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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

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