Meal Prep Monday 13March17

This has always been true for me, but even more so now that I’m pregnant. If I fail to plan, I plan to fail! I have to make sure that I have healthy and nutritious food on hand, otherwise when I get hungry I will reach for whatever is fast and easy — which is rarely ever healthy. I also have found that I need to eat something every few hours, otherwise I get a craving for something sweet and will find the most high-calorie sweet thing I can get my hands on to ease the craving…BUT, if I keep a steady meal plan of good and healthy foods, these cravings aren’t nearly as overwhelming! I’ve been able to battle most sugar cravings lately with Greek yogurt and granola, fruit and berries, and cold pressed juices. Much better than grabbing for a donut, cookies, ice cream, or something worse! This baby needs nutrition, not processed sugar! I thought I’d share my weekly meal prep and recipes in case any of you are looking for something new!

13March17 Meal prep monday!

This week looks DELICIOUS! So IN LOVE with my new kitchen that I can’t help but get super excited about cooking in it! This week, I’ve got roasted veggies, Teriyaki Panko Chicken thighs and Buffalo turkey meatball muffins! Yummm!!! Photos and recipes below

Roasted veggies – This week, I made brussel sprouts, peppers, zucchini, and squash! I preheated the oven to 350, and rubbed EVOO on the pans I was using. I cut up the veggies and added plant based butter, ranch seasoning, and white cheddar popcorn spray. I then cooked the zucchini, squash, and peppers for 25 minutes and the sprouts for about 35 minutes.

Teriyaki Panko Chicken Thighs- Preheat oven to 400 and rub down pans with EVOO. I got organic chicken thighs, and put them in a gallon ziplock bag with a full container of Teriyaki marinade. (I added 15 thighs) Massage sauce into the thighs and make sure they are all opened up to get the sauce on the whole thigh. Then I took each one out individually and rolled in the Panko crumbs. I just used the regular unseasoned Panko. Put in pan and cook for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

Buffalo Turkey meatball muffins – I used 2-1 pound packages of extra lean ground turkey, 2 eggs, mild wing sauce,  and a handful of panko (enough to get a thick consistency with eggs and wing sauce added. I oiled the muffin tin and filled each spot with the mixture. I cooked at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes – until they start to brown on top. I eat mine with the avacodo ranch Hidden Valley dressing, but Joe eats his plain.

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Finished Product!!

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I’m looking forward to a YUMMY week ahead and hope that you guys enjoy these recipes!

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29 week bump-date

29 weeks! Crazy to think that in a little over 2 months, we get to meet Miss Lilly Kate! It seems like such a long wait and like tomorrow all at the same time! So many emotions at once, from joy and anticipation to fear and worry. I run the gambit of emotions on a daily if not hourly basis! But, I can’t wait to hold this sweet angel in my arms and kiss all over her! 29 weeks

Depending on which app I look at, she is roughly the size of a pineapple, a radio control car, or an acorn squash. No matter which it really is, she is definitely getting bigger and FAST! I can see her little body rolling around in my belly, elbow or knees, not sure which. At our last ultrasound, she was almost 3lb, and she will TRIPLE her body weight before she is born (according to the app, but I really hope she isn’t born at 9lb!)

Week 29 from the Ovia app

“Lilly Kate’s movements are getting less violent and more regular as she grows to the bounds of your womb…Your growing womb and the pressure it can put on your abdomen, means you might experience acid indigestion, and as always your increased levels of estrogen and progesterone aren’t helping…Lilly Kate is about 16 inches tall, and pretty close to birth height, she is still wighing in at almost three pounds, so she still has a lot of fat to pack on in the next eleven weeks. Lilly Kate’s muscles and lungs continue to mature…Finally, be prepared – Lilly Kate is going to be packing on some serious pounds in the coming weeks, and so will you; you are getting into the homestretch!”

Week 29 from “The Bump” app

“You are probably getting a little preview of baby’s personality, the more you feel her move. You might bet some playful kicks and jobs, and start to feel little hiccups, too! At 29 weeks, baby’s not just moving a lot, but also plumping up! Headaches and/or lightheadedness…Itchy belly. Your skin is stretching thinner, making it more sensitive. Back, leg , or pelvic pain, constipation, trouble sleeping, and as your uterus expands, the more you will have to hit the restroom with frequent urination”.

So, she is almost as tall as she will be at birth, which I can believe since I can feel her moving on complete opposite sides of my belly at the same time! She will stretch out and I’ll feel her pushing on the bounds of her tiny space. The heartburn is near unbearable sometimes, between Tums and Apple Cider vinegar, we are managing the best we can. It seems to be at it’s worst at night when I am laying down. So, there is always water and tums next to the bed.

29 weeks 2

Our baby shower is next weekend, and I’m getting more excited every day! I can’t wait to celebrate this baby girl with the people that I love most! My mom and aunt are helping with my baby shower and I think that is the best part of this process. This little baby has brought my family back together after years of distance and tension. There is definitely a lot of fear with re-connecting with my mom after the distance that has been between us over the past decade. BUT, I want Lilly Kate to have a fabulous relationship with her Grandmother, I want her to know where she comes from. My mom has made her fair share of mistakes, but I know she is ready and so anxious to be a grandma to this sweet girl. I don’t want to stand in the way of that. I want to give Lilly every opportunity to be loved by her family. So, prayers for acceptance, forgiveness, and willingness to trust are greatly appreciated as we go through this next phase of our relationship.

ED Recovery and the mom-bod

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I went to my very first yoga class yesterday. I can’t say that I was ready for the emotional experience that happened on that mat. In one class, one practice, one hour….so much happened that I’m still struggling to understand and explain. We were guided by the instructor to quiet our minds, to shut out the sounds and noise, to breathe deeply and look inward. Concentrate on our breathing and notice any thoughts that keep coming to our minds, dismiss them and concentrate on our breathing. I never thought I was a bully until that moment, realizing how much I was judging my new growing body. It’s the first time in months that I’ve worn “active wear” in public… and of course nothing feels or fits right at 7 months pregnant. But it’s also the first time in months that I have quieted my mind long enough to see that I was really hardcore hating on my body. I found myself judging my body in comparison to the other ladies in the room, I was flooded with fear that they were judging me too (talk about selfish and self-centered). I was judging my body based on what I “thought” it should look, feel, and act like, the things I thought it should be able to do…I was judging my body because the smallest movements and actions make me feel out of breath and winded. Hell, getting up and down off the mat was a challenge! Almost 5 years into recovery, I realize that my eating disorder is still alive and well inside of me whether I am acting on it or not.

(sidenote: Pre-pregnancy I was training for a marathon, working out daily if not several times a day, and working on developing a killer bod (and ego to go with it)….This pregnancy has brought with it several periods of modified bed-rest, activity restrictions, and I’m not allowed to work out at all, or do any strenuous lifting.)

Now imagine all of that running through my mind in the span of a couple minutes. Talk about exhausting!

Now don’t get me wrong….I believe that the miracle of growing a baby inside of my body is just that….a miracle. I am incredibly grateful that after decades of abusing my body, I have been blessed with the opportunity to carry a child of my own. I do not for a second take for granted the beautiful process that is happening within me everyday. So, don’t get it twisted.

As a woman living in long-term recovery, I feel obligated to keep it real. It is hard. It is harder than I ever imagined it would be. Eating disorders are all about control, and pregnancy is complete absence of that control.  My body seems to change everyday, sometimes I feel like if I sit still enough, I can actually see it changing. Of course there is the belly bump, but there is so many other changes that I wasn’t prepared for. My boobs, the expansion of my hips, my butt has lost the cute little perk it had in my running days, my knees and legs swelling, swollen hands and feet, puffy face and breakouts!  For years, my security, my worth, my entire world centered around my body and how it looked (or how I thought it looked). My self-worth was completely performance based and had nothing to do with who I was as a person.

 

So, I decided it was time to acknowledge this new mom-bod. To honor it and to be reminded of the growing miracle inside of me. I decided it was time to really dig into the fear and find out what I was really afraid of. I spent some time in silent meditation today, and really have no more answers than I did yesterday…but I’m digging. I’d love to say I figured it all out, but I don’t think it works that way. Just like any addict, I believe that I don’t just choose recovery and become cured one time….I have to continue to choose recovery every day. So, I’ve started by telling on myself…by becoming vulnerable and honest, secondly I’m seeking…seeking the truth underneath all the bullshit that I cover it up with.

Now, something else I feel I should mention….I am surrounded by amazing people, including my husband and family who remind me on a daily basis that I’m beautiful, that I’m “glowing”, that I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I do not lack for affirmations, for support, or for love. Just needed to add that

I think my biggest fear is the expectation of “bouncing back” after this pregnancy. I have so many expectations of myself and how that process “should” go. I set really high standards, and I’m terrified that it just won’t happen the way I want it to, or will take longer than I think it should. I actually calculate in my mind how much weight I’ve gained and approximate how long it will take me to lose it. I get lost in the thought that all this bed-rest has stripped me of all the gains, stamina, and work that I did pre-pregnancy….talk about control issues!  My mind has focused so much on how my body will respond after childbirth, that sometimes I forget that I will have a beautiful baby girl and that I will be her mom!!!….I forget that that’s what this is all about! It’s not all about me!

I think that the reality of raising a daughter has brought it to the forefront of my mind that I want to find a level of peace and serenity with my body. I know that she will learn how to judge and treat her body by the example that I set for her. She will watch the way that I judge myself and copy that behavior. She will follow my footsteps in exercise and nutrition by what I teach her. I want her to be confident, I want her to be healthy and strong, I never want her to feel what I felt when I was trapped inside an eating disorder. I want to teach her confidence and strength by example. I want to teach her how to be healthy by being healthy. I’m grateful that I have to opportunity to teach her that her worth is on the inside and that her character will define her. I’m grateful that I’m learning more about balance every day so that I can teach her that balance. I’m also terrified that I might mess up….but I know I will do the very best to teach her self-love and self-respect.

I will continue to trudge, to seek and to be honest. I’m actually really excited as much as I am terrified about this journey and what I will learn along the way.  I can’t wait to meet this little miracle and be her mom. I know it won’t be easy, it isn’t supposed to be…but I know it will all be worth it.

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“God has no grandchildren”

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Having so many complications early in pregnancy, and the uncertainty of if/how long my cerclage would hold….I’ve struggled not to get too excited about this tiny miracle inside of me. This week, when we finally hit 28 weeks and our third trimester, I started to allow myself to feel a little more joy, a little more anticipation, and a little bit more ease. It’s been a tough couple months, and there is so much relief in knowing that she is growing and progressing just as she was designed to. She has had near perfect ultrasounds and checkups, and her growth is right on track. I’ve struggled a bit with my blood pressure and some cervical swelling around my stitch…but overall, the last few months have been very calm in comparison to the fear and anxiety that we experienced in the beginning. It is crazy to me how attached and how in love I am with a person that I have never met. Her needs already come before my own and my life revolves around being the best vessel for her growth that I can be. For me….a selfish and self-centered recovering alcoholic….these feelings are so incredibly foreign. Yet, they came and continue to come as naturally as breathing. Every sacrifice is worth it, a million times over, if I know it’s what is best for her.

I am surrounded by such strong, courageous and beautiful moms on a regular basis, and from them I have gotten such amazing nuggets of truth and hope. One of those that keeps me from sinking into fear and worry came from my sweet friend Heather. Before I knew I was going into pre-term labor or knew what was happening with my body… I was having a lot of bleeding. I just knew that I was going to lose the baby….Fear swallowed me, and I couldn’t think outside of that fear. Having had a miscarriage a year ago, I was paralyzed with anxiety. Heather told me while I was sitting on my back porch crying, “God does not have any Grandchildren”….This one simple phrase has sustained me and given me incredible inspiration and hope for my child. It tells me that although she is growing inside of me, she is FIRST a child of God. He will protect her and sustain her, He will knit her together in my womb as he has designed. I am not in control, I am powerless, and I have faith that His love is sufficient. Now, don’t get me wrong….I still worry, I still trip out about the future, and I still want to be in control of EVERYTHING….But, when I get tired of feeling scared and overwhelmed I remember this simple thought and for a few moments, I find peace.

I’m learning the meaning of the phrase “It takes a village”. I need my village, I need my “Heathers”, I need the experience strength and hope of my girl tribe. I’m so blessed that I never have to go through anything alone….I’m surrounded by moms, and aunts, and grandmothers who love me through the hard times and celebrate with me through the good times. Fear steals so much joy….I’m grateful to be reminded to enjoy and live in that JOY, one day at a time.

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The adventures of Baby Felz, Cerclage edition

So…whoever came up with the MEDICAL term “Incompetent Cervix” has absolutely no idea how sensitive and hormotional pregnancy makes you. When the doc first told me that my cervix was apparently “incompetent”, I had mixed emotions. Half of me was terrified and the other half wanted to punch him in the face for insulting my innocent cervix. I quickly got over my anger as he began to explain that my baby was in trouble. I had been bleeding heavily and passing tennis ball size clots for almost 4 days at this point, so I knew something was terribly wrong.

So, what is an incompetent cervix? Well, the Mayo clinic says it like this...”An incompetent cervix, also called a cervical insufficiency, is a condition that occurs when weak cervical tissue causes or contributes to premature birth or the loss of an otherwise healthy pregnancy.” Basically the weakened cervix begins to open, which triggers pre-term labor and the baby is at a huge risk for miscarriage since it is still not developed enough to survive outside of my body. Here is my story through my cerclage procedure and maybe it will help someone.

Within 10 minutes of the doctor doing a pelvic exam, I was being admitted to the hospital. They started me immediately on 2 antibiotics and a medication that helped stop the pre-term labor called Toradol. The high-risk pregnancy specialists and surgeons came by my room and explained my options. Surgery to stitch together my cervix (called a cerclage) or daily progesterone with weekly ultrasounds.  I cried a lot that first night, I didn’t know what the right decision was, but I knew what my gut said. It was more difficult because this decision was not just for me, it was for my baby girl. The doctors told me that if I did not do the surgery in a timely fashion, there was a chance that they could not perform it as a later date as my cervix was continuing to shorten with each ultrasound. The surgery had some definite risks, but it had the most concrete results and the best chance of prolonging my pregnancy until my sweet baby girl was able to survive on her own. I decided on the cerclage surgery after consulting with my OB (not the surgeon) and my family.

What is a CERCLAGE? Again, according to the internets…“Cervical cerclage, also known as a cervical stitch, is a treatment for cervical incompetence or insufficiency, when the cervix starts to shorten and open too early during a pregnancy causing either a late miscarriage or preterm birth.”

The next day, the surgery was scheduled. During my hospital stay, they checked on my baby’s heartbeat every 2 hours. It made me so happy each time I got to hear her little heart beating. I knew she was still ok. The surgery was difficult to say the least. The doctors did everything they could to assure me and make me as comfortable as possible. I couldn’t help think of how close to my sweet baby they were operating, and it was absolutely terrifying. My surgeon explained the procedure to me and made sure that I understood everything before they got started. She was wonderful. The anesthesiologist was also great, explaining everything that would happen over the course of the surgery. Since I am pregnant, they gave me spinal anesthesia, which is a nasty, terrible, horrible procedure. I wasn’t numb the first time they tried to administer the anesthesia and I can’t put that amount of pain into words. I was blinded and have never in my life felt anything like it. Finally, they got me numb and I was unable to move or feel anything below my waist. The procedure itself was uncomfortable (since I was tilted backwards, spread wide open, and couldn’t move my body), but not terrible. I was not a big fan of being completely awake and aware during the surgery, but I was happy that the anesthesia was safe for me and the little one. I did not experience any pain during the procedure but felt pressure as they worked. It was over relatively quickly. Again, the surgeons told me everything they were doing as they did it, and I felt like I was in good hands…..literally. They finished up, sent me to recovery, and after regaining feeling in my legs I was returned to my room for another night of observation and checks every 2 (FREAKING 2) hours.

The surgeons explained to me the next day that during the procedure they had found a polyp. They suspect that the polyp was causing the insane amount of bleeding that I had been having for the better part of 4 days. HERE IS THE MIRACLE…Had I not had that polyp, there is a very high probability that I would have miscarried. Incompetent cervix has very few symptoms and most of them are so mild that women believe they are normal pregnancy symptoms. Light cramping, light spotting, back pain….none of which are alarming. Had I not had the bleeding polyp, I would likely have never gone in to have it checked out, and my cervix could have opened more. Had I progressed into full labor, they could not have stopped it and I could have lost her. I believe that God has a special reason for us to have this baby….that has been evident through the conception and the pregnancy. He is definitely in charge and knows the plan for us.

Post-op I will follow up with the surgeon every other week and with my OB every other week alternating. They will check on my stitches and make sure this little wiggle worm stays put. There is also the option to add progesterone therapy at a later date if they believe it is necessary. The prognosis is good, and they hope that with they help of this procedure I can carry this sweet thing to full term or until she is able to survive on her own. If everything goes well, they will remove the stitches a month before my estimated delivery date so that she can be born. If I do go into labor early, the cerclage will give her an extra 2-3 weeks to bake before they have to remove the stitches and let her out.

I am not thrilled that i had to go through this procedure, I have been a basket case and an emotional wreck for the better part of a week….BUT, I am incredibly grateful and would do it a million times over. I am blessed, my daughter is blessed, and I am in love with the life that God has given me today. Promises coming true over and over again. I have faith that He is protecting her and giving me peace. This journey has strengthened my faith and my assurance that I am truly never alone. It has also taught me that I am NEVER in control of my life. She is my baby, but she is also HIS baby. I am learning to let go of control and let go of anxiety.

I’m grateful to my husband, my family and our baby’s Godfather. Thanks to them I was never alone throughout my hospitalization. I always had someone to talk to, someone to cry with me, and someone there just to be there. I’m very blessed. I get to do life with some pretty amazing people.

Ask me again in a week or so how grateful I am…..even “modified” bedrest is not going to be a good look on me.

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ED recovery and pregnancy

I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that one of the first things that crossed my mind when I found out I was pregnant wasn’t JOY or GRATITUDE….it was pure self centered fear about how this is going to affect my body. That is the reality of recovery from a life-threatening eating disorder. The disease doesn’t just go away while I’m out living a beautiful life of recovery….Even 5 years later, it is always there, waiting. The difference today is that it does not have the power that it once had, in fact….it has very little power at all. Although these thoughts still frequently cross my mind…I’m not controlled by them. My actions are the actions of someone who loves her body, who respects her body, and someone who honors her body. That is the gift of recovery. I do not have to act on every feeling of inadequacy or insecurity. My actions are healthy, my actions are strong, and my actions keep me from falling back through the mirror into a world of fear and dispair.

Now, am I a little nervous about how my recovery will be affected by gaining normal pregnancy weight….yeah, I am. But that is where all these years of working a program kicks in. I’m in an amazing place right now where I can be honest about being afraid, that I can discuss my fears with the women in my life that know my struggle, and I can take suggestions and hear amazing feedback from the people that love me the most. I’m not in this alone. I have a small army of recovery soldiers that are constantly surrounding me to remind me of my strength, my beauty, and the miracle that is happening inside of my body.

Speaking of MIRACLE!!!! I would have never believed in a million years that my body would be the home of a small miracle. The diseases of anorexia and bulimia abused and wrecked this body past the point of recognition, to the point of organ failure…I hated the vessel that I was forced to live in and treated it like garbage….what in the world did I do to deserve this GIFT of a tiny life growing inside my body? It blows my mind and reminds me of GRACE. It’s not something I can earn or work hard enough to receive…it is not something I can fully wrap my head around, but this baby is just one example of the power of Grace in my life today.

As much as I’ve talked about fear, I’m actually really excited about this journey that I’m on. I’m blessed to have the ability to care for my body today in a way that has never been possible for me. I’m excited to care for myself (physically, emotionally, spiritually) and this tiny life as we grow together. I’m so grateful to my program of recovery, my higher power, and my small army of women…without these things in my life I would not be the woman of worth that I am today. I’m also excited to share this journey with others as I know I am not the first woman in recovery to journey through pregnancy with fears and doubts.

I plan on continuing to workout until my baby tells me that I need to rest, I plan on continuing to eat the way that I have learned is best for my body….no matter what crazy cravings I have. I’ve found a way of life that works for me, and it has set me up to have a wonderful, fit and healthy pregnancy. My God works in mysterious ways and sent this little surprise to us at the perfect time, and I’m so thankful.

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