Introducing Maxwell James

*Taken seconds after he was born

Maxwell James was born on February 18th at 12:05 a.m. This week has been an absolute whirlwind because after Max was born, his weight kept declining and he has jaundice. As a result, we have been in and out of the hospital. Max is progressing but we have daily appointments at the hospital for tests.

Being a Mama has made me the happiest I have ever been.

Next week I hope to have a blog written about Max’s birth experience because the whole thing was equal parts terrifying, painful, exciting, hilarious, and beautiful.

I am Probably in Labour Right Now

Happy Sunday Everyone! 

How fitting is it that I am being induced on the day when my blog comes out every week?

*Please note that I wrote this on Valentine’s Day because I knew that I would be too busy on Feb. 16th to write a blog.

My last appointment with my OB was on Feb 12th and went really well. My OB gave me the choice of just waiting until my induction on Sunday or having a “stretch and sweep.” For the stretch and sweep, the doctor tries a little trick (won’t go into graphic details) in hopes of causing a woman to go into labour.

“It is not always effective” my OB said. “If it were, we would never have to induce anyone ever and as you know, that is simply not the case.”

“If you think I should do it, I am in” I said.

Twenty minutes later, I was called in for the second time to see my OB and within seconds, I was done.

“But that didn’t hurt” I said.

“Sometimes it can be really painful. I guess yours was not painful” he said. “I also need to tell you that if you have your baby on the weekend, I won’t be the one to deliver your baby. I am at a conference so I wish you the absolute best.”

I knew this could happen and now I am wondering which OB I will have. Have built up this relationship with Snelgrove so I was sad to hear that he would be at a conference (but totally understood why he would be away).

I was going to hug him and say goodbye but felt he might find me incredibly awkward. 

Instead, I just told him how thankful I was for his help and for his care while I held back tears. 

I went back out to the admin assistant and thanked her and all of the incredible staff giving them muffins and donuts. Once again, I fought back tears.

“It’s going to be so weird not seeing you every Wednesday” said Celine (Snegrove’s assistant). “You were one of our favourite patients.”

I LOVED being their patient! They were the kindest people. Please note that EVERYONE at Mount Sinai has been the absolute best.

She was right though.

Things were going to be so different. 

Since the beginning of my pregnancy and with all of my complications, I had about one appointment a week from the start of my pregnancy to the end of my pregnancy.

I hated goodbyes and graduations but I was experiencing this so much along the way.

After about 50 fertility appointments, I graduated from Mount Sinai Fertility and moved to Mount Sinai. After a number of appointments, I graduated from Mount Sinai’s High-Risk Clinic to Mount Sinai’s Low-Risk Clinic. Now, I was graduating from the clinic entirely and my next stop was going to be Mount Sinai Hospital on the 15th floor where I would deliver my baby.

It’s amazing to me how much these medical professionals become part of your life. You see them all of the time and then it just goes from 100 to zero. How does one say “thank you for giving me the greatest gift of life” yet “bye, see you never?”

I don’t want to leave Sinai and I can only imagine how much I am going to bond with the amazing labour and delivery nurses when having the baby.

Have heard that inductions can take a long time (sometimes between 24-36 hours). These medical professionals are about to see me at my most vulnerable state and I am completely in their hands. It is so scary. This also means even more bonding time and I can only imagine how incredibly kind and supportive they will be.

So if you are reading this after 10:00 a.m., I have either had a cervical ripening (It sounds so gross) or I have been given Pitocin. If I have had a cervical ripening I get to go home and wait like crazy to go into labour. If I get Pitocin, my induction should be a little faster.

The next time you hear from me, I am going to be a Mom!

Can’t wait to update you soon! As soon as everything is good, I will be posting pictures of the little one on Facebook and on Instagram. My hope is to also have some pics and a blog post for next Sunday as well.

Thank you for all of your well wishes.

A miracle is about to happen.

Pregnancy Without a Partner – The Truth

Whenever my relationship ended with a partner, I remember being triggered. If I saw a couple hugging or kissing it would make me feel sad. If I saw a couple being really kind and sweet towards one another, I’d wonder if I might be lucky enough to have that again.

Before getting pregnant, I wondered how this would play out in my trying to conceive/pregnancy journey. Would it be a time of excruciating loneliness? Would family members, friends, or doctors treat me differently? Would I be able to detect a form of sympathy in their voice because I wasn’t able to find a partner?

At this point, I am ready to have a baby any day now and I think the answer is extremely important – especially to people who are thinking about having a baby on their own. Sure my experience will be different from you, but I think it is really important to share the truth about what happened during my journey.

When I went to my doctor to tell her that I wanted to have a baby on my own, I expected her to say that she was shocked. Instead, she just said, “do you have the forms?” I had prepared myself for this important event and had figured out various ways of how I would answer questions when she asked me. She didn’t ask me one question. The only really awkward moment was when she asked the front desk to fax off the paperwork and the admin assistant yelled: “but she didn’t write her partner on this form.”

The admin assistant yelled for me to put my partner’s name on the form and I said: “I am doing it on my own.” I still have no idea where that strength came from because everyone in the waiting room was watching me.

I then went to get my bloodwork and the kind nurse said “you are getting so much blood taken today. You really need your husband to make you a steak dinner.”

“Yes I do” I replied and laughed.

That was the first day of my journey so I just assumed that it would be like this throughout my time in trying to get pregnant. 

After two months of waiting to be called by Mount Sinai Fertility, I figured I’d call to see why there was a delay in being set up with a fertility doctor. 

“We couldn’t process your forms” a voice said on the phone. “You didn’t list your partner’s name.”

“I am using a donor” I said. 

I was extremely frustrated because I wanted to start the process right away and I knew that Sinai had so many women that were doing it on their own.

A couple weeks later I was set up with my amazing fertility doctor, Dr. Claire Jones.

My sister came with me to every single important fertility appointment with Dr. Jones. She was the best partner that anyone could have. She’d make me laugh and would bring me little gifts such as lottery tickets to scratch while we were waiting. 

The couples around us seemed frustrated and many would argue. It seemed that one of the partners was always in a rush and would become extremely anxious about the time spent in the waiting room.

My sister and I would just laugh at the length of time we waited. We’d make bets and be shocked when the wait time was under one hour. 

I can’t even remember how many appointments I had at the fertility clinic – maybe 50? I think about 10 of them were very important, and the rest I wanted to go to on my own. For both of my IUI’s, I went alone and didn’t have someone with me. My friends and family members asked if they could be there, but I felt too awkward getting inseminated with them in the room.

Once I was pregnant, I was waiting for the many questions to be asked. I expected people to ask about my “husband.” I wondered how long it would take before someone asked me how my husband felt in becoming a “Dad”.

I have been absolutely shocked at how little this has happened.

Nobody at Mount Sinai Hospital has asked me about my partner at all. They have been incredibly supportive and just made sure that I have some help after delivering the baby. They have asked me about who I will have in the delivery room and what kind of “team” I have behind me once the baby is born.

I’ve only had two situations where I have been asked about my partner. The first was from a family friend who just said: “oh, I didn’t know you were seeing anyone.”

“I am not seeing anyone” I said. “I am doing it on my own.”

No matter how many times I say it, I brace myself for some kind of reaction. I take a deep breath and get ready to feel insulted.

“I am so proud of you” she said.

The only other time occurred when I was getting a massage and the massage therapist asked how my husband felt about me having a boy.

“I actually don’t have a partner” I said. “I am doing it on my own.”

“I was going to do the same thing!” she said.

To be honest, I can’t get over the number of people who say that they looked into having a baby on their own. I’d say that about ¼ people I tell, give me that response. Who knows how close they were to actually doing it, but it makes me feel less alone.

There have only been four times along the journey that I really wanted a partner.

The first was when I went to the fertility doctor because I felt a sense of shame. They talked to me about my BMI, and I started crying. At the time I think everyone (including myself) thought I was crying because I felt angry that I had let my weight creep up so much. Looking back, I know it was because I felt so ashamed that I had to admit that I hadn’t found someone. I wasn’t “good” enough to have someone who wanted to have a baby with me.

Please know that this is not how I feel at all anymore. I just needed to allow myself to feel that in order to move on. I know that I could have settled in a lot of different relationships and that I could have easily convinced someone to have a baby with me. I just didn’t want anyone – I wanted a solid partner.

The next time happened when I was told that I had twins and decided to have a procedure done so that one of my babies would go on to be healthy. It would have felt a bit better to have someone hugging me every day leading up to the procedure. I think I waited something like seven weeks between knowing that I was going to have the procedure versus actually having the procedure. It felt like a huge weight hanging over me. Luckily, I had so much support from family and friends that it started to feel as though the weight wasn’t as intense.

The third time I wanted to have a partner was when I was selecting a sperm donor. I was not emotionally prepared for all of the feelings that it would bring up. I felt like I was too unloveable to have someone who wanted to have a baby with me. I think there was a lot of work that I needed to do because my ex-husband had told me he no longer wanted to have kids with me. It brought up a lot of memories from the past. Once I selected a sperm donor and worked through those issues, I haven’t felt that way at all.

The fourth time I wanted a partner was this week. It’s been so long since I have thought about having a partner along the way and it happened this week when all I wanted to do was to have one spoonful of ice-cream. I wanted to send my partner out because I was craving ice-cream so much at around 8:00 p.m. I tried everything to get my mind away from ice-cream but I couldn’t. So what did I do? I bundled up in my winter coat and got myself some damn ice-cream.

So there have really been only four times along this journey where I missed having a partner. Some of those times were only quick moments where feelings passed quickly. Other times, I had to work through some issues and had to reach out for support.

Most of the time I am thankful that I don’t have a partner. 

I get to raise this little boy the way that I want to raise him. There won’t be any conflict about parenting styles.

I got to name my son with the name that I selected and didn’t have to consult anyone.

I got to remain calm during my appointments because I didn’t have a frustrated partner worrying about time and how many appointments I had scheduled.

I always say that the loneliest I ever felt in my life was when I was married. It sounds really strange because I had a partner. How could one really feel lonely while being in a relationship? There were countless reasons I felt this way (and I won’t go into them) but I was just so incredibly alone and sad.

Sometimes I get a sense that people feel a bit of sadness for me because they think that I am at a disadvantage because there is only one of me and “normally” a child has two parents. But what if the parents don’t love one another or even worse – if they don’t love themselves? What if one of the parents isn’t a good parent or a good role model? What if one of the parents resents the other one for having children? 

I know there are many loving couples who have an amazing partnership and are incredible parents together. I love that and wish for that but unfortunately, I don’t think that is the norm. 

As I keep getting older and hearing stories and seeing things around me, I just feel so lucky. I had a choice and I know that being pregnant without a partner has brought me the greatest joy. There were some sad days but I have never been this happy in my entire life and I don’t regret my decision for a minute.

And I will find love.

It may not be tomorrow or within the next couple of years but I know that one day I will find a partner. I will be picky as hell because I know my worth and I know that I don’t want a partner to “complete me” but to be the icing on the cake of an already amazing life.

So if you ever speak to a single mother by choice, please don’t feel sorry for her. She is strong as hell and probably feels damn good about making such an amazing decision.

Please also know that in this pregnancy without a partner I have never felt so loved, strong, happy, and beautiful. Pregnancy without a partner can be such an incredible thing.

Pregnancy is Damn Good

At 37 weeks, it is easy for me to say that I am really enjoying my pregnancy. It seems like everything is going well. Baby boy is around 6 lbs and he is head down. My blood pressure is amazing and my sugar is staying on track. My back pain is almost completely eliminated thanks to an amazing massage therapist and an amazing chiropractor. Sure, I feel like I have run a 10 K when I walk down the street, but I am feeling good.

That led me to this week’s blog. Throughout my pregnancy, I have had a lot thrown at me and tried to stay as positive as possible. I shared a lot of difficult moments with you, but I feel like it is also time to look at the many positive moments throughout pregnancy – moments that I didn’t expect.

I could go into labour any minute now (although my induction is planned for Feb. 16th). This may be my last blog before I write about having a baby. Only baby boy knows when he will make his appearance. That’s why I wanted to share this now – five valuable lessons I learned during pregnancy.

  1. You Will Connect with People you Haven’t Talked to in Ages

My sister J was over visiting and said “it is amazing who you are talking to. You are really talking to everyone you have ever met. What are you going to do when you go back to work full-time and don’t have all of the time for these conversations?”

She is so right.

With this blog and in being pregnant, I have been able to connect with so many friends. People from various parts of my life – childhood, high school, university, adulthood. There were some relationships that were even repaired during pregnancy. People reached out when they heard what I was doing and we talked about things that had happened in the past and how we had really grown from those experiences. 

Women were in my corner and people I hadn’t spoken to in years were sending me messages suggesting what products to buy, books to read, how to prepare for delivery, etc. I have loved every single second of it.

They say that when things get tough you need to look and see who was there along the way. I haven’t been at my best during my pregnancy. Between being MIA from work, socializing, etc., I haven’t been able to give even half of what I was able to give before. I’ve also had a lot of issues with anxiety and my hormones have been all over the place. 

It has been amazing to see who really comes out during the dark periods. Yes, I knew that some people were my friends but I had no idea how much certain people would step up for me during this pregnancy. That being said, I have also been surprised and saddened that some of my friendships have also changed.

  1. Your May Start to Love Your Body

I have almost always been uncomfortable in my body. The negative self-talk that has gone through my head about my body is just so sad and all time-consuming. 

For the past several years, I have tried to take up as little space as possible. As I walked by people on the street, I would draw my body inwards so that people could walk by. I would try my best to suck in my stomach and was mortified if I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in years because I was afraid they’d make fun of how much weight I had put on.

In being pregnant, I have really started to love my body. 

I didn’t even know it was possible. It sounds so cliche but it is absolutely amazing at what my body can do. I am proud to walk down the street now and hope that I run into people I haven’t seen in a long time. I love my pregnancy clothes and all of the dresses that hug my body (I only wore flowy fabrics before pregnancy). When I look into the mirror now, I am smiling and it feels freakin awesome.

My hope is that my feelings toward my body stay this way after giving birth. I am aware that my body is going to change again and that it will take some time to go back to what it once was. Right now, I feel okay with that. My body has given me so much and I feel like I owe it some time to adjust to pre-pregnancy.

  1. You Will Want to be Healthy

This somewhat goes along with the point I just made about seeing my body in a beautiful way right now. 

My chiropractor and I were having a conversation the other day and she commented on how she thought I had lost a lot of weight.

“You arms and legs are so much smaller and your weight is all in your belly” she said.

“It’s because I really care about my body right now” I said.

“But why wouldn’t you have cared about yourself and your body before?”

“It is so sad” I said. “When it was just me I didn’t care as much. Maybe it was because I didn’t think I was worthy of taking care of myself. Now that I have another person in my body, I want to do what is best for him.”

She talked about how her mother was the exact same way and how she stopped smoking during pregnancy. The family had tried for years to get her to stop smoking and she had even tried to stop smoking prior to her pregnancy. It wasn’t until she was responsible for another human being that she stopped smoking entirely.

“Will you feel the same after the baby is born?” she asked.

“Yes” I said. “I am the only parent for this baby and I need to make sure that I am healthy.”

It’s really sad when you think about it – some women just don’t feel as though they matter enough to really take care of their health. There were times where I felt like I mattered and in those times I ate well and exercised. However, I would always go back to binge eating.

Since my diagnosis of gestational diabetes, I have not eaten because of stress, sadness, loneliness, etc. I have learned to eat when I am hungry (because after months of training, I can tell when my body is hungry for the FIRST time). When I go for a snack, I have to decide if it will fill me up because I know it will be two hours until I can eat again. I’m starting to make the shift that food is fuel and that food is not just a comfort.

I am also a little scared that after delivering the baby, I will no longer need to take my blood sugar. I won’t have people checking my numbers on a weekly basis. It feels that right now I am on a bike with training wheels and after the baby is born, the training wheels will be taken off. It is my responsibility to continue to stay as healthy as possible.

  1. You May Have a Desire to Apologize

When I got divorced, my other friends in my friend group were having babies. Being married and having babies were a trigger for me and I felt as though I needed to find people around me that weren’t at this stage.

I was selfish to my friends but I honestly didn’t know that I was being selfish at the time. 

I’ll always remember going over to a friend’s house after she just had a baby. I brought food over and stayed for about 2-3 hours. She had just had a baby a couple days prior to that and I didn’t understand that I needed to leave and give her space. I thought I was giving her the best gift of all – food and company. 

That is not what she wanted or needed at the time. When she seemed a little anxious, I became somewhat angry because I had gone out of my way to do something for her. Why couldn’t she appreciate my kindness?

Since that interaction and in being pregnant, I messaged my friend and apologized. I explained that I had no idea that a new Mom needed space and that it would have been better to just give her a gift card for food or if I just dropped off the food on her doorstep. 

People say that you don’t get it until you are in it and that is so true.

She said she knew that I wasn’t coming from a negative place and that she knew I thought I was helping. She even confessed that she had sent emails to friends during pregnancy/motherhood apologizing for some of her actions as well.

During this time, I also wanted to hang out with my friends without their kids. Sure I loved their kids and wanted to see them at times but I longed for those adult times where we laughed and shared a bottle of wine. I was grieving the friendships (pre-pregnancy) and didn’t fully realize that friendships do change. Life changes.

A friend once said to me that friendships are for a “season, a reason, or a lifetime.” As I have reconnected with a lot of friends from the past, it is amazing to me how many of my friendships will really last a lifetime.

As a single Mom, I have also realized that my days of going to events and drinking bottles of wine may not exist/may be on hold for a LONG time. I don’t have a partner to depend on or a partner to take my child when I just want to sit with my friends. Things are different now and I just wish I could have been a better friend to my friends with kids years ago.

  1. You May Learn to Slow the F Down

People around me know that I don’t really have a tendency to stop. After work, I would always have some sort of plan. I was a “yes” woman and I loved it. You want to go out tonight – sure. You have tickets to something and want me to be your date – of course. You want to order more wine – yes!

I also tried to keep as busy as possible with work as well. In the fifteen years of teaching that I had done, I taught summer school for fourteen sessions. A new course? I would create it from scratch. Sure I was burnt out but I kept going.

Being busy meant that I didn’t have to deal with me. I could focus on other things and other people so that I couldn’t see how I really felt about myself. There were so many times I didn’t want to be alone with myself and I could always depend on others to take me away from myself.

Until I got sick during my pregnancy.

I had to sit still. Hell, I was forced to sit on a couch or to stay in bed for most of my pregnancy. If I moved I would get physically sick.

The universe was teaching me a lesson. 

There were some things that I could use to distract myself – Netflix, going on a walk, social media, appointments etc., but those things didn’t last too long. I was forced to be on my own and to learn how to be content with my own company. 

Sometimes it has been really hard – especially right now. I don’t have any energy and since I get my energy from outside sources, it has been really hard. People also don’t want me driving anywhere at 37 weeks pregnant so I can’t even escape my location. 

There is also no other person coming home at 6:00 p.m. to keep me company or to ask me how my day has gone. I’ve had to be my own partner and friend.

What a lesson! 

Being by yourself may feel like a blessing but it is a blessing when you have a choice to do that. When you don’t have a choice, it may feel really uncomfortable.

Yet, I have done it. I feel more relaxed than I have ever felt in my life. Tension has left my body and my constant headaches, being hungover, and feeling unhealthy has gone away.

This is what it feels like to be at peace.

Please know that I am fully aware that I am about to be completely busy in a couple weeks (hello new baby). Yet, I have soaked up all of this alone time and have learned a lot from this experience.

When this baby is born, I have a huge feeling I am only going to remember the good parts of being pregnant. My memory has always been that way. Every September I always say to my sister, that I “forgot how tiring teaching can be.” Every year she reminds me that I have said the same thing the previous year. Somehow we forget about the bad and focus on the good.

Once I meet this little one, I may miss these days when I could get up at noon and watch a variety of reality shows. I won’t remember all of the anxiety and sickness that came along with this pregnancy.

I am just really grateful. Not only do I get to have a baby boy, but I have also learned so much along the way. 

Thank you for being there with me. Thank you for reading this blog which has been my sounding board along the way. It’s been quite an emotional experience and I can’t believe I am writing such a positive blog after having written about so many tough situations during pregnancy. 

There have been so many ups and downs and I honestly wouldn’t trade it for the world. Every single experience led me here and I have never learned so much about people, friendships, my body, family relationships, mental health, etc.

Wishing everyone an amazing week!

Baby Moon?

While on my honeymoon (eight years ago and when I was actually married), I met this glamorous couple. They had bronzed skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. They told me that they were from California and even showed me a picture of their mansion. 

“We are here at the Sandals All-Inclusive for our babymoon” said the mother-to-be. 

I remember looking down at her bikini and there was just a small tiny baby bump.

That’s what I want to look like while I am pregnant” I thought. Please note that I don’t like anything like her nor will I ever look anything like her.

This was the first time I had heard the term “babymoon.” 

A babymoon is a “relaxing or romantic vacation taken by the parents-to-be before their baby is born” (Oxford Dictionary).

As soon as I got pregnant, I started thinking about my own babymoon. What exotic location could I go to visit?  Greece? I had always wanted to go there so I started to do some research. After looking at the price,I realized that my babymoon to Greece could only be a dream.

Then I thought a little trip to New York City would be so much fun. I had been there years ago on my first solo trip so it would be so exciting to explore different parts of the city while pregnant. 

But my body had other plans.

As you know, I have been sick the majority of my pregnancy and from the first month, I realized that I was never destined to have a babymoon. Not only was it going to be expensive but my body couldn’t handle physically going anywhere. I have left the house as a pregnant woman but have had to return home many times do to almost fainting, violently throwing up, feeling nauseous, etc.

So I had to come up with a different idea. What could I do that was relaxing, fun, didn’t cost much, and allowed me to easily come home if I got sick?

That’s when I turned to a gift card I had received from some of my girlfriends for my birthday. 

They got me a WaySpa gift card and I started doing a little research. Please note that this is not an ad for anything because 1) I am not cool enough to be sponsored by companies 2) I just want you to have this info because when I get a good deal, I want to share it with everyone.

The other day I saw an ad that you could get a $100.00 WaySpa gift card for $75.00 which is pretty sweet. 

I looked online to see where I could use the spa gift card and you can use it at some really nice places in Toronto. The smaller the city, the sketchier the places you can use the gift card.

After doing research on the nicest spas in Toronto, I decided to use my gift card at the Shangri La Hotel Miraj Hammam Spa. For those of you that haven’t been to Toronto, the Shangri La Hotel is super fancy. Beyond fancy. Think of celebs and super-wealthy people because that is where they stay.

So on Thursday morning I wore my running shoes, tights, and a sweatshirt and walked into the Shangri La. First off, I did not fit in at all but I took in everything.

The timing was perfect for the spa because I thought I went into labour on Monday. Yes, you read that right. I was so convinced that I was in back labour that I was using the breathing techniques that I had been taught. What a loser.

My back pain was pretty intense so a pregnancy massage and a head/scalp treatment seemed exactly what I needed at the Shangri La.

When I entered the spa I couldn’t stop gushing about the place.

“This is gorgeous” I shouted.

“You deserve this” said the kind woman behind the desk.

“I am so glad that I get to do this before the baby arrives” I said.

“Perfect timing” she said with a smile.

From there, they gave me super nice shoes (that I have looked up and now want to buy. Unfortunately, you can only get them in the U.S. and they are the most comfortable shoes I may have ever worn in my life).

They gave me the nicest housecoat and when I entered the change room, I was the only one there.

The whole day I spent pretty much by myself. It wasn’t busy at all. Perhaps it was because it was at 1:00 in the middle of the week or maybe it was because the prices are pretty high because it is so luxurious.

I sat in the “waiting room” within the change room. Altogether, I counted four different waiting rooms along the way – each absolutely stunning.

I met with my RMT, Jennifer, who wanted to know what temperature I wanted in the room, what music I wanted to hear, what oil I wanted to smell, which position I wanted to sit in, how much water I wanted to drink, and how much light I wanted in the room. I just said “everything is perfect.”  

I pulled up some comfortable sheets that felt like silk and rested my head on a pillow that was scented with lavender.

“Holy F” I thought. “This is what heaven feels like.”

The treatments were incredible and I came out of there no longer feeling as though I was in labour (or anything close). I was escorted to the “relaxation lounge” where I was served tea.

“We know that you are allergic to gluten” said Jennifer. “You can’t have the baklava but can I offer you some crepes?”

I swear I heard the word “crepes.”  Gluten-free crepes? I started thinking of nutella and crepes and got so excited.

Imagine my surprise when Jennifer came back with a cup of tea and a plate of “GRAPES.”

I couldn’t help but laugh at myself.

After sitting in the lounge for a bit, I decided that one way to really help my back was to go for a swim. Because I spent so much money on the 60-minute massage and 15 min hair treatment ($250.00 – including tip), I was allowed to go enjoy the pool for 75 minutes.

I was escorted through the health club and looked for celebs. I only saw beautiful men with HUGE muscles and bodies that were so close to perfection that I had never seen in real life.

Then I entered the pool area and said: “where are all the people” to my guide.

“It is just for you and your baby” he laughed.

That is when s*** got real. I soaked up every second of having that entire space to myself. I tried out numerous chairs, tried out sitting in a cabana, took some timed photos in the pool. 

It felt like heaven as I floated and pretended I was away at an all-inclusive hotel. All I needed was thumping Cuban party music and I would have believed I was far away from Toronto.. The floor of the swimming pool felt as though it was heated and the pool was the most beautiful temperature.

Then a man that looked like Mr. Big from Sex and the City walked in on his cell phone. He talked on his phone while looking at the steam room.

Before long, ten men came into the area – each looking better than the last.

I couldn’t decide if I was enjoying myself more by taking in the beauty of the Shangri La or by taking in the beauty of the men around me.

Then I glanced at the clock and realized that my time at the pool was done. Would I get in trouble for staying past my welcome?

I helped myself to more water (you could pick your temperature for your water) and walked down the hall back to the spa.

I had the most beautiful shower using all of the products I possibly could and thought I smelled like wealth. I used every lotion available and every hair product available.

There was only one other woman in the change room and before long she left as well. People that worked at the spa cleaned everything. If you placed a cup down for a second, it was immediately removed. 

I looked at my watch and it was now 4:00 p.m. After three hours of pure bliss, I thought I probably overstayed my welcome and it was time for me to go home.

My back pain was so much better and I honestly felt so relaxed – like I had been away.

Maybe I didn’t leave on a plane and go away for a babymoon but this was the next best thing. It was pure bliss and I took everything in. I am savouring every single moment of my independence and alone time prior to the arrival of the little one.

Now I just have to think about what I should get as a “push present.”  This is typically a gift given by one partner to the other after delivering the baby. Have I watched too many Real Housewives shows? Haha! Maybe I will use this as an excuse to buy myself something pretty or to go and visit the Shangri La again.

Just know that everyone deserves this – a day to themselves. A day where you can pretend to be as glamorous as you want. Just know it doesn’t have to be too out of reach. Save up those Way Spa gift cards and you can live the life of the rich and famous.

How Are You Feeling?

The question I get asked the most (at 35 weeks pregnant) is “how are you feeling?” I always say “great” because I am now enjoying my pregnancy. Yes, I am not “great” but I am feeling about 1000X better than I was feeling in my first and second trimester. In my third trimester, I have been dealing with some health issues but they don’t even come close to what I was dealing with before. 

In all honesty, I don’t want to give birth just yet. I want to hold on to these moments when I am actually really enjoying pregnancy. The little one is kicking me and it feels uncomfortable but it also feels incredible. 

Today I thought I’d give you a health update and also tell you about some issues that you, a friend, or a family member may go through in the third trimester.

  1. Gestational Diabetes

At week 33, my sugar levels after dinner were in the 7’s and 8’s. As soon as I emailed my diabetes educator/nurse practitioner, she had me come in to take an insulin class. Within one hour of sending my email, she had me in an insulin class, had filled a prescription for me for insulin, and made sure she saw me face-to-face to check in on me. Shout out to Christine Opsteen at Mount Sinai who is amazing!

When I received the call from Christine I started to cry because I didn’t want to go on insulin. I had been eating so well and had been trying to get as much physical activity as possible. Once again, she reminded me that I was not a failure and that it was just because of my placenta. 

I am only using four units of insulin at dinner and I am not longer terrified at dinner time about my sugar levels. In fact, on Wednesday I graduated from the Diabetes Clinic. 

Another workshop on Diabetes

I explained that I was super sad to leave and they reminded me that leaving meant that I was healthy. I now have a document in my hospital bag that indicates how much insulin I will need during labour. I have also had a couple of sugar lows (where my levels go below 4 and I start to feel really “off.”) In those times I get to eat 15 skittles and then I feel a lot better. 

Graduation Day at the Diabetes Clinic

Three months after I give birth I get to take the glucose test again. That drink is the death of me! I will also be followed for one year with a nutritionist to make sure that I don’t develop Type 2 Diabetes.

People have commented that I have “never looked better” which is crazy to me because I am still not feeling anywhere like my old self. That being said, I feel so much more in control of my diet and I don’t have the sugar highs or sugar lows that I once had which makes me feel a lot better throughout the day.

Somehow getting gestational diabetes has been a gift. I’ve learned a lot about healthy eating and have seen what it is like to have diabetes. My hope is that I take this information forward and continue to look after my health as much as I have been doing. 

It is so strange to me that I didn’t really care about my health before I got pregnant. It’s almost as if I didn’t feel that I “deserved” to be healthy and to put myself first. It took a little baby inside of me whom I wanted to protect, to make me realize how being healthy should be a top priority,

My insulin that I will take right up until labour
  1. Weight/Size of Baby

I always feel weird discussing my weight because the last thing I want to do is to trigger anyone. If weight triggers you, please skip this section.

At 35 weeks, I have gained 7 lbs during this pregnancy. I think it is because I couldn’t keep food down for 7 months and because I have really had to watch what I eat at every meal.

Somehow I have never eaten more in my life (3 meals a day and 3 snacks a day)  and have somehow lost weight. Sometimes I eat something healthy like a salad for lunch and then my sugar levels go too low. It has really been interesting that I need to eat carbs (1-2 per snack, 2-3 per meal). 1 carb = 15 g of carbs on a nutrition label.

I plan to continue this lifestyle after my pregnancy. I’ve also heard that toward the end of pregnancy, you (and the baby) gain about a pound a week.

My baby boy is currently in the 45th percentile for weight and weighs 5 lbs. I am having another ultrasound on Wednesday so we’ll see if this number has changed. Right now, I am being induced on Feb 16th at 39.5 weeks because of my gestational diabetes. They will be doing ultrasounds almost weekly from now on to make sure that he is staying a good size. If not, I will be induced even earlier.

  1. Butt Issues

This is so embarrassing but I promised to be open with you so here I go. My internal hemorrhoids are back. How uncomfortable are these? They are pretty uncomfortable but nothing is worse than puking 5-8 times a day.

My family doctor has put me back on another medication and has reminded me that they won’t disappear and that the meds are just to manage them. 

I also had to confess that most of my acne (yes I am 13 going on 39) is on my butt. She couldn’t believe how bad it is (now bruising and welts) because I was too afraid to discuss what was happening.

What I’ve learned is that you just need to be open to doctors and see the doctor as soon as you have anything that is “off” with your butt.

  1. Nausea

For the most part, my nausea is gone! I’d say that at least three times a week in the morning I feel like getting sick but it passes.

I am still on two Diclectin a day which is really helping.

Yes, some smells get to me. I’ve had to stop wearing any type of perfume, scented deodorant, etc. I can’t wait to have my sense of smell go back to normal.

  1. Anxiety

This was a major issue while I was trying to conceive and within the first two trimesters of my pregnancy. I went from being on no medication to being on 20g of Cipralex every day (the most I have ever been on).

At every appointment I have been at, medical professions have asked me about my mental health. It feels amazing that people that work in the medical profession are so concerned about mental health and that it seems almost more important than physical health.

My anxiety has now turned to labour as I am preparing to go into a stage of having no control. People have assured me that the body knows what to do so I am going with that. 

I am also trying to be calm about not knowing when I will go into labour which is scary. I love knowing dates and being prepared so this is another lesson in just going with the flow.

  1. Exhaustion

I feel like I am 500 lbs.

To walk a block down the street, I am out of breath and have to take numerous breaks if I have to walk anywhere.

Going to an appointment (they are usually about four hours in length) drain me of all energy that I have. 

I’m still sleeping about 12 hours a night and still have the odd nap here or there. I feel like I’m asleep for most of my life.

Everyone keeps saying to” enjoy my sleep while I can” and trust me, I am. 

My main worry (after delivering a healthy baby) is around lack of sleep. Have heard that the baby only sleeps 1-2 hours at first so this is going to be a huge transition. Every time I bring up being nervous about labour, people say “you don’t need to worry about labour. The real worry is the first three months after giving birth.” Great! Just what I need to hear,

  1. Sciatica

After seeing my chiropractor on a weekly basis, this hasn’t been bothering me at all. I used to get massive pain that almost felt like a lightning bolt up my leg to my butt. If I go for long walks, I need to take breaks so that my sciatica doesn’t continue. Seeing a chiropractor is a MUST if you or anyone you know is experiencing Sciatica.

  1. Overall Attitude

I’ve tried to maintain a positive attitude throughout my entire pregnancy and I think I’ve been able to do it! I’ve been tested in countless ways during this pregnancy but I truly think that we all turn into a Mama Bear while pregnant and we can handle a lot more than we ever thought we could.

I can’t imagine going through all of this if I hadn’t wanted a baby. Somehow knowing that a baby is coming at the end of this, makes this whole process worthwhile. It is so cliche but so true.

Right now, I am truly the happiest I have been. There has been so much support around me and I feel blessed that so many people already love my son.

Thank you to everyone for their support and thanks for checking in on me. So far, everything seems great. Now it is just waiting time. 

Have heard that there comes a point where pregnancy becomes uncomfortable and that you just want the baby out. That may be the next stage but for now, I am savouring all of this amazing time being pregnant with my little one.

The Ultimate Baby Shower

Does anyone really love going to a baby shower? Over the years I have been invited to countless wedding showers and baby showers. I always feel so honoured to be invited but they are so predictable – games, opening gifts, a lot of small talk, etc.

When my sisters and Mom asked me what kind of baby shower I wanted, I got completely stressed out. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it was because I wanted to create some sort of shower that people would want to attend. I also recognized how I felt going to baby showers when I was struggling to get pregnant and I didn’t want to make anyone feel sad, bad, conflicted, etc.

So what did I do instead?

I turned into Mama-Zilla. Picture Bride-Zilla but as a future Mom-to-Be. I tried so hard to make everyone not have to go out of their way, that I drove everyone around me crazy.

Don’t get me wrong – my shower was the most beautiful and memorable day. I just feel like I need to be honest with you about what I have learned from it.

So I am going to share what not to do/what to do when having a shower. 

Tip 1: Invite Everyone

My guest list stressed me out beyond belief. Who should I invite? Should I invite people just from my hometown? What about people from work? Would all of my friends from different groups get along? In which city should I have my shower? How could I make it convenient for everyone? 

If I had to do it over again, I would have hosted my own shower. That way, I wouldn’t worry about how many people were attending and how much my amazing family was spending on my shower in order to make it special.

I would have picked a city (hometown or Toronto) and would have invited everyone. Instead of worrying about feelings and where people were in their lives, they could have just determined if they wanted to come. Instead of worrying about people travelling too far to attend a shower, I would have let them make a decision about driving.

Tip 2: Plan Your Shower When You Are Feeling Good

As you know, I have had a TOUGH time with this pregnancy and have had many days where I am in bed. Luckily, I finally started feeling a bit better and announced to my family that I was ready to have a shower even if it was at 32.5 weeks. At the time, I didn’t feel too huge and still felt pretty. I felt extremely happy because I was no longer puking every day and it also gave me a lot of time to figure out a registry. I registered on Amazon and it was amazing.

I gave my two sisters my Amazon password and they controlled my registry. Once I picked out items, I had no more control over what happened. I didn’t want to be one of those people constantly checking out what people had purchased for me.

Even before the shower, I was receiving gifts in the mail and it was so exciting to open it up and see what was in the box. There was always an envelope with a little message stating who it was from. This was GREAT for larger items. People didn’t have to worry about carrying them or transporting them. Also, what does Amazon not have? You can get anything. 

If my sisters knew I was getting something similar from another store from other people, they would just delete the similar item from my Amazon registry. It worked so well.

Tip 3: Provide Booze

This is huge for me because I honestly think there should be alcohol at every shower. Alcohol is just a nice buffer and it makes people feel more confident when socializing. I am NOT saying to overindulge or to drink while pregnant. I am just saying that it is always nice to have it as an option.

People could drink champagne at the shower and my sister J created these for everyone as a parting gift.

Tip 4:  Have a Theme

My theme was “champagne and cupcakes.”  The only food I wanted my family to have to worry about (which I said I would pick up and they said “no”) were cupcakes. Our lovely family friend Cathy also surprised us with some other amazing baked goods but we only had baked goods at the shower. That way, we didn’t need oversized plates or anything fancy.

My family made lemon cupcakes filled with raspberry, chocolate gluten-free cupcakes with peanut butter, and chocolate cupcakes with raspberry.  Delicious!

We also had champagne for everyone (Lola Sparkling) along with alcohol-free drinks as well.

Tip 5: You Will Cry and It is Okay

Maybe not every single person will cry at their shower, but just know that it is okay to cry. There were several times when I cried while opening gifts and I couldn’t even read some of the cards. It was okay though – when I started crying, other people started crying too.

I was also full of so much joy throughout the day that my crying only lasted for a really short time.

Tip 6: Everyone Will Watch You Open Gifts No Matter What

My Mom, sisters, and I tried to come up with various ways to allow guests to do things instead of watching me open gifts.

Our whole idea of the shower was to have a “pop-in” shower where people could just stop by for as little or as long as they wanted. I’d speak with them for a bit, ask if they wanted to be there while I opened my gift, and they could drink their glass of champagne, and have a cupcake. My goal was to make sure that nobody would be forced to stay for hours.

This is not how things went.

I kept saying “please continue your conversations” as I opened my gifts but nobody really did. The room fell silent every single time I opened something.

To be honest though, I love seeing what people get as gifts so maybe it wasn’t that bad? Who knows? At least they had champagne, if they were bored out of their minds.

Tip 7: Soak It All In

It happens way too fast. My shower felt like two minutes to me. I am sure it felt like countless hours to others, but it went by way too quickly for me.

It was amazing to see so many loved ones in one room. Women who are my role models for a variety of reasons. I got to hear stories of pregnancy, motherhood, women just coming together. It was absolutely incredible and I was in absolute awe that people came to my shower especially when Christmas had just ended.

Tip 8:  Take Pictures

I have a bunch of pictures but I wish I had taken more. I had my own camera and my kind sister L was also taking pictures.

There are way more photos than the ones I am placing here but I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable by posting them. My sisters gave me full permission to finally post a photo of the three of us. I am so proud to have these ladies beside me because they really have championed and helped me through really tough times.

I’ve made sure to print out pictures from the shower and have placed them in my Pregnancy Journal and my Baby Book. This may make it seem like I have everything together, but I really don’t. I am trying my best to create and add to these books as I go along because I have a feeling I’ll be way too busy to add to these books as a Mama.

Tip 9: Do Something Sentimental

I can’t take credit for this tip at all because my sisters and Mom are the ones who thought of it.

Sentimental Idea 1: Blocks

My Mom drawing on a block.

My brother in law’s Dad is amazing at woodworking. He created the most special gift for my shower. He made blocks and then all of the guests at my shower used markers to draw on the blocks. They all drew very creative pictures on the blocks of things that were meaningful to them/us to give to my future son. It was as if everyone was working together and creating the most beautiful gift together.

Sentimental Idea 2: Letters

The other thing that was super sentimental was that everyone that attended (or couldn’t attend the shower) wrote me a letter. My sister L got everyone to send them to her and she put them in a little book for me. After the shower, she took the little book away from me and said that a few people were in the midst of writing letters and had asked for a bit more time.

Luckily I didn’t even read one of these letters at my shower because I can’t even imagine holding it together as I read them. I’m going to wait to read them at times when I feel like giving up or when being a Mom just feels so overwhelming. 

Tip 10: Appreciate Everything

At this time I want to express a HUGE thank you for the ultimate baby shower.

Mom – thank you for opening up your beautiful home and for always being so willing to host things for our family. Your cooking/baking is by far my favourite and it is amazing watching you in “host mode” because you really thrive. Everyone loves you so much and I want to thank you for everything. I love you.

Sister J – thank you for the sweet invites to the shower and for all of the signage (via Vistaprint). You made the celebration so very special and I appreciate it so much. Sorry I was so difficult through the planning stages as well. Thanks for baking cupcakes with Mom and for going to the LCBO for booze. You are so supportive and somehow always know the right things to say. Thanks for always keeping me calm and for understanding that my anxiety can be a lot to deal with. I love you.

Sister L – thank you for allowing your kids to be at the shower. I know that you may have found it a bit much but they are the people that mean so much to me so I loved having them there. Thank you for helping with the cupcakes, for running errands, for putting together the letters, etc. You are super Mom and super busy so it meant so much to me that you took time out of your busy schedule for me. You are the most organized woman of life and I don’t know how you have it altogether. I love you.

Dad – thank you for organizing a beer/spirit tour for the men. It was nice that the ladies could be dropped off by their partners and were free to have some time for themselves. Thank you for also putting the images together featuring our family and us as kids. It made the day so special seeing these photos in the background. I love you.

Family and People Who We Consider Family: Thank you so much for being there for me. This journey has been a lot and your support has meant so much to me along the way. Thank you for attending the shower and/or for your kind messages. You always help me to feel so loved and without you, I don’t know if I could have been strong enough to go through everything I have gone through thus far. I love you.

Readers and Friends: Thanks for all of your comments and love along the way. Thanks for supporting me and for reading my scattered thoughts. Somehow I have had over 18,000 people read this blog and I am still in absolute shock that people care about what a random woman has to say. 

My hope is that these blogs don’t seem self indulgent because my whole goal in writing the blog is to help people connect and to give tips based on things I have learned along the way. Thanks for your messages, for checking in, and for being open and sharing your personal stories with me. I love you.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!