Monday, September 7, 2015

Charlotte's Birth Story

In honour of my sweet baby turning one and our year together coming to an end, I think I'm ready to publish Charlotte's Birth Story. It doesn't feel complete or polished but I think that is fitting for labour.

I remember when I was pregnant and nearing the end of my pregnancy that I loved reading birth stories. I couldn't get enough. I think I felt that if I read enough it would prepare me some how for what was ahead. While that's not totally false, I do believe that every birth is a unique experience and nothing can really prepare you for it. It has taken me a while to get here, not because I wasn't mentally ready but because I have a very active baby who doesn't give me much of a break outside of allowing me the basic priorities of food, showers, sleep etc. that said, I have been piecing this together when I do get a quiet moment, so I have it to remember.

My due date was August 20th, and I had a non-stress test and ultrasound booked in the morning. Chris and I went to the hospital. I remember having my ultrasound first. Everything was pretty routine, but we did learn that the baby had fluid collecting in its left kidney. They told us this was pretty common and a follow up ultrasound for the baby would be booked once it was born. They also told me the baby was a good size- about 7 lbs 9 oz. I went for the non-stress test and was given a delicious chocolate milkshake to get the baby moving. It was fairly uneventful until the baby got the hiccups and I couldn't press my button fast enough to keep up. The nurse looked through the scan and told me everything was normal, and that I was actually having mild contractions. She also informed me that I should do everything in my power not to have my baby that day as the hospital was full and I would need a manger! Given the fact that I have never missed a deadline in my life, I was still determined to get the baby to come sooner than later. Chris and I enjoyed spicy Szechuan for lunch! We watched Frozen that night, and I continued to have random mild contractions.

I woke up at 5am the next morning with contractions that were fifteen minutes apart. TMI alert- I also lost my mucus plug which was such an unknown while I was pregnant. I am happy to report to any future moms to be- do not worry about this just casually falling out in one of those middle of the night bathroom trips like I was- it is definitely more of an event than that and you will know when it happens! I called my parents around 8 to let them know that I thought things were starting so they could start driving. From 5am to 1pm, the contractions got stronger and worked themselves into a regular 5 minutes apart.  I tried to distract myself with random things like petting cats, watching love actually (I highly recommend watching a movie you have seen a million times before, that way you won't be frustrated when you stop paying attention during the contractions), rolling on a ball, taking a shower (amazing, but I've been told not to do too early as it can delay labour). I know contractions are different for everyone, mine were mostly in my back, and early on felt like cramps but intensified to the point where the only thing that felt good was leaning over on things. Cute story- my sweet Missy Cat, the ultimate nurse in our household was with me in the bathroom when I was leaning over the sink breathing through a contraction rubbing my head with her head.

Going into labour, I was of the mindset that I was going to be flexible with my birth plan. The only thing I was really dreading was labouring for hours and hours only to be told I needed a c-section. Everything else (drugs, positioning, breathing, etc. was up in the air). That said, once in labour- I knew for sure I would be taking advantage of the epidural. I knew this before I even got to the hospital. I don't feel ashamed to admit it one bit- there is no way I could have done what I did without the drugs!

Chris really wanted to go to the hospital, and I had an innate fear of getting there and being sent home...I did not want to make that 25 minute drive through bumpy country roads and construction more than once. He convinced me around 1:30 that it was probably time to go. When we got to the hospital, they put me in the triage room with a few interesting characters. One lady had been waiting all day with her mother to have her baby turned and one couple from our prenatal class came in complaining of itchy feet. At one point the mother of the other girl came over and offered me a magazine, letting me know it was going to be a while- I told her I didn't have a while! Thankfully, after a banana Popsicle and being on the machine long enough for them to see my contractions were actually 5 minutes apart and I was 4 cm dilated- they admitted me around 3pm.The room we were admitted to was sponsored by the Upper Canada Mall, I felt that was appropriate! 

I forget my first nurse's name, but I remember she reminded me of Don Drapers second wife. She also did not give me much confidence that she would be much help in delivering this child. Despite having two children of her own, she was flighty and absent-minded and the hospital was jammed packed, so she was stretched really thin. Once there, I asked for a Popsicle and an epidural (in that order), I was told it might take a bit for the epidural as there was only one anesthesiologist.  I also needed an IV for an hour of fluids before they could give it to me. In the meantime, the contractions were getting super intense, I tried really hard to breathe, but had a hard time staying focused. Chris loved watching the monitor to tell me when they were starting and ending (like I didn't know), and that drove me nuts! At one point he said "Good job, it's over" and I remember screaming "It's not over!!!"

How pleased do I look here? That said- this is the only picture of me in labour so in happy we have it!

I remember being a bit nervous about the pain of the epidural, but to be honest, the most painful part of getting an epidural was the 5 attempts and 3 nurses it took to get an IV in my hand. No offense to new/young nurses, but I have to give it to the veteran- it took her one try and 2 seconds to do it. A lovely gentleman arrived to give me my epidural, I sat up and did my best yoga back curl, and it was done. I don't think I even felt it to be honest, and he said my spine was easy to navigate (whatever that means). After the epidural, I felt so much better. I still felt the pressure of the contractions, but not the pain. I had some pretty intense off the chart contractions coming one after the other, and thanked my lucky stars each time that I had chosen the epidural.

At 5:30, the doctor checked me and said that I was about 6-7cm dilated, and that they would give me another hour and if my water hadn't broken, they would do it to speed things along. I don't actually remember when that happened. We had a very sweet resident assist with our birth, and I remember she guessed the baby would be a boy (like everyone else). At 7:30, the nursing staff had a shift change- goodbye sweet bubbly absent minded nurse, hello fiery ginger French Canadian Pete. Oh how I loved this nurse. She came in all guns a blazing, she told me she was going to do a catheter and check me, at which point, my husband said he was going to get a coffee. Pete asked him to get her a tea while he was at it! She did the catheter and then did the check and within seconds advised me "the baby is at the baby door", "where's Chris?", "this baby is coming soon".  I remember being stunned and excited at that point and reminded her that she sent Chris for tea. Pete also guessed the baby would be a girl "because girls come quick- boys like to stay with their mommy".  Chris returned a few minutes later, she told him to put down the coffee and grab a leg. I think he almost fell over. We had planned for Chris to stay at my face and not to see anything below the belly button, but when the hospital is jam packed, and there is only one nurse, he had to step up! I think in the end, he is glad he got to witness the birth of our baby (but you would have to ask him for the truth).

Pete instructed me on how to push (something else I was worried I wouldn't know how to do), and told me to do a practice push so she could see how good I was. After one push she said "no more- I need to call the doctor, this baby is coming in the next ten minutes"! Funny thing about pushing, I was letting a bit of air escape my lips while I was pushing until Pete said "What is that noise"- I immediately stopped...I had no idea I was supposed to hold my breath. Once the doctor was there, I was instructed to push again, I pushed two times, and Chris told me he could see the baby's head and it had a lot of hair (Aunty Cait would be proud). Then the doctor told me to make the next one really count because the baby's heart rate was dropping. I pushed again, and sweet baby Charlotte came out, plump, red with her cord wrapped around her neck twice. The doctor said, "Ah- there's the culprit, and they quickly unwrapped her and starting hitting her to make sure she was ok". She was good, and Chris got to cut the cord after they let it pulse for a bit. I remember being tired but also excited and a bit nosy- I just wanted that baby on my chest. When she was born, Chris said "Oh my god, it's a girl!!!" because everyone had thought it was going to be a boy. Pete played the "birthday song" on the heart rate monitor, and they showed me the scale reading a whopping 9lbs 4oz (a little off the ultrasound estimate from the day before)! Pretty good for 14 minutes of pushing!

Finally sweet Charlotte was put on my chest, while the doctors did their business. Funny moments:
-Pete advised me that she really wanted me to be successful with breastfeeding because "you have excellent equipment".
-She showed me the placenta and described it as "the tree of life" (poor Chris had no interest in this bit).
- It is really hard to take a sports bra off while wearing an IV for skin to skin

Chris' parents were in the waiting room, so they got to come in and meet Charlotte right away.  My parents thought their grandchild might wait for them, but baby girl had other plans! We snuck them in just after midnight when they arrived after driving all day. 

Overall, labour was a lot better than I expected it to be. My experience at the hospital following Charlotte's birth wasn't as great but that's for another day. I have since learned that my fabulous nurse Pete is actually retired and just comes in when it's busy. She was amazing and I feel so lucky that she was there to coach me through everything. We sent a very large bag of Lindor Truffles to the nursing station the next day!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Obsessed- how baby carriers are the new purses (part 1)

It's funny how being a mom changes you, in many ways. This is the story of how I became addicted to baby carriers. Admittedly, I was pretty fond of shoes and bags in my past life. I liked finding a deal and having a variety to choose from. Enter Babywearing and Facebook Mom Swaps paired with plenty of time to scan my phone while breastfeeding and you've  litterally got the perfect breeding ground for addiction! I loved finding a deal, and became with obsessed with trying everything and the hunt of finding something at a reasonable. There is a common hashtag in the Babywearing world #wearallthebabies, and while I am very pro Babywearing, my personal hashtag was more #tryallthecarriers! I went through great lengths to find several of my pretties and these are my stories and my opinions on them!

It all started with Instagram and blogs. From the people I followed, I decided I needed two carriers when I was pregnant: a Solly wrap for newborn cuddles and an Ergo for when the babe got bigger. My brother generously sourced me a navy Solly wrap from the U.S. and I put a regular Ergo on my registry with the infant insert. Then Snuggle Bugz had a sale on their travel ergo and after reviewing the pros and cons, I asked my best friend to grab the sale and I took the original off the registry. Fast forward to baby C arriving and we learned a couple things- the Solly wrap is as wonderful as Instagram makes it seem (despite a learning curve), babies born over 9lbs likely won't need an infant insert when you decide you want to start using the SSC, if daddy is going to wear, it's advantageous to get him his own carrier so you're not always adjusting the straps (unless daddy and mommy are roughly the same size). Since we were loving our Ergo and we found out about a massive sale at Target (thank you local Facebook Babywearing group), we ended up scoring a grey Galaxy ergo for $38! 

From there I became obsessed with the need to face C forward, so started looking into carriers that would allow you to do that in ergonomically correct way (i.e. No crotch danglers). The three major options at that point were the Ergo 360, the Beco Gemini and the Lillebaby. I found a lady selling a Beco Gemini for a great deal ($50), so I asked her if she would ship it to me. She said yes! Note:Some sellers on Kijiji are sketched out by the ask to ship- I've lost a few carrier leads this way!

The Beco Gemini arrived and it was love! I loved how padded and comfy it was, I loved having the options to cross the straps (unlike the Ergo) and I loved having the option to face little miss out. The Beco became my house carrier and the Ergo was my go-to for trips outside the house and lived in the car. This was Babywearing bliss until C was about 20lbs (8 months) and the waistbands started digging. I didn't like how they both connected on the side and started looking into dual-adjusting and softer waistbands. I had heard great things about the Lillebaby, Lenny Lamb, Tula and the infamous impossible to score Kinderpack. I may or may not have sourced and tested each of these brands, but that is a story for another day (to be continued in part two)!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

One is the loneliest number


So my baby girl is one as of last Friday and yesterday we went to visit the daycare she'll be going to full time starting on Monday. How did we get here? Seriously, wasn't it just yesterday that we were here??? (note the same expression)!

So I guess it's true what they say- the year flies by. Although it didn't feel like it initially, things were lightening fast from 6 months on. I'm not sure I'm ready to say goodbye to my baby, but I'm going to put on a brave face! At least she's not going away to college...yet!

My one year old likes:
Waving to everyone she meets
Reading books
Chasing cats
And she LOVES dogs

She dislikes
Being told no
Getting her diaper changed
Going to bed

Ps- little one is still not even close to sleeping through the night- should make for an interesting return to work! Here's hoping daycare tuckers her out😊

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

1 month to go- 11 months already?

We've reached some pretty big milestones at 11 months, and mommy is really starting to worry about leaving her baby behind as she goes back to work. Charlotte started walking the day before she turned 11 months old. She is a pro now- climbing things and running whenever she takes more than a few steps successfully. The girl has so much energy and personality to match!

She loves
- Dogs
- Stuffies
- Playing Peekaboo by jumping up from the floor when we're sitting on the couch
- Driving her car
- Her Bubble Puppy Book
- Swimming

She Dislikes
- Sleeping longer than 4 hours in a row at night
- Being told no
- Sitting still

Friday, July 3, 2015

10 Months

Time is really flying now! I'm sad every Thursday now as the weeks inch closer and closer to 52. Although this has been the most challenging year of my life without question, this sweet funny reckless wonder of a child brings me so much joy.

At ten months she is so close to walking, which is wonderful and terrifying all at the same time. 

She loves:
Being chased down the hall
Her water bottle
Reading Stories, current favourite is The Big Red Barn
Cat food
The Dishwasher
The Fridge
Body slamming cats

She dislikes:
Diaper changes
Sleeping by herself
Closing the dishwasher
Being told no

Monday, June 8, 2015

9 Months Already?

How is it that sweet baby girl is almost 10 months old? For the first six months- it felt like time was crawling. Now that she's bigger, more active and I am starting to feel like myself again- time is flying. Could have something to do with the impending return to work and scary daycare transition looming. I keep reminding myself we still have the whole summer ahead of us, but know that will go way too fast as well.

At 9 Months Charlotte likes:
Eating pasta
Helping with the dishwasher
Opening the snack cupboard and pulling out all the granola bars
Big Girl Baths
Her Flower Toy
Washing her hands in the sink

She doesn't like:
Getting her hair brushed
Being told no
Sitting Still
Being bucked into the car seat

The biggest milestones that have happened lately:
She can stand on her own for a few seconds
She got her bottom teeth- finally!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Difference a Day Makes

On Tuesday, I had to wake Charlotte up for the day, she had two amazing naps, and I actually got to work on one of my projects outside. It was refreshing.

On Wednesday I was puked on several times, administered advinol (the Advil Tylenol every other 3 hours) and tried not to selfishly love all the baby cuddles from my usually not so cuddly sick babe.

This is the life of a mom.
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