Monday, November 30, 2009

pregnancy and postpartum body

I never had the chance to post my final pregnancy photos. These were taken a week and a half before Owen arrived. I went bare belly in these shots, mostly because of how stoked I was that not a single stretch mark crept in.

You wouldn't know it from any of the photos I posted on the blog, but I had the best pregnancy wardrobe. I loved the way I looked pregnant. Especially at the end when, no matter where I went, people wanted to talk about the pregnancy. Just what every expectant mom wants - to be indulged about the excitement to come!

Now I'm postpartum and I've completely forgotten what I used to wear before pregnancy. I just assumed I'd still be wearing maternity clothes, but much to my surprise, I had my pre-pregnancy figure back in three days! My belly button was the last to return (that took a week).

I had no idea what the other side of pregnancy would look like. And it really didn't matter to me how I came out as long as my baby was healthy. But I'm really happy that one less thing I have to worry about is trying to loose baby weight.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

our baby story

I've been petrified since the age of 10 to go through child birth. I remember hearing in religion class that God, as punishment, made women experience more pain in child birth. I really resented that idea. Later in life, I started yoga, for many reasons, but one of which was this delusional hope that flexibility might serve me well in labour and delivery! Now I that I've gone through the experience I can firmly say, it's not as bad as you may think. But, of course, it's different for everyone. Here is our labour & delivery story:
So, one day past our due date, I woke up at 4am with extreme pressure in my pelvic floor and had my bloody show. After that I had very mild cramping. Mild enough to go back to bed with the idea that I sure as hell better get all the sleep I can now because I was in for a long day. Around 7:30 I told Nuno what happened and asked that he consider getting more sleep and once he was up to help me get everything in the house in order. The cramping was pretty sporadic and I read that there is false labour that can last for days before the actual delivery, and since the cramps were mild, I chalked it up to that. Then, unbelievably, many of the family members called all Saturday morning. I didn't hide that something was going down. My mother in law mentioned that now was a good time, if I was up to it, to go for a walk. It was a great idea so around 1pm we went for a very long walk up the canal. I paused every once in a while to breathe through the intensifying cramping. I even went up and down hills which strengthened the contractions. We were home by 2:30 and watched the Wire for a while. It was then that I started to feel the contractions coming regularly and predictably. We decided to time them and they were 4 minutes apart. We felt like were were jumping the gun, but since it was our first time, we decided to go to the hospital at 4pm to see what the scoop was. I almost had Nuno turn the car around because the cramps just felt like bad menstrual cramps, but once we were admitted the obstetrician on duty checked to discover I was 6-7 cm dilated. I nearly panicked realizing I was truly in labour and now was the time! Two seconds later he had a crochet hook and burst my water (not painful - don't worry). He admitted me quickly to the delivery room. So I was 10 cm and ready to go in no time, but I still wanted the epidural since that was the plan all along. Thank goodness I got it because after it was administered the OB felt my contractions weren't strong enough and fast enough and ordered a pitocin drip. I knew full well that things were going to get really bad once that started. And they did. All afternoon I was enjoying the experience and watching Cake Boss on the TV in the delivery room and then the pitocin came along and with it - pain. The doctor left(!) and said he'd be back at 10:30 to deliver the baby. That was so uncool, I had to deal with pitocin and the wimpiest epidural (they kept me at the lowest amount of drug even though I asked for more seeing as how I could feel everything except below my thighs). The feeling was intense, the strongest pain was in my lower back near my tailbone as the baby's head was lowering. So that went on for a long time and the only thing that got me through was my yoga breathing. I didn't break a sweat or raise my voice, I felt like a birthing champ. Finally at 10pm they asked if I'd like to try pushing. I pushed through some contractions and it really felt a lot better to be doing that. Once the OB returned, he assessed the situation and said, "The baby is deceling, we need to get him out now". I watched the monitor show the baby's heart rate dropping steadily and I was totally worried. I think this is the point in time they jacked up the epidural because I didn't feel much after that except worry. The room was silent and everyone was working hard and not looking at me. I thought, "This must be what it's like when a baby arrives still born. Please have him come out OK." Every single nurse in the maternity ward was there working hard and the OB suited up, took out the vacuum and pulled Owen into the world in mere seconds. Not the delivery I had planned, but he came out screaming at the top of his lungs. He was so awake and aware, his Apgar score showed 8 & 9 out of 10. The pediatrician gave the A-OK on the baby. He's perfect!! Then he came and layed on my tummy. Nothing, compares to this moment - nothing I've ever experienced even comes close. Here I am blissfully happy minutes after delivering Owen.

Looking back, I think that yoga really helped. Keeping your focus and breathing is so important, you may just go crazy if you were to panic and hold your breath through each contraction. Oh! Would you believe there were 10 deliveries at the hospital while we were there. 9 boys and 1 girl! I think this chinese gender calender must speak the truth.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


It was a little difficult to imagine life with a baby in all these months of pregnancy. There was the wonderful moment Owen took his first breath and only minutes later the labour nurse started coaching me on breastfeeding. She gave us a crash course on baby care from 11pm till 3am. It was so overwhelming and I'll admit, I was a little scared with everything all at once. But that maternal instinct kicked in just hours upon his arrival. And with such little sleep in the first week I can't believe how wonderful even his car alarm scream crying and dirty diapers are to me. In other words, every moment I have with Owen is something very special and I can't believe how happy the idea of being this little boy's mom for the rest of my life makes me.

We are very lucky to have been blessed with a great baby. He spends the day napping and when awake being held in my arms. He is not very fussy and loves to make eye contact with everyone who visits. He then sleeps through the night to be awoken for feedings. We installed dimmer lights in our bedroom and the nursery and I feel that that has really helped with Owen waking to feed and immediately going back to sleep. We've chosen to have a co-sleeper for the first few weeks to be able to attend to him in the newborn stage. We get 8-10 hours sleep a night, so I can't complain. Especially since I was getting WAY less sleep while pregnant finding myself frequently getting up at 2 and 3am to watch TV and eat a bowl of cereal. Interupted sleep is just the norm for me so there really isn't any adjustment in the sleep department.

The breastfeeding has been going very well too. It was a bit of a rocky start, but we got through the initial kinks and are full speed ahead. Hopefully we will continue this way because I'm nervous about what I'll do if I need help. There are always lactation consultants
working for the Niagara region available to help mothers, but they have all been re-stationed to administering the H1N1 vaccine and have cancelled all breastfeeding clinics.

It's really hard to express how life and love changes once you have a child. I know I had difficulty imagining it when people around me started families, but now I know what they experience, it really is the most wonderful thing I've ever gone and continue to go through.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Meet Owen Stephen Pereira!!

The most incredible day of my life happened this past Saturday November 14th. I delivered my son at 10:44pm and I can't even find the words to describe the amazing feeling it is to be this beautiful baby's mother. I'm so incredibly happy and lucky to have Nuno and Owen in my life and have never felt a love like this. It's truly the most amazing experience.

Since being home I'm in a bit of a recuperation from the delivery and can't find the time to be online. Thank goodness for my family who have been able to help me get around and keep things going around here. I have so much to share about these past few days and life with Owen so I hope to be able to update again soon.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

baby crib

Talking about a crib to people who aren't expecting or having babies will be boring, so I apologize in advance if this is too baby obsessed. I guess when you are mere days from bringing a new person into the world, it's hard to find too many other things to focus on. For me, I'm super excited about this crib because of what it took to get it.

When deciding on a crib you can go to Ikea and pay a couple hundred dollars or you can go to Oeuf and pay a couple thousand. Then there is everything in between. What choice do you have here in Niagara? Babies R Us and the never ending supply of sleigh style cribs and the typical style cribs - all very nice but pricey and not quite what we were looking for. So Nuno and I thought Ikea was the way to go, but every time we talked about it everyone looked at us as if we were signing our kid up for a guillotine. And, to be perfectly honest, every single thing I've purchased from Ikea has fallen apart. So safety was our most important factor when it came to crib choice. One day we drove to Stoney Creek to a baby furniture store called, Baby World. This is *the* place to go for children's furniture. What an amazing selection of cribs. The more modern style ones were so well crafted and beautiful I honestly considered dropping $700 on a crib. But that would be a temporary loss of sanity. So we went home deflated and decided we wouldn't love our baby's crib - and that was OK.

Well, a couple weeks later I'm surfing Target's website and I stumble upon Dwell Studio's crib. Ikea prices for Baby World look. And the crib is highly rated and recently safety upgraded. But they don't ship to Canada and they've been on back order since spring. I told my parents about how frustrating it was trying to find a nice crib and my dad piped in that one of his golfing buddies' son lives in Amherst NY and he would find out if it was OK for us to ship the crib to his house. Once we checked the dimensions and found out that it would fit in the trunk we jumped on board. Even if the crib was on back order, the baby won't be sleeping in it till a few months down the road anyways. That very week, once we had the OK, we ordered it online and there happened to be a baby sale at Target online with the crib's price reduced! With the way the currency exchange is right now, it didn't drive up the price either. The crib unexpectedly shipped in 4 days since we happened to place the order just as the manufacturer circulated a new supply to the market. My dad picked it up on the way home from North Carolina so he was able to bring it home duty-free.

Once assembled we could not believe how sturdy and well made this crib is. The drawers are a great feature for storing fitted crib sheets and blankets. Although the wall mural was designed to have mother goose nesting inside the crib, it was hard to place furniture in front of it. But we're happy it's this crib that will sit in front of it and no other.