A Gift That Keeps Giving: Beachbody on Demand


Are you like me - trying to figure out what you want for christmas, but know you don't need STUFF?
At this point in my life, I'm looking for:

- things that enrich my life
- special experiences
- anything that betters me as a person
- items that offers convenience that allows me to LIVE more

Are you nodding your head with me?
How about a recommendation for you..

One of the things we've used the MOST this year - seriously hands down - is a little something called Beachbody on Demand.
If you've never heard of it before, it's basically the Netflix of fitness.
I grab my laptop & pull up the website
/OR/
I pull up the library on my TV using the ROKU

..& just like that, I get to choose ANY Beachbody program + stream it from home or on the go.
1. I don't pay for new workouts monthly, just my annual fee
2. I have a personal trainer TELLING me what to do + someone showing me modifications, but don't pay a special fee for that
3. I don't need fancy equipment or tons of space
4. I have options when I'm in a pinch for time, am in various seasons of life/fitness, if I'm traveling & for Nate too - we actually SHARE the same account. $$ saver!!!
5. I DON'T have to factor in time to commute to a gym class
6. I workout in the privacy of my own space #NoCreepers

It's been a gift that keeps on giving.
I had options throughout pregnancy.
I had options after having a baby.
And I have options now as I ramp up my postpartum journey.

So want something super convenient that you'll USE this year??
A Beachbody on Demand Membership.
Snag a year on it's own for $99.. orrrrr snag it with your month of superfood smoothies for an additional $30.
For serious.
Email me for details.
lindseykollar@yahoo.com

It's a gift that will keep giving for the year to come!



Thoughts & Tips for Natural Birth: Part Two



Hey friends,

Last time, I wrote an introduction post with my personal thoughts on Natural Birth.
If you missed it, feel free to read part one HERE.

Today, I'm sharing with you part two, tips from my own personal experience.

Again..
I do NOT have all the answers.
I'm a first time mom, & therefore, NO expert.

However.
I BELIEVE in our bodies.
Because I know who made them.

I know what worked for me.
And I know what I plan to do the next time.
Because babies are like pringles & it's hard to just have one :)

So here you go..
& feel free to share if you think it'll help a mama to be!

_________________________________________
{in no particular order}

1. Make sure you TRUST your provider..

Not just "feeling comfortable" with them, but truly trusting that they understand & respect your plan & goals.

This might mean seeing SEVERAL people within a practice - and that's A-OK!
This is a special LIFE moment that you will want to feel supported & understood in.

Ask questions.
Trust your gut (as always).
Find your PERSON.

I will tell you from my own experience, that I saw an OB for almost the entire first half of my pregnancy with Raegan. He had helped me at the end of my miscarriage previously, so I definitely had a certain level of trust established with him. However, when I asked him some "interview" type questions regarding his C-section rate, his beliefs/philosophy on natural birth & a few other things - I left KNOWING that I needed to find someone who would without a doubt be my advocate. He wasn't bad by any means, but he wasn't my person.

That's when I started seeing midwives.

I found my favorite, whom I chose to see for nearly all of my remaining appointments.
I made an effort though to meet the other two midwives in the practice, incase one of them happened to be working overnight the day I gave birth.

Low & behold..

My midwife of choice was coming off her overnight shift from the previous evening the day my water broke at my appointment with her (THAT sure was an exciting & eventful day - start reading my birth story HERE).

Another midwife who I fortunately had already met & shared my birth plan with checked on me & "caught" Raegan.

I would have loved to see my primary provider, BUT everything ended up being totally fine - because I was familiar with her, she knew where I stood AND I had... a birth plan!

That brings me to #2..

2. Have a birth plan!!

Does that sound daunting to write out?
Good news!
It's not at all!

I actually used a template I found online {check it out HERE}.
It helped me stay on track & keep things very streamlined + organized.

Here's the deal.

You might catch some kick back if you mention this plan to others.
I know I sure did when I posted about mine on social media.
I didn't even share the details, because it's not really anyone's business.
Just the mention of it seemed to rouse opinions, for whatever reason.

I think some people have a hard time with the concept of planning something like birth.
But why the heck WOULDN'T you?
I mean gosh, we plan our meals & daily schedule.
Yeah, things change & we adjust.
Why don't we view birth the same way?

I digress..
Here's what people need to understand.

A birth plan doesn't just have your ideal "scenario A," documented.
It also doesn't mean you're naive or living in a dream world.
Although, YES, focus on what you hope for!

A birth plan means you have focused goals & personal wishes.
Which is AWESOME sauce.

A birth plan DOES also include "scenarios B & C."
For things that COULD arise - like an emergency C section, interventions, if the baby has any major issues, complications during afterbirth & so on.

Make multiple copies of your birth plan & be sure your partner {or doula/birth coach} is very familiar with it - they will more than likely have to be your voice at some point during the process while you're LAZER focused on the "task" at hand or totally engulfed in that precious new arrival.

If this seems like overkill, I promise you that it's not.

Finally, share one of those five copies upon your arrival with the staff members!
You can even have it sitting out in your room.

Unfortunately, some of the hospital staff may be annoyed as well with your birth plan or how prepared/knowledgable you are for your experience. I'm not sure exactly WHY this is the case, but it really DOES happen.

No fear. There's always something you can DO.

We buttered our nursing team up a bit - a team that was actually WONDERFUL!

I planned a goodie bag of items a couple of weeks before my due date. I got everything ready & the things I couldn't have sitting out, went on my "go list" of things to grab before we left the hospital.

{Yes, I was MEGA organized. I'll post another time about how I prepped!}

I brought some superfood packets they could shake up in water for a quick meal.
I had healthy homemade muffins in the freezer that Nate grabbed on our way out the door.
We came locked & loaded with two big bags of dove chocolates.
& we had about 6 starbucks gift cards sitting in our room to give to our nurses - we had two per day during our stay.

Maybe it's a little shameless bribery.
Or maybe it's a token of true appreciation.
Actually, it's both.

Whatever it is..
It works!

But girl.
The moral of this LONGGGGG tip is:

Have a birth plan.

No explanation needed for the naysayers.
This is YOUR experience.

Be prepared - for the best & "worst" case scenarios.
The birth of your baby is kindddddddd of a big deal.

3. Get familiar with your body & the process.

Being familiar with the physiological part of birth & knowing exactly what is going to happen or has to happen for that baby to come out, means fewer surprises {and therefore, fewer reasons to be anxious} during the process.

Knowledge is power.
And if you do your due diligence, you will know the mountain ahead of you.
And you will be prepared to conquer it.

My GOSH was this helpful..

I understood what my body was doing in the weeks leading up to giving birth - my hips loosening, seeing my mucous plug, etc.

Nate & I understood the stages of labor.
I actually had him read some with me & he took his own notes so he knew what to expect + how to help me (he was my birthing coach, BTW).

We both FULLY understood the birth process & what needed to happen afterwards.

Gal, you have MONTHS to prepare for that baby coming.
Don't just let the time pass & twiddle your thumbs at the end.
Empower yourself with knowledge.
I PROMISE you'll be so glad you did!!

4. Exude true CONFIDENCE.

You better be confident..

In the woman you are.
In the important role you play.
In the task you are fully equipped to accomplish.

CONSTANTLY remind yourself..

Your body was created to do this.
It is SO natural - don't for a second doubt your abilities.

Women have been giving birth since the beginning of time.
Before hospitals. Before modern prenatal care. Before lamaze classes.
Women were giving birth. Like bosses.
You're in great company.

God fearfully & wonderfully made you to be a child-bearing machine.

Take some time to read birth stories to get yourself excited!!

I personally LOVED that the first 100+ pages of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth was full of natural birth stories.
Not just picture-perfect stories, but REAL LIFE stories where midwives helped support mommas & GUIDE babies into the world.

5. Stay active!!

Most women don't realize that 30 minutes of daily activity is actually RECOMMENDED for expectant mothers!!

This activity can range anywhere from taking a walk to doing crossfit every day.

Let me explain this a bit.

What you did BEFORE you got pregnant - you can maintain, unless your provider recommends otherwise.

So.

If you were lightly or rarely active before, then how about 30 minutes of walking 5x a week.
If you were taking gym classes regularly, several days a week - don't stop.
If you were religiously crushing weights or cross fit - go for it, girl.

The heart rate rule that I'm sure you've all heard/read at one time or another is mostly out the window nowadays. Just make sure you BREATHE freely, can talk while you're exercise (usually a good indicator that your body isn't too stressed) & stay VERY hydrated. If you feel like you need to rest - rest. Be intuitive!

Once you're into your second & third trimesters, you will likely need to begin modifying various movements to be sure you are staying balanced & not overworking your core.

Questions?

Google it!
A WEALTH of information & resources are available!

& always feel free to chat with your physician.
But DON'T be scared to stay active.

I was finishing a bootcamp style program when we FIRST conceived Raegan.
Then, I did a kickboxing program the whole rest of my first trimester.
I'm not sure if anyone would ACTUALLY recommend that, BUT I felt very comfortable because I was purposefully VERY active before getting pregnancy.

(EQUALLY as important, but a whole other post..

Take those prenatal vitamins & eat healthy, ladies.
Pregnancy is NOT an excuse to indulge constantly.
There seems to be confusion in the extra calories needed.
You aren't eating for two humans, you really only need a few hundred extra daily calories!
And those extra calories don't need to be from cheeseburgers on the daily.

Now, if you're having terrible morning sickness & can only eat baked potatoes for a few weeks - then do what you gotta do to get something in your belly, gal. Otherwise, don't you dare just let it all go. You deserve better.. and so does that sweet baby inside of you. Go for 80/20 - have your whacky treats/cravings here & there, but try and stay disciplined 6 days a week! If you need tips, email lindseykollar@yahoo.com)

6. Begin stretching diligently.
(like a month before your due date at least)

I had a list of a few stretches I did every night, the month leading up to my due date, before bed & right before I practiced my breathing. Nate actually stretched WITH me to ensure that I did it. I know, He's the BEST.

These stretches helped certain things looses up & made me more flexible for birth!

Do them.

7. Practice breathing.

For reals.
Like this might be in the top two tips.

Set an alarm each night to practice your breathing techniques.
Then use a timer on your phone, close your eyes & focus.

Anddddd if your spouse is your partner/coach, they need to practice with you!

I used these techniques the ENTIRE time I was in labor!!

My midwife & nurse actually told Nate during the couple of hours before birth, that I had some of the most control they had ever seen.

Methodic breathing made ALL the difference, helping me working WITH my body.

8. Visualize your birth.

Calm down.
Although a foreign concept to most, this isn't weird at all.

Some of the most SUCCESSFUL people in the world make visualization & affirmations a part of their daily routine.

Because what you TRULY believe/focus on/think about does often impact your reality.

Just close you eyes & try for a moment.
Picture your labor.
Picture the birth of your precious baby.

{my momma hormones are making me almost cry just thinking about this again}

Here was a short example of mine:

I see a strong woman embracing labor - breathing WITH each contraction - opening & stretching freely as the baby moves down - pushing intuitively - staying focused & confident. Bringing a HEALTHY & aware baby into the world.
Being empowered & elated.
Accomplishing the greatest task of my life.

9. Have a coach.

Whether it be your significant other or a hired doula - get yourself a coach!

A coach is "simply" an individual PREPARED & knowledgable, who will support you & be your advocate.

You better trust them too, just as much as your provider.
Because they are going to go through more of your labor with you than your OB or midwife!

When considering your significant other as a coach or interviewing doulas, remember what you will want & need..

Someone who will stick with you when it's hard - who will remain focused & calm - who will remind you of the prize ahead - who will empower you!

Shout out to my husband, Nate, who was ALL of these things and more.
We planned for MONTHS to have a doula.
But as we entered the third trimester, we discussed doing it just the two of us.
We prepared together & Nate took his role very seriously.
He was AMAZING & I wouldn't have wanted it any other way!!
Love you, sweetie.

I'm going to beat a dead horse here.
Make sure your designated coach is aware of your birth plan & personal goals!
If you're saying "I know, I know." Good!

If you choose your significant to be your coach, be sure they do some reading/research.
Dog ear pages as you read, for them to check out later!

It's important for them to have a grasp on what's going on, rather than just trusting the information you may have shared.

To prepare for our experience, Nate read bits about what was going to happen to my body + the stages of labor (so he knew what to expect & what to tell me was coming up next) from each of the books I read myself.

Another way we were ready that's worth mentioning..

At the suggestion of our wonderful midwife, we had a code word that we created the day my water broke for the CHANCE that I changed my mind about medication or anything else during birth & wanted to deviate from my birth plan.

Nate & my midwife knew I could ONLY use that word when I was not in the middle of a contraction - so I wouldn't be compromising my goals for temporal discomfort or fatigue.

We didn't choose this word actually until AFTER my water broke, because we both knew the chances of using it were slim since we were both so determined.

BUT, we still had one, since you just never know & we were committed to being prepared!

10. Have liquids {& food} available.

During stage two, since I took the "express route" & basically skipped stage one, of labor at home, I ate a little watermelon for energy & a little sugar.

During stage three, the hardest part, I didn't want food at all.
So I drank a decent amount of water for hydration & apple juice for energy & sugar!

Shout out to my mom who made all of my beverage runs. Love you, momma!

My midwife had actually recommended clean snacks like Larabars & plain fruit or popsicles, which we had packed just in case.

Trust me - you need your strength & energy.
And if you're going natural, being able to eat & drink is a "perk" you'll want to take advantage of!

11. Labor in the position that's most comfortable.

For me, that was on my hands and knees on the floor or bed almost the entire time!!

I actually think this, combined with methodical breathing through contractions, quickened my progress & shortened labor!

For reference..
My water broke around 9:30am.
My intense labor began around 4 or 5pm.
We left for the hospital at 8:45pm.
I gave birth to my sweet Reagan at 1:51am the next morning.

I took a warm bath at the hospital for a little while (this is what I thought I'd most prefer), but it was really really intense & made me progress even more quickly than I was already.
So I got out & got back on my hands & knees. 

Everyone is different!
Be open minded.
Listen to your body. 🙂 

12. Rest.

I know that probably sounds CRAZY.
But I promise..

Rest BEFORE - in the weeks leading up to your due date.
{I know you're probably mega pregnant reading this & thinking does she REMEMBER what it was like trying to sleep being this pregnant?! Ha, yes I do. Try harder.}


And rest, if you can, during early labor to save your energy for when things get a bit "intense."

After my water broke, and after I did 45 minutes weight lifting, Nate & I went to lunch.
Boy was that fun trying not to leave puddles.. HA

Then, with a partial full belly of food, we came home & took a 30 minute nap together before my contractions (which were previously very regular braxton hicks - or so I thought) really started.

I KNOW that rest was important!

13. Control what you LISTEN to.

People.
Yikes.

People LOVE to talk about their experience.
Which is fine.
Except for when it's not.

And when you're a soon to be momma, preparing for birth.
You do NOT need to hear horror stories.

There's a time to openly share those.
But that intense season of prep right before your due date is not the time.

But people often don't have a filter.
So YOU have to filter things & control what you listen to.

Bless their hearts.
They might mean well.
But this is NOT helpful.

Take it from me - and LOTS of other women who are more versed in this field - it is WISE to begin to filter what you take in.

Because what you FOCUS on E X P A N D S.

So if someone starts to share a negative experience with you, consider saying something like "I'd love to hear more about your story sometime, but right now I'm really staying positive and trying to focus on my ideal experience for a positive mindset."

There ain't NOTHIN' wrong with that, gal.
Because mindset really does matter.

You're educated on what COULD happen.
You have a birth plan for A, B & C.

But you need to focus & visualize plan A..
Staying positive, optimistic, empowered, confident + focused!

14. Scripture!

I encourage you to have several scripture verses picked out that you can refer back to during pregnancy & then later during labor + delivery.

I personally kept {& still do keep} several of my favorites on index cards, taped to the side of my nightstand.

Verses about God's faithfulness, not being anxious or fearful & His peace.

Here are just a few of mine that you're willing to look up & use.

Philippians 4:6
Colossians 1:16,17
Psalms 29:11
Isaiah 26:3
Joshua 1:9

Nate wrote out some of BOTH our favorites on index cards that he kept with his
notes for labor.

He read a few of these to me between the final part of delivery, while I was pushing.

You could even make a play list full of praise music to keep on softly in the background!

There's nothing like being able to draw strength during such an intense time from truths & promises directly from the One who created you.

Talk about powerful!

_________________________________________

PHEW.

Is anyone still reading this?

I hope that was helpful in some way.

I could have kept typing, but I had to stop myself when I realized that my tips were growing from 5.. to 12.. & then 14.

If you want to chat more, feel free to find me on Facebook HERE & reach out!

Lastly!!

Many of you have asked what I read to prepare for our natural birth.

Books:

I LOVED "Hypnobirthing: the Monogan Method" (I didn't follow visualization process very much, BUT the breathing techniques I did to a T and there was SUCH great info about the process in that book).

Also, "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth," which I mentioned above, was also WONDERFUL!!
It had AWESOME, empowering stories for the first 100 pages that gave me loads of confidence in my body, followed by lots of good info afterwards!


As I read, I bookmarked certain chapters for my husband Nate to read.

If you reach out, I'm happy to share with you what those were.
Essentially, it was any of the chapters on what he could do to help me
& what we could both expect out of my body during the process.

Okay.
That's REALLY all for now.


If I think of several more things, maybe there will be a part three to this series!


HA


But listen, ladies..


DON'T you DARE doubt yourself or your body.
You are so incredibly capable!!!! ❤


I hope you have a wonderful & incredible birth experience.
Please feel free to share it with me.

Blessings!