Monday, November 16, 2009

Happiness....the search continues or has it been there all along?

In my quest to understand and appreciate my new role and life, I have come across a common human mistake. Happiness is a quest that will never be achieved by certain people. We take for granted what has been given to us and we come to expect it. The more you have, the more you want.

Wonderful events happen to people everyday, unfortunately once the novelty wears off we are looking for something more. What happened to the gift we were just given? The worst mistake someone can make in my opinion, is to forget what we have. Perhaps some don't realise how bad it can get or how it can all be taken away in the blink of an eye. We assume it will always be there or never fully appreciate what we have been given. Why do some people have to learn the hard way, that your world can come crashing down around you without warning? I'm not suggesting you live in fear, or become a pessimist, but perhaps be grateful everyday for what you have today and never forget how precious it is., for tomorrow may never come or it may not be around forever.

Family is the most important thing in my life. I feel very confident that I have my priorities in the right order. I make sure that everyday i take time to be grateful for what I have. I promise to myself to never "get use to" this new reality as something i come to expect. Everyday is a gift in this new life and I will never forget that. Sadly some people will never appreciate it to its full extent, until the scale tips terribly in the wrong direction....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Do

The age old question...Nature vs. Nurture. Every day I am reminded of my awesome responsibility of taking care of this new life. I have the power to shape this person into the best she can be. Everything I do, every decision I make and all the things I expose her too have an incredible influence. What if I make a mistake? Have a ruined her for life? How much does nurture really impact my daughter and when does nature take over?

These simple scenarios had me questioning everything I was doing at first. As soon as I became a mom, I suddenly noticed that I had beliefs about how my daughter should be raised. I had strong opinions! Where did that come from? My childhood? Am I raising my daughter the way my parents raised me? If so, who says they did it right! I think when we start out, sometimes we find ourselves doing what our parents did to us. I know I have caught myself singing some of the same songs that were sung to me.

When i was 20 weeks pregnant the ultrasound technician told us we were having a boy! I already had the whole nursery decorated with huge princesses on the wall and everything pink. I was stuck thinking, if i leave the princess on the wall for my son, does that mean it will damage him? Why can’t we encourage boys to play with dolls or allow them to like the color pink? What would happen if we do? In the end i decided to leave the princesses on the wall and just throw in a lot of blue blankets. Of course as life would have it, we were blessed with a little girl after all. I had all boy clothes for my baby and now the tables were reversed! This got me thinking. What impact do we have as parents on our children when we buy trucks and cars for boys and dolls for girls. Would our society be different if we didn’t? Do our children grow up thinking these stereotypes because of us? I constantly hear parents say “boys will be boys” when their son acts aggressive and telling their daughter to “be nice” when she does the same thing. What type of impact does that have? Perhaps next time we catch ourselves making one of these decisions, we should ponder why or better yet, why not?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The White Crayon

The title for this blog and my signature is a simple term that I have used to describe how I've felt most of my life until now. Its the crayon in the box that is the least selected. It has a purpose, its always there, its just as usefull as the others but almost always ignored.

They day I became pregnant I knew my life was changing forever. Never again was the world going to look quite the same and never again were my needs or wants going to come first. It signaled to me a time to start dealing with some issues that purhaps I have avoided my whole adult life. How can I bring an innocent life into this world, if I havent dealt with some of my baggage from the past?. Pregnancy for me was the time to get out the ugly shovel and start piling up the shit right in front of my face. No longer can I hide from it. No longer can I pretend it doesnt exsist. The time to start new was NOW.

I can assure you, mixed with the hormonal rollarcoaster that pregnancy brings and dreadging up old crap from the past was no picnic for me or my husband; Or anyone anywhere near me for the next 9 months. This was a time to make amends, talk about things, reflect on behaviour and finally move on. I wanted to wrap it all up, put a pretty little bow on it and store it away just in time for the birth of my baby.

Like all things in life, it didnt exactly work out that way. While I did most of my healing and moved on, sadly some of the people involved never did. For anyone who has ever gone through a truely life changing and self reflection expierence, you quickly realise most people around you arent nearly as eager to admit fault or change destructive negative behaviour. I had to realise, I can only control myself, and I can only change myself. If others in my life wanted to continue down the path I clearly have choosen to avoid, then they will have to go on with out me.

This has been the single hardest thing to do, but it must be done if you want to truely change your path. Dont let others try and steer you off course, stick to your goal and set the rules. Some people stay and some people go, that is their choice not yours.

My whole life I have always been super sensitive to others' feelings, admitting when I have done wrong, viewed the situation from different points of views and carried an incredible amount of guilt for a whole lot of issues that I am not responsible for. Its been termediously exhausting and was taking up way to much of ME and holding ME back. Once I realised that this is clearly been the single most destructive quality I have, I had the power to stop it. Its amazing how those around you that are use to using you as the one to kick, aren't nearly as excited about this "new you". Its so much nicier when you can stub your toe, turn around and kick someone else, blame all your problems on them for all that goes wrong in your life. This is the role I have been use to playing and I am no longer playing that game! Its time for them to start taking responsibilty for themselves and their own actions. Sadly this leaves me without them in my life going forward; however I'm OK with that. My life is no longer about them anymore, its about starting something new and healthy and completely different then I have ever lived before. A life truely happy and with peace....

The first 6 weeks as a mom

I’ve survived what I feel should be called a “mothers milestone”, the first 6 weeks. It could also be called the sleep deprivation stage although I haven’t experience teething quite yet. I remember back in my last weeks of pregnancy people telling me “get all the sleep you can, you are gonna need it” usually followed by an annoying laugh. I’m not sure how other pregnant woman felt at the end, but between the constant hip pain and peeing every 15 minutes I wasn’t exactly getting quality sleep then either. At 41 plus weeks I was ready to deck the next person that would say that to me.

The sleep deprivation I experienced in the first 5 weeks of my daughter’s life was no laughing matter at all. It starts when you go into labour which in my case was 4 pm. I had been awake all day when “the time” finally came and it lasted until 6pm when my baby was born. I thought “wow I did it!” 26 hours of labour and survived. Little did I know that was just the warm up :-S After my body had gone through that traumatic event of giving birth all I wanted to do was sleep, however now I had this little baby that I had to start taking care of. Immediately you have to start feeding your baby every 2 hours.

I decided to breastfeed and no amount of prep can teach you how, until you actually try it. I had to learn and the baby had to learn, one feeding would sometimes take an hour, then I had to burp her and settle her, and change her diaper. By the time I was done 2 hours had gone by and I had to feed again and restart the process. When do I sleep??? OMG what have I gotten myself into??? For something so natural, breastfeeding is incredibly difficult i found. Learning to get her latched on properly, dealing with the initial pain of breastfeeding and of course sleep deprivation! No wonder only 17% of mothers make it to six months breastfeeding.

Scott was incredibly supportive that first week doing all the night shifts and allowing me to sleep and feed only. I was actually feeling pretty good. Once he went back to work and the world started to go back to normal, the reality of the workload started to affect me. My body was still healing and breastfeeding alone drains you so fast and of course sleep deprivation. I started to pump my milk and allow Scott to give her the odd bottle, but I was leery doing this as they don’t recommend it until at least 6 weeks to avoid nipple confusion. This was never in my “plan” either but like many rules you make before the baby comes this too went out the window. You do what works and what you need to, to survive!! I also said I would never give my child a soother, but after hours of crying and fussing, Scott tried one and she went right off to sleep....another rule bites the dust. How about “only sleeping in the bassinet”, I look lovely over at my daughter right now fast asleep in her spare car seat. Yep, that’s right folks, she sleeps in her car seat, the bassinet lasted only a week.

One of the hardest times has been week 4 and 5. We heard that colic likes to show its ugly head around this time and we were holding our breath, but like text book Byllee started fussing between 6pm until 3am some nights. We really had resigned ourselves to having a colicky baby. It doesn’t help that all those weeks of 3 hour cat naps starts to really catch up on you. I also got tonsillitis that week as well and was a crying, bubbling mess. Its hard enough doing this when you are “just exhausted”!

I started googling and turning to different websites to look for a possible solution. My mother suggested i cut back on caffeine...WHAT? Cut out coffee? Are you insane? I’m so sleep deprived and now I am suppose to cut out coffee too? I had to think long and hard about this one, and decided to go back to only 2 cups a day from the 4 cups I was drinking now. She actually started to slowly reduce fussy time almost immediately and thats when the “secret” formula occurred to me: Exhausted mom + Fussy baby + coffee = fussier baby and more alert mom. Alert mom and fussier baby MINUS coffee = less fussier baby and exhausted mom. Less fussier and happy baby = more rest which = less exhausted mom. Therefore coffee no longer needed.....who would have thought that was possible?

We are coming up now on Byllee’s 2 month birthday, and I can’t believe how time flies. One thing I hope to get a handle on is finding more time for me. It’s becoming a common sight for me to show up to my friends and families houses covered in puke with no makeup, wearing some ratty shirt I haven’t worn since high school since I don’t have enough clothes to last me till next laundry time. However, my baby girl is growing fast and is all smiles these days, so in the end, I guess I am doing something right and that’s all that matters :)

My Birth Story

My Birth Story

Baby: Byllee Lynne

When: Thursday May 21 2009 at 1754

Weight: 7lbs 8oz

I will start off by saying that at my 20 week ultrasound we were told we were having a Boy.

On Wednesday May 20th around 4pm I felt what was later identified as finally a “real” contraction. I was lying on my lounger in my backyard reading my “Lats and Atts” magazine (sailing mag) and enjoying the beautiful afternoon. I had experienced so many so called “false” labour contractions that I didn’t get too excited. By 7pm they were still coming and between 16-26 minutes apart. They started off at around a 4 out of 10 on the pain scale even from 4pm. Scott and I decided that this may be it so we might as well go for a walk to help things along. We drove to our nearest park and walked along the grounds stopping every 20 minutes while I put my arms around his shoulders and leaned off him to breath through them, it was around 6 out of 10 on the pain scale at this point.

Once we returned home I decided I had a few more things I could clean (lol) and did my MAKEUP! (gotta look good for those birth pictures, right ladies??!! LOL ) I used my birthing ball, took a couple baths and walked around. I was only feeling my contractions at the bottom of my uterus in the front and in my back, with very intense pressure. When my pain developed into a 7 out of 10 things start to get fuzzy. I decided to call the hospital and let them know I was 11 minutes apart and would be coming in soon. The nurse on the phone said “oh honey, you have a LONG way to go”…… gee just what every woman wants to hear when shes in intense pain. Scott and I decided to walk around the block a few times stopping now every 6 minutes and I was no longer in what they call the “smiley face phase”.

So off to the hospital we go….0230amBy the time we arrived at the hospital my makeup was all over my face and running down my neck, my hair was pulled out of the ponytail and I was in 9 out of 10 pain….oh did I mention it was only a 5 minute drive? I told Scott to park across the street at the free parking lot for the pharmacy so we could save 7 bucks and I would walk across the road. That sounded like a good idea for all of 2 minutes when the next contraction started “oh F^&*$ &^%&^%&^% DRIVE INTO EMERG!!” What was I thinking??lol

We came crashing through the door in the typical movie scene with me in the wheelchair except I wasn’t looking like any movie star I tell ya! They took me into a room hooked me up to the fetal heart monitor and the contraction monitor and off I went every 5 minutes. I’m not sure when the pain moved into the 10 out of 10 range but it was somewhere around here. I was like a caged animal, everytime they came, I would role onto my hands and knees or crawl off the bed onto the floor (?) hang off scott a few times. I was clawing at the bedsheets, biting the mattress, pillow, once Scott (!) by accident. Tried to rip the bed sheet….yes it wasn’t pretty and not my finest hour (or as it turned out HOURS). The nurses were quite confused by my behaviour and trying to simply take in …What just walked in the door here?? During one of these contractions the nurse ran over and felt the top of my uterus and said “stop stop Wendy, its not even a contraction”………..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (the worst nightmare ever) Of course I couldn’t “stop” and after it finished I said in a horrible nasty tone “Are you saying what I am feeling is not REAL pain???” she was confused and they all left the room, apparently my contractions weren’t even registering on the monitor either!

Meltdown Number 1:

As I clung to Scott from the floor (unsure how I ended up here) I was bawling and terrified they were going to send me home thinking it is only “ligament pain” as I heard them say. 10 out of 10 pain people!! Next I remember she said she talked to the doctor and shot morphine in my side. The monitors weren’t on me anymore as I was too wild for them to stay on, and according to them, there wasn’t anything to monitor anyway. They apparently timed my contractions from the nurses station across the hall by my screams (4 minutes apart). Unfortunately, all the morphine did was make me soo looped I had to keep my eyes closed. My pain never even dulled a little. My labour stayed like this for the rest of the time, it never changed in intensity as there was no where to go and only got closer together. Somehow I ended up in the largest labour room at the end of the hall as I was making too much noise and probably scaring everyone. It was 730 by the time I remember the nurse telling me the anastegeologist was coming in and it should be another half hour. Mentally that is what I set the goal for, just one more half hour. I should mention I never wanted to have a natural birth, I always planned on taking meds and having an epidural, I did not want to be some super hero strong woman! This was going on 15 hours now.

After an hour (!) the new nurse walks in and says the anastegeologst hasn’t even been called and doesn’t know when he’ll be here.

Meltdown #2
Not that I was being quiet by any means, but I decided that if I was going through another hour of this then I was letting it all out. I screamed and moaned like I have never done in my life. I couldn’t understand how any human could possibly watch someone else in this much pain, and NOT help them. I was begging on the floor for help to Scott. This was actually extremely traumatizing for me. The doctor finally arrived and started the process of the epidural at 930am. I remember how it looked like the heavens opened up, and the angels were singing when he stepped through the door, I was SAVED. I found some super human strength (like when a lady lifts a car off her child) for only one contraction to not move as I did NOT want to mess this up!!!!!!!!!!! The relief was almost immediate and I have never been so relieved. My contractions stopped of course after this, but I honestly could care less at this point, I was no longer feeling like my hips were breaking apart every 4 minutes.

They broke my water after this and I had a relaxing afternoon sleeping and listening to ocean waves on my IPOD until 4pm. The doctor decided to check me, and I knew something was up as I started to feel a strange feeling with some pressure. She said “oh look the babys head is right there ready to come out” ! For some reason I wasn’t prepared for this and got a little scared. The nurse asked me if I wanted to start pushing or let my body do the work for a little longer. I was happy to wait, this pressure wasn’t nearly as bad as what I had before. When pushing finally started I realized how difficult it actually was. I’ll spare the details and say after an hour and a half, out came the baby. I heard the doctor say “look what it is!!” somewhere in there I heard someone say “girl” WHAT???????? I looked at my husband and said “ It’s a girl????????? We have a daughter???????????” OMG we don’t even have a name!! There we were wearing matching bracelets with our “son’s” name on it LOL. What a complete shock!!!!!!! They took our baby girl over to get weighed as we slinked off our bracelets hehe. She was perfect, pink, 7lbs 8oz and the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. While the first 17 hours of labour was WAY worse then I EVER imagined, the birth and expierence was beautiful and positive in my memories now.Becoming a mother has been the best expierence of my life and I would do it all over again for her, even without the epidural!