Monday, May 31, 2010

New photos of Henry

Yes, yes, I know... this whole photos of Henry thing is getting a bit played. Thing is that it is pretty much all I have time to post at this point although I have lots of other things I want to post about. Finding the time with three kids, one who is brand spanking new, is the challenge. So, here is a great photo we got of Henry and Hope a few days ago:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Henry 365

I've been told by more than one person who has three children that the third child ends up with even less photos of them than the second child did. I was talking about this with my good friend Marnie (now blog-outed!), wonder woman and captain of a house that contains four (four!) children. She suggested I do a pseudo Project 365 but have the subject only be Henry: a photo each day for a year. Thing is, I missed today but up until today (Henry's eighth day) I've been on a roll.

So, I've started a Flickr account where I'll try my best to have a photo a day of Henry up there. This will not be a lesson in photography skills or framing my best shots (heck, I don't even own photo-editing software). This is all about Henry and keeping track of his first year. I'll try and figure out how to put it in my sidebar (done!). I must highlight this photo that I took of Henry a few days ago though (I think it's pretty awesome):

And as for today? It was a breastfeeding un-friendly day but we seem to be back on track after help from my saviour, my midwife Mina who I triple-love. I want her to move in with us.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Henry update

(Photos now below! and additional text....)

This is bound to become the All Henry All the Time blog for a while. Indulge me.

Here is a quick trip down the last few days:

  • John's mom has been here entertaining the girls, doing dishes, cleaning etc. It's been AWESOME. She just left. That's NOT awesome.
  • Henry loves the boob. He's a champion breastfeeder, which is great. He is a terrible latcher right now. Not great. He screams and fusses when trying to latch him. This, along with my painful breasts, makes me wonder if I have candida (and thus he has thrush). I'm going to get some gentian violet later today to treat it just in case. (Ed. to add: after a meltdown by me and a call to my midwife and explaining how Henry is behaving, she declared it immediately a gas bubble and that I need to have him in an upright position for feeding when he is screaming like that when latching. She was right to a point. He still screams but gives up more quickly. It's still very stressful and crappy and he still is impatient about the milk coming when he finally does latch on. All in all, the usual for breastfeeding.)
  • He sleeps about 2 to 3 hours at a time. He's very easy to get to sleep. He eats, he falls asleep on my shoulder/chest, I transfer him to his bed. Easy peasy for the most part.
  • Last night he spent his night in the side-sleeper thingy (a co-sleeper crib-like thing attached to the side of our bed). Much better sleep for me resulted.
  • He loves to be cuddled and held but is okay on his own too.
  • Today will be our first walk in the stroller as I promised Emily I'd pick her up from school so she could show off her brother. (Ed. to add: Went well but maybe it was a bit early. I was exhausted when I got home.)
  • The girls have reacted... as expected. They are totally in love with him and smother him with attention but they have also acted out with some tantrums, mischief, emotional ups and downs. We're being patient but some days the patience runs thin with my emotional child (Emily).

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Henry John Reyburn Walsh, born yesterday, May 19, 2010, at 4:26 pm weighing 8 lbs 11 oz. Although we planned a home birth he ended up being born in hospital as his heart was showing signs of distress. Still a vaginal birth though and we're all great.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Remember this hair

I have naturally curly/wavy hair. With a bit of work and the right products, it has loose curls which have been looking (if I do say so myself) freaking awesome this year. I rarely even blow it dry anymore and I'm still lucky enough to be happy with it most days.

Sadly, after I had Hope, my hair went totally limp and didn't get its curl back until about a year ago. So I'm prepared that I'll be back to poker straight and/or limp hair for a while after this baby comes and I'm breastfeeding for a while. And the reality is that it will be in a pony tail a good amount of the time.

The profile photo I have in the sidebar is from the era when I embraced my straight hair (something I'd dreamed of for a while because I battled with my curls/waves for many years) and had a bob cut.

This year I've fallen in love with my curls again since I re-learned how to treat them and get them looking good. I know I'm being a bit vain here but I figure I'm due since my hair often falls into the "whoa, were you just in a windstorm?" category.

Today I had my pre-birth hair cut. The stylist knows what to do with curly hair. I decided I better document how awesome it is looking right now (again, shameless ego boosting... it will end soon, I promise) before I potentially go into the limp stage or stage of not showering regularly anyway. And so, here it is in all its glory:

As an added bonus you get a peek at our student-ghetto of a house that we've occupied this year. I still owe a tour of this place and will do that soon... pre-baby... because there are some parts that are definitely worth showing off.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A very special afternoon

So first off, obviously... it was not the night. Thankfully I'm still pregnant and I'm assuming that I have about three weeks to go. Good. Because I have several things I would like to accomplish between now and then, mainly on the domestic maintenance front.

This afternoon I had my closest Waterloo friends over for a belly casting party. A belly cast is a popular way of preserving a pregnant woman's shape. It's usually done in the few weeks before birth. The basics are that the pregnant woman, with the help of friends/partner/professional belly caster (not necessary but I presume they get a really smooth finish on the cast), gets naked, slathers her body in Vaseline and then applies pre-plastered bandages (the kind doctors use to make casts for broken bones) to the torso, chest etc. You wait for it to dry and then wiggle out of it - the belly dance. After letting it dry for a few days, I can decorate the cast if I want. That will be a project for the girls and I in a few days.

My friends (Tamara, Jewel, and Sue (John's sister) ) arrived and we bunkered down with food, drink and chatting. My girls were so excited to have everyone come over; they could barely contain themselves. To the point of annoyance of their mother in fact. But, when the first crew arrived, with cousins in tow, they took off playing. We visited until Marnie arrived and then we got down to business with the casting. I stripped down to just my underwear and then we all started plastering me. The kids each had a turn as well - Emily was the most keen and kept putting more plasters on. Kennedy, the oldest cousin, hid behind the couch until my naked body was well-covered and then she started to peek over the top. It was really fun and really meaningful for me to have all my wonderful women helping me preserve these last few weeks of what will be my last pregnancy. I was glad that Julie arrived in time to stick on a few plasters.

It didn't take long to dry. After it was sufficiently hardened, I wiggled (what Emily called my belly dance) until I could pop out of it. It was nicely glued to my underwear so I had to pull and pry at those until I could unlatch it and then I was out and into the shower.

After the cast was done and I was clean, we went back to visiting, laughing, drinking and eating while Jewel gave me a heavenly foot soak and massage. Can you see why this was such a special afternoon?

I'll put up more photos as I get them. I'm going to remember this day for a very long time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tonight's the night?

My chiropractor told me today that she thought I would have the baby tonight. She was quite adamant about it. She said she "just had a feeling."

I'm willing to be at least 50 bucks that that is not going to happen.

However, my second midwife, Nasrin, who I totally LOVE, told me today that the baby is engaged and things could happen anytime although she expects me to deliver at 38 or 39 weeks. Of course, 38 weeks is in just five days (!). She was seriously excited about this. She's a passionate midwife and I love her attitude and approach. She also made my day when, after I mentioned that I'm a home VBAC (vaginal birth after ceasarean), she said: "Oh no, you're not a VBAC anymore in my opinion. You already VBAC'd. Now you're just a natural childbirther." I could have kissed her right there...which may have been awkward.

I'm pretty much ready with supplies and whatnot. We're having another homebirth which requires us to have a few things ready (by us I mean me, of course). I have almost everything in a bin... a bin that is clearly too small so later tonight I will transfer everything to a larger basket and then check against my list to make sure I do have everything in there I need. It's a pretty simple list really: towels, plastic tablecloths, something to use as hot compresses (I like to use cloth prefold diapers), a mirror (optional), olive oil, the "hospital supplies" kit from the midwives (includes hospital-grade stuff like peri bottle and those blue sheet things), thermometer. I'll be getting the tub from the midwives a few days before my due date which may mean I won't get to use it. Which would suck because it really helped me last time.

And as I write I'm boiling my herbal bath mixture that I'll use right after the birth for me and the baby. After it's boiled 20 minutes, I strain it, separate into two containers (so I can have another herbal bath the day after the birth) and then freeze it until the big day.

Next week my primary midwife, Mina, comes for a home visit and I'll also have my first internal which will give me some indication perhaps of any dilation that's already happened. (I do feel like I'm walking with a melon between my legs sometimes.)

Yesterday I was struck down with my first bout of sciatica. For those of you out there with chronic sciatica: YOU HAVE MY UNDYING SYMPATHY. It totally sucks and is extremely painful. I'll be glad to say bye-bye to that. Of course, it's a good excuse to not have to do the dishes since standing for any length of time makes it much more frequent.

And now, belly shots (I swear I look much bigger... or at least feel much bigger... in real life. And certainly people's reactions when I'm out and about make me believe that they think so too):

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees....

So here is the question: Can I get this post written and up in the 30 or so minutes I have before I leave to get Emily from school?

The thing is, this post is about a newsy, current, heavy, sensitive topic that I have very strong opinions about and when I have strong opinions I tend to go on. And on. And on.

The topic is twofold really: (1) sex education and (2) talking about sex with your kids.

Okay, first. Most of you know I attend church regularly. In fact, I'm a member of a Mennonite Church. No, I don't drive a buggy and I do have electricity. Yes, I do like doughy foods and most members of the sausage family. And pie. Lots and lots of pie.

However, I'm not what people refer to as "culturally Mennonite." Which means my last name is not Friesen or Janzen or Heidebrecht. In fact, my family, going back several generations, belonged to a denomination called Plymouth Brethren. If you can imagine one of the most conservative evangelical groups going and then put a head-covering on me, you've got the Plymouth Brethren.

And so you can imagine what I learned about sex. Don't do it unless you're married. And until then you pretty much need to know nothing about it and don't even mention homosexuality because all those people? Well, you won't be seeing any of them in heaven. And as for abortion? Well, we all know about that because we've all been to the pro-life rallies, right?

In actual fact, I learned about sex at a friend's house from a book her mother bought her. My parents never sat me down to talk about it. My mother did attend our Grade 6 health class when sex was introduced and was very comfortable and supportive in the conversations in that class but to be honest, the class was a lot more about having your period than anything else. I'm not even sure if sex was discussed. I do remember health class in further grades when sex became part of the curriculum. By then my very-conservative church upbringing was firmly entrenched so the sex part was off the radar for me. And if I remember correctly, most of the classes were about what it was like to have a baby and why we shouldn't do that as teenagers.

Needless to say, I've changed a lot since then. I'm extremely liberal in my views; I believe so many different things now about sex and so many other subjects... and strongly believe them: my views on sexuality and abortion are the opposite side of the fence from what I was taught as a kid. And I'm so happy that I was able to make that shift, through my own intellectual pursuits and discussions and meditations on these subjects. (Just as an aside, this all jives very easily with the Mennonite churches that I attend. Of course, members have differing opinions but that seems to be all okay and there are many, many people who have the same opinions that I do.)

And that brings me to sex education. If you've been following the news in Ontario recently, you know that the government introduced a new sex ed curriculum, got a big backlash from a few religious minority groups (mainly right-wing Christians and Muslims) and then rescinded the curriculum promising more extensive consultation and a new go at it. If you followed the story closely like I have, you would also know that the original consultation was extensive, had the support of many religious groups and educators and did not go as far as many countries and even some Canadian provinces do.

To give a succinct run-down of the new curriculum: proper names of body parts taught in Kindergarten, homosexuality introduced in Grade 3 as a right that must be respected by law (and what it means), safe sex - all forms - in Grade 6-8 I believe and continuing conversations from there that seemed to point us down the right path for our kids and the decisions they would be forced to make. It made a lot of sense to me and I applauded it. As did many other parents I spoke to.

Our kids need to know this stuff. The earlier the better. Nations that have early and open sex-ed have lower rates of STIs and teen pregnancies. Canada is doing well on those fronts but we could do better. This curriculum was a first step. Those who were rallying against it are fooling themselves if they think their kids don't need to know this stuff or that they won't participate. And knowledge is power here, folks. The more they know, the better choices they can make.

My own experience made me decide long before I had kids that when my kids one day asked me about sex, I would be open and honest and not deflect any questions as long as they were old enough to understand the concepts. It is part of animal and human nature and there is nothing to be ashamed of... and I'm not just talking about heterosexual sex in the missionary position either. I also know that if you delay, the kids will be embarrassed to talk about it with their parents. Because, ew... parents having sex. So gross to a kid over the age of 8 or so. The younger they are when you have the conversation, the better.

So when Emily asked me two weeks ago "How did the baby get in there?", I told her. We had a good conversation, probably the first of many on the topic, one evening. I didn't get into the pleasure side of sex... just the functional. I didn't talk about homosexuality... just the process of baby-making. There is time for all that later. But right now she knows the mechanics and she has brought it up a couple of times since in conversation showing me that she gets it. She thought the whole thing was pretty funny, which is about what I expected. As she gets older, I know she'll still get embarrassed about talking about this with me... that's just normal. But at least I planted the first seeds of knowledge and she learned it from me, not from a book or t.v. or a friend. The conversation will be ongoing. I hope that before she starts to feel weird about talking about this with me, we'll have lots more conversations... hopefully stemming from a strong school sex-ed curriculum.... that will lead to good choices and a feeling one day that she can talk to me about anything and expect an honest answer.

This is a touchy subject but an important one. How do you approach it in your house? What were your feelings about the Ontario curriculum changes?

(Phew, made it with a few minutes to spare!)

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Operation "Prepare for Baby" coming along well

Today I planned to finish moving all the baby stuff that is currently taking up space in the sun porch to an upstairs closet so that everything is easily accessible.

That totally didn't happen.

However, I did take the new baby papasan, a lovely gift from my friends Tamara and Julie, out of the box and put it together. It only donned on me today that it was probably in several pieces and I should assemble it while I have a decent amount of sleep under my belt. I love that little chair and can't wait to have a baby cozying up in it.

I also started the formidable job of cleaning the fridge. The bowl of compostables I've collected so far is something you may have seen on Fear Factor at some point. I'm not quite finished but I'm well on my way.

Tuesday will likely become my sun porch day. I also have to finish sewing living room curtains. We've been here for 10 months now and I still haven't finished the curtains. John told me this would happen. I argued until I was blue in the face that I would FOR SURE GET THE CURTAINS DONE BY CHRISTMAS STOP BEING SUCH A PESSIMIST.

It kills me to say he was right but.... ugh, he was right.

Curtains are high on the list as our neighbours don't likely want to watch me birthing this baby if they can avoid it and this baby is likely to be born in the vicinity of the as-of-yet-uncovered windows. Priority, high.

And also on the baby front, Hope is completely in love with this in utero baby. Every morning, she finds my belly and starts kissing and hugging it and saying exactly this: "Good morning, baby. I missed you. I love you, baby. And you love me." Repeat. The night routine is very similar. "Good night, baby. I love you. And you love me. I'll miss you. See you in the morning."

It is really freaking cute. Not as cute when she wakes up crying in the middle of the night because "I miss baby. I need to kiss baby." Cuteness gone at that point.