Friday, December 5, 2008

Five Months

Dear Chewie,

I can't believe how time is flying. You are the absolute best part of my day. I love how you wake up, it's like each time you open your eyes from sleeping you are SO excited to see me, and smile and laugh and kick your feet until i pick you up out of your crib. Your laughter is contagious and no matter how tired i am and how worn out i feel, you lift me up and make me feel i can do anything.

You are getting stronger all the time, and you have no patience for sitting or laying down, you must be STANDING at all times! And to achieve this you will grab our hands and pull yourself up until you can look around. At first you were very wobbly, and you still are, but your core strength is improving every day. We still try to put you on your tummy, but you hate tummy time. Too bad for you baby, because you need to be on your tummy so you can learn to push yourself up so you can learn to crawl.

The past month you have increased your Drool Output by 200% and will literally soak through a bib in minutes. Where does all that drool come from? Do you have a secret drool storage tank under your Onesie? In fact, as i write this letter to you, you are blowing spit bubbles at your dad while he holds you.

You've started imitating the faces we make, and there's nothing more fun than sticking our tongues out at each other for twenty minutes, or watching you discover that you TOO have eyebrows.


So much drool, followed by fever and the urge to bite down on my finger...or my nipple (ouch) leads us to believe that you're going through the motions of teething. Those days are tough cuz there's no way of making you feel better, aside of some Infant Tylenol and something cool to chomp on.

We've been working on your bedtime routine, and some days you go down like nothing! You just lay your head down, look up at the ceiling for a few minutes - then drift off to sleep sucking on your fist, or your Giraffe who we named Maynard. But tonight is not one of those nights, and you are fighting it with every fibre of your being. It's tough, and i have to fight every one of my urges not to run in there and make you feel better when you cry. But i know deep down that giving you the chance to learn how to self-sooth will be much more beneficial to you in the long run than satisfying my need to not let you cry. We've even had a few nights of solid sleep around here! Not every night, but once in a while you grace me with a good solid seven hours and i always wake up amazed.

I love you so much, and it's hard to even remember a time when you weren't around, and even today i was looking back at some videos and photos of the few days after you were born and it's hard to imagine that you ever that small. Seeing your tiny head and face, those skinny little arms and legs, and that squeaky baby cry... you were so weak for so long - it seems like a completely different baby from the strong and healthy, chubby little alert man who is developing more of a personality every day.

Love you baby,
Mama

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful by the Tens.



Okay, here's the thing... i am thankful for so many things, but i'll try to boil it down to ten.

1. I'm thankful for the knowledgable hospital staff at NeoNatal who looked after my son in the first 2.5 weeks of his life. I'll never be able to thank them enough

2. I'm thankful for my fabulous husband who supports me in more ways than he knows. He's so awesome.

3. I'm thankful that i live in a country where i have access to Free Health Care.

4. I'm thankful for every smile and every laugh that my son sees fit to share with me.

5. I'm thankful for vibrating baby chairs. Good lord, am i ever thankful for those.

6. I'm thankful that I have many talents - some that I share with others, some that are only for my husband (meaow!) and some that i keep to myself.

7. I'm thankful for quiet times, when Chewie is sleeping and i can decompress.

8. I'm thankful for Mommy and Baby Yoga... it helps me find my centre.

9. I'm thankful for the friendships i have, online and off, and how special everyone is to me in their own way.

10. I'm thankful that i won't have to wait long for my surgery. Gallbladder, you'll soon be gone.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wahoo!

Okay, before you read this post, you have to hit play on this little video.... it will make it allllll make sense!!!



ready? the video is rollin?....ahem....

Good God, Almighty, my boy slept through the night!!!!!

We put him down at 10, he was actually asleep by 10:30... and he didn't wake up... UNTIL SEVEN FIFTEEN!!!!!!!!!!

:D

i am so happy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

4 Months

Dear Chewie,

you’re growing like a weed, it seems that we just finish one growth spurt with cluster feeding, and we’re on to another one. So many of your clothes have moved to the ‘too small’ box which is both exciting and sad - you are no longer my little teeny newborn babe, but have moved on to full blown chubby babydom. You’ve put on so much weight, i’m sure you’re easily 15 lbs or more. When we finish this bag, we’re moving on up to SIZE THREE diapers!!

New developments this month - you’ve discovered your hands and feet! You open and close your hands and point and flip the bird and rock out with the devil horns... and you’ve discovered the joys of kicking, which is really adorable in the bathtub - not so adorable when i’m trying to change your pants and you get your feet in the diaper.

Every day brings something new. You’ve started getting quite a variance in your cries, you throw in a high pitched squeal now and then, you kinda sound like a little dingo or some kind of yipping canine type creature. Not only the cries, but the laughing has begun which is possibly one of the best things i’ve ever seen or heard in my entire life!

And this month brought with it real live, honest to goodness tears - which broke my heart the first time i saw a little tear escape your eye and make its way down your cheek when we were driving in the car and couldn’t get to you fast enough.

you’re learning new facial expressions, and they crack me up - and your cuteness is so apparent that perfect strangers still lean over you and remark how beautiful you are and i just smile and say ‘thanks, we like him’. When i tell people how old you are they all say: ‘he’s soo little’ You still look small, but now you only look small for a 4 month old. For a 2 month old, your corrected age, you’re doing amazing.

We moved you from the basinette to the crib this month, something that i thought would be a lot harder than it was. You took to it fairly easily - i had been ‘training’ you by putting you in there to nap during the day. The one who took it the hardest was me. lol. Currently, i’m having a really hard time getting you to sleep without the need to nurse. I know that sleep training would be very beneficial for my sanity, but i’m still sort of indecisive about whether or not I’M ready for you not to need me anymore.

Every day you change in a new and exciting way, and your daddy said to me the other night as he held you in his arms; “We’ll never be able to do this again. We’ll never be able to just hold him like this.” he’s right. I try not to take you for granted, and i know that you’re probably sick of me taking picture after picture of that perfect face, but i don’t want to miss a thing....just like the Aerosmith song. :D

i love you more and more each day.

love mama

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Photos of the Cutest Kid - Halloween Style


aww, mom, i love you.
i love you too, baby.


handsome little devil, isn't he??


Ratatouille - a devil possessed rat


Chewie conquers the Pumpkin. Well done, kiddo.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

cry baby cry

it's been a long hard week over here at Casa Diva... Chewie's got it in his adorable little mind that he needs...nay MUST nurse to fall asleep EVERY SINGLE TIME!!! and as much as i'd love for him to keep sucking on those puppies, the chapped nipple in me screams out NO!!

So, i've been attempting to do some kind of weaning up in here, and he is by far a very UNhappy customer. In fact, this very second - as i type this - the cute little monster is trapped in his crib, crying cuz he wants me to come up there and nurse him... but i'm letting him try to discover his own soothing method...

so far - nothing seems to have come up.

i find it extremely difficult to go in there and 'reassure him' without actually picking him up. and it's even harder for me to listen to him cry, knowing that in the short run i can make him feel better... but there's that 'long run' off in the distance saying; "don't give in"....

i'm forcing myself to stay here and type so i'm not tempted to go in there too soon.

it's so very emotionally draining to hear someone you love soooo much sound so unhappy, without the communication skills to tell him that he'll really honestly be okay falling asleep without mom's nipple in his mouth...

it seems that everytime he sort of winds down, he somehow finds the energy for more tears and more crying... sad little guy...

do i give in?

do i really want to start doing this tonight?

i know that he'll forget all of this eventually, forget that one time when he needed me to make him feel safe and calm, i didn't come....

but those screams.... they hurt my heart.

sad.

okay, ten minutes is up.... time to go 'reassure him' that i'm still here and that i still love him...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

When nothing else works....

Last night it was a battle - one that i was losing.

B-rad had to get up early, so i said i'd put the baby to bed.

Chewie didn't want to go to sleep, so i tried nursing him until both sides were tapped - but he was insatiable... he would take his pacifier, but wouldn't keep it in himself... i couldn't put him down, i couldn't hold him - every position brought more tears except the nursing position... that would do it and he would fall asleep but wake up as soon as i would move.

finally, i was nearing the end of my rope. i was exhausted - mentally, physically and spiritually. my back ached from holding him in nursing position... my tail bone was getting sore from sitting in the rocker, and my nipples were throbbing from his need for comfort. he started to cry and i picked him up and put him on my shoulder and held him to me... maybe a little too hard cuz he started crying with more intensity...was i hurting him????

i shocked myself out of my haze and realized that i was in no position to deal with him any more. i got up, laid him in his crib, turned on his mobile and left the room

i climbed into bed with B-rad, he woke up and i told him; "i can't do it anymore tonight, i put him to bed, and when his mobile stops he's going to start crying.... and i might just let him cry"

we laid together in silence listening as his mobile played out through the baby monitor... when it ended, sure enough chewie started to cry... i got out of bed, went to the monitor on the shelf - and turned it off, chewie's cries carrying through the hallway.

i got back into bed, put my head on the pillow and imagined my precious baby boy crying alone in his room knowing his mommy was NOT coming to save his this time... and started sobbing. i felt so helpless and guilty and i felt like i was letting him down, that i was a bad mother, that at that level of exhaustion i might unintentionally harm my own child.

B-rad held me as i cried then said; "i'll go get him"

i don't know how long it took for B-rad to get him to sleep, i cried myself out and was passed out before he came back to bed.

This morning, after nursing him, we snuggled on the couch - him sleepin like an angel on my chest and last night seems like a hazy dream. i love him so much. everything looks brighter on this side of morning. I thank the universe everyday for my healthy baby, and my awsome husband.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Today's Gold Medal Achievement:

Up-The-Back-Poop that reaches the shoulders.

Motherhood.
it's awesome.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Three Months

Dear Chewie,

i can hardly believe you've been here for three months. The time has been flying by, and you are growing at an amazing rate! Just yesterday i put you in a sleeper that i thought would NEVER fit you, and i'm already having to put some of your old clothes away, they are too small. When we went to the doctor for your 3 month checkup you were weighed in at 12 lbs!

You're chubby cheeks are my favourite thing to kiss. i love the rolls that have developed on your thighs and the ones that are slowly developing at your wrists.

This month has brought with it much more alert time, and you look around this world of yours wide big beautiful wide eyes. You're beginning to follow movement, and sometimes you'll follow the sound of my voice around the room.

You also had your first immunization this month, which was probably harder for me than you. Your daddy held you as they stuck in the first needle, and you cried the saddest cry i had ever heard. You kept crying through the second needle, then daddy rocked you in his arms until you slept - your natural defence mechanism, sleep, kicking in. That night, you starting screaming in your sleep until i picked you up and held you, and i remembered then that you used to do the same thing when we first brought you home from the hospital... that's when i realized you were having nightmares, and i hugged you and held you all through that night.

Speaking of sleep, you've been giving us a good solid six hours at night, so if i time it right i can feed you around 11 and sleep until around 5 am. And you've gotten so good at nursing that you're usually done after about 10-15 minutes... far better than the 45 - hour that we were doing before. Now i'm waiting for that glorious night when you decide to sleep through it!

We've been dealing with a lot of gas pain around here, and i'm finding that between having to limit my diet for your stomach needs and limiting it for my gallbladder attacks, eating isn't so much fun for me, but like so many other things - i do it all for you (and my own health as well). When you have trouble with gas, you stiffen up like a board and push with all your might, and while doing so you make the saddest face with the biggest pouty lips i have ever seen. And your cries of discomfort make me want to cry myself and somehow take away all your pain.

The tummy massage that we learned last week has been helpful, and i've been trying to give you a massage every day. You really like the leg massages, especially since you've been growing so much and standing up with daddy. You don't like the tummy so much, and if i had that much gas i wouldn't like it either. BUT the more we do those massages, the more likely you will keep things moving and it will help alleviate some of the tummy pain.

As you've grown in the past month, you've really started holding your head up, and even going so far as to look around before you flop your head back down. I try to imagine what it must be like to have your vision develop and have this fuzzy world come into view!

You smile more and more each day, but it's still so hard to tell whether or not you're gassy. I choose to believe you're smiling cuz you're happy. I know it makes us light up and laugh and get excited when you smile! It's the best thing i've ever seen.

It's hard to remember that, really, you should only be one month old. i have to keep that in mind when i think of which developmental milestones you should be at already. i'm looking forward to recognition! you already turn your head when you hear your daddy or i walk in the room, but i'm just waiting for your face to light up when you see us, the way that ours lights up when we see you.

love you forever,
mamma

Monday, September 22, 2008

Baby Massage - Holding Techniqe, Touch Relaxation

First of all, why don't you check out that little button directly to the right on my sidebar and follow my blog? :o)

As part of our doula's services, B-rad and i have been taking Chewie to Infant Massage Classes. We had a few sessions with Sunava, and then were handed over to her mother, Amara - who also teaches Infant Massage.

We had our first class with Amara yesterday- here's some of what we learned:

Number One: Holding Method
"Resting, Reassured still hand". When your touch is this conscious & intentional your baby recognizes and feels it. It will get her intention in a quiet and powerful way, and it will prepare your baby for moving touch (massage)
Use before all routines, in the middle and at the end, and any time during massage or rest fo the day when your baby need reassurance. Use before stomach, chest and colic relief routines especially, for several minutes. Maybe you don't have time for a massage one day so 'hold' for five minutes for reassuring your baby. Intention in very important. Remember: All touch Teaches.
Parents' hands on your baby are heavy and relaxed (the full weight of the hands but not extra)

Amara suggested that when we do this, with hands on Chewie's chest, that we imagine a ball of white light in our own chest, and imagine that light moving out our shoulders and down our arms into our hands and into Chewie.

Number Two: Touch Relaxation Technique - based on Conditioned Response Through (elicited) positive reinforcement

These techniques fit well with the rest of the massage strokes and often set the tone for readiness to massage. They can be used anytime your baby is stressed.
  1. They help baby cope with stress. They strengthen the stress threshold and the Relaxation Response so that baby has more available energy to meet life.
  2. Helps baby trust the world and want to open to it
  3. helps baby trust herself and her ability to handle life as it is.
  4. helps baby focus hiss attention on his own body, so that later he knows how to relax himself
  5. helps baby feel she has some control of her reactions to stress.
  6. helps baby associate your touch with the positive benefits of relaxation.
Say you are beginning to massage your baby's leg and it appears still and tense. Take this leg gently in your hands, encompassing and molding your hand to your baby's leg. Fell a heavy relaxation (Full weight of hand but nor more weight) in your hands as they conform to your baby's leg (this is holding technique). Now gently bounce baby's leg, repeating in a soft voice "Relax" - using the same tone each time you say this. As soon as you feel any relaxation in the muscles give your baby positive feedback saying "Yes, you relaxed your leg" and offer a smile and a kiss. Saying 'Relax' with the same tone is important. Refrain from saying "good" (which is a judgement). The same thing can be done holding other places on your baby - arms, chest, tummy, hands. Use very gentle shaking, bouncing, patting, encompassing, rolling motions to loosen up the tense area, giving positive feedback whenever you feel a favourable response - ie, any degree of softening towards full relaxation.

Do this touch several times a day. Soon your baby will make the connection and relax upon hearing your voice "Relax". This is a gift for a lifetime.

For more information on Baby massage, try: "Infant Massage: a Handbook for Loving Parents" by Vimala Schneider McClure. The above information comes from this book and the the research she refers to.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ten Little Things I've Learned About Being a Mom:

Well, i've been a mom for about 2 and a half months now, and i'm accumulating some interesting tidbits of information that i never had before.

  1. Breastmilk is really sticky
  2. When babies are first born, they strain so hard while pooping that they cry and turn purple and struggle... then you change their diapers to see that there's only a dime sized poop in there... turns out that babies aren't sure which muscles to use to poop, so they use them all.
  3. Watching a baby throw a fit is absolutely adorable
  4. In less than three months i've been hit with projectile baby snot more times than i can remember...clean clothes are a thing of the past
  5. When you think you have enough time to run errands in between feeds is when he'll decide to grow and want to cluster feed every hour
  6. Babies make for great small talk when strangers talk to you're in line ups at the drug store
  7. Everyone loves a tiny baby
  8. Breastmilk doesn't just squirt out from one place, but from several spots on the nipple... the first time i pumped i was amazed
  9. Housework is for chumps...actually, housework is - in reality - a dream of a time when i have energy to do the simple things... and do more than just empty the dishwasher
  10. Seeing your baby smile = best thing in the universe

Friday, September 5, 2008

Two Months

Dear Chewie,

i'm amazed at how much you've changed in this past month. Already you look like a different little boy from the one we brought home from the hospital.

At your last weigh in, you weighed 7lbs 4 oz a far cry from the 4 lbs 11 oz that you weighed at your birth, and that was over a week ago - i'm sure your past the 8 lb mark by now. You look and feel like a bonafide baby, and not so much like a preemie. When we brought you home, it seemed that you were all arms and legs, and they were so scrawny, but now your thighs are thickening, and you're developing a right proper double chin. A chubby baby is a happy and healthy baby, so it makes me so happy so see you becoming a little rollie pollie.

i can't stop watching you while you sleep. Watching your facial expressions change, wondering what you could possibly be dreaming about. and your little gassy smiles are almost always followed by a concerned furrowed brow before you relax your face and keep sleeping so peacefully. i used to think the term "I slept like a baby" was bunk - because who in their right mind would want to wake up every two hours screaming? but now i see that its those moments of deep sleep, of peacefulness in those chunks of nap that people are yearning for.

I've only just noticed that you wiggle your toes while you sleep. I know another person in this house that does that, and it's not me. Another 'just like your dad' badge to wear on your sleeve; next to flatulence and messy eating.

oh yeah, and i sometimes wonder - when you fart - where you store all that gas!?? it's hilarious.

this past month has brought more awake time. As we approached your actual due date, it was as if a switch went off and you were instantly more awake and alert! Your dad and i use that time to hold the black and white geometric paintings we made in front of your face. You love to look at them, and we love to watch you look at them - your big dark blue eyes wide in a look of almost amazement.

Bath time is fun, after you get over the initial shock of being lowered into the warm water, you relax and let me hold you by the neck and shoulders, letting the rest of your body float, but you make sure you hold onto my supportive arm with your tiny hand. Making sure i don't let go. I will never let go, baby.

as you've become more and more alert, i'm finding it much easier to talk and sing and play with you. i used to think i'd never get to that place of comfort to make up silly songs and games - but i'm finally there. Today we discovered a game that i hope will be a favourite of ours... "Mommy Monster"... the monster that loves to eat little baby cheeks, and nibble on baby necks and chew on baby toes and suck on baby fingers... "Mmmm, i'm going to eat you up because BABY is my FAVOURITE FLAVOUR! Mawmamawmawmawmmmm....." right now it's really more a game for my entertainment because when i do this you look at me with those big wide eyes in wonder and amazement, with no real concern or amusement...

we still struggle with nursing, as i try to wean you from the nipple shield. We have good days and bad days, but i really try to give you lots of encouragement and praise when you're finally able to latch on and i can feel that you're getting big long drinks. We'll get there, baby. don't you worry sweetie.

I love every bit of you. I love the way you nestle so perfectly under my chin, the way you sigh when i hold you... the way your hair smells and the way it feels when i stroke your perfect little head. I love the way you look when we put you in the sweater Great Grandma M made for you. You are "All-The-Time Cute!"

i have a hard time remembering what life was like before you.
love
Mamma

Monday, August 25, 2008

Word to your Mom


Dude, my baby's a total playa!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cheese!


Pretty Effin' Cute, eh??

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

ah, the life of mothering a newborn.
I live my life in 3 hour blocks.
anything that needs to happen in my world - outside of feeding, burping, and changing diapers - must be done inside one of those 3 hour blocks... and really, 3 hours is being generous. it's actually more like a 2 hour block once i factor in the time it takes to feed, burp, and change him.

Now that B-rad has gone back to work, it kinda feels like i've lost my partner in crime. We had a pretty good system going there for awhile, but now the night time feedings are all up to me. Right now i'm finding my biggest challenge to be staying awake while nursing. The female body has this thing where it releases a relaxing hormone whenever you nurse - which i suppose is the body's way of encouraging you to nurse... and it's nice during the day because those times nursing are, well, relaxing - after the first initial 'latch' where it feels like he might rip my nipple off in his mouth, that is. But at night, those relaxing hormones just make me want to fall asleep, and before i know it, the two of us are zonked out - him in my arms, sleeping with the nipple half in his mouth, milk all over his face; on his forehead, down his neck and soaking his jammies... and me, slack jawed, snoring, and covered in milk as well.

then i lose track of the time, how long was i out for? so, how long has he eaten for? and how long as HE been out for? and did he get enough food at this feeding? do i cut my losses and go to sleep instead of waking him up to try again???

because, inevitably at 2 in the morning, that's when Chewie decides to be awake and alert and looking around. And as much as i hate to miss those times when he's actually awake, mama's gotta get some sleep!!!

And then i'm faced with the choice between getting up after his 7 am feed and staying awake, or sleeping all day... just hop right on board Chewie's eating/sleeping train and never leave my bedroom.

i know, everyone says that i'll get through this sleep deprived state... that EVENTUALLY he WILL sleep through the night... but it seems like another life time. Some vague place in the distant fog of my future. Until then, i guess i'll go back to sleep.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

One Month

Dear Chewie,

today marks one month from the day you were born. i'm not really sure how it works now, am i supposed to be keeping track of your age in weeks still? or months? i don't really know how it works. But today is the 5th... and you're one month old. Or, four weeks and 3 days old.

This has been the longest and the shortest period of my life. I am finding it difficult to remember what my life was like before you came. And since you've been home, the last two weeks have merged one day into the next. i'm never quite sure what day it is. My life revolves around feeding and sleeping and changing your diapers. The first few days that you were home, i thought i was going to die of sleep deprivation, because even though while you were in NICU i was pumping milk for you, i only had to pump then go back to bed.

Now that you're here, the midnight feedings are my biggest challenge. Because you were a preemie, you haven't quite grasped the whole breast feeding thing. And also because in NICU you were bottle fed, you haven't gotten the hang of the 'latch'. I've had to use a "nipple shield" which is a silicon nipple that i slip over my own that is more like the bottle that you're used to. It works well enough, but it inevitably leaks milk everywhere, all over your face, all over my belly and the pillows... and it also needs to be heated up before i use it so it will mold to my body better. All of this takes time to prepare. I have to wash the nipple and keep it in a mug of hot water before i can get myself ready (Nursing Pillow, receiving blanket, glass of water) or you ready.

You were (and still are a bit) jaundiced, which makes for a sleepy eater. So i spend a good 30-40 minutes trying to simultaneously feed you and keep you awake, while also trying to keep myself awake. At night we try to give you a bottle with about an ounce of expressed breast milk, to get you to sleep a bit longer. The going rate right now is about 3 hours, but sometimes if we're really lucky - you'll go almost 4 hours at night.

So, with the all the nursing prep work, the feeding, the burping, and the changing... the whole process can take almost 2 hours before you're sleeping soundly again... and then it seems that just when i've fallen asleep - we start all over again.

But.

it appears your cuteness is your ultimate weapon. and you get me with it everytime. it seems that when i'm feeling the most exhausted, or on the edge of sleep deprived despair... you'll open your eyes and just look at me. And i hold you're little peanut body and we gaze at each other, and i know that i would do anything for you. In those moments all the weariness melts away, i can feel my shoulders melt and my jaw release. On rare occasions, you see fit to give me a smile. I know, they say its just gas. and that may be, but it's just enough to keep me going until morning. it's exactly what i need.

What else? oh yeah, you've peed on your dad twice now. I find it kinda funny, but i know that my day is coming - that there are more bodily excretions in my future.

i love to kiss your neck and chew on your pudgy cheeks. you're pretty passive at this point, but i'm sure at some point in time you'll squeal with glee when i do that.

At times i am just amazed at how small you are. Even though you're over 6 lbs now, you're so much bigger than the day you were born, but your bum fits in the palm of my hand... and you seem to get lost in the hugeness of your car seat.

My favourite thing is to have you sleeping on my chest. Your tiny head nestled under my jaw, your arms splayed out over your head and your legs frogged under neath you. I feel comforted by your breath, as i imagine you are by mine. your head resting over my heart. While you lay there, you make the cutest little noises as you breath out. little cooing sounds that make my heart melt into a puddle of goo. I keep you there much longer than i probably should before putting you in your basinette. But i can't help it.

Another fun thing that you do now is creak like a rusty gate. Sometimes the creak lasts so long, we wonder when you'll ever breath in again. it's adorable and hilarious at the same time.

you've completely turned our world upside down and topsy turvy - and we're still recovering and trying to put things straight, although its as though everything has shifted six inches. It's the same, but it's different. We are still learning how to do normal every day things with you, like go to the store, or drive the car.

One thing that keeps me relatively sane is: We've never done this before, but then neither have you. So we'll learn to do it together.

I love you, my sweet little baby.
Always and Forever.

Love
Mama

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Part Seven - the end...or should i say the beginning?

Yesterday i stayed at the hospital overnight to do all of Chewie's feedings...

Today i discovered the four most awesome words in the English Language:

You're Cleared for Discharge

Sitting here in my kitchen with Chewie in his basinette next to me, it's amazing. i thought this day would never come.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Part Six


The past 2 weeks have seemed, simultaneously, like the longest time of my life and also the shortest.

The hardest thing that i've ever done in my life was the day we were discharged and i had to walk away from the hospital without him. B-rad held me as we walked down the hallway, and i could feel Chewie getting farther and farther away from me. When we walked out the door, i broke down and cried into my hands while B-rad led me to the car. We sat in the car for a few seconds while i sobbed, and as we pulled away from the parking lot it felt like i was being ripped in two.

I said: "It feels like we just left our heart there and then drove away."

We were both a mess of emotion and tears and we seemed to go in alternating waves of tears. I would cry, and he would comfort me and i'd settle a little...then he would cry and i would comfort him and so on.

My friend Madge was at our house when we arrived. She had cleaned up a little for us and made us supper, and then volunteered to do some quick shopping with B-rad so i could rest. B-rad also called my mom when we got home, and she came over and we sat on the couch with her arms around me.

It was a rough day, to say the least.

but we went back that night, and it was like as soon as we could see him - a weight lifted off of us and we were light and happy again. He's like sunshine on a cloudy day.

The rest of the week(s) have gone by in a blur of visits to the hospital, family visitors, pumping, napping, resting... And when i am exhausted and think i can't go on any more, i get to the hospital and hold him and he charges my batteries and i think: "Okay, i can do this for one more day"

I have to take each day at a time. Any thing beyond the next day is too big for me to handle. And while he steadily improved, gaining weight, keeping his temperature, feeding by bottle, the nurses still don't give us anything more to go on than: "Maybe a couple more weeks"

i can't handle that big a time frame. So day by day is how we operate.

As of today, he's been in NICU for 18 days. He's gained 11 oz and is now 5lbs 6 oz! He is a free-range baby, the feeding tube is gone and he bottle feeds like a champion and last night we had a very successful nursing session. He's in a basinette in room temperature and has been able to maintain his body temp in the outside air really well.

A few days ago, as B-rad and i were heading to the hospital to visit Chewie, there were these amazing clouds in the sky, and as the sun was setting it really illuminated them perfectly with a sliver lining. B-rad stopped the car so i could take a picture.

To me, it was the perfect shot of our little one in Intensive Care. The hospital, the nurses, doctors and medical staff, not being at home with us - those were all the cloud. The fact that he's healthy and improving everyday and perfect in all other aspects and soo sooooo loved.... that was my silver lining.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Part Five - NICU


The day Chewie was born was pretty intense, and after the drama of delivery i was wheeled up to a private room in the Maternity Ward. They 'settled me in' and it seemed like an eternity of people coming in and out talking to me, checking me out before we were able to go down to NICU to see our son.

When we got there, my heart shattered into a million pieces when i saw my son, so tiny and so little, laying in an isolette with a breathing tube in his face. He was wheezing, and i wanted to pick him up and hold him, but couldn't. A nurse told me that the wheezing was from the breathing tube, it had a small leak, it wasn't from Chewie. It made me feel better, but only slightly.

His face was purple and bruised from his big trek to the outside world, and the IV in his arm, and all the monitors made me cry. I kept thinking "You poor little guy, you didn't expect this when you made it out did you?" no, he probably was expecting to be held and cuddled and stroked and touched... instead he got whisked away and had tubes jammed inside him and needles and monitors attached to him. even now, thinking about that makes me feel like my body somehow betrayed him. That i let him down.

The nurse told us we could touch him, so the first time i really got to see my son - all i could do was touch his hand through the little door in his isolette.

After our visit, we went back up to the room and i cried and cried thinking of my little man who should have been with us, but wasn't.

We went down again around 9 pm to see him and were happy to see that his breathing tube had been removed and he was breathing on his own. Good lad. I asked the nurse who was one when she thought we'd be able to hold him, and she said: "How about five minutes?"

Holding his tiny body in my arms, smelling his hair, and looking over every inch of his face... it felt like home.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Part Four...

The labour and delivery is kind of a blur, but if you ask B-rad he'd probably tell you that i was transformed into a primal animal...

The short story is - birth is an amazing and crazy experience that you really can't pin down with words. But i did it all with out drugs, no epidurals, no episiotomies, just a tiny tear and when B-rad told me we had a son we both broke down and sobbed.

Because he was so early, they were worried about his lungs - they had the NICU staff there and ready to assess the little guy.

His lungs were good enough to cry his first little cry.

I only got to hold him for about thirty seconds before they took him away, but when they put him in my arms, i said: "Hey little guy" he opened his eyes and looked at me. Best moment ever. But over too soon before he was wheeled away.

To help with his breathing, he was intubated and when we were able to go down to the NICU (after a shower and getting settled in our hospital room) it was really hard to seem him on assisted breathing, and attached to so many monitors and hooked up to IVs.

We had a little visit, but not being able to hold him was so hard. So hard.

When we went down to NICU later that night, he was already extubated and breathing on his own after only 8 hours. We knew then he's a fighter.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Part Three...

The Nurse came in to do the other 'test', which was essentially a pap test, but as she pulled out the stick, she said to her assistant..."We've got something here"

So, they did a cervical exam. Finally. Not sure why they didn't do one from the get go.

"Okay," she said "looks like you're staying here for a while, you're 4 cm dilated. How far along are you?"

"32 weeks"

INSTANT PANIC

it was terrifying. Everything i had ever feared about hospitals was happening to me. Faceless medical staff walking in and out, talking over me, not to me. B-rad tried getting Sunava on"W the phone, and she said that she was on her way... but as they were on the phone a nurse came in and said to me: "Okay, i'm just going to have roll over to your side for me there..." and before i knew it STAB! i was injected with something.

I lost it and completely broke down and sobbed.

"what was that! what are you giving my wife?"

What they had given me was Steroids to help Chewie's lungs develop, it was needed, but the way it was done was awful. it seemed like our vision of a drug free birth was going straight to hell in a very uncomfortable handbasket.

There was a moment when i thought B-rad was going to go to fisticuffs with one of the nurses there. Finally he said; "look, we're not trying to be difficult, but it's all happening so fast and we just need a few minutes"

So the Maternity Nurse, Debbie said: "okay, i'll give you a few minutes to talk it over while i go do some paper work, but then i'm coming back and i'm moving you to Delivery and i'm putting in an IV"

Garrrr!!!

B-rad said; "We had planned to have a Natural Delivery, so this is all very scary"
and Debbie said:

"Well, let me just say this: Yes, Birth is natural - but so is death. That's all i'll say" and walked out.

WHAT THE FLYING FUCK WOULD YOU SAY THAT FOR!!?!?!???? i still can't believe she said that to us

There it was, the Medical Bullying i was afraid of.

We eventually moved to the delivery room and agreed to whatever drugs they told us i needed, it was like i'd given up - whatever, just do whatever you need.

and then... Sunava showed up with her big bag of tricks and immediately set Debbie on edge
"Uhm, who are you?"

That's our Doula.
"just what exactly is all that stuff?"

"These are just essential oils and some cds and things"

And as Debbie was setting up my IV Sunava asked what the IV was for and she got:
"I've already discussed this with the parents, but it's saline water and antibiotics"

I kept thinking this was NOT going to go well if my nurse and my doula couldn't get along.

Part Two....

The thing about Summer holidays - is that people go away.

Where was my Doctor? Gone on holidays.
Where was my Mother? Gone on a Pioneer Trek Re-enactment
Where were B-rad and I? You know it, we were on 'holidays'... sigh.

Okay, so where were we?

B-rad did his very best to stay awake until we pulled into Pam's place... he told me later that by the end there he was seeing two roads, not sure which one he was driving on.

we picked up Pam and B-rad hopped in the back seat and got about 45 minutes of sleep as Pam drove and kept track of my contractions which were pretty consistent at 3 minutes apart.

We got to the hospital at around 6 am, and Pam dropped us off at the Emergency entrance and went to park the car. Having her there was just a godsend. She was great. Especially since at this point B-rad hadn't slept in 26 hours.

So, we walked in and the first thing everyone asked us was "Has your water broken?" uhm. no.

People were asking me for my prenatal sheet... "Do you have your Prenatal sheet?" uhm. no.

We went to the assessment room where we got asked everytime someone new walked in the room: "Has your water broken?" uhm, no.
"Do you have your Prenatal Sheet?" uhm, no? "How far apart are your contractions?" "When did you go into labour?"

I was exhausted, and each time the curtain pulled back it was some new person ready to ask the exact same questions over again. By the end, i just closed my eyes and Pam filled them in while B-rad desperately tried to stay awake. I told him it was okay, he could close his eyes and try to catch a few winks. Poor guy. He wasn't blessed with the crazy adrenalin like i was. if this was labour for real, i'd need him alert.

i was sent in to the bathroom to do a urine test and when i came out i was immediately strapped to a fetal monitor where i stayed - in an uncomfortable position, where i stayed for what seemed like forever. The little room was a blur of people coming in and out, asking the same questions over and over... i mean, c'mon! don't they write this shit down somewhere???

Finally a doctor came in to talk to me to tell me that they were testing my 'sample' and it would take about 20 minutes to get the results.

I tried to breathe through the contractions, and it was nice to have Pam validate me when i was having a bad one. She'd watch the monitor and when i was done she'd say: "Good job, that was a big one."

The doctor came back with the test results - "You have an Urinary Tract Infection, which can cause false labour. So, i've signed your release form and left a prescription at the desk, but they're going to do another quick test on you since you're here. it essentially tells us if you're NOT in labour. if is says you are, it could be labour, or it could be infection, but someone will be here soon to do that for you - i'm off. So good luck!"

Oh God. All this pain, all of this drama for a UTI??? i was devastated, yet relieved.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The story - Part One

It was a pretty normal day. B-rad and i were heading out to the lake for one last weekend of camping.

I had spent the day running around picking up a few last things before we went out of town. I had my brother Willy Billy with me to do all my heavy lifting, on the condition that if he was my lacky i would buy him lunch. While standing in line at CrackDonald's, the lady at the register asked Willy Billy when i was due. "Is she about to pop?" i laughed. i get this all the time.

"Nope, i've got two more months"

the response to that is usually something along the lines of: You're SOOO big already!!! You poor thing.

after all the errands were run, i went home and loaded up the car with all the gear... and went to pick my husband up from work - straight on out to the lake we went.

The lake was about an hour and a half drive from home, we made good time - got to B-rad's cousin Nasty's trailer/campsite around supper. It was a scorcher. 34 degrees (93.2 F) with no sign of it getting any cooler. We walked (well, B-rad and Nasty walked and i waddled) down to the beach with our pool noodles and enjoyed a very refreshing, and very much needed dip in the water. i felt like i could have stayed there all day and never get out. but - i was hungry, so we went back to camp and had some supper.

At about that time, i started noticing that my back was starting to hurt. I figured it must have been from all the walking around i did, then the drive, then sitting in bad camp chairs. B-rad and Nasty decided to go out for a bit of night-fishing at around 8:30 and i opted out, saying my back was sore - i'm just gonna relax.

The back pain didn't seem to be getting any better no matter what chair i sat on, so i waddled my way into the trailer and had a little lie-down on the bed, hoping the pain would go away. It didn't. B-rad and Nasty returned from fishing around 10:30 and checked in on me. I was feeling pretty crappy by this point, and as i had been having Braxton Hicks earlier that week, when Nasty asked me what was wrong i said jokingly; "Oh, i'm just having contractions, that's all."

He panicked a bit: "What? Don't you have that baby in my trailer!"
"Nasty, my due date isn't for another two months!! i'm not going to have the baby today." (famous last words)

Some friends of ours were also up at the lake that weekend, so B-rad and Nasty left me to lay down and went to visit/drink with our friends.

in the trailer, i tried to sleep... but it didn't work out too well. Every time i'd just barely fall asleep i'd wake up thinking my back was ripping itself off my body. Half asleep and in pain, i was vaguely aware that this MIGHT be more than just a day of bad camp chairs.

B-rad returned around 2:00 am to find me still awake and breathing through some nasty back pains that were accompanied by what felt like really bad menstrual cramps. I'd never had a real contraction before, so i wasn't quite sure what was going on. But when B-rad came to bed he had the brains to say: "are they quite regular? maybe we should be timing these."

So, we started timing them. And the really really sucked. To keep me distracted, B-rad and i played the Band Name game, where one of us starts with "A" and thinks of a band name and then then next person has "B", etc etc etc. We went through the game 3 times - and moved from the trailer to the road, to the camp shower.

Finally, when it seemed like they were getting worse rather than better, around 3 am, we figured it was probably time to call our Doula, Sunava, just to see what she said.

So B-rad called, and woke her up and told her what was going on. We talked to her for about half an hour, she talked me through a few contractions, and when i finally told her that i felt a lot of pressure with the contractions, like i had to use the bathroom....y'know, number 2.... she went a little quiet, then said...

"Y'know, maybe you better just make the drive back to the city."

So, with the Return Home Order from our Doula, B-rad quickly packed up our stuff threw it all in the backseat of the car, stuck his head in the trailer to tell Nasty we were leaving, and we started the 1.5 hour drive back to the city with instructions to call Sunava once we were on our way to the hospital.

Now.
B-rad has been working 12 hour days at work all week, getting up every day at 5:00 am. And the night before - the lucky boy got laid ;) so he was running all that day on 4 hours of sleep. By the time we left the lake, he had been awake for almost 24 hours on 4 hours sleep... and it was just about dawn with that inbetween light, driving on country roads... with his pregnant wife in labour beside him who was in NO shape to keep him focused and awake on the road. ANNND, he had been drinking that day in the hot sun. *NOTE: He was by no means inebriated by the time we left - had he been we would have gotten someone else to drive us.

My sister in law lives in a small town on the way back to the City. i made the suggestion that we stop and pick her up and have her drive us to the hospital so B-rad could get a teeny bit of sleep anyway. After calling 5 times, my brother answered the phone.

"I need to talk to Pam!!" i said.
she picked up the phone and i said: "Hi Pam, how are you? sorry to wake you, but uhm, if we come and pick you up will you drive us to the Hospital?"

and she said; "....yes."

TO BE CONTINUED

Monday, July 7, 2008

Quick Update...

This is just a quick note to say that i'm going to be mostly offline for a little while.

B-rad and i delivered a healthy baby boy Saturday afternoon. 2 months early. He's still at the hospital in Intensive Care, but he's strong and was breathing on his own after only 8 hours on a ventilator

The official stats:
4lbs 11oz
18.5 " long

The labour story is really interesting, but i'll save it for another day.
for now, rest for me.

love
laura

Friday, July 4, 2008

Day #55

Dear Chewie,

Well, we've made it this far. Can you believe it's July already? It seems like just yesterday i saw that little pink cross on the pregnancy test - was Christmas that long ago?

You make me: Hot, Sweaty, Puffy, Swollen, Uncomfortable, Sleepy, Sore, Excited, Anxious, Worrisome, Happy, and Nervous.

I've been having a lot of Braxton Hicks lately, my mom - your grandma D, laughed at me when i told her. She's so smug. lol.

I've been having trouble sleeping. For a few reasons... my belly just is too big to find a comfortable position for longer than, say, 2 hours. And you constantly settle down on my bladder causing me to get up to pee a zillion times a night... the most frustrating thing? That i HARDLY PEE AT ALL!! GAH! i don't know if there's anything more frustrating that getting up feeling like you're about to explode, and just getting a few drops... then heading back to bed, only to lay down and think....God, i have to pee...again???

But probably the hardest thing to deal with right now is not being able to cuddle up to your daddy at night. Our bed looks like a Sultan's bed with pillows all around me propping me up in various ways. We're lucky if your dad and i can hold hands before falling asleep. I do miss him. But, as he said last night - it'll all be over soon and it will totally be worth it.

He's right.

All of this is totally worth it. I can't wait to see you.

Love,
Mama.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Maiden/Mother/Crone

i've been thinking, the last few days, about how much of a change this baby is. i mean, yeah - i've always known there would be changes. But just in the last little while it's really starting to hit home for me.
I'm making a transition.

I am coming into a new phase of my life.

I am birthing myself from Maiden to Mother, and that is an exciting but scary place. And i know that women do this all over the world, every single day, but i've never done it before. Everything about this experience is new, exciting, and frightening. I try not to bore or burden people with what's going on in my life... i think: "Laura, you are not the first person to give birth" and it's true. But i have to keep that in balance with my experiences, because they are mine, they are important, and i don't want to de-value them. it's a fine line to walk.

Everything is changing. I am looking at myself in a new way. I feel like i'm leaving one exclusive club, and joining another. I am going to be a mom. I am going to talk about my kids all the time. I know that, i see that. I feel bad for the moms that i've judged for talking about nothing but their kids, in my ignorance about what being a mother entails. How the mind works and how that child replaces everything else in your brain.

The priorities shift.

The expenses change.

The world itself is filled with possibilities and dangers i never realized were there, all because i'm beginning to view the world through the eyes of a mother.
My feelings towards my own mother are changing in a way i never thought they would. Any doubt i may have ever had - that she never loved me or some other stupid lingering teenage angsty doubt - have completely flown. If what i'm feeling now for this baby that i've never met is any inkling of what she feels on a daily basis... i know beyond any shadow that i'm loved. That's an amazing feeling too.

In Western culture, birth is all about the baby... From the Baby Shower to the actual process of giving birth...And i don't mean in any way that it shouldn't be, but i feel that the birth of the mother is equally important and should be celebrated in the same way. i really don't think that it's asking too much. In some tribes the mother is dressed in the same colours and paints as the Warriors when they emerge from their birthing tent. They are celebrated as Warriors. They are acknowledged for the absolutely amazing feat that they've just accomplished, and their rite of passage is as important as the new life they're now supporting.

There is a lack of Rite of Passage or ritual in our culture, i find. Yes, i know that other moms have babies all over the place, but i want to be acknowledged. I want to be celebrated. I want the whole world to know that my body created life and succesfully brought it to the planet. I don't think that this is being selfish. I think this is a right, as a woman, as a mother.

It's not just the baby's Birth Day, but the Mother's as well.

Am i alone in this?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Day #69

Dear Chewie,

On this, the 69th day before your arrival... i thought you should know that not being able to do the 69 is one of the sacrifices we've made. For you.

Love Mama

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day #70


Dear Chewie,

Everything is going great, you're healthy - i'm healthy. The doctor said you measure at 32 weeks already, and we're only at 30! Currently you weigh 3 lbs 15 oz. A big baby, the doc said. He put you in the 75th percentile.

Daddy and i looked at your brain, your beating heart, we saw your thighs, and your kidneys. When asked if we wanted to know if you're a little girl Chewie or a little boy Chewie, your dad wasted no time saying no! we're going to wait for the big surprise.

You are the absolute highlight of my whole day. When the doctor finally moved the ultrasound to show your perfect face, i couldn't help but start crying. I could see you there. Your little cheeks, your tiny hands, i was smacked in the face with a wave of love for you. Even though we didn't find out your sex, i had a feeling of "That's my little ______!!!"

At the appointment with Dr. X, she measured my belly and verified what the ultrasound had already told us... you're going to be a big little one. Oh, and some other good news is that mommy's blood sugar is fine... y'know what that means?? oh yeah, no Gestational Diabetes for me! WOO! i can't wait to have an ice cream cone!! yes!! And it turns out the Dr. X has no problem doing delivery in a squat or on all fours! Things are coming up roses baby!

i can't stop looking at your little cheeks.
i love you so much.

Love Mama

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Day #71

Dear Chewie,

Tomorrow is a big day! Daddy and i are going to have our second ultrasound, and to see you!! I can't wait to see you moving around, to see your heart beating, and to get a new picture to share with everyone. You're already a celebrity.

You're growing so fast, every day it seems like my belly gets bigger. The stretch marks everyone promised me have finally started showing up, in FULL force, but only at the bottom of my belly. Last night Daddy commented that i could just set my belly on a table, thats how far out it sticks.

Nightimes are getting harder for me.

It seems that you start your arobics every night promptly at 11:00 pm, using the bed as a spring board when i lay on my side.

Also, I can OFFICIALLY no longer lay on my back, not even for a little while, without feeling all out of breath. I used to cherish those few minutes before going to sleep, and before getting out of bed when i would lie there flat on my back. But those times are gone now. You're big enough to put a sufficient amount of weight on my veins and make me dizzy.

My sweet little heater, yesterday was the first day that we turned on the a/c in the house. The thermostat said 25.5 degrees C when i got home. My entire body was covered in a film of sweat within minutes of walking in the door. You and me got a looooong way to go, baby. I turned off the a/c before bed, thinking that the open window would be enough to cool down the room. Not so. There's nothing quite like lying in a pool of your own sweat while your partner sleep soundly under a sheet and blanket next to you.

I envy your daddy's sleep. It's true. Sometimes i look over and see him laying on his stomach and remember the good old days when i was able to do the same thing. He also doesn't have to wake up every 3 hours to pee, but i'm chalking that up to training for midnight feeding sessions.

I worry about our cats.
You'll meet them soon enough, although you probably can already recognize them by their distinctive purrs. Both Kozmo and Cinda love to lay next to you. Kozmo especially likes to be close to the big round belly. I am worried, though, about them deciding to sleep with you, or on you when you finally get here.

Daddy and i will keep you close to us for the first few weeks. This will be an adjustment for our feline housemates. They are used to coming and going as they please in the night, making themselves comfortable on any part of the bed they see fit. When we close the door, we're inevitably woken up in the middle of the night by mewing and scratching by those cats who want in and can not believe that we would lock them from their bedroom!!! it will be a definate change for them, and us.

They also have declared your nursery as their own property. Cinda and Kozmo have both claimed your bassinet as their own personal sleeping abode. That fuels the worry of how they will react to you moving in on their stuff. I try to keep the nursery door closed to keep them out of there, so they won't get used to being in there, but the odd time i forget to close the door when walking in and out.

Every time i do forget, i find your stuffed giraffes and rattle at the foot of the bed. Part of me is proud and a little touched that one of the cats has 'killed' something and left it for us as a trophy, and the other part of me worries about how easily they have made your crib their playground.

There are so many things in our lives that are about to change. And, as much as i fear change, i am so excited. You are so very worth it, little rock star.

Love Mama

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

what the?

Uhm,
My belly button is missing.

Have you seen it?

seriously, i could have sworn it was there two days ago, but yesterday while getting ready for a shower i looked down at my growing baby-belly and noticed that it has vanished.

Didn't i used to have one of those things??

Eventually B-rad helped me find it, it's about a foot away from where it normally is, and it's getting shallower by the day! I mean, i remember getting out of the shower and having about a gallon of water flow outta there, not so much anymore.
Also, the scar from where my naval ring grew out 6 years ago is way up on my belly and about an inch and a half long! Y'know what's weird? when you put your finger in there, and you can touch the bottom!!!
Dude, it's totally weird.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Day #79

Dear Chewie,

It's now less that 12 weeks until your due date.
You're growing every single day, and you're big enough now that when you move, you really move!! I can feel it when you get comfortable, when you roll over, and when you stretch. I've finally started getting some stretch marks.

Your active times are getting to be more predictable, and when you're overly active - like when i'm trying to sleep, Daddy and I will sing "Thin Ice" from Pink Floyd's The Wall and you usually calm down.

As we're nearing the home stretch (literally and figuratively) i'm finding myself getting a tad impatient. I want to know who you are, what you look like, and whether your a little girl-Chewie, or a little-boy Chewie.

But, i'm sure these last 12 weeks will fly by as fast as the first 12 weeks did.

Love Mama

Monday, June 9, 2008

The post in which i ramble about my Doula and my Fabulous Hubby

Yesterday B-rad and i had our first prenatal appointment with our Doula, Sunava.
It was cool, the more we meet with her, the more my nerves are calmed. We went through our birth plan together, and she explained some of the procedures to us, and when they might be suggested by medical staff, and when we might consider them.

It was great to get that information now - and to be reassured that she knows what the pros and cons of each procedure is, and can discuss our options should the event where one is needed arise - instead of being bullied or co-erced into something we don't want or need for the sake of the medical staff.

we talked, somewhat, about circumcision in the event that Chewie is a little boy. Both B-rad and i don't really see the point of one, or the necessity. And it was nice to have her give us the background and her insights on the procedure. She also let us in on some fairly disturbing face cream information... shudder.

At the end of the session, she sent us home with a few excersizes to work on. So, currently i'm learning how to 'squat'. Millions of human beings all over the world squat on a daily basis. Not so in westernized culture... so i have to re-learn my body how to squat properly, and build up the stamina to do it through contractions.

Did you know that when you squat, your pelvis is 25% more open than it is if you were on your back?

The other excersize deals with Kegels, obviously an important workout for before and after birth. But i was glad that she suggested that B-rad and i do them together. This takes less of the burden off of me, and instead of him saying: "Have you done your Kegels today?" he says things like: "Should we do some Kegels before supper?" That way, if i forget - i don't feel like such a doofus, instead i have support annnnd a partner!!

After our appt, B-rad and i went for a walk and treated ourselves to an Oreo Blizzard to share - and when we went to watch Sunday Night cartoons - we realized that they conflicted with other important programming that we were recording - like Robot Chicken and Rick & Steve. So by happy accident B-rad and i ended up spending the evening in bed, catching up on the Sunday night comedy lineup.

The height of our bed, and the height of our bedroom tv left us the only option of spooning the entire time so we could both lie down, and both see the screen. This, of course, led to tickling, snuggling, and laughing. We were having such a good time that when all our shows were over, we opted to stay in bed and 'hang-out', even though it was only 9 o'clock.

"We need to make sure we still do this, after the baby comes" i said. "even if we lay here and talk about nothing but the baby, we still need to connect like this. okay?"

He agreed, wholeheartedly.

It's those moments that made me fall in love with him in the first place, and even though we've been together for almost ten years.... i still enjoy his company, find him sexy, and love him to pieces.

My friend Madge always told me that when she married her husband, she didn't think there was any way that she could love him more. That is, until he became the father of their son. I explained this to B-rad last night saying that i'm starting to understand what she meant. It's like we're moving up in stages. I love him like a Best Friend, a Lover, and now there's this whole other element where i'm starting to really feel that family love. It's a softer, gentler love, but one that is so consuming.

We continued to lay there, talking, looking into each other's eyes...

and then we had hot hot sex.

Well, as hot as it can get when you're awkwardly moving your big belly around, trying to get comfortable.

Sex is becoming something completely hilarious. Still awesome, mind you, but the experimenting is awkward - albeit fun. ;)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Day #83

Dear Chewie,

You and I are a team. I was telling your dad last night, that even though there will be people in the delivery room 'helping', like Daddy, Sunava and the staff - the only one who is doing this with me is you.

I know, somewhat, what we're up against - and I'm scared.
I can only imagine how you will be feeling, floating in your snug little home and then having your home essentially reject you - and push you and squish you, will you be scared? will it hurt you too?

Little one, try not to be scared. You and i are doing it together, and when you finally get here you will be loved like crazy! Your daddy and i can't wait to meet you, and we love you so much already.

I will do everything i can to make labour fast and healthy for both of us, if you promise you'll do everything YOU can on your end. The sooner we get the scariness of labour over, the sooner we'll be together.

i love you forever,
love mama

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Day #85

Dear Chewie,

it's been a few days, and a pretty long car trip - but i have to say i'm impressed. You were mostly well behaved and let mommy get to and from Calgary in one piece, only having to stop every 200 km to pee...

Everyone already loves you. They love to touch my belly and feel how round and hard you're making it.

You were shy at first, but eventually showed off by kicking me so they could feel.

Last night, i was watching a movie with your aunties and i knew it was 11 o'clock because you started kicking like crazy.

I told daddy last night that i no longer had a very strong "Girl" feeling or "Boy" feeling. Everyone keeps saying "he" when talking about you, including me and your dad. I don't care, i just want to see your little face, those tiny fingers and perfect toes.

Love Mama

Friday, May 30, 2008

Day #90


Dear Chewie,
Yesterday i found something awesome!
I was thinking about when i was little, my mom (your Grandma D) used to sing us to sleep with a song that was trapped in the back of my head...
Have you heard about the children's train?
That in the dim twilight
Takes you off to Sleepyland
And keeps you there all night.
It is a very fast express
And goes, I understand,
To Sleepytown. The Capital
off good old Sleepyland.
Then Choo Choo Chooo
Then Engine Puffs.
Ding Dong, Ding Dong Bell
Wooooooooooooo
The whistle blows
Over Hill and Dell
Tickets! Tickets!
Please hold them in your hand!
A good night kiss will do, as well,
For fare to Sleepyland.
And i knew there were more words... i just knew it!! So i did some research and found... Then entire song! The sheet music!!
I am so excited. This song will now be part of your childhood memories too!!
Love Mama

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Day #91

Dear Chewie,

yesterday marked the calendar version of my entrance into my third trimester!!! your dad and i always argue over how far along i am... he goes by the month, not the week... why? cuz he's a guy. and that's logical. You're due August 28th, and therefore i am now officially 6 months pregnant.

But your mommy (that's me) goes by weeks? Why? cuz everyone else in the birthing world does. The books, the doctors, the articles....

Either way, there is about 12 more weeks left on your little egg-timer of baby baking. Don't get me wrong, you're welcome to stay as long as you like (sure, she says that NOW), but i am starting to feel a little weary, little one.

You know when you're done, and you'll come when you're ready.
But right now, when i actually sit and think about how much time there is left... it's really not that far away. And your Grandma D (that's my mommy) tells me that your Uncle B was 2 weeks early, that I was 1 week early, that your Uncle P was right on time, and your Uncle W was 3 weeks early.... i mean really, you could come any time in August!!

you might be here EVEN SOONER than 91 days!
And the countdown continues!!

Love Mama

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Day #92

Dear Chewie,

Your daddy and I are going to do everything in our power to bring you safely into this world, surrounded by love and good energy. Together we are creating a family.

we love you so much.

Love Mama

Birth Art


From the book:
One kind of learning comes from books. But the learning necessary for you to participate completely in your birth must come from you. In making birth art or journalling, just bringing an image to light can be surprisingly revealing (and sometimes healing). Listening to it speak to you can tell you even more.

Dreams, reverie and art all carry messages from the unconscious. When exploring birth art, "We must," as Carl Jung observed in his discussion of imagery, "take the consequences of messages received."

An active, gentile exploration process not only brings overlooked resources and strengths to conscious awareness, but identifies obstacles and inhibitions that might prevent you from using them.

Birth art doesn't have to be pretty, colorful or carefully planned. It is as raw, honest, and spontaneous as birth itself.

- England, Pam, and Rob Horowitz. Birthing From Within. Albuquerque: Partera Press, 1998. p.32
Last night, B-rad and i tried our hands at creating our own Birth Art. It was a very interesting process, and the book gives several suggestions of images to create. After some encouragement, B-rad agreed to do some art with me. We each looked at the book and the suggestions, and without telling each other what we were doing (to eliminate the feeling of being judged while working), began creating art.

It seemed, for both of us, that getting that first initial bit of colour on the page was a bit of a challenge. I commented how hard it was to get what was so abstract in my head and put it on paper. But after a few minutes, and after the first few strokes of pencil... we both became immersed in our art.
When we finished, i was amazed at the range of feelings i felt creating my piece. We sat at the table, together, and told each other about our pieces and what we were feeling and what the symbols we used meant. It was very enlightening.

I'm posting my piece, but not B-rad's because i need to ask him his permission first. If he agrees, i'll post it here.

My pieces is called: "Labour Fantasy"

(Click to Enlarge)

So i ended up creating a yin-yang of sorts, starting with my hopes for labour.

The heart on the left is surrounded by flames - the flames symbolizing mine and B-rad's love. The heart is growing bigger and bigger as our love for Chewie grows.

i drew was the lotus flower opening up as the baby crowns. B-rad is pictured behind me supporting me as i push. The spirals that surround us represent our birthing energy - all in very calming colours and natural flowing shapes.

Next, i'm sitting holding and nursing our baby - just calm, surrounded by love and peace. Bonding with my new child.

(Click to Enlarge)

As i flipped the paper over to start on my fears of labour, the first thing i noticed was how my mood shifted, dramatically. I instantly felt agitated and stressed. I wanted to get this side of the drawing over with as soon as i could. I noticed i didn't take as much time or care on this side as i did on the other side. All the images were coarsly sketched.

The fetal monitor on the left symbolizes my fear of something going wrong with the baby. The monitor representing the medical community stressing and then not including me in what's going on, losing control of my own birth experience, having it taken away by the medical profession.

The next image i found to be very interesting. I am on a delivery table, on my back - with no arms. I am helpless. B-rad (the green image) and i are both faceless, unimportant. We are surrounded by faceless doctors and nurses we don't know, and the doctor has a very egotistical air about him, standing back, holding a clipboard with his hand in his pocket. The God of the delivery room. His head is also the biggest.

The third image is the Medical Red Cross, a needle, and a scalpel. I am afraid of medical interferences, unecessary drugs, and procedures like episiotomies and c-sections. The baby under the glass is my cesarian baby from my dream. It is faceless too, i'm afraid that i won't be connected with the baby.

The colours on this side were harsh blacks, yellows, and reds - and the lines were jagged and angled.

I flipped the picture back over to fill in the background with cool coloured spirals and swirls, and instantly felt calmer. Again, amazed that when i flipped it back to do the black and red jagged lines, how it made me unhappy.

When i explained it all to B-rad, i was able to finally verbalize the fact that i am terrified of having a c-section.

Later that night, B-rad held me as i cried and voiced out loud that i. am. scared. That this is the scariest thing that i have ever done in my life.

I'm scared of failing.

I'm scared of my body failing me - of complications that will rob B-rad, Chewie, and I of the birth experience that we deserve.

These emotions have been bubbling under the surface for a while now, and through artistic expression i was able to realize these emotions and have a platform to talk about them.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Link

Birthing From Within

This is the site for the book that our Doula recommended us. So far it's a great book. You can get some information from the site, but this is the perfect book for me. It's just the *right* amount of hippy.

There's much talk in the book about Birth Art and how creating your own birth art can be very insightful into your feelings/fears/excitment towards birth.

Day #93

Dear Chewie,

Every day when i wake up to get ready for work, i think about how my life is about to change in the next 3 months. How the alarm i wake to every day will be you, and how no matter how tired and exhausted i am, i will somehow find the energy for you. I think about how much your daddy already loves you... how protective he is of us, how he looks out for us, and how i can see the excitement on his face when we talk about you.

The other day, your Daddy and i laying in bed, feeling you kick, when i said: "It's amazing how in love i am with this baby, and i've never even met it". He smiled and said: "I know".

Love Mama

Monday, May 26, 2008

Day #94

Dear Chewie,

Last night your daddy and i saw RUSH in concert.
Music is such a big part of our lives, i wonder what music you'll love. What songs will drive you to move, cause your passion to stir, or bring goosebumps to your arms.

Daddy and I will have a great time introducing The Great Ones to you.

Love Mama

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Day #95

Dear Chewie,

Your cousins came over yesterday while your Auntie and Uncle played ball.
I hope all become friends. I always wished i had cousins my age to play with, but we were the oldest ones. Stuck between the Little Cousins and the Adults.

I'm happy you'll have playmates at family functions.

Love Mama

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Info on Links

I just wanted to take this moment to give you a quick blurb about the links in my sidebar.

The more i learn about birth, the more i feel i need to pass on this information! i think about what a completely different experience this pregnancy would be if i didn't have it.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

and the more you know, the better informed your decisions will be.

Baby Led Breastfeeding
This site is where you can purchase Dr. Christina M. Smillie, MD's DVD about her work with breast feeding.
From the site:
In Baby-Led Breastfeeding, we see mothers learning to breastfeed naturally−by letting their babies show them how. Like kittens and puppies, human babies are already hardwired to seek out and find the breast. In this video we see just how babies can do it−when we get out of the babies' way..."We don't have to make our babies learn to feed−we just allow them to follow their instincts to learn."
Canadian Assoc. of Midwives - Sask.
This site has the details specific to Saskatchewan Midwifery Model and the current initiatives.
The home site for the association is here

HypnoBirthing
A method of relaxation, visualization, and self-hypnosis to encourage a calm natural birth.
From the site:
HypnoBirthing® provides the missing link that allows women to use their natural instincts to bring about a safer, easier, more comfortable birthing. Emphasis is placed on pregnancy and childbirth, as well as on pre-birth parenting and the consciousness of the pre-born baby

Kangaroo Mother Care
I love this. It's a method started in 1979 in Bogota, Columbia in response to a shortage of incubators and was taken to South Africa by Dr. Nils Bergman. It works for all newborns, but especially for premies. The idea is to use the mother's chest - skin on skin contact - to act as a natural thermostat.
From the site:
What he found was that skin to skin care was much better for the newborn than the incubator. Babies were warmer and calmer, breathed better and had a more stable heart rate with skin to skin care.

La Leche League - Canada
This is a site where breastfeeding mothers can go for support and information, as well as to meet other breastfeeding mothers in La Leche Leage Groups.
From the site:
Each Group holds monthly meetings where Leaders facilitate informal, guided discussions. During these discussions mothers receive accurate, up-to-date and personalized breastfeeding information and support for their role as a breastfeeding parent. In addition, mothers are able to draw on the experience of other mothers who attend. LLLC Leaders also offer telephone help to nursing and pregnant women who call seeking breastfeeding information.

Mama Goddess Birth Shop
This is a beautiful on line store that offers all kinds of amazing goodies!! it makes the hippy in me rediculously happy.
From the site:
Mama Goddess Birth Shop is a proudly Canadian, eco-friendly on-line store. We offer a high quality source of home and hospital birth supplies,water birth pools,organic baby products, organic herbal teas, breastfeeding supplies, Midwifery supplies and much more!
Orgasmic Birth
Okay, i just found this one last night, so i'm still doing some learnin' here too. But daaang, if it doesn't look appealing!! When you go to the site, there's a trailer that plays automatically. Be sure to check out the latest birth stories on the sidebar. Definately worth the read... and Good God, this is the way i wanna do it. In the trailer one woman says: The energy that got you pregnant is the same energy to get the baby out.
Makes perfect sense. Don'tchya think?... the question they ask is:

What would happen if women were taught to enjoy birth rather than endure it?

SK Doulas
This is the home site for the Doula network in Saskatchewan. This is also where i found and contacted our doula (?)

SK Midwives
This is a great resource on Midwifery in Saskatchewan, and home births... which are out of the picture for us, sadly.

The Business of Being Born
This is the official site of the film produced by Rikki Lake about the American Health System and hospital births. I have yet to see the film, but the trailer itself is very informative.
From the site:
Birth is a miracle, a rite of passage, a natural part of life. But birth is also big business. Compelled to explore the subject after the delivery of her first child, actress Ricki Lake recruits filmmaker Abby Epstein to question the way American women have babies. The film interlaces intimate birth stories with surprising historical, political and scientific insights and shocking statistics about the current maternity care system. When director Epstein discovers she is pregnant during the making of the film, the journey becomes even more personal. Should most births be viewed as a natural life process, or should every delivery be treated as a potentially catastrophic medical emergency?
As i add more links, i'll be sure to give you the blurbs...
Happy Reading!!

Day #96

Dear Chewie,

Will you have big blue eyes like your daddy, or will they be green like mine?
Will your hair turn in soft curls at your neck, or will it be straight as a board?

When you smile will your cheeks dimple?
When you laugh will your eyes sparkle?

All these things and more... I cannot wait to meet you.

Love Mama

Friday, May 23, 2008

A dream

I knew it was a dream, as i was dreaming it.
Somewhere in that haze between awake and asleep, between my midnight pees and my husband's alarm clock.

I was in labour. The baby was almost 3 full months premature. But all signs were go. Chewie and I were both in good health, and we arrived at the hospital with strange lighting... the birthing room was long and narrow like a hallway, and i could see doctors and nurses talking at the end of the hall... the blue overhead lights flickering...

meanwhile, the labour pains kept coming, but i was feeling no fear. It was like i was so far removed from the situation, i could only watch as things happened around me. I was sitting on the edge of the bed, the doctors and medical staff and all their equipment beeping and sounding off in the distance. Where i sat, it was calm, we were surrounded by white light. It was B-rad and I, and our doula. I stood up, face to face with B-rad and wrapped my arms around his neck and let him support me while the contractions kept coming, enveloped in his loving arms - i was aware of the contractions, but not conscious of the pain.

I felt like it would never end, that there was just pain - that i couldn't feel - but that nothing was progressing. The doula checked and announced that i was 5cm dialated - and ready to go.

"5cm? shouldn't i be 10?" i thought, but for some reason couldn't say. At this point i realized i hadn't said anything this whole time, that people around me were talking, and i was only able to watch things happen around me.

Suddenly - the doctor arrived, and i was standing up again, about 3 feet from the table. He was carrying a silver platter with a Glass like Egg the size of a large watermelon, through the glass i could see a baby sleeping soundly on a soft blanket. "Your order has arrived, Ms. Diva".

i looked down at my belly and was shocked to see it was flat, no longer round and full of life. This was obviously my baby. I was so confused. "This isn't how it's normally done, is it?" i thought... "But then, he is the doctor - he must know what's best". The doula, for whatever reason, had vanished and i felt very concerned and afraid.

As the doctor and his staff proceeded to open the egg on the table, i stood with B-rad to the side of the room, watching - taking no part whatsoever in the birth of our child.

i felt an overwhelming sense of being totally Ripped Off, being cheated out of the whole experience of birthing. All that work, all those months, all that anticipation to have the doctor take over and do the 'delivering' and then pat themselves on the back while the nurses walked away with Chewie.

After what seemed like an eternity, our Doula returned carrying a tiny healthy baby... and as i held it, i knew it was mine but i felt absolutely no connection to it. It could have been anyone's baby, for all my heart was concerned. "Here's your little girl" she said.

I woke up feeling sore all over my body. Perhaps that was what triggered the pain in my dream? I did go to Aquafit yesterday. Still not entirely all there, B-rad was getting up for work. It's a girl, i said... but apparently not out loud. i fell back to sleep, and to dreaming.
Your Ad Here