I found that adulthood changed the way friendship worked for me and for the most part it was for the better. Being an adult means you don’t need to keep friends around who drain you or those who create stress and havoc in your life. Back in my mid 20’s I purposefully ended two different friendships because they just created too much drama in my life and I didn’t feel valued. I’m sure that I didn’t end the relationship in the most graceful way but it did feel amazing to cut the ties of a bad relationship and move on.
As I move through my thirties I’ve learned that being an adult means you can have all sorts of friends in your life who each fill a different purpose. You’ve got the mama friend who totally gets your mama drama with the day to day life stress and strain. The single gal pal who keeps you current in the present but also connected to the past. The occasional friend who totally gets you and can make you laugh the instant you get together. The local friend who can swing by in a moments notice for a glass of impromptu wine or to bring Pepto and ginger ale when you’re sick. I don’t think I’ve ever been a woman to just have one exclusive BFF, I prefer to have many deep friendships that grow over the years.
A thing I love most about adult friendships is how time can pass without seeing each other, yet you can still be rock solid. I still remember that weird feeling of going back to high school after the summer break and feeling sort of awkward around friends I hadn’t seen for the last two months. Sometimes we could pick up where we left off but it wasn’t a guarantee and friendships fizzled.
Back when my two sisters were growing up we weren’t always friends and there are stories about the mega fighting we all did. It wasn’t until we were adults that we became friends and sisters. It’s a pretty amazing combo and I’m thankful for my sisters who so easily step in and mother my own children when I need a time out.
Over the years as I’ve become busier with my own family life and kid free time dwindles to sporadic hours here and there, I’ve learned to cherish good friendships on a different level. Back in December when we were told that something was wrong with the baby, I didn’t hesitate to quickly reach out to those friends that I knew would be helpful, supportive and who would help me through the insane amount of tears. As soon as we left the hospital post scary ultrasound I was texting the friends that I knew could carry me through.
I will never forget those dear friends that stopped what they were doing to surround me with their love and help me navigate through all of the emotions and uncertainty. It wasn’t just the huge gestures that I’ll remember but also ALL those little things that added up and are now forever pressed into my memory. As the weeks went by and we got bits and pieces of reassuring news about the baby, I felt so comforted in the strength of my friendships. Every person brought something just a little bit different to the situation and when it was all laid out, I was completely covered in support.
After having a big stress in our family and so much unknown over the last 2-3 months, I rea what real friendship truly feels like. My sincerest thanks goes to these women who helped keep my head above water when I felt like I was sinking. It was the friend who whisked my kids away for dinner when we arrived home post scary ultrasound. It was the friend who texted me repeatedly to ask how I was doing and remembered to check in after each doctors visit. It was the friend who took me out for dinner the night before my amnio to fill me with distraction and carbs. It was all of these amazing friends who I leaned upon when I felt so scared.
I never had to ask, they always just gave and for that I am so thankful. If I was drinking wine right now I’d be raising a big glass to those friends who showed me what friendship and sisterhood is all about. It feels so good to know that I have you as a friend.
If you’ve been reading the posts prior to this one you might think I’ve got things held together pretty nicely despite having some pregnancy stress. I’ve definitely tried my best and I have tapped into all those resources I’d teach my patients about positively coping in shitty situations. The truth is, yammering about resilience and keeping things calm is great, sometimes shopping will also make you feel better.
Last weekend I had a bunch of glorious kid free hours in a row to myself and decided to take that time to go shopping. I rationalized that since I’ve spent so much time at home over the last few months that I must have saved up all my spending money and so I decided to shop.
First stop was to Sephora to find some Yves St Laurent’s touch éclat. Now, this is a product I’ve been using for around 7 years but I’ve been out of it since the first bouts of morning sickness rolled around in early September. I guess I must have given up on what I looked like since that time because restocking my empty make up supply has been a majorly low priority. I saw a little sign that promised, ‘LOOK LIKE YOU’VE SLEPT 8 HOURS!‘, so I bought it. I mean, I literally bought into the marketing campaign and spent $50 on a tiny pen of stuff to put under my eyes because 8 hours of sleep sounded so dreamy.
Now that things are looking up pregnancy wise I’m off bedrest and I’m back to my usual ways. Albeit, a lot slower than I was a couple months ago! I stocked up on a few more make up essentials that I’ve been doing with out over the last few months. My Wild Plum lipstick from Aveda is my all time every day favourite and so I quickly went in and out of the shop in the most efficient way.
I was feeling pretty peppy with my shopping high and decided to check out Baby Gap because I am a sucker for the sale sign on tiny little newborn sleepers. I’m not one of those pregnant ladies who buys every single thing a newborn will need before the newborn is here in my arms. I’ve never been that way. I usually buy a few essentials and the rest ALWAYS falls into place. Between the on line shopping while I’m up in the middle of the night breastfeeding my cluster feeding newborn or the gifts that friends and family give, the baby will have enough ‘stuff’. That is the take home message to any first time mama out there who might be fretting because the nursery is not totally finished and stocked. It’ll work out.
Anyways, off my blog soap box. I bought the softest sweetest all white newborn sleeper from the Baby Gap and I’ve been showing it to the big kids and allowing myself to get a bit more excited about the idea that a new baby will be joining us in about 9 weeks or less. I love newborns in all white and I have a big soft spot when I find an all white sleeper or baby nightgown.
With purchases in hand I was feeling seriously fatigued from my shopping excursion. It was actually embarrassing how long it took me to go from one shop to the next shop as I’m really slowing down these days and lost so much reserve from my previous months of resting at home. I even had to take a little nap after the shopping trip! Long story short: resilience and positive coping is a great thing but so is a feel good shopping trip.
As I approach the 28 week mark of pregnancy things seem to be starting to get increasingly busy around here! This is a pivotal week in pregnancy for prematurity and survival and it’s also the week that I told the top docs that I was comfortable increasing the surveillance of our baby.
After having a bunch of ‘quieter’ weeks that were sprinkled with doctors appointments and ultrasounds, I’m now seeing some kind of specialist each and every week. I feel like I need a serious date with my day planner so I can keep up on regular family life and all of the appointments that come with being a high risk pregnancy. Forget a social life for the next while.
Right now I can’t quite wrap my mind around how I’m going to make all of these appointments flow, so I am just going to let it unfold the best that I can. I’m hoping I can reach out to friends and family to help me out with my other two kids so that I can go to each high risk appointment with a bit of calmness. It’s enough to just go through the motions of the appointments, let alone having to rear your other kids in the waiting rooms, assessment rooms and offices.
I’ve been bringing Josie to my regular OB appointments and it is always somewhat entertaining (and exhausting) as she asks every time what the vagina posters on the walls are all about. Then she interrupts me and the doctor every 15 seconds asking if she can have the juice box in my purse or watch Netflix on my iPhone. I end up leaving the appointment remembering questions I had wanted to ask my doc but was too distracted to remember.
From now on, I’m going to be having an ultrasound plus an appointment with the high risk doctors each week. On top of that, I’m also going to be going to the hospital for weekly fetal monitoring and seeing my primary OB. It’s sort of a good thing I am off work right now because I don’t think I could fit work into my high risk pregnant life. I am truly appreciative of all these checks on my baby to make sure things are doing well. No red flags will be missed so maybe I can relax a little bit on non appointment days?
After each appointment I feel so exhausted, even if it is was a decent appointment and I didn’t have to wait for hours for the doctor to arrive. I leave feeling okay and then I get in the car and I can feel the stress of it all. It hits my head, then my shoulders like a solid weight and then I feel like I need a mega nap. It’s draining to have so much worry and uncertainty in your everyday life and also just deal with the normal parts of being pregnant.
Until the baby arrives (let’s hope that is April people!!) I think sushi delivery will be in my weekly repertoire along with breakfast for dinner. I’m just going to go easy on myself and really try hard to lessen that usual daily stress we all have so that I can better cope with my life right now.
It’s been purposefully quiet around here as I find myself coping with life the best way that I can, which means becoming a bit more of an introvert. I’ve found that when life is low key and there isn’t a lot of fuss going on, I can muster through each day a bit better. I’ve got weekly doctors appointments, sometimes a couple in one week, and I find those emotionally exhausting and time consuming. Waiting for specialists that are working with other families experience big life events often means you can wait up to 2 hours just to get your face to face time in.
It’s now been a full month that I’ve been off work and I’ve spent so much more one on one time with Josie than we ever have before. We hang out at home resting it up and we’ve got our system down with how we spend time together while her big brother is off at school. Hint: there are lots of art attacks happening here all the time!
I’m feeling a bit more content with life as we get closer to the big 28 week mark of this pregnancy. It has been amazing how completely different this pregnancy has been for me, and it’s been that way right from day 1. With all the drama and stress, starting in the first trimester, it feels like I’ve been pregnant for 70 years. This pregnancy has challenged me in so many ways and aged me in so many other ways. Stress!! I think I’ve had 8 ultrasounds so far and there is more ahead of me as we closely monitor this baby.
On days when I get a small burst of energy, and it isn’t raining buckets, we head out the door and go on a small excursion somewhere nearby. Lucky for us we live by a lot of fun destinations like Granville Island. It’s so close to us but once we get there it feels like we are somewhere far away and I love that escape.
Right now I’m just not going out about like I used to and therefore I am loving the connection of technology even more. This past Wednesday Ben headed out on a fun field trip to a local fire station downtown and, with the quick send off of pics from my husband, it almost felt like I was there. When Ben was 2,3,4 years old, we used to walk by this exact fire station on the way to one his little toddler classes and he always wanted to go inside. So, it seemed extra special that he finally got to go and explore it.
Just when things were looking rather gloomy in Vancouver and the mass of rain started pelting down on us, we got a fantastic mail delivery from my mother in law in sunny Florida! A huge case of freshly picked oranges that you could smell through the box they were delivered in. We got honey bell oranges and they were like no orange I’ve bought in Vancouver so far. With bed head intact, the kids woke up and helped make freshly squeezed OJ on our old school hand juicer.
Right now I feel like I am living in 2 week windows of time. That’s the amount of time between each big ultrasound that I have. Sometimes I feel like all my energy goes into keeping calm that I don’t have much reserve left for much of anything else, and I am okay with that.
Last week Josie and I lay on the bed and picked out a birthday cake on the computer from our local Cupcakes shop. We went with a blue and purple colour theme to go with her chosen Frozen themed party. I wanted to spruce things up so a shiny silver number 3 balloon from local on line shop Confetti And Sparkle Party Shop was also ordered while we lounged in bed. I really loved this cake topper and think it was a perfect addition to Josie’s cake.
One thing that I’ve always loved is bringing my kids their birthday cakes and watching their little faces feel the moment. I think, if my math doesn’t fail me now, I’ve done this routine at least 9 times so far. Seeing those faces smile as you sing to them is fantastic and I’m thankful. I am so thankful to be able to have these moments.
Josie’s little face was no exception and she seriously lit up when I brought the cake over. The only thing that she had problems with is blowing out the three candles. Despite our practice round on her real birthday last week, she still couldn’t get the birthday blowout technique.
She would not give up and those weren’t those silly trick candles that won’t go out. She tried many times before this happened.
Watching her struggle to blow out her birthday candles, her big brother stepped in and gently asked her if she wanted his help. She nodded and they tried it together and, wouldn’t you know it, just like that the candles blew out. We clapped and cut up cake and Josie worried there wouldn’t be enough leftovers for her. ‘There’s sure a lot of people here eating all the cake!‘ and, again, I felt thankful.
PS. And a special thank you to the clothing shop Over The Loom who hand delivered Josie’s sweet Frozen inspired frock while I was ‘taking it easy’ at home.
My brain has been buzzing lately with all things pregnancy and baby related and sometimes I find it hard to stop and think about other things. While I’m sipping my coffee or playing with my kids, the thoughts are always somewhere around gnawing at my heart. When I’m laughing loudly with friends over hilarious jokes, my brain is still ticking with thoughts about this baby.
We’ve got a pretty good schedule of appointments going on and our last appointment yesterday was a good one. In fact, our top doc words were, ‘We’ve got good news for you. No scratch that. We’ve got great news for you‘. I can’t tell you how big my smile was that spread across my face or this feeling of joy that moved inside of me when we heard the baby was doing okay right now.
This pregnancy we had been debating finding out if we were having a boy or a girl and after our update today we decided to go for it and asked the doc to tell us the big news. A couple weeks back I had an amnio to check on the health of the baby and the results would usually be posted in the report. As the doc flipped through my chart my heart rate was speeding up and I couldn’t believe I was about to find out. Is it a baby boy or a baby girl? It felt like such a surreal moment waiting as he flipped through papers.
In the past, we never found out who we were welcoming and we always enjoyed the element of surprise after the final push. That moment when they arrived and we found out who had been growing inside of me all these weeks and months, was amazing. Thrilling. Finding out in a doctors office at a hospital was a really different way for us to go.
We had debated finding out the sex on the car ride to the hospital. My husband thought we should wait and keep things the same but I felt like this was such a different pregnancy and this was a special special baby growing inside of me. I felt that finding out would allow me to connect deeper to the baby and eagerly welcome his or her arrival. I wanted to get rid of the fear that was there and I thought this could help.
Many papers were rifled through and the top doc stopped and looked up at us and said, ‘It’s so funny. Usually it is right here on the report but your report just says normal sex chromosomes‘. He said he could go and look at our ultrasound and find out for us if we wanted him to. We laughed and said on our very first ultrasound that we had checked a box on a form saying we didn’t want to know the sex and we didn’t want it reported to the doctor. Soon the room was laughing. No one knew that the little tick box from our original ultrasound would follow through to the amnio report.
We left the hospital feeling content. We had a happy report on the baby’s current well being and we are still not sure if we are having another boy or another girl. At this point I don’t know if we will find out who is joining our family until their arrival. I’ve been told to do more of the same and will be resting and growing this babe, whomever they are.
PS. With both my other 2 babies I predicted their sex early in the pregnancy. It drove my husband nuts. Each time I had absolutely no preference to what we had and both times I just felt ‘it’s a boy’ and then ‘it’s a girl’. This time around my mothers intuition says…it’s a girl. I guess we shall see
I am a big birthday lover and enjoy everything about the process of planning and celebrating a special day. Since I’ve had kids I’ve loved birthdays even more and feel a serious joy out of making them feel extra special. Josie is an easy kid and she is usually so patient, like ridiculously patient. More so than some adults I know. I asked her if she wanted to bake cupcakes for her birthday and the enthusiasm was palpable.
However, when you are turning 3 and your mum asks if you want to ‘MAKE’ cupcakes you might hear, ‘LET’S GO AND EAT SOME CUPCAKES RIGHT NOW!!‘. I had found a recipe (thank you Martha) and assembled the ingredients and when I called Josie to the kitchen for our baking session she was kind of disappointed with what she found. Where were the cupcakes? What do you mean we have to MAKE them?
Pretty soon she forgot about her major let down and enjoyed the process of measuring and tossing things into a bowl and we were on good terms again. Especially when I told her that she could help hold the hand mixer. That was like a magical present all in itself and it cleared the air just like that.
Then came more major drama in the cupcake department. We mixed and baked and the apartment had this lovely vanilla aroma and the timer dinged and we pulled the cupcakes out of the oven. Then I told her we weren’t eating them till tomorrow when we would ice them and sing Happy Birthday to her. Apparently I was not winning at the parenting gig and now understand why some parents use the term THREENAGER.
The day of her birthday we made pink vanilla icing together and there was so.much.glee. I totally had a parenting moment. Together we iced the cupcakes and then I handed her over full reigns on the sprinkles and she was tickled. Like seriously tickled that she let out this sweet squeal of delight.
I had thought that I was going to give in and let her have a second cupcake if she requested it. I mean you only have one birthday a year and if you are going to eat cake, then eat some cake! It turns out that the idea of eating a cupcake was more exciting than eating the actual cupcake. She licked the icing, enjoying the sprinkles and then told her big brother that he could have the rest. Then she packed up and headed off to the bath and that was the end of the story of the cupcakes.
Right now I’m living day to day and also in two week blocks. That’s the amount of time between one ultrasound to the next ultrasound and our last one was positive. We’ve got another ultrasound to check on baby later this week. I’m on modified bed rest at home which means that I am OFFICIALLY off work and very happy I have a decent bank of sick time so I can keep getting paid.
Being off work is bittersweet for me, I truly am on one of those maternity nurses that loves her job. However, like most nursing jobs, being a maternity nurse is quite physical and we have emergencies that just pop up from out of nowhere and require us to haul ass and push major equipment while running. We also sometimes work so hard we don’t get a break to rest or eat or pee or drink water. Ask any normal person and that is not a great condition to grow a special baby in.
Right now I spend my days at home doing a lot of of laying down on my left side. The left side is suppose to be the best side to lay on to bring optimal blood flow to your growing baby and so I do just that. I get up and putter around, play with the kids, lay back down, clean up a mess. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
I know it might sound really awesome to be off work and have the doctors order to lay down, but I can’t sugar coat it. Being at home is tough with two other children that require things like regular sustenance and attention. At times I find myself struggling trying to balance taking care of this pregnancy and taking care of my other two babies. I get a few moments off when our part time nanny comes but usually those moments are filled with doctors visits or lab work or a combo of the two and the time goes by so fast.
What I really look forward to is the nights. When the kids are bathed, brushed and in their pyjamas fast asleep in their beds. The night is my favourite time of the day as I feel like I am able to fully take care of myself and this pregnancy. I’ve gotten into the routine of filling up my bathtub and using a delicious bath bomb or bath salts or bubbles or some mixture of those products. I set up my lap top on the bathroom counter and watch episodes of The Good Wife on Netflix and just sit and soak. Right now these moments are my favourite thing and such a great stress relief for me and I’m glad that I am a bath girl!
While I lay in the deep water the baby moves so much and I have time to focus on the tiny baby kicks and connect with the baby. Grow baby grow. My husband comes and checks in on me and as he can’t figure out how you could possibly have a bath that goes past an hour, let alone two hours! He brings me ice water and occasionally even a snack (I know!). All day long I look forward to these evenings, I love the calmness and the feeling of safety and comfort that I get from being at home sitting in the bath.
Around this time of year bloggers often choose a word for the upcoming New Year. I’ve never felt compelled to choose one word that would be the theme for the year ahead, but this year one word came so easily to me. My word this year is:
A couple of weeks ago at my second trimester anatomy scan for baby #3 we got news that were some complications with the baby. We were floored and shocked and scared. I had done the prenatal blood work and the nuchal scan and they had all been normal. I thought everything was pretty much on track and thought for sure the intense nausea and vomiting I had (and was still having) was a sign that things were strong and healthy.
Shortly after the ultrasound we were told about all the worst case scenarios of what it could be, quietly we were also told ‘but it could be normal’. We were told it could be an infection that would have major consequences to the baby, it could be something genetically wrong, it could be your placenta or it could be unknown. We were left confused and numb and my heart ached with uncertainty. There would be no quick answer available to tell us what to do. It was also just before Christmas and doctors and labs and services closed and slowed down and we had to wait alongside worrying about the baby.
It felt like in just one tiny moment all the appointments with the high risk docs started happening. Soon I was consenting to amnio to get more information on the situation. I felt like I was spinning out of control and my heart was pounding. I stopped for a minute and decided I could choose how I responded to this situation of unknown. I chose to be resilient.
Being resilient doesn’t mean I’m okay with the crap that is happening or that I was born with knowing how to deal with a shit situation. It doesn’t mean that I don’t cry or sob or worry. Being resilient means that I choose to deal with all those stressful factors in a positive way. I’ve leaned on friends, I’ve texted up a storm with awesome friends who will let me rehash the same scenario over and over. I’ve chosen to love on my two healthy children and see the blessings that they are. In between bouts of sadness, because it’s normal to feel ALL the feelings. I also let myself feel optimistic and even momentarily happy.
Of course, I’ve let my mind think about the worst case scenarios. With each appointment we have with the high risk doctors or appointments to check on the baby, we have learned more and crossed off some terrible potentials from our list. I’ve sat sobbing in the bath thinking the absolute worse things that can happen in pregnancy and I’ve cried in my OB’s office as I stood holding on to her with a hug.
A couple of weeks back when we first heard the news that something might be wrong with the way the baby was growing, I put myself into self care mode and made a conscious effort to take care of my whole self. I drank lots of water, ate delicious food and lay down more than I normally would do. When my two sisters offered to take my kids away for 4 nights of sleep over and cousin fun, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I allowed myself time to lay in bed, to distract myself with Netflix and to sit in hour long baths at 3 PM. That is what being resilient is, coping with stress in a positive way and finding positive meaning in life experiences.
To help myself distract from the sense of impending doom, I made a fancy spa pedicure date with an amazing friend and reached out and connected with people I knew would be positive forces in my life. It is an amazing feeling when you reach out to certain people for support that they respond so uplifting and you feel like you can go on one more day.
The thing that I know for sure about growing a baby is, anything can happen to anyone at anytime. There is no reason that a good person gets a terrible experience/outcome or a not so great person has a normal healthy experience. Pregnancy is random at best and ultimately we are just along for the ride. I know that there is a big window of unknown in pregnancy and while we try our best to predict outcomes and modify experiences for more positive results, we can’t control and predict every outcome.
I am choosing to stay positive and to take things one day at a time and to lean on friends and family. Right now we have ruled out a lot of potential issues and are leaning towards a baby that is normal with a not so great placenta. I will take ALL of your positive thoughts and well wishes, so don’t hesitate to send some cheer my way!
The past couple of months I’ve been posting on this blog very sporadically and there’s very good reason for my lack of presence. Back in August I found out I was pregnant and I was a little bit shocked and surprised but in for the ride! Who knew that ‘ride’ would mean severe pregnancy related nausea and vomiting coupled with a stressful sub-chorionic hemorrhage, which is just a fancy term for bleeding in pregnancy. In my other pregnancies I didn’t have much morning sickness at all. A little bit with Josie but nothing that made me lay in bed for days upon days.
On my worst days with nausea I wasn’t able stand up in the shower and I had to sit and let the water wash over me before crawling out and back into bed still half wet because it was too much effort to fully towel off. On the bad days, I stayed in bed for hours upon hours letting the iPad entertain Josie who sat next to me totally unaware that I was battling intense all consuming nausea. Ben quickly learned how to make me toast and would bring it to me in my darkened bedroom and the kids loved eating crackers in bed with me.
My husband had to pick up my parenting slack and was running Ben to and from school while I lay in bed groaning with waves of nausea. I had to hire the occasional housecleaner because I had no energy to put on pants much less sweep the floor. My kids ate a lot of cereal and dinners were often thrown together or heated in the oven.
The thing about nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is that it can feel so isolating and lonely. I had to tell family and close friends that I was pregnant way before I really wanted to, but I had to let them know I was feeling so terrible and with good reason. I had to cancel plans and I had to stop working for over 6 weeks because the nausea and vomiting was so intense. I couldn’t take on any of my usual projects or anything extra besides basic survival. This left me feeling lonely and sometimes feeling depressed. I didn’t recognize myself and I felt lost and full of uncertainty.
This pregnancy I also had bleeding from 5-12 weeks and it was every colour of the rainbow and was in the ‘moderate to heavy’ category when it comes to bleeding in pregnancy. This bleeding has the fancy name of Subchorionic hemorrhage and you can read more details here. Every time I vomited, I would also bleed and the cycle of stress would just keep going. I was worried about the pregnancy but then overcome with such intense isolating feelings of nausea that I couldn’t think of anything but breathing. I felt trapped in my own little world and didn’t know when things would get better. It was hard to be excited about the pregnancy because of everything that was happening.
My sunshine brigade came through and made tiny moments a little bit more bearable. Like the friend, who has her own 2 children, who stopped by to take my 2 kids out for a couple of hours of playtime AND brought me whatever it was I was actually able to eat at that moment. The friend who let me text and text all my worries with every single bleeding episode. You’d think an OB nurse could be more relaxed when it comes to OB related issues, but it’s not true. When it is your experience you are just a normal woman with normal worries and concerns. However, there is a major bonus to having OB friends in your life who you can text, in detail, about your last bleeding episode.
I’m still waiting for the nausea and vomiting to end, but so far it is holding steady well into my 20th week of pregnancy. I’ve tried all the tips for managing severe nausea and vomiting and can no longer look at a Gin Gin candy without dry heaving. I’m on the good drugs but even those aren’t 100% helpful and just generally make it so I get a few bearable moments. I’ve had definite improvements and I’m back at work but it’s still something I battle every day. Instead of full days of struggling I now have random bursts of all consuming nausea. Which is still tough but it’s a major improvement that I will take.
Did you experience any of these issues in your pregnancy or know a friend who did?