Monday, June 30, 2014

Evolving PG Feelings

I was thinking the other day about how my feelings about pregnancy - or, more specifically, getting pregnant - have evolved over time.

Of course those feelings started out as they do in most women - Oh, please God, NO! Not Now! Anything but this! Not now!! ...PHEW!

Then, things changed after I got married and we decided to start "trying". The first few times I POAS*, it was actually kind of weird - like I was being bad or something! I spent so long trying to prevent two lines, and now I was hoping, excited, and almost craving them to appear.

When I got my first positive, I was over the moon excited! We were starting our family! Wow! How amazing is my body to be able to do this!? I wonder if it'll be a boy or girl? What names will will we choose? How will we decorate the nursery?

Then, it happened. I had a miscarriage. Dreams crash and shatter.

We picked up the pieces and started "trying" again. This time, waiting to see those lines appear isn't exciting. Instead it's nerve wracking. What will happen this time? Will it happen again? That ignorant bliss of getting pregnant the first time after deciding to try is washed away forever.

That story ends happily with the birth of Evan, but with some unexpected hardships shortly after.

Then a few years later we decide to "try" for #2. This time waiting for the lines isn't exciting either. It's more filled with thoughts like "are we sure?" or "what are we doing?" or "is this a mistake?" or , but also --- "woah..family of four!?" and "we'll be complete!".

Then, it happened again. I had another miscarriage. Sadness takes over and and hopes dashed.

So, back to "trying" again and waiting for those lines is nerve wracking again, but for so many more reasons. Will I have another miscarriage? Are we doing the right thing by adding another child to our family? Can we handle it?

Then, Carter arrives, safe and sound in a perfect-for-me birth. And then, my brain bleeds. Stroke, caused by pregnancy.

We were never planning on having a 3rd anyway, but now that choice has been taken away because I would be at risk of having another stroke. Even without Evan and Carter depending on having a mother, that's not a chance I'd be willing to take.

So, now at 35, my feelings about getting pregnant are back at square-one again: scared shitless. But for much different and "weightier" reasons. Not because it would put a hamper on my life, or put things on hold for a bit, but because it would literally mean a choice between life and death --- either mine or the baby's. That's not a decision I want to make.

*Peed on a stick - sounds so much nicer as an acronym, don't you think?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

"I read an article"

Is it me, or are more and more people using "I read an article about X" to "prove" their point in an argument?

This DRIVES me crazy! Where? What article? Who was it written by? Where was the funding (if any) from?

Just because you read some blog on the internet that agrees with your stance on a subject, or (gag) saw something mentioned by that crack Dr. Oz, does NOT give it more credence.

Kudos for reading, but please do your research before you start calling people out on their actions or getting into non-arguments that just piss people off. You're entitled to have your opinions and don't need to back them up with "things you read" --- just own them for yourself instead of trying to make them look more valid by trying to prove that someone important (must be, if they've WRITTEN something, right?) has them too.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blog Break

I won't be posting this week, or being active on my personal Twitter/FB feeds, as I'll be curating the People of London Twitter account! Check it out @PeopleofLdnOnt.

Have a great week!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Close Enough For Jazz

In high school, I loved music, and played the clarinet classically, as well as jazz tenor and baritone saxophones. 

Tuning was always an important part of our warm-up, and was especially critical in classical, since it can be really obvious when even one instrument is ever-so-slightly out of tune. We would spend whole class periods working on being able to pick out who was out of tun and by how much.

For jazz, our teacher wasn't nearly as hardcore about it. In fact, jazz can sound a bit better if the ensemble isn't perfectly in tune. So, he would often say during these tuning sessions, "close enough for jazz."

For some reason, the phrase really resonated with me (pun slightly intended), and I find myself muttering it 20ish years later...when I'm folding laundry, searching for something at the store but can't find exactly what I'm looking for, or when I'm adding spices to dinner.

Now, it fits perfectly with my general outlook for life - "good enough". Clearly our music teacher was on to something.

What things did you learn as a kid still resonate with you?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pieces Come Together

Last update I had on my ongoing battle with the Penrose afghan, I was putting an extra section together because one was too small.

I set a deadline for myself to get it sewn all together for when my parents arrived on June 5th - mostly because my mom has been weaving in all the ends, and I didn't want to lug the thing across the country at Christmas!

So, once I finished that last section (for the second time) I started putting the bigger sections together.

  Two sections.

 Three sections.

Five sections. 

Sewn together...still loose ends.

All done!!

IT's DONE!!! It only took 3+ years! Special thanks to my amazing mom for weaving in every last end! That's 2-3 ends for each little piece and more from sewing pieces together!

Now just to wait for cold weather to enjoy it (not that I'm wishing for that!! I'm happy to wait!).

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Life Lessons

A few weeks ago, after I crashed, I decided to start seeing a counsellor to work through some of the things left over from the stroke.

Initially, all I wanted to talk about what I lost. I lost the first month of Carter's life, and will never have the chance to bond with a newborn again. I lost out on a breastfeeding relationship - for a second time, and will never have the chance to have one again. I lost a month of Evan's life, and will never be there for his true 3rd birthday.

I talked about how envious I am of women who have just given birth and get to have those experiences with their babies. How I want to tell pregnant women that not everything will go as planned, and they could end up like me.

But she listened. She really listened, and validated my feelings. What happened to me was shitty. It wasn't fair. It was hard. Insanely hard. And it's okay I feel that way about that time, and that I'm not "over it".

Then she asked me how I would describe my relationship with Carter now. And I just said "normal". It's like any other mother-son relationship. I love him to death, and he drives me nuts sometimes. Then she was silent until it hit me --- we made it. We DO have a bond. A very strong one. I doubt it would be any stronger if that first month was different.

Ah....I get it, I think.

That first month was awful. It was. But (as my brother says), it is what it is. It IS part of our story, part of my life...but it doesn't define me or my relationship with Carter. We made a strong bond in spite of everything.

To heal, I need time and I need to give myself permission to feel those feelings. It's okay to be envious or to be mad or sad. And when I feel those things, I need to check in with myself to see where I go from there. Like this morning, I was sad that Carter will never be this small again, and it made me realize that means I need to be more present.

I've learned many lessons in the past few months. Some really hard ones that perhaps a 35 year-old woman with 2 small kids normally wouldn't learn at the point in life.

- I know life can be shitty, and bad things can happen. But, if it doesn't kill me (which it could have), I will triumph.
- I have a better appreciation for life and better understand what's truly important. I try not to dwell on insignificant things (but of course things still get to me!)
- I have become stronger and more confident in my actions and my decisions.
- Our family is still closer than it was before the stroke, and it's amazing how much support we do have, even if it's across the county.
- Time really does heal. Sometimes, we just need time.
- Kids are more resilient and intelligent than we give them credit for.
- I do know what I need in times of crisis to get through.
- I need to give myself the same compassion and leniency that I give to others. I need to be nice to myself.

I'm not sure if I will continue to see a counsellor, but it's nice to know that space is there for me if I need. Sometimes we need to have that appointment to force ourselves to make space and time to focus on ourselves, even for a little while.

Monday, June 9, 2014

8 Months

- Growing: I put all the 6-month clothes away (a bit late, and a bit sad too!). He decided to skip right into 12-18 month clothes. He looks so much older in two-piece PJs instead of sleepers.

- Moving: his primary mode of transportation is still bum-scooting, but he also rolls and pushes himself  around to get places (either while on his bum or stomach), but still no forward crawling. He does NOT want to learn how to crawl. He would rather stand that sit or lay down. In fact, he whines and snivels if he's sitting or is on his tummy for too long, and "asks" us for our hands so he can pull himself up to stand.  At 7 months, he started pulling himself up to stand on us, and last week he started using other things to pull up on (crib, chairs, etc). Once he's up, he'll make his way over to a table (or something) and stand there. About a week after he turned 7 months, he stood with no support for about 5 seconds, and has done that a handful of times since.

- Sleep: this has improved lately for the most part! On a good night, he goes down between 8-9pm, makes noises a couple times at night, but we put a soother in his mouth and then he generally goes back sleep. He wakes up for good at about 7am.

- Eating: he's still having 5-6 6oz bottles a day, and solids at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 1-2 snacks. This kid can eat. I'm seeing my future with 2 teenage boys! I feel like my whole day revolves around feeding them.

- Communication: the variety of sounds he makes has exploded! He babbles and uses intonation like he's talking in full sentences...too bad no one can understand him though! He likes to use "Da" "Gah" "Ah" "Yah" "Ge" "De", and strings them together in "sentences". He gets SO excited when one of the cats comes by that he starts bouncing up and down, waving his arms, and saying 'GE GE GE GE!!!!!". He also loves to blow "raspberries".

- Interests: he's showing distinct likes and dislikes. He loves Thomas the Train, pulling things out of containers or off shelves, pulling up to stand, and being destructive. He has definite favourite books (Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Canada 123).  He hates broccoli, being on his stomach, not being able to see someone, and waiting too long for food.

- Just last week, he enjoyed the bath for the first time! He loved splashing around and playing with the bath toys, and the suction-cup flowers that we stick to the bottom of the tub.

- He used the pincher grasp for the first time last week.

- He has started to either sign "more" or clap - can't tell which, but either way, it was cute :)

- Brothers: They are playing more and more, and the more Evan includes Carter in his play, the more Carter loves and adores Evan. I can already see how their relationship is going to evolve - they both love to make the other one laugh.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Answered My Own Question

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post about second guessing my decision to go to teacher's college! In responding to the comments, I think I answered my own question about whether it'll be worth it.

In summary:
- I often second guess myself for any big decision, so this is a normal reaction for me.
- I know all the stats about how hard it is to become/be a teacher in Ontario
- I'm familiar with how Ontario classrooms work, and know it's not an easy job at all.
- ...that being said, I'm prepared to "do my time" in order to succeed as a teacher
- ...and also, my additional qualifications, experience, and connections in the school board(s), will help me a lot.
- I'm excited to actually LIKE and ENJOY my course work and projects (maybe even for the first time in my post-secondary schooling career)
- Though I enjoyed doing outreach over the past few years, I found it was never "enough". I crave the continuity with a class that teaching gives (not just dropping in and walking out).
- When I think about applying to other jobs, I find myself thinking "but it's not teaching, and not what I want to spend my time doing"
- I know I can't be a stay-at-home-mom to be happy and to therefore be the best mom for my kids (I've known this since Evan was a baby, so I don't even know why I put it in the post as an option --- it's not)
- Regardless of if I go back to work or go to school, the kids will be okay...and THRIVE really, and they can see me thrive too (very important!)
- The timing is right in terms of the program (last year it'll be offered as a 1-year program)
- ...and I don't have the obligation of a job to go back to after maternity leave.
- ...and Evan will be starting school and Carter can be in daycare (yay for only 1 kid in daycare at a time!).
- ..and we have the financial ability for me to do this now.
- Yes, it's a good amount of $$ upfront, but losing savings is much better than going in debt (which we were prepared to do for me to do this).
- It'll be so worth it if teaching works out, and I finally get to achieve that dream/goal -  how awesome would that be??
- The worst that can happen if I go is we fork out the $$  and I end up finding work doing something else. That's a pretty good "bad" side.

So, to summarize the summary: I need to stop second guessing myself and finally go with my gut on this decision. I know it won't be all puppy dogs and roses, but I also know it will be the start of a new and exciting chapter in my career (regardless of where it takes me). Everything seems to be telling me to GO FOR IT...so I'd be pretty stupid to not grab this opportunity while I can!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

2nd Thoughts

and 3rd and 4th...about going to teacher's college.

I keep wondering if it's really the best decision to go back to school in the Fall to get a degree to be able to teach at the K-12 level (requirement in Canada to do so).

Yes, I'm excited to do it, and it's what I've wanted to do for many years. It's really my last chance to go - it's the last year it's a one-year program (I am SO not doing 2 years of school, for time and financial reasons), I applied* and got in, we have the financial ability to allow for it, and I feel like the last few years of being in science education & outreach has led up to this.


so many Buts.

The biggest is financial.  It will cost us anywhere from 60-80% of our savings to cover tuition and the difference between DH's salary and our monthly bills for 8-12 months (the program runs Sept. - May, but could be until the following Sept. to find work (hopefully)). Is it selfish of me to put that kind of financial strain on our family?

The hope is, in the long run, it will be worth it. Teachers here make a very decent salary, with great benefits, and awesome vacation time. As well, of course, as making a different in so many lives! So, if I can find work relatively quickly, it will pay off.

But, what if I don't find work as a teacher (as many people are finding themselves in that position lately)? Are we just throwing that money down the toilet? Then I'd be back to square-one...no job and less money...and then what?

Maybe, instead, I should just find a job that I'm qualified for right now. No, it probably won't be a dream job. Perhaps that was something I should have considered a few years back (definitely not happy with some decisions I made), but now the needs of my family should outweigh my career desires. If I got a job, we wouldn't have to worry about paying for childcare, vacations, or renovations that we'd like to do.

Another But is the timing --- School would start in the Fall, and Evan will be starting kindergarten, and Carter will not even be a year old. I feel like I should be there for the kids during these times of transition. I wonder if I should consider staying at home for a few years until both kids are in school full time before pursuing a different career (though I know I'd find a hard time going to school if it's a 2-year program).

I keep flip flopping back and forth, and don't know which way to go. Do I take the path I've wanted for years, and put us in not-so-great position financially for the (hopefully) short term? Or do I forget about that path, and focus on reality and find suitable work now? Or completely give up on working for now and stay at home to support our children in their early years (which won't last forever)?

Oh, great blogosphere, what would you do?

*While in the hospital after my stroke...if that doesn't prove my dedication/desire to do this, I don't know what does.