We switched up the format a little bit to make the challenge more manageable. In case you're following along with the challenge in your own life, the first week we focus on a goal that we can accomplish within the two weeks of the theme. The second week, we work on setting a long-term goal that will be achieved in 6 months - 1 year. 

The 3rd module, week 5 and 6  is Toxics. We spent a few days examining the toxic chemicals that were in our life and decided to finally throw out all of those beauty products that were full of harmful chemicals. 

GOAL: throw out those products we no longer use and anything full of chemicals! 

Rowan getting them ready for the garbage. Sunscreen, hair products, exfoliating scrubs with plastic bubbles, etc. 
This was pretty easy. We had a stash under the sink that I have been putting off dealing with. I felt guilty because a few of the items were gifts from my in-laws from my birthday, but I just couldn't bring myself to use them. I even tried a few of the products from bath and body or whatever that place is called and ended up coming out of the bath smelling like a baby prostitute. Not only did I reek, but the actual chemicals that make up those 'delicious' scents made Matt and I feel really sick to our stomachs. Since most of our beauty products are handmade or use essential oils, we were not used to these synthetic smells and they really irritated us and invaded our bodies. My co-worker in Vancouver had a huge sensitivity to scent and now I feel like I finally get it. Just took some time and making an actual effort to move on to more natural products without chemicals to really feel the impact and dominance those chemicals have. 

As part of the bathroom binge, I've thrown out a lot of old makeup that was full of chemicals and from companies that tested on animals.I've simplified my makeup routine, perfect for summer and perfect for a newborn baby about to arrive any day now and am using cruelty free and fair trade makeup. Not every item I choose was perfectly in-line with those goals, but I think it's a good start.  As a result I feel much better about the companies I've chosen to give my money too, and what I'm putting on my face. 

LONG TERM GOAL: continue to weed out as many toxics as possible - this summer, for example we'll be using chemical free sunscreen and continuing to use all of our DIY beauty products. I just made myself a new batch of deodorant with clay and will remake Matt's cocount oil / baking soda / arrowroot powder combo when he runs out. 

We're also continuing to make a huge effort to reduce the plastic in our lives. We will continue to save and use glass jars to store our food and are going to encourage our friends and family to think about this when purchasing or giving gifts to Rowan and our baby on the way (39 weeks tomorrow!). 

I think the easiest way to go about reducing or eliminating toxics/toxins is read and get to know what is in the stuff you're putting in your body or keeping in your house. I googled a lot of the ingredients in those products that I wasn't sure of and I've noticed throughout this green journey that I'm able to recognize those harmful chemicals just from educating myself. It literally took 15 minutes with a toddler to find and throw out this stuff. Tackle one thing at a time and before you know it you'll be living a pretty toxic free life!


ANXIETY - 36 weeks pregnant

At 36 weeks I had 3 anxiety episodes I'm hesitant to call them attacks because I don't want to claim to be yet another person with an anxiety disorder who really has nothing on people who actually deal with this on regular basis. I'm not. I just have moments where I feel I can't control something at all and freak out.

Last week, I started panicking that nothing was ready and nothing was right, everything was dirty and disgusting and felt alone. I was scared. My heart was racing, my breathing was laboured, my head was reeling. I just couldn't stop. I couldn't get my heart rate down, the baby was freaking out and I couldn't get my breathing under control. I felt sick to my stomach and I more than emptied my bowls. I had a bath at 1am and woke up Matt just to get someone to talk to me about ANYTHING. I felt like I had no coping strategy and had lost it.  Eventually I relaxed enough to fall into a fitful sleep and start a new the next morning.


I was having contractions. Not birth contractions. But my uterus was definitely contracting and I could feel this new sensation which is actually a bit painful.. where I conceptualize it as the baby... tunneling her way down. I can only imagine in my head that that feeling is her making progress, getting further wedged in there preparing for her voyage. With this new sensation came the reality, we were not ready. I freaked. Admittedly, I'd been procrastinating as a way of passing the time before birth. It was time to get serious so I consulted my list and we started preparing. Car seats, signage, letters to the neighbours, emergency phone numbers, etc. Then I got excited. Oohh she could be coming soon. Then the excitement and fear all mixed together into a panicking out of control mess. On top of all the things that impending birth, parents going on holidays soon, my midwife on holiday right now, feeling the weight of birthing at home, I was also feeling the immense unknown of having two babies. I know it will work out, but I just don't know what it's going to be like and that's what scares me the most. I'm not worried about the new baby at all. My dreams confirmed it. I'm worried about Rowan's transition. 

tank top, outside, sunshine and gameboy
Since, I've had a midwife appointment where I talked about how I was feeling. I put my fears out there and I also made a list of the things within my control that I can get ready for our birth. The fact that the sun is shining and we're getting some nicer temperatures is lifting my spirits like crazy. In all honesty, there isn't much on the list that we NEED in order to give birth. I'm just waiting on the tub. I realized some of my thoughts were super irrational. Who cares if behind the stove isn't clean? I kinda care about the toilet being clean in case I'm stuck puking into it, but really, we can give birth in a house that isn't perfectly tidy and there's now way I can keep up the tidiness to my standard for birth every day and night. My midwife and student midwife reminded me there was a lot I could do to control things in the birth. 

The biggest reassurance for me was that they were there for me. If I needed help with breathing through contractions or if I was panicking, they would absolutely do that for me. I think that's all I needed to hear. With Rowan I hyperventilated and had a rough time getting through the pain of contractions without any extra drugs. Understandable, but not easy. I just have to keep channeling that this birth is a different birth and I'm going through it with a ton of supportive people around me. 

my birth mix, deliciously sweet, salty and packed full of protein! 
With that in mind, I've been much less panicky. I've been crossing things off my list and making sure to take time to just chill. I'd love to share about my birth closet, because I'm pretty excited about it, and of course, document with a few more photos the changes to my body. Matt is finished working with the university for a bit, so we'll have more time together which I think is essential. I've been missing him and I think he needs to rest up too. I'm not sure how much more blogging I'll do before Baby E arrives, as I do want to make sure to unplug and rest, but I'm hoping to squeak out a few more posts on this crazy crazy adventure.


First visit with the new Family Doctor

"....annnddddd you're comfortable with a home birth?" Said my new family doctor after I elatedly told her about my awesome home visit and that YES I was giving birth at home. Really? Did she just ask me that? Was it not written all over my face and in the part of our brief conversation that I just had with her that I was more than confident in my decision and super excited about it?

Ughhhhhhhh... I'm glad we rarely have to go to the doctor. I felt so disrespected and unsupported in my choices and my method of decision making. She was very confused about where I worked, why we were in Peterborough, where Matt worked. It was an odd conversation, but she did acknowledge how busy we are, which is always validating in those moments of vulnerability. The rest of my brief time with her she spent pushing vaccines and making me feel super uncomfortable about choosing to think about it instead of just blindly accepting her drug cocktail right then and there. Here's a good post from another blogger that mimics my feelings on why I would always choose a midwife over a doctor. The short list borrowed from that is....

(1) Midwives are nurses, and they behave as such
(2) Midwives seem to focus foremost on you, your choices and your comfort whereas a doctor is more solely focused on the goal or the problem*
(3) Midwives think naturally if possible, intervention if strictly necessary.
(4) Midwives don’t do things without asking.

*I added this

What an enormous difference in approach, respect, and bedside manner compared to the midwives. Why can't all midwives just continue to care for us after birth? I went home almost in tears, so frustrated by the Canadian health care system. I feel stuck. We had to wait on a list for three months to be assigned to this practice. I'm highly doubtful there's another doctor out there, within walking distance, that would match my lifestyle choices and approach to health care who is accepting new patients. Let's be honest.

Baring that in mind, it wasn't all super terrible. I know this is just the way of the doctor. So focusing on the positive.....

  • she was nice enough as a person and shared with me a bit about her personal life
  • she was totally open to prescribing me medicine that didn't break the bank because we she made an effort to ask about our drug plan options - aka no coverage. I liked that part. 
  • the office was clean and bright
  • it only took 20 minutes of very slow walking to get there (whoohoo!)
  • the pharmacy downstairs took great care to make sure we could pay for the medicine before they just dished it out and worked with a dose that was easier to manage throughout the day (less pills)
  • if we needed drugs, she'd prescribe 'em!

In the end I walked away with $186.00 worth of pills that may or may not even work. A decision I made after talking with my midwives. Oh shit, I have to remember to take those today.

Savour the midwife.

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