Thursday, December 11, 2008

Separation anxiety part 2

And so it has finally happened. The baby is in daycare, and I am back at work. As predicted, the separation seems to be way harder on the adult in this relationship. BR, while not always thrilled to be in the care of other people, seems nevertheless to be adjusting very well. She does not want to be bothered with saying goodbye in the morning, choosing instead to crawl over to the mountain of toys to explore and discover what new playthings have been set out this morning. When I come pick her up, she's delighted to see me, and spends her time pointing out things of interest in the room (decorations, toys etc).

Once we get home, she's just her cheery old self, especially if DH is around to play with her. This is very much a relief for us, since I've seen several babies of friends who got so upset about being sent to daycare, that they are mopey and clingy at home. This may still happen for BR, but for now she's doing great.

The funny thing is that a lot of people tend to take credit, or blame themselves for how their kid adjusts to daycare. For example, people say that their kid adjusted well, because they had had regular babysitters. But when it comes to BR, the only thing I tried to do is not let my anxiety show so that BR would not have negative connotations about daycare (I did that mostly through denial ;)). So really, the reason she's doing so well with this transition, is because of her personality, and not anything we did to "prepare" her for this. She is secure in her attachment to me, and that has definitely been helped by spending the year with her, but in the end, I don't believe that's the most important piece of the puzzle. She was born very curious and independent, and because of that, daycare seems to work for her.

Of course now I'm realizing I was secretly hoping that daycare would not work for her, and that I would be "forced" to quit and stay home with her for another little while. Yes, indeed, I am having way more trouble with this transition than she is. I keep wondering how she's doing, I catch myself wondering when she's going to wake up so I can go pick her up (pretty much the only time spent without her for the last year was when she was taking a nap). Digging myself out from under 6000 email messages at work doesn't seem nearly as important as helping BR walk around the room by holding her little hands...

They say you have to give it some time, and I'm prepared to do that for sure. But so far, this seems to have been the hardest part of being a parent this whole year. With the possible exception of watching my baby being sick. Sigh!

P.S. Not helping matters is the fact that the daycare providers are not letting BR use the potty, even though I have provided one, and she does make a sign when she needs to go. I can imagine this is more frustrating for her than it is for me, as she's been so good about roaming around the house diaper free. You win some, you lose some I guess.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Separation anxiety

I was really trying to post more frequently... Not being very successful, though. Not for lack of thinking of things to say (it seems I'm always composing a post in my head these days), just lack of prolonged quiet computer time I guess.

And now it's almost time for me to go back to work. I'm going back next week. Just a month shy of BR's first birthday. Which seems odd to many people, since I am entitled to take the whole year off. But I've decided to go back early for many reasons. For one, I was off work for a whole month before BR was born (though technically the first 4 weeks were just vacation, so I am still entitled to another 4 weeks off). Financially, this makes a lot more sense, because I will be paid my full salary during the Christmas shutdown (instead of just employment insurance) while still staying at home with BR. Also, it allows DH to take the whole month off with pretty much full salary - good benefits at the government! From the perspective of my job, going back for those few weeks in December will allow me to get back into the swing of things while everyone else is winding down for their holidays. Coming back in January, I would have to hit the ground running, no time to get back into the groove. It also makes the whole daycare thing easier: we were so lucky to get a spot in a local licensed daycare (only 30 spots for one year olds in all of Kanata), starting in December, so we gladly took it. We can introduce BR to the daycare quite slowly, especially with DH at home and me going back to work slowly. On the other hand, I am sure I will be glad to be going to work while BR is in daycare, cause if I was still on leave I would probably be stressing out big time...

Which brings me to the topic of the day: separation anxiety. Not BR, though, so far she's doing great, and while we dropped by the daycare today, she had no trouble being held and fed by the daycare teachers. We'll see what happens when I'm not in the room (that will be next Monday). I am actually starting to get worried about myself. I've been preparing myself mentally to go back to work for the last few weeks, and I thought I was doing fine. And then this afternoon, while hanging out at home with BR, I found myself getting annoyed at the tiniest little things... I finally realized, that I had been somehow putting great pressure on myself to make sure our last few days of full togetherness were "perfect". Which of course is an impossible task when you're talking about life with a baby (if there's anything I've learned over the last year, it's the value of "going with the flow" :)). That's when I realized how much I am actually dreading this whole return to work. I've been putting on a brave face, for BR, for DH, and even for myself, and stuffing down those feelings of dread... Well, they finally resurfaced today.

Now, I'm still going to go ahead with the daycare, and going back to work. The plan from the start was to give it all a chance, and I'm still planning to do that. At first, I'm just concentrating on getting to the Christmas holidays. We'll see how everyone feels at that point, and reassess. Yes, I am expecting a major setback when it comes to potty training (BR has been using her own version of the "toilet" sign for almost two weeks, and we've been diaper-less with minor accidents only whenever we're home). Yes, it's quite upsetting to be forcing her hand in the weaning process, especially since she's been using the sign for "milk" for a month now, and seems a little confused that I've stopped honoring her requests (not to mention the physical discomfort that comes with eliminating a few nursings in a short period of time). But mostly, I just want to make sure she doesn't appear to be feeling ignored at the daycare, and that hanging out with friends makes up at least a little bit for being separated from her parents for the major part of the day.

As long as she's still her happy little self, I think I'll be able to focus on work at some point (maybe by the time January rolls around). In the meantime, I have to try really hard to not let her see my apprehension over this whole thing. As it is, she's bound to pick up on it at least a little, she's a pretty perceptive girl...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The feudinator

Ok, so I've been working on this post for over a month. It just has to come out as is, no point in procrastinating anymore... It's kind of neither here nor there, some fairly personal stuff, but it's time to release it, I can't hold onto it any longer.

For a little background on this story: BR turns out to be a very sensitive kid. She is fairly easily startled, and she definitely has a big issue with angry yelling. The last time she was exposed to it, she started having nightmares, issues with clinginess and started being scared of any kind of noise. We're just starting to get over it now. She hasn't had nightmares in a while, and she's on her way to sleeping through the night again (knock on wood). This was a little surprising to me, really, since I'm not the quietest or the gentlest person around, so it's not like she's been raised in a sensory deprivation environment or anything. But the kid does not like screaming...

Unfortunately, shouting matches seem to be par for the course in my parents' culture. Especially when it comes to the men. And specifically, my step-father has a tendency to escalate things into yelling, sometimes out of the blue. Which I can more or less handle, after 20 odd years of exposure. But I cannot subject BR to it in clear conscience. So in general we've tried to avoid getting into situations where we might get entangled with his angry outbursts.

But here's the rub: Christmas time. Our family always spends the holidays together, usually at our house. It's bigger than my folks' place, it's nice and quiet in the wintertime, we can ski in the backyard etc... It's kind of tradition for my whole clan (parents + sisters) to gather at our house and celebrate. And the pattern is usually lots of great fun and cheer, punctuated with sporadic outbursts of anger.

So this year I had to be proactive. I called my Mum to let her know that for BRs sake we cannot tolerate yelling and screaming at our house over the holidays. She was quite taken aback (not surprisingly, since I've barely ever stood up to her). Her immediate reaction was to say that she cannot guarantee calmness, and that even thinking about it would be way too stressful, she couldn't handle it, and in that case she would rather travel over the holidays. In fact, this would be a perfect opportunity to take that trip to Peru she has always dreamed about. I have to admit I was quite surprise, as I hadn't anticipated such a turn of events. But I felt like I was the one who brought up the whole mess, so I should just accommodate her decision. I mean, it will be tough to not see my clan for the holidays here, but if that's her choice, I just have to deal with it.

Little did I know, I committed a major faux pas. I am still not sure what really happened, or how I should have acted/reacted to this whole thing. Mum seems to have gotten very mad, and I get the distinct impression that she's expecting me to make amends somehow, though I am not sure how. To add to the mess of confusion, there's been lots of unpleasant and stressful stuff going on in her life, which caused her to flat out shut me out, refusing to talk to me (causing me to stress out not being able to be there/support her in times of crisis). We're back on talking terms, but there's still lots of resentment and frustration right below the surface.

So that's where we're at right now. I would really like to get this situation resolved, for the benefit of everyone involved. I mean it's not good for BR nor for my Mum to have such a strained relationship. BR will only be this small once, and Mum is missing many of her firsts. I don't think anything can be resolved over the phone (a phone conversation started this whole mess after all). It's also hard to figure out a way to get some face to face time with my Mum, what with BR and the rest of the family and logistics. She doesn't seem to want to see me these days...

I'm trying very hard to avoid putting blame on anyone for the situation, and to understand that there's a lot more to the whole situation than what I can see. But I feel very strongly that I have to stand up for BR, as I have been entrusted with her safety and well-being. I don't want to hurt or upset my own Mum of course, but if I have to choose, BR will be my choice every time. I just wish it didn't feel so crappy. What it comes down to, is that I wish I didn't have to choose.

So there you have it. Stuck between a rock and a hard place. And as if that wasn't enough conflict for me, we were recently informed by one of our friends that a mutual acquaintance has made it known that she does not want to attend any events with me, asking people to either invite her or me. Our friend was wondering what this feud was all about. Well, the whole thing was complete news to me, since I'd talked to the girl on the phone the week before, and she was coming over to our house on the weekend. So there's apparently another feud I'm involved in, though mostly blissfully unaware.

Am I really that aggravating??? You gotta wonder...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Long silence

It's been quite a while since I've last posted. Apparently more than 4 months, although it sure doesn't feel like it. Of course that time was filled with travel (and lots of it), several colds for both BR and myself (and DH on occasion), and the ever wonderful search for daycare.

When it comes to travel, I think we got very lucky. Having covered over 22 thousand kilometers by plane (Mtl<->Warsaw, Ott<->Seattle, Mtl<->Hfx), with maybe a total of 10 minutes of crying, most of the credit goes to BR's sunny disposition. However, I think one of the factors contributing to the success of the plane trips was her age. I'm not sure she would be quite as amenable to air travel now as she was over the summer. She doesn't go to sleep quite as easily these days, and is not as easily amused anymore. I may have to travel with her again in a few months, so we'll see how that works out...

As far as daycare hunting is concerned, all I can say is if you're in Ottawa, you have to get yourself put on the centralized waiting list as soon as you can. As soon as the pregnancy is confirmed and you have a due date if possible. I procrastinated a bit, mostly because I was in denial I think, and that almost backfired big time. We got pretty lucky in the end to get a spot in an actual licensed daycare center. If you can believe it, in the whole city of Kanata (population of over 50 thousand people), there are only 20 spots for babies under 18 months in licensed daycares. Which means the great majority of babies are sent into home daycares. After visiting a handful of those, I was thoroughly depressed. It's pretty hard to find a nice place, in a nice area, with a good daycare provider, and good kids. A few of the things I saw when looking for a place for BR were:
  • a daycare in a home that's in the middle of a construction zone; with construction equipment zooming by, shaking the whole place, noise and pollution abounding;
  • a place where the carpet I put BR on (and sat on myself) had black, stinky stains, and children running up and down the stairs unsupervised
  • a daycare where the whole "play area", consisting of the whole first floor of the townhouse, was smaller than my kitchen, filled with a mess of toys, but dominated by a giant flat screen TV...
  • a place where the daycare provider's kids were undisciplined and screaming at the top of their lungs just to get Mum's attention, while Dad was busy playing computer games upstairs...
Just to name a few. None of the home daycares provided me with any sort of warm fuzzies. I'd anticipated the search for a daycare would be painful, but it certainly surpassed any of my fears. In fact, even though we have a spot reserved at the daycare center, I am still not sure I want to send BR anywhere for 9 hours a day. It just doesn't seem right. We keep doing all sorts of creative math to see how far we can stretch DH's salary and keep me at home most of the time. We'll see what we come up with :)

In the meantime, I am planning to do some more posting here. Really, it shouldn't be that hard for me to come up with post ideas. I've almost doubled the list of blogs I am following in my reader, so if nothing else, I can look for some inspiration there. But I have lots of ideas bouncing around in my head anyway, so there should be lots to read over the next little while...

Monday, June 30, 2008

Random thoughts

My first few months of being a parent have been full of interesting surprises. Luckily most of them have been good :) Here's a random sample of the latest ones.

So far, DH has been very good about taking care of BR whenever I've needed to go out (whether it be choir Tuesday nights, or a run for groceries or whatever). For quite a while, he would prefer that she was asleep when I left, and I can't blame him for it, especially since these days his back won't let him pick her up, and she is less likely to have a screaming fit while sleeping (although the screaming fit has happened exactly once, so it's quite unlikely). So yesterday I wanted to take advantage of the break in the rain to cut the grass, and I told DH "So as soon as she's asleep, I'll leave her with you and go outside". To which he replied indignantly "Why asleep? I can take care of her while she's awake!". Yes, the time has come when DH has so much fun playing with BR, he'd rather do that than watch TV ;)

I've always looked forward to the harder tasks of parenting, helping my kid(s) grow up to be decent human beings, teaching them wrong from right, self-control etc. Always thought I was up for the challenges that parenting brings. And now all of a sudden I seem to be wimping out. Just the thought of having to discipline BR at some point makes me sad. I know I need to do what's best for her, which includes setting limits and boundaries and all that good stuff, but deep inside I just want to make her life fun and easy. She is just such a ray of sunshine, it's very hard to imagine being firm and strict with her. Welcome to the realities of parenting, where all your preconceived notions go out the window :)
As much as I enjoy having the opportunity to sleep through the whole night again, I have to say I miss the middle of the night feedings. I was quite enjoying the opportunity to cuddle and the only breastfeeding moments when she wasn't getting distracted by the world at large. It was just me and her in the quiet semi-darkness, peaceful moments of togetherness. And I was in no hurry to see her sleep through the night, despite my Mom's insistence that at 3 months BR was "ready for it". I knew the time would come, and I knew I would miss it. I am also still waking up in the middle of the night worried that I haven't heard anything from BR in more than 4 hours (she sleeps for 9 hours straight these days), and wondering if she's ok. It's sometimes hard to resist the temptation to get up and check on her :) But of course she's ok, and she does wake up quite famished when DH gets up for work.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm a slacker...

I wish I could blame my blog silence on being extremely busy, but I think the truth is that I've been pretty lazy about writing. I keep composing blog entries in my head, but when it comes to actually typing them in, I tend to lose focus and start surfing for new blogs to read and get addicted to. One of the problems is that I rarely have long stretches of uninterrupted time, as Bunny naps are getting shorter and shorter and less frequent... It took me two days to compose this post...

On the good news front:
I am very impressed with the power company. Monday night, when BR woke us up for her 2AM feeding, we noticed we had no power. Then we noticed a pikc-up truck idling on our strret in front of our house. Turns out the storm that night had broken a branch of one of our poplars, which most likely did some damage to the power lines, taking out power on the whole street. By 6AM it was all fixed and back to normal. I suspect no one actually called them to report the outage, since it happened in the middle of the night, so I am very impressed with the speed of the detection/diagnosis/fix of the problem. Just a few years ago it would have taken them a few days to get this all sorted out!

Also good news: BR cut her first tooth without too much fuss. She's been fighting a cold all week, which makes her a little less smiley than usual, but she certainly hasn't been complaining much, or crying, or having problems sleeping. I'm thanking my lucky stars. I knew her teeth were going to come early, as she's been drooling profusely for quite a while, and MIL had warned me that all three of her kids got their first tooth at 4 months. Now as long as I can convince her to not chomp down at feeding time, all is good :)

Lastly, I am so glad I decided to give Google reader a try. Combined with high speed internet, it turned the 45 minutes it used to take me to catch up on the blogs I follow into a 5-10 minute update in the morning. Now I keep adding new blogs to follow :)

In other news, we're flying to Poland in less than a week. I'm driving to Montreal with BR, and then we're flying KLM to Schiphol, and on to Warsaw. I am so glad my Mom is coming with us, I don't think I would want to do the trip on my own. I've been slowly packing for weeks, and I'm beginning to feel like I'm almost set. Just a few last minute details to take care of. Which is good, because we have a busy weekend coming up, with not one but two birthday parties to attend, so not much packing or trip planning will be happening then.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's day weekend

And what a busy weekend this was. I had a dentist appointment, a birthday party for a 1 year old son of friends, and a trip to Montreal with the Bunny Rabbit. All went well, but I am a bit exhausted.

A few things worth noting though. Don't have much time, so I'll just do a bullet-form list.

The good:
  • BR laughing out loud for several people. She thought my Mom's friend E was hilarious when she was telling her what a beautiful baby she was (laughing mostly at how she said it, not what she said I'm sure). She found my sister's boyfriend's smile just unbelievably funny, laughing loudly whenever he smiled at her. And when my sister did funny dances in front of her, she just could not stop giggling. It was so great to see my child respond so happily to other people. She's such a great kid!
  • My middle sister went above and beyond the call of duty. She got a great present for my Mom (a GPS for the woman who gets lost a lot), she got flowers both for Mom and me for Mother's day (yay!). And she got a gift for BR as well! And she looked nice and healthy (she's on a anti-inflammatory diet), and she was in a great mood - always good to see.
  • My little sister is going to Spain on Tuesday, and getting all excited about. We managed to convince her she needs travel health insurance, and that she needs to worry about thieves... She should be alright, she's got a good head.

Now for the bad. Finally, after 4 months, I got more opinions/advice about BR than I was prepared for:
  • I was told multiple times that BR is too young to be sitting up in a stroller (half-reclined), or worse yet sitting on the potty for 2 minutes. Apparently I am destroying her spine! Never mind that her doctor told me she was ready for more vertical time, since she's a big and strong baby, and 4 months old to boot!
  • I was also told multiple times within a span of 5 minutes, that I was freezing my baby. "She's cold". "Poor baby, she's all blue, she must be freezing". "Look at the poor frozen baby". "OMG, her hands are so cold" (they were warmer than mine just for the record). Etc, etc. All from the same person. And that despite the fact that I 1) acknowledged their concern and told them I was going to put a sweater on her in 5 minutes and 2) BR was just happy as a clam, smiling and laughing and kicking off any blankets that we would put on her. I did appreciate it the first time he mentioned that she might be cold, as I did not notice right away that the weather was getting cooler (I have a tendency to respond slowly to changes in temperature), but after a while I was getting ready to pummel him. Grr.
The "shake your head" moments:
  • Being told about BR that "she looks intelligent, not like one of those idiot babies". Hmm, thanks, I guess?
  • The following exchange:
"When is the baptism?"
"Oh, there isn't one"
"You mean later?"
"No, I mean there isn't one"
after a few more iterations of the above:
"You mean it's an option? I didn't think it was actually possible not to baptize your child".
I guess I better get used to that, as I will get royally grilled about this when we go to Poland next month...

All in all, a great weekend. Now I need to get some sleep :)

Friday, April 11, 2008


Even though I haven't been posting much lately, I've slowly resumed my blog reading addiction. A few days ago, I read this post and it's been on my mind ever since.

The post talks about how much harder life with newborn twins is compared to a singleton. While that may seem like a no-brainer "d'uh" for most of us, I guess some people don't quite get it. I guess it helps when you personally know people with twins and realize how much extra work it is. I have to admit I am in awe of parents of multiples, as well as single parents, especially now that I'm a Mom myself.

But the thing that resonated with me from the post was the following line:
This is not the kind of parent I thought I would be.

Even though I only had one little newborn Bunny, and even though she is such an easy baby and a good sleeper (meaning I cannot blame sleep deprivation for anything), I have had the feeling above on many, many, many occasions over the last 3 months.

Really, I have it so good. I am off for the whole year, I only have one child to take care of, she's healthy and happy and good-natured. And believe me, I count my blessings every day! I guess in a way because I have it so good, I've set very high expectations for myself as a parent. After all, I should be able to spend my every waking moment making sure that Bunny is properly entertained, that she gets the requisite amount of tummy time, that I read to her daily etc. And I try to make sure all of that happens, with varying degrees of success (she really dislikes tummy time :S).

But the thing is, I always seem to find something that makes me feel guilty. For example, since she's had baby acne, cradle cap, yeasty diaper rash and eczema, I keep wondering if she's getting washed enough/too much, if I'm using the right products, you know, the standard fretful Mom thing. Or the fact that she wasn't interested at all in books until the last week or so, was that because I wasn't presenting them to her in the right way? There's no end of things to worry about. Which is not something I expected at all, since I'm not usually one to fret and dwell on things.

Now, I'm not saying that this in any way compares to taking care of newborn twins, but what I am realizing is that it may just be a pretty universal experience to feel guilty/inadequate in the first few months of motherhood. No matter whether we're in an impossibly hard situation, or a relatively easy one, we will fret and worry, and feel guilty etc, and I guess we have to find a way to deal with it and accept that there's no such thing as a perfect parent. Which makes me feel a little better... But it makes me sympathize even more with the mothers who do have a less than ideal situation and have to deal with those pesky feelings on top of everything else...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

HB to DH

Today is DH's birthday. He is not likely to visit this blog, but nevertheless, happy birthday sweetie! What a crazy rollercoaster year this has been! Hopefully the next year will be a little less chaotic (if that's at all possible with a baby in the house).

A quick update on life at our house: getting nicely settled with the BR. She still sleeps well and lots, travels well and enjoys guests. We've been to Montreal overnight (just her and me), which I consider a major accomplishment. She's a sweetheart, and getting more interactive every day. We're starting a Mommy and me yoga class next Tuesday. Full time motherhood is turning out to be incredibly amazing, yet at the same time often overwhelming. Being so completely responsible for this tiny little innocent being sometimes seems like a heavy weight. I try to take it one day at a time, and appreciate all those tiny sweet moments. Like when I come into her room first thing in the morning, and she gives me this wonderful sunny smile that melts my heart...

I try to keep busy with little projects whenever she is asleep. For example replacing a zipper in DHs suit pants. Please remind me to never, ever undertake a zipper replacement again. It's not for the faint of heart! I am looking forward to the melting of the heaps of snow so we can start spending more time outdoors, and maybe even gardening...

Friday, February 29, 2008


What a cold day! Just went out to get some wood, and it felt pretty chilly. Though the temp gauge assures me it's only -13 or so outside...

Not much new happening here. Days are flying by at a very fast pace. Bunny is growing, and she seems to be changing every day. I find it hard sometimes to keep up with her changes, things that work for her one day may not work the next... But she's still a great kid, sleeping well at night, now smiling at our crazy antics.

I try to keep somewhat busy, giving myself tasks for every day. On top of the mountain of laundry (I will have to post a picture of our "diaper trees": clothes racks with drying diapers), I try to get some cooking or cleaning or organizing done. On the days where we don't have any outings that is :) Bunny is sleeping less and less during the day, which is a really good thing as it gets her to interact with the world a lot more, but on the other hand it leaves me with less time to do my daily tasks. It's kind of hard (not to mention dangerous) to be stoking a fire with an infant in your hands, so I try to avoid it!

The picture at the top of the post is of an owl we saw in our back yard a few weeks ago (mentioned in Bunny's blog). I took the picture through our kitchen window, and the owl turned to look at me when I turned the camera on. She could hear that odd sound through our window - what phenomenal hearing!

No other news in this cozy corner of the world. I keep having lots of thoughts for posts, but never enough actual time/concentration to be able to write them all. In time I hope to get more organized, so that I can carve out some blogging time for myself during the week. At least I am now feeling more like myself, as the first 6 weeks postpartum felt like I was walking in a bit of a haze...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Well, maybe not quite a hiatus, but I may post a little less often. I'll be spending more of my time on the Bunny-Rabbit blog. Anything non Bunny related will be on here, but all baby stuff will go to the new blog.

I'll be seeing you over there!

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Taking advantage of a good connection today, I am posting a more recent picture of the Bunny Rabbit - isn't she cute? And yes, we finally have a name for her, but I'm not going to use it on the blog; I'll just stick with BR, short for Bunny Rabbit.

I cannot believe that January is pretty much over; where did the time go? BR is going to be 4 weeks old on Monday! She's already so different from the newborn that first arrived here. But still the little angel! I really cannot complain about her:
  • she sleeps lots, and will go 6 hours between feedings at night, giving me a chance to get some much needed uninterrupted sleep.
  • she never cries without a reason; even when it seems like she's just being fussy, it usually that she needs a burp, or having some trouble with gas.
  • she falls asleep on her own in her crib, and has done so from day 1; she doesn't do it every time, sometimes she needs some carrying around first, but most of the time she will eventually go to sleep in the crib without too much hassle.
  • she loves music and singing, and will pretty much always pay attention if you sing to her
  • she is patient and doesn't get frustrated easily, which was put to the test when we were learning the whole breastfeeding thing (still not 100% there, but we're getting much better at it); if we can't get the right latch, she will try again and again and again without any fuss.
warning - the next paragraph contains graphic descriptions not for the faint of heart; if you're squeamish, you may want to skip the rest of this post

There is one thing about BR that she would not want you know (but mean Mommy that I am, I will put it in my blog): she is a prolific, explosive pooper. She can poop long distance: when being changed on the bed, she can launch one right onto Mom's pants, missing the bed completely. She's even managed to shoot poop right into my bra (inside the cup), I still can't get over that one! The books always say to treat an undiapered baby as armed and dangerous, and it's so very true with this one! She has also on occasion managed to create a fountain of pee, but in general the peeing is containable, even without a diaper on (lucky for us she's a girl). So diaper changes are always an interesting time :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Labour story

Ok, so as promised, here's the labour and delivery story.

First of all, let me preface this by explaining my birthing philosophy going in. I wanted the most natural birth possible, which is why I went with midwives. I was hoping to be able to find a good position to handle the contractions, and to not deliver reclined in bed (to prevent tearing). I was determined not to have an epidural, because I wanted to experience the whole thing (plus I also wanted to spare the baby from drugs). Well, that all turned out to be wishful thinking...

So it all started Friday night. I started getting serious contractions, though in no particular pattern. But it got me thinking that labour was coming soon. So on Saturday, we went out to get some spicy food, just to help things along. Well, most of Saturday the contractions were quiet, but overnight they became steady and regular, 10 minutes apart. Needless to say, I didn't get very much sleep that night at all. DH actually slept in the guest bed, because I was tossing and turning so much I was keeping him up (and we thought it would be a good idea if at least one of us got some rest). Again, in the morning the contractions slowed down a little, only to intensify and become more regular and closer together in the afternoon. I called my Mom to let her know that we would most likely be going to the hospital that night. She grabbed her bags and headed to Ottawa.

When we reached the "5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, sustained for 1 hour" mark, we called the midwives. By the time the midwives showed up, my Mom was already here. A quick examination showed that I was 3cm dilated, so we decided to head to the hospital (this was around 8pm).

The delivery room in the hospital was really nice, and it actually felt pretty cozy. My labour progressed nicely, and a few hours later I was at 6cm dilation. Things looked pretty good :) The contractions were gettting harder and harder, though still 5 minutes apart. I was using the birthing ball to get through the contractions, holding on to the bed rail and rolling around. Apparently, even though the brake was on the bed, I managed to move it a bit (and noone was able to move it back). By that time I was pretty tired, so I don't remember all that much detail. But basically, at the next check a few hours later, I hadn't dilated any more, still at 6cms. The midwives were checking me every few hours, and the verdict was always the same: still 6cms. They tried breaking the waters. Still nothing. They gave me some oxytocin to stimulate the contractions. Still nothing. At this point I was definitely exhausted and completely discouraged. The official status at around 5am: stalled labour. The recommended solution: epidural + more oxytocin. Which meant a transfer of care from the midwives to the OBGYN on duty.

And so the anesthesiologist came in and administered the epidural (during a contraction I might add - and he insisted I sit still). I lay down and basically dozed on and off while the nurse played around with the oxytocin dosage trying to get me to have the right amount of contractions for optimal dilation. A few hours later, good news: I was finally fully dilated. So now all I needed to do was push. Ha! Easy enough to say. Because of the epidural, I didn't really feel my contractions, so I had no idea when to push. I had a contraction detector thingy strapped to my belly, but it wasn't working all that well, so we were all guessing at when the contractions were happening. Also, they still needed to play with the oxytocin dosage, because the contractions were not even regular or close together. It was very confusing.

To make matters worse, the baby heartrate monitor was showing that every time I pushed, the baby's heart would slow down to a crawl. I can tell you, through the fog of exhaustion and drugs, that was one thing I was keenly aware of. I kept gulping on oxygen, because I noticed that that would bring the baby's heartrate back up faster.

So here I am, lying on my back, with Mom, midwives, nurse and sometimes the OBGYN, with numerous liquids dripping into my IV, the monitors beeping, baby heartrate dropping... For 2.5 hours I was pushing, all the while expecting to be whisked away for an emergency C-section. Luckily, though, in the end the baby's head emerged, with umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (same thing happened when I was born!). The clamped and cut the cord, baby slipped out, and there was silence. Immediately I froze, not daring think anything. Luckily a few seconds later, the baby let out a strong cry. She was doing so well, that they immediately put her on my chest - and at that point, the whole ordeal seemed so worth it. Who cares I didn't get my dreamed labour and delivery - I got such a precious, beautiful, healthy daughter out of the deal!

And that's when they told me that they would have to put stitches in, because I had a third degree tear. Of course I didn't feel any of it because of the epidural. But it was a bad one. I only know I got "lots and lots" of stitches, no actual count. They're starting to heal now, but they have been a major pain, and the reason for my prescribed bedrest.

So that's the labour/delivery story. Not the hippy, tree-hugging story I was hoping for, but it's certainly an experience I will never forget. I was very lucky to have my Mom there the whole time, she really provided me with lots of support, and having DH at my side for most of it made it even easier to handle. It's hard not to overanalyze and play the "what if" game trying to figure out if I could have avoided any of the interventions. But it is what it is, and I figure it's time to move on. Next challenge: getting breastfeeding right.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Baby pics

I started composing this a few days ago, but it never got posted. Posting it as is :)

Here are the first tiny pictures I have of our little bundle of joy. She's really changing from one day to the next, so I'll have to post something more recent soon.

She's really a sweetheart! Sleeps lots, feeds pretty well and overall seems to have a sunny disposition. Of course, for the last 6 nights, she had her aunts take care of her (carrying, rocking, singing, comforting etc) for the first half of the night, when she seems to be the most cranky/uncomfortable. Now that my family has gone back to Montreal and it's just DH and me, we'll see how I feel about her temperament after tonight :)

Because I've been on bedrest, it's been invaluable help to have my family around for the last few days. They've handled pretty much all of the diaper changes and carrying/rocking duties while I was catching up on sleep whenever possible. My only responsibilities have been the feedings. It's been really good for my recovery, but it's been hard at times not being the one to respond to my baby's cries... Now that it's just DH and me, and I'm feeling better every day, I am looking forward to doing more of the work around here :)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

It's a girl

We had a little baby girl on Monday January 7th, 2008 at 12:30. She weighed 7lb 11oz, and measured 56cms. I'll have to do another post about the labour and delivery, probably once my proscribed bed rest is over (i.e. this weekend). We still haven't come up with a name that we can both agree on (sad I know), although I feel we're getting closer.

Thankfully my Mom and sister are here to help for the rest of the week. I have only changed a handful of diapers so far :) But I am really looking forward to being off bed rest for sure.

Baby crying now, gotta go.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

No news is good news

Still no news here, baby safely tucked inside and not really interested in moving out yet. Well, that may not be completely true. Today I think I've started what they now call early labour, but used to be called false labour. Erratic painful contractions that pop up from time to time, but nothing to get alarmed by. Of course, the great knowledgeable web tells me that this can go on for days, and in first pregnancies even for weeks before the real thing happens. I guess we'll see :)

In the meantime, I thought I'd compile a list of pregnancy things, while I'm still pregnant :)

My favourite things about pregnancy:
  1. Carrying a whole other being inside me - it's been so much fun to be able to see/feel all the different baby parts moving around in there (especially that foot that's been stuck on the left side of my belly, right under the ribs).
  2. Never being truly alone - I always have someone to talk to :)
  3. Feeling healthier than ever - I barely even had a cold the whole 9 months!
  4. Being able to eat whatever I feel like without any worries
  5. Having unusually healthy food preferences: I've been eating more fruits and veggies than I've ever had, and all of it just because that's what I feel like eating - weird but good!
  6. So many cute pregnancy outfits out there these days (though to be honest I've only bought a handful of things for the pregnancy, got a whole batch of clothes from a friend and for the rest I improvised with my existing clothes... but at least I knew there were lots of options out there)
  7. The hormonal shift - after everything I'd read about pregnancy, I was worried about the mood swings and all that stuff - but it turned out that I had in fact less mood swings than normal. No PMS - gotta be a good thing!
  8. People are very nice to pregnant ladies - you get a lot more smiles and offers of help.
  9. And of course the cherry on top of the sundae: the promise of meeting the small bundle of joy at the end of it all.

And now for the things I don't like about pregnancy:
  1. The worrying... I spent the first trimester worrying about miscarriage, and most of the last one worrying about premature birth and wondering about any new symptom that came up. Luckily I managed to keep most of the worrying in check, but it's still no fun...
  2. Having to avoid certain foods and medications - especially when my eczema started flaring up with the arrival of winter, it would have been nice to be able to use a stronger cream to get rid of it or at least calm it down. Red itchy hands are never much fun...
  3. All the questions, comments and advice that you get from people with strong opinions: "You must do this", "You can't do that", "Make sure you never" etc... I find it intimidating sometimes to have so many people interested in what's happening in my life. I can't imagine how draining that could be for someone who's an introvert! Though I have to admit it hasn't been bad at all, I've only had a handful of those overwhelming experiences.
Can't really thing of many more bad things... Of course the nausea, heartburn, back aches etc... are annoying, but overall I've had it really good when it comes to the usual pregnancy ailments, I really cannot complain.

As you can see from the list, the good outweighs the bad by a long shot. I guess it's been a really good pregnancy. My MIL is suggesting I should have 10 kids, since it seems to agree with me... We'll see about that ;) Let's see how I do with labour first...

Next post may have some more news!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Happy New Year!

So the new year has arrived. And with the new year, the due date for the baby. But apparently, the baby is in no hurry at all to come out and meet us. I went to see the midwife today, and after examining me, she said it doesn't look like I'm going to be giving birth in the next few days... Maybe sometime next week.

I don't really mind, as I am still quite enjoying the whole pregnancy thing, and having the house to myself all day :) But I'd rather not have to have an induction or any other interventions if at all possible. So I guess I will have to start washing floors or something to get the whole show going. I've also been wondering if maybe the baby is waiting to reach a certain weight (still seems pretty small to me, but that's just a gut feel), so I've been eating like a pig trying to get her/him to fatten up ;) Not sure about the validity of my assumptions, but I am enjoying snacking all day on whatever I can find in the fridge. Luckily it's still pretty well stocked with lots of food choices. I still find it pretty unbelievable that with the amount of food I am consuming, I haven't put on more than 2 pounds in the last month. How is that even possible? The baby does seem to be growing, though, making it harder and harder for her/him to move around. The poor thing is pretty much stuck in one position with the left foot almost permanently sticking out on the side of my belly (some find it cute, some find it creepy). I figure soon enough (s)he will have to get tired of being stuck like this, and decide to come out.

In the meantime, I'm just going to keep cleaning around the house and thinking positive thoughts of impending birth. Fingers and toes crossed :)