The opposite of Iron Man

Lately I’ve been having a lot of health issues. I’ve been back and fourth to my doctor almost every two weeks, we’ve done so many blood tests! So many that I actually started watching them do it, which if you knew me before I couldn’t look and had to breathe so deeply because I was afraid I’d pass out. I’ve come a long way. And we think we’ve figured out what’s going on – which is a relief!

I am basically the opposite of iron man. No, not some evil villain. I’m an iron deficient woman. Like BAD. Normal healthy humans are usually between 50-100 (not sure what the unit of measurement is, I only remembered the numbers). The number depends on your weight, gender and for women is usually lower during and after your menstrual cycle. But usually stays within range even if it’s decreased during that time of month. For me? We found out I’m an 8. That’s like scary low. Which made a lot of sense. Most of my health issues can be tacked back to this iron deficiency. I’m tired. Like exhausted. I wake up tired. Even when I have amazing sleeps. I usually need a nap during the day. I’m irritable – I was so excited to learn this is a very common side effect of iron deficiency because I have started referring to myself as monster mom. So glad this isn’t just the new me but a symptom of a health issue.

Health is tough. I’m so grateful we found out the issue, and if I’m being honest we also know the cause. But solving the cause of this issue seems to be a trickier animal. My doctor has a few suggestions, which I’m hesitant to try because I’m not a huge fan of synthetic hormones, but I’d been willing to go for it if it means not dropping iron so quickly each month. I just wish there was something else we could explore before jumping to birth control.

Anyway, I won’t go into detail because I know some who read my blog likely don’t want or need all the gory details of my monthly cycle. Some would call it oversharing (classic Justine). The thing is, even if it is oversharing, I think we need to talk about some of those things. But not here. Not now. I will say that if you have questions I am more than happy to chat if you’d like to leave a comment or message me. More than happy to talk.

But here, instead of all that, I’d like to chat about other things my iron deficiency has made more difficult. Like I said, I’m tired all the time. But I’ve also been trying to work out because 1) i want to feel strong 2) I’d like to tighten and tone 3) I’ve heard working out sends more endorphins through your system – and I’ve been irritable lately 4) the endorphins also help anxiety. So yeah, it sort of felt like a cure all even though it’s a ton of work. I was excited about working out. But now I’m realizing that working out uses a lot of energy. And some days it’s great – and I love how I feel after but sometimes it’s just too much.

I am learning to be gentle with myself. Not an easy task. I want to do all the things I’m used to being able to do. Last night walking down and back up the stairs had me out of breath. I fell asleep on the couch after supper. And then I cried because I just feel like I’m losing it.

So today I’m not working out – AGAIN. I’m sitting on the couch watching a movie with my kiddos (one of whom has thrown up everyday for 5 days, and the other started puking yesterday). I plan to take it slow, be present and nap when the baby naps. I plan to see this as recovery (5.5 weeks of it) and just assess how much I can do each and be proud of what I DO, not disappointed in what I didn’t do. And for now that’s enough. Someday I’ll get back to working out everyday and getting stronger and more toned. But for now this is okay. And wherever you’re at – if you’re doing what you can, you’re doing enough too. Sometimes we get caught up comparing ourselves, to others, or even to a version of ourselves that was at a different point in life. Stop it.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. – Theodore Roosevelt

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The headache

Hey guys, sorry it’s been so long. Again. Dang!

I want to be open about the issues I deal with, I know that makes people uncomfortable sometimes (especially if you read my period blog post maybe). But society has a tendency to post happiness and best moments on social media and sometimes I think that leaves us feeling even more lonely because not everyone is honest about how hard life is!

So much has been going on but I’m fighting to THRIVE even through the suffering, instead of just surviving. Because suffering, challenges… life, just won’t stop. It keeps going, stuff keeps happening. The good and the bad. And I want to be present for it. All of it. It’s okay if it’s hard, I’ve learned that. Sometimes it’s in the hardest stuff you learn the most about yourself.

Lately I’ve been dealing with migraines and trying to learn why I’m getting them. I’m suffering around 3-4 times per month. A lot of people seem to think a migraine is just a way to say “worst headache ever”, but that’s wrong. Migraines usually don’t present with a headache until it’s almost over. A headache is a minor symptom of a migraine… the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s almost done!

My migraines usually start with vision issues. Shiny, wavy lights or black out spots – like missing pieces of a picture that my brain just doesn’t see. Dangerous things, but zero pain. Then I go numb. My right hand usually starts first, pins and needles or tingles like when your fingers fall asleep. It travels al the way up my arm into my shoulder. Sometimes the other arm gets numb too, sometimes not. Once the numbness reaches my shoulder I usually start to feel it in my lips and cheeks and tongue. I then lose the ability to speak. My tongue won’t form sounds. It’s at this point I usually begin to cry because it’s scary and frustrating. And it’s going to start hurting soon. After the numbness in my face has started that’s usually when I feel my skull start to shrink. My brain is getting crushed and the pain is tortured at this point if I haven’t already started trying to sleep I have to. There’s nothing else for me to do when my hands are numb and I can’t speak and my head is now sending sharp pains like lighting bolts. So I try to nap. Usually I get at least an hour. It’s at this point, after a nap I would say I have a headache. Shifting my neck, looking around or moving too fast causes pain. It’s throbbing but if I move too quick I get the lightning. So I’m slow and gentle. In about an hour from the headache I may start to function normally again but usually I’ll be dizzy for the next day, sometimes even two, following an episode.

The process of a migraine reminds me a lot about the process of growth. It’s always when things are the hardest, the most painful that you’re near the end. Isn’t all of life kind of like that?

You’re more tired because you’re nearly done the workout but if you quit before it’s hard you won’t see results.

Momma in labour and right at transition when baby’s head is almost out it’s the most painful moment. Seconds later baby’s born.

Sometimes it’s just trying again and again. Each time becoming more painful and emotional than the last but eventually it’s worth it.

Sometimes its having the courage to stop trying. To let go. To forgive yourself.

Growth shows up everywhere. It’s always your choice how you’re going to handle it.

That said, I’m tired of dealing with this chronic issue. I’ve been dealing with them for about two years. I was pregnant with Peaches when they started being consistent. I’m glad I can learn about myself, about the process while I go through suffering. But if the suffering could stop that would also be great.

So I have another appointment with my doctor tomorrow. I keep having to tell Anxiety that it’s not a tumour, I’m not dying. She’s not listening and continues to suggest other terrible diagnoses just in case we need to worry some more. So sometimes I just need to see my doctor who can keep telling me it’s just a migraine. So I can fight my anxiety through other health issues. And overcome my fear of not being in control all the time.

Hang in there. I know you’re probably going through something that’s not easy right now too. And don’t do that thing where you compare your trials to someone else’s. Perspective is good to remind ourselves it could be worse, sure. But that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t suck. Just remember it’s what you do with the growth opportunity that will make the difference. Whenever you’re ready. Timing is also up to you.

 

The Megalodon

Have you seen the movie, The Meg? I have a bit of an obsession with shark movies. I love them, like completely geek out about it. I admit I haven’t seen “Sharknado” or any of those ones that like to stretch it extra far, but movies like the Jaws series (classic, am I right?), The shallows (basically Blake Lively in the water by herself and I was still riveted), 47 meters down, open water, deep blue sea, you get the picture. Last night while I was watching the Meg I realized that everyone has at least one moment (or they will), that pivotal thing that happens that’s huge. Life changing. Their Megalodon.

I know I haven’t blogged my thoughts for a REALLY long time. Its easy to put blogging on the back burner and no matter how often I think, “oh I really should do that” it just doesn’t get put on the top of the priority list. Until now, I guess. But maybe I’m just procrastinating because I need to clean my bathroom. Who knows (Me, I know. that’s exactly what I’m doing). But it was about time I posted an update.

Middle C had her surgery in October. Her right foot was cut open, rewired and closed back up. It’s painful to watch her sometimes. Not because she complains, but because she’s so resilient. She doesn’t complain, she overcomes, she’s powerful and positive. And then behind closed doors, usually when she’s heading to bed we get tears. We see her emotions and frustration with her feet. She prays every night that Jesus would heal her and she wouldn’t need to do anything more – no more surgery, no more braces or casts, no more. My heart breaks. I cry. It’s so hard. So we sit and let the tears flow as we cuddle together. I’m tired of pretending I’m her rock. I’m not. I’m broken. My whole heart hurts. It’s March and she’s still praying desperately to be done. She tries to be sneaky and take her brace off, leave it downstairs hoping I won’t notice. I want so badly for her to get to wear sandals all summer without worrying about which shoes will give her blisters and make her brace uncomfortable later. I want her to have freedom, even for just a little while before the next time. But right now in order to taste that freedom this summer I have to be tough, she has to wear her brace and do her physio stretches as much as we can so in a month she maybe able to have her summer off. Pray for us, plead on her behalf. My heart is so broken watching her journey through this. Being a parent is the hardest thing in the world.

Peaches also had surgery. Twice in the last two months. She was born with a plugged duct in her right eye. So bad it would seal shut and goop up or constantly tear. Little Man calls it her eye boogers and is pretty great about catching them and telling me so we can clear them out. ALL.DAY.LONG. We had been referred to someone locally but when Middle C had her surgery her surgeon suggested we see someone at the Children’s hospital because they maybe able to get Peaches in sooner. He was right. We have had surgery twice before we’ve even had our follow up appointment with the local surgeon (and the follow up would have just been a visit to determine when surgery would be, so we would have still been at least 4 months away from that). The first time her eye cleared up right away, she had almost two weeks without any eye boogers but then it didn’t heal properly and she woke up with her eye sealed closed again. So we called the hospital back – this last time they were more aggressive with the repair, causing more bloody noses and pink tears. When I put her drops in I can see they just sort of sit in her eye, which makes me nervous but I’m hoping it heals nicely this time and we don’t have to go to phase 2. We won’t know until we are done the round of antibiotic drops to see if her eye stays clear. So that could use some prayer too.

So now that you know we’ve had three surgery situations within 5 months of each other I guess I should say the part I haven’t said. I’m really open about my journey. I don’t shy away from honesty or openness, even if it’s private stuff. But I’ve struggled, I have started so many blog posts and never published them on this topic. I think I want to be sensitive to how other people would read what I have to say. I think I am over analyzing the whole thing. I think I feel anxiety, because that’s the issue. I have anxiety. I struggle with pretty severe anxiety constantly. It’s been a problem. It’s infiltrated every single area of my life. And we really noticed it coming to a head shortly after I broke my hand and needed surgery. We didn’t put it together until my husband heard a podcast that made everything click. He had me listen to it and I sobbed my way through while I listened. How common it is, how often it happens and yet how little support is out there or how people are so slow to diagnose. How could it be so common and yet parents who have lost a child, or have kids in hospital a lot aren’t being screened for it? Why isn’t anyone checking in?

I have PTSD.

PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is most recognized as a diagnosis for soldiers after they return from war. I was shocked. I’ve never been to war. Why did it manifest after a safe, low stress surgery? Nothing about that was traumatic for me, not that I could identify. Why now?

But PTSD commonly shows up after a repeat event. So you have a situation that’s hugely traumatic, you grieve, you work through it, you keep going. Then something happens that imitates that situation and BAM! that’s when PTSD would show up.

For me my surgery with Elouise was my Megalodon. It changed my life, it completely altered how I think, how I feel. My anxiety was at an all time high as soon as we found out she had died. And as time went on I thought I was okay, I was doing okay. I didn’t notice. And maybe I never would have if I didn’t break my hand. Or maybe my unmanaged anxiety made it trigger after I broke my hand. I honestly don’t know. I don’t know if there’s a way to really trace it back. But I do know that after moving from the hallway into the OR the day of my hand surgery I don’t remember anything. I can’t recall that surgery at all. Not the OR, not the recovery room, not going home, nothing. Because my brain refuses to process what happened because now I associate surgeries as an extremely traumatic event.

I’m getting better with the girls’ surgeries. I did really well especially this last time when Peaches had her second eye surgery. I still get migraines because my brain is trying to shut down and distract me – classic PTSD brain avoiding the situation is what my counsellor said. He said its remarkable that my brain has learned to avoid the stress by providing migraines. We are working through it. It’s complicated. But I have another doctors appointment for my migraines this week. It’s really hard to manage the pain, especially when I’m supposed to be dealing with a kid who just came out of or went into a surgery. I carry Advil and peppermint oil everywhere I go. But once the pain starts I have to ride it out, sometimes its over in an hour, once it took three days. Usually my symptoms start with the “aura” where I see silvery, shiny wavy lines around the peripheral of my vision. If I can take pain medication at that point I can often reduce how long I’m out for. If I don’t catch it soon enough often my eyes will start to black things out – like the first time it happened I thought a man was wearing an eye patch (think pirate) but really my brain just saw one half of his face and he had sunglasses on. It was bizarre – what my eyes see and how my brain translates it is very confusing. My hands and feet usually get tingly and numb. Once my face got numb and my tongue felt so funny, I told Andrew it felt like teeth were growing out of my tongue – I don’t know how else to describe it. So we have more doctors appointments, we see specialists, I’m seeing a counsellor and did an eight week course on managing anxiety (which I had a terrible attitude about when I started but after going through the whole thing I highly recommend it). I’m hoping that my openness and honesty about my journey can help someone else. If I can just impact one person than all of this seems like it means something.

If you think of us, pray for us. We are working on being better friends, pouring into others lives, even though our trials don’t really seem to be letting up. Community is so important when you go through hard times though. No matter how awkward and hard it can be make sure you have someone to talk to, even if it’s a counsellor that you’re paying. Mental health is so important. It really does impact everything. Take care of yourself.

Battle of Verdun

Oh hey! It’s been awhile. Sorry I’ve fallen off the face of the earth, this four kid thing is no joke. Our baby was born in January, I broke my hand in February (Happy Valentines day!), surgery two days following cause I did a stellar job. March we found out the damage to our house from our water dams were so bad we had to move out for up to 8 weeks. We lived in a two bedroom basement suite with 6 people and a dog, plus the 7 people upstairs, their visiting family and the two dogs they had. It was nuts. We moved home in May which was nice but honestly? I missed the community of having another mom within steps – and even if it was a nut house comedy show in both our spaces at least we could commiserate with each other on the front lawn for five seconds before returning to battle.
But back to regular home life and routine. Then June we found out we would need to do more surgery for Middle C. This time on her right foot. Same procedure, including the serial casting (We tried so hard to talk them out of it, but at least we talked them down from 8 weeks to 4). The serial casts start this Friday. I’m so overwhelmed. Still. Again. Who knows when one thing starts and the other stops. Maybe it’s just a circle of overwhelming-ness. I don’t know.

And tomorrow. Well tomorrow is big too. Tomorrow I turn 30. A whole new decade. LEVEL 30. I read this thing that said if we said implied we level up instead of age, it sounds so much cooler and people might actually appreciate getting older. I love it. I’m never aging. Just levelling up.

Anyway, to go along with my birthday I got back on the flow wagon. Womanhood. Crimson flower. Period train. My punishment for not being pregnant. And lucky me – I get to ride this thing out until blessed menopause since we aren’t having anymore kids. Not that I want more kids, but let me tell you the little break from this was pretty sensational. Because here’s the thing: it sucks. It’s not as painful as it was after we had little man. But let me tell you, its overweight. Like for sure the heaviest you’ve ever seen. For the sake of a few reading this who may not want all the details I will spare you… But tell me there’s a way to fix this!! I CANNOT be stuck with this heavy foe forever. NO. I won’t. Someone send help. Is magnesium actually a thing? Answers please. I’d appreciate it.

In other news (for those of you who made it past the gore above), Middle C has been scheduled for her surgery – pray for us October 11… and before, and after.

And school starts Sept 4. How? Where did summer go? And three of our four are in some form of school. Whether it’s regular schooling or preschool – which is just mind boggling to me that they are already that old. How did it happen so fast?

Baby Peach is doing amazing things. Somehow the kid is not even 8 months and already crawling (I admit when she started I pushed her over the first few times… gently). And my kids had told me she had been pulling herself up to stand in her crib, but I hadn’t witnessed it myself until today. This is my baby. Our last. And she is determined to rush babyhood. It’s so amazing to watch and so so sad for my heart at the same time.

Well, sorry it’s been so long and the update was nearly bullet point – with the battle of Verdun planted right in the middle there… Thanks for hanging in with me. Hope you’re all doing well and are prepared for school (have you seen that School start website where you can click two buttons and have all your school shopping done? Saved my butt this year… last year I was for sure the hot mess mom… not that the website has changed that. But right now I’m feeling WAY more on top of it than last year. Don’t ask me how I feel next week though. I plead the fifth).

Air BnB

Hey guys!! So it’s been awhile. I’ve been busy just enjoying the beautiful weather and my children.

We still aren’t home yet, but we have been living in this phenomenal air Bnb the last few weeks and I’m loving it! Made lifelong friends, found the worlds best babysitter (back off, she’s mine!) and found a little piece of country paradise in the middle of the city. Also living every moms dream! House of our own, but support of another mom and friend on the same property. Also, chickens (fresh eggs) and a few dogs (I LOVE dogs!), a couple pigs (hilarious creatures) and a frequent moose momma who visits and occasionally brings her baby! I’ve carried because this feels like how life is supposed to be. Moms need community especially when raising tiny people. As nice as it will be to be home I’m not looking forward to leaving this place. Lucky for me they need a house sitter for July… I signed up.

And it’s an air bnb so if you know anyone who needs a place to stay – I’ll hook you up!! Coolest family, awesome location and who doesn’t want to see a moose?! F33D4C79-8B83-4DEE-92EE-381C43A2187BF10E71CA-36C7-44CF-AE99-0115A9F0B0262CA94472-311F-4B6B-BD01-CA025085D1C4

There’s more…

Our family has been through a lot in the last year and a half. More than most families might deal with in a lifetime.

November 12, 2016 our dog collapsed and had to be put down. He had a blood cancer that made his heart work way too hard and it killed him. We got our dog after we lost our first baby – he held so much hope and love and was exactly what I needed during that horrible time. It was devastating to say goodbye.

November 19, 2016 I found out we were pregnant with Elouise – she passed away January 26, 2017.

December 26, 2017 we brought home a puppy! Gus Gus.

January 30, 2017 I had surgery because my body was holding onto my pregnancy even though my baby had died. They needed to get her out so I wouldn’t get sick. I lost a ton of blood and ended up being very weak and recovery took more than 6 weeks.

May 2017, Mother’s Day we planted our apple tree in memory of Aaron and Elouise – the babies waiting to meet us in heaven.

May 2017, sometime after Mother’s Day, we found out we were pregnant again.

May 30, 2017 Middle C had surgery on her left foot after weeks of serial casting.

July 2017 she got her cast off and we were fitted for a AFO brace (which she still wears at night)

January 10, 2018 Peaches joined our family!

February 14, 2018 I broke my hand. Did I blog about that? It was horrible. Definitely could have been worse, but I broke a metacarpal and needed surgery. A brand new baby, a broken hand…

March 14, 2018 After we started a case file for our house with insurance we found out we needed to move out during the repair process.

March 22, 2018 I was called and asked if we could be out of the house that day. The turn around from the filing of the claim to the start date was insane. Extremely overwhelming!

April 13, 2018. We are still out of the house – I plan to touch base with the contractor on Monday. And Middle C just had another appointment with her foot doc. He wants to do another invasive surgery but this time on her right foot. We have to meet with a panel of doctors again so they can come up with the best plan for her – but Andrew and I don’t want to put her through the serial casting again. It was so hard to watch her struggle and we are already two months behind where we were last year – she had started the serial casting in March – so if we start now she will basically miss her entire summer. I don’t want to – I can’t do that to her. So I’m hoping and praying they let us just do the surgery and that they fit us in as soon as possible.

I’m also praying we get our house back soon. As stressful as it can be to be out of the house, we have a pretty amazing rental and the repairs being done to our house includes some improvements that almost make it worth it. So we are trying to stay positive and have good attitudes. But we desperately need positive thoughts and prayers, support and encouragement. We will need plenty of play dates, possibly help with meals again (AGAIN! Gah!) and sanity savers like coffee, wine and good friends.

It isn’t easy to feel like you’re constantly needing help – so we want to make sure we show our gratitude and appreciation for everyone who has offered to help and been available to us! Thank you. And we are sorry to still be needing help – again. We would love this to end – we would love to be helping instead of needing help. Someday. Hopefully soon.

 

Gratitude

It’s been quite a year. From last year this time until now we have needed a lot of help. Losing a baby, surgery complications, surgery for Middle C, then having a baby this year and breaking my hand… it’s been eventful. And I’m so grateful to the people who step up and show up and help. It’s surprising sometimes who is there for you. It’s not always the person you’d think. And when these people help I want a tangible way to show how grateful I am.

I want to be someone who is thoughtful and kind. And I also want to be good at giving gifts. Gratitude gifts, yes. But also Christmas, birthday, just because etc. I know the best gifts are the gifts that take thought and intention. What are some of the best gifts you’ve received? What are some gifts you’ve given that you were proud of? Are gift cards less personal?

Broken

So on Wednesday morning I broke my hand. I went to look for a boot I was convinced my dog had snuck to the yard, and slid down the icy stairs, tried to break my fall and ended up breaking my hand. My dominant hand.

Having a new baby, three other kids and now a broken hand is already proving a challenge. And I’ve had my husband around since it happened.

Everything is harder, takes longer and is awkward. I’m even typing this left handed, so it’s taking twice as long.

Pray for us through this chaos. And I’m not opposed to any help! This afternoon I needed my sister in law to braid my hair (Thanks, Lisa!)

this is humbling. Especially because I’m so aware that Middle C has put up with stuff like this pretty much her whole life and rarely complains. I’m trying to be more like her. She’s inspiring. And she’s been a huge help and so empathetic. I hope I can be half as kind as my daughter.

Thats all for now. My fingers hurt.

 

After the rainbow

Hey guys! Sorry it’s been awhile (do i start all my posts that way?) I’ve been struggling. I have so many things I want to talk about but I think I feel like I’m not allowed to have a hard time. I’m supposed to be grateful now that my rainbow is here and healthy. Why should someone like me still be struggling? I mean besides the obvious new baby struggles. Like we don’t sleep. I think it’s a good night when I get a solid 2 hours at a time because that’s an improvement from my usual 30 minutes between feeds before midnight. This baby LOVES cuddles and loves to cluster feed. She thinks it’s party time from 2-4am and by the time I get her back down and fall asleep I get about an hour before the other kids are awake and we need to start our day. Yeah. New baby is lovely, yes she has stolen my sleep. And my heart. And yes it’s an adjustment. I can handle all that. What I struggle with is a lot of people seem to think that since my rainbow baby is here I should have moved on from missing Elouise. That I don’t need to think about her and Aaron anymore. And it bothers me.

Why is it that if I still miss my angels it’s taken as ungratefulness for my rainbow? Why is miscarriage watered down? Like it’s less of a loss than late term pregnancy, stillbirth or infancy loss? Why do people think that any of those losses shouldn’t be grieved the same way as if you lose a parent or other significant person later on life? If my mother had died the verbiage changes from “loss” to “death”. Why? Why is it when you’re pregnant and your care provider asks you how many pregnancies you’ve had they say “6 pregnancies but 4th baby”? Like the other two were puppies?! No. I have been pregnant 6 times. And have 6, count them 6 babies. Two just never got to breathe air. Two never got to be in my arms, I never got to kiss them or tell them how much I wanted to watch them grow up. I never got to see their smile or know what colour their eyes were. I never got to hear their laughter or stroke their little hands. No, my loss isn’t less than someone else’s death. I lost two babies and I missed out on everything.

I missed being awake through the night, crying in frustration because I was so tired. I missed struggling to nurse them because there’s a learning curve with each baby. I missed watching their little hands grasp at my shirt while they suckled at my breast. I missed hearing their little cries and grunts. I missed watching those babies grow into toddlers, their first steps, their first word. Would Aaron have said “mama” first? Elouise for sure would have been a daddy’s girl. I missed kissing their scrapes and tender feelings. I missed getting to know them. I MISSED ALL OF IT! And yet my “loss” is something I should be over now because I have a rainbow.

When I talk about Elouise, please please listen. Love me through it. DO NOT think I need to be reminded of my silver linings or that I should count my blessings. If she had been 4 when she died and I was reminiscing about mannerisms or memories you wouldn’t say those things. Just because I didn’t have memories of a breathing child doesn’t make her less real to me. I didn’t just lose a pregnancy. I lost my babies. They died. And I never got to hold them in my arms. Don’t dehumanize them just because they hadn’t been born, and don’t think I’m not over the moon grateful for this blessing I do have. But looking at her makes Elouise and Aaron even more real. Watching my little girl, Peaches, makes me wonder if she looks anything like her sister would have. So don’t hear ungratefulness when I talk about my angels. Know my heart is overflowing with gratitude, but that I will always wonder and miss my other kids too.

Peaches

Guess what? We had our baby. A little over a week ago I was complaining because I felt “off” and agitated. I kept getting woken through the night with contractions but they weren’t often enough or strong enough to call my birthing team yet. I was getting frustrated and discouraged. Impatient. Which was challenging because we still haven’t even hit our due date. Peaches was due January 26, 2018. I started contracting around week 24 because of a condition they called “irritable uterus”. I was diagnosed with this condition during my pregnancy with Middle C but didn’t struggle with it quite so much during my pregnancy with Little man. So I assumed (bad idea) that it wouldn’t be so bad this time.

I know time waters down our memories but I’m fairly certain my contractions throughout my pregnancy were worse this time. On January 9 I was up every hour through the night because contractions were waking me from my sleep. I was tired and cranky. Praying either the contractions would stop until labour was actually starting or that this baby would come out really soon. I was also desperate that when she came out she would be healthy.

Man, did Jesus ever come through for me! Peaches made her debut January 10 at 10:40pm.

I was still contracting and getting more and more unsettled so around 5pm on January 10 I started a bath. Baths are supposed to be a good way to determine if your labour is starting or if the contractions are more like Braxton Hicks or false labour.

So im in a nice warm bath, trying to relax. Contractions aren’t strong but they were coming fairly consistently on an average of 4 mins apart. So I started texting my support team to put everyone on alert and I called my midwife because if this wasn’t labour I felt like something was wrong.

My midwife showed up within half an hour and checked my progress. We were already dilated to 5cms and the contractions had picked up since we talked on the phone. The midwife said we should go, of course child care hadn’t been called in yet so she grabbed my bag and instructed Andrew to meet us at the hospital when he had someone to watch the kids.

We arrived at the hospital a little after 6:30pm, got all the paperwork and blood work done and got our room around 7. Andrew and the doula showed up within minutes of each other. I remember the doula lacing up her sneakers and we headed to do stairs. I was dilating quickly and contractions were getting harder but I wasn’t thinning much so we wanted to encourage my body to pick things up a bit.

Every time I’ve been in labour there comes a point where I need my water broken. If we didn’t I would likely labour for hours or days on the cusp of transition simply because I make very strong encal sacks. Which is great for keeping baby healthy (and also that I’ve never had to worry about being surprised by my water breaking in public). So finally when my doula said I either needed to do another round of stairs (we climbed 4 flights multiple times) or let the midwife break my water I knew I had no choice. My legs were getting shaky, and I still had the hard part to do to get the baby out. But originally I had planned for a water birth so the water would keep me buoyant, which would make labouring and positions a bit easier. Unfortunately we weren’t able to use the pool because our hospital only has one pool room and it was needed by someone else. So a dry birth made me nervous because I knew it was going to hurt more and take more energy. But I also knew I couldn’t do stairs all night. So I whined a bit and let them break my water.

Transition sucks you guys. And for sure I used a stronger word. It’s a natural response for us to run away from pain, so when your body is racked with constant anguish generally you don’t sink into it, you fight and cry and almost crawl away. My doula was amazing, she kept coaching me through how to let the contractions get my baby out and stop fighting them. When I was exhausted and over it they reminded me that meant we were almost done. Sure enough with the next contraction my body began to push – it was like it took control of itself and just went for it. I don’t know exactly how long I pushed for or how many pushes but I do know the whole process from my water breaking until she was born was only 35 minutes.

Peaches emerged tiny, pink and screaming. She made it known immediately that she was ready for life and healthy. She passed her APGAR scores with 100% first try and started nursing right away. She’s a fighter. And she’s such a doll.

When we decided we wanted a midwife hospital birth we knew that we also wanted early discharge. The midwives make sure you’re okay to go home by making you jump through hoops (not literally… could you imagine?).

Peaches had to be a certain weight ✔️

She had to have at least 80-90 for score✔️

I had to be able to use the washroom and walk there myself ✔️

I had to eat something ✔️

I couldn’t bleed too much after birth. Now this was the one we were most concerned about after making sure our baby was healthy. After each delivery previously I tended to be a bleeder. So this time we had taken precautions and I had an IV lock put in when we had arrived to the hospital. The midwives pushed two types of meds to help reduce bleed time and I was hooked up to a bag for a little under an hour. Whatever they did worked because I didn’t hemorrhage, not even close! ✔️

So we jumped through the hoops and then, unless we were uncomfortable with going home (it was -40 with the windchill that night) we were allowed to leave. Andrew and I knew we would get a better quality sleep and he had been up since 4am, it was now near 2am the following morning. So off we went.

Peaches is 9 days old now and doing amazing. She’s fit into our lives like the missing puzzle piece and we are so grateful she’s here.

And now that she’s here it’s like my heart can heal. I’ll always think of Aaron and Elouise, but they are safe up in heaven and someday I will get to hold them and meet them too. Until then I will cherish the four I have here on earth!