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

Mia’s Mom-alogue Chapter 1: If you ain’t first you’re last

 

The idea behind mom-alogue

So there I was, sitting with my nearly one year old baby ( well 10 months let’s not age him) sending memes back and forth with a girlfriend who also recently had a baby and then sharing stories of how these memes actually related to our new normal – why yes my baby did bite me while feeding today and yes I did snort his snot out of his nose… And it was in this moment I decided I was going to start a podcast for new moms. As I started to read up on “how to start a podcast” my baby woke up. I decided if I couldn’t figure out how to start a podcast in an hour nap time it wasn’t for me. And so instead I decided to start sharing my mom life lessons here on my blog.

There are a million “real” and “honest” and “funny” mom blogs/podcasts/youtube channels out there right? So what sets mine apart you may ask? Absolutely nothing actually. I have no qualifications, no degree, I am definitely not a doctor – although my mother-in-law is (if you are a mom friend of mine I have definitely said that to you oh a dozen times). But I have just leaned so much on my own friends to get me through the ups, downs, and everything in between of becoming a new mom, that I wanted to be your friend and help you through this crazy, beautiful, exhausting, emotional time of your life. And so every month I will add to the blog a new mom-alogue and I promise to be real, and honest, and open, and I like to find humour in some of these moments (how else do we make it through on like 4 hours of sleep a day?) and I am sure no one will really care because again, lack of qualifications, but that’s ok. If I can make one new, exhausted, and overwhelmed mom feel slightly less lonely then my job here is done. So let’s begin at the beginning.

Chapter 1: If you’re not first you’re last 

I decided to begin my mom-alogue with my experience of being the first of my friends to have a baby. My husband and I were one of the lucky ones that snuck our wedding in before the pandemic, and while I begged to wait until our friends tide the knot to start trying, after the zillionth covid wave, we decided it was time to try this whole baby thing out. Being the first brings on anxiety that I never really expected. Will my friends want to hang out with me ever again because I now bring a crying piece of hip luggage along? Will I ever sleep again ( I really really really like sleep)? I have never held a baby before what if I don’t support the neck right and it break? I don’t have any qualifications to keep this mostly helpless human alive!  (This was a surprisingly very common question or at least statement in my birthing class).

When I got around to taking a pregnancy test and texted 2 girlfriends and my mom asking if they saw the faint pink line I did, while holding it up to every light in the house I had this overwhelming sense of I am so so not cut out for this. I was more scared than that time I came face to face with a black mamba (just the world’s most poisonous snake). And then the very next day I got indigestion for the first time in my life and I knew for a fact that faint line that everyone said I was making up was really there and oh ya that indigestion I speak of lasted for 9 whole months.

We then had to patiently wait for the genetic testing results. The doctor called  me while I was working and when I called back they were on their lunch break. I spent the next 2 hours (which felt more like 10) panicking over every worst case scenario. Finally I was able to get through, and with tears in my eyes and clearly in my voice I asked the doctor how bad is it? She said you are low risk – would you like to know the gender?

Since I was the first of my friends I didn’t have anyone to really talk to about this.  The next few weeks google and I became both best friends and worst enemies as every cramp I felt could either be very normal round ligament pain, or an immediate visit to the ER.  There is nothing worse than going for your dating ultrasound and then literally never speaking to a doctor again for a month. I can be an anxious person but this took things to a whole new level. And while every blog told me to relax my brain said HA.HA.

On top of all of that my indigestion was making me feel sick daily, I had to pee every 20 minutes, oh and I had a food aversion to everything including coffee, which didn’t help with the fact that I was beyond exhausted. In fact I would get to 2 in the afternoon and just need a nap. And by need a nap I mean I would fall asleep on the carpet in my office. I called it my office dirt naps since I didn’t even have the energy to get to my bedroom. It was a fun time, and again I didn’t really have anyone to turn to in my friend group.

The turning point

Eventually a friend of a friend reached out and told me about pre-natal workout classes she was doing. I was only 14 weeks at the time and not showing yet so I didn’t think I qualified for prenatal classes, but I decided to go anyway. It was here that I met my mom crew – my people. We would go on walks together, for none coffee dates (remember I couldn’t stomach coffee). And lunches. I would come home to my husband and be all giddy about the new girlfriend I made and whose number I got today. It was like dating, but way less pressure – and thankfully since I was a few weeks behind all of them they could prep me for what was to come. The awkwardness of the 20 week scan where the tech will literally not say one word to you, the disgusting sugary drink you have to chug for the gestational diabetes test, what a mucus plug is (that was a fun life lesson). I was so thankful for this group of friends.

Yes there are advantages to being the first 

Now let me tell you why I say ‘If you ain’t first, you’re last’. While I was scared, anxious, overwhelmed to be the first of my friends it actually turned out to be a true blessing. Guess what, I still got invited to dinners and trivia night – but instead of two hands to hold the baby I had 20. Everyone wanted a snuggle. “Do you want me to hold the baby while you finish your dinner?” “Do you want me to hold the baby while you shower?” “Can I just hold your baby?” – Guess what, the more babies that come into the group, the less and less that happens – everyone has their own baby to stop from falling down the stairs or eating rocks. Don’t worry through friends – I will always try and offer to hold your baby because I know how helpful it is. And even if you aren’t the first your baby is not last – your baby is special and wonderful and special – but for any of my mommas out here feeling the fear because they are the first of their friend group to take the plunge, just know it isn’t that bad – and then you can pass down all your “expert” advice (again I have absolutely now qualifications except my baby seems to be a happy camper 96% of the time). And now I get to be excited for all of my friends that are going through their own pregnancy journey.

That is all for now my friends – stay tuned for chapter 2.

You got this mommas

xo

Mia

The truth about birth plans

I remember going into my first prenatal doctors appointment. I was 12 weeks and I asked my GP, ‘when should I start working on my birth plan’. You could tell she was holding back a smirk and responded, not anytime soon.

As my appointments went on the birth plan was always in the back of my mind. We started to get into weekly visits and she still hadn’t told me to start working on my plan and so I decided to be proactive and google how to create a birth plan.

I went through the steps and check marks and filled out the papers. I then sat my husband down and asked if I could discuss it with him so that he could manage it if I was in too much pain. As we went through the list I soon realized that every answer was the same, ‘I would prefer not to have a c-section but if the doctor says it’s the best option then we will do that’. ‘I don’t want an episiotomy but if the doctor says its the best option then I am ok with that.’ Every answer was if the doctor says that is best for baby and me then that is what we will do.

So at the end of the day we left the birth plan at home and just went to the hospital with an open mind. Having said that, I did find there were some positive takeaways from going through the steps of creating a birth plan that I want to share with you.

Ways having a birth plan helped prepare me for labour 

1. It made me do the research 

Before creating a birth plan I had no idea what an episiotomy was. As I went through the checklist I did some research so that I had as much information as possible and knew what could happen during labour. The birth plan gave me the gift of knowledge, which actually gave me confidence going into labour.

2. It taught me some new things

While doing research into a birth plan I learned the acronym B.R.A.I.N. This stands for Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Intuition, Nothing. While I knew if given a choice I wanted to do whatever the medical professional thought was best for baby and me – It was good to know that I had choices and gave me the information I needed to ask the right questions if I needed to.

3. Creating the plan helped me find ways to stay calm during labour 

While filling out my birth plan they asked questions like do I want music playing or any candles burning – this helped me think of things I could do in the labour room that could help keep me calm during delivery.

4. It helped me ask my doctor the right questions 

Filling out my birth plan online asked some questions I never even thought of or highlighted concerns that I had never heard of and so it gave me the right tools to be able to ask my doctor questions ahead of labour so thatI had all the answers and tools.

Like I have said in some of my other posts everyone’s pregnancy journey and birth are different and so having a birth plan ready to go might be right for you – for me the actual birth plan wasn’t necessary but it did help in other ways prepare me for birth.

But at the end of the day just remember you got this mommas

xo

Mia

 

What you actually need to pack in your hospital bag

Once you hit your third trimester you may start thinking about what you need to bring in your hospital bag. If you are like me, you might be working on this in your second trimester. Let me start off by saying this blog was definitely a learning experience – and I hope I can help some soon-to-be-mommas learn from my mistakes.

I read all the blogs and packed everything that anyone said I might need. I packed, and unpacked, and repacked my hospital bag a dozen times and then when my mat leave started a week before my due date, I packed and unpacked some more. I was driving myself crazy and by the end of it all I had a full bag, as well as my husband, and baby and did we use half of the stuff we took to the hospital? Absolutely not.

So I wanted to break it down for you all into items we actually needed while we were there and some nice to haves as well as items that the hospital was able to provide so you don’t need to bring your own.

Must haves 

 1. A water bottle with a straw: I found this extremely helpful to keep me hydrated. Since contractions can be very intense my husband was able to help me drink in-between each one.

2. Toiletries: I went to shoppers and got the mini travel items so that it would fit easily in my bag. Make sure you have a toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash wipes (easier than face wash), deodorant. I also packed dry shampoo in case we would be there fore a few days and hair ties to keep my hair back during labour and nipple cream to help after labour as we were attempting breastfeeding.

3. Long phone charger: My labour was 13 hours and so I definitely needed to charge my phone but there is likely not going to be an outlet close to the bed so make sure to pack a long phone charger

4. Snacks for you and your partner: The hospital won’t provide food for your partner so it is good to have some snacks on hand. I was also desperate for some fuel as my labour went on because going 13 hours without any food is difficult. Try get easy to digest snacks that will give you a lot of energy like nuts or dried fruit. I also found gatorade extremely helpful .

5. Lip Balm: It is extremely dry in the hospital and so having lip balm nearby was key. I used it as much as I used the button to up my epidural.

6. Comfy coming home clothes: Your body is going to go through a lot over the next few days, you don’t want to try and throw on jeans and leave the hospital. Pack some loose fitting clothes.

7. Slippers or warm socks: After labour it is likely your feet will get swollen as your body starts to release liquids, on top of that you want to be as cozy as possible and you are likely going to be encouraged to move around a little bit to avoid blood clots so slippers will be a huge help.

8. Wallet and health card: This is pretty obvious but when those contractions hit you won’t really be able to think about too much so make sure you remember to bring your health card info.

9. Nursing clothes or comfortable robe: If you plan to breastfeed you will likely be attempting to do that right after giving birth and so it is nice to have some comfortable clothes that have easy access for breastfeeding.

10. Coming home outfit in baby in different sizes: We knew we were having a large baby and so I brought outfits for him in both newborn and 0-3. I also brought a ton of swaddles that didn’t get used because the hospital provide us with some while we were there. We also gave birth in the winter so we made sure we had a hat and gloves as well.

11. Car seat: This will literally be the only test before leaving the hospital. Make sure you know how to put your baby safely in a car seat.

Nice to Haves

1. Your own pillow: Yes the hospital will have pillows but you could have a long labour ahead of you and a few nights in a hospital bed so I appreciated having my own pillow

2. A sleeping bag/blanket for your partner: Hospitals can get quite cold and who knows what the sleeping arrangements will look like. We didn’t end up needing the one we brought because the hospital had quite a comfy chair for him but it was nice to have it in case.

3. Your own towel: We didn’t stay long enough to need a shower, but depending on what kind of birth you have you may be in the hospital a few nights and having your own towel can be comforting.

4. Portable speaker: Depending on what kind of birth plan you have it might be nice to have some way to listen to music while you are in labour. We forgot our speaker and ended up sleeping most of the labour anyway (thankful for that epidural) but I have heard it has been a useful tool for many families.

5. Laptop or tablet for your partner: Again my labour was fairly long, 13 hours and so my husband downloaded a few shows ahead of time that he could watch on the laptop.

6. Essential oils: There is a lot going on when you are in labour – especially the pushing stage (and a lot coming out of you aside from a baby – just managing expectations here). And so I really loved having the essential oils on hand to keep a calm feeling in the room and also to have some nice distracting smells.

7. Wipes: Hospitals will provide you with some but the hospital we were at in particular didn’t have wet wipes and so it was handy to have our own.

Don’t need/hospital will provide

1. A portable fan: We definitely packed one and it took up a ton of space, but the hospital provided us with one. You may want to ask ahead of time if one will be available because this was a nice to have for sure especially when you are getting hot flashes during labour – and pushing is hard work.

2. Diapers for you and your baby: I spent hours on youtube searching the best postpartum underwear only to be given diapers of my own after labour. They had plenty for my baby too and even gave me some of each to take home with me. Oh and they will also have padsicles on hand for postpartum pain.

3. Sitz bath: Sitz baths are lifesavers postpartum so I bought one for myself, but the hospital actually provided me with one.

4. Nightgown: I got a cute one because I read on a blog that you would be more comfortable in you own nighty during birth – but here is the thing, there is so much going on I didn’t even notice if it was more comfortable than a hospital gown, and with all the chaos you will be ripping it off at some point to have skin to skin with your baby once they arrive.

Now every labour is going to be different. We were lucky in the sense ours was pretty straight forward and we only had to stay one night at the hospital. You may need more or less depending on how long you will have to stay, but if it doesn’t all fit in one bag – you have likely overpacked my friends.

Good luck mommas you got this!

xo

Mia

 

Why gestational diabetes was a blessing in disguise

I remember hearing from friends how awful the diabetes test was. You would have to drink this disgusting sugary drink and then have your blood taken to see if you had developed gestational diabetes during your pregnancy. I didn’t know much about gestational diabetes, and honestly didn’t think much of it because I didn’t have any of the predispositions. I am extremely active and a normal weight, there is no diabetes in my family, I was under 35 and this was my first child. I thought I would go into the test and be told everything was normal. I was wrong. Soon after my first test I got the call from my doctor saying the first test was inconclusive and I would have to go back for a longer and more intense test.

Then I got the phone call I really didn’t want to hear, I tested positive for gestational diabetes. I was in a store and I just broke down in tears. Fear came over me, what did this mean for the pregnancy? What did this mean for the baby?

My doctor told me the next steps would be meeting with a dietitian to come up with a game plan. I would also have to start monitoring my blood sugar levels.

On the call, there were several other women who were also in the same boat as me. The dietician went over how we wold monitor our sugar levels and gave us some tips on how to eat properly, as well as some GD friendly snacks we could try.

The next week was brutal. I had to test me levels six times a day, poking my finger before and after every meal. Writing down everything that I ate, and making sure I was going on at least a 15 minute walk after every meal. Despite my best efforts, sometimes my sugars would spike and I would feel extremely discouraged. I felt pity, guilt, and overall sadness that what should be one of the happiest times in my life was becoming a time of constant monitoring, worrying, and fear.

As the week went on though I was able to start to make sense of what worked for my body and what didn’t. I was surprised at how small changes made a huge difference: substituting white bread for whole wheat and tropical fruits for local berries. I was luckily able to control my sugar levels through diet.

On top of eating healthier – protein and veggies at every meal with some complex carbs – I was also forcing myself to move daily. On days that I was super tired it would be something as easy as a walk after my meals. But as I started to eat healthier (and I even lost some weight) I had more energy. I continued doing spin and pregnancy safe HITT classes – and to be honest the aches and pains I thought I would have during my pregnancy never came, nor did the third trimester fatigue.

On top of feeling healthy and energized during my pregnancy I also felt like my birth and recovery was a lot easier thanks to all the exercise I was doing ahead of time. When it came to pushing during labour I felt strong and in control. Post birth my body felt really good. I wasn’t in pain and was able to get back to walking and exercise fairly quickly. I was also back to my pre-pregnancy weight pretty quickly because of how active I was ahead of time.

Yes, being diagnosed with gestational diabetes was scary and yes it was hard to cut out sweets when I was dealing with endless pregnancy cravings, and yes it was hard to keep moving when I couldn’t even put socks on due to my giant belly, but overall I actually think there were some positive takeaways. So mommas if you get diagnosed with GD, keep your head high, you got this! And here are some tips that I found really helped me navigate GD.

Ways to cope with gestational diabetes 

1. Find alternatives for your favourite food items

I love toast, so it was easy to substitute white bread for whole wheat. Same goes for pasta. I was also enjoying eating yogurt, granola and bananas. So I started buying greek yogurt instead of vanilla and would add berries instead of bananas. Even switching milk for dark chocolate can make a big difference. Oh and I satisfied my ice cream cravings with halo ice cream (a low sugar option but still lots of different and delicious flavours to chose from.)

2. Find some exciting low sugar recipes

Sure it took a little more effort to come up with dinner ideas, but trust me there are some delicious options out there. I am a big fan of the cooking blog pinchofyum and the great thing is they have a whole section dedicated to low sugar meals and snacks. It made dinner time fun.

3. Stay active while also listening to your body

I am a very active person, but when you have been growing a human for 9 months there are days where you don’t even want to get out of bed. So I would try and find activities that fit my energy level for that day, but I would always make time for me to move. 9 months pregnant I would be doing anything from an intense spin class to just a 15 minute walk around the block. To be honest though on the days I didn’t want to do anything, just getting out for some fresh air made me feel more energized.

4. Don’t forget the snacks

Like I said I am quite active and so there were days that I would go out for hour long hikes and my sugar levels would actually drop too low  and so it was really important for me to find some easy GD friendly snacks that I could bring on hikes. Nuts was a great option and hard boiled eggs was another go to.

5. Eat a well balanced meal

When you have gestational diabetes is it is important to still eat carbs, but just make sure they are complex carbs. During your pregnancy it is also important to eat lots of protein (with GD lean protein should be your go to) and iron levels can suffer so you want to make sure you also have some greens.

6. Drink lots of water

I was so surprised one day when I had a high sugar level before a meal and so I went for a walk first and drank some water. The walk was only 10 minutes but the combination of walking and water made my levels go way down. Water helps dilute sugar and bring down your levels. I would mix it up by adding lemon or a glass of sparkling water, but just avoid adding anything too sugary for taste.

7. Treat yourself every once in a while

This is supposed to be the most exciting time in your life – but pregnancy is also hard and you are working very hard to make this little human, so if you are craving a cupcake every once in a while go for it. Safe splurges kept me sane during my pregnancy (like a little piece of cake at my baby shower).

8. Remember you are not alone

Meghan Trainor, Selma Hayek, and even Angelina Jolie are all human and all had gestational diabetes so try not to get too down on yourself (or feel guilty like I sure did). I found that reaching out to other mommas who were diagnosed with GD made me feel a bit better and sharing tips and tricks with them was always helpful. It was also great to share a glass of wine and a sugary treat once our babies arrived.

Good luck mommas you got this!

xo

Mia