Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oh hai, Vancouver sunrise!

It's just about 6 a.m on the Pacific Coast and it seems that we are up for the day. And have been for an hour or so. Our room is facing east, though, so if the weather cooperates we'll see a lovely sunrise.

We arrived yesterday and as Dave already documented, Teddy was an absolute rockstar on the plane and staying up last night to meet with Aunt Beth and Tod. He woke up around 9:30 because of teething pain, but slept really well otherwise. Dave and I made it to 10 or 10:30 and crashed ourselves.

Beth, Tod and I headed out for dinner last night while Dave hung out here with sleeping Teddy. We ended up at a newish place on Granville, Twisted Fork Bistro. The food was very tasty, and for anyone interested they have a 6-7 o'clock funky meal deal. On the way back, we stopped at Fritz to get food for Dave. Funky poutine was the order of the day.

Earlier in the day, we headed up Davie to procure baby supplies for the trip (diapers, wipes, etc. -- stuff that I didn't want to bring in our luggage) and some delicious local beer. I got my Maple Cream Ale and Dave tried a mix pack stuff from the Tree Brewing Company. And after our Shopper's Drug Mart visit I felt so self-conscious walking down Vancouver streets with a big box of disposable diapers!

I had an interesting moment in line at the drug store. Teddy was charming strangers (his usual MO) and a fifty-something woman in front of us starting chatting with him and us. We mentioned that we'd just flown in but that he'd done wonderfully during the flight. "But you're still breastfeeding, right, so I'm sure it helped," she replied. And while yes, I am (though not directly) it was so neat that THAT was the assumption. It's not just the beers that are different on the left coast.

Teddy's grinning at me and we'll be heading to breakfast soon (it doesn't start till 7 am on the weekends) . I'm sure there willl be more from Vancouver in the coming days, and likely from the cruise. Lucky you.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Seven Quick Takes - Almonte Edition


I am writing this from my parents' computer in Almonte. Teddy and I are here overnight (my Mom comes to stay with us tomorrow night) while Dave is at a cottage near Huntsville with the boys. This particular group of guys is pretty special. Dave's elementary school class (2 grades above me; yes, we did attend the same elementary school) had 24 girls and 8 boys. Of those 8, 6 are still close friends - the 'St. Francis boys' as they are known. Last year, 5 of the six of them got together at Tony's wedding (on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, no less) and we realized that they hadn't all been together since OUR wedding, 4 years earlier. This year, Brady (not only a St. Francis boy but Dave's University roommate and brother-from-another-mother) rented a cottage for them and they've all met up. I hope you are having an amazing time, guys.


Speaking of Dave, last Saturday was Dave's birthday. He turned a whopping 34 years young. My parents came and took him out for lunch, and then we hosted a small b-day open house/party where we played 'Beatles Rock Band' and a bit of 'Guitar Hero 5' on the Wii. We served quesadillas and I made bread pudding and whiskey sauce - yum! Thanks to everyone who popped by (shout outs to Isha, Chris, Mark and Tania, who read this). It was funny - almost everyone there either has a baby or will have one soon. So many babies. Such fun!

[I should note that we also played "BRB" when Leanne and Derek came to visit the other night; they were in town for work. Thanks for a good time, kids. ]


During the meal rush at the party, Teddy sat in his high chair feeding himself cheerios and fruit and cheese. The newborn was crying, the toddler constantly trying to climb stairs and both were drawing everyone's attention. Teddy sat there, chilling and beaming at those who paid him attention, for 45 minutes. He is such a sweet kid and this is such a fun stage. He can sit up with no problem yet doesn't yet crawl. The newborn is a sweetheart, but I am liking this stage more. He's just so funny!


We have officially found a caregiver for Teddy. She lives nearby - about 10 minutes on foot and her name is Daphne. She's been sitting for 24 years and comes highly recommended. Dave and I really like her, and she'll have 2 other little boys (one part time) just a bit older than Teddy. I am sure that he'll have fun with her. I had such a great experience with in-home care, I hope that Teddy does as well. And she's such a lovely woman. It's going to be hard to leave him, but we feel we'll be leaving him in good hands.


I also met with my new work team on Thursday - it's all men, TOTALLY unusual for HR. I love it, though - I've always worked well with guys. Before University, my parents all but insisted that I live in a co-ed dorm as they knew I'd have gone crazy with the cattiness of an all-girl abode. Same with when I moved off campus with my good friend Ben. I thought they'd be disapproving; they were just happy that I'd avoid the infighting that often befalls women when the room together.

ANYWAY - the team seems great and the work looks interesting. My manager is a young parent himself and is totally understanding. It looks like an amazing challenge and I bring essential skills to the team. I am very hopeful that it will be a good fit.


Is it wrong that I am excited about the return of episodic TV? I am loving "Glee", sad that "30 Rock" doesn't start until mid-October, and excited to see what college holds for the "Gossip Girl" crew. But I still miss "Veronica Mars". And Logan Echolls.


One week from now, I will be in Vancouver!! Beth, I cannot wait to see you!

More 7 quick takes over at Conversion Diary

Monday, September 7, 2009

Teddy's Birth Story, Part 4

I've told this story twice today (Labour Day, no less), so it's time to finish it up on here.
A refresher: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

One of the reasons I'd wanted to avoid an epidural was my fear that I'd be confined to the bed and unable to move around. The most efficient way to push, I'd been told, was to be upright and to let gravity help you along. I wanted that option, the option of moving around to find an optimal position for pushing.

At this point, however, my uterus had been contracting for well over 24 hours. It, and I, were pretty pooped. Though I didn't note it at the time, my contractions were coming further and further apart although they were lasting longer. This allowed me some time to relax and regroup between contractions. And the place that seemed to be calling my name? The birthing bed. I would drink water (and apple juice, when forced) between contractions, have cold compresses applied to my head and neck, and gear up for the next contraction while lying down. It was GREAT!

And I'm not kidding - the pushing was awesome compared to dilating. I could USE the contraction and work rather than just enduring it. It was a joy compared to the earlier part of labour.

The next few hours are a bit of a blur for me. I know that with each contraction, I would bear down and have 5 or 6 very long pushes. The doulas and Dave would alternate holding my legs during this, and they'd all cheer me on. A few moments stick out - Dave handing me a cold cloth for my head that was full of ice (and me making fun of him for it), Erin the midwifery student arriving and me greeting her, periodic progress checks. Ann and the doulas kept commenting on how calm and lucid I was, making jokes between contractions and having lengthy conversations. I just felt so great at this point - thank you, hormones! Eventually, a third midwife arrived. Melanie was there to minister to the baby and she was adorable and totally enthusiastic; she joined in as part of my cheering section. They offered me a mirror to check out the progress - I glanced down to see a bit of dark hair peeking out.

Unbeknowst to me, the midwives started to worry a bit that my contractions were slowing down. They suggested I get up on the birthing stool. I did, but it was so uncomfortable sitting there, so I begged to head back to the bed. Eventually, Ann let me know the score -- she was worried that the contractions were slowing down too much. "I know that you wanted to avoid pitocin," she said "but I think I'd be really useful right now so you can push out the baby and deliver the placenta."

"Ann," I told her, "I wanted to avoid pitocin early in labour because of the possibility of additional interventions afterward. It sounds like I need it now, so I'll do what you think is best." This became important as right about then, I started to bleed. Ann headed out of the room immediately to get a nurse to start an IV. As soon as she left, Melanie jumped right in. "Sarah," she announced, "you've been working so hard and I know that you can push this baby out on your own. I have an idea for a leg position where you can lie down and push more efficiently. Let's try it and I bet we can have this baby nearly out by the time Ann gets back!"
I shifted slightly and started pushing; Melanie's advice worked. By the time Ann got back with the nurse, the baby nearly crowning. And all I have to say it OWWW! The nurse was inserting the IV as he crowned. I let out this almost primal scream, as I could feel everything and the fact that I was bleeding.
One more terribly painful push later and I could feel the baby's head emerge. The bleeding intensified at the same time. It was the strangest sensation. I could here the baby making noise and feel the bleeding, but I hadn't delivered him yet. It was at that point that my uterus stopped contracting entirely.

Ann sensed this. "Sarah," she said. "You have to push even without a contraction. Erin and Melanie are going to push on your abdomen at the same time."

Once the baby's head emerges, the team has 4 minutes to get the rest of the baby out before an emergency c-section is required. We used 1.5 of those minutes, but an emergency team got called in just in case. By the time they arrived, though, it was all ok. It was 11:01.

I pushed with all my might, Erin and Melanie pushed down on my belly and Ann managed to haul the baby out. All of a sudden, he was crying and slimy and on my chest, where he let out a lovely meconium poop all over both of us. It was an odd sensation - he was there, but when I tried to pick him up I pulled too much - his cord hadn't been cut and the placenta was still in situ. I was still bleeding, too, so that was distracting. But he was doing great. Dave cut the cord and they covered both of us with a blanket where we could snuggle. His apgar score was taken - 9.

The bleeding continued, however, and all of a sudden my uterine contractions became horribly uncomfortable. The pitocin, not used at all during Teddy's delivery, was needed to help with the placenta's delivery. Blah! The placenta emerged after 5 minutes, and Melanie took Teddy over to the warming area to be weighed and checked out, so Dave headed over there. He weighed in at 8 lbs, 4 oz and was 21.25 inches long.

Ann was cleaning my up - no tears, just shearing so only 2 minor stitches - while Teddy was getting evaluated. His second apgar score was a 10 and there were no problems. It was then that Dave took this picture, one of our favourites:

"What...just...happened??!?!? Where am I?!?!?" he seems to be saying.

The cleanup continued - complete with catheter to empty my full bladder. Not a highlight, but a necessary evil I guess. The bleeding finally stopped, but Ann felt I'd lost too much blood to get up. She told me that I'd have to stay in the bed for a few hours at least, and then they'd re-evaluate.

Within a few minutes, they brought Teddy over so that he could try his hand at breastfeeding. He appeared to latch on to both (note the 'appeared') over a 10 minute period. We checked out his massive hands (just like Dave's) and marvelled at his head full of hair. It was crazy - he was here! Dave snuck out to make phone calls to our parents; mine headed to town to check in on our cats (we caught them en route and told them to come to the hospital).

At around noon, Melanie and the doulas headed out - Melanie to office hours, the doulas to sleep. Ann gave Teddy a quick bath to get the meconium off of him, and she showed us how to swaddle him. We filled out more paperwork, then nursed a bit more. Ann let me know that she'd check back in regarding my discharge - possibly that night, possibly the following morning This was longer than the hospital stay we'd hoped for; had I not bled we'd have headed home later in the afternoon. She and Erin left just as lunch arrived. Boy - was I ever starving. Hospital food was mediocre, but I didn't care.

Not long after, my parents arrived. They marvelled over the baby and we made more phone calls. I LOVE this picture -- I'm on the phone with my Aunt Pat and it's only 3 or so hours after I gave birth. Hard to believe, no?

I had to stay overnight - boo! The day nurse was lovely, but the overnight nurse was totally overbearing and not at all helpful. Oh well - can't win them all. The next morning, additional blood was drawn and my platelet level was declared fine. Mei - our other midwife - came by to check on us an on breastfeeding (which appeared to be going ok...more on that later) and we were discharged by noon.

Man - I had such a great experience. Dave's support, the support of the midwives and of the doulas was so incredibly amazing. It went better than I'd hoped. It was difficult, but totally doable. And if we're blessed with more children, I will use midwives and doulas without a doubt!

And just for fun - here's a shot of Teddy, taken just over a month ago.

We love the little button. Thanks, Aunt Beth, for the t-shirt.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Seven Quick Takes - Labour Day Weekend Edition

It's not yet Saturday, so I am getting this in under the wire!


Teddy's baptism went very well; it deserves its own post. He was a superstar during mass (as usual), and during the 45 minutes after around the font. He didn't really like the dunking, though. The water had been headed, but it was only at room temperature. He was shocked at the first dunk ("In the name of the Father...) but cried for dunks 2 and 3. I don't think it's a reflection of his views on the Son and the Holy Spirit.


The after celebration was also fun. We had 30 people over (3 were babies/toddlers) and had enough food to feed an army. Mad props to my Dad who grilled basket after basket of vegetables in the pouring rain, and to Dave's Dad who used a blow drier to dry my Dad's sodden shoes. They also go out to our Moms and to my Aunts Pat and Sally who chopped like fiends, and to my Nonna for making her amazing lasagna and eggplant parmigiana, as well as lots of other stuff. Thanks to Dave's Mom for making her deserts and bringing them from Georgetown, to my Mom for all the food she brought (tonnes) and to Mark and Tania for their artful displaying of sweets. Thanks again to Sally for washing endless amounts of dishes. Did I mention that our families rock?


The inlaws had a great visit. I ended up sleeping on the living room floor, but it was worth it so that they could visit Ottawa. Dave took the girls and Barry (my brother-in-law) to the Museum of Civilization where they went to the Children's museum and Imax. It was a huge hit. I took Rachael shopping and we all went to the Hill, and played a lot of Wii. Thanks for a great visit, you guys! You are welcome to come back whenever.


Dave is off for a 4 day weekend. His firm shut the offices for 4 days this summer, extending long weekends with unpaid days, and this was the final day. He just got his Blackb*rry, though, so we'll see how much work will be occuring. I hope to never have one; I don't have any desire for an umbilical cord to the office.


I am writing this while Dave and our friend Chris square off on Wii Archery. We might play a little Rock Band later, and we will be watching "I Love You, Man". I love that movie; it was Teddy's first cinematic experience. Chris reads this site so -- I hope that you are having fun, kid.


I tweeted about this, but I caught the pilot of "Glee" and I love.Love.LOVE it! High school comedy, great singing and lots of Journey - what's not too love. Check it out!


Oh - the story of the "Thank You" gift for my Aunt Pat and Fred. They've been married for 20 years so they don't need much. They're also foodies (Fred especially) but we weren't sure what they'd need for the kitchen. We wanted to get them a gift certificate to a nice restaurant (perhaps with a tasting menu) and we found out that the Oliver and Bonacini group in Toronto does this and will send them (2 day guarantee). I described their awesome customer service in the last post - they rock. And Aunt Pat and Fred are excited - they're going to go to Canoe (the top rated restaurant in Toronto). Score!