Browsing Tag:

pregnancy

In Lifestyle, Parenting on
March 5, 2018

Top Parenting Apps

As a bonafide app nerd I love all the different apps out there from photography and video trip planning and ordering pizza. I love me a good app. That being said, there are a LOT of apps out there for parents, so I’ve compiled my top parenting apps as well as some of the other Alberta Mama’s favourite apps that will help your life and not sit on your screen unused taking up precious storage space.

Apps for Pregnancy

The Bump

Device: Apple and Android.
Cost: Free
About:  From the people that helped you plan your wedding at TheKnot.com is The Bump.  The best part about this app, is seeing how big your baby is every week, and the development at every stage. Don’t we all want to know what that little avocado is doing this week? What kind of cool stuff are they growing this week?  There’s a community forum and contraction calculator, but really, I’m here for what the baby is up to.

 

Apps for Babies

My Smart Hands

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free & paid.
About: I first learned about My Smart Hands a few years ago when everyone was on Twitter (before Twitter became a place for trolls and Donald Trump) as the founder, Laura Berg was a regular on the Twitter and I’ve seen her speak at an event in Edmonton. There are several apps depending on whether you’re a newbie or an advanced

 

 

The Wonder Weeks

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: $3.99
About: It’s not a free app, but it’s cheaper than a Starbucks drink! The Wonder Weeks app does what The Bump does, but for babies. Track your babies development and be prepared for when your baby is about to make a developmental leap!

 

 

 

Apps for Saving Money

FLIPP

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free
About: It’s the flyers… but on your phone. No more cutting out coupons, no more flyers in the recycling!

StoCard

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free
About: Take back your wallet! Add all of your rewards cards into this app so you no longer need a giant wallet to hold them all.  There’s also an option to view flyers in the app in your neighbourhood!

Food Apps

 

Yummly

Device:
Cost: Free
About:  Yummly is a community-based app where you can share recipes and there are LOTS of recipes! You can search by popular or trending recipes, kid-friendly or seasonal recipes or for certain diets. My favourite part of the app is searching in the ingredients. For example, you’ve got chicken breasts and a can of tomatoes (always so many cans of tomatoes) and it will bring up recipes that have those ingredients in them! Boom, dinner is sorted.

 

 

Skip the Dishes

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free
About:  Skip the Dishes is a food delivery app, simply chose the restaurant from the app, order your food and boom, now you have dinner. The best part about this app is ordering breakfast from your bed on a Sunday, I thought I deserved some kind of award for that idea and still do.

 

Olio

Device: Apple and Android.
Cost: Free
About: Remember in the “olden days” when people used to go to their neighbours for a cup of sugar? Me neither, but my mother said it happened. Well, Olio is that thing that my mum said happened but in the tech age.  Olio connects neighbours by food sharing! Grown too many zucchinis’s in your garden? Pop them on Olio. Bought yet another can of tomatoes at the grocery store (I always do this), pop it on Olio and share your food with your neighbours.

 

Family Organization Apps

 

Cozi

Device: Apple and Android.
Cost: Free but has in-app purchases for an ad-free experience, or for premium services like a birthday tracker, importing contact and more notifications.
About: Cozi is the “all in one” family organizer with everything from a calendar, grocery lists, to do lists, recipes and a family journal.
Why we like it: Different colours for family members, the recipe feature and the lists! Lists means no more sticky notes all over the house! The kids can see the calendar from their devices so they know in advance when their dad is traveling for work or that it’s Tuesday and they have soccer.

 

Google Calendar

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free
About: There is nothing fancy about the Google calendar, especially when you compare it to Cozi, but its simplicity is its genius. Like Cozi, you can add multiple calendars, but what I like is that you can sync your work calendar as well. While I like that my kids can see what’s happening in the upcoming week, they don’t need to see that I have a work meeting at 1pm on a Wednesday, so I can keep that separate from their eyes.

 

In Lifestyle, Parenting on
September 27, 2017

Tips for a new mom coping with “post-partum shock”

– and how to support the new mom in your life

By Laura Barr  

I remember clearly my first thought as I entered the door to my home with my hubby carrying our beautiful, perfect new little girl that lived in my belly for nine glorious months prior (I know, you probably want to throw rotten fruit at me, but I had a good pregnancy). I was staring at our coat rack when I shuddered with fear, and thought “what have we done! We can’t possibly be responsible for another human!” Little did I know that in the months to come I would be dealing with post-partum anxiety and OCD.

There are many different labels associated with what is often called post-partum depression or PPD – so I will refer to all of them collectively as “post-partum shock” for the remainder of this article.

*Important note: This article will not discuss postpartum psychosis which is a rare, severe, and dangerous form of postpartum shock that can suddenly occur within the first 3 weeks following childbirth causing a new mother to potentially feel detached from her baby and other people and hallucinate involving smell, touch, sight, or hearing. She may have delusions or display bizarre behaviour, or have urges to kill herself and her child or children. Postpartum psychosis is considered a psychiatric emergency requiring immediate hospitalization and treatment.

What to do if you have post Partum Shock:

  1. Get your family and friends to read this article (family and friends – please read the list below this one). Sometimes when you are in the midst of it, its extremely hard to ask for what you need.
  2. See your doctor. If you aren’t happy with what they say, or they are passing it off as baby blues, seek another opinion. Continue seeking opinions until you find what works for you and makes YOU feel better. There are many options like medication, cognitive behavioural therapy, etc. that can help. A lot.
  3. Don’t be a hero. I was told children who are breast fed have less chance of many diseases – one being Type 1 diabetes. I had many “breast is best” people in my life, and although it added much to my stress, I did it for 11 months. Guess what? At 2.5 years old, my girl was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Bottle or breast, your baby will be JUST FINE. Do what works for you and If anyone tells you different – tune them out.
  4. Don’t be hard on yourself – you are not alone and due to multifactorial changes in your life (and body) the feelings you are experiencing happen to other women too. You are doing the best you can.
  5. Don’t be hard on your body. Pregnancy almost always results in more weight gain than expected, and there is ever-increasing pressure from media to take it all off fast. Do your best to ignore it – you just grew a human!
  6. Accept help. People will want to help knowing that it really will help you. Let them. Sleep. Even if you can’t sleep during that 3 hours period your spouse / friend / parent, etc. is caring for your child, lie there. Have a bath. Go for coffee. Read. Get a massage. Make that time your own. Yes, you will feel that cursed Mom guilt for the first while, but ignore it – the more you make it a habit to have you time, the better you’ll be with your new little bundle.
  7. Breathe. I promise you, there is a beautiful light at the end of the tunnel. One of these days it will hit you and you’ll know what I mean. Keep that hope.

What to do if you have a loved one with post partum shock:

  1. Stay close and in touch. Even if this person you thought you knew is grey and gloomy and no fun to be around – let them know you are there. Spouses – yes, this means if you are used to going out with friends Saturday night and your wife says, “no its ok, you work hard, you go ahead and go out with them” DO NOT GO. She needs you. Yes, it might be a year, but remember she is going through something much harder than you can ever even fathom. If you don’t believe me, please ask my husband…he decided to keep up “guys night” on Saturday nights right after our daughter was born. He ended up with a raging wife who almost left him. Resist the temptation to get out of the house and let your spouse know you are in it with her for the long haul. Trust me on this one.
  2. Don’t ask “what can I do to help?” just do it. Take that sweet new bundle of tears, poop and giggles and care for them for a few hours a week while Mom rests or does whatever the heck she wants. Get a few friends together and take turns throughout a week. Your friend needs this right now so she doesn’t go completely out of her mind.
  3. Bring dinner / coffee / lunch, whatever you can occasionally. Let mom know you don’t care what she’s wearing, what her house looks like, etc.
  4. Make sure your expectations of your loved one’s day-to-day abilities are realistic – remember – Mom is very unlikely to come home and do everything she normally does for quite some time. Pitch in as much as possible and consider outside help if that is an option.
  5. Remember that every parent and child is unique – don’t compare two people or two families.
  6. Understand that people who experience postpartum depression may want to spend a lot of time alone. This it isn’t about you, they are simply trying to cope with an illness.
  7. Help with child care (including overnight help for feedings), or help finding a child care provider. A short break or a chance to get back into interests can make a big difference in anyone’s well-being. It can also create more opportunities for sleep.
  8. Managing postpartum depression takes a lot of hard work – acknowledge a loved one’s efforts regardless of the outcome.
  9. Accompany your loved one to appointments when you can
  10. Take care of yourself – your loved on needs you to be healthy too.

Having a child, whether it is your first, second or fifth, is a huge life change and it is normal to have mood changes related to this. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it doesn’t make you weak, it makes you much, much stronger!

“It takes a village to raise a child.” -African proverb.

Laura Barr is the owner of bloomwellness.ca & bloomwellnessblog.com. She is a Registered Massage Therapist, Certified Personal Trainer, Holistic Nutritionist and Therapeutic Exercise Specialist. Her clinic is based in Nisku, and serves clients from Edmonton, Beaumont, Leduc, Nisku & surrounding area.  She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, animal lover, type 1 diabetes mom and advocate and most importantly, she is a busy mom to her energetic young daughter!  Visit her blog.  Connect with Laura: Professional services website:www.bloomwellness.ca , WordPress blog: bloomwellnessblog.com , Instagram , Facebook , Twitter , Pinterest , Linkedin 

In Health on
September 25, 2017

Train Your Perineum for Birth

Giving birth is one of the biggest challenges in a woman’s life. If you have ever trained hard for an upcoming event like a triathlon you would know that in order to be successful you are required to match the distributions you will be experiencing.

What is a perineum? And why should I protect it?

Your perineum is the area between your vulva and anus. It helps support the uterus, bladder, and vagina.  The reason you need to protect this area in birth is because when there is trauma to this area it can cause a lot of pain and many other problems that will be described below.

Depending on where you are in your pregnancy you may have been told to do a perineum massage. This is when you put your fingers inside your vagina and try to stretch the perineum. Why do the doctors or midwives tell you to do this?

First-degree perineal tears are the least severe. They may or may not require stitches. I had one minor tear inside of my vagina because my daughter came out with her arm up above her head.

Second-degree perineal tear involves tearing the perineal muscles. These muscles support the bladder, vagina, and uterus and will require stitches to the perineum.

Third-degree perineal tear involve the perineal muscles and the muscles that surround the anus. A consequence of this type of tear is faecal incontinence, urinary incontinence, and painful intercourse.

Forth-degree perineal tears are the most severe and they involve the perineal muscles, the anal sphincter, as well as the tissue lining the rectum. Consequences of this type of tear are also faecal incontinence, urinary incontinence and painful intercourse.

A lot of women tell me “I wish I would have known about the consequences of tearing my perineum or getting an episiotomy and that there was a way to prevent it”

In order to train your perineum and pelvic floor you will need to gradually strengthen and stretch the muscles and tissues so it will become stronger and more elastic. This will reduce the chance of a tear of the perineum or the need for an episiotomy during delivery. If the perineum remains intact, the muscles and tissue can easily recover following birth. And scars, prolapse of the organs, and incontinence can be avoided.

There is a birth trainer specifically for this. It is called the EPI-NO Delphine Plus. A Birth and Postnatal Trainer, designed, developed, and manufactured in Germany in close co-operation with gynaecologists, midwives, urogenital physiotherapists and pregnant women. It is also is Health Canada approved! If you have extended health benefits you may be able to use them to purchase the EPI-NO.

The training methods that are used with this device is a three stage program:

  • Exercise your pelvic floor muscles to strengthen them before birth,
  • Stretch the perineum, for the gradual stretching of the vaginal passage, the perineum and the vaginal muscles before birth, and
  • Simulation of birth to train for the delivery phase of childbirth.

Arco Maternity Clinic Recommendations for Use:

  • It is recommended that you train daily from your 36th week of pregnancy, optimally 2 x a day in a relaxed and undisturbed atmosphere.  
  • Preheat the perineum with a warm damp compress, a hayseed pack, or a hip bath.  
  • Training time not less than 10 min, according to the instructions for use, daily increase the diameter of the balloon by inflating right up to the limit where a feeling of tension is noticeable.
  • Breathe deeply several times into this tension, close your eyes and visualize the little head of the baby, then press the balloon slowly out of the vagina.
  • The training is recommendable for all pregnant women, whether expecting a first child of after several births, whether there was once a birth with the perineum intact or a perineal tear or episiotomy.

Just like a triathlon you need to mentally prepare yourself. The simulation of birth allows you to experience the sensation ahead of time, giving you more confidence and lessening any anxieties, which in turn will help you to relax.

Experiences with the EPI-NO from the Arco Maternity Clinic:

Each midwife learns and knows the active form of perineum protection, for many midwives it is a privilege to be active there where the child arrives and to avoid a rapid passage of the head and thus possible injury to the perineum. We midwives from the arco Maternity Clinic go so far as to say that an active protection of the perineum by the midwife is, after training with EPI·NO, no longer necessary. There is nothing more wonderful and fulfilling for the woman giving birth, her partner and for us midwives than for the woman to push the little head of her child with her own hand or the hand of her partner. She knows herself intuitively also through the training with EPI·NO, how much feeling and dosing this procedure requires. These births are the ones with the fewest perineum injuries and it is the most dignified, active and integral way to accompany a birth. To experience woman and man as an entity, we midwives remain in the background as extras who can call on their professional knowledge at any time and whenever necessary.”

The finish line of your “Triathlon of Birth” is the most magnificent and life-changing time of your life, and a successful triathlon of birth should involve your family, friends, doula, and physician cheering you on.

I wish you success in your pelvic health!

The Brilliant Baby Bump is a Medicine Hat company devoted to education, prevention, and healing women in their pelvic health. We are dedicated to raising awareness in women’s pelvic health to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction. We want to create a community where women are not embarrassed to talk about pelvic floor health. http://www.brilliantbabybump.ca

Facebook: brilliantbabybump
Twitter: brilliantbabyb1
Instagram: brilliantbabybump

In Lifestyle, Parenting on
July 16, 2017

Float Therapy – Easing Pregnancy Aches and Anxieties

By Suzanne Pescod

At around the 14-week mark of this pregnancy I was at my doctor’s appointment and answering another round of questions. They were easy enough – she asked me what I did for work, in my free time and some general questions. 

Then the doctor said “And what about dad?”

I answered “Well his name is David, and he was a stockbroker – but he’s retired now so he spends a lot of his time at the dog park or travelling.”

She stared at me – “He’s retired?”

I answered – “Well he’s in his late 60’s….”

As soon as I said it I realized she was asking about DAD for my baby! Not my own dad!

I hope you got a chuckle from that – my doctor actually asked me if she could share it with her colleagues.

But why am I sharing that story – it’s to show you how new I am to this whole pregnancy thing! It’s our first baby, my first pregnancy, the first grandchild on either side of the family and WOW there is so much to learn!

But before I get into those details about all the new challenges – the biggest one has definitely been on the physical and emotional side of things. We are excited to start our family and feel very grateful that it happened relatively quickly for us, but I was ill-prepared for what would happen to my body and to my emotions.

The first thing that hit was nausea and it was almost immediate. I spent many weeks trying to find something that would put my nausea at bay – Looking back I should have bought stock in ginger ale.

Exhaustion was the second thing that really knocked me off my feet. I have always enjoyed having a full schedule and being involved in the many things my profession and Edmonton have to offer in terms of volunteerism and activity. And now – here I was in bed by 8 pm every night, canceling event invitations, and only staying awake long enough to need another nap. It was the worst possible timing for the Oilers playoffs and 8:30 pm games. As an avid fan I, might have been the only one who would wake up the next morning and need to find out what the score was from the night before.

These two very common symptoms started to take a toll on my emotional well-being. I didn’t feel like myself, I wasn’t acting like myself, and it was sending me into a weird sense of identity. I knew these were just symptoms of pregnancy, but it didn’t calm my anxieties and displeasure about how my life seemed to halt.

I was feeling too sick and too tired to try out prenatal fitness classes, and there were so many things that I used to do to relax that were now off the table (wine, massage, etc), but I knew I had to do something to practice some self-care – so I booked my first ever float therapy experience.

I had a Groupon for Reset Wellness on Whyte Avenue – so at around my three and a half month mark, I had my first visit. Not knowing at all what to expect I was welcomed into a very calm space. My nerves did start to pound though as I looked at the float tank – a very big, very dark (I can’t lie, almost coffin-like) apparatus in the corner of an otherwise serene room. After a quick orientation, I got undressed and showered and entered into the tank for my first experience.

I didn’t end up shutting the lid, but it didn’t really make a difference. If you suffer from claustrophobia I would suggest maybe just bringing something to cover your eyes like you would when you go to sleep, but I found just shutting mine was fine.

The weightless feeling of floating was incredible. The pressure from an already forming baby bump was eased immediately – and it was FUN!

Admittedly I did not experience any epiphanies – I’m not even sure I meditated on any topic, but after a few minutes of adjusting to the setting I started pushing myself around the tank, bobbing here to there, and all the worries and anxieties melted right out.

It was 60 minutes that I am so glad I took for myself. On my drive home I felt relaxed and confident – and the best part was my sleep that evening. For the first time in years I, was relaxed enough that as soon as my head hit the pillow I was out.

There are many float therapy opportunities in Edmonton, and I look forward to trying a few different settings and maybe trying some more focused meditation while in the tanl. I do recommend this for anyone with nagging aches (pregnancy related or not) or if you just need to calm a worried mind.

Until next time! And if you have any suggestions on how to relax while pregnant – please share them in the comments section!

Suzanne Pescod is an expecting mama as well as Marketing & Communications Director for and board member(Capital Awards). Find her on Twitter and Instagram

In Health, Lifestyle on
July 13, 2017

Don’t judge your worth by your abs. YOU are amazing.

By Laura Barr  

I WAS INSPIRED TO WRITE POST THIS AFTER A DAY OF DOING FITNESS ASSESSMENTS AND REALIZING HOW HARD WE ARE ON OUR BODIES AND HOW DISTORTED OUR VIEW OF PERFECTION IS.

        I remember getting up from a nap while pregnant, I called my husband into the room. “Husband” I said, “look, when I sit up you can see the baby popping out!” I was – to say the least – excited. Little did I realize that my once perfect six pack (just kidding, never really had one due to my love of food and inherited pectus excavatum) was torn down the center from my 70 POUND WEIGHT GAIN (there I said it) with my first and only child. 

Here’s my face pre-pregnancy: 

Here’s my face just before delivery:

Diastasis recti (or DR) is the technical name when your rectus abdominus muscle (the 6-pack muscle) separates – often due to pregnancy. 

The Mayo clinic lists the following as pregnancy related causes of DR:

      • *over age 35;
      • *multiple pregnancy;
      • *baby with high birth weight;
      • *repeated pregnancies.

        Not sure why they left out the “ate two 700-calorie parfaits alone in car on a weekly basis” cause, but whatever. 

Myself and those close to me were certain my baby was to be at LEAST ten pounds at birth. One lady in IKEA even asked me if I was sure I wasn’t pregnant with twins. If I hadn’t seen the ultrasound pictures myself, I may have thought so.

My girl weighed a healthy 7 pounds, 10 ounces. I retained alot of water weight, but mostly I think it may have been related to my stellar baby growing diet. (My OB/Gyn told me at one appointment “okay Laura, you can stop gaining now” as he giggled.) Ahem. 

Me – Pre Preggo:

6 month bliss:

Days before I gave birth:

Folks – this is not a pity party – I actually LOVED being pregnant. Folks were so very nice to me (other than asking if I’d eaten a horse), I ate with reckless abandon, and I didn’t feel like I needed to “maintain” a specific weight / look like I did before due to my job. I felt amazing – so happy and filled with love. And…wait for it…I LOVED my curves. Bonus: doors were opened, seats given up, feet rubbed, pedicures by the month. People said “don’t work to long / hard, can I get you some food?” I have never felt like such royalty.

Then, my little bundle popped out, no epidural, 24 hours labor & 45 minutes of pushing – not bad at all. Happy, healthy, infused with love as I had wished. Six weeks later, I did my first core workout. Plank – what was that hanging to the ground? Ball crunch – what’s that little tent popping up from my belly? Yup, you guessed it – DR. Off to my Physiotherapist. “No crunches, no planking, no overhead barbell / dumbbell, just pelvic floor” yada yada. What? Really? YES. I did not listen. I still have a small tent. 

Although popular literature on the subject recommends TVA contractions (Transversus Abdominis – it holds in your guts or “compresses your abdominal contents”), because that muscle originates partly on the thoracolumbar fascia (back portion of the abdominal weight belt in your low back if you will) contracting it can actually pull the other abs taut – worsening the tear. (True story). I see so many of my clients pushing themselves to “get back their body” as soon as they pop a child out. Sometimes you have to ACCEPT CHANGE and be kind to yourself in the process of SLOW PROGRESS (I’m not yelling, I’m just in an all caps type mood). 

What to do if you find yourself in this position?

  • Get a really good belly band (scuba suit as my dear friend refers to it as) and wear it AS SOON AFTER YOU DELIVER as possible (check with your doc).
  • Don’t do planks or any prone (down) facing exercises like pushups – you could herniate through the tear – not cool.
  • Don’t do a ton of crunches / TVA contractions. See an exercise/rehab specialist.

The point of this post (to make a very long story not really short at all) is that bodies are different after pregnancy. My belly will never be the same as it was prior. I grew a person in it. The other day while in a body work course I am taking, I was asked to bare my abdomen in front of my class. I did it without hesitation. No one groaned, screamed or ran out as I had once feared would happen. I am real, I had a baby in this belly, and I am still a valuable and beautiful human being who will never alter myself to be anything but what I am. WE ALL ARE. 

For more information and things to be aware of with a pregnant body, check out this article.

Laura Barr is the owner of bloomwellness.ca & bloomwellnessblog.com. She is a Registered Massage Therapist, Certified Personal Trainer, Holistic Nutritionist and Therapeutic Exercise Specialist. Her clinic is based in Nisku, and serves clients from Edmonton, Beaumont, Leduc, Nisku & surrounding area.  She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, animal lover, type 1 diabetes mom and advocate and most importantly, she is a busy mom to her energetic young daughter!  Visit her blog.  Connect with Laura: Professional services website: www.bloomwellness.ca , WordPress blog: bloomwellnessblog.com , Instagram , Facebook , Twitter , Pinterest , Linkedin 

In Parenting on
July 2, 2017

Some Things Are Worth The Wait

By Maria Hjort Guiney

I was one of those girls.

Those girls who knew from the age of six that I wanted to have kids. Little did I know that it would take until I was thirty-six for that to actually come true.

My husband and I had agreed to “pull the goalie” as it were once we’d been married a little over a year. I was thirty-one and he was about to celebrate his sixth 29th birthday. SO while we weren’t in the ‘danger zone’, we weren’t in our mid-twenties either. There wasn’t panic, but still…

The first few months drifted along without much thought. When we hit month five and then six, I inched up on the stress meter. As we approached months eleven and twelve and onward, I found myself in tears when it was evident that it wasn’t happening this time either. I tried to relax about it.

Well, let’s be honest. I told myself I was relaxing, when really, I was probably doing the exact opposite.

Friends and co-workers were having kids, inviting me to showers and the like. Most of the time I could handle it, but some days they’d stop by work for a visit. People would make a point of telling me babies were in the building because they knew how much I loved kids, but sometimes…I just couldn’t do it. I actually found a reason to be busy or out of the office just at that time.

I couldn’t understand why. Anything and everything I read was about how to conceive. I followed any and all guidelines on what to eat (beans good, peas bad), quit drinking pop, and tried way to many things I don’t even want to think about. I started seeing a Naturopath. Paid for private lab tests to check all hormone levels, had a sack full of supplements with me wherever I went. I could rival Santa Claus. Oh, the amount of times I packed a bag and hoped there wouldn’t be any problems with airport security!

And still, nothing.  (Though my Naturopath managed to sort out some other issues for me.)

Finally, I started the process with my doctor to begin a more in-depth investigation. Never have I seen a stack of papers to read, forms to fill out and requisitions for lab work. I wondered if I’d have any blood left once they were done.

The initial results showed all my levels were good. I had no immediate reasons showing why this wasn’t happening. Great.

My doctor referred me to the Fertility clinic in Calgary. They contacted me within a month or so of receiving our packet. We were invited to come down for the initial meeting/tests/extravaganza. After nearly getting a concussion from being hit across the head with cost of it all, and still having no guarantee…this became my reality.  I soon had the clinic’s phone number and our file number memorized. And for once, I couldn’t wait to get my period!

Because, that meant I could call the “Period Hot line” ! You can’t make sh*t that up. That was the signal to start! A regimen that was all-encompassing, involving a number of supplements, a baby aspirin, and then…the shots. Oh, the shots. Became somewhat skilled, I must admit.

Finally it was time to start my 7-10 day stay in Calgary. Every morning started out the same. A slew of women waiting outside the building to open. Rushing to grab a number from the lock box (not kidding) to get their appointment order. Then upstairs to the clinic to sit and wait for our number to be called. And then we’d do some blood work, an ultrasound and so on and so on. By the end of day five, I believe, I laid on the exam room table only to be told there was only about five eggs. This was very low and likely not enough to complete this cycle. I’d come this far, done all this and the threat of cancellation and starting over was just unimaginable to me.  

Perhaps after seeing the look on my face, the nurse had a suggestion. Why don’t we try a few more days of injections and see what that gets us?  Yes, please!

It took a few extra days but they finally confirmed we had enough to go through with the retrieval. So yet more poking of an IV and lovely hospital gowns and into the room we went. Kind of weird to have things vacuumed out of your lady parts, but oh, if you want, you can watch on the big TV on the wall there. Um, no thanks. I’m good.

Then the waiting begins. They call you to say how many they retrieved and after they’re mixed together how many were viable. And then each day they call you with how many survived another day. By the way, the  number keeps dropping. So encouraging!

And then, five days later back to the clinic. Time for the transfer.  After all the work, stress, pills, shots, tears. Today was the day. Back in the same procedure room as the retrieval (maybe they’ll name it after me?) I was again, invited to watch on the TV (still good, no thanks!) as they transferred in one, single, solitary Grade A++ (their words, not mine) embryo.  

Let me get this straight. We’re pinning all our hopes (and money) on one little embryo? Okay, no pressure, but you find a good spot in there and you stick. Hold on tight and never let go (well, until you’re supposed to). One? Just one?

Oh, and then more waiting. Two weeks. Longest. Time. Ever.  And then, back at work my phone rings with the clinic on the call display. Hard swallow. “Hello?”

“Congratulations, you’re pregnant!”  I’m not sure if I vomited, passed out, or managed to stay seated. I think I did okay because they gave me my due date and advised that I’d be going for an early ultrasound to rule out an Ectopic pregnancy.  Are you freaking kidding me? You tell me I’m finally pregnant and in the same breath tell me it might be Ectopic? Deep breaths.

So, I’m pregnant. But not getting excited. Nope. Can’t get excited. Might be ectopic, which would mean no baby. So….just gonna continue working and not thinking about it. Nope. Just going to think about nothing else.

Yet another fashionable gown, yet another cold, sticky exam table, yet another internal (ugh) ultrasound.  The tech confirms my details, yes, first pregnancy. Yes, IVF. Yes, they transferred one embryo. Click, click, click. Taking pictures.  Good news. Not ectopic. And, exhale.

Then she says words I never thought I’d hear. “Here’s the heart beat.” I look at the screen and see a little pulse of light. “And here’s the other heartbeat. Congratulations, you’re having twins!”

Mia is a mom of two boys who are growing up too fast. She and her husband are new business owners of www.dreamingoftoys.com. In her free time (what is free time?) she likes to work on her website, is learning how to blog, and sleep.
In Health, Lifestyle on
May 22, 2017

Five things to know about your body when you’re pregnant

I’m a mom of four, a doula, and a women’s pelvic health physiotherapist.   I often get asked by moms why more information isn’t available about what “really” happens to your body during pregnancy.  I’ve collected some of what I would consider, very important information, that will help your body while pregnant.

Five things to know about your body when you’re pregnant

  1. See a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist and have your pelvic floor, core and more checked.  Leaking urine during your pregnancy or after the birth of your baby is common but NOT normal.  A functional pelvic floor is important to prevent leaking.  Not all pregnant women can do a “Kegel” correctly and may need strategies other than Kegels to have a healthy pelvic floor.

  2. Pregnancy aches and pains are common but NOT normal, and they shouldn’t be expected just because you are pregnant.  Pregnancy changes your body in many ways often leading to muscle and joint issues, especially in the back, pelvis, and hips.  Sometimes things as simple as correcting your posture, or wearing a maternity belt can give you huge relief.
  3. In a recent study, it has been shown that 100% of pregnant women will have some degree of abdominal separation by 35 weeks pregnant.  Learn to strengthen your deep abdominals and use postures and positions to decrease stress on your abdominal wall to minimize the separation.  AVOID crunches, v sits/bicycles and planks as these activities could make an abdominal separation worse during pregnancy and early postpartum.
  4. Posture counts when you poop!  Certain positions and chronic straining can increase pressure on your pelvic floor and pelvic organs putting you at risk for hemorrhoids, leaking urine, and pelvic organ prolapse.  Stay hydrated and eat a healthy fibrous diet, and AVOID straining.  When on the toilet, use a stool under your feet so that your knees are higher than your hips, lean forward slightly, and remember to breathe.
  5. Relax and prepare your pelvic floor for baby’s birth.  Pelvic floor relaxation is just as important as pelvic floor strength.  Learning how to relax your pelvic floor is integral to delivering your baby.   Studies have shown a reduction in perineal trauma when women have used massage and stretch techniques to prepare your perineum for birth.  If you need some help check out the Epi-no©, as it may be a good tool to assist you.  You can find more information and order the  Epi-no© here and here.

 

Corina Kerrison is a Women’s Health Physiotherapist and mom of four in Calgary, Alberta. She is co-owner of Optimum Perinatal Health, where she works with women prenatally to ready their bodies for labour and delivery, and postnatally to recover and restore after the birth of their babies. You can find her at www.optimumperinatal.com or on Facebook @optimumperinatalhealth.

For information on when you can start running again after baby, see our article here.