The Birth Story

Leaving for Induction Part One

Sunday February 16th at 9:00 a.m.

“What would you like from Starbucks?” my sister texted.

“Egg bites” I texted back. I needed all of the food I could get. People told me that once you go into labour, you are not allowed to eat so I wanted to make sure I had some food in my system (total lie).

It was the morning of my induction (had to be induced because of Gestational Diabetes). Although Baby Boy was measuring in the 50th percentile for weight, my OB was adamant that I get induced.

My sister J came with me because we divided the whole labour process into various rounds. My Mom would cover the next shift. It was crazy trying to figure out timing though because I had no idea how long my labour would last.

Sunday February 16th at 10:00 am.

Checking into Mount Sinai

While checking in at Mount Sinai, the admin assistant kept asking me if I got the time right for my induction. They had me scheduled to be induced at 4:30 p.m. with five other people (please note that Sinai was right with their time. I have no idea why I put my induction in my phone for 10:00 a.m.)

“I can just go home” I said to the nurse wanting to put off my induction. I was dreading being induced so I was eager to postpone it.

“It is your lucky day” said nurse Sandra. “It is not busy at all today so you can be induced now. Dr. Rebecca will be here in a moment.”

All of a sudden Dr. Rebecca emerged and immediately I knew she was a badass. She was pumping breast milk under her hospital clothes.

“I have a nine month old baby so I have to pump” she said. 

I loved her already. I also loved that she had pictures of different uteruses on her scrubs.

Dr. Rebecca, Nurse Sandra, my sister J and I totally hit it off. We laughed about so many things and joked about television stars, people giving birth, motherhood, and being in the hospital. 

Sunday February 16th at 12:00 p.m.

“Are you okay?” asked my sister J after Dr. Rebecca and Nurse Sandra inserted a balloon into me in order to start the induction process.

“I have cramping but I am fine” I said with a smile.

Nurse Sandra and Doctor Rebecca left the room and J and I were alone just chatting.

Induction Part One

“I can’t stop sweating” I said. The sweat was pouring off me and I was getting more and more uncomfortable. The cramps were really starting to hurt.

Nurse Sandra came back to tell us that we could leave and come back the next morning.

“Am I supposed to be this sweaty?” I asked.

Apparently, everything was normal and I got dressed and left the hospital with J. The cramps hurt a lot less but it was so weird having the “tail” of the balloon hanging out.

When we got back to the condo, my other sister L had arrived and my Mom and Dad were there as well.

Back Home

I went into the bedroom and said I’d be there for a while.

Sunday February 16th 4:00 p.m.

After a couple hours I went to the washroom and the balloon fell out.

“Guys, the balloon fell out” I announced to my family. “This means that I am at least 2cm and I think this baby is coming tonight.”

Boy was I ever wrong.

Monday February 17th 10:00 a.m.

Thankfully I was able to sleep a bit and woke up thinking my baby boy would be born on Family Day – how fitting.

I got ready to go to the hospital and this time J and my Mom wanted to both come with me for the second part of the induction.

After signing in (again), I was directed to go to “labour and delivery.” When they said that, I knew that this was happening ASAP.

“Sarahseekingbaby!” shouted Dr. Rebecca. She was sitting with about 20 nurses/doctors who were just getting started for the day.

I wondered how she knew about my instagram account.

“My friend took a screenshot of your instagram account. She saw that you were praising Dr. Rebecca and asked if it was me.”

I could feel my face turning red because I was in front of so many strangers and I didn’t want them to think less of me.

Monday February 17th at 11:00 a.m.

“I’ll be your labour and delivery nurse” said Nurse Rebecca. “I actually picked you because you and your family seem pretty cool.”

Dr. Rebecca AND Nurse Rebecca? The dream team was formed and I could not be happier.

“We just need to start the pitocin” said Nurse Rebecca. You can move around, eat, sleep, anything.

She started the pitocin at noon.

“I can feel the contractions” I said to my Mom and sister.

In Labour and Delivery

Monday February 17th at 12:30 p.m.

Soon my Dad and my sister L stopped by. They had picked up some things for me – diet ginger ale along with test strips for diabetes because I had run out of mine. The nurses wanted to watch my sugars throughout the labour process and right after delivery as well.

At around 4:00 p.m., I decided I had enough and asked for the epidural.

“You are 4 cm” said Nurse Rebecca.

“So I am a wimp asking for the epidural now?”

I had heard so many stories – some people were too late for an epidural, some people had to wait so long for the anesthesiologist and missed their epidural. I needed my epidural.

“Can you sit still for twenty minutes?” she asked. If you can, now is the time for your epidural. If you think you will be in too much pain to sit still for twenty minutes shortly, do it now.”

After my epidural

My labour and delivery room was MASSIVE. It felt like there was a party in there. Dad and L had left but I was still hanging out with my Mom and J. 

The Washroom in the Delivery Room – Bigger Than My Bedroom in My Condo
My Birth Partner – My Mama

Nurse Sandra (from the day before) came to see me because we had bonded so much. Dr. Rebecca was making jokes coming in and out of the room. Nurse Rebecca was the sweetest person in the world and would get me popsicles provided my sugar was low enough.

“You can’t feel the contractions?” my Mom asked. “I am watching them on the machine and you are having a lot of them.”

“I love my epidural” I said. 

At that moment, I decided labour wasn’t really that bad. I heard women screaming and various codes (along with nurses and doctors running to various rooms) nearby but thought that labour couldn’t be that painful because of the epidural.

I wish that I knew then what I know now.

February 17th at 6:30 p.m.

“How far along am I?” I asked Dr. Rebecca. “I know your shift is over so can you just tell me that I am at 10 cm and you can deliver my baby?”

“You are 5 cm” said Dr. Rebecca. “I promise to come and see you tomorrow but unfortunately, you won’t be having a baby while I am here unless it is in the morning.”

“This isn’t fair” I said. Dr. Rebecca was the best and I NEEDED her.

“I am so sorry but I also have to leave at 7:30 p.m.” said Nurse Rebecca.

“NOOOOOOOOOO” I screamed. “I can’t lose both Rebecca’s. You two are like my family.”

“I am texting my friend Olivia and telling her how cool you are. Hopefully she can take over.”

“But she is no Rebecca” I said.

“I promise to come and visit you tomorrow” said Nurse Rebecca. 

When Doctor Rebecca and Nurse Rebecca left, I cried. They both gave me the most beautiful speeches (Dr. Rebecca’s speech was about three things – breastfeeding (how hard it is), recovery (some tips on what helped her), and mental health. She made me laugh through the entire speech and it lasted about twenty minutes. 

Nurse Rebecca then gave a little speech about what an amazing day she had and how much she loved our family. It meant the world.

Before long, a blonde blubby nurse entered my room.

“I have heard so much about you. I am Nurse Olivia.”

“Are you as cool as Nurse Rebecca?” I asked.

“I can try” she laughed.

Nurse Olivia was amazing and a little bit more strict than Nurse Rebecca. Gone were the moments where I could eat popsicles. My sugar was totally at the normal range but Nurse Olivia was watching me like a hawk.

“If you had to guess, when do you think I would have the baby?” I asked Nurse Olivia. It was already 9:00 p.m. and the whole labour thing was taking way too much time.

“If I had to guess, at the rate you are dilating, I would say 6 or 7 am” she said. “But please don’t hold me to it. You are pressuring me to give you a time so it is just from my own personal experience.”

“Okay” I said. By this point, I was frustrated. I knew labour could take a long time but this was getting a little ridiculous.

“Go home and have a nap” I directed my Mom and sister. They were absolutely exhausted and needed a break.

After begging them to leave, my Mom and sis went home to have a quick nap so that they could support me throughout the wee hours of the morning.

“Let’s watch The Bachelor” I said to Nurse Olivia. We watched the show together while other nurses and doctors drifted in and out.

“I am going to take my break now” said Nurse Olivia right as The Bachelor was ending.

“Take your time” I said. “This baby is taking forever.”

Olivia left and I started to feel A LOT of pain. I kept trying to move so that it would go away. I figured it was just the way that I was positioned on the hospital bed. Ever since my epidural, I was not allowed to get out of bed or move around.

I knew that I could call a nurse but I didn’t want to disturb anyone. I also knew that I could press a button for more pain medication but wanted to save it (just in case).

“Hello Sarah” said a different nurse who I hadn’t seen before. “Nurse Olivia is on her break so I am taking over.”

“I am in a lot of pain” I admitted.

“Well let’s see how far along you are.”

Monday February 17th at 10:30 p.m.

“You are 7 cm” said the Nurse.

I could also see that the machine with the baby’s heartbeat was beeping and I was getting scared.

“7 cm” I texted my Mom and sister.

“Be there in 10 minutes” texted my sister.

I felt so bad because they didn’t even really get a nap.

The nurse checked me again and said “9 cm.”

All of a sudden the new nurse picked up the phone and I could tell it was something serious.

“We need to take you to the operating room” she said.

“What?” I asked. “I thought I was delivering here” I said.

All of a sudden I was greeted by a lot of nurses and doctors as they wheeled me out. Nurse Olivia came back from her break and was beside me.

“Going to the operating room” I texted my Mom and sister and gave Olivia my phone.I knew they would panic but I thought it would be less nerve wracking than coming into my room only to find me gone.

Somehow in the matter of twenty minutes, I went from being 6 cm to 9 cm and the pain was real. I kept pushing my button for pain relief but it didn’t seem to be helping.

“We are putting you under” said a very concerned doctor.

In fact, inside the operating room were about 20 nurses/doctors. I was in a total panic. Just minutes ago I was enjoying The Bachelor and now there was so much commotion in the operating room. It felt like a dream and I didn’t know what to do.

“I know you are scared” said a woman who looked like an angel beside my bed. “I am Dr. MacArthur – the anasteogislist. “Do you want anyone in the room with you?” she asked.

“No” I said in extreme pain.

“Let’s just try something” suggested the doctor. “Let’s see if you can push. Try it on three. 1…2….3.”

I gave them three pushes and nothing happened.

I knew that something was wrong though. There were just way too many people in the room and I could see that they were watching a screen.

“I am just asking this question again because I am worried you may regret it” said Dr. MacArthur. “Are you sure you don’t want someone in the room with you?”

“Sure” I said. “Either my Mom or sister.”

I could barely speak because of the pain. I also wondered if my Mom and sister had even arrived at the hospital yet. Everything was happening so quickly.

“You have got this” said a voice beside me. As I looked, I couldn’t help but laugh. My sister J was in her hospital clothes ready to be my birthing partner.

My Sister (AKA Birthing Partner Who Saw WAY Too Much)

“I need more drugs” I said to her. Then I started swearing.

I could hear Nurse Olivia requesting more drugs on the phone but I also heard her get denied.

“You need to start pushing again” said the doctor.

“Everything is fine babe” said my sister. “Look around the room. You are having a regular delivery. There are only six people in the room and they are so relaxed now.”

“I can’t push” I said to J. “I am in too much pain.”

Then I started to realize that if I just pushed, this pain might go away. 

When I pushed I could feel the baby coming out. Holy hell, what a weird feeling. I also can’t even describe the pain to you. It was horrendous.

Everyone around me was praising me which gave me more courage to push like crazy.

After eight minutes of pushing, Max was born.

Seconds After Max Was Born

“Do you want to cut the cord?” the doctor asked J.

“No thanks” she said.

“I don’t want to either” I said.

They cut the cord and gave me Max.

“He had his umbilical cord wrapped twice around his neck. We are so lucky that you went into labour when you did” said the doctor.

Tuesday February 18th at 12:05 a.m.

I always heard that the moment I held my baby would be everything. As someone who is very sentimental, I knew I would sob like a baby.

“I don’t want to hold him” I said.

It was so unlike me. I was getting sewn up and was in so much pain. I felt so much pressure to have this beautiful moment with him and I just needed to close my eyes for a few seconds. 

“You hit the pain button 70 times” my sister said reading the machine. “You only received three units of pain medication” she laughed.

Because I went into labour so quickly at the end, my epidural was not providing me with enough pain relief. Everything was timed and they didn’t expect me to be in that much pain in such a short amount of time.

I opened my eyes and watched my sister in the corner with Max and the nurses. I could actually watch him on a tv monitor and couldn’t help but think he was cute.

“Are you ready to hold him?” asked the nurse about two minutes after I gave birth.

“I am ready” I said with a smile. That was the moment I will never forget. I looked into his eyes and the whole thing felt surreal. 

Holding Max For The First Time

How did I have a baby? I was now a Mother. All of this was so worth it. I was now responsible for another human being.

“How did your eye makeup stay on the entire time you were in labour?” asked my sister.

“It’s from Fab Fit Fun” I laughed.

J could always get me out of the super serious moment when my head would start to spin. She always provided the comic relief that I needed.

After a short amount of time (I would guess 20 minutes but I have no concept of time), I was wheeled back into my labour and delivery room and was greeted by my Mom, Dad, and J’s husband (my bro in law).

They gave me gifts (which is insane because they had already done so much for me).

My Mom told me about how she has never felt so sick in all her life trying to make it back to the hospital in time for the birth.

“I am so sorry” she said.

“It was my fault” I said. “I was super stubborn and told you guys to go home” I laughed.

Then I got to watch as each family member held Max.

Watching him getting handed off from family member to family member felt amazing. Not only I had fallen so in love with a brand new human being but everyone I loved was also falling in love with him as well.

“Thank you for everything” I said to my family holding back tears.

“I love you Max” I said. It is so cliche but so true – I never knew that a love like this could exist. I love so many people and so many things. The love I have for people in my life is so extreme but this felt so different.

And that is when it hit me.

Max was worth every single appointment I attended.

He was worth missing my colleagues and my job.

He was worth every single time I projectile vomited.

He was worth staying in bed for my entire pregnancy.

He was worth all of the pain – emotional and physical. 

This beautiful boy was mine and I was now his Mama. My dream – that I had for 39 years finally came to life. He was worth the wait. The wait and the difficult journey made him that much more special.

I looked into Max’s eyes and promised to protect him as much as possible.

And that was the moment I felt whole. For so much of my life there was something missing and I couldn’t figure it out. I had spent years trying to fill that void with various things and nothing had worked. Nothing until Max was born. 

Now I knew my true purpose in life – to be the best Mama I can to my beautiful baby boy.

And that was when my life changed for the better. The feeling of missing something in my life was completely transformed and I felt whole. Max and I are now the best team and I could not love anyone more than my amazing, beautiful boy.

Maxwell James

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!

Can I Just Have a Glass of Wine? Make That a Bottle. I Am Way Too Stressed.

(One of us hates the long waits at the clinic.)

“Aunt Sarah let’s race our cars now. Right now” said my three-year-old nephew beside me.

Everything was happening so quickly.

My Dad was rushing to put things into a backpack, my sister L was packing up food so my parents could eat something, my Mom was heading out the door to go to the hospital.

“Aunt Sarah. We need to play” said my nephew having absolutely no idea the emergency that was happening around us.

I pretended to race my car but what I really wanted to do was to run into a room and cry.

Minutes before, my Mom had told us that she had passed out the night before but didn’t know why. She could see that her heart rate was getting too high and had finally decided it was time to go to the hospital.

That was on Sunday and thus began events that nobody could have expected.

This week was A LOT for everyone. Because of her heart defibrillator, the team at Toronto General, and my Mom’s strength, she was able to get out of the hospital by Thursday evening.

My parents had come down to Toronto for a Jays game and my Mom was planning on attending two appointments with me this week – my 20-week anatomy ultrasound on Monday, and my OB appointment on Wednesday.

What was so odd was that she was so close by – just across the street at Toronto General. She explained how sad she was at missing the appointments and I just stated over and over again that I didn’t care. I just needed her to be healthy.

Because my Mom couldn’t make the appointment, my sister J came with me. Throughout the day, J had been to Toronto General to see Mom, went to my appointment at Sinai, worked an eight-hour shift, and went back to Toronto General in the evening. I told her that she didn’t need to come to my appointment but she was so kind and was there by my side.

Because I was so stressed, I had no idea how the anatomy scan would go. To be honest, all of my thoughts were on my Mom and it wasn’t really registering that I was having my ultrasound.

Throughout the ultrasound, I tried to talk to both the nurse as well as J. The nurse was too busy and didn’t want to chat. J would talk to me for a bit but I could tell she was also tired and stressed about Mom.

I wasn’t able to see the monitor either so I was just laying down, sitting in a dark room, and trying my best not to be too stressed out.

After about ten minutes I knew I had to ask a question.

“Is he there?” I asked the nurse.

“Yes” she said.

“Does he have a heartbeat?”

“Yes” she said.

That was pretty much all of the small talk I could get out of her.

I could feel my anxiety increasing as I sat there.

“Is he moving around a lot?” 

“Yes” she said.

After that, I gave up.  We weren’t going to be friends and I would just use this time to breathe deeply.

“You are done” she said. “But we need to look at your cervix.”

My sister was sitting at my feet and upon hearing that, jumped out of her seat.

“I am moving” she said.

The nurse left and I took off my pants, hiding so my sister couldn’t see anything.

(A pic of the ultrasound of baby boy. He looks still here, right?)

“You know that you are going to have to get comfortable with me seeing things” said J. “I am going to be there at your labour so I’ll see a whole lot more of you. Be prepared.”

The nurse came back in and after about two minutes I was done. Overall, the anatomy ultrasound took about 1 hour and fifteen minutes.

“You will have to come back” said the nurse. “I couldn’t see much.”


(I took this picture from her screen. I guess Baby Boy did move around a lot.)

From there, I was asked to sit in the waiting room until about 20-30 minutes later, when I was given a new date and time to come back.

On Wednesday I had my ultrasound for the research study that I am in at Mount Sinai. 

“I’ll try and get what the nurse didn’t get in the anatomy ultrasound” said the physician.

This time I could see the monitor and watched as baby boy flipped around and kicked the entire time.

“I am trying but I just can’t get pictures of him. He is one of the most active babies I have seen.”

“What?” I asked. “I have no energy. Why does he have so much energy? Why can’t he be more like his Mama?” I laughed.

“When they are like this in the womb, they are like this when they come out of the womb” said the physician doing the study.

“What?” I asked.

(Baby Boy at the research ultrasound. This is the only time he was still.)

After my research ultrasound, I was off to meet with Dr. Snelgrove.

While in the waiting room, I watched as a man spoke on his cell phone.

“It’s a girl Mom. She is in the washroom and I’m not sure if I am allowed to tell you. Actually, here she comes. She can tell you herself.”

I can’t even begin to express how excited I was at watching this all unfold. 

“Congratulations on your girl” I said. Before long, we were chatting about a variety of things including how much we loved Mount Sinai Fertility Clinic and how much we loved Mount Sinai.

“Sarah?” asked the nurse.

I couldn’t believe how fast the two-hour wait went because of the kind couple I had met. I made a mental note to talk to everyone around me next time.

Dr. Snelgrove welcomed me, asked how I was doing and looked over my anatomy scan.

“Wow…thanks a lot guys” he laughed. “They were only able to measure the head” he said. “Your baby was moving around way too much.”

“He is a soccer player” I said.

After that, we discussed my health and how I am still not gaining any weight or keeping any food down. I asked if something was wrong with me because I was sleeping 12-16 hours a day. I also discussed other gross pregnancy symptoms that I won’t write about here. Every time I talk about it my Dad says “TMI.”

So through all of the events of the week, baby boy made it through this week with his mother being completely stressed out. It’s so hard going through such a stressful time knowing that you have to remain calm.

This week got a lot better because on Thursday night, Mom was released from the hospital.

I felt really bad because I wanted to be with my Mom 24/7 at the hospital, but my body wouldn’t let me. I would start getting sick and knew it was time to go home and to rest. It was really hard to find a balance.

Now that she is home, I am resting and have cancelled everything so I can just be in bed. This week took so much out of me emotionally and physically.

My Mom is everything and it was amazing watching her strength through all of this. The whole time I just kept thinking “you need to get healthy. You need to be with my son.”

So now if anyone ever asks me where I get my strength from, I’ll always be sure to say “I got it from my Mama.” 

If I can be half the Mom, my Mom has been to me OR if I can be half as strong as my Mom, I know I will have made it as the most incredible Mom. 

I love you Mama.

(Mom leaving the hospital.)


Sometimes You Are Just Supposed to Meet Someone

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.

First Session

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.

Second Session

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 sandra@themamacoach.ca. 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


I Totally Know That I am Having a Boy

Just after M found out the sex of the baby

“Are you hoping to have a boy or a girl?” 

I’d get this question at least once a day and my response was always the same.

“As long as it is healthy and happy, I don’t really care.” People would just roll their eyes – they wanted to hear “boy” or “girl.”

Then I started to really care.

For two months people kept telling me that I was having a girl so then I became attached to having a girl. At night I’d talk to my little girl “Hey Girl! Hope you had a great day today. Mama is super tired.”

Earlier this week, a friend sent me a direct message on Instagram about a study she was doing regarding the placenta. She asked if I would want to possibly be part of the study and as a result, I would have an ultrasound every four weeks and I would get more ultrasound pictures.

Helping out with medical research and getting extra pictures of my little one? It was a win/win!

Before long, the forms were signed and on Thursday I went to the appointment.

“Please don’t tell me the sex” I told the nurses.

“Thank goodness you told us because we would have totally talked about the sex in the ultrasound.”

My friend M was with me at the appointment. She was close by, knew I was at Sinai, and wanted to meet. As a nurse practitioner, M could look closely at the ultrasound screen and began speaking in what I could only describe as “nurses talk” to the other nurses in the room.


Then came some words that I finally could understand.

“So you can see right here the gender of the baby” said the nurse to M.

She zoomed in and printed out a pic for M. I still haven’t seen the picture that M has. I don’t even know if anyone wants an ultrasound picture that has been zoomed in on the genitalia.

“Oh my gosh. It is a boy” I said.

Both M and the nurse laughed.

“Why would you say that?” asked the nurse.

“Who zooms in on a pic and says that ‘you can tell by looking right there?’ It is a boy. You two are busted and now I know the truth.”

I watched their faces looking for a sign.

“I have the best poker face” said M. “You won’t find out from me.”

Just before I had my appointment for the study, I messaged my family and asked them what everyone was up to on the weekend. I explained that I was taking part in the study and was pretty sure they would be able to tell the sex of the baby during my ultrasound. My logical sister had planned that we would have a gender reveal party during Thanksgiving weekend (since we were all going to be together anyway). I knew that Thanksgiving would be WAY too long to find out and WAY TOO LONG for me to keep a secret.

My entire family was crazy busy. Everyone had at least 3-4 important things going on during the weekend. Somehow we all agreed that Sunday at 11:00 a.m. we could have our little gender reveal party.

Once M knew the sex, I realized I needed to know. When we walked out of the appointment I kept quizzing M and kept trying to get her to slip up on identifying the sex.

No luck.

Instead, she walked away with the picture and said she would tell my brother-in-law (who I am sure doesn’t care about the sex of my baby). From there, he would get a box and there would be both pink and blue balloons. He would put the corresponding balloons (pink = girl, boy = blue, super stereotypical) in the box.

Since Thursday, I have totally thought I am having a boy. On Thursday night I headed to bed and said “hello boy?”

Over the past couple of days, I have totally gotten used to being a boy Mom. I’ve started to envision attending his hockey games and being a hockey Mom early to the ice on the weekends (yes, again, totally stereotypical). Other women have told me about their connection to their sons and how there is nothing better than being a “boy Mom.” 

I also had a girl’s name picked out for my baby girl and was about 99.9% sure of it. Have tossed around a couple of ideas with regards to boys names but I just can’t settle down on one. Since Thursday I have been taking in every boy’s name. When I went to a restaurant on Friday, I started to listen closely to the different male names of the servers looking for some sort of inspiration. 

As a teacher, you are blessed with some incredible students and other students may be a bit more challenging. You also usually remember the names of the best kids and the kids that have given you a tough time. When I hear a name, I instantly think back to that student. So many beautiful names are out for me because of the connection to the good/challenging student(s).

As you know, my pregnancy hasn’t been the easiest (currently off work which I will get into another time) so this news has totally made me all excited about being pregnant again. To be honest, Thursday was one of my most favourite days being pregnant. As soon as I saw the little one, I felt this intense love.

It was so crazy to get such an in-depth look at all of the body parts. This is a picture of the foot of the baby that the nurse took.


“Are there two feet?” I asked completely frazzled.

“Yes,” said the nurse with a laugh. “I could only get a picture of the one.”

“Look at the cute face” said the nurse as she zoomed in on the face. “Would you like a picture of it?”

“Oh no” I said. “The baby looks like an actual alien. Maybe next time?”

I can’t wait to have so many ultrasounds and to see how much this baby progresses month to month. I also can’t wait to find out the sex because then I might start thinking about what to buy him or what to name him. There are so many exciting things ahead.

On next week’s blog, I will share the sex of the baby with you and will be sure to take some pictures at the gender reveal party. Right now I am 99.9% sure it is a boy so we shall see! What do you think – boy or girl?