Friday, July 28, 2017

All the Frills: Eleanor Elizabeth Medea's Birth Story

Alright. The trauma has, I think, subsided enough for me to recount the story of Eleanor’s birth. This post is a long one as it was seriously messed up you guys.

It happened on Tuesday, June 20 - yeah, it's taken me that long to fully collect myself. I was right between 36 and 37 weeks pregnant and was at my regular Tuesday ob gyn appointment. And the baby’s heart beat at this appointment is a bit “off.” But my doctor didn’t really seem that concerned and just told me I should go over a block to the hospital and they’ll hook me up to a neonatal heart monitor for 30 minutes to just make sure that things are good. So I did that. It’s now 10 am, and I saw my doctor at 9:40ish am.

By 10:05 am I was swarmed, with almost no warning, by at least 4 sets of hands. One was yelling “code pink” and telling me the baby had to come out right away as she put on an oxygen mask on me and whispered in my ear that I had to stay calm. One was undressing me. One was starting an IV. And one was forcibly breaking my water…and it felt like hell, the pain was unimaginable. This was emergency surgery with a capital "E."

By 10:15 am I was in the OR and they had started to administer anaesthesia. I went out. The last thing I remember was crying for someone to call my husband and to tell him to call my doula (I was, of course, all alone and utterly terrified - I'd previously experienced two miscarriages and so spent a lot of my pregnancy being fearful that I'd have another ... or worse, a stillbirth ... and this obviously made my present situation even more fraught). I also remember asking if I should take my contacts out and being told there was no time - so yeah, I wore my contacts up until 11 pm that night, which was when my husband was finally able to go home to get my glasses as well as the other things we'd need for our subsequent three day stay in the hospital - he stayed with me in my room for the duration. 

Anyways, I awoke from my emergency C section in the afternoon; my daughter had been pulled from me at 10:36 am. I was totally looped on painkillers, etc. Eleanor had a weird heart beat. Weird in that her beats per minute were erratic and much, much lower than the “normal” range. She was in the NICU.

The next few days were a haze for me. Family and friends coming in and out (which I was grateful for), pain, worry for my daughter, pumping every 2-3 hours as I couldn't nurse her because I was too weak and she was all covered with wires and hooked up to machines, going to the NICU to hold her for an hour here and there, the general misery of staying in the hospital, arranging for friends to feed our cats, etc. Then I got discharged on Friday and Eleanor didn't come home with us until Wednesday so we had a nightmarish few days of commuting to and from the hospital every day to sit by her side in the NICU, still not sure what was wrong with her. It was the most terrifying and traumatic thing I have ever experienced. I’ve put off talking about it here for so long because of that. But now that things feel as though they’ve truly moved on and we both are healed, I felt I was ready to share.

I've more or less recovered from my surgery (turns out, as I read in my discharge summary from the hospital because there was literally no time to explain it before the surgery and I was too dazed to ask anyone at the hospital when I woke up, I had symptoms of hypertension, preeclampsia, and cholestasis (which is a liver enzyme issue caused solely by pregnancy and which was causing the horrific and insanely itchy rash that I had developed at around 33 weeks into my pregnancy - I can't remember if I wrote about it here but it was essentially a rash on my arms, legs, and in my actual stomach stretch marks, which got all red and bumpy, and it kept me up most nights itching and I dropped about $500 on various itch creams, oatmeal baths, no avail). Eleanor is thriving at home and all her tests revealed no underlying heart conditions to account for her lowered heart rate - she is also 100% asymptomatic so the lowered heart rate doesn't negatively affect her. Since she's been home it's steadily climbed, it's still about 20-30 beats per minute lower than it should be in a typical newborn but no medical professional seems too concerned about it and she requires no treatment.

The most important thing, obviously, is that Eleanor is thriving and healthy and happy. And she is all those things and I am elated by that, don't get me wrong. But, psychologically, it threw me for a loop to not be able to have the birth experience I was hoping to have (I didn't really have a birth plan per se, but I definitely didn't think it would go down like it did) and to not have those last couple of weeks of her inside me to prepare/transition for her entry into the world. In my post surgery drug induced haze and blinding pain, I was devastated that I couldn't hold her when she was born and the natural hormone spike I experienced made me excessively weepy and I fretted that we would never bond because we hadn't had that immediate skin to skin contact when she was born (our so-called "golden hour," as it's known). It all sounds a bit bonkers to me now, but that's legitimately the head space I was in for a bit.

It all goes to show you how quickly things can turn and change. I had a relatively easy pregnancy - I mean I was cranky and uncomfortable, but medically it was problem free...until the horrific end, of course!

On my way to the NICU a few hours after my surgery

Looking in on my amazing girl

The first of many hugs

Such a little trooper

Such a little trooper

Such a little trooper

Our first family cuddle

Such a little trooper

Such a little trooper

And here she is now - perfect and healthy and a little giggly and wiggly girl

Weekend Reading 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Florals and Discomfort

As I entered into June and the closing weeks of my pregnancy, I was very much in a head space wherein I wanted nothing more than to live in the comfiest of maternity clothes. But I was still working and that entailed that sometimes I had to put a bit of effort in (thank god for maternity nylons though!) so I looked halfway professional to attend meetings, etc. I was not happy about it though…

nylons: Thyme Maternity / booties: Aldo / dress: Old Navy / jacket: Joseph Ribkoff

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

If You Need Me I'll Be at the Movie Theatre

On account of the feet swelling (and overall difficulty associated with actually having to bend over to put on shoes), I was wearing a lot of sandals in the last weeks of my pregnancy. It may not look all that great, but I was getting to the point where comfort was key! Anyways, this was worn to pregnant me’s favourite place in the whole damn world – the movie theatre! It’s air conditioned, the seats are very comfy, and I can eat copious amounts of popcorn – it was basically everything I needed to be happy.

leggings: ASOS / shirt: Old Navy / sandals: Aldo / hoodie: Flatliners

Friday, July 21, 2017

All the Frills: Maternity Photo Shoot Outtakes

Some outtakes from the maternity photos I did with my husband … these were taken just three days before her arrival, actually. I was on the fence as to whether I wanted to incorporate this fur-collared vest into the shots so I did a few test ones. While I definitely think I made the right decision in not including it, I absolutely love how legitimately bonkers I look in this whole outfit. This is what happens when you pick the most 'out there' outfit possible for your maternity photos and you have zero regrets about doing so!

Weekend Reading

Monday, July 17, 2017

Making a Spectacle of Myself

The lesson of these photos is that I could pull off some pretty impressive optical illusions in terms of how giant I looked in the midst of my final trimester by simply displaying myself at different angles. While I look undeniably giant when shown from certain angles, I look a little sleeker from others. It’s a miracle!

All joking aside, this was one of my favourite pregnancy outfits – the dress is so chic and yet comfy and I feel like it works perfectly paired with this jacket. I actually wore this to go bowling for a friend’s birthday and even though it was just 5-pin (so a very light and small ball), I could only manage one game, felt incredibly awkward doing it, and was insanely sore of the next day. I also found it really difficult initially to find my center of balance (like to the extent that on my first ball I totally tipped to the side and had to brace myself with my knee and wrist…I can only imagine that everyone else at the bowling alley must have been horrified to see a massively pregnant woman essentially lightly fall while bowling!). Ah, the joys of pregnancy!

dress: ASOS / jacket: Joe Fresh / booties: Aldo / sunglasses: Aldo / necklace: Stella and Dot

Friday, July 14, 2017

All the Frills: Sketches

My uncle is an immensely talented artist and has spent a good deal of his adulthood travelling around Europe making these gorgeous sketches of churches and cathedrals – many of which he’s sold and also printed on cards for sale. These four pieces adorning a little nook on my landing of one of my condo staircases are by him and I just adore them. Walking by them every day puts a smile on my face.

Weekend Reading:

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Exasperation Face

Worn for an afternoon of running errands. What I love sooooo much about these photos is the last one – a hilarious outtake in which I was not at all trying to make this gesture or have this expression but which seems to pretty perfectly summarize my feelings about being pregnant when these were taken.

leggings: Thyme Maternity / tank top: H&M / cardigan: Pins + Needles / sneakers: Converse / choker: Oak + Fort

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Home Stretch

There were very few remaining shoes that I could actually fit in aside from my Toms when these were taken – and even those were getting really uncomfortable by the end of the day. Guys, pregnancy is not fun. On the more positive side of things, I got an email from my editor yesterday confirming that my book is basically all ready to go to press! I am so looking forward to seeing the final product in a couple of months.

leggings: ASOS / shoes: Toms / tunic: Zara / jacket: H&M / sunglasses: Aldo

Friday, July 7, 2017

All the Frills: Baby Shower

Flashback to the lovely baby shower that was thrown for me back at the beginning of June. As I think the photos suggest, I had a pretty swell time.

Weekend Reading:

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Witchy on the Cheap

Worn recently out to dinner with one friend and then to see a movie with another (this was just at the very end of my seventh month and I was in the frame of mind of thinking that, as my due date drew nearer, I needed to cram in as many social visits with as many different people as possible before I went into full hermit mode following the baby's birth).

This lace dress (it’s not the best shot of it here, unfortunately) is one of my favourite maternity fashions finds – I bought it to wear in professional photos that the helpmeet and I decided to do and I picked it up for the crazy low price of $6. So it’s both witchy and affordable, which are my two favourite things in the world.

dress: Thyme Maternity / boots: Steve Madden / jacket: H&M / necklace: Stella and Dot