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I’ve been remise in writing for almost 2 years.

A lot has happened since July 2011.  Here’s a quick breakdown: I went back to work in September 2011, we moved in June 2012 into my in-laws place (as our new house wasn’t ready yet), moved into our new home on August the 2nd 2012 and had our second son on August 20, 2012.

So here’s the story of how we met Anthony for the first time. (I want to finally get it down as I’ve already forgotten the details and want to have something to look back to later when I forget even more.)

The pregnancy itself was fairly uneventful.  Once again I thought I was having a girl. My due date was supposedly between August the 22nd-24th.

As my due date neared my Braxton Hicks contractions became more frequent and intense.  So much so that on August the 13th I went into the hospital for a check after what felt like one long contraction that wouldn’t let up.  Turns out everything was fine.  But when I was examined it was discovered that I had dilated almost 2 cm, that the time was likely nearing but that I should do more walking. (Are you kidding me I thought to myself).

Then on Sunday, August the 19th I went to bed at 10 p.m. only to wake at midnight with some slight pain.  I was feeling contractions somewhat regularly (about every 10 mins) but after each contraction there was a pain that would come along with it.  I tried to quietly wake Mike, but I didn’t want to alarm him because I figured this was another false alarm.  This wasn’t easily done thanks to my size, but also because our older son was sleeping between us and I didn’t want to wake him.  As expected, Mike immediately figured it was time to head to the hospital but I told him I was going to wait it out a little longer and try a hot shower to see if that would help abate the pain.  As I showered I continued to time my contractions and they were now happening every 6 mins.  So rather than rush to the hospital, for fear that they would just send me home, I phoned in and gave all the necessary details.  It was decided that since this was my second child, and I lived a bit of a distance from the hospital and I’d need to get someone to come to my house to watch my older son, it was time to get moving and make my way in.  We left at about 2 a.m.  I was in complete denial that this was labour (since my first had been so different, and because I just wasn’t ready yet).  You could clearly tell that this wasn’t my first child since my bags weren’t nicely packed months in advance, and unlike the first time, I didn’t want to rush to the hospital every time I felt the slightest anything.

I was now 2-3 cm dilated, but the baby was still pretty high, so as I anticipated, I was told to walk, walk, walk for a good 1 1/2-2 hours.  So here were my husband and I (more me of course) going back and forth along one hospital hallway.  He was timing the contractions and I was waddling back and forth, huffing and puffing, and stopping every so often to cling to something with each contraction.  I still wasn’t thinking that this all meant that the baby was coming, but all my husband kept saying was why couldn’t our children come during the day rather than in the middle of the night.  (I think it was a sign of all the sleepless nights to come from here on in.)  After the walking, the contractions began to come every 3-4 mins, so I went for another check.  This is when I was informed that I was now 3 cm dilated, baby had come down a tad, but that I’d still have to walk some more.  I naively said, well I’m seeing my doctor tomorrow (Tuesday August 21) so we can just go home right?  And the nurse informed me “Oh no! This is happening today!” I was utterly shocked.  Back we went to the hallway, now with more intense contractions, and more fatigued.  I’m sure I looked an absolute fright.  Just to add insult to injury, my husband and I see another couple making the way down the hall towards the birthing centre.  The woman was in a beautiful long dress, her hair and nails were done, and she was casually pulling a small suitcase, while a man trailed behind her with another.  She did look pregnant but I turned to my husband and said “Please tell me that she’s not in labour.” (We were to discover later that she was coming in for a scheduled c-section.)

This time around, I was unable to last the 2 hours of walking because the contractions (concentrated in my back) were coming even more frequently (every 1-2 mins) and I began experiencing a new pain. While we waited to be seen by a nurse once more, my husband began talking to another gentleman in scrubs in the waiting room.  (He was the same man who had walked in about an hour or so earlier with his wife and he was waiting while she was being prepped for the c-section.  Wouldn’t you know that these two began talking about how difficult it is for men in these situations and how no one appreciates how hard it is for them, blah, blah, blah.  I almost lost it, because I was now doubling over in pain and tears were springing to my eyes.  The nurse examined me, said I was now 4 cm, and fortunately the baby had come down some, and that I could finally be admitted.

Once in my birthing room, I was asked whether I was ready for the epidural. Hell ya!  I was also going to be started on IV.  The anaestitist was already on hand so rather than wait for a nurse, he attempted to do my IV himself and missed not once, or twice, but three times.  I was really hoping this wasn’t a sign of how the epidural would go.  At this point, we called my folks to update them and my mom hurried to the hospital immediately.  Unlike my first time around, the epidural didn’t ‘take’ the same way.  I was slightly numbed but still felt a lot of pain at times.  Since labour slowed a little thereafter my water was broken, and I was started on a drip.  By noon or so, I was fully dilated and ready to push.  We quickly discovered that with each push, the baby’s heart rate would drop.   The nurse tried shifting me to no avail.  Then I was given oxygen after every push.  The baby still wasn’t coming down far enough, fast enough, so it was decided that I needed the vacuum.  I saw the doctor exchange the look (indicating that this was the last resort before a c-section) so I got my game face on and pushed as much as I could. And thankfully, less than a minute later (at 1:26 p.m.), Anthony was delivered!  He weighed in at an impressive 7 pounds 15 ounces.

Today, 9 months later, Anthony is weighing about 20 pounds (what Julian weighed at a year) and he’s learned to crawl, sit up and he’s now trying to stand.  I don’t know where the time has gone, but I only hope that I can fully remember these beautiful moments with him.

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Incremental Changes

Now why is it that hearing the news that my son could potentially be “developmentally delayed” (despite my gut feeling that he’s fine) render me almost to tears?  I know he’s fine, at least I think he’s fine…and yet, part of me still wonders and frets.  Yes, I know what you’re all thinking…all babies come around when they’re good and ready and that 10, 20, 30 years down the road, it won’t matter when he started walking/talking, etc.

 

I just wonder why it is that he seems to be so challenged with changes…first it was getting used to eating with a spoon. Then it was getting used to the various foods (cereals, veggies, fruits, meats, etc.), and now it’s eating finger foods and table food. Before it was also getting used to crawling, sitting up, pulling himself up and now it’s walking.

 

He always seems to be several months behind his peers.  Is it because he’s smaller than most?  That he’s too coddled?  Doesn’t interact with other children enough?  Is it simply a genetic thing?

 

I’m tired of hearing from some “He’s not walking??!! (Gasp),” or from others, “Oh, he’s just lazy.”  I don’t know which response is worse.

 

He’ll come around, I know, I know….

 

And  someday soon I’ll be wishing he wasn’t walking/talking, etc…

 

On the positive side, perhaps this “delay” is a sign of genius?   (One can hope, right?)

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Reflection

This year has flown by so quickly and I don’t know where the time went.

I have only two more nights left at home with my little one.  And then it’s back to work, or back to the grind as they say.  Everyone I’ve spoken with (about going back to work) has heard just how hard of a time I’ve had with this looming date.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I couldn’t have prepared for just how difficult it’s been.  (Is this what they meant when they said parenthood wasn’t easy? What an understatement!)

I really wish I could stay home with him for just a little longer, at least that much.

I’ll miss seeing his smile when he wakes in the morning.

I’ll miss dressing him in the morning and giving him his breakfast.

I’ll miss going out with him here and there.

I’ll miss taking him for walks.

I’ll miss the cuddle time and hearing his constant blabbering as I tend to this or that chore.

And I do realize that this isn’t the last time that I’ll get to experience these things, but it just won’t happen every day.

I don’t want to miss any of his big moments, or firsts (words, steps, etc.) while I’m at work.

I don’t want to not be around when he’s hurt and cries.

I don’t want to become just some figure in the background of his life because I’m at work for the majority of his day.

I don’t want to be replaced by his Monday to Friday caregiver.

I don’t want to miss all the fun times.

How is it that my heart can break so much at the thought of leaving him, even though I know I’m not losing him altogether?

Will he even feel my absence?

If Julian were ever to read this when he was older, I guess I would just want him to know that I love him more than words can say.  Part of me wishes that I didn’t have to work outside the home.  That he and I could be a duo forever. But that’s not realistic.  I would want him to know that he’s taught me so very much.  That having him in my life has been such an amazing blessing, and amazing challenge all rolled into one.  I would want him to know that I tried my very best to give him everything he needed and more.  But if I were to be frank, this year has been a lot of trial and error, especially in those first few months after he was born.  As he grew, my confidence as a mom grew too.  And even though my job as a mom is not finished after this one year, I feel like this has been the first of many challenges…now the next challenge for me is to learn how to balance work with everything that’s more important, like him, and his dad, and our family.  Lastly, I’d want him to know that he was a great baby.  Always so observant, quiet in public, and tentative with his smiles for strangers, but especially flirty with women.  His laugh could fill my heart so much it would feel like it could burst.  And when he was sick, those few times, my heart would break seeing his pain and hearing his cries.

I doubt that any of this will change, but I just want to document how I feel at this moment.

I don’t want to forget all the little things.  Like how it felt to hold him in my arms the very first time, and how it was so difficult to capture his smiles in photographs.  Like how he loved his jolly jumper and “choochie”.  Like how he loved “Twinkle, Twinkle,” “The Itsy, Bitsy Spider,” “Patty-cake,” and “You Are My Sunshine” the most.  Like how he would dance by moving his head side to side…especially when I would sing “Yummy, yummy in my tummy” while preparing his breakfast.  I don’t want to forget how he was rolling at four months, but only started crawling and eleven months.  How he cut his first tooth at seven months, and took FORever to learn to eat (much to Babcia’s dismay).  I don’t want to forget taking him to Mom and Baby yoga, or swimming.  Part of me will never forget these things, but these memories will be replaced by others, just as I’ve already forgotten some, which is a shame.

Being Julian’s mom certainly doesn’t end now, but I’ll now have to juggle other “stuff” and try to spend as much time as possible with him.  I loved him right from when I carried him inside me and that feeling only grew with each passing day.  I loved watching him grow from a 7 pound baby that fit so nicely in my one forearm, and who’s now grown to weigh 19 pounds and is almost half my height (not that that takes much)!  I loved watching his features change slowly from looking so much like his daddy, to now looking more like me (yeah)!

I will always, always treasure my year home with Julian (even if I forget the little things).  He will always be my baby, my first, no matter if I’m at work during the day, and no matter how old he gets.  I hope he will always know how much I love him (even if he can’t fully comprehend it).  I hope we continue to grow together, he and I, and that between now, and when I/we read this again, our bond has only strengthened further…

I’m so very grateful for all the time we’ve shared.

You have been a true gift and blessing in my life.

I’m so very lucky to have you and I am proud of all your accomplishments, no matter how small.

I will love you forever and always.

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Can’t move

Not even an inch

Not even to scratch an itch

Keep the eyes closed

Don’t so much as peek out

Don’t pay attention to the surroundings

Don’t pay attention to feelings

Like noticing the nasal congestion

Or the itch

Or the position you’re in

Drown out the noise

Try to recall where you were before;

Was it a beach,

A castle,

A mountain maybe?

 

If you give in

And your eyes open,

Even if it’s just a quick flutter

And you begin to change position

In the hopes of being “comfortable”

And you begin to focus on the sound

Pleading, begging, needing,

The worst sound in the world.

How can it be ignored?

 

It’s all over.

There’s no going back.

 

You’ll just have to wait another 24 hours and try again…

 

 

As soon as the baby wakes up,gets what he needs and goes back down, I’m back at square one with falling asleep.  Or sometimes I don’t fall asleep again at all.  I just watch the hours tick by, 3, 4, 5, 6, until shortly after 6 am. when suddenly I’m conveniently able to drift off again.  Well wouldn’t you know that Julian is up shortly thereafter?

Ahhh the joys of parenthood!

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2 months to D-Day

That’s 2 months till I’m back at work.

 

Most people just tell me not to worry about it and enjoy the time I have left.  But how can I do that when the date is looming nearer and nearer…like a dreaded dentist appointment (but worse still)?  Will I get over the guilt of leaving him in the first place?  How will I get through the days (Monday to Friday) missing him?  Will I finally accept that I’m leaving him with the MIL?  What happens when I bring work home – will that take away from my time with him, or will I have to work into the wee hours?  How will I have time to DO everything?

 

These are just some of my many concerns…and while the worrying does me no good in the first place, I can’t help but juggle all these questions constantly.

 

On the other hand I hear that the company of adults will be a welcome change and that it will be nice for me to have some time away from the house.  But will I miss any big moments, as in his first steps or words?

 

I’m sure everything will work out somehow, but it won’t necessarily be easy.  I’m not the first to go through this and I surely won’t be the last.  Somehow that fact isn’t comforting though…

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Ever heard of “Shit my dad says?” Well, here is my version entitled “Shit my Italian mother-in-law says.”

Let me mention a few details first.  My son is the first grand child on both my husband’s and my side of the family.  In other words, his arrival was like the coming of the baby Jesus.  And since he was born a male (and given this European family), his status is even more elevated than being the Almighty Son, believe it or not.  What I’m about to depict, may not be similar to everyone else’s Italian mother-in-law, but it’s whom I have the pleasure of dealing with.  Ever seen “Everybody Loves Raymond?” Well, my mother-in-law is very much like Raymond’s mother (and my husband is Raymond), so that makes me Debra, I guess.  Here are just a few of the things she’s said to me, that I can recall, and that I’d like to share with you.

 

Scene: Last night, in her kitchen at about 8:30 p.m.  I’m getting Julian ready to go home, as it’s already approaching his bedtime and he’s becoming more and more irritable.  Mike has disappeared and is talking on the phone.  I put Julian’s hat on and am getting his sweater on.   He’s not making things easy for me as he’s squirming and whining (again, because he’s tired, and simply doesn’t like layering up).  My mother in law throws down her spoon, and rushes over

Her: “You’re squishing him! You’re squishing him!”

Me:  (sarcastically) “Yep. I’m squishing him…that’s exactly it!”

 

 

Scene: Sunday afternoon, in my kitchen.  My inlaws have come over specifically to spend time with Julian because they don’t think they see him nearly as much as they’d like.  It’s nearing Julian’s nap time and he’s starting to get a little cranky.  But given the purpose of the visit, I’m trying to drag out Julian’s time awake to avoid the “Ughhh…we didn’t get to see him for much time” comment.  When he becomes crankier, I know he’s in need of his bottle and nap, so I start prepping the bottle.

Her:  “Mommy forgot about you.  Mommy forgot about you.”

Me:  (exchanging a look with my husband) WHAT?!?!

 

 

Scene: Vaughan Mills, before Christmas.  We stop for a gelato at her insistence.  Julian is only 7 months old.

Her:  “Give Julian some gelato to taste.”

Me:  “No.”

Her:  “Ahh…just a little bit to taste.”

Me.  “No.”

Her:  “Just a little bit.”

Me:  (more irritated) “No.”

Her:  “Just give him a little bit of gelato.’

Me:  “Ah…no.”

And repeat for another minute.

Me:  (thinking to myself) Ever heard of nut allergies? You know the things that some kids are deathly allergic too?

 

 

Scene:  Vaughan Mills, before Christmas a few minutes after the gelato discussion.  We’re seated near the kids’ rides.  There’s a rocket and train from what I remember.

Her:  Let Julian go on the ride.

Me:  “No.”

Her:  “Ah, come on.  Let him sit in the ride.”

Me:  “Ah…he can’t sit.”

Her:  “Ah, come on.” (As she makes her way to the ride, and plops Julian in despite me saying no).

Me:  Staring in disbelief as she’s ignored me yet again and watching as Julian’s hands are all over the steering wheel and everywhere else.  “I didn’t want him touching all that stuff because I’m sure it’s covered in germs,” followed by Julian putting his hands in his mouth.

Her: “Oh yeah.  I didn’t think of that,” as she takes Julian back out of the rocket.

Me: dumbfounded

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Anger

Is there such a thing as postpardum anger?  The little reading that I’ve done on the subject suggests that there very likely is such a thing, but that it hasn’t ever been formally studied. 

Here is my theory on the matter.  If postpardum depression is a very real experience that many women have, then postpardum anger is equally likely in my opinion.  For one, the anger seems related to the lack of proper sleep, as is the depression.  And secondly, the anger can also be related to hormonal changes, similar to depression.  So it seems to me that anger is merely a different manifestation of the postpardum condition.  It has been mentioned that a reason that postpardum anger hasn’t really been formally studied is because there’s the common held opinion out there of “what could you possibly be angry about?” and this was and to some degree still is a similarly held belief with respect to the very real case for postpardum depression.

In my experience, the postpardum anger is directed towards my pooch and towards my husband.  I can definitely own up to this.  I think that the anger is also somewhat directed at me too.  (I’ll get to that afterward).  With respect to the dog, I can’t help but get angry when he begs for attention or does something he shouldn’t in order to get some attention (whether negative attention or not), because I often feel so drained and think why does anything beyond the baby, and the baby’s needs deserve attention?  With respect to my husband, he just can’t do anything right according to me.  When he feeds the baby, the baby eats less, or he doesn’t clean up afterward.  When he changes the baby he takes too long.  When he washes the baby, he doesn’t swaddle him properly, or forgets to wash his hair, etc. etc.  The list of perceived inadequacies is long and varied.  Trust me. 

Granted this can all be exacerbated by the lack of proper, restful, much needed sleep, in addition to the not-so-friendly-seeming hormonal rollercoaster, but what does one do with all this anger???

Lastly, there’s the anger I feel towards myself.  I think I’m upset with myself as well because I don’t think that I should be angry.  I have so much to be grateful for, so I should be thanking my lucky stars rather than being angry about what isn’t working, right?

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