Welcome Rhys!

Belatedly, here is Rhys’ birth story (hey, he’s only 6.5 months old now…)

I left work on maternity leave March 29th, the day before my 29th birthday, even though Rhys’ due date was April 14th. I felt like delivering a baby was imminent and couldn’t imagine getting much bigger. I had terrible sciatic pain for the latter half of pregnancy and sitting at a desk all day was very uncomfortable.


I knew I could be waiting a whole month longer for Rhys to arrive but I didn’t think I’d have to wait that long. But I did wait! So I filled my days with visits to see a friend and her new baby, baking snacks and cooking meals for the freezer, walking Penny, and going for massage and chiro appointments. I was taking evening primrose oil, eating 6 dates every day, drinking cups and cups of raspberry leaf tea, still crossfitting (up to 39 weeks!), eating spicy food and pineapple, and any other tricks I could think of.

On April 9th, I went for induction acupuncture but no baby. I saw the midwife that day and she recommended I go for an ultrasound since Rhys was still measuring big. They wanted to see if I was big because of baby or fluid.

On April 10th, Dana and I went for the ultrasound. It was hard to see Rhys since he was so big now! The doc estimated the baby would weigh 8 lbs 7 oz and that made me feel scared!

On April 12th, I went for a second round of acupuncture at 11:00. I waited downtown for Dana to get off work and had a snack. I felt maybe some mild contractions but I still wasn’t sure. At 3:45 that afternoon, I went pee, and my water broke while I was on the toilet! I texted Dana (who was downstairs) and he rushed up. We were so excited we forgot about the #1 rule which is “ignore, ignore, ignore”. Instead we called the midwife pager, but of course they told us to hang tight and wait for some contractions to start.

The contractions did start pretty much immediately and by 8 pm that night, when our lovely midwife came to check me, I felt certain I was 6 cm dilated and we would go to Rockyview Hospital and deliver our baby. Unfortunately I was only 2-3 cm dilated so she recommended Gravol and Tylenol to help me rest, and sent me to bed. I didn’t sleep a wink as I worked through contraction after contraction. I used my TENs machine but I’m not sure if it was very helpful.  The midwife coached me to say “low baby low” and breathe through my nose, and the rhythm of me labouring put Dana to sleep in the night. I laboured on all fours a lot which was hard on my wrists but all other positions were unbearable. Dana made me do a few poses from the miles circuit, like a 30 minute frog pose, and I thought I’d die. I didn’t eat much, just some sugar electrolyte chews and fruit bars. A bit of water. It was a tough night.

Our midwife came back in the early morning and checked me again but I still had work to do. I kept labouring and eventually she suggested I get in the tub. Ridiculously I put on a shower cap to protect my hair but after an hour in the tub I didn’t look too hot! The tub helped though. Eventually the midwife made the call we were going to Rockyview and she headed there to secure us a room (the tub room! But I never got to use it). Dana coaxed me out of the tub, dressed me, and got me down the stairs to the basement. I rode to the hospital on all 4’s in the backseat and the bad construction traffic on 14th St meant the drive took four times as long as usual, which was terrible as the contractions went on.

Dana parked in the hospital parkade and the midwife came out to meet us, and we started the slow walk up to the sixth floor. So many kind people offered a wheelchair but the midwife turned them down so the process of walking could help me labour. I held onto Dana’s neck and worked through contractions. Finally on the labour and delivery floor, the midwife got me in a wheelchair, kneeling, and we made our way to the room (this image now cracks me up immensely… it wasn’t so funny at the time).

When she checked me, I was fully dilated much to everyone’s surprise. I could have started pushing but there was concern about Rhys’ heart rate. Our second midwife showed up eventually and everyone made me change positions trying to stabilize the baby’s heart rate. I distinctly recall getting a catheter which was probably the worst part of the whole day.

At some point I had laughing gas to help with the pain, but I can’t say that it made me laugh. It was something to focus on which helped though.

Eventually the OB was paged to get an opinion. They decided that Rhys needed to come sooner rather than later. Suddenly a team of 12+ filled the room: the OB, a resident, nurses, anesthesiologist, etc. The whole room was female except Dana and the anesthesiologist!

I opted for a perineal block (freezing) and it was crazy how I suddenly couldn’t feel any contractions. I could feel every sensation, but I couldn’t feel the contractions themselves.  I had to have an episiotomy so they could use a vacuum to move the baby down a little and turn him. Then they tried forceps to make a little more progress. The OB mentioned a c-section a few times which was all the incentive I needed to do the pushing to deliver Rhys! It was such a strange experience though to push as I couldn’t feel the contractions so a nurse would have her hand on my belly and tell me when one was starting.

I felt so empowered by my birth team. I had a midwife holding each leg and the nurse feeling my belly, the OB and resident were of course delivering the baby, and Dana was holding my hand and giving me something to focus on. Everyone would yell “push” and I wasn’t allowed to use my legs. I was so glad I had been for pelvic floor therapy beforehand so I had the awareness of where to push. Just when I thought I couldn’t push another second, suddenly it was over and Rhys was on my chest for a brief moment.  He was a little blue. They told me he was a boy! I pushed for about 25 minutes but in hindsight, it feels like forever and also no time at all.  Rhys Lawrance Kinnaird was born at 3:45 p.m. on April 13th, weighing 8 lbs 8 oz and 21″ long.

Although I wanted to do delayed cord clamping, because Rhys was looking a little blue, they had Dana cut the cord quickly so they could take Rhys over to a table and check on him. Then he started screaming! When Rhys were placed on my chest again, he was quick to latch and start feeding, and check me out with his big blue eyes.

It was a pretty uncomfortable introduction as I was getting stitched up at the time. The anesthesiologist gave me some pain relief but I was annoyed to be going through more discomfort when all I wanted to do was focus on my new baby.

Finally the stitches were done and everything calmed down in the room. The nurse helped me to the bathroom to go pee, and we got walked/wheeled down to our private hospital room.

They were worried about Rhys’ blood sugar so they kept us overnight (typically, if all goes well with the delivery, midwives send their patients home within a few hours of the birth). They wanted to feed Rhys formula and sugar water to get his blood sugar up, but I had hand expressed a large quantity of colostrum antenatally, so Dana raced home to grab some out of the freezer.  Apparently I became somewhat of a legend on the floor as not many women have colostrum (and in such large volumes…) on hand before the baby even arrives.  Would highly recommend doing that again though, should there be a second baby in our family…

The rest of the evening was a blur.  Dana ordered us pizza at some point and we ate it like ravenous animals.  We called our parents.  Laughably, neither of my parents answered their phones when we called, so we had to call their family friend’s house and the call was broadcast to the party they were at.

Dana spent the night at our house since there wasn’t a place for him to sleep at Rockyview and he was exhausted from little sleep the night before, plus Penny was glad to see him.  I sure was happy to see Dana the next day as my night in the hospital certainly wasn’t very restful with the nurses in every hour alternating checking on Rhys and I.

We didn’t get discharged until late in the day, but we did have our first visitors – Auntie Haley and Uncle Liam!  It was a pretty special visit.  As we got Rhys dressed to take home, he peed on his cute little outfit, so we ended up taking him home in a too-big, hand-me-down outfit that I’d shoved in the bag last-minute when I thought he might be a giant baby.

Grandma Donna and Grandpa Barry came to meet Rhys when we got home from the hospital, and Grandma Joyce and Grandpa Derek drove from Grande Prairie and got in a little later that night.

Those first few days/weeks were a total blur of learning how to breastfeed, squeezing in naps at any possible time of day, and getting to know baby Rhys.  I had insane anxiety the first week he was born, but fortunately the midwives took it very seriously and worked with Dana to make a plan to get me longer stretches of sleep.  Dana syringe-fed Rhys and took him on walks to buy me some sleep, and I’ll never forget that!  I felt much better after I started getting a bit more sleep.  Our doula Jennie helped me catch up on sleep too.

Our lives have changed forever with Rhys’ arrival but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I honestly can’t remember what our old lives were like. We constantly marvel at all the new things Rhys is learning to do and I could go on and on about him (too late, I’m already 1781 words into this post…).  On that note, I’ll sign off.  If you’re still reading, thank you for sticking with me.  Hopefully I’ll be back with more posts before another 6 months have past, but who knows with this mom life!

Little Peanut: Second Trimester

I’m running a few weeks behind with my posts as I’m now 31 weeks along and in the third trimester, but better late than never!

Or alternative title: “All my shirts are belly shirts now

I’m happy to say that everything is progressing well with the baby and I!  The second trimester has been an improvement from the first, in that the all-day/all-night nausea finally quieted down.

Pregnancy in general has definitely been different than what I anticipated, but of course I’m very glad to be growing a baby.  The coolest part by far is getting to feel the baby kick!  I have felt lots of hiccups which make me smile.  Dana has felt the baby move too, but otherwise baby has been elusive when it comes to sharing with other family members.

My biggest struggle lately has been lack of sleep.  I wake up for the usual pregnant lady pee in the middle of the night and then never fall asleep again (or so it feels).  Compounding this issue has been the sciatic pain that has flared up lately, which makes sleeping/sitting/walking uncomfortable as my pelvis/low back are so sore.

My crossfit wods continue (with many modifications of course)!  I have given up running any sort of distance though as my bladder can’t handle the pounding.  I’m glad Seawheeze fell when it did (12 weeks along I think?) as I don’t think I could handle even a 5 km now with any sort of dignity.  With crossfit, I’ve been reading up a ton on diastasis recti, which although normal and to be expected in pregnancy, can be made worse by certain movements.  As such, sit-ups were out quickly, and other movements like pull-ups (even strict) and handstand push-ups are on the sidelines until after baby comes.  I’m definitely a bit wistful to (what seems like) half-ass my favorite activity – crossfit – but I know it’s not going anywhere and being pregnant is just a phase.  I’m going to keep going as much as I can until baby comes as (A) I love the endorphins and (B) I love the CrossFit Sunalta community beyond words.  Plus due to the physicality of labour, I’d like to be as strong as possible.

Dana and I have both been nesting in our own ways lately.  He’s been busy finishing up our kitchen renovation, and I am definitely getting the urge to put a nursery together.  [Even though many of our friends have said the nursery doesn’t get much use for the first few months…] I’m not super into decorating, and I’m definitely burned out on reno stuff from doing the kitchen, but I do want a room established for the baby with all the basic stuff: crib, glider, etc.

Christmas was really nice this year.  We celebrated with Dana’s family first on actual Christmas, then drove up to Grande Prairie to see my family.  Being in GP made me feel very sentimental as that trip will likely be our last before the baby comes, so next time I’m home will be with our new baby in tow!  I definitely can’t handle the 8 hour drive the more pregnant I get and I doubt it will be fun with a new baby, so thank god for Airmiles.

And lastly, in this rambling disconnected post, I just wanted to say how happy I am that we have chosen to go with a midwife team.  I feel empowered and really like the team that was assigned to us.  Dana has sworn we won’t have a home birth, so lucky for both of us the hospital is about a five minute drive from home.  I am coming around on a water birth though – something about it seems so soothing to me as I’ve always loved swimming.

As I am quickly learning, people love to ask a pregnant woman a few questions:

  • Do you know the gender?
  • Are you having twins?
  • Are you working up until the due date?

We still don’t know the gender, although it is very fun to speculate and put a names list together.  The old-fashioned pendant test showed a girl.  I think my belly looks like I’m having a boy.  Dana thinks we’re having a girl, although we both flip-flop.

We are definitely not having twins.

Since I’m so very, very type A, I just assumed I would work up until the bitter end.  I know I’ll be prepped well before baby comes, as this is my personality through and through.  Plus, the thought of sitting at home waiting for baby to come on some arbitrary date makes me anxious.  I’m sure a day or two before the due date would be nice, but who’s to say the baby is coming on April 14th?  So I guess my response right now is: TBD.

So with that, I’m signing off.  These baby posts are definitely something I want to look back on so hopefully they aren’t too dull for my general audience.

Mama friends, did you work up until the due date?

Little Peanut: First Trimester

Disclaimer: This post may be upsetting for any readers struggling with fertility.  Please skip this post and come back another day if this applies to you.  I whole-heartedly understand how you feel and am sending you big hugs.  As well, for any readers who may find reading about normal human bodily cycles uncomfortable, skip this one!

Well, considering in one of my last posts I told you guys about my PCOS diagnosis and how I was terrified about infertility… turns out, anything is possible.

I am pregnant and Dana and I are overjoyed!

In February, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and told that having children would be “difficult, but not impossible” without medical assistance by my family doctor, which was then confirmed by a specialist.  I didn’t know a ton about PCOS at that point, and so began my education about PCOS, women’s health, and fertility.  I found the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” so incredibly helpful that I returned the library copy and purchased one for my own shelf.  I learned how to track my temperature and cervical fluid, even though with PCOS and irregular cycles, the charting can be exasperatingly erratic.

Conventional medicine typically prescribes birth control to regulate periods for PCOS patients which seemed counter-intuitive to me (I want a baby!).  I was prescribed progesterone to kick-start a period every 90 days which I resorted to once, back in April (I hadn’t had a period prior to that in 14 months).  The specialist also gave me a prescription for Clomid, but I wanted to try el natural first and see if we could conceive without it (I know I’m a hippie).

For anyone “trying” to have a baby, the waiting game is a special kind of difficult.  Especially when your cycles are unpredictable and you aren’t even sure if you are ovulating.  There were lots of tears shed by me.  Dana asked me in mid-July if we were “trying” to have a baby which was, needless to say, upsetting to me as in my mind, we had been trying since February to conceive!  (Men…) Edited to say: Dana would like the general public to know that in his recollection of this conversation, he asked me how hard we were trying to start a family.

On the advice of my therapist and sister-in-law, I started going for acupuncture at the beginning of July.  I figured if all that came of the appointments was a good nap, I’d call it a win.  I saw Dr. Amanda here in Calgary.  We started out with twice-weekly appointments and then went to once a week.  I really liked the appointments and recommend Dr. Amanda 100%.  After about 6 sessions, she prescribed some Chinese herbs to help my ovaries get going since the acupunture still hadn’t kick-started my period.  I took a pregnancy test on July 24th before taking the herbs, but it was negative.  My period didn’t start after the herbs either.  Dr. Amanda referred me to the naturopath at her clinic to see if something else could be done.

When you’re pregnant, the doctor typically maps the due date of the baby off the first date of your last period.  With PCOS, the story is a little different.  For me, that day would be May 20th which would mean I’m much farther along in my pregnancy!  However, I know as of July 24th I wasn’t pregnant yet (or pregnant “enough” to show up on a test.)

Based on my Type A record keeping of body temperature, cervical fluid, symptoms, and possible conception dates, I’m reasonably certain our baby’s birthday will be April 22nd, give or take.  I took two positive pregnancy tests on August 22nd and could barely contain my excitement that day (I waited until Dana got home from work to tell him.)

After taking the tests, I quickly got in to see my family doctor as we were leaving for Italy at the end of August.  She confirmed the pregnancy and sent me for an ultrasound to confirm the baby’s birthday.  The ultrasound gave us a birth date of April 14th so my guesswork wasn’t far off.

My first trimester symptoms were largely: 24/7 nausea/”morning sickness”, which was actually at its worst in the middle of the night.  Exhaustion.  Sinus issues, like a sinus cold for 2 months solid.

So off we headed to Italy, which ended up being pretty good timing for a holiday as I really needed to sleep!  I soaked up the 9 hour sleeps at night and took naps almost every day.  Although working out on holidays used to be a priority, it wasn’t on our Italy trip – I was more interested in (a) sleeping and (b) what my next meal was going to be.  Unfortunately, I started to develop an aversion to tomato-based sauces while we were there which only got worse as the trip went on, and I had fewer and fewer non-Italian food options to eat at meals.  Let’s just say I’m still gagging when I think about pasta or pizza.

As I write this update, I’m now 20 weeks along and getting a bit of a bump.  It’s nice to be getting over the “is she putting on weight or is she pregnant?” phase.  The common phrase people tell me is “well… you used to be so fit.”  Thanks guys.

I’m still going to crossfit three times a week, fitting in a bit of yoga, and maybe a weekly 5 km run.  Being active throughout this pregnancy is so important to me, and the research backs me up!  Healthy mama, healthy baby, and hopefully a smoother delivery (here’s hoping right?).

And with that, and 900 words, I’ll sign off.  So glad to share our happy news with you all!