The NICU

Time.

Does such a thing exist when you’re a mother? There is always too little in a day, to try and accomplish the ambitious list we mom’s tend to take on each morning. As we have now been home from the hospital for a week, I’m learning that it’s the little accomplishments that go a long way right now, and quite frankly make me feel like a superhero!

As I write, both boys are sound asleep, the fire is warm and crackling downstairs, I’m attempting to drink my weight in H20 and the calm that has spread throughout the house has me feeling like time has stopped. Everything is completely still. And in this moment, is where mum finds her peace. Kicks back. Unwinds. Only to recentre and get ready to do it all again in only a short while. I don’t wish for this moment to last forever, but I do soak in every minute while it is here.

Long have I waited for these days at home, attempting to handle two littles (so far, we are killing it!) as well as nurture myself. The four weeks we spent in the hospital now feel like a blur, and looking back I don’t know how we got through each day. The comfort and warmth of being home all together, nothing can beat it. It feels like this is how life was all along, and for those four weeks time stood still, and we were just caught in a bad dream.

But as it turns out of course, it wasn’t a dream. It was all very, very real.

Our time in the NICU has taught me so much and put our wonderful life in total perspective for me.

The first few hours in the hospital were so foreign, I didn’t even feel like me, walking around the halls like a robot just trying to take it all in. That this is where we would be spending our days, for a long while. Seperated from Jackson, so incredibly far away from home and the rest of our family, and my tiny baby boy tucked away in a nursery down the hall, this was now my life.

This just isn’t how it was supposed to happen!

I couldn’t help but feel like this was all my fault. How could my body have done this to my baby and brought him into the world far too early? And leaving my other son behind, with no explanation as to why his mom was all of a sudden GONE!

These were my thoughts abruptly after delivery. But a couple days in, the shock of the whole thing began to subside and I now started to accept that was by no means my fault and as always, happened for a reason.

Despite the fact that Silas was born 8 weeks early (he is now 37 weeks gestation!), we completely lucked out that that kid came out fighting and ready to grow with little to no complications. His lungs, though immature, allowed him to breathe well and his above average birth weight helped him eat eat eat and spur on the weight gain! It still amazes me how resilient those little guys are, watching him now continue to thrive at home like a happy, healthy full term newborn. By the end of our stay I felt like a nurse! Accustomed to all the medical terms, checking vitals and watching the monitors as part of our daily routine. It was a whole other world in there.

The amazing families we met during our stay will always inspire me and remind us that so many others have been in that terrifying place, all with a different story, but all working towards the same outcome. To finally bring their babies home. The mother’s I got to connect with made me feel always supported and never alone. We were all in this together and it wasn’t a race or competition of who’s circumstances were harder. We just rooted each other on, day by day. Never feeling sorry for one another, but empowering and lifting each other up!

Having birthed a full term baby before and labouring naturally with the support of a wonderful birth team, left me completely ignorant that this birth would be any different. But the crazy thing is, babies are born prematurely ALL THE TIME.

You just never think it’s going to happen to you.

And now here we are! A part if the elite group of families who lived in the NICU! Some for weeks, some for months. We are fighters. We are survivors. For it is no easy feat. But now that we are home, all the things I worried about transitioning into a family of four, seem so distant, as nothing will ever be as hard as what we just went through. And what so many others are still going through!

To all the families with little ones in the NICU, you got this. You are in the safest  place for your tiny babe to catch up on growing, and be the healthiest they can be in preparation for you to finally bring them home. The amount of trust you have to surrender to the team working to nurture your baby is huge, and terrifying. But these people become apart of your hospital family, and they are there to support you through this incredibly tough journey. So surrender! And just take it day by day.

To all the loving people in our lives back home, who did nothing but support us each and every step of the way, thank you. This has all taught me that it is ok to accept help. Just do it. And the amount of helping hands that were extended to us will have me forever grateful and truly touched.

So now I get to be home, with my two boys, embracing the chaos that is having two under 2. And I just couldn’t be happier that I get to hold both of my healthy children in my arms everyday. Even if I haven’t showered in awhile, and the laundry piles are heaping, it’s the little accomplishments that I’m focusing on.

This life we have, is pretty darn amazing ❤

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More to come about life at home with two boys!

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January 1st 

Day 1 of 365. How amazing is it that the first day of 2018 lands on a Monday! A new day, new week, new month, new year. Now in my world, the Monday blues does not exist and there is no such thing as TGIF. When you’re a mom of 2 under 2, the days and nights blur together and I often can’t even recall what is what…

But today has been nothing short of the perfect way to start the new year!

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My morning routine is simple: 6am, wake up, pump, label, eat, dress, kiss my big baby, kiss my man, exit the motel for the daily commute to the hospital where my littlest little is kept safely in the NICU. But this morning, the stars aligned, and we got the call we had been waiting for since December 22nd. BC ambulance was on their way to pick up Silas and I to be transported to the NICU in Prince George, where we had been accepted for the remainder of Silas’ hospital stay.

Two days before Christmas, my oldest son and partner finally landed safely in Kamloops after dealing with several flight delays back home. I was so anxious to see Jackson, it had been almost two weeks since I was admitted into RIH (where Silas was delivered) and I had never spent more than a total of 48 hours away from him prior. My biggest wish, was that we would all be together for Christmas, and thankfully that wish was granted!

Jackson’s first visit to the hospital to meet his baby brother was brief. The monitors constantly going off and crowded space in the nursery was a lot for that busy little man to take all in. But within minutes of walking into the room, our nurse had updated us that Silas had been accepted into PG and they were working on transport for that evening.

Panic and heartbreak.

These were my emotions immediately following the news. Of course, this was all a very good thing. Something we wanted and needed to happen. Being so far away from home, we had been hoping to be transferred since the moment we got to Kamloops. But now my other son and partner had finally just arrived, and with us all reunited, the thought of being separated again so soon sent me into a mad panic. I sobbed the whole walk back to the motel, not knowing what to make of all this. How did I get those two up to Prince George in time for Christmas if Silas and I left that night?

We agonized over the thought of being apart on Christmas. But little did we know, even though we had been accepted for transfer, there were so many other factors depicting whether or not we even made it there. ITT would be transporting us by plane and the hospital was awaiting their calls throughout the day as to whether or not they were able to take us. Other emergencies and high priority transports bumped us again and again. We even lost our bed in PG at one point, but luckily were accepted again a few days later. The upside to all this madness, we were able to spend our first Christmas together as a family of four and we made it the most special day. And even though we were on the edge of our seats, waiting for the call that could happen at any time, that week with my oldest son next to me  saved my sanity.

No matter where we are, being all together, is always the most important thing.

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The NICU in Kamloops is equipped to facilitate 9 babies and at the time of our transport, they now had 13. Over capacity, RIH had bumped us up on the priority list as they just couldn’t accept anymore preemies without us transferring to make bed space. This worked in our favor, but then of course, the weather did not. Twice we had gotten the call that it was a go and BC ambulance was on their way, only to recieve a call shortly after that due to poor weather conditions, they had to cancel our transport. Damn winter months in BC!

But today was the day! January 1st had big plans for us and we are now one step closer to bringing our baby boy home. We received the call first thing this morning that ITT was dropping off a baby and picking us up on the same trip! I tried not to get my hopes up to high, it could all change in a second, but something told me this was really it. No more anxiously waiting, and now we could all be that much closer to the finish line.

Another ambulance and plane ride coming right up (this time not in full blown labour) with my little babe, who was tucked away safely in the craziest looking incubator I have ever seen. Over half of the equipment that was in the nursery was strapped to this thing. Heavy duty and ready for any kind of emergency. Very intimidating but so very neat.

By the end of this whole hospital journey, both my children will be pro fliers!

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Now I sit snuggling my little dude, settling into our new space, and patiently waiting for my big baby and partner to meet us in Prince George on Wednesday. The set up here for families is a huge upgrade and allows the mother’s to room with their babies. I will now be able to nurse on demand, spend significantly more time with Silas and hopefully in no time the next stop will be home!

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy first day of 2018! It already has been such a breath of fresh air for our little family.. and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Silas 

It’s 9:23 am Friday December 15th here at the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, BC. Going on Day 4 of living off hospital food, wearing what feels like an adult sized diaper, and visiting our little peanut who is tucked away in the NICU down the hall.

When I summarized my year a few days ago.. I spoke way too soon! There was one more life changing event in 2017 yet to come..

Last Sunday, our oldest son had been tossing and turning for hours, to then finally wake up for a snuggle and proceed to throw up all over my shoulder. He has never had the flu before, and the poor kid was a mess. Even more so, was I. I hated watching him cry from the extreme discomfort of repeatedly vomiting, and the nasty rash left on his butt after a day of diareeah. But of course, nothing phases him for long and by the afternoon he was bringing me his hockey stick and helmet, eager to get the hell out of the house and play! Nice try little man.

It didn’t take long for me to start feeling the flu creeping up on me that evening. At dinner, I was sweaty and nauseas, but I honestly just thought it was from the interesting variety I had compiled from the smorgasbord at the restaurant. Perhaps baby wasn’t a fan of my choices and was letting me know it needed to go. But sure enough I was up at 11:30 that night, running to the downstairs bathroom where I stayed till 5:00 am violently ill over and over again. The pain from throwing up whilst my baby kicked his feet up into my ribs was intolerable, and I lay there for hours not sure how to cope, until finally going to grab my partner from the room. He called into work the next day so I could try and recover from the hellish night, and so I set up camp on the couch for most of the morning.

There was something terribly off about how my body was feeling. I’ve had the flu before, maybe never that severe, but the pains in my abdomen were oddly familiar. It wasn’t just the strain from dry heaving that was sending tightening stabs to my mid section, it was small contractions ever so often coming and going. I didn’t think much of it being that I couldn’t really identify where the pain was coming from specifically. I felt like I had been run over by a bus. And my little baby was kicking and stretching like his normal self, so why worry?

Our son was still overtired from being up most of the night before, so we marched upstairs to bed to have a long lay down together in the afternoon. And boy, were we comatose. Shortly after waking up a couple hours later, it happened again. A distinct contraction nice and low on my bump. I had never experienced Braxton Hicks contractions with my firstborn, or they were not strong enough for me to feel anyways, so I wasn’t sure how to identify them. It wasn’t till the third consistent contraction that I decided to call up our doula, and see if these indeed sounded like Braxton Hicks, or labour. She was instantly worried on the phone when I described the pain low in the pubic area and that I needed to contact my doctor right away to be tested for preterm labour as I had also had a fever with the flu and that can spark labour. At this stage in the pregnancy, it was vital to be safe than sorry.

I called into the my doctors clinic that I would be coming into town to see him shortly, and we packed the diaper bag to leave with our son at his grandparents while we got things checked out. Had I known that would be the last time I would see that beautiful smile in what feels like an eternity, I would have gotten out of the car, pressed him against my chest and kissed his soft cheeks. I would have held his face close to mine while I told him I loved him and that everything would be ok, we would be seeing each other soon. But I had no idea of the rollercoaster that was about to unfold in the following hours, so we said a quick good bye, see you in a couple hours and headed into town.

It was a short conversation at the clinic  before my doctor was sending us up to the maternity ward at the hospital. At 32 weeks pregnant there were a series of tests that would be ran to see what was actually going on with my uterus, as the dehydration from being up sick all night could have spurred on the contractions, it was very possible this was in fact preterm labour. I was immediately hooked up to a non stress test monitor that would be following the baby’s heartbeat and fetal movement as well as the contractions. At the time they were consistent, but low grade. I knew how bad they get when in active labour and this was not it. Yet. My doctor proceeded to take a swab and see if my cervix had any traces of a protein only produced while in labour. I was also being medicated for the fever and nausea I was experiencing, and antibiotics to ward off any infection through an IV. Already, I had never experienced anything like this set up with my first pregnancy and it was slowly building anxiety about what the outcome of this night would be.

As my body took in the large amount of fluids that was being pumped into me, I was beginning to feel much more hydrated and less sickly, but the contractions never changed. Not progressing but not backing down. While my partner was outside getting some fresh air, the nurse came in and explained to me that the swab came back positive, that they would be sending me downstairs for an emergency ultrasound and making calls to arrange for a bed in a hospital with a NICU. I was in preterm labour and not able to birth a baby in this hospital. I layed on the table receiving my ultrasound, silent tears rolling down my cheeks, terrified about the results with no idea as to why this was happening. We found out that my membranes had ruptured and I was leaking amniotic fluid, my cervix was shortening and things were indeed progressing. We still don’t know how long my membranes had been ruptured for, my doctor was suspecting when I was vomiting earlier in the day.

Back up in the maternity ward, the nurses updated us that we had been accepted into Prince George and they were now just waiting to hear when our jet would be landing to pick us up. We had little to no time to make arrangements for our son, pack an over night bag, let alone wrap our heads around that this baby was coming, 8 weeks too soon. I was strapped down to the hospital bed, unable to get up and walk around like with my first born to cope with the pain. I was extremely exhausted and given a sedative to try and help me sleep and possibly slow down the contractions. It was all so foreign, so clinical, it felt like a dream and there was no control over my own body.

Within the hour, an ambulance had arrived for our transfer to the airport as our jet would be landing soon. But a quick change in destination had taken place as there was freezing rain in Prince George and we were unable to land, so the next spot available for us was at the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. From Smithers to Kamloops, I laboured strapped down to a stretcher, my body tempurature fluctuating from dripping sweat to severe chills, and completely out of it from the sedatives. All I wanted was to bend my knees with each contraction, but those were tied down too. Our tiny jet had just enough room for two paramedics, the pilot, my partner and me on the stretcher. So you can imagine how comfortable that was. The flight itself felt super short but the turbulence was rough, with each bump I got another contraction and they were steadily intensifying.

We landed at the airport in Kamloops just after 2:30 am where another ambulance was waiting to transport us to the hospital. I don’t know how many times I had to repeat the situation and my current state of labour to each new face, but as we trekked to the hospital active labour was here and climbing fast. I was taken straight to the delivery room upon arrival where there would be a team of four nurses, the OB and pediatrician delivering our preterm baby. They quickly ran us through the drill of what will happen after delivery, comforting us that this happens all the time and they are equipped to deliver babies this early as safely as possible.

At 3:44 am Silas was born. One short hour after arriving at the hospital, I birthed our second son only to see his dad cut the umbilical cord and then be whisked away to an incubator with thousands of tubes and monitors he would be hooked up to. It would be another hour or so before we could see our baby in the NICU for the first time, tucked away in that incubator. 3lbs 10oz our little peanut weighed at time of birth, which the pediatrician reassured us was a great weight for a baby at that gestational age. He was doing well breathing, they just had to ensure his lungs would not fully close with each breathe hence the respiratory machine.

Over the course of the last few days, our lives have been beside that little incubator, watching our tiny baby breathe, wriggle around, open those beautiful eyes for the first time and squeeze our fingers with his. It has taken everything in me not to break down, being away from my other big baby who is safe at home but so far away from my arms. We have never been apart for more than a day and night, so the separation has left us incredibly heartbroken. But knowing soon we will be reunited and that his baby brother is in great hands while he catches up on some growing, is where I seek comfort. All will come together, we just literally have to take it day by day.

Nothing in the world could have prepared me for those 24 hours we endured, and the days following. Preterm labour, welcoming our second boy 2 months early, making arrangements to get our firstborn here for Christmas, and looking at another month at least in the NICU. What a ride its been! Everyone is healthy and in safe hands, which is the most important thing. Being reconnected with all my boys, as my partner has flown home this morning to make arrangements to bring Jackson back down with him next week, is what I’m holding onto. This Christmas will be the most special yet and we are so incredibly blessed with our tiny miracle who just couldn’t wait to be with us!

Everyday, every hour, has new plans for us. Our future is not certain, but we can welcome everyday and continue to conquer each small milestone with our son here in the NICU with love. I can’t wait for these brothers to finally meet 💙

2017 Wrap Up

With only a couple short weeks left of 2017, it’s time for a wrap up!

2017 was the by far the most challenging year we survived as a new family unit, but also just myself as an individual. Part of the reason I started this blog was to create an outlet for expression. So many monumental moments happened in one year that completely transformed our future, and I needed a place to reflect on it or perhaps to really deal with it all. It hasn’t been an easy feat, but with all the hardships this year has thrown at us, I have seen the greatest rewards, and for that I am incredibly grateful. There have also been some of the biggest highlights of our lives so far, so in that aspect, it is bittersweet to say goodbye to those moments and forever treasure them as loving memories.

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A couple days into January, my partner had left back to Alberta where he would be spending the next 6-8 weeks working. This started off our new year with some remorse, as our son was only 7 months old and everytime his dad left for work, there were so much growth that he was missing out on. For myself, I struggled with the separation as I had little to no time to myself which I didnt realize was so important for my mental well being. I was too scared to leave my son with anyone else, yet I felt trapped.  Sleep deprived and house bound for days, it was all very very hard.

Fortunately winter doesn’t last forever, and eventually the snow began to melt and my partner had a decent stretch of time back at home. Our son was now mobile and discovering so many new things to get into around the apartment. Luckily being in such a small space, I could easily keep both eyes on him and he wasn’t able to get away with too much destruction (hehe). He would soon be turning one and I was so excited to be planning a birthday party and working on my non-existent baking skills. But again, another huge moment sprung that changed everything.

We were woken up early on a Sunday morning, April 30th, with the tragic news of the unexpected passing of a beloved family member. Time stopped for what felt like an eternity, as the following month was filled with sleepless nights and extreme emotional stress. I remember leaving the hospital the morning of to grab our son who was with my mother, and just his presence had people smiling and laughing even during the most heartbreaking of times. Thank goodness for babies and their divine innocence. This tiny human had no idea of what had just happened, and was still as always fully depending on us to take care of him and ourselves. This forced us to get up every morning and go about our normal routine, even though most days I felt like I would never be able to leave my bed. But our son would not let us give up on ourselves, and we became so much stronger because of it.

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A few short weeks after this sudden tragedy, a new miracle came to light. I thought that due to the emotional stress and irregularity of my menstrual cycle ( it had only just returned three months prior) I had made myself skip a period. But as it turns out, #2 had surprised us and what a wonderful surprise it was. Having a new baby in the making had reminded us that life goes on and there is so much to look forward to in our future. We celebrated our son’s first birthday with nothing but pure joy, and the excitement that he would soon have a younger sibling was almost too much to contain. Not only would he be transitioning from a baby to a toddler, but now a big brother! It was overwhelming but incredibly special, and just proof that both of our children have come into our lives when we needed them the most.

Now that our son was one, meant that my paid maternity leave had sadly come to an end. How had an entire year at home with my baby come and gone so quickly?! I wasn’t prepared for the separation anxiety I was about to endure, I honestly thought that by that time I would be ready to have more time away from the house. But as it turns out, I truly loved being a stay at home mom. Yes there were times where I was honestly down right bored, being that babies typically eat and sleep around the clock and don’t do a whole lot else for awhile. But having the freedom to just do nothing some days or plan a full day of adventure had me hooked. I adored (still do) doing everything with my little man. Hiking, napping, eating out, playdates, watching movies, first road trips, you name it. And with summer here, I wasn’t ready to give up my time with him. Luckily at my place of employment, I was able to ease my way back into the work place and still be able to enjoy summer with my son. Being a server has been hard on my body, especially this pregnancy, but financially allowed me to have more options to still primarily be at home. Around the same time I went back to work, my partner had decided that it was finally time to say goodbye to the camp job and get a job in town where he could be home every night. It was yet another huge transition but I was utterly relieved and so excited that now he too would be able to enjoy the summer months with us.

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Our son began walking shortly after his birthday and has just become more and more fun to explore the outdoors with since. As the seasons changed (we only get about 2 months of true summer in Smithers) we continued to adventure, which kept me active and healthy as my pregnancy has progressed. Things were slowly starting to fall into place after experiencing so many challenges the first half of the year. I had created a healthy work/life balance, we were spending everyday together as a family and our son was continuing to grow into his own being, developing the neatest personality.

As you all know, we recently moved, which too has had its many challenges, but oh so rewarding! We finally live in a home that we truly love, and I can speak for myself and my partner, we have never lived in a place this nice. The endless character and prime location have been a real treat. Our son is obsessed with going to the outdoor rink and now he can admire it everyday from our kitchen window while he eats his breakfast.

The holidays are fast approaching, and though it is always a tough time of year when there are loved ones missing, there is still excitement to make it magical. Growing a family has got me feeling extra festive, especially now that this year our little man will be so into tearing open the wrapping paper and enjoying all the yummy baking. Ending 2017 settling into this beautiful home and spending time with my boys, patiently waiting for the third to arrive, has been perfect. I can look back at everything that has happened this year and know that we are here in this moment because we survived it with love.

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I can’t wait to start 2018 with a bang, giving birth and taking on becoming a mother of two!

How Motherhood Changed My Inner Voice 

When I first started writing this post, I was sitting in a quiet little cafe downtown Smithers, having a much needed solo coffee date. As the hours leading up till then had been filled with so much frustration and impatience towards my son, I decided to take him to one of his grandparents house to play for the afternoon while I ran some errands alone. I hate feeling like I’m coming undone let alone taking it out on him, when he’s still so little and I only want him to see the sunny, loving side of his mom. Even though, that’s just not always possible.

I had began writing about the two very different journeys of both of my pregnancies, and rereading my words I realized that a simple comparison of the two just didn’t do it justice. How much weight I gained, what I craved, how I got prepared to bring baby home, it was all very generic, and doesn’t cover the most important parts of these journeys. So I’m bringing it back, to the very beginning, and who I was before my beautiful son was even a mere thought.

Almost five years ago, I had come to a huge crossroad in my life, facing a decision that would literally change everything. I was living in Vancouver, BC on the verge of launching my ballet contemporary performing arts career. Throughout high school, I had been training and actively planning to take on this venture of being a professional performing artist. Which was a big deal coming from a small town, where we are often sheltered and sometimes suppressed from certain opportunities in pursuing the arts. But here I was, enrolled in a prestigious program on Granville Island, where so many individuals had had major success entering the professional dance world and starting their careers. And yet, the entire year I was there, fully submerged in a grueling training schedule, that dream of mine felt like it was getting farther and farther away. I came to realize that it wasn’t due to a lack of work ethic or opportunities, but that this world was really not all that I thought I wanted and it quickly dawned on me that that was the end of my pursuit and it was time to close this door to make way for another to open.

When I returned to my hometown, I was freshly 19 and so exhilarated that for the first time in years I had no agenda to answer to but just pure freedom. Almost everyone I said had goodbye to in high school had stuck around home and worked or traveled to Southeast Asia and did the backpacking thing. I was so jealous of all the social engagement and adventures I had “missed out” on. Or so it felt anyways. I quickly reconnected with a group of friends through which I would soon meet my partner. I got a serving job, just like everyone else, and found a crowded townhouse to rent with two others. This was a real adult life that I was living!

A couple short weeks into being home, I started seeing a guy who was all about having a good time with his enormous group of buddies. Did I mention he is 4 years older than me? So that was exciting, and just made me feel even more like an adult being in a real adult relationship for the first time. The first two years of our relationship were solely based off partying and always being surrounded by our friends. You can imagine how healthy that was.. yet we still had fallen very much in love and there was always this craving for more commitment and growth on both our ends. But the excessive drinking and fighting had take a huge toll on us and was vastly destroying the relationship, until there was just nothing left to hold onto.

A nasty breakup had left me feeling so empty and lost. Not only had I walked away from this huge opportunity for success (or what I defined success as at the time) but now I was alone and with no notion as to what the next step was. I had relied so heavily on this relationship to make me happy and feel like there was purpose and a direction in which my life was headed. But in reality I had done nothing myself to create purpose or direction, instead I just waited for it to happen for me. This was a monumental moment for me where I was at an all time low, but there, I became an adult and was actually about to take charge of my life.

After only four months of being separated, we found our way back to each other, as if it had always been planned. I remember thinking, this isn’t the end or more that I wouldn’t let it be. And from then on, everything changed. We still had terrible lifestyle choices and bad habits that needed breaking, but the love that was there before became a million times stronger. And with that love came a will to change. A desire to accomplish more and begin a life together.

It would come as a huge shock for almost everyone that knew us at the time, that we had actively tried to conceive a baby, and that it wasn’t just a happy little accident. Well, I guess you could say, it was a very well thought of happy little accident! Now I’m not saying having a baby was the answer, but in a lot of ways, it actually was. The things that we could not do to help ourselves before, suddenly became everything we wanted to do and more. As soon as I saw those two little pink lines on the stick, my body had become a vessel, one which I would need to make the safest haven for my growing baby. And with that, all the nasty habits fell away, and the yelling that at one point would not hinder, had turned into pure joy and excitement about becoming parents. The purpose I had been so desperately searching for empowered me, and the journey I was supposed to begin was so clear.

But, I only had nine months to transition from the person I was to a brand new mother, and with that in mind, came a load of fear and self doubt.

Would I be a good mother?

Would my partner be a good father?

Would we be able to provide the loving home we yearned for and dreamt about?

Financially, would we be stable?

So much raced through my mind, and not knowing exactly what the future was going to look like was terrifying. But it was a huge lesson and one that has stayed true throughout our parenting journey. You can’t always know what is going to happen, but you can be open to the learning and growth that will lead you through any change. Because with love, you can conquer anything.

So as the months passed and I patiently waited for every doctors appointment and pregnancy milestone, we started to really settle into this life that was about to begin. We moved into our little two bedroom apartment in town where I had fun doing up the second bedroom as a nursery. I went completely overboard with the online shopping and obessing over what crib mattress to buy. I did loads and loads of laundry, making sure my hospital bag was packed perfectly and that every drawer of tiny clothing was freshly clean for my little one. I was so ready to bring home this baby. The nesting stage, was honestly one of my favorites, as it was so soon that we could finally meet the tiny human I was growing for what felt like an eternity. And looking back at all the ridiculous stuff the pregnancy hormones had me worrying about, makes my heart warm as it’s all so different now, having been a mother for 18 months now and about to welcome a second child..

My inner voice has become one that is confident, self loving, strong and powerful. The second my firstborn was placed on my chest, to now watching him peacefully rest on this Monday afternoon, has been the most liberating journey. The liberation has continued to carry on throughout this pregnancy and only keeps amplifying. All the same aches and pains are still there, and it hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure! There have been many different challenges, ones that I didn’t come across with my first pregnancy. But being humble and knowing that having done it already doesn’t make me an expert, has now allowed all that fear and self doubt from before to become only a thought in the far, distant background. Every pregnancy and baby is different, so now I just tackle things as they come. I don’t know exactly what the future will bring, but I can embrace it with open arms and the will to keep growing with my children.

Always learning, always growing.

Happy Monday everyone! ✌

The Big Move Part 2.

Don’t wake the bear!

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Finally, my sweet child has closed his eyes for his first nap in what feels like an eternity (it’s actually been two days) and I can have a single moment to 1. Also have a power nap 2. Collect my thoughts and maybe gain back a little sanity and 3. Do some writing!

Moving has been.. an experience. On all points of the spectrum. I’ve moved over a dozen times by now so I only anticipated how overwhelming and exhausting it would be.. for me! Because well, I’ve been there done that. But in the midst of all the chaos, I didn’t  anticipate how insane this all must be for our little man. A whole new world, that has yet to be discovered. Every nook and cranny, every doorway and where it leads to, the choo choo train that races by across the river where there is a perfect view from right above our bed. All the things we would never even take a second glance at, my toddler has found just fascinating.

The week leading up to moving was stressful. The apartment was in a complete disarray, boxes and garbage everywhere, old take out, you name it. Yuck, the mess seriously gave me anxiety. And my son was definitely feeling it. He was waking up every night in a terrible panic, couldn’t comprehend why on earth so many toys were just suddenly disappearing, and was in such a frenzy he actually caught a little head cold that is still gracing us with its nasty presence.

Uh oh, in comes the infamous mom guilt.

Could I have made this transition easier for him?

Should I have made him rest more to prevent this cold?

Maybe I didn’t take him outside to play enough.

Is he having any fun, at all?

Or is this all very, very stressful.

Truth is, yes, it’s damn stressful. But seeing his face light up at all the new space, the rink just beside our backyard, and that train! It reminds me that although this is new and it will definitely take some getting used to, it is already having such a positive impact on everyone, especially our son! Here, he will put on his very first pair of skates, warm up in front of the woodstove, watch Christmas movies, and take walks down by the river. So why bother feeling guilty? Of course he is going to have a hard time winding down for some sleep, there’s too much to explore! And as the days go by, he will realize this new home, is a place of comfort. A quiet oasis. A spot to rest. But like anything, it just takes time to get used to. And a new routine is in order!

So now I lay next to my sleepy baby, loving the calm energy that is surrounding us as I listen to the fire crackling downstairs. Just taking a moment, to breathe. Be grateful. Be patient that it will all come to together. And just try and enjoy every minute of it.

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Happy Monday everyone!

My Journey to Clean Eating

FB_IMG_1511380756485Abundance Bowl from Two Sisters Cafe located in Smithers, BC.

Before I became pregnant with my first son, my lifestyle choices were not always the smartest and definitely not the healthiest. I was 20 and wild, full of life and a hardworker. But there was no love for my body, and to be honest, I treated it like shit. Excessive partying, smoking, hardly ever getting a full nights rest. Sure I went to the gym from time to time, but it didn’t matter because I was fueling my body with so many toxins, and it seriously started to show the consequences. My digestive system was starting to greatly suffer, and my mental health was taking a toll. At only 20 years old I was beginning to see the what long term effects my body could suffer from an unhealthy lifestyle. Now I didn’t gain an excessive amount of weight or really seem any different from the outside for that matter. It was a transformation starting from the inside, and it seriously weighed me down.

I became pregnant with my firstborn just before my 21st birthday, and from the single moment I saw those two little pink lines on the stick, everything changed. I was now responsible for the tiny human I would be growing for the next nine months, and he needed me to be ok. I quit my second serving job, as it did nothing but give me unnecessary stress and anxiety and I quit every bad habit in the book. Now, it wasn’t easy, and my body almost went into shock going through such a drastic, sudden change. But to say my son saved me, is an understatement. I was now craving healthy foods, eating regular meals, and my digestive system was screaming HALLELIJAH! And I was actually able to sleep! That’s not to say everything was peaches n cream and I never ate a whole tub of ice cream (the bump wants what it wants.. right?!) or that my pregnancy was totally breezy.. Because it really wasn’t. But all the negative impacts from my lifestyle before, were slowly starting to change into extremely positive ones, and naturally I became a much happier person in the midst of it all.

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It wasn’t until we started introducing solid foods to our son that the real clean eating came into play. Post partum was hard, boy was it ever. And fueling my body with the necessary vitamins, fats, and proteins was essential to battling any sort of depression that tried to claw it’s way in. But when my son made the transition from solely using me as his life force to now eating the foods we ate, I became super aware of everything that was going into that tiny body. It was a great motivation (but challenge at times) to start eliminating unecessary refined sugars, excessive sodium and processed foods. Actively reading ingredients and labels became a great habit! I didn’t want my son eating that stuff if I could avoid it, so why should I? Easier said than done, but it completely changed my outlook on my own eating habits to say the least.

Now almost 30 weeks pregnant with #2, and I’m really starting to be confident in my eating habits. I shopped at our local outdoors farmer’s market almost every weekend during harvesting, and it was truly such a treat. We are so lucky to have an abundance of organic homegrown foods here, so why not take advantage and enjoy! Clean eating has been a journey, and will continue to be for the rest of my life. There are still weeks where the bank account is low and we gotta do what we gotta do, but that’s just life. And I don’t beat myself up over it! But looking back over this pregnancy, I’ve had much more energy and drive to get out and be active with my little guy. Maybe it’s because my body knows I have a toddler, and he’s just go go go, but it’s also thanks to the good foods that go into it.

Love your bodies mama’s, they are truly amazing ❤

Monday Mantra


I am enough.

With the last month of the year approaching, I can’t help but start to reflect on all the moments in 2017 that have brought us here. The challenges we faced and the happiness we built, perservering through it all. My life by no means is perfect, but I’m so in love with where I am, having worked incredibly hard for this life. As the next few days will be chaotic with packing and cleaning in preparation to relocate, I wanted to honor myself and start the week off with some self gratitude.

As mother’s, we are often our own worst critic. Even when we are going above and beyond, somehow, we still allow unnecessary guilt to creep up on us. I know I have. As if, we are simply not enough. Growing and nurturing a tiny human and now bearing a second, has been the most empowering breakthrough for me. Loving my body for it’s resilience and strength, and my mind for being open to growth and understanding. I love watching my little man peacefully sleep, it’s the perfect moment to appreciate myself and what I have done to be in that special moment. But like anything, self gratitude takes a lot of practice, and mother’s (including myself) need to take the time to do so. Because we are true warriors.

I dream about the self discovery and transformation that will take place over the winter months, and what my life will look like the following spring: a mother of two with a heart twice as full. Though I will surely make so many mistakes, because raising two under the age of 2 is bound to have a lot of insanity, I need to remind myself in those times of insanity, that my valiant efforts do not go unrecognized or unappreciated. And as much as my little family reminds me, I need to remind myself..

I am enough. 

Happy Monday everyone, I hope you can take the time to give yourself a pat on the back today! You deserve it!

The Big Move Part 1.

In just a short couple weeks, my little family and I will be finishing packing our life into boxes and moving to a bigger, brighter home! We have been living in a quaint two bedroom apartment within town limits for almost 20 months, so this is a huge change for us! We weren’t actively looking for another rental, with the baby on the way vastly approaching his due date and winter hitting us full force! But the perfect heritage home just a 15 minute drive from town became available and I knew we had to have it. The clawfoot tub in the master bedroom, the woodstove, the solarium, every rustic finish, not to mention the public skating rink literally next door. A dwelling we can actually grow into without the stress of limited living space. And finally, a backyard! I am utterly relieved how things worked out for us and beyond excited to settle in and enjoy the Christmas holidays in a new house. Having said that, I’m beginning to feel some heavy nostalgia about the apartment. This was our home when we welcomed our firstborn. Became parents. Ate at the dinner table as a family for the first time. Watched our son grow through every baby milestone. Celebrated his 1st birthday. So many memories we have made between these walls. Bittersweet to say the least! I wish I could personally thank all our surrounding neighbours who put up with the crying that lasted all night some nights and every bump and fall that resulted in even MORE crying. You guys are rock stars. Also a bonus, being that we are already in such a small space, we don’t have to declutter and downsize! There are so many positive things to focus on, hopefully it will keep me distracted when I am having a nervous breakdown because moving with a toddler is well..  moving with a toddler. Stay tuned!

Ps. Coin laundry, kiss my ass goodbye. FOREVER. 

Pps. This view will be literally 5 minutes away from our doorstep! 

 

7 Must Haves For Surviving a Winter Pregnancy

Being that I reside in Northern BC, our longest season always ends up being winter. So naturally I have or will be spending a big chunk of pregnancy during those cold months! We had already experienced two snowfalls and it wasn’t even November yet.. which means winter is just around the corner. Just kidding, in Smithers, winter is officially here! So here are 7 Must Haves I have rounded up that helped me survive the cold during pregnancy the first time around, as well as things I have and continue to discover during round two!

1. H2O

We all know we need to drink more water, it is literally one of the top recommendations for curing just about anything. I don’t know about you, but for me, it still seems to be a struggle at times to consume enough water even though I know it’s so vital! But making a solid effort to get your daily recommended intake, which is even MORE when your pregnant, is so important. Depending on where you live, winter can be extremely cold and dry, windy and damp, or everything in between. Whatever the conditions, the change in weather is always harsh to our skin, hair and can even affect our mood from lack of Vitamin D (see 2.). And then add being pregnant on top of all that! So staying well hydrated is a must. Substituting coffee for tea (check with your physician for teas that are safe to drink during pregnancy) and incorporating soups to your weekly meal regime is an easy to way to add more water into your diet, without even thinking about it! Who doesn’t love soup on a cold winters day?? Get it in yah, mama’s!

2. Vitamin D and Omega 3’s

If you’re anything like me, the winter blues can be a shock to the system. Even though I anticipate it every year, it still gets me! The days get shorter which means less natural sunlight, vitamin D, and for myself my weekly physical activity gets cut in half or sometimes less!  It’s hard to stay motivated to keep active when for one, you’re growing a human being and that’s already taking a huge toll on your body, and for two, you tend to want to relax and hibernate when it’s dark and cold outside. Instinct, right?! I found that incorporating an additional dose of Vitamin D and Omega 3’s along with my daily intake of prenatal vitamins, helped significantly with energy levels and keeping that sunny, positive attitude that is important for getting through any pregnancy (though not always attainable, and that is perfectly ok). I am also prone to migraines during certain stages of pregnancy, and this helped heaps! Always ask your physician about taking any additional supplements if you’re uncertain, as every woman’s body has different needs.

3. Coconut oil, coconut oil, and more coconut oil!

It’s no secret coconut oil is pure magic and has an abundance of uses! One of the beauties of coconut oil, is it is effective and very affordable to use as a moisturizer for those growing bumps. Whether using it alone, or pairing with essential oils, I found coconut oil the best way to help lock in moisture that often gets stripped during the winter months. Belly, face, hair, you name it! This time around, I made myself a baby belly specific moisturizer to help soothe the itching and discomfort that I have been absolutely loving! It’s consists of:

Coconut oil
Frankinsense essential oil
Lavender essential oil
Tea tree essential oil

And that’s it! Frankinsense is known to help prevent stretch marks, which of course are extremely common during pregnancy. I also love using lavender for so many things as it naturally calms and helps you relax, which is always a nice sensation to have when you’re expecting. Pretty much any scent that appeals to you, add it in! And have fun making your own little concoction!

4. Concealer

I’ve never been a makeup expert, but finding a great concealer has been one of my favorite discoveries while pregnant with #2! My skin is already quite pale, and in the winter even more so! Which doesnt help hide those trademark bags under the eyes that come with motherhood. Smithers is in a remote area, so we don’t have an amazing selection of makeup brands in our one and only Shoppers Drug Mart. So if you’re like me, take advantage when you’re away in the city to check out Sephora or Mac as there is a ton of selection and something suited for everyone’s skin type/tone. I was recently in Vancouver visiting a girlfriend, and she took me into Sephora where I found an amazing concealer by Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line. There are so many different shades, it was quick and easy for me to find the right one! The Match Stix Matte Skinstick is compact and you can apply it directly around the eye, using a brush to blend the creases. It retails for $25.00 CA, which is so affordable for how long it will last! I love how the skin around my eyes looks bright and flawless each time, which will come in handy when #2 is born and I’m neck deep in poopy diapers/running off 3 hours of sleep. Again.

5. Leggings for Days

Sweater weather has been another one of my favorite things about pregnancy #2. It’s acceptable to where leggings and oversized sweaters every single day (not that I’m by any means looking for fashion acceptability) and it’s dang comfy! Bottoms were always an issue for me during my first pregnancy, I hated the maternity jeans and shorts with a passion. And once the elastic hair band stopped containing that growing bump in my non preggo pants, it felt impossible to be comfortable in anything but sweats. Which I admit, was slightly depressing. So high wasted leggings have been my absolute go to! I preferred buying 2 or 3 pairs of leggings, that have the potential to expand around the band with growth, over investing in maternity leggings. In a couple short months, I will be able to continue using these incredibly comfy and cute leggings postpartum and for winter seasons to come. I’m all about getting the most bang for my buck. Ps. Baby bumps in oversized sweaters make for pretty cute maternity photos!

6. Prenatal Yoga

Yoga has become such an essential part of my weekly routine during any season. The benefits have really started to show as I was experiencing lower back and hip pain quite early on in this pregnancy. My hips are always going out of alignment putting stress on my right sciatic nerve due to the pelvic floor muscles still being weak from giving birth to my son 17 months ago. Prenatal yoga is designed to guide mother’s through meditation, strength and breathing techniques that I can honestly say helped tremendously whilst enduring a natural labour and birth. Every experience is different and there is no wrong or right way, but if having a natural birth and trying to avoid drugs unless necessary is an important part of your birth plan, I strongly recommend getting your butt into a yoga studio! Not to mention, taking that hour or two even just once a week to do something solely for you is so vital whether you are already a mother or mother to be. This is also a great opportunity to meet other mum’s and start a new hobby that you can continue postpartum!

7. Catching ZZZ’s

Another one of those things we all know we need, but often it becomes less and less of priority in our busy lives. SLEEP! Just do it. Especially if you are getting ready to welcome baby #1, take the opportunity of those long dark winter nights to rest. And if you’re working on growing your firstborn a sibling like myself, close those eyes as soon as that childs head hits the bed! Unfortunately we can’t bank sleep hours for the near future when no such thing exists, but it doesn’t hurt to seize the moment when you can! And by seize I mean, grab a pillow and drift off into sweet sweet dreamland. Can you tell I haven’t slept in the last 17 months? But who’s counting anyways.

This all might seem like basic common knowledge, but trust me the simplest things can have a huge impact! I wish I took the time to remember to do the small stuff while I was so busy obsessively nesting during my first pregnancy. It’s an overwhelming, intense, amazing season of life! So make sure you take care of yourself mama’s, those babies (big and small) need you to be alright too.

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