My first Mom Musings left off at our first ultrasound. I left off in the moment I found out my baby was healthy and growing.
And he grew and grew and grew.
In this Mom Musings I’ll be writing about my last trimester, as well as birth.
Spoiler Alert: I mention poop. It’s an honest piece about what I went through which unfortunately means it won’t be a story about rainbows and butterflies.
My partner and I had names picked out for the baby. We had a girl name picked and a boy name. I loved our choices. Even though we could have waited, I wanted to know if I was going to have a Joyce or an Anthony. I have no patience. I have heard from others they didn’t find out because life has very few surprises. If somebody wants to throw me a surprise party, I’m all in, but I didn’t mind the surprise during the ultrasound.
We found out we were having a boy. We were having an Anthony. We named him after my grandma. Anthony was her maiden name. I think she would have liked that, and I’m glad I got to honour a wonderful woman. I don’t regret choosing to have a baby in my thirties, but I am sad that my grandparents never got to meet my son.
I was surprised when she said it was a boy. I thought it was a girl, but I didn’t have a reason for thinking that. I wasn’t disappointed; I just had no idea how to raise a boy. I had no idea how to raise a girl either – other than the fact that I am one. Boy or girl – I was happy with knowing he or she was healthy.
After we found out, we celebrated by buying a little boy outfit. To be clear, I’m not big on pink or blue, but we did end up with something that was adorable and blue. We didn’t really make an announcement about the sex, but I told anyone who asked.
A friend told me not to tell people the name we picked in case we changed our mind. I didn’t listen. I knew my mind wouldn’t be changed even after meeting him. Some of my friends did refer to him as Anthony before he arrived.
I was hoping for some fun and ridiculous cravings. Instead, my favourites switched from salty to sweet. I wanted the sugar. Orange floats were my lifeline. When it came time to drink that disgusting orange drink for the gestational diabetes (now referred to as g/d test), I actually loved it while so many hated it. I failed the first g/d test, but it didn’t bother me because I didn’t find the drink to be particularly awful. I wasn’t a fan of the needles though.
You may not be surprised to hear this, but I failed the second test as well. I was borderline, which meant I had g/d. No more orange floats. It was after Anthony was born that I came to find that the orange drink was truly disgusting.
Having gestational diabetes was a pretty big inconvenience. It meant weekly appointments at the diabetes clinic, plus extra ultrasounds, along with my regular appointments with my doctor. I had a lot of odd-timed lunches to get to them all. The ultrasounds were fine. I had to prick my finger at least five times a day to make sure my blood sugars were okay. They weren’t. My diet wasn’t the problem. My levels were too high overnight, so I had to give myself nightly insulin. It turns out that a nightly stab to the stomach wasn’t nearly as annoying as the daily stabs to the fingers.
The extra ultrasounds were great because I got to see my baby boy. I had them to make sure he wasn’t gaining too much weight because of the g/d. He wasn’t a big baby, but apparently his head was. He was in the correct position for quite a while, and his head appeared to be big. Of course, to me, anything would appear big because I knew how it was going to be exiting my body.
G/D made the third trimester hard… so did my sciatica pain. At one point, my back hurt so bad that we only made it through one day of a two-day birthing class. We missed learning about C-sections and probably a few more important details.
One day, I had an appointment with my doctor, and I asked her check on something that was making me uncomfortable. She checked (and probably laughed) and then told me it was hemorrhoids. I gasped in horror. While walking back to work, I got more and more annoyed. I walked into work, sat at my desk in my cubicle, and then announced to the room that I had hemorrhoids. I think they were sympathetic, but they probably also laughed.
No sleep also came with the third trimester. I was up to pee once an hour at least. Here’s something NOT to tell a hormonal pregnant woman that’s getting no sleep: “Just you wait until the baby comes; then you’ll really know what no sleep is.”
The only difference between the sleep before and after was I had more anxiety after. It was all crappy sleep though.
I could go on and on about how much I disliked the third trimester… like the time I peed a little while sneezing. (FYI: if this continues after you’ve had the baby, go see a pelvic floor specialist.)
For every crappy moment I experienced, there also came a kick or a punch to the stomach from a little boy who was getting ready to come out. It was amazing. I loved feeling him move around.
I saw a post on Facebook about a place that offered prenatal workouts (as well as for mom and baby and boot camps with childcare). I decided since I had basically not exercised for the first two trimesters, that maybe I should start.
This gym for Mommas-to-be, and mommas was called Fitbump. It had JUST opened. There were three women in my class. The instructor, Amanda Brindley, had one daughter and had decided Saskatoon needed FitBump – a place where women could gather and tell the truth while treating their bodies to some healthy exercise. It was perfect for me because I discovered more about being a mom than I had in any other place before. I learned from Amanda that birth may not go as you plan. She also said that breast feeding is NOT easy. She was right, and nobody tells you.
My claim to fame is that I had the first Fitbump baby boy. A baby girl was born about twelve hours later, belonging to somebody else in the class – somebody who had become a great Mom Friend.
Because of my gestational diabetes, I was induced a week early. Gestational diabetes babes tend to be larger, but he wasn’t too big when I was induced. I had a week holiday from work before my maternity leave started, and before I was induced. I planted my garden in that time, and there were many times that I got stuck in my garden because I couldn’t get up.
On May 17th, 2016, I was induced. I had heard that it doesn’t always take the first time, so we had no idea when Anthony would arrive. Some people are induced and sent home, but because of the g/d, they needed me to stay in the hospital. I had many fears about my water breaking and not knowing when to go to the hospital, so I was relieved to stay there.
I was induced at around 10am. My contractions started sometime after midnight. Clint had gone home at night because I was ridiculously worried about leaving our first baby, our dog, at home. Our big dog was my biggest concern at that time, and I didn’t want him to be sad or scared without us. I didn’t do a lot of “nesting”, but my love for my dog went through the roof. I ended up texting Clint around 5 or 6 in the morning, suggesting he come back to the hospital. My parents would check on our dog throughout the day.
Warning: this next part isn’t pretty. I’m hoping it’ll give people a realistic take, as well as a laugh because it’s actually a bit embarrassing.
While waiting for Clint, I alternated between labour pains, sleeping, having to poop, trying to poop, and pooping. Repeat. I have no idea if this happens to everybody, but pooping was a big part of my morning. I also found it impossible to properly wipe because of the labour pains and the big round belly. Other than the awful pain, this was my biggest dilemma.
When Clint got there, a nurse came in after he asked if I could use one of their big tubs next door. (I was too shy to ask myself, but it’s all I wanted). I hadn’t seen a nurse all night, so I was relieved to have extra people around to help me with the contractions. They filled the tub for me, and I was so excited to get in. But it didn’t provide the relief I was hoping for. Instead, I continued to have contractions, and then I fell asleep in the water. At one point, I remember asking Clint if that was my poop floating in the tub. He handled it well, and told me it most likely was. (I guess since I didn’t poop while giving birth, this was a close second.)
My doctor was just getting off night shift, so once I got out of the tub, she gave me a pelvic exam (they’re the worst) and announced I was ready.
By noon, a nurse came to get me. She introduced herself, and asked if I was ready to go. To properly explain my unfortunate diva-like next statement, I need to explain what my personal labour pains had been like.
All I wanted to do was put on an adorable polka dot headband, but after every painful contraction, I was exhausted and slept. I couldn’t get the energy to get the headband on. Every time I had a contraction, Clint had to remind me to breathe. Believe me when I say, this did not annoy me. I was not annoyed. It was needed. Breathing through the pain helped a lot. (This helps with both emotional and physical pain.)
When the nurse came to get me, I looked at her empty hands. I looked around her, and finally said, “Okay, but how do I get there?”
She looked surprised and asked if I could walk. I didn’t think so. She went to get me a wheelchair. Maybe I could have walked, but it would have been a very long walk. I’ve seen videos of people who walk to help with the labour, and, actually, I’ve seen photos of people dancing through the labour pains. I WAS NOT one of those people. I wish I was.
As soon as I was settled in my new room, I asked an important question, “When can I get an epidural?” Once again, I know people who can go through birth without the epidural. They’re awesome. I was awesome AFTER the epidural.
It did more to me than help with the pain. It allowed my brain to work again. I was able to have a conversation, stay awake after contractions, use my phone, and listen to music. Most importantly, it helped me find the energy to put the headband on.
After the epidural, I had another pelvic exam by a student doctor. All I could think was “wow, this guy is good!” I didn’t clue into the fact that the epidural had also helped with that aspect. During the pelvic exam, they discovered that I was dilated fully, and my water broke at the same time. It was warm and messy, and I kind of just lived with it.
It was a really long waiting game. They watched Anthony’s heartbeat, and it was always where they wanted it to be. Then his heart rate dropped, and I was moved to different positions. His head wouldn’t drop. It appeared to be stuck. I was asked to push just to see if I could move his head. It didn’t move. My cervix was too small, and Anthony’s head wouldn’t budge.
A C-section was mentioned because they were concerned about his heart rate. I was in for anything that would safely bring my boy into the world.
I remember asking if it was safe for him, and the nurse saying it was safe FOR HIM. Meaning it might not be safe for me. I know the risk of death or even something going wrong for the mother is low, but at that time, I honestly panicked because I didn’t know if we should tell my parents or not. I didn’t want to go into the surgery and not have them know in case something happened to me.
Clint called our family while they prepped me.
Things moved quickly once the decision was made. The anesthesiologist got me ready. She assured me that even though my arms would NOT stop shaking, I would not shift or shake during the surgery. The nurses had given me the choice to have a see through curtain when the time came to get Anthony out, but I panicked and didn’t give a yes or no. I regret that now. I wished I had been able to watch him being born through my stomach.
During the surgery, all I really remember is at one point hearing a heartbeat and realising for the first time all day, it was MY heartbeat – not Anthony’s. For some reason, the only thought that went through my mind was that if I did die, I’d know because of my heartbeat. Not a good thought, but other than impatiently waiting for my baby to arrive, I had nothing else to think about. I couldn’t feel pain, but I could feel stretching. I could also hear the doctors and nurses speaking, but I can’t remember anything that was said.
The anesthesiologist had the camera, and when we finally saw Anthony, she took photos for us. That was amazing of her.
He was born at 7:24pm. They immediately took him to the back to clean him up, and make sure he was healthy. I can still remember them asking Clint to go back and look at him. I also remember him hesitating to do so. I know he did this because he wanted us both to see him together. I love him for that. He did go first, and then he carried him to me. When they handed Anthony to me, my arms were shaking too much to hold him myself, and it was frustrating to me. I wanted to take this moment and just focus on the love I had for this new little man in my life, but instead my arms wouldn’t allow me to hold him. They had been shaking for a while. It was another half hour before they had me ready to go to recovery.
As we were wheeled into recovery, I was so proud. I had gotten through the pregnancy. I had gotten through birth (and yes, it was birth), and I had a baby. It also occurred to me that I had absolutely no idea how to be a Mom.
The next Mom Musing will actually be about me being a mom. Although, growing a baby inside you makes you a mom as well.