Why use a Midwife?

I recently posted a few images on my Instagram stories that contained statistics released from the Association of Ontario Midwives (see below). Then when I asked if anyone wanted to hear about my experience using midwives for my two pregnancies and deliveries, the overwhelming majority responded, “yes.” So, here we are!

Image taken from The Association of Ontario Midwives.

You may be wondering what a midwife actually is. Midwives are experts in normal, low-risk pregnancies and reproductive health. They provide care to pregnant women, deliver babies and attend to a new mother and her baby until 6 weeks after delivering. Midwives offer and arrange all of the same routine tests that an Obstetrician would (i.e. blood work, ultrasounds, genetic testing, urine tests, etc.) during a pregnancy.

In Ontario, where I live, a woman has the option to choose between a Midwife or Obstetrician to be her primary care provider during pregnancy. If you live in Ontario, you can use a midwife at no cost, just as you would an OB.

I do want to mention that a midwife and a doula are not the same, because I’ve heard this come up several times before.

“A midwife is not a doula! A birth doula is a trained labour support person who provides emotional and physical support to those giving birth and their families. While not medical professionals, doulas can offer a wide range of comfort measures. You would find and pay your doula yourself, as doula services are not covered by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. If you are considering having a doula at your birth, talk about it with your midwife.”

Association of Ontario Midwives 

Here’s a little bit of background information about my deliveries for context before I address each of the specific questions I was asked on my Instagram poll. I was fortunate to have two healthy, low-risk pregnancies that I used Midwife care for. I received care at The Midwives Clinic of East York-Don Mills. From start to finish, the experience I had there far exceeded my expectations. I had student midwives involved in my care for both pregnancies and I really enjoyed having an extra set of hands involved. I also used a doula for both of my pregnancies. I hired Dr. Adrienne McRuvie from Oma Chiropractic & Wellness and she was an indispensable member of my birth team.

My first pregnancy was a planned home birth, which resulted in a non-emergency transfer to the hospital for delivery. I had been in prodromal labour for 3 days before my active labour started. This basically means that I was having regular contractions for 3 days, but they were 10-15 minutes apart and I wasn’t more than 1cm dilated.

By the time early labour started, I was completely drained, exhausted and in so much pain from the days leading up to it. Because my daughter was in occipitoposterior position (head-down but her back was towards my back), it was causing me to have tremendous lower back pain. I actually feel like tremendous is an understatement for the amount of pain I was in. Back labour is no joke.

Once I began active labour at home, my midwives and doula came over to prepare for my delivery. I was really enjoying being able to walk around my house with my husband and Mom, and using the blow-up birth tub we had rented. The lights were dim and we had beautiful music on. It really was exactly what I had hoped it would be. When I became 6cm dilated, my progress halted for several hours and I wasn’t dilating further. At that point I had been in labour for about 14 hours.

Here I am, at home, in the tub with my doula coaching me through a contraction. My midwife and student midwife were setting up their delivery and post-delivery equipment on my dining room table.

After a discussion with my midwives, I felt that I needed the epidural to relieve the pain I had been experiencing for days. I felt like I was suffering, and couldn’t manage anymore (a feeling I didn’t have with my second). I had nothing left in my tank and I knew I still had ways to go until I would have to start pushing. I needed some pain relief and rest so I could have the stamina to finish the journey, and the epidural made that possible. My midwives also wanted to me to get Pitocin to speed up my labour since my water had already been broken for a while. 

We were all on the same page with the new birth plan, so everyone packed up at my house and headed to the hospital where my midwives had privileges to remain my primary caregivers. My husband drove me to the hospital with my Mom in the car, while I sat on a beach towel in the back seat of our car having epic contractions (no one wants amniotic fluid on leather seats).

I was in labour at the hospital for an additional 19 more before my daughter was eventually born (including over 2 hours of pushing). Everything went well and our sweet baby girl came out vaginally with no tears, weighing 7lb 13oz. I was 41+2 weeks gestation when she was born. She was born at 4AM and I was home by 4PM that same day. It wasn’t the labour and delivery I had imagined and hoped for. But it happened exactly the way that it needed to and I don’t resent the way the events ended up unfolding.

Holding my sweet girl at the hospital shortly after delivering.

My second labour, with my son, progressed a lot quicker. I decided to deliver at The Birth Centre and it was a fantastic experience. My husband came home from work one day, and I was in the bath with my toddler. I told him that this was the real deal and it was time to call my midwife and doula. My amazing Mom stayed home with our daughter and we rushed off to the birth centre. We got there around 8:30PM and our baby boy was born at 2AM. He was also born vaginally with no tears, weighing 8lbs. I was 39+3 weeks gestation when he was born. We were back home by 5AM and our daughter woke up to a new baby brother at home that morning! It was perfect.

Using the peanut ball helped me progress from 5-7cm quickly! My student midwife had the doppler on my stomach listening to the baby’s heart rate, while my doula was massaging my hips and back.

There was a significant difference in duration of labour and a difference in the sensation of pain compared to my first. Not having back labour the second time was a massive game changer! At the birth centre I was able to go in and out of the bath and shower with my husband, lay in the large bed with the peanut ball, and use nitrous oxide for pain management. I liked not being confined to a bed the way I was at the hospital since I was hooked ups to machines for the Pitocin and Epidural.

Here my doula was doing the Rebozo technique to me at the birth centre.

Now onto the specific questions from my Instagram poll!

Q: Explain the process of selecting a midwife vs OB.

A: As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, go see your family doctor to get blood work done to confirm your pregnancy. Then call the midwife clinic closest to you and ask if they have any availability. For Ontario residents, click here to see a list of midwifery clinics. You’ll need to tell the clinic approximately when you think you’re due. Using the date of your last period, you can plug it into Google by searching “due date calculator.” Put your name on the clinic waitlist if they have one. You can try contacting another Midwife clinic nearby to see if they have availability.

If there is a hospital you have your heart set on delivering at, find out which midwife clinic has privileges to deliver there and contact that clinic to get a midwife. When you call the clinic, you will be matched with whichever Midwife team has availability for the course of your pregnancy and delivery.

With the clinic I used, I had a primary midwife and secondary midwife. Some clinics have teams of 3 or 4 midwives. Each visit, I alternated appointments between the two women, which allowed me to get to know each of them and establish relationships with both throughout my pregnancy.

The reason they do this is in the case that your primary midwife is on another birth or unavailable when you go into labour, your secondary midwife, who you already know, will be there. This was so comforting to me knowing that I wouldn’t end up with someone random at my delivery. Unless of course there was a rare situation where both of my midwives were at births or were unavailable. The clinics schedule them quite well to avoid this and try to ensure that someone on your birth team will deliver your baby.

Q: How did you find one you trusted?

A: Because the demand is so high for a midwife in Ontario, and there are often wait lists, you don’t typically have the luxury of interviewing several and choosing one, as you may be able to do with OBs. At least I didn’t. As I mentioned earlier, you are matched with whichever midwife or team of midwives are available at the clinic for your pregnancy and due date.

I will say that between my 2 pregnancies, I had over 6 different midwives provide care for me at some point during my pregnancy, labour or postpartum care, and each one of them was exceptional. It takes a very special, dedicated and compasionate person to enter this field and I think would you would be hard-pressed to find one who didn’t make you feel safe, comfortable and well-cared for.

Q: Why the birth centre the second time instead of trying home birth again?

A: I had my heart set on a home birth for my first delivery. I wanted it so badly. I thought that if I had a hospital birth, it would be this terrible medical experience where none of my desires would be respected, and I’d be stripped of my autonomy. That wasn’t the case at all.

The hospital experience was great because I still had my doula and my midwives by my side the entire time, providing my care. I quickly realized that as long as I had my birth team with me, it didn’t matter where I delivered. Ultimately, we all want a safe delivery with a healthy baby in the end and I’d do whatever I had to in the moment to achieve that with the least interventions possible.

For my second delivery, I wanted to try a home birth again, but I also had to factor in my 20-month old daughter. I couldn’t predict what time of day I’d go into labour. I was worried that if it was during the day and she was awake at home, she may get scared seeing me in labour and in so much pain. I felt that I would probably end up worrying about her during my labour at home and wouldn’t enjoy the experience. I didn’t want to feel stressed and have that interfere with my delivery. The birth centre seemed like the perfect middle ground between a home birth and hospital and it turned out to be exactly that. I loved my experience there!

At the birth centre, getting ready to head home with baby #2. He was 2.5 hours old!

Q: What is the biggest benefit of having a midwife vs OB?

A: Please keep in mind that I’ve never personally used an OB. But I’ll pick my three personal favourite aspects of having a midwife.

The first one is the length of the appointments. Each appointment was allotted 30-45 minutes, depending on what had to be done during that session. I loved having the time and space to ask all of my questions and get to know my midwife. I never felt rushed during an appointment or like I was being pushed out the door. There isn’t a nurse who comes in to do parts of the exam – it’s just your midwife the whole time. There is absolutely an emotionally supportive component to midwifery care that I greatly valued and felt like I needed during such a vulnerable time.

Secondly, I liked being involved in my own pregnancy and that my values and desires were respected. I never felt like things were just being done to me without my understanding. They would always explain what they were about to do and why it needed to be done, and gave me the opportunity to ask questions. It made me feel like I had an active role in my pregnancy and I wasn’t just observing from the sidelines. It was empowering to understand what was going on in my body during each stage of the journey.

Lastly, the postpartum care was exceptional. I really loved that for the first 6 weeks postpartum, myself and my baby were still in the care of my midwives. The first week or so, they even came to my house for the check-ups. It was so great to lay on my couch during these visits and not have to drag the baby out to a doctors office one day after delivering.

Laying on the couch during a home check-up later that day I got home from the birth centre. My midwife was assessing my new baby boy while my student midwife was assessing me. They were so sweet and let my daughter to play with her stethoscope so she felt involved. My mom was there too!

A few additional benefits that stick out for me include: decreased chance of unnecessary interventions during labour, higher rates of succesful breastfeeding after delivery, and decreased perineal tears. There are so many more, but I digress.

My midwife weighing my daughter during a postpartum home check-up. Look at those adorable little baby feet poking out!

Q: Nervous about not having a doctor deliver (if something goes wrong, etc.)

A: Something that I found very comforting about midwife care is that they stay with you the entire time you’re in labour until you deliver your baby. They aren’t leaving the room every few minutes to check on other patients. They are only allowed to attend to one woman in labour at a time. You have their undivided attention. Because of this, they are often able to pick up on undesirable changes in labour early and act accordingly. A midwife is highly-trained to handle a range of emergency situations. If you are delivering in a hospital and something went beyond the scope of practice of the midwife, they would call for medical intervention immediately. If you were delivering at home or at the birth centre, they would call 911 and have you transferred to the hospital immediately if that was required.

Q: Did you have a supportive extended family about using a birthing centre?

A: With my first baby, I decided I wanted to have a home birth pretty early on in my pregnancy. My husband was completely onboard. Initially, a lot of my family members and friends were shocked and voiced their opinions about the safety of it. Most people were just concerned since they hadn’t heard anyone do it before, and their fear sometimes came off as unsupportive, though I don’t believe that was their intention.

The more I informed the people around me about the logistics and safety of a home birth, the more support I got. Not every pregnant woman is a candidate for a home birth. A high risk pregnant woman would not be granted a home birth. It wouldn’t be a safe option for her or her baby. I was having a healthy, low risk pregnancy with no complications, so I was eligible to have one (even though it didn’t end up that way).

When I decided to deliver at the birth centre for my second pregnancy, everyone was supportive right away. They saw how even though I didn’t deliver at home with my first, I laboured at home safely for many hours and was in amazing hands that transferred me to the hospital before it was an emergency situation. I felt that after my first delivery, my family gained trust and respect for midwifery care and for the fact that I was making informed, educated choices about my birth plans.

Q: What stage of labour was the nitrous oxide used? Describe the effects.

A: During my second birth, when I was at the Toronto Birth Centre, I used nitrous oxide for pain management. I asked for it when I was around 6cm dilated and used it intermittently until around 8cm dilation. It has to be self-administered which I didn’t mind, but I’ve heard some people have a hard time holding the mask on their face. I would put the mask on my face at the start of a contraction and take it off at the end of it. I kind of got into a rhythm with it for a while and I liked the distraction.

The effects are so short term that it often wore off before the next contraction started. It gave me a bit of a “high” feeling, but didn’t make me feel out of control. I felt more loopy than anything. This was the first time I had ever used nitrous oxide (many people have used it at the dentist), so I was a bit nervous not knowing what to expect. It was less mind altering than I imaged it to be. I liked that it wore off so quickly that by the time I started pushing, the effects were totally gone. I was glad because I wanted to feel everything while I was pushing for my second delivery since I had an epidural with my first.

I want to finish this post by saying that I don’t think there is anything wrong with using an OB. That is not what this is about. Obstetricians are an integral part of the medical system and many pregnant women require their expertise to carry out a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery. The point of this piece is to expose people who don’t already know to the midwife option so they can make an informed choice about their own prenatal care. Everyone has to make the choice that they are most comfortable with. For a healthy, low-risk woman, a midwife is a fantastic option that I wish more people knew about.

I hope this information was helpful! Please leave a note below if you have any other questions or comments.


Fresh Fruit Salad

Nothing says summer like fresh fruit. I like to serve fruit salad at brunch as a side dish or for dessert after a big dinner. Sometimes I add a scoop of fruit salad on top of coconut yogurt or chia pudding to serve to my kids for breakfast. They love it!

The best thing about fruit salad is that you can totally mix up the fruits and it’ll still be delicious every single time. I often substitute pear for apple and swap peaches for strawberries or nectarines. Grapes add a nice crunch to fruit salad too. I usually pick whatver is in season or on sale! Pumpkin seeds provide an amazing source of zinc and many other minerals because these seeds grow underground, within the mineral-rich soil.

My only rule with making fruit salad is that you have to use a variety of colours to not only make it look more beautiful but also to provide the body with a wider range of phytonutrients. More colours = more health benefits to the body. Eat the rainbow, my friends!

Leave a comment below if you tried this Fresh Fruit Salad. I’d love to hear what you think of it and any variations you tried!

Fresh Fruit Salad

Prep Time10 mins
Course: Breakfast
Keyword: Breakfast, Side Dish
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • 2 peaches, chopped
  • 2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 pinch lime zest rub the skin from the lime on a cheese grater to get a pinch of zest
  • shredded coconut top with desired amount of shredded coconut

Instructions

  • Wash the fresh fruit. Cut the peaches and pears into small cubes.
  • Add the chopped peaches and pears to a mixing bowl with the blueberries.
  • Add the pumpkin seeds, maple syrup, lime juice and pinch of lime zest.
  • Gently mix the fruit salad to evening coat it with the dressing.
  • Sprinkle shredded coconut on top and enjoy!

Say Goodbye to the Pacifier

For fear of scaring you away, I’ll start with the end. It has been just over two weeks since I took the pacifiers away from my 3-year-old daughter, Liliana. I’m happy to report that she is doing great! She is sleeping through the night without a pacifier and rarely even asks for one anymore. I’m blown away by her progress.

Now for the process of getting to this point. Let’s backtrack for a minute.

When I was pregnant with Liliana, I swore that I would never give her a pacifier. I started breastfeeding her when she was born. Breastfeeding was going well, but she initially had a shallow latch which caused my nipples to crack and blister. I was in tremendous pain. As most newborn babies do, she wanted to nurse around the clock. I was getting little to no time between feeds to let my nipples heal. This is when I understood the role of a pacifier. I needed something for her to suck on for satisfaction for a few minutes between feeds to give me some relief. It was at this moment that I realized sometimes we just need to do whatever it takes to survive the day and stay sane as new mothers, even if it isn’t “best practice.”

My midwife encouraged me to wait to introduce a pacifier until breastfeeding was well established. She advised me to wait until after my daughter had passed her birth weight. This was to make sure she was getting enough calories from my milk and not burning calories unnecessarily from sucking a pacifier all day. It was really important to me to breastfeed, and I committed to doing everything in my power to be successful. So, I listened and held off on introducing one.

When Lil was about 6 weeks old, I hit a wall. I caved and I gave her a pacifier. What a game-changer. She loved to fall asleep on the boob, long after she had finished eating. I started sneaking the pacifier into her mouth after she was finished actively eating. This allowed me to put her down while she was asleep (some of the time), or hand her off to someone else. Exclusively breastfeeding is a fulltime job during the newborn stage. I really needed to be able to put her down at times when she was asleep so I could do things like eat a meal, shower and recover. The pacifier bought me time and for that I was grateful.

Lil took to the pacifier right away. She loved it. When she was around 7 months old, we stopped co-sleeping and “sleep trained” her in a crib in her own room. I use quotes because that term has always irritated me, but alas, it is what we did. Based on what the baby sleep books were saying, we knew this would be a good time to get rid of the pacifiers.

Instead, we got her more of them.

I lined her crib with a breathable mesh bumper and put about 10 pacifiers in there. I wanted her to have something to self-soothe with because I felt guilty about not co-sleeping anymore. She was used to nursing the night away, right up next to me. She did really well with sleep training and got even more attached to her pacifiers.

As she got older, we limited the pacifier use to just naps and bedtime. But it often extended to stroller rides, car rides, sick days, days when teething was bad, and soon it felt like she had a pacifier in her mouth most of the day. Initially, one of my main concerns with the pacifier was that it would delay her speech development. But it didn’t appear to be affecting her language skills in any way. That made me feel like there wasn’t much of a downside to her using one. It made her so happy, and quite frankly, it made our days a lot easier.

Shortly after she turned two-years-old, we took her to the dentist for the first time. We were told that Lil was developing an “open bite.” Our dentist told us that we should plan to eliminate the pacifier by the time she turns three. She told us that if we take the pacifier away prematurely, Liliana could resort to sucking a finger or thumb. This is something she had seen a lot in her practice. We left that appointment with the plan to get rid of the pacifiers at her third birthday.

After that denist appointment, my husband and I got a bit more strict about limiting her pacifier usage to only naps and bedtime. We found that as she was developing larger emotions, she began relying on it more for comfort and it was becoming problematic. When she was having a tantrum at home, she would run to her room to grab a pacifier from her bed. At the moment, it was helpful that she could find a way to calm herself down. But, I knew that this wasn’t a sustainable solution long term and that she needed to learn how to cope with her emotions in different ways. We felt strongly that the pacifier needed to go soon.

A few months before Liliana’s third birthday, we repeatedly talked to her about how she would be turning 3 soon and what was going to happen when she did. We wanted her to be well-prepared for this milestone, and didn’t want to blind-side her. We talked about how we would collect all her pacifiers in a bag to leave for “The Suce Fairy.” (In my house, we actually call it a pacifier a “suce,” pronounced “soose.” The French word for a pacifier is “sucette.”)

We said that the Suce Fairy would take the bag of suces and bring them to a new baby who needed them. We told her that she would get an extra special gift in return. She seemed to understand the plan and was on-board with it. My husband wasn’t keen on using this method because he didn’t like that our plan involved deceiving her. I agreed with him, but I had already mentioned The Suce Fairy to her once, and she fixated on it. So I felt like I had to commit to this plan.

Liliana turned three on a Friday. Earlier that week on Tuesday, she started preschool. I feel the need to emphasize how massive of a transition this was for her because of the timing of the events overlapping.

This was Liliana’s first time ever attending a drop-off program or daycare without me. For three years we had spent every single waking moment together, and many non-awake moments together too! I knew this transition was going to be huge for her, but I also knew in my heart and gut that she was more than ready for it. She needed the stimulation, the outlet for her energy, the structured day, the socialization – all of the amazing aspects that come with preschool. She was going to thrive.

Before she started preschool, I spoke with her teachers about how she was still using a pacifier to go to sleep. They told us that they strongly discourage pacifiers in the preschool classroom and that it’s often a good time to get rid of them at home too. This advice from her teachers combined with the previous advice from her Dentist solidified our decision to take it away when she turned 3-years-old.

Friday, the day she turned 3, was also her first full day at preschool. Tuesday through Thursday of that week, she had been going for shorter days as she built up to a full day. Friday she had her first nap at preschool, and it was without a pacifier. We were shocked when her teachers told us that she slept without one. It gave me hope and confidence for the rest of the process of eliminating the pacifiers. We now knew that it was possible for her to sleep without one.

When Lil got home from school on her birthday, we took her into her room to show her the new dollhouse we bought her in exchange for the pacifiers. Together we collected the pacifiers in a bag. We brought them to the front door where we told her The Suce Fairy would take them at night and bring them to a new baby who needs them. She was actually being really cool about it. She kept saying, “Bye suces! See ya later! Have fun with your new baby!” Her reaction led me to believe that bedtime would be a breeze.

Wrong-o.

Perhaps it was the combination of her first week of preschool, the sugar from the cake and cupcake she ate that day for her birthday, and the fact that she couldn’t fully grasp that the pacifiers were not coming back. All I know is that things got hairy, quickly.

When we started getting her ready for bed, she immediately asked where her suces were. We had to explain again that they were gone and they weren’t coming back. It completely broke my heart to watch the saddness wash over her as this new reality sunk in. She cried. A lot. She thrashed around. A lot. She yelled and screamed and kicked around in her bed. She left her bed and room a million times. She kept telling us how she didn’t want to be a big girl anymore and that she wanted to be two again. She told us that suces make her so happy – she needed them. Cue the Mom guilt.

All I wanted to do was cave in and give them back to her. But I had to remain strong and stick with the plan. I figured that no matter when we did this transition, it was going to be hard, so why not now!

We told her that we knew this was going to be very hard for her, but that it would get a bit easier each night. We talked about why she felt that she needed the pacifiers. We talked about how they made her feel happy, safe and sleepy. And we talked about other ways that she could get those same comforting feelings from myself and her Dad.

We put a lot of effort into staying as patient as we could with her during this process. Admittedly, we were not always successful with staying patient when she was literally kicking us as we put her into bed, and waking her baby brother in the next room with her screaming – it was frustrating. It’s not easy watching your kid go through something that’s difficult for them.

We gave her as much extra love and attention as we could. I wanted to help her get that same sense of security that she was yearning for from the pacifiers. We were trying our best to understand how earth-shattering this transition was for her and empathize with her while reminding her that she is a strong, brave girl who can do anything. 

Sometime after 11PM that first night, she fell asleep reluctantly. Bedtime took 4 hours that night. I felt terrible that it was so hard for her. I also felt terrible that I was going through waves of being very compassionate and patient, to very frustrated that she wouldn’t just back down and go to sleep already. She completely wore my husband and me down. The next day, she woke up at 6AM (much earlier than usual), and the first thing she said when I walked into her room was, “Mom, I’m really sad without my suces.”

Again, my heart re-broke into a million pieces. I felt like the worst Mom and questioned my decision to take them away. But I knew that we just couldn’t go back on our decision, after prepping for this moment as long as we did. So we pushed on. All of us.

The rest of day 2 without pacifiers was one of the most challenging days we’ve experienced in the 3 years we’ve been parents. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It was a nightmare. It was basically an endless meltdown from sunrise to sunset. It didn’t help that we have a one-year-old son to take care of as well.

She had slept 5 hours less than usual that night, so she was beyond overtired, combined with being overwhelmed from the week of mentally processing the shift into preschool, and adjusting to spending time away from me for the first time in her life. It was a lot for one little girl.

I appreciate that this is probably not inspiring you to take your child’s pacifier away. Truthfully, it was a soul-sucking process and it was much harder than we thought it would be. In the same way that sleep training was. It took every ounce of willpower that my husband and I had to try to stay calm and composed during this new, lengthy bedtime routine. It was hours of screaming and crying. He and I would switch off to relieve the other when we could hear the other’s patience run out through the baby monitor. It was a team effort. We gave her Bach Rescue Remedy Kids to help her calm down. She had never cried so hard and she was so darn tired.

By day 3, after she got a bit more sleep, things started to improve. There were far fewer tears and much less resistance. Still a lot of sadness, but we continued to talk through the emotions with her and reassure her that she could do this. The first few nights she woke up in the middle of the night needing extra cuddles and comfort. During the days, we gave her lots of positive attention and love. She was definitely needing more comfort from us – physically and emotionally.

Night 4 was a hard one again. She was begging for a suce with a desperation that was hard to see. She was thrashing around her bed so much that we were worried she would fall out of it and get hurt. We compromised with her and said she could sleep in the ‘pack n play’ in her room (something she loves to do). We knew that sleeping in there would give her a sense of security and comfort. It also gave us sense of relief knowing that she was safe in there and wouldn’t fall out of her bed, or continuously leave her room.

She slept in the pack n play, in her room, for 3 nights before going back to her bed, willingly. Each day since then has been getting a little bit easier and smoother. Bedtime isn’t taking as long and she’s getting more comfortable going to bed without the pacifier. Just like with sleep training, the first few days are the hardest and it gets worse before it gets better. But it does get better. I promise.

Now that it’s been two weeks, I’m reflecting on the journey we just had. I wonder if this transition would have gone smoother if we didn’t do it at the same time she was trying to process the massive change of starting preschool the same week. My concern was having two huge transitions close together, rather than ripping off a massive bandage all at once. Maybe that wasn’t the right choice. Maybe that makes me a mean Mommy. It felt like the right thing to do at the time and we did our best to do what we thought was best for her.

What I know for sure is that my daughter is a strong-willed, determined little girl, capable of anything. I knew that this process would be hard for her, but we believed in her and knew she could do it. I believe that this experience, though difficult, made her stronger, more resilient and more adaptable. We all want the best for our kids and for them to be happy. But I truly feel that it’s not the worst thing for kids to be challenged from a young age to overcome obstacles that force them to learn and grow. It’s empowering and builds character.

Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen her work hard to vocalize how she feels, compared to popping a pacifier into her mouth. She is making massive strides in her verbal communication when she’s upset. The growth she’s shown us is something we’re so incredibly proud of. She’s our little powerhouse and I know that this challenging milestone is the first of many that she’ll conquer with great fortitude.


Mint Green Smoothie

It’s summer and it’s hot out. This fresh, creamy smoothie is the perfect drink to take out with you on a walk or to drink when you get inside to cool down.

I’m a bit obsessed with adding mint to food and drinks when I can. The fresh taste is so satisfying and it helps to soothe a sensitive tummy. I like adding a scoop of collagen powder to this smoothie for a kick of protein. The healthy fats from the avocado help to keep me full for longer than a smoothie with just fruit would. The fresh fruits and leafy greens provide a large dose of vitamin C and a variety of minerals to nourish your body.

Let me know what you think of it!

Mint Green Smoothie

This refreshing smoothie tastes like summer in a glass. The fresh fruit and leafy greens provide a large dose of Vitamin C and powerful antioxidants.
Prep Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Breakfast, Recipe, Smoothie
Servings: 1
Author: andreagracewellness

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Banana
  • 1 Handful of baby spinach
  • 1/4 Avocado
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple (remove core)
  • 1 cup Unsweetened nut milk I prefer oat or almond
  • 1/2 Lemon, squeezed
  • 1/2 cup Cold, filtered water Use more water if you do not want to use nut milk
  • 1 cup Fresh mint leaves
  • 1 scoop Collagen Powder (optional)

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients into a blender
  • Blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes. Add more liquid to create your desired consistency. I like to add a few ice cubes to make it even more refreshing!

A letter to my second born

Dear my second born,

I was nervous to meet you. I was more nervous to meet you than I was to meet your big sister. With her, I was naive about what life with a baby would be like. I mostly felt excitement. With you, I was excited too, but I also felt very nervous.

I felt nervous about doing it all again – the breastfeeding, the sleepless nights, the postpartum recovery, the shift in family dynamic, the responsibility of raising and nurturing another human. But more than that, I felt nervous about the love.

I couldn’t begin to imagine being able to love another child as much as I loved your big sister – she was my world. That fear was hard to admit. I was terrified that I wouldn’t feel connected to you in the same way. I was scared that I wouldn’t know how to divide myself between you two. With all of that fear came extreme guilt and shame. I was expecting my second healthy baby and I was incredibly grateful for that. And still, I felt guilty that I wasn’t more excited. I felt so scared of failing you. I felt scared that I wouldn’t be able to fulfil the needs of two kids and that I’d let you down. I really didn’t want to let you down. I wanted to be a Mom you would be proud of.

And then you were born.

Eight pounds of new existence. The moment I saw you, it was as if I’d known you my whole life. It felt like I had been living as an incomplete being until that moment, and it was you I’d been waiting for to complete my world. You were the puzzle piece I didn’t know was missing.

You looked up at me with those foggy newborn eyes, and they felt comfortably familiar. Moments after arriving earthside, you began to nurse with this confidence that relaxed me. It melted everything into place. It assured me that you and I were going to be ok.

The love was there.

The love was there even more than my heart could handle. As I held you in my arms, memorizing your new features, I couldn’t believe I had ever doubted my ability to love you. I loved you with every fibre of my being. You were perfect.

My sweet boy – you and your big sister are the light of my life and my love for you both knows no bounds.

There will be a lot of things I’ll struggle with in motherhood, but loving you will never be one of them.

Love, Mom

Featured Image by The Robins Nest