the Not So Simple Steps of IVF

I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the process and how you have a baby through IVF. There are many steps you can take, many of them different, and it will range greatly from family to family. There are some basic steps although that everyone has to go through in this process, so I figured I would lay out what our journey is going to look like just to give people an idea.

As soon as you start IVF treatment, your body becomes a total science experiment! They take over your entire cycle, your hormones, and often control of your feelings, HAH.

Over the last 5 years, I’ve dreaded getting my period every month. It’s arrival meant no pregnancy for us again that cycle. For the first time in 5 years, I DID A HAPPY DANCE, high fived everyone at work, AND HAD MY VERY OWN PERIOD PARTY when I got home with my hubby! LOL. We made a yummy dinner and topped it off with cheesecake afterwards. When you start IVF, you take control of your cycle within a day of your period starting. For me, I was to start taking birth control on day 2 of my period, to start manipulating my cycle. Everyones may be different, but my prescription starts with 14 days on the pill. This helps your doctor start to take control of your cycle, and helps synchronize all the egg follicles to start at the same stage and growth. The pill “surpresses” the ovaries.

After the 14 days of the pill, I am to take 6 days off of it before starting my injections. Ooo, ahh, scary injections! That’s what I thought too, until they made me practice on myself at our orientation appt. Easy peasy, but yes, strange to stick yourself with a needle. I got to mix up some saline, practicing the process it will take to mix my medications and inject it into my stomach fat. My nurse is a really sweet, funny lady and she made me feel extra good when she told me I might have to sit down and lean over to be able to get enough of a “roll” to pinch and inject into. Thanks Carly ;)

After 6 days off of the pill, the injections start morning and night. My doctor prescribed specific medications that will most likely differ from clinic to clinic, but all have a similar affect. AM injection is one medication (in my case, Puregon) and PM is (Menopur). Menopur is a combination of the naturally occurring hormones FSH and LH, and stimulates my ovaries to produce eggs. Since egg production is my strong suit (my ovaries are full of them when we do the ultrasounds!) I am on a fairly low dose of this as to not OVERstimulate my ovaries. Puregon is a hormone that is very similar to our natural FSH, and helps these eggs to mature and become ready for release. I am to inject for 5 days before going in for bloodwork and an ultrasound.

The biggest worry or complication that could occur during this ovary stimulation stage for someone like myself is OHSS. Ovary Hyperstimulation syndrome. Because I naturally produce eggs abundantly, my ovaries will become very “full”. This will make me look very bloated, and probably receive the odd question if I am pregnant already or not. They say put the jeans away and pull out your Lulu’s! During this process I am to stay quiet, reduce any strenuous activity, no rigorous exercise, and no riding (sniff sniff) as it all runs risk of my ovaries starting to turn and twist, cutting their circulation off and causing a lot of internal damage. Imagine a water balloon blown up and you pinch the neck of it, the top of it and start twirling. The ends get twisted and pinched off quite easily due to the movement and if this happens to my ovaries it means surgery, ASAP, and destroys the entire plan.

ANYWAYS! If the bloodwork on day 5 shows I am just about, if not already, ready, we will then have an ultrasound the next day to see how my overflowing ovaries look, and in what shape/stage all my eggs are at. If they are mature and ready, I am to start a 3rd daily injection that prevents me from ovulating, in my case I’ll be adding Orgalutran along with my other morning hormones. The LAST thing we want my body to do is dump all these precious eggs it has been forming before we get in there to pull them out! I am then going to hop on the next flight down to Vancouver. If they are NOT ready, we will adjust my medication doses if need be and inject for a few more days before testing again. Once things reach their peak, down south we go.

Once in Vancouver, they will monitor me daily until my eggs are juuuuust right. Once the doctor calls and says I’m ready, I will be instructed to take a trigger shot. The trigger shot is a shot of the hCG hormone, and it stimulates the maturation of the follicles containing the eggs and triggers ovulation. This injection is timed TO THE MINUTE, and is taken late at night. Don’t screw this one up Kylie!

Once the trigger shot is administered, it’s a game of time. 36 hours after I give myself the shot we go in for the egg retrieval. Timing is very important with this phase because the egg retrieval must be preformed prior to the expected time of ovulation. Once the eggs are ovulated (as in the follicles they grow in burst and release them) they are no longer able to be retrieved. The day after the trigger shot I don’t inject anything (YAY!) and then the following day is egg retrieval.

The egg retrieval doesn’t sound very fun, but it’s a very exciting day for anyone going through this process. I will go in, hubby will do his thing so they have his sample, and I am sedated via IV and go in for my harvest. They stick a fun probe up you know where, and a tiny needle protrudes out the end, piercing through the side of my hoohaw and up into my ovaries. They watch on the screen as they pierce my ovary and poke into each follicle that is ready and waiting, sucking the egg out of each one. The goal is to have as many healthy, fully matured eggs retrieved as possible.

Next is the magic. They grade my eggs from A-C, grade his sperm in the same way, and place all the highest quality specimens into a petri dish together, and let them do their thing. In our case, my eggs and his sperm are not what was causing our infertility. I have lots of healthy eggs and his swimmers are fast and agile, so they should be able to do their thing on their own. In some fertility cases, it is due to slow or deformed swimmers (medications can cause deformed tails which prevents them from swimming well) so they end up needing a little help. If this is the case, eggs are fertilized using the ICSI method (don't know what that stands for, I’ll have to google it) and this is where they take one sperm and physically inject it into an egg. For us, they will allow our little ones to manage on their own.

The day after retrieval they will call us and let us know how many eggs were fertilized, and how many embryo’s we have. There’s a bit of a myth with IVF that they always place 2 embryo’s into the womb. Technology in this field is growing exponentially, and they consider twins high risk pregnancies, and my clinic specifically will only place 2 embryo’s in for special circumstances. For us, since we are young and healthy and could easily go through IVF again with high rate of success if we wanted more, we will only be placing one embryo inside, to reduce risk of a strenuous pregnancy on myself and baby. Once we are told how many we have, they will then grade them once again. A, B, C, and so on. They will always take the Grade A eggs (HAHA, makes me think of breakfast) and start with one of those for the first try (crossing my fingers we will only need one try!).

These embryo’s grow in their lab for approx 5 days, and on day 5 or 6 they do the fresh embryo transfer. After the egg retrieval day I start taking different medications to help prepare my uterus and body for the transfer and pregnancy. These are oral and, uh, hoohaw pills that help prepare. The hoohaw pills are progesterone pills that help you get, and stay, pregnant. This helps prepare and thicken my uterine lining for the day of the transfer, so that the embryo will attach and my body can maintain the pregnancy. Since the embryo’s are outside my body, I am not getting the natural hormone fluctuations to tell my body to prepare, hence the need for medication. The oral pills are estrogen tablets that help placental function, boosts blood flow to my uterus and primes my body for breastfeeding. In my case, I will be taking these for 8 weeks, so up to 2 months, after the embryo implantation.

After the embryo transfer day, we wait 2-3 weeks before going in for a pregnancy test! Crossing all fingers and toes things go as planned!

Throughout this process, it is a very emotional rollercoaster ride. Filling my body with prime amounts of hormones often turns on the crazy. Our nurse laughed and told Jesse to hide the knives, HAHA! Everyones experiences are different and our reactions to the medications vary, I’m thankful my doses are on the lower end, because A - our overall cost is less as you pay by dose and B- hopefully I won’t be too cray-cray (I HATE that term but thought it suited this sentence well, baha).

I am on day 2 of my birth control pill as I write this, so the ball is rolling and the excitement is building! I CAN’T WAIT!

Thanks for following along friends :)

Kylie

I Got Spayed Today.

Betcha I got your attention now!

Hang on, this is going to be a long one. I’ve had this in my head and on my heart for a loonnggg time, but honestly hate talking about it. I figured this would be the place I could dump it all and release the weight off my shoulders. Not many people know the extent of things, some do. As I’ve spent the last almost 5 years on this journey, I’ve come to realize not a lot of women DO like to talk about it, I completely understand why, but I think bottling things up and keeping it from the people around you can make it worse. Infertility is more common than you think, they say 1 in every 6 couples are suffering from infertility.

I got spayed today. Sitting in the prep room at the hospital, the 5th specialist I’ve seen but had yet to meet walked in to introduce herself before I went into the OR. Dr. Sadeghi was very kind, and brought more paperwork for us to sign. The original plan, go in and remove my right tube that was completely blocked, and take a look at the left one, with intentions to leave it so we could try and have kids naturally. She had reviewed my file and looked at my most recent HSG (Hysterosalpingogram, I still can hardly say it even though I’ve had two of them. They basically shove a tube up your hoohaw, into your uterus, and pump you full of a dye that travels up your tubes and out the ends of them, showing if they are open and clear when an x-ray is taken, or if they are dilated and restricted. It sounds fun, right? I am refusing to sugar coat anything as I type this, so I'll be honest, it’s terrible. and I’ve had two.)

She talked with us and explained the poor prognosis of the left tube. Even though the HSG showed it was more “clear” than the right side, there was no sign that it was still functioning. Imagine an inch worm, that couldn’t inch. Sure my ovaries could drop eggs into the tubes but if the tubes couldn’t pulse and move the egg down the lane, that inch worm was broken and about to get run over. I signed my life away, like any 27 year old female has to when they are about to go in and remove important lady parts, changing the course of their future permanently. They hooked me up to all the machines and had me walk myself into the OR.

Fast forward 4 hours and one real good sleep, and I woke up to a nurse pulling those super sexy cotton underwear they give you down off my waist, checking my bandages and all the good stuff down there. I have 3 incisions into my abdomen, two where they pulled the tubes and one right through my belly button, where they pumped me full of gas raising my entire belly during the surgery, giving them breathing room to work. A lot of tylenol and advil had me pretty comfy, it was surprisingly not that bad when I woke up. Pretty sure the first thing I asked, might have asked a few times even, was if she took both. I needed to know if the surgeon went in and removed both my tubes. The nurse smiled as she pulled my underwear back up (you give ZERO F’s when you wake up from a surgery like that, you wanna pull my underwear up and down for me? Fly at it sister) and said “yes, she took both tubes”.

BAM. I’ve been spayed (how my ever loving but sometimes crude husband called it, giggling, which thankfully made me giggle too in my delerious state). I now can never have children naturally. Let that sink in for a moment.

After an afternoon in recovery I was released to go back to the hotel. The weirdest thing when you stand up after being pumped full of gases, is that all the gas that didn’t escape as they closed things up, starts to travel. I could feel it rise as I stood. My shoulders started to ache, which they tell you can happen. As I moved around the hotel room I’d get random pinched nerves firing angrily as the air bubbles moved while I walked, creating pain in the most random areas. Sometimes my hips hurt, sometimes it hurts to take deep breaths, sometimes my shoulders ache. It’s kind of weird. I currently look like I am about 6 months pregnant, and feel like I have arthritis that travels as I do, LOL. (I can’t really laugh out loud as it would hurt too much, but you get what I mean)

Over the past 4.5, almost 5 years, I have seen 5 different specialists. I’ve had well over 30 blood tests, many of them monthly, revolving around my cycle. I’ve now gone through 6 different surgical procedures. I’ve had ultrasounds of ALL kinds (ones on the outside, AND inside, ugh). We’ve travelled to Vancouver 6 times in the last year for various appointments, not including all the trips back in the beginning to see Jesse’s specialist, when we thought we were chasing the right rabbit down the right hole. I’ve been poked, prodded, and have had waayy too many people looking up my hoohaw with bright lights and instruments for my liking. Yet, every single step we have already been through has been a necessary one, to get where we are wanting, hoping, to go.

Infertility is no joke. It will make you question every ounce of your being, every decision in your life. When Jesse and I got married back in 2014, Paisley had just turned 4. I joked that I was going to chuck my birth control into the ocean (relax my earth loving friends, it went in the garbage), so we could start trying. After about 6 months of no luck, we started wondering why things weren’t happening. Then we hit the year mark, and we started looking into what could be causing it. At that point I was only 23/24 years old. What could possibly not be working? I was young, super healthy, we hit the gym regularly, ate well, stayed active, had the horses and dogs and were always on the go. There was no infertility history in my direct blood family. I had never been sick, or had any pain, or previous infections. I refused to believe it was me that was the hold up. It had to be Jesse, and the new epilepsy medication he had been on, it had to be. It wasn’t me. Fast forward another 8 or so months, and we put him through all the tests we possibly could. Everything was normal, and as his doctor frankly put it, he was already proven. (My husband was a proven stud, hah!)

When the attention turned to me and my body, EVERYTHING changed. I was in denial for a lonngg time. They weren’t going to find anything. How could I be in my early 20’s and INFERTILE? How was my body not able to do the ONE THING is was naturally BUILT to do?? When infertility introduces itself into your life, you start to analyze EVERYTHING. I often would think back and say, I did everything right. My life hasn’t strayed far outside the “lines” that society has set for us to “stay within”. I graduated high school with really good grades (short of math, I hate math). I played several sports all through my highschool years staying active, fit and healthy. I left highschool and went straight to college, and was working a full time job in my career of choice before half of my classmates had even decided what they wanted to do with their lives. I met the love of my life, we got married, we were ready. Where did I go wrong? I watched girls I went to highschool with whom drank, smoked, weren’t physically active, slept with every other guy on every other weekend, get pregnant with men they were newly dating. Or even worse, get pregnant with random men they had a weekend fling with. I’ll be honest, because I said I wasn’t going to sugar coat anything, I had terrible, angry emotions towards those people. Why were they blessed with a new baby, many unplanned, while people like Jesse and I were desperate to see those two pink lines. How can they deserve a baby, but we don’t? When you read about a couples’ fertility journey, WHY ME is always the recurring question. Why, me. It was HARD seeing pregnancy announcements daily. I counted 6, SIX announcements one day on Facebook. I threw my phone across the room and walked away from it for the day. At my last job, I worked alongside my boss through two of her pregnancies, and during her second one, both one of our receptionists and one of the other assistants conceived as well. I was working beside four pregnant people for nearly a year. Talk about a kick to the gut, emotionally. It was HARD. The April fools pregnancy jokes, the questions from your friends and family about when you are planning on having a baby, all your friends around you growing and welcoming their new babes into the world. It goes on, and on, and on. Hell, there were nights we would pick a new movie to watch on Netflix and the main characters had fertility struggles! It just WOULDN’T GO AWAY. Everywhere I looked it was babies, babies and more babies. I tried hard to smile and be happy for everyone, and genuinely I was, but it was hard to put a smile on my face and “look” happy. Unless you have travelled this path, or a similar one, I don’t think the average person can say they relate, even if they think they can understand how you feel. No one truly knows the pain that comes with infertility unless they have experienced it first hand.

Once I accepted that nothing from my past had anything to do with this struggle, I mistakingly turned inside of myself. When you are with someone who has a child, and you can’t have one of your own, you can easily start to sabotage your marriage in your own mind. Not sure if Jesse will ever read this, if he does, I LOVE YOU BABE, but this is honestly how I felt in moments of this journey. It’s hard not to look inwards, and question your relationship. Were we not meant to be together, to have babies together? Is there some greater power pushing us apart, not allowing this to happen? Is there something in my body that is rejecting him? I know in the horse breeding world, there have been instances of mares not catching when bred to a certain stud, then catching the first time they were crossed on another stallion (yup, I just compared us to breeding stock horses, hah). Was my body rejecting something about us? Is there some other plan? If I had met someone else would I have been able to get pregnant? Or did I meet him because maybe I WON’T be able to have children, and him having Paisley was the closest I was ever going to get to being a parent? I dreaded that being the truth. I want a child of my own. A child with him. A child to love as my own, because if I’m honest, the love for a step child is different than the love of your own blood. Take that as you wish, a step parent LOVES their step child but it’s a DIFFERENT love. She didn’t come out of my hoohaw, I didn’t grow her all those months and I wasn’t there when she was welcomed into the world. The questions that ran through my head daily were not only defeating, but tiring. It took a long time for me to shake the negative mentality I allowed myself to fall into. Cue excessive use of my “Out Of The Darkness” essential oil roller daily on my wrists and over my heart (a blend from the I Am Fabulous book, if you don’t have it, you need it).

What I want you to know, if you are reading this and have gone through or are going through infertility issues, is to do your best to not look behind you, looking for something or someone to blame. This will create a toxic space in your head that is hard to escape from. The path before you on your fertility journey is going to be hard enough, so don’t waste any extra energy questioning WHY. Dive into any form of emotional healing that calls to you, whether that be meditation, prayer, essential oils, yoga, therapy. I don’t know where I would be at today if it wasn’t for my essential oils, my husband, and self help books.

There will be tears, there will be screaming, there will be break downs and there will be struggles. There will be days you wish you could stay in bed all day, the days you think you are depressed. There are days you oh so wish your period wasn’t coming, and then the next day you wish it would just end already. The biggest reason why I stayed quiet about the struggle, is because I couldn’t handle the questions. I knew that if my family and friends all knew, it would be a constant topic of conversation every family gathering. “So how are things going? Any updates? When is your next test? Are you needing more procedures? Why don’t you guys try this technique? Have you stood on your head after sex? I heard if you drink this kind of herbal tea, it will help you ovulate, improving your chances! Don’t eat this, eat extra that. Are you taking prenatals? If you can’t conceive, are you going to adopt? Aren’t you worried about Paisley getting older the longer this takes?” All those questions cue SPONTANEOUS tears. So I avoided them.

If I can make ONE suggestion to anyone reading this whom ISN’T going through their own fertility struggle, it is this. SUPPORT your loved ones if they are suffering through this. Don’t poke, don’t prod, don’t ask all the questions. I know that sounds harsh, and it’s hard to do as we know it’s simply because you care. We get that, I get that. But it is hard enough on the receiving end to have questions constantly thrown your way when you already have so many questions of your own, often without answers. If someone you know or love has felt comfortable enough with sharing their journey with you, just support them. Love on them. Offer to be there at any moment they need a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to listen. Tell them you are there for them as a friend, or a sister, or a mother, or a neighbour, and wish them the best. We understand when someone cares, they want to throw all the suggestions our way if they think it can help. But I’m going to tell you right now, if that person has been struggling with fertility for long enough, THEY WILL HAVE TRIED IT ALL ALREADY. I have done hand stands after sex. I have stood on my head. I have tried all the essential oils, all the vitamins, all the tea’s, all the hocus pocus stuff that I could find on the internet. True infertility is not a mental or spiritual thing. PLEASE don’t tell us to “just relax”, or “just try getting really drunk one night”, because you heard it worked for another friend of yours. It’s not that simple. Chances are that friend wasn’t actually infertile, it just took them a few months to get the timing right. I’ve peed on so many damn sticks to get tuned into that timing, plugged in dates and numbers and temperatures into pregnancy tracker apps. Gone for blood tests on top of all the pee tests to make sure I am in fact ovulating and when to time things. It’s not a mental thing. Infertility is when something PHYSICALLY is not right in our bodies, whether it be blocked and twisted tubes like myself, hormone imbalances, hostile uterus environment, the list goes on. Heaven forbid they also find abnormal cells and start treating you for cervical cancer (yup, that happened to me in the midst of all of this. Currently waiting on another biopsy to hopefully come back clear).

I finally wanted to open up about this because at the end of the day, you never know what someone is going through. BE KIND. Be kind to strangers, be kind to your friends, be kind to your family. We are all fighting struggles on the inside, some bigger than others, but they are struggles all the same. Some of us can hide it more easily than others, some wear their hearts on their sleeves. The fertility journey is a tough, uphill battle. I am sitting here, healthy and 27 years old, now without my fallopian tubes, knowing that it’s going to cost my little family upwards of $20,000 to have A baby. I’ve gone through so many hurdles already, and have so many more to get through…but I will tell you right now, I haven’t come this far to quit! I am headed to sleep in my own bed tonight, with some fresh new battle scars that come with yet another story to tell, about this latest step in the journey Jesse and I have been, and continue, to be on.

Goodnight friends!

TBO #3 - the POWER of positivity

It's Sunday and it's SUNNY you guys! This spring has sucked a big one in the weather department. And man can that affect your mood. I went for a massage last week, and as I sat in her little waiting area surrounded by oils, crystals, stones and affirmations, a little deck of cards caught my eye on the table beside me. I have never been one to really go for the whole "card reading" thing, but I won't deny that it sparks my interest sometimes when they seem to align in some crazy way with what is actually going on. These ones were called " Crazy Sexy Love Notes", that doesn't sound very witch crafty right? I won't pull one of these things and it freak me out with some "out there" prediction of my life... right? 

The cute design and colors sucked me in (advertising 1, Kylie 0). I shuffled the cards, like 5 times, because if I'm going to pull one of these things then it better be in a completely random order. I shuffled and shuffled, then fanned them out in front of me. Either I suck at handling cards, or I was meant to pull the one I did, no one will ever know (I actually suck at handling cards, but I prefer the latter). I scanned through the cards based on the corner of each that I could see, but one caught my eye that was about a third uncovered. I could see the title and picture more so than any of the others. It said "You are Healing".

Okay deck o' cards, you got me on this one. If any of you read my last blog post you will know how much those 3 words on that card pertained to my life as it sits. Check the picture I shared above to read what the card had to say <3 

What was interesting though, was as I pulled out the "You are Healing" card, another one fell from the deck and hit the floor. I picked it up and all it said was "Decide". I felt compelled to pick that one up and flip it over to see what it had to say as well. Obviously I was meant to read it, it literally threw itself from the deck when I chose a different one, LOL. What was I needing to decide on? I had a few things in my mind that I guessed I could make a decision on.. a few were in all honesty terrible decisions that I thought I needed to make a decision about. In all reality, I was just in a very negative state of mind and thought those were legit issues within my life, and NOT actual things I needed to change. Then as I sat there thinking about what I thought I needed help deciding on, I realized I was allowing my mind to sit in this terribly negative space, about all the things I wanted to change in my life. I started picking apart GOOD things to find the negatives, thinking maybe that is what I needed to make a change about.

Then it was like a light bulb went off. I need to decide on NOT ALLOWING MY MIND TO ENTER NEGATIVE SPACE.

To NOT search for the negatives in every situation I found myself in, to NOT let the negatives take over more space then the positives. This morning as I sat wanting to blog, I CURSED the sun shining through my windows for showing me how dirty my floors were (thanks to the litter of pups we have right now, there are little footy prints allll over the hardwood). Then I thought, what the hell is wrong with me? I LOVE the sun, we've been NEEDING the sun, it's like 10 degree's outside and it's not even noon yet, and here I am CURSING THE SUN because it's shining down through the window and hitting the floor at just the right angle. Those little prints are thanks to a healthy, stunning, beautiful litter of pups cruising around my house at our feet all day. They fill our life with love and excitement for the short time they are here then they get to go on and light up 6 other peoples lives for the rest of their days. What the hell was I to be upset about!?

I decided I needed to make a change in the space I allow my mind to operate in. This year so far has beat me up pretty badly, in more ways than I even talk about publicly, and I've been finding myself in a very, very negative space. I've been picking out all the flaws in every aspect of my life as of late, and it's been a TERRIBLE place to be in. If all you do is sit in a negative mind space, those negatives will end up coming to fruition. Call me crazy, and call me cliche, but I've never realized how true that statement was until recently. If you sit there and focus on all the bad, MORE bad is going to occur in your life as that is the type of energy you are attracting. 

Instead of waking up this morning and thinking "ugh, I have so much to do today and it's my last day off before the work week", which was my initial thought, I decided to open the patio door in the bedroom and think "it's a BEAUTIFUL day outside today, the sun is shining, I can't wait to tidy up the house with the front door and windows open to let in all the warmth and fresh air". It is way easier to let negative things slip from your lips then positive, I know. About life, about other people, about your situation. I won't say I've been flawless in my decision to change so far, but every time I feel myself thinking negatively about something, ANYTHING, I immediately stop myself and look for the good. You will start to notice a shift in how you feel when you do this. Your heart will feel lighter, and your mind starts to clear. I promise you this. Instead of looking at your husband and picking out his flaws when he annoys you, look at him and think to yourself how lucky you are to have someone who supports you the way he does, and look at the life you've built together, and how GOOD things are right now. (I had to do this literally yesterday guys... MEN, lol!). They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. (I don't know who they are though). They don't often say how long it takes to destroy a bad habit, but I know it's going to take a little while for this to truly make a shift in my brain. I'm excited that I'm on the path to get there. 

I will mention that the biggest difference I've noticed it in so far is with my horses. After losing the 3 I did this spring, all 3 tragically and out of anyones greater control, I was in a terrible place about what I wanted to do from here out. Instead of being upset, I decided to be THANKFUL. I decided to dedicate more of my time to my horses, because I'll admit I was slipping away from them a little bit this winter/spring. When I entered my first barrel race and my gelding put down a nice run for me to start the season, I was THANKFUL for him. I decided to share the video, and in my blurb thanked him for taking care of me, thanked him for knowing what I needed, and thanked him for putting a smile on my face. Obviously my horse isn't on Facebook and isn't going to read that, but it felt so good to write and send out into the univserse. We've raced a few times since, and each run has honestly been smooth and pretty, clocking well amongst some nice horses, and progressively getting better. And as I sit waiting for my turn, I think about how thankful I am to be left with the horses I have. How thankful I am for how fun my boy is making barrel racing for me right now. And after each run, even if I don't take home any money, I give my boy a big kiss on the forehead, a face hug (because he loves those) and thank him for doing a good job for me. He could care less about those 3 barrels or how fast he goes around them, he is doing this for me, because I am asking him to. Guys, I feel SO GOOD going into this season, probably the best I ever have, and all after losing 3...THREE!!!!!! of my babies within the last few months. I never guessed this is the way things would go. At first I was questioning how I was even going to get out this season, and almost bailed out more than once on my drive into town to head to that first jackpot! I've decided to ENJOY barrel racing again, to enjoy my horses, to not look at the frustrating aspects of what has happened and what can happen, to not get down when a run doens't go my way or I'm not where I think I need to be. To stop COMPARING. To stop being sad. It's made the world of a difference so far, although the season has just barely begun. I am excited about things again, and I think my boy feels the good vibes and love and it's been reflecting in our runs. For that, I am so thankful. 

If we spend time in bad spaces, we automatically attract bad energies. Which in turn only brings more difficulties and obstacles in our lives, whether they be physical or mental, without us even realizing it. This needs to come into effect in every aspect of our lives for a change to be truly made. It couldn't be more suiting that the cards I pulled that day opened up a whole new way of thinking for me, who would have thought one simple word "Decide" could cause such a ripple effect for me. And how ironic is it that I sat in negative space after pulling that card thinking about the BAD in things so I could "decide" on a change, before realizing THAT was what I needed to decide on, the space I was allowing myself and my mind to sit in! 

Hope this little sesh has helped bring some light to you and your day, and maybe put the bug in your ear that our minds are more powerful than we think! So make your thoughts powerful! 

Needless to say, that deck of cards came home with me ;)

Hugs and love guys!  

 

 

The series of Unfortunate events 2018 - oils and emotions

Gosh guys, it's been almost two months since my last blog post. A LOT has happened in these past two months. I had to take a step back from the world for a little while, and focus on me for once. In a nutshell, I've lost three horses in the past two months. Anyone who knows me knows that I live and breathe for my horses (and family, and dogs, and oils of course too!) but my horses are my pride and joy. I lost my stallion first, he wasn't just any ol' breeding stallion either. I know if your here you might not be wanting to listen to me talk about my horses but holy smokes I've been struggling. I had shipped him up from over 1600 miles away when he was just a yearling. He was this scrawny looking colt that my hubby found with bloodlines that were hard to find. CT was like a dog around here. We raised him to be kind, respectful and gentle. Our daughter could and would go out in his pen at any given time for pets, she would lead him around the yard, go up and kiss him on his cheek while he napped. He was a total sweetheart, so loving, just wanted to be with you, and was my heart horse. He gave us a beautiful filly in 2017, the start of my dreams of breeding, raising and training my own line of performance horses. Now if your still here reading, I applaud you, as if your not an animal person this probably got offly dry offly fast! We lost him after fighting a battle we couldn't win for 5 days. His last two days were spent down in a stall at the vets where we could keep him comfortable but eventually had to make the call. I cut off a chunk of his hair before he left me, and plan to have some pieces made in his memory. This took the winds out of my sails almost completely after he was gone. He had just recovered from an injury and I was planning on debuting him for his first year on the road traveling and competing. I had poured thousands into him raising him up, getting him broke and trained, and countless hours in the saddle since he was a colt to get him where he was at that point. All to lose him. I reached deep into my oils for support. That night I lost him I completely shut down. Came home, climbed in the bath, adding some Frankincense (it's a high vibration oil, helping a person get out of their own mind and move into a better space with their spirit or center of consciousness) as well as doTERRA's Balance blend (helps to promote tranquility while bringing harmony to the mind and body, and balance to the emotions) in some epsom salts and soaked for several hours in silence. For the next few days I diffused a similar combo, adding Arborvitae which promotes well being and gave the house a rich woody scent. I'm thankful for my hubby, he loved on me but gave me my space. Sometimes when your suffering others try to pour more emotion into you and smother in hopes to suppress the negative feelings, when in all reality we need to be able to release those and not bury them inside somewhere.

Fast forward a month and a bit down the road. I had a beautiful mare I had purchased the year before that I had bred to CT for one sweet cross, and was looking forward to the arrival of that foal since I had just lost it's sire. I really liked this mare, she was sweet and kind like CT was and I had high hopes for the baby she was making for me. She started showing signs that things were progressing and it was going to be any day at that point. I moved her inside so she was out of the elements (our spring has been TERRIBLE in Prince George, we still have several feet of snow and freezing temps overnight and it's past Easter!) so she could foal out comfortably. After a few days of no changes, I called the vet out to do an exam and see how far away baby was. To make this already long story a little shorter, upon examination the baby had been lost. When Jody went in she could feel it was stuck, very stuck, and she couldn't get it to budge in any other direction. It was coming out all 4 feet first, so was completely misaligned, and had gotten itself wedged before even entering the birth canal. She guessed the foal had been dead for at least a week based on what she could feel. It was decided to remove it, and try to save the mare before any more damage was done. Unfortunately, he was a sweet little bay colt, with a big white star, that looked JUST like his late sire. That broke my heart all over again, it was like having a baby CT at my fingertips but never having the chance to meet him. After further investigation, we found a lot of internal damage to poor Holly. The colt had punctured her uterus and caused a lot of havoc while stuck, injuries that only major surgery could possibly hope to fix. She would never be a mom again, and if she recovered would have serious organ issues for the rest of her life. We decided to put her out of her pain and suffering at that point as well.

So here I was, so anxiously awaiting this baby, hoping it could fill the hole in my heart that it's daddy had just left, and I didn't even get the chance to kiss it's sweet little nose when it took its first breathe. Then to lose that sweet Holly mare was the straw that broke the camels back. I went into a deep dark place mentally. It sure didn't look it on the outside, I got a lot of comments on "how well I was doing!" on a regular basis, but I was suffering, and still am. Cue more oils. I reached for my Peace blend, and carried that roller with me everywhere I went. On my wrists, on my chest, on my feet morning and night. I needed some help to bring peace back to my heart, as my hopes and dreams, two generations of it, had been torn from me. Vetiver was in my baths, and in my truck for the drive into work every morning. Vetiver is SO grounding, and when emotions are at an all time high, I find it helps me greatly bringing my mind back to where it needs to be.

It's incredible what these little bottles of plant magic can do for our emotional health. It is so easy to use them for physical ailments and forget about the powers they possess to help us in times of need. A few of my favorite resources for emotions and oils is the "Emotions and Essential Oils" book you can get from My Essential Business. Another one I've been snooping around is the "Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils" that you can find on Amazon. I hope that this post wasn't dry and boring, I'm sure it was for some, but I had to put it down in font for some reason, so here we are a few weeks after the loss of Holly and her colt, getting better by the day and loving on everything these oils can do.

Hugs and love friends!

TBO #3- What to look for in an Essential Oil company, why doTERRA?

Lets talk essential oils and how one goes about choosing an essential oil brand to use. There are a multitude of companies out there dipping their toes into the EO market, but why? Big box stores have no interest in where their oils come from or how they got there, but they are lining their shelves with them and jumping on the bandwagon of “natural living” that seems to be sweeping the nation.

This is why it is extremely important that we, the health-conscious consumers, carefully select which brand we use, as not all oils are created the same. Below are some key points I like to give others when they ask what to look for in an essential oil, and its company.

A)    Sourcing. When looking at an essential oil, the sourcing is incredibly important. My favorite analogy is this, here in Canada we could maybe grow a banana tree…  but you and I can both agree that it will not be the same nutrient rich, deliciously flavored fruit as it would be grown down South in its native thriving habitat down in, say, the Caribbean. Just because the plant CAN grow here, doesn’t mean it necessarily should.

The reason why I chose doTERRA was mainly due to their sourcing. Many essential oil companies either a) grow their plants in large mass-produced crops in the united states or wherever they are operating,  b) source their plants through third party growers with no knowledge of the plants life cyce, or c) purchasing their bulk oils through brokers, so truly not having any idea where or what their oil came from. This is what sets doTERRA apart.

Through their Co-Impact Sourcing initiative, doTERRA finds wherever in the world a plant grows indigenously, so wherever it grows abundantly, naturally. Once they find a large enough source suitable to serve their needs, they establish long-term, mutually beneficial supplier partnership and in the process, creating sustainable jobs and provide an income to local farmers and workers.

doTERRA has over 100 essential oils in its product line and sources oils from over 40 different countries, of which more than half could be considered developing countries.

On top of this incredible sourcing model, doTERRA’s Healing Hands Foundation provides funding and resources to create community-based projects to improve the lives of the larger communities. Past projects include building medical clinics, installing drinking water and irrigation systems and building schools.

 

B)    Testing. Besides quality sourcing, proper testing and analysis is crucial in the world of essential oils. The purity of an essential oil is its most important characteristic! An essential oil that isn’t pure, and proven to be pure (fancy labeling saying its 100% pure means nothing unless they have the results to back it up!) means you run the risk of putting not only germs, but possibly heavy metals, and or adulterants onto or into your body. Due to no accepted standard for essential oils, this is when we see sensitivity, reactions and even sickness due to use of oils that haven’t been thoroughly tested, if they were even tested at all (hello Dollar Store, Craft Store, Grocery store oils!).

Some of the BASIC and important tests essential oils should be put through before bottling include:

  • Microbial testing
  • Gas Chromatography testing
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Heavy Metal testing
  • Organoleptic testing
  • Chirality testing
  • Isotopic analysis
  • (to read more on what each of these tests are for, visit https://www.doterra.com/US/en/cptg-testing-process to learn about each and save the length of this blog post!)

“Historically, gas chromatography was sufficient to identify individual components in an essential oil. However, as more sophisticated methods for developing synthetic essential oil products formed, further validation methods were needed. Over time, additional testing methods such as mass spectroscopy, chiral analysis, FTIR Scan, carbon isotope analysis and others have been developed to more accurately identify each individual essential oil constituent.” doTERRA on testing

These tests provide us a wealth of information on not only what an oil should smell, look and feel like, but also give us information on the chemical constituents of an oil, and its purity. When researching an essential oil brand, the first thing I look for is TESTING. If a company does not have complete transparency about their testing, I walk the other way. I want to be able to find, easily from their website, the list of tests they run their oils through, as well as the option to view the results of these tests. A company who keeps their testing protocol and/or results private and decline public access is a red flag company to me. Or a company who cannot provide proof of ANY testing ?I walk away from them as well.

This is why I LOVE doTERRA. Our Source to You website allows you to enter the lot number on the bottom of any doTERRA oil into their database and they will provide you full disclosure of all testing results done on said batch. Can’t get much more transparent then that! If you are using a product on not only you,  but your family and kiddo’s as well, don’t you want and deserve to know EXACTLY what is in it?

 doTERRA created its own testing process CPTG , standing for Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®. This process certifies that there are no added fillers, synthetic ingredients, or harmful contaminants in their essential oils. doTERRA even goes a step further, putting all their products and the packaging through a whole host of tests to ensure a long and effective shelf-life. This protocol ensures potency, purity, and consistency batch to batch.

Sourcing and testing are the two big hitters when it comes to choosing an essential oil brand. I also like to look at the company as a whole. Are they just about marketing and selling their products, or are they working to better the world around them? Our healthcare industry is in a deep spiral due to the large pharmaceuticals cranking out all these medications, many of them I believe personally causing more harm then good in most cases. They then are paying large corporations to market these drugs in turn putting them in the hands of the public, many whom are just trying to find a way to live a normal, healthy lifestyle. The opiod crisis is real, the frequency of overdose is staggering, and the fact that money is the driving force behind many of these medications is scary. I am a BIG believer that our body has the power to heal itself, but it needs to be given the right tools to do so. Essential oils come from nature. Nature in itself can provide incredible ways to heal, regenerate and protect itself from outside threats. Our bodies, in my opinion, are the same. If we limit the harmful outside threats the stronger we will be internally. If we find we are having to defend ourselves from one of these threats, don’t you want to do it as naturally and safely as possible? Without the use of harmful synthetic compounds?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for modern medicine and all the technological advances our healthcare system has made throughout the last century. Modern medicine has saved me and my overall health during some very trying times of my own in the recent past, and I believe there is a time and place when we DO need to seek medical attention of course. BUT, if we can incorporate natural substitutes in place of the common everyday synthetics we normally use, are we not giving our bodies the best possible chance to NOT require modern intervention? If we can fill our bodies with nutritious whole foods, provide quality supplementation to make up for anything we are lacking in our diet, and reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals, additives and synthetics, I truly believe we can live a higher quality of life. If essential oils can help provide us just that, why wouldn’t I want to shout from the rooftops that there are better ways to support ourselves and share the beautiful natural plant magic that these little bottles can provide us! 

Thanks for willingly reading the rant I went on above, but this topic is soo important to me and I feel it's a very common question out there in regards to the ever growing essential oil revolution we are finding ourselves in!

Hope you all aren't under 3 feet of snow like we are over here in BC! I've been wading through chest deep snow drifts to get to my horses since our snowpocalypse hit us a few days ago. Praying for spring over here! 

Hugs and love guys, Kylie

TBO #2 - Life balance

I've been asked a lot lately from other momma's, biz owners and fellow entrepreneurs how to do all the things. All the things that life, work and running your own business entails and how I still manage time with my family. First of all, key words there, manage time. I'll admit I used to live on my phone the moment I was off work, coaching my builders, answering questions, following leads, engaging my cold market, and the list goes on. It put stress on my kiddo and hubby, they were getting sick of me always having my phone in my back pocket. 

I've realized time is worth a lot more then one would think! This balance can be extremely difficult, but with the right tools, we all can be successful AND still enjoy downtime with friends and family. 

What I've learned is this. 

Set yourself up with time slots that you dedicate certain things to. I work 4 days a week in my "regular" career in the dental industry, so am up way before anyone else in the house and leave home right as they are waking up. So the night before, I make sure my kiddos bag is packed for school, her lunch is made, and all Dad has to do in the morning is make sure she goes to school dressed and in a coat 🙌 my mornings are me time, my routine is very minimal as I don't have a lot of personal "prep" to do so I guess that's a bonus, but I will answer questions I may have gotten late night after I had gone to bed, if I have something to post for the day I try to do it first thing so it's there and available when the rest of the world wakes up. I login and check my org and see where my tribe is and how close I am to my next move. Then I climb in my truck, turn on my favourite podcast and head into town. 

Fast forward to the evening. When you come home, how many of you are on your phone, or computer the moment you step in the door? 🤚 guilty as charged. I was terrible for this. Now, when I get home (if I get home before everyone else which is rarely but sometimes) I will do whatever work I can UNTIL those two walk in the door. Then, phone gets put down until bedtime. Between 430-8, it's family time. Now granted, I am still working on this and still find myself answering messages during these hours, but I'm getting better at it! I get dinner made, we sit at the table and eat together, usually go downstairs and fire out a few practice runs of Pais gymnastics routine, finish up any homework and practice spelling words, then get ready for bed.  Once she's in bed, hubby gets comfy on the couch and I sit at the laptop, often beside him, and take care of whatever my business needed from me for that day. I'll love on my team, answer questions best I can if my girls need help, respond to outside leads who may be quizzing me on enrolment details or looking for introductory information. Hubby knows that this business takes time, and effort, and having a partner who understands this is crucial. Now, I'll admit he wasn't always like this until those sweet paychecks started coming in and he realized this was actually a thing 😉

Of course, every day is different from the last, and sometimes exceptions need to be made. When I get in a bulk order of roller balls or find myself stuck in a mound of teaching literature that I need to seperate and get organized so I can deliver to my team, I'll admit I start before 8PM bedtime. But, instead of locking myself in my office and leaving everyone else in the house to do their own thing, I'll spread it out on the kitchen table, and incorporate my family into my task. One of the greatest struggle a Mom who runs her own business will feel heavy about is the time it takes away from her kids. Even though we are chasing the dream of being home 24/7 for them, and for many that's what this is all about, it can still make you feel guilty for maybe not sitting on the floor with them to okay Barbie's or cars for half an hour before bed. So what I do when I find my time is being demanded a little extra by my biz? I include Paisley in it. Last night I had a ton of tear pads and sheets from a bulk order of learning resources I had to go through and organize into everyone's individual orders. So, Pai grabbed a marker, and excitedly helped me label everyone's packages. I wrote out all the names and she wrote, ever so carefully, everyone's names on their bags and took great pride in her work. She helped me stack and organize the pads by their names, she loved reading everyone's orders and figuring out what went where, and her and I spent a solid half hour together before bed serving my biz AND spending time together. I thanked her endlessly for her help, complimented her on her neat riding, and  made sure she knew how much I appreciated her gesture of really wanting to help. What's really neat is not only does this help teach her simple life skills BUT it also shows her the value to what I'm doing. She loves to tell people we meet that I help people live a healthier life, she thinks it's so cool that I get to "teach" about oils, that I have an oil family that she is a part of too. She takes pride in my doTERRA business, heck she knows most of the ranks in order off the top of her head, LOL. She shares my vision of being Diamond one day (she's 8, not sure if she really understands what that truly entails but I can't wait for the day she finds out!)

. I hope this post didn't get away from the original conversation but I just wanted to share how I find that balance in my work life and home life, without putting any certain thing aside to make room for the other. Everyone's story and day will look different, but if you value your time and actually delegate when and where you will spend your energy, you will find you have a lot more of it at the end of your day. 😊

Hugs and love friends 💜 

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TBO #1


 

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Numero UNO! 

Eeek, here she goes, my first blog post! I'll admit I thought it would be somewhat romantic, you know sitting on my porch drinking a coffee watching the horses graze (who am I kidding, it's January in Canada, so dead of winter) or in a bubble bath with a glass of wine (the really cheap white girl wine as that's the only wine I'll drink HAH!). But no, here I am in the Triple O's parking lot mowing down a lettuce burger after work because I've got a last minute oil class starting in an hour 😅 (there may or may not be yam fries in the cup holder)

I wanted to hop on here real quick and just recognize my team. 8 months ago I started this business with a vision, a vision of great change and prosperity in not only my own life but everyone I met along the way. I'm so thankful to have met the girls that I now call my friends and dōsisters. One of my builders messaged me yesterday asking if I could sub in for her class the next day (tonight) because her sweet little princess made her way into the world a little early! Of course I jumped in and said of course, not to worry I'll handle it. What's really cool is the lady hosting is someone I personally sampled before I had even 5 people on my team! Now here I am, full circle hosting a class for her months and months later because she's fallen in love with the oils and is a family friend of one of my top builders 🙏  my builder completely trusted me to step in and help her knowing all her guests would be in good hands and any enrolments that came from this class would go right on her front line. And you know what's cool? I know in a heart beat she'd do the same for me. The family that Team Discover is and is growing to be is so important to me, and as I sit here stuffing my face knowing I'm not going to make it home until well after 8 tonight I wouldn't trade it for the world. The effort and love these girls are pouring into their little teams which in turn become part of our greater family is inspiring. If that baby hadn't have made her appearance my girl Christy would be there a million weeks pregnant ready to fill that living room with love! I don't have time to reread this so hopefully it makes sense, but I'm just super thankful for all my girls right now and all they are pouring into their dōTERRA businesses and the greater good. Sharing our oily love one family at a time and being there for eachother is all I could ever ask for 💜 here's to you girls!