40 weeks pregnant - milk bath photo

It’s week 40. We made it. The baby is fully baked and ready to see the world. Any day now he’ll come knocking and it’ll be go time. It’s quite crazy to think how far we’ve come. It’s been such a long journey with this little guy. Every emotion has graced my life during this pregnancy. From panic and fear in the early days to gratefulness and overwhelming love.

I have carried this little tiny baby for 280 days now. He has changed my body and my heart. He has changed our lives and ways of thinking about the world. And he hasn’t taken his first breath yet. How incredible what such a little person can do.

40 weeks pregnant - milk bath photo

Pregnancy this last trimester has been incredible, it has by far been my most enjoyable time. Perhaps it’s because it was during this trimester that I finally achieved roundness. I looked the part now and that made it so exciting. Dressing the bump has been fun, and seeing people’s eyes divert downwards towards my bump have made me smile. I also didn’t get my belly touched by a stranger ever! So major props there!

I threw up MUCH less these last three months, and baby moved constantly all day at all times, reminding me he was in there having fun and being silly. We talked to him much more this last trimester. Waking him up in the morning so Christian could feel him before we left for work. Baby loves wiggling his bum and sometimes sticking it in my rib cage and often poking out a foot or a hand.

40 weeks pregnant - milk bath photo

All this counting down to this one day, only to start counting up from here 40 weeks +1, 40 weeks +2… All we know is he’s very comfy in there, and I really hope he makes his entrance before any medical procedures start becoming a possibility, but we’ll just have to see what he wants to do and when he wants to do it!

40 weeks pregnant - milk bath photo

Being home and on Maternity leave these last few weeks has been nice. I’ve had plenty of time to be on my own, with my own thoughts and I’ve done anything I have wanted to. As the days have come closer to this date I have been quickly running out of things that will hold my interest. There’s only so much I can write, read, play, watch and create before I start wanting to sleep so that the next day will be here and we get to see if it’ll be THE day.

There’s not much to say, I feel ready and am patiently waiting this little dude’s arrival. I’ve been joking that he’s already a little rebel like his mom and is deciding to choose his own birthdate, so that’s what he’ll do! Soon enough he will be here, and I feel like I’ll have lots to say then.

Until then,

Mariangelica

40 weeks pregnant - milk bath photo


All photos taken by Ahinsa Maza. You can find her on instagram either at @amzsphoto on instagram or on her personal account @ahinsamzs

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10 years ago a boy asked a girl to be his girlfriend in an elevator while speaking in the third person. That boy is now a man, and a father to a little boy who we will meet in a couple short weeks.

10 years ago I said yes to a question a boy I liked asked me in an elevator while speaking in the third person. I’m really glad I said yes, because that little word changed my life forever.

Christian and I didn’t know each other super well when we started dating, we had been flirty in those last weeks of highschool, but we didn’t go on a date until the first week of summer. We went on a date every single day for seven days straight that first week. The seventh day we rode in that elevator. I used to think I had to be really close with someone to want to date them. I thought I had to be on best friend terms before I’d feel comfortable dating in general, but I didn’t hesitate when he asked. I just knew I enjoyed being with him, and he made me laugh and happy, so it made the answer pretty easy.

Neither one of us were Canadian Citizens at the time. I was close to the end of that long journey and he was only getting started. We were youngsters. 17 & 18 with big dreams and similar backgrounds that bonded us more than we knew at the time.

We attended the same college, which was a huge bonus, but our hours there were very different. I often say Christian has always been an incredible cheerleader in my life, but this isn’t a new quality of his. He’s uplifting and motivating, and he’s been that way for me since the day I met him. He dreams big dreams and he’s forever reaching for the next big goal, and it’s hard to stay stagnant with someone like that by your side, so I too have reached and dreamed and together we’ve achieved some pretty remarkable goals.

I once called him from the warehouse of a place I worked at soon after graduating. I was crying and telling him how I couldn’t have sacrificed as much as I did in school just to end up doing this. I felt like my morals were in question constantly with my job forcing me to photoshop women and young girls and I just couldn’t do it. I had a job, and right after graduating too, a job many would be thrilled with doing but my heart was so conflicted and my skills were barely utilized. I felt stuck and upset because this was the job we moved away from home for, this was his gift to me, letting me start my career first while he did whatever job he could do. He very clearly told me that we were to focus on me first, and once I had some experience and felt good with being able to apply at other places, then, and only then would he make his career a priority. Yet here I was, being ungrateful and not able to get past the nature of the job. Without a moment’s hesitation he just said, well hand in your two weeks, we’re too young to feel stuck anywhere. You will find something else and we’ll live off my income for a while, just quit and let’s try something else.

Self-less, always.

When we got married, 5 years ago, I knew I had won the lottery. This man was all mine, and we had already done so much in our first 5 years, and now we had a lifetime to accomplish goals together, what an exciting beginning.

The first 5 years of marriage have been incredible. In some aspects it feels like we have been together for much less, and in other areas it feels like it’s been so much longer and I have no idea how we fit so much growth and change and love and life in only 5 years. We’re celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary while preparing for the delivery of our baby boy and it is so incredible for this event to mark our anniversary and the first five years. The next five years are going to be so different in so many amazing ways that I can’t even figure out the words to tell you how excited I am.

In these first 5 years we have raised Congo from a little ball of adorable fluff to a doggy adult who still gives us the warm and fuzzies. Dogs have different levels of importance in some people’s lives, but for us he’s been the little guy that has depended on us this whole time and look at him thriving, healthy and well. We love this little munchkin and I can’t wait to see his relationship with his little human baby brother grow in the near future.

We have grown in an incredible way in both of our careers but I watch Christian work in admiration. At his focus, care and passion for the work he does. He’s grown so much and I can confidently say neither one of us expected him to be doing what he’s doing now at the level he’s doing it. It just speaks to his determination and his goal driven mindset when it comes to work. He inspires me to shoot for my career goals and he was the one that encouraged me to make the switch from Graphic Design to Product Design, a decision I am very happy to have made at the time that I did.

We have grown in our health and nutrition together. There’s something about getting older and how your body decides to process food differently. Bloating, Acid Reflux, Weight gain, Back Pain and reduced flexibility, and we’re not even 30 yet? We had to work through a lot of these together, learn about food, learn how to cook proper food and learn what foods affect us in negative ways. We’ve gained weight, we’ve lost weight, we’ve worked out together and kept each other motivated through rough days. It’s been a journey of health and discovery and it has been a great ride, knowledge is good in this department! Though we still would like to feel awesome after eating pizza like our teenage selves used to, haha.

We’ve also lost some amazing people in our lives while we’ve been together, Three grandparents, an aunt and uncle, and two babies we lost too soon. It’s no question having that rock there when tragedy strikes is extremely helpful in going through grief. No matter how painful these moments were we have relied heavily on each other for comfort rather than tried to keep it all to ourselves and it has always lifted the sadness when it’s been shared.

We’ve made lots of money mistakes and good money decisions! We purchased our first home together got a brand new car and many of the other ‘normal things’ people do with money, but we also celebrated a huge accomplishment just a month ago, we became debt free of everything but our home. That means no student loans, no car payments, no line of credit, no credit cards.. All our money goes into our pockets now, into our mortgage, our savings, our retirement and our lives. We are so excited to be able to travel more often and live and give like no one else. Together we have become so responsible, so smart, and so consistent with our financial goals that this little baby is being born into a debt free family and he’ll be taught good money habits early in life. Suddenly the family tree has changed and it’s an incredible feeling.

Overall, our life together has been filled with an overflowing abundance of love, compassion, trust and respect. I thank God for all the blessings in my life but most of all for this man I get to call my husband. I am grateful for his life, all that he is, his childish humour, his ridiculous jokes, his kind and gigantic heart, his selflessness, his admiration and love for me, his protection and his health. I am so lucky, so very lucky to have found him early in life and I pray for a super duper record breaking long life ahead by his side.

Love,

Mariangelica

 

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the second trimester

A collection of passages from various journal entries during the second trimester.

3 months

  • “Sometimes the fear still creeps in. I sill see myself having to tell everyone we lost the baby, but then I push those thoughts away.”
  • “Yesterday was good, I was able to eat a few things, and cooking has been happening a little more at home. I started to get anxious and worried in the evening when I continued to feel good. I tried to push the thoughts away but it was hard work. We went to the midwife appointment and heard it, for the first time. The baby’s little heart beat. Strong and fast. It was unreal. We were quiet, we just listened, I didn’t want it to end.”

 

4 months

  • “Honestly I don’t know how we got here, but then I do, one day at a time. There is an avocado sized baby inside me, it blows my mind. No one can tell because all the vomiting has kept my stomach flatter than ever before. But we heard the heartbeat, they are really in there!”
  • “I turn 28 soon. It feels crazy to me because I’ve generally disliked my birthdays and the idea of getting a year older, but being so close to 30 I figured i’d be having some mental breakdown haha. Suddenly though, my view has changed. I’ve been able to enjoy all these years in my 20s to the max. I have moved ahead in my career and have spent so much quality time with my husband. We’ve enjoyed all these years of it being just us and Congo and it has been amazing. We’ve done crazy things and seen the world. None of this has to change of course, and heck, there’s still TWO long full years ahead in my 20s, but my 30s now look so exciting.”
  • “I am full of gratefulness for all of the wonderful things in my life. I am grateful to be pregnant in this moment, for not wanting for anything but the healthy baby boy or girl to come join us in this life. I am overjoyed in happiness daily. I thank God, above all.”
  • “I am grateful for this moment in our lives, for the life growing inside me.”
  • “I am hopeful that those that continue to hope and pray for a child will be blessed with one.”
  • “Fear will not allow me to do what I know I am able to do, so I refuse it and prohibit it from coming anywhere near my pregnancy and birth.”

 

5 months

  • “I am starting to fall in love with this tiny belly of mine. It’s taking a little bit of shape, but overall it’s small and still most people at work don’t know. But it’s the way my body is shaped, it’s the way it’s growing this little baby and honestly as long as they are healthy there is no need to worry about whether my belly is round or flat at this moment.”
  • “I think I felt the baby move, but I can’t be sure, it’s not like I know what that would feel like… I had just eaten so I wasn’t sure if it had just been my stomach processing food but it felt like a rolling motion. We’ll have to wait and see!”
  • “We started setting up the nursery! Moved the home office to a different room and things are taking shape!”

 

6 months

  • “This little guy has been so active lately! The feeling is surreal and amazing. Feeling him move catches me by surprise and instantly makes me smile.”
  • “I have been feeling so good now! I’m still in my regular jeans and regular clothes, but I can see the roundness will be coming soon!”
  • “I haven’t thrown up in a few days so that’s been incredible. I haven’t had the energy to work out throughout this pregnancy, mostly the vomiting and lack of food has kept me from it, but I can see I have the energy now, so I’m excited to make that happen in the near future.”
  • “Finally picked up all the big items we needed, like a stroller, crib, car seat etc and we’re waiting for them to be delivered. It’s feeling so real!”

 

“My darling baby boy, we lost your brother or sister one month before you showed up. Reading back the entries of my journal I realize how fragile you are, and have been this whole time. You too were the size of an orange seed once… and it’s wild to think you’re as big as a bunch of kale now. You’re huge little one! Your kicks made my tummy move last night for the first time and I sat there, staring at the little bumps you made in awe of your strength. You are amazing, strong and so incredibly loved. The entries of my journal count back all the days with you, and I smile at the relief and celebration of making it another day together. Look how far we’ve come my love, one day at a time has led us here, to week 27, the last week of this wild and incredible second trimester. 91 days to go, already on the double digits and I’m ready to meet you. Yes, our lives will change more than we know but I’m ready for it all.

Love you always,

Mom.”


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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the first miscarriage

We got pregnant after one try, it was kind of crazy that way. We were a family of four counting Congo for 10 weeks before the bleeding started one morning, it was faint, barely there, but fear set in and burrowed a home in my stomach. We called the midwife and she said to monitor it, but not to be alarmed, bleeding could happen in a healthy pregnancy. I don’t know the order of events, it feels like a terrible dream. My mind was a blur of thoughts, how could I focus when my body was potentially failing me? When the bleeding got heavier and the blood tests confirmed the HCG hormone had risen but not by the amount it should have, my heart knew. I was losing my first baby. He was leaving me and there was nothing I could do about it. We had already shared 11 weeks together, there was this special bond we had created. Christian kissed my belly every morning and I talked to this little baby every day on my way to work. I loved him deeply and my due date was already in my calendar. My baby, my very first baby. I remember crying for hours in bed one morning. The bleeding was so heavy, the pain in my abdomen was settling in, making it all the more real for me. Christian cried with me but also urged us to go to the hospital. I didn’t want to, I knew what they would say, it would be too final, it would make it all real. But I was weak and nothing made sense to me, so I agreed. We rode with red faces and upon getting a room they asked me to put on a hospital gown. I wore it with one of Christian’s sweaters over top. It was bright yellow. We waited there and he held my hand. I remember being numb. Tears somehow kept forming in my eyes, and the thoughts we a mixture of faint Whys and Maybe it’s all ok. When they gave us the news that the baby was no longer inside of me my world fell apart. There could be no deeper pain, no stronger raw world shaking pain that could exist. A knife dug in deep into my chest, the lack of air in my lungs suffocated me, nothing could make this moment less painful and there was nothing I could do to change it. He was gone, my baby boy was gone. We never knew his gender, but a part of me always thought of him as a he, so a he he stayed.

The feelings of losing someone set in like they do. One after the other..

SHOCK & DENIAL

There was a numbness, that came the days after, only Christian and anyone who has gone through something similar can understand. I felt hollow, like the best part of me had been viciously ripped out. An empty shell with nothing left inside of me. Like a black hole lay where my baby used to be. It felt surreal, this wasn’t supposed to be a part of our story. This wasn’t how life is supposed to go, you get pregnant, you give birth, you live life with a baby, the baby breathes… everything was all wrong. Someone had messed up the order of life’s events, he was too little.

PAIN & GUILT

The knife sat lodged in my chest. It was constantly hard to breathe. The world felt like a scary place and I had lost all sense of control. Control, this illusion of something I had. Guilt took place over pain quickly. I needed someone to blame, and who better than me? It was my job wasn’t it? My job to bring this baby into the world, and I couldn’t do it. I failed at this one task and now he was gone. The guilt weighed heavy over me, hurting me daily. Just the word itself is hurtful. MISCARRIAGE, defined as an unsuccessful outcome of something planned – “the miscarriage of the project”. Words have power and although I tried not to dig into it too much, it just pointed to me. I failed in carrying this baby, and that was hard to swallow.

ANGER & BARGAINING

I am the woman. I was the one carrying this child of ours. How could my body fail me like this? Why did this happen to me? What terrible thing have I done to deserve this pain, to deserve this tragedy? Up to that point in my life I was at the healthiest I had ever been. I stayed away from alcohol for months before we even started trying, I ate regularly and healthy meals, I worked out almost every day. I was strong, I was ready. I did all the right things, I took all the right steps. HOW could this happen to ME? I saw a pregnant woman outside the mall, she was smoking. Why me? I saw a woman who was obese ignore her doctor’s recommendations and continue to consume large quantities of soft drinks and junk food carry her baby happily into the world. Why did I even try then? I saw pregnant women everywhere and wondered how I was different, what mistake I had made. It was unhealthy to think this way and I only know this now, but at the time, I felt angry with my body, with other pregnant women and with the world.

DEPRESSION, REFLECTION, LONELINESS

I became upset and sad that I had spent so much effort getting super healthy, to have my body be in the best shape for welcoming new life and seeing that at the end of the day it didn’t matter. I gained weight really fast, I ate pizza every other day because Why did it matter anyways… It was hard to talk about it as much as I wanted to, none of my closest friends could ever understand this loss, nor did I ever want them to have to understand. Mother’s day came around just over a month after our loss. By then the world had forgotten. It was one of the hardest days for me. I was supposed to be pregnant, celebrating the journey to motherhood on this special day. All I wanted to do was crawl into a hole and wait for tomorrow, but family expectations meant we had to not only celebrate our moms, rightly so, they should be celebrated, but also plan the whole thing. I felt like it was the world’s cruel way of hurting me, plan a party for a dozen people to celebrate a day that was going to be yours too. My heart was so heavy and my sadness was so grand. This day, a reminder of what I was on the journey to becoming, or was I already a mother? I felt like a mother who had lost her child too early, a mother with a baby that didn’t get a chance to live in this world outside of my body, but a mother all the same, yet the world didn’t see me that way. Only Christian saw me as a Mother, and in the mail when I checked it that morning, I received a letter from my angel baby that Christian had written. It was the most touching, and the best mother’s day gift I could have received that day. The action will forever live in my heart. I braved the day. I put on a good face. I smiled and I laughed. I planned an obstacle course for all of us to warm up because the day turned out to be super cold and we were outside. Eventually we packed up and went home. I think Christian and I ate pizza for dinner and just watched Netflix for the rest of the night. He held me close and I cried every now and then, but the day was over and tomorrow should be a little less painful.

THE UPWARD TURN

Work became interesting in the coming months, and enough changes were happening at work to create a distraction from the pain. We found opportunities knocking at our doors and incredible things happening in our careers. Both Christian and I took it as signs that this is where our attention needed to be. We had not wanted to try again for a baby. We decided maybe we could take some time to focus on our jobs. We had come out of the fog and the routine of our life was starting to make its way back into our life. The pizza delivery guy was not called any more, healthy food started to be made again in our kitchen, and life continued as it had. The workouts resumed soon after and we spent time on us.

RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH

Christian and I have this incredible bond and connection I could gush about all day. But we communicate, sometimes more than he’d like, haha, and we work through every little thing. Communication is number one for us. Only by doing it together were we able to come to terms with what had happened. We mourned our lost child but we built a stronger unit. We knew we could get through anything having just been to hell and back while holding hands the entire time. We worked through our emotions and we worked on ourselves. I realized my goal had been to be a mother for so long that it had become the reason I did many of the things I did. Fitness had been a part of my life for years but when I started to break down why I had gained all this weight and lost control I realized I had been doing it all for the wrong reasons. I wanted to be healthy, for the baby that would come in our future. I wanted to be fit and strong, for the baby and the pregnancy that would come in the future… The thing was, when this pregnancy and baby came, and then left. I lost my purpose, I lost my reasons, I lost my why. I changed trajectory during this time. I decided to be healthy for ME. I decided to be fit and strong for ME, and this is likely one of the things that allowed me to stay stronger when we lost our second baby last October.

ACCEPTANCE & HOPE

As time passed we grew to accept that this was our story, and this was how life was supposed to go for us. There were many lessons learned through this unfortunate and terrible event. We grew to be stronger, time heals, this I have learned. We don’t live with what ifs, they do more harm than good. We live in love and in hope. We hoped when we decided to try again, sometime in the future that it would be our time, and although we lost that baby too and it took a third try, we are beyond grateful for every experience that has led us to be pregnant with this baby boy today. We love him so much already and we are anxiously, terribly and impatiently waiting to meet him but we live in love and in hope. And every day is a wonder and a blessing, and every moment with him kicking inside me makes my heart skip a beat.

Why share all this?

I know this is incredibly personal, and I know many would choose not to share these words, but I have been continually surprised and delighted to receive private messages from women who have experienced something similar. Women who share in this story in some way and who felt alone and isolated in their pain before they connected with someone who understood them. So I share this for you, the silent reader who I may not hear from, and those that do reach out and share their stories with me. My hope has always been to share in hopes that someone else might connect to the words on the screen and feel even just a little bit less alone.

Love,

Mariangelica

 


Photo by Dmitry Bayer on Unsplash

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The sun was shining yesterday! Enough that you could actually feel the warmth on your skin. It’s exciting, the sun finally warming something up again. The snow melting its way into puddles and small mounds on street corners. It’s like change is coming, and every day is different from the last.

It’s slowly hitting me how quickly time is passing. Maybe it’s my daily changing body, maybe it’s the fact that i’m no longer throwing up every day so days are starting to blend together. Maybe it’s the weather and the snow and the fact my thermostat is getting closer to matching the temperature outside. Whatever the case, I’m 5 months pregnant.

5 months.

That’s more than I’ve ever been pregnant before. It’s a miracle, truly. Every morning I see my reflection in the mirror and I’m growing more in love with my changing silhouette by the day. It’s looking rounder, different, and I’ve never felt this way so consistently, day after day. Everyday I am in awe of what my body is doing. How it’s taking a little being and turning them into a tiny human who now is as long as a banana.

We have our ultrasound this morning and i’m excited, and for the first time going into the ultrasound room, not scared. I know the little baby is in there and not just because I threw up three times in the office bathroom yesterday after trying to eat a pear, followed by a banana smoothie. I know they’re in there because I feel them there. I know they are curled up all comfy in their favourite spot, and it could have been nothing, or it could have been everything but i felt something move inside me. It caught me so off guard I couldn’t tell you I was sure it was the baby, but it was strong and it was like nothing else I’ve felt before. It made me eager for when their little feet and hands more consistently drum against my insides. I’m told I’m not going to love those kicks at night when I’m trying to sleep, or when they become strong enough to disrupt an activity, but I can’t see that happening. Similarly to how they told me I would hate morning sickness and it grew to be my good friend and anxiety protector. I’m ready to cherish all of it, and I’m eager for this next stage I’m about to enter as the countdown begins until we meet our beautiful little one.

There’s a lot I want to do, and there’s a lot I want to not do. For now, I’m trying to do more of the things I want to and removing myself as often as possible from situations I don’t want to be a part of! Time is your lifelong companion, and how you use it and value it eventually shapes you. So I’m conscious, and aware of this, but then at the same time sometimes I just say ah screw it and lay down on the couch with Netflix at my fingertips.

Balance y’all.

My word is balance.

 


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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