Total Pelvic Revolution Programme Review

As some of you may know from following my blog, I’ve had a lot of issues with my pelvic floor. It started when I was 12 weeks pregnant with Finn. I suffered with SPD and PGP the entire way through my pregnancy and beyond and if it wasn’t for me maintaining it with hours of physio then I wouldn’t have been able to walk towards the end of those long 9 months.
When I was pregnant with Juno things weren’t quite so bad. I knew how to hold my body properly, I was conscious of my posture as my belly grew bigger and I also knew what release work and stretches to do to relieve the pains and loosen up the muscles in my thighs, hips and lower back. But I also knew how to exercise my pelvic floor properly. It’s one of the most valuable things any woman, or indeed man, can learn.

Following my 6 week post partum check up with both babies I attended my physio for internal release work on my pelvic floor. One problem I had after Finn was that I was over compensating whilst doing my kegals and I wasn’t releasing properly so my muscles were getting more and more tense and the tightness from my episiotomy scar didn’t help matters. After having Juno I found that a lot of my issues again were coming from the external pelvic floor muscles especially around the scar area.
It was causing issues in my lower back, my thighs and my hips.

What is your pelvic floor and why is it so important?

Your pelvic floor supports all of your pelvic organs- bladder, bowel and uterus.
It stretches from your pubic bone right back to your coccyx and it’s responsible for preventing incontinence and flatulence and also supporting you uterus before, during and after pregnancy. Your pelvic floor also works with the abdominal and back muscles to stabilise and support the spine. (Source)

Why I wanted to do the Total Pelvic Revolution Programme.

When Dagmar Khan approached me to tell me a little more about her course I jumped at the chance to get involved.

The Total Pelvic Revolution Programme is a four week course and through using meditation, massage techniques and the jade egg it’s designed to help strengthen your pelvic floor, aid incontinence and prolapse and help you to feel stronger, more confident and sexier.

I thought that Dagmar’s course would perfectly compliment the work I’ve been doing to maintain my pelvic floor and hopefully help strengthen my abdominal and back muscles. I’ve also wanted to try meditation for quite a while now so I figured this would be as good a time as any to start.

Read below to find out how I got on!

img_3641The Jade Egg…

Total Pelvic Revolution Review:

There’s essentially 6 practices. Two within each module 2,3 &4.

Module 1
Module 1 consisted of utilising massage techniques, deep breathing exercises and meditation to help get you brain and body prepared for working with the jade egg in Module 2. It’s essential to prepare yourself mentally, physically and emotionally before using the Jade egg.
Module 2
Starting off module 2 I decided to go with some deep breathing by following the Inner Smile and the Loop Practices from Module 1. They’re designed to prepare you mentally and physically for working with the egg. I skipped the breast massage because as I’m breast feeding, go figure!

I started off with the Basic Practice which is easing you into getting started. Although I was doing the exercises, I couldn’t quite feel the egg, which is perfectly normal after having a baby and although I’ve been doing my pelvic floor exercises for the past 6 months since having Juno, it’s interesting to see that my deep pelvic floor muscles still need A LOT of work.
The basic practice incorporates a bit of bridge work with some pelvic tilts. I honestly couldn’t feel any difference after the practice was completed so I went about my day. That night when I was getting into bed I realised I had no pain at all. No little twinges in my pelvis, or in my butt cheeks, no aches in and around my inner thigh and not as much tightness in my groin. Apart from a bit of lower back pain, which is pretty normal with two babies, I had no aches or pains.

The morning after the practice and I woke up, again, with no pain. I didn’t do any other pelvic floor release work or kegals in the two days, so this result was just from using the jade egg alone.

A few days later, after a day of walking around Dublin whilst carrying Juno in the sling and trying to maneuver a buggy I was in so much pain!
I didn’t get to do another practice before heading out that day and as a result my legs, hips and lower back were aching! Before I got into bed that night I decided to try a bit of the resistance practice. It didn’t get rid of the pain completely, but it did ease it enough for me to get some sleep. When I woke up the next morning I had very little pain.

I was pleasantly surprised to be experiencing instantaneous results from having just started the course. Roll on modules three and four!

Module 3
Consists mainly of sexual healing. It includes the fresh start jade egg practice and the sexual healing jade egg practice and it’s aim is to help you understand the different ways our body and our sexuality can become traumatized and the processes and jade egg practices that allow your body to heal -Dagmar Khan

I started with the fresh start practice which incorporates healing and forgiveness. It’s about forgiving yourself and those who may have wronged you in the past, which helps you to release past anger and frustration and pain thus unlocking blockages within you psyche when it comes to enjoying sex and making love again.

It’s quite a powerful little practice and although I don’t have a lot of anger or pain from past relationships (ok maybe some anger and a tiny bit of resentment, but that’s it!) I have had a lot of issues from a past friendship that broke down. A friendship with a man that I though valued me as a person and not just an object of affection. Because “friend-zoning” him meant that I deserved to be verbally abused and cut out of his life completely. I think these in turn affected my confidence and contributed to my anxiety and second guessing myself and my worth as a person. This rarely happens, but occasionally I get into a mindset where I’m very negative about myself. I think this practice will really help that.

I can see how the sexual healing practice can really help someone who’s experienced some kind of trauma or abuse, it’s very thorough and the meditation techniques within this practice can be invaluable when it comes to healing your mind, body and soul.

I did do both practices within this module, but as it’s not my main focus, I didn’t spend too much time on it. BUT make no mistake this is a very, very effective module and the meditation techniques alone are worth it.

Module 4
Building lasting pelvic health:
So trying to find 25/30 minutes to myself was quite challenging. But I managed it.
This was my favourite practice! I won’t waffle on too much, but the whole body integration is so worth it!
 Through meditation and deep breathing you’re essentially distributing your sexual energy throughout your entire body and it’s just amazing. I honestly don’t know what else I can say about it. You just have to try it.
The 5 senses jade egg activation uses meditation to help you envision where you want to be or the type of person you want to become. Whether it’s a more confident version of yourself or you want to be more successful at what you’re doing this practice is about imagining that and sensing what it would be like to be that person by imagining what you’re hearing, what you’re seeing, tasting.

I think this practice is by far the most useful. The brain is such a complex tool, even the most gifted neuroscientist can’t figure out how it works. Envisioning and imagination can be very useful to helping you to achieve your goals in life and get to where you want to be. This practice helps you do just that. I’ll definitely be doing this practice again and again to keep me focused on where I want to be in 3 years time.

In summary

Dagmar had created a very effective course. The meditation practices are something that I definitely want to try practicing regularly by introducing them into my every day routine and as for the exercises within the practices themselves, as I mentioned above, for the first time in three years, I’ve been pain free and the results were pretty much instantaneous, which is pretty remarkable. I’m not quite brave enough yet to try sleeping without the pillow between my legs for support, but hopefully I’ll get there soon.

Watch this Space!

-A x

 

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This is it..

The moment we’ve been waiting for.

We’ve officially reached the point where financially, things need to change and they need to change now. We’ve sold our car and ceased spending on unnecessary expenses such as Spotify, Dropbox and Netflix.

By getting rid of the car we’ve essentially made a saving of €200 a month which is a huge chunk of the mortgage. Ross is moving to a cheaper payment plan on his phone, unfortunately I’m still tied into my contract for another year, but his €40 saving will come in very handy. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re living on one wage, €280 a month is mega.

We’re literally budgeting for the necessities and curbing our spending.

So how does it feel?
I wont lie it’s absolutely fucking terrifying… but also it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.
We have access to a car which we’ll be able to use if and when we may need it. Ross is working full time and is earning a good wage. We eat meat, but not a lot and we get our veg from a local farmer at the market each Saturday so not only are we saving money,  we’re also saving on plastic packaging which is an added bonus! Also batch cooking goes a long, long way.

We use cloth nappies on the kids during the day, so that’s a huge saving already and they have all the clothes they may need through very kind hand me downs and investing in a few good quality items.

I have to admit, it feels quite exciting. It’s a new challenge and I’m well aware of just how challenging it will be but It’s given us the drive that we need to pull the finger out and get the printing business up and running and working towards our long term goals.

And work hard we will, we’ll have to.
To quote Gary Vee “If it were fucking quick and easy don’t you think every fucker would do it?”

Watch this space!

– A x

Just Keep Going

Yesterday was a tough day.

The morning started off great, but then come the afternoon with an overtired new baby and a whinging toddler it all got too much for me.
Once I finally had the baby down, the toddler needed a nappy change and whilst struggling to control him on the changing table and after numerous threats, he kicked me square in the face, full force. In a flash of rage I lashed out and skelped him on his bare leg, it was a complete chain reaction and within a split second, the damage was done. He had red finger marks on his porcelain skin, his tears came flowing and my nerves unraveled. I put on his fresh nappy, dressed him, went into the bathroom, closed the door and proceeded to rinse off his dirty cloth nappy. All the while he cried outside and woke up his sister.

When I came out of the bathroom we gave each other a hug and I wiped his tears, I picked up his dinosaurs and handed them to him and while he made his way downstairs I wearily made my way into my bedroom to soothe Juno back to sleep.

The afternoon consisted of the toddler playing outside, a visit from a lovely lady to collect some baby clothes and Juno waking up screaming every 20 minutes. Ross came home at 5 and honestly the rest of the evening is such a blur.
I was physically, mentally and emotionally drained.

I gave up trying to soothe Juno at 7.30/8. Ross was downstairs washing up after leaving Finn happily playing away with his dinosaurs in bed.
I went outside to take in some laundry whilst Ross went to try and put Juno to sleep.
I cried, I couldn’t help it, the tears just kept coming. I felt like I’d failed at parenting that day.

But… There’s only so many hours you can tolerate being cried at before it breaks you…

Ross managed to get her off to sleep, he held me tight and told me to cry as much as I needed. He told me I was doing a fantastic job and that our toddler practically put himself to bed. So I cried…

Yesterday was a tough day, but tomorrow will be better…

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Baby, Baby

So we announced today that we’re expecting baby number two in April next year!

You can check out our announcement video here: https://youtu.be/a0M3vUgRNvg

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about anything and I’ve really, really missed it.

I spent the past four months in hiding. Hiding from the world and from the kitchen because, food smells (ugh)
Yes the past four months I literally focused on surviving and pretty much gave up on social media and interacting with anyone.

I went to work and tried not to get sick on my lap whilst driving, a few times I had to stop the car and get out and dry wretch along the motorway. Fun times!

Constantly snacking helped and unlike my pregnancy with Finn, I’ve completely gone off of Strawberries this time. Like, completely!

I napped in my car at lunchtime because even a 10 minute power nap was better than nothing and it was THE ONLY way I could get through the day. I shit you not.
It wasn’t all bad though. Finn was still taking 2 naps a day so when he napped I napped and he’s also at that age where he’s quite happy playing away with his toys as long as I’m there beside him. It didn’t matter that I was panned out on the couch suffering through what felt like one of the worst hangovers (it’s the only way to describe it) as long as I was there, he was quite content. Win!

Anyway so morning sickness sucks ass, but right on queue at 14 weeks it started subsiding and I’ve finally got my energy back. Which is a good thing. My house realllllyyy needs to be hoovered.

Yes, I’m finally able to stay awake past 8.30, to enjoy the smell of coffee again and stomach tea! I’m still working my way up to eggs.

This pregnancy so far has been so much harder than Finn. But as I explained to Ross after losing one baby I gave zero fucks about anything else except sustaining and nourishing Finn and one of the main ways I could do that was to sleep, all the time! I didn’t have that luxury this time. But like most women, I survived.

Spring Capsule Wardrobe-Outfit 5

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Spring is definitely in the air as we move into March but it’s still only 6°C out so I paired this light t-shirt  and jeans with a navy long sleeve thermal underneath for an extra bit of warmth. Threw on a pair of brown flat ankle boots and there you have it. Easy, comfy and casual. One of my go to outfits in my capsule wardrobe.


I also got my hair cut for the first time in about 10 months 🙈🙊

I’ve been badly in need of one for a while now and I finally got my ass in gear. My hair was down to my hips!

2 months after I stopped breast feeding my hair started to fall out. Another 2 months later the hair loss slowed and my hair started growing back with a vengeance! It was so heavy and long and was such a chore to wash and dry, Also I went through so many hair bands, seriously, a LOT! 

Nothing like a simple haircut to make you feel amazing.

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Striped t-shirt// Primark – Similar here & here
Jeans// Massimo Dutti
Belt// Primark – Similar here, here & here
Boots//Primark – Similar here & here

Dealing with pre and postnatal Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) and Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)

Pregnancy can be expensive.

Yes your maternity care is free under the Maternity and Infant Scheme and the prenatal vitamins don’t cost too much. You’ve got 9 months to save up for the baby and work out a budget for when the little bean arrives, but one thing we neglect to include in that budget is our pre natal and post natal well being.

Of course, every pregnancy is different, many women sail through. But one in four women suffer from Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, Pelvic Girdle Pain or both.

I’ve always suffered with my back and saw my osteopath regularly as well as practiced Pilates to manage my scoliosis and back pain. I knew that I’d most likely suffer to some extent if I ever got pregnant, but I’d never heard of SPD or PGP.
As soon as I reached 12 weeks in my pregnancy, and the relaxin hormone kicked in, I started experiencing problems in my hips, back and my pelvic floor.
It was recommended that I see a Chartered Physiotherapist who specialises in Women’s Health Physiotherapy.
From the get go Laura from Live Well was great.
After my initial assessment I learned how to adjust my stance (I locked my knees when I was standing, this put strain on my back which contributed to the pain in my lower back, hips and knees) and how to use all of my foot when I walked (Yes I learned how to walk, properly)
I also learned how to engage my core and to exercise my pelvic floor the right way (You’d be surprised just how wrong I was doing it)

After a couple of months of Pre Natal Pilates Classes, Physiotherapy, daily stretches and massage as well as regular visits to my Osteopath, I was able to walk better towards the end of my pregnancy, than I could at 12 weeks, I found that alternating between Physio and Osteopathy worked great for me. It was worth every penny. But it did stretch us a bit thin and surviving on one income at the time wasn’t easy. We had to dip into baby fund a few times.

In this post I’m going to give you advice on how you can look after yourself, no matter what your budget or time constraints are, and provide links to some great websites full of information.

**Make sure you get your medical professional or midwife’s go ahead before attempting any types of exercise or stretching during pregnancy and before your 6 week post natal check-up.**

SPD and PGP, what are they?

SPD:
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction
Symphysis_Pubis
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) is a condition that causes excessive movement of the pubic symphysis (See diagram above) as well as associated pain, possibly because of a misalignment of the pelvis. -Wikipedia

PGP:
Pelvic Girdle Pain

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Pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain (abbreviated PGP) causes pain, instability and limitation of mobility and functioning in any of the three pelvic joints- The two Sacroiliac Joints and the Pubic Symphysis. – Wikipedia

What causes SPD and PGP?

During pregnancy the hormone relaxin is produced. This causes the ligaments in the pelvic region to relax and stretch in preparation for labour.
Unfortunately there’s no magical cure for the pain, but there are ways that you can manage it.

It’s important to know that the vast majority of women suffering from SPD and PGP will recover fully, more or less straight after the birth, but for some it can take months, even up to a year for the pain to subside.

1. I recommend that you go and get a one on one assessment by a chartered physiotherapist who specialises in Women’s health. Be it private or public, the assessment will enable you to know what’s causing the pain and your physiotherapist can advise you on different ways that you can relieve it..

2. Buy a support pillow for sleeping, there’s so many option out there. I’ve heard great things about the Dreamgenii pregnancy pillow but they can retail anywhere from €60-80 depending on where you buy it.
Alternatively you can buy a triangular pillow, the midwife at my antenatal class recommended them. They’re way more affordable that the Dreamgenii and work just as well. I picked mine up in Guineys.
Whichever one you go for, make sure to pick up a spare pillow case.

3. You may need a support belt which helps to support your bump by taking a bit of the weight off of your hips and helping to support your back at the same time, some of them can even be used post pregnancy. The downside is that they can be quite expensive and they don’t work for everyone, so enquire about trying one before you invest. You can get one free from the public physio or your private physio will give you one to try before you consider buying one. If it works for you then it’s definitely something worth investing in, it can be a long 9 (10) months and chances are you’ll use it for subsequent pregnancies and in your post natal recovery.

4. Maternity Briefs/Shaping Underwear
Having the right support during and after pregnancy can help greatly. Maternity briefs are so comfortable (Albeit not the most flattering) You can pick them up in penneys or alternatively Here and Here. They help to support your bump and relieve back pain.
Regular shaping underwear and vests will help to support your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles weakened after pregnancy, the compression helps to shrink your uterus and speed up recovery and they can also offer great support and comfort if you’ve had a cesarean section. You can pick them up, again, in Penneys, here or here

5. Pre-Natal Pilates or Yoga?
Pilates is more about strengthening your core (abdominal muscles) and increasing the stability of your back and pelvic floor. All really important during pregnancy.
Yoga helps to keep you flexible and relaxed (the stretches and pulls can help loosen all the tight muscles that come from carrying a tiny human) it can also help to fight fatigue and nausea! Get advice from your doctor or Physio on which one would be better for you. But remember, there’s no law that says you can’t do both.
Shop around for different classes in your area and find a time and price that suits you, whether it’s a morning or evening class, most pre and post natal classes run for blocks of 6-8 weeks. Some classes you have to pre-pay for, but there are loads of instructors who run pay per class sessions too, if work and other commitments mean you don’t have a lot of free time.

6. Download an app! There are countless apps out there that specialise in wellbeing and most of them are free. It’s a cost effective way of looking after yourself during and after pregnancy.
One of the most useful ones I downloaded was the Pregnancy Pelvic Floor Plan App from Continence Foundation of Australia
You can read tips on looking after your pelvic floor, bladder and bowel during and after pregnancy. You can also learn how to do pelvic floor exercises and schedule reminders (Super helpful, because baby brain is indeed a thing) and the information in the app is divided into key pregnancy milestones, so the info you receive is tailored to whatever stage of pregnancy you’re in.

7. The Contincence Foundation of Australia also have a 36 page guide on pregnancy. It’s a great booklet full of invaluable information and covers a range of topics including abdominal muscle bracing, sex before and after, pelvic floor, prolapse etc. you can read it here.

8. Youtube it!
There are countless workouts/self help videos on youtube. One that I found particularly helpful were these four videos from Gary Crowley on relieving Pelvic Girdle Pain.

9. Babycentre.co.uk is a great site and their app to track your pregnancy and your babies development is fantastic. Here’s a post on Pelvic Girdle Pain.

**Again make sure you get the go ahead from your physiotherapist or doctor before attempting any exercises.**

If you’re in pain don’t ignore it, there are ways that you can get help without breaking the bank. Knowing where to start can be a bit daunting, but hopefully this list and the links will help.

Did you suffer from SPD or PGP? How did you manage it during and after your pregnancy? Feel free to comment below

A x

Spring capsule Wardrobe- Outfit 4

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Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I had a lovely, quiet weekend relaxing and spending time with family. We went for a swim on Sunday and I’ve started doing an Aqua Aerobics classes twice a week. What a work out!
The last time I went to an aqua aerobics class I was 9 months pregnant! That was challenging too, especially when I was trying to get out of the pool afterwards 😀

There’s still that chill in the air so I’ve been adding knits to my wardrobe. Will most likely be keeping them for the next three months, but you never know 😉

I love this skirt. It was a gift from my sister for my Birthday.

IMG_3495IMG_3498IMG_3497It’s a nice thick material and the quality is great. I have to say, Topshop, like Zara, you get what you pay for.
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The top is just a plain long sleeve. A basic for any wardrobe! It’s got a cute little pocket on the front.
I dressed the outfit up with thick tights (200 Denier) and my back ankle boots.

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I’ve had these boots for a couple of years now and they’re the best. So comfy and they play a huge part in my wardrobe. They go great with any season style. Again they’re from Clarks, well worth the money but these were blagged in the sale for about €40!

This necklace made an appearance in another blog post during the summer. It’s from Zara and it just screams spring.

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As we’re still battling off winter, I added a turtleneck cardigan. It belonged to my sister a long, long time ago and I’ve had it for years (Thanks, Les ;*)
It’s nice and warm and looks bad ass with a pair of jeans and a leather jacket.

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Skirt// Topshop – (Sold out) Similar here & here
Top// Primark – Similar here
Boots// Clarks – Similar here & hereNecklace// Zara – Similar here
Turtleneck Cardigan// (OLD) – Similar here & here

Spring Capsule Wardrobe Outfit 2

Day 2 and again, it was cold! #IrishWinterInSpring

I paired this gorgeous Zip Back Jumper with cargo pants and brown knee high boots.

The jumper was light enough for out and about running errands but warm enough for the wet, damp weather.


The ‘Serenity’ colour is taken straight from the S/S’16 colour palette.
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The jeans were featured in another blog post and are a staple in my wardrobe! They’re so comfy!

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I invested in these boots from Clarks and I’ve had them for over 2 years. They’re just the best! Perfect for Winter.

They are definitely a wardrobe staple for Autumn/Winter/Spring.

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Babies make for the cutest accessory!! ^_^

Jumper// Primark (Penneys) – here
Jeans// Primark (Penneys) – Similar here & here & here
Boots// Clarks – Similar here & here

Spring Capsule Wardrobe Outfit 1

Day one and it was 3 degrees out! Yikes.

It was a bit cold today so I decided to throw a jumper over my chambray shirt and jeans!

I hadn’t planned on making it a part of my spring capsule wardrobe, but it’s one of the warmest jumpers I own and I love it 🙂

As I said in my last post, I’m not strictly following all the rules because, well, Ireland is a bit topsy turvey when it comes to the seasons, you never know what weather you’re going to get from one day to the next so even though I try to cover all bases with my 33 items, occasionally I have to grab an extra thick jumper or throw on those cosy leather boots!

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I’ve had this jumper  for a while now and I love it. It’s so thick and cosy.

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I picked up this shirt in Tesco! They have some lovely stuff from time to time. The chambray shirt in this blog post is also a bargain from Tesco 🙂

ISZL0486_FotorAARM9285_FotorThese Jeans! ❤ Zara baby! I’ve been looking for a pair similar to these for AGES. I love the hip detail. They’re so comfy, too!

IMG_3602I finished off the outfit with these tan Chelsea boots that I picked up in Primark (Penneys) just before Christmas. They look great and go with practically everything. You can’t go wrong with this wardrobe staple.

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Jumper// Primark – Similar here & here
Shirt// F&F for Tesco –  here
Jeans// Zara – Similar here & here
Boots// Primark – SImilar here & here