Monday, December 31, 2007

Love More and Fear Less in 2008

I am in the living room, on the couch. My baby is asleep in the other room. It took awhile to get her to close her eyes tonight. She napped really well today and I think that left her with some energy this evening.

Last year at this time I was very newly pregnant. In fact, I did my day 18 beta one year ago today and then had to wait for the clinic to re-open in the new year to get the result.

In January we saw the baby on ultrasound for the first time - it was the day before Abby's birthday and when we saw that little heart beating we just cried. But being pregnant still seemed abstract and surreal. We made the decision to tell no one until we were out of the first trimester (due to our loss in October 2006).

So the first few months of 2007 were us walking around with a little secret... and me being sick. Morning sickness, in my case, was all day sickness and it went on well into the second trimester. On days when I didn't feel as sick, I would obsessively worry that I was losing our baby. Funny what 3 years of ttc and one miscarriage will do. My only regret during this time was that I worried too much - and couldn't let myself enjoy.

In March we started telling people.

May/ June were hot and muggy months for me at 6-7 months pregnant. I was teaching on the second floor in a non-air conditioned classroom. I was so uncomfortable and swollen during this time. More ultrasounds, hearing the heartbeat several times, my growing belly, and seeing/feeling her move on a regular basis made pregnancy more of a reality. I was worrying less. And pregnancy really suited me.

I was off work starting in July. With teaching no longer occupying my days I slipped into the realm of feminine time. Eating when I was hungry, sleeping when tired, and generally feeling pretty zen. A and I practiced hypnobirthing which required daily guided meditation together - and continued to feel closer and closer.

I loved being pregnant... loved it.

I became a mom on September 8 - Carys came 4 days after her due date. And not at all like we'd planned. Her first week was us running back and forth from home to hospital, with me pumping breast milk for her - at all hours. It was a scary time. I am happy to say that she is healthy now... very healthy.

By the end of September Carys was exclusively breastfeeding - and this was quite an accomplishment (I have my partner, my midwife and a fantastic lactation consultant to thank for that). No one tells you how hard breastfeeding really is... I am glad I stuck with it.

The summer seemed to last well into November. Which was good for me. I was able to get out of the house and take Carys for walks.

I attended a post partum depression support group for 3 weeks in October and I found out that I am not alone in my feelings. Depression is an odd odd thing.

My therapist spent October in Africa and at first I couldn't wait to see her. Now I feel very betrayed by her and therapy - mainly because my work in therapy is what led me to feel empowered enough to want a natural birth (that never happened). I am contemplating a break from therapy in 2008. This is a big deal because therapy has been a huge part of my life for the last 6 years. (I should probably explore this in another post).

In mid-November, A went back to work after 8 weeks of maternity leave. I was like holy-crap-I-have-to-take-care-of-my-little-one-all-on-my-own... happy to say that I am doing fine with it all now. I have spit up on my shirts, don't get to shower everyday, and I'm still wearing my maternity pants most days.

I am finding out that I can live off of 1/2 my income.

This month, my c-section incision has finally healed - yes, there was some issue around a small section of it. And just having the incision open made me feel anxious - I wanted to move on and couldn't - it seemed still so fresh.

Christmas was spent here in Canada with family and friends... and our new baby.

Yesterday we went to the mall and I wore Carys in the Cuddly Wrap. It says a lot that the highlight of my days right now is finally being able to successfully tie a wrap so I can wear my baby!!!

I became a mom this year!!! (Seriously, I still can't believe it sometimes).

In 2008 I want the depression to continue to lift. I want my confidence as a mom to grow. I am excited to watch Carys grow. I want to go with the flow more. I want to love more and fear less.

And, I'd like to move on and starting in the fall teach at a new school - just putting it out there.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

My Daughter

She is perfect. I look at her and I can't believe I am her mom. She is utterly and completely beautiful.

And the way she just sleeps in my arms. Such trust. Oh my heart.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I didn't think he'd actually get me pregnant.

In the mail today came our donor's profile and photos.

We chose our donor without seeing what he looks like. I mean by the time we chose him we didn't actually think we'd get pregnant by him.

I'm sure at some point C will be curious about how we selected her donor.

We chose him because he has brown hair and blue eyes (partner A's colouring) and his blood type was O- (I am O-). Oh and he is Open ID. Meaning when she is 18 she can look him up and get in contact with him.

The Open ID part was pretty important.

He was like our 5th donor. Most of the donors we chose were recalled and/or retired and/or used by us with no success. We put so.much.thought in choosing our donors in the beginning and by the end I was like: brown hair, blue eyes, O-, Open ID - check, check, check, and check... okay, good... we'll take it.

The sperm bank sent us his profile and photos when we sent in the information reporting the pregnancy and birth.

At first I was surprised at how young he looks. He is 12 years younger than me. He looks like he could be a student of mine. (I teach high school).

I kept looking at his photo trying to see which traits C inherited. I mean, I've been pretty amazed at just how much she looks like me. I've been studying her face and then his photos. We have two - one of him as a child and one of him now. I can see she has his dimples. [I don't have dimples, but partner A does...]

I look at him and I like him. Probably because he helped me make C.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gratitude to the Boob Goddess

I have huge amounts of gratitude over the fact that I am breastfeeding my little Carys. Like huge amounts of gratitude.

I was in such a fog after the birth - we had such a hard time initially with breastfeeding because of her PCCU time and nipple confusion and then my supply issues. I remember crying and then making the decision to take it day by day. Of course we got the midwife and a lactation consultant involved. Even after the initial meeting with the LC I was so foggy and overwhelmed and sleep deprived and tearful that I was this close to giving up.

I am so glad we stuck it out.

* * * * *

And in the realm of gratitude, it hit me a few weeks ago - I am happy to be done with ttc. But I shall save this for another post.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Joy Mixed with Worry

Last x-mas we spent the day in MI. We had x-mas dinner with my family. We actually went to my cousin's house - which was the house I grew up in (it was my parents' house then).

Dinner was delayed because my brother, his wife, and 3 year old daughter were for some reason delayed. I was so hungry. So hungry. A few times I announced, "I am soooo hungry..." My aunt - who was aware of our ttc endeavours - quietly asked, "might you be pregnant?" And I said, "no." Keep in mind it was 13 days past IUI#5. I don't know why I said no. I hadn't even tested. We had a funny mindset then though. We had been let down so many times that I think - depending on the day, the mood, the weather, whatever - it was either "no" or "yes." Mostly it was no.

I remember that it was our plan to just wait for the clinic's hcg blood test on 18 days past. That test would take place on a Saturday or a Sunday. But the clinic wouldn't call with the results until a full week (plus) after the test when they re-opened for the new year.

On the 26th we were back home in Ontario. It was that day that I started to have a little bit of a feeling that maybe just maybe... I managed to persuade a reluctant A to take me to the store for a test. It was after 6pm. Cold and dark. She was reluctant because she didn't want anything to ruin our holiday. She stayed in the parking lot and I went in. Later she said she'd closed her eyes for a second - when I was in the store - and visualised a light blue cross. (Which was funny because all the tests prior to the one I bought that night were the two /or one/ pink line variety - and in the store I'd decided to get the blue cross variety, unbeknownst to her).

At home, that evening, I peed on the stick.

and another

I watched it for a moment and then called A into the room. "Um... could you look at this?" My voice was cracking and quivering. In fact, as I write this I can feel the joy swelling up in my chest. We were stunned.

And then I think we mixed worry in with the joy and excitement. That is what the ttc process does to you. Or it did to me anyway. I knew too much. I knew what could go wrong. I was well into my second trimester before I could go with the flow.

Incidentally, my day 18 beta was 963. The clinic said that we didn't even need to check it again. An ultrasound was scheduled for January 20 (the day before A's birthday).

Now we have a little one - asleep in the other room. I suspect she is overtired from all the visiting over the past few days.

Monday, December 24, 2007

It is just a number

My parents are here for the holiday. At the moment they are sleeping in the hotel just up the road. I had them bring their bathroom scale. We don't have one. And I wanted to weigh Carys. You know, I stand on the scale, see how much I weigh, then I hold her, see how much we both weigh, subtract it out to know what she weighs.

It appears she has not gained since the last time she was weighed - at the midwifery, one month ago.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that I am obsessed with her weight. Mainly because I have this fear that somehow my boobs are defective and she isn't getting enough and that it is a matter of time until the doctor tells me to put her on formula. Or I worry that I am not eating the right things. Or my supply is dropping and I don't even know it... and won't know it until one day there is nothing. I should probably talk about this in therapy, because, um... well... it is getting out of hand how much I am doubting myself. This is a serious amount of self doubt.

I want so badly to breastfeed my baby. And not just for 3, 6 or 9 months. 1 year plus.

Partner A pointed out that the scale doesn't show ounces so it is not accurate. And she is probably right.

Plus C makes lots of poopy and wet diapers. She's alert. She's meeting milestones. All of this counts for something in the world of healthy babies... right?

Okay so it is ocurring to me now that perhaps I am not trusting my body so much around breastfeeding because of how the birth went. I was all about going with the flow and trusting my body when it came to the birth and we all know how that went. So maybe in a way I have lost faith in my body. Just a thought.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Let Go and Ask For

Last year's Solstice was a gathering of wimmin at my house. We did a group meditation, we lit candles, we shared our wishes for the up-coming year, we sat in darkness before we sat in the light. It was a lovely gathering. I didn't know it at the time but I was pregnant. Very newly pregnant. "Family" was one of my wishes for the up-coming year.


Solstice this evening was the three of us grocery shopping. Partner A wore Baby C in a carrier. We filled the cart. Bought a few extras for the holiday. It was a lovely evening.

I plan in the future as well to celebrate Solstice somehow like last year. I plan to include C in that celebration. I plan to build tradition around it. Solstice is very much a part of the holiday season - in fact, it's a very nice part. A real chance to reflect. To let go and ask for.

So what do I let go? I let go of my hard feelings around the birth. (It is not that single event that defines me as a woman, as a mother, as C's mommy - it is that event plus all the time that follows and even the time before that event).

What do I ask for? I ask for the ability to stay open to the love that surrounds me, the power of forgiveness, and more chances to go with the flow. I ask for the lightness that comes with letting go.

And now the days get longer. Soon we will be strolling through the park enjoying fresh air and sunshine.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I've missed out

Some stuff that I saw on TV today and some things I read in some blog have triggered me around the birth experience. I wanted to have a natural med-free birth... actually I wanted an at home water birth. That didn't happen. I had an emergency c-section and I was under general anaesthetic.

I feel like I've missed out on "giving birth" because I didn't get to push my baby out.

And don't even get me started on how I feel about being asleep when she was born, or that my partner couldn't be in the room, or that we didn't have skin to skin right away.

I wanted to bring her into the world gently and calmly.

I talk about this a lot in therapy. And I am starting to feel like I want to - need to - just let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. See the big picture. Healthy happy baby. Family. My family.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Read This!

Came across this article today. Yes, I worry about weight gain and growth charts and percentiles. This article helped.

Perspective - oh, perspective.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Asleep... my arms and I don't want to put her down.

She is so sweet.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Sleep Issue

Snowed in.

I've been wanting to take Carys up to the midwives to have her weighed. It doesn't look like I'll be able to do that this week. We are a one car family right now. I won't have access to the car until the evenings - unless I want to get up early and take partner A into work. This would mean waking C up. The last time we did that (so I could go to a doctor's appointment) C was messed up all day and super cranky in the evening. She needs her morning sleep.

Speaking of sleep. Last week and the week before it really seemed like an issue. So we bought E1izabeth Pant1ey's book (The N0 Cry S1eep S0luti0n). Very good book. Still reading it. Sleep has become less of an issue - not so much because of the book, but maybe a little bit because of the book - I think we have become more realistic about our expectations around sleep.

This is (roughly) a schedule that C has fallen into with regard to sleep:
Asleep by 10pm (give or take)
Up between 3 and 4 to nurse
Up again between 7 and 8 to nurse
Again for the day no later than 11am
Nap (30 + minutes) sometime after noon
Nap (30 + minutes) sometime after 4
Nap (30 + minutes) sometime after 7
10pm bedtime

She's only been on this schedule for like a week or so. She has set it herself. I suppose the book has helped me to recognise her cues for needing sleep - which has helped. The hard part about it all - the sleep thing - is that she fights sleep. She cries before she finally falls asleep. Which makes me doubt whether she needs to sleep - even though she looks and acts so sleepy. But then my doubt goes away when she suddenly stops the tears and closes her eyes and goes to sleep. [It is hard to watch her fight the sleep - I was hoping the book would help us with that...]

Here's the thing this evening - she has gone down for her "sometime after 7" nap and she is still asleep - it's 8:20. We went in to check on her and she is out. I am worried that she is asleep for the night. Which would mean that her wake up for the day time might be 4am!? I am wondering whether I should wake her up so that she sleeps in the night. Or maybe she needs the sleep. I don't know. See! This is the thing about parenting - you never quite know.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

One Year Ago Today

Last October I had a miscarriage. It greatly affected my next ttc attempt last December.

Here is my LiveJournal post from one year ago today:

"IUI#5 The Last One"

IUI#5 went well. Before we got there - not so well. Once we got there - okay. The IUI itself - lovely. Very positive experience.

Now I relax.

* * * * *

I had therapy today. Yay therapy. I cried. I cried. And I cried some more.

Up to this morning I was feeling hopeful about the whole ttc thing. Then today - after the insemination - I started to feel all anxious and uncomfortable. It became clear to me that when I try to get pregnant - inseminate - I am open to more possibilities than pregnant or not pregnant. There is the chance of pregnant for now and then miscarriage. I feel less hopeful and really felt less hopeful when I got to therapy.

I am feeling a bit better now.

Things we talked about:
-trying to control
-doing verses being
-reconnecting with my spiritual self
-the love between me and A - which she referred to it as "exquisite"

Therapist L shared with me that she lost a baby. We didn't really talk about it. She said it and then said "yes it is a big loss... and yes some people don't get it..."

I have no idea why I called this particular IUI "the last one" - I mean we have two more tries waiting at the clinic, but... maybe I was thinking positively. Maybe I just knew. It was the attempt that brought us baby Carys.

Finally, to Carys, I say: Happy Conception Day!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Shopping and Nursing

Breastfed in public again today. Well actually I was in the nursing room at the mall. It was this quiet little room tucked off near the washrooms outside the food court. And there was a lot going on in the food court so it was kind of noisy in our room. But C latched on and fed without a fuss - it was great. Because her feedings at home during that time can be a challenge as she is still latching on and pulling off, latching on, pulling off. But not in the nursing room.

We went x-mas shopping. Partner A took off to get a few things; C and I went in the other direction to get a few things. I found the mall hot and stuffy. I was proud of the way I was able to move quickly and push that stroller around. In the weeks following my c-section I was moving so slowly and felt so uncomfortable that I never thought I'd be able to get up and go again.

C has the 3 month fussies lately. Not sure what that is about.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Chill the F**k Out and TRUST

Last Monday we stopped in at the midwives, dropped off some pregnancy books, and weighed little C. She is 11lbs 1oz with her clothes on. So um yeah she is gaining. Of course though it didn't take long for me to start worrying again - especially after some really difficult feedings where she whines and pulls on and off the nipple and seems to give up. Last night was me worrying. But today she is back on, eating really well. I just need to go with the flow. As my dear friend AMS would say: chill the f**k out and trust.

Most of the holiday stuff is up. With a new little one in the house holidays have new meaning. Last x-mas we were down. Partner, A, was sadder than I knew. We'd had a m/c in October and IUI in December (with no results until after x-mas) and not feeling to positive. It's weird, though, A was telling me yesterday just how sad she was. I don't remember her sadness so much. Not because I was focused on my own sadness. Because I wasn't that sad. I remember putting up the holiday stuff alone - I think I remember A saying she didn't want holiday stuff up. I had a Solstice Celebration at our house with some friends and I remember that being pretty wonderful (little did I know that whilst celebrating Solstice I was newly newly pregnant so newly that a test wouldn't show it for several days after Solstice).

I have pretty fond memories of last December. Making pretty fond memories this December.