TDAP Vaccination While Pregnant

The vaccination debate has been one that has been going on for years, and one that people have debated until they are blue in the face. Don’t worry, I am not here to tell you my stance on vaccinations and try to convince anyone to come and join me on whatever side I stand on.

What I will say is that we have to stop mommy-shaming. Each and every mom does the best she can with all the information she has. You may not agree with her choices, but at the end of the day, that’s what they are… her choices!

I do think as potential parents, it is our job to ask those questions, even if it starts a heated debate, even if it gets a few eyebrows raised at you. We need all the knowledge we can get to make educated decisions. It’s our job raising little people to learn all we can, gather all the information so that when we do make a decision we can feel in our hearts that it was the right one.

At my last OBGYN visit, I was told that it was being recommended that pregnant women between 24-32 weeks should get the TDAP vaccination. Of course, I took the information and asked questions as to why this was being recommended. I have gotten all of my vaccinations up until this point, so getting another vaccination for myself wasn’t really a big deal.

However, pregnant now, I am always overly-cautious on how everything I put into my body will affect the little Kiwi growing inside me.

Of course I went to researching. The TDAP vaccination is something I have had in the past. It is something that I have been kept up to date on, however the CDC (Center for Disease Control and prevention) suggests pregnant women get the vaccination during every pregnancy in their third trimester regardless of when they last got the shot. Their reasoning is that Whooping Cough is extremely dangerous for newborns and young infants and when we as mothers get the shot, it increases your babies antibodies against Whooping Cough.

Now personally, I have never had to even think about Whooping Cough up until this point in my life. I think I may have thought about it once when there was a rise in the dog population and I had to get my dog the shot before boarding him at a kennel, but outside of that, it was the furthest thing in my mind.

However, half the children under the age of one who get Whooping Cough will end up in the hospital. Those odds seemed very scary to me. It can lead to pneumonia, and breathing problems. I researched the statistics around the death of babies who were too young to get the vaccine and decided that for my peace and mind and the wellbeing of my baby (as almost all of the side effects from the shot were ones that would affect me and not my baby) to go ahead and get the shot.

I got the shot Monday evening. I went home with a sore arm but no other complaints. The typical side effects were pain and swelling where the shot was given, headaches and a general fatigue (hey, I’ve been pregnant for seven months. I’ve been living my life in fatigue).

Tuesday came along and all was well. I did wake up feeling a little bit off, not quite myself. I felt like I was on the brink of a cold or something, sore muscles, really dragging in all my movements. Aside from that, I was alright. I got dressed, went to work and everything seemed completely normal.

Until around 10:00am.

I had this cramp while walking that almost brought me to my knees. I stood still and just breathed through it. The cramp lasted about ten minutes and then I seemed fine so I continued on my way. Then the cramp came again. I wasn’t sure what to think, I was sweating behind my ears, my breath was short and forced. Something just wasn’t right.

Rushing into a coffee shop, I went into the bathroom to splash some water on my face. It was over 30 degrees that day and I thought that this late in pregnancy the heat was really getting to me, so it could just be that. I ended up having terrible diarrhea and left the coffee shop feeling a little bit better. Maybe it was just gas cramps and the heat working together.

Anyway, after three more episodes like this through the day, I called my doctor to ask if this was normal and if it could somehow be related to taking the shot. She suggested I go into the hospital to get checked out.

After three hours in the hospital with them monitoring baby Kiwi to make sure all was well, the doctor told me baby was doing extremely well and the diarrhea was a side effect of the shot. Rare, but still a possible side effect. As it seemed to be the only side effect I was experiencing, he told me to be sure to keep hydrated and keep away from dairy.

I wish I had known it could have been a side effect. Going from being extremely constipated to having uncontrollable diarrhea pretty much overnight is pretty disconcerting when you are pregnant. All in all, I just wanted to make sure that baby was okay.

Happy all was okay (well, all things considered) I went home realizing how little I am prepared for the arrival of my Kiwi after hearing a woman in the neighbouring room going into labour at 31 weeks.

I really need to step my game up.

I hope this may help another mommy to be that has this type of reaction to the shot, and it makes their day a little less stressful to know that other people are going through it. I am not a doctor and would of course always reccomend calling your doctor for the safety of yourself and your baby, but sometimes having that peace of mind going into the hospital really helps.

Anyway, until next time.

I’ll keep on pretending my way through this.

Taking Time For Yourself

After hitting about my fifth month, the routine I seem to follow when I am off is sleeping in as long as I can, eating as much as I can, and living on my couch. I work long hours, the hours I work are physical and require a lot of walking and being out in the heat and sun, so by the end of the week, exhaustion is just a word that doesn’t even begin to describe how I am feeling come Saturday morning… okay, okay afternoon.

Falling into this kind of routine may lead you to believe you are giving yourself the rest you need, and physically, maybe you are. But I have started to see a change in my mood lately. There has been a slow decline and now I am at the point where I literally don’t know what to do with myself.

My husband was the one who looked over at me one day and said; “You should do something for yourself. Go to a spa, get your feet done.” At the time, I was in the middle of my lazy routine. My feet were up, my socks and shorts were on the floor and I was watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine in my underwear. I let out a groan to let him know that I had heard him, but just continued on with my day.

Lately though the thought has been banging around in my head. As my stomach grows and less and less of my clothes fit (I still haven’t taken the jump into maternity clothes yet, and at this point of my pregnancy I don’t think I will) I have been taking less effort with my overall appearance. Now, a week or so of this isn’t much of a big deal, but months of this has me feeling rather “Blah”.

My sister is the kind of person whose appearance is always exactly what she wants it to be. She has this confidence that I wouldn’t even know what to do with. Whatever she wants to wear, she wears, whatever she wants to do, she does. It’s admirable. Her hair is always dyed some unique colour, she is amazing at make-up, so she always looks like she is ready to go out somewhere or have her picture taken.

She tends to get things like her nails done regularly. I am more of a low maintenance person in regards to my appearance, but have recently decided that it was worth trying just to see how routine beauty maintenance could make you feel in the long run.

Personally, I don’t think it’s for me. I think I am more the kind of person that would enjoy having a few hours to read a book, or do some writing. I would like an hour to just go kayaking or SUP boarding. I would love to spend the day in the lake with my dog, letting him swim around with no schedule.

Whatever makes you happy, I think it’s super important to start a routine of it during your pregnancy. After the baby comes, you may not get that time to yourself. If possible after pregnancy, it would be good to at least get a weekly thing scheduled on your calendar where you and the baby, and if possible, your partner could go out, get out of the house and do something together.

Through my whole pregnancy I have been telling myself I am going to do a prenatal yoga class. I have found a place that seems great because it has classes for when you are pregnancy, it has classes for after you deliver where you can bring you baby with you and they teach you baby massages and stretches and stuff like that. I think it would be a good thing to get you out of the house for an hour or so, give you a chance to socialize in a time where you may feel a little isolated.

I am going to toy with a few ideas today, and hopefully I will have an update for you guys in a few days.

Until next time…

Staying Fit While Pregnant; Is It Possible?

Before I got pregnant I was extremely thin. I had little to no chest, I had a very small waist, thick thighs and a butt that I got all from genetics. Needless to say, with my body type, it wasn’t hard for me to keep in shape.

I used to love to run, it was a bonding experience with my dog who has an infinite amount of energy, and it was a good way to tire me out before bed as I had awful insomnia. After an accident, I stopped running and people in my life wondered how it would impact my shape. Would I suddenly gain a bunch of weight without running 10 kilometers in a day (5 in the mornings and 5 at night before bed).

In short, nothing really changed besides me overall stamina. Without that constant energy, my body got lazy and doing overactive things robbed me of my breath but my body remained pretty much the same. I was actually hoping I would gain more weight as my BMI has always been low and I was always 10-15 pounds under where I wanted to be, especially for my height which is almost 5″8.

When I got pregnant, especially in my first trimester, I got really lazy. I was plagued with exhaustion and spent every spare moment of my time in a mini coma. However, I also couldn’t keep any food down. So my weight in my first trimester actually dropped.

Once the nausea seemed to subside at about 14 weeks, I started eating everything I could get my hands on. My doctor had told me that she wanted me to gain 40-45 pounds because of where my weight was before my pregnancy. The very thought made my brow furrow.

I had always struggled to gain weight, and now she was telling me she not only wanted me to gain the average 35 but she wanted me to exceed that by ten more pounds. Could I even do that?

How I laugh at the thought now. Before I got pregnant I was 110 pounds. Now at 7 months, I weigh 147 pounds. Sure, I haven’t quite hit the 40 pound mark my doctor has wanted, but I still have almost two months to gain.

I think what is important for pregnant women to come to terms with during their pregnancy is that the extra weight doesn’t mean you are not fit or that you are unhealthy. Sure I have gained 37 pounds, but that was what was needed to ensure my baby gets everything it needs, and I walk at least two-four hours every single day.

Gaining weight during pregnancy is not only normal, but it is necessary and it is all just a number. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told by people who ask me how far along I am that I am too small for seven months. Yet when I tell them how much weight I have gained so far, they tell me that I shouldn’t gain much more because I am already at the top of where I should be.

It’s just a number and I can’t tell you how many pregnant women I see and talk to who seem defeated by that number. It makes me really sad.

Staying “fit” during pregnancy doesn’t really take too much. All you really need to do is make sure you are walking enough. This is also helpful with bloat and swelling. In this insane heat, I thought for sure that walking as much as I do would make my feet swell and be extremely painful. I’ve actually noticed that days I walk more and drink more water they seem to look less swollen. They are still somewhat sore at the end of the day, at this point in pregnancy everything is.

Stretching is also important. I am always so stiff. Stretching your calves and legs seems to have been the most important thing. I started stretching when I would get these painful spasms in my calves that would wake me up about a dozen times a night.

Stretching out your back is also helpful because all that extra weight in the front because of your belly will through your back completely out of whack.

Honestly, just the walking and the stretching is enough to keep you fit through your pregnancy. I am outdoors and walk a lot during the day for my work as well, which helps. I think if you have a job where you are immobile most of the time you should make a point of getting up and moving around as much as you can.

Again, these are things that I have noticed in my personal experience. Everyone is different and you may need to do a little bit more but I don’t think you can do any less.

Until next time…

Pets, Pregnancy, and Babies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That to me is heartbreaking.

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

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

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

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

To me, it seemed so selfish.

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

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

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

Maybe that is just me.

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

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

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

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

7 Months Pregnant

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Being pregnant is weird.

From the beginning of humanity, women have been pregnant. They have gotten pregnant and had children. Women have had children in the wilderness, unaided. They have had children while battles ensued around them, they have had children while in a lifeboat drifting away from a ship on fire.

Through the ages, childbirth seems to be the one constant.

As far as science has been able to trace us back, mankind is about 6,000 years old. That means that for at least that long, we have been pro-creating, women taking the brunt of the workload.

Yet, calculating your pregnancy still isn’t a very precise thing. We are all still a little bit fuzzy on exactly how pregnant we are, we estimate pregnancy to be 9 months long but we can be pregnant for as long as 45 weeks. Even when using apps and calendars to keep track of our ovulation, knowing that window, it isn’t used to calculate when we conceived. Our last period is.

How are we still not more precise at this point?

Anyhow, based on my estimated due date which is September 20th, 2018, I am 7 months pregnant at this point.

What is new at 7 months?

Sleep seems to be a thing of the past. I come home from work between 7:00pm- 7:15pm, strip down to my underwear and change into a loose-fitting top and migrate either towards the couch, towards my computer chair, or towards my bedroom. Why? Because I am exhausted and all I want to do is get off my feet.

From the time I get home from work, I am in a zombie state. Just sluggish, barely awake, drifting in and out of sleep. I think it must be a combination of being 7 months pregnant, having gained about 30 pounds, and it being the middle of the summer, most of which we have been experiencing a heat wave.

Most days, I am insanely uncomfortable. My clothes don’t quite fit. They are hiking up in places I wish they wouldn’t or too tight in odd places. In the heat my feet are swelling, so getting off them is a real treat at the end of the day.

If there was one thing I would probably say at this point of my pregnancy, it’s that being pregnant in the winter is probably more comfortable overall and easier in terms of oversized sweaters and track pants being completely appropriate.

In the summer when all you want to do is wear less, I have found it almost impossible to find the right clothes to make it all bearable. Not a lot of brands that carry maternity lines have those lines available to you in store and you really don’t want to order a bunch of pregnancy clothes, especially if this is your first time around and you have no idea how the sizing works, only to have to haul them all in to return them.

All of the weight I have gained seems to be in my stomach and in my breasts. Which means that for the most part, my regular clothes still fit, they are just uncomfortable. So a lot of the maternity clothes I have tried on, don’t quite fit the way I imagined they would.

What I would really love is the 90s pregnancy fashion. Some bicycle length fitted shorts in bright, bold colours and prints. Those oversized shirts that seemed to fit the shoulders and chest perfectly but moo-mooed out over your tummy making it completely comfortable. Those were also usually in some funky prints and colours. When I look at photos of my mom when she was pregnant, she just looked so comfortable. They didn’t have to be fashion forward styles, nothing chic that you would see on the runway. Just plain and simple comfort.

They don’t seem to make maternity clothes like that anymore. Everything needs to look cute, or classy or be stylish. I have to say, at this point of my pregnancy, I would wear a burlap sack with the bottom cut off if it were comfortable, I could care less.

At this point of pregnancy, all I can say I feel all the time is uncomfortable. All of my baby’s movements are big and dramatic. What used to be a flutter now moves all the skin in my stomach. I don’t know if it’s my little one’s feet, or butt, or elbows, but something is always in my ribs. Pretty consistent through the day, pounding away whenever possible. My stomach doesn’t quite feel heavy, but at times it feels like it is stretching which is of course, lovely. To make all of this a lot more exciting, there are at least ten times a day when I am sure I have peed myself, if only a little bit.

My calves are under CONSTANT attack! Through the night, I wake up about once an hour with both my calves as tight as they could be, cramps causing my eyes to water as I bite my lips trying to massage all the tension out which takes anywhere from one to five minutes.

That is me at 7 months.

Really, I know it sounds like I am complaining but this is honestly what it is to me right now. Most of the time I am miserable and I have no idea why and all I want to do is meet my little one and have them out of me and in my arms.

Two more months to go.

I can do this!

 

There’s This Thing Called Motivation?

So let me set the scene of my life the past few months. On any typical day I work between six and eight and a half hours. In the mornings I wake up using my FitBit (if there is anyone out there still waking up to the angry blaring of an alarm, I strongly suggest a change). I trudge through my closet into our en-suite bathroom where I slowly start to try and make myself look more like a person and less like a hair ball that crawled out from under a rock.

Still half asleep, I shrug at what I’ve managed to accomplish as far as washing my face and putting concealer on the dark spots under my eyes and raking my fingers through my hair before I brush my teeth and head back into the closet to wiggle into WHATEVER IS FITTING ME at this stage of my pregnancy. Most days it’s yoga Capri pants and a t-shirt as I have to be mobile enough to keep up with five-year olds.

Then it’s on to the kitchen for a quick breakfast before I’m out the door.

My workday moves oddly both slowly and quickly as I count down the moments until 6:30 when I can leave and race home. (Haha, just kidding. I don’t race anymore. It’s a slow walk at best.)

Hopefully I am home by 7:00, a walk that pre-pregnancy took me ten minutes but now takes me an eternity from work to my apartment. I take my main monster out for a quick walk so he can do his business.

Now, once we come back into the apartment, I have Toblerone’s halter and my pants off somehow at the same time, throw my pants over the back of my chair in the living room and immediately go to the fridge. Lately I have been good. I’ll make myself something like a bacon and egg sandwich with some milk or a grilled cheese and tomato soup before I head to the couch to eat it.

Once the food is gone, I lay on the couch in the exact same spot I always do and do not move for hours. Every adjustment I make is with a dramatic groan as I binge-watch things in Netflix, or re-watch things so I don’t have to pay attention.

Half of the time I don’t even bother getting off the couch to make dinner for my poor husband who works long hours at a physically demanding job and usually doesn’t come home until around 10:30-11:00pm.

Last night as I laid there in my couch groove, I had a memory of this thing called motivation. I vaguely recall it surging through my body, helping me power single-handedly through tasks. I had a long-standing Platinum Membership Card with motivation at one point in my life.

Yet, when I got pregnant, that card got revoked. Or maybe it expired and I never bothered to renew it… you know, without the motivation and all that Jazz.

If I took photos of my apartment right now, some of you would gasp! Hell, there are days when I feel a gasp coming on but can’t be bothered. I’m too tired for gasping!

It’s a depressing realization. Comparing the person you were, the tasks you accomplished every day, the routines and social encounters you kept up before to the lazy solitude you live in now.

I think what makes is most depressing is feeling like you honestly don’t even have the energy to do something about it. All you can do is cuddle a little lower in your couch canyon, call your dog over to cuddle and wrap your knit blanket around yourself as you wallow in it all.

At 28 weeks, I don’t think there is a single moment in the day when I am not exhausted. Add in the fact that my calves cramp every hour and a half when I sleep causing me to jolt away and massage them for five minutes, means I am getting even less sleep than the insomniac I was before I got pregnant. I can count the friends I keep in contact with on one hand… using only two fingers.

Pregnancy has become this overbearing beast that has taken over my whole life and I keep waiting for the motivation to do something about it.

In my head it all seems very simple. I have a plan. I need to start doing yoga to broaden my social activity and hopefully get me to a point where I am feeling good again. I need to throw away all the Knick-knacks that are cluttering up my apartment and make the space more functional for when a baby comes along. I need to start folding my clothes instead of piling them onto the mountain of clothes I keep on the bed in my spare room… a room where I was supposed to make a space for the baby but haven’t yet. I need to make a space for the baby.

All the things I need to do are there, but without that membership card to motivation, I can pretty much promise you they aren’t going to get done.

The fatigue and many aches and pains that go along with pregnancy make it hard to do anything else but just exist through the day. I wish there had been somewhere that would have told me that. All the articles I had read about pregnancy said it was okay to slow down and take a nap if you needed one, but they didn’t tell me slow would be my only setting and I would often wake from a nap feeling like I needed another nap.

If I read all of this somewhere would it have put a pause on my plans to have a baby?

No.

What it would have done was given me a more realistic idea of what would happen to me during this pregnancy and maybe kept me from sobbing on the couch and wiping my nose on my dog’s ears while watching episode after episode of Queer Eye (Oh my god, I love it!).

In all the movies and shows I watched with pregnant women, it was one bad day and they seemed to bounce back. Just random emotional outbursts. It wasn’t this constant wave.

So what am I going to do about it?

I am going to buck up! I am going to grit my teeth and power through! I am going to do all the things I know need to be done and hopefully get my groove back… next week maybe.

Today I am going to power through my day and go back to that spot on the couch.

Fake It ’til You Make It

We’ve all heard the familiar saying “You’ve got to fake it ‘til you make it!” and that saying is one that can be applied to countless things in life. Whether it is a new job where you are just trying to find your way, spreading your wings and moving out on your own, being in a new relationship, and yes, it even applies to being pregnant.
With pregnancy being such a common thing, it blows my mind how much stuff is only discussed in whispers between close friends and family member, or going undiscussed all together.
Technology is at our fingertips at any given moment. I can’t tell you how many times in my life since getting a smart phone I have had a thought, opened up Google and searched for answers. It’s almost impossible to be out of touch, any question you mind can muster, there is an answer to be found somewhere on the Internet… that is unless it is an embarrassing pregnancy question.
I’ve had to search things like Is it normal to spend over an hour trying to have a bowel movement in your second trimester? Where do you typically gain weight during pregnancy? Is it normal to have a fanny-pack of excess fat below your belly and above your vagina during pregnancy?
If we are being completely honest, and those of you who have been nice enough to keep up with this new blog know, I pretty much always am, I don’t consider myself an overly intelligent person, yet, I also don’t consider myself stupid. With that being said, since I have gotten pregnant, my body is no longer my own. Every day I wake up and I feel less and less like the person I’ve known and looked at in the mirror for twenty-seven years and more like a stranger.
And every day, I have a never-ending list of more and more questions without answers.
It’s 2018 and there are literally blogs about everything. The blogs about parenting and pregnancy alone are countless! Yet, it seems like everything in this regard seems to be perfectly polished, wrapped up in a little bow, and sugar coated. The articles are decorated with Instagram-worthy photos that have you smiling, all while refusing to hit the nail directly on the head.
Why?
I don’t need to read that pregnancy is difficult, I am living it, I know. What I need are open and honest articles with real and yes, descriptive accounts on the ups and downs of pregnancy. Why? Because I am not a veteran at this, I have not weathered the storm that pregnancy can sometimes be before, and I am sure there are thousands of women just like me, trying to figure this all out and just looking to read one relatable article without all that… fluff.
It’s why I’ve turned away from blogs and parenting websites and gone down the rabbit hole of forums and communities on pregnancy apps. Because although there are a lot of uninformed people asking questions all of us learned the answers to in grade eight health class, it’s open, it’s honest and it leaves nothing to the imagination.
Ladies, Gents, if you are here I am assuming you are going to be parents or are parents already. You are or are about to be elbow deep in baby poop, leaking breast milk, you are going to have throw up, boogers, and other bodily fluids all over you. I doubt you are going to shy away from the all to real details of pregnancy. So isn’t it time we stopped whispering about it and started talking about it openly and honestly?
Isn’t it time you talked to your friend in her first trimester about adding some Restoralax to her every day routine so she doesn’t end up sitting on the toilet for over an hour, sweating and crying? Isn’t it time we told them about the hemmroids that have completely taken over your life and to be honest, aren’t as big a deal as all the commercials make them out to be? Isn’t it time we talked about those weird jiggly bits that have you raising a brow? The fact that your underwear is always slightly damp now? Or that there are days when you are so sad you can’t stop crying and you don’t even understand why? Isn’t it time we all admit that we are tired of faking it until we make it?
Christ, I am.
At this point, I have no idea what is going on or what I am doing day to day. Every day is a new, sloppy, emotional adventure that I am reluctant to start.
I never know if what I am feeling is normal and when I look into it I am given the general “Pregnancy is a rollercoaster” answer that has me pursing my lips and furrowing my brow.
Yes, I know it’s a roller coaster. I bought the ticket, I waited in line. But aren’t you supposed to tell me to keep my arms and legs in the cart at all times? Isn’t someone supposed to come by and check the restraints to make sure I am not going to fly off when this things starts doing to loops at high speed?
My husband and I are two blind people running around in the dark banging into walls, convinced eventually we will find the way out. Both murmuring over our shoulders “The door is here somewhere. I saw it earlier.” We didn’t see a door, we don’t even know how we got into the room.
Fake it until you make it.
Nope. I’m too moody for that moving into my third trimester. I think instead I will sit on the ground and cry until someone comes along and tells me what to do.
Hey, it works for kids, doesn’t it?

One Hour Glucose Test

I had gotten the paperwork for the one-hour glucose test from my gynecologist almost a month ago and hadn’t gone to get it done. After speaking to my best friend and my sister about the test and hearing their horror stories, I was reluctant to rush in and get it done, plus, at this point in my pregnancy, I am getting a little tired of being poked and prodded.

However, after meeting my OBGYN last month and getting the same paperwork for the same test, I knew it was time to buck up and go and get it done.

I went early, not sure how long getting seen would take and I find that most doctor’s appointments tend to be at least an hour and a half longer than you anticipated because of wait times, tests and what have you.

As soon as I got there, they gave me this small water bottle filled with orange liquid. It had a white label, black writing on it and a lot of information I didn’t quite understand on it. The nurse told me I had to drink the bottle in five minutes and then go up and speak to her so she could log the time I finished and begin timing.

Sitting in my seat, I tried not to make eye-contact with the woman sitting across from me who was staring at me without blinking. Unscrewing the lid from the bottle, I decided I was just going to down it without thinking about it.

The first sip seemed okay, until I swallowed and the aftertaste took over. It was thicker than it should have been in my throat, and tasted like orange syrup.

I drank it as quickly as I could and went back up to tell her I was finished.

Then, as I sat back down and pulled out my Stephen King novel to pass the time, I could feel my baby kicking around, tossing and turning. It seemed my little Kiwi felt the same way about this unbearable sweet drink, as I did. I read three pages before I had to scramble off my seat and run into the bathroom.

Baby did not want any of that, and neither did I, apparently.

I threw up and felt a thousand times better.

As I left the bathroom, the nurse looked at me as raised a brow. “Did you just throw up?” She glanced at her watch, noting the time.

I admitted I did, of course and was told I would need to drink another bottle!

I had never felt more like a child on the verge of throwing a tantrum than when she handed me another bottle. There was nothing I wanted more than to be done with this, and I most certainly didn’t want to have to drink more of that nasty stuff.

Don’t worry, I kept it down. Sat through the hour and went through yet another blood draw. After seeing the table full of vials they had taken, I couldn’t help but frown. How much blood did they need from me during this pregnancy? I think they had already taken more blood in six months of pregnancy than they had through the whole of my twenty-seven years.

The test is tedious, and the drink it less than appetizing, but this test will determine whether you have gestational diabetes.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, because if the test determines I am at risk, I will have to do the three-hour glucose test. *insert dramatic crying face here*

Like most tests during pregnancy, it was uncomfortable. I just keep reminding myself that it will all be worth it in September, when I meet my bundle of joy!!

Will my baby just get here already?!

Happy Father’s Day!

I think the hardest thing for a lot of men, or partners who are not physically going through the pregnancy, is connecting with their baby while still in the womb. To them, it’s easy to disconnect from it all, to forget how close they are to becoming fathers or mothers.

They can go through their whole day, go to work, think about all the little tasks that need to get done in their regular routine without even thinking about the baby that will be here all too soon. It’s not something they intentionally do, it’s not like they are purposely trying to stand on the other side of the glass looking in, but when you are not the one that is pregnant, it is easy to continue living your life even though parenthood is right around the corner.

When you are pregnant, every breath you take reminds you there is life blooming inside you. Every moment of discomfort, every flutter, every movement, every aversion to smells or cravings reminds you that all too soon, you are going to have to have a little person to take care of.

Today is Father’s Day. If I am being completely honest, Father’s Day has always just been another day to me as my father and I have not kept up a relationship since he and my mother went their separate ways when I was about seven. It was never really something I celebrated, so it wasn’t something I thought too much about.

However, since I got pregnant, today seems slightly more special. Excitement and anticipation make me want to do something for my husband, to celebrate the closing of this chapter in our life and the start of a new one.

My husband is not so open to it. He doesn’t want to celebrate being parents until the baby is here, in our arms, keeping us up and night and peeing all over us during midnight changings.

Personally, I think we are parents already.

I wondered if it was because he wasn’t pregnant, he wasn’t experiencing the all consuming things that I am. Every second seems to evolve around my pregnancy and my baby. Even the person I am seems to be shifting and changing because of it. In my mind, I am a parent now already.

I wish there was a way to wrap our partners up in everything, to get them as entangled in our web of pregnancy as we are. Maybe then, it would be easier for them to feel so connected, for them to celebrate a day that is as much for them as it is for the parents who are already chasing their little ones around.

Next year, I am going to go all out, he isn’t even going to know what to do with himself.

So to all the papas out there, Happy Father’s Day! I hope it’s a good one!

A Sea of Wonder… and Worry

In the beginning of your journey towards becoming a parent, you compartmentalized. At that point, all you can think about is getting pregnant, or getting your baby however you decide to do it.

Everything in your life becomes a routine of temping, logging, scheduling. Maybe it becomes treatments, shots, dietary changes. For some it becomes an endless sea of paperwork and hoping. Maybe getting in touch with your religious side and doing a little praying.

Our journey to become parents is not always the same, but in the beginning our minds become consumed. All we can think about is the possibility of that baby, and hope that possibility will turn into reality sooner rather than later.

And then… it happens.

You are pregnant, or maybe you got accepted to be foster parents, or adoptive parents.

The part of your brain that had been running full steam all around the clock suddenly starts to shut down, and another part of your brain starts working.

You know, that part of your brain that over-thinks everything, the same part of your brain where worry and strife go to breed. Yeah, that part of your brain.

In the beginning of my pregnancy, I cut out everything that I thought was even remotely toxic. If not enough research had been done, it had to go. Why? Because I had finally gotten what I wanted and I would be damned if I screwed it all up because of something so silly as coffee, or deli meats.

The first trimester of pregnancy is stressful for some, it definitely was for me. Why? Because the risks of a miscarriage are high in the first trimester. It’s hard to know what little thing will be the thing that triggers our bodies into deciding now is not the time. Not to mention the first trimester tends to be the most difficult for most women.

Nausea, heartburn, bloating, gas, constipation, dizziness… the list is endless for some and to top it all off, you can add stressing and over thinking.

When you finally cross over the line from your first trimester into your second. You sigh a little sigh of relief. Just a little one. Because although you feel like you can see your way out of the woods, you aren’t quite out yet.

Now you move into making sure your baby is healthy. There are genetic tests, anatomy scans, all these things that have your anxiety kicking into overdrive.

When you first get pregnant, they do a full blood and urine workup. This determines first and foremost that you are pregnant. It also determines you are STD free and tests the levels in your blood for certain things like anemia, your blood type, all this stuff that will help them decide whether you will require further testing.

For the most part, my tests came back good in my first trimester. I was anemic, but that was something I had known for over a decade, so that was nothing new. Aside from that, all was good and I could store my anxiety and worry away until my second trimester.

It seems like the most testing they do is for chromosomal defects. I am sure they test for a lot of other things, but it seemed like whenever I asked, the test or measurements that were being taken were to determine whether my baby would have chromosomal defects. The measurements taken of our babies neck to see if there is increased fluid in that area or if the area is thicker than anticipated, is one way they can determine if your baby will be born with Down Syndrome. The measurements of the nose can also tell them if your baby is high risk to be born with Down Syndrome.

A lot of these tests are to see if your child will be born with Trisomy 18, as opposed to the Trisomy 21 which is the extra chromosome that is found in people with Down Syndrome. Trisomy 18 is scary to think about when you are pregnant because it means that the extra 18 chromosome can disrupt the normal patterns of your baby’s development which can be life threatening.

I think what bothered me most about these tests, is that they don’t come out with a clear negative or positive. They give you a percentage, and your doctor uses that percentage to determine whether you are high or low risk. Regardless of whether you are high or low, you can still give birth to a baby with chromosomal abnormalities.

My pregnancy was exciting, I felt like I was standing in a heavy rainstorm of joy and anticipation but suddenly, with all this new information, I could see rain clouds closing in.

I have read all the mom forums, I have read all the comments and questions and fears about pregnant moms who were afraid their children would be born with Trisomy 18 or 21. Surprisingly, a lot of these comments were met with negativity. People said things like “So what?” “There are worse things in the world than having a child with Trisomy 18 or 21.” “Be thankful you are pregnant!

Even though I can understand where these comments are coming from, I don’t think people are really thinking about how stressful it is to be pregnant. You are holding scales up before you and you are trying to balance your worry and your happiness every single day. It doesn’t make you a bad person to worry about these things, just like it doesn’t make you a bad person to want your child to be healthy.

Only 50% of babies with Trisomy 18 will be born alive, and of those 50% only 10% can make it past their first birthdays. I have read that a small amount of that 10% makes it to adulthood… mostly girls. That is a lot of information to take in and to see some moms of healthy babies shame women who are pregnant for fretting and losing sleep over the chances their baby will have Trisomy 18 seems heartless and misplaced.

Trisomy 21 in this day and age shows a great survival rate. I know and have worked with a great deal of Down Syndrome children and teens to know there are different levels of functionality, some of which can live almost independently. However, 1 in every 2 children born with Trisomy 21 will be born with a hole in their heart that will differ in severity. Some will close on their own, but other’s will require surgery to close it. If it heals and is closed correctly, that is wonderful, if not they may have heart problems their whole life.

Now you may be wondering, why is she so stuck on the Trisomy tests? It seems to be something not too many people worry about during pregnancy, what is her hang up?

Well, my sister just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy with Trisomy 21. She had taken all the same tests I did and the doctors had told her she was relatively low risk. Later, they noted an abnormality in his heart, but told her it was something she shouldn’t worry too much about. Fast forward to Mother’s Day, a month before you due date and she had an emergency C-Section.

A C-section alone is a lot to make a lot of moms to be nervous. Especially if they had spent a lot of time on a birth plan that stated natural birth, a month later than the day you are told you will have one. Then they tell her her baby looks as though he may have Trisomy 21 and they will have to run additional tests. Then they tell her he has a hole in his heart that is too large to close on it’s own.

It is a lot to take in during the moments after giving birth.

Up until this moment, I had taken my doctor’s word. She had told me the tests gave me a good percentage which meant I was in the lowest of the low when it came to my baby’s risks for chromosomal abnormalities. Suddenly, my anxiety was in hyper-drive.

Fear ate up a great deal of my mind.

The sea of wonder I had been sailing on became rough. It darkened and became tough to navigate.

Just another part of pregnancy that I don’t think a lot of people talk about enough. On top of all the embarassing symptoms, the constant changes to your body, the mood swings, the emotional rollercoaster that just keeps going around and around, there is also all the risks.

Before my pregancy I was not the type of person that worried about these types of things. I was the kind of person who would wait for ailments to clear on their own, I would shrug off misfortunes, I would just keep powering through life when I stumbled or fell.

In pregnancy, I have never felt more helpless.

Why don’t we talk about the helplessnes?

We live in an age where mental health is becoming less of a stigma. I think it’s also important to talk about the changes in your mental wellbeing while you are pregnant. Sometimes I hear my own thoughts and feel like they are the thoughts of a stranger.

Normally I chalk it all up to the hormones and move on. However there are days where I feel blue and it is overwhelming and all consuming. Untriggered, but ever-growing.

I can’t even pretend to know what is going on with me mentally. What I can say for sure, is the amount of anxiety I feel sometimes in pregnancy is the same kind of anxiety I felt after I got hit by a car three years ago. The way my heart would pound at the very thought of crossing the street was crippling.

Does everyone feel this way during pregnancy? I have looked through the twitter feeds, I have read the forums, I have tried to find a group to see for myself if this is common or not.

We are all on this sea, just trying to navigate towards our happy endings. Trying to sail towards the rainbow that will be our children.

For now, I will just keep sailing and hope to make my way through.