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Family, Pregnancy

NW Iowa Fertility and OB Practitioner Guide

March 23, 2017

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After Ainsley was born, I did a full post on all the doctors and health professionals I used and loved through our fertility journey and pregnancy/birth. Now that we have moved and are located in a different town and state, I thought it was time to do the same thing for the new providers we love and trust in case others are looking for a doctor or care provider.

When we moved to our small town I was worried about finding a comprehensive and holistic approach to my fertility issues. I loved my doctor in Minneapolis and felt very well cared for while we lived there. She treated me with progesterone, understood charting and unusual cycles and was always open for dialogue about health issues and questions I had. Although I wasn’t able to find a single care provider/OB who encompassed all of those things in our small town, I think the crew below has done a wonderful providing me with comprehensive and holistic care during this time.

Fertility Care Services // Guiding Star Orange City :: Kari Beadner
I was introduced to the Creighton Model Fertility Care System by friends once I moved to our town and mentioned my fears about finding new care providers. It’s a holistic and natural approach to women’s health that focuses on treating the underlying issues rather than covering up those issues with a band-aid. Kari is the instructor who taught me the model and how to chart my cycles using the system and worked as a guide and resource when working with my doctors.

She is now the director of Guiding Star Orange City, which provides a host of resources for the many areas of your reproductive journey, including breastfeeding and birthing classes and education, doula services and more. We’re actually planning on using Kari as our doula for baby #2!

Creighton Model Fertility Care Doctor // Dr. Pallone, Family Medicine Center :: Sioux City, IA
Since we no longer have a Creighton Model Fertility Care doctor in our hometown, I had to go to a neighboring city to have a doctor oversee my progesterone levels throughout pregnancy and prior to conception of this baby. Although I didn’t have to see Doctor Pallone all that often, I felt well cared for and listened to through this journey. He also agreed to oversee my progesterone levels remotely, so I could do many of my blood tests at our local hospital which made it much more manageable.

OB and Prenatal Care // Dr. Turek, Orange City Area Health System :: Orange City, IA
We don’t technically have OB doctors in our small town – our doctors are family practice doctors who do it all – so that was a huge adjustment for me! I talked with a LOT of people before making a decision on who to doctor with for my OB care and felt very much at peace with my decision to see Dr. Turek. He’s been calm, measured and reassuring with his approach to prenatal care, which works well with my personality since I tend to be a little more high strung in this area given our history.

Chiropractic and Acupuncture // Dr. De Jong, De Jong Chiropractic and Acupuncture :: Orange City, IA
I’ve been a big fan of acupuncture for a number of years and saw a wonderful acupuncturist in Minneapolis who specialized in fertility care and helping women grow their families. That same acupuncturist worked with my chiropractor and acupuncturist here in Orange City to create a care plan for me. It included a series of herbal supplements during the months leading up to conception and herbs taken during the first trimester of this pregnancy along with regular acupuncture and chiropractic care.

Madison

Family, Food & Recipes, Pregnancy

a day in the life :: pregnancy eats edition

March 3, 2017

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I’ve documented some of my daily eats on the blog in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever done a pregnancy edition. Even while pregnant, I still eat like a robot most days, sticking to the same general rotation of foods. Dinner is usually the most varied meal from day to day, but breakfast, lunch and snacks are usually pretty similar. Here’s a look at what a typical day in the third trimester looks like for me:

BREAKFAST
I usually wake up around 5:30, drink a big glass of water and have a cup of (regular) coffee with a splash of half and half. I typically eat breakfast when Ainsley wakes up, around 6:30 or 7 which consists of:

1/2 cup oatmeal with cinnamon, stevia, chia seeds, and unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Fresh fruit, such as raspberries, blueberries of half of a sliced banana

SNACK
I usually try to avoid having a morning snack, but sometimes I’ll have a little something to get me through until lunch, especially if I workout in the morning, I’ll drink more water and half a cup of decaf coffee sometime in the morning, too.

LUNCH
2 whole wheat pita halves, toasted and filled with hummus, as many veggies as we have on hand, avocado and lots of spicy mustard
Salad (usually a portion of a salad kit, prepared with half the dressing)

AFTERNOON SNACK
Smoothie Made With:
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop Vital Proteins Collagen
1 scoop Vega Protein and Greens (vanilla or chocolate)
1/2 of a frozen banana
2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter powder
1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
Ice

Sometimes I’ll pair this with a couple clementines, as pictured above, or some other fruit or veggies

DINNER
This is a grab bag! It’s by far my most varied meal of the day since I make something different (with a vegetarian or fish option for me) almost every night of the week. My dinner last night was:

1 oven-roasted wild salmon filet with olive oil, salt and pepper
A huge bowl of Brussels sprouts, shredded and sauteed with olive oil, salt and pepper and a bit of grated Parmesan

DESSERT
Every night. Almost always something healthy-ish. Last night’s dessert was my favorite Microwave Chocolate Mug Cake with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a dollop of Greek yogurt. Other times I’ll have a Quest bar, microwaved for about 10 seconds to make it gooey and soft.

Madison

Family, Pregnancy

On Trusting My Body

February 1, 2017

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{Hatch Collection Bateau Top} // {GAP Demi Pannel Maternity Skinny Jeans}

Today I went to my doctor’s appointment. I’m 25 weeks pregnant, meaning I’ve got about 15 more weeks to go, and every time I have to step on the scale I cringe just a little bit. I would be lying if I said, given some of my past issues with body image, that it’s easy for me to see my body growing and changing rapidly. Actually, this time around might be playing more games with my mind than Ainsley’s pregnancy.

It’s a luxury, isn’t it? To be able to worry about things like gaining weight. During Ainsley’s pregnancy it was a luxury that I didn’t really afford myself because I was focused on other things, like whether or not my baby was healthy and growing appropriately. Like I said, a luxury to even think or worry about these things but something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately as we go further and further into this pregnancy.

While I was fretting about my pregnancy weight gain after my appointment today, something registered in my mind.

Trust your body. 

Anyone who has experienced pregnancy loss or infertility can attest to the fact that trusting your body doesn’t come easily. In the midst of my losses I didn’t feel I could trust my body at all. It had failed me in doing the thing I wanted so badly for it to do. But throughout Ainsley’s pregnancy, and baby girl #2’s pregnancy, I’ve felt a renewed sense of trust in what my body can do.

I’ve seen my body expand and grow, gaining 35 pounds, enduring 16 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing to give us our beautiful Ainsley. That same body lost those 35 pounds and then some. It’s pushed a stroller for miles and bounced a fussy newborn for hours in the middle of the night. It’s run races and endured countless workouts. When I’ve called on my body to be there for me it has been there and then some.

So today when I was tempted to worry about what my body was doing and how much weight I’ve gained, I made the decision to trust my body and believe it will do what’s needed to grow and carry this baby. And then when that baby is here, it will feed, cuddle, and nurture that baby, too.

So fellow pregnant mommas, join me in giving your body the grace and appreciation it deserves, even on the hard days. Because the hard days will come. We’re only human, right? But how we choose to respond to those hard days is what really matters.

Madison

Fashion, Pregnancy

Maternity Capsule Wardrobe

January 27, 2017

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During Ainsley’s pregnancy I sincerely wish someone had sat me down and told me this piece of advice: When it comes to shopping for maternity clothes, buy high quality, classic pieces that you love and that make you feel great. Invest in a capsule wardrobe now and you won’t regret it.

You see, I got trapped into the idea that pregnancy is only nine months. Why spend money on clothes you will only wear for a short period of time, right? Wrong. If you hate what you wear during those nine months, if your clothes aren’t cut well and don’t make you feel and look good, it will feel like nine years. Truth.

If you plan to have more than one kiddo, I promise you won’t regret it. I didn’t do this and I sincerely wish I would have. I’m convinced that while some of the items listed below are pretty expensive, I would have actually spent less in the long term by really curating a capsule wardrobe for pregnancy. Since we hope to have one or two more kiddos down the line, I’m thinking of doing this for the remainder of this pregnancy in hopes that I’ll get plenty of use out of my clothes down the road.

When selecting the items listed below I picked quite a few pieces that were designed to be worn during and after pregnancy, hence the large number of Hatch pieces that I’ve suggested. I have a few friends who own clothing from them and they have said that their Hatch items have gotten wear long after baby has arrived, which I love!

I also avoided most tops with any obvious rouching on the sides, as that just screams “maternity!” and you will never wear those items after you have baby, even if you do have a bump after delivery.

Oh, and on the subject of seasonality, I tried to keep that in mind as well. By selecting slightly lighter weight dresses and tops you should be able to get wear out of them in any season. Pair your tops with an open cardigan or utility jacket in the winter and wear them alone in the warmer months. Chances are if you’re pregnant during the winter you will run a little warmer, anyway. The same holds true for dresses! You will, of course, need to invest in some seasonal items – a maternity winter coat, perhaps, or an extra maxi dress or swimsuit, but I tried to just cover the basics here.

TOPS 

1. Classic Striped Top :: Hatch The Bateau Striped Top 
2. Basic White Dress Shirt :: Hatch The Classic White
3. Chambray Shirt or Tunic :: Old Navy Maternity Chambray Pullover 
4. Tunic-Length Top (either sweater weight for winter or lighter weight for summer)
2. Well-Cut Basic Top :: Hatch The Everyday Top

JACKETS & CARDIGANS
1. Basic Layering Cardigan :: Liz Lange Maternity Open Layering Cardigan
2. Military/Cargo Jacket :: Gap Maternity Utility Jacket 

DRESSES
1. Dressy Day-To-Night Style :: Hatch The Tulip Dress 
2. Casual Everyday Style Dress :: Hatch The Shirt Dress or The Afternoon Dress

JEANS 
1. Skinny Jeans You Absolutely Love :: AG Stella Maternity Skinny Jeans

BASICS
1. Basic Layering Tanks in Black, White and Grey :: Liz Lange Maternity Tanks
2. Basic Maternity Leggings in Black and/or Grey :: Gap Maternity Pure Body Low Rise Leggings
3. Basic Layering T’s and Shirts :: Liz Lange Maternity V-Neck Tee or Long Sleeve Shirt

Family, Pregnancy

My Prenatal Supplement Routine // What + Why

January 25, 2017

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I posted a photo to Instagram the other day sharing the little handful of vitamins and supplements I take on the regular when I’m pregnant. This routine varies slightly from when I’m not pregnant, and I got a lot of questions about what and why I take each supplement. While I’m the first to say that I’m not an expert on the topic, I’ve done my fair share of research and feel this is a good, well-rounded fit for me while pregnant. As always, consult your doctor when debating any chances in supplements, especially while pregnant, as recommendations can vary from person to person!

1. Metanx/L-Methyl-B Tabs (generic)
I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of avoiding folic acid and choosing methylated folate a number of times on the blog. You can read some of my reasons for avoiding folic acid and MTHFR here. In short, after our second loss I found out that my body doesn’t process folic acid (a synthetic form of folate) because of something called MTHFR. During my pregnancy with Ainsley my doctor and I agreed that I could and perhaps should take Metanx, a prescription form of methylated folate and B-vitamins. I’m taking the generic this pregnancy because it’s quite a bit more affordable. For information on the generic, you can read more here.

2. Iron
During Ainsley’s pregnancy, when I was about 18 weeks pregnant, I starting getting the worst headaches. I’ve always been prone to the occasional headache, but these were entirely different. After doing some research, I found that it could be because of an iron deficiency. Your blood volume increases 30-50% during pregnancy, which can lead to low iron levels and even anemia. Since I don’t eat much, if any, red meat, I figured it could be contributing to my headaches so I started and iron supplement and boom! My headaches were gone shortly after. I started an iron supplement while trying to get pregnant this time around and haven’t stopped since. If you want more on symptoms of iron deficiency while pregnant, I found this article helpful.

3. Baby Aspirin
Please hear me out when I say that this isn’t a recommendation for everyone during pregnancy. Taking a daily baby aspirin during Ainsley’s pregnancy, and this pregnancy, is a decision that my doctor and I made together based on my history of miscarriage and I’ve continued to do in this pregnancy for the same reason. Taking baby aspirin isn’t recommended in a normal pregnancy with no history of other issues, so I would caution against doing so without your doctor’s advice. I talk a little more about why we decided to take baby aspirin in this post from the archives.

4. Magnesium
I’ve seen stats that somewhere between 65-90% of the American population is low in magnesium. Crazy, right? This is a new addition to my prenatal supplement routine during this pregnancy, and I’m so glad I decided to start taking it. Magnesium has been shown to help reduce constipation, ease muscle cramps/twitches and I swear that it’s helped me have more restful sleep this time around, something I really struggled with during Ainsley’s pregnancy.

5. Probiotic
I haven’t done enough research on particular probiotics to really recommend one over the other, so I will leave the particular brand I take out of this post. I started taking a probiotic last year because Ainsley and I had been SO sick all winter and after countless antibiotics and three rounds of the stomach flu, my gut was totally wrecked. I’ve been focusing this year on repairing my gut, which includes eating more fermented food and taking a probiotic. It seems to be working thus far!

6. Fish Oil
Taking the right, high-quality Omega-3 supplement can be really beneficial if you’re not getting enough sources from food, which I know that I don’t. We don’t have enough access to quality fish, and while we do get frozen wild salmon from Costco that we eat occasionally, our local grocery stores are lacking in the seafood selection so we eat less fish that I would like. I take OmegaBrite if you’re curious! Not the cheapest but worth every penny, in my opinion. Also, someone brought to my attention that their anesthesiologist said during their first pregnancy that they didn’t love when women take fish oil supplements, but the American Pregnancy Association gives it a thumbs up.

And that’s it! I’m sure that I will get questions about why I don’t take a prenatal. I’ve decided not to because I am getting a lot of my nutrients, including the very important folic acid, in the vitamins and supplements above. Additionally, I usually have a Vega Protein & Greens smoothie every day and eat a lot of fruits and veggies throughout the day so I felt that taking a prenatal at this point would be overkill. If you are looking for a quality prenatal, I would recommend Garden of Life Once Daily Prenatal or Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal, both of which I’ve used and really like/trust.

Madison