Post-Partum Recovery

Depending on how your delivery went, you are going to need some time to recovery from pushing a whole human being out of your body.

The time for c-section recovery is longer than that of a vaginal delivery. Plus your movements are a lot more limited as you can’t twist at the waist and risk ripping your stitches.

I had a vaginal delivery. When you have a vaginal delivery, especially for the first time, you are likely to have some tearing. Tearing can go from 1st to 4th degree.

My tearing was 3rd degree, and as such will require a little more care and a little more time to recuperate. My groin area is a little sensitive, the first few days, almost a week I would say, I couldn’t scoot or move quickly. Sitting in the car was extremely painful, and when I walked around for too long, I would get the worst throbbing and aching.

I was out walking a bit right away. We went to Walmart to pick up the things you don’t realize you’ll need until you are leaving the hospital. We went to the doctors and did a few other errands when my daughter was only three and four days old. So I was getting some exercise in probably before I should have.

Sitz baths become your best friend if you have ANY stitches after giving birth. Going to the bathroom becomes this terrifying thing, or coughing, or farting. All the little things you used to do without even thinking about become this thing you build up to, afraid the movement will tear a stitch.

Other than my stitches, I had body aches. I wasn’t sure what the cause was, but across my shoulders and my arms were aching. My body felt like I had just run a marathon without preparing for it and all my muscles were slowly shutting down. That in combination with the lack of sleep, really made me feel like my body wasn’t my own.

There were a lot of things that made me question what was normal. Every body is different, every one handles things differently. There are women who are up and about a few days after giving birth, while there are some who feel like they need to spend the first week in bed recovering. There isn’t one way that is better than the other, it is just what is best for you.

Since we got home, I have spent a lot of my time on the couch. I have divided my time up between napping, breastfeeding, pumping, and changing my daughter. My whole world revolves around her and what she needs, and if I am being perfectly honest, doing it any other way right now wouldn’t make any sense for me.

Here in Toronto, things are cooling down. Had she been born a little bit earlier when the weather was nicer, we may have ventured out a little every day to go for a walk and explore the neighbourhood.

With my daughter still only ten days old, I don’t really want to risk taking her outside unless I REALLY have to. It’s chilly. Even sitting inside with the windows open I am constantly touching her little feet and taking her temperature to be sure she is okay. Taking her outside right now is really low on my list.

Not to mention my stitches are still a tad sore. I am taking Advil and Tylenol for them every day. Other than that I am also still wearing pads.

I haven’t worn pads since I was in high school, and I don’t miss them. Having my period is not really something I dread with all these new types of comfort tampons, plus I have always had a light flow so three or four days of tampons is really nothing.

At the hospital they put you in this giant life raft as soon as you deliver. It is so massive that your underwear can hardly contain it. It is like watching that toddler with that huge dump in the back of his diaper waddling around. It was huge! I was in that giant life raft pad for a few hours until I had to pee for the first time and then I switched over to the super pads I had brought along with me.

It’s important to note that as well as all the paperwork differences in the hospital, they no longer provide you with necessities for your stay. No diapers and wipes for the baby, no pads for mom. These are things you have to have brought with you, or you will be doing without. (At least here in Toronto.)

I went with the long, super overnights.

Time for over sharing! (Like I hadn’t been doing that already)

I bled a lot for the first 48 hours. I was changing my pads at least once every hour and a half to two hours or I was leaking through. The squirt bottle they give you to replace wiping was my best friend in that time as I was so swollen down there, I don’t know if I could have wiped even if I was pain free and could.

After the first 48 hours I was actually able to switch to regular pads. I was changing those every three hours or so (this really depending on when I would be napping).

Something I did notice was I went a few days in my loose fitting PJ shorts was the bleeding stopped almost completely aside from a strip where my stitches were, I could have probably switched down to a panty-liner at this time just to keep my stitches covered. I did wear fitted bicycle shorts yesterday and they were high waisted. They were tight and were constantly holding my tummy in.

That day, I started to cramp and bleed quite a bit.

This actually makes sense because I noticed whenever a nurse would come to check my bleeding they would press a hand on my abdomen and apply pressure. You are going to bleed until your uterus goes back to it’s original size, and applying pressure seems to force any blood that is in there out. Wearing the tighter shorts that were snug around my abdomen seemed to force some of the build up out.

In the weeks following your delivery, it’s important to have a support system so you can catch up on sleep. These past few night my daughter has been restless and wanting to eat every 30-45 minutes so I spend most of my night like a zombie, half aware as I fumble to give her my breasts in the dark.

This has been my personal experience. I could tell you having a baby will be exactly the same for you, but I would just be pretending to know what I am talking about. Every one is different and although my recovery has been somewhat easy, that isn’t to say someone else with the exact same type of delivery doesn’t encounter different issues.

I think in the time after you give birth, you are torn open in more ways than one. Having someone to talk to definitely makes things a lot easier on you.

Any new mommies who feel like they want to talk, please feel free to reach out to me!

 

24 Hour Hospital Stay

When you give birth, there is a specific amount of time you will have to spend in the hospital recovering afterward. The amount of time is based on a few things, your health after delivery, your babies health after delivery and they type of delivery you had.

Vaginal delivery with a healthy mom and baby with minimal complications means you will only have to stay in the hospital 24 hours after the baby is born before you can be discharged. As far as I could tell, it is so they can monitor your blood pressure, the baby’s blood pressure, heart rate, and overall health, and because 24 hours after they are born they get their jaundice test, their hearing test and a few other blood tests to be sure all is well and good before you take your brand new bundle of joy home with you.

My delivery would be classified as low risk. Although my daughter’s heart rate was a bit sporadic, and needed to be monitored and I had a vacuum assisted birth, it would still be classified as a normal, healthy vaginal delivery. This meant I only had to spend 24 hours in the hospital after my baby girl arrived.

Now, in terms of time alone, my delivery felt both long and short. It felt long in some ways before I had arrived at the hospital at about noon on the 20th of September to be induced. This was not a quick drop-by visit. I had to be hooked up to the doppler and monitored for several hours before they even started the induction. Then I had to be monitored after. The whole thing took almost four hours, which in hospital time, isn’t really that long.

However, my back contractions started at 5:30pm that night, which gave me only about an hour and a half of peace that day, and I rode those contractions out the best I could until my husband threw in the towel and we went to the hospital at 9:00pm.

So all in all, I hadn’t had any decent sleep since the night of the 19th. The 19th, I had also spent a good amount of time in the hospital because of decreased fetal movement. I had to be monitored for a good amount of time, and then sent for a last minute ultrasound.

What am I trying to say?

I was exhausted.

I had limited sleep since the night of the 19th, and now I had to spend 24 hours after giving birth in the hospital. It would have been a good time to rest.

Well…

I went with the semi-private room. Why? Because when my husband asked me the kind of room I wanted while the doctor was in the birthing suite setting me up for my epidural, I really didn’t care. And I had heard him as if I wanted the private room, which we may have to wait for, I told him to just get whatever.

When we got into the room, there was already a woman in there who was set up on the bed closer to the window and further away from the door.

In all honesty, if you are only there for the 24 hours and your insurance doesn’t cover the private room, I would say to just go with the semi-private room. My only reason why I would maybe say go private, is if you plan on having a lot of visitors while you are there because the shared rooms are small and there isn’t much room for visiting.

My husband and I (mostly myself) had decided we didn’t want any visitors while we were in the hospital. I know myself, and I knew that after giving birth to a baby (all 7lbs, 9oz of her) I would be too exhausted to want to have people there with me. I like to be by myself in times of discomfort and recovery. I would rather have them come to our home when we are settled, when I have had more sleep, and I thought having just the two of us at the hospital with our new baby would give us lots of time to bond.

It was definitely the right choice for us, but other people love to share in their celebrations. To each their own.

Earlier on in my blogging, I had mentioned our fur baby, Toblerone. Now through all of this he was home by himself, so as soon as I was settled into our room, my husband went home to walk and feed him and give him some exercise before coming back to the hospital.

I thought I would use the time he was gone to sleep.

There are a few things about hospitals that make it very difficult for me to settle and sleep.

One, is the lighting. I always find it a little too bright. With a shared room, the general lights are on and there are lights in your little area you can turn on to brighten your space, but just the general lights were plenty bright. It made it really hard, even as exhausted as I was, to get any sleep.

Two, having a shared room means a little extra noise. I am a light sleeper so every little coo from our neighbours baby made me feel like I had to check my daughter.

Three, if you share a room, they may have people coming and going. Now with the curtains closed around your bed, this may not bother you too much, but my daughter’s bassinet was set closer to the door, so I just felt a little bit paranoid. It made me not want to put her in the bassinet with people coming in and out and me slipping in and out of sleep.

Four, my stitches from my third degree tear limited my mobility, so it was difficult for me to get comfortable without being about to scoot lower in the bed or adjust. Every little inch of movement required me to move my whole body.

Needless to say, the hours passed slowly, and all I wanted was to get home where I could fully relax.

A nurse would come by every three to four hours to double-check my blood pressure, both our temperatures and monitor the baby’s heart rate. I was also put on stool softeners so I wouldn’t rip my stitches when I finally had a bowel movement, and they would ask about bleeding.

After my daughter was born I had to get a vaccination for Ruebella because they told me when I was pregnant I was not immune and would have to get it afterwards. I also had to get an antibiotics shot because of the degree of my tear. It should have been given to me through the IV but they removed it before they gave it to me so I had to get it in my butt. It hurt like hell!

What else?

I think that is basically everything for the 24 hour stay.

Right before they discharge you, they run a bunch of blood tests on your baby and they do a hearing test before you can leave. They do a car seat check to be sure it is a car seat that is not expired and that you have baby strapped in correctly. Then (if you are here in Ontario at least) you sign your baby up for an OHIP card and that is the last thing you have to do before you get to take baby home.

A couple things to note that are different than when I was being born in a hospital. They no longer issue your birth certificate in hospital. You no longer register the birth in the hospital. I still have the little photo frame that had my first picture on the weighing scale in a pink blanket, the name of my parents, my name, my birthdate and time, and my weight in a photo album. All five of my siblings had this done when we were born and we were all born at different hospitals through the 90s. They don’t do this anymore. Instead they give you a pamphlet with a government website on it where you register the birth, sign up for your baby’s birth certificate (which isn’t free. This surprised me because it needs to be issued and you would think the first birth certificate would be free.) Your baby’s SIN card, and two other things I can’t recall right now.

I thought a lot more happened at the hospital as far as paperwork for your baby. Back in the 90s, they did almost everything right at the hospital so when you left, you left with a little citizen with little to do out there on your own.

It just made me wonder what would happen if you went home and just for whatever reason, decided not to register the birth of your baby or do any of the other things required of you after the baby was born.

Does that happen?

I don’t know.

Anyway, it’s late. My darling daughter is going through a growth spurt and not sleeping longer than 45 minutes at a time and is currently making what my husband and I refer to as pterodactyl noises at me, so I am going to finish this post here.

Time for me to scoop her up and pretend I know what I am doing, and that I am not slowly losing my mind from exhaustion.

 

My Birth Story

From the moment I got pregnant and started checking the pregnancy forums the way most people check their Facebook pages, I have always read through the birth stories the new mommies posted.

Everyone’s story seemed to different from the others. Some woke to their water breaking, soaking the bed and letting them know the show was about to start. Other’s went into the hospital with bad contractions, their water not breaking on it’s own and needing to be broken by the doctor. There are the stories that make your jaw drop where things happen you didn’t think could. Like the sac that holds your water starts to fall out making you think the baby is coming out (not only can this happen but I saw a photo of the sac falling out), or people feeling really constipated and having their baby in the toilet.

If there is one thing I’ve learned reading through countless women’s stories, it’s that even after all this time, birthing babies is unpredictable. There are way too many variables. Our lifestyles, our bodies, our overall health and diets, genetics… so many things can factor into the way your baby comes into this world.

My pre-labour experience was a nightmare and ever single moment felt an hour-long. I was induced, experienced painful back labour, went into the whirlpool at the hospital in hopes of soothing some of my back pain (it did absolutely nothing). I was forced to wait longer than usual because of several different factors going on at my hospital. For one, they were short-staffed. Every time I turned around, one of the nurses was missing or being pulled out of the Labour Assessment Unit to assist somewhere else. All the nurses made a point of telling me something crazy was going on.

“It must be a full moon tonight!” Was a statement each and every nurse I came across seemed to make.

The Labour Assessment Unit was full, and it seemed like as soon as they managed to move someone along, two more women came in to take the last one’s place.

The Labour Suites were full! They were trying to move women from the assessment unit to the birthing suites when they could, but of the 12 birthing suites at my hospital, it seemed like they were overflowing with women giving birth.

Nurses were few and far between. When my water finally broke, I dilated pretty quickly.

From the moment I came into the hospital I was barely dilated. Contractions were close, about three minutes apart and building in intensity. Even after the Cervidil and the whirlpool, and several hours passing (I was induced at 12:30pm and went into the whirlpool at 10:00pm for two hours) I had only dilated to about three centimeters.

My water broke early in the morning on the 21st, at around 4:20am. From the time my water broke, to the time they put my IV in which was about 45 minutes later, I was almost fully dilated.

Now, I should mention that through all of this, I had horrible diarrhea. Being constantly hooked up to a doppler so they could monitor my daughter’s heart rate, while having to be unhooked because I was afraid I was going to crap all over the bed was more than a little annoying. Not to mention, after a few hours, when my contractions were at their worst, walking the short distance to the bathroom felt like walking a thousand miles.

Once in the birthing suite, they got the doctor in to explain to me the risks of the epidural right away. They asked me a bunch of questions, which to be honest, I didn’t hear. All I knew was I wanted it, and I wanted it about five hours ago. For those women who deliver naturally, my mother included… you are goddesses! I have no idea how you did it. I couldn’t do it again without an epidural if you held a gun to my head.

I went in knowing I wanted one. The amount of pain I was in before actual labour even started, I knew there was no way I would get through it.

At this point, I was absolutely exhausted. With the pain out of the way I started to drift in and out of sleep, only staying somewhat awake because the nurse kept asking me questions. She was trying to time it so that I wouldn’t start pushing until my contractions were really close because I wouldn’t be able to push for long. Because of my low fluids, my daughter’s heart rate kept dropping and they didn’t want to stress her out by having me push for too long.

I was told by the nurse that I would push for two hours and after that, they would assist me with a vacuum if they could, because any longer than that would put my baby at risk.

Those two hours flew by if I am being honest. With the epidural, I didn’t feel much and I can understand why people want to do it naturally. It was difficult for me to push from where I was supposed to. I understood what my nurse was telling me, I knew where she wanted me to push from, but my legs were numb and I wasn’t fully in control of my body so it was really hard to bear down and push her completely out.

My husband kept telling me she was close, he could see her, one more push, but my body began to give up. I was exhausted and so was my daughter. Closing in on the second hour, they went to get the doctor because her heart rate had dropped, baby was tired and I didn’t have the strength in me to push anymore.

Once the vacuum was in place, I did one big push and her head was out, second push and her shoulders were out and the third push brought my baby girl into the world!

I have to say, the epidural was my saving grace. I can understand why people want to do it naturally, as I’ve said before. Just being more aware of where you are pushing from and better able to control your pushes must really move things along. However, the amount of pain I was in from my back contractions would have rendered me useless to push. I couldn’t even breathe through them in the end and had just become this rolled up ball of sobs.

I had reservations about being assisted. My husband still has the scars on his head from the forceps as a baby, and his brother has a spot where hair doesn’t grow because of them as well. I was worried about what the tools that assist in labour would mean, how they would affect my baby. As much as they are there to help, there are always some risks.

My daughter had a little abrasion on the back of her head from the vacuum. It was bloodied at first but after her first bath at the hospital, her hair was completely clean form blood, the swelling had gone down, her head had rounded and the abrasion is barely noticeable. I have had them check each time we go to the doctors, just to be sure.

Baby came out and went right onto my chest. She was healthy and had a good set of pipes on her. She latched on right away, which surprised me. I had always thought you had to teach your baby to latch, it took practice and bonding time with your baby. My hungry little monster came out in search for food right away, latched on, and them pooped all over my stomach.

Fun!

We were in our Birthing Suite for an hour after she arrived where they weighed her and did a few other tests before moving me to the recovery suite.

She was here! Everything leading up to the moment when they put her on my chest seemed to ebb away into the back of my brain, to this place where nothing mattered and all I could think about was her. How perfect she looked. How I was finally a mom!

It was surreal.

At 8:55am on September 21st, my daughter had arrived!

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Induction Day!

On my due date, I went into the hospital to be induced. September 20th was going to be the day I got to hold my baby girl in my arms for the first time.

It was such an exciting thought.

At the hospital, they monitored the baby’s heart rate for an hour before the induction. They just wanted to make sure with the low fluid and the way her heart rate had been dropping the day before, that all was good and it would give them a better idea of how I would be induced.

Baby was doing well.

As a first time mom, I don’t know the options for induction. I can only tell you about my experience and what they decided to do in my situation.

What they decided to do was induce me with a drug called Cervidil.

Cervidil is dinoprostone, or prostaglandin.

They insert it into the vagina. It is extremely uncomfortable. It is kind of like inserting a tampon, however the tampon is made of abrasive, dry paper towel or something like that. I grit my teeth and powered through it.

Once it is inserted, they monitor both you and the baby for another hour to be sure you don’t have a negative response to it. As long as everything is good, they send you home where you can wait things out at home.

Cervidil can be kept in for 24 hours. It is supposed to help soften your cervix and bring on contractions. However, what I didn’t know was it can also intensify contractions.

We went home from the hospital around 3:00pm after being induced. The plan was for both of us to go home and take naps because we didn’t know when labour would actually start or how long it would take and we were both exhausted.

My husband found a comfortable spot on the couch, cuddled up with our dog and easily fell asleep. I laid down for a few moments and felt some uncomfortable tightening in my back.

Through my pregnancy, my lower back has been an issue. Since my car accident, I have used prescription naproxen to ease some of my constant discomfort in my neck and back. Since I got pregnant, I have stayed away from all drugs and medications, prescription or over the counter. I sacrificed a lot for my pregnancy and looking back I would do it all again to ensure I have a healthy baby.

In the last month, a lot of my pains and aches have intensified. There was a lot of extra weight on my lower back and every day I felt like something was getting closer and closer to crushing my spine. (Ouchie!)

Lying there on the couch, hoping for contractions or for my water to break so we could head back to the hospital, my back pain was intensifying in a way that I couldn’t even begin to put into words.

My back pains got to the point where I was bent at the waist, resting on my elbows as I stood at the side of the bed in tears. I struggled to breathe through it all, unsure of what could have changed to have brought my back pain from something I had grown uncomfortably accustomed to, to this crippling pain.

My husband was still asleep and I had no reason to think anything was really wrong. I suffered on my own for hours before pulling out my phone and doing some research. Was it possible for you to feel contraction-like pains exclusively in your back?

Yes!

It’s called Back Labour and they say it occurs when your baby is in the occiput posterior position. For those of you who don’t know what that means (I sure didn’t), it is basically a sunny side up position. The baby’s head is low in your pelvis facing out towards your belly button. From what I read, it intensifies during contractions but can sometimes linger in between as well.

Well… through hours of pre-labour I never experienced a single contraction in my stomach. From the time I started feeling these back contractions at 5:30pm on September 20th, to the time they finally checked me into my birthing suite at 5:00am-ish on September 21st, I felt absolutely nothing in my stomach whatsoever. Just a climbing pain in my lower back that got worse and worse to the point where I was hanging onto the side of my bed for dear life, crying and telling myself I would give absolutely anything to not be in the pain I was in.

They didn’t take the Cervidil out until my water broke which happened at about 4:20am on September 21st. My water broke just as the nurses were going to put in my IV and prep me to be moved as the pain was too much to bear and I am sure all the women in the Labour Assessment Unit of my hospital were tired of hearing me sob.

If there is another, easier way to be induced, I don’t know but I would have gladly done it if it meant my back contractions wouldn’t be as bad as they were.

As a first time mom, you take everything they tell you at face value. Why wouldn’t you? You don’t know any better and you don’t know what questions to ask to ensure you are making the right decisions. If we are completely honest with ourselves, we don’t really know anything.

We ask our friends and family that have been through it, but really every woman’s body is different, every woman takes a different path towards becoming a mother, even if it seems like they went through the same thing, when you break it down, there are infinte differences.

All of us just pretend to know what we are talking about, we pretend to have the information needed to move forward.

I pretended, and I got through it.

We women are strong, and we push through even when we can’t push anymore.

I can’t say 100% if the induction was what caused my back labour, or if it intensified it to the point it was. All I could say was that was what had happened ot me, and from what I read on some of the other forums, Cervidil does seem to intensify contractions, wherever you may have them.

This is something I wish I knew going in, although even if I did, I am not sure what I would have done with that information.

At least any of you reading my blog know it could happen, and hopefully when your time comes, it helps you decide if this kind of induction is right for you.

Decreased Fetal Movements

In the days leading up to my due date, my routine became very lazy. I was anxious to meet my baby and frustrated with the time I had left in my pregnancy so my plan for most of my days was early to bed and late to rise hoping it would eat up most of my days. Plus, knowing how much sleep I would be sacrificing soon, I thought now was as good a time as any to catch up.

The time in between was spent struggling to find some way to ease my discomfort which was usually binge-watching something on Netflix and snacking while having full conversations with my dog about how miserable I was. He was very consoling!

My baby, as I had mentioned in some of my older posts, was a kickboxer or salsa dancer. Always moving, up in my ribs constantly, and now down in my pelvis. She was making sure I knew she was in there, taunting me, making me wonder if she wanted to get out, or was just living it up in there.

On September 19th, I started my day just like any other. I got up late in the afternoon, around 11:30 and hobbled into the shower. I took a long shower that usually involved me sitting in the tub while the water rained down on me until my concerned dog burst through the bathroom door and threatened to jump in if I didn’t get out. Then I slowly got dressed, moisturized my skin (which was really beginning to be a chore, but helped me in some way think I would avoid those stretch marks) put on a minimal amount of clothes and made my way to the couch for binge-watching.

I would watch an episode on the couch while I ate breakfast than move onto my exercise ball in hopes of getting things moving, something I did several times a day with no sign it was helping in any way.

Typically she would be moving in the shower a little bit, more towards the end. Then she would move while I applied lotion, when I got in those more bent positions and she was letting me know she needed more room. Her movements would often cause me enough discomfort that I would find myself back on the couch, pillows all around me, begging for comfort.

Half way through my breakfast, I paused, realizing I hadn’t felt her since I had woken up that morning. She had been eerily still.

At this point in your pregnancy, especially if you are a first time mom, every little thing makes you worry. I grabbed a tall glass of ice-cold water, downed it and waited.

Nothing.

Poured myself a tall glass of fruit punch, loaded it with ice cubes and downed all that and waited again.

Still nothing.

Now if there are two things that will get a baby moving, it is cold drinks and sugar. Neither was doing anything to get my little salsa dancer going. I told myself it was probably nothing but messaged my husband at work to let him know I planned to go in and get checked.

We went into the hospital and I was thankful that my OBGYN was the one on call. She monitored the baby for about an hour or so and because her heart rate kept dropping and then they sent me for a last-minute ultra-sound just to be sure everything was okay.

I was due the very next day, and so far there had been almost no sign that I was going to go into labour any time soon.

Now anything you do at the hospital takes an abundance of time. We arrived there at 3:00pm. We had to wait around a little while, then were brought to a bed, hooked up to a fetal monitor where I was told the test would take 20 minutes but several hours passed before the nurse came and told me they were doing it for longer than the usual amount to monitor her ‘irregularities’. Then when that was done it was another half hour to an hour waiting for the doctor to come and check the results and let us know what she wanted to be done.

We ended up leaving the hospital at around 9:00pm with the technician telling us our doctor would look at the results and call us if we needed to come back to the hospital.

My doctor had told me she was on call that night but would be returning to her office in the early morning and would get a chance to look at my ultrasound then. She had mentioned to us that if the technician saw anything in the scan that she thought was a red flag she would send us back upstairs and they would page my doctor to look at it right away. So when she told us we could go, we figured we were just being paranoid, all was good, and we would wait for this baby to come when she was ready.

We both moaned a little bit about the amount of time we had spent there, but both agreed it was better to be safe that sorry and were happy we got to see our little girl again as we hadn’t seen her since the ultrasound we had done at around 20 weeks.

I woke up to a phone call at 7:00am. My doctor was calling me to tell me the fluid around my baby was low and that I needed to come in and get induced just to be safe.

Getting everything ready, we slowly got everything we needed for the hospital in the car and went in to be induced.

I can’t stress enough how it doesn’t hurt to be a little hyper-aware when you are pregnant. It doesn’t hurt to be overcautious. I was like that all through my pregnancy, and when I felt like something was off, I would call or go in. If I hadn’t I would have just kept waiting for her to arrive, while slowly leaking fluid.

Trust your gut, listen to your body!

On the way to the hospital, I felt normal. I try not to overthink things too much.

I didn’t know what I was in for, I was on my phone doing some research and pretending to know what I was talking about when my husband would ask me questions on the short drive over.

Being induced, on my due date!

Things were definitely moving!

 

Seeing The Finish Line

At 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant I had an appointment booked with my OBGYN. At this appointment, she checked me to see just how dilated I was, if I was effaced and a few other things just so she could see how close I actually was to the finish line of my pregnancy.

FINALLY! That was what I was thinking when I went in.

If I am being perfectly honest, and for those who have kept up with my journey so far you should know I usually am, I was excited for this because I heard the vaginal exam this close to a due date could fast forward the process a little bit. It’s a little uncomfortable having someone shove their hands inside you and this can cause the cervix to loosen and contractions to begin…

BRING IT ON!

After she checked me, I was a little disheartened. I was barely dilated. Less than a centimeter which basically meant there was no way a full term baby was getting through a one centimetre tunnel to find it’s way out to mommy. *SIGH* And I was less than 10% effaced.

Now you hear things like this and think… ‘Okay.’ Because in reality, you have absolutely no idea what any of this means. Don’t worry, me neither. Luckily for you, I have the kind of mind that just can’t function in confusion, so I tend to thoroughly research the answers to all the questions bouncing around in my head.

Let’s start with dilation. Basically this talks about our cervix. The base of the cervix for most women who are not pregnant is closed. This is to prevent infection and because there is never really a biological reason for anything to enter through the vagina, up into the cervix and into the uterus. (You know… except for those swimmers that get the whole thing going, but that is like squirting water up through a crack, which is easier and a lot more fun that getting a baby out of there.)

When you get close to the end of your pregnancy, the body releases hormones that begin to loosen the cervix which in turn, opens it up. It goes from the opening of a straw to one ten centimeters in diameter which seems to be enough to get a bouncing baby out of… I know right?

Now another word you’ll hear in the doctor’s office is effacement. Now this will be given to you in a percentage and it refers to the length of your cervix. So when you go into labour, not only does your cervix open but it shortens so the baby has less of a tunnel to travel through.

When I had first heard the word effacement I thought it had more to do with the placement of baby’s head. It wasn’t until later that I realized it was yet another way for them to measure your cervix.

Being so close to my due date and getting anxious, at this point, my doctor asked me if there was anything I wanted done to speed things along.

Of course before the question was even fully out of her mouth I was saying yes.

I had been at this game for 39 weeks and 4 days. I had withstood the nausea, the vomiting, the dizziness, the headaches, the cravings, the swollen ankles and feet, the mood swings, the constant discomfort, and at this point, so close to when they said I would have my baby in my arms, I was ready. I no longer wanted to wait. If they told me they could pull her out right then and there I would have given them the A-O-K!

So she did what they call a membrane sweep.

What is that?

Well, if you thought the vaginal exam she had just done on you was uncomfortable, buckle up! Because now she was going to go back in and sweep her hand around in there in hopes to separate the sac that is holding your baby from your cervix.

Ouch!

In addition to hopefully separating the sac, this often gets your hormones going and will start up contractions.

I left the doctor’s appointment more hopeful than I had been at any other appointment and feeling a little excited.

The finish line was closing in, and boy was I ready!

What I Have Learned From My Third Trimester OBGYN Appointments

The third trimester is when things really start to feel real for most mommies-to-be. At least, that is when things started to feel more real to me. As a first time mom, I found some solace in mommy forums, the online community for the pregnancy app I have been using on my phone to track my symptoms, and of course my sister and best friend who have both been through it.

In the third trimester, your doctors appointments go from being every four weeks, to every two weeks, right down to every week. Once you hit the once a week mark, you think to yourself that there is going to be this constant flow of new information. This is the time you are going to learn about going into labour, what all these new and at times unbearable symptoms mean, and just how close you are to holding your baby in your arms.

The routine of your doctor’s appointment I think really depends on a few things. Of course a lot of what goes on in that room is based specifically on your doctor and how they like to do things, but it can also differ based on region and where you are in the world. One of the big factors is your health through your pregnancy so far and whether or not you are considered a ‘High-Risk’ or a ‘Low-Risk’ pregnancy.

What I have learned so far is that being in the lower risk means there will be a lot less tests, a little bit less information being given to you, and less of a chance to actually see how your baby is doing in there throughout your pregnancy. A lot of doctors will just smile at you and tell you everything is good without giving you any specifics because the truth of the matter is they see pregnancies like yours every day and they don’t realize how frustrating and annoying it is to not know certain things, especially as a first time mom.

You will get three ultrasounds in a low risk pregnancy here in Ontario, Canada. One in your first trimester just to be sure all is good. Here they will check to be sure it’s a healthy, viable pregnancy and not ectopic. You will get an abnormality scan somewhere around 20 weeks pregnant. Here they will do all the measurements, and let you know if there is something developmentally wrong (physically) with your baby. And for some (not everyone, and this is dependant on doctor) you may get a third ultrasound in your third trimester to check growth, however this is not standard and you will have to ask about it.

Since I got pregnant, I have gone for blood work about five times. I am anemic so they have wanted to keep an eye on my iron levels, and then there are of course all the other fun things they want to check out while you are pregnant. I will say, that before getting pregnant I didn’t know a lot about myself, like my blood type and all these other things, so I guess it is good I finally know that now.

Then of course there are other types of test you take, you take the glucose test, which is absolutely gross and I didn’t care for. If you pass, you don’t have to do it again, but if your levels are bordering, they will make you do it twice more. There is a stress-test as well, but this is something they tend to do with the ‘High-Risk’ pregnancies. I didn’t have to do a stress test as my blood pressure was pretty much always good and I had no symptoms that made them believe I needed one.

As a healthy pregnant woman, I felt like a lot of my appointments were going into the room, getting my blood pressure taken, having my fundal height measured, which is just measuring your stomach to see how your baby’s growth is coming along. (Your fundal height measurement through pregnancy should be the same amount of cms as your weeks pregnant or one cm more.) Then we would listen to baby’s heart to make sure all was good, she would ask me if I had any questions and off I went.

As a first time mom, I have to say that especially in my third trimester when I am hauling my butt to appointments every week, everything is swollen, I am miserable and struggling to squeeze into clothes that no longer fit as the end draws near, I left most of my appointments frustrated.

Why?

Well, because from what I could tell a lot of other mommies were getting internal exams done from about 36 weeks and I am strolling into my 39 week appointment practically begging for her to look under the hood.

I think if you haven’t done this before, and you don’t know what to expect from your upcoming labour, what you want more than anything is information and someone to tell you how you are doing. Knowing that you are dilated, or not dilated helps you mentally prepare for what is coming. It also takes some of the edge off of thinking that this could happen at any moment.

This close to the end, I think it would just help to know that the end is actually near. Having her just smile at me and say it could be any time now is not really comforting. I know the math, I know how long this is supposed to take. What I don’t know is whether I am actually close to delivering or not. What I don’t know is if my body has already started to prepare or if I am going to have to buckle in and wait it out for another couple of weeks (God, I hope not!)

If you are like me, and have had no issues through your pregnancy, at this point you are probably pulling your hair out. I haven’t seen my baby since my ultrasound at 20 weeks. Sure, I hear her heartbeat every week and feel her squirming around in there, but in the back of your mind there are still this laundry list of worries that you feel can’t be addressed until baby is here and that is super stressful. Add that to the constant discomfort, and you are a ticking time-bomb that is better off staying inside, watching Disney movies and eating bowls of cereal from that spot on the couch that now has your ass-groove permanently dented into it.

At 39 weeks with just one week to go (fingers crossed) I am hoping at this point that I don’t make it to my doctor’s appointment on Monday and the next time I am seeing a doctor it will be the one with their head between my legs telling me to PUSH!

Here’s hoping!

38 Weeks

Alright people, as much as I would love to say the finish line is in view, I don’t know if I can see it quite yet. The discomfort and misery are currently clouding my vision but I do have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon where I am hoping the doctor is going to check “under the hood”, pull back with a look of surprise and tell me the baby is coming.

Wishful thinking? Yeah, probably. But hey, don’t rain on my parade. It could happen.

This past week has been a constant search of symptoms. As a first-time-mom everything that pops up is new and has you wondering ‘Oh my gosh, could this be labour?‘ My body has changed so much already, it’s hard to even remember who I was before getting pregnant.

I can vaguely recall being able to do things, like stand up without someone giving me a push, sleep without some little prisoner inside my ribs rattling a tin cup against them and screaming FREEDOM all hours of the night, walking up slight hills without getting out of breath, you know… things like that. The simple things we all take for granted when we are young and wearing rose-coloured glasses.

Here are some new symptoms that have popped up in the last week.

I lost my mucus plug, or at least a part of it. 

I will spare you the gross, graphic image. But for women who are going through this the first time and wondering what it looks like, I will happily describe it for you. It is a clear/cloudy jelly type thing. Now, if you are like me and you tend to stumble into the bathroom in the dark at night, you could miss losing a part or the whole of it. It does make a bit of noise when it falls into the toilet, which I would have completely missed as I lost part of it in the night and the sound of it hitting the water had me turning the light on to inspect.

No, it wasn’t baby… as much as I wished that could be the end of it.

Now, something important to note is that losing your mucus plug does not necessarily mean baby is as close as you think. I was under the impression that was it, that jelly blob was holding baby in there like the plug in the bathtub and now that it was out things would be under way.

Sorry ladies, I lost a significant amount about a week ago and so far… no baby or signs of labour.

Apparently, you can lose parts of your mucus plug and it will grow back.

Ugh!

I feel like I have a cold or maybe the early signs of a flu coming on. 

One morning last week I woke up and my head felt like it was stuck in the clouds. I was crazy congested, had a slight cough and my body felt like it had been through the ringer (more so than the usual pregnancy body aches and fatigue).

Now, I have thoroughly researched this and spoken to a lot of women who are on their second or third child and this is apparently something that happens when you are close to the end of your pregnancy. Yet another odd symptom most first-time-moms would have never heard of.

So many mommies have told me they woke up feeling under the weather and cursing their luck at getting sick so close to the end of their pregnancy and a few days or so later, labour started.

Fingers crossed that this is what is happening here, because I have to say, feeling like you are having hot flashes, all those muscle aches and pains, and this new build up of phlegm is not helping me with my constant search for a pregnancy glow.

My vagina suddenly feels like it’s one of the drums from Drumline and is constantly being played.

Do you want to know what’s super uncomfortable? The feeling of someone pounding on your vagina…. from the inside.

Certain movements I make seem to send my baby into a frenzy and she takes it out on me by headbutting the crap out of my nether regions. It is probably one of the most uncomfortable things I have experienced thus far and happens just about as often as she kicks and moves at this point.

Nausea is back and with a vengeance!

I thought I was over this hurdle. I thought the nausea that had all but crippled me at the beginning of my pregnancy and stayed with me through the first trimester was a thing of the past.

Nope. Boy, was I wrong.

The past few days have been a struggle to keep absolutely anything down. My appetite has all but disappeared and I find myself forcing myself to eat little meals and snack because I know I have to. Yet, every morsel that passes my lips is torturous and usually about ten or so minutes later threatens to come up.

So is fatigue.

I am just as tired as I was in the first trimester as well. Every little task seems to be enough to make my eyes start burning, my feet swell, and have me begging for the couch or my bed.

What’s worse, is my sleep at night is all but impossible. This baby seems to be trying to plan her escape at night, and she won’t rest until she is out. I can feel her kicking, moving, swirling, flipping, everything and anything is going on in my uterus at night which usually has me lying with my eyes wide open, trying to push her down to the exit.

I am not trying to keep her in there, if she wants to leave, by all means, I will draw her a map.

Please… get out!

I have a season pass to an emotional rollercoaster that is far more intense than at any other point in my pregnancy.

So far in my pregnancy, I haven’t been the crying mess that most women seem to be depicted as in the movies. Instead I have been more cranky than usual. My moods tend to lean more towards being mean, angry, and having a shortage of patience.

My thoughts have been dark this pregnancy, if I am being completely honest. I find myself wallowing, dancing very close to depression that I can’t quite pinpoint to any reasoning.

Lately though, I have been more the weepy woman. I can have a single thought that makes my eyes glass over and my throat close up.

The past three days my husband has been off from work so we spent a lot of time together which really helped with my mood, but now today that he is back at work and I am alone again, I can feel myself being strapped into this rollercoaster of emotion, unsure what condition I am going to be in when the ride stops.

Anyway, I am off to the doctor. My Uber will be here any minute and I will be on my way.

I will keep you updated on what is going on (I know I have been slacking lately, and hope to get more on track).

Until then, keep pretending.

Prenatal Classes

In all the television shows you watch, all the movies where there is a couple going through pregnancy, or even just the mom doing it on her own, there is always a scene where the woman with a huge belly waddles in to a prenatal class. Judging by the size of her belly, one could guess she was around seven or eight months pregnant, nearing the end and coming in to get all the information she can before baby arrives.

In my area, at least, you would be wrong.

I attempted to sign up for prenatal classes the other day. Late, of course because of my husband’s busy work schedule and us wanting to do it together. I was told that I was too far along for the classes and if I wanted, I could do them at home online.

What?

I am too pregnant to learn about delivering and caring for my baby? How could that be?

It was a little frustrating. I mean with my due date being less than a month away, I would guess that now is the best time to take in all that information and I would be able to take all that information with me into my delivery.

There needs to be at least twenty-five days from the end of the class to my due date, that is what I was told. But why?

It is a one day class that takes about six hours to complete. I would understand if it were scheduled weekly, something I needed to attend all the way through to the end for months, but it is one day. The baby is in there today, and will most likely be there by the end of the class, so why the timeline?

In all honesty, I am feeling more than a little overwhelmed as the day draws nearer. As a first time mom, everything I am going through is something that makes my brow furrow and has me questioning what is normal and if everything is okay. Going to these classes would have just been a last piece of mind effort.

I guess my hubby and I are going to fall back on YouTube videos and hope they can provide us with all the information we need.

Isn’t that what people are doing now a days?

 

37 Weeks Doctor’s Appointment

I am so close at this point, I can practically see the finish line. My appointments are every week, and every week I keep waiting for them to tell me; “You are in labour now!” and get this baby out of here.

Every inch of me is uncomfortable and the word misery has taken on a whole new meaning. If I had thought I was miserable before, the fact that comfort is nothing but a distant memory, everything is swollen, and the pressure bearing down on my pelvic bone is enough to make me think it is about to snap at any moment, makes every waking moment of my day unbearable.

I have turned to the pregnancy forums to get some idea of when I can expect my little one. Really, it is a luck of the draw. Some women go months early, others right on the dot, I am hoping she pops her head out tomorrow because I am ready and willing. At this point, I have accepted that whatever isn’t done, won’t be before she gets here because getting myself to do anything is near impossible.

I am waiting for this ‘nesting’ phase to kick in, but my discomfort may be overriding it. I do little things, but soon my swollen feet start to throb and the little kickboxer starts using my ribs as a punching bag and I throw in the towel.

So far, all my appointments have pretty much been routine. I check in, get weighed, then get moved into the room. They ask me about new symptoms. Then I am laid out so my stomach can be measured, they check my blood pressure, and then they let me listen to baby’s heart. After all this is done, the doctor answers any of my questions and off I go.

At 37 weeks, three weeks away from my due date, I thought there would be a change. I thought they would start looking under the hood, giving me a better idea of when I can expect my baby and getting me better prepared for everything that was about to happen to me.

The hood remained latched, no one is checking under there and reading that other women have been checked at 36 weeks is making me a little nervous.

I asked my doctor today and she said she wouldn’t be checking under the hood for dilation until 39 weeks…

These days, that seems forever away.

Well, I am no doctor, so I guess I will just keep trudging around, jumping every now and them hoping she will just fall out. (Kidding… well, kind of.)