18.11.18

Babies and labour


  1. Sometimes I get fixated on an idea, and I can't get it out of my head. Today, it was about how to navigate baby #2 when the time comes, as I lay in bed in the dark in the early morning.

    I was going over all the ways the medical community very slightly interfered with my first pregnancy, with its policies and procedures, by slightly undermining my own thoughts and opinions. So I'll write these things down in an effort to remember how to stand my ground going into baby #2.

    I know the day I conceived, and I was expecting it when I took a pregnancy test a mere 3 weeks later. So when I went to my first ultrasound 3 months later, the 'dating' ultrasound, I was confident when I told them the conception date.

    They looked at their measurements and informed me my date was wrong, based on measurements of the size of the baby. My calculations predicted a baby would arrive August 24th. Their calculations predicted a baby would arrive August 18. Only later would I realize just how important that date would become.

    When August 18 came and went, then August 24th came and went, the excitement and anticipation started to turn into concern. I remembered this conversation at the ultrasound clinic and wanted to call them and tell them I told you so, but they probably wouldn't even remember. The midwife wasn't concerned about the safety of the baby so much as the interference of the medical community. Policy stated that after 10 days from the due date (their due date of Aug 18) they are mandated to seek medical advice, and medical advice is always induce. Induce labour.

    in·duce
    /inˈd(y)o͞os/Submit
    verb
    1.
    succeed in persuading or influencing (someone) to do something. 
    "the pickets induced many workers to stay away"

    synonyms: persuade, convince, prevail upon, get, make, prompt, move, inspire, influence, encourage, motivate; More
    2.
    bring about or give rise to. 
    "none of these measures induced a change of policy"

    synonyms: bring about, cause, produce, effect, create, give rise to, generate, instigate, engender, occasion, set in motion, lead to, result in, trigger, whip up, stir up, kindle, arouse, rouse, foster, promote, encourage;


    Induce labour on August 28th. But my due date was the 24th - so induction should not even be considered until Sept 3rd. She agreed that the date might be incorrect, and we got a few extra days out of it. 

    With increasing concern, I agreed to a back to back uterus sweep on August 30th and the 31st, which sped up the process and put me in labour. Whether or not the baby or my body was ready for this I will never know.

    After 24 hours, my labour was not happening fast enough, and their concern increased as the babies heart rate was dipping, so I wound up being swayed into having a C Section.

    Thankfully, our baby was healthy and a full 7 lbs 14 oz, fully cooked, and ready and willing to breastfeed, latching on right away and having no issues. I was so relieved, as that's often a side effect of C Section babies, not having the ability to breastfeed.

    I could go on and on about the way it went down - but that's for another post that I may or may not have already written, I can't remember.

    This is about due dates.

    So this morning while I lay in bed, I imagined how the next baby would come. A C Section begets a C Section, I will be advised that the safest course of action is another C Section to avoid a potentially rupturing uterus in delivery and the safety of mom and baby being compromised.

    But a scheduled C Section means a date. And a date is based on policies that want to prevent a C Section from occurring while a mom is in labour.

    So the next baby will be delivered on a date that is predetermined by the medical community based on a number decided by the medical community. Traditionally, a week, sometimes two, before their due date. In my first babies case, that would mean potentially Aug 4th, which is almost a month before she actually came out. That's insane! Delivering a premature baby by choice seems crazy to me. My body knows how to do all the things to keep her growing and healthy, ensuring she comes out with the ability to suck so that she will be in great shape to feed.

    I don't really know how to end this post beyond asking the question- how do I keep baby #2 inside me for as long as possible, beyond skipping medical appointments and hiding out in my house until we are ready? Will the policies take over again and leave me feeling undermined and out of control?

Snowy Octobers In Calgary

The entire city is covered in a big growing blanket of snow; baby and me are safe and warm inside.

These strange and beautiful storms are just that, out of the ordinary and actually quite beautiful when you see it for what it is. Our ancestors moved to this country knowing this was the reality, and I’m thankful for that everyday. While the harsh weather used to make for a tougher and more resilient person - we now have enough luxuries to avoid the extreme weather for the most part.

The most dangerous part of these storms now is possibility of a car crash on one of the many ice highways or roads.


30.9.18

I had all then most of you, some and now none of you.

https://youtu.be/KtlgYxa6BMU

When I’m gone

I love reading memoirs, peoples real stories.
I love imagining my own.
Because my own life has been so wonderful and so beautiful, and I’d like that to be the theme of my funeral.

I hope the people that love me most aren’t around to see it, because I hope they’ve passed peacefully before me.

But if they are, I hope they’re not sad. Because dust to dust. It’s all part of it. We made Bernadette, our greatest achievement now let’s go on. 

I hope they talk about places and people and music I loved.
I hope there’s a party at the red dog and I hope the Weber brothers play. 

I hope feeling good again by Robert earl keen is played, and maybe it will be in the daytime, not the night time. Maybe there will be the roast beef dinner with the buttered buns. The night they drove old Dixie down

And maybe someone can mention that my favourite place on this planet is Daniels harbour, and I only spent a couple of days There on that trip 8 years ago but I just knew it was the most beautiful place I’d been. And I felt a sense of history there.

And I hope they talk about how much I love graphite road, and that silly bible camp even though I wasn’t religious. I just loved all the love and all the people and I was the perfect age for it. And all the boys. And holly. 

And I hope they talk about laives and Bolzano, and I hope some of my loved ones get to visit there someday because it’s such a wonderful part of the world.

And I hope my little daughter is as wide eyed and madly in love with her life as I feel I am.

And Calgary.
Calgary gave me so much without asking for anything in return. It gave me a family away from home, a place to live, a great career, a dream come true in my filmmaking, a lost love, a new love and a daughter. Oh my dear daughter, I never imagined someone as perfect as her could come into my world. 

And an ability to start over in July 2016. And of course Martin, who helped me to start over.

And a party at the unicorn out here would be appropriate. Two parties please.
That’s all.
And some cake. White cake.

Its silly and from a movie but I feel it’s appropriate to reference American beauty. It’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. 
And I hope no one is mad about how i died. Because in a hundred years we will all be dead, equally dead, and it doesn’t matter how one person goes vs another person because it’s all the same in the end. 

And then I think about Ryan’s memorial and I wonder if I got it right. And I think we did.

21.8.18

How we solved baby B’s eczema from the inside out




A lot of this parenting thing involves running to catch up. Physically yes, but also trying to catch up with development, ensuring we’re  knowledgeable about what’s going on at any given time.

When b woke up at 3 months old with red patches of eczema, I googled the symptoms and started on what would be a very long journey to discover the cause and solution - which was not at all as easy as I thought it would be.  If only I knew then what I know now. I could have ended it fairly quickly- and prevented a very scary prospect which still looms over us everyday; 50-70 percent of eczema cases in babies escalate to become Asthma. (https://www.nhs.uk/news/medical-practice/how-eczema-might-lead-to-asthma/)

After changing all our soaps, detergents, and crib sheets; after putting a humidifier in her room, and giving her nightly baths with a variety of different potions with no change, we knew it wasn’t external but something happening internally. We started to examine my diet. She was exclusively breastfed at 3 months old. 

Eczema is an allergic response, so you’d think an allergy test would be the solution. Not so. We went for one at 4 months, but it showed no allergies. The allergy doctor (Dr. Doctor was his name) told me to go home and eat whatever i wanted, even the things I thought might be triggering it. So I did. And in three days b’s red scaly patches turned her entire body fiery red and itchy. I was horrified, upset and even more confused.

It turns out there are so many different theories about this eczema thing, and even the medical community is conflicted. 

Everyday while B napped I furiously searched for the reason behind this, and eventually found it in a baby food book my sister lent me called Sprout Right:

“Doctors are not so quick to accept that the IgG reactions millions suffer with are real.”

There it is.

“Allergy involves IgE antibody production while intolerance or sensitivity most commonly involves IgG antibody production. The term sensitivity is often used as a catch-all for both.

Food intolerance doesn’t show up in medical testing and therefore isn’t recognized as a problem.  Intolerance reactions are not life threatening but can reduce quality of life. Symptoms are generally delayed in showing, unlike with allergies, sometimes taking up to 72 hours to present.”

Okay, so she has a food sensitivity or an IgG antibody response. 

Now to find out what causes it.

I had a theory that it was milk related (most cases of eczema are milk and citrus related). So I’d stopped drinking milk/cream, eating cheese or storebought pastries/ muffins/breads with modified milk ingredients. Every once in awhile though, it would come back with a vengeance without any of these foods in my diet. 
 
(If you’re reading this because you’re going through the same thing, here are my favourite substitutions. 
Coffee cream - Silk soy cream
Ice cream - coconut ice cream
Yogurt - Silk coconut yogurt
Cereal milk - almond milk
Milk for cooking/baking - soy or almond milk
Cheese - nothing :(   (Vegan cheese uses the same milk protein as milk, causing the same symptoms.))

In order to catch this mystery food, I looked into a food sensitivity test I’d heard of from my sister. It was called the Rocky Mountain Food Sensitivity/Intolerance test and could be done at any Naturopath, for $250-$400 (it varies depending on the amount of food tested).  

Because B was mostly just nursing (at this point experimenting with solids) I would be the one to do the simple blood test. The naturopath said that we share antibodies, so the test would reveal sensitivities both her and I share. Until she’s eating solids exclusively, there’s no point in her doing the test.

The test revealed foods unique to me, about a dozen, that I should cut out, like potatoes, mushrooms, wheat, onions, peas, peanuts, almonds, cashews, egg whites, dairy and citrus. 

Basically I could only eat meat, veggies, oatmeal and corn tortillas. 

The test didn’t reveal foods I had already decided caused problems for her like strawberries.

She explained to me that yes, the medical community doesn’t necessarily believe in the test and the reason for that is because it can sometimes show false positives (maybe not mushrooms?) or false negatives (the  strawberries not showing up). However, the test combined with an elimination diet (we’d already been doing) will succeed in pinpointing triggers and eliminate the symptoms better then any suggestions the medical field may have. 

In other words, it can’t hurt. It can only help.

At this point, B is nearing 6 months and the only suggestion the dr has is to apply steroid cream on her eczema. This cream can only be applied for two weeks maximum, as side effects may occur if used for too long. 

Two weeks came and went on the cream, and her eczema went and came back. 

Back to square one.

So B is 7 months old now, and I’ve begun to eliminate the dozen foods from my diet that showed up on this test. Within a week, her skin has started clearing up on its own - without any cream.
She started solids around this time, which complicated matters a little bit.
 Every 3 or 4 days her eczema would come back a little bit and then go away again.
 Unsure whether these symptoms were related to what I was eating or what she was eating - I really wished I’d charted her solids more meticulously, like the baby books said to. 

On the days it would flare up I’d feel especially helpless, on the strictest diet ever, for what?

One of the final pieces of the puzzle came when she got all red after eating a prepared food tube of apples and mangos. She had eaten both, separately, and been fine. What was the difference? Turns out, there’s lemon juice in 90 percent of those tubes. While I was avoiding citrus fruits, I was feeding them directly to her without knowing. So beware, those damn fruit tubes. Citrus is one of the top 3 causes of eczema in babies and adults alike. Why they don’t make it clearer on the packaging - I don’t know. 

When we stopped feeding her those, it finally went away entirely. She’s been clear skinned and happy for a couple of months now :)

The next problem came when my diet was limited so much that my milk production went down. Such a delicate balance it is.. 
I wound up taking fenugreek to help increase my supply and we eventually got her weight up to approved doctor/chart levels. It took a lot of fruit, veggies, meat, oatmeal and coconut oil. 

It’s been 6 months since we took the test and she hasn’t had a flare-up in ages.

The doctor suggested we try to introduce the sensitive foods again just to see. She has to be exposed to peanuts and other allergens in the first year, maybe we need to “build” her immunity up.

So we did. We gave her wheat, peanuts, and corn. I tried milk, and egg whites.
She didn’t get eczema again, so we thought maybe we were in the clear. Instead, her nose started to run, which is another common sign of intolerance. 

We didn’t think much of it. She was teething and she had a cold for awhile, both could be the cause of a runny nose.

And then it hit me that maybe her skin no longer shows symptoms, that maybe the symptoms have moved inside.The runny nose may be one step closer to a potential case of asthma and I’m once again worried. Back to the strict diet, and the investigating while she naps.

While some days I feel like we’re taking one step forward and two steps back, I really feel like we got it under control more then we could have if we’d listened to doctors alone. 

Here’s hoping this will all be a distant memory in a years time, for b and all the other babies suffering from this elusive condition. 

Here’s a photo of her today, approaching her first birthday.




15.4.18

Old writing about him

You turned into a little boy when you crawled into bed. Out of bed you became a man again

Mascara stained pillow cases

I made coffee to seduce you - make you feel a little good about the day - the day you are to die

We couldn’t take our eyes off you for a second, because we knew - a lifetime without looking at you would be never as good.

Powerful in your highs and lows

A song that needs some chords

My best friends purse

She makes a puddle of her things
A puddle of herself

Came home tonight
The contents of your purse were on the kitchen floor
Lipstick, no lid, loose smokes
What were you looking for

Wondering when you’ll find
All the people you’ve become
All the places you run from

Keys were in the door
Stockings halfway up the stairs
I hear him coming round
But I’m not sure he really cares

9.3.18

Going on 10 years

I caught myself going back there again last night. I visit the time and place in my head where he used to be alive. The people are there, his people, and I revisit. Inevitably it always ends with”he’s not back yet” “no” okay, I’ll come backa’ later.
 I know he won’t be back but it feels like maybe next time.

Although our brains are the most sophisticated machines on earth, they’re rendered almost childlike when confronted with grief. They speak only in the simplest terms.

Where is he?
He’s gone
Why
He’s dead
When’s he coming back 
He’s not
That’s ok I’ll wait

How can he be so real in my memory but not real at all in my day to day?
 
So I live with this illogical idea that I know is illogical but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to explain it to my brain for it to fully understand 

24.4.17

The South Country Fair

It was one stupid weekend.

He wouldn’t talk to me on the morning I left, because he suddenly wanted to go, but now it was too late. Bye! I yelled to his torso through the open car window.

I wandered through the hippies, reacquainting myself with this alternate reality. Barefooted, bare-bodied youth.

The first night was uneventful, so we drank and smoked and put up a tarp, ruining my car in the process. It was no Frog Fest but it was fun and it was dry. Our more prepared neighbor kept asking if we wanted more rope, which we didn’t.
The following morning we wandered through Fort Mcleod, and returned to the festival to discover Nanton friends drinking Pilsners and having songs dedicated to them. They had artist bracelets on because they were Lance’s woofers. We watched Tin & The Toad.

DN played after them. I swooned at his way with words. I’d never seen anything like him, except for that one time.

I was introduced to Kris, as Georgia was handing him beers from our cooler. “The artists’ catering doesn’t open till 4 and he’s on at 3:45.” He later guilted the co-ordinator into bringing him beer on stage at 4 in a box. How many do you need, 5? 10. They were a circus band.
I lost Georgia that night, but made friends with the rope-offering neighbours and drank wine. Georgia was sleeping in a hammock under the stage the whole time. 5 people slept in our tiny tent that night. I think the tentless ones had plans of parties and falling in love, but it didn’t happen, so 5 loveless adults slept together.  

We went to Fort McLeod and had an awesome breakfast. My gravy was on a pineapple ring and our waitress was only 15.

People started leaving the afternoon of the 2nd day. We weren’t ready and we’d been drinking pilsners since breakfast so I threatened to get a motel room. We packed up, laid around the motel, and showered our dirty little bodies.  

As it turns out, the artist party was that night, and some of us had artist bracelets. I was on the lookout for DN but he was being hogged by all the boys. How adored he must be. A sad looking guy drove by me in a van and asked sort of defeatedly if I wanted a hamburger. On his passenger seat was a dozen A&W hamburgers. It was the best hamburger I’d ever had.

I guess I spotted DN in the corner of the artist tent and offered him a bite of my hamburger. I barely remember this but he later told me this was when he became intrigued. 


Georgia showed up a few hours later with a wicked sunburn wearing a white motel towel as a coat, and called it her festival outfit. She brought Palm Bays and everyone danced and danced.

We left the next day. It was one stupid weekend.

23.2.17

Avoiding Pregnancy as a Modern Female Mammal


As a Canadian, I am grateful for our health care system but also concerned about what's happening in America. What sticks with me the most are the comments on these articles by well-meaning men, who want to chime in but have no leg to stand on.

You know the ones. They don't speak to the availability and affordability of birth control, they speak to the hot issue. The abortion issue. They are pro-choice usually, they want to be open-minded, allowing a woman to choose, but they do not want a woman to "use it as birth control". They have a limit of how many a woman should or shouldn't have had before they cross this man's imaginary line of right or wrong.

This is absurd. A woman does not simply look at her options for birth control and make a conscious decision that an incredibly painful and invasive procedure is what will work best for her life. This is a complicated issue with many other factors at play, namely, accessibility and affordability of birth control.

Today I will attempt to share my personal experience with birth control by disclosing some personal information, without disclosing too much personal information. My audience? Those well-meaning men that want to discuss the issue. Possibly the same ones that at 17 years old would run into my college clinic with their friends, grab a handful of condoms and run out laughing their asses off - while me and the other girls sat waiting to see the doctor to have our prescription filled.

I'll start at the beginning. What did they call it in high school gym class? Being sexually active?
I was late to the game. 19 years old, so 14 years ago.

14 years of sexual activity. Always the serial monogamist, I have had a steady partner for 13 of those 14 years. In trying to pinpoint how many times the deed has been done, I have to go with assumptions. 52 weeks in a year, 728 if we say once a week. 1456 times if twice a week, during the good years. Let's say the number is somewhere in there. 1100 seems realistic.

14 years.
1100 times
1098 times I didn't get pregnant
728 months
5110 days of taking a pill.
5110 days with synthetic hormones in my system.

The last number isn't right, because I went off the pill 3 times. Each time because it was affecting my psychological well-being. The first time I went off the pill was the worst. It was when I was 20 and in college, and I had a complete mental breakdown. Crying all the time, racing thoughts, an inability to concentrate on anything, very dark thoughts. The school nurse watched me for 3 months, and said it's a side effect that will likely go away in time but I couldn't handle it and went off it. When I went back to it, they put me on a different kind, saying it may help with the side effects.
I went off again at the age of 28 and then again at 32, again for personal reasons related to my psychological well-being. I started the pill in 2003, and in 2016 the first major study linking the pill to depression in women was released. You can read about it here: Birth Control Study

The pill is not available on pharmacy shelves. Why? I'll never understand. A pill you need to take everyday requires a prescription. My experience has been that a doctor will only give you a prescription for a maximum of 6 months of refills. When your 6 months is up you have to schedule another appointment to go in, get a physical and/or a pap, then get another prescription. By keeping you on this short leash, they know you'll need another prescription within the year, this ensures you are coming in and getting pap tests annually.

(Pap test - The Papanicolaou test is a method of cervical screening used to detect potentially pre-cancerous and cancerous processes in the cervix (opening of the uterus or womb).

14 years
28-40 doctor visits (sometimes I could only snag a 3 month prescription with walk-in doctors so more like 40 doctor visits)
28-40 prescription refills
728 months of refills
8-12 pap tests

I only got a family doctor a couple years ago, before that I visited my college clinic, my childhood doctor, walk-in clinics, hospital sexual health centres, anywhere that I could score those little pills. The sexual health centre would give you samples for free if you were lucky and struggling for cash. Thankfully doctor visits in Canada are covered by universal health care. How can American women possibly afford this? Ah, yes, Planned Parenthood. The branches that are still open, anyway.

Health care is free here in Canada, but the pill itself costs anywhere from $15 to $30/month. In college I paid a subsidy of $15. The brand name version is $30, but since then I have always gotten the 'no-name' version for $20.

$20/month
728 months
$14,560 the cost of the pill in 14 years.
4 - years I've had work coverage to pay for it.
$10,400 the amount I paid for it before I had coverage
0 - times a partner has offered to help with the cost.

I've always worked hard, kept a good job, but sometimes there was no money. Some months you're in between jobs, moving cities, just trying to get by. Some months, I risked it more than I should have, tried to remember to use backup protection instead. I have friends that sometimes can't afford to put minutes on their phone, so I often wonder if they're going without.

Now I'm 33 years old, with another 15 years to go before my body starts considering retiring my baby-making factory. Another 15 years of this shit.

So there's my experience; one white woman in a first world country with universal health care.

This issue is far more complicated than what I've written about today and far more complicated than simply uttering the words choice or life. Remember to ask the right questions. Is there access to birth control everywhere? In the rural communities, as well as the cities? Is it affordable? When the answer is no, we are not supporting women. Ask the women in your life what their experience has been, learn what it means to live with your choices, your decisions, from your teenage years up to your adult years. Be less political, and more human.

9.11.16

I wish I was a hacker on days like today.

I’d like to replace the articles in the local newspapers in the towns, counties and city’s of those states that voted for him with my own writing.

I’d like to use his words in describing women, and replace them with their own daughters’ names. I’d like to use his words in describing nationalities he doesn’t like, and replace them with their own ancestors nationality. Make it personal – because nothing else has worked.

I feel helpless.
I feel suspicious of every person I see on the street, as people are not who I thought they were.

But I must remember not to make enemies in my head, because most people are good, and most people on this side are on the same side.
But it still makes me feel sick.
For the girls down there. 

I can vow to not visit for the next 4 years. I can delete facebook and twitter and live peacefully with my head in the sand until Christmas or longer. I can put on a big pot of coffee, settle in at work, and watch videos of Obama being the best. And I can write letters to my American friends that say hello, I love you, come visit. 


Babies and labour

Sometimes I get fixated on an idea, and I can't get it out of my head. Today, it was about how to navigate baby #2 when the time com...