Practice relaxation techniques, it’s an art to be able to let go and truly not think about anything.

   I am excited about pregnancy, I’m not afraid of birth anymore. Even though, I feel like I had a traumatic birth experience the first time around I learned from it. I learned what I won’t do for the second birth and what I will do. You need to know your body. You need to know yourself.  You need to embrace the process; birth is such a beautiful event. I can’t wait to be that support system for mothers and their partners. Each birth is different and unique. I definitely learned this weekend how not to share your own birth stories to the new expectant mother. It’s not fair to her. I was in that boat. All I would hear were negative stories of how everybody ended up having a Cesarean. I cried. I didn’t want that. I wanted a natural drug free birth, but my thought process didn’t support it. All I kept thinking was how to avoid getting induced. I knew induction would lead to epidural which may lead to a Cesarean. It’s a cascade of interventions. Think about the positives not the negatives. If you’re a mom-to-be listen to the good stories. It’s okay to tell your friends or co-workers that you just don’t want to hear about the negatives right now. It’s only fair to you, to your baby, and your body. If you want support to have a positive birth experience I recommend hiring a doula.

“What is a doula anyways you might ask? Why do I need her? I’m just going to get an epidural and be done.”

   A doula is a support system for the mother and for the partner. It is a person who will be there to physically and emotional support a mother throughout the birth. Doulas learn different techniques how to soothe a mother during labor and how to comfort her through her pain. Even if a mom doesn’t want a natural childbirth a doula can still be helpful. You cannot just get an epidural right away; you must be dilated to a certain point. There are breathing exercises that the doula can do with you while you wait for the anesthesiologist to come to you. Trust me it takes a while. I remember from the moment I screamed “GIVE ME AN EPIDURAL NOW” to the moment I got it must have been at least an hour. I was fortunate though to have a doula as well as my husband by my side to support me throughout my whole birth. Together with my husband they worked as a team to reduce my pain during my contractions. A doula doesn’t replace the partner, but instead shows the partner how to help the mom work through the pain. Doulas usually come in during active labor and stay until the baby is born. We got pretty lucky because we didn’t know what was even happening and our doula stayed with us from the beginning to the end. Yes my doula stayed for 40 hours! Every woman who wants a doula should have a doula by her side!

Practice relaxation techniques this week!

Close your eyes and repeat these words as my yoga teacher says “Peace to the mind. Peace to the body. Peace to the soul. Peace surrounding me everywhere.”

Check out my amazing doula at http://allisongunn50.wix.com/birthofthefamily

*Unfortunately she has left California but is in Utah now. I highly recommend her if you’re there to look her up!

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Ready to run a marathon?

Pregnancy is literally like running a marathon. When someone told me that I really didn’t believe it until my body started changing. With the five months of morning sickness and three months of sleeping for fourteen hours, clearly my body wasn’t ready for pregnancy. I worked out a lot before I got pregnant but my eating habits weren’t always that great as I was a graduate student. I started getting adjusted frequently by a Chiropractor who was specialized in pregnancy and pediatrics. Wow did that make a difference. Not only did it help my excruciating low back pain and tight leg muscles which made me scream at night from agonizing pain when it first started, it also helped me with my heart burn. Chiropractic has been shown to lead to shorter labor and also help alleviate tight ligaments that don’t allow the baby to move around as well, in utero constraint.  There is a protocol that certified Chiropractors can do to loosen these tight ligaments to help the baby have more space to move, especially if the baby head is up and needs to be facing down for delivery. It’s called the Webster’s technique and it had been performed on me to loosen up my tight ligaments. A research study, “The effects of Chiropractic Adjustments during pregnancy on labor times illustrated the differences between pregnant women who got adjusted and who didn’t. They discussed how imbalance in muscles and torsion in ligaments may lead to uneven pull of the uterus and restrict fetal space (Graham, Kearns, Sturmer).   It was great for me because my baby ended up turning head down from seven months ready to go. The study showed that Chiropractic treatments during pregnancy can decrease time of delivery and labor. You have to start early in your pregnancy though. You cannot just change something in one visit if it has been there for a long time. That applies to everything. You cannot just run a marathon. You have to train for it. Train for your delivery. Exercise, get adjusted, and eat healthier.

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Tip of the day:

I learned this when I was pregnant and suffering from heartburn constantly. I definitely felt like I was going to give birth to Chewbacca after so much heartburn. I was sick of taking TUMS all the time and I wasn’t going to take the heartburn medication my doctor prescribed. Especially not when I’m pregnant! So this is what I did which was recommended by my Chiropractor:

1 cup of water

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

*Caution: might taste very bitter. Close your nose and drink up!

Fact of the week:

Did you know that your baby can get adjusted right after delivery if possible? After all of the birth trauma and coming out whether it was a vaginal delivery or C-section doesn’t matter. How about that car seat that they’re in or the stroller? Your baby’s spine should be checked out right away. Newborn adjusting is very light like a feather touching the tip of your finger. It might help with colic, gastroesophageal reflex disease (GERD), and latching problems during breastfeeding. My baby was adjusted as soon as I could bring him into the Chiropractor at 2 weeks. I got adjusted too after delivery.  Healthy mama, healthy baby!

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Late Night Cherrios

As my little one turns one in two weeks, I sit back and reflect on the past year. It has been the most life changing year of my life and I wouldn’t change anything. It has been a marathon in itself. As I reflect, I wish I could only change one thing and that was to spend more time with my little one. I envy the moms who are at home with their kids watching them grow. I was a part time stay at home mom over the summer. I chose to prolong my studies by four months to be with my son. It was a trade off, something I do not regret doing and never will. Those were the best months of my life. I was able to share everything with my baby. I knew everything about him. I knew his schedule to the minute when he would wake up to when he would go down for a nap. I taught him sign language starting at four months and he learned it by 6 months. I knew when he was hungry or when he wanted to play. Those were special months. Considering that I didn’t get to spend the most crucial weeks with him in the beginning. I jumped straight back to school a week after I gave birth. A lot of people told me to slow down and take seventh term off, but I kept pushing through. Looking back I honestly don’t know how I did it. My husband and I didn’t have much support either even though we hired live in nannies which were more of a burden than anything. Yes I said nannies, plural to nanny, we went through about ten nannies total before we found the right one, but that’s another story for another day.

I wish I could capture my baby’s every moment and be there for every single milestone, but unfortunately I can’t. I know that I am building for his future later but everyday it’s a struggle. I am saddened to come home to find out he walked six steps, but I wasn’t there to see it or how now he laughs when he farts. He’ll probably be embarrassed one day when he reads this that I just told the whole world he does that but he’s such a boy. I miss him. I miss knowing what his favorite toys are or what his favorite food is. I myself was raised more by my late grandmother rather than my mom. I don’t blame my mom for not being there as I became older but I think I definitely missed her presence when I was younger. It was a trade-off for her as it is a trade-off for me. Many stay at home moms say that they don’t receive the gratitude or the feeling of achievement when their at home with the kids. I think it’s the most rewarding job. You’re raising humans! That’s a hard job and I respect those women. It’s definitely a hard choice for the working mom to get up every morning and leave her baby as he wave’s goodbye. We still have our special moments. We shared cheerios last night. He fed me and I fed him. It was a moment I was grateful that I got to spend with him. The guilt will never subside but I hope I’m making the right choice. I hope he won’t grow up to resent it. What do you think moms?

Snack of the day for your little one:

When they’re ready to chew solids buy the happy puffs purple carrot and blueberry puffs. I love the happy bellies baby food line. All of their meals/snacks are organic, healthy, and tasty for your little one. I try everything before I give it to my little one. Try it! It does really make a delicious treat for them!

*Check back on Tuesday for some Chiro talk. I will be discussing pregnancy and Chiropractic! Image

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Monday Funnies #1

Cravings are a big part of pregnancy!

Cravings are a big part of pregnancy!

Take a minute break from work and have a laugh!

I’m sure your little one is enjoying womb service but remember a healthy diet is important during your pregnancy. Nutrition starts inside the womb. Indulge in your cravings but limit them to only a small serving or once a week. Make sure you’re getting enough fruits and veggies in your diet before you fill up on sweets. Cravings can be healthy too. I craved tomatoes for the first two months. What are your cravings?

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