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!

Can I Please Stop Time Now?

Right after this picture was taken, my brother in law and Dad made fun of me and made my sis take a pic of them creating a heart on their belly too.

When I first got pregnant, I didn’t know if my pregnancy would be successful. There were so many complications and when I was put into the “high-risk” category, I was really worried that I wouldn’t actually get to meet my little one.

I also had some friends go through miscarriages and I figured that if it happened to them, it would happen to me.

My pregnancy became all about survival. Survival for my little one and survival for myself.

I spent so many days throwing up, sleeping, staying in bed, feeling like absolute crap, spotting, etc. I tried my absolute best to stay positive during this time but pregnancy was really rough.

Then the third trimester hit.

It’s almost as though the hallelujah chorus began to play because at this time, I could finally see the light.

Sure I was developing new symptoms – recurrent nosebleeds, nausea in the morning, spots when I stood up too quickly, sugar lows and highs – but I was also experiencing pure bliss. I started to feel the baby kick ALL the time. I finally knew that he was okay and developed an attachment to him. I started to feel like I was losing it, because at times I would even talk to him. 

My bump also got bigger in size and random people began asking when I was due. I could feel my face light up when I said “Feb. 19th, 2020.” 

I also started finding a mommy tribe. I’d start conversations in the elevator/in the grocery store with pregnant women or with women who just had babies. I became determined to make new mommy friends where we could support one another through this time.

I also celebrated Christmas feeling happier than I ever have. Although I have always loved Christmas, it could sometimes be a time of loneliness for me. This year was so different as I felt the little one kick through all of the festivities. 

After Christmas, we celebrated my shower (I will write about this next week), and I was completely spoiled. After each gift I opened, becoming a mom felt more and more real.

Before I left my hometown after Christmas, I reorganized the room for the baby and just sat down on the bed (because my energy level is ridiculous) but it also allowed me time to think. The next time I would be coming to this space, I would have a little one in my arms. OH MY GOD.

Then New Year’s Eve hit and I went to a family party and danced the night away (taking copious breaks) celebrating the fact that this was going to be my last NYE where I would probably stay up until midnight and be able to leave my house.

“Happy 2020” people kept saying. “Your baby will be born this year.”

“AHHHHHHHHHHH.” Then it hit – my baby is coming in a matter of weeks.

Now it is feeling soooo real.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and for the first time in this pregnancy, I want to yell “STOP.”

Every night when I go to sleep now I wonder “will this be the night I go into labour?” Yes, I am only 33 weeks but I am watching as some of my friends that are due in Feb have already had their babies and it is freaking me out.

At my last OB appointment, I was handed a document called “My Birth Plan.” I was asked to figure out who would cut the cord, give skin to skin if I wasn’t available, come into the room if I needed a C-Section, etc. It completely freaked me out. Had I planned this far ahead? NO. For most of the answers, I just wrote “anyone.” The nurse can be the first one to put on the diaper – it’s not a big deal to me.

I am taking in all of the sleep I can get right now and enjoying every single minute of it. I am soaking up as much time to myself as I can have. Every time I attend a movie by myself I think “this may be the last movie I get to see on my own.”

Now my fears about losing the baby have turned into fears about labour and the health of my baby when he is born. I keep trying to control the process but have zero control. I feel terrible having my sister and Mom on standby just waiting for my phone call to ask them to be there with me.

I just want to stop time right now.

Pregnancy felt like it was lasting forever and now it feels like I will be meeting my little one in no time. Am I really ready? Is anyone ever really ready?

On the outside, I may look ready (things are organized for the most part) but on the inside, I have no idea what to expect and it is freaking me the F out. 

I keep reading Mom blogs and birthing stories and have decided that I just need to stop. The more information I have, the more anxiety I develop.

So now I am surrendering. I have no control and for someone with anxiety, this is the most complex task in life. I feel like I’m about to have a huge exam and I have not prepared for it, yet here I am. You know those dreams where you are writing a test, haven’t studied and wake up in a sweat? That is me right now.

Overall, this pregnancy has challenged me in so many ways (physically and emotionally) and continues to challenge me in new ways every day. It is totally getting me prepared for motherhood and the lack of control that comes with it. Every time I feel like things are under control, something new comes up and challenges me in a new way. Shout out to everyone who has gone through this. Fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood require a whole new version of bravery that I was not prepared to have.

I feel like after this blog is done, the universe is going to mock me and I am going to go into labour. Haha! We shall see what happens but just know that I am taking it all in and savouring all of this time right now because things are about to change in the most exciting, challenging and beautiful way possible. 

And if “Cats” is the last movie I have seen by myself, I am going to be really depressed.

My Favourite Things

Every year around Christmas time, I get so excited to see Oprah’s Favourite Things. She used to do this on her television show but now does it in her magazine. She outlines her favourite products as gifts for the holidays but I usually can’t afford almost all of them. It’s so nice to look through the beautiful things though.

Since Christmas is just around the corner, I thought I’d create a list of my favourite things that I have used during my pregnancy. Some were given as gifts and some I just bought myself. Please know that I am not any type of influencer so I haven’t been paid by ANY of these companies to show you any of this.

These are just my favourite products and some are pregnancy-related and some are not. Hopefully, you will find something in here to give to a pregnant friend, a Mama, or just something to buy for yourself.

These are the products that have put a smile on my face even after vomiting for a lot of my pregnancy. Haha! These are also in no particular order.

  1. A Subscription Service https://www.netflix.com/ca/

Throughout my pregnancy, I have spent a lot of time (especially in my first trimester) watching television. One of my friends bought me a subscription to Amazon Prime Originals and I absolutely love it! Ask around and see what subscription service the soon-to-be-mama does not have. Netflix, Crave, Amazon, Hayu (Reality TV), Apple TV, and Disney Plus, are great ideas. 

  1. Uber Eats https://www.ubereats.com/en-CA/

Now I would suggest getting a meal-delivery kit but during my first two trimesters, most foods made me gag. It took everything in me to eat and at one point the OB suggested that I just eat whatever I was craving because I couldn’t keep anything down. I had so many food aversions (especially to any form of meat). Plus, I was getting sick so much that preparing a meal became an arduous task. 

One of my friends gave me a gift certificate to uber eats (you can send an e-card online) and it was so nice! Most places all over the world have uber eats but just google it and double-check that it is in your area. You could also buy a giftcard to Foodora and/or Skipthedishes as well.

  1. Maternity Shirt from GAP https://www.gapcanada.ca/browse/product.do?cid=1139079&pcid=11437&vid=1&pid=485631023

The other day I was at the Diabetes Clinic and I walked by a woman who was wearing the same shirt as me. We instantly stopped in the hallway and discussed how much we loved the shirt. They have very low stock of it at GAP right now so if it isn’t available, try something with the same material.

The material is so soft and we both said that it has been our most favourite shirt to wear while pregnant. You feel like you are wearing the softest pyjamas of life.

  1. Pyjamas, Robe, and/or Slippers from GAP https://www.gapcanada.ca/browse/product.do?pcid=5058&vid=1&pid=517308013&searchText=modal

I keep buying these pyjamas for everyone (pregnant Mamas and my family/friends). Search out the material called “modal.” The material is a LIFE CHANGER. It is the softest material that I have ever worn in my life.

They have the modal material for t-shirts, lounge pants, robes, and pyjamas. 

Just buy them. They will be the softest thing you ever own. I will give you a warning though, they are not flattering. If possible buy them in dark colours because the light colours show everything. If you care more about comfort and less about pyjamas that flatter your body, these are the ones to buy.

  1. Old Navy Rockstar Jeans https://oldnavy.gapcanada.ca/browse/product.do?pid=485075003&locale=en_CA&sdkw=maternity-premium-full-panel-distressed-rockstar-jeans-P485075&vid=1&sdReferer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.oldnavy.ca%2Fproducts%2Fmaternity-jeans.jsp

When I was pregnant, my sister bought me a pair of these jeans and I fell in love. They also have them in “tall” if you are 5’10 like me. They come in three different panels (I had no idea what this meant when I was first pregnant). It basically refers to where you want the elastic band to be. Do you want your belly fully covered, somewhat covered or not really covered at all?

Right now I am wearing the “full panel” because it covers my entire stomach. I found that this meant they were less likely to fall down. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on jeans, wait for these to go on sale (sometimes at half price). They have just the right amount of spandex in them to be stylish and comfortable.

  1. Why Am I So Obsessed with Lotion? https://www.loccitane.com/en-ca/delightful-hand-cream-trio-10KTCMM19.html

I have never been so obsessed with lotion in my life. My skin is dry AF and I don’t know if it is just because of the winter weather or if my pregnancy has changed my skin. Normally, I just lather on Nivea Body Lotion (for extra dry skin), but now I want something a little stronger.

At night, I use Palmer’s Stretch Mark Lotion (it was an amazing gift from a friend). I am not really sure if it is helping my stretch marks to disappear as I have spotted some. It just feels really good on my belly. 

I am also obsessed with different hand creams and received some as a gift that I adore. Highly recommend using these as a special treat.

  1. Fab Fit Fun Box or Self Care Box https://fabfitfun.com/get-the-box/?step=getbox&#plan=fffvip

After my friend had her baby, I signed up for FabFitFun and sent her the box in the mail. She called in tears and said it was the perfect gift. Use a different email address and find a really good deal so that it doesn’t cost you too much. They advertise that it is $49.99 but that is in the U.S. and you also have to pay for shipping. It can soon turn into something like $89.00. Just be sure to get a deal. FabFitFun has a bunch of full-size products in a box so it actually becomes a very substantial gift.

OR

This was by far the best gift I received during my pregnancy. My friend created this amazing box with all of her favourite items (her own FabFitFun box). She put together her essential items that helped her through her pregnancy. Now, this gift was massive and you don’t need to do something this complex. Just create some sort of self-care package – face masks, magazines, lotions, etc.

  1. Gift Cards https://www.wayspa.com/

Although I do have benefits for some things through my work, I have already gone through most of my allocated allowances for some of these amazing things (chiro/massage). I highly recommend giving a gift card for a chiropractor (I see mine weekly right now because of sciatica), massages (there are so many weird pains throughout the body while pregnant), facials, and manicures/pedicures.

If you don’t know what the person may want, you can always go with a WaySpa gift card (available for a lot of different spas). Before you buy a Wayspa gift card, google the places you can use it. I know in Toronto there are a lot of good places but I have googled it in smaller towns and they don’t have a great list. So if you know of a place the mama-to-be loves, get a gift card to that specific place to allow her to do some pampering.

  1. Lounge Pants https://www.thymematernity.com/en/769803.html

My friend sent me these and we can’t stop texting one another about how much we love these. When I first started asking people for maternity clothing suggestions, this was at the top of the list. 

These lounge pants are the best because they are soft and they have a panel that will hide your bump at any stage. You can decide how much of your bump you want to cover up. You can even decide to not have it cover up anything.

These are also supposed to make great hospital pants, postpartum pants because they are so comfortable and can be covering as much/as little (depending on a c-section or a natural delivery) of your stomach as possible.

  1. Survival Kit

This is different from the self-care kit because it contains everything that you may need that has to deal with the medical side of things.

I highly recommend buying Tylenol, Benadryl (I took it for my cold), Kleenex, Tums, Preparation H, Nipple Cream, Adult Underwear, Stretch Mark Cream, Imodium, Lotion, and Lip Chap. If you want to make it even more special, buy a cute little hospital bag to put all of these items in. These are all items that I have used/will be using during my pregnancy/delivery.

  1. Expecting Better by Emily Oster https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/expecting-better-why-the-conventional/9780143125709-item.html?ikwid=Expecting+better&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0

Pregnant Mamas talk about this book all the time. During pregnancy, most women start to become a little anxious (or a lot anxious if you are me). Can I drink a glass of champagne at a wedding? Can I drink coffee? What are the chances of me having a miscarriage?  Can I colour my hair? All of these questions are outlined in this book. I found that if I googled the questions, there were so many answers and about 99.9% of the answers were on the conservative side. 

This book takes in a lot of research and looks at what is recommended today. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

  1. Pregnancy Journal, Baby Book, or Picture Frame of Ultrasound https://www.mushybooks.ca/

Be careful with this one because you don’t want the mama to be to receive too many of these. You also may want to get her this as soon as she announces she is pregnant (before she buys one of her own). 

Find something that is gender-neutral and spend the extra money to make it a really special book.

My sister got me a Pregnancy Journal Book that I absolutely adore. Throughout my pregnancy, I have tracked everything and have attached so many amazing pictures. I have heard that once the baby comes, it is really hard to track everything and that this can seem time-consuming. Nevertheless, I bought myself a book from MushyBooks. I can’t say enough about this Canadian company because they make books for couples, same-sex parents, single moms, etc. They recognize that the term “family” is changing and I have a special page in my book that has my donor’s information.

  1. Gift Card for Maternity Clothes https://www.motherhood.com/modern-eternity-3-in-1-belted-maternity-puffer-coat/006-92435-000-001.html?dwvar_006-92435-000-001_color=007-92435-40&cgid=clothing-jackets#start=1

You still want to look presentable during your pregnancy which is why you may want to spend a bit of money on maternity clothes.

Just before the first snowfall, my sister presented me with this amazing maternity jacket for my birthday. It is from Motherhood Maternity and I have fallen in love with it. It has an extra flap that you can put in when the bump gets bigger. There are so many coats that can make you feel like a snowman because it is so baggy but this coat makes me feel amazing.

  1. Something Sentimental

The other night my colleagues/friends presented me with this beautiful ornament. It took everything in me not to cry. When I texted my sister about it, she showed me an ornament she received from her mother-in-law just before she gave birth. An ornament doesn’t have to be too costly, but it so sweet and will always remind me of this Christmas just before my little baby was born.

  1. Mama Shirt/Sweatshirt https://www.shopashco.com/mama-collection

As soon as I was pregnant, I wanted one of these shirts. I am so proud of being a Mama that I love to wear my shirt all the time.

There are so many amazing companies on Etsy that make things like this. You can even search Instagram for some amazing companies that make these as well.

When I started seeing people I follow wearing the “Mama Collection”, I suddenly wanted to purchase things. I was totally influenced but this brand is legit. The clothes are so soft and they are made in London, Ontario.

  1. Pretty By Her – To Make Her Laugh https://www.prettybyher.com/collections/pregnancy-baby/products/10cm-card

I also found this amazing company on Instagram and soon fell in love with everything that Kelly makes.  

If you know of someone pregnant, this is the ultimate card to get.

Kelly sells hilarious cards, mugs, candles, etc., that are the perfect gift. Her products aren’t just for Mamas and the quality of her products is amazing.

  1. Leggings https://www.ae.com/ca/en/p/women/leggings/aerie-leggings/aerie-play-real-me-high-waisted-7-8-legging/0491_4429_073?menu=cat4840006

Finding the perfect legging is tough. For this reason, I am going to give you four brands that I see popping up again and again.

  1. Blanqui (more expensive but have heard it is worth the price).
  2. Lululemon Align (people swear by these).
  3. Aerie Leggings (over the past month I have fallen in love with everything from Aerie. These are the leggings that I bought and they feel so soft. I love these so much so watch for sales (especially when they are 50% off).
  4. Old Navy Compression Leggings (people say amazing things about these as well).

I never thought I’d be the person in leggings all the time, but here I am. Don’t worry – I wear really long things to make sure my butt is covered at all times).

Leggings are just perfect to wear (especially for pregnancy/postpartum) because your body is constantly changing and so many times things don’t fit. You also want to be comfortable during pregnancy because your body is going through so much. Buy an oversized sweater (or sweatshirt, tunics from Old Navy, etc), and you can still feel pretty while having so little control over your body.

So hopefully those suggestions can really help people. Is there a product you loved but don’t see it listed? Please place it below in the comments because then everyone can see what you have written.

I also tried to make this a top 10 list but couldn’t narrow it down.

Thank you again for all of your support throughout my journey. It has been so lovely connecting with so many of you through Facebook, Instagram, or via the comments on here. 

I will be taking the next two weeks off to really enjoy the holiday with my friends and family and will be returning January 5th. By then, I am sure that I will have many stories to tell you.

Little Health Update:

In terms of my little one, he is 3.5 lbs and is measuring perfectly at 31 weeks (he is in the 50th percentile). He is kicking like crazy but I don’t mind it at all (well at least so far). My pregnancy is really starting to feel real especially because during my research ultrasound this week, I got to see his face. So crazy. I wasn’t sure if he looked like an alien or cute baby so I just went with a cute baby. When I sent the picture to my sister she said “well that is something.”

In terms of my health, I am finally feeling better. I usually have two appointments per week and my gestational diabetes is completely in check. So far, all of my numbers have been good and they don’t think I will have to go on insulin throughout my pregnancy.

I have been told that I will either go into labour or have my induction by Feb. 19th 2020 (because of gestational diabetes). I have no idea what waits ahead but I am trying my best to go with the flow.

I am also not throwing up anymore which is AMAZING. I just feel nauseous every morning and have still been sleeping a lot. I make sure to go for walks every day and my sciatica continues to get better. Seeing a chiropractor and booking massages have really helped my sciatica which is incredible.

My OB still won’t allow me to go back to work because it triggers my spotting, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, nausea, high blood pressure, vasovagal (fainting) episodes, so I am still at home relaxing as much as possible. Being home has been the greatest gift because although I am bored as hell, it has allowed me to really put my baby and my health first.

Wishing everyone an amazing holiday and a Happy New Year! 2020 is going to be one amazing year!

All I Want for Christmas is a Dad?

While walking home from my OB appointment I couldn’t believe how cold it was. I tucked into the mall to take a shortcut back to my apartment.

A little girl caught my eye – she about eight years old.  She was wearing beautiful black shoes, white tights, and a beautiful sparkly black dress. Her mother was by her side holding her jacket and they were about to go into the bookstore. 

“Mom, do you know what I really want for Christmas?” she asked.

I couldn’t help the smile from appearing on my face. It was just such a magical time of year and I really wondered what she was going to say.

“A Dad” she said.

I froze and could feel my eyes widen. I was not expecting that response.

All I wanted to do was to stay to hear the mother’s response yet I continued on my walk through the mall. I hadn’t even been able to capture the mother’s face after her daughter had said those words. It had all happened too fast.

I put my hand on my baby bump and thought about my little one for a minute.

Would he say something like this in the future? How would I even respond to a statement like this if he had asked me for a Dad for Christmas?

My mind started spiralling.

He has a Dad whom he’ll be able to meet when he turns 18.

But he will only see his Dad in a book that I have created. Does that even count as a Dad?

He may have a Dad in the future. I could remarry again.

Imagine dating again when you have a child? It makes everything so complicated. What if my son falls in love with a guy I am dating and our relationship doesn’t work out?

During my walk home, I was in deep concentration and nothing could take my mind off my thoughts that soon turned into obsessive thoughts (better known as anxiety). I started worrying about everything and whether or not I would have the right things to say when tough situations came up.

How did other mothers without a partner answer this question?

Whenever there is a question that I don’t know the answer to, I turn towards my community on Instagram. There are so many supportive people on there and a lot of them are doing the solo parent thing.

Here are just some of the amazing responses I received:

“Not all dads are great ones. Supportive men are everywhere…grandpas, uncles, family friends, cousins. They can act as a Dad. I wouldn’t know what to say either, but thinking about this in advance is why you’re already an amazing Mom Sarah.”

“I know baby but you do have a dad. He helped mommy make you from far away. Unfortunately, I don’t know him, but I wish I did so that you could know him. We can look at pictures of him together and maybe one day we can know his name. For now, it’s just you and me.”

“I wish that you had one too because I always want you to have the things that make you happy but I wanted you so badly that I made the choice to have you even though there was no “dad” in my life. I just couldn’t wait and having you was the most important thing in the world. We are so lucky though because you are loved even more than a lot of people who have dads (some of whom aren’t so nice). People saw you and were able to see how perfect you are and wanted to be part of your life so that they could love you too.”

The last message I received was from a former student I taught years ago. She is now in her mid 20’s and wrote me this:

“I actually grew up just Mom and me as well. I’ve never actually met my dad or anyone on his side of the family. I’m positive that I asked my Mom a question like that at some point – not just about having a father but also about his side of the family. I don’t remember her saying something specific but I just remember feeling really loved after we talked about it. She said something like ‘I was just so excited to have you here. I love you twice as much.’ So I guess it doesn’t matter what you specifically say because your little one is going to feel so loved.”

People were sending me messages telling me that they were taking screenshots when I posted some of these responses because they wanted to be ready to have beautiful answers when their child asked them about a father.

Here’s the thing though – kid’s love questions and it is only going to be a matter of time before these questions start coming up.

When I have announced my pregnancy to some people, a few have said: “I didn’t know you were seeing someone Sarah.” That’s when I respond that I am “doing it on my own.” But here’s the thing. I am not really doing it on my own.

I am living with my parents, I have my sisters and my brothers-in-law, I have two sweet cousins for my little one to meet, I have an extended family, and so many friends.  Plus, I have this amazing community that I would have never met had I not started this blog/social media account.

Some people have sent me messages asking me how I respond when people say that being a single mother by choice is “selfish.” How can one possibly decide to bring a baby into the world knowing that there is no father or male role model?

I have realized that you can’t plan how to respond to situations like these or even situations when a child asks for a Dad for Christmas. Every time that I get asked a question I try to never respond in an angry or aggressive way. I take a deep breath, and let the right answer come out. Sometimes I am shocked by how I answer questions or statements. A lot of people just say things because they don’t understand enough about the situation. I take it upon myself to use these moments as teachable moments. 

When I say teachable moments, I don’t mean that I act as a “teacher” and teach them what is “right.” Instead, these moments are when two people exchange information and truly try to understand one another. Nothing is said in a hurtful or harmful way. Instead, you speak from the heart.

I’ve found that as long as I speak from the heart in all of the questions I have received since beginning my journey, people can’t really be that hurtful in response. Sure, some might be more aggressive but as long as I stay cool and calm and just speak from the heart, things have never really turned that ugly.

For the past couple of days, I can’t get the image of that little girl with her mom going into the bookstore out of my mind. She was so angelic and I am sure that her mother answered her question in a beautiful way. Mama’s somehow know how to answer the tough stuff. In times when they don’t, they can always come back to the question and answer it how they wished they would have from the beginning.

So when it is my turn, what will my answer be? I have no idea but I promise my answer will come straight from my heart and will be full of so much kindness, grace and love.

So let the questions begin.

Time to Say Goodbye

I always thought Toronto would be my forever home. 

It is such a beautiful city full of amazing people, amazing food, so much diversity, and always full of so much to see or do.

Unfortunately, Toronto will not be my forever home and I am feeling so many emotions because of it.

As a single mother by choice, I just can’t afford to live in the city that I love. The average cost of an apartment in Toronto is $2,260.00 (blogTO). I’ve looked into daycare for my little one in downtown Toronto and it ranges from about $2,100 – $2,300.  You can apply for a subsidy but it just doesn’t help me enough.

I’ve also had a look at what life looks like after my labour and have realized that I need a lot of help. My OB has mentioned “c-section” several times and I know that I won’t be able to stay in my apartment by myself after this procedure (or even after having a vaginal delivery). 

As some of you also know, my Mom was going to come to Toronto and help me out after the baby was born. A couple months ago, she was in the intensive care unit with some heart issues, and I started rethinking my plan.

Luckily my Mom is doing A LOT better. She still takes care of both of her parents in a nursing home and really needs to be in her own home with my Dad. I needed to find a solution where she was not as stressed out commuting from her home two hours away (especially when she is unable to drive right now because of issues with her heart).

For all of these reasons, I have decided to say goodbye to my beautiful apartment.

I love my apartment so much and moved here about seven years ago. Truthfully, I thought I’d be living in it for just a couple of years and then moving in with someone special. 

No matter what happened in my life over those seven years, my apartment was there for me. 

It felt like my safe space when so much was going on in my life. Friends and family that visited always commented on how the place felt so friendly and relaxing. It was a very girly place – full of chandeliers, cozy furniture, pictures of friends/family, lovely blankets/pillows, and even a pink bathroom.

After I give birth, I will not be returning here and instead, will be with my parents driving two hours to their home.

There are so many emotions that I feel moving back home. Is it a failure to move in with your parents at the age of 39? Am I a huge burden to my parents because I am asking so much of them? Will I lose all of my friends when I move away?

I’m also not sure how long I am staying with my parents – it could be a week, a month, or even a year. 

They have been the most supportive parents and have allowed me to stay in the basement making it my little home once the baby arrives.I’m going to try to do as much as possible as a new Mom and I really don’t want to burden them. 

The hardest thing in this entire process of being a single mother by choice is knowing that I need help and having to ask for help.

I love my independence and try my best to do everything on my own. I looked into hiring a doula for after the baby is born, and I just can’t afford to pay for a doula, rent, daycare, etc.

Luckily enough I have a lot of family and friends in Toronto so I’ll be visiting a lot (perhaps even coming back for a bit of time).

After that, I am not sure where I will land.

I’d say I am about 95% content with this plan but there is still part of me that is a little afraid of what is to come. I worry about where I will live especially since places outside of Toronto (in the GTA) are becoming so expensive.

The one thing I do have is time. Luckily in Canada, we get one year of maternity leave so I don’t have to worry about housing/my job until Feb. 2021.

My love affair with Toronto will always remain but I know it is time to move on. I want to provide the best life I can for my boy, and I just can’t afford the life I want on maternity leave/paying for daycare and living in Toronto.

The other day I was listening to Kaitlyn Bristowe’s podcast (Off the Vine) and Sarah Nicole Landry (thebirdspapaya on Instagram) was her guest. Kaitlyn asked Sarah “what is the one thing that you are most proud of yourself for?”

Sarah stated that she was most proud of her “willingness to move in with my parents and decimate my entire life in order to rebuild it.” 

I was shocked. WHAT???? She didn’t see moving in with her parents as a failure?

She went on to explain that she was in a toxic marriage and had three children and knew she had to get out. She said she “walked away from everything that was validating for her – a picture-perfect family, all of this stuff that looked good on social media that wasn’t making me happy. To lose all of that and to walk away from it all with no car, no job, no money, with zero dollars. Legit. Walked into my parents’ house and was the happiest I ever felt was the coolest moment of my life.”

Kaitlyn then went on to say that many of us feel lost at certain times in our lives and that she was proud of Sarah for knowing what she needed in order to be a good Mom.

Sarah then stated that “there is no failure. There is no going back.” She calls this a “rebuild.”

Now please know that I am not in Sarah’s situation and she had a lot going on. Like her, I chose to leave a toxic marriage but I did have my job and the safety of this apartment. But now I am ready for a change.

I know that this life I have right now in Toronto does not afford me with what I want in the future. 

My life has changed so much and I have a feeling that like Sarah, I will be so happy walking into the house with the support and love of Mom and Dad.

Without the support of my family, I don’t know how I would have been able to have a baby on my own. I’m sure I’d be able to physically do it but I can’t imagine the debt I would accumulate or how much my mental health would be affected. 

I constantly receive messages from women who want to be an SMBC but some state that they don’t have family support and it breaks my heart.

After listening to Sarah on the podcast, I have decided that this time in my life is going to be my time to rebuild. I’ve had a pretty damn amazing life so far but I feel as though there is a lot of change that is left to come.

The other day I was chatting to my sister on the phone about how everything around me is changing – my priorities, my body, my relationships, etc. She told me to look down at my tattoo with the word “change” on my wrist. Change is scary but change also means that something amazing is happening.

So Mom and Dad, not only do you get one roommate but you are getting two. Hope you can put up with us and hope everything goes okay. 

Thank you for your support and for being there when I need you the most. I love you.

And here’s to change.

Being Part of the GD Club – Gestational Diabetes Club

A pregnant woman is usually tested for Gestational Diabetes around months 24-28 to see if she has GD. After taking two tests, I was 0.1 above the cutoff line so I was placed in the “GD” category. At first, they didn’t know if I would be placed in the program at Sinai since I was so close to a “pass” but then they called and said I got to be part of the program.

8:30 am on Wednesday November 27th

I enter the building at Mount Sinai and expect to be greeted by hundreds of women in a lecture theatre ready to learn about GD.

Wrong.

There was a small classroom where there were about eight people. The instructors hadn’t arrived and I was incredibly anxious. They told me the session would be at least three hours and I didn’t know how I was going to sit through a session like this. Needles, medical issues, etc., are the topics that really elevate my anxiety levels. I immediately looked around the room and decided who was going to be my friend.

Most of the women had their partners with them but Preeti didn’t. I began talking to the women in the room by saying “can you believe we all have this? How are you guys feeling about all of this?”

Suddenly we became closer and most of us shared out stories. There was one woman who was very private and her and her partner spoke in hushed tones all day. They probably thought I was too much (which I totally understand). 

“I can’t even believe this has happened” said one of the women. “I work out, I eat super healthy. Why me?”

“Why any of us?” I asked.

The instructor came in with a doctor and the doctor sat at the back of the class taking notes. 

“We are joined by a resident doctor today” said the nurse practitioner. “She is just going to observe the class because she wanted to see how we teach the patients.”

We were all given our GD starter kits (as I call them), booklets of info followed by our own little diabetes kit.

We talked about what GD is, how to manage it, etc., for about an hour and then we moved on to the hands-on task. We learned that GD is where women develop high blood sugar while they are pregnant. Usually after the pregnancy, a woman doesn’t have GD. 4 out of 10 women who have GD during their pregnancy, go on to have type 2 diabetes in the future.


When we got our little needle kits, it all felt real and I could feel my hands begin to warm up and get clammy.

“So now I am going to show you how to take your blood sugar. Then you will show me that you can do it on your own.”

My own? I was not ready for all of this.

“I’ll come over and help you” said the resident doctor. She was so nice and could see that my hands were shaking. Together, we took my blood sugar which was 4.4 (has to be below 5.2 so I was happy). Pretti (my new friend) checked hers and it was 10 or something. Immediately, I felt blessed and like things might be okay.

“I am leaving you now” said the nurse practitioner/instructor. “The dietitian will be in to discuss eating habits with you momentarily.”

Another couple walked into the room two hours late. It was crazy. People kept coming late to this course and it was driving me crazy. The instructor would get angry but the people didn’t have to come back to another session. I became angry because I could have slept more.

“I wish I just would have come in late” I said to Pretti.

“But you wouldn’t have all of this information” she said in such an honest and heartfelt way that I started to believe her.

The dietitian came in and gave us all new booklets on what to eat and how to read a label. I was expecting to have to cut out sugar and carbs from my diet but she told me to do quite the opposite.

“The baby needs carbs. You feed the baby first and then protein and fats are just an added bonus. Stick to the number of carbs you should eat (15g X 2-3 for three meals and 15g X 1-2 snacks).

“That is a lot of food” I said. “What if I throw up the food, Will that influence my blood sugar levels?”  

“Your blood sugar levels may actually increase” she said. Your body recognizes throwing up, the flu, a cold, etc., as stress so even though you may not have food in your system, your blood sugar could be high.”

After she was with us for about an hour, two women came into the room.

“You all have appointments with your new doctor who will be monitoring you.” They ushered us to a different part of the building.

I looked at the time and it was 12:00. I had an appointment with my OB and I became frustrated. They kept telling us about how important it was to eat but how was I going to eat lunch when I had another appointment before my OB?

We all had to sit in the waiting room at the Diabetes Clinic and I talked to Preeti the whole time. We talked about our pregnancies, the best stroller to get, what our experience had been like at Sinai, etc.

At 12:45 I finally met my new doctor (yes another doctor to add to my list) named Dr. Feig. We discussed how I would be taking a food log for four days that I would later send in to my dietitian. We also discussed how I had to take my blood sugar four times a day and send in my numbers every Sunday to the nurse practitioner. If my blood sugar was too high, I would be enrolled in the “insulin” class (65% of pregnant women with GD have to take insulin).

We also discussed how I needed to come in next week for another appointment. 

At this point, I am starting to feel like I live at Sinai.

1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday November 27th

I leave the Diabetes Clinic with such a mixture of emotions.

I am proud of myself for taking in all of the info and remaining calm. I am thankful for all of the knowledge I have learned.

I am also late.

I am late for my OB and my research ultrasound which makes me anxious.

“I am so sorry I am late” I tell Celine at the front desk of Dr. Snelgrove’s office. “I was at the diabetes clinic and I have a research ultrasound…”

“Sarah. It is okay. Go get your research ultrasound and we are here when you are done.”

Celine was super kind and I suddenly felt like all of my students who arrive late to my class while being full of excuses and super stressed.

I had my research ultrasound and my little one was so well behaved. The doctor was shocked at how still he stayed throughout the ultrasound.


Check out those legs – he got it from his Mama

“He must have been bored by the GD presentation he attended” I joked.

Then I saw a closer look of my little boy.

“Are his legs supposed to be that long?” I asked.

“He does have long legs” said the doctor. “He is 2.5 lbs and is measuring in the 50th percentile. He is one healthy boy.”

Wednesday November 27th from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

I wait for about 1.5 hours to see my OB and in that time I do my first blood sugar test on my own. It took me about 20 minutes because I was scared and somehow had forgotten everything I had been taught.

Hour 6 and bored out of my mind at Sinai

Dr. Snelgrove walked into the room just as I was taking my blood sugar.

“So I see you have GD” he said.

“Guilty” I laughed. Why was I always making jokes? So awkward.

“Well because you have GD, you will have to have more ultrasounds.”

“What?” I asked. “I am part of the research study and get them done all the time.”

“You will need a new ultrasound every two weeks” he said.

“I live here” I said.

After my appointment with Dr. Snelgrove, I had to go to Mount Sinai Hospital to get my blood taken one last time for GD.

“Can you please take your blood sugar right now” asked the nurse.

“I am not good at it. Plus, I just took it at the doctor’s office and it is 5.1. It needs to be under 6.6 so I am fine” I said with a smile.

“You have to take it now as well. I need to see the number.”

I was super nervous to show her what I had learned because I thought I was doing it all wrong.

“You are a pro” she smiled.

“My number is 4.6” I said.

“See…it changed” she smiled. 

“So I can eat now?” I asked. I had a super small lunch before my research ultrasound and was hungry again after fasting for two hours.

“You can eat” she laughed.

I went down to Second Cup to get something. What holiday drink would I get? NONE. What gluten-free snack should I have? NONE.

I ordered a decaf latte with skim milk. Normally I’ll put cinnamon on top of it, but not anymore. I reached in my bag for some almonds and realized this would be my new snack.

Wednesday November 27th at 5:00 p.m.

My doctor had given me a prescription for needles and for test strips so I had them filled at the pharmacy at Sinai.

I could feel pain from my leg going to my butt. My OB told me that this was “sciatica” and I realized that my body was just feeling exhausted and that I needed to go to bed.

I was completely drained – physically and emotionally. Somehow I had spent 8.5 hours at Mount Sinai on Wednesday.

With so much knowledge and so many appointments, I felt like I was finally in control of things (as much as I could be).

That night, I went home and started tracking everything. On Thursday I started my food log, and my numbers have all been amazing. I can’t wait to send in my info on Sunday night and hope I’ll get a gold star. I don’t want to go to the insulin training session (happens every Wednesday) and I really want to avoid insulin by being careful with my diet. At any time throughout this process I may have to get insulin, but this week, I think I have avoided the class.

I’ve realized that GD is quite common (1 in 16 Canadians) and that I am not a failure for having this. If I just eat as healthy as possible I have a chance of reducing my risk of preeclampsia, a low/high birth weight of the baby, and a c-section.

I have been eating really well and haven’t felt as sick as I had been feeling. Yes, I still get sick here and there but things are manageable. I also force myself to go for a walk every day which has helped to keep my numbers down. 

Through this fertility process, I’ve had six doctors – Dr. Yu (family doctor), Dr. Jones (fertility doctor), Dr. Whittle (high risk OB), Dr. Snelgrove (low risk OB), Dr. Kingdom (in charge of research study), and Dr. Feig (my new diabetes doctor). Some people can’t find a doctor in Canada and somehow, through this pregnancy, I have had six doctors.

The care I am receiving is the best of the best and I really want to thank Mount Sinai for everything. On this journey, I am constantly learning and the support has been incredible. If you or someone you know has GD and wants to reach out, feel free to email me anytime.

Wishing everyone a great week!

Pregnancy is a Privilege

*Right after I got some negative test results

Dear Pregnant Woman or Baby Mama,

I am sorry because I have terribly misjudged you. 

When you have complained about having a “difficult pregnancy” or “hating pregnancy”, I secretly became annoyed.

I said some harsh words in my head about how lucky you were to “even get pregnant” and that if I were to ever get pregnant, I would never “complain because I would be so blessed.” 

Thank you for being so open and for sharing your feelings. A lot of people think that pregnancy is all sunshine and roses and you gave me a warning about pregnancy.  I just didn’t listen to your warning.

Love Sarah

The other day I was talking to a friend and I was explaining that my pregnancy was a “gong show” because I had lost full control of everything related to my pregnancy. I discussed some of the issues I went through in pregnancy and she listened and explained that she completely agreed. She then stated that “pregnancy was a privilege” but that even with this privilege, it didn’t make pregnancy any easier.

In fact, I find it really difficult to talk about my pregnancy because it has been tough but I am also so lucky. Whenever I say something that can be seen as negative, I am quick to then state that it is a total miracle (because it is the biggest miracle and privilege to even be able to conceive.) 

That’s when I realized that I could have both feelings – I could feel the luckiest I have ever been in my life while also physically feeling like garbage. 

So today, I want to talk about both feelings – privilege and difficulty. I am going to share the super happy moments and the most difficult moments of my pregnancy for the past 27 weeks.

  1. Privilege: Getting Pregnant

Difficulty: Health Concerns with Twins

*Taken minutes before I learned I had twins

This topic still brings many tears to my eyes when I talk about it. It’s so tough. 

The happiest moment of my life was when I found out I was pregnant (so cliche but so true). I wanted to have a baby so much (like a lot of other men and women). Even though I was not able to have a baby on my own, with the help of science, my fertility doctor, luck, and an amazing donor, I was able to conceive.

I am crying right now as I type this because I picture that girl in the session with her social worker stating that if there were twins or triplets, she would have them. She was so naive and such a beautiful person. 

When I was placed in the actual situation in having twins, things began to change.

Unfortunately, after speaking with several doctors, it was determined that because of health reasons, I had to say goodbye to one of my babies.

Some will say that “baby” is not the right word because the baby was not follow developed, but it felt like a baby to me. I’ll always wonder about him (I totally think it was a boy) and know that I have a lot of work to do throughout my life to forgive myself for this.

  1. Privilege: Having a job where I can take time off work

Difficulty: Feeling like absolute garbage

*Just some of my favourite products

Although I felt like absolute garbage for the entire summer, I still taught summer school. In between throwing up anywhere from 5-8 times a day, I would still teach online lessons to students. It was a lot but I made it through it. Work always gave me a sense of self-worth. I felt like I was able to help others and was doing something beneficial to society.

On the first day of teaching, I looked composed and put together. I remember smiling a lot and talking about how happy I was to be there at work.

When I threw up in the bathroom at work and started spotting, I knew I was in trouble. After discussing my health with my OB, he stated I needed to be off work until he felt I was healthy enough to go back.

What a lot of people don’t know is that I haven’t been able to work since September. 

It has been hard letting go of a job I love that makes me so happy. 

Could I be at work? I honestly couldn’t be working if someone paid me a million dollars each day. I am still throwing up and have a variety of other issues which only lets me have the energy for a couple of hours in the day.

I also think about other women who are working full-time and I feel so guilty. How is it that they can work so hard, and I can’t get out of bed a lot of days (especially during the first 5 months). I also talk to my work friends and feel like I am letting everyone down because of all the guilt I have with taking so much time off.

  1. Privilege: Seeing the baby on an ultrasound

Difficulty: Finding out I have a cyst

He looks precious but because of his movement my anatomy ultrasounds made up a combined time of about five hours.

We are so lucky to have such an amazing healthcare system in Canada. I have been to so many appointments (about once a week since I was officially pregnant). 

During my first anatomy ultrasound, the tech knew something was off and had to bring doctors into the room to investigate what was wrong.

At first, they thought my appendix burst, and then they recognized that it was a cyst which formed because of the fertility medication that I went on while trying to get pregnant. I took five pills and injected myself with one needle and sure enough, I will most likely be getting my cyst removed while having the baby.

I also had a tough time with the anatomy ultrasound. My little boy wouldn’t stay still and I had to go for three anatomy ultrasounds. Each ultrasound was over an hour in length and I just felt terrible for the nurses that had to stay so patient with me and my little one. Didn’t even how what an anatomy ultrasound was (a lengthy ultrasound done at 20 weeks to make sure the baby is growing in a healthy manner) and now I feel as though I am an expert.

  1. Privilege: Having coping mechanisms for anxiety

Difficulty: Having major anxiety during pregnancy

*Another day, another appointment

Before I had my first IUI (sperm inside the uterus), I had been off anxiety medication for a couple of months. My doctor had weaned me off the medication and I felt great. 

Just before my first IUI, my panic attacks (that I seldom had since having my first panic attack at aged 25) came back. It was really tough. I remember sitting in my doctor’s office and crying because I knew that I needed my anxiety medication while trying to conceive.

I thought she’d say “no” because the anxiety medication might harm the baby. She left the room and had me fill out a questionnaire about how I was feeling and I scored really high (on this test the lower you scored – the more healthy you were). The tears couldn’t stop coming down and I thought she would think I had depression.

When she came back in the room, she looked at my responses, talked to me a bit more about what was going on, and then determined that I did not have depression but that my generalized anxiety was back. She put me on 10mg of Cipralex.

For about five months I was doing pretty well on my medication. Sure I would get anxious, but I could use the coping mechanisms I had been taught in therapy to get me through the days.

Then the coping mechanisms stopped being enough. I found myself having panic attack after panic attack and didn’t know what to do. 

I sat down with my doctor about a month ago and talked to her about everything that was going on and she decided to increase my dose of Cipralex to 20mg. She said that it was okay to take the medication while pregnant because if I stayed in my panicked state, it would harm the baby more than taking the medication.

I know most men and women are anxious about having a baby, but when the anxiety makes it difficult to cope, it is so important to ask for help.

  1. Privilege: Being healthy

Difficulty: A vasovagal episode

*Mount Sinai Triage

A couple weeks ago, I finally decided to get out of the house and see my friends. We had finished our brunch and were just talking. We had probably been sitting for 3 hours, really enjoying our time together. During this time, I did not get up from the table once. As someone who constantly has FOMO (fear of missing out), I didn’t want to miss a moment. 

On hour 3, I finally decided that I should hit the washroom. When I stood up, everything felt great. When I came back after using the washroom, I immediately sat down in my chair and knew something was off.

My friends were speaking but I was no longer engaged in conversation. My body was heating up and everything was getting blurry. It felt so different from a panic attack, and I knew something was wrong.

“I am sorry ladies. I have to leave” I said as I rushed out of the restaurant.

I sat outside in the cold and debated calling an ambulance. Luckily, my friends all made sure I was okay and later said that I had turned so pale in just a matter of minutes.

I spent about five hours at Mount Sinai Hospital where they told me I had a vasovagal episode. It meant that I almost fainted because of an issue with blood flow. I was encouraged to use a prescription for compression socks and was encouraged to constantly get up and move instead of sitting for long periods of time.

They said that a lot of women experience this during pregnancy and that some have one of these episodes while others have many. I have been blessed to be one and done.

  1. Privilege: Having amazing friends

Difficulty: Being a “bad” friend

*My bed is my new BFF

Before I became pregnant, I was out almost every night with a friend. I would often be the first at a party and the last to leave.

People could count on me to show up at all events because I didn’t have to check with my partner and didn’t have a baby. 

As an extrovert, I get my energy from people so I loved teaching all day and going out for dinner, book club, a drink, etc., with friends.

When I am not around people, I become anxious. My anxiety causes me to start thinking too much and then I start questioning everything. Through therapy, we have worked on me just “being.” This includes being by myself and enjoying my company.

Well, let me just say that this pregnancy has forced me to become extremely isolated and I have way too much time on my own. I can’t get together with friends because I am still getting sick and have major issues with energy. I’ve also become that flaky friend who you can’t count on because one hour I am feeling okay, while the next hour I need to be in bed.

I have been so mad at myself because I want and expect more from myself and my body. Unfortunately, I just can’t be the person I once was.

I am learning so much in being by myself. Not all of it is negative because I am learning to be okay with me and to listen to my own voice instead of the voices of others around me.

I also think I have been burnt out for years constantly working and being out with friends. By being “on” all the time, it has really made me wonder who I really am.

I miss my friends though. Now I hear about times they have met and spent together and I have not been able to be there. It sounds so petty and ridiculous. I used to pride myself on being that person that would show up. Now I feel like friends are drifting because I physically can’t be there as much as I wish I could. I miss them so much.

  1. Privilege: Always having food on the table

Difficulty: Gestational Diabetes

*The first test I failed

This week I received the call that I had gestational diabetes. I had failed two tests by 0.1 on both tests. At first, my heart sank when I heard the word “fail” because I was trying so hard to have a healthy pregnancy. I have since been reminded that a failed glucose test (or two in my case) does not mean that you are a failure.

Gestational diabetes is where a woman develops high blood sugar during pregnancy. Pregnant women are screened in Canada between 24-28 weeks of their pregnancy. Having gestational diabetes increases the risk of preeclampsia, depression, and C-Section (Diabetes Canada).

About a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease (no gluten) and now I also have to watch my food intake because of gestational diabetes. 

This Wednesday I am going to a three-hour workshop. From there, I will get a device to take my sugar and will have to go in every week for an additional appointment. I’ll also have to make a list of my sugar count each day for Mount Sinai so that my blood sugar levels can be monitored on a weekly basis. 

The fear with diabetes is that there may be a possible “birth injury” due to the baby’s size and difficulties during pregnancy (Diabetes Canada).

Dear Pregnant Woman or Mama,

I was wrong to judge you in the past. They say to never judge anyone unless they are “in your shoes” and that is so right.

I am pregnant and blessed. I honestly am the happiest I have ever been and really don’t want people to feel sorry for me.

I just want people to know the truth. Pregnancy is a lot of work. It’s a lot of learning and a total loss of control over your body.

Some women go on to have the most beautiful pregnancies and some struggle. 

Pregnancy can be the best feeling in the world and pregnancy can also mean spending months in the bathroom getting sick.

I am sorry pregnant woman or Mama. 

I really messed up. I get it now and I am learning.

And I promise to listen.

Love Sarah