18 weeks: addressing my roots, examining my jeans…

clue #1 that your “organic” hair colouring is about to go poorly: the proprietor is a chain smoker and the place stinks like an ashtray…

When is it “too late”? how about the moment he removes the towel form your head, exclaiming, “well, it’s not pink or blue” and you wobbily reply, “no…  but it is orange“.

(seriously, i looked like an olsen twin)

but i’m getting ahead of myself.

Hair colouring during pregnancy is one of those mythical debates of endless proportions, absorbing innumerable hours and immeasurable megabytes on the maternity message boards.  It’s right up there with caffeine , sushi and soft cheeses, inciting defiant allegiance from those who choose to continue to partake, and derisive scorn from those who are able to forego these luxuries for nine months + breastfeeding time.

I successfully abstained from all four throughout my first trimester (file me under: holier-than-thou).  Truth be told, the smell of caffeine has become (and remains) one of my primary nausea triggers, I’m not a fish-eater at any time, and soft cheeses are just not something that we keep at home.  But when I saw a picture of the back of my head from last week, I decided that this situation couldn’t continue to be ignored. Polling friends on thebump.com and facebook, I sought out advice, stories, and recommendations.  babycenter.com, and my own doctor agree that basically all the chemicals in hair dye once thought to be harmful have long-since been eliminated; however, to be safe, many moms-to-be

  • wait until the 2nd trimester when the baby is less vulnerable overall
  • seek out well ventilated salons
  • look for colouring systems with higher percentages of “natural” components
So, I searched.  A friend of mine (who has gorgeous, blond hair) recommended a colouring system from CHI that she is familiar with.  A simple google search generated a list of local salons that offer the products, and I called for an appointment.
pre-visit Warning sign #1: they had room for me – after work – that day. 
I should have known better based on this alone.  After work colouring appointments are elusive and – at any other salon i’ve spent time at – often take days (if not weeks) to secure.
Warning sign #2: I was the only customer there.
This was a location, just on the edge of downtown, in a busy, tourist area.  Yet I was the only person there!

Warning sign #3: The proprietor spoke German, the colourist spoke Japanese.  It’s possible that i’ve just lived in this diverse city for too long, because at the time, this didn’t faze me at all!  I’m confident that people come from all over the world, who are very talented at whatever it is they do.  But, in retrospect, how the heck could I be sure that either of them even understood what I was asking for?

And what was I asking for?  what kind of wacky notion of unattainable-fabulousness did I have?
oh – just to have hair the colour of this person:
that’s right – me.  In 2007.  Shocking.  But in 2007, my hair was blond – some lighter parts, some darker parts, but definitely blonde.   For some reason, since moving to Vancouver, 100% of the people who have coloured my hair have evoked a brassy red, that I am really sick of!
And so it continued – to make a long, smelly, exhausting story short – asking to have my hair a red-free blond, resulted in my hair turning bright orange.  When the salon owner told me “it’s a nice colour – now your roots match your ends”, I explained (through gritted teeth) that this was exactly what I had asked him NOT to do.
Two applications of toner later, the luminescence had waned (slightly), and I had been at the salon for 3 hours, breathing in chemicals, coffee and – oh yes – the second hand smoke, so I decided to call it a night.  He suggested coming back the next day for hightlights.  He knew that I was not happy.
“well, are you going to leave us any money?”
Oh, the compassion.   The business sense.  The NERVE!!
The Result?  Here is my before and after:

I am stocked-up on tone-correcting shampoos, clarifying shampoos, and hair-bands.  I’m a little skeptical about heading somewhere new (again).  I think i’m just going to wash like crazy, and maybe try it again in third trimester.  I’m open to any suggestions of how to get this nasty, pumpkin hue out of my hair – also, would love to hear stories of how you give appropriate feedback to an independent business?  I’m just not sure how to warn others about this place!

Bottom line: Colouring your hair is fine (obviously, double check with your doctor if you have specific concerns) as long as you’re actually going to a Good Colourist.  But perhaps finding one of those should be a whole other article.

Moving on…  examining my jeans

Maternity Style – what to do?  What to wear??  What’s worth spending the cash on???  In my 18 weeks as a pregnant person, I am finding that – when it comes to jeans- there are four basic action-plans: “I’ll just wear my chubby-jeans”, “I can wear my husband’s”, “I have a belly band”, and “I’m picking up some maternity jeans”.  My husband and I packed up a bag, headed to beautiful Stanley Park, and test-drove all four options.  Here are the results:

Action Plan #1 – “I’ll just wear my chubby-jeans

We all have them, either from that time we were a little heavier, or from that time we saw a sale that just seemed too good to pass up, even if the fit wasn’t quite right.  For me, it was the latter – a pair of Paige Premium denim that I came across at 60% off.  Yes, the waist was 2 inches too big, but I convinced myself they’d work at some point.  Now that i’m filling out, I thought – this is my big chance.

Pros – they were in my closet already.  And they’re Paige jeans – nice.

Cons– Akk – even with the 13 extra pounds (so far), they still just don’t fit right.  Turns out, that when you gain weight in pregnancy, you don’t really bulk up in the lower thigh/back of the knee area, which is where these fit really weirdly; aside from my pregnant-tummy, the jeans, overall, just look too big.  The thighs are still a bit bunchy… it just looks odd, doesn’t it?  Also, even with the larger waist size, when I sit in these jeans, the waistband doesn’t have any give, and digs into my tummy.  Maybe these would be okay for getting messy/dirty in (as long as i’m standing) but they aren’t great for sitting, relaxing, or looking dressed-up to do anything other than climb a tree.

Action Plan #2- “I can just wear my husband’s jeans… “

Similar to the chubby-jeans theory, but slightly different.  The thing is, when things are constructed larger, they are designed proportionately larger all around.  My personal favourite part of this experience is the flap of jean that juts from my hip, making my whole butt-area look like a triangle.  Oh wait – what butt area?  Considering how these felt (which, honestly, was just fine) I was amazed to see how much droopeyness was going on behind me.

Pros– they’re in the closet.  And they’re Sevens.  And they’re Ken’s (awwwww – love).

Cons– bottom line is that boy-clothes are made for boy-parts.  Of all the changes that come when starting a family, turns out that sprouting a set of family jewels isn’t one of them.  Honestly, there is just nothing pretty about wearing men’s jeans.  This isn’t Albert Nobbs, for crying out loud.

Action Plan #3 – “It’s okay…  I have a belly band” 

If you haven’t seen one yet, a belly band is a stretchy tube of material, designed to cover you from the bottom of your zipper, to the top of your bump, with the idea that no one will ever know that underneath that lycra screen, your pants are undone, allowing you to wear all your pre-pregnancy bottoms throughout all the body-changes that are on the way.

Pros – I can tell people that i’m Still Wearing my Pre-Pregnancy Jeans, and it would be technically true.

Cons– There’s only so much that the band can hide.  Leaving your pants undone definitely creates some lumps and bumps – not just around the zipper, but also around the pocket area.  Also, in order for the band to function, you need to have it pulled down below the bottom of the zip, which means that you lose access to your pockets (where do I hang my security pass from?).  The jeans themself aren’t stretchy, so getting them on is already a bit of a workout, finally, the zipper is still there, which means that when you sit, you need to adjust a little so that it doesn’t pinch you, and when you stand, you need to adjust again so that the whole thing lies flat again.

Action Plan #4 – “I’ll bite the bullet and pick up some maternity jeans” 

As part of my aforementioned splurge, I ordered a pair of Seraphine’s Straight Leg Premium denim.  At first, I was scared – envisioning  maternity jeans, I thought of Mom Jeans, preparing to hang my head in shame as I became That Woman who dismisses everything by saying “but they’re so comfy”.  These jeans were the first thing I tried on when I received my shipment from seraphine, and I literally squealed with happiness, and once again (just like with their bras) – couldn’t help but wonder why all jeans aren’t made like this??

Here’s a little secret that people who haven’t been pregnant (or who haven’t committed to maternity jeans) are sadly unaware of:

well-designed maternity jeans are a gift from God.  

Pros – The denim is soft and stretchy and easy to slip into but the fit looks just like my skinny jeans, the waist band is so flexible I can’t feel it, the pockets on the front and rear are usable and accessible, I can definitely wear these throughout my pregnancy and beyond – until i’m back in tip-top, size 6 condition (but even then, I think i’ll hold onto them for thanksgiving and christmas dinners 😉 )

Cons – I know…  these particular jeans were $110.  Seraphine carries jeans that run between $75-$110.  For me, even in my non-pregnant life, I consider jeans to be one of the things Worth spending on – what else do you wear as often as jeans?  I have approximately 154 days left in the pregnancy and, let’s say a year after that to get my body back to normal, so realistically I have about 519 opportunities in the near future to wear these jeans (assuming that I don’t get pregnant again) which means that my price per use is about twenty-one cents.  Believe me – it’s worth it.

*note: I have unreasonably long legs – 36.5in inseam.  These jeans are Seraphine size 2 Long, which I can definitely make work with heels or ballet flats.  But on most people, they’ll be full length jeans. 

 Before I get to the 18week (!) recap, here’s some other pics from our walk to Stanley Park.

18 weeks.  Holy.

Still sick?  Yes.  As a matter of fact, I actually threw up on someone’s lawn yesterday while walking to work.  Awesome.

Cravings? Still with the Granny Smith apples and Alphagetti.  Still can’t do garlic, onions or sushi.

Weight? Inched up a little – 161 (13 pounds total) however, now my doctor says that i’m right on track.  Hurray!

Boy or Girl? Find out March 9!

Craziest thing someone said to me this week? Only 17.5 weeks?  Are you sure?  Wow – that’s a little monster in there…  Oh- wait, are  you having twins?”


Next week:  despite the continued sickness, My energy is coming back, and i’m 3 days away from my all-clear to exercise.  So in the upcoming week, we’ll experiment with all those activities that people say you should do (or shouldn’t do) when you’re pregnant.  Would LOVE to have some suggestions of things to try!

8 thoughts on “18 weeks: addressing my roots, examining my jeans…

    • that would be fun… now, I had heard that there is a danger to colour depositing things, as they apparently sometimes make orange tinted hair look greenish. Any idea if that won’t be the case with henna?

  1. Some random thoughts:

    1) So wait, DID you leave any money? I’m curious.

    2) To give them (bad) feedback, leave a review on Yelp.

    3) I think those chubby jeans look awesome on you (but the tight waistband sounds uncomfortable). However, you don’t look pregnant wearing them in combo with that jacket. If you’re like me and you’re irritated by the fact that you look obviously pregnant to yourself but not others, you might want to avoid that look. The boyfriend jeans…let’s just say I think you look better in tight jeans!

    4) I have Seraphine maternity jeans, and they’re awesome – but they don’t have working pockets! The pockets are just for show and all sealed up because of the way the waistband is constructed. So, very jealous of your working maternity jean pockets!

    5) An extra option you didn’t mention, for wearing your pre-pregnancy jeans. Slip an elastic band through the button hole and wrap both ends around the button (I use a hairband). Maybe you’re already doing this under the Bellaband anyway, but just in case. Works best on low-rise jeans that button under your belly. Also, I make my own Bellaband-type things instead of buying them: I take old tight tank tops that are too short to wear, cut off the straps, and voila – a Bellaband.

    • *sigh* – I left a bit. Not all. But some – clearly, I need to learn how to be a dissatisfied customer… I will definitely try yelp – thanks! And thank you for all the other suggestions – the pocket thing is so funny; i didn’t appreciate how great it is to have pockets until I wore the belly band to work and spent the whole day trying to casually reach under to get into and out of my pockets 🙂

  2. First off, you look sooooo beautiful with the blond hair (I actually first thought that was Uma Thurman there on the little pic!) What a nice combination of colors for you!
    The red-orangy look is not that bad, but you definitely better on the 2007 pics with your hair!

    I’m only a little over 6 weeks and haven’t started to look at maternity clothes yet – well not seriously anyway. I do love your look in the chubby jeans. Hubby jeans and waistband… not so much.

    And you are so good at making these photo collages! I wish I could do that. What program do you use?

  3. Another brilliant article – you really give fabulous style advice for pregnancy (I’m not even pregnant & I love reading all your tips, & picking up advice!! 😉 ) Really love the maternity jeans on you, you look amazing in them & the fit is perfect – definitely your best choice!! Although, I have to say that even though your “chubby” jeans were a little on the large side, especially around your thighs, I think they look really great too!!

    I know all about hair colouring disasters, though mine was totally my own fault!! Home colouring with a product I’d never used before = big mistake. But you do learn from your mistakes! And from the photos your hair doesn’t look bad, though of course it isn’t blonde which is what you asked for!! There should be some sort of watchdog or bad business practices service you can give feedback too/complain about that salon to!

    Also, I don’t understand where that “Oh wait, are you having twins?” comment came from – your bump is so neat & perfect!! xoxo

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