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Home Birth Story – Jacson Abel

Jacson Abel 8 lbs 7 oz 21in

Jacson Abel 8 lbs 7 oz 21in

Today, October 7th, Baby Jacson turns one month old. And I figure, I should recount my home birth, before I forget it all. (Yeah right, how could I forget that?). I want to share my experience with home birth because a. There are a lot of misconceptions about home birth that I didn’t even know myself until I began the process 9 months ago. And b. I think a lot of people have a general interest or at least intrigue surrounding the topic. With all that in mind, this is just my experience. I am in no way saying it is the right choice for everyone, and I am also not a medical professional. Just a girl who had a baby in her bedroom…

First off, I had 9 months of very thorough prenatal care. My midwife came to my home for each appointment. She did all the blood tests, glucose tests, etc that an OB does in a doctors office. I had a 20 week ultrasound with options to do more. In fact I had lots of options. Every test was presented to me with such detail that I actually felt I had a choice and the information to make an informed decision. In the last couple months, we made lots of plans with the midwife. Plans for emergency transport if needed, plans for what we would do if I went post term, plans for delivery, getting the house ready, collecting supplies… We were prepared! In fact I felt much more prepared for this birth than for either of my daughters’ births in the hospital. It was also fun picking out the supplies. I ordered a fancy birthing gown, picked out cute receiving blankets and beanies for baby. I bought new sheets for my bed and towels and feminine care products for myself post delivery as well. I prepared the room (a couple weeks too early as it turned out). I made my bed for delivery with a set of new sheets on bottom, then a big plastic mattress bag over top, and lastly a set of sheets that I didn’t mind getting messy and throwing out after labor. We ended up sleeping on that plastic bag for awhile. Hearing the crinkle of plastic every night was entertaining. Ironically, I didn’t even have the baby on the bed. Sheets saved!

Now, let me go back a couple weeks before Jacson was actually born. My due date was August 30th and I was 90% convinced that baby would arrive at least a week early. My family took a little weekend vacation to Lake Chelan when I was 37 weeks pregnant, and the day we got home, I started to really feel like labor would be eminent. Some of my new symptoms included swelling, some pinkish mucus discharge, and a baby that had dropped so low in my pelvis that I had to walk waddle with my legs apart. Sadly these symptoms did not progress into the start of labor. Right around when I hit 38-39 weeks of pregnancy, I started having contractions. Not braxton hicks contractions, but something much more comparable to labor contractions. I would time them and they would be consistent for several hours. Only they wouldn’t change or progress. This is apparently called false labor – something I can assure you I did not believe existed. I mean, how could someone not know if they are actually in labor?! Apparently me. I had 2 false alarms where I actually called my midwife to warn her my labor was starting and then fell asleep to wake up in the morning with no baby. This false labor thing went on for WEEKS!!! Like 3 weeks to be exact. It was exhausting physically but way more exhausting mentally. By then end I can honestly say I thought my baby was going to live inside forever and that I would never go into real labor. The other thing that happened somewhere between 38-40 weeks was I thought my water broke. It sounds kinda crazy to once again, NOT KNOW for sure if something like this actually happened. But, what I experienced, was a trickle of water. And no, I did not pee myself. Yet, my midwife checked my amniotic fluid levels and ruled out the possibility of my membranes being broken. Confusing. Yes. VERY! blah blah blah… no one trust my predictions on the start of labor as I clearly couldn’t figure it out. Once I hit my due date on August 30th, I had basically given up all hope of ever birthing my baby. I went from totally prepared for my home birth to less and less prepared as the days went on. My excitement and anticipation to have my baby turned once again to fear and dread. The more time I had to mull over the situation and possible outcomes of having a home birth and NO EPIDURAL, the more scared I became!! I had epidurals with both of my other births, but believed I could handle all the pain of child birth because I had labored all the way through transition without an epidural with my first baby.

40 weeks slowly became 41 weeks, while I fought phone calls and questions of, “When are you going to have this baby?!?!” and the worst of all, “When are you going to be induced..?”

How about, “I have no clue.” “Stop asking me…” and “Never.”  “I am NOT GOING TO BE INDUCED!!!!” The questions about induction were the most frustrating because I felt like I was fighting against our Americanized, cultural belief that a baby must be induced if a woman goes over the 40 weeks gestation. When in fact, avoiding induction was my biggest goal and one of the reasons I chose a home birth. I naively opted for an induction with my second pregnancy when I was 40 weeks pregnant. Hadley was induced at 40 weeks and 4 days and had a shoulder distotia, meaning she got stuck on her way out. It is my opinion that she got stuck because she wasn’t ready to come out and wasn’t in the right position. I have regretted being induced ever since for that reason and more.

In the early evening on September 6th, we were on our way to an evening church service. I started having contractions in the car. Real contractions or false labor..? I was still unsure. I began timing the uncomfortable contractions during the sermon and concluded this must be the real thing. Since I had several false alarms before, I was still hesitant to declare “I am in labor” to our friends and family. Instead I casually told my mother in law that I was having contractions and we would keep her in the loop. On our way home we called my parents to come and pick up our girls which my husband thought was a bad idea. “But what if you don’t actually have a baby tonight?!” he said. He too didn’t believe that I could tell the difference between real labor and false labor. It actually took him up until about 30 minutes before baby arrived to believe that I was indeed in LABOR! HELLOWW!!

We were home around 8:00 pm and spent an hour or so cleaning up the house with the help of my parents. They left a little after 9:00 pm and I decided to give my midwife a call. “Hi, it’s Lexie. So, I think I really am in labor. I have been having contractions since 5:00pm, every 3-5 minutes and they are getting a little stronger. I am not sure when you want to come…. but I think this is the real thing..?…!”

My midwives arrived about an hour later at 10:00pm and I was still walking around, talking through contractions and feeling like I could totally handle this. They got all set up with their equipment in my bedroom, as I planned to deliver on my bed. And then she checked my heart rate and baby’s through some contractions. They quickly deduced that my contractions were “coupling”, meaning I would have a couple contractions back to back and then a longer rest between the next couple. She said this was common with babies that are posterior. We had assumed that Jacson may have been posterior based on the uterine palpitations in my last couple prenatal appointments. My first daughter Tylyn was posterior, but we didn’t know it until she was delivered and the doctor declared, “She is sunny side up!” Babies that are born this way, head up, are a little harder to deliver and it has been described as more painful than if they are face down.

A little while later my midwife decided to check my cervix and found I was only dilated to 4cm. At this point it was 11:30pm and my husband texted his mom to let her know, “Lexie is only dilated to 4cm. This could be awhile. I will let you know when things progress.” He was wrong.

I decided to try rolling around on my birthing ball and my body decided to kick into action right when I got down onto the floor. My contractions quadrupled in pain almost instantly. And Tyson decided he needed a bathroom break. I could tell that things were changing and told him it better be quick! Right after he left to the bathroom I started throwing up through contractions.

This is the exact scenario that led to my epidural with Tylyn. I had hit transition quickly after being checked at 3cm. But this was my first baby and I trusted my doctor and nurse when they said it would be about 1 cm per hour before she was born. I thought I would be on the floor puking for 7 more hours and would surely die. Little did I know I was actually fully dilated, and they did not check me a second time before administering the epidural. Surely had I not had the epidural I would have been ready to push and would have been holding my first child in my hands. Instead, both Tylyn and my heart rates plummeted and they prepped me for a C-section. Luckily we stabilized and I was able to deliver vaginally, and relatively pain free.

Once active labor with Jacson began, it was like a flashback to when I hit transition during my labor with Tylyn. I was on all 4’s mooing and groaning like a cow and needing Tyson to press on my low back with all of his body weight to take off some of the pressure and make it a tiny bit more bearable. One midwife asked if I wanted to move back onto my bed, but I felt paralyzed and couldn’t possibly move an inch. They did managed to tuck a pillow under my knees. Then suddenly I felt the urge to push. (internal thoughts below in italics)

Still on my knees, and PUSH!!! “AAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!!” That was terrible. I can’t do that again. I am going to die. 

PUSH 2!!!!”AAAAAAAGGGGGRRRHHHH!!!!!!!!!” My water exploded all over the place (don’t worry. there was a plastic tarp on the floor). That was terrible. But I feel a little relieved. Please don’t make me push again.

PPUUUSSSSHHHHHH 3!!!!!!!!!!!!! His head is out. (Screaming Bloody Murder) I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I am crazy. Why am I doing this? What am I thinking. I am going to die. I am going to die. I am going to die. and my poor neighbor… 

PPPPUUUUUSSSSHHHHH 4!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Screaming Bloody Murder) What happened? Is it over? Is he out??? He’s not out??? Is he Stuck? What’s going on…? I can’t do this again. I need to get him OUT!!!!!

PPPPPUUUUUUUSSSSSSHHHHH 5!!!!!!! (Screaming more Bloody Murder) He is out! Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I just did that. Oh my gosh. I’m alive. Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!!

Jacson Abel was born at 12:47 am on September 7th, 2015.

They handed Jacson through my legs to me. And we very slowly and carefully stood up and moved to the bed to lay down. He laid on my chest and we fell in love. But that wasn’t the end.

I had to deliver the placenta. And this was very unpleasant. In the hospital I never even noticed the placenta coming out. I think the difference is 2 fold. 1. I had epidurals in the hospital and they just pulled it out. 2. They cut the cord right after the baby was born.

But not this time. Jacson laid on my chest with his cord attached to the placenta inside my body for a LONG time. I’m not sure how long. But I would guess at least 30 minutes of painful contractions while the umbilical cord continued to pulse and send nutrients to the baby in my arms. It was very hard to focus on my sweet, adorable little baby while the placenta was still inside. I was so uncomfortable and couldn’t think of anything except, “Can we get this out of me?! PLEASE!?!?!”

After what I felt was demanding to get it out, my midwives FINALLY cut the cord and handed Jacson to Tyson. I then delivered the placenta and found peace. Haha! I held my new baby in bliss and shock over the labor that just took place.

If you would have asked me then, I would have been certain that I could absolutely NEVER EVER do that again. NEVER. EVER. I figured Tyson had already won the battle about not having a 4th baby in a couple years. Because let’s face it, an epidural is A LOT LESS PAINFUL!!!! Like a lot. Seriously people. A LOT! And now that I had a home birth I can’t go back to the whole hospital thing for 4th baby…

But here we are now, a month out, and my outlook on the birth and natural labor is already completely different. Like I LOVED it! I LOVED IT PEOPLE! I absolutely LOVED IT. Haha. I know it sounds funny and crazy. Who could love being in pain so bad they thought they would surely die? Um ME!!! It must be God! He works in mysterious ways. Having a baby is really miraculous. And although painful the gift far outweighs the difficulties. There is something about working, LABORING through the entire process that makes the gift just that much greater! A LABOR OF LOVE. And I am speaking from experience. I am not condemning anyone else’s choice to have an epidural. I have done it both ways. I love all my kids equally. But delivering Jacson… pushing him out with each excruciating push, was so so sooo so worth it! I guess I can’t explain what you haven’t experienced yourself.

And that’s basically it. We had a healthy baby boy. He is growing like a champ and weighed 11lbs 2 oz at his last appointment on Sunday. He is just the sweetest baby and I am head over heels in love with him. There is absolutely something special about having a boy this time. I want him to love me forever! HAHAHAH! It is going to take some serious prayer for me not to turn into a crazy mother in law for his future wife. I had an absolutely perfect home birth and I loved the entire experience. If you have any questions I am happy to answer. But please keep it positive! I know home birth may not be for everyone, but it worked out for us!

Sorry this was so long winded. Every birth has a story, and they deserve to be told! (even if no one reads it 😉 hehe).

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Weottabobbyeatsagirl!

You heard me! We had a baby! It’s a girl! (one of my all time favorite commercials- if you can remember a time when people used payphones)

It has been WAY TOO LONG since I updated, but what can I say, I’ve been a little busy.

I have lots of glamorous things to update about, but today’s post will just be about my little Hadley Bear!

Born June 14th, the day before I turned 26, meaning I had babies in consecutive years at age 24 and at age 25! I would love to tell my birth story now but I’ll save that for later too!

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I wrote that poem in high school anticipating that I would one day have a daughter to name Hope.

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My mom already made this pic public on Facebook so I figure I could post it on my blog that approx. 4 people read. Excuse the nip slip :/

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The above are a sampling of the photos we took for Hadley’s newborn pics. And my lovely mother took them this time around. She did an awesome job don’t you think?! And I even used my inspiration pics!

Thanks for hanging in there during my month+ absence. As always, stay glamorous!

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Pack Your Bags

Baby on Board

I am now just under 6 weeks away from my due date, and the anticipation is building as we can’t wait to meet little Hadley! My daughter Tylyn will be 16 months when her sister is born, which made me reluctant to have a baby shower this time around. We certainly do not want our friends and family to feel like we are just mooching off of them for gifts. But my friend and sister insisted on throwing a “sprinkle” < apparently the name of a baby shower for a second baby. This weekend, we will be celebrating little Hadley in the beautiful sunshine and 80 degree weather!

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Maybe the celebration for my little H will be as sunny as this sunshine inspired theme.

Being that the “sprinkle” is just a few days away, it has me feeling a little more stressed (in a good and anxious way) about having baby #2. I know there are so many things for us to do before she comes, but I don’t know what all of those things are! So, today I am attempting to put together a list of all of the Glamorous and not so glamorous things that need to be done in preparation for our new little love!

1. Pack my bags… Everything is different the second time around. When I was pregnant with Tylyn, I had all of the time in the world to think about my pregnancy and day dream about meeting our little babe. So, it was only natural that I had read all of the books and lists, and knew exactly what I needed way before I needed to know it. My hospital bags were packed at least 8 weeks before my due date and no necessity was forgotten. And as I am not getting closer to the labor and time in the hospital, I should once again start to pack my bags. Here are some things I know I must have again:
· Headband – I wore a big pink headband with a big pink bow through my entire labor with Tylyn. And although I look like a swollen wildebeest in all of my labor pictures, the only think distracting from my giant face is my pretty headband. Plus it was good at holding my hear back and keeping some of the sweat off my face.
· Furry Socks – Another great luxury. If all I get to glam up my “open in the back” hospital gown is a pink headband and a pair of fuzzy pink socks then I am going ALL IN!
· Toiletries – deodorant, toothbrush, tooth paste, hair brush, body soap, little shampoo and conditioner bottles and of course my make up! Once the labor was all said and done, and I finally was able to take a bath, I was very thankful that I brought my own toiletries rather than having to use the generic soap that the hospital had to offer. Birthing a baby takes a major toll on your body – obviously, so smelling good in the aftermath is really at the top of my list! And being able to put a little make up on truly made me feel 100 times more beautiful even if in reality it only helped my appearance a mere 10%.
· Nursing Bras – Having these in the hospital bags, makes it a little less awkward to nurse while you have visitors, doctors and nurses coming and going from your room all day. All modesty goes out the window when you become a nursing mommy!
· Nursing Pads and other pads
· Outfit to wear home – for some reason, I packed several sweat pants and t-shirts, thinking I was going to be changing my clothes often throughout my hospital stay. In reality, the only time I put on real clothes was just before I was discharged. So, this time, I am going to find myself a discharge outfit that is just as cute as what we will be bringing baby home in- maybe matching…?
· Baby Outfit/ Big Sister Outfit – I am so excited to have 2 little girls close in age, mostly so I can dress them alike. So I will be going shopping to find the perfect matching outfits for the girls to wear when we leave the hospital. Maybe something donning the titles of “Big Sis” and “Little Sis”. The hunt is on.
· Camera/Cell phone/chargers – Some of the best footage we have of our daughter’s birth is on my husbands iphone. We watch it often to remind us what a perfect day it was!
· Dad’s Bag – Change of clothes, snacks, water bottle,

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This diagram is the perfect reminder of must haves!

2. Pregnancy Photo’s, Infant Pictures and Birth Announcements: I have been scouring Pinterest for some of the best baby related birth announcements and infant photo’s and have found a few shots I must recreate.

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Family Hand Portrait! So sweet.

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Peaceful new born pic of LOVE 🙂

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Sister love 

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If I do do a pregnancy portrait or 2 it will be like this.

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Or like this.

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I adore this picture and must recreate it with Hadley.

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And lastly this precious photo op!

3. Get a big girl car seat for Tylyn
4. Get a new bouncer and baby bath seat: Last summer, when Tylyn was an infant, my husband and I were traveling around the US with her and before we made our final voyage home, we downsized from some of the many baby items that we had been traveling with. In hindsight we shouldn’t have donated these must have items, but we honestly weren’t thinking we would have another infant again so soon. Live and learn…
5. Reread Babywise! The principles are so ingrained in my mind, but a refresher is not only a good idea, but the perfect was to ease some of my anxieties about having an infant again (and this time with the added challenge of a toddler by my side).
6. Nesting
a. Hang Up photo’s and ready baby’s bed/area- As we live in a basement, we have to be extra creative about the sleeping arrangement and layout of all baby’s things in our “home”. Tylyn is still sleeping in her crib, and we will keep her there at least until Hadley is 6 months. This means, Hadley, like her big sis, will get to spend the first 6 months of her life sleeping in first, the Moses basket, and then the pack-n-play! I will also have to rearrange everything to give both girls their own space, on opposite sides of the room (so as to hopefully not disturb each other’s sleep schedules). As part of this mini reno, I desperately need to hang up some photo’s that are currently just lying in a box.
b. Hang Curtains
c. Paint chest of drawers

Of course there are lots of other things I am not even thinking about. But tackling this list should keep me plenty busy for a week or 2!

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The countdown begins…

It is coming to an end. I have only 8 weeks left until my sweet baby girl is set to arrive. And by my calculations I am estimating more like 6-7 weeks! This is leaving us with a whole lot to do and not a lot of time to do it…

My husband is starting a personal training business and ordering top of the line weight training equipment for his training gym. The equipment is supposed to arrive in 6-8 weeks. Sound familiar? I guess we will have the “perfect storm” where I am in labor at the same time he is needing to get his business up and running. But we seem to thrive on busy chaos, so I am sure it will all work out nicely.

Recently has been a lot of busy chaos; taking care of one thing after another. And although I am super anxious for our baby to arrive, I am not sure the reality of raising a toddler and infant has quite hit me yet. Mostly I am looking forward to no longer being pregnant.

This blog is about me trying to be more glamorous. Obviously. But for the next 8 weeks being glamorous is just not a realistic option. I was holding it together pretty well up to this point. Yet, over the weekend, by belly grew several inches and baby’s limbs have taken up residence in my ribs and hips. My lungs and other vital organs are being pushed aside and smooshed which make simple tasks difficult and tolling. No longer can I bend over to paint my toes or even tie my shoes (back to the Ugg slippers for me!). Climbing a flight of stairs leaves me panting, and my 1 year old must be sensing that a change is coming because she wants me to be holding or carrying her at all times. “Up” is her favorite and most clearly spoken word.

Now, I must at least try to accomplish a glamorous goal or 2 in the next 6-8 weeks, so on Friday night I gave myself a teeny makeover which included box dying my hair and cutting bangs to attempt to disguise the fact that I grow a new chin every week. Obviously not going to have a professional do these services for me isn’t glamorous at all, but I just figure why pay someone to do something I can do myself?

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Yummy St. Patty Treats!

I know I said today I was going to post my Glamour Shot photo attempt. And I had every intention of doing so… I showered, blew out my hair, put on makeup… The works. But then I ran out of time! Baby woke up from her nap and we were busy running errands the rest of the day. But fear not, Glamour Shots are at the top of my ToDo List.

So for today, I bring you a recipe! I am not a foodie by any means and most everything I cook is meat and veggies with little experimentation or variation. Remember my husband is paleo. But for St. Pat’s Day, I found the most enticing recipe on Pinterest (where else?!). These are Brussel Sprouts stuffed with deliciousness!

Step 1: hallow out the sprout.

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This does require a wee bit of boiling first eh, lad.

Step 2: Sauté the inside of the sprouts with garlic and EVOO until it smells oh so deliciously good

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Step 3: mix the sauté stuff with some ricotta cheese, parmesan, almond meal (this was my substitute for the called for bread crumbs to make it gluten free), some herbs (basil, thyme, sage) and salt and pepper to taste! It’s magically delicious!

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Step 4: stuff those babies and bake! Makes for a very elegant and scrumptious appetizer! Voila!

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It is worth the time to try this recipe! Very easy and oh so good! I feel glamourous just thinking about it! Happy St. Patricks Day!

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Some Paleo Inspiration

Today’s post is going to be about diet and exercise. Real exciting, I know. But for me, one of the worst things about being pregnant is gaining weight and getting bigger. I have already shown pictures of how uncomfortable I got during the end of my last pregnancy with my swollen ankles, and having gained like 65 lbs! I really badly want to avoid that much weight gain this time around, but I am starting to think it might just be the way my body handles pregnancy. Anyway, with all of that in mind, I was looking back at pictures from a few months ago, right before I got pregnant, and was shocked with how fit I was. Probably the most fit I have been in my whole life. So let me back up a little.

I have always been very active. For many years I was a ballet dancer- spending 3-4 hours every night at the dance studio, burning calorie after calorie. And for that reason, I ate just about anything and everything I wanted. When I stopped ballet, I kept eating like a dancer and soon realized I couldn’t eat that way without the same amount of exercise. So, I started running. I have never been a long distance runner but enjoy short 2 mile runs. And they seemed to do the trick to get me back down to a comfortable weight. As a freshman in college in the always sunny Arizona, I kicked up my exercise and tanning routine, partly to keep busy and partly because everyone in the AZ is tan and fit! Aside from a few months ago, this was probably the best shape of my life. Long story short, since then I have mixed up my running with some at home workout video’s “Turbo Fire” and have maintained a level of fitness I have been very happy with!

Now on to post pregnancy #1: After Tylyn was born I lost most of my baby weight right away- all that I was left with was about 10 lbs to get back to normal. I went back to my home work out video’s to try to lose those last ten, but wasn’t seeing many results. Granted there were some other factors, like my uterus shrinking back to it’s normal size and the fact that I couldn’t give my exercise routine 100% as I was still healing from child birth. Summer came, we were in California living with a host family and I couldn’t just commandeer their living room to jump around to my video’s. So I kind of gave up on working out for the time being. But it didn’t make wearing a swimming suit around my new baseball wife friends easy.

For months my husband had been trying to convince me to switch over to his way of eating – basically the Paleo way. I don’t know why I didn’t try it sooner because I was cooking for him and then making myself my own food. Once I decided to take the plunge into Paleo it saved me on some extra cooking time. For 2 weeks I committed to the boot camp diet consisting of meat and vegetables, no fruit, no salad dressings, no sauces, and absolutely no carbs. At first the cravings were intense and I felt like I was starving despite eating about 5 times a day. But after the first week it became manageable, and then at the end of the second week I had a cheat day. I ate a bunch of junk food and made myself so sick that the thought of eating carbs no longer even appealed to me. After that I continued eating paleo about 85% of the time. I cheated every once in a while but mostly maintained a meat and veggie diet. And the results speak for themselves. (*Note: While going paleo I was not exercising. This weight loss was based on diet alone).

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Pre-diet: hard to tell but a couple extra lbs that I didn’t like.

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From a trip to Sequoia National Forest. Mostly I am not proud of how my tank top and short shorts seemed to fit.

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My lovely little sister made this awful photo public a few months back. Still a little extra weight pre-paleo diet.

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The above were after just about 1 month of the paleo diet 85% of the time. I’m not entirely sure but I dropped about 15 lbs.

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And this goofy picture my husband took as proof that diet alone can do more than exercise alone.

And lastly my now back to preggo, ever growing belly 😀

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