Well, it’s officially official. I am going to be a stay at home mom for the foreseeable future. I let my work know last week and handed in my resignation letter. Alas, another chapter of my life begins.
 
Pretty soon my maternity benefits from the government will stop and we will truly be a single income family. I am so thankful that in today’s day and age we will be able to get by this way. One of the blessings that come along with living in a small community where the cost of living is low. 
  
I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom. Some of you might find this surprising, but it is probably no surprise to anyone who knew me really well in recent years. I want to be the mom who goes on all of the field trips, bakes fresh cookies for an after school snack, wipes the blood and tears and never misses a story off the bus. I want to do crafts with my toddlers and go to play dates on weekdays. But most of all I don’t ever want to hear about any firsts from someone else.
 
The last 9.5 months at home with Avery have been really hard. I won’t lie. Harder than any job I have ever had. So much harder than I ever expected it would be. It was such a drastic change in my life to go from a work environment 5 days per week to the home environment with a baby. The days are long (as are the nights) and there is no validation in the work of staying home. Sure, you might get a thank you for supper, or a compliment on how great the house looks when you spend a day cleaning, but any work you do is short lived. There will always be more dishes, laundry, and
dirt.
 
Sometimes it makes me sad when I talk to friends who want nothing more than to stay home, but it is impossible for them because of their circumstances. Be it debt obligations, a high cost of living, being a single mom or some other reason, the saying “where there is a will there is a way” is not really true in this instance. 

So, I’ll say it again. I am so thankful that we are going to be able to make this work for our family.
 
 
Before Avery was born, I put a lot of time and effort into setting up and planning her nursery. We bought a beautiful crib, painted the walls and got the change table ready. I  imagined my beautiful baby sleeping in her (or his- we did not know the gender at this time) crib and swooping her into my arms in the morning. While I had planned on having her in our room temporarily to make breastfeeding easier, I did not expect it to continue much past 2 or 3 months.

It’s funny how your opinions and ideas can change so drastically after you have a baby.

Probably around 5 weeks old I started to realize that even though the bassinet was right beside the bed, Avery slept much much better when she was snuggled in the bed next to me (safely of course, following guidelines for safe co-sleeping). It has been such a special thing, waking up right next to a smiling, happy baby each morning, and knowing all night that she is warm and safe (and still breathing) right beside me in our warm, cozy bed. The thought of her in her crib in the other room, waking up alone, in the dark, not able to hear me breathe or reach out and touch my arm just does not feel right to me.

For quite a while I struggled with this decision. I was afraid people would think it was weird. So I started doing some research, and quickly found that co-sleeping is not weird, it is not unusual, it is not a fad- cribs are. It is only in the past 100 years or so, and only in western cultures, that babies being left alone to sleep has become the "norm". 

I did however, hate that Avery was not using the beautiful crib we bought for her, and felt like it was wasteful. So after careful research online for how to do it safely, we set up the crib as a side car crib and securely attached it to the side of our bed after removing one of the sides. We all have our own sleeping space, but still get to sleep together- the perfect arrangement- for us. (while I am an advocate of co-sleeping and attachment parenting, I fully understand that each family is unique and must do what works for them).
Dr. Sears, author of The Baby Book (and numerous others) and world famous pediatrican lists some of the scientific benefits of co-sleeping (or as he likes to call it, sleep sharing):

Popular media has tried to discourage parents from sharing sleep with their babies, calling this worldwide practice unsafe. Medical science, however, doesn’t back this conclusion. In fact, research shows that co-sleeping is actually safer than sleeping alone. Here is what science says about sleeping with your baby:

Sleep more peacefully
Research shows that co-sleeping infants virtually never startle during sleep and rarely cry during the night, compared to solo sleepers who startle repeatedly throughout the night and spend 4 times the number of minutes crying (1). Startling and crying releases adrenaline, which increases heart rate and blood pressure, interferes with restful sleep and leads to long term sleep anxiety.

Stable physiology
Studies show that infants who sleep near to parents have more stable temperatures (2), regular heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies who sleep alone (3). This means baby sleeps physiologically safer.

Decreases risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Worldwide research shows that the SIDS rate is lowest (and even unheard of) in countries where co-sleeping is the norm, rather than the exception (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). Babies who sleep either in or next to their parents’ bed have a fourfold decrease in the chance of SIDS (10). Co-sleeping babies actually spend more time sleeping on their back or side 1 which decreases the risk of SIDS. Further research shows that the carbon dioxide exhaled by a parent actually works to stimulate baby’s breathing (11).

Long term emotional health
Co-sleeping babies grow up with a higher self-esteem, less anxiety, become independent sooner, are better behaved in school (12), and are more comfortable with affection (13). They also have less psychiatric problems (14).

Safer than crib sleeping
The Consumer Product Safety Commission published data that described infant fatalities in adult beds. These same data, however, showed more than 3 times as many crib related infant fatalities compared to adult bed accidents (15). Another recent large study concluded that bed sharing did NOT increase the risk of SIDS, unless the mom was a smoker or abused alcohol (16).

Click here to see resources.

While it may not be for everyone, and I certainly never expected it would be for us, co-sleeping has turned into the norm in our household.

Just another one of the many wonderful surprises that having a baby brought us.
 

The Cat

07/28/2011

4 Comments

 
My heart is hurting. I am not sure if it is from all of the hormones floating around in my body or not, but I just can't stop thinking about the poor cat next door.

About a month ago (on the Canada Day long weekend) it seemed as though there were people moving into the old house next to us (and when I say old, I mean OLD). There has been a steady string of questionable people in and out of that house over the past 3 years, but I liked the look of this couple. They appeared to have a few small children, and I thought it would be perfect to have kids next door for our little one to play with.

But after that day, I have not seen a single soul there. There are some children's toys in the back yard, a BBQ, and through the back window you can see furniture stacked up. The last people who rented this house used it only for storage (again, it is old) so we have come to think that maybe this is what the young couple is doing.

However, over the course of the past month we have been hearing a cat crying. A pitiful meowing that would last for a while and then stop. We could never really figure out where it was coming from, and quite frankly I did not think much of it. Until just this past weekend, when Blair and I were both outside and realized that the meowing was coming from the screen door at the back of the neighbors house.
 
 
So today I am considered full term, even though my due date is still 3 weeks away.

What exactly is full term?

At 37 weeks, your little one’s body is complete and ready to function outside of the womb. The amount of amniotic fluid begins to decrease during this time of pregnancy and your little one may even begin to slow down the growth process, since it has most of the fat stores it needs in order to survive and regulate its own body temperature once born. So rest assured that if your labour was to begin anytime after your 37th week in pregnancy, it is still considered full term and you can look forward to a new little family member quite soon!

So, that is where I stand.

But what confuses me is that I was given two different due dates- August 12th by the doctor (and that is what remains my official due date) and August 8th by the ultrasound technician (based on the baby’s size at my most recent ultrasound). So if the second date is my true due date, I am really closer to 38 weeks than I am to 37.

I am starting to feel incredibly nervous, and I also have this huge sense of urgency looming over me, whispering in my ear “get things done, and get them done NOW”. I am wondering if this sense of urgency to get things done could be some kind of inborn knowledge, built in for me to know when labour is very close. One can hope, but who knows, I could be sitting here twiddling my thumbs 5 weeks from now, still waiting.

I have been cooking up a storm, and have a few more dishes to prepare over the weekend, and a little bit of baking. Get that done and in the freezer, pack the bags, sweep the floors, and I think I will be feeling a little less stress.

My sense of well-being is also decreasing. In fact, it has decreased dramatically in a matter of only a few days. I am tired, hot,  my back hurts, my feet hurt, my hips hurt, I have to pee all the time, I am having trouble sleeping at night, and my wrists are killing me- particularly in the morning. Research tells me this is pregnancy induced carpal tunnel. I just can't get comfortable. I am irritable and emotional. I cry at the drop of a hat (like today, when my husband rubbed my back the wrong way).

I am so ready to meet our little one, but so not at the same time. Now that it has gotten so close I find myself wishing I was 5 months pregnant again, not 8.5. But there is no turning back now!

Ready or not, here this baby comes!
 
 

Things I am Looking Forward To:

  1. Snuggling a warm soft baby.
  2. Being able to sleep on my stomach.
  3. Being able to paint my own toenails.
  4. Watching my baby grow.
  5. Having the ability to wear my shoes again (currently I am only able to wear one pair of sandals, They are  1 size larger than my old shoe size. And they are mostly elastic).
  6. Being able to wear my wedding rings again.
  7. Going to mommy baby play time and making new friends.
  8. Reconnecting with old friends.
  9. Trying the crafts on Play at Home Mom’s website.
  10. Creating a good routine.

Things I Need To Do...ASAP:

  1. Pack hospital bags (the ones I can… like baby’s. Mine can wait.)
  2. Cook a dozen meals that are easily freezable… and some muffins/cookies. I am planning to cocoon myself for 1-2 weeks after baby arrives and not do much more than sleep, nurse and eat. So I am going to try and create a stock pile of food ahead of time.
  3. Write in my diary. I need to document how I am feeling these last couple weeks.
  4. Complete the first parts of the baby book.
  5.  Have one last date with the hubby. Who knows when we might be able to go again.
 
 
So, here I am 27 years old. No longer can I consider myself in my mid-twenties. Oh no. I have made the leap into the land of late-twenties. You know what I mean- the land of sweater wearing, newspaper reading, responsible adults who actually start to think about getting older, retirement, and doing something about it. And ya know what? It feels good.

27 really feels like a turning point to me. 26 sounds young and carefree, still young enough to be out partying every weekend with 18 year olds and not necessarily have people think that you are old, washed up, and pathetic when they see you in the bar. Somehow 27 seems so different from 26- years older instead of just 12 months. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my life is about to change so dramatically, perhaps not.