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Wednesday, 19 September 2012 12:26

The 'Birth Plan' Regarding Clara

When I had Clara almost two years ago - really? Wow... - I didn't have much of a birth plan.  I had read about all sorts of things you could potentially request for a birth online, and was told in our city that many of these things may or may not be available or possible for us, and to be flexible with these plans. 

Unfortunately, a number of things happened at her birth that left me feeling helpless and a little bit... well, uncomfortable, I guess.  That's a topic for another post, though, as I'll get into my birth plan for THIS baby sometime in the next few weeks.

THIS time around, I have something else to consider - my toddler.

When my water started leaking with Clara, I casually called the hospital, and they suggested we come since I wasn't certain if it was a water leak or whether I was just peeing a little (it happens).  So, we packed a bag - or maybe grabbed the bag we'd already packed, I can't even remember - and drove through rush-hour traffic to the hospital.  I packed my seat with a bunch of towels, just in case, but I don't think I really ended up needing them.

Everything was pretty laid back, and although we weren't really sure what the evening would bring - a baby, or a trip back home - we were relaxed and felt like we had nothing really to worry about.

"Focus, Mommy! What about me?"

This time we have the added complication of needing to have a plan for Clara.  Luckily we have a ton of family nearby who are ready and willing to jump in and help as soon as we need them.  Actually, our biggest struggle might be - how can we include both families without making either feel like they weren't able to help enough.

I created a few scenarios and asked each parent to let us know which times/days worked for them, and whether they would be willing to do these things...

1. If I go into labour after Clara has gone to sleep, is someone willing to come and stay at our house so Clara doesn't have to be uprooted in the middle of the night?

2. If I go into labour during a weekday (work days for all parents involved), who can most easily take time off to come and watch Clara? (Trust me, this isn't too much to ask of anyone - they're all practically tripping over each other to be the one we call first!)

3. If we are 'out' somewhere, can people meet us at the hospital to take Clara? Luckily both sets of Grandparents have their own carseat.

4. If my water breaks all over our kitchen floor and we have to rush away - can someone clean it up? :) Yup, everyone agreed to this too - we have wonderful family!

Then I made a couple of notes about how we would like things to go with her, just requesting that our families be willing to play along with this if they can...

  • Clara gets to be the first visitor, so whoever has her after the baby is born should be willing to drop her off at the hospital for an hour or so (before they get to see the baby) so that we can spend some time with just the four of us - Brian, me, and our two daughters!
  • We would like this time to be as exciting as possible for Clara so she (at least at first) has not reason to be resentful or jealous of the new baby - including (I'm thinking) some kind of 'Welcome Home' party for the baby that includes lots of cupcakes (Clara's favourite). 

There are also a couple of things I would like to do differently post-birth with this baby.

  • Limited visitors at the hospital - ONLY our parents and brothers are allowed to come and see the baby at the hospital.  Last time we had a total of... 20? visitors come the first (and only) day we were in the hospital - and some of them even came twice.  The nurses were getting quite frustrated with all of the comings and goings of people, and I just don't think it's necessary.  This time all of our Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins can wait until we get home.
  • Stay at the hospital... This is funny, since I thought I wanted a home birth (I think I'd still take it if it were an option, but it's not, so...), but I'm thinking I might stay at the hospital longer this time.  I assume I'll be able to, since I begged and pleaded for them to let me leave a day earlier than planned last time.  This time, it might be much more relaxing to stay in the hospital when I know the alternative is looking after a toddler at home... maybe... I'll have to think about this, or maybe just see how I'm feeling when I'm there.

In regards to watching toddlers, or ideas for getting toddlers ready for a baby sibling - I would love to hear anyone's ideas or ways you did this and how it worked.  Clara has already said that her baby sister can sleep in her crib - yay for sharing! We'll see how she likes it when she realizes what it MEANS! :)

 

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 19 September 2012 10:15

OB/GYN Appointment Update - 34 Weeks

Yesterday I had an OB/GYN appointment as well as my last (probably) ultrasound with this baby.  There was good news, and there was (potentially) bad news.

Here is the latest picture of our baby girl:

This is her face, which is half shadowed - the top of her head is at the right side of the picture, and I think that funny little haloed circle on the left is either an elbow or a fist.

Almost everything is looking perfect and normal - her weight at this point is exactly average for what it should be if my due date is October 30th (this date was new to me...), putting her in the 47th percentile, which is probably a bit smaller than Clara was.

I've only gained 5lbs this pregnancy so far, which as I get closer to the day is pretty exciting for me.  At first I was a little concerned, but my OB/GYN said it's not a concern unless I've been sick or if I don't have a lot of extra weight.  Since I could probably stand to lose a good 30-40 lbs, I'm hoping I'll actually end up being lighter after this baby is born which so far is looking likely!

So, all of that is good news...

I asked the ultrasound tech to double check for us that baby was a girl, if he could, and he did - pointing out her 'parts' to us.  This is a relief, since I had already gotten rid of all of our more 'boyish' looking clothes since we had an overabundance of baby clothes and didn't need to keep nearly all of them. 

As we were watching her heartbeat, the tech noticed that her bladder seemed quite over full.  First, he said we should watch and we would probably get to see her empty it... then he looked back and said, "No, that's not her bladder..."

As it turned out, a large part of what he had originally said was her bladder was actually an ovarian cyst.  Really? She's not even born yet, and she has a cyst in her ovaries???

I have PCOS, or PCOD or whatever it's technically called, and I know what cysts feel like - they are NOT fun! I asked the tech if he thought she could feel it, and he said 'No', but really - what is he going to say? There's nothing I can do about it anyway, so I doubt he would have admitted that 'Yes, she's probably in excruciating pain'.  Maybe I'm just too worried...

The tech also said that it would just pass on its own and that it was nothing to worry about. 

I asked the OB/GYN some questions about it also, and she said that although it would PROBABLY pass on its own, they would do an ultrasound on the baby shortly after she is born to follow up on it.  This made me wonder...

For the first six weeks of Clara's life, she was colicky, and although we never figured out what was causing it (as is the case with colick most of the time, I think), we were pretty sure it wasn't caused by gas since none of the gas-beating techniques EVER worked on her.  So I asked the OB/GYN if it was possible that Clara had also had a cyst, and would this have caused her colick.  The OB/GYN said this was something she couldn't answer - but obviously didn't rule out this possibility either. 

My poor baby girls.

Both the ultrasound tech and the OB/GYN said that this was a very common thing, and that it didn't mean she had PCOS, nor did it necessarily have anything to do with my PCOS - it was simply a result of my hormones working in her body.

I really, really hope that this doesn't mean she will have PCOS.  The worst thing about it is the likelyhood of obesity, I think... although I have a pretty mild case of it, and am not seriously overweight - it was still hard to grow up being the 'chubby kid' when it really had little to do with my activity level or how much I ate. It's just a hard thing for a girl to struggle with...

Published in Blog
Saturday, 08 September 2012 19:23

Pregnancy Update - 33 Weeks!

33 Weeks along – I missed a week in there somewhere... again! I love it when that happens, although it's also a little scary to know I have a week LESS to prepare and be a Mom of only one...

How big is baby? 4.2 lbs, 17 inches (according to www.babycenter.ca)

Weight gain/loss: My last doctor's appointment said another kg, so that means about 5lbs total?

Feeling: Pretty good, all around. I get tired easily, and have to sit down a lot while shopping, etc., but I seem to be able to keep up with life, and hubby is adapting and making sure I don't do too much work.

Maternity clothes? Still loving the clothes I bought a few months ago – thinking about modifying them to fit me after baby arrives!

Sleep: Sleeping better lately...

Food cravings/aversions: Baby is letting me eat more, which is awesome! I still don't have a lot of space in there, but I've been much less picky!

Movement? Lots. Way more than I ever got with Clara. Although this baby has probably gotten calmer already – probably already running out of room!

What I miss? Having energy.

Pregnant Problem? Pooping... am I alone here? Yes? Never mind...

Best moment this week: I had a little sappy moment where I looked at my daughter's green-brown eyes (just like her Daddy's) and teared up. I wonder how our next daughter will look like me, or my husband.

Baby preparations? We looked at sit and stand strollers today... just looked, didn't buy. We're going to be so unprepared!

What I'm looking forward to or NOT looking forward to: Juggling two babies! Ack!

Next Appointment:. A week from Tuesday. They're getting closer and closer together now...

Milestones: She's head-down! I asked my doctor on Tuesday if she was 'upside down yet', and she laughed and said 'That's 'right side up' to physicians!'.

Published in Blog
Sunday, 26 August 2012 20:00

Pregnancy Update - 31 Weeks

How far along? 31 weeks – just starting the third trimester!

                                                         

Weight gain/loss: My last doctor's appointment said about 3 lbs (total so far)

How Big is Baby? Between 3 and 4 pounds (I can't believe how big this is!)

Feeling: Exhausted! I've reached that point where my lungs seem to have no room to expand and I just want to sit or better yet – sleep – all the time!

Sleep: I wish I could say the pregnancy is getting in the way of this, but mostly I've just been carelessly trying to get things done (how silly!) and have been staying up way too late each night.

Food Cravings: Fruit, if anything.

Food Aversions: This baby still seems quite averse to foods of all kinds, and because I'm stubbornly trying to gain at least a little bit of weight for the baby's sake – I've gotten used to not really enjoying anything. How fun.

Movement? All the time. And it's definitely starting to get painful!

What I miss? Motivation.

Baby Preparations? We need some additional storage for clothing in the girls' bedroom, and my Mom has said she plans to buy us a tall dresser for this purpose. I'm looking forward to getting that so I can start putting the new baby's clothes into their room!

What I'm looking forward to: Being pretty much done work next week. After September begins I've agreed to work three more Fridays because the office I'm working in doesn't have anyone to work Fridays (hopefully they find someone by then!), and I'll be teaching piano at home – but I'm so excited to finally be done working away from home!

Next Appointment: September 5th - I'm down to once-ever-three-week appointments, and after two of those, I have one after two weeks, and then it's every week!

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 15:57

Late Pregnancy Update - 28 weeks

This past weekend was my husband's Grandparent's 50th Anniversary celebration, so the family got together for pretty much the entire weekend, which was crazy and exhausting! We did, however, get together for some family photos and because the photographer was a good friend of mine, we snuck in a few pregnancy shots since I was all dressed up for it!

I can't believe how much I love, love, love this photo! I normally hate pictures of myself, but I really like this one - it makes me happy! I want to say the dress makes me happy too - $25 from the sale rack at the Gap.  Oh, yeah!

How far along? 28 weeks – just starting the third trimester!

Weight gain/loss: I actually used my scale this past week, and if I have gained anything, it's not more than 5lbs.

How Big is Baby? According to www.babycenter.ca baby is nearly 2.3lbs, and up to 15inches from head to toe!

Feeling: Not too bad this week. I had a burst of energy on Monday and my husband and I managed to get some of the really disgusting bits of housework done, which makes living in it a little bit more enjoyable :)

Maternity Clothes? Check out the Gap dress in the photo above – not a maternity dress, I'd like to mention, it just had a high enough waist to accommodate!

Sleep: I had wanted to get one of those pregnancy body pillows, but I just can't justify spending $60+ on a pillow that I'll only use for another few months and then probably never again... :( I did, however, pull my old twin size comforter that I used in college out of the closet and rolled it up to use in place of a maternity pillow – and although I've never used a fancy maternity pillow, I think this works just as well!

Food Cravings: Nothing...

Food Aversions: Everything...

Movement? Definitely!

What I miss? Dreamless sleep.

Best Moment this week: We spent a relaxing Monday making up for our crazy weekend – had friends over and ate pizza in the backyard – it was great!

Baby Preparations? I suppose we really should get on this...

What I'm looking forward to: This Saturday is my hubby's birthday weekend, and we have a lunch date planned and then an afternoon of Oil & Vinegar tasting (there's this awesome shop that just moved into town that carries about a billion flavours of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar and we're going to check it out!) and wandering the shops! So excited!

Next Appointment: August 14th – a week from today.

Milestones: She may have fingernails!

Published in Blog
Saturday, 28 July 2012 21:58

Pregnancy Update - 27 weeks.

Weight gain/loss: I still have no idea...

How Big is Baby? About 14.5 inches long, and close to 2lbs.

Feeling: Still tired, but otherwise not too bad.  My hips are separating, which makes me walk funny for a few minutes after every time I stand up! :(

Sleep: Better this week than last, I think.  It helps that the house has cooled somewhat after our crazy heat spell.

Food Cravings:  Liquids lately, probably because of the heat. 

Food Aversions:  Foods that seem tasty at first I will have absolutely no appetite for after about three bites.  I keep calling her my 'diet baby'.

Movement? Still lots, but no more than last week.

What I miss? Being able to fit between the chair and the wall when people are sitting at the table - and other 'normal-person' sized spaces.

Best Moment this week:  Hmmm... guess it's been a sad week.

Baby Preparations?  Not nearly enough, probably.

What I'm looking forward to: September when my daughter is no longer in daycare!

What I'm afraid of, or NOT looking forward to: Poopy diapers.  Clara isn't yet potty trained, but she has (mostly) been pooping in the potty since she was 8 months old.  Just tonight, however, she chose to bless me with the messiest diaper I have ever encountered - and I am terrified of having to deal with these on a regular basis! I know... I've been spoiled!

Next Appointment: August 14th

Milestones: May be responding to light.

 

 

Published in Blog
Thursday, 19 July 2012 22:09

Why I'm Afraid of Baby #2

I came across an article today that discussed reasons why someone might choose to either stop after one baby, or wait after one baby for at least two years before conceiving again.  The article included this quote:

       " When you just have one child, you can still preserve a lot of your pre-baby lifestyle... Going out to dinner or on vacation isn't that hard."  says Edward Christopherson, PhD.  A Psychologist and and professor of pediatrics in Kansas City.

My response to this was utter and complete terror. 

"What??? It isn't hard..??? Who does this guy think he is????"

And then it hit me - what if he's right? What if one child is a piece of cake, and I'm just a big whiny baby and having two at a time - especially when the oldest is less than two years older - will be terror?

I'm admittedly afraid.

And here are my main reasons why:

Chaos.  I get flustered easily.  I can't remember where I put my keys - ever.  I still haven't found my camera (see post from last week).  I find that the simple task of getting ready to go to work in the morning (just myself, never mind a baby) requires me to repeatedly go over my mental checklist.  I'm probably the biggest flake imaginable, and I'm going to be responsible for TWO other people??

Sleep.  I like sleeping.  My Dad would get up with the sun (or without it, because in winter here the sun is lazy and doesn't show itself until 9am) at 5am.  He was a morning person.  I would have loved to inherit this particular trait - but I didn't.  I can sleep in with the best of them - when the best of them were 13 years old.  I haven't grown out of my ability to sleep until 2pm when left to my own devices (which granted, now only happens when I'm at home sick), and as I near 30, I sort of wonder if I will ever grow out of this.  When we had Clara, everyone recommended I 'sleep when the baby sleeps'.  When the realization hit me that with a toddler running around, I will no longer be able to do this - I pretty much panicked...

What if this baby is the same as Clara was? Going along with that last point about sleeping - Clara was 'colicky' for the first six weeks of her life.  She started crying at about 7pm every evening and didn't stop until about 4am.  It was awful.  Everyone we asked for advice hadn't experienced anything quite so extreme, so no one could really offer any advice or consolation. It was hell.

What if this baby is nothing like Clara? Although Clara's first 6 weeks were hell, she quickly began sleeping straight through the night - up to 10 hours at a time - almost immediately after the 'colick' ended.  Despite the insanity of those first six weeks, at least we were then able to finally rest! What if this baby doesn't sleep through the night - like, ever!?!? It crossed my mind sometimes that I was way to selfish a person to be a mom, because some days, when Clara started crying in the night, I tried for a long time to pretend I didn't hear her... Can I do that all over again - especially if this one is worse?

Pictures.  This may not seem like a really big deal, but it kind of stresses me out.  What if I don't take enough pictures? I find myself not taking enough pictures now (even when I know where my camera is) - what if I'm being driven crazy by two little ones and it just doesn't cross my mind to pull out a camera? This poor little girl will grow up with no baby pictures of herself! Taking pictures is just another thing on my 'to do' list.  Another thing I have to remind myself to do.  And that list of things seems endless and difficult some days...

I'm sure if I gave myself a week to think about this, I could come up with at least a dozen more reasons why baby #2 is kind of freaking me out... but I can't be alone in this.  I ran across a blog post last month that was basically expressing the same fear - so I know I'm not the only one. 

What were/are your fears going into the next baby? Were you right, or had you totally overreacted? (Please say there's nothing to be afraid of!!!)

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 11:33

Baby's First Gift

 When I discovered I was pregnant with Clara, I quickly ran out to buy 'baby's first gift' - a white onesie from the Gap with navy blue whales all over it.  It was the outfit she wore home from the hospital.

This baby didn't get a gift right away - and it wasn't until this blanket showed up on sale at Indigo (I'd been eyeing it up for months...) that I finally had the perfect 'first gift' for my second daughter.  

 

 

 

Published in Blog

Last night, I started watching a documentary called 'The Business of Being Born' which is an American commentary on their maternity healthcare system as well as the controversial topic of midwives and homebirths. 

I am Canadian, and although we are similar to the US in many ways, our healthcare system is quite different so much of the documentary wasn't really relevant to my situation and didn't warrant too much energy on my part - that is, I didn't feel the need to fact check because it didn't apply to me anyway.

Before our daughter was born, I had met a few people who had either had home births with midwives, or had gotten a doula involved in the birth of their child and found the idea rather interesting.  My husband and I come from different backgrounds and views here; my parents were slightly older than my husband's parents and more influenced by the 'Hippy' era of the 60's.  My husband's family is much more conservative, and when my husband uses the word 'Hippy', I find it a little offensive.  My husband's response to home births was that he didn't want to be stuck at home with 'some hippy' if something really serious were to go wrong.  I had no strong beliefs about it at the time, and in Canada it is completely free to go into the hospital to have a baby while it would cost us hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get a midwife, so I didn't even bother with discussing it.   Our healthcare system seemed fine, I really liked our OBGYN, and we certainly didn't need to be spending a ton of money on something unneccessary. 

After having my daughter in the hospital, however, my thoughts are a bit different.  Firstly, our OBGYN - who I love - was not on call the day we were brought in to the hospital, so it was another doctor who helped birth our daughter and I wasn't entirely confident I liked the way she handled things.  I would have loved to have had an entirely natural birth - except for maybe the epidural :) - but I was quickly induced for reasons that may or may not have been necessary.  Because I am not an educated medical professional, and have almost always trusted healthcare providers implicitly, I felt that I had no choice but to go along with the choices the doctor was making.  I may not have wanted to choose differently in the end - but because I wasn't given the option, I felt very out of control and confused.

If I knew for certain that a home birth was just as safe as a hospital birth, I can't get over how much more comfortable it would be to be in my own home - with my own music, with my daughter able to be there.  My husband is certain the risks would be too great, and maybe they are.  I have been following the 'Free Range Kids' blog lately, and am a believer that it is better for my kids to take the 0.002% chance that something terrible could happen to them if they are at the park unsupervised for half an hour than to take the 50% chance that they will not learn how to be confident and independent adults if I shelter them too much.  I feel like my husband's argument about 'what if something happens' is similar to over-panicking about that 0.002% chance.  Yes, there is a small chance that something serious could happen and if we're not at the hospital my life, or the life of the baby could be lost.  But there is also the chance that something could go wrong in the hospital.  And, I know from experience that there is a much greater percent chance that I will have an uncomfortable and forced labour and birth - again - if I go to the hospital and put myself at the mercy of the doctors. 

I have certainly not made a decision on this. I have promised my husband that I will not do anything that he is truly uncomfortable with, and I have begged him to consider the same for me.  I also don't have enough knowledge to make an informed decision, and fear that every study and statistic that supports either side of the argument is manipulated to do so. 

My husband wants hard facts and numbers, and ultimately I want something we can both be happy and comfortable with. Is there an answer to this dilemma?

Published in Blog
Friday, 25 May 2012 12:39

Pregnancy Update

I just read a forum thread that kind of put my mind at ease - one woman commented on how during her third pregnancy, she didn't feel the baby move as soon as she had with her first two.  I remember hearing that you would likely start feeling the baby move between 18 and 20 weeks, and with Clara, I started feeling movement around 17 weeks.

It was so reassuring to feel her moving.  Up until that point, only doctor's appointments and ultrasounds could convince me that everything was 'ok' with her, and I'm still in that stage with this one.

It's been almost 18 weeks, and I may have felt a few small movements here and there - but nothing that I can be certain of, and not enough to convince me beyond all doubt that this baby is alive and kicking! Why do I have to be plagued with so much worry!??!

Anyway, I was reminded again that when the online pregnancy calculators say 'your baby is now 6 inches long', they mean from 'crown to rump'.  Which, if you think about it, is pretty big already!

My eating has gotten somewhat better, although I still have a much smaller appetite at most times of the day than I'd like.  Last night I ate almost nothing of our stir-fry supper and then was craving a McDonald's cheeseburger at 9pm, which my wonderful husband willingly went out to get me.  I felt a little gross after, but I ate the whole thing...

It was three hours before I reminded myself that I needed to eat this morning.  It seems I am finally able to drink coffee again - yay!

I'm looking forward to my next appointment, on June 16th - hopefully that will be the day we find out 'what' this little bugger is!

Published in Blog
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