Dairy Free/ Gluten Free/ Egg Free Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Pancakes for a Family of 5

My boys, like myself have a DEEP love for chocolate and carbs.

I am a HUGE pancake lover AND a sucker for making things from scratch. I have always enjoyed doing this, but with all the food allergies and sensitivities we have in our house, it has become second nature.

Here is the recipe I use on a weekly basis in our house.

Chocolate Pancake recipe for a Family of 5
3 cups of gluten free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
7 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoons of sea salt
2 tablespoons of sugar (I tend to do a little less)
2.5 cups of cashew milk
2 eggs (use small applesauces for #eggfree and add a dash of baking powder)
6 tablespoons of coconut purée or non-dairy butter
2 dribbles of real vanilla 
3 tablespoons of cocoa 😍

Mix all of the above. I use our KitchenAide mixer, but use whatever you have. While I am mixing all the ingredients my non-stick skillet is heating on the stove top. I add a little coconut oil to the skillet a minute or so, prior to plopping my pancake batter on the pan.
*Sprinkle @enjoylifefoods Chocolate chips on top when on the skillet

Why I Get Up at 4-5AM During the Week

It’s sweat…not pee…on arm day

It’s sweat…not pee…on arm day

Girl, let me tell you.

If it were not for my morning routine, I would not have the energy to be on top of my “A-game” for my husband, boys or my patients.

I need my early morning wake up to get dressed, brew my cup of coffee, and chug my water before leaving for the gym. And this might be a little too much info, but my bowels are now trained to have a bowel movement before I leave the house. Then I get in my car, sip my coffee and listen a podcast during my 18-20 minute commute to Burn Boot Camp. If for some reason I am unable to make it to a morning class, I will walk the treadmill in my basement or hit up an evening class.

I am obsessed with Burn Boot Camp and the way I feel afterwards, but mostly pumped about my tribe. The community of ladies are such a JOY to be around at the crack of dawn. It sounds crazy, like we are all crazy, haha, but everyone is cheering each person on and helping them do a little better than last time they came in. Most mornings I am in the class lifting weights or running cardio routines, while busting a move or singing a tune because girl, 90s and 2000s Hip Hop can’t keep my body from finding a beat.

I get back in the car after jamming out to Salt-n-Pepa or Little Wayne and I am on FIRE! I am loving life, excited about my day, excited to see my boys and I listen to another podcast on the way home to KEEP me fired up for life.

When I get home, I am still on my endorphin high. I do my gratitude journaling, make my handsome hubby a coffee for the road, finish up lunches for my boys, and look at my schedule for the day/ check emails to see if anyone has rescheduled before I hop in the shower.

Now, I am by nature, a morning person. Always have been. The early bird gets the worm, right?!

My routine gives me exactly what I need to tackle my day with having my exercise, journaling and a little coffee and podcast time.

This use to feel like a chore, having to set my alarm and make myself go to the gym. I would hit snooze and then hate how I felt the rest of the day AFTER I missed my opportunity to work out. Now, after 60 days of getting up early, it is no biggie and I will not hit snooze because I don’t want to feel anything but my best.

Do you have a morning routine? Have you shared your routine with a friend to keep you accountable? Do you have a workout buddy?

If not, think about that for a minute and think how you could implement that into your day. How would it improve your day? week? month?

Try This To Declutter

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Winter in the Midwest has been crazy this year. But girl, with all of the snow outside, I have been inside organizing and cleaning out stuff that has not been looked at since we moved in our house 6 years ago. What?! No Way!!

My boys had a blast looking in our old boxes of “stuff”. We found our cap and gowns from college, trophies from my husband’s sports days, and of course my husband’s and mine (yes mine) baseball cards and ball collection.

Girl, let me tell you, it feels insanely good to get rid of old stuff that isn’t doing any good in my house. And the same can be said about your “house”, and by that, I mean your “body”. The only place you have to truly live.

Our pelvic floors are the first group of muscles that have been shown to respond to negative input. They tense up when we watch a negative story on the news, when we re-live a past memory etc.

If you continue to hold on to past events and think of them in a negative way, this can affect your overall health, BUT also your pelvic floor health. When we hold onto negative memories, the pelvic floor muscles can tense up and not work as functional as they should. Just like cleaning my house is freeing up more space for my family, letting go of negative emotions and thoughts, can improve my overall wellbeing.

So if something triggers you to think of a past memory, try to think about the positives that surround that thought. For example, int he past when when I would think of my childhood, memories would take me back to watching my parents scream at each other, my dad being passed out on the porch when I would bring friends over or watching my mom cry time and time again because my dad walked out on us. I spent time re-training my brain to no longer go to the negative memories but all the wonderful positive ones instead: school dances, high school sports, having sister dates, car rides with friends etc. Training my brain to respond this way has helped a ton with lowering my anxiety and stress with my past. I no longer feel uneasy or ashamed. It feels like a huge weight is lifted off and I have space for new memories. It’s like I re-organized my brain and decluttered.

I challenge you to think about a memory you might be holding onto that creates negative space. Go back to that memory and see the positives around it. Maybe it was a crappy situation that introduced you to someone wonderful who has made a positive impact on your life. Or maybe it was a traumatic birth, but in the end, you have your beautiful baby in your arms. Whatever it is, look for those positives and tell your body to let the negatives go. Really, try it. Telling your body to get rid of stuff can make a difference!

*If thinking about your past triggers any old thoughts, please speak with your therapist for help with dealing with your emotions. I am not a therapist.

6 Things A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist Wants You To Know

Here are six things your pelvic floor physical therapist wants you to know before your first appointment: 

1.    Pelvic floor muscle examinations shouldn’t be painful.  It is a very gentle examination performed by a professional with one-gloved-finger assessing the tissue externally and then internally up to the first and second knuckle (approximately) on your therapist’s hand. If something is uncomfortable, please speak up to your pelvic floor physical therapist. We are looking at how the muscles move inside your pelvis, in a similar way we would, if we were examining your arm or your leg.  We are checking for mobility of tissue: can it lengthen, can it shorten, can it relax, what’s the strength, endurance etc 

2.    Your grooming habits don’t bother us. We don’t care if you forgot to shave your legs, didn’t get a pedicure or even how you are groomed in the pelvic region.  We have seen it all and we don’t even notice if your legs are hairy or not. 

3.    Your vagina is a self-cleaning oven. Please avoid the feminine wash aisle at the grocery store.  None of those products, washes, wipes or douches are needed to clean yourself “down there”, unless your doctor has recommended a product to you.  Otherwise, good ole water is where it’s at! 

4.    There are safer products out there for your vagina.  Tampons, pads and lubes are now made safer for your va-jay-jay! Yay for women's health!!

5.    Nothing is TMI (too much information). We need all the information we can get to help you improve your symptoms, AND your question has probably been asked 4 times this week.  So please ask it. 

6.    You can come in for your appointment while on your cycle.  25% of our caseload is on their cycle weekly and it does not bother us.  We don’t have to do the internal portion while you are bleeding because there are so many other things we can work on. 

 

How To Perform A Kegel Correctly: Day 4

Beginning positions of hips elevated by pillows (Gravity Assisted)

Beginning positions of hips elevated by pillows (Gravity Assisted)

Today is all about positions. There are so many positions that you can do a Kegel in. But girl, did you know so many of us are actually doing a Kegel incorrectly? Yes, we are!! Crazy right!? This is why I am spending so many days educating on this. The Kegel is a squeeze and lift type of exercise and is best described in previous posts.

When performing a Kegel correctly, no one should know you are doing them because you are contracting the muscles INSIDE the pelvis and not your thighs, belly, butt etc.

Flat on your back

Flat on your back

And the cool thing is, these muscles SHOULD move with your regular movements. So once you get a feel for how to do them in the following positions, you can progress on to activities of movement and see how you can contract and control the muscles with breath. For example, when you are getting up from the kitchen chair at dinner and sitting with good posture of course, exhale and pick up your blueberry.

Feel free to practice this exercise:

All 4s

All 4s

  • on you back (head elevated if you are pregnant)

  • back with hips elevated (pillow under your pelvis)

  • on all 4s (hands and knees)

  • sitting

  • sitting and leaning forward

  • standing

  • with movement from sit to stand. 

It is harder to do with some exercises more than others.  For instance, lying on your back is easier because gravity is not pulling the pelvic floor down. Sitting is a little harder and then standing is harder to perform kegels in than sitting.

Start with the first bullet point and work you way down the list practicing the “wink”, “nod”, front to back, Side to side etc in all the positions. Make sure you can feel the lift up and the control of putting the muscles back down.

Keep me posted on how things are going!!

Kegels sitting up tall

Kegels sitting up tall

Kegels sitting and leaning forward

Kegels sitting and leaning forward

Xoxo-Amanda

Kegels in Standing and kegels when moving from sit to stand

Kegels in Standing and kegels when moving from sit to stand

How To Perform A Kegel Correctly: Day 3

Hey friend!

Did you know you can breathe into your lower belly, like your csection scar area if you are a cesarean birth mommy or right above the pubic bone, and change the length and tension in your pelvic floor muscles? Well, you can!!

Did you know women, like me, hold stress and anxiety in our pelvic floors causing them to have more tension?

You have just learned how to contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles, but to get the best use of them, now I want you to exhale as you squeeze the pelvic floor muscles (while you are picking up the blueberries) and inhale as you relax to lengthen the tissue even more. This is how they naturally move with inhale and exhale as the diaphragm increases pressure in the system during inhale (air coming in) and exhale (air leaving the body).

You can see in the picture below how they work hand in hand. I love the image/ video below. I geek out on visual aids.

I want you to practice adding your breath while working on how to squeeze the tissue correctly. You may find yourself wanting to hold your breath while squeezing and that’s ok. Just keep trying to implement the exhale while squeezing the muscles and inhale with relaxation.

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How To Perform A Kegel Correctly: Day 2

Hey Girl!!

Today you will learn about “the squeeze”.

Alright, we are going to get your pelvic floor a movin’ and a groovin’.  First, let’s begin by lying flat on your back.  I want you to bend your knees up and then let them fall out away from each other.  Place a pillow or two under your knees so it is a comfortable position to be in.  While lying in this position, I want you to put a hand on your lower abdomen right above your pubic bone. Focus on breathing into your hand and feeling your belly rise a little as you breathe in (inhale) and come back to neutral as you blow out (exhale).  This is great for improving circulation and lengthening tissue to your pelvic floor and lower belly. I will touch base on more of how the diaphragm is connected on day 3.

Next, think of your vagina like an elevator.  Girl, I know this is silly but it is worth it. As you squeeze the pelvic floor muscles like you are stopping the flow of urine, think of picking up the elevator.  Then you are going to let the elevator come back down.  You can also think of it as picking up a blueberry with your vagina.  Please, do not actually go to your refrigerator and get a blueberry to practice this.  Save your blueberries for a lovely snack after all your hard work.  Use your wonderful imagination. 

Whew! Are you worn out yet? I hope not, there are still more ways to squeeze the wonderful muscles

Moving on to the next set of exercises….

The “Wink”. With this exercise you can work on winking your anus and then letting it relax. I think the biggest piece of each exercise is making sure your muscles relax after each contraction. You don’t want to end up with a Charlie horse “down there”, do you? Wink….relax……wink……relax….wink….relax….

The next one is “the nod”.

Still while lying down, you can practice nodding your clitoris. Nod and relax. Nod and relax. Nod and relax.

Then you can try moving the muscles front to back, relax….front to back…..relax….front to back…..relax

Then left to right….relax….left to right….relax…. left to right….relax.

And last, but not least, doing the front to back and side to side at the SAME TIME and meeting in the middle….relax….meet in the middle….relax….meet in the middle….relax.

Tomorrow, stay tuned for the next Kegel Tip!

Xoxo-Amanda

How To Perform A Kegel Correctly: Day 1 of Challenge: The Hammock

Hey girl!!

Props to you for joining in the challenge of learning how to use your pelvic floor muscles correctly.

This is a 4-5 day challenge and I will be sharing a little information with you from day to day on the pelvic floor muscles.

The first time you may have heard of the pelvic floor muscles, could have been when you were pregnant or after you gave birth, due to someone telling you to do Kegels.  Am I right?  

If you’ve never heard of pelvic floor muscles or “Kegel” exercises, than today is your lucky day! Go buy a lotto ticket (I kid, I kid)!

The Kegel exercise gained it’s popularity first in the 1950s for it’s way of contracting or tightening the muscles in the pelvic floor.

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles inside the pelvis that act like a “hammock” in supporting the bladder, uterus and bowel.  This muscle group helps stabilize your pelvis so you can walk, run, exercise, sit, stand, kneel, or reach for a glass out of the cabinet.  When you contract or shorten these muscles (like stopping the flow of urine), they close your three openings (if you are female) and keep urine or feces from coming out. And then when you relax the muscles, they should return to resting state.

Girl, did you know how you sit and stand can affect your pelvic floor muscles? For instance, sitting with legs crossed or with poor posture can cause clinching in your pelvic floor. Prolonged standing can also cause tension if doing it in poor standing mechanics as well.

Oh! And these muscles are the first ones in your body to tense up when you have anxiety or see something negative on the news, hear something negative etc...Talk about a “headache in your pelvis”. The pelvic floor is also affected by hydration, or lack of. If you are drinking more caffeine or soda and minimal water, you may feel spasms in the pelvic floor or lower abdominal cramping.

Alright…the next blog will be on Day 2 of How To Correct Your Kegel.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out!

xoxo-Amanda

Let’s Talk About Toilet Time

Hey girl!!

Are you like me?

When I was a kid, I had the hardest time pooping in a public restroom or anywhere other than my bathroom at my parent’s house.

I remember being away for a basketball camp and sharing a bathroom with 4 close friends and I would have such terrible stomach pains, because I wouldn’t poop the whole time we were there. I would sneak away to find a one toilet restroom where I could cover my ears and try to focus on me and relieving my pain. But it just wouldn’t work.

Fast forward quite a few years, and now I’m a mom and have 3 kids and RARELY do I get a FREE moment to go poop without someone screaming at me, pulling my hair, wanting to nursing etc. My hunky, husband on the other hand, gets like 20 minutes of peace and quiet a few times a day to let if all out.

Anyways, lots of us are dealing with bowel issues: constipation, IBS, hemorrhoids or diverticulitis etc and they can be all be caused from poor toileting techniques.  

Girl we are so lucky to have indoor plumbing in this country and since it has been around, we have been sitting on cold toilet seats to have bowel movements. Before that, we would squat to eliminate our feces .  In other countries people still continue to squat to have bowel movements and with that they have lower rates of the above bowel issues.   


So how can we improve your time on the toilet?

Putting something under your feet while sitting on a toilet, can help "un-kink" your hose, the pelvic floor muscle that wraps around the rectum. This could be a squatty potty ($25) (click here for 1 squatty potty on amazon: https://amzn.to/2MAcEUn or if you need 2 squatty potties, click here ($40): https://amzn.to/2S5f42z), child’s step stool ($10.50) (https://amzn.to/2SbSbKL), old phone books….the list can go on and on.  There is a pelvic floor muscle that kinks your rectum when sitting and standing.  When you sit with your knees above your hips (feet resting on something), you unkink the hose and the feces can move more smoothly out of your body. Once your feet are resting on something and your knees are slightly above your hips, you can rest your arms on your thighs/ knees and slightly lean forward to create a little more space for stool to exit your body.

Avoid straining. My mom would ask us to hoover over the public toilet seat like Marty McFly from Back to the Future so we wouldn’t touch all it’s grossness. If you are like me, you can remember how challenging it was to pee in a half squatted position. I would hold my breath and push to pee. Now that I am in my speciality, I know this is a no-no. Straining or bearing down, causes increased pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, which can put you at risk for hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, constipation, pelvic organ prolapse and pelvic floor dysfunction. Just breathe while sitting on the toilet in your new "squat" position and things should move out easily. And, layer up that toilet seat with tons of toilet paper so you can sit down. If you are in a public place, or a hotel room, grab the trash can, turn it on it’s side, and use it as a stool to help you.

Give yourself more than 2 minutes to have a bowel movement.  I feel like as mom, I am rushed to take care of my business.  I need to get in and out as fast as I can, to save my screaming child.  I also find it difficult to relax when this is playing out.  When we feel stressed like this, it is hard for our muscles to relax and we are prone to straining with bowel movements.  Act more like our male friends (sorry men).  They take their sweet time in the bathroom and relax and read etc.  More like what we should be doing.  If you do not have a bowel movement after 9-10 minutes of sitting on the toilet, than you are not ready.  Get up and walk around and try again later. 

– Amanda Fisher, PT, DPT

Quick Links on Amazon:

Squatty Potty: 1 (https://amzn.to/2MAcEUn ), 2(https://amzn.to/2S5f42z)

*This blog is here for your help. It is the opinion of a Licensed Physical Therapist. If you experience the symptoms addressed you should seek the help of a medical professional who can diagnose and develop a treatment plan that is individualized for you.  If you enjoyed this blog, check out our website at www.empoweryourpelvis.com.  Follow us on YouTube @AmandaFisher or Instagram @empoweryourpelvis

 

Nap-time Nookie

Because the third time postpartum was a charm, I thought I would be a good time to open up a little on what has worked for my husband and I as we returned to sex postpartum.

Now, before I get into too many details, I want to be honest and let you in on a little secret. Sex has been COMPLETELY different postpartum after each of my deliveries. Between vaginal dryness, sensitivities, leaky boobs etc, intimacy is not the same as it was prior to children, AND that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I love my husband more than anything, but sleep deprivation and a newborn did not help either of us get in the mood.

Girl, before jumping back in the sack postpartum, it is important for you and your partner to feel ready to attempt intercourse once you are released by your healthcare provider. After my first kiddo, I felt the pressure from society to have sex the moment I was released, but I wasn’t ready. I had an emergency c-section, followed by a difficult recovery and was not comfortable in my own skin. I wanted to be there mentally for my spouse to show him how much I love him, but it was hard to focus with my new body, a crying baby in the room and fear taking over. And lets chat hormones for a moment, they took a toll on my libido and sex drive. And then mix that with lack of sleep and my body was like, ummm…no I am TOO exhausted to mess around but I do love my hubby! I would dread coming to bed after nursing the baby because I was afraid he would roll over and attempt to try “sexy time”. This seemed to improve somewhere around 13-15 months postpartum for me, however, I have friends whose libido came back a lot earlier (lucky them!).

While trying to be intimate after our second baby, it was WAY uncomfortable at my cesarean scar. I did not want to be touched and was super sensitive to touch anywhere below the belt. And the dryness was out of control. No amount of lube could fix my Sahara desert “down there”. The pain was unbearable and I was ultra sensitive, I had to ask him to stop. I was in tears, embarrassed and frustrated with myself. My husband was so sweet and felt terrible for causing the pain. This continued a few times before I asked for a referral for a pelvic floor physical therapy.

After our third baby, due to lack of sleep, we waited until closer to 11 weeks postpartum. Third time postpartum was great. I had no issues with being touched or scar healing from my third cesarean delivery. To help in the intimacy and dryness (thank you hormones and breastfeeding), lube and foreplay are necessities, and still are at 13 months postpartum. I am a huge supporter of comfort while adding in great lube (yes, I have some favorites: SYLK :Use PROMO CODE “EYP”, YES and Good Clean Love). Girl don’t ever feel less of a female for using lube. It’s God’s gift to our postpartum vaginas.

Open communication and patience between your partner and you is KEY. There were times I wanted to keep my shirt on because my swollen belly made me feel insecure. Or times I would keep my bra on (too many too count) because my nipples would leak milk or my left boob was huge and FULL of milk which made me look totally lopsided. My husband on the other hand, could not care less and never seems to notice any of my breast or belly issues. He does respect how I feel, which makes me love him even more and checks in to make sure things are comfortable before proceeding forward.

Girl, during the postpartum period, it is not time to pull out your Karma-Sutra book and get too adventurous. Take it slow, focus on breathing, being comfortable in the moment and the position. If you feel discomfort, ask your partner to slow down, close your eyes, breathe and see if that helps to decrease the pain. If not, try another position that might be more comfortable for the both of you OR it just might not be the right time to proceed forward. If pain continues, I would suggest you ask your provider for a referral to a pelvic floor physical therapist.

At this time in our life, we have to schedule out “Nap-time Nookie”. It’s not as sexy as it use to be when we would just get in the sack whenever we wanted, because, well, we now have three small children to look after. And girl seriously, by the end of a work day and taking care of our small humans, I am exhausted. So we try to get all three little guys down for a nap at the same time. My hunky hubby puts the two older boys down while I nurse the youngest (to help with the leaky boobs) and then we meet in the bedroom. It is wonderful when the boys cooperate and we can have some time for us. As a mom, if I can hear my kiddos in the other room, it is difficult for me to focus on this special time with my spouse. So nap time works well for us to have a pleasurable time. This is also when I am able to feel a stronger orgasm (yes this is where my sex life has improved since childbirth).

Oh, one more thing to remember is that each couple and relationship is SO different. Also, love languages are something to keep in mind. My husband would have sex daily if he could. Me, not so much. Luckily, my supportive spouse goes over the top to help out around the house so I can save my energy for other things like nap time nookie.

What I Practice Each Day

Hi Friend! Me again! This crazy pelvic-health-loving momma of 3 high-energy boys.

To try to keep my sanity in my house, I have added two things back into my practice as I am starting to get more sleep at night (which means I am only waking up 2-3 times right now…any other mommas out there??). After having this last kiddo, I found myself stuck in a negative rut/ mindset. I NEED to exercise at least 20-30 minutes AND write in my gratitude journal to keep a more positive outlook for the day and with my boys.

The human body fascinates me and how it heals and continues to change is mind blowing.

Incase any of you out there in cyber world are feeling anxious or the added stress from the holidays, I thought I would share my practice with you. Click here for the download.

I hope the daily practice of gratitude has a positive impact on your day to day life, like it has on my family!

Shake Your Pelvis Like Elvis this Holiday Season!

Xoxo-Amanda

What I Learned About Myself During Our Stay in the NICU

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A year ago TODAY, I took my last pregnancy picture.  I had an OBGYN appt that morning.  By 10:45am, I was told to call my husband and it was time to have this baby via cesarean.  

I remember calling my hubby that day and not being able to get a hold of him on his cell.  He was in a presentation at Burns and McDonnell and I was determined to not have our last baby without him present.  I remember standing in the parking lot of Saint Luke's East hospital chatted with the lovely receptionist at his work and explaining I needed to to get a hold of him ASAP and it was urgent.  "Mam....I'm having a baby in approximately 20 minutes!"  I could hear her voice on the intercom while on the phone with her...so calm..."Brett Fisher...you have a call from your wife on line 3...Brett Fisher". No answer.  I sat myself outside the elevator to go up to the maternity ward.  I was suppose to go straight up stairs BUT I was not having this baby alone. (Looking back, I should have gone straight up stairs and listened to my OBGYN)  

I FINALLY got him on the phone and he was so shocked and left without finishing his presentation.  There is something to be said about having a loved one in the room while you deliver. It is needed!  Especially with a cesarean delivery.  It wasn't my first rodeo, but I still had fears about the "What Ifs".  

With the help of an amazing OBGYN, we delivered our third boy via our third cesarean. Yes, I feel like I am an expert in cesarean recovery lol. Each one has taken a little longer than the first due to scar tissue from the surgery before.  BUT in the end, this momma gets to snuggle the most precious little boy on the planet. 

When your child is placed on your chest, the world seems to stop.  I had no idea what was going on down below with sewing me up, nor did I seem to care.  I was a mother to this beautiful baby boy who has completed our family.  Nothing else seemed to matter.

On December 13th, I remember waking up and my husband taking pictures of me and Baby Hudson and stating how he thought he looked orange.  Not when you looked at him, but when you looked at pictures of him.  

Soon after, a nurse came in to check his vitals and said the same thing. The hospital ended up checking his blood levels earlier than they normally would. Around 10:30pm on Dec. 13th when we got the labs back, and I received a phone call from our pediatrician (who I adore AND who happened to be on call-praise the Lord!) and we were transferred to the NICU at Saint Luke’s East.

Hudson’s bilirubin was 20 or 21 during the early hours of his life. We found out he was Combs positive and ABO incapable. He was immediately put on the highest level of lights to help decrease his bilirubin levels.

My milk was coming in (yes, earlier than most) and I was recovering from my third cesarean so I took the lovely wheel chair down to the NICU multiple times a day to visit my baby and deliver milk. We were sent home after about a week in the NICU and followed up with our pediatrician’s office the following morning for labs. I received the dreaded phone call a few hours later from our pedicatrian (where I’m pretty sure I bawled) to head back to the NICU. I re-packed my bag and called family over to watch the older boys while we headed back into the NICU. It’s there I stayed in the same room with my baby for the following week. Each day sending prayers, asking a zillion questions to the medical staff while waiting for answers.

I was in a deep-dark place mentally while in the NICU for those two weeks. I am still in awe and so incredibly grateful for the love and support we received while in the NICU. We had friends/ family stop in just to chat (MUCH needed), meals brought to our house for the boys and to the NICU for Brett and I, cards and gifts dropped off as well as a basket of goodies and a little Christmas tree for Hudson’s NICU room.

It truly takes a village to raise a baby. My mental state NEEDED that support. I realized with the help and support from everyone around me (and the amazing NICU staff at SLE), I was strong enough to be patient and make it through that difficult chapter in our lives. Childbirth is tough, but then living the first few weeks in the the NICU is hard too. AND then the first few months of colicky baby, food allergies, 4 nights of sleeping through the night in a year...I know…I CAN DO ANYTHING I put my mind too. My gratitude journal has been my daily go to and has changed my life and my mindset. I am one strong mother and I, like my son, am a fighter.

I know my short time in the NICU cannot compare to what other mothers go through, but I do know, I would not be where I am today without the love and generosity of others during our first few weeks with Baby Hudson.

Today my baby turned O N E. As a reflect back on last year and our journey with him, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to all of you who have continued to follow my journey and who have supported my business. If you ever need anything, please reach out! Have a blessed day!

How To Manage Pelvic Pain Over The Holidays

Hi friend. I’m gonna get straight up personal with you and if you don’t know me yet, allow me to introduce myself. I am Amanda Fisher, pelvic floor physical therapist with a history of pelvic floor issues from peeing my pants to pelvic organ prolapse to pelvic pain to postpartum issues from 3 cesarean deliveries.

Yes, I have experienced my fair share of pelvic floor dysfunction. Now I know it was God’s Plan for me to go through those times to help people like you.

Pelvic pain is a real thing and I can tell you first hand, I have HAD it and still HAVE IT from time to time.

After 10 years of having pelvic pain, I know what to start doing when I feel it creep back in (because let’s face it, we all get busy and fall off the bandwagon of habits we SHOULD continue because it is good for us…but I'm human too) and this time of year is the perfect time for it to come a knockin’. Who isn’t a tad bit stressed around the holidays?! Um…I think we are all raising our hands here.

So, how do I get a handle on my pelvic pain over the holidays?

First thing to do is find a pelvic floor physical therapist in person or virtually. Having a coach or a professional to chat with about your symptoms and give you support/ advice when you need it most is a MUST!! This also creates accountability for me to stay on top of my exercise regimen to kick pelvic floor symptoms.

Second, I schedule or plan out my week and month. I tend to do this on Sundays. I look at my week and plan out what days I can go to the gym (with or without my kiddos), what mornings/ evenings I can walk, and when I can do my pelvic stretches/exercises (I try daily). Writing it down in a notebook or planner makes my brain think that this is happening today and I almost never miss it IF I write it down.

Third, I get a journal and spend a few minutes EACH morning while sipping my coffee (before my kids wake up) writing five things I’m grateful for and 1-2 things I can do today for someone in my family/ friend circle and for a complete stranger. This helps re-wire the brain for positive thoughts. And we could all use a little more of this in our lives, am I right?!

Fourth, motion is lotion. The days I sit on the couch and binge watch Netflix are the days I feel worse. This could be because I am not staying hydrated, or eating more junk food, BUT mostly, it’s because I am sitting in one posture (bad) and not getting blood flow to the tissue. I have to move to feel better and you have to move to create energy and get the blood flowing. I feel so much better after working out, walking etc and then following it up with 1-3 quick pelvic floor stretches to lengthen tissue. So bundle up and get out! OR set a timer in your home and don’t stop moving until it goes off. Follow up with a happy baby stretch or a deep squat to stretch out the pelvic floor muscles.

Fifth, don’t cancel on myself!! This time of year is hectic with all the holiday parties and childhood gatherings, BUT I still make time for myself so I can continue to feel better. And you should too! It is easier to continue a habit I am doing consistently because if I stop it one day, it is much harder for me to get back on the horse and start again.

If you want more information on this or what else I am doing for pelvic floor issues, please email me amanda@empoweryourpelvis.com.

Great exercise while cooking dinner!

As a busy mom, it is great when I can multitask.  This tends to be one exercise I will do while sautéing vegetables or browning ground turkey.  

I find my doorway in the kitchen that has been over taken by my baby's jumperoo.  I start with my feet in the middle of the door frame and then move them closer to whatever side I will be doing the exercise on.  I hold on to the door frame and exhale and tighten may lower abs as I go out and come back in. 

I may do 5-10 reps, 1-2 sets while cooking dinner. 

Why might my Diastasis Recti (Abdominal Separation) not be healing?

If you think about it, our bodies do a great job at healing diastasis recti (abdominal separation of the linea alba, or fascia), between the rectus abdominus muscle in some women.  Our female figures were made to have this wonderful fascia in our abdomen (line alba) to stretch to accommodate a growing baby and uterus.  Pretty amazing stuff!!

Studies have found 100% of pregnant women will have diastasis recti at 35 weeks gestation and by 6 months postpartum, only 40% of women will continue to have it.  

I am currently 4 months postpartum with my third baby.  I have been consistent with my exercises and stretches in my Body After Birth plan and have noticed an easier closure of my diastasis recti this go around.  

Stretching is just as important as strengthening your muscles.  As a mommy who is carrying baby, stretching is a big part of improving your diastasis.  If you abdominal muscles or low back muscles are tight, they can continue to pull at the linea alba causing your diastasis to stay around. Also, switch up what side you are holding your baby on to make all your muscles work.  And last, try to stand or sit in proper posture when holding your little one (avoid pregnancy stance) to keep your abdominal muscles working for you, instead of stretching out when you are leaning back.  If you find yourself standing in the pregnancy stance, your muscles may not be strong enough to hold baby so make it an exercise.  Practice holding baby in good posture for 5 minutes while doing household activities and see if you are still in proper posture at the end of the 5 minutes (or while baby wearing).  Build your core muscles up to support you and your future self!

 

 

Child's Pose stretch to stretch our low back. Try hands forward, and then to each side, holding off at least 5 breaths.

Child's Pose stretch to stretch our low back. Try hands forward, and then to each side, holding off at least 5 breaths.

3 Simple Exercises for Great Sex

Ladies...many of us have experienced sex that wasn't so great, right?!  It's not always rainbows and butterflies.  Sometimes it is uncomfortable.  So why not add some simple exercises to your daily routine to improve it?

If you are dealing with pelvic pain (pain with intercourse, tailbone pain, pain with sitting etc), know that there are many causes for it.  Our initial thought when we are in pain is to go into the fetal ball position.  Go to our "feel safe" position.  This position can tighten up tissue, so it is best to focus on stretches to stretch the lower abdomen and pelvic floor to relieve pain.  

Here are a few of my favorite stretches to try at home:

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Rib/Diaphragmatic Breathing:  Don't underestimate the power of your breath.  Breathing can do a lot to improve tissue mobility, circulation and the nervous system. Place your hands on the side of your body over the ribs.  Focus on breathing into your hands with your hands move away from each other, and then come closer together as your exhale or blow you air out.  Perform 5-10 breaths every hour if you can (can be done lying down, sitting, standing).

 

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Happy Baby Stretch: Lay on your back and grab your feet.  If that is too much of a stretch, you can modify by grabbing the insides of your knees and letting the weight of your hands and gravity stretch while you focus on belly breathing.  Start by holding the stretch for 5 belly breaths.  

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Deep Squat:  Squat down low on your own, or with the help of a wall or while holding on to furniture.  This stretch is great for relieving pelvic pain and constipation, however, some people will feel hip tightness with this stretch and can cause more pain. If that is the case, start by just testing the stretch to see how it feels and maybe hold for one breath and then continue with happy baby stretches to start the relaxation of tissues.  *Avoid this stretch if feeling pubic bone area pain.