9.29.2009

Top Ten Tuesday: I Love PVR

Top Ten Reasons I Love My New PVR

10. My ‘omg, did you see Gray’s?!’ tweets a week after the season premiere will get way more responses and attention than if I had been one of thousands madly tweeting during the actual first showing like the rest of you chumps.


9. I can record the kids’ shows that I actually find tolerable, then kibosh the really annoying ones like Max and Ruby, by exclaiming that Backyardigans is on! Right now! Booyah.


8. My husband will never again have to argue over whether Cities of the Underworld is more important to watch on the good tv than Top Chef before he loses and is ultimately relegated to the basement and the old tv.


7. I will no longer regret not buying the entire Little House on the Prairie series at Costco that time.


6. No more almost peeing in my pants waiting for a commercial.


5. No more cursing my light sleepers for waking up 7 minutes before I find out who is in, and who is out.


4. I will actually slice the veggies and put them on a plate with a dollop of hummus and a glass of water instead of just grabbing the bag of chips because it is closer and faster.


3. This effectively puts an end to the philosophical dilemma we have about subscribing to cable in the first place.


2. No more *buffering* watching *loading* missed episodes *a word from our sponsors* on the *buffering* internet.


1. I don’t have to wait until Sunday mornings to watch relaxing fishing shows.


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9.24.2009

SPAMORAMA

I found this gem in my inbox today:


2009/9/24 John Dykes <wakeupm1@hotmail.com>

Hello,



I was just reading some comments on a site, and I found your interesting comment “If I squirt myself in the face with breastmilk, will I look like Cindy Crawford?”



I went to your blog and do u have any pics of ur breast, can u post pics of u breast feeding, it would be really cool.



thanks

And I replied in my typical, diplomatic way:

2009/9/24 kgirl

Hey John,


How bout you go squirt yourself in the face with battery acid?

Cheers, kgirl


***

9.11.2009

Crisis/Catharsis

The backpack with the little blue owls slips off her shoulder as she walks up the path and undaunted, she pushes it back in place. It is empty, save for the anticipation, the unknown of the day. We are enveloped by the phalanx of scurrying children and resolute adults, each looking for a friend, a teacher, a door, a space to fit. She reaches for my hand. It is the first clue I have that she is somehow feeling unsure in these surroundings. I think of how overwhelming the crowd must be to someone just cresting three-feet tall. I think of how overwhelming the rest of the morning might be.

By the time we find the entrance for the tiniest of the school’s new inhabitants, I can tell that she has gained some of her courage back. She stays close and quiet, but moves determinedly toward the door that the teacher holds open, pulling me along beside her.

I try not to hover as she finds her nametag in the pile on the table; as she finds a marker to print her name on the welcome sheet; as she finds a place to sit on the alphabet mat – her ground zero for the next 10 months. Soon, she is raising her hand to answer the teacher’s question – or rather, not to answer the proposed question, but instead to inform her teacher that she has a puppy named George (news to me). I resist the urge to interject, to correct her in her enthusiasm. I resist the urge to direct her to the playstations that I think she will enjoy most, and instead let her scope things out herself, watching her settle on the painting station. I resist the urge to coach her to wipe off the extra paint; to make sure she has put her name on her artwork, to place it neatly on the drying rack. I resist the urge to be her mother in the ways that I know how to be her mother, and try to embrace a way of being her mother that involves me not being involved.

How do I feel about my tiny, beautiful, wide-eyed daughter starting Junior Kindergarten?

I feel like I have fed her to the wolves.

I feel like her free, wholistic, spontaneous childhood is over, way earlier than it should be. I feel like I am institutionalizing her and let the indoctrination begin – this is how we become good little citizens, ok boys and girls? Everybody line up, everybody listen up, everybody hands up! I feel like my smart, creative, imaginative, clever daughter is on her way to becoming a trained automaton, the bulk of whose first year of formal education will be mostly about learning how to respond correctly to Pavlovian cues. I feel like I am failing her as a mother, as a human being. I feel like I am having an asthma attack, or maybe an existential crisis.

And then Junior Kindergarten is over for the day, and my daughter leaps towards us, bounds towards us and tells us, unprompted that Kindergarten is awesome! and her smile radiates confidence and enthusiasm, and I think that she’ll do just fine, she’ll thrive, she’ll be ok, and maybe, just maybe, I will be too.





***

9.07.2009

Labour Day - Part II

Part II of the two-part series, Labour Day. This post is a republication of, yup, you guessed it, the birth of my second daughter.

Happy long weekend, everybody!

*Originally posted November 26, 2007*
***







Well, she’s here. Thankfully, blissfully, finally here. And if her entrance into this world is any indication, she’s gonna be trouble.

If there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that best-laid plans are simply that, and that there are no guarantees.

Like a baby remaining head-down at 41 weeks and 2 days gestation. Apparently, in my grand naivety, I thought we had this one in the bag.

I woke up Wednesday morning early, sad to have to say goodbye to my sister and niece who, after a nearly 3-week stay had to travel back to BC to fulfill a previously-made commitment. Seems naivety runs in my family, as my sister was sure that this child would have made her entrance by then. Ensconced in panic that our labour/childcare support plans A, B and C was walking out the door, we hastily implemented plan D, and Chris’ mom was on a train to Toronto within the hour. My sister joked that more than sex, spicy food or acupuncture, her stepping on a plane would surely be our successful method of labour induction. She wasn’t far off.

That afternoon, as Chris and Bee headed to the train station to pick up my mother-in-law, I went to my scheduled midwife appointment. We joked about some of the non-traditional induction methods we might think of implementing as Tracy, my midwife, felt my belly. Abruptly, the joking stopped and Tracy looked at me more seriously than she had throughout this or my previous pregnancy with her.

‘She’s transverse again.’

Oh, good Christ on the cross, I thought, this child is so grounded when she’s born.

After much palpating, consultation and discussion with all of the midwives in the clinic, Tracy sent me home for a vigorous walk with Chris. She would be back at my place in a couple of hours, and we would map out next steps then.

So off we go, in the pouring, cold rain, to try to walk this baby back into head-down position. We had already discussed the possible courses of action and outcomes, so really, the time we were given was pretty much just to come to peace with what lay ahead. At that point, only one thing was pretty certain – this was not going to be the birth we had expected.

Sure enough, Tracy’s visit revealed no new information, and we headed to the hospital for a consultation with an OB. The only time I had ever been in this particular hospital was to register for each of my births, and though I can see the place from my bedroom window, I certainly never expected that one day I would be looking out the window of the hospital back at my house.

In triage we met the on-call OB, a warm, straightforward doctor originally from Africa, who went over the options that Tracy had alluded to. Really, this whole part was a ruse, designed to make me and Chris feel as though we actually had options. We didn’t. Well, we did. We could choose to wait for or implement a couple of risky things that would most likely end in an emergency c-section, or we could plan for a c-section now, and at least enjoy the benefits of controlling as many of the circumstances as possible. It didn’t take long for us to let them know our ‘choice.’

The next 4 hours were completely surreal. Even though I was now well on my way to delivering via c-section, I had a really hard time realizing that it was me that would have to actually go through it. As the IV was set up and inserted, as we walked the hallways with the drip, waiting to be summoned to the OR, as Chris was taken away to be gloved, gowned and masked and as I was prepped for and administered a spinal block, I had this weird sensation that this was just all part of some third-person narrative, and that this was not actually happening to me.

The morphine helped. Stupidly, I thought it was the oxygen going up my nose that was making me kind of giddy, and I remember remarking that it was obvious why people liked going to oxygen bars. I believe it was the anesthesiologist that said, ‘Oh, they don’t get what you’re getting at the oxygen bar!’

So Chris came in, the surgery began, and so did the puking. I’m a puker. It actually had a pretty good distraction factor, and I don’t really recall much sensation of the surgery because of it. Or maybe that was the morphine.

At any rate, our baby was born healthy and purple at 1:37 am, the news of which I believe I reacted to by barfing. She had a good rubbing by my midwives, and then was able to enjoy skin-to-skin contact with Chris, which I think was really wonderful for him, and helped him recover from looking over the sheet just a little too early and peering into a pool of my blood with a purple leg sticking out.

The next couple of hours, also blurry, due to the rush of hormones, and well, morphine, but I do remember a few things about being in recovery. I remember ice chips, and I remember the baby practically crawling up my chest to latch herself onto my boob, and I remember Chris holding the little blue trough over the baby’s head so that I could puke without disturbing her first meal.

The hospital stay was not as bad as I had anticipated a hospital stay being, and improved greatly once a private room became available after the first night. The nurses were attentive, and for the most part very warm and considerate of both the fact that I was a midwife’s client and the fact that I intended to make informed decisions, but I still managed to piss a few of them off. Like after the decision not to allow them to bathe the baby after 8 hours on the outside, and the decision to not allow them to repeat the jaundice blood test after the first, administered with the PKU, did not yield enough blood to get results. You poke my baby 3 times already and leave a bruise on her heel and you are not my friend. You’re not coming back for more.

I also pissed off a night nurse who didn’t like my latch. She woke us up in the middle of the night to check temp/blood pressure for the millionth time, and at that point the baby was pretty much asleep on the boob, after having nursed for a good half hour previously. She was slipping off already, and the nurse was concerned that she was too high up on the nipple. I insisted that she was ok, that I was in no pain, and that this was just fine for a baby that had just been nursing lying down for a while. The nurse clucked at me and left, and Chris made a joke that she was going to sic a lactation consultant on us. I balked, but sure enough, at 8 am the next morning, there was a knock on the door and in walked Lori, the lactation consultant. I happened to be nursing at that point, and her visit was a very short one, especially when I told her that I had just weaned my firstborn 5 months prior.

Rest assured that although I viewed this as a minor, humourous annoyance, I am impressed and happy that so much effort is made to ensure breastfeeding success. I’m just not used to someone second-guessing my mad breastfeeding skillz.

Anyway, I was released on Saturday, early by hospital standards, and again I was thankful that I had my midwives as both advocates for my release and as dedicated caregivers responsible for overseeing my recovery at home.

Home, ahh. It’s better to be here for sure (hospital food really is as bad as everyone says it is, although Bee loved the copious amounts of jello I always saved for her), but the realities of recovering from abdominal surgery are slightly more vivid than they were in the hospital. Apparently I’m healing very well, and Tracy took my staples out today, but I’m a bit overwhelmed by the long road to full recovery. No steps until next week if I can help it, and no picking up Bee for 6 weeks. The pain is manageable, peaking at night or when I sneeze (holy fuck, sneezing hurts), and I’ll milk this for as long as I (or Chris) can manage.

And the baby? Holy mother of sweetness, she is worth any discomfort, any discarded birth plan, any sneeze trauma and any perma-paunch that comes my way. I forgot how tiny, how alien, how fascinating, how miraculous new babies are. As for the bond that I always thought could only come from the anticipation and hormonal rush of early labour; from feeling my body extract my child in an intense choreography of pleasure and pain; from that new baby being placed immediately on my chest; from introducing Bee to her baby sister in the warm, welcoming comfort of the bed that she had also been born in – well, I was wrong about that. I didn’t have any of those things this time, but the result is there. The result is the same, and it is powerful. She is my baby. She was born to me. And she is love.



You me happy when skies are gray.

9.04.2009

Labour Day

There's no harder labour than giving birth. My annual retelling of my birth stories, now with more birth (i.e. the story of my second child).

But first up, Bee's story:
*Originally written May 14, 2005*





On Monday May 9, 2005, I was feeling crampy and well, just different. By the middle of the night we knew that these were (mild) contractions, and started keeping track of them to see if labour would progress. In terms of intensity, things were slowly moving, but in terms of frequency, it was all over the map. Although the excitement and anticipation were also mounting, I managed to sleep around the contractions.

On Tuesday morning, we went for a long walk (well, it wasn't that long of a walk, it just took a long time since I had to stop every few minutes to wait for a mild contraction). We gave our midwife a head's up when we got home, and she came over around noon to check on the progress. Low and behold, I had made it to 3 cm. She told us to keep doing what we were doing, and that she would call again in a few hours.

By our next check-in at 5 pm, things were still intensifying but not speeding up. Tracy (our midwife) said that she was sure we would be having this baby that night, but probably not for a little while. She would call back at 9 then go to sleep early and wait for us to page. By 7 pm, things were rockin’ and I called Tracy back at 8. my contractions were 2 minutes apart and I could do little through them but breathe and ‘vocalize’. She said that she was on her way.

Tracy and our student midwife, Jen, arrived at 8:30, and upon checking, we found that I had made it to 6 cm. Through a series of different labouring positions, and a surprising ability on my part to completely give in to whatever my body was wanting to do, I made it to 10 cm by 10:15 pm.

I pushed for just over 2 hours, and I admit that I meshed my most primal instincts to birth this baby with a healthy dose of, ‘Please, please, just take it out!’. I was not quite prepared mentally for the difficult, often discouraging, and EXHAUSTING task of pushing (I was actually falling asleep in between pushes – Chris told me later that at one point I started snoring!). But on the flipside, I was also not prepared for the perfect ability my body had to do the job, and the very clear messages it sent my way, that I had no choice but to respond to. And when one of my pre-natal fears came true, and Tracy said that she wanted to perform an episiotomy due to the baby’s slowing heart rate, I didn’t care. All I cared about was having this baby; for my baby to be out and safe.

At 12:28 am, on May 11 2005, our baby was born on our bed. Straight to my chest she went, and of course, that was indescribable. We didn’t even look to see what the sex was for a few minutes, and were overjoyed when we found out that this beautiful, alert, perfect little creature was our baby girl. After getting a shot of oxytocin and delivering the placenta, Jen got our baby to latch on – she’s a natural – and my new little family was left to wonder at each other for a while. When my midwives came back upstairs, I let go of the baby for the first time while I was stitched and she was weighed and examined.

So now we’re doing great; I’m a little sore but my wonderful sisters (who were at the birth) are totally spoiling all three of us, and we’re having a good time in the cocoon we’ve made of our bed. I’ve been a bit emotional, but I’m sure every new mama is. Even without all of those vacating hormones, how can you not be when you’ve just fallen in love harder and faster than you ever thought you could?

You are my sunshine.




Next: A Dove flies into our lives and hearts.

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