I have been asked over the course of this pregnancy and since having my c-section questions in regards to what I did as far as diet, fitness, recovery, and energy. I wanted to take a little time to answer those questions here in this space, but before I start, I wanted to encourage you by reminding you that e v e r y o n e is different. What worked for me, may or may not work for you. How quickly I seem to be recovering may or may not be your same timeline. My pain tolerance during those first 2 weeks after recovering from a c-section might be different than your pain tolerance. The way God made me is certainly not how God made you! So please- take all that I share with a grain of salt, knowing that you are exactly how God made you to be, and He will shower you with grace and mercy during your pregnancy and postpartum journey in ways that are unique to you!
So with that, here’s some of the few “Hey Courtney…” questions I have received!
1. What did you do for a “diet” during pregnancy?
I love answering this question, because I have n e v e r done any sort of “diet”. When I use this word, I’m using it in the sense of the foods + supplements I consume, not in a way that refers to a fad or way of trying to lose weight or cut calories. I whole-heartedly believe in fueling our bodies with a well-rounded diet, and of course, having the donut every once in a while, too! I’m a label reader as far as ingredient lists go on foods, but I don’t ever base what I’m eating on the calorie count. Disclaimer: I do eat a lot of gluten-free and dairy-free alternatives when it comes to breads, chips, sometimes pasta, and milk, but I still include gluten in my diet and will have other forms of dairy like yogurt and cheese.
A typical meal every day during pregnancy looked like: 1 mason jar of water with Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Water and a cup of coffee during my morning devotional time, and probably some sort of protein bar or slice of toast with PB + Honey too, prior to working out.
After workout: breakfast for the family- green+PB smoothies (recipe is on blog!), eggs with veggies+ham+cheese and avocado, protein pancakes, or overnight oats. Mid-morning snack- protein bar, apple/piece of fruit… usually more coffee! 🙂
Lunch: typically some sort of deli sandwich, some sort of wrap, leftovers from dinner the night before, smoothie if I didn’t have one that morning, some sort of salad or sliced veggies with hummus… something along those lines (I like to mix it up!), but overall lunch is usually my lightest meal of the day. Mid-afternoon snack: veggies with hummus, protein bar, Way Better Snacks brand chips, or a piece of fruit.
Dinner: Totally depends on what we have in the fridge usually… I need to get back on my grocery shopping based weekly menu game for this fall! Some staples in our home that I’m sure are also in yours include: tacos, grilled chicken, Trader Joe’s ______ fill in the blank delicious + fast meal, burgers on the grill (beef, chicken, and salmon), bolognese pasta or lasagna! Those are just a few. I always have some sort of vegetable or salad for dinner meals, too! I’m excited for fall to start adding in more of my crockpot recipes like my favorite 5-ingredient white chicken chili recipe + test out my Instant Pot!! Evening snack: I try not to snack too late, but with nursing now it’s been tricky, because I am ALWAYS. HUNGRY. even more so than I usually am (which is a lot! haha!). I do love a good bowl of cereal or lately I’ve even made a protein shake for my snack. I try to make a good choice for my last food I eat just before bed. I love to eat Puffins brand cereal in the PB flavor! You can find this brand at places like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods! This is what a typical day looks like for me as far as food consumption goes. This was my typical while pregnant, and has been very consistent since being postpartum now, too!
2. How quickly did you recover?
This was a surprise to me. I did not anticipate to start feeling better as quickly as I did given my first experience! Shortly after having my c-section, in my first recovery room where they did all the initial checks post-surgery for me, I was completely alert and was even able to start moving my legs and feet slightly, which the nurses seemed very surprised by! Even though I couldn’t really feel them that well, in my mind I was “moving” them, so I could start to get my mobility back quicker. By the time I was in my recovery room that I’d be at for the next two days, I was able to move my legs and toes, still limited for a few hours after that, then full range of motion! I continuously massaged my legs and tried to lift them and move them when I was post-op. During that first day, I drank so, so much water. I did this to get off my IV quicker. Dakota reminded me of this! My nurse had told me that when my output of fluid in my bag (totally glamorous I know!) was consistently full, she would try taking me off my IV, so I could start going to the bathroom again. Well, me being the competitor I am was up for the challenge. I was able to get off my IV the next day, and started going to the bathroom quicker than I did the first time around, probably within a couple hours of getting off my IV. If you’ve never been on an IV and had a catheter in before, it takes a little while for your body to start being able to go to the bathroom again on your own, and you can also be constipated… LOL more glamour, I know! I was going to the bathroom “fully” if you know what I mean after I got home from the hospital two days later.
One thing that I did differently this time around was stay on top of my medication. In the hospital, I didn’t ever try to push or extend my amount of time between next doses of ibuprofen or norco during that first day. The second day I did start to extend and cut out norco (this is the one I don’t like being on, because little bits go straight to your baby when you breastfeed them, and even though it’s a “safe” amount, I still don’t like that). So, that was my goal to get off of that quicker if my pain is tolerable. I started weening myself off during our last 24 hours there, and I think I used two total after we had left the hospital, and then just stuck with my ibuprofen after that for about a week!
Once we got home, I definitely tried to move slowly and minimally, but I started noticing the times where I felt the most stiff were when I hadn’t moved after a significant period of time like at night. During the day, especially with Collins, I would move around the house and be in the kitchen getting food ready, or doing a load of blowout/peed through laundry for Tommy :)… and I usually felt just fine then. I didn’t do anything strenuous and wouldn’t lift Collins at all for the first week, but I have to say, having Collins this time around to keep me a little more active actually seemed to help me. A few things I also believe have helped me are the supplements I have been taking consistently, like my Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. Collagen is an amazing supplement that helps with nail, skin, hair growth, and is also for bones and joints. Collagen actually provides energy as well, so I truly believe part of my fast-recovery came from proper nutrition and supplements like this. I initially started taking Vital Proteins for my skin elasticity after I had Collins, because I had a lot of skin I wanted to work on after being pregnant ;), but I am so happy with all the other benefits I’ve experienced since sticking with having them a part of my diet.
I am currently 3 week postpartum, but I would say just shortly after 2 weeks postpartum I was was able to start getting into some of my non-maternity clothes, like my favorite pair of shorts and overalls! I don’t own a scale, so I am not sure what I weigh as of right now, but I would guess I’m close to being back to my pre-baby weight. Again, I have to thank genetics too when it comes to this… my mom is petite, and my dad was always very fit in his younger years, so please take that with a grain of salt, and know that no matter where you are at postpartum, that’s great! I have a lot of skin still to show for my birth, even with the weight being off… so don’t be fooled! It ain’t all that pretty in my stomach region still!
During pregnancy, I did a lot of classes that were strength-based with some cardio mixed in like cycling and PiYo. I also am a big fan of olympic lifts… back squat, front squat, hang clean, dead lifts… etc. and I did these exercises consistently until I no longer felt it was safe to be lifting that much in that way. I would say just before my third trimester is when I stopped that. People are surprised when I tell them I love those exercises, but playing soccer through college, I was always used to doing these exercises with my strength & conditioning coaches, that this routine every time I went into the gym never really went away. I would say when I started adding these exercises back into my routine after having Collins is when my body really started to transform back to something similar to my pre-pregnancy body, but again, still had extra skin/stretch marks on my tummy to show for!
I haven’t started any physical activity yet, but have felt ready for about a week now. I know 3 weeks is too soon, and I want to make sure I heal completely to ensure long-term healing. I also am mindful of scar tissue. My doctor yelled over the top of the blue tarp during my c-section with Tommy how great my scar tissue looked and how very little there was… which is something I’m so happy about! I worked hard to minimize scar tissue last time by doing the proper timeline of when to start adding back in certain exercises, and doing specific massages + diastisis recti exercises as my first initial form of “working out”, so I plan to do the same this time around, too! I have been wearing my Belly Bandit Abdominal Wrap since I was 1-week PP, and that has also helped this second time around in shrinking my c-section line and working my abs/stomach back to it’s original state!
4. How do you have energy?
A few things have been helpful to me in these first few weeks to have energy, although I will say, if you ask my husband or any of my close friends, I have a generally “energetic” personality. Like, in high school, my friends would often give me a “how are you so peppy and talking right now” look early in the morning. 🙂 So, if it comes across as I have lots of energy, a lot of that truly is my personality… but there are certainly some things that even my energetic personality needs in order to refuel each day.
The first being, prayer and time spent in God’s word. This is the single most important thing that helps me each day to feel energized, and prayer usually happens naturally several times a day, especially on the hard ones! This season of life I’m currently in is very demanding, so when I am feeling overwhelmed, one of the best ways I can stop, check in and adjust my attitude or feelings towards my husband or children, is by stopping and praying + spending time learning more of who our great God is through His word. When I do this daily (and sometimes several times a day!), I’m able to see the big picture clearly, love my husband and children better, offer up grace and forgiveness quicker to them and myself when I fail, and keep Jesus at the forefront of my mind as I minister to my children and husband. Motherhood is certainly a ministry, and I am in the thick of it right now. This is a main source of how I “fill my cup” up daily.
Aside from this, getting back into a routine as quickly as possible has been energizing. Just jumping back into life has happened so much more naturally this time around having a toddler to care for. Eating the right foods and drinking lots of water (& coffee! ;)) has been important, too. I love having my green smoothie or a Daily Harvest smoothie. If you’ve never heard of Daily Harvest, they deliver pre-made smoothies and other frozen goods like harvest bowls or overnight oats that you can quickly grab, blend up, and have in a few minutes, and these have been great since having Tommy! If you want to try your first 3 cups free on me, just use my name courtneytracy at checkout! They have so many flavors to choose from! One of my favorites is almond+coffee smoothie flavor and mango+greens smoothie flavor. I’ve tried a few of their harvest bowls that you heat up in the microwave, but my smoothies are my favorite thing to order from them! ANYWAYS- these are also filled with energizing, nutrient-dense foods that refuel me!
One last thing that has helped energize me is giving one-on-one time to all of my people, including myself. For me, even if it’s just 5 minutes outside throwing the ball to Scout, that helps me daily to re-energize. Finding the space that gives you energy is important, and for me that’s outside, so I try to go out with C, T, and Scout twice a day and once on my own with just Scout during nap time. I have also found that taking some one-on-one time for each of my people not only fills them up, but fills me up to. Both my husband and I’s top love language is quality time… so doing this daily truly energizes me!
This was very long-winded, so I thank you if you stuck with me this far. I hope that this encourages you and blesses you in many ways as you journey through pregnancy and postpartum. And again, take it with a grain of salt. Give yourself grace and don’t compare one person’s story to your own that God is writing for you. He made you perfectly, YOU! And that won’t be the same the way he made me. 🙂
Happy Wednesday, friend.