My Journey to Becoming a Mother

I’ve always known that I wanted to have kids and when I got married I was excited that I would soon start my family.  We waited a few years to start trying to have kids to just be married and enjoy being a couple before throwing kids into the mix.  We got married at 27, I had planned to be done having kids by 30 not starting to have them, but as we all know life doesn’t go as planned.  By 29 I told my husband I wasn’t getting any younger and it was time to start our family.  Needless to say, you don’t really ever really understand all the planning that goes into getting pregnant until you actually TRY to get pregnant.  After 6 months of nothing I went to see my doctor, she sent me for bloodwork with a list a mile long of things she wanted to check, 10 vials of blood later I was on my way.  Bloodwork comes back and she says she wants an ultrasound just to make sure everything is fine.  After she sends me for the ultrasound I get a call letting me know she is sending me to a specialist.  I try not to overthink what could be wrong and wait till I see him.  This doctor is very blunt and to the point which I knew going in, and preferred not having the situation sugar coated.  Turns out I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrom) in short I don’t ovulate which is key when you want to get pregnant.  Thus starting our fertility treatments.

If you don’t know anyone who has gone through treatments it’s very emotionally and physically exhausting.  The specialist referred us to another Fertility doctor in his clinic when it showed that we would need more than the basic medication.  This other Dr was apparently world renowned and we had high hopes.  However, everything was experimental for his study, we were naive and we just wanted a baby so we went along with it.  A few months in we got the call that we had a positive pregnancy test.  We were so excited, a few days later we went for our first ultrasound but the doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat but figured it was probably just still early and took a blood test.  A few days after that our excitement turned to sadness as we found out we had lost the baby.  The only glimmer of hope we had to go on was that at least now we knew I could get pregnant!  A few more months passed and the medication was getting more frequent and not having any results, we were paying more than the shelf price for these drugs and our benefits were running out.  Our doctor seemed to have far too many patients and forgetting more and more about our individual situation.  We started questioning what we were doing, then we got the news that he would be moving to Texas and we would need to see another clinic.  We started with our new clinic in August but by the time all the tests and procedures were done it was February before we actually started treatments.  We had just bought our first home and moved in March, a 4 bedroom detached, little did we know we would soon need those 4 bedrooms. In May, we decided to try insemination since we were not having any luck with just the medication and shots.  When that didn’t work our doctor told us the best course of action would be to try IVF but to take a few months off to let my body take a break from all the medication but to continue trying on our own and come in for monitoring so that they could continue to chart me.  I told my husband I would do one round of IVF if it was unsuccessful we needed to come up with a new plan of growing our family.  After 2.5 years of treatments I just couldn’t do it anymore, I was just emotionally done.  In June, we continued with only 1 medication and monitoring.  On our anniversary I stopped by the clinic to get my bloodwork done so that could get my prescription filled for July, they told me they’d call around lunch hour to let me know.  I already knew it was negative as I didn’t feel pregnant at all.  To my surprise, the call was good news letting me know we had a very positive test my HCG level was 126 they count a 10 as a positive, 2 days later I was back in for more bloodwork, this time, it was 489 a good sign!  I was told to come back in 3 weeks for our first ultrasound we would be around 7 weeks so the heartbeat would be visible.  Needless to say, I was very weary about the pregnancy and 3 weeks couldn’t come fast enough.  We finally go in for the ultrasound, the tech is doing her thing, we can’t see anything so we are wondering if everything is ok.  She then turns to me and asks how many eggs I had to which I respond 2.  She turns the screen and says you sure did congrats it’s TWINS!

TWINS!!!! We were both so excited when we called my parents to let them know we told them we were having triplets which they knew right off the bat that we were joking and thought the same about the twins until we showed them the ultrasound picture.  The pregnancy was very much run of the mill, barely any morning sickness, I fell when I was 20 weeks pregnant at my prenatal class which resulted in us going to the hospital just to make sure everything was ok.  When we got there we were hooked up to a machine and lots of ultrasounds were taken.  The resident doctor had never taken an ultrasound of twins before and they were kicking and moving so much she couldn’t get their heartbeats which led us to believe they were more then fine if they were that active.  It was also at that time that I had felt them kick for the first time and they were very active after that.  We had several ultrasounds since a multiple birth is considered high risk, but at each ultrasound the sex of baby A changed it was a girl, a boy, still a boy and back to being a girl than a boy.  At a 3D ultrasound at 31 weeks, we were finally confirmed that baby A was indeed a girl she finally gave us the money shot.  Baby B had long been confirmed to be a boy.  We were going to have the million dollar family.

Our 36-week appointment ended up being on Valentine’s Day no big deal to us as we really didn’t celebrate it, however, I had just been to the doctor’s the week before and he said he wanted to push me to 37 or 38 weeks since everything was looking fine.  At this point, I hadn’t even had Braxton Hicks or dilated.  In my mind, these babies were still cooking so we didn’t bring the hospital bag but had brought it to every appointment from 30 weeks on.  When I saw my OB he said these babies are coming today, no go back home come back tomorrow, TODAY.  My mind is racing I’m not ready for this I need to prepare myself I thought I had more time, even though the day before I was saying just take these babies out of me!  He tells me that they have run out of room and stopped growing so it would be best for them to come out and also baby A is head down and baby B is transverse (laying across) so ideally they would induce me to deliver A naturally and “hopefully” be able to turn B around and if not then an emergency c-section.  I honestly can’t process all this information I tell him I need some time to think.   Naturally I call my mom who lives 5 hrs away she tells me to just ask for a c-section it would be the least amount of stress on the babies, I then call my grandmother who is also 5hrs away the same answer.  I then call my mom’s sisters 1 who is 5 hrs away and she said a c-section as well since they were tiny this would be the less risk to them.  The other sister lived close and left her meeting to come and be with me since the rest of the family was so far away.  Decision made c-section it was I didn’t worry about the down time for myself as I heal quickly and have a high pain tolerance I was only thinking about my babies and getting them out safely.  During delivery baby A came out kicking and screaming when baby B was delivered they said here’s the other boy.  My husband and I both looked at each other saying another boy, panicking about the closet full of pink but lucky for us we had chosen a gender-neutral name.  At 933 and 934pm on Valentine’s Day, Sawyer Gwenyth and Hudson Chase entered the world.  It was a beautiful moment and when I say a moment I mean literally 2 mins is all I got with my babies before they were rushed to the NICU.

We delivered at an excellent children’s hospital and up until after I delivered I thought the hospital was great then it all changed.  I was put in a ward room since our insurance did not cover a semi-private room.  I had one roommate who’s baby cried all night long because it was starving.  She was having problems breastfeeding and I commend her for keeping at it but when your baby is starving giving it formula to top up until you can get a latch in my mind should have been a no-brainer.  My neighbour next to me had no pain tolerance what so ever and constantly had the nurses in to help her or give her pain meds.  She also had a large family that visited all day long.  Meanwhile, 12 hrs have passed I can’t leave my bed because I still have a catheter in since the only time I see a nurse is when they need to check my vitals I also haven’t seen my babies except for those 2 mins before they were rushed out.  I finally get the catheter out and they give me the ok to sit up.  I’m wheeled to another wing of the hospital to the NICU ward and finally able to see my little babies, who despite being tiny 4.3 and 4.7 were healthy and only needed to regulate blood sugars and feed.  I fell in love all over again only I couldn’t touch them or hold them I just got to look at them through their incubators.  Day 2 I still hadn’t gotten any lactation support so the twins had been formula fed, finally, I stopped a nurse and told her I wanted to pump at least so they could get something.  She hadn’t me a pump and walked away.  On day 2 I also made myself get up and walk the longer I needed help the longer my hospital stay would be.  Day 3 I found out the twins were graduating to a level 2 nursery at another hospital they would still be in the NICU but we would be able to be more hands-on with them and not ask permission to hold our children.  I ended up releasing myself from the hospital as I was not letting my babies leave without me and I was not getting much care as it was.  When they were moved we finally were able to bond with the twins, I got the lactation support I needed although I never produced enough milk to sustain both of them but at least they got some breastmilk.  I spent every day at the hospital sometimes 12-18hrs the nurses finally told me I had to go home and look after myself before the babies finally came home.  That day looked like it would never come it was a very long 2 weeks and we never truly felt they were ours.  Finally, the day came we could bring them home we were so excited everything was ready, we loaded them into the car drove about 60 on the highway we panicked at every little sound.  March 1st 2013 was the first day we truly felt like a family, we didn’t have someone watching our every move, timing their feeds, were we holding them right etc…we could just be.

I’m not going to say that having twins is easy it’s just different and you learn to sink or swim.  The first year was easy for me, the second became more challenging with them being independent of each other and mobile.  We have just entered the Threenager phase and all I have to say is I HATE THREE, don’t get me wrong I love them and their little personalities but the attitude,back talk and tantrums I can do without!  I also find it strange that I seek comfort in knowing my 3-year-olds aren’t the only ones acting like this and that I haven’t completely failed as a parent.

Although my journey has had it’s up and downs, challenges and frustrations I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I have come to terms with my infertility and I’m not ashamed of the way I had to go about bringing children into the world.  I speak freely about it because I want others to know they are not alone.  We have since tried to expand our family without fertility treatments, and have been unsuccessful, we have decided to take a different path to grow our family by becoming foster to adopt parents and are excited to see where that journey takes us!

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COMM011 Blog #5 – I’m Addicted to Cloth Diapers

When we found out we were having twins, luckily we found out early so we had time to plan that we were growing our family by two at once.  We started to plan and budget  for our upcoming duo only to realize quite quickly how much the cost would add up especially diapering 2 at a time.  On average the cost to diaper one child from birth to potty training roughly 2-3 years is $2500.  Multiply that by two and we were up to $5000.00.  When my mom suggest that we cloth diaper we toyed with the idea and eventually took the plunge.

When we decided to cloth diaper we had gone into it solely on the basis of cost and not the benefits that go with cloth diapering.  As we began our journey with cloth diapering we started to see the benefits.

Our twins were born at 36 weeks although considered full term for a multiple birth they were still tiny at only 4 lbs each.  They spent 2 weeks in NICU.  During their first 3 days, our daughter had developed a horrible rash that turned into an open sore.  Mainly this was due to her not getting changed enough and as we did not have access to our children we could not help with more frequent changes.  Believe it or not, we had to ask permission to hold our babies.  Because our twins were so tiny they didn’t fit into the cloth diapers we had bought for them until they were almost 3 months old.  During which time we realized our little guys were very sensitive to disposable diapers which probably did not help in the case of our daughter with her diaper rash.  Once we started cloth diapering we noticed that the rashes had virtually disappeared unless they were teething.  We also noticed how much money we were saving not having to buy a box of diapers every weekend even though we had stockpiled a bunch of boxes when they came on sale and used coupons.  Obviously, it’s rewarding knowing that you are not filling the landfill with a bunch of diapers.

As I got more comfortable cloth diapering my friends started asking me more questions about them.  Without even realizing I was advocating the benefits of cloth diapering and turning even the most skeptical of dads into cloth diapering gurus.  I even started to do cloth diaper consultations over facebook and facetime for customers of my mom’s children’s boutique from 5hrs away.  My husband got on board and he will fully admit this because in his head I would be doing 95% of the changes, reality hit and it was more like 70/30.  But I knew he was a true convert when we were ending our road trip to South Carolina and he was taking out yet another bag of disposable diapers to the trash and said to me “I can not wait to go home and use cloth diapers again”.  All I could think of was cloth diapers for the win!

Now that we’ve moved back to my hometown and even though the twins have potty trained, if he happens to be at work with me he has been known to talk couples who were on the fence about clothing diapering into it.

What’s so great about cloth diapers?

  1. Well for one you will save money even with the extra laundry.
  2. It’s better for the environment.
  3. There is less likely to be diaper rashes.
  4. Did you know there was a resale value on cloth diapers?  Most diapers will resell for almost retail if they are in good condition.  Depending on the brand if they release a limited edition diaper once it is no longer available or has been retired, the diaper can increase in value by 3 times or more.
  5. Let’s face it cloth diapers are much cuter than disposables with their solid colours and prints.

Have I joined the cult that is cloth diapering, as much as I’d like to say no the harsh reality is yes I’m a cloth diaper addict?  Do I buy limited edition diapers even though we have potty trained?  You bet because I have 2 kids going to post-secondary at the same time.  I considered it their college fund.  I once saw a used diaper that is very limited edition as it was one of the first ones the company released go for over $950.  This diaper would have retailed for $20 brand new.  Yes someone paid $950 for a USED diaper!  Why?  So their child could wear it for their 1-year photos.  Crazy?  Absolutely!  The most I’ve paid for a hard to find diaper is $65.  I justified it as I NEEDED that print.  It was at that point that I realized I had an addiction…but I hear the first step is admitting it.

Comm14 Blog#4 – Let’s Talk About Fonts Baby!

Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things.  Let’s talk about Fonts!  If you were a teenager in the 90’s I’ve probably got the original lyrics stuck in your head now.  You’re welcome! 🙂  Now seriously let’s talk about fonts, the good, the bad and the ugly.

As a graphic designer, I source out fonts all the time, never wanting to always have the same fonts available to me.  At one point in my job I could often name the font just by looking at it if we were trying to match it for a client.    I know I have probably close to 500 fonts on my computer with a new project comes new fonts.  It’s almost like an addiction.  I wonder if they have a support group for that?

The good – Because a lot of my work is related to children in some way, wall art, milestone charts, children’s boutiques etc.  I tend to be drawn to whimsical and hand written fonts, although I don’t discriminate between serif and non-serif fonts.  It’s the quality of the letters that matters.

The bad – Let’s talk grunge fonts.  Don’t get me wrong I enjoy a good grunge font as much as the next guy but let’s face it there is a time and place for a grunge font.  It’s not like it can be used for the general public.  And why is it 90% of the time illegible?  If you can’t read it how are we suppose to use it.

The ugly – Honestly I don’t even know how to come out and say this because we are ALL guilty of this one.  Myself included, this was obviously before I knew better.  I know you are guilty of this too, it’s ok to admit it we’re all friends here.  What font am I referring to you ask?  I can’t believe I’m admitting to this in public no less.  COMIC SANS there I said it.  Let me count the ways I hate this font…well actually I won’t since we could be here for a long time.  But here’s the number #1 reason it is FUGLY!!! I don’t know why people insist on using this font on EVERYTHING it’s not creative, it’s not fun, it’s what our (designers) nightmares are made of.  Yet to anyone who is not a designer this is the most amazing font in the world.  When you come to a designer and tell them you want to use Comic Sans and hear a banging noise that’s our heads smashing against our keyboards.  At one point before social media existed there was a site that was a petition to remove Comic Sans for existence it’s that serious people!  So the next time you hit the font drop down menu scroll, scroll fast past the Comic Sans font.  Do all us designers a solid and save us from some broken keyboards and mild concussions and don’t ask for it.  I beg of you!

Blog Post #3 Breastfeeding – What’s the big deal?

First off I want to state that whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed your baby is up to you.  I see a lot of mom-shaming going on when you formula feed, but the truth is, breastfeeding is hard work and not everyone can or feels comfortable doing it and that’s okay!

This post is about the controversy of breastfeeding.  We as a society have sexualized breasts but are put off by someone breastfeeding.  My question is why?  It is supposed to be one of the most natural things in the world.  Animals do it and no one yells at them to cover up or say they don’t want to see that.  Yet no one has a problem, well most people don’t have a “problem” with Miley Cyrus or Kim Kardashian flaunting their goods for the world to see, or a Victoria Secret display window with a woman in her underwear with no complaints.
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However if a mom stops to feed her baby, even if she is covered passerbyers are not afraid to say that’s disgusting, you’re in public, you shouldn’t be doing that, I don’t want to see that, you’re making me uncomfortable and the list goes on.  This mom’s photo went viral when her friend took a picture of her giving the stare down to another customer who was giving her the stink eye for breastfeeding uncovered in public.  Parents magazine has the full article on what happened.  Read the full article  here.

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Alyssa Milano recently posted this picture on Instagram which caused a lot controversy.  She was also just on the Wendy Williams show who brought up the controversy surrounding the photo.  Wendy Williams herself admitted to not wanting to see that and that it made her uncomfortable.  But had no problem with Miley Cyrus’ photo or Coco Ice T’s wife in a dress with cutouts all down the sides and across the chest leaving nothing to the imagination.  You can view the interview here.

 

Another great video circulated on facebook which is what prompted me to write this piece, putting a woman with a low cut top showing off the girls next to a woman breastfeeding her baby getting reactions out of people passing by.  It was interesting that the woman with the low-cut top never got any negative feedback but did receive many unsolicited looks and comments from men walking by.  However, the mother feeding her child was constantly attacked by men and women about how disgusting it was and that she should be doing that in the privacy of her own home.  This video is a 2 part series of a social experiment put on by Joey Salads.  The first video is just the new mom breastfeeding and getting comments.  The second video is of the woman dressed in sexy clothing and the breastfeeding mother.  Both are great to watch but if you only want to watch one, I recommend the second one.  Click here to watch video 1 and video 2.

I guess I don’t know why we are ok with this

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but not this

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Something that is completely natural.  We as a general public need to stop shaming mothers who are just feeding their children, if it bothers you look away, walk in the other direction, but please keep your comments to yourself.  They are not exposing themselves for everyone to ogle the goods they are just feeding their children.  As a society in North America, we really need to normalize breastfeeding instead of telling mothers they need to hide behind closed door and making them feel ashamed of doing something so natural.  The problem is us not them.  #feedallbabies

 

COMM-011 Blog Assignment #2 – Shopkins – Why?!?

Shopkins-LogoAs a mother of young twins, I try to keep up with the latest trends, educational toys, all the new “rules” regarding car seats, you get the picture.  One trend I’m still trying to wrap my head around is Shopkins!  What the hell is it and why is it so wildly popular?

Being a child of the 80’s, I was trying to fathom what could have been comparable to this fade back then.  The only thing I could come up with was baseball cards or Pogs if you remember the 90’s better than the 80’s.  But I’m thinking that the Shopkins craze is not even on the same playing field.

What is a Shopkins?  Good question!  If I ever really figure it out I’ll let you know and I’m sure I’m not the only parent wondering.  From what I can tell they are items, you would find in grocery stores and boutiques such as shoes, jewellery and fruits and vegetables.  They come with shopping baskets and carts to put said items in.  There are collectable Shopkins, limited edition Shopkins, sparkly Shopkins.  My head hurts trying to understand this.  These things come in seasons.  Currently, we are in season 3 or 4 where they rolled out 140 more Shopkins, this season came with an ice cream truck.  This is what my nightmares are made up of finding tiny little toys in the couch cushions, in the dishwasher, on the stairs, in the middle of the hall when you’re walking with 2 loads of laundry and have no visual on what’s in front of you, tripping over that cute little onion with the worried face as all the sorted laundry goes flying…you get the picture.

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I went to the Shopkins website to see if they had anything interactive for the kids and also to see if I could get a better understanding of what they were.  I’m still not entirely sure what they are but I did find out that they also have Shoppies.  What is a Shoppie?  I don’t entirely know but from what I gathered, they are shoppers for the Shopkins.  I stopped there before my head exploded trying to figure this out.  On a social media aspect, the site does have lots to offer.  Kids can explore and meet all the Shopkins/Shoppies with descriptions, they can print out colouring pages, or head over to YouTube and watch the Shopkins Channel to catch up on the latest episodes.  Oh yes they have their own show!  I headed over to their facebook page which has 146,077 likes and is very active on their page, posting new products and polls to get people talking.  Their Twitter and Instagram followers are also fairly decent and active.  They must be doing something right.  I do like that they have interactive information for the kids and it’s not solely just a buy our products ploy.

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Although I may not fully understand the Shopkins craze, and if it will get my picky eater to eat broccoli because it’s looks like his Shopkins it may be something to consider.  The creator of Shopkins is either brilliant or a shopaholic, either way, someone is making a fortune and I still don’t get it. #shopkinsstilldontgetit

COM0011 Blog Post #1 SOCIAL MEDIA AND OUR CHILDREN

Is social media having a negative impact on our children? If you scour the internet you will find plenty of articles from world renowned “experts” going as far as saying that social media can cause anxiety and depression. In some cases, this may be true, in the likely event that the child has been the victim of cyberbullying or other extreme circumstances. Another is using scare tactics about not knowing what your children are up too and whether they are really safe? Or how they are being over-stimulated by constant updates, real world news and more information then know what to do with. But can we really blame technology or are we just looking for a scapegoat instead of doing what we really should as parents…PARENTING!

Now, let’s look at the positives social media has on children. Yes, you read correctly I did find some sources who had great things to say about the benefits social media can have. Contrary to the article I read on CNN about social media causing anxiety and depression, this article from OurPact has an opposing view, stating that with the rise of mental health disorders in teens, social media can act as a place for teens to reach out for support from their peers who can relate. They also go on to say that in most cases social media helps with social development, creating self-confidence and building stronger friendships. Literacy has increased even though it’s on a digital platform, kids are educating themselves to stay current with technology. Last but not least increased exposure to the real world, children are showing more interest in politics, real world events, volunteer experiences and the list goes on.

After reading the above-mentioned articles and a few more not listed, I wanted to conduct some research of my own. I took to social media, Facebook to be exact to a group of my peers where the one common thing we shared was that all our babies were born in February of 2013. We live all over the world though most of us are in Canada, some of us are stay at home moms and some work outside the home. All of us range in age from 22-40. It is a diverse group to the say the least. We all struggled with are our kids getting too much screen time, but sometimes as a mom, you need to put Bubble Guppies on TV to get 20 minutes of peace. Some days call for a double dose. But overall we support each other in our little Facebook group as we are all going through the dreaded threenager phase together.

My first question to the group was regarding YouTube: Is it a social media site and does it have any educational value yes or no and why? Surprisingly, they all said no to being a social media site, but yes to educational. They felt that because the children themselves were not posting videos it wasn’t considered social media. Which I found strange since the children were interacting with the videos, they may not be commenting on the videos but each time the video is watched it gets a new view. They all felt comfortable leaving their child alone with the iPad or television to watch YouTube videos that they had put on or on a dedicated playlist but were always within earshot in case something inappropriate came up.

My second question to the group was whether or not they thought social media would impact their children negatively and if they afraid of what it would be like in 10 years when our children were 13. This question didn’t get as many comments as my YouTube one and I’m not sure if it’s because no one had an answer or they were all panicking over the fact that in 10 yrs our babies were going to be teenagers. However, the few responses I did receive were mostly the same. They had concerns that it could impact them negatively but were more concerned about being an involved parent, teaching their children how to be safe when online, moderation and keeping the lines of communication open.

My conclusion on the subject is that there are risks, risks that should not be taken for granted or lightly. But the positive in my opinion far outweighs the negatives. I want my children to be well-rounded, informed, and build strong relationships and I believe that social media will help them achieve that. But I also believe in being an involved parent and parenting my children. When I allow them to have a social media account at an appropriate age which differs for all children, I will have access to their social media accounts, cell phones etc, teaching them safety when online and trusting them to make the right decisions. Social media is not a dying media and keeping children away from it is just not realistic. Social media is much more than #selfies, #cyberbullying, #digitalfootprints and well hashtags!