Post Baby Belly

So here we are are at 2.5 weeks post partum. While sleep is still less than abundant, everyone is adapting to the new schedule. Hailey is growing, and T is learning how to be a big brother. Some days are too exhausting to think about exercising and others I just want to jump back in the saddle and get me pre-pregnancy body back.

There are two important things to remember as you start to get back into your fitness regimen. The first is to start back slowly. Even on the days where you feel relatively more energized, it's important to remember that your body performed a momentous feet and it needs to recover. It's important to gradually increase your exercise regimen. You can plan it out. Start with walking, then maybe light yoga and then light weights. You can gradually increase intensity until you are back where you were pre-pregnancy and then beyond.

This is a time when you really need to listen to your body. You may feel fine and then end up pushing yourself too far. This can do more harm than good. Take things day by day. Remember you are running on reduced and oft interrupted sleep. The best thing is to eat well, get as much sleep as possible and slowly increase activity.

The second thing you must consider is your abs. This is probably the area you want to concentrate your efforts, but there is a lot to consider. First off, it takes a while for your uterus to shrink back to its normal weight. By four to six weeks, it should be close to its pre-pregnancy weight of about 2.5 ounces. This process is called involution of the uterus. So some of the excess bloat may be your uterus still not back in your pelvis.

Even after your uterus shrinks back into your pelvis, you may continue to look somewhat pregnant for several weeks or longer. That's because your abdominal muscles get stretched out during pregnancy, and it will take time – and regular exercise – to get your belly back in shape.

However, before you start packing in the crunches, there is another issue to consider. Diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is commonly defined as a gap of roughly 2.7 cm or greater between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle. This is common following pregnancy. Doing the wrong kind of ab exercises can increase the gap. In fact, crunches are one of the exercises you should not do if you have this problem. To check if you have diastasis recti, lie on the floor as if you were going to perform a crunch with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Lift your head off the floor and place your fingertips on the center of your abs to check for a gap. This is also something that can be check by your doctor.

The following are exercises that can help strengthen your ab muscles and reduce diastasis. Note that these exercises involve the pulling together of your ab muscles as opposed to crunches which push them out.

  • Core contraction - In a seated position, place both hands on abdominal muscles. Take small controlled breaths. Slowly contract the abdominal muscles, pulling them straight back towards the spine. Hold the contraction for 30 seconds, while maintaining the controlled breathing. Complete 10 repetitions.
  • Seated squeeze - Again in a seated position, place one hand above the belly button, and the other below the belly button. With controlled breaths, with a mid-way starting point, pull the abdominals back toward the spine, hold for 2 seconds and return to the mid-way point. Complete 100 repetitions.
  • Head lift - In a lying down position, knees bent at 90° angle, feet flat, slowly lift the head, chin toward your chest, (concentrate on isolation of the abdominals to prevent hip-flexors from being engaged),[6] slowly contract abdominals toward floor, hold for two seconds, lower head to starting position for 2 seconds. Complete 10 repetitions.
  • Upright push-up - A standup pushup against the wall, with feet together arms-length away from wall, place hands flat against the wall, contract abdominal muscles toward spine, lean body towards wall, with elbows bent downward close to body, pull abdominal muscles in further, with controlled breathing. Release muscles as you push back to starting position. Complete 20 repetitions.
  • Squat against the wall - Also known as a seated squat, stand with back against the wall, feet out in front of body, slowly lower body to a seated position so knees are bent at a 90° angle, contracting abs toward spine as you raise body back to standing position. Optionally, this exercise can also be done using an exercise ball placed against the wall and your lower back. Complete 20 Repetitions.
  • Squat with squeeze - A variation to the "Squat against the wall" is to place a small resistance ball between the knees, and squeeze the ball as you lower your body to the seated position. Complete 20 repetitions.

As for myself, I have started walking regularly and doing squats and non weighted arm exercises. I do kegels a few times a day and am starting to incorporate some of the above abdominal  exercises. Below are a few pictures of my belly progress.

Here's a reminder of last time.

This is definitely a case of slow and steady wins the race.

The next update will probably be in a few weeks. A) so there is more progress and B) so we can get back to more time management organization type posts.

See you on Friday!



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An Exercise in Patience

So today is May 10, 2016.  I was hoping that today's post would be a joy filled birth announcement with pictures of our brand new baby girl.  Well, Hailey has other plans.  Apparently, my womb is so comfortable, she has decided to never leave... Tyler was 3 days past his due date.  Hailey clearly was determined to beat that record.  Now that she has beaten his record, I have no idea what is holding her back.

As any mom knows, the last month of pregnancy is already an exercise in patience.   You are becoming progressively more uncomfortable and you're ready to meet your baby.  Plus there are just so many things that you are missing, like having a lap, sleeping on your front, drinking wine, having a hot dog, having sushi, not being swollen, having a deli sandwich, etc.. The list goes on and on.  During your pregnancy, your due date is like the light at the end of the tunnel.  You think, I just need to make it to that date and then I will have a beautiful baby and things can start getting back to where they belong.

When you exceed your due date, it is hard to see beyond your impatience.  This year, it seems like everyone I have ever met became pregnant.  On top of that, in the course of the last week, 5 people I know delivered their babies. FIVE. One of them on my due date.  Some of them were even early.  For someone who is already impatient, this only adds insult to injury.

In light of my need to relax and just let Hailey come when she is ready, I have put together some tips for practicing patience.

Tips for Practicing Patience

1. Breathe:

Deep breaths have the power to increase your calm and slow down your heart rate.  When you are impatient, you create your own stress and in my case stress can actually delay labor.  Practicing deep breathing can help you reduce your impatience.  This is a great time to take a yoga class or go for a nice swim.  Take a bath or a long shower if you can.  Anything that makes you more relaxed.

2. Distract:

A great way to increase patience is to distract yourself from whatever it is you are waiting for.  If you dwell on whatever it is that is making you impatient, it will only increase your impatience.  Find something to distract yourself like playing with your kids, de-cluttering, grad school homework, anything that will take your mind off of what you are waiting for.  I am supposed to take my last final this week.  So I have studying to distract me.  Of course I also have the concern that she'll finally decide to come when I have to take my test, but my professor has stated that arrangements can be made.

3. Think:

Remind yourself that the thing you are impatient about is beyond your control.  Instead, think about any benefits or positives in the situation.  In my case, I have several positive thoughts to help me through my impatience.  My baby is definitely not a premie, so we don't have to worry about the health issues that can come with that.  We have gotten extra time to finish any last minute preparations for Hailey.  Tyler gets a few extra days being the only child.  I didn't have to spend Mother's Day in the hospital.  The later she comes, the more of the summer I have off on maternity leave.  This very much links back to looking at the silver lining which we talked about last week.

4. Figure Out Plan B

When you are waiting on news or results, its easy to be consumed with the waiting.  Instead take this time to figure out plan B.  What will you do if the answer is what you wanted? What will you do if it is not? In this case, I know that my doctor will not let me go past 42 weeks the latest and every few days I will schedule an appointment to make sure Hailey is OK in there.  Knowing that I will not go beyond May 20th still seems like forever at this point, but at least its a maximum.  Hopefully, Hailey decides to make her exit much earlier.

There are some great resources out there about things you can do to increase your patience including here and here.  However, many of these tips are for developing patience for some future situation.  These four tips are for the here and now.  If you are already in a situation where you are impatient, these tips can help you relax and be more patient.

Fingers crossed that Hailey is here by Friday.  If not, I will definitely be continuing to put these tips into practice.  In the meantime, I am gratefully accepting any prayers and positive thoughts that Hailey will grace us with her presence.



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Pregnancy Progress and Humor

Pregnancy Progress and Humor

I don't know about you, but this year seems to be the year of pregnancies for practically everyone I have ever gone to school with. Clearly, I am not an exception to this. At 24 weeks, I am well past the halfway point. I have been very lucky in that both of my pregnancies have gone pretty smoothly. Other than a few days of upset stomach/nausea in the first trimester, I haven't really been sick at all.  I was exhausted 1st trimester, but that's about it as far as symptoms.

This trimester has been going very well.  I'm showing a lot more than I did with T, but I'm still all belly.  In fact, people are often surprised when I tell them I'm having a girl.  At least those people that believe in old wives' tales. Ever since Christmas week, I have been back to working out 5-6 times a week.  Although it is sometimes hard to get up and workout, and it is easy to think I have any awesome excuse why I shouldn't have to, I also know I have any awesome reason to workout. A healthy mommy and baby!! I also feel 100 times better on the days I do workout so that is also motivating.

Tyler loves telling people where the baby is and he will sometimes talk to and kiss the baby.  However, I don't think he has fully grasped what is going on and he just likes to follow daddy's example.  Both of my boys have felt the baby kick. Well, sort of. I put Tyler's hand on my belly one day while we were watching Sesame Street together.  Baby Hailey gave 2 really good kicks so I look to Tyler for a reaction.  However, he was so distracted by watching Mr. Hooper surf (it was a very old episode) that he had no reaction at all.  At this point, the kicks are often sporadic and it's hard to get Tyler to keep his hand there waiting for a kick, especially since he doesn't know what he's waiting for. But, I hope to get a reaction out of him soon.

What Tyler really does love is taking the belly pictures every week.  As soon as he sees me write the number of weeks on the paper he is ready with his shirt up for a picture. Below are some of our more recent progress pics. After delivery, I will definitely do a post with every pic from when we first found out til the end so you can all see the progress.

22 weeks pregnant
22 weeks pregnant
23 weeks pregnant
23 weeks pregnant
24 weeks pregnant
24 weeks pregnant

Luckily, I still have my energy up since this is the first week of the spring semester of grad school.  Even though my professors have been forewarned about my pregnancy and due date, and they have promised that accommodations can be made, I can't help but be a little worried about the end of the semester.  This is especially true if this little girl decides to come early.  But we can only take it day by day.  So to relieve some stress, I have a few more pregnancy poems for your enjoyment!

The Battle

I have a foe who is always with me, always on the attack. They’re quick and smart and stealthy, never to be seen when I look back. I cannot seem to loose them, wherever I may go. When I try to fool them, they always seem to know. They kick and punch and jab me every time I take a ride The funny thing about it is it's coming from inside The creature that’s inside me, will never let me rest Despite all that I do for it (I really try my best) I feel you punch my kidneys, I feel you jab my spleen I have to be quite honest, I think it's very mean When I try to go to bed and get a little sleep I sense you calmly lying there lurking in the deep As soon as I lie down at night it’s like an alarm just rung You don’t want mommy to relax, you go and kick my lung I love you little peanut but you need to understand I need to go to sleep sometimes, it's something I demand So please get off the defense and lower down your guard Let’s call a truce, at least at night, so sleeping is not so hard

My Newest Love

I have fallen in love for the third time The excitement of it makes me rhyme They come with me when I go to the gym They make my bottom feel so slim They come with me when I go to work They never make me look like a jerk These leggings are my new best friend My time with them should never end They look like tights when under skirts They’re also great under long shirts They never bother my growing bump Nor fall down when I move or jump If possible they're all I'd ever wear Without a worry or a care I wear leggings nearly everyday And that's the way it's going to stay Until this little babe is born It's the only bottom that will be worn



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