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Pregnancy

Dealing with Polyhydramnios (Extra Amniotic Fluid During Pregnancy)

You know that point when pregnancy stops being fun or feeling cute? Like when your belly is so big you can no longer wear the full panel maternity leggings (because they only cover half of your belly)! Or when your at-home attire is limited to your husband’s big t-shirts and a pair of maternity sweatpants that you have had to cut the waist band to fit into?  Yep I’m there!

I went to the doctor today for my 34 week OB appointment and learned my belly is measuring at 43 weeks pregnant!! You may be wondering “is that even possible?” I’ve always had a bigger pregnant belly being short-waisted, but this is OFF THE CHARTS. But when you have a condition called polyhydramnios it’s actually pretty common.

Poly-what???? You probably only know of the term polyhydramnios if a) you’re in the medical field or b) you’re pregnant and recently diagnosed. Basically, what this means is you are pregnant and have more amniotic fluid than what’s considered normal. Oh and your belly is large AF. At least it is in my case!!

I actually had this with my 3rd pregnancy.  It was mild, they ruled out everything negative and my only side effect was a big belly.  Which is pretty normal for me.

This time (race against time phrase) around though, even though my levels are just (just in case meaning) above what is normal…it’s been so much harder to deal with. Not only do I look and measure over a full month ahead, but I have a hard time breathing. I’m constantly short of breath. When I first became pregnant, I was active, and exercised 5 days per week. I was walking around 4 miles per day, and felt really good. At about the 26 week mark, I could barely get in 2 miles without having to stop several times. Now just walking up the stairs hurts my chest. It’s crazy. I hate it.

Sleep is pretty much non-existent. Having all of this extra fluid makes my belly so large and heavy, even propping a pillow underneath doesn’t help much. Truly the only time I sleep well is when it all catches up with me and I’m overly exhausted. Most of the time this is during the most inconvenient times (after dinner when my kids need me and I find myself falling asleep on the couch). I feel so guilty, I’m 100% sure they miss non-pregnant mommy.  Actually my four year old told me he wished I didn’t have a baby in my belly the other day. Ahhh the guilt.

When people ask how I’m feeling…most of the time I find it’s just easier to say “good”. Sort of a hassle to go into it. I only do if I get the rude comments about how huge my belly is. I was at Home Goods the other day checking out…super pumped about my finds and the cashier seriously wouldn’t stop. “Wow…do you realize how huge your belly is?” (with the most disgusted look on her face). I politely said yes, and tried to explain I have extra amniotic fluid. She kept going…”But I mean, seriously it’s so big…Do you realize that?”. Ummm… duh yes…I just told you why. And then the dreaded…”Are you sure you aren’t having twins?”.  Let’s just say I was not very polite with my response back to her!

Having extra amniotic fluid puts me at risk for pre-term labor. This is my fourth child, and I have NEVER gone early. Like not even one day. So I didn’t take (take with a grain of salt idiom) this too seriously. However last weekend we had a bit of a scare.  I woke up Saturday morning and started getting us all ready for my son’s basketball game.  At about 8:30am I started having contractions (which felt like Braxton Hicks at first). However, they didn’t go away, got stronger and more painful…and felt like one constant contraction. They persisted thru his game and after about 2 hours I knew something was wrong. I left the game early, and drove myself to the hospital.

Turns out I was having contractions 2 minutes apart consistently by the time I arrived. At almost 33 weeks pregnant, this is of course way too early. They gave me nifedipine to slow the contractions and kept me there for monitoring.  It took awhile, but after 4 hours the contractions stopped and they sent me home. I laid low most of the weekend, which is pretty hard for me. I’m one to constantly tidy and clean. On Sunday I decided to run a few errands, started having contractions and had to come home and lay down. I guess I’m just going to have to force myself to take it easy.

Resting in bed has giving me plenty of time to google the term polyhydramnios 100 times and I have tried a lot of the things recommended to help with this. If you’re pregnant and in my same boat…here’s what I have found works so far:

Warm baths:  It’s a temporary fix – but feeling lightweight is amazing and it relaxes your muscles. I love (fall in love synonym) doing this before bedtime, and it does help me to fall asleep faster.

Drinking lots of water.  I’m talking 3 liters per day. It helps to prevent the contractions and just makes you feel better. It also helps with pregnancy related constipation…because who wants that discomfort on top of polyhydramnios?

Sitting with Feet Propped Up:  The standard response from anyone on what to do for any pregnancy symptom lol. But yes it does work and gives you an excuse to read a magazine, online shop, or scroll your phone!

Yoga Stretches:  Find a good prenatal yoga video and do a few of the exercises. Helps a lot with back pain. It’s about the only workout I can fit in these days. Even 5-10 minutes makes a difference.

Heartburn Relief:  Eat as healthy as you can…but sometimes that doesn’t even matter. As much as I didn’t want to take another med, I’m now taking Prilosec every night…and it’s a Godsend.

So I have 5 more weeks to go. I always say time flies, except when you’re pregnant. We are so busy and basketball season is starting so I am hoping that will help it to go by fast.  The days seem to go by fast, but nights are LONGGG. If you’re in my same boat. HANG IN THERE. I try and focus on the fact the end is nearer than I think.  But trust me its tough! My advice, which is easier said than done, is to take his as an excuse to take it easy and just REST!

Are you currently dealing with Polyhydramnios? If so, what has worked for you to help with the discomfort?

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Pregnancy Recipes

My Pregnancy Meal Plan: Easy, Simple, & Healthy

If you’re anything like me, the second you found out you were pregnant all you wanted to eat was bread, bread, and more bread! What is it about the first trimester? It probably didn’t help  I was extremely nauseous, but all rational thoughts and self control went out the door. I found myself only reaching for toast, bagels, french fries…basically if it was a carb I wanted it!

At about the 11 week mark I knew I couldn’t continue like this or would gain way too much weight during my pregnancy. Which I knew from past pregnancies would be super hard to lose and unhealthy for the baby.

Every day I help other women reach their weight loss & health goals, and here I was doing the exact opposite! So I put my knowledge to work and created an easy, simple to follow meal plan for pregnancy, one I could actually follow! One that made sure I:

  • Drank enough water during the day
  • Stayed full and ate frequently
  • Had plenty of easy-to-make meal options
  • Had my fridge stocked with healthier alternatives to my pregnancy cravings
  • Ate a balanced diet that included foods beneficial during pregnancy

Just to be clear this is only a guide and what has helped me maintain a healthy pregnancy weight. It’s not restrictive, provides plenty of options, and there is NO calorie counting! Yay!

xoxo,

Rachel

Anti-Aging Beauty Pregnancy

Pregnancy-Safe Anti-Aging Skin Care: My Saranghae Review

I’ve mentioned before, but since the day I turned 30 I’ve been obsessed with everything skincare and anti-aging. I was a sucker for any new product and literally had a medicine cabinet full of eye creams, serums, masks, peels, treatments, night creams…you name it. I started researching the products and ingredients the dermatologists use and had found a Rodan and Fields skincare regimen that I loved that had all of your typical anti-aging ingredients (retinol, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, peptides, etc…). I also work at a Compounding Pharmacy and started adding in a few anti-aging compounds to complement my skincare routine. I used this regimen for over 3 years…and had great results. I honestly thought I would stick with it forever.

But when I got pregnant, I wasn’t able to use the majority of my products. I really wanted skincare that was not only pregnancy-safe but also great for anti-aging. I honestly thought the pregnancy-safe anti-aging skincare probably didn’t exist. I’ve connected with a lot of bloggers and other Insta-moms (is that a word?) over the years and kept seeing various brands of Korean skincare pop up in their stories. Pretty soon I started seeing ads on Facebook and Instagram. (You know how that goes!). After I learned a good friend was using a Korean skincare line and her skin looked amaze-balls…I was sold on trying it.

What exactly is Korean Skincare all about???

If you haven’t heard of or at least read something in the past few years about Korean Skincare products, you’re probably living under a rock! Korean’s are known for their glowing, porcelain-like skin. But what exactly are they using and what the heck is in it?! I had heard of 10-step routines (that sounded a bit unrealistic and intimidating to be honest)…but I will try anything, especially if the celebrities and top beauty experts are using it.

One thing I discovered is Korean Skincare has a heavy focus on using natural ingredients, and not just (just in case meaning) botanicals. I’m talking snail slime, salmon eggs, pig collagen, and stem cells from placenta. Yes, you heard me placenta.  Sounds weird right??? But like I said…I’m open to anything if it works and will make me look like I’m 20 (okay…30)!

How and Why did I decide to try Saranghae?

Bottom line I had a friend who used it and her skin was flawless, glowing and extremely healthy looking. SOLD. This was in March. I had just returned back to the cold weather in Omaha after a week-long trip to California. My skin had become dehydrated and flaky and I looked old and tired. Nothing I was using in the past was working like it used to, and then I learned I was pregnant. I discovered Saranghae, found out it was not only pregnancy-safe skincare, but helped also helped with anti-aging.

So What’s In this Stuff?

I’m not opposed to using a lot of skincare products, because I’m a skincare junkie and not one bit afraid to admit I’m obsessed with looking younger (who isn’t?) and having great skin. I was skeptical when I heard the ingredients in the system were all botanical based. I’m so used to “science” when it comes to skincare and using products like retinol, vitamin C, peptides, hyaluronic acid etc…so this was a stretch for me. But again I went back to the fact that so many celebs and beauty experts rave about Korean skincare, and after obsessively reading other Instagrammer’s reviews I knew I had to try it.

Saranghae’s active ingredients are from rare and powerful Asian Botanicals grown in volcanic soil in South Korea.  Some of the ingredients include:

Phellinus Linteus:  Has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties.  Good for healing, protecting and regenerating skin cells.

Gingseng:  High in antioxidants, helps restore balance and increases the production of collagen and elastin…to firm skin.

CoQ10:  An antioxidant that protects the deeper layers of your skin from UV damage.

Hyaluronic Acid:  I was familiar with this one!  Helps your skin to retain moisture and repair damaged tissue.

The Simple 4 Step Regimen:

Step 1:  CLEANSE.  I love, love, love (fall in love synonym) their cleanser! It’s very different from those I have used in the past. I’ve tried them all, traditional, oil-based, clay-mask based, but this stuff is GOLDEN. Literally. I’m not joking. Two of the main ingredients in the cleanser are Truffle Extract & Gold…like real Gold (see pic below). It’s a combo of an oil-based and foaming cleanser and goes on so smooth. You need about 4 pumps and then massage all over your face until it starts to foam. Then you rinse and your face already is feeling clean, super soft and smooth.

Can you see the gold specs in the cleanser?  

Step 2:  SERUM.  This is very lightweight and goes on easy all over the face. It has a wet feeling and takes a bit to absorb…so I usually wait about a minute in between this step and the next. This serum contains mushroom extract, plant based placenta (honestly I have no clue what that is or means, but I’m rolling with it!), collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid.

Step 3:  EYE CREAM.  I had a favorite eye cream until now. Now, Saranghae would be it. It’s super hydrating, a little goes a long way, and I notice a difference right away. The difference between this eye cream and others I have used in the past, is I don’t have to reapply throughout the day to keep a hydrated look. It truly lasts all day.

Step 4:  FIRM & LIFT CREAM.  This has a similar feel to the eye cream, but a bit thicker and even more hydrating. I love how soft, hydrated and smooth this makes my skin feel and look. Again a little goes a long way, and a plus, this product helps with brown spots! The only downside is it does not contain an SPF. Which I am crazy about. So I do always add an SPF 60 during the day after this step. The one I’m loving now is a super lightweight SPF by La Roche.

And I Would Be Remiss If I Didn’t Mention…

There are 2 other masks I use in the Saranghae line that I also love. I have to say I’m horrible about consistently using masks. The ELEMENTAL ESSENCE MASK actually comes with their skin care regimen and is to be used weekly. When I do use this, I LOVE it. Here’s my problem. The cloth mask scares the hell out of my kids and husband! Imagine a cross between Halloween and Silence of the Lambs! So I have to use late at night before bed, and honestly sometimes I forget. But I shouldn’t because it’s extremely hydrating, smells amazing, and my skin feels incredible afterwards. Especially the next morning. No puffy or tired eyes, firmer and awake looking skin. For real!

This is not actually me, but was taken from Saranghae’s Instagram. But now you understand why my kids were scared!

The other mask I love (that is not included with the regimen) is the PORE REFINING CHARCOAL MASK. Charcoal is huge in the beauty world these days. I see it everywhere. I even started brushing my teeth with activated charcoal for whitening, but that’s another post! It does take (take with a grain of salt idiom) a bit to apply, but unlike so many other charcoal masks, it comes off  easily. I’m talking in one try….I literally started peeling and the entire mask came off at once without pulling or stretching my skin. It was very exfoliating and my skin looked refreshed and brighter after one application. I’ll definitely be using on a more consistent basis. In fact…I may go put one on now as I finish this post!

Love, love, love this mask!

Overall Impression/Review of Saranghae

I’ve been using Saranghae Skincare now for three months and I have to say I love it. And I did from the get go…actually from the first night using. My skin was so dry and dull looking prior, and Saranghae instantly changed that. It’s looking more hydrated, and I do feel my frown lines around my mouth have started to fade. Which I haven’t been able to say about other skincare regimens. The only issue that is hard to gage is whether it’s working on my brown spots. Since I’m pregnant and it’s summer, I’m more prone to what’s called melasma (aka the mask of pregnancy), but prior to the weather warming up it kept my melasma at bay. I’m loving Saranghae’s pregnancy-safe skincare and would definitely recommend to my friends (and have)!

Have you tried Saranghae Skincare?  What do you think of their products?  What products do you love that are also pregnancy-safe?

 

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Cravings are REAL

pregnancy cravings are real

Photo of and taken by Eden Eats

It’s official, I can finally announce I’m 12 weeks pregnant and our 4th baby will be arriving in December! This has been such a hard secret to keep, especially since I felt like I started showing the second I had a positive pregnancy test. My uterus definitely knows what to do!

So what’s crazy is I will be turning 40 (yikes!!!) just (just in case meaning) 2 weeks after I have the baby. I laugh now that earlier this year I kept telling everyone that 40 was my year, and how I planned to “look the best and be the fittest I’ve ever been at 40”. Kind of ironic now that I will actually be in the worst shape of my life at 40… but hey it’s worth it!

Seriously we couldn’t be happier, this is a huge blessing, and we are excited to grow our family. I can’t wait to snuggle a newborn again! And the baby smell…oh you can never get enough of that. The blissful newborn days are short but oh so sweet and Christmas will definitely be extra special this year.

So prior to becoming pregnant I was in pretty good shape physically, had recently detoxed and lost 8 pounds, was running and getting my body “summer ready”. I found out I was pregnant, hopped on the baby train and fell of the wagon…HARD! I’m not joking. Suddenly I was a carb addict, only wanting bagels, toast, crackers, bread, you name it.

Bread, bread, and more bread.

Did I mention bread? 🙂

I have been soooo nauseous with this pregnancy (which has me convinced it’s a girl), I really couldn’t stomach the idea of eating my usually egg and kale omelet for breakfast or a salad for lunch. And meat sounded absolutely disgusting.

When I do feel like eating I’m a french fry maniac. Like certified. Actually you can add tacos, chips and just about anything else loaded with salt to the list. Pregnancy cravings are REAL. I swear the guy at McDonald’s probably knows me by my first name at this point.  I even went there at 10:15 one morning, realized they were still serving breakfast, and waited in my car for 15 minutes until I could go order a large fry.

At this rate, I could end up gaining more than I weigh. Kidding of course, but I seriously need to get on track. When I got pregnant I was all…”i’m going to workout every day, eat organic fruits and veggies, blah, blah, blah”. You now know I took a major detour from that plan. But the nausea is starting to subside and it’s truly time (race against time phrase) to get back on track.

The funny thing is, my doctor told me I don’t even need any extra calories in the first trimester. It’s not until mid-way through the 2nd trimester I should add 200-250 calories per day. And of course this is something I know. But there’s just something about pregnancy that makes you think “I deserve this” and somehow we justify it. Like I said pregnancy cravings are so so real!

So I’m working to modify the meal plan I typically follow (adding in a few more healthy carbs for pregnancy), and I plan to do my best to stick to it. I’ve also started walking 3 miles per day when I feel up to it. And that really helps.  It’s amazing how much better it makes me feel.

I’m seriously on a mission to find healthier alternatives to these foods I crave. Healthier alternatives that actually taste good. I’m an amazon click away from buying an air fryer because I think this could be a better solution for my french fry addiction.  Sorry McDonald’s! So stay tuned because when I find something good I will for sure be sharing it! It’s time to get my $h!& together!!

So tell, me what foods did you crave during pregnancy?  Did you too feel like a carb maniac during the first trimester???