What Does Overnight Care Look Like?

We often hear from parents that they are interested in Overnight Doula Care, but wonder what exactly an 8 hour shift looks like.

Typically an overnight shift is 8 hours, and begins around 10 or 11pm. When I arrive at a family’s house, I get an update on the day and identify any concerns that may be helpful for me to know as I begin a night of caring for your baby. Once that is done, I take the reins with baby and send the parents off to bed for a good nights’ sleep.

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Once everyone is off to bed, I get coffee ready for the morning, and do some breakfast preparation. I am often throwing in some laundry and if there are dishes in the sink, you can rest assured I will get them done for you! I will then settle in close to baby so that I may tend to any of babes needs throughout the night. In the case of a bottle fed babe, I prepare bottles, including sterilization and preparing formula. Throughout the night, I tend to all of babes needs such as diaper changes and feedings. When a momma is nursing, I will bring the baby in to mom when baby wakes for her to feed and then I take baby back, once again, tending to all other needs.

As an overnight doula, I am completely supportive of whatever type of feeding, sleeping, bedtime and diaper routine parents have established. My job is to come in and keep everything the same as what is done when I am not there. This helps to reduce any anxiety or stress the baby may feel being around someone who is not a parent. During our time together, if a family has identified anything that they are requiring help with, I will work with the family to work through whatever might be happening and make suggestions where I can. Most of my experience with overnight care has been with sleep training.

In the morning, parents wake up to freshly made coffee and breakfast. Parents are also encouraged to make special breakfast requests! I come prepared with a book of recipes that I have collected over the years and make breakfast based on what is available in the kitchen. Before leaving, I give an update of the night and see myself out, wishing you a great day.

xo

Kerri

Caution? Meet Wind

Can you feel it? Summer is so-incredibly-close. The warmth of the sun is returning, the flowers are raising their sleepy heads and soon it will be time to throw caution to the wind.

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How, right here and now...here in this moment, can you throw caution to the wind? At the yoga studio, we often talk of maven energy a being those moments where you are carefree, liberated and a little bit reckless.

Those moments where you sing in the car to your very favourite songs (much to the embarrassment of your children who are in the back seat), or where you strut your beautiful mom-bod to the pool and order up a daiquiri on vacation so you can enjoy it on a lounger, or even when you run out into the rain to jump into puddles with your kids.

Caution? Meet wind.

This month, throw caution to the wind. Let down your guard, get a wee bit vulnerable and have fun for the sake of having fun.

Top 5 Calming Songs for Birth

It's been a while since we chatted about some of our favourite things to have on hand for labour and birth, so we thought it was high time to talk about one of them: music! Music is such an integral part of our lives and it evokes such incredible memories that can really get those happy love hormones (oxytocin) flowing!

When we are doing a bit of birthPrep with our clients, we talk to them about setting up two playlists on their phone; 1 for high energy (early labour when things are exciting and 1 calming playlist that will be helpful during the more active stages of labour and the quiet moments where mom might need some rest.

Today, we are going to talk about the latter of those playlists, the calming playlist. This is where we love to use instrumental music, ballads, soft voices to really bring the energy down and give mom some space. The use of privacy and the bath (or shower) or even just some along time in the bathroom goes along really nicely with a calming playlist, as well!

1. Volume 1: Joshua Stoddard

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This album is comprised by 4 song that flow seamlessly into one another. It is very airy and light; almost ethereal and it is one of my favourites to fall asleep to at night. He also has chakra clearing tracks that are about 5-7 minutes in length if you like the sound of chanting here and there!

2. Black Sea Waves Symphony: Francios Tresorier

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If nature sounds are more your thing (and personally, I think  they're really amazing if you're labouring in the tub!), this track is over an hour of the sound of waves. At times they are powerful, and other times they lull out and are super peaceful. Again, this is a track that I love listening to at bedtime and has been specifically helpful in encouraging our little guys to settle down for the night.

3. Relaxing Within: Pablo Arellano

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Created with pad and piano, this 87 minute track is the epitome of serenity. It transports you to a more spa like environment, takes the energy down and inspires a sense of peace and calm like I have never found in another track. It is one of my most used pieces of music.

4. Closing Meditation: Shantala

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There's something really hypnotic about the deep, consistent lull of this track. The music is eastern, I couldn't even tell you the instruments used if I tried but they are definitely from a kirtan background. There is a bit of chanting and melodic singing in the track as well. It is truly beautiful! If you do any type of yoga, this would be the type of song you would hear during savasana.

5. Miracle: Nina Lee

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A gorgeous song about birth, Miracle is actually from an album dedicated to pregnancy. The songs are incredibly moving, which is exactly the type of music to play during early labour when you're excited and filled with anticipation. It's an emotional time to connect to the final moments of your pregnancy, and to gear up for the moment of birth. This album is beautiful and will carry you there.

Whatever music you find the most soothing, whether a tranquil instrumental, classical music or a lyrical album that you feel emotionally connected to, load it up on your phone and have it ready for labour. You may just find that it speeds things up when you allow those emotions to flow easily!

xo

Shannon

Being Present

Ah, being present. This is something that I struggle with from time to time, and as a meditation teacher is something that I have learned over and over again....yet still find difficult to implement.

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Being present.

Is it a challenge for you? I often find that with being a business owner, mentor, teacher, mother, wife, friend....etc....that I struggle. I get wrapped up in our schedule of hockey and tutoring and daycare and who needs to be dropped off here and at what time, that I forget that there are small moments in between the travel time that I should be taking notice of.

The moment he gets in my car after getting off the bus and he excitedly tells me about his day. 

The moment just before I fall asleep at the end of the day, when I can feel my body melt into the mattress.

The moment my youngest gets home and runs to me with a big smile, for a huge hug...even before taking his boots off.

Those moments, because I'm wrapped up in the schedules and to-do lists, I struggle to be present.

So this month, I challenge you! I challenge you to be present and stay present. Just one moment each day, but be there. Fully and completely there.

Indoor Faux Plants - All You Need to Reinvent Your Corporate Spaces

Do you think your corporate environment needs a transformation to make it an inviting and interesting space? Well, corporate space especially indoors needs to be highly enthusiastic and energetic as disinteresting and unappealing interior can generate boredom among employees, visitors, customers and all. This boredom gives rise to lower performance, absenteeism, stressful minds of people and all. Faux plants and trees give you low maintenance, cost-effective and highly elegant solution for your corporate interior space with which you can eliminate that boredom out of your space and bring an essence of appeal and attractiveness. The artificial landscape is quite popular in corporate environments especially for indoors due to their almost negligible maintenance needs.

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Get Your Space Refreshed and Filled With Energy

Continuously studies have shown that a good and greener office environment can enhance the productivity of your business. This is because a greener environment can make your workforce feel refreshed and energetic while also interested in the office. Studies also reveal that a good workplace can reduce the stress in employees and reduced stress give rise to improved health and performance. This way you can also reduce absenteeism and encourage employees to give their best while being in the office. Living plants are really difficult to be incorporated into your indoor area still you can enjoy the same benefits without maintenance needs with faux indoor plants phoenix. Just choose the type of plant you need as per your architectural design and see how you can take your business to next level.

Add Vibrant Colors with Indoor Faux Flowers

Along with adding greenery, a blend of colors is a must for any commercial indoor environment. Colors give a vibrant appearance to the place making it more lively and encouraging. Not only your employees but your customers and all of your visitors will get a positive feel there. Faux landscaping products offer you a great range of artificial flowers that you can pdf to make your space a colorful and elegant one. You can choose from different varieties of orchids, dahlias, roses, ficus, flower vines, money plants, sunflowers and many more. In other words, in artificial landscaping industry, you can have replication of most of the kinds of flowers that exist in real plants. These flowers can be used for special occasions as well as day to day office decorations.

Lineup Your Lobby and Reception With Large Trees and Plants

Reception area is the foremost area of your building that a visitor will notice. Hence it is obvious to make it inviting and appealing so that people may find it a good place to sit, wait or deal with people there. You can decorate your reception and lobby area with faux plants and trees. If you think your reception or lobby has huge area that gives the feeling of emptiness then it is a good idea to lineup the area with large artificial interior plants decoration. If you have smaller lobby or reception area, you can make use of small potted plants, flowers, foliage, vines and small greenery to decorate the space perfectly. There are numerous options that you can utilize to make your reception area one of the most appealing place.

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Make Every Cabin Look Pleasant With Flower Arrangements

You will have a wide kind of cabins and rooms in your corporate space ranging from that reception area to waiting room, conference room, meeting room, dining room or more. All these can be decorated with lovely faux flower arrangements available in the market. You can choose from a variety of flowers from dahlias to orchids, lotus, flower vines, flower plants with fancy vases and many more. Placing a suitable flower plant on the table of every cabin will add a touch of elegant colors to your indoor. Lovely flower is hanging baskets also work perfectly for cabins where you want to complement your walls. Upon exploration, you will find countless options in faux flowers that you can apply to your corporate indoors.

Choose Flowers and Plants According to the Natural Lighting

The extent to which you can make your indoor area inviting and appealing depends upon how well you utilize these artificial plants, trees, and flowers. The idea behind decorating the office rooms with these plants should be generated according to the natural lighting of the room. For example, the dark rooms can be enhanced with bright and light flowers to create an illusion of brightness. Similarly, bright rooms can be decorated with dark colored flowers or plants. Also, dark-leafed plants and trees can be placed in bright rooms to balance the natural lighting effects. With your creative vision and a little bit interior decoration tricks applied, you can transform your corporate interior space into a mesmerizing and energizing place to work at.

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Add Topiaries to Your Interior and Showcase Creativity

Topiaries are always being most popular and elegant solutions to enhance the beauty of any space. Now live topiaries have been replaced by faux topiaries as these are easy to craft, design and customize as per particular requirements. Topiaries can be used indoors as well as outdoors, and their size may vary from small 3 feet to large 6 feet of height. Place topiaries in the empty corners, reception area, along with the indoor walkways and see how these will add grace to your indoor corporate area. Even if you need occasional decoration of your office, topiaries can work best for this as well. Just find the right office plant rentals provider for your occasional decorations and choose the most suitable topiary for your indoor area.

This post was sponsored by Plantscape Inc. and contain affiliate links. We were compensated for publishing this content, and maintain the view that plants make all spaces better! Do what you can to incorporate them into your home. Our favourites are potted herbs in the window, and lavendar trees!

Why Every Parent Needs a Mini Fridge in Their Room

Four AM Mom thought, “I wish we had a mini fridge in our bedroom.”

I’d have bottles of water, juice boxes, oh my goodness and my favourite snack – energy bites!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Energy Bites

1 1/2c old fashioned rolled oats
1/2c peanut butter
1/3c pure maple syrup
1/3c semi-sweet chocolate chips

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It's honestly not that my kitchen is super far away, but I wouldn’t have to walk up and down all those stairs, I wouldn’t have to worry about making any extra noise that could wake either of my daughters, dogs or husband. Plus, I’m also sore from my caesarean and would rather not have to leave my room in the middle of the night.

Oh, and how could I have not thought about bottles? I could store my breast milk for the hubby to do a night feed.

Genius! Pure genius!

Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

And what else is brilliant? Trading your night side table for a mini fridge for the first few months postpartum! Everything is within reach, right when you need it!

xoxo

Amanda

What Placenta Encapsulation Really Looks Like

Don’t worry. I am not going to be showing photos of placentas, or blood or anything else of that matter in this blog. While placentas are fascinating and wondrous, they do bring a cringe to most people’s faces when they are talked about. Admit it, it is pretty amazing that our body grows this whole extra organ to grow and support life and then completely discarded after birth. It deserves, at the very least, a round of applause. It was the best friend to your little one for nine months.

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While placenta pills are the base of this service, this is all about support. Putting a moms mind at ease that she has a knowledgeable and understanding person she can contact to answer questions, to get professional referrals or just someone to say that ’this is totally normal’. Sometimes just knowing that you can call or text someone who has the knowledge of a postpartum doula can lessen stress. Because whoever posts on mom boards or groups and gets one straight answer and solved the problem without causing MORE stress. While they can be a great resource, it can also be very intimidating to put yourself out there on the internet if there is an issue or you are afraid that it may be a ‘stupid’ question.

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Our placenta encapsulation service includes six weeks of text support, weekly check-ins by a doula, and an in home visit. We want to ensure you are taking the proper dosage, there are no complications with taking your pills or otherwise and that your questions as a new mom can be answered without judgement. Whether it is needed more in home support, a referral to an osteopath, recipes for amazing lactation aids or just an ear to vent. Some days it’s the simple things that can bring a new mom joy, like a shower, ALONE! Every new family is different in their needs but we want to make sure that you know you are supported and have someone to reach out to.

This is what we are here to do for you!

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Placenta encapsulation isn’t just about ingesting this organ to help with numerous things including energy, healing, hormone levels and milk production. It is part of planning for your postpartum period and having the needed support in place while getting to know your newborn, learning to breastfeed, allowing time for your body to heal and keeping up with everyday chores.

Call in all the help you can get, you deserve it!

If you think that this service would be helpful for you during your postpartum, book your free consultation today!

Be Your Own Hero

Do you ever get that feeling like you're waiting for someone to come in and save you? I don't mean when the kids are acting like rabid animals and it's 10 minutes until dinner time and your spouse walks through the door...

Not that kind of saving.

But the kind where you feel like something big is going to happen and you're not entirely sure how you're going to get through it.

That.

In those moments, did you know that the very best hero that can do the very best saving lives inside of your soul?

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You have all of the power that you need deep down inside of your soul. You don't need anybody else!

Take a deep breath and, just for a moment, picture yourself standing on top of a mountain. The air is cool and crisp. The wind, ever so gently, washing over your face. You're not afraid, but you know that something is coming. Something big.

Change.

The air brings change with it. It fills our lungs with fresh, clean, new air. It breathes life into our being.

In amongst that change, standing on the edge of something great, you might feel like you need a hero. That hero is you.

You.

Perfectly perfect, just the way that you are. Standing there on your mountain, in all of your power and glory.

You don't need anybody else.

Slow Down. Be Still.

The hustle and bustle of the holidays is over. Life is starting to settle down. Depending on where you are geographically, the world may still be laden with snow, the skies still grey and the nights incredibly cold.

This month in Mindful Motherhood, we are encouraging you to slow down. To be still.

And to hold onto the moments that matter.

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The things that truly matter. Sometimes, those things are the tiny feet of our baby's. Other times, it's the quiet moments when they're napping and we are cuddled up on the couch binging our latest Netflix find.

The slow, still moments.

Hold on to them.

They matter so very much and in a world that is often chaotic and negative....they matter.

Hold onto them.

Reflexology for Postpartum Relief

Recently, we were contacted by Nikki Yeager of The Relievery, a holistic business she owns with her best friend that really has a moms health as their top priority. When she wanted to share an article about reflexology and postpartum healing, we jumped at the chance to have her write for us!

If you are looking for a local reflexologist, let us know! We have some connections and often go for reflexology ourselves to help with energy clearing!

If I were to tell you that there’s a holistic remedy that’s been shown to be effective for increasing milk supply, easing the first bowel movement after a c-section, and decreasing postpartum depression, you may not believe me.

 

But guess what? There is, and it’s a wonderful modality called “reflexology”.

 

Reflexology is the concept of applying acupressure principles to the feet. We have thousands of nerve endings on the bottom of each foot, and those nerve endings travel up to different body systems, organs, etc. Reflexology practitioners believe that by stimulating the nerve endings on the feet, we can bring balance and release blockages in the associated body systems. While science is just starting to catch up, reflexology has been around since ancient times with recorded instances of it’s use as early as the Ancient Egyptians.

 

I personally discovered reflexology as a new mom. My husband would regularly give me foot rubs to help relieve my tender, swollen feet. At the same time, I decided to help a friend of mine launch a company to empower women with holistic self-care knowledge. With her knowledge gained during a Holistic Health Practitioner program, she invented socks with reflexology points printed on the bottom for Pregnant and Postpartum women. I got to test the socks with my husband, and those sessions worked miracles on my body. For months after giving birth, I’d experienced moderate hip pain that only got worse throughout the day, but after a few weeks of my husband using his knuckle to apply pressure to the “hip” point, that pain finally subsided.  

 

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Since then I’ve learned so much more about reflexology. Not only can it help women with postpartum discomforts, but there was a study done in 2008 that showed reflexology during labor can actually help decrease the pain intensity and duration of birth!

If you’d like to incorporate reflexology into your self-care during and after birth, it’s best to start by visiting a qualified practitioner. You'll be able to find dozens of reflexology maps online for free, but make sure to exercise caution if you're still pregnant, as there are certain points you'll want to avoid. You can also check out these 5 free reflexology points that outline points for the lower back, emotions, sciatica and more.

Nikki Yeager is a freelance writer who tries her best to balance personal wellness and motherhood. She is Co-Founder of The Relievery, a company she created with her best friend to provide holistic self-care products to pregnant, birthing and postpartum women. You can follow The Relievery on Instagram or Facebook. Doulas can learn more about reflexology during pregnancy through The Relievery's new Doula Training.

 

Save Your Nipples....And Keep it Local!

Locally saving nipples, right here in London, one mom at a time.

Lunah Life!

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Handmade, quality products using all natural ingredients with a touch of moon magic. Lunah Life`s nipple butter is the simple and effective choice for breastfeeding mothers. This healing salve not only works amazing (tried and tested), smells amazing but also is infused with a delicate piece of rose quartz making it one of the most stylish products postpartum. Rose Quartz is said to assist in feminine health and postpartum healing while the relaxing scent helps aid in encouraging milk flow by reducing stress. Even at a year postpartum, this nipple butter has been a life saver for my breastfeeding relationship with my daughter. Cluster feeding still happens this far into our journey too, and let’s not even talk about the teeth.

Reducing stress is one of the most talked about part of a self-care regimen to producing more milk, a better bond with baby and in turn a better postpartum. No one who has cracked, sore, bleeding nipples is happy (or should be). SO get this amazing local product, maybe even a few of them. Keep one at your nursing station, one in your diaper bag and even one bedside your bed.

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It’s so more than JUST a nipple butter! It can also be used to heal cuts and scrapes, cradle cap, bum rashes, cuticles, psoriasis, eczema, cracked heals, and even lips etc. My personal favourite use, especially during this cold season, is for those crusty noses for baby and toddlers. The healing salve has helped prevent cracking and bleeding on my kiddos sensitive little noses. A product that makes my life a little easier, works wonders and looks this pretty is a recommendation in this mom’s book!

How are you still reading this?

Go check out lunahlife.com to see the local stockists or shop the online store.

Stay tuned for more product reviews from Lunah Life and other local products from The Forest City. Have something you want to see... Let us know!

Our First Hello

A new year...a new batch on Mindful Motherhood moments to bring to you each and every month. The style of the graphics are a wee bit different, much more in line with our new look on social media thanks to our rockstar designer Tiffany!, but the sentiment is the same.

You matter

You're important

You are enough

And you are so incredibly and deeply loved.

This month, we are reflecting on the very first hello that we had with our babies. Take a moment this month and write it down...in a journal...on a scrap piece of paper. Sit and write about those first kicks, hiccups and the butterflies you felt when baby was first saying hello.

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With my first pregnancy, I remember that first kick very distinctly. I was sitting in a chair at the salon, waiting for my hair to be dyed by my ever lovely stylist, April. I thought maybe it was gas, but then it happened again and again.

Hand to my stomach, I waited and sure enough...he was kicking. I was 14 weeks along, has just been in the hospital for a big bleed, so these first few kicks were incredibly welcome. Back then, we called him Bug. Now, we call him Owen.

xo

Shannon

Wishing You Happiness and Joy

As the year draws to an end, and we start to ready ourselves for something brand spanking new...we wanted to extend you wishes of happiness and joy.

In a month that can be insanely hectic and overplanned, remember that you are worthy of the happiness and joy that you are so freely extending to others.

You are worthy of happiness
You are worthy of joy

And it comes from within. Find a few moments this month when the kids are still sleeping, the house is quiet and give yourself a smile. Look in the mirror and appreciate everything of who you are, right there in that present moment.

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Joy

You freely give of it, every single day. Now is the time to accept it in return. Bask in its glow. Let your light shine.

Settling into a New Normal

After a month of daily selfcare, writing out my heart and taking my supplements regularly, I was ready to see Dr. Martens again.

A few days before my appointment, my period returned and this time there was no pain. No nausea. No cramping. No heavy flow. No cravings, even! I felt even, dare I even say normal.

A new normal. A shift.

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Acupuncture Afterglow

This change was so good and so welcome.

I shared my experience with Dr. Martens and I feel as though I've found my new normal. She agreed and we rejoiced, then I hopped up onto the treatment table to drift off to sleep for a little acupuncture induced nap!

I want to talk a bit about this process of writing each day. It's become so incredible for me, and I foresee these pages making their way to print and being bound in collections to share, mindfully, with others who are struggling with their darkness. My process of writing isn't always pretty, but it's been helpful in letting me feel and navigate things like death and fear. Namely, processing the grief I've been holding over my Dad's death.

I wanted to share with you these words, ones that I wrote on the anniversary of his death.

All at once, the magnitude hit me like a wave. A wave crashing down with such force, that I had no time to prepare, or recover.

Today. This date. It always catches me off guard, yet I always know it's coming.

The wave hits, and I'm pulled under. I can't breath, and there's no use fighting.

My heart breaks. It shatters into a million pieces, my soul seeping out between the cracks.

Today. This date. It makes my bones ache, my body hurt. The magnitude of losing you crashing on me like a wave.

It hits over and over, and I feel the wave starting to swell as the date draws near.

It's almost over. Just hold on. I'll spend a year putting the pieces back together, only for it to hit again.

You see, this cycle of grief is never ending. Be it the loss of a parent, friend, teacher, mentor. The loss of a child. It's always there, deep inside, and for me...writing has given me an outlet again, a safe place to let my heart out so that I can breathe.

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One thing that Dr. Martens said that really stuck with me was when I mentioned how the scale is still going up and down like a yo-yo, but I don't really seem to care. I'm not beating myself up about it anymore, because things fit differently and I feel differently. She said that often when we immerse ourselves into a practice of selfcare, and we truly start loving ourselves, that the conversation shifts and the other measures that we used to use to define us start to matter less. Things like the measuring tape, scale, training schedule and all of the failure and guilt that comes along with them.

I'm in such a great place, and while I know that it changes from day to day, month to month, I have the tools to get through it all and be true to myself.

One more appointment to go!!

Lexi's Birth Story - World Prematurity Day

A HUGE thank you to Nicole McCullough, Lexi's amazing mom, for sharing this story with us!!  Today, we honour babies like Lexi and mamas like Nicole - along with the hospital staff that take life saving measures to ensure these little lives have a chance!
 


After a devastating loss we were ecstatic to find out we were expecting again. I was admitted to the hospital at 24 weeks for dangerously high blood pressure. While admitted we also found out our little rainbow baby also had IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction). I was told I would be in the hospital for the next 3.5 months until she was born. After only 5 days in the hospital my condition worsened and I developed HELLP Syndrome. I was told to contact my family because they would be taking me in for an emergency C-Section as it was the only option to save both of our lives. My daughter was born in November of 2012 rather than March of 2013.

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Lexi came into this world weighing a mere 500 grams, had no respiratory effort and required ventilation. The Doctor told my family that we were very lucky as they don’t often attempt to help babies weighing less than 500 grams. During her first few weeks of life and her 109 day NICU stay, Lexi battled pneumonia, suspected sepsis, Bilateral grade1 IVH , RDS with PIE, BPD, Persistent PDA, mild pulmonary hypertension, stage 2 ROP, anemia and apnea to name a few. Our little miracle could only breast feed in the NICU up until 2 days before discharge when she was finally able to master the bottle (Haberman).

Finally, 10 days after her actual due date, we got to bring Lexi home! It was an exciting yet scary day. As much as we were excited to have Lexi home with us it almost felt like we were leaving part of our family behind. Her primary nurse, we referred to as her "NICU" mommy, was exactly that. They treated Lexi like their own. The nurses , neonatologists, social workers and NICU Respiratory Therapists are amazing at what they do and we are forever grateful for the exceptional care they provided for not only my daughter but for us as well. We have returned to the NICU every year around Lexi's birthday with donations for the babies and families as well as a birthday cake from Lexi to the NICU staff.

We are so thankful to have been able to keep some of our favourite ladies in Lexi's life! Lexi had many follow-up appointments after leaving the NICU and she continued to amaze her Doctors and Specialists. Our little preemie decided she could do things according to her actual age rather than her adjusted age and just after her 1st birthday she took her first steps and hasn’t stopped running since.

Lexi looks up to her older brother and he loves her to pieces. I’ll never forget the first time he saw her, he said “she’s so cute” and whispered “grow bigger baby Lexi.”

Although I still struggle with PTSD from our rollercoaster of a journey, I have my amazing little miracle & support of my family to get me through my days. Knowing we can provide hope and inspiration to other families of tiny little miracles helps me get through tougher days. Sometimes things don't go as planned but you learn and grow from your journeys

The Eye Opening Appointment

Appointment #3 was definitely an eye opener. I knew that I had taken on too much and spread myself too thin. I knew that I was forgetting to take my supplements and they weren't able to do their job effectively because I wasn't being consistent. I knew that my weight had started to creep back up.

I knew

I knew

I knew

At this appointment, instead of talking about diet and what to eat at what time of day or how to be more consistent with my supplements, Dr. Martens simply let me talk. I talked about how I had changed my routine at the gym and was now doing two days of crossfit style workouts and three days of running a week to train for the Enchated10k in February. I talked about the stresses of being a mom and a business owner, something that she can relate to all too well.

 Regaining control!

Regaining control!

It was so refreshing to sit there and just talk. Express what was going on in my life at that given point and time and feel validated. She got it. She knew that I was talking about and how it made me feel. She knew the impact that those feelings had on my hormones.

And she let me know that it was ok.

We broke the stresses down one by one and talked about strategies for not taking on things that were a waste of time or resources. The minute that I feel like I'm getting drained emotionally or mentally, I need to step back and consider what is good for me and what is not. What fills my soul with joy and what is me doing something out of obligation.

For a doula, that is hard! I live and breathe by helping others and it can be incredibly hard to say no! But, just like I tell my clients, I can't pour from an empty cup and I have to take care of myself first.

Then she asked do you write? I said that I do, but that my journal has been sitting without passages since about September 18th when the stressful junk started building up. And that it's so silly that it's something I forgo because I really love it and have the perfect area in my office to sit and write.

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Before getting on the table for acupuncture, she said that my homework before the next appointment is to sit and write. Even if it's only for 10 minutes each day, to sit and write and be mindful of it.

For acupuncture, we did another round to stimulate ovulation and she added an acupuncture needle at the crown of my head. I always love asking her what she's doing and why, so I asked what it was for. She wanted to get me out of my head and more into my body, so the needle was there to start to diffuse that energy that was pent up and send it down into my body.

20 minute lovely little nap later, and I left feeling relaxed and excited to head home to write. I lit some incense, chimed my singing bowl, put on an Om Mani Padme Hum chant, and sat. After a few breaths, I put pen to paper and I wrote.

I've been writing every single day since, and being real with myself. I have been consistent about taking my supplements and have stopped beating myself up if I forget. While it may not always look like sitting at my meditation space with chanting playing and incense burning, I still make a point of writing about my day. It's become incredibly therapeutic for me and I'm processing things that have been long buried deep down. Sometimes in Sanskrit, sometimes in English...but always something each and every day.

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My last cycle was painless again, no nausea or complications.

I'm waiting for my next appointment, which is in a few weeks, but I'm feeling confident that I'm in a good place. I'm healing, and taking that process one step at a time. Never did I expect to experience this at 3 years postpartum, but it's happening and I've found a path that feels good.

It's OK To Not Be OK

What does `ok` even mean?

Today is a rough day for me, I am NOT ok. I can admit this.

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Why do I have to love my life, my kids, my house, my body, my job every single day? That expectation of such a strong emotion is too hard on new moms. Life is not easy, and neither is being that person in a household who wears so many different hats.

Cook, dishwasher, care giver, cleaner, grocery getter, plan maker, laundry doer, potty trainer, tantrum diffuser, hair brusher, book reader, tickle monster and the list goes on… It’s exhausting!

Being able to meet all your needs on top of taking care of one or more tiny humans takes skills, ones that you have to relearn at different stages and when new additions are made. You can realistically only have so many cups of coffee to help you through before breaking down and asking for help. Do not get to the point where you NEED to have someone help you out. Plan for this and allow yourself some self-care, it is important to everyone around you for you to be healthy and happy.

You deserve it!

I deserve it!

It may be as simple as enjoying a HOT coffee, alone, outside of the house. Going and seeing a movie and not having to hide to eat candy. A mini vacation for your soul.

It may require to call in help from family, friends or professionals like us here at Sweet Stella’s. We are here to help facilitate whatever you need to make you happy and healthy again.

It is ok to ask for help. It is ok to want to spend time alone. It is ok not to be ok.

From one momma to another who is having a rough day with a runny nosed clingy baby, a toddler who is testing my limits, and a long list of things that need to be done today… everything will be ok.

Stress and Life Make for a Forgetful Mom

So my second appointment with the naturopath brought some unexpected challenges. Labour day weekend meant the shipment of my supplements was delayed, and I had to move my appointment to get to a funeral....basically, life happened.

Wait.

Let's take a step back.

After my first appointment, I started supplements to help regulate my adrenals, liver and reproductive hormones. Within about a week of taking the supplements regularly, I could feel a huge shift in my body. My mood swings had regulated, I was able to make more rational decisions and was able to deal with stressful situations more easily. Even my husband noticed that I wasn't so quick to get angry, my patience had improved and I was more affectionate as well.

 4 in the morning, 1 at lunch and 2 at the end of the day

4 in the morning, 1 at lunch and 2 at the end of the day

Awesome! It looked so promising, and I was excited for my next round of acupuncture. I mean, who doesn't like having a little nap in the middle of the day, covered with blankets and a heat lamp, while soft tranquil music plays? Sign me up!

Another cycle came, 32 days, and was just as painless as the initial one after my first appointment.

But, as I mentioned and as life would have it, things didn't necessarily go to plan. My appointment was a bit delayed and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to continue taking the supplements as they were first prescribed so I was delayed in ordering another round of them, and the long weekend threw a wrench in everything as well!

 I just want to feel like myself again!

I just want to feel like myself again!

Thankfully, when I explained this to Dr. Martens she was incredibly understanding. She just kind of gets it that life sometimes doesn't go as planned and even with the best intentions, sometimes you have to push the rest button. So that's exactly what we did.

We did acupuncture to stimulate ovulation, I started taking my supplements (again) and was excited to see how things would go.

All I can say is they didn't go as planned, yet again. My weight started to creep up, there were some unexpected stressful situations and I felt like a total failure at trying to get control over my cycles and health. The next cycle was awful and the pain returned with a vengeance.

How did appointment #3 go? Stay tuned!

Long Cycles. Painful Periods. Mood Swings.

Sound familiar? Today, and in a few posts to follow, I'm going to be talking about postpartum hormones and periods; shedding light on something that I definitely was not expecting to experience at 2 years postpartum with my third pregnancy.

When I first went off birth control in 2009 for us to try to conceive, I experienced annovulatory cycles. I'm talking the ones that go on for 53-60 days and the doctor concludes that you just skipped your period. Until a wonderful group of women on The Bump encouraged me to start charting my Basal Body Temperature, I had no idea that I am a late ovulator (cd18-21) and that a normal cycle for me is about 33-37 days.

Fast forward to January 2015. I was 6 months postpartum with our second baby/third pregnancy, had been on birth control for a few months and saw my weight creeping up and up, regardless of a rigorous running and training schedule. I figured it was just how my body was, ignored it and just went along my merry way.

 6 Months Postpartum - Just before my first 10km at Disney

6 Months Postpartum - Just before my first 10km at Disney

Jump ahead again to January 2017 and my weight had plateued for almost a year, though my body was incredibly stronger from a solid weight lifting schedule at the gym and eating relatively well. My mood swings were....something to be desired. It wasn't uncommon for me to completely lose my temper over the smallest thing, and I was starting to really feel like I didn't recognize myself emotionally anymore.

 January 2017 - post tibia stress fracture rahab, post car accident rehab...feeling not at all like myself

January 2017 - post tibia stress fracture rahab, post car accident rehab...feeling not at all like myself

Instead of dealing with it then, I let it go. I again faced long cycles. What was 34 days in January extended to 37 days, then 42 days, and even one cycle that was 54 days. Many false pregnancy tests were taken and in July, I decided that I was done feeling this way. There was something going on, and I needed to listen to my body.

Off to the doctor I went, and without so much as doing a test or taking much time at all, an IUD was recommended. It was pretty clear that my hormones were out of whack, but which ones? How much? Was there anything else going on? My doctor ordered blood work, and I considered my options.

While an IUD certainly is a great thing for many women out there, I wasn't confident that it was the right course of action for me. Getting pregnant wasn't a concern, and I didn't feel comfortable having something in my body that prevents my body from doing what it naturally should. I just wanted my body to work!

So, I made an appointment with Dr. Lindsay Martens, a naturopath in London, ON who specializes in fertility. After a quick phone consultation, I felt confident that seeing her would get my questions answered and me on a path of health and wellness.

At my initial appointment (cd28), we went over a copy of my blood work from cd42 of my previous cycle, talked about stress, work, life, motherhood. She was incredibly personable and put my mind to ease that I was in fact not going into early menopause, and that I did, indeed, have a hormonal imbalance issue. To be more specific, adrenal fatigue, liver fatigue and estrogen dominance.

 Left: August 2017 after seeing Dr. Martens       Right: July 2017 at the height of hormonal issues

Left: August 2017 after seeing Dr. Martens       Right: July 2017 at the height of hormonal issues

With supplements prescribed, I hopped up on her treatment table for acupuncture. It was incredibly soothing and healing, and within 3 days of the initial treatment, a painless period came. It was something that I hadn't experienced in a very long time. I had gotten used to a brutal 2 day period of heavy bleeding, nausea and severe abdominal cramping to the point of tears sometimes. This time, it was painless and stretched over the course of 4 days, and was only ever a medium flow at worst.

Since that first appointment, I've seen Dr. Martens twice. There have been some challenges along the way, unexpected stress, but I'm getting to know what my body needs to be healthy and that my weight (whether stagnant or not) isn't a true marker of my health.

Stay tuned for more posts on how I'm taking control of my postpartum health!

Time Out!

No, not like a time out with your friends or a date night out with your spouse.

But a time out....like you would give to a toddler.

Sometimes, just like a toddler having a meltdown over being given the blue cup when he wanted the Dory cup, we need a time out too.

And that is perfectly ok. In fact, it's encouraged!

Give yourself a time out this month. Plan it in advance if you need to, or announce outright that you need a time out.

Give yourself a bit of quiet and space to reflect. To recharge. To sip a coffee, while it's still hot.

Time outs are just as effective as diffusing emotions for adults as they are for calming little ones.

Enjoy it!