Magnus’ Birth Story

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After months and weeks of waiting and wondering.  Dreaming and excitement, Magnus Valentin joined our family on September 9.  He was 9.45lbs, 1 week past his due date and full of personality.

I decided months ago to try my hardest for a VBAC after my emergency Cesarian with Johannes.  But at 41 weeks pregnant and with no labour on the horizon I made the decision to schedule a csection.  Risking another emergency Cesarian was not at all appealing to me, and I decided that I wanted a controlled environment rather than the unknown.  So this birth story is very different from the last.

The night before my csection, my mom took Johannes and Michael and I enjoyed a nice dinner out just the two of us.  We woke up early the next day, cleaned up a bit, packed our car and left for the hospital.  Unlike my first csection, this one wasn’t filled with anxiety, worry and fear.  My biggest concern that day was more or less how I would personally handle the proceedure and less the fear that my son wouldn’t be born alive.  And let me tell you, that’s a huge HUGE thing.

The doctors and nurses were relaxed and chatty.  They introduced themselves and took their time to explain what would happen.  Michael came into the OR as soon as my spinal tap was complete, and held my hand.  Within a few minutes and feeling some pulling and tugging, our son was born.  The hospital we chose to give birth at implemented a new program where skin to skin is allowed between the mom and baby as soon as he is born.  My hands were not tied down like the last time, and the curtain was drawn much lower on my chest so I could have Magnus on me right away.  It was so lovely to experience that.  I remember feeling like an eternity before I could see or hold Johannes, it was torture.  I had skin to skin time with my baby boy until it was time to wheel me out of the OR, at which point they handed him to Michael to bring along.

Once in recovery we had over an hour of skin to skin with our son.  He latched perfectly right away and nursed with no issue.  Ahh the smell and deliciousness of a fresh baby is just the most amazing thing ever.  I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Recovery was much quicker this time also.  Without the prior 20+ hours of labour my body seems to have healed faster.

Now for the bad parts.  I really don’t react well to any type of anesthetic.  The spinal made me horribly nauseated, and I was unable to eat or drink anything for about 20hours after surgery.  I just couldn’t hold water down.  And the itching.  I couldn’t stop that.  But unlike at Johannes’ birth I was aware of Magnus’.  I savoured every minute and was able to really focus on him and his sweetness.

I am so grateful to have this little in my life, and to have been able to carry him to term and beyond.  I have no regrets, no guilt, just joy and admiration for what a mom’s body can do to produce a human life.  I think the key for me was not having too many expectations of myself.  Letting the pregnancy dictate the outcome, while taking into account the risks to both mine and my baby’s health.

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38 weeks

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Home stretch! The end always feels the hardest, but I forget that it ends just as quickly as it’s begun. In less than a month we will have a new baby in the house and my body is prepping for no sleep by waking me up every hour now with either hip pain or bladder needs. I will miss this, mostly the belly movement and the hiccups. But I’m ready to meet this little guy.

On the home front we have been battling the fever, a serious sore throat, coughing and as of this morning…an eye infection. No it’s not me, it’s Johannes. He’s sick. We are headed to the doctor just as soon as the office opens, hopefully he can kick this (whatever it is) quickly and get back to his cheerful self. Until then we are spending our days in bed watching old movies and eating popcorn.

Life Lately

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I’m not sure if its the pregnancy, or the realization that summer is almost over, or maybe a combination of everything, but I’ve been finding it really difficult to do much of anything lately.  By 1pm I’m tired and ready for a nap, and at night I toss and turn and wake up every hour to go to the bathroom.  I miss sleeping.

But despite appearances online and on Instagram, there are super exciting things happening around me too.  For starters my baby brother got engaged, and to a red-head after all!  What are the odds that we both fall in love and marry red-heads!!?  I hashtag this one #awesome.

Our tiny little urban garden has also exploded lately yielding plenty of tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, carrots, basil, peppers and broccoli.  Johannes loves to pick the ripe veggies and eat the tomatoes straight off the vine.  There were a few weeks there where raccoons were eating most of our vegetables, but we bought this “scarecrow” aka motion sensor sprinkler that now squirts them every time they come into our yard.  1 point for me….0 points for the raccoons.

Then just this weekend Johannes passed level 2 swimming.  He is now officially in level 3 and I couldn’t be more proud.  He swam 30meters unassisted…30!  I am pretty sure I’d be totally exhausted swimming an entire pool length, yet somehow my 3 year old did it.

So now we wait for baby brother.  I’m 38 weeks pregnant and out of everyone else who was pregnant and due the same week as me, it seems I am the only one left pregnant.  But I make big babies.  Big, hearty babies, who don’t like to make an early exit.  I even tried playing soccer with Johannes this afternoon and gardening in the hopes that all that activity and running would give him a nudge….but it seems I only managed to give myself a back ache and fat ankles.

no such thing as the “best way” in motherhood

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I feel like when you become a mother you suddenly get bombarded with ideas and opinions on “the best way” to mother.  The best way to feed your baby.  The best way for them to sleep.  The best way to give birth.

I think its all rather irrelevant in the greater scheme of mothering, which as far as I can tell…lasts a lifetime..

Breast vs bottle.  Attachment parenting.  Co-sleeping.  CIO.  They’re choices we make as parents.  But do they yield a better bond, a better future for our children if we chose one over the other?  I don’t know that they do.  For me they don’t matter.

To me there’s no such thing as the best way to mother a child.  For the most part we do the best we can with what we have, and the information we are given.  But I think the guilt of thinking perhaps we made a mistake in how we raise our kids can leave a lasting impact.

I’m completely guilty of all of this.  I too used to think that there was a “right and wrong way” to do certain things.  I suppose that is why I felt so much guilt after I had Johannes via emergency c-section.

But its changing.  With this pregnancy I was hoping to have a VBAC.  But not because I wanted to prove something to myself, or anyone else for that matter.  I wanted a VBAC because the doctor advised me that it was the safest thing to do.  Now I face the prospect of another c-section.  This little boy is breech.  I get to have an ultrasound tomorrow to check and make sure that all is ok, and then I’m free to try various exercises and massages to try and flip him into position.  Even then there is a 50% chance that he won’t flip.

I thought I would be more or less upset about it but I’m not.  I guess I feel somewhat indifferent.  My goal is to have a healthy baby and the means by which he lands in my arms is not as important to me right now.  I look at Johannes and how he’s grown and I feel proud.  I know that some of this is as a result of my parenting, even if its only a small part.  I don’t think I would be any closer to him had I had a natural birth, a water birth, a vaginal birth.  Its just a product of our relationship and our connection is organic.

I nursed Johannes for a year, but before he was born I was dead set against nursing.  I didn’t think it was for me.  I thought it would feel unnatural.  And who knows, maybe the second time around I won’t want to, or maybe I won’t be able to nurse.  But I know with certainty that I will love this little boy just as much as I love Johannes.  So as moms we just do our very best.

I’d love to hear your thoughts?  Have you ever been made to feel like maybe your choices as a mom weren’t the right ones?

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quiet

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For now our afternoons are quiet and reflective.  After finishing work and picking up Johannes from summer camp I’m usually exhausted and in need of 20minutes of quiet time to lie in bed and let the swelling and aches subside.  Johannes usually reads his books beside me or opts to watch a fishing show.  I’m trying desperately to hold on to these final moments because I know in a just a short time it won’t be just him and I alone after school or camp is over.  It will be three of us.  Each with our own agenda.  Johannes and I have, for the most part, a seamless existence.  We get each other, we know what works and what the routine ought to be.  Soon though we will figure out a new routine, and new needs of a brand new member of the family.  The signs of his imminent arrival are visible all throughout the house.  His room, the car seat, baby toys and now the bassinet that my friend was so kind to lend us for the first little bit.  I have no doubt that once the little one comes he will fit right in.  We will adapt and adjust and I will love every minute of our new version of quiet.

a weekend in pictures

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I guess I took a little impromptu vacay from the blog and social media but it was needed.  One of my work projects has been incredibly taxing for months, often needing 70-80 hours of work time and leaving me hardly any time for family or hobbies (blog included).  I try my best to juggle a career with family life, friends and extra projects, but this time it got to be too much and I needed to shut it down and just focus on one task at a time.

Now the taxing project is almost over, at least the hard part is.  Johannes, who started his summer vacation is back in summer camp this week, and I’m inching closer to my due date.  We are 99% done decorating our home and most importantly, our little boy’s room.  It feels so good to get this place done and know that come September 3rd I don’t have any projects to tend to, and can focus on my boys.

I hope you all enjoyed your July 4th or Canada Day holiday weekends!  It was a blast and the summer goes on!