Saturday, 24 October 2015

Book Recommendations

I love to read, but it's been a long while since I read a book that I absolutely loved. The last book that captivated me was Twice Born by Margaret Mazzantini. I read it at the end of my pregnancy with Paloma and although it was well written, I think part of the reason I loved it so much is because infertility was a large part of the story and I remember feeling like the writer really captured the emotions of those struggles. I'm currently reading another of Mazzantini's books and it's not all that great.

I am looking for recommendations of great books. I'm travelling soon and am hoping to have a few good books to read on the plane. What was the last great book you read?

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Home Pregnancy Test at 12dpo

I did a pregnancy test last month. I knew I wasn't pregnant, but I was hoping for a happy surprise. My RE put me on progesterone suppositories because she suspected a luteal phase defect was the reason for the previous month's chemical pregnancy. I hadn't gotten my period (due to the progesterone) and was hoping the real reason it hadn't come was because I was pregnant. Even though all my instincts were telling me I wasn't. I had a bad feeling about the cycle from the get go. I thought I should take a month off after the chemical, but since my clinic never mentioned anything about taking a break, I went for it. I wasn't surprised in the least when I saw only one line on the stick. I've only ever seen one line. I swore I'd never pee on another stick again. I thought they were bad luck for me.

But I bought a package of two last month and the one left over was constantly on my mind as my two week wait was getting close to being over. I told myself I wouldn't use it, but yesterday afternoon at 12dpo and after drinking a tonne of water and tea that morning, I came home for lunch to let my dogs out, grabbed the stick from the medicine cabinet and used it. I told myself if it came back negative, I'd still be in the game because of all the fluids I'd had that morning and because I was testing a couple days early and in the afternoon. Except it didn't come back negative. It was positive. The plus sign showed up immediately. I didn't even have to do that thing where you hold the stick up to the light to try to find the faintest of second lines. It was just there. Positive.

I was equally blown away and cautiously happy. I want to chill on my excitement until I see my RE and get confirmation that things are looking good. I'm doing my beta tomorrow and then the clinic will schedule an ultrasound. If everything looks good, they'll release me to my family doctor. I already put my name on the waitlist for midwifery care, as I've heard the list is quite long now. The Ministry has funding for 5 midwives, but currently only 3 of the positions are filled. The midwife I had with Paloma is one of the ones who left. It felt incredibly weird to be putting my name on the wait list for a baby that I haven't even confirmed with my clinic, but if the worst happens, I am absolutely sure I wouldn't be the first woman to have to call and tell them to remove my name from the wait list.

If all goes well, baby #2 will be arriving at the end of June. A great time to have a baby, I think. So far, no morning sickness (I didn't have any with Paloma either). The only pregnancy signs I've experienced are fatigue, hot flashes, increased discharge, gas and brain drain. I think the fatigue and brain drain were just as much caused by low iron as pregnancy. I'm back on my liquid iron and am feeling much better. I've also started back on my exercise routine as I think it was a main reason my pregnancy went smoothly with Paloma.

Life is still crazy busy. Our house sold and we bought a new one. We're moving November 9th. I'm off to Honduras on November 16th for 10 days. But after that, I hope to be able to blog more often. I promise to update once I know more about this pregnancy.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

One Too Many Irons In The Fire

More than a few people have told me that if my life isn't busy, I'm not happy. I've been called Speedy Gonzalez by many people (currently one of my nicknames at work) and I can't say I disagree. I often feel like I have one too many irons in the fire, but for the most part, the constant motion doesn't bother me. Of course, there are times (and especially in the early days with Paloma when I was learning how to be a Mom) when I call my own mother to vent because I'm feeling so overwhelmed, but those days don't happen often. She always has the same advice - try to relax and just follow your instincts. You know your baby best. Don't read things on the internet. I think I've finally learned to take her advice to heart. Thank God.

I've heard parenting be compared to seasons and I think it's a great metaphor. Right now, we are in an easy season with Paloma. She's almost 16 months. Andino and I have been parents long enough to enjoy the easier seasons while we are in them and know that the challenging seasons - long & short - eventually pass.

I'm so thankful Paloma is an easy toddler at the moment because holy moly do Andino and I have a lot going on. We do it to ourselves. We are both ambitious people and we fill our free time with our hobbies. Calling them hobbies feels like minimizing what they really are. They are the things we are passionate about. Andino's music and my non-profit. It is so much work running them. Andino's always applying for music festivals and playing shows and we are both trying to stay on top of social media and researching and reaching out to people and having meetings. We both have to travel sometimes (Andino throughout the year, usually for short stints and me once a year for a week+ )

I'm going to book my flight to Honduras today. I will be flying into San Pedro de Sula the first week of November. I haven't even 100% decided how many days I'll be staying yet, but it will be about a week give or take a few days. We are having one last fundraiser before I leave and we are currently trying to sell tickets for that. I've been in regular contact with the organization in Honduras we are supporting, trying to arrange things, while also researching future partnerships and funding opportunities (of which I've found none...) I need to write a blog for my other website, now that I've finally got the new site looking half decent.

On top of all that stuff, our house just sold the other night and the posession date is November 15th. Which means Andino will be solo parenting for the first time, while also trying to pack to move and also working full time. The timing is definitely not ideal, but such is life.

Did I mention I'm on day 2 of clomid and we are still going ahead with the next IUI? Why not? I considered taking a break, but honestly, an IUI is really not much work compared to IVF and all the other things we've got going on.

So I may be absent again for a little bit, but if you want to follow my work in Honduras, please come visit me at www.mamas4mamas.ca I haven't written a blog there yet, but hopefully will start tomorrow.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Next Steps

Hi Friends.

I've been on a blogging break. It wasn't an intentional break, but I decided to put blogging on hold for a minute while I catch up on other things in my life. I've still been reading your blogs, but not commenting, which I feel bad about because I love when people comment on things I write. I was reading on my phone and it's a piece of crap so commenting was a long drawn out process. I always thought "Oh I have to remember to go back and comment on Amber's post from my work computer...." but that never happened. So sorry about that.

I did my first IUI in August. I got pregnant. I felt it. I had hot flashes and waves of nausea. My milk almost completely dried up. (Yes, I'm still nursing Paloma 1-2 times a day. She's crazy for the boob!) Even though it was way too early, I started daydreaming about baby #2 and even thinking about baby names. And then, one morning I was travelling for work with a co-worker (who luckily, is also a close friend) and I started bleeding. I was trying to call the clinic but my phone was dead. Needless to say, my meetings for work that day were not very productive. I had only been pregnant for just under 2 weeks.

Have you read this post by A Mothership Down?
"And those few days were nice, weren’t they? The planning. The imagining. The (guarded) celebrating. We always knew it was too early to really relax with you. We knew the faint line signaling your existence might just as easily be gone tomorrow. But oh, the hopes that come forward anyway. How can they not?"
Like Liz, I'm glad we knew. 

And then a whirlwind happened. After I lost the pregnancy, Andino and I both started to flounder in an immense wave of all those hard emotions that we swam through during the years it took to have Paloma. We both started to worry if we had the strength to go down that road again. We argued and stressed and felt sad. And then, we agreed to adopt.

I got a rush whenever Andino and I made arrangements. I emailed the social worker who did our homestudy and emailed the Ministry to set up a meeting. I got in contact with an adoption agency and read all my favourite adoption blogs while looking for new ones. South Africa has a great program right now. Very stable and the kids are only about a year old when they come home.

You guys know how much I want to adopt. I feel it in my bones. I know it's something I am meant to do. I can picture meeting my son for the first time (in my daydreams it's always a boy I adopt.) I know I have what it takes to wait the 2-3 years to complete the adoption process.

What I don't have is $30,000.

It's so incredibly frustrating that it has to come down to money. But for a young family like ours, we just don't know how we'd get all that money. It feels impossible.

So I agreed to try IUI again. We still have 2 more samples left. If I'm still not pregnant when those are gone, we'll look into adoption again. It felt like the right thing to do financially. But not in my heart. Don't get me wrong, if I got pregnant I would be so happy. But in a perfect world, I'd adopt my next child and then go back to the IUIs 5 years from now to try for a third baby. But we all know this isn't a perfect world.

So that's what's been going on in my world lately. I'm at the tail end of my two week wait but I don't feel pregnant this time. I'm going to Honduras in November with my non-profit, so I'm not sure if I will go right back and try again, or wait until I get back from Honduras. I'm not sure if it's a great idea to be in such an early stage of pregnancy while travelling.

I hope I'm not gone so long before posting again. Sometimes I think about retiring The Gypsy Mama because I never wanted to be a Mommy Blogger. But this blog isn't that. It's just my personal blog and I write about what's going on in my life, which is usually about motherhood, but hopefully about more than that too...

Friday, 7 August 2015

Working Mom

Well, I'm officially a working Mom. It's hard to believe. In some ways, I slipped back into my old routines in the office like I never left and in other ways, things feel completely different. Not much work-related has changed in my absence, but being back has made me realize just how much I've changed. There's the obvious change in that I am no longer suffering and dreaming about becoming a mother. But there are other subtle changes that I can't quite put my finger on, but I've been thinking about a lot.

I feel like I am living in a way which is more true to my real self than I have been for a while. I feel balanced and I no longer waste massive amounts of personal energy worrying about things that are out of my control. I spend my time working on and thinking about things that are meaningful to me. I've been reading good books, eating good food, spending quality time with my family... I feel like I'm really owning 30.

Life is good right now.

But it's so hard to leave Paloma at daycare. She cries so hard as soon as I take her out of the car seat and she sees where we are. She clings on hard and doesn't want me to hand her off to the staff. They tell me that she's always a happy girl there though, and she only cries during drop off and when she sees other parents coming and going (she's one of the last to be picked up at close to 5:00) On Tuesday this week, she napped for an hour and a half in the crib. What the What? She hasn't done that for me in ages. The only way I can get her to nap that long is if I'm laying down with her or if she's in the stroller or car. But then on Wednesday she wouldn't nap at all. She's never done that in her life, so needless to say she was pretty unhappy that evening. She'll adjust eventually. She'll only be going 4 days a week and I'm so appreciative of the fact that Andino and I were able to arrange our work schedules like that.

I had to be honest with my boss about trying for a baby again. I just wouldn't have been able to keep making up lies and/or being vague about why I would be needing so much sick time. I'll need to do at least one ultrasound a month (this time I did two) and then a whole day off to drive up to the clinic and back for the IUI. So I told her the truth, but assured her I'd work hard for her while I'm here and reminded her that it could take a few tries until I get pregnant. She seemed to be totally cool with it.

Andino's away with his band for 10 days and I'm missing him already. Of course it's nice to have his help around the house but I also miss having him around. My sister in law will be coming with me to the clinic on Monday for the IUI. I wasn't sure whether or not to bring Paloma because it's a lot of driving, but in the end I decided I wanted to bring her. Obviously I want to spend as much time with her as possible, but also because now I won't have to rush back in time to pick her up from daycare.

So please send me good vibes on Monday. I really hope getting baby #2 won't be as long and drawn out as baby #1 was!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Green Light

The rest of our vacation at home was great.

Donairs at Pizza Corner

Jamaican food

Visit with friends and their kids

We took a late flight on the way back to the Prairies. It worked out well because Paloma slept almost the whole second leg of the flight which was easier than having to entertain her for hours in a cramped space. We got home around 11:30 p.m. We didn't have a great sleep, but the next morning we got up and hit the road to our fertility clinic. Not the best day for 6 hours of driving, but it was the only appointment they had available before I go back to work. We met with the RE for about 5 mintues. She asked me some basic questions about my pregnancy and delivery and gave me the green light to start trying right away. She gave me the requisition for bloodwork, I bought some HCG from the pharmacy, we got Mexican for lunch and drove home.

I did the blood work on Friday (8 vials!) and my period arrived on Sunday. I was surprised, but when I counted it out on the calendar it was right on time. I called the clinic on Monday to report Day 1 and they told me they had only received 2 of my labs back, but they were okay to move forward as the others usually take a week or so to arrive anyway. They told me that my thyroid levels were a little low (meaning overactive thyroid) which didn't surprise me because they've always been in the low range of normal, but I guess now they are a little outside the range at 0.6. They told me they like to see levels of 1-2 for fertility, so then I spent the afternoon stressing out about that. 

I decided to do a natural cycle this time. Clomid gave me terrible hot flashes last time and Femara is contraindicated with breastfeeding. I know I said I was weaning Paloma, and for the most part I did. But I always end up nursing her 2-3 times a day (usually to sleep at night and when she wakes at 5:30 in the morning it's the only way to get her back to sleep.) If I felt like I really needed to, I could just tough it out and not give in when Paloma wants to nurse, but I'd much rather wean her gently than abruptly. I could also tough it out and get clomid hot flashes, but the clinic was adamant that I didn't need to take any drugs as I ovulate on my own and they were encouraging me to go natural so that's what I decided to do.

I have an ultrasound Tuesday morning for follicle tracking and guess what? Tuesday is my first day back at work! I'm not even back at work yet and I'm already emailing my boss to tell her I'm going to be late. I'll also have to take a sick day to drive the 3 hours to the clinic for the IUI. I'm obviously not going to be telling everyone I'm trying for a baby (like last time, but that was different.) I feel a little guilty about trying as soon as I go back to work, but there are many reasons why I want to start trying now and it seems a little silly to put off  my family building so as not to inconvenience my work.

This is probably my last post as a Stay At Home Mom of one. Life is changing a lot these days, but I feel like I'm in a really good place. I've learned so much over the past year - about parenting and about myself. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me with positive comments and advice. I think the first year of parenting is a huge learning experience for everyone and it can be hard at times but I never felt alone thanks to all my friends, family & blog friends who let me know they were there. 





Saturday, 18 July 2015

Home Before Work

We are home in the Maritimes for our summer family vacation. I'm going back to work in just over two weeks so this is our last big vacation before Paloma starts daycare. It's always nice to be home. To be near the ocean and forest. Of course it goes without saying that I love to see my family too. Being home always makes me feel energized and rejuvenated. I think it's the ocean air.

We just got here on Wednesday night and we still have a few days of vacationing left to enjoy. Paloma did really well on the plane. We brought some little toys to keep her busy and that worked quite well. We also walked up the aisle on the plane and Paloma made friends with some little girls who kept her busy for a little while too. 

There's a 3 hour time difference between this home and my other home and I've been keeping Paloma on the same schedule as usual. This means when I put her to bed at 10:30 p.m. NS time, she's still going to bed at her regular 7:30 SK bed time. I always do this when we come here, because it also allows her to be up late and play without having to put her to bed when my Mom is still serving evening snacks and the sun is still high in the sky. I've also found she transitions really well to her bedtime and nap time after vacation.

A few photos from today and yesterday:











Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Jazz Festival Take 2

We spent Saturday afternoon watching Andino's band play at the Jazz festival. We went last year when Paloma was only a month old. All weekend, I thought about how stressed we were this time last year. Paloma got colicky when she turned 3 weeks old, which coincided with our basement flooding and us having to be out of the house for a couple of weeks. The first week we spent in a hotel and the second at a friend's house who was out of town. I would spend the whole day alone with Paloma (aside from short visits from friends) because Andino was working at the office all day and fixing the house all evening. I had an overabundant milk supply/overactive letdown, so whenever she would nurse, my milk would pour out like a fire hydrant, effectively drowning my tiny little 6 pound newborn, causing her to cough and choke. All I wanted was the comfort and privacy of my own home while I got the hang of motherhood, but it wasn't possible. It was such a stressful time for me. She was so full of gas from the milk problem, she would scream-cry for what seemed like hours on end. I worried about disturbing the other guests in the hotel, in addition to feeling helpless because I couldn't make her feel better. My midwife told me I just had to wait for her to get bigger so she could handle the flow of milk better. It was months before she finally stopped choking.  

On the way to the Jazz Festival last year, we were really late getting on the road. It was pouring rain, Paloma was colicky & the basement was flooding. We arrived just in time for Andino to take the stage, I don't think he had time for a warm up or anything. We were a little stressed getting on the road again this year, but overall the drive up was a million times easier and the weekend was very enjoyable. We spent the night in a hotel so we could do some sightseeing. We ate at a great restaurant with live Cajun music and took some nice walks as a family. 


relaxing by the river

walking over the river on a cool bridge

babywearing on the bridge

Andino on stage. The air is smoky from forest fires up north.

Andino's in the poncho

Paloma kicked off the dancing

Chilling, watching Dad on stage
Cristy wrote about an infertile's bucket list  and I could totally relate. Over the past year, there have been so many times where I found myself doing something and thinking "how many times did I daydream about doing this as a mother?" Going to music festivals with my kids is definitely high on my bucket list and I absolutely loved watching the show with Paloma. 

Monday, 29 June 2015

June

It's been so hot here lately. The prairies are the land of extreme temperatures and it's hard on this Maritimer. I've lived here for 5 years (on and off... but mostly on) and I just can't get used to it. Obviously the frigid winters are tough, but the summers aren't easy either. I just don't love the heat like I used to. I once spent 2 weeks in Cuba in the middle of August and enjoyed the sweltering weather. I won't go so far as to say I loved the heat in Mozambique... especially not when I was suffering from heat rash for months on end, but I didn't hate it. Now I can't stand the heat in July in Canada. Does this mean I'm getting old? 

I avoid the midday sun, so I go outside with Paloma every morning for an hour or so, and again in the early evening. I bought her a sandbox and baby pool the other day. She loves the sandbox. The baby pool not so much, but the dogs love it! Her favourite activity these days is to paint the cement with water. It entertains her long enough for me to sit and read the news and drink my tea in relative peace, which is how I like to start the day.





The beginning of June was tough, because I was bringing Paloma to daycare. I wanted her to have lots of time to slowly adjust so it wouldn't be a drastic transition. The first few times I stayed with her, then I started leaving her for an hour. She was doing great and her teachers were impressed. Then, she got her one year vaccination and everything took a turn for the worse. She just wasn't herself. She was waking all through the night, so she was tired all day. She wanted to spend the entire day in my arms and would break down as soon as I was out of sight. She didn't even feel okay when I left her with her Dad when I took a quick trip to the grocery store. I felt terrible. I wasn't sure if she was feeling under the weather from the vaccinations, if she had separation anxiety again or if she was getting traumatized from being left at daycare. I continued to drop her off for a few hours, a few days a week but she just scream-cried on and off the whole time. She refused to eat or sleep there and was just miserable. When we came to pick her up she'd be huffing and puffing when she breathed from all the crying. I was stressed.

Then, we decided to book a week vacation to go home in July. When I told the daycare that Paloma would be taking a week off, I got a call the next day from the Director. She told me that she's seen a lot of kids be off their game for a few weeks after their one year vaccinations and that I shouldn't feel like I need to keep bringing her because we will basically be starting from the beginning again after our vacation since she will have gotten used to spending all day everyday with us. She said some kids take a few weeks to adjust to daycare and some take a few months, but they all get there. I felt better and decided to stop taking her.

She is back to sleeping through the night and is okay with being without me again. Now she has a really stuffed up nose and is teething, but for the most part she is feeling like herself again. After our vacation, she will only have about a week to transition into daycare full time. I know it's going to be really tough, but we have no other choice. I need to go back to work so I can be eligible for maternity leave again when we start trying for another baby. 

I have a few other things I want to write about. Hopefully it doesn't take me 3 weeks to find the time again! 


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Changes

There are big changes coming my way very soon and I've been feeling very anxious about them. I always try to keep my writing concise but this is probably going to be too long...

To start with, I go back to work in August. Truth be told, I like my job. I think I would feel a lot worse about leaving Paloma if I was dreading having to be around the people I work with, doing something I dislike, but since I have a positive work environment it's not so bad. But when I think about being away from my little girl for the vast majority of her waking hours, I feel absolutely gutted. It's not that I would want to be a stay at home Mom forever, I just don't feel like I'm ready to leave her yet. People keep telling me that the socialization aspect of daycare will be good for her and while I do agree, it's not like she doesn't have the opportunity to socialize when she's home with me. We are out doing activities and play groups at least 3 days a week. Plus, sooner than later she'd be in school and sports which would provide all the socialization she needs. I'll admit there will be aspects of daycare that will be beneficial for her. I'm sure she will enjoy it overall. But if I had a choice and money were no object, I wouldn't be sending her. We had to start paying in June to secure our spot for August, so we are taking full advantage of the $800/month we are paying and will be taking her over the next two months so she can slowly get used to it before she has to spend a full day. We've already spent a couple hours there together and she's been doing great. She loves to play with the other kids and all the new toys. She joined in the snack time and ate marshmallows for the first time. I'll start leaving her for half an hour or an hour starting next week. I have been feeling so anxious about leaving her that I've been struggling to be in the moment when we are home. I don't want to waste these last weeks together worrying about the future and will certainly do my best to enjoy them to the maximum. 

I should also say that I'm sure going back to work will be good for me in some ways. To get ready and dressed for work and go into my office and do adult things and have more me-time will be nice. I've always been the kind of person who gets a lot of personal fulfillment from my work and I need to nurture that part of me. That being said, I am spending as much time as I can running my non-profit so I don't feel desperate to get out of the house and go back to work so I can feel like I'm doing something other than parenting because I already get that fulfillment from mamas 4 mamas.

The other big change going on here is weaning. For the past few months I've been thinking about night weaning, and attempted it a few times, but I always gave in when the crying went on for too long. Paloma went through a phase from 8-10 months where she was often refusing food and was getting most of her calories from breastfeeding, so I didn't feel comfortable night weaning her when she was obviously hungry. Now, she eats like a champ and I know she can make it through the night without eating. When she was born, I had a goal to nurse her for a year minimum, but I was kind of hoping to make it to 2 years because that's what my midwife suggested. Breastfeeding is going so well for us, it makes me sad to stop. For some women, they want to wean because they've just had enough for one reason or another, but that's just not the case for me. Really, the only reason I am weaning her is to bring back my fertility/menstrual cycles so I can try again for another baby. I have a couple friends who said it took around 6 months for their periods to come back regularly after weaning. Since I'm hoping to start treatments again in the winter, I feel like the time is ticking to bring back my cycles. 

My plan of attack is to start with the night weaning. I always put her down for the night in the crib and then bring her into my bed on the first wake up. When she was not eating many solids she was up and down, up and down all night long until I couldn't take it anymore and brought her into my bed and I found myself reluctantly bed sharing. Now, I have come to like sleeping next to her, Or at least, I've gotten used to it and I don't feel motivated to change it right now. I like starting her out in her crib though, so Andino and I can do things around the house and I don't have to worry about her falling. Usually, I'd nurse her when I brought her into my bed and then at least twice more before morning. To get her off the boob at night, I decided to offer her pumped milk in a cup instead. I figured if she really was hungry, she'd take the milk. The first night we started the weaning process, she woke up around midnight and when I brought her into my bed, I snuggled her, patted her back, rolled over and ignored her. I tried all my usual tricks but she wasn't falling for them and was quite upset that I wasn't nursing her. I kept offering her the cup of milk but she was pushing it away. She cried for about an hour and it was really tough but I held onto my guns because I knew the first night would be the hardest. She kept crawling on top of me and grabbing my boobs. Eventually, she accepted the cup of milk and took about 10 gulps and fell asleep with her head on my stomach. She slept through until morning (6ish) Nights 2 & 3 went much better. She woke at the same time as usual (between midnight and 1 a.m.) I brought her into my bed and she whined a bit but accepted the cup of milk fairly easily and then fell asleep. Both nights she woke once before morning for a few sips of milk. Soon, I'll offer her water in the cup instead of milk. 

Once we have accomplished night weaning, I'll take on the day. I don't think that will be as hard because she is easily distracted. The hardest nursing session to stop will be when I nurse her to sleep at night. That will be the last nursing session to go and I'm sure I'll be more emotional when I attempt to end that. I will try to wean her completely as quickly as possible without making it super difficult on her. I feel like it would be easier on me that way to just get it over with instead of dragging it out. 

Despite these things that are making me feel anxious and emotional, I am determined to do my best to enjoy every last minute of my summer with Paloma.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

First Birthday

We celebrated Paloma's first birthday 3 times over the week/weekend and I have finally accepted that she is not a little baby any more. When she started taking a few steps at around 10 months, my Dad called her a toddler. I denied it wholeheartedly, even when he said "but that is the definition of a toddler! A baby toddling around!" No Dad. She's still my little baby. But when she turned 1 and was practically running around at her party, there was no denying that Paloma is no longer a helpless little squishy ball of baby bliss. She's a happy, confident and strong little toddler. Her birthday was on Wednesday and we started the day by meeting friends for a picnic brunch in the park. Paloma's friend B was born on the same day as her and we get together quite regularly, so we thought we'd celebrate their birthday together.

Chasing the Canada Geese

What a girl

Andino took the afternoon off work and picked us up from the park. We all went for a swim after lunch because Paloma absolutely loves swimming. She had her afternoon nap and then she opened her present from us. Andino said we should just put it together after she went to sleep for the night but I didn't agree and spent the next hour or so putting it together while she climbed all over me and the pieces. I was determined to let her use it on her birthday. 

Her Birthday Present from us

Her birthday party was planned for Saturday at the park. I'd already purchased all the decorations and I thought I'd spend Thursday grocery shopping and Friday preparing as much food as possible ahead of time, so Saturday wouldn't be scrambled. We didn't have a backup plan for bad weather and by Thursday the forecast was calling for cold, wet & windy weather on Saturday. We decided to cancel her birthday party. We tried to change the venue to an indoor location, but we couldn't find anywhere that could accommodate the 40+ people I invited. (Maybe it was a little much for her first birthday, but it was also a celebration of our first year as parents.) So I spent the morning making a dozen phone calls, unsuccessfully trying to find an indoor venue and the afternoon contacting everyone to tell them the party was cancelled due to weather. Then I felt terrible. I had been planning the party for months and I really wanted my girl to have a special day. We were still planning to have a get together with Andino's family at our place, but I wanted all her little baby friends that we've spent the year hanging out with to celebrate with her too. So we contacted everyone again to tell them the party was on, but would be split in two. Parents and kids (basically my friends) on Saturday and Andino's family and friends on Sunday. One of my best girlfriends helped out majorly by making some AMAZING tissue paper flowers and photographing the party. We live in a 780 square foot house and it often feels cramped with just the three of us and 2 dogs (granted we have a mastiff) and on Saturday there were 12 babies/kids and 18 adults.

My family

Her friends (aka my friend's kids) missing a few!

Opening presents
We were up late Friday night getting the food ready for the party, because I did the shopping and baking/cooking on the same day. Andino helped a lot. He took Paloma swimming while I made the cakes and then once she was in bed, he set up the decorations and helped make sandwiches. 

The theme of the party was "You Are My Sunshine" On the menu: 

Sandwiches/Wraps: Curry Chicken Salad SandwichesTex-Mex Pinwheels, Ham and Turkey
Snack: Kettle Corn & Fruit Kabobs

Birthday Cakes: A healthy Maple Apple cake for the babies (with cream cheese frosting dyed yellow with a pinch of tumeric!) and for the Adults, a basic yellow cake




For her Sunday party, I made pancakes. (I make good pancakes) and served with a raspberry sauce, sauteed bananas and sauteed apples. And maple syrup of course. Oh and bacon. (I don't eat bacon but tried to please the family) We ran out of cupcakes from her Saturday party, so after everyone left I made a fresh cake for the Sunday party from the same recipe. We ended up throwing more than half in the garbage, but I'm still glad we had cake to offer people. 

The weekend was amazing, but so exhausting. 




Saturday, 16 May 2015

I Can Do Hard Things

A few weeks ago, Amanda wrote about her word for the year and I thought it was an amazing idea. When I read about her tradition, I knew I wanted a word for this, my 30th year. At first I thought it would be confidence, in the sense of having the confidence in myself and my choices to not let negativity get to me any more. I discussed it with Andino, and he suggested the word conquer instead, as in to conquer that part of my brain that lets in the negativity, but also to conquer my dreams... or at least to keep chasing them. I loved it, so that's what I've decided to go with. I'm starting out my thirties on a mission! 

One of the biggest challenges I will have to conquer this year will be when I go back to work in August and Paloma starts daycare in June. (She won't be going full time until August, but I have to start taking her in June & July so she can get used to her new caregivers.) It's not that I wish I could be a stay at home Mom forever, I just wish I could have more time with her. I'm sad to think of her spending the majority of her waking hours away from me because this has been the absolute best year of my life and I guess I'm just not ready for it to be over. I love taking her to activities like swimming, music class and story time and seeing how she takes it all in. I love watching her meet new friends at the playground- her confidence and boldness make me proud. I love to watch her play independently on the kitchen floor while I make supper, stopping every so often to hug my legs. I love being there for her when she falls and cries and I lift her up and she instantly feels better. Obviously, there are hard days too. Well, more often than not, there are a few hard hours in otherwise wonderful days, but difficult moments are a part of life not exclusive to parenting. I'm just not ready to let her go yet and I told my Mom that a couple weeks ago. She kind of laughed, looked at me and said "Honey, you will spend the rest of your life letting go of your children far, far before you're ready..."  Truer words were never spoken, Mom.

It's going to be so hard to let her go, but I keep telling myself over and over that I can do hard things. 

Part of what makes me feel slightly better about going back to work is the knowledge that if I want to have more kids (and I definitely do) I need to work in order to earn maternity leave again. I've always dreamt of having 3 or 4 kids (Andino says 4 is out of the question) and I want to try to make that dream come true. That being said, Paloma brings so much joy and happiness to our lives that if more kids are not in the cards for us, we wouldn't be devastated beyond repair, as I would have been had I never been able to become a Mom in the first place. 

Going back to work & having more kids... weaning Paloma is inevitable. I still haven't gotten my period and I think I'm going to have to wean her entirely before my fertility returns. She's at the point now where I really only ever feed her at home. No more whipping out my boobs in Restaurants, Cafes and the Farmer's Market. Paloma is (finally) a fan of solid foods and they make up the majority of her caloric intake now. At this point for us, nursing is as much (if not more) about the comfort it provides her. I still nurse her a few times throughout the day, but she very rarely asks for it. I just do it because I still want to keep my supply up. I have been pumping and freezing so that when I do wean her, I can still give her breastmilk for another month or so. I think I could cut out all the daytime feeds now with hardly any protest. The hard thing is going to be at night. I love having that tool in the middle of the night to quickly put her back to sleep. The boob has never failed to put her back to sleep in the middle of the night within a few minutes. It won't be fun when I finally cut out all of the middle of the night feedings and I have to get up out of bed and stand up and rock her back to sleep when she wakes up. I am going to have more than a few rough nights, but from what I hear many babies tend to sleep better once they know they aren't getting boob in the middle of the night anymore. A cup of  milk just isn't worth waking up for. At least that's what I'm hoping, anyway...

I told Andino the other day that I feel like I am growing and changing and maturing every month right alongside Paloma. I love it. My 30th birthday was April 1st and that's when I made the goal to stop letting the negative energy of others bring me down. I felt like it was going to be such a huge battle because I've always been affected that way and I didn't know how I was ever going to change that. But now, only a month and a half later, I feel confident I am going to be able to conquer that goal. I can go back to work and leave Paloma at daycare, even though it's going to make me cry. I can wean her, even though it's going to make me sad. I can do hard things. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Photo Update

Periodically, I delete all the photos that I've posted on my blog. I figure no one is really reading the old posts (and if they are, they could read them without the photos.) I just don't like the idea of a tonne of my personal photos floating around. Today's post is going to be mostly photos of what we've been up to over the past few weeks because I don't have time to sit down and write a cohesive post. 

Starting from the most recent:


Taking the dogs for a walk with Paloma in the stroller instead of the wrap.


The day I took this photo was a shit show. I was planning on doing a Day in The Life post and was taking photos and keeping record as my morning progressed. I threw in the towel around 3:00 because I couldn't even deal with the day anymore.

I made a double batch of whole wheat sweet potato pancakes (on top of the toaster oven) WHILE PUMPING. And I don't even have a hands free pump!! I resolved to stop nursing Paloma to sleep on this day so she can be ready to nap at daycare. Baby girl was SO UPSET about that change. There was more crying on this day than since she was a newborn. It was so hard, but thankfully we are on the other side of it now. At 1:10, I realized my house was being shown (we're selling) at 1:30 and it wasn't ready yet. I never got so much done in 10 minutes in my life! I could write a whole post about this day, but since I'll probably never get around to it, this while have to do.



We get a local/organic grocery delivery and whenever it arrives, Paloma gets excited to see what's in the box. On this day, I had my back turned to her while I was making supper and I turned around to see she was chomping down on a tomato and pear.



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Andino took the dogs and Paloma for a walk a little too close to bed time and she fell asleep on the drive back. He brought her inside and took advantage of the opportunity to snuggle. 



A trip to the Museum with her friend B. They were born on the same day! I met B's Mom during our prenatal classes and ran into her at a coffee shop when the babies were 5 months old. I always find it kind of awkward making new Mom friends, but it's great to have other women to hang out with, especially during Maternity leave. We've hung out almost every week since then!


Just hanging out with her cousins

Hiking with Grampy 

Big smiles for Nanny

Reading with Grampy

Nanny made her an amazing birthday cake! It contained only natural sugar and no food colouring. 

Opening early birthday presents from Nanny and Grampy

And now for some bullet point updates:

The weather has been amazing here the last few weeks. Today it was 26 (Sorry Americans, I don't know what that is in Farenheit) but it was super hot. I got sunburned on my cheeks even though I was only outside in the sun for 30 minutes. I am disappointed in myself for not wearing sunscreen. I have been making a big effort to take care of my skin over the last few years because it's showing signs of sun damage. I think most of that is from travelling, but still... 

I'm participating in David Suzuki's 30 x 30 challenge. Basically, you commit to being outdoors for at least 30 minutes a day for the whole month of May. Seems easy, but sometimes you get so consumed with day to day activities that it's not so easy to set aside 30 minutes to enjoy nature. Obviously, today I chose the wrong time and got sunburned. 

I'm planning Paloma's first birthday. I know it's cliche, but really, where has the time gone?! 

Paloma has been sleeping much better. The night before last, she went to bed at 7:30 and didn't wake up until 2:30 and then came into bed with me and slept until 6ish. Not all nights are that good, but a great improvement from waking every 2 hours (or more!) a month or so ago. 

My next post is going to be my 100th post. What should I write about?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Daycare Called

Paloma turned 11 months old today. It's getting harder and harder to capture her monthly photos as she gets more mobile, but I managed to get this one today:



I've been planning on doing an annual photobook for her because I think it's a nice way to organize memories and to have something tangible. So this morning, during her nap, I uploaded a bunch of photos onto Snapfish. As they were uploading, my cellphone rang. I don't usually answer numbers I don't recognize, but this time I did. It was her daycare calling to tell me a spot was available for her to start on June 1st. I was totally caught off guard. I spoke to them only a few weeks ago and they told me to be prepared that she may not even have a spot in August. I thought I'd be calling my boss and asking for another extension of my maternity leave. For her to leave me in a few weeks? That's something I was definitely not ready for.

I called Andres sobbing. I could barely get the words out that her daycare had a spot for her in June. We arranged to stop by later that afternoon and I spent the rest of the day crying on and off. I don't know why it upset me so much when I had been hoping all along that she'd have a spot in July so I could slowly get her accustomed to her new life before dropping her off on my first day of work on August 1st. June 1st is only 4 weeks earlier than what I had been hoping for. (And $800 more expensive....) I let myself cry. Of course it's going to be a huge adjustment, why shouldn't I be sad to give up my time with her? It occurred to me that it's been ages since I last cried. When we were in the trenches of infertility it felt like I cried on a weekly basis.

We toured the daycare centre and I have to admit it was nice. They separate the kids into four rooms by age group. In the baby room there are 12 babies between the ages of 12 & 18 months. Each baby has their own crib and is assigned a primary caregiver. Each caregiver is responsible for 3 kids. They will allow us to use cloth diapers and to send food for her on the days when the menu has something I don't like. (Which seemed to be often.) If I have another baby and pull Paloma from the daycare while I'm on maternity leave, both kids would go to the top of the waiting list when my leave is over. It's not perfect, but nothing will be.

So I will start to bring her to daycare regularly for the next couple months before I head back to work in August. I know she will be fine and that she will adjust. I know she will have more than a few rough naps before she figures things out but I am still so choked up about this that I can hardly sleep or think about anything else! But as sad as this whole situation makes me, I can't help but think how lucky I am to even be in this situation. It doesn't feel like long ago when I would have given anything to be agonizing over these parental woes.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Followups

Things have been going well around here lately. I feel like a lot of my recent posts have been about challenges I've been facing (actually I think mostly everything I write is about that...) so I thought I'd give everyone a little update on things.

I wrote before about how we are reluctantly bed sharing. That's still going on, although less reluctantly now. I know this is only a temporary thing, so I've chosen to embrace the closeness we have at this stage in her life. I also wrote about night weaning and my hopes that getting Paloma to take in more calories during the day and off the boob at night would lead to more sleep for the whole family. I asked for your advice in how to go about night weaning and JustMe commented that she started slowly with 11:00 pm and added time as her little guy got used to it, so that was our game plan. We also really focused on doing everything we could to get Paloma to eat solids during the day which has been going amazingly well. Andino has been feeding her the majority of the time she's not feeding herself and she's been eating like a champ! I don't know if it's because her Dad is feeding her or because she's just feeling better now, but I'm SO glad she's finally getting some solids. It has made a huge difference in her night wakings.

I nurse her to sleep around 7 or 7:30, and she's up again around 8:30 or 9:00. I rock her back to sleep and she goes back down very easily. I'm usually out of her room within 10 minutes. Andino and I go to bed around 10:00 p.m. (party animals, I know!) and Paloma wakes up any time between 11:00 and 1:00. I bring her into my bed at that time and for the first few days I nursed her back to sleep but now I've cut that nursing session out as well. She sleeps through until 5:45 - 6:00 am with no wake ups to nurse. So we are down to only two wake ups as compared to like, a million before. One of the nights, instead of bringing her into my bed at midnight, I put her back in her crib and she slept until 4:30 but I was wide awake for over an hour after getting her back to sleep. I totally wake up when I go into her room in the middle of the night. I end up lying there awake while everyone else is enjoying their deep slumber and it makes me really angry, so I prefer to bring her into my bed for now. 

Did you read Mel's post Free Range Parenting and Helicopter Children? She said 
"I don’t have a lot of respect for parenting movements because parenting is actually not about the parents.  It’s about the children.  I have a lot more respect for people who say they don’t have a parenting philosophy but instead look at the children they have and parent them in a way that meets their individual needs.  And that means that every child in the house may be parented differently since they have different needs."

I loved that. It made me feel better about bed sharing with Paloma, even though it's not the parenting style I planned to have. It's the parenting style that Paloma needs right now (and allows the whole family to be well rested.)

As for naps, well they are still on the short side usually. I'm really trying not to stress about them and enjoy the last few months I have with her until she goes to daycare. A few times a week I make sure she naps in her crib instead of in my bed, the wrap or the stroller, just so it's not a gigantic transition at daycare. I'm making a big effort not to nurse her to sleep for her naps anymore. (I nurse her upon waking instead.) I still totally love when she falls asleep in the wrap though and it will probably be the thing I miss the most when I don't have babies anymore.

In other news, I told you that I was talking about #2 with my Doctor, but I didn't update you on how that went. Basically, she referred us back to the fertility clinic where Paloma was conceived. The referral is good for a year so there's no rush to start treatment right now (and I couldn't anyway because I'm still on maternity leave). The big take away from the appointment is that I have to wean Paloma before we try again. Well, I don't have to, but she said it would give us our best chance at conceiving so of course that's what we'll do. I'm not in any rush to wean her. I was really hoping the process would happen naturally once she's in daycare and we're apart more often (less boob temptation!) and she's taking in more solids. I'm pumping almost everyday so I can have lots of milk in the freezer for when I do wean her. She's recently started to drink milk from her cup  so it's not a matter of the boob being the only way she will take milk, it's more of a comfort thing. I've tried to get her to love a stuffed animal or blanky for comfort, but so far no luck.

Checking out the grocery delivery

Feeding her doll (in her dress made by me!!)
Playing with her cereal

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