Tuesday, October 30

and rigby makes four

Our birth story is rather short, as birth stories go. My memory of times and specifics is hazy, but I am going to do my best.

October 24 started out on a dreary note. I woke up and I was not in the throes of labour, which was something I had every reason to believe would happen. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. It was also raining again.

That morning my midwife arrived with a slip of paper and some lemon verbena. On the slip was a recipe for a midwife cocktail - guaranteed to start labour. I wasn't desperate, but was beginning to get there. We'd been trying various labour "inducers" for just over a week with no luck. The fact that I would be pushing a giant baby out, coupled with Andrew's rapidly passing time off, the nearing prospect of a hospital birth (for going over dates) and a upcoming visit from my mother, made the cocktail's guarantee appealing. We gathered the ingredients that morning and by 11:45a I was filling my wineglass with a not-altogether-unpleasant verbena smoothie.

Mid-way through drinking the cocktail my friend, Aly, stopped by to check in on us - hoping to meet the new Forsyth. After a quick chat we returned to our respective families and I finished my drink. I then took a walk in the sun that had snuck up on me, hoping to spring things into action. Lunch passed with nothing to show but some lemon-flavoured burps (yuck) and a few light contractions (I'd been contracting on and off for weeks, so tried to think nothing of it). Around 2:00p I talked to my midwife and told her that this might be the real thing this time - I then went back to doing laundry and getting all our birth stuff organised.

About 4:00p we decided this was, in fact, the real thing. My contractions felt stronger and seemed to be coming fairly quickly, as soon as I started timing them they were 4-8 minutes apart, but lasted less than a minute. I figured we had heaps of time. Andrew made dinner while I hung out with Sebastian, reading books and waiting for our friends. As I sat on the couch my contractions intensified - in half an hour they went from being a nuisance to being unbearable and suddenly felt like they were coming one right on top of the other. Andrew asked one of our friends to bring by her exercise ball and I took a shower.

When I got out of the shower our friends had arrived and I was *so* happy to have a ball to rock on (thanks, Corey!!!!!!). Things quickly intensified and we moved into the bedroom... here's where things get really hazy... I remember moments clearly - breathing Andrew in deeply and that giving me the power to bear my contractions. Throwing up (a lot), joking around, having my back rubbed and my hips squeezed, the pain in my back, long and wonderful massage... I also remember being scared and a little sad that things were rolling so quickly... and then things got really intense.

I had been holding on to worry and as soon as I gave myself permission to let that worry go my body kicked everything into high gear. In the span of a few moments I went from not fully dilated, through transition and to the need to push... first I felt the need to move - I got up on the bed and onto all fours and vomited (into a bowl - YAY) - then somehow I was on my back... Tracy left for a moment and in that time I suddenly and powerfully NEEDED to PUSH. She rushed back, told me to reach down and, holy shit, there was the head. I remember talking about pushing position, but the reality was my contractions were so close and the urge to push so big that I never did get off my back. Andrew was behind me the whole time, supporting me and giving me strength. Very quickly I pushed my baby out - I remember VERY clearly being told t slow down and stop pushing - never in my life have I felt so conflicted (knowing full-well that I really did need to slow down, lest I split open). It took what still feels like no time at all to push that baby's head out. The shoulders took another couple and then *woosh* there she was. They placed her on my belly and we looked down and saw girly bits!! It was an amazing moment - knowing our little nuclear family was complete.

What followed is, and will likely always be, a bit of a blur. I remember delivering the placenta, I remember feeling like a river was gushing out of me, I remember getting shots, being told to nurse, to look at my baby, not to worry... I remember the split second when I realised that if I fell asleep, I would end up in hospital. I remember the very tiny moment where I thought I would die. Then I remember gathering all my strength for my daughter, my son and my husband and resolving to get through this. I fought to stay lucid. I willed my body to stop bleeding. I concentrated on every single thing I could - her hair, his touch, the voices, the love... It stopped.

The storm passed and all was well. While everyone else had pizza, I had IV fluids, a pear and toast. I cuddled my daughter and my son (I think). I got up to go pee, but couldn't make it to standing. Andrew and Shannon changed the sheets right under me. I was allowed to go to sleep on the condition that I a) not be left alone and b) peed by morning.

I would spend the next three days in bed and week inside the house... but at least I got my home birth (minus some of the bliss I'd imagined, but complete with all the perks of being at home) and had my beautiful babe to keep me company.

Lilian Rigby Forsyth was born at 9:00pm on October 24, 2007, in the comfort of her own home. She weighed 9lbs 10oz. Lilian is for Andrew's grandmother and Rigby is an homage to the Beatles - and also to my family, who all love the Beatles. Go here to read a beautiful bit written by my wonderful husband on the origin of Rigby's name.


Thursday, October 25

welcome to the world, little one.

After weeks of waiting, our daughter was born happily at home last night at 9PM after a mere 7 hours of labour (and 15 minutes of pushing).

Lilian Rigby Forsyth (Rigby to her friends), born October 24, 2007 weighing 9lbs 10oz. I had a wonderful, if very rapid, home birth - followed by a not-so-wonderful post-partum hemorrhage that has me chained to my bed for a few days. My midwives were incredible and managed to get the bleeding stopped without a dreaded trip to the hospital!

I'll get a birth story down and get the photos off the camera soon, but for now I am going to take advantage of my forced relaxation and go cuddle my baby.

Sunday, October 21

today would be a good day to have a baby

Yup, the babe is still percolating in there. Yesterday I started to feel a little desperate - worrying about my mother's visit next weekend (one night only!) and Andrew's rapidly disappearing time off. Feeling trapped by my body, by the rain, by my self-doubt, I began questioning my decision to have a home-birth (again) and wondering if maybe we should just surrender to the medical establishment... I know better - but it is hitting that point where all the quiet comments from supportive not-quite-supporters are screaming in my head. All these stupid what-ifs looping through my head - I am have been a blind follower of the medicalisation of birth for most of my life, babies are born in hospitals, what am I trying to prove?

Wednesday, October 17


Today is the day that I am assumed, based on my last period and an early ultrasound, to be due. I had a lovely midwife appointment that both my husband and son were able to attend - this is a special treat because Andrew usually needed to work on appointment days and has only been to a few.

I had my first internal exam - just a "good to know" exam, as I am pretty content not to know specific numbers - while up there, Tracy says the baby actually popped down and rubbed its little head on her fingers. You should have seen her face! She gave my membranes a quick sweep and was out. Sebastian was totally interested and very cool abut the whole thing - he kept encouraging the baby to come out. He is pretty excited for the birth, we've been reading a stack of books and he is developing a good understanding of what is going to happen. It took some hunting, but I was able to get a library copy of Welcome With Love by Jenni Overend. I am so glad we did - he reads it with such curiosity and excitement!

We're hoping for labour to come soon so that we can get more time off with Andrew - but have fully accepted that we have no real control over it. I am happy to report that I am ready, everything is in place, clean, organised, prepared - so I can now move on to the fun stuff. I have a couple crafts waiting in the wings, some books to read, movies to watch, and with a second full-time parent around, the time to get things done. Plus the luxuries of mornings in bed with a cup of coffee and my laptop, meals cooked for me and the ability to up and leave mid-day (to, say, go get milk) without it being a huge production.

Andrew seems to be having a harder time adjusting to life at home - but it has only been a day and a half. I have been pretty impatient with him, I really want him to "save me" and "give me a break" which means I expect him to simply walk in and do all the things I do every day. Not really fair, huh? Yeah - the fact that I am being an ass is crystal clear. I will need to work on that.

dropping the ball

I totally missed blog action day, which was monday. I don't even have anything to put up now.

I will post something relevant at a later date - when my brain isn't all wrapped up in baby stuff.

Sunday, October 14

like a robin in spring

PRINT - Feathering the Nest

In my search for the perfect image to capture my nesting instinct I came across this beautiful print on Etsy called Feathering the Nest by margin a UK digital artist whose stuff I am now just completely in love with! If I ever get my shop set up and get something sold, her shop will be one of the first I hit up with my earnings.

As you can see from the rest of my blog - this print inspired a bit of a makeover. I am totally in love with the colour combination. So much so that the decorations I picked up yesterday for the baby's Birth-Day party also match.

Nearly finished with much of the physical nesting and feeling almost* as prepared as we will ever be. Yesterday, after an incident with Sears' catalogue department, which warrants its own blog, we got a car seat from Toys'R'Us.** The house keeps swinging from order to chaos in what seems like seconds. This morning, Andrew let me 'sleep in' while he cleaned up - and while I wrote out things like the birth plans and instructions to Sebastian's caregivers, Andrew got the living room and kitchen spotless.

We then went for brunch with my dad and my sister, Casey, returned home and somehow in that time the house became littered again. Luckily, due to all this frantic cleaning and tidying, all our messes are surface messes and are easy to clean. Speaking of - it sounds like I have some mystery dinner coming my way (I love it when my husband is all James Bond-like and won't give me any information... it is sexy). But I should likely do some tidying before he gets back, maybe clear the table at least.

**what's that? you'd like to spend your hard-earned money on us? well lucky you, we have a registry. just go to here and spend, spend, spend!!! what could be more fun?

*we just need a bowl for the placenta and a trip to the grocery store for food for everyone. If budget allows I'd also really like to pick up a bottle of champagne - but we are currently dead broke.

Friday, October 12

so after all that...

Not that I am not feeling together. My system for getting back into my systems may not be perfect but I did manage to get a crap-load done yesterday and today including:
  • finally catching up on laundry (it has been a week since we were caught up last)
  • going to the library in Richmond and getting books about babies for Sebastian
  • making our loan payment early
  • reading a bit more of Birthing From Within
  • packing Sebastian's birth bag (in case he decides he doesn't want to stay with us during the birth or we end up transferring to hospital)
What I still need to:
  • make letters and lists to save me from having to think or direct while in labour
  • finish reading at a minimum the section of BFW where they describe pain management techniques

Thursday, October 11

could I really be this lazy?? yes, I could

I just sent my first giant mass email - informing folks that we have not had the baby yet - this is not really my style, but I can see the draw. Maybe I should set up a mailing list and do away with personal correspondence all together. There's something to ponder.

So that's the big news - no news.

I can see the end of this strange journey into second-time motherhood. The proximity of the end of the path surprises me because I have been so removed from the process of pregnancy this time around. This pregnancy has passed without the frantic studying of obstetrics my last pregnancy brought, it has passed without worrying about the music playing inside my uterus, or hearing and feeling every movement. It has passed without a constant counting down of days. The days, weeks and months have passed on their own - my body has grown and changed with my knowing at every moment exactly what is happening - my faith in my primal ability to grow and birth a child have been nearly unwavering.

This isn't to say I have been completely removed or ignorant of what is happening, it is just to say that so much else is going on I haven't been paying the same attention I did last time.

This past week has been one of sudden realisations and frantic preparing. I am now in full-on nesting mode, having made Andrew stay up with me long past bedtime to assemble our bassinet/co-sleeper. This thing came with the most irritatingly imprecise instructions - there were a minimum of three occasions where I was certain one of us was going to brain the other with a basket support bar. But, it is perfect and functional and best of all, was loaned to us by another family. I will therefore keep my complaining to a minimum.

Last night I stayed up late getting our lives on paper in some kind of order. I am generally the one left in charge of budgets and the like, despite my relative ineptitude, and while I have been getting pretty awesome I have to admit dropping a few balls. Mostly because my systems fell apart due to neglect and misuse, last night was like a late-night cram session - I got it all sorted out (knock on wood) and I am feeling quite together.

a gentle reminder

"one thing you need to do in in life is figure out what kind of person you want to be, and then be that person"

Wednesday, October 10

"would it be uncouth for my water to break on the steps of the Vancouver Club?"

Dinner at the fancy-pants club was fantastic! Everyone looked great and we were all on our best behaviour. I would have photos but in my pregnant state forgot to change the battery on my camera. The photo above is of the room we ate in... pretty fucking surreal. Sebastian was one of many young children in attendance and was amazingly well-behaved despite missing his afternoon nap. I enjoyed myself immensely, even though I was a little concerned that what I was writing off as false labour (that lasted the entire evening) might be more serious... turns out my gut was right and not just drunk off of turkey juice. Either way I was not about to let it stop me from gorging myself on everything in sight, I figured if it turned out to really be labour at least I would have eaten well beforehand.

The food was incredible - every single kind of holiday food you could imagine, plus a dessert table that included the requisite chocolate fountain. The homemade pumpkin pie lived up to the hype and was even served with fresh whipped cream... then there were the mini creme brulees, delicate chocolate mousse cups, raspberry tarts, something rich, unidentifiable and smothered in blueberries, and the heaps and heaps of stuff I did not have the pants space to try. While I doubt it will ever replace our traditional holiday dinners - where we gather around a meal where something has been burnt, something forgotten and always something spilled, traditional meals where the talk flows easily and comfortably and the distraction of a giant television screen is nearby - this holiday dinner was the perfect solution to our current state of familial upheaval.

My father takes possession of his new home next week and his normally impeccable abode is strewn with the detritus of moving and packing, Andrew's parents have only enough time in their new house to begin the long process of unpacking, and we, among other things, have been the somewhat reluctant* recipients of the excess of both moves.

I would, however, happily play the part of privileged daughter once or twice a year if it meant eating like that again...

*we *love* the shelving unit Andrew's parents have passed down to us - the energy and time it took to switch from our old furniture to the new, however, has left me frazzled and sore. But it is up, it is full, and on the bright side we sorted through some stuff that has been sitting since our own move last April.

Saturday, October 6

"baby wants out"

I can see the end of this strange journey into second-time motherhood. The proximity of the end of the path surprises me because I have been so removed from the process of pregnancy this time around. This pregnancy has passed without the frantic studying of obstetrics my last pregnancy brought, it has passed without worrying about the music playing inside my uterus, or hearing and feeling every movement. It has passed without a constant counting down of days. The days, weeks and months have passed on their own - my body has grown and changed with my knowing at every moment exactly what is happening - my faith in my primal ability to grow and birth a child have been nearly unwavering.

This isn't to say I have been completely removed or ignorant of what is happening, it is just to say that so much else is going on I haven't been paying the same attention I did last time.

Initially, I waded through denial, I just could not believe I was pregnant again. Then, as pregnancy became less deniable, I found myself caught up in the combined processes of moving, raising a toddler/preschooler, domesticity, and maintaining a sense of self. Lost were the sense of wonder and excitement that filled most of my days when I was pregnant last, replaced instead by the feeling of juggling plates - fragile plates, cherished plates, so many plates...

All were dropped, some broke, some chipped, and some have managed to make it through miraculously, or at least seemingly, unharmed. I do not regret anything - I mourn my friendships, but also know that I have time for that. My relationship with my son is still strong, though often rocky - my relationship with my husband could be described similarly. My house has gone through periods of absolute chaos and absolute cleanliness, it tends to slip into a happy medium that might be a few steps from my ideal, but a happy medium nonetheless.

they will have to roll me out the door

Thanksgiving weekend is already upon us. Andrew's parents - who are settling into their new lives as island-dwellers nicely - will be coming to the mainland tomorrow for a trip to Ikea followed by dinner with my side of the family at my father's club. Normally I would be embarrassed by the excess, but on this occasion I appreciate that I will not need to cook, clean or play hostess. With a number of aunts and grandparents around, I am even holding out hope that Andrew and I may get a chance to eat a hot meal in relative peace.

The idea of homemade pumpkin pie has me drooling - this is one of my favourite parts of fall family celebrations. And turkey (yes, I am eating meat again) with all the trimmings... mmmmmmmm....

On the subject of food,some of you who have been reading for sometime may have noticed I have stopped writing about cooking and eating good, healthy, fresh food. I am about to confess a great sin - we have been eating mostly take-out and fast-food for the last couple of months. Try as I might I have not been able to muster the desire to cook, and when I do, by the time food is ready to hit the table I don't feel like eating it. There have been blissful days when Andrew has done the cooking and the evenings when I am glad I made chili the night before, because it is so much yummier the following day anyways. So instead we've been eating naughty food, and feeling the effects of it - but finding ourselves mysteriously unable to break the cycle. We're working on it - but with the new babe coming soon I figured it was smarter to just load up on not that great, but still a) cheaper and b) healthier, easy foods. So our freezer is stocked with things like pizzas, perogies and frozen waffles, our pantry with macaroni and cheese (okay, not all of it is healthier), crackers (to be served with cheese or cream cheese), kid snacks, granola bars, pasta and rice (so much rice - I forgot we already had a ton and bought a bunch more), I bought a bunch of single-serve yogurts for Sebastian and some fall veggies for the one or two times I will feel like cooking. It is a small step up.

I am giving myself until the New Year - at which point I plan on us being back to full-time cooking. By that point I will be ready to start getting into shape, we'll be settling into life as a foursome and will be so sick of pizza. Not to mention how unsustainable this kind of eating is - not only do we feel piles of guilt over all the packaging waste, we also simply can't afford it. I spent more on two weeks worth of groceries on this trip than I have since I started keeping track.

But enough guilt. I am so excited for a nice Thanksgiving with so much of our family. As a bonus - Andrew will be working Monday, so will make some awesome OT! I *heart* over time (except when it means I never see my husband).

Thursday, October 4

a bit about us

We've been busy - fall snuck up on us unexpectedly and here we are, two weeks away from my due date, scrambling to get everything done (I am still holding out hope that I will get a quilt done - how deluded am I??).

Things with Sebastian have gotten better, then worse, and now better again. I flip-flop between thinking he is a perfectly normal two-year-old - to thinking that there must be something wrong with him because he can be a bully and doesn't listen (etc.), then I remember that whatever is going on is perfectly normal for him and I need to manage myself and my reactions instead of expecting him to be anything but totally naturally HIM.

I have been much calmer the last few days and it is paying off - our nap time battles have continued, but he has napped three of the past four days. Today I tried something from left-field, we tried guided imagery. I asked him to imagine he was a fish, swimming through the water and blowing bubbles (deep, long breaths) - I did this while gently holding him and rocking, keeping myself very relaxed and calm. It took a little time, but he eventually calmed right down and went to sleep in his "cave" under the blankets. He went to sleep smiling - something he hasn't done in ages - and I felt so relaxed afterwards. I really, really, really hope this works again tomorrow!

In other Boo news, he has a wandering eye (strabismus), it came on slowly and we just assumed he would grow out of it, but lately it has become much worse and he barely seems to use his right eye anymore, allowing it to rest, peacefully, at his nose instead... I haven't talked about it because I have been having a hard time adjusting to it. It sounds so lame, I know, but he's my perfect child and it took some time for me to come to terms with. Typing that, and knowing the difficulties other kids have, I sound like an effing idiot. The good news is we have an appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist November 20, and there's a good chance his eye will correct without surgery, and some of his issues with over-stimulation and frustration may be connected and therefore also be "fixed"... but there is also a chance he'll need surgery, and that things may get worse before they get better, and that it may never be completely fixed.

Oh what else?? We've started using cloth diapers again and are using our Wonder Wash and spin dryer to clean them. It has been a bit of a learning curve, and we let laundry get ahead of us last week - something we will NOT be allowing to happen again (that was a bad, bad day). Sebastian has adjusted well to the cloth - better than we'd hoped, though I still think the change will bring him back to a point where he is willing to re-visit the potty (things got hairy and we quit trying to train, decided he just wasn't ready).

I am preparing for my home birth, but just found out I am group B strep positive... not a huge deal, my midwife can administer antibiotics at home, if I opt for them BUT if I do opt for them I will have to get my first shop in hospital, in case of a bad reaction. This is only an issue because it would mean a) leaving my home in labour and b) driving across town (two towns, actually) to the hospital I am registered at (there are closer ones in case of an emergency). We have childcare lined up as well as a friend to act as support for Andrew and I. Tonight or tomorrow I will pick up my home-birth kit and we will officially have everything we "need" to get this party started (though I am not averse to waiting a little longer... remember the quilt).

Enough babble. On to the HO (click to zoom):

my humps (and my bump)
note the entirely inappropriate button (from mehoi.com) holding my sweater together.

mmm cookie
carefully picking every chocolate chip out of the otherwise almost healthy oatmeal cookie

mother of the year
this photo is my entry for mother of the year - he is actually eating those noodles off the floor - in my defense I had only requested he pick them up - I said nothing about eating them

playing with the colour accent feature on my camera while S played at the playground

Tuesday, October 2


Don't tell anyone - but Pandora is working and I *love* it.

There is a whole lot of stuff fluttering around this old, tired, mangled brain of mine - half-composed blog posts, craft ideas, parenting stuff... but right now, all that I can hear (besides my brilliant son reading his Thomas the Tank Engine book) is "ow, oof, sleep??? eat??? babybabybabybabybaby... wait, what??? huh?? where am I again??"

Today was a good day, productive, positive, and best of all - almost over. The morning was spent at the laundromat - well, first I got up and made tea while Sebastian slept in again, then eggs and toast for breakfast, a quick load of diapers in the ol' wonder wash (yes, we love it), a very quick tidy and *then* off tot he laundromat to wash all the things we'd bought at the thrift store on the weekend.

While there Sebastian intimidated, but then befriended a slightly younger little boy. Together they played with cars and playdough under the very patient gaze of the young boy's cool mama. They had a nice time and I got the mama's number, so hopefully we can do a real playdate soon.

Then it was home for lunch and a NAP - just yesterday I was convinced he would never nap again and then today he decides a nap would be swell. I used the time to clean, shower, put some laundry away and watch Rushmore... I *heart* Wes Anderson.

Monday, October 1

I can understand why some animals eat their young

As I sit in my (mostly) clean, dimly lit living room, listening to some nice ambient music and waiting for Andrew to finish putting Sebastian to sleep, the day we just endured an already fading memory, I wonder why I waste so much energy getting annoyed with my son.

He will be off to school in five minutes, an adult tomorrow, a parent next week - will the fact that on October 1, 2007, he refused to nap and began every screaming sentence with the statement "NO, I don't like ___" matter? Or will a million other things happen between now and then? Over the course of parenthood I will have plenty of opportunity to be angry, annoyed and frustrated. I will also have a million opportunities to choose not to get angry, not to yell, to instead, handle myself with poise and dignity. The fact that these last months I have done more yelling than listening will not permanently scar my child - not if I don't let them. What I mean is, as long as I am working towards something better - and as long as this yelly-mom state is temporary - than things will be just fine.

I've begun reading a book I found at the thrift store last weekend, titled Positive Parenting A-Z and already I feel like it has some light to shed on what has been going on lately. I haven't made it to the A-Z part yet (where it covers "everything" from Adoption Issues to Zoo (and other outings)) but began reading through the concepts of positive parenting and can see places where I, usually with best intentions, have been more permissive than positive - with a bit of angry authoritarian thrown in for good (bad?) measure.