How Important Is Including Your Family In Your Child’s Life?

When you are pregnant or thinking about starting a family, it is so common to think about the kind of family you want for you baby. You start to think about your own childhood and your experiences and memories, and you make a mental list of all the things you want to do differently, all the experiences you want your baby to share with you. 

My childhood was rocky. It was chaotic and messy, and in a way lonely.

I have four siblings, an older sister and three younger brothers. It was an odd place to be in the line-up. My sister was a cool kid, very Regina George from Mean Girls. She was the It Girl, she had all the friends, knew everyone, did all the partying. Because of this a lot of the time people just knew me as her sister, and not as myself. Having Regina George as an older sister also meant that I was bullied mercilessly, and put in the supervisory role for my younger brothers because she was always doing something that kept her from babysitting. 

My mom was a single parent. She worked tirelessly to make sure we all had what we needed, but that also meant that I didn’t get to see her very often. One of the first things I told myself when I started making a family of my own was that I wanted to spend a lot more time with my kids when they came along. It isn’t something I hold against my mother at all, I admire her work ethic and she taught me a lot, but it is something I wanted to do differently. 

My relationship with my father was complicated. He had cheated on my mother when I was a kid and had an abusive relationship with her both emotionally and physically. It was difficult for me as a kid because when I was really small I was more of a Daddy’s Girl. He was the one I ran to when I had a problem, he was the one I ran towards with pure joy, he was a big part of my life and I idolized and loved him more than I could ever say. 

However, watching what he put my mother through and the emotional toll losing him put on my brother, he suddenly became the villain in the tale of my life. Parents are human, and I completely understand they will make mistakes, we will all make mistakes. But I do think as a parent, it is your job to hide some of you mistakes, some of your villainous attributes from your kids and he made no effort in doing any of that. He included us in his villainy, made us bear witness to it all, and that to me was unforgivable. 

When I became a teenager, I cut all ties with my father. He is a toxic person and I could no longer stomach his influences. I just needed distance, I needed to pull away for my own survival. I think in a big way that is what being an adult is, realizing that a lot of life is just trying to survive different situations. 

When I was pregnant, I thought a lot about family. My husband’s family is the kind of family I always wanted when I was a kid. Two loving parents. A mom that is supportive and just radiates joy and love, and a father that finds a lesson in every situation. He is close to his two brothers and they have this bond that seems as though it would survive anything. Not to mention both his parents come from huge families and he is close to all 15+ aunts and uncles, and their children. It’s just such a wonderful family vibe and I am so happy to be a part of it. 

However the downside of being the new addition to such a great family, is that it makes you look at your own in this sort of judgemental way. It made me long for they type of family I never really had. 

In our family it is just us. We aren’t close with my mother’s sister and her kids. We don’t speak to our dad who remarried and has a whole new family. We don’t have relationships with our grandparents. It’s just the 6 of us, my mom, my four siblings, and I. Over time that family has grown a bit. My sister had a son, my brother had a son, I married adding my husband and now our daughter. Our family of 6 has become a family 11. It’s dysfunctional at times, but it’s mine and I love it. 

When I was pregnant a lot of family related questions came to mind, but the biggest question I asked myself was whether or not I would finally answer one of those emails from my father, the ones where he makes a weak effort to reach out and attempt to rebuild the bridges he had burned. 

Hormones can make you act crazy and question everything. I questioned my decision to completely cut him out. 

I am happy to say I resisted that urge. Why? Because although family is important for children, there is nothing better for them then a healthy environment where they can witness healthy and functioning relationships. 

There are no cookie-cutter families. Some families are two parents, four grandparents with lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. Some are one parent, four grandparents. Some are just a grandparent. Some are just one parent. Families come in all shapes and sizes and as long as everyone in that family is constantly working to make one another happy with their best interests always in mind, that’s what’s important, no matter what members make that family. 

Toxic relationships are never good for anyone, and although it’s hard, sometimes you need to say goodbye to the harmful people in your life to ensure your happiness, and the happiness of your children. 

It’s so important to make a family for your baby and your children, but it’s important for us as parents to be smart enough to know what family our children need. Sometimes including everyone isn’t what’s best. 

Living In Chaos: Is It Possible To Have A Routine With A Newborn?

I have been a mother for two months now, and a lot of the blogs and forums I had read to prepare me for being a mother (yes, I read some books too) told me that it would be so difficult in the beginning and that the best way to get through it, was to give up on the thought or idea that you can keep a routine this early in your baby’s life. Is this true? If you had asked me that the first week I had brought my baby home, I would have told you it definitely was. A routine was something single people and people with older children could possibly keep if they planned and had a strong desire, but for a new mom, it was completely out of the question. 

Now, I realize how wrong that was. 

Babies are unpredictable in a way, but if you pay attention to all the little things, you will realize that your baby does have a routine… it just may not be the one you want them to keep. 

My daughter wakes up between 10:00am and noon. She is NOT a morning way in any way shape or form. You may think I am just making that up, but if you spent a morning with me at my house and watched how utterly miserable she was for no other reason than because it was before noon, you would whole-heartedly agree with me. 

My daughter + mornings = one unreasonably cranky baby.

When she gets up I change her out of her sleeping clothes, wipe her down (we usually give her a full bath in the evenings) and then I take her to the rocking chair (glider) or the couch depending on how we feel for a feeding. She eats until she falls back asleep which is anywhere from 30 minutes to and hour. I use the time she is asleep to pump out the remaining breastmilk and do a few things for myself (wash my face, brush my teeth, change my clothes, read through some news highlights, have my cup of decaf coffee). 

She will usually sleep for two-three more hours and be up by 3:00pm. By that time, I layer up, get her layered up and she and I take our fur baby out for a walk. We are usually out for between fifteen-twenty minutes depending on the weather. I really wish it was summer or even fall weather because then I would go out and walk for around an hour, and hour and a half and just spend a lot more time outdoors and less in my apartment. 

When I take her in, I usually check and see if she needs a change because outside I can’t necessarily hear her volcano eruption of poop. Even my daughter’s diaper change has a routine. I lay her down and weather she is wearing socks or a onesie, I make sure her feet are bare when she is getting changed because she loves when I kiss her feet and kissing her feet or nom-noming them is sometimes the only thing I can do to calm her down is she is fussy while she is on the table. 

We play with her feet before and after her change, I usually give her a few cherry kisses on her tummy as well before I get her dressed again. Now, the dressing her after her change is always a bit of an adventure because my daughter hates wearing clothes. If she is being overly fussy, I will just shrug the whole idea of clothes off and let her be free in her diaper and some socks. If my apartment is too cold, I will put her in a cover-all onesie. Her happiness does depend on how much clothes she is wearing so typically if she gets off that table in a onesie we have to do a couple laps in the apartment before we get on the glider and she feeds again. 

Typically after this feeding she will stay awake. We will move to the floor for her tummy time which she also hates. Usually she does about five minutes of that before she is grunting in frustration, bright red, and ready to stop talking to me for the rest of the day. Toby of course accompanies us for tummy time and tries to soothe her with his toys or kisses if she gets too fussy. 

After tummy time, I put her in her swing with the music playing and she will enjoy that until she dozes off (the life of a two month old). She usually dozes for an hour to two hours. At this point… mama takes a nap/break. 

When she wakes up, she eats again. Usually when she is done eating I will realize I haven’t eaten since her first nap and I try to get something in me and I will do my 7 minute exercises (I usually choose three different ones and do that for about 20 minutes). By this time it is between 6:00-6:30.

This means we bundle up again and take Toby out. If we popped out for only a short fifteen minutes earlier, I will typically stay out longer. If we were out longer in the morning, I will typically do the same amount of time or less depending on the weather. 

We come in, same changing routine, she eats some more. Then I usually sit with her and chat with her for a bit. Exercising her legs, playing with her arms, rubbing her tummy if she has excess gas. She will doze off, eat, get changed. Before I know it, it’s 9:00pm and I try and set her back in her swing so I can get dinner started. (I know, my husband works weird hours and usually doesn’t get home from work until around 10:30pm)

My daughter will be wide awake from 9:00pm until around midnight. There is no way around this. She will be cooing, and squawking, and kicking and punching and just keeping herself up and entertained. 

We go into the room and I chat with her some more, telling her stories, singing, and usually after another long feed, she will clock out at 1:21am every morning like it’s shift work. 

In the beginning I thought it was madness and there was no routine to it. I only started to realize there was a routine when I went out for the day with my sister and she was fussy in the morning. I told my sister it was because she usually napped between 1:00-3:00pm and then I wondered to myself if that was true or something I just thought she did. Sure enough, the whole routine started to play out in my mind and I realize there was a routine.

For all those new moms who were hoping to have a baby that goes to bed by 7 or 8 and you could get them up early, feed them and have your breakfast, have your lunch at noon, dinner at 6 and that they would fall into the schedule you had before you had a baby, then you may be feeling like it is chaos, because it isn’t normal. But you aren’t that person anymore, and you have to be open to changing your schedule to suit a new baby, even if that schedule doesn’t work for you. Their routine will change as they grow, and sooner or later it will click into place with what you had planned. 

“What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” This is important to remember. We were spiders before and now we are feeling a little more like flies, because a lot of our planning isn’t up to us anymore. 

And there is nothing wrong with that. 

So you can definitely have a routine, I just can’t promise it will be the one you want. Here in Canada, not living in that work life routine for months on end is fine because of our Maternity leave we have the time to adjust and months to figure it out before we go back to work. For those living in other countries without maternity leave, I definitely understand how frustrating it can be to have a newborn that doesn’t make your transition from pregnancy, to new mom, to working new mom easy as you ride the wave of their schedule. 

I would strongly suggest keeping a journal of their naps, feedings, and diaper changes so it is easier for you to notice these patterns and plan your life around them. When you feel like you are falling into the groove of things, even though you may not be getting much sleep or living the hours you want to live, you will start to feel less anxious, less tired and enjoy being a new mommy. 

Everything in life take times to adjust to. Give yourself that time and try not to rush a change that may end up making life more difficult for you. It’s better to have a baby on a night-owl routine than to have a miserable baby who cries all the time because you are trying to change it. Then no one is getting any sleep. 

Until next time, hang in and keep pretending you know what you’re doing. 

Social Media and Your Baby

We just returned from a two-week stay with my in-laws on the East Coast. This was a great trip. We got to introduce Sunshine to our family and friends, she got to spend a lot of one on one time with her grandparents and uncles. We even got her baptized.

Having so much family and friends around was a big help to me as well. It gave me a chance to really sleep. Do you remember the kind of sleep where you can completely turn your mind off, where you can take up as much of the bed as you want and move about freely? Well, I got a few hours of that in a day.

It also just gave me time to exist on my own. My husband only took two weeks off from work after I gave birth to Sunshine, which meant after that I spent a lot of the day with her on my own. My daughter loves to be held, so this often meant that I barely had enough time to run to the bathroom and pee before she would start fussing again.

With the all the people at my in-laws dropping in for visits, not to mention nana and papa Gus, and her two uncles, I could actually sit on my own. I could eat, have a cup of coffee or tea, or read through the news without wondering when my time would be cut short and I would have to pick her up again.

At this stage in Sunshine’s life, she in unable to self-soothe. So letting her cry it out isn’t an option.

It was a nice break.

Sure, there were things that I didn’t love. I didn’t love living out of suitcases and not having my own space and time where I could just do whatever I wanted without worrying if people were wondering where I was or what I was doing. All of that were things I could shrug off, telling myself that in a short while I would be home again wondering where all the time went, so I should enjoy the little things.

One of the things that really got under my skin though, was people and their links to social media.

In this day and age, people are constantly snapping photos and taking videos. Viral videos are posted every single day of people the poster doesn’t even know. All of this is amplified when there is a baby around. People love babies and they love snapping photos of them, and taking videos.

I don’t mind people taking photos with my baby, what I do mind is people posting photos of my daughter without my permission.

On our trip, I spent most of the time with my in-laws and my brother in-laws new girlfriend. She was sweet, and I didn’t have anything against her, but she took a lot of photos of my daughter. That alone was odd to me because she and my brother-in-law have been dating less than a year. It was a little soon for her to be filling up her phone storage with photos of my baby.

However, I can totally understand baby fever, hell, I went through it myself.

What bothered me was later when I asked my husband to see photos that had been taken that day and he told me they were on her Instagram.

She had posted photos of my daughter to her Instagram, not just one or two, but upwards of thirty without even asking me if it was okay.

This bothered me. A lot.

I work with children, so maybe that is what makes the lines of what is and what isn’t appropriate so defined in my book. I am the kind of person who doesn’t take pictures of other people’s kids. If I had, it was to share with their parents through personal email, not through social media. Even the photos I take with the kids in my own family I never post on social media, I wouldn’t even dream of it. If I had, I would have asked my sister or brother if that was okay first.

So to me, this was brazen. This was ballsy for someone who had never met me before, someone I wasn’t close to and who was still skating on thin ice with me because we didn’t have a relationship that was in any way established.

I think for people who don’t work with kids or aren’t parents themselves, they don’t realize how standoff-ish we can be when it comes to children in our care, especially our own! This made me feel violated and had me questioning this woman and who she thought she was.

However, I had just met her and had she been dating my husband’s other brother I would have addressed this with him right away but conversations with the brother she was dating always felt forced and my wording was always somewhat scripted in my head.

I am not on Facebook or Instagram personally. I am not the kind of person who posts things constantly, and even if I was and I did, it is every bit my right as a parent to decide what is posted of my child, when and where.

In this age where social media is at everyone’s fingertips and almost second nature, I can understand why someone would post something without thinking, but with children, I would always tiptoe to the side of caution.

Advice I would give to new parents is to voice your rules and regulations in regards to your children at any event where you know photos would be taken. If you see someone taking a picture of your baby or child, let them know you are uncomfortable with any of those pictures ending up on social media. Do this right away, because if you are like me and you wait to voice your views and feelings to your husband until you are sitting in the airport waiting for your flight home, it becomes harder to address and undo.

I post photos of my daughter on this blog and on the twitter account affiliated with this blog. As her mom, that is something I debated whether or not I would do when I started this blog.

I think it’s important for parents to sit down and discuss social media, it’s reaches and whether or not you are comfortable with your children being online.

My comfort level is not overly high… I find with older generations, it is hard to limit an overzealous grandparent from posting every photo on their facebook page. It’s a comfort to know they are only sharing it with their 30 or so facebook friends (mostly family), most of which don’t know how to re-share those photos. I had accepted the grandparents would share photos of my daughter, but outside my husband and I, and our parents, I hadn’t thought I would have to limit other people.

The issues that arise with parenting are so different now than they were ten years ago. The internet is playing a larger and larger part in our kid’s lives and it’s important not to forget about that. A lot of things can’t be undone once they are online. You tweet or post something that gets shared by the right person, and that will be circulating forever.

It kind of makes you miss the days of polaroids, photo albums and phone calls.

Travelling With a Newborn

For any Canadians that follow my blog, or for those who pop in for a read but don’t necessarily follow, you know how ridiculously expensive it is to fly across The Great White North. Considering you can get across Europe for fractions of the price, it seems ridiculous to spend $500+ on plane tickets just to get us a few provinces over… IN THE SAME COUNTRY! However, my husband’s family lives on the East Coast, so we made the trip.

When booking our plane tickets out, we tried to co-ordinate with my husband’s brother as he was flying over to Nova Scotia from Alberta the same day and we were all planning on taking the two hour drive from Halifax airport to my in-laws together. His flight was landing in Nova Scotia at 7:00am I think, so we tried to get an early flight so he wouldn’t be waiting as long. The earliest we could get was a 7:40am flight out of Toronto Pearson Airport.

For those of you who don’t know, and haven’t flown in or out of Pearson, it’s a nightmare. There is a tram connecting three giant terminals. Each terminal is usually packed with people with lines that take forever to go through.

Just to set the mood for you guys, I was travelling with my newborn who was five weeks at the time. We were also travelling with our moody dog and a butt-load of luggage to last us the two weeks visit.

Babies need a lot of stuff. Bottle warmers, breast pumps, creams, receiving blankets… it all takes up a lot of space. Because of this, we couldn’t just take a regular cab to the airport, we had to take a van cab at 5:00am in the morning. Doesn’t seem too hard, right? Well, I forgot to mention that in Toronto, there aren’t as many van cabs on duty, particularly this early in the morning. Not to mention, there are a lot of drivers that refuse to take pets, even if they are in a travel kennel.

I had called our cab company the day before to ask if I needed to book a van cab in advance. The cab company said no, just call when you need the cab despite me telling them my need for a van and a pet-friendly driver.

This, of course did not work out for us on the day. We had to call three other companies before getting our van cab which put us forty-five minutes behind schedule.

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Arriving at the airport, we had two large suitcases that needed to be checked. WestJet used to give each passenger one free bag to check, but they recently changed it and now it is a $30 charge per bag. Then we each had a carry on. I had a small suitcase that had all the necessities I couldn’t go without for our daughter during the trip, my husband had a back pack and we also had the diaper bag. Not to mention my daughter in her travel system, and Toby in his kennel.

Checking in took a bit of time as Toby, the two pieces of the travel system, and the two checked bags needed their own tags. The woman checking us in was nice, but very slow and didn’t show any reason to hurry despite the growing line behind us. Normally I wouldn’t care about something like this because we got to the airport with what we thought was enough time to go through all the motions, however we were wrong.

After being checked in, we should have hurried right over to the oversized baggage section and put Toby in so they could load him onto the plane. However she didn’t tell us this and told us to proceed to check out regular luggage and then move on to oversize.

With all the lines, we ended up missing out flight!

It was early, I was a little stressed and it didn’t take long for my frustration to kick in. We were bumped from our flight because they refused to check Toby in. It was past their pet check in time. Which, now, I completely get, but having been at the airport for as long as we were, going through all the lines, and waiting for that woman to check us in at a painfully slow pace, I was internally fuming.

All of those annoyances aside, I think it’s important to note that even though we did have to pay for our checked bags, WestJet will gate-check two pieces of infant equipment for free. Which was great because that meant I could use my stroller all through the airport until I got to the doors of the plane and then I could hand it off. The flight attendants are very helpful when you are travelling with an infant.

Our Sunshine was great on the flight. She slept the whole way there, breastfeeding on the way up to ease any discomfort caused by cabin pressure changes.

She didn’t sleep the whole way back, but was still better than I would have expected.

What I will say is that flying with a baby at the newborn stage is the best time to do it. Feeding them always quiets them, you can scoop them up and bring them wherever you want without much fuss or debate, and they sleep a lot. I imagine travelling with a toddler is a different ballgame.

Travelling with a toddler may require a little less equipment, especially if they can walk and you can go without the stroller all together, but honestly, the stroller is a big help moving through the airport, and since they check it for free at the gate, I would bring one along even with a toddler.

All in all, it was not as difficult as I imagined it would be and if I could afford it, I would travel as much as I could with her at this age.

 

First Birthday As A Mommy

I would be lying if I didn’t say these past 7 weeks have just flown by. I remember the moment I felt my first back contraction as though it were yesterday, and those minutes felt like hours as I walked through the pain, struggling through contractions waiting for my water to break. Now, my Sunshine is 7 weeks old and I am celebrating my 28th birthday.

I have never been the kind of person who enjoys celebrating myself, so birthdays have never really been my thing. I am more of a sitting at home with a book, or a good movie kind of person. Being a mom hasn’t really changed that, but what it did change is my thoughts on this specific birthday.

I am 28. That’s not a huge deal. What is a huge deal is the way I can look back on this past year and the dramatic changes.

I am a mom! That is a huge deal.

Thus far, that has been the biggest change in my life. Moving out, falling in love, even getting married… none of that changed my life as much as becoming a mom did. Saying that now, so close to the beginning of our journey together made me think about how special this birthday actually is.

Even if you don’t like the idea of celebrating yourself, if you’ve recently become a parent do your best to try and make this, and every birthday you have moving forward special. Take time to be appreciated, and loved. So much of your days after becoming a mom or dad will be dedicated to your child/children. Even time spent apart from them will somehow circle back to them.

Try not to get lost. I know that probably seems impossible, especially if you are a new parent like me. It’s overwhelming this early at times, and even though you have this new babe, it’s easy to feel isolated and alone.

You are a parent and that is such an amazing thing! But you are also a person outside of that, and both of those people deserves a day to be celebrated.

So on my birthday, I wish all of you would take the time to celebrate yourselves. Even if only on one single day a year.

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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.

My Birth Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun!

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

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

It was surreal.

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

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Induction Day!

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

It was such an exciting thought.

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

Baby was doing well.

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

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

Cervidil is dinoprostone, or prostaglandin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I pretended, and I got through it.

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

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

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

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