Milestones

It is crazy for me to even think about, but tomorrow my baby girl will be a month old! I’ve been a mother for a month!

With such a big milestone coming up, it’s got me thinking about what people consider the milestones for babies, and how so many parents question what is normal.

Every new parent wonders if their baby is developing on time, if they are falling behind, and hope they are ahead of the curve. An important thing to keep in mind when you have your new bundle of joy, is to just be happy and enjoy your time together. Who cares how soon your best friend’s daughter started rolling over, or when your brother’s son started cooing and making eye contact. We are all on our own journeys at our own pace, and that goes for our new babies as well.

I find I am constantly pulling out my resources and looking up when certain developmental things are normal, but it’s mostly with things I am not sure if newborns should be doing so I know whether or not it is something to bring up with her doctor.

Some of my questions were; “Is it normal for my newborn to snore?

There are a few reasons why a newborn may make noises similar to snoring. One is because there can be a flap in their vocal chords that is loose and their breathing when they are sleeping rattles this flap. It isn’t something to worry about as this usually corrects itself as baby grows. Another reason could be because they are congested.

I try to clean out my daughter’s nose whenever I give her a bath. The warm water seems to loosen mucus and build up in her nose which makes it easier for me to clean it out with that little suction thingy that was included in her bath kit. Normally I can look up her little nostrils and see if there is some build up in there, which will affect the way her breathing sounds.

My daughter does make noises while she sleeps. It sounds more like whining and growling than actual snoring and I find it is completely dependant on her position. When she is propped up, which is a position she likes to be in during the day as she likes to feel like she is sitting up, and falls asleep she sounds as though she is snoring. If I lay her down, her breathing evens out and she gets a little more quiet. However, not completely quiet. She is a really noisy sleeper!

Is it normal for my daughter to look so red and strained?

This is not a constant thing of course, but whenever she gets fussy she gets bright red. The same goes for if she is lying on one side of her face for too long, or if she is pressed against my breast during breastfeeding. Her skin gets as red as it possibly can.

My doctor says this is normal for babies at such a young age with light pigmentation. Their skin is thinner so it’s normal to see their veins and for them to go quite red for the first few months. I blame my pale, ginger husband for this.

What is my newborn’s poop supposed to look like?

My daughter’s poop is always this yellowish/brown and is practically water. It’s so runny that there have been more than a few times when I am covered in poop if her diaper is on the wrong way.

It’s normal for your baby’s poop to be orange/yellowish/brown and pretty watery for the first few months. Their intestines are not fully developed yet so they don’t break down food the same way toddlers and adult bodies do.

For those of you pregnant with a baby girl or ones that have a newborn baby girl, there is going to be a thick white mucus in their vagina. This too is completely normal and because of hormones that will prevent infections from their overly runny, gag-worthy poops.

Babies are supposed to get a certain amount of tummy time a day to strengthen the muscles in their neck, also to give the back of their heads a break. Babies spend a lot of time on their back, especially because doctors recommend you lay your baby on their back while sleeping at night. All that time on their back, can flatten the back of babies head.

Not to worry, because of the smaller, second soft spot at the back of their head, even if baby’s head does flatten it will go back. The bad news is that your baby may need to wear a helmet to help their head reshape if it flattens to a certain point. So remember to give your baby lots of tummy and side time during the day.

I usually lay my daughter on her side after she feeds because she tends to spit up and this way she doesn’t choke on it, she also loves being on her side and it gets a lot of her gas out.

At one month, my daughter already uses her arms and legs to flip herself onto her belly which has made nighttime a lot less restful for me. Why? Well because she moves herself onto her sides and tummy while she sleeps and although she can hold her head up and move her head from side to side, sometimes she lies with her face pressed flat against the bed which worries me because it doesn’t give her a clear passage to breathe.

She also gets quite a bit of gas because she likes to play when latching sometimes. She rubs her face back and forth over my nipple. At first I thought it was a latching problem, but she will break the latch to do it… not sure why. Because of this, she sometimes gets a lot of air in her tummy while she eats.

The build up of gas makes her all red and makes her moan and groan angrily. Moving her little legs in a bicycle motion helps, so does lying her on her tummy or her side.

Back to milestones, I have an app on my phone that asks me if she has gone through certain milestones based on her age. The Ovia Parenting app has milestones categorized first based on age. 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, 9-12 months, and 12-18 months. Then it’s broken down again into motor skills, thinking and learning, social, communication, body inside and out, and bathing and dressing. It is set up like a checklist so you can check off your babies accomplishments and milestones. I like it because it lets me know what other children are doing in that timeframe and eases my mind to some of the worries I may have. “Should my kid be doing this?” checks the list… oh… yup. Here it is!

It’s weird because the first month flies right on by. I can’t believe my daughter is a month old! I can’t believe I have been a mom for a month!

New parents, savour every moment because you don’t really realize how quickly time flies. It feels like I just took her home from the hospital yesterday!

I would say I’ve been pretending not to notice, but I honestly haven’t noticed the time passing.

One month!

3 Weeks Old

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It’s been 3 crazy weeks since I became a mom to my beautiful daughter! Time has flown by, and I still can’t wrap my head around it all.

As much as I would love to write a long post about all the ups and downs of being a new mom, I am going off of a very limited amount of sleep, my breasts are throbbing because I haven’t pumped yet today, and my mind is complete mush.

And it’s all worth it for this little girl!

I will check in later!

 

Changing

Life is all about changes. We are constantly transforming, growing with every choice we make and every milestone we pass.

At 27 years old, I have been through quite a bit of changes myself. This morning as I lay in bed wide awake, having been woken up for the fifth or sixth time by my beautiful little monster, I thought about how different I was from the little girl I once was. That got me thinking about how different I was from the woman I was a mere ten months ago, before I got pregnant.

Before I got pregnant, I may not have slept through the whole night, but that was because my mind was so busy I couldn’t quiet it enough to get through the night. Now, my mind is completely exhausted, it gets to a point in my day where I can barely remember things about myself. I am up for constant feedings, not because my creativity is running wild and I need to get up and jot something down.

Before I got pregnant all my clothes fit. I could complete thoughts, my body was my own, and I showered every day.

Now, I am sticky, there is dried breast milk under boobs I never had before, I think I may have showered a few days ago but I couldn’t tell you the exact day, I am back to wearing pads which I haven’t worn since high school and still hate, I hot flash every twenty minutes and I am wondering if I am ever going to be the person I was before all this.

Pregnancy was rough. It wore me out mentally. What got me through the last, and hardest month of my pregnancy was the thought that I would have my body back once the baby arrived. I was even naive enough to think I would get my mind back when she arrived as well.

19 days into being a mom and my mind is still complete mush. I haven’t written anything since I got pregnant and even trying to brainstorm out any ideas results in my sitting there staring at the ceiling trying to remember what I am even doing. It’s like my creativity pool has completely dried out and I am going through a drought, which means there is no chance of it refilling any time soon.

My body may look a little bit like my pre-pregnancy body, I will admit that I am happy with the weight I have managed to put on and breastfeeding has taken my belly down substantially. I still have a bit of a tummy and these boobs are always in the way and leaking like faucets. But my body is not mine.

It’s hers.

I am her mode of transportation, her pillow, her milk on demand, her cuddle companion, really anything she needs, that’s what I am for her.

My life is changing.

Here is something you may need to sit down for, new mommies. Change isn’t bad, it’s just different.

When I was pregnant, I was worried about myself mentally, especially once my daughter arrived. Now, as I look at all the things that are changing in my life even through these exhausted eyes, I am a little bit relieved.

I needed to change. We all do, and it’s not up to us when it happens. It’s up to life to change us, and boy, my life has really changed me this past year.

Okay, so my body isn’t mine right now. But I have this beautiful baby girl who relies on me for everything and gives me this new sense of purpose. Every day, even days I don’t get out of my PJs, shower, or comb my hair, I am doing something wonderful. I am being a mom to this little baby.

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Everything in my life seems to be changing, and when I look at my daughter, I know that all that change is worth it.

Any new moms who are going through a rough time because of all these changes, just know that change is good, even if it takes you a little bit of time to realize it!

Hang in there mamas, we’re all in this together.

Taking Baby Home

In the hospital, our daughter was quiet. She whined a little bit and cried when we would lie her down to change her, but other than that she mostly liked to be cuddled up to my husband and I, skin to skin, catching some major Zs.

Once we got her home, we noticed a change in her personality.

She was fussy. She didn’t like the bassinet we had in the room, because, as we would discover later, she didn’t like lying flat on her back. She didn’t like a lot of the little gadgets and gear we had gotten in hopes of her getting a good night’s sleep (and a nice sleep for my husband and I as well.)

Instead of the typical bassinet that she would grow out of in just a few months, we went with a playpen with the bassinet and change table attachment on top. Not only did she not like the bassinet, but she also didn’t like the changing table. We ended up having to bring her into the nursery to use the larger changing table.

Of the things she did like, she liked this Fisher Price rocking chair thingy. I couldn’t tell you exactly what it is called because my brother handed it down to us. It has a base that is supposed to move the seat back and forth, but when we got it, the base didn’t work. However, the legs on the seat itself when you take it off the base are like little rocking chair legs, and she liked the way her body sunk into the seat and how her own movements could make the seat move.

Our thought for bedtime was to remove the bassinet and changing table attachments from the playpen and just sit that little chair in there. That way she was up where I could see her from the bed (and my dog wouldn’t fuss with her being on the floor), and she was secure in the frame of the playpen.

Genius! Or at least I thought.

Nope. As it so happens, the chair was all fine and good during the day, but absolutely unacceptable for bedtime.

She would lie in there for a few minutes before she would wake up and cry. Okay…

Now, all the articles and doctors will tell you that co-sleeping with your baby is dangerous. It increases the risk of SIDS and really should just be avoided all around. Trust me, I have read all the articles, I understand the risk and trauma of rolling over onto your new baby or having your baby tangled up in the sheets. When I was pregnant, I read through those articles and thought to myself ‘What in the world are these people thinking? Just have your baby in a bassinet beside your bed.’

When you actually become a parent, you realize just how ridiculous it is to think things are that simple.

When you are running on empty, and all you want is a mere thirty minutes of uninterrupted sleep, you will put your baby on your chest the way you know they like and doze off completely, forgetting all about those articles.

I am an extremely light sleeper, always have been. I used to wake up when my dog would wake up and move around the room before I was pregnant. Every little coo or deep breath my daughter takes I am aware of, even if I am sleeping. I am also the kind of person who has always slept on my back and doesn’t toss and turn. So the idea of letting her sleep on my chest for an hour while I caught a little bit of shut eye was not even something I thought of as dangerous.

It just made sense.

Over the past eleven days of having my daughter at home, I have noticed things that make her sleep routine easier.

My daughter does not like to wear anything but a diaper when she sleeps. It’s important to test the waters with a new baby, especially when it comes to their sleeping attire. So long as you keep your room a comfortable temperature for baby, there is no reason why they have to wear clothes to bed. If my daughter has so much as socks on her feet when she goes to bed, she will fuss until she gets them off.

My daughter can’t sleep in silence. I think we forget just how noisy it is for babies inside the womb. We assume they will want quiet when they sleep, but in our tummies they hear the constant beating of our hearts, every breath we take, not to mention some of the noises from out in the world are amplified for them in there. They have spent nine months with this constant soundtrack of sound, if you strip away all the noise for them on that first night home, it will be hard for them to settle.

My daughter can’t sleep in complete darkness. I am the kind of person that liked the room pitch black, black out blinds and silence (unless I was listening to my rainstorm sleep sounds). The first night we brought our daughter home, I crawled into bed in the dark and revelled in the silence after spending the past few days in the hospital with no sleep. My daughter however, was not as comfortable as me. She was up constantly, whining and searching for us. The womb is not completely dark either, so most babies do like a small amount of light while they sleep. We decided to go for some dim string lights behind the frame of our bed so it wasn’t so bright for mom and dad but was enough to make our daughter feel comfortable.

My daughter craves skin to skin. Skin to skin is so important to build a bond between you and baby in the first few months they are here. My daughter would curl into my husband and I at the hospital like a cat in the sun and go right to sleep. When she is being overly fussy at night, I take my shirt off and lay her on my chest and she is asleep in mere moments. I noticed she couldn’t initially fall asleep at bedtime without some cuddling. For now, this is okay, but it is something I am going to have to ween her off of as she gets older.

There is no spot in our whole house my daughter loves more than our bed. It has been 11 days since we took her home from the hospital and we have had just as many nights to try and find what works best for her and for us. At the end of the day, there is no spot that puts her to sleep more soundly, than a spot on our bed.

Look, I am not a doctor. I am not telling any new moms out there to co-sleep with their babies. I know the risks, trust me, I do! I am merely being honest with you guys and telling you what works for us.

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Regardless of what you decide is best for you, it is going to take some trial and error. If you do decide to co-sleep, make sure to give you baby enough space away from you to be sure you don’t accidentally roll onto your bundle of joy. Also, remove all the blankets from around baby (this above photo was taken before I did all of that). If you have the space on your bed, co-sleeping could work. If you are still too nervous, than maybe you will be successful where I wasn’t.

Good luck either way!

Feel free to get in touch with me and let me know how you are doing with your new baby!

 

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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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!

Pets, Pregnancy, and Babies

Eight years ago we adopted a Cocker Spaniel/ Dachshund mix to keep my old Pomeranian company. He was a lot of work. He had a fear of men and would scream when you put him on the leash, he would cry and pee whenever there were any loud noises.

Now, he is definitely better, however he still has his issues. With my old Pom gone, he pretty much has the run of the house and he is, I will admit to this, spoiled rotten.

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With a baby on the way, we have wondered how he is going to react to having to split some of our attention with a new baby. He has never been very good at sharing and can sometimes be territorial when it comes to our apartment and my husband and I. Although I am not the kind of person that would even think to re-home our Toblerone after eight years, I do think I am going to approach the expanding of our family with caution.

At about five or so months pregnant, Tobes definitely noticed a difference in me and he became over clingy. He would lie with me whenever I was on the couch and always wanted to be right on top of me, his head very close to my belly.

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He reacts to every movement and ripple going on in there, and he always seems really alert, like he is listening. Now, at seven months, he seems a lot more accustomed to all the movements and tends to like to sleep with his head on my belly. I don’t know how he manages it, as the baby is always kicking and punching away at his head, but he stays put.

There has also be a shift between the three of us. Before I got pregnant, my husband was definitely Tobe’s favourite. He would sit by the door and wait for him to come home about thirty minutes before he was due to walk in, he would follow him from room to room, lie on his side of the bed, always sit with him on the couch. Now, all that attention that he had given to my husband is attention he is giving to me. It’s adorable, but I wonder if he will go back to my husband once the baby is born, or become jealous of how much attention I will be giving to my new babe.

A third option also comes into mind, which is that all the attention that was once my husband’s or mine will become the baby’s.

We got Toblerone in May and my nephew had been born in February. In the beginning, my husband (then my boyfriend) and I watched my nephew a lot as my sister had some health problems after her pregnancy. We were nervous because he had a lot of issues, but Tobes saw my nephew as his baby. He was so attached to him, sleeping wherever he was, crying when he couldn’t be right next to him, it was adorable, the little bond they had. Even to this day, eight years later when my nephew comes to stay with us, Tobes is attached to him at the hip.

Needless to say, the thought of how everything will go has added to my anxiety. I keep hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. I have gotten a crate that we plan to keep him in while my husband’s parents come to stay with us, as he is not great with visitors, and we are planning to train him around the baby, never left unattended of course. It is a lot, but at the end of the day, I couldn’t imagine just finding him a new home which I am finding a lot of people do when they have a baby.

That to me is heartbreaking.

We are parents to our pets, we are their everything for years and years and I do understand that having a baby is a big step in anyone’s life. But how can you justify getting rid of your dog who you have had for so long, who you have treated like your baby up until now? To me, that is a little lazy. You just can’t be bothered.

Life is hard, and if you aren’t prepared to battle through the rough spots, then don’t invite other people into your life. Don’t get a pet if you aren’t in it for the long haul, don’t get into a relationship if you aren’t willing to do the work.

I was reading a post the other day about a woman who had her dog for just as long as I have. Completely friendly dog, had never showed any sign of aggression. It was a larger dog, it look like a boxer mix, and she had stated her dog was a bit hyper and she was worried about how her old friend and her new baby would co-exist.

Long story short, she got rid of her dog before her baby had even arrived. Without even giving her old friend a chance, without even testing the waters, she sent her dog of seven years to live with someone else because she couldn’t be bothered to put in the work to make her growing family work.

To me, it seemed so selfish.

My dog has been aggressive, my dog has behavioural issues, and that is why I don’t plan to put my baby right in his face, that’s why I am planning to keep them separate, maybe give him a blanket my baby has slept with for a while and let him sleep with it to get him used to a new scent and a new person. If worst comes to worst, we will keep them separate. It’s really not that difficult.

When it comes down to it, pets can learn just like children can.

I don’t know, I guess it is a bit of a rant because I didn’t understand how you could so easily throw away someone who has been part of your life for so many years.

Maybe that is just me.

Anyway, there is a lot you can do to train your pets for a new baby. It’s the same as anything else. Your pets know what they are not allowed to do, where they are not allowed to go. How do they know this? Because you have put in the time and effort to teach them. Why does having a baby suddenly mean you aren’t teaching them anymore?

My husband would be beside himself if I even brought up getting rid of Toblerone. They are best friends and to even think about how giving him up would effect my husband causing my stomach to tie up in knots. I would never even consider doing that to either of them.

Anyway, we don’t know what is going to happen, but approaching it with caution, we can definitely figure it out.

Your pets are your babies too… I hope you all remember that when you move through life on your journey, get married and have babies. I know I sure will.