Sunday, February 26, 2017

Silas Philip - His Birth Story

                I love birth stories. I love to hear other women’s stories, and I love telling and re-telling my own. Usually, I’ve written out the birth story in the first week, but we are over 3 weeks now (ahem… he’s over a month now…), and I’m just now sitting down, hoping I haven’t already forgotten any little detail.
                I’m glad I wrote out my other birth stories. It’s amazing how quickly the mind glazes over things, or lumps details all together. I’d be visiting with a friend and we’d be talking about birth and I’d be wracking my brain trying to remember if a certain situation had happened during which birth. I like that I have a written record.
                My pregnancy with Silas was my first ever “normal” pregnancy. I only went to emergency once in the early months, as I had some light bleeding (on Rory’s birthday, of course). That was my only emergency ultrasound and obviously, everything turned out fine. I very nearly made it the whole pregnancy without being admitted into the hospital. Seriously, I was so, so close. But I ended up with the flu, which led to dehydration, which led to contractions, which led to me spending a night in the hospital hooked up to an IV. That was the week before I had Silas. See? SO CLOSE.
                My pregnancy, though free of the scares of the previous pregnancies, was still not my favourite. I love babies. I could have twelve babies if I could just make them magically appear instead of actually having to grow the little humans. My hips love to loosen off very early in pregnancy. That’s quite irritating as one, I don’t need them to loosen off until closer to delivery, and two, I ended up with a c-section so they didn’t need to do anything, actually. I had hip and back pain for the majority of my pregnancy. I did try the chiropractor multiple times and even massage therapy, but as that only helped for a few days, I didn’t like spending the money for only a short time of relief. So I just continued in my misery, waddled, and generally moved about like a 90 year old woman.
                I did not have any gall bladder attacks like I did with the first two pregnancies, as my gall bladder has gone the way of the dodo bird. That did not stop me from having heartburn however, and I lived off of tums, zantac, and milk. So yes, I was miserable, tired, and in pain, but it was all “normal” stuff, so even though I was an emotional basket-case that was either crying or yelling most of the time, I was also thankful I wasn’t going in to emergency every couple weeks or being whisked somewhere in an ambulance or having dozens of ultrasounds.
                Previously, I had only made it to 37 weeks. Let me tell you… when your babies usually come early, those last weeks are torture. I have a weird shaped uterus which only gives my babies about half the room (or womb, if you will, HAHA, I slay myself). So discomfort happens fast. This little one, like his brother before him, decided to get stuck upside down, so I had a head nestled nicely in my ribs and wonderful kicks to my bladder. My body started practicing for labour a few weeks before – which is totally normal – I just wish I could send my body a memo saying, “Thanks but no thanks, body, we don’t need to practice contractions as we are having a c-section due to this directionally challenged baby. Have a nice day and knock it off.” Alas, this was not the case.
                The morning of January 23rd, my friend Lyndsey and I were commiserating in our misery (she being pregnant as well) and bemoaning the horridness of Braxton Hicks and false labour – which I had been experiencing since the night before.
                My whining changed slightly when my “this isn’t labour” turned into “Um, this might be labour”. However, my confidence was shot, as I had thought I was in labour the week before when I’d had the flu, so I rather meandered about getting ready. Packing the boys’ things, calling the clinic, packing up my last minute things, until Sheldon finally intervened with a “WOULD YOU HURRY UP.” Lyndsey graciously took me to the clinic to get checked to confirm I was actually in labour as I didn’t want Sheldon to have to leave calving if my body was just being silly and practicing again. However, as I started needing to breathe and focus during contractions that were coming every 5 minutes, I figured that was probably a precaution I hadn’t needed to take.
                Sure enough, a quick check at the doctor confirmed I was dilating. It was around 3:30 then, and the doctor told me to head over to the hospital to get prepped as “cut time” was 4:15. Yes. Cut time. Such a lovely way of putting it.
                Lyndsey took me to the hospital and stayed with me until Sheldon showed up. Time was moving quickly and slowly at the same time. 4:15 wasn’t very far away, but when the contractions picked up quickly and intensified, I was increasingly thankful I didn’t actually have to do all the labouring and a spinal was on it’s way.
                By the time I was sitting on the operation table getting my spinal, my contractions were on top of each other. The sweet relief of numbness was very welcome. The room seemed crowded, I had two doctors working on me, and another doctor standing by to take care of the baby. Now all there was to do was to wait and see who this little person would turn out to be.
                I was hoping for a girl. But before I went into the OR I had a strange feeling that this baby would be another boy. Silas was breech and pulled out by his feet, so I heard the nurse say, “Uh-oh, it’s another boy!” before he was technically born.
                I muttered “seriously?” and looked at Sheldon, who shrugged and whispered, “Sorry.”
                I took a deep breath and had my moment of disappointment… and then it passed and I anxiously awaited seeing his little face. They actually had a bit of trouble getting my little guy out. He was wedged in quite tightly with his arms over his head, so he made my doctor work to pull him out of his cozy, snug abode. Silas was a very passive little thing, and it took a bit to get him actively breathing on his own, but once they made him upset enough he was able to clear his lungs and tell them off. Then he was wrapped up and brought over to Sheldon, who in turn showed me our newest addition.
                I was thrown off when I first saw him. His features didn’t instantly scream HI I AM A BLUM like his brothers did. He had his own look. Any trace of disappointment had disappeared completely. He was perfect.
                I was also ridiculously proud of having a normal sized baby. Clocking in at 7lb 5oz, he outweighed his brothers by two pounds. He skipped the preemie size of diapers and clothes; clothes his brothers had stayed in for weeks.
                He’s followed in Kadon’s footsteps (thankfully) and has been a content, happy baby since day one. If I could have a guarantee that all future babies would be like him, I’d want twelve. I absolutely love the newborn stage. That is, after that first week is over. Afterpains, milk coming in, and my body getting used to breastfeeding are all horrid things, but oh so very much worth it.

                Somehow my Silas is already a month old. Kadon and Eli adore him. He fits so perfectly into our family. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day "Wisdom"

I haven’t posted in a long while. I’ve had lots of thoughts rolling around in my head, but never made the time or felt like I had any creative juices to put pen to paper (metaphorically). Now, here we are, three weeks postpartum with my third son, Silas. There’s such joy in NOT BEING PREGNANT. I love babies. Love, love, love babies. Being pregnant, however, even with a “normal” pregnancy, is so not my cup of tea. But that and Silas’ birth story is for another blogpost.
Today is Valentine’s Day. Yes, yes, an over-rated, over-priced, made up holiday to make single people feel bad and couples either fight because of unmet expectations or drive everyone else crazy with their audacity to be in love and happy on this, a most controversial day of the year. (Holy run on sentence, batman.)
I have never had high expectations for Valentine’s Day. Why? Because I married a farmer. And not just any farmer, a cattle farmer. An Albertan cattle farmer who calves during the winter. Although, to be honest, I’m not sure if it would make any difference if he were just a grain farmer. We don’t really go out much. I think our last theater movie was when the last Hobbit movie came out, and I’m pretty sure our last adult dinner date was a double date maybe a year ago.
In the first years of marriage, my inability to pry Sheldon off of his farm galled me. Special occasions often ended with me in tears and Sheldon in confused and disappointed silence. I wanted romance! I wanted to go out! I wanted planned surprises! … I just… never actually voiced those expectations until it was too late. And I eventually realized I was asking him (or not asking him, just expecting him to magically know what I wanted) to operate outside of his love languages and comfort bubble.
Sheldon is a romantic. In his own way. Not in my old preconceived, rather Hollywood-like, notions. We’ve been married over ten years now. (I KNOW! It’s crazy!) We haven’t had relationship melt-downs and communication break downs over special occasions in years. Why, though?
I started to be able to accept love in the ways Sheldon was showing it – and not just focus on the few ways he wasn’t. And Sheldon figured out what I needed to feel loved and appreciated. And you know how he figured it out – I TOLD HIM.
*angels singing*
I know, it doesn’t seem that complicated. But it’s not just something that happened to us. I’ve had many friends tell me of their disappointments over the years when it came to their husbands planning something. So, I thought I’d impart my “wisdom” (ie: tips I learned the hard way over a couple years with many tears and tantrums because I am so mature) just in case there’s anything helpful to be gleaned from our story.
1.       Talk to him. I know, I know, you want it to be a surprise, you want it to be spontaneous! Well, guess what? Some guys just aren’t planners. Some guys just aren’t spontaneous. Would you rather have a good time doing something that yes, you helped put together, or sit there in disappointment eating leftover meatloaf because you wanted him to surprise you with a steak dinner and he most definitely did not and now you are crying tears of sadness into your warmed up potatoes and he’s looking at you like you’re a crazy person?

2.       The second point is attached to the first point. TALK. This does not mean “nudge in the right direction”. Nor does it mean hint. Obviously, these tips do not apply for those of you with husband’s that like to plan, surprise, and do that sort of thing. But for those of us with the other kind, don’t be vague. If you want flowers, inform him. If you want to go out to dinner, tell him you’d really like that. Take the guesswork out of it and there’s a greater chance it will happen.

3.       Love languages. It may sound ridiculous, but I promise you, it’s not. If you haven’t already, figure out what things make your husband feel the most loved. Have an intimate conversation with your guy about the things that fill up your love tank. Gifts, acts of service, touch, words of affirmation, time… what means the most to you? Hopefully you married someone who wants you to feel loved, appreciated, and happy. A lot of times we show love in the same way we feel love. For example, one of my love languages is touch – but only for very specific people. I love my hair being played with, my back being rubbed, holding hands, him wrapping his arms around my waist ect. Now my go to for showing love is to rub his back – and guess what! He is one of the only men on earth who doesn’t like it! “It tickles” apparently. So I’m meaning to show love and instead I’m “pestering” him. Whoops. Knowing love languages is important, y’all.   

4.       Manage your expectations. Yes, exactly what you wanted to hear. But listen, this isn’t a romantic comedy. Having high expectations can take away from any small, but heartfelt, gesture they do. There’s a kind of give and take here. Yes, they should know your love languages, but you should also be aware of when they are showing you love in different ways. And plus, having a bit lower of expectations means you are more easily blown away if they do ever make a grand gesture.

That’s pretty much all I got. Like I said, Sheldon is a romantic, but not in the pre-planned, extravagant date night type of way. He’s not really all about surprises. When we do something, or he wants to buy me something, he wants me to really like it, so often times he will run it by me first. And you know what? It doesn’t kill the magic. Because the magic is that we are doing things to make each other know how much we love each other. Whether or not it’s a surprise, or who planned it, or whether or not we even leave the farm, isn’t the point.
And the cool thing is, since he knows I do like spontaneous things, he DOES surprise me sometimes. And how does he know I like it? I told him. He probably wouldn’t ever have done it otherwise, as he himself isn’t over fond of surprises. So, every once in awhile, he does something extravagant. Not often, but sometimes, which makes it all the more special. He’s sent me on a double date with my best friend for massages and pedicures and he’s set up a stay at the cabin for a few days. He shows love through gifts and acts of service – those come naturally to him, and he’s always been good at those (I know, I’m a lucky girl). The grand gesture thing isn’t a natural thing for him, but because he loves me, he gives it a go occasionally.
Flowers, chocolates, and cooking supper are natural for him – especially now that he knows it’s important for me to celebrate special occasions in some way, no matter what time of year, or how busy we are. I’ve managed my expectations – okay, we aren’t actually going to leave the farm – and he’s stepped up his game – making sure I still felt loved with flowers and chocolate and actually writing in a card instead of just signing his name. (it’s the little things, right?)

I’m so glad we don’t fight about this anymore. It leaves us so much more time to argue about the really important things; like squeaky doors, leaving dirty socks in my kitchen, and how I’m really bad at doing laundry. ;)