Category Archives: babies

My Top Workout Tips for Busy Parents

Hello February.  Hello 2018.  Hello blog.  I haven’t been able to keep up with posting as much as I would like to because quite honestly I have been busy.  Busy is good.  I live for having things to do.  Feeling engaged.  Being involved.  However, since the start of another year, I have noticed how hard it is to balance doing everything I want to do with my physical activity (outside of working).  I was recently asked by Spartan Race to list a few tips for the busy parent to stay active and maintain a workout routine.  I think some of these tips could apply to anyone.  Here we go!

  • Plan ahead.  If that means weekly, or even monthly, set your expectations early.  My husband and I both need regularly scheduled workouts to stay sane.  It is nearly impossible for us to work out at the same time.  We have coordinated a schedule in which one of us works out early on specific days of the week, the other during the day or evening. If it is my designated day, he encourages me to maintain my schedule.  As do I. 


  • Hold yourself accountable. Let’s face it.  Some people are way more self motivated than others.  Do what you need to do to ensure you make time for exercise.  There are a few ways you can do this:
    • Join a group that expects (and gets excited) for you to be there.  Camaraderie and community make such a difference.  If you feel seen, rather acknowledged, you feel proud.  I run with a group of girls one morning a week that typically involves a track type workout or running hills.  Our paces are variable, but having them push me (and hold me accountable) has made such a difference in my running.
    • Sign up for a class that if you cancel last minute you will be charged.  Nothing is worse than paying for something you don’t use. 
    • Sign up for a race that you need specific training for to feel good about crossing the finish line.  You know what I’m talking about here.  An obstacle course race or a longer road race.  Something that you can’t just decide to do on the day of.


  • Find time for “fun” workouts (with or without the kids). Easy days should be banked into everyone’s routine.  On these days, do something fun!  Take your kids to the playground and practice monkey bars with them.  Set up a mini obstacle course in your driveway and run through it with them.  Try something new that doesn’t leave you feeling completely spent.IMG_6448
  • Splurge sometimes.  If you are like me, you work hard professionally and as a parent.  Every once in awhile you need to reward yourself.  Set a date on the calendar to go on a “fitness date night”.  Get a babysitter and check out a climbing gym, running trail or boutique fitness studio with your significant other.  Don’t they say couples that sweat together stay together?


  • Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.  In a world where everything seems perfect (or not so perfect) remember to use your workout time as an opportunity to lift yourself up.  If you wake up one day and you just aren’t feeling it, then take a day off (and be okay with it).  Exercise should leave you feeling like a better person.  Feeling like a better person will allow you to interact better with those around you throughout the rest of the day.
  • Remember, you are your child’s biggest role model.  If you don’t want to make time for fitness to benefit you, think about the impact it will have on your child.  I love having my kids see their mom set a goal, train for it, and reach it.  Being active is a lifestyle that your child will adopt if you set the tone early.  Maybe you even sign up to do a race with your child so you have the opportunity to not only connect but support each other’s training.



What I Have Learned About Postpartum Fitness After the Birth of My Third Child

It’s me again!  It has been way too long since my last post.  I had coffee with two good friends this week who inspired me to pull out the old laptop and get things together.  That said, I also felt obliged to post given that I am now three months out from the birth of my third child AND I have officially competed in two races since having her.


If you followed my blog through pregnancy number three, you know that I kept up with my fitness for the full forty weeks.  While the events leading up to my delivery didn’t necessarily go as planned (they never do), my delivery was short and sweet.  For that, I am thankful.


And for that, I want to share some of my thoughts on postpartum fitness after the birth of my third daughter.  You don’t have to agree, but you should consider (and remember these are just my thoughts).

  • Trying to hit a number on a scale as a goal to getting back to your pre-pregnancy self is annoying.  I will be straight up with you.  I am still not back at my pre-pregnancy weight, and I don’t care.  I actually find the posts about losing weight really annoying.  See thought number two.
  • Pre-pregnancy functionality should be your first goal.  If you lose a bunch of weight, but your core is torn to shreds and your back hurts doing daily activities, does it even matter?
  • Take the pressure off yourself.  Social media has made it impossible for us to not compare ourselves against other people in how quick we can get back to our old selves.  In the grand scheme of things an extra month of two means NOTHING!  Just like when you feel like your pregnancy is taking forever, once it’s over, it seems like it flew by.
  • You will learn more each pregnancy.  Gosh, I wish I could go back and talk to myself as a teenager, college student, first time mom.  Hindsight is 20/20.  No one will ever be able to explain that feeling to you until you have been there yourself.


If I’m going to throw all of these thoughts at you, I feel I need to give you some explanations as to how I reached them.  Let’s start with my journey following the birth of my third daughter.  As confident as I might seem, I suffer from what I want to call “mom anxiety”.  Ever since I had children, I fear the worst for myself.  I don’t want anything to happen to me because I am afraid of what I would miss out on if I weren’t around.  Let me be clear, this anxiety doesn’t consume me, but I tend to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to taking care of my personal health.


That said, after my third pregnancy, I vowed to ease back into activity and really focus on  rebuilding my pelvic floor and core before going full blown anaerobic.  After four to five weeks of not doing much, I got on the phone with my doctor and explained my concerns to which she responded that as a result of my non complicated labor and deliveries, I was free to do whatever I wanted.  Even though the advice was coming from my doctor, I took it with a grain of salt.  Mom anxiety.



Each day I did a little more and on days that I didn’t feel right, I didn’t do anything.  I really had no goals for the rest of the year, as the most important thing to me was being an active part of my growing family’s lives.  Anything else was just an added bonus.  Surprisingly (yet not surprisingly), my body responded well to my transition back into training. I began to reset benchmarks to refresh my training for my postpartum fitness levels (i.e. I ran a mile time trial, I put myself on the torqboard at Flywheel, and I reassessed max pull-ups and other body weight exercises).  Let me be clear, my fitness is not comparable to anyone but myself.  Prior to getting pregnant, I had competed at Spartan Race World Championships and I was able to maintain many of my obstacle course racing workouts throughout.



We had a lot on our plate and maintaining a regular exercise program, while also finding time to myself (I mean all by myself) was a serious need to keep me sane.  We traveled to Virginia when my youngest was just a few weeks old.  We also took our kids on their first flight of 2017 for a family vacation to Naples, FL.



These are the things we live for.  We love spending time together.  We love family.  We love being busy.  For some reason in all this hoopla, I decided to sign up for a Spartan Race and continue a family tradition of running the local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.  With my most laid back approach to a race, baby weight still to lose and a few hours a sleep at night, I managed to compete at as a high level as I did pre-pregnancy.

  • 8th place overall in the Carolinas Spartan Race Sprint (my first top ten finish EVER in a Spartan Race)
  • 8k Turkey Trot – 36:22 (7:19/mile) – 2016 time 7:09/mile, 2015 time 7:21/mile



It was through all of this madness, that I truly realized that the human body is an absolutely incredible machine that should never be subjected to a number on a machine.  It should never be compared to another.  Everyone’s circumstance is different and if you are functional, proud and just plain happy you get it.  Everyone’s postpartum journey is their own.  I think I have finally found a way to own mine, and I can only feel such gratitude that I have the ability to share my thoughts with others.  Please feel free to reach out with comments or questions.

The First Two Weeks (Postpartum)

Time sure does fly!  As we close in on our second week as a family of five, I wanted to write a short little update on how things have gone.  I spent just under 48 hours in the hospital.  That’s two nights (including the night my daughter was born) essentially bed ridden as nurses, doctors and lactation consultants regularly checked in on me (regardless of if I was sleeping or not).



To keep me sane, my husband brought my two older daughters in to visit and my parents and sister also stopped by.  Bless their hearts.  Isolation in a hospital room is not the ideal toddler playground.  We gave each of the girls a present from their baby sister.  In return, they brought her a balloon from the gift shop.




We watched Nickelodeon and got creative with any and everything that we could in the room (including the grippy socks).  The girls also enjoyed taking their new baby sister for a stroll around the maternity wing before stopping at the nursery to get their very own “I’m a Big Sister” hospital bands.



At 5PM on Saturday evening, we were released to head home.  This was a big moment.  We took our first family of five picture on our way out and made sure to document the entire event.  I think all of the nurses knew my girls by the time we rolled out of there.



All of the excitement must have made us lose our minds slightly.  We managed to leave my hospital bag outside on the steps where my husband picked us up.  We got all the way home before the hospital called to tell us my bag (along with my wallet) had been dropped off at the front desk.  Thank goodness there are honest people left in the world.  I can’t imagine what someone could have done with all of that information at their fingertips.


The first night at home was all a little chaotic.  How do you even anticipate what the baby will be like the first night?  My husband is pretty lenient with me the first two nights at home.  With each of my precious daughters I have co-slept with them in a guest bed the first two nights at home.  At that point, my husband forces me to cut the cord and move them to their crib.  I can’t say we slept great the first night, but my husband had the week off from work so I rested easier knowing in the back of my mind I could nap the next day.  That I did.  We also took a short walk as a family of five about 40 yards up the street and back (see picture above).


One thing this baby loves to do is swaddle.  This is a first for me.  Both of my older girls preferred to have their arms free.  Looking back, maybe that is why one of them didn’t sleep great?  At this point, if I can get this little girl nice and tight in a good swaddle, she can sleep a three hour stretch from approximately 9 PM – 12 AM.  Hence, when I usually hit the sack.  I’m typically getting up three times each night to feed her.  I am exclusively breastfeeding her, so I let my husband snooze with the expectation that he will handle the other girls if they wake up in the middle of the night.




It didn’t take long for that to happen.  Our first night home from the hospital, I woke up to the sound of my second daughter throwing up in her bedroom.  I’m not convinced that her rolling around on the floor at the hospital didn’t cause her to get some sort of a bug.  Either that or she was so overwhelmed with change that it through off her system.


I can’t say enough about our neighbors, friends, my clients and family in Charlotte.  While I did not have a baby shower for my third daughter, I came home to several sweet gifts and a generous amount of meals and snacks for the family.  What a big help.  I never would have guessed how much easier it would be to not have to plan dinner for our expanding family the first few weeks at home.  We truly appreciate the help.  I will be the first to admit that I hate asking for help, so having it forced upon me has been special.  We will be sending out personalized thank you notes over the next few weeks.



We closed out our first real week at home with a visit from my husband’s parents.  Their visit came at the perfect time.  On Friday, I experienced the worst postpartum uterine contractions.  They literally brought me to tears and ultimately left me bed ridden for almost two hours.  With each child these contractions have gotten worse and worse for me.  Being knocked off my feet (quite literally) forced me to realize that I needed to slow down.  It’s difficult for me to “take it easy”, especially when I have three kids.


With my in-laws in town, I was given the opportunity to truly take it easy.  They were proactive in taking both of my older girls on walks and even watching the baby long enough for my husband and I to grab a cocktail and dinner out Friday evening.  Somehow I managed to fit into a pre-pregnancy dress.  We went to Summit Room before heading to Wing Haven Gardens for their annual food truck event.



Not only did they watch the girls, but my mother-in-law also cooked for us two of the four nights that they were in town.  Why is it that when moms cook it always tastes better than the food that I make? Maybe you can taste the love they put into it?  It was bittersweet seeing them leave Monday morning.


By Monday, my husband was headed back to work (from home, but no longer available to readily help).  I was on my own to an extent. Having family in Charlotte has been a lifesaver.  While my parents were out of town for the weekend, they took the baby on Monday while I took the two older girls out.  Knowing they are headed back to preschool next week, I am working on spending quality time with them before it is all baby all the time in the mornings.



A lot of people have asked me if we have taken the baby out yet.  Yes, yes we have.  While we stick to places that are pretty open or places that we know she won’t be picked up by a lot of people, we (or I ) don’t really have an option.  Not only do the other girls need to be engaged, but we still need groceries and I just need a chance to get outside.  This week, I was able to manage taking all three of the girls to the grocery store, dance class open house and even Flywheel.


Speaking of Flywheel, I did not ride.  I also have not resumed exercise yet.  I likely won’t for another week.  While my ab separation was minimal, I have noticed that my recovery is moving somewhat slower than it did for each of my previous pregnancies.  Since I know we are done having kids, I don’t feel any urgency to push the pace too soon.  The last thing I want to do is push too soon only to set myself back yet again.


At Cameron’s two week check up, she was treated for a blocked tear duct and weighed in at 8 pounds 2 ounces.  She is gaining over an ounce a day.  We are scheduled to head back for our one month appointment in just two weeks.  She is the sweetest thing.  My husband agrees.  I don’t know if it is because we are embracing the infancy stage since we are done or maybe we are just better at handling a baby round three.  Either way, we can’t get enough of her.  While I miss my routine, I know the change is temporary and she will grow up faster than we want her to (and so will the other girls).





Cameron Leigh Dufresne (Cammy D)

Welcome to the world Cameron Leigh Dufresne.  I don’t think she or I got the memo that we would be admitted to the hospital Thursday, August 17th for what turned into an almost unplanned natural delivery.  The picture below about sums up how I felt just 10 minutes before they handed her to me.


Let me start from the beginning.  After a rather frustrating week 39, I made plans to have acupuncture performed on Sunday, August 13th backed up with a form of acupressure on Monday, August 14th.   If you aren’t familiar with the process, a trained acupuncture professional inserts 4-5 needles into specific points which trigger the release of hormones that induce labor.  I was skeptical, but willing to give it a try.  The acupuncture is used to hit a direct point, while the acupressure targets the same areas in a more broad sense (i.e. if the acupuncture missed a point by the slightest amount, the acupressure would likely hit it).


I wanted immediate results, but I knew I had to be patient.  My next doctor’s appointment was not until Thursday, so if nothing happened before then, I was bound to know if it worked at all by then.  Monday and Tuesday passed and I was still not in labor.  I did everything I could to stay busy and keep my mind occupied.  Patience takes practice.  The girls were in a camp each morning, so in the afternoon, I tried to spend time taking them to the mall and park or simply just laying down together (see picture below).  We bought costumes for my oldest daughter’s princess themed birthday party (that isn’t until October – see picture above).


I worked out every day of the week (even if it meant that I just went for a walk).

  • Monday – I went for a run/walk, approximately 3 miles.
  • Tuesday – I did some strength work in the garage.
  • Wednesday – I rode at Flywheel with Morgan.
  • Thursday – I walked/jogged home from dropping my girls off at camp, approximately 2 miles and thirty minutes total.

By Thursday, I didn’t know what to think about going to my doctor’s visit.  All I knew was that my husband was coming with me to discuss our options for induction and have my OB/GYN examine scar tissue from an old belly button piercing that had begun to tear.


I bring the belly button up for a few reasons.  I am embarrassed. I want my kids to see pictures of what my actions resulted in.  I didn’t have any issues with this in my first two pregnancies, but this is real life for round three.  I thought I had been doing a good job taking care of not letting it get infected until I pulled the band aid back for my doctor.  Before she had a chance to even talk to me about the baby in my belly, she full on squeezed puss and gunk out of two holes that had separated.  With my approval, her plan was to cut the tear and stitch it together while I had my epidural (post delivery).  In the meantime, she pulled the skin together and taped the damage.

The rest of the day was a blur.  I went on to get “checked” and have my membranes stripped, at which point I learned that I was 5 cm dilated.  I was instructed to go home and eat lunch, pack my hospital bag and head to the hospital.  Anxiety set in.  My husband and I picked up the girls from camp and dropped them off at my mom’s house before heading home to eat and gather our things.

We arrived at the hospital with plenty of time to get settled.  My contractions were regular but no where near painful.  I had tested positive for Group B Strep at my 36 week appointment, so it was advised that I receive antibiotics prior to the baby being delivered.  The nurses went ahead and set up my IV and began to administer the antibiotics.  I still wasn’t sure that this was a fake out.  I had had Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks.  Maybe my contractions would subside and I would get sent home?  That happened with my first daughter.  Was this actually real?


Once my antibiotics were administered, my doctor stopped in to see if I would like to get my epidural before she broke my water.  Yes, please.  The anesthesiologist got my epidural set up and I was good to go.  Until I wasn’t.  I don’t know where time went.  I wanted to be able to feel some contractions, but I started to notice as they intensified and I continued to push the button to give me more juice nothing was happening.  I’m an athlete.  I push through things.  I kept pushing through thinking that maybe the juice hadn’t kicked in yet.  When I finally admitted to the nurse that the pain was not getting better, it was just plain bad.  It was my fault.  There is no tough guy award for delivering babies.

The anesthesiologist came back and tried a few things before he realized that my epidural had come out.  Things had already escalated.  Scroll down if you don’t want to hear the details.  I tried to sit up to have it redone and almost passed out.  The nurse through an alcohol swab under my nose.  I almost threw up.  I lost all control.  My body began to shake uncontrollably (apparently that is the release of hormones and you aren’t supposed to fight it).  All the while the anesthesiologist told me to roll over on my side and try to get into a tight ball.  Um, yea.  I felt intense pressure on my bladder at which point the nurse “checked” me again and I was at 10cm.  The only relief I found was when I pushed.  I think the anesthesiologist actually said, “at least you will have some relief while you are pushing”.  He left and my doctor came in.  How lucky was I that she was on call that day?  Truly special.  Six or seven pushes later, Cameron Leigh Dufresne was born. 10:19 PM. My epidural finally kicked back in.




The pain was excruciating, but short in its entirety.  How about her umbilical cord?  It was wrapped all over and actually tied in a knot.  Fortunately, it did not affect her during labor or delivery (as her heart rate and vitals were closely monitored the entire time). When I told her pediatrician about my epidural and her umbilical cord he mentioned maybe its as divine intervention that the labor progressed and we got her out.  I guess I never thought about it that way.  Even with everything going on, I do remember the nurses and anesthesiologist indicating to me regularly that the baby was okay (regardless of if I was at that time).


The scale in the delivery room indicated that she weighted 6 pounds 14 ounces, which was surprising to everyone in the room.  She definitely looked bigger.  It appears that there may have been some discrepancy, as she weighted 7 pounds 5 ounces at one day old (children usually lose 5-10% of their birth weight before gaining weight).  She was also 7 pounds 8.5 ounces at her four day old appointment.  I guess we will never know what her true birth weight was (aside from this), so we will go with it.


I can’t say enough about this sweet girl.  I wasn’t excited about the newborn stage, but the second she was put into my arms, I was smitten.  This is it.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I can say with certainty that our family feels complete with the addition of this little nugget.  I learned yet again that the best things in life go unplanned and you should always be prepared for anything.  As I write this post she is already changing so much (only 5 days out).  This pregnancy just feels different.  It’s not about me anymore.  We have this family unit now that truly comes first.  While I look forward to continuing to share my fitness journey with y’all, how fast I lose the weight (and get back to my old elite fit self) is the least of my priorities.  No pressure.  Get ready for baby picture overload and regular postpartum updates the next few weeks.