Category Archives: Health & Fitness

November is Prematurity Awareness Month

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, with World Prematurity Day taking place November 17th. These two events raise awareness of premature babies, which in the United States, preemies make up 9.6% of all births.

This past June I gave birth to my little preemie, Sloane Raven, and in honor of Prematurity Awareness Month, feel strongly to share my story, and everything I’ve learned.  Babble recently published my story, which I hope you will take a minute to read: https://www.babble.com/parenting/6-things-you-dont-know-about-preemies-until-you-have-one/.

Thanks!

 

 

Body After Baby: My Journey

I’ve always been one of those people who doesn’t know how to take a compliment. I can’t just say, “thank you!” and walk away. I’ve always known this, but I’m noticing it more now as I get complimented on my body after giving birth. #humblebrag

I’m not gonna lie – I’m thrilled that I was back in my pre-pregnancy clothes eight weeks after giving birth, and I’ll make you hate me even more: I didn’t have to break a sweat to do it.  I know women’s weight in general is a touchy subject, and recently, women’s weight after giving birth has become a hot-button issue, with articles popping up talking about how phrases like “getting your body back” should be banned. I think it’s things like that, that linger in the back of my head that make me uncomfortable when I get complimented on this particular issue. Like I’m supposed to, as a new mom, go through the right of passage of struggling to lose the baby-weight. I of course graciously say thank you, but then offer up the following explanations because although from the outside it may have looked like losing the baby-weight was easy, it still took its toll:

I’m breastfeeding

and

Oh, I also gave up dairy because I’m breastfeeding

and my favorite:

Well, I gave birth at almost 33 weeks, so I didn’t gain as much as most people

Ah, the good old, “I’m breastfeeding” excuse. It is a known fact that you do burn more calories while you’re breastfeeding because you’re body is working to make milk.  You know what isn’t easy? Breastfeeding! Breastfeeding is hard work. It’s exhausting. You are the sole provided for your baby. If you’re not breastfeeding, you’re pumping. So yes, I lost my pregnancy weight and I look great, but I’m exhausted, my boobs hurt and chances are I’m starving because you work up quite the appetite while breastfeeding.

Speaking of breastfeeding…There’s a chance if you’re breastfeeding you may have to cut out certain foods from your diet because it will upset baby, like dairy and soy for example. I’ve cut out both. I’m sure that’s difficult for just about anyone, but for myself in particular it flat out sucks because I’m a vegetarian. The bulk of my protein comes from dairy and soy-based meat-free products.  How do I get my protein now, you ask? My diet basically consists of hemp protein in my oatmeal, Amy’s non-dairy burritos, Morningstar Farms Black Bean Burgers, and walnuts. I found out early on in my mommy journey the things we will do for our kids. Sloane’s health and comfort comes before mine.

Lastly, we have the most uncomfortable excuse, the “I had a preemie,” excuse. Since I didn’t make it to 40 weeks I didn’t gain as much as someone who had a full-term pregnancy, therefore, I did not gain the weight the majority of women do, and in turn, did not have to lose that much weight. Instead of worrying about my post-baby weight I spent 10 emotionally grueling days in the NICU watching Sloane struggle to gain weight and keep her temperature regulated.

How’s that for conversation?

Body after baby

I’m A Mom!

It’s been a while! Here’s what I did on my “summer vacation:” I had a baby!  Sloane Raven Sage was born June 12, 2016…Seven. Weeks. Early.

Let me start at the beginning…

I had a pretty easy pregnancy, no major complaints, that is until my glucose test. I went into it under the impression that I had nothing to worry about. I ate fairly well (better than most of my other pregnant friends who didn’t have gestational diabetes [GD]), continued my pre-pregnancy workout regime of yoga and spin classes, and gained the right amount weight. When my initial test came back abnormal, I was shocked. When I went in for my three-hour glucose test, I was beyond nervous, and then devastated days later when I was diagnosed with GD. I have to say, my numbers were extremely borderline, but I’m told that does not matter when it comes to GD. Once I received the diagnosis, I had to set up appointments with the nutritionist to set up an eating plan and then learn how to test my blood.

Turns out these appointments were classes. The eating plan class was beyond overwhelming. I walked out defeated and crying. I basically had to relearn how to eat. Five meals a day, and making sure I paired my carbs with proteins. I’m a vegetarian on top of it all, so there was the extra layer of difficulty. Luckily, my husband is extremely health-conscience, and helped me with my meal plan and measuring everything out. My fears quickly eased and I felt much better.

Fast forward a week later, and I was in class learning how to test my blood. I was under the impression that it was something I was going to have to do six times a day. Turns out it was only four. Four was still a lot! Anyway, I was actually extremely nervous to prick myself. The finger tests always hurt so much! It took a few tries in class to actually get the blood, but I got it, and it was painless.

Now I was all set up on my fancy new app MySugrPro, and logging my carbs and blood sugar. It was thrilling to see my numbers in check and that eating well was paying off. It was still very stressful! Every piece of food I looked at was a number. I’d see a piece of fruit on a coworker’s desk and think, “I hope she pairs that with a protein!” I was completely consumed!

June 11, 2016: My baby shower!

baby girl shower

What a great day! My husband and best friend planned an amazing shower for me after a struggle with who would be able to put it together. Not long after we had booked it, my mom was unfortunately diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was scheduled for a hysterectomy shortly. We went back and forth as to if we should keep the shower, and mom was adamant that we move forward with it. She wanted to continue to help, but it really wasn’t feasible. The day was beautiful, spent with family and friends, with great food, and a fun photobooth!

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When we finally shlepped everything home, I took a nap while Steve put together the baby’s dresser. We then went grocery shopping, ate dinner and went to sleep.

At 1:30 AM, I got up to pee, as I typically did as a very pregnant lady. When I stood up, I peed a little. I brushed it off as, “Third Trimester Problems” and went to the bathroom. There was a tiny bit of blood, but I talked myself down from that, as well, since I bled in the first trimester. Went back to bed, and got right back up because it felt like I had to poop. Did my thing, went back to bed, and got right back up again. This went on for about 45 minutes, while Steve was sitting there Googling if it’s labor. Finally, I got back into bed, and couldn’t get comfortable, and that’s when I told Steve to call my doctor, who said to go the hospital.

The car ride over to the hospital was about 20 minutes, and I was definitely having contractions. Steve was timing them. When we got to the hospital, I went straight to the bathroom, where there was a ton of blood. After signing in, the nurses took me to the examining room where I was told I was 2cm dilated. They gave me magnesium and told me, “This is to stop the labor, but, it might not work.” The “might not work” part was stated over and over, and good thing, because it didn’t work.

I was taken to labor and delivery where I was told I was now 8cm dilated and I asked for my epidural. Just in time, right?! I feel like it took the anesthesiologist forever to come to the room and give it to me. Finally, the Dr. came in and said, “You’re fully dilated, plus one. You’re ready to push!”  The “plus one” threw me off, but OMG, I was about to push! I started at 6:45AM…and at 8:45AM, she finally came out!

They had the NICU staff on call since she was a 32-weeker (Guys, I was one day away from 33 weeks, and they kept referring to her as a 32-weeker. Drove me crazy!) They took her to the table where they were working on her (my husband didn’t get to cut the umbilical cord), it felt like an eternity, till finally they brought her over and said she’s fine! She was placed on my chest for about 30 seconds before bringing her down to the NICU. She needed no help breathing, but, obviously needed immediate attention.

Once they brought her down, they weighed her and measured her: 4lbs 7oz, 18 inches long, and was doing well! My husband was able to go down a few hours before me, and sent me tons of pictures in the meantime. It was sad to see her hooked up to so many wires, but I was still relieved to hear that she was OK!

We spent the next 10 days on pins and needles in the NICU.  As I mentioned earlier, we live about 20 minutes from the hospital, which isn’t bad, but were lucky enough to get set up next door at the Ronald McDonald House. At first I was super- uncomfortable about it because there were surely people more in need of it than us, but was told we wouldn’t have been given a room if that was the case. It was great because we stayed in the hospital till about 11pm and I walked over every morning for her 5:30am feeding.

Every morning was nerve-wracking. I’d walk in every day and ask the nurse, “How’d she do?!” Some days I’d get glowing reviews of how well she ate, other days she’d be back in the isolette, or back under phototherapy, and one day, they even had a feeding tube in her nose just in case. Good news: She never used it! Overall, she had pretty standard preemie issues: not holding her weight (she dropped down to 3lbs 9oz), not holding her body temperature, and jaundice.

As the days went by, as eager as I was to bring her home, the more nervous I got. Did you know they don’t send babies home based on weight anymore? We took her home at 4lbs 3oz! She needed to prove a few things before coming home: gaining weight without the fortifier, hold her temperature, and pass a car seat test. To this day, car seats still freak me out because of it. In case you’re wondering what it is. They place babies in the car seat for 90 minutes, and monitor them. If their heart rate drops below a certain point during those 90 minutes, they wait 24 hours, and try again. She passed on her first try. Honestly, I was shocked! I was so proud that she had passed her first ever test, though!

Nothing can ever prepare you for having a baby, especially a preemie, and then bringing that baby home! The love and support from friends and family, as well as everyone at Cohen’s Children’s Hospital where we were, and the Ronald McDonald House really helped us get through it! Sloane will be four months next week, is around 12 pounds, and is a happy and healthy baby!

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iPops! Customize Your Fitbits and Apple Watches

Apple Watches and FitBits allow for you to express your fashion sense in very limited ways – color and choosing the face of your Apple Watch. While that is fine for most of us, I know there are some people out there who would prefer to express themselves one step further. iPops allows for you to do just that!

iPops was founded by Lucy Simones – a wife and mother of three – who was interested in making her watch a little more custom to herself. While she loved her watch, she realized she was wearing less and less of her other wrist accessories like charm bracelets, and thought of iPops as a way to bring together the best of both worlds!

 iPops is currently hosting a Kickstarter campaign to continue to fund the charms. Head over there now to donate as it ends today!
The charms are $7 each, and also come in various packs that start at $12.99.
I have an ice cream cone charm that I slipped into my purple FitBit, which fits like a glove! I’ve worn it to many yoga and spin classes, and lived to tell about it.  iPops is definitely a fun product that can give your watch and FitBit that extra flair!

My First Half Marathon

I’ve talked a lot on here how I’ve hit a wall in my career, and am in a bit of a “1/3rd life-crisis” (even though I’m two years past “1/3rd”). I know that life is more than a career, and decided to work towards an accomplishment towards bettering myself, though at the time, didn’t realize that’s what I was doing. Earlier this year I signed up to run my first ever half marathon, on my 32nd birthday, nonetheless!

The Rock-n-Roll Brooklyn was the inaugural run on October 10th, and got wind of it through my husband, who asked if I wanted to do it. I laughed in his face. I’ve run two 10ks, and never thought I could ever work up the stamina to double that. But I sat on it for a few days, and decided to go for it. My husband signed me and best friend up for it as my birthday present, and decided there was no turning back!

I don’t remember the last time I was so committed to something. Either my college thesis or dance competitions in high school. I re-downloaded my Runkeeper app, checked out the training plans, and began pounding the pavement.

The majority of my training happened over the summer, so I had to split my time on the treadmill, or early morning weekends to beat the humidity. Every weekend this past summer, I was up at 6am, which is earlier than I wake up for work during the week, and went for my long runs. Sometimes they were great, other times, I couldn’t finish, which I learned was OK.

As I got further into my training, and my runs got longer, I learned that I had to start testing out gels and figuring out my eating schedule – I also learned about runner’s stomach…Yikes! I’d say I figured it all out about a week or two before my actual race.

Race day was amazing! I set my alarm for 4:45am, but woke up naturally around 4:30. Ate breakfast, packed my gels, and got in an Uber to Brooklyn! When I arrived I couldn’t believe how packed it was. The port-a-potty lines were as long as Disney World lines in the middle of summer. I found my bestie, and we made our way to the corrals.

Everyone there was so nice! There is such a great sense of comrade! My bestie made me a “Birthday Princess” t-shirt, with a mention that it was my first half on my back, and got so many hugs, congrats, and happy birthdays from fellow racers.

As the race began, I was so excited. I just kept thinking that this was something I worked all summer for, and here it was! I’m running my first half marathon on my 32nd birthday with my best friend!

Before I knew it, I was at the 10k mark, and I wasn’t even tired – thanks endorphins! Seriously, those endorphins certainly got me through it, especially when I ate it around mile 8. My ankle rolled, lost my balance, and hit the ground hard. My knee was throbbing, but there was no blood, so I got up, and kept going.

I crossed the finished line at two hours and twenty minutes, and couldn’t believe the race came and went! My husband met us at the finish line, and we hung out a bit at the after party in Prospect Park before we left to meet up with some friends for brunch.

Still, a little more than a month since the run, I can’t believe I actually did it! With the NYC marathon only a few weeks ago, many people have asked me if that’s something I would ever do, and I said it’s not something I would rule out. When I started running a few years ago with 5ks, I said there’s no way I could ever do a 10k, and I did two. Even after completing a 10k, I never thought I’d be running a half marathon. The human body sure is amazing!

Here are some highlights from the day!

Before the race:

After!

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Goofing around:

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My times!

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Women’s Health Run 10 Feed 10 Event

As you know, I’m big into running right now, as I’ve been actively training for my first half marathon in October (on my birthday!!) and want to share this awesome event and opportunity with you guys! The 4th Annual Women’s Health Run 10 Feed 10 Nationwide Run will be coming to NYC September 20th!  Women’s Health and FEED, the organization founded by philanthropist and social entrepreneur Lauren Bush Lauren, partner for this race series to motivate consumers nationwide to help fight domestic hunger. The concept is simple: run a 10k, feed 10 people.

The money from the registration and fundraising efforts will go to the nearest NYC metropolitan areas. Also included in the registration fees are a 2015 limited-edition FEED bag and FEED bracelet as a special finisher prize. The day will include:

  • An unforgettable experience running at 10K for those in need
  • Pre and post race activities including guided stretches and  yoga with a special guest trainer
  • Tons of freebies, experiences and giveaways
  • Special guests and more…

If you want to have a 10k under your belt, and participate in not only a fun, but inspiring event, you can register here. I have a special discount for my readers! Be sure to enter code R10F10PR to get $5 off!

Happy training, folks!

Fashionably Late

I haven’t written a post in ages, I’m tardy to my own party. I’m so ashamed that  I refuse to even go back and see the date of my last post. I don’t even have a good excuse, life just got in the way. Work got busy, and, well a little emotionally exhausting, which didn’t leave me much room for creativity here.  I  am happy to say that not all of myself has been wrapped up in my career rut, I’ve been training to run my first ever half marathon!

For those keeping count, that is 13.1 miles, something I never, ever, would have , EVER, considered. Did I mention ever? If the high school me would have known I would go on to pick up running, I would have laughed till I cried.  Let me paint a picture for you: I was somewhat athletic growing up, I was a dancer, and in my prime, I was dancing about six days a week at about three hours at a time. I was not only a competitive dancer at my high school, I was also enrolled in dance classes outside of that. There were many a night where I was changing my clothes going from class to practice in the back seat of my parents’ car. Anyway, I was in shape, but when it came to running the mile for the fitness test every year, I just couldn’t. I had to run around the track FOUR times for it to equal a mile, and I couldn’t. I’d run the first length, get a pain in my side, and walk the rest. I was queen of the 20 minute mile.

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Which is why I can’t believe what I’m doing. I started getting the itch about two years ago, the year leading up to my 30th birthday. I had my 1/3 life crisis, and thought I needed to run while I can. Also, my best friend had started running that year, which really inspired me and gave me the courage to sign up for my first 5k.  From there I ran another 5k and two amazing 10ks, The Oakley Women 10k, and now I’m training for a half marathon.

Oakley Women's 10k

Working myself up to these isn’t the only reason I’m running a half. My husband came across an ad in the paper for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Brooklyn, the first time it’s coming to New York City, on my birthday. Steve offered it up as a birthday present, and I thought he was nuts. But then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. What better way to ring in my 32nd year than to accomplish this major fete, so I went back to him and said I’m in. He bought me and my bestie the entries, and I’ve been training ever since.

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I can’t believe that I’m sticking to this, and as of today, my furthest run is 10 miles! I sure have come a long way from the young girl who used to walk the mile in gym class. Long live the Queen!