Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Week 34 Pregnancy

Symptoms:  Insomnia, night sweats, waking up during the night and feeling 'off,' hemorrhoids.

Cravings:  Eating lots of grapes.  I've had to be creative in my meal planning, because for 2 weeks I am working at a different location for work and I am out of the house from 10:30-8 pm, which makes eating a little odd.  I've been bringing a thermous of soup to work every day, along with grapes, herbal teas (and my own kettle), dried bananas, hummous and veggies/crackers, and dark chocolate covered almonds.

Baby Movement:  Still reporting lots of movement and baby hiccups!  I counted 80 consecutive hiccups the other day.  Poor girl.  She was getting frustrated and started kicking and punching my innards.

Baby Shower:  See post below.  I had my shower on the weekend and it was wonderful.  One thing I didn't mention in the post below was that during the shower I got really, really hot and sweaty.  I didn't want to hug anyone at the end because I was so moist.  Ugh.  I also had cramps after the shower, and had to use the heating pad at home.  They went away by the next morning, but lasted longer than I would have liked.

Prenatal Class Update:  I received a few emails this week from 3 couples from prenatal who have had their babies!  There were only 6 of us in the group, so the count down is on!  (I have the latest due date at Feb 20th).  2 out of the 3 tried for homebirths.  However, one couple had meconium in the water and had to transfer.  She still ended up delivering naturally though with no complications.  The 2nd couple laboured at home for 12 hours or so, then transferred.  She ended up having an epidural, then a c-section was decided upon because the baby was just not descending properly into the pelvis.  The third couple planned on delivering in the hospital, and also had a c-section because the baby's cord was wrapped around its head and body.  But they all seemed really positive about their experiences, and felt that they made informed decisions rather than being bullied by a medical team. 

Midwives Apts:  I have one this week, and then they continue every week until delivery!  What!?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Baby Shower

This weekend I had my baby shower. It was hosted by one of my cousins, who put so much effort and work into it I was blown away! She made me a diaper cake (of organic disposables), vegan baby cupcakes (check out those faces she made!), vegan chocolate banana loaf, lemon cake, veggie quinoa chilli, quiche, sandwiches, veggies and dip... Wow! She planned two short games for the shower, one was guess the amount of diapers in the cake, and the other was guess the baby item in the paper bags. She had little peony flowers to give away at the end to all the guests with pink chocolate kisses done up with pink safety pins... Amazing! I received a lot of items, mostly clothes, and everyone brought me a book which they were to sign for the baby instead of giving a card. So we now have a small little library started for our girl! The day was a little overwhelming, seeing so many people and trying to open so many wonderful gifts in a timely manner while being appreciative to everyone who took the time to come and give us something. I definitely felt over stimulated when I got home that night.  It was really a special day. Even my dad said he felt sentimental afterwords, because he was thinking of my grandma who is deceased.  She loved children and a lot of us had a special close bond with her. It would have been so wonderful to have had her there with us.  The picture underneath was the first present I opened-it was a copy of 'Are You My Mother,' from my dad.  The book represents my dad's personality to a tee-and his little inscription inside made me a little teary the following day. 
Source: via M on Pinterest

Monday, January 14, 2013

Nursery Decisions for Small Spaces

One of the major issues we have in our house is space. Although we adore the location of our house, and its quaintness, the lack of space means being more creative in storage and furniture purchases. We only have two bedrooms in the house, and one is fairly small with some really awkward space issues. There's no wall space to place a crib/bed, so it needs to jut out vertically, not horizontally. After measuring and remeasuring and looking at dozens of cribs, we decided on the Stokke Sleepi System. It costs a bit more money than I would like, however, it solves all of our problems. It starts out as a bassinet which we can keep right next to our bed for the first 6 months. The bassinet is also on wheels, and rolls through doorways so we can move it around the house wherever we go (which is good when you want to keep an eye on sneaky cats who might want to sleep in the bassinet). The bassinet then grows into a round, or oval crib which does not have to be placed horizontally against a wall. The crib then grows into a toddler bed and a youth bed for later on! We also decided on the change table, which allows you to face the baby vertically (rather than sideways like most change tables), and the table also turns into a desk when you're finished with the diapers. I really like the idea of the Stokke System-it's modern, and great for small spaces.
Source: via Melissa on Pinterest
Source: via Diana on Pinterest
Source: via Tiffany on Pinterest

Friday, January 11, 2013

Week 32 Pregnancy

Yeah, okay. Week 32 was 2 weeks ago. But I have pictures with my belly stickers for it!

Symptoms: On and off back pain. Pins and needles under left breast that comes and goes. Fatigue. Sleep is terrible! The other night I peed 5X! I've always had bad insomnia, so it has tripled now with my pregnancy insomnia. I'm worried about how I am going to cope with work, being so sleep deprived. I'm also out of breath because baby girls legs are taking up a lot of room in there.

Baby Movements: Tons of movements. We can actually feel her foot pressing into my side, and we push it to make her push back.

Baby Buys: Three organic onesies that were on sale for boxing day. Prepping: For the past 2 days we've been organizing and cleaning the room that will be the babies. My baby shower is coming up soon! Hopefully we have furniture soon and a few more supplies. I want to start washing her clothes, prepping cloth diapers, and put together my emergency hospital bag soon.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pregnancy Comforts

Here are some various things that have become a comfort necessity throughout my pregnancy.

The first is a Mexican Bola charm. I've actually owned one since I was 15! (I had to have one after seeing Brenda from 90210 sporting it with a hippie boho outfit). I wear mine almost every day. I find it reminds me of my connection and relationship to my little one in my belly. The idea is that your baby hears the bell chimes in your tummy, and when he/she is born they recognize the sound and feel comfort.
Next is dark chocolate covered almonds. Can't live without them.
Maternity jeans eventually became a necessity-and I love them! Thyme Maternity has some really nice pants. They're comfortable, practical, and they look stylish! I only have 3 pairs of pants that I generally rotate, but I think everyone should have these in their wardrobe.
Source: via Melissa on Pinterest
Stretch mark creams! Yes, we all hope to fend off the battle scars with magical creams. I've already told myself that I will not care if I get them, because it represents life and love. However, I still like to lather my tummy like no tomorrow. My favourite has been this butter by Now. It's a raw cocoa butter, solid in nature, food grade, that I melt and rub on. It smells like chocolate and is very moisturizing.
Source: via Melissa on Pinterest
This Third Trimester Tea is a fairly new drink I've been indulging in. It's very tastey because it contains other leaves aside from Raspberry Leaf. I've been trying to drink at least one cup a day, and am working my way up to drinking a more potent version of it in a few weeks.
Seriously, I've never loved my pilates ball more than now! This picture shows one of three of my favourite positions during pregnancy. This is one of the only positions that has eased my upper back pain.
I purchased the Snoogle Pillow early on in my pregnancy, and I could not imagine sleeping without it. I rotate during the night on both of my sides, and it helps me to get into a managable position. Definitely recommended.
Source: via Melissa on Pinterest

Baby Gender/Sex Reveal Party

It's a...  GIRL!!  
So back in early December we finally had a small gender (or for more accuracy, sex) reveal party for our little one.  Although we knew way back in early October what the sex was, we decided to wait until Vytas's parents returned from their worldly travels to tell them in person.  We had just a few close family members over, and ordered some chinese food for lunch.  I brought over some vanilla vegan cupcakes that I ordered from a local bakery (they were delicious!), that they filled with pink icing.  My cousin was overjoyed when she tore into hers before everyone else, thinking she heard me say 'go!'  She's been willing the baby to be a female for months, and has even named her Penelope (which isn't the name we've chosen).   


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Home Birth and Natural Childbirth



Source: via Melissa on Pinterest

Like many women, before I became pregnant I never gave labour a second thought. For a good majority of my life up until a few years ago, I didn't even give motherhood a second thought. But as soon as I found out that I was expecting, I starting researching like a fiend. I wanted to know everything that was going on inside my body. I wanted to be as prepared as I could be for the arrival of my baby.   

I've spent the last 7 years or so changing a lot of my habits.  I went from a meat eating diet, to a vegan lifestyle.  I try to purchase as much organic produce, locally grown foods, and organic/natural beauty products and cleaning products.  These decisions were based on my respect for myself, animals, and the environment that I live in.  So, it only makes sense to aim for the most natural, non-medicated pregnancy and birth that I can. 

What I found difficult when researching, and listening to people's opinions, was that more often I came across two different extremes.  People were either really for an obstetrical model (ie. in a hospital, being monitored, accepting a physicians advise on interventions/medications/tests etc...), or for a midwife (less instrusive and generally more open to listening to the patient's concerns or beliefs.  Less interventions.).  My observation has been that there is a difference in opinion depending on generational gaps.  Meaning, parents and grandparents think that a home birth is a wacky new-age idea that borders on being irresponsible, because why would someone choose that when our medical system is 'so modern.'  Whereas a younger generation tends to be more informed on their choices and open to different birthing options.  That's not to say that all 'young' people are open to home births, because I've come across quite a few who question why I am not having an elective c-section.  The same goes for the older generation, meaning I've had some positive responses from people saying they wished they had that option when they gave birth. 

What really sold me on having a home birth was a combination of attending a home birth session at my midwifery care centre, and watching the documentary The Business of Being Born.   I highly recommend the documentary, as well as discussing your options with your midwife.  What I learned was that my midwife actually brings a ton of equipment to my house, which is equivalent to a basic level 1 hospital.  Most births do not require expensive monitoring equipment, and rarely do they become a split second emergency where the baby needs to come out immediately.  Often there are signs along the way that complications may arise, and a midwife is trained to see these signs so they can transfer you safely to a hospital for more observation and assistance (if needed).  A midwife can also administer saline injections for pain management, do basic sutures for tearing, and have on hand medications for excessive bleeding, oxygen, and other medical supplies. 

After being diagnosed with fertility issues and going through a very unnatural process to become pregnant, I knew that I wanted the least invasive pregnancy and labour and delivery experience.  I don't think it was until I watched The Business of Being Born that I realized how much I wanted that natural birth experience.  I never realized how flawed the medical system was when it came to inducing women, giving women a time limit on how long they can labour for, and then there's the negative results of the interventions (epidural, pitocin, fetal monitoring, c-section, episiotomy etc...).  There's also the fear that women are losing the ability to deliver naturally because  of unnessary medical interventions, and the high rate of c-sections in North America.   I want to be able to let what the human body should be able to do on its own.  In order to do that, I decided that a home birth would give me the best chances of having a natural delivery.  Here are some reasons why:

1.  I will be comfortable in my own surroundings.  I will be able to control my environment (lighting, music, heat, food, etc...).
2.  I won't have to experience streams of medical students coming in and out of my room, or nurses changing shifts.  I will have a team of people I know and trust.
3.  I will be less likely to ask for an epidural, because I would then be forced to transfer to a hospital.
4.  Being more comfortable in my environment means less stress.  Stress can play a big factor in how you labour and deliver.  It can cause labour to slow down or stop.
5.  I won't have the worries of traveling to and from a hospital during labour or post-delivery with my newborn.  Also, less worry of infection or sickness for the newborn. 
6.  I will be able to get in lots of different birthing positions, use a birthing tub, and essentionally have more ability to labour how I want to labour.

I just wanted to add, that I realize that I won't know how I will respond to labour until I go through it.  It's very possible that I could have a difficult delivery, but it's also possible that I could have the birthing experience that I set out for.  Hospitals exist for emergencies, or when there needs to be more medical care than is typical for someone who wasn't deemed high risk.  I believe there is a place for both midwives and obstetricians, but I also acknowledge that their models of care are different.  In order to give myself the best chances for a natural birth, I am choosing to labour and deliver at home with a midwife. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Years Intentions and Reflections

Source: via Lorie on Pinterest
Source: via Melissa on Pinterest

So, it's that time of year again.  Except this year, it feels different.  I spent my New Year's Eve eating some delicious  indian food at a local restaurant, and hopping into bed before 11 pm.  I realize that with my soon-to-be motherhood that there will be life changing routines and decisions that will happen shortly.  Also, there will be limitations to what I will be able to accomplish.  I'm not being pessimistic, but rather realistic in my outlook.  International vacationing time, extracurricular courses, and intense yoga practices will most likely be put on hold for a little while.  That's not to say that these things cannot be done on a smaller scale.  I thought I would use this time to reflect on the past year, and set some intentions for 2013.

To put it simply, last year seemed to involve way too much 'in my head' time, and I would love to reconnect with my body and environment.  Seeing that I will be on maternity leave starting mid-February 2013 until the end of May 2014, I will have a lot of 'me' time (and baby of course!).  2012 involved a lot of external conflicts and negative influences.  In other words, my daily working conditions really affected my spirit and also my energy levels to pursue other things that I love.  Often I felt like I was holding onto a thread, working to live, to pay bills, to support my maternity leave, but I was left drained and feeling helpless at so many moments.  I kept telling myself to hold on, because it wouldn't be too much longer until I would be away from that environment and sitting at home with my little daughter.  It seemed wrong on so many levels to push through the negative treatment in order to be able to take maternity leave, but at the same time it also felt like the easiest and most viable solution.  I know that I should be pursuing something that inspires me, and that allows me to be creative and share my love of interests to others, but that icky money factor always enters into the decision making. 

So what are my intentions for this year?  There are so many things that I am looking forward to.  So many unknowns.  I know motherhood will have its challenges, but I am looking forward to everything that it entails.  I need to be healthy, both mentally and physically for my daughter.  I want to be the best role model that I can be.  I understand, and full-heartedly accept that I will not be perfect, but there's nothing wrong with striving to improve.  Here are some intentions for this year:

2013 Intentions for Motherhood
1.  To be present and make healthy, logical decisions during my labour and delivery.
2.  To breastfeed exclusively for at least 6 months.
3.  Spend as much time connecting as a family.
4.  Take time to experience motherhood and my baby's milestones.
5.  Exclusively cloth diaper.

2013 Personal Goals/Intentions
1.  To post a blog and vlog once a week.
2.  Post-delivery:  To attend a yoga class at a studio once a week.
3.  Continue my personal yoga practice at home.
4.  Go on as many daily walks as possible and connect with nature.
5.  Purchase as much organic and local produce as possible.
6.  Pay off my student loans (this will happen this year!)
7.  Take more pictures!
8.  Join a mommy type group (ie. yoga baby/mama classes)