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Toilet Talk

Occupational TherapistToilet Talks, Notes, Tips and Tricks from an Occupational Therapist in a toilet training seminar. I hope that you find help in all of this, I took the seminar because I have been struggling to toilet train my almost 4 year old for closing in on 2 years, and my daughter is starting to approach the age to attempt to toilet train, so when the opportunity came up to attend this I jumped at it, and this is a combination of their notes, my notes and fun graphics that took me forever to make…. So please enjoy.

 

The Goals for the seminar were simple, to learn about readiness and pre-toileting skills, establishing a toileting routine, learning how to use visuals to assist with toileting, how to look at reward versus punishments, and how to deal with accidents and other issues. It is important that you start toilet training when you AND the child are ready. If started too early, toilet training can become a power struggle, and that power struggle will effect just how long the toilet training will take and how successful you will be in the long run. Some kids might be under

Four Stages Of Toilet Learningreactive to being wet or dirty while others may be over reactive to those same stimulus.

There are Four main stages of Toilet Learning, there is stage one, Toilet Play. This step can include pretending to use the toilet on their potty, mostly with their clothes on, they become very curious as to what others are doing in the bathroom and they show more interest in the toilet itself, maybe not for using but wanting to learn how that it works. Stage two is Toilet Practice, and this step shows the child wanting to practice certain skills that are needed in wanting to use the toilet. Like practicing flushing the toilet, pulling their pants up and down, getting on and off their potty or the big toilet, squatting down then standing back up again, practicing hand washing and asks for your to check if their diaper is wet or dry, or clean or dirty as they are becoming more aware of what is going on. Stage Three they are showing more interest in wearing “real” underwear and feels the need to urinate by showing gestures (also known as the peepee dance), is verbal and uses facial expressions. They are beginning to hold urine in longer, like when they are playing and really dont want to stop to go pee or feel wet while playing, as they also start to feel the need to be clean more than sitting in their mess longer than necessary. They now have words for using the toilet and tells you when they have to go. They can pull their pants up and down a little more freely, and stand and sits on the toilet or their potty with little to no help. They are also showing signs of pushing and concentrating when they are ready to poop, they are also letting you know more and more when they have ‘accidents’ or need their pull up changed. Stage Four is the final stage, as they are now doing independent toileting.

Tips and Tricks for

There are a few tips and tricks out there for Potty Training, many are ones that your parents used on you and your siblings, then there are the ones your grandparents tell you about, you also can look online for many more, these ones are from the occupational therapist as well as a few from the other moms that attended the seminar with me that have older children that they were able to toilet train with no help as they didn’t have the same delays or different issues that our children have now.

So the first thing you can do is establish a toilet language with your child, you can use the actual terms like Urine or Bowel movement or the old stand by peepee and poopoo. Then there also the terms that you want to use for their parts, we are still working on stage one in our house for toilet training so when I am changing my son he is in charge of wiping his ‘macker’ and that is what he calls his penis, and that works for us as well as he calls his bottom his “smelly butt”…. Let’s not start that story. You can also model the stages of going to the bathroom for your child, “Oh I feel like I need to pee, lets got the potty.” They can follow you into the bathroom and you can narrate the steps you are taking. “I am pulling down my pants and big kid underwear. Now I am sitting on the potty, and going pee.” Things along those lines, you can also have a steps on a “Rip Chart” or a check mark sheet your child can check off as you complete the steps now and later when they are completing the steps.

Rip Chart

Rip Chart, each tab is Velcro and can be ripped off as each step is completed

Another step you can try is changing their soiled pull ups in the bathroom so they can start to associate the bathroom with getting clean, you can even start putting the poop from the diaper in the toilet and have them flush it down. Also, dress your child in easy to manage clothing so that they can start practicing pulling their pants up and down. My son when he is in his sweats will do it while he watching TV, not even really for the need to go to that bathroom, just because he wants to, his sister who is only 1 and half is already trying to mimic him, he has cognitive delays while my daughter is right on par with her age, so I will be potty training them at the same time.

Check Chart

Check off each step as they are done.

Establishing some sort of toileting routine will also help you in the long run, you can have your child sit on the toilet or their potty at regular intervals for 1 to 3 minutes, like every 30 minutes or 60 minutes regularly or 20 to 30 minutes after eating and drinking.  Also have your child participate in as many tasks as possible when they are in the bathroom, you can also use a tracking system to determine if your child is already on a routine. If your child has a fairly regular schedule, be consistent in taking them to the bathroom during the times that your child is mostly likely to go. Place your child on the toilet or potty approximately 5 to 10 minutes before their predicted time to go. Try and schedule toilet trails less than 90 minutes apart, timers may assist with keeping everyone on track. A wind up egg timer that you can show your child how to set may help them feel like they are in control of this whole situation.

If your child does not have a regular schedule, your child’s potty habits may be linked to eating, sleeping or physical activity, determine the amount of time between these activities and elimination, you might notice a pattern, also you might want to increase the amount of liquid intake 10 to 20 minutes before a trial to increase success.

Praise your child for appropriate toileting

toilet TRAINING tipsto help motivate your child, praise EVERY step that they do successfully, regardless of how much assistance you provided. Verbal praise should be used whether or not you use a tangible reward, like small preferred food or sticker. Accidents happen, keep calm, avoid getting upset when an accident happens, but help your child clean up. Avoid punishing your child for accidents, accidents can help your child learn what it feels like to be wet and how their body works. Issues that arise, child is afraid of the toilet, your child seems to feel unstable on the toilet, your child wont sit still long enough to go and your child responds poorly to wearing underwear.

Diapers vs. Pull-Ups vs. Big Kid Underwear

-Diapers make potty training less messy, but they dont allow your child to get that necessary feeling of being wet or dirty.

-Pull-Ups also pull away moisture fairly quickly as well

-Underwear provides your child with feeling of wetness which is necessary for learning how to stay dry.

-Let your child pick out ‘real’ underwear. They may have a favorite character like Barbie, Dora, Spider-man, or anything along those lines.

Here are the top ten do’s and dont’s for potty and toilet training. I also have a few other little tips that were shared at the seminar:

  • Try and put the big kid underwear under a pull up, that way they can get some of the sensation of being wet and dirty while you have less of a mess to clean up.
  • Teach girls to wipe from front to back, because we know that the bacteria transferred from back to front can cause infections and problems in the long run.
  • Hand washing should always be included at the end of every child’s bathroom routine
  • When accidents occurs, never leave a child in wet or dirty clothing change the child’s clothing as quickly as possible, and have your child assist you where appropriate.

Here are a few lists of books for parents and children that you can also check out:

List Of Toilet Training Books

I hope this was informative and helped you figure out how you can and will start Toilet Training your little one. Leave me a comment if you have any other tips and trick that you used that were helpful that I didn’t include, or please let me know if you have used some of the ones I did include and they did work for you.

Thanks for Reading

-Ashton <3

Self-Care Escape Moments, The Mommy Book Club
As a Mother its hard to find that moment or two to yourself, but you should , make time even if its just an hour a day, and that is why I started the Online Mommy Book Club, every 2 months a new book, a online chat as well as free downloadable chapter summary printable's, so you always remember all the points you wanted to talk about when it comes to online chat at the end of the 2 months! Please, sign up and take a break. <3
Take A Break and Enjoy

A Tired Moms Guide To Self Care

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I hope 2018 has started off great for everyone!

The one thing I am going to work on for me this year, aside from the eternal struggle of Potty training, is taking care of myself. I find that is the one thing us moms have a hard time with, self care. We need to feel the best version of yourself in order to keep your sanity and be the best mom and significant other we can be! I have made a small list of ways we can treat ourselves, without rushing it at night, and incorporate the small children that are around us 24/7, that we love, but sometimes wish would play safely in another room. SO! Here we are:

The Tired Mom's Guide to Self-Care

  1. Lavender Air Fresheners
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    I have these in almost every room, except the bathroom because that has its own stronger smelling on. They are a light pleasant smell , and  is known as a calming and relaxing herb and has frequently been used for insomnia, anxiety, depression, and natural stress relief. One recent study discovered that  the scent of lavender increases the time you spend in deep (slow wave) sleep, though the effects were stronger for women than for men. So, surrounding yourself with that scent will help you throughout the day…. In theory anyways, I still live in a toddler type zoo, but it smells nice
  2. Monster Time
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    I have two or three different masks that I use throughout the month, well I should say that I try and use throughout the month. But when you have two toddlers ripping and running around all day, a house to clean, food to cook, and dishes to do makes life a bit busy. Not to mention school and school related activities, so what can we do, to make sure we take care of our skin and manage children who want to play? Throw on a mask and play monster from the lagoon, or sand pit, or in my case zombie! My son loves it, he passes me one of light sabers and I am an alien Jedi and he is going to fight me, and my daughter just sits and laughs, some times joins in and wants to be chased by the tickle monster. I sometimes do it while the kids are in the bath tub, and I am the sea creature off to get them with shampoo and soap.
  3. Cup Of Tea
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    Sometimes all you need is to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea, to sit back and relax and not worry about the mountain of laundry for 20 minutes, or the dishes, or the trash in the bin that you are sure is going to attract wildlife at some point. So, make a nice cup of caffeine free tea, cool of a cup or two (depending on the brood you have) and show them how to enjoy a quiet cup of tea just like mommy, or have a tea party with real tea, its a nice memory and also can be semi relaxing for you.
  4. Book Time
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    I have always tried to read with my kids, their books, my books heck even a magazine or seven in a waiting room someplace. So, to make sure I can have some time to read a book, or my kids need to wind down from something I grab a book and read it. It can be kid friendly or, not so kid friendly depending on how brave you are and how much you know your child will repeat. For my 3 year old I find it relaxing having him on my lap for some quiet and bust out the Harry Potter chapter books and he will sit there and listen, enjoy and even point out certain words or letters that he knows. With my daughter I read what I am reading and he loves it, I think she likes to just hear me talk to her and try and talk like a man, as I am reading Outlander currently and she enjoys sitting with me so I can find some time to enjoy my book and relax and include her in that as well.
  5. DIY Exfoliate Scrubs
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    My son likes to help me with anything and everything in the kitchen, and when i found a few recipes for Do It Yourself face scrubs that we easy to do, non toxic and kid safe I figured why not get him to help me. He loved to mix things with the spoon and help me dish it out into containers. He even uses a special coffee Vanilla one ( 3 Table Spoons Coffee Grounds, 1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and as much Coconut oil to make it into a paste) he likes washing his hands and his belly in the tub with it. So why not make a special spa treatment you can share with your little ones?
  6. Music Playlist
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    We all, as parents, are always listening to what our kids want, because it makes them happy. They saying is ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’, but us moms know the truth. If the kids are happy, we are happy and husbands don’t get snapped at for leaving the toilet seat up…. Again. So, what works for me, is i have a Spotify playlist that has a mixture of my kids song that I can stand as well as some of my favorite songs, and we sing and dance and sometimes I will just sit with them and let them look at my phone, or read a book with them while the music, instead of a TV, is on in the background. Our Favorite Right Now Is “The Unicorn” By The Irish Rovers, and “The Narwhal” Also By Them.

    Well, these are some tips that I have been using to make myself sane during the day, and honestly I feel happier and a better person for my kids, sharing certain things with them, and they are happy because they are still the center of my world and enjoying things.

    Please let me know if you have any relaxing tips that you use with your kids as well. Thanks so much for reading!

    -Ashton <3

Perfect…. Music

220px-Ed_Sheeran_&_Andrea_Bocelli_-__Perfect_Symphony_

This song… “Perfect” was my favorite song from this album to begin with. It reminds me of small intimate moments my husband and I had on our wedding day, small things that I haven’t thought of in years, things that most people forget over time. Little things he did, he said, that were very much out of his character that I wont gush about on here, because he does have family and friends that read this…

Andrea Bocelli, his music has been part of my life since I was little. I remember laying in bed, listening to my mom get her paints ready and then just before she would start painting, she would put on Him, or someone similar, or some beautiful classical music that would lull my brother and I to sleep. I hadn’t thought of those days in so long and how I feel they impacted my love and appreciation of music. It made me think about the music I play for my kids, and will it shape them the way my parents music shaped me? Will they have a set taste in music like their father or be fluid like me?

I shared this song with my grandmother, who I remember had more than a few Andrea Bocelli CDs growing up. And I hope this is a special song that we can share and create some sort of memory with. Music plays a huge part of my, because I see it and feel it as a universal language, its something we all have in common. Everyone has a song that speaks to them on some level, we never all share the same tastes, but that’s OK, its OK to be different, because then you have something to share, something to put out there..

Music doesn’t have to playing or even created at that point in time to bring up a memory, or a feeling. Music conveys so much, whether its the instrumental arrangement itself, or the lyrics speak to you on some level. Let me explain an example…

A few years back, a family friend passed away, and I was so sad about it, cried, it hurt. Then we all went on the hunt for pictures of this person, because we wanted to create a slideshow of our life and memories of him. and once the slide show was done we played it through and smiled and laughed at some of them. But something was missing, my mom or dad (not 100% sure which one…) heard a song and it made her think about that friend and how she was feeling at that point in time, of their passing. She put the song over the slideshow and instant tears! For all of us, the same pictures we just looked at before and were laughing with, now had us in tears, all because of a song! Music made the difference. It pulls emotion out, and it, to me, helps heal. I can listen to that song and smile now, thinking about this person, it helps.

Music to me is its own religion, a life force…. I heard a quote many years back and it said “Music is life…. That is why every heart has a beat.” This is something I will remember forever and live by.

I want music like this to continue for years to come…. I want my kids to share their music combined with the music that my parents listened to, with my parents and myself! I want music that combines childhood with adulthood to continue!

A song came out a long time ago, 2004, it was around the time someone I knew in school had committed suicide, it was a strange time for me because I had so many questions about it, and i was sad because this wasn’t a close friend, but I knew him, he was in a few of my classes, he and I had mutual friends. So when our teachers came in homeroom telling us what had happened, I was numb and confused. A few weeks later I hear this song “How Do You Get That Lonely?” By Blaine Larsen, and it asked the questions I was wondering, no answers but it was there, and it helped… I don’t know how but it did….. After a while i started looking up this artist and he was set to release an album soon… And in 2005 I got it, and on that album was a song that brought my music into my dads world.

My dad has always been the person I went to with music and he would listen to it, but in the end he would call it ‘long haired hippy shit”, so I was determined to find something he would listen to and love it, I was so very sure I found it!! “If Merle Would Sing My Songs”, my dad is a HUGE Merle Haggard fan, I grew up listening to his music when every my dad was home from work, and here was a song about this young kid going to Nashville to write songs in hopes that Merle Haggard would sing them…. and the last 3 lines were sang by Merle Haggard himself….

So Dad came home from work, there I was proud as a peacock, busted out the diskman and the head phones, “Dad I have a song I need you to listen to.” He played it off that he wasn’t even going to try and like it…. He put the head phones one, I won points that it was country song, more points when he heard the chorus about wanting Merle to sing his songs…. Then it got to the last part of the song, the last two lines, I watched my dad so intently waiting for that part, and when it hit I knew it, he got this look on his face and smiled… “That’s Merle.” He said, he listened to the song one more time…. Since then it has become one of my dads favorite songs my brother sings. I can play it every now and again and he will smile.

I won, music connecting us again, like it always does and i feel it always will.

I know I went through all kinds of twists and turns, and I hope you get what I am saying here….

‘Music Is Life…. That’s Why Every Heart Has A Beat.”

-Ashton <3

Mommy Book Club 2018

Mommy Book Club Will Start Up Again On January 1st, 2018 and The Book We will be reading is Book One in the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon.

Back Cover Synopsis:

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second Honeymoon — when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach – an ‘outlander’ – in a Scotland torn by war and raiding boarder clans in the year of Our Lord… 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life… and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scot warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire… and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.



I am giving everyone a heads up on this because it is a longer book and some of us… Mainly me… Will need longer than 30 days to read it. 

I hope you all join us in January on my Facebook Page Ashton Taylor – Our Preemie Family for a Facebook live or a discussion board on it. It all depends on how my kids do at bed time that night, lol. 

Thanks for your Time,

Ashton <3 

My Struggle With PTSD

There has been many articles recently about mental health for parents and family members that have experienced NICU life, and all the bumps, drop, loop de loops that roller coaster has in store for everyone incolved. I would like to share my battle with PTSD post NICU, 3 and half years later.

My son was born 16 weeks early, and I was a worrier before this, but this experience has amplified my paranoia about anything and everything that was not in my control. My little Spud was born at 24 weeks and 2 days gestation, 11 inches 1 pound 12 oz, and loud. He annouced his presence with a meek but powerful squeak, almost like a newborn kitten, I learned later that it was rare for little ones that early to have a powerful entrance, so much so that the nurses held him unsure of what to do for a moment or two. 

Now, this part is mainly to explain where I came from to have you understand where I am now. We were in the NICU for 157 days total and 33 days in a childrens hospital, with 2 attempts at coming home before the third one stuck. We were sent home the first time just before his due date, and his Respiratory therapist came tonthe house the following morning and as she hooked him up to the pulse ox monitor he stopped breathing, turned grey and she preformed CPR on him while i was on the phone with 911 amd rounded up cats. She got him breathing and crying and back to the NICU we went, they kept us for 4 days, ran tests and came up with nothing, so they wrote it off as a one off situation and sent us home. As I drove him home I make sure he was mad and would cry the whole 15 minute drive home. You might see that as cruel, I saw that as a way to keep calm. That was the beginning of my spiral down, we got home. My husband and I gave our son his first bath at home, I swaddled him up, put a bum on him and fed him. I handed him to my husband to burp while I went to clean the bottles. Two minutes later my husband is yelling, I run and spring into action, I start CPR, got my husband to wrangle cats and call 911. I got him to burp, fart and whine but no gasp or full cry. The paramedics, who were the same group that were at our house 4 days prior, lifted me off my child and into the hall to start CPR with machines and oxygen masks. 

We were admitted for 34 days in the NICU and 33 in the children’s Hospital after this incident. I refused social work while in the NICU and hospital with my son. I did not want to focus on me, I wanted my son to come home and stay home and stay alive this time. I spent hours writing everything down, filling my sons medical binder with everything and anything. He was my focus 110%.

The third time he came home on oxygen, on a tank I had to bring around with me, so I became a hermit and only left if I had a helper, or to the doctors office alone. He was home before Christmas, and off oxygen by March, my husbands birthday, and I went to a happy routine with him until June. I had to put my son in daycare for 2 hours a day while I worked nights, and my husband worked days. 

Thats when my husband and family started noticing a slight problem, at work I would be overcome with a sence of panic and call my husband repeatedly until he would answer anc check on Spud, make sure he was breathing, make him put the phone up to his mouth so I could hear it. It wasn’t just once and a while, it was 1 to 3 times a night 5 nights in a row. My family doctor put my ativan while at work, but to use as needed, he also put me in touch with a family councillor who was the first person to tell me I may have NICU PTSD and put me in touch with a psychologist. 

I saw her once a week, we worked on talking and medications therapies that helped calm me down. This was from July till October, I was down to once a month visits. The end of October I found out we were pregnant with baby number 2. And I had to stop my medications, and up my therapy visits to try and remain normal. But in January, I lost my job and my coverage for therapy and my husbands coverage couldn’t cover it anymore. I panicked for most of my pregnancy, I had a full meltdown at 22 weeks and again at 24 weeks. I had it in my brain that something was going to go worng. I didn’t enjoy my pregnancy with my daughter, I didn’t feel the joy of finding out it was a girl, I didn’t feel happy shopping for clothes because it felt like something was going to go wrong. But nothing did, Princess Tally came into the world 6 days overdue at 8 lbs 14oz 22 inches long via c section because she had a big head like her dad. 

I didn’t enjoy my 4 day hospital stay, I refused to put her down, I made nurses watch her while I went to the bathroom if family wasn’t there. They made me meet with a social worker to help me get back on medications, which ment I could not breast feed. I had to do it, I had to make this sacrifice for my daughter, so I would have all my mental faculties for her, Spud and my husband. 

I manage my PTSD with medications to this day, and I still have good days and bad days where I pop an Ativan to get through the day, I struggle daily with it, there are nights I wake up 4 to 6 times a night and check both kids, I do not work. I stay at home and try to find some normalcy for my family, for me, I start back to counseling in 3 weeks. Its a battle, but I am willing to fight this, because I have something worth fighting for. 

– Ashton <3

Journey To Heal Diastasis Recti: Part Two

Guest Post By: Lindsay Sutherland

1

Before I say anything more about this I want you to know that your post baby body is beautiful.  It tells a story of the miracle of new life.  And I’d like you to have a look at this (even if you have seen this before, it’s good to look at it again because sometimes we forget that there is more to physical beauty than what we see on TV and in magazines):  http://hobbsphotography.ca/a-mothers-beauty-2017/

The reason I am on a journey to heal my diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction has more to do with function.  I obviously don’t want to pee my pants every time I sneeze or jump and also, I have a not-so-great back (I have already had to have surgery on it) so I need my abs and core to be at their best to support my back.  Of course I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care what my tummy looked like.  But I think in my journey to heel my core, the look of my tummy will take care of itself (I’m not talking fitness model 6 pack or anything, just something that I will be confident with 😉 )

I think it is important to take a minute and think about how you view exercise.   I think many people may see it as punishment for maybe enjoying too much of your favorite snacks.  Or maybe some people see exercise as just something unpleasant they need to do because they know it is good for them and they just want to get it done and over with each time they hit the gym.

I think a much better way to think about exercise is to see it as a reward for your body for all the hard work it does for you (including the amazingness that is baby creation!).  Exercise because you LOVE  and cherish your body, not because you hate it and/or want to change the look of it.

So, on to my update on my journey!

I have finished week 2 of this program, so I’m half way through now and I do feel my core getting stronger.  The program is also teaching me to think about proper alignment during the day whether I’m sitting, standing, picking up my toddler or making supper.

Again, not much of a different in the way my tummy looks, but this is all I can show you for a visual lol.  PS, I’m not sucking in my tummy or flexing my abs or core or anything, I’m also not pushing out my tummy…this is just a neutral tummy posture (very technical term here lol!).  These pics were all taken before a workout.  I find that sometimes right after a workout your muscles are more toned looking than they usually are, and I wanted a try story of any improvement so I’m keeping things as realistic and consistent as I can.

Tips for today:

Be Patient:
If you are embarking on a journey to heal your diastasis recti and/or pelvic floor dysfunction, think of it more as a marathon and not a sprint.  It takes time to build any type of muscle in your body, your core and pelvic floor muscles are no different.  Think more in terms of months rather than days or weeks when it comes to seeing a difference.

Stick with it:
The important thing is to stick with it, even if it doesn’t feel like you are doing much compared to traditional exercise programs where you sweat a bunch 🙂

Don’t check your ab gap too frequently:
Going along with my first tip (to be patient), try to resist the urge to check your gap too frequently.  I try not to check mine more than once a month.  Sometimes I’ll go a few months before checking it.  Why?  Well, to check it you need to hold a crunch position and crunches can make your gap worse.  I checked my gap last month and I’ll check it again at the end of the program that I’m doing now so that I can report on any improvement that has been made as a result of the program.

Be careful with high heels:
Wearing high heels changes your alignment as you lean back to compensate for the angle that the heels put your body at.  This causes increased intra abdominal pressure which you don’t want while you are trying to close your ab split.  If you are like me and love to rock some 4 inch stilettos this is pretty terrible news I know!  Realistically I knew I couldn’t give up high heels completely, so what I do is try to limit how often I wear them and how high the heel is.   Luckily the trend right now is a low block heel which is great for so many reasons!  So I have been wearing 2 inch block heels, some flats and some shoes with a 1 or 1.5 inch heel most of the time.  Occasionally, for short periods of time I will rock a 3  or 3.5 inch stiletto 🙂

If you missed my first post about this, check it out here 🙂

Cheers my beautiful ladies!

**Thank you so much Lindsey For sharing more of your journey here. If anyone wants to talked to Lindsey or follow her journey as she continues to rock it out , here are her social media and blog site links again:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smallcitystyle/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/linzyannesu/pins/

Blog:  http://smallcitystyle.com/

Journey To Heal Diastasis Recti: Part One

Guest Post By: Lindsay Sutherland

1

I have decided that I want to share my journey to heal my Diastasis Recti because I think it might be able to help some of you who may have it or may have pelvic floor issues.  This isn’t going to be easy for me to share because it is uncomfortable to talk about so please be kind with any comments you want to share 🙂

My journey started about 9 months after I had my second baby and I started to notice that something didn’t seem right with my stomach.  For one, I looked like I was still about 6 months pregnant even though I had lost all of my baby weight and then some.  Secondly, something just didn’t feel right when I went to sit up for a laying down position and while jumping.  And third, I leaked a bit of pee when I sneezed.

I started to google what might be wrong and I came across a term called Diastasis Recti.  I found a few websites that described how to check and see if you have it.   There are tons of videos and websites out there that describe how to test for this and they are all pretty consistent in their instructions, here is one if you like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiqfFM3kNuk.  So, I tested myself and was horrified by what I found.  I was able to comfortably fit 3 fingers horizontally in the gap in the middle of my abs and the gap was so deep that I could put my fingers vertically into it up to the large knuckles on my fingers.

After my shock subsided, I started to think about what I could do about this.  Did I need surgery?  Was this normal?  Are there exercises I could do that would help?  Should I see a physiotherapist?

What I decided to do as my first step was see a physiotherapist about it.  And he did in fact make the diagnosis of Diastasis Recti and gave me some exercises to do and told me which ab exercises to avoid.  I tried my best to do the exercises as he described, but I just didn’t get it.  I didn’t understand how to activate the muscles that he was telling me I needed to strengthen.

So, I went back to the internet to try and educate myself more about this condition.  I found this visual image helpful:

https://www.todaysparent.com/baby/postpartum-care/how-to-spot-and-treat-a-diastasis-recti/

This image helped me to understand exactly what was going on with my stomach muscles and which muscles I needed to learn how to activate and strengthen.

When I started looking on the internet for how to heal my Diastasis Recti and improve the function of my abs and pelvic floor, I got all sorts of conflicting information.  Some sites said do pelvic tilts, some sites said don’t do pelvic tilts, some sites said that wrapping or splinting your abs works, some sites said that this could actually make things worse.  I was confused to say the least lol!

While looking around on the internet I found that there were 2 well known and very popular programs that you could buy that claim to help you heal your diastasis recti (I say “claim” only because I haven’t actually tried these programs so I can’t comment on whether or not they work).  One is the MuTu System https://mutusystem.com/12-week-3 which is a 12 week online program and costs $97 USD.  And the other one is the Tupler Technique https://diastasisrehab.com/online-support which is a 6 week online program and costs $225 USD plus you need the Diastasis Rehab Splint which is another $50 USD.

I didn’t want to pay that much money for these programs, so I looked for whatever I could find that was free.  I found a free program that was for pre and postnatal women, unfortunately it looks like this program isn’t offered anymore so I can’t share it with you.  I did this program for 4 weeks and I saw a difference both in how my tummy looked and the function of my core muscles.

2

Here is a picture of what my tummy looked like before I started trying to heal my ab split and pelvic floor issues vs after doing the 4 week program that I must mentioned:

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After the 4 weeks was done, I started looking for more free diastasis safe workouts online and found this:  http://purelytwins.com/2015/02/17/how-do-i-get-rid-of-my-diastasis-recti-my-tummy-update/

Scroll down and enter your information and you will receive 18 free workouts that are safe for people with diastasis recti.

I did these 18 workouts (a different one each day) for about a year.  And they are great full body workouts that allowed me to get my body in pretty good shape overall.

While I really like these workouts, and the gap between my abs has decreased and gotten shallower, I was still having issues with functionality.  Specifically, I was still leaking pee while jumping and sneezing sometimes.  So, I decided that I had to change something and went back to the internet to search for something that could help the functionality issues I was having.  Here is what I found:  https://health.nataliehodson.com/order-form This is a 4 week program, it is not free, but it is only $27 USD.  Well, it is actually $37 USD but when I bought it there was a promotion on which may still be available.  This was a price that I could live with, and after reading some of the other content on this website, I felt like this was a program that could really help me.

I am currently in the middle of week 2 of this program and so far, here is what I can say about it, my core was pretty sore for the first 2 days of the program even though it feels like the exercises aren’t accomplishing much.  You don’t sweat, and your muscles don’t get that burning feeling that you usually get when you do a traditional exercise.  So it really feels like you aren’t doing much.  These workouts are super boring lol!  They really are, but, I also think they are super important and deserve my full attention and effort.  So, that is what I am doing.  I am giving this my all, even though it doesn’t feel like much.

Yesterday, after about 1.5 weeks of doing these workouts, I sneezed (with a full bladder) and didn’t pee!!!!!  It felt amazing!!  So, I feel like I’m on the right track!!  I’m going to post some pictures of my progress, even though my goal is improved function and not how my core/tummy looks.  If there is an improvement in how my tummy looks it will be a bonus and since I can’t show you pictures of me not peeing myself lol, I’ll show you pictures of my tummy as I go through this program.

Here is me at the beginning of the Abs, Core and Pelvic Floor program (1.5 weeks ago) vs at the end of week 1:

Not seeing a huge change in how my tummy looks so far, but that is not what I’m after anyway.  I am however thrilled about not peeing when I sneezed yesterday!!  Now THAT is what I’m after!

Here are a few things you can change right now if you think you have diastasis recti:

  1. Don’t panic. Every woman that has given birth has had diastasis recti.  It is normal for your abs to move apart to accommodate your growing baby.  For many women, their abs return to normal within the first few months after giving birth and they have no issues with bladder leakage or back pain.  For some women (like myself), the ab gap does not close on its own and other issues like bladder leakage occur yay! Lol
  2. There are things you can do to narrow the gap and improve function without surgery and it’s never too late. It doesn’t matter if you are 12 months post-partum or 12 years.
  3. Don’t jack knife out of bed. Instead, roll to your side and push yourself up with the help of one arm.  The same goes for when you want to get into and out of a laying down position for exercises.
  4. Avoid crunches, bicycle kicks, planks or full pushups or anything that makes your tummy bulge out while you do it as this can make your gap worse.
  5. When you find success in closing your ab separation, use caution when returning to traditional ab exercises. You could be reversing the progress you have made.

Check out part 2 of the journey here 🙂

 

 

**Thank you Lindsay For sharing your Journey. Here are the links to follow more of Lindsay’s Journey:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smallcitystyle/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/linzyannesu/pins/

Blog:  http://smallcitystyle.com/

 

 

Reluctant Stay At Home Mom…

I have been a stay at home mom going on 2 years, don’t get me wrong I love it and everything these two have brought to my live.

But I have been working since I was 14, baby sitting and I was a summer nanny to 2 kids one summer. Then at 16/17 I started cleaning wellsite trailer for my uncles leasing and fabrication company, that moved me into customer service at movie rental places, gas stations and a grocery store! I worked all through high school, did bad things and even got myself fired from a job back then. At 21 I started working as my moms assistant doing HR and payroll and rolled out to helping accounts payable, accounts receivable, and the accountant department. I learned I have a knack for certain things, and I took that knack to a 3 day course to become a book keeper. And then at 23 I started at my last job and was there for almost 5 years, and I loved it so so much. But many factors came into play and here I am at home with 2 little toddlers, and a list of things to do that I cant seem to motivate myself to do.

I do dishes, I cook, I tidy and I make sure the kids are bathed with clean clothes always, but my house has gathered clutter and I look at it and say it needs to be delt with but never really get to it.

I am a part time single mom, my husband is home 1 week a month and the routine is just out the window during that one week. I am ok with it, but now as I don’t have a real house cleaning routine, and no real motivation to gut my house it takes me a week after he leaves to get everything back in a functioning order.

I love being the one who gets to bond with my kids and see them grow into little amazing people. I have thought about going back to work on more than one occasion, but it’s not possible to do. Day care averages for my childre , $850 a month for my daughter, and $850 a month for my son, and my son is only part time Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays because he is in school 4 hours a day, and I cannot work Wednesdays because those are important meetings, trips, and many other things that are school related with my son. As you may remember from many many posts about this, Spud is delayed due to his prematurity, so keeping in constant communications with his school is key, and I am a hands on mom when it comes to that, I would rather hear it from the horses mouth than second hand. I have played way to many games of Telephone as a child to know that this would not end well. 

You might be thinking, how are trips useful, well they teach skills, and are fun for the little kids, weren’t field trips fun for you in school? But, with all these dilemmas the one thing that hurts is due to the fact that life costs money and I cannot make any, my husband is working camp jobs and losing time with his kids, seeing them grow up through pictires and videos. If I could I would change places with him, but I can’t, my skills are set to start at $18.00 an hour and cap around $25.00 an hour, where as my husbands start at $22.00 and hour and can cap at $45.00 or better. We are just starting his career here, so we are still on the low end when it comes to supporting a family of 4 and a Bijoux, so I am the reluctant stay at home mom. 
I love it…. But I also hate it….. 
-Ashton <3

Terrorism Hit Too Close To Home


This is Constable Mike Chernyk, and he is an amazing 11 year veteran of the Edmonton Police Service. You see on Sunday around 8 pm, he was doing a patrol walk around the football stadium, that was filled with people when a white Malibu blew through the sidewalk hitting him, launching him 15 feet in the air to land hard on the cement. The person who hit him, on purpose, gets out of the car flashing a knife scaring away people who were making sure the officer was ok, in some capacity, then proceeded to stab, cut, and slash the already wounded man. All this to get his gun, to get this police officers gun, to continue his plan for the evening. But, Constable Mike Chernyk fought him off, kept his gun safe radioed for help as the suspect ran off, the contable was taken to the hospital. The man hunt started.
Around 11 pm, a Uhaul was pulled over at a check point, they asked to see his licence and he matched the description of the suspect wanted in the constables assault. So the police officer called for back up, as he did so the Uhaul fled. Four police cars persued and pedestrians were struck by the Uhaul before it hit the curb and flipped on it side and the suspect was taken into custody. He has been charged with several different offences, but what the media points out several times in many different ways he was a Syrian Refugee. While I am angry at him for what he did, and how he ruined my safe bubble, I am angry at the people blaming all the people here who have actually come to be safe, to escape what is happening here, and Las Vegas. 

I am not belittling what happened in Las Vegas by any means, but this attack happened in my home. Where I grew up, where I am raising my 2 small children. This hurts my heart, and this man, Constable Mike Chernyk, is my hero. He is someone I wan my 3 year old son to meet, and this man is the reason why I know the old saying “Don’t let a few bad Apples spoil the whole batch.” With all the negativity around police, this is why I hold onto hope and let my son adore them and have them be something to strive for as he grows up. And this is also why, I will not allow this one man, who ruined my home and broke my heart, make me believe all refugees are like him. 

Constable Mike Chernyk, is home now, resting with bumps bruises and stitches. Two of the four pedestrians hit are home, the other two are in serious condition in hospital. No fatalities, my thoughts, and warm positivity goes to all the families effected here and in Las Vegas. 
Remember to Love everyone equally. 
-Ashton <3

Farmers Days 2017

Be warned, short blog in words, but will be full of pictures!!

Well we did it! We went to the farmers days parade! And really that is all we did for Farmers Days weekend. After a long talk with my hubby we both felt that the kids were still a bit to little for the fair and rodeo. I should say he felt that way, he was raised a city boy, and I respected his wishes, because we are a team, even if I was upset a bit.

But we did get to go to the parade, and Princess Tally has figured out how to clap and was clapping along with every one around her, before she fell asleep. We met up with Oma and GiGi, they enjoyed the parade with us.

Princess Tally was very happy because she loves her Oma and got snuggled to sleep during the parade. So much do that the loud noises of the tractors, the stock cars, and the hot air balloon did not wake her up. Spud enjoyed all the free candy, but was Tickled right pink when the local grocery store float gave him and apple! He was more excited about the apple, so that to me is a parenting win!

But, like I mentioned before about how Princess Tally was OK with the loud noises, Mister Spud on the other hand was far from thrilled and I had to take him out of the stroller, and he sat on the ground with me and I had to cover his ears so he could enjoy the rest of the parade. He was excited for the fire trucks, tractors, and other “big boy things”,  as he puts it. He kept pointing out all the tires and how big they were. But because he was snuggling with me I didn’t get to many pictures after that. Actually, I got none, but here are the few that I did get. Please Enjoy.

 Tally and her Oma getting settled.

 Waving at the military trucks

 Excited for the tractors, but kept asking me where the green ones were.

 Fighting sleep, about 3 minutes later she was asleep.

 See.

 Spud so excited he got his Canadian Flag.

 Spuds Big green tractors and this is when he crawled on my lap and needed me to cover his ears.

 Couldn’t even make it through lunch after, he was so tired.

 

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Wish you all Love, Happiness and all kinds of pretty things.

– Ashton <3