Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guest Post: A Dream Vacation - by Me

Okay so this really isn’t a guest post since I’m writing it, but it’s my blog so I make the rules, and since I’m still on vacation this counts. I’m here to share with you the last part of our mini-series on what we take for granted about pregnancy. I’m here to write about the birth process.

 A Dream Vacation
When we see those two blue lines on a stick we expect magic for the next 9 months and to be holding our little one in our arms and taking them home to the room we’ve prepared for them and introduce them to their home, and have them introduce us to the new life we’ll be living. But for so many we’ve met that doesn’t seem to be the natural progression. Yes we get to take our babies home; not a few hours later, but sometimes a few months.  

The first time I went into labour it was not a happy occasion. It was a moment of panic when we realized that we could be meeting our son 11 weeks earlier than we should be. We didn’t get to pace the floor and try and bring labour on; we got an ambulance ride to the best hospital in the province for preemie care. We didn’t see joy on the nurse’s faces; we saw compassion for the situation we might be in, and concern over whether we could do anything to stop it. We did, and we made it another 3 weeks.

I had been in labour for over a day when my water broke. We had been rushed to Brampton with lights and sirens going on the ambulance in hopes that we would make it on time to stop things, and we thought we had. We were moved on to the ward after a night in L&D triage, and they thought we had things under control. And then my water broke. No going back from there, so we were moved to L&D again, and hooked up to machines, and got the meds going to bring labour on faster. Not at all the birth plan we had in mind. We were excited to meet our son in a few hours, but more concerned for how developed he would be, and what hurdles we would have ahead. The doctor kept checking in not so much to see how we were doing, but to see how long the NICU had until they were needed in our room. Delivery became more about his health then about his entry, and even though I was able to hold him for a moment, a moment is all I got before he was taken to the NICU to be set up for treatment. Not what I as a first time mom had envisioned when I saw  those two blue lines and dreamed about what the next 9 months held.

For Brian and I that dream was like a dream vacation in comparison to what we were living. We spent 33 days in the NICU praying for the day we could bring Grayson home. We spent 33 days waiting, not 33 hours.

So many of our friends make it to 40 weeks, go to the hospital and a day later bring home their baby. To be honest I dream of what life would have been like if we had that. I have had friends comment that they would love to have been able to sleep through the night like I did; I ask them if they want the hotel bed I slept in and their son in the NICU. They want the sleep but not the situation. And to be honest they were not well rested sleeps. We were always on guard for the phone to ring to tell us they needed us back by Grayson’s side.

There are only a select few who see waking up 10 times in the middle of the night to sooth a screaming newborn as the dream vacation we do. When you give up sleep to hold your child’s hand while a machine is breathing for them perspective changes. I would have woken up every hour to be able to hold and nurse my son, but instead had days when all I could do was rub his back; no snuggles, not even allowed out of his incubator.
There are blessings of the NICU; the knowledge of your little one, the few extra hours of sleep, the bond you create with your spouse before the baby comes home. But the blessings don't outweigh the negatives, they just make it a bit more bearable.
Please don’t take the sleepless nights for granted, the limitless snuggles, the bond you create those first days. Some mom’s don’t get that and some babies don’t get that. And if you’re where I was, know that you’re not alone.

I will never count my time in the NICU as wasted time, we got bonus time. We got an extra two months of loving our son on the outside and I would never trade that. I look forward to being able to just bring home our next babE if that's what's in store for us, but if the NICU is our home for a few more weeks I will gladly live there. I will never take our journey for granted.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guest Post : The Things We Lose For The Gain - Lovely Margaret

While in the NICU our paediatric cardiologist commented that so many people take pregnancy and birth for granted. This has resounded in my head for months and I thought while I was away on vacation I wold take this time to introduce you to the other side of pregnancy and to women who wish they could take the process for granted.
If you're going through a battle similar to these wonderful women, know your not alone. And if you're blessed enough to have breezed throgh pregnancy, I hope you stop and thank God for your blessings.
Margaret is a friend I made while on bedrest. She understands how hard it is to be on bedrest. She’s here to give her perspective on how we take pregnancy for granted. She did her time on bedrest and was blessed enough to make it to the end and have a healthy little one who drives her a bit crazy these days.
I admit last July I thought that the next 9 months would easy and fly by and G would be here hassle free. I however have seen the other side, and will again should we choose to have more little babE's running arond.
Enjoy this post and check out more from Margaret at The Good The Bad & The Family

The Things We Lose For The Gain
 Everyone knows that when you chose to become a parent, you will begin to live a life of sacrifice.  You know that from here on you will give up things you enjoyed for the sake of your little one- gladly.  To many expectant moms they view this change effective the moment they become pregnant.  The average pregnant woman starts right away by sacrificing her body and the lifestyle she previously lead.  She surrenders to morning sickness, doctor’s appointments, expanding pants, swelling ankles, frequent bathroom trips, no drinking or smoking, and at the end the inability to get a good night’s sleep.  But all the while, these are the things we all expected right?  So to a certain extent, they hold a bit of charm and excitement!  Okay- maybe not the morning sickness!
But what happens when the sacrifice becomes so much more than you expected during your pregnancy? 

Each year thousands of expectant moms end up on bed rest for some reason or another.  The length of bed rest varies from a day or two to months at a time.  Some women experience bed rest in the comfort of their homes while others endure hospital bed rest which is isolating but necessary to monitor their high risk pregnancy and ensure baby’s safe delivery.  These mom’s are ahead of the curve when it comes to sacrificing for their babies.  Bed rest requires an amount of physical, mental, and emotional sacrifice that the average expectant mother can’t comprehend.

Bed rest mother’s go through a variety of challenges and sacrifices to ensure a safe delivery as close to their due date as possible.  This ranges from the little things like shopping for maternity clothes to much larger things like the loss of their jobs.  It stretches the expectant mother beyond her normal mental capacity and can be an extreme emotional roller coaster the likes of which she had never prepared for.
While the average expectant mother is enjoying the normal trappings of pregnancy like shopping for maternity clothes, having people ask when you’re due, and learning to navigate things like cooking with your ever growing belly the experience is quite different for bed rest moms.  Shopping for maternity clothes is done online without a dressing room to ensure a good fit.  Additionally, bed rest moms don’t shop for style as much as they do for comfort since they are laying down all day and there is no one to impress at your house or in your hospital room!  Also, no one really asks you how far along you are since the only people you interact with are aware of your situation or are holding a chart with your information in it.  And if you’re lucky enough to make it to 36 weeks and be released to normal activity you have lost your learning curve and that big belly is a pain to navigate all of the sudden!  Trust me!  After 23 weeks of bed rest I burnt my belly twice at 36 weeks trying to cook once I came of bed rest!

Then there are the bigger sacrifices.  Quite often when women end up on bed rest for any period of time, they must struggle with employers and paperwork to utilize FMLA benefits.  If the federally regulated 12 weeks of FMLA does cover your bed rest period, it may end up cutting into maternity leave.  So this leaves the expectant parents in a bit of a crunch trying to figure out how to keep mom’s job while still being able to spend as much time with baby as possible after all that hard work to get him or her here safely.  Then there are cases where the 12 weeks of FMLA is exhausted and the employer cannot hold mom’s position until she delivers.  Many bed rest moms find themselves in a position where they don’t qualify for unemployment benefits because they are not physically available to work yet they also don’t qualify for disability benefits because they won’t be disabled for more than a year.  Therefore income is cut off at the worst time for mom.  This is a stress that no expectant mom foresees.

Then there’s your overall mental state when bed rest occurs.  While our healthy counterparts are shopping for the nursery, going to birthing classes, and having their baby showers, bed rest moms are enduring a period of isolation the likes of which they haven’t known before.  This can drain a mommy to be of her joy on the weeks or months leading up to the birth of her baby.  Bed rest moms are also saddled with the fact that their baby is in a fight for its life every day.  In my case, I hemorrhaged at 13 weeks gestation and was on bed rest from that moment until delivery.  My husband and I waited each and every day to see what my body would do and if our baby would make it.  There was also the added stress that if I hemorrhaged again, that I could also die.  It wasn’t until 36 weeks gestation that we realized that this baby could come safely and that we should really start preparing for him.  For the past 23 weeks we had prepared for trips to the NICU and figured we’d set up for baby before he came home.  We, and every other bed rest parents, were guarded.  You don’t allow yourself to attach to the pregnancy in case the worst happens.  And truthfully we didn’t really allow ourselves to really digest that we were going to take a baby home until I delivered safely!  It’s this fear coupled with the isolation that leads many bed rest mommies to gestational and post partum depression.
Yes, bed rest is a challenge that no one can really fully understand but ask any mother who endured bed rest and delivered a healthy baby if she’d do it again and she will tell you yes.  The thing that we bed rest moms share with any other pregnant woman is the instant love that happens when you see your baby for the very first time.  That baby is worth every moment of sacrifice.  So if you are a healthy expectant mommy, enjoy every day of your pregnancy.  It is a gift.  Swollen ankles, morning sickness and all!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Guest Post: My Wish for the Fertile Community - Lovely Amber

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Guest Post: Change - by the lovely Amanda

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Guest Posts

Well we are off to one of the  most beautiful places on earth. We're off to Ernst Island for the week to enjoy some time as a family and start some now family tradiditons.
I will be spending most of my days sitting here:

looking at this view:

and possibly catching up on some blogging ideas that I've had for months.

I hope that you all have a great week and enjoy the  guest posts this week from some wonderful ladies.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

One Year Later

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Monday, July 04, 2011

He can tell time!

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Adding to a Ritual

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