loquacious family

The ramblings of a wordy woman on life, love, and the Lord

Friday, April 17, 2015

My C-Section Success Story - a Retrospective

As longtime readers, friends and family know, my birth plan for Little L was very crunchy/granola/natural (which is so completely unlike me). I had wanted an old-fashioned, through-the-hooha experience devoid of any drugs (save for nitrous oxide) or induction. I was prepared to breathe through the pain, endure a ring of fire, and even get torn in the process of pushing. I was ready to give birth!

But not ready for any other possible scenario. My pregnancy had been so smooth and uneventful that it didn't even occur to me that something might go awry during labour. I mean, there were no red flags for birth defects, no gestational diabetes, no pre-eclampsia - not even morning sickness. And yet, the labour was all sorts of bad. Little L was lying on my spine, her head was tilted to one side, and I was reverse dilating. Her heart rate got too steady (yes, too steady) and I was running out of time due to having had my water broken. A C-section was really my only option 47 hours later, even though it was the one thing I most wanted to avoid.

Lately I've come across quite a few stories about people who have had some very scary, and sometimes fatal, experiences following a C-section. I've also read blogs from moms who feel like a failure or are super disappointed with not having experienced vaginal childbirth, and accounts from people (like Kate Winslet) who actually lied about their procedures out of sheer grief and disbelief that they had not been able to give birth naturally. I can fully empathize with all of them, and I would never dare minimize the hardships that many women face following a C-section. Emotionally, physically - this is a major surgery and sometimes the cost that a momma pays is unbelievably high. And even when it is a smooth and successful C-section, some ladies now associate the process with shame and other devastating feelings that cause them great psychological distress even years down the road.

I do want to put a positive story "out there," though; not all C-sections are heinous, and not all of them have devastating results. While a surgical birth is obviously not the most natural option, it can be the best choice under certain circumstances. As one doctor assured me while I was labouring, "there is no shame in having a Caesarean when it's the safest thing to do for the health and welfare of yourself and baby. It doesn't make you any less of a mother; it doesn't minimize or negate the fact that your body created and nurtured this little being. You're still the mommy, you're doing the best that you can for your baby, and you can hold your head high knowing that you did everything you can to protect your little one." Those were powerful words for me to hear, and necessary too (although at the time, they didn't sink in quite as deeply as they do now).

I believe that when a new mom-to-be is faced with the possibility (or inevitability) of a C-section, sometimes the scary negative stories are simply not helpful, and it's important for them to know that there are good C-section stories too! I would have loved to have read some of those before my own procedure, that's for sure!


So here's mine: my C-section and  recovery was the stuff of legend. Seriously. Despite the weird shaky arms and shivering that the epidural brought on, I had zero side effects during and after the operation. I didn't go into cardiac arrest or lose a ton of blood, my blood pressure didn't soar or dip, and it didn't take me 6-8 weeks to recover. In fact, I was able to have my leg compression bandages and catheter removed within the first 18 hours post-partum. I could get up and walk to retrieve my baby girl from her bed right away; I think my IV was removed later that day as well (although maybe it happened on Day 2 - it's a bit blurry now).  Despite having been warned that I might be out of commission for several weeks, in reality there was no down-time needed. The only thing I had to do differently was not lift heavy items for those first few weeks. In my case, the pain of the operation was not unbearable, so I didn't need to medicate heavily on codeine or ibuprofen (although I did take Advil and Tylenol-3's regularly for the first week or so). Residual scar pain, infections, blood clots, hemorrhaging - I was mercifully spared all of these things. I am fairly certain I'm not the only one with a story like this to tell, either.

How blessed I am, and many of us are, to live in a country where emergency C-sections are readily available to those who need it. I'm thankful that this medical procedure exists, period, and am quite certain that without it, Little L would not have survived. I may not have, either. So while I might have a twinge of regret that I never got to experience pushing my baby out through my nether regions, I'm also overwhelmingly glad that things happened this way instead, and I still got my "happily ever after" (healthy baby) despite having nothing from my birth plan work out as I had intended.

So be encouraged, if you are facing a situation where a natural vaginal birth is simply not in the cards for you. Read up on the risks and benefits, get a great OB, and know that not every C-section is a war story, and you aren't any less of a mom or woman for having one.

Oh - and another benefit of C-sections? I don't pee when I laugh, and my hooha remains intact ;) 


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Can I Hover at a Distance?

I've long maintained that "free-range parenting" and all of those let-your-kids-roam-free approaches to child-rearing are contextual. For instance, my friends who live on a giant acreage in a small community can probably afford to let their littles go wild outside without any direct supervision. I'm pretty sure that most people know each other in that community, so it's likely that if something were to go sideways, other people in the neighborhood or town would be able to intervene or assist. That whole "it takes a village" thing? Totally would apply in a situation like theirs.

Gorgeous urban living

However, a big city is another context entirely. The fact that a lifetime ago, I used to work with the feds and had direct knowledge of and contact with paroled sex offenders gives me an inherent bias and caution that other parents might not have. There's also the reality that most people in a big city don't know each other, and tend not to intervene in others' affairs. This means that, while a stranger might still insert themselves into a situation to help a child who is lost or in danger and alone, there's also a good chance that an adult engaged in a situation with a screaming crying kid might not raise any red flags or cause a stranger to get involved. I was at Whole Foods a few weeks ago when a woman started screaming at a child (presumably hers); I wanted to stop and ask how I could help, but I talked myself out of it because I wanted to mind my own business; by the time I had reconsidered, they were gone. Keep in mind, I'm usually pretty outspoken and ballsy, too; if I hesitated, I'm pretty certain that most people with less gumption than I would have done so as well.

There's also a difference in traffic between small communities and large cities. In our current neighborhood, there are several intersections that are very busy, and major thoroughfares that surround our building. I have been to small towns that only have a whopping  two sets of traffic lights, favouring 4-way stops that are two city blocks apart. Perhaps it's just me, but somehow the 4-way stops seem infinitely less menacing than the city streets filled with people racing around in their BMW's and Lams (yes, we have an abundance of sports cars and Bimmers in our parkade).

Throwing her American Baby doll

It makes me wonder how things will shake out once we leave our urban concrete jungle for the suburban life. Right now, I keep Little L pretty close, and would probably be accused of helicopter parenting; I hold her hand when we walk down the sidewalk, and I am never more than 10 feet away from her when she's playing on the playground equipment (okay, usually I'm closer than that, but that's because I'm spotting her while she climbs, or pushing her on the swings).

But then again, she's only 3. Maybe that's to be expected. Maybe every parent of 3-year-olds hovers.

And helping "baby" climb the ropes

As she gets older, I would definitely like to increase my proximal distance (lest I be accused of helicopter-parenting my first-grader!), and am looking forward to seeing how having a larger home in a smaller community might lend to that goal.

What kind of freedoms do you give your 3-year old? How does free-range or helicopter parenting look like in your family?



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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Low Rise: A Big Problem

Little L is a fairly tall and big child for her age. She weighs nearly 37 pounds and reaches almost 39" in height. Her clothing size is fairly consistently a 4T, although depending on fit she can wear anything from a 3T to an XS (4-5) in the girls' department.

A problem I've noticed recently is that when Little L wears certain pants (and sometimes even when she wears leggings), she risks revealing some bum crack. The top of her underpants often end up showing, as does that section of her tailbone that leads to her bottom.


This is immensely disturbing to me, because she's 3 years old, and the people who design and make her clothing should (in theory) be cognizant that the consumers of their bottoms would be very young. Some kids her age still wear diapers, so one would think that the problem would be one of excess material around the butt, or pants with too high a rise to accommodate puffy diapers, not the opposite.

It also pisses me off because our society, as a whole, has a tendency towards explicit material and the hypersexualization / oversexualization of children, particularly young girls. Some light reading on the topic:

30% of Girls' Clothing is Sexualized in Major Sales Trend

Protecting Children from a Sexualized Childhood

The Disturbing Sexualization of Really Young Girls

A Target Intervention on Behalf of My Daughters

I won't bother rehashing the content already described in these links. Suffice it to say, I am not interested in making Little L look "sexy" or "trendy" or like a Bratz/Barbie doll. I don't want her navel or her ass to be on display, and I don't appreciate that my purchases at Old Navy or Target or Joe Fresh will sometimes cause her to have a plumber bum. I think I am going to have to start bringing a tape measure to check the inseams/rises on pants before I buy them for her. And I am going to have to start putting her in tunics and dresses along with pants, to compensate for the low-rise problems we are now encountering.

This is just so wrong on so many levels. I'm gutted that this issue even exists. Why can't kids just dress like kids?! When even pants get the sexualized treatment, our culture needs to give its head a shake! 






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Monday, March 30, 2015

From the Mouth of This Little Babe....


Floor bed, Little L style
(We are pretending to be at the beach)

LL: I'm just going to lie down on the sand
Me: Are u getting a sun tan?
LL: No! I'm getting a monkey tan

*****
(As I'm turning off lights)
LL: I want it super off! I wanna turn it off super dark!

*****
(Mid-tantrum about her Curious George doll needing a blanket, I am reminding her to breathe deeply)
LL: I don't wanna breathe!! I want George to get a blanket!

*****
(Little L sneezes, and this is followed by): Oh! I just sneezed tears into my eyes!!


Playing at her music station.
*****
(Little L is recounting the plot from a Bugs Bunny cartoon that she watched with Hubbs)
"... The bunny was going to cook the duck. And then the duck was going to cook the bunny. Then they decided that they were going to cook Elmer because he was a vegetarian."

*****
(After we hand her a juice box)
LL: Not the French side! The English side!
Me: How did you know that was the French side?
LL: Because that's not even English!

*****
(I don't remember what the context of this was, but Little L was not happy)
I want to see what's going on! No, not this going on!

*****
Me: No downward doggies in bed!
LL: No downward puppies in bed!

Planting twigs. It's one of her favourite outdoor hobbies
*****
(I am showing off my new gladiator heels)
LL: I don't want mommy to peek her tootsies out!

*****
(In reference to the Pingu characters who were playing king and queen on the TV show)
[Pingu] can't be a queen. He can only be a king.
 

Checking Daddy's ears and being a giggly goofball
*****
(Little L spots a jacket hanging off a chair in a window across the street)
Something in the window is freaking me out! I need daddy to protect me!!

*****
(We are sniffing the stickers from her Christmas scratch-and-sniff books. One book is Hubbs' old copy so it's ancient, and the other is fairly new. After smelling the old book, she sniffs the new one and declares:)
That smells way hot chocolatier than the old one! 

*****
Preschooler "logic:"
Bees eat cheese. That's why Daddy can't wear a hat! ....

*****
(Hubbs gives Little L an unsolicited hug)
Not a hug from Daddy!!  Only Mommy has the skills to hug me!

*****
More play using our ottoman as her table. Even though she has her own little table.

*****
(Hubbs gives Little L 10 "bounces" that propel her in the air. These are crazy big lifts that take a lot of strength and energy)
LL: I want more bounces. Ten more bounces!
Hubbs: No, Daddy needs to rest for a bit before you can have more bounces. I'm exhausted!
LL: I want Daddy to be *more* exhausted!!!

*****
(I am watching as Little L devours her dessert)
Me: Is that delicious or what?
LL: It's not "or what!" It's delicious!!

 





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Nanny Nightmares

The content you were looking for has been removed. In its place is a message directed to a subset of readers who have apparently come to my blog to be cruel. Because, you know, the world needs more cruel and awful people who have nothing better to do with their time. ��

Hi GOMI! 

I suppose you're here because you saw a link on the forum and were looking for some fodder to fuel your hate-on for me, all because I happen to read a blogger you all love to bully online. Why yes, I read your posts too! And sometimes I even agree with you, although more often than not I don't. 

Listen, if I came across as xenophobic or whatever in my original post, I can assure you that I'm not. My friends and my life are proof of that, not that I need to defend myself to you. But regardless of my biases or lack thereof, that doesn't mean that I can hire just anyone to be my  kid's nanny. This isn't a retail job or business; I would think that in those cases, personal fit doesn't really matter as much, nor should age or written English ability. This is my home, my kid, and my employee who I treat as extended family; it is akin to inviting someone into your most intimate private family moments, like family dates and vacations and the times when you're bickering with your significant other. Plus, she happens to care for and teach your most important members of the family. 

If I only regarded my nanny as an employee, I suppose that almost anyone who cleared a background check would do. But she is so much more, and we treat her like a close friend, so why wouldn't I take a more selective approach and look for a best fit? You're not just friends with anyone and you wouldn't let just any person look after your kids, would you? Would you let your favourite blogger-to-hate care for your babies? Or some of those other blog mommies who you love to snark on? We all have biases; we just aren't all vocal about them. 

Anyway, I do happen to read what you write, although you do realize that if I come across as xenophobic (or those other choice adjectives I can't write on here), that would make some of your comments equally b!t€hy or that c-word you so readily used to describe me. Except of course that I do own my words, since my picture is right there and my entire social network of real life friends knows exactly who I am. You, however, get to spew your brand of judgmental, racist, hate speech online anonymously,  which means that you don't have to face your own GOMI peanut gallery for your personal blogs or writings, or give an account for your own personal quirks or xenophobic/bigoted tendencies or written thoughts.

So here's my challenge to you. If you have the courage to be scrutinized the way that I am (or those other blogs on GOMI are), feel free to comment below with a link to your own blog, or with a  comment to identify yourself and link to your other forms of social media (IG, FB..), and let your own stuff be subject to the same shaming and snarking that my personal blog now is. It's only fair, no? I mean, it is much harder to write and own something for good or for bad, than it is to snark about it anonymously behind someone's back. If you take issue, by all means comment directly! I welcome your thoughts too (and obviously, some of you have big opinions on this recent nanny post)!

I eagerly await your comments here (and not on GOMI, which would prove my point that you would rather be cowardly and cruel rather than own your own words and opinions). 

And as for the "$12 " GOMI contributor - it's your lucky day! We are moving to Steveston, so hopefully you won't have to share the same city anymore! 

PS - I do enjoy some of your less cruel commentary on the other blogger, and while I might not agree with all of it, you'd be surprised at how many opinions we actually have in common! :)









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Friday, March 27, 2015

Three's a Breeze

Big smiles after making a big mess. Thanks, kid.

Just kidding. It's not.

It's the complete opposite.

Three is a fr*cking roller coaster. Just when you think you're over the "worst part" you discover a new developmental twist that takes you on another set of bumpy tracks. I'm beginning to think that there's no such thing as getting off this ride.

Finally getting some use out of this! She loves jumping around

Anyhoo, I love my kid, and when she's fun, she is indescribably awesome. I'm often blown away by her giggles and hilarious stories and the interesting connections that she's making between her learning. She has a fantastic sense of humour and loves to laugh and make us laugh. The way that she plays is fascinating, and we often just sit back and watch her narrate her imaginings or run back and forth across the room conjuring new worlds and scenarios in her mind's eye. We always look forward to having adventures with her because every experience, even ones she has had a million times before, end up feeling brand new to her and to us; she keeps observing and internalizing new things. As her vocabulary expands, so too does the sophistication of her ideas and the creativity of her expression. We are constantly surprised by her, and we really just find her a joy and a light in our lives.

She was right ready for a meltdown that day. Why? Bc I wanted to shop at Target.

That is, when she is a joy. There's also the Hyde-side that sometimes emerges, and that side is volatile and impatient and finicky and all sorts of dramatic. When some random thing doesn't happen the way Little L was expecting things to go, the tears appear instantaneously. Her voice has already mastered that perfectly annoying whining tone, and as her speaking skills improve, her ability to tell you exactly what you did wrong is also refined. And don't forget about those big feelings - the ones that she experiences to the very depth of her 3-year-old soul - when I dare call her a "care bear" when she is momentarily self-identifying as a "monkey." Plus all of those moments when she wants to be independent, which happen to never coincide with the times when I want her to try things on her own. Little L is also prone to manipulating her wussy parents with charismatic charm one moment, and melodramatic angst the next. And did I mention her mean streak (which she gets from both Hubbs and I)?

Like a boss.

Examples:

Soap Opera Actress LL: I can't watch Care Bears because I'm sad! Mommy, make me feel better because I'm sad! I have tears in my eyes and my face is wet. I have to go back to bed and have nye-nye to feel better. Please Mommy take me back to bed so I can feel better and so I can watch Care Bears again!!

Charming LL: (randomly proclaimed like a dictator) Today, after Daddy is done work, we are all going on a donut/chocolate float/random sweet treat date! *dazzling smile* 

Helpless LL: I can't do this myself! I'm only a little girl! Mommy please help me ______! Mommy (insert command to do random thing in angry voice)!

Independent LL: No! *I* want to do it, not YOU. I want to do it all by myself. I want Mommy to go away! I'm not a Toots, I'm a monkey, so I can do it myself!*

(*Currently, in Little L vernacular, a "Toots" is a young child or baby, and a monkey is a preschooler or big girl or boy)

Ragey Mean Little L: I want to kick ________ in the face! I want to hit _______!! 
(Thankfully these feelings are usually directed at fictional characters or stuffies, although on occasion when she's feeling really mad, I have no doubt that she wants to kick or smack us a good one).

I'm not sure who thought the 2's were the worst because I can definitely attest to the 3's being a zillion times more trying. Everything is intensified, whether it is the fun and silly moments or the deeply emo ones. My MIL shared with me that for her, the 3's were also tougher, and I have heard from several people that the 4's are much better (dear God, please let it be better). 

Until then, you can find me deep breathing through the rough and ugly, and self-medicating after bedtime with sugar and social media (because I don't drink wine and Fruli beer is not readily available in my fridge).




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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Transitions

So... we are moving.

And I don't mean from one part of downtown to another. I mean, from the bustling heart of the city to a quaint and quiet little suburb 45 minutes away.

And I don't mean from one high-rise to another, either. I'm talking about going from concierge services and multi-floor dwellings to a multi-floor, single-family townhouse with a double garage and carpeting (!!!).


I haven't lived in a single family home in two decades. So, like, more than half of my life has been in some sort of high-rise. I also haven't lived in a 'burb in almost as many years.

I feel a little disoriented.

Now, some would say that this is a good thing, that we are moving for Little L to be closer to school, and that we are going into a larger, less costly, and more upscale space in a close-knit community that really is lovely. Our new home is also very close to water, and to playgrounds, and to amenities and Starbucks (3 blocks). Really, it's everything that we could ask for, and more.

But I fear that I am becoming an old person, the kind that is almost afraid of change. I'm not quite at that stage where I am openly refusing to adapt, but I realize that I have developed quite the comfort zone in terms of living in an urban, busy, walking-culture environment, and to transition to a slightly more driving-oriented lifestyle is a huge change for me. I didn't even know just how big a change it would be until we found this new home and accepted the rental offer.

Up until now, my biggest worry was Little L: would she be willing to move? Would she like her new home? I know that kids are quite resilient little creatures, but my girl won't even accept having her left shoe taken off before her right. Her little Type A personality was definitely cause for worry. And yet, the moment she stepped into the new townhouse, she was enamoured with it. She kept climbing the stairs up and down, referring to the place as "my new home." She even claimed a bedroom before our tour was over! So yeah, I think she will be fine.

But here I am, a grown woman who has lived in three Canadian provinces and two continents, and who used to move every 1.5 years, worrying about my transition from the downtown core to the little village that is in fact only 10 minutes away from densely-populated, high-rise-infested, commercialized Richmond. What gives?!

So now, as I prepare for the move and all the ugliness that relocating entails, I find myself intentionally trying to savour "last moments" in the neighborhood. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I think I'm grieving. And because I did not expect to mourn our move, I feel ill-prepared to deal with it emotionally.


Good-bye, beautiful parks and playgrounds where Little L spent many hours of the first three years of her life. Good-bye, tasty Italian cafe where our little family often goes on our lunch dates.
Good-bye, seawall walks to the beach and to Science World.
Good-bye, hundreds of tasty restaurants that we have been intending to try, but haven't had time for.
Good-bye, community centre with that cool shaded area and the red benches and colourful lights for Little L to play.
Good-bye, walking-distance-train station and all of your convenient stops.
Good-bye, gorgeous sunsets of False Creek.
Good-bye, delicious Sweet macaron Bake Shop and decadent Ganache cakes
Good-bye, VPL Central Library and your giant, welcoming children's section
Good-bye, Chapters and the American Girl section that entertains Little L for hours
Good-bye, quick and easy drive to the aquarium.
Good-bye, well-lit moonlight walks around the neighborhood
Good-bye Yaletown. 


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