Postpartum Padsicles: Easy as 1,2,3

The media definitely does it’s job informing women that  labor and childbirth are no walk in the park. Sure, they overexaggerate quite a few aspects of it, in what seems to be an attempt to prevent procreation, but at least you don’t go in blind. Postpartum care though is almost never brought up! So, true to form, I’ll just be straight with you-

your vagina may explode. 

LOL! That’s the extreme, but I’ve heard enough horror stories from my girlfriends that I’m going in with the mindset that even though the worst may occur, it DOES heal! Kegal exercises, postpartum yoga, plenty of water, and postpartum padsicles will speed the healing so I’m getting prepared.

Bleeding? 

Some online articles discuss heavy bleeding for days, gigantic mattress size maxi pads, and mesh panties worn for days. Ummm…that’s not really my style.

Gas, bloating, huge uterus?

I’ve packed my MS Panties from UpSpringBaby that hold your tummy in to reduce bloating, help you release gas, and hold your flabby tummy in tight. I’m also encapsulating my placenta which heps your uterus shrink back to size faster.

Hemorrhoids? Torn labia and perineum?

So not sexy. The recipe below will help with those too.

I’ve made Postpartum Padsicles that I’m bringing to the hospital/birth center. You’ll need:

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  • Organic cotton maxi pads
  • Witch hazel (non astringent, alcohol free)
  • Aloe vera
  • Lavendar essential oil (non synthetic, alcohol free)
  • Tin foil
  • Freezer bags

Total: $30-35 which I consider a bargain compared to days of pain and heavy bleeding.

Step 1: Spread at least 1tbsp of PURE aloe vera gel onto the pads. This aids in the healing.

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Step 2: Pour witch hazel onto the pads generously. Witch hazel decreases pain, swelling, itching from episiotomy, tearing, and hemorrhoids.

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Step 3: Sprinkle a few drops of lavendar across the pads to calm and ease swelling.

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Then wrap in tin foil flat or roll like I did mine. I rolled so I could save more space, but now I’m wondering if they’ll stick together. Whoops, rookie mistake.

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Store in a gallon size freezer bag and take 1 at a time out allowing to thaw a bit before using so it doesn’t stick to your very sensitive lady parts.

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I only made 8 because I’m taking the first set to the hospital in a cooler, but you could also make them as you go and keep the ingredients in the refridgerator for the cooling aspect without having to freeze and dethaw. And, don’t hesitate to put the ingredients on a cloth diaper insert, piece of fleece, cotton balls, or tampon (horzontal and not to be inserted). Use whatever you have handy to get some relief so you can focus on your baby.

Good luck, 

That Girl

Kicking Pregnancy’s Ass

I’ve nannied for several sets of twins and although twins are a blast (and a shit ton of work), the mothers would always talk about how incredibly hard the pregnancy was. When I became pregnant with my own set of twins (ironically enough), I was prepared for the worst. That being said, it didn’t really get hard until the past few weeks- the bitter end. 

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Whether you’re having one, two, or three babies, let me tell you how to kick pregnancy’s ass and not let it get you down!

  1. Drink a GALLON of water a day!

No ifs, ands, or buts, on this one. This is a non-negotiable. Water not only carries oxygen and essential nutrients to your baby(ies), but it also prevents:

  • Edema (swelling)
  • Dehydration that causes preterm labor
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation & hemorrhoids
  • Cramps
  • Dizziness
  • UTIs

I bought a 64oz hydroflask at the beginning of my pregnancy and aimed to drink it by 3:00pm, then refilled it and drank the rest by bedtime. I also kept a glass of water by my bed overnight and drank a glass first thing in the morning. Yes, you will pee all day and night long, but that happens during pregnancy anyway. Better to pee like Seabiscuit than dribble each time, right?

2. Exercise

I worked out my ENTIRE pregnancy. I took it easy around 30 weeks because twins can be born early if mom is too active, but I started right back up again at 34 weeks since that’s out of the danger zone of preterm labor. I walked uphill/downhill 2-4 miles a few days a week, did zumba twice a week, worked my arms and legs with 8-10lb weights, and did standing ab work until it started being more humorous than helpful. Exercising during pregnancy is not about staying trim or losing weight. It’s about keeping muscles strong and flexible for labor & delivery, increasing circulation, and getting oxygen to your baby(ies). This also helped counteract joint pain, headaches, digestion issues, constipation, and muscle stiffness throughout.

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3. Chiropractor

I saw/see a chiropractor during my pregnancy to widen the pelvis to avoid breach babies, but it also helps to avoid carpal tunnel and other joint issues. Your spine being properly aligned prevents a heap of other issues during pregnancy, but you’ve got to go regularly. I have started to experience pelvic symphesis (which SUCKS), so I’ll likely increase my visits this week.

4. Diet

I smile politely when someone says, “You’re eating for three, have a cupcake”, but inside I’m shaking my head and rolling my eyes. I’m not eating for three-I’m eating enough to nurture one adult and two fetuses. I did NOT indulge in junk food and increase calories during my pregnancy. I did however increase protein drastically and eat fruit like it was my job. In the first trimester I was nauseas for a few weeks and only bean & cheese burritos or bread with butter could ease my tummy at meal times, but I still ate a ton of fruit and drank cold pressed juices with greens. Once the nausea was over, I focused on nutrition again. My typical day includes:

Breakfast: 2 eggs and a gluten free waffle with peanut butter, large glass of organic whole milk

Snack: yogurt and fruit (berries, kiwi, banana, or an orange)

Lunch: I ate Trader Joes meals often or stopped at Whole Foods for a protein, grain, and greens

Snack: Apple & babybell cheese

Protein shake: Shakeology, yogurt, cottage cheese, whole milk (40g protein)

Dinner: Always a protein!

Did I allow myself Taco Bell, pizza, and treats every now and then? Of course! But, I never ate more than I would normally, and I didn’t indulge habitually. Pregnancy is not a time to forgo nutrition for fun.

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Treating myself to half a lobster roll with my mom after “graduating” from Texas Fertility Center

5. Rest

I slept like a boss during pregnancy! If I had to be up at 7, then I went to bed at 9:00pm. I always made sure I could get at least 9, hopefully 10, hours of sleep. If I felt tired, I laid down. My non-pregnant self always pushed back tiredness to get shit done, but pregnant me wanted to sleep and knew it was legitimately what my body needed.

Now that I’m 35 weeks with twins, which is full term, I’m ready to go. I feel like shit, I’m tired of being pregnant, everything hurts, and it’s go-time, but…everything before now has been a cakewalk so I think that’s pretty good! Personally, I think I kicked pregnancy’s ass!

Stay gold, 

That Girl

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Austin’s Best for Prenatal Care & Pregnancy

It’s my job as a Baby Planner & Maternity Concierge to know the local pros and services available to expectant moms, so when I found out that I was pregnant, I knew just who to turn to!

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My Ob/Gyn: Dr. Vanessa Yium came recommended to me as “the crunchiest doctor in Austin”, which is exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want someone who’d find out I was having twins and immediately schedule my c-section. No way! Dr. Yium is honoring my plan in its entirety and she’s very welcoming to my having a doula. Im required to get an epidural at 7cm dilated in case babies turn breach and she needs to pull them out feet first (ouch) or, worst case scenario is an emergency c at which  point I’d have the epidural already placed.

Labor Plan: labor at home as long as possible! Once water breaks or contractions are long and strong I’ll go in, but the earlier you go to the hospital, the higher your chances for unnecessary medical interventions and c-section.

Delivery: I’m requesting minimal vaginal exams (decreased infection risk), low dose epidural at the LAST possible point, and I plan to stay mobile until pushing time. I’m hoping to deliver upright using a squat bar; however, sometimes US hospitals have policies that don’t allow this. I’ll have my mother, husband, and doula in the room with me, but I’m refusing students.

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My Doula: Austin Born has a team of doulas that are all exceptional. My prenatal doula is the owner, Phyllis Brasenell, but I know there’s potential for me to have a different doula the day/night I deliver. I’m trust them all though to provide the emotional and physical support I need to face labor like a boss!

My Chiropractor: Chiropractic care is a smart choice during pregnancy and I’ve been going to the Joint. I love the fact that each adjustment is only $20 and I don’t need an appointment. I can drive-by, walk-in, and back out whenever it’s convenient. Seeing a chiropractor can help keep your spine aligned so you’re working at optimum potential, but also widen the pelvis to reduce chances baby is breech.

My Prenatal Masseuse: I’ve had a prenatal massage 1-2 times a month since my twelfth week of pregnancy with Amy at Hand & Stone Massage at the Galleria. She knows you’re there to relax so she keeps chatter to a minimum, only talking at the beginning to find out what your current needs are. Not only am I relaxed after visiting Amy, but I’ve had virtually no swelling (edema), I have no varicose veins, and my circulation and  muscle tone have stayed healthy.

My Hospital: Seton Main is where my doctor delivers, but I would’ve chosen to deliver here anyway because it’s recognized as one of the safest hospitals in America to deliver! Its centrally located, they have a Level 2 NICU (I hope I never see), great food, excellent staff, and they’re familiar with crunchy mamas like me. Had I had one baby I would choose a birth center, but that’s not an option with two so I’ll have to do my best to advocate for myself and avoid unnecessary medical interventions.

Placenta Encapsulation: Lisa Kestler encapsulates placentas for Whole Heart clients and I’m honored she’s going to be doing mine. Placenta encapsulation helps regulate hormones to decrease post-partum depression, it helps your uterus shrink back to size faster, and helps increase mother’s milk supply. With twins I get double the pills!!

How wonderful to have options! Austin is filled with wonderful service providers who’s goal is to support the expectant FAMILY, not just the mother. I’m fortunate to have created anamazing team of providers and I feel very confident as my delivery is fast approaching.

Wish me luck, 

That Girl

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Third Trimester aka What Trimester?

A twin pregnancy is NOT for the weak. I’ll admit I think I’ve had it easier than many, but still…it is significantly different than a singleton pregnancy from what I’ve heard (and felt). First major difference? No third trimester. 

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In a singleton pregnancy your third trimester starts around 28 weeks; however with twins the doctors start monitoring you for preterm labor around 22-24 weeks and tells you to be ready for babies anytime between 28-36 weeks. Notice I didn’t say 40 weeks? That’s because 40 weeks with twins is damn near unheard of. In fact, full term with twins is between 35-37 weeks (again, this varies by doctor), but even still, you lose about a month of your pregnancy if you go to “term”.

Here’s the twin pregnancy timeline:

6 weeks: confirm pregnancy

7-9 weeks: Puke up everything but your toenails

Weeks 10-20: Sleep, nap, sleep, nap

Aha, the doctors finally figure out that you need a SIGNIFICANT increase in iron because your parasites, ahem, I mean…twins, are taking all of your iron stores, which is why you’re sleeping 15 hours a day and walk around like a zombie!

22 weeks: Doctors start checking your cervix and scaring the hell out of you by talking about preterm delivery and months in the NICU. I’ve worked in the NICU and believe me, it is NOT where you want your babies to be. Yes, they take good care of them, but it is a high stress start to life for your newbie.

At about 28 weeks it is recommended to be on “active rest”. This means cut your work hours in half, sit more than stand, avoid stairs when possible, decrease housework, and lay on your side for 2hrs twice a day.

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Sound self-indulgent?

Believe me, by this point with twins, all the mama-to-be wants to do is REST and NEST anyway. I was fortunate enough to be able to stop working altogether around 30 weeks, which I think has greatly helped me get to this point in pregnancy and will hopefully help me make it to my goal of 36 weeks, which should mean NO NICU!

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This whole “trimester” I haven’t been able to do much other than read, sleep, watch movies, and eat. Walking is PAINful, but I do force myself to do 1-2 miles a few times a week. Zumba is still fun, but I get really crampy so I took a few weeks off. Yoga feels great on my joints and muscles, but other than that, things are pretty chill ’round the Vail house.

Each day I try to do a little something to prep for these babies. I’ve washed diapers, blankets, and clothes, the nursery gets a little more done each day, and I cook a healthy meal each night. But just that much activity ZAPS my energy. Not to mention my husband literally yells at me everytime I’m out of bed, lol.

nesting, twin pregnancy

At 36 weeks if I still haven’t delivered, I plan to kick my own ass in an effort to get these boys OUT!!!

Stay gold,

That Girl

My Rustic Glam Nursery

I used to work for this lady who wanted me to help her design her nursery. I was SO excited! Her baby girl was so precious and their budget was way above average. But, once we got started, I realized she already knew what “theme” she was going with and it was NOT an easy theme to be inspired by. Her colors were brown, sage green, and butter yellow and the theme was Winnie the Pooh circa 1926.

Now, I’m a HUGE A.A. Milne fan and I could design a kickass “Pooh” nursery with modern elements, but the color scheme she’d chosen had me turning up my nose and going, “blech!”

So, I started thinking about my own nursery. Even back then I knew I wouldn’t be going with:

  • pastels
  • cartoon characters
  • Disney
  • multiple primary colors

Those things just aren’t my style. Now that I’m expecting twin boys, I know exactlly what I’m going to do! My nursery for the boys will be serene, modern, rustic, and a bit glam. The decor will reflect my hopes for them…curiosity, sense of adventure, love, and imagination.

Twins-Nursery-InspirationFirst: The walls will be painted a VOC free (nontoxic) version of Grey Owl by Benjamin Moore. Not only is this color gender neutral, but it’s calming without being cold. This is the kind of neutral everything goes with!

I’m a huge fan of pecan plank flooring. It’s definitely not the most high end ($.79 sq ft), but it’s rustic, tough looking, but soft to the touch. My husband owns a construction company and will have his guys use the extra spongy underlament, which makes the floor feel almost as soft as a floor at a day care of children’s gym! Carpet is HIGHLY toxic and holds allergens, mold, and other nasty stuff in it so that’s a no-go for my nursery.

Originally I had wanted the Stokke Sleepi circular cribs in white, but this Scoot crib by Babyletto will save us about $1000 so…I decided the harsh rectangles could be dealt with since it has modern lines and footing. Plus, I kinda love the two tone.

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I’m using the white Hemnes dresser from Ikea, but adding modern, gold drawer pulls! I’d love to paint it or distress it, but I’m not that talented unfortunately. I’ll put my slate grey, or vanilla white, Keekaroo Peanut changer atop this with my moroccan mirror on the wall above and I’ll store all diapering supplies in the top two drawers (I hate clutter!)

I’m tossing back and forth between a silvery grey shag rug that I have (it’s HUGE) or two white lambskin rugs at the foot of their cribs. With twins it’s always wise to have alot of places to lay them down or set them, lol. I opted for a chair and a half (seen below) so I can rock both easier and also be able to fit the monstrous twin nursing pillow.

I’m hoping my sweet husband will help me make pallet bookshelves for the wall and hang drapes that block out light so I can raise healthy sleepers. Toyshelves will come later, but I’ll stick to grey, white, or natural fiber baskets for storing toys.

Last, but not least, the light! I heart this chandelier from Ikea and it’s only $99! Its glamorous, but not feminine, and modern, but not uber trendy.

Twin pregnancy is pretty tough physically and mentally, but as I enter the third tri I’m doing some serious nesting and I’m definitely ready to get the ball rolling on this nursery. I want it to be fresh, clean, stocked, and totally prepped when these babies make their debut! Follow along as I’ll be posting blogs and photos of the progress!

Stay gold!

“Cason’s Nursery” Photo credit: Jennifer McNeal projectnursery.com

Push, Push, Push…Is That for Me?

Push Presents. Yes, this is a real thing. For centuries, men have been gifting their partner with something special after they birth a child, only now we have a catchy name for it called a “push present”. It’s not something the Kardashians invented with the help of a few commercial friends either. It’s a gift from the father to the mother as a thank you for what they’ve put their bodies and minds through for the last 9 months.

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Isn’t the baby the gift?

Ugh! This question is infuriating to me. It’s implying in some way that the mother is not acknowledging the priceless gift she’s received at the end of pregnancy- the baby. The baby is what motivated us to become pregnant in the beginning. We endured morning sickness, flatulance, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, weight gain, muscle spasms, stretch marks, sleepless nights, achy joints, breast tenderness, back pain, bleeding gums, mood swings, constipation, and fatigue because we wanted a baby. And, we’re thrilled when we finally get to hold that sweet chunk of love and squishy flesh in our arms!

That being said, it would also be nice for that endurance to be acknowledged by the father and after a grueling labor, painful contractions, and a tummy or vagina that’s been split to shreds, a gift can’t hurt, right?

So, what makes a good push present?

First, know your partner! Think about the types of gifts you’ve given them in the past and which type of gifts they’ve liked the most. Think through comments you’ve heard them make about things that are special to them, experience they’ve longed for, etc., and decide what type of gift would be best and go from there.

Do they value sentimental, timeless gifts such as keepsakes and jewelry? 

  • Rattle from Tiffany & Co. and get it engraved
  • Sterling silver or gold jewelry box with a quote about the babies (or your love) etched on it
  • A necklace or bracelet with your child’s initials
  • Upgrade their engagement ring or wedding ring, or design a right hand ring with baby’s birthstone

Does your partner prefer experiences?

  • Plan the first family vacation
  • Book a spa day for mom (and her best friend) for a few months after the birth
  • Buy tickets to a broadway show or concert coming to town (and secure the babysitter in advance)
  • Arrange for them to have the dance lessons or piano lessons they’ve always wanted

Do they tend to like practical gifts?

  • Pay off a bill that’s been nagging them
  • Upgrade your vehicle for one that suits the new family
  • Spring for the jogging stroller and new sneakers
  • Surprise her with a glider/rocker for the nursery

The purpose of the Push Present is not to “keep up with the Jones'” or show off to friends; it’s a gift that shows your partner you’re thankful for them, grateful for what they put their body through, and head over heels in love with them for giving you the most precious gift of all- a baby. Or, in my case, TWO babies!