hello new mama – you have never been more beautiful.

It is my understanding, through personal experience with friends and family, that anxiety about a woman’s appearance can set in during pregnancy and after birth. We tend to champion the ability of many women to maintain a svelte figure during pregnancy and how quickly these women get back into shape after delivery – to the point of making other women feel like crap for not being back to a size two upon leaving the hospital 18 hours after labour.

I was a svelte pregnant woman and I was back to a size two nine days after my baby was born. I got lucky, some might say. I am happy about this, but I don’t want other women to feel like crap because I got lucky….I want new mamas everywhere to know that their beauty has never been more apparent.

I have commented before about how much heat I took for “not gaining enough weight” and “clearly not eating enough” during pregnancy and after birth from many people. I don’t apologize for being all belly while pregnant (and a small belly at that) or slipping into my skinny jeans without a muffin top nine days after my girl was born. It is was it is. If you don’t like it, don’t look at me.

An old friend of mine once wrote a public comment about people attacking her about her weight and her key phrase was “fit is not a size.” (or something like that) She could not have been more right in selecting her words to make her point. Being skinny or fat or big boned or hefty or solid or waif-like does not mean that you aren’t healthy. And healthy is where you want to be.

I feel amazing about my clothes fitting me (although it is a little annoying that many are actually too big) and I am working on getting my fitness back up to par. It’s coming along and it is hard work, but I will get there. I eat well with the odd pot of Kraft Dinner thrown in there for good measure.  I run a few days a week and sweat like a crazy person while pushing the stroller.  I also took up soccer again after about a ten year hiatus and every day-after-game-day I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.  It will come.  The fitness will come.

The interesting thing about my feelings post-delivery is that I have never felt sexier. I have always been a confident person, but I have been shy about feeling sexy. It always seemed like that side of me was out of my comfort zone. I could get there with some coaxing and a couple of Whiskey Sours….but it took work and it wasn’t usually somewhere I could get to on my own.

Delivering a baby and figuring out how to keep this baby happy, healthy and alive has changed that. Becoming a first time parent is an incredible experience with an equally incredible learning curve. They aren’t kidding when they say that babies don’t come with instruction manuals. I wouldn’t even know which chapter to start on.

I have always felt like my lack of parenting knowledge has increased my confidence in my ability to parent my girl…..because just like she is learning to nurse/roll over/crawl/sit up/walk on her own, her mama is figuring out how to be her mama all on her own. The determination my girl has to succeed at her tasks matches my determination to get the hang of this whole parenting thing.

This greatly boosts my confidence. Remember how amazing it felt and how proud you were the first time you fixed something in the house without anyone’s help? You have probably assembled Ikea furniture at some point…that’s a feat itself.

These accomplishments of yours likely weren’t hindered by the fact that you hadn’t lost those last five pounds. Having a baby shouldn’t either.  It’s about working on being healthy.

Embrace this newest little accomplishment as your greatest ever and know that those few extra pounds have never made you more beautiful.

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You have such an easy baby therefore I hate you.

I can already tell this post is going to be a little scattered and unfocused so apologies in advance but it is what it is.

I am lucky. My girl, for the most part, sleeps through the night. I am proud of her for it too and will tell people without hesitation.

Moreso, I am lucky because I get to be a mama to such a sweet, inquisitive little being who has taught me so much in the last 17 months. I say seventeen months even though she’s barely seven months old because I learned a lot from her while pregnant with her as well. I tell people this too.

But back to being lucky about having a good-sleeping, happy little muffin….who has her moments.

When anyone asks me about my daughter, I give an honest answer. I don’t care what other people think when it comes to how amazing my girl is and the job that I am doing raising her. Yes, I appreciate that I can learn from other parents and I have learned a ton but if they disagree with me, I don’t really care. I don’t expect others to agree with everything I do as a parent and would hope that they don’t really care what I think either. I have realized that aside from a few close friends and family, most people don’t really care about what someone else thinks.

That’s sounds really assholeish but c’est la vie. I believe this is a good thing…parents need to worry about their babies and themselves first and foremost….only parents know their own babies (and primary caregivers!).

So when someone asks me how my girl sleeps, I say wonderfully…because she does. The thing that makes me chuckle is that nine times out of ten, the next line is “you’re so lucky, you have such an easy baby, I hate you.”

I chuckle because these people automatically come to the conclusion that I was blessed with an easy baby who emerged from the womb in a dreamy sleep state and she’s been this way all along. Um no. I worked damn hard to get her to where she is. In earlier posts I have mentioned two months of feedings every one to three hours and not knowing which was up for several weeks. It’s called having a newborn.

I chuckle because usually they are still having issues with getting their baby to sleep and instead of asking what worked for us, they automatically assume that no work went into the elusive “sleeping through the night.”
I’m kind of happy I get dismissed as the blessed mother and get told I’m hated because I don’t like small talk anyway.

The other side of that is when I’m asked something else like “how is your daughter taking to solids?” and I respond “she hates anything but boob or bottle,” it’s suddenly an onslaught of speculation that I must be doing something wrong along with unsolicited advice. I never said it was a problem and that my child was suffering, I just stated a fact.

I just find that lying by saying she’s an amazing eater, although it may ward off some unwanted suggestions, the conversation suddenly turns a bit competitive. Of course I can’t think of anything more amazeballs than verbal baby achievement competitions with people I don’t know. Did I mention I dislike small talk?

If you try to drag me into a competition about our babies, I’m warning you right now that I do not go for the yellow participation ribbon. I go for the blue ribbon and I go hard.

This is why these conversations are ridiculous. Just be honest about your baby….really who cares? They all grow and develop at their own pace and parents need to trust their instincts. Know that you are doing the best for your baby and who the hell cares what other people think.

The other thing: be happy for another mama when she tells you her baby is sleeping through the night/sitting up/crawling etc. Don’t shit on her pride and happiness. She, like you, has likely spent many a sleepless night and has finally emerged from the haze and doesn’t want to get crapped on by your negativity.

You wouldn’t want to be either.

I had a C-section, why the hell does sex suck?

I didn’t have to push a large baby out of a tiny space, I had a c-section.

While invasive, it didn’t do any damage to my lady parts…so why, when I tried to have the sex with my man two weeks after birth, did it hurt like hell!?

Apparently this is a topic not covered prior to birth.  Perhaps it is because sex after childbirth isn’t exactly a priority and most women would be focused on dealing with childbirth.

My man wouldn’t have sex with me for the last two months of my pregnancy.  One day he just had a visual of his baby grabbing onto his penis from the inside while having sex with me and it disturbed him enough to put the brakes on our sex life until after birth.  I had warned him that he shouldn’t expect any sex after birth for several weeks as my lady parts would be damaged and he came to terms with the possibility of no sex for a few months.

I felt a little differently.  I wanted to get laid.  Secretly, I was happy about the c-section because I figured I would be able to have sex fairly soon after delivery.

Within two weeks I was raring to go.  I had lost all my baby weight (yes, seriously) and had never felt sexier.  I even put on some Agent Provocateur lingerie my man had given me a couple years prior, snapped a photo of myself and sent it to him at work just to let him know that I was serious that it was go-time.

The anticipation was killing me.  Even though I hadn’t slept more than two hours in a row, likely less, since our baby was born, I wanted sex.

So that night, once baby was down for what we had hoped was at least three hours (wishful thinking but we had hoped), we made our first attempt.

Ho-ly fuck.  Ouch.

TMI alert – I was so dry that he couldn’t even get inside me.  The multiple attempts hurt like hell.  What an epic failure.

I was so confused as to why this couldn’t work as everything had remained intact.  Yes, I had some minor bleeding after birth but no worse than a heavy period but that had been it.  No rips, tears or otherwise.

I called up my girlfriend who had a c-section six months earlier and asked her about it.  Her response was “oh yeah, dry as a popcorn fart.”  Pleasant.  She assured me it would get better and that it is worse because of using a condom, which we had been doing.  She suggested lots of lube but that it still hurt her a bit as well.

At my six week checkup with the OBGYN, I asked her about it as well.  She said my body thinks it is going through menopause.  I had other symptoms as well such as severe night sweats and a terrible ability to regulate my body temperature.  She said to try to continue to fight through the sex pain as it would get better.  She also recommended copious amounts of lube.

She was right……all it took was me actually telling myself out loud to relax just as my man was about to slip inside…along with tons of lube.  Six months later it doesn’t hurt anymore but wow that was an unexpected side effect.

So….in a word – lube!

 

 

Rules for visiting new parents at the hospital: Part 2

Okay – I think I made my point in Part 1 but if you have never been a new parent who has just given birth at a hospital, you may not get it.  I didn’t get it until I had my own and for awhile there I hated myself for visiting all those new parents right after the birth of their child(ren).

Yes, I get that new babies are exciting and small and cute (well, most) and you want to see and hold them within minutes/hours/days of birth.  It is an awesome experience: but not when you’re one of those weary parents.

Here is my story….and I know my story is better, worse and similar to all other new parents.

I went into labour at 2am with contractions that started exactly five minutes apart.  I thought I had food poisoning as we had gone out for a fabulous dinner five hours earlier and had a chef’s taster menu.  I’d even (GASP!) eaten a raw oyster.

It took a half hour of serious poo pains and liquid poops coming out of me every five minutes, along with my human co-creator suggesting it wasn’t food poisoning, but labour for me to realize that perhaps, just maybe I was in labour.

Those poo pains hurt like hell.  They were the worst poo pains I’d ever had in my life.  Within an hour, the poo pains were four minutes apart and lasting 30-45 seconds.  Every hour they sped up a minute and extended another 10 seconds or so.

We went to the hospital around 5am I think….my human’s co-creator dropped me off at the entrance and went to park the car.  By the time I walked from the car to triage, I’d had two contractions and the walk for a non-labouring person would be about 15 seconds.  It sucked.  Some nice-but-crackhead-looking person even asked if I was okay.  I didn’t return the favour when I really should have.

So they wheel me up to the third floor delivery department (like it’s The Bay or something) and park me by the check in counter there.  I have another two contractions while they prep the assessment room.  They’ve seen it all before.  I could see the looks on their faces “yeah yeah, we get it, you’re in labour, you’ll be here for hours before you expel a baby.”

I should clear something up as well.  I was bound and determined to attempt to do this delivery drug-free and naturally.  I have a very high pain tolerance (I had two brothers, what can I say?) and knew I could fight through the pain to meet my sweet baby girl.  Within an hour of labour starting I had already said “I don’t think I can do this” twice, and “get me an epidural” once.  We were still at home so I’m not sure where I thought we had an epidural laying around.

So I get into the assessment bed at around 6am after attempting a urine sample while having contractions about a minute apart.  Yeah, good luck with that.  I think I peed every where but the cup.

The nurse checks to see how much I am dilated.  I think I have to be at least 18 centimetres due to the pain and searing burning that I feel inside me.  She replies “you’re one pinky finger.”  I literally say “you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”

She smiles and says she’s not kidding.  I tell her I can’t do this without some kind of dope.  She offers up gas first and I go for it.  I drained that first tank in about 40 minutes.  I was sucking so hard on that gas, my human co-creator said I was totally stoned, giving people the “thousand yard stare.”  Hee hee.

The nurse then offers me some morphine and yup, without hesitation I say yes.  She says they just had to check on babe first.  Long story short here, my baby was “sleepy” so they couldn’t give me morphine.  I asked for an epidural.  The nurse said she would call the doctor but would have to wait for him to get there before the epidural came to save me from being murdered.  She decides to check me again before calling the doctor.  It’s been under an hour since the “pinky” comment.  She says “holy crap, you are five centimetres!”  I like the sound of this – we are in business!

I give instructions for my mom to be called and my human co-creator says “oh it can wait,” until the nurse corrects him and tells him that if I want mom there for the birth, he better call her because we are now officially cooking with gas.  He calls.  Mom is en route.  Whew.  I feel a little bit of relief for some reason.  But then…my water breaks.  The pain that ensued is something I can never describe.  The nurse explained that when the water breaks all cushioning is gone.  No kidding.  Holy crap.

They decide to move me from the assessment room to the birthing room.  I have no memory of walking there but apparently I did.  My next memory is continuing to hit the gas hard while screaming for more drugs.  There were sounds coming out of me that if someone paid me $38 million dollars, I would not be able to recreate.

There was one doctor and a couple nurses floating around.  Suddenly, there were 14 people in the room and between my screams I heard them asking about who was on-call.  I knew that was hospital lingo for “we need a specialist.”  I was annoyed that nobody was telling me what was up but also in so much pain because of non-stop contractions that I couldn’t ask if I wanted to.  The pinky nurse kept trying to move me around.  At one point she had me on my hands and knees (which at the time I recognized was a very vulnerable position with so many people in the room!).  Pee was shooting out of me during most of my contractions.  I was pushing without being able to stop.  I kept swatting at the nurse telling her not to touch me.

Finally, my human co-creator came over and grabbed me and told me to calm down and that I had to do whatever the nurse said for the baby.  Oh okay.  It sort of registered but not really.  My mom, who has worked in health care for 45 years could see the heart rate monitor and could tell that baby’s heart rate was all over the map.  It would spike to 160 bpm, then drop to 40.  She knew this was bad news and she told my man causing him to try to snap me out of it.

It was chaos.  It didn’t help that these professionals had a screaming lunatic amongst them.

Then, like one of those shining angelic beings, a woman arrived.  She walked over to me and I couldn’t help but stare right into her eyes.  She had the ability to command my attention somehow.  She said “your baby is in trouble, we need to do a Caesarean section right now.”  It was all I needed.  Thank you Angelic doctor-lady!  I was still in pain and screaming but it was much more controlled.  I now knew what was going on.  I have a Type A personality and don’t like people touching me without me knowing why.

They wheeled me into the operating room and had me sign releases on the way in between screams.  Within two minutes they had me in a position to be frozen and they waited for one last contraction before they jammed the needle in and froze me from the neck down.  It was heaven.  Heaven!

A feeling of complete and overwhelming peace enveloped me.  I asked for my man a couple of times and was told he was getting into scrubs.

Then he arrived.  He was crying (I had only seen this phenomenon once before in my life).  I had to tell him everything was going to be okay.  I think I said to him “We are Team J, let’s get ‘er done.”

I asked if my man could film the C-Section and was told no.  I think someone called me a weirdo under their breath.  When I am in a normal state of mind, I am a huge nerd.  I love the idea of seeing someone surgically remove anything from me, let alone my baby girl!

What followed was a couple minutes of feeling someone root around inside me.  Not at all painful, just freakin’ strange.

Then.  She cried.  Holy crap she was angry about being yanked from her lovely amniotic cocoon.  So mad.  I knew she was awesome immediately.

My girl was born at 825am, 6.5 hours after those first poo pains.  I like an efficient child from the get-go.

We went to recovery for a few hours until my freezing subsided and they were sure I wasn’t going to die.  For some strange reason my heart rate was around 40 bpm the whole time I was there too and they were a little freaked out by that sp they wanted to monitor it.  Apparently I live in a nearly comatose state most days.  I knew I had low blood pressure but not such a low heart rate.

Skipping ahead to the hospital room etc.  My man and I have been awake since 2am…the nurses have instructed us to feed our little nugget every three hours.  We do this for the remaining four days we are in hospital.  So we wake every three hours to feed her but also, every hour or two (of course, not the hours that we wake to feed her) there is a nurse coming in to check my girl and also to check me and give me recovery drugs.  I use the term wake loosely as we really didn’t sleep because our hospital door flew open at least once an hour.  That is no exaggeration.  After feeding my girl, the hospital had me pump to get my milk going.  So the room door would fly open and there I’d be holding the industrial strength pump on my chest with the only thing being pumped out of the right boob was blood.

We were exhausted and just wanted to go home with our girl.  Visitors just would not stay the hell away though.  There were a couple people (family) who we said could come down but explained that they may have to leave so we could sleep or if we had to meet with a nurse (I had problems nursing so we had a consultant in a couple times to try to help).  One family member came down to visit, then wanted to come back the next day.  What the???  Um no.  Fortunately we said no.  We needed time as a family to bond and enjoy some quiet time.  That same night that I told that family member that he couldn’t come down (and he got pissy about it, nice.) my man and I actually had about two hours where we could try to nap.  The baby went to sleep, the nurse said she wouldn’t be back for two hours.  My man and I looked at each other and turned the lights off after a knowing “sleep is coming” smile between us.

With the lights low and eyes drowsy, the fucking hospital door opens again.  For.the.love.of.god.what.now.

It was my cousin.  Seriously.  I see her consistently every week for four months of the year but outside of those four months, I don’t see her.  This was not within those four months.  I love my cousin to death but I wanted death to take me when she walked in the door.  I started to cry and made a cover story that I was so happy to see her.  My man came over, kissed me and whispered that he was going home before he murdered someone.  I asked him to take me with him but totally understood where he was at.  He left.  My cousin stayed for three fucking hours.  My man came back and she was still there.

So.  Please, please, please for the love of new parents everywhere.  Take a second to understand what they are going through and stay the fuck away from the hospital.  If for whatever reason, you just can’t stay away – make your visit ten minutes max.  Get in, get the hell out.

I’m mad just writing about it.

Don’t touch me.

Yup, another “awesome” part of being pregnant is the apparent open invitation for all the randoms in the vicinity to roll on up and pat the belly.  

What the hell.  

I get that my mom or my closest friends may want to have a feel once the little nugget is kicking and rolling around and I was always totally open to that as it certainly is a feeling that cannot be explained.  

But some random stranger lady on the street who justified the belly grope by saying “don’t worry, I’m a doula by trade!”  ??  I actually said to this woman nicely “please don’t touch me,” and she replied with the doula comment….like that should change my opinion of a stranger touching me on the street.    

The best is when people would get offended by me saying no to them asking if they could have a feel.  While I appreciated the ask before the grope, I still chose to say no.  Apparently the question was just a formality for them because half the time they would touch anyway.  Hey lady, no is no.  Didn’t you learn that in sex-ed growing up??

One day when I was about six months along and had a tiny little belly poking out, a guy that I work with walked right up to me and put his hand on my belly.  I responded by placing my hand on his belly and we just stood there awkwardly while the people at the office walked past us trying to decipher what was going on.  This guy is a great guy and I actually would have no problem with him touching me but I decided to use him as a bit of a guinea pig to show how weird it is to just touch someone’s belly.  I can live without it, I am good thanks. 

Would these people go up to any non-pregnant person and put their hands on their belly?  Likely not.  So why is it okay when someone is pregnant?  Oh right, it’s not.

So really.  When you see a pregnant woman, don’t assume the belly is there for the taking.  If you are a pregnant woman, I encourage you to randomly walk up to people and invade their privacy by touching their bellies 🙂

 

You’re too skinny

Yes, I was one of those petite pregnant women.
I put on 17 pounds…that’s it.
I was in the best shape of my life when I got pregnant….my work required me to ride a bicycle for six to ten hours a day so that helped.
Throughout my pregnancy, I still cycled for the first four and a half months and hiked every Saturday and Sunday literally until the Monday I gave birth.
I also did yoga every week for about four months (which I hated and will devote a whole other entry to another time).
I went through various phases of food intake:
Months one to three I couldn’t get enough salt to satisfy me. Soup, chips, miso flavoured anything.
Months four to seven I was all about mashed potatoes and watermelon.
Months eight and up I was game on for almost anything including dessert every night.
Christmas fell in these months so there were plenty of sweets around for me to hoover.
From December 1st to January 4th, I gained one whole pound….and boy, did I eat.
None of this information seemed to satisfy those people who had it in their mind that I was too skinny. No amount of explaining and demonstrating my love for and intake of food or my level of activity helped.
I was just too skinny in their minds.
These conversations always led to the welfare of my baby.
“Oh your baby needs nutrients!” (no kidding Einstein).
“Your baby looks like it is going to be a preemie!” (wow…you can see my baby?!)
“You look unhealthy.” (thanks, twat)
At what point during my pregnancy did you become my personal physician? Did I not get that memo?
My response was always “Actually, feel great, thanks.”
Except one time. One time I responded to someone who had repeatedly made herself an uninvited expert on my pregnancy.
I said “if, in your opinion, I was too fat at this stage in my pregnancy, would you say that to me?”
She replied: “oh no, that would be rude.”
So I said “exactly.”
Awkward silence while my point sunk in.
…but I never heard from her again 🙂
Up next….don’t touch me there.