Foreverly a Miracle

This is a story of heartbreak. But also one of hope. My journey to motherhood was fraught with challenge from the start, but actually giving birth and accepting the reality of our daughter was much, much harder. It has taken me over a year to piece this story together. Much of it is still raw, painful and on-going.  It is still very difficult to share this information without breaking down.

Disclaimer: there is some sensitive material in this story, some of which I have shielded from friends who became pregnant after me. If you are currently pregnant and reading this, I just want to warn you that this post might cause some anxiety and fear.


Baker

One-derlust: A Year of Travel

By the time Everly turns one year old, she will have taken 21 flights! That includes layovers, of course, but she has spent at least 10 weeks of her short life traveling the world.

I decided to write this blog post because I’ve had a number of people ask how we managed to travel so frequently and with only carry-on luggage during Everly’s first year of life.


9 month journey

A New Respect: My Postpartum Body

Before I got pregnant, I assume I was like many women--I imagined what it would be like to be pregnant. I visualized my belly rounding and expanding, and all of the terrifying and wonderful things that would come with growing a human inside of me. Even years of infertility couldn't quell my great curiosity with pregnancy.


Taking it easy in-land: 5 days in Girona and La Bisbal d’Empordà, Spain

We almost didn't make the trek in-land on this road trip because our main draw to Spain was the coast. But as I was doing my research about the Costa Brava, the city of Girona kept coming up. Ultimately, I couldn't not put it into our itinerary, and so we tacked it onto the end of our trip. And, because we have learned that traveling with an infant can be exhausting, we decided to spend our last three nights relaxing in a palatial resort in nearby La Bisbal. These last stops on our Spanish trip felt so different from the rest of our travels that I wanted to make it a separate blog post.


Braving the Costa Brava with a Baby: a 10 day itinerary

There is shockingly little information to find on blogs or tour books about this small expanse of Spain's northeast coast. I worried and hummed and hawed about if this was the right choice for us. But in the end, it was more beautiful than all of our expectations, and I couldn't recommend it more--with or without a baby!

This post is dedicated to our itinerary and road trip, including notable lodging, restaurants, and baby-friendly activities.


Baby Does Mexico

Travel with a newborn. When Everly turned three months old, we somewhat ambitiously (read: somewhat foolishly) embarked on even more new territory. We decided to take Baby to Mexico.

My husband and I have a shared love of travel and have been fortunate to have seen 17 countries in the past six years. We knew that if we were lucky enough to have a child that we would still do our best to see the world with a baby in tow.


Welcome to the World

I hope there will come a time when I share the details of Everly's birth story. It was simultaneously the best and hardest experience of my life, filled with complications and difficulties. At the end of the 11 day hospital stint, we managed to come home in time for Christmas with our miracle daughter: Everly Brook Bardon.


Maternity Photos

The third and final trimester.

In many ways, I felt derailed in my third trimester. All at once, my pregnancy had become high risk, and we were told to expect an early delivery--as early as 24 weeks. Instead of growing into my bump with hopeful anticipation, I spent the last three months fearfully monitoring my baby's growth.


My second trimester – summer bliss and a serious scare

Even though I didn't experience an iota of morning sickness during my first trimester, the first three months of pregnancy were still fraught with aches, pains, and fatigue.  I found it hard to believe that I'd find any respite come 14 weeks, but sure enough, things turned a dramatic corner once the second trimester arrived.  Beginning at 15 weeks, I found myself with renewed energy, life and purpose.


Stepping back in time: Stari Grad, Hvar Island

When we first announced that we were going to Croatia for our babymoon, all of our friends who had visited before told us that the best way to see the country is via boat.  While we didn’t think hiring a yacht would be the right sort of vacation for our babymoon (or in our price range!), we did prioritize some island hopping from Split to the famed island of Hvar.


Babymooning in Croatia

Robin and I have spent the last several years traveling around the same times each year, due to my teacher schedule and his flexibility as a real estate agent. We knew we wanted to head to Tel Aviv for our friend’s wedding this summer, but we were waiting on the progress of our pregnancy before we booked anything. When we got the go-ahead to travel internationally, I started looking at European destinations that would suit our tastes, keeping in mind that I would be near the end of my second trimester.


Prenatal yoga shoot

When my photographer friend Sam asked me if I was up for a yoga shoot this July, I sheepishly replied, "Only if you're interested in shooting a prenatal one.  I totally understand if that doesn't work for you!"  I wrongly assumed that he wouldn't want to collaborate with me because I my body had already changed a lot, and my yoga practice was slowly but surely becoming slower and less dramatic.

When he was super enthusiastic about the prospect, I had to give myself a pep talk.  I was nervous about what I'd wear (and what I could still fit into!) and if I'd be comfortable showing my growing belly.


My first trimester — learning to say “I’m pregnant”

When I was younger, I used to daydream about becoming pregnant "one day."  I wondered what it might feel like to grow a human inside of me, what sort of maternity clothes I'd wear, what names I'd want to give my future children ...  As a young adult, it never occurred to me that I might be infertile, that none of these daydreams were likely to become reality.


Trying to conceive how we managed to conceive

I was 24 years old when I was first told that motherhood might not be in the cards for me.  I had gone into emergency surgery for what the doctors thought was a rupturing appendix.  What they actually discovered was endometriosis -- a menstrual condition accompanied by the following advice: "You should start thinking about children in the near future.  It might be difficult for you to get pregnant after the age of 30."


Friendship in the Age of Instagram

When I first started my Instagram yoga account, I didn't expect to form meaningful, lasting friendships.  Perhaps like most people, I was skeptical if this platform could foster genuine relationships.  When I began participating in yoga challenges, I started to see how friendships could be formed, but I was still a little hesitant to "put myself out there" in the virtual world.  I even felt a little embarrassed to call the yogis I met on IG "friends."

As time went on, I began to interact with a few yogis more regularly, and I'll never forget the day I found Su.  I had made a post about recovering from my Achille's tendon rupture, using some kind of #achillestendon hashtag.  Out of curiosity, I clicked on it, and it wasn't long before I had discovered Su, a fellow Achille's-injured-yogi, beginning her road to recovery.


The Good Life: Under the Tuscan Sun

"Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast." - William Shakespeare, from Romeo and Juliet

After battling the crowds and heat for two days in Florence, we rented a car for the most relaxing stretch of our honeymoon: Tuscany.  It was finally time to take things slow, to really savour the beauty around us and acknowledge that we were doing it together. 

This was the part of the trip I was most looking forward to: stretches of golden hills, picturesque wineries (not to mention the wine itself!), gastronomic riches, and life at a slower pace.  Tuscany did not disappoint, and I can see why it has become a major destination in Italy.  For a sense of the serenity-imbued Chianti region, check out a short yoga flow we filmed at our home-base:


Venetian Dreaming

"Venice never seems quite real, but rather an ornate film-set suspended on the water." - Frida Giannini

Disclaimer: The Venice in the pictures below (all taken by my husband or me on our iPhones!) is not the Venice you'll find during main hours.  Most of the shots were taken at sunrise--hence the lack of tourists!

I always knew Venice was one of the most romantic cities in the world, and for good reason!  It defies logic with its series of labyrinthine canals and narrow streets, all infused with elegant Venetian charm.  We arrived by train at 6:30pm and were awarded with the most illustrious sunset vaporetto cruise along the Grand Canal as we made our way to our hotel.  It was like floating into another dimension.


When In Rome…

“Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city."  Anatole Broyard

Mid-August is probably the worst month of the year to visit Rome.  Tourism and prices are at their highest.  Temperatures push 35 degrees Celsius for most of the day.  Many of the shops close down for a week or more during Ferragosto (August 15)—one of the most important summer holidays across the country.

We had these considerations in mind while planning our trip and even wondered if three days in Rome was too long.  Therefore, we were entirely taken aback by how much we loved our time in the Eternal City.  I would say that three days is the bare minimum to experience the splendours of Rome.  If time weren’t an option, I would have stayed a week!


Sunset Photoshoot – Wreck Beach

"Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren't so different. We saw the same sunset."  - S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders

Summer is what most Vancouverites live for: long, sunny days, warm temperatures, and gorgeous stretches of Pacific Northwest coastline!  Unfortunately, the province of British Columbia is currently in a state of emergency with over 150 active forest fires burning throughout the region.  This has created a smoky haze all across the province, polluting the air quality and displacing thousands of residents from their homes in the north and east.


Why Yoga?

"I have been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars.  I started listening to the teaching of my soul."  - Rumi

Many of us come to yoga in a similar way.  It often begins with an interest in the physical nature of the practice, the desire to lose weight or gain flexibility.  I am always struck by the amount of yogis who confess to finding healing and deeper meaning through a regular yoga practice -- that it is those things that keep them coming back to their mats.  For my very first post, I would like to share my own journey and why I have devoted much of my life to yoga.