Tuesday, January 16, 2018

My 2018 Reading List

One of my favorite things to do is snuggle up with a good book and read. Being immersed into a story is so magical and I love the feeling of satisfaction upon completing a book. When I think about my future, I envision a more bookish version of myself browsing a well curated and extensive library. I also have a perfect top knot in this daydream but that is neither here nor there. In addition to reading, do you know what else I love? Netflix. And the Food Network. Sometimes they distract me from my love of reading and the time that should be spent with a book is interrupted by me cheering Bobby Flay from my couch.

Last year, I promised myself I'd read 30 books. Which might seem like a humble goal to some, but I only got through 5. FIVE! That's it! Oh and a half of an audio book. Now if we were counting children's books, I've read at least 1000, and that's just over one week's time. This year I'm back with a goal for reading 10 books, with the hope of adding to the list upon completion. The goal is to finish these 10 titles and then some by the time 2019 rolls around. I'm thinking that a book list will keep me focused and hopefully I can avoid the "what to read?" blues. And keep me from re-reading the Harry Potter series for the 16th time...

Quite a few titles on my list are books that have been collecting dust on my bookshelf. Others are part of the book list from the Well Read Mom, a blog I love. Some of these titles are ones I would have never read on my own but I'm looking forward to the challenge! Of course there are some fun reads in there, like some history (which I love) fantasy and pure nerdy goodness (Um hello Shakespeare Star Wars!) to mix things up a bit.
  1. The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor
  2. Bringing Up Boys by Dr James Dobson
  3. I Believe In Love by Fr. Jean C. J. d'Elbee 
  4. Theology of the body for Beginners by Christopher west
  5. William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher
  6. Wait for me! By Deborah Mitford
  7. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
  8. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Anne Burns
  9. Christ and the Americas by Anne W. Carroll
  10. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

As a bonus, here is the book list that I plan on reading aloud to Sophie. We will probably get through this list before the end of February, since Soph has been loving the "big kid" book time with mommy. Some of these titles were suggested from friends and another great blog, Read Aloud Revival.  Ballet Shoes came highly recommended from my favorite former bookstore owner, Kathleen Kelly. If you understood that reference, we must be kindred spirits...

  1. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  2. Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  3. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
  4. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  5. Disney Fairies Series by Various Authors
  6. A Bear Called Paddington by Micheal Bond

What books are you reading right now? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Theodore's Birth Story || December 24th, 2017

The day before Theodore was born, I went to see my midwife to get a stress test, just to make sure Theo was doing good, all nestled in my belly. After a membrane sweep and a "cocktail" made with castor oil (in hopes of kicking off labour) I went home, and promptly fell asleep during a Christmas movie.

When I woke up from my nap, Donald suggested that we go to mass that evening, just in case we couldn't make it the next morning...just in case we were, I don't know, off having a baby? On the way back from mass I got it into my head that I needed to pack up the presents, dessert and girls' clothes for the next day, Christmas Eve. I also made fudge because I was an irrational pregnant crazy lady. I knew if I went into labour in the middle of the night, it would be helpful to have everything ready so that someone could bring it all to my in-laws without having to go on a wild goose chase. And it totally payed off!! Yay for organization! 

My midwife had warned me that she was officially off call at 2am and that my care would be transferred to another midwife if I went in at that time. I honestly didn't mind since I knew between either midwife, baby and I would be in good hands.

At 2 am, December 24th, I woke up, used the washroom and went back to bed. I felt lots of movement from baby and then a contraction. A big one! And then another...and another. I got my phone out to start timing them since I was a little paranoid I'd stay at home too long. At this time, Donald had gotten up with one of the girls and was trying to get them back to sleep, not knowing that my contractions were coming pretty consistent and hard. At 3:15, I called the midwife to give her the heads up. Then I woke up a dozing Donald, a little hysterical, with "I'm pretty sure I'm in labour and I just got off the phone with the midwife. We need to leave. Can you call your mom like right now?!" We waited for Donald's mom and sister (our on-call babysitters) to arrive before hopping in the car and making our way to the birth centre.

The birth centre in our city is only 15 minutes from our house which is soo handy. Especially when one is in labour and can feel every bump in the road! When we arrived, my midwife checked me into the same room where Eloise was born, bringing back lots of good memories and a feeling of positivity. The thought of meeting Eloise's new baby brother in the same space I met her gave me the courage to rock this birth so I could go home and snuggle all three of my babies. After an exam, my midwife said I was only  at 3 cm but to settle in and start to actively get baby moving down and out.

I immediately got on the birthing ball, coming up with a game plan with my midwife and Donald. I started climbing the stairs at the centre, hoping the gravity would help speed things up. My midwife suggested doing a round of the Miles Circuit which I swear was the reason why things picked up from there. After completing the circuit, I sat on the birth ball, contractions getting long and hard. I was getting so hungry but without an appetite I could feel myself loosing steam. I began to black out in between contractions which sounds scary but it provided my body with a chance to completely relax and rest. 

This went on for a while until my midwife got me to drink a large glass of juice to drink and the fainting spells stopped. My midwife checked me again and I was at 7 cms. Progress! She suggested to use the washroom and stay there for a few contractions while propping my feet up on a little stool. It didn't sound very fun or glamorous to me so I set up camp in the shower, sitting on the birth ball and waiting for something to happen. After another half hour, my midwife suggested again to try the toilet-stool combo. I made my way over, stopping with another contraction mid step. After leaning on Donald for support I started bawling my eyes out. I was so done with labour! I was so done with the pain and I just wanted to go home and curl up in my cozy bed. It was so discouraging,I couldn't help but think   it was way too early in labour to feel this way. I'd never make it at this rate!

I sat down and immediaetly had a super painful contraction. Then I felt an extreme amount of presure.
"Oh my gosh, is that, IS THAT THE BABY's HEAD?" I heard Donald say.
The midwife scrambled over and confirmed that yes, that was baby's head and that I should definitely hop in the birth pool.
"But I still need to pee!" Again, irrational pregnant lady coming out.
"Megan, if you sit down on the toilet again, the baby might be born here and I don't think you want that!" 
Thank goodness for midwives who can read minds hey? I actually didn't want to give birth over a toilet, surprisingly! 
Into the birth tub I hopped, still shocked that the time had come to push even though my water hadn't broken yet. It happened all so fast! I got into the tub, my water broke and then I waited three or four contractions for Theo to be born. I didn't really push, but I did use breathing techniques to relax my body so that I wouldn't be tempted to push or do any damage.
At that time, the back up midwife came in and even though I was concentrating hard on the work at hand,  I heard introductions happening that sounded something like 
" This here is Megan, her husband Donald and their baby's head and shoulders!".

There is nothing better than the feeling of having a teeny tiny, squirming little baby placed on your chest for the first time. I knew that little boy even though I had never met him before or had I ever been face to face with his sweet little face. He didn't make a peep, only looked around with his big eyes and leaning on his arms like a big kid! It was such a wonderful moment, watching him take in the new surroundings until I held him up straighter and the world heard Theodore Karol cry for the first time. It was 10:25 am and we now had a Christmas Eve baby. It still seem surreal!

 I am so grateful to have had such a straightforward, uncomplicated labour with such a smooth delivery. I was a little afraid of giving birth after having the girls. However this birth was so different and dare I say easy. Well as easy as birth can get! I consider myself very fortunate since I know not every mother experiences birth in this manner. 

After getting out of the tub, my midwife examined me and Donald got some skin-on-skin snuggle time with Theodore. From there on, we just sat and snuggled our new little miracle, touching Theo's toes, kissing his cheeks and stroking his dark hair. I was shocked how small he was. Both girls were over the 9 pound mark and I was preparing for a 10 pounder! Donald however was feeling pretty smug since he had guessed Theo would be 8 15lbs weeks beforehand.

I guess I'll never know when Theo's due date was, but part of me does believe he actually was a week and a half late. He was born with only a little patch of vernix on his back. Both girls were covered, particularly Eloise who was only three days late. Theo has also been such a strong and coordinated nursling. Again, unlike the girls. Maybe these are signs that he was a "mature" baby? Maybe these are just traits that are Theo, regardless of how late or on time he was. Still interesting things to think about!

Two hours after Theo was born, my midwife was happy with how Theo and I were going so she sent us home with instructions to go straight to bed and rest rest rest. Donald's family brought the girls over to meet their brother and oh my was one of the best moments of my life! Both girls showered him with kisses and snuggles. Sophie however did mention that she was disappointed that he didn't have a beard like daddy (ummmm?) and Eloise proudly declared that Theo was "My baby! MY BABY!" and didn't want to let go of him. It was a great first meeting and snuggle fest. Since then, we've happily adjusted to life with our sweet Theo and have been enjoying being together, all five of us!