The Road To Making our Baby
YES after over a decade of putting my family goals on hold for my fitness goals this huge dream of mine has become a reality – I AM HAVING A BABY!!! My partner Marcelo and I are so very excited; it truly is the greatest miracle and an absolute blessing. I’ll be sharing monthly updates with you as I go; the good, bad and the crazy (always keeping it real with you!) in hopes of inspiring and empowering all of you through my experience of making a little HUMAN BEING with my body. Our bodies are just completely FASCINATING and I’ve become so very excited with my new body goal; the most important quest my body will ever have, making a baby!
I have always wanted to be a mom but my competitive athletic career as a Pro athlete diverted my path in another direction. I knew the risks involved with leaving this too late as well as the impact of long-term high intensity training and caloric restriction could have on my hormones and overall health. As I always have done, I decided to let my heart, not fear, lead the way on this one. It wasn’t until now, at 41 years old, that everything felt right for this journey to begin. I found the right person to share my life with, I am completely fulfilled with my athletic achievements, content (for now!) with my travel to 65 countries, happy and proud of where my business is at (always growing but it’s in a great place right now) and felt a sense of stability with being a home owner in Cancun..
So that was it, the decision was made and we planned to start to try to get pregnant right after my final competition, The 2019 Fitness Olympia in September 2019. After years of health set backs to be ‘stage lean’ in 2017 I decided to self-coach as I knew my body better than anyone else and wouldn’t allow myself to endure any further unhealthy relationship with food due to over-restriction, hormone imbalance, injury and burn-out from over-training. I made my self-care and my health the most important focus of my competition preparations. After the Olympia I knew my body was extremely healthy and my hormones were perfectly balanced which set the tone for a positive pregnancy.
We had pro-actively frozen embryos in 2017 & 2018 incase we had to try IVF if we had any issues getting pregnant. So after the Olympia come-down and the travel and events I had for work it was October and we decided were ready to start to try to make this little super human.
We didn’t want to waste any time so we went back to the Fertility Center in Cancun and met with the Fertility Specialist, Dr. Ray Romero. He helped us put together a clear strategy for our family goals and our ‘Making a Baby’ plan of action was brought to life! We decided that we would try naturally with his support for 3 months before going to IVF as a last resort. Dr. Romero and his team guided us through the entire process; and I mean literally told us what to do every single step of the way. There was absolutely no guess work; no taking my temperature to see if I was ovulating or guessing when we needed to ‘perform’ – it’s science and Dr. Romero applied his knowledge as a fertility specialist and he was an absolute rock star. We are so thankful to have found such a talented and compassionate Doctor and team in Cancun for our journey!
He requested several pre-screening tests to check my eggs, uterus and ovaries and prescribed labs for both of our hormones, some vitamin and mineral levels as well as Marcelo’s ’swimmers’ (He got a huge ego boost when he saw his results that he had the perfect ‘sperm specimen’ in all categories!). These pre-screening tests really are vital as you want to make sure you’re BOTH in optimal health to conceive before you invest all the energy over what may be many months to then find out one of you had a problem that could’ve been easily resolved. Knowledge is power my friends!
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We passed all tests and he approved us for the next step where he used a very low dose medication called clomid to gently stimulate my ovulation and he then monitored me very closely by ultrasound. My body responded extremely well to this and he was happy with how things were looking. He made sure we just had a good single follicle and didn’t have any doubles or triples with the frequent ultrasounds and then he trigged my ovulation with a hormone injection when I was ready. He sent us home and said ‘alright now it’s time to perform. Monday, Wednesday & Friday with nothing in-between!’ I also want to mention the importance of adding ‘love’ to the baby making formula – we both believe that ‘love’ is fundamental for creating a family. It seems that this crucial ingredient is missing from the formula of technologically-assisted reproduction these days due to the stress and anxiety involved with these procedures. We are always finding ways to express our happiness and love towards each other and I strongly believe this impacted our ability to conceive so quickly.
Whaaaat We’re Pregnant?!!
I missed my period and my hCG levels were spiked when I had the lab test (no peeing on a stick as we wanted to know asap so we tested for the pregnancy hormone as Dr. Romero requested).
Thoughts, Emotions?!! I WAS FREAKING OUT! Right in our SUV in the parking lot of the Fertility Clinic! Marcelo was calm, cool and collected (as he always is) and asked me ‘What?! But wait. This is what YOU wanted! remember?!! Isn’t being a Mom far more important than anything else” I replied “YES you’re so right but I thought it would take us longer than this and we aren’t ready!” Ahhhhh my mind was moving in a million different directions… what about my Fitness Getaways in Bali and Costa Rica in the summer and winter of 2020? We don’t have a financial plan set? OMG I can’t even keep my plants alive how will I keep a child alive?!!! I wasn’t ready for this now?!!
The truth was we both didn’t think it was going to happen so quickly and we were initially both really mentally shocked! It was a lot to take in at that moment BUT it didn’t take long to realize that this was a TOTAL AND COMPLETE MIRACLE AND BLESSING. With so many couples struggling to have babies and we have this little miracle of life actually growing inside of me and it happened immediately was something to be cherished, honored, thankful for and celebrated! It took about a week for me to calm down and then my mindset completely changed and I wanted this so bad; nothing else but the health of our baby mattered at that point.
Fast Forward 15 Weeks Later:
It’s February 9th and we are just about at the 4 month mark! We’re into our second trimester and we’ve had all the genetic lab testing (Fetal DNA Test) and the Fetal Specialist physical testing done. We were super relieved that our baby is perfectly healthy at this time. I was stressing about this as I know the statistics with our age and genetics… it was SUCH a relief to know that everything is normal and now it’s time to relax and enjoy this beautiful baby-making journey!
Body, Sleep, Nutrition & Training Update:
I’ve been super fortunate to have had no morning sickness or nausea. I’m eating like a beast! As a Nutritionist and Health Coach that is so strongly focused on HEALTH > CALORIES it’s been so exciting to view food as nutrients for my baby and I. I’m eating intuitively (even did for my last competition prep with no meal plan on my fridge!) and am listening to my body. It’s taken me years to get here but this is one of the most exciting aspects of my pregnancy as I know that my self-care and nourishing my body for my entire life has contributed to my quick pregnancy. Some days I eat more and other days I’m not as hungry. I eat to fuel what my body and baby need, I focus on the quality of my food not the quantity and I’m never hungry. I’m not worried about weight gain as I have all the tools and knowledge to get back into great shape after my baby is born. The only thing I just can’t stomach is cooked veggies! Cooked Broccoli = GAG. So I’ve been juicing daily and using powdered greens and superfoods in my protein pancakes instead and eating them cooked. I’ve been loving good fats and salty foods – bring on the guacamole and salsa! I’m missing my sashimi and ceviche as I used to eat raw fish 3-4x/week but it’s just out of my diet for a short period of time.
Based on my Doctors recommendations I’ve also heavily modified a lot of my supplements and stimulants. Stay tuned as I’m going to be doing a separate blog, IGTV video and a series of podcasts with fellow BPI Sports Athlete and IFBB Pro India Paulino on this topic as I know a lot of you have questions and I’ve learned so much that I want to share!
BUT let’s hit on caffeine. OH MY GOD. I know now first hand that the withdrawal from caffeine is REAL! For the first 2-3 months of my pregnancy I felt like I’d been hit by a truck for the first hour of the day and then once I had my ONE coffee (as the safe dose for pregnancy and caffeine is 200mg/day) the feeling of the worst hangover ever slowly goes away, I can start to talk and my day then begins. Poor Marcelo having to deal with that! But seriously, I had NO IDEA how much this truly hurts. Before I got pregnant I was taking between 500-800mg of caffeine or other stimulants per day. Chronic abuse of caffeine isn’t healthy and can cause your adrenal glands to fatigue. I had caffeine in my coffee to start my day, some days my fat burners, then my pre-workout and my sometimes an afternoon energy drink or cognitive stimulant capsules. I’m thankful the worst is over now – If I get a good sleep and have my mornin’ coffee I’m good to go! So for all you caffeine junkies I challenge you to take a toll of the total caffeine you’re consuming every single day and then try to reduce it for your health. The greatest thing you’ll notice when you overcome the withdrawals is the quality of your sleep. I sleep deep and have vivid happy dreams every single night – bring on the REM power sleeps!
Also happy to report I’m not feeling like a hormonal, irritable crazy lady! I’ve had no mood swings and feel perfectly balanced. Lucky Marcelo.
The only unpleasant things so far have been the bloating and constipation. Yup, the struggle is real. By 12 pm I feel like a fully loaded potato. I’ve figured out how to manage this a bit better with juicing, pre and probiotics, natural laxatives and I keeping my water to 3.5 L/day minimum. But it’s also that my uterus is now at full size so welcome to my new normal. #notsuchahotfeeling
For the first trimester I was absolutely exhausted – which makes perfect sense as I’m growing a human being in my body! There were days I would sleep 11 hours and then nap 2 hours. The first few days this happened I was super frustrated with my lack of productivity and felt like a failure but I was quick to adopt a fresh mindset on this – I can crush my days after this baby is born – for now it’s about loving myself, listening to my body and giving it exactly what it needs. I’ve learned to cut myself some slack right now and Marcelo has also been super supportive of this new me. I’m super proud of this achievement as those of you who know me know that, yes I have rest days, but NEVER lazy days and I’ll all about my productivity and achieving huge goals. I’ve recalibrated my work load and commitments as at the moment my huge goal is making a healthy baby! I’m totally cherishing this time and embracing the entire journey.
My body has started to soften up and I’ve gained about 6-7 lbs. Oh and I’ve got super boobs! Moisturizing the chi chi’s and my tummy like a maniac in hopes of preventing stretch marks and time to buy some new supportive sports bras so this mama doesn’t knock herself out when she’s training. I’m totally loving all the body changes and I feel so healthy. I can’t wait for a bigger bump as right now it kind of looks like a just threw back a few burgers.
My Training has been approved by my Doctor and I’ve been staying consistent with a 60-75 minute sweat, 5-6 days/week. I’ve noticed that my heart rate jumps up super high as soon as I start training so I’ve changed up my workouts to focus more on circuit training mixing strength training with functional training and haven’t been doing too intensive cardio. My usual workouts are crazy intense and some may involve a helmet LOL so this has been a huge change for me to not get too crazy and listen to my body. I’m modifying exercises almost weekly now. Last week was the first week I wasn’t comfortable laying on the hamstring curl machine as it put too much pressure on my stomach so I did standing hamstring curls. I’ve also stopped lifting too heavy with my legs as any spinal compression causes some post-workout back pain. Exercise is my happy time and I plan to keep my workouts going throughout my entire pregnancy. I’m sure I’m going to have some haters when people see how hard I’m training but remember that everyones journey is unique. I started my pregnancy with a solid fitness and stregnth foundation and this is what has been working for me. What works for me may not work for someone else. My Doctor has also approved what I’ve been doing and I’ve had no cramping or spotting so I will continue to do what makes me feel best. Daily exercise is actually healthy for your baby so if you’re pregnant and you’re not exercising consider starting – you and your baby will feel better for it. I know I’m going to learn so much through this experience and I can’t wait to infuse this into my Performance Coaching practice for women that want to get pregnant, women that are pregnant and then postpartum recovery. I’m so excited for what lies ahead – I can’t wait to see what my body is capable of and I plan to share it all with you!
The Future is Bright:
I’ve never been happier in my life and I’ve also never felt so much gratitude FOR my life. I’m waking up each day feeling peaceful and thankful; I know I’m exactly where I’m suppose to be; and that’s just powerful and simply magical. I know this will be TOUGHER than any life challenge, but also more REWARDING than anything I’ve ever done.
I want to thank you all for taking the time to be here and read my pregnancy story. I appreciate you following me so much. I’m so proud of the positive fitness community I’ve created and want to keep it positive every step of this pregnancy.
If you have any questions please post them in the comments below and I would be happy to answer them. If you’re trying to get pregnant, considering getting pregnant, you’ve been struggling to get pregnant or you are feeling pressured to get pregnant because of that maternal clock ticking I truly hope my story has inspired you in some way.
Nature has produced many wondrous things but few are more amazing and fascinating than the human body. Nourish your body, love your body and respect your body as you only have one of them. Nothing is more sacred than life.
Until next month,
Love & lunges from me & the bump,