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! šŸ™‚

This is an account ofĀ  my experience, through the private healthcare system in Madrid. I cannot say what is standardĀ  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.Ā  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 IĀ  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 aĀ  month before and we settled in for what they said was going to be a long day and possibly night.

 

Mind Your Business & Miscarriages

A very common question that people like to ask, especially once you are a newly wed or have been in a relationship for some time, is when you are going to start having children. I too, have asked friends this and while they’ve always smiled and or given an answer, what they should have done was told me to mind my business!

IF, when, where, how and with who people choose to have children with is a very personal matter. You never know why someone who YOU think should have children doesn’t and by asking you just may be bringing up something painful for them. So mind your business, will you!

Before I had my very precious almost always smiling little boy, I also had two miscarriages. One at 5 weeks and another about 2 months later, at 8 weeks. The first pregnancy wasn’t planned but we had just done our pareja de hecho, I was late but not too concerned (cuz I was wearing a white dress) and I was sure I wanted to have a baby eventually with Guille anyway. (Guille would be HuzBun dearest from a previous post).

So I took a test, it was positive and we were shocked but happy. DidnĀ“t waste too much time in telling our immediate family and one or two close friends. A few days later, I start spotting but friends who have had children tell me it’s normal and the Internet indicates more or less the same. So I carry on with life.

The spotting gets heavier and the colour changes so I decide I need to go to the hospital. They examine me and tell me I need to rest due to amenaza de aborto which translates to risk of miscarriage-I’m worried and scared and pray like crazy but about a week later, my gynecologist says something to me about the embryo and the sac being irregular. I can’t tell you what he said because I was crying so hard. He said it’s normal and it happens. I respond that I don’t care and I don’t get why it has to happen to me.

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Sac with no baby

The miscarriage drags on and the remnants of what would have been a baby leave my body in the form of an extremely heavy and painful period.

The next few days I experienced a roller-coaster of emotions but was mainly just angry. Angry at God, at my body, at my husband (then partner)and very angry with people who said to me ”Well at least it was early. You weren’t that far along!”. I suppose the purpose of those (stupid) commments was to comfort me but all it did was piss me off more.

After being angry I was jealous. Jealous of everyone with a baby and every smiling, glowing pregnant woman I saw. One day I went to the park and sat for about an hour just looking at mothers with their children and babies and baby bumps and that’s when I decided that surely these women have nothing over me. They were no better than me and if they could have a baby, so could I! So while Guille was hesitant, I wanted a baby! And I usually get what I want.

A little over a month later, I was pregnant again! I got prescribed low dose aspirin and progesterone shots. Once the injections were finished, we switched to progesterone pills. I felt fine. There was no spotting and every week I rejoiced!

I passed the 5 week mark and was optimistic! 6 weeks! 7! Going great! and then the spotting started again. I didn’t wait to hear from a doctor, I just knew it was going to happen again. Later that evening, we went to the doctor and the same story about an irregular sac. I decided they didn’t know what they were talking about so we went to another doctor and they said almost the same thing but that I should rest. SO I confined myself to bed, put a pillow under my hips and had my feet elevated. The spotting stopped, friends came to visit and we decided to go on a mini road trip to the beach. The doctor said I could, but that if the spotting came back I knew what that meant. So I stayed on the beach while my friends went to the aquarium, still hopeful and smiling.

beach

A few days pass and I go back to the emergency room, they examine me and tell me to rest and come back in about a week to see if anything changes. I go back a few days later and things have changed but they are worse and they tell me they can schedule me for a D & C the next morning or insert pills in me to bring on contractions and help my body pass the remnants of the pregnancy out.

I chose to have the pills because going home and waiting hours knowing what would happen the next morning was too much for me. I didn’t speak to the doctor because I was angry with her and when she put the pills in me and it hurt I didn’t cry or react because I was pissed at my body and thought I would ‘ignore’ it in that way.

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Sad after Miscarriage # 2

Fifteen minutes later I started having the worst cramps I’ve had in my life. I could barely walk. I got home and intense cramping, felt a constant need to go to the toilet and vomitting. Add heaving bleeding to the list and you have the process of miscarriage # 2.

A year later I would experience these symptoms again but with a completely different outcome.

I suppose that each miscarriage is different and that varies even more with each woman. For me they both started with spotting. I didn’t have pain until the process started- by the process I mean my body actually passingĀ  out the remnants. I use the word remnants, not to be cold but because in both cases there was no embryo or a barely developed one. According to my doctor the foetus is what comes after the embryo develops. I don’t know how accurate that is but I’m no doctor.

I had one naturally occurring miscarriage and the other was induced. With both, the cramps were almost similar to labour pains with a lot of bleeding. At some point you pass a HUGE clot and then the pain becomes a bit more bearable- more like regular period pains. The pain eventually subsides but the bleeding lasts about 2-3 weeks.

The emotional side effects lasts probably forever. Even though, I now have a healthy, happy beautiful 5 month old, I still get upset about having lost 2 pregnancies. I still wonder what life would have been like if I had a baby before. Would those babies have been boys or girls? Would they look like Liam? Would they be happy and smiley like he is? SO many questions!

So, the next time you think about asking or commenting about a woman not having children, stop yourself. She’ll talk to you about it or bring it up if she wants to.

In my next post, I’ll be discussing how these 2 miscarriages affected my pregnancy and how you can heal emotionally after losing a pregnancy or baby.

As always, your comments and feedback are welcome and appreciated!

Whose Body is This Anyway? Part 2- It’s All About the Boobs

Like many of the things pregnancy and baby-related, I thought breastfeeding would be simple. As simple as: you have the baby, your milk comes in, you breastfeed the baby until you see fit. That’s how it goes- as simple as that- in VERY FEW CASES! Breastfeeding is not as easy as you may think, but this post is not about breastfeeding. It’s about the stuff that happens to you actual BREASTS that no one bothers to mention or at least they don’t go into it in much detail- Have no fear, Queen Overshare is here!

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Somewhere during that 2 hour period of skin to skin bonding with my baby, a midwife came in and asked me if I was going to breastfeed him and if I wanted to try. I said yes, they turned Liam’s head towards my breast and he made his way- unassisted to the nipple, latched on and fed until his little heart was content. Great right? Amazing! Loving, sweet touching and all that!

Why however did the boob he wasn’t feeding from hurt?! And more so, why did no one tell me about this? So with that put out there, here goes my list of things that happened to my boobs that I wasn’t prepared for…

  • In Trinidad, we have a saying ‘don’t let yuh right hand know what the left is doing‘ (or something like that). If this applied to breasts, then I’d be in trouble. Aside from the ‘pain’/tingling in the breast that I wasn’t breastfeeding from, out would spout milk as well. Anywhere from a goteo to a full fledged chorro. Granted, this happens more if the baby hasn’t breastfed in a few hours and not every time you breastfeed. But it almost always still catches me by surprise.

What can you do? Wearing breast pads is handy so that you don’t get your shirt wet. My favourite disposable ones are Medela and Chicco brand. They’re soft and discreet and not too expensive. I also bought some washable organic bamboo nursing pads but as fancy as that sounds, I honestly didn’t like them that much. They’re bigger than the disposable ones and absorb a bit more, you can also obviously wash them and use them time and time again, but I just prefer the disposable ones.

 

  • I don’t know if this has to do with pregnancy and breastfeeding or my skin just happened to be really dry but OH DEAR LORD did my boobs itch the firstĀ  couple of months! Obviously you can’t scratch too hard because breasts are sensitive, that or you’ll end up squirting milk everywhere! But I just wasn’t prepared for the constant itchiness.

What can you do? There are tons of creams for this but I didn’t like any that I tried. What worked for me was olive oil- extra virgin. Right after getting out the shower I’d rub olive oil all over my boobs and let them air dry (or at least try to- let’s face it, long, luxurious showers are a thing of the past). If you don’t have time to let them air dry; you can gently pat them dry. The olive oil on your nipples is safe for the baby as well. (Says our pediatrician).

 

  • Then there was the one (read thousand) time, my boobs were so full that they were rock hard, a little lumpy and hurt like a bitch! This happened a lot in the beginning. They recommend you feed the baby every 2-3 hours for about the first 2 weeks, then you feed on demand- that can be as often as every hour or two or more than 5 or 6Ā  hours if your baby sleeps a lot. Because our bodies are wiser than we realise, so our boobs tend to fill up around the time our baby will want to be fed. Perfect! Or maybe not, because sometimes they fill up really fast and you might have the spillage I mentioned before long with some pain and tingling. But what you may also notice is that your boobs are hard (call them firm if it makes you feel better) and they hurt to touch. They also look very ‘veiny’.

What can you do? Take a warm shower or put warm wash cloths on your boobs. This alleviates some of that pain and tenderness and it helps get rid of some of those lumps. It may cause the milk to leak out though.

 

  • WHOSE boobs are these?! There is so much that can go under this heading. The fact that your baby is now the CEO of your breasts is probably the top of the list. Your baby gets the boobs when are where he/she wants/needs. Once they hit about 2 or 3 months and start observing things around them, so they pull your boobs in which ever direction that catches their attention and without much gentleness while feeding! Also the fact that it’s hard for your boobs to be used during ‘sexy time’ because getting milk squirted in your eye or face is pretty much un-sexy (unless you’re into that kinda thing…). But in direct response to my question… your boobs when full are round and firm. After breastfeeding they are soft and saggy! My haven’t fallen to my navel just yet but once they aren’t full, they are somewhat sad looking! The joys of motherhood, I suppose! Does this get better? I’m not sure because I’m only 5 months in and will probably be breastfeeding for at least another 5! Who knows though. I hope it does but if it doesn’t at least I know my saggy boobs would be the result of a good deed and a full baby!

What happened to you boobs after pregnancy? Anything really strange or funny? Please feel free to share in comments.

 

***Just as a disclaimer (after the fact): This is about my experience. While other mothers have shared that most, if not all of these things have happened to them as well. This is not a guide to what will happen to you but if any of it does- know that it’s perfectly normal or at least, that it’s happened to me! However, if anything feels uncomfortable, too painful or just off, please see your doctor, midwife or lactation specialist.