my journey to pregnancy {thus far...}

Until now, I haven't blogged about my pregnancy. I guess in the back of my mind I wasn't sure if you would want to read about it AND I also wanted to air on the side of caution through the first few months. But I am now 22 weeks and feeling great. I also realized that this new chapter of my life will undoubtedly have an influence on what I will be discussing on my blog, so why not start now! So here it goes....

I want to first talk a bit about my journey to pregnancy that began about 4 years ago. For most of my life I have been healthy and active. When I started dating my (now) husband we moved to Toronto where I started a job in radio as an overnight news anchor. Loved the job, hated the hours. I also hated what it did to my health. I wasn't sleeping, eating or working out consistently. Over the course of a year I gained 10 lbs, suffered from frequent and debilitating headaches, had major skin and digestive issues and a total lack of energy. I was happy and in love, but my body hated me and I felt like a hot mess to say the least.

It was around this same time that I met a very special lady who was a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. I loved what she was doing and after doing some research enrolled at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. I subsequently quit my job.

I distinctly remember my first workout after deciding I needed to grab a hold of my health. Frankly, the workout sucked. I did however, have high hopes for my relationship and we had both discussed wanting children. I knew that pregnancy would remain a dream until I felt fit and fabulous. I realize this is very personal but I couldn't help but think - how the heck would I keep up with my kids if I could hardly drag my butt out of bed each day!

And so began my quest for optimal health.

For the first time in a lot of years my workouts and food choices weren't for a vain purpose of wanting to be "skinny" or "pretty". No, it was about HEALTH, energy and vitality.

I recall making a vow to myself that day, that every workout and healthy meal was to prepare for pregnancy and life with children. I started to read a lot, I moved a lot more, I got back to normal sleeping hours and thankfully my new career path opened my eyes to a whole new world.

Fast forward about 4 years. I am pregnant and absolutely thrilled about the conscious decision I made a few years ago. Instead of blabbing on for pages and pages I will just highlight a few steps that I took that helped me to get healthy and pregnant.

DISCLAIMER: This is my individual journey. We are all so unique and different and I absolutely understand that getting pregnant is NOT easy for everyone. The following information is very personal but I do hope that if you are planning to become pregnant that some of this information might be helpful to you.

Absolute miracle. THIS IS NOT MY BELL but I couldn't help but chair this amazing photo via.

  • NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR: I have been seeing my N.D for 4 years now and in this time we have focused on rebalancing various "imbalances" in my body. Without too much detail (and perhaps boredom) we worked to address my under functioning adrenal glands, hormonal issues and lack of energy. Once these various imbalances were fixed (YEAH!) we then focused on a pre-pregnancy protocol.
  • SUPPLEMENT PROTOCOL: As advised by my N.D I took a variety of supplements over the last few years to improve my adrenal function, hormonal imbalances and ultimately prepare for pregnancy. I won't list them all but I also focused on healthy fats in the form of an omega supplement and a prenatal vitamin about 2 years before we even tried to conceive.
  • STOPPED BIRTH CONTROL: I went off the pill two years before trying to get pregnant and my reason for doing so was to gain control of my hormonal health - at the time it wasn't to get pregnant. In this time I continued to work with my N.D, other health care practitioners and use whole foods to bring my hormones back into a more healthy balance. I must say, I was so happy to be off of it after nearly 10 years.
  • WHOLE FOODS DIET: Based on my blog, you see a lot of the food I consume. While I can't discuss everything I ate over the last few years I have continued to experiment with whole foods. What I should mention though is the food that I stopped eating. This primarily included processed, packaged/refined foods, diet soda, and coffee. I was drinking TOO much coffee and this was especially taxing on my adrenal glands. My focus was on clean foods which included: fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, more plant based proteins than animal, less dairy, lots of green juices + smoothies, organic when possible.....etc.
  • HYDRATION: Simply put, I was not drinking enough water. In the beginning this certainly required a bit more work but now I rarely leave home without my reusable water bottle filled with pure and filtered water. Once I started drinking more water my headaches seemed to disappear and the condition of my skin improved. That in itself was life changing!
  • REGULAR EXERCISE: Regular weight training, cardio, Pilates and hot yoga have been my movement of choice the last few years. I typically workout 3-5 times a week. I was able to shed the weight I had gained and tone up. I would say that this summer, just before we started trying to get pregnant, I felt as though I was in the best shape of my life. It was such a fabulous feeling to know that I felt strong and healthy. And I will say it again, not working out to be SKINNY was so freeing as well as empowering. Each workout brought so much gratitude and gave me increased energy in my day-to-day life that looking good (re: feeling and looking fit) was just a byproduct of my hard work.
  • REDUCE STRESS: I believe that my stress coping mechanisms have vastly improved over the last few years. I know this can be hard to manage with all the ups and downs that life throws us sometimes but I started to realize what a detrimental effect stress has on our overall health..and this is especially true when trying to conceive. But let's be serious, this is easier said than done! To reduce stress in my life I focused on deep breathing, setting goals/intentions daily, simplifying my life in various aspects, surrounded myself with positive people and I know that my yoga practice certainly helped keep me grounded.
  • SAUNA'S: This such a fabulous way to detoxify your body. I did these regularly when living in Europe at the gym I went to. We also recently purchased a "Finnish Sauna" (wood burning) for our home and I believe this helped me to reach a new level of healthy. I would also highly recommend using an infrared sauna if you have access as well - they are great!
  • CHIROPRACTIC CARE: I was feeling a little "out of whack" to say the least so I decided to see a chiropractor regularly for about 4 months. After that I only went back when I felt I needed to. My theory at the time was that I wanted my body to be aligned and balanced for when the time came to get pregnant and even more so when carrying a baby around for 9 months.
  • REGULAR MASSAGE: In the last few years I have tried to aim for regular massage appointments as a way to encourage overall health. For me I love how it improves circulation, lymphatic flow, decreases stress as well as gets rid of any aches and pains.
  • ACUPUNCTURE: A few months before we started trying to get pregnant I did some fertility acupuncture. The goal is to strengthen the liver blood and increase circulation (Qi) to the reproductive organs as well as strengthen the immune system. I found these treatments extremely relaxing and I truly believe in the benefits of acupuncture.
  • NATURAL BODY CARE + HOUSEHOLD CLEANING PRODUCTS: I started to green our home over the last few years and it has certainly been a process. After learning a bit more about the harmful effects that frequently used chemicals have on our health I decided to make the change to more natural alternatives. For me this was important, not just for my husband and I but for the children that we hoped would one day be in our home too. I have been purchasing more green products and starting to incorporate more essential oils into home cleaning and body care products. 

So that my friends, is a little bit more about my journey thus far and here is a little montage of my growing belly so far....

 At 12 weeks I was proud as a peach of my little bump...or so I thought it was a bump at the time.

Starting to show at 18 weeks

 Birds-eye view at 18 weeks. 

What's up 20 weeks!?! 

22 weeks

22 weeks and I truly love my little barrel. 

I apologize for this long story but I hope this information is helpful for those of you possibly planning to conceive. 

Have a wonderful weekend!