Monday, October 28, 2019

Healthy Babies Need Healthy Moms

I’ve partnered with the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)’s IBD Parenthood Project to bring you this blog post. 

If I’ve learned anything from motherhood, it’s that in order to raise a healthy baby, I needed to be a healthy mom first. My experience with pregnancy and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was relatively lucky, but everyone’s journey is different.  IBD Parenthood Project aims to address misperceptions and fears women with IBD and their health care providers experience throughout all phases of family planning (conception, pregnancy and after delivery). The projectbrings together all women regardless of how easy or difficult their journey is, and the resources are invaluable. Knowledge is power and the more informed we are, the more confident we can be with the decisions we make for ourselves and our children.

If you’re struggling with IBD, thinking about starting a family and don’t know where to start, I recommend visiting for their valuable resources. The resources have been wonderful for both me and my friend Abby, teaching us a thing or two! Abby Bales is a fellow ulcerative colitis patient, mom of two, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, runner, coach, wife, and mid-western gal living in New York City. She writes the blog Run Stronger Everyday, and she was one of the first (maybe the first) person I connected with after my ulcerative colitis diagnosis. Abby is an IBD advocate and extremely involved within the IBD community. She was – and continues to be – one of my go-to sources of support when it comes to navigating my disease. I am so thankful that she agreed to share her story here on Carrots ‘N’ Cake.  I hope you’ll learn something new from Abby’s experience. Please pass this story onto anyone you know who might benefit from IBD Parenthood Project resources.

Abby’s Story

I was saddened to learn that the percentage of women with IBD who are voluntarily childless is three times greater than the rest of the general population, and I can totally relate because I was hesitant to start a family as well. With a resource like IBD Parenthood Project, women with IBD can rest easy knowing that they have a supportive place to turn to when they have questions, concerns, or just want more information.

Hi there! My name is Abby Bales and I have ulcerative colitis. I mean, I have no colon NOW, but I still technically have the disease and carry all the risks with me to this day, 7 years after my colectomy. I’m also a mom of a 2-year-old and 5-year-old, a business owner, and a wife.

My story with IBD starts a little over 9 years ago, 6 months after my husband and I were married, 2 months before I was to go back to school for my pre-med, and 1 month before my 30th birthday.  I saw blood in my stool and due to a family history of colon cancer,  I demanded a colonoscopy from my gastroenterologist (GI), which ended up with a diagnosis of “mild colitis” that sent me running to an IBD specialist. I live in New York so there are plenty of specialty doctors available in the area; however, not everyone will have close access to IBD experts. But don’t worry IBD Parenthood Project developed a clinical care pathway that you can print and give to your doctor to read and help guide your care during family planning.  There is also a link on their site to help you find specialists in your area!

Lots of people newly diagnosed with IBD have tons of questions, I know I did. Among many of the questions I had for my doctor surrounding my diagnosis, testing, and proposed treatment was, “Would I be able to have kids?” I remember him so clearly saying, “We have a very fertile practice here…” He pointed to a wall that was full of pictures of the children of patients at the practice.

He told me about how the immune system can sometimes settle down during pregnancy and bring on remission or flare up and get worse with a growing baby. But he assured me that my specific medications  would be safe to use during pregnancy and we would tackle any uncertainties that might arise while my husband and I grew our family. As is the same for most IBD patients, I went through step therapy of treatments and drugs over the course of the next 2 years. Unfortunately, I was resistant to all medications. As a result, I was guided by my GI team to have a colectomy and a J-pouch surgery.

I felt defeated. I remember sobbing in the office with Dr. Bosworth’s PA letting me unload my fears onto her. Would I have to have a colostomy bag forever? If I did, would I be able to have children? Isn’t there a risk of infertility with an abdominal surgery so close to my uterus and fallopian tubes? Did I have to have a c-section with a J-pouch? Am I high risk pregnancy now? Will my babies be healthy? Will they have IBD too?

She told me in no uncertain terms that women with IBD, J-pouches, K-pouches, and permanent and temporary colostomy bags have successful, healthy pregnancies every single day. But I needed surgery if I was ever to be healthy enough to carry a pregnancy to term.

So, off I went and had the colectomy, recovered, started my program, had my ileo-anal anastomoses (J-pouch take-down), ran a half-marathon PR 7 months later, and was pregnant without any medical intervention 3 months after that. I felt like I had put my IBD behind me.

At 34 weeks pregnant with our son, I had a bowel obstruction and was hospitalized. They couldn’t explain the obstruction, decided to treat it conservatively and wait, and it eventually resolved itself. Crisis averted.

When discussing delivery options with my MFM Ob and Dr. Bosworth, we all agreed that, while I could attempt a vaginal delivery, I didn’t think I should. I am a pelvic health physical therapist, so my training and education pointed me toward a c-section right away. Also, I come from a family of people with large heads and wasn’t super excited by the prospect of having a giant baby  potentially tear my rectum and compromise my J-pouch. Were that to happened, I’d be whisked off the OR to repair the pouch and have my postpartum recovery further derailed by my own health. I wasn’t willing to take this chance and elected for the c-section.

On June 3, 2014, I was safely delivered of a son via c-section. Two years later, I was pregnant with our second baby and in a much more precarious position. Dr. Bosworth had moved his practice to NYU-Tisch Hospital as the Chief of Medicine, where I followed him like some crazy stalker, and thank goodness I did. Because at 16 weeks gestation with our daughter, I had another bowel obstruction.

Despite a complicated pregnancy involving multiple bowel obstructions and GI surgeon oversight, I was able to carry my daughter full term, deliver her via c-section, and then get down to the business of finding out why I kept getting sick, even after the babies were delivered.

After additional surgeries to resolve the cause of my constant bowel obstructions, I’m better than I was before. Better than I thought I could ever be. I’m back to running, to chasing my crazy monsters, to running my practice, to life.

People ask me all the time if I was scared to have surgery. At first, I really was. Everything about my disease felt unknown to me at every turn. I went from diagnosis to surgery in 2 years and felt isolated and alone much of that time. I didn’t know about and wasn’t able to fully take advantage of the support available then and the multitudes of support systems that have been created since through Girls With Guts, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (CCF), or the AGA IBD Parenthood Project. I feel like even my MFMs weren’t super familiar with my disease and surgeries back when I was pregnant. Now, I feel like every person I meet knows someone with IBD. I mean, there ARE 1.6 million of us and half of those are female, so it stands to reason everyone will know someone with IBD.

I want my story to be told and my voice to be heard. I want women to start the conversations with their obstetric providers and GIs and surgical team about fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum recovery sooner rather than later. I want women to know children won’t automatically get IBD from mom or dad, but it’s a combination of genetics and environment, not gestation or delivery method, that cause someone to develop the disease.

Most of all, I want all of us to continue to fight the stigma of the disease and keep lending our voices and efforts to finding more effective treatments and a cure. While we’re doing that, though, let’s also have babies.

The post Healthy Babies Need Healthy Moms appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.

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I Wanted To Get To the Root Cause

It’s Monday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Monday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Yup, success stories are back! And I’m looking for more. Follow-ups, mid-progress reflections—every story at every stage has the potential to inspire folks out there who are getting started or contemplating a new beginning. Contact me here to share your story—long or not so long. You never know who you’ll impact by doing it. Enjoy, everyone!

I was always interested in healthy food, exercising, and learning what I could do to look young and healthy. As a kid, our household was filled with veggies and we ate couscous, buckwheat, and a variety of salads, which were not that common back in the 90’s in Hungary. I also did athletics during elementary school and have loved running ever since. Still, I had times when I struggled with weight issues.

Honestly, I had no idea what was good for my body or how to listen to it.

I ate way healthier than my friends or people around me but still experienced digestive issues, bloating, and headaches quite frequently. It was hard for me to lose weight, but I thought to myself: this is part of life and I am just not lucky.

Then in 2014, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, which explained a lot of my symptoms. I visited many doctors, but did not get the answers I was looking for. They just told me to take thyroid hormones, saying it’s nothing serious and not to worry. But I wanted something more—an explanation why this happened to me.

I wanted to get to the root cause, so I started investigating and looking for information on the internet. That’s when I came across functional diagnostic nutrition and learned that besides my genetic predisposition, I contributed to my illness with my eating choices and my inability to handle stress well.

My love for this new information and how powerful our food choices are started to open my eyes and I wanted to learn even more. I realized that there are many people out there with similar issues who might not speak English and cannot read the books I had found.

I wanted to find a way to help them.

That’s when I started to search for schools that would give me the background in science I was looking for and came across the Primal Health Coach Institute.

I read reviews and contacted people who already had this certificate. I liked the fact that PHCI had a coaching aspect to their program as well. So, I jumped right in and loved the course very much. It was never a burden to sit down and learn, even after a long day of work.

After graduating in the fall of 2018, I created a 6-Week Lifestyle Change Program which could be adjusted to the needs of my clients. My goal is to make people aware of how primal living can help them feel and live better.

Carmen Fodróczy

Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook

Carmen’s listing in the Primal Health Coach Institute Directory


The post I Wanted To Get To the Root Cause appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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Double Birthday Weekend!

Three cakes, two birthdays, one fun weekend!

Friday night workout social

On Friday night I went to ACAC for a little social involving a double strength and cycle class. I had taken almost a week off of hard exercise and really needed a great sweat! We had a great time grooving to 80s music before showering and heading over to the Legwarmers concert!

Saturday sports

On Saturday morning the boys woke me up with a lovely rendition of happy birchday. Then Mazen led me on a very clever and complicated scavenger hunt he had been designing from 6-7am. It was very sweet with “jewels” and homemade necklaces at the end.

I took him to his soccer game after that, and he scored four goals!

I fit in a treadmill run while Birch napped and Thomas hit up the grocery store and then showered and got all ready for the afternoon. We were very lucky to have Nona come to watch the boys so we could do a little grown up celebrating at Blenheim Vineyards with some friends!

My birthday wish: wine and cheese with friends!

We had tasting flights and….

an epic Plenty Cville cheese board!!! My favorite: the brie with pumpkin butter.

Sarah brought a little cake and the world’s largest birthday candle. lol.

Family dinner at home

We decided to do a family night in instead of going out, and I requested that linguini with clams we did a while back. It was delicious!

Cake Surprise #2!

Thomas surprised me with a cake too, so we were all caked out by the end of the night! I loved the raspberry layers on this one.

The greatest gift of sleep

We went to bed at 9:30 and the boys didn’t wake up until 7. A miracle!!

Sunday sports

On Sunday we had smoothies for breakfast, tidied up the house, and after Birch’s nap we all went to the gym for a family sesh. Birch has been loving the train table in Kids Zone! And Mazen loves that we let him bring his iPad. Thomas and I did a couple’s workout, which was so nice. Soccer was cancelled due to soggy fields, and this was the next best thing.

We had a late lunch – little salads and leftover cheese board and then prepped the house for Birch’s birthday party!

Birch is having two birthday parties

Yesterday we had his family party, and next weekend we’ll be celebrating with some baby friends! It’s always nice to get the fam together.

Our bonus family came over for a little visit as well <3

Chili + Cornbread for dinner

Birch Themed Birthday Party!

Naturally Birch’s party was birch themed! His cake was from Vivi’s Cakes and Candy, formerly Sweethaus.  They did a great job on the birch theme. And the wood slice from our wedding keeps on giving!

I bought plates and napkins from Oriental Trading and paper straws from Amazon.

First Taste of Cake

I didn’t know how he would react to his slice. He didn’t really know how to pick it up at first, but once we helped him with a little taste he was all in!

The black “wood” frosting under the white was something I didn’t predict for photos, but his black mouth kind of fit the Halloween decor behind him : )

Clap clap if it’s your bday!

I’m actually exhausted after traveling, Birch coming down with a little cold, and then going right into a weekend of activities. I’m ready for a nice regular routine week!

The post Double Birthday Weekend! appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

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