10 Things That Surprised Me About Labour

My "they just admitted me and ordered my epidural" face.

My “they just admitted me and ordered my epidural” face.

And I thought pregnancy was a wild ride! I have come to the conclusion that nothing, literally nothing, can prepare you for labour and delivery. My sister described it as the craziest 24 hours of her life, and I am going to have to agree. In the spirit of my last post, and to spare you the graphic details of my labour and delivery, here are 10 things that surprised this first time mom, about labour:

1.) I was really glad that I didn’t make a labour plan.
I went into labour with a very open mind and it’s probably a good thing because nothing went the way I pictured it. There was no time for back rubs or cat naps, everything went so quickly, even the three, YES THREE, hours of pushing and it was all totally out of my control.

2.) Getting an epidural does not mean you are home free, unfortunately.
In my head, once you got an epidural, it would be smooth sailing. I was wrong. I was pleasantly surprised that the epidural actually didn’t hurt that badly but I was unpleasantly surprised to find that it only worked on the left side of my body! So, lucky me, I got TWO epidurals and then guess what, right near the end, in the throes of pushing, it wore off and I was in excruciating pain. Thankfully, my nurse decided to get me a top up, unfortunately, it didn’t work. Enter: fentanyl, which normally would have freaked me out, but in the early hours of August 20, I wanted ALLLL the drugs.

3.) Your labour and delivery nurse is the most important person… ever.
I knew the doctor wouldn’t be in the delivery room for very long, but I did not realize what an important role my labour and delivery nurses would play. When my nurse Pauline told me it was time to start pushing, I wondered where everyone else was. (I also didn’t think it would take me three hours…) That nurse was with me the whole time, holding my leg, coaching me and most importantly, ordering me more pain killers.

4.) I was nicer to my husband than I thought I would be.
I actually said this out loud to Mike at one point and he agreed. I envisioned myself feeling a little bitter towards my husband during labour and yelling out all sorts of things like, “you did this to me!” but instead I was quite mild mannered, even saying please and thank you as he gave me sips of water. I did however, tell him he needed to come up with a new affirmation after hearing, “you’re doing great!” for the 50th time.

5.) I was still trying to be funny.
Humour must be my coping mechanism because I found myself still trying to be funny, for example: while I was pushing, Mike and the nurse were trying to motivate me to push harder. Mid push I heard Mike say, “A big hard one!” and I almost burst out laughing. After I was done pushing I looked at him and quipped, “You can not say that again. A big hard one is what got me into this mess!” 

6.) I no longer cared about modesty.
I’m probably the last person you would find at a nude beach so the thought of being in stirrups for a wide variety of hospital staff to see made me really uncomfortable. It turns out, when a baby is trying to make its way out of your vagina, you don’t really care anymore, you just want people to help you. Even my husband got a front row seat to all the action as he held my left leg and cheered me on. There was no, “just look at my face” from that vantage point.

7.) I was less brave than I thought I would be.
Near the end of my pregnancy I started to feel ready for baby to come. I wanted to be some stoic, wonder woman in labour and pictured myself just getting into the zone and powering through. In the end, I was significantly more scared than I thought I would be and more vocal about how scared I was, especially when baby’s heart rate would dip and I wasn’t sure how much more I could push. Luckily my husband was an incredible support!

8.) I thought it would take me more time to bond with baby.
I have never had baby fever or been crazy for babies so I assumed that it would take me a little while to feel connected to my baby, which I know is totally normal. When they put that little wrinkly, gooey baby on my chest I felt like my heart exploded and I couldn’t believe she was real. (That feeling was also a fabulous distraction from the doctor working away to stitch me up…ugh) 

9.) We couldn’t wait to get home.
People always complain about how quickly they kick you out of the hospital these days so I assumed we would want to stay as long as possible. My husband was basically sleeping on a piece of plywood that went wide to narrow (who designed that?!) and our baby screamed the entire night. While the nurses were unbelievable, we could not wait to be in the comfort of our own home.

10.) The truth behind “mom and baby are doing well.”
Now that I’ve had a baby, I’m certain that “mom and baby are doing well” is actually code for “mom feels like she got hit by a truck whilst laying spread eagle on the road and baby is a tiny dictator who triumphantly rules our roost.”

There’s a reason they make babies so cute! Have you had a baby, what surprised you?

You’re Going To Have The Best Dad

Your dad tying my shoes because you’ve made it a bit of a challenge for me.


Dear baby girl,

You might not know it yet, but you’re a pretty lucky lady. As you and I spend all of our time together there is someone else who is anxiously awaiting your arrival, and he’s pretty awesome. (You might remember him from that time he tried to listen to your heartbeat and you kicked him in the head.) By the time you get to know him better, he’ll probably be driving you crazy with curfews and dad jokes but right now he’s just a proud papa to be who can’t wait to meet you.

Together we talk about you and wonder what you are going to be like. We muse about which traits we hope you don’t get from us and which ones we hope you do. We suspect that you have a substantial dose of stubborn and sassy coming, courtesy of me. I’m hoping you get some good traits courtesy of your dad, to balance it all out… 

Your dad is one of the most kind hearted people I know. He thinks about other people’s feelings and rarely has a bad thing to say about anyone, even when I try to egg him on! Your dad is intelligent and analytical. He works hard and takes opportunities to continue to learn and grow. Your dad is a man who loves his family deeply. He makes an effort to spend time with them and help them out whenever they need it.

Your dad is already thinking about you. He’s wanted you since before I even knew I was ready for you. He thinks about everything from how he is going to teach you to snowboard, all the way to how he is going to help mend your first broken heart. He’s going to be there cheering you on and there picking you up when you fall down. He’s going to be the best dad, and I know because I picked him out just for you.

Now sit tight for another 10 weeks knowing that at this time next year, you’ll be here to celebrate your dear old dad in person. Until then, think aerodynamic thoughts, we’ve got quite the journey ahead of us!

Love,

Mom

And one for my Dad.

My dad and me at Christmas time this year.

If you saw my blog post on Mothers’ Day, you probably had a sneaking suspicion that this one was coming…

For those of you who have not met my dad, he is certainly a character… to say the least! Growing up, he was the kind of dad that would say “well why would you do that?!” after telling him, through sobs, that you had just smashed your head on the coffee table by accident. The kind of dad whose lecture when you were in trouble consisted of, “well that was a real bone-headed thing to do. Do you want KFC or Pizza Hut for dinner tonight?” And he was also the kind of dad whose favourite joke was, “Oh… you’re hungry? Hi hungry, I’m Steve.”

Here are my top three memories with Dad…. (MOMories sounded SO much cooler… I wish I could think of a Dad equivalent.)

1.) When he used to tuck me in and tell me “real” stories to put me to sleep. 
When I was little and my dad would tuck me in I didn’t want to hear about Beauty and the Beast, I wanted to hear REAL stories. So instead of Cinderella I got: the time my dad stole “borrowed” my grandma’s car and crashed it at the Burger Baron, the time one of my uncles climbed through the milk chute, or the time the coal man had tea with my grandma and poked his eyeball out. (I later learned the last story was false and actually just a weird way to stop my sister and I from drinking out of a mug with a spoon in it… thanks Dad…)

2.) The time I brought my dad to show and tell.
In the second grade we had show and tell. When it was my turn, I wanted to bring my dad. You see, my dad had been a radio dj and a news reporter for ITV News (now known as Global) back in the day and I thought that was pretty amazing. I don’t even really remember what he talked about but I do remember that all my classmates thought his “20/20 News” voice was pretty impressive!

3.) Our Costco trips before university.
At the end of summer before I would take off to go back to university my dad and I would go on a big Costco shopping spree. We would peruse every aisle cruising along with our oversized cart filled with all sorts of outrageously sized boxes of cereal and goodies. Tasting every sample we could (of course, hello… it’s Costco!) we would walk the aisles together and talk about the end of summer and the beginning of my next school year. Once we would reach the cashier, without fail, my dad would always try to embarrass me juuust a little bit by telling them ALL about how I was heading back to Calgary for school and how he had to be a good dad and stock me up on food and supplies or I would surely starve.

Happy Fathers’ Day Dad! Thanks for all of the good memories, I am looking forward to when you no longer live across the country from me and we can make some more of them.

What is your favourite memory with your dad?

Roomies: where friends become family.

Roomies headed to Calgary Folk Fest

Today I read a post (which I thought was absolutely hilarious) about roommates and it really got me thinking… it feels so much more natural to tell a story about a bad roommate than a good one. “Good” stories just don’t seem as captivating! I can say with almost 100% certainty that you would rather read about the time one of my “not so great” roommates egged our other roommate’s bedroom (whom I was friends with) and lied about it than read about the time my roommates and I had an impromptu dance party and laughed so hard we almost peed. But today folks, I am going to write about the good. Oh no… I think I lost half of you right there didn’t I…

When you move in with a friend you never know what to expect, things could go sour in an instant. And to make matters worse for me, my university roomies have set the bar exceptionally high. But as I begin to pack my room up for yet another move (well actually that’s what I should be doing instead of writing this blog post) I can’t help but reminisce about this past year living downtown with my “new” roomie and what a blast we have had!

I will always remember with great happiness and hysterical laughter:

Nope sorry, we’re in Mexico tonight!

The time we “went to Mexico” because you were having a bad day… spring and summer patio wine… two person charades… paper bag face… and Sunday night walks in the park!

Patio wine time!

Having a roommate means getting a front row seat to someone else’s life and it also means that they get a front row seat to yours. You are there when they come home grumpy, angry, or wasted (often at 3 AM banging around in the kitchen trying to make Kraft Dinner or use the microwave). You are there when they come home excited and want to celebrate with wine on the patio (my favourite!). And most importantly, you are there when they come home upset, disappointed, or heartbroken. It is in these moments, if you’re REALLY lucky, that you turn from friends into family.

Now for my final thought… you had better come visit me on the South side… or else!

Do you have any great roommate stories?