Jessica has been part of our barre community since the very beginning - 2013 - and has completed almost 1000 classes! She gave birth to beautiful, fraternal twin girls - James Juliet and Elise London - 6 months ago at 31 weeks. We chatted with her about her risky pregnancy, eventful labour, exercising pre and postnatal and how barre and SOAR have kept her strong and active for her babies.
What was your pregnancy like?
My pregnancy started out pretty normal and was good (aside from the normal nausea) until I was 23 weeks. At 23 weeks I went for a growth ultrasound and was sent immediately to my OB who put me on bed rest. After that I had weekly ultrasounds at the Royal Alex and biweekly OB appointments. I was at a risk for preterm labour and was terrified my girls would come too early. I feel a little robbed of a “normal” pregnancy where I could have had maternity pictures or a “baby moon” but am grateful my girls stayed put as long as they did!
How was your labour?
Eventful! Because I went into labour so early they initially tried to stop my labour and the plan was for me to move to antepartum and hopefully stay pregnant for a few more weeks. All seemed to be going well, and because my family was coming up for the long weekend, a friend came to visit and stay with me while my husband ran to the grocery store. My friend ended up calling him back a short time later as my contractions had started getting intense and close together. It turned out the babies were coming sooner than later and I almost missed my window to get an epidural. After I eventually got the epidural everything seemed to slow down and after about 20 hours of labour we decided on a c-section. Unfortunately my second “top up” epidural didn’t work and I had to be put under for the surgery. It kills me that I wasn’t “awake” when my girls were born but they are here and healthy and that’s all that really matters.
How did you feel doing barre/SOAR while you were pregnant?
Because of initial nausea and fatigue early in my pregnancy and then being on bed rest I didn’t work out too much while pregnant. The classes that I was able to make it to were great. I felt pretty good most of the time and was able to modify things that didn’t feel quite right. I definitely missed barre and the barre community while on bed rest.
How have you felt exercising postnatal?
Pretty great actually. Some things have felt a little funny post c-section but I’m just trying to pay attention to my body and not push too hard. I’ll get that strength back eventually but it’s going to take a little bit! My only issue is making it to as many classes as I’d like!
How did you get introduced to Studio B?
I initially started taking barre classes with Megan when she was offering them out of Dance Code studio. I’m not sure how I found out about them initially but it was love at first class.
Why do you barre so hard? What makes you want to SOAR?
I initially started barre to try a new workout as I was bored with the gym. It has become so much more than a workout over the years though. I’ve met so many amazing people and the barre community keeps me coming back. I’ve also got a new motivation as I want to be active for my girls and be able to lug two car seats around.
How has barre and SOAR impacted you?
Barre and SOAR have impacted my life so much. I never seem to tire of it and I’m always pushed to challenge myself, which I love. Even if I’m feeling lazy I always feel better after a class. Whether or not it’s from the workout or a chat with someone before or after class.
What keeps you motivated and coming back to Studio B?
The workouts are obviously amazing but the people keep me coming back.
Favourite part about SOAR?
I love that it makes me not hate cardio. Plus it’s just really, really fun.
Favourite barre exercise or series?
I love a sideline series and a good glute bridge.
Other than barre and SOAR, what other types of exercising or activities do you do?
I tend to gravitate towards group classes as I find I get the most out of them. I don’t push myself as much and can’t always find motivation to workout on my own. I love spin classes and boxing. I also would love to try a row class.
What do you love about Mommy & Me classes?
I love being able to still attend barre while I'm at home with my girls. A lot of things can feel daunting to attempt alone with two babies but barre feels like home and so many people have offered help if needed.
How do your girls do in class while you're exercising?
So far they’ve been really great. They’ve mostly slept through class which is nice for me! I can’t carry both anymore as they’ve outgrown their twin carrier but they like to just kick around on a mat so that helps.
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I’m a pretty big movie buff and pre-twins my husband and I would go to A LOT of movies. My sister and I often talk in movie quotes.
Favourite way to treat yourself?
I love a good walk. I tend to prefer a walk with a destination and that destination is usually a coffee shop or Bloom for cookies : ).
Favourite movie and book of all time?
Oh that’s so hard. I love anything with Tom Cruise (I know, I know…but I love him). I’ve also seen Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve got Mail and When Harry Met Sally more times than I’m comfortable admitting. You could say I also have a thing for Meg Ryan movies.
Favourite book would probably be The Goldfinch. It took me an embarrassingly long time to read but it’s one that stuck with me.
Favourite place to eat in Edmonton?
There are so many amazing places to eat in Edmonton but my favourite would have to be The Next Act for beers and burgers. Second would be Uccelino.
Favourite local spot?
I love a long walk in the river valley. That would be my number one. If I had an oat milk latte from Iconoclast or The Columbian on that walk? Even better!
What is your favourite quote?
I don’t really have one so I’ll use the one from my high school yearbook.
“Soup is good food.” I still agree with this.
Favourite places to take your babies in Edmonton?
Mommy and Me classes at Studio B 😉
My girls are still quite young so I haven’t tried any kid places but I’ve enjoyed taking them to the Stars and Strollers movies with my husband and kid friendly breweries (SYC and Sea Change).
Mommy and Me classes run every Thursday at 11 a.m. at Whitemud Crossing.