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

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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

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And Then There Were 4!

baby feet

Aren’t babies such a blessing! God amazes me every time I begin to think about the miracle of life. People always ask me if we are finished having babies, I just laugh at it now. Truth is, we have so much love to give. With that being said, what’s one more? During my last pregnancy, I was constantly reminded how blessed I am. There are families out there that can’t conceive children, still, I could not believe I was about to have my fourth child. I was filled with such joy, knowing that God continues to trust me enough to raise his children.

My Team
My Team

I have grown and changed so much in the past 12 years (when I had my firstborn). I have learned to be very patient (still a work in progress) and I have learned to be an excellent teacher (slowly but surely). I strive to teach my children all about Christ every day, about loving others as Christ loved us, and just how to live as Christians. I learned that if you start teaching them while they are young it will become second nature to them when they’re older. For instance, I plan for my personal time with God to be in the morning but with an infant and sleep deprivation I sometimes won’t get up. That means I have to pick another time of the day to commune with Him. Lately, that has been awesome transition because the kids always want to join me in my devotion. The boys are always asking what I’m reading and of course I’m willing to read and teach them. I have learned to just turn that into the bible time that I have with them since there is always something going on. Oh, and let’s not forget about Arianna who loves to get on her knees and join me during my prayer time.The four

No matter how many children you have it is so important for us to be great role models for them. Now that there are four, I can’t wait to share Baby Rae’s birth story! It was the best experience and I am so grateful to God, Shaun (the most amazing husband), Tina (midwife), and the nurses that assisted! If you have any tips, please leave them in the comments. Until next time…Lady Ki

Parenting Devotion 1

Parenting Devotion 1

As we were getting ready for the drive back to New Jersey our car started leaking antifreeze. We were rushing a bit this morning so I wasn’t able to have devotion with the kids. So as we were sitting and waiting for our car to get worked on I pulled out my Ipad so we could do it as a family. Today’s devotion topic was Parents. It was about children obeying their parents no matter how hard it is. It taught our children that we are only here to protect them, love them, and to prevent them from making big mistakes in life. God gave them our children to us for a reason and only we can teach them certain things. 

 “Listen my son to your fathers instruction, and do not forsake your mothers teaching” Proverbs 1:8
Mommy Challenge

Mommy Challenge

hands

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 family. The boys needed nurturing and I didn’t want to miss the same time with Ari as I had missed with them, being a single working mother. When I was working, family time was meaningful but minimal. Sometimes it was nonexistent because I was burnt out from the long hours dealing with customers. Once I was able to stay home, I saw an immediate change in the boys because they knew I’d be there if they ever needed me. Staying home was great but it brought its own challenges. I’m not perfect, yet, but I believe I have some tricks to help you if these are challenges for you, as well.

Budgeting – Trying to make a family of six work on one income is challenging but doable! God always amazes me with how he makes provision when things seem bleak. Shaun works hard for us to have everything we need but sometimes I want more. Who doesn’t? Even though God makes a way for us, I still have to do my part and make sure we’re getting the most bang for our buck. One thing I do to stretch those dollars is research deals and sales before I purchase. If we use a lot of one item, I go to Costco instead of our regular grocery store. So the first mommy challenge is: Itemize your grocery list and decide which items would work best if you bought it wholesale. It may cost a bit more upfront, but the savings will show over time. With the money you save, you can treat yourself to a nice lunch at your favorite bistro.

bible

Spiritual Food – How can I raise Godly children if I don’t have a personal relationship with God? Prayer, along with reading and studying the Bible is a must! We as parents must set the example for our children to follow. If you are a Sundays ONLY Christian, your children will grow up thinking it’s ok to only give God a part of them instead of all of them. Don’t feel you have time? Make time. People make time for what they think is important in their lives. So my second challenge is: Rise early and feed yourself some spiritual food! Before the kids and hubby get up, commune with God so you can set the tone for you and your family’s day. You can read more on daily devotions in ‘And then there were Four’.

Me Time – Moms please make sure that you get some Me Time! I cannot stress enough how important this is. Even if it is just ten minutes, get away from everything and everyone associated with your house and just… be. Get the time you need. SAHMs, this can be especially hard for us since we get no days off. We’re always on the clock making the home work so getting away is nearly impossible. But for your family’s sake and your sanity, find a time when you can get away. One way I found the time was taking cake decorating classes. The class was only two hours once a week, but it gave me time to myself. No kids, no husband, just me and my piping bag. I was able to get my mind off things and do something that I wanted instead of catering to the wants and needs of my family. You cannot effectively care for your family without taking care of you, as well! So my third challenge is: Find something you like to do, that’s only for you, schedule it and do it. Be sure to share your plans with your husband, so he’s available to hold down the fort in your absence.

Task Management – My day is so repetitive that it sometimes makes me crazy. Going through the motions often make me feel like I haven’t accomplished anything, when, in all actuality, everything I needed to get done is done. Homeschooling Arianna with playtime and song time built in, taking care of Raelynn, helping the boys with homework and projects. All of this while still having to cook and clean! My day would put most people in a mental hospital but that’s what MOTHERHOOD is! My fourth challenge is: Make a daily schedule for everything you have to do and live by it! As the saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Having a plan for your day and sticking to it, eliminates procrastination and the feeling of being overwhelmed. You can even schedule other things like Me Time and Spiritual Food.

Shaun and I

Wifely Duties – Last but not least, our husbands. I saved this part for last because, after God, they are most important. Our husbands are the head and we are the neck. If the head is not properly supported by the neck, it causes pain and discomfort, subsequently causing problems to the rest of the body. Our husbands need a good meal, our attention and love, our words of encouragement and prayers, and most importantly, our good lovin’ and good lovin’, and some more good lovin’. My fifth and final challenge is: No matter what your day is like or how you feel when you’re done being a mom for the day, TAKE CARE OF YOUR HUSBAND. He’s the king of your castle and you should be willing and available to do whatever he needs. When your husband’s needs are put first, you will definitely see your marriage go to another level. Our husbands should feel like they can conquer the world and give it to us. When husband and wife are on one accord, the entire household will fall right into place.

Until next time….Lady Ki

The Godly SAHM

The Godly SAHM

Last night while I was reading I came across this interesting Christian article about the roles of parents. Today I’m only going to write about the stay at home mom. 

 
Staying at home is not just about cleaning, cooking, running errands, and taking care of the family. We are not just supposed to be watching our children but also nurturing them! Home is where our children learn everything, including who they are. It all starts at home! Children should be taught about God at home, not only in church. Being a sahm is not easy and I sometimes struggle with doing everything. I am really just learning that nurturing the children is my the second priority. The first is my husband! Which means, if the floor doesn’t get vacuumed because the children needed help with homework, then that is ok. 
 
Recently, my oldest son has been acting out. When I talked to him to see what’s bothering him he says that nothing is wrong. My husband and I started to think that maybe we were doing something wrong. Then I began to ask myself, “Are you nurturing him in the way that he needs?” As the boys get older and more independent sometimes I forget that they still need me. Not just to cook them food, buy things for them or help them with homework. They need me to teach them, pray with/for them, do fun things with them, etc,. I want my children to be smart,happy, loving, confident, God-fearing children! That all starts at HOME!
 
Going forward my plan is to make sure that everyday I am using the majority of my time and energy to invest in each one of my children. Of course I won’t forget about my hubby! Every morning before the boys go off to school we will have devotion and I will pray with them. I wish I would have started this when they were a little younger. Better late than never. I just want them to know how important it is to have a relationship with God. This starts today! I will also be posting our Daily devotions (YouVersion).
Feel free to join me!
 
– Ki
New Baby, New Business

New Baby, New Business

Every mother who desires to be with her children dreads the day that she has to return to work. In NJ, they usually give you six weeks paid and sometimes twelve weeks unpaid  when your baby is born. Who wants to leave their six-week old baby with someone they don’t even know? I couldn’t do it! Every time I turned on my television someone was killing, abusing, or taking a child! When my youngest was born I started to ask myself, “How can I do this? How can I stay home and care for our children?” I automatically started to worry about going back to work and our finances. At the time, I was the one bringing in the most money. I automatically started to worry!

” Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

Instead of worrying, I decided to bring this one to God. Faith is believing in something that is unseen. The bible clearly states, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” II Corinthians 5:7. It was time to exercise my faith! I started acting as though my household was my only job! I just knew I wasn’t going back to that other job! About a month and a half before the baby was born, my husband started to reach out to people for a teaching job. He took the state exam, passed it and just needed to get certified. He ended up getting a teaching job with the first phone call that was made! The favor of God is truly on our lives! My husbands new job ended up paying for his certification and his salary was much more than we were previously making combined!

“And my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

I decided to share my testimony because you might not have any idea what God has in store for you! He can make your impossible possible!

After staying home with my beautiful baby girl I wanted to somehow contribute. “God how can I be that Proverbs 31 woman who contributes while taking care of her home?”, I asked. Then I decided to start my bakery. I wanted the church to first try-out my sweets so I would know if they were good enough to sell. It took me two months to do that! This fear took over me! Fear is a topic for another day, but after receiving positive feedback I decided to start Ki’s Sweets.