Sunday, 30 January 2011

The autonomous b**ch !!!

Dan and I started to date almost 14 years ago. It was during our last year of high school. Shortly after, we moved into our first apartment and started our "official" adult life. We have always been very self-sufficient...we rarely ask for help and we like it like that!

Nobody ever complained about it until I got pregnant. This is when people REALLY want to help you and find it outrageous, for example, that you didn't ask for a car ride to go to the ER instead of taking public transportation.

I know, I must sound like a horrible little bitch. My family and my friends what to make my life easier and I don't let them do it! Now, I slowly try to let go and accept some help while maintaining a certain level of autonomy.

Anyway, since I had a rocky first trimester (hold up in a store, night and day sickness, labyrinthitis symptoms, doctor miscarriage warning, etc. ), my mother started this monthly pregnancy reward system. At the end of each month, she transfers some money in my bank account so I could get myself a little celebratory gift! At first I was TOTALLY against the idea but you have to admit that it is super sweet and it made her happy...and who doesn't like to get little presents!

She only gave me two conditions: I must not use it for "boring" stuff like the electricity bill and I must tell her what I got. So here you go mom, for January, I got this cute whale tissue holder to add some whimsy to my minimalist bathroom!

Merci maman
Je t'aime xox

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Mommy talks with Lina

All childbirths are unique! Some will be smooth and some will be arduous! Lina, a mother of two, living in Montreal experienced both. Lina is a craft goddess with a little obsession for milk glass and doilies!

What was your birth plan?
I wanted things to be as natural as possible and avoid too much intervention. I was also keen to use the birthing pool which I did and it helped a lot. I also wanted not to put too much pressure on myself to have a perfect natural birth. I was pretty easy going in that respect.

How did you prepare physically and mentally for childbirth?
Mentally, I read lots, attended birth classes, asked my sister and closest friends about their experiences and spent far too much time watching birth stories. Physically, I concentrated on eating well and getting as much rest as I could. I also had relaxation CDs which were really helpful for breathing techniques.

Who was with you during labour and birth?
Just my husband and a midwife. My children were both born in the UK and the hospital where I had them both were pretty strict about partners only in the delivery room. I’m not sure I would have wanted anyone else even if it had been an option.

How did you handle the pain?
My first labour was long and to begin with I tried it all: deep breathing, relaxation, gas and air. As labour progressed I spent 5 hours in a birthing pool. After 24 hours of contractions, the midwife suggested breaking my waters. In retrospect, I was a bag of nerves and exhausted so my pain threshold was at zero…and a few hours later I had an epidural.

With my second child, I felt in control and actually really enjoyed the labour. It was such a positive and powerful experience. My contractions started at 4pm and my son was born at 10pm with the help of just a little gas and air towards the end. I really focused on deep breathing, meditation and relaxing. His birth was just text book perfect and unusually, he was born in his waters, which is quite rare.

Did everything go according to your birth plan?
For the first birth, it was not the natural birth I had hoped for and I did have some complications afterwards which resulted in needing a blood transfusion and longer recovery time. However, I was so relieved to have delivered a beautiful healthy girl that I didn’t feel in anyway disappointed.

Second time around my birthing experience was amazing and I feel grateful to have experienced that. The biggest thing that didn’t go to plan was that we were told by our sonographer that we were having another girl and I was amazed when I heard the midwife exclaim “it’s a boy”!!!

What is your best childbirth advice?
Relax relax relax! I learned that being nervous and panicky just heightens the pain. Have confidence in your body and try to keep an open mind. Labour is a journey and you cannot plan for every incident.

Thank you Lina! xox

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Baby it's cold outside

As you probably know, I live in Canada. And in my part of Canada, it is freaking cold in winter (-30C / -22F). You can also add the fact that we don't have a car and that we walk to do, well, everything.

So I was at my desk, quietly looking at different options to keep my baby warm next winter, when I realized that something was different in my mouth. At first with my tongue and then with my finger, I felt a little pointy thing! No! It can't be? It would be the worst timing ever! I'm not 100% sure but I think that at the age of 31 minus a few days...I just got my very first wisdom tooth!

After I took my apointment to the dentist (next tuesday), I went back to my computer and decided that I should eventually invest in a 7 A.M. Enfant Le sac igloo ‘LS 500’. It is a little expensive but, to my opinion, totally worth it if you live in a place like Montreal!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Naughty conversations between husband and wife

...because I'm sure that we are not the only one talking about that!

Clo: A girl at yoga said that you can reach orgasm during childbirth.
Dan: Really?
Clo: OMG, it would be so freaky if it was written in her birth plan!!!

Dan: I'm a little freaked out!
Clo: What is the problem?
Dan: The doula said that sperm could start contractions *
Clo: Please, don't tell me you want to get condoms!

Dan: I read this research that said that porn actresses give birth faster.
Clo: ...
Clo: Good for them but I certainly won't look for my inner porn star!

Looking at an erotic gay magazine at a friend's house
(what? we were curious!!!)
Dan and Clo: !!!???!!!
Clo: If we have a boy, should we get him circumcised?
Dan: Well, maybe we have girl!
Clo: Good point!

* semen contains prostaglandins which can help start contractions


On a completely different subject, my birthday is coming soon and I was desperately looking for gift suggestions (I will also have a nice prenatal massage at the spa) for my husband (birthdays after Chritsmas are always complicated). Luckely for me, I found NewDuds' etsy shop. Now, everyhting will be fine!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Ignorant Claudia - weekly question (week 29)

Dan's coworkers are not very nice! They started to tease him about how "last minute" we are with the nursery. It is not our fault if the stupid crib is back order and the store pushes the delivrey date every week! So, even if I'm only at 29 weeks, they are telling him stuff like "but what if she goes into early labor".

Not that I want to focus on early labor but this made me think about my hospital bag. After a little bit of research, I found a detailed packing list especially written for this glorious day. I was pretty naive to think that my backpack would be big enough to fit all those items.

So, this is the LONG list of what I should theory. Do you think that it makes sense? What was your this-made-my-life-so-much-better item that you had with you at the hospital / birth centre?

for childbirth
massage oil
mp3 player with favorite music
small juices, bottles of water and snacks
brumisateur (you know, the Evian spray thing!)
magic bag (Dan calls it the warm hippie bag)
watch to calculate the contractions
health insurance card and proof of private insurance
birth plan

clothing and accessories
warm socks, slippers and flip flops
panties (6x)
bras (2x)
bag for dirty clothes

for the day: loungewear or yoga outfit
for the night: night gowns with buttons (breastfeeding)
for the exit: outfit from the 4th or 5th month of pregnancy

very absorbing pads
thin towels and facecloths (dry quickly)
daily beauty products
daily shower products
comb, brushes, hair drier and hair accessories
tooth brush and toothpaste
box of tissues
breast pads

blankets (3x)
socks, mittens and hat
diaper covers (5x)
pyjamas (5x)
outfit to exit the hospital (according to the season!)
bibs (4x)
facecloth (a few)
burp cloth (a few)
wet wipes (package)
diapers (that fit a newborn!)
baby shampoo and soap
bottles and milk preparation if you don't want to nurse
car seat

camera and batteries
phone number list
pencils and notebook
small alarm clock

for dad
daily shower and beauty products
replacement outfits

large…but sometimes essential
breastfeeding pillow
exercice ball

note: you know I'm pregnant when I started to cry while looking at my weekly picture!!!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Is it for me or the baby?

I personally don't need a rattle! I don't even know if babies really get entertain by the subtle noise. However, when I saw this little yellow bunny, I told my husband that our baby would be for sure much smarter if he could play with such a delightful toy! Um um, he said. I must admit that my argument was poor but look at is ssssooooo cute!

Instead, since I'm a responsible mother in progress, I got some baby leg warmers / crawler covers. I read that they are wonderful when it is your turn to do the diaper change.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Week a portable table!

Today we had our first semi-private prenatal class. It is given by a doula that happens to be journalist specialized in perinatal information. Most pregnant couples in Montreal attend free prenatal classes given by the provincial government.

After much consideration, we decided to make a few financial "sacrifices" and get classes from a private maternity centre. I have nothing against public classes. I actually attended one before Christmas with a friend and it was pretty nice. It is just that we were looking for a different approach (birth plan, Bonapace method, etc.).

I strongly believe in prenatal classes, public or private. They provide crucial information that will have a direct impact on the way that a couple will go through maternity and childbirth. Maybe I'm a chicken, but going in labor without knowing about my options would make me slightly (a lot) more nervous!!!

Anyway, our teacher told us that the Quebec government might cut back the public prenatal class budget. Supposedly, getting prepared for childbirth has no positive impact!

It's probably my pregnancy hormones but am I the only one who think that this is the stupidest thing ever!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

My worst enemy...the metro!

Five days a week, I take a overheated, overcrowded, under ventilated metro (subway) to go to work. Five mornings and five evening of public transportation during rush hour (20 minutes each way).

In Montreal, some seats are reserved for senior/handicap/pregnant ladies in each wagon. In general, people are nice enough to give up their precious seat for me. And I thank them immensely each time!

However, I'm always amazed by the creativity used my some passengers to avoid losing their, as I call it, ass support. There is always the "I use my IPad so I didn't see you", the "I suddenly fell asleep", the "What is that little thing on my winter coat that will keep me busy until my station", the "I must have a People magazine in my purse that I find super captivating", etc.

I went to the doctor today for a regular appointment and I still have a month and a half of pregnant belly jiggling in the metro before I can stop working. Until that day, well, there is not much I can do except rub my belly in a tender way hoping that it will charm somebody out of "my" reserved seat!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Dreaming of wodden blocks

In my imaginary world, babies are more interested in wooden toys than in plastic junk. They realize how cool vintage and handmade is. Also, at birth, they know what mid-century modern is, love Scandinavian / Japanese design and have a clear preference for stripes shirts made in France.

Oh dear, it is so easy to get caught up in the moment. I want to do what is good for my baby. But honestly, tender loving care for my kid will go much further than the great majority of the stuff that I got for the nursery.

I'm not saying that I just turned into an extreme minimalist who will put her baby in a drawer instead of a crib (but part of me likes the concept!). On the contrary, those wooden blocks will probably be in my dreams tonight!

However, I want to spend a little less time on material stuff and more on the emotional aspect of having a kid. I want to focus on myself and on my relationship with my husband, on the beauty of being pregnant, on how my life will change forever! Suddenly, the nursery linen doesn't seem that important anymore!

Woodland Creatures Wood Blocks Set of 6
Organic alphabet blocks
Vintage wooden blocks

Monday, 10 January 2011

Mommy talks with Martha (part 2)

Martha (mother of two boys: A is 5 and W is 3) was so generous when she answered my questions that a part 2 was necessary (part 1)!

Note: After reading about Martha's
post partum depression, I realized that I don't know much about the subject. If some of you had PPD, I would like to know about your experience. From what I understand, PPD is a very delicate subject...a taboo for some people. If you don't want to comment directly on my blog, you can always send me a private email. Thank you!

What are your tips on breastfeeding?
Don’t give up! I found out two weeks after I gave birth to A that he wasn’t latching on properly. But once I got that straightened out, everything went smoothly. W latched on immediately after birth and had no problems.

Also, if they try to push a bottle at the hospital tell them no, you want to nurse. If the baby is hungry both of you will figure out how to properly breast feed. I don’t know anyone that says I wish I hadn’t breastfed my baby, only people regretting not nursing.

What are your tips on the first few weeks after birth?
Those weeks are hard. Remember to take a little time for yourself – sit down with a cup of tea, take a shower, wear "real" clothes and brush your hair. You would be surprised how much better you feel when you’ve taken care of yourself too.

With A, I had undiagnosed post partum depression. It was very, very difficult for me, and I wasn’t honest with myself during that period. Truly try to evaluate how you are feeling, and ask for help. It wasn’t so much that I felt sad but that I felt extremely overwhelmed, anxious, and scared. I didn’t realize that these are key signs of PPD, so I did nothing about it. Your spouse is there to help, love, and nurture. And he will, especially if you talk to him about how you’re feeling.

What are your tips on baby learning / education?
Babies learn naturally. I don’t feel there is a need to over-stimulate with activities. Bonding with your baby is most important in the early stages. Don’t worry about when things are happening. Both my boys learned things at different rates, and developed at different times.

The Rudolf Steiner/Waldorf philosophy really influenced our early childhood experiences and I highly recommend You Are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin-Dancy. It is really helpful in having a soothing start to your child’s life, and what learning experiences work well with children and babies.

Thank you again Martha.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Another post about boobs!

But this time, it is not about my boobs!

This week, in a baby / kid store a few feet from my office in downtown Montreal, two women were asked to stop breastfeeding their babies by a salesperson.

The Québec charter of rights and freedoms protects women against discrimination on the basis of sex. And preventing someone from breastfeeding in public exactly constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex.

So let me tell you that when I read about this story I was outraged! I know that breastfeeding in public can be a delicate subject depending of where you live and that not every society is open about women showing some skin when their baby is hungry. However, I always believed that Montreal was a place that respected women who decided to breastfeed in public places.

So on January 19th, between 1:00 and 1:30, I will walk my pregnant belly to that baby / kid store and give my support to the women who will participate in a
nurse-in (women rendez-vous at the store and, at a given time, they breastfeed together).

And I'm curious, where you live, is breastfeeding in public acceptable or is it a big no-no?

Got Breast Milk Onesie

Ignorant Claudia - weekly question (week 27)

*Sigh*, week 27 was a long one! Going back to work after two weeks of vacation and sitting on an uncomfortable office chair for 7 hours turned out to be a big challenge. I'm lucky enough to have a job where it is "acceptable" to lie down on the floor next to the receptionist's desk. And, as a masculine co-worker said, "coming from you, it almost seems natural"!!!

While on the floor, I was looking at my list of stuff to buy for the baby (I won't tell you how much time I spent researching, analyzing and evaluating will think that I'm crazy). Most of it is already purchased but I still hesitate on the relevance of getting a few items. So, should I invest in:

1) a mobile
2) a fancy diaper pail (ex: Diaper Genie 2)
3) a diaper bag...what is wrong with using my beloved backpack?

I hope that you have a lovely weekend....and that you are not as freaked out by the raining dead birds phenomenon as I am!!!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Right this second I want to get...

...a few eco-friendly cozy bundlers from Mini Mioche. It is so difficult to find great baby basics at a reasonable price. And, eh, it is Canadien!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The dream nursery

A few weeks ago, I had this recurring dream that one of our friend was kidnapping our baby. He would come to our home, take the baby, leave quietly and I would wake up in panic. This was very strange because 1) he is a nice guy 2) he is very supportive 3) he has a good sense of humor and ... 4) he thinks that kids are most of the time annoying!

I don't know anything about dream interpetation but one day I asked him, half joking, to stop kidnaping my baby! He looked at me and said "Oh, don't freak out, babies are too much trouble, I would bring it back after 15 minutes"!!!

However, he knew why I had those dreams. He said it's because your nursery is not done yet and I can't let you have a baby in those conditions!!!

At that time (early second trimester), I just told him that he was silly. However, he made me realize that I do have a difficult time getting inspiration for the nursery. Everything is so "little kit", crowded with stuff...maybe over designed would be a good way of explaining it.

Today, I saw this picture on flickr from a decoration ideas book for modern living circa 70's. This is, my friends, my dream nursery! It might not be for everybody (maybe too boring for some people) but I totally see my little family in a room like that.

Finally, no more nightmares!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Knitting grandma

As soon as I told my mother that I was pregnant, she started to knit baby stuff like there is no tomorrow! Her initial reaction to my "no pastel, go for neutrals like navy, brown and gray" rule socked her and all the other knitting grand-mothers aware of my strange request. Luckily for her (and me), she discovered a delightful pattern book full of chocolate brown, mouse gray and caramel beige.

Of all the items that she made (I will take more pictures eventually), Dan and I fell in love with this little fox scarf that she gave us (well, to mini A's attention) for Christmas. It is knitted with the softest yarn and sometimes, when I daydream on the baby's room floor (I do that quite often these days), I just pat the scarf like it is a real animal.

Since my mom reads my blog, I would like to take this opportunity to thank her greatly. I know that a naturally stubborn daughter full of pregnancy hormones can be quite difficult to deal with. I appreciate everything that she does for me and I know that she will be a wonderful grand-mother. Of all the people that I know, she is the only one (except Dan obviously) that I can trust 100% with "mon petit bébé"!

Merci beaucoup maman d'amour! xox

Monday, 3 January 2011

Scaredy Squirrel and me

Way before I got pregnant, I had this plan. I would do the pregnancy test and if the result was positive I would give Dan a Scaredy Squirrel book. I wanted to do that because whenever we visit a book store or a library, we look at a Scaredy Squirrel book and say "when we will have a kid, we are so getting the entire collection".

Basically, Scaredy Squirrel suffers from some form of paranoid schizophrenia but at the end of each book he realizes that things are not that bad after all! Ok, I must admit that written like that you must wonder what kind of person would enjoy those books! Trust me, they are hilarious and won many awards.

Not that I suffer from paranoid schizophrenia but sometimes I get freaked out by things that are in reality not scary at all. Lately, I have this irrational "fear" of cribs (we still need to buy the crib).

I can spend hours looking at cribs online and having visions of spontaneous combustion, implosion and other dramatic things that could *never* happen to a crib!!! But on the other hand, I'm also quite cheap. So I can spend hours looking a cribs online and calculate how much future parents are getting screwed by baby cribs companies!

However, last night (3am), during a baby kickboxing tournament in my belly, I went again online to look at cribs and got an epiphany: the classic Jenny Lind crib (in white)! So please, if somebody is against this purchase let me know now or remain silent forever!!!

Nursery Tour: Parker's Black and white nursery - ohdeedoh

Saturday, 1 January 2011

week 26

Week 26 is almost over and depending on which maternity book I look at I could be in my 3rd trimester (it is actually a bit confusing)! Except for the usual gastric reflux, frequent bathroom visits and an obvious feeling of looking like a yurt when I wear my winter coat everything is pretty good. My husband could even tell you that he appreciates my increasing libido...c'mon, I'm pregnant, I don't think I can pull the virgin card here!!!

Without getting into details (nobody wants that...especially since my mom started to read my blog - allo maman) but you know, since I already told you about my boobs, I just want to add that I understand why parents tell their kids that babies are made "when two people love each other VERY much"! You really have to be in love with your husband (and vice-versa) because it could be a challenge to feel desirable when you can have gas or burp at any moment without any warning (stupid hormones)!

I also would like to wish you a wonderful new year. May 2011 brings you beautiful projects and obviously lots of love because, believe me, it makes everything much better!

note: credit to my friend Marie who took this lovely picture with an old toy of mine.