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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

Our Less Waste Journey: What Will Change with New Baby?

The decision to consciously live a simpler life has resulted in an awareness to reduce our waste. When we noticed how much waste we were creating from mindless shopping we soon began looking for ways to prevent waste. Reading blogs, watching documentaries & following zero waste folks on Instagram really inspired us. We have made some awesome changes in our lifestyle which has reduced our waste dramatically. Check out a previous blog we wrote about this here.

 

With a new baby on the horizon we really wanted to keep our waste low and make environmentally sound decisions around all purchases for our baby. In an earlier blog we spoke about what we bought for our baby & why (see blog here). We wanted to source as much pre-used items as possible that had great design & function for our small space. With a little research and planning we got everything we needed pre-used. We avoided all the packaging that usually comes with new items and we are reusing products that are still in perfect working condition.

 

We are super happy with the above and really surprised how easy it was to source all the items we wanted (Facebook market place) and what amazing value we got on each item. Now that all the major items are bought it’s the day to day purchases for the baby that we wanted to focus on.

 

Since we have no mini-human yet this Teddy Bear kindly volunteered to model the diapers & cloth wipes. Please note we bought 4 waterproof covers to cover the outside of the diapers to prevent leaks.

 

Diapers are a major source of garbage that ends up in landfills. Babies pop & pee a lot! None of these diapers can be recycled or used for any other source of energy. They take forever to decompose and often end up in places where they don’t belong like our oceans.

 

We made the decision to use reusable cloth diapers for our baby. We are lucky as we have a cool service in our city which drops off clean cloth diapers to your home on a weekly basis & collects all dirty diapers. They will bring the diapers away and wash them for you. All dirty diapers are placed in a bin which is lined with a bag supplied by Baby Cheeks, this is what they will pick up each week.

 

We do not have in-house laundry so washing our babies’ diapers in a washing machine other people have to use doesn’t seem very neighbourly to us! We would rather spend the money on the diaper service and keep everyone happy, and we avoid having to do all that extra laundry.

 

Living more simply has allowed us the privilege to afford a service like the above. We saved so much money on baby products that we wanted to put our money to a service like this which truly makes a huge change.

 

In addition to re-usable diapers we are also using reusable wipes. Again, we are using the above service to supply and clean the wipes. We will create a cleaning solution for the wipes to soak in (baby castile soap & water) and use these at home & on the go.

 

Another great way we plan on reducing our waste is by using baby castile soap which we bought in The Soap Dispensary on Main Street, Vancouver. We used a previous bought castile soap bottle and refiled with baby soap. Castille soap will have many functions for our baby; bath time, baby wipe solution & toy cleaner. It’s such a multipurpose soap & we have been using a scented one for the last year and love it. We use it in our baths, cleaning sprays & laundry detergent.

 

As much as we try to reduce our waste there are times, we don’t have control over what comes into our space, this is especially true with a new baby. People are so kind & generous with gifts of diapers, wipes, detergent, clothes, baby equipment etc. Even though we say we don’t need anything our neighbours & friends still want to contribute. I understand it but it just means we end up with all the above even though we tried to avoid it! Lol! In fairness most of friends listened to us when we said please do not buy anything for baby, we actually suggested to get us gift cards to our favourite reflexology place, Footwork’s or for the diaper service we wanted to use. It worked out really well;-)

 

Currently we do have a supply of non-reusable baby wipes & diapers. I’m sure these items will come in handy when we travel and are out & about. I’m so grateful for people’s generosity & will use these products when needed. We just have to accept that we cannot always control everything & to keep on doing what we are doing to reduce our waste.

 

Making the commitment to living simply has so many benefits like having more space, more time, more money, more freedom, less stress, less anxiety, less stuff…………. however, it isn’t always easy. What we have to remember how far we have come and look forward to all the other possible areas we can improve…. that’s what makes this journey fun. If it was not enjoyable, we would not care about it as much. It really is small changes every day & an awareness of our habits that make the process of reducing our waste easier than you may think.

 

If you have any suggestions on how we can avoid waste with our new baby please let us know. Please let us know things that have worked or have not worked for you and your sweetie.

 

Thanks so much for reading,

 

Chat soon,

 

Theresa Burns 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

Responsibility – Passing The Torch To Future Generations

I am about to become a father. My life is about to change in less than three weeks and it will never be the same again. I will think and behave differently. I will be reborn a new person and my life’s purpose will have changed forever. Everything I do will be for my family.

What is our ultimate goal as a parent? Is it to give our children the best life we can possibly give them? To prepare them for the long road of life ahead? To be there for them and care for them all along the way? All of the above, and much more I believe, but how does that translate on a global scale as a race?

We must leave the next generation in a better position. That is not to say that we give them materialistic wealth, but it is our responsibility to pass on knowledge, kindness and responsibility through example.

I believe it is our purpose in life to wake up, not as individuals, but as a race. This may not happen for a long time but it is in progress and we must work together to guide both those around us and those who will come after us to find our strength and our kindness.

The individual must act as part of the collective and the collective must embody the individual.

We will never lose our individuality, but as individuals working together, we make a strong collective.

We have seen great leaders in the past who have shone like beacons to guide us and future generations – Jesus, the Buddha, Mohammad, more recently, Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela.

There are those who are in positions of power today who are using that power to move us in the right direction.

They may not necessarily be enlightened but they are in a position to guide others and inspire future generations through example and guidance.

I believe that we have passed from the collective childlike state as a species in the last few generations and that we are ready to follow a path of change, care and responsibility.

We have leaders everywhere. Look around you now and you will see people leading by example. The woman who picks up the trash she did not drop. The man who smiles and acknowledges the homeless person.

We need to look up and become aware of the example around us that can help us reach our goals as a race, and in turn we can become those leaders and role models we need to be by working together through kindness. We can spread our example throughout our peers and instil it in the next generation.

As a species we have gone through life in a slumber. We were too immature to notice our actions towards each other and towards our surroundings.

We were children but now we are growing up. An awakening has started and we are ready to take on the responsibility of care, which is ours by default due to our intelligence. If we do not act, then who will?

We must take up the mantle of responsibility and kindness and share it among ourselves until it spreads like a spark in dry brush. We must pass it onto the next generation.

George Bernard Shaw said that “Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

Reality is in our grasp. It is there for us to see, beyond this screen. It is in front of us, we just need to look up and see it.

That is the first step.

Look up and meet someone else’s eyes. They are the leaders of the new world and you are their teacher. And Vice Versa. Together we are wakening up, to spread kindness and integrity and wield it like a shield to protect all life.

This is our responsibility as we are the most intelligent form of life that we know of. We are the only ones that have the power to come together to make all the difference. We have the power and it is our responsibility to use it wisely for the sake of our home and as Shaw says, pass the splendid torch onto future generations.

Our Decision to Breastfeed Our Baby: Why & How Are We Preparing for It?

Firstly, George & myself have tried to keep an open mind about all our decisions throughout this pregnancy. We understand that what we have planned may not work out. This applies to breastfeeding also. Coming from Ireland at a young age our exposure to breast feeding has been limited. At the beginning of our pregnancy I said to George that I would like to give breastfeeding a go but if for some reason it doesn’t work out then we will bottle feed our baby. I believe if the process is causing too much stress and disappointment then mother & baby are both suffering. We would like to avoid this situation at all cost.

 

Generally, when we make a decision, we do our research and prepare ourselves as much as possible to succeed, then if it doesn’t work out, we have the comfort of knowing we did all we could. We applied the same attitude to breast feeding. With limited exposure to breastfeeding other than feedback from friends in Canada (not all feedback was great) I decided I needed to learn more. Friends advise is great but everyone’s experience with breastfeeding is so unique, I wanted to speak to a specialist so they could explain why, how and the method of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding for me did not seem like a natural thing. The idea of producing milk & feeding my child from my own body honestly was completely alien to me. I needed help and guidance to change my mindset so I could see this process as a natural & special connection with our baby.

 

The first step to expanding my knowledge was to download a book called “Guide to Breastfeeding” by Ina May. I would recommend every woman who is planning on breastfeeding to read this book. Ina May is a huge advocate for breastfeeding and gave solutions to all problems & issues that may arise during the process. She is convinced that all women can and should breastfeed. After reading this book it built up my confidence that if I am having trouble at any stage of feeding there is always a solution, for me that is very comforting.

 

During my pregnancy I have been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes & my haemoglobin levels are way below average but I am non symptomatic. Having low iron levels & diabetes could make breastfeeding a little more complicated at the beginning. If myself or the baby are not so great after the birth, it may occur that I am unable to breastfeed right away. Also, if there are complications during the birth it may create a situation that breast feeding right away may not happen.

 

For the above reasons I wanted to meet with a lactation consultant so she could answer my questions which were very specific to my pregnancy and to help paint a picture of when breastfeeding begins, how to breast feed and how we could prepare for any situation after birth.

I searched online for a lactation consultant and found Mommy’s Milk (www.mommysmilk.ca). I booked a private at home consultation with Shannon Joyce at about week 28.

 

In addition to learning how to breastfeed and how we can prepare for complications I really wanted to know how to use a breast pump and when I could pump. A friend of mine gave me her pump and said it was so useful. George really wants to be involved in feeding the baby and I am all for it;-) Its just that I don’t know how to do it and when he can start feeding!

 

Shannon arrived in the afternoon on a Saturday, George left us so we could have the space to ourselves. Shannon asked what my expectations were from our meeting and I told her what I wanted to know. She was such a pleasant person & put me at ease straight away. She listened to all my concerns and passed no judgement just offered her knowledge and wisdom.

 

Shannon went through her presentation on her laptop with me which covered the topics below:

 

  • Benefits of breast feeding for mom & baby
  • How breastmilk changes
  • How milk production works
  • What we should expect in the first 24 hours
  • How to hand express
  • What is colostrum
  • Best time for breastfeeding
  • How often to breastfeed
  • What are babies hunger cues?
  • How to establish a good milk supply
  • Steps to a good latch
  • How to tell if your baby is getting enough milk
  • Frequency and duration of feeds
  • Pumping and storing breastmilk
  • Partner involvement in breastfeeding
  • Breast related concerns
  • When to seek help

To say I learned a lot is an understatement. The majority of the topics above I didn’t even think of before our session. For me the most relevant topic to my situation was that you can self-express from 37 weeks and store your colostrum in vials or syringes in the freezer. Therefore, if anything happens after the birth that I cannot feed my baby I will have a supply of colostrum ready for George to feed the baby until I have my energy back up. It may not come to that but I would like to prepare for it. This is the first time I ever heard of this and I’m sure I am not the only one.

 

After the presentation Shannon demonstrated how to set up, use & clean my pump. During the presentation she used puppets and props to give me excellent visuals of how you know your baby is latched on well and where the baby’s head, chin & nose should be positioned to get a great latch.

 

She insisted breastfeeding should not be a painful process, it may be uncomfortable for the first few moments but then it gets to feel more natural. She insisted that no one should have sore nipples or suffer when feeding. Her advice is to stop feeding and reposition the baby until it does not hurt even if the baby starts crying.

To say I gained knowledge and confidence from this experience is an understatement. Knowledge truly is power. I highly recommend spending the money on seeing a lactation consultant before your baby arrives. This is where your money is well spent, forget about fancy cribs & strollers…. spend the money on services like the above which will make your life and the baby’s life a lot easier from day 1.

 

I now have the confidence that I can breastfeed even if complications occur & I am looking forward to it which I never thought I would. I’m hoping it will be a time for myself & my little girl to bond and be happy. After 6 weeks George can then have this experience with feeding the breastmilk from a bottle and doing skin on skin with the little person.

 

We are excited about the idea of breastfeeding and will definitely give it our best shot! Hoping all works out but you just never know. I will write a follow-up blog to this on how it all went.

 

Thanks so much for reading,

 

Have a great week,

 

Chat soon,

 

Theresa