• Velcro Babies and Sweet Dance Moves*

    Every time I think I’ve found my rhythm, life happens and it takes me a few days to readjust. My little prince has been refusing naps and is only calm and sleepy when I am walking / bouncing laps around my main floor. My shoulder hurts and my back is killing me, but between my walk this morning and all my pacing, I hit 16000 steps today! Win!

    I know it’s just another phase and it will pass–today was better than yesterday, and I’m hoping this has just been another growth spurt. At this point I’m fairly positive that I am raising a hulk child… he is easily as big or bigger than Hank was at this age. I’ll know better at his next doctor’s appointment.


    It’s been a busyish two weeks. We enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving with my family, and against all odds, my entire family made it together for a photo. Parents, all six kids and 5 grand kids. The shoot was hilarious and the shots we captured on our phones are amazing–I can’t wait to see the real deal!

    Running has not really been happening. It’s been really hard for me to find a good time to get out as the wee squish has been velcroed to my shoulder for the last 10 days. At first I was really down about it, but I decided that I will run when I can and find some other way to exercise in the mean time.

    I’ve always been interested in Zumba, so yesterday I found an introductory workout video on youtube and decided to give it a whirl. I’m sure that I look absolutely ridiculous doing it, but I don’t care. It’s SO fun. As I was learning the routines I wasn’t sure how much of a “workout” it was, but after trying it again today I am definitely feeling my legs tonight. I miss running like crazy, but this is really fun in the interim!

    I’m finally seeing some progress in my weight loss challenge! We are four weeks in, and as of this morning I am down 6.5lbs. Nothing huge, but it’s very motivating and I’m so happy to see things moving in the right direction.

    I have a million other things I want to tell you, but my head is starting to do that lolling thing where it can’t quite stay up straight and my yawns are getting so big that I can’t see the screen. I think it is time to call in a night.

    I wish you worlds more sleep than I’m going to get!! ha.


  • Little Prince: A Birth Story* (Part 4)

    Well, it’s been a busy few days around here. As much as I would have liked to have hammered out this last post a week or so ago, my hands have been a little… full. Will has been going through a series of growth spurts and has either been eating or sleeping on me pretty much non-stop. I had forgotten just how busy newborning is…

    Thank goodness he is awfully cute and lovely to snuggle.

    Our little Prince finally arrived at 5:38am on July 26th. I have to rely on the Hubster’s version of events for the first few minutes of his life as I was utterly exhausted and a little out of it.

    When he was first born, he didn’t cry immediately and the Hubster later told me that he was concerned about how sickly he looked when he was first born. Because of the meconium in my waters, his airway had to be suctioned and cleared before he finally let out that loud, glorious cry we had been waiting for. Once he started breathing my midwives told me that his skin began to turn a beautiful pink and I waited to see him for the first time.

    While one midwife was working on Will, Karla was busy tending to me. Shortly after giving birth I think I went into a mild form of shock. I was still very warm, but my arms and legs began to shake rather uncontrollably and I wasn’t able to stop. Considering the trauma my body had just gone through, I suppose it’s fairly normal. Luckily I didn’t have much tearing this time (second degree, but only 4 stitches), as it took everything in me to try and remain still while Karla cleaned me up a little.

    After they worked on him for a few minutes, they finally handed our new little boy to me. As I held his tiny body on my chest he continued to cry and fuss, and his breathing seemed labored. He continued to cry and grunt as he tried to fill his lungs with air but wasn’t able to on his own. My secondary midwife took him back over to the warming table with the respiratory therapist to try and help ease his breathing. They were concerned that he may still have something in his lungs, and he spent the next thirty minutes or so off and off a CPAP mask to help him get some air.

    His breathing continued to be labored even with the CPAP mask, and both my midwives and the respiratory therapist recommended that Will be transferred to the special care nursery until his breathing regulated. I was in no shape to move at that point, so the Hubster stayed with the baby so I could rest. Before he was wheeled they told us our handsome boy weighed a healthy 8lbs 4oz–a tiny wee one compared to his big brother. haha!

    While the Hubster was with Will in the nursery, my mom and dad slipped out to see Ruby and Hank, who were now awake and were no doubt showing my neighbour how things run around my house. The organized chaos of my delivery room quieted until it was just Karla and I, and I finally had a few moments to process the events of the morning. She encouraged me to rest for a few minutes, and I gratefully took this suggestion to heart. She wasn’t sure how long Will would need to be in the nursery, so I wasn’t in any terrible hurry to transfer to my post-delivery room.

    When the Hubster returned less than 45 minutes later and announced that Will had improved marvelously and was being discharged from the nursery, I was thrilled. I “quickly” had a shower (quickly = slow shuffle at a turtle’s pace haha) and was wheeled to my new room where Will was going to meet us. I got settled in the bed just as our new little boy was wheeled in and handed to me… and I finally got to have a good look at our little sweetheart. I always forget just how tiny and perfect newborn babies are… as I stared into his face I tried to remember what his older brother and sister had looked like as newborns, but for the life of me I couldn’t decide who he looked more like. It wasn’t until later when I put a photo of Will next to a newborn photo of Hank that I remembered that we don’t create boy children… we recreate clones of the Hubster. haha

    We were able to rest together–just the three of us–for a few hours in our little room as we waited to see what the day would bring. Will continued to breathe peacefully and easily, and after a check in with the pediatrician at 10:15am, we were given the green light to head home whenever we felt ready. We decided to take it easy, but were very excited to be able to be home in time for dinner–barely 12 hours after giving birth.

    Despite being just over three hours and not as complicated as Hank’s delivery, this labor felt a lot harder for me… and I wish I had been prepared for what came after.

    You see, people don’t often talk about what happens after labor is said and done. I always thought that once I had the baby that all was done, despite some tenderness and healing.

    I wasn’t prepared for the intensity of the “afterpains” (contractions) that followed Will’s birth. Deep in the recesses of my mind I knew that my uterus needed to contract to return it its normal size. I remember feeling some discomfort with my first two children, but I can’t recall any severe pain. I was not prepared for how painful this process was after baby #3.

    With each baby, your muscles in and around your uterus weaken a little further. As it begins to contract and shrink post labor, the muscles don’t hold as well because your muscle tone has weakened with each baby… so the muscles have a harder time staying contracted and instead relax a little, needing to be contracted yet again.

    As we were unwinding in our room a few hours after Will had been born, the first round of these afterpains hit me like a ton of bricks. They were so powerful that I had to breathe my way through them and it sent my body back into shock. It took me nearly 20 minutes to stop shaking and trembling again. They were easily as powerful as some of the contractions I had experienced during childbirth… and they came and went intermittently for nearly 5 days after giving birth.

    I wish I had known that they intensified with each birth–I would have (and should have) started taking the pain medication they give you immediately after my labor finished to help dull the first waves. Instead, I felt pretty okay after labor so I waited to take them…. and felt the first set of afterpains at full strength.

    Not fun.

    Thankfully all that is behind me now that I’m three weeks out. The afterpains subsided completely when Will was a week or so old, and aside from some extra pregnancy weight that is still hanging around, I feel pretty much myself. Life with two kids + a newborn has definitely been an adjustment, but it’s been a pretty positive one. There are good days and hard days, and I’m just trying to take each one as it comes. The Hubster has several weeks off work and has been my rock and my strength through this whole transition. Hank and Ruby have been amazing with Will, and I know that each day things will eventually get a little easier… and for right now, I’m totally okay with eating Nutella toast for dinner.

    Newborn baby snuggles are way more important. :)


  • Little Prince: A Birth Story* (Part 3)

    After the rush of getting to the hospital and getting the room prepped, for the next hour or so, there was little I could do but breathe through each contraction and wait.

    This was a vastly different experience for me.

    In Hank’s labor, I progressed “slowly” (for me) through the early stages. It took me 3 hours or so to dilate to 6cm, and I did most of that at home until my water broke. Once I arrived at the hospital, things moved so quickly that it felt like I barely had time to get a gown on before I felt ready to push. I dilated 4cm in less than 20 minutes, rushing through the end stages right to his arrival.

    Will’s labor was the opposite.

    The contractions that moved me the first 6cm were hard and fast through that first hour… but my body didn’t move quite as quickly through the end stages this time. I’m sure that a big part of it was because I was laying down in the hospital bed, melding my body with the guard rails and the nitrus oxide mask. I think that if I had moved around or walked more I could have made things happen more quickly, but these contractions were unlike anything I remembered with Hank. At one point Karla encouraged me to get up and use the bathroom, and in the space of time it took me to walk across the room to the bathroom and back I had two contractions so intense I could barely breathe. The bed rail and mask were helping me cope, so there I stayed.

    As we waited, my mom arrived and Karla presented the option of breaking my water for me to help move things along, as it still hadn’t ruptured spontaneously yet. She first offered the option to me around 4:40am, but I have to admit that I was extremely hesitant.

    If you’ve been around for a while, you might remember reading Ruby’s birth story… where I was induced by a obstetrician I “lovingly” dubbed Dr. Evil immediately after my experience with him. I have no doubt that he is a very competent doctor who is highly skilled in his field, but he and I did not… mesh. He decided to break my water for me when I was approximately 5cm dilated with Ruby, and it was–bar none–the most painful experience of my life. To this day I don’t know what he did to me, but I had to be restrained through it because it was that painful. He later returned to apologize, and I have a note in my file with the midwives that he is never to lay a hand on me again.

    So, the idea of having my water manually broken again was not initially appealing.

    However, after 80 minutes of back to back contractions that continued to build in intensity, I finally relented at 5:20am.I was tired of intense contractions that didn’t feel like they were going anywhere, and I felt like I was dying of heat. The Hubster, my mom and Karla took turns keeping a cool cloth on my forehead and offering me ice water, but nothing seemed to combat how insanely hot I felt. There are some advantages to having winter babies I guess. ;)

    Karla checked me again as she got ready, and let me know I had dilated to 9cm. She waited until I was in the throws of an intense contraction then ruptured the membranes… I braced myself for the pain I remembered from my first experience and felt… nothing.

    No pain, just a rush of water and immediate relief.

    The mood in the room shifted into high gear immediately after, as Karla let me know that there was meconium in my waters. This possibility has been discussed with me in every pregnancy, but has never been an issue before. She assured me that it was common and that I didn’t need to worry, but had my second midwife immediately page a respiratory therapist to be present as I delivered the baby.

    The issue with meconium in your water means that your baby has already had his first bowel movement in utero. It’s very normal and happens often–the risk is that the baby can inhale parts of it that block the airway, making it difficult to breath at birth. That big healthy cry you so anxiously wait for the minute the baby is born can be delayed if the airway is blocked… which obviously needs to be cleared as soon as possible to avoid any further complications.

    I felt things intensify in my body the moment my water broke. It was like Prince Will said, “Finally” and decided to rush through the last bit. My contractions built in waves and I knew it was time to push.

    I retreated back into The Dark Place, but I remember more and felt more with this labor than I did with Hank. It was… intense. Natural labors are definitely doable, but I would not say they are for the faint of heart.

    At 5:38am–on the day we had believed to be his due date since day one–Prince Will made his grand entrance into the world. To say I was exhausted would be a gross understatement, and what happened in those few moments afterward felt a little like an out of body experience.

    Immediately after Will was born I could sense tension in the Hubster’s body. The respiratory therapist took charge and I realized that we hadn’t yet heard the baby cry. It felt like there were a flurry of people working all around me–Karla trying to deliver my placenta, the RT and my secondary midwife working on the baby, the Hubster and my Mom both at my side concerned about both the baby and I.

    I’m sure it was only a matter of seconds in real time, but waiting to hear that cry felt like a lifetime. Finally, after having his throat and lungs suctioned Will gave a big cough and cried loudly for the first time. We all breathed a little in relief and I waited patiently to hold him and see my sweet boy for the first time.


  • Little Prince: A Birth Story* (Part One)

    Our sweet little boy is officially a week old today. Even as I write that I can hardly believe it… I feel like this last pregnancy was so, so long, and yet now that Will is here time is flying by.

    (Will is not the baby’s real name–just as Ruby and Hank are nicknames for our older children. Nicknames just help me stay hidden from my tech-savvy students who have tried to “google” me in the past.)

    While Will’s arrival was not quite as tumultuous as his older brother’s, he still arrived a little like a freight train racing through a station. But let’s take a step back, shall we?

    I’ve been feeling like my body was preparing for labor for some time, which was a new experience for me. With Ruby, there was a whole lot of nothing going on right up until the day I was induced. I never felt a contraction prior to my labor, and had very few pre labor symptoms. It contributed to why I wasn’t sure whether or not I was actually in “real” labor with Hank until my water broke.

    For about a week before Will was born, I had been feeling a lot of pressure “down there” every time I stood up and walked around, and I definitely felt the baby drop down a little lower every day as his due date approached. I had bouts of nausea and that other symptom that sometimes goes with that (pre labor is super glamorous). I had some Braxton Hicks contractions whenever I was on my feet too much, but they were never painful or uncomfortable.

    I think things really started to get going on Saturday morning. The feeling of pressure intensified, and I just felt a little off all day. The BH contractions happened more frequently, but the intensity never changed and the day passed uneventfully. Sunday was much of the same–I was still feeling off, so we stayed home from church and had a quiet day. To be truthful, up until this point I hadn’t really been nervous about labor… I mean, been there, done that, right?

    By Sunday I was feeling rather anxious about the whole thing. I was nervous about how we would manage the kids and get to the hospital in time, and how I would know when it was the right time to page my midwife. I think I knew deep down that things were about to start and it was bubbling to the surface. I stayed in pretty close contact with my mom, and thank goodness my ever-steady Hubster was here to keep me grounded and let me know that everything would be alright.

    On Monday morning we hit a milestone I spent most of the month convinced I wouldn’t reach–one of Will’s potential due dates. We spent most of my pregnancy thinking that his due date was July 26th, but a few weeks ago one of my midwives noticed that there was a second date in my file from a previous ultrasound: July 25th. One day doesn’t make that much of a difference, especially since my children like to be overdue and come several days late. Either way, we made it to my due date(s) and I was so happy.

    I finally felt ready to have this baby.

    On July 25th (due date #1), I had some cramping that was so strong it woke me from a deep sleep. I immediately recognized it as the same feeling I had in the hours before Hank was born, and when it continued for nearly 30 minutes I knew that something was up. The Hubster was in the shower, and when the cramping became so strong that I could feel it down in my legs, I figured it was time to let him know what I was feeling.

    Because things with Hank moved so quickly, he decided to stay home from work. The cramping continued for a good 45 minutes, even after changing positions and moving around… but then it subsided. I felt more pressure than ever before, but the cramping stopped around 8am. I decided to go for a long walk to see if I could help things along. I definitely felt contractions happening more frequently, but they never intensified. Even after a second walk at 10:30, I felt things slow to a standstill.

    It was… disappointing. It was a grey, drizzly morning, and as I walked around my neighborhood I realized just how ready I was to meet our new little man and get through labor. I was tired of thinking about it and the waiting and not-knowing when it will start is exhausting. I may or may not have had a little conversation with my belly to let him know that he was allowed to come now… but he stayed put.

    By early afternoon I had resigned myself to the fact that this kid was not coming that day and settled in for a quiet night. The Hubster and I curled up on the couch to watch our current fav TV show (Brooklyn 99–AMAZING) and other than feeling a little tired, there really wasn’t much happening labor-wise. This kid has always been move active at night, and even the baby was quiet as I prepared for bed.

    (In hindsight, that should have been my first real clue that things were about to happen.)

    I turned in around 10pm, fully expecting another night of frequent wake-ups to pee and not much else. Before falling asleep I double checked that I had my midwife’s pager number stored in my phone (just in case) and despite my feelings of anxiety, I fell asleep quickly.

    Shortly after 2am I woke up for what is often my first or second washroom break. Usually I get up, stumble to the bathroom and back and collapse back into bed without really waking up. This time, as soon as I got up I was very alert and even after I got back into bed, I felt very awake. As I lay there in the dark waiting to fall back asleep, I had my first “real” contraction. It didn’t last long, and I rolled over, willing myself to fall back asleep. I looked at the clock before closing my eyes– 2:15am on July 26th, the due date we had been working with all year.

    A few minutes later, I had another one. This contraction lasted a little longer, and it was definitely stronger. It was strong enough that even when I shifted positions I couldn’t really get comfortable through it.

    My midwife’s instructions began racing through my mind: as soon as I had three good contractions, I was to page her. Hank’s labor progressed so quickly that she didn’t want me to wait. I had just had two contractions in a space of less than 15 minutes. Was this really it?

    Five minutes later I had my third contraction. It was definitely more intense than the first two, and I knew it was time to get moving. I lay in the dark, took a deep breath, put my hand on the Hubster’s shoulder and said,

    “Hubs. I think it’s time to page the midwives.”

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen him fly out of bed that quickly….

    Our little Prince was officially on his way.


  • Pregnancy Weirdness and A Little Stress*

    Being pregnant is such a weird experience.

    On one hand, it’s this absolutely miraculous thing–I mean, I am growing a new human you guys. A human! It’s this rare gift that only women have, and even then it’s not something to be taken for granted, as so many women struggle with infertility.

    Then, on the other hand, pregnancy can be so… bizarre.  You basically lose control of your body for almost a year and some straaange things start happening. It’s almost like you have this little (sometimes evil) mastermind inside your body, pushing buttons and controlling levers to make your body do things that are completely beyond your control.

    Your bladder is no longer your own (forget about sneezing without crossing your legs), your feet, hands and, well everything swell and you become possessed by strange cravings at any time of the day for things that half the time you can’t even eat because it will cause a raging heartburn monster to erupt within you. Yesterday vanilla ice cream was your dream food. Today? Barf. Heartburn city.

    Your hair often becomes shiny, thick and luminous… and with that comes new hair growth in places where it just shouldn’t be. Pregnancy beard hairs? That’s a thing.

    Your clothes don’t fit, walking becomes waddling and if it feels like you are peeing every 10 minutes… it’s probably because you are. (I had to get up 6 times last night. I kid you not.)

    You will feel like you are absolutely starving, then will full completely full six bites later because the baby shifts and hunkers down on top of your stomach restricting how much you can fit in there. Then, inevitably as soon as you’ve put all the food away, you are starving again.

    It’s a vicious, vicious cycle.

    But perhaps the most bizarre / miraculous part of being pregnant is seeing your body move when you are not the one controlling it. In the early stages, feeling your baby move is so soft and sweet… the best way I can describe it is like having tiny bubbles popping against the inside of your stomach.

    As the baby grows so does the sensation, until you get to where I am now–housing a tiny Chuck Norris who roundhouse kicks you and loves to “Starfish”. This little prince is now so big that I can see his little bum, hands and feet as they push out and roll under my skin. It looks a little like that scene from Alien before it bursts out of that guy’s chest.

    Only cuter.

    He loves to press his feet out against my hands, and when I gently press them he kicks back. It’s absolutely wild to me that at any moment he could decide that he’s done with life on the inside and will be ready to make his jail break.

    For me, that is the hardest part. As much as I want this little man to stay put until his due date next week, I have to relinquish control and accept that we get very little say in the matter. The not knowing part is hard. Every day I know I’m inching closer to his grand arrival, but when that will be is still a great mystery. Every time I feel pressure or a contraction, I never know if it will be the moment that kicks off the whole shebang. I tend to feel the most at night–I start to feel a little off around dinner time, then pretty well every evening now I feel tons of pressure whenever I stand and he moves around and I have a few Braxton Hicks contractions that feel a little stronger every day.

    I found myself feeling a little anxious thinking about everything this morning. I’m actually not horrifically nervous about the whole labor bit–been there, done that. It really is about the worst pain and discomfort that you can imagine, but it’s temporary and survivable and the end result is always so worth it. :)

    (Also, I just keep telling myself that if it was really THAT bad that no woman would ever have more than one child, and many women have several. It helps somehow.)

    Part of my stress is making the right call on when to get things in motion. It’s not as simple as it was with my first–with your first baby labor tends to be longer and a little more drawn out, and you really just have to worry about yourself.

    This time, we have two perfect little toads to consider and get looked after before I can get myself to the hospital. Usually you time your contractions and wait a while for things to intensify before things really get moving. Because Hank’s labor was SO fast, I am to page my midwife after I’ve had three good contractions, regardless of how far apart they are. Three. Last time we barely made it to the hospital before I was ready to have the baby. I dialated from 6cm to 10cm in less than 15 minutes and ended up having the baby au natural without an epidural because there simply wasn’t time. From the moment the idea that something was happening and I could be having the baby at some point that day to the moment he arrived was approximately 4 hours… I would say I really only experienced active labor for less than 2 hours.

    I know there is no guarantee that baby #3 will arrive in the same manner, but the chances for a similar experience are high. So, that doesn’t really leave us with a lot of time to get the kids looked after and me to the hospital. We are trying to have back up plans for our back up plans, and thankfully we have a wonderful support network around us who have offered to help if they can. My mom and dad are planning to come down to stay with the kids while we’re in the hospital with the baby, but at minimum it will take them at least an hour to get here. So,  we are trying to be organized with people who live closeby that are available to watch the kids at different times of day until my mom and dad arrive, because I will likely need to get to the hospital before they arrive.

    It’s madness.

    I know it will all work out (it always does), but it would be so nice to just… know when he was coming. I’m such a planner–spontaneity is often a little challenging for me.

    In any case, this will all be behind us shortly and then the real fun begins! Wish me luck :)


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