Saturday 31 March 2018

Dani 2 months

Here we are two months after baby Dani’s birthday. Since not every month has 31 days it’s exciting to celebrate a real month birthday.

Before Dani was born I rather hoped I wouldn’t have a January baby but now I think she has the coolest birthday. And because it’s at the end of January it will make furure Januarys better because of the anticipation.

Bouncing on the ball chair, the swing for short periods of time, car rides (sometimes), stroller rides (usually), smiling at her people, baths. Tummy time-kind of? I discovered I could make it more interesting for her by using those wind up toys. I send them skittering around her and it gives her something to look at so she tolerates tummy time longer.

Weight: 11.2 lbs

Length: “”

Fashion: 3-6  month clothes. Some even marked 6-9 months. Both my girls have long torsos (I guess?) so even though some of these are quite wide they are the right length.

 Wearing one of the two sleepers that I bought 
before she was born.  Almost outgrown. Sigh and smile.

Social life:
Smiling, cooing, little one and two syllable giggle sounds. When she is in a good mood she can interact for up to ten minutes with someone. 

Sleeping: 5-7 hour stretches at night, usually followed by another 2 hour snooze. Sometimes a longish nap during the day, though she can be a challenge to put down. She will usually sleep in car or stroller (but often wakes up VERY pissed). She also can fuss a lot before bed. Goes to sleep between 9:30 and 11:30. Wakes up between 4am and 7am to feed, then back asleep 40 to 90 minutes later.

Eating: lots of boob milk. Other than the sore nipples for  a few days after birth, no issues. I haven’t been pumping or practicing with a bottle since mid March. She is reluctant to take a bottle, despite initial success. Will try to start again next month. 

When I drive past the road we took to the hospital, I always think of Dani’s birth.  I remember how the foundations of my world shifted that night, the power that surged through my body to bring the new reality into being.

Nicknames: Dani Bear, Squish, Snuggleumpagus.

Looking forward to spring with family!

Monday 26 March 2018

Microblog Monday: Baby shower

A few months ago, my MIL and I were talking about my SIL’s baby shower, and I mentioned I’d  never been to a baby shower. Or had one.

There aren’t a lot of babies among my family and friends, as I’ve previously mentioned. Of the few that have had babies so far, they’ve been from out of town. It’s not exactly true that I’ve never been invited to a baby shower. I was once. But it was a friend’s daughter, not a close friend, and we had vacation plans, and we were right in the middle of infertility. So I didn’t go.

I would have gone to my SIL’s shower. But she’s a 3 hour plane ride away. Hence the conversation.

MIL seemed rather perturbed by this information. She said: “ I just assumed somebody would have organized a shower for you.” (She’s also a 3 hour plane ride away.) As I explained though, my mother grew up and had her kids outside of the kind of culture that has baby showers (however you define that). So it wouldn’t occur to her on her own. I don’t have sisters or sisters in law. It would be a weird request to make of my friends without children. Or so it seems to me. My step MIL would have organized a shower for me, I’m sure, if I’d asked. Thing is, with AJ I was too anxious throughout the pregnancy 
to want a shower.  Any time I was at a family dinner or something and people started talking about my pregnancy, it made me panicky. I would briefly enjoy the attention then I would imagine the baby dying and everyone heartbroken, and it just added to my emotional baggage. 

With Dani I was much less anxious (those thoughts didn’t creep in till very close to birth), but since she was a second child and I didn’t have a shower for AJ, again it seemed like a weird thing to ask. Plus we already have a lot of stuff. And I haven’t been to any showers or organized any, so it wasn’t like payback was in order. 

(Speaking of payback, check out 
You Owe Me by Baroness Von Sketch.)

 MIL is action oriented, so once she had processed all this social awkwardness and omission, she decided we were having a shower for Dani. I liked the idea as Dani was already born, or going to be very soon (I forget when exactly we spoke about it). I much prefer a party with the baby here. Even if pregnancy was emotionally easier the second time around.  (I have never liked the adjective  “expecting” with its presumptive  missing noun. Everyone fills in “a baby” without a second thought, it seems, but I also mentally filled the gap with all sorts of disasters.)

As it happened, the past weekend most of the family on MIL’s side was gathering in a small town north of us to celebrate MIL’s brother’s birthday and retirement. So my MIL arranged a brunch the day after the party for our family. She booked a room at a cozy inn and bought a cake. Mr. Turtle’s cousins helped decorate. 

People with faces tastefully obscured with red scribbling.


It was fun. The food was delicious and we were able to talk and visit in a relaxed fashion. Dani fed and then slept in step FIL’s arms for the remainder of the party. There were presents for Dani but also for AJ and for the only other baby born so far on this side of the family, a little boy.

My favourite present was from Mr Turtle’s uncle: a beautiful, soft blanket monogrammed with Dani’s name and birthdate. I just love this blanket (here folded to preserve some anonymity.) 

I think seeing Dani’s name and birthday just makes me so happy that she is truly here and the twisting and uncertain journey that brought her to us has an end date, and a happy ending. And I can cuddle her in the blanket and be reminded of this every day.

I am glad that we got to have a shower after all. Despite all my previous excuses and mixed feelings I think it is important to bring people together to mark milestones. I am grateful to have people who will do this for us, and do it in the way that is most enjoyable.

Back to 
microblog Mondays

Tuesday 20 March 2018

A night out with Natalie

Before I found and fell in love with baby Dani's name, one of the girl names on my list was Natalie. This was in no small part because of Canadian musician Nat.alie Mac.master. I've listened to Natalie's music for twenty years at least and own most of her albums. I saw her live for the first time in 2000, outside in the rain, and since then I've lost count of how many shows I've been to.  As I grew into young and mid-adulthood she was more and more the model of a woman who had it together (I dislike the expression "has it all" but you could say that too).  She was close enough to my age to be relate-able but enough older to be a role model and to experience life milestones just the right amount of time before I did.

There is a life parallel or two. Despite being extraordinarily good looking, popular and talented, Natalie didn't date much in her twenties or have many relationships. In interviews she usually gave the reason that she was too busy playing music (for several years she had an incredibly busy touring schedule) but she also implied a few times that it was because she took relationships very seriously and was not into casual relationships or sex. I am not extraordinarily good looking, popular or talented but also didn't date much for similar reasons, so I liked the fact she was honest about this.

Natalie married at age 30, the same age I got married. She married another talented fiddler from Ontario who, like her, was part of a strong musical tradition. After this our personal lives become rather different. Natalie and her husband didn't have kids for two or three years after marriage. And then they started having kids....a lot of kids. Baby number 6 was born in 2014 when she was 42.  She and her husband continue to play music professionally, run a farm and home school their children. And as you might expect, all the kids are learning music and  dancing. I have yet to see them all live, but I'm sure it's adorable.

My favourite quote about the right time to have children is from Natalie: "No time is a good time, so any time works." I don't recall feeling resentful of her during the years we were struggling to conceive. Natalie and her husband must have already had four or five kids by the time we started trying, so it's not like we were ever going to catch up. Besides, she's so down to earth she's not an easy person to be negative towards. After baby 6, a girl, I assumed she was done especially since the baby was born with Down Syndrome (this has not stopped her from taking up the fiddle).

Anyway. Last year Mr. Turtle and I were discussing Christmas presents and decided to continue with our recent tradition of "experience" gifts, i.e. planning a date night for each other. I browsed through the concert listings in our city and noticed Natalie was playing here March 17th, so I suggested that to Mr. Turtle for my present. Neither of us bothered to calculate that we would have a six week old infant at the time; also maybe the memory of what babies are like was a little faint.

The weeks went by and this past weekend, it was time to go out and enjoy my Christmas present! By a lucky coincidence my mother in law and her husband were visiting so we had someone to watch the girls. I was a bit anxious, but I succeeded in pumping milk the week before, and after watching Grandma successfully feed Dani more than two ounces from a bottle, I started looking forward to the night out. We also had dinner at home, so we weren't away for more than three hours including travel time.

Natalie had played a show on Friday night, and my step dance teacher went and posted effusively about it on She added in the ensuing comment conversation:  "And she's expecting baby number seven! Amazing woman!" My response was "OMG LOL." Internet-ese is great for expressing emotion efficiently and opaquely in six letters.  Of course, I did the math. Natalie is 45.

It was an excellent show, and Mr. Turtle had bought tickets in the 4th row from the stage. This is not the ideal place for sound, but we could see all the expressions and the stepdancing. Natalie is a great showman. She walked on stage with a big grin, and rubbed her belly before launching into her first set. I could see the mischievous look she gave the audience while doing it, and it was awesome, I can't deny it. Nevertheless, I was glad I was warned. Knowing that I was going to see a pregnant woman performing on stage meant I could take it in and then move on to listening the the music, whooping and hollering, tapping my feet, and pondering such matters as how exactly she had attached her electronics to her back and how she was keeping her pants up.

After a couple of sets, Natalie patted her belly and said "I guess I should explain this...." She said she and her husband had not set out to have seven kids, but, life happens (paraphrasing). She told the audience "I'm 45" and joked about being "AMA": "Advanced maternal age." "Age is just a number!" and "We are looking forward to meeting this sweetheart." I genuinely liked her bold comments. Maybe (probably?) I would have felt differently if we hadn't been able to have our children. I may even have felt differently if I didn't know she was pregnant walking in. I don't know. But I can see how she could be judged for having a lot of children, or having children into her 40s. Even I am inclined to judge a bit for having another baby after one is born with Down's, because it's something I'm afraid of and would like to avoid. But at the same time....It was life affirming to see her on stage, joyful, and not remotely apologetic for her choices. I like that she is child positive. I like the fact she was open about her age. It's a pet peeve of mine that women are supposed to lie about or conceal our ages.

Although it is funny timing, coming just as I am sorting out my feelings about whether or not I am done having children.  But I think the lesson to draw from this experience is not that people should have more or less children, but that life is better when you do your best to open your heart up to whatever opportunities present themselves.

As for Dani, she did just fine. She ended up refusing to take the bottle, but she only fussed a bit and then dozed off in her car seat (which was the only place grandparents could put her down). I fed her and moved her to her bassinet with a lot less trouble than I sometimes have (her fussiest time is often before bed, and it can drag on for an hour or two).

Life is good.

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Six weeks

I took Dani for her six week check up today (six week post partum visit for me). It was the first time she and I have been to the doctor since she was 5 days old. At 5 days Dani was already over her birthweight so we did not need to go in sooner.

She is 10 lbs and change (I really need to remember to note these numbers) and in good health. I mentioned her nose / throat mucus which can irritate her when we put her down to sleep. There wasn’t any reason to suppose it was caused by anything serious though.

I am also good: a bit of constipation to take care of, and my stomach muscles are slightly separated in front. I have to remember to breathe normally if I’m working out my abs. That seems to be all. I’ve lost about 15 lbs from what I remember of my last pregnant weigh-in. Still around 20lbs over pre preg weight. At this point I don’t really care if I’m losing weight as long as I’m not gaining.

This could also be my last ever visit to the maternity clinic, as Dani will now be seen by our family doctor. How do I feel about this? Well.....fine actually. Several times a day, I think to myself  “We have a baby.” Not a hope, not a dream. Not a gamble every month. Not a treatment plan. Not a little embryo or fetus that we hope makes it. An actual baby. That’s such a big deal. It is so very different than it was before.

Moving forward: 
  • Signed up for a stroller exercise class next month
  • Also next month AJ will only be at daycare 2 days a week. We are calling it preschool (because it’s as good or better, and we don’t have to find a preschool)
  • My extended leave is approved: plan is to return to work sept 2019
Rest of life, here I come!

Love and light to all.

Monday 12 March 2018

Microblog Monday: Reading

I don’t want to put too many baby pictures on the blog, so instead here is a picture of the book I’m reading: 

The title is pretty descriptive. It’s kind of “self-help” but with psychology, philosophy, literature, religion, mythology all mixed in. Each chapter has a lot to challenge your mind but also common sense advice you can start using immediately.  (Here are the 
12 rules, for the curious.)

I first discovered Dr. Peterson’s online lectures 
last May. But I really got into them in the summer when I was in early pregnancy and struggling with nausea. They helped occupy my mind and half the time I would also fall asleep. Which may not sound like a compliment to the professor but I was grateful for the sleep!

I’ve worked my way through most of the online lectures, and now I sometimes enjoy one of the longer interviews while breastfeeding or baby cuddling. (They seem to put her to sleep too...)

I can’t sleep through the book. It took a bit of getting used to, as Dr Peterson’s written voice had a different feel from the spoken one. A bit more stern maybe? But I’m into it now.

I’m glad I’m finally actually reading a book as I’d lost most of my desire to read books in the past two years. I’ve not yet found the author who will interest me in fiction again, but this is a start....