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It's like this, and like that....

I started this blog in an effort to track my experiences with pregnancy and beyond. Writing is therapeutic. Kind of like talking to myself without the people in WalMart thinking I'm crazy. If you find some entertainment in this along the way, then even better!

This is one woman's journey through unfathomable hunger, vivid sex dreams and a bulging belly...from conception to birth in 9 months or less...

We've moved!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
To our new secret location! Please follow us there.

If you didn't get the URL and you want it, please email me at babechilla@gmail.com and I'll be happy to send it over!!

Breastfeeding from the world of a 2 week old mother....

Saturday, April 10, 2010
Ok so here is the deal, the problem I see with breastfeeding is the complete lack of knowledge most of us have about it. Maybe not most of us, but at least me.

When I was pregnant I assumed of course, like many other women, that I would breastfeed with no issue. I never really put any thought into the pros and cons of breast over formula feeding, and admittedly even now I haven't done the research necessary to effectively comment on either method. However, I know the drill. I know the benefits of giving your baby the boobie juice, and why so many of us just blindly enter motherhood with the assumption that we'll be feeding our babes from the very body they were created and grown inside of. I attended a child birth class, which included 3 hours on breastfeeding and walked out of there thinking "obviously" and never thought any further.

And herein lies the problem. I, like many, assumed breastfeeding was a no brainer and I for one, was wrong. At least I was wrong for myself.

The thing is, I do not recall anyone at anytime ever telling me that I would need to have my child attached to my body for at LEAST 6 hours of every day, or in the case of my child closer to 9. I don't remember hearing about latching troubles, or the fact that those first few weeks would be excruciating while your nipples toughened up. I don't think anyone talked much to me about bleeding nipples, or rock hard breasts that shy away from the delicate shower spray. And I definitely know no one told me about the guilt, stress and fatigue 1 bad breastfeeding day would create.

Like I said, I went to 3 hours of breastfeeding class. I sat in a poorly lit community centre room, with photos circa 1967 spread across the walls of latched on chubby babies sucking happily from their mothers breast. Me, the hubs and 14 other sweaty soon to be families crammed into this room, to be enlightened about this thing they call breastfeeding. I listened to a hairy, crunchy woman excitedly detail every benefit of the boobie juice to us, while highlighting the bonding and loveyness that come from such an amazing time. I held a 4 ounce doll to my clothed breast, a doll who didn't move and didn't cry and didn't have a mind or insatiable hunger of her own, and practiced the different holds. I watched a video of 3 hour old babes bobbing their way over to their mothers breast and latching on like champs, just like that (I am now convinced they filmed 10,000 babies to get those 8 to do that so effortlessly, and just neglected to mention that part). I played a game in which we put a series of photos in order from start to finish, showing a successful feed. I got a pamphlet which showed me the holds again, and further reiterated why I am only a good mother if I feed from the breast.

That was all well and good. At 37 weeks pregnant, perhaps that was all I could handle, but the class was seriously misleading. What it didn't tell me was the challenge of getting a dopey newborn to open her mouth wide enough for me to shove my cantaloupe sized breast into it. It didn't talk too much about how to get a good latch, just briefly showed what one looked like...and that shit isn't easy my friends. They told me how if done properly, breastfeeding doesn't hurt, but they didn't tell me what to do when it hurt like someone was holding a hot fire poker against my nipple. They told me to buy nipple cream, in case my nipples cracked but they didn't tell me that by crack they may mean bleed so heavily it would cause my 5 day old baby to vomit green chunks (of partially digested blood, I later learned), and send us on a trip through the emergency room.

My point is this - those of us who choose and are able to feed from the breast need more than just support in the form of "it's good for your baby and your wallet", and more even than all the support we so desperately need to feed without ridicule in public. We need reality. We need lactation people at the hospital to come for a visit and show us what we're doing right and what we're doing wrong. Not just burnt out nurses who handle babies like pot roasts, latch them for you and move on. We need to hear how hard it is in the beginning, and how absolutely devastating it will feel when things aren't going the way they are "supposed to". We need to hear that breastfeeding a baby is a serious time commitment, which lasts around the clock and sometimes seems like it will never end.

I am infinitely lucky to be supported by an AMAZING group of people - men and women, on Twitter and through this blog who have been there with me, at 3am, when I'm crying and screaming and needing help, but not everyone has that. I've got friends who have chosen to formula feed for various reasons, from convenience through to a sheer and painful inability to produce enough milk, and I'm not going to lie lately, I've been a little envious. I shouldn't be I know it's not an easy choice, but I've got milk and a kid who wants to non-stop eat, so to me I have less reason to consider formula. I know I can make the switch at any time I like, and I would be lying if I said I hadn't considered it. But I'm stubborn, and poor and I truly do believe in the benefits of breast milk.

I've committed to 6 months, and I'm learning that I'll need to take that 1 day at a time. It isn't easy, and it isn't always hard but when your breasts are aching, your baby is fighting you and you have not slept more than a total of 6 hours in the last 15 days, things just seem impossible. When your baby screams at you in hunger, but refuses to latch on and looks at your with desperation, it seems like you will surely go crazy before you reach 6 weeks, let alone 6 months. When you sit lonely in the dark, trying to rationalize with a 2 week old infant that if she eats she can sleep, and if she sleeps she will feel better, makes you question if the craziness started around 6 days.

So to all of you who have fought the breastfeeding battle and won, I commend you. You are my inspiration and I thank you for your support. I think you are super women who have come through this challenge and truly done something wonderful for your children. I had no idea how hard it was, NO idea. I really thought I'd just put her on the boob and away we'd go. I want it to be easy, but right now it's still a struggle. My stubborn nature will ensure I keep on keeping on, at least a little bit longer. And I hope I am able to join you on the other side of this insanity as a successful breast feeder.

That said, to those of you who have formula fed out of necessity or sanity sake, I respect and commend you as well. Because I, like Mandy am a fan of feeding babies. And I don't think formula is evil. My niece and my BFF's daughter were both fed formula and are both two of the raddest kids EVER. I know now more than ever how hard breast feeding is, and like I said, I'm one of the lucky ones that this works for. I cannot imagine where I'd be if I had inverted nipples or a low supply or any of the other many things that plague many a breast feeding wanna be. Actually, that's not true, I know where I'd be. I'd be locked up somewhere with padded walls, crying over my inadequacy and feeling like a horrible person. And not because I should, but just because that it was happens more times than not.

So that's my piece on breastfeeding, from a 2 week veteran. Hardly as profound as what The Feminist Breeder posted, which broke the internets and was reposted, tweeted and Facebooked linked an unprecedented amount of times. Nor is it as heartfelt, candid and lets face it cute as that of Miss Mandy, who really just wants us to feed our babies and stop arguing about it. It's not even as Switzerland as Jill from Baby Rabies response to the above two ladies. But it's real, and it's coming from a new mom who is reeling and overwhelmed by all the insanity of late. And I hope it helps the rest of you mommy's to be know that it is effing HARD and you will feel like quitting, but if you want to do it, and you have your own reasons for it, you can! And if you don't want to do it or you simply cannot, then don't. And do not spend 1 minute feeling guilty about it, because it really won't get you anywhere and us new mommies? We have enough guilt about everything else without adding to it.

(As an aside, as I wrote this post this morning there was a knock on my door. And the hubs came back up the stairs with a small case, 6 cans, of Enfamil. Which the post man delivered especially for me. No pressure though, cause at 4am when the nips be burning and the babe be crying, I won't be tempted to just give it a shot).

The 3pm Mother vs. The 3am Mother

Tuesday, April 6, 2010
My darling daughter is 2 weeks today, and I feel the fog starting to lift. I know I am supposed to post a big long poetic piece about how in love I am with her. I know I'm supposed to talk about the sparkle in her eye, how warm and fuzzy she is and how totally in love I am. I know I'm supposed to be beaming with new mother pride, viewing the world through rose tinted glasses and reveling in every poop that comes rocketing out of my daughters soft little cutesy bum.

And you know what? I am. I am so much in love with Everly it almost hurts. I cannot stop kissing her little face or staring at her while she sleeps. Even when I should be sleeping in the night, I get up to make sure she's breathing, and just to stare at her in wonderment. I cannot believe that only 2 short weeks ago, she was that faceless body that shook my belly all night long and made me have to pee every 15 mins. I cannot believe that she came from me and the hubs, that I grew that person from 2 pieces of DNA to a whole human, that she is part of us. I love her and I cannot get enough out of every single moment we spend together. She changes a bit every day and I feel as though time is already moving too fast. It really does happen, this instant love and I could not be more proud of my little girl. The love I feel for this child has shown me a kind of love I did not know existed, and my heart feels bigger and my life fuller just for having known her.

All of that said, there is a dark side to the first few weeks of motherhood that I am sure everyone experiences. And maybe I've ignored the warnings, maybe I didn't think they would happen to me, maybe I thought people over exaggerated. Or maybe, most new mothers out there experience what I have just gone through and the guilt and shame of the situation keeps them from speaking out or being honest.

It sounds like I going to confess a bunch of crazy thoughts full or rage and anxiety that I need to be medicated for. And I'm not. I have not felt the least bit angry this entire time, and at no point have I worried about my mental health or the safety of my child in my care. I have however sat, alone in the dark, while the hubs sleeps soundly, the baby fights me for a piece of the boob and I sob uncontrollably over her, tears streaking down and staining her precious new little head.

It's new mommy guilt and it hurts. I am sure this is equal parts sleep deprivation and hormonal imbalance, but as you're living it, you cannot rationalize. It's amazing how different 3pm can feel versus 3am. At 3pm, I am confident, I am with it, I am changing my daughter, she is eating like a champ and we're totally in a groove. At 3pm I am happy. I am beyond delighted with my new life and I can't wait to take my daughter out to experience the world. But at 3am, it is dark. I am alone and things are infinitely harder. It is at this time that the sleep deprivation has killed my ability to be rational. It's this time of the night, where my darling is crying out of hunger, but will not WILL NOT just latch on and eat, even though she's done it 15 times (literally) before that very same day. It's around this time where the pain in my back rivals the pain in my breasts and I wonder how people do this. It's around this time I'm on Twitter, screaming profanities and thankfully being talked down from the ledge by a collection of other mommy's doing the same thing.

This new mommy routine causes my chest to fill with tension and anxiety at 3am, to feel like I could scream, to look at my daughter and BEG her to just EAT like she's done so many times before. And this kicks in the guilt, which causes the tears, which exacerbates the guilt even further. How can I honestly expect my baby to do what I want, what I need? Life is about her now, and she deserves a kind mother, a patient mother, a mother who understands that she does not understand. And at 3pm, I am so that mother. We joke, I call her silly names and tell her she's being a goof when she's so busy cramming her hands in her mouth and screaming that I cannot get the boob in there. But the 3am mother, that's the one who feels like she failed. Who wonders what is wrong with her for being frustrated with a baby who is so perfectly innocent, who cries as her child eats and her husband sleeps.

The days spent in the hospital were completely sleepless. The hubs and I traded off 2 hours at a time through the night, but between the uncomfortable beds, my surgery,  hospital staff coming in every hour to check us and tell us not to sleep with the baby in our beds, the heat in that place and the fear our daughter might just forget to breathe, we did not sleep. For 55 hours I laid trapped in that room, no window to the outside, not sleeping, not knowing what to do with this life form I was now responsible for. This does not set anyone up for having a good time when you get home.

And coming home from the hospital is the biggest shock I've ever had. Suddenly I am in my home, in a familiar place with an unfamiliar face. I'd done all the reading about the pregnancy, I was obsessive about my stats and literature. I read and studied up on labour and delivery for so long I bet I'd make a kick ass doula. I even researched enough on c-sections to be prepared to do the incision on my own, but I did not prepare myself to arrive home from the hospital. It was both terrifying and exhilarating. When we got home, I simply looked at my husband and said "now what?" And neither of us knew. And then the first night happened, where we couldn't sleep, where the baby wouldn't stop crying because she was hungry and where I could not get her to latch or eat. And so began the tears. 

Breastfeeding is by far one of the most challenging things I've done in my life. It hurts, it's difficult to hold her properly or to get her to latch on and stay on. I don't know if she's getting enough, if she's in the right position, if she's enjoying the bonding we're supposed to be having. It makes your mind swim with thoughts of failure. Am I doing this right? They say this shouldn't hurt? Aren't I supposed to enjoy this? How much longer is she going to feed for? What kind of mother rushes her child? At no point in my childbirth class did they touch on the stress and fatigue that comes from breastfeeding, or the innumerable ways you can fail at it. At no point did they tell me that being unable to properly nourish my child would feel like a ton of bricks crushing my chest, would make me want to scream out loud, would make me feel like less of a woman. And do you want to know what's scary? I'm not even really having that hard of a time in the grand scheme of things. I mean, it SEEMS hard to me, but I've got milk, my baby can latch 98% of the time and she is gaining weight like a champ. So if I feel this way, I cannot imagine what the women with real challenges feel like. Those like my sister, whose milk refused to come in, who spent hours pumping or trying to feed with no success. I think about her often when it's late and I cannot calm the stress I have over it. And I don't envy the decision she had to make to move onto formula, though I respect it more now that I ever could before. Sometimes you've got to do what's best for you and your child, and that includes feeding them without going completely crazy in the process.

And this is not the only challenge. When my daughter cries my heart breaks. I must have cried uncontrollably in the hospital at least 3 times when they came in to check her vitals, prick her heel or otherwise harass her and she cried. It hurts so much when I know she's hurting, and my eyes leak just as much as my nipples when she cries (yes, this really DOES happen). The helplessness that I felt the first few times she really cried is beyond anything I've ever felt. I wanted to comfort her, to make it all better, to stop the crying so I knew she felt safe, but you know what? In those first few days, your baby is still a stranger. You've carried her for 9 months, but it's been on your terms and you never had to hear her cry. In all the time she was in the womb, I assumed she was a happy little girl, and never felt the pain of knowing she wasn't. Thankfully, this is getting easier. She still cries, but she does it every time I change her, or she wakes up, or she decides she is bored and I'm getting much better at scooping her up and solving the problem than I used to be. I'm learning as much about her as she is about me, and our relationship is starting to work. But this is only in the last 2 days, before that it was still so overwhelming and still had me wondering what I was going to do.

Another thing I didn't anticipate was having a super zen husband, who could keep it together when I was losing it. This is a blessing beyond blessings. Partly it's because he sleeps more than I do, so his sleep deprivation isn't causing him to go as crazy. And partly he's not fighting the breastfeeding fight so the patience he has is better saved for other things, like those DAMN sleeper snaps you just CANNOT get done up properly when your eyes are burning and your kid is screaming and squirming. I never thought I'd have a moment in my life where I sat, crying helplessly as my husband soothed the child I once carried for 9 months. And this is another mommy guilt instigator.

Over the last 2 weeks things have gotten infinitely easier. We've all started to get to know each other. My husband is no longer a husband, but a father. I am no longer a wife, but a mother and our baby is no longer an internal human but a real live person, with a personality all her own.

I am enjoying the journey, it's rewarding and now that I am getting some confidence in my skills, it's getting better. Parts of it are harder than I thought, and parts of it are so much more wonderful than I could have imagined. But this is 3pm mom speaking. When 3am mom comes out, things get difficult and sometimes the tears flow. I am getting used to it though, and trying not to be so hard on myself. My friends, both real life and online, have helped me through this time. I am slowly trying to move past the guilt feelings and realize this is normal, that everyone must go through this, and that most of all, my daughter will never remember that I cried over her sweet little head over these first few days.

So to all mothers, new or old, give yourself a break. We're truly doing the best we can, and the pressure to be a stepford wife and the guilt you feel for needing a break doesn't help. I am telling this to myself as much as anyone else.

Now back to my silly baby who is cramming her fists into her mouth with such voracity,  you'd never know she's already eaten a total of 15 times since midnight, for an astounding 4 hours and 27 minutes (thank-you iPhone app for your tracking awesomeness!)

Welcome to Mommyhood!

Saturday, March 27, 2010
What a strange and unusual week it's been. It's been the most wonderful, more emotional and most exhilarating, and most exhausting 5 day stretch of my life. I'm so happy, I've felt so up and so down. I've had amazing successes and the crushing feeling of failure. I've had to so quickly learn a new kind of patience. I've had to succumb to the inability to control everything. I've had to realize that everyone is learning here and not instinctually just knowing how to be a mother doesn't not mean I cannot do it. Coming home from the hospital is a shock, and then you have to just learn as you go.

There is obviously a long story about our birth, the c-section, the recovery and the coming home. I want to share it and I will but right now is a small quiet moment and all I want to do is watch my daughter sleep and be.

I'm having the best time ever, and I cannot believe I have the most beautiful little daughter. And I have her almost all to myself.

Until I'm back with the rest of the story, here are some photos of our new addition Everly Delilah:

We're having a baby....TOMORROW!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010
Yes, tomorrow. I got a phone call this morning from the crazy receptionist at my OBGYN's office and we're scheduled for our c-section tomorrow!! (as an aside, the crazy receptionist really is crazy. Her name is Saffron and she multi-tasks like no one I've ever seen before. I've had the birth date of my daughter in the hands of a crazy lady who is named after a spice for the last few weeks).

The appointment is at 11am, so we need to be at the hospital at 9am.

I am scared, I am excited, I am all sorts of things. I don't know what to do with myself.

This is a short post, I just wanted to let you all know why I may be missing in blog land for awhile. Hopefully when I come back, we will have moved to our new URL (you can email me for that at babechilla@gmail.com).

I will be updating on Twitter when I can, if you want to keep up!

And for fun, here is my 39 week belly shot (I am SO glad that I didn't get any stretch marks, so that my scar can shine alone in all it's glory, ugh).

39 Weeks

Baby Girls Red and Aqua Nursery

Sunday, March 21, 2010
My nursery looks so much better than I ever could have imagined! I REALLY wish I was capable of taking even half decent photos because this room deserves my better than my photo skills but, here it is:

I'm not sure about my mobile? Is it too much?

Our "no closet" solution. Also known as the shelf that tried to ruin my life:

Books, blankets and other random things are well hidden in here :D

Dresser/change table, full of cloth diapers and a million tiny baby clothes :D

View from her crib. The picture is level, the room/ceiling is not.

Our awesome light!!


Just another view:

Up close of our Vinyl Birds over the crib:

I need to tidy this up a little bit, I think I need some baskets.

Her view (ti's cloudy but there are mountains):

Are you ready?

Saturday, March 20, 2010
Suddenly last night, I got this overwhelming need to meet my baby. I don't know what it was. I've been feeling cautiously optimistic the entire time I've been pregnant. I know for a fact I am going to love her with every ounce of my soul and not one part of me has any regret or hesitation about becoming a mother. That said, this whole process is still scary as hell and the idea that I will soon be solely responsible for a precious new life can give me a little anxiety.

People ask you the same questions when you're pregnant, especially at this stage. They ask you how you're feeling (and for some reason 'fine' is not a satisfactory answer, because if you don't elaborate, you are then asked how you are sleeping, if you've got energy and if your back is sore, if your breasts are sore ). They ask you if you're excited (nah, whatever, it's just A BABY I HAVE GROWN FOR 10 MONTHS YO!), and they ask you if you are ready. 

That last question has admittedly been hard for me, and for the hubs. He gets away with it as new dad jitters, and people tend not to push him for fear of making him feel bad or awkward. I, on the other hand, am expected to perform some sort or preggo cartwheeling miracle, complete with pompoms and the shrill voice of a high school cheerleader - "I AM READY. R.E.A.D.Y. READY!!!!" And if I don't, I get the sympathetic side glance, with the "you'll do just fine" chaser.

I know I will do just fine. I am confident that the hubs and I will not be the first couple in the history of the world to simply implode from an inability to handle our new life. Sure things will be hard and I will cry when the baby won't latch on but is screaming from hunger and he can't help me so he get's frustrated and all we want is to go back to Saturday nights when the biggest problem was that I had to pee and the line up for $0.99 pizza was 20 mins long. I know things are about to change so epically that there is no way for us to fully be prepared for it. And I also know that my little sister, my BFF and countless other friends have managed this process, and all of them still have all their hair.

What is hard to answer, or at least has been, is 'ready' part of the question. Not because I am not ready, but because who is ever ready? And what the hell is ready? Is it having enough diapers? Is it having no fear (because then honestly, no ones ever ready)? Is it giving up all selfishness? What is ready? Sure I tried for 14 months to make this human. Sure I've had the last 35 weeks to wrap my head around it. Sure we've bought every. single. baby. item. EVER. And sure, putting my shoes on without a head in my ribs will be a welcome change, but to say I'm ready would be a lie.

I am not ready to share her with the world at all. She has been with me, experiencing every up and down I've had for the better part of a year. I was the first person to know what it felt like when she moved, and the first person to feel her hiccup. I know what it's like to get a punch to the cervix by a frustrated little girl who just wants to flip around (her hands are under her butt in this breech position, so my cervix is still ripe for the kicking). I know when she is awake and when she is asleep, and I know that she is safe. There is no risk of her falling to the floor, or getting a cold. She's safely living in my body, and to date, caring for her only requires I care for myself. And that I got the hang of over the last 29 years.

I've just been feeling this sense of apprehension about having a real live baby, in my house, that I am responsible for 100% of the time. And I am pretty sure this is all normal. Then last night, a weight lifted and all I can think about now is holding her (but just me, I'm still not ready to share).

I could take this as some sort of cosmic sign that she is on her way shortly. That this calm that has come over me is her way of signalling she is also ready, and that it's ok to take the next c-section appointment that comes my way, instead of running screaming in the other direction. I could assume this means labour is imminent shortly, and that I should stay close to home. I could take comfort in the fact that I got here before she did, and know everything will work out for the best. Or, I could be honest and realize that this feeling stems from jealousy over having a few of my internet friends recently have their babies, and me wanting mine too!

I am actually pretty sure it's a combination of factors, one of which is certainly the jealousy. The good news is, I'm not getting impatient yet, I am just getting more and more excited. And I think this is a good way to be, after having felt the crazy mix of emotions as of late. I am over the loss of my natural vaginal birth experience, and am prepared to kick c-section ass. I am ready to meet my darling daughter, set my eyes on her for the first time and hopefully not be too drug induced to remember. I am ready to look at my husband, and give this child the name she will carry for her entire life. I am ready to be a mom, and see what kind of craziness that brings.

So if you need me, I'll be sitting over here, tapping my fingers and waiting :D

So far, I've got a dog but not a baby....

Thursday, March 18, 2010
Alright, let's get back to having our eyes on the prize here people...in less than a week (ok well the exact time is STILL undetermined but, we'll assume) this baby will be here. In my ARMS, relying 100% on me to care for her. I will be responsible for someone else's entire life, and that quite frankly it both exciting and terrifying.

Let's think about this from my point of view, remembering of course that I may be certifiably insane. The only other "life" I've ever been solely responsible for maintaining thus far is my little monkey Tuker. Ok, he's a dog but I call him monkey. And I can't say I've always been great at that. Forget for a moment that I revel in the fact that I can feed him for 3 months on only $100, or that on particularly lazy days I forgo walking him in exchange for yelling "go poop" from the porch and hoping he chooses to do it outside and not in. Forget that I throw bacon flavoured treats down the hall so I can sneak out unnoticed every morning, or that I lie CONSTANTLY by telling him I'll be "back in 5 minutes". We can forget that sometimes, I bring him along for the day on errands, so he can sit in the car, in hopes he again, won't poop inside. Also, let's forget that he has no only been saved 1 time from certain drowning death, but 4 different times, for different reasons and NONE of which I've done on my own. Forget all that, and let's look at some of the serious issues my Boston faces.

For one, the dog lacks a certain survival instinct that I can't help but wonder if I should have taught him. Seriously, if left unattended for more than 30 seconds, this dog would be dead. He sees large shiny objects, moving towards him on wheels and thinks he should go play with them. Roller bladers, skateboarders, cars, trucks, bikers, this dog will throw himself in the path of any rolling object, tongue out butt wagging, in hopes of some love. Ai ya. I've seen him put his entire face underwater, trying to get a ball (stick, rock, barnacle) and breath in. Eyes wide open, he dives under, and breathes as usual. And if he's not almost drowning that way, it's because he's jumped into a raging river and it's sweeping him out to sea. And if a bear wandered into my yard with her cubs right now, he's be licking them in the face faster than you can say "THE DOG!". One time, the hubs threw a GIANT piece of driftwood, but it slipped from his hand and instead of the dog moving from it, he watched it as it came at his head and clocked him so hard, he dropped and was actually paralyzed for a moment. He trusts everything and everybody (EXCEPT the sound of fireworks, which makes him put his head under the bed because, you know, if he can't see you he must have gone invisible) with a completely open heart. He loves everything in life, and I've not taught him to fear anything, even the scary stuff.

And beyond all these things, let's think about the fact that just this past January, my dog had the ENTIRE FRONT SET of his teeth REMOVED. Not 1 or 2 teeth, but 6; and the only reason there weren't MORE, is because he'd already lost most of them. How you ask? Well let's see, there are the times at the cabin where he drags giant driftwood 3x his size up the beach, and then proceeds to eat it. And there is his OBSESSION with tug of war, and my husbands obsession with doing parlour tricks with a dog lock jawed on the end of a rope toy - passing him through his legs and over his shoulder. There is also the simple fact that 2 grown adults and a tube of chicken flavoured toothpaste (which is perfectly disgusting by the way) cannot brush the 11 teeth of a 10 pound dog.

Anyway, I realize I will have a baby and not a dog, and that hopefully my child will grow up with a slightly more enhanced sense of reason and comprehension than my fartastic Boston, but it's what I've got for now. And while my dog is fundamentally healthy, overly loved and completely and utterly snuggled beyond all reason and necessity, I still leave him at home alone all the time and only worry he's eating the molding (which he does ALWAYS). While I've managed to keep him alive the last 6 years, I think I could probably have done a better job at raising him to be a good dog. Sure I have regrets about that, but at the end of the day he's a dog and he's cute, and I can always claim he's insane and not take responsibility. With a BABY, I am much more responsible for ensuring she grows up to be a well adjusted, respectful AND respectable little girl, young lady and WOMAN.

I'm being silly, I realize but in all honestly, my dog has been my baby all these years, and soon I'll have a real flesh baby, and I cannot use the things I've learned on him to raise her. Unless of course I want her to hump the arm of unsuspecting strangers and find it acceptable to eat from the garbage if it contains meat remnants (the answer to this is obviously no). I want my dog and baby to be the best of friends, but I need to figure out how to curb his incessant desire to mouth kiss....especially since he's got death breath. And most of all, I need to figure out how to make the dog know he's still my #1 little man, even when the baby is taking up every moment of every day from here on out. Bottom line is, my dog has been my baby so long, I just hope I can quickly make the transition to managing a helpless human, while still caring for him.

Ok seriously, this post just went all sorts of sideways. But it's late, and I've eaten too many peanut butter eggs to know what to do about it. I could go down and hit 'save now' and fix this into some sort of coherent non-sense tomorrow but instead, as a special treat, I'll let you have a sneak preview into my tired and overworked mind.

Enjoy...I suspect there is more insanity of this nature coming post-baby!

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She's having a baby....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Yup, that's me. I'm having a baby. In fact, my doctor thought I was going to have her tomorrow. Because his completely banana's receptionist (her name is Suffron) called me at 10:00am to inform me that my "surgery" is scheduled for tomorrow at 7:45am.

First of all, please do not refer to the birth of my daughter as surgery. I may have been referring to it as "gutting me" and "cutting her out of me" for the last 2 weeks, but I'm allowed. You are not. And second of all, please give me slightly more than 24 hours NOTICE about said surgery. Not 21.25. And third of all, you're insane and I know you can multi-task like no ones business, but could you pretend to listen to me?

I realize that my baby could, at any point, decide today is the day and we'd be off to the races, but that is OK. This is her birth, so she can dictate the time. But in absence of being afforded that possibility, I will control it and that means keeping her in my womb until the latest possible moment. And the latest possible moment is not 7 entire days before she is DUE! So no, she will not be born at 7:45am tomorrow, despite it being St Patrick's Day, and everyone thinking I should have jumped at that chance. I cancelled that appointment, and asked to be placed BACK on the wait list. She thought I was crazy (along with a few other people in my life) but thankfully obliged. I will now be waiting for a phone call, giving me less than 24 hours, but at least occurring, for my daughters BIRTH on Friday or Monday.

I am feeling much better these days. We met with the midwives this morning, and she was very optimistic about the c-section, and said something I hadn't really thought about properly. She said "no matter how this baby comes into the world, this is still her birth and a moment to be cherished. Whether she is born vaginally, or through an incision, it is her birthday, it is still special and we will still celebrate it". And she is RIGHT! And I am happy to hear that she will be there, doing many things to help this experience be positive, wonderful and exciting.

I also need to give mad props (yes I just said that) to 3 bloggy women who have helped me immensely over the last 3 weeks. I had to explain to the hubs that while he might not GET this whole blog/Twitter world I have found myself living in as of late, he should appreciate it. If not for all of my Twitter friends, and these 3 in particular, I definitely would have wallowed longer in my self pity than I did. I needed someone to help me pull my fat head from my tiny ass. And none of my real life friends have had an experience like this that could empathize and then kick my butt into gear. My real friends are awesome, and have helped me just get through the last weeks on a personal level, but in terms of getting out of my head and learning to keep my eyes on the prize, I need to say THANK-YOU to 3 very special people.

First of all, Mae from Parenting in Progress. She has spent a ridiculous amount of time emailing me, and really making me THINK about all my issues with the c-section process. It's 1 part tough love and 3 parts sincere desire to help me have a wonderful birth experience like she did with her daughter Piper. Due to a medical condition, Mae needed to choose between a c-section for her daughter, or a labour which would potentially leave her blind (to read Mae's story, go here: The Story and then here: The Slice...The Yank ). So while the catalyst for her decision was different than mine, she shares my experience of having to make this choice. And she has done wonders for helping me get over myself. So thank you Mae, because you have certainly stopped the flood of tears I was previously experiencing. And she is the first one to tell me that this birth will be special, no matter how she arrives, and she even beat the midwife to making me realize it. Unfortunately though, the midwife will be with me when Mae cannot, so I needed to also hear it from her.

Then we've got KristiMaristi who is super cute, super awesome and super funny. She not only walked me through HER c-section experience, which she went through for EXACTLY the same reason we are about to go through this one, but she sent me a photo of her little Milo's cute baby butt in the tub which made me laugh and smile on a day I couldn't swallow without the tear bubble popping up. Not to mention she is sending me a baby gift AND watches 16 & Pregnant with me...she's a friend and I'm so happy to have met her....even if it's been only virtually (and one day, it will be IN REAL LIFE).

And last, but certainly not least, is Emmie Bee . I think she is my first official twitter/blog friend! She's the first one to ever find me on Facebook and friend me. And let's not forget, she has hds 3, count them 3 babies via c-section. 2 of them just 2 short weeks ago. Emily helps me by telling me not to take it so seriously, and giving me pep talks, sometimes 140 characters at a time. She's shared her experiences with me, and helped me stop freaking out about major abdominal surgery. She's a friend, who also watches 16 & Preggo with me (and may have introduced me to it?), and who bought baby girl something from baby gap (how DID I get SO LUCKY?).  And when I make the trip to see Kristi, it will also be the trip to see Emily. And there will be perfectly round headed babies EVERYWHERE!

I honestly didn't know blogging would ever result in meeting so many wonderful people. I know, everyone says this, but I really wasn't expecting it. And I am so lucky that these 3 women, and many others out there (hopefully you know who you are) have helped me. Because honestly, I don't know where I would have found this kind of support, and I've truly needed it.

Stay tuned for updates on when Baby Chilla will be here....OH and I'm moving to my mommy blog...as soon as the design is ready...I will let all my Google Friends Connect followers know by message, but if you're a lurker who doesn't follow there, and you want to know where you can find it, please email me at babechilla@gmail.com for the URL. I won't be posting it here for my special reasons :D

And since you've read ALL the way down here, I think you should probably give me a click, because I've slipped off page 1 to #28, since I've stopped harassing people while being completely self absorbed this week.......and doesn't my baby deserve to come in on page 1?

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Reveling in my non-success.....

Friday, March 12, 2010
So I've tried a lot of things over the last 2 weeks to get this baby to flip. And although she has yet to flip, I feel proud of all the things I have done. I won't say I failed, because I don't really believe this is a failing or succeeding thing. Sure I tried, and sure she didn't flip, but this isn't a black or white situation. We don't know why she flipped, and in fact many a medical professional have studied this phenomenon and have yet to truly settle on why some kids do this. It could be an issue with my pelvis, it could have been a cord in the way, or she might just be that stubborn. Whatever it was is keeping her locked and loaded into the butt down position, and after 2 weeks of insanity, I need to just settle in and accept that my daughter would like to start her life mooning you all.

So, because I am proud of how hard I've tried to turn my little one, I am going to brag about it to the internets. And I do this not for reassurance, but because I really am happy with what I've tried and I think putting it out there will help me remember that. We've decided that unless she turns, which isn't that likely, we will be having a scheduled c-section....when we don't know, because we're currently on a c-section wait list, if you can believe that. This is probably a whole other post, so I'll save that for Monday; because Monday folks is my first official day of maternity leave. Which is another post of it's own.

But today, I revel in my non-success to boost my confidence, and remind me I did everything in my power to get back to the original birth plan. She was clearly not on board with it, and I refuse to believe she's upside down...I think she's just exercising her individuality already. I can be proud of her for that.

So here is the list of all the things I've done. And while I am not insane, I have been about 1 step from calling in a Voodoo witch doctor for the past 2 weeks. I figure if all these things don't work, maybe that will?

  • Acupuncture. I've sat through a total of 3 acupuncture appointments, and I have 2 others coming up. Total cost so far - $210. Total cost for all 5 - $350.
  • Chiropractor. I've been to a total of 3 chiropractic appointments, attempting the Webster Technique, and I've got 2 more coming up. Total cost so far - $145. Total cost for all 5 - $225. 
  • Moxibustion. If you don't know what this is, it's the act of taking a stick of mugwort root, lighting it like a cigar until you get a hot end, and then circling it over the acupuncture points for 15 mins 3 times per day. I told you, I'm 1 step away from calling the voodoo doctor. 
  • Pool Handstands. I've spent 4 evenings, floating around my girlfriends common pool area in my 2 piece swimsuit, doing at minimum 15 handstands per occasion. (I'll give you a moment to picture that, because honestly there isn't much about a 9 month preggo in her tiny pre-preggo bikini doing pool handstands that isn't hilarious). I've tried somersaults (and failed...all I accomplished was water up my nose. Apparently I am no longer 10), I've tried crawling in the pool, and I've tried to cat/cow in the shallow end. I swam laps, I did pelvic tilts, and I even hung upside down off the side of the pool for a few minutes until my bestie got nervous. 
  • Inversions and positions. Holy gawd have I done inversions. Whatever one I can find time for, for as long as I could do it. I've put my butt up on a pillow, I've leaned on my elbows on the floor, with my knees on the couch. I've done the cat-cow all over the house. I've crawled, I've done the knee to chest position. I have all hardwood and my knees and elbows are bruised to shit. I have inverted and positioned myself in every way imaginable. I have not slouched or sat comfortably in 2 weeks. My back aches from my stellar posture. I have exclusively used the yoga ball at work, and all but stopped sitting on the couch in exchange for a nice yoga pose on the floor. I have done every spinning babies move there is, and even made up some of my own for variety. 
  • Pulsatilla. I've tried 200ch pulsatilla for a few days in an attempt to flip this love of mine. This is a naturopathic remedy that was recommended to me somewhere along they way. 
  • Cold Hot Light Music. I've put the cold pack on the top of my fundus, with the heating pad on my pelvic bone. I've run the flashlight all over my lower belly, in hopes of coaxing her down there. Go towards the light bambino, go towards the light. I've played music near my hooha, and had the hubs talk low on my belly. I've done all of this about 15 times. 
  • Baths. I've tried to have baths. Someone told me this might work, so I gave it a shot. 
  • Visualization and connecting with the baby. I've tried to envision her flipping 200 times. I've rubbed my belly and tried to coax her over. I've told her it's ok to flip and get ready to come into the world, and worked on any internal feelings I have about trying to hold her close to my heart. I've laid in the calm quite, and tried to convince her this isn't about me, but her, and that flipping over is in her best interest. I've bribed her with My Little Pony's, I've appealed to her sense of reason, I've promised her the moon. 
  • Prenatal yoga and breathing. Bending, flexing and creating space for my baby to move.
  • ECV. The big guns. I went in, as you know from my previous post, and had my funny, buddah shaped doctor try to manually turn my baby. It hurt, and I feel bad for doing it to her. But I needed to be sure I tried it all. And this was my final hurrah. The medical attempt, the if all else fails move. 
And that's what I've done. I've sat and cried uncontrollably, I've had a relaxing facial, I had a glass of wine and I've talked this out with friends and family, all trying to let go of whatever is holding her back. 

Yet, here I sit, with a content, butt down baby who seems ready to stay content for quite some time, and deny us the opportunity to have a natural birth experience together. And I am trying to learn to let that go. 

She didn't flip over, so I'm flipping out...

Monday, March 8, 2010
So the version was horrible, painful and didn't work. They laid me out on a bed, after having me to the hospital 1.5 hours earlier than I needed. The nurse was fantastic, and I was really happy with my care. Too bad that didn't eliminate the pain of the procedure. I knew it wasn't going to be good, and to be honest, it was no worse than I thought. But at the end of the day, it was awful.

I laid on a bed in a small room, and after being monitored for an hour, the doctor (who is awesome) arrived and jumped right in. After a failed IV attempt, where it popped out of my hand vein, and a re-insertion into my arm, we were under way. She was reconfirmed breech for the 47th time, and the doctor talked his resident through the procedure. They flipped the bed, so I was once again upside down (which I have been ALL weekend in the pool, doing handstands in hopes I could help her flip). Then they made a fluid pocket by pressing with enough pressure to make a diamond, directly above my pelvic bone and he began.

At first, we went right, She's been getting herself transverse this entire weekend so I thought it might be a good option. They pushed, the midwife and the hubs rubbed my legs and feet to distract me, and I felt immense pain and pressure in my abdomen. I tried to breathe through it. Closed my eyes and envisioned being on a warm Hawaiian beach with my baby. They told me to relax, and I really thought I was but apparently I was tensing up all my muscles, including the leg ones. I tried to stop, but it wasn't me doing it, it was my body.

Right didn't work. We took a break, they put something in my IV to relax my muscles. I began to feel like a jello version of my former self, and we tried to go left. Left wasn't working. One more shot to the right, because 3rd time is always the charm. Except, it wasn't.

I tried to stay calm. I tried to stay quiet. I tried not to let the tears welling up in my eyes stream down my cheeks, but I failed on all accounts. The doctor simply said "I don't think this is going to work, and I don't think we should keep trying". Fair enough, he is the expert. He is the man who has been called "the breech guru", he is the person I'm putting all my faith and trust into right now. And to be honest, the feeling that my stomach cavity was going to snap off in my body, or that they were going to break my poor sweet child's neck was far too much to bare. I conceded. I gave in. I gave up.

Up I went, back into a flat position, so I could lay for an hour while they monitored contractions and fetal heart rate to make sure they didn't do anything to either of us. Luckily, we are both fine. Her more so than I am. We talked to the midwives, we talked to the nurses, I laid there and waited and then it was time to go. My lovely nurse came back in to let me go, and gave me a rose she'd been given for International Women's Day. She said I was strong and that any decision I made would be the right one. She told me to listen to the baby, and not to feel guilty.

Now I'm at home. Resting. Sitting here pouring over statistics about cord compression and baby brain damage in vaginal breech delivery, and feeling an insane amount of guilt about potentially choosing the c-section route. I am also insanely petrified of the c-section.

I could rationalize being told I didn't have the option for vaginal breech, I could feel ok saying I had a 'medically required C-section', but having to CHOOSE to go this route is killing me. 

I don't even know for sure what my hang up is entirely. I don't know WHY I am so adverse to the C/S but I can't feel good about choosing it. And it's making this all too hard. 

I feel like I'm not going to be able to bond with her if she comes up via an incision. I feel like I am not going to be able to take care of her or my family after it's over, because I am going to be recovering from 'major abdominal surgery' and that makes me so angry. I take care of everyone here - the husband, the dog, the house and to have to let HIM do everything for my new baby will just drive me insane. Even now, they told me to rest following the version, and as I sit here, him taking care of everything, I want to cry. It's not at all that he's incapable, or disinterested in helping. Quite the opposite. He is keen to take it on (though I'm not sure he gets how much work it'll be, since I don't). But that's my job. I take care of people, I take care of my family and I am certainly the one who should be taking care of my new baby. Me, that's my job. I am the mama and I am supposed to be strong and fix it all.....and if I've been cut open, I really can't. 

I'm afraid to be cut open. I am afraid to be awake, while they not only cut me open but remove a human from my body. I am afraid that my body will never be the same. I am a million times more afraid of a C-section than any form of vaginal birth. 

But at the same time, there are some parts of this I cannot deny. There are risks of cord prolapse, which could result in my child suffering short-term brain damage, or worse, something permanent like cerebral palsy. And yes, the risks are low, but you know what? So were the chances she'd be breech at this stage, let alone TURN breech at 36 weeks. Odds are not in our favour apparently, and when your child's mental ability and quality of life is at stake, screwing around with probability is not acceptable. 

I also need to think about my husband. He's willing and able to support me 100% in what I want to do. However, that's not to say he doesn't have a preference or fear. I know that for him, the pain and stress of watching me go through today was a lot. And that was a short couple of hours, and a relatively innocuous procedure. For him to participate in the birth of his child, when things are so uncertain and he's so nervous will eliminate any joy or gleeful anticipation. What was going to be a journey we took together to bring our daughter into the world, will now be fraught with fear, anxiety and probably terror. 

At the end of the day, the birth I wanted, the birth we wanted, is no longer on the table. Of course no matter what, we always faced the chance that our plan would go sideways and things wouldn't end up the way we hoped in terms of our delivery. The difference there is the blissful ignorance going into the labour, which would have allowed us to believe it was possible. We know now that it's not. We cannot labour in the comfort of our home, with the support of the doula, until we're ready to go to the hospital. We cannot use the birth pool to tame the discomfort of the contractions, and I can not opt for minimal internal checks and limited or no monitoring. No, a vaginal breech delivery means heading to the hospital much earlier, and turning the birth into the medical intervention I was so heart set on avoiding. And if I'm going to do that, then perhaps I should just go all the way over to the other side, and consider this a procedure. A means to an end. And then, just maybe I won't feel so traumatized over the thought of what I'm losing, and finally be able to focus on the important part, what I'm gaining - a daughter. 

I'm sitting on the fence, not knowing what to do, dying to simply fall off and have the decision made for me. But it's not going to happen. It's time I put on my big girl panties and did what is right, for me and for my family. At the end of the day, the only thing that's important here is the 3 of us. Everyone else's opinions and theory's about what we do to bring her into the world are irrelevant. We need to make a choice, we need to feel good about it, and we need to be prepared to face the consequences, good or bad. 

I think when I settle on a decision, I am going to be in a much better head space. I don't tend to do well with uncertainty, and this is not the time to be so confused. The right choice is coming, I just need a little more time to process this all. 

When right side up is upside down...

Thursday, March 4, 2010
36.6 weeks into this pregnancy, the hubs and I headed to our midwife appointment...blissfully unaware that things had changed with our baby girl. We sat, we talked, we covered the basics. How am I feeling, were we ready, and hey did you want to have a vaginal swab (GBS test)? Sure, what girl doesn't want a 6 inch swab up her vajay at 9:45am?!?!?!

All that was normal, and then the midwife did the heartbeat and position check, and my heart sort of sunk. Luckily her heart beat was clomping along like a little horsey at 130 bmp, so I knew she was ok. But the midwife was having a hard time verifying position. But hey, she's the student midwife so no problemo, let's get one of the pro's. Problem is, the pro couldn't tell baby girls head from her butt either. Egads!

Now we KNOW for a fact she's been head down for a long time. At 33.6 weeks, we confirmed she was head down. The midwife felt her "nestled perfectly in the pelvis. Head down ready to go". So I am not worried. No baby in their right mind would flip the wrong way this close to their birthday, that would be crazy, and stubborn and just plain difficult. Then again, this is my kid, who is already demonstrating just how much like me she is.

So I go for my "emergency ultrasound" at the most hilarious little clinic. It's in the heart of our Chinatown, on the 2nd floor of perhaps the most confused mall ever. Chinese food, herbs and cell phone providers all in one place... conveniently located next to the medical clinics of Wong and Wong. Whatever I'll take it, they had an appointment for me 2 short hours after the visit with the midwife. My darling friend G joined me, as the hubs was not able to, and waited patiently for me in the waiting room...

I was 100% sure the tiny little woman performing my scan would tell me that lump under my ribs was my kids bony butt and away we'd go. That was right up until she put the doppler on my lump and said "and that's her head".

"Excuse me, pardon, fuk the what, how stupid are you, did your degree come from a Fruit Loops box, you've gotta be wrong you insane women my kid would not flip like that" was sorta what went through my mind. There may have been a few more expletives involved.

As I lay there, choking back tears, sure this woman would not "get' why I was upset, I tried to wrap my head around this thought. My child is heads up, which is actually upside down in fetus world.

We left the appointment, I called the hubs and we stopped to get Chinese food, because really, when in Rome...

Back to the office me and my friend go, and I sit in my office the rest of the day, choking back the tears, whining incessantly on Twitter (but getting AMAZING support) and wondering what went wrong.

I also remembered back to the previous Thursday, when in retrospect is when the baby flipped. At 36 weeks 1 day, in the evening at my BFFs house, my baby flipped out. Literally. I had felt funny all afternoon. I'd been crampy, and feeling a tad on the nauseated side. I was starving by the time we put her daughter to bed and ate our dinner, and I knew something was going on. My belly had jetted out so far for a moment, on the opposite side that she'd ever been, that my bestie even commented. I felt crampy in my legs and even had a hard time walking back to my car when I left. It was certainly strange and I actually thought for a minute or 200 I might be going into labour. But it all went away and I thought nothing more of it. Now I know, that was her pulling a gymnastics move.

I spent the better part of Tuesday night crying uncontrollably. This is equal parts fear and confusion, and 9 month pregnant hormones. It is cruel and unusual punishment that your 10 months of sobriety has to end with a shit show of excess hormones. If a girl ever needed to slam back the better part of a bottle of wine, now is the time. I was just gearing up to get all excited about the arrival of my baby, and she threw me a curve ball. And I've never been a good catch.

I am ashamed to admit I felt a little anger towards her. Not really at her, but I just had this sense of "why NOW?" And I felt slightly less excited about her arrival. Not less excited to have her. I'm still just as excited to hold her in my arms, but I am now not looking forward to potentially going into labour. I am not looking forward to it because I don't want it to come unless she flips. Now there is a whole new sense of fear surrounding her arrival. Not the hopeful curious fear that comes with having no sweet clue what to expect, but a raw fear that exposed a nerve which is now perfectly poised to be struck repeatedly.

I've heard from everyone that no matter what, she will get here and I will love her. And I have no doubt about this. As long as she arrives happy and healthy, I will be ecstatic. I know it could be a lot worse, of course I am SO lucky that she's healthy in there, that she's made it to term and that my pregnancy has been complication free up until now. I know a c-section is not the end of the world, and that my life will not be ruined if I have to go that route. I know that bottom line, the most important thing is that soon, we will be a family of 3. But knowing all of this does not make me any less sad. My rational side is fully aware and happy, but my emotional side feels like I lost something.

There are 2 types of people - the ones who get how I feel and the ones who really don't. And I don't blame the ones who don't, because frankly, what is the big deal? And maybe somewhere the old me, the one that existed before my baby ate my rationality (thanks Mae for letting me know what happened!) agrees with them. It's not a big deal, who cares. I sometimes miss that girl. But let's face it, she was drunk a lot so probably shouldn't be trusted. This me, the one who has poured 9 months of heart and soul into researching birth stories, reading really motivating and empowering books about birth, and meeting with her midwives and doula with the excitement of a little girl getting her first dolly on Christmas, is crushed. I'm crushed because I'm not getting what I wanted, and maybe that is a lesson I should learn here. I think my times of living for me are over sooner than I thought. It's time to start living for my baby. This is not to say I appreciate her position right now, or am willing to concede to it. Just that there is probably a lesson in there somewhere.

All hope is not lost yet though, and this is how I stopped the tears. We've looking into all our options. I spent the better part of Tuesday and Wednesday evening inverted in some fashion or another. I've been trying to convince her that it will be better for HER if she flips. I know she's just a stubborn brat like me, and that is why she is going against the grain. So I need to appeal to her in the right way, in that this decision to flip has nothing to do with me and everything to do with making her life easier. And I've been trying to tell her that. But she's also a fetus, so I've promised her multiple pony's (and neglected to mention I mean of the "my little" kind). I've visited a chiropractor and started the Webster technique with her (2 more next week). This morning, I did an hour's worth of acupuncture and moxibustion. I will repeat this on Tuesday. Tonight I am going to go do handstands in my BFF's pool. I am going to try to keep calm and relaxed and hope that she chooses to flip back. And I'm about to go visit an OBGYN who specializes in both version techniques AND vaginal breech deliveries.If she doesn't flip back, then she wasn't meant to. And I will just have to accept that my kid is that darn special, even from -1 month old.

If it comes down to a C-section being the best and most safe way to bring her into this world, I will opt for it in a heart beat. But I will continue to seek out alternative this, and hope she flips naturally right up until the last milisecond before they cut me open.

Labour's no problem, I've got tattoos...

Thursday, February 25, 2010
No not REALLY? Are you insane? Clearly I don't believe this for one moment, but the thought did cross my mind this week.

We had our doula come for a visit last week, and it was absolutely amazing. We talked about our birth plan, our hopes and fears, our hesitations, and we ended with a relaxation technique that had us both ready to go to bed before she even left. It was really awesome. And as it turns out, I am more of a control freak than once assumed (which is a bit of a scary revelation, because I already KNEW I was a freak in many ways).

When talking about our individual fears, mine all stemmed from losing control. Am I afraid my vag is going to tear from butt hole to clitoris? Sure am I, but that didn't come up once.  What did come up is how I'm afraid to pee on my floor, poop in front of the hubs and be totally naked in front of a room full of people, while trying to push a watermelon out a lemon hole (as an aside, when I compare my baby to a watermelon, all I can picture is Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing, with that HUGE melon "uh uh I carried a watermelon". Now, I don't want my baby to be the size of that melon....but I'd take if it Patrick Swayze would come back to life as dear Johnny and teach me how to dance like that...just saying). I'm afraid of being able to let go and make the noises I need to effectively ease this babe from my loins, and I'm afraid that someone will judge me for any of it. I'm not a prude, or uptight in general, but there are a few things I'm less than comfortable with, and naked, sweating, grunting primal activities are tops on that list. I mean, obviously I am 36 weeks pregnant, so things like that have happened before, but this is different. I've said it before, getting this baby in there was a lot more fun than I anticipate getting her out will be.

I am also afraid of being able to ask for help, or relying on other people. Not afraid TO ask for help, afraid of not ALLOWING myself to ask for help. And I'm afraid I won't be able to turn off my mind long enough to realize certain things, like that the beard hairs around the bathroom sink just do not matter. Or that the baby won't notice if I haven't quite figured out which drawer I want her tiny baby socks to go in.

Mostly in labour, I envision myself trying to put the dirty dishes away or getting the doula a drink of water, while having a contraction. I anticipate stressing over the dust bunnies on the floor that the midwife might see, instead of reaching deep down inside and finding the strength to stay focused and breathe my way through the contractions. I suspect I will be seriously needing something, but be too afraid to ask for it, and will try to get it myself. I also suspect that my need to control will lead me right down the path to peeing on my living room floor as I try to make my way to bathroom without asking for help. And then? And then I will have to helplessly watch as some person I met only 8 short months ago wipes my urine from my 100 year old hardwood. And that's how control is going to make me her bitch, and slap me silly.

The good news about all these fears and worries is that the doula assures me, I won't have them. She gave me a lot of insight into the labour process, and how it works. She told me about the chemical changes in your brain that happen, which make you ditch your over thinking parts and access your more primal instincts. And I hope she is right. I will believe she is right, because I can't possibly control everything (I am coming to terms with this, I swear) and if there is one thing I should probably realize, it's that controlling control can only lead to bad things. That's like trying to microwave a microwave, it just won't work.

So what does this all have to do with my tattoos and labour? Absolutely nothing at all. However, all this talking with the doula led to something else, which was her asking me 2 questions:
  1. Have you ever experienced what you would consider a long period of pain or discomfort?
  2. What has been your greatest emotional challenge in life, and how did you deal with it?

The first one is pretty simple, and relates to the tattoo comparison. I've never broken a bone or had major surgery (knock on wood) so the ONLY thing I could come up with here, was the tattoo. The doula said this is good, since labour is nothing like a breaking a femur (which by the way, rates right up there with my top fears, after zombie apocalypse and biological warfare). It's not like getting a tattoo either, however, at least with a tattoo it's what you can consider "positive pain" in that, you put yourself in the situation and are looking forward to the end results. Much like labour. Only, last time I checked I didn't get to orgasm before my tattoos so making a baby scores one there.

Of course, with my tattoos (ok let's clarify, I have 1 on my upper back/neck that took about 15 minutes to do, so this does not count. I have one on my lower back, which I got when I was 19 and which took probably 2 hours, so almost counts. And I have 1 in the centre of my back, which took 2 sessions at 3 hours each, so this is the ONLY one I think is relevant in the pain department...and even that's questionable) I knew exactly what I was getting into, how long it would take and what I could expect. And this, I have NO idea. At least with this, the only man involved will be the hubs, and he won't be trying to shave any parts of my back, so that's a bonus.

The second question, well, I'm still trying to answer that one. Funny how it's taken my birth planning to have me realize exactly how great life has been. Not that I've ever taken that for granted. I've always know I was lucky to grow up in a beautiful place, with a wonderful supportive family and only a handful of douchebag "friends" over the years. However, until someone asked me to point out my biggest emotional challenge, I've never considered that I don't really have one. I mean sure, I've had my heartbroken by a parade of fuktards over the years, I've lost grandparents and felt the sadness that comes from watching my parents deal with the loss of their parent. But what's happened to ME that I would consider my greatest emotional challenge is hard to pinpoint. I know that she is asking me this so I can draw strength for it, because the next part of this question was, how did you deal with that. Unfortunately the short answer is drugs (no not cocaine or something, just wine, vodka and marijuana), and that is NOT how I want to deal with this challenge.

So I need to do some more thinking. Uncover something from my past that I believe challenged me, and think about how it was dealt with. Something more substantial then a couple of tattoos. Maybe that time when my pregnancy craving took me to the store for the Vanilla Carmel Latter Hagen Daz, and the store didn't have any....because that my friends, was VERY challenging ;)


Would you BELIEVE they reset our counters on Top Baby Blogs and that it actually HELPED me get onto page 1? I never thought I'd see the top 10 pages, let alone page 1. I've been there all week, and I know I can't hold on forever. But if you like me, even a little bit, or even if you just want to pretend to, or if you realize I've clicked the hell out of all those in the top 1-12 spots and want to thank me, then click below. I don't normally do this sort of shameless plug business, but everyone's doing it, and I would so jump off a bridge if they told me to (again, no not really). Anyway, just click this, that's how you vote. It would be swell. You can even do it twice, if you're that nice! 

Vote For Us @ topbabyblogs.com!

I'd really love to blog tonight...

Monday, February 22, 2010
But I will be ass deep in cardboard and vaguely descriptive pictorial Swedish instructions. Also know as assembling IKEA furniture.

As mentioned on Twitter, I expect bloodshed, tears and epic bruising, with a side of curse words, confused facial expressions and screams of frustration.

Hopefully this time, we will only be missing non crucial parts. As opposed to that one time, when we put the dresser together, only to find out our box lacked the actual bottoms to the drawers. In case you are wondering, bottomless drawers are not as fantastic as they sound.

Unless I'm in jail for stabbing someone with a phillips head, I shall return tomorrow. Down a finger  nail or two, and somewhat defeated by particle board furniture. However, I will at least be able to hide some of my nursery mess behind overpriced red cupboard doors, and store all the wine I can't drink on our new kitchen cart for the non-kitchen.

Wish me luck. Or at least sanity.

This one time, I was 33.5 weeks preggo, and I let some girl take pictures of me...

Friday, February 19, 2010
And they turned out like this!!

Tomorrow I am 35 weeks, say WHAT NOW?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Yes, exactly. How in the hell did that happen? I remember those excruciating first 12 weeks like they were yesterday. And really, it was only 7 weeks since I was 5 weeks 1 day when I peed on the stick that told me we had finally made a baby. And yet NOW, I'm almost 35 weeks?!?!?!?!? That's a mere 5 weeks from due date, and an entire 1 week PAST when my niece arrived. Translation? This baby could technically choose to vacate the ute at ANY TIME NOW.

Ok so I suppose that's always a possibility, but let's think about this for a minute. Some people are keeners. You know, those early rising types who say things like "I just love running at 530 in the morning, it's so calm and peaceful". Yes, of course it is you nutbar, you're the ONLY PERSON ON THE PLANET who willingly got out of bed at that time. Everyone else who is outside, it pretending to be awake, on their way somewhere they don't want to go, frantically looking for coffee. These are the kinds of people who consider "sleeping in" when their internal alarm clock (because these are also the people who don't need an alarm clock because they just "wake up naturally with the sun") has them sleeping past 8:00am on a Sunday. These are the people the hubs hates, and I don't wish to be.

Don't get me wrong. I will cease the day with the best of you, when there is something to be ceased. But I also enjoy those days where my internal clock can wake up, think "fuk fuk fuk I am late for work", then realize it's Saturday and I can roll over for another few hours. I still get up before noon, and generally in the single digit hours. The hubs on the other hand, he's the other end of the spectrum. He get's up in the single digit hours too, but they are not the ones that happen before noon.

Anyway, I digress as always. My point IS, my daughter may well be a keener, and think it's as good a time as any to be born. Carpe Diem and all that jazz. I mean, why not right? I am a go go go type. A never stop moving type. A "I can do it all and a bag of chips" type, who is always 10 seconds away from a completely overwhelmed breakdown, but who generally gets through things flawlessly and in good time. If she's got that streak, that part of her, that raging A-type side, there is nothing to say she won't channel it into a keener mentality, and decide to rocket out of my body ahead of schedule.

I am keenly aware of how not on a schedule a baby is, even from conception. And I realize that this "due date" is an arbitrary timeline put on me, so I have something concrete to obsess over. Obviously due dates are about norms and statistics, but of course, there are standard deviations in everything, and pregnancy is anything by normal. So I know that I am entering the grey area. That period of time where, fewer first time moms go into labour, but many second time and beyond moms do. The time where that pesky back ache or more intense Braxton Hicks may be something a little more serious. The time in which, my baby could decide she wants out. And there would be no reason to try to stop her.

In general, I am not scared of the prospect of having her in my arms. Petrified is probably a better word. Just kidding. While I am nervous about the first few moments of motherhood, I do strongly believe I possess the instincts that will allow me to keep her happy and healthy. And that's really all I can hope for at this point. Well adjusted and highly intelligent I will work out later. But just because I am not afraid does not mean I am prepared.

First of all, I am not DONE with pregnancy. Sure, I had a day last week where my feet swelled up to the size of tree trunks and I thought I may never walk normally again (I am now convinced the pregnancy waddle is not a result of widening hips, but of stumpy feet). Sleeping has started to become hit or miss. I have great sleeps still a lot of the time, but I also have nights where night sweats, bizarro dreams and burning excruciating hip pain join forces with needing to pee bi-hourly, to ensure I get a taste of newborn life in advance of her arrival. And sure, I am getting more and more comments about how huge I am, and the boys at work are starting to feel sorry for me for "carrying all that extra weight around". If only they knew HOW much. And maybe, between 33 weeks and 34 weeks, I gained an astonishing 4.5 POUNDS and almost passed OUT at the number, and have an insane amount of fear about what that scale will say tomorrow.And just perhaps I would enjoy a cold beer with my dinner, or a glass of wine before bed. However, with all these things going on, I am not done with being pregnant. I am still loving every moment of it. Even when she's got, from what I can tell, her big toe pushing out a rib and causing me pain, or she's practicing tai bo on my cervix, I enjoy it. Maybe I enjoy it less at that moment, but I still have not hit that wall of "I AM SO OVER BEING PREGNANT" yet.  I attribute this in a large part to the fact I am not 8 months preggo in the summer. Those with summer babies, you've got an entirely different experience on your hands.

Second of all, I am still working. I did this on purpose after friend upon friend shared with me their experience of being 8 days past due, and so insanely bored and frustrated. Taking off from work too early just means that if you DO go passed the illusive due date, you will go fuking bananas. Leaving work at say, 35 weeks, would leave me with a possible 7 weeks off, and no baby to care for, so I've chosen to leave at 37.5. This is great for saving me from that long stretch of anticipation and waiting, but not great for me feeling ready and prepared for her to come. I need to finish training my replacements. Yes, there is an S there because, we have hired 2 people to fill 1 pair of my worky shoes. The same shoes I could have used last week when my stump feet had me calling the hubs to bring me some runners. And I need to mentally separate work me from mom me before she comes. I had NO idea I identified with my job so much before I contemplated leaving it for an ENTIRE YEAR (yes I am SOOOOOOOO lucky to live in Canada!!!), nor did I realize how hard it would be to walk away from all the hard work I've put in, and leave it up to someone else to carry on. So, I need to get to that point, that date I set of March 12, to put my career on hold and enter the world of mom. I need it mentally more than anything. It's a milestone in my mind, and I think it's the only way I can get through this transition with any semblance of sanity.

And finally, I need a little ME time before she comes, so I can be the best mom to her from the moment she arrives. I need to have a little time and space between shelving work me, and becoming mom me, where I can sleep in, wash her clothes, do prenatal yoga and take in my life as I currently know it. It might sound selfish, and maybe it is, but I don't care. I just want to have a breather between the insanity that is my daily work life, and the complete unknown that will become my mom life. I need to take a little time to centre myself, before embarking on a new adventure. I need to clean the floors and prep the foods, and sip a decaf latte at the speed in which it was intended to be enjoyed. I need to hover in that free space, where I almost don't belong anymore.

So no, I am not ready. And hitting 35 weeks is causing me some angst and discomfort in the chest region. And not just from these giant C-cups I'm suddenly sporting (uh ya, when you fake a B cup your entire life, a C cup IS a huge deal...just saying). I am sure if we fast forward to the post that will come in 3 weeks, it will be "GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME WHY WON'T SHE JUST BE BORN I AM SO DONE WITH PREGNANCY" and I will revisit this and think, 34.6 week me, what WERE you THINKING?!?!

But for now, I'm enjoying my pregnancy and I just want her to hold on, for 5 more weeks (but not 7, ok?).

Birth Stories - The Arrival of OMyFamily's OBaby

Saturday, February 13, 2010
As we know, I'm scouring birth stories on the internet like a fiend. I am reading them, I am watching the videos, and I am borrowing books from the midwife, all to help me learn from other people's experience. I am trying to empower myself to believe that I am capable of doing this without drugs, and without fear. I am trying to surround myself with the positive stories, because as women we're forever told of the horror stories of labour. 

I think it's partly because misery loves company. People who have had crazy stories like to share them with anyone on the street. And don't get me wrong, I've had plenty of friends who have had plenty of different kinds of births. Hearing their stories is always welcome. I want to share in their lives, and hear about their experiences. I want to know how they brought their cute little bundles into this world, and whether it was short, long, natural or cesarean, I want all the details.

The details I don't want, are from the woman at the dollar store, whose cousin's best friends hair dresser tried to have a natural child birth, and ended up tearing so bad she had to have 15 stitches and 3 re-constructive surgeries. Or the waitress at the lunch place, asking me with a wince on her face when I'm due, and when I tell her, responding with "the good news is, once the baby is out, you have something to be thankful for, because labour is HELL and you want to die". 

These stories are not helpful, and they aren't productive. And some of my friends have had some pretty intense labour experiences, and not one of them has ever told me labour was hell or that they wanted to die. 

So when I read stories like the one from Allison at OMyFamily, I just melt. It's exactly the story I hope to be telling you all when we welcome our daughter into the world. 

Allison starts her 2-part story pretty much how I feel about this whole attempt at a natural child birth. You see, there is, for SOME REASON certain women who think those looking for a natural experience are either REALLY crunchy, or just plain smug. And neither has to be true. Sure either CAN be true, but let's face it, there is a huge grey area in there, where women like me and Allison (and a million others) sit. This is the area where we just want to try to let our bodies do what they were built for. And the area where we're afraid of big scary needles in our spines, temporarily paralyzing us from the waist down. 

In order to ensure you don't find her smug, Allison even prefaces her story with "If in the following story you perceive a twinge of smugness or any symptoms of i’msoholy-ididn’thaveanepidural-itis, please know that it was by no means intended"

She then goes on to say something you almost never hear, something so welcoming and unexpected, I've actually read it several times. Something I will be thinking about when I am in the dredges of labour and doubting myself. She said "You must believe me when I tell you that OBABY’S BIRTH WAS AMAZING. I want to shout it because I think that every sister, aunt, grandma, stranger, and otherwise well-intentioned woman who has ever intentionally or inadvertently scared the buh-geezus out of a first time mom regarding labor and delivery NEEDS TO HEAR THIS:


The rest of her story is a beautiful, heartfelt account of how birth can be a wonderful experience. I am 100% sure she experienced some level of pain, but she never even mentions it. The pain did not define the experience for her, and it is not the overall theme of her fairly long labour. She even manages to have a smile on her face in all the photos she's shared. From this story, I believe she truly enjoyed the process of bringing OBaby into this world, and I can only hope my experience is the same. Heck, I'd settle for almost as good. 

This is one of my favourite birth stories so far. So go, read it. Empower yourself to enjoy your birth, and get over the fear that's come from years of TLC programming, movie births and crazy people behind counters in retail locations. 

I'm not taking this pregnancy thing too seriously....

Friday, February 12, 2010
Ok before anyone reads the title, freaks out and tell me how I should cherish the life I am carrying and that pregnancy is very serious business, I just want to let you know I know that. And I am taking the serious parts very seriously. I have been taking prenatals since long before I got pregnant. I have been drinking my water, getting my exercise and trying to get enough sleep. I've put down the bong, stopped socially smoking and stopped proving that I am in fact, the skinny bitch who can out tequila shot any dude. I've upped my vegetable intake (which was hard, since I eat A LOT of veggies), I've begrudgingly given up negitoro rolls and salmon sashimi, steered clear of ham sandwiches and torn through piles of cheese, looking for the pasteurized brie. I have taken 1 tylenol, because I fell down the stairs and almost broke my ankle, and though I've been sick 3 times, I've only used my netipot to quell the symptoms. I've done all the things I can to make sure baby girl grows happy, healthy and strong and is not underdeveloped or ill when she is born.

At the same time, I'm having fun, enjoying life and reveling in my last few months as a wife, but not a mother. Well, I am a mother but for now, this baby is a breeze to care for. She does exactly what I want her to do at all times, never cries (well at least, I can't hear her) and allows me to sleep for extended periods of time with no disruption.

And I'd be lying if I told you all, that I've been a model pregnant lady, avoiding everything on that 17 page list of pregnancy don'ts. Sometimes a girl wants to cross her legs, or sit on her back or eat a hot dog. Sometimes she wants to stay up until 3am and eat a half a pizza before bed, or sit down to a tub of cream and refined sugar in the form of vanilla caramel latte hagen daz. And sometimes, just sometimes, she needs to clean the mothereffing bathroom, and the only products around have bleach in them.

I'd also be lying if I said I've had absolutely no alcohol since this baby was conceived. First of all, let's face the fact that I was off birth control for 14 months (and strangely on them for 14 years before) before we made this human. I was getting convinced making her was going to take more than a little bit of bumping uglies. So I went to my friends wedding the week before I peed on that 30th stick and had a few drinks. It was THE hottest day ever and I MC'd and we had my mom DD'ing us so....I partook in the frosty cold, free flowing MGDs. And I don't feel guilty. I know enough about this baby growing business to know that she suffered no harm from that evening. I also had no concept we might be pregnant. I may have been off the pill for 14 months, but as part of my Babe_Chilla style, I was being chill about the whole TTC thing. And that meant, we didn't save sex only during a window of 7 days per month, where I relentlessly stalked the Hubs around, thermometer in hand, yelling at him to impregnate me. No, that was the last thing I wanted. We just went off all forms of birth control, and let nature take it's course. And though 14 months SEEMED long at the time, it was actually perfect. It allowed us to buy and move into a house that could accommodate another person in this family, and really prepare ourselves to be parents (I mean, as prepared as one can be).

So there was that. And I didn't sweat it. I didn't do the thing many women do, which is panic, and Google like a fiend to ensure I hadn't caused FAS. Partly because I wrote a paper on FAS in school and I KNOW what causes it, and partly because I'd Googled that for friends already and knew the answer. And partly because I knew, there was nothing I could do about it anyway.

Let's also realize I got pregnant smack dab in the centre of summer. The first summer, in our new house, in which we have a FABULOUS deck. Many a cold, sweaty, limey corona were drank by my friends on that deck. Not to mention my favourite apricot beers and other fruit flavoured summer sensations. I made mojitos and sangria for guesst, and watched as they sipped them in relaxation. I lived through the Bud Lite lime phase (and side note: blech), when everyone was focused on finding some. I fake drank through a series of parties, when we hadn't told anyone yet. I did all that, and it would be a lie to say I wasn't dying to participate. And it's SO not about being drunk. It was just about being social. But I had my sparkling water, with a slice of lime, and 99.99% of the time, it did not phase me. But you know what? I've had a few sips. I've taken that newly cracked beer from the hubs, and taken a small swig. I've tasted a really great bottle of wine, and had a sip of champagne on new years. And quite frankly, I don't see the problem with that either.

And I'm not only lackadaisical about sipping (and I hope none of you are calling the local authorities on me, I haven't had more than a sip or two here or there). I've also had a few cups of REAL coffee. And this was a big one for me, because I like me some coffee. I'm not someone who will cease to exist without her morning Joe, but I do like it. And I've been having some pretty regular decafs. But I've also had the odd cup of real coffee, with caffeine and all. Because sometimes I wake up at my mommy's house on Christmas day, and she makes coffee and I want some.

And can we just talk about the birthing classes? Because honestly, what's with all the seriousness? I pride myself on being sarcastic, and sometimes even witty. I like to make light of every situation, and joke at inappropriate times (like when I made the joke to the ultrasound tech who told me to 'shake the baby into position', and I replied "Ha I guess this is the only time in my life it will be considered ok to shake my baby hey?". Apparently, that was not funny. Could of fooled me). So when it comes to sitting in a room for an ENTIRE weekend, talking about the journey my daughter will take to exit my body, via a hole which, by my calculations is never going to be as big as she is even now, one needs to make a few jokes. As we sat, watching videos made circa 1985, of scary mullet women with big bushy beavers screaming as they pushed a pruney little purple thing out (another side note: they sure don't look like cute little pudgy humans on the way out!!), holding our fake babies, one can't help but crack a few one liners. And half the class was right there with me, while the other half? Not so much.

As we split into our day 2 groups, to do some infant care stuff, with our fake babies, my group proceeded to laugh hysterically throughout the entire practice. We dropped our fake babies, mixed them up with each others and made them cry. We took the "wrap them like a burrito" comment literally, and rolled the baby up until she couldn't be seen. We joked about wearing ear plugs when they cry too much, and saving money on diapers by only changing them one time per day. We joked and my sides hurt I was laughing so hard. My sides hurt, my eyes were watering and I was getting dirty looks from the other side of the room. Apparently people, this is serious business and should not be taken lightly.

And I agree wholeheartedly but COME ON. If we can't have fun with our fake babies, as we all sit petrified of never having a working vag again, and scared we'll be that person who puts the baby down and drives away, then what's the point in living?

All in all, I've been enjoying my pregnancy, but I've been approaching it in the same way I approach life - not too seriously. And I am actually proud that part of this journey has been me really trying to let go of the stressypants parts of myself, and go with the flow more. I think this will only help me as a new mother. Because being wound up, up tight and overly stressed seems like the worst thing you can do to keep your child chillaxed. I want to have one of those babies who is seemingly un-phased by the world around them. Who just coo and smile and cry so seldom it's a complete non-issue. Many of my friends have these babies, and I want to so much. And the thing all the parents of these wonder babies have in common? The ability to just let it go. Sure, no two couples are exactly the same, but they all have a quality about them that exudes confidence and makes you feel relaxed about parenting. And I can't help but assume this is the reason their kids are not stressed out.

I just hope I can remember all that, after no sleep, when she's crying and I don't know what to do.