9 Things To Do Before Getting Pregnant

9 Things To Do Before Getting Pregnant

babyrae

You and your husband have decided that you are ready for a baby. Whether this is baby #1 or #5, there are plenty of things to do in preparation. Are you eating healthy? Are you overweight or underweight? Is your body ready for pregnancy? How are your finances (babies cost a significant amount of money)? Do you have insurance? These are just a couple of things that will help get your pregnancy off to a great start.

1. Exercise. Hopefully, you are already exercising. If you are not, it’s time to get fit and healthy. Give yourself about six weeks of clean eating and strenuous workouts to get your body back into shape. After that, you should still workout but you can limit your workouts to 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week. This does not mean that you have to lose a ton of weight, but if you are overweight, you should definitely set some reasonable goals for yourself. This helped me a lot. Before I became pregnant with Baby Rae I got down to my desired pre-pregnancy size within 6 weeks. Then I set my own goals based on how much weight I could gain during pregnancy (things happen and this doesn’t always work).

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2. Diet. Make sure you watch what you are eating. Drink water. Limit your caffeine intake to 200 mg per day. That is about a 12 oz cup of coffee. Eat plenty of lean proteins, fruits, veggies, whole grains, and try your best not to eat too many processed foods. You should also start taking prenatal vitamins.

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3. Check your insurance plans. If you do not have insurance, you have other options:
– Get a midwife instead of a doctor. They charge anywhere between 4-6k for everything (prenatal, delivery, post-natal). Most of them have payment plans available.
– Apply for your state’s Medicaid. You will first need pregnancy confirmation. Then you will need to go to a social service office in your area (county) and apply for the temporary insurance. If they accept you, you will be covered until after your postpartum visit and your baby will be covered for their first year.
– Try to get an insurance plan. They are offered for individuals but can be pretty expensive. Especially, if you have a budget to maintain.

4. Decide what kind of birth you want to experience. I suggest looking for a doctor or midwife that is in-network with your insurance plan. That will help keep the out-of-pocket expenses low. If you are planning a home birth, make sure you check to see if your insurance covers them. For example, I had Aetna with Baby Rae and they have a ‘No Home Birth’ policy in the state of New Jersey. That changed my birth plan significantly since I originally wanted a home birth. I would have had to pay 4K in out-of-pocket expenses before the insurance would cover anything. That’s crazy! After you know your insurance information you can start interviewing doctors and/or midwives.

5. Get a checkup. Call your doctor or midwife for an annual exam. Don’t forget to ask any questions you may have about getting pregnant. Your spouse can get a checkup with his doctor too. There is nothing wrong with checking out his little swimmers.

6. Start charting your ovulation. It is now time to get to know your body. Start tracking your period so you can determine ovulation days. The two apps I like to use are Iperiod and Ovia. The only problem I encountered using the apps is that sometimes your peak ovulation days are miscalculated. The easiest way to determine your peak fertile days is to purchase an ovulation kit. I used the Clearblue Advanced Digital Ovulation Test and I loved it! Simple to use, easy to understand, very effective. It helped me get pregnant the second month of trying and that is only because I did not use it the first month. You can also check you BBT (basal body temperature) every morning, as soon as you wake up, and keep a record of it. When you notice a spike in your temperature, that is usually because you are ovulating. I tried this method several times, but I didn’t have the patience for it and some mornings I would forget. Another method, which didn’t work for me either, is to check you cervical mucus (discharge). If your discharge is slimy and stretchy like egg whites, that means you are ovulating. Your body can change, which will make it a little more difficult to figure out when you are ovulating. So again, if you’re a busy mom like me, the digital test is probably best for you.

This is the test that I used
This is the test that I used

7. Avoid stress. Relax and have fun! Plan fun date nights around the time you will be ovulating. They can be as simple as a picnic on the bed. As long as you have each other that is all you need.

8. Start praying! Pray for the baby that you want the Lord to bring forth. Pray for the baby after you get pregnant. Pray for a safe delivery. Pray that the Lord guides that baby to be all that HE has called he or she to be in life. NEVER STOP PRAYING.

9. SEX!!!! The most important part of getting pregnant is to have sex and have lots of it! Don’t make it a pregnancy chore! Have fun doing it and make it memorable. When you are finished, do not hop up to clean yourself off. Lay there for a few minutes with your pelvis tilted. Sometimes you need to rely on gravity. I mentioned this before but……HAVE FUN!

What methods or tips do you have to prepare for pregnancy? I would love to hear them! Let’s get pregnant! Until next time…… Lady Ki

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

Chicken and broccoli pic

In my house, we get a taste for chinese food about once a week. The problem with that is chinese isn’t the healthiest food and it can get pretty expensive for my family of 6. This is one of our favorite chicken stir fry recipes! I didn’t originally make it with mushrooms, but I added them one day so they wouldn’t go to waste. Delicious! So feel free to add your favorite veggies to this quick meal!

 
Servings: 6
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

2 boneless chicken breasts
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small onion (cut into wedges)
1 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube

Directions:
1. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch strips and place in a ziploc bag. Add cornstarch and toss to coat.
2. Combine soy sauce, ginger, and garlic powder. Add to bag and toss again. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. In a wok, heat 2 TBSP of oil. Stir-fry chicken until brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove and keep warm.
4. Add the remaining TBSP of oil to the wok and stir-fry all vegetables for 4-6 minutes or until tender.
5. Add water and bouillon cube and return chicken to the wok.
6. Cook and stir until thickened to your desired consistency.
5. Serve over rice and enjoy!

Midwife or Doctor

Midwife or Doctor

Midwife or Ob

For my first three pregnancies, I used an obstetrician for my prenatal care and delivery. In 2011, while pregnant with Ari, I was diagnosed with severe cervical dysplasia, which meant that I had cervical cells that could lead to cancer. After Ari was born, my OB said I would need LEEP if the cells didn’t fall off during delivery. They didn’t. A LEEP is a procedure where the cancerous cells are removed electrically. I knew I was in God’s hands, but I worried about being able to carry another child to term in the future. My OB assured me that she only removed the necessary tissue to keep me healthy. So having another baby wouldn’t be a problem.

Because of the LEEP, I was on serious restrictions when we got pregnant with Rae. Get more rest than normal, no strenuous exercise (I wanted to be a fit and pregnant like Kelly Rowland) and NO SEX from weeks 14-27! I could do without the exercising but NO SEX? Who does that? And what mom has time to rest with three kids? Something had to be done! So when I was 14 weeks, I started researching natural births, LEEP, home births, midwives, and anything else birth related that I could get my hands on.

After weeks of researching, I decided I wanted to do a natural birth. I talked it over with Shaun and I started looking for a midwife. After interviewing several midwives, I found the perfect one, Tina Alessi of 1 to 1 Female Care. My OB wasn’t too thrilled that I was going with a midwife. She even tried to scare me into staying by telling me about what could go wrong during my pregnancy. Although I was flabbergasted by her actions, I started to second guess my decisions. Tina assured me that everything would be just fine. She measured my cervical length throughout my pregnancy to ensure that I would be able to carry the baby to term. Turns out, the LEEP didn’t affect my pregnancy at all. Not only was I able to exercise, I was able to have sex, which was the best news ever! What a total difference from my OB. I thanked God for helping me make the correct decision.

Tina was amazing. She was interested and willing to help me execute my birth plan. My office visits weren’t rushed and I felt extremely comfortable relaying my thoughts and concerns to her. Even her methods during childbirth were amazing! She massaged my perineum with oil during delivery to create a smooth passage for the baby and prevent me from tearing. Afterward, I didn’t even feel like I gave birth… Mind you, Baby Rae was 9 pounds and change.

I am so glad I chose Tina!
I am so glad I chose Tina!

When choosing a doctor or midwife, make sure they are there for you and to help you complete your birth plan. They should have your best interest at heart and do what’s needed for you and the baby, not their own pockets. Granted, there may be an emergency and you’ll need a medical intervention (C-section, Pitocin, vacuums, etc.) but that should be the last resort. During the interviewing process, be very specific about your wants and needs on your birth plan. From laboring or delivering in a tub, to having music and dim lights in your room, your doctor or midwife should make you feel as comfortable as possible. I mean, it is your money after all. Childbirth is a special, God given, wonderful experience, so make sure your voice is heard. When in labor, have someone who can advocate for you when you’re unable to. Shaun was excellent with this.

If you want someone who will constantly check on you, or stay with you, a doctor is probably NOT the way to go. They just don’t have time for it. Don’t be surprised if your doctor comes to say hi and comes back when it’s time to catch the baby. Unless there is a problem, you won’t see them again until you’re ready to push. Every doctor isn’t like this but the majority are. Midwives spend time with you and are at your side for the duration of labor. Their primary focus is you and the baby and they won’t leave until you’re all taken care of. If you are having a hospital birth make sure you know which hospital your doctor or midwife is affiliated with. Once you know this information, call, go on a tour or research the hospital where you will be delivering. Be sure to ask questions about their policies and procedures during labor and delivery.

One of my fondest memories with Tina was after everything was over, she did not leave right away. She stuck around and made sure I was okay. She asked me if I was thirsty and got juice. She didn’t send a nurse, she got it herself. She made me feel cared for and that spoke volumes about her practice. Again, it’s a special time and you want it to be right for you! So pray about it. Go with whatever God is telling you to do. Trust in him and he’ll see you through! I did and now I can’t wait to do it all over again! Choose wisely ladies.

Until next time…..Lady Ki

Mama Ki’s Meatloaf

Mama Ki’s Meatloaf

meatloaf pic

I love meatloaf and it is such a quick, easy meal to prepare. Growing up, meatloaf was my favorite food! My little eyes would light up when my mom told me meatloaf was for dinner. When I grew older and wanted to make it for my family, I just could not find a good recipe. Finally, I decided to try my own recipe and it turned out to be a big hit! My family loves this meatloaf and I hope yours does too!

Servings: 8
Preparation time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes

2 pounds of ground beef or ground turkey
1 teaspoon Lawry’s season salt
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 eggs
1/2 large onion chopped
1/2 large green bell pepper chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well with your hands.
  3. Once well blended, add to loaf pan and shape into a loaf (you can use any pan you have)
  4. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove foil and continue to bake for 15 more minutes.
  6. Check for doneness. Should be cooked through and still very moist.

Best served with mashed potatoes and vegetable of your choice. My family loves it topped with our favorite mushroom gravy!

Mommy Challenge

Mommy Challenge

My life as a SAHM

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There are many challenges that mommies face on a daily basis. My most challenging areas of life are:

  1. Finances – Budgeting for a family of six and saving with one income.
  2. Spiritual Food – I must have a prayer and devotional life.
  3. Me Time – How can I care for my husband and nurture my children the right way when I don’t take of myself?
  4. Task Management – I have so much to do, with so little time to do it.
  5. Wifely Duties – After my relationship with God comes Shaun. As moms, we sometimes get so caught up with taking care of the little ones that our spouse’s needs get overlooked. Some may have issues with this notion, but your husband comes before your children.

After Ari was born and I got into the routine of being home, I began to realize what was most important in my life. My…

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Baby Raelynn’s Birth Story

Baby Raelynn’s Birth Story

Meet Raelynn
Meet Raelynn

Having baby Rae was such an awesome experience! For my first three pregnancies and deliveries, I went the traditional route: Obstetrician, hospital, and pain medication (as soon as I arrived at the hospital). That is all I knew. I didn’t know there were tons of other options to help things go smoothly. After a not so fun labor and delivery with Arianna (3rd baby), I was determined to try something else. I felt that a midwife was the way to go, so the search was on. After an extensive interviewing process, I found a midwife that would best suit our family’s needs. I was elated with my decision. Besides the 3rd trimester aches and pains, my pregnancy was a smooth one.

Very pregnant
Very pregnant

At thirty-nine weeks, my discomfort level was at an all time high and I was ready to have my baby girl. I had an appointment with my midwife that week so I decided to ask her to strip my membranes. Stripping membranes is a procedure in which the doctor or midwife separates the amniotic sac from the wall of the uterus. This can be really uncomfortable, to some, or just feel like a regular cervical exam. Afterward, if your body and baby are ready, you will go into labor between 12-24 hours. After my appointment, I was in labor throughout the rest of the day. I simply continued with my daily activities, as planned, and timed my contractions once they became consistent. Around 9:30 pm I was in full labor. I told Shaun to take a nap while I continued to labor (I needed him fully rested for later). He woke up around 2 am and that’s when I started to feel my body transitioning. My contractions were about three to four minutes apart and I couldn’t speak through any of them. I realized then that it was time to make the necessary phone calls (to our moms and our midwife).

Just arriving at the hospital
Just arriving at the hospital
Breathing through it
Breathing through it

We arrived at the hospital at about 4 am, hoping that the majority of the labor was done at home. When the nurse checked me I was 8 cm! I thought to myself, “FINALLY”! It only took me three pregnancies to get laboring at home down packed [side note: make sure you find a hospital that is conducive to your birth plan]. Since I only had 2 more centimeters to go, I was able to labor on the birthing ball and in the birthing tub. All of which were a part of my birthing plan. I also planned to have a natural birth, with no epidural. As the contractions were back to back, Rae’s heart rate started to drop a bit. She wasn’t enjoying labor at all! After all, labor is hard work for both the mother and baby. My midwife Tina then informed me that she needed me in a position that would benefit the baby (which wasn’t one that was helping me through contractions). After laboring for three more hours, she checked me and I was still only 8 cm. With all that was going on, I finally remembered that it takes my body a long time to get from 7 to 10 cm. With that being said, I gave in and got an epidural. Being confined to a bed, in one position, I just couldn’t handle the pain anymore.

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In a way, I felt defeated. I spent so much time researching and planning, only to give up when things got really tough. But then I began to think of how long I lasted without the epidural and that feeling of defeat slowly went away. I felt proud of myself because I had never gone that long without pain meds before. I promised myself that for baby #5 I’m going to carry my plan out to the letter.

I felt much better after getting the epidural and baby Rae’s heart rate normalized as well. It was all downhill after that. One hour later, I pushed three times and she was here! A big 9-pound, beautiful, healthy, and quiet (she didn’t cry) baby was now ours to see. Tina allowed me to bond with Rae before all the extra hospital stuff they do. We had skin-to-skin time and I breastfed her. When they performed the Apgar test she was laying on my chest. No need to whisk her away from her warm and loving momma and put her in a cold place with a bunch of bright lights.

Loving the bonding time
Loving the bonding time

Rae didn’t leave my side for our whole hospital stay. When I was ready to wash her, I did it right in our room and enjoyed every bit of it. I can’t wait to have that experience once more with our last baby. Everything didn’t turn out quite as planned, but it was, in fact, my best labor and birthing experience ever. I have God, my family and my birthing team to thank for that! Until next time…. Lady Ki