Friday, September 30, 2011

How Quickly Things Change

Way back in June, my siblings and I organized family photos to be taken as a gift for my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. We hired Brent Foster and I think he did a great job! I was looking at the pictures today and realized how drastically things have changed over a matter of a few months.

Here's the clan in it's original state...
and now with the spouses and children.
Except, now there's a new family member to add to the pot! These were taken when I was thirty weeks pregnant. I can't believe how tiny I was - I hardly look pregnant at all!
Other changes? I can hardly recognize two of my sister-in-laws in these pictures! They've both lost so much weight since these pictures were taken! So proud of both of them.
My youngest niece looks so small here! She has grown so much since June.
I love how the photographer captured my crazy active nephews,
and the major cuteness of my niece.
I think getting family pictures taken was a great idea, especially as a gift for people who already have everything. Seriously, everything. Have you seen inside my dad's garage?! The last family picture was taken when I was about ten years old. I was wearing a purple sailor's outfit. My mom had frosted grey hair and looks way older in that picture than she does now in real life!

Don't you love looking back at old photos and seeing how things have changed?
When were your last family portraits taken?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Month One With Little m

We survived our first month of parenthood!

Life with a newborn is something else! The simplest way to explain it is that you can't understand it until you've experienced it. Here are some of the highlights of Little m's first month of life:

Little peanut's weight has increased quite a bit, with her lowest weight at 5 pounds 2 ounces when we left the hospital and the highest at 6 pounds 9 ounces on her one month birthday. Slowly but surely, right? She's up to the 5th percentile!
Little m had a very social month and met tons of family - both sets of grandparents, a couple of aunts, uncles, cousins, all of M's work colleagues, and an assortment of our friends. She's been quite popular on skype! She's gone to numerous restaurants, coffee shops, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Jazz Fest in Grant Park. She's been on the L and the bus quite a lot as well, which is a bit nerve wracking during rush hour for this germaphobe!
Baby girl's most favourite things in the world include:
1) eating (like mother like daughter)
2) the sound of the vacuum (how long can you run a vacuum before it creates a fire?)
3) pooping (wow, wow, wow so much poo)
4) and sleeping (especially when being held)
She loves any type of movement, which I blame on my excessive amount of walking while pregnant. Little m loves snuggling close to my chest in the moby wrap when we take her brother Bama for a walk every evening! She also loves listening to music with her dad and "dancing" to the beat. Tummy time is not her favourite and she's been rolling from her stomach to back since week two. She screams during car rides or pretty much anytime we try to put her in her car seat.
We adore the way she stretches when we take her out of a swaddle. Her facial expressions are adorable, especially the sleepy smiles she gives when waking up or falling asleep. Little m, you are the most beautiful baby and I can't imagine our lives without you!
***Thanks, Aunty Steph for the cool elephant! Should we call her Wannalee?

***These pictures were actually taken today, at six weeks. Ooops.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Makes Me Happy #6

Time for what makes me happy, numero seis.
(go here to read round #1, #2, #3, #4, or #5)

I have a lot to make me happy these days, it's true. Here are a few random, perhaps only funny to me, things I've thought about recently that brought a smile to my face!

25) I dearly, dearly miss my Toronto friend and mentor, Patrish, who I worked with for the last four years of my teaching career. Yes, she is my mother's age but that doesn't matter one bit! We went to a reading conference together a couple of years ago and I remember her getting tired of chewing her piece of gum, so she stuck it on her shoe, like it was a completely normal thing to do (because it probably was completely normal for her). This is just how she rolls and it seriously cracks me up. She walks to the beat of her own drum, 100%.

26) Back in March, I went to a City and Colour concert and it was superb, especially when the show started with Gord Downie coming on to sing his part in Sleeping Sickness. Two great Canadian artists on stage, at the same time, for one of my favourite songs. Bliss.

27) Someone in the city of Chicago goes around to wet concrete and writes into it the word "smile". Well, this is just about the best thing ever and without fail, every time I walk past this piece of sidewalk, I do indeed smile! Good work, person. I've noticed this in two different spots so far - I wonder how many more there are?

28) Of course I had to include a picture of my babes.. Now I see where she gets the t-rex pose from! Like father like daughter?

So, please share, what's been making you happy lately?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Baby Boo-Hoo Blues

The hospital I delivered at organizes a moms' support group once a week and I love it! It's so nice to meet other moms with newborns who are going through the same experiences that I am. Last week there were two really new moms there with week old babies and man, oh man, I felt so bad for them. Both of them had the baby blues something terrible - weepy, sad about everything and nothing, eyes filling with tears in one second flat. And oh, do I ever know what they are going through because I was hit with the baby blues HARD.

Everything was peachy keen for the first week - my parents were visiting which means the dog was walked, the house vacuumed, meals prepared, laundry done, bathrooms cleaned, baby held whenever I wanted a break, etc x a million. Then they went home, M was back at work by this time, and it all went downhill from there.

If I was sitting down nursing and needed something, there was no more, "Mummy, can you bring me ___?" No more dinners ready to be served to my hard-working husband when he walked in the door. Forget about a clean house! Bama's learned how to cross his legs until I'm ready each evening to strap the baby on and take both her and him for a walk. And goodness, forget about blogging - it's impossible to do with only one hand!

Anyway, my point is - I was in for a real shock once my parents left. I had to take care of a baby myself, which wasn't even the worst part! I was homesick and lonely. We live far away from our family and the friends that we have here aren't exactly the baby type. I just imagined myself alone all day, every day, with this unknown creature called little m. I was a basket-case and complete emotional mess. That craziness lasted one week and now everything is good, but seriously... the baby blues are nothing to kid around about. I think I cried more in that one week than the rest of my life combined.

So... at this mom's group.. I just wanted to hug these two new moms, look them in the eyes and tell them things.will.get.better. Yes, they will. Right now it doesn't feel like they will, but the blues will go away (unless they don't and that's a bigger issue) and you will survive!

I've always been a super emotional person and I get homesick on a regular basis after visiting with friends and family (even when I lived so close to them!) so through my pregnancy I was very concerned about how the baby blues would hit me and even wondered if I'd get postpartum depression. So far though, since that one terrible week, life is good, or as good as it can be with a newborn who doesn't like to nap during the day.

So thank you friends, for the emails, the facebook messages, the phone calls, the skype calls, and even the tweets. I have not had the chance to respond to everyone, but just knowing that someone out there is thinking of us made things better and was/is much appreciated!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

C-Section Recovery

It's hard for me to believe, but it's now been three and a half weeks since my c-section. So, how was it? Well, not nearly as bad or painful as I imagined! I know everyone is different, and this is my experience only, but I thought I'd share and document it so that I can remember.

The weirdest part about the c-section was getting the spinal epidural. As it wore off, my legs were tingly and fuzzy feeling and I remember trying so hard to wiggle my toes, to no avail. It was such a strange feeling! Eight hours after my surgery, two nurses helped me out of bed and into a chair. They told me that sitting helps something or other, and that I was to sit in the chair for an hour. Getting out of the bed for the first time and walking three feet to the chair was... painful. I think I had remnants of morphine in my system at this point still, and I'd say the pain level was maybe a 6 out of 10. So not horrendous, but uncomfortable for sure.
(insert cute picture here so that you'll continue reading)

I started sitting in the chair at 3am, half of the time sleeping and the other half playing on my phone. I watched the clock turn to 4am.. no nurses. I watched the clock turn to 5am.. no nurses. So, I kept sitting. I did not want to maneuver myself back into the bed alone. At 5:30am a nurse finally came back in, thank goodness, because by that time I really needed to use the bathroom. The walk to the bathroom was maybe 10 feet, which I took very very slowly. It hurt. Sitting down on the toilet was worse.

The first day after the surgery was the hardest, but day by day the pain lessened. For pain relief I took motrin, every six hours. I was offered percocet as well, but I had horrible experiences with that drug when I got my wisdom teeth taken out, and I refuse to go near it again! Sitting still, I had no discomfort. When moving around, the pain was basically a dull ache near my incision. Laughing and coughing hurt the most out of anything.

Three days later when I was allowed to leave the hospital, I felt good, not great. I actually thought I felt great, but judging how I feel now to how I felt then - no comparison. I guess you could say I felt great given the circumstances. The doctor told me I wasn't allowed to drive or go up and down stairs for two weeks. Obviously they weren't aware that I don't live on ground level! I also wasn't allowed to carry anything over ten pounds. No exercise for a long time, and absolutely no ab workouts for three months!
So yeah, although recovery is ongoing and will be for a while, it really wasn't as bad as I thought it might be! I am counting my lucky stars. One thing for sure though is that you will need help if at all possible. My parents were an absolute lifesaver. A couple of days after returning home, I stopped taking any medication because I didn't feel like it was necessary, plus I kept forgetting. My lower stomach is numb to the touch and it will take months for the nerves to grow back. I can walk at a fair pace, but nowhere near as quickly as before. The way my belly hangs now is really weird and kinda moves around while I walk, so the faster I go, the more jiggly it becomes, causing pain. Just the thought of jogging hurts.

I'm excited to be able to get back into exercising and I dearly, dearly miss going to yoga classes! Downward dogs are not in the books for me yet though. Soon enough!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Hefty Eater

I'm so proud of my baby girl! M and I took little m to her two week doctor appointment today and she's up to 5lbs 15oz! When she came home from the hospital she was at 5lbs 2oz, so she's put on quite a bit of weight in a short amount of time. What a little piggie. That puts her in the 3rd percentile for weight now :) She's also grown 1 inch! I predict in two weeks she'll be too big for her preemie clothes, haha.

Many people keep asking for pictures, so here are a few of my favourites taken with my iPhone.


(Googly Eyes)


(Milk Drunk)

I will blog about non-baby related things one day.. maybe.... if I can tear myself away :)