Friday, September 19, 2014

Be Soft

Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.
― Kurt Vonnegut

Thursday, September 18, 2014

This Will Probably Offend Some Of You

Since the last time I posted on here the most amazing thing happened. I've become a mom :) Although I fully intended to blog about my birth experience and all the awkward new mommy moments I'd face while trying to figure out this new role, that clearly did not happen. What happened instead was I became the happiest and most content I've ever been in my life. I fell so in love with this little baby it made me more present in my day to day activities. Social media took up less of my time and my experiences were shared with only those who were actually a part of my in person interactions.
The mom I am today is not the one I pictured myself to be back when I was pregnant and dreaming of how life would be. What came natural to me when it came to feeding my baby, balancing sleep in this household, and caring for my girl in general was not at all how I thought it would be. When it came down to it I just chose LOVE to lead me in every situation.
Now I know every baby is different and what works for some people doesn't necessarily work for others. Parenting advice in general usually causes a heated debate at some point regardless of what your intentions are. My post tonight is not meant to cause drama. I'm not preaching that certain ways of doing things are WRONG. I simply want to share my experience because I KNOW there are others who will be able to relate and find comfort in it.
First of all when it came to feeding my baby I knew I wanted to breast feed. That didn't change. It was painful and difficult for the first three weeks. No one warned me just how painful it could be. However as I educated myself on the benefits of breast milk, and how truly amazing it is, I knew there was no way I was going to give up on it. There is a lot of info, help and support out there and I encourage you to take advantage of it. That's all I will say on this matter (today anyway) as it is a VERY touchy subject and not what I want to talk about tonight.
Tonight I want to talk about spoiling your baby. Let's talk about our busy, schedule obsessed world and the way it has influenced the way people parent today. Before my little girl arrived I was one of those people that believed you could spoil your baby by holding them too much. I almost laughed writing that sentence just now because really, how silly is that? I have this beautiful miracle in front of me but I'm being warned that if I hold her too much she will become spoiled and never want to be put down. It seemed everywhere I turned I was being told to go against my natural instincts and instead of caring for this baby's needs, I was to ignore their cries and get them as independant as possible and on my schedule as quickly as possible. This pressure made me feel sick. Why did I have a baby if not to love it? Why was I given this little miracle if I was just going to ignore their needs and put my wants first? This baby has spent 9 months constantly carried, wrapped up warm inside me, ATTACHED to me, constantly warm, constantly fed and now All OF A SUDDEN because she was born, she doesn't need that anymore?
The internet is filled with new parents questions. Most revolve around feeding their baby and why they won't sleep. Everyone seems to think the fact that their baby is up all night and wants to feed so much means they are doing something wrong. Well I'm here to tell you there is nothing wrong with a baby that doesn't sleep and that wants to breast feed all the time. This is normal and it won't last forever! Hold your baby when they are crying, even if it doesn't seem to help. Invest in a good carrier. Having them attached to you, warm and snug is the closest they will get to the comfort they felt when they were growing inside you. Being born is quite the ordeal. Absolutely everything this baby has ever known has changed. It takes some getting used to. This world is cold, loud, bright and scary. Your baby looks to you to comfort and ease their fears because you have been their constant. If your baby will only sleep on you for the first 4-5 months, that's ok! Yes there are stories about babies who slept in their crib, all night long, since the time they were born. Good for them! Not everyone is the same. I know it's exhausting. I know it's hard. But If your baby is crying it's because it needs something, not because it wants to piss you off and keep you up all night.
I personally invested in a co-sleeper and had my girl sleep in there for the first 4 months. At least 50% of her time spent sleeping was in my arms or on my chest. I carried her on me a good majority of the day. When she outgrew her co-sleeper, she was moved to a bassinet beside my bed until she was 7 months old. There were a couple of times I fell to the pressure of "trying to get my baby on schedule." Those moments were the most heartbreaking I've ever experienced. Again it came down to loving my baby and fulfilling her needs. Allowing her to do things in her own time, instead of when others expected her to do things, was what worked best for me. At 7 months old she showed her own independence start to emerge. She began napping in her crib and a couple weeks later started sleeping there all night. Not once did we have to listen to her cry it out. She is more independant than ever and contrary to what people told me, is not a spoiled baby. I did not ruin her, she will not be sleeping with me until the time she is in college and she most certainly is not a 12 year old girl attached to my boob. In fact she decided to start weaning herself before she turned 9 months! Who knew.... Loving your baby and giving them everything they cry for is ok..... While they are a baby. This advice is obviously not meant for older children. We aren't trying to raise a bunch of spoiled brats here! :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Third Trimester and Unpleasant Surprises

So here I am, almost 37 weeks along now, and still not feeling how everyone I know told me I would feel when I was pregnant. Every time I run into someone I'm asked how much longer I have left and then that is always followed up with, "you must be so ready to be done!"
The truth is I don't feel "done" at all. In fact I keep getting my weeks messed up and shock myself on a daily basis when I realize just how little time I have left. I'm not overly huge.... Or at least most of the time I don't feel like it. I still go on the treadmill everyday and try to work out as much as possible. I'm not waddling yet, which could be courtesy of how the baby is sitting. I'm also not experiencing any pelvic pain or pressure of any kind.
In a way this trimester has reminded me a lot of my first trimester. I've experienced days where I'm so exhausted I nap twice a day; granted my nightly sleeps have diminished to merely 3.5 hours on average. I've also had some cravings that I experienced in the early weeks of pregnancy. Currently it's DQ double cheeseburgers where as my very first craving was for teenburgers. My feelings of disbelief have also returned. Maybe it's because we tried for so long to get pregnant but I can't believe it's actually happening. I know when we get to meet our little baby it's going to be the most significant and exciting moment of our lives!

Although I consider myself fairly lucky with how smooth pregnancy has been, there have been a few unpleasant surprises. First of all, the constant worry I've felt in regards to babies health is something I never thought I'd experience. I thought getting pregnant was stressful but it turns out pregnancy is even more so. It took 21 weeks for me to feel baby move and ever since then I worry that I don't feel it as much as others do. This could be due to my anterior placenta, but at this point when baby has lazy days I still get freaked out. The doctors have also detected a bit of an irregular heartbeat over the past few months. Sometimes there are extra beats and sometimes the heart skips beats. It was never bad enough for them to send me for further testing but the baby may need some tests after it is born :( I'm praying this will correct itself when the baby is born and there is no underlying issue.
As thoughts of giving birth begin to fill my mind I kind of wish I looked into getting a midwife. This was the year my family doctor decided to give up delivering babies so I was referred to an OB when I was 3 months pregnant. What I didn't expect is how long it would take to get in! I didn't end up seeing her until I was 30 weeks pregnant. I have only met with her three times and have virtually no relationship with her. The appointments were maybe 10 minutes long and I feel like she always has to refresh her memory regarding my file when I go in and has no idea who I am.
One thing that is kind of funny is how many hours I've spent worrying about labour and birth, it probably works out to weeks of time spent over the course of my life worrying about this. As it turns out baby is breach and I'm not going to experience labour. Due to the baby's position and the blood thinner injections I'm on, I will have a scheduled c section approx 2 weeks before my due date. Originally I thought this sounded like a sweet deal but now that the surgery is only 1.5 weeks away... I'm TERRIFIED! It's hard putting your trust in someone you have only met three times to keep you and your baby alive through the procedure. As someone who has always struggled with anxiety and panic attacks and hates taking any kind of drugs, I'm worried about my mindframe as I lay awake being sliced open. I also have this weird worry I will feel them cutting me open or stitching me up. Perhaps my biggest fear is that there will be complications, or I will start bleeding excessively and be awake to hear all the panic in the OR.

Hopefully in my next post I will have a positive birth story to tell you. Regardless of how this baby gets here I have some really great pleasant surprises about pregnancy to tell you and I know the list will only get bigger after this little one arrives.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Second Trimester

I've never really been a big eater throughout the day. I was the girl in the office that could power through the day with eating only a muffin. Well that all changed in the second trimester. The amount of food I could eat really was incredible. My co-workers would laugh at the sight of me eating my lunch at 9:30 in the morning and then running out for a full foot long sub at lunch. This is when my cravings really kicked in as well. I didn't crave anything weird, it started off with teen burgers.... I'd often grab two right after work and then go home and make dinner. You'd think that would fill a girl up but no, sometimes after eating two helpings of dinner I would still be woken up in the middle of the night with hunger pains! My cravings then switched to pizza, my poor husband had pizza two to three times a week for about a month. Luckily after that phase I started to crave subway. Veggie subs with 1 strip of bacon, 5 days a week for at least two months. I also had a fried potato phase. French fries, hash browns or fried mashed potatoes covered my plate for dinner. I didn't want anything else to go with it. You would think I should have gained 50lbs this trimester but thankfully I did not. To date I have gained about 35lbs with 5 weeks left to go.
For the most part I felt really good in the second trimester. It really was all about eating. I was still sensitive to the sun but nothing like how it was in the first trimester. I managed to have a great Summer camping and taking road trips. Perhaps the best surprise so far was that my lactose intolerance had almost vanished completely. I could eat cheese, a lot of cheese, with no side effects. I also indulged in cream based meals and ice cream and cheesecake from time to time.
Seeing our little one at our 20 week ultrasound was really truly amazing. This is when it finally sunk in that there was a baby in me and it was growing and healthy. We got to watch it punch and kick back at the ultrasound tech and the pictures we got were very clear. Deciding not to find out the gender was hard at the time but I'm glad it's going to be a surprise. This could very well be our only child and I want the full experience. I began to feel movement around 21 weeks and can honestly say it is THE BEST feeling in the world. I was a little hesitant when I first got pregnant thinking the movement might weird me out but it really is just an amazing feeling.
The following pictures are of me and our little babe at 20 weeks:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The First Trimester

I know pregnancy is different for every woman. There are a huge list of potential symptoms expecting mothers can experience and none of them are all that great. Overall looking back on the last 34 weeks I can honestly say I feel I've had it pretty easy. For the most part, my visions of what a nightmare pregnancy was going to be like have been far from the truth.

After the doctor confirmed I was pregnant I was still in disbelief. Maybe it's because I found out really early, between 5-6 weeks. I didn't feel any different until about 8 weeks along, but even then I just felt like crap for no reason. This was the point where I started to experience 24 hour nausea. Thankfully, I only ever threw up once. However the fight to keep things in my stomach where they belonged was excruciating. Many scents including laundry detergent made me want to hurl. I actually had to get rid of some of my clothes from early pregnancy because just looking at them made those feelings come back. I also can no longer eat vegetable soup for the same reason. At this point I also slept a lot. Not just because supporting your baby before your placenta is fully formed can be exhausting, I was trying to avoid having to face the nausea. The other major symptom I noticed at this point was bloat. I didn't look pregnant I just looked like I had gained 5-10 pounds overnight! I longed for the days when my bump would pop so it was obvious I was pregnant and not just over eating.

Some of the other surprising and unpleasant symptoms I experienced were:

  • Excess saliva. I felt like a drooling baby. Every time I talked I would have to wipe my mouth!
  • Sensitivity to the sun. Any time I tried to sit in it I felt sick and as a former beach bum this made me really sad.
  • Migraines. I had to leave work a couple times due to spotted vision and flashing light in my sight.
Perhaps the worst part of my first trimester was when I learned I had to be on blood thinner injections. I had suffered a blot clot in my leg a few years earlier and now, as a precaution, I was told I would have to inject blood thinners into my stomach EVERY SINGLE DAY for the next 10 MONTHS at least! The needle was bigger than I expected, I was hoping for just a small one like diabetics use to check their blood but the ones I use are about double the size.

There were no really good surprises in my first trimester aside from my first ultrasound. However I still didn't find this as a defining moment when It finally hit me that I was pregnant. The baby was so small it looked like a seahorse and I didn't get to hear a heart beat until about 15 weeks.