Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Belly Binding After My 3rd Pregnancy

When it comes to post partum tips and tricks to getting back into shape after pregnancy, belly binding is my TOP O' the list favorite!!

Click Here to Order!
I didn't discover belly binding until I was halfway through my 2nd pregnancy. I wish I'd known about it with my first...but on the other hand, I can tell you from experience that belly binding is a night and day difference for recovery. I will never ever not bind my belly after delivery! You'll be sold too when you try it. After trying many different ones, cheap to expensive, my favorite which I've had the most results and will use again is the one in the picture.

Here's what I discovered:

*Belly binding immediately after delivery gets rid of that "all my insides just fell out" feeling you get when your body suddenly drops those 8-15 extra pounds you've been carrying!

*Belly binding gives you an instant "trim" feeling that will make you feel more like your pre pregnancy self, which will boost your confidence and, in my case, energy. We all need that right after birth!

*Belly binding will help your post partum tummy go down much quicker, skin and all. Look at my pictures; these are me just 1 week after having my last baby. I didn't get that with my first! It took almost 8 weeks for roughly the same results. Also, check out my blog post with pictures of me 8 months postpartum at a photoshoot.


* Belly binding assists in getting your displaced organs back to where they were orignally! Also, if your ribs were pushed out because you didn't have any room left for the little guy (like my last pregnancy!) belly binding will help get them back in place as well.

*Belly binding will help you acheive an hourglass figure! I can't wait to start again after this pregnancy. See other ladies succeed with waist training.

   For the first few weeks after delivery, your body is flooded with the hormones that softened your bones and joints to make it possible for the baby to be born. These also assist in getting you back to normal. Belly binding takes advantage of this natural process and gives you an extra push for quicker results.

I start immediately after delivery. So after I'm showered and cleaned up, I dry off and usually with assistance, wrap my belly nice and snug, then get dressed. Just like that.

To get the most benefits from waist training, once you're ready to workout, use this workout routine to keep yourself on the fast track for beautiful success.

After all your hard work dealing with not only pregnancy and everything that comes with it, but laboring and finally delivering your beautiful baby, you owe your body and yourself a little something to make you look good. I constantly have to stop myself from putting my needs or wants on the back burner. I've done this before, and take it from me, it's not a healthy thing to do. Take the time to enjoy and care for your body and celebrate what an amazing thing you just accomplished!

Fit N Fancy 4 Life,

~~Caroleena















Friday, December 11, 2015

When Parents Aren't Supportive....

A subject I've been feeling the need to blog about lately is when parents aren't supportive of your pregnancy. It's a bit of a painful subject, but one I want to address because of the impact it has on pregnancy.

I didn't have my parents support with my last pregnancy. I was stationed over 2000 miles away from them and my baby's father at the time was deployed. I reached out to my mother, but because of my lifestyle at the time (I had just gotten divorced, my pregnancy was unexpected and with someone I wasn't married to), she wasn't thrilled with me, and kept a distance. Communication was through Facebook and not often. My father and I have had a rocky relationship for the last...well, ever, so he and I weren't talking.

I wanted my mother there for the birth of my last son, like she'd been for my other two, but she came up with an excuse and said she couldn't. It upset me at the time, scared me too, but I figured she didn't want to because of my situation. As I often have found in my life, I was sitting smack dab in the middle of an ungodly lifestyle, even though going into a situation I have good intentions.

I ended up birthing at home with a good friend, read my story Here.

This time around, I'm not even sure my parents know I'm pregnant. I haven't talked to either of them in over a year.

I've noticed I miss my mom the most when I'm pregnant. It's one of those things that typically is shared and experienced between mother and daughter. Daughter calls mother for emotional support and questions...to share aches and pains and frustrations, and then at the end, to share joy...then there's sharing growing moments of the grandchildren...a lot of life is missed out on with the canyon of bad communication between us.

How I've handled not having parents is focusing on positive things in my life. It is a MUST. I also have been very blessed to have other people in my life who see me for me.


I want to encourage you if you are in a situation where your parents aren't supportive, to let it go and forgive. Being unforgiving affects the body and the spirit. What affects the body and spirit can have an impact on the labor and delivery of the baby. My fear of birthing without my mom ended up adding to my being 2 weeks late. Once I let go of my fears and my frustration, things progressed. Where a woman is at psychologically impacts her body, especially during pregnancy.

Hope
Take the time to look for support during pregnancy. This is especially important if you find yourself dwelling daily on the pain of not having your parent's support. With online resources, there's lots of places to look! Support groups, blogs, forums, discussions, fellow pregnant people in your neighborhood. There are plenty of people out there who believe a baby is beautiful blessing no matter the circumstances of his/her origin!

Reading other women's stories about overcoming major obstacles in their pregnancies can also help encourage and give you strength and confidence! I know this really helped for me.

I personally did rely on my faith and belief in God. This helped me the most. Sometimes if you have nothing else to hold onto, holding on to God won't seem so far fetched. I'm not saying use Him as a last resort, but if you have nothing else, what do you have to lose? In God you can find a safe source of strength and trust because He won't let you down, even when your parents will.

Taking a chance and giving Him that trust has been the best decision of my life. It has given me confidence, strength and the ability to handle situations I never thought I'd be able to. Plus, He's helped me forgive and release bitterness and anger toward my parents without needing them to do anything on their part. To truly and honestly stand up and say "I'm healing!" and have a sense of unconditional love toward them is not something that can be done without the help of His grace!

Perhaps you have a similar situation where your parents have wronged you or hurt you immeasurably and you truly believe there will never be healing, so you walk around with a hole in your heart. Just know as impossible as it seems, there is hope, and nothing is impossible for Him.

Embrace the unknown. Release your fears and doubts. Having peace and confidence will strengthen you in your pregnancy and ultimately will help you have a smooth labor and delivery.

God bless you and keep you strong in this emotional yet beautiful journey of pregnancy!

~~Caroleena

 




Thursday, December 10, 2015

Week 17 & 18 of My Pregnancy

Week 18 Belly Pic!
Highlight of my 17th week: My first Doctor appointment!! It was almost 3 hours long...but it was pretty awesome. I had my first ultrasound aaaand...drum roll...they think it's a boy! Another boy laugh out loud.

I loved seeing the baby move around and seeing his delicate features, tiny arms...legs...so cute and itty bitty. It's hard to make out in the picture below, but to the left is his head, his arms are covering it like he's hiding! To the right are his legs and little feet, ankles crossed.... I heard the heartbeat, which always gives me a rush. I don't know why, but that is the biggest connecting factor when I'm pregnant. It doesn't quite feel real until I hear it.

I was spot on with his due date, my periods are regular and predictable so this wasn't a surprise to me. They said he's healthy, growing right on schedule with his age, and I checked out great. The doctor and nurses were very nice and didn't say anything negative, thankfully...I didn't share any of my plans for an unassisted birth though! I know better! Next check up is in January due to Christmas vacation!! I'm excited about Christmas vacation.

Ultrasound of the lil guy
My job is getting more difficult. There's just so much to do and so much moving around, I get tired so fast and have had times of pain in my abdomen which has made it hard to walk. To be honest, I'm done with the Army life. I feel a growing need to invest more time in my kids, and the Army life just doesn't accommodate for that. The schools on post are horrible, they're more like free babysitting. I don't want my babies living in daycare and being raised by someone who doesn't care about them. I especially don't want to get deployed and leave for 9 months possibly more or get stationed somewhere that is depressing and oppressive. So even though the pay is good and there are health benefits that most would kill for...I am seriously considering getting out early. I will know more in January....

On a fun note, I decorated the house for Christmas. I love relaxing in the evening with a cup of Pregnancy Tea and nothing but candles and Christmas lights glowing. It's so festive!

Highlight of my 18th week: I've actually taken action to workout consistently. I've gone walking 3 nights in a row, almost 2 miles for about 45 minutes. It's felt great and is helping with the mild early morning swelling I was noticing. Follow me and check out My Pregnancy Workout Routine part of my blog for more details about my workouts. I'll be adding lots more posts of awesome-ness in the coming weeks.

 My weight has been a little troubling for me, I will admit. This pregnancy, I've been gaining differently than my other 3. I jumped almost 2 sizes just in the ass and thighs since I found out I was pregnant. Plus I've gained about 15 pounds already, probably closer to 18. My goal was only 35 pounds overall, like the mainstream websites recommend as long as you fall into the healthy weight category, which I did. However, seeing as I'm not even halfway through this pregnancy and I've already almost gained half the recommended weight, I've been in slight freak out mode!

I'm sharing this because as much as I don't want to feel like I let you, my readers, down if I gain way more than the recommended weight...or if things don't go perfect like I want them to...it's still important that I be honest about it.
My awesome hubby asked me why I was freaking out so much, and that it shouldn't matter what the "recommended" weight is, who the "f" decides that anyway? He also said that every pregnancy is different, and statistics and recommendations are based off of groups of women with unique pregnancies all averaged out to create a number that is decided is normal. Very true, husband, thank you for bringing me back to Earth.
   Soooo...I'm eating healthy (with a few treats and cheats here and there like a normal pregnant woman), working out and taking care of myself. Whatever weight I gain is the weight I gain. SO BE IT!
   In the meantime, I will share everything honestly, even if I don't like it. The main thing that's important to me is that I feel good about myself and enjoy the journey of this pregnancy.

Cheers!

~~Caroleena


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

I Must Workout!!~Les Mills Combat

Stretching Before My
Workout
I've been having such a hard time getting the motivation to workout, it's driving me nuts and making me feel completely pathetic. I'm failing miserably at this "I workout" pregnancy thing.

But I shall stand up straight and conquer this fight which feels like I'm walking through 2 feet of mud, such is my willful resistance. My inner self is acting like a 4 year old throwing a tantrum. However, I have started the steps to overcoming my stress levels and sense of overwhelmed-ness with my life right now.



Thanks to my husband's encouragement, I put on my pair of pink combat gloves and hit the living room carpet with a pregnant fierceness. He put in Les Mills Combat workout DVD, a Beach Body workout, and I stepped into it determined to do a modified version for at least 20 minutes (it was a 60 minute workout).

Workout Completed
I am happy to announce I was able to go the whole distance. I took the tortoise motto of slow and steady while I followed the modified workout lady. I worked up a great sweat, without feeling dizzy, light headed, faint or nauseous. It was fabulous! Talk about a confidence boost to know I can still go somewhat like I use to.

This got me thinking: If I spend my pregnancy getting to know the footwork and practice great form for this Combat series, then once I'm healed and ready, I'll up the speed and intensity and really get the most out of it. For me, faster paced workouts are frustrating to keep up with...but being pregnant, I'm forced to take it slow and careful and pay attention to the details so I don't overwork or strain myself.

I ended this workout session with a protein packed scrambled egg sandwich:

* 2 eggs, scrambled and mixed with a little cheddar cheese and milk


Scrambled Egg Sandwich
* 2 oz sliced cheese

* 2 slices of organic whole grain bread

  It is roughly 32 grams of protein. If extra nutrition is needed, rounding it out with a banana is an option I take at times. Delicious and simple.

I ended up a little sore in my arms and upper back, which means I pushed myself enough to get results.

I think the biggest thing to remember is to take baby steps!! And every journey starts with the first step; that push you give yourself to do something, even if it's small. It's still a start. You just might impress yourself....

Fit N Fancy 4 Life,

~~Caroleena  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Kim Kardashian & Kanye West Named Their Son What?!?

I'm not really into celebrities a huge amount, but I do find the choices they make and the things they do to be interesting from time to time. Since my husband and I have been trying to come up with a name for our baby, I tuned into the Kimye baby naming with interest....

HOLY COW, they named him what?!?

I guess they called him Saint. Celebrities do what we normal parents don't have the guts to do. It suddenly makes my sons names seem so ordinary and generic. I find myself right in the middle of thinking it's kinda cool and yet shaking my head thinking how weird celebrities are.

All of our names in my family start with "C", so we're trying to think of a good 'C' name for this new one. There's not a lot to choose from if I'm Googling baby names...so maybe I'll have to dig deep and find something cool and unusual...but maybe not Kim Kardashian and Kanye West type of 'cool'.

Did they think ahead about how Saint is going to sound when they get pissed off and yell his name?

Or if he ends up being a horrible rebellious boy and they say his name with bitterness because he's not living up to it?!?

Or how his wife will sound when she's saying his name during sex?? C'mon, I had to go there.

Like a teenager who gets tattoos without thinking about the future, maybe that's how Kimye picked their newborn son's name.

Or maybe I just think of everything a little too much.

~~ Caroleena

Monday, December 7, 2015

My Favorite: Coconut Oil Bath

One of my favorite things to do is a coconut oil bath. I attempt to get one in a week...which doesn't always happen, but when it does, I wonder to myself why I don't do it more often! It's so relaxing and simply amazing for my skin.

Here's how I go about some intense moisturizing for my skin plus a little relaxation.

1. Draw a bath


2. Add about 1/4 cup of Organic Coconut Oil.


3. Hop in without slipping and enjoy!    

  I've found this is the best to do in the evening. Your skin will have a fine sheen of oil on it, which I run my towel over just enough to get the water off, then apply jammies and jump in bed for a nice 8 hours of sleep. Your skin will soak in the oil overnight and leave you feeling soft and smooth all over. Plus I notice doing this helps with skin tone and leaves my legs and arms glowing.

Of course, this is especially helpful for intense moisturizing during pregnancy. Lubes my belly and boobs right up! Just simply amazing.

Fit N Fancy 4 Life,

~~Caroleena

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Shortness of Breath This Early in Pregnancy?

A few weeks ago, I found myself having trouble catching my breath doing the simplest things. At first I thought it was just being pregnant that brought on shortness of breath, but it wasn't like I was 8 months pregnant toting around a big ol' belly! Taking the stairs in my house, even slowly, felt like I had just sprinted for 15 seconds...and I was only 15 weeks along.

So I started googling. I know, that's the last thing "they" tell you to do, but in all seriousness, no one really knows your body like you do. Doctor's usually make educated guesses based on what you tell them and what's in your medical history. You can try to educate yourself and put the pieces together. So far, it's worked really well for me. Knock on wood!

I took Gestational Diabetes into consideration, but the symptoms are scarce and I didn't fall under any of the risk factors, especially since I've never had it.

Since the search results I got back were all over the place, and most just said "see your physician", I grabbed my Heart and Hands book, a midwife's guide to pregnancy, and started reading.

That's when I stumbled across it! There was a paragraph in the Anemia section that said to first check the pregnant woman for a vitamin B12 deficiency if there was shortness of breath, then if that didn't help, it was probably an Iron deficiency. It was like I struck gold! I hadn't been taking my vitamins consistently and I felt tired too. It could be both Anemia and B12, so I checked my VitaNatal Vitamins and found them loaded with B12 and Iron.

I started taking the recommended amount, which seems excessive, but it's 6 pills a day, 2 with each meal. I also started eating foods that helped with Iron absorption (foods high in vitamin C) and iron rich foods.

In 2 days, I started noticing that I wasn't noticing I couldn't breath! Plus my fatigue wasn't as bad. Now a couple weeks later, I'm still dedicated to keeping up on the vitamins and diet, and I feel SO much better. No shortness of breath, unless it's understandable, and I feel energetic.

On a side note, I looked at the prenatal pills my doctor gave me, and the B12 plus Iron is extremely low in 1 serving, and the recommended dosage is 1 pill per day. There's no way you'd get enough from 1 pill, especially since the amount absorbed by the body with a tablet is slim, especially if your diet isn't up to par.

I have learned don't underestimate a good vitamin! And being too tired to take care of myself is lame and a very bad excuse....

Fit N Fancy 4 Life,

~~Caroleena


Friday, November 27, 2015

I'm 30 Now!!

Wow, so it's official, I am now no longer in my twenties. When I hit my 27th birthday, I looked at my future 30 with fear and distaste!

But when it rolled around this year...I have to admit, I was okay with it. In fact, I'm actually excited! I look back at my twenties and see a LOT of growing and learning, with plenty of mistakes. I am 30 with a good arsenal of knowledge and wisdom, and my maturity level is thankfully higher. I feel less confused about life and more sure of myself. I embrace being a woman and I don't look at early twenty youthfulness with a sigh of wistfulness! If anything I shudder at how lost and stupid I was, Laugh Out Loud!!

Now I understand why the movie 13 Going on 30 chose to jump to 30...why such an old age?! Bypass all those years of hard knocks and learning, that's why!

Under the weather, no babysitting, missing out on a paid for concert, unable to drink and not really wanting any gifts, you'd think I had a miserable day...but I didn't. I was super thankful to have the day off, and the one thing that sounded awesome was just to go out and chill with my husband and boys. We did just that and wrapped up the evening with Olive Garden, free cheesecake with a candle, which we all ended up splitting, and everything was juuust right.

I look forward to this decade and have a lot of ideas and goals plus plenty I want to conquer! Here's to a good year. Cheers!

Fit N Fancy 4 Life,

Caroleena

Week 14 of My Pregnancy

Sitting at 14 weeks pregnant now, and also sitting in my 2nd Trimester!! Thinking back on it, time has gone quickly. With holidays coming up as well as leave (yay!!!!), these next couple months will go by oh so quick!

Baby is now the size of a lemon!! She has a fine covering of hair, is around 3 1/2 inches long and apparently now has an itty bitty neck. I am starting to show, still feel in the awkward beer gut stage, but it's getting a bit better.

I'm gearing up for Thanksgiving. Already bought most of my menu items. I'm more interested in food this time around, go figure, so I'll be switching things up a bit! Thinking of doing pumpkin cheesecake and chocolate cream pie with all the typical things. I will confess, healthy options won't be taken into a whole lot of consideration. I'm going for taste, so bring on the butter!!

My biggest challenge this week: I can't really find comfortable clothes to fit into. Major sad face. I am down to maybe 3 pairs of pants, plus a few yoga joggers and comfy Wal*Mart sweats, but it's too early to be going grungy. The pants I do have are fine when I'm standing, but sitting oh my! It feels like I just ate Thanksgiving feast everyday, talk about frustrating and awkward.

SO, before the holidays, I'm going on a mission to find some non maternity, stylish and comfortable clothes to wear. Plus I'll post strategies to keep myself from feeling fat or out of control about my weight and changing body, and instead embracing pregnancy curves and enjoying this journey!

~~Caroleena

Week 15 & 16 of My Pregnancy

Pregnant in Uniform
Good Morning! It has been awhile since I've posted. Lately it's been a struggle due to some family sickness going around, and I was sick earlier this week. It's harder getting through a sickness when I don't take any medication.

 My baby is now the size of an avocado! That's pretty big...I was kinda surprised to find that out. I do see a difference in my belly, and I have strange "jumping" sensations when I twist a certain way or tighten my belly to work my abs. She now has finger and toenails, and is going to double in size in the next few weeks! I'm still wearing the regular Army uniform, but people are starting to comment on my bump...so by January, I'll have to get the maternity uniform...oh dear.

I got really sick. I'm just now pulling out of it. I had a sore throat for 5 days (didn't come back as strep) and a few days later, a really bad eye infection in both eyes that's just now clearing up. I still had to go to work, exhausted and looking like straight booboo! I did end up taking a little children's liquid Tylenol after trying tea, lemon & honey in hot water, throat drops, herbs...nothing seemed to work until the Tylenol. It was miserable! The Dr wasn't much help, just sent me home with more Tylenol and some eye goop that made my eyes feel worse. To say I was frustrated would be an understatement.
   I finally took matters into my own hands and started by eating oranges. I ate about 8 of them in one day. Then I bought some organic kale, took my vitamins 3 times a day and chopped some fresh raw garlic into my tuna salad, plus pushed a gallon of water a day. I can't say for sure that doing this was what cured me, but within a day and a half, my eyes were clearing up and my snot went from dark green to now almost clear. I should've started this all sooner, but I thought my body could handle the sickness and I really didn't prioritize myself like I should have....

I jumped through all the Tricare hoops and have my first Dr appointment set up for December 2nd. I'll be getting an ultrasound and hear her heartbeat! I am excited about that...however, I'm not looking forward to dealing with the Dr and all the questions and possible negativity because my first check up will be at 17 weeks. "Nobody" does this and they typically don't like people who do things the "wrong" way. BUT! I will do my best to keep a positive outlook and give it all a chance. It could be a great experience.

I will make a great effort to keep up on the posts, but with the holiday season it might be a little tough! Have a great Thanksgiving weekend to all.

Fit N Fancy 4 life,

Caroleena


Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 13 of My Pregnancy

It is most of the way through week 13 of my pregnancy. Work has been interesting and I find myself tired and sore in the abdominal area around 3pm! Too soon! (I know I always say that)

Week 13 of My Pregnancy
My baby is about the size of a pea pod, which is a much more human comparison! She has her own set of unique fingerprints formed, and her body is more in proportion with her head...so she looks less like a little balloon with a string body, or a tadpole. She looks less alien and scary.

I think I found a doctor I'll be settling for. I have to go off of what insurance covers, not what I want unfortunately. The goal for this next week is get a referral and an appointment. I'm a bit eager to get checked out and hear the baby's heartbeat! To me that is the moment that reality hits and the connection really begins.

My desire for certain foods in this pregnancy has been all over the place. One day it's a milkshake, the next it's Popeye's Chicken and Mac N Cheese. I'm loving fruit, but most vegetables taste funky to me. I can stand fresh cole slaw mix with avocado, but regular lettuce and spinach is so difficult for me to eat. I know I need to find a way around this! Maybe get a blender and mix my greens in a smoothie.

I've been reading some of the most common pregnancy issues that doctors worry about. I do this to educate myself, which gets rid of fear, but also because there is almost always something that can be done to prevent these issues, usually with a good diet. More on that in future posts....

Fit N Fancy for Life,

Caroleena Kay

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

How to Prevent Pre-eclampsia

I was reading my book this week, Heart and Hands, and I came across where they go into detail about Pre-eclampsia, which is where blood pressure can skyrocket and the level of protein in urine is high. 

Typically, it occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy, but sometimes it doesn't develop until later on in the 3rd trimester. As with most of the issues doctors will bring up, there is a way to decrease your odds of getting pre-eclampsia dramatically: by eating about 80-90 grams of good protein a day

By good protein, I mean some of these examples:

*Fish Fillet--24 grams

*Greek Yogurt--13 grams

*Peanuts/Cashews--7 grams

*Whole Grain Bread--5 grams/slice

*Cage Free Eggs--6 grams

*Turkey Burger Patti--30 grams

*Chicken Breast, 4oz--22 grams

*Cottage Cheese--12 grams

The awesome thing about these foods is they are low in calories and bad fats, which means you wouldn't be overeating if you ate several of them in one day; you'd have plenty of room for veggies, fruit and small sides to complete your meal. 

When I read this, I realized my diet has been slacking a bit due to life being busy and me being tired. Some of these days I've forgotten my snack or ate lunch way later than I should have. Hence why I try to read a little everyday to keep me on track and refresh these little facts that could save me a lot of heartache later!

I highly recommend the book Heart and Hands, can't say it enough! This one is packed full of detailed information on everything pregnancy, including problems in pregnancy. There are percentages of the likely hood of having a certain issue and then where it comes from as well as ways to prevent it. If you want a home birth, or just an educated pregnancy, regardless of if you're planning unassisted or not, this book is still extremely helpful.

Fit N Fancy for Life,

Caroleena Kay
 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Emergency Childbirth Kit

I've been looking into birth kits and came across this Emergency Childbirth Kit w/ Umbilical Cutter.

It has quite a few helpful items that I'd like to add to what I plan on purchasing. It has umbilical cord clamps and cutter, among other things, plus these are sterile and ready to go. Also, it has a bio hazard bag for the Placenta. Don't freak out at the title emergency childbirth kit, often looking for emergency birthing products can give more thorough results than just home birth. 

I'll keep posting items that I have bought before or plan to buy for this birth! I try to cover everything including a few of the larger emergency scenarios. My job this time around is more stressful, so I'll be taking extra cautious measures because of this. 

Fit N' Fancy for Life,

Caroleena Kay

Monday, November 2, 2015

Empowered by Unassisted Home Birth Stories

Before I made the decision to birth unassisted at home, I read other unassisted home birth stories written by women who had experienced it first hand. This is one of the things that empowered me and helped lead me to decide that I too could do this

Here are a couple links to the birth stories I read: 

* Unassisted Childbirth, Laura Shanley's Website


* Birth Stories & Pictures, Birth Without Fear Blog 

Going through these helped build my confidence and paint a picture of what giving birth unassisted at home is like. The stories of women who let their bodies dictate what happened next; stories of women who believed in themselves, believed that giving birth is not something to fear, but is something that is a natural bodily function best left unhindered. 

The more I read, the more I felt ready, and now sitting here preparing for my 4th unassisted home birth, I still enjoy grabbing a cup of coffee and settling in to read success stories. It strengthens my resolve as to why I do this. I tear up at the beauty and peacefulness of home birth. Nothing compares to it and the accomplishment a woman gets from letting go and letting God's design function the way it's suppose to. 

I felt a natural high from the success of my last birth. I was on cloud 9 forever! It has strengthened not only my faith in God, but my faith in myself, as well as given me the pride and fullness of being a woman.   

Fit N Fancy for Life....

Caroleena Kay 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

How I Prevent Stretch Marks

  In this post, I'll share with you the things I do to prevent stretch marks and the products I use not only during pregnancy, but after as well.

What I do:

1. I moisturize EVERYDAY while pregnant. I have a full time job and 2 boys at home, so it can get a little tough to carve out time, but I'm serious about taking care of my skin so I make the time! 

2. I have different moisturizers for when I'm in a hurry vs when I have a little extra time to relax and massage my skin. 

3. I moisturize both belly (sides of my waist as well as right down to my pubic area) and boobs. Sometimes I'll throw in my butt and upper thighs. Based on my experience, if you are pregnant with your 1st, moisturize everything daily. I got the majority of my stretch marks with my 1st and I was mostly focusing on just my belly. Since my 1st, my body is more accustomed to stretching now and I haven't had any new stretch marks on my thighs or butt...fingers crossed, knock on wood....

4. I drink about a gallon of water DAILY. This is the easiest and cheapest skin care regimen you can possibly do! It helps with:
  • Digestion.
  • Absorption.
  • Circulation.
  • Excretion.
  • Toxin removal.
All of the above helps with stretch marks, in both preventing and healing them. 

5. I push to eat 90 grams of good, healthy protein a day while pregnant. Among other things, this helps with cell regeneration, which in turn helps with stretching skin during pregnancy or damaged skin afterward.   

Here's a list of products I use regularly:

1. I use Acure Organics Lemongrass Firming Lotion when I need to put something on quick. It has a pleasant smell, not too strong, absorbs quickly and doesn't leave me feeling greasy. Contains Cocoa Butter and Argan Oil, as well as Evening Primrose Oil and Rosehips; excellent for moisturizing. Lemongrass has shown success in warding of mosquitoes as well! 

2. I use this Avocado Oil when I have a little extra time; it absorbs quickly as well and is very light. 

3. And when I have no time restraints, I'm using Whipped Shea Butter for a deep moisturizer. It takes a little bit of natural body heat to melt into my skin, so I need the extra time to massage it. This stuff is Amazing though! I've used it on a sunburn and it healed a bad one I had in 3 days flat (meaning my skin was back to normal. It was a tanning bed burn, too eager to get color!). It's faster and more soothing than my experience with Aloe Vera.

4. Coconut Oil is also a go to for me. I've used it for my last 2 pregnancies, especially after delivery. This one I like to apply at night so it can soak in while I sleep. It leaves my skin feeling silky smooth. With my last 2 pregnancies, I slathered this on postpartum before wrapping my belly. I'll get more into that in another post!

And now for benefits on the things I use (check out the links for more info):

1. Avocado Oil is known for helping boost collagen production in the skin. Filled with proteins, healthy fats and vitamin E, this oil is one of the best for being able to penetrate the skin layers, thus attacks the stretch marks!

2. Whipped Shea Butter, rich in fatty acids, vitamins A, E & F, it also helps with collagen production. Shea Butter also has a natural SPF 6 for protection from the sun. This butter smooths the skin and aids in reducing wrinkles and stretch marks. 

3. Coconut Oil is chalk full of essential fats as well as vitamin E and protein. Repairing tissue and enhancing skin cell health, coconut oil is a beast for both internally and externally helping the skin look vibrant and glowing while working on smoothing those stretch marks! 

Here's why I DON'T use petroleum/mineral oil products:

1. Petroleum/mineral oil doesn't let your skin breathe. It locks in any moisture that may be in your skin, but doesn't allow for moisture/nutrients to enter. It essentially seals your skin like putting plastic wrap on it.

2. Products with petroleum/mineral oil have been linked to causing cancer. It contains cancer causing agents before being processed, but afterwards it isn't certain they've been fully removed. 

3. Petroleum/mineral oil comes from fossil fuels, where we get the motor oil we use for our cars. It can be dangerous for pregnant women because it is readily absorbed by the skin but cannot be processed out of the body and can affect and be absorbed by the baby.

Lastly, here is a link on How To Identify Petrochemicals in Products. Check ingredients before you purchase! Even if it says it's organic or natural, always check. Because it's hard to find products without petroleum/mineral oil, I usually just stick to raw ingredients like the ones I have listed above. This way I know for sure I'm getting the best for my skin.

Hope ya'll found this post informative and helpful!

~Caroleena





Pampering for Mommy To Be

I'm enjoying a little Mommy-To-Be pampering! Just bought this A Little Something For Mommy-To-Be Organic Pregnancy 5 Piece Gift Set.

And I'm loving it! Plus it makes a great gift for a baby shower. Don't forget about Mommy! She's putting in the hard work, that's for sure. This pregnancy gift set is all natural.
 I'm pampering myself with a dedicated bath every week. This gives me time to relax...catch up on a little shaving, and just unwind from a long week.

It's been great! Sometimes it takes effort to pull myself away from the family and know that hubby's got it, but mommies it's worth it. Block everything out and just chill and pamper yourself!


Fit N' Fancy for Life,

Caroleena Kay


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Week 12 of Pregnancy

It's week 12 of pregnancy for me, 1st trimester winding to a close. My dear baby is about the size of a lime! Something I'm more familiar with and actually have in my cupboard.

She is busy growing and developing her reflexes at quite the rate this week. About 2 inches long, apparently she looks like a lovable human now instead of a lil alien frog baby.

I took the time this past week to take care of myself, something I tend to put on the back burner with everything else going on in my life, from military to children to husband; housecleaning, cooking and trying to get caught up on the little things in life! Sleep being a priority as well, most times I'd rather just go to bed early than to deal with shaving my hairy legs. However, this week my hubby helped push me out the door to get my hair and nails done. It's been a year or so for me whew! I do feel so much better.

Here is a pic at the gym from yesterday with my hubby photobombing like crazy. We did legs, and
Leg day with Hubby!
 boy do I feel it today! No pain, no gain. Today we did arms, great workout, sore now but not really bad. I take it slow and modify everything. No shame.

My goal is to work out at least 3 times a week with weights. I feel good afterward and my heart rate doesn't spike and make me exhausted as fast as say, cardio or walking. Plus muscle burns fat so hopefully I can stay trim during my pregnancy by keeping up on dee muscles!

Only issue I've had is being hungry way too quickly into my workout. I've tried having an apple or Nutrigrain bar beforehand, but I realized today I need carbs! I had some and gone was the lightheaded, "weird" feeling.


Soooo I am posting a pic of my belly, taken today at the gym.
Week 12 of Pregnancy
I don't have to wear maternity yet but I don't feel comfortable in my old jeans or a lot of my pants, that's for sure. I've jumped a size up ahhhh! Already!

I do feel more energetic and fit when I work out, plus it gives me a sense of being able to "control" my weight gain and feel I'm still in charge of my own body.

I'm working on sharing some of the exercises I do in a later post. I do update my Twitter with foods I'm eating, exercises I'm trying out at the gym and different articles, tidbits and fun facts.

This week I received my Heart and hands book:


                                                                 
It's one of the more expensive books in my collection, but the information is very in depth and valuable. It is more for a midwife, or someone wanting to be a midwife...which is exactly why I bought it. It's easy to read and helped me a lot with preparing for an unassisted home birth. I will be digging into it once more to refresh and prepare with number 4!

Duty calls y'all...my son has a nasty number 2 diaper and my number is up to change it. I gotta get this boy outta diapers before baby arrives!

Fit N Fancy for Life,
~~Caroleena


Monday, October 26, 2015

A Quick Post About C-Section Rates in the U.S.

So I was researching this morning with my daily cup of coffee, and decided to look up C-section rates in South Carolina to prepare for the possibility of a Plan B emergency trip to the hospital if need be.

My research shocked and disgusted me, so I feel led to share. I've never wanted a C-section, have always been scared of them, which was one of the biggest reasons I turned to home birth. My fear is the physical, emotional and spiritual toll it would have on me. I know I'd feel violated; cheated out of something special and sacred that words cannot describe...so if it has to happen, it'd better be for a damn good reason. Unfortunately, most of them don't happen for a good reason.  

The national C-section rate is ridiculously high and unreasonable. Here is the CDC website sharing that 32.7% of births result in C-section. That's just shy of 1 in 3 births!! So if you're pregnant and thinking "I don't need to be reading this or researching, it won't happen to me" well...think again. Those odds are pretty hefty. That means I should have had at least 1 C-section by now. 

Fox News just showed me that South Carolina is in the Top 10 highest C-section states...lucky me. 

Here are some physical risks associated with C-sections according to Web MD

Some information on Why the National U.S. C-Section is so High from child birth connection.org. The 2 biggest points in this article that struck me are: Low priority given in enhancing women's ability to give birth on their own; Side effects of common labor interventions in the hospital. 

Here is a chart showing approximate cost of birth at a hospital. It's hard to nail down a set price because it changes depending on insurance provider and complications.



Image from childbirthconnection.org
As of 2011, the price for a C-section is more than double an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. Personally, I think this could be a driving force for hospitals to push for C-sections as well; The hospital makes a lot more money off of them or any complication for that matter.

Just wanted to share this info. Not trying to persuade anyone to do birth a certain way, the main goal is a pregnant woman must feel comfortable and safe for the smoothest labor to occur. I wanted to share this because I don't believe most C-sections are performed out of necessity or safety, and, because they're used so much in the United States, I feel it's important for a pregnant woman to educate herself thoroughly on the process and circumstances surrounding C-sections.

Check out one of my favorite books that goes more in depth with this and other common birth related complications: Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth.

I'm working on a post for stretch marks next, as well as my 12 week pregnancy update! With pictures! Come back n' visit soon.

Fit N Fancy for Life,
~~Caroleena

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My Experience With Herbal Teas During Pregnancy

My experience and review using herbal teas quite liberally toward the end of my last pregnancy was wonderful. I didn't drink any during the 1st trimester last time; I waited until about 28 weeks pregnant before I drank the Pregnancy Tea, and started at about 33 weeks before drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

  I began with 1 cup a day of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea for about a week, then upgraded to 2 the 2nd week, and 3 the 3rd. Then I drank about 3-5 until I had my baby (he was 2 weeks late!). Pregnancy Tea was about 1-2 cups a day, depending on if I felt all tea-ed out!

   I felt relaxed after having a cup, especially while at work or when I got home from a long day. Energy levels were good, all things considered. The biggest thing of note, which according to my research is common, is the Red Raspberry Leaf Tea started practice contractions, especially as I got further along. This is how the tea was able to help me with a shorter 2nd labor stage, by doing most of the work and toning several weeks before my due date

One thing I have noticed in my studying of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, it is said in some places to be connected with higher C-section rates. Let me counter with this: 

The tea starts the practice contractions which can cause the mother to believe she's in labor for real and rush to the hospital. They may check her, feel she's dilated enough for it to be possible (it's not uncommon to be over/around 5cm dilated for several weeks before labor, every woman's body progresses differently even with each pregnancy), check her in, only to have labor "stall" (which would be the tea finished with the "toning" session) and then start the mother on pitocin to try and force the contractions to keep going. Pitocin is very hard on mother and baby, and jump starting labor when the body isn't ready is what leads to most complications because of the strain it places on both mother and baby, which in turn leads to a C-section because of the prolonged stress. Read more about this process in one of my favorite books Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth.   

I had at least 4 times that I remember thinking "This is the moment!". However, the contractions would quit after awhile and I'd be back to waiting. Instead of being disappointed (too much!) I kept telling myself it was a good thing, I was getting most of the work of labor out of the way now which would mean an easier time when the big event happened! For me, that ended up being the case, resulting in the easiest most amazing birth I've had yet.

My 2nd stage maybe lasted 30 minutes or so. I know I didn't notice, and time didn't lag enough for me to ask how long it'd been. It was so smooth.

Okay, now that I've covered my experience and review of herbal teas during my pregnancy, let me give a quick little overview on the benefits of some key ingredients in pregnancy herbal teas:

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Helps tone the uterus and prepare for childbirth. Helps ease morning sickness (decide whether drinking it during the 1st trimester is right for you). Can relieve bleeding/irritated gums that can come from pregnancy (I had this with my last one). Gives a rich source of calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium. Can help shorten the 2nd stage of labor (this was the case for me!). Check out the title links for more thorough info. 

Strawberry Leaf Tea: High in Vitamin C & K, Calcium and Magnesium + Potassium. It also has folic acid. This tea is beneficial for breast milk preparation/production as well as helping to prevent newborn jaundice because of the vitamin K. 

Stinging Nettle Leaf Tea: High in Magnesium, Calcium and Iron. This herbal tea is great for stomach issues, bloating and even constipation.


Now there are "mixed" opinions on whether herbal teas are "safe" for pregnancy. I have looked into it and my research has led me to these 3 points:

1.  FDA hasn't approved herbal teas because there hasn't been enough research done on them and their affects on the mother and baby. This doesn't mean they're considered dangerous by the FDA, just "not enough 'proper' research done".

2.  It's actually a good thing, in my opinion, that FDA hasn't approved herbal teas. If they did, they would control how you got herbal tea (over the counter or through a prescription) and the red tape for selling it would be horrendous because it'd be treated like a drug. Herbs have been around for centuries and their healing/boosting qualities are well known and documented, sometimes you have to dig a little, but it's there. Having the freedom to use them without government control or knowledge is a blessing! The ability to self-doctor is so valuable, especially with all the Healthcare issues going on in our country. Here's an interesting link to some more in depth explanation of Herbal Medicine Versus the FDA. The author gives some good food for thought.

3. There are many personal experiences out there that support herbal teas for pregnancy being helpful. I spent hours & hours reading forums and websites explaining the science behind the different ingredients. I made the personal choice to drink herbal tea based off of what I'd learned, and then informed my doctor during that pregnancy. I didn't ask her if I could, I told her what I was drinking, why I was drinking it, and how it would help me. She said she'd heard about it, but didn't know enough to comment one way or the other. 

In the end, I believe it's my body and my baby, and I want what's best for both of us. Most of all, I want to know for myself what is going on, not just blindly trust anyone. Self education is empowerment and enlightenment. Giving birth is a natural, beautiful and personal experience that deserves my utmost attention, knowledge and care. I feel it is my responsibility to learn and make my own decisions, while also trusting my intuition and motherly instincts. 


Fit N Fancy for Life, ~~Caroleena Kay


*****Please NOTE: I am not a healthcare professional, nor have I had any expensive, official college education on my blog's subject matter. I have had 3 children naturally, at home, unassisted. I was able to feel comfortable doing so because of my extensive research. I have spent many hours reading books (most written by officially educated healthcare professionals), studying websites, picking the brains of those who have had multiple children at home, as well as watching at home birthing videos. I am sharing my knowledge and experience for inspiration purposes! Please be responsible and do your own due diligence before deciding if a herbal tea and home birth is right for you.********
   

   








Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Week 11 of Pregnancy

I am now 11 weeks pregnant with a fig size baby girl. Not a fig bar, but an actual fig.
How sweet! Slightly bigger than last week's kumquat. I told my husband about the kumquat and now he won't stop saying it. He is calling us all kumquats, in good fun of course, but I must admit it sounds like the vilest of insults when he says it....what a word!

I have to get the right cord to transfer pictures from my phone to the computer so I can upload my cliche pregnancy profile belly-growing pictures! Yes, I have an old phone hanging on by a thread, but I won't upgrade it till it's dead!

I have felt a couple phantom movements from her...some experts say you don't feel the baby moving this early, but some also say the more babies you've had, the easier and sooner it is to pick up on these little bumps n bounces. Apparently she's having hiccups, but those I definitely don't feel yet.

I can still lay on my stomach, although for too long and I start to get a bit nauseous. Trying to enjoy it while I still can! Also, I wake up and find myself sleeping on my back, which I don't usually do, but again I'm relishing it for these last few weeks or so. I do remember it gets very tiring later on in pregnancy to only be able to sleep on my sides, and then even closer to the due date, the left side is most "comfortable" if that's even applicable toward the end lol!

My Vitanatal Vitamins finally came!! I bought them off of Amazon because I couldn't find them in a local store. They have been such a lifesaver! The first day of taking them I felt so much better. I've tried a few different ones, but I had to come back to these. My mother swore by them as well and she's had 8 kids! A good vitamin is waaay worth the money, don't underestimate that.

One thing I've started doing in the evenings is a cup of tea. I'm using the herbal Pregnancy Tea, which I also bought off Amazon. I drank this all the time with my last pregnancy. Here's a link to my experience and more about herbal teas during pregnancy. Based off my extensive research, I usually just wait until the 2nd Trimester before drinking herbal teas. (It's my personal precaution to not take anything except vitamins and fish oil in the 1st Trimester). Recommendation is 3-4 cups of this tea a day, so I'm starting slow with an occasional cup in the evenings. I've been feeling a bit rundown and just "off" after getting home from work and having dinner, so my "dessert" lately has been a cup of this tea. It has no caffine, tastes mild, doesn't really require any sugar and makes me feel so refreshed afterward! It also has glowing reviews on Amazon from women drinking it throughout their pregnancy.

Still looking for a Doctor to fit me from the list Tricare provides. Where I'm stationed at, there is no prenatal care at the hospital on post, so I have to look off post. The selection is decent, but I have to research them for my own preferences, hopefully to find one that at least doesn't poo poo natural child birth. Easier said than done. Will keep ya'll updated on that.

Until next time!

Much Love, Stayin Fit N Fancy for Life!

~Caroleena Kay




Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Week 10 of Pregnancy

So Baby Center just told me my lil girl is barely the size of a kumquat. What in the blazes is that?! And who came up with the idea to use that as a comparison? Alas, it's like a miniature orange.


So yeah, that's pretty substantial I suppose. Talk about rapid growth in just a few weeks! And more to come in the next few weeks. November 10th starts my 2nd trimester ... counting it down.

I'm waiting on my Prenatal Vitanatal Vitamins which I ordered on Amazon. These have helped me in my past pregnancies with exhaustion and I can't wait to start taking them!

I don't like maternity clothes, so I use my creativity to find clothes that fit and flatter while I'm small-ish. I will wait till the very last moment before I jump into maternity! That includes ACU's, which yes, I will be taking a picture to show me in the "sexy pants" as my husband so lovingly calls them.

I did start this new exercise that is fairly easy and isn't time consuming...it helps strengthen the abs and pelvic floor, great things when it comes to delivery and recovery! After I give it a go, I'll share more in depth....

Nausea isn't as bad this week. Still there at times, but lessening. So far I haven't thrown up at all, knock on wood. Came close a few times, but I've been pretty good keeping it at bay for this 4th time around.

This past week and a half my boobs have been itching! At first I thought it might be a heat rash from my uniform and the weather, but then I realized it's cause they're GROWING! So in great haste, I started putting Avocado Oil on every day at least once. Both on my belly and boobs, as well as the sides of my waist. This oil is awesome because it absorbs quickly and goes on smoothly. No thick, lingering residue here!

Struggling a bit on getting my full gallon of water a day due to the South Carolina Flooding making water undrinkable unless boiled. Sticking to bottled water, but keeping it on hand is the hard part!

Dinner and Once Upon a Time (on Netflix) is calling y'all!

Fit N Fancy fo Life,
~Caroleena Kay

Week 9 of Pregnancy

Due to the South Carolina flooding, I've been delayed in posting my usual weekly update.

The damage and loss is mind blowing to see up close. I've never been in a "natural disaster" before, at least not one that affected so many people. It's way different to be in it then just reading about it or seeing pictures. I haven't ventured too far because of curfews and warnings to stay away from flash flood areas, which is pretty much no further than Wal*Mart from my house.

There is currently no water running at my house. It's been about 3 days now since it was shut off. Thankfully, I had my brother fill the tub with water when we heard it might get cut, plus we started collecting rain water outside. This has been a huge relief for flushing toilets, washing dishes, and cleaning. Purell and Lysol Wipes have been invaluable for keeping germs at bay while we're not washing our hands as often.

It's amazing how much water we use in a day and don't even realize it!

The one thing about this 9th week of pregnancy is I am soooo tired! I can't get enough sleep and I only have energy for 3 to 4 hours at a time...so tragic. Also, my belly is in the pudgy stage, not cute pregnant stage. Insecurities are kicking in a lil bit as my waistline gets thicker. Really shouldn't, but I'm very body conscious and feel every change.

I'm struggling to work out on top of a full time job and family/home stuff. I'll be honest, I haven't done much working out at all!!! I have been careful about my diet though. My body just told me I can't have soda anymore. I get a headache after about 8 oz sooo totally gonna stay away from that.

I've been thinking about YouTube videos and how I want to make one badly but I'm hesitating!! WHY?? Maybe because I want everything to be perfect aaaand I have such high expectations that it keeps me from it. I need to just do it! I started this blog with the intention of being real and showing pregnancy from my perspective...not the perspective of perfection or political correctness. SO, I just need to find that push that makes me abandon my fears and take the plunge.

Will keep working on this....

Fit N Fancy for Life,
~Caroleena Kay