In the blink of an eye, our whole world has changed. It’s a change that brings me excitement, nervousness and a whole lotta’ joy! I wonder what he or she will look like or what this sweet baby will grow to love. While I say many prayers over this growing bump, I feel so grateful for this journey. A journey that has changed everything and it all started on one sweet summer day.
My husband Evan and I have been married a little more than four years. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked us when are we going to get pregnant since tying the knot, our little peanut’s college fund would be pretty comfortable. For those who don’t know me, I’m a planner. I have both paper and electronic planners, which I live by. Naturally, we knew the goals we needed to accomplish, and where we wanted to be in our marriage, before taking the plunge to become parents. This summer drew near and we both felt God tugging on our hearts to take a leap of faith and begin this next chapter of our lives. NEVER in a million year did we think we would become pregnant right away. I mean, we were just kicking back, having fun, and then BOOM!
I remember the first day I started to feel a little different. I had worked at the news station that morning, met with clients afterwards and then held a corporate health presentation. My day, which began at 3:00 in the morning, started to wind down at about 1:30 in the afternoon. My husband and I were headed up north to visit some friends. I remember feeling so nauseous and exhausted. As we packed up the car, I told Evan that I just HAD to have Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets. Now, if you know me, you know I preach eating a weekly cheat meal. However, this wasn’t a planned treat for me. This is something I felt like I needed in order to feel better. Hilarious! I specifically remember thinking, nothing else in this whole world sounds as appealing. Okay, this is WAY out of character for me and I've never said this to my husband before! Evan fulfilled my request and I felt better. This was the first sign that something was off. We returned home that weekend and the changes continued growing. I remember telling my bestie Aisha during one of our many summer walks that I was exhausted. On top of the exhaustion, certain foods just didn’t sound good. Foods that I LOVED eating no longer sounded appealing. Aisha said, “You may want to take a pregnancy test.” Shortly after, I had taken an awesome workout class, which left me feeling like I was going to be physically sick. Maybe it was just the hard workout that left me sick? Regardless, I thought I better take a test, just in case. I mean, what are the chances we would become pregnant on our first try? So, off to the store I went. I returned home, took the test, and within minutes I found that our lives would change forever.
My husband returned home and we had some errands and shopping to complete. I casually walked into the kitchen where he was rummaging around and said, “We will need to stop at Baby Gap during our shopping.” Evan responded, “Okay.” He asked, “For who?” He looked up at me to find a big grin on my face. Evan excitingly said, “Wait, for us?” I shook my head yes! It was that moment that I told him Baby Rankin was on the way! He ran over, gave me a big hug and kiss, and off we went grinning from ear to ear.
Before finding out that we ourselves were expecting, I remember my “plan” for when I would become pregnant. Remember that whole planning thing I’m obsessed with? I would eat super clean, never touch anything bad for my baby and workout just like I had been doing. Boy, was I in for a complete surprise! My perfect plan took a different turn, and while I still work hard to be healthy/fit, this baby has had different plans for the way everything would pan out. This is especially true during the first semester. The exhaustion took over my body, which was a huge adjustment for me, as I am a very energetic and on-the-go type of a person. I also experienced a change in food cravings and nausea, mainly during the evening and at night. Wow, this is no joke! While I know many mamas-to-be have it much worse, it still wasn’t easy. On a positive note, I did appreciate the confirmation that something was happening with each symptom. I guess you could say I considered the first trimester woes a blessing!
So, I let go of what my “perfect pregnancy” looked like and started to listen to my body on a whole new level. I think this is the first selfless act as a parent. As women, we give up our bodies, so we can bring new life into this world. It’s letting go of our bodies and needs, and turning our mindset over to that sweet baby growing ever so quickly in our wombs. It’s BEAUTIFUL! While God and my husband are my first priorities, growing this baby is too! I want nothing more than to do everything I can, to ensure that I’m giving this sweet baby everything needed to thrive.
Food and fitness are still a priority, but in a whole new way. I still aim to move my body and increase my heart rate six days a week. While exhaustion has made it challenging, the goal is to walk or get on the elliptical during each of these days. During our outdoor walks, I have added one pound weights to my wrists. It allows me to burn extra calories and amps up the burn. I also feel like it brings a little extra focus and attention to my arms. I also have continued to incorporate weight training, but in a much different way. I have lightened the weight used and also focus on certain areas of the body a bit more. I put a large focus on areas that I feel started to change right away.
There were a few moments during the first trimester in which I recall thinking, how do women do this? I sit here giggling to myself as I break into my second trimester, thankful that I was still able to accomplish my daily tasks. As a health coach, I am constantly encouraging people to eat healthy. It’s a BIG part of what I focus on, because I truly believe in the power of food, and how it makes us feel. It’s the most powerful drug on this planet. It impacts our physical health, fights disease and illness, balances our mood, and gives us the energy to thrive on a daily basis. As a mom-to-be, I have the power to give this baby what it needs to grow properly. It isn’t simply about me and my body’s needs, it’s also about this little baby growing inside of me. How cool is that? So, I’ve worked really hard to get my daily whole foods requirements in, follow (most) of the pregnancy “food rules”, and drink plenty of water. There are days when I’m fighting to get my vegetables in. There are days when I only want fruit. I’ve added more whole grains and eggs to my diet. I used to stick with mostly egg whites and vegetables for egg based meals. However, there are SO many nutrients in the yolk for expecting moms. I’ve put aside what I want, listened more to what my body needs, and responded to my best ability. I’ve been lucky that my cravings haven’t been weird. I’ve thankfully craved a ton of fruit, whole grain toast and eggs, and ice cream. I try to limit the ice cream and eat organic/dairy free choices. However, that isn’t ALWAYS the case and that’s okay too.
My goal is to embrace every bit of this journey. Yes, there will be scary and challenging moments, but I also know God has blessed me with a wonderful gift. I promise never to take this opportunity for granted. My passion is to continue sharing/educating people on living a healthy lifestyle, but my job is to create a healthy and safe space for our baby to grow. I also want to encourage other mamas in the making to listen to their bodies and accept the ever growing changes. Our bodies were created to do this and are brilliant enough to tell us what it needs. That’s pretty cool if you ask me. As this journey continues, and my body continues to change, I’m reminded that living a healthy lifestyle means letting go of perfection. it reinforces my stance that all we can do is try our very best and give our bodies what it needs to do what God has given us the ability to do!