10.06.2014

Unplanned.

Plans are funny things. Because you can make them all you want and then real life happens and is all HAHA YOUR'E SO SILLY FOR THINKING YOU HAD THIS PLANNED NOW I'M GONNA MESS IT UP HAHA SUCKER.

And that's sort of how my baby was born.

I read umpteen books and articles and had discussion upon discussion about natural, drug-free childbirth. I did yoga until the day I was due and practiced mindful meditation. I knew the benefits of immediate skin to skin after the baby was born, I listened to nerdy birthing affirmations about my uterus blossoming like a flower and I drank special teas. I strengthened my pelvic floor and showed up at my midwife appointments with plenty of questions.

I was as prepared as I could be.

I went into labour on a Friday night. Sort of. I wasn't really sure it was the real deal so when the BF texted from work asking if he should come home, I replied, "sure?"

By the time he got home, I knew it was actual labour. We called the midwife and she determined that since I could speak through the contractions, rest was the best option. Which is actually quite laughable because it's impossible to "rest" when it feels like your pelvis is about to crack wide open.

The midwife came to our house at 5am. And again at 10am. And again at noon.

See, I paced our house from probably 11pm to 11am the following day, doubled over in pain, resting on a dresser, roughly every minute. Right from the get-go, I couldn't catch my breath. Just when it was time for a rest, another contraction would come. Almost right on top of each other, like terrible waves of pain. The midwives checked up in my business and couldn't quite believe I wasn't more dilated than I was. I kind of skipped early labour and went right to active. Apparently that's how I roll.

By noon I was dilated enough to go to the hospital. Getting into the car while in labour was quite the ordeal. I'm sure the whole neighbourhood knew what was going on. It's funny now but at the time it made me cry and I had to carry a bowl between my knees in case of vomit.

When we got to the hospital, I had to be admitted. Or signed in. Or registered. Or something. I'm not really sure as I spent this part screaming my face off, sweating, leaning on a table and probably terrifying a 3-year old girl who was in the waiting room.

Another two hours later I could barely stand and I still wasn't dilating. I had completely forgotten about all the tools to help during labour. And I was having back labour and nobody was pressing on my back hard enough and if you've been in labour you know that speaking is kinda hard. I kept telling each one of those contractions to f*ck off everytime they came. But they were coming so fast and after a few more hours they started to take me over. I couldn't fight them anymore. I figured the whole process would take 12ish hours. I didn't realize I would still be hours away from a baby at the 14-hour mark.

Enter the epidural.

I had to stay very still, and curve my back into the letter C. The doctor recites all the dangers and complications of an epidural (paralysis, headaches, death, whathaveyou) and then she sticks a large needle in your spine. IN YOUR SPINE.

The epidural began working fairly quickly and finally I could breathe.

But it wasn't part of the plan. I felt guilty.

I was hooked up to all kinds of bells and whistles with an IV in my arm and no feeling in my legs.

The epidural allowed me to have conversations, gulp down some Gatorade and even laugh. I went from some sort of beast of myself back to my normal self. Except with sweaty hair. Contractions became dull aches instead of mind-blowing pain.

It wasn't long before we got another kink in our plan. The baby's heart rate started dropping with every contraction. At first, the midwives weren't too concerned because the heart rate would recover fairly quickly. But they stayed very close by and kept a close watch on the beep beep beep that filled the tiny hospital room.

By this time, I was heading into the second consecutive night of no sleep. It was 10ish on Saturday night. I very politely asked for the beep beep beep to be turned off so I could try and fall asleep. The midwives could watch the heart monitor from outside the room.

It wasn't 30 seconds after the room went dark that the midwives and other hospital staff came rushing back in, urging me to turn onto my side.

Apparently baby's heart rate was getting dangerously low.

Sometime around midnight, the midwives consulted with the OB team and my worst birth nightmare began to surface. I was told I had to start thinking about a c-section.

Baby was likely pulling on the cord, or wrapped in the cord and couldn't make his/her way to the exit. I was at 8cm.

I sobbed. Everything I didn't want for the birth of my baby was coming to fruition.

The midwives held my hand while I cried and assured me that the BF would be right there by my side. I felt pushed into a corner and really, the safe delivery of my child was my first concern.

When they wheeled me into a sterile silver room, the very unfriendly anesthesiologist went to work on freezing my tummy.

It didn't work.

Before I could resist, a mask was placed over my nose and mouth and I was told to breathe deeply. Except I couldn't breathe. I felt like I was suffocating.

The BF was, apparently, pacing the hall, waiting to come in. But if the mom has to be knocked out during a c-section, the dad isn't allowed in.

The next thing I remember is waking up in a fog at 4-something in the morning, an hour after my baby had been delivered. I was wheeled into yet another room where the BF held our tiny baby girl. I threw my fist in the air and yelled, "it's a girl!" A baby girl who had been wrapped in the cord twice. Once around her body and once around her leg.  

I didn't have a natural birth. I didn't even have a vaginal birth. I didn't get skin to skin contact immediately after my baby was born. I was pumped full of every drug possible. I had a horrible recovery.

My baby girl is seven and a half months and it's taken me roughly this long to be okay with how she came into the world. I still get pangs of jealousy when I meet new moms who had the birth I wanted.

But at some point, you just have to let go. I couldn't control the situation anymore than I can control my life now. My everyday is really up to her. And sometimes I forget. A couple of giggles and in that moment, it's just not that important.

8.27.2013

#3

So. 

I'm pregnant. 

It seems like a very strange thing to announce because it doesn't really feel real. Like I'm fibbing to all of you. Despite my pants not fitting and my belly looking like I ate a large meal. It's in that awkward stage of "is she pregnant or did she inhale a burrito?" 

If you've been reading my blog you know that thus far, pregnancy has not worked out that well for me. So naturally (I presume), I just assumed I would have a third miscarriage this time around. I was conditioned to believe that pregnancy ends in miscarriage. Not a baby. 

For the first couple of weeks of this pregnancy, when the risk of miscarriage is at its highest, I teetered of the edge of a strange place where I tried to remain optimistic without getting overly excited. 

Let me tell you. That place is kind of impossible to sustain. Eventually you teeter one way or the other. Onto the complete basketcase side of not sleeping and late night symptom Googling, or planning the next year of your life by bookmarking cribs and strollers online. 

I'm not entirely sure when it gets real. When I begin to feel the baby move? When I start buying tiny outfits and sleepers? When I watch the BF struggle and swear to install a car seat? When I get to hold the little pooper? Weigh in if you have an idea.

I figured that by the time I reached my second trimester (which I keep wanting to call "semester"), it would be official and I'd stop worrying. Well, I'm in my second trimester and I'm still worried and it still doesn't feel official. I'm just worried about new things now.

I've heard the lil munchkin's heartbeat, have seen him/her bouncing around during an ultrasound and still it's hard to believe that an actual baby will be the result of all the lying by the toilet, huge and sore boobs, random crying at rude salespeople and my ever-expanding waistline. 

But even if I'm still worried and it doesn't feel officially official, I am starting to get excited. I mean, a baby! Babies are pretty cute. I like them. And this is going to be our baby. That's even more fun. I don't have to give it back. I'm going to be the mom this time. And that's pretty neat.

Something about being pregnant invites all kinds of unsolicited advice on how exhausted we'll be or how we should sleep as much as we can now, or how painful it's going to be or how huge I'm going to get blah blah blah because that's just raining on my parade. Just let me enjoy being excited about pregnancy finally working out for me. 

I promised a girlfriend (you know who you are) that when I had a kid, I would never talk about the baby snot sucker-upper on social media, which I'm going go vow to never ever do. Right here. That was the vow. However, I am going to leave you with my top 5 discoveries about the first trimester of pregnancy. I've uncovered a couple of myths.

1. Morning sickness is a fib. It is all-day sickness. Comparable to being hungover for three months. 

2. There is no such thing as the pregnancy glow. There is nauseous-pale-face and hormonal-skin-problems. The only time someone told me I was glowing was when I was wearing makeup. Glowy makeup. 

3. There is a fun game called hungry or heartburn? It's great. You lie in bed and wonder if you need to have a snack or chow down on a couple of Tums. It keeps you guessing for at least 20 minutes. 

4. All these years I thought I wasn't a napper and was jealous of friends who could do the head nod on public transportation. Turns out I'm a great (pregnant) napper! Hormones do amazing things. And also terrible things (see #1). 

5. Citrus. All the time. I can't get enough oranges or lemonade. Especially bubbly lemonade. It makes everything feel better.

8.13.2013

Home again, home again.

The BF and I play this fun game where we drive around, checking out houses for sale, then search for them on MLS when we get home and find out that they are roughly 400 thousand dollars out of our budget. 

It's super fun. 

Sometimes the BF will call me on the way home from playing golf and ask me to look up a property for sale. Usually these properties are right on the golf course. We fell in love with one about a half hour from where we currently live. And, you guessed it. Way out of our price range.

Not that convenient.  

We aren't in a huge rush to move. We're thinking next year. And my place in Montreal has to sell first (P.S. Buy my loft. It's awesome). We'd both like a new place with an actual yard and another bedroom or two. We live in a starter home, if you will. A townhouse. That's stuck to the neighbour's house which is stuck to the other neighbour's house and so on. You get the idea.

And we are doing all kinds of fun things to our place to get ready to sell it. We bought a deck recently, which was delivered on the weekend. In pieces. We updated the entryway, bought a glass insert for the front door, took care of the garden, I've been painting and putting aside some money for new living room furniture, and eventually we'll get to a backsplash in the kitchen.

But with our fancy taste in houses, the stuff we can afford is far, far away in a small town somewhere. Because of COURSE we need granite counter tops everywhere. And a steam shower. And an open concept kitchen/living room. And a man-cave. And four bedrooms. And updated everything.

Oh, and we can get all that within or budget. We'll just have to live in a tiny town far, far away. 

It's not a huge secret that I don't love Hamilton. I miss Montreal all the time, and I wish more people would open good restaurants here in the Hammer. I feel like I'd be okay with more restaurants. 

But when we find a place we like in one of those tiny towns far, far away my first thought is "but it'll take too long to get to yoga." My second thought is usually "what if the grocery store isn't as good as MY grocery store?" 

Then my thoughts flitter to the few friends I've made in Hamilton, and how I'll have to start all over again. And also, I'm freelancing for a great little agency 17 minutes from home. And I've made work friends there too! And I like it there. Not to mention, I teach a couple of regular yoga classes. Which I rather enjoy. And don't want to give up.

And just like that, it seems I have an actual community in Hamilton. And I don't really want to move to a small town for the sake of a fancier house.

I have a hard time with talking about where I'm from. More specifically, it's not always clear where my home is. My home will always be in Quebec. The small town I grew up in, and the combined 9 years I spent in Montreal. 

But I also have a home here with the BF. Oh, and I physically live here. So, there's that to consider. 

I moved around a lot in my twenties and I always said I was from Quebec. None of those places were a permanent home. None of them were meant to be. 

But now this is as permanent as it gets. I'm making a life here. I suppose it's okay to have dual homes. Isn't it? I'm not comfortable with saying I'm from Hamilton because I'm really not. Maybe in 10 years I'll be comfortable with saying that. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll always be from Quebec. And I'm okay with it.

3.26.2013

Heavy lifting

I was feeling particularly low recently when a friend said to me, "Linz - you are one of the strongest people I know." 

Say what, now? 

What a strange thing to hear when it feels like the universe is imploding on you. And also, what a nice thing to hear when it feels like the universe is imploding on you. 

I know I said I was feeling almost, sort of, maybe a little bit back to normal after what has been a rough couple of months, but the truth is, it sort of comes and goes. 

And when it comes, it comes in tsunami form. 

On the bright side, there are moments when I think that ACTUALLY, everything is fine. I can find that inner yogi-Lindsay place and just let go of whatever is bugging me. Because in the end, the things that make me sad and mad and anxious are pretty exhausting. And those feelings just aren't serving anyone. 

I mean, nobody is dying.

I go around telling people that happiness is a choice. So, I'd be less of a hypocrite if I followed my own advice. 

On the less bright side, despite all the letting go, I'm not sure you ever really get over losing something that was physically a part of you. I mean, maybe you can get over donating a kidney (actually I have no idea so please let know if you've donated a kidney), but losing a baby is a different story. Or, in my case, babies. 

I still can't hang out with the pregnant ladies without saying incredibly awkward things and wanting to cry. Does that make me selfish? All I can think about is, it was supposed to be me. I become painfully aware of how empty I am. In every sense of the word. Would an actual strong person, like my friend described, be able to suck it up and put on a smile of the non-fake variety? If you have the answer, I'd really like to know.

A friend of mine told me that when she was pregnant, all of a sudden everyone around her was pregnant. But I'm finding the opposite. Two miscarriages later and everyone around me just keeps getting knocked up. I guess the whole world is with child, all the time. The circle of life, as it were. Thanks for that, Simba. 

I suppose the circle of life also requires me to just keep going. Or just keep swimming, as it were.

In other news, where would this blog post be without Disney? 

There is a common way of thinking that goes something like this: "If I just had _______ then my life could finally begin and I'd be happy." 

Fill in the blank with any consumer good, life experience or paint colour. 

And despite my best efforts, it's this kind of thinking that I've been sucked into recently. But I'll fill you in on a little secret. Life is not in the future. Life is now. Right here. Today. 

Ta dah! Isn't it glamorous? 

The crappy stuff that makes you cry and the good stuff that makes you laugh and the pile of laundry that needs to be folded and the barfy feeling you get from eating poutine because it seemed like a good idea at the time... it's all right now.

There is no redo or restart and you can't pass GO and collect your $200. Or, whatever. You know what I mean. 

I've come up with a list of reminders. Little things that help me stay present, ride out the ups and downs, and also help keep the anxiety to a medium-low setting. 

1. Make the bed. Something about this activity calms my brain. Messy bed messy head? Perhaps.

2. Get nature-y. Spending time outdoors does wonders for the ol' nervous system. If you hop on a plane to Honduras to find the nature, even better.

3. Get a life. As much as you love your husband/boyfriend/partner/manfriend there's something to be said for relationships with girlfriends. One of the pluses of moving to Ontario has been moving closer to some of my oldest friends from university. Getting out to Toronto to see them has been a saving grace for me.

4. Get off Facebook. The more time I spend away from my phone and away from my computer, the more I feel like a normal person. Check out this very interesting article from the New York Times about how social media affects human connection.

5. Get quiet. Find a few minutes in your day to take a few deep breaths to shut out all the unnecessary noise. Especially if you're having a rough day.

And it goes without saying that exercising is also a big one. My choice, of course, is yoga. What helps you maneuver your less glamorous days? How do you stay in the here and now?


3.14.2013

Let's hear it for the small picture.

It's common amongst advice-givers, myself included, to tell people to look at the big picture. As in, don't sweat the small stuff. Keep your eye on the ball. Let's call a spade a spade. 

Pretty sure that last expression doesn't fit in but I needed a third one. 

My current big picture is a bit messy right now, so for today, I'm looking at the small picture(s).

I recently read this article about happiness and its relation to gratitude via a woman's struggle to keep it together during her father's illness and after his death. And sometimes looking at the small picture, and being grateful for it, is exactly what we need to do to keep our minds from obsessing about the should-have-beens and the what-ifs. 

Without further ado, a small list of small pictures. 
 

I feel pretty grateful for my well-kept cuticles and (almost) daily pretty nails. 
 
 I'm grateful for an encouraging handwritten note from a dear friend.

I'm grateful for the smell of chocolate chip cookies in the oven. I'm thinking of starting a business where you just show up at people's houses and bake things to make their house smell nice. 

 I'm grateful for this guy, who lets me force cuddle him on a daily basis.