Thursday, April 26, 2012

Month Nine...(April 2012)

This month was supposed to be another two weeks of bed rest and then I was allowed to be more mobile, knowing that at 37 weeks, we were in the "safe zone". Our Dr.'s and midwives referred to this as the "safe zone", because if you were born now, you would likely not have any time in the Special Care Nursery, unless something didn't go well at your birth. Everyone around me was SHOCKED that week by week, you were still in my tummy!  I think your Dad and I were surprised the most.  Every week that you kept "baking", made it that much easier, knowing we would have an end to this'd be born.

I spent half of the month at home on bed rest and that was really hard!  I wanted to help Daddy cook, clean, prepare for you to come home to a finished nursery and to just spend time relaxing on my own terms.  I had up and down days...down days, mostly because the pain was getting to be unbearable in my back and hips and sleep was pretty much non existent!  We were dying for you to come, so that we could hold you in our arms and not have to deal with the silliness that was pre term labour anymore!

My last pregnancy photo taken at home!

At my 37 week app't with the Midwives, I was taken off of bed rest and couldn't have been more grateful!  I could barely walk/move at that point, without assistance, so I was ready to try to get more mobile before you arrived.  Everyone always said to us, "I bet that the second you are off of bed rest, you will deliver this baby", but I had a hard time believing that you would ever come, having stayed in so long!  I was determined to help around the house more ("nest"), walk with Daddy everyday and spend some quality time together!

I tried to re book our maternity photos, before it was "too late", booked a hair app't for the following day (I hadn't had a haircut in 12 weeks!!!) and wanted to "get ready" for your arrival, hopefully before I went overdue! HA!

Secretly, I met with the OB we saw when we were in the hospital, as the Midwives wanted me to discuss with him, an early induction, if possible. They were quite concerned with the level of pain I was in, as well as your size and lack of movements at times.  You gave us yet again, another scare by not moving for a day and sending me to the office for another NST and BPP.  They predicted at the ultrasound, that you were 8lbs 6oz, had a head measurement of 34 cms and a length of 21 inches.  You were measuring 3 weeks and 1 day ahead.  YIKES!  I saw the OB and he agreed to book an induction date for you of: April 20, 2012.  His prediction though: Anytime I make an induction date, it seems the Mom always goes into labour before then.

So, after the app't, on April 10th and a lovely procedure to kick start some labour (which only works sometimes and is not proven to REALLY work), I felt really uncomfortable and was told it was "normal".  Little did we all know, the next morning, labour signs started to show and by 4pm, Dad and I "WALKED THIS BABY OUT", as the Midwives like to say!  We went for a walk around the block to try to kick start better contractions than I'd been having for the last 7 weeks and little did we know, half way through our walk, I WENT INTO LABOUR!!!!!!!  It was an incredible, yet painful walk, that really set your Daddy into high gear once we got back home!

While this is an EXTREMELY unattractive photo of me, Daddy decided that he needed to take a photo while I was in labour at home...he'll pay for this one, one day!

To be continued... :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Month Eight...(March 2012)

Well, well.  What a month this was!  It started on February 27th, actually, but since it all rolled into the events of month 8, it will all make one post!

On February 26th, at 31 weeks and 2 days into carrying you, I started to feel "off".  It's the best way that I could describe it.  Your Dad had left for New York City on a business trip.  We both lectured each other on a few things before he left:

Me to Daddy:

1) Keep your phone on (he always has it on silent), seriously, you never know what might happen while you're gone.
2) Call before you go to bed (we always talk before bedtime, if he's away)
3) Have fun when you're not in your meeting, but please wherever you go, take your phone with you (he always forgets it)

Daddy to me:

1) Don't go into labour while I'm gone.
2) If you think you're in labour, hold that baby in until I get home.
3) Don't overdo it, as there's no one around if something happens

Daddy didn't follow ANY of his rules!  I followed two out of the three.  It was a stressful day on February 27th, a day that would change the rest of this pregnancy for the both of us!

On February 28th, by mid morning, I felt so horrible and in so much pain, that I called the midwives, called your Dad and was asked to head to the hospital immediately.  Once we arrived, it was confirmed that I was in labour!  This is where EVERYTHING of month 8, changed!

It was supposed to be a month of fun and excitement.  A month of CELEBRATION and change.  A month where we got to prepare as best as we could for your arrival.  We had maternity photos planned, a baby shower that was being thrown for us by our friends, Daddy was planning a surprise for my 30th Birthday and we had plans to finish your nursery.  Well, what it turned out to be, was a month of chaos, fear, worry, prayers, hospital visits, tears, anticipation, countdowns, goals and much, much more.  Truth be told, without sugar coating it, it was at times, a horrific month for me.  A month that was difficult to manage, explain my feelings to anyone and very intrusive.  It was a month of medical talk, risk and craziness.

At times, people asked "How are you doing?"  "What was new?"  "How was I feeling?"  I wanted to SCREAM, cry or breakdown and say, "How am I doing?"  Miserable, actually.  "What was new?"  I'm still pregnant and don't know if I want to keep growing this baby, or just have the baby arrive, so that my body can recover and not be in so much pain.  "How was I feeling?"  Terrified, alone and like I completely lost any and all privacy I have ever had when it comes to my body and this pregnancy. That I just wanted to have some sort of answer when the contractions, joint flare up and complications would end.  That I couldn't EVER describe to someone what my heart felt like on a daily basis. However, I usually answered with, "I'm doing OK, I'm hoping to keep this little one growing as long as God allows me and I am glad that I am still pregnant today.  The truth HURT and most times, no one really wants to hear it, or would EVER understand it, unless they'd been there themselves.  They want to hear the positive.  They want to hear the sugar coating.  This was HARD for me.  Some days, I just NEEDED to be negative and have someone listen.  I was thankful for the friends, family and staff that would let me do this...share my fears, talk through them and then be able to move on after.  Keeping the feelings in, made the day so long and so much worse...Sometimes, I was resentful and I HATED feeling this way.

Each day and milestone got better and better.  My first few days were spent at Mt. Sinai hospital in Toronto.  That was a scary, scary experience, as everyone there, was so high risk and babies were passing away all around me.  It made me so extremely scared.  I was SO happy to make it to 32 weeks pregnant and get the heck out of there and back to Markham-Stouffville (the hospital where you would be born).  I was not sure how long I would have to stay in the hospital, but just getting out of THERE, would surely make things a bit easier.

The first week was spent getting every test, ultrasound and exam completed to see what might be happening with your growth/this pregnancy.  We were given steroid shots to mature your lungs.  We were given something to stop labour, which in the end, I could not take, so it was even more scary.  We had 2x daily Non-Stress Tests (NST's) and weekly Ultrasounds- Biophysical Profiles (BPP's), to ensure that your heart rate was okay, you were not getting stressed inside and that your growth/heart/lungs were all maturing, in case you were delivered early.  Each time, you passed these, it was a relief.  You were still measuring large at every ultrasound (predicted at our last BPP, that you were 8lbs, 6oz, which was in fact your birth weight!), so I was happy for you to come, anytime after the "safe zone" the Dr's kept referring to 36 weeks as.  After the first week, we were told that I wouldn't leave the hospital before 36 weeks.  What a long month that would be!

As days went by, I met many nurses, Doctors and roommates.  My first roommate, was Heather.  She and I got along EXTREMELY well and still stay in touch to this day.  One week after meeting her and Ethan, they had their baby boy- Nolan, which Daddy and I got really excited over!  In total, I had 13 roommates during my stay, none as amazing as she was!  We heard many births through the walls of our room and shared many laughs, fears and worries with each other.  Each week, the staff would be shocked that I was still pregnant with you, each time people visited, they asked when I thought you were coming.  This perhaps was the most frustrating of all questions!  Daddy would ask this as well and trust me, if I could have predicted it, I would have...oddly enough, the only two dreams that I had about specifics in this pregnancy, were dreams that your birthday would be on April 12th, and low and behold, it WAS!!!!!!!!!!!

We were VERY thankful for all of the visits, supports, prayers and everything in between that happened this month.  We wouldn't have made it through this long, tiring month without so many special people in our lives.  I am extremely thankful and grateful for your Dad.  His strength, love and support for the both of us, is something that I could NEVER put into words for you.  While I missed out on your first baby shower, my 30th birthday party and many other moments, I was grateful for the love that your Dad showed me each day.  He hated being away from us, spoiled us as much as he could and spent an entire month trying to manage working, taking care of the house, taking care of you and I and trying to help me through the emotions and fears that we had, should you have come early.

I was VERY grateful to have been released home on bedrest at 35 weeks, a massive surprise, the evening of my birthday!  While I was happy to go home, I was even happier that you were still growing and that I would get to walk through the front door again and go to bed in your Daddy's arms at least one last time before you arrived.  I was nervous, as I knew it would still be a lot of work for your Dad, I could barely walk/sleep due to the pain and labour, but each day got better and more manageable, labour wise.  We fell more and more in love with you during this month, praying that you'd be okay and arrive at a "safe" enough time, where we could take you straight home.  Every bit of worry, pain and emotional roller coaster, was worth it, just to be able to hold you in our arms soon enough!

What a crazy, whirlwind of a month!  We were excited to see what next month would hold and when you're birthday would finally be!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I am SO far behind on blogging...but promise to catch up!

Just as I was starting to write out a post about month 8 and my time in hospital on bed rest, my plans quickly changed!  Little Oliver decided it was time to have his birthday!!!!!!!!

We are madly in love and can't wait to share him with the world (soon) :)  I will be doing some posts over the next week or two to catch up, so look out for some cuteness!!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Thank you for your love and Support.

Before we update with another post, we wanted to make sure that we thanked everyone.  It would be hard to do it all by phone call/email/card, so for now, we are going to sa it here.

Your love, support, prayers, visits, meals, cards, thoughts, calls, emails and everything else in between...have been more than we could have ever imagined.  It has been a long almost 6 weeks of both hospital and home bed rest, something I could never describe to anyone what it's really like.  You have prayed for us through fear, worry, tears, happiness, milestones and now that we sit at almost 37 weeks (full term), we can't be thankful enough.

I thought of inserting a joke here, that you could all start praying now for the COMPLETE opposite of our intial requests (that baby stay in and I can remain sane on bed rest), and pray for this baby to come out and let me get back on my feet again, but whenever baby comes, this will all be a distant memory!

We can't wait for "Gizmo" (Graham hasn't shaken this nickname for the baby) to meet you all and for you to have a cuddle or kiss in person.  It's been a long 6 weeks, but oddly, at times has flown by so quickly.  With less than 4 weeks till our "due date", it's hard to imagine that this baby is not in our arms yet, but we are very grateful that we should get to take home our baby, as long as it arrives healthy and ready!  So THANKFUL!

Can't wait to update you all when Baby Clarke decides to make an appearance...and for Mommy's sake, I'd love to be off bed rest ASAP and for you to come ANYTIME after!!!

Thank you everyone, we love you and cherish you all.

Lee-Anne, Graham and "Gizmo".

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Are those contractions, or have you flipped???

On February 27th, while Dad was away in New York City, I started to feel "off". My belly really hurt and it felt tense. I didn't feel you move as much, but my belly did look COMPLETELY different. I tried to call him (he said I better call him anytime something was different), but he didn't answer his phone ALL.DAY.LONG. I spent from 8am-6pm trying to reach him. He still to this day, makes the excuse that "he was in a meeting", but his meeting lasted till lunch and then...HE WENT SHOPPING! For one reason or another, he not only didn't answer his phone, he packed it away, until he got to the airport. After many attempted phone calls, texts and emails, I finally sent a very unpleasant message to him, that he miraculously answered, quite nonchalantly I might add! 

It went something like this:

Text from me: "Why the heck aren't you answering your phone?  Something is not right, I've called the midwives and I think you NEED to get home ASAP!  I can't reach you and am giving it 10 more minutes before I page you at the airport!  Please call me immediately, I'm worried".

Phone call 30 seconds later (why THIS prompted a response, but not the 10 msgs I left throughout the day of "are you alive" didn't, I don't know!):
Daddy: "What's up?  My flight's cancelled.   I'm annoyed.  You okay?".
Me: "What's up?????  What's UP????????".
Daddy: "Ya, you okay?  You better not be having this baby?  Are you having the baby?  I told you that you can't do that without me"!
Me: "No, I'm not HAVING the baby, but something is wrong and I've called the midwives.  Can you try to get on ANY flight.  I think I'm in labour, but am trying to eat, sleep, rest and have a bath to see if it these contractions will stop".
Daddy: "Okay, I'll call you right back".
Me: "Okay".

Phone call 5 minutes later:
Daddy: "I got on the only flight out of here, business class!  YAY!  Isn't that awesome?  Business class!"
Me: "I don't care what class you're flying on, but great.  What time will you be home?"
Daddy: "In about 6 hours, DO NOT HAVE THIS BABY IN THAT TIME.  I MEAN IT!"
Me: "Umm, ya okay, I'll work on your schedule, hopefully it's nothing!"

In the meantime, I had called our midwives, text Auntie Julie, called Aunt Kathryn and didn't want anyone to worry, as it was probably "nothing". I just wanted to talk with someone who had had a baby recently/before to tell me that it was "nothing". After speaking with the midwives, she gave me advice to: have a bath, lay down, drink at least 3 glasses of water, do some kick counts and call back if that didn't seem to help, or I didn't feel you move 6 times in 2 hours. She was sure that there was NO WAY that I was having contractions, as it was "too early".  I was quite uncomfortable, but knowing your Dad was finally getting on a delayed flight home, I felt better. I tried to go to sleep, or get comfortable, which I couldn't, but still tried not to worry too much.

Way too many hours passed by and WAY TOO SLOWLY. Daddy finally came home, said he was exhausted, asked how I was doing and crawled into bed. He slept like a rock (of course, no surprise there, if you know him well!) and I tossed and turned, having two more baths throughout the night.

That morning, I got out of bed around 4am, as I couldn't sleep and felt horrible. After Dad woke up, I drove him to work and said I was going to go shopping for a bit and then see if I felt better after walking around. I went off to Winners, to find Jack a 1st birthday present and try to distract myself.  I got to Winners, found a gift for him, picked it up and immediately felt dizzy, weak and like you had flipped to a completely different position, which made me feel nauseous.  I quickly paid, got in the car, drank some water and drove home.

Once home, I went to the bathroom, got water, layed down, counted movements and then stood up, as I felt "weird".  I had a HUGE gush of liquid and knew it was immediately time to call the midwives and then call Daddy.  After calling the midwives, they were sure I was having contractions, but wasn't sure if my water had broke, I had a leak, or if it was strong braxton hicks and a change in position.  They said to call Graham and that I had 5 minutes to gather a bag of stuff, pick up Graham and head to the hospital (30 minutes away).  I called Daddy and he informed me that, "He was in a meeting".  I told him that meeting would HAVE to end, as I was on my way to get him.  I think he was STILL convinced that it was nothing, so he got in the car, asked to go home to get our camera and then make our way.  I was in NO mood to argue, so we ran home and then headed to the hospital.

Upon arriving, we went straight to a triage room, where the midwives would meet us for an assessment.  Daddy tried to make jokes about playing on the Nintendo to occupy time (he makes inappropriate suggestions/comments all the time, you will come to know this QUICKLY!), which I did not find humourous.  I was in pain, worried and he was finding it a time to make jokes and pretend like it was NO BIG DEAL!  I'm sure he was slightly worried, but he felt more excited that you might have your birthday today.  I tried to explain why, at 31 weeks and 3 days, that it would not be ideal, while fighting back tears, but he had this smile on his face, like it was the

The midwives came in, strapped me to a machine (which I now know how to hook myself up to, work better than some nurses and can explain to anyone and everyone what it does/means), called a Non Stress Test Machine (NST from here on out), to see if I was having contractions.  They drew some blood, took some swabs and said they'd be back in a few minutes.  A few minutes later, they came back and this is where it all changed for me.  I started crying, sometimes not hearing a word that they said...all while looking over at your Dad, who still seemed to have a smile on his face.

They confirmed that I wasn't leaking fluid, so that was a GOOD sign.  They did confirm that I was having contractions and "some good ones" at that.  They said that I would need to be "checked" and that they had to consult an OB ASAP.  Sushma, one of our midwives, confirmed that yes, I was in labour31 weeks and 3 days and in LABOUR.  They left to get the OB, run another test and I broke down.  I tried to call EVERYONE and no one answered at first.  Not my Mom, Dad, Kathryn, Julie, Jenny, Scott, Stephanie, Dana, Jolene, NO ONE SO FAR.  I just wanted to talk to someone that wasn't sitting across from me, smiling.  Daddy did NOT seem to understand my worry, as he had ZERO experience in knowing anyone who had preterm babies and the long haul that could entail. 

The next 10 minutes seemed like hours.  I FINALLY got ahold of Papa (my Dad), after calling the switchboard and saying that they needed to get him out of his meeting IMMEDIATELY.  What felt like forever later, he picked up the phone, asking if I was okay?  I told him, through tears, that I was in labour and was being admitted to the hospital to try to stop it (that's all that we knew at this point).  I told him that I couldn't reach ANYONE and he said that he would try to get a hold of Mom for us.  I told him that one of us would update them when we knew more.  I knew that Papa was scared and for some odd reason, that actually made me feel better.  Maybe because I wasn't alone with being scared and that someone else knew how REAL this was.

Daddy left the room to admit me, where I was left alone to cry, freak out and listen to your heartbeat thumping away on the NST.  At least I had the reassurance that your heart was beating away.  It didn't mean that you were going to be okay, it just meant that you were still alive and hopefully KICKING. I then reached a few other people and reassured everyone that we would update them all when we knew more. After everyone came back in, Daddy came in, with his usual personality to say this:

"Umm, so the OB who is coming to "check" you, is HUGE! And when I say HUGE, I mean, not like your Dutch cousins HUGE, but like REALLY HUGE!"  I semi ignored this comment, thinking that he is probably no bigger than any of my friends/family and that Graham was just over-reacting...until he sauntered in. Yes, sauntered.  I looked over, to this very appropriate voice that matched his body size and reacted.  There was NO stopping me!  He introduced himself, "Hi, I'm Dr. Gilmore, I'll need to check you, as your being admitted for labour and we need to make a plan".  To which I replied, "Umm, YOU'RE checking me?  YOUR HANDS ARE HUGE"!!!  All I got back was a chuckle (he must have heard things like this before, as he told me that he would be gentle).  He was a 6 foot 6/7 inch man, that towered over EVERYONE in the room, with a voice that was actually, the most reassuring sounding voice.  He was calm, collected and really, really kind.  Just what I needed. 

All signs pointed to labour. I was slightly starting to dilate, my contractions were getting LONGER, HARDER, MORE FREQUENT, STRONGER AND MORE PAINFUL and he suggested that we get steroid shots for your lungs, as well as some medication to try to stop labour, or you'd have your birthday imminently.  No one could tell me WHY this was happening, other than "You have an irritable uterus and your baby moved from breech, to head down" (you flipping later confirmed that this could have started everything!).  Again, I tried not to cry and be brave, but I looked at your Dad for some reassurance and he was STILL excited. 

Everything after that, was quick, crazy and two completely different experiences for your Dad and I.  I wanted to keep you in, but not be in so much pain and he wanted to meet you.  I wanted a "take home baby" weeks from now and he wanted to see what you looked like, even if that meant that you'd be in a little incubator.  I wanted him to understand my fear and I think he wanted me to understand why he didn't want to HAVE to wait any longer, as it's felt like he has waited long enough already.

I got my first steroid shot for your lungs, some morphine for the pain and contractions, a nitrate patch to stop labour and too many attempts at getting an IV in my arms.  The midwives consulted with Dr. Gilmore, who stated that I would have to be transferred to Mt. Sinai, a hospital with a level 3 NICU, as our hospital can't take anyone before 32 weeks.  This scared me SO much.  I would be taken ASAP in an ambulance and Daddy would need to follow us.  They didn't seem to have high hopes that I would be transferred back there and told us to prepare for you to have your birthday and need A LOT OF NICU time.  Dad and I talked, well he tried to talk to me and I tried to breathe through the contractions and pain.  We ordered something to eat, while we waited for an ambulance and I just laid there in complete fear, while Dad seemed to enjoy his pizza, watch some TV and get on with life as if nothing was different.  I am now thankful for this, as TWO of us panicking would be REALLY bad, but at the time, I just wanted him to understand a LITTLE bit of my fear.

We had NO idea what the next few minutes or hours would hold, but we were ALL sure that'd we'd be meeting you before the morning came...

Month Seven...(February 2012)

So many changes, emotions, getting to see your pudgy, cute self, Daddy constantly being away on business and Daddy's Valentine's present and a crazy end to the month...were all things that were really memorable this month.

This month was a complete whirlwind of a month.  I am blogging this much later than I would have liked to, as I am actually blogging this when month 8 has passed us by as well!  That was an interesting month, but that's a whole other story that will be blogged about after this month!

We found out at our 3D ultrasound this month, that you are definetely growing quite big!  I know that there is still so much time for this to change, but Daddy and I have a feeling, that you are going to be a Dutch sized baby afterall!  With the size of my belly, that's really no surprise!  We instantly fell in love with your cute button nose at the ultrasound and found watching the DVD play back, was a moment that we will NEVER forget!  Your Dad wished for ONE thing, for you to NOT have the "Mosselman chin".  I guess we will see when you decide to have your birthday!

Daddy was away A LOT this month.  He went on business for a few days, three out of the 4 weeks of this month.  He missed you and I SO much while he was gone, lecturing the BOTH of us, that nothing better change/happen, he better not miss anything that you do!  Your movements have been UNMISTAKABLE this month, with Daddy seeing and feeling almost every movement you make when he is home.  By the end of the month, you were still up in my ribs, but you started doing flips and rolls, which fascinated the BOTH of us, as we could see my entire belly change every time you did.  Little did we know, that these flips and rolls would turn into one heck of an interesting end to the month!  Everyday, Daddy fell more and more in love with you and my belly, asking me to take photos whenever I could while he was gone.  So much has changed and I felt HUGE!


For a few months now, I have been working on a little surprise for Daddy.  It was VERY hard to keep it a secret, but when he received his present, the sheer look on his face and the silence, while he opened it, made it BEYOND worth it.  I had an amazing opportunity to do some maternity photos, back in January, with Ashley Vansickle Photography.  This is something that Daddy had been BEGGING me to do for a long time, as he LOVES my belly (what a good man to tell me that all the time!) and wanted me to remember every moment of growing you.  He has a few definite favourites, that will be hung in the house, but we were both excited about them all!  Thank you so much Ashley, you did such an amazing job and I felt so relaxed and beautiful!  Yes, it was freezing, I did get a NASTY cold after this photo shoot, but it was worth every bit of cold and discomfort!

Lastly, this month brought on some VERY big surprises for both Daddy and I.  Since he was away a lot on business, he got quite a few lectures on MAKING SURE HE HAD HIS PHONE ON HIM FROM NOW ON.  Unfortunately, he's not always the best listener, or most concerned about having his phone with him, or answering it, so he got in a little bit of trouble...

The big surprise, was that... I went into labour!  This is a weird, long story, that deserves a memorable post of it's own, so I will end here, as the next month, became the craziest, most unpredictable time ever!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

He's officially melted...

You're Dad has melted.  I really didn't think it would happen until AFTER you were born, but... I.WAS.WRONG!

See, your Dad has become cutely obsessed.  Obsessed with my belly, obsessed with you kicking, punching and rolling around inside me, obsessed with looking at your room and everything in it.  But mostly, (and yes, I'm sure he'll kill me for documenting this) he's become obsessed with...

watching "A Baby Story" and "Baby's First Day".  Actually, he seems to love it so much, he asks me to PVR it (record it on the digital box).  He comes home from work and gets REALLY excited to be able to sit, relax and watch his "baby shows" :)  I think it's adorable. 

He loves asking me questions about "how I feel" or "if it's okay if he does x, y or z, that the Dad's do in the videos" or "gets all pouty and excited when the baby is born and the Daddy gets to hold him/her for the first time.  He then tells me, "I think when the baby gets here, I might turn to mush"...

I look at him, very lovingly and usually say to him, "Honey, you already have".

Lastly though, he is already getting territorial.

He likes to tell me that since I will have "held" you for 9/10 months, I don't get anymore turns when you come out.  He feels/thinks that he gets to be the FIRST person to hold you and doesn't have to hand you over to anyone if he doesn't want to.  I just laugh at him, why burst his bubble? :)

I wanted you to have all of this to remember, because when days that your Dad defends that he's "too manly", "a tough guy" or is the "hard one" of us can rub this in his face with me...hee hee!