Category: Life

Why Home is Awesome

Having shared why I feel just as safe to birth at home as in the hospital, you might still be confused why I’d rather have this experience at home. Honestly, I am looking forward to labouring and meeting the Truck in our apartment. I have a friend who had a natural birth in the hospital just about a year ago, and I was so impressed with her! She was offered an epidural as soon as she arrived at the hospital but insisted that she at least wanted to try to see how far she could get on her own (she got all the way). When she was telling me about the experience it was before I got pregnant, but I told her that I also hoped to birth without interventions and that I was intrigued by the idea of home birth. I was braced for a judgy reaction like I might have had a year earlier, but her instant response was, “oh, that sounds so relaxing!” I think that was the vote of confidence I needed to take myself seriously as I continued reading and researching my decision.

As I anticipate labour, I am happy not to worry about discerning when it’s time to go to the hospital. I don’t know what to expect from labour except probably pain and definitely hard work, so the less critical thinking I need to do in that situation the better. Taking labour as it comes means I can avoid the disappointment of arriving at the hospital only 2 cm dilated while also avoiding waiting too long and having to sit in the car through multiple contractions, suffering in agony. The hospital is close, but I have a feeling that in active labour it won’t feel that close.

Being at home also means that I’ll be guaranteed privacy and focused care. I will know every person who is present, and I will be the only labouring woman on the floor (probably the building, really). I have heard from tons of people that by the time it’s time to have the baby I will NOT care who is there and who sees what, but I have also heard and read that women in labour progress and cope better when they feel safe and comfortable, so why not labour where I feel most comfortable?

In addition to not having to worry about who is coming and going, being at home protects me from stress over pressure to have unnecessary interventions (because hospital staff expect I will want them or because I am put on an arbitrary timeline by hospital policy). Interventions all come with risks, and while most are relatively safe overall, there can still be consequences that many women are not aware of.

Epidurals are a very common intervention that women undergo during labour, but this is one thing I’d like to avoid if I can. It’s not even that I don’t think epidurals are safe, but I don’t think they are a free pass on pain, and I’m concerned that the pain relief they provide in the moment can have a cost in higher risk of subsequent interventions like Pitocin, episiotomy, or Cesarean delivery, increased risk of tearing, more difficult recovery, not to mention a bad reaction to the epidural itself (apparently some women get super nauseous or ringing ears or generally freaked out by epidurals after they are placed). Having an epidural also requires you to stay in bed to receive constant fetal monitoring, and this can cause labour to slow down or stall (hence the increased risk of other interventions). For anybody who wants an epidural, God bless you, but at this point they freak me out more than pain, so I’m in no rush to sign up for one.

Another reason I’ll be more comfortable at home than the hospital is that I can eat and drink and move around however I please throughout my labour. Did you know that first-time moms can burn as many calories in their labour as taking a 50-mile hike? Is there anybody in the world who would attempt that feat fuelled primarily by ice chips!? Now, I don’t think I’ll be mowing down a turkey sandwich while pushing, but snacking as long as I feel like it and drinking plenty of fluids certainly won’t hurt my energy levels. Neither Matt nor I will be limited by cafeteria options or hours or running out of change for the vending machine when it comes to food and drink during labour.

Most generally of all, I think I will feel more comfortable at home because of the overall environment. Our apartment is where I sleep, where I cook and eat and play games and hang laundry. I feel safe here. Sure the hallway smells weird sometimes, but it doesn’t smell like three surgeries and radiation treatment (how I spent many days in 2003), and it doesn’t smell like visiting people who are sick or dying. I don’t mind hospitals, but they are really meant for sick people. They smell like they smell because they are full of germs and need to be sterilized all the time. If my hallway smells funky, it’s because people from other cultures have made weird soup. But inside our door smells like home, and when it comes time to welcome our baby that’s just where I want to be.

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Aand that is where I draw the line

I went to the health store at the mall to buy toothpaste today. Remember how I’m a little bit crunchy? Well today I found out where I draw the line. I was looking for a brand called Tom’s, which makes toothpaste with a pretty short ingredient list and no fluoride – I bought it as an experiment a couple months ago since my teeth have become extremely sensitive and my gums have become really bleedy during pregnancy (it’s not all glamour, folks! LOL, as if you thought it was). I liked how things have gone, and I was all ready to drop $8 on a new tube, but the only flavour the store had today was fennel.

I asked the saleswoman if they had any other flavours stashed somewhere I couldn’t see, and her response was “it’s okay, this is an herb.” No ma’am I did not ask what fennel was, I asked if I could not have it in my toothpaste. Fennel in toothpaste is my line right now. I’m not saying it’s a forever thing for certain, but I am simply not in a place to spend $8 with the hope that Matt will still kiss me (because if he also draws the line at fennel, I can’t say that I blame him). I still bought overpriced crunchy toothpaste, but it was a $6 tube of some European-looking brand. Flavour: spearmint, thanks.

No-Card November Update

We are more than half way through the month now, so I thought I’d check in with how our month-long break from plastic is going.

Overall, I’d say the goals of our plastic fast are being met. However, we have adapted the rules because living on cash only is complicated and requires organizational time and skills that we apparently don’t have. So instead of never using any of our cards, the limits we’ve been living with are:

  • using the credit card we share only for groceries and gas.
  • I pay for my chiropractor visits on my debit card because my insurance pays directly into our bank account, so the money goes in and out of the same place.
  • we still use cash for personal spending, miscellaneous things we need for the house, and for treats like the pizza we had for dinner last night 🙂

I am waiting for the last automatic bill payments of the month to go through before I update our budget so we know where we stand for the home stretch of this month. So far things look good though, and I’m happy!

Two Milestones

Last week Matt and I celebrated the 6th anniversary of our first date. It’s a little tradition we have to remember November 8, although year to year we haven’t been very consistent in what exactly we do – sometimes one or both of us comes up with a gift, or we make a nice dinner at home or we go on a fabulous date. This year we talked about going to the restaurant where our first date took place, but the more we thought about it…. the more we both really wanted sushi, lol. Also it turns out that restaurant is now closed. RIP Sierra Grill. Thanks for a good dinner back in 2006 <3

Now, there is some fuss about whether pregnant ladies should eat sushi. The main risk comes with eating raw fish because pregnant ladies are more susceptible to food poisoning, and it is possible to get parasites from uncooked fish, which isn’t good for anybody. However, there is also the perspective that sushi isn’t so bad and (as with many things in the West) the risk is blown way out of proportion but nobody wants to be liable in case something bad does happen.

Long story short, Matt and I decided we were both okay with an all-you-can-eat sushi date.

And thank goodness we did! This place we went to had so many delicious options to choose from and not just sushi – we enjoyed a plate of teriyaki chicken and the MOST tender garlic beef I’ve ever put in my mouth. Matt ordered some sashimi (side note – spell check doesn’t recognize this word and thinks maybe I mean “mishmash” bahaha), in which I did not partake, we both enjoyed different sushi rolls. Also, I discovered that dessert can come in sushi form – pictured above, the “fresh mango roll” had avocado and cucumber with some kind of sauce wrapped up in rice and seaweed, topped with slices of delicious mango and drizzled with mango pulp. It was SO good, and it took us like 20 minutes just to eat the 6 pieces that came in our order (I had 5 and Matt had 1) because we were so full, but it was worth it. Then we had real dessert of green tea ice cream, which was as always impossibly refreshing. One of the things I love about Asian restaurants is the pot of jasmine tea you get to sip on for the whole meal – it makes the whole experience that much more hospitable and makes a lot more sense to me than paying $2.75 for a glass of Sprite. But I digress. Our sixth date-aversary was really great and even aside from the fabulous food it was a wonderful time just being together.

Second milestone – yesterday I played Last Post and the Rouse on trumpet for our church’s Remembrance Day service. For the first time in my LIFE (including every time I’ve ever practised it) I played both pieces without any mistakes. I didn’t want to post about it yesterday because it struck me as a liiiittle self-centered for a Remembrance Day post just to brag on myself (okay a lot self-centered. Which is why I didn’t do it! Don’t judge!), but honestly the reason I’m so happy about it isn’t because I now think I’m extra awesome – I’m just so glad and grateful that the one time I got through was when it mattered. Playing the Last Post is like running a beep test but for your face, and you only get one shot per year to do it right. I definitely put in my time practising to do my best, but it is like receiving a gift to have actually played my best in the moment when it mattered.

November so far

It has been an interesting week so far, marked by lower back pain, eeeaarly mornings, and anticipating Remembrance Day by playing the trumpet and intermittently being stabbed by my poppy.

I am very excited to be playing the Last Post for the church’s Remembrance Day service this year. I sold my trumpet in the Spring because I never played it and it needed a professional cleaning, but I didn’t want to spend the money on that knowing that it probably wouldn’t be played anyways. I haven’t regretted selling it, and I only occasionally miss playing it (which I also did when I still owned it in its not-playable condition), but I am having a lot of fun this week on a borrowed trumpet getting my face back into shape to play for this Sunday. Rumour has it the borrowed trumpet may actually be donated to the church, in which case I could play it for future special events and also have access to it at the church for those random trumpet hankerings I get sometimes.

So far this week has also been marked by waking up at 4:30am (one hour earlier than my alarm is set for, thanks for that Daylight Savings) with spectacular leg cramps; if it weren’t for my shin bones, I’m pretty sure I’d wake up with my ankles bent up neatly to their respective knees. I have not been doing much walking or taking the stairs for the last few weeks thanks to a wicked cough (or mild bronchitis?), so I wonder if this is my body’s way of keeping up my muscle strength – super flexing in my sleep. I’m able to settle the cramps if I can get my feet flat on the floor to stretch my feet and legs back into a right angle vs the straight line it seems they’re aiming for, but that’s a mission in itself depending what position I wake up in and how far I am from the edge of the bed.

I think these leg cramps are connected to a condition in my back that I learned about over the weekend – lumbar instability! Part way through last week I noticed that my lower back and legs were getting very tight and achy and that sometimes when I cough that pain would intensify. I had some nerve pain in my lower back on the right side earlier in the pregnancy that was very similar to what I’ve been experiencing with the coughing, so on Saturday I decided to visit the chiropractic college (hello experts I can afford!) and see if I had coughed anything out of place. It turns out that some of the ligaments in my lumbar spine (low back) have gotten a little too loosey-goosey from the pregnancy hormones floating around, so in order to keep me stable, the ligaments and muscles above and below there are overcompensating by being super tense. It’s hard to treat an instability because adjustments don’t “stick,” but they can work on relieving the surrounding tension that is causing me pain, and I’ll have exercises to strengthen the overall area.

I really enjoyed my appointment on Saturday. It was 3 hours long, which I was prepared for because it was my initial appointment and because other times I’ve gone to this clinic I have always found my treatment to be very thorough. It’s a teaching clinic, with pods of student interns overseen by teaching staff of the college. Sometimes the process takes a bit of time because the intern has to go back and forth between assessing the patient and figuring out what treatment is needed to then going through the case with their supervisor to make sure they haven’t missed anything before they proceed. I really like my intern and her pod supervisor, and I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer to see a chiropractor than I did because not only did I have this instability, but my pelvis was twisty! They don’t do manual adjustments on pregnant ladies for that, but they got me to lie on my back with some wedge blocks under my hips, and it was amazing what a difference it made. When I first lay down, my left hip bone was probably two inches higher than my right, but after the blocks my hips were level. When I was telling my parents about this appointment my Dad said it was good that I went so the baby doesn’t come out looking like a curly fry! Having a properly aligned pelvis is definitely a priority for me as I enter my third trimester so that the Truck has all the room it needs to grow and get in a good position for being born, AND so that I don’t have to waddle around like a wooden-legged duck.