Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Hello Darkness My Old Friend"

I find myself struggling a bit with this winter. It might be because we didn't have all that great of a summer. This winter has been relatively mild, which is great for getting out of the house, but that also means lots of grey skies. I'd take a few days of 30 below with clear blue skies, please.



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Of course, it doesn't help that Aedan's been waking up at 5 am these days. That means sitting around for 6 hours before the sky lightens. It makes for a very long, very dark day. I miss being able to sleep in til 9 or 10...that way, sun rise is only a cup of tea (or two) away. We're in the thick of it, though, and I know that it's only going to get better from here on out. Soon, the days will be getting noticeably longer, the sun rising earlier and earlier...



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This last photo is a spruce grouse, in a tree in our yard. There were four of them in there this afternoon. I really love grouse, they seem like such gentle birds, with their soft clucking calls. It always surprises me to see them in flight. Their small wings are powerful, carrying their plump bodies to safety when saucy little dogs named Cilla chase after them in the woods!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Surprise Visitor

The dogs have been doing an awful lot of barking this week, and it's been driving me crazy.

Just now, they all started going nuts: I thought someone was here. Someone was...I got up to look out the window, and at the edge of the forest on our property, at the bottom of a small hill, I saw a gray, wedge-shaped face looking up at us.

A wolf.

For a moment everything stopped. I felt like I locked eyes with this wise-looking, powerful creature. The wolf was silent, and seemed to be checking us out carefully.

The moment ended. I ran to bring all the dogs in, although they were more interested in standing on the porch and barking. Now they're all flaked out around the woodstove, like nothing happened.

I've just stopped shaking now. I highly doubt the wolf is going to storm the castle, or suddenly rush at 5 barking dogs, but it's still quite something to see that face looking back at you from your yard...

P had heard reports of this wolf: a few people told him they'd spotted it on the highway within a 20km range of our place, but I really didn't expect to see it so close to home!

Well. That was exciting.

 And here I'd been planning a post about things to do while waiting for the sun to come up!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy-Jig

Last night we got home after two weeks of visiting family in Ontario. It was a wonderful vacation, and so great to introduce Aedan to everyone. He is such a happy, social little baby. And a great traveler, too!

It's so nice to be home again. It was a great visit but I am definitely not a city gal! I missed the woodstove, the snow, the silence, the woods...even the outhouse!

We had a stop over in Vancouver to visit the doctor's, and got some good news. Aedan's specific form of diabetes is related to a mutation of the gene that controls his "potassium channels". These channels are in the pancreas, and sense when the body needs insulin, telling the pancreas to get to work, and then they release the insulin into the bloodstream. Basically, his channels are blocked. So, his body is able to produce insulin, it just isn't getting the message to do so. The doctors are confident that Aedan's diabetes can be controlled with an oral medication that will allow those channels to start working again. Over the next couple of months, we will be transitioning him from the insulin pump to the oral meds, and if the transition is successful...no more insulin! His body will be making its own! This also means we won't have to test his blood as often as we have been. From 8 times daily down to 2 or 3. So exciting!

The solstice has just passed...so while we'll slowly begin to gain the daylight back, for now, it's pretty dark out there. According to the Government Canada website, sunrise is 11:12 am and sunset is at 3:22 pm. So I've got some time to kill before I can head into town to run errands! I'm sad we missed the actual solstice. Next year I want to make a bunch of lanterns for the yard and the trails around the house, decorate a tree outside, and have a big bonfire.

I've been thinking a lot about writing, this blog, and what I want it to be. I really want to offer a window into life up north. I think that is the unique perspective I've got to offer in the blog-sphere...in the coming year I'd like to focus on making a couple of focused and directed posts each week, with pictures! I bought us a fancy new camera while in Vancouver (Canon Rebel T2i) and I can't wait to start playing with it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Little Feets



This week at "Healthy Families, Healthy Babies", we did foot-castings. We made play dough and smoothed it into empty card boxes, and then pressed our babies' feet into the dough. Then, we poured plaster on top, to make a positive print.

I love how Aedan curled his toes a little as we made his imprint. I'll always treasure those plaster prints.

And yet, they'll always remind me of what his little feets have been through just lately.

I debated blogging about this, but in the end, I feel like I can't avoid some mention of it.

Just over two weeks ago, Aedan suddenly became very ill. We were med-evac'd to B.C. Women and Children's Hospital in Vancouver, where we learned that Aedan is diabetic. This came as a total shock to both P and I, as there is no diabetes in either of our families. We learned, though, that 40% of the population carries the gene for Type 1 Diabetes, and that some unknown environmental trigger can switch the gene on. So it's possible one of us has been carrying that gene, silent and waiting to spring into action, causing a body to attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Or, it's possible that a mutation occurred, and Aedan has "neo-natal Diabetes", which means the insulin-producing cells in his pancreas haven't matured properly. They will mature and begin producing insulin within the year, and then he'll no longer need insulin...but there is a 50/50 chance that he'll need insulin again once he hits his teens.

At B.C. Children's, after 3 days in the pediatric ICU, they set Aedan up with an insulin pump, which is a really amazing piece of technology that basically functions like a pancreas, delivering a continuous stream of insulin to his body. We have the ability to deliver an additional burst of insulin when I nurse him, or if his blood-glucose levels get too high for some other (unknown) reason.

So when I look at these tiny feet cast in plaster, I see his feet kicking and squirming, his toes curling and flexing, but I also see heels marked with a week's worth of hourly blood tests. I see the toes curling not in joy but in fear of the nurse gripping his foot in her hand for another draw. In my mind's eye, I'll always see a little bead of bright blood welling up on his big toe, ready for the glucose-test I must give him before each feeding. Thankfully, these tests are much easier to administer than those done in the hospital--he doesn't even flinch.

In years to come, I'll look at those tiny feet and reflect on the resilience of infants. His ordeal would have likely killed an adult. But his brand new heart and lungs are amazingly strong. Today, he smiles and burbles like nothing happened. He's even started to smile through the glucose readings, because he knows I'm about to nurse him. He's already forgotten the trauma of the hourly heel pricks in the hospital, and he no longer cries out when I grip his tiny feet in my hands.

His little feets will grow into big feets, and they might help him climb a mountain, or trek through a muggy jungle, or walk along a sandy beach. They might carry him through the halls of a college or university somewhere, and then walk him up to a podium to receive his diploma. I hope they might take him to places I've never been, but that they'll always bring him home to tell me all about it, and I'll look at those tiny plaster-cast feet and, despite all the challenges and scary bits, feel totally thankful they were given the chance to grow.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sun-seeking

It's 20 below outside. The branches of the spruce trees hang low under their burden of snow. I go carefully along the forest trail, the dogs running ahead of me, the babe sleeping peacefully, nestled in the wrap under the coat. It's past eleven in the morning and the sun has finally crested the hills. The sky is brilliant and clear and the sunlight filters through the trees, casting brighter patches on the blue-shaded snow.

We duck under the drooping boughs, and skirt the trees that lean across the path. But for Cilla's occasional bark at a squirrel, sounding muffled in the closeness of the season, and the crunch of my muk-luks, it is silent. No more traffic on the highway. Even the chickadees are silent today.

Eventually, the path rises up and the dark spruce open out into a clearing of alder trees, their bare, twisted branches silhouetted against the bright blue of the sky. The ground slopes down to where water springs up from the earth--frozen now beneath the snow. Here, the sun shines without the hindrance of the thick woods. The dogs run up and down the hill, my canine familiars, rejoicing in the light.  I stop and turn my face towards it, closing my eyes and breathing in the sharpness of the air. I feel the sun on my face, and imagine that bit of bared skin passing the light on through my whole body. I feel the light running through me. Physically, I feel lighter: my shoulders relax under the slight weight of my son on my chest; I feel as though I'm rising up through my body. I feel lighter in spirit, knowing the sun is there, if only briefly.

I store the light deep down inside, and will bring it out tonight, as I light candles and lamps to illuminate the darkness that closes in around us.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thoughts on Sustainability

Due to some issues we've been having as of late with our power source, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what it would be like to live where I do without fossil fuels.

We live off-grid, so we must generate our power ourselves. In the summertime, we're able to charge our system almost exclusively with solar power. However, our summers here in the Yukon are brief.  The rest of the year, we use a gas-powered generator to charge up our batteries.  Ideally, we should be able to run the generator every couple of days to charge up the batteries, and then draw off of those. So, take the gasoline out of the picture, and we're left with no power source, for the majority of the year (and at the darkest time of the year).

So what would we do, if suddenly there were no more fossil fuels? Everything about our lives would change. We live off-grid, but we still enjoy most of the same luxuries as people living in town. No electricity for most of the year would mean no more computer. It would mean no recorded music or electric lights. We'd light the house with oil lamps and candles.

Where would we source those things? We'd have to get them in town (assuming supplies were still getting to town...they'd have to come by the river, like they did up until the 50's). To get to town without fossil fuels, we'd need a horse and cart, or a dog team in the winter.

The wood stove is our sole heat source. Without fossil fuels, we could no longer use a chainsaw to fell trees. Instead, we'd have to do it the old-fashioned way. To get the wood home, we'd be using our horse again...that means we wouldn't be able to take the large loads that a truck and trailer allows: we'd be spending a lot of time cutting and moving fire wood.

Unless we dug a well on the property, we'd be taking the horse and cart down  to the spring, about 2 km from the house, to fill our blue jugs with fresh water.

What about food? Right now, Dawson has zero food security. All of our food comes from far, far away. Without fossil fuels, P and I would be growing and gathering all of our food right here. We would hunt and fish for fresh meat...I don't think we could keep chickens for eggs, because it would take too much to keep them alive through the winter. There is an abundance of wild food here, if one knows what to look for and how to process it. We'd take that horse and cart to town every once in awhile for things like flour and sugar (assuming they were still making it up here).

Considering these things gives me such respect for the Han people, who survived in this region long before the first traders and prospectors arrived in the mid-1800's. It was a lean, hard life they must have lived, moving almost constantly according to the seasons, always in preparation for the long, cold winters.

Seeing the ice shushing down the river this past week, I think of the stampeders settling this area in the early 1900's, watching the last river boat steam away from town. Once that boat was gone, there was no more food coming in from Outside, no news, no visitors. They used to have great big storehouses, that'd be full of the town's supplies until the river broke in the spring. And back then, that sometimes meant June before the first boat.

Would I be up to the challenge, without fossil fuels? In a way, life would be much simpler. Each day would be focused on the bare essentials of living...growing, gathering and preserving food. Hauling fresh water. Gathering wood for heat. Repairing the house, thinking of innovations to make things easier, tending to the horse (and the dog team!). But I feel like down time would be that much sweeter, harder earned. We'd learn to make our own music. We'd tell each other stories. We'd celebrate when the days started to get longer, because it would mean burning the lamps and candles less. We'd savour each bite of food, knowing exactly where it came from and what went into getting it on our plates....

In all honesty, I don't think it's a life I'm ready to embrace...it's harder, meaner, most likely shorter. Without fossil fuels, I'd be terribly isolated here.  However, there are so many aspects of it that I would like to incorporate into our lives now: growing and gathering more of our own food is at the top of that list. And there is certainly nothing wrong with learning to savour each day more fully...

How would your life change without fossil fuels? Could you do it?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Into the Dark

Even after 6 years of living here, I'm still amazed to see the sun rise later and later each morning, and set earlier and earlier each evening.

Sunrise, taken at 9:30 am


When I first made the decision to live here year-round, I worried quite a bit about how I'd deal with the seriously reduced daylight hours. It is intense and extreme, but I've come to look forward to the much slower pace that this time of year brings. It also gives one an excuse to go a bit crazy, which is fine by me. Some of my favourite memories are of my first winters here, living with friends, sitting around the kitchen table, drinking tea and baileys and waiting for the sun to come up at 9, 10, 11 a.m.  or dancing around to Elvis, still in pajamas. And once the sun does rise, hurrying out to run errands before it sets again.

I also love the special excitement that comes upon realizing the days are getting longer again. Celebrating the first day we see the sun make it over the hills again (we're in a valley here in Dawson, so for about a month or so, the sun doesn't actually get high enough to be visible in the sky), or the first patch of sunlight that appears on the wall or the floor.

Until the Winter Solstice, though, we're in the dark...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gratitude Sunday

It's not so early but the sun isn't yet up. P and Aedan are asleep together on the couch, and I'm finally taking the time to join Taryn at Wooly Moss Roots in her wonderful weekly tradition...

G r a t i t u d e  *  S u n d a y

{Sunday's heartfelt tradition. A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful. A list of gratitudes.} 
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This week, I've felt grateful for...

-peaceful walks in the woods with the dogs and Aedan wrapped snug against my chest

-P being able to spend some days at home

-our growing woodpile and crackling fires in the woodstove

-having tea with friends who understand that all I want to do is look at my baby...and who suggest we lay him in the middle of the kitchen table so we can all look at him

-my beautiful baby boy!

-Patsy (the cat) finally being on the mend. Since we've come home from Whitehorse, we've been dealing with cauliflowered mammary tumours and thinking we had to put her down, to surgery, to infection...only a few more days of the antibiotics and she should be able to take the cone off. She's almost back to her old self.

-discovering new music

-Skype, and the internet, for allowing me to stay in touch with my family on the other side of the country

-realizing that I can't do it all at once, and that change is often a gradual thing

-feeling inspired to write!

-don't tell anyone else but...I'm grateful for the snow! I love each snowfall, it is so pretty out there.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Knit Now!

One of the side benefits of having a babe is my renewed interest in knitting. Before Aedan was born, I knit a little sweater for him (which is rather boxy, but I'm sure he doesn't mind), and a baby blanket which I am in love with. I splurged on handpainted merino wool for that one, and although the pattern itself is very simple, the blanket is gorgeous because of the colouring of the fibre.

So now I'm knitting a slouchy hat for myself out of some wool I found at the thrift store a few years ago, I think it's a cotton-wool blend. I'm basically winging the pattern after looking at several patterns for slouchy hats online. I also just got a bunch of cotton yarn, which I've got many plans for. Mainly I'd like to start making some baby-leggings. This means we can dress Aedan in just a diaper shirt and some leggings, making diaper changes and also pottying a breeze.

Speaking of pottying, I feel like I'm ready to take a step forward with it...yesterday Aedan peed twice in the potty, and both times he did it on my cue of "pss pss". Potty exciting, eh? (Mom, you get the credit for that one). It could have been a total coincidence, but I like to think he's started to associate the cue with the action. So I think I'd like to try some more diaper-free time, and also start using cloth diapers. I know P isn't too excited about this, because laundry is solely his chore, but if I can manage to get Aedan on the potty for every poo (and I'm pretty confident that, during the day, as long as he doesn't poo in his sleep, I can), then the cloth diapers really won't be all that gross to deal with! How did I get on to this? Oh yes. Baby-leggings.

I'd also like to knit a few little cardigans for Aedan, and one for myself, too. I have some wool in the mail for that project. I wonder when I'll find the time to do all this knitting? The little projects will be a breeze, I can peck away at them when Aedan is asleep or content in his dad's arms...

But a cardigan for myself?

What was I thinking?!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Potpourri

It's a grey day today, with a few fluffy snowflakes drifting down from the sky all morning. It's started to pick up just now. I didn't realize until we went to town on Monday that it's only snowed out on the Dempster! As soon as we turn at the bridge: no snow.

Monday we went to a Thanksgiving dinner with 20-some odd other guests! It was a bit intense, but I'm so glad we went. P and I are both a bit anti-social (okay...more than a bit) but I dragged us both there, Aedan in tow, and we all did great, if I may say so myself! Aedan got passed around a little, he was a very calm and curious little guy, checking out all the new faces. There were other kids and moms and soon-to-be-moms there, so when I realized that I had nothing to talk about besides childbirth and nursing and baby-poo and the cute little sounds he sometimes makes, I gave up trying to converse with the non-parents...thank goodness there were other women there who were equally as interested in these topics! Anyway, our hostess put on an amazing meal (so impressive that she put all of that together for all of those people!) including a huge chocolate birthday cake layered with Grand Marnier whipped cream for a friend's birthday. Yum!

In light of this dinner, and my inability to discuss anything other than Aedan, I've decided that I'm finally going to drag my butt (and my baby's butt) to Healthy Moms Healthy Babies on Friday during their drop-in hours. Time to meet the other new moms in town, see who Aedan will be buddies with once he's a bit older. Also, I think if I don't start to appear more in town, people will think I'm becoming a crazy hermit-mom.

In EC news, today I caught two pees and a poo! The poo was unexpected and very exciting. We'd been hanging out, having a little diaper-free time, where I lay him down on a big water-proof pad for just this purpose, with a piece of absorbent cloth under his bum and folded over his crotch. I'd caught a pee just before we started this time...after awhile he was looking hungry, so I nursed him for a bit, still with just the pad in my lap and the cloth wrapped around him, and gave him a "potty-tunity" every time he unlatched. Towards the end of the nursing, when he was starting to drift off, I figured I'd give him one more chance, then diaper him to go out for our walk...he was very relaxed, gazing out the window. I was expecting him to pee but instead...he pooed! And then, right after, peed, too. I signal him when he starts to go, "pss pss" for peeing and I imitate his grunts when he poos. I've also started to hold him in position and signal him when I know he's pooping in his diaper but I can't get him undressed and on the potty in time, so he'll at least start to associate the signal with the action.

Pretty exciting times out here on the Dempster, eh?

Now, to make some bran muffins!

Monday, October 10, 2011

La neige!



The first real snowfall is so magic!




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The doggies are sure enjoying it!




I think it's going to stick this time!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Making a Start

So during my pregnancy, I gave a lot of thought to diapering my babe. I really wanted to use cloth, but was daunted at the thought of doing so without running water. I considered the fact that when cloth was the only option, running water was a luxury...thought about a ringer washer, but we don't even have a well on the property. All of our water comes in 5 gallon blue jugs. That's a lot of hauling water. I haven't ruled it out, and I have some definite ideas about how to set things up so that cloth might work...and we do have access to laundry at the hotel (aside: P is buying the Westminster Hotel here in Dawson!)...but for now, we're using disposables. I hope to eventually use a combination of cloth and disposable.

All of that being said, I've also been reading/thinking lots about "elimination communication"...which is basically learning to recognize when babe has to go, and giving them the opportunity to do so outside of a diaper. Eventually, the hope is that your baby will intentionally signal you that they have to go, and that they might even wait to do it in the potty. Asheya, my doula, did this with her daughter, and she passed along to me a little baby potty. I love this idea...not only because it saves on diapers, but because it is a really cool way to communicate with your baby from a very early stage.

SO...I've been hesitant to make a start at this, mostly because very young babies tend to pee often...but two days ago I was changing him and I figured: what the heck. I sat down with the baby potty between my thighs, and settled him in my lap, and whispered "psss, psss" in his ear (because you're supposed to develop a cue they'll recognize/associate with the potty) and after a few seconds...HE PEED! In the potty!! I was so excited and so happy for him! We tried a few more times that day but he freaked out. I guess it was his way of saying "I don't have to go right now, mom!" I tried again the next day, and...success! I caught another pee! Right now I'm just testing the waters, so to speak, but in the next couple of days I plan to spend a couple of hours hanging out with him, diaper-free, so I can watch and see what sorts of signals he might be giving me right before he pees or poos. And then I'd like to start doing this on a regular, part-time basis. I feel like using EC and cloth diapers, with disposables at night or for outings, would be a really great combo for me, without putting too much emphasis on any one of the three. I don't want to stress too much about this...there are way more important things to focus on, living with a brand-new human!



And now, on a totally unrelated note, I would like to announce Dawson's newest couple:

Pete and Lily, lover-dogs!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gettin' the hang of it

Aedan is three weeks old today. He's getting to be very strong, holding his head up by himself. Yesterday we were all out for a walk in the woods, Aedan in the Moby wrap, but instead of sleeping he was peering out into the warm autumn sunshine, checking out the spruce trees. Such a curious little guy! It's so cool to watch him take it all in for the first time. I wonder what he must be thinking, how he must be processing all of this newness. What does he see right now? Is it just colours and light and fuzzy shapes? Does he experience the world more through smell, sound and touch? He sticks his tongue out a lot, too, as though he's tasting the air, like a snake.

I suppose I'm processing all of the newness, too! Adjusting to home- and mom- life has been interesting. Three weeks post-partum and I'm feeling like I need to get into some regular routines...we're usually up around 8. P makes me a cup of tea while I nurse Aedan. At first he'd fall back asleep after this nursing, but now he stays awake, so we hang out with him for an hour or two until he wants to nurse again. He'll fall asleep after that. Once he's sleeping, I've started to do some yoga...gentle stretching to ease my aching muscles...I ache mostly from all of this "laid-back mothering" I've been doing the past three weeks! And this morning I decided I'd brush my teeth, and wash my face, and put some proper clothes on, too! It feels good to do these little things, makes me feel a little more human.

We're having a lovely, late autumn. Although there is a definite chill in the air, we've been blessed with some bright, sunny days and clear nights. It's wonderful to see stars again after the perpetual light of our northern summer. I usually make a trip to the outhouse around 3 am, and I'll stop on my way back to the house, turn my headlamp off, and just check out the sky...I like to pick out my favourite constellations and planets, the ones I know well, and try to guess at new ones I might learn this winter. I know the more obvious ones...Orion and his nebula, Cassiopeia, Ursus Major, the Pleiades, Gemini, and Venus, so bright as it traces across the night sky. Often there is a faint glow of the aurora borealis...I've heard there have been some spectacular displays in the last couple of weeks, but I've missed them.

 We make sure to get out at least once a day for a walk, but if it's really nice, we go for two! Cilla, Lily and Pete love to run through the woods, chasing squirrels and grouse up into the trees. Oke is my constant companion, always plodding along at my heels, happy to follow my slower pace as I pick my way along the path. I like to think he's keeping a watchful eye over me and Aedan.
On the day I took these pictures, we were on our way to the spring, where I like to stop and have a drink of water. The water there is so cold and so delicious! I wonder if it will stay open over the winter...anyway, on this particular visit, all the doggies disappeared and were very quiet about it. I walked around a little in the clearing around the spring, and discovered what they had already...a moose hide. I had a heck of a time convincing four dogs that it would be more fun to follow me than to roll around in a bit of dead animal, but eventually, I managed to round them all up. I was annoyed that hunters would leave the hide behind like that, and P talked about picking it up for ourselves and having someone tan it for us....though I think you need the moose brains for a proper home-tan?


The spring.


Having a drink!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ode to Breastfeeding

Throughout my pregnancy, one of my nagging, back-of-the-mind worries was whether or not I'd be able to breastfeed. At one point in my life, I had both nipples pierced. I removed the piercings a few years ago, and they healed up well, but I was afraid the resulting scar tissue would be in the way and my milk would never flow...

But flow it does! And Aedan is a natural at this nursing thing. And so, every couple of hours, I am obliged to settle myself quietly, usually reclined on the couch with him across my stomach, and engage in the oh so beautiful bonding experience that is breastfeeding.

I can't help but laugh as Aedan hungrily smacks his mouth all over the place, trying to latch on to his hand, my hand, and anywhere on my breast his mouth happens to land. He snorts and grunts like a little piggy until I calmly give him a little bit of direction. Sometimes he gums at my nipple for a bit, too excited to really get things going, but then he gets serious and...ah! he latches. And then he gulps. And gulps. Such a loud swallower as he begins! You can hear him from across the room. He looks up at me as he suckles, his dark grey eyes wide, or sometimes he looks past me, focusing on the muted, late-autumn sunlight that comes through the window. Gradually, his frenzied gulping settles a little, and his eyelids grow heavy. He swallows less frequently, until eventually he stops altogether, my nipple slipping from his mouth. He'll snooze for awhile at my breast, and then wake with a grunt and we begin again on the other side.

I am so in awe of the human body, and of human nature, each time Aedan and I partake in this most natural of functions. I'm amazed that he just knows what to do...the way he kicks his little legs against my stomach, pushing himself up and over towards a breast, or the way he's able to latch on by himself and get the good stuff flowing. The first day, in the hospital, I had different nurses showing me different ways to get him latched. I was holding his head over my breast and all but shoving my nipple in there, always trying to correct. It was frustrating for both of us. Finally, though, I just let him do what he wanted. And, of course, a beautiful latch every time! I'm amazed that my body can produce this most perfect of foods for him, amazed to know that the make-up of my breast milk can change day to day, feeding to feeding, always delivering exactly what he needs. That my body produces more when he's having a growth spurt, and less when things even out, and that my body will keep producing as long as he keeps breastfeeding.

Incredible mother nature!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2 weeks postpartum



Aedan is 2 weeks old today! We also had our first real snowfall today, which I've been secretly anticipating. The ground and the spruce trees are all dusted in white, and there are still little flakes falling.

Back to the baby. He's a pretty wonderful little guy. He's beginning to have more periods of wakefulness. This morning I had him lying on the sheep skin, where he waves his arms and legs around a lot -- just starting to discover that he's got a whole wide world to explore with those limbs! He does lots of looking around, too. He kept craning his neck towards the window, where we could see big, fat flakes of snowing coming down. I flipped him on his tummy for awhile, too. He's already able to lift his head for short periods of time, and he even rolled over! I think it was a fluke, though. We were both pretty surprised.

I'm starting to get the hang of this new home-life. I spend lots of time laid back on the couch with him on my chest, nursing and napping and reading. I'm reading my first ever e-book right now, Elizabeth I by Margaret George. I thought I'd hate an e-reader but I actually quite like it. It makes reading an almost 800 page book with one hand a breeze, that's for sure!

I keep reflecting on how everything happened two weeks ago. How certain things all came together to add up to my particular birth experience. Like finding a house-sit. There is no way I would have laboured as long as I did out of the hospital if I'd been in a hotel. Actually, I think I would have been in the hospital when I first woke up with strong contractions, 10:30 on Monday night. That makes me wonder if things would have happened as fast as they did. I have a feeling that on hospital time, with cervical checks and fetal monitoring, and someone different popping into the room every 20 minutes, things might have happened at a much slower pace.

What really led me to have the experience I did, though, was Asheya's presence. Having a doula there gave me so much confidence to just trust in what my body was doing, to allow everything to progress naturally, and I think it gave P some real confidence, too. Otherwise, we both would have been bumbling around, wondering if what was happening was normal, going back and forth to the hosptial, and ultimately spending way more time there than we actually did.

Must cut my musings short...I haven't mastered the art of nursing in the Moby wrap just yet....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Birth Story

September 9th. My "expected date of delivery". 40 weeks gestation came and went without any sign of labor. I'd already been in Whitehorse for 2 weeks. P was there, and so were my mother and my sister, Breanne. Waiting. Walking the trails in Whitehorse and waiting. With all of us being away from home, out of our comfort zones and normal routines, this waiting was brought into sharp focus. I kept thinking: a watched pot never boils.

I began to speculate that I might have a full moon baby - the moon was to be full on September 12th. Working in the service industry, I'm well aware of how people are affected differently at this particular moon phase. Women have long tracked their menstrual cycles with the wax and wane of the moon. Why shouldn't that apply to labour and delivery, too? I googled it, and found that although there is no statistical evidence to support the idea, paramedics and L&D nurses will attest to the fact that, yes, there are more babies born on and around the time of the full moon. Go into labour on the 12th, I predicted, and deliver on the 13th.

Sunday, September 11th was my 28th birthday. I woke up to a bit of a "bloody show", a sign that labour could happen anywhere from the next 24 hours to the next week. I let myself be excited, but told myself I could also be in for more waiting.


Mom and Brea and I went for a gentle hike in Miles Canyon, and sat in the sun by the river for awhile, sharing a chocolate bar and marvelling at how clear the water was. That night, the four of us went to Georgio's for dinner to celebrate. I had all my favourites and a glass of red wine, too. Afterwards, I rented "Insidious" in an attempt to scare the baby out of the womb (though, in retrospect, a movie about a little kid who's astral body is held prisoner by a demon trying to possess the boy's physical body is maybe not the best way to entice a baby into the world). Before going to bed that night, I glanced out at the full moon, shining bright in the sky, wondering what the next day would bring.

It wasn't long before I found out. I awoke around 1:30 a.m. on September 12th to mild contractions. Though it was awhile before I actually looked at a clock and timed them, they seemed to be lasting less than a minute, and happening fairly frequently. I lay in bed awhile, contemplating waking up P, breathing through each one and telling myself to relax: things were only just beginning. I decided to have a warm bath, and through each contraction I thought to myself: relax. open. I hadn't planned to use any blossoming flower visualizations, instead I wanted to just be curious about what was happening with my body. I was attentive to each sensation and wondered about the things happening inside of me. After my bath, I lay back down and rested another few hours. I wanted to see if the bath would slow things down, or if labour would continue to progress, which it did. At some point P woke up and I told him that labour had started. Just after 4 am I gave my doula, Asheya, the same head's up, made some toast for myself and, restless, began to pace around the island in the kitchen. I was holding my birth necklace in my hand, touching each bead like a rosary and thinking of the strong women in my life, of all the women who'd done this before me, who were doing it right then at the same time as me.

Asheya came to the house sometime after 8, my mom and Brea a bit later in the morning, and we all just hung out, going for short walks around the neighbourhood. Across the road from where we were staying was an abandoned R.V. park/campground. We did laps around there, going up and down a hill. At the house, I sat on a big exercise ball and rocked back and forth, while Asheya took note of each contraction, reminding me to take deep inhales and let them out slow, and to keep my mouth and face relaxed. We listened to music, Bob Dylan (my biggest craving throughout this pregnancy), Neil Young, and some peaceful, meditative recordings that Asheya brought along. Asheya massaged my feet, paying particular attention to my little toe, an acupressure point thought to stimulate contractions. She massaged my belly, and got P to do it, too. I took a few short naps. I continued to drink water and juice, and to eat light snacks, like fruit and chicken noodle soup, throughout the day.


Despite all of this, things were not speeding up. Contractions continued to last no longer than 45 or 50 seconds, and were coming 10 to 15 minutes apart. Asheya, my mom and my sister all decided to leave for awhile. After they left, I baked a chocolate birthday cake for my baby, pausing to breathe through each contraction. P and I made love, slept for an hour or so, and then went for a walk in the woods. Sometimes I thought the contractions seemed a bit stronger, but overall, I felt like there was no change. Back at "home", I lay with my head in P's lap, feeling discouraged. Asheya told me that some women can labour like this for days, and I feared that would be the case with me, too. I called mom and Brea and told them I didn't think anything was going to happen that night, that I'd call them in the morning. I called Asheya and told her things hadn't stopped, but that they certainly weren't speeding up, either. Finally, around 9 pm, I lay down to sleep for the night.

At about 10:30 that night, I woke up to a much stronger contraction. It lasted longer than they had been all day, and was followed by another one in a shorter amount of time (again, I wasn't really watching a clock). I tried to rest a bit more but couldn't sleep through them, so I got up to pace around the kitchen a little. I put on some soft nature sounds and rocked on the ball. The contractions continued at the same intensity and pace: longer, stronger and closer together. During each one I thought to myself: long and strong. Around 11:30 I called Asheya and told her I thought labour was picking up. She arrived around midnight.

I let P sleep a bit longer while Asheya and I hung out in the lamp-lit living room, me rocking on the ball while Asheya timed my contractions, which were coming every 2-3 minutes, each one just over a minute in length. The next time that I peed, there was more blood-tinged mucous. The "bloody show" continued with the contractions, at times bright red, causing me to worry a bit. Asheya called the midwife she normally works with, who assured us that everything was most likely okay. Throughout this time, I continued to feel my baby move regularly.

1:15 am. P is awake by now. I hurried to the bathroom and threw up. At this point I was feeling increasing pressure in my lower back and butt, and beginning to vocalize during my contractions. I was spending more time in the bathroom now, standing against the washing machine, Asheya behind me and massaging my lower back through contractions, helping me to rock my hips back and forth, telling me to o-o-o-pen for my baby. I was vocalizing regularly at this point, trying hard to breathe through each contraction and to stay relaxed, but it was becoming increasingly difficult. The sensation of pressure was intense, and I was also starting to feel an urge to bear down through the contractions. Asheya and I figured I was most likely in transition, and she said we could go to the hospital any time I liked. I was feeling good labouring where I was, and I think at this point the contractions were happening so frequently that I couldn't imagine getting into a car.

At about 1:45, Asheya suggested I try a warm shower. This felt good, and was relaxing, but the hot water ran out before long. I got out of the shower and Asheya helped me to dry off, and I continued labouring against the washing machine. The urge to bear down was overwhelming. I remember being acutely aware of my cervix, like I could feel it stretching and opening the last few centimeters. In retrospect, I realize this was most likely my baby's head beginning to emerge. At 2:10 am, I decided it was time to go to the hospital. P grabbed our bags and called my mom and sister, and we ran out the door.

I had another strong contraction up against the car, and the fingers on my left hand got slammed in the door when it fell shut -- I hardly felt it! Asheya and I got into the back seat, with me kneeling facing backwards, Asheya always a calm presence beside me, massaging my back and reminding me to breathe. In the car, my contractions seemed to be on top of each other and I was bearing down through all of them, feeling lots of pressure in my butt and in my vagina, too. Still that strange awareness of my cervix, a feeling of being stretched.

At about 2:35 am, we pulled up to the front doors of the hospital. I looked at Asheya and said "I think I feel something coming out!" In a calm voice, she told me I was probably just pooing. "No!" I said. "I think it's the baby!" I reached into my pants to feel...I touched something warm and soft and squishy, and most definitely too large to be a poo. I asked Asheya to feel, and together we pulled my pants down a bit. "That's a head! You're having your baby!" I remember eyes: Asheya and I looking at each other, wide eyed, as we realized what was happening, and then, looking down between my legs in the dim of the car--his eyes. Seeming just as surprised as Asheya and I, big dark eyes looking back at me. With the next contraction, his body was delivered, and Asheya helped me to unzip my hoody and pull up my shirt so I could bring him up to my chest. As soon as I lifted his tiny, slippery little body, he cried. He looked healthy, and continued to cry a bit as I held him awkwardly to me.

I remember the doctors,  nurses and paramedics gathering around my door, passing in blankets to cover him. They asked me if I'd had a boy or a girl, but at this point I hadn't checked. There was some discussion over cutting the cord and whether or not I'd delivered the placenta--I had not. I told them I wanted to wait until the cord stopped pulsing, and then they clamped it and cut it. I was bleeding quite a bit, but I didn't really notice any of this. I remember smiling at P through the car window, and seeing my mom and my sister standing out there, too. And, of course, I remember this tiny, brand-new human being snuggled to my body. I remember feeling incredulous that I'd just delivered my own baby in the backseat of a car. Mine were the first hands to touch his perfect little body, I was the one who first lifted him up and held him to my breast. Writing this now, I recall all of those hippy birth stories I read in "Spiritual Midwifery", and how I giggled the women describing their experiences as mind-blowing, far-out, psychedelic head trips. And I totally understand. That was by far the biggest trip of my life.


Eventually I was transferred onto a stretcher and wheeled up to the maternity ward, my baby still on my chest. I'd had a look by then, and told everyone that I'd had a boy. In the room, I delivered the placenta. While the doctor and resident stitched up a minor tear, I held my boy to my breast, where he rooted around, nuzzling at my nipple. He made little grunts and squawks, wide eyed and alert, and around 4 am he finally latched on and breastfed for the first time. At this time I also received a shot of Pitocin in my arm, because I was bleeding enough to cause some concern for the doctor and nurse. Between the Pitocin and my baby breastfeeding, the bleeding slowed. The doctors, nurses, my mom, sister and Asheya eventually left, and P and I were finally alone to marvel at our tiny son.


Aedan Brennan Lorne McDonagh, 6 lbs, was born on September 13th, at 2:35 a.m., in the light of the full moon.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Feathered Reminder

Over the past few months, I've let my birdwatching fall by the wayside. When I go out walking, I rarely take my binoculars with me, and I've definitely not been on many outings with birding as the sole purpose.  But the last couple of days, the birds have taken it upon themselves to remind me of why I love this pass-time so much, of how exciting it can be to see a new species, of how much I love the sound of birdsong, and of the thrill of seeing something unexpected.

I suppose I'll start with my thrill...a few days ago, there was a female Rufous Hummingbird hanging out in our yard! I'd been having a crappy day, was overwhelmed by all of this "stuff" I felt I had to get done before leaving for Whitehorse. P finally convinced me to just sit in the sunshine and relax, and it was when I'd finally settled down to that that a tiny little bird buzzed in and out of my line of sight. I called out in surprise "a hummingbird!" but it was gone as quick as it had appeared. I was feeling it was some kind of a sign, and didn't expect a return visit, but it came and went over the next hour or so. I was able to get a good look at it perched in a slender birch tree near the porch, and P got to see it, too. The Rufous is the only hummingbird listed on the Dawson bird list, it's marked as casual,  meaning there have been at least 2 sightings, but not every year and no confirmed breeding record. She was investigating the geraniums and the fireweed, but I don't think she found much nectar there. I saw her again the next morning, flitting around, but haven't seen her since. I hope she's moved on to warmer climes!

That same day I noticed a female Three-toed Woodpecker in the yard, too. I remembered to take my binoculars on my walk yesterday and saw a male Varied Thrush--such a beautiful bird! Just now I was sitting on the porch and saw a female Yellow-rumped Warbler and a male Wilson's Warbler, as well as heard a woodpecker in the trees.

One of my favourite signs of autumn is the Sandhill Cranes heading south. I'd been wondering when we'd see and hear them take their leave, and just yesterday, over the course of the entire afternoon, I think I probably noted something like 100 of them, winging overhead. I love the sound they make as they fly, a sort of rattling "gar-oo-oo". They fly really high, sometimes too high to even see, but you can always hear that call when they pass overhead.

Have the birds begun to migrate in your area, too?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Grateful

Yesterday I said goodbye to my mom, dad, aunt and gramma, who have been visiting for the last week. I had such a wonderful visit with them, especially since I didn't have to work. In the past, I've only been able to have a few full days off to spend with them. We shared meals, went on a few small hikes, had a bonfire, listened to some live music, and just hung out! I feel so lucky to have family that make the long and costly trip up here to visit me every couple of years. I'm grateful, too, to have had the opportunity to share my chosen home with my gramma. She's in the early stages of Alzheimer's, something her mother died with. It's always been Gramma's greatest fear that she'd end up the same way, and it makes me so sad to see that fear coming true. I am thankful that she still knows who I am. Though much about her has changed, I'm thankful to still see the woman I've always known and loved shining through. Gramma has always been so full of life, so fun-loving and easy-going, with a wonderful sense of humour and she retains these traits even now. Spending time with her over the last week has reminded me how important it can be to live moment to moment. Every day is a new day for her, everything is fresh and nothing is taken for granted.

I'm also grateful that my family could be here for the baby shower my friend held for me. We had a beautiful afternoon, sitting outside in the sun (when it finally broke through the clouds). It was so nice to get together with all the women that I love, share stories and nibblies and laughter. I'd hoped to make a birthing necklace, and asked everyone to bring a special bead to contribute, but I wasn't sure how it would go over. Beads aren't the easiest thing to come by in Dawson, or so I thought...but I was pleasantly surprised at the response. Everyone had one to share! Some very beautiful beads, many of them with a story to go along. Dawson women are certainly resourceful! I've collected all the beads in a pretty little blue pouch, and I plan to make the necklace while I'm sitting around in Whitehorse, waiting for baby to arrive.

Speaking of that, I'll be 38 weeks on Friday, and I should be making my way down to Whitehorse that day or shortly after. I'm frustrated that I have to leave my home at the time when all I want is to be in it, but we don't have a midwife in Dawson and we're not "allowed" to birth our babies here. However, keeping in the spirit of gratitude, I am grateful to know that the Whitehorse General Hospital is so open to letting a woman have the birth of her choosing. I can ask to be left alone with my partner and my doula, and they'll be happy to comply. I'm also very thankful that I found a house-sit, rather than having to live in a hotel for 2 or 3 weeks. This will make the disruption in my life a little easier to bear!



Friday, August 12, 2011

Autumn approaches....

Not even the middle of August and already I see the signs of fall all around....

  • Changing foliage...on the drive to and from Whitehorse earlier this week, we saw a few birches that had gone completely yellow already. The ones around the house look like they're on the verge. The willows have been turning a burnt orange and brown for awhile now, but the colour seems deeper, somehow, these days.
  • Berries! Raspberries are definitely over, but with the temperature hovering around freezing in the early mornings, I'd guess it's almost time for cranberries and rosehips, too.
  • A definite chill in the air. I love this about autumn...especially on a bright sunny day, when the temperature is around 15 degrees C and there's a bit of a breeze.
  • Dark nights, stars in the sky, a big, beautiful full moon lighting my way to the outhouse...soon the aurora should make an appearance!
  • People working their final shifts, making plans to leave town, getting ready to go back to school...
  • Fires in the woodstove! We lit one two nights ago and are still getting some heat from it. That's the Blaze King for ya...


  • ....and, of course, the number one sign that autumn is approaching: my growing belly! I'm 35 + weeks in this photo, taken at Miles Canyon in Whitehorse. I'm getting anxious to hold my baby in my arms, to get him or her home and settled. To get bundled up and go for walks in the woods with the doggies. 

I'll be heading down to Whitehorse for my "confinement", as I like to call it, on August 29th. Holy smokes, baby'll be here before you know it!! 


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Birth plans

A couple of days ago, I sent a draft copy of my birth care plan to my doula for review. She got back to me with some really good questions and further information which has got me thinking. As I look at the plan as I'd originally written it, I realize that I made a lot of concessions, particularly when it comes to interventions like induction and pain medications.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I started reading Ina May Gaskin's book Spiritual Midwifery, which I found in a cupboard behind the bar, of all the strange places. The first part of this book is a collection of hippy homebirth stories. While at first I giggled at all the pyschedelic, far-out language, I realize now the importance of these stories. Many of the concessions I was making in my plan had to do with the "normal" progression of labour. For example "IF there is no change in dilation after 4 or 5 hours, THEN administer prostaglandin gel" or "IF I become tired during a long labour, THEN narcotics may be used". But as long as my baby and I are under no real stress, in no real danger, who is to say how long a "normal" labour should last? Those ladies giving birth in their homes 30 or 40 years ago (and the women before who gave birth in their homes, cabins, birth tents, caves...how far back do you want to go?) weren't concerned with how far their cervix was dilated and effaced, or with how they were progressing. Why should I be? Instead, I think I'd like to trust, fully and completely trust, that my body can do this, that I can do this, in my own time.

I think I'd like to defer vaginal exams during labour (or have the option to request one if I choose). I would like to be left alone, myself and my family and my doula. I don't want to have to lie down on my back and have my body invaded by a stranger every hour or couple of hours, to satisfy the doctor's curiosity regarding my cervix. I feel like this will slow things down for me. I feel like it will be akin to watching a kettle, waiting for it to boil. A watched pot NEVER boils, didn't your nana ever tell you that? If I'm not watching the clock, but rather am following my body's own rhythm and pace, I won't get to this point of feeling "stuck" in labour...I won't feel the need to request induction or pain meds.

There are so many factors that need to be considered, researched, carefully weighed before entering into a hospital birth. So many procedures that are routine and often not questioned, that I'm questioning now. Beyond my own care during labour and delivery, I'm now considering the battery of drugs and tests that could potentially be administered to my newborn baby. Vitamin K injections, eye drops, blood tests...it's good to be informed, and I'm so glad my doula got me asking more questions!

I don't have a real choice between home or hospital birth. I pretty much have to have a hospital birth because I live in rural Yukon, because midwives are not covered (I heard of one woman in town who had a home birth in Whitehorse...she had to rent out an entire B&B, rent a birth tub etc...to the tune of $10,000)....so while I must go to the hospital facility to give birth, it doesn't necessarily mean that I have to go along with all of their routines and procedures. I am in full control of this experience, and I will have the the birth experience that I desire!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Well, it's been far too long since I've updated, but I'd like to get back into a regular habit. Mom, I'm sure that'll make you happy!

First, a quick update of the past few months. Back in April, when I last posted, I started to have a bit of a melt-down over the uncertain living situation. I felt very unsure and unsettled, and came to realize that what I really needed was a full commitment from P : namely, to be co-habiting. I reasoned that if we were going to be together and raise a child together, it only made sense to be in one place. I was reluctant to move in to his house, partly because he was reluctant to give up bachelorhood, and partly because he lives 40 km outside of town. Our closest neighbours are about a 7-10 minute drive down the Klondike highway in either direction.

We took the plunge mid-May, and things have been going surprisingly well since. P is adjusting really well to sharing his space with me. I absolutely love living out here. It's beautiful, peaceful and full of potential. I am surrounded by nature's beauty. At night I fall asleep listening to the wind in the spruce trees, or rain on the tin roof (lots of that this summer), and in the mornings I wake up to the thrushes singing in the forest that surrounds us.

Did I mention the rain? It seems that's all we've had this summer. The wild grasses are insanely high around the house....I've got plans to clear it all out and next year put in a proper lawn (which I may live to regret, but I want a soft place to lay out a blanket and play with baby!) and some gardens, too, flowers AND vegetables!

Another thing the rain has brought about in abundance this summer is FUNGUS! I took some pictures of the many kinds growing in the woods - not an easy feat with a curious puppy trailing along behind me.

Meet Pete, the newest addition to our family!


On to the fungus:



Those are just some of my favourites. I'm amazed at the variety in size, shape, colour and texture! Some of them look like coral to me, and are actually classfied as "coral fungus" in my field guide. I love to see them poking up through the detritus on the forest floor, slowly and surely nudging aside the earth and the carpet of rotting leaves and needles, unfolding in the dappled light. 

I'm not sure how I feel about the AutoCollage program, but I guess it's a nice, compact way to display a bunch of images!

Okay, enough of the computer. Time to enjoy the sunshine! So far, August has been beautiful...sunny, breezy, no rain in three days!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

cravings et cetera.

i got to hear baby's heartbeat yesterday! pretty amazing. last doctor's appointment the doctor couldn't find it. no problems this time, though! it's really fast, 138 beats per minute. she compared it to my own heartbeat so i could understand just how fast that is. everything else at the doctor's went well, i think i've gained about 9.5 lbs so far, all my blood tests have come back negative, and apparently my uterus is "where it should be". i think that just means that i am indeed about 18 and a half weeks preggers.

ultrasound next week! which means a trip to whitehorse. the celebration of swans will be going on while we're there, and i've never been so that's a bonus. we're also gonna go to the hotsprings. although i don't think i'm supposed to soak in hot water for long. maybe they'll have a "warm" pool. or maybe i can just soak for a shorter period of time.


so i know so far i've mostly been complaining about the unsolicited advice i receive from the drunks i spend my evenings with, but they're also quite sweet and i know they care about me. lately they like to share their food with me. sometimes it's leftovers from dinner (and i hate to admit it, but the last few offerings have actually made my stomach turn...after they leave i pass it off on someone else), sometimes it's baked goods (that's mrs. 0. probably my favourite! she's making hotcross buns this weekend, of which i hope to be a recipient). sometimes berries! yogi has brought me dried cranberries and last night she gave me raspberries. the dried cranberries could become a potential "craving". i supremely enjoyed the tart flavour of those things! also in that vein, i've been really enjoying mixed greens with a little olive oil, grated parmesan and lots of fresh lemon juice. mmmmmm. and sweet, too. all of a sudden i can't take my tea without sugar.

my belly is getting hard to deny. i need to get some dun-dun-duuuuuh maternity clothes while i'm in the 'horse next week. also i need to stop by the thrift store and see what they've got. i should do that before buying new clothes.

in other news, the pets are good practise for a baby. at 6 am this morning patsy woke me up with her famous book trick...pawing open the cover and however many pages she can, then letting it drop back against whatever surface the book is sitting on. repeat as often as necessary until the bitch gets out of bed and feeds me. cilla, on the other hand, just sits by my head and whines a very soft little whine, and sometimes paws my face.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

serenity now!

i have thick skin. i have thick skin. i have thick skin. i have thick skin.

"jeez, yer boobs're gettin' bigger!"

"yer startin' to get chubby"

(thanks bruce caley, for those two observations)

"you're going to need bigger pants soon! better call your sister up and get her to go shopping for you!"

that one was mrs. o. i think we're going to come to blows over this pregnancy, even though i love her dearly and would quite possibly ask her to watch my babe if i chose to go back to work on dayshift.

yesterday she also told me that i should be taking my prenatal vitamins in the a.m. with a glass of milk. when i told her i can't stomach them first thing, that it makes me puke, she told me that's what they're SUPPOSED to do. huh?! puke out the vitamins? that doesn't make sense. she said that's just my body getting used to new medicine. we glared at each other and then i got to do my favourite thing about bartending: walk away from a conversation without it being perceived as rude.


anyway, i happen to LIKE my little belly. i think i'm probably healthier right now than i've ever been before. so there.


i have thick skin. i have thick skin. i have thick skin. i have thick skin.

Friday, April 1, 2011

moving right along

so, in the past couple of days i've made leaps and bounds into the world of adulthood. i went to the bank to talk about a mortgage and ended up with a line of credit and a tax free savings account. i've finally stopped acting like my nana and no longer keep large sums of money under the mattress.

today i found out that the bank would be willing to give me a mortgage. so the first step has been taken. i now know what i have to work with. i definitely won't be purchasing any of the 250-300,000 houses available in dawson right now. and i most likely will not be buying a lot and building a new house, either. however, do have the ability to purchase one of the 30-year old, in-need-of-repair smaller houses that occasionally become available. so. i'm underwhelmed but determined to make this work.

i heard back from my doctor about all that blood they've been taking from me. turns out my babe has no risk of strange genetic abnormalities. excellent.

also, i finally heard back from a doula! i've contacted probably a dozen women in whitehorse in the past month. three have written back to say they're unavailable, and i've received no response from the rest, until last night! a woman named lillian will be available to assist in my labour (if i choose). i've emailed off my list of questions, and am eagerly awaiting the reply. much like buying a house in the yukon, it's a bit disappointing not to have a choice here, but she seems really wonderful and i think it's going to be a good fit.

pregnancy is going swimmingly. my appetite is starting to return with a vengence, which i'm pretty excited about because if you know me, you know how i love to eat.

i'm 17 weeks along right now and i think i feel some movement, but i don't really know for sure. i sometimes feel a definite, indescribable and sustained sensation in what i figure is the right spot. i mostly experience this if i'm reclined, either lying down or leaning back against paul on the couch. so. i'm cautiously excited about that! i look forward to the next dr's appointment, when i hope to finally hear a heartbeat.

ultrasound in 3 weeks time. now THAT is exciting! while i'm down there i'll also be checking out the celebration of swans. i'm really looking forward to that!

last night i had a dream about demon babies. it was scary. that's stephen king's influence. one of the main characters in the book i'm reading is currently carrying a demon child, conceived while she was using sex to distract a demon while her friends pulled a little boy through a magical door from one world into another. no big deal.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

direction

much to some peoples' surprise, i'm really enjoying pregnancy. physically, i feel great: if it weren't for my growing abdomen and the fact that i haven't had a period in 4 months, i would doubt that i'm even pregnant. also, being pregnant has really motivated me to maintain healthier habits. i think my diet is probably more balanced than it's ever been. aside from walking the dog every day, which i normally do, i've been lifting weights and doing some yoga stretches, too. i'm very focused on having a completely natural childbirth, in any position but flat on my back, and i know that getting in the best shape possible will help me to that end.

mentally and emotionally, i'm really comfortable and at peace with this turn my life has taken. through much of my adult life, i've asked myself the question "what is my purpose here?" i've always felt like i should be doing "something" with my life. formal education and a career didn't happen, and although i go through bouts of creativity, any kind of dedication to writing and being a writer has also not happened. finally, though, i feel as though i've got a real direction. i never thought i'd be that person...never thought i'd WANT to be that person: "A MOM". of course i get satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment from my job, and from pass times like cooking, birdwatching and hiking...but none of these have ever felt like the stuff of legacy. i'm beginning to wonder if that's a big part of why i feel so accepting of this pregnancy and coming child...because it's exactly what i'm supposed to be doing in my life.

it's given me a different outlook on the world. in the past, and just recently, i've wondered how i could effectively raise a child in a world that i don't have much faith in, but today while i was out walking, i thought about how wonderful it's going to be to teach a child about this world, to share it all with someone who's experiencing it for the first time...all the beautiful, and all the ugly, too. i saw a bird today that i'd never seen before (american dipper) and just that simple thing brought me a lot of joy...it made me think about seeing each and every bird again for the first time, through my child's eyes...

of course my kid could end up hating birds, but for the first few years, they're coming along birdwatching whether they want to or not! strapped to my back to start with...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

...and another thing

i suppose, like people laying their hands on my belly as it grows, i must get used to the unsolicited advice i now receive on the daily. what i find most amusing is that the advice is coming from the mostly intoxicated people i spend most of my evenings with.

"quit working at the bar or your baby will be screwed up!"

"eat more beans!"

"rub olive oil on your stomach"

"take all the drugs they offer you"

"you were meant to do this, just let it happen"

"don't lift that keg!!"

i find this all to be touching, infuriating, and hilarious.

what really gets my back up, though, is not so much the advice as the people who now tell me how i feel or how i should feel. the people who tell me how i'm going to behave in all of this.

for example:

"don't be silly. once you have the baby, you're not gonna want to use cloth diapers. you'll be too exhausted!"

this next one just made me shake my head, the kind of idiot's logic you can't bother to argue with:

(again, regarding cloth diapers) "that means you'll have to wash, like, 14 cloth diapers a day! it'd be cheaper just to buy towels at the thrift store and throw them out!"

??

the cloth diaper thing bugs me. granted, if i don't have laundry facilities, i'm pretty sure i won't attempt cloth. but if i do end up with access to a washer/dryer, i don't see why i wouldn't use cloth most of the time. these people telling me that i'm "not going to want to" don't know that i've been using cloth pads for the last 9 or 10 years. i'm already very comfortable with the idea of reusable. it would be stranger for me to buy and then promptly pitch the pampers.

or towels, for that matter.


on an unrelated note (well, related in that it's about pregnancy and childbirth), i've been thinking about NOT finding out the sex of little ziggy at the ultrasound...and also i've been thinking about interviewing doctors in whitehorse. i want to learn everything i can about hospital procedure and i want to choose the doctor who's going to be best for me.

so much to think about! good thing gestation is 9 months. sheesh.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

dreams

been dreaming quite a lot lately, and remembering them.

snippets i recall from last night:

taking refuge from some unknown monster in a basement bathroom somewhere. first i broke open one of those little silica gels packets and spreading the contents across the doorway. there was someone else with me, we were preparing to make a stand against the monster....i think the silica gel was supposed to be a repel the thing. anyway, the other person was crouched in the bathtub and i was crouched by the counter, a pair of sharp scissors clutched to my chest, waiting for the locked knob to start turning...

in another dream i was walking around a huge, uknown university campus, looking for something...eventually i ended up taking a combined creative writing/math exam. i hadn't been to the class in months and i had no understanding of the math component. i've had variations of this dreams before, always a math exam for a class i stopped attending. i always end up wondering why i even bothered to show up for the exam.

okay. back to the dishes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

pep talk

so i just got a phone message to call the doctor's office...i call them up, and the lady on the phone goes right into how i have an appointment on whatever day in april at 1:30 and i'll have to have a full bladder and then i stopped her and said "wait...what is this for?" an ultrasound, apparently. i'm super annoyed with my regular doctor right now. annoyed enough that i feel that i don't want to see her when she gets back to work. when i got back from mexico, i saw her in the final couple of days before she was taking a few months off. she was incredibly rushed and hurried (read my chart wrong several times, had to take my blood pressure 3 times because she kept forgetting to write it down)...anyway, she sort of left me hanging. i haven't been back to the doctor's office since i saw her in january. so i explained this on the phone just now and was informed that i should have been coming in for monthly check-ups. GRR! so i've got one of those next tuesday, and an ultrasound in a little over a month.

i understand that this is partly on my shoulders, and i've been intending to phone and find out if i need to see a doctor in town any time soon...but i feel like this is also very much their responsibility. it's not like i've ever been pregnant before. anyway, all will be well, i suppose. just highly unimpressed right now is all.

i've been all right. feeling a lot better physically, but this winter business is really gettin' me down. i'm having a very hard time staying motivated, and having satellite television included in my rent isn't helping the situation. it's so easy for me to sit down in front of the t.v. and lose several hours out of my day. there are dishes to be done, floors to be swept, firewood to be moved, plus a million other things i could be doing besides watching iron chef, dr. phil or 16 and pregnant. although that last is pretty entertaining. i bought myself a set of weights last time i was in whitehorse and also an exercise ball because i figure i want to start "training" for this incredibly huge task looming ahead of me...namely LABOUR. but of course i haven't taken those things out of their packaging yet. i can, however, tell you that iron chef cat cora won battle venison and ferreh's mom is a controlling bitch. ridiculous.

SO. time for a little bit of discipline. because i'm pretty sure that it's gonna come in handy once i have a baby to care for. the other shitty thing about this lack of motivation is that after spending a couple hours in front of the t.v. i feel guilty and i beat myself up for all the things that remain undone. i can't get that time back, though, so i'd best stop mourning it.

gotta shower now and try to get in a better headspace for work.

it's still cold at night but warms up nice in the day. bright blue sky, beautiful sunshine...winter's last gasp. i can not only survive it, but thrive in it!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

12 weeks!

hi! up early today, p and i are heading down to whitehorse for a few days. i told him he is allowed only one day of hotel business, the rest is for play. we're gonna go to the canada games center and swim, and maybe to the hotsprings, and i want to go bowling, and see a movie if there is something good playing, and eat sushi and italian and relax! i'm pretty excited.

coming in to my second trimester now. wowzers! that went by fast. aside from this headcold, i'm feeling really good. no more nausea, my appetite is good and i've got a little more energy. "they" say the second trimester is the best one. i'm kind of looking forward to my bump, which is yet to appear. and feeling the baby move around!

so word is out in dawson town. some of the gents (i use this word very loosely) in the bar want to start a pool...not to guess the birth day or the birth weight, as would be seemly, but rather to guess how much larger my breasts will get. i told them they need a lesson in bra sizes, first. one guess was "12 pounds" and another was "10 inches". obviously they've never been too close to bras or breasts. they've got the right idea, though.

also i'm now subject to advice and scrutiny. i know she means well, but mrs. o has begun to tell me i'm getting a "spare tire" around my middle, and that soon i'll need bigger pants. thanks, love you. good thing i've got thick skin! thing is, i'm pretty sure i haven't actually put on too much weight. i've always had that little roll, she's just noticing it all of a sudden because she's expecting me to get beigger. someone else begged me to get out of the bar, that it was no place to be pregnant. she said she didn't want my baby to hear her being drunk and swearing. i told her she was just going to have to behave better! ha!

i filed my taxes a couple days ago! so proud of myself! i think it went better than last year. i did not come out owing. although last year, in the end, i got a credit. so. step one in operation buy a house is complete. as soon as i get my remittance i'm going to the bank to find out what kind of a mortgage they'll give me, and then there is actually a house i've got my eye on. it is definitely nothing special, it's had a for sale sign on it for some time now and i turned my nose up at it 6 months ago but now i just see it as having a lot of potential. we shall see!

it's windy out. it feels like a spring wind. it's pretty much march, we're in the home stretch i say! lots of sunshine, hopefully warmer weather...gonna try to get out snowshoeing a little more often. before i'm ungainly.

okay. that is all. bye!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

gettin' busy

well, yesterday was pretty much a write-off. i was feeling blue, so i had popcorn for dinner and watched t.v. until i couldn't stand it anymore. then i read until i fell asleep, the light of the full moon shining through my window.

it's still cold out there, ice fog making the bright sunshine a little fuzzy. the sky looks clear and blue above that.

i only allow myself one day to wallow in blue, so today i've been pretty active. i finished the birth house early this morning, what a powerful book! it should have won canada reads, although i haven't read the one that did win. justine, you'd love this book.

so anyway, i've done all the dishes and i finally moved the school desk out of my place. it's useless and takes up space. rearranged some shelves and started a little altar for myself. this is something i've done since i was pretty young...a place where i have candles, incense, rocks, crystals and feathers, pretty cards and bits of fabric all gathered together, a place for meditating and focussing my thoughts and hopes and wishes. seemed appropriate at this time, and it's been awhile since i've conciously made one. it always gives me a sense of peace and of the divine...whatever that may be.

going to make a pot of hot n' sour soup for lunch (finally getting back to making my own soups!) and then i might split some wood. if there's anything good about this extreme cold, it's how easy it is to split birch!

read through the nutrition section of "canada's pregnancy care book" yesterday. oh my! i thought i had a somewhat balanced diet but i do not. this baby is sure changing my life in a myriad of ways! so i'll be making a revised grocery list and hope to bring a little more balance and variety into my life. i figure i'm no longer spending money on booze, so i might aswell splurge a little in the grocery department!

things i refuse to give up: laliberte's citrus yogurt. it's the thickest most delicious yogurt i've ever had, it's full fat, and i love it!

got a hankerin' for eileen's pickled beets. i might ask if she's got any more jars in her pantry...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

sunday!

yay for days off! i rented a bunch of period movies today...the other boleyn girl, amadeus, and julius caesar. dinner plans include lemon basil chicken, quinoa and kale. i've only ever seen kale as a garnish at a restaurant before, but it just looked so lovely and leafy and green, so i figured why not give it a shot. i'm sure the joy of cooking will have a wonderful suggestion on how to prepare it.

i guess i've been using this first trimester as an excuse to be fairly lazy. mostly i lay about and read books and snack. rough life, hey? finished the scarlet letter last week, i really enjoyed it. and today i finished the white queen by philippa gregory. bit of a cliff hanger, that one! judging by the title of the next book, the red queen, i'm gonna guess that the yorks lose the final battle to the lancastrians. also because i know that the tudor family are the next to rise to power, and henry tudor was set to battle the york family at the end of this book. so there. next up: the birth house by ami mckay! i've been wanting to read this for a long time. i think i'm gonna love it.

i have a plan to start knitting again. i've got lots of little ends of really nice yarn, alpaca and mohair and such, but not enough to make any one substantial thing. so i think i'm going to make a blanket of knitted squares. perhaps i'll make a start while i watch movies tonight. woo hoo!

cold out again. must take cilla for a walk but i don't want to but i will. gonna walk the other way today, towards callison. thrilling. i actually miss being in town for the walks...lots more options there! up to crocus bluff, along the 9th ave trail, to the slide or at least the first lookout, along the dike, or right on the river. from where i am now, i can't quite get to the river...well i suppose i could walk out on the ponds but kim told me a story of falling through the ice, so that makes me a little nervous. there's a nice trail at rock creek, and the ridge road trail, but i hate when my walk has to start out with a drive.

more blood to be drawn tomorrow, not looking forward to that, but then it's date night with p! wish it was a bit warmer, i'd like to go snowshoeing.

okay. gonna finish my soup and then take cilla out. i've been eating way too much lipton chicken noodle. must get back into making my own soup.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

9 weeks

So says the doctor and the pregnancy calculator I tried online. I'm not sure about that number, but I'll go with it.

Had blood drawn yesterday. It was an ordeal, like usual. Got one of four vials filled before I came close to passing out. So then I got moved to a bed, a different nurse gave it a shot, no luck. Finally they called in "Mr. Vampire", aka Walker. He once checked me out at the nursing station on halloween, dressed as Shrek. Anyway, he had no problem filling the remaining vials and said some nice things to me, too.

Felt like crap for the remainder of yesterday, couldn't keep my lunch down. Skipped my board meeting.

Feeling all right today, had a good walk with the dog, gonna have some soup for lunch. My goal is to start drinking more water and eating more fruits and veggies. Part of this plan involves drinking vegetable juice. Mmmm.

Oh yeah...the nursing station phones me up today to tell me that they did the prenatal blood draw too soon so I have to go back in two weeks. That kinda pissed me off. I don't think I need to have all four vials redrawn, though. I'm pretty sure some of those were to check for STD's. Still. Get it together.

The first of the Quest mushers should be pulling in to town today, that's pretty exciting. Next year I'll be bringing a little bundled baby out to watch! Crazy!

I've been taking advantage of the satellite television lately, watched back to back episodes of "A Baby Story" on TLC today. I'm such a jerk, yelling at the women to suck it up and quit being such babies. I'm sure that means I'm going to have a horrible, lengthy labour as punishment. However, watched one that was a waterbirth today and it looked really easy and gentle. I wonder if that's an option in Whitehorse?

In other news, my pants are starting to get a little snug. Geez...already!?