Posts tagged pregnancy
It's HERE! Beautiful Brains, Bellies, and Babies

You've probably noticed a few changes around these parts lately. 

If you've been with me since the beginning of this blog and business, my passion for health, wellness, healing, and recovery is obvious. I've "been through it," overcoming that whole severe traumatic brain injury, coma, broken in at least 18 places thing. I know how it feels to be so physically weak you can't even walk at a normal pace, let alone climb stairs normally. I know what it's like to be in pain all the time, to not trust my thoughts or the words that come out of my mouth because I'm aware of how my brain confuses most things.... and I know what it takes to heal and overcome all of that.

When I launched My Whole Healthy in 2014, I was pregnant with my son. This blog, website, and business was borne out of my desire to help people heal, get healthy, and share my story in the hope that it might inspire someone who needed to hear it. At the same time, I also became a certified personal trainer, and dove headfirst into honing my skills to gain more knowledge and expertise in nutrition and wellness. 

Now, I am a pre and post-natal corrective exercise specialist, and I am SO excited to finally be launching my coaching services in an online format, as well as in person! I know good help is hard to find, ESPECIALLY when it comes to finding a personal trainer you click with, so it brings me so much joy to offer my coaching to the incredible souls I meet here in San Diego, and around the world. My Whole Healthy lives online, and I have connected with so many bright spirits in the online world. My husband being one, as well as many dear friends.

I know that very real connections can be made online, and I know that I can be of service there, too. With the quality of online video conferencing now, it's like we are sitting across the table from each other, and I am fully able to coach you on correct form and function by giving you easy-to-understand cues and tips.

CLICK HERE to visit my appointment scheduling page, and please feel free to share as much on social, and in person, as you like! I can't wait to help you reach your goals.

XOXO

Maggie

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How I Almost Had Our Baby in the Car and Why That Matters For You

A few weeks ago, we joyfully welcomed our little boy into the world. The entire car ride to the hospital though, my body was pushing even though I didn't want to (not yet!) - anyone who's had a baby knows the feeling of your body just taking over! It was all I could do to just breathe and beg my little one to slow down, praying he could sense it wasn't time yet. I actually almost could have had the baby at home before getting into the car so we didn't really know what would happen as we tried to make it safely to the hospital!

So why the hell did I wait so long to go to the hospital, right? Lots of reasons, but mainly, I hadn't felt the need to go. The hypnobirthing class my husband and I took as part of our birth preparations gave me such amazing tools, knowledge and confidence in my body, that I was in an unshakeable birthing zone. I had no concept, or fear, of how far or fast I was progressing. It was beautiful and amazing and I wish I'd had these tools for every other time I went through an intense hospital experience - even the ones unrelated to birth - it was that powerful.

Hypnobirthing might sound a little wacky, or "woo" but I found it to be grounded in evidence with some meditation (also grounded in science now) mixed in. The course I took was taught by the amazing doulas at Cap Wellness Center but was created by the Hypnobirthing Institute and according to their website, "The HypnoBirthing program is built around an educational process that includes special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition and positive body toning. Most importantly it fosters an air of mutual respect for the birthing family, as well as the health-care provider in a traditional health-care system or an alternative setting."

I learned so much through hypnobirthing to ease pain, relax, eliminate ALL my fears about birth, build confidence in my body's capabilities and build an amazing team to help me have the exact experience I wanted, that I want everyone to experience it, whether or not you're having a baby! If I had known the hypnobirthing tools before many of my medical experiences and surgeries, I know my stress and pain would have been greatly reduced and I would have felt so much better before, during and after my time in the hospital. So let me tell you about my birth because it can help you.

Labor started for me just after I woke up on a Friday morning. My husband woke up for work and decided to stay home with me because we had a feeling about this particular day being "The Day" and after he crawled back into bed and told me he was staying home, I started feeling some deep, fairly intense low back aches. 

I told my husband, "something's different" and we started trying to time my surges but they seemed to be about 10 minutes apart and of varying intensity and so I thought, "there's no way this is real labor. I should have contractions like an hour apart, and then every 20 minutes, or something. This must be more Braxton Hicks practice labor. It feels different but I'll just wait and see."  I did text my doula, Britney Murillo, though, and let her know what was up. Her response text was,  "Oooohhhh interesting!" Haha. Clearly neither of us were concerned.

So my husband made me breakfast and we decided to swing by the plant nursery to get a new plant for our front step. Our ficus tree had died and I did not want to have a dead plant on the front step when we brought a new baby home. It felt like very bad Feng Shui to me and not how I wanted to welcome our new baby. So off we went and I realized these surges I was feeling had to be the real thing. They made me have to stop and and breathe, and my Braxton Hicks contractions never really had that effect on me. We got home and continued trying to time my surges but they seemed to stay at that 10-minutes-apart frequency for a long time and I was managing fine, just breathing through each one. I knew I was in labor now but I just wasn't worried. I was confident in my body's ability to birth a baby, despite my plethora of previous injuries (including a broken hip and pelvis). My Hypnobirthing course and all the classes I took at Cap Wellness Center had instilled in me the knowledge that I could do this. 

Hypnobirthing had allowed me to release all of my fears (I had a few 'sticky' ones that I couldn't shake on my own) and had instilled in me the knowledge that as women, we are designed to do this and I could have this baby with ease. It would be perfect and beautiful and I could handle whatever turn my and my baby's birth might take. It also educated me better than I could have hoped for about what to expect, what all the different birth scenarios might entail, which drugs were used for different purposes, what my rights were once I was in the hospital, what to expect in different situations, which interventions and exams I could safely refuse , etc. And no matter how the birth unfolded, even if there were special circumstances (complications), we could still have a beautiful birth with our Hypnobirthing tools in hand.

Part of what we learned was that laboring at home for as long as possible was usually the best option because it was the place most of us feel the most relaxed. It would allow things to progress more easily because reduced tension meant less pain and an easier trip for the baby. So that's what we did.

I had lunch, chatted with my husband, put on some music and sang to the baby and danced through a few surges. Then went to my knees with my arms and chest up on the couch as the surges intensified. But still, I wasn't scared and I couldn't think beyond each moment. My husband did think about it but couldn't really tell where I was in my laboring process or what to tell my doula even though she texted and asked him how things were going. It being our first baby, we were kind of flying blind and perhaps a little over confident because I was handling the process so well.

It was late in the afternoon when I decided to have a bath to relax and help ease my labor discomfort, but when I got out, I was suddenly drenched in sweat and complaining of feeling a bit nauseated. Those symptoms rang a bell to my husband and I that things were progressing but we were still thinking, "I dunno..." I was still handling every surge and while I was a lot more vocal at this point, groaning and using my voice in loud, low tones to help me through each surge, things definitely felt a lot more intense and I remember wishing I could get a break because the surges just seemed to keep coming and the intensity was tiring.

Luckily my doula texted me to ask how things were going and that triggered me to ask her to finally come be with me. I knew having her with me would help at this point, and I told my birth photographer, Daniella DeVarney,  to come over too. I still wasn't thinking it was time to go to the hospital though, and I figured we'd hang out at home for a while longer. We hadn't even informed my obstetrician that I was in labor! (Sorry Dr. Cap)

I guess now I can look back and see that I had reached the desired state of self-hypnosis that hypnobirthing teaches. This isn't like the stage version of hypnosis that we typically think of (there was no clucking like a chicken) but rather a state of deep relaxation and calm, where nothing can rattle you. All hypnosis, even the stage kind, is actually self-hypnosis and we cannot get to that state of mind without being willing participants.  So my training had taught me how to relax quickly and stay there, release all my fears, and become more and more connected to my body and my baby.

Through my labor that day, I had spoken some of my positive affirmations aloud , for myself and for baby, and I used my breathing techniques to help ease my discomfort but while my surges were intense and uncomfortable, I was still totally relaxed. This state of mind and being was so beneficial, I know I can use variations of it for every intense, uncomfortable experience I might experience in the future. 

Birth is unique because you know it's temporary and there is the most incredible reward waiting for you when it's over (your baby!!!), but using a lot of the hypnobirthing tools could have made my surgeries, physical therapy and even uncomfortable conversations much easier and less stressful.

Once Britney arrived, she helped me get comfortable by giving me counter-pressure on my low back and helping me breathe "up" through my surges more effectively than I was doing on my own - a way of breathing that helps with pushing because it works with what my uterus was doing. Then, after a short time, she helped me get comfortable in a supported side-lying position on the floor for a few more contractions but I suddenly felt the need to get up and I grabbed my husband and leaned heavily on him, swaying side to side a bit. Then my water broke.

It wasn't the dramatic flood TV and movies like to portray, but it was pretty obvious what I was feeling in my underwear. Still, Britney suggested we go to the bathroom to check and it was confirmed. Then I had a big, very intense surge in the bathroom and she suggested I reach down and see if I could feel anything. 

I felt something round and soft. "I think I feel a head!!!!" I cried. 

We all thought I was going to deliver right then and there and someone fetched a sheet and a towel while my husband jumped on the phone to call for paramedics. Britney said to him, "You realize you are delivering this baby...!" but as I walked out of the bathroom, my water broke fully in a much more TV-worthy gush all over the floor. What I had been touching was actually the amniotic sac getting pushed out by the descending baby and now I couldn't feel anything in my birth canal. No head. A few more surges gripped me and I realized I was now feeling my body PUSH. No more deep, intense aching that I had to just breathe through...my body was  bringing my baby to me!

But he wasn't here yet. We still had some time. 

I walked as quickly as I could to the car, pausing as two big pushing surges gripped me on the way, then climbed into the backseat on my hands and knees. It was about a half hour drive to the hospital from our house, and of course my husband hit every red light on the way, but he never let me know it (my head was down, pressed against a pillow and the car door) and he totally kept his cool (which allowed me to keep mine) while calling Dr. Cap and the hospital to tell them we were on our way. 

The whole car ride, I talked to my baby and told him what was happening but also asked him (begged him?) to slow down and repeated, "not yet not yet not yet. It's not safe yet." Every bump in the road triggered a big push but we made it to the hospital safely and I walked into the labor wing after having a giant surge in the lobby of the hospital! I was offered a wheelchair but there was no way I could sit at this point.

Once in the delivery room, Britney informed the nurse that I had been bearing down for about an hour and she nonchalantly said, "ok, we'll check" but didn't seem to really believe I was about to have my baby. Then I had a big surge standing next to the bed. That got her attention! I was helped onto the bed and another nurse, Sarah, checked my dilation, announcing, "ok, there's a head!!!"

Now the nurses scurried to get a monitor on my belly and told me I could push now because I was fully dilated. They also asked me if I wanted a hep-lock (the start for an IV without being hooked up to anything) despite being so close to giving birth. This had actually been my plan if  I had labored in the hospital for a while, but my wonderful doula now whispered in my ear that I could refuse if I wanted to. This baby was coming, it really didn't matter now. So while I had reflexively said yes, now I turned around and said, "wait, yeah no! I don't need to be poked with needles right now." Thank you for the reminder, Britney! The hospital nurses were fine with my choice (knowing your rights and what is or isn't medically necessary is crucial to having the birth/and or hospital experience you want!) and I got back to focusing on having my baby.

Then Dr. Cap came running in, literally out of breath (according to my husband). But he was all smiles, saying "Hi guys! Ok, let's have a baby!" And he sat down, immediately assessing the situation and giving me the guidance I needed to push effectively and get that baby out. He was with me for about 5 pushes until the head was out, then he helped clear the baby's shoulder and then my husband was able to put his hands out and catch our baby as he entered the world, eyes wide open. Even though he wasn't there long, having Dr. Cap as my OB throughout my pregnancy allowed me to completely trust him so when it came time to give birth, his presence helped me relax rather than tense up. Choosing him as my care provider for my pregnancy was the best decision I made and it's through his wellness center in Encinitas, California that I had access to prenatal yoga, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage and all the AMAZING classes we took to be educated and prepared for our birth. It really shows how important choosing the right care provider (for anything!) is.

From left: Dr. Cap, my husband, me and baby, Britney - my doula.

From left: Dr. Cap, my husband, me and baby, Britney - my doula.

Even though I had not planned on laboring at home for so long and having a tense race to get to the hospital, in the end I had exactly the birth I wanted. One of my fears/stresses had been possible medical interventions (even though I was prepared to make even a C-Section birth, a beautiful birth) and just being back in a hospital with all the memories of my past experience from my accident. But by being happy at home for so long, there wasn't enough time for the hospital staff to realistically think about doing medical stuff to me once we arrived, and I didn't have time or the mental space for my past hospital memories to intrude or stress me out! I just showed up and had my baby, and after he was born, it was all about him so none of my past injury-related stuff could ruin it. It also allowed me to have a new hospital experience that was completely positive and pushes aside all my painful memories of being broken.

The whole birth experience and my classes and education leading up to it showed me the power of an educated, empowered preparation for birth or any other "health" event or procedure. Birth is NOT a medical event (although it gets turned into one all too often), but the stress, tension and often pain can be removed from so many physical experiences by using the tools I learned in Hypnobirthing, and through getting educated about you're going to experience! Knowledge IS power (and freedom, and relaxation, and preparation) so I hope you can see from my experience that taking the time to learn everything you can about what you're going through and what to expect, what your rights are in a medical setting, and by taking the time to assemble a healthcare team that will help you through it the way YOU want it to unfold can work wonders for you and the entire experience you have. There is so much about this I can share about how it applies to helping everyone, so keep your eyes peeled for future posts and maybe videos with the amazing doulas who taught me about this!

What about you? Have you had a scary medical experience that could have been helped by having more education or less stress and the tools to navigate it? Or have you used some of the same tools and had them help you through a tough experience? Let me know in the comments below!


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So Many Gifts!

So this has been an amazing week and I have so much to share with you!

My itty bitty baby bump! I'm 6'1" tall and it's still early yet ;)

My itty bitty baby bump! I'm 6'1" tall and it's still early yet ;)

First off, I would like to officially, publicly, announce that I am PREGNANT!!! and my husband and I are over the moon with happiness! Honestly, after my accident I was scared that I might not be able to have children and even after I was told I still could, I feared there was some injury or damage that had gone unnoticed that would still cause problems. But thankfully, joyfully, we got pregnant pretty easily once we started trying!

I feel so blessed and grateful, and appreciative of the amazing healing my body has accomplished! Yes, I still have scars - physical and emotional - but my body is healthily and happily carrying a little person now! I am in awe.

Learning to walk again in the hospital after  the accident . Head shaved, arm still in a cast with pins in my wrist, and I remember my left leg (that had been broken in 5 places) felt heavy and numb, like dead wood. I was 23 years old at the time.

Learning to walk again in the hospital after the accident. Head shaved, arm still in a cast with pins in my wrist, and I remember my left leg (that had been broken in 5 places) felt heavy and numb, like dead wood. I was 23 years old at the time.

 


Secondly, if you follow me on social media you probably saw that I wrote my exam on Thursday to earn my personal trainer certification with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and passed with flying colors! I am so excited to have the qualifications necessary to work with and help people (you?!) one-on-one! I plan to start training later in the New Year and when I open the doors to accept new clients, I will let you know in my newsletter so make sure you sign up (top right of this page!) to make sure you're in the know! 

And now, with Christmas right around the corner, I wanted to give you some gift ideas with products and companies that I have, use and LOVE! Some of the links are affiliate links, so I would get a teeny commission if you use the link to buy something, but all the items are meant to help you! Anything I would make goes to helping me support this site but I hope you love and enjoy these things as much as i do! 

The next three companies make the most comfortable, stylish and functional organic clothing I've found yet! I don't like wearing synthetics made from petroleum (nylon, polyester, etc.) next to my skin when I work out and sweat, and the same goes for non-organic cotton which is sprayed with nasty pesticides, because I know there are cleaner, healthier options. I found these companies and since wearing their clothing regularly for months, I love them! They seem to have some killer pre-Christmas sales happening too, so check them out!

PACT apparel  - This company makes the MOST comfortable undies I have ever owned (ladies, no panty lines!) and everything they make is ORGANIC and Fair Trade, and they hold a ton of other awesome certifications!

Plus You can feel good when you buy their products! So if you need stocking stuffers, head over to their website to pick up CUTE socks, COMFY undies and the softest, most comfortable leggings and tees (plus camisoles, hoodies, tights and long johns!) Besides, who wants to wear pesticide-soaked cotton next to your most precious parts?! Every pattern they release is a limited edition so grab it while you can, and if your size is sold out, unfortunately it's gone. But every spring and fall brings new looks!

YOGIIZA - Organic yoga wear. This company is a recent discovery but I have two of their yoga/sports bras and three tank tops and I love them all! I know more Yogiiza apparel is in my future. It's is so soft and stretchy and comfy, yet supportive. Really well made and I love how it looks on! 

Here, I am working out (side lunges with a shoulder raise!) wearing a chocolate and turquoise color Yogiiza tank, Yogiiza sports bra and Gramicci leggings.

Here, I am working out (side lunges with a shoulder raise!) wearing a chocolate and turquoise color Yogiiza tank, Yogiiza sports bra and Gramicci leggings.

Gramicci - I discovered this company earlier this year while searching high and low for organic workout wear. Their NPT Athletic organic cotton and hemp line was the first thing I tried when making the switch to organic workout wear. And I keep looking with excitement every time they come out with a new line or new pieces! The hemp is naturally antibacterial so you don't smell all gross and sweaty even after an intense workout and the cuts and seaming of the clothes make easy movement a breeze. One feature I love is the little pocket in the waistband of the leggings where i can stick small things like my rings when they start to chafe during a workout! They are also committed to greener manufacturing.

 

Now for other things that have improved my life, and I hope they do the same for you!

Want to decorate your Christmas cookies without using the typical artificial (petroleum) food dye that's linked to hyperactivity in children? India Tree makes natural food dyes from vegetable colorants, and colored sprinkles made with the same. Seems like a great stocking stuffer to me!


I mentioned this film in last week's post and it's one of my favorite documentaries now. Released over the summer, I saw it in the theater and found it shocking, infuriating but also really inspirational because it shows what can be done. Our "food system" is broken and our nation is sick but there is a way through. This would be an awesome gift for anyone who cares about their health and is ready to make a change, or just become more informed.


Food, Inc. is THE film that inspired my husband and I to completely change how we eat. It wasn't a drastic change so don't feel intimidated but armed with the information in this film, it was easy for us to make smarter, better choices. The film is extremely well done, engrossing and inspiring. Shocking, too, in parts. It would be a great gift for anyone! It's kind of amazing :)


 

I recently found a toothbrush with a bamboo handle and I love it! Have you ever thought about how much plastic goes into the landfills because of all the toothbrushes we throw away? I'm using a different brand than this (the brand I found in my local store wasn't available on Amazon) but it looks pretty much the same as these and the bamboo is a sustainable resource (it grows back, fast) that will decompose when you throw the toothbrush away. Seems like a great gift for anyone who cares about the environment, and their teeth!


This book. Oh my god, THIS BOOK. I can't even begin to tell you how incredible it is and why everyone needs to read it. This book finally made me understand meditation and its benefits, and if you're like me and you need to know WHY something works, this book has it. The author is a science journalist who writes extremely well and who has faced more in her life than most of us, yet is still able to help thousands with her writing. It's so good. Just buy it for everyone you know who needs a little healing in their life.

 

I read this book right after I got out of the rehab hospital and it gave me SO. MUCH. HOPE! For anyone who has suffered a brain injury and is lucid and focused enough to read it, or the family or friends of anyone with a brain injury, this book is incredible. It's full of case studies that show the remarkable healing power of our brains and despite the scientific content, it's EXTREMELY well written and hard to put down. Highly recommended!!! 

 

I love these spices! All organic, never sprayed with pesticides and no GMO ingredients. These spices are not certified gluten free but I've never reacted to them, and they have many spice and seasoning mixes that are gluten free. And the little glass bottles are so cute to look at and re-use!

I know many of you are reading from Canada and the Amazon links are to the U.S. site, but hopefully you can get them on Amazon.ca, or in a store near you!

You can also purchase photographic prints, cards and keepsakes for the art lover in your life from m.y. photography!

What are your stories of healing? Has your body ever amazed you with its ability to heal? Has healing been hard and left you wondering how you'll ever feel like yourself again? I'd love to hear from you in the comments! 
And I hope this helps you with your last minute Christmas shopping! If you have any gift ideas of your own you want to share, leave them in the comments below! And what's on your wish list? I hope Santa brings you exactly what you're hoping for!

xo Maggie


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