(If you’re new to the blog or haven’t seen social media or the podcast, Chris and I welcomed our precious daughter Dagny into the world on March 6 2020. She very unexpectedly left us for Heaven on March 20th.)
I’ll be honest – this post feels like it’s a little more for me than it is for anyone reading. I think I’m okay with that. I don’t ever want to forget these things. And: so many of you don’t know Chris. You’ve heard me talk about his for years, but you don’t know him even though he’s a huge part of Primal Potential behind the scenes.
And maybe this will help you love, celebrate or memorialize someone in your life. Maybe this post will make you less likely to bicker over the dishes or the garbage.
If you were to meet Chris, he’d be the outgoing jokster – it can be hard for people to take him seriously. But you’d quickly realize that he’s the type of guy who would do anything for anyone. It really doesn’t matter if he knows you or not, if he likes you or not, he’s the kind of guy who jumps in and helps. Always.
I knew these things…these are all reasons I love him (and reasons he drives me crazy)…but for better or worse, I saw new, awe-inspiring things in him over these last few weeks where we walked through the peaks of joy and the darkest, loneliest sorrows.
Friends, I don’t think I’d be alive if it weren’t for this man. That’s not hyperbole. I really don’t think I’d have survived this last week if not for this man. I don’t think I’d survive this day if it weren’t for him.
While I was pregnant, I wasn’t sure how Chris would be as a dad. I know a lot of men have trouble connecting with newborns and the bond is certainly different than it is between a mom & her baby.
In the last few weeks, Chris has opened my eyes to a loyalty and bravery I didn’t know until I saw him welcome our daughter into this world and until I walked beside him as we watched her leave.
I was hospitalized for two days before she was born. We were worried about my health but we never had any significant reason to worry about our precious daughter.
I was sick, but she was strong. As my fever climbed, Dagny’s heart rate was strong. Chris stayed up with me 24 hours a day while I labored for 2 days. The doctors and nurses tried to medicate me so I could sleep, but there was no sleep to be had. Chris sat at my side, watching my contractions on the monitor, rubbing my head through each one.
He made sure I was constantly drinking water. He pushed my IV pole to the bathroom hundreds of time. He changed my pads and put my underwear on me. He brought new pillows, put chapstick on my lips and tended to my every need.
As my fever climbed higher and my contractions got more intense, he held my face and calmly reassured me that we’d all be okay.
When my fever passed 104 degrees, they rushed us back for an emergency c-section. Once medicated, my muscles started cramping so badly that I had trouble speaking and breathing. Chris calmly coached every inhale and exhale. I didn’t take my eyes off him.
When the three of us got back to our room, the medical team wanted us to do 24 hours of skin-to-skin to help Dagny’s body temperature stabilize. My fever was breaking, so I was sweaty and clammy. Chris stayed up again, another 24 hours, to make sure she was safely on one of us at all times. She didn’t go near her bassinet for nearly 36 hours.
We fed her together. Chris was a part of every single feeding from the very first. Because of my incision, I couldn’t sit up well enough to control both my breast and our sweet baby, so Chris helped every time, often holding both Dagny and my breast, doing more work than I did.
He continued to help me change my pads, dress me and he even cleaned up my urine off the floor when I couldn’t get to the bathroom fast enough. I don’t typically do well with blood & medical things so he’d check my incision for me daily.
He made sure the nurses gave me my meds on time. He made sure I was eating and constantly drinking. He did all this running on 3+ days without sleep.
And all of that continued, around the clock, when we went home a few days later.
He helped me nurse & pump, he helped me sit and stand, he changed diapers (mine & Dagny’s), continued to help with every feeding, made my meals, cleaned up and took care of our dog & chickens.
I thought I couldn’t love him more – I thought he couldn’t do more – and then our nightmare began.
We took Dagny to the ER, thinking she was just a little dehydrated. Still, I was emotional. I wasn’t feeling well and I was so sad that our tiny baby girl was in the ER. I sat in her room in the ER and pumped in the corner, crying the whole time. Chris stood by Dagny, holding her when he could, talking and singing to her endlessly while also trying to calm me down. He’d dip his finger in sugar water and was so happy when she’d lock eyes with him while aggressively sucking his pinky.
They decided to monitor her overnight, to make sure her appetite returned as she rehydrated. I was bleeding heavily, among a few other challenges, and Chris insisted I lay down in the bed beside her to try and sleep. He stood by her bedside, talking and singing to her.
In the night, he walked with her to her x-ray, unwilling to let her leave the room without us.
When they got back to the room, Dagny started to struggle. It was really our first moment any of us realized she was sick. We were both scared, but Chris’s first priority was making sure that even with 5-10 medical professionals working on her, she knew we were there. He watched her eyes to make sure she didn’t look scared. He wrapped his arms around me and assured me she was going to be fine.
All the while, he continued to take care of me. He made sure I stayed hydrated and fed. He found Tylenol and made me take it. He asked about my bleeding every time I went to the bathroom.
He held all of our bags without setting them down for about 2 hours, wanting to be sure he was ready to fly out the door as soon as they started to move her.
When we arrived at Boston Children’s and realized how dire things had become, he showed complete devotion and urgency. I was so scared of what we would see when we were finally able (9 hours later) to see her. Chris just kept saying, “I don’t care. I need to see her. I need to see her.”
He stood at her bedside immediately, with total courage. He touched her, kissed her, talked to her, sang to her. When I’d fall to the floor, he’d pick me up. With love and firmness, he talked me through each moment. “That’s still our girl. She’s coming back to us. You can do this.”
I wish you could understand what we were seeing as he showed this bravery. There are no words to express his strength.
As we prepared to see her on Friday morning, sure that God would grant us a miracle, my breasts ached with their fullness. He brought me my pump and held me while I expressed milk for our daughter who was fighting for her life.
When they told us we had say goodbye, he insisted that they find a way to let us hold her before she passed. It took hours of logistics for us to be able to hold her, but he was unrelenting.
He insisted we get prints of her hands & feet. He didn’t want the social worker to take the prints. He did it himself.
He insisted someone capture a picture of the three of us, something we hadn’t yet done in her short life.
We sobbed. We held each other. We sat beside each other, with Dagny in his arms, as she was baptized and we said our final goodbyes.
When we got home from Boston that evening, the first thing Chris did was call the hospital. We knew she was gone, but he needed to check on her. He wanted to know where she was and what happened after we left that room. It was a gut-wrenching display of love & loyalty that I hope I never forget.
I could share 1,000 more moments and write 1,000,000 more words and it wouldn’t adequately express his bravery & love.
I never, ever want to forget it.
I think about all the time we’ve spent bickering over the house, the dishes, or a particular tone of voice.
I pray that every time I approach one of those petty annoyances, I remember the way he showed up for our daughter and the way he kept me alive during the darkest moments of my life.
In our darkest moments, there are people lighting the way.
Chris lit the way.
I hope this encourages you to honor someone who has brightened your path or invites you to light the way for someone in your life.
Thank you, Chris, for helping me get through every moment when I don’t think I can. You’ve shown me a bravery and loyalty I didn’t know.
To learn more about our daughter and how we are planning to live well in her honor, please visit primalpotential.com/dagny.
We’re in the home stretch! Baby girl could come any time, really! Though her due date isn’t until the end of February, I know it’s up to her at this point! Here’s her most recent picture, which will probably be her last as we aren’t planning to have any more ultrasounds.
My bump has taken over and I won’t lie: I’ve gained a lot of weight. I’m not sure of the exact number, but I’m pretty sure that with several weeks still to go, I’m already up over 40 pounds. How do I feel about it? Totally fine, for the most part.
Sure, I have moments of looking at my hips & butt and thinking, “Whoa. That’s quite different…” but honestly, it’s just the journey. I know that I create my results.
When I have intermittent moments of frustration or disappointment, I calmly remind myself that I’m in control here. I use uncomfortable feeing as a reminder to move a little more that day or dial back the sugar (baby still doesn’t respond well to vegetables and protein).
I don’t want to be someone who is dramatic about my size. I want to use my energy & emotion for more productive things. These aren’t problems; they’re opportunities for growth & change (literally and figuratively)!
It’s been a really interesting transition…there’s a part of me that is genuinely excited to have gained so much weight. It sounds weird, even to me, as I type it. I think it’s because losing 100+ pounds was a journey full of so much pride. It wasn’t without it’s challenges & frustrations, but I remember being so proud of myself and excited about where I was going. While weight loss will not be my priority as soon as baby is born, it doesn’t scare or intimidate me, either. The opportunity for change is always exciting.
I’ve been thinking a lot about who I want my daughter to have as a mother…how I want her to see me. I want her to see and know me as a confident woman who takes impeccable care of herself. I want her to witness what a healthy body & mind look like.
That’s another idea that gets me so excited. It’s no longer just about me, how I feel in my body or my aesthetic goals. It’s now about what I get to demonstrate for my daughter.
Meanwhile, there’s a lot of other stuff going on….
The renovation continues. I anticipate this phase will be complete in early February so we’ll be hustling to get stuff out of storage and settled before the baby arrives. We’re still living in the studio apartment on our property with most of our stuff packed away. It’s a tight squeeze and we’re reading for more space and the comforts of home! (I’ve been sharing house progress pictures on my Instagram stories if you aren’t following me there!)
There hasn’t been much intentional movement/exercise lately, in large part because I fell down the stairs a few weeks ago and injured my back. We monitored baby at the hospital after the fall and she was fine, but my back didn’t fare as well.
However, I just bought a treadmill and I’m going to set it up in my office. I’m excited to walk a lot more, both before & after baby.
One of my biggest priorities has been my delivery mindset.
It’s staggering how many people offer up their horror stories about birth and recovery. For that reason, I’m spending a lot of time getting my mind healthy, positive and strong for delivery.
I have no expectations of how it will go – I’m not attached to any particular birth plan – but I do want to feel as calm and confident as possible going into the experience.
I’ve been spending 90 minutes each day (that time isn’t easy to find) going through hypnobirthing audios and reviewing affirmations about how strong and capable my body is. I’m visualizing my response to contractions and the calm way I work with my body instead of fighting against it.
I’ve also really stepped up my committment to nutrient density every day. I know this is a big part of my ability to recover after giving birth. I’m militant about my probiotics, getting enough protein, taking my omegas and including vegetables at every meal.
I don’t have a hospital bag packed, the nursery isn’t done, I have no idea what baby will wear home from the hospital and it will likely all stay that way. However, I do want to make sure I have some snacks to bring to the hospital!
I promise to keep you all posted! I’m excited to share our little girl with you when she arrives, as well as all the details of her arrival!
I saw a post last week from marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk that inspired me to write this blog…
In past years & decades, I haven’t taken enough time to reflect on all that changed. In fact, because I haven’t done that each year, I’m sure my reflection over the past decade will be missing some big, important things. But, not only do I want to reflect, I want to project. I want to cast a vision for what I want my life to look like in 2029. Heck, I’ll have a 9 year old! Wow!
I want you to do it, too.
It’s amazing how much can change in a decade and I don’t want to leave it to chance. I want to actively create my future and design the life I want. I want that for you, too.
This is about where I started the decade, physically. These pictures are between 2010-2013.
I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, even though both me and my former husband were making decent money.
I was severely depressed and had constant anxiety around my job.
I used food as an anesthetic. I slept as much as I could.
I was unhappy, unhealthy and certainly not wealthy.
And, a lot changed. None of these changes happened quickly. Over the last decade…
- I paid off over $130,000 in debt
- I lost well over 100 pounds
- I launched Primal Potential
- I got divorced
- I lost a lot of friends
- I moved back to New England
- I build a custom tiny house and lived in it for a year
- I bought an incredible investment property in a city I love
- I fell in love
- I wrote & published a book
- I got certified as a CrossFit Level 1 Instructor
- I bought a new home for myself & my family
- I paid cash to fully renovate it
- I built an office (and paid cash for it)
- I launched a second business
- I got chickens and a puppy
- I set records in my revenue and my personal earnings
- I made tons of new friends
- I got pregnant
The changes to my physical body have been the least interesting part of the last decade.
I’ve become happier, wiser, more strategic….I’ve become a better friend, a better thinker and a better listener.
I’ve also been through hell. I’ve been lied to and stolen from. I’ve been in lawsuits and through countless misunderstandings. I’ve had my heart broken.
Things have been hard and they’ve been totally worth it. It blows my mind, just what can happen in a decade and how completely life can change.
Here’s the thing: if you had asked me 10 years ago if any of these in the cards for me in the next 10 years I would have said NO WAY. I didn’t see these things coming. I didn’t believe they were possible.
That’s why I want to encourage you to THINK BIG. It’s OKAY if it doesn’t seem feasible or probable. That doesn’t mean it’s not feasible or not probable. We can ALL exceed our own expectations!
I can’t help but wonder what might be different if I was more intentional about the design of my life at the start of the decade. So, I’m doing that for this next decade. I’ve gone really deep in my personal journals but wanted to share a few of my thoughts here about my vision for the next decade.
By 2029 I will…
- Write 3 best-selling books
- Have 4 children
- Help 40 people on my team become millionnaires
- Have a CrossFit box on my property
- Launch a financial literacy charity for kids & teens
- Vacation with friends and family every 6 weeks
I’ve journaled extensively about how my work-life and home-life will be. I’ve journaled about the time I’ll spend in service and the richness of the relationships in my life. I’m giving thought to specific financial goals and what each of these things will take.
I’ve asked what I’ll need to stop doing, start doing and keep doing to bring these targets into reality.
I’ve asked myself how I’ll know when I’m on or off track.
I’m sharing my detailed goals with friends and family.
Bottom line, we all have the opportunity to take control of the design of our lives.
Let’s get excited about creating the lives we want instead of settling for the lives we’re living.
Don’t wait until January 1st.
Don’t doubt what is possible.
Refuse to play small.
Allow yourself to dream.
And now, get to work!
This story of transformation features 12 Weeks to Transformation client, Tracey.
For anyone passing by it looked like Tracey had a pretty good life. She was raising three great kids, was married to her college sweetheart for 27 years, had a successful career, wonderful friends and was doing things she enjoyed.
But behind the “good life” there was an underlying tension. Life felt closed and like something was broken. It wasn’t something she could really describe but it was always there. And those things carried into her marriage, but she didn’t really know what the root of the problem was.
The “good life” needed to continue, so she ignored the tension and kept going through the motions.
In 2018 this California girl had a front-row seat to watching her life crash.
She learned that her husband had been cheating on her.
For the next six months, the trauma and stress took a toll on Tracey. She had already been living with a lung condition but under the weight of the stress, her body gave in to an extreme case of pneumonia which led to a two-week hospital stay. The sickness progressed to the point that she had to have an extreme procedure called a thoracotomy to scrape the infection out of her lungs.
What Tracey didn’t realize was that this hospital stay would be a major turning point for her life. At the lowest point in her life, things were about to shift.
It was during this time that a friend of Tracey’s told her about Elizabeth and the Primal Potential podcast. For two weeks, Tracey lay in her hospital bed listening to the podcast. Tracey recovered, was released from the hospital and continued listening to the podcast.
Through the podcast, she was hearing and seeing things that were causing the “lights to go on.” She had found exactly what she needed to change her life.
Tracey was initially drawn to the podcast because of the science-based nutritional and health information. As she began to put into practice Elizabeth’s teaching she watched her health improve dramatically. She lost weight she had battled for years. But she realized that was only one part of the equation to changing her life in a significant way.
The second, and biggest part, was changing her mindset. She came to understand how she thought, how she “talked to herself”, and how the decisions she made were key to major life change and realizing her true potential.
Even though she was still dealing with the aftermath of an affair, working through things with her husband and recovering from a major illness she knew she needed more.
That’s when she made the decision to get off the fence, invest herself and joined the 12 Weeks to Transformation.
It was during the 12 weeks that she got the practical and personalized no-nonsense tools she needed to open up her closed life. She was no longer racing through life, ignoring herself and her relationships.
She started to overcome the fear and self-doubt she had lived with most of her life.
By trusting the process, following the structure of the transformation and answering tough questions with brutal honesty she experienced the change she had been seeking.
Today Tracey describes her life as:
- Expansive – life is no longer closed, it’s expanding all the time in all different areas
- Limitless – “I feel more unlimited than when I was 22. I’m 53 and I am so excited about the day, the year and the rest of my life.”
- Peaceful – “I’m super peaceful and I don’t think I’ve ever had that like inner peace. I’m standing on a rock of my faith, but I also have these tools that Elizabeth gave me to navigate things and to call myself out on my bullshit.”
To maintain her transformation Tracey has implemented a daily routine that is made up of different practices. There’s a physical component of exercise and nutrition. And then there’s the mindset component where she’s checking in with herself. She’s asking herself questions throughout the day AND paying attention to the answers.
If you desire to live a limitless and peaceful life and step into your true potential, just like Tracey you absolutely can.
Learn more about the 12 Weeks to Transformation here.
Start Your Own 12 Weeks to Transformation
Praise! We made it to the 3rd trimester! 11 weeks until my due date!
The end of the second trimester was a total whirlwind. I had a mastermind meeting in California then I was off to ASCEND in Portland Oregon. We were home for a couple days and then left again for an incentive trip to Costa Rica. As soon as we got back it was Thanksgiving and then our baby shower! Primal Potential’s new COO starts next week, the 12 Weeks to Transformation launch is next week, I’m continuing to record 5-6 podcast episodes each week to make sure I’m well ahead before baby…there’s been a lot happening and that makes time go by so fast!
I feel big and also totally welcome the fact that I’ll be getting much bigger. It’s all good! This is a “big” season of life in every way!
She kicks like crazy and still has enough room to roll over and change directions – I’ll routinely see her head or her bumb sticking out from my belly.
The very BEST news is that our tenant moved out of the apartment on our property so we immediately moved into it. That means that though the renovation of the main house continues, we now have a kitchen, a real bathroom and a bed that isn’t on the floor! (We love our tenant, we’re just sooooo pumped to have a kitchen after nearly 6 months without one!)
That means I’m back to cooking and eating more “real” food! I’ve made chili, brussels sprouts, cauliflower rice…it’s amazing what having a kitchen will do for a pregnant woman! Baby very much prefers apples and starchy carbs, but we’re finding a far more comfortable balance now that the kitchen is back in play!
We’re hopeful the renovation will be completed by the end of January. I’m sure we’ll be recruiting the help of family to get our stuff out of storage and into the house since I’ll be little to no help at that point!
Pregnancy Insomnia Is Real
The struggle right now is lack of sleep. I can fall asleep easily but wake up within an hour and stay awake for many, many hours. I’m adjusting to it, but that’s the hardest part.
Physically, I feel more limited. Bending forward is no longer comfortable. Sitting up from a reclined position is a unique challenge. I get winded much more quickly. The other day I was doing kettlebell swings in my office and I felt winded after the first 10!
I have a fair amount of pelvic bone pain and recently started to feel some low back pain, but otherwise, I feel great physically.
It still feels entirely surreal that there will be a baby here soon but we are very excited. It will be interesting to not have a maternity leave but I have an epic support system and I know we’ll make it work for us.
At our shower, there was a little trivia game. One of the questions was what we are each most excited about related to the baby.
For me, I’m most excited to see her face. I’m second most excited to see my grandmother (who is 99) hold her first (or second) grandbaby. My cousin and I are both pregnant and our due dates are only 3 days apart! I can’t wait to see my grandmother hold both baby girls!
Since the house is still being renovated, my office is filling up with boxes of baby stuff. Bassinets, car seats, swings, breast pump, etc. Every day I try to create a little order, but it will really have to wait until the renovation is complete.
I’m in no rush to pack a hospital bag – there’s really not much I’ll need and there’s nothing that can’t be grabbed after we get there.
We’ve been talking about who we want to inform when we head to the hospital and how we want to handle/limit hospital visitors, but again, we aren’t feeling too much pressure to have a firm plan. We’re pretty flexible about all that stuff.
As long as the house is complete when baby comes, we’ll plan to have any guests (my mom, his parents, etc) stay in the apartment so we can have time, space and privacy in the main house without guests for the first 4-6 weeks.
We’re so excited to watch this journey unfold!
I spent some time writing down my holiday gift ideas. Though I started shopping a couple months ago, I still have more people to buy for and I always want to have a few ideas on hand for when people ask me what I want. I’ve never been much of a gift person, in large part because I’m both practical and a minimalist. Fortunately, I have some great ideas that are both practical and minimalist! I thought I’d break it up between gifts I love to give and gifts I’d love to receive.
Holiday Gift Ideas – To Give
I love to gift books! Every year, I keep a list of books I’ve loved. Depending on the person, they’re often a fantastic, easy & affordable gift to give. Here are a couple on the list this year.
The Third Door by Alex Banayan – great for any business owner or for anyone who wants to bring new possibilities into their lives
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell – perfect for anyone on your list who loves to learn
I also enjoy giving Audible gift cards. I know a lot of people who would love to read more but prefer listening.
Food! A Butcher Box subscription, 1-time delivery or gift card is a serious crowd pleaser. I had to pause my monthly box because we don’t have a kitchen and it’s one of the things I’m most excited about when the renovation is done! Their meat is so high quality and delicious you will never want to buy from the grocery store again! In fact, I haven’t bought meat from the grocery since I started with Butcher Box.
Holiday Gift Ideas – To Receive
I’m always asking for practical things. If you’re like me and always looking to upgrade your cookware, this is a great opportunity ask!
I’m a big fan of Le Creuset, but it is a bit pricey! Put it on your wish list!
I always want more pairs of Klassy Glasses. These are blue-blocking glasses that protect your eyes from the blue-light emitted from your phone, tablet, computer or television. I have a couple pair but they’re so trendy (and effective) that I like to have options! These should totally be on the “give” list, too! I know a ton of people in my life who would be excited to have a pair or two!
I’m obsessed with Away Luggage and can always use another piece or two! I have two of their small toiletry cases and their carry-on size suitcase. They’re perfect. Durable. Good looking. Large capacity. I love all their stuff!
Blank journals! I can’t have too many of them. I’m always writing down ideas & notes. I’ve recently started a journal of thoughts and ideas for my daughter. I like to have several new ones on hand for when I’m ready or to give as a gift. I prefer Moleskine journals.
Alright – it’s your turn to share! What are your holiday gift ideas? What are you giving? What do you love to give? What’s on your list?
*This post includes affiliate links. If you were to purchase some of these items, I could earn a few pennies.
One of the top 10 questions I get is, “Elizabeth, what supplements do you take?”
I’m always hesitant to answer because we all have unique needs and therefore should have unique supplement regimens. With that caveat, that what works for me won’t be what works for you, today I’m happy to share what I take and when.
Many of you know that for a long time, I didn’t take any supplements at all and I’ll tell you why:
- It wasn’t a priority for me early in my journey. I was hyperfocused on eating well and building consistency around food.
- I was jaded and cynical. After working in the supplement industry and seeing so many cut-corners, I was skeptical of the industry as a whole. I hadn’t found brands I really, really trusted.
- I didn’t understand the impact that optimizing my microbiome would have on my overall efforts, my health and my life.
What I know now that I didn’t know then…
I didn’t realize what a huge role the microbiome plays in things like drive and motivation. At the time, it made a lot of sense to me to focus on eating well and getting consistent with my choices. However, I had no idea just how major the impact of a rich, diverse microbiome on the neurotransmitters responsible for making us feel motivated and driven! I probably could have made things a lot easier for myself if I made my microbiome a priority then.
I have to clarify though…too many people are thinking about the microbiome only in terms of gut health and digestion. Taking a probiotic product that targets bloating and digestive efficiency is not going to make you feel more motivated. I talk about that in more detail in episode 630 of the Primal Potential podcast. You can listen here or click play below.
“EB, what supplements do you take?”
Let’s remember that I’m pregnant. The list of what I take will certainly change post-partum.
I start each morning with a powdered probiotic & an energy blend mixed into water. This particular probiotic blend targets brain health, stress resilience, focus, mood, vigor, anxiety and depression.
With every single meal I take digestive enzymes. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m eating, I take these daily.
Each evening, I take a multivitamin, omega, probiotic and natural sleep aid. This particular probiotic is in capsule form and targets digestion and immunity.
As needed (once a week or so), I take a natural mood support product.
EB, why no links in this post?
Being a business owner and sharing your life with the public requires a lot of judgement calls. When I’m uncertain, I air on the side of caution and responsibility. I don’t know what your health, dietary or supplement needs are as I write this post. Recommendations for you require information about you. I would be happy to have those conversations with anyone who comments on this post or emails me directly. That’s the judgement call I’m making for today.
We are officially past the halfway point of this pregnancy! Woohoo! So much has happened in the last few weeks and I’m excited to give you an update!
About a month ago, I started feeling subtle baby movements – tiny little flutters that I could almost mistake as gas or muscle twitches. I had been so excited to feel movement and remember thinking, “I’ll worry so much less when I start to feel her move.”
Those future markers are never what I think they will be! Feeling her move came with heightened nervousness when I didn’t feel her move!
A couple weeks ago, a few days went by without feeling any movement from baby girl. Though movement had been daily, I reminded myself not to worry because it was still early for movement and far too early for things like kick counts.
Then, I started cramping. For several hours, I had intense cramps – they weren’t so bad that I had to stop working or lay down, but they were alarmingand I decided to call the doctor. They decided to have me come in for a urine sample and a fetal heart check. Sometimes cramping can come from a urinary tract infection (UTI) so they wanted to rule that out.
Fetal heart check was fine. Baby’s heartbeat was healthy & strong. I felt so relieved.
Because of the cramping, they decided to do a manual cervical check…holy moly was that more uncomfortable than I thought it would be! Pap smears don’t really bother me but this was something way more intense! My doctor explained that the cervix is significantly more sensitive during pregnancy. Everything seemed normal (except my pain tolerance!)
To air on the side of caution, they wanted to look at just one more thing – the length of my cervix – to make sure it wasn’t prematurely shortening. Basically, if you think of your uterus like an empty balloon…the balloon has a long neck when it’s empty and as it gets more full, the neck shortens. You know how it’s hard to tie it off if you inflate it too much? Same concept. It’s too early in the pregnancy for the cervix to be shortening.
The ultrasound seemed normal in that regard but they were a little concerned about the placement of my placenta. They said it was closer to my cervix than they wanted it to be. Later in pregnancy, that could post a risk of bleeding for me and baby so we agreed to keep an eye on it and they suggested “cervical rest”. I’m still unclear on what that means beyond “no sex”.
While checking on the length of my cervix, they also checked on baby. She looked healthy and strong! However, she looking like she was doing an Irish jig right on top of my cervix! She kept crossing, uncrossing and recrossing her tiny little ankles right above my cervix. As she did, you could see my cervix contracting, which was likely the cause of my cramping.
Ultimately, they sent me home and said we’d take another look the following week at my scheduled ultrasound.
Meanwhile, I’ve noticed some pregnancy related changes!
- Weight gain – everywhere!
- Increased hunger. I’m basically down for 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and a big dinner. Ha! True story!
- Round ligament pain, especially at night.
- The return of nausea. Yeah, it’s back. If I start to get hungry, I feel sick. Most times, I also feel sick after I eat.
- Less sleep. I hadn’t been sleeping well in general but it’s definitely worse now.
- Movement! The movement returned and is more consistent and pronounced, especially after I eat and when I lay down at night.
Let’s talk frankly about the weight gain, shall we?
Prior to getting pregnant, I thought I’d be this clean-eating, CrossFitting pregnant woman, much like my non-pregnant self. I envisioned changes in my body but I didn’t envision major changes in my lifestyle.
Hahahahahahaha. We plan, God laughs.
In fairness, I’m not eating terribly, but I’m definitely not living up to my previous definition of clean eating. Veggies are basically intolerable. Chicken is the only protein I can stomach and it can’t be plain. Chicken tenders are my form of choice. Does that even count? I’m saying, “yes!”
Carbs settle my stomach. Pasta. Crackers. Bread. I had some graham crackers today and they were simply PERFECT.
Some “healthier” items are still in play. I love apples and crave them constantly, but, they give me diarrhea. 🤷🏻♀️I had a bunch of carrots last night and…you guessed it. Diarrhea.
So, what do you get when you combine eating more (I’m always hungry now), eating less clean, exercising less and growing a human under very stressful conditions?
Weight gain! Everywhere!
Watching this slow weight creep, I’ve had many moments of feeling disappointed in myself and almost as many moments of simply not giving a shit.
After bouncing back and forth with my thoughts and feelings about it, I decided to sit down and really get into my heart and my best self about it. Instead of just riding the roller coaster of emotions and letting it control my mood, I decided to take control back.
As I usually do, I began with questions:
What is the thing that bothers me most about the weight gain? What is it that makes me most uncomfortable or anxious about getting bigger?
Fear of judgement from others.
That’s the God’s honest truth. If no one else existed, I’d be fine with it. I’d have total peace with eating what feels good and avoiding what doesn’t feel good. I’d be way more comfortable with a larger, sturdier season.
It’s less about me. My discomfort comes from how I’m thinking about other people’s opinions.
Boom. Instant clarity.
That is NOT who I choose to be.
And seriously, who are these people in my life that I think would judge me for gaining weight?
Certainly not my daughter’s father. He thinks I’m beautiful and is concerned only with me and baby being healthy. Certainly not my family. Certainly not my closest friends. Certainly not colleagues who support me no matter what.
I dug a little deeper. Who? Who am I worried about? Who am I thinking might judge or criticize me?
The fear is about strangers, colleagues or clients who don’t really know me.
This realization was so enlightening. Even writing about this, I have tears in my eyes at what an awakening this was.
First, I don’t know that they are judging or would judge. That’s an assumption. I don’t want to be a person who makes assumptions. I practice not making assumptions and certainly not assuming the worst about people as a result of my own insecurity!
Second, if they do judge me, they aren’t people I want in my life. That makes this season a beautiful opportunity to enrich my relationships and enrich the group of people with whom I work.
This is happening for me, not to me.
Beyond that…I explored the question, “What is wrong with gaining weight?”
Am I healthy? Yes.
Is baby healthy? Yes.
Am Iistening to my body? Yes.
Am I eating when I’m hungry and choosing what feels right in the moment? Yes.
Am I being irresponsible? No.
Am I disrespecting my body? No.
So then, what is wrong with weight gain?
This is a season. It’s a miraculous season.
My past periods of weight gain have been steeped in shame, self-loating and hiding.
What a beautiful opportunity for me to navigate this differently…
What a beautiful opportunity for me to choose to love this. To choose confidence. To choose a complete embrace of my body and the fact that it’s needs and wants are very different right now.
I feel such peace and possibility when typing this out.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. That doesn’t mean I am free from frustration or fear of judgement. I certainly have moments of emotion, of sadness, of fear and insecurity.
But this new perspective is a choice I make a hundred times a day and it’s a choice I’m excited about.
I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this as I continue to grow. 🙂
Back to baby stuff….
Just yesterday I went in for my final (we think) ultrasound of the pregnancy. It was a long one – about an hour – and everything looked great! My placenta even moved! It was no longer “too close” to my cervix!
It was pretty miraculous to see all her fingers and toes, the four chambers of her heart and all her little ribs. The ultrasound tech was super chatty
I am admittedly biased, but I think she’s pretty cute already!
After the appointment, I got a phone call. This is where things get interesting and a little challenging.
The doctor was calling about the urine sample I left last week. The intial dipstick screening was negative for a UTI but they sent it out to see what bacteria “grows out” over time. Essentially, she was calling to let me know I have a “severe” UTI and that she was calling in antibiotics for me.
I was surprised because I don’t feel like I have a UTI. I’ve had them before and you certainly know when you do! While yes, I’ve been urinating much more frequently, that’s super common in pregnancy. I haven’t had, however, any burning, pain or discomfort.
She went on to explain that I had over 100,000 active cultures in my sample but that they didn’t test out for a specific strain. She said that it could be a contaminated sample but since UTIs can lead to infection or pre-term labor, they wanted to air on the side of caution and treat it.
I thought it was super weird that she couldn’t name a specific bacterium that was problematic so I asked,
How do you know it’s pathogenic bacterial overgrowth? Could it be that I just have a healthy, robust microbiome?
She said they didn’t know that it was pathogenic and that it could be representative of a rich microbiome and the fact that I supplement with multiple probiotics. Or, she reiterated, it could be contamination.
Here’s what’s so fascinating to keep in mind about most medical tests: their ranges for “normal” are based on populations, not based on optimal states of health. Here’s what I mean: they determine “normal” levels of bacteria in the urine based on what most people have, not on what is optimal. With this in mind, having a high amount of bacteria in the urine could very well reflect that I have a richer microbiome than most. Yes, it could also indicate an infection, but as they were unable to verify problem strains and I’m not having typical symptoms, I don’t feel comfortable jumping right to antibiotic treatment.
Heck, I’ve worked my butt off to improve my microbiome for my health and the health of my baby so I’m not eager to jump on antibiotics as a precaution.
So, here’s my plan. I have another appointment in just 4 days. Between now and then, I’ll increase my probiotic consumption and supplement with cranberry capsules and vitamin C. If there is an infection, that should help knock it out without antiobitics. My good friend Dr. Beth Westie also told me to drink lots of water, change my underwear 2-3x/day and watch for any symptoms like pain, burning, discharge or fever.
Then, we’ll retest in a few days.
In other baby news…
We painted the nursery yesterday and my mom & her husband are coming down this weekend to help us lay down wood flooring in there. I’ll show pictures on Instagram (in my stories) as we go. While the house is still in total shambles, there are two very small rooms upstairs that aren’t being renovated by the crew. One of those will be the baby nursery so we can get that situated even while we live in chaos.
Speaking of the renovation chaos – this week has been tough. Because of a big 5-day storm cycle, the crew hasn’t been here all week.
I had my first moment of real frustration with our living conditions (not to be confused with a lot of frustration I’ve had about the previous contractor). One particularly restless night, I just wanted the be able to go lay on the couch to watch TV and try to get comfortable. But, we have no couch and we have no TV. I wanted to be able to walk to the fridge and get a cold drink, alas, no fridge in the house.
I’m sure there will be many more moments of frustration as the pregnancy continues, but I’m determined to remain grateful for my home, grateful for my health, grateful for my baby and grateful for my family.
Until next time…I’m off to get some cranberry capsules and vitamin C!
In the chaos of work, pregnancy and the home renovation, I realized I hadn’t announced to the world that our Nutrition Fundamentals course is now live!
We probably get 20 emails a week from folks who are looking to see if I have a one-stop-shop for all things nutrition, carbohydrates, dietary fat and protein. There’s a ton of info on the podcast but it can be tough to find exactly what you’re looking for and for most people, they’re getting one piece of the puzzle every few months.
By popular demand, we created Nutrition Fundamentals to guide you through the nuts, bolts, myths & facts of nutrition.
Best part is: it’s only $79 and you have access for an entire year! This is a self-guided e-course that you go through in your own time, at your own pace! Plus, over the next 6 months I’ll continue to add modules on micronutrients and supplementation!
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