Actress and MAED founder Denise Vasi is pregnant with her second. Here this NYC born, LA-living mama, shares the epic tale of when her husband delivered their daughter at her first home birth! Plus, her no due date mindset, food & vitamin combining, waking up at 4:00am on the daily and why she feels ageless. @denisevasi
Boy or girl?
We know, but we’re keeping it a secret!
I’m not a “due date” type of gal, but the baby’s supposed to arrive sometime mid-June. The truth is that no one actually knows when they’re due and it’s all a guesstimate anyway.
With Lennox Mae, my first, I went twelve days past her expected due date. We didn’t see a typical western doctor and had an epic home birth. With this pregnancy, I plan to do the same (maybe with a little less flare), so long as everything continues to go well.
Epic birth? That sounds wild; tell us about your first experience:
She’s superhuman! That child came into the world two hours front to back, and it happened so fast that my husband delivered her. My midwife was five minutes behind in traffic, and no one expected her to come so quickly because it was my first. Plus, I had three false alarms leading up to her birth, so when I finally went into labor, no one believed me — I was like the pregnant girl who cried wolf!
On the morning of what’s now my daughter’s birthday, my best girlfriend went into labor. When she texted me that her water broke, I went into overdrive, determined to have my baby on the same day. I turned up the kundalini music, began vigorously bouncing on the medicine ball and dry pumping. By the time my husband came home and saw what was happening, I exclaimed: “Do you want to have this baby or not!?” then continued: “After bouncing, we’re going for a hike, running up the Santa Monica stairs, and we’re having sex tonight!”
A few hours after all the shenanigans, and with some determination, my plug came out. I called my midwife, and she instructed me to chill, but I kept saying: “I think this is it!” While I was waiting for her to arrive, I went to use the bathroom, and my daughter’s head popped out and then popped back in!! Shocked, I lept up, grabbed my vagina and yelled, “THE BABY IS COMING!!” I laid down on my floor, my husband rushed in, I pushed three times, and out she came in her amniotic sac with her arms spread her out, and her eyes wide open! This child came into this world with a purpose, and to this day that is exactly who she is.
Are you going to a midwife, doula, or more traditional western doctor?
With Lennox Mae and this pregnancy, I’ve had both a midwife and doula. The midwifery philosophy calls for the least amount of interference and technology as possible. We don’t scan the baby at every appointment and instead measure the belly to gauge progress and listen to the heartbeat with a doppler.
Did you go for ultrasounds at all?
Typically a woman will go to her doctor — which mind you is a business — for frequent appointments plus ultrasounds, and then the insurance company is billed. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are mandatory ultrasounds but not as many as a standard doctor would suggest when the pregnancy is healthy. With Lennox Mae I did three in total, and with this baby, I have done two so far. The first one tells you that you’re pregnant and the embryo is healthy. The second one at 20-weeks checks growth and organ development along with blood work to make sure there are no genetic issues.
Wellness is a big deal for you; what are your top hacks during pregnancy?
Ya, major! Right now I’m taking a few things that I wouldn’t usually, like prenatal vitamins. Taking a prenatal vitamin is very important; however, you want to be sure that you have the right prenatal vitamin as everyone is different. For example, I have a genetic condition wherein I don’t absorb folate (it’s not uncommon as something like 50% of the population has this condition and don’t know it) which is a crucial ingredient of prenatal vitamins. Since my body blocks folate, I need to take a separate pill to ensure that I’m absorbing the nutrients when I’m taking my prenatal.
Plus, I practice vitamin + food combining, which teaches combining supplements with a specific food or another pill so that your body can best absorb the nutrient. For example, when I take vitamin D, I always have it with a half avocado, because the healthy fat will help to absorb the vitamin better. The way that you put things together enhances their effect so that your body gets the most out of it.
From food combining to supplements, what are your practices while pregnant?
When pregnant I’m less concerned with rules and more focused on listening to what my body needs. Leading up to this pregnancy, I didn’t know if my body was going to crave meat, but I prepared myself for that possibility (I’m yet to crave it). Everything that I follow is an 80/20 rule. I don’t believe in this idea of “cheating,” because whom are you cheating? Nor do I like the term “cheat day.” Instead I prefer to say we indulge.
Do you feel that eating right effects the way you feel?
I see a phenomenal eastern doctor that does a comprehensive analysis of blood work on me once a year. Information is power, and when you act on that information by eliminating ingredients that don’t work with your body, the effects are incredibly powerful. I always tell people that if you’re looking to make changes in the way you feel, start with food and information. Seek a professional that has the full scope and can advise on nutrition but also does blood work. Plus, read up on wonderful sites (like mine), for information as well.
Before I go out to my community and say: “let’s try this” I consult Dr. Drew Francis at Golden Cabinet. He’s my go-to for everything. I ask him if I can try something new, how to monitor it, and how to share it with my community? I’m hyper-focused on making sure that I’m giving people solid information.
What’s your morning routine both in real-life and pregnant-life?
Mornings are charged for me, especially when my husband is traveling for work. I wake up at 4 am to start my workday and begin with a celery juice, followed by a scoop of almond butter, Granola Eight Golden Turmeric, fruit, and almond milk about 30 minutes after. Once Lennox Mae is up, I make her breakfast, and we sit together; I have half an avocado along with faux sausages from Beyond Meat, and she has fruit followed by eggs. I’m also eating eggs and a little bit of dairy right now which I typically wouldn’t, but my midwife insists.
For lunch, I’ll have a gluten-free egg burrito with avocado, (lots of avocados in my life), with a green juice to follow, and something sweet in the afternoon. I’m obsessed with Kippy’s, a superfood non-dairy ice-cream spot in Venice with flavors like Charcoal and Turmeric.
Dinner is generally rice and beans, which is very Puerto Rican of me, but also very food combining of me. Plus, like I said, there’s always an avocado around.
How did you decide to launch MAED?
Caring for myself started when I was an actress and had to look a certain way, especially with sex scenes! Then when I got pregnant with my daughter, I suddenly realized it went far beyond what I was putting in/on my body, but also what was in our home. I went down a rabbit hole of cleansing my mind, body, and house to minimize my families exposure to toxins. Over time I began sharing less about The Emmys and more about wellness, clean living, and taking care of my baby & myself. All of a sudden my community shifted, and I began to grow a more female-centric community that was interested in living this lifestyle. When my audience started to ask for a permanent resource for information, MAED was born.
How do you manage MAED and being a mom?
I’m a night owl, plus I’m hyper-creative and idea-driven at night. Becoming a mom took some adjustment. The initial transition was challenging, especially when she started school because I suddenly had to be “on” in the morning. Therefore, while I’m not naturally a morning person, as time and life progress I’ve had to make shifts. I find that waking up at 4 am is the only way to get everything accomplished.
Listen to your body, because if you listen carefully, your body and your baby have a way of communicating with you.