Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Babywearing Toning + Mom Fuel

Okay, let’s get real for a few minutes. Being a mom of two is awesome, a ton of fun, humbling, and tough. Yea, it’s tough. Brooke and I were in such a groove on the days we had together – I knew how long it would take to get fed, ready, and out the door. Toss (not literally!) an adorable newborn into the mix and goodness knows how long it can take! I love the learning adventure and the little daily challenges, but most of all of the extra love that having two sweet girls has added to our home. 

Nearly two months in and I am feeling more confident each day in this new routine and the chaos it ensues. Sure, Mikah is still feeding on demand, so that is not always 100% predictable, but it is getting better. She is also a snuggly baby, which is lovely and incredibly sweet, however, a little tricky with a busy and fun toddler who wants to play and needs to eat! Therefore, Mikah is in the carrier a lot. Good thing she loves it! I usually love working out first thing in the morning and there have been quite a few days that either I get it in before they wake or both girls are agreeable to join in. We make play time out of it! However, there are other days where timing works out best to sneak in my workout at naptime so I have created a few new “babywearing” workouts! These are great as you automatically have an extra 10, 15, 20lbs strapped to you, you are forced to engage your core to align your spine, and baby gets snuggles (in our case, usually a solid nap)!! Win-win-win!

Babywearing Toning

what you need:
· two medium weight dumbbells (8-12lbs)
· a mat
· supportive baby carrier (we love our Ergo Baby!)
· water

30 seconds each
1. Squats with calf raise
2. Low pulsing lunges
3. Walking jacks
4. Squats with alternating leg abduction
5. Alternating lunges with front kick
6. Walking jacks

45 seconds work : 15 seconds rest x 2 rounds
1. Weighted squats
2. Biceps curl to shoulder press
3. Deadlifts
4. Triceps dips (off steps, coffee table, or other hard surface)
5. Sumo squat hold with calf raise
6. Wall or elevated push-ups

Core & Stretch
· 1 minute of belly breathing with kegels while kneeling
· minimum 2 minutes of various standing stretches

· please make sure you have been cleared for exercise from your healthcare provider postpartum
· keep your core engaged throughout the workout to protect your low back and keep your spine in good position
· workout when your baby is fed, changed, and ready for a nap or play time! If he/she stays awake, then talk, play music, and/or sing throughout your routine!


Workout done, now, we need to fuel our bodies! It has been over a year since I have done my best to keep our freezer stocked with healthy snacks for busy days, to pack for lunches, or when we are rushing out the door. Yes, it is some extra work, but so worth it and incredibly handy! As a new mom of two, exclusively breastfeeding the Littlest, and keeping active, I am HUNGRY! Having nutrient-filled on-handed delicious snacks ready to eat in the freezer is key!
Two new energy bite recipes can be found below!

Chocolate peanut energy bars
· 2 cups pitted dates (soaked for at least 15 minutes)
· 1 cup unsalted peanuts
· 1-2 tbsp cacao (depending on your chocolaty preference)
· 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until doughy consistency. Take a pan or container and line with parchment. Spread dough to ½-¾ inch thickness in pan. Press down firmly to even it out. Place in freezer for 30 minutes to set. Remove from freezer. Take parchment out of pan and cut into 1x1 inch squares, or desired shape. Store in airtight container. Enjoy!
Keeps in freezer for 1 month.

Cookie Dough Bites
adapted from Oh She Glows
· 2 cups raw cashews
· 1 cup rolled oats
· 1 cup dates (soaked for at least 15 minutes)
· 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
· 2 tbsp nut & seed butter
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· ½ tsp sea salt
· 4 tbsp dark chocolate chips
Place cashews and oats in food processor and grind until a fine flour forms (30-60 seconds). Don’t over-process, as the cashews can begin to turn into a butter. Add all remaining ingredients except the chocolate chips. Mix until doughy consistency. Remove blade from food processor and add chocolate chips. Mix in by hand. Form 1-inch round balls. Lay on a baking sheet to freeze for 30 minute before storing in airtight container. Enjoy!
Keeps in freezer for one month.


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Welcome sweet Mikah!

We welcomed our second daughter to the world on October 4, 2016 at 8:27am. 

Mikah Marie is sweet, snuggly, and so precious. Big sister Brooke is incredibly proud and loves "Baby Sister" so much already!

Our birth story is not one that you typically find when searching for "perfect birth experience", however, it was our perfect delivery. Actually, we have been blessed with two perfect deliveries. Being a labour and delivery nurse for five years, I have seen nearly every type of delivery and heard many birth plans. So for Keith and I, with our first daughter Brooke, our perfect birth experience was one where she arrived safely into this world. On April 16, 2014 I went into labour, but by the morning of April 17, I needed some assistance increasing the strength of the contractions with an artificial rupture of membranes (my obstetrician "broke my water"), followed by a syntocinon augment. After hours of strong contractions and not much change in cervical dilation I chose to try an epidural, in hopes that it would help me to relax muscles I thought I had been, but maybe wasn't. A few hours later, with minimal change in my cervix and Brooke's heart rate showing signs that she might not be able to tolerate labour much longer, my wonderful nurse, obstetrician, Keith, and I collaboratively decided that a cesarean section would be optimal for the safe delivery of Brooke. 

It was beautiful. After we made the decision of a caesarean birth, Brooke was born 30 minutes later, and placed on my chest less than two minutes after entering this world. With Keith by my side, it was everything we had ever hoped for in meeting and holding our sweet daughter for the first time. 

Fast forward to April 2016 at my first obstetrics appointment at 13 weeks gestation with the next pregnancy, where I was asked what our birth plan was. Keith and I had already discussed our options for attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) or scheduling an "elective section". We decided that we were 100% comfortable with a repeat cesarean birth and booked it that day! When asked by friends, colleagues, and clients why I was not attempting to VBAC, my answer was that it was our personal choice. I have witnessed beautiful and successful VBAC deliveries and I have seen scary situations for both mother and baby's safety in these attempts. Each family needs to make their own decisions in collaboration with their health care provider based on their own specific situation. 

For the majority of our pregnancy, we knew the exact date and approximate time that our baby would be born. How amazing is that? For us, it was! Sure, there was the possibility I would go into labour prior to that date, and we made sure to discuss that scenario with our obstetrician. However, that scenario never arose and I did not need to go to the hospital, as a patient, prior to our delivery date. 

October 4, 2016. Keith and I had a lovely sleep and woke excited knowing that in a few short hours we would be holding our new baby! I was thirsty and hungry, as required to have nothing by mouth (NPO) prior to surgery. We drove to the hospital giddy like children on Christmas morning. After checking in, we walked up the stairs (I knew it would be awhile before I could do four floors of stairs again!) and were welcomed with smiling faces on unit 4 South (the Assessment Room). We chatted and laughed with our wonderful nurses while they completed my paperwork and started my IV, all the while I couldn't help thinking, this is perfect - this is exactly the morning I had planned in my mind. 

We walked ourselves to the operating room (OR), took a few photos, and then I sat on the OR table for my spinal anesthetic. Once again amazing and happy thoughts were running through my mind, as everything to that moment had gone completely as anticipated. Keith was able to join me after the anesthetic was in effect and the surgery had begun. I felt much less "foggy" than with our first caesarean, I think likely because of our great sleep! Feeling the "pushing" sensation from the top of my abdomen, I knew it was almost time to hold her, so I looked at the clock, gave Keith a kiss, smiled at our amazing "Baby Nurse" and heard the most beautiful sound - Mikah's cry! She had arrived! 

8:27am. After cutting her cord, they carried her past me to the baby warmer to dry her off and Keith went over to meet her. She was then placed directly on my chest and what an incredible feeling that was! Within minutes, sweet Mikah was bobbing her head to search for some nourishment and latched herself right there in the OR! It wasn't the most comfortable nursing position - completely flat, unable to move my lower body, and with oxygen prongs in my nose, but I didn't even care. It was beautiful and amazing. 

Thoughts were racing through my mind, "Is this really happening? Did we really just have our perfect, planned cesarean birth that we had anticipated since early April?" You bet!

My spinal anesthetic took a little extra time to wear off, so we were in the recovery room longer than expected. Keith and Mikah stayed with me the entire time. We cuddled, fed, and took a few photos. Once we were transferred to postpartum, we shared the news with family and friends and excitedly waited for Brooke to make her way to meet "Baby Sister" with her grandparents!

Our entire delivery went as planned. We are ever grateful to our nurses, obstetricians, anesthesiologists, and unit clerks who made it happen! 

Two days later, Keith, Brooke, Mikah, and I drove home. What a surreal and beautiful feeling thinking, we are complete.