5 Postpartum Nuggets

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even though this was my 3rd time giving birth, i left the hospital with a few share-worthy gems from the amazing, seasoned L & D nurses who assisted us during our stay.  WHAT a job.  i am impressed and inspired by the L & D nurses every single time i see them in action!  i can imagine that there is no typical day in their world; every shift brings a new adventure. 

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as i sat up in bed to prepare to receive my epidural, i felt another contraction coming on.  i distinctly remember my nurse instructing me to just hold her hands and breathe until it passed.  well i squeezed the crap out of her hands!!!  it was the last contraction i remember enduring before the meds kicked in and i appreciated her so much for sacrificingherbody helping me through it.  whether you are a 1st time mom or pro, i hope these nuggets of info help you out too:

the more the..not so merrier :(

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the more kids you have, the more intense your uterine contractions will be while nursing. HELLO!  oh my word.  i knew to expect them as i nursed Kosi in our postpartum hospital room but whoa.  hearing one of my nurses say this confirmed that i was notcrazy.  after about a week or so, thankfully the contractions went away completely though. 

but first,

we know that as baby sucks away (especially in the first 2-3 weeks after giving birth), it aids your uterus in returning back to its normal size and position. however, if you have a full bladder before baby starts going to town, it could cause your uterus to shift and unnaturally settle to the right or left of its original position as it contracts (because your bladder is obstructing its path).  this could potentially be a problem if you plan to have more children (e.g. tilted uterus).

fiber up

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most likely you are given stool softeners during your stay at the hospital post-birth. it is extremely important to keep that going once you get home. extremely.  chug plenty of water as hydration helps to keep things moving along too. upping the fiber in your diet while in the hospital (have/add in some dark, leafy greens with every meal) and once home is crucial to keeping your digestive system running as smooth as possible as your body heals. the less processed your diet, the better.  prunes are one of my go-to natural laxatives (thx, Dad!) and a handful of them per day is golden.  although i did not tear 'down there' this round, i did have some pretty disrespectful hemorrhoids.  #whatisTMI

ouch! #thatstings

when you get back home and take that first amazing, uplifting, incredible shower (they really do make you feel THAT good), don't forget to use scent-free, alcohol-free body wash.  keep that going until you heal completely.  i cracked open one of the Johnson & Johnson baby shower gel's Kosi received for a shower gift; it was perfect and didn't irritate my lady parts.  very important! if you did tear or received stitches, a soothing sitz bath helps you heal and keeps things from getting stiff down there.

one less thing to worry about

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HAIR.  so as most of you know my hair is 100% natural now and i'm loving the versatility that comes with it!  this is the healthiest my hair has ever been and i have not one regret about my decision to finally let go of the creamy crack.  micro braids are normally my protective style of choice, but i'm loving faux locs and i'm rocking them for a second time thanks to my girl, Ogechi!  i cannot stress enough the convenience a cute, protective style is for the 3rd tri and postpartum stages.  focus on everything else; surviving those last uncomfy weeks or months of pregnancy, your new babe once he/she arrives, and should you have a visitor or three at the hospital or home, you'll be (somewhat lol) picture ready already! now all i need to do is just get some microblading done and i'll really be set, haha

if you found this helpful, let me know below and please share!

K E E P   U P   W I T H   U S !

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10 things about motherhood

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just a few things i noticed.

1. it put some hair on my chest

be beautiful inside and out. but stand up for yourself

before kiddos,  if i were standing in line at the store and someone clearly and blatantly cut in front of me, i'd start questioning myself  with thoughts like (key word: thoughts. i wouldn't have said a thing.), 'were they already standing here before i walked up and are just getting back in line? did anybody else just see what just happened? *looks around* is this a Vine prank?' and i'd conclude it all with, 'eh, they only have two items so it's really not that serious.' and let it go.

after kiddos, HA. automatic verbal response and neither one of us are checking out until we get to the bottom of things. don't get me wrong, i still do my best to approach life's situations with a WWJD mentality, no doubt.  however, i can say that becoming a mother has created the desire to both stand up and speak up for myself way more than i ever have in my entire life.  that said, i'm also no longer guilted by or afraid to use the word 'No'.

 2. we are imperfection at its finest 

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 we take 99 pictures and we can't frame 1. every time.

3. i can't sleep when baby sleeps. i don't want to sleep when baby sleeps. nothing will get done if i sleep when baby sleeps!!!

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 4. tmi? haha. you're funny.

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i can remember Sonny and i as first time parents at home with Chiso and experiencing our very first exploding diaper. we looked at each other like 'OMG, what was that noise??' and had a hearty laugh after discovering the source.  yeah, they are funny and adorable in the beginning, right. then they start happening out in public, when you're in a rush and in the process of leaving the house and already running late, on the couch you just had steamed cleaned, and all over you.  afterwards you just want to cut them out of their outfit no matter how expensive or adorable it was and trash it.

5. i'm a closet control freak

most days, it's a complete internal struggle for me not to finish a puzzle Chiso and i are working on myself, go back and sprinkle the cheese evenly across his pizza, or maintain my composure when he could give a flying flip about coloring inside the lines.  letting him do things in his own way and ultimately be a kid requires turning my impatient-perfectionist meter down a couple notches.

6. watching them communicateCYMERA_20141017_225023

Chiso spoke to Dego more than i did while he was in my belly.   Dego's little face and eyes light UP and his feet start kicking a billion miles an hour at the sound of Chiso's voice.  it's indescribable and so heartwarming to watch.  we'll see how fond they are of each other after they start rooming together. lol.

7. interruptions, interruptions, interruptions

most days, my to-do lists take for-e-ver to complete cause kiddo A is ready to play when kiddo B goes down for a nap, kiddo A is hungry again after eating 20 minutes ago,  kiddo B's diaper explodes, or kiddo A wants to read his fave book right right then, etc., etc., etc... they just keep coming!  no matter what my agenda says, these guys have their own. how do i deal? i simply thank God for enabling me to meet their every little need (after i calm down. lol). that always puts things in perspective for me. i could be somewhere else, and they could be under someone else's care.  however, they are my little labors of love that i don't take for granted.   interruptions during my workouts used to irritate the heck outta me.  pet peeve of the year award right there.  now?  if i'm taking a class at the gym i pretty much set my equipment up as close to the door as possible so the child care members can spot me immediately.  that way, i can just sneak out without causing a big commotion.  sometimes no matter how much i prepare (clean diaper, full-fat fed & burped), randomness knocks and mama's gotta answer.

If I have been blessed with children, I have to surrender myself wholeheartedly to my role of being a mother after God's design.

8. no more mommy judgement. ever.

that look i shot the mom on the plane with the screaming, irate infant a few years ago? i take it back wholeheartedly. i'm sorry, girl, wherever you are.  i just didn't know. i just...didn't....know.

9. emotional roller coaster

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my hormones will never be the same. some days my cup runneth over. some days i want to smash the cup to the floor into a million little pieces and let somebody else clean it up.  what a ride! but being a mother has given my life so much purpose and countless lessons.  having to witness both boys get their vaccinations tore me apart like nobody's business.  i used to be that person sitting in the movie theater with eyes as dry as cotton while everyone around me bawls uncontrollably.  i mean it's fiction for crying out loud!!!   now?  i feel the tears welling up and there's absolutely nothing i can do to stop them.  who am i!?

10. cuddle buddies

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 time is fleeting. i'm cherishing their little hugs, giggles, smiles and taking a billion pictures and videos along the way.  with so much going on in this world daily it makes me just want to love on them that much more and remember to enjoy our moments while we're in them.

your turn! list 5 or more things you learned and/or love about motherhood.

le

p.s. i'll be updating my blog, finally!!  i'm not going anywhere guys but fitfoodiele.com will be down for maintenance at some point in the next few days and will resume.... ASAP.  thanks for your patience and i know you'll love the new look ;)

is that sweat? 3 weeks postpartum

why yes!  that IS sweat.  today...was a great day. not just cause it's friday either! it was great cause i started my day super-duper early this morning in the what?

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GYYYM!

i'm back baby!!!! i'm home. kinda. i miss the smell, the energy,  the whirring of the machines...  is that weird!?   the same smell that used to make my stomach turn when i was training for my bikini comp, go figure. and i definitely miss my gym buddies and instructor friends!  i said 'kinda' cause i only came to walk, which is still the only thing i've been doing until i'm cleared to hit those weights again.  that's next though! i haven't gotten up at the crack of dawn to workout since i took my hiatus from teaching my Lifetime classes at the end of May.  i had my headphones blasting and arms swinging as i power walked to the beat. before i knew it, my hour was up! pure, sweaty, bliss.

Odego is sleeping a lil' longer these days (prolly 3-4 hour stretches if that) so this morning i had a small window of opportunity that i ran and jumped straight through.  praying for more mornings like that! else it's back to my evening neighborhood walks or whenever i can get them in.

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i felt like i had the entire day ahead of me to get stuff DONE.  i've been losing track of what day it even is while trying to get a routine going with the kiddos, and today's workout made me energized, refreshed, focused, and most important, MOTIVATED!!! you see i even got this blog post up :D

i'm eating around 1900 cals a day currently, and this morning's balanced brekky consisted of scrambled egg whites with homemade guacamole (i only had a fresh lime instead of lemon and it worked just as well, yum), low fat turkey sausage, a nectarine, and some whole wheat toast with a tbsp of dark chocolate dreams peanut butter.  for your own customized meal plan, email me at leah.egwuatu@6packusa.com.

i marinated some chicken breasts in homemade honey mustard (equal parts dijon mustard and agave nectar and yes you can you honey) and a little sea salt and black pepper to taste.  i grilled them up on my grill pan and smoked up the 1st floor of the house real good.  all you need is a HOT grill pan sprayed with no stick cooking spray, cook the breasts for 8 minutes on each side (depending on size), then cover the meat with foil and let them rest for 5-10 minutes.  here are a few of my grilled chicken lunch/dinner plates from this week:

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,..paired with plantains pan-fried in coconut oil, a fresh spinach, tomato, pecan, jicama salad, Annie's  all natural Artichoke Parmesan dressing on the side (i could turn the entire bottle UP it's so good) and my prenatal vitamin...

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..paired with sautéed spinach and mushrooms, a summer corn, tomato, cilantro & mozzarella salad with honey mustard on the side..

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..a ginormous spinach salad topped with pecans, strawberries, blueberries, jicama, green onion, and feta cheese crumbles.. this was actually my first time ever buying jicama and it won't be my last!

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3 weeks postpartum now and my sweet tooth is still RAAAAGING, so i've been trying to stick to natural sugars as often as possible.  the cravings are SO strong though and all i want to do is eat chocolate and chips all day.  so i've been having fresh fruit with a little sugar-free cool whip and cinnamon for dessert most nights. super yummy and a better option than the Marble Slab i will go HAM on. also, the peeps over at Squarebars so graciously sent me some samples of their organic protein bars to try. omg. can you say right on time!? they are D-freakin-licious!!

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no refined sugars, no GMOs, soy-free, gluten-free,  low glycemic, vegan, and 12g of protein. i'm feelin'em, and their nutritional stats aren't too shabby!

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newborn life lol! have a fun friday evening!

le

happy birthday, Odego

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WELL!  a lot has happened since Fathers' Day.

*****

i know a good handful of current mommies-to-be and the real life story you're about to read is just one of bajillions. moms, i just want to encourage you to learn from my journey, but don't let it make you even the slightest bit apprehensive about your own.  your L & D story will have its own twists and turns too...or not!  even with the longest, most detailed birth plan ever, we just never know how these things will play out...

*****

at 2 cms dilated, we finally got our hospital tour done on thursday, June 12th, my expected due date.

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we asked questions, made jokes, reminisced about Chiso's birth, talked and walked around, met a few L & D nurses (who are all awesome and heaven-sent), and made a family date out of it with big brother Chiso.

i was convinced Odego would make his way into this world on Fathers' Day (wishful thinking on Sonny's behalf ), so i finished packing our bags (for the last time) that night and started prepping to celebrate the weekend in the hospital.

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happy Fathers' Day, Papa!!! sunday morning came and there were still no surefire signs of labor to be found whatsoever though. before we headed to church, Chiso, Dego, and i presented Sonny with a few gifts at home, unlike i planned.  then, we dined at Fish City Grill, per Sonny's request, and met up with my parents before heading home to finally relax.

9pm sunday night, i began spotting.

i won't say the spotting and excess fluid was surprising at all as we had been trying a few natural remedies to get this thing going, but the unexpected sight of blood always makes me do a double-take.

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could this be it? would Sonny really get the best Fathers' Day gift ever? we still had 3 hours left according to him. i was having super light contractions and some spotting, but i was still smiling.  and taking pics. lol. the on-call Dr. told us not to play with amniotic fluid, so we were told to head to the hospital to be checked. i know the front desk nurses had to be like 'ummm, clearly she is not in labor.' LOL.

soooo we did the walk of shame right on home 3 hours later.

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definitely not in labor yet.

papsmears are nightmares for me, so just being checked for dilation was enough to rev up my light contractions to the next level  from that point forward. monday morning, Dr. A told me to come straight to her office after the previous night's fiasco, so we did. i finally began to keep record and contracted 3 random times during the 15 minute drive to her office.  i was still at 2 cms according to her, and she wrapped up my appointment by presenting us with an option to mull over for the next couple of hours.  i could come in to be induced at 530am the following day, tuesday the 17th, or, we could just keep waiting...  she then explained that she would be out of the office on thursday and friday. THAT little nugget of info helped me make my decision right then and there. Dr. A. was out having her twins at the time Chiso was born and i was not missing her  again this round, nope. Sonny was ready to meet Odego on Fathers' Day so he was all for option 1. we prayed about it and agreed to go for it.  that same night, the contractions were even stronger, but bearable enough for me to take a walk to the park with Chiso. during 1 hour, i counted about 6 or 7 contractions.

once home, i loaded up most of our things in the car and because i was required to fast from food and liquid after midnight, i cooked and ate my last meal around 10pm. i also baked every fillet of tilapia in the freezer per Sonny's request as he is prepping for a Musclemiania competition at the end of this month.  couldn't leave him out in the cold!  afterwards, i did my best to lay down and get some rest with Chiso, but that didn't really happen. i got in the bed around 1, but each contraction woke me up. Sonny started his timer and laid his phone down right next to me. every time a contraction hit, i'd press the 'lap' button to record the time between each of them.  by 4am, i was up pacing and breathing through each contraction.  of course to me they FELT like they were coming 2-3 minutes apart, but it was more like every 5-10.  this boy was definitely on his way.

  so we headed out to the hospital,

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(now that looks more like a labor-face)

valated the car, signed in, and waited a few moments for our room.

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Sonny knew i would want these pics later... so he snapped away while i contracted away and did his best to keep Chiso busy.

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  however, Chiso was generally concerned for his mama and every time i got up, he got up and paced with me. it wasn't funny at the time but he kept asking, 'mama happy? mama happy now?'

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last #usies as a family of 3.

the staff directed us to our room and i immediately changed into my gown, used the restroom, stood up to my feet, look down, and 'watched' my water break!  no induction needed. and it wasn't a ginormous tidal wave like the movies either :D

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i waddled out of the restroom and immediately called out to alert Sonny when i should have been telling my nurse, nurse Judy. i mean we were in the hospital and all.  force of habit!  thank God for L& D nurses. He provided us with a fabulous one. she encouraged me, told me i was strong, kept me informed, and did her job like she was born to do it.  i laid down on the bed to be checked: 4-5 cms! i was ELATED to be halfway there and also to know i'd be kissing Odego's sweet face sooner than later.

so about those contractions!  well, they got stronger as expected after my water broke and i labored to about 6-7 cms or so before calling for an epidural around 9am.  in less than 15 minutes the anesthesiologist was literally behind me and ready to go.

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finally... peace, ice chips,

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and electronics for the boys as we waited.

around 12:15pm, i randomly started to feel moderate cramping again.  i was told if i needed more meds to push a Jeopardy like button connected to my IV and placed on the bed right next to me.  i was reeeeally hoping i wouldn't have to even use that thing, but because the pain kept getting stronger, everybody in the room could tell when each contraction hit cause the button made an electronic dinging noise when pressed. unfortunately, no matter how many times i hit that button the pain didn't let up and only increased. a 2nd anesthesiologist came in and 'added' more meds... but i felt no difference.  eventually, the nurse checked me again- 9cms! it was music to my ears but the thought of laboring through those contractions until i hit the big 10 discouraged me.  how much longer?!?! my dad held my hand and prayed over me through each painful wave.. something i will never, ever forget.  watching your child suffer is no easy task. i understand now.

alright, 10cms, FINALLY!  Dr. A appears out of nowhere again, instantly calms the room, puts on her cape & gloves, and nurse Judy prepares me for delivery. my dad takes Chiso and heads to the waiting area, and my mom and Sonny take their places on either side of me.  let's GO. with each contraction came a strong urge to push... and i must admit that since my lower body was no longer numb from the epidural, i had total control of my pelvic muscles, floor, and core.  because the epi was in full swing during my 1st delivery, i pushed with everything i had and it felt like absolutely nothing was happening. less than 8 minutes and 5 or 6 pushes later, my mom was crying and overjoyed with emotion, Sonny was cutting the umbilical cord, and Dego's warm body was laying on my chest.

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in an instant...all the pain was gone and completely forgotten.  by me anyway. my dad? not so much!  Odego was worth it all. i couldn't help but think of the women who birthed babies with no medication whatsoever. past, present, whether it was their choice, and those who had no choice at all. amazing.

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Chiso could barely contain his excitement!  it was finally time to meet his little brother after all this waiting!  heck, he talked to Dego more than i did while he was in my tummy.  i can't wait to show both boys this picture when they are older.

 i'd also like to note that Odego weighed in at 7 lbs & 9 oz, but i carried smaller vs my first pregnancy (Chiso was 6 lbs 11 oz).  i was also in better shape and made way better food choices this round. take note, moms! that's just another reason comparing bumps is really silly and never a fair baby weight predictor.

20140617_171609 FOOD. after fasting since midnight, nurse Judy read my mind and put the menu and the room phone right next to me. i LOVE her.  that was my post-delivery lunch: grilled chicken burger with sweet potato fries, a side salad, and vegetable soup. yall know when i get hungry i get scatterbrained and just want everything. i read the 3 page menu 50 bajillion times before Sonny was like, 'Leah we will be here til thursday, PICK SOMETHING.'

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i don't go there often, but i hear hospital food has changed!  i ordered eggs, oatmeal, and fruit for every breakfast, and either grilled chicken or tilapia for lunch and/or dinner.  i made sure to have veggies and a salad with every meal, but i wanted fries so i ordered those sometimes too.

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Dr. A approved me to get up and move around, so i threw on my Nikes and did just that wednesday morning after breakfast. just a few slow laps around the postpartum wing, that's it.  later that night, Sonny pushed Odego in his nursey cart and walked with me.

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heading home the next day!  but not before ordering lunch one last time, haha.

i missed that fresh new baby smell, skin, and newborn cry... to finally hold and kiss the face of someone you already love so deeply after months of waiting is... indescribable! a blessing. a miracle.

 but with that comes the smell and sting of Dermoplast spray, recovering down there, sitting down super slowly,  swollen, engorged breasts & nipples so sore the brush of a t-shirt or bra feels like hell's fire, nocturnal newborn schedules and feedings, i.e.,  good ol'  MOTHERHOOD!

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hello, round two!        thank you, Father, for expanding our home by two more feet, and thank you for reading.

le