5 Things to Help You Stay Healthy in 2015

Healthy has many different meanings.  To some, healthy is a physical quality, while others believe it’s a combination of both the body and the mind.  It could mean an overall feeling of happiness.  It could mean illness-free.  It could mean reaching a goal weight or fitting into a certain pair of pants.  Regardless of what healthy means to you, we all can agree that striving for a healthy lifestyle is a positive thing but may look different on one person from the next.

5 Things to Help You Stay Healthy in 2015

In honor of the new year and to help you take a step in the right direction, I’ve created a list of five things that can help you stay healthy in 2015…  Plus one bonus item for all of the other new parents.  Some of the items are pricy so let’s pretend money isn’t a factor.

1.  Fitness Tracker {$100 – $150}

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There are numerous fitness trackers on the market nowadays and each has its own little something that the others don’t.  Bracelets, clips, watches, there’s a style to fit every lifestyle.  Some of the most popular ones that I hear about include: Garmin Vivofit, Fitbit, Nike+ FuelBand SE, Polar Loop, and Jawbone UP.  Most of them calculate activity level, calories burned, and steps taken, while some can also track distance, heart rate, and sleep quality.

Last Christmas I received a Nike+ FuelBand SE.  As someone who loves numbers {I’m a sudoku addict} and has a competitive personality, it’s been a great accessory.  I enjoy reviewing my stats on a frequent basis, comparing my numbers to past weeks, setting goals, connecting with friends, and engaging in friendly competitions.  I just synced back up as of January 1st and think it’ll be a great motivator to work towards my pre-baby fitness level.

2.  Road ID {$17.99 – $29.99}

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Whether you wear it on your ankle, wrist, or loop it through your shoe laces, a Road ID is not really a health gadget, but rather a safety must-have.  There are only so many miles a person can run on the treadmill before going crazy and must hit the pavement.

No one enjoys thinking about the risks involved with running outside {or any outdoor activity}, but the reality is that accidents happen.  Whenever I leave the house Ryan tells me to have fun and “be safe.”  A Road ID can’t prevent accidents from happening, but it can provide important information if something ever was to happen and someone found you.  You can personalize your ID band to include: badges, an inspirational message, and vital health information.  You can even get one for your pup.  I don’t have a Road ID, but I plan to order one in the immediate future.

3.  JUNE by netatmo {$99}

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I never heard about JUNE before I researched items for this post.  But wow, it sounds really cool!  Like many, I enjoy sitting outside by the pool or at the beach in the summer, but with my history of melanoma I tend to be more cognizant about slathering on the sunscreen.  Despite my best efforts though, I occasionally still burn.

JUNE measures sun exposure and provides real-time advice via smartphone.  It can suggest the best SPF lotion based on your skin and UV levels, when lotion needs to be reapplied, if you should cover-up, or when it’s time to move into the shade.  Plus, it looks like a nice pendant bracelet.  My only hesitation is that I wouldn’t want to have a white stripe around my wrist because that’s where the band was positioned.

4.  Brita Sport Bottle {$9.99}

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We found these Brita Sport Bottles at our local grocery store and have been using them for over a year.  I use it daily when I’m out running errands, at the gym, and we even took them with us on our cruise this past summer.

The bottles are BPA free, dishwasher safe, and remove chlorine while leaving a healthy amount of fluoride.  The filters last for approximately two months or 40 gallons.  Just imagine how much money you’ll save when you stop buying plastic water bottles – the average person consumed an average of 300 bottles per month!  Plus, when it’s time to replace your filter you can simply drop it off or mail it out so it can be recycled.

5.  Withings Aura {$299.95}

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Did you know, you sleep for about 1/3 of your life?  That’s a lot of time spent with your eyes closed.  Although, as a new mom I’d like to challenge that statistic.

The Withings Aura helps users monitor and improve their sleep quality.  Users place a discrete pad under their mattress that monitors sleep cycles based on body movement, breathing cycles, and heart rate.  Concurrently, the Bedside Device analyzes sound, temperature, and light throughout the bedroom and notes any changes in the quality of sleep.  The following morning, users can review their sleep data which is graphed to show their different sleep stages {light, deep and REM}, as well as information such as duration of sleep, time it took to fall asleep, and number of wake-ups.

And one last thing that can help new parents in 2015…

Mimo Smart Baby Monitor {$199.99}

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I don’t think this gadget necessarily is a must-have, but it could be fun to try.  The Mimo Smart Baby Monitor measures baby’s respiration, body position, skin temperature, breathing, and activity such as when he/she wakes up or rolls over.  Additionally, it monitors sleep activity which is what I’d be most interested in since some nights Evie will sleep for six hours straight, while other nights she’s flipping and flopping like a fish out of water.  One thing that I wonder about is the monitor when the baby rolls over – is it uncomfortable?  Does it stay attached?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, there are no affiliate links, and I received no compensation whatsoever.  I created this list based on personal experience and products that caught my eye.

Question:  What app/gadget helps you to stay healthy?

— Allison

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Our Little Miracle Baby

I’ve meant to write this post for a while, nine months to be exact.  But whenever I sat down to write it I got a lump in my throat, a tightness in my chest, and my mind went blank.  It’s like someone erased my thoughts.  I had no problem sharing my story verbally with anyone who wanted to know, but writing it was overwhelming.  Now though, I’m not scared…  I’m not scared that I’ll jinx our little miracle baby because she’s sleeping soundly in my lap as I type.

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Family and friends have told me that I don’t have to and I shouldn’t feel obligated to share my story on here, but I want to.  I want to because I want people who are going through a similar experience to have hope.

As I mentioned on Monday, pregnancy is an extremely personal experience.  I by no means am the golden image of health or pregnancy, because as you’ll read, we weren’t supposed to ever get pregnant without “help.”  I’m sharing my story because I know that at least one person can relate.

In the fall of 2013 Ryan and I began talking about when we wanted to start a family.  I believe that some people are born knowing that one day they want to be a mom, while others have to warm up to the idea.  Some people may never warm up to the idea and that’s totally okay – to each their own.  I was one of those people who was born knowing.

Ryan and I agreed to wait a year, he wanted to establish himself more at his job and I wanted to run a marathon {something that was taken away from me a few years prior when I was diagnosed with lupus}.  It was an easy agreement and I was glad we shared a similar timeline.  But talking about having a baby is much easier said than done.

Since we agreed upon a timeline, I thought it would be good to make an appointment with my gyno.  I’ve had an irregular period ever since I struggled with an eating disorder in high school, so I wanted to make sure everything was in “working” order.  At the appointment my doctor did a standard physical exam and lab work.  Physically everything looked good, but we’d have to wait for the lab results to return.

My doctor and I played phone tag for weeks which turned into months and finally, four months later, we connected.  She informed me that I was diagnosed sometime around 2004 – 2005 with hypothalamic amenorrhea.  She asked if my momma ever told me or if I remembered…  Yes, I’m sure my momma once told me, but I did not remember.  I was a teenager at the time and the thought of having children was in the distant future.

She explained that hypothalamic amenorrhea is a condition in which menstruation and ovulation stop for some time because the body, specifically the hypothalamus, stops producing hormones.  She suggested that Ryan and I meet with a fertility specialist, sooner rather than later, since it can take years for couples with fertility issues to get pregnant.

There was a long moment of silence.  I didn’t know what to say and my mind immediately was flooded with questions.

Can I have children?  How am I supposed to tell Ryan?  Can I do anything to make it go away?  Why did this happen to me?  Is it related to lupus or iron deficiency?

After I hung up, the tears began to flow.  I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and overwhelmed.  Looking back, I realize that I was being dramatic, but in the moment I felt defeated.  I didn’t know anyone with hypothalamic amenorrhea and the only people I knew who went to a fertility specialist were much older than myself.

The following week we made an appointment with a fertility specialist.  I didn’t want to waste any time and wanted to know exactly what hypothalamic amenorrhea was, how it impacted our future, and most importantly, if I could have children.

Walking into the appointment I was a bundle of nerves.  Before meeting with the doctor, someone discussed the timeline and financial aspects of fertility treatment.  The doctor then came in and spoke to us about how hypothalamic amenorrhea affected our ability to conceive and the success rates of fertility treatment.  But the only thing that I could remember when we left was one statistic she shared…

“Based on your health and diagnosis, you have a 1% chance of ever getting pregnant on your own.”

After the appointment Ryan and I reevaluated our timeline and decided that we would start a round of fertility treatment within the next month.  We didn’t share this with our family or friends because we felt that it was a time that needed to remain between just us.  For about two weeks I overcame my fear or needles and gave myself a shot in the belly every night after dinner.  It wasn’t pleasant but I was willing to do whatever it took.

At the end of September I made the difficult decision to go back to teaching.  Since it was a time of transition and we weren’t sure what the next few months would bring, Ryan and I decided to put the fertility treatment on hold.  I was responding positively to the treatment and the doctor was optimistic that we would have success.

I went back on birth control to help regulate my hormones, but my period still wasn’t coming every month.  In December I had a period so I decided to see if I could get one on my own without birth control.  January passed and no period.  February passed and no period.  By March I was getting frustrated.

On the morning of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon {March 15th} I woke up an hour before my alarm because I felt nauseous.  Like many runners, I get pre-race jitters but I’ve never felt nauseous.  I sat by the toilet for an hour, contemplating running the race or sacrificing the money.  I ultimately decided to run.  It wasn’t my best race, but I finished.  Later that day I worked at the running store and immediately crashed when I got home.

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The next morning I woke up feeling nauseous, again.  Later in the day Ryan and I went out to run a few errands and on our way home Ryan got a haircut.  I don’t know what prompted me do it, but I walked over to the grocery store and bought a pregnancy test.  I felt incredibly awkward in the checkout line holding the pregnancy test -  like there was a big flashing sign over my head and everyone was staring at me.

I couldn’t wait to take the test until we got home, so I went into the grocery store bathroom and waited the longest two minutes of my life for a result to appear.  Positive.  No way.

I walked over to meet Ryan and he could tell something was wrong by the look on my face.  When we got into the car I immediately began to sob and showed him the test.  He was equally as shocked.  When we got home I took the second test.  Positive.  No way.

Ryan went to the store to buy a different brand of tests because I still was in disbelief and insisted that I bought a faulty pack.  As soon as he walked through the front door I was in the bathroom taking another test.  Positive.  No way.

By this point I’m pretty sure that Ryan knew that the tests weren’t rigged, but I still couldn’t believe it.  Of course there was a part of me that was ecstatic and wanted to believe it, but all I could hear was the doctor’s voice in my head…  “You have a 1% chance of ever getting pregnant on your own.”

The next morning I went to the fertility doctor for blood work and sure enough, that afternoon I received a phone call confirming the news.  I put together a bag for Ryan and my mom to break the news.  I’ll never forget watching my mom read the card telling her that she’s going to be a grandma and Ryan that he’s going to be a dad.

It happened.  She’s our little miracle baby.

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— Allison

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9 Months of Transformation

Happy Monday, y’all!  After yesterday’s Sunday Funday and sleeping for five hours straight last night, Evie woke up this morning with her first case of the Mondays.  She needs her beauty sleep!

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This week I’m focusing on #AllAboutEvie.  I’ll be sharing our story about how the doctors told us we had a 1% chance of ever getting pregnant, Evie’s birth story, what we packed in our hospital bags, 10 must have items for new parents, Evie’s one month update, and today’s topic: my bumpdate transformation.

It was hard for me to notice how much my body changed over the nine months that I was pregnant, but the changes are evident when scrolling through the pictures.  We found out we were expecting when I was about 6 weeks pregnant, the same weekend that I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Half Marathon.

In the beginning, I would scroll through pictures on Instagram and ask “Why isn’t my bump showing?  I want my belly to pop.  These girls are already showing and they’re only X weeks pregnant!”  One thing I learned early on is that pregnancy is an extremely personal journey.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

Everyone’s experience is unique.  Oftentimes women say that each pregnancy is different from the last.  Although there are some “common” symptoms {and cravings}, there’s no checklist of things that all pregnant women go through from month one to month nine.  Additionally, there’s no specified time when everyone’s belly “pops.”  Every body responds differently.

During the first trimester I felt alright.  My energy level was low and I felt nauseous frequently, but I only got sick a couple of times.  When the second trimester arrived, I started to look bloated, but I was happy for my energy to return.  It wasn’t until around 22 weeks when I started to notice my belly rounding and suddenly my belly popped around 24 weeks.  The third trimester flew by.  And by 30 weeks I felt very pregnant – my clothes didn’t fit, my belly looked like a basketball, I couldn’t get comfortable laying down, and I wasn’t sleeping much.

Overall, I feel extremely blessed that my pregnancy was uneventful…  That is, until my water broke a month early.

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— Allison

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