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Bugaboo Bee5 Launch | Today’s Most Comfortable & Stylish Compact Stroller

The last several months have been a bit surreal but now things are starting to get real. Sleeping has become a bit more difficult at night. My belly has started to restrict my mobility and it’s now time to start thinking about getting those first few big items for the “bean” like a car seat, stroller and decorating the nursery. I would be lying if I said this wasn’t a bit overwhelming and if I’m feeling this way, I can only imagine what’s going on in poor Réjean’s mind right now. So…we’re taking baby steps (no pun intended) and beginning with our search for the perfect strollers.

The second I discovered I was pregnant I couldn’t help but start paying attention to the strollers that parents were pushing around the city. And by “paying attention”, I mean “obsessing”. Even stopping a more mother’s than I would like to admit, on their walks to ask them how they felt about their buggy choice. Call me crazy, but as a first time, slightly neurotic mom-to-be, I just want to make sure I make the best possible decision when it comes to a chariot for my child.

Sasha Exeter - Bugaboo Bee5 Toronto Launch

So yes, there’s a ton of stroller options on the market and it’s nice to know that you can really narrow the search down significantly by not only determining a budget but also thinking about your current lifestyle and/or the lifestyle you aspire to have once your little one arrives. I started the search very early on and knew that I wanted a stroller that can transition easily with my child from newborn to toddler. Well to be fair, I initially started the search when I was pregnant the first time last fall before my miscarriage and had identified Bugaboo as one of my top stroller options, so we were ahead of the game this time around when we confirmed the news we were expecting again. With our extremely active lives, plus our love for travel and endless adventures, we desperately need a stroller that can not only hold up against our crazy lifestyle, but look good while doing it also.

Sasha Exeter - Bugaboo Bee5 Toronto Launch

Sasha Exeter - Bugaboo Bee5 Toronto Launch

Sasha Exeter - Bugaboo Bee5 Toronto Launch

Sasha Exeter - Bugaboo Bee5 Toronto Launch

Sasha Exeter - Bugaboo Bee5 Toronto Launch

Sasha Exeter - Bugaboo Bee5 Toronto Launch

Sasha Exeter - Bugaboo Bee5 Toronto Launch

Sasha Exeter - Bugaboo Bee5 Toronto Launch

Sasha Exeter - Bugaboo Bee5 Toronto Launch

Sasha Exeter - Bugaboo Bee5 Toronto Launch

Sasha Exeter - Bugaboo Bee5 Toronto Launch

Bugaboo’s stroller lineup is legit impressive and trust me, this makes choosing one from the five current options not an easy task but from the looks of it, the bean may be lucky to have a couple set of wheels because I don’t think Réjean and I could survive without a running stroller as well. I believe what’s made the brand so popular amongst Mom’s and Dad’s alike is that there truly is a stroller for everyone. When it comes to personal style, everyone is unique in their own way when it comes to design preferences and aesthetics, so why should it be any different when it comes to your baby’s stroller right? What I love so much about Bugaboo is that the brand values the importance of individuality allowing you to “Show Your Style”  – meaning; whether your a “Fashionista”, “Dreamer”,  “Urbanite” or a “Health Nut” – like me, they’ve got you covered. Last week I got to kick off my partnership with the brand at the media launch of the new Bugaboo Bee⁵ at Planta with the most fab moms and moms-to-be in the city. It’s there where I got a deep dive on the most comfortable and stylish compact stroller currently on the market, while also getting pampered, noshing on the best vegan food, and customizing my very own Bugaboo embroidered bag.

Sasha Exeter - Bugaboo Bee5 Toronto Launch

I was so conditioned in the past to think of strollers as being heavy, clunky, difficult to maneuver, limiting and not at all stylish but the Bugaboo Bee⁵ will forever change the game for urban moms and dads like us. So yah, no embarrassing moments taking 20 minutes trying to open or close the stroller in a mall parking lot with a screaming baby on your hip or struggling to hop into an Uber or the subway during rush hour downtown. The super compact chassis has a one-hand, one-piece fold that makes things so ridiculously seamless, it’s going to make even me, clumsiest woman alive, look like a consummate pro on my first spin outside with the baby.

And while of course functionality is key, I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty damn amazing that the Bugaboo Bee⁵ is highly customizable, allowing me to mix and match with countless different colour options to help reflect my own personal style; from bold or minimal basics from the Core Collection, muted tones from the Premium Collection or the super adorable prints from the Signature Collection. My style is usually very minimal but I am loving the idea of treating the stroller as an accessory and having a pop of colour on the canopy. Now with all the basics covered on how this new and very much improved Bugaboo stroller is going to help lighten our load and enhance our new journey, in the upcoming weeks I will be moving on to the best part – choosing colour combos and accessories. So, stay tuned to find out how I showcase my #HealthNut stroller personality in our upcoming customized colour reveal and “buggy breakdown” soon!

For more information on the Bugaboo Bee⁵ and for some more stroller inspo head to Bugaboo.com and or follow the hashtags #BugabooBee5 and #BugabooStyle on your Instagram.

My Botanical Skincare Regimen with Yves Rocher

When you become pregnant, the first thing you realize is almost every product you were using prior to conceiving has a warning label on the packaging that states, “Consult a physician if you are pregnant or breastfeeding“. This came as a huge shock to me. I like to consider myself to be relatively healthy, sticking to the better alternatives when it comes to what I put in my mouth and on skin, however I’ve been forced to take a deep dive into the skincare products I was using and had to essentially push 80% of the products in my old routine towards the back of my bathroom cabinet – temporarily. Ok sure, most people that are marginally intelligent would assume that products containing retinol, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and other ingredients for fighting acne would be strongly prohibited when you’re with child, but like who knew one has to also be cautious about other hidden ingredients essential oils?

In late 2016, I re-discovered Yves Rocher. I say “re-discovered” because I’ve known about the brand for as long as I can remember but had never been actually acquainted first hand with their products until last summer. So what attracted me to the heritage French company that was started 50 years ago? Yves Rocher pioneered botanical beauty and unlike their competitors, their uniqueness lies in the fact that they also control every single step of the production cycle, essentially allowing them to guarantee the highest quality and safety in all their products, while also being mindful and reducing the impact they have on the environment along the way. Trust me, I found all this hard to believe when I first did my research but later learned that this botanical based skincare brand is only possible because of Yves Rocher’s investment into their very own botanical garden at their headquarters in La Gacilly, France. And if that’s not enough, their own botanists and ethnobotonists whose main job is to scour the five continents in search of the most efficient and innovative plant derived ingredients for optimal looking skin.

I often giggle out loud  when I tell my much younger friends how much my skincare routine has changed over the last decade. I am almost embarrassed to say this but in my twenties I was barely getting away with using only two products on my face and one didn’t really even constitute a real facial moisturizer as I was somehow lathering whatever lotion I was using on my body for my face. Yikes! And toner…I didn’t even know what the hell that was at the time. Well, I guess you can say that I am older and much wiser now, taking way more time these days with pre-cleansing, exfoliating, toning, hydrating, and moisturizing my skin. I am a firm believer that it’s not necessary to commit your entire beauty regimen to just one line of products and Yves Rocher has become the perfect compliment to the rest of my lengthy, but necessary, routine. Here’s a little look into my current rotation of botanical beauty products.

First things first, just simply using a cleanser won’t clear all the debris, makeup and dirt off your face. I learned this one the hard way. For years, I thought my gel cleansers were doing an adequate job of removing all traces of dirt to only discover at times I was still leaving remains of the day’s makeup behind on my white pillowcases.  Now, I resort to a few things to ensure I get a deep clean both morning and night. I start by using the Hydra Végétal Facial Wipes. They are great at prepping my face for the next step while also moisturizing at the same time and I always follow up with the White Botanical Exceptional Cleansing Oil. It sounds a bit much before even using my gel cleanser I know, but I’ve found it to be crucial. Also using a cleansing spin brush when washing my face with Yves Rocher’s Hydra Végétal Refreshing Cleansing Gel.

Once the clean is all clean, that’s when the real magic happens. Women all love exfoliators. At least for me, I always feel that the grainy texture is going the extra mile to slough away dead skin and dirt. And what’s better than exfoliation? Custom exfoliation thanks to the brand’s Scrub to Mix product, that adapts to the needs of your skin. With seven magical ingredients, mixed with your desired amount of water (or even paired with a cleanser) it never fails at leaving skin unbelievably clean, soft and fresh. Leaving my face prepped for the next step using my go-to toner.

Photography by Bettina Bogar

For the last several months I have been testing out the brands Sensitive Végétal line of products in an effort to be even more kinder to my skin. Tested under strict dermalogical supervision, the products contain no colorants, parabens or perfumes, so basically music to a mom-to-be’s ears. The line’s key ingredient, Sigesbeckia Orientalis, works wonders in soothing, repairing and protecting even the most reactive skin and at a time when your pregnancy hormones are raging, gentle skincare is much welcomed. This line’s Soothing Cleansing Milk is just another layer of safety making sure my skin is completely clean and after applying my go-to serum boosters. I’ve been rounding out my daily routine with both Sensitive Végétal’s Targeted Comfort Eye Care, two generous pumps of the Intense Soothing Concentrate topped off with the Soothing Moisturizing Cream…and I love to go a little heavier on the latter at nighttime for extra hydration leaving my skin looking and feeling amazing by the morning.

To discover more about the brand’s very extensive line of products, retail & spa locations or to order online, head to YvesRocher.ca 

4 Things I Didn’t Expect During Pregnancy

Well, well, well…most of you that read my blog also follow me on social media so this will not be news to you but…we are expecting our first baby this summer. The official announcement was posted on my Instagram account exactly a month ago today and while most of you may have thought it was something I was itchy to share, it was quite the opposite. As this is not Rejean and I’s first pregnancy, we suffered a miscarriage last fall (ICYMI, you can read about it here) and were devastated. After the initial joy of discovering I was with child; panic, anxiety and fear immediately set in. I’m not so sure about Rej, but I was absolutely terrified history would repeat itself and I would end up with another non-viable pregnancy and I was unsure whether I could handle another disappointment . I knew even before taking the home test that I was pregnant but to be completely honest with you, I was in complete denial for the first two months until my naturopath confirmed that my HCG levels were soaring through the roof and that there was no mistaking the fact that there was a little bean inside me.

So what next…? After carrying for almost 12 weeks the last time around, I thought I had this first trimester thing figured out but apparently I knew nothing because EVERY SINGLE PREGNANCY IS DIFFERENT. While most women gloat about how amazing their pregnancy experience is, it is not all roses for everyone, trust me! The first four months for me were insanely difficult but thankfully I am starting to finally feel like a normal human being again with the occasional bout of nausea. We are safely in our second trimester and almost at the 20 week mark. I cannot believe how fast the time is going. As the anxiety starts to fade a bit day by day, it is replaced with more and more excitement…and can only hope that the rest of the pregnancy is smooth and stress free.

There’s so much shit that has thrown me for a loop during the first 18 weeks and because I am a control freak, I wish I could have anticipated them but that’s not real life. It’s impossible to foresee the pregnancy future and for one reason or another, a lot of women only stick to sharing the positive sides of their pregnancy. So on that note, I’ve decided to share some of the things I discovered on my own, that I wish SOMEBODY had told me.

DISRUPTED SLEEP CYCLES

Majority of women talk about suffering from severe exhaustion during their pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. I remember feeling like I was in a coma during my first pregnancy but this one has been a very different experience. Rather than wanting to sleep my days away, I was barely getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night during the first couple months. Pregnancy insomnia is definitely a thing and thankfully it’s not harmful to the baby however it can get rather annoying. I assumed that this issue would occur later into the pregnancy with the physical changes to my body making it more uncomfortable to sleep but these early onset sleep issues for me were caused by emotional changes, stress, anxiety and the need to urinate a few times a night.

I did figure out a few ways to help with getting more sleep in recent weeks because after this baby arrives, I don’t anticipate getting much sleep at all:

  1. Drink plenty of water during the day and minimize water intake after 7pm
  2. Eating to sleep works wonders. Eat a healthy dinner to avoid heart burn and just before bed have a late night snack, something high in protein to help keep blood sugar steady throughout the night
  3. Make your bed a comfortable cocoon to help induce your sleep once you climb between your sheets. Make sure to bolster or add a pillow underneath your feet, tuck a pillow between your knees and sleep on your side. Still struggling to get comfortable? Do not pass go or collect $200 – and purchase one of those full body pregnancy pillows. It will not disappoint – I swear by mine!
  4. Exercising during the day will give you the energy you need earlier on but help you feel tired later on so you can get rest at night
  5. When you’re carrying another human being your body temperature is elevated causing you to feel like you’re overheating at times. Feeling hot and sticky does not set the stage for a good night’s sleep. Consider adjusting the temperature in your home or closing a vent in your bedroom to create a cooler environment for sleep.

HAIR GROWTH/HAIR LOSS

Most pregnant women speak praises of hair growth during their pregnancy. Around week 20, it’s highly likely that your hair gets thicker, shinier and looks more healthy than normal, all credit to those lovely pregnant hormones – particularly estrogen. Not to mention the increased blood circulation and metabolism pumping mega nutrients to your hair and nails. Well turns out, everyone’s prenatal experience and every single pregnancy is quite different. I was thoroughly looking forward to the luscious locks of my dreams but I’ve ended up not having any hair gains at all and worse – suffering from prenatal hair loss. Sounds a bit weird I know and there may be several reasons why this occurred.

My natural hair back in August 2016. 

During my first pregnancy I experienced no change to my hair but last November, almost 30 days after my miscarriage, I started to notice a change to the texture of my hair, thickness and length. Initially nobody else seemed to notice the difference, not even my hairdresser who I see on a weekly basis. I am pretty sure at one point she thought I was absolutely nuts. By the end of December the changes were clearly noticeable and enough to not only make me worry but had me feeling a bit depressed. I know it sounds a bit shallow, but I took pride in my beautiful, natural hair that took what felt like a lifetime to grow to the length it was. I was almost certain that when I found out I was pregnant at the end of last year, my hair would start returning to it’s healthy or at least healthier state. Sadly, I have yet to see a difference, even with daily prenatal vitamins and folic acid supplements and it appears that I am still shedding a considerable amount of hair on a daily basis. After playing web detective, which I’m not normally an advocate of, I discovered that hair loss during pregnancy can occur for a variety of reasons; with hormonal changes being one of the top culprits. Whenever the body experiences a drastic hormonal change, your normal hair growth cycle can be halted or disorganized causing excessive hair shedding or what is called Telogen Effluvium. Usually caused by dramatic emotional experiences during pregnancy also explains the state of my locks after the emotional distress I experienced after my miscarriage. Nearly half way through this pregnancy, I am going to have to wait for the condition to correction itself and to see any improvements until at least six months postpartum. In the meantime, here’s what I am doing to help reduce the hair loss during this time:

  • Eat fruits and veggies that contain flavonoids and antioxidants that may add some protection to the hair follicles and encourage hair growth
  • Avoid unnecessary stress to the hair by staying away from tight ponytails, weaves, and braids
  • Use ultra hydrating shampoos and conditioners that contain biotin and silica
  • Avoid excessive heat from flatirons, curling irons and blow dryers. as much as possible

MIGRAINE PAIN

Migraine headaches are like the lottery when it comes to pregnancy. If you suffered from migraines prior to being pregnant chances are there’s a high probability that you will experience stronger ones during – especially early on. However, there are a few lucky ducks who claim that their migraines actually diminish during pregnancy. I unfortunately have not been the exception but rather the rule when it comes to prenatal migraines and spent several weeks hemmed up due to crippling head pain, which caused me to be sensitive to noise, smells, food and even exacerbated nausea and vomiting symptoms. What’s the culprit for this annoying head pain? If you’ve guessed good ‘ole pregnancy hormones, you guessed right! Sadly, there’s not much you can for the pain during a prenatal migraine episode but on the upside, these pain cycles won’t last forever. Most healthcare providers consider acetaminophen (regular strength Tylenol) to be the only safe over-the-counter pain relief option throughout pregnancy but I strongly urge you to consult your treating physician prior to taking any. I personally didn’t have much success with Tylenol and had to resort to a few other tactics to help me with manage the pain:

  • Meditation and mindfulness techniques
  • Exercise (prior to full blown migraine)
  • Cold compress to the forehead and neck
  • Regular massage therapy
  • Warm epsom salt baths
  • Stretching; both preventative and during an episode
  • Increase water intake

NOT ALL PRE-NATAL VITAMINS ARE CREATED EQUAL

This one sort of threw me for a loop and I think that it is one of my most surprising discoveries throughout during this time. Our mothers and grandmothers may not have been popping prenatal vitamins, or even know what they are for that matter, but our generation sure as hell has been made aware that it’s a critical part of having a healthy pregnancy and baby. During the first pregnancy, although planned, we were not aware that I should have been popping this magic pills prior to conniving and that the most important period for brain and neural tube development occurs within the first four weeks of pregnancy. With our lifestyles, nutritional habits and the state of our food being so different than it was in previous generations, it’s imperative that women get the right amount of essential vitamins and minerals during (and even before conception) to prevent neural tube defects and support your little one’s growth and development. I actually never stopped taking mine between the two pregnancies.

Seeing as though the health care industry has deemed these supplements so important for pregnant women, one would expect that there be a set standard amount of each vitamin and nutrient found in each pill. I found out about a month into my current pregnancy that this is in fact not the case and immediately made changes to my prenatal vitamin, choosing one with DHA (omega 3 docosahexaenoic acid that benefits vision and brain development) and also added an additional 1 mg of folic acid. Even though folic is already in my prenatal supplement, I wanted to add some more, just to be on the safe side. There is no harm with taking a bit extra folic acid because whatever the body doesn’t need, it will flush out in your urine. Here’s the basics that you should have in your prenatal vitamin:

  • 1 mg (1000 mcg) of folic acid (folate)
  • 400 IU (10 mcg) of vitamin D.
  • 200 to 300 mg of calcium
  • 75 mg of vitamin C.
  • 3 mg of B1 (thiamine)
  • 3 mg of B2 (riboflavin)
  • 20 mg of niacin.
  • 10 mcg of vitamin B12.
  • 10 mg of vitamin E.
  • 15 mg of zinc.
  • 20 mg of iron.
  • 150 mcg of iodine
  • 30 mg of biotin
  • 25 mg of magnesium
  • 150 mg of DHA

Pregnancy has turned out to be nothing but surprises so far and I’m sure this is just the beginning. Looking forward to sharing all the good, bad and the ugly with you all over the next several months until our little bean arrives.

Miscarriage: The Exclusive Club Women Don’t Want to Belong To

There’s a private club that exists and none of it’s members want to be a part of it. A “Secret Society”, if you will, that virtually nobody speaks of. Unlike most exclusive clubs where you receive a membership with pride, acceptance into this particular one causes feelings of shame, fear, sadness and anger. “Miscarriage” is the name of the club and I just happen to be it’s newest member. Today, a startling 1 in 3 pregnancies are not viable, meaning thirty-three percent of women looking to become pregnancy will suffer at least one miscarriage. What’s even more scary, the chance of losing a baby only increases with each miscarriage you have.

The Truth About Miscarriage

I’ve received flack in the past for not sharing more about my personal life. I guess sharing motivating and positive posts on social media make people think that I am not 100% authentic – which is ridiculous. I have been very open about my health condition and the challenges that arise from my kidney disease and chronic pain, but prefer to be able to keep some details on my partner, family and home life private. I have felt a wave of emotion since my miscarriage; a rotation of disbelief, sadness and anger, but the one thing that was constant was the feeling of loneliness and isolation. Feeling like I had nobody to talk or relate to. I still feel a bit that way and it’s been almost four weeks but I have noticed that the more I speak about it, the more I discover how many other women I had in my close circles that had gone through one or several miscarriages. I have literally spent the last two weeks picking my mouth off  the ground, I kid you not, from the amount of women who have revealed stories to me. So I have concluded that women who miscarry feel isolated because we are conditioned to not open up and talk about the topic. Like many women’s issues, we are expected to be silent. But if we did feel comfortable opening up, the chances of us meeting and engaging with other women going through the same thing would be significantly higher. I know this sort of post is a departure from the type of content I normally share however, I felt compelled to talk about it, in hopes to let other women who are going through the same thing know that they are allowed to mourn, they are allowed to be sad, they are allowed to feel anger and they shouldn’t feel guilty.

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

So here’s the deal…despite my plans for my three year goals which you have probably read earlier this year on my blog, my boyfriend and I decided this summer it was time to start trying to expand our little family. After spending so much time with our nephew Leilan, I think we fell in love with the idea of having our own and that adorable little chocolate chunk made us expedite our baby plans. Before I knew it, there was this sudden urge for me to become Mom. I think some of you were on to me after watching some of my snaps and Instagram stories – saying how maternal I looked with whenever I was around the baby. In August we tried and let me just say, we were shocked to discover I got pregnant so quickly –  on the first try no less. I am in my thirties and without getting too specific with a number – I would say closer to forty than I am to thirty. So naturally, with my age and kidney condition, we thought we may have a difficult time conceiving. Clearly not the case! When your pregnancy is planned, your mindset after learning you’re with child is extremely different than when it is unexpected. Planning for the baby started right away for the both of us. So here I was in late summer, pregnant with a much wanted baby desperately trying to hide the nausea, the gigantic size of my boobs, the changes to my body, which is hard when you normally work out in a sports bra and short tights, and the OVERWHELMING fatigue from clients, when all I wanted to do was scream from the rooftops that we were having a baby. This summer had by far been the busiest I’ve ever been since I started building my brand and as much as I should have probably slowed down, it was so difficult to turn down all the amazing opportunities coming my way.

The Truth About Miscarriage

We all know the rule of staying silent about a pregnancy during the first trimester but for some reason, I actually never believed that miscarriage would happen to me. Silly and ignorant of me to assume that, trust me I know. This was before I knew the startling high rate of miscarriages. I am healthy…take good care of myself. Eat well, exercise and I had no problems conceiving so I honestly thought that I would have a happy, normal pregnancy. Well, if Beyonce, who is basically a unicorn, can miscarry a child – it can happen to anyone.

Throughout the pregnancy I never felt any real major concerns to make me feel like something was wrong. At the time to my knowledge, all of my symptoms were textbook. I still felt pregnant. My hormones were still crazy making me feel like I wanted to rip my boyfriend’s head off like a praying mantis over the smallest things. More importantly, I had no spotting or bleeding. I did however notice some cramping starting around week six or seven but just attributed it to gas, because I had a lot of it, and from what I read, gas was a very normal side effect. Pregnancy has some uncomfortable symptoms and I kept mum about the gnawing pain not wanting to be one of those crazy first time mother’s calling my doctor with a different concern every single day. Once your 35, you’re considered high risk and with my kidney ailment, my family physician was on heightened alert. Highly suggesting I choose a traditional pregnancy path and birthing my plan for safety in lieu of having a home birth with the assistance of a midwife that we so badly wanted. Also, he suggested that I have an early ultrasound, just to ensure everything was ok in the early stages. I was a bag of emotions prior to the eight week ultrasound but mainly excited to hear the heartbeat our little creation for the first time with Rejean. After what seemed like 15 minutes of internal imaging from a technician with a very distressed look on her face, I knew right away something was terribly wrong. “Ms Exeter, are you sure you’re 8 weeks pregnant? Have you had any bleeding or concern that you may have had a miscarriage? Because I am not seeing a heartbeat“. If you’ve had an ultrasound for anything in your life, not just for a pregnancy, you know the technician is not allowed to say anything during your visit. Their job is to take the imaging and send it off to your doctor. Why she was divulging this information to me while I was still lying on the table still puzzles me to this day. My immediate panic made the technician back pedal quickly and tell me that it is not uncommon for a heartbeat to not be visible this early. It could also be because of the position of the fetus. But the red flag was not only the missing heartbeat but also that the size of the fetus in the dating ultrasound, which did not match how far along my doctor and I believed I was in my pregnancy. Results were sent to Dr. Fischer, who could have told me right then and there my pregnancy did not have a chance and discuss my next steps. I was given the “option” to re-test my HcG levels to check my hormone count but it came across as more of a suggestion and not mandatory. We were heading to Chicago a couple days later so I decided to just leave it until we returned. I wanted to enjoy some time away from my partner stress free. I also was in a bit of denial, trying to somehow convince myself that if my doctor felt there was an actual cause for serious concern, he would have said so right away, so all should be good. A follow up internal ultrasound was booked two weeks later and during that appointment it was confirmed there was still no heartbeat at 11 weeks. The fetus had in fact been dead inside of me for 6 weeks. Receiving this news felt like a building had literally came crashing down on me and I was tramped underneath piles of rubble with my lungs gasping for an ounce of air. I could not breathe. It was my worst nightmare coming true and a million and one questions began popping into my head. “Why meWhat is wrong with me? Am I too old? What did I do that could have caused this to happen? Why me? What is Rejean going to say? Is he not going to want to try again? And what about the people we told? How am I going to tell them this news? If the fetus had been dead all this time, why hadn’t it already expelled from my body?” I felt ashamed, terrified, stressed the fuck out and just so very sad.

After speaking with a midwife and my naturopath, I now know that I should have be told right after the first ultrasound that the pregnancy wasn’t viable and given options on next steps. I should have been instructed to have my HcG tested immediately and without question, a follow-up ultrasound should have been performed a couple days later, not a couple weeks. I was referred to St. Joseph’s hospital right after the it was determined it was a silent miscarriage to have a D&C procedure to remove the fetus and clear out any waste from the uterus. However after nine hours of blood work, internal pelvic exams and waiting, I was sent home without having it done due to lack of bed availability at the hospital which is ludicrous. I was instructed that I could either wait for nature to take it’s course or get a prescription for Misoprostol, a pill to help induce the passing of the fetus, and tylenol 3 for the pain. I decided to ask for the script from the doctor – I didn’t want something that wasn’t alive in me a second longer after knowing it was sitting there for six weeks. Well, after a long day in doctor’s offices and the hospital, by the time I was discharged at 1:30am, the bleeding and cramping has started to begin on it’s own. It was too much stress on my system the so my body finally started to do what it needed to do. Nobody really prepared me for what was going to happen next. Not even the OBGYN student assigned to me, who was doing her residency rounds that night. Before leaving the hospital we were not given adequate information to prepare for what was to come, which was 12 hours of severe cramping or contraction-like pain one would expect during labour, having to see the remains of my pregnancy leave my body and having to pass the placenta that had developed during the pregnancy a day later. Trust me, there are just some things you can’t unsee. I, like most women who had never had a miscarriage, thought it would be similar to a bowel movement – some stomach pains and a trip to the washroom and it was over…leaving you to deal with the emotions afterwards. Not even close – or at least for me in my situation. Drug free, it was very painful, extremely traumatic and afterwards feeling your pregnancy symptoms slowly disappear as your hormone levels start to drop, acts as a cold reminder that your body no longer houses another life.

So what happens next? Well, to be honest it’s a very strange and troubling thing. Although most women feel heartbroken, guilty, shameful and have endless internal questions, we for some reason feel as though we must put on a brave face and keep it moving. Go back to work like nothing ever happened, coo over a friend’s new baby or attend a baby shower with a smile when we’re devastated and still in mourning or hide our tears whenever we feel a wash of emotion come over us. Because while losing a friend or a relative activates an immediate support network of sympathy and understanding, losing a baby brings a very lonely silence. With the rise of miscarriages today, it is not uncommon for someone to know at least one person who has gone through it, however that person has probably spared their friend, sibling, colleague, etc all the gory details and ugly truth as to what they actually experienced, leaving people who have never been through it to say things like, “Oh wow, sorry to hear that. It’s just so common now…so many women have them.” – marginalizing the situation as if you have just contracted a common flu or cold. If I had a dollar for every time I heard this response, I would be retired and rich living on a private island in the Grenadines. Others will elaborate and mention that they know people what have miscarried and went on to have healthy pregnancies, which I will admit, is much more comforting than the former response. There are some, thank God, who have been so kind and showed so much empathy, filling our home with flowers and our hearts with love. For those who have called, texted or come by – I am so very appreciative!  As the calls decrease, the flowers die and the visitors stop coming, shit starts to get real. It had become extremely difficult for me to see a pregnant woman or a woman with a young baby. Believe me, I have come undone at the seams more times than I want to admit in public. What was probably the worst part was going from sharing the excitement of pregnancy with a few of my friends who were also expecting, to then having to watch them continue through their pregnancy while I was battling these emotions. It FUCKING sucks. It’s like a constant reminder of where I should have been if I was still pregnant and as a friend, I am so happy for them but still so very sad for myself. Not an ideal situation and it’s been hard for some of them to have empathy and understand that.

Just like many  other women who have just gone through a miscarriage, I wanted to find a way to make my feelings of sadness and lost disappear as soon as possible. So my first thought was to get pregnant right away. Sounds absolutely nuts doesn’t it? Well, it would to me if someone else told me that. My advice to someone else would be to chill, rest, take some time to digest, etc but nope, I had my mind set on a baby and decided that I needed to get pregnant ASAP. There are thousands of online discussion boards where women are expressing they are frantically trying to find ways to conceive again quickly. They say that you become more fertile 60 days after miscarrying or having a baby, so many women quickly get back into baby making mode on a quest for what is called a “Rainbow Baby” to fill a void. I was not thinking rationally but after speaking to my partner and Naturopath, I have come to my senses and have decided to press pause and take a much needed break. And a vacation and time off work wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Getting pregnant doesn’t seem to be an issue for us, I just need carry my next pregnancy to term and the best way for me to do that is to wait for my pregnancy hormone level to go back to zero, allow my uterine wall to build back up and improve my Kidney Chi via weekly acupuncture sessions to improve my chances of a healthy, full term pregnancy the next time around.

As you can imagine, I have replayed my entire pregnancy over and over in my head. Searching for clues, trying to figure out what went wrong, what I did or what I could have done differently and the answer to that is – nothing! The body is highly sophisticated and intelligent, knows when there is going to be an abnormality or issue with the baby, which results in the pregnancy not progressing. I am learning to accept this and understand that nature’s interception in my pregnancy did more good than harm. More importantly, a miscarriage does not mean I won’t go on to have a happy, healthy pregnancy in the future. To help my recovery over the last week, I have been talking to a lot of women, especially those who have one or more children. Some I know personally and even women I just met. I think so many of us make the assumption that women who have a child probably had no issues with their pregnancy journey. When it turns out, so many I’ve spoken to have suffered multiple miscarriages secretly or had fertility issues that they hid because they were either embarrassed or felt that they didn’t have anyone who could relate to them. It seems as though that with time and a healthy pregnancy, these women are able to now talk about their experience with a tiny bit of detachment and I long for the day when I can do that too. In the meantime, I am finding solace in the small network I have built from being open and honest and if any of you reading this post is going through a miscarriage, do not suffer in silence. Once you start opening up you will discover a support system around you, you never imagined existed. It’s as if women don’t want to say anything until you say something first. Trust me, you will be very surprised. If you’ve made to the end of this beastly long post, thank you for taking the time to read this. As much as I hope this may be helpful for someone else, writing (or typing) these words have been extremely cathartic for me and has helped me in my recovery. xoxo

Where Do Babies Fit Into My #3YearGoals?

I am in a very weird period of my life right now. Most of my friends are married, with children mind you or having babies while I’m over here trying to figure this thing called life out. My twenty year old self would have naturally assumed that at my current age I would for sure be a mother of at least one child by now. I wouldn’t be surprised if my Mum shared that sentiment as well. I am an aunty to a beautiful baby boy named Leilan and I couldn’t be more obsessed with another human being and these beautiful images captured by Jess Baumung got me thinking…am I ready for this now or is this still part of my 3 year plan? Well, if I was to make a decision based the comments on a recent Instagram post with my little nugget, apparently I look like a natural with 6 month baby on my hip. That may be true for a couple hours but I can guarantee you it’s because I know I am returning him back to his loving parents. I doubt I would I look this effortless, rested and smiling as a full time Mommy! Shooting with him and seeing these adorable photos let’s me foreshadow what my future could look like with a child within the next 3 years and seeing all his parents do for him is a reminder that now is still not the right time for me. With a few career changes under my belt, I still need time to get my shit together and plan my next steps to building my brand. So in the meantime until I am certain I’m ready, I will just steal this chubby chunk as much as I possibly can!

BirthControlForme.ca

BirthControlForme.ca

BirthControlForme.ca

I have something to share that just may surprise you all. I have never taken birth control. Shocking, I know. Besides protecting myself the good old fashioned way of either abstinence or condoms, I was never an advocate for women taking birth control pills. My views about prescription medication differs from majority of the population. I have suffered an illness for almost half my life and have watched meds wreak havoc on my body. Consequently, I have been condition to believe that there is no need for me to play God and intercept my body’s natural rhythm of menstruation and ovulation because how could there not be any ramifications from doing that, right? I have watched so many of my friends come off the pill after being on it for 15-20 years to find out they are unable to get pregnant and/or suffering from severe cystic acne issues or endometriosis. This clearly didn’t help the thoughts I’ve had. I decided it was time for me to sit down and chat with a doctor to discuss my thoughts, concerns and to learn more about all the options that are currently available to women in hopes that more clarification will help me and some of you guys make the right decision for you bodies too.

BirthControlForme.ca

BirthControlForme.caPhotos by Jess Baumung

Dr. Christine Palmay’s focuses on preventative medicine and women’s health so she was understanding of my trepidation with traditional medicine making her the perfect fit to chat with me about this topic. We jumped right into the topic of the pill within minutes and she pointed out that birth control pills have gotten a bad rap over the past few years for various reasons but that doesn’t mean that women shouldn’t explore other forms of contraception. We both agreed on one thing…studies for the pill are almost always done in very controlled environments in perfect setting on lab rats, so it’s no surprise that findings always showed the pill having 99.7% effective rate but, “failure rates in real life can be a bit higher” says Dr. Palmay. “Life is busy and complicated for most, making it difficult for women to take the pill at the exact same time of the day.” I know personally with my schedule, it would literally be impossible to do. But what about the complaints of infertility and acne when coming off the pill? Doc explains that the pill is often times takes the heat for issues and complications when in actuality taking it daily could have helped problems that would have been present years before the patient began taking this form of contraception. So essentially, if a young woman begins taking the pill at 15 before real acne issues set in, it could just be covering up the problem that won’t be discovered until she stops taking the pill entirely. So if you’re not entirely down for the pill like me, what other options do you have if sporting a baby bump is not the look you’re going for next season? Turns out, there are many options available and from the sounds of it, something for (almost) everyone.

1. Long Acting Non-Daily Contraceptives

The options under this category is probably going to be the most appealing for women who have a very busy career, hectic lifestyle. You have probably heard of a long acting non-daily contraceptive (IUS/IUD) already but once this T-shaped device is inserted into the uterus by a physician, you literally don’t have to think about it for another 3-5 years. The IUS is 99.8% effective with typical and slowly releases hormones over time which thins the lining of the uterus and thickens the cervical mucus preventing sperms from penetrating through the cervical canal. If you’re worried about the surge of hormones via an IUS, you can always consider a Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD) which just changes the chemistry in the uterus and prevents sperm from fertilizing the egg. An interesting fact, pregnancy rates for women after the removal of an IUS were shown to be about the same as for those who had never used one. Meaning majority of women who wanted to get pregnant and removing it were able to do so within a year. Possible side effects can include irregular or increase bleeding within the first few months, depression, acne, headache and breast tenderness and it may fall out in up to 6% of women.

2. Short Term Contraceptives

If you’re open to an option that involves a little more attention in regards to time, the Patch or the Ring could be viable options for you. The former is a small adhesive patch that continuously releases estrogen and a progestin into the bloodstream, which stops the ovaries from releasing an egg and is a weekly contraception. Although its effective rate is 92%, risks from using the patch are assumed to be very similar to combined pill and is not suitable for smokers over the age of 35 or women of that age that suffer from migraines. The downside, it could detach from the skin or cause side effects such as irregular bleeding and headaches. The latter I am discovering there are more women than I thought that have turned to this form of contraceptive. It is inserted into the vagina and slowly releases hormones, estrogen and progestin for 3 weeks. It also prevents pregnancy by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg. Side effects are very similar to the patch in addition to a very small risk of the ring falling out or it causing vaginal discomfort/irritation.

3. Barrier Methods

We are all aware of the most well known barrier methods – condoms and spermicides but used less than these two is a Diaphragm which is a latex or silicone cap meant to be used in conjunction with a spermicide that covers the cervix and prevents sperm from getting past. The effective rate is almost 10% lower but it can also help prevent some sexually transmitted infections and cervical dysplasia. The downside…may increase the risk of reoccurring UTI’s and you really requires proper knowledge and practice for proper insertion so that it stays in place. Also, if you have a sensitivity or allergy to latex, this is not the option for you.

4. Surgical Procedures

For women seeking permanent contraception, I would suggest you turn to Tubal Litigation. This is a permanent option that surgically detaches the fallopian tubes so that the egg literally never meets the sperm. The World Health Organization cites a failure rate after the procedure of 0.5% which is great but there are some short term complications that you will need to be made aware of which can include; anaesthesia related risk, bleeding, and infection or damage to the bowel, bladder and blood vessels

There’s a lot to digest here for sure and I can agree that there are some benefits with using any of these aforementioned forms of contraception. Said benefits can potentially come at a cost of suffering from one or more side effects though. We are all unique and there isn’t one form of contraception that is best for all women across the board, but I do agree with Dr. Palmay, women should be well educated on the topic so they are able to make an informed decision for their body. If you want to learn more about options available to you, head to BirthControlForme.ca or speak with your healthcare practitioner. Follow along on other women’s 3 year goal plans by using the hashtag #3YearGoals on social media

This post was sponsored by BirthControlForme.ca  but all opinions on this subject are that of my own

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