Archive for April, 2010

The Big Conference!

April 27, 2010

I sat down in my seat, surveyed the room full of two hundred lactation consultants, doulas and public health nurses, and felt…right. I belonged there. THIS is where I was supposed to be! I’m sure raging pregnancy hormones *may* have had a tiny role, but I actually felt tears prick my eyes as I realized that I have finally found my calling.

I learned so much, and it was reaffirmed to me just how much there is still is to learn. I am looking forward to being in a role where my sole responsibility is to help mothers and babies. I am certain challenging times will present themselves, but I imagine it will be a rewarding career.

My most favourite presentation was by Diane Weissinger. She gave a presentation which was focused on what we, as humans, can learn from other mammals about the birth process and breastfeeding.

I was fascinated the entire time she was speaking and am not sure if I can do justice to the gist of her message here.

She began her career as an ethologist – someone who studies animal behaviour. She studied the “sand bathing rituals of the brown quail”  - or something of the sort – which when she announced that at the beginning of her talk brought several snickers from the crowd. We were wondering how THAT exactly brought her to be speaking at a breastfeeding conference…

Well, she eventually did go on to become a certified LC, but there were experiences from her first life with quails that taught her a lot about humans.

She told us a story of when she would be observing these birds in a lab setting. When the study first started, her bird blind  had not yet arrived so she crouched in the corner of the room to observe the bird’s behaviour. She was astounded by the strength of the pecking order that existed. There were very clear boundaries and roles within the bird’s flock. Her bird blind eventually arrived and once she was undercover and no longer noticed by the birds, an astounding thing happened: the pecking order completely disappeared. She realized that it was her mere presence that was causing the birds to act a certain way.

She went on to talk about birth and always came back to the example of the quails. What smalls things are we doing with births that are unknowingly altering it’s natural course?

She discussed the “birthing practices” of several mammals. Pick a mammal. The literature for every single of  them  tells owners/vets to make sure the mother is in a comfortable, familiar place. Lights should be dim and the room should be quiet.  You are never to move a labouring mammal… she should be left to position herself as she pleases. Interrupting her can stall her labour….

So here’s the big lightbulb… WE ARE MAMMALS!!!

Think back to the quails…. what interferences are we lending to the birth process by continually checking dilation (the cervix knows how to dilate – it doesn’t need help!), telling women when to push (again – women know how and when), and having women lie down flat on their backs (women who are allowed to position themselves almost always squat when giving birth…)

Somehow through the medicalisation of birth, women have learned that we don’t know how to give birth and to breastfeed, when our bodies and our babies know exactly what to do.

I remember moments after Tristan was born, asking my midwife if I should try to nurse him. She told me to go ahead and I clearly recall looking up at her with anxious eyes as I replied, “But I don’t know how….”

The truth is, if an (un-medicated) baby is left to lay skin-to-skin on his mothers chest, he will find his way to the breast all on his own. When he is only minutes old. Amazing! (You can see an example of it here and an interesting study here). Of course, it is common for help to be needed with positioning and latch, but the point is that it is natural and instinctual for both mama and baby.

Anyways, just some food for thought. It’s really making me think about how I would like my upcoming birth to unfold.

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My first course, Breastmilk: Composition and Function starts this week. I know, sounds thrilling doesn’t it?

To me, it actually does! :)

Kudos

April 26, 2010

After being away from the house for work day hours for two days this week because of my conference, I’ve really got to give a shout out to all the working (outside of the home) parents out there!

I was home at 5:30 which gave me a scant hour and a half to get dinner ready, play with Tristan and get him ready for his 7:00 bedtime. Phew. Not an easy job.  Tougher still for single parents (Luc was away…). I  fed the munchkin frozen chicken fingers and french fries, and we definitely didn’t make the bedtime.

Anyways, it was a glimpse for me just how busy and how organized working parents have to be. Kudos to you guys for everything you do to take care of your families. :)

My First Conference!

April 21, 2010

Just a little update…. I am going to be spending the next two days at the Ottawa Valley Lactation Consultants annual conference! The event is titled, “Strategies to Help with Breastfeeding.” It sounds like a great way for me to start my formal education in my new field.

I’m excited to meet new people, and I know I will be exposed to more knowledge that I can hope to remember in such a short time frame. It will be fun to feel like I am really “one of them!”

I know I will be exhausted by the end of it. No parks and playgroups for me for the rest of the week – the conference runs 7:30 to 4:30 both days!

Permission to Love

April 12, 2010

Big news to announce today…. Tristan will be getting a little sibling, somewhere near the end of October!

I had my first ultrasound  today… we saw the tiny babe (6.1 cms long!) and saw the miniature heart fluttering from deep within my belly. What an active little munchkin s/he was, doing flips and turns, definitely giving the tech who was trying to take measurements a run for her money!  The little hands were constantly up around the face, reminding me of Tristan, as this is exactly how he was born, with one arm draped across his forehead!

It’s amazing how seeing those images on the screen have somehow made this so much more real. Five minutes of seeing my precious new little babe on a screen have made me fall in love… where yesterday I had no connection to this pregnancy at all.

Somehow, seeing this active little peanut, growing exactly according to textbook timeline, four miniature limbs waving around, has given my heart permission. Permission to love the new life growing inside me. My new baby!

The G-Factor

April 11, 2010

There is nothing so sacred as the bond between a grampa and his first-borne grandson.

From the time when Tristan was a tiny, colicky baby, Tristan and grampa were two peas in a pod. They would go on endless strolls around the city so that both Tristan and I, so completely sleep deprived, could finally get some rest.

Now that Tristan is older (almost the ripe old age of two!) their bond continues to strengthen everyday. They call each other on the phone several times of day, and “papa” is often the first word out of Tristan’s mouth when he wakes up in the morning.

Oh, mommy and daddy are pretty special in this little guys life too, but grampa trumps us all.

As an extremely attached mama, I am so blessed to have someone (no, many someones) in my son’s life who love him so much. But there is something special about grampa. There is no one Tristan would rather be with if mama and daddy are away, and no one we are more comfortable leaving him with.

Sure, my kid will more than likely have the far-from-complete diet of popcorn, french fries, chicken fingers and ice cream while we are gone. But oh, he will be one happy boy.

Gratitude

April 4, 2010

It is Easter weekend. The sun is shining and the thermometre is soaring well into the 20s. Luc had Good Friday off and we had big family plans of enjoying this incredible weather.

Meanwhile…

I have a fever and every swallow I take feels like shards of glass.

Argh.

Yesterday morning, the most beautiful of all weekend, we had big plans to hit up the Experimental Farm with some friends. We were looking forward to enjoying the sunshine and “OOOoohhing” and “AAAAaahhhhing” over the cute newborn baby lambs.

Luc and Tristan jumped into the car and headed off to the farm. I jumped in my own car and headed to a walk-in clinic.

After getting a throat swab done, I had to head over to Loblaws to pick up groceries for the Easter Dinner I was to host the following night. It was the last thing in the world I wanted to do when I was feeling so horrible, but I had four people coming for dinner and I had to feed them something!

I quickly made my way through the store, picking up only what I needed for dinner. When I turned the corner, I was kicked while I was down. Hard.

I had NEVER seen line ups like this in my life. I chose the best looking line and skeptically counted each cart as I walked to the back of the line.

Sixteen. There were 16 people in front of me who had to pass through the cash before I had a hope of getting out of this madness. So what did I do?  The obvious. I called Luc and cried. Yup. I can admit it. I cried in Loblaws. I just felt so horribly and the thought of standing there  in this atrocious line was almost too much to bear. But what choice did I have? The Easter Dinner was looming.

That night, I sat all alone, eating a can of mushroom soup. Luc and Tristan had gone to a BBQ that I should have been at as well. But alas.. that pesky fever and sore throat kept me housebound.

As I really started to feel sorry for myself, I was reminded of something I often see on my friend Katie’s facebook page.

Gratitude.

Often, her status report are simple lists – small reasons why she is thankful to be alive today. Small things that make this life so wonderful.

So I’m not feeling the best I ever have in my life. I still have much to be thankful for.

I am grateful for:

Two sets of parents who wanted to spend a holiday dinner with us.

Our health. Besides this darn cold.

Sticky drool running drown my incredibly happy son’s face as he devours his chocolate eggs.

Colourful eggs in cups.

An Easter morning so warm that the Easter Bunny hid his eggs outside.

An awesome husband and the sweetest boy on the face of the earth.

Bubbles.

Ahhhh… life is good!

And thus was the end of my pity party!


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