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Kaitlan's Hypnobabies Birth story - Kohler Created

Kaitlan’s Birth Story (My Hypnobabies Birth)

By | 3rd Trimester, Jessica, Neil, Pregnancy | 11 Comments

I’ve read dozens of birth stories on blogs over the years and always wondered what mine would be, given the opportunity to become pregnant and deliver a child. I typed the whole thing out to my aunt and was surprised how short it was despite how long it was in duration. Maybe I’m just concise, but I figured it best not to bore you with too many details and just stick to the highlights in a single post.

As you may remember, Neil and I completed Hypnobabies classes with a coach. They were hugely important, not so much in the fine detail, but in just preparing me to go into birth without fear. I still feel like that’s the overall takeaway/theme of Hypnobabies. To know that birth is natural, to embrace it in all it’s parts, and to prioritize a hopefully minimal intervention experience.

I know now that my labor started on Friday (8/15) at 37w5d. Neil and I went to lunch at a local Thai place we love and after walking back to the office I felt a cramp. I didn’t think much of it, since Kaitlan had dropped about two weeks prior and I’d had a few cramps here and there because she was just so low. That night I just felt kind of “meh.” Not sick, but just not awesome. I went to bed early and woke up feeling a little better. I was scheduled to coach and had my own programming to do. I started with my programming but didn’t make it past a couple sets of heavier (for pregnancy) strict presses before the “meh” came back. I coached my client through headstands and wall-walks and continued to feel worse. I just felt crampy and worn out. I joked to Nate as I left that he should probably hold off on scheduling me to coach next week, and headed home.

Once home, things started to pick up pretty quickly. The cramps started to space themselves out into 20-minute intervals,…then 10-minute intervals,…before finally settling somewhere in the 5-minute range, each lasting about 50-60 seconds each. Packing mine and Kaitlan’s hospital bag had been on the list of things to do for the day anyway, so I went ahead and did that and took a nice long shower — all the while things continued to get more uncomfortable.

Around noon, we started timing what I finally believed were contractions. Neil was on-call, ironically in a conference call troubleshooting the FetalLink monitoring system at Women’s and Children’s Hospital. He wrote down my times while running capture reports, joking to the other guys on the call that he might be on-site soon. It was close to 3 PM when I saw a bit of blood while using the bathroom. Because I tested Strep-B positive, my doctor requested that under no circumstances should I continue to labor at home if my water broke or I saw blood.

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We called our parents and hopped in the car across town to the hospital where we met my mom and were admitted for observation. I labored another 2 hours while they waited to see if I would progress. There was talk of sending me home because I wasn’t progressing, but I really didn’t want to go home. Luckily I had progressed enough after several hours to be admitted to L&D, and we moved upstairs.

I continued laboring naturally for 24 hours. I was so so fortunate to have both Erica and my mom there in addition to Neil. We jokingly called Neil “A Team” and Erica and my mom the “B Team.” I think this is one of the best things I unintentionally did. Having enough people there to support but rotate in and out made sure no one was more worn out than I felt. My contractions continued to be about 5 minutes apart and increasingly strong, but for almost the entire 24 hours, I sat stuck at 4 inches dilated.

It wasn’t until the next morning that the doctors decided to break my water, which is possibly the weirdest feeling I’ve ever experienced. Unfortunately, once they did that, the contractions became MUCH stronger (she was direct posterior, putting the widest part of her head directly at odds with my back and pelvis) and almost impossible to labor through because I’d been at it for so long. I hadn’t eaten, could barely drink, and I felt every contraction slipping out of my ability to manage with hypnosis. Because Kaitlan was turned slightly, my spine literally felt like it was pulling apart from my pelvis. After about 10-12 of those contractions and talking to Neil, I requested a minimal-dose epidural. And it was the best decision I have ever made.

Why? After more than 24 hours, I no longer felt I was giving birth, I was merely surviving. Neil, Erica, my parents, and in-laws were all there and I could barely make eye contact with anyone. I was in a pain cave, with each contraction reducing me further and further to one single set of truths: Neil was sick with worry. I was stuck at 4 cm. And I had nothing left give. I didn’t feel more woman, more powerful or more in-tune with my own body. Once I received my dosage, I was a completely different person. I was still having contractions, and I definitely still laboring through them, but I could manage them, and still share the joy and excitement I was feeling with my awaiting family and friends. The best news came only 20 minutes later when they said I was 100% and ready to push. I don’t know if it was the 10 or so contractions immediately following the water break that I had basically pushed really hard through involuntarily (it was nuts), or if having the epidural managed to get me there, but I requested 30 minutes or so to get my head right and mind refocused.

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As crazy as it sounds, pushing was the absolute best part of my labor. I had Neil at my head encouraging me, Erica counting contractions like we were in the gym, and my mom, mother-in-law, and awesome nurse holding my legs and helping me change positions from on my back, to side-to-side, to all fours. The teamwork was so awesome, and I have never felt energy like that anywhere. The room literally felt like it was buzzing. The epidural was minimal enough that I still felt a good deal of pain, but it was effective pain that I could move and control and direct my pushing to. It was completely awesome. I also became immediately thankful for it when the doctor came in and started doing the perineal “massage.” It was definitely not a massage, it was very rough (but completely necessary), and I’m so glad I didn’t try to endure that naturally, I think I probably would have died.

After what seemed like a really short time, we were down to the last few pushes. The team of doctors and nurses had assembled, the room was filled with equipment, and my dad and father-in-law had made their way out to the lobby. Despite the fact there was a whole team of doctors and nurses, Erica continued to be my coach while Neil stroked my hair and told me everything that was happening. My mom and mother-in-law stood on the couches cheering and with a few easy pushes, Kaitlan made her much-awaited way into our world. I cry just thinking about it. I felt every part of her move through my body and out as the whole room lit up in cheers. For a brief minute, it felt like the entire world disappeared other than the three of us. We have a daughter!

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They immediately put her on my chest where she stayed for the next hour. She latched to my breast immediately and started eating like a champ. I made it out with one small internal tear that they stitched after delivering the placenta. The nurses were incredible. They got us all cleaned up and put together and we were on our way to recovery within 45 minutes to rest and have privacy.

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It was hard not to be immediately disappointed in myself for seeking some intervention. I worked really hard with Hypnobabies and all those testimonial videos make it seem like hypnosis can take on anything. And it really did help get me through the first 24 hours. But past that, having some relief gave me a much better experience and immediate connection to Kaitlan that I don’t think would have been possible had I tried to push through. I think the actual pushing and delivery would have been next to impossible, but worse, I think it would have been hugely traumatic. Instead, I can say that I really enjoyed the experience of delivering her. While it was much longer than I think I would have ever imagined, it was empowering, and has given me a new connection to my husband and family, and I hope they feel the same.

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I’ve received quite a few questions about my postpartum recovery, so I plan to write a little bit more about it this week!

Inov-8 Fastlift 335

CrossFit in 3rd trimester

By | 3rd Trimester, CrossFit, Pregnancy | One Comment

Best husband ever! Anniversary present of @inov_8 lifters! Can't wait till October when I can put these to good use getting all my weights back!

I thought I’d update you guys on how workouts are going since I haven’t really made them part of the weekly updates in a while. It’s mostly because I’ve been talking about the child preparation classes and house prep we’ve been doing for MK and tacking them onto the end of the posts feels like an afterthought when I’ve really worked to keep them in the forefront of my priorities.

If you had asked me where my workouts would be at 35 weeks pregnant, I would have told you I’d probably down to just the bare basics and mostly rowing and spending a lot of time on the airdyne. I really expected that by this point I’d be much more limited. Thankfully I was wrong!

CrossFit in 3rd trimester has been far less limiting than I ever thought it would, and although I’m a lot slower and doing a lot less reps, I’m still doing the reps of most movements and completing regular class programming in addition to supplementing each week with some additional training.

Trained with @crossfitbadger this morning at @crossfitfringe. Was feeling on top after my 85# hang cleans in the EMOM but was then forced to finally break down and buy maternity shorts --- humility served piping hot. #pregnancy #crossfit #34weeks #WOD

Continuing with additional “training” has not only been good for me physically, but mentally as well. I’ve been doing supplemental OPT (Optimum Performance Training) workouts on the weekends. You might remember that OPT was the programming I was supplementing with prior to pregnancy as well. Although there are websites dedicated to CrossFit programming for pregnancy, OPT has scaled really well with my pregnancy and it gives me the extra strength and specificity work I feel like I really need as I head toward postpartum.

Mentally, it just makes me feel more mindful and centered, and having the extra time each week to just focus on myself in peace and quiet is really energizing. I also use the time to connect and talk to my future training partner.

As far as movements, things do look a little different from second trimester:

  • Lifts from the ground with a barbell are non-existent. Everything starts from a hang or high-hang position. I can still do deadlifts, but they happen with a heavy kettlebell, so the weight is centered beneath me. In our gym, this means my max deadlift is now between 70-110lbs, depending on whether I go big single or two 55 lb on either side.
  • My weights are still between 50-75% of my December maxes. Despite this, I still feel capable and feel fatigued.
  • Pull-ups are definitely slowing down and getting much harder. They are weighted after all! High volume (any more than 30 per WOD) pretty much require a band to save my grip, and I try to make myself do them strict with as minimal of a band as possible. I’ve also altered the prescribed sets by interspersing ring dips in as well, with the idea that I might as well advantage of weighted movements while I can.
  • Running is out. I can still *do* it, but when you feel a head in your pelvis, it demotivates significantly.

Here are some pull-ups (sans shirt) just for fun during Ladies Night last week at CrossFit Fringe:

Pull-ups are typically one of my easiest movements, I even did 100 of them during the Annual “Murph” Challenge a few months back, however you can see how heavy they are now. Ouch!

Postpartum Thinking

Yes, I am thinking about fitness and CrossFit in postpartum. Nine months of scaled activity and not being able to do some things entirely will inevitably do that to a person. I know the return to training with a newborn is a sensitive thing in the blogging community (yes, I read GOMI), but I’m also honest with myself in knowing it’s a significant part of my self-esteem and happiness that I know will be important in the transition to parent. I also love coaching and my CrossFit community and am eager to introduce MK to our CrossFit Fringe family and raise her with fitness as a part of her own life.

So far, I have a flexible timeline of recovery and return. When I’m cleared for exercise, I will begin PT with my coach Nate (awesome picture below) to rebuild my midline and overall stability. This will progress on the timeline it needs to and I won’t return to any weight-bearing movements until he thinks I’m ready. I’ve watched too many people push too hard and come back the wrong way, and I cringe and the potential long-term ramifications they will suffer.

CrossFit Fringe 1 Year Anniversary

Once that initial PT is done, I will slowly integrate movements and programming as I am ready. It’s really that simple, and it’s enough just to have thought out. I have no idea what my birth will be like, nor what to expect as far as recovery, so I’m going with a very conservative plan, and we’ll adjust as necessary. I would love to return to coaching as well, and have set the goal to return in November. Neil got me a gorgeous pair of Inov-8 Fastlift-335’s for our anniversary and I am so excited to use them!

Just a few more weeks!

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering - Kohler Created

30-31 weeks pregnant: victory is ours!

By | 3rd Trimester, Pregnancy | No Comments

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We have daycare! If you had asked me a year ago the thing I would be most excited about this year, daycare would have been the last answer. No seriously, the last. I’d heard that it was difficult to find, but I never imagined when we started looking that it would take as long as it has to secure a solution, or a semblence of one, depending on how you look at where we started.

If you remember, we started looking for daycare in week 19. Our goal was to find a safe, secure place for little MK to go on a full-time basis while we work (we both work full-time and will after maternity leave) that would preferably be in-home, but a smaller center if that ended up being the case. We immediately were recommended some great places, but they didn’t have openings, and didn’t really know what the situation would be come mid- October.

So we added ourselves to waitlists. Seven to be exact.

There were definitely more providers, but some didn’t have a waitlist. A few wanted non-refundable deposits to be added to the list. And others indicated that they knew their waitlist was extended out 2-3 years.

The other big barrier was cost. Some places wouldn’t take an infant for less than $900/mo. That was more than our intended $750-800 budget.

Weeks passed and we followed up regularly, but most indicated finally after a few calls that they would have no idea until about 6-8 weeks from our desired start date, basically meaning that about the time I went into labor I would have to start calling again, not exactly the pressure we wanted to be feeling while trying to adjust to being new parents and me already having limited leave.

Finally, we received a call back from a woman who offered part-time in-home care, 3 days a week. She was amazing, bright, bubbly and only cares 1-3 babies/children from her home — literally 500 feet from my parents house. We left the meeting feeling really good, but not knowing if it was even doable.

After talking with my parents about our dilemma and our amazing meeting with the potential provider, they graciously (and I mean GRACIOUSLY) offered to take the other two days a week. We’ll of course take off any day they can’t or aren’t able to care for her with our own vacation, and we have enough flexibility with our jobs to make that work.

I can not tell you the relief I felt. Slept better that night than I had in weeks. Not only will she be in a small in-home daycare, but she will be with my parents or us with us the rest of the time. Our plan is to hopefully make this work until she’s ready for preschool and a more structured setting. That’s a whole new battle, as those waiting lists are supposedly just as bad, if not worse. We’ve been told to start researching those now. I think I’m going to give myself a few weeks.

In other news

I’m in the thirties! This feels like the beginning of the home stretch. I also am starting to feel positively planetary. My stomach is a solid little ball of obstruction. It’s weird though that while it is a part of me, it almost feels somewhat detached from me, like I’m merely smuggling it under my skin. Apparently I’m not alone, as several people have confirmed feeling this way when I asked them about it.

People also keep saying to enjoy this time because it’s the time that will make me miss being pregnant most afterward. I’m just…not there yet. Other than CrossFit, everything is awkward and uncomfortable. I’m ready to get out of cars more gracefully, and sit on the couch without getting a side cramp. I loved the twenties. The thirties just feel like a means to an end.

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Doing

Finishing up our birth preferences for the hospital. We’ve actually split it into two documents, the birth preferences — which will be provided to the hospital staff upon arrival, and our baby care preferences, which we will have in the warmer for the staff closer to delivery time.

I received a lot of great direction from my Hypnobabies coach, Megan Oberg, as well as the many books I’ve been reading over the course of pregnancy, especially Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J. Buckley. It’s nice to feel like this day isn’t all that far away and that preparations for it are now in full swing.

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Reading

As I mentioned above, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering was a great read. At first it felt a little too out there for me, and I almost gave up on it, but I think Buckley did a really great job of balance and offering a lot of information, especially on medical interventions during birth and infant care in the fourth trimester.

I also just wrapped up Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. Even though I could never count this as among the most practically informative of the books I’ve written, I think it’s one of the best. It really emphasizes, through the story of her community and the many births that happened early on, how important mindset is to giving birth and parenting. It’s also a complete hippie throwback, and the word “psychedelic” is thrown around more than a few times. I had my mother-in-law request a copy from the library, I thought she’d definitely appreciate some of the stories — especially those that happened on the road and in weird locations.

Food

Food is continuing to go well, although my stomach is feeling smaller and smaller. I’ve resorted to eating small amounts throughout the day to avoid the discomfort I feel I try to eat normal sized meals. She’s definitely rearranging my organs in there, and I’m feeling the much-talked about feet in the ribs, which is fine, because it means she’s still head down at this point.

29 weeks pregnant - Kohler Created

29 weeks pregnant: a crazy week

By | CrossFit, Jessica, Pregnancy | No Comments

Pregnancy week 29 was definitely a wild ride. Neil had a race, was also on-call throughout the week, and I got hired on in a new department in my job. Yes, we’re apparently crazy. With my new appointment, I’m excited about the opportunity to work on some special curriculum projects and new course developments for the college and hopefully continue to put my skills to use there. I absolutely love my job and after the wild (read: horrible) ride I had with my old company, it feels so good to be where I am and making a difference.

Neil’s race was in Tulsa, OK which was about 4.5 hours south of where we are. We watched the weather, and although we were hopeful it would be mild, it was unfortunately forecasted to be hot — too hot for a 3rd trimester pregnant me to tough out. I was really bummed, I’ve never missed a race, and I was looking forward to checking out a new track with Neil. But I decided to make the best of it with some quality time with the pups, plenty of reading and relaxation, and a fun cheat meal.

Oh and Twizzlers…

29 weeks pregnant - Kohler Created

Still my favorite pregnancy treat to date.

Food

Food this week leading up to my cheat meal has been pretty standard. I’ve incorporated a few more carbs in the form of my English muffins, and those continue to keep breakfasts a little more interesting (I ate nothing but Greek yogurt through 2nd trimester). I haven’t honestly been noshing on all that much fruit, but lots of green vegetables and lean protein. I really really try to keep protein above 100g, but as it gets hotter and my stomach gets bigger, there seems to be less room and appetite to work with. My SFH protein shakes have been a saving grace in this area.

29 weeks pregnant - Kohler Created

My cheat meal was Annie’s mac and cheese. This marked the first and only time I’ll probably have it this pregnancy, but it’s a tradition that when Neil leaves I eat it (superstitious much?), so I decided to stick with the tradition.

29 weeks pregnant - Kohler Created

I did add two chicken breasts and peas to it, as well as some dill and a squirt or two of ketchup (weird, I know) to church it up a bit. It was tasty but, I don’t know, mac and cheese just doesn’t have a hold on me anymore. This clean eating has done that with a lot of things I used to like to have more frequently. Definitely not a bad thing, especially when you get more excited about the load of fruits and veggies your husband brings home from the in-laws. Check this out:

29 weeks pregnant - Kohler Created

That is an entire shopping bag of green beans, asparagus and peas — more than a weeks worth of eating for us. I was SO excited. And the blueberries straight from the garden! Heaven!

28 weeks pregnant - Kohler Created

Neil then made me a mocktail and we grilled on the deck. My hero.

Reading

Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery was mentioned to me by a friend at CrossFit early on, and it eventually came up on my reserves (the library is full of saints for putting up with me). It’s not really so much a practical guide, just kind of a history of Ina May’s journey to become a midwife and some of the earlier births they attended in the community. I think for many women, preparation for birth takes them a lot of different places, and I’m happy I picked this up. It coincides with a lot of the approach and mindset taken by my Hypnobabies class.

You were right @crossfitbadger, this is some hippie shit. But so so beautiful.

I obviously have no way of knowing what my own experience will be, but I’m determined to enter it with the right mindset. I believe mindset plays such an important role in outcomes. Sure, it’s a book about a bunch of hippies giving birth, but they were excited, positive, and genuinely grateful about their opportunity confident in those around them, and it affected the outcome.

It also impresses upon anyone who reads it the importance of support — whether it be your spouse, partner or just who you choose to have in the room.

Feeling

Honestly, a little nauseous. Her movements have stopped being the cute little kicks and are now full-body rolls. Coupled with the heat, it kind of gives me the feeling of being motion sick. Don’t get me wrong, still the best part of pregnancy by far, but man, they throw my stomach for a loop — whatever is not being squished.

Other than that, feeling okay. The heat definitely has killed a lot of my appetite, which is rough, but I’m trucking through. I’m definitely entering the phase of wanting to be on the other side.

CrossFit

Workouts from the week below. As you can see, I’m still doing class WODs at 29 weeks with some creative scaling. The best part is that the scale doesn’t feel like it’s cheapening the workouts for me at all, a combination of finding good comparative movements and just being naturally a bit slower at this stage.

I definitely had hoped to get in the gym more, but like the title says, it was a CRAZY week for us.

Tuesday

Strength: Back Squat
7×2 (2-4-0)

WOD: 20 Minute AMRAP
5 Toes to Bar just did kipping knee raises, getting my knees to about my armpits each rep. I’m calling these the labor prep movement, as that’s what they literally look like.
10 Thrusters (95/65) Completed at 55 lb.
20 Jumping Lunges Completed half jumping/half static
250m Run Completed! With some walking…

Thursday

Strength: Deadlifts
3×6 @ 65% (Speed!) Completed with 72 lb KB to center the weight beneath me per CrossFit Mom recommendations

WOD:
“Nancy”
5 Rounds
400m Run Stuck with 250m runs just so I wouldn’t have to pee constantly
15 OH Squats (95/65) Completed!

Friday

3 mile walk home from work

Saturday

Home WOD
10 rounds:
10 push-ups (used my DIY parallettes)
10 35 lb goblet squats

And because I was already all dressed up, here is a picture of the belly:

29 weeks pregnant - Kohler Created

Week-by-Week Pregnancy List - Kohler Created

24 Weeks Pregnant: My week-by-week pregnancy list

By | 1st Trimester, 2nd Trimester, Books, Pregnancy | 3 Comments

Currently 26 weeks pregnant and it feels like time is flying! Here is a little of what was going down in 24 weeks.

Since about 8 weeks, I’ve been maintaining a week-by-week pregnancy list of things that need to be done as we prepare for D-Day. Over the past few weeks, I’ve slowly been refining these and expanding them into areas of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. I am a ridiculous list maker by nature when it comes to life and projects, so I knew my experience with these areas would be no different: I need lists to stay sane and sleep at night. If its written down, it’s safe outside my scattered brain.

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Early on, another blogger mentioned a book called Organized Life with Baby. Feeling overwhelmed already, I reserved it from the library. Although a little simplistic, it’s provided just enough structure to work from and close the gaps in areas I know less about — especially in postpartum. Here’s a little taste of my list:

Week-by-Week Pregnancy List Summary

8-12 Weeks Pregnant
  • 8 weeks pregnant: Establish diet and supplementation plan. Work to establish what supplements are needed on top of prenatal vitamin and what approach you will take to eating throughout pregnancy.
  • 9 weeks pregnant: Home office/paperwork clean-up. Banish major paper pile-ups and create a space and method for organizing notes, journals and documentation, and medical paperwork.
  • 10 weeks pregnant: Research the medical tests you want to consent to and begin to assemble outline of developmental milestones and questions you may have. Prepare to notify employers and begin making a maternity leave plan proposal.
  • 11-12 weeks pregnant: Share the news and document the experience! Prepare fun graphics, announcements, surprises for family and just enjoy!
13-17 Weeks Pregnant
  • 13 weeks pregnant: Research maternity leave, medical coverage, and what benefits are available via Human Resources. Begin systematizing workflows within your job duties and documenting projects thoroughly (if you weren’t already).
  • 14 weeks pregnant: Write an organization plan for the house and begin analyzing the different routines currently in place within your home and if they can/should be improved. For me this involved looking at the most trafficked areas of our home (kitchen, laundry and bathroom) and the different routines, purposes and equipment that are stored there. Everything getting organized also got a timeline for deep clean.
  • 15 weeks pregnant: Build your maternity wardrobe or begin looking at what pieces of your wardrobe are going to get sized out and when. Decide what you’ll be able to get away with and for how long. This involved looking ahead to the season in which you will be “most pregnant.”
  • 16-17 weeks pregnant: Research daycares, and the types of care services you will be looking for and get added to lists of your top choices. Then set a calendar reminder and be prepared to have to call them over and over again to check on your status. I’m not bitter.

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18-22 Weeks Pregnant
  • 18 weeks pregnant: Begin thinking about your birth plan and preferences for the experience. I actually started doing this earlier (around week 10), but I placed it later because I don’t necessarily think everyone is ready to go there that early. If you are thinking of hiring a midwife/doula, make contact.
  • 19 weeks pregnant: Begin working on your registry from a list of things you already own that may suffice, and things you will need for the first few months. We’re planning for 4-ish months — so focused in on breastfeeding supplies, diapering, clothing, a few toys and furniture.
  • 20 weeks pregnant: In continuation with household organization started in week 14, tackle some sections this week. I focused on the kitchen and pantry.
  • 21-22 weeks pregnant: More organization and deep cleaning. I really worked from week 14 forward on optimizing routines as well. I worked to change bad habits like leaving dishes in the sink, laundry left out and built a cleaning schedule that addresses the houses in smaller pieces, rather than leaving it all for Sunday afternoons like I used to.

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23-27 Weeks Pregnant
  • 23 weeks pregnant: “Making room for baby.” Begin addressing the room where the baby will call home and all the areas they may spend time and what is currently in use and done in those areas. Become more aware of contaminates in common household products and items, and investigate healthier options. Clean out room intended for baby and decide on what improvements are necessary.
  • 24 weeks pregnant: Continuation of week 23. I also researched hospital arrangements, birth classes, CPR classes and breastfeeding groups online.
  • 25 weeks pregnant: Set up the Nursery (in progress). Set up your baby’s room (or area) and how furniture and things will unfold. Where will toys be stored? Where is “diaper central?” Paint and repair and make any improvements.
  • 26-27 weeks pregnant: Complete the organizing of your bedroom; decide on any decorative changes you wish to make; schedule time for research or projects; consider some organizing solutions for this room.
28-32 Weeks Pregnant
  • 28 weeks pregnant: Finalize your birth plan (in progress). Create a more specific birth plan and talk to your care provider to make sure you are on the same page.
  • 29 weeks pregnant: Make some concrete postpartum plans for yourself. Start with ideas and rough plans for post-baby social and personal life. This is a weird one, but I’ve been told it’s hugely important and I definitely agree. For me, my “plans” so far include everything from training plans with my coach to tailgating and Roots and Blues. Everything is loose, but I feel better knowing that I’ve set some things in motion.
  • 30 weeks pregnant: Organize your pantry and laundry room (ongoing). Clean out your pantry; organize your pantry for ease of retrieval and maximum use of space; streamline your laundry room or laundry area; create household list and routine templates and build a home organization binder and refine the chores that will keep home life moving.
  • 31-32 weeks pregnant: Planning for Co-Parenting. Consider the practical implication of certain parenting decisions. Come up with a plan for sharing parenting with your partner during those early weeks.

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33-36 Weeks Pregnant
  • 33 weeks pregnant: Birth strategy and creating your “team.” Think about the people who will play an important part in your life before, during, and after the birth of your baby. For me that’s everyone from family and friends to my trainer and nutritionist.
  • 34 weeks pregnant: Stock Up on Postpartum Supplies. Stock up on postpartum supplies you’ll need to take care of yourself once your baby is here. So far this is a really varied list of everything from stamps and thank you notes to G diaper liners. I’m also preparing meals to freeze and recipes to make to have things easily ready and available.
  • 35 weeks pregnant: Beautify your bathrooms. Create order in all the bathrooms in the house. For me I really want to get the closet re-shelved and organized so it holds the linens that currently reside in a basket that lives in our laundry room. I also want this room to remain clean, so we’re working on the chore list/plan to focus in on this busy room.
  • 36 weeks pregnant: Wind down at work and prepare for maternity leave by creating a written cloud-based documentation of all the projects, their status and what is expected to occur over the weeks you are gone. Make sure these all have a point person to contact, as well as new assignee to ensure they are covered.
37-40 Weeks Pregnant
  • 37 weeks pregnant: Prepare the “final” checklist. My goal for 37 weeks is to have everything organized and ready to deliver. Create a public “master list” and then distribute versions as needed. This includes plans for how you will notifying friends and family and share the news (create “captains” for the various groups in our lives who can help notify). Also includes phone lists for your family members of other family, providers and important points of contact; rough schedules if they are available, plans and schedules for pets; legal documents; and medical benefit information. We will be keeping a hard copy of this with us as well.
  • 38 weeks pregnant: Pack your hospital bag. This is pretty self-explanatory, and in the absence of more information here, I’ll definitely be doing a post on it closer to the day.
  • 39 weeks pregnant: Create a “Mom and Baby” nook somewhere in your home for breastfeeding.
  • 40 weeks pregnant: Take care of yourself to get ready for baby. Decide on specific and fun ways to nurture yourself before the baby arrives. Consider which forms of self-care you want postpartum for “recovery.”

As you can see, having an outline set early has allowed me to work different areas of the list ahead of time in order to have more time to make decisions. Some things even got “phase 1” completion and then refined over several weeks before being finalized by the time they came up (yes, I totally dork out over this stuff). I like being able to think things over slowly before they are “assigned” and feel more prepared, especially now with the secondary lists and plans I’m preparing for family, friends, and above all Kaitlan’s birth.

If you are like me and thrive on lists, I hope this helps you. Mine currently live on Evernote, and the Master list document for 37 weeks will live on Google Drive once it’s complete. I have the hospital packing and postpartum recovery supply lists in progress as well. I currently have a very rough outline for postpartum, but it’s still in progress and highly variable at this point.

Feeling

Great! Starting to feel a little slower and more calculated in walking and movements as I begin to feel like I’m navigating the world belly first. Half of my belly button is now turned outward, which is weird to look at every morning. I joke that it’s a cooking thermometer.

Certain things are becoming uncomfortable. Sitting on the couch writing this now turned slightly at an angle is difficult and sleeping in bed involves several tosses and turns throughout the night to ease some pressure I feel in my hips. As it gets warmer, I’m pre-emptively propping my feet up all day at work (my ankles have always swollen some with heat), and increasing my water intake to ridiculous levels.

Thoughts

Other than feeling a little slower and slightly uncomfortable, I’m feeling awesome. Workouts are still great (sans running, which I’ve scaled to shorter distances — more on that next week), and I still feel like I have good energy.

I have completely fallen in love with her kicks and rolls. They are seriously the best part of pregnancy by far for me. Before I eat, after I eat, and randomly throughout the night now, I look forward to each of her little sessions and miss them terribly when she is quiet. Most women complain about people touching their bellies, but as long as I know the person, I’m happy to share them.

More about workouts next week!

Ben and Jerry's - Kohler Created

20-21 Weeks Pregnant: She moves, she moves

By | 2nd Trimester, CrossFit, Pregnancy | One Comment

I’m going to go ahead and combine pregnancy weeks 20 and 21. Some weeks are pretty similar and rather than try to break it out and sound redundant, I’d rather just make one update for sets of weeks like these. And they been exciting weeks!

My daughter with her namesake. Figured it was a more meaningful way of telling you all that we are having a little girl! I miss Kaitlan every day but I hope my little girl has her strength and light.

If you saw my short update on Friday, we found out on Thursday (week 21) that we are having a little girl! I can say now that I think both Neil and I were on “team girl” and everyone around us was DEFINITELY on team girl. I would have actually really felt for the kid had he been a boy. Now that we know, I’m excited to share that we’ve decided to name our little girl Kaitlan.

It was a no brainer. Kaitlan was brilliant, beautiful, and more alive than anyone we’d ever met and I can’t think of anyone I’d like my daughter to be like more. We wanted our baby’s name to be meaningful and indicative of the things we value. I was named for Jessica Savitch because my dad thought she was smart and beautiful, and Neil was given both a family name (James) and named for Neil Young. We haven’t gotten around to middle names but just being able to say “she” and call her by her name is already so exciting.

The other huge development is that her kicks can now be felt from the outside! I feel like she went from slight flutters that only I could feel to full-on kicks and body rolls in the course of a week. She is a SUPER active little person and already seems to keep a schedule — becoming active around 9am, noon, and 9pm like clockwork every day. The first two obviously coincide with my usual breakfast and lunch times, but why 9pm-ish every night I have no idea. I’ve taken to calling it her “witching hour.” Neil finally got to feel these kicks over the weekend!

Thoughts

I have days where I’ve relaxed and enjoyed being pregnant, and other days where I really miss my body being my own and all that comes with that. Things as little as sleeping on my back comfortably to being able to go all out in a workout or not having to pee three times. I also still really miss my smaller boobs. Still, everyone’s reassurances are definitely true, time is FLYING. I’m rolling toward the middle twenties and third trimester feels like it will be here before I know it.

Food

Still on the protein/lower carb train. I had my weekly cheat meal of a mushroom and swiss burger with fries at Dinker’s in Omaha while visiting my brother and attending Neil’s race over the weekend. They definitely have arguably the best burgers in Omaha as advertised.

Ben and Jerry's - Kohler Created

Neil also bought me some Ben and Jerry’s Strawberry Shortcake Frozen Greek Yogurt on Sunday, so I had a little bit of that and it was to die for. We’d just had dinner (taco salad again!) and he looked over at me and said “I’m craving ice cream,” then dashed out the door and came home with two pints. I have a feeling he sometimes wishes I’d have more junk pregnancy cravings, so I was happy to oblige this round. After all, he did manage to track down hard-boiled eggs for me while we were on the road for his race.

CrossFit

Rawr! Going like gangbusters, and feeling really good. I keep waiting for the ball to drop (knock on wood) but as long as I take it easy, I am still so capable. Instead of capping the workouts, I’ll just give you a little rundown of 2nd trimester scaling. Expect a much longer recap like I did for 1st trimester in a few weeks.

Lets do work. #CrossFit @crossfitfringe

With the onset of second trimester, I was able to recover much of the energy loss and fatigue I experienced in first trimester. While this is well and good for making me feel much more capable and less frustrated, the rules for intensity and movements abandoned in first trimester still apply. Additionally, there have been a few other scales I’ve implemented.

  • Weighted box step-ups instead of box jumps
  • Single-unders instead of double-unders (I can still do them, but I constantly have to pee)
  • Handstand push-ups are now pike push-ups
  • Squat cleans and snatches are now a two-part movement, separating the lift from the squat to certify balance is achieved
  • Lower working weight for all barbell movements (strength numbers is on a case-by-case basis, but is still typically between 50-75% of December max)

A much more comprehensive write-up for 2nd trimester is in the works. Then it’s on to third! Here are some belly pics, messy hair and all:

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And for the hell of it, one for the front…

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Random fact: I’ve had a Linea Nigra my entire life. I don’t know why, but it’s in all my pictures from toddler on. At least I can’t be sad when one shows up right?

Pregnancy & Birth Checklists - Kohler Created

19 Weeks Pregnant: Is it time for a checklist?

By | 2nd Trimester, Pregnancy | 8 Comments

Being 19 weeks pregnant has initiated a gut reality check that I am halfway through and that on the other side of what feels like a few mere weeks, I (and Neil of course) will be responsible for another human being. There are so many books, checklists, and things to do, that it feels completely overwhelming trying to gauge where we are and *if* we are on target, if that’s even possible. It all felt punctuated this week by beginning the process of trying to find daycare for MK.

Checklists - Kohler Created

Note: The beginnings of my lists started in week 19

Daycare is the one task I’ve been dreading since even before we were pregnant. Because I no longer work at home (not that it would have mattered), full-time daycare is the only option we have in order for us both to keep working (which we want to do). That’s one “UGH.” The second “UGH” is that daycare where we live is hard to find, and expensive. Like more than our mortgage expensive. We are now on lists for openings, which is stressful, because I haven’t seen these lists to know I’m really on them and will really be called if there was an opening. One woman even told us to call monthly. Sure, I’ll just add that to the list.

So now we wait. Thankfully, with my parents in town, they have offered to help until we get in a place we feel good about, so hopefully we will hear back from someone soon. It’s already difficult enough to know I won’t have as much leave as I would have hoped for (the downside of not being in my new job long), and that we just don’t know a lot of people who are in this stage. It’s been hard enough even knowing what questions to ask and what expectations are reasonable.

Thank you for listening to all of that, it feels good to have that off my chest.

On a positive note, I am knocking down pregnancy/parenting books like it’s my job. However with every one I finish, there are five more that pop up on my radar. And we did some major spring cleaning and organization over the weekend. Somehow it feels so good the more we simplify. Must. Get. Rid. Of. Stuff.

Thoughts

I am just feeling really grateful for where I’m at this week, even if I’m constantly overwhelmed by all that’s still in front of us. I try to never take for granted how good I feel and how lucky I’ve been throughout this pregnancy. Most people continue to say I don’t even look pregnant (which I don’t know how to take?) but every kick and squirm I feel validates that little MK, Neil and I are a good team so far.

Still, with every feeling of validation, comes 10 more of insecurity, and it’s impossible not to wonder if I’m going to be a good parent, and if I’m really going to be able to jungle all the major bowling balls and goals I still have for my life. I definitely feel like my attempts to prepare my environment around me are a manifestation of this insecurity that I might not be good enough.

Food

I am STILL thinking about my reveal cake. My ability to be preoccupied by food in pregnancy is unlike anything else. However because my protein intake requirements are so high, I’m just as obsessive about getting really good sources of protein and plenty of veggies to balance it in my diet.

The theme of this pregnancy is still taco salads. I think I’ve had this meal at least 10 times at this point, and it NEVER gets old. Poor Neil.

I had my first big cheat in a few weeks on Friday night: a loaded Billiards burger and sweet potato fries with several refills of Diet Pepsi. It was AMAZING, but afterward, I thought my heart was going to explode and MK must have been doing body rolls because he/she was WILD. Cheats are always good while they are happening, but they also tend to put me right back on track.

CrossFit

Another good week. I’m really no taking these for granted, and am crossing my fingers for a nice long cool spring before the inevitable Missouri summer starts. I continue to work on planking outside the gym, and am slowly working myself to great and greater spans of time.

In other news, pulled out the bigger tops that I bought in first trimester:

Monday

“Fight Gone Badder”
3 Rounds:
KB swings (53/35)
T2B
Deadlift 185/125
Burpees
Double Unders

With a running clock, you will have 1 minute at each station and 1 minute rest after all 5 stations. Score is total reps completed.

Tuesday

Skill work: Snatch (I’m currently kind of maxed out at about 65# on this movement)

WOD:
6x400m Run + 50 burpees

Wednesday

WOD:
Active Rest – 2 mile walk with dogs

Thursday

WOD:
“Jack”

20 Minute AMRAP
10 Push press @115/85
10 Kettlebell Swing @55/35
10 Box Jump (24″)

Friday

Ring Dips 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Handstand Push-Ups 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10

These are super-set’s. Perform 10 Ring Dips, then 1 Handstand Push-Up. Climb down the rep ladder for Ring Dips while climbing up the rep ladder for Handstand Push-Ups until the final set of 10 Handstand Push-Ups in complete.

Saturday

Active Rest – 1 mile walk with dogs, also did about 50 burpees with the 8AM free class I coached.

Sunday

Rest

Weekend Recap: Pizza and Baby Bedrooms

By | 2nd Trimester, Food, Pregnancy, Uncategorized, Weekend | 2 Comments

Thin and Crispy Pizza Crust Recipe

One last relaxing weekend before another race weekend. Neil requested pizza for our cheat meal this week, and somehow we ended up with enough for several meals. No matter, it was so good! I didn’t think about it till mid-bite about halfway through my personal pizza, but it’s been almost two months since I last had pizza — which I’m pretty sure is the longest I’ve ever gone without it. Eating clean is tough, but it’s little moments like those that make you realize how strong and resolute you can be about something — it’s all mental.

We had an assortment of things on our pizzas. I opted for fresh pineapple, mushrooms, jalapenos, onion and a little pepperoni. Neil opted for pepperoni and extra cheese (a mix of Mozz, Parm and Fontina). We used our thin and crispy pizza crust recipe and baked it up nice and hot. We then settled in for a night of computer games, and crashed out sometime around midnight.

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We also ate a lot of watermelon this weekend. I love when fruit starts going on sale!

baby bedrooms

On Saturday, my mom and I spent a good two hours working through ideas for the baby’s bedroom. Yes, I don’t call it a nursery, that seems weird to me. It’s our kid’s bedroom. A few weeks ago, after watching Cosmos, we decided a solar system theme might be kind of fun, so when we happened to stumble on some print fabric and fun colors, the theme for the quilt and textiles really started coming together. You can follow my planning/scheming on Pinterest.

We’re really keeping things pretty nondescript and neutral no matter what the official sex ends up being. We’ve avoided a lot of cartoony stuff too, or just themes that assign way too many stereotypes. My thought is that by the time they are old enough, we would rather them to put their own mark on their room, so it doesn’t seem worth it to do too much legwork now when it would really be for us and not her/him. That being said, the room will still be fun and reflect our care and excitement.

Making dad's favorite, only this time they are #Paleo

I also made some paleo-esque lemon bars, adapted from Against the Grain’s recipe (just added a little powdered sugar on top). So good!

Other than that, this weekend was really low-key. I should have attempted to get more done, but oh well!

17 Weeks Pregnant: “Nesting”

By | 2nd Trimester, Automotive, Neil, Pregnancy, Racing | 2 Comments

Track Day - 3/30/14 - Kohler Racing

Week 17 was insanely busy. Neil’s first race of the season always sets off a slew of different activities for us, and the things that have to be done each night in order to drive away from the house on Friday evening feeling prepared is daunting, especially when the spring weather doesn’t want to cooperate. The severe thunderstorms that stuck around throughout the week just made everything so difficult, and as a result, I only made it to the gym twice this week, which made me a little crabby — which was actually surprising to me.

I’m finding that I prioritize the gym quite a bit more than I did prior to getting pregnant. Being able to move and continue to work on goals does so much not only for me physically but mentally as well. I come home more energized and ready to tackle other projects and I’m much more productive throughout the rest of the day.

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Coupled with diet, I still feel like I’m in the best shape of my life, despite having to take it easy, which is such a boost. I even took my new kettlebell to the track this weekend and swung it around a bit. Thankfully I don’t think anyone noticed me, but it was nice to keep moving a little bit and stay warm (it was really cold on Saturday).

Feelings: “Nesting”

The big theme of Week 17 was by far organization or “nesting” as some people prefer to call it. We’ve been more diligent about little things, like dishes in the sink and laundry, but now it’s expanded to systematic workflow creation, almost like our house itself is a small business. Legitimately we do actually run a business out of our home, but now I feel as if we are expanding “Operations” to include our normal day-to-day activities.

While I’ve talked a little about how I’ve organized myself in the past, we are now completely hooked on Trello. It’s a free, super-simplistic organization tool that allows multiple people to edit workboards. I use it at work, we use it for CrossFit Fringe and our other clients, and we now use it to organize our home life. It’s web-based, but you can also install a desktop app on Windows 8.

Pot Roast - Kohler Created

Food

Lots of protein. Lots of veggies. As I mentioned above I think diet is 80% of the reason I feel so good so now it’s not torture to eat this way but constantly reaffirming and getting easier. People are obviously entitled to eat however they choose during pregnancy, but I can’t imagine functioning off some of what I see people eat.

CrossFit

My workouts were really lame this week. With weather and Neil’s race, I only made it in twice this week — aside from swinging the KB around a bit over the weekend at Neil’s race.

Monday

Strength/WOD:
5×5 Strict Press (65#)
5x AMRep Strict Pull-Ups (I’m working on getting 3+ each set)

Then…

WOD
20 TGU (55/35) (adapted with my new pregnant Turkish Get-Up scale)

Tuesday

WOD: Tabata Those Shoulders!
Each Movement you will perform 8 Rounds (4 Minutes) of 20 Seconds Work/10 Seconds Rest. Your score is the lowest amount of reps completed within the 8 rounds.

HSPU (Handstand Push-ups)
DU (Double unders)
Push Press (completed at 65#)
Burpees

And finally, a belly photo. Forgive my watery eyes and red nose, allergies have hit HARD this week.

18 weeks pregnant - Kohler Created

Pregnancy Books and Resources - Kohler Created

16 Weeks Pregnant: Pregnant Turkish Get-ups and Information Overload

By | 2nd Trimester, Books, Pregnancy | 3 Comments

Sorry about being an extra week behind with these. We got a little busy with Neil’s race last week and blogging kind of hit the skids after it started really well for the week. In addition, in week 16, I finally found a good place to dig in and really start reading/preparing so I’ve been kind of off on my own doing that.

It’s really hard to know where to begin, and what information is the stuff you actually want. The Internet makes information about pregnancy and parenting feel like a moving target. Every where I turn, someone is saying something, and it usually is in contrast to something else I’ve just read. How do you not get overwhelmed?

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been avoiding it to this point. I’ve worked to identify sources and blogs of like-minded people and kind of start identifying the more social resources, as well as really cementing my directive for the course of my pregnancy (beyond eating really well, taking care of myself and maintaining CrossFit), and what I want birth, postpartum, and hopefully breastfeeding to look like. But week 16 was the week I finally hit the library and bought resources to start the actual planning for the next 1-2 years. While I know that nothing is guaranteed and there is no way to really know what to expect, I feel like I have a lot to learn, not only about the process but myself as part of it now.

Here’s my pile of books:

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Okay obviously some of these are in no way baby/parenting-related, but I felt they were necessary to balance the information overload and keep things fun.

My pile of reading so far includes:

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (as opposed to manly?)
Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding
The Happiest Baby on the Block
Bébé Gourmet: 100 French-Inspired Baby Food Recipes For Raising an Adventurous Eater
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Yeah I know, it’s a little all over the place, but you have to start somewhere right? I’ve been a complete sponge lately. I can’t believe how excited I am about introducing solids and forming my kid’s food preferences.

Feelings

Everything else is going well this week. I’m still not all that big, which I try not to stress over. I’m eating often and really well, but I haven’t put all that much weight on, if any (I lost in first and have gained a few pounds back, but am still below pre-pregnancy weight). For now I’m focusing on increasing snacking with good foods like nuts, avocado and more protein, and monitoring my progress. Anyone else have this issue?

#CrossFit Open WOD 14.4 and this. If anyone needs me, I will be sleeping...

Food

Still on my fresh fruit kick. It tastes so good, especially pineapple. I think I could literally put away a whole pineapple and gallon of unsweetened tea in a day. My nutritionist is really trying to ramp up my protein and while it was uncomfortable at first, I’ve noticed that as my body adjusts to the increase, my cravings for junk have disappeared. I’m NEVER hungry either.

I am really trying to focus in on “single ingredient” meals that pretty much consist of a simply prepared meat and veggie during the week, with a few fun things toward the weekend that are still really healthy are just more fun to cook.

CrossFit: Pregnant Turkish Get-Ups

In CrossFit news, I have a little tutorial for you today — a good Pregnant Turkish Get-Up scale! Turkish Get-ups are one of my favorite movements because they promote midline strength and stability, hip extension, and body awareness and proprioception. I was sad when I thought I had lost them until postpartum, but I discovered this scale on BirthFit and was excited to try it in a workout. Still just as taxing, just not involving the movements that I can no longer do for the time being.

Oh and if you haven’t — check out my review of Heidi Klum’s #HKNB line for New Balance.

Pregnant Turkish Get-up - Kohler Created

Start in a seated position with the kettlebell within hands reach at your side.

Pregnant Turkish Get-up - Kohler Created

Raise the kettlebell into the “clean position” which will sit nicely in the pocket created by your bent arm.

From here, raise the kettlebell over your head into a locked overhead position, keeping your shoulder and arm tucked closely to your head. When I cue people on the lockout, I typically tell them to raise their arm as high as they can, then raise it one more inch. Throughout this movement, it is important to maintain the weight directly over your shoulder on the center of gravity so that it is easier to stabilize and not as prone to shifts, which will cause you to lose balance and dump the weight.

Pregnant Turkish Get-up - Kohler Created

Leading with your t-spine or chest, slowly shift your weight to the opposite side of the kettlebell, balancing your body with your opposing hand behind you. You don’t want your chest to cave and your back to round, so it’s important to keep the chest up and out (good thoracic spine extension).

From the “on the hand” position, you’re going to actively drive through your right heel into a bridge position (Sorry – I didn’t catch a good image of this). Keeping your chest up and out, you will lift yourself off the ground, squeezing your butt (you might feel it more on one side vs the other) and raising your hips off the ground. The key here is getting hip extension.

Pregnant Turkish Get-up - Kohler Created

Now it’s time to sweet the leg! From the bridge position and maintaining your eyesight on the kettlebell, sweep your left leg back to the point to where your left knee is now on the ground under your body. Keep that chest up and good lumbar positioning by thinking about lengthening your spine.

Rotate your left lower leg so it’s straight and in-line with your body, and straighten your torso. Check your position (chest up, long spine, shoulder packed, arm locked), and keeping your eyes on your kettlebell, go from this half-kneeling position to the top by performing what amounts to a split squat (everyone seems to have a different means to getting to the top from here). Remember to drive through your heels, and finish standing with your feet next to one another.

Pregnant Turkish Get-up - Kohler Created

Congratulations! You’ve done 1/2 of a rep! I know, but now you have to essentially reverse these steps into a seated position. Because every stage of pregnancy takes every women some place different, scale this as necessary with weight or movement. For me, several of the later reps weren’t reversed with form, and I literally put the KB down and reset position completely starting over.