It was Wednesday morning and I glanced at my watch. It read 11:59 a.m. and I was just about to walk into the Starbucks across from the hospital.
It had been so long since I had this feeling – the feeling when you have exchanged several messages on social media with a person yet you’d never officially met the person in real life.
It felt like my days of online dating. Only this meeting was a lot different than my old days of online dating (gosh I don’t miss that at all).
A couple months ago I started following a woman named Sandra the Mama Coach on Instagram. We first began talking about ovulation medication and quickly our conversations started to grow. We would talk about everything from hairstylists to spotting during pregnancy. It seemed that through it all, Sandra was there to calm me down and to make me laugh.
Sandra had stated that she worked a a hospital in the low-risk area as well as the high-risk fetal medicine unit.
Meeting Sandra Without Knowing It
On August 8th when I met with Dr. Whittle to discuss my procedure I was in a daze. After waiting several hours this super friendly nurse called out the name “Sarah.” You know when you see a bunch of nurses calling out names? I always wish for the happiest and friendliest nurse.
Unfortunately, she was calling out for another Sarah and I didn’t even recognize that the super friendly nurse that called out my name on that difficult day had been Sandra.
When I got home, Sandra had sent me a direct message discussing the long wait in the high-risk clinic that day and explained that there had been an emergency in the morning. She said she didn’t want to risk patient confidentiality so she didn’t introduce herself when she called out my name.
“OMG. You should have said hello!” I wrote back.
After several conversations back and forth over a series of weeks, Sandra asked me a professional question. She wanted my opinion on starting a prenatal class (a group class, a private in-home class, and a virtual class). I told her it was a great idea!
She stated that she had seen a lot of Mama’s who struggled with “infertility and then finally got pregnant.” She said that the “hopes, fears, struggles, doubts are all real.” Unfortunately, as clinic nurses, they didn’t have the time needed to really educate, support, and provide empathy to those women and their families.
She was right.
My OB appointments were very different from when I was a patient at the fertility clinic. At Mount Sinai Fertility, I never felt rushed and felt like every doctor weighed the pros and cons of everything with me. They had time to go over things and I wasn’t afraid to ask questions.
I felt a huge shift in moving from the clinic (hoping to get pregnant) to OB appointments (when you actually get pregnant). The wait times were longer with my OB and people that worked there were ALWAYS busy. It seemed like they wanted to have time to be with you, but they just couldn’t spend a lot of time with each patient because of their schedule.
In the past, because I knew my OB was so busy, I didn’t want to bother him so I brought a lot of questions home with me. I am sure he would answer them but I knew the kind of emergencies that took place there and didn’t want to waste his time on my silly questions.
Instead, I would take those questions home and usually entered them into google. Google turned me into an absolute wreck because every symptom that I experienced led me to death – death of my baby or to my own death. DO NOT USE GOOGLE.
So what was I to do with all of the anxiety? I knew had to stay off google but I didn’t want to bother anyone or take up anyone’s time with a series of questions.
Enter Sandra the Mama Coach.
When you get pregnant, people start telling you about different services/classes you may want to take. Do I need acupuncture? Should invest in a doula? What is a sleep coach? What are prental classes?
For me, I didn’t know where to start but prenatal classes seemed like they would be helpful. After seeing Sandra twice this week, I am telling you that if you want to pay for one service while pregnant, you want to hire Sandra as your Mama Coach.
For years I have had generalized anxiety disorder and with the right medication, I was/am able to fully function and few knew that I was/am actually a very anxious person. The fertility process was the most anxious time in my life and pregnancy has been a close second.
What is this spotting? Is the baby getting enough food if I am constantly throwing up? How can I tell if I am dehydrated? What medication can I actually take? My bowel movements have completely changed – when do I go to the hospital?
It seemed that every couple of nights I had a new issue that I was googling.
As part of Sandra’s program, you have a direct line to Sandra. You have direct access to an amazing nurse who has seen it all throughout your ENTIRE pregnancy. You don’t have to wait days to hear back – you get info right away. Let me tell you, Sandra knows her stuff. She has worked in Calgary as a nurse and has spent eleven years at a high risk hospital. She has also seen EVERYTHING and knows when something is okay or if it is time to get it checked out.
In our first session, Sandra went over information about what to expect during the second trimester. She had really detailed info on how the baby is developing each week (way better than any pregnancy app). She then went into ultrasounds – the anatomy ultrasound (mine is on Monday and I am really nervous about it). I discussed my fears with Sandra who explained that a lot of women need to come back to have it done again because of how much the baby is moving. She said that we are asking so much of the baby in that ultrasound and if they ask you to come in again, it is usually because they don’t have a clear picture of baby.
Sandra then went over what to expect at all of the ultrasounds and also discussed movement and bonding with your baby.
This week I have felt my little boy move A LOT. It feels like there are tiny bubbles in my stomach or that he is rolling a ball inside of my stomach. It feels absolutely incredible and of course, I cried when I first felt him move.
The whole pregnancy thing feels surreal but it is starting to hit me since I have a baby bump and can feel him moving inside of me.
After my first session on Wednesday, I felt so much better about my pregnancy. The information I was given was not available on google because it came from Sandra’s own personal experience.
In my second session with Sandra on Friday, I was not nervous at all to meet up with her (again at Starbucks) and we went over what I have deemed “the tough stuff.”
The area that gives me the most anxiety in my life includes hospitals, needles, and health issues. This is because one can’t control any of this.
I didn’t know how I was going to be during our session when we discussed “viability” (when your baby can survive outside of the womb, etc). I asked Sandra so many questions about what she had seen at the hospital and we discussed resuscitation. I wanted to know everything and Sandra told me absolutely everything.
After that, we discussed symptoms/discomforts during pregnancy (I have had most of them). It was interesting to know what is ahead of me though. I am telling you that people don’t discuss a lot about what happens during pregnancy. I also asked a bunch of questions about delivery and Sandra knew everything. She told me her birth story after having two kids and her story was beautiful. I explained that it was so nice to know that good birthing stories do exist.
We concluded our second session by discussing danger signs and what to expect when you bring the baby home from the hospital. She went over when to call a doctor, and what discomforts are actually normal.
Can you read about all of this info? Yes and no. Yes because there is a lot of information on the internet about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. However, these sessions allow you to ask questions. I wanted to know what Sandra had seen working with mamas for so many years. I wanted to know what the hospital would do if various issues came up. I needed to hear personal stories.
I also needed to calm the F down. That is exactly what Sandra provided for me. She has such a calming and kind demeanour and really listened to all of my fears. She educated me on what is normal because A LOT of what I have read that says go to the doctor/hospital on google is not really true. If you are constantly being told that things are an emergency, you spiral out of control (at least I do). In those times I can’t think clearly.
Sandra reminded me that one needs to stay calm to make important decisions and she really used all of her current experience to inform me that so many things are completely normal.
You know when you meet someone and you know that you are supposed to meet them? That is exactly how I feel about Sandra. She has seen so much and has so much experience. She somehow knew how to calm my fears while still acknowledging that pregnancy can be super stressful.
I hope you all have someone like Sandra in your lives to help you with your pregnancy. If not, try one of her classes. She is also offering a second prenatal session in my third trimester at 32-35 weeks. Please let me know if anyone wants to join us.
*Please note that Sandra didn’t ask me to write any of this. I just wanted to write this to help all of you get the support that you deserve. Her email is email@example.com. You can email her to sign up for the Early Prenatal Class or the regular prenatal class she calls “Not Your Average Prenatal Class.” If you sign up for both classes you receive a free gift and special pricing. She even has some classes available in October in both Toronto and Halton.
Wishing everyone a wonderful week!
NEXT WEEK: My Anatomy Ultrasound and the Results