It’s no accident that I have high energy and feel great. Not a surprise that I get the thumbs up from my midwife at prenatal visits. This is a pregnancy that was created. Not planned … created.
I have envisioned this pregnancy for years, knew 2015 would be my year to bring a baby into the world. I didn’t know the journey would begin with loss and grief, or that I would get pregnant immediately after, I just knew 2015 was my year and I played my deck of cards as if my life depended on it.
The work we did on our marriage, the training and development I brought to my practice, the designed clinical nutrition program and dietary recommendations I follow to clean up my gut and prepare for this beautiful life, the employee I hired, the education choices for our children, all of it was set into play so long ago. For four years I have honed and clarified and taken one actionable step in front of the other knowing that when it was time I would be ready. It just so happened I had a big fat Michelin-tire baby photo right in the middle of my 2015 vision board (when I created something called my Painted Picture over 3 years ago), so that everything I did was to create space, time, and energy that would allow for new life.
Then some funny things happened. With the clearing I created, new life and birth began to explode all around me. No joke — new relationships for two of my siblings that have resulted in over the top happiness, love and security for everyone involved, and the same day we shared our baby news over the holidays, we learned we would be welcoming a new nephew from my sister and her fiancé, then about 6 weeks later we learned we would be welcoming another new nephew from my brother and his girlfriend … nana and papa were about to gain THREE new grand babies in a six week timeframe this summer. The work I had done and the clarity I had was contagious! (The above photo is my sister on YOUR left, due a few days after me, myself in the middle and my brother’s girlfriend on YOUR right, due about 6 weeks later.)
Questions I get asked about my pregnancies include what books I read, what I eat, do I exercise, resources I use, what supplements I take, how I maintain a healthy lifestyle (to name a few!), so I thought a blog post sharing how I created a healthy pregnancy would be appropriate.
How I Got Pregnant
So I’m pretty sure you don’t need the details on how it happened, though I will say it happened faster (in my heart) due to Nutrition Response Testing with an Advanced Clinically Trained practitioner who helped me learn things about my body I didn’t now (yes, even me who was a Birth Doula for 16 years, has done nutrition for ten years and has always been “healthy”–there is always more to know and learn). It also got me on my feet faster after my miscarriage as we were able to clear out the metals which I believed caused the loss.
We worked on our marriage (and worked, and worked, and worked and then worked some more.) What has been absolutely transformative for us has been this work.
I didn’t do anything you might read about like rest my feet up against the wall after intercourse or make sure we were intimate at certain times of the day or month, I just got present and let go of all expectation, knowing my vision would come to fruition, keeping in mind things don’t always “look” like we think they will.
This photo is of me nursing Annie when she was about four months old.
Books I Read
There are so many great books I’ve read over the years on pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, postpartum and raising children—where to start!
My personal favorites:
Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care — such a great read to understanding why and how nutrition plays such a vital role in caring for yourself and your growing babe, from utero to childhood.
Gentle Babies Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infants and Young Children — a great introduction to using essential oils with your pregnancy and into childrearing. My list of oils to order for my labor is growing because of this great find!
Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child — my absolute go to when something is up with my kids. It gives you the ailment, then a perspective from each a Medical Doctor, a Licensed Acupuncturist, a Naturopathic Physician and an RN. So great.
The Solution: Homeoprophylaxis: The Vaccine Alternative — a book written by our family homeopath of 11 years, Kate Birth. It’s been such a delight watching her share her knowledge with our community on the benefits of homeoprophylaxis. Neither of our children are vaccinated and we rely on homeopathy, which has successfully gotten us through many an illness or phase of development.
Vaccine Free: Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Contagious Disease with Homeopathy — another book, actually the first one, written by Kate Birch. This one I can read over and over, but then again I’m a total nerd for natural health.
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth — an oldie but goodie, great reminders on how to think about your upcoming birth and the choices you have to make.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding — these are also oldies but goodies in terms of the wisdom they hold and share.
Childbirth Without Fear: The Principles and Practice of Natural Childbirth — a great read for someone looking at natural childbirth though are afraid of the pain and fear around birth.
Other Helpful Resources
The above photo was in 2003, 5 days after Sunny was born … can’t believe how young we look!
The Doula Documentary-a fantastic documentary looking at the support a Birth Doula gives from the perspective of the medical field. See Doctors, Nurses and Midwives all share the great support a Birth Doula is.
Business of Being Born-you can get this documentary on Netflix.
Bradley Classes-we took these classes with our first two, then I became an instructor until my Nutrition Response Testing practice took off and now I still walk the talk–this will be yet another Bradley baby for us.
We hired a Birth Doula and have had one for each birth. For both my husband and I, having a Birth Doula is basically non-negotiable. One place to find a Doula would be via the Childbirth Collective, though for us it was as easy as hiring one of the last Doula’s I put through my Birth Doula Mentorship Program!
Our babies are born at home, so having a home birth midwife is a given. We have used these two services: Dearborn Midwifery, Trillium Midwifery, and are using Jeanne of Peacefully Born for this baby. For a great list of home birth midwives, check out MN Families for Midwifery.
If you’re looking for a free-standing birth center experience, you’ll love this post.
Placenta Encapsulation — we didn’t do this with our first two as it simply wasn’t on my radar. Those two placentas were buried under a tree we planted outside our bedroom window. After seeing the many benefits of encapsulation, we are utilizing this service with this baby.
What I Eat
A brief run down of where I was with food as medicine with each pregnancy:
With our first I was consuming only small amounts of dairy and wheat just once per day. High amounts of protein (the 100 grams per day as suggested by Dr. Bradley and Dr. Tom Brewer), healthy amounts of good fats and lots of produce. This baby is still riddled with several food intolerances (even as an 11 year old) and has the least healthy gut of my current two children.
With our second I was gluten/dairy/goat dairy/chocolate free. High amounts of protein, healthy amounts of good fats and lots of produce. This baby only has gluten and sugar to worry about and the gluten sensitivity for both she and my first was confirmed when my mother in law was diagnosed with Celiac Disease two years ago. This one is quick onset/quick recovery for illnesses (if any!).
With this baby I had been gluten free for 9 years, consumed only raw dairy for years, then was grain/fruit/dairy free for 9 months prior to conception and feeling better than ever. At about nine weeks I added back the fruit (no more than once per day) and grains (15% of the time) and am omitting grains again as of next week due to the discomfort of my umbilical hernia — days when I eat grains it is painful due to inflammation and days when I don’t eat grains, I don’t notice it. I’m still dairy free. Eating high amounts of protein and lots of produce and healthy fats.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
Essential Oils: These are a large part of my every day existence. My whole family loves them, from cleaning to laundry to diffusing to wearing as perfume to consuming (some of them), essential oils have been a fun learning experience for all of us. Can’t wait to use them with our wee one!
Exercise: I have always been an exercise 6/7 days per week kind of gal. Not intense, though I have a definite need to move my body, feel the freedom it gives me and the strength and stamina to move through my days. I had begun to give myself some grace in the past year with letting my body heal and allowing myself to skip a day or two per week, which felt really great. I continued to lift free weights, use yoga and walking into my second trimester, having let go of jogging almost right away. With the knowledge of this abdominal muscle separation (diastasis recti), I have discontinued weights and lifting anything I don’t need to (laundry baskets, etc) and am focusing on yoga and walking to keep my strength until baby comes. Live yoga classes don’t work for me due to my schedule so I use this DVD and www.DoYogaWithMe.com.
Chiropractic: I’ve been getting adjusted since I was twelve and was adjusted steadily throughout both my pregnancies and rely on it now more than ever in this pregnancy. I was every two weeks to monthly in the first two trimesters, then moved to weekly in my third trimester as everything became a bit more creaky and stiff. We have found interesting changes in my body to how it adapts to the physical nature of my work as a Nutrition Response Testing practitioner and I get huge amounts of relief from getting adjusted.
The above photo is Dr. Jeremy working my left calf/knee from the little twist action it gets from testing clients every day. You’ll notice this drop down table of his lifts my pelvis, leaving room for my growing belly with the adjustment.
This photo is Dr. Jeremy putting my sacrum back where it should be after rotating up and forward since my last adjustment.
And last but not least, adjusting my left ankle which gets a little puffy from standing all day testing clients. I can’t tell you the relief I feel when I leave his office!
Supplementation: A lot of people are shocked to find I’m not on a “prenatal vitamin”. I rely solely on Nutrition Response Testing, which tells me on any given day what my body needs and how much. Being on a designed clinical nutrition program is all I need.