Thursday, July 29, 2010

Baby Toys - Saving Mamma's Sanity

You know what I did this morning?  I ate a bowl of cereal, drank a cup of coffee, answered a phone call from my mom, went to the bathroom, had a bit more coffee, had a shower, and then answered some emails. All in the same 45 minutes. Uninterrupted.  Who's life is this?  What happened to my harried mornings with a newborn that sleeps less and less as he grows?   Let me introduce you to my new favourite toy. It swings (at 5 different speeds) and plays a variety of white noise music or some baby appropriate lullabies.  A swing that I have affectionately named "Saving Mom's Sanity Swing".   So, a few months back, in anticipation of the arrival of our little one and after the completion of our new home, my older sister was all too happy to clear out her basement of the discarded baby gear that her own children have grown out of, and send it our way. My mom cleaned it all up, and it arrived here into our basement in a heap of colourful toys, seats, springs and even short musical interludes if you kicked or moved one of the pieces by accident when you walked by.

This little gem was rescued from the baby entertainment rubble downstairs recently, and we finally figured out how to set up last night (not without the obligatory tense moments and terse words that are customary for setting up any child's toy mind you).  Anyway, Rory LOVES it. Hooray!!   Rory gets some swinging stimulation and I get a shower. Win win if you ask me.   I wonder what else is in the basement?  Truth be told, as a new mom I worry all the time about stimulating Rory enough.  His shelf life is about 20 minutes for tummy time, then we play kick and exercise with my help, he then plays in his baby seat with some attention getting toys, and NOW the piece that seems to be winning out over all - this glorious swing. He's a bit small yet, but we're making it work.  It's a happy day.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Life as a mom

It's hard to believe a month has already come and gone in my new life as a mom. It really seems like just yesterday (like a whole 9 1/2 months) that Peter and I were married and a baby was a distant future thought. haha. What a year!  Anyway, so far... being a mom is awesome. Some how its everything and nothing I expected it to be all at the same time.  Rory makes us laugh, makes us cry (sometimes because we're happy, and admittedly sometimes because mommy is tired) and really just has completely changed our lives for the better.  Its amazing how someone so small can have such a quick and profound effect on your values and priorities as a couple... not to mention a schedule, the ability to do things spontaneously, alcohol tolerance, bladder control, whats strewn across your living room floor and coffee table, the frequency of laundry loads, what you spend your time reading and googling, your ability to function on limited or no sleep and of course the subject of your smiles and chatter with just about everyone.

So... what do I feel I know today that I didn't before June 23rd?  Well, most importantly that we have been blessed with a wonderfully good baby. He is happy 80% of the time, the other 20% he spends smiling or telling us what he needs with a short cry... like food, a diaper change, a change in scenery, a cuddle, or some sleep.  That the love I felt for Rory in the delivery room doesn't compare to how I felt on day two, or day three, or day four, or at his one month etc etc.  Our love really does grow and get stronger everyday as Rory has become a member of our family.  What else do I know?  Well, no matter what anyone tells you none of it is easy, and its all harder than it looks (i.e. breast feeding, knowing whats right and whats wrong and when, who to listen to when you get conflicting professional opinions, and making choices that will impact a life that is not your own forever). What else?  Babys give your relationship a lot of uncharted rocky roads to travel so having a strong one before a baby arrives worked to our favor, being a new mom there is no one that has provided more comfort and reassurance and peace of mind than my own mom, that strangers and loved ones alike give far too much advice to new moms and regardless of how good, bad, important or useless the information is... if you're like me you will need to or want to, figure it out on your own anyway.  And finally that being a parent is handsdown the most rewarding thing I have ever done and that having a healthy baby is really all a parent can ask for.

We have had a busy month that was marked by a wonderful three week babymoon that Peter was off for and and an 8 (or 9) day visit from my mom, and our first major event (a Cobourg wedding) on the weekend. As July winds down, we are looking forward to our debut in Almonte on the 5th of August to meet the valley friends and family and for Adam & Kelly's wedding.!

Finally here is what is on my mind today; enjoying your life right now, today.  The one thing that is constantly on my mind is how far I am from my family and that I want Rory to grow up with the same values and experiences that Peter and I had in small towns vs this big city. Anyway, I got this today from a friend and and it was a good reminder for me that life is so short... that goals and lists of things you want to do will always be there and while it's important to be ambitious with goals and having a vision of what you want your future to look like is key, that it's also important to be present in the life you're living today. To enjoy the moments you're experiencing now.  So that is what I am doing today... enjoying these precious moments with my newborn that I know will be gone before I know it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting Around

Well... the babymoon has officially ended. Peter went back to work on Monday and Rory and I have started our playcation (what we are calling our summer of mat leave together).  Day 1.5  and we're doing very well!! We made it out for a big walk yesterday, we had time to do some house work and make dinner for daddy, and most importantly we had lots of time to play.

Our little guy is GROWING!  Well I think he is anyway, he is eating NON-STOP,  in fact sometimes I feel like that is all I do... breastfeed.  We just finish and we start again. But eating is a good thing and we're excited to see how much Rory has grown next week at our doctor's appointment. So,  other than feeling like a milk machine...literally, I don't have much to tell you.  A three week babymoon did wonders for us all.   I did have a "moment" the other night though.  Peter suggested on Friday evening that maybe I would like to get out of the house and go for a walk on my own. After a quick think about it (Rory had just been fed and was sleeping very peacefully), I then couldn't get into my work out gear and out the door fast enough! Off I went with my ipod in hand, and I didn't even make it to the neighboring street before my eyes welled up with tears.  It had been a long time since I could walk that fast, or that far, and it had been 2 1/2 weeks since I had done ANYTHING for even a MINUTE on my own.  I walked and walked and walked while listening to my favourite running and work out music from last summer. It reminded me of the days, weeks and months leading up to our wedding. Which made me happy. We've come a long way in the 9 months following our wedding. Anyway the walk did wonders for me, it made me feel like me again. Something I hadn't felt in a long time. It reinforced the working plan Peter and I have (albeit sometimes easier said than done with a newborn) to incorporate Rory into our lives and lifestyle vs. us fitting into his. Yeah check back with me in a bit to see how that's working out for us!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Today our little bundle of love is two weeks old.  It’s really hard to believe. Hard to believe still that I am a mom, that Peter is a dad, and that we have a son. But also hard to imagine our lives without this little guy now too.  I am nervous to put this out there given every time I told you things were going exceptionally well when I was pregnant they would head south quickly… but things are going really well.  I didn’t think I would adjust to being a mom so easily, or so quickly, but I have, we have.  And I love it. We love it. Our little family two weeks in, has faired extremely well. Knock on wood.

Our biggest concern these days is making sure Rory is eating well.  And he is! This week at his weigh in we were delighted to find out he has gained back his birth weight and some… he will be a strapping young lad in no time.  Breastfeeding has also been going well (knock on wood again), sure there are challenging moments… like how hot and gross it is right now, and believe me when I tell you that skin to skin contact just isn’t that precious when the humidex is above 43 degrees. Or the sorting out of supply and demand so I am not in a constant state of throbbing soreness… but all the little challenges seem so insignificant when we look at this little guy.  He won’t be this little forever, so we are savoring every moment. And as much as I want to see him grow and gain weight, I also want these moments of our babymoon with just the three of us to last forever.

Speaking of babymoon, we’re in the home stretch. Peter heads back to work on Monday of next week. I well up with tears at the thought of it. Like as I am typing now.  I would love to keep the three of us in the little perfect babymoon cocoon we have been living in forever. To sleep as we wish, to eat healthy, to have time to talk and to laugh, to take long walks, to run errands as we please and of course to stare at our baby as he grows and changes by the day. It’s been wonderful.   So as the babymoon winds down, Rory and I are winding up our “playcation”.  In other words, making playdates to keep us socializing (and mommy not too lonely that she gets sad).

So as we celebrate the first two weeks of Rory’s life, here are a few new pictures to share with you.  Yeah, he knows how to give thumbs up already. Smart kid.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Welcoming our Rory James

It’s hard to believe that an entire week has gone by since the surprise early arrival of our little guy.  The hours and days seem to fly by, as we all get to know each other and bond as a family. But Rory is indeed officially one week old as of yesterday and on the celebration of his first, and our first Canada Day as a family… I thought it was time to send out an update!!
Most of you know our how it ended up that we delivered 2 ½ weeks early story, but in case you don’t, here are the details in brief.
On Monday of last week, I went to the outpatient clinic at Mount Sinai to have my blood pressure checked as a scheduled visit. It was high, as was the protein in my urine but I wasn’t feeling bad so the nurse let me leave comforted by the fact I had an appointment with my obstetrician on that Wednesday.  She did warn me though as I was leaving that at the first sign of a headache, blurry vision or a host of other symptoms to come back to the hospital immediately. That night I got a headache. A headache that became more persistent over night and by 630am the next day, had moved behind my right eye. So… having had the fear of god put in me, I woke Peter and told him we should go into the hospital for a quick visit. As I went about getting ready to go in, Peter started packing his bag for a hospital stay and grabbing the one my mom and I had prepared for me and the baby.  It NEVER occurred to me we would be staying. I even laughed at Peter, and told him not to bother that we would not be staying.  I even wore a DRESS to the hospital. If I had any idea of what was to come in the next 72 hours, I would not have worn a DRESS to the hospital.  
We were seen immediately at Mount Sinai by a wonderful team that gave us fantastic care the entire time we were there.  And after blood and urine work had been returned to them a duo doctor and resident team came to talk to Peter and me in our triage room.  They told us that the work they had just gotten back, confirmed I had the signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia.  She walked us through the results and what that meant in terms of my health and then dropped this bomb-shell, “I think it’s time to get things moving. We would like to start inducing you”.  Which I responded, “you mean like today?”   I am quite sure I have never been that shocked. The next 5-10 minutes were spent listening to her explain what was going to happen next, through tears and many questions about the safety of the baby through what I felt was too early of an induction. She assured me that at 37 weeks a baby is considered “term” and fully developed, and when a baby is term and mom is sick the benefits of keeping baby in (to put on a bit more weight) doesn’t out weight getting baby out to help mom feel better. Crazy.    
 So… there you have it. Peter and I took a few moments to gather our thoughts about giving birth ASAP and then I think we called my mom.  It was the only thing I could think of to do.  I think it was the first thing I said. “Peter, I think we should call my mom”.
So things progressed rather slowly from there. The labour and delivery of Mount Sinai was CRAZY busy on Tuesday. Multiple sets of twins, lots of high risk babies being born early, and a lot of people being induced for various reasons. So what that all meant for us was… a wait. A long wait before they did anything.  Typically when you are induced they actually let you go home because it can be a lengthy process. Because of my blood pressure they couldn’t let me go home, thus the wait. They needed to make sure they had the staff to monitor me once they started to induce. So finally at 10pm on Tuesday night, I was given my first gel (to thin my cervix) and another at 5am the next morning. By 7am, my water broke on its own and timing is sort of a blur from there as what had been a long drawn out hospital stay already, started to get a lot busier and full of action.  The next several hours are a blur of awful contractions made longer, more frequent and more intense by the drugs they give you when they induce, the sound of the constant music and massage support from Peter and my mom and then finally the epidural.  Then…honestly, out came Rory!!  And I am not kidding. It literally felt like I had JUST gotten the epidural, was checked, told I was 9cm dilated and to PUSH. And then the nurse yelled to stop pushing because they baby was coming and she needed a doctor?!!!!    So in came the doctor in a rush, and out came Rory. Literally. 
NINE GLORIOUS MINUTES of pushing later, and our precious baby was in our arms. 
I sort of cried when I first held him. But I think I was mostly in shock and in awe that he was really here, and that it was over, and that I had a baby, and that my mom and Peter were there, and that I had a baby.  It wasn’t until the second night in the hospital that I think the emotion over came me. I was up by myself, Rory and Peter were both sound asleep and tears just started streaming down my face without me evening knowing it. I was a mom. I had given birth.  I wasn’t pregnant anymore. Peter was by my side and our baby was healthy and so beautiful. And despite being sore, I felt better than I had in months.  I was just so happy.
Since then… things have been going extremely well. Peter and I both seem more calm and relaxed right now than we have been for months.  Ironic really. We’re sleepy, but we’re both here, we’re totally in love with our little boy and Rory is just so amazing.  He’s eating well, he is sleeping well (well, he sleeps like any newborn) and he only really cries when he wants something; Like to be fed, or changed or held. I am sure it could all change in the blink of an eye, but 7 days in I can tell you that this little family is doing so great.  Meet Rory James Shaughnessy, the love of our lives. Literally.