Back to Work: I survived. It was one hell of a week, but I survived. 

This past Sunday my sweet baby turned one. A whole year old.

20139667_10154986041728370_7331730263422117822_n-e1502479272860.jpg

A year where the first 6 months felt never-ending as I navigated the unknowns of motherhood. And where the last 6 months felt like my entire life was flashed before my eyes, as I watched my boy learn, grow and develop into what would be a happy, hilarious and tiny toddler.

As I reflect on my year with Jack my heart hurts. There were so many moments I neglected to enjoy as I struggled with postpartum hormones and sleep deprivation. My heart also hurts because it’s beaming so much with love and pride, a hurt that can only be felt when you truly love someone more than yourself.

While sitting on my couch this Tuesday morning at 3 a.m. the memories from this year, both good and bad, flew through my mind like you expect your life to flash before death. Indeed, I felt like a piece of me was dying – more specifically, a piece of my heart. In only a few short hours I would be bringing my son, my one very true love besides my husband, to a facility –  leaving him in the arms of a stranger while I spend my day in a cubicle making money for The Man. My heart ached and I cried.

As if this wasn’t torturous enough – abandoning my baby – my mind also questioned how we would survive?

If you’ve talked to me about my son recently, you would probably know he doesn’t sleep. If you’re inside my close social circle, you’d know I haven’t slept longer than 2 hour stretches in the last 8 months. This is no exaggeration, and yes, we’ve tried pretty much everything. Returning to work meant not only giving up my necessary afternoon nap, but it also meant a stranger holding, consoling and rocking my baby as he struggled to sleep.

If you’ve talked to me recently, you’d know my husband and I are expecting our second child. Another little being, who we are elated to meet. If you’re inside my close social circle, you’d know I found out I was pregnant when my son was only 8 months old and I was battling some serious postpartum hormones. Returning to work meant putting myself another peg lower on the totem pole, and not fully healing before the arrival of our sweet baby bean.

If you talked to me this week, you’d know my first day back to work was an absolute shit-show. I began my day on 3.5 hours of sleep and ended it with a scene out of a horror movie – though now that I’ve healed, it seems more like a comedy show. I picked up Jack and we scurried home for dinner and snuggles. Not knowing exactly what he had eaten at daycare or how much he had eaten at daycare, I filled him with his favourite ravioli. Note to parents making this transition; ALWAYS ask your care provider when your child last ate and how much. When I picked Jack up out of his high chair, he instantly projectile vomited on my shoulder which went in my hair, down my shirt and made its way down my pants. In return, my disgusted and pregnant self couldn’t contain my dinner and joined him in emptying my tummy. Cue the dog –  who decided it was time for his dinner. Dave walked in to not one but two babies, crying on the bathroom floor, naked and covered in vomit…and a very happy dog.

It was then and there on that bathroom floor, after just one day of trying, I decided I wasn’t cut out for this whole working mom thing. I decided I wasn’t strong enough and I decided the only logical answer was to quit. If I quit I could continue to make home-cooked meals for my family,  take my naps,  fuel my son’s mind, grow my young bean, be a kick-ass wife for my husband and heal my very neglected soul.

As all these thoughts went through my mind, I remembered a feeling from that day I hadn’t felt in a year – the feeling of being a useful, intelligent, strong individual and woman. The feeling of being proud of myself for providing for my family, communicating as an adult, and inspired by things I’m passionate about (outside my family).

In reality, as hard as it is to crawl out of bed after a restless night of (no) sleep, drive my son to daycare and wave goodbye to him (and his tears) in the arms of kind and loving women, not all of this experience is bad . Parts of it are challenging while parts of it are refreshing – and I’m learning I’m capable of so much more than I’ve ever given myself credit for.

Although I’m only at the beginning of my short jaunt as a working mom (kudos to the mommies weeks, months and years into this journey), I’m quickly learning that with anything, balance is important and putting yourself first is priority. Moms are seriously wonder-women – but do you hear me here? Putting yourself first is priority. There will be days I’m going to call in sick because I need a day to calm my mind or play with my son, there will be days I’ll order takeout because I simply don’t feel like making dinner, there will be days Jack and Dave won’t have my full attention because my heart needs it more and there will be days, like this Tuesday, where I just want to quit.

Being a mom and a (pregnant) working mom is no easy feat. It takes time to adjust to new roles and routines but be kind to yourself, as I’m learning to do now. Life at home with Jack was hardly ever glamorous. We had our fun and I would jump back into that stay-at-home mom role in a heartbeat, but 5/5 days of the week Dave would always receive a subtle “when are you coming home” text when I was at the end of my rope. Neither being home with your kids all day or working full-time is glamorous.

Here’s a big (virgin daquori) cheers to you mommies, you bomb-ass-do-it-all-babes.  I’ll be taking notes from you as I dredge through this messy new chapter in my life and learn a whole new way to balance (I seriously was just getting the hang of having a kid).

 

Advertisements

Pregnancy Update: 37 Weeks

WE DID IT!

Well folks, we did it! Today officially marks 37 weeks pregnant and we’re in the safe zone for delivery. New bets have been placed on when I’ll deliver (officially due August 16) and all to-do tasks are done! We’re ready!

Baby Stats

Baby boy has been measuring a week ahead of schedule and weighs (approximately) just under 7 pounds. He’s expected to gain half a pound per week until his due date. With three weeks left this could put him in the eight and a half to nine pound range. Pray for me.

Highlight from the Week

Bed rest is officially over. With an okay from my doctor, I was able to fulfill my maid-of-honour duties for one of my closest friend’s wedding this past (hot, hot, hot) Saturday. Baby boy was a champ and allowed me to party hard until 9:30 p.m. WOO.

Annmarie was a beautiful bride and her wedding left not one dry eye in the house. We’ve been friends for the last 16 years and to watch her marry the man of her dreams was truly a blessing. 20160723_204132

Mama & Baby’s Health

Yesterday morning I happily told Dave I hadn’t reached the “I feel miserable” stage of the third trimester.  Well, I jinxed myself and my body laughed at me. Everything and I mean everything started to hurt come mid-afternoon.  Getting back on my feet after being off of them for 6 weeks has introduced some new aches and pains but it’s nothing a good bubble bath can’t fix.

Overall, Pork Chop is doing very well.  He’s grown a little reputation for himself at the hospital as “the swimmer” (we’ve become well known from all of our visits). He’s always moving and grooving, making it difficult at times to take proper measurements – but a moving baby is a happy baby.

Cravings

Bring me all the watermelon and white flesh peaches!

New Symptoms

I really struggled with insomnia during my first trimester and it seems to have come back in full swing. If I’m lucky, I’ll score about 4 combined hours of sleep (between the tossing and turning and frequent bathroom visits). Despite all that I seem to be keeping my sanity and making it through the days fairly well with only one power nap.

I’ve also been experiencing loss of appetite and a ton of pain in my hips. Thankfully I have a kick-ass (and should I add, incredibly handsome) husband, who has literally gone above and beyond anything I could have expected.

On Saturday he offered to follow me around in an air-conditioned car while we snapped pictures outside for my friends wedding. He brought Popsicles, snacks and frozen bottles of water to ensure baby and I were well hydrated, well fed and avoided the dangers of the heat. Bless him.

That’s all for now – I expect my next post will be our birth story – so stay tuned and stay cool!

Pregnancy Update: Week 24 – Viability

Women live by milestones in their pregnancy and this week is a big one – 24 weeks is when a baby is considered to be viable, meaning if it was born at this time it has a reasonable chance for survival. The baby’s rate for survival will continue to grow at 2-3% per day until week 27, as baby continues to pack on the pounds and develop organ maturity.

Baby Stats

At 24 weeks I feel and look pregnant. This belly has officially popped. At least once a week someone will tell me how big my belly is and how gigantic they think Pork Chop will be (thank you by the way, both Pork Chop and I are flattered). All joking aside, Pork Chop has been growing in leaps and bounds and as of Friday weighs 1 pound, 6 ounces and is a little over a foot in length.

IMG_20160426_095052 (1)

Left: 11 weeks  Right: 22 weeks 

 

Highlight from the Week

At 24 weeks I’m able to tell the difference between the magic of pregnancy gas and the baby moving. And let me tell you, this kid loves to move. Pork Chop has literally turned my uterus into a dance floor and is constantly wiggling and kicking about. Not only has Dave been able to feel Porky’s powerful punches but we can actually see the baby move when we lay in bed at night. The baby’s movement has quickly made me love being pregnant. Keep in mind, pregnancy is demanding both physically and emotionally, so this feeling can change on any given day.

Each and every time Pork Chop gives me a nice big kick in the bladder, my heart literally explodes into a million pieces. It’s these special moments that calm my anxiety and make everything worth it.

24weeks

Louie has become very attached to me lately and is obsessed with his baby.

 

Mama & Baby’s Health

The active movement of the baby has kept me on my toes and landed Pork Chop and I in the hospital on Monday. Being a first time Mom I’m really not sure what to expect in a pregnancy and with all the high risk testing Dave and I have been through, I’ve been on high alert. Last weekend after a very active week in my belly, Pork Chop decided to take a three day hiatus from dancing. This stop in movement also came with cramping and with that, a very worried Mama. Although a baby’s movement isn’t consistent until 28 weeks, a quick call to Labour and Delivery validated my concerns. As soon as I shared my symptoms with the hospital, I was told to immediately head to the hospital’s prenatal clinic.

When I arrived at the hospital I became so overwhelmed with worry and the lack of parking that I sobbed in my car. Wooo, hormones! Once I was able to collect myself, I made my way to the prenatal clinic and was immediately hooked up to monitors. All of our records were transferred over from our high risk doctor and genetic specialist, and within fifteen minutes, we could hear baby’s very regular heartbeat on the monitor. I was soon released but had to return a few days later for additional testing.

The doctor’s at the hospital we’ll be delivering at have decided they would like to continue to monitor the small amount of fluid in Pork Chop’s brain but told us their concerns are minimal.

Cravings

Peanut butter and chocolate. I seriously can’t get enough of it, guys.

New Symptoms

Overall, I’m feeling great which is a big change from the first trimester. My emotions have started to balance out (I think a big part of this is being released from high risk care) and my energy is coming back in full swing. Three to four times a week Dave and I will spend at least an hour walking around our neighbourhood or a park. It feels great to get back into a routine and have enough energy to make meals for my man.

One symptom that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon is my dislike for meat. Most days I still border on being a vegetarian. In this regard, Pork Chop does not live up to their name.

Oh, and, my innie is now an outie, hollaaa.

Baby Purchases

We’re trying to keep baby purchases minimal and based on necessity. Although we haven’t made any recent purchases, we did set up Pork Chop’s nursery this week which still needs some art. Once our baby’s gender is revealed – in a month (yay!) – I’ll be doing a whole feature on the nursery, so stay tuned!

 

On Choosing Happiness and Celebrating my Husband on His Birthday

Today, is April 22nd, my darling husband’s birthday. A day I obsessively try to perfect as I attempt to make each of his birthday’s better than the last.

When Dave and I first met, I questioned whether our relationship would be lasting. We are opposite and contrary forces – yet, he compliments me, balances me and interconnects with me in a way that creates harmony in our relationship.  Through heartache and through laughter, through life’s great lessons and through unexpected moments, through our triumphs and through our failures, being his wife will always be one of the greatest honours in my life.

To share my life with Dave is a continual ‘pinch me’ moment I never get tired of. Each morning I wake up to him, my heart swells with love. I fill with excitement as I soak in his brilliance, his company and his kindness. My heart oozes with adoration as he anticipates the arrival of our child. My mind is in awe at his incredible way of understanding and processing the world. He is truly one of a kind.

People have told me that I’m lucky to have found Dave. Without denying truth, there are days I do indeed feel lucky. However, acknowledging that Dave and I chose one another rather than found each other through luck is important.  We built our relationship on a foundation of hard lessons learned. Lessons that once tore our hearts apart at the hands of undeserving individuals. It was only through those lessons and learning from past mistakes that we would be able to open our hearts to one another.  We learned to value ourselves and only give each other away to a person willing to love the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly in us. We learned to pick and choose our battles and to always respect one another, even during our greatest disagreements. Falling in love with one another was a decision our hearts made, but  giving our best to each other and making a continuous effort to have our relationship work is a mindful choice we make each and every day.

Davey, today I celebrate you. The man you are, the professional you are, the kind, caring and selfless individual you are. I celebrate the days you make me frustrated and the days you make me fall hopelessly in love with you all over again. Today, I celebrate your compassion and your support. Your way of comforting me when I’m nearly inconsolable. I celebrate your optimism, especially when it relates to our pregnancy.  Davey, I celebrate your love for your family and the love you have extended to mine. I celebrate your brilliance and your love of learning. Your sense of humor and your laid back approach to every day life. But Davey, most of all, I celebrate that you chose me to celebrate your remaining birthdays with.

12440556_10153486054543370_5374559795314229667_o 12493489_10153490949398370_3815153185562273235_o 12419031_10153490949393370_6651226315793126058_o (1)

 

 

 

 

Happy birthday my darling. Though Dave’s Birthday-Fun-Day-Extravaganza will be a little less extravagant and a little more in tune with our current stage in life, I hope today makes you feel loved, honoured and celebrated.

All my love,

A

 

 

Reasons Why I Love Sunday

Sundays. You either love them or you hate them. They’re the wind down from the weekend and the amp up for the work week. For some Sunday is filled with dread of the week ahead but I have grown to love Sunday.  In between all the chaos of every day life, the chores and the commitments, the errands and the expectations,  Sunday becomes the perfect opportunity for unstructured family time.

Up with the sun and the birds, our Sundays usually begin before 7 A.M. With puppy’s head on my pillow and his feet in my darling husband’s face, I wake up and instantly know I’m where I’m meant to be. It’s those few moments in the morning that often become the most cherished moments of my day.

Reason #1 why I love Sunday: Waking up at home with my family. 

Although Sunday is a day for unstructured family time, it has also become a day of tradition. Since the early days of our relationship, Dave and I have loved treating ourselves to breakfast on a Sunday morning. There’s something about someone else making your breakfast and cleaning up the dishes that becomes the perfect way to start your day. Once we’ve sipped our final cup of bottomless coffee, we scurry home to grab the pooch and make our way to our next traditional Sunday spot.

By 9 a.m. on a Sunday you’ll find Dave and I walking the trails at our favourite park. A park my parents first introduced me to as a child when we used to spend our Sunday mornings together. I thank my parents for instilling my love of nature and zest for adventure. My deep rooted love of exploring is something I’ve been able to thankfully rub off on Davey.

“You know, when I used to think about what life would be like one day when I was a kid, I never thought I’d be walking trails with my pregnant wife and 10 pound dog in the early Sunday mornings. But I love this.

Reason #2 why I love Sunday: Living tradition. 

dAAVE AND LOUIE

Our mornings at the park allow Dave and I time to talk without our screens or gadgets. It’s an opportunity for us to reconnect with one another, listen to one another and truly hear one another. It’s also an opportunity to embrace our silly puppy in all his spunky glory.

Reason #3 why I love Sunday: Creating time for love and laughter. 

Louie - Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sundays belong to our family – our new, little and growing family, and our larger, love with all our hearts, made us who we are today family. It’s about creating meaningful moments that will get us through the sometimes difficult week we have waiting ahead.

Reason #4 why I love Sunday: Spending quality time with family. 

20160417_125409 20160417_125447

Sundays are for relaxing and feeding our hobbies. It’s a day for me to plan my weekly entries for my blog, for Dave to rule the world (an Civilization players out there?) and for us to get in some snuggles. A day to be mindful and grateful about the blessings we have in our life.

Reason #5 why I love Sunday: Cuddling my sleepy pup (thanks to the big morning at the park). 

20160417_144204

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its a day for me to binge-watch my favourite teeny-bopper TV shows – currently hooked on Pretty Little Liars, cover our bed with clean sheets and fill our fridge with home made nutritious meals for the busy week ahead.

Sunday is about calming my mind and healing my soul.  Before I learned to go-with-the-flow of a Sunday, I also used to dread them by overwhelming myself with chores, errands and to-do’s. By focusing my time and attention on the important things in my intimidate world, I’ve been able to find balance between creating memories and managing our home.

This morning is Monday and I started my day but spilling an entire blender full of the banana chocolate peanut butter smoothie I had been craving on the kitchen floor. Remember my cute and spunky pooch? Well he got a stain on our brand new couch. And my husband was unable to zip me into my favourite dress.

Thank goodness for Sunday.

 

What do your Sundays look like?

 

 

 

 

Managing Guilt as a Working Mom

Empowering Woman: Ana

As a working mom I feel like there is always this guilt of leaving your baby to go to work.  As much as you might love your job, there is no love like the one for your son/daughter. While I was on maternity leave I honestly couldn’t wait to get back to work and my “normal” life.  I thought I wouldn’t miss my daughter that much, after all my mom was the one that would be babysitting.  Boy was I wrong!

The first couple of weeks after I returned to work were great! I felt like the “old me”. I missed my daughter but I knew she was in good hands at home with my mom.  I received a few pictures and videos throughout the day and I was fine.  Fast forward to 3 weeks after maternity leave and one day it just hit me out of nowhere.  I missed my daughter so much, I felt so guilty and nearly wanted to cry.  I just wanted to go home to her and hug her and kiss her.  But I couldn’t, because you know, I had to be an adult.  Ever since that day I have this constant guilt that I am not sure it will ever go away. Every time I leave to work, I know I do it to keep sane, but also because I want to provide a better life for my daughter.  It is a crazy concept.

Like I said before, I am blessed that my mom is able to care for my daughter.  There really is nobody else I would trust. In the beginning I remember having to tell my mom how Cami liked being held, how she liked being rocked to sleep, her schedule, etc… But now, she is the one that has to tell me how to be with my daughter. It breaks my heart. It is only natural tho, Cami spends most of her time at grandma’s. When she gets home its play time, nap time, bath time and her night time routine to get to bed.  My time with Cami is so limited. So even on days when I get to workout, ugh, it is hard! I feel like such a bad mom or even selfish for taking time away from her.

So there is this love/hate battle I have within me about loving and hating how much Cami loves spending time with grandma.  Sometimes feeling like I am not enough.  What if she doesn’t realize that I am her mother?  What if she thinks that my mom is her mom? Does she feel more comfort in my mom’s arms? Man, am I the only one that feels this way? Am I bad daughter for feeling this way? I don’t know. I would so love to be able to stay home with Cami every day and not have to worry about leaving her, or wonder if she knows who I am.  But that is just not possible for our family at the moment.  Although, I was able to move my work schedule around and reduce the amount of hours I work, I feel like it is just not enough.

Then there is the issue about how my husband and I want to raise her vs. how my parents would want to do things.  Obviously, they are the grandparents so they want to spoil her. So having to tell my parents to not do this or that, or do things a certain way is not the most pleasant thing. They have more experience at parenting than us, yes, but Cami is ours and sometimes having different parenting styles can be difficult. Having to say “no” to mom and dad is hard, especially when she is spending most of her time with them. However, I know my parents try, for the most part, to do things the way we ask, and it is so appreciated.

 

I realize that all these feelings I have may be normal.  I just never expected to feel this way. Deep down I know Cami knows I am her mother and loves me. She is just  growing so fast and I just hope to be able to experience all her firsts. I am very grateful to have such a loving and caring family that support us in every way possible, and that Cami will grow surrounded by so much love!

About Ana: 

Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

Hi there! My name is Ana, I am a 26 year old first time mama to a baby girl.  In my blog, The Blushing Mama, I talk about my experiences as a first time working mama, as well as health and fitness.  I love my job as a Paralegal, but most of all I love being a mama! In my down time I love spending time with my family discovering new places, working out and hey why not, catching up on some Netflix. The Blushing Mama is dedicated to my fellow mamas and women in hopes of creating a positive space to support and encourage each other in this crazy amazing life.

Stay Connected!

Website: http://theblushingmama.com

http://facebook.com/theblushingmama

http://twitter.com/theblushingmama

http://instagram.com/blushingmama

I’m Happy We Lived Together First

Living with a partner before marriage was something that was never on the table for me. Sticking to my good Catholic roots, I wanted a ring on my finger and an ‘I do’ before snugging in under one roof with my potential husband.

Then I met him.

 

11950229_10153254346748370_2023321734804309702_o First date – Circa October 2011

 He was charming, he was lovely and he was trustworthy. He was also adamant about living together before giving me my ‘say yes to the dress’ moment. I struggled with the idea of tossing my life vision out the window and compromising on my (and my famiy’s) beliefs. However, as we approach almost six months of married life – I’m so happy we lived together first.

2014-12-13-21.32.43-768x1024Engaged.

 Many couples seem to agree that the first year of marriage is the hardest. Coming out of your post-wedding bliss you are quickly thrown into a reality of combined finances, sharing personal space and learning each others good – or bad – habits around the clock. Marriage is all about compromise and as much as you try to sort out the kinks of significant compromises before getting hitched, they will constantly be thrown at you in all directions.

 How do we split the mortgage?

Who pays the utilities?

How do we decide on a fair and managed spending budget?

How do we split time between our families?

How much time do we spend with friends?

Who unloads the dishwasher?

The list goes on and on.

In shacking up with my husband while he was still my (serious) boyfriend we were able to settle out many of those kinks before tying the knot. And let me tell you – that year was hard. Between living together for the first time, adopting our first puppy, planning our wedding, dealing with family illnesses, and purchasing our first home, I’m surprised we made it to the alter still sane. We learned so much about each other and we able to sort out many of the unknowns many couples face in their first year of marriage.

We rented for a year to sort out our needs and wants: emotionally, financially and socially.

To even my surprise, we learned I’m a neat freak – so my husband has learned that leaving half-full cans of pop on the table, which the dog loves to knock over, is a big no-no.

We learned we love low key nights in, and like to dedicate certain days of the week towards time spent with family and friends.

We learned how to grocery shop and manage our budget.

We learned to give each other personal space to do the things we love.

We learned how to coexist and love each other for our quirks rather than resent them.

We learned that we for sure, most definitely, without a doubt want to spend the rest of our lives together.

I’m not saying this isn’t possible to figure out without living together first. What I am saying however is  my change of mind and acceptance to a different approach to marriage really worked in our favour.

We’ve been being married for a little over 5 months now and are a little over 4 months pregnant. I can’t begin to imagine jumping into a pregnancy so quickly after marriage if we hadn’t experienced our unwed year of living together. Especially as we face the ups and downs of genetic testing. I’m not sure we could handle our current situation quite so well.  Instead, our relationship is the strongest its ever been. The love I have for my husband has multipled in ways I could have never imagined. Paying a mortgage, blanacing work and family life, keeping house – they’re all part of a routine we’ve already figured out. Now, we just manage the unexpected things life is throws at us.

12465997_10153490952643370_2440820475165753421_oWedding – October 2015

 Although I’m sure my parents would have preferred we did things the old fashioned way, and although I’ll want to ensure my children understand the old school  type of respect to put into a relationship – I’m able to now appreciate the modern relationship.

At the end of the day a relationship is about understanding your partner’s point of view and making healthy compromises to make the relationship work. My husband understood and appreciated my perspective, while I understood and appreciated his. The combination of the two made for a comfortable experience where we both learned valuable things about ourselves and each other. I wouldn’t trade that unwed year for the world and truly believe it led to the success of our first year of marriage (thus far).

Did you live with your partner before getting married? Are you against it? Join in on the conversation!