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.

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!

My Life and Kids

Since I was little, I have always had this responsibility for children. My mom was hard-working, she was one of those independent women who wanted to do it all herself, if not only to prove to herself that she could, to prove to the world that it could be done and to show her children that effort and hard work was always rewarded.

There were five of us, and she did it all on her own.

What that meant was as soon as my brother came along, my sister and I had this unspoken responsibility for him. We were his protectors, his surrogate mothers, his sisters, his friend, whatever our mother needed us to be. He was four years behind me, and my sister had a bit of a mean streak to her, so we stuck together as much as we could.

As time progressed, my brother and I grew apart, my sister grew up and we got two more brothers. The age difference between my brothers and I are four years, eight years, and ten years. So by the time my second brother came along, I was more willing to step into a maternal role for him. Babies to me at that age were cute, and I was more than willing to lend a hand.

I could say that when my teenage years came around I became rebellious, I didn’t want to babysit because I would rather be out with my friends and there was always something else I would rather be doing… but that would be a lie. I was a bit of a homebody. I liked making little hiding places for myself around our house, curling up in there with a dull light and reading a book. I was the go to when it came to someone to watch my siblings because my sister was more the rebellious type, she had an attitude and to be quite frank, my brothers were terrified of her.

When I was ten we moved into our first townhouse. We had only lived in apartments up until that point and the prospect of having a back yard and my own room that I didn’t have to share with my sister… who at times I could have sworn was possessed by a demon, seemed like some type of dream coming true. What also seemed like it would be something new and fun was that we lived a mere few blocks away from my mom’s sister, my aunt and her four kids.

It was fun. It was back in the time when children weren’t really supervised. We went outside as soon as we came home from school and stayed out until the streetlights came on. We roamed the neighbourhoods without fear, crossing streets, and climbing fences and no one could care less. We were being kids.

It was also a time when it was completely acceptable for a ten or eleven year old to watch your five or six-year-old. What this meant is that I was responsible for a whole brood of children while my mother, aunt and uncle were at work.

Most would think that once I got older, got my own job and a taste of freedom, I would put as much distance between kids and myself as I possibly could. I was finally in my teens, I had a handful of friends and was no longer a hermit. Somehow, pushing kids out of my mind and out of my way never really felt right. I went from babysitter, to volunteering at the local recreational centre, to being a camp counsellor, to working at a tourist attraction that was a mix of families and drunk university students. One way or another, no matter where I turned, kids were there.

I was never the type of person who dreamt about being a mother, despite always being surrounded by kids. My mother became a mom very early, and although she never really spoke about it, I could see her struggle. I could sense her desperation at times. She had my sister when she was only eighteen years old. I came along at twenty and so on.

My sister also go pregnant young. She had my nephew when she was twenty-two. It seemed like no matter where I turned, there were young mothers, especially growing up in the low-income “ghetto” that I did. I promised myself that I wouldn’t be one of those young moms, that I would try to figure my life out first. Mostly, because I didn’t want to do it alone.

Single parents have it hard. They are wonderful and they have a strength that few can understand unless they live through it. I have the utmost respect for them. That being said, I wanted something different for myself and for my family when I was ready for one. I didn’t want my kids to experience the heartbreak of seeing their parents break up, of promises to see a father that showed up once in a while and then never at all. I wanted that picture perfect family.

It may seem silly to some, but I didn’t want to follow in my mother’s footsteps… or even in my sisters. I lived through the struggle with both of them, I’ve heard about their regrets and didn’t want those regrets to become my own.

For a short amount of time, I did step away from kids. I moved out of my mom’s house. I became a hostess at a bar, a waitress for a time. I worked a bridal boutiques. I did whatever would make me the money I needed to try and sort my life out. I wanted the independance my mother had always strived for, I wanted to provide myself with things I felt guilty asking for as a kid.

Yet somehow, I ended up as a nanny.

Right back in the kids zone.

Now, as I am so close to becoming a mom I think about that a lot. About all the choices I made and how I always seemed happiest working with kids. There is just something about their innocents that almost rubs off on you, it lifts some of your worries and woes and leaves you a little bit lighter.

These days I find myself worrying about what is going to happen when the baby in my life is my own. When I can’t simply return it at the end of the day. I wonder if I will still have that patience I am known for, if I will still marvel in that innocence. Mostly I worry if I am as prepared for it as everyone else seems to think I am.

As someone who has always been surrounded with kids, I should be ready for this.

So why don’t I feel ready?

Is ready ever something anyone expecting to be a parent can be?

These are questions I am going to have more than enough time to try and find the answers to, questions I will learn the answers to sooner or later… ready or not.

Until then, I guess I will just keep on pretending.

 

Nothing Like A Kick In The Ribs

If the calculations regarding my pregnancy are accurate, I have about 44 days left until I evict this baby from inside my womb and give my little kiwi a new place in my arms. I am anxious, I am excited, I am wracking my brain trying to figure out if I have everything I need to get us through at least the first couple months without us going completely insane and feeling overwhelmed.

I look at all these other mommies preparing and can’t help but think I am falling behind. I don’t have a huge stock-pile of onesies, I don’t have enough diapers hidden away to get me through the year. I haven’t bought a lot of the “essentials” thinking I will get it after next weekend. Next weekend is my baby shower and I figure I can take stock of everything I get from all my friends and family and go from there.

Yet, that doesn’t bring any sense of relief. My mind is still telling me I am waiting too long to prepare and that before I know it, I will be overwhelmed, under-prepared and wishing I had taking a huge jump forward on this whole mommy thing.

After going to the hospital last week, and seeing a lot of women, not even as far along as I am giving birth, I find myself thinking that at this point it is just the luck of the draw. This baby will come whenever it wants and whether or not I am prepared. That is a terrifying thought.

In the past few weeks, I have noticed a rise in movement. In the beginning, Kiwi would be still in the mornings. Movement would start up around 4:00pm-5:00pm and then die down again until around 10:30pm and then it would be a party in my uterus until around 2:00am (which has my husband convinced we will have more sleepless nights than restful ones). Lately though, it is around the clock. All the kicks are big and dramatic, I can see Kiwi squirming around in there, transforming the whole shape of my stomach. Not to mention, the space in my ribs seems to be a popular hang-out spot.

Insert dramatic crying face here.

Those kicks and punches to the ribs are disorienting, to say the least. They feel crippling at times. Each strategically placed kick has me writing another line on the eviction notice for this little Kiwi.

I keep joking with myself, telling myself that since baby is all nestled in there and unable to give me a kick in the butt to start getting moving, start preparing for the new addition to our family, I am getting a swift kick in the ribs. Repeatedly… for hours… until I am near tears and asking myself why I wanted to go through pregnancy in the first place.

Alright baby, I hear you.

Checklist: Pack the hospital bag, finish up the nursery space for our little one, actually buy a box of diapers and wipes… oh you know, act like I actually have a baby on the way in a month and a week.

Okay, I get it.

Now, stop kicking the crap out of my ribs!!

Expecting The Unexpected

Pregnancy isn’t anything new. Women have been pregnant for thousands and thousands of years. In all that time, people have collected all this data that is supposed to help the pregnant woman know what to expect while they are expecting their beautiful babies.

There are countless books written, blogs, interviews and studies. At this point, it would be safe to say that almost all the information about pregnancy should be out there and readily available. Yet, even with all this information, there were still things that crept up on me and took me by surprise.

Women saying they ‘just knew’ they were pregnant is pretty accurate for some. 

When I had first heard this, I mentally rolled my eyes and thought ‘Okay’. However, when I did get pregnant I felt somehow different almost right away. I had this pressure in the pit of my stomach, and was more tired than I had ever been in my whole life. This was after just a week or so of conceiving. Some will say ‘That’s way too early, it had to all be in your head’. Hey, I’ve lived through it and I think we all know our bodies enough to be able to say when we can feel something different.

The amount of vaginal discharge is unreal and starts as soon as a few weeks after conception. 

This was probably one of my earliest symptoms. There were times in the day where I would get this rush of fluid that pretty much soaked through the crotch of my underwear and I would think to myself ‘What the hell? Did I just pee myself?‘.

Any change that seems dramatic is enough to make you question what’s normal. What I am learning about being a woman is there is no such thing as normal. Charles Addams said it best when he said; ‘What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.’ Every woman is different in countless ways, so it’s so hard to compare.

As far as discharge goes, as long as it’s consistent, not an odd colour, and doesn’t have an odour, I think it is pretty safe to say all is normal. Itching and discomfort is also another telltale sign that something is amiss. Basically, the volume would likely have changed during pregnancy, but that should be the only change in your discharge.

Going poo will become as uncomfortable as getting teeth pulled without anesthesia. 

If you are like me and constipation hits you like a ton of bricks, you can find yourself actually dreading the feeling of having to go to the bathroom. It will take long, it will be extremely uncomfortable, and you may get a hemmroid or two to reward you for your efforts. I wish this was something that was discussed during my first doctors appointment. It would have been helpful to know just how backed up I could potentially get and what would have been safe to take as opposed to waiting until it was already an issue.

Restoralax seemed to be the most helpful but you have to add it to your diet and it is not an instant fix. I did some at breakfast mixed in with milk every three days during my late second trimester and just continued with that routine.

During your first pregnancy, it will take a while for you to ‘pop’.

I kept waiting for my little baby bump to make its appearance. It wasn’t until my second trimester, around 24-26 weeks where my belly seemed more like a pregnancy belly and less like I had one or two beers too many on the weekend. Bloat is very common during the first and second trimester and it can be really discouraging.

One day you wake up and think to yourself that you see that baby finally showing, and then later that day it’s gone. Just like that. I can’t tell you how many mornings I would wake up and rub my stomach thinking ‘Oh my gosh, this is it!’ only to have it disappear after an hour of passing constant gas or going to the bathroom.

Once you finally do pop, you will be surprised how a small bump can limit your movements. 

Getting out of the car, putting on my shoes, getting up from slumping on the couch. These were all things I had done without even thinking about it, yet suddenly they seemed like tasks I had to set my mind to. Even just a small bump seemed to make everything a struggle and as time passed and that bump grew into more of a full belly. Nothing got easier. Everything seemed to require 100% effort and took my breath away.

The emotional rollercoaster they describe pregnancy as is pretty accurate, but it may not hit you the way you thought. 

This circles back to every woman being different, but when I used to watch movies about pregnancy or shows, it always seemed like women became these teary, weepy things. Their heartstrings were constantly getting pulled by the smallest sentiment.

Before pregnancy, I was an inwardly emotional person. I never cried in public or in front of people. I didn’t get emotional when I discussed things with people, I kept most of my inner feelings to myself. In nine years of being with my husband, he has seen me cry about four times. My husband had wondered if I would become this mess of tears when I got pregnant. Although I did feel a huge shift in my emotional compass when I got pregnant, I didn’t become weepy or over sentimental. I became more ‘blah’. I had more days where I felt overwhelmed and as though I was drowning in everything.

I think this is important to say because I have never really seen this depicted on my type of platform. I have seen the glowing pregnant women, I have seen the beaming and happy pregnant women, I have seen the teary-eyed pregnant women, but I haven’t seen ones battling with themselves. I haven’t seen ones full to the brim with anxiety or feeling like they were teetering on the line of depression. All of this makes me extremely nervous, because I am afraid of what will become of my emotional state once the baby is here. I will probably touch base on this a bit more in another blog post.

Those are a few of the things I wish I had been privy to before I got pregnant. I would have been a little more prepared and wouldn’t have felt like I was on an island all alone.

Hopefully this helped someone. Hopefully there was another woman out there, first time mom, battling her way through pregnancy that read this and gave a sigh of relief after reading it.

Until next time, I’ll keep on pretending I know what I am talking about.