365 fetus-filled days

I’m surprised I even remember my name after spending 22 consecutive sleepless nights in the hospital with a sick baby, but shockingly, I woke up this morning remembering that exactly one year ago today, I found out I was pregnant.

oops

Does ‘pregnant’ mean what I think it means?

A lot has happened during this particular journey around the sun for me including, but not limited to:

  • Feelings of regret over destroying a case of beer two days before I took a pregnancy test
  • Additional feelings of confusion, inadequacy, fear and panic
  • Three more pregnancy tests, because sometimes pee can be wrong
  • Tears (the petrified kind)
  • The beginnings of a lifelong cycle of cat neglect
  • That thing where you think you’re going to throw up but you don’t, which is almost worse than actually throwing up
  • Eating habits that would put my aunt’s trash compactor to shame
  • Missing wine more than I miss seeing my own feet
  • A series of “bump day” mirror selfies that no one will ever, ever see
  • Giving birth to an actual human child–a feeling so surreal that I can only describe it using the phrase, “holy shit, man”
  • A terrifying three week hospital ordeal where said child nearly died (please don’t ever make me talk about this again, I hate you for even bringing it up)
  • Experiencing this weird, tingly sensation I’ve never felt before deep down in my chest–oh ya, unconditional love for another human being
  • NO SLEEP LIKE EVER

That’s it.

That’s all I have to say.

That, and how happy I am that this 13 pound diaper destroyer came into my life.

liam today

I’ve made a lot of mistakes, kid. You’re not one of them.

My due date came & went so I put on some makeup, went outside, and met an astronaut

It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that I wasn’t going to deliver on my November 21st due date.

After all, only 5% of women actually do.

But it still stings.

overdue

As a pregnant woman, your due date is your North Star. Your light at the end of a very long–and sometimes very disgusting–tunnel.

But it’s really only an estimate. And no amount of walking, exercise ball bouncing, spicy food eating, or red raspberry leaf tree drinking is going to make a baby come out before it’s ready.

And so we wait.

After feeling particularly hopeful last night for reasons I won’t get into because they involve some of that disgusting stuff I mentioned earlier, today remains yet another baby bust, despite waddling walking around numerous commercial establishments for four consecutive hours.

I was, however, fortunate enough to be able to squeeze my fat ass through the doors of a local Costco and meet world-renowned Canadian astronaut–and the most strikingly handsome moustachioed man in all the land–Commander Chris Hadfield.

hadfield

He’s so dreamy. Bonus: he’s also a Toronto Maple Leafs fan!

I triumphantly toddled out of there shortly after 1pm with a pair of Christmas pyjamas (impulse buy) and Hadfield’s signed new book tucked under my arm.

His firm, yet tender handshake still tingling on my palm, I was able to forget for a brief moment that I was still a fat, disgusting pregnant woman.

Thanks, Commander.

The Push Present: because there’s no better way to say ‘thank you for pushing out this baby’ than a $10,000 designer bag

There’s a lot of things about this whole pregnancy business I’m still trying to wrap my head around.

my-vagoo-stretches-how-many-centimetres-9fc76

Terrifying and gross physiological processes aside, one of the most fascinating elements for me so far has to be a recently discovered custom that is somehow inexplicably tied to giving birth: the Push Present.

A practice that I can only assume has been made popular in recent years by the implicitly materialistic Hollywood celebrity scene, my understanding (or lack thereof) of the Push Present is as follows:

bitstrip

All right, listen. I’m not a total beatnik.

I consume things too, albeit at a slightly slower rate than your average Hollywood baby mama. I love my iPhone and my Macbook. I don’t own an iPad, but would welcome the opportunity to. I tried Apple TV once, but ultimately rejected everything it stood for.

But has it really come to this?

Have a baby, get an elaborate gift?

Doesn’t it seem like another desperate attempt to equate love and pride with consumerism and consumption?

love

Up until very recently, I had no idea the Push Present was even a thing.

And I wasn’t the only one.

This is the father of my unborn child’s reaction the exact moment I asked him if he knew what a Push Present was:

confused dad

Note the genuine look of pure, unadulterated bewilderment.

If we were celebrities (LOL), we’d be in the minority. A quick–and frankly, infuriating–Google search placed me at the doorstep of a compilation of Push Presents bestowed upon celebrity mothers upon the delivery of the next generation of spoiled, entitled debutantes. Here is a small sample:

  • Beyoncé Knowles: a gargantuan, $35,000 Tanzanite ring the size of a kidney stone, probably
  • Jessica Simpson: a $30,000 collection of platinum bracelets and matching necklace with a “huge” amethyst
  • Mariah Carey: a $12,000 diamond-encrusted nameplate featuring her childrens’ names
  • Kristin Cavallari: a $10,000 Hermès bag

I know I sound preachy and judgmental. I guess I’ve just been struggling to understand the Push Present’s raison d’être. 

But here’s the thing–and it’s an important distinction in trying to understand this phenomenon.

I am not Beyoncé Knowles.

b

And mercifully, I am not part of her world.

I am just your run-of-the-mill pregnant girl, sitting in front a computer, asking for nothing in return other than some good drugs and maybe a cold, refreshing beer in the postpartum.

I don’t expect–nor ever have–a Tiffany & Co. box on the eve of my delivery. I don’t need an amethyst (mostly because I don’t even know what the hell that is). And don’t hand me a Hermès bag unless you’re 100% clear on how to pronounce it.

All I want is a healthy baby.

That’s the Push Present I want.

And a beer.

Oh god, and an ice cold beer.

beer

I’ll see you soon, my sweet.

Happy first day of maternity leave, now get your fat ass to the hospital

I’ve been looking forward to being a lady of leisure for a while.

fuck-this-shit-im-going-on-maternity-leave-b6e42

Smell ya later, wage slavery

Since the tender age of 15, I’ve been employed in some capacity. Whether it was napping in the corner in the kid’s section putting away books for the public library, hungover customer service at Canadian Tire, or pushing paper for one of Canada’s fine post-secondary institutions–I’ve been a complacent little worker bee, especially these last few years–mindlessly plugging away at paying off those pesky student loans.

Even when I was laid off, I was never unemployed for much longer than a few weeks. So you can imagine my excitement when I realized that this blessed country of mine allows for a full year of paid maternity leave.

matern

Canada rocks. You suck, America.

Today is my first official day of maternity leave, and I can’t express enough how good it felt rolling out of bed this morning at a cool 9:30am.

What felt even better was, in chronological order:

  • taking a long, hot shower without worrying about the time
  • pulling on a pair of sexy sweat pants instead of tight, uncomfortable work clothes
  • leisurely blowdrying my hair, gleefully skipping makeup time
  • snuggling my cats, mostly against their will
  • eating a large, carbohydrate-laden breakfast complete with a healthy dose of Nutella

But what really topped it all off was getting a spot at the spa for a relaxing prenatal massage later this afternoon.

everythings_coming_up_milhouse-52415

Things were off to a great start.

And then my obstetrician told me to get my fat, disgusting pregnant body to the hospital.

At my routine appointment this morning, the baby’s heartbeat was high, and staying high. As a precaution, my OB ordered something called a nonstress test, which essentially means I sit hooked up to a monitor in labour and delivery for an hour or so to make sure that the womb party isn’t getting too out of hand.

Not my favourite way to spend an afternoon

Not an ideal way to spend an afternoon

After a quick jaunt to a ward I hope to not see/think about again for another three weeks, I’m happy to report that little dude’s ticker is just fine, and we’re both home now awaiting our massage, and making our way through 170 pieces of discounted Halloween candy.

IT'S FOR THE BABY

It’s for the baby, get off my case.

 

Ricki Lake is a total bitch and now I’m in the official freakout phase

I made an egregious error this weekend.

And for once, it didn’t involve stuffing an alarming amount of carbohydrates inside a tube of pizza dough, or putting my cat between two slices of bread and slathering him with BBQ sauce.

I watched The Business of Being Born, a 2008 documentary which explores the contemporary experience of childbirth in the US. The film was produced by 90s talk show sweetheart Ricki Lake– yes, the Ricki Lake. You may remember her from such intellectual powerhouses as, “Weave Wars”, “I Find Fat People Gross”, and “I’m proud to be a prostitute”.

ricki lake

So what’s the big deal?

It’s just a documentary.

A documentary based on the US system, even. Surely, it’s different here in Canada.

Seems pretty harmless.

Dwight_Schrute_False-s298x310-314578-580

The film–which aside from instilling feelings of abject failure and inadequacy into already-terrified pregnant women–argues that present-day hospital-based options for childbirth are often unnecessary, neglectful, and potentially life-threatening. For women with uncomplicated pregnancies, it strongly advocates for natural and/or home births with midwives, versus medicalized hospital births with obstetricians.

At the risk of sounding dramatic, god damn it, Ricki Lake, you’ve ruined my life!

While some of the information was irrelevant due to the fact that I am blessed to live in a country with socialized medicine, since the movie, I’ve found myself lying awake at night, asking the following questions:

  • Did I go about this all wrong?
  • What if everything doesn’t go as outlined in my birth plan?
  • Should I have gone with a midwife?
  • Would a natural and/or home birth without any drugs have been that bad?
  • Could I have at least chosen a hospital where the c-section rate wasn’t 1 in 3?
  • Won’t somebody please bring me a cheeseburger?

What’s worse, I’m beginning to question whether or not I was too complacent from the start.

Did I research my options enough?

Am I doomed to suffer a terrible hospital experience, only to be cut open at the end so the OB can make it home in time for dinner?

I feel like I’ve been tricked–much like that time in high school where they told us that the only way we were ever going to achieve success was if we went to university.

loans

I digress.

The documentary–as biased as it is–actually made me realize a few things:

  • I have more say in all of this than I think I do
  • It’s okay to ask questions
  • I have choices
  • It’s important to be informed of my rights and options, and advocate for myself
  • This is my body, my experience, and my baby

I guess you’re not so bad after all, Ricki.

Except for this unfortunate picture when she was on Dancing With The Stars

Except for this unfortunate picture taken when you were on Dancing With The Stars

I was all set to hit publish, when a perfectly-timed conversation with a friend who recently gave birth to a beautiful little girl made me realize I’ve actually been missing the most important thing.

You can go in with a perfect plan in mind of how you want things to go, but sometimes, life just doesn’t give a shit about your plans.

After sharing with me what sounded like the most complicated, frustrating, and quite frankly, terrifying labour experience, she said something incredibly beautiful. It’s something I hope I will fully understand when this process is all said and done.

“I have had my days of tears mourning what I thought was the perfect delivery. The truth is, the perfect delivery is the one that ends with your little bean in your arms.”

Eat your heart out, Ricki Lake.

I haven’t avoided a god damn thing and my fetus is a-ok

If my baby were to be born today, there’s a 99% chance he would survive without any major complications.

Is it because I’ve been a paragon of fierce avoidance? Aw, hecky naw. In fact, at the risk of sounding like an unfit mother, I’ve been pretty lenient as far as lifestyle changes go.

Most pregnant women want to do everything in their power to nurture and care for their baby. Some women take this very seriously, and some women are me.

calm-your-tits

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a monster.

When I fell pregnant last summer, out of sheer ignorance fear, I immediately threw out all cleaning products that contained words I didn’t recognize, swore off sushi and deli meat for fear of bacteria and/or listeria, and chucked all beauty essentials in case something happened to my fetus because my Oil of Olay face wash contained stearic acid.

And then I lost the baby.

something i did

This time around, I refused to live in fear. Risks are always going to exist, and I’m not going to put my life on hold just because there’s a minuscule chance that something might go wrong. I’ve spoken to my doctor. I’ve done my research. If he wasn’t going to make it, it most likely wouldn’t be because I didn’t boil my sliced turkey breast before eating it.

In fact, in the last eight months, I’ve:

  • Eaten sushi more times than I can count
  • Consumed raw cookie dough by the handful
  • Sipped wine here and there
  • Enjoyed several cans of coke and chocolate bars, sometimes at the same time
  • Seen a relatively frequent amount of pink in my steak
  • Came crawling back to Oil of Olay, and our relationship is stronger than ever
  • Eaten entire wheels of brie in various shapes and sizes; and of course
  • Rekindled my passionate love affair with deli meat sandwiches
sandwich

Artist’s rendition

And you know what? He’s doing just fine.

His dad, on the other hand, is still on litter duty.

Heh.

funny-litter-box-cat-pee

No one likes to talk about miscarriage, but I don’t give a crap

As I attempt to navigate my way through pregnancy and eventual parenthood, I thought starting a blog about it–specifically, one that didn’t involve naked belly photos and recipes to kick-start lactation–would be funny, therapeutic, and a great way to pass the time as I count down the working days until maternity leave starts (20, in case anyone was wondering).

blogging

As all three of my readers most of you know, I tend to not be too serious on here. I don’t want to treat this like a diary–I mean, nobody wants to read that garbage. The hits come when I am self-deprecating and sarcastic, anyway. And I’m cool with that.

So that’s why I’ve decided to switch gears (and forgo hits) to talk about something super depressing–miscarriage!

Don’t worry, this won’t be lengthy, explicit, or overly-personal. It’s just that nobody talks about it, ever. It’s almost as taboo as debating abortion and religion, and I’m not sure why.

evolution

I understand that death, pain and suffering aren’t exactly uplifting topics. But I learned the hard way that when you stuff your feelings deep down into the pit of your stomach and then pour alcohol on top of them, the result is a nightmarish existence of Biblical proportions.

I lost a baby this time last year. It was hell, and I couldn’t talk about it for a really long time. And I know this seems like another, oh great, Becca is talking about miscarriage again post, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that if you’re going through it, there are more people out there who understand than you realize–so say something. To anyone. If I do nothing else, I need to pass that on.

therapy

In 1988, then-president Ronald Reagan declared the month of October Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month in the US. In 2002, the states recognized October 15 as an official day of remembrance, and it caught on in Canada by 2004. Currently, there is a lobby to get it recognized in Australia as well.

I know no one likes to talk about miscarriage.

So here’s a cat licking a lollipop. Enjoy.

cat

ribbon

Someone threw me a baby shower and it wasn’t a complete nightmare

“I f*cking hate this shit” is something I have been widely known to say with regard to the following:

  • birthday parties
  • bridal showers
  • baby showers
  • engagement parties
  • weddings
  • generally any sort of perceived contrived celebration where I’m forced to smile and say “aww” or “I’m so happy for you!”

Look, it’s not that I don’t enjoy celebrating exciting milestones of my friends and loved ones. Contrary to popular belief, I do have the capacity to feel joy for others. And although I’m often confused with Larry David’s character on Curb Your Enthusiasm, I don’t think I’m a complete curmudgeon.

larry-david-14

It’s just that I’ve never been the kind of person who feels comfortable in situations that call for frilly bows on the backs of chairs and games that involve someone being wrapped in a roll of toilet paper.

So when my boyfriend’s mother because we live in sin mother-in-law stated that she was going to offered to throw me a baby shower, I cringed. I cringed for my dignity, my like-minded friends who would feel obligated to attend, and most of all, I cringed for the blatant hypocrisy surely someone was going to call me out on.

hypocrite

And quite frankly, I’d deserve it.

But here’s where the beauty of friendship comes in. At the end of the day, the people who truly give a shit about you aren’t going to sit there and remind you what an intolerable asshole you’ve been.

They’re even going to ignore the fact that one time you updated your Facebook status to this:

lasagna
Because when it comes down to it, the people that love you the most are going to be the ones throwing you that shower for the child you’re having out of wedlock, despite their staunch religious beliefs opposing that very lifestyle.

They’re going to be there for you, even if they open their mail one day and receive a hand-drawn map inside an invitation to said shower (for the baby you swore you’d never have).

failure

Best of all, they’re not going make you choke back that humble pie.

Instead, they’ll remember that perhaps your only coping mechanism (other than alcohol) in the wake of a terrible couple of years filled with heartbreak and loss was humour in the form of a snarky social media presence and general distaste for all things that bring others joy.

And they’re going to forgive you for that, and be so god damn generous that you instantly wish you were a better person.

shower collage

Maybe I’ll have a small slice of that pie.

I do love pie, after all.

5 embarrassing social media statuses that no longer apply to my life

If you’re unfamiliar with Timehop, it’s a smartphone app that lets you delve into your sordid past via social media, reminding you what inexplicable nonsense you were sharing with the world exactly one year ago. Or two. Or three.

You get the idea.

ck

This is how Timehop reminds me of what I really am

Timehop is a blessing and a curse. More often than not, I’m cringing like a vegan in a meat factory as I reluctantly scroll through embarrassing past statuses or photos that for some reason I thought were appropriate to share with 300+ people.

For example, here’s a sample of my irrefutable genius from three years ago this Saturday:

timehop

Humiliating status updates aside, Timehop is a constant reminder that one moment you may be waking up with a $50 hotel room surcharge in Las Vegas, but the next, you might be painting a nursery and researching the effectiveness of Pampers VS Huggies.

Life, man.

In the spirit of nostalgia, reminiscence and my penchant for having absolutely no shame, I present 5 embarrassing social media statuses that no longer apply to my life.

1) This terrible joke

status

2) This tweet I retweeted because I am unoriginal

tweet

3) Running, and sharing my runs on social media because I’m a monster

running

4) Being a debilitating alcoholic

beer

5) Appearing attractive to the opposite sex

vic

6) Bonus material: this was never shared on social media (until now), but this one actually applies. Ugh.

IMG_8120[1]

Yes, on the weekend,  I ripped a hole in my pants. I thought that only happened to cartoon characters.

spongebob-ripped-pants-o

Instead of taking another selfie, I’m taking this creepy doll to breastfeeding class

I share an office with a doll.

IMG_8099

“Kill me.”

Now hear me out.

I also share an office part-time with a Registered Nurse, who happens to be a lactation consultant (score for me!). I can only assume that she uses this doll for training purposes in our medical clinic (why else would it even be here?), but mostly it just sits on the shelf behind me and plots my demise.

This morning, in one of my countless attempts to procrastinate, I took the liberty of inspecting the doll further. The name on the back of its neck reads Berenguer, which, according to Google, is a line of Spanish-made collectibles, like the one below.

This makes me uncomfortable

This makes me uncomfortable

Dolls are typically for young girls (and boys) to play with, but sometimes weird adults get a hold of them and add a new layer of creepy to the baby doll experience that you never knew existed. Lifelike, anatomically correct dolls such as these are sometimes referred to as ‘reborn’ dolls. I’ve come across them in the past and was shocked to find out how popular they were. If you’re feeling brave, a Google or YouTube search will give you easy access to this baffling phenomenon.

Maybe I’m being a little narrow-minded by calling it creepy and baffling, so I encourage you to also watch this YouTube video and judge for yourself:

Speaking of weird and creepy, to combat abject boredom at work, there have been at least two documented cases of me and my office mate engaged in a selfie photoshoot.

This one:

I'm not even embarrassed

I’m not even that embarrassed

and this most recent one:

I'm going to get fired, aren't I?

I’m going to get fired, aren’t I?

Tonight is Breastfeeding Night at my prenatal class, and we were all encouraged to bring a doll or stuffed animal to practice. This baby is going to get put to some actual, practical use!

Please pray for its terrifying soul.