A couple weeks ago, I asked you girls on IG Stories if you had any questions about pregnancy and more specifically my pregnancy. I said anything goes so today I’m not holding back from answering it all.
I’ve been pretty open about my pregnancy journey over the last (almost) nine months; it’s been a journey, at that, and not what I expected. It hasn’t really been a glowing time in my life, but I’m thankful we are having a baby! Now at 38 weeks, we are so close and I’m ready to just meet him! Let’s jump into the Q’s…
How many doctor appointments do you go to? Want to save my vacay days.
At first, it doesn’t seem like a ton, but they start to add up in the third trimester. There is an initial visit to your doctor around 6 weeks to confirm your pregnancy (+ an ultrasound if you tell them you don’t know the first day of your last period). Then there may be an ultrasound at 8 weeks and again at 12 weeks. Now you’re into your second trimester and you will see your Doctor once a month, so that’s three more visits, and you will likely be referred to an Obstetrician (OB) before the second trimester is over. There is a glucose test you must do in the second trimester, which requires bloodwork; if all goes well, you’re good, if not, you’ll have to go back for another one of these as they are checking for gestational diabetes. There is another ultrasound around 20 weeks (where you can often find out the gender). Once you meet your OB, you’ll see them instead of your family doctor once a month. When you get to month seven of your pregnancy, appointments become more frequent at every other week. In your final month (me now), you see your OB weekly to check in.
Since I had to log my hours for my appointments for work, it’s been over 40 hours in just appointments, but that included travel time. This also included a few extra appointments for me though, so this is just a rough estimate. Another thing to note is that if you end up having a high risk pregnancy (this can be for a multitude of reasons, and can be quite common), you will have more appointments.
How did you find a Midwife or Doula?
I found my Doula through a referral from a friend. I highly recommend this route. There is also a difference between the two:
A Midwife is someone who can medically deliver a baby, they are often in replacement of a Doctor/OB. In Ontario, Canada, you can choose one or the other and our health care will cover the cost.
A Doula is a support person to the mother (and father) to-be and someone you would have in addition to your Doctor/OB; also someone you pay for separately.
It is ideal to reach out to anyone you are considering within the first three months of your pregnancy. I had initially wanted a certain Doula that was recommended to me by a friend, and when I reached out around 10 weeks pregnant, she had just booked someone with the same due date and could not take us. She offered a few recommendations, and from there I met with a few Doulas and chose the best fit.
If you don’t know anyone who has used a Midwife or Doula before, google various birth and Doula centres in your city. Often they have open houses where you can go in and meet them, or simply call and set up an appointment. Ideally, you would meet with more than one person to get a feel for them and if you’re matched well. That said, it seems like all the women in this field are very warm and compassionate; I don’t think you choose this profession if you don’t enjoy helping people.
Also, choosing your birth person, whether it’s a Doctor/OB or Midwife is so personal. There are also many places you can choose to give birth; be it a hospital, birth centre, at home, etc. If you’re going the Midwife route, you do have more options for your birth. I knew I wanted to be in a hospital, with a Doctor, but I also knew that I wanted that emotional support person in a Doula, aside from just my husband, not only to help me, but to relieve him at times and prepare us together. If you’re considering a Midwife in lieu of a Doctor/OB, I would highly recommend the documentary The Business of Being Born. While it’s not totally my path, it was a really cool and eye opening movie (it is very pro-midwifery, though, so keep that in mind).
Also, did you know you can choose your OB? This was a tip given to me by a friend when I first got pregnant. She recommended a few Doctors and I read up on them and others on Rate MDS to choose. I then asked my Family Doctor to refer me to said OB (which also dictates the hospital you’ll deliver at). Another thing to keep in mind is that only a small percentage of women have their own OB at the delivery–it’s often a colleague in the same office, however, all your appointments will be with said OB. I’ve found a ton of comfort is seeing someone who is so warm, compassionate and who really listens. Again, this isn’t something you have to do, but if you have a referral for someone great or just want to ensure it feels like a good fit, it’s an option you can easily do.
Any stretch marks you’ve noticed & what have you been applying to avoid scars?
I’m 38 weeks now and have tried to be diligent about applying a cream or oil on a daily basis–so far, no stretch marks, but I’ve also heard they can appear in the last few weeks too. Another thing to note is genetics and how much weight you gain (to be honest, I’ve gained more than I thought/hoped I would, but it is what it is); there are so many factors at play. I also have stretch marks on other areas of my body, so I know I could be prone to them.
As for lotions, I’ve been using this Live Clean lotion that spreads easily and like all lotions I used pre-pregnancy, doesn’t have parabens or sulphates (and it’s very budget friendly). I also read that rosehip oil is the only oil molecule that can really penetrate into the smallest cells of the skin to moisturize, so I’ve been alternating between that and the cream. This is the rosehip oil I buy for my face, so have been using the same for my belly.
Someone once told me long before I was ever pregnant that it’s not only important to use creams, but to also hydrate from the inside out, ie. drink lots of water. I’ll be honest, my water intake has definitely decreased since pre-pregnancy, but I’ve been trying to get fluids in as much as possible. Pregnancy is a weird thing, and sometimes water is the last thing you want to drink; in this case, I’ve mixed my juice with water when I’m up for it, or just said F it.
What is your fave part about being preggo?
Feeling him moving around all the time now & the excitement of others around us.
Are you off work yet or working right up until your due date?
I’ve been off work since early December, thankfully. I had planned to work till mid-December, but that’s proven too difficult. Fortunately I was able to work from home for the last month or so, which was a huge blessing.
I know you’re having a boy, but would you have preferred a girl?
Ah! The million dollar question, haha. Obviously it goes without saying, but a healthy baby is truly what matters most to both of us. That said…
Leading up to the reveal, all (silly/old wives tales) signs were pointing to a girl. Fast heartbeat at every ultrasound, Chinese gender reveal, the ring test, overall ‘symptoms’–but again, there is no true way to tell without an ultrasound or blood test. However, even the majority of our family and friends were saying girl.
I have always pictured myself having a girl, and Marco was definitely team boy. We threw a fun gender reveal party where we found out with our friends and family what we were having, and I was so shocked when it turned out to be a boy! I think all the hype around it “probably being a girl” had somehow made me think it was–even Marco told me after that he was convinced it was going to be a girl, and was so surprised when he hit the exploding golf ball and it was blue (you can watch the video here)!
The best part of all of this though, has been Marco’s reaction and excitement about having a son. The tears in his eyes when he learned it was a boy, the happiness on his face in the days and months that have followed and just his overall excitement about this baby has made me also so excited to be a boy mom. While I would love to have a girl someday (if it’s meant to be), I cannot wait to see this little guy and dress him in allllll the camo and beanies, haha! Plus everyone says that boys love their mom’s like no other, which I love the sound of!
Do you have a name picked out?
We have a short list! We are debating between two names, as of this week (before we had five), so I think it will be a game-time decision when we see him. We love both names, but are going to keep it a surprise until he’s here.
What has surprised you the most about being pregnant?
Jokes aside, I truly thought pregnancy was going to be… easy for me. Laughing in my face now, hard. This was so not the case.
I thought that because I was in pretty good health, ate fairly well, exercised regularly, was used to being busy (just regular life plus things I enjoy/always keeping busy, by choice), etc. that pregnancy wouldn’t really affect my day-to-day. I thought I’d be eating my salads, going to the gym & living my (mostly) regular life.
So so soooo wrong!
It’s been a complete 180 degree shift to what life was like before, and that’s been a huge and difficult adjustment. An adjustment that I’ve just had to accept and try to take in stride. Yikes.
From six weeks, like clockwork, nausea hit me and lasted through week 23 or so; with the odd day here and there that followed if I exerted myself too much in a previous day. The nausea wasn’t just in the morning either, oh no, it was all day long and it was miserable. Even on medication, which takes the edge off, doesn’t cure it. Throw in the craziness tiredness of the first trimester, which got better in the second but was still there. I would come home from work, shuffle upstairs and spend my evenings in bed. I’d watch tv in bed, eat dinner in bed and pass out by 9pm. Usually a night owl, I would barely stay up and yet at the same time would be counting down the hours till I could go to sleep because I felt so awful.
And back to the part about working out and eating salads? Yeah no. All of a sudden my normal diet of daily salads for lunch became the grossest idea in the world–my colleagues were in shock when they’d see me mowing down on salty chips, poutine, cereal and anything I could stomach to get me through the day that wasn’t my daily greens. As for working out, that quickly became out of the question and early on. I remember the day before I found out I was pregnant, I was at the gym doing a usual workout thinking, ‘Damn, this feels extra hard today, but it’s my ‘easiest’ workout’–I took a pregnancy test the next day and quickly realized my body was working in overdrive building a baby! No wonder the workout felt harder than usual. Shortly after that, the nausea kicked in and just walking around the house was enough to make me run to the bathroom, so going to the gym was something I just could not manage.
Aside from this, the comments people make about your body as it grows are very… abrupt, and can come off as harsh (and hard to swallow). You’re navigating this ‘glowing’ time in your life (which maybe doesn’t feel very glowy) and now you have strangers or even the closest people to you, commenting that you look huge for such an early month or whatever it may be. Combined with soaring hormones, and just taking everything in, it can be a lot. It’s a wild ride!
I’m really, really thankful we were able to get pregnant and do this. It’s been a journey, and I wanted to be honest about it. Before being pregnant, despite having friends and family who went through similar difficulties, for some reason I thought pregnancy was still kind of… glamourous. If that makes sense? It always looked so beautiful, I never truly considered it to be any different, but alas it’s not easy for everyone and turns out I’m one of those people.
Very early early in my pregnancy, when I was incredibly sick and just feeling miserable, my Dad shared some wise words that I’ve carried with me throughout this time. He said, ‘You just have to be patient with your body’. If this pregnancy has taught me anything, it’s definitely been patience for my body, and I think it was a lesson I had to learn to be better prepared for what’s to come.
Do you have a theme for the nursery? Will you show us?
Kind of… It’s very neutral, minimalistic, boho and warm. The colours are beige, white and gold, mostly, with natural accents like wood, a textured rug & woven laundry basket. I wanted the room to feel inviting, calm and warm but not cluttered and nor like a typical baby room.
I will definitely share photos; it’s almost done (yay!). My parents came by this week to help hang some artwork and have spent so much time helping us bring it all together. We picked up our rocking chair this week so I’m excited to get that in there, style the room a little and then share photos.
How long did it take you to get pregnant? Don’t know if that’s TMI, but my husband and I are trying.
I kind of hate to answer this question because I know it’s not going to be the response so many people want to hear. I know there are so many people who struggle in this realm, and you never know what your path will look like until you start trying, and I want to be sensitive to that. We were really, really lucky to get pregnant right away–we were totally shocked, to be honest.
I went off birth control at the beginning of the year, and we said we would start trying in April. I’m due at the end of the year.
That said, I was monitoring my cycle (which was regular almost instantly coming off birth control, which really surprised me; my teenage PMS and cramps came back with a vengeance) and using the P Tracker app that a friend recommended. I was mostly using it to not get pregnant in the first three months of the year; if your cycle is regular, it will tell you when you’re ovulation window is.
This is a great podcast if you’re considering having children in the future or even trying right now. It really breaks the barrier between the idea of getting pregnant and actually getting pregnant.
What’s been your favourite and worst experience with pregnancy?
Favourite experience… a few moments really stand out, but one that is in the forefront of my mind: I was in my second trimester and having an emotional moment one evening about being pregnant, how awful I’d been feeling and just general fear. Marco was comforting me and then turned to me and said how excited he is to meet the baby. It was so genuine, sweet and truly what I needed to shift my perspective. That and the smile on his face when he woke up the day after the gender reveal.
Ultrasounds have been so special too, Marco came with me to the first three and we just were shook after all of them. I think it’s still a little surreal that there is going to be a baby in our home soon!
Other heart-full type experiences include telling our friends and family, the gender reveal party, my baby showers, our babymoon, and the endless support, excitement and well wishes from people we love. Sounds cheesy but being surrounded by positivity has been the biggest comfort.
Worst experience has been how crappy I’ve felt pretty much on the daily. Whether I’m physically ill or emotionally struggling, almost every single day of this pregnancy has come with challenges.
Do you have a birth plan?
I have a loose birth plan and am just trying to go into this with an open mind & motto of, whatever happens, happens. I definitely have preferences but know I can’t control this, so, will just try my best to go with the flow.
Any weird interactions with strangers?
Yes! I will say, mostly people see a pregnant woman and are very excited and congratulatory. It’s so kind when people ask when I’m due, if I know what I’m having and just general cheerfulness. We went to our friends’ wedding in August and were sat with three couples, who all had children, and the women were all so warm and kind, offering the sweetest words of encouragement and advice. Generally, I think people just love a pregnant woman, which is so nice.
That said, there are two stand-out experiences that make me laugh with strangers:
One was about a month ago, I was leaving my OB’s office and just felt exhausted. I got into the elevator and this crusty woman got on too. She eyed me up and down with a dirty look and while staring at my belly said, ‘Oh, that’s definitely a girl’. I happily retorted back, ‘Nope, it’s a boy!’. It was such a weird interaction because she seemed so grumpy but then quickly turned nice… and then the elevator opened and I got off.
The other experience was truly so sweet and memorable (and kind of weird). I was in my first trimester and just miserably sick. I was on my way home from work one evening and knew that the only thing I could stomach for dinner was cereal–something we didn’t currently have in the house. Stopping at the store seemed like an unfathomable thing, but I pushed myself because I needed to. Naturally I went in for cereal and ended up with my arms full of groceries, and didn’t take a cart. I was on the last aisle (looking and feeling like death) and shuffling past this man in his late 50’s. He saw me and expressed this concern look on his face and said, ‘Are you okay? You don’t look so good.’ I thanked him and told him I was newly pregnant and feeling pretty rough, but that I was okay. He turned to a puddle of mush and started telling me about his three, adult, children and how the time has just gone so fast but how it’s been the best experience he’s ever had. He then wrapped his arms around me as I stood there, unable to reciprocate the hug because I’m balancing cereal, eggs, milk and whatever else in my arms, and just accepted it. LOL! I know this might sound incredibly creepy, but it didn’t feel that way in the moment for some reason, he was genuinely just trying to comfort another human. It was very sweet, and kind of exactly what I needed.
I hope you girls enjoyed this raw Q&A. I hope this was helpful if you’re having a similar experience, informative or entertaining at the very least. Have a great day and I’ll be back soon xo