A Recent Panic Attack

Every since having Luna (remember that whole traumatic experience?) I have been battling high blood pressure and anxiety. The anxiety was expected. I’ve always had very high anxiety, so I just assumed it would be a little extreme after having a baby, with all the crazy hormones and whatnot. I did not ever think I’d be in the hospital for 10 days, be put on tons of medication and end up seeing a hypertension specialist at Vanderbilt. Since coming home with Luna, and a new list of prescriptions, I have  started (been ordered to) take my blood pressure daily.

For the first couple of months it was very low, like “my body only moves in slow-motion” low. The doctor cut my meds down and it stayed on the lower side so my meds got cut back again. (Woo!) About a week after cutting out one pill my blood pressure shot up. It was through the roof all night, and it sent me into a panic. And, in case you weren’t sure, having a panic attack isn’t a good companion for high blood pressure, nope not one bit.

My doctor is very cool, straight-forward and blunt. I called him late at night (bet he regrets giving me his cell number now) and tried in my calmest voice to say “Oh hey, so my blood pressure is high and also I am freaking out a little, okay a lot. Should I be worried about dying?” My doctor basically said, “Stop it. You’re fine. Take your medicine and chill out.” He so does not get “anxiety” or “panic attacks”. Anytime I mention it he just says, “Why? I don’t understand. You’ll live to be a 100. Calm down.”

His inability to relate or understand is somehow very calming to me. That night, I managed to go to sleep, but anxiety took over the next day. I don’t know what it is about health problems, but anytime something comes up with my health I completely meltdown. I kid you not, but for 2 straight days last weeks I was incapable of almost anything. I physically and mentally shutdown. I could not write, get dressed, run errands, clean, eat…nothing. I hate admitting this because it sounds lazy and selfish. It’s all so dramatic, but I truly can’t help it.

know that the more I do, the better I feel. I know how to take deep breaths, think positive and do all of that crap, but nothing would work. Whenever I panic, like for real panic, it seems impossible to reverse the effects. My mind was consumed with images of my funeral, with thoughts of Luna being raised without me and a constant stream of negativity. It’s awful and weird to admit these fears that reveal themselves during an anxiety attack, but they’re real for me. I don’t think I went half an hour without breaking down in tears for those two days.

I could feel myself sinking. As I got lower, everything good in life seemed further away. Husband, Luna, my life…they were all just above the surface as I struggled to keep my head above the water. By day two, I could see a little light. I could see the stress on Husband’s face when I broke down, and I knew I had to start taking steps. I remembered two very important words of advice at this point.

The first is a quote from my Grandmother’s journal.

I’m convinced that I will never be without problems of all sorts, but still I must never see the dark pit again. Only an idiot is continually happy, joyous and has no problems; but stupidity is another thing. A stupid person hangs onto that first step and enjoys all that muck he is in. Boy, this second step feels better all the time.

The second is something my Mom told me after having Luna.

Focus on the small victories.

I took their wise words and consciously made an effort to start climbing up that ladder and focusing on my little accomplishments. I forced myself to stop the negative thoughts. They still came, but each time they did I replaced them with something positive…like Luna’s face, dancing, good music, a smoothie, and yoga. I then took action. I forced myself to exercise (hallelujah, does that help!), I only talked about happy things, I hugged and kissed Husband A LOT and before long I actually began believing the positivity.

It wasn’t instant, but I was coming to life again. By the end of the week I was back to my regular kind-of-anxious self. By the time I went to my specialist this week I could actually laugh about my freak out and talk to him without crying. My health still isn’t where I want it to be, which is disappointing, but it’s not horrible either. I’m mostly healthy. I’m happy. I’ll most likely make a full recovery, but if I don’t that’s okay too. That’s why we have doctors and drugs, right? I think my doctor is probably right…I will live to be 100.

Cheers!

Postnatal Workout Update

Alright, we did it. We completed the first 5 weeks of Focus T25, the “alpha” round, as it’s called. I have eaten healthier, not exactly healthy all the time, but healthier. In fact, didn’t eat any chips, except while we were in Texas. But, how can anyone go to the land of Tex-Mex and not eat chips and salsa?! They couldn’t and wouldn’t. Actually, we did a great job sticking to our “get healthy” postnatal workout plan except the time spent in Texas. We were on vacation and visiting family so we may have splurged a little when it came to food aannndd we may have missed a couple of workouts. Woops.

Even after having an entire “cheat week” I am still seeing results and feeling stronger. This T25 business is for real. It is an intense workout with zero breaks and I am still sore almost daily, especially after double days! Speaking of double days I’d like to point out this isn’t exactly a 25 minute workout.. Monday through Thursday is a 25 minute workout with a 2 -3 minute cool down. I guess you could skip the cool down if you are really set on only doing 25 minutes. Then, Fridays are “double days”, meaning you do not one, but two of the 25 minute workouts plus both cool downs. So, Fridays are basically an hour. Again, you could just skip the 2nd workout, but it seems silly to do the program, but not do it full out.

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Since we have a newborn there have been some challenges added to our daily workout regimen. Sometimes I squeeze in a workout while Luna naps, sometimes she’s happy to watch us from her oscillating chair and sometimes I have to stop halfway through to tend to her and finish the second half later. We often even hold her during the cool-down or while doing some modifications. “Whatever it takes” and “no excuses” are our mottos lately.

My health is better too. I am down from 16 blood pressure pills after having Luna to only 2 a day, and I will hopefully be down to zero in the next month. Yay me! I also feel 90% back to normal.

We still have about 2 months left (the beta and the gamma rounds), but here’s my progress so far:

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First picture is 6 weeks postpartum and second picture is 11 weeks postpartum.

I’m 11 weeks postpartum and I’m proud of my progress and hard-work. I’d like to see my abs tone up, but I think that won’t happen until I really cut out the crap in my diet. Can’t wait to see how strong I am at the end of this program. I hope to be 100% feeling normal, off all my blood pressure medicine, happy and healthy!

Cheers!

Peek-a-boo!

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I have mentioned before that dressing for breastfeeding has proven to be far more challenging than dressing for pregnancy. During my pregnancy, I could wear most of my clothes for the majority of the 9 months. Thankfully loose flowing tops and leggings are in style! I bought a few cute pieces and my sister gave me an entire bag full of her maternity clothes, I was set! I assumed that I’d be wearing whatever I wanted once Luna arrived, but I had no idea how difficult it is to nurse in your regular clothes.

I have found it easiest to wear button-up tops or low-cut tanks, but I quickly got bored with that small section of my wardrobe and start searching for a solution. What I found was Peek-a-boo. Peek-a-boo is a clothing line for both pregnancy and nursing. Just from looking at their website I found that most of their pieces are actually cute and do not look so obviously like nursing tops (like most do on Zulily).

Then, I actually got to try a top from Peek-a-boo! I chose the classic top because it’s simple enough to wear for various occasions. It can be dressed-up or down, worn with leggings or jeans, boots or heels, to the park or to dinner, etc. I’ve worn it a few times already and it is so so practical! Peek-a-boo’s tops and dresses comes with a very well blended slit that easily lifts up for easy nursing. It’s stylish, comfortable and discreet…exactly what I needed.

classic top

It is really inconvenient to keep myself covered while nursing. It’s hot for me and the baby and I can’t see what’s going on under there. This top seems to fix that problem. I still feel covered, comfortable and so does Luna. I only wish I knew of Peek-a-boo while I was pregnant so I could get even more use, but I guess I can always use it for the next one…if there is another.

The only downside to the “classic top” is that it is very fitting. So, if you have a bit of a bump left after having your baby (and you do), be prepared.

I have really good news for you too! Peek-a-boo is offering a discount code for Positively Panicked readers. You will get 15% off regular priced items and free shipping when you use the code POSITIVELY15. Remember, it’s great for maternity and nursing.

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BIG thanks to Peek-a-boo, you guys are awesome!

Cheers!

New Friend Friday: Meet Sia!

I’m starting a new series today called “New Friend Friday”. I have a few friends who write their own great blogs, and feel like I’ve made a few virtual friends through other blogs I follow. That’s one of my favorite things about blogging… getting a look into others’ lives, learning from them and sharing stories and ideas. I love these blogs so much that I have decided to start sharing them with you. Every Friday, for the time being, I will be asking one of my blogger friends to write a special post for Positively Panicked. That way you can get a look into their blogs and maybe find a new blogger friend of your own.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Sia Cooper from Diary of a Fit Mommy. I found Sia through Pinterest when I first became pregnant. She was also pregnant and our due dates were about a week apart. Over the last 9 months I have loved reading about her workout tips, healthy eating ideas, baby product reviews and now seeing her adorable son. She is real and honest with her readers, works her butt off  in the gym (and it shows!) and is a motivation to fit Mommies everywhere. For us, she wants to share her tips for fighting off Morning Sickness.

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Here she is at 6 weeks postpartum…told she works hard!

Ladies and Gentlemen, here is 5 Foods to Fight Morning Sickness By: Diary of a Fit Mommy

At one month postpartum, morning sickness seems like something in the distant past. Fortunately, I never suffered from a strong case of morning sickness, but I did experience frequent cases of nausea at times throughout the day. These are five foods that have helped me to fight my nausea and that may help alleviate your morning sickness as well.

Pretzels

Pretzels help ease morning sickness in the same way that crackers do. The dry & salty flavor soothes your taste buds and your belly. The high content of starch also binds with the excess stomach acid to bring some relief from your morning sickness. You can keep a zip-lock bag filled with pretzels on your nightstand and have a few before you get out of bed or during the night. They also make a great snack, are easy to digest, and are portable to carry around with you to relieve any bouts of nausea during the day.

Multigrain Toast

Toast is a great breakfast option for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. You can lightly spread one tablespoon of peanut butter for added protein, as peanut butter is said to help relieve nausea as well. Avoid putting any butter on your toast as greasy foods and extra oils will exacerbate your morning sickness. Cold cut sandwiches using multigrain toast makes a great lunch for women who are nauseous around the afternoon hours.

Dairy

Dairy helps ease morning sickness because it neutralizes your stomach acids! A small cup of Greek yogurt, a glass of milk, low fat cottage cheese, or a piece of string cheese makes the perfect snack for when you are feeling queasy. My favorite snack in particular were a few wholegrain crackers with cheese slices to help curb my nausea. However, dairy products may not be suitable for every woman.

Ginger

Ginger is the most popular and widely known remedy for morning sickness and digestive issues in general. You can drink it in the form of a tea or soda, you can suck on it as a hard candy, and you can even eat ginger as a gingersnap cookie or in gingerbread. If you cannot stomach the taste of ginger, it also comes in the form of a capsule that can be purchased at your local drug store. Ginger is thought to be a powerful herb and the go-to option for women suffering from morning sickness. I personally loved pure ginger tea which can be purchased from any local drug store or GNC.

Lemon

Lemons are said to help alleviate morning sickness because they have a natural calming effect that eases nausea. My favorite way to use lemons is in my water first thing in the morning. Also, lemon flavored hard candies, such as Lemon Heads, are also a great way to soothe nausea because of the sour taste. Most hard candies or lollipops should help, no matter the flavor.

Thanks for the tips Sia! Be sure to check her and her story out over at Diary of a Fit Mommy!

Cheers!

My Postnatal Eating Plan

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I spent way too much time in high school dieting (i.e. starving myself) to “diet” as an adult. Truth is, I grew up and learned how unhealthy I was as a teenager (skinny does not equal healthy) and learned that eating real and healthy food is much better than no food at all. I began eating less fried food and adding way more fruits and veggies to my diet. Then, around 6 years ago I decided to become a vegetarian. Although, a year ago I started eating seafood again. The technical term for that is “pescatarian”, but I feel very douchey anytime I say that word. Basically, I’ve been a mostly healthy eater for a while now.

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My diet is healthy, but I do not diet…that makes sense, right? Typically, I do not cut foods out of my diet either. I think the phrase, “everything in moderation” is tried and true. So, if I want fries or a dark chocolate bar, I have some. However, I share my fries and I eat the chocolate bar over a few days. I stuck to my regular diet during pregnancy, worked out regularly and gained about 28 pounds. After having Luna, I was sick, did not eat for 5 days, lost 30 pounds WAY too quickly and therefore ate whatever the hell I wanted once I felt better. NOW, I’m back to the regular diet again, but I’m about to do some tweaking.

chocolate

I stopped counting calories and weighing myself after my high school obsession. Instead, I focus on how I feel, look and how my clothes fit. Since, I am breastfeeding I need more calories than the average bear, but I also need to eat healthy because what I eat, she eats. My stomach is much softer than it used to be so I’d like to tighten that up. AND, I want to keep my anxiety at bay. Diet and exercise have a huge effect on stress and anxiety. I need a plan that will help me eat healthy, tone up and ease anxiety.

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Here’s what I’m doing for the next few months (simultaneously with my “prenatal workout plan“.

-First, I am cutting out chips. Why? Because I have no self-control when it comes to chips. I cannot just eat a few. I always eat the entire bag, no matter the size, in one sitting. No good comes from chips, so while I get back into shape, chips are forbidden. (I almost deleted this one.)

-I am eating protein every morning. Studies show that eating protein in the AM can ward off anxiety throughout the day. It gives you more energy and keeps your blood sugar stable. Bring on the eggs!

-I am limiting caffeine. I know caffeine makes you jittery and heightens anxiety, but I am stubborn and do not want to cut it out, like ever. I am a passionate coffee drinker. Coffee is what I think about as I lie my head down at night because I cannot wait to wake up and drink a large hot mug of coffee on the couch. It’s a lovely tradition and one cup in the morning will not put me in a panic.

caffeine

– I am drinking a butt-load of water. Dehydration, even the tiniest bit makes you feel awful and definitely affects your mood. The more water I drink the better I feel, physically and mentally.

-I will start eating more vitamin B. Apparently, this vitamin affects your brains  neurotransmitters which fights anxiety. So, I’ll be adding more cauliflower, salmon, eggs, nuts and leafy greens. BTW, I tried making the trendy Mashed Cauliflower everyone keeps raving about and I failed miserably. I’ll stick to mashed potatoes for now.

-I am going to eat foods with more tryptophan. This is the stuff helps you sleep better…nuts, soy products, eggs, tofu, and fish all have tryptophan and are all a part of my healthy eating plan.

-Sadly, I must eat less dairy. I am lactose-intolerant and this can cause irritability and moodiness. During the pregnancy, I ate way more dairy than I ever do because I craved it like crazy. Now, I am trying really hard to cut it out again, but it is so not easy. How can I eat Mexican food and not eat cheese??? It just isn’t right.

-I am eating more healthy fats and fatty acids. Fatty acids actually have a huge impact on your brain and mood. I will be eating a lot of avocados, fish and raw nuts.

-I am also trying to cut out the majority of processed foods. That crap is just crap that can’t be good for our bodies or our minds. I know I won’t cut them out completely, but I’m making an effort to eat way more real and fresh foods.

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That’s the plan. I’ll still snack on popcorn, get dessert when we go out and share fries with Husband..definitely not depriving myself. After the next few months I think I’ll not only be ready to hit the beach, but I’m also hoping to be in a calmer state of mind. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to cut out the anxiety meds altogether, but that’s not my main concern. I just want to be healthy, happy and a good role model for Luna.

Cheers!

The Last 9 Months

me and luna

I’m 3 weeks and one day postpartum and still feeling better every day. Yay me! I just went through some of my old photos from throughout my pregnancy and it’s amazing to see the transformation from then until now. I loved being pregnant! I had such a great pregnancy that I thought I’d be sad and miss it once it was over. I do miss parts of it already, but I’ve got to say having Luna here is far better!

Here’s a little TBT (throwback Thursday) for ya!

10 and 14 17 and 21 24 and 28 32 weeks 35 and 37

I think my hair changed just as much as my stomach. I’m so glad I took so many photos. It’s so easy to forget the changes each month and especially how my body looked at the very beginning.

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AANNDDDDD….3 weeks later!

3 weeks

Can’t wait to see what’s in store for our growing family!

Cheers!

Finding Out I Was Expecting

Before having kids, or deciding to have kids, I often thought about what the whole experience would be like and how I would share the news with my Husband. I’d seen lots of cute and cheesy ideas on Pinterest (a photo, a painted nursery wall, a onesie, etc), and heard all my friend’s stories of how they broke the big news to their guys. So, when we decided to start trying for our own family, I quickly began brainstorming on how to announce the pregnancy to not only Husband, but everyone.

I found out I was expecting in NYC, 2 days before I left to move to Tennessee. Husband was already in Tennessee. I took a pregnancy test in the morning and got a very faint positive, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up so I tried to put it out of my mind and just get ready for work…yeah right. During my first break at work, I confided in a really good friend and told her I just couldn’t wait of  know for sure. The two of us walked across the street to Walgreens to buy a fancy-pants digital test. I said, I’d wait until I got home that evening to try it, and then we walked to Starbucks to spend the rest of our break sipping coffee in the sunshine. (Oh, how I miss that everything is in walking distance in NYC!)

Well, I am very impatient so before the barista even finished making my soy latte, I was already in the bathroom trying out the digital test. SO, over lattes on the sidewalk, during a work break, I found out what is possibly the biggest news of my life. Then, I swore I wouldn’t tell anyone else. Husband should know first, er… second.

By lunch, I’d already spilled the beans to my boss and another friend/co-worker. I couldn’t help myself! I like these people and I decided that I’d rather tell them in person anyways. Plus, I suck at keeping secrets.

That night, I saw Annie on Broadway with Zoey (the sister-in-law)… and handed her the pregnancy test the second we found our seats. (I suck, I suck, I know!) BUT, that was it. No one else would know until Husband, and I was not going to tell him until I got to Nashville and could tell him in person.

The next night was my last night in New York, and we had a little going away party at a local bar, which happened to be owned by one of our student’s fathers. Since, it was my last night everyone wanted to buy me a drink, even the bartender/owner was handing out free shots. Weellllllll guess who couldn’t drink? After turning down enough drinks, people began to question why I wouldn’t have even one drink during my own going away party… It took one person looking at me and saying “Wait a second, are you…?” I can’t hide my emotions for the life of me, so within minutes the entire bar and bar staff knew I was pregnant. Woops.

The next day I FINALLY flew “home” to Husband and could not wait to get this secret out! I was about to explode with nerves and excitement in the airport when they announced that my flight was delayed, not once, but twice. When I finally boarded, I called Husband and he informed me that he would be picking me up with a couple of our friends in tow… Okay, I wasn’t thrilled about the unexpected company, but assumed we would go home and be alone.

I shared this photo on Facebook on the way to the airport to show my mixed emotions about leaving New York and moving to Nashville, but what no one knew is I was always feeling excited/scared/nervous about being pregnant and telling Husband!
I shared this photo on Facebook on the way to the airport to show my mixed emotions about leaving New York and moving to Nashville, but what no one knew is I was also feeling excited/scared/nervous about being pregnant and telling Husband!

Wrong. On the way home from the airport I found out that we were not going home, we were going straight to dinner with more family and friends. Awesome. During dinner two people actually asked me when we were planning on having kids. I could hardly contain myself.

After dinner, we were then whisked to my in-laws, but by this point it was clear to Husband that I wanted nothing but to go home. So, we had a quick visit and finally went home. Now, you have to remember that I had only seen our new house once ever, 3 months prior to this moment. So, while I wanted to sit down and talk to Husband about the fact that we were going to be parents, he was stoked to show me everything he’d been working on in the house.

At about 11pm we walked into the room that was most likely going to become an office, until the day we needed it to become a nursery. This room has  a loft, and the two of us climbed the ladder and sat in the loft together to take in our new home. This was it, this was the moment. I looked at Husband and simply asked, “So, do you think you and your Dad could transform this room into a nursery, by say….February?”

And, that was it, that was our moment, and it was just right. Husband was really excited, obviously, and he wasn’t even mad that I’d told like a 100 people before him. Luckily, he finds it endearing that I can’t keep secrets.

Do any of you have cute or funny announcement stories?

Cheers!