Mia’s Momalogue Chapter 4: I hated being pregnant and that’s ok

 

I remember the first day I knew I was pregnant. My stomach would’t settle. I had this terrible indigestion that made me feel nauseous. No amount of Tums would settle it. A test said negative but I knew otherwise. That was just the first of the annoying symptoms that followed me around for 9 months.

In that two week wait window my mind was racing a million miles per hour. I didn’t feel ready for this – not having any other friends that had babies this was a whole new world I knew nothing about and was riddled with anxiety, fear, worry – none of the happy, excited, joyful feelings I thought I would have when we decided to start a family. Which left me confused. This couldn’t be normal could it? (I later found out it can definitely be normal).

Finally those two little pink lines showed up – and instead of happy tears I cried tears of fear ( I hate admitting it now – because I have been blessed with the most perfect little human and I should of been happy but I said I would be totally honest and at the time I was scared.) And then more annoying little symptoms started. I was lucky not to have a bad pregnancy (aside from the GD) but the indigestion, nausea, extreme fatigue, then came the round ligament and joint pain  – and as an athlete not being able to use my body like I was did was strange and unwelcoming.

I tried to hide these feelings deep inside me – I put on a smile because and told myself how lucky we were to be pregnant (and trust me I know how lucky we are and I am thankful everyday) but the more I tried to cover up those other feelings and tell people I was fine with a smile on my face the more lost I felt. I wasn’t being honest with anyone, especially not myself and that made me even more tired.

It was finally at a prenatal workout class where the instructor asked what we have loved most about being pregnant. I was first to go and I just blurted out, ” I haven’t loved anything.” It was the first time I said it out loud and it felt so good to be honest with everyone there as well as with myself. I immediately felt guilty when the very next person answered; “well it took me a long time to get pregnant so I have loved all of it.” – ugh I am such an asshole I thought to myself. But then one person after another agreed with me saying how miserable they have been, how un-magical it was and for the first time in my pregnancy I didn’t feel so alone.

What I am trying to get at here is that you can be excited about the idea of having a baby, but that doesn’t mean you have to be excited about being pregnant. About giving up sushi and wine for 9 months, about waking up every morning with a new pain (and by waking up I mean sleeping for two hours while tossing and turning trying to find a comfortable position), about literally having to fall asleep on the carpet of your office because you are too tired to make it to the bed. Ya none of this is glamorous, or fun, or magical in my opinion (yes I find the process of pregnancy and the fact that we are able to create life magical) but not how I felt in the moment.

So be honest with yourself and with those in your circle. Don’t try and go through this alone my friends.

Oh and lastly just know it will all be worth it – I remember holding that little purple squirmy wormy baby in my arms for the first time and immediately forgot the misery of the past 9 months ( I guess that is how women do it multiple times, they just forget). And while there may have been a moment or two during my pregnancy where I literally told my stomach I hated it ( yes the few moments I regret and blame fully on hormones) everything and I mean everything was worth it when I looked into that little man’s eyes for the first time.

So I promise there is a silver lining at the end of all of this – a love so strong you never knew it could exist and you realize those nine months was just the start of the sacrifices you will make for this human because you will literally do anything for them.

You got this mommas I promise!

xo

Mia

Mom life: Returning to work after mat leave

While the first few days feel like I blur I still remember the feeling. The feeling of utter joy to have my new baby in my arms but I also remember just feeling so overwhelmed, anxious, scared, and of course tired. I remember wishing away the early days. I can’t wait until he sleeps through the night or I can’t wait until he no longer has to feed every two hours.

But then the days started to fly by, and those early sleepless nights were a distant memory. As someone once told me “The days are long but the years are short.” And it’s so true – this year flew by in the blink of an eye. And 13 months since I said see ya later to the Weather Network to embark on this incredible new journey as mom – it is time to head back to work.

This year has been my biggest year of growth yet. It has taught me patience, kindness, love (like I have never known before) and what is truly important to me. It has been a year full of memories, laughter, tears, and now it is time to turn the page on the book again and start a new chapter.

I was speaking with my therapist the other day about the anxiety I am having around finding the perfect balance. A balance between work and life they say but it is so much more than that, work, life, family, friends, my baby, and myself. It sounds like something only a superhero could do. I was feeling so overwhelmed that this wasn’t possible. And you know what – finding that perfect balance might not be humanly possible -but we decided I would just take it one day at a time.

Before having Max my life was my work – I had worked for 10 years to get to where I am and I finally found a job that I actually saw as a career that I love. After years of working part time, freelance, hard news and all the in between moments. At the Weather Network I have finally had a chance to tell real stories, ones that matter. Bringing important information to people, while also focusing on climate change and sustainability – which is something I care deeply about. I have had a chance to even create my own documentaries on these topics. I love my work – it has allowed me to travel and explore. I have seen the Northern Lights in the Yukon, the glaciers that tower over Whistler, the grizzlies of the Great Bear Rainforest. I have been given so many incredible opportunities and I am truly excited to see what comes next as the videographer and bureau chief for the Weather Network out here in British Columbia.

But now I have this new priority in my life. Gone are the days where I can just pack a bag and go. Gone are the days where I can just drop everything and run out to cover active weather. It is going to be a new balancing act for sure – one that I am nervous to try and conquer, but also one that I am excited about. I am excited to write this next chapter of my life – of our lives.

I know it isn’t going to be easy, there are going to be hiccups, and bumps and challenges – but that is the world we live in, and now I know just how challenging it is to be a working mom, but I want to be a mom that my son is proud of.

So mommas I see you, I feel you and I am here with you as you start to write new chapters of your own lives.

xo

Mia

Mia’s Mom-alogue Chapter 3: The dreaded diabetes and more from past 20 weeks

Well if this isn’t where things start to get exciting during a pregnancy. In fact this chapter of my mom-alogue involves a bear encounter, a fight with a pair of socks, and a leaky lady part. Here we go 20 weeks and beyond, and by beyond I mean when somehow despite your stomach being the size of a small planet it just keeps expanding.

The dreaded Gestational Diabetes test 

I remember going into my gestational diabetes test with extreme confidence. I am a former pro athlete, I lead an extremely healthy lifestyle, there is no diabetes in my family. I chugged that disgusting orange drink like a champ and left with a skip in my step. But alas I got the call from the doctor just a few hours later – I had gestational diabetes and oh my iron levels were very very low ( I guess that explains the extreme fatigue). I remember sitting on the couch yelling at my poor unborn child that I really hated him at this point ( I feel very guilty of that now) but at the time where I had yet to enjoy much of my pregnancy this was just icing on the cake (cake I wasn’t allowed to eat). This is hard for me to admit,  and looking back at it I actually had a really easy pregnancy, one without too many complications and issues, but I wasn’t able to see that in this moment of disappointment – and guess what momma’s, it is ok to feel all the feels when you are pregnant.

I got the news just as I was about to leave on my baby-moon, and by baby-moon I mean the trip my husband had to cancel and I was now travelling on a few close friends. I remember showing up to the airport with my new meter and lancets on hand pricking my finger to test my sugar levels.

We were traveling to the Yukon in October, which meant beautiful fall colours but a crisp air, early darkness, oh and grizzly bears getting ready for hibernation. And so while all my friends were eating their homemade dessert I had to go out in the dark with two bear sprays in hand to get my 15 minute walk in post dinner and avoid the sugars that I wasn’t supposed to eat. After a night of singing to myself at the top of my lungs to hopefully scare of the grizzlies I decided to instead walk around the dinner table for 15 minutes watching my friends eat dessert. It was the ultimate form of torture. In fact if you ever need to get information out of someone – just make them watch their friends eat warm apple pie while they have to smell it and look at it but can’t eat it and on top of that they have to walk in the room with the pie for 15 minutes.

Alas I did not run into any grizzlies in the Yukon – but once I returned home to Squamish on a very cold, very dark, very wet post dinner walk with my dog Huey he started growling at something and when I looked up there was a giant black bear no more than 10 feet from me. Thankfully the black bear was nose deep in a garbage can and I ddi what you are never ever supposed to do if you do encounter a bear… I ran.

The GD brought on a whole other medical issue for me – one that I found out is called white coat syndrome. Every time I stepped into a doctor’s office from this point on I was so afraid I was going to get more bad news that my blood pressure would escalate. I was told to go into the room early before each appointment and meditate, the most tranquil setting let me tell you. Needless to say that did not work and I was sent off three times to check my urine for preeclampsia. They officially knew me by name there. Oh here is Mia back again for a urine sample let’s just try and keep her as cool as a cucumber.

Because of my GD I was scheduled in for two extra ultrasounds at 34 and 37 where I found out my baby was measuring large and I mean I was on pace to have an 11 pounder. Oh and also my water was normal but low – don’t ask me what that means. I was now petrified of what my body was going to have to do. I kept begging my doctor to induce me early, while he was still a manageable size, but she just kept telling me I was able to control my GD so I was creating a baby the right size for my body – I tend to disagree – no one’s body is supposed to deliver an 11 pound baby.

I decided I would take things into my own hands. I did every old wives tale in the book – spicy food, raspberry leaf tea, acupuncture, alas nothing worked and I ended up delivering 3 days late, on Christmas, a 9 pound 9.6 ounce baby but that story is for another day.

A fight… with a sock 

I was lucky that for most of my pregnancy my actual body felt great (aside from the acid reflux I have spoken often about). I was working out daily, spinning, hiking, I had a lot of energy (most days in my second trimester at least). And I was carrying pretty well if I do say so myself. But then that all changed once I hit 30 weeks.

It seemed that every single morning my belly grew. It was like the poor girl who turns into a blueberry in the chocolate factory. I thought I was literally about to pop – but somehow it just kept expanding and expanding.

Then it happened, I could no longer reach over my belly to my feet. It happened on a cold November day when I had to go out for my post dinner GD walk and I was trying to put on my socks, but I could’t reach. I tried everything. Rolling around the bed, kicking my leg high in the air, crawling up in the fetal position on the ground. I eventually had to accept defeat and call in reinforcement, aka my husband. He also then had to tie my shoelace for me before I walked out the door. It was one of the more humbling moments of my pregnancy.

The weird, whacky, and the eww 

What I also learned in the later stages of my pregnancy is all the weird things that happen to your body that no one tells you about and that just don’t make sense. I remember getting on the phone with my doctor when I thought my mucus plug fell out (if you don’t know what that is do not google it). She told me not to worry, it may just grow back.

I also remember one day where I barely felt baby move – unfortunately my husband was a few drinks deep hosting some friends so a girlfriend came to the hospital with me. We didn’t have the heart to tell the sweet nurse that we were not a couple and my deer friend came for moral support since my husband was a little tipsy and couldn’t drive me. We had to finally come clean when she asked my friend how to spell her name to put her on my medical file.

Oh and then there was Christmas eve morning when I was convinced I was leaking amniotic fluid and so another trip to the hospital – only for the results to come back negative for amniotic fluid and so now on my medical file it says, and I quote, I came in for a ‘leaky vagina’. Oh joy. We did do a sweep though and less than 24 hours later my amniotic fluid didn’t leak – it poured. My water broke at 12:01 Christmas morning but again that is a story for another chapter.

But the moral of this story mommas is if you feel like something is off, or wrong, or different trust your instinct. In fact the moment we left after my none stress test the nurse told me if I got to the parking lot and was worried about something else to just come back. It is better to be over cautious and get something checked when the resources are available – especially when you are going through this completely new completely overwhelming  experience. You are not alone and you have a whole team behind you. I am so thankful for not just the team of my friends and family, but the amazing team of nurses, doctors, and hospital staff that helped get me through my white coat syndrome, GD, large baby delivery, pregnancy.

No matter what your pregnancy throws at you momma just remember you are strong as a mother and you can do this.

Next up L&D – the real fun stuff.

xo

Mia

What to do if your baby gets sick while on vacation

Our family recently went on a beautiful vacation to Mexico, one problem though, our baby got traveller’s diarrhea half way through our trip. if you thought newborn diapers were wet, gross, and hard to clean, just wait until you have to deal with these kind of diapers. But aside from the diarrhea or poor little guy had a fever, a terrible diaper rash that was bleeding, and once he had blood in his stool we knew we had to do something.

It was so scary seeing our baby so sick (especially since it was the first time for us dealign with a sickness) but being so far away from home, in a foreign country, trying to communicate the issue in a different language, with medicine that also doesn’t have english on the label – well that just adds even more fear and anxiety to the situation. And so I wanted to share a few tips on what to do if your baby gets sick while on vacation.

Preparation is key

There are a few things you can do to prepare for the possibility of a sick baby before you even step foot on the plane. This is something I have learned very quickly as a new mom.

Even when I am just going to the park, I am always traveling with a first aid kit that has everything from baby tylenol to band-aids.

On top of packing first aid items you can also do a little extra research ahead of time. Talk to your doctor about safety tips for the particular place you are traveling to. Make sure your child is up to date on all their vaccines and get any additional ones that might be needed for the area you are visiting. Also check your travel insurance ahead of time in case you need to visit a doctor while abroad (like we did… twice).

 

Try to stay calm and assess the situation

Ok, you prepared as much as you could and your child still gets sick, now what? It is easy to go into panic mode in this situations – I know easier said than done ( I definitely went straight into panic mode), but thankfully I had my much more grounded husband by my side (and very lucky his GP mom) to help me stay calm. Even if you don’t have that support team though, it is important to remind yourself your child needs you and you need to stay calm to figure out the best plan of action for them.

Think about what you would do if you were dealing with a sick kid back home. How do you need to treat this? Is it something that just needs rest and fluids or do you need medication?

 

Regarding medication, finding the ideal one while on vacation might be difficult. It is even more challenging when the medication labelling is written in a foreign language. Fortunately, there is a way around this hurdle; you only need a good internet connection. It takes effective planning even before you get on the plane. For example, if your child has asthma, pack the appropriate inhalers. However, it would also help if you ordered the appropriate COPD medication prescribed by the doctor to help handle the situation. While doing all this, remember to stay calm throughout the situation.

Trust your instinct and seek help if you need it

I knew my babe wasn’t well but I didn’t trust my instincts right away. We kept going back and forth on if we actually needed medical help, that it wasn’t until we saw blood in his stool (which even google will tell you is no good) that we made the call. If something feels off and you need help, get it – but on that note do your research. Check online to find the most reputable doctor’s office.

But try and get a second opinion if you can

Like I mentioned, we were super lucky to have my husband’s mom with us – who right away told us that the medication they prescribed our son wasn’t the right one. Of course not everyone has the luxury of having a doctor in their family. If it isn’t an emergency and you might be able to get on the phone with your doctor back home (especially if you are in a different country) I would highly suggest doing that.

Adjust your itinerary

Sure it is no fun when you have to cancel plans you have been looking forward to – but hey getting your child better is top priority – and if you can do that in the sunshine by a pool at your resort -well that sounds pretty good to me. We were lucky that we had a team with us (aka my husband’s parents) so we decided to take turns and everyone got to stay home and snuggly with our sick babe and also hit the town for a little date night. At the same time don’t the experience totally ruin the trip. I was exhausted by the end and needed another vacation – but we still created some beautiful memories as a family.

Take care of yourself so you can take care of baby

In our case it was traveller’s diarrhea but what it if was a virus? It is hard enough to take care of your sick child in a foreign country, but to do that while fighting off a virus yourself? No bueno. If your child does get sick try and take those extra measures – extra hand washing, stay hydrate etc.

We survived the first one and I am sure it won’t be the last but don’t let the idea of a sick baby on vacation deter you from booking that ticket to experience the world with your little one.

xo

Mia

Mia’s Momalogue Chapter 2: Hurry up and wait (for more than 9 months)

Can you believe it has already been a month since my fist mom-alogue?? I can’t believe I thought I would be able to do this bi-monthly, I barely got this one finished in time, but alas here we are. In this chapter I am going to focus on those early pregnancy days where you have to hurry up and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait some more. I honestly thought there would be a lot more to do in the beginning but no, there wasn’t, which also just meant a lot of time to be anxious about all the things I wasn’t doing yet… 

The first Dr. appointment  

When I first saw those two lines on the pregnancy test I called my doctor right away. I was so overwhelmed and flustered that I can’t even remember if I was speaking english on the phone. About a week after my dating ultrasound I had an in person appointment where I actually prepared some questions like, when do we need to discuss my birth plan? What are the next steps? I was surprised at some of her answers: “We have lots of time to work on the birth plan.” “Right now the next steps are to just relax and take care of yourself”. I thought there was going to a whole list of things I need to do and check off, the athlete in me was ready to get to work, but instead I was told there really was nothing to do. “I recommend early genetic testing but that’s about all.

I left the appointment with more questions than answers – I thought pregnancy was a lot of work (which it definitely is later on) but I really thought I was going to have legit homework to do each week – instead I was told to just sit back and try my best to relax ( I later realized that was the hardest homework assignment of them all).

We ended up taking our doctor’s advice and get genetic testing done – those were the longest 10 days of my entire life. I remember the doctor’s office called me while I was at work and when I called them back it was their lunch break. I had to wait 30 minutes, which felt like 30 days to get the results – low risk – the best words in the english language was what I finally heard.

What to expect from the endless waiting game

Then it was back to the waiting game. As someone who constantly has a million projects on the go and the word relax is not part of my vocabulary – this whole hurry up and wait thing was really killing me and then there is the fact that you are expected to wait to tell anyone, so you are going through this nerve wracking experience on your own and have to try and act normal when you see anyone.

At this point I expected that pregnancy glow, that luscious hair, and oh the cute bump pics – but alas I don’t think I got the glow until 30 weeks and it was actually just sweat, the hair never came, and I went straight from not showing to waddling, there was no cute in between phase for me.

But what was really killing me was the fact that aside from my constant indigestion – there was rally no other signs to reassure  me that baby was ok during these early days. When a month finally passed and I was finally back at the doctor’s office I was so anxious to hear that heart beat – and there it was;  boom boom boom boom – the most magical sound in the world.

Then it was back to anxiety – I felt like humpty dumpty trying to get back on the wall. Every day I was googling this new pain or discomfort that was likely round ligament pain but it could also be a deadly rare disease. Every day I had 99 problems and 86 of them were made up scenario  in my head that 0.00001% of the population might develop during pregnancy.

The very very awkward 20 week ultrasound 

Finally after what felt like decades it was time for something –  my 20 week ultrasound. No one warned me that this would be one of the hardest hurry up and wait moments of the entire pregnancy. I knew that this ultrasound was to do all the babies measurements – but I didn’t know it would take an hour of click click here and a zoom zoom here – and since it was still at the height of covid – I was in there all alone with the ultrasound tech – who also doubles as an amazing actor. I kept trying to look for clues in her face – every frown, squint, hmm and ahhh I figured there was something very very wrong with my baby. And every time I asked if my baby was ok she said that I would have to wait until my doctor’s appointment. When I asked if she could at least tell me if he had 10 fingers – she said  we don’t focus on number of limbs just that they are all the right size.

A few days later I got the call that I had a healthy looking baby boy with a very large head, which was quite concerning for me as I was going to have to birth this large headed child (ladies chose your partner wisely based on head size for the sake of your body). And after that 20 week ultrasound I really did have homework. Organize a birth class, book your GD testing, book your rH factor shot and the list goes on. Part of me wished I could go back to the early days of waiting and waiting.

Oh and just a little note – I never actually wrote up a birth plan.

Here are some tips that helped me in the early days and will hopefully help you as well.

  • If you want to tell someone before the three month “safe mark” go ahead and tell them. Honestly the risk of miscarriages goes down tremendously after 7 weeks and if that were to happen to me, these are the friends that I would need as a shoulder to cry on anyway. Telling a few friends early helped make this super anxious time a little easier to navigate
  • Listen to your doctor when they say to take it easy. I freaked out that I wasn’t doing enough, now with a walking 11 month old I long for the days of relaxing. Trust me you have time to finish the nursery and research strollers, and come up with a birth plan
  • Listen to your body not google. Like I said those early days are hard because there is no tell tale signs that everything is going well and baby is healthy and google is a deep dark rabbit hole of fear – instead if you have a concern reach out to the medical team. Where I live our maternity doctors were so gracious and helpful every step of the way and never made me feel like I was wrong for reaching out with any kind of question
  • Find distractions. The waiting game is HARD – but I got into some prenatal workout classes and home deco, and even started meditating to try and calm myself down during this period of time.
  • Just know the 20 week ultrasound is awkward AF ( I wish someone had told me this ahead of time but like I mentioned in my previous momalogue I was the first of my friends to have a baby so I had to find this out the hard way) but just know that every click and zoom is to double check things and make sure your baby is as healthy as can be – and we have a great health care system that prioritizes these checkups. Your baby likely has all fingers and toes – despite not being confirmed – and even if you are told he has a big head – your body can still push out a healthy baby I promise

Like I said after the 20 week mark things really escalate and I am looking forward to sharing that next chapter with you in November but in the meantime mommas enjoy this time where your only goal is to take care of yourself .

xo

Mia