10 "fun" things that no one really tells you about pregnancy.....
Pregnancy is an amazing time in your life, because your body is growing a human!!!!! Yeah thats real we can grow humans inside our bodies, WHAT! This still blows my mind and I've done it multiple times and I see it daily in my work as a Doula and Maternal Professional. Some people LOVE it and others not so much.
Well I am one of those people who loves being pregnant, even when it comes with a lot of crazy as this pregnancy has, but there are so many things no one tells you about pregnancy. The weird, the funny, the annoying and the lovable. So I decided to write a few and tell all you pregnant person's or becoming/wanting to become pregnant person's out there some fun facts about being pregnant that no one really mentions.... Out loud anyway lol
The stunning beauty in pregnancy <3
AND the 10 "fun" facts.....
1. The exhaustion in your first trimester.
The struggle is real! This shit will hit you like a ton of bricks. You might find yourself unable to open your eyes in the middle of your day or maybe 10 mins after you get out of bed. This is a normal part of pregnancy and it may subside when you hit your second trimester OR it may not! It might also go away and then come back in your third trimester... Surprise!
2. Pregnancy brain.
YUP thats a real thing. And man it gets worse with each pregnancy.
Mid conversation ..... and its gone.....
Mid task..... and you forget.....
Driving somewhere..... yup forget your destination.....
Hungry? have to pee? don't wait to long because you'll forget hahaha
Write a list to remember...... yup you forget about that too...
3. Putting your shoes on or socks.
You think this is such an easy task that you do every day maybe even more than once a day. WELL once you start to grow that shit becomes HARD! Try bending over with a boulder attached to the front of you. Its not squishy or moveable THERE IS A HUMAN IN THERE! So putting on boots or tie up shoes HAHAHAHA yeah becomes your least favourite thing to do.
4. Trying to get out of bed in the morning.
The picture well explains this one! Trying to get out of bed further along in your pregnancy be like.... a turtle on his shell trying to roll over. Tuck and roll my friends, tuck and roll.
5. Oh, the pants.
These pants will become your best friend! They aren't cute or sexy by any means but they are life saving comfort when your pregnant.
What you want sex to look like when your pregnant and what sex actually looks like when your pregnant. Two TOTALLY different things lol Some couple rock it and make it look like the sexy it is but lets face it most of us don't haha It's not as easy or as sexy as you think trying to have sexy time with that boulder on the front end.
It can hurt sometimes, be awkward, amazing, normal.... theres no telling until your in it. (no pun intended lol)
What we want What we might think
Need I say more. Some of us find sleep very hard during pregnancy and others it comes with ease.
It often looks a little like this... go to bed.... toss and turn until somewhat comfortable..... need to pee.... get up to pee.... back to bed and try to get comfy again..... sleep.... baby wakes and kicks.... you have to pee again..... back to bed to toss and turn to get comfy..... you have to pee again... sleep..... and its morning! Surprise!
I won't tell you which sleeper I am.
8. Shaving while pregnant.
WORST TASK EVER! One of those things we take for granted because it seems so easy when we are not pregnant. Well when you are it becomes a challenge. Shaving your legs is tricky and you find a way to maneuver your belly between them and shift them out to the side to shave them. BUT try shaving places you can't see...... now thats tricky, but we figure it out lol
9. Pregnancy with other children.
Pregnancy with other children.... Let's face it, this is just a lot harder. Being pregnant with just the human growing in you is exhausting, fun, special, new, and not that much of a daily change. WELL pregnancy when you have other children to take care of is MUCH different.
I now have a tiny little human I'm growing and I'm exhausted and hungry and my hormones are all willy nilly and I also have a toddler to take care of and feed, bath, play with, pick up and keep alive. I don't get to nap like I did my first pregnancy, My toddler steals all my food, he watches me pee 100x a day or shit because yeah can't do that on your own any more either, he has tantrums over not being able to kick my belly or jump off the furniture from crazy heights and he wants what he wants when he wants it and thats the bottom line, it doesn't matter what I'm doing or need in that moment. So needless to say pregnancy with a toddler or other children is defiantly not as smooth as it was the first time around. You cry more, you sleep less and you may or may not lock yourself in the bathroom sometimes just to have a moment to yourself lol. OH and then he's super cute or sweet and it all melts away and he steals your heart and makes you cry because your hormones are crazy and he is your baby and its all about to change.
Emotions, emotions, emotions.......
10. The Kicks and the growing of a tiny human.
When you feel your baby kick for the first time there is no words to explain the feelings. The excitement, the love, the bond, the magic! Knowhingthat your growing a tiny human in your body is just so amazing. Personally this is my absolute favourite part of pregnancy, feelingly little bean kicking away in there and knowing I'm creating life within me.
But that being said it is also the weirdest thing you may ever experience lol Like feeling this little human physically playing with my bladder is a bit weird to say the least. Feeling him kick my actual ribs, back or butt... cool but weird... The feeling when he literally kicks my vagina and it feels like he is trying to escape hahah... yup another weird one. Knowing that all of my organs are not in the spots they should be because they have moved to make way for him to grow, yup thats crazy! Knowing that I am not only one living human right now, I am two! I have a whole little person inside me, still blows my mind daily.
Aren't we AWESOME!
There are so many more silly, crazy, happy or terrifying things I could write about pregnancy but for today these 10 fun facts are what I have for you! These are all personal experiences or ones of knowledge from being in the Doula profession. If you have your own fun facts or can relate please feel free to comment on the blog and tell me about them! I want to hear all about your pregnancies!
Ta Ta for now my friends! -- Ashley, MyDoula+
Personal pictures used and pictures from google. All content of blog reserved and belongs to MyDoula+.
Everyone always seems to get that "pregnancy itch". The one that drives you crazy. It comes with dry skin and itching often as your belly stretches for your baby and your bodies hormones change throughout pregnancy. Well...... sometimes that itch isn't just a normal "pregnancy itch".
Intraheptic Cholestasis of Pregnancy also known as ICP is a condition that is not known to many. Most Drs and healthcare professionals are unaware of it or know about it but not much. It effects roughly 1-1000 pregnancies and is very high risk. If you are diagnosed with ICP it is usually in your third trimester and late enough in that trimester that your baby will be on the way within days of the diagnosis. 80% of women who are diagnosed with ICP are in their third trimester, 10% in the second and 10% in the first. It usually only presents with an itch, sometimes mild and other times severe. Usually on your hands and feet but not always, it can also be whole body, arms, legs or in places you didn't even know could itch. Many women get told "oh it's just a pregnancy itch take Benadryl or put cream on it" or they get misdiagnosed with PUPPS. ICP is a rare condition that is genetically determined for you. The key to safe ICP pregnancy is the proper treatment. Medication, Monitoring, and Early delivery.
So here is the beginning of my story.
At about 14 weeks pregnant with my beautiful second rainbow baby I started having this weird and very intense itch that was just on my legs, from my knees down. I would scratch my legs so bad they would rash and hurt. But it wasn't consistent sometimes it went away. I never thought anything of it until one night around 18 weeks pregnant I was having a bath and it this itch was so bad I didn't know what to do with myself. So being in an amazing group of Doulas I reached out for some support and one of my fellow Doula friends informed me of ICP. SO I did some research.............. ALOT OF RESEARCH....... Once I started I couldn't stop. The next day I called my midwife and told her what was going on and she (with no prompting from me) said "I'm going to send you to an OB to be checked for Cholestasis". BAM! My heart sank like a ship. I wanted to vomit. She then said, "it’s much to early and I don't think you would have it but just in case". So over the Christmas holiday it was filled with many appointments and blood tests etc. The OB ruled out other options first because he to thought your way to early on for ICP so I shouldn't be that. Once he ruled out 3 other possibilities and my itch went from my legs to my WHOLE ENTIRE body within a matter of 3 days he immediately put me the medication called URSO that is for Cholestasis and did blood tests. Usually these blood test take weeks to come back and by then you've usually had your baby, around here they rarely do the blood tests when you have the symptoms because they take so long to get back and by that time the risk to your baby is much to high and women are in their third trimester. BUT.... I was only now 20 weeks at this point. Anyway my blood test (someone was looking over me) came back with in 48 hours and BAM there it was I tested positive for ICP my Bile Acid levels were elevated. I felt over the few weeks before the actual tests got done and the results came in that the diagnosis was coming ALL the signs pointed toward it but when the actual diagnosis got made man was that a different feeling. I was beside myself. SCARED SHITLESS to say the least.
My OB had asked me at an earlier appointment about my pregnancy and birth with my son and with the complications that happened at 39 weeks with him he made the connection that I likely went undiagnosed with ICP in my pregnancy with my first son and this is why I stopped producing amniotic fluid well before 39 weeks when I had non left and was emergently induced and looking back had a mild but not alarming itch through that pregnancy.
After the diagnosis came and really sank in life changed. For me anyway. I now felt like a risk to my baby everyday. My body has a genetic dysfunction that has caused me to have ICP and now I'm a risk to my baby everyday. The mental game this plays on you is EXHAUSTING. Keeping positive is hard when all you can think about are the risks. And not only was I diagnosed at 20 weeks I had another 20 weeks to think about it. To dwell in it. To worry about it. Turns out I only had 16 weeks because the baby has to come early but still 16 WEEKS is a long time to be afraid your going to lose your baby at a higher risk than normal for so many complications. Like that’s a normal pregnancy worry and now my chances are higher like give me a break. I just lost a baby; I couldn't even get my head around that possibility being higher. UGH.
So my journey over the last 2 months has been a steep ride. Ups and downs. I feel good, I feel bad. Im ok and then I'm not.
Here is the truth.
+ The medication your on the is what protects your baby **this is its main function. TO PROTECT YOUR BABY** is amazing for that reason and I am thankful their is something that is protecting my baby because clearly I am unable. Some people say "oh good the meds will take away you itch" ugh like seriously thats the least of my worries. In some women it takes away or helps with the symptom is itching BUT it does not help everyone, sometimes it makes it worse or does nothing for you. BUT it is helping protect your baby and that’s what matters. I am thankful that the medication has helped me and taken the itch from unreal to bearable and just irritating. But I am most thankful that it is protecting my baby.
+ The itch can be unbearable, so severe that you can think, eat or sleep through it. You think labour is bad. This itch is indescribable and there is nothing like it. Once you've had this itch you know. You have a 60-90% chance of having ICP in subsequent pregnancies and your symptoms can show WAY before your Bile Acids rise high enough for diagnosis. But once you've had this itch you know.
+ The other symptoms that can be associated with ICP like pale stool, dark urine, fatigue and Right Upper Quadrant pain happen but again not to everyone. I have all of these things. The RUQ pain is the worst. It is so painful and uncomfortable that sometimes it hard to function, but I do because I have a son that needs me and a hubby I love and want to be there for. Sometimes its hard to breathe, you can't sit or stand because it hurts like hell.
+ Fatigue is a struggle. Sometimes I can't even keep my eyes open but I have to. It can be a symptom of ICP but it is also a symptom of the medication your on. The meds can make you feel weird, tiered and have a VERY upset stomach. Pooping is like one end of the spectrum to the other you either can't for the life of you or you shit so much you loose 10 lbs. and both of those options hurt like non other. A few times I've actually though I could be in labour but when it was over it all went away.
+ The mental game is rough. You are scared beyond this world all the time. You never know what’s going to happen or could happen. All you do is worry. Your risks for stillbirth, meconium standing, preeclampsia, haemorrhaging, preterm labour and more are so much higher and even though they keep you under close watch sometimes that’s not enough to keep you stable. But again I do my best because I need to be ok for my family, for my baby. I have never cherished the movement of my baby so much. The things we take for granted sometimes..... This is my last baby, my last pregnancy and sometimes its hard to enjoy through all the stress and sometimes I feel robbed of that joy because I am one of the "weird ones" as people call me that loves being pregnant. This time around is a whole new ball game.
+ When people say to you "oh just take Benadryl or put cream on it", "oh good the meds will take away the itch then", "are you sure it isn't PUPPS or just an itch", "everything will be just fine", "at least .... at least..... at least...." those things don't help. They drive you bonkers because almost always the Benadryl and anything topical does NOTHING for you, you have bile acids in your blood stream which react with a different chemical in your body that creates the one that makes you itchy and for the most part if the URSO doesn't help nothing does. I wish people would just ask questions about it so I can tell them about it. And they didn't just assume they get it.
+ Having your baby come early seems scary to many people. But for me its not. It’s scary to have my baby inside me. Sometimes I feel like the harm I’m causing inside is so much worse than the support he can have on the outside. Ugh. It’s such a torn and awful feeling. Like which is the lesser evil here. Why do we have to be put in this position to choose? #lifeanteasy
+ Appointments. You have so many appointments you feel like your part of the furniture in the DR office and or hospital. Awesome that they are taking care of you but still a shitty feeling to have.
+ MOST PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE GOING THROUGH OR WHAT ICP EVEN IS.
Thank god I was able to find and amazing support group on social media of moms around the world who are also going through this. Because lets be honest NO ONE gets it but someone who is going through it and that’s the same for any condition or situation in life.
ICP is a rare diagnosis on its own and to have it before your third trimester is unheard of in this area and in most. My OB informed my at my appointment Thursday and so did my midwife that they have never in the 37+ YEARS of either of them practicing seen anyone with ICP this early or prior to 34-39 weeks when they are just taking the baby right away because of the risks. Yup that statement makes you feel good... NOT. Makes you even more scared than before. But I am extremely thankful that they are both very supportive and listen to everything I now know about it and the recommendations made by the ICP Care organization (www.icpcare.org) and the research thats been done on treatment and delivery for the diagnosis.
+ Making a plan for treatment gives you peace in some capacity. Allows you to have some kind of control during the process. But not really. I found myself so lost in everything that in the begging of our pregnancy we didn't want to know the gender of our baby. By the time we went for our 5th ultrasound at 22 weeks I was so mentally drained that all I wanted was some control or connection back so we decided to find out that we are expecting baby BOY! #momofboys and I am SO GLAD we did. That has been the main thing that has given me peace and connection through this pregnancy. Knowing that we will be bringing a beautiful baby boy into the world much earlier than expected. #myitchybaby
Everyday is a struggle. Whether its pain, discomfort, itching or being scared but WE ARE STRONG MAMAS and we can get through it. Even with all the added crazy I am thankful everyday that my baby boy is ok and even though I am apposing to be a risk to him, he is doing great to this point and I feel like he will be just fine in there until he decides or we decided he needs to come out! But that still doesn't stop the worry or the fear.
There is a saying "you just mom it" some days I feel like this is so true. I don't know how we do it but we do, we aren't really given a choice to not to, so we just mom it. Our instincts just kick in and we make it, we do it, we live it and we rock it. But we should never be afraid to reach out for support when we need it! We might be awesome but we are only human and we have a breaking point just like everyone else. So reach out, ask for support, lean on someone and it will get better, it will end and it will all be worth it.
This is just my journey so far. Every mom who has ICP experiences it differently.
Guidelines for diagnosis are different everywhere, most Drs and health care professionals have no idea what ICP is or know little about it and its a struggle for some women to advocate for themselves and their babies, everyone symptoms present different and medication effects everyone differently. Some women with ICP suffer loss, pain or mental struggles (and so much more) but the thing we have in common is we all have ICP and it is a serious condition that is very unknown.
Symptoms of ICP:
The most commonly reported symptom of Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy is moderate to severe itching, and in many cases it is the only symptom reported. The itching can vary greatly from one affected woman to another, and it is important the remember that there really is no such thing as typical Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. Some presentations are more common than others, however.
While most women only report itching as a symptom in their ICP pregnancy, there are other symptoms which may occur.
Right Upper Quadrant Pain (RUQ pain)
Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy sometimes causes pain in the area of the liver. The liver itself does not have nerve endings that sense pain, but the gall bladder, bile ducts, and a capsule surrounding the liver can sense pain. This pain is most commonly felt under the ribs on the right side. Less commonly the pain can be felt radiating to a spot in the back beneath the tip of the right shoulder blade. RUQ pain is not commonly reported because it is often mistaken for pain from the baby pushing against the ribs. This pain can vary. Some women feel a dull throbbing pain, others a sharp stabbing pain. For some women the pain has been described as debilitating, however it is important to remember that most women with ICP will not feel pain in the area around their livers. RUQ pain can be caused by many things other than Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy, and it should always be discussed with your doctor.
There are many biochemical changes which take place in the body during Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. These sometimes cause the urine to become dark. Dark urine may range in color from apple juice-colored to dark brown. This can happen even when water intake is adequate.
Under normal circumstances, bile gives the stool its distinctive color. In some ICP pregnancies, the flow of bile is so thoroughly disrupted that stool appears pale gray, or clay-colored.
Nausea/lack of appetite
Some women with Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy find it difficult to eat due to a severe loss of appetite. It can be difficult or even impossible to force down enough food to maintain adequate weight gain. Some women even lose weight despite their best efforts. Others have nausea and/or vomiting.
While it is normal to feel tired during pregnancy, fatigue related to Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy can be extreme due to the important role the liver plays in many metabolic processes. This fatigue can be exacerbated due to stress and lack of sleep.
It is uncommon to develop jaundice with Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. It is estimated that 10% or less of women affected by ICP will become jaundiced. However, if you notice a pale yellow color to the skin and/or eyes, seek medical attention.
Mild depression may develop as a result of biochemical changes in the body, hormonal changes, lack of sleep, and/or the inability to escape the itch. Please discuss any depressive thoughts or feelings with your doctor immediately.
(symptoms reference taken right from www.icpcare.org)
Symptoms of URSO:
-Diarrhea or constipation
Some women also feel very fatigued, whole body weirdness, stomach pain and more. These are just some of the symptoms that may occur but not all.
(reference for URSO symptoms taken from WebMD)
Please help me raise awareness for Intraheptic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. Fight the itch. Save a life.
If you would like to educate yourself on ICP please visit www.icpcare.org for more information and education.
"Chill the EFF out" an affirmation I pick often.
When it comes to the different journeys we travel in our lives sometimes we get caught up in the path and forget a) where we wanted to go b) how to get there c) we change paths or d) that path comes to an end and we forget to enjoy the view before we walk down another one.
I have recently taken 2 of the most amazing journeys in my life! 1. Motherhood (which will continue for the rest of my life) and 2. Finding the career I was meant to be in. Both of these journeys are far from over but they both have MANY paths I have to pick and choose to take or walk by along the way.
Whether you are headed on the right path, the wrong one, an easy one or hard one sometimes you just need to stop and CHILL THE EFF OUT! And so it begins.
I have come to learn that all of the "things" we face in life are given to us for a reason. How we deal with them is the real lesson within these "things". Sometimes to face these "things" you need to take a minute and "Chill the EFF out" before you can move forward. If you get yourself all twisted up about it then you're likely going to be stuck, overwhelmed and stress the EFF out!
Some ways I have learned to apply my affirmation "Chill the EFF out"!
When you are going through childbirth and you are at your end point screaming for this baby to be out, what you really need to do is "Chill the EFF out" and that baby is going to come. Baby is saying, mama, I need to "Chill the EFF out" so I can birth through your birth canal. You have to "relax" your body for that baby to make its way through your birth canal and into this world. If you don't your going to be stressing out yourself and your baby and have a higher risk of a Caesarean birth.
If you are actively trying to conceive a baby and it is taking more time than you expected or you have an infertility diagnosis or an unexplained infertility trouble. This is hard, mental, physically and emotionally. It's draining. Exhausting. Sometimes you are consuming yourself. And I know this is a sensitive subject for many, me being one of them but it's a lesson in which I have learned that when you just "Chill the EFF out" and stop forcing yourself to create a human. It happens more organically, with WAY less stress on you and your spouse. When you're pressuring yourself sex becomes something of a chore instead of the intimate process it should be (for most). You are so emotionally exhausted and you are obsessing over it and can't think of anything else so your body goes into fight or flight mode because now you're mentally not on your game to bring a tiny human into the world. Your body knows when it's ready and it's NOT fair at all, it sucks, like big time and trying to "let you body do it" can seem like a stupid thing to say to someone who is trying to conceive and it's usually a statement hated by many but the truth being "Chill the EFF out" and trust your intuition, trust the process of life and it will happen. And if it doesn't then your journey was meant to go another route and you have to learn to navigate what "Chilling the EFF out" looks like down that path.
Parenting.... HAHAHA.... No one has that figured out and "Chill the EFF out" is something most of us mumble under our breath to the screaming child who hates life because he/she can't have your toast, slam their finger in the door, climb off the back of the couch etc etc etc and the list goes on forever. They don't know it yet but we are just trying to protect them so they just need to "Chill the EFF out" so we can do that.
aside from the screaming baby or the fearless toddler, we all knock ourselves down for being "bad" parents at some point along the way. I'm pretty sure you're NOT a "bad" parent. you're probably a human and human make mistakes so "Chill the EFF out", humans have hormones, attitude, feelings, and a lot of shit they have to deal with and then we throw parenting in there and shit gets real so "Chill the EFF out" and stop listening to the neighbour who tells you your kid should have shoes on while outside or your mother in-law who tells you how you should raise your child or people who think the way you feed your children has anything to do with them.... Parenting is not easy, fair or a walk on a beach. it's hard and exhausting. but also one of the best feelings and paths you will ever walk. So "Chill the EFF out" and enjoy the ride. Be with your kids as much as you want, send them to the babysitter or to nana and papa's so you have alone time with your spouse or maybe just so you can shower and eat a hot meal that's ok too!, breastfeed or formula feed - what works for your family is best, sleep with your baby if that what works. Find what works for you and your family and DO IT!
What about your career? Man so many of us think we need to have our shit figured out by 25 and stay in that career we started at 18 because it's why we went to school etc etc etc. WELL let me tell you... most people I have spoken with are still trying to figure their shit out at 40! So guess what "Chill the EFF out", give yourself a break. It's ok to change your career more than once, go to school for 5 different things. Your life changes ALL THE TIME so it's only natural that your job would as well. You grow so allow your life, your career, and everything grow with it. Just "Chill the EFF out" and go back to school, get a new education, find a new job! Just do it!
If you are scared shitless to ask someone for something, apply for a job you don't think you'll get, go back to school, ask a guy/girl out (my someone being a mentor, friend, someone I have SO much respect for, and a super successful woman) and the list could go on, but I want you to think of what resonates with you here.
If you are scared of facing this fear, ask yourself why....... Why are you afraid? Whats the worst thing that could happen? They say no.... you have to travel down a different path and maybe come back to this one...... you find something even better with the outcome you get..... you start over..... you fail.... What is it that we are all so afraid of? Just "CHILL THE EFF OUT" and you wouldn't be so fearful of what you're trying to do. Just go for it!
I was terrified to asked this person that I look up to for what I really wanted. I wanted to be a part of an organization and it was a HUGE goal of mine. I was so afraid to just ask about it, so I didn't for quite some time. Well, guess what I asked myself WTF are you so afraid of? Just "Chill the EFF out" and ask. So I did. GUESS WHAT! I got an amazing outcome and I am so EFFING excited about it!!! (can't wait to share that with everyone once it can go public if it all works out!!)
No matter what life throws your way it's going to test you. it will test your limits. it will test your strength. How you deal with these things and how you apply "Chilling the EFF out" in situations when it's needed is where you will find the best outcomes. They may be shitty situations but what you learn from them or what comes from them is the important part. So friends when you're in a situation and your freaking out and don't know what to do say to yourself "CHILL THE EFF OUT" and see what you can get from it!
I used to be afraid to blog..... Then I asked myself why?..... And look at me now :)
When I was thinking of a name for this blog I struggled with it momentarily and then bam it hit me lol The Lighting Strikes, it was perfect. And as you read you will see why.
August 11th -13th Doula Canada hosted an amazing retreat in Castleton Ontario. (which I attended) It was announced a few months in advance and when Shaunacy ( director of Doula Canada) posted it I was so excited and wanted to go! But then my life got turned upside down in the blink of an eye and it was no longer on my radar.
In May of this year, we found out we were expecting our 3rd child. It was such an excitement for us. We announced quite quickly to our family and close friends. Mason had his photo shoot done when we were around 8 weeks to announce he was going to be a big brother and life was wonderful.
Mason's picture above will be one that is close my heart forever as it won't be shared as it was intended.
At our 9 week ultrasound, my heart raced as she was doing the scan, all the emotions of losing our first baby at this time in the pregnancy and the emotions during the second pregnancy with Mason they were all just flooding over me as my eyes started to fill and the tech telling me to relax. well she then started asking me those same questions I remember being asked with our first baby, "how have you been feeling?", "Have you had any cramping?", "do you have other children?" and my fucking heart dropped into the earth like it wasn't even attached to my body. I knew it, I knew what that meant. My baby was gone. Something wasn't right. She proceeded and then told me she was going to get my husband, yeah not, she walked back in the door with her supervisor who then told me that my baby didn't have a heart beat. AND JUST LIKE THAT, your life gets turned upside down AGAIN!
I never thought that it would happen to me again, maybe being too hopeful or being naive to the fact that a loss could happen again. I really wanted to believed that once was my turn. As the pain set in and the few days that followed consisted of a D&C and telling our family and friends about our loss, I felt like it was going to be ok and like the first loss where my cycle would come back and we would conceive again just like we did with Mason. Well, I was wrong.....
In my work as a Birth worker and Reiki Practitioner, I support women and families through this all the time. Why it never occurred to me that this could be me too, I don't know. Again I really want to believe that one loss was it for us. Like many of my clients also feel. But with our second loss, the universe needed me to see and learn and as painful as it was, I was able to do that.
Life isn't always nice in the way it teaches us nor does it come with a manual, book or warning. But if we can find the strength within us and our village around us then maybe, just maybe we can see the beauty in the life and the lesson in which we are being taught.
This finally brings me to the retreat. When I was going through our loss I reached out to my village and found the support I thought I needed. Even though I was trying to push myself to believe I was ok just like the first time, yeah I wasn't. But Shaunacy is one major person in my village and she helped me to make the decision to come to the retreat even though I thought many times I didn't want to go now I was so busy pretending I was ok, but she knew inside that I needed this even when I didn't. So has the 2 months passed before the retreat came I waited and waited, AND WAITED for my period to show up and it didn't, with our first loss it was back in 3 weeks. I also went on believing and telling myself I was fine and at peace with my loss.
YAY RETREAT WEEKEND ARRIVED!!!!
So here I went on the retreat this weekend, not knowing what to expect as I have never been on one before. I arrived and met 13 AMAZING women whom I spent the weekend with. Our first night we opened the weekend with a little opening ceremony where we bound ourselves together with yarn and told the reason why you were at the retreat.
As the yarn was thrown around the room I wanted to lie, I wanted to lie so bad about why I was there and just say I wanted to meet my Doula sisters and have a relaxing weekend. Well when the yarn got to me that didn't happen, I knew I needed to tell the truth and so I did.
WAIT !! Did I mention that there was a GIANT thunderstorm happening! Yeah like pouring rain, thunder that shook the house and lighting that lit the night sky. TALK ABOUT POWERFUL ENERGY. ( and this is where the name came from)
The thunder struck as we all shared our stories and bound to one another. And then when it got to me my heart sank and it all just came pouring out. I was there because I needed to heal, I needed to let go and truly come to peace with my loss. And as I spoke these words and admitted out loud for the first time that I WAS NOT OK, the thunder hit so loud and the lightning struck like the universe was talking back. We were all in amazement at the energy the room had as we each shared. It was amazing. words can't even explain. Some deep shit got laid out that night.
If I told you every detail of this weekend we would be here forever because it was that amazing (you will have to attend one yourself to find out), so let's make a long wonderful story a little shorter lol
Saturday we did Yoga and a business kick in butt activity and so much more but it was the mala bracelet making where my healing really started to show. My belief in myself and my work and my intuition all started flooding back to me and I was able to start healing. We made malas where we picked 10 of our own beads and then the other women in the room each picked a bead for your bracelet. Well, apparently I needed a lot of love and self-care as I got 6 rose courts beads from 6 different ladies. As we finished this activity and went back to the house I had to pee so bad. Well hey, what would yah know I was starting to bleed. I intently broke down, I crumbled into a million pieces. I took myself outside and sat in the lawn along for 20 min and cried. I then attended dinner and the rest of the amazing festivities that evening and to my surprise, it stopped. At around 9 pm Sondra (Amazing human and instructor at Doula Canada) did henna on my belly to honor my belly for the 3 beautiful lives it had created. We then went to bed.
Sunday morning I woke with a pleasant (but not so pleasant) surprise! IT WAS HERE!!! FOR REAL THIS TIME, IT WAS HERE!!!!!!!! I have never been too happy to see my period in my life.
I had done it, I had gotten everything my body needed to heal. I was able to walk along a path with 13 amazing women walking with me throughout the weekend all in their own way to help me heal along this journey. I was able to learn what the universe intended me to learn so I am better able to understand my clients, I was able to put my belief back in myself, my work and my intuition. I was able to honor and be balanced and at peace with the loss of our baby. And now I have the space to hold and create new life.
Needless to say, this was one of the most important, amazing, memorable, loving weekends filled with learning, teaching, friendships, growth and so much more that is unexplainable. I will be forever grateful for this Doula Canada Retreat and Village that stands behind it.
May you find the peace that you need in that moment in which the lesson is harder than you can accept.
With the Butterfly Run last weekend and Mother's Day this weekend I feel the need to release my #1in4 story of my pregnancy loss.
We conceived this tiny miracle in May of 2015, We were so excited to become parents! at just 5 weeks we decided to tell our families this exciting news, as it was to hard for me to keep in! Words can not explain the excitement our families had when we announced that we were pregnant. We had not planned to tell others until our first ultrasound but the word got out due to some excitement of family members.
We were overjoyed to have the first blood tests done and everything came back great! We learned that we were potentially due on March 2nd 2016. At our 8 week ultrasound I was so overcome with butterflies in my belly to see my baby for the first time, to hear a heart beat and take home that first ultrasound picture.
As we arrived for the appointment and took me in they asked that my husband stay in the waiting room and they would come get him shortly, I didn't like this but I dealt with it. As she did the ultrasound she seemed to struggle finding baby by the regular way so she asked to do a vaginal one, I agreed. I asked if Cory could come in now because I really wanted him to be with me, she proceeded to tell me he couldn't come in and there was nothing to see any way as I was to early on. I WAS SO UPSET. The feelings that rushed over me were horrible, I started to tear up but held it back. When she was all done she said baby was to small to get a heart beat yet and I was measuring only at 6-7 weeks. At this point I asked if I could take home a picture with me, she was very mean in telling me "there isn't anything to see yet", again made me feel horrible but I insisted anyway!
Thank goodness I did as that would be the first and last time I would ever get to see my baby.
When I came out and was finished, my husband was very surprised and irritated, as was I. As soon as we left I started crying and apologizing to him, I felt so bad that he didn't get to come in and witness the ultrasound and I felt like that experience was taken away from him and I.
A few WONDERFUL weeks pass by as I am loving being pregnant and making plans. But even with this bliss of pregnancy I seemed to have I also had this fighting doubt that something wasn't right. Some might say a " mothers intuition".
At 9.5 weeks I had a major acid reflux attack at work on July 31st 2015, something I have dealt with many times, so I came home from work like it was any other attack and tried to control it. This one was very uncontrollable so off to the hospital we went. They gave me something safe for pregnancy to control it and wanted to send me for some ultrasounds like they always did to check a few of my organs, this is due to the kind of pain i get during these attacks. But this was a Friday night and they didn't have ultrasounds techs at Picton on weekend overnights so I have to go to BGH the next day.
UGH I had to get an ultrasound on my Birthday. I couldn't eat or drink anything and we were going to my parents for a wonderful breakfast that morning. Little did i know this would be the least of my problems that day.
August 1st 2015! My Birthday! Started like a great birthday but I couldn't eat, bummer. I love my birthday so that wasn't going to dampen my mood. Off to my parents we went and it was a lovely visit. Then we headed over to my ultrasound appointment at BGH. They did ultrasound and they tech was wonderful, asking me questions and being "cheery" while trying to hide the sad and fact that she couldn't find a heart beat in there while checking baby. But I didn't know any different and along we went to get the results back at Picton hospital about an hour later.
We got back to Picton and waited forever, Cory went outside to get some fresh air and then of course I got called in. As I waited in the room I told him to just hang out and I would come out after I got the results.
Little did we know that at that moment everything was about to change.
The resident Dr. came in and sat down in front of me, she proceeded to tell me that all my organ scans came back fine and then there was a BUT.......... My heart sank and my throat closed, in my head all I could think was "there is only one thing this but is going to be about". She then, with a tear in her eye, told me that they couldn't find the baby, there was no heart beat, no baby. I was in a bubble, another universe, I couldn't even process it but then the tears just came, like a river and I was destroyed. She asked if I came with anyone and I told her Cory was just outside, so she went out and got him. At this point I tried to pull myself together for him, but as soon as he walked through the door and sat beside me I ugly-cried "we lost the baby" and then just broke down into a million pieces in his arms.
We left and went home. I was in stock and it just didn't feel real. I didn't know what to do with myself, I felt so lost. One moment I was ready to be a mom and bring this tiny human into the world and the next it was all gone. My baby was gone. I still felt pregnant, I still felt like my baby way there. The next few days were very hard, I had to tell our family that we lost the baby and then also what felt like the entire world because someone told a friend and then everyone knew. This was a harsh reminder almost everyday for 3 weeks. And I then lost my job that week as well because I was going to have to take more time off to have a DNC because my body just wouldn't let go, I wouldn't let go of my baby. SCREW THEM!! Thats what I say about that, they were awful about my loss and it was rough losing my baby and my income in the same week.
August 12th 2015, I had a DNC. They gave me a tablet to take the night before and my goodness they don't prepare you for what will happen! I went through 6 hours of labour, releasing my baby just to find out the next day that I did not release everything so I still needed a DNC. I felt horrified, sad and like something was wrong with me. My husband during this entire process was AMAZING SUPPORT. He was there with me through everything, he gave me time, space and closeness when I needed it. He made sure to remind me everyday that it was not my fault and we would be ok. He really helped me pull through, even though some days I didn't think that was possible.
After our loss was complete, it was a long 12 days, we were able to have some peace. But the hurt and the pain was still there. I found the month of August to be difficult for me, I took the month off work and just dealt in my own way, with the support of others. For me talking about my baby was helpful. Talking about my pregnancy and plans and remembering my baby was my way of coping. This helped me to heal.
September 24th 2015, We were so very fortunate to conceive our first cycle after our loss. That day we made another tiny miracle, a little boy! And June 6th 2016, Mason James was born.
My pregnancy for the first 3 months was very scary for me, I felt that everything was ok, but that didn't stop me from being terrified to lose my baby again. And on March 2nd I felt the hurt and on my Birthday I felt the hurt. Those two days for me don't hurt any more, they are days that I honour my baby and do something special. A day that I remember a little bit more.
I did not realize this was so common until it happened to me, I am the 1 in 4 that has suffered pregnancy loss. Don't live in silence, YOUR NOT ALONE, your 1 in 4. Talk about your baby, honour your baby, or don't, 1 week, 9 weeks, 12 weeks that was still YOUR baby, a living human that you were raising and you should not feel shamed for honouring or not honouring your baby in what ever way makes you able to cope and heal.
I have a small butterfly from the Butterfly Run 2016 that I have pinned in Masons room to honour his sibling, my first baby. I donate, Raise money and walk in the Butterfly Run and will in every year to come. And I will have a small butterfly tattooed above my family tattoo for represent my baby.
This is how I remember and honour my angel baby, how do you or don't you remember your baby(s)?
In November of 2007 my Best friend gave birth at just 17, to a beautiful baby girl. I walked with her through her entire pregnancy and motherhood journey. It was a journey that no one is ready for at 16 years old, but as her best friend I stood by her and provided endless support while many others walked away. She was a single mother at 17 and together we raised a beautiful little girl for the first year of her life. Then her little brother came along and everything changed. Now there were 2!
In October of 2008 she gave birth to a precious little boy. Not only did I get to stick by her side and support her through this pregnancy, this was my first birth experience. It was the most amazing, crazy, scary moment of my life, at 17 years old that’s not usually what you think you’ll love to witness, but I did. I remember supporting her through the birth, not knowing a damn thing, but when she felt that she couldn’t do it any more and I was right there beside her giving her empowering words, and a hand to hold. I got to support her through this amazing moment in her life, ME, her best friend. The rush I felt was unexplainable, I felt like a million bucks. We became closer than ever!
In October of 2014 she gave birth to her third child, another precious little boy. I remember the call like it was yesterday. Just after 10pm at night she called me to tell me she was in labour and out the door I went. Again as her best friend I supported her through her birth, giving her the empowering courage and support she needed to birth her son. Thus being the third time with her down this road together, I knew exactly what she needed from me. And once again this amazing rush of excitement, empowering energy and exhaustion rushed over me. Every moment was amazing; again watching her bring life into the world was priceless.
WHO knew that there was an actual word for this! A Doula. But its so much more than just a word, its so much more than just a career.
After this wonderful journey I never thought any more into it, other than knowing how much I loved the birth experience and babies.
Then in June 2015 we found out we were pregnant and in August 2015 we found out we lost our baby, he/she stopped growing at about 7 weeks although I carried till 11 weeks. We were devastated at the loss of our baby but were so very blessed to become pregnant shortly after. October of 2015 we found out we were pregnant again! And in June 2016 I gave birth via Cesarean to a beautiful baby boy, Mason James. He was perfect in every way. But my birth experience was far from what I had planned. I was open going into my birth but did not expect at all what I actually went through. Having almost every medical intervention possible; my water broke due to super low amniotic fluid, induction because I wasn’t progressing on my own, an epidural because “I didn’t need to be a hero during my birth” and listening because I trusted my nurses, to a Cesarean birth because Mason’s heart rated dropped and he reacted to the Pitocin. All after 12 hours of labour.
I was so excited to have my little boy in my arms and being his mommy was the best feeling in the world, no matter what I experienced, so I told myself. And it was, but at the same time I had this hole inside me that felt sad and empty about my birth experience. This changed me and how I looked at life and so my life changing decision began as I searched for a way I could help women experience birth in a better way. Thus leading me to finding out what a “Doula” was!
WHAT I’ve been doing this since I was 16, blew my mind!
I instantly knew this is what I wanted to do. I had done it three times before and loved every moment of it! From 16 years old to now my passion for birth has only grown stronger. It just took 10 years for my true path to shine.
I loved my career as an ECE but after the birth of my son, it was time for a change. I was different; I knew I had grown and that growth lead me to find my inner passion for birth work. I felt so passionate about becoming a Doula and I knew I loved everything about it before I started, as I had done this so called “Doula” thing a few times before!
I started MyDoula journey training with Doula Training Canada and created my business, MyDoula+ Birth & Wellness Services in December 2016. Since then I have climbed my mountain quickly with the amazing support of the Doula Training Canada family of students and wonderful instructors and mentors I have around me.
I my friends am now a Kick Ass Birth & Postpartum Doula with Doula Training Canada organization, a Lactation Educator and Reiki Practitioner, specializing in fertility, birth and postpartum treatments. I own my own Business and all my dreams have manifested into my reality. I love all things fertility, pregnancy, birth and postpartum! And supporting and empowering women and their families through the most intimate, amazing, scary experiences in their life, on this journey we call parenthood, is what I do!
Stay tuned for the next big step in the MyDoula+ journey! To be revealed soon!