My Pregnancy Journey
I’m a first time mommy-to-be who is 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant at this point (not that I’m counting down or anything). I couldn’t think of a better time or opportunity to reflect back on my first prenatal experience up until this point as I wait, very impatiently, for baby to arrive…
This story begins as my husband and I embarked on the most amazing adventure to Europe last summer in June and July (accredited to my always incessant desire to travel). We visited some of the most extraordinary places we’ve been fortunate enough to experience; London, France, Spain, Italy and my personal favorite; the islands consisting of brilliant white-washed walls peppered with sapphire blue domes and surrounded by a serene sea – an essence that could only belong to the beauty that is Greece. Filled with stunning landscapes, architecture and landmarks, awe-inspiring history, romance, captivating sunsets, delicious food (my hubby’s favorite) and countless photos; it was a trip we would surely never forget in more ways than we even realized at the time. Unbeknownst to either of us, we brought home the most precious souvenir of all that would change our lives forever. Thankfully the smuggling was to take place in my abdomen; I’m a notorious over-packer and space in my suitcase is definitely a premium. A couple of weeks after returning home from our trip, I became aware of the tiny blueberry growing in my belly – after several pregnancy tests were taken to confirm. The both joyful and tearful revelation to my husband was a moment I’ll treasure forever as we marveled at our new reality of becoming parents.
The Highlight Reel
I’m absolutely astonished at how quickly the last ten months (I always thought it was nine too) have passed us by, and here I am on the doorstep of my due date. Thankfully, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had a healthy and speed-bump free pregnancy and I’d like to share some of my fondest memories from my journey.
The Secret – After visiting the doctor and being reassured that my pregnancy was in fact real (I’m pretty sure I was in disbelief until about 20 weeks in when I started to feel movement), obviously we were bursting with excitement and wanted to share the news with our family, friends, co-workers, hair dresser, bank clerks, grocery store staff, Facebook friends… quite frankly the world if they would listen. However, we decided it would be best to keep word about our little bundle of joy under wraps until we made it to that three-month “Whew” point where heightened likelihood of miscarriage was no longer a threat. Although this was extremely challenging to keep to ourselves, I found it to be exhilarating to know that a tiny little life was growing inside me; a miracle was literally blooming in my belly and all the while everyone else was oblivious – this special , life-altering secret was ours to hold, cherish and release when we chose. It was also fun for my husband and I to brainstorm and decide how to spill the beans to our loved ones and we highly anticipated the celebration of our new babe.
The Heartbeat – As I mentioned earlier, it was difficult for me to wrap my head around the notion that I was actually pregnant. With no obvious symptoms such as morning sickness, and no bump to speak of at that point, I found myself in disbelief that I was housing a baby more often than not initially. However, the day we heard our baby’s heartbeat for the first time was a moment that shattered all doubts, stole my breath and humbled my soul. The physician forewarned us that she may not be able to hear the heartbeat at that stage so as not to elevate our expectations, but after a few minutes of roaming around my pelvic area with the Doppler – the fluttering sound of a tiny heart soon filled the room. I remember wishing I could lay on that table all day, listening to such a wonderful sound.
The Secret is Out – Being that we chose to wait the twelve weeks (we found out at four) to share our baby news, it gave me the opportunity to create a memorable way to surprise our families. What I landed on was this: I ordered personalized coffee mugs that said, “Great Sisters get promoted to Aunt” (and Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle, whichever applied to the relative). Then I purchased soothers, made and attached a tag that said “Dear Grandma and Grandpa, Please hold this for me incase I need it when I come to visit. Knowing my mom, she’ll probably forget it. See you in March… maybe April! Love Baby Wiebe” and placed them inside the mugs. I wrapped each mug individually in a box and we presented them to our family members under the guise of being a souvenir from our trip to Europe. We watched candidly as everyone opened their presents and as their reactions exploded like fireworks. I’m so grateful we captured the experience on video, as it is definitely something that will want to relive in the future and share with our baby. We also had some beautiful pregnancy announcement pictures taken by Karyn Kimberley, complete with a chalkboard, which I handwrote a custom poem on, as well as large pink and blue balloons thanks to Balloontic to utilize as props. It was the perfect way to let the secret free entirely.
It’s a Girl! – Never having had an ultrasound before, I was uncertain as to what to expect, but it blew far past any preconceptions that I did have. I was unable to see the screen as the technician glided across my stomach with the wand, cutting through the cold jelly. My husband had his eyes fixated on the image from the start and I watched as his eyes grew large and smile burst across his face, as he asked me “Can you feel that?!”. Confused and dying of curiosity, I replied “No! Feel what?”. The screen was then turned so I could see a small body flipping, twisting and bouncing around; there was also definitely lots of punching and kicking happening in there as well. I was shocked and bewildered at the amount of life that this tiny being had already – there was nothing sedentary at all like I was expecting, and most astonishing, I couldn’t feel any of it!
As exciting as the first ultrasound was, it was the second at 22 weeks that had an even greater impact. We decided that we (mostly me) needed to find out the gender if possible. This was largely for planning, decorating, and sanity reasons, but also to get a better sense of the identity of our baby. Not wanting this moment to be experienced at the clinic, we had the technician write the gender on a piece of paper and then seal it in an envelope. We then took the envelope to Crave Cupcakes and asked them to read the note and package one vanilla cupcake with either blue or pink icing, and then box it up for us to take home. Imagine Christmas times a million – this unassuming little box just sat on my lap all the way home, all the while taunting us with the treasure it held inside. We were fidgety and anxious as we sat down to open the package at home. I had the honor of removing the gold ribbon, we looked at each other, took a deep breath and I slowly unfolded the box to reveal the cupcake within. A soft pink icing with delicate crystal sprinkles stared back at us. The room melted away as I envisioned holding my baby girl for the first time. My hubby thought we should enclose the cupcake and preserve it in a glass case as long as possible to use as a display piece in the baby room which worked out wonderfully. Thanks to some friends of ours who offered up such a great reveal tactic.
Preparation – Being a type A personality, likely with hints of OCD here and there, it was important to me to be as prepared as possible for the arrival of our baby girl. Thanks to the help of a number of close friends who have established themselves successfully in motherhood, along with the internet I compiled a list of everything I wanted to get (gear, feeding, diapering, nursery, bath time, health and safety, etc.) as well as everything I wanted to do prior to our baby’s birth (hospital tour, maternity photos, nursery décor, etc.). This allowed me ample time to do any research I needed to, along with stimulating my mental preparation, which I needed more than anything. I began acquiring items in October – such as the City Select Stroller and Ergo Baby 360 carrier, so I could spread out the purchases rather than doing it in one lump some. Did I go overboard? Perhaps (my peers would say most definitely); but after all who can resist adorable baby girl clothing adorned with lace, frills and tutus - a weakness of mine, I’ll admit. I have also found the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” App to be incredibly helpful with information and forums discussing questions that I may or may not have thought of. Baby brain is a very real phenomenon I’ve discovered, and ultimately poses a significant challenge to an otherwise organized individual such as myself. I found it best to battle it with memos and notes about absolutely everything, and even still it sometimes got the best of me. I tried very hard to filter and keep focused on relevant information rather than get wrapped up in the overwhelming amount of “noise” or what could go wrong unless I found myself at the mercy of a complication. This was necessary for me to remain as positive and stress-free as I possibly could and avoid any additional worry, because I have a tendency to do so.
As I stare into the face of my upcoming labor, it’s difficult not to wonder what will actualize that day (or days). Will I have a long labor? Will I be able to time my contractions accurately? Will it ultimately result in a c-section? Will there be complications? Will I be comfortable with the epidural to the point of cracking jokes or will I transform into a scary dragon lady? Will I remember to pack my phone charger and body wash that I’ve made notes to? Will they actually just send this innocent baby home with us without a care instruction manual or verify our qualifications? These are just a few of the questions on my mind as I wait for labor to ensue. But beyond those trepidations and despite any pregnancy pains such as my aching back, swollen hands and feet, and large beach ball-sized tummy that seemingly grew over night; and much more importantly, I cannot wait to meet our little girl whenever/however she chooses to enter this world. What will she look like? What will her personality be like? Will she have a sense of humor? Will she be soft spoken or an extrovert? Will she like dancing, fashion and art like me or will she be a tomboy and want to hunt and fish like daddy or maybe something entirely different? I’m excited to watch my husband be a daddy – I’ve gotten a glimpse of it with witnessing the bond develop between him and our 7-year old Siberian Husky. I know that he will be an incredible dad filled with original bedtime stories, answers to questions no one else knows, fixing boo-boos, scaring away potential boyfriends and giving in when mom says ‘No’. Lastly, the thing I’m looking forward to most is experiencing the world for the first time all over again through her eyes – ice cream, the beach, rain, bike rides, freezies, the zoo, snow, Christmas and Santa Clause… I also plan to cherish the small everyday moments as much as I can because I’m fully aware of how quickly they will turn to memories.
All in all, throughout this whole journey and at this very point in time - I feel so very lucky. I’m fortunate to be on this path with my incredible husband by my side as we build our family and to be blessed with the most important role yet – being a mommy to an already very special baby girl. I’m going to do the best I possibly can at being a mom. One thing I absolutely guarantee is that I will love our little girl to the end of time with all the capacity of my heart (because I already do), probably more than she can stand, treat her like the princess she is and be there for her, always and forever.
Thank you Lindsay for sharing such a special time in your life! As your due date approaches I wish you strength, love and comfort. I know you're going to be a wonderful mommy! You have so many happy and wonder-filled times ahead of you - enjoy every moment! Congratulations!
(Photography: Karyn Kimberley)