MOM STORIES: VOLUME 1 - KELLY
One of the most wonderful things about becoming a Mother is that you are immediately inducted into the Momclub for life. Part of the goal in starting Ecomama was to create a safe space where Moms could connect and share information. When we are able to relate to one another it makes us feel a little less alone. When we can learn from eachother's differences it helps offer us perspective in our own lives. From time to time we'll be sharing profiles and topics written about and from other Moms.
If you would like to contribute please message us through our contact page to be featured.
Without further ado, let's meet our first Mama...
Where are you from?
I grew up in Ontario and moved to Winnipeg after high school.
5 words to describe yourself?
Cautiously optimistic, friendly, and slightly compulsive.
What are your passions in life?
I love deep conversations, travel, and craft beer.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like visiting with friends, reading, and binge watching television shows.
How old were you when you had your first child?
30 when the girls were born.
How many children do you have?
Two twin girls, Aria and Lyla. I have had four pregnancies.
How old are your children?
4 but 5 in April!
What were the biggest challenges you faced during pregnancy?
Heart burn, nausea and fatigue. At the end I even used an electric cart at Costco (embarrassing…)
What were the biggest joys you experienced during pregnancy?
I loved telling our families. These guys were the first grandchildren on both sides so it was pretty exciting for everyone. Babies have a way of connecting people and bringing them closer sometimes.
Did you learn the gender of your children?
I went to a 3D ultrasound to learn the genders. I really was hoping to have a boy and a girl. I was deeply disappointed at the time which seems so silly now. I love having two girls.
How long was your labour?
5 hours. I wasn’t even sure that I was in labour but I had a bit of leakage so we went to the hospital. When my water broke it sounded like a pop and a bit of water came out, but it wasn’t the massive gush that you see on TV. I wasn’t having any contractions at the time.
What was your delivery like?
I remember taking the quick drive to the hospital and asking triage if I was in labour. When I got onto their examination table my water began to gush with a contraction that had begun. She [the nurse] quickly confirmed it and called for the attending doctor. The doctor ordered a room and the nurse reminded him that I should have the shot that helps my babies’ lungs get ready to breathe. I think that saved my childrens' lives as they did not require oxygen even though they were so young/small. I went to a room where I received my epidural immediately (my OBGYN said that I had to have one with twins since it is a high risk delivery). There was an audience of 12 staff members. It was odd, as they were quickly removed from the surgical room. I had to deliver in the surgical room in case they needed to do an emergency C section.
How did you deliver?
I delivered both vaginally with an epidural. Aria’s water broke and she was born first. They had to manually break Lyla’s water and use forceps. She was born 15 minutes later and was showing signs of distress.
What was the biggest challenge you faced after having your children?
The girls were born at 32 weeks, both under 4 lbs. As they were so small, they had to stay in the NICU for almost two months. This was really challenging as they were not by my side while I remained in the hospital. I was only allowed to hold them during feeding times (every 3 hours) and the nurses controlled everything. It was a strange feeling since these were my children. It made bonding more difficult. Aria tested positive on her NBS for a rare disease called glutaric acidemia type 1. It took a long time to get the firm positive DNA test and that took a lot out of me. I would lay awake at night reading as much as possible, I often cried myself to sleep. I slept very, very little in those months even though it wasn’t my babies that were waking me up, but my fear of her rare disease.
Any nursing/feeding challenges/triumphs?
Since my daughters were premature, they couldn’t breast feed right away. I found it really odd because the only thing the NICU nurses asked me before they whisked my children, was if formula was okay? I remember laughing because I wasn’t sure what else I would do at that point as I wasn’t sure how my milk was doing and I knew they were so small and would need assistance to grow. I now know that they wanted to confirm if I was going to request milk from the milk bank. I exclusively pumped for 14 months. I sometimes wonder if I should have formula fed as the pumping actually took a lot of time away from my babies.
Did you experience any Postpartum Depression?
I experienced PPD. I felt very little connection to my babies at first. In fact, it took months for me to feel connected to them. I worried about them, but I didn’t feel it like I do now. I also had a lot of trauma with the NICU and rare disease diagnosis it was hard to tell where one happened and one ended. I still cry at doctor’s appointments and have extreme anxiety that they are going to drop a bomb on me like they did so many times in those first few months.
How did you feel about the support you received through pregnancy from the medical system and/or your doula/midwife?
I applied for a midwife and received one, but as soon as I told her my pregnancy was twins she told me that I was no longer eligible as it was high risk. I think that is really unfortunate. I wish midwives and OBGYNs had better working relationships so it could be more of a partnership. I think if I had received better pregnancy support and care my situation could have been improved and I may have even avoided having premature children. I also only had one visit with a nurse after the girls were brought home and she just said that I needed to discuss my postpartum depression with my OBGYN. I never did and she never followed up.
Is there anything you would do differently looking back?
Oh mom guilt here we come! I think if I were going to do it again I would do a lot differently, but hindsight is 20/20. I don’t really want to force myself to think about the negative things and try to appreciate that I did the best I could with the information that I had at the time. We are learning so much WITH our children and that is part of the experience.
Is there anything you want to share with expecting/new moms?
Ask a bazillion questions! If you don’t understand, ask again and again. The process is so confusing and things are constantly changing. Force yourself to go to the parenting groups that are put on by school divisions and community centers. They are excellent resources and will help you not to feel alone. The days are long when all your friends/family are at work and you are sleep deprived.
Oh and literally everything is a phase so try not to dwell on them. That being said, if your mom spidey senses are telling you something is wrong...Trust your gut.
What was/is your favorite thing about being a mom?
I love watching them grow and develop their little personalities. I love the bedtime chats and unconditional hugs.
What do you do to take care of yourself/for yourself?
Make sure that you make time for dates with your partner and friends. These regular intermissions from momming will save you and your partnership. Allow yourself to purchase a few items that make you feel good about your new post pregnancy body and don’t dwell about the differences or how long it takes you to bring your size back down.
What is your current favorite thing in life?
I love celebrating everything with my kids, a new word they learned, a birthday, everything. They sparkle with these celebrations and it fills me with joy. I also love that they really, really hug me now, like full arms around me and squeeze. It is the best. Oh, and when they brush my hair.
Anything else you want to add?
I love being a mom! I have a lot of support from my mom and dad, which has made a world of a difference in raising these guys.
Also, put away your phone. I realized that I was really addicted to my phone when the girls were first born. It was silly, it was how I got through pumping, but I should have focused on being present and watching my little babies grow. What did I even learn from watching my phone anyway?!