Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Summary of Mason's birth (and why I'm terrified to give birth in the future)

Hi everyone. I've been talking to family lately and thinking of the possibility of having another child in the future. I know I want more children, but the thought of giving birth and going through recovery again absolutely terrifies me to the point of tears.

I thought I would post a short summary of my birth with Mason, because I've never posted it before, and explain why I'm afraid to give birth again.

WARNING: If talking about blood, giving birth and anything medically related and gross makes you queasy, stop reading now.

Ok..I've given my warning, so for those who like reading birth stories, here we go.

Ok, to begin with, I had a really easy pregnancy. No morning sickness, no gestational diabetes, low/normal blood pressure the entire time, ect.

I was obsessed with keeping the baby safe, even before he was born. I wouldn't let anyone smoke around me, I exercised whenever I could, counted kicks constantly, ect. My entire pregnancy was filled with googling birth stories, and googling things that could go wrong during pregnancy or birth. I took 3 months of prenatal classes, and thought I was prepared for any possible labor that could happen.

As all mothers know, no labor is the same and its impossible to know what yours will be like until you go through it.

I wrote up a birth plan in prenatal class. I was going to try to go as long as possible with no drugs, then ask for gas or IV meds, then an epidural as a last resort.

So, on the morning of April 1st 2014, I woke up as normal. My back was sore, but there was a major snow storm the night before, so I assumed it was from wading through the snow. I was laying in bed texting Mitch's sister, who told me that she played an April fools joke on their mom and said I was in labor. Literally less than 20 minutes later, I coughed and my water broke in bed. I thought I had peed myself at first, but when I stood up it started coming out in small gushes, so I went into the bathroom to check. Mitch was in the bathtub, and it took me a few minutes to tell him what had happened. I was calm, I wasn't in any pain, but I was kind of anxious about giving birth, since it was still the "unknown" and something I hadn't experienced before.

It wasn't like in the movies where the woman's water pours out onto the floor and everyone panics. I was relaxed. I called the hospital and they told me to come up so they could test the fluid to see if it was really amniotic fluid. I painted my toenails and did my make-up. I got my cousin Amber to drive me because our car was stuck in the snow, and Mitch met me at the hospital after.

They tested the fluid and it was positive for being amniotic fluid. They told me to go home and wait to see if labor started, and if it didn't start in 24 hours they would induce me.

We called my mom and told her, and she got ready to come to Fredericton. We left the hospital and went to Subway, then went home to watch Criminal Minds for a while. I cleaned the house a bit while waiting for mom.

Mom got there, and helped me clean the rest of the house. I was having minor back pain, but nothing to really mention. We decided to go to my prenatal class, which was fun because I was the first one to go into labor. They let me sit on the birthing ball and we watched videos on giving birth.

My back pain was becoming more frequent, and by the time we were having supper at Montana's with Mitch's family after class, we were able to time my contractions. We left Montana's after eating supper and went back to our apartment. My contractions were all in my back, and were about 5 minutes apart.

I labored at home until midnight (mostly on the floor and on the toilet because those were the only places I was comfortable), then mom and Mitch convinced me to go to the hospital. I called labor and delivery, and they told me to come in if I felt like I needed pain meds, so we went up.

The checked me for dilation and I was only 3-4 cms. When she checked me it was extremely painful. It felt like this nurse was elbow deep reaching for my heart or something. It still makes me cringe thinking about it. I asked for an epidural right away. I was still having all back labor and it felt like someone was crushing my spine with a vice grip every 5 minutes. The epidural hurt SO bad and it took him several tries to get it in. It felt like electric shocks in my spine, and when I heard a clicking sound, the doctor told me it was the needle hitting against my back bones (UHH ok..thanks for telling me that..)

To make this long story shorter, the epidural did not work properly. It froze me up too high, which made it so I could not feel my chest or lungs. Basically I couldn't feel myself breathing or coughing, which is kind of terrifying. They turned the epidural off, and tried again an hour or so later. This time it only froze one side of my body. So I was feeling all of the contractions in one side and nothing in the other.

I labored like this for hours. I tried the gas, but I hated it and it didn't work. My blood pressure ended up dropping pretty low, so they had to give me 3 bags of fluids to bring it back up. When I was 10cm dilated, they gave me a new medicine into the epidural, and he told me it would work for 1 hour so I could sleep, then I would have to wake up and push. While I was sleeping, they were also giving me pitocin to make the contractions stronger.

Exactly an hour later, I woke up with the worst contractions yet, and had to start pushing. I cant remember how long it took me to push him out, but I think it was close to an hour. I didn't feel the dreaded "ring of fire" that some moms describe, and the moment he came out, the contractions stopped and I felt so much better.

Aside from the horrible labor experience I had, it's also the recovery that makes me terrified to do it again.

Right after birth, I was able to walk due to my messed up epidural. I was bleeding too much, so they had to do a "vag pack"....that's literally what they called it, a vag pack haha. It's exactly what it sounds like- they packed my vagina with gauze.  Because of this, I had to have my catheter in for 24 hours until they could take the gauze out. For the next 24 hours, all I felt was extreme pressure down there.

I was able to take a shower right after giving birth, which was nice, but also one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, aside from having a room full of people (doctors, nurses, a nursing student, mom and Mitch) watching me give birth. In the shower I had an IV in still (which I also had to keep in for 24 hours) , my catheter, and I was packed full of gauze. I had to carry my pee bag, and the IV into the shower with me by myself, and try to take a shower. I had to get Mitch to help me, which was extremely embarrassing. I know he's my fiance, and he's obviously seen me naked, but there is something different about having someone see a catheter coming out of you, and the weird "after birth" belly in all of its glory.  NO ONE tells you about this when you're pregnant.

I had spent so many months googling giving birth, that I had forgot to google taking care of a newborn. Breastfeeding was impossible because he refused to latch (but that's a story for another post), the nurses acted like I was stupid for not knowing how to calm my screaming newborn, and I could barely move around with everything that was attached to me the first night. It was completely terrifying.

The next day, they came in and removed the gauze, IV and catheter. I felt SO much better until I stood up to go to the bathroom. Instantly once I stood up, blood started pooling around my feet, covering my slippers and leaving a trail behind me on the way to the bathroom. The nurses were nice about it and cleaned it up, but it seriously looked like someone had been stabbed or something. I have never seen that much blood in my life. It was like this every time I stood up, and even worse after the nurses press on your stomach (which they do a lot).

Recovery at home wasn't much easier. I only had stitches on the inside, so I didn't notice them healing, but I bled for a long time. I even passed a clot the size of a plum one day and thought I was dying. Breastfeeding (or trying to) was hell for me and I honestly think it made it harder to bond with Mason. I've already made the decision that next time I'm going to pump and formula feed only.

I ended up getting extreme postpartum anxiety and OCD after his birth, which was also terrifying, and having to go on an anti-depressant for a year after just to function normally. I have also had really bad back issues that I fully believe are from the messed up epidural. Around 2 months postpartum I had an entire 3 days where I couldn't walk and Mason had to stay with his grandmother. OH and the cherry on top of everything was not have ANY bladder control for about 3 months after his birth. Like any. I could be watching TV and all of a sudden be peeing myself with no warning at all, and no urge to pee. This made it extremely difficult to take him for walks, or really go anywhere because I never knew when I was going to pee. Thankfully that is completely back to normal now, but I still have issues with my back sometimes.

So that's it. My birth experience still makes me cry to think about it, and I am completely terrified of going through it again. Of course I will never get another epidural, so hopefully that will save me from a lot of those issues I mentioned above, but you never know what kind of birthing experience you're going to have, and knowing what it COULD be like is what scares me.

Feel free to leave your birth story in the comments below, or link your own blog post about it.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Decorating A Child's Room on a Budget (Mason's new bedroom!)

Hi everyone, so this is my second post about Mason's bedroom makeover :)

I wanted to share some tips on decorating a toddler's/child's room on a budget.

  1. Think of a theme a few months in advance. We knew we wanted to re-decorate Mason's room for Christmas, so I've been researching themes, ideas and decor literally for months. The theme started out as a nautical theme (of course), then switched to camping, then when I couldn't find any camping ideas, it turned into this travel/outdoors theme. 

      2- Once you have a theme, create a Pinterest board and pin everything that catches your eye, or products that you find interesting. This was a really useful tool for me because it helped keep my thoughts organized, and I referred to it often when looking for fun decor ideas. You don't have to buy expensive items that you pin, but it's a nice reference for finding cheaper alternatives.

      3- Don't buy everything at once. This is the biggest way that we budgeted our money. Every pay cheque I would pick up a couple of items for his room, and store it in our spare room until I was ready to decorate.

      4- Scan Kijiji or yard sale sites often for furniture that you can refinish. Mason's dresser was a project that I did last year, and we continue to use it in his new room. It started as an old solid wood dresser with brown paint, and I gave it a fresh coat of white and new hardware (from the dollar store) to give it a completely new look.

     5- Speaking of the dollar store- check it out! You honestly never know what you're going to find there. Also check out Walmart, Target (for my American friends) , ect for any decor that you can use. Also shop local! I have found some amazing deals from local small business owners.  I'm going to post some of the items that I bought for Mason's room, along with where I bought them and how much they were.

This blanket was a gift from one of my mother's co-workers! We used it in Mason's crib and it also happened to coordinate perfectly with his new room. Using item's that you already have is an awesome way to save money. Even if he outgrows using it as a blanket, it looks great folded over the back of the bed.

 This toy box was made by a local mom and her husband! We ordered it last Christmas as a gift for Mason, and we are still in love with it. She was just starting her business and only charged $30 at the time! Looking around for local companies that are just starting out, or looking to make some extra money for the holiday's is a great way to save money on decor, and support local businesses.

I LOVE these white buckets from the Dollarama. We keep 90% of Mason's clothes in his closet, and these buckets are perfect for putting clothes away quickly. One is for pants, and one is for PJs. I roll the clothes so they fit neatly, and that's it :). They only cost about $1-$3 each.

Another bucket that I love. This one is from Walmart and was around $6. We use it as Mason's clothes hamper. I love it because no matter how full it is, the handles close together so I can carry it with one hand.

This "M" painting was created by Mason himself. Kids love seeing their own art displayed. I plan on framing some of his other projects and swapping them out every so often for new work. You can buy canvases and paint at the Dollarama, and let them go crazy with it. I taped off the "M" in this case and he finger painted around it.

 This globe ball and laminated map were bought at the Dollarama! I was so excited to find the map in the office supply section. I think its meant to be for teachers to use in their classrooms, but it was the perfect size to go over his dresser. The map was $3 and the ball was $1! :)

This mat is a Giant Tiger purchase. It's fun and it was less than $10. You can find some pretty decent things there if you look. I actually love their home decor section because everything is affordable and they seem to keep up with current trends. This mat was a perfect addition to the entrance of his play

I love this fun stool/cushion. Mason loves climbing up on it, and it went nicely with the other items in his room. I actually bought this from a local yard sale site! A mom was using it in her kids play room and they did not use it, so she sold it for $10! It was clean and barely used, and such a good deal.

This little sign and lamp were last minute additions to his dresser. I love that the light wood matches the wood in his bed. The sign was $7 and the lamp was $12 :)

This little tree is another Dollarama purchase. It was $3 and I bought 2 with intentions to use them as Christmas decor around the house. Mason saw 1 and loved it, so I thought it would be a perfect little addition to his room. The "M" Mason letter was a DIY that I did when he was a baby. I just used stickers to create his name, painted it black, then peeled the stickers off :)

The play tent! My favorite feature of his room, and another local purchase! I had the wooden frame custom made by the local company "Phoenix Timber".  I sent her a photo of what I was looking for, and she emailed me back saying they would love to do it! The frame was only $40, and I made the fabric part from a new flannel sheet that I had at home. The tent is collapsible and can easily be folded up if we ever need more floor space to play.  

The bed! This was the only real splurge, and it was a gift from my dad and step-mom for Christmas. It's from Leon's, and they delivered it and set it up for us, which was awesome. The bedding is an $18 comforter from Walmart. It's hard to tell from the photo, but its a grey and white pattern. The sheets were just a $20 sheet set from Walmart. I searched for months for the perfect bedding set and couldn't find exactly what I wanted, so we bought this for now, and it worked out well with the rest of the room.

The art work! The "Wanderlust" picture and the one hanging over his bed are both from Winners and were only $12.99 each. I thought they went well with the travel theme. The other paintings were actually done by my cousin Amber for my baby shower when I was pregnant! I love them and they still go with the rest of the room, so I wanted them displayed as well. You can paint your own paintings to go with whatever room theme you choose to save money on buying art. 

Mason loves his blocks, so I wanted to find a nice bag to put them in, rather than have them loose in the toy box. I actually ended up using the bag that the sheets came in for his play tent. Its the same fabric as his tent, and looks cute sitting beside it.

Paint!! I knew I wanted a neutral color that he can grow with. Neutral paint makes it easy to change decor whenever he wants a new theme. My friend Emily actually had a spare can of paint from a project that she did, and sold it to me for $20! If you check Kijiji, you can usually find other people doing the same with left over paint. You can also check stores for "mis tints" or paint that someone requested but didn't buy. The color that I used is a CIL paint called "West Coast Grey".

I bought all of my painting supplies at the Dollarama. Tip: if you do this, make sure you buy an extra roller. I ended up having to duct tape mine half way through when it snapped in half haha. 

And just a bonus photo of the top of his dresser because I love it so much! lol

So, that's it! How I turned Mason's old room into an awesome "big boy" room on a budget. Feel free to leave a comment below with any tips of your own on decorating on a budget!:)


Friday, December 18, 2015

Why I Chose a Travel/Adventure theme for Mason's room

Hi everyone! I've been wanting to re-do Mason's room for a while, and I finally did it yesterday! It only took me 1 day to complete, and it's exactly what I imagined it to be.

First, let me explain why we wanted to re-do his room. In February, we moved into a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath townhouse. Our townhouses get a budget each year for renovations, paint, ect. We ended up getting new flooring this year for our hallway and stairs, which was awesome.

The previous tenants of our house had painted what is now Mason's room in a blue color with a dragon border, and since we do all the work ourselves, it was not painted over when they left. I was going to wait to get the paint budget, but I really wanted to get rid of that border and patchy blue walls. Every time I walked into his room, I felt like it wasn't his, and I'm sure the dragon border was fine for the previous tenant, but its not our style and it's not something that Mason is into, so it had to go.


Okay, so how to choose a theme? I unfortunately saw a not so nice status on Facebook earlier this week that I'm sure was directed at me. If it was not specifically directed at me, it still has to do with this exact situation, so I feel the need to write this. I still have a screen shot of it, but I won't be so rude as to post it. I have been SO excited to re-do Mason's room that I've been posing photos of some of the decor and bedding that I bought. Shortly after I posted a photo of some bedding and wall hangings, someone posted that they do not know why parent's are re-doing their toddler's rooms in boring colors and with boring bedding, in a theme that doesn't even have any of their favorite characters. They then said that if they were a kid, they would be SO disappointed, and what a LAME Christmas. They also added that it was not for the child, but as a way for the mother to show off. I'm not sure if the person who wrote that is reading this, but I just wanted to say this

1- He's only 20 months old. He barely watches TV at all- not even 1 show per day. Sometimes in the evening we will watch movies together, but he doesn't have a favorite show or favorite characters. Also, if he did have a favorite show, I'm not going to plaster characters all over the walls when he will just change his mind anyway. When he is older (you know, old enough to talk and tell me what he wants) I will absolutely decorate his room any way he wants, but at this age we wanted something more neutral that he can grow with.

2- We aren't fans of wearing characters on our clothes either (gasp) because I do not see the point in revolving his life around shows he does not watch or will get bored of soon. When I was growing up, we never had bedrooms based on TV shows and my mom always made sure we had the most awesome rooms. He has toys that are based on some TV shows (Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse, ect) because he enjoys it now. Toys are a lot easier to swap and change than a whole room is when he does get bored of it. I absolutely support other parent's decorating their toddler's rooms however they decide to, whether it be with characters or anything else, so I don't understand why anyone would care how we choose to decorate Mason's room.

3- It was important to me that he had a room that encouraged play and learning. He has lots of toys, books and interesting things to look at. It is not a boring room at all. I wanted him to walk into his room and feel a sense of calm and relaxation, which is why I was SO happy to get this paint color from a friend of mine. It's the most perfect calming grey color (I'll talk more about it in my next post).

4- Mason loves being outdoors, and going on adventures. He loves going camping, being at the ocean, going for walks, playing outside, and just being a little adventurer. I definitely wanted to bring a sense of travel and adventure into his room. When I was pregnant with him, I always used to say that I wanted to give him a life of love and adventure (hence the name of my blog). Travel and being outdoors is so important to me, and I wanted to bring a little piece of that into his bedroom. Since he loves camping so much, the original theme of the room was just camping and the outdoors, but after finding so many cute travel related items, I decided to incorporate those too. I still have a couple of camping related items left to order that go along with his play tent. Again, there is nothing boring about his room.

5- My last point is probably the most important to me. I am not re-decorating my son's room to "show off" or get attention in any way. I would not spend hours and hours painting by myself (with a shoulder injury that causes my shoulder to dislocate when my arm is stretched out), moving furniture around, standing on chairs to hang pictures and tape the ceiling. I would not spend all of this time, effort and money just to post a photo to "show off". That is absolutely ridiculous, and I don't know any parent that would do that. I re-did his room because it needed to be done, I wanted to do that for him, and the look of excitement on his face when he saw it, and him running around saying "whoa!" was exactly what I was hoping for.

He loves his new room, and that makes me SO happy to know that I could create a beautiful, functional room that he can enjoy.

Also, there are no "lame" Christmases at our house. His bedroom was not his only gift (although any child should be happy to have their room re-done). He still has a lot of fun toys, games and new clothes to open from us, as well as everything the grandparents are getting him.

For anyone actually interested in hearing about the process of re-doing it, and getting some tips on decorating on a budget, that will all be in my next post :)


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