Saturday, April 26, 2014

3 Weeks and a Snug Fit

We're just on the down swing from a growth spurt in the past couple of days. Noah was nursing non-stop all day and night. I was exhausted and feeling crummy.

We had our 2 week midwives appointment this week and Noah impressed by weighing in at almost 1lb over his birth weight. At 2 weeks they are generally happy if baby is back up to birth weight. His belly button also healed up this week much to the relief of his brothers who thought it was "yuck" every time they saw it.

This week is supposed to mark the halfway point for my recovery. Not sure I feel 50% normal yet. Side lying has just become tolerable rather than uncomfortable. Thank goodness since I've been nursing non-stop in bed. I'm also driving again! I was able to drive myself and Noah to our appointment alone with only mild discomfort. My digestive system slowly seems to be returning to normal too which is a huge relief (the things we take for granted - seriously). I've been off pain medication and stool softners for about a week and am feeling OK.

In other news... They all fit in the Prius and without having to buy new expensive "narrow" car seats. Success! The buckle is moderately tricky to do up in the middle where the booster is but we've worked around that by having B get in the car first before the bucket seat goes in so he can more easily navigate the buckle. It would be much easier with the forward facing seat in the middle but my Prius doesn't have an anchor for carseats in the middle so to have them safely installed, the seats that require anchors are on the outsides. Probably best not to have the sometimes fit-throwing toddler next to the baby anyway :)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Three Brothers

The big boys have been mysteriously absent from my recent posts on baby Noah.

Admittedly, I've been very inward focused over these past few weeks. For the most part the transition at home has gone smoothly - no one has taken a toy hammer to the baby yet (yes - this happened last time around) but it hasn't been easy and has taken a fair amount of navigation.

B has been over the moon for his new baby brother while N has been indifferent for the most part. My sister still comes over each day to watch N so nothing much in his world has changed. A couple of nights we came upstairs to find him curled up sleeping in our bed and a couple more nights he woke up a few times throughout the night and came into our bedroom. Both boys have been a little more emotional lately. Not sure whether the culprit is more the new baby or the Easter treats. Either way, we're getting there and still trying to decide which brother Noah most resembles.

At almost 3, N:

  • Has given up naps but is no trouble in the sleep department - goes to bed each night in his bunk without issue
  • Loves to read/play on his LeapPad
  • Counts forward and backward to 10
  • Enjoys playing independently but also plays really well with other kids
  • Loves music - singing, dancing, etc. 
  • Is very stubborn - knows what he wants and will let you know. He runs hot and cold - either loves something or hates it. This comes out in his pickiness with food. 
  • Squeals in delight when I bring groceries home and loves to help put them away
  • Likes to play lego, do crafts, and rides a 2-wheeled scooter like a pro
  • Is a daddy's boy to the core. Dad has a soft spot for him too

At almost 6, B:

  • Is my happy go lucky, nearly always positive kid
  • Loves school
  • Is very social. He needs to be in the company of others. Doesn't play well independently unless he is really engaged in an activity. 
  • Is the instigator. If the boys are rowdy, arguing, or getting into trouble - we know who started it 
  • Has recently hit a huge developmental stride in language. His teacher indicated he was behind in reading and writing compared to his peers. We felt he just wasn't ready yet and were hesitant to push too much since he was demonstrating considerable frustration and anger when we had tried on a number of occasions. Then, a couple months ago, it just clicked
  • Is starting to show a greater level of responsibility and self regulation. Bonus: he has play dates, goes to birthday parties, and attends lessons without us having to stay or participate now! 
  • Likes playing video games sometimes but enjoys playing outside most

Monday, April 21, 2014

2 Weeks

At 2 weeks old Noah has more alert periods throughout the day and snacks frequently. We've been back exclusively breastfeeding for about a week now without any problems.

He has been sleeping approximately two 3-4 hour stretches at night most nights, only waking for about 30 minutes to eat and then falling right back asleep. Unlike with the other two boys, we've been co-sleeping with him. With the cesarean, it was difficult up until about now to get up or move around in bed so co-sleeping has made things much easier. I don't have to wake R up to help me throughout the night. At this point, we plan to continue this sleeping arrangement for the first 6-8 weeks since it coincides with my recovery period.

I had forgotten how much of yourself you have to give up in these early days to devote every hour of the day to sustaining another little life. I've really missed going out - even to run errands or grocery shop. Today is the first day I am going to attempt to venture out on my own with Noah to our midwives appointment. I wasn't able to drive for the first 2 weeks and I'm wary of the discomfort still.

Things that have been helping me cope during these long days at home:

  • Freezer meals are long gone now but were extremely helpful in those first days home when even walking across the kitchen was painful. Now I focus on simple but healthy meals
  • Taking time to shower every morning and put on clean clothes
  • Forcing myself to take a midday nap with Noah - usually only an hour - but something I didn't do with the other two. I have found this makes a huge difference in my energy levels
  • Eating nutritious foods and ensuring adequate fluid intake. My digestive system is still not working at 100% so I've been really making an effort with this. I use the "Notes" function on my iPhone to food journal while also tracking Noah's schedule
  • Jotting down a few things on a to-do list to accomplish each day - I use Notes for this too
  • Reading archival blog posts from some of my favourite bloggers on navigating the early weeks
  • Reminding myself that this period is short

This sweetness also makes things a bit easier.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

On work/family balance and leaning in

Because baby update posts can get a little tiring...

Two of my truths these days:

I love my kids.
I miss work.

Recently I picked up two books from the library: Lean in: women, work, and the will to lead by Sheryl Sandberg and Overwhelmed: work, love, and play when no one has the time by Brigid Schulte. Note: when I'm looking for books I might like I always look at the "frequently purchased together" titles on Amazon.

Over the last year and a half, I feel like I finally achieved a decent work/family/life balance. It hasn't always been perfect but we definitely settled into a good routine. R and I have also grown in to better partners in shared parenting and housekeeping. With a third baby on the way I became even more interested in work/life balance and wondered about the challenges of adding just one more child to the mix with their own needs and demands. I feel like the odds are especially stacked against you if you have a "big" family as you are seen as tipping the scale toward trading off career for family life.

I really enjoyed Sandberg's book. I finished this book cover to cover in two days. The book focused a lot on her personal journey and experiences. A lot of her thoughts reinforced my own beliefs about shared parenting, etc. Her book is career-oriented and offers a prescription of dos and donts for building a successful career and balancing family life.  She highlights many ways that women unintentionally hold themselves back in the workforce. Some of these were eye openers and I recognized having played into them myself. A job recently came up that I had hummed and hawed about applying for since baby N was just born but I've decided to apply anyway. If I get an interview I can always try to negotiate a later starting date and work from there rather than not applying and possibly missing out on an opportunity.

The academic in me also enjoyed the research-heavy Schulte book, though I had a hard time getting through the first part on Work before more or less breezing through the parts on Love and Play. Schulte's book is all about how women (and even some men) feel overwhelmed with work/life responsibilities. In the Appendix at the end, she provides a good summary of all of the key takeaways from each of the areas of work, love, and play. Some of the things that stuck with me from this book are:

- Busyness is a choice. It is not a brag or an excuse. By saying you're busy you're actually saying I'm choosing something else.
- Women are super multi-taskers. But multi-tasking often leaves many loose ends rather than focusing productively on completing one task. Compartmentalize.
- Learn to embrace "good enough" and stop "maternal gatekeeping". Let others help and let them do it in their own way. You don't need to serve up a 3-course meal to have visitors. Keep it simple.
- Choose to be intentional. If you can't do everything with your kids, do the ones that matter most to them. In all likeliness they don't care who drops them off at soccer practice.
- The to-do list will always be never ending. Choose to do one extra thing each day. Park the items on a list - they'll still be there tomorrow.
- Make time to play.

Read any good books or blog posts on work/life balance lately?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 1

Week 1 wasn't without many uphill battles. My hospital stay was 3 nights. Nurses did the diaper changes and brought Noah to me or held him while I got ready to nurse. Sitting up in bed was so so painful and lets not talk about standing up. I had to breathe through the first time like I was in labour to manage the pain. I was afraid to shower with the incision and staples but it didn't hurt at all. I felt jealous of all the moms that were up walking around and picking up their own babies.

I went home on the Monday with my prescription heavy pain meds, Advil and Tylenol. The car ride was agonizing. I held a pillow on my lap. Every drainage sewer or bump we went over felt like my stomach was going to burst open. Once at home the pain didn't ease. I reminded myself not to be a martyr and to take the meds regularly. My back ached all along the left side. I chalked it up to gas pains.
The next day when R got home I was in tears. My stomach suddenly bloated up. Back to the hospital we went.

There were 2 issues. First was that the spinal from the surgery had likely put my bowel to sleep. Second was that during my surgery the doctor had to stitch into the arterial area to prevent internal bleeding and there was a good possibility one of the tubes draining my kidney to my bladder was affected when I was being stitched up.

They wanted to do a CT scan to confirm. I was told with the contrast dye and the cocktail of drugs, I needed to stop breastfeeding for 24-48 hours. I was being re-admitted and Noah couldn't stay. I felt devastated. The scan confirmed the blockage so I was scheduled for surgery in the morning to have a stent put in until the stitch dissolved.

My mom stayed the night with Noah and I at the hospital. She changed him and fed him with formula the nurses provided. R came first thing in the morning to take over. I was pumping and dumping to keep my supply up and only cuddling with Noah while he was asleep to avoid nipple confusion. It crossed my mind whether we should just make the switch to formula so I could spend more time with him but as much as it hurt, I pressed on with the pumping and tried to take comfort in the fact that he was being well loved and cared for by others. He was getting his skin to skin and being held and changed regularly, only dad was doing it, not me. He was a happy baby.

At 36 hours I was given the clear to resume breast feeding. Thankfully he went back without issue. After 2 days in the hospital I was finally allowed to go home again for the second time. We've been working ever since on building my supply back up and easing off the formula. Things are looking up now but I'm still wary that anything could go wrong so we're just taking things day by day here.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Noah's Story

A fitting way to end a week, my labour with Noah began after dinner on Friday, April 4th. We put the boys to bed nice and early at 6pm (they had a long day) and settled in to watch Due Date (irony?). I insisted on something funny over R's current obsession with the show Vikings. Just into the movie I started getting some mild cramping and light contractions. I quietly took mental note of the spacing. 10 minutes. Gave R a heads up in a half joking manner not to get too comfortable on the couch. An hour later they were coming every 6 minutes and I had to get up and walk away from the couch. 

I decided to call the midwife. I may have erred on the more dramatic side when describing the pain/intensity. After arriving at the hospital 10cm last time and having to wait on the midwife and then the back up midwife, I wanted to get to the hospital this time. We arranged to meet at the hospital for 8:30pm. We headed there straight away to be safe and headed to the Tim Horton's in the food court area to grab a coffee for R and a donut for me for after the big event before checking in since we had time to kill.

Once our midwife arrived, we headed to a birthing suite. Since I was 7cm, she called for the back up midwife for the baby. I was pretty happy to have made it to 7cm while still being able to converse easily and even smile at or crack the odd joke. Things were quickly starting to get uncomfortable. She asked if I wanted her to break my water to speed things along since the baby's head was still quite high up she said. I declined, wanting to wait until the other midwife got there since I knew from my past labours that I was pushing rather shortly after having my water broken. She offered to set up a tub I could labour in, or a birthing ball, or suggested I might take a shower. After trying the first two during my labour with Nicholas and feeling worse if anything sitting down, I opted for the shower. R kept me company in the bathroom and the shower felt good. I must have stayed in there for 30 mins. When I hopped out, I got a hospital gown on and parked myself on the toilet to face some more contractions for another 20 minutes or so. The counter pressure from the seat helped a bit through the worst of the contractions and since I felt like I might have to go to the bathroom it seemed like a fitting place to be. Around 10pm I got up and the midwife checked me again. 10cm. We decided to go ahead and break my water. 

Upon breaking my water the midwife felt for Noah's head and realized that it wasn't his head at all, it was his bottom. At the same time, because of the contact, he passed a lot of meconium. I was told to lay back on the bed and not to push just to pant through contractions while she called for the OB to come. They told me he would most likely recommend we go to the operating room for a cesarean. The OB came in and confirmed the breech position with ultrasound. He explained his recommendation would be to go for the emergency cesarean and the midwife asked what I'd like to do. At that point I was frantic trying not to push but my body was pushing anyway. I didn't want to have things explained to me, or to answer a million informed consent and medical history questions (what the heck did I fill out the pre-registration forms for?!) I just wanted to do what was needed to get the baby out safely and quickly. R went with the midwife to get scrubs on. After what seemed like forever, but in actuality was only about 30 minutes, I was in the OR, getting an IV and a spinal block. Once the spinal block was in and I was laid back, I could no longer feel the contractions and felt a wave of calmness settle over me. After a lot of pressure and tugging, the doctor motioned to R the baby was coming out so he could peek over the curtain. Noah was delivered at 10:36pm. Shortly after, R brought him to my head and put his cheek on mine. I felt relieved. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Popping in quickly to say that we welcomed our newest addition to the family last Friday (4/4/14!) just shy of 39 Weeks.

Noah arrived after a quick labour and surprise emergency cesarean. It has been a whirlwind of a week. Once I can put it into words I'll have a post.

He is the sweetest little guy and we are so happy and blessed to finally have him here.