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Apologies

Apologies

· Pregnancy · No Comments

My apologies for such a late post this week. It has been a very challenging 2.5 weeks.

I have been incredibly sick. Usually I get a cold, some sniffles, no big deal. This time, however, has not been the same. I’ve been into the hospital twice, been prescribed codeine twice, had a whooping cough swab, influenza swab and I’ve had a cervical swab twice (to make sure my hard coughing didn’t break my water…don’t worry, it didn’t. I just keep peeing myself.) I’ve been off more days in November than I’ve worked. It has been absolutely brutal.

And its going around.

My oldest has been sick off and on with a fever & a cough. My middle child had croup for a few days and my youngest, has had a runny nose and nothing else *knock on wood!* I’ve talked to a few other moms who have also said their kids are unwell. Puking, fevers, coughs, etc. Its a crap year for illness! My suggestion: Get your flu shot! We already got ours – so the chances of the flu are minimal. But I’ll tell ya, even this cold is kicking my butt. I’m so exhausted all the time and I can’t stop coughing. I coughed so hard I puked up my lunch one day in a shopping mall parking lot – sorry if you were in Starbucks watching me toss my cookies. 🙁

DIY Cough & Cold Remedies during Pregnancy

· DIY, Pregnancy · No Comments

This past week has been incredibly hard for me – I’ve been hit by a cold. Not only a cold – but it feels like the plague. Because I’m expecting, it makes remedies much more difficult to find and use.

However, I did find this information that may prove to be useful.

What are natural cold and cough remedies for when you’re pregnant?

There are many effective, safe, and natural remedies for cough and cold during pregnancy, many of which can be used during a flu as well. Here is a list of things you can keep on hand in case you become sick:

Garlic – Part of the onion family, garlic is a powerhouse against the cold during pregnancy! In fact, in one study, daily consumption of a garlic supplement reduced people’s chance of a cold by over 60%! For those who did get sick, garlic helped them get better faster. During pregnancy, it’s best to consume 1 crushed, raw garlic clove with each meal. If your cold is acute, you could increase your garlic consumption to 1 crushed, raw clove per every 2-3 hours. I like to smear in raw honey for taste and added benefits.

Apple Cider Vinegar – Raw preferably. ACV alkalinizes the body and most illnesses can’t thrive in alkaline environments. It also contains good bacteria which helps to fight of infection.

  • Mix 1-2 tablespoons of ACV into water or tea and drink 3 times a day.
  • Gargle ACV to soothe a sore throat.

Honey – raw, local honey is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic. Take 1 tsp., three times a day

Onion – raw onion has phytochemicals that help keep the respiratory tract open.. You can make a black bean or beef burger and top with lots of onions and mustard. You can add sauerkraut for an extra dose of probiotics!

Lemon – antibacterial. Also helps alkalinize the body. Rich in vitamin C. Take two lemons, juice and add to a quart Mason jar. Add filtered water and 1 TB of raw honey and a dash of sea salt for added minerals. Drink throughout day.

Asian Mushrooms (maitake, shitake, reishi) – Antibacterial and antiviral. I love this mushroom blend supplement! Check with your midwife or doctor to see if it’s safe for you.

Coconut oil – Antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. You can add 1/8. tsp. of Peppermint extract to 2 TB of raw coconut oil. Mix well and add either 10 drops of stevia or 1 TB of raw honey. Mix well. Then spread thin on a piece of parchment paper. Put in freezer for 15 minutes. Eat as a yummy, Peppermint bark dessert!

Vitamins and minerals – especially vitamin D, vitamin A from cod liver oil or liver only, vitamin C, zinc and selenium. I love mixing 1 teaspoon of camu camu powder mixed in a 1/4 cup of yogurt with 1 teaspoon of raw honey. Mix well and eat. The yogurt provides probiotics to boot!

Clear, unsweetened liquids – Dehydration is more of a concern in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women so being diligent about staying hydrated is important. Homemade lemonade, bone broth, herbal teas, coconut water and this special electrolyte drink are all fantastic. Stay away from caffeine as this can further dehydrate you.

Homemade chicken soup – take your bone broth and cook in a pot with onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms, parsley and cut up chicken. Add sea salt for taste and mineral boost.

Warm salt water – use as a gargle for a sore throat or with a neti pot for congestion.

High quality probiotic – supports general health and good immune response. I like this one best.

Elderberry syrup – Many pregnant mamas have great success with elderberry syrup to relieve cough and cold symptoms. It’s an immune booster which can help speed up recovery. You can often find it in the natural section of your local grocery store or you can make your own fairly easily.

The following herbs can be helpful for cold symptoms but should only be used in food/beverages and not in concentrated supplement form.

  • Cayenne powder – antimicrobial, analgesic, and expectorant.
  • Garlic – antiviral, antibiotic, and antiseptic.
  • Ginger – antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Good for upset tummy.
  • Thyme – antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, expectorant, and astringent. Great for respiratory infections, coughs, and upset tummy.
  • Cinnamon – antiviral, and antibiotic.”

    taken from: https://www.mamanatural.com/cold-during-pregnancy/

Let it Snow!

· Parenting · No Comments

I’ve lived in Edmonton for way too long. Every year, without fail, it snows on Halloween.

This year, was no exception. It snowed on Halloween. It also snowed the day after aannndddd the day after that. We went from zero snow on Halloween day to well over 3″ of snow by Nov 2. Now I’m not one who enjoys Winter. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say I hate Winter. I hate the cold more specifically. I’m cold to start with, and Winter just makes it 10x worse.

But.

The snow has turned our northern city into a beautiful work of art. The way it sits on the trees, the pristine, crisp, clean look of it on rooves & fences. It can be a very stunning landscape. Its breathtaking to look it from my kitchen window with a cup of apple cinnamon tea in my hand.

Now my children have already asked to participate in Winter activities. Things like sledding, skating and building a snowman. These are not my idea of a fun evening. Yet, the joy that they get from rolling up snow into a head or body makes the freezing cold worth it. We just make sure to layer up and have some hot chocolate when we come inside with frozen fingers & frozen toes.

These are memories that we create for our kids. For our families. The things they will grow up and reflect back on with excitement & fondness. The memories that they will want to recreate with their own children one day. Sometimes, the things we don’t like ourselves, are the things that our children take incredible delight in! And sometimes, its worth it for them. To learn to be adaptable and to give our children the gift of love, sacrifice & memories that are irreplaceable! Even if it is -20C outside. 😉

Enjoy a Spa Day – All DIY!

· DIY · No Comments

We all need to be pampered every now and then. Pregnant or not, its nice being spoiled. 🙂

Taken from: https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a562991/create-your-own-mini-pregnancy-spa

If you fancy a pregnancy pick-me-up, what could be better than your own home spa? All you need is a few pampering products, a bit of imagination, and an evening to yourself.

1. Create a spa atmosphere

Make your bathroom and bedroom as tranquil as possible by tidying away clutter. Dim the lights, light some scented candles and put on some relaxing music.

Have some fluffy bath towels to hand as you start your various treatments. Keep them on a warm radiator or heated rail for added comfort.

2. Clean your face

Gently sweep away any make-up or daily grime with a mild cleansing lotion and cotton wool. Look for products that are free from alcohol, as it can tend to dry out your skin.

3. Give your skin a rosy glow

Use an exfoliating facial wash to get your blood rushing to your cheeks. Wet your face with warm water, massage in the scrub in a circular motion, and then rinse thoroughly. Pat dry with a soft towel.

4. Apply a face pack

There’s nothing like seeing yourself in a green and gloopy face pack to make you appreciate your own skin underneath! Deep-cleansing, peel-off, self-heating – the choice is yours. Face packs come in a range of smells and textures, and there’s something to suit all budgets and skin types.

Follow the instructions on the packet, and rinse off thoroughly when you’re done to leave your face feeling fresh and vibrant.

5. Run a bath

Prepare yourself a deep, luxurious warm bath to ease those pregnancy aches and pains. Pour gentle, skin-friendly bubble bath under running water, or add a couple of drops of a pregnancy-safe essential oil.

Test the temperature with your elbow or forearm to make sure it’s not too hot. You don’t want you or your baby to overheat.

6. Exfoliate the rest of your body

Before you relax into your bath, buff your body with an exfoliating brush or use a salt scrub to banish dead skin cells and reveal glowing skin. Pay special attention to your elbows and knees, which are usually rougher than the rest of your body.

7. Relax

Now it’s time to really enjoy your soak. Roll up a towel to place behind your head or use an inflatable bath pillow that sticks to your bath, if you prefer.

8. Enjoy a soothing eye mask

While you’re in the bath, you may want to treat your eyes. Good old-fashioned cucumber slices are cooling and refreshing. Or you could try cotton wool pads soaked in camomile tea and left to cool. You may even like to buy a gel-filled eye mask, which you can pop in the fridge to cool before you have your bath.

9. Have a shower

It’s a good idea to have a shower after your soak. A shower will wash away any debris from your salt scrub, and it’s an ideal time to shave your legs, too.

Wash your hair with nourishing, sweet-smelling shampoo. To give your hair a beauty boost, use an intensive moisturising conditioner.

10. Step into a warm towel

Grab that warm towel you placed on the radiator earlier. Wrap another one around your hair and retreat to your bedroom for further pampering!

11. Moisturise

Sit on a towel on the bed or carpet and spend a few minutes moisturising your body with a rich cream. Cocoa butter feels indulgent and gorgeous, or you could try an unscented lotion if your skin is feeling sensitive. If you can still reach your feet comfortably, use this opportunity to give yourself a quick foot massage too. Or better still, get a willing partner to lend a hand.

12. Do a manicure and pedicure

Your nails will be soft after your bath and shower. Now is a good time to shape or file them, and to paint them with your choice of nail varnish. Lie back and unwind while you leave them to dry.

13. Drift into a deep sleep

By now, you should be feeling so relaxed and soothed that you’re ready to blow out those candles and go to sleep.

Sweet dreams!

If your mini spa experience leaves you longing for a professional pampering, learn all about visiting a spa in pregnancy.

 

 

Mental Health – Prenatal & Postpartum

· Parenting, Pregnancy · No Comments

I have recently discovered that while there is a big push for mental health resources from both the public and politicians – there are still very few. Its incredibly disappointing and adds to the feeling of “no options” to those who are struggling with their mental health, especially pregnant women & postpartum moms.

Mental health is such a huge part of any person. If your mental health isn’t where it should be, it affects every single other area of your life. From sleep, to how you react, to simply being able to get out of bed in the morning and start your day. Your mental health is you.

Now, as someone who has experienced mental health struggles in the past, I can’t even tell you the endless feeling of hopelessness when you reach out for help and you find none. Or, you do find some…but it will cost you close to $200/hr. Now, I don’t know about you…but my salary in no way equals $200. Not even close! Benefits? Yes, we have benefits. A whopping $300/year. Thats right. 1.5 sessions with a psychologist a year! Typically it takes months of work with a psychologist/psychiatrist to make progress…not a single session. If your benefits cover more, great! Use them! Somehow though, I highly doubt that your benefits cover $4700 worth of therapy sessions. Thats based on going once every 2 weeks for a year at a rate of $180/hr for your psychologits/psychiatrist.

The costs are outrageous (but I understand why those psychs charge those amounts), but the average person being able to afford that doesn’t typically happen. It puts a wonderful resource far out of reach of those who need it.

I recently learned that a local hospital that had an absolutely amazing prenatal/postpartum mental health clinic available has now closed down their services to anyone not birthing at their hospital. There are a bunch of problems with that! It removes choice from a lot of women – where they can birth and not only that, but now it forces women to choose between having a birth they need (think homebirth after a traumatic birth to help heal their mental health trama surrounding that) to getting help with their current mental health status. It makes no sense and yet again, closes more doors to those trying desperately to reach out for help.

I want to encourage anyone needing support to reach out. To anyone & everyone! Friends, family, your doctor, a nurse, heck – a facebook group that can provide you a boost to get through a night if thats what you need! But reach out. Don’t do the trek alone.

There are resources online now as well – online counselling and depression support groups. Do what you need to do! But please, please please…don’t be ashamed. Don’t continue the stigma of mental health.

Pregnancy Changes Everything

· Parenting, Pregnancy · No Comments

I am currently pregnant. This pregnancy, is not a surrogacy, it is a keeper for us. This is baby #4 for us and being pregnant, again, has added humor to our lives.

Pregnancy really truly changes the dynamics of a spousal relationship. For example, my husband who has an awfully funny sense of humor, will ask me if I’m craving “cock”. He’ll have the devilish grin, quirky sparkle in his eye. Of course, being pregnant, my obvious response is “OMG…Yes. You going to order the chicken wings or am I?”

Or the bag of Oreos in the pantry. I have three children & a husband. We don’t do a lot of sweets in the house. If there’s a bag of Oreos, you know they’re going to last about 30 seconds. God help the poor soul who eats the last Oreo. This pregnant mama wants at least one damn oreo out of the pack. I had to haul my big belly into a grocery store just to get those oreos. If mama bear doesn’t get to eat at least one, there will be some serious consequences. Like eating a king size chocolate bar in front of all of them and NOT SHARING.

How do you like them apples kiddo?! That’ll teach you for eating the last Oreo!

Children, while they eat all the good stuff left in the house, they also are much much shorter than I am. Do you know why this is beneficial? They are closer to the floor than I am! Pregnancy seems to remove all grip from my hands and I am forever dropping things. Of courses, the bigger I get, the harder it is to pick stuff up off the floor…and the more things I seemingly drop. Having children has proven to be incredibly useful…they are so sweet & pick things up that I drop – saving us from having to purchase a set of those reacher/grabber things.
Truthfully, I’m grateful though that they are so sweet to help me. Heavens knows, If I sit down to pick up something, this lady isn’t getting back up.

Last but not least, I think my favorite part of pregnancy is hearing my children talk about the baby and their perception of how it all works. We are located in Edmonton, Alberta and in early Sept it began snowing. Very lightly, but there was snow. My youngest, 3, looked outside, gasped, turned to me and very excitedly exclaimed that the baby could come out now because there was snow on the ground! As I had previously explained the baby would come when there was snow on the ground – not expecting her to take it so literally. It gave me quite the chuckle.

When we found out the gender very recently, boy, my son was thrilled he is getting a brother. He seemingly knew from the get go. He never doubted that it was a boy, but his sisters were certain it was a girl. When we broke the news to them, my oldest (daughter) almost cried. Her big heart won over those emotions and she said she would love the baby anyway because she loves babies! My son was smiling ear to ear. “I KNEW IT!” he yelled! He is so happy to not be outnumbered anymore. 😀  And the youngest. She kind of sat there and tried to process it. Right after supper I showered her and she spent her time in the showering asking me to change it to a girl.

A (My 3yo): Mommy, can you change it to a girl please? I don’t want a boy.
Me: I’m sorry kiddo, its a boy and I can’t change that.
A: But mommy, I asked nicely. I even said please.
Me: *laughing* I know kiddo, I’m really sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. The baby is a boy and I really, really can’t change that.

She was so disappointed. Once baby boy does arrive, I’m sure everyone will be thrilled! Its just how their little brains work and it always has me in wonder. <3

Busy Week? Prep Slow Cooker Freezer Meals!

· Cooking, DIY, Parenting · No Comments

If your home is anything like ours during the week, its chaos. Between my husband and I both working, two kids in school and one child at home (not to mention being pregnant), its really insane most days. I don’t have time to pee, let alone make a nice dinner.

Enter my slow cooker! I have been doing up some slow cooker freezer meals on the weekends to make our weeknights run a bit smoother. I found a months worth of recipes, we chose 7 of our favorites and did them up.

I highly suggest trying a few out!

31 Crockpot Freezer Meals for Busy Weeknights

Guest Post – A Unique Surrogates Perspective

· Guest Post, Parenting, Surrogates · No Comments

Ok. It’s confession time. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m going to share a little secret with you- I’m a little different. Quirky, if you will.

My first experience with surrogacy was the classic Phoebe from “Friends” episode.

Heck, I even tried to be just like her and offered to carry a baby for my brother and his wife. That was a little too odd for him as we aren’t one of those super open understanding families. 

“Adoption’ is a term my mother used frequently while my husband and I struggled to become pregnant with our first child. I wasn’t interested. It needed to be ours. 

We bore our frustration in silence, privately. The unsolicited advice was truly overwhelming, and completely unwanted. Seriously- why does everyone feel they have the answer? Or that you want to hear what worked for their cousins nephews aunt… or get referred to as the one without their own child. Pity is just as intolerable as the aforementioned advice.

Fast forward a few years and several children later. We knew our family was complete, but I didn’t feel like I was done having babies. My husband loves me and spoils me horribly. He agreed to my surrogacy journey with only one question that was easily answered by another Surrodad.

Connections were made, and rather quickly I had 2 unsuccessful back to back transfers.

Six months after, success! I was pregnant with a modern miracle courtesy of science…I was pregnant with another mans child! Life goal met!

The parents were estatic, yet cautiously optimistic. Modern medicine isn’t perfect, and they knew things could change in an instant.

 Pregnancy was relatively easy. I wasn’t ill, and having a little extra fluff on my bones made keeping the precious cargo comfy (and concealed) until my husband and I were ready to share our news with others.

Co workers were told (for safety purposes) and a few close friends… Dude, I really wanted that beer, please stop offering, lol.

Basically we thought we would tell people when questions were asked, probably around the 20 week mark. We had too many people close to us with fertility issues of their own. I wasn’t looking to be a jerk, or do the “look at how amazing and selfless I am” thing. I wanted to give someone the opportunity of parenthood so many take for granted.

A few weeks before delivery we told a few key people, knowing not everyone understands. My parents were in this lot. Not my siblings, not my in laws. Need to know basis. More friends, because, a week before delivery tobogganing is not really a great way to spend an afternoon.

A few people at work noticed, but not many. 

We talked about the general stuff, like how many were already at home, blah blah blah, and then-no, they aren’t excited. It isn’t my husbands. Or mine. 

And then the gushing (awkward for me) how amazing! How selfless! Or super awkward “How can you give your baby away?” followed by a simple biology lesson. Education is important. Patience as well.

Some people get it. Some don’t. That’s quite alright.

The parents are beyond happy, and that is what really matters to me.”

– An ANU Surrogate.  <3

Halloween Cookies!

· DIY, Holidays · No Comments

Halloween is quickly approaching and if your anything like me, you lack in the creativity department.

Have no fear, I’m here to help!

Try these cookies with eyeballs in them, they are sure to be a hit and your kids will think your awesome. 🙂

Gooey Monster Eye Cookies