Friday, 21 June 2019

Breastfeeding: a journey through love & hate

*Disclaimer: A fed baby is a happy baby. Unless you're feeding your baby protein powder mixed with gatorade, there is no judgement here and all opinions stated are my own, and how I feel about my own journey. There is a plethora of reasons why people choose to feed their baby the way they do, and unless it's how they're feeding your baby,  it is no one's place to judge. Motherhood is hard enough with unneeded judgement. Moving along.


It's taken me 3 months to gather this blog post; I wish I had found a post like this when I was in the thick of learning breastfeeding, it would've given me a bit more hope that the light was at the end of the tunnel. Let’s get this clear out of the gate: breastfeeding is really really hard. Anyone who tells you it isn’t, is lying. It’s hard for a litany of reasons: under supply, over supply, bum nipples, sore nipples, cracked nipples, shallow latch, baby won’t latch, forceful letdown - there’s no cookie cutter reason for why it’s hard, it’s a “choose your own adventure” type thing. Point is, it’s hard for the first little bit - anywhere from 2-8 weeks, maybe even more. But no one tells you that and even if they do, you don’t “know” what it means until it’s YOUR version of hard. For me? Forceful letdown witha burning sensation and continuous excruciating cracked nipple pain, chronic clogged ducts, a bout of mastitis, plus a little boy who tended to gum as he fed, would look around whilst keeping my nipple in his mouth, all the while fiddle fucking around to make the sessions last even longer. LOVELY. 


Breastfeeding was important to me, I knew it was the best choice for Myles, it would ensure he got a healthy dose of my antibodies, and let’s face it - it was the best way for us to bond in those first few months & it's the least expensive route. It was important to me, but I entered it completely naively. We didn’t take any classes prior to Myles’s birth, because in my opinion, there’s only so much you can learn about feeding your baby before your baby is actually here. I now feel like this was a really dumb idea, but hindsight is 20/20. Thankfully I had been warned that the first few weeks were going to be painful for your nipples, but much like childbirth you don’t know what “painful” means until you’re experiencing it yourself. I figured that this would be something we would just kinda stumble through the first few days or weeks together, but apart from some nipple soreness that this would be smooth sailing - it’s “natural” after all, it had to come easy right? I assumed I would have the 2 week sore nipple, smooth sailing type of journey. I did not, I have not. I can only safely now say at 14 weeks, that it is more often than not, pain-free. 

Our journey of stumbling began the first hours he was born - he actively refused to latch, and I stressed that he was going to start starving soon; thankfully newborns are born with a full belly, but that mama guilt gets hardwired in around the same time I birthed the placenta, it would appear. I met with lactation specialists in the hospital and every nurse gave me their own version of advice, and it got to the point where the feeding sessions were “okay” at best; he was still within the range of weight he needed to be, so something was clearly working ish. When we were discharged I was overcome with anxiety about how I was going to manage this in real life; to the point where I had Jake cancel all of the planned visits that week, save for our parents. He was still not quite getting the latch down, and I couldn’t find a position that was comfortable or worked for us. I didn't want or need the added anxiety of people visiting while I was trying to just feed my baby properly. 

My milk came in on Tuesday evening, 2.5 days after he was born. Engorged, sore breasts that were rock hard and made me feel nauseous. I didn’t even realize my milk had come in - I thought Myles was peeing on me until I realized it was my milk leaking onto my belly. Within 3 days I had cracked, painful nipples & a clogged duct which I had to feed it out, massage and pray it away. Thankfully 36 hours later it was on its way out and hadn’t gone into mastitis. By week 3 I had ductal thrush and by week 4, I had another clogged duct from Myles sleeping on my right boob and pinching a duct. Week 5 brought an intense crack on the side of my left nipple that hurt so badly, when Myles would latch on I felt like I had to throw up or bite down on a peice of leather. There were many times I told Jake I was done, I was either switching to formula or exclusive bottle feeding, that having this kind of pain numerous times a day wasn't good for my mental health. I finally bought a breast pump, and fed him via bottles every time I had to feed on the left side in order to let this horrible crack start to heal. For two days, I had amazing relief - then with the pumping brought on more supply (obviously), which brought on another clogged duct since my breast wasn't getting drained properly - which meant I had to feed more on the side with the horrible crack. When one nipple healed, the other would decide to get a crack. For 10 weeks I had no idea what it felt like to feed without at least a few minutes of agony, or without nipple pain. I’d say at least every 2 days I was considering throwing in the towel, and quite a few times I dramatically announced to Jake that I fucking hated breastfeeding and I was so done. Between him reminding me that i would regret giving it up, and my own stubborness, I relented and continued on. There’s nothing wrong with formula, I just really wanted to give it every possible shot before I went that avenue, and I hadn’t yet. The fact that I had enough milk to sustain him also made me feel guilty for even considering formula; it felt like taking the easy way out when I had no problem feeding him myself. Not to mention the convenience of whipping a boob out vs. heating up a bottle - when this little guy decides he's hungry, he's hungry now, and waiting 10 minutes for a bottle to warm up would hand me a screaming baby in no time. Not only that, but our Bubba has quite the sensitive tummy, and I could just imagine the nightmare that finding a formula that worked for us would've been. Breastfeeding had to work. 

A particular low moment came for the first time around 3am at 3.5 weeks, feeding Myles and gritting my teeth & doing labor breathing through the pain of cracked nipples & thrush, I was overcome with a heavy resentment I didn’t expect to feel. Resentment towards Jake and his useless nipples that couldn’t just take a turn, resentment that my sleep got interrupted only to be in agony, resentment towards my nipples for being so god damn sensitive and not toughening up faster and worst of all, resentment towards my baby for not having this down to a science yet, for not just getting in and getting out, so to speak; resentment at him for being hungry. When was the supposed “beautiful bonding experience” going to kick in? Because right now I just want him to finish so I can have a break for at least an hour. I started to hate nights and dread them, because those were the loneliest moments of pain, and I started dreaming of the days when at least one of those feedings would get dropped. I even dreamt about the days I was done breastfeeding altogether and he was eating solid foods; ahh sweet freedom that will be. This resentment made me feel horrible, like a horrible person and a terrible mother. I told Jake that if this wasn't better by 12 weeks, we were done.  

The first few weeks he got better every day, but there were times he would just be so overstimulated that he just wouldn’t latch properly & either milk would go everywhere or he would take on a really shallow latch and it would be agonizing on my nipples. In those moments I had to remind myself : these moments are fleeting, they will pass, this is what’s best for him. This will get easier, we just had to tough it out. Because after those resentful moments, once he was on and going and I could hear those gulps accompanied by his satisfied coos, I would look down at his squishy, sleepy face and be so proud of these formerly itty bitty breasts who had risen to the task of providing him life. Who made milk like crazy, and who nourished him to gain weight like crazy to the point where he was doubling, tripling the expected weight gain when we would go in for checkups. 

I tried earth mama nipple cream, Jack Newman's Ointment (prescribed), coconut oil with lavendar, just airing them out (which resulted in me nearly drowning in my own milk as I slept), rubbing breast milk on them, and you know what finally, finally caused me relief? Lanolin. LANOLIN. The stuff that smells like it would grease your tire bolts, that your mother, grandmother and great-grandmother used. The stuff I avoided like the plague because ONE pinterest bitch told her followers it "created mastitis". I put that shit on, and all of a sudden it doesn't hurt as much the first day. And then the next day it hurt even less, and so on and so forth. After a week, of not worrying that it was time for him to feed on "that" side, of not worrying that he was due to feed soon, of not actively dreading it - it was finally better. We had finally gotten to the point where I was enjoying this? Actually enjoying it. Looking down at his sweet face as he gulped and made the most adorable, satisfied noises - kid is such a noisy eater. We had finally reached this point everyone told me about - they weren't just blowing smoke up my ass! I was no longer counting down the minutes, days and weeks until I could retire the old boobies. Myles wakes up from a nap and is hungry - okay here you go babe. Growth spurt? No worries, you eat however much you need to grow big & strong. 


This motherhood business has felt like one big, long game of tetris - finding out which pieces "fit" for our baby, which routine works and what doesn't. Breastfeeding has been our biggest hurdle, and no longer having it be the bain of my existence feels like such a relief. So here we are, 14 weeks deep & I’m no longer counting down the days until I can retire my boobies - and as I post this, I’m nursing through yet another clogged duct (6th one in 3 months, but who’s counting). I no longer have to slather myself in nipple cream hoping to create enough of a barrier for it to not be excruciating, just sore. In fact I haven’t used nipple cream in weeks. Breastfeeding was by far, the hardest hurdle to overcome on this whole motherhood journey, and yet I know I will be so sad when it’s done. If I can be of any advice to future mamas stumbling across this post at 3am feeling the same resentment I was it would be this: give it your all. Try absolutely everything you can, and just get through it. It isn’t for everybody, but it does get better. I’m not just blowing smoke up your ass. I promise, you & those nipples will make it, mama. Keep up the good fight. 


Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Life with a Newborn






I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. Or, we just survived the first month of having a little clingon in our lives - a little almost 10lb turkey who has completely, entirely & irrevocably changed our lives; completely for the better, but sometimes a little harder to admit than others. The last 5.5 weeks have been blissful, learning his little quirks and squeaks, somewhat deciphering what certain squeaks mean over others, melting over his baby snores and laughing hysterically over how loud he is when he eats and the faces he makes when he fights waking up. To put it bluntly, we’re obsessed with him. But that doesn’t mean it’s been a breezy month and a bit; I feel like I made it by the skin of my teeth - but we did it. 

Compiled is a list of what we have learned in the last 5.5 weeks: what will happen when you experience life with a newborn. Now that I’m a seasoned expert and everything (wink wink nudge nudge *SARCASM*). 


1.The cliche is true - you will forget to brush your teeth and remember in the afternoon sometime, and that coffee you made with great intentions will be chugged hours later - cold. Who cares, caffeine is caffeine girl. 
1a. When a support person accidentally dumps that 4 hours old coffee and you want to cry because wasted coffee is only secondarily tragic to wasted breast milk. 
2. Your husband/partner will start using phrases like “babe he’s starting to root” and you’re like, you’re correct but when the hell did you learn what that means. 
3. Take. It. Easy. Now - I was SHOCKED how little stamina I had the first few weeks after baby. I assumed that once the big belly was gone, I’d have my stamina back. You won’t, you just went through something maaajor - reward your body with kindness and gentleness. It’ll come back.
4. You still look pregnant. I told myself I’d leave the hospital looking exactly as I did going in, so that way anything less was a success. I left looking about 6 months pregnant, albeit with one helluva squishy belly. My belly admittedly did shrink fast (those uterus cramps are REAL), but dont worry, there's still lots of squish there. 
5. Baby blues are real. Thankfully for me they only lasted a few days, but for others they last longer and don’t be afraid to admit to it; it’s human, it’s normal and you shouldn’t suffer in silence. There's nothing to be ashamed about or feel guilty for. 
6. Breastfeeding is HARD. Your nipples are really sore, and you’re both still learning how to master this “natural” act.. natural doesn’t mean seamless. Relax, take your time with each other and get comfy. & take advantage of all the professional lactation advice you can receive within your community. Personally, breastfeeding hasn’t been something I enjoy - but that’s a whole other post I’m working on. 


7. Thirst & hunger is real. Breastfeeding burns a ton of calories and it feels like painful cardio. Have healthy, nutrient dense snacks on hand to chow down quickly. & Chug water. Have a tall glass in every spot you breastfeed, and invest in (glass or steel) straws. Extra points for a husband who holds it up to your mouth when one hand is holding a boob and the other is holding a baby head. 
8. Take the help - it honestly takes a village and between both sets of parents and siblings, I don’t think I would’ve made it through the first week - especially when Jake’s back spasmed two days after we got home and he could barely move. Laundry was done, dishes, dinners taken care of, floors vacuumed and bathrooms done. It felt extremely weird and wrong to have people do “my” chores, but it made life so much easier. 
9. Don’t turn inward, but don’t feel afraid to turn away visitors if/when you feel overwhelmed. Like I said, Baby blues are real and everything can feel daunting and hard. I’m someone who instinctively turns inward when anxiety hits me, but was surprised how refreshing *SHORT* visits could be. Have a gatekeeper who enforces the visit time limit. 
10. Cuddle cuddle cuddle - they’re only this little once, and even the hard moments are ones you can’t get back. Can’t get him to sleep in his crib for his nap? Hold him and inhale all that baby smell. They’ll figure it out sooner than you think. 
12. Every cough, squeak, grunt, snort or funny coloured foot will panic you. It’s normal.


13. Nipppple. Paaaaaads. I’ve been very fortunate that my milk supply has been very good, it’s a great problem to have in the grand scheme of things as I know some women really struggle with supply. However, with a healthy supply comes with serious engorgement and pain, as well as major leakage. Nipple pads were and are my saviours. I have extras stashed everywhere.
14. Do what works for YOU. Myles slept on me for part of the night for the first month. We would manage to get him down in his bassinette for the first portion, but then that would be it. I felt like such a failure - until I realized ALL new moms do this to some extent. I’d say it’s 50% comfort for the baby, 50% mama’s only hope for sleep. He won't be sleeping on me when he's 3, so I'll just embrace it now and know it will eventually not be the normal. 
15. Are you like me and having a set schedule/day plan is important to you? Well SAY GOODBYE TO THAT because baby don’t give a fuuuuu. True story: I had to be somewhere for an appointment at 9:30, and had to leave the house at 8:45. I had my morning planned out and it involved feeding Myles at 8:15 so I could burp him, change him and go. He decided however he wanted to eat at 7:30. No big deal right? Well it fucked my whole type A personality right up; I HATE schedule deviations. However, we still left the house on time, I was just less “presentable” than I would’ve liked, and it didn’t matter. It was a quick lesson that you’re only in control so much and you have to be able to take the divots with grace, and flexibility. Or you will be a snap show. 
16. You still send your husband photos that include your breasts, but slightly different now because there’s a baby attached to it and it’s usually in response to “whatcha up to?” While he’s at work. 
17. You WILL say out loud to each other “what the fuck were we thinking?!” At least once. A week. If you don’t, that’s great but pretty sure you’re lying. It’s okay to admit it - your baby can’t read this. I won’t tell. It doesn't mean you don't love this little human to death, it means that raising this little human is HARD, and didn't come with a manual and it can get frustrating sometimes. 
18. Sleep. When. Baby. Sleeps. It took me a week to actually do this; mainly because adrenaline was so high that I wasn’t actually tired. Well, when that wore off I felt like a train hit me. Now I try to grab at least an hour or two nap during the day when he goes down, because I still don’t know what our night will look like. Everything else can wait, you need sleep. 

19. Baby's tummies are not fully developed when they're born, and gassy bellies happen and it's horrible for everyone. Stock up on Gripe water, Ovol drops (we have 3 bottles), and learn the bicycle pump - become a master at it. 
20. Unless you want to be a human pacifier, teach your baby to love a soother - and don't feel mom guilt for giving it to your baby at 2 weeks instead of the 5 weeks like you were planning, like I did. It'll save those sore nips and your sanity.  
21. Take moments for you and your spouse; you can't pour from an empty cup is what I always say, and that extends to your relationship. You two need to depend on each other and exhaustion can easily cause squabbles. Take mini dates, go for walks, keep lines of communication open. 


So there you have it, the few things I've figured out in the short almost 6 weeks we've had our little Bubba earthside. And now that I've put it in writing, Baby Murphy's Law means it's all going to go to shit and I will be back at square one. But that's okay, because it's a learning process and it's an adventure and I couldn't have better adventure buddies on my side. This little family of mine is everything I could ever want - but I would gladly take another hour or two of sleep a night ;) 

Monday, 1 April 2019

Myles Nicholas Stuchberry, a Birth Story

PSA - this is a long read. I'm sleep deprived and want to remember every part- you've been warned. 

As I write this, my 2 week old son is sleeping peacefully in his nest, while I drink my smoothie with such gusto since I've been feeding every 2 hours for hours now and I want to finish it before he's ready to go again. This is one of the first days he’s put himself to sleep without my help, so I’m taking the time I have and making the most of it. I also might finish my coffee before it's cold and will probably brush my teeth after before 12. Wildness. Life has changed so drastically in the last few weeks and my "old life" seems like a distant memory, replaced by the hardest, most rewarding version of life I could never have expected. Motherhood has this amazing way of fundementally changing your identity, instantly. For the euphorically better. 

On March 13th, I went in for my 38 week appointment where I was told beforehand that if my cervix was cooperating, we could do a sweep. My doctor was also pregnant and going on mat leave on March 22nd, so while I really didn’t want to go overdue and have a new doctor finish my prenatal care, my blood pressure had been rising in recent weeks and she didn’t want me going overdue either. I had been having menstrual like cramps for a few days but completely sporadic and nothing too intense, just the kind of cramps I’d get if my period was imminent. I hoped this meant my cervix was doing something to open up and they weren’t just for shits and giggles. Well, good job cervix! When Dr. Stevenson checked me out, she went “Oh wow, your cervix is only about a finger’s width thick, and really soft. You’re about 2.5cm dilated.” Hell. Yes. So she did the membrane sweep, and on my way I went – hoping this meant baby would be joining us either that day or by the weekend. I also hadn’t gained any weight since my last weigh in, so pretty sure I floated out of that clinic.

When I got home I certainly didn’t feel pain, but I was for sure feeling action down there; it was tight and had lots of pressure, but no “contractions”. My mom and I walked around my street, I bounced on my exercise ball, ate pineapples, played with my nipples – everything the doctor had told me to try to get action going. My mom stayed with me until the late afternoon and when it was pretty obvious nothing was happening, she went home and I waited for Jake to come home from work. We had dinner, watched a movie on the couch (I napped), finished packing our respective hospital bags and went to bed.


Jake had been really funny those last few weeks – this was when reality really set in for him. It went from, “my wife’s is pregnant! We’re having a baby.” To, “My wife is PREGNANT and we’re having a BABY. They will just let us LEAVE THE HOSPITAL, with a BABY”. When I phoned him to tell him how my appointment went, his voice raised a few octaves when it crashed into him that this baby could be coming in a couple days, not weeks. That night he kept asking “How will you know when you’re dilated more?” I don’t know, I assume it’ll start to hurt? “Well, is there any way you can check yourself to see if you’re more dilated?” No. No that will not be happening. Decent question, but I wasn’t going to attempt that myself. Unfortunately for both of us, we just had to wait & see what happened.

Thus started the 3 day “let’s get this show on the road” phase of latent labor. 3 days of nothingness, essentially.

 The next morning I lost my mucus plug and assumed that would be it, but nope. Maternity told me unless contractions started or my water broke, to stay home and moving. So mom & I went to the mall, went to a used book store to pick up baby books, painted my toes (she did not me, I tried once a few weeks back and gave up after two toes). As frusturated I was, I knew that because of my high BP, Jake & I were due at the hospital that Saturday for a stress test, where they could check for dilation again. On Saturday we went for our appointment which turned out to be about 3x as long as it should’ve been because Bubs wouldn’t stay still long enough for them to get a baseline heart rate for him. What it did show them however, was that my BP was consistently just too high. They did bloodwork which also showed elevated liver enzymes, and she went to confer with her coworker to see if induction was necessary. She came back about 10 minutes later and said “How does tomorrow sound?” We thought she was joking, but obviously went well, okay! So after telling us to go for a date night, shower and soak it up, we’d see her tomorrow. She checked for dilation again and said “A hip check would put you into labor at this point, you’re so effaced. Let’s do one more sweep”. The first one I had didn’t hurt much at all; this one meant business. We left, went to Brown’s for an early dinner, attempted to do a mall walk but I was too uncomfortable so we just went home. I showered, Jake went to his hockey game (after much convincing from me that nothing was going to happen in 1.5 hours and just to make sure his phone was close by). I did 3 face masks, and toasted myself to possibly the last night I had to myself, with our peanut on the inside. Jake came home from hockey, he watched a movie while I napped, and we went to bed. 

Around 10pm I started having cramps that felt much more intense than anything before. After having about 3-4 I told Jake I thought I might be having something going on, so I took out my phone and started tracking them. They almost instantly got very painful, and were about 5-6 minutes apart. I didn’t want to go to the hospital just to be sent home, so I went into the living room to bounce on the ball, curled my hair to distract myself, tidied the house – anything to get my mind off these intense pains long enough. Around 1:30 I couldn’t handle it any longer and decided we needed to go, and called my mom who met us there. Unfortunately after tracking me on the monitor and checking, I was only 3-4 cm dilated and after a shot of morphine mixed with gravol, was sent home and told to come back no later than 10. The car ride home was agony, I felt like I was in a tiny box and could feel every single bump. Since we have a tenant, Jake just told me to get all my yelling out in the car so we didn’t scare the shit out of him when we got home.


I managed to get a little bit of sleep after that – the morphine didn’t take the pain away but it took the edge off of most of them so I was able to get about 20 minute periods. I was determined we would have a nice morning with coffee in bed, and make our way there around 9:30 to get started. Around 7:30 I went to the bathroom where I had had my bloody show and was once again reminded that baby makes the plans here, not me. So, once again we bundled up and got to the hospital, this time where we stayed in triage for a while because it was so busy – thankfully or else I probably would’ve been sent home again. I labored in the triage room until noon where I was finally admitted at 5-6 cm after telling the doctor that I didn’t want to go home anymore, she said that generally tells them it’s time for admitting. So we got settled in our maternity suite (Vernon has private rooms and they’re glorious), where I attempted to get comfortable any way I could – not easy. 

During that time my dad, Jake’s parents and my brother & sister in law popped in to say hello, to relieve Jake & my mom a bit, and just wait it out. At this point it had been about 14 hours. There was a lot of waiting. Around 5 I decided I couldn’t handle the pain anymore and wanted the epidural, I was done being a hero. I had tried every option before that, including laughing gas and was just exhausted and done. I wasn’t dilating the way I should have been & my water had yet to break, so they decided to break it themselves, see if that made a difference and if not, hook me up to oxytocin to try and get things moving along – if not I’d have to have a c-section. I went the entire pregnancy with no birth plan (because as I learned quickly, they can mean shit if things go sideways or baby is in distress), but I knew I did not want a section if at all possible. The nurse told me no more water or food until we knew, and then started going through the pre-op questions with me. 

This was when I finally broke down. Cried to my mom and Jake that I didn’t want to do this, that the oxytocin had to work. I didn’t want a section, I had dreamt of spending the first hours of his life snuggling him, having as much skin to skin as possible, breastfeeding right away – not spending it in a recovery room apart from him while everyone met him without me. Breaking my water took everything from a level 8-9 intensity to a 12 instantly, thank god the epidural man came in right afterwards. He had terrible bed side manner and was talking about the risk of paralysis while I had back contractions back to back to back, but at that point I was so drained, and did everything he asked me to. At that point the needle felt like it was a centimeter long – it’s certainly not but that was how relieving it was to finally have some serious relief. He gave me what’s called a “walking epidural”, so I didn’t need a catheter and could still use the washroom, hallelujah. 

Finally around 9:30 they came in and checked me and I was at a 9, and so so happy it meant I could deliver naturally still. The doctor and team came back around 11 where I told them I felt a lot of pressure and like I wanted to push, so we got to town. Jake, my mom were at either side of my bed, Jake VERY close to the top and staring at the wall when he wasn’t coaching me. God bless him, he was terrified in there but was an absolute champ. I never thought about how hard it would be on support people to see your loved one in so much pain. I couldn’t imagine not having those two in there with me. After 48 minutes of pushing, and one instance of yelling “OMG just fucking pull him out, I can’t do it anymore!!!”, Myles Nicholas Stuchberry was here. All 7 pounds, 10 ounces of him. With so much hair I couldn’t believe my eyes. But he was perfect. It’s so true when they say that the second that baby lays on your chest, the rest of the labor all but disappears. I remember it, but the intensity is so much more dwindled now. All I remember is kissing his head, kissing Jake, Jake crying while he met his son, and the absolute overwhelming love that filled that room in those moments. I didn’t even feel delivering the placenta, and while I did have a second degree tear, I barely felt the doctor stitching me up – I was too high off this feeling. And maybe some excess epidural.

 Once the doctor handed him to me, I was overwhelmed by the love I felt in that moment. I cried in pure bliss. This was him. This was the little person I had felt move and grow inside of me for the last 9.5 months. Who I had labored so long for. He was worth every second of the pain. He was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. And he was finally here. In my arms. Mine forever.

For the next two hours, I was not aware of much besides my little baby boy. I know that I finished the delivery and that the room bustled around us as the nurses cleaned up, but I really don't remember any of that. We were riveted by him. He didn't cry - just opened his eyes with this sweet little scrunchy face I'll never forget. Not an hour after his birth, we were alone. The velvetty dark sky peared through the windows and I felt this peace settle around us. The three of us. Our little family. That moment shared together is too precious for words. But I don't think I've ever felt so much love in my life. I was sure my heart would burst. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much love for Jake, that he gave me this gift of the most perfect little person I had dreamt about for longer than I knew.


My birth was everything I didn't know I wanted. I got to experience every side of labor. The side of "using relaxation and my birth breath" to get through 21 hours, the side of "nevermind, my body's trying to kill me. I would rather yell really loudly right now, thank you", and the side of "ah. I'm back! I'm ME!! Bless you epi. I'm ready to meet my baby, let’s get this sucker out.", and lastly the side of "is my butt ripping apart?! it feels like it's ripping apart. He's only THAT far out!? WHY are you saying good job that's NOTHING".. It wasn't what I expected. It wasn't part of the plan. Pretty sure I should stop making those actually. But it turns out, it was exactly what I wanted. What we wanted. {Lemme tell you, I think Jake might have actually been happier than I was when I decided to get the epidural.}

And of course, we had our happy ending - the little boy of my dreams. But then, I guess it's not the end at all. Now we just get to fall more and more obsessed with him by the minute, every squeal, every face, every everything he does is like a drug to us. Our perfect family, the beginning of our new chapter together. The three musketeers.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Bumpdate #3


Hopefully my last bumpdate and the next one will be an introduction, but we'll see! I can understand why pregnant women get to an "okay i'm friggin done" stage, because i'm very much almost there.  My hospital bag is mainly packed apart from last minute items I'll need to pack the day of, carseat is installed and nursery is ready; I even have diaper cream & nipple butter ready. Baby Boy Stuchberry, please don't make me wait 6 more weeks. Your dad's life may or may not depend on it ;) 



how far along:  35 weeks! Still boggles my mind how fast that came!  I’m 50% ready to have this baby and meet him and learn every inch of him, and 50% not ready to share him with the world quite yet.
Left - 30 weeks, Right - 35 weeks

baby size: babe is the size of a pineapple, or 18 inches & about 5 lbs! Although he feels like he’s already atleast 6 or 7 some days. My doctor told me today she expected him to be in the average size range of 7.5-8lbs given that my belly isn’t massive, so I’d be happy with that. I just feel like he’s going to be 7 lbs 8-9 oz.. here’s hoping he’s around that marker! Please lawd no 10 pounder for me.

gender: Mama’s little dude is still baking away in there like a little champ! I’ve heard stories now about women who were told they’re having one gender and it comes out the other, and to be honest if little boy Stuchberry turns out to be little girl Stuchberry? It would probably take me a hot minute to kind of go “well, okay, so who are you then?” because I’ve just gotten so used to the idea of my son being in there. Here’s hoping the ultrasound was accurate! Otherwise mama will be overnight shipping quite a few headbands and bows to go with all the boy onesies we have stocked up!

showing? LOL. Anyone who doesn’t think I’m pregnant when they see me by now would most likely get a death glare because that would mean I just look fat ;) - it’s a safe assumption at this point. But here’s the flipside, when people tell me my belly is still really tiny, I take offence to it – for some reason it feels like they’re telling me my baby is small, and I get all mama bear defensive. Hormones are weird.

belly button: that ol girl is really hanging onto being an inny still, which I appreciate. With all the changes my body is going through, good and bad, I really think my belly button being pushed out would be too much for me to handle. For now it’s very stretched and smooth, which is fun to stroke. However my old belly button piercing hole is SO itchy and red, it’s driving me crazy a little bit. It’s simmered down but about 2 weeks ago I couldn’t stop poking it trying to scratch the itch without scratching.

weight gained: Umm to be honest? More than I was supposed to :) . I just haven’t been one of those “can’t even tell from behind” pregnant ladies, and it’s honestly beyond my control. My body is doing what it wants to do, and so long as I’m indulging in more veggie soup than pizza, I just need to live and let live. My mom & sister are two of the leanest ladies I know, and they both did not have the “skinny girl pregnancy” so it’s not like I had false pretenses of what my own body was going to do. It’s just weight, it’s not going to be around forever. That’s not to say I love gaining weight – fuck no, but it is what it is. I’ll probably be around the 50 mark by the time I give birth, but lately it seems to all be belly which I’m more than fine with. But I won’t lie either, I cannot wait to get back to hard workouts and work this off. I miss burpees.


symptoms:  A very very sore pelvis (rolling over in bed can actually be excruciating if I go too fast), I am SO WARM all the time, my skin is crazy itchy from stretching, and gums that bleeed bleed bleed excessively. My second trimester was so freakin’ easy that it feels like it’s about time I had some discomfort – so long as the discomfort stays with me and babe stays happy & healthy in there. I am a fairly small person frame wise, so at this point it does feel like I have a bowling ball on me and the waddle is real, so I just take things slow and have really started to go easy on myself. I stopped exercising about 2 weeks ago because I was experiencing some possible early labor signs, so I’ll resume again at 37 weeks when I want him to come. I’ve even scouted out my friends with trampolines to get the ball rolling. I picked up a pelvis belt (finally!) so I can walk him out once maternity leave starts, without pain.

cravings:  oh, just the usual everything I’m not supposed to.. Pizza, Pasta, fried chicken, creamy & cheesy things.. cake.. sour candy..  I have been keeping it in check but also am not afraid to indulge every once in a while, if it’s really worth it. 

aversions: Not much really, at this point I’m into everything – especially carbs of the bread kind. Once baby comes I plan on cutting out dairy and gluten again for both of our tummies, so I’m making hay while the sun shines until then.

This week we have started referring to him by his name finally, and it feels like I’m getting to know bits of his personality while he’s still in there. For instance, his dad is a fidgeter. He cannot sit still, and he paces a room when he’s on the phone, or brushes his teeth. It drives me crazy. Well, on Sunday little bubba was moving his feet I would say 75% of the day. Crossing and uncrossing them, wiggling his toes and kicking alongside my belly. I kept laughing because I was honestly incredulous at how much he just kept playing with his feet in there and then it clicked – that’s what his dad does! Whenever we watch a movie or cuddle in bed, I’m constantly telling Jake to stop playing with his feet and he always goes “I can’t, I just have to move them”.. so, one more little clue that once this dude is with us, I will never sit down again.  Ohh I just can’t wait <3


Sunday, 27 January 2019

The Dry Run

Essentially, the dry run on how little you get to control, when a baby is coming into your life. If you know me, you know I’m a planner. I’m not a through and through type a lady, but I like a plan and I’m not someone you’d refer to as spontaneous- I don’t like last minute Plans unless they include.. a plan. 

Side story, when Jake and I started dating and we’d have plans to go out on a Saturday, I’d ask him “when should I be ready?” And he’d go, “mhm not sure, I’ll text you later on” and since I wanted him to think I was this easy breezy cool chick, I was all yea sure that sounds great - all the while my insides were burning and my skin was crawling from the lack of preparation. 

Anyway, it’s Friday night and my husband has gone to Vancouver for a golf trip with his buddies. He only went because Friday morning I felt great - as I have this entire pregnancy - and as much as I couldn’t give two shits less that it was his “last chance for a weekend away before baby” (hi, I’m selfish too - my “last weekend” was my bachelorette but yea babe, you go nuts), I knew he’s wanted to golf for literally months, so I was happy for him to get a trip away as he’s been working crazy long days. I went to bed around 9, but for the first time I had back pain and I’ve been very lucky to avoid this almost the whole pregnancy. It wasn’t unbearable, more just an annoyance to get comfortable. 

I get up around 1:45 for my #237th pee of the night, and this time there was something unusual accompanying my pee break; I won’t go into too much info for the men reading, but essentially I was concerned as it appeared I lost the plug that acts as a cork to my cervix & can signify incoming labor so I was sitting in the toilet going, weeelll shit. As it was the middle of the night so I couldn’t call any of my nurse friends, and google wouldn’t actually help me much, I phoned the 24 hour nurse line and got to speak with a nurse who confirmed that yea, you should go to the hospital to make sure pre-term labor isn’t happening - you can lose this plug up to a month before labor, but I’m still 8 weeks out. Of course. Of course my husband isn’t home and I need to go to the hospital now, at 2 am. Of course I need to phone and scare the shit out of my husband and ask him to “try not to freak out, but I’m getting ready to go to the hospital”. And of course he won’t let me drive there myself and I have to wake up my mom to come get me - who of course didn’t skip a beat and came and got me looking wonderful. 

So we get to the hospital, and as I’m getting admitted the receptionist (who was actually the real life version of this character, as it so happened), looked awful confused that my healthcare card didn’t match what was in their system. Due to the fact that I changed my name through the BC medical government, but not my actual physical ID. Why? Because I didn’t want to go apply for new cards while pregnant and have my weight on the card be my pregnancy weight - or my picture be my puffy pregnancy face, naturally. The whole reason I changed my name in the system was so that when I actually got admitted, my name at the hospital would be Stuchberry, and after all that they used my maiden name so everything would match. So, add that one to the list - change your ID before you do this for realsies and maybe bribe the person at the ICBC location to let you choose your own weight ;) 

So long story semi short, all is fine. I may have lost the “plug”,  but my cervix is not dilated, baby is not coming yet - good man knows I like early arrivals but even this is too early for me. Circle the block for a few more weeks little dude. However, it allowed me to see that despite my best efforts, even I can’t plan for the unknown of pregnancy and delivery. Our nursery is all but done, clothes are washed and put away, we’re “ready”, but I don’t have a bag packed.  Type A me has wanted to do it since 30 weeks, rational me was telling me not to be a psycho and wait until 36. My mom and I were joking that my dad would have had to go to my house at 3 am with a list I texted him to pack my hospital bag, and just what a shitshow it would have been to entrust him to pack my bag with all my perfect necessities when he’s a) color blind and b) pretty sure he doesn’t know what a scunchie is, and would probably have packed my texture spray and not dry shampoo because they look the same. In all fairness, Jake would have tried valiantly and failed as well. 

I have this vision that when I do go into labor, I will have a shower, wash my hair and body, maybe shave my ankles & armpits since that’s about all I can reach, do my hair, etc before making a leisurely trip to the hospital. & this was a reminder that basically, you don’t get to control how this little person comes into your world; you can plan as much as you’d like to but when the time comes, it may not be so glamorous. And you know what? I no longer care - I just want to meet my son happy & healthy at the end of whatever my labor story turns out to be. 



But you best believe I now have my preliminary bag packed.