Osteopath Appointment

We dared a long distance journey yesterday, of course NOT by car as that would mean using the demon car seat. Rather, we with the baby in the sling, grabbed a train from the local station and headed to the coast, Ostende. The Belgian coast isn’t the most vegan friendly of places, but it was nice to get away with the baby and enjoy the afternoon. Aodhan was a perfect baby, sleeping on the first train ride and wide awake and nursing on the way home.

I had made an appointment with my Osteopath for the early evening, with the hopes that he could treat my carpal tunnel syndrome, which I developed the last three days of my pregnancy. Before leaving I read an article by an osteopath promoting the positive link between osteopathy and reflux. This author went so far as to link traumatic and C-section births with high rates of reflux; given the way these babies are delivered there is an increase in the misalignment of their belly-systems and respiratory bits. I also noted a lot of moms on various forums who had taken their kidlets to Osteos with positive results.

After my appointment the Dr, (who by the way had an 8 week old Yorkshire Terrier in his office!!! I could hardly keep it together….he did let me pet her) placed Aodhan on the table and worked on his neck, shoulders, pelvis and tummy. Aodhan was uber-quiet and seemed entranced by either the blue-coated stranger’s face OR the treatment. Not sure which. But either way, he seemed really happy with the treatment and we will go back in a week an a half for another. Of course, he continues to puke like a trooper.

Kevin is at work today, so the babe and I have a trial run of being on our own, which starts for good in a couple more weeks. No worries. Park, lunch, playtime, nap! Poor daddy.


New Home

I have decided to switch over to WordPress for my Vegan Mummy blog. I still love Blogger, but I wanted to diversify and play with the tools on WordPress. So, here is our new home!

The veganbean is sleeping on my chest as I write – his favourite spot for sleeping. Attachment Parenting definitely makes for attached babies – at least in their infancy. He is a little piece of velcro. I am not complaining. I spent a lot of time before having him thinking about how my life was going to change and how the energy and love I put into things like my cooking and exercising would have to readjust, at least until the veganbean was a little older and was handling the world in a way that made him feel good and solid. That time has really helped me ease into this 100 percent parenting. He is with me about 99 percent of the day, and when he isn’t with me, he is with his daddy.That being said, we are already noticing that he is calmer and more capable of playing on the floor and chilling out on the change table while I throw in a load of his diapers. Hats off to Dr. Sears and his AP Philosophy – he is attached BUT developing a sense of self. What more could a momma ask for?

Our only sadness with veganbean is what appears to be his reflux. Poor little guy. He spits up like a mad man. His dad and I have now taken to totting around endless clothes and rags and have fitted Aodhan with some organic imsevimsy bibs which manage to catch a good deal of the non-stop dribbles.

I am trying to be stoic about it, and take the dr’s advice of ‘waiting and watching’ with the assumption that like 40 percent of babies, my son will grow out of this yuckiness; I am trying to believe that this really is just an underdeveloped digestive system and it will iron out as he gets a little older. It’s pretty hard though – watching your baby son curl up in pain, or make faces in his sleep when a batch of my breastmilk is returned to his mouth. I worry about the damage the acid is doing to his throat and new little mouth. I worry about the emotional effect the pain has on him. I worry about what I can be doing to make it better —- I have eliminated Soy from my diet. Though, Kevin is being pretty hard core about what I am eating right now, he has a point, as a vegan, I can’t cut out everything.

But, Aodhan is managing. He has good days, where he only spits up about 10 times and bad days, when he projectile vomits into the stratosphere and fusses from the discomfort. For a reflux baby he is remarkable, hardly ever crying and still gaining weight like a trooper. I just hate that he is hurting.

Ellaroo Baby Carrier

I have been hesitating about putting up Aodhan’s birth story….for a couple of reasons. First, given the haze of labour, I can’t be sure that I have captured everything, and I don’t want to share an incomplete tale. Second, I am not sure that I am ready to have something that isn’t quite tied up in my heart yet, be up on the web. Although I am completely at ease with having had to throw out all of my home birthing dreams and head to the hospital in full and complete active labour (not an experience I suggest for anyone), I am not sure about being to see in print (and then realize I have not done justice to) the set of deep and still-hot-to-touch emotions that are associated with the day of my son’s birth. So, I think I will hold off for a wee bit longer.

But, I will write about other things. Like, how much I love co-sleeping! Nothing better then being woken up by the snuffling sounds of my little boy who is looking blindly in the dark for my boobies. Co-sleeping was pooh-poohed by the Belgian state nurse who came to check up on us in the second week of Aodhan’s life. The state doesn’t support it, but, hey, I don’t support their yucky tax system, so I think we are even on all accounts. What I do know is that behind all the great theory and writings about co-sleeping, and the role it plays in the Attachment Parenting philosophy, I have now seen first hand the practical and real-life meaning it has to me as a new mummy, my son, and my husband. We are all benefiting immensely from the decision to have a family bed – and there has yet to be any downsides (besides the glorious new puke, pee and poop stains on our sheets).

I also wanted to quickly (and I mean quickly, as Aodhan catches the last few winks of his morning nap in daddy’s arms), comment on the baby-carrier we picked up in Canada. It’s a Mei-Tai made by Ellaroo, and we have been really impressed with it. Not only can I manage to wrap the baby around me, quite securely, all on my own, but the baby does seem to love it for its snuggle capabilities. The only problem with this carrier is that I can’t breastfeed him in it. And if there is anything Aodhan loves, it’s breastfeeding. I wanted to find a way to feed him and let him nap (as he wakes as soon as we put him down), while still being attached to me. In the end we opted for purchasing a second sling of the ring variety, a locally made brand: Dharti. I am still fiddling with it (despite the hours of instructional videos on youtube) and find that getting it perfectly fitted while the baby remains asleep or latched a little difficult. But, I have visions of the future – being able to feed/nap while cleaning/cooking/writing/dancing (???).

Well, today is my birthday AND Belgian Day…so we are headed out to see what the city has to offer in the way of celebrations.

My Music List

There is something both odd and comforting about having your baby’s heartbeat listened to by your midwife while laying next to your kitten (her sister is sitting on Aodhan at this very moment, making typing a difficult but enjoyable experience). I had my first homevisit yesterday and it was pretty great. I have bonded so much better with this midwife, and her approach is so much more patient and woman-focused. She supports our homebirth choices so much and makes me feel like I can do just about anything! She is also anti-intervention, even from the perspective of the midwife, and encourages me to go with my gut (hah!) and call her only when I think I need her. Lovely. She drew more bloods (she patiently waited 25 minutes for my thin vien to pop up high enough so that she wouldn’t bruise me – now that, after years of being impatiently prodded by technicians, impressed the pants off me). I will see her colleague next Thursday.

Today I have started to pull out of our ENORMOUS (seriously, you should take a look) C.D. collection, the discs that I want to have lined up for the birth. Here is my list:

Leonard Cohen: Songs from a Room
Iron and Wine: Our Endless Numbered Days
Tegan and Sara: The Con
Great Lake Swimmers: Ongiara
Sarah McLachlan: Closer
Sarah Harmer: I’m A Moutain
Neko Case: The Tigers Have Spoken
Stars: In Our Bedroom After the War
Jason Collett: Here’s To Being Here
Peter Gabriel: Passion
Bonnie Prince Billy: Not sure yet…..

So this isn’t really whale calls or a beach sound scape, but it is what makes sense to me.
I also have my Hypnobirthing C.D. I think I will leave all of Kevin’s Joy Division and The Fall on the shelf for this one.

I am starting to have that: well this could start any hour now feeling. I have never been very good at waiting – ask my dad about Christmas presents and the almost physical fit and torture I experience knowing that there is a present with my name on it under our tree. And now try to imagine how I am coping knowing that there is the world’s biggest and bestest present waiting….but without any real kind of date like: December 25th….I am going to crack. Literally.

I promise to get those darn birth pool pictures up asap. Hopefully Kevin will remember to bring home the foot pump tonight. BUT, the truth is, the poor man has had more on his plate the last two weeks then anyone really should. On top of being a super faculty member, he is also a project manager of this HUGE program the school is implementing next year, which means he has been at meetings every week (and some weekends) for months now, making presentations to just about everyone and trying to form a coherent sense of what the program will look like. In addition to that he is still playing with his cello group, trying to write physics exams for next week AND deal with a massive pregnant (and sometimes cranky) wife. My darling man – how do you manage? So, when he does remember to bring the pump home, I will blow ‘er up and get her online!

38 weeks today…..

The days are being gobbled up in big bites. Something silly like 14 days left until Aodhan’s due date. Wow.

I spent the day working on my Birthing Quilt, which I posted on VeganCowGirl as my Work-in-Progress Wednesday. I also filled my day with other home-based activities, like cooking a curry, baking a crumble, making frosting (which is sinfully decadent), finishing up some editing work, and trying to polish off an article on Vegan Pregnancy.

I spent a part of the day in the back room, which, since we will be co-sleeping, is pretty much multi-purpose at the moment. It has the change table, the baby’s dressers and his books. But it is also where I have set up my sewing machine. It is a comfy room that I hope will get even more comfy once we settle into some semblance of a schedule and see in what ways we use space.

But, one of the things we do have laid out in this room is a set up for two scenarios: HomeBirth First outfits and Hospital Bag. The Homebirth first outfits are laying spread out on the blow up change pad. I couldn’t decide/didn’t know what would be best to lay out, so I have three outfits waiting for him. Pretty much the same deal for the hospital bag. The one thing that is in both bags are little hats for him – the midwife was very insistent that we have little hats for him. I really like the green one you can see in the photo – found it in England in December and I just love the little tie on the top!

The midwife comes for her first home visit tomorrow…..can’t wait to have her look over the ‘goodies’ we have picked up and make sure there isn’t anything we are missing.

Terrible Article

My ire was raised today when, after catching up on posts from one of my favourite blogs: Stand and Deliver, I was redirected to this poorly written article entitled “The Case Against Breastfeeding,” which was written by Hanna Rosin for The Atlantic. There are many things that I wish I could take Ms. Rosin to task for – but I feel almost certainly (after teaching Composition and Rhetoric at Sheridan) that making too much of her claims prior to my actual experiences with breastfeeding would be writing you could consider to be as poor as her own words. I will say that her condescension towards Lactation Consultants was done in terrible taste. I don’t care what she thinks or writes about breastfeeding, she has not right to take a shot at the important, legitimate and drastically understaffed position of Lactation Consultants.

Like I said, I will wait until I have my own experiences (beyond leaking colostrum before my baby is even BORN) to discuss before I actually reply to, what I think are, shoddy claims that she uses rather ancient stats and surveys to dam up. Wretched.

I had a visit to an osteopath today. Upon recommendation from my midwife, after having really the only pain or discomfort in this whole 9+ months, I went to see this specialist to find some relief for the shooting pain in my left thigh. He agreed with the midwife’s diagnosis of sciatica and gave me a good rub down. I feel quite a bit better and he said that I could come back as often as I like AND that he will happily see me for breastfeeding and running concerns (when I can finally hit the treadmill again).

I think veganbean has dropped down quite a bit this weekend. I really feel his movements in the lower bits of me, and the pressure is like being on the DropZone at Canada’s Wonderland. Better get the foot pump back from Auntie Kim so that we can start pumping up that pool as soon as needed.

Gosh – tomorrow starts my first official day off on Mat Leave (today is yet ANOTHER holiday in Belgium). Haven’t quite settled into the idea of being away from work (school more specifically, since I figured that the last time I was away from school for more than 2 months was when I was three years old!). I have some things to do before veganbean shows up:
1. more hypnobirthing sessions
2. a good root touch up
3. finish a few more thank you cards
4. make a couple more ‘just in case’ lists and piles for if we end up at the hospital
5. bake a cake for my kids for Wednesday (they graduate at the end of the month)
6. finish my damn birthing quilt
7. buy a birthing bikini (can’t have a birthing pool without a birthing bikini)
8. start to make some plans for my mom and dad’s visit. I think I am actually more anxious about making plans for them then I am for the baby’s arrival!!!
9. finish editing next months’ Rendez Vous section and start editing a new book I am looking at for a vegan blogger.
10. start drafting my own vegan pregnancy-mummy book!

Home Birth Supplies = Take One

There have been many questions at work as people hear through the grapevine that is every educational institution that Kevin and I are trying for a homebirth.

“where are you doing it?”
“what about the neighbours?”
“what are you going to wear?”
“are you insane?

All questions are fair and mostly I have enjoyed answering them. I thought I would translate my answers to my blog, and share, for those curious and for those in the planning stages (or considering stages) of a homebirth, what we have been encouraged to buy and what we have thought to buy.

So, the told to buy department:
This list came from our (new and sparkly) midwife and includes some basic stuff that makes sense (and some funny stuff I might not have thought of)
-bowl for hot water
-bowl for the placenta (we will be saving the placenta and making these really cool placenta pictures)
– bonnet for baby
-eye and nose serum for baby
-sterile gauze pads
-big blue waterproof pads
-maternity pads
-a waterbottle
calendula for the cord and my special spots
-food for us
-face cloth
-two big garbage pails
-two big garbage bags (one for linen and one for garbage bits)
-loads and loads of towels

Here’s a list of things that we picked up thinking we might need:
-clothes for me to birth in: a big summer dress, a sports bra, new undies, tank tops
-clothes for right after: socks, nursing tanks, jammy pants
-a sports squeeze bottle (for my special spot post birth)
-lots of oils and tinctures (motherwort, rescue remedy, fennel tea, after labour massage oil)
-birthing ball
-birthing pool
-tarp for the floor
-new sheets

The best part of this is how we have been to hardware stores, online stores, grocery stores, newage stores, and gardening shops in order to start to put these bits and pieces together….love it. I am 100% sure that the poor dude at the hardware store had no idea that we would be using the tarp as a part of our homebirth!

Anyway, who knows what we have forgotten!!! I guess we will find out soon enough!