Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Some day, this child will sleep well.
And on that day, we will rejoice.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Helping Daddy open his gift; Opening her gift from Daddy
Action shot!! and Playing with her new elephant in her new purple suit with matching do-rag!
Apparently I was good this year, too; Santa brought me a tambourine (as every singer needs!) and A Bit of Fry and Laurie. It is hilarious, but I'm partial to British comedy, and loooove both Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. It's awesome. The Man seemed quite pleased with his ginormous gift, as well. The third picture above is of Peanut helping him open it: a kit to brew beer at home. Ingenious gift giving on both parts!
Our first time hosting Christmas dinner was more or less successful: the turkey and stuffing turned out perfectly, though we ate about an hour later than we had hoped (there was a slight issue with getting the turkey into the oven a little late, and with seven last-minute drop-in guests). Next year, well, next year I'll have a better idea of what I'm doing! Of course, I'll also have a toddler, so who knows if things will actually improve.
We'll also have a four and a half month old infant here. I'm going to be an auntie! My little sister (not so little: she's 26) is due in early August with her first child. We're all extremely excited, and she's already talking enthusiastically about having a midwife and a home birth and cloth diapering. It's fabulous!
I got to see my newly preggo sister yesterday afternoon at our friend's baby shower. It was...interesting. I've recently decided to train to be a doula, a birth assistant, as I feel very passionately about birthing options for women and assisting women in having positive birth experiences. My friend who is due in about four weeks is a post-partum nurse in a nearby hospital, and many of the other women who were at the shower are also nurses, so it made for some rather, uh, interesting conversations. It never ceases to amaze me how, so often, women choose to thwart one another when it comes to pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. It seems a strangely North American phenomenon. It was disappointing that this friend, who only a few years ago was considering studying to become a midwife and thought home births were wonderful, is now absolutely convinced that birth is always a painful and unpleasant process; I'm not saying that it isn't for some, but it doesn't need to be for everyone. Yesterday afternoon certainly affirmed for me that I definitely need to become a doula: there are so many negative voices surrounding pregnant women - I plan to be a positive one!
I knit our new little niece a Baby Surprise Jacket for Christmas. Did I take a picture before wrapping it up? No, of course not. I am a fool. I am entirely hooked on the BSJ, though: that thing is an engineering marvel!!
I have a tunic of mine to show you, and a cardi I finished knitting a couple of months ago (though haven't finished finishing, if you understand me - blocking, sewing on ribbon-facing and attaching snaps - but Peanut has been wearing it anyway) but have yet to get good pictures of any of it. I leave you with this sleepy picture of Peanut in her mostly-done cardi. Happy day-after-day-after-Boxing Day!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I began knitting these waaaay back in the early summer, thinking that they would be just darling for Peanut to wear. Unfortunately, my gauge estimate and entirely slow progress on them conspired to have her grow out of them long before they were completed. Peanut has a new little cousin arriving on Monday, however (we will not discuss my position on unnecessary, scheduled sections at this time. Needless to say: I have opinions about them and bite my tongue around SIL) so she (sonagrams imply that the cousin will be a girl) will be gifted these upon her arrival.
Pattern: Saartje's Booties
Yarn: Jawoll Superwash Sock in Dark Brown
Needles: 2.0 mm, I think
It's good to acquaint a baby with important cultural icons. Peanut and I listened to selections from Handel's Messiah and she read through it as we did.
Guess who's going to play Jesus tomorrow at church? Which, by default, makes who Mary? Should be fun!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
So, since I don't have any pictures to show you of anything interesting I've finished lately, here's a meme currently circulating.
Things I've Done (In Bold)
1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain--We call them the Gatineau mouintains, but really, they're more like large rocky hills.
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris--Just the airport, unfortunately.
13. Watched lightening at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables--Three tomatoes; those plants really didn't thrive.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill--I essentially called in tired and pregnant last winter a few times.
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise--Only down a few rivers.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person-- And from the larger Canadian side, too!
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied--Ha!
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing--Does indoor count?
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke--No Rae Bang, in Seoul!
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud--
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies-- Goodness, this list is REALLY American! Girl Guide Cookies, yes.
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a cheque--Thanks a lot, former roommate!
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy--Oh yes. Bunny will live with me forever.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar--just roe in sushi...does that count?
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London--I'm ashamed to say I haven't even seen it in Ottawa!
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car--Leased, yes, bought, no.
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper--And on the local news; local performing company and all.
85. Read the entire Bible--I've come really, really close!!
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous--Kind of. I mopped the floor (literally, not metaphorically) around Monica Lewinsky once!
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby--And what a beautiful baby she is!!
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant --Nope, but I rode a camel at the Metro TO Zoo when I was little.
Friday, November 14, 2008
With that in mind, I decided to spend today alone with my little girls, not thinking or hearing about what other people do: just doing our own thing. With a pleasant afternoon like today, I thought it best to take advantage and enjoy a nice long walk with my favourite babies. Glynis, Wembley and I strolled along the canal for a few lovely hours. There isn't much left of the autumn foliage, but it was very pretty, nonetheless. Ducks were out in force - mallards are a hardy sort - and there were lots of fallen leaves for Wembley to enjoy sniffing. Glynis slept for most of our walk, which was as I'd hoped: she naps best when we walk.
Wembley inspecting the ducks in the canal and the path toward the downtown core.
All in all, a very lovely day.
Friday, November 07, 2008
To demonstrate scale, I used an actual baby in the photos.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
For the time being, however, just hanging out with my girl is fabulous. She is five months and two weeks old, now, and is particularly chatty today. She's all wrapped up and on my back, and we've been doing laundry and pulling hair, respectively (she's awfully good at sorting clothes, and I do love me some hair pulling!). And just in case it's hard to believe that, yes, I do have an shockingly cute baby whom I adore, here is the proof:
Isn't she something? I'm so smitten.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
But - of course there's a but - when everyone would ask "So, what have you been up to?" the only interesting thing I could think of to say was "Baby". I mean, these are all my friends who've finished their undergrads - on time! - and gone on to multiple graduate degrees. One woman made history by being the first person in some 40 years to complete the undergraduate, masters and doctoral level Latin exams at U of T in less than 8 months. Another was a senior federal ethics advisor. Another is a doctoral candidate but recently spent a year teaching at the College of the Humanities where we all first met! Most have travelled the world, and seen and done things of which I can only dream. I've had a baby. I'm proud of her and of myself and of my husband, and am happy with many of the choices we've made, but I cannot help but wonder: what happened? Why did I spend 6 months working in law firms when I had no desire to make a career out of it? Why did I settle for doing administrative monkey work for a half-assed online high school in the sticks for three months? Why have I spent the last year working for a charity, whose policy initiatives I don't even wholly condone, managing a database and printing out form letters?! And why, oh why, did I ever consider going back there after my mat leave is up?!!
I woke up this morning and told The Man: we need to figure out what the hell I am doing with my life. I ended up in tears by the afternoon, not being able to stop thinking about just how bored I was even telling my old and dear friends what a non-starter my life has become. I told The Man, "I'm ashamed of myself. I had all this potential, and I just...wasted it."
So, that's it. I cannot entertain the idea of going back to my job. I can't. It is absolutely imperative that I find another way, another path, or rather, find my way back to the path I was originally on some five or six years ago. We are going to find a way to have me finish my degree, bolster my resume for grad schools, and then look into graduate studies. I'm going to start reconsidering myself. Rather than thinking of myself as a failure, as someone who forgot to finish her degree, abandoning her goals, who is therefore unworthy or unqualified for great things, I will start to think of myself who is on her way toward the place she always belonged. I'm just fortunate enough to have a husband and daughter along with me!
I read Peanut Oh, The Places You'll Go this afternoon; the message was for me, too.
Today is your day!
...Your mountain is waiting.
So...Get on your way!
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
I'm supremely happy with how it is turning out so far. If I finish it and it doesn't fit, I may scream. But that's pretty unlikely, because of how it's constructed.
I adore the buttons. I got them at this very upscale fabric shop only two blocks from our house (I love being downtown!!). They cost...uh, more than we'll tell The Man. I don't think he'd understand spending twice as much on the buttons as I did for the yarn. That said, I got the yarn for about $2, so really it's still a very inexpensive garment.
So far, so pretty. I'll keep you posted as this progresses.
Monday, September 01, 2008
I made her dress out of fabric left over from making my wedding gown with re-purposed lace from an antique wedding gown my mother found. The pattern was essentially just a copy of a hand-me-down dress from our good friends, K&M, but with smocking instead of a gathered skirt and little puffed sleeves. I am very pleased with how it turned out, though I think the smocking could have turned out a little better if I'd pleated it a little more shallowly.
Because I made the pattern up myself, and it was the first child's garment I have ever sewn, we had a liiiittle trouble getting it on. It took teamwork!
Friday, August 29, 2008
Peanut stayed home with her daddy and about 8 little bags of expressed milk I had stored up over the last two weeks and I went out and heard a kick-ass band play! I am a big, BIG fan of a now-defunct local band, Siobhan. They have disbanded due to that crazy thing called "We feel like growing up and getting married and having babies and as awesome as this record deal we've been offered is, touring four months of the year is just not going to work for us, so let's call it a day and just do reunion gigs whenever Ol' Jimmy is in town". Last night was one such reunion gig. It had been two years since their last local gig (at which my good friend K, wife to M, the bouzouki player in the band, was pregnant with their first child; she is now eight weeks from delivering their second wee bairn) and I was determined that I was going to go. So, The Man stayed home with Peanut, and I warily left for my first evening out since three days before her birth. It was weird. It was difficult.
It was awesome! Their shows are full of cursing and swearing, occasionally some beer is thrown, or...spit...at the crowd, there has - historically, at least - been a rather "energetic" mosh pit near the stage, and on the rare occasion there has been some band nudity (last time, the boys dropped trou and we were all treated to seeing their fuzzy man-bums, and M almost invariably ends up shirtless). Despite these things, they really are nice, sweet, kind guys, and consumate musicians. Though it had been two years since they last played together, they put on a great show, fully impressing everyone, most of all themselves, I think.
And Peanut and The Man were fine at home, alone, as I knew they would be (mostly knew, at least). And I was fine as well, returning home at 12:30, feeding Peanut at 1, and getting a very short night's sleep. I'm certainly feeling it today - I'm not as young as I was when I would go to the boys' weekly gig on a Friday night, after a full day of lectures, and then work an 8 hour retail shift all day Saturday - but it was so worth it. I refuse to allow myself to be sucked into "momhood" and stop having a life. I simply will not allow it! And besides, The Man only used a third of the milk I stored up. Perhaps he can help out with one of the mid-night feeds this weekend. :)
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Peanut had her baptism last Sunday. She was so sweet and quiet, only a little bit of fussing with the water, and settled right down once it was finished. She was absolutely adorable in her gown (I'll post pics of it as soon as I get some good shots) and generally a doll. Since I *ahem* don't quite fit most of my nicer clothes yet (that is, those that aren't very stretchy) I had to make myself a skirt to wear, and since a new skirt practically demands a new shrug, I had to knit a shrug as well! I've been rather enamoured of Ysolda's Cloud Bolero (here's a linky for those who Ravel) for quite some time, and thought that, knit in cotton, it would be just the ticket.
Pattern: Ysolda Teague's Cloud Bolero
Yarn: Luna by Cascade in Red
Size: Medium (must now accomodate ye olde nursing boobs!)
Mods: I added short sleeves, rather than doing the cap as called for, and added one non-lace four-row repeat before binding off the body.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Because Peanut was a month early, she was very small, and all the clothes we had already gotten for her or had been lent were far too large for her teeny little self. SIL whipped up this teeny sweater for Peanut and gave it to us at a show The Man played at a friend's pub when G was only ten days old.
It's a lovely soft grey-y mauve in a very pretty yarn with a nice sheen to it. The pattern is a darling little raglan cardi with a lace body. We really love it, so I may ask SIL if I can borrow it, since Peanut has almost completely outgrown her first sweater. You can see how short the sleeve is in that second pic.
There's more to come, including a few projects I have actually finished myself!!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
1. Who did you last get angry with?
- Uh, I guess that would be Peanut. I love her to pieces, but, my word, she can be infuriating at times!
2. What is your weapon of choice?
- Words can be handy, but my tiny attack dog is far more humiliating!
3. Would you hit a member of the opposite sex?
- I took a self-defence course when I was 14, and since then I've thought "Hells yeah! Bring on the smack!!" If warranted, of course.
4. How about of the same sex?
- Same story.
5. Who was the last person who got really angry at you?
- I think it must have been The Man. Must have been a long while ago, though.
6. What is your pet peeve?
- Bicyclists who ride the wrong way on one-way streets, or on the sidewalk, or roll through stop signs, thus nearly wiping me and my little daughter out. Grrr...
7. Do you keep grudges, or can you let them go easily?
- Not really. I more learn from previous experiences, and refuse to allow the same people to mistreat me in the future.
1. What is one thing you’re supposed to do daily that you don’t?
- Dishes. Or laundry. Or cleaning. And eating much. Peanut takes so much time.
2. What is the latest you’ve ever woken up?
- Recently: 8am. Ever: 4pm, the day after I arrived home from my student exchange trip to Seoul. I proceeded to eat 4 bowls of cereal. It was a weird, and very short, day.
4. What is the last lame excuse you made?
- Probably something about why I was late because of Peanut. She does complicate things.
5. Have you ever watched an infomercial all the way through?
- Definitely. Never getting that hour back, am I!
6. When was the last time you got in a good workout?
- Last night. Insanely, I'm dancing at the Highland Games Tattoo again this year. (Careful of that link: there's pipe music. And if you click on 'Tattoo' on the "Events" drop down, you'll see a blurry picture of dancers on the field. I'm in there.)
7. How many times did you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock today?
- My alarm clock is an 8lb infant, so, zero!
1. What is your overpriced yuppie beverage of choice?
- Venti Vanilla Non-fat Decaf Latte.
2. Meat eaters: white meat or dark meat??
- White, though I'm phasing chicken back out again.
3. What is the greatest amount of alcohol you’ve had in one sitting/outing/event?
-Um, I can't really remember. It started with "Scandinavian Lover"s, a drink my roommate made up involving peach puree, and then we had some wine, and a lot of beer...and the evening concluded with me smoking a cigarette. And I hate cigs.
4. Have you ever used a professional diet company?
5. Do you have an issue with your weight?
- 10 weeks post-partum, you bet my rather larger-than-I'd-like a$$.
6. Do you prefer sweets, salty foods, or spicy?
- Each in their own time, but crunchy-salty more than anything.
7. Have you ever looked at a small house pet or child and thought “lunch”?
- No. Committal? Absolutely!
1. How many people have you seen naked (not counting movies/family)?
- A handful by choice, a few by surprise.
2. How many people have seen YOU naked (not counting physicians/family)?
- Same by choice, but no surprises. :)
3. Have you ever caught yourself staring at the chest/crotch of a member of the opposite gender during a normal conversation?
- Yep, it was weird.
4. Have you ever kissed two people in one night?
- I think so...but who can remember!
5. What is your favorite body part on a person of your gender of choice?
- I was on the swim team in high school. I'm still a sucker for good shoulders and back.
6. Have you ever been propositioned by a prostitute?
- By a prostitute? No. By a beat up drunk in a market in Seoul? Yes.
1. How many credit cards do you own?
- One, prepaid.
2. What’s your guilty pleasure store?
- MAC. I like to feel pretty. :)
3. Would you rather be rich, or famous?
- Depends. If it was fame for singing, fame, otherwise, fewer worries about money would be fabulous.
4. Would you accept a boring job if it meant you would make megabucks?
- Only if it wasn't soul-sucking.
5. Have you ever stolen anything?
- Nope, though I mistakenly walked out of a grocery store with two sweet potatoes once. I went back and paid for them.
6. How many MP3s are on your hard drive?
- If I could figure out how to get iTunes to count them, I'd tell you. About a bazillion, though.
1. What’s one thing you have done that you’re most proud of?
- I'd say Peanut, but I'm more proud of her, so I suppose it's been the opera role I had last year. I think I was a pretty cool Papagena.
2. What one thing have you done that your parents are most proud of?
- Peanut. My mother is over the moon for this child!
3. What things would you like to accomplish in your life?
- Finish my BHum (finally) and then go on to grad school. Maybe end up writing or with a professorship.
4. Do you get annoyed by coming in second place?
- Only if I know that I could have tried harder or done more.
5. Have you ever entered a contest of skill, knowing you were of much higher skill than all the other competitors?
- Not ahead of time, though I discovered as the audition began that I was a shoe-in.
6. Have you ever cheated on something to get a higher score?
- I may have had a little extra *help* once or twice in my senior math courses.
7. What did you do today that you’re proud of?
- I got Peanut to take a nap. That alone is an accomplishment. This child does not sleep.
1. What item (or person) of your friends would you most want to have for your own?
- Our friends have a pretty red laptop...and this one is about to kick it, pretty new one would be nice.
2. Who would you want to go on “Trading Spaces” with?
- Our friends K&M
3. If you could be anyone else in the world, who would you be?
- One of the more reasonable professional singers. Maybe Emma Kirkby: she's so talented and lovely and British!
4. Have you ever been cheated on?
- Yeah, but that was years and boyfriends and lifetimes ago! Hardly seems to matter, now.
5. Have you ever wished you had a physical feature different from your own?
- I'd like a better jawline. And about 20 lbs less. Grr...baby-weight.
6. What inborn trait do you see in others that you wish you had for yourself?
- Less anxiety. I'd love to just know and believe that things will be alright, whatever the concern.
The next day we went to church as usual, and then I had opera practice. Several of my friends there told my belly, very emphatically, not to make any grand entrances until after the opera show on the 7th of June, or to be born the very next day, so that I'd have recovery time before the performance. We laughed. I spent a good 20 minutes with the musical director, accompanist, and one of the more accomplished performers trying to find the right physical space to sing my very challenging solo, what with there being a small human being occupying much of the space I usually have available for my lungs while singing. As rehearsal ended, I felt very confident about how my solo would go.
The Man picked up at practice at 3:30. I got in the car, thinking "I should probably have gone to the bathroom before getting in the car" and immediately lost *some* sort of fluid. I grabbed a grocery bag (The Man had gotten a few things) and sat on it for the ride home. I assumed that it was just a little late pregnancy incontinence due to standing for a few hours with a person sitting on my bladder, and went about my evening, same as always. We joked, though, on our drive home: "Wouldn't it be funny if my water just broke and I'm in labour and I were to show up at practice next week with a baby!" I stayed up a little later than I normally would because, hey, the next day was Victoria Day, and a holiday, and I didn't have to go to work for the next year, so I wasn't asleep until after 12am.
I woke at 5am, feeling like I was losing fluid again. I hurried to the bathroom. A few minutes later, after changing, I started to get back into bed. As I lowered myself onto the bed, I felt another loss of fluid, this time much, much larger, and ran back to the bathroom. Once there, it was apparent that, whatever the fluid was - and I still wasn't convinced that I wasn't just peeing myself repeatedly - I had no control over it, and it wasn't stopping any time soon. Somehow, I felt mildly embarrassed, still thinking that I was just incontinent, and also not wanting to wake The Man as he was still asleep. A few minutes later, around 5:15am, I noticed that I felt very crampy, low in my abdomen, as though I had painful gas. I thought, "Great: now I'm peeing myself and I'm constipated. That's just fantastic." The cramps hurt quite a bit, and were getting worse, and I thought, "What a lightweight am I?! How am I ever going to get through labour if I can't handle a few little gas cramps?!" What struck me as odd, though, was that these cramps seemed to be rather rhythmic in nature. We have a clock on the bathroom wall, so I started watching the clock, and noticed that they seemed to start every 4 minutes or so, and seemed to be getting stronger with time, also. Hmmm...
Sometime just after 6, I started calling for The Man. A few hollers, and then I'd sent him out to pick up some incontinence pads. About a half-hour later he was back, and I crawled back into bed, and curled up on my side to try and go back to sleep, while rocking back and forth through the cramps. I managed to sleep until just after 7am. When I woke, the cramps were still happening, and still getting stronger, so I used the stopwatch on my mobile phone to time them, and they were all between 3 and 5 minutes apart. I decided to call my midwife. I explained to her what had been happening that morning, and that I suspected it might just be incontinence and constipation - such a flattering combination - and she said she certainly hoped I wasn't in labour, since I wasn't yet to term. She told me she'd get up (I had woken her) and grab some food, and then would be over at our place in a few hours. I told her there was no rush: it was probably a false alarm, after all.
A while later, I decided to have a shower, because I was starting to strongly suspect that this was not, in fact, a false alarm, and I knew that I would want to have had a shower. I stood in the shower for a good twenty minutes. The water felt so good, and the repeated surging pains kept stopping me mid-shampoo, mid-soap, mid-rinse. I donned some comfy clothes and went downstairs to the living room. I ended up sitting on the floor while The Man sat on our chaise lounge, I resting my forehead against his knees, breathing slowly. Over the course of the next 45 minutes or so, I had only three or four cramps, as I was still thinking of them, as I did not want to allow myself to believe that I was in labour, if only because learning later that I was not would prove disappointing.
Diane, our midwife, arrived between 10 and 11. The Man greeted her at the door, and I heard her ask him "How far apart are the cramps?" and him reply "About 10 to 15 minutes" as they had been for the better part of an hour, by then. She made a surprised sound, and came into the living room, where I was still on the floor, and breathing through another "Thing" as I'd been calling them. She looked down at me, cocked her head with a mildly confused look on her face, and said, "So: what's going on here?" Due to my nonchalance on the phone earlier, I think the sight of me must have been rather a surprise. I sort of chuckled, and replied, "I'm not exactly sure! You tell me!" She sat down on the chaise, and asked me about what had happened that morning, and what I was feeling. In the midst of talking to her, another wave came on, and I stopped speaking to breathe and compose myself.
"Well, that looked like a contraction!" she said.
"Oh! Did it?" I asked her.
"Oh, yes," she told me. We tested the fluid and it was definitely amniotic fluid, and I was most assuredly in labour. I proceeded to begin having contractions about 2 minutes apart, at which point she looked at The Man and said, "Alright, I think we should get to the hospital now." He had, during this time, been dutifully putting together a bag with clothes and toiletries. I called my mother so that she could come dog-sit for us. When her boyfriend, Poppy, answered the phone, I told him I was in labour. "What?!!" he exclaimed. He handed the phone to my mother who then exclaimed, "You're kidding!!!" I had three contractions in the space of that very short conversation, which cemented the necessity of getting to the hospital as soon as possible, so The Man brought the car around, and we made our way to the only hospital in the city which grants delivery privileges to midwives.
Ever since I had entered active labour I had been worried that I was going to be sick. As soon as we reached the hospital and I was out of the car, I relaxed because now, if I was ill, I didn't have to worry about cleaning up our rental carpet or leased car interior! We slowly worked our way into the hospital. It was largely deserted due to it being a holiday Monday, and the staff were...not the best hospital staff I have encountered. Still, I didn't care very much since our plan was to have as little contact with them as possible, ours being a midwife-assisted birth and all. Diane had arrived before we had, and she showed us into the examination room we had been assigned. She had, during the drive, been calling Gen, our doula, who had been a midwife student of Diane's, to tell her to come to the hospital. I was worried that because we were a month early, and it was a long weekend, that she might be out of town, but she arrived just as we were getting into the exam room.
I still hadn't had my dilation checked at this point. Diane and Gen helped me onto the bed while The Man went to properly park the car and get me registered with the hospital. Diane hooked me up to a monitor to get an idea of what the contractions were doing, and they were certainly good, strong contractions. Diane did the internal exam between contractions. I watched her face as she mentally gauged my dilation, saying "Ok, you're 6...7...8...we'll call that full!" She looked quite surprised, as I went from 6 cm to fully dilated in a matter of seconds! We all laughed a little, and I felt relieved that this was truly happening, and excited and a little nervous, knowing that our baby was really arriving that very day!
We were moved into a delivery room (by all accounts the worst one in the hospital) and my mum arrived to pick up the key to our house so that she could get Wembley. She didn't stay long, but it was nice to see her for a minute and then get down to business, as labour began to move along rather rapidly. Gen was an absolute godsend, rubbing my back and applying counter-pressure precisely how I needed it. She also spoke the encouragement and reassurance that I needed in my ear. When I was putting too much energy into the muscles in my face, she would gently stroke my forehead and remind me to relax my face and allow the labour to progress as it needed to, just as I needed. She and I had discussed a month earlier the way I envisioned my labour unfolding, and the sorts of relaxation techniques I wanted to employ. She and I both feel strongly about breath and using breathing for pain relief and energy, so she helped me remember to breathe as I had planned, intentionally and calmly. The Man rubbed my scalp - something I always love - and held my hands or rubbed my arms through the contractions, as they got heavier and more intense.
Throughout the day, sitting had felt uncomfortable. I think I must have been just very aware of Peanut's head as it dropped further and further, so instead, I stood and leaned. At home I leaned on the counter in the bathroom or the back of the chaise; at the hospital, we raised the bed in the delivery room and I leaned on a pile of pillows.
I recall saying to Gen, "I can't do this, I'm just too tired" and really wishing I had gotten a better night's sleep! I was also still very sure that I'd be sick, so I was labouring while hugging a metal bedpan, which was blissfully cool for my warm face. Very shortly after saying that I couldn't go on, I said, almost in a whisper, "I think I want to push." Strangely, I never felt the overwhelming need to push so many women describe. It was more just that I slowly felt that pushing was something I could now do, and once started, as Peanut moved further down and I could feel her more and more, I wanted to get her out!!
Here are my midwife's notes from the birth, since the entire thing is a hazey, dreamy memory to me, without time or much form:
13:42 - Darlene pushing
13:46 - Head visible with contraction
13:50 - Darlene moves to bed on hands and knees (I had been standing and leaning on the bed up to this point. We lowered the bed, and raised the head up almost vertical and I knelt, hanging onto the back of the bed)
13:56 - Head visible between contractions
13:57 - Head
13:57 - Baby born
And suddenly I felt back in my body again, after feeling very much apart and away during the active stages of labour. Diane said, "Let's let the parents see what we have!" And I turned around, since Peanut was behind me, and said "Is it a girl?" I was fairly certain I was seeing girl-parts, but didn't trust myself after all the craziness of delivery. And it was, and we call her Glynis.
And she's perfect.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I've been working on Peanut's birth story when I have time (read: hardly at all) but it's coming out awfully long. It might bore the pants off just about anyone but me and immediate family. Suffice it to say, she arrived on May 19, 2008 at 1:57, 29 days before her due date. She weighed 2505 grams, or 5lbs 8oz; much smaller than a typical newborn, but was of entirely average length (about 51 cm). Labour was fairly quick, and I was successful in avoiding any medical intervention at all, though I did have to wear a monitor because she was early, and needed antibiotics because my Group B Strep test hadn't yet been done. Still, I was entirely satisfied - thrilled, even - by the progress of my labour. My midwives and doula were, quite frankly, amazing, and The Man did a great job of both being supportive and staying quiet when I needed him to be so.
We had some trouble getting her fed, though. Peanut had trouble latching on, so she wasn't getting much to eat at all in that first week. Her weight plummeted. Still, she was healthy looking and of robust energy, so it was hard to worry as much as the midwives seemed to do. We rented an electric pump, I started taking herbs for supply, and we started working towards getting her weight up, and breastfeeding working. Eventually, I began prescription domperidone as well.
Slowly but surely, things have been improving. There have been days when I thought I would be hooked up to a pump forever. There have been days when I have been utterly convinced that I would have to switch her to formula, and I have wept. There have been days when I have been so sore from her refusal to open her mouth and latch well, and so exhausted and frustrated by all this trial, that I have been this close to just throwing in the towel and giving up entirely.
Last week, in desperation for a magic fix, my mother - an angel of a woman! - drove Peanut and I down to Toronto to meet Dr. Jack Newman, the North American breastfeeding guru. He wrote the book - several, in fact - on breastfeeding problems and solutions. He truly cares about women and babies, and assists them with real dignity, respect, a relaxed attitude, and humour. Meeting him was great, and the consultants at his clinic were certainly very helpful. There is no magic wand, and we continued to struggle a little after that, but at least I had been told that what I was doing was very close to ideal, and that there was no need to worry about how Peanut was eating. She's doing alright, they said. It was just what I needed to hear, and made the trip totally worthwhile. Plus, we got a quick visit with my great aunt and uncle, my grandmother's only living sibling out of the eleven. And my aunt made Peanut a diaper cake!
About three days ago, three days after our visit, something clicked. She gets it!! She's opening well, and latching painlessly (for me!) and eating really well. So well is she eating that she has gained between 40 and 50 grams (that's between 1 1/2 and 1 3/4 oz for you non-metrics) per day since our visit to Toronto! I'm thrilled, and now no longer dread feedings because of the pain and frustration accompanying them.
So tomorrow we say goodbye to the pump which has occupied a spot on a wooden chair next to the couch since May 23. I will be happily returning it to the LC who rented it to us, and Peanut and I will continue on as we have been for the past week, pump-free. Hopefully, someday soon I will be able to get off the domperidone, but even if I have to stay on it indefinitely, so be it. It's a small price to pay for being able to feed my daughter the way I want.
And she's smiling! Not always, and not regularly, but about once a day she'll give me a giant, open-mouthed, face-illuminating smile! She's also taken to grinning quite regularly, and just generally looking amused and happy. We must be doing something right with her!
*ok, so not so quick, but considering she's over 8 weeks old, it's pretty quick!