Things No One Tells You :: Babies

This is my final installment in the “Things No One Tells You” series (you can read the others here and here). This time its about babies, and if you’re thinking “oh man here’s another long rant/list” you can relax, thankfully, people never fail to tell you endless amounts of information about babies (even when you don’t want it). So here I go, throwing more information at you, unsolicited.

Things No One Tells You:

Soft Indicators on your Ultrasound. I’m not a doctor, but I’m going to try my best to give you the simplest explanation I can. At our 20 week ultrasound, they identified a “soft indicator” or a spot on the heart. This is likely a hole in the heart (which is very common at this stage, and will likely close up). The doctor asked us to come in and explained this to us. The first thing she said was “I am legally required to tell you this, otherwise I would not. In my experience this is usually not an issue, so don’t stress out about it”.

things no one tells
Our 1st ultrasound was hunky dory

What they are looking for are indicators of a genetic disorder (most commonly, Down Syndrome). This particular indicator was considered a “soft” indicator; basically there needs to be other indicators for this one to be taken seriously. I had initially said no to some blood tests at the beginning of my pregnancy, because the doctor explained there are a lot of false positives and it wasn’t worth the stress unless I was willing to put a giant needle into my belly for the 2nd set of tests (which I was not).

This day was the last day we could do the test. We opted to do it, not so we could terminate the pregnancy based on the results, but so we could prepare ourselves better for the future. (If you did terminate a pregnancy based on these tests, no judgement, everyone is different and every situation is different). The doctor scheduled us for another ultrasound a few weeks later and the test results came back fine.

That day was stressful, and it took mentioning it to a few friends before things no one tellswe realized how common this is. You probably know someone who has experienced this exact scenario, and all turned out well. This would have been a nice thing to know about ultrasounds prior to having one. Rather than the usual pseudoscience of gender guessing based on the location of the placenta.

As it turns out, many doctors are pushing to be able to withold this information unless there are more than one indicator, citing that the stress is harmful and the extra testing is a burden on the system, given the low rates of actual diagnoses compared to the high number of ultrasounds with “soft indicators”. So don’t panic and definitely don’t google this when you get home from the doctor’s office.

Benign Neonatal Sleep Myoclonus. This is the fancy term for this absolutely terrifying thing your baby might do. But guess what? It’s common and its not an issue. If you do a search of this, there are THOUSANDS of posts of panicked mothers looking for direction.

Here’s what it is, in simpleton: While nursing Callahan, he was falling asleep and he started shaking. Initially it looked like a seizure. And I freaked out. I started yelling his name (which he still didn’t know, so, not helpful) and then I noticed a few things that helped me calm down… 1) Only his upper body was shaking. 2) He wasn’t clamping onto my breast, but still nursing. 4) He wasn’t flailing, it was fairly mild, but still alarming. 3) It stopped after about 7-10 seconds. I immediately googled this and saw all these responses and calmed down.

things no one tells
see he’s fine, LOL

You know when you’re falling asleep and sometimes you twitch/feel like you’re falling? Essentially this is what’s happening with the baby. Their Neurological systems are still developing and are just firing at random. This happened a few more times and then it happened one day as he was waking up, poor Tyler, I had forgot to mention it had happened at all, so he rightfully panicked. I decided to mention it to my doctor, as the waking up shaking wasn’t mentioned in any of the posts, just the falling asleep. I wasn’t worried, but as one of my sisters had been diagnosed with epilepsy a few years prior, thought it best to be sure.

Given the family history, my doctor agreed it was likely nothing, to try and catch it on video (which I never managed since it was always done before I could grab my phone), and referred us to the pediatrician for peace of mind. All was well, the pediatrician said its very common and not a concern. My sister having epilepsy (and her type of epilepsy) was not a factor, unless I or Tyler had epilepsy, and unless it gets worse or he doesn’t outgrow it in the next year or so, there is no need to be concerned.

Having mentioned this to a few co-workers and friends, yet again we learned it was common and no big deal. He rarely does this now, but he also doesn’t nurse to sleep anymore, and when it does happen, its always when he’s being woken up in his car seat or stroller. Even then, its usually just one of his hands twitching, not a full body spasm anymore.

things no one tells
nothing wrong with the kid, the other guy? not so sure

So there you have it, things no one tells you about your baby. Now you won’t panic if it happens, you’re welcome. I also think the advice my friend told me about pregnancy can be applied to babies:

Everything is normal until its not.

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Things People Say to Pregnant Women and Shouldn’t

Things People Say to Pregnant Women
my face when you say any of these things to me

If you’ve ever said any of these things, you’re forgiven, but don’t do it again. No one wants to hear these things because they are unnecessary and rude. The most amazing thing about being pregnant, is how the second people find out, they think they can start asking you personal details and commenting on your body/mood and comparing you to their female relatives (how much weight have you gained? have you experienced the hornies yet? You look just like my daughter did and she had complications) these are things only your doctor and *sometimes* your baby daddy are allowed to ask, and they are certainly NOT appropriate to be coming from a coworker.

Things People say to Pregnant Women and Shouldn’t:

 

You’re getting so big!!

This is not a compliment, and hasn’t been since I was 4 years old. Unless I’m bulking up for a bodybuilding competition, and you’re discussing the girth of my bicep, never say this again.

I think he/she is going to be a big baby!!

I fucking hate you. Do you think the baby will be big because I’m clearly way bigger than Things People Say to Pregnant WomenI should be, or because you think I want to hear that the HUMAN that will make its debut through my vagina or a literal hole in my abdomen, is going to be gigantic? STOP saying this!!

You look ready to pop!!

I am no where near ready to pop you fuckstick. Also, humans generally don’t “pop”.

Breastfeeding ruins your boobs

No it doesn’t. Pregnancy “ruins” them. All the stretch marks and sagging you may have experienced was caused during pregnancy when they got porn star levels of huge; it just wasn’t noticable until that started to subside- after the breastfeeding.

Things People Say to Pregnant WomenYou’re eating for two!!

No. I’m eating for 1, and making sure its healthy, for 2. In the first trimester you don’t actually need any more calories than normal. In the second trimester, you need about 300 cal more than normal, and in the third trimester up to 500 cal more. So no, check your math skills, I am not eating for 2.

Who cares how big you get!

I care, my doctor cares, my baby cares. Gaining weight just because you’re pregnant is foolish and can be dangerous. Most things are left to genetics, but that doesn’t mean you can go buck wild on treats and food just because you’re pregnant. There can be serious medical consequences to gaining too much weight. Not to mention the more weight you gain the more you have to lose afterwards, because the baby/placenta/fluids, boobs/swelling probably only weigh between 10-15 lbs, the rest is a hole you’ve dug for yourself. It is really stressful trying to make sure you’re doing the best for your baby, and having people tell you to do the exact opposite of what you’re supposed to be doing, doesn’t help.

That weight will come off easily chasing the baby and breastfeeding!

I’m gonna smack you. You don’t “chase” a baby for months, and breastfeeding does not equal weight loss for everyone.

 

Things People Say to Pregnant Women
at a wedding 3 days before birth

Something people fail to realize, is that the shape, size, overall look of a woman’s bodyย while pregnant has almost nothing to do with weight gain and everything to do with where the baby is positioned, and her bone structure. Some people can eat perfectly, never going over on a calorie, always staying active and still get “enormous”. Some people can eat whatever they want and gain only what they needed, and then bounce back to pre-baby weight in a month (they are the chosen ones). A woman’s body should not be commented on by anyone other than her doctor. Some women never look pregnant, and wish they did, so telling them “you don’t look pregnant” isn’t a compliment either. Seriously just stop commenting on a woman’s body, pregnant or not.

Things you CAN say to a pregnant person:

Nothing pregnancy related unless she brings it up… then “you look great!” is the only safe response.

 

 

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Things No One Tells You :: Pregnancy

Things No One Tells
You WILL get to balance food on your belly A+

While I was pregnant, I googled A LOT. I was so fascinated by the fact was growing a human, I wanted to know every cool and weird little factoid I could. I also googled a lot of things to prepare myself. And yes, to check and see if that was normal. I have a bone to pick people!!! WHY DO PREVIOUSLY PREGNANT PEOPLE HIDE THE FACTS?!?! And don’t spout off to me about amnesia and whatnot. Seriously, there were so many things I would have LOVED to know about in advance. Also, when I was searching and clicking on every post that said “Things no one tells you about pregnancy” they were all the same lists, and all common knowledge.

Things No One Tells You:
  1. Maternity Clothes are fucking boring. You are excited about all
    Things No One Tells
    not maternity clothes

    the cute things you’ll get to wear; you’ll be just as stylish as all those celebrities, but on a budget. NOPE. That’s a hard pass little miss. What is available to you in stores, is matronly and pricey. Oh and if you do find cute things, they’re likely online, in a foreign currency, with no way to try them on, and oh yea, you’ll have to give up that baby your cooking to be able to afford it.

  2. Materinty pants SUCK. You think they will be the best given the lack of a wasitband, but all they do is slide down your ass with each step because THERE IS NO WAISTBAND. Seriously, don’t waste your money on pants and just stick to leggings and dresses.
  3. Cramping is normal. Don’t panic.
  4. Things No One Tells
    Still NOT maternity clothes

    Your deoderant will at some point give out on you. And then it will give out on you again during the postpartum phase. One minute you smell like coconuts and sunshine and the next you’re sniffing around looking for that homeless guy that must be nearby, only to realize its you.

  5. You will chafe, and you will waddle. Even if you think you’re doing pretty good and walking normally; if you ask anyone around you, they will either lie or tell you that you do, in fact have a cute (NOT CUTE) waddle.
  6. If you forget a prenatal here and there don’t lose your shit, the kid is ok.
  7. Pregnancy pillows are a must and your bedmate will HATE it. But they can fuck right off with that complaint.
  8. Yeast Infections. Yup. If you’ve never had one, you’re in for a treat. I got
    Things No One Tells
    Exercising my usual level of DGAF

    one at about 5 weeks and spent the rest of my pregnancy with it. Thankfully, I was not uncomfortable, only disgusted and embarrassed. And before you start giving me suggestions on how to deal with this, I tried everything under the sun and nothing caused it to subside.

  9. Bladder Infections are also super common, and the antibiotics are fine. Don’t stress out. Deal with it properly because it can be bad for the fetus.
  10. You may not feel the pregnancy hornies and may hate the touch of your partner… or anyone for that matter. Its normal, and it will probably continue through the postpartum period.
  11. You won’t care about your looks. For some of us, this will be the first time experiencing this phenomenon. It is AMAZING. I don’t mean you don’t care, so you don’t try (although I dabbled with that method for most of my pregnancy). What I mean is, you won’t be sucking your gut in to look skinny, you won’t be worried about if you had a big lunch, you won’t be self conscious. I remember feeling truly free during this period. I’m actually jealous of my pregnant friends because they are experiencing this amazing feeling right now.
Things No One Tells
Never felt more comfortable in a bikini!!!

This may not be a life changing list for you, but its what I would have loved to know. If I may pass along one thing a friend told me:

In pregnancy, everything is normal until its not normal.

So chill dude.

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Sniper Fire in L.A. : A Babymoon Story

If you recall, while I was pregnant we were living with Tyler’s parents. We were desperate for a vacation, a weekend away from work, from our roommates, from everything. Knowing this would likely be our last chance to get away just the two of us for… a while, we decided to go for it. We would have loved to make a trip down to Mexico and lie on the beach, Tyler consuming copious cocktails at the all inclusive, while I drank mocktails and tried not to get sunburned. Alas, we were still looking for a house and trying to save money, and there was the whole Zika thing to keep an eye on. So we decided we’d fly down to Santa Monica for our babymoon.

sniper fireWe got permission from our doctor and booked flights during my second trimester (hands down the best trimester, 9 out of 10 pregnant ladies agree). It was springtime, so we anticipated decent weather, and little to no crowds. Of course the weather ended up being freaking gorgeous back home (although I would have complained about the heat had we been here). There was a thick marine layer keeping us from getting too warm or sun burned- it was perfect. We booked this airbnb a few blocks up from the beach, which was awesome and so were the hosts.

We spent some time each day chilling on the beach, although not much swimming as the water was still a little chilly; but we got to nap, see dolphins swimming, and let my belly be free.

Our plan for the second night was to go watch a Dodger’s game, but didn’t take into sniper fireaccount how long it would take to get there. Tyler, checking out the route the previous night at 10pm had an approximate time of 40 minutes from our Airbnb to the stadium. But that LA traffic is truly as nuts as they claim it to be. We ended up giving up after 2 hours in bumper to bumper traffic and heading to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We searched out Jeff Bridges’ star, dodged street performers, andย watched a couple nice young men comply with commands as they were taken into police custody.

The next day we planned better, and left for the game 4 hours before it began.

YES, 4 HOURS.

sniper fireWe ended up getting there really fucking early, but the alternative was sitting in traffic and missing the game again if we left any later. We got to watch some warm ups, and scope out the food and drinks. I ate my way through the innings; garlic fries, hot dogs, rootbeers, ice cream, you name it, I ate it. Despite my large-ish size I still had a psycho superfan ask me to get out of her seat (a stool, in a common area, that she was not using). I didn’t argue or point out the fact that I was pregnant or there were seats a little further down, because she looked like a maniac. Head to toe Dodger’s crap, glittery patterns, I’m fairly certain the stadium had thrown up its garbage all over her.

The next day we headed to Venice Beach, stopping at In’n’Out Burger on the way. We hung out on the beach for a little while, dozing in and out of greasy consciousness and letting the sun keep us warm like a pair of old cats. After some lounging we decided to walk around the little stores near the beach and grab something to drink. While walking on the outside of a FLAT sidewalk, I looked up into a store front and that’s where things went sideways…

sniper fire
R.I.C.E.

I caught the edge of the sidewalk where they had planted a tree. My ankle rolls completely, my knee gives out, I let out a yelp and start falling forwards towards the ground, arms flailing slightly behind me. Tyler standing next to me, completely stunned, watches as gravity and momentum take control. He will tell you, it was as if I had been hit by sniper fire. There was no warning, you didn’t even hear the shot before I started to go down. Like a scene from Saving Private Ryan (without the honour), I fell towards the earth; my belly and torso leading the charge, my limbs and head wildly trying to catch up.

As I fall forward, I notice an object in my trajectory; a vintage children’s tricycle. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT DOING THERE?! Somehow, I manage to get my hands in front of me; landing on all fours over the tricycle, like some sort of fucked up National Geographic documentary. My belly thankfully only mildly hitting the tricycle. To my rescue came my husband, and what looked like an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang member. They helped me up and hid the strain of helping me over to a chair. I try to keep my crying to a minimum, and thanked the leather-clad good Samaritan for his assistance. I tell Tyler I’m done, its definitely a sprain and that I need some ice. He ran off to get me some ice, and once that was on my pudgy, bulbous ankle, he went to get the car.

I apologized for ruining the trip, pointing out that I had even worn proper shoes to avoid this from happening. We went back to our digs for some old fashioned RICE magic. We debated between ordering a pizza from Domino’s or sticking to our plan of going out for a nice seafood feast.

sniper fireEventually we left the house and arrived at, unbeknownst to us, a super chic restaurant. They had valet, they had sexy servers and clientele; we had no reservation. I was wearing one flip flop and only a tensor bandage on the other foot. No crutches, sporty shorts and a t-shirt. Tyler essentially, dressed to match. They said we could sit on the couch and if a table came up we could move. The couch was perfect given my ridiculous state. When the server came over to take our drink order, I was sprawled across this couch. My foot elevated on the coffee table and all the pillows piled up behind me. Tyler was no better, slouching so much he was becoming one with the couch. You could see her think “Dear God, what am I in for?”.

These couches were for people to sit and have a cocktail while they waited for their table; and here we were, 2 people acting like this was our God damn living room. Sexy singles and classy couples came through, dressed to the nines. They squished politely onto the other couch, avoiding us at all costs. We told our server we were fine to stay here, and I think she eventually warmed up to us; especially after we explained what had happened. We ate our delicious seafood, and lounged like we owned the place. Eventually we hobbled out of there with less fucks than we had coming in.

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House Hunting while Pregnant

Before I got pregnant, we had listed Tyler’s apartment for sale. We had an offer fall through, and by the time we finally sold, we had been priced out of the market, and I was 4 months pregnant. Tyler’s parents graciously offered to let us live with them while we cranked up our house hunting. I mean, there was a pretty serious deadline approaching after all.

house hunting
last time in the apartment. sushi picnic

We looked at our “needs vs wants” list and cut everything until it was basically just a “needs” list. If it didn’t need to be burned to the ground, we were looking at it. You probably know at least a few people who have been fucked by this market, and I’m sure they have similar stories.

We needed 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and wanted anywhere between 2000-2500 square feet. I wanted all the bedrooms on the same floor, and Tyler didn’t want a strata or to move away from Abbotsford. We weren’t asking for anything outrageous, really.

We looked at a couple places and our realtor, Tyler’s uncle fought us nearly every step of the way. I’m pretty sure he thought we were insane. We were desperate, and we were not thinking clearly. I, with most of my brain cells being sucked straight to the fetus, and Tyler with his determination to not cut out anymore things off the “wants” list, and to desperately keep me in check.

I remember one house, in our dream location, it was a mess, and in my hormonal state I was sure it was perfect. I kept saying, “I’m okay with a little work” etc. (this was more than a little work, there were some serious structural issues, not to mention a yard you’d need to hire landscapers for). I got home and cried, certain we were never going to find something. We were outbid on 7 properties when we finally said okay, let’s look at a townhouse. We found one that was really nice, met most of our requirements, and we were outbid again, by like $40,000. That brought the total to 8 and we were fucking DONE. (We had been outbid on one property by $90,000 WTF?)

house hunting
“Why did we ever leave you?!” I’d think while squatting at my in-laws.

 

We went for an ultrasound one day and I happened to be driving. I casually asked Tyler if he had any plans and when he said he didn’t, I told him we were driving to Chilliwack to look at a development, if it wasn’t what we wanted, I’d never bring up Chilliwack again. He agreed, because it seemed like an easy win for him) So we headed out there, and fell in love with it. We signed the paperwork and sent the deposit asย fast as we could, and then we just had to wait. The unit wouldn’t be completed for one full calendar year. I was 8 months pregnant, and we could not bring the baby home to his parents house. That would have been good for no one (and considering how much I hated how loudly Tyler chewed for a… while, after the baby was born, it would have been fucking ugly).

I asked my sister, who was renting my apartment, if she would mind looking for a new place so that we could move in there. Thankfully she already had intentions to move out, so it wasn’t like I was leaving her homeless. Still, it meant we were moving for a second time in 6 months, and this time I couldn’t physically help. I was in the way holding doors open. I was huge.

So we moved into my 525 square foot studio apartment. Thankfully, our new place was completed 2 months early, so we only ended up in there for 9 months, 8 months as a family of three (and the dog). We survived, and maybe we can say we got to experience a little city living in the country, a little Europe in Western Canada. But mostly, we wanted to never see that apartment again, which is why we sold it.

Things I would suggest if you are thinking of starting a family and/or moving:

  1. If your house is big enough to add a new member, stay there until you’ve got the swing of having a baby.
  2. If your house is not big enough to add a new member, DON’T get pregnant yet. Find your bigger, better home first.

Honestly, don’t do this search pregnant if you can help it. Even the most reasonable pregnant lady can’t help but become a little fucking nuts. It worked out for us in the end, but the stress was a lot. I may or may not have spent a coffee break crying in my car. And I definitely fell into hysterics like an old timey movie actress, crying that we were going to end up with a steady diet of government cheese and living in Ron Burgundy down by the river, despite our respectable incomes and my so called “standards”.

house hunting
8m pregnant, contemplating a full time van life.
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