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Living in a One Bedroom Apartment with a Baby

It has been just over the year since our little baby girl joined our small family. We are living in a one-bedroom apartment. We live in Kitsilano in Vancouver where rent is crazy, apartments are small but the outdoor spaces are amazing. We decided to save money by not moving to a 2-bedroom apartment but instead remain in our 1 bed which is two blocks away from the beach. With the extra money saved we put towards investing in our future plans of owning our own business.

Once we knew we were pregnant we decided we were not moving. We began to research how people live in small spaces with children. We wanted to prepare our apartment to ensure our decision to remain there worked with a baby. From research online and through social media accounts like 600squarefootandababy we learned that living with a child or children in a small space is completely doable. We embraced our decision and got down to the hard work of selling everything we didn’t need, passing on items that were taking up space, going through every drawer, cupboard, shelf, basket and press to ensure that we were only keeping what we really needed and loved. Basically, we did a Marie Kondo throughout the whole apartment before the baby arrived and before I got too pregnant;-)

For me, this kind of work is so enjoyable and I’m in a happy place sorting and organising. I love it. By the time our baby arrived we actually had way more space in our apartment than we did before. Our space is constantly changing, for the first year we all slept in the same room, as I’m still nursing and the baby was still waking in the night for a feed. It made sense for our family that our bed and her crib remained in the same room for the year. Baba had larger toys such as a playmat and activity centre in the first year but since have been given away to another family. We tried to limit the number of baby things in our place as they take up so much room. Instead, I focused playing with her on the floor, tummy time, books, interactive smaller toys and had the activity centre or play mat to place her when I needed to get things done.

It’s just over the year since our girl arrived. We have moved out to a sofa bed in the living area and the baby has the bedroom. We sold our bed and furniture and created a Montessori type room for the baby. She has a floor bed and the room is quite minimal with lots of space to explore and play. We keep her toys to a minimum and have signed up to Lovevery which delivers age-specific Montessori style toys every 3 months. This means we don’t have to worry about picking toys and it keeps her toys to a manageable amount which doesn’t take up space. We have given away toys she has outgrown. Our home is very fluid in that respect, toys will come and go, we do not hoard them for the next baby, we let friends borrow or we give them away.

It is important to us not to have clutter; our home feels bright and spacious even with the baby’s items blended in throughout. We have created a space which works for all of us. I struggle with mess, clutter and overcrowded spaces. I need order and things to go in their place. It has taken a few trials to get to where we are now but we feel we have reached a happy medium we are all happy with. Baby has her play areas which don’t take over our living space and we have a home that feels good for us to sit and relax in at the end of the day.

Keeping toys, books, clothes to a minimum and really using all of these things to their full capacity is how we create space in our home. We love the outdoors and prefer to have as much time outdoors with the baby as possible, therefore there is less need for big distraction toys.

Our move to the living room from our room has been so easy. We don’t miss our bedroom at all. We only ever went in there to sleep. Now it’s a playroom & bedroom for the baby. We are now in there so much! We love it. Our closet is in this room and all 3 of us have our clothes stored there.

Living small means, we are constantly double checking if we need it before we purchase anything pre-loved or new. It’s a great way to shop as only items we love or really need to enter our home. Keeping our home clean is also easy as we have minimal clutter and everything has a place so nothing really gets out of hand. Therefore, our weekends are spent on things we love doing and not house related. This for us is the best part of small living. So far 1 year in we stand by our decision of remaining in a 1-bedroom apartment and believe it was one of the best decisions we made for our family. We live in a space we love and our baby is so happy. What more could we want?

For anyone thinking about living in a small space with a child or children start looking at everything in your space and ask if it is necessary? Does it make you happy? Do we need it?

Start creating space in your apartment by doing the work above. Wait until after the baby arrives before you make a big decision to move…. chances are the baby will sleep in the same room as you for at least the first 3 months. Prepare your space in advance so you set yourself up for success. It’s a lot of work but so worth it. Your life will change for the better. You will spend less, waste less, use what you have and care for what you have. We highly recommend this way of life but we totally get it’s not for everyone. Be sure you are comfortable with small space living, do the research, go see a family living in a small space and how they make it work. If it’s not for you, then it’s not for you. No pressure;-) If you have any questions about living small please feel free to reach out.

Thanks, so much for reading,

Chat soon,

Theresa

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