Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Talking about pregnancy cravings and aversions at Baby Yums

I'm really excited to share that I have signed on as a contributing blogger for local business, Baby Yums, owned and operated by local momprenueur, Crystal Murphy.

Head over and check out my first post, "Eating for two the second time around" where I talk all about the lovely food cravings and aversions I am experiencing with this pregnancy. 

Did you have any food cravings or aversions during your pregnancy? Were they different with each pregnancy?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Books E recommends this month

Whenever we make a trip to the library I can't help but come home with a very heavy bag of children's books.  I've been doing this since E was a baby and my love of reading has definitely rubbed off on him.  Sometimes I go to the library with a plan; looking for certain books that he may be interested in at that time, or sometimes I find a book from my childhood that I must read to him and other times I just sift through the shelves looking for ones that catch my eye.  In the stack of 15 books that we have borrowed for the last 3 weeks, it's funny to see the ones that keep coming back up to the couch in the evening or gliding chair at night and the ones that stay on the bookshelf, pages barely turned at all.  Sometimes I can predict this, but more than usual E surprises me by becoming attached to certain books.  This time I thought I'd grab a couple extra hockey books since E is so very obsessed with hockey lately. Shockingly, he hasn't had much interest in these ones at all.  I thought it would be a fun monthly post to go through the books that E has enjoyed and would recommend to children his age. 

Here are E's current favourites and why we both love them so much.

If You Give A Pig A Party
If You Give A Pig A Party by Laura Numeroff (via Amazon.ca)

If You Give A Pig A Party
We can't get enough of these books. We've read quite a few of Laura Numeroff's books and E has especially taken a liking to this one.  I find him calling out what the next page will say in much excitement and pointing out all the little details on the pages.  He is very interested in birthday parties lately, especially since we talk about the baby coming after his third birthday which usually always brings us into a discussion about his party. The fact that pig and her friends make a tent is beyond exciting for him to read too - tents are big around here lately.
 
The Bare Naked Book
The Bare Naked Book by Kathy Stinson (via Amazon.ca)

The Bare Naked Book
This was a great find. E for some reason calls himself "stinky" when he runs around naked. "Look Mommy and Daddy, I'm stinky!". It's hilarious, but not as hilarious as some of the mispronunciations he has for different body parts.  I love how interactive the books is, asking the child to point to each of their body parts after each page. Being a breastfeeding lover, I especially loved the page describing nipples with a picture of a breastfeeding mom with "milky nipples". I think I'll want to take this book out again once the new baby comes as that part will make much more sense to E then.

You Can Do It, Sam
You Can Do It, Sam by Amy Hest (via Amazon.ca)

You Can Do It, Sam
I absolutely love this book and now I will be on the look out for more of Amy Hest's books.  We have literally read this book every single night for the last few weeks and I'm actually surprised that I'm not getting sick of it.  I love how it encourages independence and how proud Sam is of himself and Mrs. Bear is of him. When Sam comes running back to the green truck and says, "I did it!", E just lights up with pride every time too. Truly an enjoyable book to read.


Curious George and the Dump Truck
Curious George and the Dump Truck by Margaret and HA Rey (via Amazon.ca)
Curious George and the Dump Truck
Curious George books were some of my favourite growing up. I even had a stuffed monkey that I carried around that I named Curious George.  When I take E to the library I'm a little selfish and have to pick up some of these books for myself too.  Because E is into dump trucks these days, this was a perfect fit. 

What books are your children reading these days? Any recommendations for our next trip to the library? Check back next month for more of E's recommendations!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Beyond the Bump: The Tupler Technique with Kangaroo Fitness

I've started a few new and exciting programs and activities around Ottawa to support my growing bump and to prepare my body for birth and a new baby. This growing a baby stuff is hard work and there is alot of buisness that goes on behind the scenes!

I feel fortunate to have met some local business owners (many of them Mom themselves!) over the last year that offer amazing programs and I've jumped at the opportunity to try them out. First up is The Tupler Technique with Kangaroo Fitness!



I had the pleasure of meeting Susanne from Kangaroo Fitness in the Fall while attending one of her  information sessions on the Tupler Technique - a research based program that can heal diastasis recti. I was very interested in what she had to offer in her Perfect Pushing and Mummy Tummy programs and with a friend who was seven months pregnant at the time, I had the perfect opportunity to tag along and learn more.

From Kangaroo Fitness' website:

Diastasis Recti during Pregnancy
Most women develop diastasis recti during pregnancy. A diastasis will have an impact on your overall core strength including your pelvic floor, on the effectiveness of your pushing, on how fast your abdominals recover from an C-section, on how your belly looks after the baby is born and on how much back pain you experience during your pregnancy.  
The two halves of your recti muscle are joined together at the linea alba, a string of connective tissue. During pregnancy, as the uterus grows, that muscle lengthens and causes the two halves to separate. As the muscle separates, the connective tissue stretches sideways making it thinner and weaker. Now, instead of muscle, you have weak connective tissue supporting your lower back and your organs. No support for the lower back translates into more back pain and no support for your organs means more difficult pushing during labor.  
With diastasis recti your growing uterus is held in place by a separated recti muscle and stretched out connective tissue. Pushing the baby out is very difficult to do with a separated muscle. The uterus will tilt forward as the connective tissue cannot hold it in place properly. When it tilts forward the cervix moves out of alignment with the vaginal canal creating a detour in the baby‘s passage through the birth canal.

Susanne's program really appealed to me because I believe that strengthening your body during pregnancy is extremely important to prepare for birth and to help your body recover. I have always believed as long as you are healthy, pregnancy should never be an excuse for inactivity and that preparing for birth and post-partum should be treated much like training for a marathon as well as providing the best environment for baby to develop.

When I met Susanne I had my abdominal muscles checked for diastasis recti and although I thought I still had a significant gap, Susanne assured me that my core had returned to an almost normal state after carrying E. I could notice a slight gap between my muscles that would cone out if I leaned back, showing that I still had a slight diastasis and that I hadn't completely strengthened my core back to it's pre-baby state. Little did I realize that I was actually a couple weeks pregnant at the time so I would be meeting with her again in the near future!

I am now currently working on the 6-week program and in the first three weeks of the "Elevator Exercises".  When I first practiced the exercises I could feel other areas of my body trying to compensate for my weak abdominals.  At 26 weeks now and with my belly stretching out and making room for baby I could feel tightness in my lower back, upper back, shoulders and legs when concentrating and breathing through the exercises.  My belly button popped out much quicker this time around (a sure sign of diastasis recti) and my belly certainly cones when I crunch up.

I have finally put a full week in after having to start over a couple times. I must admit - this isn't a program for slackers! It involves concentration, breathing and body awareness and motivation! I have now got into a better routine of setting a timer and making sure I complete my exercises throughout the day.  The best part is they can be done at my desk while I'm at work and during my commute in the car to and from work. No more slacking!

I am really looking forward to seeing the benefits to this program which will include:
  • increase core strength for pushing baby out
  • strengthening my pelvic floor especially since it wasn't properly strengthened after my first birth
  • reduced lower back pain - I had sciatic pain throughout my pregnancy with E
  • proper posture and uterus alignment
  • quicker recovery and minimizing that post-partum Mummy Tummy
I am now much more aware of my body movements especially when getting out of bed or picking up E; making sure I am supporting my core and not using any forceful forward motions. After a few days of exercises I felt some pain in my lower back but that has now diminished as my core is strengthening. Near the end of my exercises I can also feel my pelvic floor really working - just like kegels! It's amazing how these simple exercises are really giving my body a full workout.

Stay tuned for more updates as I work my bump during the next 6 weeks and beyond!

Disclosure –  Susanne has offered me her services and materials in exchange for my written experience with her program. The opinions on this blog are my own. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lessons learned from my first birth experience

After finally writing out my first birth story I've decided to reflect on some of the lessons learned and how they have shaped my wishes for a home birth.

1. Get a midwife. Thoughts of switching to midwifery half way through my last pregnancy was in the back of my mind but I was too scared to make a big move.  I wish I followed my gut then. This time around I did my research, made sure it was the first thing on my checklist and got a midwife immediately.  I am so glad I did and will never go back now!

2. Labour at home as long as possible. I went to the hospital far too early. If I had a midwife or doula this could have been avoided. I was anxious to get the party started which just led to too many unnecessary hospital interventions that probably could have been avoided (ie. constant fetal monitoring, breaking my water, pitocin through IV to speed up the process, constant cervical checks). This time around I don't need to worry about this at all which is really exciting. Since I am planning a home birth there will be no wondering when to leave for the hospital. I can labour in the comfort of my own home and let nature take it's course without all the hoopla. The thought of this just relaxes me so much more.

3.  Be aware of unnecessary interventions, especially induction. I was certainly a good patient, but I have learned a lot more about the above interventions and how they can have a negative effect on a natural birth. I am lucky that the IV was removed quickly and not needed, but having to sit on the bed and get poked in the arms up to 4 times before they properly stuck my vein was not an ideal interruption during my labour. The constant monitoring kept taking me out of my groove and was an annoying distraction.

4. Stick up for myself during labour. This is something I have already mentioned in my "What I would do differently" post over a year ago. I have learned so much more about directing my own care and not simply taking and following the nurses and doctors unnecessary orders. There were things on my birth plan that were passed by because I just kept going with the flow. This is where a doula could have come in handy for sure and a midwife would have changed a lot of this. It didn't help that Hubby was just as compliant as me.

5. Push on my own schedule.  When I felt the urge to push and told the nurse, that was exactly the minute that I feel I gave up total control. From that moment on, the room became a grand central station. I've learned a lot more about the importance of listening to your body during this pushing phase. I will look to my midwife and Hubby to help me through this phase next time, but will be pushing in the position and manner that I feel most comfortable with.

6. Educate myself more about delayed cord clamping.  This is something that I read about but didn't not look into further. I have now read and watched more about the benefits and this is something that I will push for my second child if circumstances allow.  I can't see this being a problem at a home birth, but unfortunately it was ignored in the hospital under an OB's care.

7. Be prepared and stick up for myself when it comes to breastfeeding.  Immediate skin-to-skin will be natural and not ignored this time.  Not being in the hospital I can thankfully skip all the unnecessary fuss over the baby in the beginning and take our time with tests and weigh-ins, etc. I will not allow my baby to be swaddled and taken away from me unless there is an emergency.

8. Go home as soon as possible. Better yet, stay home. I never imagined I would be here, considering and deciding on a home birth. After going through many of my Mom's birth stories I am amazed with how long they kept women in the hospital after birth. Two days was enough to drive me crazy, I couldn't imagine 5 days.  Having a midwife gives you the choice to go home earlier and birthing at home appeals to me that much more.

These have all been valuable lessons although I wish they were lessons that women didn't have to be faced with everyday. I am extremely grateful and feel blessed to have had a med-free birth and a healthy child and there are so many more reasons why I believe I should birth at home.  I will share more on my decision for a home birth in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine hearts his way

I had intentions to be really creative this Valentine's Day with all kinds of great inspiration on Pinterest. Afterall, this is the first year I have helped E make his very own cards. But then E got a fever on Thursday and hasn't quite been himself the last few days so we toned it down to some simple heart gluing and painting - just the way he prefers to craft.  As it turns out, he was super proud of these hearts this morning as he handed them over to his day care provider, even if we started the day off with a little extra crankiness.



We left most of the crafting to last night but this weekend we were able to get a few special crafts done with him for the extra special people in his life including cute heart shaped handprints.


Happy Valentine's Day!

These crafts have been submitted to the Kids in the Capital craft carnival. This month we are celebrating Love and Kindness. Join in the fun!

Monday, February 13, 2012

E's Night Terrors

In November, we had our very first experience with night terrors.  E had a bit of a fever from a bug that was going around day care and thankfully it only lasted two days. However, it seemed to be directly linked to two nights in a row of night terrors.

Night #1. 5:00am - I was woken up by high pitch screaming in E's room. I went in to find E standing straight up in his crib, screaming like I have never heard him scream before. When I asked him what was wrong he did not answer. This was very unlike E. He has always been so great with his words and explaining to us what is bothering him.  I called for Hubby because I was very scared at this moment. E continued to scream and would not answer us.  I tried to take him out of his crib and comfort him but he pushed me away and pulled away from me like I was hurting him. We tried to wake him up/snap him out of it because it seemed like he was just having a nightmare and possibly a temper tantrum. He banged around in his crib, rubbing his head against the crib bars. IT. WAS. TERRIFYING. Hubby pulled him out next and held him close, not letting him lash out.  Suddenly, he seemed to start to snap out of it.  He yelled out, "milk!", so I went downstairs and grabbed a glass of almond milk for him. When I quickly returned he was sitting calmly in his father's lap, smiling and cuddling him like nothing happened.  He drank his milk, we placed him back in his crib, kissed him goodnight and that was it. The whole episode lasted a LONG ten minutes.

Hubby and I went back to our room asking ourselves WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!? DO WE NEED TO CALL AN EXORCIST? WHERE DID THAT DEMON-LIKE CHILD COME FROM?! It was terrifying to say the least.

The first thing I did when I got to my desk at work that morning was Google "night temper tantrums". I didn't really know what a night terror was and had always thought they were linked to a nightmare or scary thought. E's episode from the night before seemed more like a temper tantrum to me.  Every single thing linked me back to the definition of a night terror and it couldn't have defined our experience any better.
Signs:
  • Uncontrollable screaming and no talking.
  • Seems frightened but can't be awakened or consoled.
  • Doesn't acknowledge you.
  • Usually lasts 10-30 minutes.
  • Cannot remember them in the morning.
Tips:
  • Do not wake the child.
  • Protect them from harming themselves.
  • An episode will end on it's own.
We felt relieved to find an answer and were a little bit more prepared knowing what he were up against in the future.

Night #2 - 2:30am - Again I am woken up by screaming and again I walk in to see E standing in his crib.  Hubby tries to hold him. He pulls away from me every time as I try to rock him in the rocking chair to encourage him to fall back asleep. If we put him in his crib he harms himself by hitting his head on his crib.  He fights to be freed from Hubby's arms.  Eventually after ten minutes have passed and he is still screaming we brought him into bed with us and let him kick and scream between us, hoping he will snap out of it soon. Twenty minutes later we had a happy boy again. When we asked him why he was crying it seemed like he had no idea what we were talking about.

Fast forward to last night.  E had a fever at day care on Thursday so we had to pick him up early.  He was not himself all day Friday and Saturday but started coming around yesterday afternoon.  We knew he was overtired because of his constant wakings at night due to his fever, but he would not nap. Finally around 3:30 pm he climbed on my lap on the couch and fell asleep.

Late afternoon nap on the couch for a feverish boy
He woke up only after an hour and was not a happy camper. This time we experienced something similar to a night terror, but in the afternoon. It was a full-out temper tantrum. Poor feverish, overtired little guy.  You just can't get mad at that. He went to bed fine later that evening, but again we had another terror at 3:00am this morning.  It only last a few minutes and soon enough he was nuzzled in bed with me and fast asleep. 

For E it seems these terrors only come when he has a fever and is overly tired.  They can be very stressful for us because you feel hopeless and want to comfort them and stop the crying.  I really hope we don't have many more of these, I don't think my heart can take it!

Have you ever experienced night terrors with your children?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Move over big brother

The other night I settled into my regular evening spot on the gliding chair.  E collected his favourite soft brown blanket and stuffed friends to join me for some bedtime stories. Every night he climbs into what Hubby and I call his "little nook", his safe haven on my lap. 

I look back now at how this nook as evolved from a cradle hold while I nursed him to sleep as a baby, to an acrobatic half cradle-half sitting up spot as a young toddler as we neared the end of our nursing relationship, to sitting straight up with his back against my belly with books in hand.  The last few months his position has changed once again.  I can no longer bare his weight on my belly and so he sits almost completely sideways on my lap to make room for his books, teddy, penguin, giraffe, blanket and of course, my growing belly.

As I leaned over the side of the chair to retrieve the books he had picked out and stacked on the floor beside me, he tried to climb up onto my knees without my assistance.  Next thing I knew he was half off my lap and tilting backwards into a spiral flip to the floor in slow motion. Huge gasps and cries followed and I was convinced he had a minor concussion from hitting his head off the door of the closet.  He surprisingly didn't have any marks and was more frightened than anything.  I couldn't stop thinking about it all night.

I felt terrible for not paying more attention.  I also felt terrible because he knows our new routine and his new nook so well, that he was being careful not to push against my belly. In minding my space, he lost track of his balance.

I picked him up so quickly and held him tight.  Once he caught his breath and settled down he asked, "Mommy, can you push over your belly?"

Explaining to an almost three year old that my belly won't be going anywhere anytime soon and that it will soon be replaced with someone who will rock his world even more is nearly impossible.  It seems like little brother or sister is already getting a head start in marking their territory. Poor big brother has no idea what is about to hit him!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mom's Birth Stories: Seventh of Eleven

The following is my Mom's seventh birth story (it's me!). For a little background, check out my first post about this series, Mom's Birth Stories, her First Birth Story, Second Birth Story, Third Birth Story, Fourth Birth Story, Fifth Birth Story and Sixth Birth Story.




Her story is broken into 4 sections: Pregnancy, Labour and Delivery, Breastfeeding and Reflections. I have also provided some of my comments and reflections at the end.

Pregnancy
My husband and I didn’t have a set number picked out for the size of our family. I often thought early on that if I could put in an order for them I would have asked for two of each sex, however life doesn’t work that way.

Up to now I’d been praying for another girl once I’d become pregnant so this time I decided to ask and pray before the fact. Over the years I’ve found that it’s when I surrender to God’s will that he has blessed me with more than I deserve so I was prepared to stop at 6 children with only one daughter if that was what He wanted, however I was still hopeful.

Some comments I received prior to the birth were negative and skeptical. They said that even if I had a girl that the difference in age  (nine years) would mean that these sisters would never be close. I retorted that my mother-in-law’s younger sister was nine years younger than her and they had a great relationship; also my older brother’s wife is nine years younger than him and that they hope to spend the rest of their lives together.

I learned that my previous doctor was doing abortions which I did not agree with so I switched to another obstetrician. He looked at family history and because my mother had triplets (still born) he scheduled an ultrasound. This was my first ultrasound but back then the technicians did not reveal the sex and I was afraid to ask for fear of being turned down anyway. I learned only that there was one baby. He asked if I smoked because the baby was small. I’ve never smoked. The doctor said I was due on August 28 which is our wedding anniversary.


Labour and Delivery
She was born just after midnight(12:08 am) on that date. As she was born I was happy to hear that she was a girl and then I asked what time it was to see if she had indeed arrived on our anniversary. Hallelujah! My husband was with me and fed me some ice chips to keep my mouth from becoming too dry during the labour (all that breathing).

The labour length was 5 ½ hours. There was a woman resident doctor who delivered #7. My doctor didn’t arrive in time. She said it was better to message the area below (perineal massage) and let it stretch and tear rather than cut so I didn’t have an episiotomy for the first time. She did however break the membranes which didn’t seem to want to rupture on their own. I ended up with a few stitches which healed quickly. Her weight was 8 lbs ½ oz.

Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding the same day with no problems. I breastfed her for 13 and ½ months.

Mom's Reflections
Best part of this pregnancy was having an understanding woman doctor for the delivery and welcoming our second daughter on our 12th anniversary.

The worst part was developing minor varicose veins on my left leg (during pregnancy) and the painful delivery (it never really got easier).

This experience taught me to be thankful and glad I persevered.

My Reflections
This was an exciting birth story to write out because it is my birth story. It's interesting to read my Mom's views about her family size as it continues to grow and how her committment to her Roman Catholic beliefs shine through. 

I like to tease that I am lucky #7 because I was the girl my parents were hoping for AND I was born on their wedding anniversary. But you can't pick favourites right? Right?

I mentioned some of the details of this birth story to a friend and she asked if I thought some of the details were ironic. Afterall, I have taken quite a liken to natural birth and this happens to be the first birth my Mom has a understanding woman doctor who also puts a stop to the unnessary episiotomies.  I think that is kind of cool.

Oh and 7th baby and labour still isn't easy? That puts all those silly comments people have to rest that think after a few births the baby practically slips right out.

Keeping tabs:
Baby #1 - Boy - October 5, 1972
Baby #2 - Girl - February 24, 1974
Baby #3 - Boy - June 10, 1975
Baby #4 - Boy - November 23, 1977
Baby #5 - Boy - July 4, 1979
Baby #6 - Boy - December 22, 1980
Baby #7 - Girl - August 28, 1983

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Choices

I’m independent. Hubby’s independent. We don’t like people telling us what to do and I wouldn’t expect my child to react well with demands or under a bossy authoritative roll either.

I hated feeling like I didn't have a choice growing up. In our house it was my parents way or the highway. It was worse when my Dad put down his strict foot. It was his way or well, his way.  No questions asked, no other sides considered. Do what you are told and do it now. This is right and you are wrong. I didn’t put up a fight often because I knew it wasn’t worth it, but when you are told to do something or go somewhere it never feels good.  You feel pressured, controlled and uncomfortable.  If given the chance to make a choice on my own maybe I would made the “right” choice or maybe not. But I would have learned from those choices nevertheless. The choices I could have been given didn't have to be big choices, just something, anything to make me feel like I could think for myself.

This is where a lot of my parenting around “choices” come from.  While E is still a long way from making any big choices in life,  I want him to explore his independence and feel comfortable and supported in that role. I also want to minimize temper tantrums. It's a win-win situation.

Sometimes it’s hard. Especially those mornings where I just want him to put his boots on already inside of fish-flopping around on the floor giggling and making a game out of my building stress because I’m running late. Or those days I want him to eat his dinner and he refuses and tries to leave the table. Or the days I pick him up from day care and he doesn’t want to leave.  These are the days I try to remember to take a step back and place myself in his little shoes. These are the times that I try to remember that my little independent man just wants to feel like he has the power to make a simple choice. And choices are what I try to present him with.

Most of the time giving him a choice makes him feel more at ease, in charge and much easier to handle.  Little does he know, he doesn't usually have a choice in the end result - it's just how we get there that makes all the difference.

Every morning he is given many choices. While Mommy is in the shower, he can go play in his playroom, “sleep for 1 more minute” or cuddle in bed with Daddy. Before we leave the house he chooses between a red, orange or yellow vitamin. When I pick him up later in the day at day care I try not to walk in and say, “It’s time to go home. Let’s go.” Lately he has been resisting and has wanted to stay with his friends, especially if he is one of the first to be picked up.  Yesterday I asked, “When we get home do you want to play hockey first or do you want to help Mommy make dinner?” In answering my questions with his preferred choice he usually completely forgets about the current task of putting on his coat and boots and happily skips out the door looking forward to the choice he has made. Success. When making dinner I like to include him in meal planning and the odds are he is more likely to eat it. Last night I asked, “Should we cut up carrots or cucumber?” and we were both perfectly happy with his choice of, “Boff of fem”. 

Sometimes these choices can backfire, like when he chooses neither and says, “nufing”, instead. Or when I catch myself giving him a choice that gives him all the power by mistake like, “Do you want to go home now?”. But if I carefully give him easy choices to make with the same end result in mind, things are easier on both of us and makes for a happy little toddler.

Choices –  one of my favourite parenting tricks!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The No-Cry Sleep Method and my little interview in Canadian Family magazine

The Sleep Doula contacted me on Twitter after I replied that I had success with the No-Cry sleep method and I agreed to answer a few questions for Canadian Family magazine. 

Clips of my interview were strewn together in a spread about different sleep "training" methods titled, "A Good Night Sleep: Finding the best sleep-training option for your family".  The methods listed were Cry-it-Out, Supported, No-Cry, and Co-sleeping or Bed-sharing.  I've used a bit of each except cry-it-out (it didn't suit me and my family), but I found Elizabeth Pantley's book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution to be my best resource.  I had actually just recommended this book to a friend who is a new mother just days before the interview. In the interview, I talked a bit about how this book helped me, including:
  • Helping me become a more mindful parent and understand normal infant sleep habits
  • Effective nursing to sleep and staying asleep strategies
  • Introducing a "lovey" to ease into nap times and the day care transition
  • The importance of a night time routine and consistency from me
These are all things that worked for my family and I highly recommend this book to any new parent.

Here's a shot of the page. To read the full article pick up the March 2012 issue of Canadian Family.



I am happy with how my little interview went and how appears in print.  It's kind of neat seeing your name in a magazine!

P.S I'm loving Twitter these days but I have to admit it took me awhile to get into it.  If you are on Twitter and we haven't connected yet, be sure to send me a hello at @aliciafagan!

Monday, February 6, 2012

24 weeks

In my 17 week update I wrote a bit about the differences in this pregnancy compared to when I was pregnant with E.  I'm still experiencing the huge food let downs and gagging and feel like I'm growing like crazy. In fact a coworker recently told me that I was huge and the equivalent size of another coworker on the day she left for her maternity leave. Awesome, I look 9 months pregnant! I actually don't look that huge I promise. I'll try to get around to a belly shot soon to prove it.

A couple things have changed. Baby's heart rate has been around the 130 bpm rate lately and many of the old wives tales are pointing toward's boy. During the first trimester I was convinced it was a girl, but now I'm thinking boy. And I can only think of boy names. Maybe it's just easier to match a name up with an older brother?

I'm still tired, but instead of falling asleep whenever I can I was hit with a bit of insomnia for the last few weeks. Waking up for work in the morning has not been fun.

I had an ultrasound at 19 weeks and the baby was very active.  Measurements went well until the Ultrasound Tech had to measure the spine at which time the baby would not cooperate. I even stood up and moved around a bit hoping it would help. I ended up having to go back the following week at which time it took maybe 10 minutes because baby was in perfect position.  I made sure to tell the the Tech that I did not want to know the sex.  It was tough closing my eyes and looking the other way while she took measurements in those areas, but I stood my ground without peeking.

I discussed my wishes for a home birth with my midwife. I was nervous telling her that we were moving and was worried she might not approve of the distance if we do decide to move just out of town. I was relieved when she was not concerned at all and was very welcoming in my plans.  So I am really excited to announce that a home birth is my official plan and I am moving full steam ahead watching home birth videos and reading all kinds of great resources. I'll share some of my learning's here soon. 

I feel so empowered with this pregnancy because 1) I've been there and done that and 2) my midwife is awesome.  There's something about feeling like you have a choice that makes you feel more at ease about your decisions.  I was able to opt out of the glucose test (the one for gestational diabetes) and that is something I would have never questioned during my first pregnancy.  It's hard to explain but it just feels great. I don't feel like a patient when I'm at my appointments. I feel like I have a new friend that is empowering and supporting me every step of the way.

So I'm feeling great overall and really can't complain.  I've started a new exercise routine at my workplace gym during my lunch hour and it feels great to have more of a routine with my walking again.  Last week I started the Tupler Technique program through Kangaroo Fitness and this week I'm starting Prenatal Yoga with Little Lotus Yoga.  So many exciting things starting this month that I'll be sure to update you on soon!

Friday, February 3, 2012

He dreams of hockey

I've always figured any child of ours would be a lover of sports.  E has been sitting on the sidelines of ball hockey, baseball, soccer, hockey and golf for all of his 2.5 years so far.  Hockey has been his sport of choice and there is nothing more exciting to him than an invite to play road hockey or to go watch one of Daddy's games.

Lately I have been thinking, can being THIS obsessed with one thing be healthy for him? I work in national sport and one model that is frequently talked about is Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD).  If you are thinking I am already considering my child to be a national level athlete, that is not what I am getting at. It's just one thing that will always be at the back of my mind - raising a child that is well-rounded and tries a number of sports rather than streamlining and focusing on one sport alone.

That being said the more I thought today about E's current hockey obsession the more I feel like I should embrace it.  I think as parents we can only help our children learn and flourish by embracing their current interests and help them explore them further.  When E was really interested in bugs this summer I took him to the library and we brought home a stack of books about bugs and we explored bugs in the grass at the park.  When he talks about wanting to bake, I pull him up to the counter and we measure and stir and watch our creation rise in the oven window. Why should this be any different?

Over the holidays Hubby was given a box to the Senator's skills competition and so we invited some friends and the kids had a blast. Do you think E has forgotten that experience? The weekends can sometimes get tiring when he is constantly asking to go back to the Scotiabank Place, but how can we not laugh?

The last 24 hours may have been the highlight of his current love for hockey. 

Last night we cleaned up the playroom, organizing all the toy bins and clearing the floor of the mess.  When finished, E declared the wide open space we created to be the ice and with Hubby's old hand-me-down helmet on my head and one of his Lemieux jersey's on, I was the goalie and E was the "player".  At bedtime, along with some other books we read the usual NHL Hockey Shapes book and Robert Munsch's Just One Goal and I tucked E into bed with nothing but hockey on the brain. 

This morning as he sat on the toilet he told me all about Hubby's friend who plays goalie and then went off to retrieve his equipment to bring to bed with Hubby while I jumped in the shower.  This is what I saw and what I see daily when I got out of the shower.
What do you mean I'm going to daycare and not the Scotiabank Place?

The hockey equipment was then returned to it's "safe place" in the playroom where we leave it everyday to avoid a fight. He is usually very compliant knowing that as soon as he gets home he can run upstairs and find it exactly where he left it.

Tonight after packing up his goalie equipment and carting it around the house in his "hockey bag" otherwise known as my cloth grocery bag we settled down for some bedtime stories. The Cat in the Hat and Click, Clack, Moo made the cut tonight along with an unusual but very fitting choice. Pulled from the shelf where I have been keeping a stack of Hubby's childhood sports heroes was this novel and he sat through the entire first chapter.

Bedtime story
Sweet hockey dreams my baby boy.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mom's Birth Stories: Sixth of Eleven

The following is my Mom's sixth birth story. For a little background, check out my first post about this series, Mom's Birth Stories, her First Birth Story, Second Birth Story, Third Birth Story, Fourth Birth Story and Fifth Birth Story.



Her story is broken into 4 sections: Pregnancy, Labour and Delivery, Breastfeeding and Reflections. I have also provided some of my comments and reflections at the end.

Pregnancy
This pregnancy happened while nursing #5. All thoughts of having that second daughter seemed unlikely because this baby was big and long (up under my ribs in the last month). I told my daughter my suspicions so as not to get her hopes up.

When I was about 4 months pregnant with this baby I was having my hair cut in a friend’s home salon. An older lady waiting her turn noticed my bump and asked me if I was pregnant again. I said yes to which she replied, “You bad girl!”  I was shocked at her comment because I was married and I thought I was taking good care of the ones I had already. She had four adult children of her own. I explained that we felt very fortunate to be able to have children which we loved because many young couples are infertile and desperately want to have children. She concluded, "That’s a very good way of looking at it”.

Labour and Delivery
Due date was December 20th. I figured about the 23rd. Born Dec 22, 1980 at 1:10 pm.
Labour length 4 hours. He was induced.
Weight - 7 lbs 11 oz.

My doctor (OB) was going on holidays and wouldn’t be around after the 22nd so he asked me if I wanted to have this baby before Christmas. I said yes so he said come in Monday morning at 8 am. When we got into town my husband was starving so we went to a restaurant and he ate a big breakfast in front of me. I wasn’t in labour and was hungry but didn’t see the point in eating and then having an enema later. It was a vivid memory.

The nurse started an IV drip in my arm but nothing really started until 9am. The labour pains came on very similar to natural labour but progressed quickly. The delivery was very similar to my previous pregnancies. An episiotomy was cut as usual.

This was my husband’s first time in the delivery room. I remember squeezing his hand during the intense pains. It was like night and day to have my husband there beside me and to both share the joy of our baby’s birth together.

Hospital stay was only 2 days this time, returning on the 24th, Christmas Eve.

Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding the same day with no problems. I breastfed him for 11 months.

Mom's Reflections
When I got home from the hospital my only daughter said, “Mom, I just want you to have one more, a girl”. I sure didn’t feel like it right then but I said we’ll see.

I remember sitting in the rocking chair (in the playroom while the children played around her) the day I got home and nursing the baby and I inadvertently exclaimed (while suffering severe afterbirth pains) that maybe I shouldn’t have come home so soon. The children in unison said, "We’ll help Mommy, please stay home.”

I asked Mom to elaborate on Dad's presence at birth for the first time. Her response:

Dad was very supportive. He said it was stressful to see me in such pain but it was less stressful than not knowing what was happenening before. He realized that once fathers were allowed in that it was only right that they should share in their child's birth. Before then, he felt that he shouldn't be there because he could be in the way and he wasn't a doctor or nurse. He remembers feeling happy that the baby was healthy and that the pregnancy had come to an end (long time). He was relieved that it was over.

My Reflections
Starting with this pregnancy, I notice the beginning  of Mom's memories of lovely "comments" from others (like the one at the hair salon) about her family size.  I love how she never fights back but simply answers time and time again that she is blessed. I don't think I could be that strong against criticism.

I cringed when I first heard about her induction because I've learned that medical inductions for a non-medical reasons are very scary and can turn ugly. I find it funny that her OB could get away with going straight to an IV strictly because it was the holidays and he was going on vacation.  But Mom agreed and was ready to have that baby so it was her choice. I am so glad that she lucked out and didn't have any set backs or problems with this birth because of it. 

Can you believe Dad's nerve eating that big meal in front of her?  I guess it was her choice not to eat, but she was preparing for her sixth enema.  I still can't believe they continued to give enema's every time back then.

A couple people asked about her repeated episiotomies. This was her sixth birth and six episiotomy.  She had the same OB (a male) for birth 1-3 and then again the same OB  (a male) from birth 4-6. This was standard procedure for these OB's.  Mom said she didn't have any issues with scar tissue and since she was always healthy she healed quickly.  Her body had a sufficient amount of time to properly heal between each birth ranging from 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 years apart. I am happy to report that this was her last episiotomy, but you'll have to read the next birth stories to find out more!

I also had to laugh at my Mom's comments as she was surrounded by all six kids in the playroom on Christmas Eve.  It must have been an overwhelming time for her.  I already have this feeling with baby #2 on the way!

Keeping tabs:

Baby #1 - Boy - October 5, 1972
Baby #2 - Girl - February 24, 1974
Baby #3 - Boy - June 10, 1975
Baby #4 - Boy - November 23, 1977
Baby #5 - Boy - July 4, 1979
Baby #6 - Boy - Dec 22, 1980

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The guessing game

Part of the fun of not knowing the baby’s sex is trying to guess what ‘it’ will be. There are quite a few theories and old wives tales out there so I thought I would test some out.

Ancient Chinese Birth Chart
Factoring in my age and month of conception, we’re having a girl.

Cravings
Salty = girl, sweet = boy.  Uh oh, I crave both. Yet, I have always craved chocolate and sweets more than salty, so I’m going to give this one to the girl because I rarely crave salty otherwise.

Heart rate
If the heart rate is above 140-150bpm you are having a girl, below that it’s a boy. It’s best to only test in the last half of the pregnancy and it worked for predicting E’s gender. E’s heart rate was always around the 150bpm in the beginning and dropped to a steady 120bpm near the end. This pregnancy started around 160bpm and now sits at 130bpm. I’m predicting boy again, according to this.

Beauty
Another saying is the when you are pregnant with a girl she “steals your beauty”, hence making you gain more weight and have poor skin features, etc. I haven’t had much weight gain (yet) and skin has stayed the same. Boy, again!

Belly shape
If you carry low and out front it’s a boy. If you carry high and everywhere it’s a girl. So far I am just carrying low just like I did with E but I don’t believe this one as much because it all depends on your body shape. Boy it is I guess.

Ring direction
For this one you attach your wedding ring to a string and hold it above your belly. Hubby tested this one out and after I discovered he was actually swing the string I demanded a redo. If the ring swings in a circular motion is a girl. If it swings back and forth, boy.  Back and forth it was = boy!

That makes the score 4 for boy, 2 for girl!

Just for continued fun I found this quiz on the About.com website called: “Boy or Girl” and this answer at the end of my quiz made me laugh.

You answered 5 items out of 10 Yes.
Your score is 50%. Congratulations! According to the Old Wives it's a boy!
So, you’re telling me it’s a 50/50 chance?