Looking back – 2013 highs and lows

2013 was certainly an interesting year for me.  I’m not going to lie, I’m not exactly devastated that it’s over.  I’m feeling pretty ready to move forward with a new year and the new adventures that we have ahead of us.  As I reflect on 2013, there are few highs and lows that come to mind immediately:

Highs

Finding out I was pregnant with Baby #2: In early January 2013, after eight months of trying for our second baby, we found out I was expecting.  I was so excited.  We felt ready to add to our family and it was great to see that positive test after months of unsuccessful attempts.

Our first vacation as a couple since becoming parents: In April, D and I decided to take our first vacation without Littleman.  It felt strange to leave our son at home, but we really needed some time to relax and heal after losing the pregnancy.  I had mixed feelings about going but it ended up being a great decision.  We had an amazing time relaxing in the sun, sleeping in, eating and drinking whatever (and whenever!) we wanted and just generally enjoying some adult time.

The first full summer at the farm: My family didn’t get the farm until late last summer, so this was our first full summer there.  It was so nice to be able to spend many of our weekends there, as well as our week-long summer vacation.  My parents put in a pool this summer, which really was the icing on the cake.  Littleman loves everything about the farm and it made our summer pretty darn awesome.

Finding out I was pregnant with Baby #2 (again): In May, we were given the go-ahead to start trying to conceive again after the miscarriage.  In June, I found out I was pregnant again.  I put this on the “highs” list because, of course, this was great news.  But, emotionally, it was scary and challenging.  At the time, it was hard to be excited or to even consider it a positive thing.

Lows

Miscarriage: This one is obvious.  In March, at 14 weeks pregnant, I found out that our little one had died.  After a perfect 12 week ultrasound, it came as a total shock.  I had a D&C the next day and then started the long process of trying to wrap my head around what had happened and how we were going to move forward from it.

Bleeding: In July, when I was about eight weeks pregnant (for the second time this year), I started gushing blood.  This was, by far, the scariest day of the year.  After going through the miscarriage and D&C, I lived in constant fear of something going wrong with my next pregnancy.  But, that didn’t mean I was prepared for something to actually go wrong!  After spending the day in the ER, I was (thankfully) diagnosed with a subchorionic bleed.  Baby was absolutely fine, which belongs on the “highs” list, but the day was awful.

Work:  I don’t talk about my work here very much, but it was a bit of tough year there.  The morale in my department has hit an all-time low.  We have some crappy, crappy management and things have been pretty miserable around there.  I’ve tried to stay out of the shit as much as I can – mainly because I had enough personal stuff on my plate to deal with – but it’s hard not to be affected by the mood there.

Moving forward

Although there are a lot of good things that happened this past year, I’m more than ready to move forward and see what 2014 has in store for us.  Littleman is becoming such a big man and I think he will make a wonderful big brother.  It will exciting and challenging for all of us as we adjust to being a family of four.  My sister is expecting her first baby at the same time, which will be another crazy change for our family.

For me, 2013 was clouded with sadness and worry.  While I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, I’m going to do my best to change the way I look at things in 2014.  I know I won’t be able to completely stop worrying – that’s not in my nature – but I do plan to think more positively and try to see bright side of things.  I hope that the struggles and sadness we faced in 2013 will mean that we’re due for some greatness in 2014.  But, whatever life throws at me, I know that I’m a lucky, lucky woman to be facing it with Littleman and D (and soon-to-arrive Baby Bo).

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Commenting and sickness and such

First of all, I’m supposed to be “working from home” right now, but I needed to take a minute to say something to the people whose blogs I follow.  I have been having issues with my reader on my iPhone, which seems to arbitrarily decide when it will allow me to comment and when it will randomly delete comments that I’ve just spent time typing.  Basically, what I want to say is that I’ve been thinking of all of you – many of whom were struggling to be happy and celebrate Christmas when you were suffering from sadness, stress and other things.  I have tried to reach out and let you know that my thoughts are with you but sometimes those thoughts got lost somewhere in the webisphere.  I haven’t had much of a chance to sit down at the computer, so I rely on my phone for reading and commenting.  I get so frustrated when it lets me down!

The last couple of days have been a bit challenging here.  D left the farm on Christmas Day to head back to the city for work.  He stopped by his dad’s place and then arrived at work, feeling like he was coming down with something.  Shortly after, he started throwing up.  Firefighting isn’t a job you can do when you’re that sick, so he had to go home.  Christmas night was supposed to be his last shift, so he was planning to come straight back to the farm on Boxing Day.  But, once the sickness hit, he had to stay home.

On one hand, I’m glad he wasn’t here to pass whatever sickness he has on to Littleman, my parents and myself.  I certainly don’t need to be pregnant and puking (I know some of you out there have been unfortunate enough to deal with exactly that!)  It’s also miserable to have a sick toddler.  So, obviously, away from us was the best place for D to be.

But, it’s been hard without him here.  He worked for six days straight (three days, followed by three nights) over Christmas, so we were really ready for some time with him.  Littleman is starting to go a little stir crazy and, since I’m supposed to be taking it easy, it’s hard to keep him as occupied as he needs to be.

I’m hoping D feels better soon so he can join us up here soon.

 

31 weeks (and Merry Christmas!)

Merry Christmas!  I’m officially 31 weeks pregnant today and I have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas.  At almost 3 years old, this is the first year that Littleman has really understood what’s going on.  As we got closer to the big day, he got more and more excited.  Last night, he put out cookies for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph (along with a pear and an avocado, just because!)  This morning, he was a bit confused when he realized that “Santa isn’t here now?” but was totally thrilled with his fire truck – the one thing he asked Santa for.

Snacks for Santa and Rudolph!

Snacks for Santa and Rudolph!

It’s so nice to spend Christmas with my parents at the farm.  It’s freezing out, but the snow is beautiful and we don’t have to go anywhere, so we can enjoy it from beside the warm fireplace.  I received a great pair of purple Uggs, which make me so happy (and which I’d never spend the money on myself).  All in all, aside from the fact that daddy had to leave to go work night shift, it’s been a wonderful day.

Although we’re having a lovely Christmas, I have been thinking a lot about Puppet, the baby we lost earlier this year.  (S)he would have been three months old and celebrating his or her first Christmas today.  It’s times like this when it’s hard not to think about what happened, but I am so blessed with my sweet little boy and am beyond thrilled that we have another one on the way in a couple more months.

I’m also sad today for a very good friend of mine on the other side of the world, who spent Christmas Eve in the hospital having a D&C after losing what would have been her third baby.  She is a strong, wonderful woman so I know she will be OK, but my heart breaks for her.  It would be especially hard to go through something like that over the holidays.  Luckily she has two amazing little girls who are helping her get through Christmas.

Now, on to what this past week has thrown at my from a pregnancy perspective…

Symptoms:  The contractions that started last week have continued, off and on, all week.  Some days are good and I barely have any noticeable contractions.  Other days, like yesterday, it seems to go on almost constantly for a couple of hours at a time.  Those days scare me so much.  They aren’t painful and are generally irregular (but can be frequent).  I just really need this baby to hang in there and keep cooking for a few more weeks!

I’m officially waddling now.  There’s just no way around it.  I feel like it’s a bit too early for that, but not much I can do about it.

I have to pee ALL THE TIME.  I swear, I leave the bathroom and pretty much have to turn around and go right back in.  My poor bladder doesn’t really know what’s hit it.

Sleep:  Definitely struggling in the sleep department these days.  Sometimes it’s the peeing that wakes me up.  Other times, it’s the middle-of-the-night dance parties that Baby Bo decides to conduct.   Rolling over with all my supportive pillows is a major production so I definitely cherish any little bit of sleep I get.

Other: Not much else to report this week.  I’m looking forward to my next OB appointment on Monday to make sure things are still ok in there.  I’m really glad that I have some time off work because I think my body really needed the break!

Frozen

My family is lucky enough to be warm and cozy at our farm while much of Toronto is suffering from the effects of a weekend ice storm.  We woke up Sunday morning to a thick layer of ice covering everything.  Power stayed on at our house, but as close as a block away, all was dark.

Icy trees came crashing down all over the city

Icy trees came crashing down all over the city

D had left early that morning for work and by the time Littleman and I woke up, our entire block was closed in – a downed power line on one end of the street and a huge fallen tree across the other end.  Luckily the tree got moved and we were able to escape to the farm Sunday night.  Now, I’m sitting by the fire and looking out at the snow-covered fields.

Despite the storm, my sister and her husband managed to make it into town for the weekend to have our “Christmas” celebration.  They will spent the actual holiday with her husband’s family.  Littleman’s gift from my sister – a doctor costume – was a huge hit.  He LOVES playing doctor and hasn’t taken the coat off since he got it.

I'm a doctor!

I’m a doctor!

My sister and I also got a chance to compare our 30 week baby bumps!  It’s still so strange seeing my little sister pregnant, but I’m glad that we’ve had a chance to see each other a couple of times throughout our pregnancies.  Hard to believe the babies will be here in a couple of months!

Hope everyone who was hit by the storm is safe and warm!

Operation Big Boy Room – step two

After a couple of good days spent clearing out some stuff from our spare bedroom last month, we got busy and lost our focus.  So, I took another two days off work this week so that we could press on with our plans to get Littleman’s new room ready for him.

We (finally) successfully moved all of D’s clothes into our new Ikea wardrobe in our bedroom.  That left us with two empty dressers, one of which will remain in the spare room for Littleman.  The other one is heading up to the farm for storage. 

After the clothes were done, it was time to tackle the remaining “junk” that we have been storing in the room.  Day two of our cleanup was a little less efficient, only because I had just received my “take it easy” orders from the OB so I had to give D instructions (i.e. boss him around) from the bed or couch, while he did all the bending, lifting and moving.

We moved into our house exactly four years ago and there were things that have been sitting in the spare bedroom since then.  There was a pile of pictures in frames (both photographs and art) that we don’t have room to hang.  There was a bookshelf rammed full of books – novels, random reference books, old textbooks, photo albums…  And then there were a few piles of DVDs and video games, neither of which we’ve had time to watch/play since we’ve moved in.

When you haven’t touched or used something in four years, it makes it a lot easier to give it or throw it away.  We sorted through our books and made a huge pile to donate.  A ton of crap went straight into the garbage or recycling.  Photographs are getting stored in the basement until we have time to go through them and the rest of the art (nothing special, just cheap and cheerful) is getting donated too. 

Finally, we were left with an empty (and dusty!) space.  We set up the kiddie bed and bedside table, which fit perfectly.  We’re leaving the bookshelf in there, as well as one of our dressers.  We’ll probably buy a chair for in front of the window so we’ll still have somewhere to sit while reading bedtime stories. 

The "big boy" bed

The “big boy” bed

The final step is decor, which we’re working on now.  Hopefully the room will be all done and ready for Littleman to move in after the holidays.  Although, I’m not totally convinced that he’s ready to leave the crib… he’s not so great at staying in one place while he sleeps!

Napping in the crib...

Napping in the crib…

30 weeks

I saw my OB earlier this week and I am still measuring right on track.  He did what always amazes me and put his hands on my belly to figure out the baby’s position.  Baby Bo is head down.  Although he’s getting nice and big, there still room in there for him to move around.  His movements are getting super strong (sometimes I swear he’s going to bruise my insides!)

I told the doctor that I’ve been having a fair number of contractions recently.  Dr. P actually noticed one while he was examining me.  It happened a couple more times during the appointment.  He said it’s likely Braxton Hicks but he wants me to pay more attention to them, especially if they start to get any more frequent.  If any sort of pattern arises, I need to go to triage and get checked to make sure it isn’t preterm labour.  Basically, he said I need to “take it easy”.  Easier said than done with a three-year-old, but I definitely need to try.

Of course, that freaked me out a bit and I spent the rest of that evening not moving and tracking my contractions on my iPhone app.  I definitely had more than usual (not painful at all) but they tapered off and I was able to go to sleep with no problem.  I’m guessing the fact that I had spent the morning clearing junk out of our spare bedroom and doing trips up and down the stairs had something to do with it.  I definitely won’t be doing that anymore!

Symptoms:  As noted above, definitely more contractions these days.  I’m hoping that it’s just my body preparing itself for the big day – and hoping that the big day is still a ways off! 

I’m also starting to find that I can’t eat as much as before.  I guess I’m finally running out of room in there.  I’ve always been a snacker but I’ll need to make sure I have a good variety of healthy snacks around so I can eat little amounts more often since big meals are getting harder for me to tolerate.

And… leg cramps!  Oh god, I had the worst leg cramps over the weekend.  It happened on both sides, but one side lasted almost 24 hours.  I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain and had to jump around the room to try to get it to settle down.  Luckily, D was working night shift so he didn’t have to witness my crazy cramp dance!  I knew I had to stretch it out but flexing my foot was the worst feeling ever.  I spent the whole next day limping.  Ugh.

Sleep:  Sleeping is officially hard now.  I was awake for over an hour in the middle of the night last night because I couldn’t find a comfortable position.  Even with my body pillow and my wedge, I find I can only lie on one side for a short period before I get super uncomfortable.   The aforementioned leg cramps don’t help either.

Other: I spoke with Dr. P about the mumps scare from last week.  He still isn’t convinced that I’m not immune to mumps.  It was my family doctor who told me that but my Dr. P (my OB) can’t find any record of it, beyond the test results showing that I am immune to rubella (which is part of the same vaccine).  Either way, he said that it’s highly unlikely that I caught it and, even if I did, it isn’t dangerous to the baby (just crappy for me!)  So far, I have no sign of it so hopefully I’ll continue to stay healthy!

My breastfeeding experience – part two

When I left off yesterday, we were home from the hospital and had been visited by a lactation consultant. 

Littleman seemed to be feeding fine.  When my milk came in a few days later, I started to realize how painful this whole thing could be.  Before I would feed him, I’d have to hold warm washcloths on my rock hard breasts.  The actual act of breastfeeding was extremely painful for me.  For the first minute or so, I would bite my lip and curl my toes to keep from crying.  People had warned me that it could be painful “at first” so I assumed this meant for maybe the first few days or the first week.

But days went by and I was still in pain.  I remember standing in the shower and I couldn’t even let the stream of water hit my chest because it hurt too much.  Wearing a bra hurt.  Not wearing a bra hurt.   I knew this couldn’t be right so we made an appointment and headed back to the breastfeeding clinic at the hospital.  They watched me nurse and said everything was perfect.  My nipples looked fine and the latch was good.  WTF?  More time went by and it still hurt so much.  But no one could find anything wrong with me or with how Littleman was feeding. 

At this point, I started thinking about my original promise to myself: if things didn’t work out, I could stop breastfeeding and be OK with it.  Unfortunately, by this point, my stubbornness had taken over and I really, really wasn’t ready to stop.   Littleman also, as it turns out, flat out refused to take a bottle.  Ever.  I had started pumping a bit so we decided to try offering a bottle.  We figured this could give me a bit of break from nursing sometimes.  No such luck.  The kid freaked out.  We tried a bunch of different techniques (mostly involving me being nowhere nearby) but he never took one.

I continued breastfeeding and finally – after almost six weeks – the pain went away. 

After that, breastfeeding became easy and was something I mostly enjoyed.  I say “mostly” because there were moments (including the multiple times I had to get up to feed him each night) where I wished someone else could help with the feeding.  We continued to try to get Littleman to take a bottle.  We must have purchased every type of bottle on the market.  But to no avail.  He never, ever accepted a bottle. 

A couple of times along the way I developed a clogged duct, but I was always able to work it out through massage and extra nursing.

I nursed him until he was 14 months old.  Somewhere along the way, we introduced a sippy cup so that he was able to drink his milk from that when he was finally weaned.

In the end, I would describe my experience as generally positive.  But I still haven’t forgotten how hard it was at the beginning.  I dread the thought of going through that pain again.   I hope that it isn’t as hard this time. 

We also plan to introduce a bottle sooner.  I don’t believe that the bottle will stop my baby from being able to breastfeed and it is important to me (especially with a three-year-old at home) that other people can help with feedings sometimes. 

Knowing that all this will be upon us again in no time is a little scary but I think I’m ready for the challenge.  Wish me luck!