What to really expect when you’re expecting

Go for it. Buy the cutesy pastel coloured pregnancy books. But read this short little ditty too.  It’s high time you knew what to really expect when you’re expecting- especially past month 5 – as you embark on this journey.

It all starts sweetly enough….

Month One

1. You likely won’t know you’re “in the family way” unless you’ve been peeing on a test since the day you had sex. So you’ll just feel sluggish and lazy and people will say, “damn, you’re lazy this week!”

2. You’ll find that your nose involuntarily scrunches at certain foods and you’ll have no idea why.

Month Two

1. You’ll fall asleep all over yourself.  Anywhere, all the time, no matter what.

2. You’ll likely experience nausea a week or two into this month.

3. You’ll continue to scrunch your nose, but now you’ll know why and you’ll be uber elated or cussing.

Month Three

1. You’re not fitting into your pants but you’re not really showing so you’ll just look fat. That’s right, don’t bother sticking your stomach out to “seem” more pregnant than you really are. That will come soon enough…at which point you’ll be sucking your stomach in so that people can say “wow, really? You don’t look 5 months pregnant!”.

2. You’ll buy your first pair of maternity pants. If you’re knew to this, you’ll also buy just about everything the store happens to sell. You’ll gleefully fill in your name, email, social security number and blood type when asked for it because you could win a $50 gift card if you spend $100 or more the next time you shop at the same store.  And do you know why you will do this and check off “YES!” to receiving special promotions from partners? Because if you fill in that little card, you get to also write in that you’re having a baby on a specific date. You’ll get to write that it’s your first…you’ll practically pee yourself from the sheer excitement.

If you’re a pro, you’ll buy the one pair that will take you from work to dinner and two top’s max and when that overly friendly sap at the store offers you the deal for next time just by filling in the form, you will stare her down with that “do I look new to this?” look you’ll have naturally cultivated after receiving call after call and parcel after parcel of unwanted crap at home because you didn’t know better than to fill in the form that first time.

3. You’ll browse baby things here and there now that your head isn’t framed by the toilet and if you’re a first timer, you will buy a bevy of books on the subject of being pregnant, eating right when pregnant, exercising when pregnant, having sex while pregnant (in month 7 you’ll be seeking out that book on how to tell your husband he’d have more luck convincing a nun to have sex), naming your baby, baby proofing, and what gear you must, must, must, must have.

Month Four

1. You’ll sign up for every permutation of prenatal class there is and then only attend about 40%-60% of the sessions. Unless they were reaaally expensive. The lesson here is of course, spend a lot of money to ensure you go, or alternately, go for the cheapy classes so you don’t feel as bad for blowing them off to eat your way through the evening.

2. You’ll feel pretty darn great and excited and you’ll look good too unless you’ve been indulging in all the chocolate and fries you’ve been craving.

Month Five

This month is the same as month four. Read that one again.

Month Six

1. You’ll be aware that you should have been doing kegels at this point. You’ll also notice that your thighs and ass are rather rounded.

2. You’ll begin to think about the nursery and what you’ll need to bring baby home in. You’ll shop around for strollers, debating with yourself over the delux version – because your baby deserves the prettiest/coolest/most novel stroller, car seat, high chair, crib – or the model that does what it needs to do and has a big basket underneath without the fancy price tag. GO WITH THE BIG BASKET STROLLER. Go with the lightest stroller you can find. Go with the one that folds umbrella style so that you can actually fit it and other things in your trunk. In fact, don’t buy a stroller without discussing this with me first!

Month Seven

1. Your belly will look a little less cute a whole lot more, WTF?  Even the maternity clothes won’t be so cute anymore and if you are among the lucky ladies who have no choice but to ‘let ’em rip‘ the smell won’t embarrass you anymore. You’ll just shrug and tell people to walk away if they don’t like it.

2. You’ll be happy the day of delivery is coming and probably fend of the occasional panic attack if you’re prone to them. Your husband will start to stress as he realizes that a) he’s now officially a family man in the making, b) he’ll have another mouth to feed, c) you’re going to continue to be a bitch for another two months and then lead him through the tango of post-postpartum depression.

Month Eight

1. You’ll pee your pants each time you cough, sneeze and sometimes – just for the fun of it – simply for shifting position.

2. You’ll find that the baby effectively kicks you out of your own body and takes over. You will be able to identify personally with every alien movie wherein an alien bursts from the midsection of a human.  Those little “Awwwww”‘s you used to let out in month 5 and 6 whenever the baby moved or kicked will turn into “cut it out!” as you force a little foot, elbow or knee back “inside”.

3. Your husband or partner will become a good for nothing piece of sh-t (except my husband, who still rocks*) who did this to you and deserves all your rage…so you won’t feel badly for yelling, complaining, or being generally short tempered. Come to think of it, anyone who does anything that is not precisely as you would like it to be will be entirely at fault for said egregious action. Poor, poor you, dealing with these stupid people.

* A word about my husband. I’ve had the flu for over two weeks and before that experienced the torture of a dislocated and rotated pelvis which had me bed ridden for three weeks. This means that for essentially the last 5 weeks my husband, Al, has had to take over a TON of stuff with the girls, the house, work, the dog, feeding us and getting everyone where they need to be when they need to be there. So while I am within my god-given right to be awful given that I am 8 months pregnant with the flu, a sinus infection, and a still painful pelvis…I have to give it to him. He’s been a champ and I love him. But don’t tell him because he may use this against me somehow at sometime in our marriage.

Month Nine

[I probably ought to disclaim that I hate this month, so the tone may be more aggressive here. When you’ve hit this month you’ll know why]

1. By now you may have hemorrhoids (that’s when a piece of your lower intestine or bowl – feel free to correct me) hangs out of your ass.

2. You won’t see your vijayjay which means you can’t groom for the big day so someone will have to do it for you. This is more important than you think.  On the day you deliver, everyone will have stared at your lady parts before the delivery is through – the nurses, residents, students, your doctor or whatever doctor was on call and hell even the janitor if they happened to come in to remove the trash from your room.  Your only saving grace will be to look like you’ve got at least something put together as your face contorts in pain and you cuss everyone around you. So go get groomed. Besides, if you tear you’ll want as clean an area down there as possible AND when you bleed for weeks afterward, the clean up is muuuuuuch nicer if you don’t have curdled blood in your public hair.

On that note, I leave you to find a lovely lady who’ll do a Brazilian and have a great sense of humour while doing it.

A.

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Terror in Titty Town?

My cervix may be far from D day but my brain is not. I can’t seem to turn my thoughts away from the subject of boobs. Nursing. Nipples….more specifically pain and cracked nipples.

This is a very brief tale of woe of my initiation into breastfeeding and then a how to for doing it differently.

Learning to nurse Naya was excruciating.  She showed off for the nurses when they came in to help us start with latching and nursing at the hospital and then decided she wasn’t going to put the same effort into nursing at home.

My biggest mistake? When she latched on and it hurt, I used to rip her off of my breast. Then I’d let her fumble about as if she would know what to do on her own and got frustrated when it didn’t work…ending in yet another bad latch and yes, another ripping off.

You can imagine how long it took and how much pain and suffering we both endured. Another hugely painful mistake? Not using nipple cream after each nursing session while I healed.

God help me, I may have let her nurse through cotton on a couple of occasions because I swore my nipple would actually get torn off if I tried to remove the pad any more than I already had.

My mom, who didn’t nurse either my sister or myself repeatedly urged me to switch to a bottle and seemed both perplexed and annoyed that I insisted on keeping at it.

Like everything else that is part of becoming a parent, there is a huge learning curve involved.  Breastfeeding is something that needs to be learned to do.

It is as natural as having sex, but don’t go trying to tell me you got that perfect your first time out…or in…or out…you get the picture.

I was determined and in the end emerged victorious and proud because instead of surrendering I remained true to my belief that breast is best and found the way to do it. Naya and I suffered through three weeks of toe curling, tears down my face pain and then it was sweet and simple slurping from them on. She nursed until she was 11 months old.

With Sienna, I learned what it meant to experience a blocked duct. And I learned that to open said blocked duct when the warm shower massage doesn’t cut it involves a Dr. repeatedly pricking your nipple with a needle. Sound painful?  Know that it’s not nearly as painful as the blocked duct is. She nursed until she was 13 months old.

A word on pumping milk and using a bottle: if you can do it, power to you. I’m envious and happy for you all at once. I could likely get more milk out of my elbow than I ever managed to pump out of either breast. I knew the girls were nourished because they were thriving and growing, but if the piddly 1 oz of milk mocking me from the bottom of that little bottle where to be used as any kind of gauge, malnutrition would have been assumed. And that’s after over an hour of pumping with a Medela electric pump at the prime time of day to pump.

I’m over that now and relieved that Naya’s first words weren’t cusses. They easily could have been.

So with baby three, I thought it would be useful to remind myself and nursing mom’s everywhere about resources to get you – or keep you – on track with breastfeeding.

1) Be in the know.

There is a plethora of breastfeeding support to be found locally and online. If you’re a surfer girl, Breastfeeding.com, it’s a good place to begin as it has articles, forums and a fairly comprehensive Q&A with real and useful replies. For hands on, person to person information or support, ask your local hospital or health clinic if they know of groups or go online and search for “breast feeding support groups”.

You’ll find that there are probably a few organized groups where you can find other moms and get the information and support you seek.  Conduct a search for “Nursing Consultant” to find specialists who can come to you or answer your questions by phone.

Another phenomenal resource? Local or online mom’s groups or social groups for mom’s with babies and toddlers. Not only are you likely to get allll the best practical information, but a commiserating ear as well.

2) Recognize the signs that you need a pair of trained eyes on your boobs.

Hot and often red areas, tenderness or full on pain that makes you want to walk about topless everywhere, hard areas or masses. Get checked out. Call your GP, a lactation consultant, or walk into a clinic for assistance. This is important, can be serious, and trained help will significantly alleviate the issue and your nerves.

3) Creams/lubes & homeopathic remedies.

Taken orally or applied to the nipple aid in the healing of the skin if it gets sore, raw or down right cracked as you and your baby learn to nurse together. Where to get good stuff? Visit your local health store or nursing center.

Mom-centric cafe’s servicing mom’s with young babies often carry a couple of lines of better known and great quality options of lotions that are safe to use while nursing.

A brand I found useful in keeping the breast pad from sticking as I healed between nursing is Lanolin Breast feeding cream by Lansinoh. Another is Bag Balm. That’s right. Bag Balm…for udders. Shut up, it works look for the little green and red square tin.

Here’s hoping you can avoid a visit through titty town terror. Enjoy breastfeeding!

A.

Wake Up Already.

I’ve been experiencing a reawakening.

The sort that causes you to pause and notice yourself and your life a little bit. The kind that results in rediscovering past passions, interests, skills.

I can’t say with definitiveness what ignited this awareness but I do think that Dan Millman’s The Sacred Journey has a lot to do with it. I had this feeling before, a few years ago, when I read The Peaceful Warrior.

All of a sudden I’m remembering that I like colour. That I am great at crafts. That I have a philosopher’s mind and lover’s ache for life.

I am settling into my self. Coming together by letting myself come apart and simply be. Not an easy feat for me. I’ve usually succumbed to the demon that  demanded I be appropriate, polite, perfect.

I am ripe with our third child and haven’t figured it all out. Nursery done? Nope. Names picked out? Nope. Work tasks organized so that someone can take them over? Nu-uh. Person hired to take said work tasks over? [shake of the head in the negative].

See? I am letting things come undone. How much do you wanna bet my husband is loving this?

But see here’s the thing, I’ve discovered in subtle ways throughout my life that everything sorts itself out. There is beauty and wisdom in allowing the universe participate in how things unfold. Now, you’ll find that perhaps you don’t see yourself as a superstar who manages and oversees and excels at everything, but then, how well was that working for you anyway?

A.

There’s No Morning Glory.

I know all the rules.

1. pick clothes out the night before and set them out.

2. have breakfast at least partially prepped the night before so that you have less to do in the morning

3. wake up before the kids so that you can get yourself together and your head together before your thoughts are invaded.

I’m not good with rules. I like it when others follow them, but me – I’m a lost cause.

So while I know that the Start-The-Day-Off-Right rules are designed to help me get the morning off to a cheerful organized start, it’s hard to remember that as I flail about in a semi-dream state while my daughters yank me from my sleep by either drop licking me in an affectionate fly to precisely where my soft stomach is exposed or whining in the most irksome and ear-cringing way.

Instead, I try to swallow my yell put on a smile and welcome the day opening my eyes to a little face in my face. Those are the good days. When Sienna comes to see me, I usually end up with her loaded diapered butt in my face and as has been the case on an unfortunate number of mornings, she opts to perch herself – loaded diaper and all – on my head.

That my days start late and with a lot of negotiating, whining and yelling more often than not deters me from having any more of these things we call children. These little people we “painted” to quote my Naya and unwaveringly (most of the time)  adore.

Mornings at our house are truly awful. It’ll take me a good hour to come back to center and focus after dropping off the girls and that’s after it took so long to get them there in the first place! I won’t even tell you how long it takes. It’s embarrassing.

I can get through the ‘during the day stuff’. I manage to be funny, enlightened, connected, warm and positively challenging. But come bed time or when morning swings around again all I want is to dive into a tea – or martini rossi depending on the day – or into the couch with a book or a movie block out the fact that I have mommy duties to perform.

This morning, Noosh and I hugged it out for a solid three minutes. She was so upset about her pants that she couldn’t even figure out what she wanted. When I asked if she preferred to change in to one of two other pants her only answer was “I don’t know what I want” – and that was pushed out by snotty sobs that shook her curly little head. So we hugged and rocked and I coo’d and she calmed. And we changed her pants.

I used to say that I couldn’t wait for this or that. Now I grip this moment in life so deeply that my nails dig deep into the fabric of life because experience has shown me and wiser people than me have told me that it only get’s harder from here.

A.

Boobs up with a thumbs up.

Oh YAY! They work, they work, they work!

The boob-stickers stick. They lift, they`re comfortable and they are fairly discrete.

If your nipples can land planes though, make sure to buy the Bring it Up`s that come with the bonus nipple daisy`s.

I`m nearly as excited about this as I am kidscentive.

Huh? Wha…? you ask…I’ll tell you, just wait.

This is the best and most exciting thing to hit Canadian families and every family visiting our captivating country.

A.

A boob above the rest

Yesterday I ordered Bring it Up on-line. They are sheer adhesives that lift your boobs up off your waist and stick them back on your chest. I don’t know whether they work or not, but I should receive them in 7-10 days and will let you know (I’m sure you’re all dying of anticipation).

Anyway, with boobs on my mind, I was thinking of two friends of mine who don’t have theirs. Hortensia died two years ago, and Juliette is going strong and is in remission with implants. The moms of two of my closest friends got breast cancer. One is still with us celebrating each day, sadly the other has passed.

So apart from spending my money on the cause of keeping my breasts above my belt, I am going to be spending my money on making sure that they stay healthy. And that yours stay healthy. And that if we get sick, we at least know that we are doing our part to learn as much as we can and get the best treatment possible.

I’m hosting a Pampered Chef  activity to help raise funds for a friend and fellow Wee Wiggler who is walking for the cure in Montreal. Through out the month of May, the Pampered Chef will give 25% of all profits raised at home parties.

25% towards healthy boobs for me and you.

So if you like boobs, if you like to eat, and want to enjoy a treat perhaps you’ll host a party of your own!

Witty-Titty.

I am thinking that if any profit is ever made from organizing, running and hosting wee wiggles activities I just may use the money to pick my tit’s off the floor.  Which invariable is where they will end up if I keep trying to nurse while walking because I want to be “fair” and tend to Naya at the same time.

Two days ago while talking to Mindy, our group moderator, all around sanity-saver, and humourist I walked about the house nursing, tidying, and telling Naya to lick her hands which were sticky because I couldn’t clean them and hold the nursing miss Sienna.

I suddenly flashed to this vision of my nipples not just looking towards my knees but actually kissing them hello. And that is when I thought to sit down. So I did, in the dog’s bed.

I have been moisturising, oiling and massaging like crazy since then. So far, the girls are holding up. We’ll see what happens when Sienna turns one and there is no more milk filling them up. My C-cup will become a remorse-filled cup of wine and what little money I can scrounge up will go towards getting the fat out of my thighs into my boobs.

Mommy-ness vs. Woman-ness.

I think I completely underestimated the possible occurrence that these two most female descriptors could compete with one another, or even cancel one another out.

I had fantasies of mommy-hood: I was going to be hip, fresh, manicured and on top of having every hair in place and being myself I was going to be fun, warm and tremendously entertaining to my daughter. I thought that I would be ME and MOMMY as well. But I learned they don’t go hand in hand with the ease I thought would be natural.

Now, with Naya a fantastically funny little girl of almost two yrs, and belly-baby due in a about 10 days, I’ve begun to reconsider a thought I buried when I started the Wee Wiggles Social Group. Where does Ariana go when Mommy-ana shows up to nurse, change diapers and sooth in the middle of the night?

I sat on the floor of our living room when Naya was 6 months old crying out loud that because I wasn’t a “somebody” (read: a titled professional) that I was a “no body”. I was tortured by the notion that I was not earning an income and therefore felt I had no tangible worth. I suffered with this notion for nearly a year with very short lived stints of reprise, and to be honest, when I found I was pregnant with belly-baby my mind turned once again to the idea that for as long as I was having children and raising them, I was going to be worth less.

We know, because we cling to the statistics that a woman who stays at home raising her children would be compensated a salary of $110,000 US. If you were to hire a housekeeper, a nanny, an educator, a cleaning lady, a lady of the night (what, we do that too!) it would surely cost more than that, would it not? So why is that even though I have my own bank account, a joint account, and my husband does well that I still feel the need for consensus to spend money that surely I have earned despite it not coming in the form of a company issued pay stub?

I know I’m not alone in this, I’ve spoken with several women – professional, intelligent, accomplished women who are home on maternity leave (in Canada we enjoy nearly one year of leave) or who’ve elected with their spouse to become SAHM – and we all feel the same. That unless we are earning, even if we have a joint account with our spouse there is a certain degree of indebtedness that we just can’t shake.

Do I do it to myself? Do imagine whispers of confirmation that unless I am out there earning I truly am less worthy? Or do I really hear them coming from the mouths of some people around me in veiled comments or facetious jokes? What about you – do you hear or do you imagine them?

There are a few things I wanted in my life that for me satiated my sense of accomplishment: I wanted an extraordinary marriage (check), I wanted children (elated check), and I wanted personal financial wealth independent of my spouse (—). Clearly I have a way to go before I can check that off my list; the question is, how far if I keep doing my female bit in our family equation? And at what cost?