Friday, December 13, 2013

Our growing family...

Since I've been completely absent during this pregnancy and haven't posted many updates or pictures, I thought I'd share a few of my growing family (and belly!).







Moving at the speed of light...

I am 36 weeks pregnant tomorrow.  How the heck did that happen?  And how have I abandoned this space for so long?

Oh yes right, I have a super active toddler, busy job and hectic life (which I love).

The last few months have been a blur of preschool transition, potty training, big boy bed transition and countless doctor's appointments.  Somehow throughout all of this, a little man has been growing steadily in my belly.  But now he's not so little, according to the doctor's, he's cruising to be a similar size to Noah (who was 9lbs and 18 inches long).  Some days he is so active, I swear he's going to break out Alien style through my belly button!

I have one week of work left, and normally I would be excited, but instead I am anxious about everything that's left to do.  The woman who committed (unofficially) to cover my mat leave backed out a week ago, and now we're scrambling to find a replacement.  For context, it took THREE months to find my last replacement, and now we're attempting to do it in two weeks.  There's a very good chance my job will sit empty for a while when I leave.  That makes me anxious and sad at the same time.  I've worked so hard to build up my small team, and I worry what will happen when it's abandoned, even for a short time.  My husband says it's because I take pride in my work and that's a good thing.  I know I need to just detach and let go.  They will figure it out.  I'm not irreplaceable.  Nothing I do is saving lives or changing the world.

In four weeks we will face our third labour and delivery.  Everyone keeps asking if we're going to try again for a girl.  They forget that we HAD our girl, and she is in heaven with the other angel babies.

This is most certainly my last pregnancy.  It's been difficult.  I was sick for the first few months, and had such a bad cough I was popping out ribs and ended up going for multiple chiropractor visits each week.  Now I'm just big and uncomfortable and things are starting to swell...and hurt.  Chasing an active toddler like this isn't fun.  It hurts me physically and I also feel bad that I can't play with him the way he wants.  I hope once I have my body back that I can devote the time to him that he needs.  Except then he'll be competing with his little brother - which will be a whole new adventure.

Our life is about to go through a colossal shift and I'm trying to enjoy the last few weeks we have as a threesome, but at the same time I'm eager to get this baby out so I can sleep again and reach my feet to put my boots on. It's so different from the end of my first pregnancy.  I wanted it over with so I could release the pain that was building up inside.  And then once it was over, I ached to have her back.

My hormones have been raging lately and my emotions are very close to the surface.  I know it's the peak before the end, and I'm just trying to take each day and moment as it comes, and not get too fussed.  Keep calm and carry on, right??

Monday, July 8, 2013

I have some news...

We are expecting! I'm 13 weeks pregnant and due January 11th. It's been impossible to keep this quiet, my belly literally popped at about 8 weeks.

We are so excited! The first ultrasound confirmed everything is good, but the 20 week ultrasound will be the true test. 

Noah is excited too, he keeps saying "big brother noah" and kisses my belly. little does he know how much his world is about to be rocked!

More news to come over the next 27 weeks!!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When children choose favourites (and it's not mommy)

When Noah was born, he was quite literally glued to me. To eat. To burp. To cuddle. To nap. I loved the weight of his warm little body on my chest. At the same time I also craved time to myself. Time away from this little person that demanded everything from me when he was growing inside my belly, and continued after he was born.  I would attempt hand him off to hubby to take a break, and he would scream like his heart was broken. So back into my arms he went.

Fast forward two years.  Now I'm lucky to get a brief smooch or cuddles when hubby isn't around, or when he wants something and I tell him he has to kiss me first. But that assumes he isn't already sobbing because daddy is missing. If we come home from daycare and daddy isn't home - tears. Daddy leaves the room or tries to pee alone - tears. Bedtime cuddles? Yep you guessed it!

I have friends with toddlers and newborns who are facing a similar situation.  Except that the toddler is choosing daddy because mommy is always holding the baby, so it’s out of anger or jealousy.  One friend even told me her son said “mommy no!” when she attempted to hug him, and then ran to daddy.  I can’t imagine how hard that must be, and how guilty she must feel in those moments. 

I know I should be happy to have all this time to myself, and I also know this too shall pass, but it still twinges when he doesn't choose me.  Most of my brain is occupied by thoughts of him and making sure he has everything he needs to grow up strong, kind and independent.  But daddy is the fun one. He drives a jeep, plays sports and knows how to make him crack a smile mid-tantrum. Maybe mommy needs to take a page out of the dad playbook and get down and dirty a little more often!  Either way, I'm very lucky to have two special boys in my life, so I should set aside my feelings and be happy that Noah has a loving daddy that he adores!

I know I’m not alone in this, how have you handled the “favourites” phases?  And for parents of multiple children, how did you manage the transition when your second child arrived?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Emotional Triggers

I wish I had more time to spend here.  Life with a toddler is hectic and trying to balance work, family and a little personal time sometimes seems like an impossible feat.

I realized on my drive home today that it's March, and it was three years ago that we were waiting for our referral to Mount Sinai to investigate Olivia's mysterious condition (you can read her story here).  At the same time, Everybody Hurts came on my iPod and immediately I was brought to tears.  It's amazing how a simple song can bring you to your knees.

But it's not the only thing that's had me thinking about Olivia this week.  A woman I met on Twitter, Heather (aka @TJZMommy), is facing the 2nd anniversary of the loss of her three year old son Zackie this month.  This week she posted about returning to Sick Kids for a fundraising event, the place where she spent many hours watching him slowly slip away.  Heather tweeted about her anxiety about visiting the hospital, as she hadn't been there since he passed.  I know the pain of losing an infant I only knew from an ultrasound and her kicks inside my belly, I can't even imagine the grief of losing a child you grew to know and love.

It immediately brought me back to the feelings I had with Noah's first ultrasound, and the anxiety of waiting for the technician to tell me everything was ok.  I remember feeling nauseous the entire time, and at the end I asked her if the baby's head was ok.  She looked at me quizzically and said the doctor would review the results with me (the same statement I heard with Olivia's ultrasound when they made me wait 24 hours to hear the bad news).  I immediately broke down and explained what happened.  She immediately softened and explained that the baby was fine and showed me the screen.  But despite that, I was still terrified during every ultrasound until they showed me the screen.

To this day, every time I drive past Mount Sinai hospital, I get a lump in my throat.  Nothing good happened there.  They told us Olivia's skull hadn't formed properly and her brain was exposed, and she couldn't survive outside my body.  We signed the paperwork authorizing the induction.  And I spent two long days in a lonely room at the end of the maternity floor, waiting for my dead baby to be born, while couples down the hall were joyously welcoming their perfect bundles.

I will never forget the song that was playing in the car when we drove home from the hospital, empty handed.  It's called Awkward Goodbye by Athlete, and I remember losing it in the car when the chorus sang "No one knows how I love you, no one comes even close".  It's intended to be a love song but at that moment it broke my heart.

Everyone has triggers that bring memories flooding back, it could be a song, a place, a smell.  What are yours?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Remembering...

Today is International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  While I'm so happy and proud to have a happy, healthy little boy, my heart is heavy today.  Sending warm thoughts to parents everywhere who have gone through the agonizing pain of losing a baby.

If you have a story to share, or you're looking for someone who's had a similar experience to yours, check out: http://facesofloss.com/  Despite our unique situation, I was able to find two families who had nearly identical events to ours.  While I wouldn't wish this pain on ANYONE, I have to admit, finding someone who "gets it" is incredibly comforting!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

There's no place like....work?


Clearly I have been delinquent in this space.  I’ve been back to work for exactly 6 months and life, as I know it, is chaos!  But happily chaotic!

I have many hats: wife, mother, sister, daughter, in-law, friend, colleague and co-worker.  Sometimes I have more than one on, and sometimes I wish I could take them all off and go hide in a dark movie theatre and eat buttered popcorn.  All of these hats represent different expectations, both the ones I place on myself and the ones others have of me.  It’s always a balancing act, trying to make sure I don’t put too much attention to one and ignore the others.

Despite how it may sound, I am HAPPY!  I feel like order is restored in my life (I get bored very easily, so busy is where I thrive).

During my maternity leave, I learned a lot about myself and who I want to be.  I am a wife and a mother foremost, but I NEED balance.  I need to spend time with my friends, I need to go to the gym, and I need to work to keep my brain stimulated.  I struggled with balance when I was on maternity leave.  It was much harder than I expected.  Those that know me well, know that I’m a control freak.  So spending endless days and nights with an infant that I couldn’t figure out was extremely challenging.  There were many times we were both in tears because we were both tired and frustrated.

I remember vividly the moment when I knew I lost balance.  I spent hours making homemade baby food for N, and then he refused to eat it.  Flat out refused, and even vomited when I stuffed it in his mouth.  I burst into tears in front of my husband because I was frustrated after all that effort…wasted.  His response: it’s just baby food, relax.  And it was, but in that moment, it was ALL I had to focus on.  After that, I worked very hard to get out of the house, make friends, participate in local mommy groups, and find time for ME.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved maternity leave.  BUT a year is a VERY long time!  Kudos to the parents who decide to stay at home and raise their children.  I couldn't do it, I know I couldn't.  I am a much better parent and person when I have some separation.

So now I am back at work, happily busy and balancing my many hats.  I have a renewed energy for my career, and I am thankful to have a loving family to go home to.  N is flourishing in daycare.  He loves his teachers, and they are very good to him.  I often peek in before I pick him up, just to watch him laughing and playing with his teachers and other kids.  It warms my heart to see him smile.

Not to say all of this is easy.  Some days I stress too much about work and I bring it home with me.  Some days I don’t have enough patience with my husband and child.  But I can’t be perfect all the time, right?  I’ve learned the hard way that I need to lower my expectations of myself.  Because it doesn’t really matter that there’s crumbs all over the floor, or that the bed isn’t made, or that there’s toys EVERYWHERE – right?  In theory, yes!  But there’s some things I just can’t let go of, I can’t handle clutter.  But I know it’s extra work I’m putting on myself and I have nobody but me to blame for it.

What things make you crazy that you just can’t ignore?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

TV Hitting Close To Home

Since I went back to work (over a month ago, and I’m long overdue for a post on that – I will do it soon!), my PVR has been constantly clogged with my favourite TV shows.  Most nights I’m lucky to be awake at 9:30pm because my days are so hectic.  Hubby has been out the last few nights so I’ve been able to catch up on one of my favourites, Private Practice.  I had 5 episodes taped, which is a lot to watch!  Where I left off a few weeks ago was Emilia finding out she was pregnant but resisting having any tests or ultrasounds done.


So needless to say I was blindsided when I started watching last night only to discover that her baby doesn’t have a brain, she’s past the point of termination and needs to carry a baby that’s going to die to term.  It was like someone kicked me in the chest.  I have to say that the writers have done an amazing job of capturing the emotions one goes through when they find out the child they are carrying will not survive.  The sadness, anger, frustration and eventual numbness.  The desire to just hide from everyone who is happy because it’s too painful. 


I got halfway through the next episode where she decided to stay as healthy as possible so her baby would grow strong and she could donate its organs after birth.  It made me stop and wonder.  If I had carried Olivia to term, could I have done the same and saved the life of another baby?  Or would she have even made it to term?  I was induced at 27 weeks after knowing something was wrong for nearly a month.  That was hands down the worst month of my life.  No one understood how I was feeling, it was like everyone around me was exceptionally happy and I was carrying around a sadness that pressed down on me like a vice.  Every kick and movement was a painful reminder that our time was coming to an end.  I can’t imagine carrying her for another 13 weeks knowing she was going to die. 


I’m sure the remaining 4.5 episodes will only get harder to watch.  The upside is that the public gets a tiny glimpse into what it’s like to lose a child.  If anything, I hope people realize that it’s awful, there’s nothing you can say to make the mother feel better, and the only thing you can do to help is to just be there to listen and provide support.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I am a survivor

When Olivia died, I sunk into a very dark place I never thought I'd escape. The last two years have been a roller coaster of emotions and events, and somehow I'm still standing strong. I'm still not sure how.

I reconnected with a work friend last week I hadn't seen in over a year, and learned that she lost he 14 year old son last year to cancer. I offered my condolences and a hug, and before my eyes I saw her very fresh wound tear open. Her pain is so raw that it made my heart ache for her. I know how much it hurts to lose a child you never met, I can't imagine the ache of losing someone who was part of your life for so long.

We shared our stories (she never knew exactly what happened to me), shed some tears, and parted knowing there's one more person out there who "gets it".

I feel like my community of moms who have lost children continues to expand. I wish the opposite would happen, no one deserves to go through this.