Friday, December 19, 2014

Slowly getting there

Christmas is days away and I feel so absolutely unprepared. Thank god I did most of my shopping before the baby arrived.  Between that and online shopping I think I have managed to cover most of my gift giving needs.

We decided to do photos of the kids for Christmas.  Partly in an attempt on my part to appear normal, and feel normal.  I am really pushing myself to do two things every day.  Fold laundry.  Clean out a junk drawer.  Clean the bathroom sink.  Teensy baby steps towards finding my old self again.

When you have the first baby there is a sea of visitors following the baby's arrival.  They come armed with lasagna and gifts, and it's a heartwarming way to not only welcome the new baby but also to ensure that the new mother puts lipstick on and gets out of bed.

With a second child visitors are few and far between.  So the unfortunate thing is that new mothers don't have the same motivation to keep the house tidy and get themselves "back to normal". 

It's been a real struggle for me. I am frustrated that my body isn't returning to it's old self as quick as I would like it to.  I over did things the first few weeks physically (hard to believe, I mean seriously? Stairs are that bad for you?) and now I may have popped a stitch internally. Jesus Murphy that sucker hurts.

I am happy that I can drive again, although the idea of carting baby and toddler out seems overwhelming. I just need to find my groove again. I remember with the wee farmboy I was incredibly nervous on those first solo trips. So I know it will get easier.

When you are at your grocery store next, and the mom in front of you is juggling a toddler and a baby - please be patient. Smile, and say an encouraging word. It could very well be me.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Baby blues or just recovering?

Don't overdo it.
Take it easy.
Remember to sleep when the baby sleeps.

Apparently the folks who provide advice to mothers post C-section don't have a toddler to deal with at home.  Hubby is beyond fantastic.  I mean, seriously beyond.  I think I am suffering from mild post partum, and I have to push myself to shower and join in the comings and goings of the day.  Fortunately, it's very mild, and I completely adore this new little red headed girl.  (They say that post partum depression can lead to feelings of dislike for the baby - so I am not sure if it's post partum or if I am simply recovering from the surgery and supposed to feel this way.) I simply feel... blah. I can't be motivated to do much. I have absolutely no get up and go which isn't like me.  Everything just seems so overwhelming.

Hubby has been taking on the lion's share of household activities. Making breakfast, taking care of the wee farmboy, tidying up. You name it. He's on it.  Add to that he has been bringing me tea and ensuring that I am comfortable. I am almost at the 4 week mark - and I know if I can make it to 6 weeks I will begin to feel like myself again. 

Right now having a shower seems like such a monumental task. I keep seeing these new mom's on Facebook, all put together with their lipstick on and their hair in place. I am lucky if I manage to get all of the shampoo out of my hair and find a pair of track pants that fit over the incision site.

"Off to my first post baby work out! So excited" - I don't know whether to be jealous or relieved that this isn't in the cards for me. Given how I feel these days I would opt for the latter.

Now excuse me as I curl up on the couch with my tea and my wee girl...and do absolutely nothing.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Early days

Our dainty farm girl... It amazes me how different she is from her brother. Perhaps having a colicky baby first was a blessing - as this seems so simple.
I am enjoying these early days. They are a sleep deprived blur, where day and night blend together.  However even without the rhythm of day and night, I am still managing to carve out moments to remember.  The other night, we sat together in the rocking chair, looking at the stars and listening to the coyotes. 
I felt so blessed to be warm and safe with my newborn. As we enter the holiday season, let's remember to be grateful for what we have. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What to expect from a C-Section

When I had my son, I was all set with my natural birth plan and then I ended up in emergency with some sort of virus.  Less than 8 hours later he was delivered via C-section one month before his due date.

At the time, I had done little reading about C-sections. Why would I? I was entirely confident that my birth plan would be adhered to, and it didn't even cross my mind that a surgical intervention would be needed.

This time around I was prepared. Given my age and the fact that it has only been 2 years since the last C-section my OB strongly recommended we go that route again.  So I did my research and thought I was set to go.

However, even with all of that reading under my belt I was still thrown a few surprises.  So I want to share the information with other mothers in the hopes that they will be as prepared as they can be!

Before your surgery

  1. Pack the freezer with meals. Trust me, you aren't going to feel like cooking. Standing on your feet for more than a few moments will be uncomfortable. You will be busy trying to care for a newborn, so the microwave will be your new found friend.
  2. Ensure you have Tylenol in the house.
  3. Pack your bag for the hospital. Just because you have a C-section date scheduled doesn't mean that the baby won't arrive early. Our daughter came 4 days before her scheduled surgery date.
  4. Buy some Depends and put them in your hospital bag.  The hospital will give you some very awkward and bulky pads to use, trust me - the Depends are easier and will go up high enough over the incision site so as not to irritate it.
  5. Discuss with your OB how you would like the surgery to go. Do you want to hold the baby immediately? Will you be breastfeeding? Is it ok for them to give the baby formula? Who will go with the baby?
  6. If you will be breastfeeding, pack a Madela Nipple Shield in your bag, size 24.  You will be so swollen from the IV that this will assist you in the first week or so and ensure baby can latch.

During your surgery
  1. Decide if you want an epidural or a spinal block. They are not the same thing.
  2. You will be given a catheter. It's awkward, but won't hurt.
  3. You will be entirely naked in front of a room full of strangers. Don't worry, they put a "curtain up" so you can't see you are naked.  Pretend you are at the spa. Try not to think of alien abduction scenarios.
  4. Speak up. I know it feels strange. You are lying on the table while they slice you open. But don't be afraid to tell them how you are feeling, or if something feels uncomfortable. Tell the anesthesiologist if you feel hot or nauseous in any way.
  5. If you chose to see the baby before it is whisked away, be prepared for the fact that you may cry and be upset.  Of course you will be! Your sweet newborn has been taken from your tummy and is now gone.  Rest assured that whomever you have chosen to be there for the baby will be showering it with love until you come out of the recovery room.  However, if you feel nothing - don't feel bad about it. You are drugged up lying naked on a table being stitched up by strangers. You are not exactly yourself at the moment.
During Recovery
  1. The nurses need to see that movement is coming back to your limbs. So keep trying to move those legs. If they can see that you are improving they will send you off to reunite with your baby.
What to expect in hospital
  1. Our hospital keeps a C-section patient for two days following surgery. The first day you will have limited movement in your legs. Keep trying to move them and when you are able to, begin to do circles with your feet.
  2. The nurses will need to come in and inspect the incision, and will also wash and rinse your entire "nether region".  So don't be surprised when they come in armed with wash bottles and dry towels. At this point, all dignity has been lost but you won't care.
  3. You will need someone to help with the baby and bring it to you to nurse as you will be unable to get up.
  4. Women around you in other rooms will be going into labour and having babies. Within hours they will be up and walking around with their babies. Don't let it bug you.
  5. You will likely be given Ketorolac (a pain killer) on a drip, along with your IV.  You will also be give Oxytocin to shrink the uterus.  All of these fluids are going to make you swell. Keep drinking LOTS of water to flush out your kidneys.  The nurses will want to see that you are passing gas before they allow you to go home, so eat and drink.
  6. Once you can move your legs, they will allow you to sit up. I can't stress this enough - the sooner you sit up, the sooner you walk (albeit at a shuffle) the faster you will recover.
  7. On day two my catheter was removed, this was a huge milestone! I could now shuffle to the bathroom.  Even dragging the IV pole it felt like recovery.
  8. End of day two they removed the IV and I was switched to oral painkillers.  The oral painkillers are not as effective, so be prepared for some pain.  Use a small pillow to support your tummy as you walk.  Try not to hunch if you can. The sooner you stand upright, the sooner you will have less pain.
  9. Back pain is to be expected. The spinal block can give back spasms, so don't be caught off guard. They can be super painful.
Once home
  1. Keep walking. It is so important to keep moving.
  2. Come off the pain meds as soon as you can and switch to Tylenol. The pain meds (in my case, Toradol) made the edema worse.
  3. Do not lift anything heavier than the baby.
  4. Watch the swelling of your legs. If after 5 days you are still swollen, get some prescription compression socks from the doctor.
  5. If you are breastfeeding, DO NOT take a diuretic.  It may dry up your breast milk. Try natural diuretics instead. Lemon water, pineapple juice....
  6. Back spasms from the spinal block happen in 1/100 women. I was one of those lucky ducks. They are incredibly painful. Like "knock you to your knees" painful.  The Tylenol will dull the pain, but really there is not much you can do. Grin and bear it. Mine began to pass around the second week.
  7. You will still look pregnant for some time. Get used to people asking when you are due even though you are carrying a newborn.  Try not to be envious of the moms who delivered naturally and now fit into their skinny jeans.  
  8. Speaking of might not fit your maternity pants. The additional swelling takes you up a size.  Enjoy wearing your husbands track pants. It's amazing how creative your wardrobe gets.  Black and grey are your friends.
  9. Pyjamas are allowed in public, especially if it's just a trip out to Walmart. By this point you have such cabin fever you won't care.  Enjoy the fresh air.

Use this time to rest, relax and enjoy your little one.  Within two to three weeks you will begin to feel like yourself again, and within 6-8 weeks you may even begin to feel normal. 

Have you had a C-section? Care to share your experience?

Monday, November 10, 2014

She's here!

She arrived 4 days early, by C-Section.  6lbs 8oz.  Our wee farm girl is a precious little bundle.  I guess she didn't like the idea of us pre-selecting her birthday?  She arrived today at 10:30AM.

I am recovering. It might be a while.

Friday, November 7, 2014

One more week...

As I wash pink blankets, and fold tiny pink sleepers - it still seems a bit surreal that our wee girl will be here in less than a week.  My laundry room is awash with girly colours, which is a big change for a household that is governed by dump trucks and tractors.

Then I spot it. The wee John Deere outfit that we bought last week. And I realize that even though her world will be full of pinks and frills - she will be a farm girl at heart. She will love tractors and dirt, and her overalls. She will jump from the haystacks and know how to change a tire.  She will find joy in feeding a baby lamb in the kitchen, and watching spring chicks hatch.
How do I know this? Because her mama does too. :)   

Monday, September 1, 2014

Time to Move!

Well, after weeks of deliberation, and moments of "OH MY GOODNESS WE MUST BE CRAZY!" we have decided to sell our 50 acre hobby buy a bigger house!

It's all so very exciting.

With a new little one on the way, and with our ever growing love of farming - we think it's time to make the move to a larger home.  While we could stay here and renovate, it would be very hard to do an addition with two small people underfoot.  I am ambitious at the best of times, but the idea of trying to do a major addition and keep two small children on schedule...well I am not that ambitious. I think it's time for us to make life a little simpler until the children are older.

So starting Monday we begin that stressful time known as "keeping the house clean for showings with a toddler"!  This farm has been so wonderful, and it was a perfect introduction to agriculture. For someone with horses, or wanting a small hobby farm it's ideal.  But it's time... I am seriously going to miss this place. The views have always been breathtaking. It has always felt a little magical. I mean, where else do you get DOUBLE rainbows on a regular basis??

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Golden Baby?

These 3D images always make me giggle, as your baby appears to be golden. However, here she is at 4 months - our wee girl. It looks like she is shouting out "I am coming!" 

Friday, May 9, 2014

A wee farm girl is on the way!

Yes, it's true. Our wee farm boy won't be a single child for much longer!  Our wee girl is due to arrive by c-section on November 13th.  So it's been quite a busy time around here getting things prepared for her arrival.

Of course, after the emergency c-section with my son I am going into this one well prepared.  I have my support network set up, food in the freezer, and I have ensure my hospital bag includes Traumeel cream and peppermint tea!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Living without TV

AIt usually becomes most apparent when I am at a cocktail party, although several times over the last year it has cropped up during meetings when we enter into idle chit chat to pass time while the smokers go outside to get their nicotine fix.

Typically, it starts with a simple question.

"Did you see Dexter last night? It was an awesome episode".

I usually smile, my very best Mona Lisa smile, and say "We don't have cable".

To which they typically reply "Oh! You have an antenna?" At this point, they are unable to wrap their brain around the idea that someone would choose not to watch television.

"No, we don't have cable. I don't watch TV. We have an internet connection only"

Now, what follows after this exchange varies. Sometimes it's "you're kidding right?" or most recently "Are you Amish?". But it is always the same air of disbelief and shock that we don't have a television hookup in our home. 

Now don't get me wrong, we have a TV. It is a huge outdated Sony, with picture on picture. We also have a DVD player, and we have spent many cozy winter Saturday nights curled up in the basement rec room watching a great movie.

But when the movie is over, we turn off the tv and leave the basement to go back to the living.

My second favorite moment is when their mind begins to register the fact that we don't watch television, and I can always see the question coming.

"So what do you DO?????"

I love this question. What do I do. What do I do with all of the glorious hours of freedom that my life inherited the day I turned off the tv for good. The better question is "What don't I do?"

I read. I blog. I write. I spend time outside playing with my child. I read books to him. In the last year I have finished two children's books and half of a novel. (Any publishers' out there?) I bake. I cook up marvellous creations that I used to drool over in culinary magazines. I am learning to snowboard. I hike. I snowshoe. I went tobogganing last winter for the first time in years. I have dinner parties. I go out and visit friends. I fix things around the house. I clean. I organize. I sort and send things off to be Freecycled. I make greeting cards, and have begun painting again. I pintrest and twitter and enjoy connecting on social media. And of course...there is a farm to run and a day job that keeps me busy.


That's it really. I no longer sit and watch other people living their lives. I get out there and write my own life story. Chapter by chapter, I try to create as many adventures as I can.

I can only hope that our children learn to balance technology with living, and always put living first.

There then comes the moment when they say "but you have a child! Doesn't he need television?"

No. He doesn't. In fact, when we do allow him to watch a program on the iPad it scares me to see the zombie like expression his face takes on. How he zones out - and can't hear me calling his name. 

He is only just a year and a half old. He doesn't need television. He needs rocks and a bucket to put them in. A stick that becomes a pony to prance around on. Forts made out of pillows. Drums comprised of kitchen pots. 

So we use the iPad only infrequently. And since he doesn't know any differently - he simply doesn't miss it. 

Whenever I think "can he grow up without TV?" I remind myself that children all over the world do it everyday. 

Besides - my son will be too busy doing chores and helping in the barn to have time. :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bedtime for The Wee Farmer

We just didn't have the stomach to allow our son to Cry It Out. We tried... and just couldn't do it. So we had to find another way to gently teach him to sleep on his own. We simply didn't agree with the advice to "teach him that even if he cries you won't come".  As parents who strongly advocate for Attachment Parenting methods,  we didn't want this to be a lesson for him to learn. We wanted him to know that if he cried we WOULD come.  However, we wanted to teach him that he didn't need to cry. That he was safe in his own bed. That he could go back to sleep on his own.

It was challenging, because we co-slept with him from about age 12 months to now.  He would go down to sleep in his own bed at 7, and then awake crying at 10. Co-sleeping happened as a survival mechanism. He wouldn't sleep, I went back to work, and it was the only way that we could all get some sleep.

But daddy and I wanted our bed back, and I decided that I needed to wean him from night feeding.  When we co-slept, he used me as a pacifier to get back to sleep, and it was keeping both of us up.
The only way at that point that we could get him to sleep at bedtime was to pat his bum while he snuggled on a shoulder.  We knew this was going to take some work!

So we took two weeks off work, and prepared for sleepless nights.

The new rules were simple.
  1. Daddy became the main night time response unit. If our son cried, Daddy would go in to put him back to sleep.
  2. No more bringing him into our bed during the night. We both agreed that anytime after 6am if he woke up we would bring him to our bed for a snuggle and a morning feed. But before 6am Daddy was on duty.
  3. I would be in charge of bedtime, as I didn't see him as much during the day and I enjoyed the time with him. My goal was to get him used to being put down in the crib (no more breastfeeding to sleep, no more shoulder and rocking) We would gently wean him from the bum patting by patting lighter and lighter.
  4. We needed a firmer bedtime routine. So we set a new one. Bath, bottle, books, bed. No more play time after the bath. Once you are in your room and get your jammies on it is books and bed.

The first night was hell. He woke up 6 or 7 times. On the 6th wake up I crept downstairs and heated up a bottle. Daddy gave him the bottle and he went back to sleep until morning.   We both felt terrible, but at no time was he crying alone. Daddy was there soothing him and patting him back to sleep.

Bedtime the first few nights was tough too. I put him in the crib and he stood up crying, wanting to be rocked and held. I stepped back from the crib. He cried louder.  I told him gently that if he lay down I would come back to the crib and pat his bum and hold his hand. It took a few tries. He lay down. I came right back and rubbed his back. He got back up. I stepped away. He lay down, I went back. He eventually figured out that if he lay down I would be RIGHT there with him. So he stopped standing up. I pat his bum, I rubbed his back, I sang songs, and he fell asleep.

Over the next week it got better, then it got way worse for about two days. We did a lot of daytime napping!

We are now at about 1.5 weeks. Last night he slept from 7pm-4am and then woke up. He drank a half bottle of warm milk and went back to sleep until 6.  We are calling this an incredible success!

He goes down much easier at bedtime. I no longer rock and shush and bum pat, or breastfeed. We have a bath, go upstairs and put jammies on, read a whole lot of books (I can't help it I love to read to him!) while he drinks his milk, and then I put him in his crib and softly pat his bum. He is asleep in about 12-15 min.  It is so peaceful. No more crying. No more angst.

I am sure that teething and illness and all sorts of things will disrupt things at some point, but I am pleased that we have managed to night wean him and get him sleeping through the night peacefully without having to Cry It Out.

He is learning to soothe himself, and is teaching himself to go back to sleep. He feels secure in his own bed, with his Kitty Cat and his blankie. He also knows that if he does cry out, we are always there.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I may have a problem...

You should see the bottom cupboard, it houses the lasanga tray, roaster, platters.... It appears I like corningware!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Back to work I go

Going back to work is bittersweet. I am sad to leave my child. I will miss the smell of his hair, his sweet smile, the way he so intently looks at books even though he can't yet read the words.

But back to work I must go.

Part of me is excited to have some me time again. To drink tea with grown ups, and have adult conversation. I love what I do, and I am excited to get back to it. 

But I will most definitely miss this smile.