Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just like a really messy house

You know when your house starts getting really messy and the mess accumulates every single day and the more messy it becomes, the harder it is to just start cleaning it because it just seems so darn overwhelmingly? Like, where do I start?!

Yeah, that's where I am with keeping up with my blogging lately. Life is messy these days and although I mentally blog everyday I'm having a hard time getting back on track with actually writing them out. I'll clean up my act soon enough. That is all.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Feeling like a crappy Mom today

I'm tired. Hubby has been away since last Friday and returns on Sunday. Solo-parenting blows. 7 days down and I'm spent.

I'm so lucky to have a regular routine now with my MIL - I've been dropping E off for dinner on Friday evenings and pick him back up Saturday morning. It's a special time for them to spend together and a night off for me and that's all that matters.

When we first started this new schedule a few months ago, I really missed E. Isn't that crazy? It was only a few waking hours that he wasn't around, but I missed the kid like crazy. Now that the colder weather is here and we seem to be stuck inside a bit more during the day, I am really appreciating the break much more. Especially this week.

For the most part, I've done a pretty swell job at staying sane this week. We got out for some hikes with a friend, got some window shopping in while E was in preschool and we went to story time and got a ton of new books at the library.  It was all the in between stuff that kind of sucked. Like the painting and craft messes, the NO!!!!!'s, and for the love of god is it too much to ask for a preschooler to not bang around and scream when I'm putting the baby down for a nap?!

I feel like the colder weather is totally bringing me down. I am lacking the energy to get out of the house and at the same time angry with myself for putting it off. E is bored and frustrated with me lately, I know. I can tell by his outbursts - he's just not his happy self. I absolutely love my days with my kids and the thought of having to go back to work makes me sick, but lately I feel like I am almost doing E a disservice by making him stay home with me. I know, it's silly but on days like today where I feel like we accomplished nothing, I taught him nothing and all he seemed to do was cry and scream about nothing, I feel like a crappy stay-at-home Mom. I want to teach him so many things. I want him to experience new things. These things aren't happening. Ugh.

Part of my battle is being so mindful of my energy and feelings and E's energy now. I know that my behaviour is directly reflected in his. I know I need to stop worrying about the future. I know I need to take one day at time. Here, today, now I'm just so frustrated with myself.

Tonight I'm enjoying my little 1/2 break (it's just R and I). Back to full-time work tomorrow, with more positivity and more little moments to relish in like this one from today...


This will never get old.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Following my intuition

Have you ever had that feeling that something was just meant to be? I've had a series of these feelings for months now and have mindfully chosen not to ignore them.  I'm embracing these little intuitions because I trust in them and I know that there must be a reason for them. It's really exciting listening to yourself and being mindful of these feelings. It really is something I wish everyone could experience. Isn't it funny that we have to mindfully do so?

***
I've been trying to pin point where it all began and I think the turning point for me was when I made the decision to have a home birth with R. That was a huge decision. No one in my family or close circle of friends had even considered it. Heck most of them thought and still think I am crazy. I completely stepped out of a comfort zone (for many, not me) and it made it that much more exhilarating for me. I was stepping out of the norm and doing something I completely believed in. I knew that I could have a successful home birth within my control and standing up to the naysayers really boosted my confidence. That decision was kind of a huge deal for me and I was darn proud of it. It just felt right at the time and so I went with it. It was where I was meant to be.

***
I always wanted to dive in to yoga and feel like meeting Amanda, owner of Little Lotus Yoga, was perfect timing. I signed up for one of her pre-natal yoga classes and absolutely loved it.  Years ago, I remember wondering what all the fuss about yoga was. I wasn't ready then. Now, I have fully embraced yoga and this new way of life. It's amazing! I think my prior experience in Hypnobirthing with E's birth had set me up for some understanding and is why I initially fell in love with yoga so quickly. They are complimentary practices that I could relate to. Hearing stories from my sister who dove in to yoga while studying out west always intrigued me. When she would send stories by email from her trip to India, I was even more excited and knew that this was something that I really enjoyed too. So I followed my gut and participated in a yoga class and I believe it had a huge impact on my healthy pregnancy and birth and now, my well-being.

***
Hubby and I were having a hard time narrowing down baby names near the end of my pregnancy. We each had a name we liked but didn't fancy each others. One day while I was driving I was thinking of a name Hubby had chosen and created a name out of it. It was funny how it just came to me out of nowhere.  After weeks of texting each other names and replies of, "no way", "ya right", and "um no", I texted Hubby that day and asked, "What do you think about R?" and he replied, "I love it". It wasn't until I got home and looked up the meaning that it had both an Irish meaning (Hubby's family background) and a Sanskrit meaning (ancient language of India) that I loved. So that was that. R's name was chosen (should he be a boy). It was meant to be.

***
The fact that I looked up the book "Buddhism for Mothers : A calm approach to to caring for yourself and your children" when I was pregnant and then my sister came to visit and had taken it out of the library for me, thinking I might like it? Meant to be. I didn't read it the first time I had it my hands so I asked her to take it out again for me six weeks later. Everything I read in the book was what I was looking for at that time in my life. I loved it.

***
Big, exciting things like this keep happening. Stars keep aligning. I can only attribute them to my confidence and trust in my mind and body and my ability to listen to them. There are more swirling around in my head and only a matter of time until I discover their ultimate plan. I'm listening and following.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Little moments

Capital Mom used to host a Monday Moments link-up that I really enjoyed participating in. It was a great reminder for me to live in the moment and to journal those little moments that may otherwise be forgotten.

I recently saw an idea for Pinterest for children to have journal beside their bed to either write or draw their favourite moment if the day before bed time. I love this idea. Since E isn't quite ready for this yet, I do still try to talk to him about our highs and lows of the day. I love these little conversations and I only hope we can always have an open relationship like this.

I recently started a new way to track little moments I want to remember. It's all part of my new journey in mindful parenting and living. So far, I've just been keeping them in a note on my phone and most of them also have a picture that I have uploaded to Instagram to go with it. I am trying to make sure I have one for each day and hope to transfer more of them here. Here are a few examples of the little moments I keep close to my heart:

  • I'm lying in E's bed with him as he drifts off to sleep. R is still up, downstairs watching sports with his Daddy. All I can here is Hubby repeating little lovable words and noises and R laughing uncontrollably. I have a permanent smile on my face. I could have have fallen asleep right then, in my bliss.
  • This morning I woke up to the sound of R's early morning babbling and peeked over the side of his bassinet. I was greeted with the biggest grin, squeals of delight and bouncing, dancing limbs. How can you have a bad day after that?
  • It has become a regular daily routine to fold laundry and give R some time to roll around on the floor around me. E is always nearby as he can not stand to be another room without me. Today he played with his cars and was making a tower of blocks. Every and any thing that came out of his mouth made R giggle. It was so fun to see them "play" together for the first time.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bananas and strawberries and even buttered popcorn

Tonight as I'm washing the dishes, a very familiar scent teased me. It was a sweet smell that reminded me of something, something I couldn't quite put my finger on and I didn't know which dirty dish it was coming from. I got half way through my chore until I finally thought of it. It was the smell of R's breath!

Some may think it's weird, but I love the smell of my breastfed babies breaths. It took me months to compare the smell of E's sweet breath until I pinned it down to that of a perfectly ripe banana. Whenever I smell a banana, I'm always reminded of our bedtime routine and kisses goodnight on his sweet smelling face and early morning nursings before we both headed out the door during those last months of our nursing relationship.

The sweet aroma I smelled tonight was both different and very similar to that smell of natural sugary sweet banana. It wasn't until I lifted the last pot in the sink to find a dirty popsicle mold that I finally matched the smell. E finished off the last pureed strawberry-spinach popsicle we made today. Fresh strawberries! That was the smell.

I'm sure everyone has heard someone say that they would like to bottle up the smell of a newborns head. I know I would. That intoxicating smell is drifting away quickly now that R is 5 months (!). I would put that bottle on a shelf that only I could reach and have access to. Lined beside it would also be my bottles of perfectly ripe bananas, freshly picked strawberries, and call-me-crazy even buttered popcorn (yes, you know what I'm referring to).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mindfulness and mothering

Sometime over the last few months I feel like I've woken up and I am more myself than I have ever been.

I've written about my goal to 'just be' on a few occasions here. I have been working towards taking one day at a time, being a more mindful person and parent and enjoying all the small moments over and have kept this in the back of my mind for over a year now.

Then R was born and I started struggling with E. Feeling helpless to his behaviour was something I hadn't experienced since he was a crying infant. I felt out of sorts, unmotivated and overwhelmed. This was when at six weeks postpartum I decided to head home to my parents for a week for a bit of a break and a change of scenery.

Before I left I asked my sister to pick up a book at the local library for me. "Buddhism for Mothers : A calm approach to to caring for yourself and your children" was a book that I came across on Pinterest months and months ago. Coincidentally, my sister brought it up with her when she arrived during the week of R's birth, thinking I might like it (she gets me!). I didn't get a chance to read it then, but it was now that I needed it and the public library here didn't carry it.


It was just what I was looking for and I knew that it would be.  I needed to refocus and recharge before I returned home and with this book I felt refreshed and ready to tackle my new life as a mother of two. 

When I started this blog, I felt like I Found My Feet was a perfect name because I wanted to share my experiences as a rookie but confident mother foremost.  Now, I almost feel like I have found my feet all over again. My new found mindfulness and energy is amazing me. I feel like I learn something new about myself everyday. I'm finding it kind of mind boggling and out if this world at times, but I'm rolling with it and embracing it and excited to see where it takes me.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rocketship

It started shortly after R was born. Something, we figure, he created to keep himself busy while we were fussing over a new family member. We would hear countdowns and the sounds of blast-offs. It would zoom around us, this way and that. It would shoot off to the sky and crash into the couches.

Sasha is long gone. Kippen hit the road too. But I think Rocketship is here for the long haul.

Rocketship travels everywhere with us. When we went to my parents for a week, Rocketship took the train with us. Rocketship got to meet E's cousins and even helped fight some of his toy battles. When we go to the grocery store, library or park, rocket ship is always there to lend a helping hand. Rocketship helps eat dinner and at the end of the day needs a bath too.

You see, Rocketship is E's hand. And while some may think it's silly or weird, I tend to think my kid is a genius for using his imagination to keep himself busy. Rocketship comes out at times that may otherwise be used for acting out or crankiness because of boredom.

I love rocket ship.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Preschooler in da house!

We signed E up for a preschool program for the Fall. It's only once a week for two hours, but it's a great chance for me to get some stuff done without a toddler preschooler in tow and a chance for him to get away from me, spend some time with children his own age and do some different activities.

Today didn't start off as planned. We kind of slept in, but I was able to turn a parenting fail in to a super mom opportunity and he only arrived five minutes late! Phew! I was extra nervous that rushing him would not help with the separation but as I was saying goodbye to him and taking off his jacket he ran in to the room without me and didn't look back! Phew, again! I'm glad we went to the orientation last week and he was familiar with his surroundings. 

I enjoyed the freedom it felt like being the Mother of one easy baby for two hours and had a nice long hot shower and got some shopping in. Shopping for me! And I even got to try the clothes on! I know!

There was no time for pictures in the morning but as soon as we got home and put his new crafts on the fridge I was able to get some great shots for a little tradition I wanted to start (and I have been seeing all over Pinterest). He had a great day and we are both looking forward to next week!


Doesn't he look SO BIG?!

Friday, September 28, 2012

This is how I get paid for staying home

This three year old just cracks us right up. I've been keeping a rough journal of some of the silly and surprising things he has said lately and so I thought I would share some of the gems...

***
One day I started turning off all the lights downstairs to prepare for bedtime, leaving a stubborn E in the our dark living room. He came running, "Mommy, just give me a chance!"

***
R woke up from his nap in the middle of our dinner one evening and so I left my second piece of untouched French toast smeared with pure maple syrup on my plate to retrieve him (mmm breakfast for dinner). When I returned, E's plate was empty and in his hands was the last few bites of mine! I pretended to cry while looking for it. E fessed up pretty quickly and actually seemed very sorry. "Mommy, I didn't mean to do that, but I needed some more french toast. And I didn't mean to eat it all. Sometimes food gets gone and you just don't cry and you get more of it."
Sadly we were all out of bread.


***
While at the park collecting stones... "Mommy, I like stones. They're so pretty and peaceful and you can just sit with them." Everyone should have a 3 year old tag along with them to help them appreciate and enjoy life like this!

***
Hubby mistakenly stepped on and crushed E's plastic binoculars. The same ones he had around his neck and had been going to bed with for weeks now. We were both standing right there when it happened. "Daddy, you totally crushed my noculars! Why would you do that to me?!"
We got some new ones at the dollar store that day.



***
While excitedly showing me a toy that he has showed me a million times, I asked him to instead show it to R and to teach R how to use it. So he put in in front of R's face and did just that (while R's poor little head wobbled in over stimulation). "Step 2, pull this out. Step 2, turn this around. Step 2, look at this thing. Step 2, put this back in like this. Wasn't that fun, R? Mommy, he likes it too!"

***
Overheard in the playroom...
Toy 1: "Superhero to the rescue!"
Toy 2: "Thank you for coming!"
Toy 1: "What can I help rescue with you today?"
Toy 2: "I lost my sheep, can you help find it?"
Toy 1: "Of course I can! Blast off!"
Little Bo Peep calling in some reinforcements?


***
And last but least, tonight I had a lot of running around to do and E was fantastic in the stores. I thanked him for his excellent behaviour and for helping me shop for which he replied, "My pleasure!"

*** 
Not every day is easy and we've certainly had some trying days, but my man oh man I'm having fun spending my days with this kid!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

R's birth - Our amazing home birth

I have to warn you, this is long. It's one of my favourite and proudest posts yet...

My estimated due date was Sunday, May 27th. I had two weeks off work prior to this date in vacation time with a number of things I still needed to do like pick up all of my home birth and postpartum supplies.  I had a midwife appointment on Thursday and they were surprised baby was still cooking!

My youngest sister, M, arrived on Tuesday with plans to stay for a week to help me prepare, attend the birth and help out once baby arrived. M had returned from India just a few weeks prior from an intensive international yoga teacher training program. It was awesome talking through what I had learned so far from my prenatal yoga classes and now having my very own private instructor. M also came prepared with books on prenatal yoga and was even reading through The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin!

Although it had been weeks since I hit that mental readiness for birth, it wasn't until Wednesday that I felt mentally ready for a new baby in the house. All the supplies were finally ready. The following few days were spent doing the extra and day to day things to keep busy. On Friday, M and I did some baking to stock the freezer, I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed floors, we mowed and raked the lawn and ended the night off with a dance party in the living room with E. We had finished the lawn right before it started raining and I mentioned on Twitter that with a storm rolling in, it felt like the perfect night for a birth. I went to bed early, around 9pm, exhausted from a busy day. Before I fell asleep I texted Hubby (who was attending a work related dinner and social that night) to ask him what time he was expecting to be home (and also to make sure he had his phones near by). He said he would be home by midnight. Getting a hold of him was the only stress I had leading up to this birth and for that reason I had a strong feeling that I would go into labour on the weekend when he was home with me, just like it started for E's birth. He had both his work and personal cell phone on him and was quick to answer.

At 11:45pm I woke up. I went to the bathroom and realized I was having contractions. I grabbed my phone and started timing them with a contraction timing app called "Full Term". They were sporadic -coming every 2-6 minutes and lasting anywhere between 20 seconds to 1 minute long. Not intense at all. I waited until I had a few to make sure this was it and texted and called Hubby. He was already getting ready to head home. I don't think this was a coincidence at all. My body knew what time to start.

My system flushed itself out (again - my body was getting ready!) and I noticed a slow leak of my waters with some bloody show. I had a nice relaxing shower and I put on the clothes I had set aside for the birth - a sports bra and bathing suit bottoms and some comfy clothing over top. When Hubby arrived we went downstairs to get the tub ready and wake my sister. I quietly told M, "It's time", and she said she also had a feeling that tonight would be the night. We blew up the birthing tub and since I could feel my contractions gradually getting stronger we decided to also start filling it with water. 

M helped create my ideal birthing environment.  We dimmed the lights in our living and dining room (the tub was set up between the two rooms). She lit candles and turned on her peaceful yoga music cds - the same ones we had practiced yoga with leading up to this day. M made me a snack to help fuel my body for the marathon ahead - peanut butter on toast and a cup of tea, and when she felt she was prepared and looking for her next task I asked her to bake a Groaning Cake that we had gathered ingredients for earlier that week. I rubbed some lavender oil on my skin and added a few drops to the birthing pool to add to the relaxation.  I also had a glass of water with a few drops of Rescue Remedy to ward off any anxieties or stress. When we were all just relaxing with the excitement of this birth upon us I also found the time to text my closest friends and family, "Let's get this party started!".

During my contractions (better yet, "waves" as per my Hypnobirthing training), Hubby supported me by doing the "Double-Hip Squeeze".  This was a technique we had practiced and it was similar to the deep lower back massages he gave me during E's birth.  I had learned about this technique earlier in my pregnancy and was excited to put it to use. It was amazing - such relief!

Around 2-2:30am my other younger sister, R, arrived, whom I had called when labour started.  R and I had chatted about her role in caring for E when she agreed to attend the birth weeks earlier, but since it was the middle of the night and E was sound asleep she stayed close to help where needed. We laugh now about her abrupt arrival (after driving 2 hours to get here in the middle of the night) and how she was thrown in to the situation a little caught off guard.

At this time my waves were becoming much stronger and I could no longer talk through them.  When each new one arrived I used the end of our dining room table to lean over while Hubby massaged and squeezed my lower back and hips. He hadn't missed a single one and stayed close by. During the waves I made sure to keep a strong wide stance to encourage the baby to descend. I also used my visualization practice to visualize the baby coming down.  I relaxed my face and body and focused on steady breathing and lastly I practiced a low humming like moan to help calm my body. I am proud of myself for keeping with these motions for each and every wave. I was completely focused for each one. In between waves, M would remind me to return to my breathing and to take deep breaths. It was amazing having her there to remind me.

Hubby asked me a few times if we should call our midwife, but I declined each time telling him that I was not seeing a set pattern yet in the timing of my waves.  I think he was becoming anxious around 4am when he asked me again.  I took a look back (on my phone app) and realized that yes, now was a good time to call! My waves had been coming every 5-6 minutes and were lasting 45-55 seconds (the golden rule was to call when they were 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long). I was hesitant to call my midwife, P, because it was the middle of the night and I didn't want to wake her, but I went ahead and paged her.

P quickly returned my call and I told her my status. Our conversation is still so very ingrained in my mind and makes me laugh now.

P: Okay, Alicia. Tell me what's going on.
Me: Well I've been up since midnight and my contractions seem to be coming now every 5-6 minutes and lasting anywhere between 45-55 seconds. Just one moment, P, I'm having one now.
*Puts phone down on table. Assumes leaning position, wide stance, visualization, humming/moaning loudly. When wave finishes, picks phone back up.
Me: Yeah, so what do you think?
P: Alicia, I'm on my way.

This is where I realized that I was really close. I had been so focused on taking each wave at a time, that it was suddenly 4am and the baby was almost here! I suddenly had two waves on top of one another that lasted three minutes with only a split second to prepare for the next one. Soon after I felt the urge to get in to the water, but I made myself wait until P arrived. I didn't want to have to get back out of the pool for an examination if needed. At this time, I also asked my sister to call our birth photographer to come quickly.

When P arrived at 4:25am she asked to examine me. We set up on the living room floor where I felt the most comfortable with space around me.  While she was almost ready I felt a wave coming, so I quickly flipped myself over and assumed the child's pose (yoga pose). It was the one and only wave that Hubby didn't get a chance to assist me through and it was intense. P then did a quick cervical check and told me I was 8cm dilated and full effaced. My membranes were absent and she noticed that I had a slow leak through the evening. Wow! She asked me if I wanted to get in to the tub and I quickly got in.

As I was so focused and not paying to attention to what was happening around me, I did not hear the quiet phone conversation my sisters told me P had with my second midwife. She called her to come immediately but obviously did not want to cause a panic in the room so she sternly told my second midwife, S, that I was progressing quickly and that she should get on the road.  We giggled later, because it was a very polite way of saying, Get Here Now!

Throughout the next 30 minutes I was having very intense waves while I stayed on my knees, leaning on the side of the birthing pool. Hubby sat on the other side of the pool behind me, still assisting me throughout. The water felt amazing on my body. The pressure eased and I felt much calmer. My support team stood by, letting me do my thing, never interrupting, never telling me what to do. My sister M, refilled my water bottle time and time again as I chugged it back and replaced a cool cloth on my forehead after each wave passed. Around 4:55am both my second midwife, S, and my birth photographer, D, arrived and quickly set up. I started feeling the urge to bear down and P could tell by my sounds. She asked me how I was feeling and I told her just that. She encouraged me and told me I was doing a great job. I felt empowered.

Through the next few waves I let me body bear down and I tried my best to breathe through it. Something I was hoping to do for this birth was to focus on breathing the baby out rather than pushing, but the urge to push was much too strong.  At this point I realized E was still sleeping and since we had prepared him to be at the birth, I called out to my sister to get him. I stayed in the same position kneeling and leaning forwards for the first few pushes. P monitored the baby's heart rate and had a small mirror under the water to see what was going on.  After my next wave she told me the baby's heart rate was slightly elevating because she believed I was squeezing his head in my current position.  She asked me to lean back in to Hubby's arms and to try to push in this new position. I resisted at first because I felt so comfortable where I was, but Hubby helped me lean back and I felt much more open to push there, with Hubby supporting my body in his arms.  After only a couple pushes I felt that beautiful burning ring of fire and pushed the baby's head out. What a relief! I relaxed and when I was ready and with some coaching from P, I then pushed baby's shoulders out. With one quickly swoop from Paula's arms, our baby was placed in my arms! May 26, 2012 - 5:05am.

Birth Photography by Danielle Lynn Photography

I can not even begin to explain my feeling at that moment. Relief. Bliss. Thankfulness! P and S rubbed baby, covering his skin with blankets. He took what seemed like forever to take his first breath but when he did he was loud and clear.  We sat there in bliss for a few minutes until finally someone asked what sex of the baby was. Oh yeah! P checked and announced, IT'S A BOY! I'm pretty sure Hubby did a fist pump behind me.

We relaxed in the tub for the next five minutes and P showed me when the umbilical cord stopped pulsing. We then decided to cut the cord, which Hubby completed and we sat in the tub a little longer, soaking up our little miracle. Then our baby boy was passed to M while P and Hubby assisted me out of the tub and on our blanket covered living room floor.

I birthed the placenta within the next five minutes and I held our baby boy skin to skin in front of our fire place. It was amazing to lay back and relax and feel the warm heat in front of the fire. S showed me the placenta which was really cool to see and bagged it up to put it in our freezer. She then assisted me in breastfeeding and once I was ready both midwives attended to my small tear with a few stitches. I moved to the couch after this and P went home after congratulating me and telling me how awesome I was (turns out she had been running on just a few hours of sleep after attending another birth all day). E was tired and groggy and finally came around to check out his new brother. He was pretty quiet and fell asleep with Hubby on the couch. Our birth photographer, D, was like a fly on the wall and snapped away. S tended to our baby, weighing and measuring him (8 lbs even, 20.5 inches) and doing the normal newborn screenings. She assisted my sisters in cleaning up and M served us all some groaning cake (I ate three pieces!).

I kept commenting on how fast my labour went even though I was expecting a quick labour again. I know that my preparations and focus helped immensely. Not once did I think I couldn't do it. Not once did I tense up. Not once did I lose focus. Having a home birth was the best decision I ever made and I couldn't have planned it better myself (thanks for cooperating baby R!). I feel extremely blessed for the amazing support team I had with me that day.

Hubby and S assisted me upstairs and we put some cartoons on for E and all snuggled in our king-sized bed. Soon enough all three boys - Hubby, E and new baby R - were snoring and I stayed awake, still high on adrenaline, staring at my beautiful little miracle. And so our life as a family of four began...

Snuggled in our bed only hours old.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Just hold my hand

R turned 4 months old today and while I continue to plug away at finally writing out his birth story, I'm also excited to make note of his latest cute little development.

When E was this age and started to get cranky for a nap I would almost always nurse him to sleep. He didn't take to a pacifier and I didn't push it on him. He had a hard time falling asleep on his own, but it never stressed me out. Nap time worked out just fine for us and the bonus was that it was only the two of us so I could lie down with him while nursing and we could have a nice long nap together (ah, the good 'old days!).

With R, I realized around one month old that he did not prefer to nurse to sleep. He would latch on and quickly pull off annoyed as if he just wanted to be soothed but didn't want the mouth full that came along with it. So we would walk around with him and soothe him through our motion and he would drift off easily (never anything like the bouncing, jiggling, swaying we did with E!). Shortly after I thought I'd give the pacifier a try and he took to it right away. Soon our nap time routine was as easy as giving him a soother, tucking him in and walking away from a completely content baby. It was a miracle! And such a blessing since E would be trailing behind me ready to play.

These last few weeks, however, R is more aware of his surroundings and for his afternoon and evening naps he requires a little more from me. When I lie him down or if I'm out and about and he's in the carrier or if I'm holding him while visiting friends and family, I just need to hold his hand. As soon as he grasps on to my finger he calms right down and closes his eyes. It's absolutely adorable and I love it. Sometimes I sit on the edge of my bed holding his hand inside his bassinet or sometimes I hold his little hand while lying beside him on our bed. Either way, I kind of love that he requires this extra touch. These days are going by too fast and I'm trying to soak them up as much as I can.

Sweetest little hand

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The pout

It comes out when he is startled. Or when big brother plays too loudly. Or if Daddy sneaks up with his deep voice and catches him off guard. One time it even happened when his Great-Grandma was commenting on his belly chub. It must have hurt his feelings.

It's possibly one of the cutest and funniest faces he has but it'll darn near break your heart.

First one captured.


Big brother was being too rambunctious.


It usually disappears as quickly as it comes so capturing this hilarious face has been a fun little goal of mine.  If you're on Instagram you can follow me (aliciafagan) and #thepout. There's sure to be more...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Conversation with E tonight

I haven't got back to my blogging groove yet but this, THIS, was too awesome to pass up.

While we were lying in bed reading books before bed, E kissing R's head every so often as he usually does...

E: Mommy, I like Rohan. Let's have another baby in our family.

Me: But then Mommy will have a big belly again and you didn't like my big belly because it was always in the way, right?

E: But that's okay, Mommy, the baby will come out of your belly but first we need to get that green pool again, okay?

I LOVE this kid!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Home for a rest

The truth is, this has been a shitty week.  Sunday we had a big day planned with family that we were all looking forward to and everything fell through at the last minute and it just sucked.  It was Sunday afternoon that I had a bit of a meltdown actually. Maybe a panic attack. Whatever it was, it was a release that I clearly needed and I had been holding in for a while. Sunday crapiness rolled into Monday poopcapades which turned into Tuesday shitnik. My week just started off on the wrong foot. Thank god for a couple planned play dates to get me out of the house.  Otherwise, I would have been tempted to lock myself in my room and sleep the week away.

E is still having a bit of a tough time adjusting.  Still ever so gentle and never lashing out towards R, but reacting to the lack of routine in his life I think the most. It's impossible to explain to a three year old why you can not do a particular task for them at that moment. For the most part I'm getting pretty good at doing most things with one hand while I hold, bounce, nurse a baby in the other. But there are certain things that just have to wait. Patience is hard to come by in this house lately. 

Temper tantrums, screaming, so so much crying.  E is a different kid these days. And I feel like a horrible Mom.  I know this is normal. I know it's just a phase.  I know it will get better. But I can't help but feel helpless and sad. I can't help but be disappointed in myself at the end of the day for feeling like I handled a certain situation in a poor manner. I know this is Motherhood, but sometimes it just sucks. There, I said it.

So it got me thinking. Maybe we (E and I in particular) need a change of scenery? Maybe we could use some fresh air to re-group? A trip back home and a little vacation I think is just what we need.

I called up my Mom to make plans for our last minute trip home and when talking to her a bit about Sunday's crapiness, I accidentally let out the words, "nothing ever works out". The unwritten rule when talking to my Mom is to never say never or speak negatively or cry boo-hoo. She'll always put you in your place. And she did, again, like she always does.

Okay, okay, okay. I am blessed with two amazing children and a loving husband and I have a roof over my head and I could go on and on and on. But sometimes things suck and you need to vent.

Then I read this post, titled The Too Good'a Home Birth Blues from Bring Birth Home and I couldn't believe how perfectly written it was for me.  Go read it and listen to it. It's awesome.

Because yes, I gave birth at home and I freaking rocked that birth. And yes, everything went so smoothly and perfectly. But now everything is catching up to me. When R was born I kept telling myself that everything was too good to be true. That maybe something bad was meant to happen soon.  I know that is terribly negative of me and hopefully this is the worst of it.

We are 6 weeks in now and I have gone from, Week 1 - "I'm feeling great! I feel so blessed!" to Week 2 - "R is such an easy baby! I could totally have a 3rd child!" to Week 3 - "E is adjusting, but this is normal!" to Week 4 - "This is normal, right?" to Week 5 - "Play date? Yes, please! Get me out of this house!" to Week 6 - "How is my Mother not completely insane after 11 children? How is she still alive?!".

So yeah, that's where I'm standing right now. Because as awesome as everything has gone and how blessed I am and much more confident and calmer I am for being a second time Mom, life is still tough. And I need to thank the high heavens for friends that are only a text message away and play dates that wear out my screaming toddler enough for him to have an afternoon nap, and friends that are going through the same thing as me that I can vent to and share stories with, and a home away from home that I can retreat to when the going gets tough. And that's where we'll be next week.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kippen

Remember when E had his first imaginary friend, Sasha? Sasha didn't stay too long. And the more I think about it, it seems Sasha was never really a friend, but more of a character in E's make believe world. A character that would drive the little cars in his hands, rather than an imaginary friend who I would see as playing with the cars beside him.

Ever since Baby R came into our world, E has been talking to and playing with a new character. Hubby noticed a certain name coming up repeatedly this past weekend while E was playing quietly with his toys and asked me what he was saying.  I realized I hadn't made note of this yet. Let me introduce you to Kippen.

Who is Kippen? I think a girl.
What does she do? She plays with everything.
Where does she live? A house made out of bricks.
What do you do together? She plays with me. But I'm not playing right now.
When do you play with her? At 60 firty.
Where did you meet her? At the fortress. It's really deep and I have to dig really deep to find Kippen down there.
Where is Kippen now? In the small hole.
What is Kippen doing there? I want to tell him something. (Kippen switches to a HE here)
Is Kippen coming to our house? No, Kippen is not coming. He is not walking here. He is running here because he is really fast.

So there you have it, Kippen in a nut shell. Or in a small hole that you need to dig really deep to get to. Imaginery characters are awesome.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

E turned 3! A Birthday Boy Questionnaire

In the midst of our move and welcoming our newest addition, E turned 3!

During the week of E's birthday, I worked away on a little questionnaire with him. I've seen a number of birthday interview ideas and thought this was an awesome tradition to start. My inspiration came rom this "21 questions to ask your kids" and this "20 Questions: Birthday Q & A Album". Since he is only three, it was a little tough to keep his interest at this "game", so I ended up asking a few questions each night.  Some went unanswered so I'll save them for next year.

Birthday Boy Questions - Three Years Old

3 years old

What is your favourite colour?
Lellow.

What is your favourite toy?
A baseball.

What is your favourite food?
Hang-ga-burrs with ketchup and mustard and relish and pickles and tomatoes and mayonaise.
* Hang-ga-burrs or better known as Hamburgers are his go-to and always need to me all-dressed. He also requested Shepherd's Pie for his birthday dinner which is another favourite and every morning it's Oat-ba-neal and blueberries!

What is your favourite animal?
A piggy and a horse and cows. And bears too. Oh and Mumble.
*Mumble is his stuffed penquin (from the movie Happy Feet).

What is your favourite song?
Happy Birthday.

What is your favourite thing to do outside?
Play games like soccer.

What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
My animals - my brown bear, my cow, my giraffe, white teddy and Mumble.

What is something that Mommy always says to you?
Silly.

How old is Mommy?
Little.

How old is Daddy?
Big.

How does Mommy make you laugh?
Just because.

What's your favourite thing to do with Mommy?
Kiss.

What's your favourite thing to do with Daddy?
Play. Play games like baseball.

What makes Mommy happy?
Daddy.

What makes Daddy happy?
You.
*I swear I had nothing to do with those last two answers - pretty sweet, right?

What does Mommy do at work?
Um, I dunno? Exercising?
*Ha! I work for a National Sport Organization, but sadly sit at my desk all day.

What does Daddy do at work?
Driving?
*Ha! He's on the road alot!

I just love watching him grow!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Preparing myself for a home birth

I did my research on home births and felt this was the best choice for me.

I gathered up all the supplies I needed, including a birthing tub.

I made sure E was ready.

Now what?
Prepare for a no-fault birth...
If you confidently participate in all the decisions made during your labour and delivery - even those that were not in your birth plan - you are likely to look upon your birth with no blame and no regrets. ~ William and Martha Sears

Throughout my pregnancy I did a lot of reading. Some of it old, some new. Since I gave birth to E unmedicated and planned to do this again, I felt I needed to be more mentally prepared. An advantage during your first birth experience in my opinion is how naive you are. The advantage to a second birth is your experience because you know what to expect. However, this can also be a disadvantage. You need to be prepared to cope through the pain. I forgot the pain, but not how it made me feel. I knew I could do it, but I wanted to calm and prepare myself to make this birthing experience as easy on myself as possible. Preparing my body and mind for birth was one of the most important things on my to-do list.

I re-read some books that were a huge help in preparing for my first birth. These included HypnoBirthing by Marie Mongan, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, Birthing from Within by Pam England and Calm Birth by Robert Newman. It was amazing to me how much more they made sense to me after having experienced a birth. I was also able to pick up some new pointers on comfort measures that I had skimmed over the first time. HypnoBirthing has remained my ultimate favorite book on childbirth preparation. I believe in the philosophy behind it and although I did not practice it's technique to the very fullest - it was the most helpful and beneficial practice for me in both of my birthing experiences. I love it so much that I would love to teach it. I wish all pregnant woman could benefit from the deep meanings and technics of a hypnobirth.


Motivation is closely tied to your intent and your self-image. It is said that a woman births pretty much the same way that she lives life. ~ Marie Mongan

During my pregnancy with E I was really active, on purpose, to ensure that I stayed fit and healthy for both of us and to be physically prepared for birth. This time around, I was only active from chasing E around. I did however, learn about the benefits of the Tupler Technique from Susanne at Kangaroo Fitness which I believed helped my core strength and strengthened my pelvic muscles immensely.  I also took up prenatal yoga through Amanda at Little Lotus Yoga which I believe was a game-changer in this pregnancy.  It was my first time taking a yoga class and I'm sorry it took me so long in life to jump in. I felt stress free and relieved when leaving each class. I also loved yoga since it was so in line with the HypnoBirthing practice. I had absolutely no aches or pains throughout this pregnancy and felt in tip-top shape throughout thanks to these two programs. For good measure, the two weeks leading up to my due date I received a couple prenatal massages at Anna Belanger and Associates.

I felt mentally and physcially prepared for this birth. Now it was time to kick up my feet and relax.

Download photo.JPG (358.0 KB)
Ready when you are, baby!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Breastfeeding with experience

I read this article about breastfeeding the second time around when I was pregnant with R. The list of tips really jumped out at me. My first breastfeeding experience with E taught me so much and there were a lot of lessons learned. I am also not only experienced this time but a heck of a lot more educated and I've even recently received my certificate as a trained Ottawa Breastfeeding Buddy.

WOW! pretty much sums up my experience this time. R has been an amazing nurser since he latched on for the first time and he hasn't looked back. I can not believe how much of a difference and how much more enjoyable these first few weeks have been. With E I had cracked and sore nipples from a poor latch and he had very little weight gain in the first few weeks. These issues led to low supply which I had to build back up again and it made him a weak, sleepy eater. I think a lot of things factored into my issues with nursing for the first time including:
  • Looking at the clock too much. I was too concerned with timing his feedings rather than following his cues. Everything I read about breastfeeding mentioned that magic three hour window. Ignore that number or any number!
  • This ties into the first point, but because of sore nipples I would subconsciously seek out other reasons for his crying rather than putting E to the breast first and foremost. Looking at the clock and telling myself , "But he just ate an hour ago!" was just an excuse for not having to deal with the pain. I remember telling my SIL this little lesson learned after I discovered it and she later told me it was one of the best pieces of breastfeeding advice. When they squirm, root or cry - put them on the boob!
  • Immediately after E was born I had little skin-to-skin time with him and it took too long to initiate breastfeeding in the hospital. I've written about this and other lessons learned from my first birth experience. Silly hospital protocol!  Sure he looked super cute all bundle up, but little did I know I was being booby trapped!
 Some of the reasons why I believe nursing started off much easier this time:
  • I haven't noticed the clock once. R has been fed on demand from the beginning.
  • I gave birth at home in a calm environment and I had immediate and plenty of skin-to-skin time with him from the start.
  • Breastfeeding was initiated within the first 15-30 minutes.
  • I am much more confident.
  • My milk came in much quicker (1 1/2 days rather than 3)
  • And I actually know what I good latch is supposed to feel like :)
Accessories like the nursing cover and pillow haven't been touched. Nursing in public has been a breeze due to my new comfort level. R weighed 8lbs at birth and this week, at 3 1/2 weeks old, he weighed in at 10lbs and 4.5oz. Is it not a mother's dream to see that scale rise in the first few weeks? While E's weight was a constant stress for me in the beginning, I  am currently jumping for joy. That's almost a pound a week! Mama's milk does the body good!



Milk drunk :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Big Brother Blues

Big brother in charge indeed!


I think we did a pretty good job preparing E for what he would experience during the birth and telling him all about a new baby. What we FAILED in (and I'm not sure it is even possible to WIN at this) was preparing him for the lack of routine and split attention he would get when the baby arrived.

We had planned for E to stay in day care for the baby's first week to give me time to rest, recover from the birth, establish breastfeeding and get into some kind of groove with the new baby. Thankfully, our timeline worked out beautifully. Hubby went back to work after three days (yes only three days home, and yes it was a blessing to have him home for three whole days when you factor in his otherwise hectic and demanding work schedule) and I enjoyed some nice long naps during the day and even some running around town with baby R (day five in the house was my breaking point so off to the mall I went!)

When everyone asked how E was adjusting I replied that he was doing fabulous BUT and I made sure to say BUT, he was still in day care and the fun was only to begin the following week.

And fun it has been.

On the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of my new life as a SAHM of two I thought that E had actually come down with something. Oddly enough, he didn't have a fever? WEIRD. His whining, clingingness, screaming and cry-baby behaviour continued into Thursday and Friday. This was typical fever behaviour but no fever. SO WEIRD! Then it hit us. This is what everyone warned us about. The Big Brother Blues!

Don't get me wrong, E has been amazing with R. He asks to hold him and kiss him and tells him it will be okay when he cries. I never doubted that he would be a great big brother. However, not having my full attention has been hard on him and not having a routine is absolutely crushing him. A friend recommended some great tips to help him through this rough patch including more eye contact, physical contact and focused attention. I'm trying to be aware of these things and I find that it has helped a lot.

But. BUT.

It has been a rough couple weeks. Well into the second week I did see a bit if a turn around. A bit. That turn around came with a lot of work on my part in trying to get some normal back into his life. We've had trying afternoons especially since E is currently refusing his naps and bedtime has been a chore. Jiggling, rocking, nursing a baby while reading bedtime stories isn't the easiest task!

What I'm struggling with is how to start my days off on the right foot. I'm finding it nearly impossible to get out of the house before 10am and before we know it it's lunch time. Nap time has always been 1-3pm but he is just not tired enough yet at this time lately because our mornings are so blah. Mornings filled with TV (not proud of the amount he has been watching lately), puzzles, games are just not wearing this dude out and he is getting bored, antsy, annoyed with the lack of stimulation. I can tell by his constant questions. What are you making mommy? Where are we doing today, Mommy? What are we doing now, Mommy? I'm surprised he hasn't started begging me to take him back to day care yet.
I know it will come and the three of us with get into a groove soon, but man, I thought I would be the one with the blues during these early weeks! There is just no time for that!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Books to help prepare your toddler for birth and a new baby

Weeks before my due date I started loading up books to keep E busy (and me sane from not reading the same thing over and over again). Many of these books were focused on our impending new arrival.  I was really happy with the selection I found at the Ottawa Public Library. Here are some of the books we borrowed that I would recommend for your toddler.
Welcome With Love
Welcome With Love by Jenni Overend

Welcome With Love is the only home birth book I could find.  I love the pictures and how the story is written from one of the children's (the youngest in the family) points of view. It shows pictures of the Father supporting the Mother which I loved and refer to a midwife which was perfect for our plans. And I love how at the end of the story the family all curl up together by the fire place - similar to how our very own story happened! If you are planning a home birth this is a beautiful book.



Hello Baby!
Hello Baby! by Lizzy Rockwell


My Mom's Having a Baby!: A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy
My Mom's Having a Baby! by Dori Hillestad Butler


 
Hello Baby! and My Mom's Having a Baby! were really cute and great for E's age (3). They explain the stages of pregnancy and show pictures of the baby developing in Mother's belly. They were slightly confusing for E because the stories are based on the Mother's visiting the Doctor/OB and going to the hospital to give birth but they would be perfect for others in this situation ( I just changed the wording).
Baby on the Way (Sears Children's Library)
Baby on the Way by William and Martha Sears
What Baby Needs (Sears Children's Library)
What Baby Needs by William and Martha Sears
I had no idea that William and Martha Sears wrote children books too! These are awesome books to help teach children about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.  They sparked a lot of questions from E, including questions about the umbilical cord and breast milk. I loved watching the wheels turn in his head as I flipped each page. Awesome books! Highly recommend!


Alligator Baby
Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch
There were a few other books that I returned that weren't age appropriate. I also picked up some books that were just for fun, like Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch. One book that looked awesome that I found online and wasn't available at the library was a book called, We're Having a Homebirth by Kelly Mochel. It has great reviews and is featured in one of the home birth videos I loved and watched the most, titled Born at Home. If you get a chance to order that book, I bet it is awesome!

E and I are big readers. We love going to the library and I love to pick up books on topics that currently interest him. It was only natural for us to read up on birth and baby before the event and I really believe it helped him understand, prepare for and picture it all. Now, if they only wrote a picture book for Mommy and Daddy to prepare us for the adjustment period our toddler would have to not being our one and only anymore, we would be set! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Preparing our home for a birth

I'm still getting caught up here with all the planning that went into Rohan's birth...

One of the first lists I put together after deciding I was going to stay home was a list of supplies that I needed to give birth comfortably.  I say comfortably, because to give birth naturally there aren't many things you really NEED, right?

I asked my midwives and we put together the following list of items that they wanted me to have onsite:

5 large old towels
5 receiving blankets
2 baby hats
2 large garbage bags
plastic drop sheets (to protect the floor, bed, couches)
hydrogen peroxide (for any stains)
peri bottle (for post-partum care)
hot water bottle or heating pad (for baby or a comfort measure for me)
blue chux pads (I also picked up some puppy pads from the Dollar store which are the same thing and much cheaper)

Then there was the list of extra items I wanted to have and also needed for post-partum. This list also includes items that friends kindly suggested when I posted the question on my blog Facebook page.

birthing water tub
rescue remedy (calming labour aid)
arnica (post-partum care)
calming essential oils (lavender, frankincense and myrrh were suggested)
candles
music
yoga mat and stability ball
sanitary pads
nursing pads
witch hazel (for hemorrhoids)
epsom salts (for sore muscles)
post-partum bath herbs
food (for me and for my birth support team)

The biggest thing on the list was a birthing tub since I had decided that a water birth was the most appealing to me. I originally had my mind set on picking up a tub from a mother in the area that was loaning hers out for cheap. It was a large Rubbermaid tub, that looked like a horse trough. How awesome would that have been? I think I was more excited just to tell my farmer father.  But it required pick-up and drop-off and did not come with any of the added equipment, including a disposable liner which meant it would have required cleaning. As I got closer to my due date, the stress of having to order all the extra pieces and borrow a truck to pick it up was just not worth it. So I decided to cancel that tub and my midwife pointed me to another mother who has a side business of renting out an eco-inflatable tub. I was thankful to find her, especially since she charged nearly half the price of all others I researched in Ottawa, and because everything was included.  Simple as that.
When she dropped it off we were able to give it a test run so we felt prepared for the big day. The only extra piece I picked up was a longer hose since the one provided could not attach to the funky taps we had on our main level and we had to attach it to the tap in our laundry room in the basement. It all worked out because we needed a hose for our new backyard anyways :)


Testing out the tub! (38 1/2 weeks)
So far we had made the decision to have a home birth and gathered all the supplies needed. Next up was preparing myself, my family and my support team. Stay tuned for these notes and Rohan's full birth story to follow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why would I want to give birth at home?

Birth. Every Home Should Have One Greeting Card
Photo Source


Somewhere around mid-pregnancy I decided to start planning for a home birth.  Until this point, it was an option I discussed with my midwives and something to be decided upon once we moved.  Because we didn't know where we were going to live, I didn't want to make any final decisions until we had our new home.  Our house search and move was stressful and at times I joked with friends that I may need to switch my plans to a "cardboard box birth". I was not convinced everything including our timing was going to work. Thankfully, it did and we moved into our home on March 31st, just short of two months before baby was due to arrive.

So why would I want to give birth at home? I've answered this question a million times now and there are a few contributing factors that went into my decision. Besides reading the FACTS ABOUT HOME BIRTH IN ONTARIO, I had personal reasons too.

A quick labour
When my midwives and I initially discussed the option of a home birth, the topic of a quick labour came up. Because my first labour and delivery with E was quick (about 6 hours of active labour), they were convinced that my second labour would be half that.  This excited me, but I tried not to get my hopes up. Anticipating a quick labour, it made more sense to plan to stay home rather than quickly packing for the hospital. I may not make it there in time anyways! (wishful thinking)

The perfect candidate
I had absolutely no complications throughout my pregnancy. My blood pressure, baby's heart rate and all other tests turned up steady and perfect at each appointment. The most of my worries was a urinary tract infection that was treated quickly and a yeast infection later in my pregnancy. Otherwise, I felt great. Even more so than my first pregnancy. I feel fortunate for my health and that pregnancy agrees with me, but I'm also proud of the many life choices that I make on a daily basis that ultimately make me the perfect candidate.

A natural birth plan
Having gone through labour once before in the hospital and not needing pain medications, there was no doubt in my mind that I couldn't birth naturally again.  It made no sense to me, being completely healthy and not needing pain medications, to go to a hospital. I also loved the idea of sleeping in my own bed and not having to deal with the hospital protocols and time lines that I was forced in to the first time.  I could have still had my midwife at the hospital, but in the end staying home was more appealing. I could also argue that a home birth was safer for me than a hospital birth.  Check out the stats from this post titled, "Home births safer than hospital births for low risk pregnancies", by PhD in Parenting. 

Once I made the decision there was only one person I needed on board - Hubby, my birthing partner and "rock". I needed him on my side, otherwise I was not confident I could do this on my own. Initially he thought I was downright crazy.  For weeks I continuously brought up the subject, until he realized this was the real deal and I was actually serious.  He signed up and we sealed the deal but he admitted that he was scared. More scared than being in the hospital? No. He was just not looking forward to seeing me go through pain again. He didn't doubt my plans for a second natural birth and I agreed to continue educating him through my reading and research to help ease his mind. And it did.

I was not concerned about others acceptance.  My family was supportive, although my Dad was slightly concerned about having "trained professionals" on site. Yes, pops, midwives are actually the experts in natural child birth - not doctors! We didn't really tell many of Hubby's family because the explanation and negativity was not something I wanted to concern my time with.  And my friends were all awesome, even if some of them called me a crazy hippie!

The next steps? To start gathering supplies, mentally prepare and to prepare for a possible hospital transfer.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Introducing our newest addition!

On top of all the big changes happening in my life with our move and preparing for our second child and having computer issues on top of that, I have completely neglected my writing in the last two months. That doesn't mean I am lacking material. I have posts drafted on my phone, on the computer and on little notes in my purse and scrap pieces of paper around the house.  I hope to have some time now to finally type them out. So many memories have been made in the last two months they simply can not go without journalling or being told.  And writing makes me happy. I miss it.

So without further ado...I would like to introduce our new baby boy, Rohan.

Hours old - asleep in our bed.
Born on May 26, 2012, a day before his estimated due date, at 5:05am, Rohan came into this world just like I dreamed.  Although, a little quicker than I imagined - it was perfect!  A quick labour and fast delivery. So quick that the midwives just got here in the nick of time. It all happened at home - a natural water birth just like I hoped for. I feel so blessed.  I will soon write out my birth story while it is still so fresh in my mind. For now, you can see it in pictures, taken by the very talented Danielle Lynn Photography, my birth photographer! I also want to write out my journey towards a home birth and the planning that went into it.  What a ride!

Our family of four - 1 day old.

My midwife told me that evening when she returned to check on us, that I laboured and birthed so well and asked how many more children we were planning on having. At that moment, immediately after the birth, I laughed and told her to ask me at a later date. Hubby also laughed because he is convinced that two is our limit. Would you think I was crazy that not quite two weeks later, I am already thinking I could go for a third? If I could have a birth like this again - I would take it! I'm crazy, right?

Maybe it's because Rohan is such a easy baby (so far). Nursing like a champ, gaining a lot of weight and sleeping well.  Maybe it's because of all the support I have had. Or maybe it's because I am a confident, calm, cool and collect second time Mom. Whatever the reason, this time around has been SO much easier.

Brothers :)

Big brother, Elijah, is doing well. He is gentle and asks to hold his baby brother often. E had one week left of day care when R was born so that gave me a great transition into balancing the mother of two act. This week E started off extra clingy and whiny so I thought he was coming down with a bug. Turns out as we are ending the week now and nothing has changed, it seems he has caught nothing more than the big brother blues bug! I'm sure I'll have much more to write about on this topic ;)

Here we go!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Birth conversations with strangers


Friday was my last day of work before the beginning of my vacation time leading into my maternity leave. I've been slowly but surely checking things off my list, trying to get organized for baby but also trying to relax at the same time.  It's hard with so much to do! I've been driving around town a lot, picking up this and that and I'm finding it pretty hilarious how people strike up conversations with me, the visibly pregnant and ready to pop pregnant woman. Here is a sample of the conversations I've had in only four short days so far.

I was walking out of one store when a woman stopped and asked how much longer I had. 
Me: 2 weeks.
Lady: Wow, look at you! You are carrying straight out - you are all baby! You're ready to pop! Are you ready?
Me: Yes (smiles and leaves).

I approached the cash at another store. This time I was asked if I knew the sex of the baby.
Me: No.
Cashier: Wow, how do you do THAT? Don't you want to know?! How can you stand it?!
Me: I like the surprise. (smiles and leaves)

Another store, another cashier.  This time I am asked if it's my first baby.
Me: My second.
Cashier 2: Are you more scared?
Me: Pardon me? (I wasn't sure if I heard her right and was a little thrown off by her question.)
Cashier 2: Are you more or less scared about having a baby this time?
Me: I've never been scared.
Cashier 2: Oh, haha that's good.
The more I think about it, this question really bothers me. What if I was a woman who wasn't confident about birth? Imagine how that question could have affected a woman who was already fearful about childbirth? Jeesh!

Then there was the dude who asked Hubby and I where we were delivering.  I let Hubby do the talking and it was really funny witnessing the whole thing. 
Hubby: Oh, we're having a home birth.
Dude: Oh really, wow! Do you have those people coming to your house to help? What are they called?
Hubby: Midwives? Yes, we have midwives. We've got the birthing tub all ready to go. (Way to go Hubby - add some fuel to the fire)
Dude: Birthing tub? You mean you will have the baby in a bath tub?
Hubby: Kinda, it's a big blow-up tub. We are a planning a water birth.
Dude: (completely dumbfounded) Wow...
Once it sunk in, Dude went on to tell us that his wife had two c-sections and so obviously this was all very knew to him. But he had a neighbour who went to the hospital and had her baby naturally within less than an hour - so "I guess it can be done!". He was really cute. As we walked away smiling, again, I mentioned to Hubby that I guess it's just so normal to us now that we don't realize how casually we bring up the topic of our planned home birth. We totally forget how foreign home birth sounds to some people.

And then, I finally met our neighbours. I was so excited and we ended up chatting for a while and we really clicked! And then I did it. I told her so casually without even thinking first that I was going to be giving birth next door any day now.  I'm not sure her excited looks were out of sheer horror or not.  I joked around with family and friends weeks ago that I had not met the neighbours and it would be quite the welcoming to the new hood if they heard me through the walls the day I give birth.  Well, the neighbours to the left have been warned. I can't help it, I'm excited! We'll see how many clicky conversations we have now...oops!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mom's Miscarriage Story

I've been writing out all of my Mom's Birth Stories (I'm a little behind now) and I am learning a lot about those little things that may not have been spoken about before. This next story is a story that I had never asked many questions about. I knew that my Mom had a miscarriage after me which would have been her eighth pregnancy and because of that there was a wider than normal gap between me and the next child (3 1/2) years. Here is Mom's miscarriage story.

On September 25, 1985 I had a pregnancy test done which came back positive. The symptoms were all the same as previous pregnancies. Before I was able to go to my first Obstetrician appointment however, I experienced a miscarriage. 

The morning of October 10, 1985 I began to bleed a little.  I rested but on October 13th (5-6 weeks pregnant) I had heavy bleeding and eventually went to the hospital. The doctors said the tissue was gone but the placenta was still there. They advised me to have a D & C to clean the area in case of infection. I had that done the next day and went home late that night.

The next week I had terrible back pain and on my left side. It turned out to be a kidney stone which I passed after much pain.

The doctor usually prescribed a multivitamin during pregnancy and I began taking them right away which the doctors reassured me shouldn’t have been the problem. A few days before the incident I remember cleaning the toilets and using bleach which gave off very strong fumes in the small room that I found it hard to breath. Could that have triggered it? Years later we heard that electric blankets were a culprit and we had used one back then but not sure during those months?

We hadn’t planned on getting pregnant then but we were open to life should it happen. The doctors reassured me that miscarriages happen often and I mustn’t blame myself and that it was natures way. I was sad to think of losing a little one but if the conditions weren’t right then it wasn’t meant to be. I did not dwell on this but certainly valued more the seven precious lives that I had been blessed with already.  

While Mom does not necessarily get into too many emotions when telling her story, it is evident that even though it was very early in the pregnancy it was still a tough situation to go through.  She had many of the same feelings and thoughts I have heard of before, especially that of blaming herself or something she did.  I am happy she offered this story, because I have noticed that miscarriages are often not talked about.  I wish more women spoke openly about their experience because it really is much more common than we think and woman need to support each other.

The same week my Mom sent me this story, I read another miscarriage story online that really stuck with me.  I follow Stephanie from Mama and Baby Love on Facebook and was introduced to her blog though the Natural Parents Network.  I really admire her writing and followed along as she announced her pregnancy and while she engaged with her fans on what she believed was signs of miscarriage.  Soon after, she wrote a post about her experience in having a natural miscarriage at home.  It was so raw and emotional and one of the most moving posts I have ever read. If you get a chance to read it, you should.

Thank you, Mom and Stephanie, for sharing your stories.