Hey ya'll! I don't know about you but there is so much anticipation for that 12-week ultrasound appointment. 12 weeks marks the date when your news can now become public (generally), your baby's health is determined and also defines the end of the first trimester. Great news to share... we made it!!
Our appointment was at Georgetown University Hospital and we had a wonderful, wonderful ultrasound technician named Ivory. She was quick and to the point in determining the health of baby, very soundly pointing our brain function, blood flow, nasal bone structure, spinal measurements, heartbeat and our little one's developing arms, legs and stomach. Phew!!!!!! Is all I can say. And, we are healthy - Amen!
Man oh man, the anticipation leading up to this appointment felt like a lot more than I can remember with Lincoln. One flag that had me thrown was at my 8-week appointment (a month ago) doctor took the first ultrasound and informed me that baby was measuring 5 days small, meaning that instead of my due date being March 9th it was now pushed back to March 14th!! Doctor said that it would be abnormal to measure that small if there was no heartbeat, but thank the Lord, there was a heartbeat - so everything was okay. After that comment and after going home, all I could think about was the fact that my baby was measuring small. It's amazing how 'news' - just unique, somewhat abnormal news - can make you worry like crazy.
I did a little research on the topic (meaning googling the heck out of things and reading countless threads) and found that many women measure small at their first appointment. I'll also note that I have what I think is called an anterior facing (or tilted) uterus. When you have something like this, it is often much harder to accurately measure baby, at least in the beginning.
It's safe to say that at today's ultrasound, Ivory corrected my due date back to the original date of March 9th - woo woo! For all of you mamas out there, I'm sure you can relate to the disappointing feeling of knowing you have to be pregnant for one week longer than you thought. Plus, I had already programmed my bump app for weekly updates!
Most importantly though, baby is healthy. The 12 week doctor's appointment that followed the ultrasound was easy breezy. I saw an amazing nurse practitioner (lady's never underestimate the amazing-ness of an NP!!), who asked me a few minor questions to update my charts, and then Lincoln and I were on our way.
Another thing I'd like to touch upon is the unwavering support from my husband, Ryan. He rearranged work flights and his work schedule to be at the ultrasound. I can't thank him enough for being at the appointment and remind myself constantly to appreciate his support and commitment to our babies and growing family.
Ryan being there today is very indicative of the type of father he is. I never have to doubt if he will show up or not, he always makes it happen. Thank you to all of the husbands, partners and family out there for supporting us mamas-to-be. This pregnant journey would not be the same without you.
Since the fair comes only but once a year I tend to go big. By big I mean foot long corn dog big. I'm such a sucker for corn dogs, even though I cringe at the thought of all the crap I'm eating. Yikes! I guess sometimes you just have to indulge. Are you with me?! Savoring each bite one time a year- it's worth every moment and stomach ache!
HOWEVER, I would NEVER eat this if I was pregnant. The below info refers to all processed meats that contain nitrites. Avoid hot dogs and luncheon meats, including deli ham, turkey, bologna, and salami — unless they have been reheated until steaming hot.
Corn dogs/hot dogs (and other meats listed above) contain nitrates. These chemicals react with amino acids in foods in the stomach to form highly carcinogenic compounds known as nitrosamines. Key word: "carcinogenic" meaning "having the potential to cause cancer" (Wikipedia).
Also, the word "fried" is usually associated with unhealthy. So put a bunch of nitrates and nitrites (from the hot dog) in batter, then fry it using refined vegetable oils (AKA human made oils) such as corn, safflower, sunflower, canola and soy; viola, you have yourself the reason to say NO to corn dogs during pregnancy (or anytime for that matter). These polyunsaturated oils break down cell growth and can increase inflammation, weight gain, and the risk of cancer.
Furthermore, nitrates pose a potential risk to react with the protein hemoglobin that delivers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. When nitrates become nitrites and react with hemoglobin (oxygen transporting protein), they produce modified proteins called methemoglobins CDC. WHY IS THIS OF IMPORTANCE WHEN PREGNANT: These methemoglobins aren't able to deliver oxygen as they should, and your baby in your tummy depends on your hemoglobin to deliver oxygen to the placenta- thus helping your baby affectively grow and remain healthy.
On the flip side, don't stress yourself out if you ate a corn dog or hot dog or two. Just don't over do it ; ). Everything in excess is no bueno.
One of my absolute favorite spots for lunch in Colorado is at tiny outdoor spot located adjacent to the Roaring Fork River called the River Cabin. The restaurant is situated off an unmarked street nestled into the mountains, and yes, you eat lunch right next to the river! You can hear the whooshing of the river - loud or soft depending on the time of the year. This time of year, the river created the perfect hum, and the weather couldn't have been more beautiful to top it off. Not only is the scenery to die for, but the food is amazing!
We love the River Cabin so much that we went three times during the two plus weeks we have been in town - once with my parents, another with my aunt and the last time (today) with some of our best family friends. This is by far one of my favorite spots, seeing that we had our rehearsal dinner here as well :)
Hey ya'll! So, UV (sun) protection during pregnancy is super, super important. Your skin is extremely vulnerable and highly susceptible to sun damage, including melasma (the mask of pregnancy), hyper-pigmentation, wrinkles, freckling, burning, you name it... During my first pregnancy with Lincoln I got bad hyper-pigmentation (melasma) at the end of my pregnancy and well into breastfeeding. While it has faded a little (I am still nursing Lincoln AND pregnant with baby #2), I don't expect it to go away soon. On top of that, I also got freckling and skin tags (more than usual), what the heck pregnancy!! I did see a dermatologist (regarding my hyper-pigmentation), who recommended glycolic acid, which is considered safe while pregnant and nursing. I recommend IS Clinical Active Serum - recommended by celebrity facialist Shani Darden. Keepin' it real: the dermatologist told me the best, best way to get rid of hyper-pigmentation / pigmentation is through the use of a topical retinol cream and/or chemical peels - both of which are huge "no-no's" while pregnant and/or nursing.
Back to it -- I notice that when in the sun, my pigmentation gets A LOT worse. Thus, we all know (or should know!) how important sunscreen is - ESPECIALLY while pregnant!! If you don't wear sunscreen, you should most definitely start doing so now. Keepin it real: I will admit that I don't wear sunscreen all over my body on the regular, and if you want to be extra pre-cautious then go for it! I do know that titanium dioxide has been declared as a possible carcinogen if inhaled in high doses, so yeah, just don't go overboard. Thus, I only wear SPF 30 sunscreen on my face, daily.
what type of sunscreen?
So now that we understand the importance of sunscreen, let's talk about what to look for when picking out sunscreen. Here are my recommendations:
ila's top spf products
The below products are some of my favorites that I've used over time and tend to rotate in and out periodically. Currently, I use Control Corrective Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 30 recommended by (again) celebrity facialist Shani Darden who works on stars like Jessica Alba and Rosie Whitington-Huntley. These are products that I use on my face, neck, chest and hands (not all over my body). My top products include the following:
While these are MY favorites, be sure to find a product that works well for you. I noticed that during my pregnancy with Lincoln I broke out like a mad woman and kind of attributed it to Dr. Weil's Origins brand. As soon as I stopped using it during pregnancy and switched back to Dermaquest, my skin calmed down (maybe a coincidence, who knows). It's all about trial and error though, so I recommend trying a few and seeing what works the best. If it happens to not work, trust me, you'll be glad you have an extra stash to go back to if you ever run out -- or hand it over to a pregnant mama to try out!
Happy sunning, mamas!
I don't know about you, but I prefer my bum to be on the bigger, rounder side. I've always had a pretty athletic build so a small backside has never been my thang or the look I do my best to achieve. Aside from just the look, having strong glutes helps keep my legs strong, thus keeping my knees strong- along with a lot of stretching of course! The reason being is I had surgery on my knee about ten years ago and have since reinjured it. I still have soreness, dull aches, and weakness from time to time as well. So needless to say, keeping my body (especially the lower half) strong is essential to my overall health and agility.
When I was pregnant with Kai I completely lost my tush. I lost so much muscle mass that it took a while to gain it back. So I've decided to #buildabootyforbaby. It's all about that squat, girl! No, seriously. I'm here to tell you, if you build a consistent booty workout plan you will be thoroughly impressed...and so will your man ; ).
Below is a couple exercises I do about 6 days a week.
In a pinch for time? Give yourself FIVE MINUTES! Don't worry, you can still get that firm booty while doing the dishes, brushing your teeth, or showering-I do!
1. Single leg raises while brushing your teeth- 20 reps 2x each side
***IF YOU EXPERIENCE PAIN OF ANY KIND (NOT JUST MUSCLE FATIGUE) PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR, AND AS ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY AND ADJUST THE REPS OR ADD WEIGHT AS NEEDED)!
Join me on this journey while we #buildabootyforbaby and STAY TUNED for more fun exercises and get #fitwithcateandila!
To big, firm buns.
Week 11 Thoughts & Feelings: Feeling pretty good as of now. My morning sickness seems to have improved (to a certain level). I still have nausea and slight food aversions, but for the most part, I am able to stomach mosts kinds of food. Sometimes food looks bad at first, and then once I put it in my mouth, I can tolerate it. During my last pregnancy with Lincoln, I could literally only eat pasta with butter, mac and cheese, apple sauce, toast and butter, etc. (really, really bland food). In terms of fatigue, my energy levels are getting better. I notice it helps to get out and go for a walk or for a 2 to 3 mile run. When I don't get out and move my body, I notice that I am more fatigued throughout the day. Keepin' it real: I am drinking a little bit of caffeine (almost daily). I try to avoid a full cup of coffee and instead try to stick to a latte with a half shot of espresso or a green tea latte with coconut milk from Starbucks (a slight obsession I have) or even a blended chai tea latte. Having a toddler to run around after in the first trimester of pregnancy is A LOT different than my first pregnancy in which I could sleep whenever I wanted. I do try to take naps when Lincoln naps, if needed. But, if I'm still feeling super fatigued, I'll grab a little caffeine to help perk me up. Doctors say that caffeine is okay up to a certain level - I believe one cup a coffee - which has around 95 mg. I try to shoot for caffeine intake slightly below that the majority of the time. Nespresso pods have around 60 mg of caffeine, green tea lattes from Starbucks have around 55 mg to 80 mg (depending on tall or grande), and chai tea lattes have around 70 mg to 95 mg (depending on tall or grande).
Doctors Appointments: No doctors appointments this week. Next week, I will have my week 12 ultrasound to make sure baby is measuring ok and all is healthy. Prayers to that!
Weight: 131.5 to 132 lbs depending on when I weigh myself. Starting to gain a bit, but completely okay with it. I've noticed my belly begin to pop a little. My dad pointed to it the other day and I told him I wasn't sure if that pooch was there before I got pregnant or if I really am starting to get a belly - ha! He told me it wasn't there before, so, looks like I am starting to slightly show :) I am still trying to keep my diet as normal as possible Keepin' it real: I have been eating dessert almost every night - ah. I don't even really crave dessert, it just helps to settle my stomach. Moving forward, I'm going to try to eat an after dinner snack like fruit, instead of sweets.
Baby Size: baby is the size of a lime! I don't know about you, but that seems BIG to me compared to last week's strawberry size. Getting excited to see how baby is measuring next week.
Week 11 Advice: Get up and get moving, even if you are feeling sluggish, tired and nauseous! Try taking bites of food before you refuse food - you'll be surprised what tastes good the minute you put it into your mouth. Try to order a size "tall" or small beverage when intaking caffeine, or try to order iced which decreases the volume of liquid in the cup and waters down the caffeine. If you aren't craving dessert and are just feeling like something to munch on at night, try to reach for things like fruit or crackers to help settle your stomach, rather than sweets.
Keep up the hard work girls and keep it real!! The second trimester is just around the corner.
As some of you know, we have decided to spend the remainder of my first trimester in beautiful Colorado with my parents. During this time, we've been exploring the great outdoors! What better way to explore than in style? Check out what Lincoln likes to wear in the mountains, above. At the very least, these toddler Timberlands are an awesome purchase - especially if you can pass them on to multiple kiddos.
Keepin It Real: All of the above items were purchased by Lincoln's grandparents!! But hey, even purchasing them on your own would put you well under $100 for a timeless and classic mountain man look.
Okay, so Lincoln's first birthday party was a SUPER big deal!! He is my first baby and him turning one was so monumental that we couldn't do anything less than fantastic. I thought and thought about themes for his birthday party and only landed on this one when I realized it was one of his interests and something that would remind us of him forever.
Below, I will include some photos. We didn't have time to take many (shoot!) because of all of the guests and fun we were having. I will also include some tips and tricks on how to throw an awesome birthday party!
How to choose a theme?
So I know that when throwing a birthday party for your kid, at first, you think of ALL of the coolest themes that would present the most options to do awesome things with (or at least I did). I considered the "Little Blue Truck" theme - because, how original and cute is that? I also considered the "Indian" theme because of how precious the photos turn out and how much fun we could have with the decor. At the end of the day, my husband Ryan had to reel me in and refocus me on what we think would absolutely and perfectly represent Lincoln.
Somewhat of an old soul at heart, like his dad, and OBSESSED with planes (seeing that we live right in the jet path for DCA airport), there is nothing more than Rhett loved at that point in time. Combining the two, we came up with the vintage aviation theme, and honestly nothing could have suited him more!
When choosing a theme, I think you should definitely go for something original, but most importantly, it should be something that fully embodies and represents your little one. You'll want to look back and remember the fact that your little boy was obsessed with airplanes and always listened for them and pointed to them as they flew by.
So I used a ton of different sources for decor, including etsy.com, amazon.com . My biggest advice is to have one centerpiece, in our case this was the cake, and then to decorate with fun, small items around it.
The cake was a big deal for me - so much that I had to convince Ryan to spend the $$ that we did on it. In the end, I think he can agree, that we are so glad that we did. The cake was a hit! It perfectly embodied the theme of the party and most importantly, represented Lincoln to a tee. We ended up using It Takes the Cake to create the cake. I got bids from SEVERAL different companies and Hollis ended up being the most reasonable AND the sweetest to work with.
Party favors are not only super cute, but also are super easy and pretty cheap. I ended up buying some small, cheap burlap bags off of amazon.com and filling them with goodies, including an airplane kit, a squeeze pouch, passport stickers, a passport book - and that is it! We only provided the favors for the kiddos - so I think it was about 12 bags total. I only spent $30 total!
Do-it-yourself mama! I printed several of the cute signs, you can see above, that I then placed in frames by the snacks, beverages, gifts, bathroom and much more. This is the cheapest (and most fun!) way to create awesome decor!
When I found out I was pregnant, I connected with one of my best friend's sisters, Samantha, who had recently brought a beautiful baby boy into the world. Like most mamas, she was ready to share all of the info she gathered along those wonderful 9 months with all of her soon-to-be mom friends. One thing I reached out to and trusted Samantha on was what types of prenatal vitamins (and supplements in general) she took during her pregnancy.
When Samantha found out she was pregnant, she wanted to see a doctor immediately. But like most doctor's offices, they wouldn't accept her until the 8 week mark. Not taking "no" for an answer, she took a different route. She booked an appointment with a naturopath to seek out advice for the first steps of her pregnancy journey. During this appointment, the naturopath recommended the following vitamins that I will share in this post. I took these supplements with Lincoln and will continue to take them with baby #2 (with one minor adjustment).
FYI, I am no doctor - this is just based on my own research and what my mama intuition tells me is healthy and right!
Vitamin: Prenatal Vitamin
Type: Rainbow Light Prenatal One
Importance: If you are pregnant, you should be taking a prenatal vitamin! No questions asked. Prenatal vitamins help to ensure that a mama is getting all of the proper nutrients that she may not be getting in her diet. Some of the most important nutrients found in prenatal vitamins include folic acid, iron, iodine and calcium. Folic acid may reduce your child's risk of obtaining certain birth defects including spinal bifida by up to 70%! Recently, doctors have been talking about iodine as one of the more important nutrients that a mother should be getting during pregnancy that we often forget about. Low iodine during pregnancy can be detrimental to baby's brain. In sum, MAKE SURE YOU ARE TAKING YOUR PRENATAL VITAMINS!
Why Rainbow Light? So originally with my first pregnancy, Samantha's naturopath doctor recommended New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins. I took these prenatal vitamins for the majority of my pregnancy with Lincoln and loved them. You take one vitamin with each meal - so 3 vitamins per day. For once, I was actually good at doing this! I took my vitamins every day 3x a day. The only catch for me ended up being the price and the frequency I was buying them. So, I went to Whole Foods and talked to someone in the vitamin department. This is when I was informed that Rainbow Light Prenatal One was the top-selling vitamin at Whole Foods and came highly recommended, plus you only had to take it once a day rather than three times a day. I did some research online and found that Prenatal One was also a top-seller on Amazon. Thus, I decided since it was a plant-based vitamin and included mostly whole, natural ingredients, this was a good way to go. With Baby #2, I am taking this supplement. If I want to change it up, I will likely go back to the New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamin.
Things to Look Out For: When purchasing a brand of prenatal vitamin (and any kind of vitamin for that matter), you want to make sure you are buying the good stuff. Whole Foods, while pricey, or any other natural foods market is probably a good place to start. Whole Foods has a strict vetting process for all of the products it carries, including vitamins. When pregnant, you don't want to be cheap with supplements and buy the bad stuff. What I really love about the Rainbow Light Vitamin is that it is Plant-Based. This need not be a requirement, but is something that I often look out for. What you don't want is fillers of any sort.
Vitamin: Vitamin D3
Type: Carlson Vitamin D3
Importance: Okay, so Vitamin D3 is a vitamin that everyone should be taking. The reason I know this is I talked to my sister-in-law, Jill, an infectious disease doctor and internist. She went to Georgetown University for med school and residency, undergrad at Columbia -- so yes, she is VERY smart. Jill and I had a conversation pre-pregnancy about supplements. She told me that she doesn't believe in them, HOWEVER, she said, the only supplement that she DOES believe in is Vitamin D3. So there you have it. Aside from this, my dad, who survived Stage 4 Prostate Cancer preaches to my husband and I CONSTANTLY about how important Vitamin D3 - especially in men - because it acts almost as a hormone. On top of this, I completed a Vitamin D3 project in business school at Georgetown University, working with a patented way to measure Vitamin D3 assays -- TMI -- but needless to say, Vitamin D3 is UBER important. When Samantha mentioned that her naturopath recommended D3 during pregnancy, I was quick to follow suit. I've been taking the Carlson brand ever since I started taking prenatals with Lincoln - so for a little over two years now. Even if you aren't pregnant, D3 is a quality vitamin to have in your diet for several reasons. Adding to this, when you are breastfeeding your baby, your pediatrician SHOULD recommend that you give your baby a D3 supplement - just as a side note. There has also been studies linking vitamin D3 deficiency to autism and other nasty diseases. Bottom line, take your vitamin D3!!!
Vitamin: Fish Oil
Type: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega
Frequency: 4x daily
Importance: Fish oil is really, really good for baby's brain development. I have done lots of research on this - and ironically do so after Lincoln was born. Following the Weston A. Price diet, the diet suggests giving your baby fish oil or maybe it's cod liver oil (specifically) I think around 5 months. I did more and more research and read some mixed things. Thus, if you are on the fence about this vitamin and feel better about not taking it - then stick with that. Through the research I did, I found that the DHA is extremely important for brain development if you aren't getting enough through your diet (in things like salmon, etc.). Also, side note, when in high school, my nutritionist had me take fish oil (this same brand) 6x daily (2 pills with each meal). I can say that fish oil makes me feel good. Again, if you aren't feeling this is something for you, then skip it!
Good luck mama and keep it healthy!!
Hey ya'll!! So Zika. I mean it's a HOT, HOT topic for us pregnant women and those planning to conceive, much more, the general public. I mean, it is crazy. That said, God indefinitely has a plan for Zika and keeping faith in that will keep your heart (and your mind) right!
I wanted to share my story regarding what I faced with Zika - traveling abroad to a Zika designated area and the testing that proceeded. My story is far less heartbreaking than what millions of people are facing at the moment, but information is empowering and I hope that this story can help you - if considering getting pregnant during this "risky" time.
Ryan and I traveled to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate me graduating from business school at Georgetown. My parents had graciously booked this trip for us (way in advance) and on top of it we were meeting some friends out there, as well. I had talked to my sister-in-law, an infectious disease doctor, about the risks of traveling to Mexico when hoping to get pregnant in the coming months. She told me that if we want to be 100% safe, to cancel the trip. That said, she informed us that our chances of contracting the disease was extremely low, but there was a chance. With that information, we proceeded to travel to Cabo. Let me note, also, that while Mexico is designated as a Zika territory, Cabo San Lucas has had zero indigenous cases of Zika being contracted.
June 15th (ish)
Ryan and I likely conceived a baby around these dates, given the date of the first day of my last period. However, given that the doctor says the baby is measuring slightly small, our conception date could be closer to June 20th.
Took a pregnancy test and got a positive result.
Date of my first prenatal appointment, or 8-week appointment. Doctor told my husband RYAN that he needed to get tested for ZIKA after we informed her that we traveled to Mexico - regardless that it was Cabo San Lucas. We contacted Infectious Disease Department to schedule an appointment that day for Ryan. Ryan met with the ID doctor, who told him that the CDC/Department of Health would NOT approve getting a test for Ryan, but that they would likely approve ME getting tested. Back story - I am no doctor, but what I understand and understood before traveling to Mexico, is that if a man contracts Zika, Zika is thought to stay in a man's semen for a long period of time - I think up to 4 months. If a man has sex with and impregnates his partner, there is a likelihood he can transfer the virus to his partner and potentially the fetus. Women can get Zika too, but it stays in their system for a significantly shorter period of time.
What we knew, is that our chances of getting Zika in Cabo were low - but at the time we found out that we were pregnant, we were scared out of our minds for being so reckless, so we wanted to get tested. That said, the CDC/Department of Health has to "approve" your case to even get tested - aka not just anyone can get tested. My sister-in-law seems to think that they are not just testing any old person so as to not flood the healthcare system. Long story short, my case (not Ryan's) was approved to be tested for Zika.
I'll note that aside from being tested for Zika, my doctor recommended the following during the remaining duration of my pregnancy:
The Department of Health called me and asked me several questions to "confirm" my Zika case. This included the dates and place of travel, how far along I am, etc. The woman confirmed I could get tested and also proceeded to educate me about Zika locally in Washington, DC. She said that they have been testing mosquitos and have not found that Zika exists in the area, despite the fact that DC does have that Aedes aegypti mosquitos (just not ones WITH Zika).
I had a blood test done at Georgetown University Hospital. They drew a lot of blood, and were planning on testing via both a DNA test and an Antibody test. I was informed that I would get the results back sooner than we thought - in a few weeks rather than months (what we were originally told).
The Infectious Disease Doctor called us, informing us that both the Antibody and the DNA test came back negative, meaning I did NOT have Zika in my system. Praise God!
My overall thoughts on the situation are seriously mixed. I mean the fact that doctors are recommending we wear long pants and sleeves and cover ourselves in DEET seemed a little extreme at first - especially since DC has had NO cases of Zika - even reported to me by the Department of Health. I mean what is the better of the two - dousing yourself in chemicals (DEET) and potentially harming your baby? Or getting potentially bit by a Zika-carrying mosquito and potentially REALLY HARMING your baby? The doctors communicate that the benefits of wearing DEET heavily outweigh the risks. BUT, as a holistic hippie, it is still a tough pill to swallow. A friend of mind recommended an organic mosquito repellent called "Fit Organic", which honestly, is the spray (over DEET) that I use when I go outside, even in Colorado where there aren't any Aedes aegypti mosquitos. I will say that I do have a friend in California (a more likely Zika territory than DC considering it's proximity to Zika countries), who is pregnant with her second child, due a month after me, and she says her doctor is not concerned at all about Zika being transmitted in California.
Traveling to a Zika territory when pregnant or planning to conceive is a HUGE no-no (in my book), especially if there have been locally transmitted cases. If you travel to a place, like Cabo, with zero cases (but still is in Mexico - a Zika territory) - you are traveling at your own risk, as we did. As a result, you have to go along with all of the testing and worry that comes with it. In the end, Ryan and I ended up with a positive experience throughout what is now considered a devastating worldly catastrophe. My strongest advice is to put your baby ahead of your own needs (yes, I need to swallow my own medicine on this one), but also, at the same time, you need to live your life. Just take precautions, be smart and act with your baby's best interest at heart.
Good luck mamas and prayers out to fight this brutal virus!