Thursday, March 28, 2013

Eat Your Way to Fertility: Part 2

Here is part 1 where I talk about the foods I ate that I believe led to baby Scarlett

Today I thought I'd write some of the healthy meals or snacks I lived on when I was eating healthy.  It really is fun to meal plan and try new foods when you change your diet or lifestyle!  Not only that, but you feel so good after eating a healthy meal.  Your body basically thanks you for it instead of punishing you.

Breakfast Ideas:

Scrambled eggs


Fruit smoothies sweetened with Stevia

Rice cakes with Smuckers all natural peanut butter and Smucker's Simply Fruit jam

Oikos plain Greek Yogurt with Smucker's Simply Fruit jam mixed in

Oatmeal with honey, peanut butter, or Simply Fruit Jam

Lunch & Dinner Ideas
I would follow a basic formula for lunch and dinner:  Include some type of meat, some type of grain, and some type of vegetable.  Here are some of my favorite combinations:

Soups - There is basically an endless combination of rice other grains, lentils, meat, veggies and broth that can be thrown together for a unique meal when you make soup.  And most soups are healthy.  A quick Pinterest search, and you've got endless ideas.

Salads.  Again, pretty basic.  But throw together some lettuce, meat, toppings, and a sugar-free dressing (Ranch is usually pretty safe, but check the label!) and you have endless meal combinations.  Be creative!  You could make a traditional salad, a taco salad, even a chicken or egg salad served over spinach (just be careful what kind of mayonnaise you use).  Again, a quick Pinterest search yields tons of possibilities.

Marinated meats.  Believe it or not, there are a lot of marinades out there that don't include sugar: honey mustard, buffalo, ranch, salsa, etc.  At least once or twice a week, I would bake marinated chicken breast or pork tenderloin and bake up a bunch of it at once so we'd have leftovers for lunches.  I would serve it with rice and sauteed veggies or a side salad.  Meal planning doesn't get much easier than that! 

Kebabs.  I want to grill these a ton this summer!  Throw some meat and veggies on a stick, season them, and grill them up.  Again, easy!

Burgers, minus the bun.  This is how you will healthily survive summer barbecues.  Throw some onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and mustard on top (no ketchup though..too much sugar!)  and you've got yourself a main course.  

Steak.  I just think it's important to mention that steak is totally fair game.  Yum.  Make sure you watch portion size though!  Again, give it a side of veggies and you have a totally healthy meal.


Popsicles made from real fruit in the blender and a sprinkle of Stevia.  My favorite kinds are strawberry-pineapple or peach

Smoothies made the same way as the popsicles (though obviously not frozen).  

Nuts and seeds.  Luke and I both have a weakness for sunflower seeds!  

Trail mix.  I make mine with oats, raisins, sunflower seeds, and slivered almonds.

Fresh fruit

Almond Nut Thins (a tortilla-like cracker) with salsa, hummus, or some other type of healthy dip.  

Raw veggies with Ranch 

For a special Treat:

Sugar free frozen yogurt topped with fruit and nuts!  Yum...

Eating at Restaurants:

Most fast food places are pretty much off limits, but other than that, it is pretty easy to find a healthy meal at most other restaurants.  Again, soups or salads are always good.  Or even steak or chicken with a side of sauteed veggies.  Just avoid pastas, fried foods, breads, and desserts, and you are usually good to go!  Some of my favorite places to eat out for healthy options are Panera for their soups and salads or Chipotle.  Just get a burrito bowl and everything is healthy:  brown rice, beans, meat, veggies in the salsa, lettuce, even the cheese and sour cream are not bad. Again, just watch portion size. 


I know these meals and snacks are not rocket science to come up with.  But that is the point!  It is a lot easier to eat healthy than you may think, and it's delicious, too!  I hope these give you some ideas of healthy meals to eat if you are trying to get healthy, or trying to have a baby!  Or both!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Eat Your Way to Fertility: Part 1

[Disclaimer: I am not writing this post to put down modern medicine or doctors.  I know they are totally needed and I have friends who would not be here today if it weren't for medical interventions.  However, I do believe that there are a lot of medical problems that can be solved through a healthy diet.  Diet can be a better solution to certain problems because it goes to the core of the problem where some medications treat the symptom and not the root cause.]

Yes, that was kind of an awkward post title, wasn't it?  But I think this is worth posting.

I was watching The Dr. Oz Show the other day, and he was talking about hormonal imbalances in women.  That spurred on the writing of this post.  I was the poster child for hormonal imbalance, going more than a year without ovulating.  I went through a few rounds of progesterone pills and Clomid, and I'm pretty sure those things just served to throw things off even more.

Not only was I having hormonal problems, but I also had extreme allergies, chronic sinus infections and bronchitis, and stomach pains that I'm pretty sure rivaled labor pains.  I'll let you know in a few months.

Along with the medical interventions for my hormonal problems, I was also seeing an ear, nose, and throat specialist to treat my sinus problems.  He was waiting until the end of the school year to schedule a sinuplasty: invasive surgery on my sinuses.

I am so thankful for my parents and in-laws for directing me and giving the means for me to see a chiropractor for nutritional therapy so that I never did have to have that surgery, and I will not have to visit a fertility specialist.  After a few months of changing my diet and lifestyle, my body was back on track:

  • I started ovulating within a month of starting "treatment"
  • I became pregnant without actively trying after 2.5 years of nothing but
  • All of my sinus problems 100% disappeared
  • My stomach pains are a distant memory
  • I haven't been sick with so much as a cold since I started "treatment."  I should add that your immune system is suppressed during pregnancy, and I also have been working with kids (now preschoolers who like to put everything in their mouths) since September.  All of this during one of the most intense flu seasons ever. Holy immune system boost, Batman!
I guess you could say that I went from being the poster child for imbalanced hormones, to being the poster child for successful nutritional therapy. 

I am at that age where I have many friends who are trying for a baby, and I wanted to share my knowledge! I am not promising that eating this way will get you pregnant right away.  But I am promising that it will really increase your chances!  Especially if you can get your husband to eat this way too! 

Admittedly, I was so desperate that I jumped into these diet changes whole-heartedly, without abandon.  I made some extreme changes, but as you can see above, I got some extreme results, too!  Here is an overview of what I did, that I believe ultimately led to baby Scarlett's existence (at least partly. Ha!):

1. Water, Water Water!  
The first thing I did was cut out every other drink option.  Goodbye morning cup of coffee, glass of sweet iced tea with lunch, and Diet Coke while out to dinner.   With a few exceptions on special occasions when I would order an unsweetened iced tea and then use Stevia to sweeten it, water was all I drank for months.  I kept a 28 oz water bottle with me 24/7 (literally) and made sure I drank at least 2 full bottles each day.  A rule of thumb is that you take your weight, divide it by 2, and drink that much water in ounces each day.

2. Cut the sugar.  
I'm talking about processed sugar here.  All fruit, local honey, maple syrup, and fresh fruit juice are fair game.  Based on the Prism Wight Loss System, my rule of thumb as far as processed sugar goes, was that I looked at the ingredients list on an item, and if sugar was listed as item 5 or earlier, it was off-limits.  For someone with a sweet tooth like me, that sounded absolutely impossible at first.  But once you cut it out, you really don't crave it anymore!  Fruit or 100% natural peanut butter (Smuckers Natural is my fav) would fill the void for me.

3. Cut the white, enriched flour
Seriously guys, this stuff might as well be poison.  And it turns to sugar in your blood.  I went for a few months where I cut all flour out completely.  then I started adding in 100% whole wheat flour, but in moderation.  Some good things to substitute to fill the craving are brown rice instead of pasta and rice cakes instead of bread.  To this day I would take a rice cake with all natural peanut butter and all natural Simply Fruit jam over a traditional pb&j sandwich.

4. Nuts and seeds instead of chips and crackers. 
Eat a snack that serves a nutritional punch instead of one with empty fat and calories.  Nuts and seeds include a lot of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins. If you ask me, they make you feel better and they taste better than potato chips anyway!  A little tip that I learned about serving size:  If you buy Emerald Nuts, fill the lid to the top for exactly 1 serving.  The perfect snack!  I personally could live solely on their cocoa roast almonds!  They're a little pricey, but so good!

5. Fat is good!  
Healthy fat, that is.  Healthy fat helps your body absorb the nutrients you eat.  It also gives your body energy. A diet lacking fat can put your body in starvation mode, which actually makes you store fat and gain weight!  Good fat comes from natural sources.  Some good examples are: avocados, nuts, seeds, and eggs.  Eggs are basically a super food.  Between scrambled eggs for breakfast and hard-boiled eggs on salads, we went through an average of 1.5 to 2 dozen eggs a week over the summer between the two of us!  

6. Don't forget the meat and vegetables!  
I've talked a lot about eating fruits and healthy fats, but meat and vegetables are important too.  As far as meat goes, I didn't give myself any specific restrictions, besides eating in moderation, because the protein was so good for me.  The only restriction I put on vegetables, was that I tried to restrict or at least limit my consumption of potatoes, because of the amount of starch in them.  Make yourself try some new or unique will probably find a lot that you love!

7. Don't over-indulge.  Don't under-indulge.
Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing.  Pay attention to serving sizes, and track your calories.  Based on my body weight and lifestyle, a healthy amount of calories per day for me was right around 1,200. I used the My Fitness Pal app to find out a healthy amount of daily calories, and to track my calories.  Just as important as making sure you don't eat too many calories, is making sure you don't eat too few calories.  Food is fuel for our bodies, just as gas is fuel for our cars!  If we don't get enough nutrients and calories, things start shutting down.  Often, one of the first things to shut down is our monthly cycles!  So make sure you are a healthy weight, and getting enough healthy calories, especially if you are trying to have a baby.

8. Healthy eating does not equal boring eating!  
On the contrary, it forces you to be creative.  I found myself looking forward to grocery shopping and meal planning because I couldn't wait to try new and creative food combinations or recipes.  Tomorrow I'm going to post some of my favorite meal and snack ideas. 


Those are the main principles I used to literally "spoon my way to health."  (I Love Lucy reference!)  Honestly, I am not eating this healthy anymore.  I got a little lax with my diet when grad school started, and then Scarlett decided to wreak havoc on my body to the point where I couldn't keep anything down.  And I haven't quite gotten back on track since then.  I am still eating a ton of the good stuff, but I've added in some of the not-so-good stuff too.  As soon as she's born, I plan on going back to my manic, healthy ways.  First of all, to get back to a healthy weight, and second of all, to start the long preparation for baby #2!  No, we are not planning on having our children super close together, but I want to get a head start this time!  I don't want to wait another 2.5 years after we start trying! (Although it is ultimately in God's hands, and I trust His timing!)

Anyway, if you are currently trying for a baby, or even thinking about trying for one soon, I highly recommend changing your diet if you aren't already eating healthy.  You probably don't need to be quite as gung-ho as I was, but I guarantee it will help you have a better chance of conceiving and having a healthy body with which to carry a baby!

*One more thing that I feel I should mention!  I was taking a lot of nutritional supplements while eating very healthy to help even out my hormones.  The supplements were made of 100% whole foods, and I think they served to boost my nutrition even more.  If this is something you are interested in, a lot of chiropractors practice nutritional therapy as well, and could help you decide which supplements you need.  If you are local to me, I have an amazing, amazing, AMAZING recommendation for one!  Let me know if you want more info!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bloglovin...Follow Me!

Since Google Reader is being retired, I am following the trend and making the big transition to Bloglovin.

Seriously guys, it's like someone is taking away my morning cup of (now decaf) coffee!  Google Reader is just a part of my daily routine, and I feel slightly lost without it!  The funny thing is, I'm generally good at dealing with change in my day-to-day life, but change something major in social media, and I'm lost.  Let's not even get me started on the new Pinterest layout (which I have been too nervous to even look at up until now).  #firstworldproblems

Anyway, click below to...

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

*Also, if you would like to transfer all of the accounts you're following from Google Reader to Bloglovin:

  • Go to
  • Click on "Google Reader"
  • Follow the simple instructions.
Couldn't be easier!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blog Identity Crisis

Before I was pregnant, I had a huge pet peeve.  I hated it when a blogger would become pregnant and their blog would become solely a pregnancy/baby blog.  This is partly because I still wanted to hear about other aspects of their lives, and partly because I was obviously jealous.  

I have always vowed that my blog would not become a pregnancy/baby blog.  And yet I can't remember the last time I blogged about anything besides Scarlett and pregnancy.  I'm quickly learning that you should NEVER say that you'll NEVER do something (ha, I kind of just did in that sentence, didn't I?)  

I've been struggling lately because there have been so many things I've wanted to write about.  From my feelings on "tummy touching" (go ahead! Touch away!), to nursery projects, to my fears regarding motherhood.  But I have hesitated to post so many things because I've been so afraid of this turning into a baby blog.  I keep thinking, "no, I need to post about a non-pregnancy-related topic instead."  But then I can't think of anything non-pregnancy-related to write about.  

When I ask myself why I want to refrain from writing about my pregnancy or baby, the reason I come up with is that I don't want to bore the people who read my blog, and I don't want to lose followers.  

I finally realized that those are silly reasons!  I write this blog to keep a journal of our lives and to share what God is doing in my life.  And right now my life is kind of consumed with preparation for baby Scarlett.  

So I guess this post is me saying, "sorry, not sorry."  I'm going to stop feeling bad for posting about the pregnancy so much!  

Make no apologies.  Those who matter won't mind, and those who mind don't mater!

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Surprise Party for Scarlett!

Yesterday was just an ordinary class day: I had 3 classes in a row from 8-12, a seminar from 12-1, and one final class from 2-3.  It was my last day before spring break, so of course it was dragging.

I was sitting in my seminar class after an exciting demonstration on electrical stimulation (no seriously, it was sarcasm here)  when Grace, a girl from my class, got up and started telling the class she had something for someone who was expecting something really special in a few months.

It took me a few seconds to realize she was talking about me!  Ha!  Before I knew it a card had been placed in a hand, and a big cake, cookies, and cans of pop were being pulled out from mysterious places.

I was so shocked!  I felt my face burning and my heart racing, being the extreme introvert that I am.  At the same time I had to hold back tears because I was so touched!

My classmates had all gotten together behind my back to get me a card and a nice Babies R Us gift card.  They all signed the card with little notes inside.  I can't wait to put the card in Scarlett's baby book!  It will be such a good reminder of what life in grad school was like while I was pregnant with her, and during her first year of life.

My friend Stephanie picked out the most adorable cake!  It was delicious, too.

I was so nervous about telling all of the people in my class about the baby.  I wasn't sure how they'd react and if they'd think I was irresponsible or just plain STUPID or something!  Clearly, I was worrying for no reason, because they have all been so supportive!  They've constantly asked how I've been feeling, commenting on the ever growing bump, and some of them are even reading my blog to keep up with all of the little milestones.  The moms in the program have given me so much advice already.  I am so blessed to have such a supportive group of ladies to spend my two years of grad school with!  And now Scarlett is blessed by them as well!

Thanks again to my amazing classmates!  I am so blessed to have you all as classmates now, and as colleagues for the rest of my career!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

22 Week Bumpdate

The Bump

Baby girl is almost a foot long (10-11 inches) and probably weighs about a pound now.  It's hard to tell with this flowy shirt, but I've definitely "popped" a bit in the past week or two, and last Sunday, someone looked at my stomach and said, "Oh, I didn't know you were expecting!"  So apparently it is now evident to the outside world that I  am pregnant.  I do still believe that that was a brave comment, because I'm pretty sure I looked this big back before I was pregnant after a big meal. Ha!

Comparison shot:


Two weeks ago, I wrote that I was feeling Scarlett a lot on the inside, but I hadn't felt her from the outside yet. A few hours after I wrote that post, I was laying down to take my Sunday afternoon nap, and girlfriend decided to have a dance party.  I put my hand on my stomach, and felt her from the outside for the first time!    Since then I have felt her with my hand many more times, but Luke has yet to feel it.  The timing just hasn't been right yet, but I'm sure it will happen soon!

  • Extreme hunger.  I keep telling Luke that Scarlett must be a little vacuum that sucks up everything I eat! I've been snacking a lot, and trying to eat healthy foods.  This past week I've been loving cucumbers and peppers in Ranch dressing, and I cannot get enough edamame beans.  I have to admit that some snacks have involved thin mints, ice cream, or hot cocoa too.  
  • Extreme weepiness.  I don't know how else to describe it.  I thought this symptom would get better after the first trimester, but just in the past week or two, it has been worse than I could imagine.  It doesn't take much for me to cry, and when I do, there is a snowball effect, and I think of all kinds of sad things, and before I know it I'm bawling to the point of exhaustion.  It really feels like it is a physiological thing, not so much an emotional thing, and something my body needs to do as an outlet for all of these hormones.  Does that even make sense?
  • Pretty much anything I get my mind on, especially:
    • Burgers
    • Chipotle
    • Sweets
  • Nothing new here...I'm just trying not to eat everything in sight.
Fun Stuff:
  • We started our registry last week.  We've decided to do most of it through Amazon, so I've just been researching like crazy during my free time, and adding carefully selected items.  We are going to register at Babies R Us too, but I think Luke is seriously dreading that!  
  • Our old office is going to be turned into Scarlett's nursery.  It was full of my school things and therapy materials, and other random junk.  It had become the "catch-all" room.  But I spent the majority of last week cleaning it out, and other than a few large items, we are ready to start painting and working! I started setting up Scarlett's closet too, and I open it just to stare at the tiny clothes and daydream at least 2-3 times a day!
Even the tiny hangers are too cute for me to handle!

Exciting things are happening!  Next time I write I will have gotten another look at Scarlett because I have an ultrasound coming up!  I can't wait to see her again, and I pray that she is still healthy and thriving!

Monday, March 11, 2013

DIY Framed Silhouette

I have decided to continue doing pregnancy updates every other week because not much changes week to week now that I'm further along, so I will have the next one posted in a week.


I am currently coming down off of the high that was the weekend.  Saturday and Sunday it was beautiful and sunny!  and so warm!  It's still warm today, but it's supposed to cool down soon, so I'm trying not to get too bummed.

Anyway, my weekend was great!  I feel like I've kind of been in a funk all winter thanks to the winter blues and lack of sunshine and Vitamin D. So this weekend was a nice change!  On Friday night Luke went to the Cavs game, so I went to Chipotle and to see the new Oz movie with my parents.  We loved it!  Definitely worth seeing in 3D.

And then I spent the day Saturday shopping with my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law.  We went to Hobby Lobby, and I bought some things for a few nursery projects I've been wanting to do.  

The first project I've tackled is a framed animal silhouette.  It was a very simple DIY project, and took me about 10 minutes from start to finish.  I simply bought 2 different patterns of scrapbook paper that complimented one another - one for the background and one for the silhouette.  I googled the silhouette of a bird that I liked, printed it, cut it out, traced it onto one piece of scrapbook paper, cut that out, glued it onto the background paper, and framed it.  And just like that, Scarlett's first nursery project was complete!

I think we're doing mostly yellow and gray and maybe a little blue in the nursery, so I thought this was perfect.  It was an easy little project, and could be done with a silhouette of just about anything. 

It feels good to have one project completed.  Never mind that we have to completely clean out the future nursery, replace the carpet and light fixture, prime and paint the walls, buy furniture, organize her closet....etc.  I'm happily in denial about the amount of work that needs to be done now that my first cutesy project is done!  

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Photo Dump

We'll call this one, "Scarlett's Wardrobe Edition" with a few others thrown in for good measure.  Because I hate that this is turning into a "baby blog," but I just can't seem to help it!

Last week we found out that the baby is a girl.  Luke and I haven't bought her a single thing in the past week, but somehow she has already accumulated a substantial wardrobe!  Thank you, aunts and grandparents!  I just had to share some of the cuteness today.

I already shared this little sleeper from Grandma Judy (my mom).  

And now she has a similar style from Grandma Patty (Luke's mom) but with little bunnies instead of strawberries

And some onesies from Aunt Moey and Grandma Patty

Her first little dress from Grandma Patty...I'm so glad she'll be a summer baby, and can't wait to see her wear this!  

 And in case it's cold, the most adorable little cardigan.  Looks about the size of my doll clothes from when I was little!

 And more from Aunt Moey!  Her first little romper,  and her first pair of jeggings!  I'm dying.  She will be so trendy!

A close up.  Because I can't handle them, and they are just too cute!

And her first headbands, also from Aunt Moey!  And they match all of the outfits from her perfectly!    This makes it so hard to wait for July!

And Aunt Di sent me this picture of some clothes from her as well.  Too cute!
It's pretty clear that Scarlett is already quite loved (and spoiled!)  I promise I won't post a picture of every item of clothing she receives, but I am just so excited, and couldn't help it today.  Plus I want to give a big thank you to the aunts and grandmas (and uncles and grandpas, too! Although I'm sure they weren't as excited at the prospect of buying girly clothes!) for loving her so much already!  


And here are a few other pictures from life lately:

My cousin Sarah had a baby girl almost two weeks ago.  I visited in the hospital and got to hold her for a bit.  My Aunt Beth mentioned that Hadley was laying right on top of her cousin while I was holding her.  Now that I know the baby is a girl,  I'm sure Scarlett and Hadley will probably be the best of friends (plus big cousins Elin and Hudson!)  My cousin Rachel and I were born about 9 months apart, and to this day, we are so close!  ...Literally, she's my neighbor! Ha! But in all seriousness, she was and is one of my dearest friends, along with her sister Sarah.  and I'm so happy for Scarlett to have so many cousins to grow up so close to!

 On a less serious note, somebody has a little Viggle addiction.  I hit 100,000 points last week!  I'm trying to hoard all of my points until I have enough to cash them in for a bunch of gift cards or something big.  I'm just not sure exactly what yet.  

I have a daily pregnancy calendar that my sister got me for Christmas, and I was so excited when I turned to this page on Monday!  She will be here before we know it!  Which is exciting and terrifying all at once.

And last picture...I was adventurous and tried a non-pink or -red color on my nails.  This is Essie's mint candy apple, and I got really excited when I saw that it matched my Otter Box perfectly!  I've been really into this color lately.  

Happy Friday!  Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What's in a Name?

Before Luke and I knew we were having a girl, we had been bouncing names around for about a month.  We picked a girl's first name so easily it was almost unreal.  We had multiple girl's names we both agreed upon.

We never did come to an agreement on a boy's name, so I was slightly relieved when we found out the baby was a girl.

Anyway, we had basically landed on a girl's first name the day we found out it was a girl.  Unfortunately, we picked a first name that didn't flow with very many middle names.  I had many middle names that I liked: Jane, Mae, Joy, Grace, Rose.  But none of them sounded good paired with her first name.  

I finally realized that the middle name needed to start with a vowel in order to flow with the first name.  So the morning after our ultrasound, before getting out of bed, I began googling names on  my phone that began with vowels.  I read through page after page.  I narrowed it down to three that sounded pretty, and then googled the name meanings.  Her first name doesn't have much of a meaning, so I wanted her middle name to mean something special.  

As soon as I saw the meaning for one particular name, I knew that had to be it.  Luke and I are so excited about the name, we have decided not to keep it a secret.  We aren't worried about anyone "stealing" it, and we aren't worried about whether other people like it or not, because we love it.  So I'm not going to be mysterious and keep it a secret for 4 more months!  Our baby girl will be named:

Scarlett Elise

We thought of the name Scarlett because one night Luke was joking about how Scarlett would be a nice name for a girl because Ohio State's colors are scarlet and gray.  I of course rolled my eyes and said "no," because I really don't want to name my child after something football-related.  However, when we first started thinking about having a baby years ago, I made a list of my favorite baby names just for fun, and Scarlett was on the list.  So after thinking about it, and making it clear that our child was NOT being named Scarlett because of Ohio State, we both fell in love with the name.  I thought it was okay, because the name is spelled with 2 t's, and the color is spelled with 1.  

The only thing I didn't love about the name was that it didn't really have a special meaning, beyond "red."  So the pressure was on for a middle name.  

As I saw that the meaning of Elise was "consecrated to God,"  I knew that had to be her middle name.  Throughout these past couple of years, I have often thought of the story of Hannah in the Bible, and how she longed for a child but "The Lord had closed her womb."  I felt like I knew just how Hannah felt, longing for a child more than anything else in the world. 

So Hannah went to the temple and prayed for a son.  In return, she promised to give her son back to the Lord.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I kept reminding myself that my child is God's child, and He is just entrusting her with me for awhile so I can do my best to teach her about the Lord and train her (and hopefully not screw up too terribly!) until she is old enough to go off on her own, and follow the Lord's calling on her life, no matter what that may be.  Yes, she will be biologically mine.  But ultimately, she is the Lord's child, just in our care for awhile.  

I thought the name Elise not only reflected our yearning for a child like Hannah did, but also the fact that she is promised to God, and we will raise her in a way that hopefully reflects that.  

Scarlett Elise, now that you have a name, it makes it that much harder to wait 4.5 more months to meet you!  I cannot wait to see your face and hold you in my arms!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How to Survive Morning Sickness

Oh, morning sickness.  I selfishly thought that maybe since I waited so long to get pregnant, I would have an easy pregnancy.  Ha!  Apparently it doesn't work like that.

For about 6 weeks, I was more miserable than I could have ever imagined to be.  Sure, I had a good day here and there.  But for the most part, it was pretty gross.  I'm talking, puking 2-5 times per day on average, being terrified of mealtimes, and feeling so anxious because my body wasn't getting the nutrients it needed to support my baby.

I tried every tip and trick in the book to relieve my nausea.  So today I thought I'd share some of the things that helped me.  Hopefully this post can be helpful to someone out there!

What Worked For Me:
  • The first thing that worked for me was popping a Preggie Pop Drop in my mouth whenever the nausea hit. If I could suck on one when the nausea was still mild, it helped to keep it at bay a bit.  These can be found on the internet, or at stores like Babies R Us and Motherhood Maternity.  The price is a little steep, but in my opinion they are worth it.  I believe they are a little less expensive if you order them on Amazon.  And they are tasty!  Very sweet and a little bit sour.  My non-pregnant friend tried one, and she loved it too!

  • Eating Salty things.  I had one week where the only things that sounded palatable were salt & vinegar chips.  Maybe not the healthiest choice, but when you're that sick, you just want to keep something down no matter what it is.  Calories from unhealthy food are better than no calories at all when you're growing a baby!
  • Ginger Gum.  This gum worked about as well as the Preggie Pops.  They are a bit expensive too, and can be found at drug stores like Walgreens, or online (again, I think they're cheaper if you can find them online).  My only drawback is that they don't have the best taste in the world.  They basically taste like pure ginger.  So if you're choosing between this and the Preggie Pops, I would go with the Pops.  They are much tastier!

  • Eat what sounds good.  It took me awhile to learn this, but I finally realized that eating all the things that were supposed to be easy on my stomach were still making me sick, so I might as well just go for it and eat normal food.  Sometimes when I would eat saltines or toast, I would get violently ill afterwards.  And sometimes I would be just fine.  Also, one day I ate chicken fingers and french fries and I was fine.  Another time I ate a subway sub (toasted so the lunch meat would be safe!)  And had an EPIC puke-fest.  Since my morning sickness was so random, I just decided to eat whatever sounded okay, whether it was technically supposed to be easy on the stomach or not.  
  • Don't avoid eating.  It is the hardest thing in the world to make yourself eat when you know you're probably going to see your food for the second time a few minutes afterwards.  But an empty stomach makes the nausea SO MUCH WORSE.  Eat frequently.  For me, once I let my stomach get too hungry, there was no turning back, and I KNEW I was going to get sick. 
  • Eat small amounts.  Don't overload your sensitive stomach.  At one point, I was having an abnormally good day, and at lunchtime I thought I'd try to eat more than normal to try to get some more calories and nutrients in my body.  Let's just say, that was a BAD idea.  
  • Stay busy.  Morning sickness is a really weird thing.  It is certainly not "all in your mind,"  but from my experience it can be affected somewhat by the brain.  I mean, that's the whole reason some people get sick when they see another person get sick.  It's the reason you probably feel nauseous from reading about all of my puking, or even just hearing that word.  When you're nauseous and you think about it, the nausea immediately gets worse.  So for me, I found that while I was at school or clinicals busy with other things, my nausea was not as bad.  Don't get me wrong, I still felt like death.  But somehow I never, ever actually threw up anywhere but home.  And that is because when I was at home, I wasn't busy and focused on other things.  It's almost like my body could suppress the nausea to a degree when I busy, and needed to be doing things.  Maybe that is not the case with most people, but I know it was true for me.  While some days I felt like I would rather curl up in a ball and die than dress up, have my "morning puke," and then drive off to clinicals where I would be busy all day, it always made me feel better.  

What Didn't Work for me:
  • Sea Bands.  If you don't know, Sea Bands are basically like little sweat bands you wear on your wrists that have a little plastic ball inside of them.  You're supposed to place the plastic ball on a certain pressure point on the wrist, and that is supposed to suppress the nausea.  and I have heard people swear by these things! ...But for me, I really don't think they did a thing.  I still wore them every day, because I was terrified that it would have been worse without them.  But on the few days I forgot them at home, I didn't feel any worse than normal.  And on top of that, they are uncomfortable (at one point I had tiny bruises on both of my wrists from the little ball digging into my skin) and they are ugly.  Again, I have heard people swear by them, but for me, they didn't work.  Perhaps they would be better for more mild nausea/morning sickness.

  • Sprite/Ginger Ale.  A lot of people told me the carbonation in pop (or soda, depending on where you're from!) and the ginger in Ginger Ale would help my nausea, but the few times I tried it, it did not stay down.  I think maybe the sugar was the reason it always made me sick. 

A Note About Prenatal Vitamins

Who knew what a pain prenatal vitamins can be?!  Take a woman who is already sick within an inch or her life, and pump her full of iron.  I know that iron is very important for me and my baby, but it sure does make me nauseous!  Some brands claim to be easy on the stomach, but I've tried a few from my doctor, and they all had the same effect.  There are gummy vitamins you can buy that are easier on your stomach.  But the reason they're easier on the stomach is because they don't contain as much iron.  And like a said, a pregnant mama needs iron!  

The best thing I've found for taking prenatal vitamins is to...
  • Take them at night, before bed.  Then you can sleep through the worst of it.
  • Eat something beforehand!  Don't take them on an empty stomach!  I have tried to be brave (or stupid/lazy) a few times in the past few weeks since the nausea has pretty much subsided, and have popped them in before bed on an empty stomach because I didn't feel like taking the time to eat something.  every time I've done that, I've laid in bed in agony until I finally ended up running to the bathroom, and you know what happened from there.  Again I will say, don't be stupid like me.  Don't take them on an empty stomach!
I hope my experience with morning sickness helps someone out there!  (Or maybe I will just bookmark this post for my next pregnancy!)  There is certainly no cure, but there are ways to manage it a bit.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

19 & 20 Week Bumpdate - Halfway There!

This poor baby will have to live without a picture of her (in bump form) at 19 weeks gestation. Last week I think my professors all got together to play a cruel trick on the first year students, and decided to make a ton of big stuff due or tests on the 28th.  I honestly don't know how I survived it all in that time frame, but it feels good to be on the other side of it with that stress behind me!  Anyway, I thought it wouldn't be the end of the world if I just did a 19&20 week update at the same time.

The Bump:

I'd say it's looking less like a big meal, and more like a baby bump!

Comparison shot:

If you missed it, we found out the gender on Friday, and it's a GIRL!  I had a feeling it was a girl the whole time, and all I could picture was a girl. I had many dreams about girl babies, and only one dream about a boy baby.  I'm sure it's just coincidence, but I like to think it was my intuition.

Also, everything looked great at the anatomy scan!  Her heart is beating away at 154 beats per minute and she weighs approximately 10 oz, which is right on track.  I've also gained about 10 lbs so far!  And while I think that is on track too, it's hard to believe that only 10 oz of that is the baby!  The ultrasound tech couldn't see certain angles of the heart that she needed to, so I get to get another peak at baby S at my next appointment!  And here is a little peak at her sweet face from one of the 8 pictures of the ultrasound we got to bring home:

Oh yeah, did I mention she has a name?!  I think we are still finalizing the middle name for sure,but she definitely has a first name!  I'm debating whether I want to share it on the blog or not (we're not really keeping it a secret).  I'm so excited to share her name and why we chose it!  I will probably end up spilling the beans on that in the next few days if it's okay with Luke.  We will see!

  • Leg cramps.  Apparently there is no definitive reason why pregnancy causes leg cramps, but it is a symptom.  Who knew?  Not me until I woke up in the middle of the night multiple times last week feeling like I wanted to chop my legs off.  Okay, that was a little dramatic, but it was painful!  I've been increasing my water intake and trying different stretches, and that has seemed to keep them at bay the past few days.  
  • Still sleeping great, but I wake up feeling achy most mornings, especially in my back.  This is probably due to the fact that I usually sleep on my back, but now that the baby's getting bigger, that is not an option since it can constrict the blood flow to my heart or to the baby. I think it might be time to purchase a pregnancy pillow, because I can imagine this is only the tip of the iceberg of what I will feel in the next few months!
  • Just in time to find out we are having a baby girl, I started craving sweet things!  Ice cream is my weakness right now.  And Starburst Jelly Beans, especially the apple and strawberry ones!
  • As always, I'm still craving beef.
  • Nothing new here.  same old, same old.
Fun Stuff:
  • Obviously it is very exciting knowing our baby is a girl!  I can't remember the last time I was this happy (aside from finding out I was pregnant of course!)  I'll just be going about my day when it will hit me again:  I'm going to have a daughter.  And I literally feel like my heart is about to burst from all the love and happiness I'm feeling.  Me and Pinterest have spent some quality time together this weekend pinning girly things, that's for sure!
  • The little missy, once again, is already so spoiled!  I do believe that once the announcement was made that she was, in fact, a girl, the aunts and grandmas were instantly shopping!  Here is her first little girl thing that my mom delivered on Friday night:

  • I am starting to feel baby S more and more each day.  And I can now attest to the fact that I'm pretty sure those little flutters I was feeling in the beginning, were in fact the little lady.  I went from feeling her a few times a week to feeling her about once a day, to now feeling her multiple times a day.  And those little punches and kicks are definitely getting stronger.  She must have been liking hearing her daddy play the drums at church this morning, because I think she was dancing in there all through the service! (Oh yeah, and she can probably hear now!  How exciting!)  I wonder how long it will be before I can feel her from the outside too, and not just the inside?

It blows my mind that we are halfway to my due date!  20 weeks down, 20 to go (give or take a few).  I am absolutely enjoying every minute of this part of pregnancy.  From the kicks, to the aches and pains, and even the sneak attacks of nausea that happen about once every two weeks now.  I love it all, because it is all proof that there really is a baby inside of me!  Sometimes I still can't believe it!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Pink or Blue? It's a...

Today was the day I had been waiting for!  Not just for the past 20 weeks, but for the past 2.5 years, if not longer than that.

I'm a dreamer, and I have always imagined what my family would look like one day.  How many children would I have?  Would they be girls or boys?  How close in age would they be?

Well today the first piece of that mystery was solved.  We had our anatomy ultrasound, and learned our baby's gender!

As I lay there on table and the ultrasound tech squeezed the warm gel out on my stomach (I always thought the gel was cold.  that's what they always say on TV and the movies...?) my heart was racing.  And I thought I would burst from the anticipation as I was laying there for about 15 minutes while the tech took all of her measurements and checked the heartbeat.

The waiting wasn't all torture though, because we got to see our baby for the first time in 12 weeks!  The last time we saw it, it looked like a peanut.  This time was much different! We could see its nose and mouth, all of its tiny little ribs and vertebrae.  At one point, it opened its mouth very wide, and the ultrasound tech told us it was yawning!  Not only that, but we could see its feet and hands with its tiny fingers and toes.  And of course we saw its little heart swishing away in its chest.  "Miracle" is not a strong enough word.  

And then it was time for the big reveal!  I held my breath and tried not to have any expectations as the ultrasound tech said,

"You're having a girl!"

I think my heart exploded in that moment, and I was instantly in love with my DAUGHTER.  In that instant all I could picture was pink, ruffles, dolls, sleepovers, curly pigtails, giggly conversations, girls days out, and so much more!  

Just knowing she's a girl has made the whole thing so much more real for me.  I wish I could even put into words how in love I am with my daughter, and I haven't even met her yet!  

And while Luke joked for the past 4 months that it was a boy, I think he's pretty in love with her too.  I am so excited to get to see him be a daddy to our little girl.  She's pretty lucky in that department.

I'm going to sign off and enjoy my weekend!  I'm sure my head will be in the clouds for the next few days!