Monday, December 8, 2014

Benjamin's Birth Story

I gave birth to Benjamin in September and had a crazy, whirlwind delivery. When I was pregnant, I obsessively read other women’s birth stories. I found them fascinating and felt like they would help me prepare for labour myself. In hindsight, they didn’t prepare me at all.. I don’t think anything can. But I still wanted to put down the events of the day in writing so I could remember it. Here goes! This this not concise in at ALL. I’m writing this more for me and future Benjamin than anyone else, so that’s why I’ve included all the details. Congratulations if you can read through this whole thing lol
P.S. My experience with midwives was amazing I would recommend midwifery care to anyone!


On Thursday September 4th, I had an appointment with my midwife. I was 2 days overdue and she suggested we do a “stretch and sweep”. She had talked to me about it at my previous appointment and I had no desire to do it because I trusted my baby would come on his own when he was ready and because I have a horribly sensitive cervix and I didn’t want to put myself through unnecessary pain. We talked a bit more about the procedure and I ended up agreeing to do it. It was painful and I cried. Like ugly, red faced, huffing and puffing crying. She wasn’t even able to do it properly because I couldn’t relax at all, so it was all for NOTHING! Ultimately she was able to deduce that I was not dilated at all, 0% effaced, and my cervix wasn’t even facing the right direction. She told me I wouldn’t be going into labour in the next 24 hours and very unlikely would it be that weekend.

On Saturday September 6th I went to get a pedicure with my mom and sister. The guy doing mine said I looked HUGE (uhh thanks jackass), but he gave me a nice strong foot and leg massage that felt awesome, so I forgave him. Later that day I went grocery shopping with my sister and did an extra large shop. I forgot to get bagels so I walked back across the length of the store to get back to the bakery section. The walk back to the bakery section completely winded me, but like the aesthetician said, I was huge and the extra 35lbs was really weighing me (literally).

When I got home from grocery shopping, I ate a bunch of pineapple and hung out with Kevin. I really felt like crap (tired and achy) so I decided to take a bath. I sat in the tub for maybe 10 minutes and it wasn’t helping me at all, so I went to bed early. This was about 9pm. I woke up on 3 different occasions with splashing acid reflux. The third time I actually ran to the bathroom because I thought I was going to throw up from coughing so hard. Kevin had been watching TV at that point but came in to check on me. I gave up on sleep at this point and asked him if we could watch Hitch. It was after midnight. I felt little twinges when we settled on the couch to watch the movie, but I had been feeling twinges for weeks, so I ignored them and didn’t say anything to Kevin. At 1:30am I was having a harder time concentrating on the movie so I told Kevin I thought I was having contractions. He was excited. I kind of was too, but the anticipation scared me. I told him at this point that I wanted to wait until at least 6am before calling the midwife.

Side note:
In my previous appointments, I had said I would like to try to have a natural (drug-free) hospital birth. I had also said I would like to labour in the comfort of my home as long as possible. The midwives said that was fine and waiting up until 7cm was safe. After that point it’s hard to relocate because then you’re starting the transition phase of labour, which is the shortest, but most intense, painful part. They told me if I hadn’t asked for an epidural by that point, that I would by the time I reached the transition phase. They said that most women will react pretty strongly to the transition phase – crying, vomiting, diarrea, etc. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to it, but I really appreciated my midwife’s honesty during that conversation. While I like to be mentally prepared, NOTHING could have prepared me for labour.

So back to the story, I pulled out my big yoga ball and was rocking back and forth on that. By 2:30, I was surprised by how much pain I was in. Things got pretty crazy after that. At the beginning of each contraction, I would literally jump up and run from room to room wailing/screaming. My cat was freaking the F out. I’d jump in the tub (I hadn’t drained the water from earlier) and back out again. I felt like I couldn’t get ahead of the pain. Kevin tried timing my contractions but they were all over the place. At 4:30am, I threw up and Kevin called my midwife. My secondary midwife (Esther) was available so she said she’d make her way over. She got to our place at about 5am. I was on the bed, naked, on all fours, rocking back and forth in the middle of a contraction when she arrived. I immediately said, “I’m going to need to go to the hospital as soon as possible to get the epidural!!” She said that was fine and she’d have to check me first. She did an internal exam (which was painful… ugh damn cervix!!) and her face said it all. I didn’t even need to hear her say, “You’re barely dilated…” I was crushed. Stella, my primary midwife, had told me at an earlier appointment that women generally dilate a half centimetre every hour. Esther didn’t tell me how far dilated I was and I didn’t ask, but I knew it was less than 4 because that’s how far you need to be to be admitted to the hospital. Later on she told me I was 2cm when she checked me.

So then Esther sat on the side of the bed and told me to lay down on my side. She’d put her hand on the top of my belly when a contraction would start and would coach me to say “whoooooooooo. whooooooooooo. whooooooooo” and then would let me know when the contraction had reached its peak. I found her presence to be extremely comforting. Kevin was trying to rub my leg while Esther was there, but I didn’t want him to touch me at all lol. I can’t really explain why I found Esther to be so comforting, but she was authoritative and caring and she’d gone through labour herself before so I really felt like she could help me through it. She coached me through contractions for about an hour, then said she was leaving. She said to call her in a couple of hours or if my mucus plug came out or if my water broke.

After she left I tried to take little cat naps between contractions but it was so difficult to rest. I ended up getting up and sitting backwards on the toilet. At 7:30am I noticed I was bleeding and I was SO FREAKING EXCITED. I never thought I’d be so excited to see blood, but it meant progress and meant that we could call Esther back! Yay!! I’d barely even processed the thought before another contraction started and I heard a huge SPLASH in the toilet. It legitimately sounded like someone dropped a brick in the toilet bowl and there was splash back all over the toilet and floor. I yelled out to Kevin that my mucus plug came out and my water broke and that there was meconium in the water. Note: there wasn’t meconium in the water. It was super murky looking because I’m gross and hadn’t flushed the toilet after my mucus plug came out lol.

Esther told us to get to the hospital and she’d meet us there at 8am. We live just over 1km from the hospital and can see it from our condo, but it took us over half an hour to get there because my contractions were extremely intense after my water broke and I couldn’t help but push. Every time a contraction would start, I’d have to stop and press up with my hand. I’d been told that pushing before you’re 10cm can cause your cervix to tear so I was freaking out inside. In my head I thought I was 4-5cm dilated and all that kept me going was knowing that I was going to be at the hospital soon where I could get an epidural because if it hurt this much already, there was NO WAY I was going to make it through the transition phase drug-free.

When we arrived at the hospital, Kevin parked the car in the ER lot and we rushed through the doors. I had a contraction in the ER waiting room lol I seriously felt like I was being ridiculous but it was so painful. I had my dress hiked up around my waist, my hand pressed upward on my crotch, while I was on my knees screaming in pain. (I’m laughing while I’m writing this, but it was super intense at the time). A nurse came out to check out what was going on and told us how to get to Labour and Delivery. We ended up taking a wrong turn and another nurse found me  (I kid you not) shaking and trying to break through a set of locked doors like I was the Hulk. She said she’d get us a wheelchair and I said I didn’t want to wait and could we please run there if you don’t mind??? When we got up to Labour and Delivery, another nurse came up to us and immediately was like, “They didn’t give you a wheelchair?! Hold on!” She grabbed a wheely office chair, told me to sit down, then ran down the hall dragging me on the chair behind her while I was wailing and knocking into the walls and carts in the hallway. We must’ve looked ridiculous but I didn’t care.

When we got to the room (at 8:12am) I could barely keep my eyes open. I noticed a few women I didn’t recognize and I said, “I have a midwife! Where’s Esther??” She said, “I’m right in front of you. Open your eyes” lol I didn’t realize my eyes were closed. I hopped up off the chair and said, “I’m going to need that epidural right now!! What do I need to do?” She told me to get undressed and get onto the bed so she could examine me. I stripped down in about 5 seconds and while I was doing that I told Kevin to go pay for a parking pass because I didn’t want to get a ticket or have our car towed. LOLOLOL! He obediently ran out of the room. Not even 20 seconds later, Esther takes one look at me and says, shocked, “omg you’re crowning!! The baby is coming NOW! Someone get Kevin back here or he’s going to miss it!!” I couldn’t believe I’d gone from 2-10cm in 2 hours. I’d just sent Kevin to go pay for parking. They were telling me the baby was coming RIGHT NOW. And there was no time for an epidural. Esther gave one of the other midwives (who had just finished attending another birth) her phone and they called Kevin and told him to get back ASAP. Poor hubby… he told me later he ran back through the hospital as fast as he could. All I was thinking when I started pushing was, “If Kevin misses the birth of his child because I told him to pay for parking, he will never forgive me!” He got back to the room just as I started pushing. I had one midwife on each side of me and I had one foot resting on each of their hips. Pushing felt AMAZING. The relief I felt once I was able to start pushing was fantastic. Three contractions in and Benjamin was born! It was 8:22am, 10 minutes after we arrived in the room. I didn’t know it at the time, but his cord was wrapped tightly around his neck so they had to cut his cord when only his head was out. And then he did a poo-splosion all over me on the way out. Because of this, they took him away to examine him for a minute. I was overwhelmed by the amazing relief I felt when he came out and there was no more pressure - I just fell back in (no joke) complete bliss. When Benjamin let out his first cry that’s when I realized they’d taken him to the examination station a few feet away and I just lost it. I started sobbing uncontrollably. The experience was so amazing. Esther put him on my chest and he immediately found my nipple and started sucking. I was surprised at how strong his latch was. Kevin called our families at this point to tell them we had the baby. They were all so shocked. We had agreed earlier that we wanted it to just be me and him at the hospital and I’m so glad we did. As it turned out, we barely made it to the hospital ourselves so we wouldn’t have been able to have our families there even if we’d wanted them there.

When Benjamin was born, we were still deciding between two names. Naming a person is HARD! Ultimately we ended up naming him Benjamin Joseph. He weighed in at 8lbs 8oz with a head full of hair and dark grey eyes. The whole time I was in labour I kept saying to Kevin that I wouldn’t be able to have another child because it was so painful. Then literally the moment he was born I thought, “That wasn’t so bad! I could totally do that again”

And about the drug-free part… I’m happy I got to experience a drug-free birth. Even though I asked for an epidural a few times, I wasn’t able to get any kind of pain relief – not even a Tylenol! I had a difficult time getting ahead of the pain and when we were on our way to the hospital, the thought of pain relief via epidural is what kept me going. Little did I know this guy was already making his way down. If I can make a comparison, it’s like running a marathon and feeling like you can’t make it, but the finish line is just around the corner. You just can’t see it. Also, birth was so incredibly different than I thought it would be! My recovery was slow as molasses, but I felt so great immediately afterwards. Also, we packed a hospital bag and didn’t even open it lol. I thought I would be walking during the contractions and using the whirlpool tub, but as it was, I didn’t even get a hospital gown LOL I just delivered naked with the midwives holding my legs. I even packed my DSLR, but the whole thing was over with so fast that we didn’t get any labour photos at all!

Hopefully my story helps someone out there, or at least entertains a few :) If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section down below!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Experiences of a First-Time Pregnant Lady – Part 2: Preparing for Labour

Preparing for Labour - Blog Post Header

As we all know, the culmination of nine months of pregnancy comes to a close with labour. Dun dun duuuuun! I’m in the third trimester now, and with this being my first pregnancy, I've been reading up on ways I can prepare myself for that grand moment and wanted to share this with my readers. Note: I'm a healthy individual having a normal pregnancy. I'm no expert and am not dispensing medical advise. Please consult with your primary care practitioner before trying any of the following.


Water water water!

Before getting pregnant, I would rarely drink water. I'd have a cup of tea in the morning and another in the afternoon. I rarely felt thirsty, but one look at my skin (or pee colour lol) and you could tell I was dehydrated. Now I drink about 6 cups of water/non-caffeinated drinks per day, which still probably isn't enough, but my skin, hair, and nails, have never looked better! I'm working on upping my water intake because being properly hydrated has so many benefits to pregnant ladies, all of which will be useful come labour time: 

  • Increased energy
  • Reduces muscle cramps
  • Improves circulation
  • Keeps you regular
  • Reduces fluid retention

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

I first heard about Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (RRLT) on a mommy vlog on YouTube. It's an herbal, non-caffeinated tea that is most commonly used in pregnancy for the purposes of increasing uterine tone. What does that mean?? Supposedly, it may help women to have stronger, more effective contractions, which may make labour shorter. I asked my midwife about it and she said it was safe to take and she has heard that the loose leaf versions are more effective than the sachets. I initially bought a pack of 20 sachets from Shoppers Drug Mart for $6.99, but then found a loose leaf version at The Tea Emporium on the Danforth for $14 for 100g. I'm a bit skeptical, but I love tea, so thought I'd give it a try. I drink 1 cup a day after letting it steep for 10 minutes.


Skin Care

Water water water

There's no denying that there's a lot of stretching that goes on in pregnancy and delivery. On top of the good things all this H20 is doing for my insides, it's also helping prepare my skin!

Coconut oil

This tip is more for vanity than actual labour: I have been using coconut oil exclusively to moisturize my body for at least a year and I can't ever see myself going back to regular lotion. The brand I use is Carrington Farms Organic Virgin Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil (bought from Costco for less than $20 for 1.6L) and I love it. I got stretch marks in my teen years on my legs, butt, and boobs, and am really really trying my best to avoid getting any new ones. I don't have any new ones yet and this is what I've been doing:

  1. Every time I shower I lather up my body using exfoliating gloves. Focus on areas you don't want any (new) stretch marks.
  2. Once done showering, I very lightly pat myself dry. The key is to still be quite damp.
  3. Apply coconut oil on my body from the neck down! Bonus points if you can spend a few minutes really massaging it in to those areas prone to stretch marks!

Physical Exercises


I used to think that strong ab muscles were the key to pushing effectively during labour, but have heard countless times since getting pregnant that it's all about the kegels. I have an alarm set on my phone to remind me to do them. Kevin likes to yell out, “Kegel Time!” every time he hears my alarm lol I do 5 sets of 20 and hold each one for 3-5 seconds, depending on how much time I have. Keeping these muscles strong helps avoid any stress bladder leakage, and helps with post-partum recovery as it increases blood flow to that area.


Squats and kegels go hand in hand! I've been reading over and over that staying mobile is one of the best things you can do to speed up labour. Lying on your back is apparently one of the worst. A lot of labouring positions engage your leg muscles, so it's suggested to do squats to increase your muscle tone so that you don't fatigue yourself early in labour. I aim to do 20 squats every time my kegel alarm goes off, but it's a lot harder to stop and do a bunch of squats if you're in public.

I'm So Crafty, I Make People Pregnancy Jokes

Pre-natal yoga

My leg flexibility is pathetic. And I'm also not good at breathing deeply. I'm a shallow breather with lots of intermittent sighing. This is where yoga comes in! I found a pre-natal yoga series by Body Talk Daily on YouTube. Each video is 10-12 minutes and there are 5 of them so it's very easy to do a few times a week.


Walking is a great cardio exercise for pregnant women! I set a goal in May of walking 100 miles before this baby makes its debut at the end of summer. I'm about 25% done and may not complete 100 miles, but the point was to set a goal (using the RunKeeper app) to motivate me to get outside! Walking in the third trimester is supposed to help the baby get into the best positioning for birth as well. My tips for walking:

  1. Bring water with you
  2. Wear comfortable shoes
  3. Sunscreen and a hat are also a good idea. During pregnancy, your skin can get more sensitive, causing you to burn more easily.
  4. If you'll be walking for a while, do a little research to find where the bathrooms are on your route. I've cut a few walks short for not having planned ahead


Everyone says, “sleep now because you won't be able to once the baby gets here!”, but unfortunately it's been proven over and over again that you can't “catch up” or “store” sleep. At various points in this pregnancy, sleep has eluded me for a variety of reasons: weird dreams, bathroom breaks, heartburn, etc. Labour is (usually) a long process and I want to be well-rested for it! I've let Kevin and my family know that if they see me passed out on the couch, just leave me be. Kevin's woken me up from the couch before to tell me to go to bed – he had good intentions and thought I'd be more comfortable in bed – but then I couldn't fall asleep once I went to the bedroom! My tips for sleeping:

  1. As it can be difficult to get comfortable, catch your zzz's wherever you can. Ask those around you not to wake you up unless necessary.
  2. Avoid eating before going to sleep
  3. If you're experiencing acid reflux, prop yourself up with pillows so you're sleeping in a more upright position
  4. Put a pillow between your knees if you're sleeping on your side. I used to be a stomach sleeper pre-pregnancy, and once I got to the point where I had to start sleeping on my side, it was giving me achy hips. A pillow between my knees made all the difference! I bought this one from Ikea for $4.99 and saved myself the added cost of the expensive body pillows that are highly advertised towards pregnant women.

Mental Exercises

Tune People Out

So this might sound counter intuitive because I'm writing a blog post about labour, but I really feel like one of the most important things I've done is to tune people out. Since getting pregnant, I have found that people are downright fascinated by pregnancy. And as such, they start actin' a fool. I've had a lot of people, almost all women and almost all mothers, say and do some very insensitive things to me. I don't want to hear about your horrific back labour, or your friend's emergency C-section, or about your stage 3 episiotomy. I don't want you to tell me my ass looks fat, or that I look like I'm about to blow, or that being pregnant in the summer is the worst. These are all things that have been said to me. I've found the best way to avoid getting unsolicited advice is to not talk too openly to people about my pregnancy. I think the more information you give to people, the more opinions you get back.

Getting In The Right Mindset

I’ve watched a few documentaries (ie: The Business of Being Born, which was awesome!) about birth and it’s so interesting to learn about the different views on birth in different cultures. In Western culture there seems to be a lot of fear surrounding birth (watch this TedTalks video, Reducing Fear of Birth in U.S. Culture by Ina May Gaskin), and there are proven linkages between fear and pain. Watching these documentaries made me feel empowered!

And I had a conversation with my mom's friend, who has 2 children under 2. She said listening to the hypnobirthing app on her phone while labouring was immensely helpful in helping her relax. I aspire to feel relaxed during labour! We talked about a bunch of stuff, but I immediately went home and downloaded a couple free hypnobirthing apps to hear what they sounded like and they were SO relaxing and gave me really positive feelings about labour! I want to feel empowered and calm about labour so I'm adding listening to the hypnobirthing tracks a few times a week to my pregnancy regime. Anything that can make me feel good about pregnancy and labouring is a huge plus in my books!

I'd love to hear how you prepared yourself for labour! What worked for you? What didn't? What surprised you about labour? Spill the beans!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

DIY: Natural Multipurpose Cleaner

Since becoming pregnant, I’ve taken a closer look at some of the chemicals that are part of my daily life and have done some reassessing – I’m talking to you, nail polish!… which is apparently really really bad for you :( I switched over to a homemade cleaner a few years ago and haven’t looked back. Sure, I have to put in a tiny bit more elbow grease, but I’m fine with that. I need the exercise anyway. The one thing I miss from my all purpose cleaner is a “fresh” smell. Most store bought cleaners have a synthesized fresh smell of pine or citrus.. but I was wondering if there was a natural and affordable way I could add the smell of lemons to my vinegar solution so that my house  didn’t smell like salt and vinegar chips. Granted, the vinegar-y smell dries off fairly quickly, but wouldn’t lemon-infused vinegar be so much better?? After a bit of internet sleuthing, I found what I was looking for!

DIY Natural Multipurpose Cleaner

To make this:

  1. Cut up a whole lemon and remove the flesh from the rind*
  2. Add the rind to a lidded jar and pour vinegar over the rind until your jar is full
  3. Put the lid on the jar and store in a cupboard for about 2 days for the lemon to infuse the vinegar
  4. Once infused, strain the infused vinegar into a spray bottle
  5. Optional: Compost the lemon rind :)

*Add the lemon flesh to a pitcher of water to make yourself a refreshing summery drink!

To do a test-run I used the lemon infused vinegar, along with about 2 tbsp of baking soda, to clean the bathtub… it worked like a charm and the smell was great too :)

For cleaning my house, I use a variety of ingredients, all of which can be found in the grocery store, and most of which you can ingest no problem!

Typical ingredients:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen Peroxide

Occasional ingredients:

  • Lemons/Lemon juice (if I have them and they’re cheap/in season)
  • Alcohol
  • Olive oil (a drop or two will help shine up wood surfaces!)

Do you have any go-to natural solutions for cleaning? I like to hear what other people use!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

One Year Later

Sam Obeid Photography
This past weekend marks mine and Kevin’s one year wedding anniversary. To say the time has flown by is an understatement! A lot has happened in that time, but I still can’t believe that it’s already been a year. And I thought I’d be sad about not being a newlywed anymore, but I’m not. At all! I actually feel way better about being a regular ol’ married couple now that we have that first year under our belts. I hear the first year is supposed to be the hardest, but we’ve been together for almost 7 years now, lived together for a couple years before getting married, and have pretty much had every trial and tribulation thrown in our direction in that time.

For those that say that marriage is just a piece of paper and doesn’t change anything... I think those people are mostly the ones that have choose to co-habitate before getting hitched. I agree mostly that the day-to-day doesn’t change much, but marriage makes everything feel a lot... heavier. Like, this is FOREVER. It’s a pretty heavy decision to willingly choose to commit the rest of your life with someone! I think way too many people out there reach a certain point where they think they’re “at that age” and just marry the person they’re with, or they get wedding fever because their friends or family are all getting married. Don’t fall for the trap! I was so glad when all the wedding planning was over and Kevin and I could get back to just being us. I actually said as much in our speech at the wedding, which got everyone laughing.

A great piece of advice I heard about relationships is regarding the fact that you have to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else. It went something like this:
Remember, you’re the dessert and your partner should be the cherry on top! Definitely not necessary, but nice to have :)

So anyway, the whole point of this post is that I wanted to share what we did for our anniversary! The weather was AMAZING, so we took a weekend trip up to Niagara-on-the-Lake. If you’ve never been, it’s really quite beautiful up there. We bought some passes for a wine event called the 2014 Discovery Pass Wine & Food Pairings. With each pass ($40+tax), you get 8 food and wine pairings at different wineries (you choose from a list of 20-something wineries) and they had a Designated Drivers pass ($30+tax) where you get a mocktail instead of wine, so I got that pass. It was definitely money well spent! I made a little map that showed where the wineries we wanted to visit were located and the food/wine pairings they were offering. It was very handy to see everything laid out like this while we were driving around so we knew what order to visit them in.
Location of Wineries
My favourite food was HANDS DOWN the grilled calamari bruschetta with toasted fennel, tomato, marinated olives, and basil at Inniskillin! It was so delicious. Other great food locations were Kacaba Vineyards, Good Earth Food & Wine Co., and Trius.

My least favourite food was easily the thai-style chicken (too soggy!!) at Hinterbrook Estate  and the Jamaican jerk slider (too dry!!) at Greenlane Estate. Also, the drink samples they gave at Greenlane Estate were SO STINGY!!!!! Kevin got about a thimble of Riesling, and I got about 3 thimbles of lemonade. I’m not sure why they were so stingy, especially with my lemonade… it’s freaking lemonade! Oh well.

The Discovery Pass event is still going on next weekend, so here are some iPhone photos I took if you’re interested in seeing what we got

1. Good Earth Food & Wine Co offered a trio: an Italian vegetable caponata with rosemary and Bella Vitano cheese; a Jamaican beef patty with lime and papaya slaw; and a Vietnamese cold roll with tamarind dipping sauce
2. & 3. Kacaba Vineyards offered: BBQ five-spiced pork medallions on arugula, with a navy bean and fennel mix, topped with sweet tomato ginger drizzle. The vegetarian option (which I ate) had all the same, minus the pork, and with the addition of feta cheese and a ciabatta bun.
4. Trius offered: a fresh strawberry cupcake topped with Chantilly cream.
5. Reif Estate offered: fish tacos – blackened tilapia with avocado cream, shredded cabbage, and pico de gallo on a soft corn tortilla.
6. Jackson-Triggs offered: Jerk chicken roti with cilantro, habanero, and cucumber.

Have a great week everyone :) This is our last week before summer officially begins on Saturday!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Experiences of a First-Time Pregnant Lady – Part 1: Finding Out I was Pregnant

As of writing this post, I’m just starting my third trimester. Ahh! Part of me feels like time is flying and part of me feels like I’ve been pregnant forever. Sometimes when I see myself in the mirror, especially my bare belly, I think, “holy crap, I look so different!!” and other times it just feels normal. Like, “Didn’t I always have a baby bump?” lol no!! At Christmas last year I had a 25 inch waist and was 25 lbs thinner.

So anyway, I’m writing this series of posts as a kind of diary entry. Being pregnant for me has been a trippy adventure so far. I was never that girl who used to say, “When I have kids…” It was always, “If I have kids…” For some reason I just felt like I wouldn’t or couldn’t. I couldn’t picture myself being pregnant or having a family. The whole idea just seemed really foreign and I didn’t understand other women who were so certain they were going to have kids. I used to tell Kevin that if he was certain he wanted kids, I wasn’t the girl for him because I didn’t think I’d ever truly want them. But while I couldn’t picture myself pregnant or with a baby/young child, I knew I wanted to have grown kids. Does that makes sense? I wanted to have a relationship like what I have with my parents now. Weird? Maybe. But that’s how I felt.

So here’s my experience on the whole pregnancy thing so far. Note: There’s going to be some over-sharing in this post. You’ve been warned. Also, these are my personal feelings on the matter – if you feel like something I’m writing is offensive/upsetting/etc feel free NOT to let me know in the comments :) Positive vibes only!

Finding out I was pregnant:

Kevin and I got married in June 2013. His friends had their first baby a couple weeks after our wedding and we had gone to see them when their baby was a few months old. During our visit, the new mom told me all about her experiences of getting pregnant and delivering. I always love hearing these stories. There is literally no such thing as TMI in my world! She told me she bought cheap ovulation predictor strips online and that if I were ever trying to conceive, that’s the way to go because it’s waaaay cheaper than the ovulation kits offered at the pharmacy. Seemed like smart advice, so I kept it in my back pocket.

In the fall, I had been modifying my diet from poultry/seafood to seafood to vegetarian to vegan, and as a result, my period had been quite late in October (there’s that oversharing I was talking about lol). Even though we hadn’t been trying, we had been talking about starting to try and I had been thinking about it, and I had convinced myself I was pregnant! I went to Dollarama to get a pregnancy test (yup! I’m that girl.. no shame lol) and it was negative. I took another one a few days later, also negative. I finally got my period, which ended up being 8 days late, so I chalked the whole thing up to the changes in my diet.

In early November, I bought some pre-natal vitamins, and at the end of November, we threw caution to the wind *wink wink*. I remember saying that if nothing happened by the end of December, I wanted to be careful until at least April because I didn’t want a child born at the beginning of winter. Winter is cold and depressing and it seems less ideal to have a baby in the middle of it. At this time, I also made a trip back to Dollarama for some ovulation strips. I bought 5 of them. There wasn’t anything leading me to believe I couldn’t have kids, but like I said in the intro of this post, I just wasn’t confident that I could. A $5 investment for some ovulation strips seemed like a good place to start. The instructions are on the package, but basically you have to start using them at certain time based on your average cycle length. One lines means you’re not ovulating, 2 lines means you will be ovulating in the next 24 hours. The package says something along the lines of “do the horizontal mambo after 24 hours but before 48 hours of testing positive.”  The fourth test I took had the two lines I was looking for, but we missed the <24/> 48 hour window and I remember thinking, “we’ll try for real in the spring”. No harm, no foul.

My period ended up being late again in December, but this time I didn’t stress about it at all. It was clearly diet related, as I had committed to a vegan diet until the new year. I had also lost a few pounds so I thought the weight loss and diet were to blame. On December 30th, my friend came over to have a vegan baking/cooking day with me. We had to go to the store to get some supplies before we started. I picked up 2 pregnancy tests because was planning on drinking -to be honest, because I didn’t have to drive at all that day, I fully intended to get drunk that night. When we got back to my house, I poured her and myself a glass of red wine when she got a phone call. I took that time to excuse myself to the bathroom to take the test just in case before I started drinking. At this point I was 8 days late (same as in October) and really felt like my conscience needed to see that negative test before I started on my wine. I did my thing, 2 lines came up, that meant negative, right????, and I checked the box just to make sure….  image

Two lines meant positive! I was panicked and confused. I think at that point my eyes bulged out of my head. I was confused because when you take the ovulation tests, which look exactly the same by the way, you’re looking for 2 purple lines. So I had gotten used to thinking I was supposed to be looking for 2 lines. Also, I was so ridiculously dehydrated at this point and thought that maybe the hormone is just super concentrated in me because I’m so dehydrated lol All these thoughts passed through my head in about 3 seconds and then I burst out of the bathroom door waving around my pee stick mouthing “WHAT THE F*CK IS THIS???!!” to my friend, who was still on the phone. Her eyes bugged out of her head and she motioned for me to take the second one (I always buy 2 tests at a time). The second test came up with the same result. And I feel like I also need to say, there was no waiting 3 minutes for the lines to appear… they appeared immediately and they were dark. There was no mistaking that both tests had 2 dark lines. I grabbed my phone, went into the bedroom, and called Kevin, who was at work. The conversation went something like this:

Him: Hey

Me: Guess what the f*ck I just did??! I just took a pregnancy test and it says I’m pregnant!!!!!!!

Him: Are you serious?

Me: YES! Of course I’m serious!

Him: ….omg. We’re gonna have a baby… (although I couldn’t see him, I knew he was grinning from ear to ear. Not exactly the same response as me LOL)

My friend, who had just finished up her conversation came bursting into the room and tackle-hugged me down at this point. Kevin and I said our goodbyes and my friend and I walked back into the kitchen. I was STUNNED. I was so blasé about buying the tests, and taking the tests, and being late. We put so little effort into trying to get pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I know a lot of people have fertility issues; I just thought we would have had to.. you know… try a little harder. Anyways, my mind was reeling and my eyes settled on the 2 glasses of red wine on the kitchen table that I had poured no more than 5 minutes ago. I said to my friend, “Do you think I could still drink that?” She then picked up my glass and poured its contents into hers lol. I guess that answered that question.

The rest of the day was a blur. Kevin came home. We had a moment. He was SO excited. I was freaked out. I’ve never had such an introspective day in my life. I literally couldn’t think of anything else. I mean, I didn’t feel pregnant, so clearly a mistake had been made. I called my doctor and scheduled a physical and a blood test, but I couldn’t get an appointment for about 10 days. Other than not drinking, I didn’t do anything different until my appointment. I decided I didn’t want to tell anyone until I at least had the results confirmed with a blood test, but those 10 days were weird. I didn’t feel different, but everything was SO DIFFERENT!  I could barely sleep because every night I had the most crazy thoughts about pregnancy and babies,and when I did finally fall asleep I had the vivid dreams and nightmares about it too.

My physical with my family doctor was pretty routine, except he told me to make sure I take my multi-vitamins and don’t eat deli meat (random). He said if I took a home test and it was positive, that I was definitely pregnant. I was still skeptical. He sent me down to the lab to get my blood test done and the following week he called me with the results just as Kevin was dropping me off on his way to work. I put him on speaker phone and he let me know I was “definitely pregnant”, that my hormone levels were showing me to be at least 4 weeks along, and that I’d need to start my pre-natal care as soon as possible.


There was a baby in my belly. No two ways around it.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Living Without Cable

and for a scary few weeks, without internet!

I have a confession to make: I’ve never lived in an apartment/house that didn’t include cable and internet. That includes my parents’ house growing up, residence in university, 2 university rentals, and 3 different post-university rentals. The cable and internet has always been included in my rental costs, except for an apartment that I had in university where the cable was just never disconnected so I had free cable for 2 years!! #opportunisticcriminal

As the move to this new apartment was so temporary, we decided to not get cable or internet while we were here. We figured it’d be 2 months (tops!) before our move to the condo. As it stands, the day after we moved in here, we got notification telling us to schedule our Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) for our unit. I was excited at the prospect of a move so soon following our move here (that meant we really wouldn’t have to unpack anything except bare essentials), but I was sceptical that this PDI would actually go through on April 16th, as planned. My pessimism was due to the facts that:

  1. >90% of purchasers had their first PDIs cancelled
  2. there was no permit yet for people to move in on our floor
  3. we had taken our own private sneak peak at our unit and were missing things, including flooring, toilets, light switches, closet doors, door handles, etc.

Two days beforehand, we received notice that our PDI was cancelled. At this point, I had gone 2 weeks without cable and internet. If you’re thinking, “oh poor you #sarcasm #firstworldproblems”, you’re absolutely right! I never knew before how much I depended on cable and internet! In an act of desperation, I called Bell. Bell and Rogers are both offering pretty sweet deals to the purchasers of my condo so I wanted to see if I could get any kind of deal extended to this apartment for internet service. The gentleman at Bell was very nice, and offered a great deal in terms of monthly costs for internet (about $30 for a crapload of bandwidth), but the start-up cost was $50 and we’d be locked in for 2 years. Um, no thanks. I’ll stick to my DVDs and browsing internet on my iPhone for now. This whole process has made me seriously consider not going with either of the two major service providers this city offers and finding an independent that will offer a better package at a better cost!

Service Provider

After talking to the Bell guy, I thought about the tenants upstairs. Before we even moved in, I wondered if I would have the balls to ask them (a retiree and her daughter) if we could share their wifi (if they had it) and split the cost while we were in this apartment. They are both very very nice ladies, but I’m a wimp and couldn’t bring myself to ask them. I didn’t want them to think we were trying to take advantage, but I did see it as a win-win situation – if they had a decent amount of bandwidth, we could supplement their costs for it for a month or two and it wouldn’t affect them at all. Makes sense, right? I just had to muster up the nerve to ask. Turns out, my mom (their landlady) ended up asking them for me one day while she was here doing maintenance and they were totally fine with it! They said have unlimited bandwidth (whaaaaaaaaat? I didn’t know such a thing existed!) and they didn’t want our money. We insisted several times, but they were adamant. Since we have a car and they don’t, I’ve offered to take them to the store/grocery shopping while we live here. I have a feeling they’ll never take us up on that offer either, so we’ll probably just end up getting them something to show them our appreciation before we move out.

How’s that for a feel-good story with a happy ending!? I now have internet and am a happy lady. I’ve been streaming TV, which feels like such a luxury! And I’ve learned that internet hands down beats cable. So much so, in fact, that I think we could actually do without cable altogether and save ourselves that added monthly expense!

Monday, March 24, 2014

We're Moving!

But not to the condo. Not yet anyways.

The end of this month marks 2 years since I moved into the apartment in which I'm currently living. When I signed my lease, I thought I wouldn't be here past the end of 2012. At the beginning of this year, my landlady tried to bully/coerce me into paying substantially more money for rent (over and above what she can legally increase the rent by), so we gave notice to leave. Turns out, unbeknownst to me, that she was also preggo at the time that we had our aggressive, emotionally charged back-and-forthing, so that may have had a bit to do with the harsh words that were exchanged. I don't like being bullied, and turns out, I'm as predictably emotional as the rest of the preggos out there, which made for a rough couple weeks.

Pregnancy is an emotional rollercoaster. Image: Getty

In a stroke of serendipitous timing, my parents have been having issues with their tenants for the past few months and they'll be vacating my parents' rental property the same time we're leaving our one, so that's where we'll be living until the condo is completed. The new place has a bath tub - something I haven't had for 2 years! My current apartment has the TINIEST stand-up shower, at just under 2x3ft... as in, tiny enough that it rivals the tiny showers on cruise ships. So i'm really really really looking forward to having a bath.

In terms of updates of when we're moving in, here's where we're at:
Occupancy permits have been granted for all floors up to 3 levels below us, and people as close as the floor below us have their pre-delivery inspections (PDIs) scheduled for the end of this month. At this point, I'm not getting too excited about that because there have been cases when people have done the PDIs for their units when there were still a large number of deficiencies (ie: missing counters or cabinets, incomplete flooring, unconnected hood fans for the oven, etc). It was supposed to take 1-2 weeks per floor for permits to be issued, but the builder is averaging 1 floor per month. According to the builder, our floor will achieve the occupancy permit by March 27, but the project manager for the condo is "pessimistic that will happen".

My thoughts:
I hope we get our occupancy date by May. I don't want to move in the hot months of July or August. And as I'll be at the end of my second trimester at the end of May, I think it would be ideal to move before then as well.
Moving while Pregnant

Obviously these are just all nice-to-haves and we don't get to choose when we're moving. And finally, as the final occupancy dates and have been given and have all passed, the builders are giving people very little notice for moving in... as in less than a week's notice. That sucks. A lot. Some people are really chomping at the bit to move in, but I don't really feel that same urgency. The building still has a lot of construction going on the and the dust levels are crazy high right now. Obviously the later your move in date, the more complete of a building you're moving in to, which means decreased dust and construction.

Photo credits:
Emotional preggo
Moving preggo

Sunday, March 16, 2014

And then there were 3…

Shit just got real. I’m having a baby!

File:Pregnancy test result.jpg

I’m 4 months along and feeling pretty good. The nausea and fatigue of the first trimester have given way to a wave of energy and much clearer skin, so I’ve got a lot to be happy about these days!

I have sooo much to talk about and a LOT of questions that I want to ask all of you experienced mothers out there!! Like, a lot. I don’t want to bombard you all with all the questions in this post, so I’m just going to ask my most pressing one for now:

In Ontario, our government health care system will allow pregnant ladies to have one primary care giver for normal pregnancies with no complications: an OB-GYN or a midwife. I’ve met with both, and I’ve liked them both. The OB-GYN is a doctor from the clinic where my family doctor works, which is convenient because it’s less than 2 km from the condo, which hopefully we’ll be moving into soon. The clinic also has all the labs in house so you can get your blood work and ultrasounds all done in the same place. The midwife’s practice is also located less than 2 km from the condo. I like the idea of going with a midwife because you have the same person for your pre-natal and post-partum care and the delivery. With the doctor, I have a 1/10 chance that she’ll be delivering my baby. With the midwife, I’d have to go to another location to get any tests (other than blood work) done. Both the midwife and doctor appear very well-informed and took their time with me.

So I guess the question is this: Did you go with a midwife or an OB-GYN for your pregnancy? Did you have a good experience? I’m giving myself until the end of this week to make up my mind!

Also, what is up with all the blood and urine samples you have to give while preggo???

Thanks in advance for the help!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Condo Waiting Game

So I feel like I've become the most patient person in this ridiculous waiting game for the condo to be completed. There are currently people living in the building up to the fifth floor. We've been told 3 times in writing that people on our floor will be moving in some time in March. March! So close...
Condo - Late Summer 2013
My living situation has been pretty precarious for the past 2 and a bit years. I thought we would live in our duplex on the Danforth until the condo was done, but my landlord decided to put the house on the market and we left. Because we only had a few months until the condo was done (certainly not enough time to move to a new apartment and sign a new 1 year lease), we each moved to our own parents houses. We thought it was a short-term thing. We were WRONG WRONG WRONG. While I love my parents, we don't do so well living together, so after a couple months, I moved out into a small basement apartment near work. At this point we knew the condo completion date had been pushed back from July 2012 to October 2012, so I negotiated with my landlords and signed a lease until the end of the year (a 9 month lease). Then it got pushed back and pushed back and pushed back. I felt very awkward about the whole thing, but that was just the beginning.

Kevin proposed Labour Day weekend in 2012. Yay! Very exciting. We set the date in June 2013. Double yay! I remember he and I going back and forth on June versus September before we settled on a date:

What if we choose June and the condo isn't ready? You'll have to move in here... this apartment sucks.
What if we choose September and the condo is done earlier? Do we move in before the wedding?
What if we choose September and the condo isn't done by then?

ALL MOOT POINTS. It's the end of freaking January and we STILL don't have a move in date. When I look back at the conversations we had about wedding dates and planning it around the condo it makes me laugh. We were so foolish!

When it became apparent that the condo wasn't going to be ready before we got married, I awkwardly asked my landlords if Kevin could move in.

Hey, so I know I've been living here about 6 months longer than I said, but is it okay if Kevin moves in?

They were fine with it. They'd met him before. Things carried on. It's now 7 months after my wedding and we're still here. Between you and me, I think they think there IS no condo. Seriously. I showed the landlady some of the photos from some of the occupants who had moved in at the end of last year and had posted photos to the Facebook group for our building. I think she's going to need more convincing than that. Sigh.

Kevin and I are leaving for a vacation in a few days and I'm seriously hoping we have some definitive news by the time we get back. I'm very anxious to give our 60 days notice. The condo reps told us that we'd be "fine" to give notice, but I just don't believe them after all the delays we've had. Not one bit.

The delays used to frustrate me, and I know I probably sound frustrated in this post, but I honestly feel immune to the frustration now. If we came back from our vacation to a letter saying it wouldn’t be ready until the end of summer I’m not sure I’d have much of a reaction. The condo company has had information meetings for the purchasers where people have literally broken down crying with their frustration and I feel like I have no emotion toward this place anymore. A little anticipation is good – it builds up your excitement. Too much anticipation causes you to just lose the good feeling. The bright side to this whole saga is that we purchased back in 2010 and we've earned a lot of increased value in the place. Every month that passes by is just more money in our pockets, especially for those of us who bought in the first year before the original prices went up!

Please all cross your fingers/knock on wood/pray for me/whatever... that we get our notice very very soon!

Also, well done if you got this far in the post! Give yourself a pat on the back!
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