Lottie’s IVF Journey
Second Time Around…
Personal trainer Lottie is delighted to be pregnant with her second IVF baby. She shares some of the emotional ups and downs as well as her IVF pregnancy fitness regime.
Second time around you’re supposed to be more prepared, confident that you know what’s coming and can handle it… and to some extent its true. But actually all the emotions I thought had healed had simply been forgotten, it felt doubly emotional to be back on my second IVF journey.
I was back in the room where I had spent so many appointments silently sobbing with frustration, yearning and wondering whether I would ever get to hold my own baby in my arms. And I felt a sense of guilt that I didn’t deserve to be back here, I had one beautiful child why did I think I should be allowed anymore? I was embarking on all the potential IVF heartache all over again, only this time we were paying for the privilege.
Lockdown had created that vacuum of space and time to get life admin in order and really talk with my husband and decide what an ideal future together looked like. We are so happy as we are, the two of us with Scarlett our precious little girl, and life is consumed with all the whirlwind joys of a three year old. But would we look back and think, what if? We spent hours debating the pros and cons before deciding to take the plunge.
Then the preloaded needles and tablets came through the post and it was back to being a daily pin cushion of burning pain, carefully concealed from Scarlett.
I didn’t sleep a wink the night before the transfer, but this time there were Covid-19 restrictions and a toddler to manage. I needed anaesthetic for the transfer due to a cervix issue, and with no childcare we decided to make the possible conception of my new baby a big day out for the family. My husband drove us all to the IVF clinic but I headed in alone, leaving him and Scarlett outside. The masked nurses went to great lengths to reassure me but all I wanted was my husband to hold my hand and tell me it was going to be ok. I remember the anaesthetic bubbling into my veins and thinking it’s not working …. and then nothing until I woke up. I dressed as quickly as possible, took the next tablet and pessary and headed out to spend the rest of the day at ‘Birdland’ chasing dinosaurs…..socially distanced of course!
The two week wait was the worst. I cried every other day, alternating between feeling pregnant and then so empty inside. I was desperate to know and cheated and did the pregnancy test earlier which didn’t help at all because even though it was positive, I still couldn’t be sure. Finally the day came. We did the test at midnight… and the result was still two lines! I cried tears of utter relief and joy.
The First Trimester
Every pregnancy is different, all unique in their quirks and this time round I realised how lucky I’d been to escape the dreaded morning sickness with my first pregnancy. Literally all day, every day I would feel that lurch in my tummy, the sensation of rolling around on a boat and bizarrely the one thing that I didn’t feel like doing, made me feel SO much better. That one thing, of course is EXERCISE.
When I could think of nothing better than crawling back under the covers and ignoring the sun blazing through the curtains, my job as a PT and fitness trainer meant I had no choice other than to get up and get going.
It was great that fitness and movement are a non-negotiable part of my everyday life. Within ten minutes of music pumping and body bouncing I felt invincible, the happy endorphins would rocket around my body and my frazzled pregnant body actually gained energy as I became in awe of how strong it really is – and I must say this was helped by some seriously beautiful and supportive FittaMamma kit.
As for being a second round IVF mother and worrying about pregnancy exercise, I just wasn’t. Movement is as natural a state for the human body as breathing, it makes us feel alive, lifts our spirits, strengthens our body and is actually proven to benefit baby, and an IVF baby is no different.
I had bleeding about 8 weeks into the pregnancy and panicked, berating myself for maybe lifting a too heavy weight or pushing too hard, but it was a shock as I knew my pregnancy fitness routine is always within my limits. Again my knowledge as a PT meant I knew myself inside out, but even so, I phoned the nurse in pieces thinking I’d caused this problem. Instantly I was reassured as she said if you haven’t run an iron man or flipped over 10 cars trust me it’s not you and sometimes, just sometimes these things aren’t meant to be, but better to find out now than further down the line. She made me rationalise my emotions and just as soon as the bleeding had come so it went.
Did I dramatically change my pregnancy exercise regime and lie down for a month? Certainly not! I trusted my body and trusted my baby, thinking over and over ‘if we are meant to be you and I will become we’. I am wholly confident that staying active during pregnancy is beneficial.
Obviously if you haven’t ever exercised before now is not the time to go and run a marathon but why not use pregnancy as the perfect excuse to explore your new and amazing body, to get fitter and stronger for a powerful pregnancy, prepare for birth and be ready for your new baby. Pregnancy fitness can be as simple as going for a gorgeous power walk listening to an uplifting podcast, it can be Yoga, Pilates and it can also be HIIT, Strength Conditioning, Dancing and Cardio. I guess what I’m trying to say is move for the sake of moving and feeling good, don’t feel guilty, feel powerful, because mammas you are absolute warriors bringing life into a world, especially a world like right now.
I salute you all, I respect every one of your individual pregnant journeys, lets grow together.
Lottie is hosting free live workouts on Instagram every Sunday throughout Lockdown – Click here to get involved!
A Postnatal Catch Up With Ultra-Runner Sophie
Sophie Carter inspired us during her twin pregnancy with her incredible commitment to running, cutting down her ultra runs to regular jogs of around 12 miles ‘to provide some time for myself and my babies’.We caught up with Sophie to chat about her final trimester, the birth of her twins and to find out how she’s been coping since their arrival.
At 36 weeks Sophie was still lacing up her trainers, pulling on her FittaMamma gear and heading out for a run, saying cheerily, ‘I was only managing five or six miles and I did have to stop more frequently – but nothing hurt or felt uncomfortable so I simply carried on running.
She continued, ‘Having previously experienced two miscarriages I was careful to ensure that nothing jeopardised my pregnancy, listening to my body and only doing what felt right for me and my babies. With two babies there was more pressure on my bladder but I believe running and working my muscles kept my core and pelvic floor strong. I really felt good!
I kept an open mind about how long I’d keep going but towards the 37th week I started having contractions and at that point I thought I’d better stop.’
Baby Jaxon, was delivered naturally, a relatively easy birth with not so much as a tear. Baby Isla unfortunately needed more help and Sophie was rushed to theatre for an emergency C-section, even more distressing with the COVID-19 restrictions on birthing partners being there to support.
Sophie lost a lot of blood and Isla spent several days in intensive care. ‘It was three days before I could hold Isla,’ said Sophie. ‘I was up and walking on the day of the C-section and expressing milk for her but I wasn’t able to take her in my arms until the hospital was sure she was stable. Luckily, she is really strong and despite Isla’s difficult start in life she pulled round quickly and we were all back at home within a week. The midwives said it was a good job I was so fit and healthy as the outcome might not have been so positive. Both babies were a good birth weight (Jaxon was 5lb 10ozs and Isla a tiny bit smaller at 5lb 6ozs) and the medics agreed that my regular exercise throughout pregnancy had had a positive benefit on them, improving the blood flow through the placenta to nourish them.’
So how is Sophie managing life with two older children and newborn twins?
Unsurprisingly, Sophie’s postnatal journey is progressing exceptionally well. When we spoke, just five weeks after their birth, Sophie had already resumed her role as a child-minder, saying ‘Their parents rely on me and provided I’m organised with the routines of changing, feeding and sleeping it’s really not a problem!’
She has also resumed teaching her outdoor circuit classes, with a small group of mums who have regularly exercised together. With the twins asleep in their buggy Sophie demonstrates the moves as much as possible, modifying where necessary but enjoying the chance to get out, exercise and see everyone again.
And ….Sophie has already started running, tucking the twins up in a double running buggy and heading out for short postnatal runs of just five or six miles. Her twin bump split her tummy muscles and weakened her core but despite the pressure of two babies she has not had any postnatal issues with her pelvic floor saying ‘I honestly feel that running during my pregnancy kept it strong – it feels fine!’
Sophie continued, ‘Running is how I deal with things, it helps me to cope with the sleepless nights and endless feeding. Running is my therapy, it makes me feel better mentally and keeps me feeling like ‘me’. I stay completely within my levels of capability and truly believe it makes me a better mother. I’m just so grateful that everything is ok and I’m able to run again.’
Her FittaMamma maternity wear is still in regular use as postnatal running gear, holding and supporting her mummy tummy whilst it knits back together. She has also found it comfortable for breast feeding, commenting that it’s easy to pull the bra bit up to feed during or after a run.
Congratulations to Sophie and her family and thanks for looking so good in FittaMamma gear.
Sophie Carter Personal Trainer
Is Fish Good For Pregnant Women?
Is fish good for pregnant women?
Absolutely! We look at what you should know about including fish in your pregnancy diet and what fish to avoid when pregnant.
First and foremost, fish has long been associated with many health benefits, whether you’re pregnant or not. The NHS recommends that a healthy, balanced diet should include at least two portions of fish every week …so why should pregnant women include fish in their diet and what do you need to be aware of?
- Oil- rich fish is an excellent source of DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) an omega-3 fatty acid which is essential for your baby’s brain development during pregnancy and early childhood. DHA also provides positive benefits for your baby’s heart health and vision. Think sardines, mackerel, trout and salmon.
- White fish such as haddock, cod, plaice, sole, flounders or pollack are rich in lean protein and other nutrients and low in fat, making them a healthy alternative to red meats.
- Fish is good for healthy bone development. Nutrients present in fish, such as protein, calcium and Vitamin D are all critical in helping your baby to develop strong, healthy bones.
- Some fish can contain mercury, which could have a detrimental effect on your baby’s nervous system. Avoid shark, marlin and swordfish and limit your intake of tuna – although the NHS suggests that the health benefits of tuna outweigh the risk and recommends limiting your intake to ‘no more than 4 cans a week’.
- Shellfish , such as prawns, crab, squid and mussels also supply a variety of nutrients and fatty acids but make sure any shellfish are thoroughly cooked to reduce your risk of food poisoning. If in doubt, don’t eat it! Mussels that are open before you cook them or closed after they’ve been cooked are a definite ‘no no’. Avoid oysters or fresh sushi!
- Don’t overlook the benefits of canned fish and don’t worry about fishing out the bones (no pun intended!). Eating the bones of canned fish, such as sardines, tinned salmon and tinned pilchards is a useful source of calcium, good for developing strong bones and teeth. Try mixing tinned fish thoroughly with mashed potatoes and a pinch of cayenne pepper or herbs to make delicious fish cakes. Form them into flat patties, roll in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and cook them on a lightly oiled baking tray in the oven
- Steamed, baked or grilled fish is a healthier option than fried fish. Fried fish, especially if it’s cooked in batter will have a much higher fat content. Whilst it’s a delicious occasional treat, fish and chips doesn’t really tick the ‘healthy eating’ box.
- Don’t stop eating fish once your baby is born! Fish is good for breast-feeding mums too, continuing to maintain and increase the levels of essential omega-3 in breast milk
- Fish is fine to feed to babies too. Once you start weaning introducing fish to your baby’s diet will help to maintain levels of essential omega-3 along with other nutrients such as iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium. Ensure the fish is thoroughly cooked and all bones removed before mashing it up with cooked vegetables to make a tasty puree.
Bond Girl Rachel Prepares For New Role As A MumRachel Grant is a British, Philippine-born actress, TV host, organization and packing expert (her packing videos have attracted over 100 million views!) travel writer, award-winning digital producer and social entrepreneur. Notable for her role as Peaceful in the James Bond film Die Another Day she has worked as a body double for Angelina Jolie.
Rachel is a martial arts expert – she played the female master in BBC’s Masters of Combat and studied Filipino martial arts in Los Angeles, leading to various well-acknowledged film roles. ‘My mother encouraged me to do ballet and I really appreciate the way the choreography and movements of ballet and martial arts work so well together, especially in movies.’
Currently Rachel is excited to be pregnant with her first baby, looking forward to a new role as a mother. ‘I love the image of a pregnant woman as a warrior,’ she said, ‘Pregnancy makes me feel really powerful.’
At the age of 44, Rachel is older than average for a first time mum and has also been facing the challenge of pregnancy during the pandemic.
Like many newly pregnant women, Rachel was initially bombarded with well meaning advice about taking it easy. ‘Working out and staying active is important to me and I spent time researching whether or not exercising during my pregnancy was the right thing to do. I quickly realised that women who exercise during pregnancy do so much better, with less complications and a better delivery. My father is a doctor and he has really encouraged my decision to stay active.’
Rachel is breezing through her pregnancy with no negative symptoms at all. ‘I haven’t even suffered from pregnancy nausea,’ she said, ‘and the more I’ve exercised the better I’ve felt.’
Home pregnancy workouts
The pandemic took gyms and exercise classes off the agenda but Rachel has been working out at home in her basement gym. ‘I invested in extra equipment, including a birthing ball, a rowing machine and an elliptical machine. I love rowing and wanted to see if I could simply change my style with more open legs to accommodate my baby bump as I rowed – at the moment it’s still going well!
Rachel continued, ‘It’s important for me to continue my martial arts and I still do a lot of training with swords and sticks which puts a strong focus on my arms, combined with a lot of stretching Everything I do is non-combat so it’s perfectly safe – and I love that my arms are looking fantastic at the moment!’
‘I really feel that the baby enjoys it when I exercise. There is a strong sense of communication with my unborn child which I think has been heightened by the pandemic.’
Understandably, for many pregnant women the pandemic has caused added anxiety but Rachel’s approach is overwhelmingly positive. ‘I actually think the timing is perfect,’ she enthused. ‘My pregnancy has been a real highlight, with something wonderful to look forward to. I love what is happening to my body and without the distractions of work and socialising I can really focus on me and my baby. I am eating really healthy food, exercising regularly and getting outside whenever I can. My husband is wholly supportive of this lifestyle and whilst I’m gaining weight he’s lost two stone!’
Rachel recently added goat yoga to her pregnancy fitness agenda. ‘Initially I thought I wouldn’t be allowed to do it when I was pregnant – but I discovered that Khloe Kardashian did it when she was pregnant so decided to give it a go!’ Goat yoga? ‘The animals were really healthy and the class was so much fun, with a lovely little massage on your back when the goats jump up on you! Goat yoga can be therapeutic, especially for people with stress and anxiety or who struggle with exercise as there is so much laughter during the session.’
We are delighted to see Rachel looking so well, healthy and stylish in her FittaMamma activewear. ‘It’s very comfortable and I love the way it feels so nice and snug,’ she said. ‘it really supports your belly, stopping the bounce so you can focus on what you’re doing without feeling uncomfortable. It looks really nice too, I absolutely love the quality!’
With many thanks to Rachel for looking amazing in FittaMamma maternity fitnesswear and for sharing her wonderful images – especially with the goats!
Fittamamma Magazine > Issue 30