WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

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hi Annika Rose: A Birth Story

Forty one weeks & one day in, forty one weeks & one day out! I thought it was a fitting time to share our sweet girl’s birth story. I’ve gone back & forth about whether I would actually share this on the blog. I’ve made a conscious effort to keep Annika off my own public social media accounts so she can dictate her own online story (that’s a whole other blog post). I’ve ultimately decided that this story is part of my own though. I loved reading birth stories when I was pregnant. I still do, in fact. So here we go, my birth story.

When my midwife came over for my first postpartum check up after Anni was born, she asked me how I felt about her birth. We had “planned” for as intervention free of a hospital delivery as possible &, spoiler alert, that’s not really how things went down. Strangely (& happily) I feel really positively about it. It wasn’t what I’d wanted, but it was the best possible experience given the circumstances. I’ll break this out into sections so you can skip through to whatever you want. Buckle up, it’s a long story.

BACKGROUND

I’d luckily gotten into a midwife practice fairly early on my pregnancy. I wasn’t loving the OB experience so far and had heard midwifery care here was amazing, & covered by our provincial healthcare. I feel so lucky to have had it as an option, to have loved both my midwives, & to have had an easy, uneventful pregnancy.

I’m not a huge fan of hospitals, but wanted to deliver at one in case something went sideways & they needed to transfer care. A hospital birth under midwife care felt like a happy middle ground. I was seeing a chiropractor who specializes in pregnancy & postpartum care in hopes of making sure labour could progress as smoothly as possible. My goal was for an unmedicated, vaginal delivery. I’m not a big fan of needles & the idea of an epidural totally freaked me out, despite hearing of its supposed magic. I also don’t love situations I can’t control, but was trying to keep an open mind & accept that I may not have a choice with much of what would happen. I still had conversations with both my husband & our midwife team about my ideal birth plan. Basically, if labour was going well, & I was coping, epidural would not even come up. If it wasn’t or labour was long & I need a break, I was open to it. We had a TENS machine packed & hoped to have access to the one room with a tub at the hospital for other pain management options.

LEADING UP

At 40 weeks & 5 days, I chatted with my midwife about what our next steps were. It didn’t seem like labour would be starting anytime soon, despite my trying to will my body into it. I was trying all the old wives tales & natural labour induction techniques & was really tired of being pregnant. We booked a routine NST at the hospital for 41 weeks where we were going to discuss the plan for that week.

Last photo of me with the bump

Monday (41 weeks) came around & I headed to the hospital to meet my midwife in the afternoon. Triage was busy, but they had a bed for me & hooked me up to a monitor. Babe was doing so well. She saw everything she needed to from baby in the first few minutes – she said it was the loveliest NST she’d seen in months. She kept me on the monitor for the full twenty minutes to make sure it was all still good & we started discussing the risk/benefit of waiting for my body to go into labour naturally & what our next steps were. She was going to send me home with some stats about those risks in the 41st week, but the plan was for her to start checking me at home every two days & hope things started on their own. She would be willing to let me go to 42 weeks if I decided that’s what we wanted. We were chatting and joking & I was feeling good.

Before she checked my cervix, she decided to check my BP. We were still just chatting casually & joking when the reading came back. It was high, like 170/85 or something. I don’t think I realized how high it was until much later. She took it again a few minutes later to confirm & it was unfortunately still sky high. I felt great & had no other high BP symptoms. I still didn’t really realize what it meant or where things were going, but the friendly nursing team started stepping in to take my blood pressure.

Our conversation changed to talk of getting an OB consult & blood work pretty quickly at this point. I was texting my husband and I think we both still thought I might be going home, but then my readings weren’t getting any better. Instead, they were climbing higher. Triage was busy & loud & distracting but even that didn’t explain why it was so high. They ordered some blood work & tested my urine for protein, as we chatted about what would likely happen. My midwife said she was 90% sure they’d have to induce me & that she was going to have to transfer my care to obstetrics. I think this was the hardest part for me. I had gotten to know my midwife team so well, & had had a generally great pregnancy with no complications. To have this come out of nowhere so suddenly was really emotional for me.

While we waited for the OB consult, they were cycling through taking my blood pressure & it was just getting higher. They prescribed some oral medication, but at one point it still jumped up to 190/102. I had a couple like that before the medication kicked it & it started to go down.

When my husband arrived, the OB resident was talking to me about their plan & explaining the transfer of care forms. She was going to put a Foley catheter in & once I had a few good blood pressure readings, I could go down to antepartum & wait for it to do its thing. They both thought it would take all night.

I was only about 1 cm dilated when she went to put it in & it was super uncomfortable. I was crying a lot but it had more to do with feeling overwhelmed by all the changes and being induced so suddenly. I hate crying in front of people, especially in a situation like that. I knew it was the right decision to be induced – I was 41 weeks & delivering the baby would most likely bring my blood pressure down. There was no reason to give her more time to come out. But I was still upset, & scared for what I figured would be a long labour.

I was still in triage & getting pretty hungry as it was 7 pm at this point. I’d been there for hours. They were just waiting on a couple more lowered BP readings before moving me to antepartum & then we could go for dinner. We figured we’d get pizza across the street since everyone we talked to predicted I wouldn’t be dilated enough to induce until morning. We finally moved downstairs around 8 pm and started getting settled. My SIL came over from her unit (she’s a nurse) on her break & I was commenting that I felt like the catheter was dropping down each time I went to the bathroom & was going to come out. My nurse was like, yeah maybe, but don’t get your hopes up. We got ready to head for dinner and I went to the bathroom one last time. Sure enough, the catheter fell out.

We paged the nurse and she was pretty surprised. She said it could have been placed incorrectly so an OB resident was on his way to check. He arrived with a medical student, another guy. This was definitely something I had thought I’d have a hard time with when I was with an OB practice in the beginning & knew there were male OBs in the practice. Funnily enough, it didn’t bother me though. More than anything, it seemed pretty funny.

Good Earth dinner before induction. We are ready?

He checked me, & the Foley catheter had been correctly placed. I was actually 3-4 cms dilated. Hurray! We packed our stuff up, grabbed some food from the cafe downstairs quickly, & headed up to Labour & Delivery.

INDUCTION

Once we’d eaten & gotten settled back up on Labour & Delivery, they broke my water. There was some talk of whether there was meconium, but they decided they didn’t think so. We discussed waiting to started me on oxytocin, but the OB said he didn’t think there was much point. I was pretty resigned to the fact that I was going to be induced so we decided to just go for it & start the oxytocin. It was 9 pm. Because of my high blood pressure, I was also hooked up to two monitors the whole time, one for baby’s heart rate & one for my contractions. We had a nurse assigned to monitor these & check my blood pressure every 30 minutes. She never left the room, but we were allowed to wander the halls with all my gear. It seemed super quiet on the ward, with maybe two other rooms occupied. Contractions started pretty quickly, but were super mild in the beginning. We kept walking around to get things moving. My SIL came for a visit when she got off work just after 10. We chatted for a bit and then got back to wandering the halls.

SIL Visit

My contractions were pretty regular right off the bat, which the nurse was happy with. We just needed them to get longer & more intense to get things going, so we kept walking a fair bit. At this point, I remember thinking they just felt like a squeezing feeling. Sort of similar to cramps, but not really at the same time. It didn’t take too long for me to get to a point where I couldn’t walk or talk through them.

ACTIVE LABOUR

At that point, we moved back to the room. I was really feeling it in my lower back so I wanted to use our TENS machine & lean over the back of the bed. I just couldn’t stand being on my back. The nurse also offered to hook up the laughing gas, which I decided to go for even though most people had told me they hated it. Luckily, I found it really helpful. It didn’t stop the pain but it took the edge off & forced me to focus on proper breathing. N was also really great at applying counter pressure & rubbing my back. I thought I’d be a lot more vocal through the pain, but I mostly just put my head down and tried to breath.

I laboured like this from about midnight until 2 am, when the OB resident came back because my blood pressure was back up. He wanted me to consider an epidural, not for pain management, but to lower my blood pressure. I was hesitant since I really couldn’t stand being on my back, but it also seemed like a logical decision given the issues we were having with my blood pressure, so we decided to get it.

The anesthesiologist came pretty quickly & started the whole process. This was probably the worst part for me. I kept telling myself that at least I’d get some pain relief & maybe we could both sleep for a bit, but I was really struggling with the whole thing. At one point, I felt something weird & involuntarily arched my back. Both N & the nurse were holding me so tightly & were pretty worried that I’d jerked back. The anesthesiologist was pretty quick afterwards & it didn’t take long for me to start feeling the effects.

EPIDURAL

Unfortunately, the epidural never fully worked for me. My left side was definitely numb, but I was still having a lot of pain on my right side, in the front, & had significantly more mobility in my leg on that side. They kept propping up my left side since they said gravity should help it work, but that didn’t do anything for me. The pain kept getting worse & I was really grateful for the laughing gas & my husband’s encouragement.

At 4 am, the OB resident came back because my BP had spiked again. He told me I’d earned a check (we’d asked a couple times before this point, but he’d told us less fingers were better, so we were excited he was going to check so we’d have an idea of where we were. I hadn’t had one since I was first induced). N said he was suggesting that if I wasn’t at a certain point, they’d be doing a c section. I luckily didn’t catch that since it was one of my fears going into labour.

To his surprise, baby was right there when he checked me, which he said was probably why my BP was up & the epidural wasn’t working. Looking back, I’m curious how long I’d been at that point. He told us we could start doing some practice pushes & the nurses could get ready for baby. This was just after 4 am. My husband got on the phone right away to call our midwife back. We wanted her there for delivery & were supposed to call her when I was at 8 cm.

The nurse talked me through how we’d push. They were gonna have me start on my back, which I wasn’t super excited about after having learned it isn’t the best position in baby class, but my back pain was pretty intense at this point. I was still sucking back the gas with every contraction, to a point where she said, you’re going to have to put that down on the next one if you want to push. I was pretty unsure I could manage it.

I did though. N & the nurses counted for me. He liked feeling like he had something useful to contribute & I liked having something to focus on. Pushing was so much better than the waiting. I couldn’t actually feel what I was doing or feel any pressure so I just focused on pushing like they told me. It seemed to do the trick. I was making progress quickly & they were starting to see the top of babe’s head.

Between contractions I was really struggling though. I couldn’t feel an urge to push or anything like that & the pain in my back had really increased. I actually looked forward to each contraction so that I could push. It was such a welcome distraction from the back pain. After trying a few push just on my back with N & a nurse helping me hold my legs, we decided to try to use the squat bar. We did that for a little bit, but it wasn’t my favourite. I was still making really good progress though. With every push, they were seeing more of the head. N said it was really cool to see.

My midwife arrived around this point. I was really happy to see her & glad she made it for the delivery, although I’d felt so bad calling her so late. She was also pregnant & I’d hoped to give her a little more time to get herself there.

I switched back to pushing more on my back, using the squat bar for support. I thought I would like the squatting position more than I ended up. I think it was just hard given that one leg was numb from the epidural. With every push, I got so much encouragement from everyone around me. They asked if I wanted to see the head with a mirror & I decided to look. I think my response was, that is so weird. It was strange to see, but I’m glad I looked.

The room was pretty full at this point. A lot of the nurses on the unit had made their way to our room & were pretty excited for us. The OB resident came back & was ready to catch the baby. He guided me through the last few pushes, telling me to stop at one point, which felt so weird but probably saved me from a much worse tear.

The last few minutes we a blur. All of a sudden, babe was out and they were lifting this little slimy bundle onto my chest & cleaning her up & asking if we’d seen if it was a boy or girl. Someone used the pronoun, she. She’s a girl!

There were tears & photos & video. My husband eventually cut the cord. Mostly she snuggled on my chest & let us admire her. There was a flurry of congratulations & excitement. The actual OB came to congratulate us & check that his resident had it all under control.

Anni’s first snuggles

I had a mild second degree tear so the resident stitched it up, which seemed to take forever. Our OB also showed us the placenta, which is so bizarre, but pretty cool. The whole time, babe was just chilling on my chest. They didn’t even think of taking her to weigh her or anything for so long, which is exactly what I’d hoped for. We got so much great skin to skin.

Our beautiful Annika Rose weighed in at 7 lbs 11 oz & 21 inches. Her official time of birth was 5:15 am (I pushed for about 45 minutes). We’ve been smitten from the moment we met. She’s an amazing, sweet, easy-going baby, & we feel so lucky.

Pregnancy \\ Third Trimester Recap

Well, that was quite the break! I started this post July 12, & then I got preoccupied with the waiting game. For some reason, I could not motivate myself to finish writing this post. So, here we go, over 4 months late. Let’s take a trip back in time & look at my third trimester.

Third Trimester

Weeks 29 to 41
IMPORTANT MILESTONES
  • Week 29 – May 7, 2018: Baby Moon! I flew down to SF to meet Nathan and pack up his condo. I was lucky to be able to work from home that week, & enjoy a final week of California living. I went to 2 NPSF workouts & an East Bay Free Fitness one too (they’re now officially NP Oakland!). We said goodbye to all our favourite spots & spent time with his wonderful coworkers. It was a really lovely final week in the Bay.
  • Week 30 – May 14, 2018: Baby moon! We road-tripped home from California. Highlights: Mendocino, Avenue of the Giants, Oregon Dunes, Oregon Coast, Cannon Beach, Portland, Vancouver. I love this drive. I’ll do a recap of it sometime. I have so much to share.
  • Week 32 – June 3, 2018: My Baby Shower. My best friend, Danel, & my mom hosted my shower at my parent’s house. It was an incredible shower. They put so much work into it & I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect afternoon. My Nana flew in from Vernon, which was the best surprise & baby & I felt so incredibly loved.
  • Week 33 – June 7, 2018: My midwife thought baby might be breech so we scheduled an ultrasound. We learned that baby had flipped & that it has a lot of hair, which is rare at this stage. They estimated that baby is about 5 lbs, which is in the 75th percentile. Everything else was normal, which is a huge relief.
  • Week 34 – June 13, 2018: First birth & babies class. It was a really great class. Our instructor was great & we learned a lot about the pelvis which was really interesting. Most of us are due between July 21 & 23, & delivering at the Foothills.
  • Week 34 – June 14, 2018: Dr for Moms Chiropractic adjustment. I had such an amazing & informative first appointment with Dr. Hort. My back felt so much better right afterwards & she did some other adjustments that will hopefully help make labour go smoothly.
  • Week 36 – June 29, 2018: Last day of work!
  • Week 40 – July 23, 2018: Due date! & my birthday! Went for lunch with my SIL & MIL & then my brother’s girlfriend took me for ice cream. No signs of baby.
  • Week 40 – July 24, 2018: Membrane sweep at midwife appointment. Baby was in a good position, but it didn’t do much. I went to acupuncture after, which was really relaxing. I definitely fell asleep.
  • Week 41 – July 30, 2018: Non Stress Test at Foothills. I was scheduled for this routine NST as I was one week overdue. It went really well, but (spoiler alert!) babe had other plans for us, so this marks the end of the third trimester for me. I’ll share more with my birth story.
CHANGES

I was expecting to feel huge in my final month of pregnancy, but I was still surprised by how massive I felt. I still managed to get out & do a lot, but I had to slow down & do less, especially in July when it was also really hot. The only shoes that fit me by then were my Birkenstocks.

I stopped working at the end of 36 weeks, which gave me plenty of time to prep meals, wash all of babies clothes, & do all the things you feel like you should get done beforehand. It should have also given me ample time to finish this blog post, but instead, I watched a lot of Netflix, took long walks with Odin, met up with friends, agonized over possible labour symptoms, & ate my weight in dates.

SYMPTOMS

I felt great up until about 37 weeks. & even then, I felt pretty good, just huge & hot & swollen. I wasn’t sleeping great since I was constantly thinking about baby or labour or…god knows what, & getting up to pee 1000x a night. I was feeling very ready to not be pregnant anymore, anxious to meet baby, & scared for labour.

Energy: My energy was all over the place. Sometimes I felt great & went on a cooking/cleaning spree. More often, I napped a lot to make up for my increasingly broken night time sleep.

Lower Back Pain: Although it was a lot better thanks to Dr Hort, it was still there. It was hard to find a comfortable position to sleep in & I think that really contributed to my back pain.

Foot Pain: My arches were still bugging me (although, I was no longer running) & my feet also got quite swollen in the final weeks.

Swelling: My hands, my feet, my face. I stopped being able to wear my rings in mid June (around 32 weeks) & by the end, even my bracelets were snug. My feet were definitely the worst. I could get my runners on, but they looked pretty comical so I mostly wore my Birkenstocks. I had to loosen the buckles several holes. I thought I’d be able to wear flip flops, but my feet seemed to almost spill out of them. V attractive.

FOOD: AVERSIONS & CRAVINGS

I was still craving all those quick carbs & sugar. I fear my love of sugar might be here to stay now, which I’m still finding quite strange. I was loving pizza, burgers, french fries. Someone told me that greasy food sometimes puts people into labour, so I took advantage of that & felt no guilt eating Wendy’s or Taco Time in those final weeks. I also craved caesar salad (which is a very normal craving of mine, actually) & chili chicken a couple days before I was induced. Random!

DECISIONS

There weren’t too many big decisions left to make by the third trimester. The biggest ones had to do with labour. I had planned a pretty low intervention, hospital birth. It seemed like the best of both worlds. Ideally, I wanted to go into labour on my own & see how things went. If everything was going well & I was managing the pain, I didn’t want an epidural. My midwives were both on board with this & really supportive of everything on my “wish list”. It’s funny how much you really get to know them & how they’re such a huge part of this short period in your life, & then you don’t really see them again. (That’s a bit of a tangent, but it’s weird!)

I had decided to see a Chiropractor who specializes in helping moms. She was amazing & I definitely felt she made a big difference in my back pain. She also did a lot to make sure my pelvis was in the right position. I’m not sure if I’d have had issues if I hadn’t seen her, but I’m happy I did since everything went well!

Once I hit 40 weeks, I decided to also do acupuncture to try & help move things along. I’d never been before so I had no idea what to expect, but I ended up really enjoying it. It was mostly just nice & relaxing. I got some sleep & just chilled out. It was wonderful.

a last photo of our little family of 3
FAVOURITE PART OF THE TRIMESTER

My baby shower. It was incredible. I felt so loved. My mom & bestie put so much care into planning & organizing it. I felt so lucky to have so many kind, generous, loving people in my life, & so many people who already love our little person.

LEAST FAVOURITE PART OF THE TRIMESTER

Waiting! & the heat. I normally love summer & the heat, but it was tough to handle while pregnant. & I am pretty impatient, so it probably comes as no surprise that I hate waiting for my due date to come (& go) with no baby. I had thought I might be early (for no real reason, honestly), so that made it all the more difficult. & as someone who really likes to plan things, it’s hard having no control over this huge event in your life. I suppose it’s good practice for when you actually have a baby, but it’s definitely a struggle.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a little insight into this stage of pregnancy. Thanks to Cassy Joy from Fed + Fit for the great idea – I so loved following along with her recaps. You can expect a birth story soon (I actually already have it all written as I didn’t want to forget) & perhaps a 4th trimester recap, since we’re done with that as well. & I swear I’m still working on many non-pregnancy posts as well, or at least, I’d like to get back to more blogging of that nature.

xo,

A

Pregnancy \\ Second Trimester Recap

Second Trimester Bumpdate

It’s hard to believe I’m in the third trimester of pregnancy. On the one hand, I feel like I found out I was pregnant in another lifetime. On the other, it feels like it was only just yesterday. Time is bizarre. It passes both so slowly & so quickly. I’ve continued to journal pretty often, which is pretty much the only reason a post like this is possible. There’s no way I’d remember many of these details otherwise. I’m so glad I’ve kept it up – I’ve always loved reading recaps like this.  Hope you enjoy this little second trimester recap!

Second Trimester

Weeks 13 to 28
Important Milestones
  • Week 13 – Jan 15, 2018: Nuchal Translucency/First Trimester Scan. N had to fly out that afternoon, so we got there early in hopes that N might get to see baby for the first time. It did seem to work, although they somehow didn’t have my bloodwork so we didn’t get any results. It was so cool to see how much babe had grown though & seemed to be flipping around & covering its face with its arms. So cool to see!
  • Week 14 – Jan 22, 2018: Calgary Midwife Collective appointment. First appointment with CMC. I met one of my two midwives, Jamie, & we got my file transferred. She also checked baby’s heart rate, which was still a pretty big novelty for me. It measured around 150 bpm.
  • Week 14 – Jan 23, 2018: Announced to both work & social media. I emailed a photo to the ladies in my department after telling my boss & it was fun to watch them figure it out. They were really excited & happy for us. We also got so many congratulations from social media, & a few surprise revelations as well.
  • Week 14 – Jan 25, 2018: We got the FTS report in the mail & even though I had talked to my GP earlier in the week & knew the results were fine, it was reassuring to see it in writing.
  • Week 18 – Feb 20, 2018: Felt some tiny baby movements for the first time! It was hard to know for sure at first since they’re pretty subtle in the beginning, but this was the first time I felt certain it was the baby.
  • Week 19 – Feb 26, 2018: Anatomy Scan. We were able to book a morning appointment this time so N didn’t have to rush off to the airport, which was nice. Baby looked much more human this time around, aside from its lack of body fat. Ten fingers, ten toes, a stubborn personality like its mom & dad. They weren’t able to get everything they needed, so I had to schedule another appointment (I ended up having two more to get it all). Heart rate was 144 & we got a CD of photos as a keepsake.
  • Week 26 – April 19, 2018: Glucose Test. Given my newfound love for all things carbs & sugar, I was a little worried about this Gestational Diabetes Test. The orange drank didn’t taste as bad as I expected, but made me feel a bit nauseous. It’s mostly just an odd consistency. Everything came back normal at my midwife appointment the following week, so I’m in the clear for GD, it seems!

 

Bachelorette party at 26 weeks

26 weeks

4 pregos go to a Baby Shower

It’s fun being pregnant with a bunch of friends!

Changes

It seems funny now to think about how felt like there were so many physical changes in my first trimester. The second was definitely filled with significantly more changes, especially in terms of baby bump. Mine really seemed to pop around the halfway point, but others really took notice while I was visiting N in California at 22 weeks. Now, at 28 weeks, it’s now impossible to deny I look pregnant, as expected.

22 weeks

22 weeks: visiting N in California was the first time others took notice of the bump.

Workout Gear Progress: 19 weeks & 26 weeks

Grey Dress Progressions: 21 weeks & 27 weeks

For the most part, I’m just incredibly fascinated by all the changes. It’s by far the strangest experience of my life. Seeing the baby grow with each checkup & feeling its kicks get stronger from week to week – it’s hard to put into words how magical it all seems. Baby is getting so active lately. I can see my stomach moving sometimes now. It’s all very strange.

Odin & Mom: 25 weeks

16 weeks, 19 weeks, & 27 weeks

Symptoms

The second trimester feels like a bit of a free pass in terms of symptoms. It took a bit longer than I expected for the exhausted phase to pass, but once my energy returned the whole pregnancy thing seemed pretty fun. There are definitely mild annoyances here & there, but overall I feel extremely fortunate to feel so good. I’ve had a really easy pregnancy so far, & I know that’s not the case for everyone so I’m feeling extra grateful.

Energy: My energy levels returned to mostly normal a few weeks into my second trimester. I still find I’m more tired than my pre-pregnancy self ever was, but I’m not accidentally dozing off at my desk every afternoon like I was in my first trimester.

Lower Back Pain: I’ve never really had back pain, & luckily it’s super mild. I can’t really complain too much. I’m loving my heating pad & find I’ve made extremely good use of the Runner’s Relief roller oils I’ve gotten for finishing the last two SeaWheeze runs. That Peppermint Halo is addictive!

Foot Pain: I haven’t had much real foot pain from running in years, but it seems to be back in this trimester. I first experienced it while training for my first half & ended up getting orthotics. They helped the issue to a point, & I got through training, but afterwards, I looked for some other solutions. I found strengthening my foot muscles really helped me to run pain free for the last 5 years. I think if I were more diligent about keeping up with those strengthening exercises now, it wouldn’t be as much of an issue for me, but I also think with all the other changes in my body, some discomfort is to be expected. Luckily, it’s pretty mild & I’m managing ok by wearing slightly more supportive shoes than my usual minimal choice. Overall, I’m happy to still get out for runs!

embarrassed Odin

Embarrassing Odin pre-workout

Leakage: This definitely falls under the category of things I never thought I’d share with an online community, but wish I’d been a bit more aware of before. So, TMI, but I’m sharing anyway. Buy some kind of pad/panty liner when you get pregnant. As things progresses, there’s significantly more going on & it’s just awkward otherwise. For you, for others, for your pants. It’s so much easier to swap out a liner than your pants.

I’m not usually very sneezy when I get sick, but I caught a cold in March & was sneezing excessively for about a week. Like upwards of 20 times a day. It was bizarre. & I was so grateful I’d started wearing liners. They come in handy when you’re not sick though too. The joys. 

Food: Aversions & Cravings

I’ve gotten better about eating more veggies in the second trimester, but I still primarily crave sugar, whether in the form of carbs or treats. I guess baby wants that quick energy! I’ve been loving anything with melted cheese, bread, cupcakes, & ice cream. Nutritious! I try to balance it out with veggie bowls or smoothies, but I try not to worry too much about it.

Excessive Ice Cream consumption continues

Decisions

As I mentioned in my First Trimester Recap, we decided to do the First Trimester Scan. This non-invasive scan combines an ultrasound with bloodwork to determine your baby’s risk for a few specific chromosomal issues. Depending on the results, more invasive testing may be warranted. While this test is just a screen & doesn’t guarantee these chromosomal issues are not present, it does help ease some of the worry, & is much less invasive than a diagnostic test like the CVS or amnio.

Due to a mix up with my bloodwork, I didn’t actually get my results at our ultrasound, like you’re supposed to, & had to redo my bloodwork. Our doctor also always says no news is good news, which I had a hard time with since I didn’t know for sure when she’d actually get my lab results (or if she’d get them at all given that they’d already screwed up once). I called a few days after & was told that everything looked good, but it was still a huge relief to get the results in the mail another few days later. Since our results showed a low risk, we decided not to do any further testing.

More bloodwork

This trimester we also started thinking about some fun things, or at least I think they’re fun! My mom & my best friend are planning a baby shower for me in June, so I got to make a few decisions about that before they took over planning. I’m excited to see what they’ve got up their sleeves.

I also spent a significant amount of time researching baby items. There is so much stuff out there. I’ve mostly decided to start with a lot of good quality basics & go from there. It seems like there are many “nice to have” things that take up a lot of space & are only useful for a short time. I’m trying to avoid those.

baby box

Odin approves of free baby items

Favourite Part of the Trimester

Feeling kicks & movement scores high on the list here. It’s reassuring and wonderful, while also being the strangest thing I’ve ever experienced, especially as their strength & frequency has increased.

I’ve also loved getting to a stage where I had a real bump & didn’t just look like I’d been eating too many crave cupcakes (although I 100% have been. Cravalicious if you’re wondering.)  I seem to be in a bit of a sweet spot where my bump still looks mostly cute & I don’t feel too huge yet, so I’m trying to embrace that before things get uncomfortable. I’m so glad the weather has been warmer & I can wear more dresses. I’ve just never really been a pants girl. 

H & A baby bumps

H is due 3 weeks after me. It’s so great having a close friend pregnant at the same time as you.

27 weeks & 5 days

27 weeks & 5 days

Least Favourite Part of the Trimester

The unwanted advice or negative comments. This hasn’t been terrible, but I knew it was going to be my least favourite part & they definitely ramped up once we announced I was pregnant. There are so many comments about why you aren’t ready or how big you’re getting. I mostly just try smile & shrug, but it definitely gets on my nerves. No, our nursery isn’t ready. Yes, we’ve decided on a stroller, but we don’t have it yet. Yes, I know babies come early sometimes. No, I’m not worrying about the possibility of going into labour during our road trip. & no I’m not going to entertain your questions about my weight gain, size, diet, etc. Sorry (not sorry)!

Bumpin in SFO at 22 weeks

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a little insight into this stage of pregnancy. Thanks to Cassy Joy from Fed + Fit for the great idea – I so loved following along with her recaps. You can expect a final recap for my 3rd trimester (& maybe the 4th?) & I swear I’m still working on many non-pregnancy posts as well. As usual, I have far too much to write about & not nearly as much time to do it as I’d like.

xo,

A

Pregnancy \\ Place your baby bets!

Are we having a boy or a girl?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been adamant that I wouldn’t find out the sex of my first baby. I’ve personally never felt like I wanted to know beforehand. I understand why so many people do choose to find out, it just never seemed like the choice for me. I want the moment I find out whether it’s a girl or a boy to take place when I meet this little one. I’ve also never really felt like I need to prepare any differently for a boy or a girl. The more anyone contests my decision or defends their own, the more stubbornly resolved I feel.

As with anything pregnancy-related, there are all sorts of opinions here. I love how differently everyone feels about this & think it makes our pregnancies so unique. Many have expressed that they never could have waited, or they wouldn’t have felt prepared, or they wanted more of a connection to their baby. Those are all fair feelings, albeit incredibly personal to each peron. & I just don’t feel that way myself. With technology making it so easy to find out now, it seems like most do, another factor in my not wanting to. I’m a stubborn Leo & like to be different.

N probably would have found out if it were totally up to him. Once we decided to make a game of it and take bets, he came around to my side though. Nothing like a little game or competition to make things more exciting!

So, I’ve set up an online pool on Baby Bookie. It’s free to place a bet, but we’re open to setting up some more serious gambling too if there’s enough interest. In order to help you make your decision, I’ve combed through all the Old Wives Tales & compiled my answers. Let’s break it down!

Chinese Gender Prediction Chart

There are two different charts you can use. Lucky for me, both the Chinese Lunar Calendar & the Ancient Chinese Gender Chart say girl. This chart is supposed to be the more accurate of the two though, if you’re looking for results yourself.

RAMZI Method

I read somewhere that this one is said to be 95% accurate. It’s based on an early ultrasound. The idea is that you can tell the gender based on what side the placenta is forming on. I used my 9 week abdominal ultrasound. Story goes that if baby is on the left, it’s a boy and if it’s on the right it’s a girl. (It will be reversed for a transvaginal ultrasound, from what I’ve read.) From what I could tell, baby is a boy. I’m not sure I read my ultrasound correctly or that 9 weeks is early enough for this one.

9 week ultrasound photo

9 week ultrasound photo

Skin Changes

There are a few different predictions here. Firstly, boys are said to give you dry skin, whereas girls bring out the oil in your skin. My skin has been drier than dry all winter (like everyone’s in Calgary, I suspect) so we’ve got another vote for boy. They also say that if you’re getting a lot of compliments that you’re glowing, you’re having a boy. No comments? Girl. I can’t think of any comments of this nature, so another girl vote. Lastly, girls are said to “steal your beauty”, leading to more breakouts. I’ve definitely had a lot more breakouts than normal (I generally have pretty clear skin, aside from psoriasis). So there’s a girl vote again.

Linea Negra

Some moms get a dark line that runs down the center of their baby bellies. At first, I didn’t think I was going to get this, but then one day it suddenly appeared. My line continues above my belly button, which is supposed to mean we can expect a boy.

Hair

If your hair is thick and glossy, they say you’re having a boy. If it’s dull and limp, it’s a girl. I have seen no real change in my hair, aside from it growing slightly faster than normal since I started taking prenatal vitamins. I’m not sure I can attribute any change to pregnancy though, so I guess we’re having a puppy according to this one. 😉 Neither.

Baking Soda Test

This is another one touted as having a pretty high level of accuracy. 80% this time. I almost didn’t do it since it just seemed a little too weird & intimate, but then I cut a weird (wasteful) cabbage water one from the list so I figured I could do this one. You take 2 tablespoons of baking soda and mix it with your urine. If it fizzes, you’re having a boy. If it remains flat, you’re having a girl. Mine fizzed: BOY.

Body Hair

Yeah, I know, a few of these are maybe a little TMI. I’m sure the Internet doesn’t really need to know about this. Too late now! Lucky for me, my body hair is growing normal, which is supposed to mean girl.

Weight Gain

If you are carrying all your weight out front (like you’re smuggling a basketball), baby is likely a boy. If the weight piles on all over, it might be a daughter. I decided not to use my own judgment on this one, since my own weight gain seems significantly more noticeable to me than it does to anyone else. Everyone I asked said I seemed to be all bump so far. Maybe they were just being nice, but we’re going with it. Boy.

Baby’s Heart Rate

Many people swear by this one. It’s said that girls have a faster heart rates than boys. The normal range is between 120 bpm and 180 bpm, but over 140 bpm is supposed to signal a baby girl. Baby dB’s heart rate has averaged 144 bpm, & has never been below 140 bpm so far. Girl.

Cravings

The good ol’ salty vs sweet. Sweet foods are linked to girls and salty to boys. I’ve always had a major preference for salty foods. Even the sweet treats I enjoy best err on the side of salty (salted caramel all day every day!). That is until I got pregnant. Now I’m always craving candy, ice cream, chocolate…basically all things sweet. It’s been a bizarre change for me. I guess we’re predicting girl thanks to this one. (Or it’s just one of many signs that this is truly N’s child. He loves his sweets!)

Headaches

Extreme headaches are said to signal a baby boy, while no headaches are said to mean girl. I’m happy to have been relatively headache free throughout my pregnancy so here’s another girl vote.

Sickness

Baby girls supposedly trigger nausea with vomiting whereas a boy will only cause nausea. Again, I was really luckily to have very minimal nausea. I was mostly able to control it by eating regularly, which I don’t generally have a problem with. 😉 BOY.

Clumsy vs Graceful

I would never describe myself as graceful; however, I saw no real change in my level of clumsiness since getting pregnant. Supposedly that means we’re having a girl.

Wedding Ring Test

I think everyone is pretty familiar with this one. You’re supposed to dangle your wedding band over your belly on a string and wait for it to start moving. Back and forth means boy & in a circle means it’s a girl.

I think this one has more to do with what mom thinks babe might be than anything else, but maybe that’s good for accuracy. When we did this it started out moving back & forth, & then went to circles. N said that we should go with boy, since that what it did first. I think this is a clear indication that I have absolutely no idea what we’re having. 😉

TL; DR

We’ve got 7 votes for boy, 8 for girl, & 1 for neither (or puppy, are we getting another puppy?!). As far as the two supposed “most accurate” tests, they both predict we’re having a boy. You can decide if you believe they have more merit.

Our pool will also allow you to predict baby’s birthdate. My due date is July 23, 2018 (my birthday!). Some say you can look to dad for whether babe will be early or late – N & I both came early. They say you’re usually late with your first, but we’re both first born. Will babe follow his parent’s lead & come early, or will be add a third Leo to the family?

That’s all I got! Check the site, place your bets, & let us know if you bought into any old wives tales!

You can follow along with the rest of my pregnancy bumpdates here.

Pregnancy \\ First Trimester Recap

I’ve been meaning to do a first trimester recap since we announced we were pregnant. I love reading pregnancy recaps, especially now, & hearing about how things went for different women. Every pregnancy is so different & it’s so fascinating!

I’ve been keeping track of my thoughts & feelings in both my bullet journal & on the Nurture App, although I’ve fallen away from the app more recently. I’d still much prefer to write things down than log them on my phone.

In order to keep some sort of order to my thoughts, I’m going to answer the same questions for all three recaps. If you’re curious about something, leave me a comment or send me a message. If I’m getting a lot of the same questions, I’ll think about adding an FAQ or something. Let’s get into it though!

First Trimester

Weeks 1 to 13
Important Milestones
  • Week 3.6 – Nov 11, 2017: Positive test result on a home pregnancy test! As I mentioned in our announcement post, N was down in California so I told him over skype. This would have been the first day of my cycle & I’d held off taking a test as long as I could. I felt like I’d been on an emotional rollercoaster all week (think crying on the bus listening to TAL) so I had a strong suspicions that the test would come back positive, but I still had butterflies as I waiting for the result.
  • Week 9 – Dec 18, 2017: Dating Ultrasound. We weren’t originally going to have this ultrasound, but when I booked our 14 week one, they suggested I do it. It was so cool (& such a relief) to see the little heartbeat on the monitor.
  • Weeks 9 – 12 – Dec 2017: We started telling people just before my dating ultrasound. We told our parents the weekend before & let friends figure it out as they noticed me not drinking at various Christmas parties.
  • Week 12 – Jan 8, 2018: First appointment with the Low Risk Maternity Group my doctor referred me to. I didn’t really know what to expect from this appointment, but it was great. We went through medical history with the nurse and then she found baby’s heartbeat (152, if you’re curious). I wasn’t expecting it to work since my GP hadn’t been successful the week before so it was the best surprise!
  • Week 12 – Jan 8, 2018: The day got even better when I got an email from a Midwife group about setting up an initial appointment for mid-January. I had applied as soon as we’d found out we were pregnant, but hadn’t heard back yet. They’re in high demand here. We still plan to deliver in a hospital.

A very high quality photo of our dating ultrasound photo

Changes

Unsurprisingly, I took a lot of photos of myself throughout the first trimester. I felt  silly taking them at first, but they’re really nice to have now. I wouldn’t have thought there was much change otherwise, especially in those first couple months. I wasn’t showing, by any stretch of the imagination, but when you compare photos, it’s easier to notice slight changes. I also thought it might be nice for N to have these photos, since he isn’t here most of the time.

Of course, I feel like I progressively filled out everywhere, but the most remarkable changes were in my midsection & boobs. The only word I can think of to describe my torso is “thicker”. Although that seems like a negative description, I don’t mean it that way at all.

As things progress, I’m more & more fascinated by all the changes my body is going through. Towards the end of the first trimester, I found it became increasingly frustrating to find things to wear. & since I hadn’t told my boss yet, I was trying to keep anyone from guessing I was pregnant. It really amplified my perception of how different I looked.

Subtle changes from 4 weeks, 6 weeks, & 12 weeks

Symptoms

I feel pretty lucky to have experienced very mild nausea in those first months. Mostly, I’d just feel off. It seems funny that everyone refers to it as morning sickness – I felt nauseous maybe twice in the morning. If I did feel slightly nauseous, it was most likely in the afternoon or before bed.

The biggest change for me was how much sleep I felt I needed. I was exhausted! I’m used to feeling great after 6 or 7 hours of sleep, but found myself needing at least 8 hours to even function. I also unintentionally napped all the time. I’d literally fall asleep sitting up. I found it frustrating – I just wanted to go to my usual early morning workouts or make it through the day without falling asleep. I’ve finally gotten some energy back now, but it was a tough adjustment for this night owl.

As for food aversions & cravings, my likes & dislikes have shifted significantly. I usually reach for salty snacks over sweets, but I’ve been loving the sweets since day one. I also crave melted cheese in all forms: pizza, nachos, grilled cheese, all the really healthy stuff. Surprisingly, the hardest thing for me has been vegetables. I have a bit of an aversion to them, which is so bizarre since I love veggies! I’ve been tricking myself into eating them by hiding them in smoothies & making delicious veggie bowls (with lots of sauce). In general, I’m reaching for bland carbs (bread, potatoes), cheese, & protein. It has certainly not been my most nutritious few months, but I’m trying not to overthink it too much.

Decisions

We haven’t had to make a lot of decisions yet, however, we did decide to do a First Trimester Scan. I’ll talk more about it in my Second Trimester Recap though since I did mine pretty late in order to accomodate N’s schedule.

As I mentioned above, we also decided to go with a midwife practice. I think the decision to go this route, or not, is extremely personal. For me, I like the more personal feel of my appointments & that I will meet both of the two potential midwives who will be there at my delivery. With the maternity group, there were 17 possible doctors, so the likelihood of meeting the one who would be on call was pretty slim. This midwife practice also does three at-home visits after delivery, in addition to the usual check-ups in their clinic. There are many factors that go into this decision, & I don’t think there is a right answer. This is what I decided was best for us.

Although we’re going the midwife route, I am still planning to deliver in a hospital. Again, this is an extremely personal decision, & everyone should do what they feel most comfortable with. I wanted the reassurance that we were in a facility designed to handle a scary complication (heaven forbid). I know there are great birthing centers, & have many friends who have gone that route, but I think this is the best decision for us.

Favourite Part of the Trimester

Telling friends & family! It was so honestly so fun. My two best friends knew as soon as I did, but otherwise, we kept it a secret until 9 weeks in. We had two Christmas events with friends where we let them figure it out & I won’t forget their reactions any time soon. There was so much excitement from everyone we told – it was so heartwarming to see how loved this baby will be.

Christmas gifts

First little onesie gift, & my fav Montreal bagels & a new book. <3

Least Favourite Part of the Trimester

The exhaustion! I’d heard it could be bad, but I still wasn’t expecting it to hit me quite as hard as it did. It was so frustrating.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a little insight into my first few months of pregnancy. Thanks to Cassy Joy from Fed + Fit for the great idea – I so loved following along with her recaps. You can expect another recap for my 2nd & 3rd trimesters, but I promise there will be non-pregnancy posts in the mix as well if that’s just not your thing.

xo,

A

Secret’s out! We’re having a baby!

I'm pregnant!

Surprise! I’m pregnant! My birthday is going to be a little bit different this year. 😉

N was down in California on the morning I took a pregnancy test. I only had the one test & remember wishing I had a few more on hand so I could take another one. Once I realized the little line wasn’t going anywhere, I skyped N to share the good news. Of course, he immediately knew why I was calling since we don’t usually skype each other unexpectedly. I had toyed with the idea of surprising him with the news when he was home next, but there was no way I could keep it a secret for that long. It was the best phone call I’ve ever made.

Pregnant

You’re going to be a big brother, O.

The first few months have been filled with more emotions than I ever thought possible (heyyyyy hormones), but I’m overwhelmingly grateful & excited for everything to come this year. We can’t week to meet you, baby!

Happy Holidays!

We wish you a merry christmas!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Wishing you & yours the happiest of holidays – filled with family, friends, and all your wonderful traditions.

We stuck around Calgary this year to spend Christmas with N’s family, & are celebrating with mine tomorrow evening. It gave us the opportunity to catch up with many friends who are in town this year, which has been just lovely. We’re in the midst of quite the cold snap, so I’ve been trying to take a page from the Danes & their lovely concept of hygge. We’ve been lighting candles more often, playing lots of games, & cozying up under blankets, our attempt at making the most of the frigid temperatures.

Thank you to all those of you who read this little blog from time to time. I am very grateful to everyone who stops by, letting me share a little bit of my life with you. It’s been a great year for me & I’m looking forward to even more adventure in 2018.

All the best for the new year!
Bisous,

A & N
xx

Happy Third Anniversary

A reading her vowsThree years ago, I stood in front of our friends & family & told you,

I promise to support your dreams – all of your dreams. Be your advocate, your confidant, and your biggest cheerleader.  

I promise to always let you have the bigger piece of bacon (as long as I can have the last piece of sashimi).  

I promise to share my many passions in life – even the silly ones. I want to eat, travel, and love our way through this life.  

I promise to continue our Nashville North tradition and two-step with you for as long as you’re willing to teach me.  

I promise to love, honour, and cherish everything that we have built and will build together, in triumph, but especially in failure.  

As long as we both shall live.

We’ve made some incredible memories since then, & I can’t wait to make even more with you in California over the next month & half, & then, wherever life takes us. You’re the best travel partner I could ask for, the most loving daddy to our fur baby, & the most patient Instagram husband. Thank you for going along with all my crazy plans, being willing to try anything, & always being ready to overeat our way through a new city. You’re one in a million. ( & it still makes me laugh that we both unknowingly promised I’d get that last piece of sashimi. Still the best deal going. 😉 )

I love you, today, & everyday,

xx

a

“Si tu pouvais lire dans mon coeur, tu verrais la place où je t’ai mise !”- Flaubert

On going for it, & other honest ramblings

Poolside Hangs

As I type this, I’m poolside at N’s resort-like community pool, soaking up the vitamin D & thinking about how fortunate I am to have so much of this summer off. Odin & I officially arrived in the Bay Area on Thursday, but today is our first full day on our own. We’ve opted to take it easy & enjoy this rare sunny August morning outside.

I drove Mom to the airport yesterday after spending most of the last 10 days together. We took a long, slow route to get here, stopping for a weekend in Vancouver so I could run Lululemon’s SeaWheeze Half Marathon & then proceeding down the coast for California. We took highway 101 south most of the way & spent an extra day in Portland exploring the city with the pup. We spent a night in Fortuna, California before taking the most epic scenic highway of my life, through the Redwoods State Park & then down the incredible, winding highway 1 to the coast. I will definitely share more our incredible trip in the coming weeks – if you love to drive, you’ll surely be adding this one to your bucket list.

Now that it’s just our little family down here in California, I feel like I have some time to relax a little & breath. It’s honestly been such a hectic summer. I feel like I haven’t stood still for more than a few minutes since before we left for Europe in June. I don’t even really feel like I got to experience summer in Calgary! I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining, I’m truly just in awe of how fast time seems to pass as I get older, especially given my propensity for overscheduling myself. I’m really looking forward to taking advantage of this time off work to relax, explore, & do a lot more writing & blogging than I have been of late.

I’m honestly pinching myself a bit that this is my reality until October. How did I get so lucky as to get two full months off work to come down here & spend time with my husband & our pup? Most of this is thanks to N & his ability to manage budget. We still could have easily decided we couldn’t afford to cut my salary out of the equation for a couple months, & maybe that would be the smarter decision for our financial situation, but sometimes you have to go for it. & Sometimes you have to say fuck it, & put your relationship before anything else.

You see, N & I are no strangers to long distance. I spent most of our first two years together living on the other side of our massive country. I was studying in Montreal, while N was working in Calgary. We caught a few lucky breaks over the course of those two years though, & he got to spend some longer stretches of time with me out East. When I graduated from McGill, I moved back to Calgary, thinking that was it for us when it came to long distance.

I was, unfortunately, so very wrong. At first his job took him out of town intermittently, usually 2-3 weeks at a time. It was a refreshing change from being apart more often than together. Over the last few years, however, this has changed to a schedule where he lives mostly away from home. He saw our house for the first time over Snapchat. He missed my birthday 3 years in a row & was away for his own. He misses out on a lot of stuff at home, which is hard for both of us, but especially for him.

Why am I writing about all this? Well, mostly, I think it’ll be easy to look at my social media over the next month & a half & think everything is amazing, that I’m so lucky, that life is easy. & You’d be mostly right. I am lucky. My life is relatively easy. I’m definitely incredibly privileged. But still, the reality is that, for much of the year, I lead a very separate life from my husband. We see each other once every three weeks for a weekend. Our lives will likely be this way until at least March 2018. Right now, I may be down in California with him for almost two full months, but this is the first summer we’ll have spent more time together than apart in years. This is our reality, & a good friend reminded me that it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that someone else’s life is perfect because they tend to share the positives on social media. No one’s life is perfect. & I’ll continue to share the positives from my life on social media, but I’ll try to be honest as well.

So with that, here’s to honest posts, to rambling about a lot of different topics, & to going for it. I think it’s about time for a dip in that pool now.

Odin \\ ONE YEAR

Odin \\ One Year

Dear Odin,

Today you are one year old. I remember anxiously waiting to hear from Notch Hill that you’d arrived. At the time, we thought we were getting a little girl pup, but now I can’t imagine that at all. You’re the best.

Odin 8wks - 11 mths

Odin at 8 wks, 3 months, 9 months, & 11 months

Odin

Walks in the East Village

Odin

Odin

All geared up for the winter weather

Odin & the bridge

N helping Odin with his fear of the metal bridge

Checking out Cold Garden Brewery with Mom & Dad. It’s a pretty cool place!

Mémé & I drove out to Sorrento to pick you up on May long weekend. You were so shy at first, but so friendly. Not a lot has changed in that regard, actually. I love how much you love people & other dogs. It makes me life so much easier that you’re so social.

Odin

I love it when my friends share with me!

Odin

Mom loves me!

Odin

Feeling naked after my haircut!

Odin

Right now, you love chewing your toys relentlessly, running as fast as you can at the dog park, protecting the house from intruders, & digging what little dirt you can find in the backyard.

Odin

Odin

Derp

Odin

Sick pup cuddles

Odin

Trying to make us both fit on one cushion

Odin

National Puppy Day!

Happy Birthday, Odin

Birthday Burrito

Odin

You don’t like when we leave you home alone or when Dad has to go away for work, people wearing too many layers for you to recognize them, when the mail gets delivered but you don’t get to say hi, bathtime, or any attempts at dental hygiene.

You make our lives so much better, Odin. We love you so much.

Love,

Mom & Dad

xoxo

See the rest of our Odin Report recaps here. Follow along on Odin’s adventures on Instagram – #OdindeBoer

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