Raising a Bilingual Bambino

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If you know me, you know: I’m from Trinidad and Tobago. I live in Madrid and I’m married to a Spaniard. I have a 11 month old son, Liam, who I am borderline obsessed with!

One of the things people usually say to me, is how lucky my son is, that he will be bilingual. They also say that it will be so easy for him and that it should be even easier because I’m a teacher! Then they start in with the advice [read: orders] on how to make sure he’s bilingual. At this point, I usually get slightly annoyed, especially when the advice is coming from people who only speak one language. I mean, I only have a Master’s degree in Bilingual and Multicultural Education. I only speak 2 and a half language- but what do I know?

Aside from the fact that I have a real problem with people telling me what to do- I have probably an even bigger issue with people telling me what to do when it comes to raising my child. I am not a know-it-all and I am VERY comfortable asking for help and or advice when I feel it’s necessary.

I/we have decided to raise our children without too many set rules. Before you gasp and clutch your pearls- NO, we’re not going to have a bunch of wild, wayward children running around the city. Our children will have chores, be taught manners and general right from wrong. What I mean is that, we I completely willing to adjust our ideas, as we go along, depending on out children and their needs.

Each child is different. Think of your own siblings (if you have any). I’m pretty sure you sometimes question how you are even related- I know I do! (Hi brother!) Seriously though, what may work for one of your children may not work for another (child of yours).

That is pretty much the stance I have taken when it comes to raising a bilingual child. It seems to me that Liam, though he is only 11 months old, is pretty headstrong- as much as a baby can be anyway. He likes what he likes; how he likes it (just like his mamá!) I think most children go through that little defiant stage where you tell them “No!” and they look you in the eye and do EXACTLY what you, in all you parental glory and power,  have just forbidden! “Oh, I’ll show you, Mummy! Mira lo que hago!” So I know, that demanding that he speaks to me only in English is not going work. That and the fact that I would never insist.

Now, there are quite a few methods that can be used when trying to raise a bilingual child. This article from the Huffington Post sums it all up quite nicely. In our case, I generally speak to Liam in English, especially now as he’s understanding a bit more of what we want to say to him. I do sometimes speak to him in Spanish but it usually depends on who I’m with. So if I’m with a Spanish friend that doesn’t speak English, I may say something to him in Spanish, especially if I’m in the middle of a conversation. Even though Spanish isn’t my first language, I speak more Spanish than English on a daily basis and sometimes it’s actually hard to switch- or to remember to. My husband speaks to Liam mainly in Spanish but he also speaks to him in English from time to time.

Some may argue that it is confusing for the child but I honestly don’t see how it’s any more confusing than me speaking to him in English but everybody else in Spanish. Won’t he wonder why I don’t just speak to him in Spanish like almost everyone else around him? He may or may not and that’s the thing, I think he’s too young for me to decide on a strict approach.

I think it’s important that he is surrounded by as much English as possible and since his family here speaks almost only Spanish and society on a whole speaks mainly Spanish, he needs to have his “immersion” some how.

Our (tentative) plan is as follows:

  1. Bilingual or International school where English is the main language of instruction. I feel like just having me speak to him in English is definitely going to help him but he needs another setting where he has to communicate in English and where it will be natural. If everyone around him is speaking in English at school and he already speaks with me in English, it lessens the chances that he may feel shy or embarrassed to speak in English. It may sound silly about him not being embarrassed but I have had students who are bilingual answer things incorrectly or pronounce words wrong, on purpose, so as to not stand out in front of their classmates. I don’t think this will be the case with my son, but you never know. I want to make it as easy as possible and as comfortable as possible for him to speak English. Check out this school in Dallas, Texas.

2. TV- English ONLY! I am not a huge fan of children watching television. I feel like               they should busy themselves with reading or playing outside and using their                       imaginations. However, as children get older, there are several interesting and                   educational programs that they can watch. We agree that if we let Liam watch any             TV, it should be in English. I’m sure there will be a Spanish cartoon he really likes, and       I’m fine with him watching that but the goal is 95% of any TV programs he watches,           should be in English.

3. Play groups and extracurricular activities. I am not fan of going to group                         meetings with a bunch of ladies who sit around and complain about motherhood. It           bores me halfway to death and I’m just not into it. But I think it’s extremely                           important that bilingual children are exposed to other bilingual children so that they         can interact in settings that are natural for them (games, sports, etc.)

4. Never force it. I think there will be days when my son is a bit tired or frustrated with       having to switch between languages. I think Spanish may be easier for him because he     lives in Spain and the majority of people he will interact with here speak Spanish. I’m       never going to punish or scold my child for not speaking to me in English. I will                   probably respond to him in English most times but I’m hoping that by being as                     “normal” as possible when it comes to speaking to him in English, it will just come             naturally.

Recently we were at a bar in the neighbourhood and overheard a father insisting that his daughter speak to him in English. He was scolding her because she wouldn’t repeat something (poorly phrased and pronounced, mind you!) My husband rolled his eyes and mumbled “Que pesado!” (How annoying!) I laughed and agreed. A while later, Liam woke up from his nap and I said “Hi! How was your nap? Want a beer?” (I talk to him like we’re long time friends and as though he actually understands half of the silly things I sometimes say to him) I should maybe mention now that I don’t give him beer (well not often anyway! 🙂 ) Liam was stuck on “Hi!” and kept waving at me! The Scolding Dad overheard me and decided to come over with his daughter (so she could get some practice, I guess). He went on to mention that they came over because his daughter’s English teacher is also black and they thought maybe we were related. (I kid you not!) But that’s a whole other blog post! All in all, the little girl was sweet (annoying dad and all) and her English was quite good for her only being 4 years old.

I share all of of that to say, I think it’s important to encourage but not insist. Speaking in English or any other language should not be a chore or an obligation for a child. It should come as naturally as possible, if the child is a bilingual or be treated as something enjoyable and interesting, if the child is just learning the language in school.

Is my son going to be bilingual? Of course he is! I honestly would like to add French in there too, so that he speaks 3 languages. But we’re going to go about achieving this in the way that’s best for him.

Are you raising a bilingual child? Is the second language your native language? What method are you using? I’d love to hear from you!

Puedes usar Google Translate para leer este articulo. La traducción tendrá fallos.

 

 

 

 

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A Bit about Breastfeeding & People’s 2 cents

Just before Liam turned 3 months, breastfeeding became difficult. I felt like I could not keep up with his demand. Now, I definitely had the supply, but he would feed for such long periods of time and so frequently that I was just sore and miserable. I tried the Medela Nipple Shields and I actually went into a store that specialises in these things to ensure I was getting the correct size and everything. It didn’t work.

I tried pumping and feeding him my milk from the bottle but then he would finish the bottle and want more milk. It was just easier to let him latch on than defrost my frozen milk which was slowly but surely depleting.

I honestly think breastfeeding should be an intimate moment between mummy and baby to be enjoyed. The problem was, I wasn’t enjoying it. I was irritable or I was crying. I was upset that I was in pain but determined to feed my baby, since at this point, his only source of nutrition was my milk.

My husband kept telling me to “just give him formula” but the formula we brought home with us the day we brought him home, after he had it once, he was constipated for 3 days. So I turned to the “wise” old Internet and started researching alternatives to breast milk. That’s when I stumbled on goat’s milk formula.

What a Godsend! According to different sources (and Liam’s pediatrician), goat’s milk is a bit gentler on the stomach and is more similar to human breast milk than cow’s milk. I have found information to contradict this so please don’t go on my word only. If you are considering goat’s milk formula for your baby, talk with his/her pediatrician first.

In our case, it worked well. He had no stomach issues and he seemed to be indifferent to the taste. We opted for an organic goat’s milk formula by Holle’s. It was a bit pricey but it was worth it. I used it whenever I was too sore to breastfeed. Sometimes taking an entire day off of him latching on but making sure to pump every few hours to keep up my supply.

I started introducing solids to Liam at about 5 and a half months. Prior to that he had tried a little spoon of fruit purée here and there but he didn’t seem to like it, so I didn’t insist. He seemed to like vegetables more than fruits, so every few days he would get a little bit of  a steamed vegetable.

I chose to loosely follow the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) method. As our pediatrician so rightly put it: we don’t eat just purées or only soups or only solids, we eat a mix and babies should do the same- age appropriately, of course.

Honestly, I am too lazy to make purées and spoon feed a baby several times a day! So BLW was the best choice for me. If you choose to start off with mashed food, then introduce solid bits, or breastfeed exclusively, that’s a personal choice. Whatever you do, I advise that you consult with your pediatrician, in case your baby might need a dietary supplement or something. Just don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for doing what’s right for YOUR baby.

People tend to be very judgemental when it comes to how OTHERS raise their children. Everyone has an opinion and everyone is an expert! If you are a first time mum, coupled with your hormones that still might be all over the place, you might take some of this advice [read criticism] to heart. I have been told everything from I’m not feeding my son enough to start cutting down on breastfeeding to I should not be giving him solid food yet (when he was 8 months).

I think what might be worse than all the unsolicited advice, is when people compare while trying to sound like they aren’t. So they will mention that they have never given their child formula, right when you’re preparing a bottle for your baby. Or make comments about how painful or stressful they think something you’re doing would be for their baby.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to be as confident as you possibly can when it comes to raising your child. You have an innate maternal instict and deep down, you know exactly what your baby needs and if you don’t that’s ok. But please, consult a professional when you have doubts. Never feel silly about your doubts, that’s what these professionals are there for- and by professional, I mean a pediatrician, nurse or midwife.

Raising a little human is hard and even the best of us don’t have it all figured out. Trust yourself and do your best! It tends to get easier.

Intentando facilitar que los que no leen mucho inglés pueden disfrutar de mi blog también. Haz click AQUI para acceder al traductor de Google. Acordaros que no es lo mejor y habrá fallos en la traducción.

Hey there!

I took a little (maybe long) hiatus from writing.

Life just got busy, I guess! I also felt like I wasn’t getting the response I had initially hoped for with my blog. Not so much from strangers; but from people who I would expect to really be supportive. However, you can’t base your happiness on other people, furthermore their reactions. 

I think it was while I was reading through my comments and messages people have sent in response to my posts and I realised, there are people out there that read my posts and there are people out there that like my posts and find them encouraging, helpful; or at least, funny! 

So while I may never be ‘the next big thing’ when it comes to blogging, I am content with helping who I can and grateful for those of you who follow and support!

I have a few posts that I need to publish and a few ideas for posts that I am working on. Thank you for your continued support. 

Hey Baby!

LABOUR

Although, I had been shying away from extensive planning, I knew what I wanted my birthing process to be like and I had cautiously gone about putting little things in place. I didn’t want negative or nervous energy. I was nervous enough. I didn’t want bright lights or noise. I didn’t want the epidural until I was half way through the dilating process (5cm) and I didn’t want any extra drugs: oxytocin, etc.

We pulled down the blinds and put on my yoga playlist. I was calm and slowly becoming more and more excited because I would meet Liam soon! A midwife came and examined me, I was 1cm dilated and still not having strong contractions.

Let me say now that the WORST part of this process was the vaginal exams to measure how dilated I was. It hurt and put me in a bad mood for a good few minutes each time. Around 11am, my doctor decided (against my wishes) that I needed help getting my labour going, so they administered Propess, a hormone that was supposed to help ripen my cervix and get the contractions going. It was VERY uncomfortable and I said some not so nice things to my doctor since he said it wouldn’t hurt and it did!

About half an hour later, the mild contractions that I was taking like a champ, became some not so mild contractions and Guille was banned from speaking during them. I did my breathing, I walked around a bit, I had Guille massage my lower back and we joked in between contractions.

I was about 2 centimeters dilated at this point. Since things were still going slowly, they brought me some lunch. After eating I felt extremely nauseus and threw it all up! I was really tired since I hadn’t really slept much since my water broke. They gave me something similar to morphine to help me sleep since I didn’t want the epidural yet but I was exhausted. I might have dosed off for about half an hour.

I started to get frustrated because I was so tired but couldn’t sleep- and that’s a feeling that I really hate. Around 6pm or so, they examined me and I was about 3cm dilated. Talk about SLOW! We decided to tell my aunt that  I was in labour and she decided to tell the rest of my family. At first she didn’t believe me because she said I sounded so calm, but we sent her some pictures and she eventually believed me. I then decided to inform some close friends and family members and put my phone away because I didn’t want to be bothered or distracted.

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Labour

Around 7pm, I was about 4cm dilated, so they took me down to prep me for the epidural. I wanted to wait, mainly because I read somewhere that the epidural sometimes slows down the process and it was going slowly enough already. I was in pain, but nothing too unbearable, but they decided to take me down anyway. Guille wasn’t allowed to go with me so I told him to go have something to eat and come back in like an hour.

It took a  while for the anesthesiologist to administer the epidural because they can’t do it during a contraction and I started having contractions like crazy. The epidural didn’t hurt but it felt weird- I had a random cramp in the side of my left thigh for a little bit. Once it kicked it I was aware of my lower body but didn’t feel any pain. I think I expected to be totally numb or something. Around 830pm or so, they took me back up to my room, and I have to admit, that while I wasn’t in excruciating pain before, it was a nice relief to not be in any pain at all.

Around 9pm , a midwife came to examine me and her facial expression changed to one of shock and a little confusion. I immediately got worried and asked what was wrong- expecting the worst. She told us that I was completely dilated and that she was just surprised that I went from 4cm to 10cm so quickly! She said she was going to call down to the delivery room and they’d take me there.

I should mention now that this is when I got really scared for the first time since my water broke. I don’t know what you’ve experienced or been told but all the stuff you see on TV with women labouring and seemingly on the verge of death- was not my experience. The contractions weren’t a walk in the park but for me they were just like very painful period pains (and I’ve always had very painful periods). I think for me, it wasn’t that bad because I knew that at the end of it all, I would finally get to meet Liam. I would finally not worry about something going wrong in the pregnancy.

Anyway, I was nervous because, contractions weren’t anything too difficult. Being examined and hooked up to IVs etc.- been there; done that, but now they expected me to actually push this little human out of my body! I’d never done THAT before!

While waiting for them to come up and transfer me to the delivery room, I had an incredible urge to push. Which was weird enough, seeing as I had the epidural. I told the midwife and she said it was because the baby’s head was in the birth canal and I should practise pushing every time I felt the pressure and need to push. So Guille and I did that while waiting.

At 9:18pm, they took me to the delivery room. Guille wasn’t allowed to come in because he was wearing shorts and flip flops (it was almost the end of August). So a midwife took him to find him scrubs to put on. I had already started pushing and asked for a mirror when they said they could see the baby’s head! Guille got in at around 925pm. At this point, I said to the midwives and my doctor, that if Guille fainted or something, to ignore him and focus on my baby and me, he could always be revived later! AND I WAS DEAD SERIOUS! Thankfully (for him) he didn’t faint.

A few pushes later (2 or 3) and my doctor said to me, reach down with the next push and pull the baby out. I was like HUH?! But I did what I was told and at 9:37pm, pulled Liam into the world!

I was in awe! He just looked at me for a few seconds. My first words to him were ”Hi! Hello baby!”  When he eventually started to cry, I said ”Oh no! Don’t cry!”. The midwives told me that crying was good, so I said ”Ok, well cry!”.

I didn’t cry. I was just in absolute awe, that Liam was finally here and that I pulled him out!

At some point during the delivery, the doctor had to cut me to make room for Liam to come out. I will NEVER forget the sound of the cutting. Nor will I forget the healing process once the epidural wore off! Episiotomy is no joke!

All in all, it was an amazing experience. Not at all traumatic or similar to any of the birthing ‘horror stories’ I’ve heard from some women. That first night was great. We were just in awe, trying to figure out who he looked like, which features he got from each of us. We were (and still are) so in love with Liam.

Throughout the night, nurses checked on us every few hours. Taking my blood pressure and temperature, etc. I wasn’t allowed to drink anything for the first 2 or 3 hours after giving birth and that was rough because I was VERY thirsty!

I eventually was allowed some water and had half of a sandwich. I didn’t sleep much although Liam (and Guille) slept almost the entire night.

It’s been 6 and a half months. I have had some very trying moments but I wouldn’t trade my Liam for ANYTHING in the world. He is the best baby I could have every imagined/dreamed of/prayed for and I consider myself eternally blessed to be his mother. (It also helps that he is so stinkin’ cute!)

Oh Baby!

There’s no secret to how this story ends because I’ve mentioned my son a few times in previous posts and there’s even a picture of him in my first post.

I’ve shared about my miscarriages and the constant anxiety during my pregnancy- the fact that I was unable to truly relax and enjoy what (they say) is supposed to be one of the happiest and most exciting times in a woman’s life. Don’t get me wrong I was happy but I just couldn’t surrender to fully enjoying the experience.

They talk to you about having a birth plan. I was hesitant to make one because to me, making one meant I was sure I was going to have this baby and I wasn’t; or at least I couldn’t be too sure. I didn’t want to leave any room for extra worry or disappointment.

One of the things I was sure about was that I didn’t want anybody but the necessary medical staff and maybe Guille in the delivery room. YES! I was skeptical about Guille being there too!

Now, I can deal with pain. I believe most things are mind over matter. Plus it seemed obvious that the pain of childbirth does not last forever, or women would just have one child. Let me also put as a disclaimer that I had an epidural and therefore cannot speak on the pain of actually delivering a baby because I have not experienced that.

I’ll need to somehow summarise the experience because though it wasn’t long, there is so much I can say- and maybe you’re not interested in it all! 🙂

This is an account of  my experience, through the private healthcare system in Madrid. I cannot say what is standard  or speak for any other country or even Madrid since procedure and protocol vary from hospital to hospital.

Somewhere around 36 weeks

I had technically 4 weeks to go but the baby could decide to make an appearance at any time. I was still nervous but I was happy because it now felt like a real possibility that I could have this baby, that even though he came early, he had high chances of survival. SO I resigned myself to being happy- though VERY READY for this baby to be out!

Coming down to the end of your pregnancy, you have an appointment where you have final blood work done to ensure that things are ok, there are no infections and so that the anesthesiologist knows what to do for your epidural and in case of emergency caesarean section.

My results were fine. I had a monitoring session to check the baby’s heart rate and if there were any contractions and was scheduled to have another monitoring session 2 weeks later.

Friday 19th. August, 2016

By this point, my due date is 11 days away and I am FED UP of being pregnant. To top it off, I had developed Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) and everything hurt: rolling over in bed, standing up, sitting down, walking- even my yoga classes were no longer enjoyable. ( I did yoga from 14 weeks pregnant until I was 37 weeks).

My monitoring session went fine. So I went up to the gynecologist’s office and they examined me, checked my cervix and told me that I had at least 2 more weeks to go because I had no contractions and I wasn’t at all dilated.

Talk about disappointing news. I had to deal with the damn pelvic pain and on top of that I had to wait even longer to meet my baby!

I should mention now that I had been trying everything that didn’t seem unhealthy or too time consuming to induce labour. So to be told that I had AT LEAST 2 weeks left- well I wasn’t happy, at all about that!

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I read somewhere that pineapple helped to induce labour.

I left the hospital and I was upset. I had plans to have lunch with my friends and I cancelled.  I called Guille crying, telling him I was so tired and fed up and that I couldn’t wait 2 weeks. That it was way too long and I was too uncomfortable. I was also annoyed because the doctor’s only advice for SPD was to take paracetamol! (I wasn’t happy with that because I was totally against taking anything that wasn’t 100% necessary for the baby’s health and safety.)

I went home and cried some more. Guille gets home early on Fridays so he decided to take me to lunch at one of my favourite Chinese restaurants. I ordered a few of the things I really like on the menu and once they brought it out I was completely nauseous and had no appetite. I picked at the food a bit and ate what I could- which wasn’t much.

We picked his brother up from his dad’s house and went home. They were working on installing some speakers on the terrace. Guille’s friend came over and he decided to barbecue in hopes of cheering me up. I was in such a bad mood and in so much pain, that I gave in and took a paracetamol and fell asleep around 830pm.

Aside from the SPD, the other really bothersome issue I had towards the end of my pregnancy was mild insomnia. It would take me forever to fall asleep, then I  would sleep maybe 4 or 5 hours a night, but wake up every two hours or so. I guess it was my body’s way of preparing for the sleep- or lack thereof- when you have a newborn baby.

Saturday 20th. August, 2016

I was really surprised, That I’d managed to sleep over 4 hours when Guille woke me up around 1am to tell me I should probably eat something since I hadn’t really eaten at lunch. I told him I wasn’t hungry but I’d come out to chat with them for a bit. I lay in bed for a while because I just felt exhausted and then eventually rolled over to put my slippers on and go outside. I got up to make my way outside, took about 2 steps and felt this gushing sensation!

I figured, maybe this was the incontinence they talked about that some women had in pregnancy. I was briefly irritated,thinking, well, this is all I need now; another issue! Then there was another gush! I called out to Guille. I told him, I don’t know if I’ve developed incontinence like Gigi (one of our dogs) or if my water just broke. We kind of laughed about it and I went to the bathroom, while he went outside.

I mentioned earlier that I didn’t have an extensive birthing plan, but that I was sure that I didn’t want people in the delivery room. I had made it clear to Guille that he was to inform NO ONE when I went into labour- so of course, his brother and his friend would be there when my water broke.

Once the gushing continued off and on, I realised that my water did in fact break. So I started to time the contractions using the Pregnancy + app I had on my phone. My contractions were fairly irregular and not painful, so I didn’t go to the hospital since we were advised in the prenatal classes to not go until the contractions were 5 minutes apart for at least 2 hours.

I still had no appetite but figured, I might as well eat something, so I had a barbecue rib (yes! I did!). Guille’s friend left and he and his brother fell asleep in the living room. At about 3am, my contractions were still irregular, so I decided to have a shower. I hate showering anywhere other than my bathroom, and who knew how long I’d be at the hospital once I got there, so I had a nice long shower, with my favourite shower gel.

I danced around because I was so excited to get the baby out! Then I settled into bed and continued binge watching The Fosters.

Somewhere around 6am, I fell asleep and around 730, Guille came to bed. He decided to go walk the dogs a little bit later, I got dressed and we took his brother home, then headed to the hospital. We got there around 9am and they hooked me up to a monitor, examined me and my doctor told us that I was barely 1cm dilated and that we were going to be there for a long time.

The hospital’s policy was that I had to be admitted, since my water broke, although I wasn’t technically in labour. They had me fill out some forms and then took me up to my room. I managed to get the suite because all the other rooms were occupied! (Score!) Guille went to get the bag, I’d packed maybe a  month before and we settled in for what they said was going to be a long day and possibly night.

 

The Third Time Really MIGHT be the Charm!

In the last post, we left off with Guille and I heading to the hospital on the evening of January 11th. 2016. If you remember, we went to one hospital but they didn’t have emergency gynecological services and recommended we go to Hospital Nuevo Belén. These two hospitals are about 5 minutes away from each other but it felt like the longest drive of my life.

When we got there, after what seemed like the longest wait ever, they finally called me in. Dr. Cruz attended to me. He asked some routine questions, which I answered and I told him about my two previous miscarriages. He decided to do an ultrasound. I didn’t want to look at the screen because I expected to see a bit of the same- empty sac, irregular shape, blah blah blah. Wait a few days, rest, blah blah blah.

Instead, he calmly said:

”Pero tú no estas sangrando!” (But you’re not bleeding!)

I said ”Yes, I am or at least I was!”.

He told me again that I wasn’t and said, ”No! Allí está tu bebé! Y mira, esta luz chiquitita que esta como parpadeando- es su corazón!” (No! There’s your baby! And look, that little blinking light, is his heart!)

I must have blinked like someone sprayed somethig in my eyes! I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t stop smiling! For the first time in 3 pregnancies, there was a baby AND a heartbeat! Dr. Cruz was funny and kind. He explained that it is normal to have a bit of spotting in the fifth week. He then congraulated us telling us that we’d just have to wait and see but he was sure that there was a 50% chance that the baby was going to be a boy or a girl. I thanked the doctor and we left happier than ever.

Four days later we went to my regular gynecologist and for the first time we heard the baby’s heart. I made my doctor play it over ad over. I asked him so many questions! Was the heart rate normal? Was it strong? Did everything look ok? He answered my questions as best as he could and laughed a little.

He scheduled me to come in every 2 weeks- since my pregnancy was considered ‘high risk’ due to the miscarriages that I had suffered not too long ago. I had to continue with progesterone tablets and he added low dose Aspirin to the mix- to prevent blood clots.

 

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Ultrasound- the day we first heard his heartbeat! 🙂

The 2 week wait always seemed like an eternity. Since it was still early and I couldn’t feel the baby move yet, I was always anxious and impatient just waiting for the appointment dates to roll around. After the 12 week scans and tests, my doctor then told me that I was no longer high risk and he would now only need to see me once a month.

While that was exciting news, it also made me nervous. I would now have to wait longer. There would be no extra monitoring or tests. Each time I went to the doctr, everything was fine. The baby, who we had by then found out was going to be a boy- MUCH to my delight- was healthy and progressing well. He was even measuring bigger than most babies measured.

I still couldn’t get all the way excited. Every day I was nervous about something. I didn’t go on the Internet to read much about pregnancy and babies because I know I’d just convince myself that something was wrong or diagnose my baby with some disorder or deformity.

Hearing his heartbeat and feeling his kicks assured me that he was still alive but those appointments were now few and far between. I was so paranoid that I decided that maybe I should buy a home heart monitor. I looked at applications that I could possibly download so I could hear his heart everyday. Everything was either too expensive or had bad reviews.

I checked to see if I was spotting SEVERAL times a day and the if the baby moved a bit more or less than usual, I was convinced I needed to run to the hospital. Guille was good about calming me down and trying to reassure me that everything was and would be fine.

You see, the truth is, no matter what the doctors said, how much physical and medical proof I had that the baby was fine. At the back of my head and in the pit of my stomach was that sadness over the two previous miscarriages.

I have a healthy, happy and handsome almost 6 month old baby. In many ways, I had what many would call, a great pregnancy- no morning sickness or any of the other common complaints (except the last month and a half or so), I didn’t gain a lot of weight either. At the same time, I didn’t enjoy being pregnant, like some women do because I was worried the entire time- worried and scared.

I didn’t share that was pregnant on social media until I was pretty far along. I didn’t want to publicise my pregnancy and then have to explain or answer any questions if something bad happened.

The main reason I eventually shared was to help myself get over some of the anxiety; to attempt to positively reassure myself that things were going well and they would continue that way. It didn’t take away the fear or anxiety though.

In many ways, I feel like suffering two miscarriages robbed me of enjoying what is supposed to be a very beautiful time- or at least I allowed it to rob me of the experience.

In my next post, I’ll share my labour and delivery story.

Please know that if you have experienced a miscarriage or had a still birth, you are not alone. It’s normal to be sad, depressed and angry. Seek professional help or at least talk to someone. I joined an online support group called Daily Strength. It didn’t take away the pain but it did help to know that I wasn’t alone.

IS The Third Time The Charm?

In my last post I shared the story of my miscarriages. Miscarriage or spontaneous abortion is a lot more common than we may realise or want to admit. As common as it may be, it’s still not at all a pleasant experience.

For me, it was obvious that I had no problem getting pregnant. After all, I had gotten pregnant twice in the space of about two and a half months. Other friends had been trying for almost a year with no success (an equally frustrating experience).

In Spain, the protocol is that only after 3 consecutive miscarriages will they run tests because again, miscarriage, although sad, is very common. Some weeks after the second miscarriage I went to our family doctor. I don’t remember why I went. Maybe to get a letter or something- I don’t know. What I do remember, is that she said that if we would be trying again, we should wait about 3 months.

Well… I just lost it. ”3 months for what? To go through this shit again?” I asked her. I told her I was never going to have a baby and that she might as well schedule me to tie my tubes. I would prefer to go through that than to get excited all over again and then have it go sour in a matter of weeks.

To cut it short, she scheduled me for testing. The public system here, though really good, can be a bit slow. So we scheduled with my private doctor and he ordered some tests to determine whether or not Guille or I had some genetic issue or something that was preventing the pregnancies to progress successfully.

By the time we sucked it up and made the appointment, had the tests done and got the results. I was pregnant yet again. The results showed that we were both healthy and confirmed that the miscarriages were just ”bad luck”- that somewhere along the way, something went wrong and the pregnancy wasn’t viable.

I suppose that was good news but it still stung that I’d just had bad luck.

On Christmas Day, I put the positive pregnancy test under our little tree for Guille. I spent all of Christmas break lying down with my hips elevated and my feet up. I decided on my own that i was going to take progesterone pills. I went to the doctor a few days after my birthday and he confirmed that I was pregnant and said things looked good, though it was too early to be sure. I told him I was taking progesterone (though he didn’t prescribe it), so he told me to continue.

January 11th. 2016. I’m 5 weeks along and back at work after Christmas holidays. I go to the bathroom between classes and again… I’m spotting. I call my friend Lucía who’s the only person at work who knows I’m pregnant and she comes to where I am and I just cry and cry and tell her I absolutely cannot go through another miscarriage; that I am pretty sure the sadness of it will sink me into a deep depression or kill me. She offers to take me to the doctor or whatever I need and tells me repeatedly not to worry.

I pull mysef together, call my doctor and finish teaching my class. It’s a Monday so I will have to wait until Wednesday to see my doctor because Tuesday is his day off and I work in a different city and it will take me over an hour to get to his office. So I hope for the best and see if I can wait until Wednesday.

BY the end of the day I’m barely spotting but I’ve cried at least 2 or 3 more times and the principal (along with half the staff) now knows I’m pregnant. I get home and decide that I have to go to the hospital because I won’t get through the night without worrying myself sick.

We head to Nuestra Señora de América hospital but they don’t have gynecologial  emergency services and they tell us we can go to Hospital Nuevo Belén.

That night was the beginning of 38 weeks and 4 days of nervousness and worry.