Tiny Blog Tuesday: Science Centre

I missed Microblog Monday…again. So here we are with Tiny Blog Tuesday.

The Ontario Science Centre is one of our favourite family outings. Carter talks about going frequently and makes up stories about people visiting it (most recently I was told a story about Spiderman going to the Science Centre in a garbage truck with his god parents). It’s such an easy place to let Dyl go wild and crawl/walk everywhere without causing damage. They have a wonderful interactive children’s areas complete with a baby/toddler space but even in the main exhibits there is very little that I have to steer the kids away from. I purchased Daniela a membership for her birthday last year and we’ve since renewed it for the next 2 years because we love it that much. I like the idea of my kids feeling comfortable in such a large space. I love them learning about things that may seem completely over their head but then Carter explaining friction to me as he plays with his toy cars. I want education to always be so much fun!

What are your favourite places to bring your kids?

   
 

Sometimes I can’t keep up with myself.

It’s been a wild few weeks.

Taking on a new job so soon after returning to work was something I was feeling great about and I really am still happy that I did it but I’m exhausted.  I love using skills that have been lying dormant in my toolbox of competencies for so long.  I love all the reading and I love that people are interested in what I have to say.  I am however, exhausted.  I think about work a lot and I spend time after I get Carter tucked into bed trying to get ahead before the next day (or really, trying to catch up).  My time for blogging has been so minimal, but so much has happened.  I guess this will just have to be my recap.

Carter’s First Halloween:

Carter celebrated his first halloween with his favourite girl.  Daniela and I had intentions of having him as a raccoon and we would be a green (compost) bin and a garbage bag.  In the end, we had a raccoon with two regular human moms.  Good enough.  Violet was a mouse which was most appropriate.  We tortured them through a photo shoot earlier in the month when it was a little warmer and the leaves were beautiful.  Carter was not really interested in participating and complained to Violet about the whole deal.

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Looking like two little old women.

After a few hundred photos we gave them a bit of a chance to just hang out and stand up, which is all they really wanted to do and despite being placed further apart Carter moved closer to Violet and she turned into him to create the worlds cutest picture.

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Just a moment to themselves.

Potty

I had no interest elimination communication.  I thought it was ridiculous and a waste of time.  Our neighbour who has a three year old son has been overly generous in giving us all the hand-me-downs.  When her son finished potty training this summer he told her they should give Carter his potties because he is a baby.  My neighbour was a little embarrassed to pass them along but asked if I would mind if they could do it symbolically if we didn’t want them.  Well that was just silly, of course we took them.  I am all about hand-me-downs on most things!  Well, Carter was showing that he understood what “tinkle” was each night when I was telling him to tinkle as he was getting out of the tub.  I thought I would bring up a potty just for him to get used to and the first time I put him on it I told him to tinkle and sure enough he did.  A couple days of that and he poo’d as well.  He goes almost immediately when we put him on and it’s nice to have just a few less dirty diapers to deal with.  I have no interest in him being potty trained this early but when it’s easy, it’s great to let him figure it out.

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Light reading.

Teeth

This was by far the worst weekend we’ve had in a while although when I look back on it it was really just some tough periods of it.  We had some really great moments too.  His molars are working their way through and he goes through episodes where he can’t stop screaming.  He clutches at his face.  He wiggles and yells while we hold him and shrieks when we put him down.  He won’t let anything near his mouth and it’s just terrible.  He couldn’t sleep Saturday night and was up until almost 1am.  I had been very concerned about day-lights saving but that was apparently a naive worry.  Yesterday afternoon there was just nothing we could do to make him feel better.

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I should clarify that he is covered in beet juice here.

Eating

Carter loves food.  He eats more than I do.  He has decided he is pretty much over bottles.  He has one before bed and occasionally he has one during the day.  I was a little concerned about it but the doctor and the naturopath both said that as long as we are giving him a balanced diet it’s okay.  It’s a lot of fun to see him enjoy food and I find that I’m doing a much better job of meal planning for Daniela and I when I also have to make sure that I have food for him.  I love giving him new things and seeing him choose what he would like to eat from the options on his tray.  His favourite snack is roasted seaweed and he will never turn down oranges.

Baths

In September Carter got fifth disease which is a pretty boring virus with a fever for a few days and a rash that he didn’t seem bothered by but looked pretty gross.  The rash has been sticking around and he’s had dry scaly red cheeks that wouldn’t go away.  I asked the doctor the other day at his 9 month appointment and she said I need to stop bathing him everyday (She said I should only do once a week for now).  This was heartbreaking.  There is nothing better than bath time.  I stuck to it and we are seeing a lot of improvement but I miss the time that he is so happy.   I miss splashing with him while he giggles.  Last night after the brutal teething afternoon (and beet juice) I decided he deserved a bath.  It was the most peaceful part of the day.  He babbled on and played with his toys and laughed as I poured water over his head.  I’ll try to continue to cut back but I think they are necessary on the hard days.

photo (8)Me Time

I went out on Saturday night to a friend’s house party.  I haven’t been out for an event without Daniela or Carter since he was born.  I wasn’t all that excited about going and kind of just wanted to relax but I knew I should go.  It proved itself to be a good choice both because Carter screamed the whole time and because I had a really good time with some coworkers.  It was nice to be myself in a social situation and not have any distractions.  I think we all need a little time to regroup.

 

Exhausted.

This was a far too busy week.

I had no updates because I had no computer and I debated updating tonight because I’m so tired but I figure I have a little in me.  I interviewed for and was offered a new job this week which is very exciting and very stressful.  I’ve only been back at work two weeks and I am settling back in a bit and now I’m going to be in a completely different position.  It’s an incredible opportunity to do what I have wanted to do so I will not complain but I may be completely drained.

Carter had a great week.  He’s suddenly grown up so much.  He has been much more agreeable during the days, he is enjoying his nanny and he loves his time with his Mama while I’m at work.  He’s learning all sorts of new tricks and pulling himself up and crawling around.  He is always on a mission to do something.  He spends much more time entertained by things without fussing or growing frustrated.  It’s fantastic!  We brought him to a baby shower on Saturday where he hung out for over two hours.  He charmed everyone, he ate an entire sandwich, he crawled around a bit and he played with a water bottle for about 20 minutes straight.  He was in a great mood and was just so easy.  He’s growing independent and crawling away from me instead of into my lap.  It’s a strange combination of feeling proud and feeling a little heartbroken.

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Night times have not been so good.  He has been waking up crying throughout the night for the past week and then a few nights ago he figured out how to pull himself up in bed.  While the pride on his face is adorable, it also means that bedtime has gotten rough.  It’s pretty hard to fall asleep when you are standing and no matter how many times I lay him down he just climbs right back up.  It took 2 hours to get him down last night.

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Carter’s new food that he loves is “pancakes”.  I had come across the idea in many places but never tried the two ingredient pancakes but on Saturday morning when i wasn’t sure what to give him I thought I’d give it a shot!  One banana and 2 eggs mushed together and you’ve got your batter.  It really couldn’t be any easier!  Carter smooshes them into his mouth as quickly as possible.  I love when I find something he likes!

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I think the saddest part of my week was when I was talking to Daniela about her experience at the drop-in.  I brought Carter to play at the drop-ins on a regular basis.  Daniela went to one she had never been to before that is just for babies under a year and was excited for the circle time.  Unfortunately she was met with a “daddy-bashing”.  In her words, everyone was talking about their partners as though they were incompetent parents.  Her discomfort made her feel like I must be there talking about her like that which just broke my heart.  I’m not going to lie, sometimes we all have to vent out our partners but I would never hang her out to be an incompetent parent.  There is obviously no one else I trust as much with my son and I hate that even for a second she would internalize that and think the I thought so poorly of her.

I survived.

I survived my first week of work.  I was spoiled with pictures sent to me all day and even a drop by visit during one of my lunch breaks.  Carter was all down hill after the first day.  He really gave Sarah a hard time the vast majority of the time.  He seems to be teething but I don’t know for sure.  He absolutely has a cold though.  Poor guy is all stuffed up.

Squeezing out a smile for Sarah

Squeezing out a smile for Sarah

It’s really not as bad as I thought it would be.  I miss him terribly but I’m able to focus on work.  I’m able to listen to CBC radio and I feel like I’m finally hearing the news for the first time in 9 months.  I have conversations with people that aren’t either all about my baby or constantly interrupted by said baby.  It’s actually kind of nice.  I can’t believe I’m saying that.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  If I could be home, I’d be home in a second but I have to make the best of it.

Putting in some hours at the office

Putting in some hours at the office

I’ve enjoyed making dinner for Carter and sitting down to watch him eat followed by bath time.  These are two of my favourite things.  Watching him enjoy food is really exciting and bath time has been his favourite since he was born.  On the days of constant fuss, I have given him multiple baths just for a break from it.

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Hanging out in the tub!

He’s getting more and more interested in foods.  I can put piles of different things on his tray and he will try each one of them before he mixes them all together.  He stuffs his little mouth like a hamster sometimes and this week the result has been a big mess when he sneezes.  He cooperates with the spoon if I’m feeding him something that requires a spoon (yogurt, oatmeal, chopped spinach).

Working the spoon in the least efficient way possible.

Working the spoon in the least efficient way possible.

Bed times have been hard.  He has decided that 6:30 is a reasonable time to hit the hay the past few nights.  This means I get very little time with him.  After his bath I rub him down in coconut oil and sing to him and then read a few books.  He loves playing with the blinds next to the bed that is in his room.  While I know I should just put him in the crib and let him get to sleep, I’ve been lying there with him and letting him play himself to sleep and then I lie there a little longer as he’s tucked into my arm.  It’s just not enough time.

Night night!

Night night!

This week has been huge for me.  I’ve accepted that I can do this, and so can he.  Even though it was a tough week for him, I know he can survive without me.  He’s a champ.

Birth Story – Nothing Short of Amazing

I’ve been wanting to write out my birth story for a while now, I suppose for about 7 months and 9 days.  The truth is that I typed it out once and felt like it captured it really well and then I went and deleted it by accident.  I don’t know that I can do it justice but I think that it’s time to get it out and at least have something written before I forget even more.

There is much that precedes the birth of my son but not much that is more magical than that moment in time.  If you’re reading, I would go ahead and skip most of Friday and Saturday but it’s important to me to write it out.

Friday January 11, 2013 – 3 days past his due date

-I woke up feeling strange.  I was full energy and not having contractions.  I wasn’t swollen and I wasn’t in pain but my hands felt weird.  I felt a buzz running through my body like I had had a coffee on an empty stomach.  It wasn’t a great feeling, but it also wasn’t that bad.  I had little planned for the day except for my chiropractor so I headed there and had some acupuncture done for SPD and then met Daniela for a walk down to a coffee shop.  I was still feeling off so as we passed by the drug store I decided to pop in and check my blood pressure.  It was 140/95.  That didn’t seem right so I had Daniela check hers.  Surely the machine was broken.  She came out with numbers that would lead you to believe she was training for a marathon.  I jumped on the machine again and came back with 141/98.  I figured I should probably tell my midwife but I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it so I went ahead and texted her the numbers.  My student midwife called me back immediately.  She suggested I drink some juice and head home and wait for them to get over, they said they weren’t sure about the accuracy of the machines.  Daniela held my hand tightly as we walked home slowly without much conversation.

-The midwives arrived around 11:30am and my student midwife(Tracey) took my blood pressure.  Still high. My primary midwife (Julie) didn’t seem to believe it and acted as though it must have been done wrong.  She said she would check it in a bit after they checked everything else out.  They poked and prodded at my belly and he kicked and wiggled around trying to get away.  His head had been locked in position for weeks at this point and mostly he was just stretching his legs out aching for more space to grow.  They checked my cervix and said I was under 2cm, nothing remarkable.  Blood pressure was taken again…still high.  Julie took both hands and with all her kindness said “We’re going to go to the hospital now and have them check you out”.  She said to bring everything we needed.  I was still processing what she was saying but Daniela was up and slowly stuffing anything she could think of into the hospital bag.  Daniela has a knack for putting EVERYTHING into a bag as long as it’s edible.

Julie and Tracey packed up and assured us they would be waiting at the hospital with us.  I went to my bedroom to change but end up in a heap of tears.  I was overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty mixed with excitement.  We drove downtown to the hospital that we planned to give birth at if we didn’t end up having a home birth.  It looked like home birth was off the table now.

-At the hospital there was a lot of waiting with all the monitors attached.  A doctor came and did another cervical check, still under 2cm.  She said she wasn’t going to induce me if I wasn’t most dilated.  In the hours of being there my blood pressure ended up dropping a bit to a point where they weren’t so concerned.  The doctor was great but simply said that it was in our best interest to get him out before the BP became more of an issue.  She suggested a Clean & Sweep and then send me home for the night and check again in the morning if I hadn’t gone into labour.  At this point there was a transfer of care from the midwives to the doctor.  Unless I went into labour that night the midwives wouldn’t be back with me until I was in active labour.  Daniela and I went home that night with mixed emotions.  I wish I could remember what we had for dinner that night.  I know it doesn’t matter but it still bugs me that I don’t know.  That was the last meal we had at home together, alone before the birth of our son.

Saturday January 12, 2013 – 4 days past his due date

-I was supposed to call the hospital at 7am to make sure I could come in for an induction.  This of course meant that i was up all night and fell asleep just before 7am and startled awake at 8:36 (it’s strange the details we remember).  I panicked like I had missed the opportunity for his birth.  I jumped up and grabbed my phone to call as Daniela groggily told me to relax.  The hospital told me to come in for 9 (was that even possible).  We grabbed everything and hurried there.

-The rush was far from necessary as we waited until 11am to be seen by the doctor.  They checked all the normal things.  I wasn’t having contractions that were remarkable and everything felt pretty normal and my blood pressure had even stayed down.  Cervical check showed I hadn’t budged.  Still under 2cm and so they didn’t want to induce me.  They did another clean and sweep and sent me to a different room down the hall to wait.  They would check me out later in the day.  Daniela and I were bored.  Very, very bored.  We are very different people in our boredom (we are very different people all around).  I walked around the hospital all day.  I knew all the floors very well and knew where all the great views were.  Daniela watched netflix on her iPhone for hours on end.  Nothing was happening.  Afternoon checks said I still wasn’t ready.  I was having contractions but they were mild and infrequent.  They said they would do the final assessment of the day at 11pm and likely they would just go ahead with the induction the following morning.  I should mention my fear of induction.  I fear pretty much anything that isn’t natural and the idea of them telling my body to do something my body didn’t think it was ready for really freaked me out.  I had a chat with my belly and gave it one last chance.

-After hours of walking I decided I was tired.  I got myself tucked into bed and had just fallen asleep when a new doctor walked in.  Of course, it was after 11 and time for my checks.  They ran through everything and nothing had budged.  He told me to rest up and they would reassess at 11am.  I tossed and turned for a while trying to get comfortable and then decided that what was missing was an arm around me.  I knew the hospital bed was little and my belly was huge but I asked Daniela to come up out of her cot and snuggle behind me.  I think she was happy I asked and she climbed in quickly.  It was just after midnight and we laid there chatting for a bit.  She reached her arm around my belly and as she settled into it there was a pop.

-I rolled myself out of bed and rushed to the washroom sure I had lost bladder control but no, there was blood and stickiness and and general panic.  I waddled out to the nurse and asked her if i would actually feel my water breaking.  She said “it’s possible” and handed me some lovely large pads and told me she would go speak with the nurses in the birth wing.  I went back in and told Dan to get our stuff together.  The nurse rolled in with a wheelchair that I didn’t really want.  She insisted.  I hate being down at wheelchair level but I climbed in and Dan stacked the bags on top of me (so she didn’t have to carry them of course).

-There was some back and forth about whether they were ready for me or not but they eventually put us in a room.  It was huge.  Completely not what I expected.  It felt so empty with just the two of us in there.  I walked around (read: paced) and paused every so often for a mild contraction.  I could feel Daniela’s nerves but I was just too tired to care.  The doctor finally got to us around 1:30am and did yet another cervical check.  He said “well, you’re almost 3cm so I’m going to go ahead and have them call the midwives so we can transfer you back to their care.”  I felt like he just didn’t want to be responsible for me.

-So, I wasn’t even in active labour yet. (That’s a very dramatic period for the record.)  I decided we shouldn’t call my doula yet or my friend Beth who wanted very badly to be there for the birth.  I didn’t want them up all night for no reason.

-That’s when the contractions started and they weren’t gentle with me.  A nurse came in to tell us that the midwives had been called and would be in around 3.  She reminded Daniela how to apply counter pressure.  Then we were alone again in the big giant room. Around 2:45 I decided my pride was unimportant and I should just get the epidural.  The pain was far more than I expected and the average 8 hours of this was unbearable to think about.  I told Daniela I needed it.  Daniela who has a way of reacting completely inappropriately to my pain was cool as a cucumber and told me to just wait until the midwives got there and we could discuss it.  Neither of us knew I wouldn’t be able to form a sentence by the time they got there.  She also made the independent decision to call the doula and have her come right away. Birth Partner Extraordinaire.

From here on out I am just retelling a mix of moments of consciousness and what the people present told me after.  

-I don’t remember the midwives arriving but I remember looking up at one point from my hunched over position against the bed and seeing my back up midwife (Melida) and my Tracy standing near the door observing how Daniela and I were getting through.  I know the room was silent.  I had told Daniela to “shut the fuck up when I was having contractions” after she had asked me one too many questions.  I think she decided it was best to just not talk to me. I’m not one to make much noise and I held to that through most of the contractions.

-3:20am my doula (Also a Rachel) arrived.  She jumped right in to support Daniela.  I was exhausted from lack of sleep the previous night (read: previous 36 weeks).  With each contraction I told myself I just had to get through it and then I could take a nap.  Between each contraction I closed my eyes and rested my head on the bed despite the fact that I was still standing.  My “sleep” was always disrupted with another contraction.  I remember just wishing i could turn it off so that I could go to sleep.  Rachel asked if we had tried the tub yet.  We hadn’t yet but everyone was in agreement that I should try it out.  I was out numbered and in no position to contest.  They filled the bath and Daniela helped me get ready to climb in.  This is approximately when all my insecurities disappeared and being naked was no longer a fear of mine.  Being in a tub with everything else coming out of me still wasn’t high up there on my list of good ideas but I welcomed anything that would offer a little respite.

-I got into the tub and the next thing I remember is being completely submerged.  Rachel was pulling to bring my up.  I just wanted to sleep.  She tried to get me into a position where I could relax but then I saw it.  I was in the tub with blood clots, not where I wanted to be.  As I turned to protest a contraction came on and with it was the worst feeling.  I just knew I was going to poo in the tub.  I knew it.  I couldn’t think of a worse thing at that moment.  Then I remembered the midwife telling me about the “need to push”.  This was it, but no, it was far too early for that.  Never the less I turned and mumbled to them that I was feeling it.  They looked at each other and I could tell they didn’t believe me.  Tracy said she was going to check me after the contraction.  I remember the surprise in her face so clearly as she said “his head is right there!”

-They said they had to pull me out of the tub as tub births were not allowed at the hospital.  They wrapped me in blankets and walked me to the bed and helped me climb up as quickly as they could before the next contraction.  There were only a few pushes before They could see him.  All of this is very foggy except for Daniela’s face when she saw his hair.  I could never capture in words the way she smiled in that moment.  I turned to my doula and said “I can’t do this”, she held my hand and said “you don’t have a choice.” I suppose it’s a good thing I’ve always been up for a challenge because she was right.  With one more push (with Tracy exclaiming “Slow down”) he came flying out covered in a thick layer of vernix.  In one smooth motion that had him, my screaming son, up on my chest and a hat on his head and blankets around us both.  I wanted so desperately to see his face but he settled into me and I was terrified I would drop him. I held him so tightly for close to an hour.  Daniela wrapped her arms around us both and kissed me repetitively.  I know that the first thing I said was “I love him!”.  In my mind this escaped my mouth with much relief before they even placed him on my chest.  One of my biggest fears through my pregnancy was that I would have a hard time bonding with my child and I was so overjoyed when he came out because I knew instantly that I loved him with all that I am.

-I remembered from the prenatal class that they only cut the cord right away and use oxytocin to deliver the placenta if there is something wrong with the mother or the baby.  She pulled out the syringe and gave me warning.  I knew there was nothing wrong with the bundle in my arms so it must have been me.  I heard something about blood and probably should have been concerned but nothing in the world mattered more than the small body in my arms.

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-I delivered the placenta quickly and easily and everything seemed okay.  At some point Daniela and I looked at each  other and without speaking it was clear that his name was Carter.

-There was a lot of stitches and Tracy asked “aren’t you glad my background is in textiles?” We laughed.

-I went into shock at some point but I never let go of my boy.  I was chattering and shaking everywhere.  They wrapped me in even more blankets and didn’t separate us until I had calmed down and the nurses outside were saying they needed his details.  As Daniela went with him for his measurements and Vitamin K, I decided I needed a shower.  Rachel helped me to the bathroom and stood with me and spotted me while I stood under the shower head staring at my belly that until just over an hour ago had looked so differently.  I ran my hands over the skin and looked down at my feet.  Everything was still there.  My heart fluttered, my life changed.

Carter weighed in at 8lbs1oz and was 22.5″ long.  He was beautiful and peaceful and everything I dreamed of with a VERY round head.

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Now I’m Here

If you’re not familiar with Drake’s most annoying song “Started from the Bottom”, then I don’t recommend listening to it.  You will hate it and it will get stuck in your head.  I was overwhelmed with my desire to smash the speakers when I first heard it and 9 months later it is still in my head.  My wife and I toyed with the idea of creating a video (which would surely go viral) of a parody entitled “Started in the Belly”.  The video would feature our son, Carter, and flashbacks to my giant belly.  We worked out fantastic lyrics and had all our ideas for filming and then abandoned the project for two reasons:
1) I hated myself for even coming close to doing anything with that song
2) We have no video filming or editing experience and it seemed far too daunting with an infant
I guess you could mostly just say it was laziness.

None of this changes the fact that our son did indeed start in the belly and now he is here.  I figured it was a reasonable place to start my blog.  I haven’t blogged in a while with my last miserable attempt going no where but I think i’m ready to start anew.  The major reason I’m feeling compelled to start blogging are that my memory is failing me on a regular basis since pregnancy and I really want to keep track of everything wonderful and terrible to remind myself and to share with people, including Carter.  I start back at work in less than two weeks and my time with an awake child will be pretty minimal, I think that if I take some of my time when he is sleeping to recap our time together it will serve as equally important.  I also want to take time to think back on what has led us to where we are now.

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