Baby B's Arrival | My Postpartum Journey To Fitness | #TakeBackPostpartum

Baby B's Arrival
Last week, after 7 1/2 hours of labor, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy 9.5 pound baby girl. And thanks to my husband for keeping me on track with my desire to have an unmedicated birth, I was given the wonderful opportunity to do it all without any drugs. Even though I asked to have some. More than once. But not right away.

I arrived at the hospital almost certain that I was in labor, but not 100% positive. I'm pretty sure the nurses were ready to send me back home, but we're shocked to find that I was actually 8-9cm dilated. We called parents to come on by to look after our son and daughter while I worked on bringing baby #3 into the world.

Throughout the morning, various nurses, doctors, etc came in the room, each one baffled at how well I was managing the pain. I clearly remember the anesthesiologist hanging out in our room quite a bit, just observing, because she was completely baffled by how well I was handling contractions without so much as a flinch. For the record, I credit the Hypnobirthing app I downloaded to use during childbirth. It worked amazingly well. I had also read "Hypnobirthing" before giving birth to my daughter who is now 4 years old. I've found using these two together helped give me the strength I needed to make it through an unmedicated childbirth.

My doctor stopped by early in the morning, but despite trying a few different techniques, we were unable to bring the baby's head down, so she left, and let me "labor down" for a bit. "Laboring down" means you just allow your body to go through contractions on it's own, and simply allow your body and baby the time it needs to give birth. And, after a few hours of laboring down, my body decided it was time to start pushing. My doctor was called, and she gave the go-ahead to start pushing. And... that's when the actual pain began. I remember every muscle from my knees to my shoulders tightening up in painful contractions. I'll spare you the details, but after about an hour of pushing, our beautiful baby girl was born. Almost instantly, everybody began commenting on how big she was. It was no wonder she wasn't dropping down, she was darn near too big to! At 9 lbs 8 oz, and 20.5" long, she was in the 95-96% for weight, height, and... um... head circumference.

And, at that moment, I went from being a mother of two to a mother of three. My heart has never felt so full, and my family has never felt so complete.

Embracing My Post-Baby Body
"Mom, if you already had the baby, why is your stomach still big?" my 6-year-old son asked me the other day.

"Mom, are you having another baby already?" my 4-year-old daughter asked me anxiously.

My reply to both of their questions was pretty much the same, "Well, having a baby stretches out your body, and it takes time to get back to the size it used to be... if it gets back to that size at all."

I remember walking out of the hospital after my son was born 6 years ago. The look of my stomach nearly brought me to tears. I had no idea what having a baby would do to your body. My pregnant belly was beautiful. Now that my baby was born, the squishy, soft mound that replaced the spot where my beautiful baby had been growing was... well, not.

Fast forward to today... 6 years later, I know what to expect when leaving the hospital after having a baby. It takes time for that belly to go down. It takes hard work to regain the strength throughout your body. Looking and feeling squishy after your baby is born is normal. So is wanting to get back into shape. So, this is for all of the mothers looking to get back into shape. This is for everyone who has never given birth - a real look into what a post-baby body looks like. You can also follow long on social media to everyone else sharing their post-baby bodies by following #TakeBackPostpartum.

Beginning My Postpartum Journey To Fitness
Weeks 1 & 2
In the whirlwind of having a new baby at home, fitness is certainly not a priority. Sitting, resting, caring for my new baby. Those are priorities. So, for the first 2 weeks after having a baby, my goal is merely to get through each day and to do what I can.

Week 3
By week 3, I'm starting to feel a bit more like myself. I know from experience that exercise isn't good for my body so soon, so I'm working on re-establishing household routines that keep me active. You know, the cooking, vacuuming, laundry, cleaning, etc. stuff that keeps me moving and off the couch. I also know from my previous weight loss experience that weight loss is 90% about diet. So, week 3 I'll begin establishing healthy eating habits.

  • Drink 60 oz. of water a day.
  • Eat at least 1 piece of raw fruit a day.
  • Eat at least 1 serving of raw veggies a day.

Week 4

I'll re-evaluate the progress I'm making through my healthy diet modifications. And, if I'm feeling up to it, I'll slowly start re-introducing light exercise back into my routine... most likely some form of yoga. 

Thank you so much for stopping by. Feel free to leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. 

Our Minimalist Nursery & A Baby Bump Update

After having two children, you get a pretty good handle on what babies and children really need... and what they don't. For a while, we had decided we were going to be a 2-children family, and had gotten rid of almost all of our baby stuff except a few special items. Well, fast forward to today... Baby B's due date is in a week, we're more than ready for her arrival, and have bought practically nothing. Not because the market isn't full of a million things we could get, but because I know most of the stuff we don't need.

In fact, my 4-year old insisted on buying her her first new "toy" while we were at the grocery store today... the Kick & Play Piano Gym you see on the floor. She even said she'd use her own money to pay for it because she knew how happy it would make her baby sister. Baby B's other toys are on the shelf... a classsic wooden abacus, a bead maze, Haba Patience Blocks, a wooden spinny critters toy, a Fisher Price rattle, and a handful of stuffed animals. We also have some blankets, and some cloth diapers.

You can also check out her floor bed, and read about why I'm choosing a floor bed over more traditional options in our culture. Right now, it's still on the box springs, but those will be coming out soon. While babies falling out isn't usually an issue with floor beds, we will have a secure sleeper to use to prevent her from rolling around at night until she's old enough to discover and adjust to her boundaries.  

I'm also planning on doing a lot of babywearing, both at home and while we're out and about, so I have an Infantino Unison Baby Carrier to be able to wear her whenever possible.

Baby Bump Update - Weeks 37 & 38
I'm still feeling ridiculously well, and loving every minute of being pregnant. Not too much to complain about, really!

I've been slacking off in my weekly belly shots!
It hard to believe I'm 37 weeks pregnant! With just 3 weeks to go, I feel great!
#37weekspregnant #baby3 #pregnant

Well, according to everyone, it appears that I've popped! Just 2 weeks & 1 day to go. But, to be honest, I think tomorrow is a perfect day to have a baby. #38weekspregnant #baby3 #pregnant

So... no labor on Labor Day like I was hoping. Last week, my fluid levels were low, so I've been drinking A LOT of water over the past week.... and it worked! My fluid levels have doubled and are back in the normal range again. Oh, and no induction scheduled as of now... keeping my fingers crossed for a happy, healthy, unmedicated birth. #38weekspregnant #baby3

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

10 Unique Mouth-Watering Smoothies You're Going To Love

I still have 2 weeks life to go in my pregnancy, but I'm already working on a plan to shed the extra weight I gained. My first step is to eat right... which can mean many things to different people. To me, it means eating more whole, unprocessed fruits, veggies, and meats and very few carbs and sugars. I remember from a little over a year ago finally losing my baby weight from baby #2, and a massive part of my success was getting my diet on track. Now that I finally know this "secret", I'm going to start implementing it ASAP to hopefully start shedding my baby weight. One of the easiest ways for me to stay on track with eating more real foods is to have a smoothie a day. Over the past few years, I've tried out quite a few different recipes. here are a few of my favorites that are great for postpartum weight loss or anyone looking to eat healthier.

We keep frozen bananas, strawberries, grapes, and other fruits in the freezer for smoothies. This eliminates the need for ice, and creates a better-tasting smoothie.

Watermelon-Strawberry-Banana Smoothie
1 cup watermelon
1 cup strawberries
1/2 banana
1/2 cup water

Orange-Lemon Strawberry Smoothie
1 orange
1 lemon
1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup water

Orange-Lemon Coconut Smoothie
1 orange
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup of ice

Peach-Lemon Smoothie
2 peaches
1 lemon
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ice

Lemon Smoothie
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup of ice

Paradise Smoothie
1 cup strawberries
1 banana
1/2 cup grapes
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Pomegranate-Strawberry-Banana Smoothie
1/2 pomegranate
1 cup strawberries
1 banana
1/2 cup water

Banana-Mango-Berry Chocolate Smoothie
1 banana
1/2 mango
1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 oz 100% cacao chocolate bar (I use Dagoba Organic)

Tropical Smoothie
1/2 cup pineapple
1/2 banana
1/2 cup mango
1/2 cup watermelon
1/2 cup water

Tropical Smoothie
1 cup strawberry
1/2 banana
1 cup blueberry
topped with chia seeds & coconut flakes

What's your favorite smoothie? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. 

Baby Names, Going Crib-Free, and More at 37 Weeks Pregnant

It's hard to believe we're just 3 weeks away from our baby girl's arrival. Here are a few answers to some of the most popular questions on everyone's mind.

Do we have a name picked out yet?
Yes, we finally decided on a name a few weeks ago, but are keeping it a secret until she's born. And, even when we do, I'm not planning on using it online anywhere. (I'm still coming to terms with the fact that what is out there is out there forever. Using my children's names and photos online will forever give them a presence online, which is something I'm no longer comfortable with... hence my decision to remove my children from the internet.) 
Is the crib ready yet?
We're actually not using a crib or a bassinet this time around. My first born occasionally slept in a crib, but more often than not, he'd wake up the minute he touched the crib mattress, so quite often, he co-slept in the bed with my husband and I. With my second, the hubby no longer wanted to co-sleep, so I crawled into her crib with her when she would cry at night. To say that sleeping scrunched up, nursing in a baby crib is uncomfortable is an understatement. I was thrilled to get rid of the crib and move her into a twin-sized bed, where I could lay and nurse her more comfortably. So, for baby #3, when I was looking into alternatives for a crib, I came across the idea of a floor bed. The paragraphs below from Baby Essentials That Aren't does a great job explaining what floor beds are and why so many parents are switching to them.

"The entire basic idea of an infant sleeping isolated in a crib in their own bedroom is a relatively modern one, and quite limited to western culture.  And yet it is so entrenched in our collective consciousness, that it can be very difficult to conceive of doing things any other way.

Some parents question the need to keep your baby in what is essentially an elevated cage.  Babies are just as well off, in fact, on a simple mattress on the floor.  The bars which are there for ‘safety’ are only necessary because the baby is so high up.  And they’re only that high up in the first place as a convenience to parents, so we don’t have to bend over to put our babies in.

A regular mattress on the floor provides several advantages.  You are not limited to standing beside the crib, patting your fussy baby’s back.  You can lie down with your baby, whether just staying with them or nursing them to sleep while side-lying, and easily slip away after they’ve drifted off.  Or perhaps you would prefer to sit on the mattress to nurse them to sleep, then gently lay them down – this is far  easier than having to stand up from your chair, walk over to the crib, and reach baby down to the crib mattress (all without waking him!!) And of course, being on the floor already, there is no danger of injury from either falling off,  or entrapment within the bars.

From the floor mattress, baby has better view of her entire room, not just the ceiling and bars, and thus has more visual stimulation.  Many believe that babies are actually calmer and less stressed.  As baby becomes a toddler, it is greatly to their advantage to have the freedom be able to get in and out of their beds by their own will, rather than experiencing the powerlessness of having to cry and wait for an adult to respond.  This promotes independence and self-fulfillment and is notably endorsed by the philosophies of child-rights and development pioneer, Dr. Maria Montessori.

If you do choose a mattress on the floor, the usual safety checklists still apply, of course.  No pillows, blankets, toys, etc, that you would not have in a family bed or in a crib, and ensure that entrapment between the mattress and a wall is not a possibility.  If you would like something a little nicer than just a mattress, you can build your own, or purchase a ready-made floor bed.

Floor beds use fewer resources, cost less money, and quite probably result in happier, more secure children (and thus, eventually, adults).  So dare to think outside the baby cage box: question the crib!"

Are you really uncomfortable? 
Without a doubt, this has been my most comfortable pregnancy yet, despite the fact that I'm of "advanced maternal age" now. As far as I'm concerned, I owe it all to staying within a healthy weight range. With my previous two pregnancies, I gained roughly 55-65 lbs. That's about twice as much as what is recommended. This time, I've gained around 30-35. And, while I'm still on the high end for my weight gain, the differences I've noticed have been astounding. 
  • I'm able to sleep much, much more comfortably at night. Previously, I'd fidget around for hours, trying to get pillows to prop around me.Now, I just need a few pillows under my head to prevent acid reflux and heartburn.  
  • I'm able to breathe easier. Previously, my breathing was much more of a struggle. It felt like I was never getting enough air. 
  • No swelling and numbness. Previously, I'd wake up with tingly, swollen fingers every morning. I was no longer able to wear my wedding ring around the beginning of my 2nd semester. Now, at 37 weeks, I'm still able to slip my wedding ring on and off with ease.
  • No gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. While pregnant with my others, I was on watch for both gestational diabetes and preeclampsia due to my weight.
If I could give one piece of advice to anyone about pregnancy, it would be to stay within a healthy weight range. Not only does it make you ten times more comfortable throughout the pregnancy, it is also much healthier for your baby as well.

Wow, you look like you're ready to pop!
Okay, this one's not a question, but a comment I've been getting quite a bit lately. And, yes, I am starting to feel like my belly is getting pretty big! Here's a quick look at how my baby bump has been growing over the past few months.

27 Weeks PregnantOfficially 27 weeks pregnant today. If all goes according to plan, we'll be in our new house
in 6-8 weeks... hopefully with enough time to get the house ready for her arrival. :)

28 Weeks PregnantI'm stretching these non-pregnancy clothes to their limits!

29 Weeks Pregnant

31 Weeks PregnantJust 9 weeks to go!

33 Weeks PregnantI feel like I'm smuggling a watermelon!

34 Weeks PregnantOur baby girl is the size of a pineapple today! 

35 Weeks PregnantI love how some clothes make my bump look small while others make it look huge.
Today, I feel like I'm about to pop!

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

A Look Inside Our New Home

We've been so busy lately, it feels like I've hardly gotten a chance to sit down and write. Well, first and foremost, we've finally moved into our new house. So far, it has been amazing. The house itself is less than 10 years old, still has that new home feeling, and is everything we had hoped for. It's still cozy, but gives our family the room we'll need with the addition of a basement. We also have 2 bathrooms (woo-hoo!) which are absolutely beautiful. The master bathroom even has a granite sink as well as custom tile backslash, which I love.

The kitchen is beautiful... much bigger than the one we used to have. There's also a pantry, which I've never had before, but am loving. Right now, we have so much room in the kitchen, I don't know what to do with it all! Hopefully, it will stay this way. I much prefer having too much room as opposed to not enough!

One of the things I love most about this house is all of the attention put into details that I love. Some of my favorite details is the white trim, 6-paneled doors, wood flooring, and beautiful wall colors. We literally have to do nothing besides unpack, which is just what we needed in a home. With school starting soon and a new baby girl due to arrive in 5 weeks, unpacking, decluttering, & organizing is plenty of work!

The neighborhood is great too, and a huge step up from our old neighborhood where people would wait at the end of the street for the drug dealer down the road to come home. It's our first time living in an HOA area, so I was unsure how well I would like it. Well, as of now, I love it. As a former OCD sufferer (seriously, legitimately OCD, but that's another story), I love the order driving through the neighborhood. Do I occasionally have the theme song from Weeds playing in my head as I drive? Absolutely. And, sure, there are some rules that other would find silly, but I love how it keeps the neighborhood clean and looking nice.

I'm looking forward to unpacking and organizing more over the next few weeks... as well as the arrival of our baby girl, so if I'm not as active writing, you know why. Sometimes you just need to put the computer down and live life. :)

What has been the hilight of your month so far? Leave a comment. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :)

Books On Fire Safety

It's hard to believe it's Fire Prevention Week again (October 4-10)! To celebrate, I've come up with a list of our favorite books on fire safety. I've included something for every age range & interest level.

  • Big Frank's Fire Truck by Leslie McGuire While technically not one of the books on fire safety, this is a fun storybook that goes through a typical day in the life of a firefighter.
  • Fire Engines Up Close - Andra Serlin Abramson  This amazingly in-depth book contains amazing photography of fire engines up close. It's also full of information guaranteed to satisfy children of all ages. Big, bold, and beautiful, this book could sell for $25+, but can be found online for much cheaper.
  • Fire Safety by Raatma, Lucia This book quite a bit in depth. I recommend it for older readers, though younger readers can learn from it too. Explains various ways to stay safe near fires, and what to do in certain emergencies. Photographs and sidebars further describe more complex issues and concepts.
  • Staying Safe around Fire by Lucia Tarbox Raatma
  • Fighting a Fire, Step by Step by Thomas Kingsley Troupe By far, my favorite book about fire safety. It goes through step by step about the process what to do if there's a fire, and what firefighters do as well. Perfect for the pre-k & kindergarten crowd.
  • Richard Scarry's A Day at the Fire Station This is another fun storybook about the fun antics of the Busytown characters that your preschooler, kindergartner, or 1st grader are sure to enjoy!
  • Fire Truck to the Rescue (Lego City) A fun book about fighting a fire for your Lego-lover. Great for pre-k to 1st grade.
For more info on the books above, just click on the book below. Thanks for checking out a few of my favorite books on fire safety.

Medieval Times Discount Ticket Code!

This post is sponsored by Medieval Times.

Ready for a trip to Medieval Times? I know we are! It's hard to believe it's been over a year since our first family visit to Medieval Times in Chicago. Medieval Times is seriously an absolute blast. If you've been there, you know what I mean. If you haven't I highly suggest going. You'll have the time of your life.

In fact, right now is a perfect time to book your trip to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament since they're having a LIMITED time offer of a family four pack for JUST $128! Click here and book your trip today!

Ticket Pack includes:
Four Admission Tickets
Four Course Feast Fit for a King.. or Queen!
Two rounds of Select Beverages
Two Hour Action Packed Show
And Parking is ALWAYS FREE! 

Great for ANY occasion Medieval Times is the perfect place for Birthdays; this summer thru July 31st Medieval Times is hosting Knight Training- where kids can go down into the arena and train with the knights ( )   Large Groups can arrange to play their Team Building Game called ‘Storm The Castle’—and of course Medieval Times is always the best place for families, with something for everyone-  ages 3-93!

So, have you ever  been to Medieval Times? What did you think? Leave a comment below! :)