Monday, June 29, 2009

Soon to be footloose and fancy free again. Sort of.

As I Tweeted earlier in the week, Teddy's passport came in! The photo is adorable (it can be seen on Dave's blog) and it's good for three years. And I am thrilled -- this means that we can GO PLACES AGAIN!!

At the risk of alienating any readers who don't know me in person (hello Maggie and Salome Ellen; my remaining readership consists of about 8 people including my close friends, my husband and my parents), I will add a disclaimer. I KNOW that the upcoming whine is coming from someone in a position of privilege. I know how fortunate I am to have the means to do all the things I am about to discuss and I am incredibly thankful for it. We are financially responsible and we prioritize other things in our lives so that we can afford to travel as we do. And travelling is my THING, my favourite thing. Dave's proposal centred around our future travel plans (ooo...I will have to blog about that someday), and we've spent hours talking about where we dream of taking kids. Well, I've been the one talking while Dave listens. This will not surprise anyone who knows me, either!

Since we can now legally cross borders, and since Dave's firm is closing all offices for the two days after Canada Day (5 day weekend!), we are heading off to Vermont for a long weekend of R&R (aka shopping and siteseeing, eating and drinking) with my parents. I CANNOT WAIT. I am nearly vibrating in anticipation. Because, you guys, this is the LONGEST I HAVE EVER GONE without going somewhere that isn't the home of my parents, my Nonna or my inlaws.

As I have already mentioned, travel is my thing. I've been to 9 provinces, 33 states and 28 countries on 4 continents. My parents and I started travelling in earnest by the summer of 1985, just before I turned eight. Thought we'd vacationed a lot before that, we began going on 2 big trips per year, and lots of little trips in the meantime. This continued all through elementary and high school (with me adding school trips) and University (again with trips for conferences and studying abroad). This travel-lust (not wanderlust, as I don't really want to move) has only intensified since school ended and I started having an actual income. And since we got married - watch out. For posterity, here's where I've been since October 2004:

Year 1 (2004-05): Mediterranean Cruise (Italy, Croatia, Greece, France, Spain), Windsor (woot; Paul and Heather's wedding), Michigan (Ben & Erin's wedding, Katie visit), Las Vegas (Dave's 30th),Vermont.

Year 2 (2005-06): Halifax, Caribbean cruise (St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Bahamas), Vancouver (twice), St. John's, Baltic Cruise (England, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Germany, Denmark), Michigan, Bermuda.

Year 3 (2006-07): Las Vegas, Vancouver, Calgary and the Rockies, Vermont (twice), St. John's, Edmonton (Deepa & David's wedding).

Year 4 (2007-08): Las Vegas, Chicago, New Zealand, Australia, Vermont, Alabama and Georgia, Vancouver, Alaska.

(This only includes trips that required a border crossing, a flight or a car trip longer than 7 hours. This doesn't include trips to Montreal, Quebec City or Toronto -- there have been many, nor camping trips, etc.)

And since August 2008 - I've been nowhere. Poor Dave has been to New Jersey twice for work. There's a very good reason why we've been homebound, and he's totally worth it. But I am ITCHING TO GO!!

Happily, we have a number of trips planned for the upcoming months. And not a moment too soon. Teddy is scheduled to hit another province (his third, since we live on the QC border), 6 states and 3 other countries before his first birthday. Passport stamps, here we come!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Teddy's Birth Story - Part 2

If you're curious - Part 1

While waiting for the doula(s) to arrive, I figure that I'll try the bathtub, despite the membrane rupture. Sadly, it doesn't do much for me. I displace too much water to really submerge, and the contractions themselves are not eased. "Eh," I think, "it was worth a shot."

At around 6 p.m. on the 19th of January, Zoia (Doula #1) arrives. She has her doula bag of tricks, and she spends the first 15 minutes or so observing me as I work through contractions (mostly standing up, swaying). She suggests that I try to get through contractions while lying down, and that I eat, though I have no appetite. Dave pulls together a variety of munchable things like hummus and pitas, and I try to snack on them during the contractions which are still 7 or 8 minutes apart. I don't eat much, but I do try.

I then settle in to a nest of blankets and pillows on the family room floor. Zoia breaks out the absolute BEST trick for this part of labour - counter pressure on my lower back, which combats the pain due to the pelvis expanding as the baby dropped lower. This, along with Dave holding my hands and encouraging me, helps immensely for the next couple hours. I am coping so well that I spend the time between contractions asking Zoia about her adolescence in Bulgaria and her wedding plans. As the time wears on, though, I ask fewer questions between the contraction and I rest more.

At 8 or so, the phone rings; it's my Mom. Dave and I had decided that, while we wouldn't lie if anyone called while I was in labour, we wouldn't call anyone with the news. Dave relays this fact to my Mom and promises to update her when things happen.

After 9, Shannon arrives. She's more hands-on than Zoia, and she wants to see evidence of the 'bloody show', etc. She's a little surprised that so little is happening on that front, as well as the fact that my contractions are still only 7 minutes apart. She also observes me for an hour or so, then she suggests that I take something to relax and help me sleep (as recommended by my midwife a few hours before). I take a gravol (the only meds I'll take; incidentally, it does NOTHING) and Dave and I head up to bed while Zoia and Shannon crash on the couches in the family room.

Dave and I are upstairs for about 20 minutes when the contractions start intensifying. I try to get through them on my own, but the breathing turns into moaning and the moaning just gets louder and louder. After 45 minutes or so, Shannon and Zoia head upstairs. They've noticed that the intensity of the contractions has increased (based on the moans) and they have devised a new plan. Shannon will do the first shift with me while Dave gets some sleep in the guest room and Zoia on the couch. Then, after a couple hours, they will switch.

Shannon hops into bed with me and my Chux pads and spends the next two hour applying counter pressure and giving me vocal cues while I labour. She starts guiding me in my moans, suggesting a particular tone at which to emit sound; I echo her. This is amazingly helpful. I write around during the contractions, and sometimes suggest changing positions. The position changes are awful, but Shannon reminds me that you need to go through 3 contractions in a new position to see if it's helpful. None of the positions I suggest feel more comfortable than standing up or lying down. The toilet contractions are not fun, but a necessary evil as I needed bathroom breaks ever half hour or so.

The contractions continue to intensify but do not get closer together. At around 2 am, Shannon tags out and Dave and Zoia take her place. Dave applies counter pressure (ineffectively at first; I am short with him and feel awful about it) and Zoia coaches me. After about half an hour, they trade roles. The contractions continue to get stronger and I struggle to relax through them, trying to snatch a few minutes of sleep in between. The tension in my body is leading to serious lactic acid build up and my muscles ache and shake. But the contractions do not get closer together. At around 3 am, the intensity level hits a high and stays there. I fight panic, as I start to doubt my ability to persevere, to get through.

Right around this time, Shannon comes back and gently verbalizes my suspicions - she is worried that I stalled in prodromal labour. She and Zoia fear that I may not be progressing and may be getting exhausted, and I totally agree. Shannon and Dave head to the phone to check in with the midwife on call (Ann) and describe the situation. She thinks the same thing, and suggests that, if nothing changes, we meet at the hospital at 8 am. to discuss options.

I labour for another hour in the bed, moaning and writhing. I develop a terrible case of the shakes. The contractions, however, continue to be 6 or 7 minutes apart. This period of time is the low point for me, frustrated and fearful that this, after nearly 24 hours, is only the beginning of the process. I fight panic and despair. Finally, I can take labouring in the bed no longer. I move to the toilet in the ensuite and stay there, trying to fend off the immense pelvic pressure I feel. Dave, Zoia and Shannon crowd in the doorway. It is 4:45 am.

"Guys, I am not sure how much more of this I can take!" are the first words out of my mouth. It's true; my uterus has now been contracting for 24 hours while I have only slept in 3-5 minute intervals in between the pain. I am shaking, on the cusp of exhaustion and my contractions are still not in the 'active labour' timeframe. I admit that I may need to consider interventions, specifically pain relief so that I can sleep. Despite my previously stated desire to avoid interventions, all three completely understand my views and are incredibly supportive. Shannon volunteers to call Ann again. Despite the late hour and the fact we'd called her one hour before, I acquiesce.

Shannon, I discover later, is totally stymied. The contractions are off, but I am showing signs characteristic of transition. She and Ann know each other well, having worked together hundreds of times. She fills Ann in on the situation and tells her "I need her checked!". Ann agrees that things sound a bit weird, and agrees to meet us at the hospital at 6 am. (Had my contractions been more consistent, Ann would have come to the house to check me there.)

Shannon relays this info, and I develop a new scenario in my mind. I figure that I'll get admitted at the hospital, and will likely start getting Pitocin. As exhausted as I feel, I am sure I'll need an epidural; I hope that it will not escalate to a c-section. My prayers for strength, happening throughout the labour, intensify at this point.
Dave and I get dressed (Dave throws on clothes over his pjs) and we grab the car seat and hospital bags. The preparation takes time, as I keep having contractions. We bundle up against the temperatures (in the - 20 range), grab our bags, and get into our cars. It is 5:45 a.m.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Teddy's Birth Story - Part 1

And here we go - Teddy's birth story in as many installments as it takes.

The weekend of January 17th and 18th, I'd been feeling off. Now, I'd been reading 'birth stories' for years, so I knew that I might be heading towards delivery. I also knew the Oxytocin levels peak around 3 a.m., so contractions could kick up in the night only to die down with the light of day. This is what began happening that weekend; irregular contractions in the night, nothing but Braxton Hicks during the day. On Sunday the 18th, I felt particularly awful all day, with Braxton Hicks contractions I checked in with doula Zoia at about 8 p.m., just letting her know what was going on. I also hit the sack early, just in case. I got up about 1,000,000 times in the night to go to the bathroom, but that was no different than usual.

At about 5:00 a.m. on Monday the 19th, I brushed off the sleep and realized that the contractions I'd been feeling all night were fairly regular and increasing in intensity. I started timing them -- consistently about 8 minutes apart. Off to the bathroom I went...and noticed a bit of blood. Since I'd had no blood since my last period on April 15th, 2008, I figured that this might be it.

I let Dave sleep until 7 (his usual wake-up time) timing the contractions all the while. They got a bit closer - 7 or so minutes - but were still manageable. When Dave woke up, we decided he'd work from home for the day, and he took over the timing. I had some breakfast, and made my first key discovery -- the only position in which I was comfortable during contractions was STANDING UP. This would be consistent throughout labour. So much for all the time on the birthing ball, and building up strength on my hands and knees!

After breakfast, I felt the urge to move around. Being January in Ottawa, outdoor walking was not really an option (especially since none of my winter coats could close over my enormous girth). I wandered around the living room and dining room for a while, but ultimately decided to walk on the treadmill to 'get things moving'. I'd been on the treadmill for about 5 minutes when I felt a slight gush. "Uh oh," I thought to myself. "I haven't had incontinence at all during the pregnancy. Is it starting now?" Then I realized - my water was breaking! Little spurts came out during contractions, though, and not any other time. I suspected a hind water break, but didn't think too much about it.

At this point, we paged our midwives and discovered that Ann was on call. She agreed that it sounded like my water had broken, and asked us to meet her at the hospital to confirm. We arranged to meet at the hospital around 11 for a check.

By the time we'd arrived at Montfort Triage, it was clear that labour wasn't firmly established yet; my contractions slowed down as I moved around. They were also still manageable. Erin, the midwifery student, hooked me up to the monitor to see how the contractions were, and she listened to the baby's heartbeat. The heartbeat was strong and consistent (another trend), but the contractions weren't. Ann came in and did a swab to see if amniotic fluid had been detected. After the swab showed a positive, we discussed our options.

Based on the irregular contractions, it was clear that true, active labour hadn't started yet. Ann didn't want to do a check because she didn't want to risk introducing bacteria into the uterus due to the ruptured membrane. She sent us home, saying that if labour kicked in before 8 a.m. the next day (i.e. 24 hours after the reported rupture) we'd be in business. If not, we'd come back to the hospital and discuss next steps.

We headed home from the hospital, contractions having started up again. Back in the house, I set up a nest of blankets on the floor in the family room; Dave hung out on the couch. We kept timing contractions, which were once again consistent at 8 or so minutes apart. At this point, it was about 2 p.m. I fielded a call from Shannon, our other doula, who advised both of us to sleep.

Dave managed to doze off for a while on the couch, but I was getting more and more uncomfortable. I alternated lying down between contractions with standing up and swaying during contractions. And I just couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep.

As day turned into evening, I began to realize that my coping mechanisms weren't cutting it any longer. Dave awoke, and I asked him to call Zoia and ask her to come over and help out. When we called, she let us know that she was already heading out the door to come by. The sun sank as we waited for Zoia to arrive; Shannon would be heading over a couple hours later. We checked the clock - 5:30 p.m., and contractions were consistently 7 minutes apart.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Five months

It's June 20th, the day that Teddy turns 5 months old. It's been a crazy and interesting past month.

The Unusual

The 19 week developmental spurt plus the start of teething have made his sleep less consistent than in the past. Not to mention all the spit up that is caused by swallowing copious amounts of drool. During this stretch, his appetite diminished and he cried more often (which still wasn't much, but a lot for him). He rubs his face and ears, and gets the rash on his cheeks when his mouth hurts. And he shoves everything into his mouth. His chewing objects of choice are his fingers, without a doubt.

Return to the Usual

As I've said before, Teddy is a sunny and easygoing kid. He coos, he smiles, he laughs. He's a good eater and sleeps fairly easily. He goes down for a nap 2 hours after he awakes, then 3 hours after that nap. He'll have a quick catnap in the early evening, then go down for the night around 8. Now that teething has been thrown into the mix, he'll have the occasional 20 minute stretch where he cries and rejects food, only to eat ravenously 2 minutes later. But everyone who spends time with him remarks on how easygoing and sweet he is. We are incredibly lucky. Even after Tuesday night, when I was going to go to Bingo with my mother-in-laws and the aunts-in-law...and Teddy had a freak out 10 minutes before we were due to leave (and 40 minutes before Daddy got home). I didn't go (I've never acutally been), not wanting to saddle poor Poppy with a freak out. Amazingly, he'd calmed down about 5 minutes after departure time. Was it deliberate? Maybe he just didn't want me to get addicted to dabbing?

The hilarious

Teddy rolled over (back to front) for the first time on the 18th. He'd been on the cusp of doing it for days, and his sleep was a bit off. He was being thwarted by his pesky bottom arm; he'd get his entire body over, be laying on his stomach, but unable to complete the roll because he couldn't pull his arm through. He finally got it, landed on his tummy and grinned like a fool, they proceed to scoot on his stomach. It was a touch late, but as Dr. Kereszesi said, "He's got a lot of body to roll!"

He also spends as much time as he can putting weight on his feet and shifting them forward, trying to take steps. It's adorable, but a wee bit disconcerting. I'm not ready for him to cruise any time soon!

Once you get him laughing at something, it's hard to stop. He just grins and chortles and slugs of drool roll down his face.

As Bisnonna says, he's a treasure. We'll keep him!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Backstory -- Pregnancy Recap Part 3

In early November, we made our last long car trip of my pregnancy. We headed to Georgetown because my mother- and sister-in-law were throwing me a shower. It was the first time (but certainly not the last) that we were overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends and loved ones. The baby was given some amazing stuff at this shower, and everyone had a great time. Back in Ottawa, my friend Tania threw me a book-themed shower, Martha Stewart-syle; it was a blast. And the ladies in Almonte threw my Mom a 'Grandma' shower. Not to mention the gifts from neighbours, our work colleagues and other friends and family. And my parents - my Mom in particular - kept (and keep) scoping out bargains in terms of baby clothes and toys. We are incredibly blessed.

December...well, December wasn't my favourite month. Work got incredibly stressful (through no fault of my own, which was SUPER FRUSTRATING), and OC Transpo went on strike. Dave and I commute in by bus, but no buses were running. Ottawa was effectively paralyzed for TWO MONTHS while the union and the city squared off. Spending hours and hours in the car in traffic wasn't a lot of fun for me, 34 weeks pregnant and up. YUCK.

All of this combined to bring some of the more comical notes of my pregnancy - Braxton Hicks contractions in the office. In order to quell them, they tell you to lie down for AN HOUR. Um...not quite possible. So, I'd grab my HUGE coat, and lie down on the floor of an absent colleague's office for 15 minutes, praying that no one would walk by and think I'd collapsed. GOOD TIMES.

The Christmas long weekend was great, and because I had a few personal days to burn, I only had 2 days in the office after Christmas before the official start of my maternity leave. I was off 2.5 weeks before my due date, and it was great. I had a few baby-related tasks to do -- laundry, pictures for his room, etc. and I started to SLOW DOWN. Water retention got me in the end, and I started sporting some uncomfy cankles. I was still spry, but I was ready to no longer be pregnant.

All this time, the baby continued to measure EXACTLY on for dates. Each week, we'd measure my uterus and it would have grown 1 cm (the textbook rate). The baby had been head down and left occiput anterior for ages, the prime position. And I met with a naturopath to get some remedies for a birth kit. I no longer had pj pants that fit, but I'd been practicing on the birthing ball, drinking my red raspberry leaf tea, and stretching. I'd cleared my 'To Do' list. By the 18th of January, I was ready.

Stay tuned for info on the 19th and 20th...aka the Birth story!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Georgetown Posting Phenomenon

So, you may have noticed that I am posting a lot this week. I am, in fact, writing two to three posts a day and scheduling them to post later. What is causing this explosion of verbiage? As Beth noted in an earlier comment section - it's the Georgetown phenomenon. Who knew?

I've been reflecting on the reasons for the posting proliferation. They are threefold.

  1. Several extra pairs of hands to help with the baby related stuff during the day (while Dave and our friends are at work). I get that when I'm visiting elsewhere, but it's nice. As a result, I can do things while Teddy is awake. Not that there's much to do (see next point...)

  2. While I am at home, I feel compelled to DO STUFF while Teddy sleeps. Stuff like laundry and meal planning and finances and, and, and... When I visit my parents, my Mom and I always have projects and my Dad and I have things to talk about and plan. But while I am here, I don't have that much to do. I help with meal planning and do our own laundry (mostly Teddy's stuff), but beyond that? Nothing much.

  3. My house and my parents' home contain things that belong to me - books, etc. Here, the only things that are mine include the books I bring with me. I have easy access to the computer, though -- it's in the room where we (and Teddy) sleep. I have a laptop at home, but I have so many other things to do while there!

So, I am just churning out the content. I figure that I'll write as much as I can and leave it in the drafts folder. The bulk of the stuff I am writing deals with pregnancy/labour/Teddy's early days, so I can post that intermittently. I will continue to document day-to-day stuff in real time, though.

Speaking of real time content, we are having a lovely visit. We're hanging outside while Poppy works in the yard. We're going for walks with Nanny to the mall and to visit the great aunts and uncles. Visiting friends once Daddy gets home in the evenings. The weekends will be packed, but it's been great to see lots of people.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baby products we love

As we approach the five month mark in our parenting journey, I wanted to document the things we've loved and/or found useful. I love reading over these lists, so I thought I'd share ours. I have no affiliation with any of these companies, I just like their products. These are things we use on a daily basis. I am not kidding - daily basis. I've loosely grouped the list as well.


Arms Reach Co-sleeper - he still sleeps in it, and it is great to have his bed attached to ours. We have the mini, which is fine for us. Get a spare sheet to combat blowouts.

Swaddle Me (Kiddapotamus) - the swaddle for dummies. It was wonderful for our sleep deprived selves, and helped Teddy sleep better as he couldn't startle himself awake.

Miracle Blanket - as Teddy got older, he could easily bust out of the velcro wrap. This blanket is an awesome option. We still use it, though he breaks out of it often now.

NUK pacifiers - orthodontic, and a big hit. They help him soothe himself to sleep.

FOOD and/or POOP

Bibs with snaps - Teddy can pull off the ones with velcro after a few washes, so the ones with snaps are amazing. Thanks, Mom, for picking up a bunch at M&S in Dover.

Playtex Nurser bottles and Drop-In Liners - yes, less environmentally friendly. But BPA free and require no sterilization (except for the nipples). They heat quickly, the bags collapse as the baby drinks so lead to less gas, and the nipples are HUGE (Teddy chomps on the nipples so pulls traditional nipples right out of the rings). I loved these as a baby (I was breast-fed and supplemented), and so does my kid!

Glass pitchers in which to store expressed breast milk - with my oversupply problem, I need to mix up the milk to prevent a fore/hindmilk imbalance. Glass works best for storage, as the fat sticks to plastic too much.

Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage bags - thick, two zipper closures, win! And they lay down flat when you freeze them for better storage.

Pampers Swaddlers, which fit him best. We use baby washclothes as wipes, and cheapo regular-sized clothes to block the boy pee. Also, having a change station set up in our bathroom has been amazing. I'm hoping to switch to cloth soon, though, so I'll keep you posted.

OXYCLEAN FOR BABIES!! This stuff can remove even the worst poop blowout stains.

Sleepers with snaps, and outfits with snaps at the bottom, facilitating easy changes.


Fisher Price Papasan Cradle Swing - I got this (new in the box) from the local consignment store. Teddy prefers the side-to-side motion, though he also likes the front-to-back. This swing offers both. We use it daily.

Safety 1st Bouncy Seat - another consignment store steal. I like this because it sits upright a bit more than some of the other bouncers.

Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker - Teddy loves this chair; he can rock himself and it has toys the dangle over so he can reach.


Combi EX frame stroller - it's so easy to put the Graco Safeseat into it and go.

Graco Safeseat - heavy as heck, but it goes to 30 lbs and 32 inches.

Columbia backpack diaper bag - Daddy friendly, snaps that attach to the stroller, insulated compartment for bottles. Love it!

Bucket sunhats - the best for blocking the sun and for covering ears.

BECO Butterfly II carrier - my newest love. Dave has the ERGO, also a hit. I'm a shorty, though, and the ERGO clips hit me right in the boobs; the last thing I need are more squished ducts! The BECO is more complex to get on, but it is slimmer, has an infant insert (for use next time, since we got it when Teddy was 4 months), and fits me like a glove. Both it and the ERGO allow the weight to be distributed on your hips, so you don't get back strain. I wear Teddy for about 2 hours each day and haven't had a single back issue. I LOVE IT! Plus, the design I have (River) is awesome.


The Wonder Weeks, by Hetty Vanderijt and Frans Plooij. These Dutch researchers highlight the 8 enormous cognitive leaps that infants undergo, and describe the behaviours associated with each. They also talk about the milestones children will hit after the leaps. It makes the unusual behaviour prior to the leap more interesting and bearable and less confounding. A must read.

I'm sure that we'll have more to add in the near future. If any of you reading are parents, feel free to share your loves, too!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Backstory -- Pregnancy Recap Part 2

After a wonderful trip to the West Coast, I returned home with a BRUTAL cold. Being pregnant, my only treatment lemon water. Woot! That was the only illness I had while pregnant, though, so I can't complain.

It was right around that time that I finally clued in - the weird 'indigestion feeling' I'd been having was actually the baby moving! In my defence, it was hard to tell, The 18-week ultrasound had shown us that I had an anterior, low-lying placenta. The bulk of the baby's early movements were masked by the placenta, so I didn't feel much until around 22 weeks. As time went on, the baby's kicks and movements became much more noticeable to others. Dave developed a ritual -- each night before bed, I would lay on my back and Dave would have a chat with the baby. "Hello, Humpy!" each conversation would start. The baby would respond enthusiastically to his voice (and/or the flashlight that Dave would shine on my growing abdomen).

I loved the second trimester and the majority of the third. And since Fall is my favourite season, it was a great time! Work was a bit wacky (factors unrelated to pregnancy), but I felt great and was in good spirits. And boy, did I start nesting! Car seats, co-sleeper, crib (thanks, GrandmaNonna and Grandpa!)...the baby stuff kept piling into the 'drowsy lavendar' room (a colour I'd chosen when we moved in because I thought it'd be perfect for a future nursery). The cats were sad to lose their 3rd bed on which to sleep, but Moe acquired a new sleep spot - the change pad that's atop the bureau (from my childhood). I have yet to change Teddy on that thing, but Moe sure sleeps there a lot!

The major happening during this period was the change to my prenatal care. Despite a nagging feeling that it was the wrong choice, I started to see an OB/GYN at 5 months. I specifically chose him because (a) all the online ratings said that the midwives loved him and (b) he delivered at the hospital near us with the new birthing centre, the hospital at which the midwives have privileges. He was a nice man, but during my 2 appointments the bulk of my care was with med students who could not find the heartbeat with the doppler (they were convinced that MY heartbeat was the baby's), then measured the uterus 4 cm off. They couldn't really answer my questions, either.

In the midst of this, we headed to a weekend of prenatal classes through the Ottawa CEA (who were AMAZING). Nerd that I am, I had been reading up on this stuff for a while so didn't have too many surprises. The classes were great for Dave, though. Also - Brandy, the doula and childbirth educator who was running the classes, let us know that both midwifery groups in town had spaces for January births. Then, on break, she let me know that, based on my questions and the concerns I'd expressed (not wanting interventions if possible, wanting to avoid pain meds and wanting labour support) that she felt that moving to midwifery care (with doula support) was a great idea.

Monday morning, I made calls to both midwifery groups, hoping to get in to the one in the east end of town. By noon, I was in! I'd waited to late (I was nearly 27 weeks) that some clients had had to switch to OB care and they had space! My midwives (Paula and Ann) were assigned and I started to meet with them that week. Dave and I just LOVED them. Paula ended up taking a leave of absence, so our pair ended up being Mei and Ann, but they were incredible Ann and I were on the exact same wavelength; she has degrees in midwifery and biochemistry, so she took my science-nerd needs questions in stride. Mei trained as both an OB and a midwife in China, so here prespective was invaluable as well. Now, my family probably thought I was nuts for switching, but they came around (especially when they saw how the midwifery care model worked when we ran into problems 4 days postpartum).

At 32 weeks, I had another ultrasound to see if my placenta had migrated up. Had it not, a c-section would have been considered. Happily, the placenta was no longer considered low-lying, so I could stay with the midwives. Also, we got a lovely shot of the baby's massive scrotum. No doubt about it - this kid had outdoor plumbing!

Once it was clear that I could stay with the midwives, Dave and I started discussing a doula. While I knew that Dave would be supportive during labour, there would be a lot of pressure on him to help me cope with pain. In our relationship, I am the one who asks for lots of information to make decisions (especially science-related ones) and I was woried that I'd be too distracted to pull that off, putting even more pressure on him. Plus - neither of us had been through it before so had NO IDEA of how it'd go or how I'd cope. The midwives would be helpful, but they'd also be concerned with the medical side and wouldn't be able to coach me as actively. We loved the idea of a doula, someone who was trained in labour support and who'd been to numerous births so could decode what was going on, could gather information and help us make informed decisions even it we were really distracted. The pre- and postnatal visits were also a bonus. We decided to go for it.

I emailed the lovely Shannon at "New Arrivals" doula services. Shannon mentioned that she was full for January, but had another doula working with her who was free - Zoia. We met with both of them and signed on immediately! As it turned out, both were in there for the birth (totally unusual and AMAZING) and I cannot recommend them enough.

I'll close this entry with Dave's two best quotes concerning doulas:

"That was the best $600 we ever spent!" and "How is the word do people do this without doulas?!?"

Monday, June 15, 2009

Family photos.

We're back in Georgetown, visiting my inlaws for the week. We had a wonderful but insanely busy weekend, including a day on which Teddy saw every single one of his grandparents and great-grandparents.

On Friday, we headed to Kingston to spend the night at my Nonna's house (Teddy's Bisnonna). Saturday morning, my parents came by. We hit yard sales in my Nonna's neighbourhood (where we scored amazing toys for cheap, including some sold to us by a 7-year old Ted), then headed to Napanee to see my Grandma and Grandpa (aka Teddy's Great Grandma Mary and Great Grandpa Jack). We were FINALLY able to get the 'four generation' picture of the MacDonald side (Mary, Ray, Sarah, Teddy). Grandma, who'll be 93 in December, is starting to fade but she had some hilarious moments. I'll post photos as soon as I can.

After the Napanee visit, we hightailed to Georgetown to see the McLean side. Once again, Teddy was chatty at church. Why is it that at Good Shepherd (our parish in Ottawa) the kid sleeps through mass, but at Holy Cross (where the acoustics are magnificent) he cannot stop making noise? GAH!

Sunday morning, we had the reason for our visit -- McLean family photos (well, the Don McLean clan). We haven't seen all the proofs yet, but our photographer has put some up on her site. Check them out! Thanks, Jennifer, for all your hard work!

Then, we hit Angels Diner for lunch. Angels was a favourite of mine in Guelph, and they've just opened a branch in Georgetown. It was great! Leanne, I had a 'Friday's Club" and thought of you!

Finally, Dave and Blaine headed to see the new Terminator movie while Teddy and I hung out with Colleen and Aidan. Teddy discovered a new love - the Fish*r Price Jumperoo. I think we'll have to pick one up, he loved it so much. We tried to get photos, but he was moving too much. Also, he's on the cusp of rolling over, so that should happen soon.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Backstory -- Pregnancy Recap Part 1

Since Teddy will be five months old soon, I'd better buckle down and write about his birth. But first, I should document the pregnancy itself.

In truth, it was an uneventful pregnancy. It wasn't the first time I'd been pregnant (with one ending in a miscarriage in December '07). As a result, the symptoms of the first three months weren't a suprise. The constant nausea sucked (and oh! the bus rides!), but I managed to keep it at bay so that I could work. And this time, the washroom at my work wasn't being remodeled so I didn't have to run up a flight of stairs to dry heave over an unfamiliar toilet! Small blessings...

During the previous, ill-fated pregnancy, I'd always had a nagging feeling that something wasn't right. This time, I felt so much more hopeful. We let people know about the pregnancy at around 6 weeks, figuring that we could use all the prayers and good thoughts. The 12 week ultrasound (the point at which we confirmed that the first pregnancy was ending in December '07) was at the same place. I got incredibly nervous in the 30 seconds before the image appeared on screen, but seeing the baby flipping around and waving was just awesome. Dave was shocked that he could actually pick out baby parts on the screen, and the baby was measuring EXACTLY on for dates (this would be a theme).

Just like all the pregnancy books suggest, the morning sickness and nausea dissipated at 13 weeks, just in time for our mid-July trip to Georgia and Alabama. I started to show in early August, so began having to augment my wardrobe with maternity pieces. At the end of August, I headed out to Vancouver to see Beth, then went on an Alaskan cruise with my parents (Dave had run out of vacation time).

Due to technical problems, the 18 week ultrasound had to be rescheduled for 2.5 hours before my flight to Vancouver. I thought that I was carrying a girl; the very first shot at this ultrasound was a one between the baby's legs, showing me how wrong I'd been. It was confirmed by our francophone ultrasound tech who announced: "There's his manhood". Yep, we were having a son.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Candor and resolutions

I am going to be candid; it is a struggle for me to update the blog. It seems like there are so many other things to occupy my time. But the real root reason is that [gasp] I don't love writing.

I am one of those annoying extroverts who'd rather talk out her thoughts than write them. And I have an eerily good memory, so I rely heavily on it rather than any written documentation to remember events and dates. It is a habit that I know I should nuture, regular writing, but it is really hard to get jazzed about it. I think I will just have to bite the proverbial bullet and do it.

Thus, I resolve to:

- post at least 2 entries per week this month. Entries of substance, not just quick birthday wishes or the like.
- have completed posts on my pregnany and Teddy's birth by the end of June.
- post a tribute to my Aunt Floriana on or by what would have been her 51st birthday on July 18th.

As for Teddy (likely the reason you read these posts!), he is going through a rough patch right now. There's a huge cognitive leap around 19 weeks, and he is gearing up for it. He is also dealing with physical milestones (he's about to start rolling) and he's teething. Poor little button. He is still pretty sunny, but his sleep and his appetite are off and he's fussier than normal.

The teething has ramped up over the past couple days. He is constantly sticking his hands or other things in his mouth so that he can chomp, and slugs of drool stream from his mouth. He is soaking countless bibs per day; it's no wonder why the Dutch word for bib is "Slobber"! And he has the telltale red cheek rash and red gums. I feel so bad for him, but he still a smiley little boy most of the time. It's tough to be 4 months old, though.

Here's a photo of us, taken a couple of weeks ago.

I'll write more soon. Promise!