Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Warm Light Reminiscing

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Warm Light Reminiscing

I've seen a smattering of Christmas lights around these here parts, and I tell ya, things just aren't the same as they used to be.

My elderly (mid-30s) eyes can't take the searing eyeball-piercing blue LED lights. Squinting in pain does not typically result in Christmas cheer for this ole gal.

Festive?  Yes.  Bright?  Yes.  But not cozy or warm. Kind of eye assaulting, though brownie points for execution.

I miss the old days of not-grounded electrical plugs that could/did shock the shit out of you. The kind that felt mildly like Russian Roulette as you plugged them in near the watery, murky water in your Christmas tree stand.

The kind of strings of lights that were a warm, comforting glow. Especially glowy when they heated up so much they either burned your fingertips off while decorating/stringing, or else melded many-a-fake branch together on the tree.

The kind firefighters lose sleep over in the Christmas months.

I loved the smell of smoldering synthetic pine needles becoming one with the lovely lights draped upon them. It WAS CHRISTMAS, Goddammit.

Okay, I'm not a total asshole. This kind of thing is actually pretty horrific, and has led to real tragedy. I don't miss the danger, just the comforting glow.

Now, I maybe, MAYBE (obviously) can see why there was a shift to those, I dunno, let's call them "safe" and energy efficient lights. I see they may have their place in the world these days. I maybe wouldn't use those old, cozy lights if you paid me a shit ton of money because I don't want harm to come to my loved ones, or to my house. But I still miss 'em.

I miss that warm, rosy glow. I miss REAL white light (that actually glows a soft yellow), and a true red, and a soft blue that doesn't feel like it's sticking it's pretend tongue down my eyeball-throat without asking first.

I've always felt like decorations just don't fill the cold, jaded cockles of my heart any more since the old went out, and the safe came in and replaced it.

And before you start telling me that they make new and improved LED lights that don't suck AS MUCH, I'd just like to say that I don't usually see them after Christmas, when I buy my lights and decorations at 75% off, thankyouverymuch.

Ah well.

At least there's snow. Oh, wait, I live in BC.
At least there's rain? No, that doesn't work.

At least there's Santa? Um... Shit.

Fuck it. Christmas is cancelled here.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

An Actual Conversation

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I recently returned from a short trip home to Ontario.

My father, The Dadda, enjoys a good medium roast coffee. I have come to learn that I prefer my coffee sort of kick me in the balls with flavour and aroma in the morning, and that this can only be achieved by a dark roast.

A really dark roast. Like, pissing blood and shooting venom dark roast. Any other sleep-deprived, coffee-loving Mammas out there probably understand this.

While clearly dependent on the go-juice now, I have also seemingly developed a sensitivity to it. My thyroid was AAAAAAALL sorts of out of whack, which likely worsened my caffeine sensitivity. I have to find the happy balance between just enough coffee to keep me awake and keep my junk bruised, and too much coffee where my heart does a rumba all on its own, and I end up feeling weak and tired from too much of the stuff. Like my adrenaline has spent itself by 10am. (Let's hope I never have to run from a bear at 10:05am).

So I need stronger, and less of it. And I bastardize that shit with Coffeemate and a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, so I'm not doing my ass any favours with more than 2 cups a day.

Visual approximation of me without coffee

Anyway, I digress.

Once we got home, The Hubs was sitting on the couch with Baby D. (Well, she was reprogramming his computer while he was looking at the TV, albeit momentarily). I said "I realized that I missed my Keurig while we were away".

(I am a HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE, coffee brewer, so my coffee machine has allowed me to like stuff at home again, thank Jebus with Baby D and the cost of Starbucks!).

And "I missed my dark roast".

The Hubs replied, with EXTREME enthusiasm in his voice.

"You missed your dark roast, and you think you missed your period while we were away?!?!"

Me: *sigh*

"No, hon. My Keurig. I missed my Keurig."

The Hubs: *extreme disappointment, almost-visible-floor-drop-of-smile*


Yeah. Have I mentioned I love dark roast coffee? And having only one child?
Just making sure.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

A Sad, Conflicted Mama

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It's nearly 2am and I just got up off my toddler's floor with hot tears running down my face. She's fine, there is nothing wrong with her. Schultz the dog is also fine, too... he had both eyes removed and is recovering beautifully and seems much happier.

Me on the other hand...

I have never in my life felt so conflicted. I love Baby D with every ounce I've got, and then some (though the Hubs would inform me that is not actually possible, much like giving 110%). The days with an extremely active toddler are funny, exhausting, amazing at times, lonely, and also exhausting. Did I mention exhausting? Oh, and sometimes I am also tired. Enough to fall asleep on the toilet once she's gone to bed.

I love her. She comes first. I have pretty severe anxiety, and I can't tolerate her crying. And I KNOW her cries. I KNOW my baby, and I know when she needs me or if things aren't right. I know my family thinks I overreact to this, or go to an extreme, but they don't live in my mind, they can't feel what is in my heart, or the terrible sirens that go off in my head when she is upset.

I need to tend to her when she is sad, because until she has language, that is the ONLY real way for her to clearly and effectively communicate that something is wrong. She is not a little whiny bitch. She hasn't run into a flooring surface that she hasn't enjoyed face-planting into during her regular sprints through the world. She has bonked her head, face, legs, hands on any and all hard surfaces, but she will only cry if it really, really smarts. Or if she is quite tired.

And you know what? If she is that tired, I should have already been on it. I know her schedule, and her general sleep needs. I see the signs when she needs rest. Sometimes my family will suggest that her staying awake is good for her. It isn't. She's a babe, I know how she rolls, I know her. She needs her sleep.

I know people make suggestions with good intent, but when I know how she operates, how she ticks, and what will ultimately make her a sad or angry baby, I'm obviously going to do what I know is best for her. Situations do come up. I know routine can't always be in place. Yes, some flexibility is a good thing... but she is only a toddler. She can't say "Hey, Mom, what the f_ck, I am sooo tired, why aren't you letting me sleep?".  It's only when it becomes "Whhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaahhhhh!" that the message is delivered loud and clear if I haven't given her what she needs. I mean, she has no control over that stuff.

Pigtails = Instant Heart Meltification

I feel like my job as a good, conscientious parent is to know her, anticipate her needs, provide her with what she needs BEFORE she gets upset, and put her needs above all else. And I'm okay with that. I don't think a lot of other people are. But they aren't me, they aren't living my life, they don't feel the heart-wrenching anxiety that I do. And so they judge. And it hurts.

I am Mama Bear. Hear me roar. Or growl. (I don't know, what sound does a bear make?) Grunt?

Then, when babe is asleep, and the world is quiet, and I am shocked that we got through the day... when I am sitting on the couch, or trying to just stay awake long enough to get to my own reasonable bed time... I wonder just HOW.THE.F_CK I am going to do it all again tomorrow.

How can I keep her happy? How can I allow her to thrive and grow and learn? How can I foster her amazeball sense of curiosity with gentle parenting and encouragement and try not to flip my fucking lid when she dumps the dog water dish out for the third time that morning? How do I keep my patience and appreciate that she is navigating the world when all the drawer contents in the kitchen are mischievously placed around the main floor, with a reasonable smattering of hidden objects tossed down the stairs or hidden in toy bins? How do I maintain my enthusiasm for that stupid puppy book with the terrible rhyming that she refuses to allow me to actually read completely? Or start reading one of the Winnie the Pooh books with happiness when I know she will walk away after page 2, and try to harvest more items in the pantry to place about the house?

I long for being able to go to stores. And, you know, shop. Not race with a squawk box in the cart until it becomes a game of baby-in-carrier-twisting-interpretive-dance (spoiler alert - the dance can be interpreted as "let me the f_ck out of here, I want to get down, run around, and bash those bottles of olive oil while you chase after me!")

And then, the Hubs comes home. And maybe I sneak away to the store. And I shit you not, I am already missing her before I've travelled three roads from home. Her empty carseat makes my heart hurt. (Yes, I realize she is alive and well at home, but that is how it really is). Any mom I see in the store I feel kindred to (though more than a few have looked at me like I am a lunatic as I smile creepily at them).

I am lost without her. Though I'm sure it is entirely unhealthy, I have no other identity besides BABY D's MAMA. And I am okay with that, but when Baby D isn't there, it leaves a gaping, lonely hole. And it makes me feel even more determined to care for her and fiercely protect her best interests.

So I have some down time on the couch, or I head to the store, and all I want to do is be close to her (spoiler alert: I see enmeshment counselling in her future). I will look up pictures of her on my computer just to see her gorgeous eyes, sweet smile and perky wee pigtails. I want to go into her room, but I don't want to wake her or upset her if I'm just standing there.

My sweet little monkey

Tonight I laid on the floor and looked up at her sweet little feet sticking through the crib rails. And I cried. I feel like I simultaneously love her more than anyone has loved anything in this world, yet I consistently fail her with my fatigue and anxiety, fail in meeting her needs on time, feel like I'm not allowing her to thrive to her fullest potential, and feel like I take her for granted in the day. And others get frustrated with me for trying even harder the next day.

I long to accomplish things, but I truly don't want to be away from her.
Love. Sadness. Ferocity. Amazement. Laughter.
Pride. Joy.

Clearly I need to change my meds.


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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I Can't See Clearly Now.

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All those hilarious posts I've been writing in my head at the grocery store, or while in the shower, or while Baby D is up to insane fuckery will have to wait.

I feel sick inside. I'm not sure where else to turn so I'm gonna just pour it out here.

We have two dogs, the little shit Ella (a Lab/Satan cross), and our big, blind boy Schultzy (a Great Dane). Many of you may know his story. Both dogs were rescued. Schultz came to be our boy in January of 2009. On the way home from his foster mom's place, we got into a car accident. A deer decided it didn't like the passenger side of our car, in mid-daylight, on Highway 401. My life flashed before my eyes, but we ended up okay. The car was bashed up, but Schultzy just sat in the back, cool as a cucumber, as shit went down.

His second day at our old house in 2009.

Anyway, needless to say things started with a literal bang. He adores the Hubs. He's broken windows, (probably hearts, too, with those stunning good looks and likely past of being a stud dog), he's eaten his fair share of feces (you know, before he FINALLY accepted that we were going to feed him regularly), he's dabbled in soap bars, razor blades, and Lindor chocolate (I shit you not, the dog has a varied palate, but I agree with him on the chocolate).

He had issues around his neck being touched. He could be aggressive. We've tried (mind you, not hard enough) to train him via various trainers, nose halters, leashes, muzzles, tactics, techniques and treats.

Back in Ontario he was really into nail care. But I refused him a shellac UV dryer.

He's had surgery on his bum. He's been gravely ill with a bladder infection. He's come through it all fine. He's a motherfucking champion. He's currently somewhere between 9 and 10 years old, which is "super-granddad" age for a Dane.

We knew his vision wasn't great, and when we finally moved to Western Canada in 2012, it became painfully apparent in the new surroundings on the drive here that our handsome beast was truly blind. Then came his fear.... of stairs, of the unknown, of the stressful changes. He still rocked that shit, but it was so sad to realize his world was totally dark.

Some time has passed. His eyes were cloudy, we knew he had cataracts. But then the red third eyelids started showing in his eyes and he just didn't seem right. So, since Saturday and yesterday at the vet's we've discovered:

- He has painful glaucoma, with at least 55 pressure in his left eye. At best, he has the feeling of a constant headache. But he's a champ, so it could be worse and he is just tolerating it.
- He will not, at all, allow any more eye drops. He shakes, he backs up, he slips on the floor. He can sense it and smell it, and both the Hubs and I have barely hung on to our composure trying to drop him and calm him.
- He has to have at least one eye removed. This upsets me far more than it should.
- He may have the other eye removed, but will be assessed before surgery on Thursday morning.
- He's gonna go to a specialist who does eye removal more regularly. Our hope is that if they know what they are doing, they will have him under sedation as little time as possible, and do it right, because if the local vet fucks up they have to go back under sedation to have fluid and more stuff taken out.

The biggest freakin' scare? He's old and Danes are known to have weak hearts. We can do $600 of pre-surgical diagnostic testing, but in the end, regardless of the results, he can't reasonably live with the glaucoma pain. And even clear results don't mean he will be okay under anaesthetic. It will only worsen, and he now refuses drops. And he is strong enough and big enough that he continues to win that argument.

Instead, we can do $225 of blood work to at least determine what kind of drugs to give him to sedate him. So it looks like we will.

Don't ask how much the surgery costs.

I hope to hell our sweet beast of a boy does not react badly. He could very well die on that operating table, in a strange new clinic, with staff around him and no family. I don't want to play God with him, but after long discussions, me and the Hubs can't find another reasonable option.

He still has quality of life. He LOVES his walks. He LOVES anything with cheddar powder or sauce. He LOVES his Grandmas. He even wags for pets when he's in the mood. He's mellowed significantly in the last few years and can tolerate a houseful of people and toddlers. And pain medication alone can't combat the pressure and pain from his eye lens.

Wait, what? My couch smells like dog? Nooo, you must be mistaken...

I'm not a religious person. I just hope anyone out there who loves dogs, or, hell, can say they like me (I'll even take "I can stand her"), to please put out some positive vibes for my guy on Thursday. I can feel a panic attack coming on as I type this.

He's been dealt some shit cards. I just want him to be happy and loved and not hurting.


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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

That time, at Tough Mudder...

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So yeah.

It happened.

And I lived.

But my knee and hip are clicking, the blister on my right baby toe is eating my entire foot, the bulging disc in my back is screaming "YOU BITCH!!?!" at me, and my knees are swollen and bruised to hell.

I finished Tough Mudder Whistler. All but my hubby went on ahead. I went through cold water, and ran up at half pipe, and crawled underground. I walked most of it, to make sure I had a chance at finishing. I crawled a fair bit. But I got it done.

My soft, mushy, non-running, non-athletic ass actually succeeded at something bigger than I ever thought I could do. I keep trying to talk it down in my head, like it didn't count because I didn't run it, and I didn't complete the wall-climbing or carrying obstacles (my chiro said NO WAY, because I irritated a nerve or two and had disc issues from a back injury a week before the race).

Anyway, I still suck at blogging. My girl will be 13 months old tomorrow. I'm hurting. I'm out of shape and my body goes berserk when I try to exercise. I need a physiotherapist.

But I F*CKING FINISHED a 19.2km race (12 miles), with a 2km walk to the start line, on top of it, and a 1.5 hour wait to even begin the race.


For once, I didn't quit. I didn't let my body talk me out of it.
Thanks Momma, for encouraging me to do it, even injured.
I count this a very proud achievement in my life, especially in light of the illness, infection, surgeries and nerve damage that has comprised the last 13 months of my life.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Tough Mudder Whistler: It Was Nice Knowing You All

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So... yeah.

I am not fit.
I am fat.
I have no muscle tone.
I get dizzy walking up the stairs.
I had surgery in February that resulted in nerve damage in my abdomen.
It hurts to lift things and carry things and I'm not supposed to exercise using my ab muscles.

Oh... and I signed up for Tough Mudder Whistler.

I paid my non-refundable $160ish before I had my follow up with the surgeon. It goes without saying that I didn't quite expect the news he delivered to me.

Since signing up, I've seen the course profile. It is, in a word, terrifying. In several words, it's holy shit what I have I done I'm pretty sure I won't live to see my baby again.

Um, hi 16km mark. W.T.F.!?!???!??!

Look at his face. Now imagine what his balls must look like.

I wanted a challenge. My other Mama friends had decided to give 'er a go, so I thought it would be an excellent goal to work towards. A reason to run some of this baby fat off my frame. I'm not saying that I weigh only 10 pounds less than when I was 8 months pregnant, and I'm not saying that I still mix in maternity pieces into my wardrobe... I'm just saying that not being able to use my abs, coupled with all the health issues in the past 18 months, has rendered me quite... {{soft}}.

What's the big deal, you ask? Well, there are also obstacles along the course. So, barring the fact that my current treadmill record is 5.2km and 19km will likely kill me, all along the route energy will be expended doing things like swimming through a massive container of ice water (the "arctic enema"), getting electrocuted ("electroshock therapy"), and having to crawl facing the sky, in water, breathing through chain link fence. Seriously.

This is f*cking terrifying.

I actually lose sleep at night over it when I think about it. I really want to accomplish something that says I am strong again. My body works again. I can push past the obstacles, both physical and mental. And, you know, likely not walk right or be able to lift the baby up for the next two weeks as I recover in an ever-refilling bath of epsom salts while drinking some malbec straight out of the bottle. #ClassyMom.

You can bet your ass it's going to make an awesome blog post, even if it's "Hey, our car broke down on the way", or "I twisted my ankle putting my shoes on at the start line"... but still.

Anyone ever completed a Tough Mudder race? Tough Mudder Whistler? I'm mostly excited about bunking in a condo with two other couples and their babies. I'd say my priorities are in order, no?

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Queen of Farts?

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Whenever I'm feeling particularly gross about my body, I just think about Kate Middleton, aka Duchess Kate blowing a huge fart into her hand, running over to Prince William, and cup-a-farting that baby into his face.

In my mind, she then skips away, laughing maniacally. Not sure if he refers to her as Babykins in a situation like that or not.

Then, I feel a teeeeensy bit better about things.

I mean, everyone poops, but if royalty cup-a-farts, then all is not lost.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Frustration Continues...

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I have wanted to write this post for a while... and then on Tuesday I was given more depressing news.

Since I found out I was pregnant, I have essentially been unwell. That puts me at 17 months of dealing with one or more health issues or infections.

If you have read this blog, you know that my pregnancy was tough. There were some bad times. Some scary times. Twice I thought that I had lost my girl, and I thought she was stillborn in addition to those times. I could write a long, detailed experience of each one, but I kind of feel that overall... well, that no one really gives a shit. I know people have encouraging words, and I know the people that read this don't wish bad things on me... but no one likes to read about downers.

Having said that, I apologize for this post.

But I have cried myself to sleep for the last 5 nights. Am I lucky to have what I have? Yes. Could things be worse? Why, you're damn straight they could, I should be blissfully grateful for all the wonderful people, experiences and things I have. But my reality is trying sometimes. I know that people overcome far more, and are so much stronger and so much more capable.

But it seems there is only so much I can handle. So much I can take. So I am going to list, in point form, all the shit I have been dealing with since I found out I was pregnant in October 2012.

Fun? No. Funny? Not this time. I'm quite sure no one will WANT to read this, but I need to do it for me. It feels like the only way to get it off my chest.

October 2012 - Discovered I was pregnant. Basically had symptoms of Mono, as well as a sinus/chest infection and a cold.

November 2012 - Excruciating pain, call to 911, ambulance ride, talk of ectopic pregnancy, forced morphine despite pregnancy, being told to shut up and "keep it down" by the ER doc. Finally diagnosed with a hernia in my gut. Finally heard that the baby's heart was beating okay.

December 2012 - Bleeding. Cramping. Visit to the doctor where she essentially told me to expect the worst. A day of waiting for my emergency ultrasound appointment, as I tried to accept the fact that my baby had probably died. Finally got in there for the scan. Was kind of in shock when the technician told me the baby was fine. Such a relief. It actually took me a few days to accept that she was alive and well.

January 2013 - May 2013 - Extreme nausea. Vomiting. Fatigue. Back pain. Hip pain. Inability to sleep. Bleeding from so many places. Serious discomfort. People telling me to get out and be active, while I could barely climb stairs or find the strength to throat punch them as required.

May 2013 - Traumatic birth of my baby girl (she is okay).

June 2013 - 10 days after she was born, I was still experiencing excruciating pain. TMI DISCLAIMER: After a trip to the ER on my birthday, and a brush off from the doctor, I had a follow up ultrasound the next day. Shit was WRONG. Baby and Hubby were at home. I had just come from our family portraits at Sears. I was told to head back to the ER immediately as there was still baby leftovers in me.

After waiting about 6 hours, I had to call the on-call OB-GYN. Otherwise I have no idea how much longer I'd have waited. I didn't bring a breast pump. I didn't have my baby. But my body was still HALFWAY DILATED to birthing with what was going on. I was admitted. There's more to the story, but I needed surgery.

June & July 2013 - Infection in my uterus, boobs, and more. Lots of pain meds and antibiotics.

August 2013 - More boob issues. So many nursing issues, they deserve their own post. A month-long unidentified bladder infection that my old OB claimed to have left me voicemail about (she was so so so lying).

September 2013 - Poor OB care and another uterine infection. My fallopian tube was ready to burst. Severe infection requiring twice daily IV antibiotic therapy in-hospital. Trip home cancelled to introduce my baby to family because I was so weak I couldn't even do stairs. More pain meds. Overall, 8 antibiotics administered over a 3 week period.

*All this time, I STILL wasn't supposed to be using my abdominal muscles because my hernia would pop out and be very uncomfortable*

October & November 2013 - More infections. More pills. More tears. Milk supply issues as always, still sore nipples, still pumping, still fighting for it.

I don't even remember December 2013 and January 2014, but I know there were many dizzy spells, still no use of my abs, no way to really get active and back in shape. Trapped, frustrated, unwell.

February 2014 - Belly hernia "day" surgery. Was supposed to go home at 5:30pm. Doctor ended up using mesh to repair two separate areas. My abs were totally wrecked from the pregnancy. When I woke up, I was in some of the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. I was admitted and doped up for 4 days. It was awful. More pain meds.

March 2014 - Signed up for a tough obstacle course with the Hubs and other mamma friends. Hoped to train hard upon surgery recovery, FINALLY. Still had sooo much pain to the left of the scarring and repair areas. Surgeon informed me this week that it is most likely nerve damage from the local freezing needles they used before surgery. That it may take months to heal, or may never heal. That I still can't use my abs, that the repair areas are full of "an impressive amount" of scar tissue, and that it will also take months for that area to regulate and not be sore every time my daughter's foot brushes against my gut. That I shouldn't do the race. That I can't do ab exercises. That pushing through the pain will not be helpful. And that I will likely need cortisone shots in my stomach to help alleviate the constant pain.

Now, I've left a lot of stuff out. This is the Cliffs notes. I know it could be so much worse, but I am so tired of being in pain EVERY SINGLE DAY. I can't walk the dog. It hurts to carry and lift the baby. I can't EXERCISE HARD and start to lose weight and feel healthy again. My body hates me. I don't know what to do next.

What do you tell yourself when you feel defeated? How do you push through when the days are long, and they hurt?

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Labour Story: Part 4... My Heart Breaks

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I had a great visit with a friend tonight, and I got to recalling a part of my labour story... I know I haven't finished it on here, and it's been intentional. I feel like it was traumatic and it hurts to think about. I wanted to document the story so I would always remember the emotion... how things happened and the details. I don't honestly think I would forget, but I know the mind has the powerful ability to block out the bad things to trick us into further procreation. Ha.

Anyway, if you haven't read the first parts, you can find:
Part One HERE
Part Two HERE
Part Three HERE.

I follow the Badass Breastfeeder on Facebook, and she shared the following photo. It got me thinking that I NEED to tell this part of the story. To gain some kind of acceptance and closure to how things went down.

It really is true.

I just re-read part three to refresh my own mind. And while I am F_CKING HILARIOUS, I also feel sick inside revisiting that night. But here goes. (The things I do for you guys... hehe).

I was pushing and pumping my pain pump thing. The nurse somehow got approval to let me keep using the pain pump because I was feeling things so much but still pushing despite it all. She really was great. Alice, I thank you.

Do you remember the monitors I talked about in Part Three? They showed both the baby's and my heart rate. What I couldn't see in my insane state of determination was that the baby's heart rate was sitting just over 200. Not a good thing. I also remember the Obstetrician commenting that her head felt swollen, and that was also not a good thing.

The Hubs could see the monitor, and after all the pushing, he could tell that something wasn't right.

The doc had come back in, and it was then that he said he believed it best to use the vacuum to help get the baby out. I had heard horrific stories of forceps deliveries, and I really really didn't want that. It was unspoken that if things didn't move along soon, I would need to have a C-section.

As you all know quite well by now, I am a huge wuss and I probably would STILL be recovering today if I'd been forced into the C-section. I heal sloooowly and always have complications. It's kind of my thing.

So I prayed to the vagina gods to spare me lifelong disfigurement and I agreed to the vacuum. The doc said it should be fairly easy to get her out with it, along with my pushing. He casually asked the nurse if they should call "peds" (pronounced peeds, meaning pediatric docs). He played it so cool. So did she. She said "probably". I had no idea that my baby was in danger and that I needed to get her out. NOW. Like, NOW NOW. She made a call, but it didn't register in my brain.

I commend the Hubs for staying calm and supportive. I can only imagine how scared and helpless he must have felt knowing there was absolutely NOTHING he could do to help the baby or change things for the better. He did the best thing he could have, by staying calm and essentially pretending he knew nothing. For that, I thank him. I had been the calm one throughout the start, but he was clutch when I needed him. Had he started to panic, I would have lost my shit and things could have ended much, much differently.

Now, a lot of moms will tell you that after enough hours of pushing, you won't give a shit who sees your boobs, your lady parts, and it won't matter if you poo all over the walls. Surprisingly, I was okay with the nurse (though I would have preferred to have wiped my own butt if given the choice... damn huge belly and peeing laying down...), and I eventually was comfortable with the male OB I had.  I was not okay with students, I was not okay with shitting myself (though if it would have helped the baby I would have). I thought that we were still smooth sailing.

Then 4 more doctors entered the room. I specifically remember trying to cover my lady parts with my hands, WHILE MY LEGS WERE UP ON A BAR, mid-push as the OB was trying to Dyson out little Baby D. Yes, apparently I was still a bit self conscious, but also taken aback by the new viewing section of my labour.

The room was set up in such a way that there was a table across from where I was laying, where they test the baby's reactions (APGAR score) and clean baby up before handing back to mom. These doctors quietly began setting up, not saying a word, besides whispering with the nurse. I remember feeling totally confused and starting to feel nervous. I didn't think this was standard operating procedure, but I was totally exhausted and relatively vulnerable.

I asked who the male doctor was. I don't remember if the OB answered me or not.

I kept pushing. I may have been crying, I don't remember.

I remember that Baby D got closer to freedom, and then the worst burning pain I've ever felt took over my loins. I may have sworn a curse word or two, which was pretty tame for me considering I hadn't really before that.

And then she was out.

All day we heard as other babies were born around us in the nearby rooms. Sweet, frantic little newborn cries as they were thrust into the bright, loud scary world. The same sound in each room.

My baby made no such sound. She made no sound at all. The OB held her up, and I still can see her little white limp body in his hands. No noise. No sign of life. No sign of anything.

I asked if she was okay. No one spoke. I raised my voice. I asked if she was alive. I started to yell, asking if she was breathing, if she was okay. No one spoke.

The team of doctors took her to that table, and surrounded her as they worked. I couldn't see her at all.

I remember the OB casually mentioning that the umbilical cord had been wrapped around both legs, and somewhat tangled. I remembered thinking that explained a lot because no one could seem to figure out how she was positioned in me (my bump looked quite weird and they needed a bedside ultrasound to figure it out the day before).

The OB wasn't a jerk. He wasn't dismissive. He was just incredibly calm and I think trying to get me to simmer down. But not hearing anything was just awful.

There was no crying, no coughing.

I was stuck on the delivery table while the doctor started stitching up all that had been burning. I could feel the stitches and I remember he had to give me another needle with extra freezing there so he could do his handy work.

I felt so helpless and so so scared. I was certain she was dead. The little squirmy ball of baby inside of me for the past 8 months came out silent and still. I was starting to go into shock.

My baby still wasn't making any noise. I asked the Hubs over and over what was going on. It was kind of a blur, but I remember that feeling of being trapped on the table and feeling so powerless.

At one point they asked the Hubs to come over, and I think he then cut the cord.

Then, I heard some kind of sound, and I think the Hubs said she was ok. I didn't believe him.

Then this little, sweet, monkey of a girl was passed to me. She was wrapped in a towel. I don't know if I asked the Hubs to take her photo, or if he did it on his own. I remember the flash went off and the team of doctors actually shouted/scolded him, even though it was accidental.

I held her for all of 45 seconds, and then she was whisked away.

My first few second with her. Looking at this brings back the disbelief, fear, and pain. I remember thinking she looked so beautiful and so perfect.

She didn't get skin to skin contact.
I didn't get to try to nurse her.
I didn't get to feel her sweet little newborn skin on my chest, or get to feel her heart beating.
I didn't get to shower her with the love I had.

They took her away. And that was it.
I didn't understand. I wanted to see her, I needed to see her. The doctor finished stitching, and the nurse told me I had to stay laying down.

The Hubs didn't know what to do. I was hysterical and she was leaving, so I told him to go to her. To go with her. I didn't want her to die alone if she was going to die.

It all felt like an awful dream. It didn't feel like I had a baby. I remember the doctor cleaning up... I had bled quite a bit. I remember the spot light that had been on me was turned off. I was told to rest. It felt in my heart that my little girl was dying in some hospital room near me, and that I wouldn't see her again.

At that point I'm pretty sure that the Hubs knew she was stable, but in my state of shock I couldn't understand that.

I remember trying to rest, and then insisting that I needed to see her. I have no idea how much time had passed. I know the Hubs was there for part of it, and the nurse was trying to get him to sleep in the chair there with me. But he was also with the baby. It is all mixed up in my mind.

The nurse said I could go to her in the Intensive Care Unit if I could walk to the bathroom. I got to the bathroom, and once I tried to sit down, I remember shaking so violently and shuddering so hard that I smacked my head off the shower and almost hit the floor. I've heard of women "getting the shakes" after labour and medication, but this was more seizure-like than I ever could have guessed.

I was in incredible pain and so unbelievably cold. The nurse barely stopped me from face planting on the tile floor. I had no control over my body.

It took her and the Hubs to get me into a wheelchair to return the 10 feet I needed to pass to get back to the bed. At that point she told me there was no way I could see the baby. I remember crying so hard. I was certain that I was going to die. I know that probably sounds quite stupid and dramatic, but I had nothing left in me and my body was turning on me entirely. I had been awake for a long time, with no food, in shock, and completely out of control.

The pregnancy felt like an illusion. I had no baby. I was confused and weak and so tired. I remember wanting the Hubs to be with her, and being so sad and scared that I was dying and that I wouldn't get to see or hold my baby again.

Around 6am or so, I think, we were moved up to a room on the maternity ward. I remember crying, sick that I wasn't with my girl, and Alice patted me on the head and told me to rest, that I would see my baby soon. Alice was just so sweet and kind and rational throughout.

I wanted to hug her and thank her and cry on her shoulder, but I was too weak to do anything but lay on my side in the fetal position and whisper thank you to her through my tears. I clearly remember the Hubs giving her a big hug and thanking her immensely for her help. I remember feeling so glad and thankful that he did because I couldn't, and I remember feeling so much love towards him for being so candid and sincere with her. I know he appreciated all she did for us.

We tried to sleep. Our neighbours in the room were loud jerkfaces.

I will post about my first real meeting with my baby next. But this is crazy long.


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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The I'm-Pretty-Sure-I-Didn't-Cup-His-Balls Massage Experience (First World Problems)

4 COOOOOOMMENTS! Now you speak up!
I have no time. I really don't. My time is at an utmost premium now. If I have some time when the baby is asleep, or out with Daddy for a bit, I need to plan for it, schedule it, and maximize the hell out of it.

Phone calls and Skype are sheer luxury. I decided to just call my Mom and Dad to chat the other day, despite an unhappy baby, and I moved into the next room. (Don't worry, the Hubs was with her, I didn't actually abandon her and leave her with the dogs or anything). And she crawled for real for the first time. That's what happens when I step away. I miss important things with my baby.

I digress.

So, after much planning, thinking, hoping and aching (muscles, not loins, people), I scheduled an evening massage so that the Hubs would be home with Baby D, and I could go get some of this I'm-tired-and-slumpy posture pain, neck pain, back pain, and general muscle blah-ness revitalized.

I had to book two weeks ahead. The anticipation was killing me. I even booked with a DUDE, on the advice of my chiropractor (also a luxury - my last appointment consisted of both her and I trying to calm the baby's cries, as I rocked her in the car seat with one outstretched arm while the chiro TRIED to adjust me). I think I left feeling worse.

So, onto the massage. A wispy guy, quite thin (WARNING SIGN - how's this dude going to beat the hell out of me sufficiently?) greeted me and we proceeded to the treatment room.

Now, I am fat. It's true. I'm still 50 pounds heavier than the day I found out I was pregnant. I will detail another post on that in the future, but let's just say anyone around me appreciates a dimly lit room. Especially when even XL underwear can't contain my crack and all-that-is the junk in my trunk.

Nope, this dude preferred intense fluorescent light. Okay.

Tucks the sheet into said underwear. We both know my crack is still hanging out, looking to make small talk. Epic. With every sweeping motion on my back, I can feel my love handles and butt just bouncing about.

It was mixed parts I-feel-so-gross-I-want-to-curl-up-and-disappear and... no, actually it was pretty much just that.

It was all soft and Swedish-like. I am a masochist at heart and I need lots of pressure and knots to be WORKED OUT, MAWFAHCKAH. This dude felt like he was swiffering my fat. I asked for more pressure. He didn't really change anything.

Within the first 10 minutes, I nearly cried. I waited and looked forward to this so badly. I needed some pain relief. I was about to lose an hour of my baby-free time on a sad, pathetic massage. I wanted to just ask him to stop, say let's forget it, but the cheapskate in me knew that I'd have to pay either way. So I laid there, bummed to the max (both literally and figuratively) and hoped it would improve.

It did not. It got worse.

This guy had no hand rest below the face-holder hole. So I put my arms at my sides. The table left little room for my arms (or rather, my wide torso left little room for my arms). And that's when I'm sure it happened. As he was leaning in to do his trademark swiffer move, I'm quite sure that his junk landed squarely in my upturned right palm.

I told myself I'm sure I'm just imagining. Just relax. And it probably isn't considered cheating on the Hubs if there is both sheet and pants-protection between my palm and the dude's junk. Amirite?

Then it happened again.

I actually felt revolted and full body shuddered. He stopped swiffering and asked if I was okay. I said yes and tried to glue my arms and hands to the sides of my body. You know, total relaxation.

I shouldn't really be surprised, considering my track record. I blogged about some bad experiences back in the day on this post here, and also on this one.

Before the massage started, I had asked if he could massage hips. I know some therapists aren't comfortable because it usually means manipulating stuff through your butt cheeks. He asked why they were hurting and I said mostly from carrying the baby in a carrier.

Well, throughout we had a definite language barrier. This became painfully clear when he massaged my MUFFIN TOP. I guess he thought that was my hips? Jesus I just wanted him to stop and go away. No woman needs to feel her muffin top moving around like that. That ACKNOWLEDGMENT of the fat there. No, let's all pretend there is nothing to see here, and move on!

Ahhh, anyway, after the longest time it was finally over. And to just sweeten the experience, as I was getting dressed afterwards, I had to use my typical force to get my too-small jeans over my too-quickly-expanding arse. The ultimate feel good wave rushed over me as the belt loop I was gripping ACTUALLY RIPPED OUT of my jeans, unable to overthrow the force of my arse-resistance.

I left the room to pay, head hanging in shame and defeat.

I wish I looked this good...

But not before two (new, wrapped) super-plus tampons fell out of my purse, in front of the two older men in the waiting room. What's that you ask? Why, yes, I *DID* stomp on them as I fumbled for my credit card! No, no I *DIDN'T* realize what they were or that they were mine until one of the men wouldn't meet my gaze as I said hello and I happened to look down and see them.

Gawd, I feel so attractive right now.... Pass me another Coke. And I seem to be craving muffins now, too.....


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Friday, January 31, 2014

A Wonderful Moment

7 COOOOOOMMENTS! Now you speak up!
I had fully anticipated writing about 6 snarky, embarrassing posts since the last one or two. I always tend to write them in my head when I am out somewhere, or when I am rocking the baby to sleep. I never seem to do it. Or justify spending the time.

But this afternoon I had such a wonderful moment, I just have to document it here. I don't want to forget it, and I always mean to put pen to paper in the baby book or her notebook, and then I always forget.

Baby D has been fairly unhappy - whining a lot, not letting me out of her sight. Teething, tired, hungry, and who knows. Often, when different or new people are around, she is quite smiley or at least not totally miserable, and the other person has no idea what it's been like for weeks in and out of her being so hard to soothe.

But... this afternoon...

Earlier, she woke up from her nap around 11ish. A touch unhappy, but willing to giggle if I jumped in her direction or made funny sounds. Her smiling was encouraging and it made me smile.

I showered fast (just the vitals, as us new moms seem to do), and she was getting impatient. I got dressed, got her dressed, took a short movie of her and a few pics. I had intended on going to get bulk stuff at Costco - I've been meaning to go for a few weeks, and I am antsy to get it done.

I knew I'd have to time it right, and hope she'd last. She usually gets upset in there, but The Hubs hasn't gotten his membership card, and I refuse to go on the weekends. So that means bringing her in the day if I want to get the latest sale.

I had a feeling she wouldn't do well. And to be quite blunt, I am so sick of not enjoying her; I try to soothe her upset while I run around the house trying (fairly unsuccessfully) to clean up, wash dishes, do laundry and tend to the dogs. I am always behind on house work, the clutter builds, yet I am trying and stressing and worrying what The Hubs will think when he sees the state of the place at the end of the day.

I decided to fuck it.

I wanted to enjoy my baby this afternoon. I got out her light snowsuit. The sun was shining and the sky was blue. I got her bundled up in my Ergo carrier, got the dog harnessed, and we walked outside. We talked about the trees. We walked up the path and talked about dog poo. And how much Mommy loves her Baby. And we talked about the sounds of nature, and how pretty it is, and how peaceful it can be if you just stop and take it in.

On our walk today... she looks unimpressed, but we had fun. I enjoyed my baby immensely today.

We stopped and listened to the water rushing past in the stream. I could see her little blue eyes taking in the trees, the moss, the rocks. I could see her look to where I was pointing... where the birdies were chirping. When we started walking again, she squawked at me to stop. I did, and she quieted and listened to the water and the birds again.

It was beautiful. Even the dog was relatively good.

We walked home. We had some lunch, and she ate some cheddar and puree like a rock star. She smiled when I tickled her feet. It made me feel so happy. We even went without a bib and avoided total shirt destruction.

I knew she was ready for sleep again. We went to her room, and I nursed her with the little, dwindling milk supply I have left. She stared in wonder at the sunshine as it made a new pattern on my shoulder, through the slats of the blinds. She smiled.

She wasn't falling asleep right away on the pillow, which was unusual for her if she is pooped. So I turned her, facing the same way as me, and we rocked together. She touched her toes, and I put little kisses all over the side of her face, her head and her hair, and her ears. I didn't hold her tightly to be still, I didn't change anything.

She chewed on my fingers a bit, and talked a little. Kept making the "mumumum" sound. And then she did something totally beautiful.

She turned her head to me, mouth wide open, to give me a series of Baby D kisses. It was so incredibly sweet, my heart nearly exploded in my chest.

And I thanked her and kissed her head.
And then she turned and gave me Baby D kisses for a second time!

After that, she rolled her head to the side, and fluttered her eyes as she fell asleep. She stirred awake, and I whispered in her ear that I will love her always and forever.

Then she closed her eyes and was off to sleep.
I rocked her for a while still while the tears of gratitude, joy and love spilled down my cheeks. Her little toes still, her little hand wrapped over my arm. I am so lucky to be her Mamma.

It's the moments like these that are a reminder that it's not always hard. That sometimes the house is better off being a mess. That a Mamma should sometimes (if not always) just trust her gut and choose to enjoy her baby while she can.

And now she's already awake... that was a fast nap.


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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Winning. I Think.

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Hey, like me on Facebook, dammit. I'm pathetic on there.

I'm pretty sure I'm winning at life when all in the same day I:

  • Chew the Vitamin C from the kitchen counter that is, in fact, not at all chewable.
  • Put the yogurt away long after breakfast. In the dry pantry.
  • Assume my coffee cup is empty and casually carry it downstairs to the kitchen, only to discover it was not empty and I've left a trail of vanilla-hazelnut-carpet-stainyness down the ENTIRE F_CKING carpeted staircase.
  • Lay down to empty the washing machine filter to see water rush out... and moments later feel my socks become saturated (5' away)... and THEN see that the laminate floor, wood trim, cable box, and associated power cords have been flooded with water.

Stop hatin'.
This can be yours one day, too.

Just hit yourself over the head a few times and piss the Universe off. Nothin' doin'.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

My Sleeping Child: For Baby D

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My Sleeping Child

My sleeping child
My tired, sweet little baby

Asleep, so peacefully, breathing lightly on my chest
Sometimes restlessly until a few more rocks and whispery kisses put you at ease

My sleeping child
So full of life
Inner beauty
Outer beauty that I can't help but praise

Your little hands, flexing ever-so-slightly as we rock together
Your fingers, sometimes tickling my ribs and making me smile in the glow of the night light.

My sleeping child
Your quiet breathing so near to my heartbeat
Calms my soul
The most quiet, soothing whisper in the dark of night
I have to resist kissing your sweet little face awake

My sleeping child
The reason I am on this earth
My reason for being
Your sweetness and innocence filling my heart with overwhelming joy

My sleeping child
So perfect
So darling
So free of doubt, guilt, shame, sadness

My sleeping child
How I hope you will grow to know how loved you are
By Mommy
and Daddy
and every other family member who knows you and sees the wonderful girl you are

My sleeping child
How I promise to be the best parent I can be
To learn as you learn
To strive for patience and calmness
To guide you gently and with understanding and love

My sleeping child, rest well
Dream of colours and smiles and love and yummy milkies
Of doggies and kisses and snuggles and naked bum time

My sleeping child
How I love you so

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