Oscar Lorenzo – A Natural Birth Story.

I have tried to write this so many times, but alas, the newborn had other plans!  Right now, Oscar has finally gone down for a nap after the 4th try, and I have some time to myself!  A warning to you all that if you’re pregnant, you may want to skip reading this until AFTER you’ve given birth…

Here’s how it all went down 3 weeks ago:

What a surprise it was to welcome this little man into our lives a week early.  I was so sure that I would be carrying him well into February, but nature stepped in and I gave birth to our little man exactly one week before his January 25th due date.

Around midnight on January 17th, Yuri and I were watching the Australian Open, and I started having mild contractions.  For about half an hour I thought they were braxton-hicks contractions, but shortly after I knew it was the real deal.  We went to bed at 1:45am and I slept for an hour until I was woken up by a painful contraction.  They came steadily for the rest of the night and I finally woke Yuri at 6:30am to let him know “we’re going to have a baby today!”

By 8am I called my midwife, Kathleen, who didn’t think I was particularly serious about being in labour because she told me to go to my appointment scheduled for 1:30pm.  I knew there was no way I was going to make it.  I laboured on the bed at my Mother in Law’s house since our house was still undergoing renovations.  I had  a hot water bottle on my back and managed to “rest” for another hour and a half.  When I couldn’t take the pain anymore, I called the midwife to meet us at the hospital.  The contractions were 8 minutes apart by then, having slowed down because I was relaxing in bed.  But then we got in the car…

From the second I got into the car for the long ride back to Toronto, my contractions were right on top of each other.  I timed them for the entire ride.  Some were over 3 minutes apart, but most were 2 minutes apart lasting over a minute each the whole ride, which took over an hour.  There was a LOT of throwing up going on because of the pain and thankfully we had plastic bags.  Red lights became a dumping ground for them.

When we got to the hospital Kathleen was waiting and we got into a room right away.  I mistakenly thought I would find relief when we got there, but that notion evaporated in a mere second when I realized that I was completely naive!  Contractions don’t care when you arrive at the hospital.  They’re going to keep getting stronger no matter what.

Resting between contractions.

All modesty went right out the window when we got into the room, for the clothes came off.  So much for all that time spent contemplating about what I was going to wear during labour.  At that point I didn’t care who was in the room and I didn’t care that the door was wide open.  Kathleen checked my progress and I was already 8 cm dilated.  I was squatting through contractions totally stark naked in clear view of the open door.  Contractions kept coming on top of each other and I was in every position imaginable.  I went from squatting on the floor to being on all fours on the bed with my face buried in the pillow and rolling over in between.

At the height of every contraction, Yuri pressed on my back, Kathleen pressed on my feet, and they both reminded me to breathe and relax.  I remember screaming things like “faaaaacccccckkkkkkk,” and “my back, my back, my back!” whenever Yuri didn’t have his hand there, and “I can’t do this, I can’t do this anymore.”  The pain still brings tears to my eyes, and I’m still adamant that Oscar will be an only child.

At some point Kathleen asked if I wanted to get in the shower, and though I was mostly focusing inward and was outwardly quite delirious, I was all over that opportunity.  With the hot water beating on my ridiculous back labour pains (Seriously? Why?) I actually got through 2 contractions without screaming.  That’s when the baby started to descend, and I surprised myself with some interesting sounds.  Transition.  Kathleen had said she would be able to tell when the baby descended.  I knew what she meant now.

In 4 of the most intense contractions yet, our little guy moved down and I felt the need to push, breaking my water on the second try.  That’s when my midwife said “no babies in the shower” and I laughed somewhere deep inside.  Awkwardly I was led back to the room scantily clad with my hospital gown thrown over my shoulders and Yuri and Kathleen on either side.

Somewhere between the shower and the bed, I heard Kathleen tell Yuri that it would be 1-2 hours of pushing.  That’s when I cracked inside and decided there was no way I could last that long.  Once I was back on the bed and screaming “I can’t do this” once again, Kathleen explained how to take my breathe and use it as a push rather than a scream.  Wow, did it ever burn!  I think it only took 3 contractions after that priceless piece of information reached my ears before our baby boy flew out.  And I mean FLEW.  It had only been 10 minutes since we had returned from the shower.  I turned purple for those 3 pushes.  I could feel my colour change.

For one reason or another I never once asked for pain medication.  But a handful of times during contractions, especially near the end, I remember wishing they’d just go ahead and cut him out!  What really got me through was the support of Kathleen and Yuri.  I knew I could do it, and they kept reinforcing that notion, so I kept going.  Though there really wasn’t another option, was there?

The down side of the quick pushing was a 2nd degree tear and a nice fat hemorrhoid.  Yep.  Beautiful!  I’m not shy about it.  It happens!  But at the time, I just wanted the baby out as fast as possible.  Lesson learned. Push SLOWLY unless you want to tear.  But boy, what a relief it was to get him out!  At that point it was 1:42pm, not even 3 hours since we arrived at the hospital, and there was a baby on my chest.  I will never forget that moment.  My face was priceless.  It was a face full of shock and tears.  At the end of it all, I had known that a baby would appear, but I really wasn’t prepared for that moment and I’m not entirely sure that anyone really can.  We all cried.

I remember asking Kathleen shortly after the baby emerged:

– “Did I poop?”

– “No.”

– “Sweet.”

Meeting my little man!

Kathleen, my primary midwife, had told us that the backup midwives never missed a birth.  All I could think was, “she’s missing this one.”  I was determined to push baby boy out in record time.  As it went, the backup midwives arrived shortly after Oscar was born. When they got there, I think the door was still open.  I was still naked and still not caring about it.

Nursing for the first time.

It took a long time to be stitched up which scared me a bit because I knew that the longer the stitching took, the worse the tear and the longer the recovery time.  That, and Yuri said “It’s pretty bad.” Excellent. It has now been 3 weeks and I am feeling nearly whole again.  I am hoping to get back to the gym soon and get some of the muscle back that I lost over the past 4-5 months.  I thought I had lost all of my baby weight until I found the scale yesterday and weighed myself.  It turns out that I just have massive breasts and they form the illusion of thinness.  Works for me! I’ve got 12 more lbs to lose and I’m giving myself an entire 6 months to lose them.  It took me 9 months to gain them, and I’m not going to kill myself trying to lose it fast.  No pressure.

Oscar gets checked out and weighed: 7lbs 1 oz.

Although I remember labour as a traumatic experience, as you are now clearly aware, I am still happy that I did it naturally.  If we have any more kids, I’ll do it again.  Reluctantly that is.  Hats off to women all over the world!

My reasons for choosing a natural birth were plenty:

  • Baby born alert and free of drugs
  • Easier time learning to breastfeed for the both of us
  • Ability to hold my baby (my mother was frozen from the neck down when my brother was born!)
  • Ability to walk around right after birth
  • Less chance of intervention from forceps and vacuum, not to mention c-section!
  • Fear of epidural complications (many women have recurring back pains at the insertion point)
  • Desire to feel the birth experience, as nature intended
  • I am completely bull-headed and set ridiculous challenges for myself for some insane reason

Having gone through the experience, I cannot judge any woman for electing to have a c-section, nor can I judge a woman for having an epidural.  I totally understand!  My fears of complications due to modern medicine were far too great for me to do either, unless there were an emergency and baby had to come out ASAP.  I wish I could have gotten the epidural, but I just couldn’t.

Heading to the recovery room.

I cannot lie, for the first while I wasn’t entirely sure that giving birth was worth the pain, but now that I’ve had a bit of time to put the blinders on and plenty of bonding time with Oscar, I love my little 3 week old Mr. Fussypants more than I could ever imagine.  Having him in our lives feels so natural that life doesn’t feel like it has changed one bit.  This is exactly where we are meant to be.  And on that note, the little man is waking up and I can’t wait to snuggle with him 🙂

Eleven More Days…Allegedly.

When I first got pregnant the time could not go fast enough, but now that I’m nearing the end I want time to S-L-O-W down.  As the due date nears, I have found myself going about business as usual.  Sure I think about the baby here and there, but I am not consumed by it.  I think it’s my way of enjoying the time we have left sans-baby. Or perhaps I’m just living in denial!

Due to our business being online, I am amazed at how many people are waiting for the birth of our baby boy!  There are people all over the world that have sent us their best wishes, and it’s pretty awesome.  Thank you!

We’re in-between houses now, conducting business as usual in an unusual place: from the mother in law’s couch.  The dogs love it because they get to hang out by the fireplace all day long and Laila gets to go for a run in a foot of snow now and then.  Jax is out of commission with a possible slipped disk, so he’ll be heading to the neurologist and/or chiropractor within the next few days.  Poor little guy.

Right now, Laila’s a pancake on the carpet, Jax is staring at the fire, and I have earned my spot on the couch after an hour at the gym and 2 hours filling crown molding at the house.  Sweet relief.

Dear Baby

I cannot even begin to describe the excitement with which I anticipate your arrival.  Part of me wants to meet you right this second while part of me wants you to stay safely tucked away forever.  I wonder what you look like all the time.  Will you have my nose or your daddy’s? Are you really a boy like they said, or are we going to have one big surprise come delivery day?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

I can already picture you growing up.  I know the time is going to go by way too fast, so I am going to live each and every moment as if it’s all I have to hold onto.  I’ve already been cherishing every moment we have together.  I feel your little body testing its limbs.  You’re already so strong.  Sometimes I think you’re going to escape right through my skin.  When I’m least expecting it, your little foot reaches out and pokes my right arm.  I know it’s a foot because at the same time, I can feel your little fingers wiggling.

Your head is down, and it has been for the last few months.  You really like to lay on mommy’s left side, although you still do somersaults at 36 weeks and move in a second from one side to the other.  Sometimes I even scream aloud when you kick me.  I can’t help it.  It scares the dogs and they look at me like “What the hell?!”  You’ve even made me jump in pain when you hit a nerve in my legs.  The pain shoots right down and out of my feet, like lightning.  I never know when it’s going to happen, and it sure surprises me. I have to sit down sometimes because I’m afraid I’ll lose control of my legs and fall.

I have a feeling you know exactly when I’m thinking of you because you always start moving.  While I’ve been writing this letter, you’ve been squirming around and kicking your feet straight out into my tummy.  I always thought baby movements would feel so foreign, and so strange, but they feel like the most normal thing you can think of, like walking down the street kind of normal.

I’m going to miss you in my tummy.  I will feel a loss when you leave me, but I will feel like the luckiest mom in the world to meet you for the first time.  I can’t wait for that day.  But until it comes, I will cherish every kick, every squirmy hand, every lightening pain, and every hiccup.  We’ll never have time together like we do right now, you and me.  I already love you so very much.

Love, mommy.

Infant Carseat Adventures.

infant car seatI’ve been looking at our new infant car seat, trying to figure it out, and I finally get how to work all of the straps.  However, with this particular car seat you have to take all the straps off in order to take out the infant headrest.  WHY?  I am so close to just cutting it off.  Some velcro would have been nice so it could come on and off in seconds.  Who invents these contraptions?  After a little bit of swearing, the infant head rest was removed and now baby boy has a built-in snowsuit attached to his car seat.  Man I wish I was small enough to crawl inside!

I’ve washed all of the baby clothes and have them packed away for the move.  I can’t believe this kid already has enough 34 weeks pregnantclothes to fill an entire garbage bag!  We can’t possibly fit all of the baby stuff in the car in one go and now I understand the need for a minivan!  I still refuse to give in and trade in our sedan for a soccer mom mobile.  I think the next car will be a Land Rover, Range Rover, or an M6 (yes please).

At 34 weeks I am pretty happy with the way things are going.  So far there are no stretch marks to speak of and everyone says how small I look – although I still don’t believe them even though they threaten to punch me in the face.  They know I will just punch them back – harder.

Unfortunately, I ripped my favourite (and only) pair of maternity jeans 2 weeks ago and had to finally go buy some jogging pants.  I may NEVER take them off.  I’m measuring right on schedule at 33cm so here’s hoping this baby is a reasonable size.  Hopefully he got the memo about coming out no later than his due date and within 3 hours of rushes starting 😉

Hello! Contractions Already?

I’ve been having a really hard time sleeping lately and last night was no exception.  In the middle of the night, I had a contraction that was so intense I thought I might die in childbirth if I go through with my desire to birth naturally!

I felt the entire left side of my uterus contract for about 5 seconds and the pain was so intense that I couldn’t string 2 thoughts together.  I don’t even remember what happened next, but I must have fallen asleep.  Hours later I woke up in a panic wondering what the hell had happened.  Baby boy is happily kicking away at the moment, so whatever it was I guess it was “normal”?  Something to ask the midwife.

I was pretty lucky up until a few weeks ago with this pregnancy.  I thought I was in the clear for the easiest pregnancy ever!  WRONG.  About 2 weeks ago I started experiencing nerve pain in my chest and back.  Just under my right breast, there is a spot that is both numb and extremely painful.  Impossible you say? Apparently not.

It turns out that this added baby weight in my abdomen is causing some funky things to happen to my nervous system.  So I’ve got this pain in my ribs that is interconnected with the lower fibers of my right trapezius muscle which also hurts tremendously.

But when people ask how I’m doing, I just say GREAT!  Because that’s how I want to feel.  Like Paul Harvey used to say: and now you know the REST of the story.

Baby Shower Adventures

Our baby shower cake made by Juanita from Sweetthings.ca!

I wanted to avoid the whole “group of women that don’t know each other and everything is incredibly awkward” party, so I resisted letting anyone throw me a baby shower for the longest time.  We eventually decided to have more of a party slash baby shower and celebrate this moment with our close friends.  I am so glad we did!  The shower ended up being a lot of fun and hopefully we started a trend in awesome couples’ baby showers!

The party was full of good friends, family, and incredible food.  I wish I had been able to find my camera, but days of searching for it turned up nothing!  I have no pictures of our delicious spread but I do have pictures that a good friend took of the event, so I am thankful for that.  The best part was that Yuri and I got to share the special occasion together, and opening baby gifts with 25 people staring at us was a little less stressful for me!  I SO do not like being the center of attention, unless I have a drink of courage beforehand, and there was no going that route this time! In fact, if we have 4 kids like I’ve always wanted I won’t be having a drink for about 8 more years!

Me explaining what the hell a Twirly Whirly is to Yuri!

I loved having all of our close friends and family here – guys and girls – and I think everyone had a good time.  Tamara made every couple a Christmas stocking with some goodies and a baby bottle for everyone to drink out of for the evening!  So cute.  She provided us with dinner and the tastiest carrot cupcakes ever! Yuri and I ordered a special elephant cake to go along with our baby’s elephant themed room that we’re planning in the new house and everyone got delicious Felix and Norton cookies to take home!

I have to admit, shower games were probably the part I was dreading the most about a baby shower, but they were fun and didn’t include anything along the lines of “guess how big mommy’s tummy has gotten!”.  Tamara planned 2 games and even had special cards made for them.  In hindsight, I wish I’d had someone take a picture of them! Oops.  They were something along the lines of “Guess this kid’s celebrity parents” and “Multiple choice about the parents-to-be.”  Good times.

Other than that the night was about having a good time with friends who will be there to watch our baby grow.  For the longest time I had thought about it as a party, so it was a bit shocking when we ended up with so many presents!  Thank you everyone!

We Must Be Crazy.

With a baby on the way in January, you would think that we already had enough on our plates.  But then we had to go and buy a house outside of the city that needs a little love and care and sell our loft.  It turns out the buying and the selling were the easy parts.  Now we’re moving 2 weeks before the baby is due and starting 3-4 weeks of renovations on the floors, walls, kitchen, and bathroom!

I am starting to panic.  Not only will we be living with my mother-in-law while the renovations are going on, but we’ll be living with her over the baby’s due date!  We’re losing our midwives and our planned home birth and transferring to an area where they don’t allow midwives in the hospital.  I have absolutely no idea how it’s all going to pan out.  Best-case-scenario: Transfer to new midwives and renovations are complete by the time baby comes.  Otherwise, transfer to new midwives and have home birth at mother-in-law’s house.  Eek.  The whole point of a home birth was so that I could RELAX in my own environment…right.

Evidence.

5 weeks pregnant

The baby stretched himself out this morning and found my ribs for the first time.  It’s surprising to be woken up in the morning by a quick shot to the ribs, especially when you are alone in bed, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re nearly 28 weeks along in this journey.

For everyone who has been bugging me for a photo, here it is!  I can’t believe this was me just FIVE months ago.  These days I can’t even fit into my ginormous Canada Goose jacket!

I don’t know how I am going to survive a Canadian winter, but I refuse to spend $500 on a winter maternity jacket!  Although, I discovered that I can wear my ski jacket lining under my fall maternity jacket, obviously without doing it up, so I might be okay – just a little puffy-looking.

28 weeks pregnant

Tomorrow I’ll be 28 weeks, with 12 more to go.  It should be interesting to see how big I get considering I have zero motivation to work out and that I feel larger than life already.  I know I should be lifting weights and getting some sort of cardio, but taking the dogs for a walk is going to have to do.  I may just regret that decision in 12 weeks’ time, but I’ll have no choice but to deal with the consequences at that point!  All I know is that I am heading to hot yoga the first chance I get!

It’s a Coffee Kind of Morning.

Sometimes all I want is a coffee.  Even when pregnant. No – especially when pregnant.  It seems the third trimester has brought with it the feelings of queasiness in the morning that I thought I was rid of and the only thing I felt like having this morning was coffee.

So, now I’m sitting in our favourite coffee shop sipping a delicious decaf soy latte.  Mmm.  It’s hitting the spot like nothing else.  Water makes me want to throw up, and so does food.  Coffee seems to be the buffer this morning that keeps everything else down!  And while I never thought I would ever drink coffee while pregnant, I guess you really never can say never until you’ve experienced something for yourself.

So, I’m a hypocrite.  I’ll admit it.  At least it’s decaf: Swiss water decaf.  Only the best for my baby 🙂 Ha.

People Say Some Pretty Unbelieveable Things…

There are many things that get me fired up about parenting and the nutrition aspect is probably my hottest button.  I cannot believe a pregnant woman actually wrote this:

“Whats the point of giving him/her a few months of organic homemade pureed baby food, when in a year he’s gonna be eating Kraft Mac N Cheese anyway?”

I’m sorry, is your baby going off to college when he’s one year old?  Babies will only eat Kraft Mac N Cheese if you make it for them!  This is insane.  It brings me back to my waitressing days when a couple with a barely 1-year old asked for french fries at 7am because “it’s the only thing he will eat.”  Way to be good parents! Whose fault is that?

And yes, there is a point of feeding a baby organic homemade pureed baby food:  It’s cheaper, more nutritious, tastes better, comes complete with enzymes for digestion, and it’s not full of artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives. Anything that sits on a shelf with no refrigeration for months is not going in my baby’s mouth. No, I will not prepare my baby’s food for the sole purpose of bragging rights; so I can be that bitch at mommy and me who thinks she’s better than everyone else.  No, I will prepare my baby’s food because I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I understand that people are busy and they’re looking for the magic bullet that gets food on the table without any work on their part, but how much effort does it take to blend some carrots or mash some peas?