Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The learning curve of motherhood

They say that becoming a parent involves a pretty steep learning curve. They weren't kidding. One minute you're basking in the glow of pregnancy and then *BAM* they send you home from the hospital with a tiny being who relies on you for EVERYTHING!

My learning curve with Hayden was particularly harrowing. I looked at other babies, sleeping peacefully in their cribs or cooing playfully with strangers, and wondered what I was doing wrong. I did most of my parenting by following Hayden's cues:
He refused to sleep alone, so we co-slept.
He screamed whenever I put him down so I didn't. We began baby wearing with a sling all day.
He was overwhelmed with crowds and noise so we often stayed home.

A lot of people questioned those decisions. Heck, I questioned myself plenty of times. I often wondered if it was my parenting that made Hayden such a needy baby. Was it nature or nurture? I was never quite sure...until I had Felicity.

The difference between my children is night and day. Where Hayden found the world overwhelming and frightening in infancy, Felicity finds only magic and mystery. Where Hayden needed me to feel safe and secure, Felicity has found inner-peace and the confidence to explore her surroundings.

Fliss is now three months old and sleeps on her own in an Amby bed all night long. If she wakes up, she just finds her fingers and quietly soothes herself back to slumber. During the day, she will quite happily lay on her change table or on a blanket on the floor and amuse herself with the things she sees and touches.

With my daughter so self sufficient, I often find myself feeling redundant. I had resigned myself to a repeat of Hayden's first year. Being needed, wanted 24/7. Instead I find myself with free time. With a child who smiles and laughs more than she fusses.

Just when I thought I had this parenting thing figured out, I've had to completely adjust my style. I now have to check myself to avoid smothering her inquisitive nature or her independence by treating her as I would her brother.

By the time Hayden was ready to face the world, he was walking and talking. I have a feeling this little adventurer will be a whole different challenge.

The learning curve has begun all over again. I can't wait.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A budding philanthropist

Hayden: Mummy, those kids are sad.

Me, looking up from my computer to see a World Vision commercial: Yes, they are buddy.

Hayden: Why are they so sad mummy?

Me, tentatively: They're hungry buddy. They don't have enough food so their tummies hurt.

Hayden, looking worried : They can have the rest of my chicken. And my cookie. Then they'll be happy.

And then I cried, wishing it was that easy to solve world hunger and touched to see Hayden's budding empathy.

I think in the new year we'll sponsor a child to help him see that we can make a difference, one child at a time.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Love is a funny thing

I have an admission that fills me with guilt and shame as a mother: When my daughter was born, I didn't fall instantly in love.

All through my pregnancy, people told me "you wonder how you'll ever love another child as much as your first but the moment they're born - you will!" So when Felicity was born, after weeks on bed rest, a stalled all-natural labour and then an emergency c-section, I was sure that when I laid eyes on her, I'd adore her the same way I do Hayden. But I didn't.

I loved her. She's my child and was very much wanted, of course I loved her. But I didn't feel IN LOVE with her the way I do with Hayden. And that fact ate me up inside. It made me feel like a completely unfit mother. How could I not love her as much as my first born? What kind of monster was I? I racked my brain for the reason behind it; Was it the difficult pregnancy? The complete change from my natural birth plan? Because she was a girl? Because of her near-death experience in her first week? Had I nearly lost her so many times that I'd closed off my heart a little? None of these reasons seemed to suffice for such an awful truth.

As the weeks passed, I tortured myself with this unspoken failure as a mother. Eventually, in a sobbing mess, I admitted it to my husband. The sweet man he is, he consoled me and revealed that he had felt the same thing when Hayden was born. He mused that it was probably more common than I thought and as time went on, I would develop that love (just as he obviously has for Hayden). I nodded and sniffled and in my head just kept repeating Monster! Monster! Horrible Mother! Boo! you don't deserve this awesome baby!

Then one day, about three weeks ago, she smiled at me. She heard my voice, turned her head and smiled. And somewhere in my heart, a dam burst and the love just flooded over me. This was my baby girl. My daughter. My little clone who not only looked like me, but also had my mellow personality. She was mine and I adored her. The relief was so great that I actually cried. I wasn't a failure after all, just a slow learner.

Looking back, I can see that I set myself up for a tough start. I expected to love her for who she was without having known her. My love for Hayden has grown and changed over the years and I now love him for the little person he is. I somehow thought I would inherit this deeper love for Felicity from birth, which I now know is impossible. Children imprint themselves on your heart in a million different ways. Their first smile, first laugh, their amazement of tree canopies and snow flakes, their inquisitiveness and unguarded affection...all the frivolity and tenderness of childhood create layers of love in your heart.

As Felicity and I spend more time together, she continues to build on the love I have for her. I'm now looking forward to learning just who she is and who she will be. I'm eager to build our relationship and make our love even stronger. I know that I love her just as I love Hayden.

I look back now, at two months, and wonder what I ever worried about!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Felicity’s birth story

After going into labour at 28 weeks and then carefully observing 8 weeks of bed rest, Felicity decided that the womb was a pretty awesome place to be and she was staying put. My due date came and went without any sign that she was going to make an appearance.

On Wednesday afternoon (5 days past my due date), after trying nearly every natural labour inducer out there (red raspberry leaf, evening primrose oil, long walks, nipple stimulation, bouncing on the ball, spicy food, pineapple, stretch and sweeps, warm baths, meditation, sex, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture) I finally turned to castor oil. I took 3 tablespoons in the early afternoon and crossed my fingers that the effects wouldn’t be too horrible.

The afternoon progressed and the castor oil didn’t seem to do a thing. I went to bed resigned to the fact that this baby was going nowhere till she was good and ready. At around 4am, I woke up to some pretty uncomfortable contractions. They were about 5 minutes apart, but I slept between them thinking that whether it was the real thing or not, I would need my rest. By 6am, they were too painful and regular to sleep any more so I got up. The castor oil finally made its way through my system and I wondered if it was just bowel cramps. Half an hour later, it was obvious that this was no false alarm.

I woke up Adam and Hayden and called the midwives. By this time, I had to stop, rock, and breathe through each contraction. Basak was on call, which I was thrilled about as she and I have very similar views on childbirth and interventions. I explained my progress and she told us that we needed to hurry up and get to the hospital. She warned me that if my water broke, things would progress REALLY fast.

Adam called my mum and Rain while I had a shower. He was calling his clients to cancel that day’s appointments when I came back downstairs. I told him to forget work and get Hayden ready because things were getting intense. Hayden was very sweet and hugging me, asking endless questions every time I had a contraction. We tried to explain to him that baby was coming and it hurt mummy a little. That he would meet his baby sister after school. We dropped him off around 7am and raced into Guelph. Adam decided to take the back roads and ended up at a dead end with construction. He quickly navigated other back roads, over bumps and dirt roads – the whole time my contractions were coming about every 3-4 minutes. He weaved around red lights and sped the whole way.

When we arrived at the hospital, Rain was just getting out of her car too. Rain helped me get to the L&D floor while Adam parked the car. She would very soothingly tell me I was doing great and rub my back and shoulders every time a contraction stopped our progress. We waited for what seemed like forever for the nurses to even let us into the floor. Basak came to open the door and we made our way directly to a birthing room. It was there that I learned that the birthing tub was out of order. This freaked me RIGHT out as it was my first choice for pain control.

I changed into a gown and laboured on my birthing ball – loving the movement and counter-pressure on my perineum. Basak and Christine helped to guide my vocalizations to be long and drawn out. When they checked me, I was about 4cm but Christine thought that she could feel a nose or brow presenting. Basak felt as well and confirmed. They agreed to let me continue labouring in hopes that baby would turn. My water was still intact and there was a chance baby would turn on her own as the contractions continued. Mum arrived while I was in full-on labour mode, vocalizing quite loudly through each contraction.

Around this time (maybe 9am) the contractions started getting really intense. I tried labouring in the shower for a few minutes but just ended up feeling cold and wet so back to the bed we went. When they checked me again I was 6cm but Basak still felt facial features. They called the OB to confirm as a face-first presentation could not be delivered naturally. He was in the operating room and could be there in 45 minutes.

Mum, Rain and Adam were all very attentive birth attendants. They put cold cloths on my neck and brow, gave me fluids, encouraged me gently through each contraction and surrounded me with love. The midwives were great at doing all the technical procedures in the background without interrupting my rhythm. They were also having trouble getting a good heart rate on the baby. They started an IV to give me more fluids and also gave me rescue remedy to try and calm me down. The OB arrived, checked me and said that the baby seemed to be presenting fine. He broke my water and they found thin muconium in my fluid. He applied a scalp monitor to baby’s head to get a more reliable read on her heart. This was not very successful and a little concerning, but the reason why will be explained as the story unfolds.

I sort of lost my cool around this time and the pain overwhelmed me. I was practically screaming through each contraction. After an hour of contractions with the water broken I was still 6cm. Basak told me that she thought something was not quite right. She said if baby was in the optimal position, her head would be pressing on my cervix and I should have delivered her by now. She suggested an epidural to relax my body. I agreed enthusiastically.

After the epidural was in place, I felt my sanity returning. The intensity of labouring without drugs had been overwhelming. Probably what pushed me over the edge was knowing that even with all the pain, I wasn’t progressing. Basak kicked everyone out of the room and insisted I sleep for a few hours to see if my body totally relaxed, baby would turn and come down. While I lay there quietly, I had a good internal chat with this baby and encouraged her to come out, that I loved her and that I wished for her health. In return, I got a very strong feeling that this baby was a girl.

I slept for two hours. When Basak checked me again, I was still 6cm and again she felt a face. At this point she said that she believed baby was face down the whole time. There was no way I could vaginally deliver a baby in this position and it would be impossible to turn her head without harming her face. I would have to have a c-section. The doctor re-appeared, confirmed the position and said I would be heading to the OR in 15 minutes. I cried a little as after so much effort to deliver her without any drugs or intervention, I was now going to endure the most medical birth out there.

After kissing everyone goodbye, they wheeled me to the OR and began preparations. My legs were straightened and strapped down, my belly was scrubbed, a top-up of my epidural left me with only pressure sensation below my chest, and the sheet was raised to keep me from looking at the surgery. Adam was seated by my left side and held my hand as the surgery began. The midwives asked for weight and gender guesses and they both chose weights in the 7 lb range with a girl. I said 8lbs 6ozs, girl, and they both told me there was no way I had a baby over 8lbs in my belly (which had measured small all through the last trimester).

The procedure was quite quick and before I knew it, I felt incredible pressure as they tried to pull her from my belly. Her head was so stuck in my pelvis that they had to widen the incision and use forceps to pry her out. And then, the most wonderful sound a mother could hear – she cried and the doctor announced that it was a girl. I burst into tears.

Basak took her to the warming table to clean her off and get her APGAR scores. Adam followed and took photos of her first minutes of life. She scored a 9, 9 and 10 on her APGARs and was breathing really well. On the scale, everyone was shocked. I was dead on – she was 8lbs 6ozs. They bundled her up and brought her to me, holding her beside my face so I could look at this little stubborn lady. Despite being warned that her face might be black and blue from pushing against my pelvis, she was perfect. She was a little swollen (earning her the nickname squishy) and she had one mark above her eyebrow where the doctor had applied the scalp probe (no wonder they couldn’t keep a good read on her!). I gently stroked her face and welcomed Felicity to the world. She frowned at me and blinked furiously at the bright lights.

As they stitched me back up, Adam and the midwives went back to our room to share Felicity with mum and Rain. The doctor gave me two medications for nausea and I was right out of it.

Soon I was being wheeled back to my room to reunite with my daughter. She was placed in my arms and we stared at each other in loving wonder. I brought her to my breast and she instantly began nursing. She had an excellent latch from the start – a nursing natural.

Felicity is the opposite of her brother’s personality so far. She sits quietly studying and frowning at the world around her and cries only when she’s hungry or has gas. At a week old, she already sleeping for long stretches and has gained 7oz from her birth weight. She has a head full of light brown hair and chubby little thighs.

She’s an angel baby and has dispelled my belief that I would have a house full of boys. After looking at my own baby pictures, she’s a dead ringer for the infant me. And so far, she has my relaxed personality as well. And so our family seems complete – Hayden is a mini-Adam and Felicity takes after her mum. What a perfect beginning.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Beware - hormonal manatee ahead

Today is my due date and I think I have officially come off my rocker. The rational side of my brain understands that a due date is an educated guess that shouldn't really matter. But the pregnant, hormonal side says that it's now been 40 weeks, my timer has dinged so where is my baby?!

I find myself retreating into solitude these days. Every time I venture out, even just to get vitamins, I either get a slack-jawed stare (directed straight at my balloon belly) or I get the lame dog sympathy look. Both now drive me crazy. And that's without the constant comments about how I should enjoy these final days and how sensual a pregnant woman is. I've ceased to become a customer, a neighbour, another person on the street. Now I'm "a pregnant woman." My belly defines who I am, how people interact with me, the conversations I have...and quite frankly, I'm tired of it.

And so, a warning for all of you who will potentially talk to me, call me, email me, or FaceBook me in the next two weeks: please do not talk about the baby or my pregnancy. Whatever you do, don't ask me if I've had the baby yet. Trust me, when I do, you'll know. And for heaven's sake, do NOT tell me to enjoy it, predict the baby will come a week from now, or tell me how big I am. Talk to me about politics, the news, celebrity gossip, or pretty much anything except reminding me that I'm still pregnant.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Up yours fates!

It seems that the fates have decided that my pregnancy with Hayden was too perfect. Too easy. I conceived him effortlessly and had a dream pregnancy, delivering him at 37 weeks. Before I ever had a thought of wishing it were over. I was one of those women who loved being pregnant - every moment of it!

With this pregnancy, apparently I'm running a different kind of race. I had partial placenta previa (now resolved), pre-term labour at 28 weeks (with my cervix dilating and effacing), nearly 8 weeks on bed rest, and now, I'm closing in on my actual due date (two days away) and my cervix has actually reversed in progress (something my midwife had never seen)! I think it would only be fitting for me to now go overdue and have to be induced, leaving my dream of an unmedicated birth behind me and completing my obstacle course of a pregnancy.

Ah the fates. They sure do know how to test us....Well up yours fates. I'm still standing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

9 days to D Day!

Wow, September 16. Never thought I'd see a September birth date, let alone one in the late half of the month! Apparently I was so good at bed rest that I've managed to convince this belly bean to stay put for the long haul! I'm now almost 39 weeks. I've never been this pregnant before. (Hayden was born at 37 weeks!) Things are going well: I'm feeling good, baby is growing (though still measuring small), and for the most part baby stays head down now.

I find myself really appreciating and craving my time with Hayden now. Knowing that soon a little life will be demanding and dictating our lives, I feel that my one-on-one time with Hayden is even more precious. He seems to sense that a change is coming too and has been an absolute delight lately (aside from our nightly dinner battle). He makes me laugh constantly and has been spending extra time wrapped in my arms.

My realization that I won't be able to spoil my boy with undivided attention has resulted in a weird side effect. Nearly every night I have a vivid dream where I lose Hayden, he gets really hurt or we're in a really dangerous situation. I guess my unconscious mind is struggling to comprehend how I'll keep an eye on my mini-kamikaze with an infant. I'm sure the first few weeks and months will be a struggle, but we'll figure it out.

Hopefully any day now I'll be posting to tell you all about my delivery and the new little life we welcomed into the world! Wish us luck on the final leg of this pregnancy journey! And think smooth and fast labour thoughts for me!

Friday, August 28, 2009

D Day

My mum has given her prediction that this baby will be born this weekend. Man...I hope she's right. She's also predicted that this baby will be a boy. We'll see on that one - all this labour drama makes me think this might just be a girl!

When do you think baby will come? Think it's a boy or a girl? Time to place your bets!

At my last midwife appointment they told me that baby should have settled into his/her birthing position by now. But, being a tricky baby, this one continues to flip from head down to sideways, even with just a few weeks until I'm due. The midwives did talk about performing an external version followed by breaking my waters, giving me pitocin and a host of other interventions. Exactly the type of thing I wanted to avoid and one of the main reasons I chose the midwives. Their main concern is that my waters will break when baby is sideways, allowing the cord to be pinched in the birth canal. I have my next appointment on Tuesday and I'm hoping to convince them that this unlikely (though very dangerous) situation does not seem to be reason enough for a very medical birth.

So until my appointment, I continue to practice weird contortionist moves in an effort to keep baby in optimal position. Adam did take a photo of said exercises...though I don't think I want to share. I'm drinking red raspberry leaf tea to strengthen my uterus and taking evening primrose oil to prepare my cervix. Yup, I've become a crazy hippie pregnant woman (according to Adam). I prefer to think of it as proactive pre-parenting - doing everything I can to make this labour and delivery smooth and quick!

And so - think labour thoughts for me this weekend! Hopefully mum is right and this rollercoaster ride is nearly over!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bed rest learnings

It's been forever since I've posted. I chalk it up to two things.
  1. My space bar on the lap top doesn't work (a wine accident last year) which makes typing anything beyond a paragraph absolutely infuriating. If I didn't go back and individually add spaces beside every word myblogwouldlookalotlikethis.
  2. I've been funneling my creative efforts into something else. I started my own little WAHM (that's Work At Home Mum for you non-anagram savvy folks) business making sock stuffie animals. It's done wonders to keep me sane and it earns me a few dollars (and I do mean only a few).
I'm still officially on bed rest. According to the scratches on the wall, I'm now into week eight. I'm 35 weeks though, which is past the real danger zone so I've been slowly weaning myself of my horizontal life. Every little chore or outing leaves me exhausted and breathless but also filled with a weird sort of pride for getting something done (other than completing another successful womb day for the belly bean).

I've made some interesting observations while being a shut in.
  1. I crave face-to-face human contact and go a little crazy if I go more than a few days only talking to Adam.
  2. I can't watch TV. I mean, it's often on but I can't focus on it for any length of time during the day. So many wonderful people have given me movies and seasons to watch, but they sit unopened on the shelf.
  3. If I let myself, I could nap for an hour or two every afternoon. The Mexicans know what they're talking about with siestas.
  4. I miss Hayden like crazy all day but am often short-tempered with him only three hours after he gets home. I hate the "edge" that pregnancy hormones give me.
  5. My husband is a damn fine cook.
  6. My neighbourhood rocks. It reminds me a lot of how a neighbourhood would have looked 60 years ago. Back when you knew who lived next to you and watched out for them.
  7. The National Do Not Call registry doesn't work worth a crap. I get at least three unsolicited telemarketer phone calls a day.
  8. Pending labour signs cease to be interesting or even noted after you've been having them for over a week. I think the baby will have to actually fall out for me to believe it's the real thing.
  9. I'm ready to have this baby. I know that two more weeks in utero is optimal, but my mind, my body, and my marriage would be better off if I didn't have to coddle my cervix any longer. There's only so much any of those factors can take and I think we're there.
  10. Hayden is going to make an awesome big brother. Every day he sings to my belly, sometimes making up songs for the baby. Today as the baby kicked and rolled in reaction to his voice he told me "Baby's bigger now mummy. He's ready to come out." He still believes that my belly button is the baby's exit route.
And so, that's the deal. I've been in labour with this little one for over seven weeks. And don't think I won't use this fact to my advantage when he/she becomes a lippy teenager!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The horizonal pro-star

Today marks one full week of bed rest. Somehow, it seems to be getting easier instead of harder. I'm convinced that this is because for the past two days, I've had a few hours in the morning without contractions. Knowing that this horizontal position is actually helping makes being a lump feel more like an activity in baby-saving. I'm the only one who can protect and help the baby right now and I've accepted that the best way to do that is by doing nothing at all. Took a few days to get my head into this frame of mind, but now that I'm here, I'm feeling better about things.

Adam is doing a fabulous job of keeping the house from falling apart and making sure that Hayden has some active play time every night. He's managed to keep Hayden's schedule similar and thus Hayden doesn't seem overly put out by the other changes. Despite a few rocky moments, we've adjusted pretty well as a family.

I've been constantly surprised and touched by the people in our life who have stepped forward to help out. Whether by watching Hayden, cooking, calling in to check on me, or offering to take me to my multiple appointments, we have an army of awesome friends and family members standing beside us.

Every day I make a short log entry to document my contractions and sensations. With no real concept of time or days, it helps me to see patterns in improvement. I've also taken to checking my cervix once a day to make sure I'm not dilating further. I find that I can do it gently and non-invasively enough that I don't irritate anything. Instead, I give myself peace of mind when I've had a particularly crampy day that it's not necessarily doing anything.

Tomorrow is a big day of Rhogam shots and another ultrasound to check my cervix. If my cervix is still long and closed enough, I may just go on modified bed rest to see how my body handles more vertical time.

Cross your fingers!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day four

Day four of bed rest looks an awful lot like day three. I watch the sun shining, my neighbours mingling and laughing, and my husband puttering, all from my couch perch. Getting boring for you loyal readers? I know it's looking pretty mundane from here.

Yesterday I woke up to some pretty strong contractions. After a hot bath, they weren't as painful, but they continued pretty frequently throughout the day. Today they seem to have subsided while I'm laying down. But I'm still confined to about five minutes of being upright before they start up again. And today there's a new sensation of downward pressure along with the cramps. This baby is sure keeping mama on her toes....or should I say her butt.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Reality bites

Today I'm home alone. My mum has graciously taken Hayden for the afternoon and overnight and Adam has gone golfing (trust me, he deserves the break). This leaves me with too much time on my hands. And I've been filling it by making myself cry uncontrollably.

As I explained in my last post, I'm someone who likes to know what I'm up against. And the latest in my premature birth research has been watching home videos of 28 week old preemies in the hospital. I only watch ones that have happy endings, but every single one brings me to great sobbing tears.

Watching these little miracles strengthens my resolve to be utterly strict on my bed rest. It also brings up feelings of guilt for putting myself in this situation by pushing my limits. I know that if I had a preemie baby, I would feel responsible for all of the tubes and wires and warmers that would keep my angel alive instead of the safety of my womb. I would beat myself up over any silly decisions I made leading up to this point - from not taking my prenatals daily to carrying around Hayden when he's more than capable of walking.

So, long story short I'm more determined than ever to keep this baby safely in my womb. No sneaking in showers, no unnecessary trips out, no trying to help Adam out. While the guilt of laying here and having someone else do everything weighs heavy on me, the guilt of pushing early labour along would be tenfold.

Bed rest musings

I'm now on day three of bed rest and already my mind whirls. I flit between waves of positive thinking that this is a small speed bump on my pregnancy journey to the reality that I could at any time be pushing a tiny, fragile life into the world.

My family, friends, and coworkers have all been so supportive and kind with their words and actions. Offers of dinners and company have come flooding in and often leave me weepy with the feeling of love I'm surrounded by.

Adam has accepted his new role of "everything man" quite well. While we have some grumbling, he's done an absolutely fabulous job of picking up Hayden's reigns while keeping the house from looking like a disaster zone. He even managed to have a serious talk with Hayden to convince him that he needs to be gentle with mummy. It's like having a different son as he's been so snuggly and cautious around me. Though he's realized I can't chase him around- as evidenced by his manic monster moment the minute Adam left to run errands last night.

With so much time to think, I've been spending a lot of time quelling my fears of a premature birth by researching. While Google can be a dangerous tool with this kind of cautionary situation, just knowing and preparing myself for what may come has eased my worry. I stay away from the scary tales and heartbreaking stories and instead focus on the many miracles that have been born around this age and lived with little to no ill-affect.

One thing I've been struggling to get my head around is the possible change in my labour plans. My intervention- and drug-free birth plans will be tough to accommodate if this little one arrives before 34 weeks. There would be no delayed cord cutting, no holding and nursing my baby for an hour before tests and cleansing takes him away. I'm trying to come to grips with the fact that this baby will probably be whisked from the room after I get a brief glance and then kept in the neo-natal ward for weeks. There will be no relaxed nursing as his sucking reflex will not be strong enough. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to pump and tube feed my little angel. And then there's the reality that the baby will be kept in hospital while I am discharged. Going home without my precious babe would just kill me.

So, while I'm still focusing strongly on getting through this pre-term labour risk and delivering in September, I'm preparing myself for the worst. It's always been my mantra in life: Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. It's fared me well so far and my mind actually relaxes once I understand what I'm up against. (For me it's like horror movies - once I actually see the threat, it's no longer scary. Movies like the Blair Witch Project where you never see the evil, that's what messes with my mind as I can think up WAY scarier things than reality can produce.)

So keep those positive thoughts and prayers coming. I swear sometimes I can feel the wave of support when someone sends a vibe out there.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Preggie panic on Canada Day

We are officially in pregnancy panic mode. On Wednesday, we had a busy day gardening and then going to the fair for Canada Day. On the way back from the fair I started feeling tight and uncomfortable. By the time we got home, I was having contractions and also sharp, stabbing pains when I was on my feet. I waited a few hours, taking it easy, drinking and laying down, but nothing changed.

A call to the midwives came with the advice to have a nice warm bath, lay down and call them in an hour. Still nothing changed so we met at the hospital. They hooked me up to the monitor and I was having regular contractions every 7-9 minutes. When they checked me, my cervix was 1cm dilated, soft and only 2cm long.

They gave me steroids for the baby's lungs, an IV for antibiotics and fluids, and monitored me all night long. The contractions hadn't changed one way or the other so I managed to convince the OB (they switched care) that I should go home to rest and would come back if anything changed and would be back on that night for an ultrasound, 2nd steroid shot, and additional monitoring.

For now, I'm on strict bed rest and can't return to work. They'll reassess on Monday and I'll have a better idea if the bed rest is permanent or if I can go back on modified hours after a week.

If the contractions get worse or my cervix continues to change I have to be admitted to a Level 3 hospital (with a high risk neo-natal unit) which could be anywhere from Hamilton to Ottawa or even in Buffalo!!

I had a complete panic moment on Wednesday when I realized that if this baby comes early, we don't have any diapers, a place for the baby to sleep, any clothes washed, or even my hospital bag packed. I think Adam might be pretty busy this weekend getting the basics in place just in case. It least it might quiet one part of my stressed brain...

I'll definitely keep you posted as we learn more. At only 28 weeks, we need to keep this baby put for at least another six weeks to avoid major complications. Send all your stay put vibes our way!

Monday, June 29, 2009


This past week has been filled with wonderful Haydenisms!

On Wednesday, I had my hair done, bringing back my curls for the first time since Hayden was just a wee baby. When I picked up Hayden up from school that afternoon, he looked at me all wide-eyed, pointed to my hair, and said "Pitty hair mummy."
Then burst into tears and threw himself to the ground crying "I don't like your pitty hair!"

Over the weekend, we camped out at my parent’s house while Adam enjoyed his birthday weekend in Ottawa. The stage was set for his honest observations.

Hayden: Poppa, I have a baby in my tummy. A wittle baby.
Poppa: Oh really? What does mummy have in her tummy?
Hayden: Mummy has a wittle baby too.
Then he cocked his head to the side and looked at my dad thoughtfully.
Hayden: Poppa – you have a big baby in your tummy!

Gran: I’m going to go and get washed up now.
Hayden (looking at me): Gran’s dirty?
Me (laughing): Yup buddy, Gran needs to go and get washed and dressed.
Hayden follows Gran into the washroom and lifts her nightshirt.
Hayden: Get naked now Gran. Take your clothes off.

Gran: Come and give me a hug Hayden. Poppa and I will be gone when you get up from your nap.
Hayden: Sowwy Gran, I too busy.

Me: Okay buddy, time to close your eyes and go to sleep.
Hayden (with a pout): You sleeping upstaiws mummy?
Me: No baby, I’m going to sleep in this bed with you.
Hayden: Weally? I like that.

You just can’t help but love him….

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


This week I've had not one, not two, but three people at work tell me that I've started waddling.

Last night as I made me way down the lane to bring in the recycling boxes, I looked back to see Adam on the porch with a crooked smile on his lips. When I asked what he was smirking about he just replied "You really are pregnant."

Only 13 weeks or three months left to go!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A vision of things to come?!

On Saturday, we packed up the car and drove to Cobourg to visit my new niece, Rachael. Born only two days after Petra, we hadn't had a chance to meet her and say congratulations to her parents. I was a little leery of bringing our tiny tornado into the mix so we coached him a little on how to be gentle and quiet with tiny babies.

The visit started predictably enough with Hayden and his cousin Aurora screaming round in giant loops from the living room through the kitchen and back again. Both completely oblivious to the baby and to parental warnings, they had a blast reconnecting.

What surprised me was how mobile and pain-free Virginia was after her c-section delivery! You'd never know that she was only a few weeks post-partum - she looked fabulous and was moving around the house without even a slight grimace. Seems that my labour nightmare was actually a god-send for her!

After lunch, we all settled in the living room to chat. Hayden, having worn himself out doing laps of the main floor, plunked himself beside me to inspect baby Rachael. "I want to hold her," he pronounced. I looked to Virginia to gage her reaction and she nodded with a smile (must be a second-time mother)!

Well didn't Hayden sit for nearly half an hour cuddling Rachael and "protecting" her from her big sister, Aurora. He gently kissed and stroked her head, patted her belly, pointed out all her tiny features to me, and encouraged me to touch her feet.

Seeing Hayden in this calm, gentle state just melted me and gave me hope for when our little bundle arrives in September. I can only hope that he feels the same tender love and protectiveness for his own little brother or sister. Tornado turned summer breeze....

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mission compromised!

Apparently Hayden and I are more alike than I ever imagined.

Last night, when Adam left to play his weekly baseball game, Hayden and I got down to the business of crafting his father's day present. We worked in a colourful, sloppy rainbow - both of us partially naked to reduce the amount of laundry - for about an hour and a half. I think we were both pretty happy with the results, both the craft and Hayden's new technicolour torso. (Man, I wished I'd thought to snap some pictures, but I was too busy trying to prevent him from touching the new micro-suede sofa!)

As we put the masterpieces up to dry, I explained to Hayden that these were a big surprise for daddy and we couldn't tell him what we did tonight. It was a secret - shhhh! Hayden nodded sagely. I gave him a bath, washed the remnants from my own hands and arms and then tucked him into bed. Again, I reminded him that he couldn't tell daddy about his pretty gift for three more sleeps, and then we'd surprise him in bed on Sunday. He agreed with a grin and snuggled into bed with his six stuffy friends and one big plastic truck.

Adam arrived home not five minutes after Hayden had gone to bed. As soon as Hayden heard the front door open, he began calling for Adam to come upstairs.

And what did he say to Adam the minute he saw him? "Guess what daddy! Mummy and I made you a special secret present! I painted my hands!"

*sigh* I can't blame him. I've never been able to keep a secret either!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Confessions of a pregnant woman

I, Lucy, do solemnly hang my head in shame and confess to the following pregnancy induced 'crimes' and/or morally bereft acts:
  1. Once I'm finally home for the day and put my feet up I'm very reluctant to get off the couch. Hayden has been acting as my fetcher to bring me the phone, my cup, and anything else that's out of reach.
  2. I suck at taking prenatal vitamins. I probably only remember three times a week if I'm lucky.
  3. I only drink about 4 cups of fluid a day. I've always been a camel and find it hard to drink unless I'm actually thirsty.
  4. I have not shaved my legs in over a month.
  5. I fell asleep in the bath tub last week.
  6. I allow myself one nutritionally-void snack every day (usually a chocolate bar or a handful of chips).
  7. I haven't done a lick of exercise in six months.
  8. It's been nearly a month since Adam and I did the deed.

It's so empowering to just write these things out loud. My mortal sins of pregnancy, as they were!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Birthing from within

My family thinks I’m crazy and kidding myself. My friends think I’m brave. My doula and midwives think that I have the strength I need to get the job done. I think I’m going to push every limit of my mind and body in order to become a stronger woman and to experience something ancient and miraculous.

I’m planning to have a drug-free, natural childbirth.

I think it’s amazing how that one statement can elicit such wildly different reactions.

On one end of the spectrum are my mother and sister. They both openly mock my choice to try and go drug-free. Mum says she’s done it naturally and by c section and felt no affection or desire to repeat the former. My sister reminds me of how painful my last birth was and questions my ability and sanity in coping without readily available pain relief.

On the flip side sit my doula and my midwives. All give me quiet, unwavering confidence that if this is my choice, they have utmost confidence that I can achieve my goal. They have the skills and knowledge to guide me through the journey that centuries of women before me have travelled.

In the depths of my mind, I hear and validate both sides.

With Hayden, I coped quite well with contractions until the Pitocin was started and I was forced to lay flat on my back so that Hayden’s heart could be continually monitored. After the drugs took hold, I was consumed with the pain and ferocity of the contractions. So yes, I know how much labour can hurt. I laboured with those drug-fortified labour pains for six hours unmedicated. Then I begged for an epidural to release me from labour’s grip.

The liberal, granola part of my brain reminds me that this time will be different. This time I will have the unwavering support of my doula (a very good friend), two midwives, my mother and my husband. The experts among my support team know different positions and techniques to cope with the increasing pain. They know how to naturally encourage my body to work with the contractions to help the baby to descend. And they know how to guide those I love to provide comfort and encouragement when I need it.

I’ve been reading book after book on natural childbirth to prepare myself for what is to come. I am now confident that with my team and my newfound knowledge, I can do this. I’m still unsure of why I’ve chosen this path. It’s hard to describe, but it just feels like the right thing to do. What I was meant to do. That it will in some way heal me and make me stronger.

Testing myself and pushing my personal limits is something I’ve always done – from staying a straight A student in school to learning how to fly a glider to sleeping outside in an igloo in the dead of winter. But it’s been a long time since I’ve purposefully pushed my limits. I think perhaps this little bird is yearning to stretch her wings again. To look suffering and pain in the face and say I’m better than you! Wish me luck.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Welcome to the world Petra!

This weekend, my sister welcomed a baby girl into the world. Little Petra Olivia defied all baby pools and arrived eight days after her due date. I know it doesn’t sound remarkable as many babies are born past term, but Petra had threatened to come at 34 weeks. Ang was on strict bed rest to prevent her early arrival and we were all expecting baby’s arrival weeks ago.

It just goes to show that babies have their own schedules and their own agendas. Little Petra has shown us that there’s nothing predictable about babies, labour, or childbirth!

She’s gorgeous and looks just like her dad – dark, curly hair, big blue eyes, giant hands and feet! Despite her size, 8lbs, 6ozs., she was a much easier delivery than her brother and Ang only had to push for 15 minutes. (We should all be so lucky!)

I brought Gage to the hospital to see his newborn sister just hours after she arrived. The moment I walked into the room I was overcome by emotion and burst into tears. I’m not sure if it was the tranquil scene or the reminder of what my own future holds, but it was incredibly touching to see those siblings interact for the first time and to see my sister in all her birthing glory. It definitely made me excited for my own impending delivery.

Everyone is home now and doing great. Petra is a nursing champ and hasn’t stopped since she left the womb. She’s a strong one – in will and body (she must get that from her Auntie Lucy).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pregnancy can be cruel

Morning sickness in the second trimester sucks. Being nauseous while a little ninja practices their twirls, kicks and punches next to your rolling gut is simply awful. I have a new respect for the women in my life who have lived through this (Ang and Dana - I'm talking to you!). Ugh.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The wisdom of carnies

This past weekend, a carnival rolled into our end of town. All weekend I hummed and hawed over whether to take Hayden or complete the mountain of chores at home. When a kindly old man gave us a free sheet of tickets at breakfast, the scales tipped and Hayden and I dashed off to the fair before nap time.

The first ride we came to was the merry-go-round. Hayden pulled on my hand and pointed to every horse that galloped by as we waited our turn in (a thankfully very short) line. Once we got through the gate, Hayden carefully chose his horse with the concentration of a seasoned jockey. I hoisted him on the horse and stood beside him, watching the smile widen across his face.

As the ride began, Hayden's grip tightened and the smile spread right up into his eyes. It dawned on me at that moment that this was Hayden's first ever carnival ride...and his daddy wasn't there to witness how much joy it brought him. The reality mixed with my overabundance of hormones left me with tears streaming down my face as we spun in circles. Crazy preggo meet touching first childhood experience.

We left the merry-go-round with a spring in our steps and toured the rest of the carnival. Hayden was drawn to all the large, vomit-inducing rides like the twirling strawberries and the drop zone. When he set his eyes on the giant ferris wheel, I knew I had to compromise. Amazingly, we both enjoyed it. Hayden would point out the "too fast for mummy" Matterhorn ride every time we reached the top. Clearly this child has his father's need for speed. I was beginning to think that I was holding him back.

Lately, Hayden has been growing in leaps and bounds developmentally. Every time he tries to master a new skill (potty training, sleeping in a big boy bed), he does it almost flawlessly and with much less prodding than I anticipated. Keeping his advancements in mind, I decided to loosen the baby reigns a bit. Hayden had been pushing to ride the "dragon" - a mini coaster built just for kids under 6. Given that I couldn't ride with him, I'd written it off. But in an effort to keep from holding my son back from experiencing life, I relented.

Hayden JUST graced the minimum height restriction. As I sat him in the seat, he grinned back at me, gripping the safety bar for dear life. I bit my lip and reminded him to hold on tight and not stand up. Then I pointed to where I'd be standing and left my baby in the hands of the carnies.

As the ride started with a jolt, Hayden's face just crumpled. By the time he came around the first corner, he was wailing. Three times I had to watch my son's panic stricken face rumble past me. By the time the ride slowed to a stop, I was crying almost as hard as he was. I raced to pull him from the seat of terror and he clung to me almost as hard as I gripped him.

We sat on a nearby bench, both of us in tears. Hayden turned to me and sobbed "Too fast mummy. Dragon was too fast for me!" I hugged him harder and said I was sorry about a dozen times. My mind beating itself up over letting my toddler get on a scary carnie ride by himself. A few long minutes later, with an offer of a hamburger, his traumatic experience was forgotten and the tears dried.

It was the first time I gave in to myself to let Hayden do something I felt was too much for him. The first time I pushed my little bird out of the safety of my nest. He wasn't hurt, wasn't scarred for life (I hope), and yet I beat myself up over it all night. I half expected him to wake up with nightmares of the terrible dragon that night. But he didn't.

It was a learning experience for us both. For me, I learned that Hayden's first times are not always going to be magical moments and I should expect some bumps, bruises and tears. For Hayden, he learned that sometimes mummy says no for a reason and, hopefully, that there are some things better left to the big kids.

Who knew a carnival would hold such important life lessons.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ego check

As we pull into the driveway of Hayden's school, one of the other mothers (who without fail looks like she's walked from the pages of a fashion magazine at 7am every morning) walks down the lane to her car.

Hayden: Joshua's mummy is beautiful!

Inside Lucy: strange pang of jealousy

Lucy: Yes, she is. Do you think your mummy is beautiful? (I bait him, smiling back at him hopefully.)

Hayden looks at me pensively for a moment, truly considering my question.

Hayden: No.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Twins? Super Baby? The ultrasound revealed all!

So yesterday I had my ultrasound. It was pushed up because of my contractions a week ago and was already earlier than most anatomy scans to see if there was any reason for my early movement, slightly large fundal height (belly measurements) and puketastic morning sickness. The word twins was thrown around cautiously and got me super excited.
So at the scan, all was revealed.....
Amazingly - only one baby in there. One big giant constantly-moving baby! I was seriously surprised when I asked how many there were in there and she said one. I just had this strong gut feeling that there were twins...wishful thinking perhaps?!

The tech got all her measurements in record time. She then let Adam, my mum and I stare at our little bean dancing away in there for a good ten minutes. Now the first place she went was right between the legs, just as I blurted out - "we don't want to know the sex!" But it may have been too late. I think my instinct was right and this little one is a boy. A brother for Hayden! Time will tell! Only 21 weeks till we know for sure! (Pictures will be uploaded as soon as I can scan them!)

I should find out today at my midwife appointment if I can go off pelvic rest (cross your fingers)!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Out of the mouths...

Last night, as I was giving Hayden a bath, my shirt inched up over my growing belly.

"Mummy, you have a big belly!" Hayden exclaimed wide-eyed.

"Do you know why Mummy's belly is big? What's in there?" I asked him

"A baby!!!" He squealed.

Then he looked at my belly pensively for a moment.

"A dead baby." He added quietly.

Now, I don't know where that came from or why he said it, but it COMPLETELY threw me for a loop. Especially because this little active bean has been quite quiet in the last week. I'm a firm believer that children are much more acutely tapped into their sixth sense than adults. So when Hayden says something like this, I have trouble just dismissing it.

He had the same quiet tone at Grampa's funeral earlier this month. When we went to look at Grampa in the coffin, I whispered to Hayden that it looked like Grampa was sleeping.

"He's not seeping mummy. Gampa's dead," he returned completely matter-of-a-factly. It just took my breath away as no one had explained life and death to him yet. No one had actually said that Grampa had passed in such blatent terms around him.

Let's just say that I'm paying special attention to the flutters and kicks today. And I'm really looking forward to my ultrasound tomorrow to get some peace of mind.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Whoa old Nelly!

Last Saturday, the first really warm day this year, Adam and I decided to tackle the back yard. We're completely landscaping the yard and the first step was to rescue all of our bulbs and plants before tilling the land.

There I was in 20 degree weather, digging out bulbs, replanting them in pots, mixing in mulch and building up a sweat. When I stopped to catch my breath, I realized that not only was my stomach tightening on a pretty regular basis, but I was also cramping along with the contractions. Dang nab it!

I came inside and sat down for a while, drinking some water (the first thing doctors usually tell you to do). Eventually, the pain subsided and the tightening lessened. I figured all was fine and went about the rest of my day, taking breaks as needed when the pain returned.

On Sunday I kept having the same cramping any time I did anything moderately strenuous (chasing Hayden, carrying laundry up the stairs, grocery shopping). So I decided I'd call my midwife on Monday to let her know (heaven forbid I call the emergency pager and interrupt somebody's weekend).

Well didn't I get an earful for not calling the pager when I was having the contractions. She said I definitely should have contacted the practice and probably should have gone to the hospital. She explained that it very well could have been symptoms of pre-term labour and my cervix could be shortening or dilating. This early activity could make it difficult for my body to carry the baby to term. Uh oh.

So now I'm on pelvic rest with strict instructions not to lift anything more than 15 pounds, not to exert myself, and no nookie. I had my ultrasound appointment bumped up too so they could look at my cervix length. The midwife asked if I wanted an emergency scan this week, but since I have the full anatomy scan next week anyways, we compromised and moved my ultrasound up to Tuesday of next week.

I have to admit that hearing how serious it could be really freaked me out. I guess I have to take these physical warning signs more seriously...I'm not the young filly I was!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Now I lay me down to sleep...

For the past two weeks, my life has revolved around beds.

On the happy note, we finally moved Hayden from his crib into a big boy bed. Despite my trepidation about having my kamakaze kid free to roam the hall upstairs, the transition has been absolutely painless (knock on wood). I now lay him down and kiss him goodnight and he stays in his bed until I come to get him (even for naps). I would never have even wished for this kind of flawless change, thinking it too beyond our abilities as parent and child. Hayden continues to surprise me this way and makes me realize that I underestimate him sometimes.

The other half of my recent bed-based life is a much more heart breaking one. Two weeks ago, Adam's paternal grandfather was diagnosed with terminal cancer. We spent an afternoon beside his hospital bed as we awaited the diagnosis, making jokes about his airy wardrobe and about how we were competing for the largest stomach. He was in amazing spirits, and seemed set on making the rest of us feel comfortable with his condition.

A week later, grampa opted to go home for his final days. It was a decision that I hope everyone has a chance to make some day. Moving back to his home put him in a place that he was comfortable with. A place that Gramma didn't have to ferry back and forth to. Somewhere that family could be with him day and night. Family rallied around him to ensure that someone always stayed the night with he and Gramma should anything happen.

When we went to see him on the last weekend of March, we joked about him stealing so much hospital equipment and how he was planning to pack light for his big journey home to heaven. That weekend the entire family came to see him and say their goodbyes, to gather around him and offer each other support. Adam and I took pictuers of each member of the family sitting and laughing with Grampa. We also took video to capture his boisterous spirit and the love that poured out for him.

This Thursday we got the call that Grampa had taken a turn for the worse. Adam and I both took Friday off to spend the day with him. In the six hours we spent at his bedside, grampa was lucid for maybe five minutes. The rest of the time, he was in a deep sleep, not responding to words, but giggling and groaning happily when we massaged his feet or back.

Saturday afternoon we returned to find the family gathered together at Gramma and Grampa's house once again. Grampa had drifted into a state of unconsciousness, though seemed aware when loved ones were near. He passed that afternoon, after waiting until his youngest daughter sat by his bedside and told him she was there. He held on until he had his whole family around him before departing on his journey back to God.

We are all going to miss Grampa tremendously. He was one heck of a grandfather, father, and husband. His influence and the love he shared was truly evident in the faces and hearts of those around him as he departed.

God bless you Grampa, may you rest in peace with your saviour.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Turkey timer pops early

I'm starting to get freaked out. I'm a day shy of 14 weeks (three and a half months), and my bellybutton is already popping out!
I'm starting to think there isn't just one baby in there, but maybe a litter of them!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The simple things in life

Me: Isn't the sky beautiful this morning buddy? (refrerring to the pink blush that spread across the horizon as we arrived at school)

Hayden: Pitty mummy, vewy pitty. Makes the birdies happy.

Me: You're right - the birdies are singing away. They must like the pretty sky too.

Hayden: Makes mummy happy too?

Me: Yes buddy, you know, it does make mummy happy.

Hayden: Pitty sky make mummy and birdies happy. Dat makes me happy. Tank you sun.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Calling him home

Last night I found out that Adam’s paternal grandfather has terminal cancer.

He was admitted to hospital late last week because of a distended stomach and other complications. Last night, the doctor and surgeons confirmed to the family that the stomach distension is a result of a large cancerous tumour which has masticised into surrounding organs. Surgery is not an option given the size and location of the cancer. Grampa has voluntarily refused any chemo or radiation, preferring to live out his days in relative comfort at home.

I feel numb right now; sitting at work when my head and heart are elsewhere.

Last night was emotional, shattering, as my husband digested the news that he was losing his grandfather. That family is so close, so involved in each other’s lives, that the thought of losing such a prominent link in the chain has left them all shell-shocked and heartbroken.

I was torn between trying to be strong for Adam, and mourning the news myself. Having lost all of my natural grandparents, I’ve adopted Adam’s four grandparents as my own. I’ve spent nearly ten years celebrating birthdays and holidays with them, sharing meals and praying together.

Through all of this, Grampa stands firm in his role as the rock. He’s told everyone that he’s a tough old goat and not to count him out just yet. At the same time, he’s made peace with his diagnosis and is looking forward to going home to heaven and his maker. He’s still laughing and joking, not letting a little news about terminal cancer bring him down. We could all learn something from his attitude and strength in the face of adversity. I love and admire this man all the more for his amazing character and how he’s comforting his family during his hour of need.

Grampa, we may not be family by birth, but we are family through love, through choice. I love you as I did my own grandparents. I see the gifts you have given your family in the values and beliefs they hold dear, in the large family that joins together now to honour and support one of their own. Your legacy will live on through us and through our love. I hope that you know how deeply you’ve touched all of our lives and how blessed we feel to be able to spend some time telling you all of these things before you’re called home. God bless you Grampa. We love you so much.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Love from near and far

It's funny how time marches on without you realizing it.

Today, my little man is going on his first ever sleep-over without mum or dad there. Yup, he's nearly two and a half and he's never spent the night anywhere without his parents. I don't know if it's circumstance, my over-protective nature or maybe a combination of both. But tonight he will have his first sleep-over party with my in-laws. They've filled his mind with thoughts of playing soccer, going to the park, feeding the ducks and watching a new movie. He was giddy all day with anticipation.

As we waved him off not an hour ago, I was so conflicted. Part of me wanted to jump for joy to have a whole night and morning to myself. The other half of me wanted to sob that my little man is getting so big. Such an independent little man that he waved back to us from the car with a smile on his face and adventure in his eyes. He is no longer the unsure, clingy little boy that he used to be. That solitary moment just smacked home how much he's grown in the past year.

At the same time, the little life inside of me continues to grow every day too. Just yesterday I felt the first little flutters and tickles of life. That feeling makes the pregnancy so real and so miraculous. Feeling a baby move inside of you reaffirms the reality that you house a life that is simultaneously independent and completely dependent.

And so as one of my heartsongs sings his tune from afar tonight, the other has begun to sing from within. A symphony of love.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pregnancy log - final entry

From here on in, we're blogging in real time (and about more than pregnancy). This is the last entry in the private log I kept while on hiatus.

February 26, 2009
Little one, you have been making yourself quite comfortable in my tummy. For the better part of three weeks I was utterly miserable with nausea and food aversions. The Diclectin was my best friend and managed to take away enough of the nausea edge that I could function like a normal human. Just this week, my stomach woes seem to be lifting. I’m down to only one pill a day, though I still eat quite lightly at night. I’m now 10 weeks pregnant and have not yet gained a pound. I think with Hayden, at this point I’d gained about five. Although with Hayden, I felt pretty good the whole time I was pregnant!

Fatigue is my new companion. I drag myself out of bed at 6am every morning and struggle to stay awake until 8pm at night. My down time has been converted to sleep time and my alone time with Adam has dwindled to almost nothing. I’m looking forward to the second trimester when I will hopefully begin to feel more myself.

Over the past few days, my belly has popped out into an almost rounded shape. For the past four weeks, I looked like I’d just eaten one too many hamburgers. Having a distinct roundness to my growth is so comforting. It lets me know that this is all really true. I really am pregnant.

I’ve told all my coworkers and my boss. Annie was awesome and seemed almost as excited as I was. She asked dozens of questions about when you’re due and how old your brother will be. I really feel that she’s supportive of you and I. Word is now spreading around the building and I catch people’s eyes darting to my belly when they pass to monitor our growth!

Last night I woke up at 2am and could not fall asleep. I was suddenly struck with the reality that with a midwife, I’ve signed myself up to give birth without an epidural. While this is much better for you – apparently it gives me mild panic attacks. Knowing how painful labour was with Hayden, I’m just not confident that my body can do it without some pain relief. I’m hoping that perhaps since you’ve been harder on my body at the beginning, you’ll grace me with a relatively easy end! (A mama can hope.) I’ll have to talk to my midwife at our next appointment (next week) and try to make myself more confident that I can do it with their support.

I’ve been a bear lately. My hormones seem to be my master as I find myself getting angry and irritable on almost a daily basis. Everyone tells me that my mood, combined with my sickness means that you will be a girl. They almost have me convinced. I always thought that I’d have a house full of boys, but you’ve made this pregnancy so very different from your brother. Perhaps it’s your way of exerting your independence and showing me that regardless of your gender, you are not just a clone of your brother I guess I just have to wait another seven months to find out!

Pregnancy log - part three

And the bliss turns to bleh...

February 9, 2009
And so it begins…up until this weekend, I’ve had nausea, but it’s been manageable. I felt crappy but was still able to do what I needed to do in a day. This Saturday, I was hit with a whole new level of nausea. I felt like any movement, morsel of food, or even thought of eating could send me over the edge. I spent most of Saturday in bed, nibbling on toast. Sunday I felt slightly more human, but still really horrible. Today I again feel like I’m on the edge. I’m sitting at my desk just thinking about how awful I feel.

My lovely sister gave me two Diclectin at about 9 this morning. She recognized that haunted nausea look that she herself wore for weeks on end. My stomach is gradually settling and I’m feeling a little sleepy so I think it’s starting to work.

I may just ask the midwives if they can write me up a prescription for the truly awful days. MotherRisk confirms that there are no risks associated with taking it (it’s really just vitamin B6 and an antihistamine in a slow-release pill) and it has been prescribed for over 30 years without incident. Although I hate taking anything while pregnant, I still have to be a good mother to Hayden. And I can’t do that if I can’t get myself off the couch.

Soon enough this will all be behind me and I’ll have a gorgeous little life in my arms to show for the misery. I can’t wait.

Pregnancy log - part two

The preggo saga continues...

February 4, 2009
I went to my first midwives appointment today and I love them! The atmosphere is very serene. I never felt rushed or overlooked and they took the time to get to know me, not just my anatomy. The whole appointment was about an hour and Iwana answered every question I had competently and with a smile. I have a feeling that I’m going to be much more satisfied with the level of care here.

We talked about a home birth and although the germ factor is much less than in a hospital, I still think I’d prefer to have surgeons on hand in case something went wrong. And I REALLY don’t want to go to Cambridge hospital if something went wrong while delivering at home.

So far so good!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The pregnancy log - first entry

As promised, here is the first entry of my pregnancy log that I've been keeping while on hiatus. It's kind of funny to look back on this and realize that over a month has passed already!

February 2, 2009
Well, my optimism and niggles were wrong back in December. If there was a little life in me, it didn’t survive the four week mark. My cycle came a few days late and with a few tears.

We’ve never had to try to have a baby before. With Hayden, it just happened. Having to wait has made me want this baby all the more. It also made me more compassionate and empathetic for those couples who have to try for months and years to make their baby dreams come true.

With renewed ambition, we upped our baby making efforts after Christmas. Without charting and temping, it was the only way to know we’d catch that egg at the right time. I anxiously waited for the days I could test. I think I started with the dollar store sticks around 10 days past ovulation (DPO). Every day I would wake and test and stare at the stick, just willing a second line to appear.

As the day of my anticipated cycle end drew closer, I became less and less optimistic about our chances. I had NO symptoms, no feelings or niggles, and I just felt sure that we hadn’t been successful because of a three day abstinence during my most fertile time.

On January 15, at about 14 DPO, I got a very faint second line – almost a shadow. I posted it on my pregnancy support forum for the girls to analyze and they were split 50/50 on whether it was an evaporation line or a real positive.

On January 16, I tested again with the dollar store test and got a slightly darker response – enough to get excited about. I headed to the pharmacy at lunch and bought a First Response test for a more concrete answer. With two sticks to play with, I took one only an hour after my last pee in the middle of the day. Even then, the second line was bright and unmistakable – I was pregnant!

I’m now 6 weeks along. Adam and I went to a midwife information session on January 28 and I have my first appointment with them on February 4. I’m excited to be going a more natural route – the route I wanted to go with Hayden but got talked out of (by a well meaning sister-in-law). I’ll still be delivering in hospital, but I’ll have more support to get me through the rough contractions and maybe even go drug free (a girl can dream!).

I’ve been having a lot of nausea since the middle of last week. It comes and goes and I’ve been dealing naturally with small meals, ginger tea and gingerale. Seems to be working okay so far.

Hayden has been wonderful through my queaziness. He’s been quite gentle and has been coming to me to read more books and have quiet time. He’s also spending more time with Daddy for the rough play. I think it’s good for both of them!

Amazingly, quite a few people know already. I had to show my sister as she was the one who was giving me hope in a month when I had none. For Adam, I made a special invoice, photoshopping one of his work delivery orders to contract the delivery of a baby instead of a machine. It was perfectly done (if I do say so myself) and he was completely confused when he opened it. Once he figured it out, he was almost as flabbergasted as I was. I sent mum an email with a photo of the positive stick just before they left for their vacation in Mexico. A nice little going away gift! She was ecstatic!

We still haven’t told any of Adam’s immediate family. With their history of sharing the good news as soon as they hear it, we want to wait until after we’re out of the danger zone. We’ll probably tell them sometime after 8 weeks has passed. Otherwise this constant “flu” will soon alert them!

And so, here I am: Six weeks pregnant and sort of in disbelief. We haven’t talked to Hayden about it as toddlers are sure to repeat everything you don’t want them to say. I still remember Gage telling all the teachers at school that his mummy had a baby in her tummy when Ang was only six weeks along.

I’m so excited that my sister and I will share some of our mat leave again. And have babies almost the exact same age difference as Hayden and Gage were! Hopefully these next angels will have their same close relationship too.

I have a feeling that this is another little boy. Not sure why, just a gut reaction. Somehow, I think that I’ll have a house full of boys. Though I predict a girl for Ang (did last time too, so we know how accurate my guesses are)!

I’m already wearing maternity pants, though it’s more from the bloat and sensitive stomach than any true belly growth.

I’ll keep you posted as things develop. Sticky, healthy baby vibes!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I have a secret

And I'm guessing that any of you who have been patient enough to wait out my hiatus will peel from the shadows when I tell you what it is.

I'm pregnant!

Just typing those words makes me giddy and fluttery and nervous and blissful all at once. We are going to have a second child. Hayden will be a big brother! Our family grows one step closer to being complete. The reasons it sends me to heaven and back are endless!

I'm just shy of 11 weeks right now. That's right, the hiatus was actually me finding it impossible to blog about anything other than a big + sign and a tiny miracle inside of me! Rather than try and work around the elephant in the womb (ha!), I decided to take a break until I was ready to share! I've actually been keeping a blog of the past three months in a word file.

In the coming weeks, I'll share a few entries I like until we're caught up. Be prepared to hear a lot about this new life and how it's affecting my world. As with Hayden, I find pregnancy to be an all encompassing experience. Much of my conscious and unfocused thoughts drift to this baby; what progress is being made, how this baby will change our family dynamics, how different the birth will be with midwives instead of an OB.

For any of you who have been hanging on, waiting for another a post - I thank you dearly for your patience. I think I'll reward you by renaming the blog to something simpler. Something that I've been using as my moniker for a while and that just makes sense as an actual blog title: Word mama.

A day of bliss to each of you!

Monday, February 2, 2009


You may have noticed that my posts have been few and far between lately. I must admit that lately I've lost my desire to blog. This could be due to the fact that I've been writing like mad at work. Our staff newsletter goes out this month and I'm now responsible for gathering all of the content. It's a big job and one that leaves me with little creative energy at the end of the day.

So my loyal readers, I haven't forgotten about you. I hope that you don't forget about me during this brief respite. I do hope in a week or so to be back in my blogging groove. Till then, I still love reading yours!

Friday, January 23, 2009

I love my husband

Last night I came home after a particularly long and intense day in the office feeling pretty sorry for myself. It was a thinky kind of day - all day - and I was exhausted both in mind and body. Adam came home about half an hour after Hayden and I had settled.

Adam: How was your day?

Me: Crappy. I feel like I've been scrambling all day. I had to

Adam: Wait a second. Instead of telling me what went wrong, tell me three good things about today.

Me: (thinking) Well...Stacey told me that she really missed talking and joking with me when I'm this busy, the recognition team surprised me with a pizza lunch and I found out one of the girls on my TTC board just got a positive pregnancy test after months and months of trying!

Adam: See! I came in and you looked like a bus had hit you. Now - you're smiling.

Man....I love my brilliant husband.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

From McMama to Super mum

I am not one for New Years resolutions. In fact, I think New Years as a whole is overrated and over-hyped. Most years, my January 1st celebrations turned out to be a big let down, despite an excess of planning (and often money too). I find that the resolution part of New Years usually ends in the same disappointment. I gear myself up for a big life change only to throw up my hands a few weeks later. Given the flux of gym memberships between now and March, I know I’m not alone.

This year, for the first time in nearly a decade, I have set a resolution. I resolve to live a healthier lifestyle. I’m going to try to eat better, exercise more, and drink less. It’s not that I’m super unhealthy at present, I just feel that I’ve become lazy. At least once a week, we’ve been getting takeout or eating a meal from a box because I didn’t plan ahead. Plus, I sometimes go a whole weekend without stepping foot outside! And this is from a girl who spent her 19th birthday snowshoeing, dog sledding and sleeping outside in a quinze (like an igloo) in the far north of Tamagame. I’ve somehow lost the adventurous side of myself and I want it back!

I know that with Hayden being young, our lifestyle is his lifestyle. If we eat crap, so does he. If we hunker down and watch movies all day, he’s stuck indoors too. It’s this realization that really pushes me and leads me to believe that I’ll actually be successful in my 2009 resolution.

Now is the perfect time to instil a love of adventure in him. I remember from a very young age, my parents would pack us all in the car with the dog and we’d hike the Bruce Trail every Sunday. I think it was these excursions that sparked my love of nature and continued my hiking development well into my 20s. I want Hayden to have this experience too.

And so, by blogging this I’ve made a public declaration. I’ve committed myself to following through. If I fail, I urge you all to boo and hiss at me!

Here’s to 2009 being the healthiest year in over a decade!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The miracle of life

Back in October, I told you all that Adam and I were going to start trying to conceive our second child. It took me a little while to sway Adam into tossing the birth control, namely because when we decided to get pregnant the first time, it only took us one try. He wanted to be sure he was absolutely ready as undoubtedly, in two weeks I’d be announcing to him that there was a bun in the oven.

That, my friends, has not been the case. We’re now in January and I still have no news to share. And this is not from a lack of effort – let me tell you. Adam has not felt this loved and desired since we were honeymooners!

I’m not one to clinically track my cycle through temperatures, cervical mucous or ovulation prediction tests. I think they somehow detract from the magic of creating a life and certainly don’t add anything to the romance of the moment! “Oh honey, I’ve got egg-white cervical mucous, let’s dance!” These kinds of measures (however useful and needed for many with fertility issues) are not for me. I like to keep things natural and fun. Though lately I’ve been watching scenes from “She’s Having a Baby” in my head (one of my all time favourite movies).

After four months of continually trying to conceive (TTC), I’m finally starting to understand how conception can drive people crazy. That first month of TTC, I joined a forum dedicated to granola mamas who were in the same breeding boat. I thought for sure that I’d be leaving them within a few weeks, moving up to the pregnancy boards. When I didn't get a positive test result that first month, I was really disappointed. I had assumed I’d just effortlessly move on to the next stage.

I have to admit that now I'm glad that it's taken a little time (feel free to show me this post if I'm still trying in a year). If we had been successful that first month, I would never have truly got to know that lovely group of ladies.

I've watched others come and go from the group and felt a pang of jealousy. I've thought "Hooray for them….but dang it, why not me?" I’m only now getting a taste of how that compounds as the weeks and months turn to years. It must be so hard to be happy for others when they have what you long for, what you ache for, what you think about day in and day out. I now understand the frustration it must bring to watch people constantly walk through that conception door and wonder "when will it be my turn?" I now feel a great deal of compassion and understanding for women who have trouble conceiving and carrying a child.

I’m a true believer that all things happen for a reason. I think I was meant to wait for this pregnancy for two reasons:

  1. The understanding and knowledge I’ve learned from the ladies on my TTC forum. I have never been so knowledgeable about how the human reproductive system works, nor how strong a woman can be mentally and emotionally in the face of adversity. These women have become my friends and teachers.
  2. I will be THAT much more appreciative of when I do get pregnant. Instead of expecting it to happen, I now hope and pray that I’m blessed with another child. I no longer take conceiving for granted and really understand that pregnancy and birth are miracles!

So stick with me dear readers. Who knows whether this will be a long journey or a relatively short TTC trip. I’ll try to keep you updated and I’ve been toying with the idea of blogging about pregnancy right from the start – so you regular readers will be second to know, only after my immediate family.

Wish me baby dust and sticky egg vibes!