Sunday, January 31, 2010

Like a Teenager

I'm at work. I just went on a call for a 73 year old woman with trouble breathing. I went to listen to her upper chest....clear....I went to listen to her lower chest....and voila! I didn't have to move her breast out of the way to reach her lower ribcage. I took another look. No bra! I kept my face neutral, but can anyone say BOOB JOB?!?!?!?! Oh, wow. I would have died laughing if I wasn't indebted to professional empathy! 73 and passing the pencil test--WHADDUUUUUP?

I'm 32 and she put me to shame. To SHAME. Heck, she put my 18 year old COUSIN to shame!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Date

When I was little my dad used to take me on movie dates. I have continued the tradition with my boys, and today I took Ayden to the movies AND a restaurant. He chose to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Squeaqel. I texted Brent AND my friend from the movie theater "I can't believe I agreed to watch an hour and a half of Alvin and the Chipmunks!" Squeak, squeak. Bleaughhhhhwaaaaa....
BUT, to redeem the movie in MY eyes, my favourite dancer OF ALL TIME from So You Think You Can Dance season #3 was dancing in a scene near the end!!!!!!! I was so excited you'd think I had won the lottery! Fortunately Ayden is a SYTYCD fan too, so he understood.
:)
Then we had some food at Boston Pizza. So great!!! In the course of conversation Ayden told me he wants to have 115 kids when he grows up. And that they will own 115 Wiis, because then everyone can have one and no one will fight. He always gets the last word [we have an ongoing conversation as to why we won't buy him a Wii].

Fun date! Next weekend is Matthew's turn. I have a feeling I might wind up at the Squeaquel AGAIN!!!

Childbirth as Marathon

My friend Dana has written an excellent blog post about interventions in childbirth, and uses an extended metaphor to highlight the finer points of how our medical culture handles the birth process. Read it here! It's awesome!!! I was tempted to copy and paste it, but she has some good hyperlinks that would be lost if I did that. So enjoy!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Goin' Lori Style, too

Lori sometimes writes bullet paragraph blog posts, and it is refreshing to write tidbits as just bits, without the tid. Tamie copied her today, and I thought this was so brilliant I decided to copy her copy!

I'm a cooking machine, people. I got the cookbook Deceptively Delicious for Christmas from my sister in law, Billie, and it is awesome!! It is a cookbook for parents who want to hide more vegetables in their recipes so their kids will eat veggies without even knowing it. I have made ground turkey meatloaf (twice) with carrots, celery, and onion 'hidden' in the meat. And I made meatball soup (also calling for ground turkey, but the meat shop was out of ground turkey so I made them with beef) with yams, tomatoes, carrots, and onion hidden in either the meatballs or the broth. It was really good--made with whole wheat bowtie pasta, which the kids love. I also roasted another chicken and made gravy again. Wowee. GOOD FOOD. And I made burritos. And homemade salsa--roma tomatoes, finely chopped red onions, finely chopped jalepeno peppers, fresh cilantro, and fresh squeezed lime juice. That salsa makes me wonder if it is grossly misrepresentational to call what we buy in the store 'salsa.' And homemade guacamole--mashed avacado, chopped tomatoes, mexican chili powder, fresh cilantro, and fresh squeezed lime juice. Gosh, I love food. It is amazing I don't weigh 400 pounds.

Speaking of loving good food, I discovered DARK CHOCOLATE COVERED POMEGRANATE at Costco. $10 of chocolate and pomegranate jelly goodness. Oh my goodness. See aforementioned 400 pounds.

Ayden was washing his hands and telling me about The Tale of Desperaux novel that he just finished. He said, "Do you know what the book is about, mommy?"
"Um, Desperaux?"
"Yeah, but it's also about light and darkness."
I feel kinda dumb right now.

Soother use is down, sleep disturbance is up. I'm happy to report that the pacifier has not been employed since Tuesday night's daddy bedtime. I'm pleasantly surprised at the increase in Riley's requests to breastfeed. He didn't often have a soother before, because we mostly restricted his access. But without any access at all, his desire for milk and his desire to suck have merged. Overall, he is probably breastfeeding 25% more often, and way more in public. It was never me who was reticent to breastfeed in public. It was him.
Nighttime involves a lot more empty boob use than ever before. I can sleep while he's nursing, but not on an empty boob. So I sleep less. Maybe that will change.

The dog is over his diarrhea. His farts, however, still smell like rotten fish guts on hot pavement.

National Geographic this month has an interesting article on polygamy. If you have a chance, you should read it--I'm sure you could online if you can't get a tangible copy? There were some interesting things noted, including the fact that attempts to provide a way out, refuge, or shelters to women in polygamous communities are largely unsuccessful. In general, women don't want to leave.
I'm sure there are many instances of abuse where women feel that they cannot leave, but it was mentioned in several places in the article that Fundamentalist LDS women who are experiencing abuse at the hands of their husbands can be reassigned to a non abusive husband if she desires. So in some instances there is an in-community solution for abuse.
I actually believe polygamy should be legal. Amongst consenting adults, I see this as a freedom of religion issue. Or lack thereof. Adults should be able to choose, even if we don't agree with their choices.
In my opinion.

UBCs School of Midwifery is reviewing applications now. Pray.

Ikea is awesome. And evil. Today we visited, and got a new duvet cover for just $25!! And a toy box for $125. And a new dog bed for $12. And.....the thing with cheap is that you wind up spending more than you bargained for, because things are so cheap! And we need things!! Especially things that help us organize our mess, like a toy box. A new duvet cover will help our home look nice when we put it on the market to sell. Very soon.

Speaking of organization, I've begun a thorough sweep of my house. Specifically, the playroom, which is also our guest room with bunk beds. I am sorting thus: keep, toss, give away to charity. [Anyone recognize the TLC show Clean Sweep? Not all TV is evil] So far: five smallish baskets of keep toys like lego, Mr Potato Head, and Lincoln Logs, a quarter bag of give away to charity toys, and TWO HUGE BLACK GARBAGE BAGS of toss toys. Broken toys, McDonald's toys, incomplete puzzles, empty buckets, scraps of paper, rocks, and some bug bits. I'm only halfway through the room! And then there is their bedroom, and our bedroom, and the living room, and the kitchen, and under the sinks in both upstairs bathrooms.
I need my cousin Sara here to help. She loves to organize. She actually thinks about the state of her closets WHEN THE DOORS ARE CLOSED. Who does that? I love that closets exist so that I can ignore their disarray when I close the door! Brent makes fun of how I can spazz over the counter or the table, but think nothing of tossing egg beaters in a corner cupboard and slamming the door shut before they fall out.
:)

p.s. I changed my blog template. Do you like it?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

QTD

Inside me lives a skinny woman crying to get out But I can usually shut her up with cookies.

-unknown

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The thing about school

Several things I've noted about how school has affected my children. Most notably Ayden, because he's first in line and because he is so transparent. First of all, I noticed how at the beginning of kindergarten Ayden was wide open with his emotional expressions. WIDE open. By the end of kindergarten he had somehow gotten the message that boys don't cry, and he holds it in more. He will still cry at home, but if we are anywhere in public and he falls and hurts himself, he will not cry.
I feel bad about him having to learn to stuff his emotions just to get on in the world. It really is sad. But on the other hand, he had to learn it somehow. Otherwise he'll get picked on, you know? A weepy boy could have a really tough time in high school! Or on a soccer team or the swim team or what have you.
Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, with tears.

Another thing is really more how school affects me. I miss Ayden. A lot. He is gone from 8:40 until 2:30 every day, five days a week, and I MISS HIM. Once we get home he usually needs some time to decompress, and then it's time for me to make supper, and then feed them, and then get them ready for bed. I miss having Ayden around more. He seems okay with being at school all day, and I'm careful to make sure we connect every day so he doesn't feel emotional distance between us, but it hurts ME to have him go. And if he goes to a friend's house after school, forget it!! I don't see him at all!!
I guess parenting is a slow process towards total autonomy, so every step along the way where he is more independent, I'm going to feel it. But it IS the goal. It sure hurts.

A third thing is the friend thing. I really like all of Ayden's friends, but not all of them have the best HOMES. I don't mean families. They all have nice parents and siblings and stuff. But sometimes other kids have every electronic distraction known to man, so if Ayden goes to their house to play, it is a continuous stream of Wii, Nintendo, computer games, and TreeHouse. We don't have any game system, the kids spend about one hour per year on the computer, and we have strict limits regarding TV time. Ayden comes home from these kids' houses supremely overstimulated and under exercised. Not that we exercise him at home, but his play is very physical and involves lots of gross motor movement! He's usually quite cranky after a couple of hours of Wii and TV.
Another thing is some kids play with violent or sophisticated war toys or games, and our kids are not exposed to that type of play at home.
Another thing is that the mom of one of Ayden's friends is supremely lax about car seat safety. She once drove with Ayden in a regular seat belt because she had no booster seat for him. So. Not. Cool. And she smokes in the house. She's a good mom and her kids are VERY nice kids. But it makes me nervous, you know what I mean? I try and invite this kid to our house so that we can minimize the damage, but this child wants more playdates than I'm used to; several times a week Ayden is invited to his house. I can't keep up. Plus, Ayden protests inviting this child to our house because we don't have cool toys or Wii. Not that Ayden's protests should drive our choices in any shape or form, but when Ayden protests, he PROTESTS, and it is a long protracted negotiation with much yelling and screaming and irrational logic and convoluted negotiating. I can hold my own, but it is exhausting and I like to avoid it when I can. Admonishments that playdates will not occur if protestations occur are ineffective. Ayden can scream and cry and say he hates me (not in so many words) for over half an hour, particularly after he has kept his emotions (and his pee) pent up all day long at school.

So tough.

Matthew hasn't run into these problems yet. He still cries like he's dying if he gets hurt, public or not. But there is always a kid at school who picks on him. A different kid all the time, but always somebody. I think he is SUPER sensitive. He will dwell on comments and interactions that other kids would forget about, and has a hard time if he feels like someone is not accepting him. He also often says that kids who are new to his class tease him, and I wonder if he just has a hard time with change in some contexts? Like, the new kid doesn't pick on you EVERY TIME. And sometimes people just don't want to play, or they are trying to be funny, or they are simply not paying attention to what you are saying. It's not always teasing, or reason to get all convoluted and squirrely.
It's tough on my heart that he is so sensitive. I just want to build a concrete fortress around his heart and keep everybody else OUT.
That looks real good when you are a teenage boy. Your mom running around protecting your feelings all the time :P

So, school. Some good, some bad. One way to learn to engage with the world, I guess!

I'm also putting Ayden and Matthew on the wait list for the daycare in their school, in case I get into midwifery school this fall. I won't need daycare next year, but the year after I will. I also need to hunt around for a daycare for Riley, because the one at school is not licensed for kids under 5. Fortunately we won't need them to be in daycare full time, just the days Brent works AND I go to school at the same time. We would need daycare less than 50% of the time.
Why am I doing this again? :(((( I already miss my kiddos! Add school....
But subtract work, because I will quit my job with BC Ambulance when I start school.
Life is tough sometimes!

Oh, and the pacifier is almost gone. We have been through three nights of no soother, three days of no soother, and one evening when I was at school where Brent DID have to bust out the soother for a half hour at bedtime. Half an hour in three days is great! We're almost there!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bye Bye Paci

In our part of Canada we call pacifiers soothers. I've been doing a bit of reading (har har) on breastfeeding and I learned some stuff that I didn't know about sou sous and boobs. I knew that they could interfere with early establishment of breastfeeding and milk supply and correct latch, and that they are associated with a higher incidence of breast biting.
But we use them. I introduce pacis to help cope with my overly abundant milk supply and very forceful letdown in the early months. It is very difficult to meeting a newborn's emotional sucking needs when your boobs shoot milk out like a hose--haven't we all as kids stuck our whole mouths over the end of the hose and had the water shoot out our noses from the force of it?! [maybe that was just me?] Even as newborns, my babies finish feeding within 5 to 10 minutes, and aren't hungry again for awhile. And they CHUB OUT FAST, so I know they aren't going hungry! Anyways, most newborns have an inherent sucking need that requires more than 10 out of every 120 minutes' worth of sucking, so I use a soother to fill in the gaps.
And then, it comes in handy in the car and when I work night shifts, so it sticks around.
But two things;
I read that pacifier use has been definitively linked with early weaning, which is something I want to avoid at this point.
AND, pacifier use has been linked with higher incidence of breast yeast infections. Since I'm currently battling my FOURTH painful yeast infection in a year, I am open to any and all suggestions regarding AVOIDING future infections.

Since my breastfeeding needs have changed, I think we've outgrown the sou sou. So we are slowly phasing it out. He never asks for it if he doesn't SEE it, and he frequently sleeps without it, so I think it will be a pretty painless goodbye. The worst part will be when I work nights and Brent has to deal with him alone. Ri generally refuses milk, water, cuddles, etc, and needs to be walked around the house to prove I'm not home, if he wakes up at night while I'm working. He settles again in 10 to 20 minutes [I think], and doesn't wake too often so hopefully it will be okay.
There was one night recently where B got less than an hour of sleep, because Ri was up crying every 10 minutes. I can't see that happening very often, and it shouldn't take long for Ri to find another self soothing method.
Here's hoping.

3/4 of a pound of butter

So Saturday evening I made popcorn. I left on the counter 3/4 of a package of butter, and sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, the dog ate it. And then had expLOSIVE diarrhea all over the carpeted landing on our stairs, which will never recover. Since then, he has liquid pooped all over our backyard, and he has NOT STOPPED FARTING, OMG IT IS DISGUSTING!!!

Who eats 3/4 of a pound of BUTTER?!

Blech.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Little Men

Today was hilarious! First, it was moustache day at school today, so Ayden spent 10 minutes this morning screaming at me and crying because his moustache was 'all wrong,' though he couldn't describe to me how on earth to fix it, and Matthew requested a moustache at that point, and then RILEY needed a moustache--my black crayola felt pen got some mileage today I tell ya. I don't have any pictures, I'm sorry!! It was super cute.
Even the school secretary had a moustache drawn on her upper lip. [which we discovered when we were late dropping Ayden off, a direct result of the 10 minute tantrum over said moustache].

It was gorgeous and sunny, so after boot camp I took Riley for a jog in the stroller. Yes, I did boot camp AND went for a run in the same day. Now I feel like I just survived 72 hours of warfare or something. Ouch. I'm getting old.

I laughed so many times today, because every time someone got mad or threw a fit, it was so FUNNY because of the black marker on their top lips!! Riley especially. He gets so mad, and his face screws all up and turns purplish red, and here he is with this silly black moustache on!


Thanks for all the support, friends. It makes a huge difference knowing you're cheering me on, and offering to help me out!! Thank you, thank you. You ROCK.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Longest Day of the Year

No, the longest day of the year is not summer solstice. It was today. I've been seriously funked for about a week, as I mentioned in my next to last post. Though the walk/bike riding/wrestling lifted me out of my funk, I was squarely back in deep funk when I woke up this morning. In fact, this morning was bad enough to remind me of last year. Ick. I phoned my go-to-in-emergency friend, but she's in Anchorage for a marine biology conference so she didn't answer. Then I couldn't think of anyone else to call, though after I unfunked I thought of a long list. I was thinking local, but tons of you are long distance and good at unfunking me. Silly me.
Anyways, I dragged myself and three kids out of bed to get Ayden off to school this morning, and it was one of those mornings where you JUST can't move fast enough, you know? The clock seems set on double time, and your feet on half time. So gross. We squeaked in the door of Ayden's classroom three minutes late, Riley with an incredibly stinky poopy diaper, and Matthew with food on his face. Yes, I'm THAT MOM.
I then went home and crawled into Ayden's bed, because Brent was trying to sleep in to shore up for his night shift. Riley played on the floor and Matthew was banging around downstairs, no doubt pestering the dog or other forbidden fruit. I didn't have enough energy to do anything to get my mood in a more manageable place, so I just lay there and cried. Suuuuucks.
Anyways, I was dragging myself along, getting up to do laundry and then returning to bed, getting up to shower and then returning to bed, etc, thinking, 'If I can just make it to 11:00, Brent will wake up and I can get out of the house.' I wanted to go to the tanning salon, because five minutes in the stand up bed can go a long way in improving how I feel, but of course I can't bring my kids so I had to wait for Brent to wake up. So at 11:00 I went in there and he tells me he is SICK AS A DOG. I cried. I really did. I felt like I had performed this superhuman feat to get to eleven, and now I have to keep slogging!? But I didn't let Brent see me cry. Like he needs me whining and sobbing when he's puking and pooping and shaking with fever.
It turned out okay, but it was a very. Very. VERY. Long. Day.
When Riley was napping I drove very quickly to the tanning salon and the drug store and the meat shop, and very quickly home (less than 20 minutes total!) because I knew B could do what it takes if there was a fire or something, but it would be very unfair to expect him to parent Riley if he woke up! He was that sick. Anyways, Riley slept for over two hours so everything was fine there, but I had to walk to school for the bigger boys with the most hyperactive dog imaginable (who had ripped the door of his crate wide open earlier in the day so thus I have no way to discipline or corral him--today, of all days), walk home with Ayden screaming and crying the WHOLE WAY for random infractions on my part (basically he needs to cry and hate someone after school most days, lucky me), including saying "Oh" instead of "Okay" in response to a statement of his regarding a playdate. Wow, this job is so rewarding.
Then when we got home it was one hassle after another, I found a pile of clean laundry that had been pissed on by the cat, my bedroom smelled like diarrhea farts, and the baby had a hidden poop that turned his bum as red as a beet. He cried from 4 pm until he went to bed at 8 pm. Nonstop.
I made dinner, served dinner, cleaned up after dinner, and put the kids to bed. The dog licked my foot all through dinner. I hate it when the dog licks me. HATE. IT. I want to cut off his tongue.

Now, a day like this is awful to live through. But my mood picked up enough that I was no longer in serious funk mode after I went tanning, so it was not absolute, Chinese torture. Just your regular run of the mill torture. :P
I was impressed with myself today. I did not yell at anyone. I did not put anyone in a time out. I did not swear. I did not stomp around. I just put one foot in front of the other, and kept going. It was a long day, but I got through with three kids intact. My hubby is still super sick (he called in sick for work), I've never once seen him this sick in 9 years. I feel bad I haven't been able to fix that. But I made it through. And even did some laundry and the kitchen is clean. Riley sobbed when I put him to bed because he wanted to fall asleep in my bed, but there is a sick man in my bed (SO not the context I wanted to post that sentence in!) so he had to settle for his crib. I lay on the floor beside his crib and sang to him, but he still cried.

Oh, and I discovered these oatmeal baths for eczema made by Aveeno and they work AWESOME for Riley's skin. My tub has an oatmeal ring on it, but my kid is smooth and comfy!
That kid needs to start talking. If I have to go through another HOUR of 'Gnh! Gnh!' and vague pointing, I'm going to shoot myself!!! Though he's getting much better at using the sign language for something if he knows it.

Here's praying for a better day tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

p.s. and pink eye

Oh yes, and Riley has pink eye. Gross!

He also fell off Ayden's skateboard this afternoon and landed on his mouth, which bled everywhere. Then at bedtime he was in the bathtub and fell forwards, reopening the gash in his lip, totally finishing him off. He was sobbing and snotting and bleeding all over my clothes...poor baby! Fortunately, my boob served two purposes at once--comfort, and direct pressure on his bleeding lip! He had both lips all fat and swollen. Poor Bu.

Learning!!!

I had my second breastfeeding counselling class yesterday evening [the name of the course recently changed, but Breastfeeding Course for Health Care Providers is such a mouthful compared to breastfeeding counselling, don't you think?]. I love this class! Have I mentioned that??
Yesterday I learned a ton. The first class I learned some stuff, but much of the material I already knew just by nature of being a lactation consultant's daughter. But yesterday there was a ton of new material. Here's a sample;
-Anatomy of the breast--I knew I had a very vague idea of what goes on inside, but I learned exactly how wrong I was about most of it yesterday!!! I won't bore you with details of breast anatomy, but I wanted to mention I learned a lot!
-Breastfeeding promotion involves three major facets: promotion, support, and protection. Michael Woolridge quote: "Promotion without support and protection is a disservice to mothers" and I think he's hit the nail on the head. Promotion without support and protection = guilt ridden moms and low rates of breastfeeding.
-Support=home visits, for as often and as long as is needed from educated and experienced individuals [very pertinent in BC right now, as public health home visits have almost disappeared this fall; to redirect resources towards H1N1 education/vaccination campaigns public health nurses were doing PHONE SUPPORT ONLY unless women directly requested a home visit, and even then she was often asked to go to the health unit as opposed to being visited at home. Breastfeeding rates plummet JUST as a major virus is on the rampage, and all the inherent immunological benefits are lost...not to mention, post partum issues in women are often picked up by public health nurses during home visits, which is risky for the health and even the lives of new moms]
-World Health Organization recommendations regarding breastfeeding are often disregarded as 'more for developing countries, as opposed to Canada,' whereas Health Canada, Family Physicians of Canada, Breastfeeding committee of Canada, etc, recommendations are the same as the WHO, and closer to home
-Post Modern culture places authority for decision making with the individual, rather than science, religion, or other authority. Empowering women in our PM culture involves information delivery that is accurate but respectful of each woman's right to choose to feed her baby as she sees fit. Enlightenment age=authority of science. PM age=authority of the individual. The difference between presenting information as authoritative or empowering is in the DELIVERY--how we present information means the difference between being authoritative or empowering.
-Breastmilk protects by:
lining the gut to avoid penetration by bacteria/viruses
killing pathogenic bugs
stimulating the gut to mature quicker (including reducing inflammation)

-Breastmilk is considered a living tissue [blood is considered a tissue also, which is interesting because tissues are generally considered solid entities]
-Vitamin D supplementation of mother is a valid method of supplementing babies but the exact dose is unknown--studies show anywhere from 4,000 IU to 17,000 IU per day. Bloodwork of mom and baby are needed to determine needs
[Canadians supplement with Vitamin D because we live so far from the equator]
-Effect of one bottle of formula on a baby's gut shifts bacterial profile and pH for 2 to 4 weeks afterwards (breastmilk=lower pH, less hospitable to bacteria: formula=higher pH, more hospitable to bacteria. Hence, stinky formula poops, and higher rates of intestinal infections). Also the immature gut cells are loosly connected, allowing larger proteins of cow's milk to enter bloodstream, increasing rates of allergies to milk.
One bottle of formula increases the risk of diabetes in that child later in life.

-Breastmilk has appropriate protein content for human kidneys, cow's milk protein content is high and stresses kidneys
-IgA production (immune system component) by baby doesn't start until 6-8 weeks of age, and doesn't mature completely until age 2. The only source of IgA in those first 6-8 weeks is breastmilk, it cannot be replicated and added to formula

-human milk protein is biologically specific, so a human baby cannot be allergic to human milk proteins. It may, however, be allergic to other proteins the mom consumes

-And this was a big AHA for me:
The breast shape changes that occur are a result of pregnancy, not breastfeeding--the hormone relaxin that relaxes the body's ligaments to allow the pelvis to move during labour so the baby can fit through also relaxes the breast ligaments, changing the shape of the breast. [!!]
Cool. A mature breast is a post lactogenesis one. Take that, teenage boobies.

Progesterone inhibits milk production, which is a hormone produced by the placenta and explains why some women's milk dries up or significantly reduces during pregnancy. Once the placenta is delivered, milk is produced.
[also might explain why I see fluctuations in supply during my cycles--I don't get the priviledge of lactational amenorrhea for some reason :) ]


Sorry if this post was too technical for some of you--I had several requests to share what I'm learning, so hopefully this was okay!!

The more I learn, the more I think making milk is a superpower. We should have Lactation Girl in pink tights or something, doncha think?

AND a note to Lori--boobie cupcakes would be SO MUCH EASIER than breastfeeding symbol cupcakes, I am SO going to take you up on that idea!!

Still haven't decided which topic to choose for my group project!!! Leaning towards the abuse topic, because I'm afraid if I don't tackle it while I'm in school, I never will--and it is an intriguing and important topic!! My group doesn't care what we pick, so it seems it's up to me?



In other news, I have been struggling with my mood for about a week. Today I was grouching around in a funk until we walked home from school in the semi watery sunshine, and I watched the boys while they rode their bikes for half an hour, and then we wrestled.
That was enough to make me feel better :)))
Ayden stuck his foot in my face while we were wrestling and I told him his foot smelled like moldy broccoli. We laughed for about five minutes.
Ah, kids. Can't live without 'em.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Breastfeeding Course for Health Care Providers

My perinatal schooling has begun! I am enrolled in Dougals College's Breastfeeding Course for Health Care Providers, Tuesday evenings from 7 to 10 pm!! My first class was last Tuesday. I LOVE IT!!! I love the reading, the homework, the vast swathes of information, the project, the idea of clinicals, EVERYTHING! I'm a little, tiny bit excited. You may have noticed.

Hooray for milk!!!



p.s. for our group project presentation, I'm going to make cupcakes and decorate them with this symbol above, which is the international breastfeeding symbol. Anything to make people pay attention!!!!

I'm trying to choose between these two ideas for my project:
(1) The effects of sexual abuse and trauma on the breastfeeding relationship
[many women who have survived abuse find breastfeeding difficult]
(2) The benefits of extended breastfeeding for mothers and toddlers
[obviously a topic I'm interested in!]

I am more interested in option #1, and believe it to be a multifaceted situation with many variables and much potential for healing affects OR retraumatization, if mishandled. But it is BIG, I'm not sure how much research is out there on this topic, and it is sobering. Presenting this topic in class could be a pretty heavy undertaking. But the topic REALLY captures my attention. Isn't it awful that sexual abuse and trauma can continue to traumatize for a woman's entire life? It makes me angry that perpetrators of this type of violence can steal away a woman's ability to initiate or sustain a breastfeeding relationship in some cases, and take away an infant's human right to breastmilk.
For some women birth and breastfeeding can be a healing way to take back ownership of their bodies and selves after surviving abuse. I would love to discover how to make that experience a more frequent one.

Pondering....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Further to Man Nurse's post...

Some good discussion surrounding cosleeping habits was generated, and I wanted to share some of it here. Some questions have risen particularly regarding marriage relationships, intimacy, and independant sleeping for older children.


Dana had some good points here:
I think what the cosleeping contingent is saying is: do not assume that own-room-crib-sleeping is the only, best and safest way for a baby to sleep. In-room and in-bed sleeping arrangements are great and safe too. And can have some particular benefits.

Each family should find its own solution. But, taking into consideration that co-sleeping is a valid arrangement. Because many families just don't know or believe that.

As far as the marriage goes, it's important to have some perspective on disruptions to what we consider ideal. It's a relatively short period of time; each phase passes, it really does. Sometimes we need to make changes (for instance, when Micah started waking up when we went to bed, we moved him to his own room) and sometimes we have to adjust our attitude and ride it out.

Also, I would contend that having a sleep deprived Mom- one who's getting up and walking over to the nursery to feed baby several times a night- places just as much strain on a marriage as having a (contented) baby in the bed. :)




I would like to add that a marriage that has problems that lead to its disintegration is generally a relationship with multifaceted problems. Children in their parents' bed might be a symptom of a larger distance or misprioritization, but they are not the problem itself. Infants sleeping in the same room as their parents is a proximity that is protective. But cobedding and cosleeping or cobedding with older babies or children needs to be something that responds to the needs of the family as a whole. If it doesn't work for either parent or is not working on some level--for example, interfering with intimacy, it needs to be reevaluated and possibly changed. If it is continuing to work for everyone involved, it should be recognized as within a safe and healthy realm of parenting styles and decisions. A marriage relationship that has flexibility and open, respectful communication will not be endangered by cosleeping or cobedding.


I wrote in an email to a friend about this topic that;

And as for the cosleeping thing, I have never said it is something EVERYONE needs to do, but it is something I wish was more widely accepted as within the safe and normal parameters of parenting. Sometimes cosleeping requires some creativity as far as sex goes; relocations to guest room/closet/bathroom/etc are a solution. Moving baby once he's asleep is a solution. I've always put my older babies to sleep in their own beds, and then cosleep after the first night feed. Some parents do it differently. It doesn't bother me to have sex with a baby in the room as long as they are SLEEPING--as soon as they start waking up to the noise/activity, they move to their own bedroom. This system works well for us because we don't have sex in the middle of the night, so starting in their own bed and cosleeping after the first wakeup doesn't interfere with sex. We've always managed to be very close and intimate despite having kids and cosleeping.
A few of my friends have said they couldn't actually sleep with a kid in their bed with them, so obviously it's not the best plan for THEM. But I'd really appreciate more people being open to it being a good plan for OTHERS. And sharing a room is considered cosleeping. Cobedding is different. We do a mixture of both, but having baby in your room in a bassinette or crib or other infant bed is considered cosleeping and has protective effects as far as SIDS.
Sure, it's nice when they move out and you have your room back for sleeping and reading and etc. But it's nice to roll over in bed and hardly wake up if they need a night feed, too. So it's six of one and half dozen of the other. Starting in their own beds and cosleeping after the first night feed solves this for me, also! I get the best of both worlds.


Here's my honest opinion on this:
for the first few months I believe babies should sleep in the same room as their parents. This facilitates optimal infant feeding and protects baby against sleep dangers like SIDS, strangulation, and getting caught in the crib rails, and ensures bonding and consolidation of syncronized rhythms. After the baby is a few months old I think it is equally good to choose either cosleeping or separate sleeping, based on what works for your family. The greatest vulnerability to SIDS is from 2 months to 4 months, so this would probably be a good time frame to cosleep (also the first month!), but some babies are strong and healthy, or restless sleepers, so do better in their own room at 3 or 4 months, the age would be variable. But those early weeks are pretty important for having mom in close proximity. Stress hormones are high in a neonate who is separated from its mom, even if it is sleeping, and this is a biological protective mechanism. Babies in proximity to moms have increased chances for survival in nature, so it makes sense that we have retained that function/characteristic.
After that, what works for families is variable. And whether baby is in the parent's actual bed or not, is variable also.



Cobedding isn't for everyone, but it works well for many!


As soon as I finished this post I saw that Dana had written a post that was a spinoff of this discussion, which I think is excellent, and firmly within my experience as a wife and mom. She discusses how children can help a marriage consolidate and bond, rather than inherently stress. Read it here!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Plagiarized from Man Nurse Diaries

Man Nurse had a good cosleeping post today that I had to share, as I agree with so much of what he says. I'd like to add that cosleeping means sharing the same room: cobedding means sharing the same bed, though cosleeping is often used to describe only cobedding. Both can be protective. You can read his post, its comments, and his blog here.


Co-Sleeping: Does It Really Need To Be Explained?
It is recommended that your baby shares a room with you for at least the first 6 months, as this helps with breastfeeding and protects babies against cot death.
(From the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative and the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths)

It amazes me that people have concerns about co-sleeping. People seem to really think that they'll roll over in their sleep and crush or smother their baby. Do you roll off the bed onto the floor at night? Do you roll onto your spouse (I mean, in your sleep, not in an effort to start something)? You have proprioception, or spatial awareness, even in your sleep. That's why you don't fall off the bed every night. I mean, if you fall off the bed every night, don't co-sleep. So it doesn't take long to become accustomed to a baby in your bed. My wife and I have co-slept with four kids (including two babies at once) and have never had the slightest problem.*

I've read a few articles about 'co-sleeping deaths', but they all seem to revolve around a few themes: alcohol; parents who don't normally co-sleep falling asleep on the couch with a baby; infants being left alone in adult beds; and obesity. None of these apply to the average co-sleeper. The fact is that if a non-co-sleeping parent gets drunk and falls asleep on the couch with their baby and the baby dies, this is reported as a co-sleeping death. That's not co-sleeping! There are hundreds of not-newsworthy SIDS cases where a baby died the "safety" of an unwatched crib. I can't help feeling that some of those deaths could have been avoided by safer sleeping practices; practices which exist in most of the world outside the United States.

The sad thing to see is the stress some parents go through when they insist on crib-sleeping their infant. I've seen parents intensely frustrated (at their baby!!) because their infant won't sleep unless, say, they have a hand on its back, and they have to sit up half the night next to the crib. If the baby obviously wants is proximity to the parent, and the parent wants sleep, these can both be accomplished IN A NORMAL BED! Co-sleeping is so easy compared to crib-sleeping. I don't understand the rationale of locating your child away from you, so that they're fully conscious and screaming before you get to them. A fussy co-sleeping child can be nursed or held or rocked back to sleep while they're still half-asleep.

What I really don't understand about co-sleeping is the fact that we talk about it at all. Why is there even a term for it? Doesn't it just...happen? You lay down to nurse your infant and they go to sleep. Going through the ordeal of buying a crib and organizing an entire separate room of the house around it and then trying to wean your child into sleeping alone after they've been living inside you for nine months...that's an epic process that deserves a term.

* Except being nudged, pushed, or kicked by a little six month old who somehow manages to own half of a queen sized bed to itself...

17 Months

Riley is 17 months old today. He's beautiful. And lively. And I love him to bits.



How's THAT for a photo? While at my mom's place I found this dress in the spare room closet--my mom bought it when she found out I was pregnant with Riley, because she was hoping for a girl. He makes a good looking girl, doesn't he?? It's the eyelashes. They're ladykillers.


Riley can now:
walk backwards
jump
climb the bookshelves
nurse even with distractions (that took awhile!!)
climb in and out of his high chair
blow his nose
yank on his penis like it has go-go-gadget extension capacity
open and close small doors and windows on toys, turn buttons on and off, and twist the tops off medicine bottles
put on chapstick (this makes us HOWL with laughter, because he basically puts the tube in his mouth and french kisses it)
sit on the potty, put toilet paper in the potty, flush the potty, but not actually PEE in the potty
engage in interactive play with his brothers
say ma, da, nod his head, shake his head, say uh-oh and woah, truck, go, and 'gnh' which is his sound for 'I want something.' If he can't communicate 'gnh' by pointing, he will take your hand and lead you to it and patiently and persistently repeat 'gnh' until you figure it out. He is so polite about it, it is hard to say no or walk away from. When he wants something particularly he will sign 'more' and say 'gnh.' When he wants to nurse he points at my chest with one finger and says 'gnh' and when he wants to switch sides he points at my other breast and says 'gnh.' It's quite funny how versatile one sound can be!

He is also developing quite the sense of humor. He likes to play tricks on us. He likes to drink sips of water and spit them violently on the floor/bed/carpet/dog/himself and laugh hysterically and then do it again. He likes to play chase. His laugh is so full of joy it is really difficult to resist joining in, even when he's breaking the rules.

He is easygoing about most things, but particular about a select few things. It is difficult to distract him when he's got his mind caught on one of the select few.


Likes:
brothers
MOMMA
daddy
dogs
touch and feel story books
any toy with a shape the size and/or shape of a nipple on it
ride on toys
trucks
garbage trucks
recycling trucks
semi trucks
delivery trucks
fire trucks....
ambulances
bicycles
shoes/boots/slippers/socks--he has a foot fetish
food
snow
flowers
tickles
wrestling
blowing raspberries
splashing water
brushing his teeth
pop goes the weasel
jingle bells in Orf music class--he VIBRATES when she brings the basket out!! He's basically uninterested in the class until it is jingle bell time and then he's the teacher's shadow



Hates:
his hands being dirty. He will 'gnh, gnh' all distressed and hold out his hand and there will be the TINIEST BIT of yogurt or spaghetti sauce on his knuckle or the palm of his hand. Somebody tell him he's a BOY. He's supposed to LIKE being dirty!
separation from mom or brothers (he is more accustomed to separation from daddy, I think, because daddy works full time)
being left behind when we drop Matthew off at kindergarten. He really wants to go to kindergarten!
diaper changes
being mimicked--it makes him scream
ice cream--to cold
his face being washed


He is a cheerful and easygoing guy, with tons of personality and enthusiasm for life. He is shy though, so when people talk to him he pops out the dimples and turns his head and peeks at them from under his ridiculous eyelashes. That's popular. When people touch him he yanks his arms or legs away, and when they pick him up, he screams. He is quite uncomfortable being touched by people outside his immediate family, except grandparents. He hates the church nursery with a passion. He LOVES trucks and machines and sirens and beeps and noises and birds and dogs, and it is very fun to rediscover the world through his eyes and enthusiasm. Wow! The backup beeper of a garbage truck hasn't seemed this full of wonder and astonishment since Matthew was tiny! Lucky me, I get to rediscover the world three times! :)

He also understands a huge majority of what we say to him. It's neat to see him carry out requests of him that make you realize that he understands who and what surround him, and verbs like 'give' and 'pat' and 'put down' and 'lie down' and 'go!' This age is magical. It always makes me want another baby.

Love you, Bu! You are a great source of joy. Keep exploring the world with enthusiasm and laughter!!

xoxoxox

Light baby?

Remember how when Riley was born he was 10 POUNDS and 2 OUNCES? He was huge. And then he gained like wild. At 2 weeks he was 11 lbs, 14 ounces. Then at 8 weeks he was 14 lbs, 11 ounces. Ridiculous. Anyways, he slowed down on the weight gain once he got mobile, and just hit 20 lbs at a year. He has been hovering around 23 lbs for a few months, but about two weeks ago he got sick. He puked, which I described for you. Then he developed a fever and nasty cough, which lasted about 6 days. He didn't eat that week, pretty much from when he threw up until when his fever broke. He just nursed. And nursed and nursed and nursed! I stuck him on the scale because after a week of illness he looks so scrawny! And he lost THREE POUNDS! Breastmilk is great, but at a year and a half (almost!) apparently it's not enough to keep your weight up!
I'm so, so glad he IS still nursing, because breastmilk is so easily digested that even a puking baby can often keep it down. He would have lost more if he didn't have that to fall back on. Brent asked me, "Does breastmilk have electrolytes in it to keep him hydrated when he's so sick?" Of course it does. Breastmilk is perfect in every way, doncha know???
Anyways, he weighs less now than he did five months ago, and he looks so skinny. He has regained his appetite now, and he's making up for lost time, so hopefully he will gain back what he lost pretty quickly. The lack of baby fat in his face is really making him look OLD!

2 MINUTES!!!!

I currently have 2 MINUTES TO MYSELF!!! It won't last!!! I better take advantage of it!!!
Holy jeepers, I just snuck downstairs to get away from shadows #1 and #2 (like thing one and thing two, from Dr Seuss, except a lot more annoying). Riley currently has separation anxiety if I go into the next room, and Matthew is so social that when Ayden is not here he just follows one of us around from room to room, even the bathroom and the garage, until you just want to scream or scratch your own face or move to Florida or something.
I've escaped! Not for long, I'm sure. Someone will realize I'm not with them and sniff me out soon.

I worked last Sunday and had a story to tell you, but didn't want to upstage my Matthew's Birth Story post, so I waited. It's not a guts and blood story, don't worry. It's a I can't believe I work for a company so asinine story. We were busy all night, so I got NO sleep (for those of you who work night shifts where sleep is impossible are snorting coffee from their nostrils right now, but if you are expecting SOME sleep and get none it really sucks. Especially because I don't sleep before or after a night shift, generally). Then at 5:10 a.m., a mere fifty minutes before the end of our shift, we were paged to do a four hour transfer to Royal Columbian. See, someone at Royal Columbian has decided they are tired of ambulances arriving late with patients due for procedures. So they started booking transfers for arrival before that section of the hospital even OPENS; like, arrival time is 5 or 6 a.m. for an 11 o'clock procedure. Is this fair? I'm sure it is frustrating for RCH staff to deal with a chronically late ambulance service, but the problems here are (a) we get early morning transfers about an hour before shift change. Transfers to RCH take about 4 hours at that time in the morning, which means 3 extra hours at the end of a shift. Does anyone here like 12 hour shifts? Show of hands? Okay, how about 15 hour shifts?!? No takers? The other main issue here is (b) patient care. Who likes to be sick and get out of bed and go on an ambulance ride to a different hospital? Okay, how about being sick and getting out of bed and going on an ambulance ride at 5 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING? Or 4:30??
This is bad for everyone except RCH.

So, we get paged at 5:10 for this STUPID transfer to RCH for a 6 o'clock appointment in a department I KNOW doesn't open until 7. At this point we've been paged late anyways, and would get there around 7:20 or 7:30 with morning traffic and the time it takes to load, but I'm pissed because the 6 o'clock appointment thing is bogus and everyone knows it. But see, I can't do extra hours on this particular shift, because Brent is working that morning. I have to get off on time. So I phoned dispatch and told them I couldn't do the transfer, and explained why. "ARE YOU REFUSING TO TAKE THIS TRANSFER??" Says the voice on the other end of the line. "Yes, I can't do it. My husband has to work a dayshift today, and we have kids. I have to get off on time." "SO AM I TO UNDERSTAND YOU ARE REFUSING TO TAKE THIS TRANSFER BECAUSE OF CHILD CARE ISSUES?" "Yes." "YOU'LL BE HEARING FROM US AGAIN." Click.
Awesome. And the other ambulance crew that was on was MAD, because the transfer would then be passed off to them. Which it was. And they agreed to do it, if the service would put them up in a hotel in Coquitlam for the day because they would be too tired to drive back (it happens. But it costs the service a ton so they don't do it if they can avoid it). And my coworker yelled at me, "If you can't work to the end of your shift you shouldn't be working. If you can't fulfill the requirements of your job, your peers have to pick up the slack!" Which is partially true, but in this case I didn't plan to be lazy or anything. I had legitimate childcare issues.
I felt awful that the transfer had been doled out to my coworkers, because they had worked all night also, and certainly didn't want to work an extra three hours. Although as full timers, they would be paid double time, whereas my partner and I would only make straight time. So there's that.
Anyways, Agassiz's night shift wound up taking the trasfer. And I went home.
And that night I went back for an educational seminar and my Unit Chief pulled me into his office to talk about it. He's awesome, I really like and respect him and he was very nice about it. He said, "I put out fires all over the place for you today!" And listened to my side of the story empathetically. He suggested next time that I need to get off on time, to arrange for early shift relief or let dispatch know at the beginning of the shift. That was an excellent option that I had forgot that I had--people do that all the time for each other so it wouldn't be hard to arrange.
But how is it that (apparently) the superintendent and charge dispatcher and district unit chief and station unit chief all have to get their panties in a knot and get all huffy just to conclude that a reminder of this solution was warranted? And how is it that "I can't work overtime because my kids will have no one to look after them" is not valid? Particularly a stupid bogus transfer for an appointment time an hour before the department opens? If someone had a heart attack, Brent could be a bit late for work while I save his life. But this? No.
I'm tired of my employer. Can I say that? I'm tired of the bullying and powermongering. I'm tired of being dehumanized by my management but being expected to continually deal with the most horrifying and sad and gory stuff on a daily basis. How is it fair for me to see drowned babies and men in their twenties with gunshot holes in the backs of their heads with their teeth poking out the holes and raped women and drunk women in labour, and then go back and be told, "You have to work three hours of overtime regardless of whether your kids are supervised?" Dehumanizing is the exact word for how it feels. You're a piece of machinery. A cog in a wheel. A worthless, disposable entity.
I've worked many 14 to 16 hour days, mostly at straight time, and done so without complaining (at work--I'll complain to you sometimes!). But no one remembers this. No one remembers if you work hard or you don't, or if you wash the car or you don't, or if you saved a life or you didn't. Everyone remembers if, one time, you couldn't take a transfer that would put you three hours past shift change. A lot of my coworkers are 'friends' on facebook, and there is this facebook application that allows you to vote on characteristics ov your 'friends.' I keep meaning to unsubscribe to this program, because it keeps sending me emails saying my 'friends' voted that one of my weakness is 'hardest worker.' This is ludicrous. I'm a very hard worker. I just don't work 90 hours a week like most paramedics I know. It is a part of the subculture to work 16 hour shifts without question, and 80 to 90 hour work weeks because you 'need the money.' And everyone blames the employer or the system, and their families suffer, and I REFUSE to make my family pay for my job.

Hats off to anyone who can take this kind of abuse for an entire career. I'm done.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Matthew's Birth Story



Matthew's story is longer than average. Matthew has essentially had TWO births--one physiological and one adoptive. In fact, there are many births tucked inside Matthew's birth story. Beautiful. Here is the story from my perspective.

Matthew's was a healthy pregnancy. Unexpected, but healthy. His birth father refused to accept the baby as his biological offspring, and his birth mother did not have enough money to support the two children she already had, and also could not support Matthew. She was living in an emergency home for pregnant women that is run by a Baptist group, and during her pregnancy she became a Christian. With the help of the emergency home, and much prayer, she decided to relinquish Matthew for adoption. She was much relieved to find Friends For All Children, an organization in Thailand that cares for and finds homes for a great number of relinquished children. Matthew was born at 8:16 a.m., vaginally, at a hospital. His birth mother reported that his birth was normal and healthy. She took him to the emergency home for the first ten days of his life, and then left him with Friends For All Children, in the care of two women, named Melissa (isn't that funny?) and Lisa, both mennonite missionaries from America on long term volunteer assignment in Thailand.
Melissa was Matthew's main nanny for four months, and then she returned home to America, and Lisa took over his care until he was 16 months old. We call this most beloved foster mother Momma Lisa. Momma Lisa gave Matthew what all babies profoundly need in the first year of their lives: responsive, trustworthy, loving care, and good nutrition. She carried him when he needed touch. She got up in the night to comfort and feed him until he began sleeping through the night at seven months. She fed him formula and introduced solids at six months. She bathed him, dressed him, kept him safe, and got him medical care when he was sick. She loved him fiercely.
When Matthew was seven months old, he was matched with our family. Matthew's birth mother had requested that Matthew be placed with a family of the same religious beliefs as herself, and we were the only family on the list at that time who were also Christians. Baptist, no less. :)
We recieved a phone call informing us of Matthew's proposal for our family ONE DAY after we mailed our application for adoption to Thailand. Normal waiting periods from application to proposal were six to twelve months at that point, so we were very surprised to have news so quickly! It was that request of Matthew's mom that accelerated the process. Because of this, Matthew was one of the youngest children ever to be adopted through our agency from Thailand.
We sent pictures and gifts and emails to Momma Lisa, getting to know her and asking her to share our picture with Matthew, so we could seem a tiny bit more familiar than strangers when we showed up on his door proclaiming to be his family! We sent him his own laminated photo album of our family, a DVD of us, a CD of lullabies for which we had a copy and asked Momma Lisa to play while Matthew fell asleep. We continued to use this CD when we brought Matthew home, and it helped him to have familiar music to fall asleep listening to. We still use this CD of lullabies to help Riley fall asleep--we got a ton of mileage out of that CD! Lisa emailed us back, giving us details about Matthew's personality and their daily activities, and included pictures.
We waited for the Thai government to award us an appointment with the Department of Social Welfare, another seven to nine month wait. It was very tough to know who Matthew was, and see pictures, and hear stories, but not be able to go scoop him up and begin the business of becoming a family of four. The waiting seemed interminable! We hoped and prayed that we would get the call before Christmas. In mid November, I gave up on this hope and resigned myself to waiting until sometime in the New Year. But lo and behold, just after we had resigned ourselves to Christmas apart from Matthew, we got a call! I was at a friend's place, sleeping between night shifts, when Brent called me and said, "How would you like to spend Christmas in Thailand?!" Hooray!!! We were so excited!!! I didn't sleep AT ALL that night, though the night shift I worked was so quiet, I could have slept eight hours if I was able to! We booked flights, packed our things, and seven days later boarded a plane that would take us across the Pacific ocean to meet our little boy. I felt SOOOO impatient for the flight to be over, and for the miles to pass beneath us, and for time to pass! Ayden was excited to meet "Baby Mafew" and Brent was impatient and excited, like me.
Matthew was born in a domestic airport. We walked through the arrival gate with our luggage and some gifts and great excitement and some fear, and there he was sitting in Momma Lisa's arms, with his chubby legs dangling over the edge of the railing separating the arriving passengers from the waiting area. Behind him stood a circle of our close friends, cheering and laughing and crying and taking pictures. THAT was cool, to have good friends supporting and surrounding us as we met our littlest son. Matthew took us in, but in that distant interest type of way. I was glad he didn't seem overwhelmed by all our affection. Ayden gave him a toy phone that he had chosen for Matthew at the toy store before we left Canada, and Matthew liked the noises and lights in the phone. I cried. And tried not to appear overwhelming! I reached out and took his foot in my hand and said, "Hello little man!!"
His resonse to us was in the realm of, 'Huh, there are some people here.' I was glad he wasn't overwhelmed by us, and I didn't expect any recognition of how important we would be to his very near future. Which seems obvious when you state that you just met a 16 month old for the first time, but with all the anticipation wrapped up in adoption, it is pretty hard not to overdo that first meeting, and your expectations of it. We have video and pictures, and I remember what everyone was wearing and how warm it was, and the smell of the airport, and that Torie, especially, was crying.
We climbed into the car and drove back to the home Matthew was living in, and let the kids play while we talked for a bit. Matthew was so tiny but so physically capable--I remember being nervous of him climbing on the little playground in their front yard, and sliding down the slide, but he was very comfortable with his physical capabilities. I was so glad we brought Ayden with us to Thailand, because the two of them became fast friends, and it took the pressure off Matthew as we hovered around watching him intently, because we already loved this little creature but we were irrelevant strangers to him. Ayden rapidly became relevant. We arrived on a Friday and by Sunday morning, Brent was relevant too. It was as if he looked at Brent and thought, "Now THAT'S what I've been missing all these months--a daddy!!" He initiated affection with Brent within a few days of meeting him.
That afternoon we spent a few hours together and then left to settle in at our friends Jen and Andrey's house, and allow Matthew to have a nap. He was, and still is, a very predictable sleeper, who NEEDS his sleep when he needs his sleep, and is firmly out of sorts if his sleep pattern is changed. It was hard to leave, but we were tired and so was Matthew, so it didn't make much sense to stay, and we knew we would see him again the very next morning.
That week we spent as much time together as possible, and tried to get to know each other and gain some trust. Momma Lisa was very supportive of us and demonstrated through her actions and words that these new people were trustworthy and important, which we were grateful for. At the end of the week we chose a date, December 16th, as handover day. We asked Momma Lisa to choose a place and a time that she felt was best, and she chose the morning so that he wouldn't be too tired, and Jen and Andrey's house so that she could exit without him having to see her leave him behind--she didn't want him to feel that the woman he loved as mother was abandoning him in any way. She brought with her the director of her volunteer program and his wife, and their baby Bailey. The director spoke about the program and about the families who come to adopt the children under their care, and he mentioned that it struck a particular chord in him when Christian families adopted the children. He felt deep joy when Christians adopted the children that they loved and prayed for so constantly, and released so completely into the hands of their adoptive parents. He prayed for us, and for Matthew, and for Momma Lisa. Then we all went outside and Lisa handed Matthew to Brent, and we all stood in a circle and cried, because it was incredibly painful to watch Lisa say goodbye to this little boy she loved so much, and to watch Matthew as he lived through one of the most significant moments of his life and had no idea what was going on, and how fundamentally his life would change, and how much pain and grief that would involve. It was a moment filled with both tremendous joy and deep pain, love and grief, gain and loss. Eventually Brent turned and walked into the house with Matthew in his arms, and Lisa hugged me tight. "You will make a great mom," she said to me, and then she left. We didn't see her again until two years later, when she came to Vancouver to visit both Matthew and another foster child she had cared for.
The very first thing I did as Matthew's mom was to dress him. I took off the clothes he came in, and put him in some orange pants and a blue tank top with fish on it, which had been Ayden's. I was very excited to dress him because it really is an act of intimacy to dress a child, and the clothes I put on him were tiny and well loved and OURS, and it made him seem like a true Vose to have him dressed in clothes that Ayden wore and I saved in our crawlspace in a box, waiting for this day when another little Vose would wear these orange pants and this blue top. I gave him a snack, Brent fed him a bottle, and we spent the rest of the day playing together. That evening after supper we went out to the night market in Chiang Mai. Matthew rode in the MEC backpack on my back, watching the sights with his little observant gaze and playing with Ayden. I'm sure he had never been out past his bedtime before, in a market teeming with noise and music and activity, but he handled it with wide eyed calm. It was a beautiful day.

And that is the birth story of Matthew Thanawuth Smith Vose, born September 20th, 2004, adopted December 16th/December 23rd (legally he became our child on the 23rd, though we had him living with us from the 16th), 2005. Merry Christmas, Vose family!! The best gift I ever received!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The What-Are-You-Doing-You-Sick-Child-Molester Glare

I have breastfed in public for a total of 30 months now. Of course, much of my breastfeeding is done in private, but I have no qualms about pulling up my shirt to feed my kid in almost any public place.

I think it is a credit to Canadian UberPoliteness that I have not been subject to any negative feedback regarding my breastfeeding from strangers in public places. I have been subject to some very rude comments by family members, but not by strangers. Canadians tend to be silently horrified by things, and then go away and gossip about what they saw to everyone they know. Anyways.
I was at the chiropractor's office yesterday and poor sick Riley wanted to breastfeed. I didn't want to slow down my chiropractor's schedule so I asked him to wait until I was finished with my appointment, but I wanted to feed him in the office before I left for home. The waiting area is small and all four chairs were occupied, so I set my older kids up in the toy area and went into the spare room in Dr. Bob's office to breastfeed there. I quickly realized this was NOT an ideal setup, because my kids started fighting almost immediately in the waiting area where they were unattended. I stepped out into the hallway with Riley still on my boob, with my shirt covering the breast but it mighty obvious what I was doing. I sorted out Ayden and Matthew and then smiled at the woman who was STARING at me open mouthed from a waiting room chair. She didn't smile back. I returned to the spare room, finished feeding Riley, then the two of us walked out. The staring lady asked me, "How old is he?" and pointed at Riley. I told her, and she literally shuddered. She didn't SAY anything else, but she glared at me with the What-Are-You-Doing-You-Sick-Child-Molester Glare.

Huh. Interesting. There is a first time for everything, eh? And I was being sort of discreet for once, feeding him in the spare room!! Not for discretions' sake, but because of a lack of chairs--can you imagine if I'd fed him in the chair next to her? I kind of wish I had!! Lol!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Long Way Gone

I just finished this very moving book, called A Long Way Gone; memoirs of a boy soldier, by Ishmael Beah.



It is an account of Ishmael's experience as a child soldier in Sierra Leone. He was captured at age 13, and rescued and rehabilitated by UNICEF at age 16. He is a remarkable person, and his story is an important one. But the images described in the book are pretty horrific. I was expecting a lot more gory description that there was, so I would recommend this book without reservation, because it is kind of like Schindler's List; important to engage with so that we can avoid history repeating itself, and pay our respects to the many, many who lost their lives in the violence of war.
Ultimately, it is a story of hope and redemption, and one that highlights the importance of family, education, and love during any rehabilitative process. Several details struck me hard: one was his description of his first encounter with war, and in particular he saw a woman carrying her two year old daughter on her back, whose daughter was killed and saved her life, because the bullets and shrapnel stayed inside the toddler. That was awful. Another was the fact that Ishmael was captured along with a great number of other boys, one of whom was SEVEN YEARS OLD--too close to Ayden's age for comfort. The seven year old couldn't even properly carry his gun because it was so heavy; he dragged it on the ground behind him. Needless to say he didn't live long as a soldier. And the third detail that struck me hardest was the story of a child soldier friend who was also rescued by UNICEF and rehabilitated, but who went back to being a soldier because his family refused to take him in, knowing what he had participated in. If your family thinks you are a monster, how can you be anything else? Rehabilitation is nothing if you have no one on your side when you are finished. These are children! Babies with guns. And drugs. And brainwashing so severe that they fully identify themselves as violent, powerful, and irredeemable.

I highly recommend reading this book, though barricade your emotions first. Ishmael's account really puts a human face on the abstract idea of child exploitation, and the idea of redemption. I have wrestled with the idea of redemption for several years, in that it is such a long road to return from certain experiences to any semblance of a normal and happy and productive life. How do you move on from experiences where you were the perpetrator of violence? It is one thing to wrestle with being the victim of violence, and it is a lifelong and horrific process, but it is entirely another thing to wrestle with being the perpetrator. And move beyond it. And reach out, and believe in yourself as somehow worth healing and moving forward. And, once you've moved forward, do you tell people about it? Your uncles and aunts, your wife or husband, your children and grandchildren--do you tell them this horrible specter of yourself that existed in the past?
I believe in redemption. I believe that people are valuable and good despite any good or bad action they have done. I believe that if each person who has been violent could learn to accept forgiveness and heal, they can go on to do much good in the world. It is a lie of epic proportions that they are beyond healing and beyond help, and it holds so many people back from being able to heal.
This book exposes all of this, in a very real and engaging way.
Eighteen thumbs up. Read it.

No sleep! And music, and The Dog

So last week when Riley got my pukey bug? He must have simultaneously caught Matthew's cold because he never got better, he just transferred his symptoms from puking with a fever, to hacking up a lung with a fever. I feel bad for him, but I'm getting to the end of my rope because he is worst at night, especially from midnight to 4:00 a.m., when I'm most desperate to sleep. He's restless, he's coughing, he's feverish, he's crying, he wants milk, he doesn't want milk, he detests all forms of infant fever medication, and the world comes to an end if I roll over to face away from him in the bed.
By the third night, I'm ready to strangle myself with the baby monitor cord.
Brent, bless his heart, sleeps through everything (he sleeps like the DEAD), but if woken up and asked, he tries to help. But he keeps falling asleep in the middle of the task--not helpful.
I'm running on a sleep deficit here that is rapidly catching up with me. Reminds me of when he was a newborn. Fortunately I have many years' experience dealing with insomnia and learning how to function in the daytime rather well even if nighttime is rather restless. The hardest part is getting up when that alarm clock goes off. Ughhhhhh...

This morning Riley had his first toddler Orf Music class. We did these classes with Ayden and Matthew when they were toddlers, and find them to be amazingly fun and a great way to introduce our kids to the world of music. Riley was a bit out of sorts, being short on sleep himself, and coughing. I debated keeping him home, but I thought he was doing better than he was in the lung department, so we went. It's kind of embarrassing having a sick kid around other kids, but what can you do? I miscalculated. It is also Riley's first experience in a slightly structured class-type environment (besides swimming lessons last year). At first he was a bit worried that I would leave him behind, but it is a parent participation class so he relaxed once he realized I wasn't going anywhere. Matthew came and sat VERY nicely off to the side and watched. He's gregarious and enthusiastic, so he often wants to get his 2 cents in, but he managed to keep pretty quiet most of the class, for which I was impressed and proud.
The teacher is very good at capturing the toddlers' attention with music, singing, games, scarves, dancing, a drum, and some toddler friendly instruments. So whenever Riley would wander away, he would soon come back again, enticed by the jingle bells or drum or singing. The dimples came out a few times. So cute! And she remembered us, even though it has been nearly four years since we took her class. She asked about Ayden!

So we had brought the dog with us and tied him up outside the rec centre, where the music class is held. I've tied him up outside on many occasions, so I didn't think much of it, though I DID pray that God would keep an eye on him as we went inside, because I was worried someone might try to steal him. He's a pretty cute dog, and he LOOKS like a lab, even though he's the weird mix of lab and basset hound. Labs are valuable, and mine is pretty friendly and would probably willingly go with just about anyone, especially if they had kids. Simon doesn't like strange men and barks at them, but if they have kids he's all over them.
I came out after the class, and here is the dog's leash and harness lying on the grass, void of dog. I couldn't believe it! He escaped! And our rec centre is on a very busy four lane road, intersecting an moderately busy two lane road on a hill that people drive rather fast on. Lots of opportunity for my dog to become a carcass. Ack!! I ran up to the road and looked in all directions, but no carcass. Whew! We walked around the area and peeked in the ravine and woodsy areas, and called and called, but no Simon. I left our name and number at the front desk of the rec centre, and decided to go home and get the car so we could search more efficiently. And I also thought someone may have found him and phoned our house, because our phone number is on his tag. So we walked home as fast as Matthew could manage. It is a 2 kilometer trip, one way. I got the kids in the car and went inside to check the phone messages, and HERE IS OUR DOG, STANDING IN THE BACKYARD, LOOKING IN THE SLIDING GLASS DOOR!!!!!! He walked ALL THE WAY HOME, BY HIMSELF!!! Now this is remarkable for several reasons: (1) this morning was the very first time he had ever walked to the rec centre so he wasn't familiar with how to get home, (2) he is a distractible puppy who could easily make friends/follow/harrass any family or group of kids who happened to be at the rec centre, the school next door, the park in between, or all of the above, and find himself lost somewhere, (3) he had to cross two rather busy streets, (4) It is a 2 kilometer walk the way WE went home, but I seriously doubt he went that way--he probably went back to Ayden and Matthew's school and walked home through the woods from there, because that is the route we took to get to the rec centre, so it was quite the distance to travel, and finally, (5) I didn't have any idea that he was smart enough to do this.

Matthew was much relieved. As was I. Simon is sleeping off his adventure on the floor by my feet. Of course, he had a bath last night and now he stinks, because he was running around and I'm sure quite frightened, which makes him stinky. But he's safe and sound, and all my kids and my hubby will not have to wrestle with blame and forgiveness for their mother/wife who lost their dog.
And I kinda like him too.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

First Run, and some malfunctions

Today I went for a run. I dropped Matthew off at school, put Riley in the stroller, and went for a run. I haven't run for almost a year now. I ran some after Riley was born, but I found it difficult to keep to it, to motivate myself when it was cold or wet, and to strive to attain any running goals. So I kind of stopped. And then I found booty camp, which is great, but isn't doing everything I'd like it too around my midriff. So I decided to try and run again, in addition to boot camp. Maybe that will do the trick! Today I ran for 30 minutes, and along the way there were a few malfunctions, which made me laugh, and that I kept thinking I wanted to share with YOU all, so here we go:
First, I was tightening the drawstring on my jogging pants, which actually belong to Brent and are therefore way too big and need waist cinching. The string broke. And the end of the string went INSIDE the waistband, which of course is fatal in regards to ever getting it back. I jimmied it somehow and managed to keep my pants up for the rest of the run. A few blocks in, I realized I was wearing the WRONG BRA, which of course is fatal in regards to dignified running. I debated returning to change my bra, but figured it would put me far enough behind in my time schedule to make it not worthwhile. Then all of a sudden my vision was foggy and I realized I was still wearing my glasses, which were now steaming from my sweaty face. I had forgotten to put my contacts in.
So there I was, bouncing heavily, hiking up my broken drawstring pants, with foggy glasses. SOOOOO cool!
But I ran! For 30 minutes!! It felt great.
:)
Sun Run, here I come!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ayden's Birth Story




I have never written this down before, but I love the idea of having a written record of the birth of each child. I'll do the best I can, almost seven years in retrospect.

I became pregnant with Ayden on our honeymoon. We had planned on waiting two or three years before having children, so you can imagine our surprise when two very clear lines appeared on the pregnancy test!! My doctor laughed at our faces when she said, "So that pregnancy test is positive, eh?" Fortunately, nature gives us nine months to get accustomed to the idea of a baby before he pops out!
My job requires that I stop work and begin maternity leave six weeks before my due date. I fudged my due date to my employer to be able to work an extra two weeks, because I needed to work as much as possible to qualify for Maternity Benefits through EI (Canadian maternity leave is funded by the government), and because I felt very guilty for being three months pregnant when my boss hired me, and not disclosing this for fear of not being hired. Though illegal, it is difficult to prove. At any rate, I didn't tell him, and he about blew a gasket when he found out (two months later), so I felt responsible to stick around as long as possible. It seems dumb now that I even cared, but I did. My boss was a ridiculous jerk.
Two weeks before my last day of work, I was sitting leaning back in my chair at a paramedic course, when I felt like there was an enormous earthquake movement in my uterus, enough to make me slam my chair down and gasp (which of course made all my coworkers freak out--the pregnant lady just gasped!!). I had been enduring months of extremely active kicking and shoving from within, and this was the most violent movement yet.
On my very last shift in the distant town that I commuted to work in, in the morning as I got dressed to leave for my 2.5 hour drive home, I noticed some bleeding. It was four weeks before my due date, and I didn't know what on earth it could be from. I went over to the hospital to be checked out by the local doctor, who I of course knew quite well. He palpated my belly and did a full exam, kind and professional (always embarrassing having people you work with see your private parts). He reassured me that the small amount of bleeding I had was likely a minor irritation, nothing to worry about. But he did point out that I had more amniotic fluid than normal, and that my baby was in the breech position. All from palpation. The hospital was in a very small town with only very low tech stuff available.
I drove home, and the next day mentioned what he had found to my doctor in my regular prenatal appointment. She referred me for an ultrasound to confirm the baby's position at 38 weeks. At the time I wondered why she ordered the test so late, but I have since read that it is fairly standard to wait until 38 weeks before intervening with breech positioned babies, because attempts to turn them earlier can often result in a return to the breech position. In my case, 36 weeks would have been wiser, but we didn't know that at the time. At the ultrasound I watched the screen and thought I was astute enough to determine that the baby was a girl (despite not wanting to know one way or the other). Ha, ha. Once my doctor confirmed the baby was breech, she referred me to an obstetrician. I LOVED my obstetrician. She was very soft spoken and gentle mannered, intelligent and empathetic. She and another obstetrician, whom I didn't like nearly as much, attempted an external version in the hospital the following day. The baby was already measuring around 4000 grams (9lbs) and had a rather large head, and despite repeated attempts to get him to turn, he persisted. He was too big to turn. My uterus only put up with so much manhandling, and eventually they had to stop. I was surprised at how intensely such uterine manhandling affects a woman--I almost fainted later as we were driving home, and I felt nauseous and weak. I think I slept for a few hours after we got home (I remember that on the drive home from the attempted EV, Brent insisted on stopping at the mall to buy some object or other...I was frustrated that he didn't seem to GET how horrible I felt and how badly I wanted to go straight home!! I stayed in the car while he went into the mall). Since the EV failed, my obstetrician recommended a cesarean. I said, "Oh. Okay." And I remember being surprised when my OB looked visibly relieved and said, "Oh, good. Because a large research study published last year in Canada shows that it is safer to deliver breech babies by cesarean. It really is the safer choice." It was the first time I realized that I actually had a choice in the matter and didn't HAVE to follow my doctor's orders. Not that I disagreed with her, but that was the first time I realized that I could.
So, a cesarean was scheduled for a week later. I felt like a failure. I wouldn't even get to go into labour. But part of why I went along with the idea of a cesarean so calmly was that I knew that vaginal birth after cesareans are possible, so I figured that next time I could try again. At my post operative visit with my OB she indeed told me that "There is no reason why you can't have a vaginal birth next time." I'm glad she encouraged me, though I would have pursued a vaginal birth anyways. It was significant to me that normal birth was something she valued and encouraged me to have with my next pregnancy.
On May 8th, 2003, I went to the hospital at 8 a.m., after fasting all night. I was scheduled for surgery at 11:00 a.m. We got a room on the maternity ward and settled in. We joked around and took pictures. My mom was there, and my cousin, and my friend Keli. I don't remember Brent's parents being there but I know they must have been, because they were there immediately afterwards. My general physician was running behind, so my surgery got repeatedly pushed back because she was assisting my OB for the operation. I got crankier and cranker, because I was STARVING, and because I was so, so afraid of the surgery itself. Eventually they wheeled me to a waiting area outside the O.R., and I remember feeling very helpless and small, watching the ceiling tiles go by above me and anticipating surgery. I was afraid they would forget to get Brent before they started the surgery. I was afraid of the spinal anaesthesia. I was afraid to become a parent.
But eventually my doctor rushed in, and they prepped me, and although I threw my arms around the scrub nurse with all my strength in anticipation, making her yelp in surprise, the spinal anaesthesia didn't hurt that much, and wasn't that bad after all. I laid down, they put a catheter in (which I felt, but numbly), and soon after they pinched me with tweezers on my belly. As they were doing this, Brent walked in. I was flooded with relief, because I knew that as long as he was there with me, I would be okay. "Can you feel this?" someone asked me. "Yes." I could feel pinching. "What does it feel like?" "It feels like someone is taking tweezers and pinching my skin, lifting it up, and twisting it." The anaesthesiologist tilted the table so my head was lower than my body, to encourage the medication to travel higher up my spinal cord and numb me properly. This happened fairly quickly, and they started the surgery. As they cut, I asked Brent to look at me in the eyes and tell me all the things we would do with the new baby, and how wonderful it would be. As long as he was looking me in the eyes and talking, I felt calm. As soon as he slowed down or looked away, I panicked. When they pulled him out it felt like an enormous animal was gutting me alive. My whole body rocked back and forth, and I could feel my insides being pulled out. It took my breath away. The doctor asked Brent if he wanted to see whether the baby was a girl or a boy, and he looked over the curtain. He didn't say anything, and he looked back at me. "SO?!?!" I said. "Uhhhh...." and he looked back over the curtain. "It's a boy!.....And what a boy!" This was intended to be a joke, which fell absolutely flat in the operating room in awkward silence. I was so irritated, but only for an instant. "A boy? Really?!" I was shocked, having convinced myself we were having a girl. I remember someone asked what his name was, and we told them it was Ayden. Then I heard a baby cry, and I remember thinking "Someone's baby is crying. That's weird, that I can hear it from in the operating room." And suddenly a few minutes later it dawned on me that it was MY baby that was crying! Brent left to go to the baby warmer and cut the remaining cord, which they had left long, take some pictures, and meet the baby. I remember he looked at me just before he left, to make sure I was okay, but I felt far less anxious, and I told him to go with the baby. A few minutes later they brought him to me and placed him on my chest, bundled in blankets. He was quiet, blinking his eyes and looking around, his face all squished up fat by the blankets. Well, his face was chubby anyways, but the blankets squashed them even more. I held him for what felt like a very long time, and stroked his cheek, and tried to shield his eyes from the bright lights. Then they took him and put him in an incubator and he and Brent left while my obstetrician finished my surgery.
I was wheeled to the recovery room and told I could go upstairs and see my baby after I could move my legs, which takes about an hour. At first I felt no urgency, just tired and relieved that the surgery was finished. But within about fifteen minutes I was DYING to see my baby. I felt a sense of loss and eagerness, and could hardly wait until I could see Ayden again. I tried every few minutes, and finally after 45 minutes in the recovery room, I could move my legs. I called the recovery room nurse over and showed her, so she called for a porter to take me back upstairs. No porter came, and no porter came, and finally she took pity on me and wheeled me up herself one hour post operative.
In the meantime, Ayden was in the nursery with Brent. My mom had encouraged me to ask that no one hold him before I came back from the operating room and had a chance to bond with him, so she and Brent's parents crowded around and took pictures, but no one except Brent held him until after I came back. The pediatrician talked about possibly giving him a bottle because he was so big and might need feeding before I returned, but fortunately he didn't make good on that. Brent says he would not have allowed that to happen because he knew how strongly I felt about wanting to only breastfeed.
When I returned, Ayden was placed on my chest, skin to skin. And I finally felt I could relax. I was surprised by the strength of my feelings, and by my desire to simply LOOK at Ayden, for hours and hours on end. A bustling nurse asked me if I had fed him yet, and I said, "I don't know how." She said, "What do you mean you don't know how? There's nothing to it! You just put the baby on your breast!" And she bustled over and helped me. She had a kind look in her eyes when she said that, so I didn't mind. Ayden was a hoover vacuum cleaner. SUCK, SUCK, SUCK!
My family flooded into the room, all excited and chattering, and I was proud to show Ayden off. I was still starving, since I hadn't eaten since the night before and it was now dinnertime! So I convinced someone to give me some of their subway sandwich and lemonade, despite not having shown signs of return of bowel function (translation: I hadn't farted yet). I didn't care, I was SO HUNGRY! And then I promptly threw up. All over myself, the bed, and the baby. Nice. Everyone cleared out, and the nurse changed me and my bed with me in it. Brent was mad at me for eating before I was supposed to :)
Later that night, as the anaesthetic wore off my face and chest were incredibly, maddeningly itchy. My mom got me a wet washcloth and rubbing it on my face was very very helpful. I held Ayden skin to skin on my chest for hours.
The next day I was able to get up and walk, the catheter was removed, and I got to have a shower. I was still weak and sore, but mobile. I spent most of the day in bed with Ayden, feeding him often. That night, I developed a headache that was incapacitating. It was the type of headache that feels heavy on your head, and whose pain is so loud it is difficult to think. Every time I would sit up to feed Ayden, it would crush me. When I laid down, it disappeared. I was diagnosed with a spinal headache, which is a complication of spinal anaesthesia. A small amount of spinal fluid leaks out the hole the catheter was threaded through to reach the spinal meninges, causing a change in pressure that causes a headache when upright. My surgeon kept recommending a spinal patch, where blood is taken from the veins and injected into the spinal fluid, compensating for the pressure change and curing the headache. She would visit separately from the anaesthesiologist, who kept visiting and recommending a hands off approach, since my headache seemed to be improving. In the end, no patch was done, and the headache lasted two weeks, and I had residual vertigo for four months afterwards.
My milk came in that night, two days after his birth. One day earlier than normal for a cesarean birth, which my mom attributed to the near constant skin to skin cuddling. I remember that Ayden was always hungry, hungry, hungry before my milk came in, and then that first feed with milk he seemed to relax, and acted drunk when he came off the breast. He spit up a tiny bit and the spit up was WHITE! And I felt like the most AMAZING MOM IN THE UNIVERSE! LOOK AT ME MAKE MILK AND FEED MY BABY!!! Breastfeeding empowered me. At last, I was successful at something in this whole birthing/mothering thing. Which of course is not entirely contingent upon breastfeeding, because some women are unsuccessful at this but still amazing moms. But breastfeeding was really what redeemed the experience of Ayden's birth for me and set me off away from the attitude which I had had during the entire pregnancy and birth, that this was something that was happening TO me, and towards the attitude of active responsibility for my baby. I persisted, despite the spinal headache that required me to learn to breastfeed lying down (reportedly the most difficult position to nurse in, though because I learned it so early it has always been one of my favourite positions. Also, the large breasts are unwieldy for tiny newborns, and the bed helps support the excess breast tissue.
We went home from the hospital on the Sunday after he was born. Three days after his birth, and on my very first Mother's Day as a mom. Brent got me a card and put a photo of Ayden in a little frame that says "Mommy's Little Angel," which still sits on my bedside table. I cried. It was amazing and overwhelming to watch myself fall rapidly in love with this hungry, cranky little creature with big blue eyes and no hair and the most peaceful sleeping face imaginable.
And that is the birth story of Ayden Leonard Smith Vose, born May 8th, 2003 by cesarean section at 4:39 in the afternoon.

So Much Laundry, and SO MANY NERDS!!

Our Nerdfriends are in town from Mexico, making our usual 3 Nerdfamily group bigger by 33%! Actually, by more than that because they have three kids. Anyways, we've been Nerding it uuuuup!!! So fun. I love the nerds.

xo, all.

As for the laundry, it is not my usual laundry woes. This is baby waking in the middle of the night to VOMIT all over me and Brent and our bed and the floor...I'm guessing he got what I had a few days before Christmas? He threw up, and threw up, and threw UP....ack....poor baby! He was all limp and listless and pale, and woke up crying frequently, shortly before puking again. By the end, there was no puke. Just heaves.

He's all better now! It only lasted about 3 hours, from midnight to 3 a.m. Then he finally fell asleep, woke up an hour later to breastfeed, and fell asleep again. BUT THEN, in the morning, he emptied my boobs again and then walked over to the door to our bedroom and PUKED IN A BOX FULL OF CHRISTMAS GIFTS. Rock. On.

After that he was fine.

Nothing but fun times in the Vose house!!