I had heard horror stories about what to expect in the postpartum (i.e. after birth) stage but again, I guess I was lucky, it was (and is) a good experience, albeit a strange and sudden one.
Browsing: Baby Mark
Between us, I don’t know anything about babies. Please don’t report me to social services (yet). And still between us, I only realized I was actually having a baby a few weeks ago. And that I should really start buying… I don’t know, baby stuff?
We are a family. We have a family. It’s the three of us now, a multicultural household in a multicultural country. Writing this makes me smile: I am now a mother, Feng is a father and we have a child. It still feels unreal but yet strangely natural.
Each time I step out of the house—which is pretty much never these days, I’m getting cabin fever!—I’m surprise to see that somehow, the world is still spinning. Buses packed with commuters come and go, kids stopped by our house for Halloween, and now people are starting to do their Christmas shopping (I definitely saw a plastic snowman on display at Walmart—or did I dream that?), the sun is rising and setting like usual.
Blame my sarcasms and tongue-in-cheek attitude and articles on my French side—you know how much French like to complain about nothing and everything! So let’s be appreciative a bit for a change. It’s good for my karma and I take my karma seriously these days (yes, being pregnant makes you superstitious, I find). Here are ten perks of being pregnant, aka “thank you flowers and bees”.
Pregnant women’s body fluids are highly sought-after in Canada. For someone banned from giving blood because I grew up in Europe, this year, I feel I’ve spent my time peeing in tiny urine sample bottles (why are they so small??) and filling blood collection tubes.
When I first learned I was pregnant, some people asked me if I was going to move back to France for a few months.Their question surprised me because I hadn’t even considered the option.
As I quickly learned, while some couple are taking a chance to call a truce with the world, other are trolling. And it’s neither pretty or funny. I already mentioned my “hell is other people” theory, and that when you are pregnant, you suddenly seem to be everybody’s business. This doesn’t stop at unwanted advice. Some people have an agenda, including one on a hot-button issue: breastfeeding.
We only stayed a day and a half at the hospital. Since I had given birth at 11 a.m. on the Friday, we had to stay until 11 a.m., Saturday. The night at the hospital was tiring. With all the babies in the room, it was like a domino effect: one would start crying, waking up the other ones. On Saturday, I just wanted to go home. I was dying for a good shower and I was sick of the hospital food.
“Yep, you are four-centimeter dilated and your waters are bursting,” she announced. “You are having that baby today! I’ll get you a room.” I was the first one shocked. Seriously, already four centimeters? And seriously having the baby today?
So, baby Mark is here. But guess what: getting the baby out is harder than getting it in. Many women love to share terrible labour ad birth stories. I’m sorry, mine will be PG-rated: it was an amazing experience and it wasn’t that bad. Lucky me?
Mark was born in Ottawa on October 12, 2012 at 11:04 a.m. Labour was unexpected, fast and easy (no, really!). I’ll promise, I’ll share my non-scary non-gory labour and birth story later on.
I found pregnancy-related websites were incredibly depressing: most simply enumerated a long list of potential discomforts and issues that would only get worse and worse. I decided to stay away from them. Instead, I simply listened to my body and noted the slow change, as spring turned into summer and summer into fall.
So far, I’ve had four ultrasounds, a bunch of blood tests, the Integrated Test, two appointments with a GP at the University of Ottawa Health Services and countless appointments (seven, eight…?) with an ob-gyn at the hospital. And so far, I have paid exactly zero dollars. Nada, niente, nothing.
Pregnancy hormones really mess up with your head. I have been on an emotional rollercoaster for the past few months: I alternated between feeling helpless and happy, confident and anxious. Apparently it’s normal. I hope so, anyway. But there are times when I’m pretty sure I was rightfully annoyed. Like I explained, I’ve had issue with the “pregnancy police” and I still can’t believe how inappropriate complete strangers can be.
Nine months is a long time. I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever, and I’m still not one of these “glowing pregnant women”. Don’t get me wrong—it is a fascinating experience. But it needs to end at one point! As scary as the perspective of labour and birth is, I must admit I’m now looking forward to the “Grand Finale” for these 20 reasons.
Random strangers who ask if it’s a boy or a girl either think I know and don’t want to say, or that I don’t give a shit about the baby. “But it’s so much better when you know you are learning to love a little boy or a little girl,” claimed a random woman. Gee, I can see beyond the gender binary, you know. I’m carrying a human being, it doesn’t matter whether he has a penis or she has a vagina.
Some women assert that they are more feminine and womanly when they are pregnant. They claim they have found their purpose, a new meaning in life. Well, I can tell you I wasn’t comparing myself with a freaking fertility goddess. I felt like I was going through puberty all over again.
I remember looking out the plane window, staring at the sunrise over Europe, and being scared of the long road ahead of us. Forty weeks. That’s a long time.
A nurse called my name and I was asked, once again, to give a urine sample. To this day, I have no idea why pregnant women constantly have to provide doctors with urine samples—good thing our bladders are bursting most of the time though, it makes things easier.
I called the University of Ottawa Health Services, where I had a checkup done a year earlier. I was immediately put on hold and I could hear Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” playing in the background. “For Christ’s sake,” I muttered impatiently, “is there a more inappropriate song given the circumstances?”