What to Expect When You are Not Expecting

My adventure of getting pregnant over 35 starting with clomid

What if? September 1, 2010

I feel like the guinea pig of natural products and home remedies for pregnancy related issues.  I will try anything.   I must tell you that a lot of them are just not working for me.  When I found out I was pregnant at thirty seven I knew that I was already at increased risk for genetic issues just because of my age and wanted to try to keep things as basic and as natural as possible.   We are so fortunate that thus far all of our genetic screening has come back positive- so far so good.  Unfortunately this isn’t the case for everyone.  I  have a family member who is autistic that has really given me a different perspective.  Her family has some very strong beliefs on diet and vaccines and shared a lot of information with me that I had previously been unaware of.  I know that there are a lot of controversial theories out there and even though I am not sure where I stand on all of them it is definitely on my radar screen because I am in a high risk category.   There does seem to be a common opinion that there are an increased number of children diagnosed with it.  Even though I am not certain, I don’t take any of the information lightly when thinking about my pregnancy and how I want to raise my own children.

What I have found out is that there is no right answer.  There aren’t a lot of facts because women do not want to sign up for scientific studies when they are pregnant- no one wants to put their pregnancy at risk- so a lot of research is done on animals and what is “considered” to be safe and what should be avoided is not absolute.  Personally I am a  “what iffer”.  Tylenol is considered safe- but what if it isn’t?  High fructose corn syrup and unnatural sweeteners like aspartame are said to be safe by most- but what if it isn’t?  Benedryl was once considered not safe but now is…but what if it really isn’t? Many holistic practitioners would recommend otherwise.  The information is so confusing!  I mean my god it was once acceptable to drink and smoke when you were pregnant!  I think every expectant woman and mother needs to do what she is comfortable with and that is the right thing to do.   For me I am trying to find a balance.  Do I eat everything organic?  No.  (wish)-  do I have high fructose corn syrup from time to time?  Yes but I try to avoid it.   Will I take a sip of a diet coke every once in greatwhile-  sure but no more.  In the case of medication I am not there yet- I am scared to ingest anything other than my PNVs-  Tylenol, prescription pills, herbs you name it.   I may be making this pregnancy harder than it needs to be in dealing with these maladies…but I just keep thinking what if?  I can deal with a lot to keep this baby healthy.  I realize that I am the extreme and am totally ok with it.  I figure though that I should use some of my crazy for good and put the word out on some of the products and remedies that I have tried during the second trimester so far:

  1. Burt’s Bees- Sun block and After Sun-  – not so much-  they seemed to work as a sunscreen but would not absorb into the skin.   Acne solution did not work for me at all.  Hand Cream-  smell you later-  not really a fan of any of these products- wish I was because they are everywhere!
  2. Yoga – Helps with back pain, and relaxation.  Would recommend Yoga for Pregnancy DVD but hey I started out already enjoying yoga.
  3. Jane Iredale –  Cleansing Mitt-  Sucksville.  Their claim- it is supposed to clean your skin without soap and thus no chemicals.  The fact- I tried this for a few days and immediately broke out.  Say hello to the new heater on my chin!  It is also hard to get the make up off the mitt.  The solution- it does remove make up effectively so I think I am going to use it for that only but not regularly.
  4. Simply Divine Botanicals- Amazing.  Their claim- chemical free skincare- The fact- ingredients are natural and they work.   I have oily skin and use the following:  You Can’t Zit Here – AM and PM- Pack Your Bags- Skincredible (daily)- Baby Face- every other night.   I will use these long after I am pregnant.
  5. Moroccan Method Shampoo and Conditioner- hates it- it was like washing my hair with dirt.  It did not feel cleaned or conditioned afterward and took forever to dry.   It left my hair stringy and not very manageable.  I am so glad I got the samples only- because I will not use these products again.   The conditioning spray was ok but not great.  I am sticking with ABBA- still a few chemies but vegan and much more accessible- you can get it at Ulta.
  6. Bare Escentuals Vs Jane Iredale Make Up-  I have now used both products and don’t really notice a big difference in the foundations except the Jane is much more expensive.    Jane Iredale Lip Gloss however is amazing and lasts a lot longer than BE that is a keeper.
  7. Avalon Organic Soap- has some chemies but still gives a lather and smells good.  I will continue using this until I find something better- available at Trader Joes and Whole Foods and not too expensive.
  8. Salt water rinse – supposed to help with bleeding gums and sore throat- been doing this the last few days….seems to help a little but not a cure- will continue and keep you updated.

So what works for you?  Tell me the good the bad and the ugly – anything helped you with stretch marks or what about the god awful swelling I keep hearing so much about?  I would love to hear any suggestions from real people- not the paid advertisements I read online all day- what is the skinny?

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Allergies, headaches, and bleeding gums oh my! August 31, 2010

Another day….another ailment

Pregnancy is my newest frenemy.   What can I say this past weekend sucked.  I was totally sidelined with a sinus issues and a major headache.  So not fun.   I did manage to make it out to eat Saturday night with my hubby but can I share something with you?  I totally had to fake it.  He works so hard and is trying to balance everything so I didn’t want to complain-  but by the time he got home from work and I mustered up the energy to get ready it was pretty late when we got there and I was feeling exhausted, but power through I did and had a good time.    Sunday was not however funday.  I had the worst headache ever and my allergies were in high gear.   I also found that I have a new ailment in that my gums are starting to feel sensitive and bleeding a little when I brush my teeth.   I swear it’s like I am getting the full on pregnancy- I get to experience it all! Is there pregnancy symptom I haven’t had?  Because of my old hague status I have made a decision to go pregnancy au natural- which means that I am not taking any drugs and have changed all of my cosmetics and toiletries to all natural products.  In addition to the normal items to avoid during pregnancy I am also avoiding high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners of any kind, and trying to eat and drink as many organic products as I can.  It hasn’t been that hard but now that it seems I have developed allergies…..I must admit I am feeling a little challenged here.  I want this to go away and am determined to find something that can help me.

I spent a good part of the evening researching “natural” remedies to cure my myriad of maladies.  The funny thing is that half of the natural cures I found are also not recommended for pregnant women.  Seriously is there no love for the PL?  After a lot of leg work, I placed an order online yesterday for what I am hoping will help me.  Let’s break it down.  For the allergies, I ordered Himalayan salt rock lamps.  They are supposed to clean the air and provide a soothing and relaxing light.  They looked cool in the picture and I got an amazing deal on them so even if they don’t clean the air I can still put them out somewhere in the house.   Next comes the Neti Pot.   Are any of you familiar with it?  Allegedly it is supposed to work wonders on sinus infections and allergies by using this little pot to pour salt water up through your nose.   Sexy- I think not.  But since I had yet another hurling episode this morning from gagging while brushing my teeth I figure it has to be better than that!  While we are on the subject of teeth I also ordered some tea tree oil and neem toothpaste which is supposed to be great for the gums and dental health along with some tea tree oil mouthwash.   I am also rinsing during the day with salt water.  Very salty am I.  Hopefully relieving these issues will help with my horrendous headaches.  If not I also ordered some eucalyptus oil to use for a little aroma therapy since the plant I put in my shower doesn’t seem to be doing anything except looking good.

Speaking of therapy….omg I did some AMAZING retail therapy-  I ordered the most amazing boots on the planet.  They are leopard print and fabulous!  These were not a planned purchase but I could not pass them up on Rue la la– plus I had a credit there so forget about it a done deal.  I had to include a picture because they are to die- they are seriously going to rock my pregnancy world!  They will completely take any black outfit on to a new level.  I get giddy just thinking about them.  They are a little tight in my calf region so I am going to need to keep up the walking to and yoga to keep those suckers from growing.  I am also not opposed to stretching them if anyone has any suggestions on how to do that.  I have been doing my Yoga for Pregnancy Video which I would recommend.  It isn’t too challenging and I rather enjoy doing it.  I will say that you need to be prepared with equipment.  The first time through I missed the screen where it told me what I needed and I ended up scrambling.   I don’t have a good chair for this- for some reason all our chairs on that floor are bar stool height or too soft  so I really have to improvise.  I also don’t have a yoga block so another adjustment needed there but overall pretty good and I feel good after doing the video.  So excited for all my new products to arrive and can’t wait to report back to you!  Let me know if you have any other suggestions for dealing with these all these issues I am willing to try anything!

 

5 easy lifestyle changes that cure morning sickness. June 30, 2010

During the work week I almost never had any morning sickness symptoms but on the weekend is when I tended to get hit the hardest.  Could it be because my weekend lifestyle isn’t up to snuff?   I am not the type of person to say – oh well that is how it is- I need to know and fix things I want to enjoy my summer.  I have a consistent schedule during the week and eat a lot healthier.  Weekends were kind of willie nillie and when I am most likely to fall off my health wagon.  I have stuck to my schedule all week and I have not had any morning sickness at all.  Since I have been a psycho about researching this I think I figured a few things out.  I have scoured the internet, read several books, and asked my doctors advice and these five easy steps are what is working for me.

  1. Chug a lug poo bear! I mentioned yesterday that the Doctor told me to drink a liter of water a day.  Hubby reminded me that it is actually 2.  I can tell you without a doubt my worst days were days I didn’t drink enough water. Because most beverages have additives water is the best way too go.  Soda, fruit juices, and flavored teas have ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, splenda, aspartame, and sugar.   Your baby doesn’t need these and god only knows what they will do to your baby and I highly doubt they are doing anything to help soothe the tummy!  I am going au naturalle and adding lemons or limes or drinking St. Croix with natural flavors.  If you just can’t do the water Doc recommended Gatorade – personally I won’t be going that route as it does have high fructose corn syrup.  A healthier alternative is Coconut Water.  I am starting to see this everywhere and what is great about it is that it does all the same things as Gatorade does but naturally without all those unnecessary ingredients and it tastes good!  Drink em up Johnny!
  2. Diet Right- A growing baby needs fruits and vegetables not crap and junk. The days that I fell off the wagon and ate bad fast food are the days I felt the worst.   When choosing your snacks and meals try to stay away from highly processed foods visit farmers markets and eat fresh fruits and veggies.  Instead of the highly recommended saltine cracker- try a handful of trail mix.  I keep some on my night stand and take a handful in the a.m. if I feel woozy-so much better than polly want a cracker!  Eating a healthy diet isn’t enough what works best is small meals throughout the day every few hours.   A steady supply of nutrition in small quantities versus a three large meals works so much better!  Remember you only need to eat 300 extra calories a day during pregnancy so don’t go crazy.
  3. Supplemental lover- B6 is said to help with morning sickness some PNV’s are providing extra supplements to be taken throughout the day.  I take additional B6 every 8 hours.  I also take a Folic Acid Supplement daily.  It is important to check the dosage so that you are not exceeding the daily allowance with what is also in your PNV.  Most of the books I have read don’t suggest these supplements but I think it helps with morning sickness and why not supercharge development.
  4. Walk it off.  My sister in law was a college athlete and whenever she doesn’t feel well she takes a walk.  She said that it was something she learned in college that getting the body moving can ease queasiness and hangovers.    Since pregnancy feels like a hangover I think the same rules apply.  I take a walk every afternoon for at least 15-20 minutes.   Some people take a cigarette break so why can’t you take a fresh air break at work? I head outside and walk around the block a few times or run an errand.  If I can’t do that I try to do a yoga session when I get home.  If I am really lucky I do both!
  5. Band It- Here is the skinny on the wrist bands for sickness-  they are not all created equal.  I walked around for a week looking like Richard Simmons with the heinous Sea Bands.  They are awful and look even worse after a week wear.   Get the Psi Bands- they are smaller- which makes them easier to conceal.  They also have decorative varieties- which are still not cute but look a million times better than the Sea Band and are also water proof so much more durable.  Still praying to the pregnancy gods for a blinged out version.  Can someone please pimp my band!

So this is my sample schedule and I have not felt the slightest bit of morning sickness while on it.  I don’t stick to it like glue and the times it may vary a little bit.   If I still feel full from lunch at three I might wait until after four for a snack and then eat a later dinner and snack.  The key is not go longer than 4 hours without food and to keep the portions small and healthy.

  • 7:30 wake up and before I get out of bed eat small handful of nuts in the morning if I don’t feel at all woozy I skip it.  If I am extra woozy I might also have an organic yogurt smoothie the triple berry from Trader Joes is my favorite.
  • 9:00  half of healthy egg sandwich or quiche from Hannah’s Bretzel or Cosi.  Hannah’s Bretzel is great because it is made with mainly organic ingredients.  Cosi is probably not as healthy but it beats McDonald’s and tastes delish!
  • Lunch time-  A normal lunch for me  always includes vegetable and a form protein.  One of my favorites is a baked potato with a some melted cheese-  no butter and instead of sour cream I put Greek style yogurt on it- it tastes just like sour cream and is so much better for you.  I also have a small side salad with fruit.  I take my b6 and folic acid at this time as well as drink a glass or two of water. I also save a cucumber from the salad to put in my water later!
  • 2:30 or 3-  I take a walk for fifteen to 20 minutes
  • 3 or 4ish- afternoon snack- favorites-  Berry Chill with Fruit- or a couple of organic whole grain crackers with light cheese from the farmer’s market.
  • 7:00 Dinner- which is a smaller meal for me.   Typical dinner is a small salad with a protein.  A favorite is buffalo shrimp or chicken. I make my own buffalo sauce with healthy/organic  ingredients and grill the chicken or shrimp.  I put a ton of veggies in the salad and top it with my homemade blue cheese dressing (a healthy version I make with Greek yogurt, green onions,  and pasteurized blue cheese.)
  • 10:30 or 11- Dessert and a PNV- Favorites are strawberry shortcake or organic chocolate chip cookies.  I found organic refrigerated cookie dough at Jewel.  I love this because I can make a few at a time.  I throw a couple in the toaster oven and have an amazing warm snack.   They are small portions and the less I cook the less I eat!   If I make the shortcake I use a little bit of angel food cake that I get from my local Amish bakery and add fresh strawberries and a dollop of whip cream that is free from additives.  I try to buy whip cream in a can that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup- what makes it great is that only has 15 calories per two tablespoons so no real guilt there.   This meal is divine because the strawberries are a good source of Folic Acid and they are in seasn.   I also substitute raspberries or whatever is fresh at the farmers market that week.  These portions are small and the berries are the star.

The key is to stick to it because if I waiver…. I waiver!  Give my plan I try if you are suffering from morning sickness I would love to hear if it works for you!