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Weekend Update: Runners, Balloons, and Tigers. Oh, My!

Calvin’s been gnawing on his fingers all week long.  The chewing combined with excessive fussiness, picky eating, and constantly needing mommy to hold him tells me that he must certainly be teething.

Here we go again!

Two year-old molars are the next to surface, and I hope they don’t take months and months to break through the gums.  I don’t know if Calvin Steve and I can take it!

I packed away my mei tai carrier a couple months ago since Calvin’s running and jumping and yearning for more and more independence all the time.  But, this week, I rummaged through every bin and shelf until I located it.  Babywearing my teething toddler has been such a sanity check in the early evening while I’m trying to prepare dinner.

Saturday morning, I woke up very early to make it to the University of Virginia track by 7:15 A.M. to set up a table for the Women’s Four-Miler Training Program.  I was cordially invited (representing my chiropractic practice) to attend to answer questions about running injuries, stretches, and other similar inquiries.  This super-energized program is mostly geared to helping new or first-time runners safely and effectively train for 11 weeks to complete a four mile race.  Proceeds from the event raise money for breast cancer research.

There were over 1000 women at the track early on Saturday morning doing their run or walk workout, stretching out together and listening to pumped up music blaring over loud speakers.  This phenomenal program is currently led by the friendly and mega-energetic Joan Esposito.

Joan Esposito at the Women's Four Miler Training Program on the UVa track

Joan Esposito at the Women's Four Miler Training Program on the UVa track

That morning, I left the home before my son awoke.

Once I got home, Steve told me that he took Calvin with him to the City Market to buy produce and grass-fed beef.  Calvin was grumpy and fussy, and he said “Mama” non-stop.

So, what happened once I walked into the door to greet him?

Nothing.  He looked up casually as if to say, “Oh, you’re here now.  Whatever.”  Then, he kept playing with his toy cars.  If his world was falling apart because I wasn’t around, he certainly wasn’t going to let me know it.

However, he didn’t have another fussy meltdown for the rest of the day.  So, I guess that’s a plus.

We breakfasted together as a family, then Steve dashed off to complete some tree cutting work.  Meanwhile, Calvin and I attended the fun and lively open house of the UVA Child Development Labs.  Calvin had participated in some studies earlier in the summer, but it was loads of fun to play with balloons and bubbles, listen to live music, finger paint, and eat yummy snacks.

Up and away at UVA's CDL

Up and away at UVA's CDL

Pssst.  It’s free to sign up your child ages 0-10 to participate in studies that help the psychology undergraduate and graduate students.  I was a psychology major in undergraduate, and I would have loved to observe or learn from studies with children instead of solely reading about childhood learning through a textbook.  The tests are short, usually playtime fun, and you get to observe your child the entire time!

Calvin's first tattooWhen Calvin got his first temporary tatoo, he didn’t know quite what to do with it.  He sorta scratched at it and looked puzzled.  I told him it was a Tiger booboo.  That seemed to make sense to him.

finger painting at the UVA CDL open houseHands down (no pun intended), Calvin’s favorite activity of the day was the finger painting.  He kept running back to the table, butting in front of other kids and smashing his hands on the table.  I think I’ll look up a recipe to create washable homemade finger paints so we can continue the fun at home.

Old Time Music received a standing ovation from Calvin

Old Time Music received a standing ovation from Calvin

Calvin had a busy day with us.  I love the free family fun in Charlottesville!  Hope y’all had a great weekend.

Tell me what you did with your family!

–By Dr. Dolly
Subscribe // Twitter me: drdolly

Pump Up the Iron, Prego Gals

In a recent article published in the American Chiropractor Association News by Nataliya Schetchikova, PhD, recent research indicates that

“Exercising during a healthy pregnancy can help prevent excessive weight gain, significantly reduce the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus and preeclampsia, prepare the body for childbirth, and reduce the intensity of pregnancy-induced low back pain.”

A survey of pregnant women found that even though most women received advice about physical activity during pregnancy, they considered relaxation and rest more important than physical activity.  Often doctors don’t do their job to help their pregnant patients find suitable exercise regimens.  Typically, physicians discuss exercise with their patients, but they only help select an exercise program in only 10 percent of cases.  Nearly 70 percent of expecting women have been advised by health care providers to restrict their exercise routines according to the more conservative guidelines (circa 1985) set forth by the American Council of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) instead of current guidelines which encourage women to take an individualized approach to fitness and exercise.

According to Marianne Gengenbach, DC, DACBSP, and co-author of several sports chiropractic textbooks,

Doctors are worried that if they encourage a pregnant woman to exercise and something happens, they’ll be liable, so they tend to be cautious.  But, it’s accepted nowadays that if you are healthy and have a healthy pregnancy, exercise helps to maintain flexibility

Other benefits of exercise during pregnancy include avoiding excess weight gain and maintaining good fitness habits.  Some studies indicate that delivery is easier for women who exercised during pregnancy.

However, pregnancy is not the time to take up a new and rigorous fitness routine.  Women who are fit prior to conception can monitor heart rate (HR) levels and not let HR go above 140 bpm throughout pregnancy.  These women can typically maintain their previous workout regimen as long as they avoid contact and high impact sports.  According to Maida Taylor, MD (a San Francisco-based OB-GYN), “Women who have not been fit can condition themselves [during pregnancy], but they must take things more slowly.”  They should definitely seek the advice of a health care provider before beginning a fitness routine during pregnancy.

Set Goals

Goal setting helps women stick with a program.  In healthy pregnancies where women don’t have any obstetric complications, the ACOG recommends women participate in 30 minutes or more of daily moderate exercise.  Setting a goal which includes frequency and time of day can really help women stick to the program (assuming they’re past the point of utter and complete fatigue and exhaustion due to supporting new life formation in the first trimester).

How a women feels during the different days of pregnancy definitely dictates what she should do.  If she needs to rest, then by all means, she should rest.  But, if she’s feeling “blah” but isn’t fatigued beyond measure, than a little exercise can be a great endorphin-releasing way to add a little pep in her step.

New to Exercise

If a woman is new to exercise, the best way to begin is through a walking program which is something that can be maintained all throughout pregnancy and even long after baby’s born.  Begin with 15 to 20 minutes a day.  Then, do the same amount of time, but twice a day.  Gradually increase to 45 minutes up to 1 hour.  Don’t walk at a pace beyond which you’re able to carry on a conversation so that you don’t overexert yourself.  For added precaution, wear a heart rate monitor so that you’re able to slow down if your heart rate approaches 140 bpm.  Suddenly stopping completely will only cause an increase in your heart rate, so slow down for a few minutes to cach your breath before you stop completely.

Pregnant Elite Athletes

Dr. Taylor is a former long-distance swimmer who treated elite swimmers, runners, triathletes, and ultra-marathoners.  She says,

Active women with healthy pregnancies don’t necessarily need to limit their exercise routines in pregnancy.  Elite athletes don’t want ot get injured, and they know how to maintain a balance between pregnancy and their sport.  If you maintain any previous exercise at the same level, your level of fitness will increase because of hte level of energy expenditure and oxygen consumption in pregnancy — it’s like running with weights on.  If you cut back on exercise, you can still maintain your level of fitness.

Tailor Exercise Uniquely to You

Exercise needs to be tailored to the individual.  The recommended HR of 140 beats per minute for a pregnant woman in her 20s to 30s should still be gauged to individual tolerance.  Flexibility training through pre-natal yoga and stretches help with balance when the woman’s center of balance is constantly changing.  Walking on an elliptical trainer or treadmill decrease the amount of impact on the body in comparison to the pavement.  In extremely hot or cold climates, walking on an indoor track or inside a shopping mall can prevent overheating of core temperature which may lead to birth defects.

Recommendations by Trimester

Tri 1: Almost anything is acceptible except contact sports.  Avoid surpassing 140 bpm on your heart rate for any activity.  It’s best to avoid any sit-ups or crunches or any similar exercise.

Tri 2: Reduce the amount of activities that have impact.  Jogging may need to transform into walking.  Golf may need to remain and chipping and putting.  Tennis may need to shift from volleying with a partner to hitting balls against the wall while remaining fairly stationary.  Martial artists should avoid kicks higher than the knee, jumping, and any strikes in the region of the belly.

Tri 3: Stick with walking, yoga, pilates, stretching, and swimming.  Martial artists should stick to walking through kata, hyungs, or forms and no high speed or sharp movements.

Light weight lifting throughout pregnancy is helpful to keep muscles tone and strong for delivery and eventually holding and carrying a baby.  Upper body weight lifting as well as deep knee squats (no weight or very light weight) and lunges are excellent, low-impact exercises which can be maintained throughout pregnancy.


The best advice for staying healthy during pregnancy is to use common sense and to listen to your body.  If you’re tired, rest.  If a more significant warning arises, stop exercise and contact your health care provider immediately.

Warning signs include: unusual bleeding, spotting, heavy breathing, dizziness, headache, chest pain, feeling decreased fetal movement.

Contraindications to exercise include:

multiple gestation, significant history of miscarriages or premature births, and autoimmune diseases, pregnancy-induced hypertension, premature rupture of membranes, pre-term labor in previous pregnancies, placenta previa, and fetal growth retardation.

General Sport Guidelines


  • Cycling – great in early pregnancy, however, balance problems could result in later pregnancy
  • Swimming – it’s been shown to increase the mother’s fitness without any risk to the woman or fetus
  • Water aerobics – may reduce pregnancy-induced low back pain even more than a land-based physical exercise program
  • Weight lifting – it helps to strengthen the postural muscles and maintain muscle tone.  As ligaments and tendons loosen during pregnancy, there is an increased risk for sprains.  So, proceed with caution and stick with light weights and high reps.


  • Scuba diving – increased risk to fetus due to inability to filter bubble formation
  • Contact sports
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Ice hockey
    • Soccer
    • Martial arts sparring
  • High-impact sports
    • jumping rope
    • long-distance running
    • sprinting
  • Sports with high risk for falling
    • gymnastics
    • horseback riding
    • mountain climbing
    • raquet sports
    • skating
    • skiing

Resource: Schetchikova, N. Like running with weights. ACAnews. June 2008. p. 26-8.

Sucking Wind

Used the B.O.B. Revolution jogging stroller today for the first time as a JOGGING stroller.  Woah.  Was I gulping down the wind.  I knew it’d be more of a walk-run, than a full-blown run.  But, with the steep hills, and my low VO2, it was TOUGH.  But, it was fun.  Calvin LURVED going fast especially on the brick sidewalks at the UVa grounds.

I kinda waited a long time to attempt to get back into running.  I didn’t want to negatively affect my milk supply or my joints while breastfeeding…so, I stuck with swimming and martial arts.  Even that was a bit much since I injured my lateral collateral ligament in my knee…another reason I was slow to get back to the run thing.

Also, my philosophy on fitness has changed.  Running does not equal fit–although most people think it does.  Since it’s been 1.5 years since I’ve done ANY running, I need to at least be able to go short distances.  Short distances pushing a 20 pound baby is a very, very good workout.  Anaerobic and aerobic all rolled into one.

Whew!  I think I prefer swimming.  I definitely have a long way to go to be able to run 2-3 miles non-stop up hills while pushing a stroller.  But hey, I’m always up for a challenge.

Bad Landing

I had a series of firsts yesterday:

  • First time I ever passed out or went into shock.
  • First time I was ever admitted to the ER
  • First time using crutches

Meanwhile, Steve brings Calvin to me to nurse him and Steve carries him from room to room and changes his diaper while I try not to kill myself on the crutches.

How did all this happen?  I went to karate class Thursday night, which was being taught by Steve.  Steve has a reputation for running a tough workout in class.  I know that halfway through class I was looking at the clock wishing I was still at home relaxing.  Anyway, at the end of class, he asked us to run toward him, take a flying leap and do various jump kicks on the target pads he was holding.

After my second attempt at the flying side kick, I smacked that target pad with a lot of force and got some great air on my flying kick, but then there came the issue of landing . . . while carrying a lot of momentum, oh, and landing sideways.  The minute I hit the mat, I heard my knee cavitate laterally.  That is NOT a good sound.  It hurt, and I hobbled back to the end of the line, but I was still able to continue to participate in class.

After class, I took a few minutes to change in the locker room, and those brief moments of cooling down were just enough for my knee to stiffen up.  I let Steve know about it and I asked him to evaluate it with a few orthopedic tests.  He said the lateral collateral ligament felt “gummy” and “mushy” compared to my good leg.  But, it didn’t feel like anything had completely ruptured.

He told me to put ice on it as soon as I went home.  Well, that’s when the next problem began.  I put on a gel ice pack, and waited for it to get numb, but the pain was pretty intense, and it never quite numbed up for me.  So, he told me to throw on another ice pack (that was a mistake).  At this point, my skin started to feel very uncomfortable.  It was more than just red, it was red, AND white, and puffy and it felt super irritated.  I knew I was getting that adverse reaction to ice because it had been on for too long.

The next day, my skin had turned purple and blistered because it had been “burned” from the ice.

Anyway, the reason I ended up in the ER is because I had a tough time sleeping after feeding Calvin at 2:30am.  I just couldn’t get comfortable.  Every position hurt my knee so much so that I just couldn’t relax.  Finally, by 4:30AM, I needed to go to the bathroom.  So, as I proceeded to stand up and walk down the hall, I remarked at how much worse my knee felt compared to earlier in the evening.  Before, I could walk on it with some discomfort.  Now, I was basically hopping on my good leg because I couldn’t put any weight on it.

I asked Steve to stay with me in the bathroom since I knew I needed help getting back to the bedroom.  While I was sitting down, I kept telling him how the pain was pretty intense, and that it was making me nauseous.  I told him I needed to throw up.  He handed me a bucket . . . and that was the last thing I remembered.

A few minutes later, I woke up from what I thought was a nice peaceful deep sleep (finally!  i fell asleep).  Steve was screaming at me, and he kept saying “stay with me!”  He sounded like he was in a tunnel.  I knew he was screaming, but it sounded muffled, and my ears were ringing.  I desperately wanted to go back to sleep, but I could tell Steve was freaked out, which was starting to freak me out.

I asked him, “what’s wrong? why are you yelling? what’s going on? you’re starting to scare me” thinking he was going to wake up Calvin from all the racket he was making.  Meanwhile I was thinking, why am I sitting on the bathroom counter?  Then, I told Steve, “I can’t hear you” because he sounded so distant and muffled.  He asked, “you can’t hear me, but you’re talking to me and you just scared the crap out of me!”  He started to sound louder and the ringing in my ears got more intense.

He asked me how my knee was doing.  For a few brief moments, it felt a lot better.  In fact, I didn’t feel any pain, and I was able to stand on both legs and walk down the hall to the bedroom (adrenaline does crazy things to you).  He told me he’d put me on the counter because I went into shock, dropped the bucket, eyes rolled back in my head, and I was groaning.  He was about to carry me out to the living room to call the ambulance, when I came to.   He thought I just went into shock/passed out from the pain, but he wanted to make sure it wasn’t something more serious like a blood clot or a stroke (very very unlikely, but he was scared).

By this time, Steve called his parents and ask them to come over and help out with Calvin so he could take me to the ER to get checked out.  And, by this time, the pain was off the scale.  Steve had to basically carry me out to the car.  Once in the ER, I was wheeled around in a wheel chair (another first).

The rad tech from hell wanted to take x-rays of my knee and manhandle me.  Steve asked her if she needed my help getting me on the table and she said no, told him to get out.  Then she told me to get up on the table.  Yeah right, that was impossible without 2 railings.  I asked her to call my husband in to help lift me on it.  Then, she tried to straighten out my knee which had stiffened into a bent position while I was in the wheel chair.  I don’t know why she didn’t try to take the AP sunrise view instead.

Fracture was ruled out (I knew it was soft tissue).  They gave me some Tylenol which is safe while nursing, and it definitely took the edge off the pain.  They gave me a knee brace, and told me to rest.

I went to the acupuncturist immediately after we left the ER, and her treatment took the pain down several more levels.  I only took Tylenol twice since the ER, and haven’t needed it since last night.  I’ve been doing a lot of vitamins, supplements, and homeopathic things to bring down the inflammation and to promote healing.

So, 4 months post partum, landing from a flying side kick isn’t the best idea.  In fact, I had no idea that my body would still be this weak and fragile.  It’s frustrating that it’s that way.  So, once I can walk normally again, I’ll do some therapy in the pool to get back full range of motion.

Testing . . . I think

It’s been so awesome to be able to get back to training post pregnancy and Calvin’s birthday.  I definitely don’t work out nearly as long or as frequently as I used to, but I’ll take what opportunities that I can.  For awhile, I swam twice a week.  But, my ONLY options for working out pool or martial arts are Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Since it’s tough to do both, I have to pick.  Lately, I’ve been doing martial arts . . . and it’s been no less than 5 years since I trained regularly.  But, I’m AMAZED at how quickly muscle memory returns.

The Martial Arts Institute owner asked if I wanted to test for a colored belt this week.  Steve wants me to wait until April so I can test for a higher belt, but the school owner wants me to just git ‘er done this week.

I honestly don’t mind either way, but I do look forward to the experience of the test.  I did a test in ninjutsu when we trained with some folks in the military, but I’ve never before tested in Tang Soo Do.

My test for a green belt, 6th gup, is tentatively scheduled for Thursday.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

The Incredible Shrinking Belly

Breastfeeding rocks! The initial uterine contractions post-partum were a little uncomfortable, but catnip tea and crampbark helped to take the edge off the first couple of days. Earlier this week, I noticed the my belly button had gone from flat and level with the rest of my belly back to its normal indented state. And, even though my belly isn’t back to pre-pregnancy state (that’ll be a few more months yet), it’s seriously amazing at how quickly the uterus atrophies and allows the belly to shrink down!

However, without a baby inside to add firmness to the belly, everything still feels a little loose and jiggly. Whenever I laugh, I think about that line from “Twas the Night Before Christmas”

“He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.”

Yes, that’s EXACTLY what happens when I laugh! My rectus abdominis muscles have been stretched like loose rubber bands. And, once I heal enough to be able to comfortably walk and sit, then I’ll start doing things like squats and other core strengthening to rebuild my muscles.

34 Weeks

Belly’s bustin’ out!  We’re packing up to move back to PA tomorrow morning, super early!  I’ll see Steve Sunday night, and we’ll celebrate our 7 year anniversary on Monday.

I’m so glad to finally be done with preceptorship.  I can FINALLY rest & relax for the remainder of this pregnancy.  I haven’t had a chance to do any prep for the baby yet: wash sheets & blankets, get the crib together, and purchase some basic items that would be nice to have on hand for the birth and for the baby.  But, that’ll just have to wait until we’re at least back in the same time zone as where I plan to deliver!

I’m hoping I’ll have enough energy (now that I won’t be working 50 hours a week) to do the martial arts stick fighting class twice a week until the baby’s due.  I’ll play it by ear and see how I feel.  I don’t even know if I’m going to know what to do with myself and having so much time off for the next 6 weeks!