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?

10 Things That Surprised Me About Being Pregnant

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Being pregnant is pretty wild and no matter how many books you read or apps you download there are bound to be some surprises along the way. (Ok, so I only read one book… but I have TWO apps…) At just less than two weeks to my due date I am currently on the home stretch (not sure if that pun was intended or not) and have been reflecting a lot on this whole “miracle of life” thing.

Here are ten things that I have found surprising throughout my pregnancy:

1.) I still think being pregnant is kind of bizarre and totally sci fi.
Before I was pregnant, the whole thing kind of freaked me out. Seeing pregnant stomachs morph and move was totally surreal and dare I say… a little creepy. I always thought I would feel differently while pregnant but I am still having a hard time wrapping my brain around this whole thing.

2.) I may live in maternity pants for the rest of my life.
It’s like Spanx and jeans had a baby and I, for one, am a big fan. Maternity pants – where have you been all my life?

3.) I thought my vag would be the star of the show.
From the time I saw that tiny pink cross, I assumed that every doctor’s appointment would involve stirrups. I was wrong, the star of the show for the most part has been this growing bump of mine and my first pee of the day in a cup (who knew?!).

4.) I don’t actually mind people touching my belly.
I like my personal space and the thought of people patting my belly made me cringe. Once I actually had a legit baby belly, and not just a “is she pregnant or does she just love carbs?” belly, it really hasn’t bothered me, it’s kind of cute. 

5.) I didn’t realize that people seem to think there is a prize for knowing you were pregnant before you announced it.
“I totally knew you were pregnant because your skin was so bad in December!” “I thought you might be pregnant because you were starting to get a bit of a gut.” “Ohhh I thought something was up because you looked sooo tired.” There is no prize people, these are not nice things to say, especially to a hormonal, chubby, acne ridden pregnant woman!

6.) I also didn’t know that my growing bump and body would be such a hot topic of conversation.
Whether it’s how small my bump is or how big, I still haven’t quite figured out how to respond… Thanks? Your belly looks like it doubled in size too? 😉

7.) I’ve never felt so in tune and yet out of touch with my body.
Being solely responsible for growing a human life is a pretty big task and requires you to pay closer attention to your body… but since this is my first pregnancy, I have no idea what is normal anymore! So, so many Google searches.

8.) I thought I would miss alcohol more.
This one was a pleasant surprise. The only times I have really missed having a nice adult beverage have been when we’re out for dinner or when I have to make small talk somewhere… I’m so much better at small talk with a glass of wine… or two, or ten.

9.) I have a new understanding and empathy for menopausal women.
I too can not control my emotions or body temperature, it’s frustrating! Oh, and I totally get why you ladies are always rocking white pants now, because you CAN. Liberating, right?

10.) I actually think I’m going to miss being pregnant.
Even though being pregnant is the most physically demanding (my poor belly button!) and nerve wracking (say a prayer for my vagina) thing I have ever done, I think I just might miss having this little partner in crime safe and sound, tucked away with me.

Did you find anything surprising about being pregnant?

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

Pregnant in real life.

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I found out I was pregnant on a Sunday afternoon, by Wednesday night I was certain that I wasn’t anymore. For the last four months I have gone back and forth a million times about whether or not I should write about this experience. It’s nice to live in a world where being pregnant is just a cute baby announcement, ice cream and pickles, but that’s not real life. Behind every baby announcement there’s a story, and this is a little piece of mine.

After a day of being violently ill with what I assumed was food poisoning, I convinced my husband to go grab some pregnancy tests, “just in case”. I headed into the washroom and before I knew it the little pink plus sign appeared. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I came out of the washroom stunned, “I’m pregnant” I said, followed by an absurd amount of “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god”s and one “what have we done?!” I was excited and happy… but with a strong dose of petrified in the mix.

My husband, who was quite simply ecstatic, calmed me down and we decided that instead of thinking about worst case scenarios we would assume everything was going to be ok. We looked up how far along I was online and found out our baby was the size of a sesame seed. “Sesame” – the perfect nickname for our new addition.

Over the next couple of days I was still quite ill and navigating my way through a mixture of emotions. Sometimes excited, sometimes scared, and sometimes mad that this little sesame seed was making me so sick. I cursed pregnancy and couldn’t imagine spending 9 months in that state. And then everything changed.

It was Wednesday afternoon and I was in a meeting at work, I started to feel really unwell. I went to the washroom and to spare you the details, let’s just say I had all the classic symptoms of a miscarriage. Trust me, I googled them all on my phone in a panic trying to convince myself it wasn’t happening. I went home heartbroken and surprised at how connected I already felt to Sesame. “We shouldn’t have nicknamed it” I sobbed to my husband, “why the fuck did we do that?”

Thursday morning I went to the doctor, “it happens all the time,” he said, “and at this stage, it definitely sounds like you’ve had a miscarriage.” I cried in his office and back in my car as I headed to get my blood work done. Even though I knew miscarriages were very common, I felt so alone. I was mad at myself for getting attached and feeling guilty about how upset I was, after all I had only known I was pregnant for four days.

I took the blood test on Thursday afternoon and found out on Friday that there was still human growth hormone in my blood. I would have to get another blood test and “act like I was pregnant” over the weekend just in case. I had zero hope, in my heart I had accepted the idea that this whole thing was over.

That weekend I thought a lot about my friends who had confided in me, telling me about their miscarriages over the years and I wondered if I was compassionate enough in my response, I doubted it now. I wondered if they too felt like they shouldn’t be sad because “it happens all the time”. I thought long and hard about these women, these strong amazing women who have become incredible mothers. And I thought about other women too, whom I haven’t met but were brave enough to share their storiesAs I waited for my second test results, I felt like I had absorbed some strength from these ladies and I felt so appreciative that they had shared their stories with me. 

On my way to work Monday morning, my doctor called me. “I have your test results, and I have some good news, the human growth hormone in your blood has more than doubled, it looks like you definitely have a viable pregnancy.” And once again I was stunned, only this time I felt a whole lot more grateful. 

Coming back, when you’ve let yourself go.

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Oh hey old friends!

I’m writing to you from a place I have been before. I’m writing to you because maybe, just maybe you’ve been here too. I’m writing to you because quite frankly, I need a bit of a kick in the ass. Here we go…

I had the best summer. A little bit stressful, a little bit busy, but in the end, a great time was had. I travelled, I partied, I enjoyed the hell out of my new backyard. But what I didn’t do… was yoga, spin or barre. Like… at all. 

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but before summer hit I was seriously killing it (toot-toot). I was going to spin or barre at lunch and finishing the night off with some yoga. I felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and began to view my body more by what it could do and less by what it looked like. I felt strong and it was empowering. I was doing poses in yoga I didn’t even think were physically possible!

It was a great place to be, but one day I just… stopped. I let the lure of sunshine, Netflix and wine on the deck carry me away. Four months of bliss but now I am here: ready to get back at it and absolutely terrified. It’s easy to workout when you are already fit. It’s hard to face the music and realize your body isn’t capable of what it once was and know that it’s your own damn fault.

Anyone who has been here before knows that the hardest part is getting up, driving there and walking through those doors. It’s nerve-racking. Like first date, nerve-racking. You know it’s either going to be great or terrible, there’s rarely an in-between. If you’re competitive with yourself like I am, the whole time you’re going to be comparing your current self to the fit, ass kicking version of you from before.

You’ll be frustrated when poses that used to be restful are now a shocking amount of work. You’ll be embarrassed when the weights you pick up are much lighter than before and still seem like torture. You’ll be annoyed when the instructor pushes you harder and counts out those last thirty seconds in the slowest.countdown.ever. “That was WAY more than thirty seconds you bastard, we know how to count,” you’ll think in a fit of blind rage. And then the hour will be up and you’ll realize that you did it, you survived. It might not have been pretty but you did it.

On Friday, I dragged my nervous self back to spin and I survived. Yes, I was way worse than before, yes I contemplated cancelling the class about 100 times before I actually went, and yes I felt discouraged while I was doing it. But when it was done? I felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

I’m not telling you this to dig for compliments, I’m telling you this because I’m going to need this reminder and you might to. It’s easy to feel good when you are doing all the right things, it’s harder when you’re clawing your way back. Working out, spin, yoga, barre, running, whatever your thing is: getting it back won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. That incredible feeling once you’ve accomplished even just that first class back, is your glimmer of hope.

Keep going, don’t stop. We don’t want to be back here again! And if you reeeeeally need to, hit up DQ afterwards, to remind yourself that after all, you do need balance. 😉

Oh my god I’m getting married!

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I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile, actually I have been meaning to write A LOT of posts for awhile, but let’s ignore my severe procrastination and focus on this post for now. I don’t mean to be rude but this post… this post isn’t for you. It’s for me. It’s for when I am old and grey, crusty and senile, and my kids look at me and say, “Mom, tell us how dad proposed to you again!” and I say, “Who the hell are you?” With every glass of wine, every open bar wedding, I can feel pieces of this story slipping away. This might be a long one so get out now, or hang on for the ride – you decide.

The Backstory
At the end of May, Mike and I had a trip planned to Maui aka, the best place on Earth. Since we hadn’t talked too specifically about getting engaged I wasn’t feeling suspicious at all. Exactly one week before our departure date, Mike told me that the ladies at his work were giving him a hard time, asking him if he was going to propose to me in Maui. Thinking that meant obviously he was not going to, I wasn’t at all fazed when he declared, “Even if I wanted to, I would have no idea what kind of ring to get you.” Casually I responded that I liked simple rings – which apparently in ring speak means “solitaires” – I should have been tipped off that Mike knew this lingo and I didn’t, perhaps I am not as smart as I think I am.

The day we left for Maui, I went into work where a few of my colleagues started asking me about whether I thought Mike would propose on the trip – one girl had even gotten engaged at the very part of the island we were staying at! I said I would be completely surprised – I had a feeling he was going to ask me on our trip to Kelowna later on in the summer. As I was about to leave, our graphic designer told me the story about her proposal and how her husband INSISTED that they go on a hike when she wasn’t particularly interested in hiking. The hike… it stuck with me.

Maui Time
Ok, now I was feeling a little curious – after all, Maui would be an incredible place to kick off this journey. As we got to security I watched Mike carefully, he didn’t seem overly nervous. I grabbed his carry-on bag and tried to take note of any odd behaviour… nothing. I even rooted through the damn thing, just to see if I would get a reaction… business as usual. Feeling a bit like a crazy person, I let it go – Kelowna was more likely.

Once we got to Maui Mike said something that made my heart jump… he wanted to go on a hike! No, he INSISTED we go on a hike. DING DING DING “I’ve heard this before!” I thought but given my prior carry-on bag research, I dismissed it. Since I am as stubborn as a mule (to put it mildly) I told Mike that I didn’t want to go on a hike yet – I wanted to laze on the beach for a few days first. Clearly agitated, Mike was relentless on getting his way. “Stop being so weird” I told him, “we can go on a hike later.”

Unfortunately I was wrong. As luck would have it (bad luck, very bad luck), Mike ended up hurting himself extremely badly while boogie boarding at the beach. A note to anyone who wants to go boogie boarding in Maui – if all the tourists run out of the water, and all of the Hawaiin kids run into the water… GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WATER! This unplanned event 1.) Scared the shit out of me and 2.) Really put a damper on any hiking.

Dream Killer
A few days had passed since the accident and Mike was starting to feel a bit better. And by a bit better I mean still pretty shitty. But none the less, he decided it was time to try again for that hike he had requested. Due to Mike’s injury, I was the only one that could drive us around so when Mike suggested we go on a little hike we had been on before I believe my exact words were, “No chance in hell, I will literally kill us on that road.”

The Main Event
After crushing Mike’s dreams (which I was unaware of!) I decided to sit outside on the patio and read my book. I told Mike he should come out and join me and he said ok. I got lost in my book and realized that Mike had vanished. Assuming he had decided to take a nap, I continued reading. Shortly after, Mike appeared at the sliding glass door looking off. Thinking he hurt himself some more, I instantly freaked out – that’s when I noticed an odd shape bulging out of his pocket. No, not an “I’m so happy to see you” shape. Being an idiot naive, I said “What the hell is in your pocket?” to which Mike responded, “nothing.”

He then went on to say, “You know I love you right?” Which made me freak out even more. As someone who watches way too much “reality” TV I naturally assumed that Mike was about to A.) Dump me B.) Tell me he just found out he had a love child C.) Inform me that something awful had happened back home. He asked me to come over to him, which I did – scared out of my mind I might add (yes I know, the bulging pocket should have tipped me off but I think I was in shock!).

As he sherpa-ed me over to the grass I started to realize what was happening. “You know I love you, right? You know I want to spend the rest of my life with you, right? You know I want to have a family with you.” Mike then got down on one knee and pulled out the most beautiful ring I have ever seen. Standing in my lululemons with soaking wet hair and no make up on, I was stunned! After stuttering a few times “is this actually happening?!” I bent down and gave Mike a big hug to which he said, “you know you haven’t actually said yes yet.” “Yes, of course!!” I said and he slipped the best present I have ever received on my finger.

I have to say, growing up I always thought I would feel scared, terrified, or unsure when I finally got proposed to but on May 21, 2013 – all I felt was overwhelming love and excitement. I can’t wait to share my life with you Mike, it’s going to be amazing!

Immediately after the big proposal – I ran and changed, threw a little make-up on and nerdily made Mike re-enact the big moment so I could have the keepsake you see at the top of this post forever. That’s right… it’s a fake! 

Uh oh – I think I might be an adult.

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A few months ago I had my twenty-sixth birthday. TWENTY-SIX. Now I know in the grand scheme of things this is still pretty young but I have to admit, it did hurt a little when I had to update my WordPress bio. Often I feel like I stuck at twenty-two, like I am still just a university student preparing to navigate the “real world” for the first time. And even though I don’t feel old, I am beginning to notice a few things in my life that seem to point to the fact that I am officially an adult. Here are a few of those things:

  • I now have to tick the middle age box on a form or survey (it’s SO sad)
  • I was really excited to get a free sample of Vichy Liftactiv face cream
  • The highlight of my week was getting 20 bonus Air Miles
  • I make my bed regularly (well, semi-regularly… I am on a bit of a hiatus right now.)
  • I dressed up as a red Crayon for Halloween, and not a slutty red Crayon, just a plain old adorable red Crayon
  • My friends are having “on purpose” babies
  • My Facebook news feed is littered with pictures of said “on purpose” babies
  • I was ecstatic to receive my Blue Cross card in the mail
  • My mom collects books to read to her grandkids one day (I am neither pregnant, nor trying to be)
  • I actually have to pay for banking (I miss my Leo young saver’s account)
  • My boyfriend jokes that it might be time to trade me in for a younger model (at least I hope he’s joking…)
  • I struggle to pull a double header (drinking hard two nights in a row)
  • I make a mean chocolate chip banana bread
  • I wish I owned every single product Spanx makes (this might have something to do with the aforementioned banana bread…)
  • I own a tankini (I really need to stop making banana bread)
  • I no longer eat cereal for dinner
  • My Visa limit is more than $500
  • Eating pancakes for a week to save money for drinking seems like a bad idea
  • I don’t get ID-ed when I order wine at dinner anymore (thanks A LOT Mike for pointing that one out…)
  • I’m starting to think open bar events are both a blessing and a curse
  • I’m sitting at home on a Thursday making a list of all of the reasons I think I might be an adult instead of drinking 25 cent high balls at Palamino’s

So there you have it, I think I just might be an adult! What are some things you’ve noticed that have made you stop and think, “holy shit… I might just be an adult”?