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.

Little Ears Can Finally Hear

As a first time mom-to-be, I have downloaded over a dozen apps on my phone to track my pregnancy and the progress of my baby. I have no idea where I am supposed to be, when appointments need to be booked, how big my baby is, or at what stage they are. Theses apps help me feel connected in some way.

Opening the apps in the morning as religiously as some people open their Facebook, I like seeing how many weeks I am, how many days I have left to go, how big my baby is. What I like most of all, are the apps that tell you something new about the stage of your baby every day. It’s how I learned that my baby is covered in tiny little hairs that regulate it’s temperature in the womb, or when my baby had fingernails, or when their eyes opened. These are all things I would have been in the dark about before.

The big thing for me was learning when my baby would become sensitive or aware of certain things, like sound and light.

Knowing that my baby’s ears had developed and he or she could now pick up my voice and start to recognize it filled me with an excitement that used to be reserved for 24 hour breakfast diners.

My apps recommended I talk to the baby, sing, do all these little things like play music for them and stuff. I was delighted, but it seemed to be more difficult than I had thought. Mostly it consisted of me talking out loud to myself while my dog stared at me like a crazy person, realizing most headphones would NOT fit over my bump, and getting weird stares from my husband when I told him to talk to the baby. “Uh, what do I say?”

I would roll my eyes and act as though he was being ridiculous but that had been my exact thought when I started doing it.

Is there a way to do this without feeling silly? Probably not. My husband and I are still kids at hearts at times, and neither of us can resist teasing one another. My husband’s favourite pass time is mocking me when I say something that doesn’t make sense.. even to myself. This is the kind of grown up relationship we have.

Tackling things like talking to my stomach is definitely something that has us both feeling a little odd. Maybe in time we will just grow used to it. I will start monologuing to my unborn baby about my awesomeness, exaggerating my story, narrating my life in the kind of way that makes me seem like a heroine that most people wish they were, whose story is told across the world.

Did I ever mention I am a dramatic person?

Anyway, until then the two of us will both just pretend we are doing something completely normal until it… becomes normal. Isn’t that how life works?

Baby Fever

It happens just like a cold.

First you find yourself looking around, your eye pausing on all the babies that pass by. At first you may have the strength to keep quiet, but eventually you let out that low “Awwww” or you start waving and making faces at the wee babe hoping it will notice you.

Then before you know it, you are out of commission. All you can think about is babies, babies, babies. You’re consumed and there isn’t much you can do.

My baby fever happened over four or five months.

When my husband and I first started dating way back on 2009 I was very anti-baby. I was eighteen going on nineteen, hadn’t been on the dating scene too much, and wait for it… I was still a virgin. The idea of having a baby was so far in the back of my mind, it would take a week trek through treacherous conditions to reach it.

After finally starting a relationship with him (it’s a long story about how oblivious men can be) I was so completely wrapped up on the idea of being in a relationship that getting pregnant, planned or by accident, seemed like a nightmare. I needed it to be just him and I, and because of my mother and my sister’s paths in life (both accidentally pregnant, both ending up single mothers) I was reluctant to follow in their footsteps.

Because of this, I always made sure we were super careful, we were both using protection, and we were making sure no babies could be seen in our future.

Fast forward a few years, we are going steady, and living together. It’s typical for the parents and friends, especially those getting married and having babies of their own, to comment and ask the ever intrusive question: “When are you guys going to have a baby?” This is a question you get asked as often as “When are you guys thinking of getting married?”

My answer to the baby question was always a shocked face, curling my nose and shaking my head. No babies for us! They might as well have put the sign up on our front door. This was the attitude I had for YEARS.

Everything changed the month or so before we got married. Suddenly, instead of hearing that question a few times a year, it seemed to be a regular question. It’s like the puzzle pieces of the traditional life were all coming together. Coupled off? Check! Living together? Check! Engaged? Check! Married? Coming soon. Baby? Well that comes after the marriage, right? Like… right after?

I was on the fence. I thought to myself, sure, we have already been together for eight years, but didn’t we want to enjoy being married? That is what everyone against having babies right away would say. They wanted to enjoy being husband and wife before inviting a baby into their lives.

My husband and I have been practically married for years. We moved in together after only dating a few months, the honeymoon phase lasted for about a year, we travelled, we partied, we did all the things we had wanted to do. We had our ups and downs, sure we weren’t technically married, but aside from the rings and the paperwork, we were.

So why wait?

The month before we got married I felt my ovaries kicking into overdrive. Every time I looked at an adorable baby I wondered just what I had to do in order to just hold it. They seemed to precious, so wonderful and me working with five-year olds didn’t make things any easier. There was at least one instance a day where I would pause and think: “I want this.”

It didn’t help that just about everyone in my husband’s family asked us when we were planning to have kids leading up to our wedding. They were just throwing logs on a fire that was already a hungry blaze.

We pushed the question off because to be completely honest, my husband and I had never really discussed it.

I know, I know, insert crowd gasp here.

We discussed that we would have children, and we both said we would probably only want the one. The timing was something that never came up. We had always just thought we would discuss it later, when the timing was right.

Well, suddenly I felt the timing was right.

So, is having the kids conversation with your partner easy? For us it was. We tend to be the kind of couple that doesn’t really fight too often about important things. We argue about who ate the last muffin, or whether or not he actually farted while we are in the shower (honestly, these are the things we huff and puff about… although not with much ferocity). We have the kind of relationship where if it is an important life decision, we talk about it rationally.

Does that mean we always agree?

Absolutely not! We are human and we are both stubborn. What it means is we don’t yell at one another, we both lay down our arguments and let it sit for awhile. Eventually, a dialogue forms between us, questions are asked and answered and we make a decision together. For the most part, we both walk away happy.

Convincing my husband to have a baby took two months. He is a traditional and practical person. He thinks that in order to have a baby you need the house with the pretty white fence around the front yard. Living in an expensive city like Toronto, I don’t want to own a house here. We have a large apartment, with 2.5 bedrooms, 1.5 baths and I think it’s more than enough space to start a family considering my mom raised five of us in a three bedroom apartment for most of our lives.

Now, I think it’s important to state that I am not an irrational person. I am not the kind of person who conjures up an idea in my head and pursues it blindly. Before I even had the conversation with my husband, I wrote out a monthly budget for what we were spending and making now, and what the differences would be in the first year of having a baby. I also wrote out what our earnings would be when I took a year of maternity leave after the baby was born.

We have no debt between us, so we could easily swing a baby. But for my husband, seeing those numbers really made a difference. Seeing how much money we would still have over each month made him let out a breath of relief. Suddenly having a baby now made more sense that waiting.

A lot of the forums I read do have these topics. How to tell your spouse you are ready to have a baby. A lot of the ones I read are for couples who are already parents and one partner is trying to convince the other to have one more.

Although I do think any and every conversation is worth having in a marriage, I do think it’s important to set aside your desires to really take a moment to see what your partner is feeling. I know my husband loves and wants kids, so the conversation was really easy. However if I brought it up and saw that he really didn’t want to have a baby right now, I would have waited. You don’t want your partner feeling like they caved and resenting you later.

Luckily I didn’t have to because my baby fever was intense. I would have been a mental patient pretending I was sane all while chasing women and their babies at the park.

It started like a cold. A sniffle here, maybe a little clearing of my throat.

Thankfully I have a bun in the oven and my baby fever will get the treatment it needs soon enough!

 

 

2nd Trimester

Most of the time, people break down your pregnancy in weeks or in trimesters. I noticed, people rarely mention pregnancy in months? Why is this? It’s like people who tell you the age of the baby/toddler in weeks when they are like two years old.

“How old is your baby?”

“Twenty-six months.”

*Does some quick mental math* “So, like… two?”

This has always been something that has driven me completely bonkers mostly because I can’t find any reason for it. Why can’t you just tell me your baby is two years old? Why can’t you just tell someone you are five months pregnant? All this math! *Insert groaning face*

The first trimester is between 0-13 weeks pregnant or the first three months of your pregnancy. The second trimester is 14-27 weeks pregnant or from the second half of your third month moving through to the beginning of your sixth month of pregnancy. The third trimester is between 28-42 weeks or from the second half of your sixth month through your ninth month.

Trimester   | Months Pregnant   | Weeks Pregnant

1st                 |  0 Months                   |  0- 4 Weeks

|  1 Month                     |  5- 8 Weeks

|  2 Months                   |  9- 12 Weeks

|  3 Months                   |  13 Weeks

2nd               |  3 Months                   |  14- 17 Weeks

|  4 Months                    |  18- 21 Weeks

|  5 Months                    |  22- 25 Weeks

| 6 Months                     |  26- 27 Weeks

3rd               |  6 Months                    |  28- 30 Weeks

|  7 Months                    |  31- 34 Weeks

|  8 Months                    |  35- 38 Weeks

|  9 Months                    |  39- 42 Weeks

You know me, leading with honesty. The first trimester of my pregnancy was complete agony. I slept more than I was awake, when I was awake, I was throwing up, frowning over my new crop of pimples that had popped up overnight, or in a whirlwind of emotions that seemed as though it would never cease.

I woke up every day literally counting how many hours it would be before I was right back where I was, in my bed with the blinds closed and the curtains drawn erasing all signs of light from the room.

My diet in the beginning consisted mainly of soda crackers, dry toast, Gatorade, Powerade, and apple juice. There would be days when I would wake up and have a hankering for something specific, like sausage pasta or grilled cheese. I would rejoice in inhaling without gagging and eat it slowly, savouring the first meal I had in weeks. Sure enough, an hour would pass and I would be hunched over the toilet once again.

I turned to the blogs and forums, hoping some women further along in their pregnancy would shed some light on what was to come for me. I wanted the tiniest glimmer of hope, and by god, I searched for it. Most women said the nausea and the extreme fatigue would fade away by the 12th or 13th week.

Opening the same app I had used once to countdown to my vacations and my wedding day, I put in the date I would be 13 weeks pregnant knowing better than to bet on the shorter amount of time. As the days slowly dragged on, I rode it out.

I parted my hair far on the side to pull it over my crater forehead, I sucked on mint leaves and drank ginger teas. I smiled through the lurching in my belly, farting my way through the day hoping I could go poo because it had been over a week and my stomach was in agony. In the back of my mind I thought to myself; ‘Your time is coming!’ 

My brother’s girlfriend who has a son who is going to be two years old in September reminded me that everyone is different and her agony lasted not only the first trimester, but her WHOLE PREGNANCY!

I remember the sassy moment, when I shook my head, snapped my fingers and went “Hell Naw!” I had weathered the storm, I was almost through it… I would not stand in the eye and realize I still had more storm to weather through. I was done!

Luckily, I came out of my first trimester and felt like a completely different woman. Suffer no delusions. I didn’t wake up on the first day of my second trimester with a clear face, an easy stomach and an abundance of energy. My acne was still there, there just weren’t;any new ones that morning, I still threw up in the morning but my stomach settled after that and although I was still tired, I didn’t feel like every blink I took was one where I could easily slip into a coma.

Over time my acne faded slightly, not completely. I threw up only once in a blue moon instead of every day or every morning. The second trimester was looking a lot brighter than the first.

Thank whatever deity you want.

My baby bump still hadn’t made an appearance and that had me feeling a little blue. My clothes seemed to be getting tighter anyhow. My thighs and my butt were practically bursting the seat of my pants, yet at 15, even 16 weeks (depending on my bowel movements) my stomach was pretty much flat!

My second ultrasound was scheduled for my second trimester at the 18th week. I was excited to know I may get to find out the gender of my baby at this appointment! I was biting my lip in anticipation!

Bring it on! What’s mama having?

Boy or girl didn’t really matter too much, but my husband and I had a running bet on what it was and by the hair on the Grinch’s fingers, I wanted to win!

So I guess for now, I am going to pretend to be an adult and keep my cool until I get to this ultrasound and find out what we are having. Gladiator or Gladiator. Knight or Knight. Doctor or Doctor… come on guys, my kid can be whatever the hell it wants no matter what the gender.

Baby Shows- What To Expect

IMG_0741At seventeen weeks pregnant, and during an awful spring ice storm, I ventured out with my mother and eight year old nephew to a baby show at The Enercare Centre, at the Exhibition Ground in Toronto.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was a first time mom mostly excited about the possibility of freebies and coupons, and wasn’t sure what else the show would have to offer.

The admission to get in was $15, and children under 12 got in for free.

When you first walk in, it is a little bit overwhelming. Everywhere you look there are women in different stages of pregnancy wandering around. There are rows and rows of booths and it’s hard to know where to look or which way to walk. Do you walk towards the strollers, the cute photography booths, or maybe those adorable outfits that are causing your uterus to contract despite your baby only being the size of a poppy-seed?

I just did the rounds, making sure to see everything so I was thoroughly informed, keeping a careful eye on the coupons given to me at the door to see just how much I would be saving.

Overall, unless you go there with the thought that you will be spending thousands of dollars, there isn’t too much you will really jump at in regards to furniture and baby gear. There were all these intense strollers and car seats. All upwards of $1000. To be honest, if I had brought my husband with me, I probably would have spent a lot more money than I did. Although, I am not sure I would have gotten any of the strollers.

I have done more than my fair share of research and had decided at that point that I wanted a travel system. Although they did have some there, they were these high-tech ones that I couldn’t quite figure out and the sleek designs had me feeling a little nervous about putting my fragile newborn in them.

One thing that definitely caught my eye was this really cool up and coming company called Sprout.

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As my stomach went from flat to “Dear God, I swear these fit me yesterday!” I wondered if buying maternity clothes was really something I was going to be doing. I am a thrifty person by nature, and the idea of buying maternity clothes just felt like a waste to me. Not to mention, there aren’t a lot of really affordable options.

Enter the brilliant Sprout Collection. Where you can browse their collection online, choose pieces and have them mailed right to your door. Once you are done, you send them back, they handle the dry-cleaning, shipping, hell, the only thing they don’t do for you is carry the baby. As I listened to the stylish, chic and adorable owner explain everything to me at the baby show, my eyes lit up.

Check them out here, worth a look.

At the show, they hadn’t launched yet so you had to sign up for an email list and hope for an invite. I am happy to say they are up and running now.

Of the few things I purchased, there were two things that I really, really loved and was happy to come by.

After binge-watching Jane the Virgin on Netflix, the episodes where poor Mateo got a flat head and had to wear a helmet had me thoroughly looking for a solution to that. I kept thinking, “Oh my god, babies lie down so much! How in the hell am I going to keep my baby from getting a flat head?” Insert Ellie Ears.

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I bought two of these! Why? Because they are adorable, exactly what I had been looking for and to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t decide between two of the patterns not knowing the sex of my baby as of yet and hoping for something gender neutral.

They aren’t overly pricey and at the baby show, they were together with another booth which earned me a discount on both items if I bought them together… and of course I did.

Adorable Ellie Ears

The booth that was sharing with the Adorable Ellie Ears was a towel place. At first glance, I didn’t pay too much attention to them, I was struggling to decide between the patterns I liked for the Ellie Ears and wasn’t looking at anything else.

Screen Shot 2018-05-23 at 9.11.33 PMScreen Shot 2018-05-23 at 9.12.10 PM

Fortunately, the woman working the booth was charismatic and pulled me in. Plus, the towel she was wearing at the time seemed to match the Ellie Ears I had in my hand perfectly.

She had the towel clipped around her neck like an apron and quickly explained how difficult it could be to juggle a wet newborn, shivering baby as you tried to get the towel around them. Just the idea of my poor wee babe shivering as I took a second too long to wrap them up made my heart immediately ache and… I bought one.

This is definitely a product I felt I would use and use often and would make my life so much easier. As a first time mom, I was hoping for things to help me through a time I knew would be stressful.

One Berrie proved it would do just that for me.

Believe it or not, I didn’t buy too much else besides that. There was a lot of big-ticket items I wasn’t ready to commit to just yet, and for the other things, I felt like I wanted to know the gender of my baby before I bought cute outfits and stuff like that.

These seemed to be the most useful items when I looked around.

I am sure a lot of other mommies with less self-control than me went bananas at the show. I saw some poor husbands, partners, mothers, and sisters carrying bags upon bags of items.

As a first go-er, I would definitely say I got a lot of information. Even if you didn’t plan to go and spend any money. Going just to get pamphlets from things like RRSPs, Service Ontario, and talking to a financial advisor about how much you need to save to pay for your child’s education was enough to make me want to go to another.

First time mommies, don’t panic. Just nod your head, act like you know what is going on and pretend you know exactly what you’re doing there.