Missed the First Trimester Recap? You can find that post here.

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I have officially entered the Third Trimester or as they say, “the home stretch” – the same they people who say “it goes by so fast.” The only thing that’s gone by fast is the time between my pee breaks during the day. But in all honesty, the second trimester was great to me. In fact this whole pregnancy really has been relatively enjoyable. My sister-in-law (who is due two days before me) and I have talked about people’s reactions when they ask, “How are you feeling?” and we reply with, “GREAT!” Just about every other person gives a look like, “That’s it?” as if they are waiting for us to breakdown and give some kind of horror story.

Being pregnant reminds me a little bit of my figure competition prep; except that was 14 weeks and not 40, but regardless – for me, a lot of it is about the outlook and attitude one chooses to have over embracing change, sacrifices, and all that happens along the journey. I remember during my competition prep meeting two girls at one of my posing classes and they asked me how my prep was going. I told them, “Great! I love it. I’m actually really enjoying it.” They both looked at me in disgust and proceeded to tell me how much they hated their prep, how tired, overworked and underfed they felt. I heard complaint after complaint, and I remember thinking how unfortunate for them that they saw it that way. Now, I’m not saying that pregnancy or prepping for a figure competition is all sunshine and rainbows, but it’s not all that bad either. I mean let’s be realistic here; you kind of know what you’re getting yourself into when embarking on either one. Sure, if it’s negativity you want to hear I can come up with a few things like seeing cellulite on my body for the first time in my life or pissing my pants at least 6 times the week I had an uncontrollable terrible cough but none of those things should come as a surprise. My body fat has significantly changed; therefore enter cellulite – big deal. I know it’s not going to be there forever and if it is – oh well. When you have a baby sitting on your bladder and are coughing violently, peeing in your pants just happens. Wash yourself, change your underwear, and move on with it.

Before this post turns into a book I’ll share with you a few highlights and insights over the last 12 weeks.

Why “Pepper”?

Because many people have asked… Our nickname (and maybe her real name, who knows) for our baby is Pepper. The week I found out I was pregnant I downloaded an app for my phone that tells you the size of your baby in relation to a fruit or vegetable (which never makes any sense) along with other helpful info. Anyway, it told me, “your baby is the size of a peppercorn” and immediately I said, “Awww….my little Pepper!” Therefore, her name became Pepper.

“Pressure Cooking Pepper”

Around week 16 and before I purchased an actual baby belly band for running, I decided to use a makeshift one. I had one of those belly sweat bands from competition prep (the kind that makes you sweat all the inches off your waistline –ha!) that is made of wetsuit-like material on the inside, has magnets in it, and Velcros around your belly. Well, I knew I needed some kind of support to hold my belly in while running and this is all I had. I cut the magnets out and went on my merry way to run through the neighborhood. At about 20 minutes into my run, my midsection was getting really hot and sweaty and all I could think was, “Oh no!! What if I’m pressure cooking my baby!!?” So I took the belt off, ran with it in my hand, and threw it away when I got home. When I asked the doctor if I had done anything wrong, she reassured me that my baby had not turned into a pot roast. Since then I have purchased two pregnancy support belly bands that I really like. You can find them here and here.

Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

This is the advice I got from my doula after telling her I did “Murph” at 20 weeks pregnant. For those of you who don’t know what that workout is, it’s a 1 mile run followed by 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, and 300 squats and ends with another 1 mile run. Now, let me just say that I have done this workout at least 4 times before and once with an actual 12 pound weight vest, not just a baby belly. So for me it was no big deal to do it as long as I felt ok. I took lots of breaks and even did at least half of the push ups on my knees. It took me an entire twenty minutes longer than when I had done it before – so clearly I wasn’t in it to win it. And I felt completely fine afterwards. But……I was reminded to remember this mantra throughout my pregnancy and especially as I get further along; that just because I can do something; doesn’t mean I should do it.

It’s also the reason why I stopped doing pull ups or anything hanging from a bar at 27 weeks. I can already see my abs separating and what appears to be an alien popping out of my upper abs anytime I engage my core to do pull ups or anything that puts pressure on my rectus abdominus. Being able to do pull ups throughout my pregnancy just to say that I can is not worth setting myself back when I’m trying to recover and repair my abdominals post pregnancy.

Cravings and Overall Nutrition

I wouldn’t say I really crave things as much as I would say lots of things sound good to me that I would’ve never touched or eaten before. And just because I have a craving for something doesn’t mean I need to go out and fulfill it. However, I will admit that around 20 weeks I really wanted cheese enchiladas; which I have had 3 times since then. I have also renewed my love for Nilla wafers and have had a fresh box in the house 4 times in the past 28 weeks. One weekend I really wanted mom’s fried chicken and okra, which she happily and graciously made for me; along with her homemade peach cobbler. I’d say before pregnancy Rick and I ate about 80/20 – which means we ate well eighty percent of the time and twenty percent of the time we allowed ourselves some slack. Now, I’d say we eat around 70/30 or 60/40. I still prioritize lean proteins, lots of veggies, fruits, starchy carbs like sweet potatoes and quinoa as well as healthy fats throughout the day on most days – but I also will not turn down a treat if it’s presented to me. I’ve always had a problem with not eating enough to fuel my activity levels and I figure my daily or few times a week “treats” help make up the extra calories I need to support my workouts and my growing baby. Considering I’ve spent the greater part of my life turning down food and watching every little thing I eat, being able to just eat without obsession has been a very welcomed aspect of being pregnant.

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Speaking of nutrition….The 28 Week Glucose Test

Leading up to this test I had been doing some research and talking to my girlfriends who chose alternative routes for the standard glucose test. This is where they test for gestational diabetes and make you drink 50 grams of an artificially colored, sugary drink, made of mostly corn and who knows what other ingredients. Millions of people have taken this test and are just fine, but I wanted to pursue other options. I spoke with the nurse to ask if I could either do the test on my own by checking my glucose levels throughout the day for 3 days in a row and report the results back, or eat something instead of the drinking the glucoa. I was denied the option of charting my own levels, but was offered to eat 28 jelly beans instead. I didn’t want to be an “askhole” so I opted for eating the jelly beans and was assured the lab would have them for me come testing day. Long story short, I show up to the lab to do the test, the lab tech says, “JELLY BEANS!? Who told you we had jelly beans here? Not at this lab.” She then proceeded to unscrew the cap from the glucose drink, handed it to me and said, “You have 5 minutes to drink this.” So much for having options. I drank it. I liked it. And I passed the test.

Exercise and Workouts

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Rick in I dropped into CrossFit Asheville while vacationing in North Carolina a few weeks ago.

Overall I’ve been feeling really good and have been able to maintain my workout schedule of 6 days a week: 2 days cardio + isolation weight training. 2 days of heavier weights either at the CrossFit gym or on my own and 1-2 days of either CrossFit or a women’s only bootcamp class.  As I mentioned before I have stopped doing pull-ups, I haven’t been doing box jumps for a while now, and other than that everything else feels relatively fine. I have become quite the “Cafeteria CrossFitter” though. If the workout doesn’t appeal to me  – I do my own thing.

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Hiked up Chimney Rock and to the waterfalls where they filmed Last of the Mohicans.

“Be Anxious For Nothing”

Hearing advice, not-so-great experiences and everything in between from other moms and people caused me to have “baby worry” and become anxious at around 20 weeks. It was something I struggled with until I called my mom one day during a breakdown. She said this to me: “Do you listen to people when they tell you how to do your job or run your business? Do you always take their advice? Why would you listen to them in regards to your body/being pregnant? Look, if something’s going to happen; it’s going to happen. So stop worrying about it.” She told me about the sermon series by Max Lucado that her church was going through and encouraged me to listen to it each week. So I did. Every Monday while doing my cardio I’ve listened to the series “Be Anxious for Nothing” and it has literally Changed. My. Life. The series has centered around the verses from Philippians 4:4-8.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing. In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” 

If you are an easily anxious person, worry frequently and/or just need peace of mind, I highly encourage you to listen to the 8 week series as well. It’s seriously a life and attitude changer.

Lastly, as soon as I knew the baby could hear sounds outside of the womb Rick and I started reading books to Pepper a few nights a week. Some of them are my favorite childhood books like “The Poky Little Puppy” but my absolute favorite and one that’s really hard for me to get through without crying because it’s so sweet is God Gave Us You. I highly recommend adding it to your own child’s collection.

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I have so much more that I could write – it’s been a long 12 weeks – but I know I’ve already taken up enough of your time. Thanks for reading and following along with our Baby Pepper journey. Oh, I can finally feel her kick more throughout the day AND in the middle of the night. Feeling those little movements when I sometimes can’t fall back asleep is definitely an upside of being awake in the wee hours.