Wednesday, June 30, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday...

The Hubs' Mad Photography Skillz,
The Colour Pink,
My Left Nipple

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Anecdotes from the Delivery Room

As Lilah's first birthday quickly approaches, I can't help but think about the events that took place a year ago as she made her way into the world. Because I started this blog when Lilah was almost seven months old, I have yet to share the story of her birth, and now seems like as good a time as any. I will spare you all the ins and outs of the 50 hour* ordeal and just cut to the "highlights".

*50 hours. For realz, people. "C'mon, you're exaggerating," you say. I am SO not. I started timing contractions just before midnight on Tuesday, June 30th. Lilah was born at 1:30 am on Friday, July 3.

Okay, so I was exaggerating. 49.5 hours. I stand corrected.

  • In Labour and Delivery, we somehow ended up with the bum room. No joke. Every thing that could possibly be wrong with this room was. The bed would get stuck in a partially-reclined position and need to be joggled to go all the way down (and if you've ever participated in childbirth, you know that the bed goes up and down A LOT, as a woman in labour is notoriously fickle when it comes to positioning), the portable fetal heart monitor was broken, and worst of all, the sink in the room was plugged. Each time medical personnel entered my room, they needed to wash their hands, so a clogged sink simply would not do. A plumber was called, but apparently this was not a straightforward clog. After what seemed like hours, the guy finally broke out his (very noisy) drill. But of course, the drill battery died, and instead of going to get a fresh battery himself, he called another plumber. So there I was, labouring away behind a thin curtain, with not one but two Mr. Fix-its in the room, discussing their plans for the weekend and expounding the virtues of various drill bits. Awesome.
The lower portion of the two pokiest plumbers on earth.
  • My doc broke my water to try to speed things up, but there must have been a pocket of fluid that stayed intact because it burst later in quite a dramatic fashion - just as our doula was putting herself in the line of fire to take a peek. Apparently years of helping women birth babies had helped her hone her cat-like reflexes, and she managed to jump out of the way in the nick of time, but she was very nearly collateral damage. It takes a special kind of person to become a birth doula, I tell ya! (And no, I don't have a picture of that.)
  • Did you know they let people call through to the labour and delivery rooms while a woman is in labour? After I was given my epidural, just as I was *attempting* to doze off (this after two and a half days of zero sleep, mind you), I heard this faint ringing sound. Like an old rotary phone. It was like something out of the Matrix! The Hubs and I stared at each other for several moments, both at a total loss. Then he started digging and finally found the phone under piles of clothing and bags and random medical periphernalia. It was my mom, calling to say, "Hi honey, how are you doing?" Ummm... I'm in labour, and I have been for almost two days now, how do you think I'm doing?

  • Oh, and you know that gas they give you when you're feeling pain from oxytocin-enhanced contractions and you're waiting for your epidural to kick in? That is really good stuff. I highly recommend it. I even made the Hubs sneak some while the nurses weren't looking.

I think this picture speaks for itself. I should be a spokesmodel for nitrous oxide.

  • After I had been pushing for about two and a half hours and we could finally see and feel the top of Lilah's head, the Hubs points to a clippy-thingy-doodad hanging off the epidural line and says, "Um, is that supposed to just be hanging off there like that?" Having the epidural clip fall out after you have been pushing for hours and are finally making some good headway (hah! see what I did there?) is not a good thing, as I came to find out. Since I was being intermittently bombarded by threats of a C-section by the obstetrician's 5th year resident, they would not let me keep pushing sans anesthetic. (Trust me, I begged.) So the proceedings were halted as we waited for the anesthetist to return and stick a big fat needle perilously close to my precious cerebrospinal fluid. For a second time.
  • And now I will finally cut to the chase: Lilah was born at 1:31 am on Friday, July 3. With a teeny bit of help from the vacuum extractor. But I swear I really did most of the work myself!

The Li'l Lilahbility at about 10 minutes old.

Congratulations if you've made it all the way through this post. Almost impressive as surviving 49.5 hours of labour.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An Anniversary of Sorts

One year ago today was Lilah's "due date." When the day came and went with not a single sign of her arrival, I was in a tizzy. We were having unusually hot weather in Vancouver and my ankles were the size of watermelons, but the physical discomfort (which wasn't terrible, compared to what some of my friends have gone through during the final weeks of pregnancy) was nothing compared to the anxiety of not knowing what was going to happen and when. And the frustration that it wasn't happening when it was "supposed to." I just wanted my little tenant to vacate so that I could have my body back and, more importantly, so that I could hold her in my arms. I just wanted to get this party started, already!

Now I think back and wonder why I was in such a rush. Things were a million times harder once she was born, and the truth of the matter is that, even once Lilah was on the outside, my body still wasn't my own. I was still her sole source of sustenance, and she spent most of those first couple months attached to me anyway - just at nip level rather than belly button level. And having her attached to the outside of me didn't make things any cooler during the second heatwave that hit when she was three weeks old.

If I could go back and relive it, knowing what I know now, I wouldn't stress about the bonus ten days Lilah spent on the inside. I'd enjoy the "me time," read a ton of books and trashy magazines, sleep in till 11 am, and spend entire days at the spa.

I am not a patient person by nature, but Lilah's helping me work on that. Today marks the first anniversary of our very first lesson in patience, and apparently I'm being tested on what I have learned. (Molars, growth spurt, just plain tired, or all of the above - who knows?)

One year ago today, I was a sweaty, hormonal, moody, sobbing mess. (Okay, well, some things never change, but at least today I'm not the one sobbing.)

If anyone has any secrets about how to achieve a Zen state in the face of impatience and frustration, I'd love to hear 'em!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

A big shout out to all the wonderful daddies out there, and
an extra special Happy Father's Day to one particularly fantastic Dada!

The Hubs' best Father's Day gift came a day early when Lilah pointed at him and said, "Daddy" quite clearly when I asked her where Daddy was!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Project Green: June

Now that things are going pretty smoothly and the Hubs and I are patting ourselves on the back for having things relatively together (toothbrush debaucle and stomach flu aside), it's time to up the ante. In the interest of being green and saving green, we've decided to change one habit each month. A year from now, we hope to be living an altogether greener lifestyle. I'd like to be able to say that we did our part to leave this planet in decent shape for our children and grandchildren. Having a child really does change your perspective on these things. Besides, I've realized we need to compensate for Lilah's decidedly un-green habits, like wasting food and ripping large amounts of toilet paper into tiny shreds.

Last month, the Hubs (finally!) bought a really good, really large travel mug for his daily gallon of coffee so that he can feel better about his Starbucks addiction. It's a tiny change, but once you implement these changes, your perspecive shifts, and they become the new norm. So much so that the Hubs now gets a guilt attack if he shows up at Starbucks having forgotten his giant travel mug. Green is the new black, and that's how he takes his coffee these days. (Thank-you, ladies and gentlemen, I'll be here all week!)

Other changes we've made recently: the Hubs is taking a stab at growing his own herbs (I think I've mentioned that he's the real chef in this household, and chefs do love their seasonings!), and we've acquired some mesh bags to use when shopping for produce. Which we intend to do as often as possible at our local farmer's market.

The project for June? Making our own laundry detergent! We have a high-efficiency front load washer, so we need to use liquid detergent, which requires a few more steps than home-made powdered detergent, but it was sort of fun and satisfying in a Little House on the Prairie type of way. I used this recipe to make liquid detergent. I've washed a few loads in it and so far, I'm reasonably happy with the results. The detergent is definitely low-sudsing, but I'm so conditioned to expect lots of suds in the washer window that I'm slightly nervous that the clothes aren't getting as clean as they do with store-bought detergent. Everything is coming out looking clean, though. I went with the basic recipe for a first pass, and I may try adding a few drops of essential oil next time, just to get some kind of "clean" scent. The other thing is, the liquid detergent gels, so it needs to be stirred before each time you use it. On the plus side, this detergent is gentle enough to be used on our clothes and household items as well as Lilah's clothes and bedding.

My brand new bucket filled with home-made liquid laundry detergent!

This new habit will defintely save us money over the long run as well. We had to buy a painter's bucket with a lid specifically for the purpose of making and storing the detergent, but that's a one-time cost. The ingredients cost about $15 all together (at the most!), and that's enough to make several batches of detergent. Over a year, this will save us a whole lotta dough.

So I'm a convert. I'd say this is a really good start to our new green outlook on life!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Toy!

...But this one's for the big kids!

My adorable Hubs went totally overboard for Mother's Day and convinced Lilah to get me an amazing new camera. The Hubs felt that no expense should be spared since, you know, I'm the best momma Lilah's ever had and it was my first ever Mother's Day. I suspect the guilt factor probably also played a small role, since we never got around to figuring out my 30th birthday present last August. Lilah was only about 8 weeks old when I turned 30 and things were just too crazy to bother much with birthdays. The Hubs fared better on his 30th, when I was still pregnant and blissfully unaware of how crazy life was about to get, and we went to Vegas to watch Georges St. Pierre decimate BJ Penn at UFC 94. Good times!

So... where was I before I started reminiscing about GSP's sheer athleticism, dynamic power, and ocean blue eyes? Oh yes, my new camera!

I've been working on learning its ins and outs, and I'm toying with the idea of taking an online course to really take advantage of its full capabilities. This camera demands r-e-s-p-e-c-t and I intend to give it just that. In fact, I'm a little intimidated. So far, I've been too nervous to take it too far afield. The furthest its been from home is our local park - a two-block walk away. I'm sure that I'll get more comfortable as I learn. I just need to find the time to learn!

Anyway, I've finally uploaded the first batch of photos, so without further ado, here are some of my favourite photos taken on the new camera. Both the Hubs and I get photo credits. But I'm not telling you who took which ones. Because I have a sneaking suspicion the Hubs may have a better natural eye for photography than I do. I'm just going to have to work extra hard and get really good - I'm competitive like that.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I've been MIA for a while. I've had my reasons. I feel as though I've been through a battle of epic proportions. And lived to blog about it (but just barely).

It all started Tuesday night with an episode of projectile vomiting (the vomiter being Lilah and the recipients being me, the high chair, the floor, the wall, the table....). I didn't realize her little tummy could possibly hold so much liquid. The Hubs and I divided and conquered - he quickly whisked Lilah away and deposited her directly into the bath while I dealt with the aftermath around her high chair. I was impressed with our efficiency and teamwork. When she made it through Tuesday night without further spewage, I figured we were in the clear.

Wednesday was spent dosing out Tylenol and trying to appease an extremely fussy and feverish baby. The only things she wanted to do that day were cuddle with me and sleep. And if you know anything about Lilah, you will know this is truly a departure from her usual personality. Normally I'm all, "Can I have a cuddle?" and she's all, "Let go of me, woman! Don't you know I have more important things to do than snuggling with you? If you wanted to feel loved and needed, you should have gotten a dog!" But on Wednesday she just wanted to curl up in my arms, suck her thumb, and play with (ie. pull out, a few painful strands at a time) my hair. Which would have been lovely, had I not needed to run to the bathroom every 15 minutes myself. I was "lucky" in that my stomach contents followed the "exit this way" sign, but still, not an enjoyable experience. TMI? Oh sorry, I thought nothing was off limits between me and my best friend, the internet.

I managed not to call the Hubs and ask him to come home early from work that day, but it was touch-and-go for a while there. Normally in this type of situation I wouldn't have any qualms about requesting (demanding!) that he come home and help me out, but he was leaving town the next day and needed to get things wrapped up at work. So Lilah and I hunkered down and survived. Turns out that's all we did for the next four days - just survive.

On Thursday morning, bright and early, the Hubs left for his friend's bachelor party in Vegas and Lilah and I seemed to be getting better, but on Friday night, unbeknowst to me, there was another puking episode. Lilah had already gone to bed by that point and somehow managed to throw up in her crib and then go right back to sleep. Seriously, this kid has gone from a crappy sleeper to a sleeping champion! Remember the toothbrush incident and how badly I felt about that? Multiply that by about a million! Nothing feeds that little voice in the back of your head saying, "You're a crap mother" like your child sleeping in a puddle of their own vomit all night. (Ummmm... and I probably shouldn't have let the kid eat that little piece of pesto pizza our neighbour was offering up, either. Oh, and those blueberries at dinner time? Also not a good idea. But she seemed to be feeling so much better!)

*Coincidentally, I suspect the Hubs and his friends (particularly the groom-to-be) may also have been sleeping in pools of their own vomit, but in their case it was self-inflicted, so they get no sympathy. But since we're on the topic of alcohol-induced vomiting, you should check out this Stomach Party bit by comedian Jim Breuer. It's one of my all-time faves.*

Saturday morning: more puking. Saturday afternoon and evening: managed to keep breastmilk and water down. I mistakenly thought this was the last of it. Sunday morning: more puking. She was walking around when the barfing started, so the poor kid slipped backwards in her own barf and banged her head. A true comedy of errors. Maybe someday I will be able to laugh about that, but at the moment the thought of it breaks my heart.

Oh, and as if I wasn't getting bitch-slapped enough in the cleaning-up-puke department? I also discovered several patches of cat puke scattered about the house at random intervals throughout the weekend. "Awesome" doesn't even begin to cover it.

A visit to the walk-in clinic on Sunday morning was totally unenlightening and yet oddly reassuring - I hadn't missed anything, this was a tummy bug and it would pass. The fever was gone and she wasn't dehydrated (as evidenced by the heart-wrenching tears shed on the doctor's table). No mass in the belly. Just a sucky little sicky. Exactly as I suspected, but good to hear it from someone with an actual medical degree.

It's now Monday morning and things appear to be getting better. Still sucky, still tired, but 24 vomit-free hours have passed, and the Hubs is home from Vegas. Right now, I feel like I do after conquering the Grouse Grind: it sucked, but now that it's over, I feel proud of myself for surviving and a more than a little virtuous.

And Hubs? You owe me. Big time!

(What's that, feet? You need a massage? I'm sure the Hubs would be happy to oblige while I watch The Bachelorette or some other ridiculous drivel on TV and eat this giant tub of ice cream. Wouldn't you honey?)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Anecdotal "Evidence"

Turns out, I might actually be good at my job.

You see, like any good speech-language pathologist, since I started my carreer five years ago, I've been telling parents of children with speech and language delays that they should model language and play slightly above their child's current expressive language level. For example, if their child is currently using one word at a time, I encourage them to model additional single-word vocabulary and two-word phrases. This should make it easier for their child to copy and move on to the next level of language learning.

Okay, kinda boring, right? I'm getting to the interesting part. I tell parents to think of themselves as their child, only six months ahead. I don't remember whether I picked up this little tidbit from one of my practicum supervisors, or from one of my teachers during my Master's program, or whether it was just a rule of thumb that I myself invented when I was just starting out and trying to find ways to explain the whole idea of "modeling language at the appropriate level" to parents. In any case, it turns out that this little nugget of wisdom has actually been borne out in my observations of Lilah!

Without fail, every single time we hit the playground, Lilah seeks out a child about six months older than she is and sticks to them like glue. It seems that her brain knows exactly what kind of stimulation it needs and commands her body to seek it out. She is utterly determined to keep up with these kids. Her gross motor skills aren't actually that far off, for the most part, since she's quite steady on her feet, but the differences in language and play skills are striking. It absolutely amazes me that kids as young as Lilah can know exactly where they are headed and who can teach them how to get there. It also feeds my conviction that children should be exposed to playmates of all ages, not just children in their immediate cohort.

Before I became a parent, I always felt slightly uncomfortable about teaching parents how to interact with their children. Yes, I had my fancy degree and my book-learning and the research to back it up, blah, blah, blah, but I worried about my credibility. Turns out, I was giving pretty good advice all along! In truth, I always knew that, but now I have my experiences as a parent to back it up. I knew there was a good reason I wanted kids (you know, apart from that whole "unconditional love" thing)!

I can only hope that my new-found confidence and understanding balance out the absent-mindedness, separation anxiety, sick days, and early departure times that are sure to come with the territory of heading back to work after a year maternity leave. Yeah, I may be a total mess when I return to work, but at least I'll have my street cred!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

11 Random Thoughts

Happy 11-month Birthday to my sweet little girl! To celebrate, here are 11 examples of the randomness my brain produces daily:

1) Sometimes I eat stale Cheerios off the floor. Not because I'm hungry, but because I'm lazy and my mouth is a whole lot closer than the garbage can is.

2) Yesterday Lilah weighed in at 21 lbs, 1 oz. Feels like double that to me.

3) Waking up to cat vomit first thing this morning? Awesome. Love that.

4) Yesterday my sister used the word "unbesmirched" in a blog post. Unbesmirched. That's a great word. I'm going to see how many times I can sneak it into conversations today. Oh yeah, just watch me!

5) These days, whenever I can't find something around the house, the best place to look for it is the bathtub. Why, you ask? Because that's Lilah's favourite new place to stash stuff, regardless of whether or not it's wet from a recent bath or shower. Remind me to keep important documents out of reach.

6) Vancouver's weather has been totally sucking lately. On the plus side, when it's dark and damp outside, Lilah tends to take epic naps. Which gives me more time to think random thoughts and blog about them. Lucky you!

7) Lilah's favourite babbling sequence these days: "kotakotakotagotgotkotkotakotakotakot."

8) Must be a slow day at Aol news (at least I hope that's what's going on). This story was right up there with the oil spill. "He didn't even shower," people!

9) Snotty Nose has returned. I smell molars!

10) Did you know your baby had superpowers? Check this out. (Obviously I'm reaching. All that Nap Time and I can't even come up with 11 decent random thoughts? I bet you feel cheated.)

11) Exactly one month from today, I'm going to be the proud parent of a one-year-old. Watch out, world, here she comes!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

May 2010 Recap

Amber Strocel does a montly recap and has invited others to play along and link up. Here's what I learned in May:

1. I learned that the thud of a 10-month-old's head hitting the coffee table is a sickening sound.

2. I discovered that 10-month-olds recover from their bumps and bruises more quickly than their parents do.

3. I learned that, although Mother's Day is undoubtedly a Hallmark holiday, it is rather nice to have a day to be appreciated for, and reflect on, all we do as mothers. (Presents and cards with little blueberry handprints on them are nice too.)
4. I learned that I am a total Napzi and proud of it!

5. I discovered that there is nothing cuter than a baby spontaneously shaking her booty to whatever music happens to be playing in the background.

6. I realized that I have a lot of cleaning in my future.
7. I learned that a baby can, in fact, sleep for 11 hours with a toothbrush lodged inside her pajamas.

8. I learned that, although the Hubs is the chef at our house, I can put together a decent meal and should flex culinary muscles from time to time. I'm now in charge of a couple meals a week, and I've surpised myself this month, both in the quality of meals I've produced, and in my enjoyment of the process.

9. I learned that saying no to chocolate once in a while will not cause me to spontaneously combust.

10. I realized that I truly lead a charmed, charmed life.


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