The 6 People You Meet When You’re Planning a Home Birth

No matter which way you plan on giving birth someone always has an opinon. It seems like home birth is one of the last birthing choices that can still be openly criticized without restraint. People hesitate to lay into moms who’ve chosen to have an epidural, we seem to have learned to lay off the moms who choose to schedule a c-section but it’s still open season on the home birth moms.

Here’s my list of the people I’ve encountered while planning our home birth:

1. Grand Master Fearmonger

This person always knows someone who died. ALWAYS. “Oh my god! You can totally go through with it if you want to but my sister-in-law shares a cubical with a lady who’s grandneice’s second cousin died during a homebirth, Seriously. She died. And the baby died. And her husband was following the hearse to the morgue and he was t-boned and his car flipped and he died too.”

2. Fearmonger in Training

This person isn’t sure if they know someone who died, their details are a little sketchy. What they are sure of is that everything went wrong and that homebirth is an absolutely horrible idea. Someone probably almost died and it’s probably the worst idea you’ve ever had. They just know it.

3. The Person Who Doesn’t Care/Keeps Their Opinion to Themselves

This person is awesome. They just kind of shrug and nod. Maybe give you a “right on” or a “whatever you guys want to do”. Unlike #4, they actually mean it. May the lead up to your homebirth overruneth with #3s.

4. The Person Who Pretends Not to Care but Actually Thinks You’re an Insane Monster

This group usually sits staring at you with their mouths open and their eyes bugging out of their heads for a while before they pull it together enough to come up with some sort of response.

5. Super Judge

The Super Judges want you to think they’re okay with it, for you, so that you don’t think they’re being judgy. This group uses a lot of I statements:

“I would never do it, with three kids of my own I just know how many things can go wrong. But if it works for you, I say go for it.”

“I don’t know anyone who has done that. I’m surprised you’d want to try that; didn’t you go to University?”

“I couldn’t handle the mess.” This one is especially awesome if it comes from someone who says it while trying to look like she’s not looking at the state of your living room. Subtext – “this place is such a disaster, I don’t see how having a baby here could possibly make a difference.”

6. The Woman Who Had a Homebirth

I haven’t met too many of these but they’re absolutely wonderful. Encouraging and willing to share, #6s are fantastic.

Who would you add to the list? What kinds of people did you run into when you planned your homebirth?

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It’s A…

I did a post for Halloween showing the gender reveal pumpkins I made. They were a really fun way to tell our family and friends whether the new nubbins is a boy or a girl. You can see that post here: Pumpkins 

Pumpkin Faces FB

Now that they’ve all been delivered (some digitally) I’m very excited to share the inside of them here.

inside of pumpkin

I’m thrilled that The Wee Monkey will have a little brother so close to his own age.

At nearly 26 weeks, I’ve had a good pregnancy so far. Very different from The Wee Monkey’s. Harder in some ways (the constant nausea and loss of appetite instead of multiple bouts of vomiting each day) and easier in others (I didn’t get the really nasty headaches nearly as often this time around). We’re extremely grateful and we can’t wait for him to get here so we can meet him.

 

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Why I Don’t Judge Side of the Road Births

It seems like every few months a story hits the news about a family that has a baby en route to the hospital. The commentary can get really awful. I used to read about the couples who gave birth at the side of the road or in the back of a car and think to myself “How do you not know you’re about to have a baby?” and some other things that are way harsher than that. A couple of years ago I might have been one of those nasty commenters. Not anymore. I get it now. It took very nearly delivering The Wee Monkey on a country road at 4 in the morning for me to get it, but I definitely do and I definitely don’t judge anyone’s birth story.

I often hesitate to share our birth story and not because he was almost born in our SUV. I hesitate because I’m not sure people want to hear it and not because it’s gory or because it was a terrible ordeal, but because it wasn’t. I had a wonderful birth. And by and large I’m afraid to share it outside of our closest circle.

I was put on full bedrest for the last month of my pregnancy for pre-eclampsia symptoms. I’d had a relatively easy pregnancy up until that point. I was enjoying my third trimester and the last thing I wanted to do was spend a month in bed barely moving. Work was hard, but work had been stressful for some time. As a recruiter for a sophmore company and the first employee the two owners had hired I was fairly used to stress, long hours and the ever increasing demands as the company grew.

Aside from the grotesque swelling I wasn’t in any real discomfort, I loved being pregnant but work was really getting to me. I burst into tears after conference calls with my boss more and more often. Being ordered to bed rest was a relief and an inconvenience at the same time.

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I rewatched the first eleven seasons of The Simpsons, the first five seasons of Sons of Anarchy, wrote my baby shower thank you notes and did just about anything else I could think of while staying put. It was an almost unbearably hot end of May/beginning of June and we didn’t have airconditioning. So I spent a lot of time sweating in spite of the three fans I had blowing on me constantly. I shuffled from the bathroom to the kitchen (where I more often than not made myself a bacon and tomato or plain tomato sandwich) and toddled back to bed.

The Monkey was due on the 9th of June. I was big and hot and slightly uncomfortable but I was ready to let him come in his own time, whenever he decided he was ready. Hubby had other ideas. (So did our OB/GYN, she started talking induction a week before he was due.) By the 10th he was wound so tightly he jumped six feet whenever he heard someone else’s phone go off. He transferred on our due date and that probably didn’t help with his stress levels. He came home from work early on the 10th – his boss told him to leave – laden with pineapple and ready to do some serious walking followed by a bumpy car ride (thank you Google). I ate some of the pineapple, knowing fully that it wasn’t enough to trigger labour, ended the phone conversation I was having with my mother-in-law and sat down while he laced up my sneakers. I made it down one flight of stairs and about 60 feet before my water broke. That was at 7:45. I felt great. The contractions started shortly after that but they weren’t intense enough to be overly uncomfortable. Yet.

By midnight it was uncomfortable. I tried taking a bath and ended up throwing up instead of relaxing. Poor Hubby still can’t bring himself to eat pineapple…. Around midnight we called our Doula and headed for the hospital. I was staying focused and calm, trying to remember the loads of stuff I  had read and trying to concentrate on the excitement of finally getting to meet this little person. Still more than a bit in shock that it was actually happening.

Deanna, our Doula met us at the front doors and we all went down to the maternity ward together. I explained at the desk that my water had broken, (including the rather graphic detail of how many pads I had filled) and we were checked into the triage room. Within minutes a nurse was there to help us. Without so much as introducing herself she performed an internal exam. “You’re one to two centimetres and I see on your chart that you don’t want any medication?” I agreed with her. “Well, there’s nothing you can do here that you can’t do at home.” And she left.

There was a bit more to it than that (not much) but that’s the gist of it. She (I always think of her as “Nurse Nasty”) was incredibly dismissive, closely bordering on rude and she clearly had made up her mind that she didn’t like me at all. I turned to our Doula “She doesn’t believe my water broke does she?” “Nope.” I had explained just how much water there had been. I thought I’d been clear on how far apart my contractions were. I couldn’t understand why she was being so curt with me. My doula explained it “You’re too calm.”

Saying that makes me feel like a jerk. The contractions hurt. Period. Full stop. But when they were over I felt pretty much normal. (After a car accident 9 years ago I spent 8 months in full day physio, did three years of spinal injections and had countless hours of cognitive behavioural therapy learning how to cope with pain so I was able to apply a fair bit of it to my labour experience.)

At 3 (yup! we sat there on our own for hours) another nurse came in. She introduced herself right away, Nancy, and said that she’d been told that I was being discharged. I think I nodded my head. No check. Just pack up and leave. So we did. Deanna offered to go with us but given the hour and the fact that I was so early in the process we told her we’d meet her back at the hospital at 9 (the time we’d been told to return). She told us to call her in between if we needed anything.

By the time we made it home the contractions were hellish. Cognitive Therapy was out the window. I was a mess. It was nearly 3:45 and I was seriously questioning if I could make it until 9 without going back to the hospital for drugs. I tried to lie down but it was impossible. I ended up on all fours on the bed in terrible pain and making noises that were a cross between a scream and some sort of animal sound. At one point DH leaned over while rubbing my back and very gently told me that he was afraid the neighbours in our apartment building were going to call the police. I really didn’t care.

I probably should have known I was in trouble when the only thing that felt good was pushing. I’d read about “transition”, we’d talked about it in our pre-natal classes and I’d been discussing it with my mother-in-law not twelve hours before. Instead, all I could think was that if I’d been one to two centimetres dialated at the hospital, I was probably only four to six centimetres and I couldn’t keep going. I was terrified. I couldn’t deal with the pain at all. I started begging for drugs. All I wanted to do was go back to the hospital and get something, gas, epidural, it didn’t matter. If someone had told me that I could have drugs if I punched DH in the face as hard as I could, I would have laid him out.

I had wanted a drug and intervention free delivery and labour. That was the plan. I was so disappointed with myself for wanting to go back to the hospital “early”, so upset that I was “giving up” that I argued for a while about leaving. DH called Deanna.

When she heard that I was giving up she knew I was in transition and she told him we’d better get a move on. Moving was about the last thing I wanted to do but we made it down the elevator and into the car somehow – in spite of our nearly flooded underground parking garage.

We made it to the hospital at 4:45. We headed to the maternity ward and when they checked me I was fully dialated but I “had a lip”. They wanted me to walk up and down the hall three times. I just stood there staring at them in disbelief. He was coming. Now. Deanna looked at me and said “you don’t have to”. Brilliant. She massaged my hips instead. They moved us to a delivery room at 4:55. (I walked.) When we got there the nurses wanted me to pant and I wanted to push, couldn’t help myself really. Someone took off my clothes (pretty sure it was DH and Deanna). I kept insisting that he was coming and they kept insisting that I say “house” very slowly. They had the bed at chest height with me leaning on it, half-assedly trying to say “house”. I felt like no one was listening to me.

I looked at Deanna and said “he’s coming”. She reached between my legs and I’m not sure what she said to the nurses but they finally agreed to lower the bed and let me get on it. Nurse Nancy got on the phone and sent a page through the hospital with a code I don’t remember followed by a request for nurses to come to our room. It seemed very loud and sounded quite urgent. Nurse Nasty popped her head in the door and asked if the doctor had been called. Someone snarled something back at her and she left in a big hurry. I clearly remember one nurse looking down at me and saying “you should put your hands on your thighs as a reminder not to close your legs”. I also very clearly remember thinking to myself “Let me f$#%ing assure you, the last thing I want to do right now is slam my legs shut!” Out loud I said “Ow! That hurts!” “With the next contraction you can push.” And I did. And out he came at 5:05. Caught by Nurse Nancy. They clamped his cord (which I didn’t want done right away) and passed him to me.

It was all the things that people say it is. I was in shock , both because of our history and because he was there so quickly. I’d anticipated having hours of labour to get used to the idea. He was beautiful and I loved him. As I stared he reached up and touched my face.

The doctor got there within a few minutes of his delivery. He commented that there wasn’t much left for him to do. Nurse Nancy told him that the placenta needed delivering. I was still staring at my son, completely lost in him. And then someone rammed a needle into my thigh. Unannounced. I didn’t react well. I glared at her. “It’s only pitocin, to help you deliver your placenta.” I was pissed. Of all the drugs I didn’t want to be given, Pitocin was at the very top of the list. Plus, I was delivering my placenta while she gave me the shot. It was out before I’d finished glaring or she’d had a chance to walk back around to the other side of the bed.

In spite of the confusion, I feel really lucky to have had such a positive birth experience. It certainly wasn’t the delivery we were expecting, but whose is? He was 7 lbs 7.5 oz. He was healthy. (The hospital staff told us he was probably deaf – he isn’t. They also told us within minutes of his birth that he had a membrane issue in his mouth and probably wouldn’t be able to nurse – he didn’t and he did, for 14 months.) With the GBS fiasco we ended up in hospital for three days but we were so shocked by his entry into this world that I was grateful for the time at the hospital. (Except for the last day. We’d had enough and were more than ready to come home by the time they let us leave.)

All things considered I’m glad we were only in labour at the hospital for about twenty minutes. For starters, I would have taken the drugs and I’m very glad that opportunity was taken from me. I ended up getting the type of birth I wanted (drug and intervention free) but I had to deal with some unnecessary fear and panic. I’d rather not have to transition on my own again. Our Monkey was here and we were nothing but grateful.

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Gender Reveal Pumpkins

When we found out that The Wee Monkey was on the way we wanted to do something fun to tell our families. DH had the super fun idea of buying invitations to a birthday party, filling them out with the due date, the name of the hospital and a lot of question marks, and putting in a copy of our ultrasound picture. It was a lot of fun and everyone really liked it. Once we found out he was a boy, we just told people. “Gender Reveals” weren’t even on our radar.

With this baby we just told people that we were pregnant, so we wanted to do something fun to reveal the baby’s gender. I’ll never forget watching our families open their invitations and piece together what was going on and I really wanted to “make a memory” with this baby too.

I looked and looked for ideas. My bestie did gender reveal cupcakes for her daughter and I thought that was a great idea. So, when I saw the krispie treat pumpkins online, I figured I could use them to unveil our little surprise. Slightly easier said than done for someone as non-crafty as me.

After trying, and failing miserably, to make them on my own, I ended up headed back to the bulk barn to pick up a mould I’d spotted when I was picking up some of my supplies.

Mold FB

It was actually pretty simple. I followed the recipe on the box.

1/4 cup butter

5 cups mini marshmallows

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

6 cups Rice Krispies

I made a full batch for the outsides of my pumpkins and a half batch for the insides. I added food colouring to the marshmallow, butter, vanilla. (I’ll have those pictures in my follow up post – we’ve still got a couple of friends who are waiting for their pumpkins to be delivered and I don’t want to ruin the surprise.)

Once the marshmallow mixture was dyed – I found the orange a little bit tricky but I got it eventually – I added the Rice Krispies and then started pressing the orange mixture into my mould.

No Centre FB

Then I added the coloured mixture in pink or blue to the middle, made two of them and put the halves together to make my pumpkins.

No Leaves No Stem FB

Next up were leaves:

4 Pumpkins FB

And a tootsie roll – with one end cut slightly to make it easier to attach:

Pumpkin Leaves and Stem FB

Draw on some faces:

Pumpkin Faces FB

Et voila!

Super simple and fun to make.

(I’ll be updating this post next week to show how I added the middles – and to share our new baby’s gender.)

Happy Trick or Treating!

How did you reveal your baby’s gender to family and friends?

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Thinking Outside The Pumpkin

Every year DH’s family has a pumpkin carving contest. It’s one of my favourite fall events. There are rules, and an entry fee (it goes towards the pizza). I’ve flouted the rules a few times but this year I knew I was disqualified a few days before we got to my mother-in-law’s. To start with, I brought my own pumpkin. Just a minor infraction really and I probably could have gotten away with it if I hadn’t broken a second rule. I didn’t do any actual carving.

I’ve done some pretty weird stuff. One year I made a tiny alligator out of a knobby green gourd.

Gator Gourd

That same year I carved “wings” out of the sides of a pumpkin and spent hours with my hot melt gun gluing feathers onto them. I used the stem as a beak – jamming it through a hole on the front, cut out some eyes and called it an owl.

Two years ago I carved a dolphin out of an oddly shaped Humboldt squash (it was a wild grey-blue colour). Last year I drilled a whack of holes into a squarish pumpkin and had little plastic mice hanging all over it. Cheesie Gourd.

I usually have an idea for my pumpkin by the middle of the summer. This year I had nothing. No inspiration at all. I was over at Michael’s with a friend and I saw some artificial ones:

Michaels Pumpkin FB

They were awesome but I wasn’t about to spend a hundred bucks on an ornamental pumpkin. I figured there had to be a way I could do it myself. I picked up a white pumpkin for $4.80. Went to the dollar store and found a few other things. Here’s the finished product:

Pumpkin 1 FB

All told I used less than five dollars worth of the stuff I bought since I cut apart most of the items I bought. I’m really happy with the way it turned out. I definitely don’t mind taking the DQ.

Does your family have Halloween traditions? Are you a traditional pumpkin carver or do you like to think outside the box when it comes to Halloween?

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Cakes!!!!

Once again I have had the absolute privilege of ordering cakes from Jen at Joyful Cakes. After the massive success of Wee Monkey’s birthday cake, there was no way I could order from anyone other than her. My best friends, who are due a day apart in October, had their baby showers two weeks apart last month. They had very different themes and feels and we really wanted to make sure that the cakes fit with the themes while still standing out.

We knew exactly what kind of style we were going for with the first cake. Mom-to-be wanted a very modern, very girly shower (baby is a little girl and her gender was revealed on the invitations) and we wanted the cake to reflect that. Grandma-to-be had gone with prams for the plates and napkins and she wanted that incorporated as well. Here’s what Jen came up with:

Shantelle Cake Picture

We needed enough cake for between 35 and 40 people and chocolate is a big favourite of mom-to-be so we had the top and bottom tier in chocolate and the middle tier in vanilla. It was a huge hit.

Shower number two had a very different feel to it and nearly double the guests (mom 1 had two showers – one for each side of the family, mom 2 had both sides at the same shower). Jen had a bit more of a challenge with this one since it had a slightly unusual combined theme of tea party and jungle animals. After more emails back and forth than I can count and nearly an hour and a half on the phone late one Friday evening, this was the cake (the photo really doesn’t do it justice – at all):

Tracey Cake Picture 2

I had sent her photos of the invitation, plates and napkins (all in the jungle animal theme – mom is an artist and she does paintings with animals for family members nurseries) as well as a photo of the teal and purple cups we used for cold drinks. (This baby’s gender will be a surprise for everyone when it gets here.) The bottom tier of this one was chocolate, the middle tier was vanilla and the top tier had a layer of each. Both cakes were done with buttercream fondant. This cake was a massive hit too.

Aside from the quality of the cakes and the gorgeous craftsmanship and level of creativity that goes into them, the thing that stands out for me most about Jen is her customer service. She was unbelievably patient throughout the process, she always made time to answer any questions I had and the cakes were delivered precisely when we agreed they would be. I really can’t thank her or recommend her highly enough.

If you would like to order a cake (or cupcakes, or cookies) from Jen, she can be found on Facebook or via email at joyful.cakes@hotmail.com

Joyful Cakes Logo

*I asked Jen if I could include her contact information and our really fabulous experience with her on my social media and she consented but did not compensate me in any way for this or any other social media postings.

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Night Terrors

My husband and his brother have both suffered from night terrors their whole lives. While I can’t speak for his brother, DH still gets them periodically. His brother had them 5 nights a week for most of the time he was in primary school and they both had them as infants and toddlers. This weekend it was The Wee Monkey’s turn.

He was coming off his first bout with a minor illness. He’d been burning a low-grade fever for a couple of days and he just wasn’t himself. Saturday night he woke up after a couple of hours in a terrible state. He was completely hysterical and totally inconsolable. As terrifying as it was for him, I was beside myself too. I’ve never encountered anything like it before.

When I say he was inconsolable, I don’t just mean that he had a hard time calming down, although he was completely unable to. I mean that there was absolutely nothing I could do to help him.

We learned fairly early on into my second trimester with Monkey that it was better for our marriage if DH and I sleep apart when I’m pregnant. I turn into a flailing, snoring and hitting machine in my sleep. This pregnancy is no different and DH has already made the move into our guest bedroom. It sucks for both of us, but he has to be rested for work and if I’m being completely honest, I sleep a lot better too.

I had just fallen asleep when I woke to the sound of Monkey crying. He usually sleeps through the night and there was something very different about the way he was crying. He was clearly very scared. I went and got him and brought him into “my” room to try and help him settle down. No dice. His eyes were almost open but his movements were jerky. He was swatting my hands away whenever I tried to touch him, to rub his back or his arms – something he ordinarily likes very much – and he was acting like he couldn’t see me. In my own confusion and near panic I thought that he was blind. I had no clue what was happening.

DH figured it out right away. When I couldn’t settle him down, DH joined us and held him and rocked him as I had been doing while I quickly googled “night terrors in infants” and looked for any advice on how we could help him. Turns out there isn’t much we could do. We kept talking to him and holding him. Eventually I went and got some watermelon and a bag of chips (I know I’m not supposed to give a fifteen month old chips, but desperate times….). It took just over an hour, but he was able to settle down and went back to sleep in his crib.

I found the kidshealth.org website very helpful. It explains that night terrors aren’t dreams but a state of fear that happens between sleep cycles. They usually start between two and three hours after a child falls asleep and the website has tips on how to deal with them – make sure they don’t hurt themselves and patiently wait for it to be over. Apparently it’s best not to try and wake the child up (we definitely made that mistake). They’re pretty rare, although most kids who have them have a relative who also does, and they happen more often with boys.

http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/sleep/terrors.html 

I’m hopeful that Monkey won’t have to go through this again but I feel better prepared to deal with it if he does.

How have you coped with night terrors? Do they run in your family too?

 

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Again?

DH and I are absolutely thrilled to be expecting Monkey number 2 in early March. I wrote this post during the first couple of months and I thought I’d share it now.

—–

For what I think are pretty obvious reasons I can’t/won’t blog about this as it’s happening.

We found out last night that we’re pregnant. For the fifth time. We haven’t told anyone. We’re locked in that space where for now it’s just ours. I’ve made the calls to our doctor and left a message with the  midwives. We’ve told The Monkey. And I think we’re both in shock. Me probably moreso than DH. He’s esctatic. I’m happy too but I’m nervous. We’ve got a few hurdles to deal with and at the moment they’re at the forefront of my mind.

When I called the doctor this morning I politely cut the secretary off before she could finish explaining why they didn’t need to see me yet – so and so had been on holidays, then hurt his back, they’re booked solid, etc – “I have a history of ectopic. I had surgery at 5 weeks 3 days.” She found me an appointment.

I didn’t go into my miscarriage history. Not much they can do on that front anyway. And the truth is I’m not sure which I’m more afraid of. The surgery sucked. There’s no two ways about that. But the waiting to see if I’ll miscarry again also sucks.

I laid in bed last night thinking about the two month minimum I have to go of waiting to see if we’ll make it through this time. Dreading it. I desperately want to be happy that I’m pregnant. I so badly want to be caught up in joy and good feelings. I’m not. I’m scared.

I’m clinging to a phrase I’ve heard over and over – that once you have a successful pregnancy your odds are better of having another. I’m looking at my beautiful son and trying to imagine how wonderful our lives would be with someone else to share it with. I’m trying to be grateful to be pregnant. DH told me last night that he didn’t think this would happen, that he thought The Wee Monkey would be our one and only.

I know we were both getting frustrated that we weren’t pregnant again. We’d been trying for over six months. (And there were four months before that where we “weren’t not trying”.) A few weeks ago he asked me if I thought there was something wrong, if we needed to “go and see someone”. I told him I thought we should keep at it for just a little bit longer. And here we are.

There’ll be an ultrasound in a couple of weeks to make sure this baby is where it’s supposed to be and if that goes well the waiting will start in earnest.

—–

With our ectopic I didn’t know that I should be scared at this stage. I was going in for what was supposed to be a routine ultrasound and then I was going to go home. It didn’t work out like that. And now, and every pregnancy since, I have been terrified of this first ultrasound. It’s tomorrow – I hope. They found the first one at 5 weeks and 3 days and tomorrow will be 5 weeks and 4 days and I’m desperately hoping I can convince them to get me in. I have a pain in my upper shoulder that I’m certain is in my head, or at least completely unrelated but I’m hoping that it’ll be enough to let them get me in. I’ve been doing a lot of hoping in the past 5 days.

I don’t know what I should be doing. I’ve very nearly finished the Thank You notes from The Wee Monkey’s party. I should be filling out his baby book, months eleven and twelve aren’t recorded yet and I haven’t written down the date for his most recent tooth, it’s on the calendar but it’s not in the book. It was his fourth molar. He got the first three all on the same day and for some reason he skipped his bicuspids.

And I’m pretty sure that this seems extremely paranoid but as much as I’m afriad that I’m going to lose this baby, I’m also afraid that I’m going to die. Deep deep down there’s a part of myself that I don’t want to admit is there there that thinks that could happen. When the doctor came in just before the surgery last time he told us there were three possible outcomes. I used to be able to remember two of them but for a while now I’ve only been able to remember the first one. He looked straight at me and said “You could die”

—–

We had a three day wait between our appointment with the doctor and the ultrasound. I was surprised by how much better I felt after seeing the doctor. The intervening days weren’t as bad as I expected them to be.

The tech – who had the bedside manner of a crocodile – wouldn’t say much but she did confirm that the pregnancy was uterine. I could have kissed her. I don’t feel as stressed out as I did with The Wee Monkey. It’s there, whispering at me every now and then, reminding me about the miscarriages and that it could happen again but I feel better. I feel like I might just make it through the next couple of months without going nuts.

—–

I’ve started spotting. Just a little. Just enough. I’m trying to convince myself that maybe I’m one of those women who has spotting and everything is just fine. We’ve all read about them online, these fantastical unicorn women who have a near period for the duration of their pregnancies and everything turns out okay. Maybe I’m one of those. Maybe I’m a unicorn now. Or not. I know what this has meant twice before. I remember how all of this started. A little bit of brown spotting, brown – the “good” colour, maybe a little cramping, then pink, then red. All equal over.

I haven’t told DH. I haven’t called the doctor. I haven’t cancelled my first meeting with the midwife – the one I felt so lucky to get. I’m just waiting. No Google. No point. I’ve read it all before. Forums are just a black hole right now. I could look for reassurance. Chase down unicorns but I’m not sure there’s a point. Maybe my lack of excitement, lack of morning sickness (I googled that one), lack of sore boobs, maybe I knew.

The Wee Monkey was up at 5:30 this morning. Something he hasn’t done since he started sleeping through the night. He fell asleep in my arms about an hour ago. Something he hasn’t done in ages. I know I should be grateful. I have a son. A beautiful son. But I wanted this baby too.

We haven’t told anyone. My parents are away. It’s too soon. We wanted to tell people. I almost told my best friend. I have two. They’re both pregnant and due one day apart in October. I don’t want to be alone with this. But I do. I want to be able to post this, but unless we tell our families I know that I can’t. I want to get out of my pajamas but I’m not sure that I can. I know that we’ll wait the requisite couple of months and start trying again. I know that at 35 I’m running out of time. I wish I knew what was wrong with me. Why this keeps happening. I think I’ll get a new label. This may put me in the recurrent category. I know that this hurts but I can’t feel it right now. Right now I’m not feeling anything.

——

I had a couple of days where I thought I might be a unicorn. No spotting, feeling good. It’s worse today. I am not a unicorn. I’ve been through this before. I don’t know why I thought this time would be different. Today I am miserable. I cried today. I told DH when I got up this morning and the spotting was so much worse. He’s stunned. Like I was. I honestly didn’t think it would hurt like this. That because it’s happened so many times before it wouldn’t be as bad. That maybe I could roll with it. I can’t. I want to curl up in a ball and I can’t. So I’m playing with dinky cars and I’m making snacks and I’m keeping going and I feel very alone. My parents will be home tomorrow and odds are I won’t tell them. Odds are I won’t tell anyone. I’ll put the baby down for his nap and I won’t say a word.

—–

I hate to even write it down but I  just might, possibly, be a unicorn. 10 or 11 weeks and still, miraculously, counting. I haven’t had a second ultrasound and we haven’t heard a heartbeat (and every so often that miserable little voice in the back of my head with whisper “missed miscarriage” at me. I’ve had two other kinds of miscarriage, why not add a third. I really hate that voice). Somehow, most of the time, I don’t think about it at all. The anxiety that hung over nearly every minute of my last two pregnancies just isn’t there. Time is passing quickly. It’s a lot easier to distract myself. I find this especially surprising because I was working full-time during both of my last pregnancies.

——

14 and a half weeks. Maybe unicorns do exist. The only pregnancy that made it this far was The Wee Monkey’s. We didn’t get the call from the doctor’s office telling us that there were problems with the first ultrasound and I’m grateful. We found out when our midwife had our records transfered at 11 weeks when she couldn’t find a heartbeat with the doppler and sent us for another ultrasound for dating. The baby looked great.

I’m feeling good. The exhaustion is passing and the constant nausea I had seems to be on the way out too. Anxiety is much lower and the time is passing quickly. I’m grateful for that too.

It almost seems silly to be posting this now but I haven’t found a lot on the stress women with a history like mine have so I thought I’d put this out there. Like everything else in life, it’s hard for people who haven’t been there to understand what it’s like to go through, so I think it’s important for those of us who have been there to share.

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Family Healing Oils Webinar for doTerra

I am super excited to announce that I was invited to review a webinar for Nelle at Family Healing Oils for doTerra. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak at this month’s webinar for pregnancy and childbirth.

Going into this I have to admit that I knew absolutely nothing about essential oils and their potential benefits. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned and by how much more I wanted to learn after the webinar was over. (And I was relieved to discover that my favourite scent for around the house – sandalwood – is safe to use while I’m pregnant.)

I’m not a big fan of plastics, chemicals and over-the-counter medications (especially during pregnancy) so it was a relief to see how many options there are with essential oils. Since I don’t like taking medication while pregnant, or anytime really, I’m always looking for natural alternatives, but it’s hard to know which are safe to use and which aren’t.

I was a bit shocked to see how many different oils are safe to use during pregnancy and by how many different uses there are for them. To be honest, I really thought that essential oils were more about making things smell pretty rather than helping me to cope with issues like stretch marks, edema and morning sickness (to name only a few). I also hadn’t realized how quickly they can start working or how long lasting their effects can be.

The webinar outlines which oils are considered safe to use during childbirth and what dosages should be used, as well as covering the different methods of application. Nelle also explains how to properly dilute the oils and she has a terrific recipe for Peri-Pads. I had no idea that there were so many different uses for essential oils before, during and after childbirth. With our second on the way I’m very glad that I’m learning this now. I also really wish I’d known about them during our pregnancy with The Wee Monkey.

I hadn’t realized how important purity was when it comes to essential oils. I assumed that they were pretty much all the same – not the case at all. Over the course of the presentation I realized that most of my assumptions about essential oils and how they are used were completely wrong.

If you’re like me and you’re curious about essential oils, or, if you’re already familiar with them and their benefits but would like to learn how to safely use them during pregnancy and childbirth head over to http://www.familyhealingoils.com and register for this month’s webinar. It’s being held on Monday September 22nd, 8pm Central Time and there are still spots available. You can also find Nelle on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

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My Favourite Time of Day

We stopped co-sleeping when the Wee Monkey was nine months old. We didn’t really start co-sleeping until he was about four months old so it wasn’t an overly long period in our lives but I was definitely ready to resume sharing a bed with DH rather than an infant and, more importantly, The Wee Monkey was ready to sleep on his own. He’d had a terrible fear of his crib for months and it was nice to see him get past it.

Co-sleeping was great. I loved sharing that time with him (I also loved getting more sleep). There were aspects of it I wasn’t as fond of (see above re not co-sleeping with my spouse and add trying to doze with a human being latched on) but it was a wonderful time. I realize that co-sleeping isn’t for everyone, and I definitely didn’t think it would be for us either, but it was what we needed.

Once the initial elation at being able to sleep on more than a foot of bed wore off I realized that I really missed the time with Monkey, the feeling of closeness we shared and the physical closeness of co-sleeping.  I started a new ritual. Every morning when he wakes up I go get him and bring him into bed with me so he can nurse. If his Dad is home he stays with us and we share that time together.

Sometimes he dozes back off. Sometimes I do too. My love of this time goes beyond my fear that he’ll be the only person I share this with; I know it’s fleeting. At nearly fifteen months old our nursing days are almost behind us. It’s been gradual but this time in the morning (and it’s getting shorter and shorter) is the only time he nurses. Soon it’ll be stuffies and a cup of milk, then it will be bowls of cereal and morning cartoons, followed closely by sleepovers and borrowing the car. The past year has been an absolute whirlwind and, since just about everyone says that the speed time passes only gets faster, I’m trying to treasure and savour every moment we have together this way. While he’s still small. While he wakes up in the morning and still wants to lie with me while the sun filters in.

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