miscarriage

Episode 80 | Vitamin Quality, Birth Control, Miscarriage & More

We are back with another one of our favorite types of episodes, listener questions! We love these episodes because they allow us to connect with you directly, our listener, and really get down to the specific issues and topics you have on your heart. Today’s questions have come from Instagram messages and emails that we’ve received since our last listener question episode (episode 68) and we’re excited to dive into these questions with you.

Today’s topics vary from explaining pricey supplements to your significant other to healthy eating on a budget, our favorite green powders, non-toxic birth control methods and how to deal emotionally when you become pregnant after a miscarriage. We’re sharing our personal thoughts, feelings and experiences to help answer your questions and we’ve got a little something for everyone today!

If you have questions or are interested in a certain nutrition or lifestyle topic, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We’d love to share your question on an episode like this or even create an episode around a topic of interest. Email justine@alowellness.com to connect!

Highlight Reel:

02:35 | How do I explain pricey supplements to my husband?

08:56 | What’s your take on green powders?

23:28 | Non-toxic birth control?

31:10 | I’m dealing with chronic inflammation, what’s going on?

37:30 | I’ve had two miscarriage and now I’m pregnant, how do I overcome the fear and anxiety?

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Episode 73 | Emotionally & Physically Healing from Miscarriage

Today’s episode is a challenging one. It was challenging for us to record and it may even be challenging for you to listen to (you may need tissues my friend), especially if miscarriage is a part of your story. We’ve been wanting to do this episode for a while, but speaking so openly and freely about loss doesn’t come easy. With that being said, we’ve both found healing and connection in sharing our own personal stories of loss with other women.

We wanted to start a conversation about miscarriage because sometimes just knowing that you’re not alone, that other women have walked this path before you, can bring an incredible sense of comfort. So today, for the first time on the podcast, we’re both sharing our miscarriage stories, how we grieved and how we’ve begun the healing process in our own lives.

Coming from a nutritional therapy perspective, we also wanted to share some ways to begin to physically and emotionally heal after miscarriage, something that isn’t talked about much...if any.  Because as those of you who’ve walked this road know, healing is a process and each woman and couple’s journey is different.

We know that this episode will reach each woman who listens in a different way, but we hope it’s positive for all. Our hearts ache for each one of you who’ve experienced loss and we pray that you’ll find healing and strength in your own time.

Thank you Sunbasket for sponsoring this episode! Click HERE to get $35 off your first order!

 

Highlight Reel:

06:50 | Caroline shares her story of loss

14:17 | Justine shares miscarriage stories

32:24 | Everyone handles grief differently

41:50 | Healing physically (building blood and supporting adrenal and hormonal health)

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How I'm Healing After Miscarriage–Physically & Mentally

This miscarriage has been very different from our first, now over 3 years ago. My heart is still aching from the emotional aspect and my body is weary from the physical trauma, but my faith is stronger and I know without a doubt that the Lord is using it to encourage other women who’ve experienced this same loss, to connect us. It’s an odd feeling and even hard to explain, how I can go through such a rough season yet still see the joy and the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a rollercoaster, but I’m OK with His plan.  

Miscarriage is odd in that you can grieve and mourn so hard over a little one you’ve never met. I like the way Emily from the Tethering Place explains the loss you experience with miscarriage, “The wave is coming again. A wave of tears and sadness and loss. An odd loss though, for can you lose something you never had? You never held? It is odd because nothing has changed and everything has changed.”

It’s so true. Like, painfully, heart-wrenchingly true. And that wave has hit me over and over the past few weeks.

But for my husband and I, this unexpected pregnancy (and loss) has allowed us to see that we DO want to grow our family. We thought we were happy with just our sweet little Elle, but out of this hardship, we know there’s more to come and I’m grateful, even in it’s yuckiness, that we had the opportunity to feel the realness of expecting again, making plans, dreaming of four.

So, in true Justine fashion, I am putting my best foot forward, seeking out the help and support I need to heal my body–physically and mentally–and get ready for conception in the future!

And in my last post sharing our story and my heart on miscarriage, I told you that I would keep you in the loop on my own health journey––the good, the bad and the ugly.

My greatest health goal at the moment is to heal my body because miscarriage is messy and hard and bloody. Gross, but true. There’s inflammation, internal stress (physically and emotionally), battle wounds of the heart, blood loss, hormonal chaos and all that good stuff that needs to be addressed and supported so that I am left in an even better place than before.

The flip side to this–avoiding the physical and emotional aftermath of miscarriage–is a body who’s left to fend for itself, scars that aren’t tended to that build up fear, resentment and pain, nutrients lost, hormones a mess, inflammation and lots of other imbalances that can affect my future attempts to create life from within. That, I am not going to allow.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the years being in the holistic and alternative world of health is how important it is to be self aware and practice mindfulness in every area of your life...not just in what you put in your mouth. Being able to take a step back and look at myself–my emotional, physical and spiritual wellness–allowing myself to see, touch, feel and experience the hurt, the joy, the trauma...all of it...and know that I can make a difference with my own two hands, that I don’t have to sit in fear or whatever the negative emotion is forever, but that I can take action to move forward, to grow, to be better, to love well, to experience more joy and contentment is foundational to a healthy life.

This experience is no different. As hard and awful as it is, there is so much I can do to heal my body with my own two hands, with the help and support of gifted practitioners and the endless love of God. That’s so empowering and so so encouraging to me.

So here’s what I’m up to currently…

Building blood.

Last week, I had my first real acupuncture experience with a super cool friend of mine, Kerry Carlos. He’s a Licensed Acupuncturist and all about holistic wellness and is well loved by his patients. I have been reading a lot about acupuncture and the benefits on fertility health so when I ran into Kerry at the wellness center he practices in after a massage I enjoyed last week, we got to talking about what I was going through and he quickly talked me into how he could help along my preconception journey.

During my initial appointment with Kerry, he found that I am lacking blood post-miscarriage, my adrenals are very weak, my body is holding on to a lot of stress and anxiety, something about grief in my lungs aaaaaand I can’t remember what else because there was a lot going on (and I don’t quite understand all the chi stuff and energy flow and organ connections quite yet). He worked on my main concerns and we joked and laughed about it all, but I kid you not, when I got off that table, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. Seriously. I can’t wait to go back!

So in focusing on building blood specifically, I am taking some herbs that Kerry recommended to help with this as well as some other problem areas and I am focusing on getting in certain foods, specifically iron-rich foods to help generate new, healthy and strong blood.

That sounds weird...strong blood? But blood does a lot of important things like transport nutrients, oxygenate your entire body, fight off invaders, remove toxins, transport hormones and sooooooo so so much more. It’s important that it’s healthy...and strong.

Over the next few weeks (and I guess throughout my preconception, pregnancy and nursing journey because these foods nourish these phases as well) I'll be focusing on eating plenty of beets, beef, liver from pastured animals, and pastured, organic egg yolks. I’m also focusing on getting plenty of vitamin C along with these foods since vitamin C helps with iron absorption (think broccoli, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and strawberries...vitamin C superfoods!).

Overall, it’s important to nourish with a variety of vitamins and minerals so until I see my Nutritionist (yes, this Nutritionist has her own Nutritionist!) for more specific nutrient support, I’ll continue my prenatal and a few other supportive supplements.

Tonifying and draining my uterus.

This is an interesting one, huh? But it’s an important element of healing your future babe’s home. I am currently taking a Gemmotherapy that helps to tonify and drain the uterus (I also used this in my third trimester and totally credit it to my speedy labor and birth) and bovine uterine tissue (via supplement form people!) to nourish my own uterine tissue.

I understand this point may sound odd to some, especially if you’re new to the holistic world, but this is a big piece of my healing protocol and I’ll take both therapies morning and night for 6 weeks.

Addressing stress and giving my adrenals all the love.

Oh this is a big one. When I first started miscarrying, I had a lot of peace about everything and I still do, BUT there was a lot of physical and emotional stress that was goin’ down that I didn’t really realize. About a week after the initial news, it was like it all came to a head and I began feeling the acute symptoms of stress–chest tightness, a super short fuse, overwhelm, sugar cravings, etc.

I know my body well enough to understand what was going on and I immediately had to hit the pause button and take a chill pill. Massage, asking for help, all the essential oils and magnesium before bed to help me relax and sleep, adrenal support supplements, acupuncture, etc..

But this doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time to heal emotionally and to nourish the adrenal glands.  

This is one of the most important pieces of a healthy life, but it’s also one of the most challenging so this is always an ongoing focus. Stressors like miscarriage aren’t a chosen stress (like putting your kids in too many sports or taking on too much at work), they just come, without warning or invite. And they’re inevitable in life.

Stress management is at the top of my list because it sneaks in everywhere. Especially during this time of year. So each day I wake up and choose to take one thing at a time, to eat well and keep my blood sugar stable, to take my adrenal support (supplements), to say “no” when I need to, to create much needed quiet, alone time (#onlychildproblems), and to nourish my soul with God’s word.

It’s a process, but when you’re able to strengthen your body’s ability to deal with stress (and give it the rest to be able to do so), you kind of kick ass at life. It adds to your patience, your energy, your drive (in life and sexually!) and creates a new will to rock out life. No joke, having strong adrenal function is down right amazing.

So there you have it, a little inside look into my healing process. I am working on getting in with my Nutritionist in San Diego and I know we will be looking at thyroid function and sex hormones as these can cause issues with fertility and miscarriage. I have a pretty long cycle so I am looking forward to getting that in check and creating more balance from within.

If you have experienced a miscarriage this year, I am praying for your heart and your healing friend. I know it's awful and heartbreaking. I hope that sharing my journey of mourning and healing will help encourage you. 

Before I go–I just wanted to thank everyone who has been lifting Matt and I up in prayer, for all your kind and supportive words and your outpouring of love. We are more grateful than you know!

xoxo

Justine

 

For more information on how to get your body ready for baby makin' and create a stress-less conception story, join our brand-new email list for posts on healthy eating + living, upcoming events and programs and more!

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Our Miscarriage Story–From Sorrow to Joy

I can’t tell you how hard it is for me to sit down and write this out. Not so much because of the heavy emotions it brings up, of course that’s difficult, but because of my pride.

You see, I always want to be honest and transparent. That’s important to me and it’s just who I am. I know that doesn’t mean I have to share everything with you, my reader and friend, but this has been heavy on my heart and something I think needs to be talked about. Not by everyone, but by someone. Because so few can actually talk about it without completely falling apart, but every woman whose experienced this needs the encouragement and to know they are not alone, not broken.

I’m talking about miscarriage. A difficult, completely unexpected and uninvited reality, every time. Yes, I said every time because I’ve experienced two. One with a twin pregnancy before our amazingly healthy daughter was born and another just two weeks ago.

It’s hard to say that, to admit that to you. In fact, as I’ve shared with people in my community, I’m reminded that I am a woman who has experienced miscarriage not once, but twice. I’ve sat through the quiet, heartbeat-less ultrasound...twice. I’ve cried tears of sorrow and mourned the loss of my babies...twice. I’ve experienced the bloody aftermath of the news and the physical and emotional stress...twice. I’ve picked up the pieces and my broken heart not once, but twice.

And experience sure as hell doesn’t make it any easier, but I will say that my experience this time was different. My heart is in a different place, my faith is stronger, my knowledge of fertility is better and my hope is overwhelmingly present.  

Let me share my journey over the past 6 weeks...

In early November, I noticed that my cycle was running really long. My husband had been away for two weeks on a trip to Israel and was gone during what I thought was my fertile period so at first, I figured it wasn’t even possible for me to be pregnant!

I pulled out my period tracker like three nights in a row before I went to sleep and counted the days since my last period...34, 35, 36... you get the idea. On Sunday, November 5 I had this gut feeling that it wasn’t just a long cycle, but that I may be pregnant so I asked Matt to stop at the store on our way home from my parent’s house that night.

As we headed up our street, I told Matt I’d be really excited if it was positive. You see, the last time him and I had talked about our feelings on growing our family, maybe a month or two before this, we were on the same page that we’d be happy with just one, our sweet girl.

We went home, I put Elle down for bed and acting as cool as a kitten to Matt, I said, “Don’t worry babe, I’m sure I’m not pregnant.”  I anxiously grabbed the test and headed for the bathroom. I watched as the single line turned pink, but the second line didn’t show up right away so I set it on the window ledge. As I stood up, I glanced over and the double lines caught my eye. Holy $#*%, it was positive! Low and behold, I was pregnant! I fell to my knees and prayed, asking for the Lord’s protection and peace then brought the test out to Matt who was totally stunned. In fact, his reaction was a tad bit disappointing. It took him a day to process, but he quickly joined the happy train.

So started the process of growing a fetus. I was super tired that next week, taking naps a few times with Elle and going to bed by 8:30pm. I was over the moon because four of my best friends are also pregnant and if you’ve ever been pregnant with a bestie, you know it’s kind of the coolest thing ever. Someone to bitch about pregnancy aches and pains with who actually knows what you’re feeling, what more could you ask for?

With all the excitement I have to be honest, there were moments of pure anxiety. Having experienced a miscarriage in the past, the early weeks of pregnancy can be overwhelmingly concerning if you allow them to be. I had to stop in my tracks and pray through moments of anxiety and fear and I used lots of affirmations.

Though we planned on having another home birth, I like to start out with an ultrasound to see the little nugget and hear a heartbeat. There is just something about the sound of a heartbeat that brings so much comfort and reassurance in those early weeks of pregnancy. We couldn’t get in with my doctor until late December, but at an appointment with the nurse she informed me there had been a cancellation and she booked an appointment with the doctor for the following week. I thought that given the time frame that Matt and I had sex, before and after his Israel trip, I had to have ovulated early and figured I would be close to 8 weeks by that first appointment so seeing a heartbeat would be totally doable.

So we anxiously awaited the appointment. Even as a Nutritional Therapist, feeling confident in my first trimester nutrition and lifestyle habits, taking all the supplements and all that good stuff, I still struggled with all the emotions. There was fear, there was excitement, there was uncertainty, planning, dreaming, anxiety, concern. You name it, I felt it.

Now, with that being said, I really tried my hardest to stay positive and believe that baby into reality. I allowed myself to feel the fear and the anxiety, but didn’t let it run my world. Prayer, affirmations and my amazing family and friends were all I could stand on at this point.

The appointment came and there we sat in the doctor’s office awaiting that first ultrasound. I had all the symptoms–exhaustion, a little queasiness, a wee bit of moody–so we were feeling pretty confident.

As Dr. P scanned us, he found the sac and a little bean shaped babe within it. There was the tiniest flicker of a heartbeat, not yet audible. The baby measured about 6 weeks at this point and the anatomy was all there for this time frame. Since this was smaller than we had originally thought, of course there was some concern.

Maybe I actually ovulated late in my cycle, conceiving when Matt came home from Israel. This in and of itself concerned me because those late cycle eggs aren’t usually as good and have higher miscarriage rates (ignorance is bliss my friend, that’s for sure. Knowing so much about the world of fertility and baby makin’ brought in some extra worries...and reassurance...oddly enough) hence why having a regular cycle is so important for health conception.

The doctor wanted to test my Hcg and rescan me in another week. If I was that early on, there would definitely be a fetus forming and an audible heartbeat in another week.

So we went home and just relaxed into it. Of course I had some concern, but I tried not to deny my pregnancy in order to not let myself be let down if we did end up losing it. I tried to focus on staying positive, pour myself into my first born and just relax.

My Hcg came back strong, growing as it should so this added to my confidence.

Then came the next ultrasound. I went alone since it was smack dab in the middle of naptime. Going alone gave me some anxiety, my heart rate was 99 BPM just sitting in the office!

Dr. P came in, kind of somber from what I remember and said, “Alright Justine, let’s see what we’ve got!” and began the ultrasound. Yet, again, there was the silent wait as he moved the ultrasound wand around, trying to orient himself to the space and locate the sac.

I could see what he was looking at, the same little sac we had found last time, but this time that little bean was more like a funky looking, smaller than before triangular shape. No 7 or 8 week fetus shape, no heartbeat flicker or sound. Nothin.

When I think back to this moment, I don’t remember feeling a huge let down in emotions. It was almost like I had subconsciously known or prepared myself for this. I took a deep breath and said, “It’s OK Dr. P” as if I was reassuring him.

We sat and talked about the next steps. I told him I wanted to miscarry naturally, no meds or invasive surgeries. Just me, at home, allowing my body to do what it needed to. Any other patient he may have encouraged the medical route for fear of infection or poor self-care, but he knew my story and my beliefs, he was there to wish us good luck on our home birth two years prior and he trusted my intuition.

He did his best to reassure me, but I didn’t want false hope. I knew it was over, that that baby had gone to meet Jesus and was already waiting to meet us in Heaven.

I was OK with that.

I had to do another Hcg level to begin to follow the trend downward and it took everything in me to hold myself together until I got to the car. I text Matt and my mom and a few besties that had been praying for my appointment. I needed time to just sit in the emotions, by my self, in the car, while people pulled in and out next to me.

I sat and just sobbed like a total baby. Out loud, yucky, ugly, serious crying.

The first thing I said to God was, “Ok God, how are we going to spin this one?” because all I could think about was how embarrassed I was. A holistic Nutritionist dreaming of changing the way we nourish fertility to grow healthier families, teaching couples about how to prepare their bodies for conception so they DON’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS VERY THING and here I was, miscarrying.

It was hard. Really really hard. My pride was shattered and I was mourning the loss of a baby I never knew. Mourning the plans we had made looking forward to a family of four. Mourning the picture of pregnant bellies with besties. Mourning the experience of pregnancy and the excitement for another birth at home.  

I was finally able to answer the phone and talked with Matt and a few friends. By the time I got home I had settled down and felt a little less overwhelmed with emotion. We talked and prayed and took the next few days to rest and allow ourselves to experience the rollercoaster of emotions that were surely to come.

But that next day I was hit with a peace that I can hardly explain. A peace that allowed me to share the news with more of the people we had shared the pregnancy with. A peace that allowed me to pray prayers of gratitude for our story and His perfect plan, despite the pain and brokenness. A peace that truly surpassed all understanding (and I’m so grateful for whoever prayed that prayer for me).

As my body naturally let go and I began to miscarry, a traumatic experience in and of itself, I was reminded of something that I struggled with in my first miscarriage. This was a blessed interruption, a difficult loss yet a moment in life that reminds you of just how precious life is and what a miracle our first born was. A reminder that you just never know, despite your best efforts.

But in this, and the greatest gift of all was the reminder that God is good and God isn’t done and that His perfect plan will come to pass. I’m surely not saying HE caused this because I don’t know how all that works. I do know that God quite literally makes beauty from ashes and my story isn’t exempt from his mighty redemption and grace.

As hard as it is to experience loss and as hard it has been to come to terms with all the broken plans and humbling of my heart, I’m so glad that God is beside me and above me and beneath me. I am so grateful HIS plans are better than my own.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

As I type that, I can hardly read through the tears. Not out of sadness, but out of joy and peace and overwhelming gratitude that our sorrows will one day be washed away and that we’ll get to join our 3 babies in Heaven amidst the glory of the Lord.

I’m looking forward to putting all I teach with my preconception prep couples into motion in our own life, seeing our own Nutritionist (yes, this Nutritionist has her own Nutritionist!) and really digging in with intention, now that we know we want another babe. I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with you, both the ups and the downs. Whatever comes along the way.

And if you’re still reading this, I’m guessing maybe you’ve experienced loss yourself. As I ride the wave of this miscarriage onto a calmer shore, I know that the Lord is using this to connect us.

I hear your cries, your pain, your hurt, your confusion. I feel your sorrow and your longing for life within.

I want to remind you that you are not alone and you are not broken my beautiful friend. I pray that you will be blessed with the same peace that I’ve experienced. I am here with you mama and I know the Lord will see you through this, no matter how hard and yucky miscarriage may be. God is good always and always God is good.

I’m praying for all of the hearts that are hurting out there because I know there are so, so many.

Looking forward to sharing our journey of healing through this and getting our bods all baby ready. For when the time is right and the prep is done.

Lots of love my friend,

Justine

 

For more information on how to get your body ready for baby makin' and create a stress-less conception story, join our brand-new email list for posts on healthy eating + living, upcoming events and programs and more!

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Episode 37 | Finding Beauty in Miscarriage with Amanda Koch

Today we are honored to welcome our sweet friend and fellow Nutritional Therapist, Amanda Koch of My Well Balanced Life to the podcast. She’s a passionate real food lover, military wife, mama and a woman with a story of great loss and incredibly beautiful gain.

Amanda shares her story of multiple miscarriages and how her faith and the knowledge she gained from holistic practitioners changed her health and her journey in an incredible way.  Amanda opens her heart to share her story, not to talk about herself but to help other women through a difficult time in their lives and talk about a subject that maybe isn’t talked about that much.  

We chat both the emotional and physical stress of miscarriage, how her husband encouraged her through every step of the way and how nutrition and non-toxic living has played a huge role in her journey and beautiful family!

So for some of you listening, this may be a difficult episode to listen to and for some this may not exactly pertain to you.  But, chances are, everyone listening has known someone who has gone through this struggle or will know someone in the future, so we hope this is encouraging to everyone.

You will love Amanda’s genuine and heart-felt approach to the topic of miscarriage, so grab the tissue box and get ready to be encouraged today!

Read Amanda’s complete story of miscarriage and her rainbow baby.

Highlight Reel

04:20 | Amanda’s story of life and 7 miscarriages

10:20 | What kept Amanda going and out of bed, despite the pain

17:24 | Why she finally opened up about the real struggles

30:10 | How her husband supported through this intense loss

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