A Very Marigold Birthday

The last few weeks haven’t included much more than two hour stints of sleep, eating and sitting topless on the couch.  Oh, and clogging my friends news feeds with pictures of my children.  I’m kinda tied to Alice and the couch for the most part, so for entertainment I take pictures of my kids, post them on Instagram and share them on Facebook.  At least until the weather is a bit nicer.

Oh GOD I never wanted to be a mommy blogger–I just wanted to write about my life, but I guess my life right now is mostly about being a mummy. Gone are the days of passing out on a toilet in the basement bathroom of a bar on Queen from too much to drink and waking to write about it the next morning.

And here I am, again, to tell you more about my child-centered life.  Among the night feedings and diaper changes, I had been preparing feverishly whenever I found a few minutes, for Marigold’s third birthday.  I really wanted it to be very special for her, so I asked her what she wanted.  Decorations of orange and green, she said.  A small vanilla cake, she said.  Katie’s mummy, she said.  All of these things were a surprise to me–she doesn’t have favourite colours as far as I know, and I didn’t think she knew the difference between chocolate and vanilla.  And we haven’t seen Susie (Katie’s mummy) since last summer I think.  But these were the things she wanted.  And I wanted to make it happen.

We had a small party with her nearest and dearest.  She helped me bake her cake and I worked my butt off whenever my boobs were free.  And here are the results:  a very special party for my special little girl.

Waiting for the guests to arrive and the party to start

Waiting for the guests to arrive and the party to start

Handmade Paper Birthday PennantsHandmade Paper Birthday PennantsHandmade Paper Birthday Pennants

Handmade Paper Birthday Pennants

Several days of cutting and stringing together for the party pennants

Even the dolls decorated!

Even the dolls decorated!

Orange and Green Party Table

Orange and Green Party Table

Handmade cake and paper cake toppers

Handmade cake and paper cake toppers

She’s growing up, and while part of me wishes she would stay 3 forever (because she’s just so goddamned cute), I’m excited to see what kind of person she grows into.

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Hungry Hungry Hippos is a great gift for a 3 year old and her pals

Hungry Hungry Hippos is a great gift for a 3 year old and her pals

Mummy & Marigold

Mummy & Marigold

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Living a Life of Love

The weeks and months leading up to my maternity leave were slightly stressful. Stressful only because the pressure I put on myself of course. I love working. I love working hard–I love accomplishing things and being good at what I do. I also enjoy being a part of a growing company and building a team and providing products and services I believe in. While it sounds like a cushy deal, taking a year off for maternity leave, for me, is a lot harder than it sounds.

Don’t be mistaken, I love my family, and I love being a mummy to Marigold and a wife to Martin, but it really doesn’t define me as a person.  It’s not the be all, end all of me.  Neither is my job.  I am the sum of these things and many others–all of which make me who I am.

While my current job isn’t exactly my dream job, it’s still awesome and I like the company and love my boss and the people I work with.  The hardest part is the timing, of course.  Putting my career on hold when things are positioned for growth in a major way isn’t the ideal scenario I had imagined when I first found myself with child.  I hadn’t expected that I would be getting a new boss, and that I would need to make a new and lasting impression on someone when I was tired, bloated and irritable. I didn’t think that I was about to miss out on something really rad for the next year.  I hate to miss out on things–I love to be right in the action!

I’m sure tons of other women and men go through the same thing when they take their respective parental leaves. I truly am grateful for the opportunity to take the full 50 weeks to spend time focusing on my new baby and growing family.

The last time I went on mat leave, I was literally counting the minutes before I could walk out the door and not return for several months, even though I was still there late on my last day.  This time I was really sad to go.  I was having sleepless nights thinking about the many projects I had on the go just before clocking out for the next year, and as my last day crept closer, I had expected my stress level to spike, but it slowly dissipated.  I was ready to go, and I know that I’m not in any real danger of being left behind at work.  I’m confident that I’ll be able to return and pick up where I left off and just spend this year focusing on real life–and my family.  What a treasure.

Almost three years ago now, I revived my blog because of this overwhelming need to write it all down.  I needed to tell everyone how I had never loved as much as I loved right then. With hormones running rampant, I’m sure, I was plagued with so many feelings and emotions, but it was the love that overflowed.

When I first discovered I was pregnant with my second child, of course I was thrilled, but there were hesitations that I hadn’t expected. I was worried about how I could possibly have TWO children (people survive with many more, I know I’m ridiculous) and look after them successfully. I was worried about our finances, and the size of our apartment. I was worried how Marigold will adapt. But most of all I was worried that I couldn’t possibly have any more love to give to another child. I just loved my little Marigold so much that I didn’t think it possible to have the capacity to love a new addition to our little family.

Two Peas on the floor, under a blanket

Two Peas on the floor, under a blanket

Martin gently reminded me that love multiplies as a family grows–and we have a never ending supply! We have found love in places that we never even knew existed.

The hardest part has definitely been dealing with my feelings for Marigold.  It’s weird, but I miss her.  I still spend time with her everyday, but she’s no longer my one and only, and I feel bad that my attention is divided.  This has been the greatest source of postpartum tears.  She is the most amazing big sister in all of the land, and I’m so proud with how she is handling it all.  She is a huge help with Baby Alice, and I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve heard her say “Don’t worry, Baby Alice.  Big sister’s right here” in the last 10 days.  And it melts my heart every time.

20140221_124904Miss Marigold and Lady Alice

One night I went to lay in Marigold’s bed with her before she went to sleep because I just missed her so.  I couldn’t stop the tears from coming, as they so often do these days.  I talked it over with Marigold, and for a not yet three year old, I’m impressed with her understanding.  I apologized for not spending as much time with her as I used to.  I got up to let her fall asleep, she said to me as I was leaving “Baby Alice needs you, Mummy.”  She totally gets it, and it just made me cry harder.  I’m so proud of her and I’m amazed at how awesome she is every single day.


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Baby Alice is just perfect from head to toe and I loved her just as much as I did Marigold when she was placed in my arms.  It’s like there’s a love explosion in your heart when you give birth–I would do it over and over again because the feeling is incredible.  And the results–well, they’re incomparable.

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So our love has grown.  Martin was right–I didn’t have anything to worry about.  We’re a family of four now.  I’m truly grateful for all the things that I have in this life, and I honestly don’t take it for granted.  I came from nothing, and now– I have everything.  And it’s definitely not lost on me, this extraordinary life of love.

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Alice's First Bath

Brown Eyed Ram

I don’t really believe in astrology, but historically I’ve found myself to be more friendly with capricorns, aquarius’ and tauruses.  Never really found myself close to an Aries, and as such I think of her as quite the an unlikely friend.  Not only is she an Aries, but she’s also 9 years my junior and I met her only because I hired her way back in 2010.  Unlikely a friendship as it may seem, she’s pretty much been by my side since then.

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Slightly more casual than her interview outfit

I remember what she wore for her interview–it was quite formal, a white blouse and a high waisted black skirt.  I don’t think she was wearing heels though–she wasn’t able to really pull off heels until about 2012.  I was looking for someone at the time to be part of the department I was building in my previous company, and between her, and one other girl, I knew I had found the right people to take on the job.

Both girls were cheery, with great personalities and teachable spirits.  Their experience was limited, but I knew I had found a couple of gems, so I snatched them up, not a moment too soon.  When I changed jobs in 2012, I had stumbled on a company primed for growth, and I felt like a mountain of work was just around the corner and I could never face it alone.  So I called on Smash.

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AKA the Dude

She had kept the ship a-sail for me while I was maternity leave the first time–she is smart, dependable, reliable, creative with a lot of really great, though sometimes zany, ideas.  We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, since she came to work with me again, more ups than downs though.  We’ve had a lot of laughs and good times, but the work pace was much slower than what we were used to, and sometimes our frustrations with work and our desires to move more quickly drove distance between us.

There were times where I felt like she was judging me.  There were times where I felt like she hated me.  There were times I felt utterly, totally and weirdly responsible for any unhappiness she felt in life.    And I can only begin to imagine what she felt about me–Picky, bossy, fussy, know it all Peattie.  I am fairly certain she wanted to tear my head off at times, but fortunately we got through it….all body parts in tact.  While it sounds crazy, it might do you some good to understand that we literally spend at least 40 hours a week together, face to face, less than three feet apart–and have for close to two straight years.

A good laugh usually cures what ails ya

Friends through the bad times

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And friends through the good times (photo credit Smashing Through Life)

We were open with each other on almost every subject and we trusted each other in more ways that we had trusted other friends in our lives.  And now as I start my maternity leave, I am trusting her again–with my job.  Finally, after waiting patiently, things are starting to happen.  She’s been promoted into the role she came on board to do–at a critical time in the company’s history.  She’s taking on significant projects and has some key objectives she’ll have to deliver on this year.  And it’s a lot.  It’s a lot for anyone.  But I know she can handle it.  I am excited to see what this year brings for her because I know it’s going to be amazing.  She’s surrounded by some really awesome people at the office, who I know she can count on to make things happen.  She’s gonna do great!

On Friday night, after my last day of work, she helped me carry my things to my car and what we thought was going to be an emotional goodbye, didn’t really turn in that direction at all.  I had cried earlier saying goodbye  to even the most pesky co-workers, and there wasn’t a tear in my eyes saying farewell to my long time side kick, pal and protege.  She made a joke about me missing her the least, but the reality is–I will miss her the least.  Because I’m not going to miss her.  Sure I’ll miss seeing her beautiful face every day, I’ll miss  the sound of her laughter, and I will definitely miss the poor nutritional choices we made on a daily basis (guilt free).  But I’m not going to miss her.  She will continue to be a huge part of my life, filling up a special place in my heart while I’m at home with my babies–our relationship runs much deeper than 9-5, Monday to Friday.  We don’t need to be three feet apart to maintain our friendship–it’s going to last for a long, long time…no matter our proximity.

I certainly got a lot more than I had ever bargained for the day I hired that brown-eyed ram, Smash.  I thought I was simply getting a recent graduate for a product specialist.  Instead, I got a life long friend.  A lady who is truly awesome in every way.

I love you, chum.

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8 Things

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t been writing at all.   I am a bit disappointed in myself because one of my goals for 2013 was to write more to ensure that I remember it all.  I started the year off pretty good, but as life began to change, writing became less of a priority, more of a chore, and frankly, I felt like the things I have to say on the inside are not what I want other people to read.  I hope that I was still focusing my energy on my output and creative pursuits rather than consumption of things.  But a small part of me thinks that I’ve spent far too much time in front of the television in the last few months–television is a soul-sucking-life-eating time waster, and if I stop to think about it, I shudder at how it seems to drain the motivation right out of me.  I’ll have to work on that this year.

I haven’t quite put together my intentions, goals or plans for 2014 just yet.  That is disappointing in itself, but I’ve been having a rough go of it since the holidays started.  I’ll spare you the details but I’m just not feeling myself.  It is a real let down because I love the New Year.  I love the chance to start fresh–to create a purpose for myself and my life and re-focus my energy on all the things I want to accomplish in the coming months.   The truth is that I’m in this funny place–my life is about to be consumed by another human, I’ve got 5 weeks left on the job and there are no real and desirable goals that are jumping out at me aside from all the things that need to get done RIGHT NOW!  I don’t even have a fucking motto or theme song for this year yet.

But I can’t let that get me down.  It will come.  It just didn’t come before January 1st.  And I’m trying on a few candidate songs for 2014, so that’s something…

Though I’m not quite ramped up for 2014, I can still take the time to reflect on the things that have happened in the last year.  It seems, based on my facebook feed, that people were happy to leave 2013 behind them.  When I first started thinking about it, I realized I had a lot of great things to remember.  So here they are, in no particular order, 8 things that happened in 2013 that make me happy.

Pee and a Plus Sign–We knew that we wanted to have more children, so what better time was there after we got married?  I was late 4 whole days before Martin would let me take a pregnancy test.  He didn’t think it was likely after only a few weeks, but I knew deep down there was a baby in my tummy.  Sure enough, we put Marigold to bed, I peed on a stick, and a plus sign appeared.  It’s been a bumpy ride, this pregnancy.  I’ve had some minor scares, I’ve found myself much more emotional and much more exhausted.  Only 7 weeks left to go until this child is scheduled to arrive.  We’ll see if I can last that long.

The newest McWaters at 19 weeks

The newest McWaters at 19 weeks

The Begonia EP–While I didn’t do anything personally to accomplish this, it gives me a great deal of pleasure that Gord finally released some of his own music.  It was a long time coming and I’m proud of the time and effort he put into it.  It really is a great album.

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I’ve got a New Boss Now –I really liked my last boss.  He was awesome and hilarious and I literally cried for days when I found out he was leaving.  I was certain that there was no way that the new boss would be awesome or good or that really anything positive could come of the change.   Well, I was wrong, new boss is great.  Awesome and amazing even.  I’m actually quite sad to be going on maternity leave!

Hoops and Skeins and Fabric, oh my!–I’m not too sure where I got the idea for needlepoint from, but I had been thinking about it for a long while (I guess as an extension of my sewing dreams).  Finally one day, I went to the Workroom and dropped less than twenty bones on the supplies I needed to get started.  Turns out embroidery is a really simple and inexpensive hobby.  It’s similar to tracing, except you’re using thread and the results are really impressive!

The first actual thing I embroidered

The first actual thing I embroidered

Hoot!

Hoot!

Marigold admiring the scene I did for her

Marigold admiring the scene I did for her

Paying it All Off–I have had this deep dark secret for so very long that I have ignored and shoved aside as much as I possibly could, but it was still always bringing me down.  When I put my list together of things I wanted to for 2013, I included details on the things I wanted to accomplish.  I didn’t want to acknowledge my financial issues–so I just put a line in my list that said “get financially on track”.

I had terrible credit and huge amounts of debt for a really long time and thinking about it made me feel ill to the bone, so instead of dealing with it head on, I just pretended like it didn’t exist.  Turns out that doesn’t make it go away, and it doesn’t make you feel good, because no matter how hard you try, you can’t actually forget about it.

Anyways–through a variety of methods–tax returns, savings and what not, I was able to pay off my student loan, and the majority of my debt in 2013.  I am no where near as good as I want to be with handling my cash, but I’m definitely a lot better than I was in 2012.  I’m paying my bills and saving–I think that’s a good place to start!  And for the first time in a really long time–I’m not afraid to answer my phone when it says “unknown caller” because it’s definitely not someone that I owe money to.  The tremendous relief I feel is inexplicable.

Everything I’ve Longed For–I have loved Hayden and his music since the 90’s.  I would have to say that “Everything I Long For” is probably the most played album I have ever owned.  Actually–come to think of it, I don’t even think I own it–I borrowed it from my pal in  1997 and just never bothered to return it because I loved it so much.  

Hayden, live!

Hayden, live!

I have cried more tears over the lyrics and songs on that album than I could ever dream of counting.  They were a solace I could always count on for any break up.  My good friend, Ryan T., also loves Hayden as much as I do.  It is a special bond that we have shared for over a decade.  At the end of November, I finally got to see Hayden in concert–with Ryan T. sitting a few rows behind me.    It was pretty rad–the show was great, Hayden was hilarious and awesome–it was everything I ever could’ve wanted in seeing him live for the first time.

Nothing Better–Seeing Hayden live was a lot more likely than ever getting the chance to see the Postal Service.  They did one album 10 years ago, and I think they only ever did one tour.  I had often dreamed about getting the chance to see them live so when they announced a 10th anniversary tour, I would’ve paid just about anything to see them.

I went alone to the show at the ACC–it was a night just for me.  I ate dinner at my favourite Mexican restaurant, did some shots of tequila and went to the show.  As an added bonus, Mates of State were opening–they are always good live and also another one of my favourite bands.

Nothing better....

Nothing better….

Seeing the Postal Service was surreal.  The music was fantastic, the lights were amazing and they loved every minute of being on stage.   My heart was practically beating out of my chest and I felt like I had been tele-ported to 2004.  The show was outstanding.

From this Day On–I always wanted a husband, pretty much for as long as I can remember.  It was getting a bit dicey 5 or 6 years ago–I was beginning to think it was never going to happen.  I was happy with my life, and was ok with the idea that maybe I wouldn’t get to have a husband one day.  I always thought that I would make a pretty good wife.  Turns out I make a great wife–just ask Martin.  And really, being a wife and having a husband isn’t really what makes me happy–it’s the person that my husband is.  His personality, his beliefs and convictions, his compassion and interests, his strength and honour–all of those things make him an amazing person.  I’m thankful on a daily basis that he chose me to become his Mrs. McWaters.  I laugh to myself from time to time about how unsure I was in the beginning when we started dating.  And now, I couldn’t imagine my life without him.  I really do love him more and more each day and really look for forward to spending the rest of my life with him.

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2013 was great in a lot of ways.  Of course there were some bad times–but what good is it to focus on that?  It’s the bright spots that will keep you going…pining over the dark days will only bring you down! 2014 is going to be a busy one for us, and it’s a little scary to think about what we’re up against, but after writing this, I’m finally getting excited about setting some goals and planning for what I want to accomplish in 14.

WOOOOO!

Until the Moment’s Gone


For Christmas this year, we got satellite radio, and what an excellent gift it was for us. There’s about a dozen channels that we listen to on a regular basis, one of them being “Lithium”, the 90’s station. Try listening to 90’s radio and see what it does to you! It’s funny how many songs I hear that cause me to think of certain people, or certain times in my life.

The first three days of this week were complete hell. Don’t get me wrong, I have an excellent baby. She is absolutely amazing–she sleeps well, most of the time and more during the day, she doesn’t cry a lot, she latches on well and she’s generally a happy baby. For the most part I’ve felt fairly rested, although the “sleep when the baby sleeps” business doesn’t really work for me. She spends her time sleeping through the day, when it’s sunny and bright and when I have lots of energy to get shit done or play some video games (I’ve made it to level 6 on Burger Time). I’ve even managed to have a shower everyday since she was born (save yesterday). I really never wanted to be “one of those people” who complained about the sleep they weren’t getting or the fact that they hadn’t showered in days.
I know now, that those people are likely complaining about not having a shower or sleeping, because it’s too taboo to discuss how fucking depressed/paranoid/freaked out/irrational/inadequate you feel as a new parent. And that’s the short list.
My biggest problem is that Marigold falls asleep when eating. Like completely crashes out. And trust me, I’ve tried everything to keep her awake. I take her clothes off, I blow on her, I stroke her feet, I yell at her, I change her diaper, I stroke her cheek, I squeeze my boob, I tickle her, and I even use the torturous cold cloth on her. NOTHING WORKS!!! I hate having to be so mean to her, but if she had her way, she wouldn’t eat at all until it was dark out, then she would be attached to me non stop until daylight.
We had another doctor’s appointment on Monday, and Marigold had only gained 80 grams in a week. Typical baby growth is between 100-200 grams a week. I knew we had had a bad week before, but it was starting to get alarming because she was falling behind. Dr. Mcgee (our family doctor) consulted with Dr. Karlinsky (our OB) on what we should do. Without much questioning, they decided that my milk production was low and suggested I take domperidone to increase my milk flow. I was adamant that it had nothing to do with my milk flow (as that was suggesting that I was inadequately providing for my child). I just felt I needed to be more diligent in waking her up, especially at night where should could sleep for more than 5 hours if I let her.
I left the doctor without a prescription but with another appointment a week later–I just wanted to wait and see. In life, much like Homer Wells, I have become an expert at waiting and seeing. However, discussing it with Martin, he had a different opinion. He felt as though we have waiting long enough and that we hadn’t seen the results that we wanted, so it was time to change our approach. Martin suggested that I start taking Fenugreek which is a natural supplement to boost milk production that typically has rapid results.
After some consideration, I thought maybe it was possible that I wasn’t producing enough milk. I never got super engorged (I mean they’re a bit bigger and harder but that’s it) and I never experienced the horrible pain that a lot of women experience (they’re sore, but I can deal) and I never felt that “Let Down” sensation that everyone is always talking about. And then it hit me….Oh my god, My BABY is STARVING to DEATH and it’s TOTALLY my fault. Cue 3 days of absolute desperation and waterworks. Oh, at around this time, Marigold has decided that she is going to act like the hungriest baby on the planet and not sleep at all between 8pm and 5am and the only thing that will comfort her is being at the breast (a breast that I’m convinced is completely void of milk). Now cue PANIC.
There’s nothing worse than not being able to enjoy your baby because you’re so distraught that you’re completely incapable of thinking about anything other than getting food in them, punctuated with the feeling of failure. Oh, and did I mention how alone you feel? None of my closest or kindred friends have children yet–of course I have friends that are new moms, but really, the desperation that you feel is so shameful that really, you can only share it with someone who knows you the very most for fear that anyone else might think you’re completely crazy.
I have read almost everything there is to read on the internet about breastfeeding. I saw a lactation consultant, I was going to the doctor regularly, but there wasn’t just ONE answer. I just wanted someone to fucking tell me what to do. All problems have solutions–and it is in my character to LEARN what to do, when something isn’t going right and that there must be an obvious answer. The truth is, when it comes to this–there really isn’t just one answer, and you’ll not get the same answer from different so called experts.
Oh sure, you’ll get lots of advice. Unsolicited advice. But really, the advice doesn’t help, unless you’ve asked for it. Plus the NEGATIVITY you get from people about this stage and that stage really doesn’t help anyone.
Moving on–the doctor called Wednesday morning to tell me that they felt it was best if I start supplementing the baby with formula. As if I wasn’t feeling shitty enough, now I had to poison my baby with formula that was going to cause digestion problems and colic and then she wasn’t going to take breast milk and again I was a failure. How could I NOT be able to do this??? When I was working I was managing more than 10 projects at a time, conducting training sessions, managing a support department and basically doing everything successfully, but I couldn’t fucking get my baby to eat or gain weight. What is WRONG with me??
Well, nothing, exactly. She isn’t starving to death in the least. All of these problems I’m experiencing are my own bullshit. My own guilt, and my own fears. Yes, it stems from my little Miss Marigold not eating and gaining weight, but she’s still happy. Martin isn’t freaking out, the doctors aren’t freaking out, and most importantly Marigold isn’t freaking out. It’s all me.
When I was pregnant, Martin and I were both very easy going about breastfeeding. While we wanted to do it, we weren’t dead set on doing it if it didn’t work out. Somehow that changed once I had her and I really felt that I absolutely didn’t want to give her anything but breast milk. When the doctor told me that it was time to supplement with formula, it was like it was all over. I had failed and she wasn’t going to need me anymore, because once I started with formula, she wouldn’t want the breast anymore, or me anymore.
It was a hard decision…Which to me is pretty ridiculous now, because, in total, it’s four ounces a day. I was agonizing over four ounces a day. We breastfeed, we supplement two times. Big deal. It was Martin who helped me move forward with this. And though we had agreed it was the right thing to do, it was still the most painful thing in the world to watch him try to give her her first bottle. (For the record, we’re using a bottle and cup to feed her formula–she doesn’t really like it). I was the sole person responsible for her nourishment for the last 10 months and all of a sudden, someone else was taking on that responsibility.
We’re not too concerned about nipple confusion–she latches really well on the breast, and the reality is that I’m going back to work in a couple of months, so she’ll have to deal with the bottle anyways, as I can’t imagine Martin cup feeding her 5 times a day.
So we did it. We started supplementing and I started taking the domperidone in conjunction with the fenugreek.
The overwhelming support that came to me via the internets was absolutely amazing. Like I said, unsolicited advice is the absolute worst, but hearing other mom’s stories of their irrational emotional breakdowns was a lifesaver. Everything always looks perfect from the outside, I guess, so you don’t really know what people are going through. I heard stories similar to mine, and I heard some waaaaay worse. Friends that were screaming in agony on top of all the shit I had to deal with, or colicky babies that cried non stop WHILE you were trying to sort your shit out. To those that reached out with their stories–you are all TOPS! Keep doing what you are doing and rewards will be reaped.

After all this, we went to the doctor’s again yesterday and Marigold had gained 50 grams in 3 days, so we’re back on track. And I’ve regained my sanity temporarily. I’m learning what works for her–feed her for ten minutes, put her in her bassinet, she cries, feed her again…set my alarm in the night to wake up to feed her…learn to adapt. Be flexible. Oh god, I hope I remember this in about a week when I start to lose my mind again.
So in all this, what I’m trying to say is that like the 90’s, this will come and go. Like the last five years of my life has come and gone. Times change, and people change and certainly your lot in life will change. There’s a line in the movie “Dazed and Confused” that says something like “If I start referring to my high school years as the best years of my life just kill me”. Well, 10 years ago, my high school years were the best years of my life. Then my years working at Scizzions were the best years of my life. Right now 2007-2010 are the best years of my life, but really the best is yet to come. You can’t get too Stuck in a Moment (yes, I’m quoting U2) because in a moment it will all change.
One of my goals in life is to celebrate each moment, each era, and make the most of it so I can reflect on it fondly. Because I don’t want to forget any of this and I want to spend the rest of my life remembering with pictures and words and musical memories. I know in ten years I’ll hear songs that remind me of now and make me feel nostalgic the same way I can hear Treble Charger and think of driving in Cindy’s car, the same way I can hear the National and think of the end of 2008.
A week before my due date I went to see Gord and Meher play at the Press Club. Gord sang my favourite song of his, “You Never Know”, and of course I cried while he sang it. The song says:
“You never know, never know, never know until the moment’s gone. Then you have to live with what you’ve done. You’re not alone, not alone, not alone in your blindfold in the dark….firing at the dartboard of your love”


Of course there’s moments of my life that are gone that I’ll miss, and I didn’t know how much I would miss them at the time. I’m not sure how much I’m going to miss the agony of now, but I’m sure I will look back fondly on my little tiny baby bird, Marigold and forget the despair….because I’m not alone in any of this. Millions of women have gone before and millions more will in the future. Each of them choosing to do what’s best for them and their family, and living to tell about it.

I Have Never Loved this Much

Over the last few days, I have felt this incredible need to write. There are so many things running through my mind, so many things to do, trying to stay organized and trying not to forget anything….

Plus One!

Our birth story is a great success, and I’m incredibly happy and thankful for how everything went.

I was about 9 days overdue, and didn’t sleep much Saturday night. I got out of bed early on Sunday morning and ran a bath. I was getting pretty frustrated and didn’t want to have to be induced. I got into the tub with the novel I’m reading.

Martin and I had decided on the name Marigold a long time ago–maybe even before I was pregnant. Strangely enough, my book introduces a new minor character (a makeup artist for a wedding) and her name is MARIGOLD!! No joke, moments later in the tub, my contractions started. That was somewhere between 7am and 8am. I got out of the tub and told Martin that he should probably get up. The contractions began at about 7 minutes apart and quickly progressed to 5 minutes apart.

It was the worst pain of my life. I was throwing up and felt pretty bad. I had expected that when labour started, I would have time in between contractions where the pain was gone, but what no one really told me was that the pain DOESN’T stop in between contractions. It still feels pretty awful (like bad period cramps) but the contractions were insanely painful. I thought I would have time to tidy up before I left the house and pack a few last minute things in my bag. Not so much–at that point I didn’t care about anything other than the pain.

Martin made a call to the doctor who promptly called back and asked if we had got the message she left earlier. Apparently there was some availability at the hospital for me to be induced and she had scheduled me in. Fortunately, I didn’t need it. She told us to go ahead to the hospital, so Martin called a cab while I got dressed.

When the taxi arrived, Martin brought our bags out and told the driver that I was in labour. We were lucky he was still willing to take us. He drove us quickly to the hospital (taking the exact route which I would’ve taken which makes me happy). I went right to triage where they monitored my contractions and the baby’s heartbeat. The admitting nurse told me that it only gets worse and I promised her I would never do this again. Then I asked for an epidural.

The resident doctor, Dr. Scott came in to check where I was at and I was about 3 centimeters dialated. They got an IV in and moved me to a delievery room. The delivery rooms at Mount Sinai are amazing. It was about the size of our kitchen with it’s own bathroom and beautiful tub and shower. Shortly thereafter, the needle guy showed up to put a big needle in my back (epidural). Once he had the catheter in, I had to wait about 15 minutes to see if it was actually working. He admitted that he wasn’t sure if it was in properly, and the only way to tell would be to wait to see if I was still in pain.

Turns out the needle didn’t go in far enough so they had to do it again. Another needle man came with an ultrasound and the two of them worked out where it should go. 15 minutes later I was a completely different person.

Prior to the epidural, I had mentally “checked out” and could only really respond to questions that were being asked of me. I couldn’t even look at Martin. He was being so supportive and talking me through the contractions but I couldn’t make eye contact because of the fucking blinding pain.

The actions that helped best while I was in pain was slowing down my breathing, taking very deep breaths and then when I needed to moan, low/deep moans really helped get through the contraction. Martin also applied counter pressure during a contraction where he squeezed my hips and that really aided with the pain.

The epidural wasn’t painful, though the docs warned me that it would be. I didn’t feel the needle at all–I guess they don’t realize that in comparison to the contractions, the needle paled.

Once the epidual kicked in, I was a completely new woman. I was able to talk and laugh. I even got out my makeup case and put a little makeup on. I wanted to look good for this baby. It was nice spending time with Martin and talking to the nurses. The nurses said the contractions were mild to moderate, which I found puzzling since there is no way they could’ve been any worse in my opinion.

At around 1:30 Dr. Scott came in to break my water and check how far along I was. She was surprised to find out that I was about 7 centi….no, wait…..9 centimeters dialated! This was all happening very very fast. They thought I was going to go quickly, but were surprised at the progress.

It was time to call my OB and get her to the hospital. I was just about ready to push, so all I had to do was wait for the doctor to arrive. It was really nice, because Martin and I got to spend our last few moments alone together. It was really rather romantic.

I would recommend that anyone giving birth has an epidural if possible. Don’t be a hero, Martin says. It made the labour process enjoyable for me and for him, and we really got to take the time to get excited about the impending baby.

There were some minor complications–as the baby’s heart rate kept dropping, which was likely due to the head pressing against my cervix. Rolling from side to side and a little tickle on the baby’s head by the doctor helped that. Also, my contractions were not coming regularly and were still only mild to moderate so they gave me some pitocin to pick up the contractions. I was only on it for like a second, and it did the trick…

Anyways, around 3:42, my doctor advised me to push. Martin was instrumental in getting this baby out. He was very actively involved in helping me hold my breath, my legs and my head while I pushed my heart out. About half way through pushing, my doctor, Karlinsky, asked for my hand and she made me feel the baby’s head down below. I couldn’t believe how fast it was all happening!! Moments later, at 4:08, a baby squeezed it’s way out and landed on my belly (well, the doctors put her there). I had to ask what it was, and when they told me it was a girl I was sooooooo surprised. Almost everyone thought it was going to be a boy!

Martin cut the cord and the rest is history….or rather, our future.

Our baby, Marigold Charlotte was born happy and healthy. I only needed one stitch, and the labour and delivery was like a gift from the universe. I know that almost no one has a simple labour like mine, so I am VERY thankful. The whole process was a lot easier than I expected it to be, and I felt as though I could deliver a baby again the next day.

I used to talk about having 7 kids so that it was always an instant party, and sometimes I think I only want just one because I like Marigold so much. She looks exactly like Martin’s Sister, Kyla, when she was born, so most of her looks are McWaters. However, sometimes, you can see a deep dimple in her right cheek and that she gets from her Mamabird.

Everyone always talks about how you find a love for the child that you never knew existed. I knew I would love the baby, but I thought it would change our relationship. I was worried that Martin would love the baby more than me, that I would no longer be attractive to him and that we would grow apart because of the stress and frustration and lack of sleep that comes with a newborn.

I know it’s only been 6 days since she was born, but she has brought us closer together. My love for Martin has increased exponentially (and I was REALLY in love before) and I love the feeling of building a family. We amaze each other everyday with the love and support we provide to one another, and with the way we interact with Marigold. We really love our little baby, and in turn it makes us love each other more.

Sometimes life doesn’t always deal you the best hands, but I truly believe that people are in control of their own destinies. You get what you are given, but you are responsible for what you make of it. I feel as though the universe is constantly rewarding me with amazing things that I never dreamed of. I am so lucky to have this village of support around me to help raise this little baby and to make her into an awesome person who will do good things and make people feel amazing.

I love my life.