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Parenthood

Becoming a Father: Seven Weeks In

Seven weeks ago today a purple-grey blob which vaguely resembled a micro human was plopped onto Theresa’s belly as I watched in wonder.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m the sort of person who can only shed a tear for life changing events, this was one of those. I laughed at the ridiculousness of this squawking creature and cried from the pride, triumph and exhaustion of what Theresa had just gone through.

I can honestly say the night and morning of Naoise’s (pronounced Nee-sha) birth was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. Women may laugh at that and the contrast to what they go through, and I agree, I can not imagine how it felt, physically and mentally, but the fact remains that, yes it was the hardest thing I have ever gone trough. It was even a relatively straight forward birth.

We are lucky, we have been told by the mid-wife, we have it easier than a lot of new parents and I tend to agree, though I don’t have a frame of reference. Our baby is generally happy and easy to deal with. Everything has gone relatively straight forward. I am almost steeling my self for when the time comes when all hell breaks loose.

I also believe in mindset. I have been meditating consistently for the last four years, since the other most difficult moment in my life, the departure of my mother. She did not have the chance to meet either of her grand daughters, though she knew that my niece was on the way before she checked out.

I believe that constant meditation prepares one for any difficult moment in life, it helped me keep calm through the whole process and helps me remain calm now when my little girl accidentally projectile shits all over me. It is all part of the process I suppose.

Theresa, too is a constant meditator and I believe that the calmness and peace of mind generated was passed down. She meditates every day and meditated every day while pregnant. A stressed mind or a calm mind will have an effect on the development of a baby. Bearing in mind I am no expert in this but emotions, stress, calmness are contagious. You will see this all the time in the work place and the home.

It s funny how my own stress physically manifested itself throughout the pregnancy as I dealt with sometimes unbearable tension in my jaw. Meditation offered temporary relief but nothing else really worked. I did not feel very stressed out at the time, but now with the arrival of the micro human it has significantly lessened in intensity.

As parents, though I am new to the club, I think we make our own rules. Advise is largely useless as all situations and families are different so I don’t have much to offer, apart from the meditation. Make time for it. Encourage your partner to make time for it, even if it is only five minutes, it should be as automatic as brushing our teeth because it is just as important.

I will wrap up by saying that the last seven weeks have been the happiest of my life. I wish my family could be here to meet her, we were lucky enough to have Theresa’s mother here to help for two weeks. We must not take family for granted, it is the times you are apart that you realize how important they are. Nine years now, Theresa and I have been apart from ours and as we start our own little Canadian family we must endeavour to stick close to our roots and keep our baby close to her cousins, aunts, uncles and grand parents.

Many of my friends have recently become or are about to become parents. Good luck and enjoy.

Peace,

George

My Third Trimester Journey: A Personal Experience

Currently I am 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Our baby is overdue by 10 days & it doesn’t feel like she is making any movement to arrive any time soon. Surprisingly I am ok with this. Of course, I cannot wait to meet our little girl but I also want her to be fully ready before she arrives. If she needs the extra time, I am ok with it. The midwife is happy with how baby & myself are doing so there is no need to worry or panic about the baby being late. The biggest challenge is having the patience and trusting that my body will go into action mode when it needs to.

So far being overdue has been a pleasant experience, I am feeling really good. Throughout the pregnancy I have slept really well which I truly believe is a major part of feeling great. I have used this time to keep myself busy with personal projects I wanted to work on (blogs, videos, reading, cooking, organizing) and taking time to rest & relax. I have never had a staycation before, it’s awesome. Breaking away from the routine of working full time to being at home is a huge transition. Looking back, I am glad I left work 3 weeks before my due date. Personally, I needed that time to get my head out of work mode and more into the mindset that I am having a baby & I need to prepare for that. It is 1 month since I began maternity leave & I can honestly say I am ready to have the baby & truly focus on the baby and be ok with that.

The first 2 weeks of my maternity leave I signed up to a Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training with Semperviva. This was an excellent way for me to transition from work to home. The routine of getting up early, making lunch and having somewhere to go really helped ease my way into maternity leave. After those 2 weeks I had nothing planned which was great because I needed time to rest after the course. I’m so happy I had the course as a distraction when I was no longer working, it was very social and meeting new people was really great. I believe if I was at home for 1 month by myself, I would be very lonely. This is something I will try and avoid when the baby comes. I love my alone time & I can seclude myself and then feel isolated, on the other hand I am very social too……I just need to find a balance that works. I know myself that I can be a bit hesitant to meeting new people and putting myself out there, I believe maternity leave will challenge me to be more social & open up more to others.

Looking back on my third trimester it has been eventful but overall a positive experience. During the second trimester we were tested more emotionally, the third trimester I was tested more physically. The physical sensations of being pregnant started for me at week 30. What I thought was sciatica on my left-hand side of my leg turned out to be SI joint pain which lasted about 1 week. It was unpleasant as walking was unbearable. At first, I thought I pulled a muscle as George & myself had gone on a bike ride the day before. I had an RMT massage booked for that Monday so I was hoping that would help relieve the discomfort. It turned out it didn’t. I told a friend of mine that I had this pain and she recommended I go to a body worker Tracy Dixon to get checked out. I booked 2 appointments that week and after the second appointment the SI pain had gone.

Apparently, SI pain can arise because of where the baby is positioned causing a slight misalignment of something in the pelvis area. Whatever Tracy did it worked. By the following week I was back to my old self. Many women suffer from SI pain in pregnancy, please know that we don’t have to live with it, we can get it fixed which makes life so much more bearable when you can walk without any discomfort. Body workers, pelvic floor physios, massage, acupuncture…. these are all recommended therapies for SI joint pain. You may have to try out a few before finding the one that works but it is so worth it. This is where I am glad to spend money, and grateful we didn’t go crazy buying new expensive items for baby as all these therapies are expensive and even with extended health coverage, they were not 100% covered for us. Body Therapy is not listed under extended health care so that was fully our expense.

Around the same time, I also noticed the effect of all the extra blood & fluid in my body. My feet and ankles started to swell by the end of the working day. It didn’t help that I work at a desk either, I tried elevating my legs each evening to help my body circulate the fluid better. Veins started appearing closer to the top of my skin in my legs, not varicose but very prominent. My whole lower pelvic area was swelling with all the extra blood flow going there too……week 30 for me was like what the hell is going on! Everything seemed to happen in that week…. I was like, “here we go”, “this is the start of it” …. turns out all of the above happened and then faded away and became normal. I still had all the fluid but the swelling reduced & was no longer a problem. The veins were still noticeable but didn’t get worse, hoping they will disappear after and the swelling in the lower pelvic region will also disappear. At this stage no stretch marks had appeared on the belly region.

In addition to the above I got my blood tests back for diabetes testing. I was tested because there is a history of type 1 diabetes in our family. It turns out my blood test came back positive for gestational diabetes. I was informed later that my blood sugar levels were not too far off normal but because of my family history the diabetes clinic wanted to monitor my blood sugar levels. This meant I have several additional appointments to the diabetes clinic to show me how to test my blood and explain how diet can help control diabetes. I was asked to track my blood sugar levels for 1 week before & after each meal using the blood glucose machine they provided. Before & after each meal I pricked my finger and got the glucose machine to read the sugar levels. I recorded the results on a tracking sheet which the clinic provided.

After that week I returned to the clinic and the nurses & doctors reviewed my results and said that my diabetes would be diet controlled and I would not need any insulin or further treatment. For 3 more weeks I monitored my sugar levels every second day. I recorded all my results and returned to the clinic to show them. This time I was informed that my diet was all good and to keep doing what I was doing, which was eating healthy & exercising every day. I no longer had to track or record my bloods. However, my sugar levels will be monitored during and after birth & so will the babies. We both will have to revisit the clinic 6 months after the child is born for a follow up visit to ensure the gestational diabetes is gone. For me being told that I may have gestational diabetes was not a big deal as we have 2 type 1 diabetics in our family so it wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard about. For others it can be really disappointing. These kinds of things happen during pregnancy, there are so many hormonal changes in our bodies and gestational diabetes occurs. With eating healthy and exercising every day for most people this is all you have to do and again with the majority of cases the gestational diabetes disappears after the baby is born. Crazy how our bodies work & how well they can recover.

From week 32/33 to week 36 all was going really well, during that time George and myself had gone away to Victoria for a long weekend which was lovely, we did lots of walking and enjoyed it so much. We went camping to Nairn falls and did a mild hike and had a very peaceful & relaxing time in the woods. After the Nairn falls trip, week 36 the SI pain flared up again but his time on my right side of my body. Thinking it may have been the hiking I did at Nairn that brought it on.

Once I felt the pain, I booked myself in with Tracy Dixon for my body work, hoping she could help fix it after 2 sessions alike the last time. Unfortunately, the body work did not help with this side. In addition, this side was way more painful and was lasting longer than the previous side. After my last session with Tracy she recommended to see a pelvic floor physio & maybe do some acupuncture. I got an appointment for acupuncture that weekend but it didn’t help. I booked an appointment with the pelvic floor physio for the following week. The Physio gave me 2 exercises to work on butterfly and bridge pose and this worked! After the physio I felt a little bit better but after 3 days doing the exercises the SI discomfort was gone completely which was awesome. The SI pain was gone just in time as I had just finished work & was beginning my yoga training that Monday.

The above were the major physical discomforts for me during the 3rd trimester. Overall there was only 3 weeks in total that were uncomfortable. I reckon that’s not too bad, I really believe the whole 3rd trimester would be a slog. So delighted it wasn’t.

The highlights for me during this time were:

  • To hear from the midwifes that the baby’s heartbeat was still strong & she was growing well
  • Our trips to Victoria & Narin falls’
  • How good I felt & that my body was coping well with all the changes
  • Seeing Georges excitement growing as we got closer to the due date
  • Georges constant encouragement & care throughout the whole experience but especially in the 3rd trimester…. he loves my big belly & said he will be sad to see it go…. that makes me love it too
  • My belly button sticking out! I was always freaked out by the thought of my belly button sticking out but when it did it was funny, for the longest time only half had popped out so it looked like a nose…George would draw a face around it….hilarious….it finally did pop fully and It’s something we both love and press like a button! Lol!
  • Completing my Prenatal Yoga course. This course was amazing and I learned so much about pregnancy which was so great, so looking forward to teach and share all my new found knowledge.

I would love to hear about your experience during your 3rd trimester. Everyone is so different & all our experiences are so unique. We come from so many different backgrounds and have different outlooks on pregnancy that everyone’s experience should be heard. The good, the bad & the ugly. If you feel like sharing please leave a comment. Sharing our stories can help others who feel like they are going through changes by themselves but when they read others are going through similar changes it is comforting to know we are not alone.

Thanks for reading,

Feel free to share with a friend and leave a comment.

Chat soon,

Theresa xxx

What We Packed in The Hospital Bag for Birth & Why

We attended a prenatal 1-day workshop at Pacific Midwifery Practice, April of this year, 2019. At that time, I was about 30 weeks pregnant. It was such a beneficial workshop and provided lots of information around birth & after care.

One of the topics covered in the workshop was what to pack in your hospital bag. We were recommended to have the bag packed and stored in a handy place by week 37 as many folks can have baby early.

The recommendation was to pack your bag for 2 days stay at the hospital. Usually in Vancouver the birther stays one night in the hospital. However, if there are complications that would be extended, in this case if your stay was extended make sure you have someone who has access to your home to pack extra things if you need.

This blog will cover what we packed in our bag, assuming we will be in the hospital for the 2 days. We have a small cloth weekend bag which we filled with Parents clothing, baby clothing, toiletries & snacks. We were recommended to only bring essentials and not come to the hospital with a huge suitcase of things. (Apparently this happens! Lol!!)

The above is the small bag we packed which has everything we need for the hospital in it. Its light, easy to carry & eye catching so hoping we wont forget it!! We have it stored in the closet by our jackets.

What We Packed: Why?
Birther:
Large T-shirt that I wear as a night dress During late labour the birther will be really hot and will need something easy to take on and off. Many birthers are naked but it’s good to have the option;-)
Comfy change of clothes for going home (Lululemon loose bottoms, soft loose cotton t-shirt & soft loose light sweater) This is where comfort over fashion comes in. We don’t know how our birth is going to go natural or c-section so packing loose fitting comfy clothing for going home ensures you won’t be uncomfortable for the car ride home. Tight tops & pants could aggravate stitches from surgery or apply too much pressure to a sensitive area after birth
2 large knickers & breastfeeding bras Since the birther will be bleeding after birth large knickers for sanitary towels are recommended. Also, if you are planning on breastfeeding bring a breast-feeding bra
Loose socks My feet get cold so this is a comfort thing
Flip flops The instructor at the workshop advised against bringing your home slippers as the hospital floor can contain a lot of germs & you don’t want to bring that into your home. Bring flip flops you can wash after
Eye mask Great for blocking out extra light & ensuring you are catching as much zzzzz as possible
Partner
2 t-shirts The partner can sweat a lot too during birth, nerves, stress and the rush of it all can really create some heat. Bringing a clean shirt will keep the partner fresh. The birther is also more sensitive to smells so avoiding the issue of BO is recommended
2 pairs of underwear Again, the partner should be as comfortable as possible, having nice fresh clothes to change into after a long labour is essential
2 pairs of Socks The partners feet can get cold or sweaty so pack extra fresh socks
Eye mask Great for blocking out extra light & ensuring partner is catching as much zzzzz as possible
Baby
2 onesies The option of 2 onesies is for photos & if we get any stains on one, we can use the other
2 hats We couldn’t decide between hats as both were so cute…. nice for photos too
1 pair of socks Just in case the baby’s feet are chilly, for car ride home too
1 cardigan To ensure the baby is warm enough when she is transferred from hospital to car & for car journey home
2 headbands For photos only
Muslin blanket To keep baby cozy and snuggled in her own blanket
1 small stuffy For photos and a cute little gift
Toiletries
Travel tooth brush, floss, Travel size Cleanser, moisture, shampoo, conditioner, body moisturizer, Deodorant, Facecloth, Comb We packed all travel sized toiletries so we could save space in our bag. We brought a little bit of everything so we can feel as fresh as possible after our first shower after birth
Snacks
4 fig bars, Cheese & crackers, Pecan nuts, Dates, Chocolate, tea We packed some of our favourite snacks so we can both keep our energy up during & after the labour. I imagine I will crave my favourite Tea after labour so I have it packed.
Other
Travel pillow for George (inflatable one from MEC) Our friend recommended to bring a pillow for George as the partner may not get a pillow…. we want both of us to sleep as best as we can after
iPhone For taking pictures of baby, sending messages to family, playlist for birthing
Paperwork for midwives & hospital check in We have to hand in paperwork to the hospital when we arrive, it’s at the top of the bag, all filled out & signed

These snacks are easy to eat, no cutlery needed, full of energy & ones we love to eat on a normal day.

The above table highlights everything we packed. Hopefully we have everything we will need & if not we will figure it out. Still debating if I should pack a soother for baby…. might pick one up just in case. Apart from that we are ready to go, we just have to remember to take the cheese & chocolate from the fridge before leaving. I’ll let you know if that happens. I plan on writing a follow-up blog about what we packed, this will cover the items which were essential & if we missed anything that we really should have brought with us.

 

We hope this was helpful.

 

If you have any questions please let me know.

 

Thanks so much for reading and feel free to leave comments.

 

Have a great week,

 

Theresa Burns xx