Monday, December 06, 2010

Moving day

I've gone here. See you on the other side!

Monday, September 27, 2010

And so, goodnight.

Periodically I'll have a thought to share, or a story, and something will stop me. Sometimes that "something" is a crying baby or rampaging preschooler, but more frequently it's that it doesn't quite seem right for this blog. My life doesn't seem right for this blog anymore.

I'd like to be blogging about (in no particular order): craft projects, parenting challenges, what to make for dinner, the in-laws, things my kids say and do, home ownership, gardening, and my determination to own a Bakfiets.

There's nothing else I can do, except begin a new blog for all of those things. This blog will still be here, in case anyone ever wants to read my bitter ramblings through infertility, and I'll begin posting again when we decide to try for a third kid. But for now, I need to start anew.

As soon as I figure out where I'm going, I'll let you know.

And so, goodnight...

This blog was good. This blog was fun.
Next week will bring another one.
Every day, from here to there,
Funny thoughts are everywhere.

(with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


OK people, I'm typing one-handed here. anyone bothered by typos and the like can come over and take dictation.

Baby boy has a name. For blog purposes, let's call him Nate.

Nate likes to nurse. all the time. It reminds me of Kali's growth spurts, except that it's not just for a few days. It's constant, and sleep is scarce. I don't remember being this exhausted with Kali, probably because most of the time I wasn't.

We have such a lovely community here... people have been bringing us delicious dinners and generally spoiling us rotten. And between our parents, and the babysitter, and Mr. D's two weeks off work... well, I can just hole up in my bed if I want to. Why is it that I'm too stupid to take full advantage?

I wish I had something witty or entertaining to write, but my brain is too fried for that. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a list of posts I'd like to write sometime:

- reflections on doctor friends and elective cesaerian sections
- gems of parenting wisdom, in-law style
- why I love my midwives
- what do you give the parents who have everything?

OK, Nate's eyes are closed now. Nitey nite.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Birth Story

Why am I awake at 1 a.m. typing up a birth story? Um, can I blame my birth high and all those natural endorphins? My men (one big, one little) and my little girl are all asleep, and here I am. Since I can't sleep I might as well get the story down while I remember. Right?

So we all know that this morning I had general menstrual-type achiness and major pressure. Painful, annoying, but not convincingly labour at all. I hung out at my computer and looked at double stroller reviews on Amazon.

It dawned on me sometime around noon that the achiness was actually coming in waves, and I started to time them. Hmm... six to eight minutes apart. They hurt, but they really only seemed to involve my lower abdomen, so I was unconvinced that these were "real" contractions. I decided I'd take a bath and see what happened... but first I had to round up the bathmats (hanging on the clothesline outside), get the clean towels from the dryer and fold them, and hey, maybe I should wash out the tub and clean up the bathroom just in case...

By the time I was finished with those nesting endeavours, it was 2:15 and the contractions were coming every four minutes. I got in the tub. Did I mention I was home alone?

And then... the contractions slowed way down. Ten minutes. Fifteen. Eleven. Four. Four. Four?!?!?!?! I finally called Mr. December and told him to come home from work. I paged the midwives, who said it still sounded like early labour. They promised to arrive in about an hour.

Mr. December came home, and I promptly sent him out for food - today was supposed to be grocery shopping day. While he was gone, the contractions started getting pretty intense - at the height of each, I'd feel a few moments of nausea. I checked the clock and noted that they were about three minutes apart, lasting 90 to 120 seconds each time.

By the time Mr. D was back, I was starting to swear at the beginning of each contraction. A new mantra came to me: "It's just the baby moving down. It's just the baby. I'm not dying, it's just the baby." Mr. D paged the midwives again and told them things had picked up. Fortunately they were only minutes away.

Around 4 p.m. I got out of the tub and made my way to the bedroom where I fully intended to put the plastic sheets on the bed. Really, I did intend to, but I kept getting interrupted by contractions that took my breath away. I felt like I was overheating, a sensation I remembered vividly from my labour with Kali. I couldn't get cool enough. My midwife fixed that problem by applying a freezie to the back of my neck. A relief in the midst of contractions, and delicious in between! I was also lucky that it was a cool, breezy day. I sat on the birthing ball in front of an open window and found relief in the cold breeze.

Kali and our babysitter chose this moment to return home from an outing. "Get her out of here," I growled at Mr. D. He called my mom, sent Kali and her sitter to the park, and arranged for the pick-up.

By this point, each contraction was pushing me to the brink of despair. I told the midwives I was regretting the whole homebirth-without-access-to-drugs thing. They pointed out gently that it would be too late for drugs even if we were at a hospital. They finally convinced me to lie on my back for one contraction so they could check me. 7-8 centimetres, they said, minus one station. To me it sounded pretty far from complete. They claimed the birth was imminent.

I must have stood or sat for a couple more intense contractions before I straightened up and announced frantically, "I have to pee. I have to have a contraction. I have to pee. Oh, S***!" and ran to the bathroom. Sitting on the toilet I had another contraction, and the midwife came to tell me it was time to get off the pot, literally and figuratively.

"Do you want to come back to bed?" she asked.

"NNNNOOOO!!!!" I roared. (Did I mention that I had been literally roaring, mama-bear style, through the really crazy contractions? Yes, roaring, in between seeking reassurance that the intensity was normal and I wasn't dying, it was just the baby moving down. My midwives were amazing, reassuring, fabulously telling me that it was so unbearable because it was happening so quickly. They kept me as calm as humanly possible, even when I was begging for someone to just get a baseball bat and knock me out. But I digress.)

"I need to get in the tub," I announced, "and I want it COLD." Mr. December diligently tested the water, ran some more in as cold as possible, and I got in.

I leaned over the side of the tub. My midwife gently told me I'd have to change position so she could see something, anything. Could I please sit back? "NNNOOO!" Okay, how about just turning a bit?

I turned. On hands and knees, with my forehead resting against the corner of the tub, I roared through a contraction and decided the only way it could possibly feel better was if I pushed. So I did. Once...

"I see the head. Hold on a sec." I felt the ring of fire and tried to slow down, pant, and let some stretching happen. I waited what felt like an eternity but was probably a minute, at most. I pushed again... hard... really hard... and out popped the head. One more push and the body was out, I heard a cry, and I turned around in utter shock. Until that moment, the pain had been so overwhelming that I really was unable to even remember the emerging reality of our baby.

"Here's your baby!"
"No way! Seriously? There was a baby in there? Holy crap!"

It was 5:05 p.m.

I held him to my chest, still in the tub. Someone covered us with a towel and a blanket. The midwife showed me, and I felt, how the umbilical cord was still pulsing. Maybe fifteen minutes passed before we cut the cord, and shortly after that I pushed out the placenta. We hung out for a few more minutes before I felt like leaving the tub. One midwife gently took the baby from me. Mr. December helped me stand up and I insisted on showering off before getting into bed. By this point I was freezing cold and he led me back to bed, teeth chattering, while the midwives turned on the space heater.

The hours after that were so relaxed, by which I mean that there was activity all around me but somehow it felt like calm, peaceful activity. Baby was having some trouble warming up, so we lay skin-to-skin with blankets and a heating pad on top of us. Someone brought me a cup of tea.

As the baby latched on (beautifully) and sucked for all he was worth, the midwives examined me. Intact perineum, a few minor abrasions and "skid marks" internally. No stitches. To say I was pleased would be an understatement.

He was weighed, 7 lbs 15 ozs, and measured, 52 centimetres (about 21 inches?) with a head circumference of 32 centimetres (13 inches?). Sometime around 8 p.m. we finally did the newborn exam. We accepted the vitamin K, declined the antibiotic eye goop.

By 9:00 p.m. the midwives were satisfied that we were both okay. At this point I'd been up to pee and they'd stripped the bed back down to the clean sheets. We got tucked in and given a snack, the grandparents arrived, and the midwives went home.

To say that I'm pleased with how the birth went would be an understatement. It was so lovely to be at home, to decide when and where to get totally naked, to roar without any fear of being heard or shushed, to push when and how I felt like it. I can only imagine what agony the ride to the hospital would have been, and how annoying it might have been to have to pack up and ride home in the car instead of just getting right into my bed. I also mightily appreciate how, when the baby needed warming up, the midwives kept him right on me and did all the warming things around us. I can't imagine having him taken away to lie in a warmer by himself. All in all, it was an amazing birth, an amazing experience, and while I can certainly wait to do it again, I have no doubt that I'll want to do it the same way next time.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

He's here...

7 lbs 15 ozs of cute and slightly furry. Five hours of labor from start to finish, and he was born in the bathtub at home. More details when I have 2 hands for typing.

Ow, it hurts...

And no, I'm not in labour.

In addition to the crazy menstrual-like crampiness, I've now got crazy pressure going on "down there"... (TMI coming up) I keep going to the bathroom, sitting there, and then realizing after ten minutes that I already pooped plenty today, this is just pressure. And it is. And it's killing me. Ow.

So... do I haul out "ye olde breast pumpe" and see if I can stir up some contractions that way? I'd feel so... hypocritical. Up until a couple of weeks ago, my attitude was, "the baby will be born when it's ready, and it's just wrong to try to force a natural process." Now that I'm here, at 40 weeks exactly, and not just uncomfortable but in actual pain, I'm feeling almost ready to give in to the selfish impulse to "self-induce".

That's all... just a whine. Have a great day, everyone.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Still pregnant.

I know, I know. Up until a few weeks ago, "still pregnant" would be a marvellous, wonderful thing to celebrate. At this point, though, I'm just ready to be done. Not because I'm tired of being so big, not because I'm impatient to meet this baby (although I am), but because I've been having contractions on and off for the past two weeks, and it's bloody annoying. Look, either contract and get the baby out, or don't, and let me function normally. Oh, and the feeling that my pubic bone is separating in the most painful manner possible isn't helping, either.

Whine over.

Today I've got that really bad achy feeling like the worst menstrual pain ever. Does this mean labour is imminent? I fear the answer is "no"... but it would be a great day for a "yes"!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

whiskey tango foxtrot?

I was able to get to the bottom of this bloodwork issue today, thanks to the original doctor's incompetence (or should I say, "complete lack of common sense"?).

My psychiatrist faxed the bloodwork results to my midwives. I'm still not sure why, except that since she kept saying "I want you to have a copy to show your midwife" I assumed it was something relevant to my prenatal care, and therefore told her to fax it to them when she suggested I drive downtown, pay for parking, and pick up the stupid thing myself.

So... the "deficiencies"? My vitamin B12 is at a level that the lab guidelines classify as "possibly indicating deficiency", and my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is 3.25, right in the middle of the lab's "normal" range of 0.5-5.0. The doctor's note on the front, addressed to my midwives, states that "patient should be started immediately on intramuscular B12 injections, and should be referred to Dr. Y___ for endocrinology follow-up."

Now, before any of you Google MDs start typing out your responses, let me say that I understand that both the B12 guidelines and the TSH range have been recently (or not-so-recently) criticized as being outdated and inaccurate, and doctors are advocating revamping and tightening the guidelines. The current guidelines, it seems, originally included a number of people who had what were called "subclinical" cases of deficiency or whatever.

HOWEVER... neither of these bloodwork results is alarming enough to warrant calling a patient and insisting that she needs to come in the next day to discuss, all said in a panicky tone of voice. And to my mind, neither of these things needs to be addressed right this second, when I'm 39 weeks pregnant and I'm likely to be facing wildly fluctuating hormone levels in the next little while. And finally, neither of these things is something that my midwives can or should really address. They can't make the direct referral to edocrinology, and they don't have the expertise in thyroid stuff to know whether they should. IM B12 injections are also not within their scope of practice, I think. So why on earth did my psychiatrist a) freak me out with her whole "I need to see you tomorrow" drama, and b) suggest/insist on involving my midwives?

I feel like the answer is to accept that my psychiatrist is generally high-strung and anxious, and either ask my family doc for a new psychiatric referral or brace myself for more lapses in common sense.

What would you do? And would you bitch out the psychiatrist, if you were me?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Still around, still round.

No, I haven't had the baby yet. I'm having another evening of many contractions, all painless.

Today at the midwife, we discovered that Cletus the Fetus's head is engaged in my pelvis, which I probably should have deduced from the searing pain in my pubic bone every time I shift positions. Seriously, it feels like that bone is going to split down the middle. In other news, I'm strep B negative... again. Which is a good thing, because nobody thinks my labour would be long enough for me to have the recommended course of antibiotics anyhow. Meh, another bullet dodged.

My psychiatrist called today. Last time I was in, on Monday, she insisted that we run another set of bloodwork - thyroid, Vitamin D, etc - because there were a few slightly abnormal numbers last time. Well, she called me today and left a message insisting that she needs to see me tomorrow to briefly discuss the results. Then she "reassured" me that there's nothing really terrible, "just a few deficiencies". A few? A FEW? So important that she needs to see me tomorrow? So now I'm stuck between worrying and thinking that she's just a worrywart who wants to make sure that my Midwives know that I'm iron-deficient or something.

Right this second, I'm feeling like it's something semi-serious. WTF is wrong with me?

UPDATE: I called her this morning to confirm what time she wanted me to come in. She said, "I don't have time for this today, I have to leave by 2:00 and I have back-to-back patients until then." !!!!! I stifled the urge to say, "Well, you were the one who called me in a panic and HAD to see me today." She asked me whether I could just come in and pick up a copy of the results. I told her she should just fax them to my midwife, if she thought they were relevant. So now I don't really know what to think these results are all about... but how important can they be, if hearing about it is subject to my doctor's whims?

Monday, June 14, 2010


Yes, exactly. Basically painless contractions. Every fifteen minutes.

I know this can go on for a long, long time without me being in active labour. And by a long, long time I mean weeks... but just in case, I'm going to go take a nap.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Musings on a front garden.

Well, it's something to think about. Enough people have disagreed with my and Mr. December's perception of the front-yard issue that we're rethinking our attitude. We're going to compromise, for now, on mowing our lawn more often.

Interestingly, the municipal by-law insists that front yards be kept free of weeds. This in the same city where it is now illegal to spray pesticides and herbicides. And besides, who determines what a weed is? The volunteer foxgloves that sprout between our foundation and our driveway? Chicory flowers (which I love)? Or just the usual old dandelions?

It can all be very confusing when you're not a perfectionist.

I think I can appreciate where my neighbour is coming from, in terms of the veggies. In her day, growing a vegetable garden meant that there was a shortage of produce - either because of war, or simply because you were too poor to buy your fruits and veggies at a store. For her, I suspect that living in a neighbourhood where people only grow ornamental plants is proof of a certain level of affluence.

In our generation, at least among the people we hang out with, growing vegetables is a hobby. A time-consuming, money-consuming hobby, that doesn't necessarily even pay for itself. Also, it's an environmental statement, having something to do with eating locally or organically. All of the above are really luxuries afforded to people with a certain level of affluence, and so we make absolutely no associations between a vegetable garden and poverty. Friends come over, see our garden, and say "Wow, cool! I had no idea potato flowers were purple!". It's seen as a really neat feature.

So all this to say that from now on we'll mow our lawn more regularly and divide the perrenials when they get too bushy and overgrown... but the vegetables stay, and so does the pear tree.

Now, if only I could get the city to come and uproot the dead sapling that's been in our front yard for the past TWO YEARS...

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

hormonal? Me?

Yes, folks, we've reached that point in the pregnancy. Everything makes me emotional.

Today was Kali's last day of preschool. Her teacher gave each child a personalized slideshow of pictures taken throughout the year. As we watched it, I cried.

I went across the street to ask the elderly neighbour with the broken arm how she was doing. I made a remark about how excited we are about our garden and our blooming veggies, and she started in on how vegetables don't belong in the front yard, how messy and disorganized our yard is, and how her sons cry when they see it because they miss the fastidious woman who lived here years ago. I managed to conceal my rage until I had again wished her well, and then I went back home and fumed. Maybe a single pensioner has nothing better to do than to search her lawn for weeds every. single. day. If we mow our lawn every other week, that's pretty good for us.

So yeah, two very emotional reactions to things that would normally roll off my back. I must be hormonal or something.

Saturday, June 05, 2010


Here we are, 36.5 weeks. For those counting along at home, that means I'm 4 days away from being considered "full term".

Thanks to all who responded to my last post. We ended up not going. To clarify, this was an informal gathering, not the actual engagement party. Anyhow, I was having an off day where sitting up was making me feel all kinds of dizzy and weird (darn baby mushing my internal organs around), so driving half an hour was really not in the cards anyway.

Many things are going really well around here:

The Garden
My potatoes are flowering, and so are the peas. We have a crop of carrots that looks like it'll be ready by the end of the month, and have sown a whole bunch more. The cucumbers have sprouted. The tomato seeds are in the ground. Sunflowers are slowly catching up to the squirrels, height-wise, and our new fruit tree and raspberry bushes seem to be thriving. Even Kali's pot of carrots, whose future was in question ("no, sweetheart, we don't dig the dirt again after we've already planted the seeds!") is producing some nice little sprouts.

The Toddler
At turns infuriating and endearing, Kali just amazes me. Sometimes she comes up with things that I know I haven't explicitly taught her. Today someone was asking her about the new baby we'll be having soon. Kali explained that she would put the baby in the stroller and take it for a walk and put it on the swings. The adult then asked, "what about feeding? What do you feed a baby?" Kali's response? "Babies eat breastmilk!"

The Pregnancy
I won't lie, the heartburn is killing me and I'm dying to be able to turn over in bed without heaving myself violently like a beached whale in its final throes. But overall I've been blessed with an easy pregnancy, and just enough weight gain to not worry me while at the same time making me feel optimistic about losing not only the baby weight, but the IVF weight too.

The only thing that has scared me recently is, improbably, a charley horse. It woke me up in the middle of the night and was breathtakingly painful. In that moment, suddenly, I thought, "I can't handle this cramp! How am I going to manage in labor?!?" Fortunately, the cramp subsided and I'm left both laughing and silently fretting.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

social obligations?

I'd really like to hear some opinions on this one...

We've been invited to an "open house" (i.e. drop-in style party) this weekend for the engagement of a family friend whom we don't see very often. In fact, I haven't seen him since my brother's wedding last year, and before that... well, it was a long time. But anyhow, we've been invited, and he doesn't have a large extended family, and his mother feels that we're the "closest thing to family" they have. My parents are, of course, going.

When my mom asked whether we'd be there, I answered, "no". True to form, she asked my why. I explained that I don't have a really great reason, just that I don't feel like going, it's not conveniently located, we've had a lot of social engagements recently (and we have two others that weekend, neither in direct conflict), and that Mr. December has been working late and hasn't had the time to be at home with us and it would be nice to just have some family time together.

My mom acted like this was a really unsatisfactory answer.

So my question - my musing - tonight is about whether one is actually "obligated" to attend social functions to which they are invited unless they are otherwise occupied (i.e. with an officially scheduled event). Do I need a reason to send my regrets over an invitation? Is it not my perogative to decide that I'm just not in the mood to drive 30 minutes each way just to be smiley and social at an event that will be no fun for Kali and no fun for my husband (and probably not much fun for me)? Can't I just randomly decide not to accept an invitation?

According to how I was raised, no, I can't. I need to attend the event unless I have a *good* reason not to. But that could just be my family's silly rule... so I need to hear from my readers. What do you think?

Monday, May 24, 2010

To be fair...

... I asked Mr. December to talk to MIL about the swim diaper incident, especially since it indirectly resulted in Kali ripping her natural-latex mattress to shreds while the dirty sheets were in the wash. He briefly mentioned to her that she had put Kali in a swim diaper instead of a normal one. End of conversation.


So I mentioned it to my FIL and pointed out that Kali's bed was completely wet and had to be stripped and so forth, and that she ended up sneaking into her room and ruining the mattress while its protective cover was off.

MIL called the next day.

She apologized profusely, offered to buy us a new mattress, and apologized again while emphasizing that she wants to be a "force for good" and not cause problems. I thanked her for her concern, apologized for not having re-stocked the diaper drawer before I left, and suggested that next time she just call my cellphone and ask what to do if she found herself without the proper supplies. She acknowledged that as "probably a good idea".

So here's to open communication and to not "protecting" the grandparents. If they don't know there's a problem, they can't fix it. And I tip my hat to MIL for her immediate and gracious response.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Scenes with the in-laws

Well, I'm heavily pregnant and hormonal, and mothers' day has just passed, which means it must be time to gripe about the in-laws. (Really, I know that my joy in doing this is one of my major spiritual failures. I conquered envy this year, next year I'll work on the in-law thing.) Rather than editorialize, I'm just going to give you the actual scripts. Enjoy... in that schadenfreudische way that blog readers do...

MIL: You don't use a wipe every time you change her diaper, do you?
Decemberbaby: Yes, we do.
MIL: I mean, I'll wipe if there's poo, but otherwise, do you really need to?
December: Would you wipe yourself if you'd been sitting in pee for a couple of hours?
MIL: I guess so...


December: Um, Kali woke up soaking wet this morning. Why did you put her to sleep in a swim diaper?
MIL: I didn't see any other diapers where you usually have them.
December: Well, there was a bag of new diapers on the floor next to the change table, and there's a basket of cloth diapers there too.
MIL: I didn't think you were using the cloth ones anymore.
December: They're a lot more absorbent than swim diapers. Swim diapers actually only hold solid waste. Did you know that?
MIL: well, there weren't any other diapers.
December: *facepalm* Okay, next time just call my cellphone if you can't find something.


December: The carseat looks a little off kilter. Did you guys re-install it?
MIL: No, we don't even know how.
December: (lifting the carseat up off the seat and moving it around) Well, it's not connected to the car except by the top tether. In a collision she'd probably just fly up and hit the ceiling with the weight of the carseat behind her.
MIL: Who would disconnect it?
December: It was installed with the seatbelt... probably one of your passengers disconnected it by accident while trying to undo their own seatbelt.
MIL: I don't remember having any passengers recently...
December: did it look or feel off centre when you put Kali in this morning?
MIL: You know, I didn't look.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Mamma Mia!

Now, it could be the music, or the fact that the entire set and most of the costumes were in my favourite colour scheme, or the half-naked singing and dancing Colin Firth. It could be any of those things... but why split hairs? I've just finished watching Mamma Mia (the movie), and I feel marginally less awful.

I'm on self-imposed bedrest today. Given the fact that I have a babysitter here til Kali's bedtime it just seems wise. I hope to be well enough tomorrow that I can actually take care of Kali all day instead of having to pawn her off on the grandparents like I did all weekend. I miss my little girl.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

I'd like to know...

Why does pregnancy = crap immune system?

I'm sick again. blah. It hurts to swallow, I get short of breath taking a shower, and my head feels like it's stuffed with cotton. All this on the most beautiful weekend this year. I hate it.

Thank god for parents. Mr. December's parents have Kali right now, and my parents are poised to take over in a couple of hours. I do not have the energy to enforce any of the following rules:

1. We do not pull all the drawing paper off the roll and use it to make a bed.

2. You may not throw the pewter candlesticks onto the hardwood floor because you're done playing with them.

3. While it is wonderful that you want to "play shabbat", you may not climb onto the kitchen counter in search of the wine. Imaginary shabbat, imaginary wine. Deal with it.

4. If you have to climb all over mummy's belly and boobs to get to the most coveted corner of the couch, you should infer that said corner is unavailable.

5. Your cuteness will not save you from having to wear a diaper. Only potty-training can.

Gee, I'm tired just typing all that. Please excuse me while I recline listlessly on the couch.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Spring is busting out all over...

I'd love to include pics, but I'm sick (another cold? seriously? hello, immune system?) and also lazy, so no photos for you.

So excited were we by the fresh tomatoes and carrots we ate all last summer that we've expanded our plans for this year's vegetable patch.

As we speak, the potatoes are growing, the peas have sprouted, and I'm keeping a watchful eye on the carrots. The carrots are an "early" variety, but I sowed them two weeks ago and so far, out of 155 possible sprouts, I have one. Not sure whether something's gone horribly wrong or I'm just impatient... but we really, really love carrots straight from the ground. Who wouldn't?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thoughts on homebirth

Folks, I'm tired of apologizing every time I post here after a long break. Suffice it to say, I'm often mentally or physically too exhausted to put my thoughts into words. From now on, I'll just post as I can, without all the apologetic preamble.

We attended a seminar on homebirth this week. Mr. December and I had already done most of the research, so the only thing that was new to us was seeing all the equipment that the midwives bring with them. I had already decided before this week that we're planning on having a homebirth. Mr. December is supportive, but open about the fact that it wouldn't be his choice.

I'm not sure why people keep saying that I'm "brave" to try a homebirth. Frankly, there is an element of fear driving my decision: fear that I won't be listened to by hospital staff I've never met before; fear of being pushed into unnecessary interventions "just in case"; fear of winding up with a c-section for "failure to deliver within hospital timelines" or some other stupid reason, AKA winding up with an "unnecessarean".

I know that many of those fears are based on things I've heard from friends in other places, most notably the U.S. But fears are fears, and they're not entirely bogus.

I'm also choosing homebirth to be able to move, eat, scream, shout, and generally do whatever I feel the need to do to get this baby out. During Kali's birth, I felt pressured by the nurses to be quieter, out of consideration for the other women. Consideration is a great idea, I'm all for it, but at that moment I needed to vocalize. Loudly. Also, the l&d room I was in was smaller than an average dorm room from the 1970's. There was really nowhere to move around except in the hallway. And it stank of pee and disinfectant, as hospitals usually do.

When I was admitted to my delivery room at Kali's birth, the nurse started asking me all kinds of questions I had already answered either on a form or in my doctor's office (hence it would be in my chart). Having to listen to this litany of questions while trying to deal with very heavy labour was just really unfair. Why do we do pre-admission paperwork if they're just going to break our concentration to do it again when we arrive in full-blown labour?

In choosing a homebirth, I know that I'll be cared for by midwives who know me (and already know all the answers to those stupid questions), allowed to take my time birthing (as long as both the baby and I are in good shape, obviously), and given the space and freedom to do what I need to do. Really, NOT having those things would take a level of bravery that I don't have.

Besides, I'm dreaming of how nice it will be to be helped to shower after the birth, and then be tucked into bed with my new baby and some healthy snacks, and to be monitored when I am awake and ready instead of being disturbed by a nurse who wants to come take my vitals at HER convenience even if it means disturbing my rare and precious sleep.

Any questions?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Scenes from the playground

Kali is climbing an s-shaped ladder up to a platform 6 feet in the air. Decemberbaby is about 20 feet away, talking to another mom, when she notices what Kali's up to.

Decemberbaby: Wow! Look what she's doing!
Other mom: Oh my God, I can't look.
Decemberbaby: I have to look. I might need to describe this at the emergency room later.

Incidentally, she did it all by herself. Kali is a surefooted little girl. Sure, her feet slipped once, but after a tiny whimper she pulled herself up and kept going. Hooray for my free-range kid!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Date night!

Well, Kali is still sick, but we have a prescription for antibiotics, so hopefully this will be the end of it.

She's in a big-girl bed now. The first few nights were an adventure in returning her to her bed every ten minutes. Then, inspired by Suz, I started taking away one of her stuffed toys every time she escaped the bed. When the first sheep was confiscated she cried bitterly - sobbed, really. And that was all it took. These days, if I hear her starting to tiptoe, I loudly tell Mr. December, "I need to go check on Kali. I hope she's not out of bed, I'd hate to take away her toys!" Every single time, she jumps back into bed and does a credible job of faking sleep. I'm so proud.

And tonight is date night! We're taking our chances on a comedy club, after having ruled out two plays and the symphony. Why, oh why is culture so expensive? Is it a self-perpetuating cycle where it's too expensive so nobody goes, and then since attendance is down they raise ticket prices? What a shame. I would have liked to see Colin Mochrie perform at Canstage tonight. Alas, we weren't in the mood to spend $150 and not even eat anything.

So hopefully I'll be laughing hard enough to pee my pants (a likely outcome, given that Cletus is kicking me in the bladder these days), and avoiding yet another evening saying, "we should really get out sometime."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

it's company policy to give you the plague...


I just realized that my last update was three weeks ago, at which time Kali was sick.

Guess what? She's sick... still or again, it's hard to tell. This time she's taken me down with her. Can't talk without coughing and stuffed up beyond stuffy. What I wouldn't give for some ColdFX or Nyquil now.

Cletus the Fetus is fine... feels like he's perfecting his drumming solos during the long nights when mummy is trying to sleep. At least someone in this house has some energy.

I have nothing witty to say here. It's four in the morning and I need to get back to bed.

Coming soon: adventures with the "big-girl bed"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Where to begin?

I guess I could start with my morning...

Today was my day to be "duty mom" at preschool, so of course Kali got sick and I was unable to go. I needed to drop off snack at the very least, so I left Kali with Mr. D and headed out.

While brushing snow off my car, I slipped on some ice and twisted my ankle... and fell. Then I got back up, started scraping the windshield, and... my ice scraper broke. Picking up the pieces, I noticed the sticker that proclaimed, "I'm unbreakable!" Yeah, unbreakable my backside.

So that's been my morning. On to last week:

We spent the week in Orlando, Kali and I along with my parents. The Magic Kingdom felt like a total rip-off, but Disney's Animal Kingdom was awesome. Kali was mesmerized by the Nemo musical show, and she bounced with Tigger! We've got some awesome video footage of her going right up to the giant plush characters and playing with them.

The downside... she didn't sleep very well, which landed me in a fibro-flare just as soon as we got back home.

So that was last week. Let's talk about my last ultrasound!

My ultrasound was at one of those obnoxious places that insist on partners staying outside until after the measuring is all done. I told Mr. December not to even show up until 30 minutes after my appointment time, but the scan was all done within 20 minutes. The technician was stuck with me, and I with her, so I proposed we have some fun.

I took out my iPod and pressed the headphones to my belly. On the ultrasound screen, we saw Cletus begin to move. Arms waving, butt wiggling, it was a little fetus dance party! I moved the headphones up to my ribcage, and little Cletus craned his (her?) neck and swiveled to see where the music was coming from. It was so cool.

Kali seems like such a big kid these days. She sings along with me anytime I sing. Amazingly, she knows all the words to songs like "somewhere over the rainbow" and "what a wonderful world". The other day I told her to sing to me, and she did - all three verses and the bridge. I'm officially impressed.

That's my life in a nutshell. Purim is this week and we don't have any costume plans. I need to run some errands but all I want to do is sleep. I'm 22 weeks pregnant today.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The wait is over

My auntie died last night. Baruch Dayan Emet.

I have other news, but this entry needs to stand alone.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Some kinds of waiting suck more than others

Today I was brutally reminded that some kinds of waiting suck way more than others.

My aunt (technically, my cousin's wife, but she's way older than me and she's just my aunt, ok?) is dying. She's had cancer for at least the past two years, probably longer. This morning we got the call that she has a few days left, if that. Of course we went over there. Of course I hung out with my cousins, her kids, and reassured them that they don't have to be social with the fifty bazillion people coming to say goodbye. And I ached for them, not just for the weddings and births at which their mother will always be missing, but for the fact that they have nothing to do for the next few days but wait. They don't feel like eating, or sleeping, and they certainly don't want to go anywhere. They don't want to sit next to her, because they don't want this image of her to be branded into their minds over all the other happy memories. They're just waiting for her to die.

In this perspective, the two-week-wait sounds like a total cakewalk, emotional rollercoaster and all.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I'm back...

Hey everyone,

We're back from our vacation in the hot sun (which was wonderful and left me wondering why I live in Canada). According to the internet, I'm now a bit over 18 weeks pregnant, which just strikes me as weird... it moves very slowly and very quickly all at once.

Know what else is weird? I haven't gained any weight during this pregnancy. None. I have a reasonably big belly, but the scale has remained the same. I've tested the scale. It's not broken. This is just weird, and also a bit of a relief - I already gained 15 pounds during our 10 months of fertility treatments. Surely that's enough to sustain Cletus the Fetus for now?

Kali is at turns entertaining, cuddly, and maddening. Everything she sees is "I want that", and anything she doesn't want me to do is "I don't like that". I'm quite looking forward to having a little baby again, one who stays where you put it and doesn't talk back.

I've long believed that if my kid doesn't look a bit like a street urchin at the end of the day, it was a wasted day. In that spirit, please enjoy my newest list:

10 things I had to wash off my daughter's face tonight

1. Peanut butter
2. Dried challah dough
3. Bits of carrot
4. Residue of corn-based wet-and-stick packing peanuts
5. Dirt
6. Tears
7. Cookie crumbs
8. Snot
9. Purple marker
10. Wine. Yes, wine. Red.

And with that, I'm off to wash my own face and go to bed.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

suddenly fun

I don't know what happened between my recent post about my frustration with Kali and today, but she's suddenly adorable, fun, and relaxing to be around. She's currently "cooking pasta" in her play kitchen. Periodically she comes over to feed me. It's the best invisible pasta I've ever eaten. She's also singing along to "Snuggle Puppy" as she rocks from side to side.

As I said, she's fun. I don't know what happened to the toddler annoyance I was dealing with before, but I'm grateful to have my happy, cuddly girl back.

Excuse me, I have to finish my invisible pasta before Kali will let me have some invisible cookies.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Best. Morning. Ever!

Well, I got off my butt and decided to bundle Kali up and head out to the park. We spent an hour playing in the snow, tobogganing, and drinking hot chocolate. Along with the three friends we'd invited to join us, we were the only people in the park.

People, it's Canada. Why won't you bring your children outside to play? It's only -8C out there (that's 18 degrees for my American readers)! Really, bundle up and you're fine for a few hours.

Whatever. We had the best tobogganing slope all to ourselves, and a clear view across the park of our kids running in the snow. It was awesome.

Best of all, Kali was all worn out when we got home. I expect a nice long nap.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

once again, I need to get over myself

I've done a bad thing. I don't feel the need to go into the gory details, but I yelled at my MIL and she ended up crying. It was a stupid situation; I was jetlagged, Kali hadn't slept in days, Mr. December wasn't there to act as my buffer, and (according to all sides) MIL was really pushing me in a particular conversation. So I exploded.

In the aftermath, she has revealed to Mr. December that she doesn't feel I respect her. It makes sense, in that she seems to always be looking for ways to gain my respect: she lists all the creative things she does with Kali, tells me about the wonderful activities she went to with her sons at this age, etc, etc. My reaction to all of this has revealed to me a stunningly ugly part of myself.

The more she ingratiates herself to me, and the more she seems to beg for praise, the less respect I have for her.

This is the opposite of the way I feel about other people. Usually when I see that someone has a particular weakness, whatever it is, I feel slightly protective. I go into "therapist" mode and do whatever I feel I can to alleviate their discomfort. Not so with MIL. I just feel the need to be tougher and tougher on her in the hope that one day she'll push back and reveal that she does have some self-esteem and possibly even a backbone.

As I said, it's an ugly reaction. I'm ashamed of it, as I am of my failure to show her the respect she deserves as my MIL. Respecting one's elders and one's parents is not optional, and yet I've neglected my obligation in that regard.

I'm not sure what to do. Whenever I look at her, I find fault. I try very hard to just not speak in her presence. I find myself biting my tongue. And yet a lack of disrespect is not the same as showing respect. She deserves respect as the woman who raised the man I love. Why can't I give it to her?

There will have to be a follow-up post; this one is getting long. I'll close with a call for suggestions. Real ones, please, respectful ones. I've got plenty of snark in me already when it comes to MIL. I need to tame it. Can anybody help me?