A Day In The Life: 2.5 Months

Dear Jacob,

This is what an “average” day in your life is at two and a half months old. I say “average” cause it’s
not usually cleaning day. You usually spend about 50% of the day with Dad and 50% with me. This day you
spent more time with Daddy so I could clean up the house (sometimes I just get into a mood and love cleaning…)

Here is December 5, 2013.
You are 10 Weeks and 5 Days Old

2:03am
You went to bed at 9:30pm and woke up at 1:40 am for a feeding. Now you are asleep in my arms and I am getting ready to put your back in your crib and go back to sleep myself.

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3:02am
You let Mommy have a whole hour of sleep. You’re so nice! (I’m being sarcastic…you usually let me have 2-4). Oh well. You are up and eating again.  (We tuck your blankets into the sides of the crib so they don’t come lose. You just seem to love sleeping with the blankets and sleep better then in your sleep sack. We also have a video monitor so we can see you)

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4:15am
You’re awake again. And Crying. Daddy is coming to get you

5:10am
Dad is up with you again. What’s with you tonight? Sleep baby Sleep!

6:10am
Daddy is with you again. My word Jacob. You usually sleep at least 2 hours, whats up with this every hour almost on the hour buisness?

7:15am
You woke up again, I gave you your soother. You spit it out and sucked on your hand instead. You fell back asleep.

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8:08am
You’re awake. Dad got up with you again

9:00am
You’re downstairs playing Need for Speed with Daddy

10:15am
I am feeding you. You passed out eating and now you are smiling in your sleep.

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10:36 am
Never mind, you’re awake. You just don’t want to sleep today!

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11:01am
You’re all dressed now. First time you have worn this onsie and its a 6-12 month. You’re growing so fast!  You’re playing with Daddy now and he thinks you look like you are ready to go to the beach.

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Noon
You’re chowing down again

1:00pm
You’re snuggled up with Daddy napping (Here you are stretching in your sleep)

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2:30pm
Daddy went to get crickets for Randall (our chameleon) so I put you in your Mumaroo so you could keep sleeping and I could keep cleaning. Oh! You just woke up and youre all happy!

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3:00pm
Tummy Time (I forgot to take a photo)

4:07pm
You’re playing with Daddy while I finish cleaning (I did laundry, swept and mopped, cleaned the oven and the fridge…it was a deep clean kind of day)

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4:20
uh-oh you’re getting cranky! Time for a nap!

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5:04pm
You’re sleeping on Daddy. I’m STILL cleaning. It’s amazing how just when you think you’re almost done you see something else that needs a good scrub down. You are phantom sucking in your sleep. So cute!

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5:18pm
You’re still asleep but I took you from Daddy so he could go cut his hair and shower. You seem less than impressed, you woke up when I took you.

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6:10
Daddy’s hair chopper razor thing broke on him half way through shaving his head so I ran to Wal Mart to buy him another one. Now I’m home and you are eating. nom nom nom

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7:24pm
Now I had a shower. You’re hungry again so you are eating while Daddy cooks butter chicken for dinner. This is an awful photo of me. I don’t do selfies well…it seems so weird to smile to myself…but otherwise I look grumpy.

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7:50pm
Dad and I are eating and we put you in your Mumaroo where you usually chill while we eat but today you wanted nothing to do with it. So Dad is holding you while he eats. You seem quite content. Definetly a you-love-daddy-more-than-me day. You have I-love-mommy-more-than-Daddy days too though, it all evens out.

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“Mmmmmm Daddy I can’t wait till I can eat butter chicken and rice too! “


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8:20pm
Story time! I put your jammies on and now Daddy is reading you The Paperbag Princess (its never to early for literacy!). I’ve been reading you the Bernstein Bears the last few nights, we thought it was time for a break. You weren’t so sure about the Munsch today though.

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8:58
We are cuddling now, and you have fallen asleep all cuddled up in my arms!

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9:37pm
I’ve put you down in your crib. Here is a secret for when you get older. Dad and I are gonna curl up in bed watch TV and eat a GIANT bowl of Reese ice cream now.
That’s what parents do when children are fast asleep in their beds.

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Sleep tight Bugg! We love you!

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No Wonder I Never Have A Clean House

Right now husband and I are both getting paid to stay home with baby (thank God for our Canadian parental leave program). Aside from the obvious benefits of having family bonding time (which I will hopefully write about in another post at another time) being home together has taught me a very important life lesson. Having and keeping a house clean is friggen hard!!

I absolutely love having a clean house . Who wouldn’t? Being able to walk from point A to point B without tripping over crap, knowing where to find things, having all your dishes & clothes clean etc. These are marvellous. But it is no wonder why since moving out on my own at the ripe old age of 17 (ok I was basically 18) I have never had a clean house. Right now for example, Jacob & Husband are relaxing on the couch together while I attempt to pump breast milk and write this.  Jacob is kinda fussy and insisting that husband hold/bounce him just right or he starts crying. Even with neither of us working we are always doing something. Blogging while pumping is one thing, I could hardly clean and pump. Jacob requires a lot of time and attention and since we are being paid to take care of him and you know we are responsible loving parents, we WANT to spend our time and attention on him.

Still, during naps or times where one parent is taking care of him and the other is cleaning we have managed to get the house pretty clean. There is no longer random coffee spills on the counter or dirty dishes in the sink. The floors are swept on a regular basis which means tornadoes of dog hair aren’t following you around the house. Getting it there wasn’t too bad, a couple good naps on Jacobs part and the house was clean. It’s maintaining this cleanliness that is so exhausting! There are only three of us! How do we possibly go through so much laundry? How is it every time I turn around the space by the front door is full of junk mail again? How is possible to KEEP a clean house?

Last night after dinner, husband fed Jacob while I put the rest of supper away, loaded the dishwasher, swept the kitchen, and wiped down the counters and table. This somehow took me like 25 minutes! I didn’t even touch the coffee table in the living room that is piling up with crap, or that basket of clean laundry that needs to be put away. I didn’t even look at the pile of junk mail accumulating or tidy Jacobs room which has some of his toys and books scattered about. Who has the time for a clean house? I have so much respect for stay at home moms period, let alone stay at home moms who manage to keep an immaculate house and have dinner on the table every night at the same time. This is a crap ton of work. I always see posts on pinterest like this…

e1b3ba421d0e3d7d47109093e106c6a7While I shamelessly post them, I just can’t keep up. I really feel like life is too short to worry about a few crumbs on the floor or wrappers on the table. Parenting has come really easy to me so far. Its rare that I am standing there wondering what the heck to do but cleaning. Man, cleaning is the hardest thing for me. I want so bad to teach Jacob the importance of being clean. I want him to make his bed and put away his toys and I try so hard to keep his nursery very neat and tidy. But this is one area where I am such a hypocrite. I am hoping that when we buy a house in the spring that it will be easier because we will actually have a spot for everything (at least theoretically).

I guess what all this rambling is trying to say….is that different things come easily to different people.  University statistics courses, living off a budget, or going through labour and delivery may be the hardest things ever for some people but these were all a walk in the park for me compared to just keeping a clean house. But by recognizing your weaknesses you can begin to strengthen them right? That’s the way this works? I promise I am trying.

 

Spending Analysis revisted

Wow! It is hard to blog with a baby! Sure I have tons of time…but it is so hard to type with only one hand! Sorry I have been MIA for a while I am really going to try and get back into this.

So after talking about doing a spending analysis a while back…uhhh I think August….so maybe more than a while back…. I had A LOT of questions. Texts from friends, e-mails, phone calls you name it. That’s what happens when I post without editing/re-reading what I write. So lets try again.

If you want to gain control of your finances you MUST put in the work to do a spending analysis! This is not negotiable. If you skip this step you are not serious about controlling your money. End of story. If you want to know why read my previous post on the topic as I go quite in depth on it.

Instead, on this post, I will explain how to do a spending analysis in better, easier, step by step writing.

Ready? Its a lot of work! Lets do it.

STEP ONE:
Gather all of your bank & credit card statements, loan statements etc. for the last SIX months!
If you are one of those people who throws your bills in a pile somewhere and doesn’t file them or really  look at them you miswell grab all your bills too and get organized. So today is November 10, if I was doing this today I would gather all my statements from May-October. You can do this online but I find it much easier to have hard copies.

Question: Where do I get my bank statements?
Answer: I hope you are using online banking….go print them off.

Question: Why 6 months?
Answer: It is the best way to get an ACCURATE look at your spending. Things crop up “out of the blue” such as oil changes, car repairs, house repairs, road trips etc. By doing this for 6 months you are more likely to catch those one off expenses so you can plan for them

STEP TWO:
Separate the statements into piles by month (include your bills if you don’t have those organized…seriously two birds with one stone)

STEP THREE:
Grab a some sheets of paper and a pen/pencil and a calculator. 
(you may want to grab something to drink/munch on at this stage too. I’m partial to a glass of red wine and a brownie myself).

STEP FOUR:
Grab the pile for the first month and start at the top. Here is an example of my credit card statement from September.  I am using September as an example, you will want to start in May or whatever month comes first in your pile.

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(Keep in mind this statement is from a few days before going into labour…I was WAY off budget eating like crap)

So the first two things on the statement are McDonalds and Tim Hortons. I am going to write down “Fast Food/Restaurants” then write McDonalds–5.13 Tim Hortons–9.53. The next thing is HMV, this was for a gift so I will write down “Gifts” HMV–6.29. Then we see Lans Asian Grill (which if you live in Edmonton and haven’t been my gosh you need to go today! It is AMAZING food for really good prices and the owners are the nicest people you will ever meet).  So now under the line saying Tim Hortons-9.53 I will write Lans 32.30. Keep adding categories as they make sense to you. Here is what I ended up with off of this statement. I just did this in excel and here is what I ended up with

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So you can see. In 10 days in Sept I spent $144.18 on fast food and restaurants, $32.52 on gifts, etc. In Total I spent $804.98 in ten days. Like I said…I went WAY off budget not giving a care as I was preggo and miserable. This happens. You fall off the band wagon then you see your mistakes and move on. Now you will notice that I subtracted 350 from the 804 to get 454.98. Why? I use my credit card for EVERYTHING and then pay it off 2-3 times a month. I put that in there so that I can see that the 350 is really just a transfer of funds. I REALLY spent 454.98. However if you are not using your credit card for everything and paying it off (which I don’t recommend until you feel like you really have control of your money) you need to call a spade a spade. If you are carrying a balance, you spent money on debt repayment not transferring money. So you spent 801.98.

Question: How do I make categories?
Answer: Start at the top and make categories as you go. If you find something that doesn’t fit create a new category for it or slide it into an “other” category if you know it was a weird one time type purchase for you. So you can see I started with fast food, then added gifts as was necessary then added Medical etc. Keep adding categories until you have a chart that is meaningful to you. Include income as a category!! This includes job income as well as tax cheques, gst etc.

STEP FIVE
Grab another drink. You deserve it. The numbers may be shocking already.

STEP SIX
Do this for the remaining 5 months. 

Here is a small example with made up numbers

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so in this case…this person spent 100 even on fast food in may, 21.25 on fast food in june etc. in total she spent $2018.22 in May and she spent $617.63 on fast food in 6 months. Hopefully this chart is making sense to you.

STEP SEVEN
Figure out your average spending.

So random person above spent $617.63 on fast food over 6 months. So take 617.63 and divide by 6. 617.63/6=102.94. So on average this person spends 102.94 a month on fast food. Now do you see why it is important to look at a 6 month average? In June she only spent 21.25 but on AVERAGE she spends WAY more than that. If you attempt to do a spending analysis on just a month or two your numbers WILL be skewed.

STEP EIGHT
Do the same thing with your income.

So May +2500 June +2540 July +2500 etc. Now take your spending and minus your costs. So if she made 2500 in May and spent 2018.22 she spent 481.78 LESS then she made. Good for her! (2500-2018.22=481.78) Most people this number will be negative because believe it or not most people spend more money than they make a month using credit to pay the difference.

STEP NINE
Play with the numbers

See what you are overspending, Look at what categories you are spending too much. etc. Let it all sink in.

STEP TEN
Grab another drink and prepare to make a budget that works! 

Yup, I still hate breast feeding

They say breast feeding gets easier by 4-6 weeks so I tried, I really tried, to withhold judgment until then. Well baby is 5 weeks and 2 days and….I’m still not enjoying it.

Ok so update from my last post. Breast feeding is technically going much better. He is eating well and we can go a whole day without formula no problem. I am usually still pumping out at least one feeding a day and giving him formula though for two reasons one convenience and two I want a freezer stash. Reason 1 is because sometimes breast feeding just sucks. For example, just had a baby shower last week. All these people came to see Jacob and they want to see him not just his little feet as they stick out from the nursing cover (which I don’t actually own…using a receiving blaket is hard and the poor guy turns into a giant sweat factory). So it was way easier to pump out that feeding as soon as I got home and give him formula there. The second reason…I’m really not sure how long I will last at breast feeding. My goal was 6 months or until he has teeth whichever happened first but I hate this I hate is so much. I figure if I am giving him formula once a day now though and freezing breast milk, when I do stop I will have a stash so I can continue to give him milk for a while. Depending on who you ask they say you should breast feed up to two years (plus solids after 6 months obviously). I would love to be able to do that without having a 2 year old or a baby with teeth at all attached to my breast. Now I know you can train a baby. When they have teeth if they bites just unlatch and they will learn. However Jacob does not have teeth and frequently chomps down still and it friggen hurts like hell….so ya no teeth allowed!!

So I’ve everything is going well why did I call this I still hate breast feeding? Well because I do. When i think about Jacob too much or hear him crying or give him kisses I have “let down” aka my milk comes in strong. While some people may enjoy this feeling, my let down is quite strong and I relate it to a mixture between getting punched in the boob and the boob going kinda numb. I won’t say it hurts but it is very uncomfortable. And if I don’t relieve it soon it’s very very uncomfortable.

Breast feeding isn’t so bad at home. My husband has obviously seen my nipples before and with it just being us in the house I frequently just walk around topless or at the very least when baby needs to feed it’s no big deal I just whip out my boob and away we go. However anywhere but home….or even home when we have company is a horse of a different colour. Trying to get a fussing baby with latch problems to chill out when you are uptight isn’t easy. And feeding with other people around is More a mixture of…”come on just take the it….please don’t spit it out…oh crap milk is spraying on your face again…oh no the cover is falling…try and adjust it quickly…did they just say something to me?…they’re looking at me…nod and smile blair nod and smile…oh man the cover the slipping again… oh god did they just see my nipple??…eat quickly baby…please let this not be a 30 minute session….” And blah! It’s very difficult. It’s so wonderful to just pull out a bottle of formula pop it in the baby’s mouth and continue your conversation.

Jacob is so loved. We are rarely alone. He eats a lot. What does this mean? It means I often feel like nothing more than a milk machine. More often then not I feed him and immediately pass him off. I don’t see him much unless I am feeding. Again people don’t come over to stare at his feet and it is not uncommon for him to feed for an hour at a time. (He’ll spit it out and sit there and if I try and put it away or give him to someone else he cries and then relatches). He’s a snacker. So we feed as best we can and I pass him off. I don’t get a lot of cuddles. I don’t see him a lot when he’s awake. I feed and pass. Then usually get him back in time to change his diaper. Wonderful. Consequently When he and I are alone and he isn’t hungry but needs comforting I’m awful at it. I don’t know how to hold him without his head to my boob to make him comfortable. I often joke with husband that he is a much better snuggler and soother because my only solution is to put my tit in his mouth if that doesn’t work I’m out if ideas whereas husband obviously doesn’t have that option and has become much more creative.

Along these lines, Jacob is loved. People want to hold him. He is a snacker. I hate having to be the bad guy because yes he did just eat for 20 minutes straight. And yes I know you just got him and you haven’t held him all night. But see that thing that he’s doing with his mouth right now? That is called rooting. It means that he is hungry and we are trying to build a supply. We are trying to not starve him. We like to keep his needs met. So yes I understand you just got him but I need him back and we need to feed. I’m sorry that you need to leave and never got to hold him for long but I can’t control how long or how frequent he eats. I feed him on demand and he is my child so I get to make that call. Please don’t make me feel like a bitch for that….also I’m not exaggerating wheni say in this circumstance, which has happened a lot, I have had to literally pry him out of people’s hands…it’s just not fair to me or him.

I don’t enjoy the sensation. Let’s call a spade a spade. Maybe this wasn’t always the case but today tits are very sexual. My breasts are for my husband and him alone…having my son suck on them is not enjoyable. I almost feed like I am doing something very sick and twisted even though I know logically it is the best for him and a very natural thing. When I feed I often think of Jacob as an 18 year old and just knowing that he as a baby sucked on my nipples is friggen weird and gross. Yes weirder and grosser than the fact that he came out of my vagina. I can’t explain it it’s just the way I feel. It’s like…i know my mom breastfed me as did husbands mom breast feed him. I’m grateful they did but I don’t exactly want to think about the fact that as a baby I literally sucked on my moms boobs. Ew right?

I just want to do stuff!! When Jacob decides he wants to feed my life is completely on hold. Now this is fine I knew that in becoming a mom his needs would come before mine until the day I die. However there is no pause button…no let me grab a coffee first or turn on the tv first. I try and he gets so cranky he then has problems latching which makes him more cranky which makes me cranky. When he is hungry he needs to eat. And when he cluster feeds I am stuck. Housework is not getting done period. I sit and stare at him or the wall or really bad tv because I am at his mercy. My plans are in the drain. If I was giving him formula….well here husband, friend, grandparent etc. feed him so I can go pee. Feed him so I can finish sweeping or fold the laundry. Oh wait I don’t have that option. Let me sit here and feed him while you stare and there are other things we would both rather be doing,

My sense of space. You know when you go to a concert and at the start of the night you are like k this is a lot of people….the. By the end if the night you are ready to punch the next person who touches you in the face because you have never had your personal space violated so much. Well that’s how I often feel. Obviously I don’t want to punch my son in the face but soMetimes I just want a bit of space, 5 minutes alone without someone touching me. This is my space and my baby is always in it. Does that make me selfish person? I dunno, but it is hard never having space from him. Breast feeding is so intimate and that is all the time I get with him. It’s like….time with my husband, intense intimacy is cool but you need moments to just hang out at the movies or just hold hands. It’s a balancing act between real intense intimate moments and moments that are more relaxing and fun. I get the very intimate moments with our son but very few relaxing fun moments.

I hate always being covered in breast milk. I leak all the time. If I wear a nursing pad which I have to for sure do in public the fluff sticks to my nipple and when I go to feed I spend the first few moments picking fluff off…also impossible to do with a squirming baby and a cover on. So I often don’t wear them at home. This means my clothes are quite literally soaked in breast milk. It’s wonderful. Especially for a girl who only owns 2 nursing tanks. I now do a lot of laundry or wear a dirty milk stained shirt.

Again, I know this makes me incredibly selfish but I just want to have a beer or a glass wine and not have to do the math. Especially because he feeds on demand so the math is just a guess anyways. When we had such at Hard time getting things going it breaks my heart a little to pump And dump and give formula because he woke upi earlier than I expected him too.

Lastly, Husband can’t get up at night with jacob even if he wants to. Similarly napping for any length of time is very difficult. So when baby is crying at 3am husband gets to sleep….he wakes up of course but is usually able to fall right back asleep. I on the other hand am up. Sure husband can wake up at 3am and give him formula so I can sleep in theory but I would still need to get up and pump becaus failing to do so could impact my supply negatively and even if it doesn’t. I wake up insanely engorged and sore. Hardly worth it.

I won’t give up until my body does though. My goal remains 6 months or until he has teeth. Why? Because I know it’s best for him and I don’t have a good unselfish reason to stop. Doesn’t mean its easy to keep going though

You are a Failure if you don’t Breastfeed your baby: Just don’t do it in public.

(I will be returning to the other topics soon…I have had a lot of questions about spending analysis and starting a budget, I just have some more Mom things to get out before I forget them) 

this video went viral over the summer and understandably so. It is so well said!

            The first week of being a mom was really difficult for me. The lies of parenthood continue to invade all my expectations.  Jacob is an awesome kid. He does just what babies should do. He eats and sleeps and well…okay. He wasn’t pooping. I guess that’s where the stress started.

We brought him home from the hospital on Monday and the nurse came over and checked him over on Tuesday. He was doing really well then, had been going to the bathroom, an overall champion kid. Passed every test with flying colours, super healthy.

Something changed between Monday and Thursday though. He stopped going to the bathroom. A couple of wet diapers no soiled ones. He was sleeping non-stop. I had to wake him every 3 hours to feed and it was beyond pulling teeth. It would literally take me an hour just to wake him. I tried everything. Cold wet clothes on the forehead, tickling his feet, taking his clothes off, changing his diaper, sitting him up, loud noises etc. He might startle (he has as seriously good moro reflex) but would fall right back asleep. Then it would take me an hour to feed. When he ate he never really “went at it” he would have a good latch, take a few sucks and then pull off. One of these times he pulled back with my nipple still clamped in his mouth, this managed to popped my nipple open leading to blood all over his face and my breast. Seeing my blood on his face and in his mouth broke my heart. This is seriously disgusting. It hurt so bad physically and emotionally. I was failing. I cried for a really long time. Breastfeeding is supposed to be the most natural thing in the world right? Why was this so difficult?

I didn’t sleep at all Wednesday night. The soft spot on Jacobs head sunk down and something just didn’t feel right. I cried because I didn’t know what was wrong. I decided that Thursday morning we should bring him over to the clinic to get their advice. We woke up and went. I can’t even describe how worried I was. After some heavy Google searching I was pretty convinced he was just dehydrated but immediately my thoughts went to the worst case scenario. I have heard so many stories of babies in the NICU all hooked up to tubes and stuff while the parents sit by helplessly. Please God, let it not be anything that serious.

When we got in we spoke to a nurse who said that the things we were describing were very characteristic of jaundice and that although the lights in the building were bad she felt that Jacob was looking a little yellow and wanted to do a second test for Jaundice. Because this involved pricking his foot to get a small blood sample, she suggested I feed him while she did it. I was still quite emotional and mentioned I didn’t know how well that would work as I fed him right before we came and he was being rather finicky with the boob. She suggested some formula to keep him calm instead and we said sure.

She brought in a sample of formula and Jacob downed the whole thing without even thinking twice. I started crying even harder seeing how hungry he clearly was and feeling like a failure because I couldn’t give him that satisfaction. The nurse, seeing how much he ate, said her guess was my milk just needed a little help coming in. She suggested that I feed him, then top him off with formula and then pump to try and get things going and ensure that he had a full belly and she lent us a pump.

Every time we gave him formula I felt like a failure. I just kept thinking about all the stats. Breastfed babies have better immune systems, higher IQs, lower risk of diabetes, breast milk is easier to digest, leads to less crying/colic, higher cognitive growth, higher protection against SIDS…the list goes on and on. I sat here thinking that we brought this baby into the world with the best of intentions. We wanted him and were so prepared for him and we wanted nothing but the best for him. And here, only days old, I was failing to do that.  My heart was breaking. Husband witnessed me cry several times a day for days. I liked that formula meant husband could be involved in feeding but I felt in my heart that formula just wasn’t good enough for Jacob.

This process was so frustrating. Feeding was taking forever. Husband and I began to discuss potential other options. We agreed that if the problem didn’t resolve itself soon, Jacob would probably start refusing to take the breast due to nipple confusion (let’s face it bottles are just easier!). The solution that we came up with was to take it a day at a time and if he stopped taking the breast all together I would continue pumping and we could try mixed feeding. Give him bottles every time he was hungry but we would give him breast milk in a bottle as often as was feasible for me to be pumping and subsidize that with formula.

It wasn’t the ideal solution but I felt ok with it. Friday night however, my milk finally came in. I felt like I had two bowling balls on my chest, my breasts become so engorged, hard and heavy. Saturday night, Jacob finally had a good feeding. He sat for about 40 minutes chugging away at the boob and managed to feed on both sides.  I started to relax, maybe there was hope after all.

Saturday night, I also had the privilege to talk with a couple of new moms. Ones baby was 8 months old, the other almost 3 months. They explained to me that they also had problems with breastfeeding in the beginning. One ended up going to formula, the other through techniques similar to what we did was able to breastfeed. It was through this conversation I realized that this thought that had been keeping me awake at night was false. I am not a failure because I had to introduce formula.  I had to say that to myself several times a day after that and continue to affirm that I am not a failure.  Many babies are brought up with formula and do just fine. In fact I found some stats on formula and they thoroughly surprised me. I’ll link the article here (ironically it was published the day after Jacob was born). 2700 women were surveyed regarding their feeding and the researchers found that,

By the third day after delivering, over half of these women were worried about their babies’ ability to latch on, while 44% were concerned about breast-feeding pain, and 40% about their capacity to produce enough milk to nourish their infants”.

So my fears were completely normal. In Canada in 2009, Statistics Canada found that 87.5% of women at least attempted breastfeeding. Those who didn’t attempt it cited reasons such as medical, breastfeeding is unappealing or disgusting, or that bottle-feeding was simply easier. The World Health Organization suggests exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months and continuing to breast feed for a year (I believe…no citation, can’t remember where I read that).

Here’s where the stats get interesting. Of all mothers in Canada, less than 50% are still breastfeeding at six months (47.16% to be exact). Clearly, formula is not killing our children. It is not poison. And we need to just get over ourselves. Yes the research has shown that breast is best. But Formula is not the devil.

The thought of breastfeeding in public is terrifying. Not to mention after nine months of sobriety, being able to have a couple beers or glasses of wine without  having to do the math is desirable “well if I fed him at 6 he will probably feed again around 9 so if I have a beer at 6:30 then….” This last week (Jacob is now 12 days old) I took him to arguably the worlds largest mall and was able to breastfeed successfully twice just out in the open. I did throw a blanket over us but I did not hide in the bathroom or the back corner somewhere. I did have people walking by, a few people probably even saw a quick glance of breast as I tried to adjust him and get him latched properly. It was terrifying. I felt so vulnerable and I felt myself getting worked up, what if someone says something, or gives me a dirty look. Do I really want to get into it? Breast is best. I understand that some people just do not have the confidence or desire to take these steps and to whip their breasts out in public. I understand that while breast milk is more “convenient” in that it is always the right temperature, great nutrition, no need to worry about sterilizing bottles etc. Breastfeeding anywhere but home is anything but convenient and when your child decides to cluster feed and you can do nothing but sit there and let him feed for hours on end is also anything but convenient.

Motherhood is hard. It’s not the late nights, it’s not the crying (although Jacob is a serious angel baby who hardly ever cries and never for long). It’s not even the fact that he has managed to pee on me several times or the amount of laundry he goes through. Its these stupid myths. These stupid lies. Why can’t people speak honestly? I feel like now that I have joined the “mom club” other people are willing to open up to me about the struggles that they faced as new parents. I have even had a couple of moms say they wish they had the courage to blog as I do, to say the things that I have been saying. Because this isn’t easy and I am not some weird exception. My struggles are so common. There is comfort in that. But I am very lucky to have a strong support network of women who don’t mind if I ask personal questions. Some women just don’t have that.

Jacobs Birth Story

Well they say babies come at the most inconvenient time ever, and although this could have been worse it was in that ball park of inconvenient for sure.

Saturday Sept 21, husband and I were invited over to a good friends house (another couple that we’ve known for years) for a good old Settlers of Catan battle. We accepted knowing that we could both sleep in the next morning as we desperately needed it after fighting off food poisoning on Friday and husband catching a bad cold. As we left our friends house they mentioned, as all friends have, that hopefully we would be parents soon and good luck. When we got home I had a cramp on my right side, similar to a gas pain. As I had been in false labour for over a week now and had been having contractions and cramping on and off so I didn’t think anything of it. I jokely mentioned to husband though that if there was a night where we could jump start labour this would be it but that it wasn’t worth it because our Dr was out of town until Monday and I would rather wait for her.

Around 3am (Sept 22) I woke up with horrible acid reflux and that wonderful acid puke in my mouth thing. It happens pretty regularly so I got up and had a Gaviscon (as I had already taken a zantac). I find when I lay down it makes the reflux worse so I sat up in bed and cuddled our cat Shredder for a bit and went back to bed.

At 5am (almost on the dot) I woke up to what I can only describe as a *pop…gush* I sat straight up in bed and kinda hit husband and said, “honey my water just broke! Its go time” I cannot even believe how much fluid came out. It completely soaked through my underwear and pjs onto the bed (luckily I had a previously laid a puppy pad under the sheet just in case and it did all manage to hit the pad) and as I ran to the bathroom it actually gushed out over the floor. I am so lucky one of my girlfriends told me to have pads on hand for when it popped! TMI? Perhaps but I was seriously unprepared for just how much fluid it would be. Amniotic fluid doesn’t have a smell really and its clear so it really did just look and smelt like water everywhere. I put a pad on and by this time husband had gotten out of bed and let the dog out and was gathering the last minute items for our hospital bags. He asked me if I was positive that it was my water breaking and I said yes but to prove it I took a strip of the Ph paper that our Dr gave us and tested it. The strip didn’t change blue like it was supposed to. I looked at husband and assured him that the paper was wrong and I was right and by 5:30 we were on our way to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital and got checked in and they confirmed that my water did break but because I was not having any serious regular contractions they asked if I would hang tight while they talked to my on call Dr., Dr. Ching. They told us that because I was not having contractions they may decide to send us home for 12 hours so we could go get some breakfast and do more of the labour at home. As we were waiting for the Dr i started having more noticeable contractions. They went from nothing to very painful very quickly. Dr Ching arrived and told us we could stay and they would prepare a room for us upstairs and that she would be in to check on us soon. She asked me if I needed anything for pain management and I said yes please give me all ya got! She mentioned that when we got upstairs I should have a shower and sit on the birthing ball for a while to see if either of those helped, if they didn’t she said she could give me some morphine until I was 4cm dialated at which time they could give the epidural. While they were getting things ready, the nurses encouraged us to walk the halls, so we did, but the contractions were coming about 5 minutes apart and were so painful that every few steps we took we had to stop and I would lean on husband and rock and try to take deep breaths through the pain. At this point I was already starting to doubt my ability to do this as the pain was getting so severe so quickly. I grabbed some water but ended up throwing it out because I was worried I would drop it on the floor during a contraction.

We were finally moved up to our room and our nurse Kara (a literal angel from heaven) was going to get things ready for me to take a shower when I had another contraction. Seeing how much pain I was in, She asked if I would rather be checked first and I said yes. She checked me and found that I was already 4cm dialated and asked if I would rather just have the epidural now. I again said yes please. She went and got the Dr who came in and also checked me and confirmed that I was 4-5cm and could get the epidural now. Before they could give it to me they would have to give me an IV and a liter of fluids. Being fair skinned with little veins they had a hard time finding a place to put the IV in. Of the whole labour process this was by far the worst part. My contractions were so strong that it literally took everything in me to breath through them and not bawl through them. I would start crying and swearing and the nurses and husband would have to remind me to take deep breaths. With every contraction Jacobs heart beat dropped drastically (like 140 one second to 60 the next) and taking breaths was the thing helping to bring it back up. I just kept closing my eyes trying to fight through the contractions. I remember one in particular I pulled husband down onto the bed so he was sitting and I was laying down and I just hugged him and buried my face into his back while he rubbed my back and reminded me to breath. It took 3 attempts to get the IV in and each time I had to try and sit very still through contractions for them to get it in. I felt so hopeless, I was ok’d for the epidural and all that was standing in the way between me and pain relief was this stupid IV. They were having such a hard time they started discussing calling in an anesthesiologist just to get the IV in. Finally a nurse found a working vein and got it in. The fluids were pumping but I still had to wait a bit.

Next the anesthesiologist came in for my epidural. He was also an angel. Getting the tape that held the epidural in taken off was more painful then getting the actual epidural. They just had me sit at the side of the bed and hug a pillow while he numbed my back then put it in. He said that it would take effect in 10-15 minutes. I literally stared at the clock. After 10 minutes I was still feeling my contractions but they were back to being bearable. By 12 minutes my feet were pools of pins and needles. By 15 minutes I felt like myself again. I would get a contraction but it was just pressure (kinda like when you have to poop) and not pain. I was able to talk and joke with everyone again and the swearing stopped. They checked me again and I was now 6-7 cm.

We all just hung out for a little bit. I was still having lots of contractions but they were just pressure and easy to talk through. They were monitoring me pretty heavily checking my blood pressure and everything frequently. We used this time to update our parents and chat.

We all expected to hang out like this for a while. Our nurse would come and go, my parents called to see if husband wanted a coffee (which he did). However Jacob had a different idea. My parents arrived about 20 minutes later but just before they arrived the nurse checked me again to find out I was 9cm. She called the dr who came about 5 minutes later and said well you ready to push? Just as my parents arrived. Husband declined the coffee now as we were going into the delivery now.

I remember looking at the Dr like she was crazy when she asked me if I was ready to push, my water had only been broken for 7 hours and I started with no contractions. With this being my first child everyone was expecting it to be a 12+ hour labor.

After pushing for about 45 minutes (I’m guessing) the Dr told us that Jacob was rocking in the canal. I would push and he would come forward then the contraction would stop and he would rock back. My contractions were incredibly irregular. I would have one then another 2 minutes out then we would sit for 10 min. She started to explain to me that they could give me some oxytocin in the form of pitocin so help make the contractions more regular and started explaining what that meant. Thankfully I already knew and just stopped her and said do it. I was so exhausted! (keep in mind I hadn’t eaten since the previous night and only had a few hours of sleep…also we were playing board games I was drinking pop not water so I was super dehydrated).

They started the pitocin and my contractions became so strong! they started hurting so bad it was hard to focus on pushing so they up’d my epidural. That slowed the contractions so they upped the pitocin. We played around with this until about an hour and a half of pushing was up. Then the dr started talking about bringing out the vacuum. I was so beyond exhausted at this point. I was having a really hard time holding the pushes for 10 seconds and was only getting one or two pushes in per contractions instead of three or four. I told her to go ahead with the vacuum.

Suddenly our room erupted! I don’t even know where all these people came from. Suddenly the dr was in a gown with big gloves, we had extra nurses, several students, then some respiratory therapists and I don’t even know who else. The room was full!

The dr hooked up the vacuum and explained that this was still all on me. The vacuum was to assist but I still had to push really hard. The next contraction came and I pushed with everything I had. Suddenly all these voices yelled stop pushing! Stop stop stop!!!!

I stopped at looked down. This gorgeously disgusting perfect white and bloody blob of a baby was in the drs arms and crying! I looked up at husband and back down at our baby and burst into tears. Husband cut the umbilical chord and I just watched and bawled. They asked if they could take him to clean him and check him and we said yup do whatcha gotta do.

Next I noticed the dr delivering my placenta. I still cannot get over how massive that thing was! I was really confused cause I thought I would have to push the placenta but it just kinda fell out it seemed. The Dr and her resident began stitching me up and they took forever. I couldn’t feel a thing but she was down there for quite a while. They continued to run tests etc. on Jacob while I was getting stitched. Husband went and took some photos of him and brought them back. I stared at the photos of our son while she finished the stitches and kept looking at husband thinking I can’t believe I just delivered a baby!!!

They brought Jacob over and I instantly fell in love with him. The dr explained that I had 3rd degree tearing and would probably be quite sore. Essentially she said I ripped all the way back to my bum but not through the anal muscles.

We invited our families in to see Jacob and shortly after our nurse asked me to go sit on the toilet and use the perri bottle (not actually pee as I had a catheter in) and then have a shower.

Our bags were still in the car so I didn’t have shampoo or anything. I got into the shower and let the water pour over me but just kept thinking I don’t really know what to do so I rubbed the water everywhere and realized that she didn’t give me a towel for my face (I hate water in my face and always bring a towel in the shower with me so I can dry it) I stood there waiting for her to return and just kept thinking omg I had a baby, omg I’m a mom, I’m a mom. I have a son!!!

The nurse came back with a towel and I got out. Suddenly I felt very light headed and told the nurse I was blacking out. She called husband to bring me a chair. The next thing I knew I was crumpled on the floor staring at the toilet with a loud ringing in my ears. It took me a few moments to remember where I was and piece together what just happened. Husband and the nurse helped me back into bed. We had some visitors come in then and our nurse wanted to take Jacobs footprints and give him a bath. I was really nervous about giving our baby a bath because it seemed really difficult so I wanted to watch her and ask questions. We were all uncomfortable with the idea of me getting out of bed again so soon so she wheeled my bed over to the sink so I could watch and encouraged husband to take photos. 

Our first night there was hard. Jacob did feed but he was crying a lot and we had been through such a long exhausting day that I ended up asking the nurses if they could take him for a couple hours so we could get some sleep. He was breast feeding like a champ though and so they brought him back a couple hours later to feed. 

The next morning we woke up and the Dr that delivered came around as well as our actual Dr. They gave us both a clean bill of health of we were discharged. After handing in some paperwork and getting the car seat checked we were on our way. 29 hours after my water breaking we got to take our son home. 

It was such an amazing amazing experience! We could not possibly be happier with anything. 

What Birth Plan? Comments/Questions

After my last pregnancy post, my Aunt left a very detailed comment and I really appreciated her point of view and thought I would touch on some of the issues she mentioned that I did not. You can read her whole comment on my last post here. I also heard from a few people via text, e-mail, in person etc. So I thought I would write about those as well.

My [aunt’s] plans consisted of no drugs unless [she] request[ed] it. “No pain meds needed at all because I’ll work WITH my body and not against it. Thankfully epidurals were not routine, they were for C-sections. They are not healthy for the baby and can create needless medical interventions (C-sections, induction, forceps…). Just remember, any meds that are for you are based on YOUR weight, not the baby’s and so baby will receive a lot of medication. Not all meds given are completely blocked by the placental blood barrier. When a low risk labouring mother is given an epidural she is now confined to bed usually flat on her back (thereby eliminating assisting the process with walking, kneeling, squatting, walking (it really does help), and other issues). Yeah, I’m on the “why on earth would you actually WANT an epidural?” team. I maintain that if you work WITH your body then you will reduce the need for medical intervention and decrease the potential for pain.”

I completely agree. I find it very comforting going into this that I am low risk and my body should be able to figure this stuff out. However, I am definitely not opposed to getting an epidural either. This goes back to I don’t really have a plan because I think it is something that I need to be ok playing by ear. Ideally, things will progress so fast there simply won’t be time for one. However if there is time I will ask for one. I have 2 major reasons for wanting an epidural and honestly neither of them have to do with pain management. Sometimes you can have a wonderful pregnancy and then the baby just doesn’t want to cooperate with the birth. If something happens and I suddenly require an emergency C-section (chord wrapped around the neck etc.) If I already have an epidural they simply up the dosage and prep you for C-section. If you do not have one, you are likely to be “knocked out” cause there simply isn’t enough time to deal with the process of an epidural. I feel like having the epidural in is a safety net that will allow me to stay awake through an unforeseen emergency C-section and thus will allow me to be conscious to hear his first cry and actually be one of the first people to see my son rather than spending hours trying to wake up and understand what happened and who this baby is. My other main reason for wanting an epidural if time/situation allows is because there is a chance that I have a succenturiate placental lobe. Essentially what this means is that a small portion of my placenta may not be attached to the main part of the placenta. 1 ultrasound said I for sure had one, another ultrasound said maybe- maybe not, depends on the angle. If I do have a succenturiate placental lobe there is a chance that the unattached portion may stay inside when the rest of the placenta is delivered. if I have an epidural the Dr can simply go in and get it, if not it makes the process much more difficult. It is vital that if a piece is left behind we get it out though because if it stays in there I could go home and then start hemorrhaging blood at a call a damn ambulance now type pace. Obviously Dr knows about the lobe as do husband and I and it is included in my chart that I have in my possession to bring to the hospital so we will ensure everything is out before I leave the hospital but if is separate, or becomes fully unattached during delivery if it isn’t already, having an epidural will make things a lot easier on my body to get it out.

 

“A word of caution…be aware that if junior wants to come before your wonder doctor gets there, you will be at the mercy of residents and THEIR current beliefs on L&D…so letting them know what you want will reduce the likelihood of a routine birth being hijacked. Including the possibility of needing a C-Section is wise, but you want to avoid it as much as possible, you need to understand the reasoning for the recommendation (& Dr. having a dinner date is a very bad reason), What conditions need to be met before induction or augmenting are to be considered?”

There are so many what-ifs that handing the residents a list of demands won’t change anything because I can’t possibly hit them all. If they believe that a C-section is the right way to go and miracle Dr. isn’t there (she is in fact going on holidays for the next 5 days so if baby doesn’t come today hopefully he will hold tight till she gets back Monday) then husband and I will talk it over with those medical professionals and make the call that is right for that situation. Unfortunately there just is no black and white. Same with induction and augmenting. One of the most common criticism seems to be that the hospitals rush to use Pitocin to speed up labour if it is not progressing fast enough for their liking. Pitocin then increases the likelihood of further medical interventions such as C-section. But again this depends on the circumstances. If I have been in labour for more than 24 hours or getting close to it then yes please lets speed up the process. For one I will be grumpy and annoyed but the baby has an increased risk of infection if it stays in there much longer than that after the water has broken. Especially because when having a hospital birth there are many things constantly going up your lady parts and while sterile gloves and equipment are used, they are still potentially introducing bacteria. However, I consider that a safe risk because home births freak me out. Again, a perfectly normal birth can turn topsy-turvy on a moments notice and only the hospital is equipped to handle the worst case sinareo. I would rather have the chance of bacteria being introduced and then needing Pitocin or a C-section and know that I am in good hands then wait it out and potentially harm myself or my baby,

“How about pain relief well before the transition stage (it is basically useless after that stage)?”

Again I am hoping things go really well and I can do the majority of the labor process at home. I would then be using things like a warm shower, heat pack, getting husband to rub my back, trying to sleep etc. as much as possible. If I have to go to the hospital before that then I will be able to get the epidural earlier haha. But no, a woman’s body is built for this. We will manage.

“Episiotomy? Do you want them to automatically do one or only if absolutely needed to avoid ripping you all over hell’s half acre? (If they aren’t skilled at working the perineum to avoid one, let them cut I say).”

These aren’t really common practice anymore, most Doctors say it is better to tear and the healing time is actually better. However I just don’t care. I am fully expecting a baby whale (at 34 weeks the ultrasound guessed him to be 5lbs 7 oz, if he has been gaining at a “normal” pace he should be about 7lbs 7oz now at 38 weeks. Husband was 7lb 11oz and I believe I was 9lbs 14oz). I am very fortunate to have an amazing support network and husband will be taking time off work to be at home with the family after baby arrives. So I’m not afraid of healing times.

 

You also have the right to limit numbers of people in the room. (you don’t have to have all the med/nursing students & residents and their friends in there).

I am actually ok with students in the room and would encourage them to be there. I think the best way for the next generations of medical professionals to learn is by doing and seeing. Throughout this pregnancy I have had brand new student ultrasound technicians and nurses a couple times. The lady that did my gestational diabetes test had never done one prior to me. These students are always highly supported and supervised so that doesn’t bother me at all.

As for my friends/family. I really do believe the birth of a child is something very intimate between a husband and wife and while I am laboring I would prefer to be alone with my husband. Once baby is out and we are all safe and happy then please come visit!

And do you want a birthing room? Or delivery room? Do you have that choice (hopefully yes, and that the default room is a birthing room).

I have heard that the hospital I am going to has the best birthing rooms in the area with some even coming with a full room space so that husband can sleep comfortably in there as well.

Are you wanting to nurse immediately after the birth?

Yes please! I have considered making him a onsie that says, “I am trying to learn how to breast feed, please don’t give me a pacifier or anything else. If I am fussy, please bring me to my Mom” This is one area where I guess you could say I do have a plan because I want to do whatever it takes to establish a good supply and ensure that my son is getting the best nutrition possible.

Cut the cord?

Is more a question for husband but we have discussed and he doesn’t really want to do it. I can’t blame him….it looks really friggen disgusting. The medical pros can go ahead and do that!

Oh, and if there is only thing you demand, make it the warmed blanket immediately after they clean you up! That is non-negotiable, you must have the warm blanket afterwards! It is almost as great as holding your baby for the first time!

Great tip! Thanks! I would not have thought of that!

What are your plans when you get home?
Relax. Take it easy. Focus on establishing a good supply and having time to bond as a new family. I don’t think anything can fully prepare you for what life with be with a newborn however as I said I have an amazing support network. I plan on leaning on them. I have not made freezer dinners because we most likely won’t eat them. We have come up with lots of quick and easy meals including lots of quick and easy crock-pot meals. We have cleaned the house up and it falls to pieces again oh well. The important thing is that we are bonding, a good milk supply is being established and baby and I are recovering from the whole process. I bought some cute comfy (and Black!) pajamas specifically to wear around after he is born (they are like loose lulu lemon pants I could probably wear them in public without anyone batting an eye and they are sooo comfy). I won’t let myself touch them until after he gets here so I am really looking forward to that!

When are you having a baby shower? Are you registered?
We are waiting until after he is here so it is hard to say. Probably mid-late October. Yes, we are registered at Babies-R-Us. We do already own all the big things necessary for his debut (crib, change table, diapers, wipes, car seat, stroller, pack and play etc.) We registered for the things that are a little more “fun” toys, clothes, diaper genie, etc.