Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Baby turns 1 today!

And what an amazing day it is. Crisp, clear and blindingly sunny out. We had a nice sleep in, birthday breakie, play time, nap, ran some errands, back home for a snack and currently napping again before a few close friends arrive for a small celebration dinner and cake! S is making a quinoa chocolate cake and we picked up some pizza for dinner. Baby and I stopped and got balloons so we're all set!

What an amazing year it has been, Baby. I love you SO much it still takes my breath away. Even though I'm slightly sad that your "baby-ness" is slowly slipping away, I am sure that we have many amazing adventures ahead of us.

Happy Birthday, Baby!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Death and other holiday fun

I have been SO busy these last few weeks. The only "spare" time I have is when Baby naps and since she only naps for longer than 30 minutes if I nap with her, I spend all my "spare" time sitting or laying with her while she sleeps. But, enough about that for now.....

I had a really tough Christmas this year. It was Baby's first holiday season and we really wanted it to be perfect. I don't even know what perfect looked like but it definitely wasn't the dark, heavy, sad time that we experienced.

On Christmas Eve morning, S found our older cat, Carmen, unconscious in our spare bedroom. I had gotten up right before 9 to go upstairs and feed the 2 cats. Carmen was diabetic so needs to eat at 12 hour intervals and have insulin injections twice a day. I knew immediately that something was wrong when she wasn't a) waiting at the bedroom door for me and then b) nowhere upstairs. I came downstairs and asked S if she'd look in the other room because I was terrified of what I'd find. I heard her say "no, no, Carmen" and we both thought she was gone. Then S noticed some very slight breathing so we all got dressed in 2 minutes and went to the animal ER (which is luckily about 5 minutes from our house). Carmen spent the next 30 or so hours there having seizures. The vets figured that she must have had a seizure during the night before we found her that caused permanent brain damage and that was what was causing the subsequent seizures. Her vitals and organs were all fine. We were told it was highly unlikely that the seizures would stop and that the damage was permanent. We were told that her prognosis was very poor.

And then we found out that her diabetes had likely gone into remission and her insulin likely caused the first seizure.

I still feel so guilty for not taking her in sooner to get checked out.

S had just taken her in at the end of October and everything was fine and we were told to keep with the same insulin levels and that she was doing great. However, the past couple of weeks I thought something was up. She was a bit listless, stumbled once, just didn't look right. I said to S at one point "my gut tells me that something is wrong." But we didn't take her in. Some days she seemed completely fine, playing, eating, running up and down the stairs. We figured we'd just wait until after the holidays and then take her in for a regular check up. And now I don't know how to get over this feeling that I should have saved her life. I know I took care of her and did the best I could. I know there was no way I could have known. I know all that. But that doesn't help right now. I feel like I have a lump in my throat and that it will never go away. I really miss having her around. I loved that cat.

We had to say good-bye to her on Christmas day about 4pm.

R.I.P. Carmen the Cat

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Prep

I'm having a crafty kinda day. Given that I have a lack of spare time these days I have several unfinished or not started projects. S and Baby went for a walk this afternoon however so I've had several hours to work on stuff!

So far I've:
  • Finished sewing a pair of pants for Baby using an old sweater of mine
  • Dyed 3 playsilks for Baby's solstice gift
  • Spray painted some stuff for another project I'm working on
I will post photos (and instructions if anyone is interested) of the end results in the next day or so.

It's hard to believe it's already close to 2011. What a year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First steps!

This will be a quickie as it's been a very busy week/weekend and I'm exhausted from the lack of sleep (as usual). Lots of stuff. Lots to do. Lots of milestones. Like....Baby took her first steps yesterday!!! And more today. I can't believe I'm the mama of an almost toddler.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fevers, vomit and snot...oh my!

Baby is just getting over her first "real" cold. She had RSV at 10 weeks and has had the sniffles a couple of times but nothing that lasted more than a day. This time was different. Almost 3 days with a fever (her first fever) that peaked around 102-103, crazy amounts of snot in the nose and running everywhere and finally baby vomit covering me from the chest down. Poor thing. I managed to keep calm (yay, me) and not panic too much. We nursed LOTS, slept VERY LITTLE, and rested as much as possible. We did end up taking her to Children's Hospital on Sunday afternoon after the fever kept going up, up, up and she started to vomit. I was slightly worried about a bacterial infection. The doc was pretty confident it is just an upper respiratory virus. Her ears were clear and everything else seemed fine. We actually ended up giving her advil to bring the fever down and it worked within an hour. Neither of us wanted to have to give her any medication at such a young age but she was so miserable for so long that we really just wanted her to feel better. And we were scared. The fever disappeared by Monday and now she is just left with some nasal congestion and unfortunately, a nasty cough. Her energy is SO much better though. To celebrate, tonight she started standing up without holding on to anything. Eep.

Oh, and one molar is broken through and another is right at the surface of the gums. Teething is hard for Baby. Not fun. Especially on top of the cold. When I saw the molar popped through I wondered if it was a cold at all and not just teething related. But, we're pretty sure it was a cold made worse by teething.

I personally hate taking medication. I am super sensitive to it and often end up feeling sick from it. I can handle tylenol and advil and I have taken different medications in my life. I just don't like them. I don't like the way they make me feel physically and I don't like the way they make me feel emotionally. I feel like there is a pill for everything. We mask so much without finding out the cause of things. I know it's not possible to find a cause for everything but so often we treat symptoms with no regard to the cause. That's why I am so hesitant to give Baby pain medication for teething. I can tell when she's upset and I can tell "pain from bumping my head" cries from "I'm really tired" cries. However, I can't really tell "I'm in serious pain" cries from "something is wrong and I'm trying to tell you what it is" cries. Maybe that's the same cry. I dunno. I'm afraid of medicating every cry when maybe she's not in pain. Ugh. Just one more thing I toss around over and over in my head since becoming a parent.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

And sleep again!

Ok.

So.

Once upon a time I wrote about how it seemed that people (moms, in my experience) seemed to be obsessed with sleep. How can I get my baby to sleep longer? Why won't my baby sleep? And so on. I also acknowledged that I too had experienced sleep deprivation short term and that perhaps if I was sleep deprived long term I may too be obsessed.

Well.

I haven't slept longer than 2 hours at a time for 4 months. Yep, I'm pretty tired over here.

I still haven't changed my feelings on how I respond to the lack of sleep though. I still strongly believe that Baby is waking up for a reason other than to drive me to completely crazy ;) Sometimes it appears to be teething, sometimes it's the curry that was for dinner (oops, sorry Baby), sometimes it appears to be related to new developmental milestones and sometimes it appears that Baby is just too busy during the day to nurse so makes up for it at night. Sometimes in the middle of the night I'll glance at the clock after she has woken up for the 4th or 5th time and I'll realize that we've only been in bed for a few hours. On those nights I feel as though I might lose it and I wonder if I'll ever get any uninterrupted sleep. Other nights I get 2 hours stretches and I wake up feeling quite rested and happy about the night's schedule. I'm usually very thankful that Baby goes back to sleep immediately after nursing for a few minutes and that I'm not up for hours or anything too disruptive.

I'm also very thankful that we all still bed-share. Even with all the wake ups and sore shoulders and sore backs, I honestly wouldn't change a thing. I feel confident that sharing our nights in close proximity was and is definitely the best choice for our family.

Even after 10 wake-ups in 8 hours...I still love your sweet nighttime cuddles, Baby!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sleep!

So, um, Baby has taken 2 hour-plus naps today (each nap was more than an hour, not a 2 hour nap).

This, my friends, is BIG news at our house.

After 10 months of being a 30 minute cat napper, this is a huge change.

S predicts Baby will now go back to sleeping 5-6 hours stretches at night.

Ssssshhhhh don't jinx it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Country Girl

I'm thinking about moving to a farm.

With chickens, a goat, and of course, our 2 cats. We'd grow our own vegetables, pick fruit from the trees in our yard, send Baby out to gather eggs for breakfast and work in the farm on weekends. There would be a beautiful 4 bedroom house with 2 bathrooms, a large sunny kitchen and family room, and light streaming in the many, many windows on the farm. And a guest house for guests. We'd be far enough from the city that it would be quiet and feel pastoral. But, we'd be within an hour's drive of the action of the city.

The schools would be high quality, our neighbours would be nice, like-minded people with small children and the community would have potlucks and a local farmer's market.

I've said before that the lure of living in the city is waning. What's important to me in a home isn't being close to the action anymore. I don't mind if the 24 hour restaurants and 24 grocery stores aren't within walking distance. I want a yard. And good schools. And a good community.

I go back and forth in my head about whether moving to the "country" would really be something I'd enjoy. In theory, I love the idea of a pastoral paradise similar to the one I describe above. Then my fears creep in and I think about feeling isolated, facing homophobia, feeling unsafe (yes, I feel safer in the city) and not being able to make friends with my neighbours. Then I realize that all of those things could be true no matter where I live.

So, I'm not sure what to do. I believe we'll stay put for at least another year(ish) and then maybe look at some options more seriously. I do love our home, so, for now I'm going to stay focused on enjoying where we live now and making the most of it. I know I'll miss it one day.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Flashback and goodbye

I just learned tonight that an amazing woman that I was fortunate enough to have had touch my life passed away on October 30th. She wasn't a family member or even a friend. But she probably, no she definitely, knew more about me that anyone else. And she helped me through the most intense, painful times of my life.

She worked at a place called Living Through Loss Counselling Society of BC (LTLC). I was referred to the organization, and specifically this woman, by someone at the BC Cancer Agency after I made a tearful call to their info line wondering where I could get some support one particularly tough afternoon about 3 months after my mom passed away. I called LTLC and left a message. She called me back later that day and offered to meet me right away even though her office was closed already. I ended up meeting her a few days later. It was a tough meeting for me and there were LOTS of tears. She suggested I attend her weekly group meetings for people dealing with loss through death. I went twice and found it way, way too intense. So much grief. So much sadness. I felt like I absorbed it all and was crippled with it by the time I left the sessions. I didn't go back and decided to 'suck it up' and move on. I was strong, I could handle it, right?

Fast forward 3 years later and another huge loss in my life sent me off the deep end and I realized I needed to go through the grief process and deal with the profound loss of my mom. Even after only meeting this woman 3 times 3 years ago I remembered her and decided to call her. She called me back immediately again and I went in to see her the next day. This was the beginning of my weekly sessions with her that went on for a year. Towards the end of that year I only went every 2 weeks. She was amazing. She listened without judgement, was unbelievably calm, funny, compassionate, intelligent and had such a profound effect on me and my life. I honestly feel like in some ways she helped me save my life.

I feel like I've lost a great friend. Even though, as I said, we weren't friends. I feel like a part of me is gone. I feel so much sadness that someone who devoted their life to helping others deal with death and grief and loss has lost their life so early. I hope she died with love around her. I know that she, more than most people, would have met death with wisdom and grace.

I'm so unbelievably fortunate that she touched my life. I'll miss her.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

2 packs of work socks from Army & Navy + 4 (ish) hours of sewing = 1 cute Sock Monkey!




Thursday, October 7, 2010

Yum

Baby loves avocado! Really, really, really loves. She'll push other food off her highchair tray or just off to the side to get at the green mushy goodness. I can't blame her really. One of my favourite things is avocado on toast. It's also one of the few times I add salt to a food. Mmmmmm.



She does eat other food as well. She likes yam, squash, bananas, peach, blueberries, yogurt, egg (yolk), quinoa and tofu. She doesn't eat a whole lot and is still nursing up a storm but it is really fun for all of us to share a meal together. I went through a stage where I could not cook anything because Baby would follow me into the kitchen which is really close to the stairs. We didn't have a baby gate installed so my time at home basically consisted of me "rescuing" Baby from falling down the stairs. We finally installed a baby gate between our kitchen and dining/living room so I can happily cook while Baby can safely watch me (or play if I'm too boring for her) from the other room. Yay us. I've already cooked 2 full meals this week. While that may not seem like a great accomplishment, for me, these days, it is! I'm very proud. S has been getting off work a bit early as well so we can actually eat together at a decent time. Yay us again.

Oh and we have a sort of night time routine going on. More on that another time. It's all about the small steps, my friends.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Baby's Favourite Things @ 9 months

These days Baby likes the following:
  • Avocado (by the pound! seriously, she LOVES it!)
  • Driving in the car
  • Playing peek-a-boo
  • Standing up
  • Grabbing the cats (ouch for the cats...)
  • Bath time
  • Hockey (ok, she appeared to be content at a Canucks' open practice...I can say she likes hockey if I want though, right?)
  • Clapping
  • Babbling

This next list is the "not so much" like list:
  • Getting out of the bath
  • Getting her diaper changed
  • Napping longer than 30 minutes
  • Being fed with a spoon
  • Getting dressed or undressed

Sunday, September 26, 2010

First road trip

We went on our first road trip as a family this weekend. It wasn't a terribly long one. We went to Kelowna. We did 2 stops, one in Hope and one in Merritt. It took us about 6 hours in total. I was worried that Baby would really hate being in the car that long. Lucky for us (!) she only napped for 1 hour the day before and had a late night the night before. So she pretty much slept the whole way. It was good, I guess. Good for the road trip, good she got some sleep but sad she was that tired and sad that it takes a long car ride to get that much sleep!

Napping while there was a gong show as well. Very little sleep. Very tired baby when we got home tonight. She seemed fairly happy while we were there and seemed to enjoy it without feeling the effects on no napping. The meltdown came tonight :( Poor thing. She conked out beside me over an hour ago and has not stirred.

Oops, my typing woke her up I think.

Ok, back asleep.

Anyway, it was very challenging to try and follow her cues while away and get her down to sleep when she needed it. So many people around and a different environment. She is so interested in everything that it is getting SO difficult to wind her down to even nurse. Which results in all night nursing sessions. Which results in a very tired, drained Mama.

But, of course, they tell me it's just a phase.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Home Alone

S & Baby went off to their first Music Together class today. S has been looking forward to this day since before Baby was even conceived! I hope they have fun together. S works so hard and such long hours I feel like she's missing out on so much these days. I'm so very grateful for the first 5 months she had off work. And, she's off again in October for a month or so!

So, that leaves me home alone for a few hours (they were going out on an adventure after). So far I've done the dishes, made and drank some Milkmaid Tea (I've never tried it before..good stuff!), put away Baby's toys, put together an Ikea bookshelf for under the stairs and turned the music up really loud. I find I really miss Baby when I'm not with her. I love having time to myself, don't get me wrong. And I know time alone is good for me. I sometimes have panic attacks when I think that I'll never be alone again. Ever. But, here I am alone for at least another couple of hours and I don't know what to do with myself! I should take a long bath (yep, still in my pjs), read a book, lay on the couch and veg out. Realistically though, there are a million things to be done. Chaos is threatening the house again and I find it really stressful to navigate physical chaos when I'm sometimes dealing with the emotional chaos that can come along with long days with a now very mobile baby. I actually like cleaning up and organizing our home. It's just that I can't get ANYTHING done lately. How the heck do people keep their house clean and organized, cook meals and actually eat them when they have children??? I sure can't seem to figure it out. I was in tears twice this week by the evening as I looked around the house in despair. Just 5 minutes I keep saying to myself, all I need is 5 minutes!

*sigh*

Then I remember that Baby will only be small once in her life. This is it. It's a one shot, one way ticket. And I don't want to miss a thing. So, the house can wait and I'll eat healthy later.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Random Thoughts

  • Baby looks good in brown, like me, I guess.
  • It's hard to fight off a cold while nursing a baby all night.
  • I now pick where to eat out by how baby friendly the place is (good high chair, etc.).
  • Living downtown is losing it's appeal for me (I'm not quite ready to pack up and move to the suburbs though).
  • I wonder if I'll enjoy going back to work next year.
  • I wish my mom could have met Baby.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Time Out

I spent some time on my own this past weekend. I went for a hair cut which is always exciting for me. I got it cut very short. Short, but not boy-ish. That's what I asked Layne, my friend and hair cutter, to do. He delivered and it's super cute and super easy. Perfect!

I then went off to a sewing class at Spool of Thread. I googled "how to set up a sewing club" a couple of weeks ago and came across the Spool of Thread website. It is only about 15 minutes (drive) from our house and is very funky, bright and fun. They have been open for 3 months or so and it would appear that business is booming. I had a GREAT time. I made a reversible tote bag. It turned out really well and I love that I actually made something so "finished" looking. I'm already planning on signing up for another class.

Guess what everyone is getting for gifts in the next year?!

Monday, September 6, 2010

So Fast

Baby pulled herself up to standing on her own this weekend. She also started taking a step while pulling herself up on this little wooden block wagon thingy. It feels like she's just suddenly going so fast. It's very exciting and I love watching her be successful at all she's trying but I am slightly sad too. I feel like she's growing up so fast. I feel like she's already not my baby anymore!

As she grows and gains more and more independence, I hope I'm able to balance my feelings of wanting to protect her with wanting her to succeed on her own. I want her to be brave and confident but also be careful and approach things with wisdom. I think confidence can come from different places. I was very confident growing up. I felt like I could do anything I put my mind to (for the most part). I was quite successful at most things I tried. However, I think my confidence came from determination and trying to "prove something" and a little from fear. I sometimes wonder if my confidence as a child was actually a way of trying to hide my fear. Like maybe I tried extra hard to be tough or good so I could prove that nothing was wrong or scary.

I would like Baby's confidence to come from security and love. I want her to know that I'm always here for her and that she can express herself and be heard always. And she doesn't have to be afraid. More than anything, I don't want her to do anything out of fear. I believe I can create this environment for her. I hope I can.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Excerpts

Some excerpts from my conversation with Chloe, a 7 year old I met while dining with Baby at Little Nest this afternoon.

Chloe: "Where is your husband?"
Me: "I don't have one."
Chloe: "Did you get divorced?"
Me: "Nope."
Chloe: "You never got married?"
Me: "Nope."
Chloe: "Are you going to?"
Me: "No."
Chloe: "Why?"
Me: "I don't want to."
Chloe: Nods.


Chloe: "How old are you?"
Me: "I'm 39."
Chloe: Nods.
Me: "Pretty old?"
Chloe: "My mom is 42 years old. She will be 43 on Thursday."
Me: "Wow! It's her birthday coming up! Did you get her anything special for her birthday?"
Chloe: Nods. "A guitar lesson."
Me: "That sounds like a great present!"
Chloe: "And a chicken."
Me: "A chicken?! A real one?"
Chloe: Nods and glances back towards mom.
Me: "Is it a surprise?"
Chloe: "Yes."
Chloe: "She already has the guitar at home."
Me: "I see."


Chloe: "Why is that shirt so big?"
Me: "I don't know." (Thinking to myself...geez, a fashion critic already!)
Chloe: "Why is it all stretched out?"
Chloe: "Because of her?" (Points to Baby)
Me: "Umm"
Chloe: "From when you were pregnant?"
Me: (Phew, an out!) "Yeah, I wore this when I was pregnant!"
Chloe: Nods.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Breastfeeding Part 2

Way back when Baby was just a newborn (wow, feels weird to say that), I shared a little about my experiences with learning to breastfeed. Well, here I am over 6 months later, still breastfeeding very often and ready to give an update for those of you who care to listen!

I have continued to breastfeed "on demand" since Baby was born. By this I mean that I don't feed her every 2 hours on a schedule (for example), but rather, I feed her whenever she is hungry or wants to nurse. Sometimes this is 2 or 3 times an hour and sometimes (more recently) it is every 3 hours. I have found breastfeeding to definitely be a life style choice. I have dedicated myself to it pretty full on and am still so grateful that it has worked out so well. It can be tiring and hard on the back. Sometimes it's a pain to find a comfortable place to nurse when you're out in public. If you have larger breasts like I suddenly do (still an odd thing for me....) then some positions just don't work well. At night, I also nurse Baby on demand. This has been somewhat challenging at times. Sometimes she still wants to nurse all.night.long. Seriously. Sometimes she nurses every 1/2 hour for the entire night. By the morning I'm usually not very well rested and if I haven't drank enough water during the night I wake up feeling faint and light headed. Clothing choices are also affected. I wear a nursing bra and a nursing tank top every day. If a top is not nursing friendly I don't bother with it. Luckily, I'm not, and never have been, much of a fashionista so this isn't that much of a challenge for me. Hmm, what else. Oh, Baby has teeth now!  Six of them to be exact. They are hard and sharp. She hasn't bitten me that often but the evening, cluster feeding, pop on and off sessions can be very painful over time. She also pinches, grabs and kicks me on a regular basis now that she is such a busy body. It's also a time commitment. I rarely leave Baby and the few times I have it has only been for a few hours.

Sounds fun, right?

It is! I LOVE nursing. I love the time I get to spend with Baby. I love studying her little face and body and playing with her hair and ears and toes while she happily nurses and, often, drifts off to sleep in my arms. I love when she smiles at me or giggles while she's nursing. I love that it makes her feel happy and content and secure. It's a bonus that I don't have to worry about bringing water or bottles when I go out. I love that it forces me to just sit and be quiet and relax. I love that it helped me lose the "baby weight" really quickly. I love that I don't get my period right now! And of course, breast milk really is the best, best thing I can ever feed my baby.

I feel so fortunate yet again. Breast feeding is hard but it's also wonderful. Some women can't breastfeed. Others choose not to. I would urge everyone who is expecting a baby to plan on it. Have support set up before your baby arrives. The first few days are hard but with proper support it gets better really quickly. And good luck!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On the move

Eep. Baby is on the move! She did a few crawl "steps" a few weeks ago and the past 2 days has seen some more scattered steps. Inbetween trying to crawl, she scoots, rolls, lunges, pretty much anything to get her where she wants to go. Clever girl.

Along with the frustration of not quite being able to crawl consistently is a pretty darn consistent whine. Yet another phase apparently. I'm beginning to believe there aren't any "phases" at all to baby development....we (parents) just call them phases to give us hope and reassurance that the behavior we are not necessarily enjoying will stop.

Baby has learned to clap recently too. SO cute. She's such a little busy body these days. Lots of fun to hang out with :)

Must baby proof the house....NOW.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Baby "Stuff"

I read a lot and researched a lot on baby gear while I was pregnant. My favourite resources were moms' lists of "must haves." The truth seemed to come out on these lists rather than on websites that insist you must buy everything they sell or you will be a bad mother. They feed on guilt, these people. Somehow they make you feel like your baby will be happier, more content, and won't cry (god forbid!) if you purchase their gear.

We started out on the complete opposite side of the spectrum in terms of baby gear. We assumed we would need very little. We didn't want to "rely" on "stuff" to make our baby happy or content...that's what we're for!

However, we did end up buying some "stuff" that has indeed been very useful (or sometimes just a little bit of fun!). I thought I'd share my list and hopefully it will help some mom-to-be in the future!

Close and Secure Sleeper - we planned on bed sharing after Baby was born but were both a little nervous with such a small baby in the bed "unprotected." This was a great investment and worked really well for us for the first 3 months. For the first 6 weeks, Baby slept in it the whole night and after that she started out in it and then cuddled up next to me for the rest of the night. We had it between us in our king sized bed - I've read reviews that it can take up a lot of space in smaller beds. We didn't use a sleep positioner with it and wrapped the "mattress" in a cozy flannel receiving blanket.



Snoozin' at a couple of weeks old in her little nest


Bouncy chair - We weren't going to go for a bouncy chair even though I had read that a bouncy chair or swing was essential. We bought it after Baby was born and she really didn't like it all that much so she sat in it very rarely and only for a few minutes or so. It started to come in handy, however, when S went back to work. Baby would happily sit in it in the bathroom while I had a shower. She would play with the toys on the hanging bar and giggle madly when I would peek out at her from the shower. Very handy, indeed. There are some pretty elaborate ones out there and some really expensive high end "designer" ones. The one we chose was VERY basic and given the small amount of time she spends in it, in the bathroom, it is perfect. Craig's list would be a good place to shop for one...we were lazy and overwhelmed at the time we bought ours.

Bumbo - This was a gift to us before Baby was born. They are super cute and a great, simple design. I also think they are really expensive (as is most baby gear). Baby did really like sitting up in it though from about 3 months. I would put her in it in the kitchen while I was cooking and she loved watching me. She didn't sit in that often but we all really enjoyed it (and she still sits in it sometimes even with her chubby little thighs!). I don't think I would have bought one but was grateful for the gift. Again, Craig's list would be good if you are dying to have one of these.

Sitting up like a big girl at around 3 months


Play gym - When Baby was 3 months old, I joined a great mom/baby group called Mother's Unfolding. The facilitator had a play mat with a few toys hanging from it in the center of our group. Baby REALLY seemed interested in it and was content to bat away at the toys hanging above her. The program ended 5 weeks later and the group decided to keep meeting at each other's homes. The first time we met outside of the group at one mom's home there was a similar play mat. Again, Baby REALLY liked it, playing and smiling away. This was the first time I started feeling guilty about not providing "fun" stuff for Baby. I actually said to S that night "all the other babies have them! maybe we should get one!" I found one in pristine condition on Craig's list for $15.00. Baby loved it and still plays on the mat to this day (she started grabbing and knocking over the arms and getting tangled up in them the last couple of weeks so we took them down). This is definitely not a necessity and was absolutely a peer pressure guilt purchase. But, according to Baby, it was $15.00 well spent!

Tub seat - I actually bought this before Baby was born. I had read how slippery babies are and was planning on bringing Baby into the bath with me so I wanted something to lay her in if necessary. I didn't want a large basin because we have such limited storage space as it is. This folds up and sat in the corner of the tub. Baby only bathed about once a week for the first few months and in the past month or so we don't use it anymore and usually she has "mini baths" in the kitchen sink now that she can sit up. This helped ease more of my first time mom worries.

Baby's first bath!


Jolly jumper - This is loads of fun! It doesn't fulfill any need or fill any void. It's just pure fun. We got one with the stand from Craig's list for $30.00 to use upstairs where we don't have any molded doorways. Ironically, we use it downstairs where all the doorways are molded. Oh well. It folds up and can be put away easy enough. Baby loves it and jumps 2 or 3 times a week for 10-20 minutes at a time.

Baby Carrier - I love wearing Baby! We used our Ergo pretty much exclusively for the first 3 months. Unfortunately I've been plagued with severe lower back issues (again *sigh*) the past month or so and I haven't been able to wear her as much as I like. She likes being on our backs now too which is great and not as hard on the back. I haven't mastered getting her on my back on my own yet. I would consider a carrier a necessity.

Stroller - We were going to wait until Baby was 6 months or so before getting a stroller as neither of us was keen to give up wearing her and we liked the security and cuddles that having her close allowed. We had some generous gift cards for a local department store and after some research we chose the stroller we wanted. We ended up buying it when Baby was about 2 or 3 months. She ended up getting RSV at 10 weeks and her breathing was affected so she didn't seem to like the Ergo very much as it holds her close chest to chest. We started using the stroller once in awhile and for the most part she liked it. For short trips anyway. We ended up carrying her just in our arms a lot between 10 weeks and 4 months. After that she liked both the Ergo and the stroller and we started using the stroller more regularly when Baby was about 5 months. The Ergo is great for short trips like to the grocery store or stopping for quick errands. The stroller is better for long walks on the seawall.

Crib - I posted about our decision to get a crib recently. I'm still on the fence as to whether it was a worthy investment.

High chair - We just got a high chair about 2 weeks ago. It's fun having Baby sit up to the table with us and letting her experiment with tasting new food. High chairs get really messy and I'd suggest sticking with something really basic. We actually tried to get the Ikea Antilop but they have sold out for ages and we were told it would be about 6 weeks more. We both liked the simple design of the one we chose and it appears to be quite cozy to sit in too. We looked on Craigslist for a high chair but couldn't find anything really basic. We also wanted to make sure we got something that would last as I believe this is something we'll use a lot and for a few years.

I think that's about it. Baby is just over 7 months now and I feel pretty good about our acquisitions. We committed to trying not to be wasteful and to buy 2nd hand when we were able. I'd say 75% of baby clothes we have now are hand me downs or were purchased 2nd hand. We did have lots of new things when she was first born - friends and family were very generous and we had fun filling the house with tiny baby onesies. We've since passed on a whole box of clothes on freecycle. 95% of the toys we have are also hand me downs. Some were gifts, and we have bought a few really cool wooden toys lately. Cloth diapers is the other place where we spent money on stuff - watch for my post on my experience with cloth diapers in the next little while.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sleep Part 3

Back in my Sleep Part 2 post I mentioned that naps are a completely different situation with Baby. Because I don't always want to nap when she naps (although sometimes I do indulge and it's glorious to cuddle up and sleep for a couple of hours!) it makes naps tricky for us. As she gets older she is more and more interested in what's happening around her and finds it much harder to settle down even when she's fall flat on her face tired. She used to nap anywhere, anytime but those days are gone. Now, she usually naps on my lap and I read...which is also nice but very limiting to my movement as you can imagine. I usually just sit upstairs on the couch and don't take any 'special' steps to "nap-ify" the environment. Nurse and sleep. Life is good. However, even napping on my lap lately hasn't been terribly successful. I should say that we don't have Baby on a nap schedule. She naps when she's tired and we accommodate that as much as possible. She does have a natural schedule or rhythm that is very obvious. She is usually tired about 1.5 - 2 hours after waking up...pretty much like clockwork. Most days she likes a small cat nap early afternoon and then a 2 hour nap in the mid to late afternoon time frame.

When the naps on my lap started getting shorter and the dark circles and eye rubbing started getting more common, I started napping with her more regularly. Curtains closed and in our bed. As I said earlier, I do like to indulge in that once in a while but I'm not usually in need of a 2 hour nap every day so a lot of times I would just lay there with her. Again, not a bad thing to do. But, with S working really long hours I am finding that I really need some "time" to sort of decompress. Some "me" time, whatever that may be at the time. You, clever readers, are probably already thinking "why not leave the baby in the bed for a nap and have "me time" then!" Yes, that is very clever. For those of you who know me well, having a baby has brought out my paranoid side. I'm terrified of leaving her on our bed alone now that she's more mobile. Even though our bed is a platform bed and not far off the ground, I'm afraid she'll fall. And if I'm on a different floor, I might not hear her. So, now what. Well, awhile ago I mentioned that we were toying with the idea of a crib for naps and before we go to bed. We decided last week or so to get one. It took us a couple of weeks I think to set it up but we finally set it up last night. It's set up in our bedroom and fits fairly well. Last night, I nursed Baby and laid her down in it...she looked around about 10 seconds, rolled over and went to sleep. Cute. She was only in it for about an hour and then we brought her to bed with us for the night. She also had her morning nap in it this morning. It was a short one - less than 1/2 hour but she fell asleep as soon as she lay down and seemed to enjoy having space to spread out.

I doubt our naps together will end altogether. Especially on the weekend when all 3 of us like to share the bed to have lazy afternoon naps.

I snuck out to take the photo below. Carmen the cat somehow managed to sneak into the bed for this particular nap!

Friday, July 23, 2010

No rest for the wicked

As we approach 7 months old, Baby is getting more and more active. She rocks and 'hops' on her hands and knees but can't quite get her belly off the ground yet. I think she's really gonna go once she gets started. While she is often content to sit and play on the floor, she tries really hard to move around. A lot. Which is often frustrating for her. And me. I try not to interfere too much other than being supportive if she's actually stuck or making sure she doesn't smack her head on anything too hard. I'm also learning to accept that some of her noises are just babbling - not necessarily a signal that she needs me. I'm having lots of fun with her as she learns new things at what seems to be an alarmingly fast rate!

New 'stuff' in Baby's life:

1. Likes going on the baby swing at the park
2. Likes pulling objects out of a bowl or any other container
3. Tried (and seems to like) pears
4. Has 2 bottom teeth and is currently working on getting the 2 upper teeth out
5. Likes being in the Ergo on Mama or Mommy's back
6. Likes the feel of grass on her feet or in her hands
7. Likes her little swimming pool on the patio on hot days
8. Liked going to her first music festivals (Lilith Fair and the Folk Fest)

I don't have much time to write these days but I'm hoping to write more thoughtful posts. Be patient with me! And, just to keep you coming back...another photo of our beautiful daughter enjoying the folk fest (and tolerating smooches from Mama).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sleep Part 2

Following up on my post way back in March "Sleep Part 1" I thought I'd share an update on how our sleeping arrangements are going. Sleep still seems to be one of the most popular topics when discussing babies. When people ask me if baby sleeps well I can honestly say yes. At night anyway (naps are a whole other story for another day). I wake up feeling refreshed and well rested 95% of the time. I'd say I get at least 8-11 hours a night. That's not uninterrupted sleep however. Baby still nurses at least 3 times a night, sometimes even more. Most of the time I don't even fully wake up during these times. I roll over, she nurses, and we both fall back asleep. Baby is still sleeping with us. She is still between us but no longer in the sleep nest she used to be in. We do have a rolled up wool blanket under the sheets between Baby and S just in case Baby rolls too close. I doubt she would but with me still being a nervous mom I feel more comfort knowing she can't roll anywhere but towards me. One new thing is how much of a bed hog she is! Wow. She ends up sleeping almost horizontally across the mattress while I'm almost falling out of bed. Little worm :)

I sometimes find myself questioning my sleeping habits when I talk to others or read experiences online. Everyone seems to be begging for solutions that will get their baby to sleep for longer stretches. I can totally understand the negative effects of sleep deprivation and I don't know what I'd be like if I had to get up every hour, pick up a crying baby, nurse them, try and get them back to sleep and then go back to bed. I think I'd be looking for a solution too! And I can understand that co-sleeping isn't for everyone either. I find myself wondering "hmmm should we be 'training' Baby to sleep for longer periods?" When I really think about it though I don't feel like she needs any training. We all sleep well. Isn't that enough? I feel like if Baby needs to nurse all night once in awhile then there is likely a really good reason for that. If she needs to wake up 4 times a night or twice a night, then that is likely the perfect amount of times to wake up. As I said, I know there are unique situations but I wish everyone wasn't so obsessed with trying to get their little ones to sleep so long. I still love that Baby sleeps with us and I'm able to be with her easily if she wakes up. The time is slipping by so quickly and I know this "phase" won't last forever.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Oh geez

I haven't been writing here yet again. Bad me. No, wait. I have excuses...or reasons...they are far too profound and complex to go into here, at this moment, so for now, let's just say I've been busy!

S went back to work last week. Yay! And boo! Yay because I know she's happy when she's doing something productive work wise and of course, money coming in is always a good thing. Boo because it's been so amazing that she was able to spend the first 5 months at home with Baby! How fortunate is that?! Ah yes, fortunate we are. It is an adjustment for me being alone with Baby for so long every day. S is gone from 6am to 8pm normally and that's a loooooonnngggg time one on one with a little baby! Baby and I have already got a little routine going and so far it's working well. She is growing up SO crazy fast!! She is sitting up on her own now! Well, sort of, for short periods anyway. She grabs EVERYTHING! And she reaches out for me now which is awesome. At night when she wants to nurse she rolls over on her side towards me and reaches out with both her hands. So cute. We're all still sleeping well but I am noticing that she wants to go to bed earlier and earlier. Not sure when/if we'll get a crib. I go between wanting one to put her in until I go to bed and thinking that it's not the end of the world if she just sleeps upstairs with us until bedtime. This time seems like such a short time in her overall life. I dunno. We'll see.

I had breakfast with some good friends yesterday. I love having breakfast/brunch with a group of people. It's a very social meal and a great way to kick off a Saturday. The weather was spectacular as well so that helped make the day great as well.

Oops, baby crying, must run.

Stream of consciousness seems to be workin' for me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Finding time

I'm neglecting this space! I had hoped to fill up this blog with lots of anecdotes about being a new mom so I could at least have some sort of journal to document Baby's first year of life. Oops. Sorry, Baby. I'm just so busy with you that when I sit down in front of my laptop I don't really know what to write. Not for lack of things to write...more because there is SO MUCH to write. Maybe I'll try and document at least one special thing each day.

So, for today...

Baby is now able to sit up beside me (propped up with me and pillows) on the couch and play. It's nice to see her becoming more and more independent and interested in things. Today we played with Sophie, 2 plastic rings and a stuffed duck ring.

Oh, and as a bonus thing...we believe that Baby loves songs that spell words. For example, me singing and dancing to YMCA is a definite favourite of hers.

We'll see how this format goes for awhile.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

Becoming a mom Part 1

Becoming a mom has to be the most important thing that has happened in my life so far. Every day I learn something new. Something about being a mom, something about my baby, something about my partner and something about myself. It's hard work but the pay off is spectacular. It has been interesting learning how to be a mom while my partner is learning the same thing. When babies are born into mom/dad families the roles are clearly defined in our mainstream society. Moms do this stuff and dads do that stuff. Sure, sometimes things are mixed up a bit but for the most part that is the model that I have grown up around. With mom/mom families it gets a bit trickier I'm learning. Who does the mom stuff and who does the dad stuff? Do we have to have mom stuff and dad stuff? Can't it just be stuff? I don't know if it can. I know there is me stuff and her stuff and some of it falls in the mom stuff and some of it falls in the dad stuff. I'm not sure if it's I gave birth stuff and I didn't stuff. Clearly, breastfeeding falls into an obvious stuff pile. What about for adoptive mom/dad families though? Does mom still do the mom stuff in those situations? Is it not about parenting at all but about male/female roles?

I need to think about this more...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mommy brain

I'm not a big fan of the phrase "mommy brain." Especially when there is no knowledge of what that means behind it. People throw the words around a lot. In my (limited) experience, I think it is used to describe the forgetful, scattered state that a new mom may find herself in when she is functioning on 1 hour of sleep a night. That's was my definition. However, I recently read an article that describes "Mother-Brain" in a whole new way. And I really enjoyed how she describes "mommy brain."

Excerpts from "Mother-Brain: Life on the isle of infant" by Leanna James.

Context in the article: upon being asked "How have you been? What have you been doing? What's it really like?"

"I try to explain, but it doesn't come out right, somehow. It's incredible, I tell my friends, anxious to share the news. My daughter cried, my daughter pooped, my daughter looked at me and laughed. I hear my own words and think, Is that all you have to say?

But wait, the mother-brain protests. Worlds within worlds unfolded in front of your eyes, universes the size of a pea appeared in your palm! Tell them about that. Tell them about Amanda's gaze, how there's nothing to compare with that. I look down into my daughter's eyes and she looks steadily back at me....

...Tell them, mother-brain whispers, about what it feels like to be looked at with those eyes. A baby's gaze that does not, cannot, assign value or make a label: pretty...plain...intelligent...dull...When was the last time you looked at a human being without filing the face? When was the last time you were looked at that way?

Amanda gazes at me calmly. She receives my face: it doesn't occur to her that my face could look any other way. It exists, and that is enough. So simple, but I find it earth-shattering. I can't get over it. My mother-brain reels in this pure perception. I dissolve into it; I forget about the thousands of names we have for things, the thousands of ways we separate one thing from another. For days at a time, I live outside the value system that calls one thing good and another thing bad, one thing beautiful, another thing worthless. I see shapes, colors, forms; I see tiny lights in my daughter's eyes. I smell the milk on her breath; I smell the sweat under my breasts;. I clean the urine and feces from my baby's body; I clean myself. I eat in the morning, she suckles, and the days slide by. There is nothing to analyze. There is nothing to dissect.

And then someone asks me a question, and I must summon my powers of language and logic.

...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wow

It has been one of those weeks. Up and down. Like a rollercoaster that you can't get off of. We think Baby may be teething. Or something. She is having a tough time with something since last Monday. It's not every day or even every hour of every day. But sometimes she is red faced and screaming like she's in terrible pain and nothing seems to help except hugs and cuddles. She doesn't even want to nurse during these times...and she always wants to nurse! It's so hard to watch her. We got some homeopathic teething tablets and they seem to help but not completely. And the symptoms of teething seem to be so similar to so many other 'ailments' that I'm really not sure. So yeah, it's hard. I don't want her to hurt. Or cry in pain or discomfort. I want to be able to 'fix' it and make it all better.

Sorry, that's all I got for today. As I said, it's been one of those weeks.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Get 'er done

I decided a couple of days ago that I need to get more stuff done at home. I have a very busy life and am out a fair bit but I need to make sure when I'm home that I'm getting stuff done. Like our second bedroom. It is still just holding stuff rather than being a nice place to be. It's such a cute little room, it gets the morning sun and it's just a nice place to be. It will eventually be Baby's room but for now we want it to be a playroom/den/guest room. We have had almost 2 years to get it finished and for some reason it is taking us forever to do it! To be fair, we have done some stuff in there. It has been painted, a new heater was installed, new curtains have been hung, a new closet was built and new wool carpet has been put in. However, we still seem to just dump stuff in there rather than keep it organized and clean. I know it's because it isn't really being used right now but I also tend to believe that it's the other way around too...if it was organized and clean then we would use it more!

Anyway, my point was that I want to get more stuff done at home. I love our place and I love spending time at home. I love having people over as much as possible. Both S and I want a home where everyone is welcome all the time. We want Baby (and ourselves) to be surrounded with love and laughter of family and friends in our home.

Maybe the fact that I sit on the couch with my laptop on my knee when I'm home has something to do with me not getting projects completed.

Hmmm

Monday, April 26, 2010

More on that first point

So, I mentioned that I didn't think that I would be a candidate for PPD (postpartum depression) but I'm becoming increasingly suspicious that I am indeed struggling with this. There. I said it. I finally admitted to my self last weekend (after a terrible meltdown on Sunday) that I'm not feeling like myself. It is so hard to admit that I might be depressed because I'm also insanely happy! I feel guilty and just plain "weird" for feeling how I feel because I am truly living my dream! It doesn't make sense....it doesn't add up.....and it's so very confusing for me. I feel incompetent and like I'm failing miserably. Logically, I know this isn't true. I know I'm doing fine as a new mom. However, logic is not really all that helpful at the moment. Anyway, I'm working on it. I know I'll get there...I'm just, as usual, being impatient with myself.

On another note, I had a terribly scary experience last Monday. Baby had just woken up from a nap and was laying on the living room floor. I laid down next to her, she smiled and then proceeded to have what looked like a seizure. Not breathing, bright red face, shaking head...it was horrifying. I was so scared but managed to somehow keep calm. I picked her up and she still wasn't taking a breath even though her eyes were open. Clear fluid started pouring out of her nose. I ripped open her onesie and her chest was not rising and falling yet so I called 911. I flipped her over my thigh while on the phone and firmly pat her back in case she was choking. Her face wasn't blue but I didn't know what else to try. She started crying finally and then got really quiet and just sat on my knee until the ambulance got to the house. The 911 operator was awesome at keeping me calm and stayed on the phone until the paramedics were at the door. 4 paramedics showed up and then 2 more a few minutes later. Only 2 stuck around though. Baby was smiling at them and clearly doing completely fine by this time. I felt only slightly embarrassed. Baby and I jumped in the back of the ambulance to go up to hospital to get checked out. S came home just as we were leaving and jumped in the car to meet us up there.

Everyone thought she had had a seizure which are apparently very common in babies. However, she hadn't had a fever or anything else that normally brings on a "normal" seizure. They took some blood (terrible experience :( ) and did an EKG and everything was normal. The doc said she was the picture of health. We hung out at the hospital for about 4 hours so they could watch her. They sent us home with a possible diagnosis of something to do with her esophagus and reflux...but they weren't convinced themselves because Baby has never had reflux and in fact has only spit up about 10 times in her entire life. So, we don't really know what caused the incident but it hasn't happened again. We go to see the doc. again in about a month just for a routine follow up.

Wow, did I mention being a mom is intense?!

On a happy note, Baby has the cutest laugh EVER and I LOVE hearing it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I never expected this...

Motherhood is intense. It's so much more than what I thought it would be. There is so much I wasn't expecting...and so much I wasn't prepared for...

  1. Postpartum depression - I never saw myself as a candidate for being at risk of PPD. I am still shocked at how intense my feelings are since giving birth to Baby. I don't think I have it "bad" but I'm definitely struggling at times. It's hard.
  2. How much I love Baby - I love her so much that sometimes it still takes my breath away. It is spectacular and pure.
  3. Having to "give up" my independence - I don't dislike this so much as the intensity of a baby's needs has just surprised me somehow.
  4. How sore my body still is from the pregnancy - My joints feel like an 80 year old's! (I was somewhat happy to learn that 3 new moms - a 29 year old, a 30 year old and a 40 year old - I've become acquainted with recently all reported feeling exactly the same way...phew)
  5. How much a baby would change my relationship with S. - The exhaustion, coupled with the steep learning curve of new parenthood, can take its toll...I wish I had been more prepared for this.
Every day I'm learning and striving to be a better mom, a better partner and a better individual.

Wish me luck ;)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

One Word

Stolen from another blog...

Hair – thick
Your Mother – missed
Your Father – young
Fav Food – dip
Dream Last Night – gym
Fav Drink – tea
What room are you in? – livingroom
Hobby – photography
Fear – death
Where were you last night? – home
Something that you aren’t – fit
Muffins – corn
Wish List Item – love
Where you grew up – bc
What you are wearing – pjs
Your Pet – different
Friends – amazing
Something you’re not wearing – disguise
Fav Store – none
Fav Color – changes
Last time you laughed – today
Your Best Friend – love
Best Place you go over and over – bed
Person who you email regularly – kyra
Fav Place to Eat – out

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rolling

Baby rolled over from her tummy to her back on Saturday. Twice. I had a rather emotionally intense weekend. Hard at times but cleansing too. Baby must have known that because she waited until both S and I were right near her (like we're ever very far....) and then rolled over and batted her lovely long eyelashes at us. We needed a positive family moment and that was a great one.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Old friends

I had the pleasure of having an old friend over for lunch last week. It has been over a year since I've seen her...maybe even 2 years? It was a long time ago. As we chatted about what we have been doing for the past year or so I was having flashbacks of the past and what was happening in my life when I was close to this person. It was an intense time in my life, lots of changes, lots of excitement, lots of tears. Lots of everything now that I think of it! I remembered long Friday nights with beer, cigarettes, burgers and talking. So much talking. I also remember dreams and plans and heartbreak and well, just about everything else. I always feel sad when I remember intense times with old friends who are no longer close to me...either because of physical distance or just drifting apart for no apparent reason. I know things change and we move forward and it's all good (blah blah blah ;) ) but I still miss the past sometimes. I miss people and places and times.

On the other hand, I also feel very fortunate when I think of those times because I'm so lucky to have met so many amazing people in my life and to have made such incredible connections. Even when those connections change or shift, I'm still so grateful they were there even if for just a short time in my life.

However, I'd still like to bottle up all those good times and friends and open it up for a swig every now and then...just for old time's sake.

If you're reading this, thanks for being my friend.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Baby's Favourite Things (again)

Today, Baby likes:
  • Visiting with S & K
  • Sam giving her raspberries on her belly
  • Her new (hand me down) toys from Angelina
  • Her new (hand me down) jeans
  • Going to the Mother's Unfolding group
  • Smiling at Jacob (a baby at the MU group)
Today, Baby doesn't like:
  • The Ergo carrier

Laughing Baby

Sorry, I don't know how to flip the video - and I'm too lazy to figure it out. Feel free to email me with tips though ;)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Baby's Favourite Things (the next day)

Today, Baby likes:
  • Sucking her thumb
  • Nelson the sock monkey
  • Going to parties in her honour
  • Not wearing pants
  • Allen singing to her
  • Having a bath
Today, Baby doesn't like:
  • Putting her coat on
  • (I can't think of anything else she doesn't like today)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Baby's Favourite Things (today)

Today, Baby likes:
  • Sucking her thumb
  • Reiki treatments
  • The Ergo carrier
  • Visiting Lela

Today, Baby doesn't like:
  • The carseat
  • Taking a nap longer than 15 minutes
  • Being too hot

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Baby's Favourite Things

Today, Baby likes:
  • Sucking her fingers
  • Looking at a small cloth book of animals
  • Pushing herself backwards with her feet when laying on her back
  • Sitting up tall and looking around
  • When Mama yawns
Today, Baby doesn't like:
  • The carseat
  • The Ergo carrier
  • Napping for longer than 1/2 hour
Who knows what tomorrow will bring!

Smiles

I love when Baby smiles. It melts my heart.









Friday, March 19, 2010

First cold

Ugh. Poor Baby has a bad cold. Apparently RSV. A common virus that most kids get while under the age of 2 and usually happens in the winter. I wish she had been a bit older before getting her first cold (if she had to get it at all) but what can you do. It has been awful watching her cough and gasp for air. No real treatment other than lots of sleep and time. Up to 2 weeks the doc says. Her breathing was quite laboured last Sunday so I decided to call the BC nurse hotline. They suggested she see a doctor because of her age and suggested a walk in clinic asap. So off we went to the clinic. I spoke to the receptionist when we got there who said it was a 1.5 hour wait and that the doctor would likely send us to Children's hospital anyway..because of her age. So off we went to Children's hospital....where apparently a few other kids were visiting. Holy crap. It was PACKED. We were there for hours. We were told to sit away from others because Baby hasn't been vaccinated. I suddenly had visions of all the unknown bugs sailing around the ER and regretted bringing her there. But, we were already there and I wanted to make sure her lungs were ok and that her breathing was ok. Turns out both were ok. A little bit raspy in her chest but overall doing well. Phew. Doc said it would likely get worse, showed us how to check her breathing by watching her chest and said it would last about 2 weeks. It definitely got worse! We've been turning our bathroom into a steam room every night which seems to provide some relief. I hope she feels better soon!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Random Thoughts

  • I really need to lose weight - I'm finding it difficult to move around easily.
  • I bought more capsules today for the rest of my placenta.
  • Baby will be 10 weeks old tomorrow (double digits!)
  • We finally got a dresser for Baby - her clothes are all over the floor at the moment.
  • I'm obsessed with cloth diapers - I love them!
  • I have a requisition for a blood test to check for diabetes - I got it over a month ago and I still haven't gone for the test...oops.
  • I missed the rally for IWD yesterday, damn.
  • I'm really tired today for some reason - even though I got a fairly good night's sleep last night.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March Forth

March 4th is significant for me for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is that it is the day that I received my gohonzon. As part of my buddhist practice I chant twice a day for anywhere from 10-30 minutes at a time. While not necessary, I chose to receive my gohonzon which is a scroll that is usually placed in an alter called a butsudan and it is what I look at when I chant. It is meant for focusing on and to represent our inherent buddhist nature so when we chant in front of it we remember that. I received gohonzon on March 4, 2007.

March 4th is also significant for me because it was the estimated due date of the baby I first became pregnant with in 2008. It's hard to believe that we were at the 'baby making business' for almost 2 years! That baby would have been turning 1 today. When I noticed the date on the calendar a few days ago I thought about that baby. Now that I know that the little wriggling potential human being that was in me for almost 10 weeks does indeed turn into a real live little person it made me sad all over again to think about the loss. I remember the day so vividly still. It was the day of the Dyke March festival. I was supposed to be working at the festival, having served on the board for the months leading up to the day. I was supposed to be having fun. Instead, I was at home, experiencing contraction like cramps and delivering far too early what should have been my baby. I cried so hard. I screamed during each cramp, more out of loss and anger than out of pain. Then it was over. As quickly as the pain started, it ended and I just felt empty. I didn't really know what to do. When I got pregnant again 2 months later and again lost that baby at 5 weeks this time, I truly became depressed for the first time in my life. I screamed and cried and slept for hours and hours without speaking to anyone for days at a time. I feel like I lost my innocence. I was naive to think that every pregnancy turns into a baby.

As I started to try and heal, I realized that no one talks about miscarriage but it is a very common, very "normal" event. It still bothers me that people don't talk about it (if they want to). My wish is that miscarriage becomes less of a taboo subject and that more women (and men) are allowed to grieve and heal more openly.

I will always remember my two short pregnancies and always have a place in my heart for the lives that weren't meant to be. And when I look at my 9 week old daughter laying in my arms today, I know she is a precious, precious gift.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sleep Part 1

Baby had a 45 minute nap this morning around 10...as she normally does. She usually wakes up anywhere between 7:30 and 9. She is absolutely adorable in the mornings. She is super smiley and giggly and loves to play and interact for a couple of hours. Even if I've only had 4 or 5 hours of sleep the night before I can't help but be wide awake to enjoy the time with her. She actually sleeps quite well now. At least, well enough for S and I at this point. More sleep would be nice of course but I've accepted that I won't have interrupted sleep for quite some time. Now that I've accepted it, it's easier to deal with! For the first month or so, Baby would wake up pretty much every hour all night. And, she would only fall back asleep if one of us held her. At times, she would wake up as soon as we laid her down - there was a lot of sitting up and semi-sleeping those nights. Some days I would be so exhausted I couldn't even think. Often we are out every day, all day so when she would have her "power naps" of 3-4 hours I couldn't take advantage of that and "sleep when the baby sleeps" as everyone kept advising me to do. Also, I tend to get caught up in trying to get a ton of stuff done while she naps...dishes, laundry, cleaning up, etc. etc. I've gotten a bit better at relaxing at least when she naps sometimes. Even if I don't sleep, I'll sometimes veg out in front of the TV (olympics!) or catch up online.

One day when she was around 6 weeks old she suddenly slept for 3.5 hours one night in a stretch. I woke up abruptly, stared at the clock and wondered what the heck was wrong! I looked over at Baby and she was sleeping peacefully beside me and woke up a few minutes later happy and well rested. That has pretty much been the norm since that night. She sleeps for 3 to 3.5 hours, wakes up to nurse, sleeps another 2-3 hours, wakes up to nurse and then sleeps another hour or two. While this might not seem like a lot of sleep...it is when compared to the first first weeks after she was born. This seems like an ENORMOUS amount of sleep after those early days. However, even those early nights were manageable. It helped me a lot that S would sit up awake for an hour and hold Baby after I had nursed her so I could get some sleep. It also helps that Baby sleeps with us.

When we first started trying to have a baby I imagined that the baby would sleep in his or her crib in our room for the first few weeks and then move into their own room. That's the way it was supposed to be right? We do not have much space in our room though (we have a king sized bed in a fairly compact room) so we then moved to imagining a bassinet beside the bed on my side. To be honest though, they were all kinda ugly and the only "cool" ones were so crazy expensive for something that would only be used for a few months that we got turned off that idea too. I started reading about co-sleeping online. I talked to other moms who co-slept - some planned, some not planned. Everyone agreed that they slept so much better when baby was in bed with them...the whole family seemed to sleep better. I immediately took to the idea but was worried about the safety of it. S was open to the idea but not entirely so...because of safety concerns and comments from her co-workers that "you'll never get the baby out of your bed" if you start out co-sleeping. I worried about smothering the baby or the baby rolling out of bed. I did some more research online and found about the arm's reach co-sleeper and the snuggle nest. The arm's reach product sounded interesting but we didn't think it would work on our bed (a platform bed) and it was pricey. The snuggle nest seemed really simple and something that we wanted to check out. Unfortunately, we couldn't find it in Canada. We drove to Bellingham to try and find it and couldn't find it there either. After a bit more research, I found the safe and secure co-sleeper at babies r us. We picked it up and decided we would give it a try. We put it on our mattress inbetween us. Although it's fairly short (Baby will likely be too long for it any day now....she's quite tall and has been since birth) it has been perfect. It has hard sides and there is no way either of us would roll over it. It gave us the co-sleeping benefits of having her close to us all night and the piece of mind of being safe. Fast forward to when Baby is about 6 weeks. She is still not sleeping longer that 2 hours at a time. Remember the night I mentioned above where she slept 3.5 hours? Well, that night, I scooped her up out of the co-sleeper and laid her down beside me to cuddle....we woke up 3.5 hours later :) I'm no longer afraid of rolling over on her but I do sleep in a particular position and modify how I sleep when she's beside me. She usually still sleeps the first part of the night in the co-sleeper (where she now sleeps 3.5 hours there too...) and then after the first wake up she cuddles with me. Everyone says the baby shouldn't be between 2 people to sleep because only the birth mother is aware enough for it to be safe. However, so far, it's worked fine for us. With our king sized bed Baby and I are far enough away from S that it's not really an issue anyway. When she starts rolling around we'll reassess and see how to work things out.

Another benefit of co-sleeping is not having to get up to breast feed. I only recently mastered nursing her while I'm laying down which is even easier...but even with having to sit up and pick her up, it's still easier and less disruptive than having to get out of bed to do it.

The main benefit of co-sleeping for me is that Baby is close to us during the night. I absolutely love cuddling with her during the night and waking up to see her beautiful face grinning away beside me. Am I afraid that she'll "never leave our bed"? Not at all. I'm very confident that she'll leave when she's ready to sleep on her own. And until then, our family can get as much sleep and as many cuddles as possible!

Note: I do think that having a king sized bed makes using the co-sleeper easier. Personally, I think it would take up too much room in even a queen sized bed.

Oh, and we never did buy a bassinet...or a crib.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gettin' out

With the Olympics in town, S, Baby and I have been out lots walking around. There is so much to do everywhere in the city. Even though I voted against Vancouver holding the 2010 games in a referendum years ago, I have to admit that I'm enjoying the excitement around me. We can hear concerts or see fireworks every night from our place, even with the scaffolding up across the alley (which doesn't come down until June..ugh). We decided when I was pregnant that we would wait to buy a stroller. There are SO many choices and so many almost scary contraptions out there for carrying your baby that it is overwhelming. We have a convertible carseat (one that doesn't 'snap' in and out of the car - it stays where it is and baby is put in and out instead) so we didn't have any need for a stroller that carries a carseat. Also, neither of us could imagine putting a tiny baby in a basket so far away and pushing him or her around! However, I know that my back isn't the strongest and we love going for long walks so we decided we'd wait until the baby was about 6 months or so and then invest in a stroller.

In the meantime, after a lot of research online and talking to other moms, we decided on the Ergo carrier. We ended up finding one 2nd hand in a consignment shop in Bellingham so we picked it up. We then decided that we wanted a sling as well...at least for the first month or two. We found one at Winners (surprisingly) made by the people who make the Peanut Shell. Great deal! When Baby was about a week old we decided to try her in the sling. She seemed REALLY squished! We took her out to the grocery store and we were both constantly peering into the sling and hoping she could still breathe! Baby seemed to make a lot of noises and squirm in it. We talked to a few people about them and everyone assured us that "babies love them!" I wasn't so sure though. We tried it a few more times and she continued to squirm and grunt and just look uncomfortable. Only one time did she seem comfy and cozy. I decided I didn't like it and decided that Baby didn't like it either. So, we picked up the infant insert for the Ergo at Room for 2 and got help from the staff there on how to use it. They have some great women that work there and carry great products! Anyway, we have been using the insert and the Ergo pretty much everyday since we bought the insert. Baby loves it and calms down as soon as she's in it. I thought we would carry her cradle style more often but it turns out we carry her in the frog position all the time and Baby prefers it. We both still panic a bit when she buries her face into our chests and we worry she can't breathe. We spend a lot of time adjusting her in it but it hasn't stopped us from packing her around the city in it every day! The Ergo is apparently the best carrier for many reasons....one of which is that it is easy on the carrier's back. This is totally true...I have back problems sometimes and it is not the cause of any back issues so far. However, my back does get tired after a couple of hours of walking around so we will definitely be purchasing a stroller in early summer likely. For now, we are both enjoying the extra cuddle time that the Ergo allows us :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Breastfeeding Part 1

Baby is 5 weeks and 1 day old today. I've fallen head over heels in love with her. Even with the lack of sleep and the LOUD crying. Really, I can't complain. She seems to still be pretty laid back. As I've said before though, I don't really have anyone to compare her to. I've been around lots of newborns but spending 24 hours a day, every day with one has been a completely new experience.

The first challenge I had was with breastfeeding so I thought I'd write down my experience with that. If you aren't interested in the gritty details - please skip this post ;)

Pretty much right after Baby was born I started to nurse her. It was amazing that she knew exactly what to do. She laid on me and actually wriggled her way to my breast to start eating...very cool. My midwife and doula showed me a good position to try when first learning. It hurt but I assumed that the pain would be shortlived and after a few minutes I would be blissfully holding a happy baby while she nursed peacefully. I nursed her several times the first night and continued the next day. She latched on perfectly and I think my technique at holding her, though awkward for me, was pretty good for being new to this whole 'feed another human being with my breast' thing. The pain that I felt the first few times she nursed got worse. By the end of the 2nd day every time she would cry or fuss to be fed I would begin to panic. She would latch on and I would cry at how much it hurt. My nipples were bleeding and cracked. I called my doula in tears and asked for help. She was encouraging but, other than (wise) advice to wait it out as it would get better, she didn't really have any magical solution to make the pain go away. I should mention that my milk hadn't come in yet. My midwife was coming to visit us every day since the birth and I cried to her too. She suggested I get some lanolin to soothe my nipples and perhaps take a break. This was horrifying to me as I couldn't imagine not feeding my baby when she wanted to be fed....at only 2 days old! This upset me terribly. The midwife manually expressed some colostrum from me (I couldn't do it myself at this point...too upset and scared I think) and S and I finger fed her. She left a manual pump to try as well. After she left however I couldn't express again myself so I went back to nursing. At each feeding (about every hour) I would count to myself until I was used to the pain...often through tears and sobbing. It was really hard on S to watch as well - she felt terrible that I was suffering and that she couldn't help. By the next morning (day 3) I called my midwife again and she said she was on her way to help (a different midwife this time - there was a team that I worked with throughout my pregnancy). She arrived, saw me in a terrible sobbing state, and suggested I take a break. She suggested I try and pump only over the next 24 hours and finger feed her while my nipples healed. I told her the pump didn't work. She had me try again and low and behold it started to work a bit! She was confident my milk would come in that night or the next day. I was skeptical. I was also extremely scared that pumping and not nursing Baby at my breast would 'screw up' our nursing relationship. But, I was so sore and desperate by that time that I finally agreed. By the next morning my nipples felt so much better. The midwife came back and asked if I wanted to try and work on latching her on again. I was SO nervous I was shaking. The midwife was amazingly patient and helped me hold her and get her into a good position. She latched on immediately (never a problem there...) and I claimed "it's not working, she's not latched on." The midwife assured me she was eating wonderfully from her viewpoint..."but it doesn't hurt at all!" I exclaimed. She smiled, I smiled, S smiled, Baby gulped and swallowed and all was well. It hasn't hurt since. Turns out my milk had come in the night before (I learned that the puddles in the bed under me that morning were not sweat...but milk...yay!).

Two things scared me the most about giving birth...having a c-section and not being able to breastfeed. I remember the details described above so clearly because it was like a nightmare for me when I thought I wouldn't be able to breastfeed. To me, as the 'carrying mom,' breastfeeding is such a huge part of being a mom. I love that I can nourish my daughter and help her grow and get strong....with my own body! No need for anyone or anything else....just what I already have inside me. I find that simply amazing and, once again, I feel so incredibly honoured and humbled by it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On the eve of 1 month

New family with a brand, brand new Baby



Baby will be 4 weeks old tomorrow! A month! Time is truly flying by. As I've told many people, I've already had 1 or 2 (or 3) bouts of crying where I find myself in a panic at the thought of her growing up. I blame it on the hormones. She has changed a lot already and I already find myself looking at "old" photos of her and talking about "when she was first born" as though it were a distant memory that is threatening to slip away. One night last week as I lay in bed, I vividly remembered the first night she was born and how all three of us were tucked into bed for our first night as a family after the birth team left. I don't think I slept at all. I stared at her all night and watched her chest rise and fall. I wanted to make sure she was ok. And I loved looking at her and reaching over and touching her little hand as she slept so peacefully. She was finally here! I still have moments when I am surprised with the reality that she is here and is ours and is growing and changing and is simply amazing. Her little sounds, her expressions, her movements...all amazing...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

She's a party girl

Baby attended her first 'meet the baby' shower last night. We had requested no shower before she was born as we preferred something after she was already here safe and sound - slightly superstitious I guess. It was really nice to see everyone and both S and I were very grateful that everyone took time out of their busy schedule to come and meet her. Last night's get together was mostly for family...another 'meet the baby' shower is happening next Sunday....mostly for friends. Baby is a very fortunate little girl to have so many wonderful people in her life! The gifts were much appreciated (yes, even the pink, frilly, "muffin top" outfit that made S cringe lol). The host of the shower also made custom chocolate bars with photos of Baby on the packaging - very cool idea. Tomorrow, S, Baby and I and my 2 nieces are heading out to see my Grandma, Aunt and another very good friend. I'm looking forward to it! Baby doesn't have any living grandparents but she is lucky enough to still have a healthy, happy great grandmother in her life.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sunshine!

At least I think there is some sun out there today! Yesterday there was definitely some blue sky happening earlier in the day. It takes us a bit longer to get out of the house these days so we missed most of it. Must work on being more prepared I guess. Or just plan for the unplanned. Baby spit up all over herself and S on the way to the car yesterday. After a quick change she was wide awake and ready for another snack which I don't like to rush as it makes both of us anxious. So, we take our time and leave when everyone is content and ready. Which takes time. Good thing I don't have to be anywhere on a strict timeline these days.

Baby has become more and more vocal the last few days. She grunts and growls and meows and all sorts of other interesting sounds. I guess I haven't spent a lot of time around newborns because apparently they are noisy little things!!! She also laughs in her sleep quite regularly. Her mouth breaks into a smile and she shakes as she giggles. She's cute as a button and recently loves snuggling chest to chest which both S and I also love. It's such an amazing feeling to have a little warm bundle of love totally relaxed sleeping next to my heart.

Oh, and we bought some pink clothes for her. Who knew I would enjoy dressing her in pink??

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2 Weeks Old!

Oh, how the time flies!! Some days I can't remember life without Baby and some days it seems like she just arrived! We have settled into somewhat of a routine. Baby sleeps for a couple hours at a time in her snuggle nest inbetween us during the night which is great! I'd say I end up with about 4-5 hours sleep a night - much better than the ohhhhh 45 minutes or so I got the first few nights!

We were told that some babies spit up more often than others and if they are going to be "pukers" then it usually starts around the second week. We suspect Baby may be one of them as she's spit up quite impressively 3 times since last night. I think I'll start wearing plastic clothes and dressing her in plastic clothes as well since we will obviously both have to change our clothes several times a day otherwise. She's nursing amazingly well which I'm so grateful for. After the first day of nursing my nipples were so sore and cracked and bleeding that I was literally in tears every time I fed her. I suffered with it for 2 more days and then at the midwife's suggestion I pumped for 24 hours, fed her via syringe/finger and gave my nipples a break. The next morning I tried again and voila! no pain! I was SO relieved and so very happy. Breastfeeding is very important to me and I'm so glad I'm able to do it with joy now. Baby is an awesome eater! Even when she does spit it back up on me after she eats it!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Encapsulation

Our doula, Michelle, came by today for a visit. It was the first time I'd seen her since the birth. It was nice to sit around and chat about the birth. How it went, what happened, etc.

She also brought over my placenta. She dried it out and we are going to encapsulate it. The cord is dried intact and we'll likely plant it somewhere. When I first read about women ingesting their placentas after birth I was pretty grossed out. I imagined a raw, wet, dripping bloody piece of meat hanging out of someone's mouth and it made me feel queasy just thinking about it. When I heard about encapsulating it and all the amazing benefits that could be reaped, I changed my mind and decided it was something I really wanted. It's currently sitting in a canning jar on our coffee table. If you're over to our house, please don't mistake it for coffee.