From the monthly archives: "July 2011"
Okay so this really isn’t a guest post since I’m writing it, but it’s my blog so I make the rules, and since I’m still on vacation this counts. I’m here to share with you the last part of our mini-series on what we take for granted about pregnancy. I’m here to write about the birth process.

 A Dream Vacation
When we see those two blue lines on a stick we expect magic for the next 9 months and to be holding our little one in our arms and taking them home to the room we’ve prepared for them and introduce them to their home, and have them introduce us to the new life we’ll be living. But for so many we’ve met that doesn’t seem to be the natural progression. Yes we get to take our babies home; not a few hours later, but sometimes a few months.  

The first time I went into labour it was not a happy occasion. It was a moment of panic when we realized that we could be meeting our son 11 weeks earlier than we should be. We didn’t get to pace the floor and try and bring labour on; we got an ambulance ride to the best hospital in the province for preemie care. We didn’t see joy on the nurse’s faces; we saw compassion for the situation we might be in, and concern over whether we could do anything to stop it. We did, and we made it another 3 weeks.

I had been in labour for over a day when my water broke. We had been rushed to Brampton with lights and sirens going on the ambulance in hopes that we would make it on time to stop things, and we thought we had. We were moved on to the ward after a night in L&D triage, and they thought we had things under control. And then my water broke. No going back from there, so we were moved to L&D again, and hooked up to machines, and got the meds going to bring labour on faster. Not at all the birth plan we had in mind. We were excited to meet our son in a few hours, but more concerned for how developed he would be, and what hurdles we would have ahead. The doctor kept checking in not so much to see how we were doing, but to see how long the NICU had until they were needed in our room. Delivery became more about his health then about his entry, and even though I was able to hold him for a moment, a moment is all I got before he was taken to the NICU to be set up for treatment. Not what I as a first time mom had envisioned when I saw  those two blue lines and dreamed about what the next 9 months held.

For Brian and I that dream was like a dream vacation in comparison to what we were living. We spent 33 days in the NICU praying for the day we could bring Grayson home. We spent 33 days waiting, not 33 hours.

So many of our friends make it to 40 weeks, go to the hospital and a day later bring home their baby. To be honest I dream of what life would have been like if we had that. I have had friends comment that they would love to have been able to sleep through the night like I did; I ask them if they want the hotel bed I slept in and their son in the NICU. They want the sleep but not the situation. And to be honest they were not well rested sleeps. We were always on guard for the phone to ring to tell us they needed us back by Grayson’s side.

There are only a select few who see waking up 10 times in the middle of the night to sooth a screaming newborn as the dream vacation we do. When you give up sleep to hold your child’s hand while a machine is breathing for them perspective changes. I would have woken up every hour to be able to hold and nurse my son, but instead had days when all I could do was rub his back; no snuggles, not even allowed out of his incubator.
There are blessings of the NICU; the knowledge of your little one, the few extra hours of sleep, the bond you create with your spouse before the baby comes home. But the blessings don’t outweigh the negatives, they just make it a bit more bearable.
Please don’t take the sleepless nights for granted, the limitless snuggles, the bond you create those first days. Some mom’s don’t get that and some babies don’t get that. And if you’re where I was, know that you’re not alone.

I will never count my time in the NICU as wasted time, we got bonus time. We got an extra two months of loving our son on the outside and I would never trade that. I look forward to being able to just bring home our next babE if that’s what’s in store for us, but if the NICU is our home for a few more weeks I will gladly live there. I will never take our journey for granted.

While in the NICU our paediatric cardiologist commented that so many people take pregnancy and birth for granted. This has resounded in my head for months and I thought while I was away on vacation I wold take this time to introduce you to the other side of pregnancy and to women who wish they could take the process for granted.
If you’re going through a battle similar to these wonderful women, know your not alone. And if you’re blessed enough to have breezed throgh pregnancy, I hope you stop and thank God for your blessings.
Margaret is a friend I made while on bedrest. She understands how hard it is to be on bedrest. She’s here to give her perspective on how we take pregnancy for granted. She did her time on bedrest and was blessed enough to make it to the end and have a healthy little one who drives her a bit crazy these days.
I admit last July I thought that the next 9 months would easy and fly by and G would be here hassle free. I however have seen the other side, and will again should we choose to have more little babE’s running arond.
Enjoy this post and check out more from Margaret at The Good The Bad & The Family

The Things We Lose For The Gain

 Everyone knows that when you chose to become a parent, you will begin to live a life of sacrifice.  You know that from here on you will give up things you enjoyed for the sake of your little one- gladly.  To many expectant moms they view this change effective the moment they become pregnant.  The average pregnant woman starts right away by sacrificing her body and the lifestyle she previously lead.  She surrenders to morning sickness, doctor’s appointments, expanding pants, swelling ankles, frequent bathroom trips, no drinking or smoking, and at the end the inability to get a good night’s sleep.  But all the while, these are the things we all expected right?  So to a certain extent, they hold a bit of charm and excitement!  Okay- maybe not the morning sickness!
But what happens when the sacrifice becomes so much more than you expected during your pregnancy? 

Each year thousands of expectant moms end up on bed rest for some reason or another.  The length of bed rest varies from a day or two to months at a time.  Some women experience bed rest in the comfort of their homes while others endure hospital bed rest which is isolating but necessary to monitor their high risk pregnancy and ensure baby’s safe delivery.  These mom’s are ahead of the curve when it comes to sacrificing for their babies.  Bed rest requires an amount of physical, mental, and emotional sacrifice that the average expectant mother can’t comprehend.

Bed rest mother’s go through a variety of challenges and sacrifices to ensure a safe delivery as close to their due date as possible.  This ranges from the little things like shopping for maternity clothes to much larger things like the loss of their jobs.  It stretches the expectant mother beyond her normal mental capacity and can be an extreme emotional roller coaster the likes of which she had never prepared for.
While the average expectant mother is enjoying the normal trappings of pregnancy like shopping for maternity clothes, having people ask when you’re due, and learning to navigate things like cooking with your ever growing belly the experience is quite different for bed rest moms.  Shopping for maternity clothes is done online without a dressing room to ensure a good fit.  Additionally, bed rest moms don’t shop for style as much as they do for comfort since they are laying down all day and there is no one to impress at your house or in your hospital room!  Also, no one really asks you how far along you are since the only people you interact with are aware of your situation or are holding a chart with your information in it.  And if you’re lucky enough to make it to 36 weeks and be released to normal activity you have lost your learning curve and that big belly is a pain to navigate all of the sudden!  Trust me!  After 23 weeks of bed rest I burnt my belly twice at 36 weeks trying to cook once I came of bed rest!

Then there are the bigger sacrifices.  Quite often when women end up on bed rest for any period of time, they must struggle with employers and paperwork to utilize FMLA benefits.  If the federally regulated 12 weeks of FMLA does cover your bed rest period, it may end up cutting into maternity leave.  So this leaves the expectant parents in a bit of a crunch trying to figure out how to keep mom’s job while still being able to spend as much time with baby as possible after all that hard work to get him or her here safely.  Then there are cases where the 12 weeks of FMLA is exhausted and the employer cannot hold mom’s position until she delivers.  Many bed rest moms find themselves in a position where they don’t qualify for unemployment benefits because they are not physically available to work yet they also don’t qualify for disability benefits because they won’t be disabled for more than a year.  Therefore income is cut off at the worst time for mom.  This is a stress that no expectant mom foresees.

Then there’s your overall mental state when bed rest occurs.  While our healthy counterparts are shopping for the nursery, going to birthing classes, and having their baby showers, bed rest moms are enduring a period of isolation the likes of which they haven’t known before.  This can drain a mommy to be of her joy on the weeks or months leading up to the birth of her baby.  Bed rest moms are also saddled with the fact that their baby is in a fight for its life every day.  In my case, I hemorrhaged at 13 weeks gestation and was on bed rest from that moment until delivery.  My husband and I waited each and every day to see what my body would do and if our baby would make it.  There was also the added stress that if I hemorrhaged again, that I could also die.  It wasn’t until 36 weeks gestation that we realized that this baby could come safely and that we should really start preparing for him.  For the past 23 weeks we had prepared for trips to the NICU and figured we’d set up for baby before he came home.  We, and every other bed rest parents, were guarded.  You don’t allow yourself to attach to the pregnancy in case the worst happens.  And truthfully we didn’t really allow ourselves to really digest that we were going to take a baby home until I delivered safely!  It’s this fear coupled with the isolation that leads many bed rest mommies to gestational and post partum depression.
Yes, bed rest is a challenge that no one can really fully understand but ask any mother who endured bed rest and delivered a healthy baby if she’d do it again and she will tell you yes.  The thing that we bed rest moms share with any other pregnant woman is the instant love that happens when you see your baby for the very first time.  That baby is worth every moment of sacrifice.  So if you are a healthy expectant mommy, enjoy every day of your pregnancy.  It is a gift.  Swollen ankles, morning sickness and all!

 
While in the NICU our paediatric cardiologist commented that so many people take pregnancy and birth for granted. This has resounded in my head for months and I thought while I was away on vacation I wold take this time to introduce you to the other side of pregnancy and to women who wish they could take the process for granted.
If you’re going through a battle similar to these wonderful women, know your not alone. And if you’re blessed enough to have breezed throgh pregnancy, I hope you stop and thank God for your blessings.

The Lovely Amber is a blogging friend that I connected with over twitter and our blogs. She and her husband have battled infertility for over three years and today she’s sharing her thoughts about fertility and how the fertile world sees infertility. For more about her journey check out her blog its a luv thing.

 My Wish for the Fertile Community
 
It is difficult for those who are fertile to truly understand the impact that their words and actions have on infertile couples. Generally couples tend to take it for granted that they can produce a child easily and their comments to infertile couples reflect such thinking. There may not be any ill intent on the part of a fertile person when things are said to a woman or man treating infertility, but in many cases their words and actions cause large wounds.
 In the three years we have been trying to conceive, dealing with our ‘fertile’ friends has only become harder over time. You would think that after almost three years, something like “maybe you’re trying to hard” might not be the most appropriate thing to say anymore. Anyone who has had a tough time conceiving has heard at least one of the following annoying comments;

Just don’t think about it, and it will happen!
Maybe you’re trying too hard!
Don’t worry you’re still young!
Take a Vacation and get really drunk!
Give it time
Enjoy the time you have now, once you have kids everything changes.
…And so on!

Listen… these comments aren’t meant to be mean, even though they feel like a stab in the gut every time we hear them. We all know how powerful words can be, and how even the slightest little comment can linger in your head for hours or even days.
Saying things like “maybe you’re trying to hard” is probably the most frustrating thing I’ve ever been told, and yet it’s probably the most popular answer I receive. Women dealing with infertility usually have less then a 1% chance of conceiving on their own so when I’m told that I’m trying to hard I just want to scream.

I find the best way to respond is to just tell them that their comments don’t help, and that you appreciate their concern but dealing with infertility has nothing to do with how much or how little you are having sex. People tend to say inappropriate things only because they don’t know what else to say. When those we love say stupid things, it’s not worth wasting your energy getting mad at them, although I know it can be hard not to; I’m pretty sure I’ve almost bit the tip of my tongue off at least 1000 times – but I think it’s important to use their comments as an opportunity to educate them about the struggle of infertility, or even better just ignore the comments all together.
I will admit, three years ago when we decided to start trying for a baby the absolute last thing on my mind was that it wouldn’t happen. I was just as ignorant as any other ‘fertile’. I thought, we’d have sex, stir up the goods by throwing my legs in the air and Presto! we’d get pregnant. Little did I know that even the most fertile couple has only a 20% chance of conceiving each month, that my irregular periods were not normal, that ovulation doesn’t always happen on day 14, that hormones like progesterone and estrogen play such a huge role in conception and that throwing your legs in the air like an idiot does not get the sperm to its final destination any faster.

You don’t realize what a blessing and what a miracle pregnancy is until you’ve suffered from infertility. So many fertile women take pregnancy for granted. I can assure you though (before I start getting hate mail) that there are the handful who don’t take their miracle babies for granted and do appreciate every single step of their pregnancy, but for many who can get pregnant just by looking at their husbands ‘pee pee’ and think that’s how it is for everyone, really aggravates me. I also have a hard time reading stories like “baby killed in microwave” or hearing that those who have a broken marriage are expecting baby #5! I often wonder why God would bless these types of people with children when there are so many willing, wonderful, wanna-be moms and dads out there who would do just about anything to have a family.
In conclusion, my final wish for anyone reading this is that; next time you see a pregnant woman don’t always assume it came easy, next time you see a non-pregnant woman browsing the baby section, don’t always assume she’s looking for a gift. When you become pregnant, don’t take a second of it for granted, and don’t complain about morning sickness, tiredness or being uncomfortable to your friends, because one of those friends might give up everything just to experience one minute of your morning sickness.

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Today my guest post is by the amazingly lovely Amanda. We connected through blogging friend on twitter. I love reading her blog and her journey.
Thanks Amanda for sharing!

Change

Hello 🙂 Amanda here from eastpath.net doing a guest post for the lovely Jacqueline! I’m here to write today about Change and how it relates to motherhood while Miss J is off on an adventure (I mean vacation!) I hope it’s a fabulous trip!

So! Change! Change is scary. Super scary even! In general, it’s my opinion that most people really don’t like change. Especially big changes. The majority of people (myself included!) would like things to just kind of roll along merrily with no big ups or downs to get in the way of enjoying life.

However, life almost never works out that way.

For me, one of the biggest changes in my life was having my baby. I mean you know your life will change once the baby arrives, but you really have zero conception of exactly HOW it will change until that baby comes and you are right in the middle of it.
And let me just say, that the “mild” ups and downs that I’d so greatly come to appreciate in my life have been chucked out the window! There is no mild in the world of a baby. Some things are somewhat predictable, but for the most part, change becomes an every day occurrence. I’m not just talking about diapers either. 😉

There are small changes, obviously. You have to adjust where you keep things in your house. For safety. No chemicals in easy to access places. No cords or other things that can be pulled causing items to crash down to the floor. Breakables in places where they won’t fall/be reached. That may seem obvious, but in a lot of ways it isn’t. I’ve already found myself moving things I didn’t even expect to have to move just to ensure that she doesn’t harm herself.

But you don’t want to take everything away, because if you say “No” all the time or hide a bunch of stuff the curiosity factor will increase hugely and then the trouble starts. If I can’t watch her for a few moments (especially if I’m in the house by myself) she goes in her crib or pack ‘n play so that she can stay out of mischief while I need to be out of the room. Moms have to use the bathroom sometimes!

 Speaking of bathroom, that’s totally another change. Moms don’t really get private bathroom time as much as they did previously. In fact I’ve had to use the bathroom while HOLDING the baby. It was very awkward but we managed.

 Something else that I didn’t expect but had to adapt to, is becoming a “one handed wonder woman” and all moms really are! There are so many things I’ve done now with one hand that I never would have previously because the other hand was occupied with or full of baby.

 Other things change too, like where your money goes. “Frivolous” spending is no longer part of my life. It’s very difficult. I’m quite used to getting the things I want when I want them and not waiting. Now I have to save to get stuff that I want for me because her needs and priorities are first.
And I think that’s the biggest change of all. You really are no longer first in your own life anymore. You have a little being who needs you 100% of the time for everything and whatever you may want or wish will often be put off due to whatever it is they need coming first. It’s a difficult balance because you do still need to take care of yourself, and your relationship, but many times that is all secondary to your child.
At any rate, as you can see, change and children go hand in hand 🙂 Enjoy those changes because that’s life now, and it will help you grow. Embrace it!

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Guest Posts

Well we are off to one of the  most beautiful places on earth. We’re off to Ernst Island for the week to enjoy some time as a family and start some now family tradiditons.
I will be spending most of my days sitting here:
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looking at this view:
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and possibly catching up on some blogging ideas that I’ve had for months.

I hope that you all have a great week and enjoy the  guest posts this week from some wonderful ladies.

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36862_691385293050_187909481_41547851_7691222_nOne Year ago today Grayson came into being. When I think about the day it was pretty normal – although it was more a Saturday happening on a Monday.

Brian was working in Minneapolis, and because he was in the US he didn’t get Canada day off, but got the 4th off instead, and because it was a Sunday, he got the Monday off as well. I had been shopping a bit and found a few dress options for two weddings that we were going to be attending. So we went to the mall to look at the dresses and narrow it down to the one we ended up buying. We had lunch on the back deck and spent some time watching TV in the basement. Pretty much a normal Saturday on a Monday.

36862_691385293050_187909481_41547851_7691222_nBut when I think of how things have changed it seems just so big. So many things have happened in the last year. Not just having a baby, but having a preemie, and spending 33 days in the hospital. Coming home and wondering where the last month has gone and how much I feel like I missed the first 5 weeks of Gray’s life.

36862_691385293050_187909481_41547851_7691222_nBut when I focus on the positive instead of the negative my heart warms. Brian’s reaction when I first told him we were pregnant was of pure joy. I wish I could have told him in person but I don’t think I could have held it inside until he came home. He has grown so much. We have grown so much together. We have been through so much together and although I wish we hadn’t been in all the situations we have been in, I wouldn’t trade the experience and the unity that came from it. Brian and I didn’t have the easy pregnancy that we had planned when we decided to start our family, but we did have each other and we made it through all of it together.
 
36862_691385293050_187909481_41547851_7691222_n It’s amazing how much one year can change us, and how one small act can rock your world so much. I would never trade the last year for anything. It may not have been perfect or according to plan, but in 365 days our world has grown and changed and become even more amazing.

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image from stafford.grafton.schoolfusion.usI think Gray has sneakily learned how to tell time. I think he can look at the clock in his room or in the kitchen and says “it’s 9:00 and that means that I get to eat”. It doesn’t matter that he just ate at 8:00 or 7:30 and isn’t due to eat until 10 or 11, he eats at 9:00 and then goes to sleep. It’s been a godsend for sleep training during the day, but it makes the early mornings a bit less predictable. If he wakes up at 6:20 and eats and shouldn’t eat until about 10:30 and I haven’t had time to build up enough supply for him to get a nice big meal before his nap it’s a bit harder to make it until his next nap at 2:00. I’m trying to be flexible with a schedule for him and listen to what he’s saying. It’s been a bit of a challenge since most books and training plans work on babies that eat every 4 hours. G eats every 3 or so – sometimes he’ll go 4 in the mornings but the afternoons seem to be 3 hours.
It seems to be the same way in the afternoons for the last few days too. He wakes up at exactly 3:00. He SHOULD sleep for more than an hour, but does he. No, of course not. At exactly 3:00pm he will wake up and be up for 20 minutes and then want to sleep again. We’re working on staying in bed and sleeping through it but I have a feeling it will take a bit longer to get him there.
We’ll get into a better grove I hope. Only time will tell.

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DSC06564Before G came along, and before I was working most every Saturday, Brian and I would venture out to the St Jacob’s Market. We loved getting some fresh seasonal local veggies, and sometimes some flowers or plants. And usually we would stop for some apple fritters.

Well we have started that tradition again, but with G in tow this time. It’s so great to just walk around with G. We go super early – usually after he eats at 7am. Just so easy to get up and going, especially since it can get really busy the later you wait (we made the mistake of going at 10am once – BAD idea). DSC06564And we walk around and look at all the produce and some of the vendors. DSC06564I love how creative some of them are with how they arrange their booths with the produce so beautifully  displayed. Makes me want to buy it even more. We always comment about the pan flute vendor who has been there since we were kids and never seems to age.  We debate which booth we should get tomatoes or lettuce from.

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Our new favourite  is the 100 mile vendor, it’s nice to support local growers and know that our food hasn’t been flown in. We laugh at the fresh strawberries weeks before Ontario strawberry season has started, and the pineapples we find in some vendors! PINEAPPLE? Really we live in Ontario, where did you get a local pineapple – oh wait – they’re from California.

I’m always tempted by the fresh cut flowers, or the plants; and then I remember that I don’t have much more space for plants at our house and just take a picture to remember them.
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It’s been great to add Gray into the mix. It’s nice to be adding to our Saturday morning ritual and starting to make memories with Grayson included too.

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