Second Child Syndrome

They say that there is usually less hoorah made over second children. There are less photos, less of a fuss made over every little thing because you’ve already seen it happen once.

In my case, I’ve tried my very best to not let that happen, but a certain amount of this so-called second child syndrome is inevitable. Even with this blog, a big amount of it has focused on Mr. T’s arrival into the world. That is because Ms. J’s entrance was much less eventful. It was simple and peaceful and just what you would wish for. Today I’m going to focus a little on Ms J arrival into our life because she is such a beautiful little girl.

I found out I was pregnant the morning of New Year’s Eve. It had been 3 months since I had the miscarriage and I just had this feeling that I was pregnant again. I got out of bed before everyone else and snuck to the bathroom to do a pregnancy test and it was positive! I wrapped the test up in tissue paper and put it in a gift bag. When Mr. T. woke up I told him we had another present for Daddy and he was very excited. So off we went to wake up Mr. C with our present. Mr. C opened the paper and stared at me, the look in his eye was part disbelief part sleepy face since he had just woken up. He was happy but I think a bit apprehensive after all we had been through.

To be 100% honest, I was very happy to be pregnant but I didn’t feel the same overwhelming joy that I felt when I was pregnant with Mr. T. I was too nervous. After our experience with Mr. T. and then the miscarriage I think it was a self-preservation thing…don’t get too attached I told myself. It worried that it could be even worse this time. I could lose the baby after it was born. For that reason I think I tried to keep myself mentally separated a teeny bit the whole pregnancy. As the pregnancy went on I became more and more excited but I still felt apprehension. I often wondered if this feeling was my gut telling me something was wrong, just as I had felt with Mr. T. or if it was just because with all that we had gone through it was totally normal to feel scared.

This pregnancy was totally different from my last. I was sick…sick..sick…sick! OMG thank god I wasn’t that sick the first time or else I may not have done it the second time. I was sick from the very beginning. I threw up more in those 9 months than I think I have in my entire life. It was terrible. I threw up in parking lots, in the bathroom on the GO train, in a plastic bag in the car. In fact I started to carry around a plastic bag with me wherever I went. I felt nauseous every second of every day, it was just a matter of if I could hold it in or not. I would be gagging as I was driving to the GO station every morning..poor Mr. C. didn’t know what to do…”Talk to me” I’d say “Tell me something to get my mind off of this!”…Mr. C. would be stammering away trying to find something to say so early in the morning that would be interesting enough to keep my mind of throwing up! I told myself this was a good thing…that the sicker I felt the healthier the baby was. That notion went out the window somewhere after the fifth month when I just wanted to stop throwing up. I never stopped throwing up! I threw up all the way up until the end.  Had I known beforehand I would have bought stocks in Canada Dry because Ginger ale was the only thing that made me feel slightly better. A teeny bit. Poor Ms. J….she was living on Ginger ale in there!

This pregnancy also consisted of many more doctors appointments. I was being followed by my regular doctor along with doctors and geneticists from Sick Kids and Mount Sinai. They didn’t think Mr. T’s issue was genetic but to be safe they were following me closely. I think I had ultra sounds every other month. Anatomy ultrasounds which took hours as they took pictures of every little inch of Ms. J in there.

Believe it or not I was due on Mr. T’s second birthday! We didn’t plan that, that’s just the way it happened. So for Mr. T’s second birthday we decided to do something low-key at home just family and a few close friends. Firstly because I wasn’t feeling 100% and secondly if I went into labour and we had to cancel family would be easier to cancel with. I made Mr. T’s Wiggles birthday cake and was feeling pains all day long. I thought it was just because I had been running around so much trying to get everything done. Decorating, entertaining, serving guests, making and icing and decorating the cake and cupcakes.  Since it was just family some people lingered around a little bit and helped give Mr. T his bath and put him to bed. Around 10:30 pm the last of our guests left, I put on my pj’s and went to finally lay down on the couch. Mr. C told me to come put my feet up and he’d rub them since I”d had a long day. I was sooo looking forward to it…Mr. C. is hands down the best foot rubber around by the way!.

I lay down on the couch and felt this serious pain like Ms. J was kicking me really hard right down below, I heard a pop and rolled off the couch knowing exactly what it was…”ummm my water just broke” I told Mr. C…”Are you serious?” “Yep” I said waddling to the bathroom with water trickling down my leg” When I got to the bathroom and checked I saw meconium and started crying. I remembered from our time at Sick Kids that so many of the babies in the NICU were there because they had inhaled meconium and I started to panic. Mr. C. calmed me down and called his Mum to come stay with Mr. T. We called my parents and let them know what was going on but told them to stay home for now. Last time I was in labour for 26 hours there was no use in them driving an hour to the hospital if I was just going to be sent home.

Off we went to the hospital. My contractions started coming strong and fast. It seems like within minutes of my water breaking I was feeling intense pain. Remember how with Mr. T. I wanted to go au naturel? I had wanted to try again but the second those pains came back I PANICKED! With a capital P! I said to Mr. C. in the car…”I want the drugs..I can’t do all night without the drugs..I want the drugs right away this time.” He was calmly telling me that I could get the drugs as soon as we got to the hospital. If I would have really been able to focus I would have heard the slight bit of panick in his voice. He kept telling me that my contractions were five minutes apart but in reality they were 2-3 minutes apart. I think we both thought we may not make it to the hospital.

We did make it and my brother-in-law was waiting for us right at  the front door with a wheelchair for me ready to park our car for us. As a side note this was one of those things that no one asks you to do..but you just think of it on your own and do it to be helpful. It was a very thoughtful thing for a 25 year single guy to do. It took me a bit to get out of the car cause my contractions were so bad by this point. Looking back in was funny because almost like a movie, I was one of those ladies huffing and puffing while my husband rushed me through the hospital to labour and delivery.

We got settled into a room and I told them right away I wanted the drugs. The nurse said to me “OK let’s get you checked and we’ll see if you even have time for the drugs”. Again I panicked…what do you mean have time for the drugs???! This isn’t an option I NEED THEM NOW!! I think the fear was actually much worse than the pain. Or maybe it wasn’t, maybe as women we are made up to forget the intensity of the pain after it has happened otherwise there would be a lot of single child families out there! haha! Regardless, it never seems that bad after, but during I was seriously scared!The nurse checked me and I was apparently already 8cm’s!!! They had already put in the request for the epidural just in case and there was my best friend standing there with his needle in hand ready to save the day!  Mr. C. called my parents and told them they had better come.

By now it was just after midnight. It was officially the day after Mr. T’s birthday, they weren’t going to share a birthday. I was both happy and disappointed. I wanted them both to have their own special days but how cool would it have been if they were both born on the same day two years apart?

My parents arrived and the nurse told us that we could only have one support person in the room. I found this odd since with Mr. T just two years prior I had two. I started to analyze everything that the nurses said. I thought to myself “this must mean they know something is wrong…that’s why they wont’ let anyone else in”. Mr. C. asked if my parents could just come in for a quick visit since they had driven an hour to get there.  They came in for a visit and then went to wait in the waiting room with my brother-in-law.

A few hours later the nurse came in to check me and then asked me to give a practice push. I started to push and she asked me to stop and said she had to call the doctor. This all seemed to be happening so fast, which again I analyzed as being a sign that something was wrong. I felt like I had no time to prepare. I started feeling the need to push and asked if I could the nurse gave me the ok and then the doctor walked in. I pushed as Mr. C counted along for me. The last time one of the things we were able to laugh about after was that instead of counting with me while I was pushing Mr. T out Mr. C. just made a push face along with me! He got endless ribs about that one!! He claims that he didn’t know! Apparently he thought copying the strained look on my face was helpful!

This time he counted along with me and gave me advice and cheered me on! It obviously helped because after a few short but difficult pushes the doctor told me to look down and there she was. Ms J. brand new, making her grand entrance into the world. I yelled out “Oh my God!” which apparently is just what I said when Mr. T. made his entrance too!

This time I heard a shriek! It was just what you would expect. A loud, what the hell are you doing to me kind of shriek and it was music to my ears. They put her right on my chest and Mr. C. got to cut the cord. It was just perfect and beautiful.

Ms J. was born at 3:34 am, she missed sharing her birthday with her brother by 3 hours and 34 minutes.

When Mr. T. was born I felt like it was the happiest moment of my life..how could I have another happiest moment of my life??? But I did. She was perfect and I felt like the luckiest woman in the world. The moment she was born all of my anxieties went away. It was like a mother’s instinct or something, I knew she was alright. I just felt it in my heart.

I looked down at her and felt my heart bursting with love, joy, pride and a million other feelings that simply can not be put into words. It’s often said that when you have a child and are pregnant with your second you worry how you can hold anymore love in your heart. Well I think the moment that second child enters your life your heart just doubles in size, and at that moment it felt like my heart had doubled.

My parents came in to meet their new grand-daughter and were beside themselves. I think once they saw her all of their fears were put to rest too. I think we all had our secret fears throughout my entire pregnancy. My Dad got to be there this time. The last time he was on a business trip when I went into labour. His first meeting of his first grandchild was in a hospital incubator attached to tubes and monitors. This time he got to meet one of his grandchildren fresh into the world and I think he was a little taken aback by the beauty and greatness of this moment.

Mr. C. and I took our little princess to our hospital room and we just lay beside each other in bed. Mr. C. whispered “you did it and I am so proud of you.”…I whispered back “we did it”. It was the most amazing feeling in the world to be laying there with our baby beside us.

The next morning Mr. C. went to bring Mr. T. to the hospital to meet his brand new baby sister. In he walked looking a little bit scared and a little bit worried. He saw me sitting in the hospital bed and I think he felt a little relieved to see me. It was the first time we had been apart for a night.  We introduced him to his sister and he hopped up on the bed to get a closer look. Almost instinctively he gave her the most tender little kiss on the head. It was a beautiful moment.

The very next day we got to walk out of that hospital into the sunny, crisp, autumn air with our baby in tow. Just like it’s supposed to happen. I couldn’t have asked for it to be more perfect. I was in heaven. I didn’t notice any pain, I didn’t feel exhausted. I just felt elated to be taking my baby home. 

It has been 6 months and our lives have changed dramatically. Adjusting your life to one baby is one thing but when you add a second into the mix the whole dynamic changes. Ms. J has already shown us who she is in dramatic ways. She is feisty. She wants what she wants when she wants it and isn’t afraid to let you know it. The fight she has in her is going to be wonderful trait to have when she’s older and has to find her path in life. She’s a happy little baby and is full of smiles and coos and giggles. She isn’t the greatest sleeper but I have to live with it. Lack of sleep is probably the hardest part of being a parent. I try to remind myself of what we could be facing whenever I feel frustrated at yet another cry in the middle of the night. She tends to enjoy sleeping all snuggled up beside me in bed so that’s where you’ll find her most nights. I don’t care what the books say about it. I don’t care what anyone else’s opinion is. If she’s happy sleeping beside me then that’s where she’ll stay for now. Feeling your baby snuggled up against you, breathing peacefully, holding on to your pj’s is a much better feeling than touching your baby through an incubator so I will take it..every beautiful moment of it. With her personality I have a feeling there is going to come a day when the last thing she’s going to want to do is snuggle up against me so I will take it while I can get it! 🙂

Mr. T. is an excellent big brother. He loves his little sister and is very protective of her. He has his moments of jealousy but they are few and far between.  We’ve been given another blessing. This time without the hiccups. Our family feels complete. Does this mean we won’t be adding any more babies to the mix? Never say never. Mr C and I do make beautiful babies!

Let’s wait until the sleeping through the night has been perfected and the terrible two’s are over..then maybe..just maybe we can revisit it. Maybe then we’ll be ready to do it all over again!

Big Brother Little Sister

Ms J in all her beauty!

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When do you let something go?

Ok so it’s been a while…I’ve had this started for almost a week and just haven’t been able to finish it! Hopefully today is the lucky day.

Last week was a Sick Kids week. Mr. T had an appointment for a regular follow-up check with his surgeon. They told us, when he was released,  that he would be a Sick Kids kid until he was 18 and we could expect to be spending a lot of time there. They were right! Between visits with his surgeon, follow ups with the NICU, the spinal clinic, x-rays and MRI’s we have been visiting Sick Kids every couple of months.

If you have ever been to Sick Kids you know that the hospital itself is beautiful inside. It’s geared towards children so it’s really bright and colourful. There are cartoon murals on the walls and windows. There are water fountains and brightly coloured elevators in the main atrium that most children could sit and watch for hours. It is nothing like a normal hospital. Oddly enough, with what is going on in some of the rooms inside that building, there is no feeling of sadness when you walk in.

I walk through the atrium, happy and cheerful. Mr. T and I usually chat about where we are going and what we will be doing depending on the clinic he is visiting on that day. We will make a visit to the little gift shop they have on the main floor and many times I will buy a little something from the shop since the proceeds go to the hospital. On every trip I get Mr T and I a little treat from Starbucks. It’s like a day trip for us. It’s an outing and we have our rituals.

The cheeriness on the outside is masking the tension on the inside. My days leading up to a Sick Kids visit are stressful. I worry. I re-live some of my experiences. I sometimes dream that I am talking to Mr. T’s doctor and they are telling me that he has to stay there, that he has to have another operation, that he is still sick. I’ve never admitted that to anyone.

Just driving into the parking garage brings back many unhappy memories. For me driving in to the garage wasn’t as terrible as leaving was.  At the end of each day Mr. C and I would drive out into the dark, lonely night without our baby. There was always an emptiness inside knowing that Mr. T was up there alone, in his little incubator, hopefully oblivious as to what was going on and we were just driving home…leaving him there. Yet another time when I felt like a failure as a mother. How could I just leave him there and drive away. How could I just crawl into bed while he was laying there all alone?

It’s really strange what can make you remember. I can walk through the atrium and not be swayed. I can look into the windows of the NICU from the cafeteria below and remember our time spent there feeling sad about what we endured but at the same time happy that we are where we are now. Yet, I use their washroom and the smell of the soap will make me want to cry. The strange locks will remind me of how nervous I was that someone was going to walk in while I was trying to figure out how to use that little squeeze bottle they give you when you’ve had stitches after labour. Walking by the pumping rooms will bring back the countless hours I spent in those rooms pumping milk for Mr. T., feeling angry that I had to be in there pumping, instead of being with my son.

I feel overwhelmed when I see other parents walking around in a fog…I know the look in their eye…it says my baby is up there hurting and there is nothing I can do about it. Some of them have red rimmed eyes and those little red NICU parent badges to go along. Sometimes I’ll notice a mother with a slightly swollen belly, who may be walking a little slower than normal. My heart especially hurts for those mothers. I know they have recently given birth. They have not even healed from their labour and they have to endure such emotional trauma.

I avoid looking at the second floor. The second floor is where the surgeries are happening. That is where we spent hours in that little waiting room amongst all the other families whose children were having their surgeries. We spent hours watching the screen on the wall that showed when the children were out of surgery. Mr. T. was the last one out. I avoid looking there because I can see other parents doing exactly what we did that day. I see them staring into the atrium, worried doesn’t even begin to describe how they feel. I don’t want to remember that.

I usually go to Sick Kids alone, just me and Mr. T. With Ms. J entering our lives she comes along with us now for the ride. Occasionally someone will join me, to support me, my mum usually. This visit Mr. C took the day off work and he came along. He doesn’t return to the hospital as much as I do so I think his memories come flooding back a little more vividly than mine do. After 2.5 years of returning, time has dulled them a little.  I realized with this visit that I’m not alone in carrying around some of these sad memories. When driving into the parking garage Mr. C. was unusually quiet. When he finally spoke he said “remember the first time we drove in here?” I responded “yes I do” and explained that I always felt worse leaving than coming. Mr. C.’s pain comes in remembering our first trip in to the hospital. When Mr. T. was ahead of us in an ambulance and we were following behind with absolutely no clue what was to come.

During our visit Mr. C had to use the washroom so I suggested we go upstairs as I could change the baby in there while he used the washroom. Once in the elevator I pressed the button for the second floor as there are two public bathrooms there. He whispered to me, “I’m not going to the second floor”. Apparently he has the same memories of the second floor as I do.

I remember a few months after we were home. Mr. T was better by all accounts. He was doing wonderful. Meeting all his milestones. You would never have known to look at him that he had ever had such an ordeal. I remember someone telling me that we had to get over it. That it happened and it’s done and Mr. T was fine now and we had to let it go. I remember feeling so hurt. I wondered if this is what everyone thought. They must think we are weak because we can’t seem to let it go. I felt guilty for talking about it all the time. I felt bad for hanging on to the pain because I knew that there were so many parents out there who were going through so much worse. The truth is, I didn’t know how to let it go.

The fact is that it isn’t over. Yes he’s out of the hospital. Yes he is doing amazing. However we are still dealing with repercussions. While in the NICU Mr. T was eventually diagnosed with Vacterl syndrome. This means he has a couple other underlying issues as a result of his condition. Most will resolve itself however one particular issue, a spinal issue, will be on ongoing issue.  Best case scenario, this amounts to nothing. Worst case scenario he will require surgery to ensure that his spine grows straight. It is not over. When I have to go visit the hospital multiple times a year for check ups it’s not over. When he’s still taking medication for reflux, it’s not over. When his surgeon tells me that his reflux can potentially cause long-term damage, even cancer of the esophagus then it’s not over. When I have to sit and watch my two year old, standing on a stool naked, in an x-ray room, scared but putting on a brave face, a face that no two year old should have to put on. It is not over.

Being there with Mr. C and realizing that it wasn’t just me that still carried these memories with me made me feel a little better.  My sadness doesn’t consume me, it doesn’t control my life and it’s not there all the time. But every now and then I feel a bit scared. I worry a little more about Mr. T. Sometimes I feel the need to hug him a little closer. I will watch him while he sleeps and wonder how I could ever have lived my life without him. I don’t want to feel like I have to hide the fact that I still carry some of this around with me. Sometimes I feel like someone with PTSD if that makes any sense at all. These memories are a part of me now. I keep them tucked away, deep in my heart and they aren’t going anywhere. The initial sting of these memories may be gone and new memories are joining them but I won’t apologize for keeping them with me. They are a part of us, our lives, our family. 

Mr. T. and I then...

I think that writing about this is helping me heal.  I felt silly admitting that I had a hard time getting over Mr. T’s illness because I knew that it could have been so much worse. The truth of it is that it was a traumatizing event for me. My mum actually told me that I should go speak to someone about it. She seemed to understand that trauma of the whole ordeal and thought that it wasn’t something that I could get over by myself and that it would help to speak to someone. I tried, once, and I just felt silly. He was ok. How could I still be hanging on to this? Why do I still want to talk about it? Most people around me didn’t want to hear me talk about it anymore, to them it was over.

 I think that writing about it is allowing me to own my feelings. As I type the words I can feel some release. I feel like I am taking a stand and saying this is now a part of who I am. I can talk about it without feeling guilty.

I started this blog with the intention of just “talking” because I was feeling lonely, but I think it’s turning into an outlet of sorts. A bit of delayed therapy. My readers are my therapists if you will and for that I thank you.

Mr. T and I now

Along came a reminder

It’s 10:42 on a Friday night. It doesn’t feel like all that long ago when my Friday nights would be just beginning. I would probably have just left the house, all decked out and ready to go.
That was then and this is now. Now I’m ready for bed. I’m yawning and rubbing my eyes in my fleecy pj bottoms. Mr. C so kindly took the opportunity for an early night and is sleeping with the kids. We still haven’t been able to get Ms. J to sleep on her own for long periods of time but we are working on it so he’s on baby duty right now. I really should be hitting the sack since too Ms. J or Mr. T will be up at the crack of dawn ready to go but I just watched a movie that has touched me and made me want to write so here I am.

I apologize in advance if I ramble or don’t make much sense but I am tired.

The movie I watched was a tale of 3 mothers all touched by adoption. One who gave her baby up for adoption at age 14, one who was adopted and another who was trying to adopt. It has made me reflect a little on my journey to motherhood. It was my reminder of the joys of family life.

Growing up when asked “what do you want to be when you grow up” my answer constantly changed. I went through phases, a vet, a marine biologist, a translator, a lawyer. I think even now that I am grown up I still am not 100% sure what I want to be. The only thing that I always wanted without a doubt was to be a mum.

I think that I took for granted that I would be able to have children. I just always assumed when the time was right I would have kids of my own. I used to even tell myself that if, by age 30, I hadn’t found the right man to settle down with I would just have children on my own. This news didn’t impress my Dad too much but I thought oh well, I want children more than I want anything else in life and it is one dream that I will not compromise on. I didn’t want to run the risk of waiting too long and then have difficulty conceiving, this is where the magic age of 30 came into play.

Luckily, at the ripe ol age of 25 I met my man. One of the biggest reasons I chose Mr. C was because I knew that above all else he would be a good father to my children. I had a great Dad. I had the kind of Dad who worked night shift to provide for his family. He came to my dance recitals and baseball games. He was a little wary of any boys I brought home yet cried when I got married. I wanted that for my children. I wanted a Dad who didn’t just love his kids but who was going to be involved in their lives. Who would make them pancakes on a Sunday morning and would take them to the park. I found that in Mr. C. For all of his faults he is a wonderful father. 

We were so blessed that we never had any difficulty getting pregnant. We got pregnant with Mr. T within a month of trying. When we were ready to start trying again we got pregnant again within a month of trying. Sadly I suffered a miscarriage 6 weeks into that pregnancy. Within a few months we were pregnant again with Ms. J. 

I look back at all of those professions that I dreamed of when I was a kid and realize that nothing is more important than the job of being a mum. There is not one job out there that can measure up to this. Nothing is more difficult yet reaps so many rewards. Not one job out there has more of an impact. Nothing can make you feel like more of a failure and like more of a superwoman in the same day! I have only been in the position of mummy for 2.5 years today and so far there have been a few times that I think maybe I’m not cut out for this. But the joys outweigh the difficulties a billion to one so I keep on trucking.

Watching this movie and seeing what some women go through to have babies I thought to myself I am truly one of the luckiest women out there. What did I do to deserve these two amazing, beautiful children?

The thing is sometimes it is frustrating. Sometimes when Ms. J won’t sleep and I haven’t had more than 2 minutes to myself in the past 4 days. When Mr. T is demanding to wear his Wiggles T-shirt yet I know that it’s in the wash and because of this I am minutes away from a major meltdown. The phone is ringing, my hair needs to be dried and I have dinner in the oven that is 45 seconds away from being burnt fish instead of broiled fish.

This has been what it has felt like the past few weeks. I know that I have been taking my frustrations out on my family. I have been letting out big sighs when Mr. T. asks me for the millionth time to change the movie. Stomping my feet when Ms. J. screams bloody murder the second I am out of her line of vision and snipping at Mr. C. when he talked so loudly on the phone that he woke Ms. J up 20 minutes after I finally got her down on her own. After a few weeks of this I have felt like I am just treading water, trying desperately to keep my head above.

It seems like this movie came along at the exact moment I needed it. To remind me that these aren’t irritations in my life. They are blessings. They are treasures. These moments are going to zoom by and before you know it my little babies won’t be little babies anymore. I want to relish every moment of it. 6 months of Ms. J’s life has already flown by! She isn’t a newborn anymore and she never will be a newborn again. Mr. T is heading into the tail end of toddlerhood and I am so going to miss his toddler self when he’s a big boy. Sometimes I need to be reminded of that.

At the end of my days I will not look back and wish my house was cleaner or that I worked more hours. I won’t wish that my boss liked me more or that I was able to drive a nicer car. Those things don’t matter. What matters is cuddling my little babies as much as I can. Even when it’s hard. I want to play with my kids for as long as it makes them happy. I will colour and play cars with Mr. T as much as he wants. I will jump Miss J up and down on my lap until the cows come home, if it means I get to hear her little giggle more often. I will relish in the fact that I am lucky enough to have the best job around. I’m a mummy. I am a mummy who is so proud of her family and I want them to be just as proud of me.

In fact now that I have rambled and not made much sense I am going to go up there and snuggle my little munchkins, who are probably all in my bed! I will try to squeeze myself into the little space that might be left in our nice king size bed and will happily sleep all night on my side with my two beautiful blessings tucked up beside me…that is until Ms. J cries and wakes Mr. T. and we have to somehow get them into their own beds without world war 3 breaking out 🙂

I think that I can now start fresh. Sometimes we all need a little nudge, a little reminder that life isn’t as tough as we’re making it out to be. THis was my reminder. My life is wonderful and really pretty easy!  Yes I’ve had a rough couple of weeks but it could have been sooo much rougher. So tomorrow I will wake up feeling lucky to be a mummy to my two beautiful angels.

Goodnight all!

Sleep my dear friend please come back, I know I took you for granted, but please forgive me.

Sleep has always been my friend. My best friend in fact. Sleep will visit me on the couch even on fight night when a group of men are beside me loudly giving the losing fighter advice on how to knock the other guy out, even though we all know they can’t be heard. Sleep will visit me even when I’ve promised Mr. C that “I will not fall asleep during…” insert whatever manly movie title he has chosen for tonight’s movie night. Sleep, oh my most loved and cherished friend, has stayed with me all night before big exams and job interviews and other nerve-wracking moments where better people would have been up all night studying, reviewing, worrying.

But I have taken you for granted my darling sleep. I became so used to you coming so easily that I didn’t realize you may not be around forever.  Now here I am without you and I just can’t function. My brain is foggy and I sure am snippy. I barely have the energy to get dressed let alone go for a run on the treadmill (which I so desperately need so that I can lose this stubborn baby weight!) I am so sorry sleep, please forgive me and come back. I need you! I can’t live without you and I promise I will never take you for granted again!

Ms. J.  refuses to sleep alone. From the beginning Ms. J needed to be cuddled, rocked, nursed and/or held in order to take a nap during the day.  This has always been quite frustrating because how can I do this every day when I have a 2.5 year old who has needs that need to be taken care of as well. It has officially passed the frustrating stage now as she has started to demand some sort of holding even at night.  I nurse her as usual and she drifts off to dream land quite easily. The second I put her down it’s a different story, all hell breaks loose. If you were to hear her scream you would think I was causing her harm! All I did was lay you down in your crib baby girl what is the problem????

Mr. T. has always been a good sleeper. I thought perhaps the Baby Gods had smiled down on us saying “you have been through enough my children, we will give you peace now”.  He slept through the night from quite early on. Actually from the time he came home from the hospital he was pretty much sleeping through the night but I had to wake him to eat until he had gained enough weight. Once that happened I think when he would stir  I would pick him up and feed him because I was so scared that he’d not continue on his weight gaining path. Then I moved him to his own room and voila he slept peacefully through the night, probably because his lunatic mother wasn’t rousing him when he would simply breathe heavy! Even his naps were perfect. He followed that 2-3-4 rule and would go down for his first nap within 2 hours of waking up, then his second nap within 3 hours of that and bedtime was roughly 4 hours after that. No rocking required. I would just lay him down in his crib and he drifted off just like those little angel babies in all the commercials you see on T.V. If he did happen to wake in the night, I would simply go get him and bring him into our bed where he continued his sleep quite comfortably cuddled up against his mummy.

Well, that is where the dilemma begins. Mr. T. still likes to sleep quite comfortably cuddled up against his mummy. To be honest it doesn’t bother me. I figure what 17 year old boy still wants to sleep in his mummy and daddy’s bed? Eventually he won’t want to cuddle up against us at night anymore and it’s probably going to break my heart when that happens so I’ll take it where I can get it. Having said that a 2.5 year old sleeps much differently than a baby. I quite often am rolled on, smacked, kicked and a few times have even woken up with a 29 pound body lying directly over my face.  Because of this flailing body in our bed it’s not as easy to bring Ms. J in with us if she awakens. Or at least not as easy to have the four of us in this one bed. All of a sudden our king size bed doesn’t really seem fit for a king.

So now every night we are playing musical beds. It’s usually me in our bed in the middle of the two kids and Mr. C goes into Mr. T’s bed. But it may end up me in Mr. T’s bed by myself or even with Mr. T while Mr. C. is in the nice big king size with Ms. J. Or yet again, it could end up one of us in Mr. T’s bed with Ms. J. while the other stays in our bed with Mr. T. Are you confused yet? Cause I am. I don’t even know where I’m going to end up sleeping tonight?  Or perhaps even if I will sleep!

I didn’t even bed hop like this in University!

Needless to say I’m exhausted. There is nothing like some sleep deprivation to make you feel as though you are totally loosing your mind. I really think I’m actually loosing my mind.

So my darling friend; I beg of you, please return to me. I am coming to you, tail between my legs, begging your forgiveness. I will do whatever you want, whatever you say, if you will just be my friend again. I promise I will never take you for granted again.

These will be my final words tonight because even as I type this, I hear the screams of Ms. J. upstairs and the frantic pacing of Mr. C. across the floor…unsure of what else to do to just make her sleep already. So my dear friend I will chase after you all night again tonight. I hope you can find it in your heart to come back to me. I will be waiting.

What doesn’t kill us…

I’m thinking if this blog is about my journey through the mummy land then I should start with my first born child. What follows has been a long time coming. Something that I’ve needed to talk about and get off my chest for 2.5 years…so here goes…

My husband, let’s call him Mr. C, and I got married about 3 and a half years ago. We had been living together for a few years and owned our own home. We had decent jobs and let’s face it we weren’t getting any younger so we decided that we weren’t going to wait to start trying to have kids, we were going to start trying right away.

I stopped taking my BC pills on our honeymoon. This was in November. At the end of December I took a home pregnancy test. I really didn’t think anything was going to happen so quickly but lo and behold I got a positive.

After seeing the two pink lines show up I walked out of the bathroom and into the spare room where my husband was on the computer. He said “So..what does it say” my response was ” I don’t know”. He then replied “what do you mean you don’t know” and looked at it. He then looked at the box and said ” This says we’re pregnant” To say we were excited would be an understatement.

I have to admit I was really nervous. This was the first time I’d ever been pregnant. It all felt so new and scary and huge! I had a super easy pregnancy. I exercised right up until the end. I didn’t feel sick and never felt most of the aches and pains that other women complained of.

Even with all that I had this weird unsettled feeling throughout my entire pregnancy. I remember calling my Dad in tears somewhere before that magical third month. The third month is supposed to be the time where you breathe a sigh of relief. Your chances of miscarriage drop significantly so you can start telling people and you become used to the idea of being pregnant. I cried on the phone with my Dad before that third month hit. I thought maybe this weird unsettled feeling was because I was destined to lose this baby. Like most Dad’s do, he had some words of wisdom for me. He said “N. you come from a long line of women who have had many children with no complications, don’t worry, everything is going to be all right”

That unsettled feeling never went away.

One Wednesday afternoon about 2 weeks before my due date I was sitting at home having a bowl of soup and watching “The Hills” when my water broke. I was home alone. I called everyone and everyone was pretty far away. So, without thinking, I got in the car and drove myself to the hospital. Little did I know that I actually had 26 hours to go before Mr. T would make his grand entrance to the world!

My labour was long and painful! I really wanted to go au naturel but after 22 hours of horrendous pain I opted for the epi.

Mr. T. finally arrived into this world at 5:24 pm, he looked so perfect. Beautiful and tiny and amazing. I couldn’t believe that he came out of me!!! It still shocks me to be honest that I was capable of pushing a life into this world, well with the assistance of a little vacuum that tore me to shreds!!

He looked tiny but to me all newborns looked tiny. I had never seen a baby that new to the world before so I didn’t know how he was supposed to look. I did, however, know that he was supposed to cry…and he didn’t. Not right away. I asked if it was a boy or a girl, because no one had told me before they whisked him off to the examining table. They said, in a slightly too cheery voice, it’s a boy, congratulations. I then asked “why isn’t he crying?” As if in response to my question, at that exact moment he let out a mewww…I say a mew because his cry didn’t sound like that of a newborn baby. All loud and angry as though they are demanding to be put back in. He sounded more like a teeny meek little kitten that was asking for help. It made me feel better to hear him cry but that unsettled feeling returned because somewhere deep inside I knew that cry was a sign that something wasn’t right.

He was beautiful. 5 pounds 4 ounces of sheer perfection.Words can not even describe how elated we were. They put him on my chest and I just held him and didn’t ever want to let go. I kissed him and stroked him and marvelled at his beauty. There was nothing more beautiful in this entire world. My exhaustion disappeared. I felt so strong and powerful. I know that billions of women do this around the world every day but I felt like I was a machine! I just brought life into this world! What a super human I was!!!

Through all of the tears of joy,  well wishes, smiled and pride that unsettled feeling..well it still never went away.

The doctor came in and checked him, they said because he was a little small. They said he was ok, a little mucousy but many babies were like that the first few hours.

They wheeled me into my recovery room. My little man wrapped tightly in my arms. My husband carrying all of our bags. The nurse pushing my wheelchair and right alongside us…that unsettled feeling.

A few hours went by and I tried to feed him. He didn’t take too well but “don’t worry” they said “he’ll get the hang of it”. 

They came in to test his blood sugars and that is when my nightmare began.

Mr. T. didn’t like the pokes and prods and started screeching. His little screech sounded more mouse than man. As he screamed he began to choke. I looked at Mr. C and saw the same look in his eyes that I had in mine. Panic. Even our inexperienced selves knew this wasn’t normal.

Nurses rushed in, doctors came by and crowded our little room. Eventually they took Mr. T. to the special care nursery for observation. Still no one ever said, something is wrong. “Just for observation” they said.

There it is again, that unsettled feeling.

Throughout the night and into the next day Mr. C and I alternated between sleeping and sitting with Mr. T in the special care nursery.

They told me I couldn’t nurse him. They told me to hold him skin to skin, kangaroo care they said. “It helps sick babies heal quicker”. Inside I screamed, “what is wrong?? He’s perfect!” I didn’t understand. No one was telling in words there was a problem.

The worst moment of the whole ordeal, or perhaps the worst moment of my entire life, was when Mr. T; all cozy inside my hospital gown against my chest started rooting for my breast. He looked up at me and looked me right in the eye. His eyes held pain. They held confusion. “Why won’t you feed me”, it felt like he was saying. “I’m starving and you are my mummy. You are supposed to feed me, why won’t  you let me eat?”. He cried and looked at me with pleading eyes. I cried and looked at him begging him to forgive me. I tried to explain to him; “I”m so sorry they wont’ let me feed you” I said to him through tears, as if he could understand me. Eventually he grew weak and tired and stopped trying to eat. My heart broke. That was the first time I ever felt like a failure as a mother. Since then I’ve had that feeling a few more times and I’m sure as life goes on I will feel like that again, but that was the very first time.

The next day they took Mr. T. for some tests to see if there were any issues. Funny enough, I awoke that morning feeling wonderful. Thinking, I’m a mummy! I can’t believe it! I have waited my whole life to be a mummy and here I am with a beautiful little baby boy. That unsettled feeling was there but I was pushing it away. While Mr. C went with our boy to do the tests I sat in bed thinking all was going to be normal and we would get to go home soon. I received phone calls from friends and happily told my the birth story.

About 45 minutes later Mr. C. walked in the room. His face didn’t show any signs. I saw his lips moving but I didn’t hear anything after he said “N. he has to have surgery.”

Turns out Mr. T. had tracheoesophageal fistula. Basically he had a connection between his esophagus and his trachea. THis means when he swallows the fluid goes into his lungs. Without surgery he will die. He will drown as he tries eating or he will starve to death.

The next few days were just a blur. He was transferred to Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children the following day. A Saturday. By Sunday he was in an operating room at the hospital having his H type fistula repaired. I listened to the doctors explain that they could fix it. I tried to understand their medical jargon. I tried to make sense of what my little man was going through. But I just kind of walked through those days in a fog. Doing what I had to do. I pumped my breast milk so that when he could finally eat we’d be ready. I sat beside his incubator and sang to him. I ate, only because I was told that I had to eat to keep up my strength. I tried to sleep but that didn’t come very easily.

I cried with Mr. C.  I cried with my parents and my in-laws. I cried on my own in the shower where I thought no one would hear me. I tried asking God what I did? Why this was happening to me. I went into denial thinking, he’ll be home in a few days. Don’t worry this will all be over with shortly.

Throughout the 6 weeks that Mr. T was in the hospital I went through a whole range of emotions. As I said before I went through denial. I got angry. I wondered how it was fair that there were women out there who had babies and didn’t want them. Who got pregnant without even trying and never really wanted their kids. How there were parents who neglected and abused their children. Who exploited them and treated them badly. All of these things were happening out there and here we were, watching our baby suffer.

I then felt sadness. Sadness for myself and for the other parents who were going through agonizing pain. Suffering alongside their babies. Whose lives were now a whirlwind of doctors and medicines and machines that were keeping their babies alive, if even just for now.

Then finally I came out of the fog. I looked around me and saw that while it may not seem like it, I was actually truly blessed. I had family who was there to support me. I had parents and in-laws who were alternating days at the hospital bringing us home cooked food. THis was so that not only would we not be alone but we would also eat well and healthy.  I saw cousins and friends and siblings who sat beside us during Mr. T’s surgery awaiting the news. THey held our hands and allowed us to cry on their shoulder and most cried along with us. They felt our pain.

Sadly I saw other mummy’s and daddy’s whose little ones were also in the NICU and who didn’t have such a positive prognosis. I saw mummy’s and daddy’s who were about to or had already lost their little angels and I couldn’t even begin to imagine their suffering. I felt a bond with these other parents who were here. No one else could understand what we were going through but them. I felt a connection to them and every day we began to hear a little more of their stories. We looked forward to hearing how their babies were doing and we were there when they needed to vent if something was going as well as planned.

It felt like we were in a whole new universe. A world we never knew existed before. A place I hope you never have to visit. Life was going on outside of these walls but for those of us in that hospital it felt like that was all there was for that particular moment in time.

 It was a make it or break it moment and for us, at the time, it made us. It brought Mr. C and I together. Closer than ever. We were a team fighting the same battle together and we were going to make it to the other side no matter what it took. We picked each other up when the other fell and we drew on each other’s strengths when we needed to.

When life gets a little too tough to handle I try to remember that time of my life. I try to remember how insignificant all my little trivial worries were. Money..who cares how much we have? Our house..who cares if it’s not huge and not always tidy? My job…what does it matter? I’m not saving anyone’s life at work so at the end of it all it’s not worth the amount of stress that I used to assign to it all of the time. I don’t care how much I get paid and I don’t care if I live in a teeny tiny house as long as I have my family by my side that’s all that matters.

I feel better now. It’s been 2.5 years and I still cry about it sometimes. I think I really needed to get that all out. This was sort of therapy for me if you will.

Mr. T is doing wonderful. He’s a perfectly normal, healthy, defiant 2.5 year old! He’s so smart and still just as beautiful as ever. I guess with this blog you will hear more about him and about my new addition Ms. J. who is just as perfect as Mr. T.

We made it to other side. Thanks to the support of our family and friends, thanks to wonderful doctors who do amazing things on such teeny tiny little people and thanks to the strength of a wonderful little boy who has put more joy into my life than I ever thought possible.

Hello world!

So I’ve never blogged before. I’m not even sure I know how to blog. I’m not even sure why I’m blogging. What makes me think that I have anything important enough to say that others are actually going to want to read it? Is my life really that interesting?

To be honest I’m not really doing this with the mind set that others might read it and think that I’m incredibly witty and interesting. I’m doing it more to preserve my own sanity.

I’m a mother who is currently on maternity leave and I feel a little cut off from the outside world right now. I used to be interesting. I used to have amazing, intellectual conversations with people from many different walks of life. I think I led a fairly interesting life. I travelled, I read, I saw movies and chatted with friends.

Then my two wonderful, beautiful children entered my life and bam! All of a sudden all my conversations seem to be centered around potty training, time outs and sleeping through the night. My travelling now consists of drives to local play groups and reading…well that is the two or three pages I get in before my eyes finally can’t be propped open anymore and I’m out like a light…until the baby starts crying from her crib and my 2 year old has crawled in beside me and has somehow managed to push both my husband and I right to the edge of our king size bed!

Now I am one of the first of my group of friends to have children. This means that when I do chat with my friends I feel guilty. I feel like I have become that woman. The woman who has kids and all of a sudden can’t talk about anything else. The woman who seems to have lost herself and lost all interests outside of her family.

When my husband walks through the door and I start chatting his ear off because I haven’t really talked to anyone all day except babies, he just rolls his eyes. He’s had a long day at work and doesn’t necessarily want to hear how Mr. T ate chunks of butter from the butter dish when I wasn’t looking and how Ms. J somehow managed to poop herself all the way up to her hairline.

Well there…right there is the reason that I have decided to blog. Because I WANT to talk about my kids and my child filled life without feeling guilty. I would like to be able to vent and talk about the best way to discipline a two year old as well as get breastfeeding tips from other mummy’s. I want to feel like I’m not alone.  I’m not alone right? There are other mummy’s out there who are in the same boat as me aren’t there?

I really would just like to be able to talk! I’m a chatter! Always have been…always will be. The difference is that right now the biggest part of my life are my children and that might not be as interesting to everyone else in my life as it is to me. The thing is I know there are other mummy’s out there who feel the same way as me. There must be! So that is why I decided to do this. I am reaching out to all you other wonderful mummy’s out there. If you feel like your life has been taken over by tiny creatures. If you feel tired and drained and a little unkempt. If you feel like you don’t really have that much to talk about anymore…or more that others don’t really care about what you have to say anymore then stand up! If you feel all of those things and are loving every second of it then stand up beside me and let’s chat!

Finally I can talk!!!