2nd Trimester Ultrasound

My ultrasound was scheduled for 10:30am and unlike my first ultrasound, it was at a hospital instead of at a private ultrasound facility. Now, in all honesty, I did prefer the first place. Everyone was there for a specific reason, you got called in right around your appointment time. Sure, the tech was a little cold and quiet, and they wouldn’t provide me with any information, but everything moved pretty quickly and my doctor got the results in just a few days for us to discuss.

For this ultrasound, I had to arrive with a full bladder. The paperwork I was given told me to drink four full glasses of water an hour before my appointment. I could only manage to drink two before my stomach was bloated and I was doing kegels to keep from peeing my pants.

We walk into the hospital where we check in and then are brought to a second area where we needed to take a number so we could register. This was painfully slow. People were being seen based on the number they had taken, which meant that people who had come in through the urgent care centre had taken numbers before me and would take priority to my appointment time.

Logically, I understand this. However, with a full bladder and needing to get to work for noon, logic wasn’t really playing a part in my patience.

An HOUR later, my number got called and I finally got a chance to get up and register. Once registered, I was told to follow the red arrows down the hall to the ultrasound area. We put my folder in a little slot in the wall and waiting for them to call my name.

Another thirty minutes passed.

*Insert exasperated face here*

By the time they said my name, I was ready to pass out from relief. My stomach was throbbing, my bladder was screaming and the first thing I said to the tech when I laid down on the table was “Fair warning, I am going to pee my pants at any moment.”

Looking at the appointment time on my paperwork, she shook her head and told me she would take all the measurements she needed to take as quickly as possible and then she would let me go to the bathroom before she finished.

Thank goodness!!

When my bladder was finally empty and I could breathe again, I was feeling a lot more excited about the ultrasound. My tech was great, she explained what she was doing and what she would be looking for, and I told her I wanted to know the gender of the baby.

At 18 weeks, she told me she was looking to be sure the baby was growing normally, making sure she could see all ten fingers and toes, measuring the spine, the neck, the skull, the heart and all the other important parts while being sure there are no abnormalities.

Her talking to me through the ultrasound put me at ease. During my first ultrasound the silence was deafening and it made butterflies flutter nervously in my belly.

She did tell me a few things, like my baby had a nice, strong heart. I doubt she would have told me if there was anything wrong. However, what she did tell me was reassuring.

The whole process took between 45 minutes to an hour for her to get all the measurements she needed, with an additional 20 minutes spent with her trying to see the gender of the baby.

From my first ultrasound, I was told my baby was very active. It made it difficult for the tech to get her measurements, and it made it difficult for her to take the pictures she needed, but it made it especially difficult to see the gender.

Legs crossed, wiggling its little butt away whenever we got close, my baby was sure to play coy and not give me the satisfaction of finding out its gender.

Did I need to know? I had written a blog post not too long ago stating the gender of your baby didn’t matter. Our babies could be who they wanted to be, love who they wanted to love. So long as they grew up to be good people, did it matter what they had between their legs? My thoughts were no, but realistically, I did want to know.

The main reason was because I felt like calling my baby “it” for the whole duration of my pregnancy gave me flashbacks of Pennywise the clown and was taking a little bit of the joy away from it all.

I did leave my ultrasound without knowing anything for sure, but my husband and I both got into the car and pretended we were okay with it.

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.

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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.

Trying To Conceive

Alright ladies, if you are like I was when I was growing up, everyone you knew who was having babies were people who were surprised by their pregnancies. I grew up in a more low income area, and unfortunately teen pregnancy was something that happened often. I remember thinking to myself when I was in my pre-teens: “Geez, it must be really easy to get pregnant!” This, as well as many other personal reasons, is why I didn’t lose my virginity until I was nineteen years old.

If you are one of these lucky ladies that experienced an “oopsie” that later became one of the great joys of your life, CONGRATULATIONS! However, this is not the case for a lot of women. As many Fertile Myrtles that are walking around out there, many of which are in my own inner circle of friends, there are just as many, if not even more women out there who are struggling, hoping, and praying that whatever they are trying will work for them this time.

I can’t speak for everyone, I don’t know personally what it is like to get knocked up without even having to think about it, or the stress, heartbreak, and long road of fertility treatments, or even about the new sciences that are involved in IVF. What I do know is that after my husband and I got married this summer, the thought of a baby was on my mind more prominently than ever, and I had this thought that without the birth control, all I had to do was let nature run it’s course.

To be fair, we didn’t try for very long. From the time I got it in my mind that we would get pregnant to the time we did was four months. For those who have been trying for years, you are probably rolling your eyes at me. I am not saying it’s really long, but as many women know who are trying, every day feels like an eternity. I had lived most of my life with this idea in my head that all it really took was one time, because for most of the people I knew, that’s all it really did take. I never thought I would have to try to get pregnant. I think for a lot of women, that’s a sad realization.

So this is the narrative of someone who got pregnant naturally after a few months of trying. The apps are super helpful. If someone were to ask me before I got married how long my cycle was, or the state of my vaginal discharge, I would have raised a brow at them and wondered how in the world any of that mattered. When you are trying to get pregnant, not only do you need to figure those things out, but you need to keep track of these things every day. Discharge, basal temperature, weight, diet, these are all things that impact your fertility. Certain apps are better than others at this, and what I ended up doing was downloading all the free apps the Apple Store had to offer and using them all for the first month to determine which was more accurate. In the end, I ended up sticking with OVIA.

There are truly too many things to keep track of and the apps help minimize the stress a little bit.

Trying To Conceive forums are both a blessing and a curse. After my first month of trying and still getting a visit from my awful Aunt Flo, I quickly flocked to the forums to see if there were any tips to make sure the next month, my Aunt would stay elsewhere. The plus side of the forums is there are thousands upon thousands of women in these blogs that give you reassurances. It makes you feel a little better to know you are not the only one and that helps you feel normal in your struggle. On the downside, it is a little bit like falling into a rabbit hole. I would find I would go to post a single question and look up at the clock to see an hour and a half had passed and instead of getting my answer, I had a dozen new fears and worries.

Having sex every day isn’t ideal. The common consensus is that you should have sex every other day or every three days. Sperm can live inside you for up to five days, and your partner will need time to replenish. This was probably our biggest mistake.

Having sex on a schedule removes the intimacy and maximizes on the stress for both you and your partner. Sometimes the need for a baby is so desperate and the idea, that little voice in the back of your mind that tells you it may not happen gets louder and louder every day. The louder that voice gets, the more you think about the schedule and sex becomes less and less about you and your partner and more about the end game. There was a time when I forgot he was the love of my life and not just a donor. Although sex is necessary to make it all happen, it’s important to keep the intimacy present and even add a little more fun to your nights when sex is on the calendar.

A negative test doesn’t mean NO forever. You pee on the stick and wait, practically holding your breath for the full three minutes it takes you give you your yes or no. It’s a miracle you don’t pass out from lack of oxygen. The whole time you are trying to tell yourself it’s no big deal, and that no matter what the test says, you will be fine. Yet, once it says no, you can’t help but be crushed. The first time I got my negative test, I felt like I wanted to draw the shades, climb back into bed and sleep until someone magically brought a baby into my life. I would love to tell you it gets easier as time goes on, and by the second or third negative test, you will be seeing things a little differently.

Sorry ladies, no such luck, at least not for me anyways. However, I would like to think it’s yet another way life is toughening us up, preparing us for the time when we actually do get pregnant and later, when we get our bundles of joy.

There are probably about a hundred other things involved in trying to conceive, especially because I am just skimming the surface of conceiving naturally. I’ll stop here though, as I hope there are some women reading this who are just starting their journey and I don’t want to make it seem like it’s daunting.

I will leave you with this thought though. Do you remember back in High School in health class? How they went over the reproductive organs and basically told us that if we had unprotected sex we would either get an STD or end up with a baby? All it takes is one time. That is what they used to tell us. I wish they had been a little more honest with us and prepared us a little better for adulthood. Maybe had they gone over all the scenarios, I would have been better prepared in my own.

No matter how you are going about all of this, just know that a journey is not a sprint. Anything worthwhile in life takes time, energy, and commitment. Whether you conceive naturally, with a donor, with fertility treatments, with IVF, or if you get your bundle of joy through adoption, just know that if you really and truly want to be a mom, put your whole heart into it and it will happen.

Until then, just pretend you know what you are doing.