May 31, 2009

Baby's First Charity Event

This is a public declaration of what an AWESOME little princess I have.

As a bit of background, I am a self-proclaimed workaholic who has been know to test the limits of my own ambition. It could be because I work in Public Relations, maybe. It could be because I'm nuts. I have a tendency to take on a lot.

Well before I was preggers I was working on a charity event - a walk fundraiser to raise money to place Dog Guides with people who have disabilities. These are more than the seeing-eye dogs that you are probably familiar with. The organization that we were supporting, helps people are visually impaired as well as people who are deaf (with hearing ear dogs) or physically disabled (with special skills dogs). Check out their site.

Anyway, I was so vested in making it come to fruition that I signed on as the Volunteer Committee Chair to head up a group of local volunteers in my "spare time". And then there was baby. Because God is a comedian, she was scheduled to join us on earth before the first annual charity event.

So what's a mom to do? I couldn't NOT help with the event. Although I was MIA for the weeks after I had the Baby, the team and my co-chair did an amazing job of pulling everything together. I got back into it this last week to help as much as I could.

And today I brought Baby to her first ever charity event - at the ripe age of 5 weeks.

Baby was amazing. I am astonished, grateful, impressed that she was so good the entire day. We arrived at the venue at 7:30 am and left at 2:30 pm. I really wanted her there with me throughout the day, because I'm breast feeding and not ready to put her on a bottle. The great new is that Baby was perfect throughout the 7 hour day. She didn't cry once and was amazing!!

We worked out some of the logistics beforehand. I had an office designated as baby zone for changing, feeding and quiet time where we could sneak away every few hours. We brought her stroller (the Quinny Buzz base and Maxi Cosi car seat) and our carrier. I know that she could sleep for ages in her car seat and the carrier was invaluable for when she was awake. I loved keeping her close to me but having the flexibility and free hands to take care of other things.

It was a great day. We raised over $25,000 (the final numbers are still being tabulated) and Baby stole the show. We had hundreds of people cooing over her. She loved the attention. I, personally, couldn't be happier.

~ humps

May 22, 2009

Baby's Photo Shoot

When I look at our daughter I wish I could stop time. She will be one month old in a few days and she is already growing too fast! Not only do I admit to watching her sleep – imagining her at 6 months, 1 year, 6 years, 16 – I also take the little spare time when she is asleep to pour over pictures and video. Pictures are the closest thing to stopping time.

Two weeks ago, for Mother’s Day weekend, we had a photographer take Baby’s first professional pictures. She was just over two weeks ago, and it was the best possible way for me to celebrate being a mom. I was also so fortunate to be able to share the experience with my mom and my grandmother. We took the opportunity to have a picture taken with four generations of women – my daughter, myself, her grandmother and her great-grandmother.

Malinda at Studio DPI made the photo shoot experience so relaxed, easy going and comfortable for us. She stayed at our house for over two hours, to capture of a variety of shots. Her experience working with newborns really paid off. She knew when to rest, try something new and when to take a little break for cuddles. (When Baby peed on me I didn’t feel like THAT MUCH of an idiot). It was a pleasure working with someone who was so patient, creative, passionate and talented.

I had a chance to get to know Malinda through our blogs months before Baby came to us. I encourage you to check out her website and blog.

My advice for people looking to take professional pictures of your newborn:
1. Style: Get to know your photographer’s style and personality beforehand by looking at his/her portfolio and talking with one another. A good rapport helps!
2. Experience: Ask if the photographer has worked with newborns before. You will likely have a more positive experience on the day of and more variety in the shots.
3. Comfort: Consider an on location shoot at your home for very young babies. You may feel more comfortable in familiar surroundings. And you also don’t have to lug the little one across town!!
4. Timing: I was very lucky to have a photographer who was very flexible in scheduling the photo shoot. Since you never know when the baby will arrive, we held off on confirming a date and time until she was born.

Here are a couple of my favorite pictures from the shoot.

May 17, 2009

Ode to Breastfeeding

I have a number of friends that chose to formula feed their little ones for a variety of reasons. I myself, have just proclaimed that I love breastfeeding. Yes. I said it. I. Love. Breastfeeding.

Not for all the reasons that they mention in the baby books. Not because of the incredible bonding that Baby and I have when she's nursing. Not because of the added nutritional value of mother's milk. While those are all well and good, I love breastfeeding for the convenience. I love breastfeeding because I am LAZY.

When Baby cries that very special cry that means, "I want food NOW" there is nothing better than just pulling out a boob to feed. I just have to unbutton my shirt - if that!! We don't worry about bottle sterilizing, formula mixing, milk heating. With the learning curve of breastfeeding, I overcame latch issues, cracking and bleeding nipples, tons of lanolin cream to nurse. It wasn't easy. But to all the mother's out there I have to tell you to stick with it. It's like a small victory when Baby and I sit down to feed.

So much so that I wanted to write an "Ode to Breastfeeding". I thought at first this tribute should be in the form of a poem. But my poetry experience is limited. It would have started with, "There's once was a girl from Nantucket..." So I decided to write a song instead. I hope you enjoy it.

In the rhythm of Single Ladies by Beyonce....

All the savvy mommies, all the savvy mommies
All the happy mommies, all the happy mommies
All the lazy mommies, all the lazy mommies

Now put your hands up if
It's late at night, have sleep in sight
And a baby that just dozed off
Climbing into bed, to rest your head
But the baby is starting to wail!
Don't pay it any attention
Pull it out your boob, there's some good food
And your baby's quiet in no time.

[Chorus] Cuz if you're lazy than you shoulda stuck with breastfeeding
If you're lazy than you shoulda stuck with breastfeeding
Don't be mad cus I'm chillin when the baby's eating
If you're lazy than you shoulda stuck with breastfeeding.

wo oh ooh oh oh ooh oh oh ooh oh oh oh
wo oh ooh oh oh ooh oh oh ooh oh oh oh

May 6, 2009

Keep or Toss?

I’m an only child. (I can see your face now… I’m not as bad as you think I am. LOL) Importantly, I’m an only child that has just given my parents their first grandchild. She will be more spoiled than I ever was.

My mother is particularly excited about the new member of the family. During my pregnancy – although I was terrified of telling her originally, being unmarried and all – she has been so amazingly supportive. We poured over my baby books and little milestones, looked at my miniature baby clothes that she kept (for nearly 30 years!), drunk in albums of baby pictures. My mom has kept so many little mementos of my coming of age, from the first greeting cards welcoming me to the world, to sachets of baby teeth and school achievements. She kept everything.

My mom was staying with us last week to help transition our life to that “with baby.” She was with me the day that Baby’s umbilical cord stump fell off. Just I was walking over to chuck the dried up little thing into the garbage my mother asked I was going to keep it. Keep it?! Apparently my mother has kept my umbilical cord stump. Yeah, I know. Crazy!!

I elected not to during that moment. And since then have started to think about the kind of hoarder – or should I say curator – that I will be as a mom. I’m already become one of those moms who takes a billion and one pictures. I even took pictures during Baby’s first visit to the doctor’s office. I’ve already saved her first greeting cards and the cards from the baby shower. Will I also be the mom who is shopping for keepsake boxes for all of my little girl’s tossed items or those things that remind me of her many milestones?

Parents – have you found yourself holding onto your children’s things that you never thought you would. How do you draw the line between the must keeps and must go’s? Is there a line or as parents we have free range to be as “kooky” as ever?

~ humps

May 2, 2009

A lot happens in a week...

Baby is just the most adorable thing we've ever seen. I'm a bit biased - I know. But you gotta love these!

The Birth Story

I will be one of those moms who remind their offspring, during moments of frustration and exasperation, that they carried their kids for almost 10 months, was put through the most brutal of labors and had to walk up hill – both ways – to the hospital. And except for the walking part, it’s all sorta true.

It was Thursday morning – almost five days past my due date – when the contractions started to become that very special kind of unbearable that means the baby’s coming, the baby’s coming! Considering that I was having contractions for over a week, with no progress, I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions. Out came the stopwatch. We tried to determine if this was the real deal.

By about 2:30 am in the morning, the time was going by slowly and the pain was coming on forcefully, and the contractions were a steady five minutes apart. We headed to the hospital, but disappointedly after getting prodded, I was send home for being just a little bit dilated.

I was upset, angry, disappointed when we returned home. I was also still contracting, in pain and exhausted. I tried to go back to sleep. But it wasn’t over. Not more than half an hour later the hold of the contractions started to get stronger. Why didn’t anyone tell me it would feel like this? I liken it to someone taking a pitchfork to my stomach and torturing me slowly. No matter what I did the pain kept intensifying. By 5:30 am I was breaking out the phone number for the hospital. So what if I was there just over an hour ago. We needed to determine what my options were.

The options - I could come back to be reassessed, and potentially be given pain medication if I couldn’t handle natural “coping techniques” and labor still wasn’t progressing. We labored at home for the next few hours, trying those “coping techniques” that the nurses suggested – another shower, a bath, different positions. I was still spending a whole lot of time curled up on the bathroom floor screaming bloody murder. We were at back in the hospital triage by 9:00 am.

This time I was 2, nearly 3 cm, dilated. “I told you this was real!!” I was going to be admitted, but they didn’t have a free bed at the time. And there were 2 other moms, ahead of me. I was asked to walk the floor and check back every 30 minutes to have the baby’s heart rate monitored. They would do what they could to get me in, but there was no telling how long the current deliveries would take.

Half an hour, turned into hours. Lunch and dinner came and passed. I was in excruciating back labor that wouldn’t give me a break. The two moms ahead of me were settled into their rooms and every time I felt that I was closer to getting in, and importantly getting the epidural, a mom was whisked in, in full blown labor that was further progressed than I was, and I was put on the backburner. My favourite example was a mom who came into triage in a flurry and put in the bed beside me. We were separated by the flimsy curtain. She was in labor for an hour, with her fourth child. Oh boy! She was over 7 cms dilated!! After one hour. "Sure you can have my room."

I was finally settled into my room around 8:00 pm, nearly 12 hours after coming into the hospital for the second time. Despite the walking I was only 4 cm – the gravity wasn’t really doing the trick and I was exhausted. The epidural followed. My water was broken soon after that. I was also given Pitocin when the contractions started to slow down. I used the next few, relatively pain free hours to get some rest – taking naps, doing Sudoku on Nintendo DS. I was so happy with the epidural that I was going to name my first born child after it. Epi for a girl, Dural for a boy. :)

I woke up just after 1:00 am when I started to feel the contractions and pressure. I was almost 10 cm dilated and it was time to do the hard work. Pushing wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I attribute that to my birth preparation – lots of episodes of the Baby Story on TLC. I was apparently a text book pusher. I knew that I had a hidden talent. Baby was born after less then 20 minutes of pushing.

She was born with a head full of silky, curly hair. She laid on my chest after 24 hours of labor and seemed so serene and calm. We were in love with her. She was perfect.

To protect the innocent, and avoid future psychiatric bills, I won’t reveal her name on this blog. She will be referred from here on out as “Baby”. See how simple I make it for all of you.

It’s been a week of pure baby-loving! I just can’t get enough of our little girl. She has completely melted our hearts. I am overwhelmed with how much I love her. Is this feeling normal??

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