It’s been 5 months……holy shit time flies!!!

10405327_10154271186875142_3595276922561141287_nSo I have been thinking and wanting to write and log into this blog I created in my rainbow hazed pregnancy all cozy couch sitting and time time time on my hands to write and sip a hot tea and think! Yea that’s over.

The time goes so fast but  some days drags like molasses, like we have lived 4 days in one when we wake up at 5am. And I say “wake up” but some nights do we really sleep? Or just toss back and forth in warm covers and white noise attempting to silence the child and keep her still for a crazy amount of hours!

I will lie on my aching right side, from 6 months of co-sleeping and breast feeding, propped up by a pillow, my head in a dangerous vertebrae crushing incline that would make my osteopath wince, and I will lie like that for 45 minutes just to keep my boob in her mouth to buy me an extra hour in bed. If I am truly lucky with the Gods and Goodess at my side she will sleep for an hour and a half and I may snooze for 10. But I am learning to treasure even those 10 minutes and the 45 that I just lie their in the dark and worry and think awful things or plan my day or count hours in my head of what will happen if she fully wakes up right now.

My last post was exactly 5 months ago! Fuck!

I have wanted to post little snippets from my mind , and moment my daughter and I have. I have a daughter. DAUGHTER. Even now that she is 6 months old to say those words still feel surreal to my mouth and head. Even when I am snuggling her or feeding her or changing her diaper for the 40th time it still feels like maybe in a bit someone will come and take her back. Maybe my life will go back to …..whatever  it was. Maybe my body may go back to “normal.” You know like those other mom’s who wear their little tight jeans or lulu lemon yoga gear and strut around laughing how after breastfeeding their body just kind of fell back into shape, or they even lost weight! Assholes.

I will never forget how weird it was the few days after birth when my organs were all shifting around in my body.  Grateful for the space to relocate. I guess my intestines and stomach still want more real estate, they just never seemed to fall back into place. And how is it that I literally may have the most active child on the planet and yet I am still carrying 30 extra pounds at least?

Yes, I will write from time to time, little snippets and they won’t be edited or grammatical and they may be filled with anger or sadness, or griping, which doesn’t discount the love, the intense crazy love I have for my child but everyone knows that. Everyone knows about the smiles and the sweet stuff, what about the bullshit?

Like the hallucinations from sleep deprivation? I actually started yelling at a parked car the other day after jumping quickly out of the way when I thought it was going to back into us. After screaming, “Jesus christ look where your fucking going you…….”

oh…. baby awaking and it is turning into small screams….. more later

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What “they” didn’t tell me about being a parent…

Or possibly they did but it really doesn’t matter until it’s happening to you! IMG_0782“They” said we would never sleep, which is somewhat true but you don’t know how it feels until you are boiling water for coffee and pour it into a cup of orange juice. Or you keep repeating things and forgetting words as simple as cabinet.

 

It can take a long time to heal after the birth process. I tore, a lot. In the first week when I was pumping an engorged breast at 3am while attempting to peri-bottle my bits with warm water so it wouldn’t sting while I peed en route to racing/sauntering to meet the needs of my screaming child I thought, “Wtf, this is my life!?!” Feeling my organs shift and move back into place for a couple days after labour was incredible. The body is truely miraculous and also so strange, both my daughter and I have uncontrollable flatulence, which I trust will also shift over time.

 

The transformation of your heart- when you look at your baby and the love encircling you is so intense. It is indescribable. I really felt it around day 3 I will not forget the moment, nursing my child in our chair and looking at her, feeling her head in my hand and something totally clicked and flowed through us and grew around us. I had never felt something like it before. It was euphoric and primal and I knew I was tapping into a sacred mystery.

 

How inadequate and crazy I felt when we hit day 4 and our angelic daughter became a possibly colicky beast and we have no idea how to soothe her for longer then 5 minutes at a time. And then we find one thing that works like deep knee bends while making a wooshing sounds and stand there tagging each other out for an hour and a half until baby falls asleep. The next day waking up and both of us are in pain. IMG_0851     Completely distraught and hormonal when my baby cries and I weep and want to do anything I can to stop that cry! When I was attempting to breast feed and Esme would not latch and screamed and turned red as the midwife kept holding her to my breast. I was like we have to stop this is not feeling good! And then I panic and though, “I cannot provide for you, I’m a terrible mother already!” The hormones were incredibly intense. And I think I will never get this.

 

Nipple shields! If you have latch issues or inverted nipples these little dittys help your titties and support your baby in latching, and sets your mind and heart at ease. Thought La Leche League does not fully support this I cannot even stress what a life saver they have been to our nursing experience.   Cluster feeding! When your baby is like an insane Tasmanian devil screeching for your boob and flailing her arms with a frenzied look in her eyes! Like you can hardly even pee without the screaming banshee crying and you think there is nothing in there! What can you be sucking at! But miracle of miracles she seems to suck the deeper recesses of my breast and create more milk, but not without a struggle. And this happens at 2, 4, 6 weeks and 3, 6 and 9 months…and maybe some times in between for other developmental needs. IMG_0949

 

How it feels now that my body is home to someone else. When Ezzy cries and I pick her up and she sinks sighing deeply, into my flesh, starring into my eyes. Skin on skin is the best feeling with your wee one. Their body temperature regulates, their breathing eases and they feel safe in your presence. It is incredibly rewarding and daunting at the same time creating this deep attachment.

 

Everyone wants to hold the baby! Which is great, I thought I will totally pass the child off to anyone, get her acclimatized to people. I did not know that I would be such a mother bear. But I am the clingy, you aren’t holding her right parent! Who knew! When you see your baby’s cues of uncomfortability that is verging on a full out cry and the person holding her has no idea, why wouldn’t I attempt to intervene? At first a polite, “try this, she likes deep knew bends or to be shaken like a martini, don’t be delicate, she likes it rough”…but then inevitably I have a countdown where I need to take her back…its like an itch I need to scratch. I’m sure over time I will let go and over time my baby will be more accepting of other people but it is a process.

 

You think you’ll be the easy going parent and then you aren’t! When we were counting poopy and pee diapers and making sure there are “enough” and waking baby to feed every hour even if they are sleeping because that’s what the midwife said and then you google every little thing from, “will my kid be crossed-eyed because their eyes take time to adjust to will my kid have ADHD because they fidget so much? Will swaddling her and following the 5 S’s religiously calm her and we aren’t trying hard enough? My lassiez-faire attitude has somewhat disappeared. But in the end we are finding we have to trust our instincts and really tap into what feels natural to us, what we feels our baby needs. This is the biggest lesson and sometimes hard to do because it really is trial and error and everything changes so constantly! IMG_0821IMG_20140315_124211_2

Finally, the day we’ve been waiting for! Birth day!

You are never really prepared for the real event.  I was attempting to be really patient. In flux between savouring the last days of pregnancy, feeling my baby safely inside me, enjoying my time with my partner and  relishing in leisurely activities of reading a book, going to sleep when I wanted and just being solo mio!

Even though the due date is an arbitrary time to hang your diaper bag on, there is a sense of pressure around it. Our due date was March 9th. Two days after Cheryl’s birthday and 7 days before mine! I did not want to be medically induced so around the 9th of March I started some homeopathic remedies to support labour and did some reflexology and acupuncture treatments.

On the evening of the March 12th, after some acupuncture, I felt some very intense surges for 40 seconds every 2-3 minutes and thought I was going into active labour it was so intense. I vomited. I breathed. I bled my bloody show. Cheryl pressed on my back while I breathed  through the surges and we were just ridding the waves and listening to my body and the baby. This lasted about 4hours! I spent a lot of time in lying in the bath as well. And then finally I put my hands on my belly and said “Baby if we are going to do this can we just have a little rest before the end? I’m exhausted!” Almost immediately my contractions settled and we slept for a couple hours!

Then the next day I had some intermittent contractions, mostly left side pangs, nothing too consistent, I pretty much just rested, drank, breathed and set the space for calm. We called our midwife just to let them know there may be a baby born in the next 24hrs. She said I had to wait for contractions for 1minute long 5 minutes apart and that  from everything I described I was feeling it could go on for a couple days now! She also said that she was not on call that night!!! And in some freak chance neither was our backup midwife. This struck me as interesting. Cheryl had a sixth sense that they wouldn’t show up so I was pretty convinced we would be having our baby tonight!

Around 10pm, like the night before, everything amped up really fast! I was in 30-40second contractions every 2-3 minutes. Cheryl tried to sleep but then I vomited and we knew it was on like donkey kong! It was like Ground hogs day but I knew at the end we would have our baby! We called our doula and friend Amanda and things got stronger when she arrived and supported my breath and sound work and pushed on all the right points on my back. She was incredibly supportive. Sitting on the yoga ball was great to open up my hips. Unlike the night before I wanted to move around a lot. I could feel the baby moving down.

At about 11:30 I decided to go to our womb room, the intended birthing room we had been mediating in and charging up for months. Cheryl had just filled the birth tub. As soon as I pulled back the curtain I had the urge to push! And it was mighty! CALL THE MIDWIFE! My doula yelled! Who is the midwife?! We wondered! It was pretty comical.

I got into the tub and immediately was in transition my feeling in the tub with the intense urge to push freaked me out but Amanda coached me strongly back to myself.  This is when the hypnobirth calm breathing and steady held me in the stillpoints, which were blissful, otherwise I was swearing like a  trucker. Moaning and making long low guteral noises and deep unearthing sounds that would wake the dead!

A midwife arrived at 12ish. She rolled in with a blond ponytail wearing a leather jacket smelling like smoke, maybe we took her away from a night at the pub? But instantly we liked her, she seemed calm and ready for action. I was so nervous when she was going to check me that she might say, “Your 4cm.” But thank goddess she was like “it’s go time” and called the back up mid wife. The tub was amazing for my pain but it felt like squatting was the only position that worked.

The back up midwife showed up in a cozy looking crotched hat with a kind face  just as the baby was crowning at about 1pm. It’s funny the things you remember when you are in and out of such a heightened state of awareness. Everyone was yelling at Cheryl to hop into the tub and get ready to catch the baby, but she hadn’t suited up yet and ran as fast as she could upstairs to change! Modest as she was she needed the appropriate outfit! She did a cannonball into the tub and was ready in position. And there we remained for a long time! From crowning to full delivery was another 2.5hrs! Yep.

That was insanity. They kept saying “Just a couple more breathes and you will meet your baby”. Or helpful things like, “Your so strong Sarah, that’s good, just push a bit harder this time.” As if I AM NOT PUSHING HARD ENOUGH! Seriously, it was really strengthening to feel the love and support of all the women in the room being present and there for us for the duration of labour.

We got out of the water in the end so that one of the midwives was pouring oil on me and helping me stretch out my bits. Pulling with every contraction and stretching me out. It was excruciating. The baby’s heart dipped briefly for about 20 seconds and they said we were both getting tired I needed to really push now! I caught my breathe and said to my baby let’s do this thing! I summoned up as much energy as I could and attempted to really feel the earth energy below us strengthening me.

Finally the 2 push conclusion on March 14th at 3:30am, the time I awoke every day of my pregnancy!  And if just felt so easy at that point. In our birth video I actually say, ” F”ing right on!! Oh that wasn’t so bad!”

They put my baby on my chest and her scream was ferocious, the most beautiful sound I had ever heard! “Welcome baby, you did such a great job! We are so glad you are here!”

I was in rapture that the pain was over and forgot to even ask about the sex. Cheryl checked and announced, “It’s a girl!” Everyone cheered! Our baby girl Esme Florence was born!

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first family photo!

After 5 hours of active labour and a couple days of prep work. I really think she was waiting for her gate. This was her time.

We were now officially mothers!

 

 A very BIG thank you to everyone who supported this journey, could not have done it without you! It takes a team!

Ezzy and our doula Amanda

Ezzy and our doula Amanda

 

 

 

 

Check out the baby in my shirt!

Check out the baby in my shirt!

 

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I can hear your heart beat.

 

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Esme Florence

 

Midwives, Doulas, Partners- Creating the Team

1782131_245335285646945_1471368041_nI have always wanted to be a mother. The whole bit. Being pregnant and birthing, and all the glory and rewards that comes afterward for the rest of your life! It’s totally a glamourous, accolade filled job, right?! When thinking about the birthing process I knew I wanted a home birth with a midwife as support. I never envisioned a hospital birth, in fact it terrified me that there was a possibility that I might have to deliver my child in a hospital of all places. You never know what can happen in birth, so many opportunities for learning, surrendering and letting go. When I met my lover, the woman I would create my family with, things became more tangible. We moved into our first home together and upon walking into a room in the basement I said- “This is a womb chamber, I will give birth here.” And so here we are, 3.5 years later from that exact moment. My ideal dream would be to birth in a warm ocean under a full moon with dolphins as midwives but I settled for a home basement-kiva birth instead. SongoftheTreeSpiritsCharlesIn my mind a midwife was an ancient wise healer, a soul birthing facilitator, a witch with medicinal herbs that would do ceremony with me, give me tinctures, wisdom and strength. She would have scraggly grey hair like Susun Weed or  a calm demeanour like Ina May Gaskin. She would see my soul and the soul of my babe and work with us intuitively. She would rub my ripe belly with her wrinkled hands, “Ah, yes, you are a sparkly one indeed, what an old soul!”, she might say with a twinkle in her eye and tell me something magical about my growing baby with an all knowing smile. She would give me a balm to stretch my cervix or a tea to ease my anxiety. I would feel safe and trusting and warm and held in her presence. She would be like another mother or grandmother that would support me in unfolding, trusting and moving through the most transformational time in my life with grace and ease. This was my vision. Maybe I read too much Starhawk. When we found out we were pregnant after calling our sperm donor the midwives were the second call. We knew it was difficult to get a midwife. We were lucky enough to have appointments with three different clinics. And finally we selected one, the one I had wanted from the beginning. I basically harassed them for weeks to get an appointment. My reasoning initially was because I had been to the opening ceremony of their clinic years ago, I liked the hospital they were aligned with if, goddess forbid, I would end up there, and they appeared to share similar beliefs as I did in terms midwifery practices. We were also recommended by a friend to a queer midwife within the practice which felt really good to us. 394px_Eucharius_R_lin_Rosgarten_Childbirth We met finally after some mix up with appointments and though my dreams of the old wise woman were starting to evaporate I felt comfortable with a young, strong, well researched, friendly, queer midwife. I also agreed to have a student present but I did not know I was agreeing basically to have the student act as my primary midwife. Things went a bit wonky from there. Appointments were canceled at a moments notice without rescheduling, the administration- gatekeeper to the midwife- was slow, unorganized, unprofessional and seemed to have no idea what was going on! When I asked for a care package, which had been offered to me but was forgotten after the first appointment, the administrator, who hardly even looked up while I asked her said, “Um I don’t think we have any of those. Um, yeah, I’m not sure, maybe next time you can ask your midwife for one?” Our first really big issue came when the midwife was sick and the student took over and messed up some dates on the triple screening tests which were time sensitive. It isn’t very reassuring when you are calling back your midwife clinic to ask them about something you researched on google MD because they f’d up! And that is when things got very challenging between Cheryl and myself. “Negligent” was her word for the whole practice. She was enraged and felt unsafe with the whole experience and was ready to find another midwife. I don’t know what happened for me exactly. I was angry as well, and irritated, and didn’t fully trust them but was kind of defeatist perhaps. Like I’d settled or didn’t quite care as my initial dream had faded and didn’t want to put the effort into finding another alternative. It was good enough.  I trust they can deliver babies even if they can’t answer phones! Cheryl said I was just being stubborn and not wanting to be wrong about my choice, but I think I just let it go. “My pregnancy is great, the baby is healthy, as long as they show up to help with the delivery I don’t really care”, was my attitude. “But that’s the problem, I just have this feeling that they won’t show up!” was Cheryl’s feeling. It can be difficult being in a relationship with another intuitive strong willed woman! I honour and respect Cheryl’s wisdom and point of view, as she does mine. We both see things completely differently at times and can settle on an agreement but sometimes it can be hard. And this wasn’t a should we paint the bedroom grey question, it regarded the safety of our child. What if she was right? What if I was now being negligent and not following the signs? What if something went wrong at the birth? She would never forgive me, I would never forgive myself. It was complex. And at what point does a birth mother’s feelings trump the other mothers or parents? Does that happen? Is it equal all the way? I claimed the birth as mine. I carried this being for 9 months, I am ripping open my body and soul to earth it, it will be my choice, who is there, and how this goes down. Was a comment I had made previously, possibly selfishly. If I were with a man would all these decisions be solely left up to me? I wonder if there is something that comes up differently when two women are creating their family together? witches   We are a team. I am relying on my partner for support and she is relying on me for support and to make healthy choices for our child. Was this just an amplification of her fears or was there something to this intuitive feeling she had? It was really stressful for us to be in a power struggle and my hormones were getting more and more squishy in the last months. I wanted to feel closer and safe, not polarized and far apart. This is the point when I decided to get a doula. A meditator between all the worlds. I had recently reconnected with a friend who was giving me pre-natal yoga classes and happened to be a doula. I had thought, “I have midwives, my mom and my partner I don’t need a doula”, but it became clearer as we got closer in the third trimester that I really needed to feel extra support that was there 100% for me. This became one of the best decisions I made! Amanda Montgomery  was an amazing goddess sent. She was strong, intuitive, easy going and a wealth of knowledge. I felt that I could call her and check in on weird feelings, swollen labia, irritated emotional jags and express my anxieties without judgement. But most important of all I trusted her. And equally importantly Cheryl trusted her as well. So with this addition to our team we both felt more supported and although we weren’t in full agreement this eased the tension between us. Cheryl was secure in knowing that Amanda would show up and I got my extra wise woman support. ***As you will see in our Birth Story to come…. Cheryl’s intuition did come to fruition in that our baby just happened to choose to be born in the 8hr window when NEITHER one of our midwives were on call! We did have 2 completely wonderful midwives from the collective that we had never met before who attended the birth and supported us incredibly! Babies always know when to come! ***

Let’s Get This Party Started!- Natural Ways to Stimulate Labour

So at 40 weeks and 3 days I am feeling still pretty awesome in my body, some aches and pains here and there and uncomfortably in the night hoisting myself out of bed to pee but all in all I could hang in there.  Wait I forgot about heartburn! That has been my ultimate worst feeling in pregnancy! Blah! I had started to feel some braxton hicks surges in my lower pelvis and felt some twinges in my cervix area and some shooting pains in down my left inner thigh they would happen and stop nothing consistent. I don’t want to force anything but just let my body and baby know…ok I’m ready!

My main fear is medical induction! Besides the fact that I am planning a home birth and didn’t want to go to the hospital the induction part just sounds awful and painful so I decided to start going about some more natural methods below.

I know there is a timing and a process here. Baby Hawthorn is totally in control and feeling very smooshy and comfortable indeed. In China there is a saying- “when the fruit is ready, it will fall off the vine!”

take the stairs

EPOS

SEX- Though most recommendations state something about semen having prostaglandin’s that

sexhelp to ripen the cervix if semen is not available to you in your sexual lifestyle do not fear, you needed it to get pregnant but not to go into labour! An orgasm  either partnered or alone, relaxes the body and stimulates oxytocin- the labour hormone; also helpful in early labour to get contractions stronger.

ACUPRESSURE– stimulate the various meridians and energy flows in your body at home with a friend, partner or by yourself. A great way to relax, de-stress and connect to your partner/ doula or friend as you visualize, breathe and open your body to the energies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnEcLSHTI0s– Helpful easy to follow routines.

http://acupuncture.rhizome.net.nz/- This site has a free booklet created by acupuncturist Debra Bettes that has some fabulous points to induce labour and support with pain management while in labour.

ACUPUNCTURE- more active or aggressive as you will need to leave your house, book and appointment and use needles but very affective support. If you do not have a trust acupuncture therapist check these sites:

http://www.communityacupuncturetoronto.ca/what.html– Very accessible sliding scale clinic in Toronto- Brenna or Naomi are experienced with pregnant women!

http://drewnesbitt.ca/toronto-acupuncture-clinic-drew-nesbitt-services/– Specializing in women’s support, fertility, pregnancy and beyond.

meditationVISUALIZATION AND MEDITATION- Every day I wake up and meditate with myself and the baby. I ask what we need- foods, places to go, rest and see what comes to mind. Sometimes I get clear messages- like a walk at the water and other times nothing tangible. I started visualizing my ripe opening cervix like a flower. I imagine the thinning, moving forward and shrinking. Visualizing with my breath creates ease, gentleness and clarity has been a supportive practice throughout pregnancy and I’m sure through birth.

HOMEOPATHY- Caulophyllum (Blue Cohosh) and Cimicifuga (Black Cohosh)-                                                                         These two remedies are used widely together and separately to support steady contractions and induce labour. You can start at a low dosage of 30x and up to 200x but use with the support of a homeopath/ naturopath/ doula to ascertain if this is the right action for you if you are not familiar with homeopathic medicine.

Homeopathy is gentle enough that if the baby is not ready and the body not ready to shift into birth then these remedies will only support in opening cervix and cause no harm. There are also remedies which may suit your specific energy profile and may prove to be more useful in getting labour started.

Lisa Farun Wonderful Doula/ Homeopath (queer friendly) on the Danforth- 416- 421-2447- http://www.homeopathytoronto.ca/aboutlisa.html

Piper Martin– Doula/Homeopath will do a skype natural induction consultation – 905-252-8929 www.pipermartin.com- excellent blog with resources; birth kits and guides for pregnancy

 

nipple stimulations

bumpy road

SPICY FOODS/ PINEAPPLE/ COFFEE-  Maybe or maybe not all together in that order! These items stimulate the stomach and digestion which can stimulate uterus into action. Pineapples contain bromelain which ripen cervix…if you eat 4 at a time!

SWEEPING THE MEMBRANES- a procedure your midwife or OB can perform and basically gets up in there and feels out your cervix, separating it from the membranes. I found it uncomfortable and a tad painful.

OzzyOsbourne

And if none of these work and I get to 42+ weeks forget all these tender massages and cooing voices I’m breaking out the Black Sabbath and doing shots of Jack Daniels- something to shake up this little Buddha baby!

Herbal Supports in Pregnancy

I will start off by saying I am not a certified herbalist but as a green witch with a love of plant medicine these are some of my favourite plants. Please consult herbalists, naturopaths or other trusted professionals if in doubt or dealing with specific conditions.

RED RASPBERRY LEAF- Rubus idaeus red raspberry leaf

The most highly used herb during pregnancy, labour and nursing. Red Raspberry leaf tea is a friend till the end. During first trimester R.R’s high mineral content, rich in calcium, magnesium and iron build strength and can aid morning sickness as well as leg cramps. It also has a high concentration of Vitamin C.

A nourishing energy to the reproductive system R. R brings increased blood flow to the uterus which supports a healthy growing baby and as well tones the uterus for a speedy recovery. It’s astringent nature also support in slowing bleeding during labour and can help to dispel the placenta.

Taken after labour this herb can support milk flow and bring mineral support back into the depleted body.

 How to use:   Red Raspberry tea can be made from dried leaves (either gather from garden or purchased at a reputable herbal store) Also bought in pre-made tea bags.

Drink hot or cold mixed in combination with other herbs or alone.

Can be made into ice cubes to be sucked on while in labour or during times of morning sickness. Boil ginger root and at a tea bag of raspberry leaf- freeze into cubes and suck on through out labour or periods of nausea.

Brew:

Cup– 1 cup water to 1 tsp Red Raspberry leaf- steep at least 10 minutes

Jug– Boil 4- 5 cups water, Add 2 tbsp. Red Raspberry and steep at least 10 minutes

Vat– To make a huge batch just 3/4 to 1 cup of R.R. 16 cups of boiling water. I pour the herbs and boiling water into a big glass jar, cover with a plate and leave overnight before straining for a strong tea. That can be then watered down to taste, or frozen into ice cubes.

 OAT STRAW- Avena sativa oatstraw

Oats and oatstraw are incredibly kind to the body’s nervous system. High in magnesium calcium and silica supports building healthy bones, tissues, nails and hair in mama and baby. Oatstraw can be a safe energy booster bringing centered energy into the body after nervous exhaustion or a bad nights sleep.

Nourishing to the brain, oats are fabulous for reducing anxiety and creating a calm, alkaline state internally, by improving digestion and bowel function. Oatstraw tea can also improve circulation to the uterus. Oats or oatsraw tea can also be applied as a cold compress to relieve itching or stretch marks, eczema or other rash flair ups.

How to use:

Make an oatstraw tea- purchase at herbal store loose or in bags. Herbalist Susun Weed recommends loose to get more full spectrum of the herbs.

Eat oatmeal for breakfast! I was not a breakfast person but something happened around my second trimester and I needed to eat when I woke up to get me through the day.I actually remembered that my mom had said she ate a ton of oatmeal while pregnant with me. She thought that is why my complexion was one that was more apt to burn. While she ate a ton on coffee ice cream with one of my brothers who soaks up the sun and almost becomes another race. So be warned about an oatmeal baby!

My breakfast of champions was oatmeal. I craved it!

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or almond butter
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • handful walnuts, pumpkin seeds
  • a smackrel of honey or maple syrup
  •  a dash of quality cocoa powder or cinnamon

YUM YUM YUM!!!

gingerGINGER- Zingiber officinale

Ginger is a warming herb that works on the digestive system and immune system. Ginger has long been used as a sacred remedy in many traditions from the creation of gingerbread for digestion in Roman times to the use of ginger ale to prevent sea sickness and vertigo for Viking travelers. Gigners medicinal properties are highly regarded in Chinese medicine as a yang stimulating herb and used in hundreds of preparations because of its stimulating nature and ability to carrier other remedies through out the blood.

Ginger tea can promote digestive juices and increase desire for food if you are feeling nauseas with morning sickness (that might come and go throughout the day!) It also supports healthy digestion. Ginger also can aid the body in the absorption of nutrients so if you are not able to keep food down making a very nourishing tea with ginger and other mentioned herbs could be away to continue to receive the nourishment your body and growing baby needs. It can also support digestive functioning if your body is having trouble with constipation during pregnancy.

Ginger also improves circulation which can help maintain energy levels throughout the day during all stages of pregnancy.

 How to use:

Ginger tea hot or cold- When I was starting to feel like I might be coming down with a cold my number one remedy is:

 Ginger Immune Potion  (all measurements are rough estimates)

  • hunk (4 tbsp ish) chopped ginger root
  • 5 cups water

Simmer for 15 minutes then add the following

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. honey

(Possibly a clove or 2 of garlic for extra immune boosting)

  • Ginger can also be combined with Red Raspberry leaf for a tea infusion for morning sickness
  • Ginger can also be taken in capsule form or found in candy format to suck on
  • Ginger foot soak for fluid retention and circulation

NETTLES- Urtica dioica 

Nettle_botanical_drawing

The Tibetan master and Buddhist saint Malirepa is portrayed in images as green because it was said he lived off nothing but nettles for years in mediation. Nettles also contains high amounts of chlorophyll, the compound which supports the absorption of light in a plant and gives plants their green colour.

Nettles, like dandelion is considered a weed, but this weed which grows world wide, has many delightful properties. This deeply nourishing and rich medicine is high in iron, calcium, folic acid and vitamins A, C, D and K.

In early and late pregnancy nettles is supportive to energy levels, strengthens kidney and adrenal function and can be a great remedy for those who are suffering from anemia. Due to it’s astringent properties it can be useful for those who may get hemorrhoids, to be taken as a tea or made into a poultice or put in a sitz bath.

Nettles is a wonderful immune booster and increases our resistance to illness by improving absorption of iron, regulating blood sugar levels and supporting liver function.

In later stages of pregnancy, birth and beyond nettles naturally increases milk production, and it may reduce the likelihood of tearing and hemorrhage during birth.

 How to use:

You can gather nettles and cook in summer with spinach and lemon for a salad, for full connection to the plant and mineral absorption. But nettles does sting so wear gloves to harvest!

It can also be used fresh in tea infusion or dried or frozen for later use in teas.

Some grew in my garden so I harvested for all of these uses and drank dried throughout the winter season. You can find nettels in health food stores loose of pre-packaged.

Potent Pregnancy Potion

I drank a combination of these herbs throughout my pregnancy.

I had grown the peppermint and lemon balm consciously in my garden and the nettles was a friend that popped up all on its own! I had harvested some red raspberry leaf from the raspberry’s that grow at my cottage and the rest was purchased from an herbal store. Drinking this tea always felt deeply nourishing to my mind, body and soul. In early pregnancy when I felt nauseas I would add more peppermint or throw in some ginger and drink at room temperature throughout the day. When winter months and my third trimester hit I upped the red raspberry and nettles which felt like a green infusion to my system and strengthened my reserves. On nights where sleep was intermittent I would add more oat straw or lemon balm to sooth my nerves.

General Pregnancy Tea Tonic IMG_7234

  • 4 parts Red Raspberry
  • 2 parts Nettles
  • 1 part Oat straw
  • 1 part Alfalfa
  • 1/2 part Peppermint
  • 1/2 part Spearmint
  • 1/2 part Lemon balm

celebration herbalsFor pre packaged tea bags Celebration Herbals can be purchased at Noah’s’; The Carrot Common, Hoopers.

To purchase loose leaf teas you can find at Thuna’s on the Danforth; Qi Natural Foods.

Mat clothes vs Fat clothes

About four weeks into pregnancy I found my boobs were actually swelling with lushness. Finally that right of passage was here! 33 years old and my mom could take me shopping for a bra! I have always been flat chested.

I appreciate breasts immensely.  I mean I love curves on other women, but I honestly have never really wanted a more ample bossom myself. More over, I never wanted to have an “over the should boulder holder”, as Bette Midler crooned about in Beaches. Cheryl has gorgeous breasts that I adore, but when I see her take off her bra sometimes with marks on her skin it makes me wince. I couldn’t do the underwire, cup thing so I set out for some bando type diddies for me titties and felt it actually extremely comforting to hold my growing chest in close.

On our journey I checked out some maternity stores. Evymama on the Danforth, B to B Maternity on Bayview and Belly on Mt.Pleasant.

We walked into Belly, where the waif like blonde woman, no thicker than my thigh, and she was helping other waif-like, apparently pregnant women out. My mother and I immediately gave each other the “wtf” glance. The woman seemed to look at me in my layered rag look the same way.  But I tucked some of my judgement away and went over to the racks of expensive and monochromatically laid out boring clothes. Shades of gray and black, t-shirts for 90$ and skinny maternity waist jeans for $250. I tried on a black size large cotton t-shirt and could barely fit it over my head, it was so tight on my arms I had to get my mom to pull it off me. This was obviously not for me, I could barely fit into a large and I wasn’t even showing yet!

Next we headed to B and B Maternity on Bayview, which is a consignment store, so I thought could be a bit more variety in style and price but again it was pretty slim pickings, nothing too fun and bold or alternative. It was discouraging.

Then we passed by Tzatz  a “designer boutique for boomer women”. My mom saw a purple moo moo like dress in the window and we thought why not. Immediately I found a couple larger sized fitted and diaphanous type sweaters in unique materials and colours that fit and had room to grow and made me feel like a natural woman. Also the sales people were hilarious, these two  coiffed and manicured older European woman immediately came to our assistance and not in the annoyingly aggressive way, and were all, “Dahling, would you like something like thees?” I felt like Pretty Woman. The prices were not cheap but I got a couple key items to grow with that felt fashionable and fresh, it was well worth it. Fuck maternity shopping I decided, those stores are for Posh preggos, something I am not.

Now I don’t mean to offend, we are all individuals and perhaps these stores work for you….but if they don’t here are some of my tips.

H n M- Back to BasicsI found amazing selection here of leggings that had a loose fitting waist that is completely comfortable and can be worn with long tops and dresses, Simple straight cut skirts- I found a couple long skirts not too tight but pencil style so it gives a slimming feel and the waist band can be worn over the belly and look great!

Cardigans without bottons- I few cardigans that do not need to be done up and can still provide warmth

Long Tank tops and tops- I love layering a long tight tank top and then adding a shirt overtop

Joe Fresh– Large and Extra Large- Long sleeve tops and t-shirts

Now, the one maternity thing I did purchase at Evymama which has been fabulous so far was the Bellaband- I think it was around 30$ and allows me to wear my jeans unbuttoned which is still comfortable at 7 months baked.

 bellaband slim skirt leggings dress