Friends, it’s with great excitement that I announce that David and I are expecting our first child!
Yah. So. We’re not exactly on the same page, haha. But! We perfectly balance each other out, don’t you think? Yin and Yang? Because, as you can see, we’re both a liiiiitle delusional and one-sided in our perspectives. So it works out!
We are actually both completely over the moon. I’m four months along, so the baby should arrive around January 2nd.
We’re also a little stunned and feel like deer in headlights. We know changes are a-comin’. And we CAN’T CONTROL it. I mean, we’re inviting a complete stranger into our lives and home after all and are going to care for it and love it forever. A stranger! Yikes! I hope she’s awesome and likes us.
So far, as you will probably not be surprised to hear as you’ve seen my expectations – pregnancy has NOT been what I expected.
First, we got pregnant on our first try while I had it in my head that we would try for three months before getting pregnant. I work so much with couples trying to get pregnant, and I know what an emotional roller coaster it can be and the frustration and self-doubt that come with month after month of trying. I feel very lucky and grateful to have had it so easy.
I followed my Becoming Mama program for four months prior to conceiving and received acupuncture regularly, and while we may have just gotten lucky, I do believe (and the research supports) that this helped us get pregnant quickly and easily.
My husband and I are both 36 and since the conventional dialogue around fertility touts the (false) fear that our fertility steadily declines with age and drops of a cliff at the age of 35, I feel a tad defiant and triumphant that we got pregnant easily at 36. I want to say "Ha!" to all the well-meaning grandmothers and great-uncles around the world who say atrocious thing's like "when are you going to settle down, honey, you know you aren't getting any younger" to their dear, uncomfortable, pressured loved ones. We can totally get pregnant in our late 30s and into our 40s, so please DON’T succumb to external pressures out of fear for your fertility. Do your thing, live your life. And DO take your health and fertility into your own hands, there’s so much you can do to boost your fertility.
The Becoming Mama program walks you through the research, strategies, and steps to optimizing fertility. I followed the Becoming Mama protocol four months prior to “trying”. I recommend women do it for at least 3 months prior to trying and think of it as a “premester” and like preparing the soil before you plant a garden. It's the best way to prepare for an easy time conceiving, a healthy pregnancy, and healthy baby. I think it plus regular acupuncture are very likely a reason we got pregnant so quickly.
The biggest and most important change I made that I think really helped boost my fertility is that I carefully managed my blood sugar to ensure it didn’t spike or dip throughout the day.
I have to admit, before my “premester” I considered my morning cup of coffee as breakfast (eeek!). This is a disaster for blood sugar and hormonal balance. I would often skip lunch and only eat one big meal a day (eeek!). A total disaster for blood sugar, cortisol, and hormonal balance.
In the premester, I knew I had to change these habits and be extra mindful of my blood sugar in order to optimize my hormonal balance. Blood sugar is key to our whole endocrine system and hormone system.
- I ate breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up. And I made sure it had veggies, good fat (avocado), antioxidants (berries), and protein.
- I ate every 3-4 hours and stopped skipping meals.
- I made sure that every time I ate anything, even a snack, it included protein and fat to slow down the release of glucose into my bloodstream.
The other things I did:
- I reduced coffee to 6oz a day and alcohol to 3 drinks a week or less
- I made sure I got at least 8 hours of sleep a night
- I maintained a moderate exercise regime (not too little, but also not too much)
- I took a prenatal, CoQ10, Vitamin D and probiotic
This information isn’t meant to make anyone feel bad. Sometimes it just takes a while to get pregnant, and it does NOT mean you’re doing anything wrong. I would hate to make anyone feel more pressure or more guilt when there’s already too much of that in the world. This is meant to give hope and the empowering knowledge that there is so much you can do take control of your fertility.
So anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox about boosting fertility naturally. I was talking about how pregnancy is NOT what I expected so far. Here are the deets on that:
1. I thought I would somehow intuitively “know” when I was pregnant and not need a pregnancy test. Nope. I try to always practice what I preach, but in this case I totally failed – I took several pregnancy tests far too early because WAITING and UNCERTAINTY are HARRRRD y’all. Forehead smack! There’s a reason I advise my patients not to do that and to just wait for their period to come or not, and then test. I got several negative pregnancy tests. So I totally thought I was not pregnant. I was an emotional, angsty, non-zen wreck, not the intuitive angelic centered mother-to-be I thought I would be.
2. I thought I would share the news with my husband over a romantic candlelit dinner, look into his eyes, and probably start crying as I told him he’s going to be a father. In reality…
It was 6 am when I saw those life-altering words appear on the stick. David didn’t need to wake up for another hour and a half. But I felt fireworks shoot through me and sparkles in my veins seeing those words! Of course I HAD to wake him up and share the news IMMEDIATELY.
So I thought I’d creep up the stairs and softly slide into bed in the big-spoon position and gently whisper the news in his ear. Well, with the fireworks running through my veins you can imagine what actually happened. My footsteps running up the stairs were like a stampede of children on Christmas morning. And then I pretty much jumped on the bed and screamed the news to a dreary, sleepy, alarmed David. Then we just laid there stunned. Happy, but also in shock at how our lives were about to change.
3. I thought we’d keep the news to ourselves for a bit and bask in the glow of our secret knowledge. But… David then went to work that morning and told his boss and colleagues and friends that we were pregnant. OMG. But I get it, it’s so hard to not tell the people in your life that your world just got thrown all topsy-turvy. And I love that he was so thrilled and happy and wanted to share it.
It’s so common for couples to keep it secret for the first trimester, and I think every couple should do what feels best for them. If you want to tell people, IT’S OKAY, and if you have a miscarriage (knock on wood), IT’S OKAY – you did nothing wrong, it’s so common and please don’t feel shame or guilt, and if you don’t want to tell people, THAT’s OKAY too. Whatever feels best, that’s OKAY.
For me, it actually did end up feeling best to tell people early on. I’d rather share the joy as well as the anxiety and uncertainty of those early weeks (sorry, friends!). I don’t want to feel that way alone, especially in light of how I was feeling physically, which comes next.
4. I thought I’d feel like a walking, talking miracle during pregnancy (cue the angels singing). Well, that is decidedly NOT the case.
Being pregnant is no joke. For me, it was the fatigue more than the morning sickness. The crushing fatigue of the first trimester was like being on a heavy dose of nighttime cold medication permanently. A dragging heaviness that made it impossible to stay away past 8 pm, to stand up long enough to do the dinner dishes, to have the brain-power to do anything beyond the demands of my basic work day, or to even just laugh at funny things. Yah, decidedly not angelic.
5. I thought I’d eat incredibly healthfully and mindfully throughout pregnancy. BUT.... During weeks 7-10, I CRAVED CARBS like it was my job. I don’t normally eat gluten or wheat, but that pretty much got thrown out the window. Because I needed, wanted, had to have it. I was like a threenager at a birthday party who would throw a petulant fit if I didn’t get a piece of the cake. Or pasta. Or burger & fries. Or whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it.
David probably thought aliens had come and abducted his wife and replaced her with a bizarro stranger. But he was a gentleman and asked me every day what I was craving for dinner and then would do the shopping and the cooking. I know, heroic.
I talked to my midwife and my functional medicine doctor and apparently, carb-cravings are completely normal and carbs are good for the growing baby. So that’s a relief to hear. I've learned a lot about the first trimester and tricks and strategies to beat the morning sickness and other pesky symptoms, and I can't wait to share these secrets with you soon.
As you can see, David was right in some ways – things did change pretty quickly once I was pregnant, and I was definitely not as much fun anymore. But I was right too because with all this said, pregnancy is still amazing and wonderful. So the reality is somewhere in the middle, as usual.
Being pregnant is a time of such anticipation and optimism and dreaming… and anxiety and insecurity and self-doubt. And while I think my lofty hyper-optimistic expectations are what I need to bolster me through these times of uncertainty (and you are likewise licensed to whatever expectations most serve you) - I also want to share what my true experience has been.
I share this because I want other women to know…. IT’S OKAY. However you feel, it’s okay. Because this is life and women are amazing and it has not been my doctor or pregnancy books that have guided me through pregnancy the most, but rather my girlfriends. This pregnancy business knocked me broadside at times, and it has been my girlfriends who prop me back up. And I’m so grateful to the women who’ve shared their stories, struggles, hopes, dreams, fears, and triumphs with me.
So that’s our big little news. We can’t wait to welcome this little person into the world and give her lots of hugs, smooches, and blowy belly kisses.
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