Mobile ultrasounds are a great way to beat a case of anxiety for expectant mothers.
Many women choose to get non-diagnostic ultrasounds during their pregnancy, where they can view their baby in the womb in 2D, 3D and 4D (video). But thanks to modern technology, a mobile ultrasound is the newest option for expectant moms to view their babies in-utero from the comfort of their own homes. This helps moms feel more relaxed and at ease during the process.
With Jess expecting her third baby in February, we thought it would be a great opportunity to test out the mobile ultrasound process for ourselves. So we collaborated with Prenatal Peek, Winnipeg’s ONLY mobile ultrasound company, and the first mobile ultrasound company in Canada.
Check out some of these awesome features of mobile ultrasounds that can help put anxious moms at ease.
Jess elected to have a mobile ultrasound from Prenatal Peek at her home, surrounded by her husband and two girls. At the time, she was 24 weeks pregnant and they had been told the gender of the baby over the phone by their doctor but wanted to confirm it. Jess had non-diagnostic ultrasounds with her two prior pregnancies, each at different locations in Winnipeg. This was her first mobile ultrasound experience.
One of the best things about Prenatal Peek‘s mobile ultrasound process is the service. Owner, Tracy, has been doing mobile ultrasounds for nearly 7 years and as a mother herself, she knows exactly how to make moms feel comfortable and at ease. She has seen hundreds of babies via ultrasound, but when it was finally time to see Jess’s baby on the screen, she was just as excited as if it was the first time.
An amazing benefit of the mobile ultrasound process is the flexible scheduling. Unlike most elective ultrasound locations, there wasn’t a long wait to get an appointment. Tracy fit us in on a Saturday afternoon and often works evenings and weekends because she understands what it’s like to be a busy, working parent. We even had to make a few last minute changes to our appointment time, which she easily accommodated.
Atmosphere + Environment
One of the biggest factors for an anxious mom-to-be when it comes to an ultrasound is the atmosphere and environment. For moms who have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss or who have anxiety about hospitals, ultrasounds can make for an unpleasant experience. This includes siblings and fathers-to-be who might also have a fear of hospitals due to a past trauma. The option of having the ultrasound done in your own home is a great alternative.
It took almost no time for Tracy to get her equipment set up in Jess’s living room. In fact, I was surprised at how little equipment was actually needed for the process. With just a few cables, Tracy was able to link her screen onto the television, making it possible for everyone to view baby.
A Family Affair
With the ability to project the screen, a mobile ultrasound would make a fantastic option for a gender reveal party, a baby shower or to include grandparents and other extended family members. Or, as Jess and her family chose to do it, a private and intimate family affair. However you decide to host your mobile ultrasound, Prenatal Peek can usually accommodate. But keep in mind that moms should be relaxed and comfortable in order to get baby to cooperate.
Great for Siblings
Many children can have a fear of doctor’s offices, hospitals or new places and strangers. This can make taking siblings along to an ultrasound quite difficult. But Tracy did a great job of including Jess’s two daughters during the mobile ultrasound process. The girls felt at ease in their own home and were excited to see the new baby on the television screen. They each got their own stuffed animal that had a recording of the baby’s heartbeat and it was clearly their favorite part!
One of the most special moments during the mobile ultrasound was when Tracy handed over the controls. Jess, her husband and her children each took a turn performing the ultrasound themselves. This was a great way for them to connect with the baby. And I’m certain it made dad and big sisters feel more involved in the pregnancy. This unique experience really made mobile ultrasounds stand out among standard ones.
In the end, we think that the personalized one-on-one service, convenience and comfort make mobile ultrasounds the way to go for moms to be and their families. It’s a great option for moms suffering from prenatal anxiety or depression as they get all the benefits of seeing baby without the hassle normally associated with elective ultrasounds. With the variety of different packages available, Prenatal Peek mobile ultrasound is totally affordable and you get to keep the images and video of your ultrasound for no additional cost, regardless of which package you choose!
So far, I have spent almost 2 years of my life being pregnant.
I am now 22 weeks pregnant with my third baby. Just over halfway there! As a family we have decided that this will be our last baby, and with that comes a roller coaster of emotions. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I knew we had planned for 3 kids in total, so I feel as though I did not appreciate every moment of that pregnancy.
But there’s something different about the last pregnancy:
This will be the last time I will feel those flutters and kicks, so I am trying to stop and really feel every movement.
This will be the last time I grow a life inside of me.
The last time I will wash newborn clothes and prepare a nursery.
The last time I will choose a name for a new person.
I thought maybe I would feel sad about it, but to be honest, I am feeling very at peace about the whole experience. In a way, I feel like this little bonus baby is a gift for my two girls. Both my daughters, who will be 6 & 3 when baby arrives, are beyond excited about the arrival of their new sibling. I think their excitement elevates my own. In a way I think it’s so special that I am growing this little gift for them, who they lovingly refer to as theirbaby.
With my first pregnancy, I was so anxious about everything.
I had no idea what to expect. I was your typical first time mom, I read everything, I googled and researched and went to birthing classes. I bought everything brand new, planned fashionable outfits and decorated a beautiful nursery with matching bedding. We spent hours looking for the right stroller and car seat. I thought all the right “things” would be so important. Looking back now, I laugh at myself for putting so much effort into the things that didn’t matter as much.
With my second pregnancy, I worried about the adjustment to having two kids.
I worried about my oldest daughter feeling replaced. I worried about how to care for two lives. I worried about how to love them equally. I worried about the logistics and how to manage being out in public with two kids. I worried about how I would split my time and attention. I worried so much, I couldn’t sleep. And when she finally arrived, life worked itself out, just like everyone had assured me it would. Her older sister was in love with her, and I learned just what exponential love really was. Just like that, our love had doubled.
Now with my third, I am excited.
I know that this baby will add another level of love. I have heard from other moms of three (or more) that a second baby is a harder adjustment than a third and I believe it. I am already so busy and I am already used to juggling schedules and attention. After the initial first trimester where I was a pukey nauseous disaster, I am in that second trimester sweet spot. I am still getting sleep, I can eat anything I want and I can walk without waddling. I know that will all end very soon, but for right now, I am enjoying this stage. And while I am SO excited to meet this baby, I am in no hurry. I am savoring every last minute of this pregnancy… the stretchy maternity pants and all!
So while the thought of this being my last pregnancy does feel like the end of an era, it also feels right for me and my family. I will try my best to keep you updated on this journey with my growing family. I appreciate the outpouring of love I have received as I start my own adventure Running in Triangles.
Finding out that you’re pregnant is an incredibly exciting, but also terrifying moment, especially if it’s the first time. Your initial reaction is going to be one of joy, but then you’re going to start thinking about all of the things that you need to sort out before the baby arrives and all of the difficult pregnancy stuff that you have to deal with. It’s easy to start panicking here but that’s the worst thing that you can do.
There are some important things that you need to sort in the first few weeks and months of the pregnancy and the sooner you get it done, the sooner you can start preparing yourself. As soon as you find out that you are expecting, subscribe for monthly Bump Boxes to make your pregnancy go smoothly.
These are the things that you should do when you find out that you’re pregnant.
Calculate Your Due Date
The first thing that you need to know is when the baby is going to arrive, so you need to calculate your due date. You can use this calculator to work out roughly when your baby is due. The reading from the calculator isn’t going to be completely accurate but it will give you a rough idea of when the baby is likely to arrive, so you know how long you have to sort everything out. When you go in for a scan, you’ll get a more accurate due date, but this initial estimate is useful to have right away.
Next, you need to get in touch with your doctor and let them know that you are pregnant. They will set up a booking appointment which usually happens around 8 to 10 weeks into your pregnancy. They may want to see you right away but it differs depending on the doctor and your medical history, but they will tell you when you need to see them.
Consider Legal Issues
This isn’t something that people think about as much but when you have a baby on the way, there are certain legal issues to deal with, so it’s a good idea to hire a family lawyer right away. You will need to update your will to include your new baby and some couples like to put a parenting agreement in place to decide what happens should the relationship break down. It’s not a nice thought but you have to put the needs of your child first, so it’s worth considering.
Tell Family And Friends
Lastly, it’s time to tell your family and friends the good news. A lot of people prefer to wait until around 10 or 12 weeks because the chance of miscarriage drops drastically after that. This is one of the most exciting parts about the early pregnancy stages because you get to share your amazing news with those closest to you and they can get started with planning the baby shower. If you’re going to put an announcement on social media, make sure that you tell family and close friends in person beforehand, otherwise, they might feel that they were missed out.
You’ve got a long road ahead of you and there are so many other things to arrange, but these are some of the first things that you need to do when you first find out that you are pregnant. Once these things are taken care of, you can focus on some of the more fun stuff, like designing the nursery, and choosing baby clothes and equipment. Most importantly, educate yourself on what to expect after baby arrives, especially on maintaining your own mental health.
P.S. Thinking about the baby shower?
A baby is always a reason to celebrate and a fun time to gather all your loved ones together to take part in welcoming your bundle of joy. But, between baby shower invites, food, decor, gifts and preparing all the final details for your baby shower, you may be forgetting the most important part, baby shower games.
Keeping the guests entertained is not always an easy task, especially if they don’t all know each other. That’s why games are just the perfect ice breakers. To make life a little easier, feel free to assign the task to someone who will take care of handing out printables, reading the rules to your guests and choosing the prizes for the winners.
This list has plenty of games to enjoy: Baby’s First Book, Baby Bingo, Mommy Trivia, Nursery Rhyme lyrics and 20 additional family-friendly games for everyone. Keeping the party filled with joy and laughter is the perfect beginning to a baby’s life. Download some of these free printable games for your baby shower!
Endometriosis is a condition that plagues nearly 10% of women but is often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.
Like postpartum depression, endometriosis is something that isn’t talked about enough. It causes a considerable amount of pain but so many women learn to live with it and don’t seek the proper treatment. And those who do seek help, are often told it’s nothing, because endometriosis doesn’t show up on ultrasounds or x-rays or ct scans.
While there is no link between endometriosis and postpartum depression, they do have a lot in common:
They are affected by hormones
They affect women in their childbearing years
They are under-diagnosed conditions
They are invisible diseases
They are stigmatized and need more awareness
Every women’s struggle with endometriosis is different, just like postpartum depression. Here is MY story…
It was a mere coincidence that both my endometriosis and postpartum depression were diagnosed at the same time, because the two conditions are not exactly linked to each other. But ever since that diagnosis, they have been intertwined throughout my journey of highs and lows.
It all began when my daughter was 5 months old. Actually, the postpartum depression symptoms had been going on for a few months already but I was still in denial.
We took a family trip to Disney World (both kids were still free to get in, so we thought we’d take advantage)! Despite exclusively breastfeeding, I got my first postpartum period – right there in the Magic Kingdom.
I was disappointed and annoyed but what else could I do, on this trip of a lifetime, but suck it up and waddle around in blood-soaked pants for the rest of the day?
The next day, we planned to go to Cocoa Beach. When you’re from the Canadian Prairies, trips to the ocean are few and far between, so I was definitely NOT missing out on it. I bought the biggest box of tampons I could find and tried my best to enjoy the day.
But the cramping was worse than labor pains and the bleeding was relentless.
I made it through that vacation but the following month was even worse. I probably wouldn’t have said anything to my doctor, except that it happened to fall on the same day as my daughter’s 6 month checkup.
I was lucky enough to have a great doctor with whom I already had a close relationship, and it was in that appointment that I broke down crying – overcome by the pain of the menstrual cramps and the dark place my mind had been in for the last 6 months.
Based solely on my symptoms, he figured it was endometriosis that was causing the pain and heavy bleeding. It was the first time I had ever heard the word. When he told me that it can cause infertility, I actually felt relieved because I had zero desire to have another baby. He gave me some samples of birth control pills and advised me to take them continuously in an effort to “skip” my periods.
Then we discussed the postpartum depression and came up with a treatment plan.
I was supposed to follow up with him in a few months to see how things were going. But by then, we had relocated for my husband’s job – a 9 hour drive away.
For a while, things were alright…
My mind was distracted by the move and I remembered to take my birth control pills everyday, avoiding the painful cramping that accompanied my periods.
Until I ran out of samples.
Trying to find a good doctor in a new town where I didn’t know anyone was tougher than I thought. So I chose to suffer instead. I loaded up on painkillers and wore adult diapers to soak up the extreme amounts of blood and just dealt with it.
With each month that passed, the pain got worse and worse. The cramping started earlier and lasted longer until I was only pain-free for one week each month. I turned to essential oils for help with the pain, but even their magic wasn’t strong enough.
The chronic pelvic pain exacerbated my postpartum depression symptoms.
I felt defeated by the pain. I didn’t feel like being strong or fighting through the pain – I hoped and prayed it would just kill me. I thought about how my daughter might someday experience this kind of pain, and I felt responsible for that. I felt like all I did was inflict pain on those around me, because I was also in pain. And I was certain that everyone would be happier, myself included, if I was just gone.
When my year of maternity leave was over, things got better.
I found a job that I loved and began to make friends. The daycare we chose for the kids was wonderful and they settled into it without any problems. I appreciated my children more because I cherished the short amount of time we had together each day instead of dreading the long hours of nothingness.
Finally, I was happy! I pushed through the endometriosis pain every month because I didn’t want anything to destroy my happiness.
But after a year of being happy and ignoring the pain – the pain pushed back.
I couldn’t ignore it anymore and eventually wound up in the emergency room. Much to everyone’s surprise – I was pregnant!I guess endometriosis doesn’t always cause infertility…
The anxiety began almost immediately. I didn’t want to go through another HG pregnancy and I definitely worried about dealing with the postpartum depression all over again. Plus we had just moved again, and hadn’t even bought a house yet.
Despite the exciting news, the pain was still there… worse even.
The doctors suspected a possible ectopic pregnancy and rushed me into emergency surgery.
When I woke up, I had mixed feelings about losing the baby. Part of me was relieved to avoid another tough pregnancy, but another part of me felt disappointed that I didn’t get another chance to make things right.
The next day, I found out I was still pregnant. The pregnancy was a healthy one, and there was nothing they could tell me about the endometriosis because they didn’t want to do anything to disturb the pregnancy.
And so I had my third child. I suffered from the worst case of hyperemesis gravidarum of all three pregnancies, but for a while, I didn’t have to worry about the menstrual pain. This time I did everything in my power to prepare myself for postpartum depression again but thankfully was spared from it. I was given a second chance! I immediately felt a bond with this baby and she made our family complete.
I had a good, solid 8 months of bliss with my happy baby before my first postpartum period arrived.
And, in true dream-crushing fashion, it came back on Christmas Eve so I spent most of that night hopped up on painkillers and hovering around the bathroom door in order to change my tampon every 30 minutes.
After another steady 8 months of pill popping, I missed another period.Oh no, not another pregnancy. It can’t be. I can’t do it again. But the tests were all negative…
My menstrual cycle finally had a nervous breakdown.
It would skip months for no reason and then come every other week. The pelvic pain got worse and it was no longer limited to my menstrual cycle – it was there 24/7. I ended up in the emergency room regularly looking for something to help with the pain. Nothing ever showed up on any of the tests, and I’m certain everyone thought I was a hypochondriac. Even though I was in an intense amount of pain, I started to wonder if they were right.
The pain triggered the postpartum depression again.
It didn’t help that I was now a stay-at-home-mom, living in a city with no friends or relatives to help me out. Between the darkness of postpartum depression and the pain of endometriosis, life was very bleak for nearly a full year.
I finally met with a specialist.
He instantly validated everything I was feeling and scheduled me for a diagnostic laparoscopy to find out what was going on inside of me. Since he wasn’t sure what he would find, he asked me to sign a form that stated he could perform a hysterectomy if he deemed it medically necessary. This way, I wouldn’t have to undergo two separate surgeries if I did need one.
We discussed the fact that a hysterectomy would be the worst-case scenario, and I signed the form without hesitation.
In the 6 weeks leading up to my surgery date, I bled continuously. I should have known then, that more was wrong under the surface than I wanted to admit. If I had, perhaps I would have been more prepared for what was ahead.
The surgery was supposed to be a laparoscopic day surgery on a Friday. My husband, kids and I made the 2 hour drive into the city, expecting to stay with family for the weekend and be back home by Monday.
But when I woke up from the surgery, I was told I would not be going home that day.
My doctor came in to see me, head hung, disappointment in his eyes. He rested his hand on mine and told me that this was the first time he’s ever had to convert from a laparoscopic surgery to an abdominal incision (minimally invasive surgery was his specialty).
And then he filled me in on what happened in surgery.
He had to remove my uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and left ovary. He left the right ovary so that I would not go into menopause but everything else was stuck together with adhesions and needed to go. My reproductive organs were attached to the pelvic wall, bladder and bowels which he successfully separated, but there would be scar tissue remaining. The adhesions had re-routed my blood vessels and so he cut into one while attempting to perform the hysterectomy, causing me to lose nearly 4 units of blood and require a transfusion.
It was the “worst case scenario,” and I felt completely blindsided by what had just happened.
I ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days. Losing so much blood left me feeling weak and dizzy and moving around was almost impossible. Once I did get home to my own bed, I couldn’t leave. Walking up and down stairs was difficult and living in a 4 level split meant I was practically bedridden. Long after the scar healed, the pain inside my pelvis was excruciating. I was told to expect to be out of commission for a full 6 weeks but it took more like 8.
Dealing with the sudden loss of my uterus was difficult. Although I knew I didn’t want to have more children, I liked knowing that it was an option. I spent a lot of time thinking about my pregnancies and how the place where I grew my children and felt them move and kick was no longer there.
But once I recovered from the surgery, the constant pelvic pain that plagued me for years was finally gone. It was hard to believe that it was no longer there, I kept poking at it to see if it hurt but no – no more pain! And I never had to wear another giant tampon or adult diaper ever again.
Most days I forget that I no longer have a uterus. I still get some symptoms of PMS when my lonely ovary ovulates but it’s nearly impossible to track it without a menstrual cycle. The fluctuating hormones do still affect my postpartum depression symptoms and I have to take extra care of myself on those days, but otherwise, it’s no longer triggered by constant pain.
So while my battle with endometriosis, as well as my battle with postpartum depression, is over for now – they have changed who I am as a person.
They have both taken things away from me that I can never get back. They have killed a part of me inside and remain there, dormant, waiting for another opportunity to strike. I will do my best to take care of myself, to help others who are suffering, and to raise awareness about these two important issues, so that if and when they ever do decide to rear their ugly heads again – I will be ready to fight back.
Postpartum depression, as common as it might be, is widely misunderstood.
No one knows for certain exactly why mothers get postpartum depression and many aren’t even aware of the symptoms. If there was less stigma and more mothers felt comfortable enough to speak up about their postpartum depression, perhaps the rest of the world would know about it and find ways to help.
Here’s a list of 10 things that mothers with postpartum depression want you to know.
1. We Are Not Bad Mothers
Mothers with postpartum depression are not prone to hurting their babies. While there have been cases that ended in tragedy – many of those mothers were suffering from postpartum psychosis, which is a much more serious condition.
We might be seen as “bad” mothers because we didn’t bond with our babies right away, or we seem withdrawn from them or avoid holding them. These are common symptoms of postpartum depression but it does not mean that we want to harm our child or that we don’t love them as much.
If anything, postpartum depression makes us stronger mothers because we have to fight harder to build a mother-child relationship.
You don’t need to take our babies away from us or be concerned about leaving us alone with them. If we come to you for help and admit what we are feeling – that makes us a better mother, not a bad one.
2. It’s Not In Our Head
Postpartum depression is not just a psychological issue – it’s physical pain, it’s chemical imbalances, it’s uncontrollable hormones. It’s a total body experience and not just something we imagine.
Positive thinking alone will not get rid of postpartum depression. It’s important to stay positive to help reduce stress which is a big trigger for symptoms, but there is so much more to it than that. Many women suffer from disruptions in sleep and appetite, headaches and back pains from stress and tension, nausea and debilitating fatigue.
It might be called a mental illness, but the pain is never just “in our head.”
3. Nothing We Did Caused This
Postpartum depression is NOT our fault. A traumatic labor , breastfeeding problems or lack of support are out of our control and not something that we did wrong or could have avoided. It’s natural to want to find an explanation for what we’re going through and it’s easy to look back on our pregnancies and deliveries and find something to blame for the mess.
While there are several different risk factors that can increase your chances of having postpartum depression, the truth is – even a women with the happiest of pregnancies, easiest of deliveries and biggest support system could still be diagnosed with postpartum depression. It does not discriminate.
There are plenty of treatment options and ways to control the symptoms but we will never be the same person we were before postpartum depression.
Anti-depressants, therapy, self-care, yoga and meditation, etc., are all important for helping with the symptoms but they will not make postpartum depression go away permanently. Some women can control their symptoms better than others, but no matter what, we will all have to live with the darkness inside of us for the rest of our lives.
If we’re not careful about following our treatment plans, we could suffer a relapse.
5. It Can Be Invisible
Just because we don’t seem depressed doesn’t mean we’re not suffering inside. Postpartum depression can be an invisible disease, which means we don’t have a giant scar or walk with a limp but we are in just as much pain. Mothers with postpartum depression have gotten very good at putting on a smile to hide the pain and avoid the awkward questions.
Postpartum psychosis leads a mother to have hallucinations and hear voices in their heads. They are often a danger to themselves and those around them, including their children, because of their unpredictable behavior. They are not aware of what they are doing, and if left untreated – can end in tragedy.
Postpartum depression can manifest itself in different ways.Fits of uncontrollable rage is a lesser known symptom and can cause a lot of strain on relationships.
When we are riding the emotional roller coaster that is postpartum depression, it’s easy to lose control and lash out. But until our symptoms are under control with a proper treatment plan, it’s best not to take the things we say and do personally.
The urge to push people away and withdraw into ourselves is strong with postpartum depression, but that doesn’t mean it’s what we actually want.
8. It’s easier to talk to strangers
Please don’t feel offended if we don’t want to talk to you about what we’re going through. It’s much easier to talk to strangers who have been through it before, such as a therapist or online support group.
They understand what we mean and won’t judge us. We know you don’t mean to judge us, but unless you know what it feels like to be inside the head of a crazy person, you couldn’t possibly understand.
Even if we don’t want to talk to you, we still need your help to get through this. Postpartum depression is a tough fight and it’s even harder to fight alone. There are so many ways that you can help us, but it’s very hard for us to tell you what they are. The biggest way that you can help us is by trying to understand what we’re going through.
And even if you don’t understand, stand by us and support us no matter what.
10. Please Don’t Abandon Us
Mothers with postpartum depression make for some of the worst company. We’re weepy and emotional. We rarely smile or laugh. We’re tired all the time, or angry and annoyed. We dodge your phone calls and cancel dinner plans. We don’t blame you for not wanting to hang out with us…
Withdrawing from society is a major symptom of postpartum depression and it’s out of our control.
But we hope that, when we do finally feel better, you will still be there waiting for us on the other side of the darkness.