2018 Family Vacation

First Vacation as a Family!

It has been quite a week…and as a family, we have been blessed to be able to spend a week together in Punta Cana.

My husband and I are celebrating being together for 10 years and being married for 2 years. I cannot believe how fast the years have flown by; we have been together for a whole decade!

Let’s just say that marriage is by no means easy and having a baby really put stress on a relationship and marriage. Not saying that children are stressful but just that it’s wise to have a strong foundation in which your marriage is built upon before adding kids to the mix.

Week of Firsts

It was a week of firsts for Isaac including first time at the airport, first flight and first vacation which were some of the bigger ones.

Happy 10 Years!, 2 Years and 7 Months!

Today was a very special day! Sean and I are celebrating 2 years of marriage, 10 years of being together and Isaac is 7 months! So thankful that we could spend time together! The resort was very nice, and we would recommend it to those with young children, as there were cribs, sofa beds and high chairs available upon request.

Our Baby Boy Isaac

My husband and I were impressed at how well Isaac did on the flight. He happily climbed over us and smiled for most of it. Isaac was so excited at the airport and was so curious about everything that was going on around him. Just as we were waiting to board, he fell asleep in my arms. (Heart melts)

         

We’ve Arrived!

The bus ride to the resort was about 30 minutes and Isaac was still so happy. We arrived at the Resort at around 5:20 p.m. We checked in and decided to rest, relax and start unpacking.

We had heard great things about the resort that we stayed at (Luxury Bahia Principe Fantasia) and it was also recommended to us by our family and friends; we decided that it would be perfect for our first family vacation!

     

The weather was pretty hot around 34 degrees Celsius but we were just happy that we arrived safely and that we were finally there! The resort was made up of a lot of castles and palm trees. It was so pretty and inviting.

                

Going Home

Even though we had an amazing time on our vacation, it was time to go home! There is just something about sleeping in your own bed that is comforting and I couldn’t wait.

We left the resort around 1:00 p.m. and had one last cocktail before we boarded the bus. The ride was good and it was nice to take in the sights for as we neared the airport. Isaac was a bit cranky on the flight back and was exhausted (poor guy) and just wanted to sleep. It was a long day for everyone. We got home around 10 p.m. and passed out.

I wish we had taken more pictures but to have experienced being in the moment fully was even better! I look forward to many more family vacations together and hope to travel at least twice a year; doesn’t matter whether it’s near or far, as long as we are together!

Stay strong and beautiful!

Time for mE

The Importance of Me Time

People always said ‘make sure to take care of yourself and your health otherwise you’ll pay for it later’. I never truly grasped this until I became a mother.

Practice Your Mental Well Being

The ten minutes a day that I used to take at the beginning of each day to meditate were moments that I had taken for granted. Since Isaac was born, it’s been a bit more challenging to sit around and ponder anymore. I still take a few moments to reflect on the blessings in my life but not as often or as long as I used to. 

Having a baby has tested my patience, my strength and even my marriage. Some days I feel like I need to scream to relieve some stress, some days my husband and I argue and fight and some days life is so amazing. However, I try my best to remind myself that life is too short and every moment should be appreciated. While some people think that a baby solves/saves a marriage, I think it magnifies any issues that are currently present. This isn’t to say that babies ruin marriages. Moreso that there are expectations of each partner that when one falls short, upsets the other. It’s true what they say, ‘you only have the power to change yourself!’

Make Time for Exercise

This became much easier and possible once my son dropped his nighttime feedings and started sleeping through the night. Yay sleep training! The only thing is, that I prefer doing work at night when everyone is asleep. So even though I should be sleeping at night and working during the day, I find that I am much more focused and productive during the 1 AM to 4 AM window.

I have lost some of my pregnancy weight thanks to breastfeeding but still have quite a lot of weight to lose. I think I gained some weight as my appetite has increased and I’ve been too lazy to exercise. So I have been using the gym in my building to incorporate some cardio and weights into my routine. I have been eating healthier as well so I will see how that changes things. I have never been fit during my adulthood, but for my son’s sake, I want to live my best life and get healthy.

Make Time for Friends

I have always been an introvert and prefer to spend time alone, watching shows online or reading a book, but when I became pregnant I made an effort to meet my friends more often. It’s amazing how many friends I have made and lost throughout my life. I found it really hard to accept that a friendship that lasted nearly 12 years ended over a miscommunication. I still think about that friend from time to time but for the most part I have removed them from my life. I am lucky that I have a handful of loyal friends that have my back. Thank you!

Well that’s all I have to say about that. Stay tuned for my next post where I talk about our First Family Vacation!

Stay strong and beautiful!

After the Birth and the Joys and Pains of Breastfeeding

Who Should You Invite to the Hospital?

Everyone, no one or just certain people. It is completely up to you and your significant other to decide who you want to invite to the hospital. Whether or not you want friends or family or anyone to visit you after your baby is born. Labour and delivery are not easy or pretty by any means, and it is frankly exhausting. In addition to being exhausted, I was in pain from the stitches, medicated and nauseous and just feeling extra hormonal.

My husband and I decided, during one of the many talks leading up to my induction, that we didn’t want to have anyone except for our immediate families come visit us after our son was born. This is a personal decision and you should not feel bad about it.

We wanted our first 24 hours to be spent as a new family of three and for our parents and siblings to be the only ones visiting us and sharing this special time with us.

As soon as we settled in at my in-laws place, we invited our friends and family over. It was so nice but my emotions were all over the place and everytime I stood up, I literally had to brace myself as my uterus continued to contract and decontract.

Goodbye Hospital!

After you have had the privilege of holding your little baby in your arms and doing skin to skin and perhaps even getting a few hours of sleep the time will come when you’ve been checked and cleared to leave.

Once you are discharged from the hospital and you’re no longer surrounded by nurses and doctors, who are checking in on you and your baby, reality starts to set in. You are now responsible for this tiny human and life that you have created and birthed.

My family came to visit us and we shared some quality time together. They were so excited to meet our son. It was unreal how raw the pain was just hours after giving birth (a feeling that I will never forget). 

Pregnancy and giving birth was the most exhilarating and terrifying experience rolled into one. The moment the pregnancy test turned positive, the worry began. All throughout pregnancy then labour then birth and every single second after.

I was on some anti-nauseants and IV’s to make sure I wasn’t getting dehydrated. I couldn’t eat for more than 24 hours after giving birth…which made me nauseous and dizzy and a tad annoyed on top of being pretty hormonal.

Can I just say, it was like night and day; the nurses in the Labour and Delivery Unit were AMAZING BEYOND WORDS, the nurses in the Mother and Baby Unit were the total opposite! It was upsetting but I just lay in my bed staring at my son pressing the page button over and over again, in hopes that at least one nurse would be able to tend to me. Whenever we did get a nurse, they weren’t very helpful. One nurse, in particular, was quite rude. She was too lazy to change my IVs so she tried to take a shortcut and instead of inserting another needle to add the IV she tried to add more tubes to the existing fluids. I was so exhausted and so out of it that I rested when my baby did. I felt something cold on my side and woke up to find that my gown was soaked. I was confused and didn’t know what was happening. I lifted my hand up to page the nurse and realized that two of the IV tubes were leaking all over me. Although we were lucky enough to get the last room in the Mother and Baby unit, we were put into a semi-private room with a couple who had given birth several hours before me. Exhausted and looking forward to getting some rest, we realized that the other couple had taken our pillows (luckily I had brought my own), table and chair and added it to their side.

There was a stiff chair that didn’t recline properly and no bed, and so I sent my husband home to get some sleep. He was laying next to me as I was screaming in pain from the nonstop contractions I experienced for about 13 hours after being induced. We were discharged the next morning and off to my in-law’s house.

The first night was rough, my husband and I were in awe, super excited but also exhausted. My milk hadn’t come in yet so we fed Isaac with the formula that the hospital provided. My sister who had her daughter about 4.5 months prior had frozen some of her breastmilk so we supplemented with that along with the formula.

The next morning we had an appointment at the Mother and Baby Follow Up Unit to get tips on breastfeeding and to make sure baby was latching correctly. I confidently showed the nurses how I breastfed my son and they were happy with me and told me to just continue to do that. They explained that if I wanted to improve the breastfeeding to supplement with a tube feeding and finger tube feeding. Let’s just say they made it look so easy. ‘So you just take a piece of tape stick it on the wall, pour in the milk/formula, line the holes up to baby’s mouth, either on your finger or your breast and tada…he will start sucking and getting milk/formula. The thing with newborns is their stomachs are so tiny that they need to feed every 1.5 to 2 hours and when they aren’t eating they are most likely sleeping or getting ready to eat again. So I proudly went home and did my thing. I fed him like a champ from bottle and boob.

Until one day my baby wasn’t eating, he wasn’t latching, and he was super gassy and cranky.  I tried to use the feeding tube on my breast, so that he could latch. I don’t know what it was, maybe the lack of sleep and the raging hormones but it was so frustrating. Sometimes my baby would swing his little hand against the tube and the milk tube would fall off the wall and all the milk in it. Other times, I would hit the tube and the holes would never line up properly so my baby would have a tube in his mouth but not be getting any milk. It was a miserable cycle and I took to breastfeeding horribly. I cried most nights, along with my son; feeling defeated because I couldn’t get him to eat.

When the midwife came over for his 6-day checkup she told me that he wasn’t gaining enough weight and hadn’t reached his birth weight yet. This made me sad and I had a small case of baby blues. Postpartum blues and/or depression is real and it sucks! I was so happy because my son was finally here but I was so sad because I felt like I was already failing as a mother.

Things I never knew about Breastfeeding

  1. Your breast/boob changes shape as colostrum and milk comes in
  2. Engorged boobs can be painful
  3. It takes a few days for supplements to adjust – I took Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle supplements
  4. Breastfeeding clinics For the Win – I went three different times and I walked out each time feeling more confident than the last
  5. Nursing pads are a must – I tried the Johnson and Lansinoh brands – there are pros and cons to both 
  6.  You can have multiple letdowns and this is good for pumping – I purchased an electric breast pump and a manual one – I prefer the manual one
  7. Drinking a lot of water helps your supply – breastfeeding makes you thirsty
  8. I could physically feel my stomach emptying when my son nurses – like my nutrients are being given to him – it’s weird yet amazing
  9. You will be hungry so make sure you eat relatively healthy and eat enough
  10. There are certain foods that help increase your milk supply and ones that decrease it.

Stay tuned for my next post where I cover the first month with our baby boy!

Stay strong and beautiful!

Motherhood #190…The Greatest Blessing of My Life

Welcome to the world my son Isaac! We love you and can’t wait to see you grow up!

The Longest Wait

I had a vaginal birth and a pretty typical labour. I was induced at 39 weeks and 4 days due to my baby boy being big; as I had gestational diabetes. I was originally scheduled to be induced using a mechanical foley bulb catheter, which was supposed to help me dilate to 3 cm. We went to the hospital as planned but were told that I was already 3 cm dilated and the foley bulb wouldn’t do much. I was pleased as I wanted to avoid any induction by the hospital. We were given the option to have my water broken manually or to go home shower, get some rest and come back in the morning. My husband and I were happy to go home and prayed that I would dilate on my own and go into labour. The next morning I woke up and we delayed going to the hospital for as long as we could, I spent the morning bouncing on my fitness ball and walking up and down the hallway; hoping to induce some contractions.

Little Bubs was not ready to come out, he was happily kicking inside and having a ball. We arrived at the hospital around 9 am and were told that there were no beds available and to go walk around a bit have lunch and then come back. It was another chance for my husband and me to pray together in anticipation for our baby boy’s arrival. We got back to the hospital around 12:30 pm and were put in a room. We waited several hours and took advantage of the time, to walk around the hospital hallways in hopes of going into labour on my own. My family came to wish me words of encouragement and we shared a meal together.

Labour

I was checked and told that I was 4 cm dilated. I was then induced at 5:35 pm and had my water broken manually. I was given Pitocin which made my contractions start. I was not ready for what came next. I had heard stories about how chemically induced contractions are much stronger than naturally induced contractions, but I had nothing to compare it to. Long story short, I was in agony and barely had a break in between contractions, there was a beginning and it just seemed to peak and not really end. After many, many hours, I was told that it would be advisable for me to get an epidural. I was extremely against it but was told that my body was too tense, ( I was STILL 4 cm dilated) and since I hadn’t slept for nearly 20 hours, I would likely have to get a cesarean section.

I thought back to our hypnobirthing classes and remembered that births don’t go as planned and that you have to be open to different options and that the end goal is to take home a healthy baby. I was terrified and in pain but had told myself that I would put my trust in the doctors and nurses, and thank God I did. The next few hours were somewhat blissful. I was no longer in pain, I was able to relax and let myself get some rest. I was checked a few hours later and I had dilated to 5 cm, then 7 then 9.5, until I reached 10 cm and was fully dilated.

Delivery

It’s GO TIME! I was told that it was time to start pushing and I nervously looked at my husband, who was super supportive and my sister, who had given birth 4 months prior. My sister said a prayer for us and then I knew I was ready. I felt woozy from all of the fluids/IV’s that I was hooked up to but I knew one thing for sure, I was going to push my son out, even if it killed me. After almost 2 hours of pushing our baby boy arrived into the world at 1:17 a.m. Born on the 39th week and 6th day just one day from his due date. He was quite long and had the cutest cheeks and face I have ever laid eyes on. He stole our hearts from the second we saw him. My husband, Isaac and I are so blessed to be a family!

It’s true what they say, the moment you see your baby for the first time, you are in so much awe that whatever fears, pain or discomfort you experienced during pregnancy and labour make it all worth it! Thank you for allowing me and giving me the opportunity to be your mom.

Look out for next blog post which I will discuss my experience with Recovery, Breastfeeding and Months 1 to 3.

Stay strong and beautiful!

 

I’m Back..Better than Ever and As a New Mom

Hi everyone, I want to apologize for the hiatus and lack of posts.

I am blessed to say that I am back and am dedicated to posting regularly on this blog.

So keep an eye out for future posts and feel free to leave a comment.

Stay strong and beautiful!

Our Perfect Gender Reveal!

October 8, 2017 was definitely a day to remember. My husband and I were surrounded by friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving, our gender reveal and my birthday. It was such a heartwarming time for our little family.

As we celebrated Thanksgiving this year I was especially grateful for being blessed with our little baby and for my husband who has been kind, loving and supportive throughout our 9 year relationship. We felt so much love from our friends and family and could not ask for a better support system.

There was so much anticipation as we patiently awaited the big moment. I had a dream that it was a boy and was almost certain that I was carrying our son in my womb. My husband also thought it was a boy while my sister and her husband thought it was a girl. Either way we would be happy and over the moon as we prepared to enter into Parenthood.

 

The Reveal

My sister had baked a cake which I thought was a bit weird as when we were brainstorming ideas I mentioned that a cake was a bit boring and that it was not my first choice. Nevertheless, as the cake was placed in front of us, I couldn’t help but feel a rush of emotions ranging from happiness and excitement to pure joy and gratitude. As my husband and I stood there waiting, I could feel my heart racing. I was 22 weeks pregnant and couldn’t wait to find out our baby’s gender.

As my husband and I cut into the cake, I looked down in confusion as the knife came out with pink and green on it. As we continued to cut into the cake, we realized that it was a trick; it was a rainbow cake. Perfectly fitting, as this was our rainbow baby.

We laughed and looked over as my cousin and her husband carried over a large package and held it over us. My cousin and her son, had created a rainbow piñata which would finally reveal whether Baby D’Souza would be a little girl or little boy.

It’s a…

                                          

BOY!!!

Thank you to everyone for attending and for the continuous love and support.

We are so excited for baby’s arrival.

Have you had a gender reveal party? Did you know prior or did you find out with everyone?

Stay strong and beautiful!

Trying to Induce Labour

Weeks 38 to 39

After being told that I would have to get induced I tried the following different methods to try and prepare my body for and attempt to induce my own labour.

1) acupuncture: this is to be done by a professional and is thought to help inducing contractions I had this done a couple of time but did not end up inducing labour.

2) castor oil: this was disgusting and uncomfortable all it did was give me the runs and a stomachache

3) acupressure: this method was somewhat painful and is supposed to help start contractions; maybe I was doing it wrong

4) sex: according to my research sperm is supposed to help soften and dilate your cervix, but the reality of being 9 months pregnant and having sex doesn’t make for the most positive experience especially when you feel heavy, have aches and are not feeling the most attractive

5) evening primrose oil capsules: I took these starting at 35 weeks because they contain prostaglandins that help soften and dilate the cervix

6) raspberry leaf tea: I drank this starting at 37 weeks to help strengthen my uterus for birth and to shorten the length of labour as a result of more efficient contractions during the pushing stage

7) fenugreek water: soaking seeds and drinking it throughout the day; a bit bitter so added some honey and thought to bring on contractions

8) thyme water: steep thyme leaves in hot water and drink to increase or start contractions

9) walking: they say that walking helps bring down the baby (due to gravity) and helps induce labour…I walked at least an hour everyday in the evenings and at least 20 minutes after each meal…nothing happened

10) bouncing on fitness ball: this helped drop baby boy lower and helped open up my pelvis while taking a lot of weight off my back

11) warm baths: I took plenty warm baths and would almost always fall asleep because it was so relaxing but nothing more happened with this method either

12) nipple stimulation: I attempted this method manually as well as with a manual and an electric breast pump but all it did was make them sore instead of increasing the production of oxytocin and start contractions

13) black cohosh capsules: taking these did absolutely nothing for me except leave a bad taste in my mouth

14) basil: I had a few dishes that had basil…it didn’t do much for labour but it satisfied my belly

15) meditation and visualization techniques: the mind is an extremely poweful thing and while it may not have put me in labour it made Last 2yrs T1 Gen (1st four pages) & NOAs, and lastly confirmation of deposit to bank account for 2 months, plus some sort of explanation why no pay stubs dilate your cervix, not sure how effective they were though

17) clary sage oil: this essential oil smells amazing! I added a few drops to my warm baths as well as in my diffuser. This oil is a natural uteronic and starts uterine contractions; this did not work for me but the scent is really relaxing

18) pineapple: I have heard that pineapple contains bromelain an enzyme that is believed to soften your cervix and start labour…however, I heard that you would have to eat a considerable amount for this method to be effective

19) spicy food: some pregnant women swear by spicy food to induce labour; it didn’t do much for me but it was delicious

20) cinnamon and cloves tea: boil cinnamon sticks and cloves in water and steep to help bring on labour; this tea didn’t bring on labour for me but it was good with a touch of honey

I tried so hard to start labour and/or induce contractions as I wanted to avoid any type of induction. Unfortunately my body was not ready and none of these methods worked for me.

I had to be induced; I was given two options Cervadil or a Foley bulb catheter. After doing some research I decided that I wanted to be induced using a drug free method and opted for a Foley bulb. In this mechanical method of induction, a catheter with a balloon is inserted into your cervix and is inflated using a saline solution. The catch is that it is only helpful in making your cervix dilate to 3 cm.

I had scheduled my Foley bulb induction when I was 39 weeks and 3 days. To my surprise when I went to get induced I had dilated to 3 cm on my own, rendering the Foley bulb useless.

I was given the option to have my water broken or to come back the next morning. Of course I chose to go home and that night I prayed that I would go into labour on my own.

For those of you who successfully induced your labour what methods did you try? What worked and didn’t work for you?

How far along were you?

Look out for my next post where I share my labour and delivery story.

Stay strong and beautiful!

Third Trimester…the Final One

Weeks 28 to 34

I am so grateful and blessed that my baby boy and I are doing well during the th

ird trimester. To be completely honest there has been a constant mix of emotions ranging from fear to pure joy and excitement.

I dreaded my first trimester symptoms making a comeback which luckily they didn’t thankfully. Instead of feeling nauseous, good aversions, migraines, metallic taste in my mouth, and bloated I felt a different set of symptoms.

I felt huge and heavy and all around sluggish and lazy. I didn’t want to go anywhere and became a real homebody. Getting in and out of the car was getting more difficult, my pace was just slower and I had to learn to be patient with myself. The guilt that I felt everyday I didn’t get much done was real and I would sometimes just sit and have a good cry. My emotions and hormones were at an all time high and so I started meditating more and trying different ways to relax.

Oddly, I became a night owl. Baby boy was active during the day but his kicks at night were so powerful they would wake me up as if to say feed me! So I would get up in the middle I’m the night early and just eat, watch YouTube videos and read up on baby’s development. It was strange to be sleeping during the day and being awake most of the night and reminded me of the all nighters I used to pull back in university. I had so much energy at night and would be exhausted during the day and now looking back I cherish those moments that my baby boy and I shared.

With all the extra weight and discomfort of back pain, swelling, waddling, constantly peeing, late night hunger, insomnia and everything in between I still feel grateful everyday.

I have read and heard stories of miscarriage and stillbirths, babies who never made it home or were born sleeping and I don’t know if it was just me or if other pregnant women feel the same way but it was always in the back of my mind.

A loss at any stage is tragic but a late miscarriage seems it would be the most devastating and unbearable. Having had an early miscarriage before I became pregnant again, I know how it changed and impacted me so I could not even fathom what a loss further along would feel like. I remember feeling helpless and even hopeless and wouldn’t wish that upon anyone.

Weeks 35 to 37

With this pregnancy I am taking things day by day and just really thanking God for blessing me each day. With my appointments getting more frequent now I am nearing the finish line; the grand prize and greatest reward, my sweet, precious baby boy.

My ultrasounds are now every two weeks! As a result of having gestational diabetes the ob wants to make sure baby boy isn’t growing too big and that he and I are healthy. It is a bit more often than I would like but the silver lining is that I get to see my baby boy every two weeks.

Week 38

My husband and I took a hypnobirthing class a couple of weeks ago and would like to attempt an all natural, drug free birth at the hospital without any intervention. That all went out the window when I was told that my baby boy was getting big and that I would need to be induced during my 39th week of pregnancy.

This news was disheartening as I was told that induced labours are harder and lengthier and that any medical intervention intensifies contractions and pain. Wanting to avoid induction and attempt to go into labour on my own, I set out on a mission to induce labour.

I spent time reading about natural ways to induce labour and watching countless YouTube videos to see how others ‘induced’ their labours. Saying I tried to induce labour is an understatement.

Stay tuned for my next post where I discuss what methods I tried to induce labour.

Are you pregnant? How far along are you?

What symptoms are you feeling?

Stay strong and beautiful!

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

The Truth about Gestational Diabetes…(My experience)

Pregnancy no matter how long or short is an incredible blessing and journey. Amidst all the complications and technicalities that may arise, being pregnant and growing a life inside me has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

With all the check ups and appointments that come with pregnancy, it is routine to get tested for Glucose Tolerance in between 24 and 28 weeks. This test essentially demonstrates how effective your body produces insulin and how well/poorly your body processes your blood glucose levels.

So at my 26 week midwife appointment I took the OGTT part 1. This test consists of drinking a sugary glucose drink and a blood test one hour later. I got my results and was told that my numbers were slightly elevated and that I would need to proceed to part 2.

The following weekend I went in for my OGTT part 2. My results were slightly elevated again at the 1 hour and 2 hour marks. It was very discouraging and I couldn’t help but feel that I had done something wrong and that it was my fault.

After doing some research I learned that although there are factors that increase the likelihood of having gestational diabetes, there were some things that were out of my control; such as were my hormone levels.

To say the least gestational diabetes was a bit challenging. Having to record everything I ate and having to prick myself every two hours after meals was somewhat annoying and I would almost fear eating too much resulting in high blood glucose readings. To make matters worse if my sugars were high it would stress me out and effect my meals and levels thereafter.

Some people are able to control their diabetes with diet and exercise. I unfortunately had to take insulin; which caused me to lose my midwives and be transferred to an ob.

I was so diligent in my diet and started to walk as much as I could for the remainder of my pregnancy. My numbers started to improve and I was getting used to the strict routine and diet I set for myself. I have to say that taking insulin before every meal and at bedtime was also a hassle but I wanted to ensure that my baby boy was growing healthy inside my womb, so I did what I had to do.

The weeks went by slowly and the blood glucose monitoring continued right until I was in active labour. Since I had gestational diabetes my son was also monitored after he was born.

In the end, the takeaway I had was to try to control my diet and weight before getting pregnant again and start exercising regularly. Having gestational diabetes oddly taught me to become aware of what I ate and taught me to follow a strict schedule of eating, checking my sugars and taking insulin to control my gdm.

Although I was taking insulin to help my blood glucose numbers I am so thankful that the amount of insulin I was taking was relatively low and that it did improved over time.

Have you had gestational diabetes? Were you able to control it with diet and exercise or were you insulin dependent?

Stay strong and beautiful!