Motherhood – things I didn’t expect

For the last post in of our Mother’s Day series, we wanted to share what we learned from becoming moms.  What I learned I did not learn from those “what to expect when you’re expecting” books.  What I learned can be taken from an episode of reality TV.  Plan all you want, but as Julie Chen would say, “expect the unexpected”.  The control freak in me had planned to have my baby delivered at the hospital by an ob.  What ended up happening was a home birth with a midwife.  Go figure.

On a deeper level, I did not expect to be so in awe and enamoured with my daughter each and every day since she was born.  I did not expect the all consuming love I feel for her and the bond we share which began before we even met.  I did not expect to put the needs of this tiny human above and beyond those of my own.  Some may call this sacrifice.  I don’t think that is the right word for it.  It’s just what you do when you become a parent.  You make sure baby is fed, clean, safe and happy before you take care of yourself.  If that means you have to wait a couple of hours before you can grab a bite to eat or go to the washroom to do your business, so be it.  If making baby happy involves holding her and pacing back and forth until she fell asleep, that’s what I did.  Things you have to do as a parent… Growing up, when I was at odds with my mom, she would always say to me, “wait until you have kids, then you will understand…”.  Although I’ve only gotten a small glimpse of what it means to be a mother, I understand now.  Mom, you were right.

Lastly,  I did not expect that the birth of my daughter would change the way I view myself and my life.  Let me explain.  My grandmother once told me a long time ago, when I was young that I would have to work really hard, but I would do great things.  Kinda vague, I know,  but I believed her.   I don’t remember how she came to this conclusion, whether it was through reading the lines on my palm or how the stars were aligned when I was born, but this prediction of hers has stuck with me all these years.  If only I was able to fulfill her prediction.  I have always struggled with knowing who I am and what I’m meant to do in life.  I’ve never felt like I’ve lived up to my potential.  Or maybe I’ve never felt like I’ve lived up to others’ expectations of me.  I didn’t become a doctor.  Not sure I really wanted to be one, but I fell pretty short of that.  I’ve done career assessments and counselling and gone on a “soul searching” trip to try to figure out what I wanted to do.   Career counselling told me I was already doing what I should be doing or otherwise go into accounting.  My little trip to “find myself” only resulted in me getting a tan and feeling even more lost.  I am starting to think that maybe my greatest achievement ever is becoming a mom.  And if that is the case, maybe I am okay with that.  Maybe I could be happy with just being the best mom I can be for her…

knots_of_glee-1462556842233

My gift.

A Cake for Mommy

What happens when my toddler wants to bake me a cake?  I baked myself a bake.

My kiddo helped more than I expected so that was a sweet surprise.

measuring ingredients

Bonus:  Refrigerator Art for Mommy

(AKA How I know she really really loves me)

Except when she excitedly showed me the hand prints she proudly made for me.  I suppose I should be thankful the sentiments are there, and glad that she didn’t protest too much when I had to removed her lovely creation.  I showed her the picture I took of it and said I would treasure it forever so I could clean the refrigerator.  She said “forever is a long time Mommy”.  That cheeky little monkey.  I will treasure her sass too.

flour hand prints

Sweet, but not too Sweet, Please

I wanted to find a recipe that didn’t have too much sugar.  I suppose too and much are subjective, but I went in search of a sponge cake recipe for cakes like those often sold in Chinese bakeries because they’re usually not too sweet (IMO).  I found one on the Nancy Baked blog  which had only one cup of sugar.  That’s not too much right?  And most importantly, I loved how she had detailed process pictures, very important (did I say that already?) for a baking-noob like myself.  Sigh, the things I get myself into for my toddler.

Chinese Bakery Cake Recipe

for 2 9″ round cakes, adapted from Nancy Baked

Ingredients:

6 eggs (at room temperature)
1 1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup sugar, separated into 1/3 and 2/3 cup
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Tips:  This sponge cake is light and fluffy because meringue is gently folded into the batter.  This is easier if you have two separate mixing bowls, one for the batter and one for the meringue.  Or if you only have one mixing bowl, divide and pour batter into the two cake pans and then wash the mixing bowl before making the meringue and fold it into the batter directly in the cake pan.

Nancy Bakes’ directions were to line the bottoms only, and not the sides of the baking pans, but I didn’t have parchment paper on hand so I didn’t line at all.  Instead I had rubbed a little bit of butter onto the bottom of the pans and felt the cakes came out okay.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (~176 degrees C)

1.  Separate Eggs

(with a Funny Egg Egg Yolk Separator)

I saw this egg separator at Walmart years and years ago and I *had* to get it even though I didn’t really bake because it was so fun looking.  I had it for over 10 years and this was the first time I used it for real.   Everyone who sees it in my kitchen comments on it but I was never able to say honestly if it worked or not.

And (this feels like a big reveal, ta-da), it actually worked well!  I We separated 8 eggs without any mishap so this funny egg egg yolk separator was a good $5 investment.  The recipe only called for 6 eggs, but it was so fun we did all 8 we had.  I just looked for it on Amazon and it’s still $5.  Not much inflation for egg yolk separators huh? (Affiliate link to buy your own funny egg egg yolk separator here)

seperating eggs

2.  Beat egg yolks and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric beater on high for approximately one minute or until it turns pale yellow.

3.  Sift cake flour and baking powder over the pale yellow egg yolk mixture and mix at low speed until just incorporated.

4.  Add water, oil, and vanilla extract and beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy.

mixing batter

My daughter performed the above steps but I took over for the following steps:

5.  Make meringue by whipping room temperature egg whites with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until slightly foamy.  Then add cream of tartar and beat on high for approximately 3 minutes or until stiff peaks have just formed.  Then decrease speed to low and while the mixer is still on, add in the 1/3 cup of sugar.  Then beat at high for another 30 seconds or so until all the sugar is incorporated.  You should be able to turn the meringue upside down and it won’t move, but how risky you live your life is entirely up to you.

6. Gentle fold meringue into batter until just incorporated.  The less mixing, the fluffier the cake.  Then transfer quickly to baking pans (if not mixing directly in pans) for baking.  The longer the batter rests, the less fluffy the cake.

7.  Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F (~176 degrees C) for approximately 20 minutes until tops are golden brown.  Every oven seems a little different – it took 25 minutes in my current oven (probably because, looking around sheepishly, ummm, the vents in the back of my oven are covered with cat hair).

ready to come out of oven

8.  Let cool until warm, approximately 8 minutes, before moving from pans to cooling racks to cool further.  The cake will shrink and your house will smell wonderful.  I had to guard the cooling cakes from my daughter because she kept pulling up the chair to try to sample them.  I don’t mind her sampling but didn’t want her to burn her cute little fingers.

9.  Decorate as desired when completely cooled.  I also used whipped cream and strawberries like Nancy Bakes did.  I try to always have heavy cream on hand for our family’s favorite creamy chicken recipe and since I often buy my strawberries from Costco, we usually have a little too many so this was a great way to use them up.  Whipped cream frosting is also nice when you want something lighter.

 

Whipped Cream Recipe

For a 2 layer cake, adapted from Nancy Baked

Ingredients:

4 cup heavy cream
2 cup powder sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (or extract of your choice)

Optional:  Food coloring

This whipped cream frosting is very light and the sweetness can be adjusted easily with more or less powder sugar.  You can also adjust the flavor with different extracts or additions.

Directions:

Tip:  It works best to use very cold equipment – leave heavy cream in refrigerator until ready to use and store whisk and metal bowl in freezer for at least 30 minutes prior to mixing.

1.  Whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, starting at a low speed and gradually working up to high to minimize splattering.

2.  When the cream starts to thicken, gradually add powder sugar and vanilla extract.  We stopped intermittently to taste and determine if we needed more sugar.  Try not to eat all the whipped cream and save enough to decorate the cake.  That is very hard to do.

3.  Scoop whipped cream into a coriander to drain excess liquid.  Maybe we didn’t couldn’t wait long enough but nothing seeped out.

Nancy Bakes provides additional directions on adding optional gelatin to add structure and stiffness to the whipping cream.

Decorating cake

My daughter alternated a spoon of whipped cream for the cake and one for her mouth until we ran out of clean spoons.  For the astute, yes, my daughter is now in blue instead of yellow. Baking a cake can be a messy job for a 3 year old and may require a change of clothing, or two, to get the job done.

sponge cake

Mother’s Day is coming up.  While I had said I no longer expect any gifts as experiencing motherhood was the ultimate gift itself, I am not above using it as an excuse to order a big Baskin Robbin’s fudge crunch ice cream cake.  I mean cake is the answer to everything right?  And everyone gets to enjoy the treat so it’s not just for me right? Cake is love right?

I haven’t told the kiddo about Mother’s Day yet but if she wants to bake me another cake, maybe I would do it (sniff ice cream cake, I’ll miss you) since this time didn’t turn out a complete disaster thanks to Nancy Bake’s detailed pictures and to my kiddo for all the help.  How about you?  Would you bake yourself a cake?

 

 

Why Having a Baby is like Eating Humble Pie

Melissa recently asked “What is one thing you learned from your pregnancy/birth experience(s)?”

I learned so much from the experience but the two that resonate the most is humility and empathy.

Over my lifetime, I’ve heard different people’s anecdotes about pregnancy and being a parent.  I thought I had a good understanding of their situations and their feelings, but it was only after finally experiencing pregnancy and motherhood myself, that I got a mom’s perspective that I never had before.

Gaining this new perspective was earth shattering for me because I’ve always considered myself fairly open minded and emphatic but it turned out I had unintentionally made a lot of assumptions about pregnancy, being a mom and parenting.

 

Scarfing Down Big Fat Humble Pies

For example, I was so proud of myself when I took a shower and washed my hair at the hospital (almost immediately after giving birth when the nurse had my baby for tests). I even put on makeup and thought, “see, you can easily find time to shower after having a baby.”  Ha! HA! HAAAA!!! Biggest joke on myself ever.

After a blissful two weeks of thinking that, my baby started to cry all the time when I wasn’t holding her. And she was much louder than running water.  A two minute shower meant I was cringing for a full two minutes, and my mouth was constantly filled with shampoo because I kept opening it to try to say reassuring words to calm her.  The floor got sopping wet as I reached out frequently to bounce her.  All pointless. I even considered ordering a baby sling to take her into the shower with me. It took a few weeks but I finally understood why people say it can be hard to shower after a baby is born.

That was just the beginning too.

After another two more weeks, my baby started to cry for hours, even when I held her.

I did everything I can think of under the sun but nothing seemed to work. Then I started doing something I had thought I would never do, buy every pillow, chair or swing with good reviews with the hope that one might soothe her.  I only succeeded in amassing a room full of stuff. I had assumed if I tried hard enough, I can stop my baby’s crying. Nope.

A Little Bit More Empathy (from Me to You)

Now, when I hear someone else’s baby cry, my heart goes out to both baby and parents and I no longer think, “please do something to get the baby to stop crying”.

My daughter is now 3 and no longer cries with her little tears when I’m taking a shower, but she is still sticking her little fingers under the door and “cries” with her little voice.  That is if the Mister was able to distract her long enough for me to slip inside and shut the door, otherwise, she would be right next to the tub playing with the shower curtain, asking if I’m done yet, if I’m done yet, if I’m done yet…

Life is slowly shifting back to “normal”, but I am no longer the me from before.  Can’t go back.  Don’t want to go back.  I miss being her with her freedoms and her self indulgent life, and extended 30 minute showers, but I love being this exhausted and sometimes greasy mommy too.

My water bill is lower for one.  A two minute shower really is sufficient/ all that I can deal with.

A Lesson in Humility

The lesson of humility from experiencing some basic things I didn’t even know I didn’t know was profound.  The realization that there is so much that I don’t know, won’t understand, and may never experience makes me a happier and more receptive person.  I apologize for my old self.  There is still plenty I need to apologize for my current self, but it’s a start.  I’m plenty full on humble pie right now, but I’ll make room for more.

While I choose to be and prepared to be a parent, it isn’t always easy and without hardships, so I now have more empathy and respect for other people because I don’t know what they are dealing with.  They might not be sharing their challenges but that doesn’t mean they aren’t just trying to keep it together too.

And finally, the purpose and contentment I feel when my daughter repeatedly calls “mamee”, not to annoy me as I had exasperatedly concluded before, but because my presence makes her feel secure, comforted and happy, is absolutely priceless.  I love you to the moon and back my baby.

 

Best baby advice given to me before birth

A co-worker, who already had a child and was expecting another one around the same time as I was, told me not to have high expectations and that it wasn’t always going to be easy.  I thought this was the best baby advice given to me before birth.  Truth be told I’m a glass half empty kind of person, so I didn’t think it would be easy.  Call me pessimistic, but I think it’s the best way to live.  Having low expectations means having little disappointment.    Anything above and beyond what you expect would be a bonus.  So, we had breastfeeding issues and baby did not sleep well the first few months, no sweat.  Having a baby isn’t easy.  😉  With time and consultation with a lactation consultant, the breastfeeding issues were resolved.   She also slept better after some sleep training.  It got easier, until something else comes up, like teething or a cold or what we are dealing with right now – separation anxiety.

FB_IMG_1461914281705

As I look back now, my co-worker probably also told me that although it won’t be easy, it would be worth it and that I should savour every moment.  I was probably just too focused on the negative to hear the latter.  I tend to do that – focus on the negative rather than the positive.  If someone were to ask me for baby advice, I would definitely tell them to savour every moment because in a blink of an eye, your baby would’ve changed and not be the same as they were last month or last week or even yesterday.  In a blink of an eye, they would no longer be that tiny newborn who could barely keep their eyes open.  Before you know it, they will start to roll over, then crawl and run.  They change so quickly and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.  I would advise moms to be to cherish the first smiles, hiccups and giggles.

FB_IMG_1461914295903

This is where I’m at now.  A year has past since my baby girl was born.  I cannot believe how fast it’s gone by.  One minute, I was having contractions and the next, my little baby is now a toddler who would prefer to furniture surf than be held, who is no longer content just sitting in one spot but is curious and prefers to explore.  I am in awe of the new things she learns everyday and her increasing understanding of language.  I look forward to the day when she can walk, speak and feed herself, but I also miss the “simplier” days when she was content just eating and sleeping the day away.

What was the best baby advice given to you?

 

Pregnancy challenges and cravings

Have you read Charlie’s post about her three pregnancy challenges?  I, too, got leg cramps, but not to the extent that she did.  Ouch!  These were my pregnancy challenges and cravings…

I had a relatively painless pregnancy, well until the end anyway, but that’s another post to come…. This easy pregnancy was surprising to me because I am a high stressed/easily stressed person.  Given my personality, I thought I would have a tough pregnancy, but I didn’t even have high blood pressure the entire time.

Being pregnant wasn’t like what I’d seen in the movies.  I didn’t have bad morning sickness (except for one minor episode).  I had some nausea in the early months, which was easily cured by snacking, which in turn helped the constant hunger I felt.   You don’t know how many times I went to bed, after I had brushed by teeth, feeling like I wanted something to eat.  Most of the time I resisted and just went to sleep hungry.  A couple of times, I asked my husband to get me a snack and I ate in bed – a no no in my books on a regular day, but being pregnant I thought I would give myself a break.  😉

Cravings

I didn’t have majorly weird cravings.  No desire for pickles on ice cream for this lady.  No siree!  I did have an affinity for spicy foods, and seemingly an increased tolerance for it because whether it was curry or kimchi, it wasn’t spicy enough.  Whatever I ate just didn’t seem as flavourful as it used to be.  Maybe the extra spicy foods I ate is why my daughter turned out so sassy – total opposite of me!

My husband claims that I once had a craving for jalapeno cheddar bagels from this particular coffee shop chain one morning and sent him all over the city to get it for me.  Truth be told, I merely suggested it for breakfast.  Turns out, the closest shop to us was closed due to renovations after a fire and he had to go across town to the next closest one.  Took him an hour to come back with breakfast.  It was very sweet of him, but I would’ve lived if we had something else for breakfast.  🙂

My major pregnancy woes were the constant tiredness and restrictions.  Let me explain.

Constant fatigue

I felt like I had a cold the whole time I was pregnant, and I did for a good four months.  I was tired, ALL THE TIME.  I went from sleeping at around midnight to being in bed by 9:30pm.  Just like that, I turned into an old lady (no offense to those of you who sleep early).  Though I was tired and fell asleep easily, I often woke up in the middle of the night, sometimes due to leg cramps and sometimes to use the washroom.  Other times, I would wake at 3 or 4 am and have trouble falling back to sleep.  During those times, I took the opportunity to update my Facebook status or message friends on the east coast, who were already up and getting ready for work.  Good use of time wouldn’t you agree?   Later on in my pregnancy, it become even harder for me to sleep because of my big belly, which made me wish I had invested in a pregnancy pillow.  Do those things help?

Restrictions

Two of my biggest weakness are coffee and….baked goods of course.  They go hand in hand, right?  I thought I would have a tough time cutting back on the caffeine, since I usually drink more coffee than water, but it really wasn’t that bad.  Maybe the early bedtime helped.  Even though I knew I was allowed 2 cups a day, I usually only drank about half a cup.  I have since more than made up for all the coffee I could’ve had but didn’t. 😉

20160415_002231

Being in a higher risk group for developing gestational diabetes, my health care providers advised that I cut back the on the sugar intake.  I had to cut the sugar out of my coffee, which wasn’t difficult since I wasn’t drinking much anyway.  But cutting out baked good was extremely difficult.  I used to bake a lot.  And although I usually say I bake for my husband, I probably end up consuming more of it then he does.  I have a major sweet tooth.  I even had to cut back on some fruits because of the high sugar content. 🙁

DSC_1442

I also had trouble trying to eat healthy and getting enough of the right fats, nutrients, vitamins, yada, yada, yada…. It was hard enough for me to keep track of when to take my prenatal vitamins and iron and calcium supplements, let alone making sure I ate enough of the right foods.  Why does it have to be so complicated?  I mean, what did people do in the olden days when there weren’t prenatal vitamins, etc, and they had to worry about more important things like not being eaten by a dinosaur?  But I digress.

What were your pregnancy challenges?  Did you have any strange cravings?

 

 

My 3 Unexpected Pregnancy Challenges

Mother’s Day is less than a month away and so we wanted to share some of the milestones and challenges on our journey to motherhood.  Overall my pregnancy was easy and everything had gone smoothly but, I faced 3 challenges that I want to share:  leg cramps, anemia, and limited access to care during the Christmas holiday season.

LEG CRAMPS/ CHARLEY HORSE

Overall I had an easy pregnancy- no morning sickness, no excessive mood changes (I think), no real back pain, and only slight swelling despite 60+ lbs weight gain at the highest (I actually lost some weight in the third trimester). But. Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious.  Were the leg cramps horrible! I didn’t know leg cramps were common in pregnancies (they are, particularly in the 2nd trimester) so I hadn’t expected them which made the first episode worse than it was because it scared me as much as it hurt.  I was worried the cramping was a sign that something terrible was happening and I was going to lose my baby (again).  

They were so frequent too.  Almost every morning when I woke, I was greeted by an excruciating one. Anytime I tried to stretch, hello leg cramp.  In a meeting at work? Cramp.  Whenever I got to a good part of a movie? Yikes. Trying to eat lunch or dinner? Cramp and cramp.  Sleep? Nah, it’s cramp time.  I cramped so often that my legs were constantly tired and hurt like I had a really good workout.

They were so frequent that I couldn’t risk driving to work (or anywhere).  When it was a severe cramp, which it often was in the 2nd trimester, the muscles in my leg (never both at the exact same time) would knot/ lump up and be rock hard and I would almost be immobile until the cramping stopped so I was worried that I would get into an accident if my leg cramped while I was driving.

5 THINGS I TRIED TO HELP PREVENT LEG CRAMPS

  • Staying well hydrated
  • Eating a calcium, potassium and magnesium rich diet (e.g. spinach, banana, yogurt, lentils, nuts & seeds, avocados etc.)
  • Wearing compression stocking or socks (support hose)
  • Stretching (shin and calf muscles in particular) and exercising
  • Resting and taking breaks often (even from sitting or walking or standing)

I had originally dreaded wearing compression socks, also good for reducing swelling, because I had ignorantly thought they would look ugly, but there are compression socks that look just like regular socks.  There were a large selection of compression socks with fun prints too!

5 THINGS I TRIED TO STOP/ RELIEVE LEG CRAMPS

  • Running water down leg in the sink or shower
  • Standing/ walking barefoot on a cold surface
  • Straightening leg and flex toes  
  • Applying heat (heat pad)
  • Massaging


Running water down my leg helped me the most while straightening my leg and stretching during a cramp sometimes helped but sometimes made it cramp worse for me.

 

ANEMIA/ B12 DEFICIENCY

Just went my legs stopped cramping as frequently, either due to my efforts above, or just because I was now in my 3rd trimester, my memory and concentration started to get notably terrible.  I had thought maybe pregnancy brain isn’t just a myth.  Turned out I was anemic, despite watching my nutrition closely on a daily basis.  Ensuring I got enough of everything was partly why I had such a big +60 weight gain.

My obgyn sent me to a hematologist who recommended iron supplements and B12 injections.  Luckily my legs were no longer cramping frequently because I had to drive to the hematologist often during my last trimester.  After the initial 3x a week B12 loading doses, I still had to return weekly for the B12 injections.

I still got blood work every six months after giving birth because I had decided to nurse my daughter.  When I stopped nursing, I also stopped monitoring my blood and last month, when I got a routine check up, I found out I was anemic again and made me worry about my daughter (since we have a similar diet) and I saw that it may affect IQ in children so I switched her multivitamin to one that includes iron too.

HELLO?  IS EVERYONE SERIOUSLY ON VACATION?

I was supposed to get weekly B12 injections but the month before my due date, I was unable to find anyone to administer it.  The hematologist I was seeing had gone on vacation and I couldn’t get any appointments with the doctors covering her.  Getting care only got worse from that point.

My baby’s due date was right around Christmas, and at the beginning of December, at the 37 week visit, the obgyn said she was concerned that my baby will have a low birth weight (~6lbs) and referred me to a mfm specialist.  But after arriving at the mfm’s office, the receptionist insisted I had no referral.  I persisted so an assistant briefly talked to me- to advise me that the mfm can’t see me, but she had describe my situation to the mfm, and both she and the mfm felt that due to my size (only 5’3”) a ~6lb baby would be normal, not low or concerning, especially since fetal weight estimation by ultrasound had a 15% margin of error in 85-90% of cases.  They do not believe I require mfm care and won’t set up any appointments for me.

I didn’t tell her that I had overheard her conversation with the mfm.  I also didn’t tell her that she neglected to relay the part where the mfm’s opinion was that my obgyn was just trying to dump my care on her since it was the holidays.

When I went back to my obgyn, I suspect the mfm’s opinion was correct as my 3 remaining weekly obgyn appointments, made a few months in advance, were all cancelled without my knowledge.  It was impossible to reschedule as no more appointments were available.  As a result, I had no prenatal care or checkups for the last three weeks until I delivered.

These 3 challenges aside though, I was very lucky and had a relatively smooth and easy pregnancy.  What challenges, if any, did you face in your pregnancy?

 

 

NOTE:  Please note that there are some affiliate links in this post; these were just products I had success using and wanted to review and share.  This post and blog are for information purpose only.  I am not giving any kind of education or medical advice (I don’t know what’s what).  Please consult your health care provider (pediatrician, physician, obgyn, mfm, hematologist, etc.) for diagnosis, treatment and medical advice.

 

Links/ resources for Pregnancy Leg Cramps/ Charley Horses:

 

 

Affiliate links:

 

Pregnancy Announcement – Happy Thanksgiving! We’re Adopting Another Dog.

With Mother’s Day coming up, we thought it would be fun to share a few things about our journeys to becoming moms.  So here goes….this is how we made our pregnancy announcement….

My husband and I were lucky in that it was not really difficult for us to conceive.  It only took a few months once we decided to start trying.  But even though it was only about 3 months or so before we saw those double lines on the pregnancy test, it was still disappointing those months when we were not successful.  I dreaded my monthly visit from aunt Flo a little more than usual.  When she was late, I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I waited…and waited…for maybe about a week before I took a test.  And when I did, I still wasn’t so sure because that second line that appeared was so darn faint!  Why couldn’t they make these tests better?!?  I mean, you would expect the second line to be the same intensity as the first, no???  So what was I to do?  Google of course!  It  confirmed that if you see a second line, the test is positive, no matter how faint it was.  Even after that, I was still in disbelief.  I knew that miscarriages were common (1 out of 6 women have a miscarriage during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy) so I waited a few more weeks before I went to the doctor’s to confirm.  It wasn’t until my first ultrasound, when we saw the little tiny heart beating that I believed there was a tiny human being growing inside of me.

During these weeks, both my husband and I were tight lipped about our developing little babe.  We didn’t even tell our parents or siblings.  We wanted to wait until the second trimester since the risk of miscarriage is lower after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.  It was Thanksgiving around the start of my second trimester so we thought we would tell our families at our Thanksgiving gatherings.  With my family, we thought we would play with them a little before we told them.  Yes, we are cruel that way.  We made them wait 7 years, what’s a few more minutes so that we can have some fun with them? 😉   My mom and sister have been bugging us about having children the second after we got married.  I am not exaggerating.  As the years went by and we remained childless, their hopes decreased and they started to bug us less.  A few months before we got pregnant, we adopted a dog.  I’m sure when we adopted our dog, Rocky, that their hopes of us having children decreased even more.  So, during our Thanksgiving dinner, we told them that we were going to adopt another dog and that we had a picture of the dog to show them.

2014-10-13 04.06.41

When we showed them this ultrasound, my sister instantly burst into tears, while my mom didn’t understand and asked, “Rocky’s having a baby?”  Silly mom, Rocky’s a boy!  Lol.  We had to explain that we were the ones having a baby, which led to more tears for all.

With my husband’s family, we weren’t as cruel.  Before dinner, we gathered everyone to take a picture, with hubby behind the camera pretending to take a picture but all the while recording a video of the whole thing.  Instead of having everyone say cheese, he told them to say “Happy Thanksgiving” and then with the next photo, he had everyone say, “We’re having a baby!”.  They all repeated, “We’re having a baby…….whaaaaat??”  It took a while after they said it before they realized what it meant.  And once again, as you can imagine there were more tears. 🙂

How did you announce your pregnancy?

Did you know that Mother’s Day was created by a woman named Anna Jarvis, who never had any children?  For more fun Mother’s Day facts, see yesterday’s post. 🙂

 

 

Lead up to Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day, a celebration of motherhood that falls on the 2nd Sunday in May in North America, is only a month away. What does Mother’s Day mean to you?

THE FIRST MOTHER’S DAY

According to the History channel it became an official US holiday in 1914 due to the efforts of Anna Jarvis.  Jarvis, who was childless her entire life, created Mother’s Day in 1908 to celebrate and honor the sacrifices mothers made for their children following her mother’s death in 1905.  A church service was held in observation of Mother’s Day and Jarvis selected the carnation, her mother’s favorite flower, as a symbol of Mother’s Day.

Pink Carnations

photo by Rawlik

The most likely precedent of Mother’s Day was the Christian festival of Mothering Sunday, held on the fourth Sunday of Lent, where the faithful would return to their “mother church” for a special service.

MOTHER’S DAY GIFTS

The holiday was originally church service and visiting one’s mother, but it quickly became commercialized. Now, when I hear Mother’s Day, I almost automatically expect a third word to follow: brunch, or gift, or card, or flowers.  Billions are spent on Mother’s Day flowers each year, with Mother’s Day in second place for the most holiday floral sales, after Christmas/ Chanukah and ahead of Valentine’s Day according to aboutflowers.com.

Flower Boquet for Mom

Photo by pixbox

And here are a Few Quick Mother’s Day Card Stats:
Mother's Day Card Stats

Growing up, we didn’t really celebrate Mother’s Day. My parents were self employed in retail so they always worked on Mother’s Day. There was no brunch and our family never really did cards or presents. I vaguely remember getting mom a cake some years, but I can’t be certain.

After I moved away from home, I started calling. Then when I started working, I began sending flowers.

And before having my daughter, this was what I expected that my future kids would at least do. They better call and get flowers for me. I thought I would be sad if they didn’t, but now that I have a daughter, my view on this holiday changed a little.

I love my mom even more, and want to do more to show her my love, gratitude and appreciation, but I also no longer expect anything on Mother’s Day. My daughter is the greatest gift I could have and having her love brings me happiness. If she didn’t love me, then I rather her not just gesturally send me a card or gift. It will only make me cry. Emotional yeah?

I had thought that the powerful emotional effects from pregnancy hormones ended after giving birth but something must have carried over for me. I feel I’m more emotional now that I’m a mom; after Melissa shared her amazing home-birth story with me, I started reminiscing about my own daughter’s delivery.

Since Mother’s Day is only a month away, all of us here at Sinks Full of Dishes wanted to take the next few weeks sharing some parts of our journey to motherhood and the events that ultimately changed our roles on Mother’s Day.  Please come back and join us!

In the mean time, check out this pretty infographic from ftd.com:
Mother's Day Flowers Infographicsource: FTD.com