A good one

2014 was probably one of the quickest years of my life.  I feel like I was sitting here, in this very spot, at this time last year.  Only it feels like that was last week.

I haven’t had a lot of time lately to reflect upon my year or to think about the year to come.  I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions anyway.  But, I don’t need to think very hard to know that 2014 was a really good year.  One of the best, in fact.

January and February were a bit tough, with bad weather, finishing up work and wondering when Baby Bo would choose to make his entrance.  Those months were also memorable, though, because they were our last months as parents of one.  We did some special things with Littleman before he became a big brother and his world was completely turned upside down.

When March came around and Bo still wasn’t here, I started to get anxious.  Then, on March 6, he arrived, our sweet little babe.

My mom and I were talking this morning about how, when you’re pregnant with your second child, you wonder how on earth you could possibly love another human as much as you love your first child.  But then that child arrives and your heart grows, making plenty of room for all the love that rushes through you.  (OK, that sounds cheesy, but I swear, I just really, really love these two kids!)

The rest of March was blur of cracked nipples, infection, illness and sleep deprivation.  It kind of sucked.

After that, though, we hit our groove.  The weather warmed up.  Littleman loved his brother.  Bo was a happy kid.  I went for walks.  I started exercise class.  I spent time with friends who were also on maternity leave.  We hung out at the farm with my family and my baby niece.  I taught myself to run and did a 5K.

Sure there were some blips this year, but mostly, I’ve loved every second of my maternity leave.  Knowing that it will be my last, I’ve tried to savour every bit of it.  Looking back, I feel lucky to have had such a great experience this year.  I also feel a bit sad that all the things I was looking forward to are over.  I know there will be lots of other good times ahead, but it will be hard to top a year like this one, where we welcomed our lovely Bo and watched our Littleman grow into a smart and strong almost-four-year-old.

I know lots of people are looking forward to a new year, with its promises of a fresh start and new opportunities.  Me?  I’m kind of dreading it.  I have two months of maternity leave left before Bo starts daycare and I return to work.  It’s going to be tough and I know it’s going to test my ability to stay positive.

So, in the absence of New Year’s resolutions (which I hate), I think I will set myself a couple of goals this year: try to stay positive (or at least limit the negativity!) and find some time to do some things for myself.  Going back to work will make both of these things especially difficult but it will also mean that they will be extra important.

Whether you are looking forward to or dreading the arrival of 2015, I hope it turns out to be a good one for you!

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A horrible accident – teaching my kids about road safety

A horrible thing happened in my neighborhood last week. A seven-year-old girl was struck by a car and killed.

It makes me feel sick to hear about a child dying. As a parent, it absolutely terrifies me. My heart breaks for the family involved in this tragic accident.

We live in a city (Toronto) where there is lots of traffic. On top of that, there is tons (I mean tons!) of construction work going on. Because of congestion on the major roads, more and more cars are cutting through residential neighborhoods, like ours, to avoid traffic. Everyone is in a rush and cars are moving too fast.

I don’t know what happened in this particular case, but I do know that being a pedestrian these days is scary. My son and I were almost hit on the way home from daycare one night last year. It was dark and rainy. As always, I thought I had made eye contact with all the drivers at the intersection before we began crossing the street, but one car mustn’t have noticed us and turned right in front of us. I grabbed Littleman and jumped out of the way. We were ok but it shook me up.

Hearing about a child being killed just a couple of blocks from my house reminded me how important it is to teach my children about safety around the road. Littleman knows he has to hold an adult’s hand to cross the street and that he needs to stay with us and listen when we are near the road. However, he’s only three so I know he can get distracted and forget things. It terrifies me that he could so easily dart out into the road and not be seen by the cars that speed through our neighborhood.

I know that horrible accidents happen everyday but, having it happen so close to home is a stark reminder of how precious life is and how quickly something terrible can happen.

I realize that I can’t bubble-wrap my kids to protect them from injury or death.  And I can’t live my life in constant fear of something happening to them.  But, what I can do, is take this horrible situation as reminder to do whatever I can to teach my children to protect themselves and keep themselves safe.

Taking stock of my feelings

The planner in me should be eating this up, but it’s actually kind of weird to know that, one way or another, our baby will be coming tomorrow.  I’m trying to wrap my head around all my feelings today.  It’s been such a crazy roller coaster ride to get to where we are today.

I’m feeling extra grateful to D for how supportive he’s been over the past year.  And to Littleman, for how resilient he’s been, even with a mommy who has been less-than-able for a lot of the time.

When we found out we were expecting baby number two early last January, we were both so excited.  Trying to get pregnant was not fun or easy for me, so it was nice to put that behind us.  Then, one year ago tomorrow (March 5) we had our NT scan.  Our baby looked perfect!  For us, that milestone is the one that really allowed us to believe we were pregnant and that is when we started to share the news with our family and friends.  We were so excited for Littleman to help us tell everyone and we started with my parents.

Two weeks later, our world came crashing down when we lost our little one to a missed miscarriage and had to figure out how to move forward.  We were devastated.  D and I grieved differently – as I imagine many couples do – but he was amazingly patient as I suffered through the emotions and pain that came along with the experience.

When we got pregnant again a couple of months later, neither of us were willing to believe or accept it fully for a long time.  I was so glad that I had this space to write in and share my feelings because we certainly weren’t telling anyone we knew that we were expecting again.

After some ups and downs during early pregnancy, things seemed to settle down and the pregnancy chugged along amazingly well.  OK, I felt like shit most of the time but the baby was good, which was all that mattered.  And D continued to support my shitty-feeling self every step of the way.

So now, after being pregnant for 12 of the last 14 months, here we are.  The day before the birth.   I realized today that I’ve been holding my breath for most of those 14 months.  Even when things are seemingly going just fine, there’s a constant layer of worry that clouds my mind.  I am so ready for this baby to arrive safely.

To D: I love you so much.  You are an incredible husband and the best father in the world.  Our boys and I are so lucky to have you to take care of us.  I know I haven’t been the easiest person to be around this past year but I promise to work hard to be the best wife and mother I can be.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our little family.

To Littleman: you are such a special boy.  You are smart, funny and mature.  You are caring and empathetic.  And, you will be a wonderful big brother.  I can’t wait to be able to get down on the floor with you again, to drive fire trucks, race cars and fly airplanes.  You have been such a patient boy while mommy has struggled physically.  I love you so much, sweet one.

To Baby Bo: we have been waiting for you for so long!  We love you and cannot wait to meet you tomorrow.  Stay strong, little boy.  We will see you soon!

37 weeks

Wow.  At 37 weeks, the end is truly in sight.  I dragged myself to work today in a bit of a blizzard, but it was easier knowing that I only have two more mornings left of commuting.  After Friday, I’m officially on maternity leave!

My biggest worry these days is how Littleman is going to adjust to the big changes that are about to come his way.  I think he’s starting to realize how soon the baby will be here (at least as much as a three-year-old can) and we’re finding he’s being a bit more sensitive than usual.  This morning, for example he decided he only wanted daddy and wouldn’t come near me.  He told me he didn’t love me, which of course, set off tears from both of us.  It took me a moment to pull my hormonal pregnant self together, but we talked about it and were both feeling better before I left for work.  But, I expect this is just a sign of what’s to come over the coming weeks/months.

Other than that, pregnancy continues to kick my ass, but as I noted yesterday, I’m doing my best to embrace it and enjoy whatever time is left.

Symptoms:  The acid reflux is still coming on strong and making me pretty miserable.  I’m medicating myself as much as possible and it helps a bit.  This is one symptom I’m hoping doesn’t stick around after the baby is born because it is NO FUN.

A new symptom this week (just to keep me on my toes) is carpal tunnel syndrome.  At least I think that’s what it is.  Most mornings I wake up with pain in my right wrist/thumb that kind of radiates a bit into my inner arm. 

Sleep:  Apparently I’m continuing to snore quite a bit, which causes D to sigh loudly and then head downstairs to the couch.  Sorry buddy, but I spend so much of my night awake that I’m not going to fret over snoring during the couple of precious hours that I actually sleep.  Not sure if this is somehow related to pregnancy or more a symptom of the cold I’ve been fighting and the winter dryness. 

Other: I’ve finally removed my wedding rings for fear of getting them stuck on there.  I don’t have any really noticeable swelling but they were definitely starting to feel a bit tight.

35 weeks

I spent much of yesterday tracking contractions (yikes!) so I was a bit worried that I would be writing my 35 week update from the hospital.  But, everything seems to have calmed down and I’m feeling totally fine and normal today (or as normal as a pregnant lady can feel).

I finally washed some baby clothes and blankets last night.  My fear that something could go wrong has kept me from doing that, but I’m realizing that my baby will be cold and naked if I don’t pull myself together!  As I went through the bag of Littleman’s first baby clothes, it was hard to believe he was ever that small.  And he wasn’t even all that small… 9lbs 5oz!

I also started packing my hospital bag.  I have a feeling this little one is going to come early and I don’t want the stress of not being ready.  Last time, I packed one large suitcase, which we ended up dragging with us from the labour/delivery room into the postpartum room without ever opening.  This time, I’m packing two separate bags: a small one for labour with just a few things I may need and a larger one for after the baby is born with the rest of our stuff and stuff for the baby.  That way, we can leave the big bag in the car until we need it.

Symptoms:  The aforementioned contractions came on  pretty suddenly around lunchtime yesterday.  They were about 10 minutes apart and lasted for a couple of hours.  I left work and tried to relax at home.  It was harder to track the contractions when I was dealing with Littleman, but they were definitely still happening throughout the evening.  I couldn’t decide what to do about it.  I didn’t want to “cry wolf” and go to the hospital for nothing, but I also didn’t want to ignore them if they actually were “something”.  Finally I decided to see if bed rest would stop them.  Sure enough, going to bed for the night seemed to calm things down and my sleep was just fine.  Today, I’ve felt pretty good and haven’t had any contractions at all.   I thought being a second time mom would mean things wouldn’t be so scary or unknown.  Nope.

Sleep:  Hip and knee pain is a fun new development for me.  I find that I have to flip over many, many times per night because of aches and pains.  Keeping a pillow between my knees helps a bit, but trying to roll over with said pillow is quite an awkward challenge.

Other: My next door neighbour had her baby this week!  I got to meet him on Sunday when he was two days old.  6lbs 5oz of pure adorableness.  As I held him, I felt my little guy kicking from the inside.  It made me so excited for meeting my boy!

Getting real

Although I am well aware that I am pregnant (I have the ever-expanding belly and sleepless nights to prove it!) I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around it.  Aside from on this blog, I didn’t talk about my pregnancy for a long time.  After experiencing the miscarriage in March, we waited a lot longer to tell people we were expecting again.  In fact, there are some people I just told by email over the Christmas holidays (out of towners who I haven’t seen in person).

Anyway, now that the due date is getting closer (five more weeks of work!), shit is starting to get real.  In an attempt not to jinx things, I’ve pretty much avoided buying anything for this baby.  But, of course, I received some new baby clothes for Christmas.  And then, on Friday, while putting away our Christmas ornaments, we pulled out some of the newborn gear: infant car seat, bouncy chairs, floor activity mat.  At the grocery store yesterday, we picked up some newborn and size one diapers. 

I’ve finally moved most of Littleman’s stuff into his big boy room to clear space for Baby Bo’s clothes in the nursery.  Littleman is still sleeping in the crib while we work on the finishing touches in his room, but we’re pretty much ready to go.

So, while I know that things could still go wrong and I’m never going to stop being nervous about that, I’m finally starting to pull myself together and get things ready for our new little guy.

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).