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Getting the body ready for baby

It’s that time, though I can hardly believe it. Seems like yesterday I gave birth to our little joy-ball in the bathtub at the Austin Area Birthing Center. In reality, it was over fifteen months ago! Time flies, and alas, we are ready to get started with Baby #2. I had a near perfect pregnancy the first time, and while most of that was simply grace (thank You, God!), I do believe that my diet and habits played a significant part. Many women interested in having a natural (drug-free) childbirth have since then asked me what I did for my “perfect pregnancy.” So I thought I would give some simple steps to help you so that you can provide the best possible physical environment (I’ll cover the spirit and soul/mind in later posts) for your baby to develop. These are a great refresher for me too as I get this body ready!

1. Begin eating a diet based on whole, real foods. If you do only one thing, stop eating “foods” with chemicals. Look for these ingredients specifically and eliminate them completely from your diet: high fructose corn syrup, anything “hydrogenated,” Nutrasweet (that means no Diet Coke, ladies), pretty much anything you can’t pronounce. Remember, simple is better, and God made our food with everything we need in it. If He didn’t put it there in the first place, we probably don’t need it. I wholeheartedly recommend Real Food for Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, and Baby’s First Foods. This book was written by a real mom and has a real easy-to-read style. If you buy only one book for your pregnancy, make it this one!

Note: If you have been eating a diet full of chemicals and processed foods, would you consider doing a de-tox or “cleanse” before you get pregnant? My favorite cleanse has been the Standard Process 21-day cleanse. It is whole foods based, organic, and completely natural. It is also one of the more balanced cleanses, and has had long-term results for me. It will help you find your ideal weight and will break your food addictions.

2. Water, water, drink more water. Get in the habit now. My beloved husband must have brought me a glass of water every 20 minutes when I was pregnant. Part of what kept my weight down was the fact that I was running to the bathroom every five minutes! This is not necessarily something you will want to do. Do it anyway.

3. Walk! It’s one of the few exercises you can do the entire pregnancy. We walked almost everyday of my pregnancy, literally. During the first few weeks, I ran into a woman who had delivered both of her boys without drugs. She said the first birth was much easier than the second because she had prepared by walking all the time. I took her words as if they were from God Himself and I made it my goal to walk all the time. Since I was determined to have a drug-free birth, I basically pretended that I was training for a marathon and kept a painfully regimented schedule. It really helps if you have a partner to do this with – like your husband! :)

4. Stretch! Boy, do I need to be writing this. I have not been diligent about stretching post-partum, but that is about to change. We had a few sets of exercises that we (I) did each night to help me maintain flexibility. I was determined not to swell and knew that I needed to keep good circulation. It worked! Stretching. Key. You could also do prenatal yoga. I kept it simple and just bought a video rather than going to classes. If you are like me and only want to buy one video, I’d go with this one: Prenatal Yoga. Once I had watched it a few times I just did the exercises that I liked the best so that I didn’t have to sit through too much mumbo jumbo. No offense. :)

5. Take prenatal vitamins. I am passionate about my prenatals. If you are a skeptic and think all brands are the same, trust me, they are not! You want a whole food-based vitamin (that means you are eating actual foods, not synthetic garbage!), preferably organic. Again, I wholeheartedly recommend Perfect Prenatal. Go ahead and buy the big one. You’ll be pregnant a while and you’ll still want to take them when you’re nursing all the time.

6. Rest, relax, and get in the habit of taking naps. You need lots of sleep. My beloved husband stroked my arm until I fell asleep every night since it was sometimes hard for me to get relaxed. This was great practice for labor since relaxation can help the labor process go much more smoothly. Watching a movie was also like taking a sleeping pill. Whatever works for you, get some sleep.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but I am sure you already have a stack of books to tell you everything else. The point was to keep it simple. It’s not all about the body either, so stay tuned for future posts about getting your mind and spirit ready for a perfect pregnancy, labor and delivery, and baby!

August 11, 2009   1 Comment

1,000 Gifts

Joining blog-heroine, poet, brave mother of six, Ann Voskamp, at www.aholyexperience.com in giving thanks. Today starts my official list of 1,000. Planning on going way past that. Won’t you join me?

holy experience

#1. Unexpected rain showers that water the earth. Even just a quick drink refreshes body and soul.

Soaked after a surprise rain storm in Latvia

Soaked after a surprise rain storm in Latvia

#2. Pancakes on the weekends. No sugar, made with honey instead by my super-chef husband.

A breakfast made from the heart by beloved husband

A breakfast made from the heart by beloved husband

#3. Our BWB – Big White Bed.

Snuggled up in the BWB

Snuggled up in the BWB

#4. Awaking every morning to cheerful babbling down the hall. Beloved husband and I linger in the BWB, hoping to get just a few extra minutes of quiet rest.

Morning smiles

Morning smiles

#5. Being married to my best friend. Still amazed that dreams really do come true.

One of our last photos as a family of two, taken on my due date (and 31st birthday). He came 13 days later.

One of our last photos as a family of two, taken on my due date (and 31st birthday). He came 13 days later.

August 10, 2009   7 Comments

The blue egg hunt

It all began with my beloved husband’s wedding gift to me – to redecorate his our house however God inspired me. Yes, every woman’s dream. Given the lavishness of this gift, I took it very seriously and went to the Master Creator for inspiration and some type of roadmap. It had been awhile since I had felt creative in that way. One morning while journaling before our wedding, I saw a clear picture in my imagination of how our living room was to look – bright, clean, simple – a ledge next to the window with three small bud vases, white flowers in each vase, and a bowl full of robin blue stone eggs. The blue eggs were the striking part. Where was I to find these eggs? As clear as day, His voice said to my heart, “You’ll find them on your honeymoon.” 

journal.blue.eggs.bright

Exhilarated, I ran to my beloved and told him what we had to look forward to on our honeymoon – a blue egg hunt – led by our wild Heavenly Father who happens to take great joy in decorating. My beloved was as thrilled as I was. An adventure to come! The magical wedding day came and went, and our first honeymoon began. Jackson Hole. We took in the bright blue skies, the purple mountains’ splendor, and the sparkling lakes, but there was not a bright blue stone egg in sight. 5 days later, we left Jackson Hole without blue eggs, and the hope that honeymoon #2 would bring the promised gift. 

Along came honeymoon #2 – two weeks later – a 14-day Baltic Sea cruise with my beloved husband’s family – parents, brothers, and sister-in-law. My mother-in-law wanted to visit the place of her roots – Lithuania – and wanted her sons to experience it with her. Though we spent most of the time in our luxury room (it had a balcony!) – wink, wink – we managed to make it off the ship to visit the ports of call (barely). We scoured Stockholm, Riga, Helsinki, and St. Petersburg to no avail. That we did not find the blue eggs in St. Petersburg was somewhat of a miracle since they are ubiquitous, and practically have a status as a national symbol! Nope, not there. The hunt continued…

Finally we arrive in Lithuania – the place of my mother-in-law’s roots. We looked, and looked, and looked, just knowing our eggs were somewhere in that quaint city. Almost ready to give up, we stumbled upon what was the largest, liveliest arts-and-crafts festival I have ever seen. Tens of thousands of Scandinavians descended on Klaipeda that weekend for the festival. Thinking the same thoughts, beloved husband and I looked at each other and said, “They’re there, let’s go!”. Off we went -booth by booth – looking, leaving, looking again. I said to him, “Oh, these look like what I saw in my vision, but they were…” – I paused, looked again, there it was – “…blue. This is it! This is what I saw!” They were there. What I had prayerfully imagined was made manifest right before my eyes. We screamed, jumped up and down, embraced, and danced, right there outside of that tiny booth. We bought all she had – 3 blue stone eggs. There must be more. Let’s keep looking! We went to every booth in that massive festival that day, two giddy, overflowing-with-joy children of God, searching for treasures with our Heavenly Father. As He would have it, He brought us two other brilliant blue stone eggs, making a grand total of five. We skipped back to ship, brimming with joy over this promise fulfilled. And still…

blue eggs in new home


Five. Why not seven? He brought five. The number of grace and favor.  There may be many reasons, but the one I like the best is that those five eggs remind me that it is all His grace. His grace put the vision of those eggs in my imagination, His grace gave me the faith to believe that He “could bring something out of nothing,” His grace took us on an amazing trip where we could search for those eggs, His grace ordered our steps that led us to those exact booths to find those exact blue eggs, His grace gave us the money to pay for those blue eggs, and His grace brought them safely to our beautiful home where they sit as the centerpiece in our living room where life happens daily. And favor. During that time, I really believed that God favored me enough to tell me exactly how to decorate my house, and then provide all the details. Disappointments, discouragement, and busyness seem to have diminished that childlike faith during these past several months. Was that just a season that ended? Or, is He still willing? Oh, I hear Him say that He “is more than willing.” Does He really speak that way? Oh yes, and so much more. He is wild, extravagant, and lavish. He does more than we can ask for or imagine. More than. These blue eggs are just the beginning. If only I will seek. If only I will ask. If only I will believe.

Will you?

August 9, 2009   No Comments

Coming Soon!

This blog will soon delight you with words to share from God’s heart.

August 5, 2009   No Comments