Archives For PARENT!

I can parent! At least I can try!

Guys! I’m overdue. It’s cool though. I would have been sufficiently surprised if this kid came early or on time. I went to bed last night and didn’t even run the dishwasher because I knew I’d have time to do it tomorrow. I ALSO had time to watch the first two episodes of LOVE (which I kind of hate? But sometimes like. TV is complicated), and take a few pics of the bedrooms upstairs. All three of them have now, finally, after seven months of living in his house, ceased looking like this. As usual, both rooms are a combination of stuff I had, stuff I thrifted, and some mostly-on-sale new stuff.

Let’s have a look!


The New Nursery

I mentioned this on instagram a while back, but my biggest challenge with the nursery was making as many items from C’s nursery work in a different room. I adore the chalk-chevron mural wall the previous owners left in this room, and I also liked the cool baby blue colour, but none of those motifs gelled with the bright, primary vibe of C’s nursery.

The solution? A rug to tie together the bold reds from the old nursery, and the cool hues of the new one. It took me foreeeevvvvveeeeer to finally pick one, but I love the one we chose. It was on clearance from (though it’s still “on clearance” which makes me think it’s actually just always that price and I am sort of a sucker for thinking I got a deal… *Insert skeptical face emojij*). Anyways, deal or not, it totally bridged the two colour-stories together, and also introduced some new hues to play off.

One thing I like much better about this nursery as opposed to our first go at it is the more natural textures and colours. It adds some warmth to the room, and that moses basket that I thrifted for $8 from Value Village fits right in. I made it extra-cozy by adding a fluffy rug from IKEA. The little fox print was a gift from my mom for Christmas and also pulls a lot of the colours together.

Speaking of IKEA, we also bought a KALLAX shelf because they’re incredibly useful. The only other new purchase we made for room was upgrading our rocker. The one we had served us well but you spend so much time in that thing a comfier chair seemed a worthy investment.


C’s Room

Down the hall, C’s big-boy room is pretty much ready to go. I’d love a rug for this space too, but until I can be sure isn’t playing games with my heart, it’s good as is. My biggest victory with this room was finding sheets at Costco (that’s a place I both love and hate) that perfectly matched the wall colour and treatment. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES? When I showed them to Matt he did not match my enthusiasm, so only you, dear anonymous internet nobodies, can validate my joy.

The monster bedding came from some store in the mall I have already forgotten (sorry, Mall), and the bed frame was $50 from the Missions Thrift store.

It was really fun to work in these colours, and find as many dino-related items as possible. The little green guy on the floor is, literally, from the side of the road. So I guess that makes him a rescue dino! Which, for what it’s worth, is much easier than a rescue dog.

All that’s left to do now is bewitch this bed with enough magic to convince C to sleep in it all night. Witchcraft isn’t, like, hard, is it?


Master Bedroom

This room was a last minute addition to this post. Yesterday afternoon, my Simons order finally arrived, and in it was this cozy yellow blanket and gray carpet runner. Finally, I enjoy looking at my bed as much as I do sleeping in it. And since a newborn means the “sleep* portion of my life will soon be drastically reduced, I’ll comfort myself in the middle of the night by starring at that pleasing mustardy-hue on the throw blanket. That will not work, but I’ll lie to myself and say it might!

You may recognize the three prints above the bed. I’ve had them in every room in the house, but I think they’re finally in their forever-home. They served as the spring board for a lot of the colours I went with. As for everything else, the lamp on the right  and the yellow throw pillow are both from Sears, bought during their big closing/liquidation sale. And YES, I do feel guilty for shopping that sale when they were absolute jerks to their long-time employees about their pensions but I JUST REALLY LIKED THAT LAMP I’M SORRY PLEASE FORGIVE ME MIKE MYERS.

The table at the end of the bed is a great little mid-mod piece I scored off Kijiji last year for $15. I didn’t have room for it anywhere once we moved, and the few short months we used it at the old place left it with scratches and water stains galore. But I kept it around and realized a few weeks ago that it would work just fine as an end-of-the-bed bench, and the water stains could easily be covered up by a slathering of chalk paint. (Annie Sloan’s Amsterdam Green + a layer of the brown antique wax, if that stuff is your jam).

Another Kijiji purchase from the last few months is this beige dresser. The previous owners used some kind of mineral paint on it, I think, and I’m happy with how it works with the rest of the room. The print above it is just a piece of Cavallini wrapping paper, in a thrift store frame:

All in all, I really love the way this room finally came together. That’s often how it works when I decorate – I’ll slowly accumulate discordant items, with a vague hope in mind for how they might eventually work together, and then one day it finally comes together just the way you want.

And that right there is pretty much exactly what my body has been doing for nine months.  Now we just wait for the big reveal.

Until then!








I mean, sometimes you just have to name a post for what it is. Sure, you can buy a box of hair colour called “ICY COPENHAGEN” but sometimes it’s much easier to just buy the one that says “MEDIUM BLONDE” and be done with it.

And so! This post is called A Long Post About Breastfeeding because it is a long post about breastfeeding. And make no mistake about it: it’s going to take you 2-3 weeks to read. So buckle up.

But…why now? Why am I writing about nursing when my kiddo is three years old? Because just under three years ago, I made a promise to a former version of myself. It was the version that was up at 2am, timing her pumps on the “BOOBY TRACKER” app (that’s not what it was called but my memory is foggy), and reminding her husband to “CLEAN THE SUPPLEMENTAL FEEDING TUBE THING WITH BOILED WATER ONLY!”

I said to myself many times over back then: “This is nuts. I need to write about this someday.” And in those blurry, sleep-deprived days, I’d spend long hours scouring the internet for words of comfort from women in my position, so it’s only fair I pay it forward. With a new baby joining us in just under 6 weeks, the pressure finally did its job and “someday” has finally arrived.

Now where do we begin?


CHAPTER 1: The first week

Ah yes, here. The TL;DR version of that post is as follows: Traumatic birth story. C-section. Full anaesthesia. Obviously, I’ve spilled enough ink on that particular chapter already. But I bring it up again because it determined the beginning of my nursing story: mainly, that whole ish meant I was not able to even try nursing until 24 hours after my surgery and the anaesthetic was out of my system. I didn’t realize it at the time — which is probably for the best— but that set me behind right from the start. In an ideal world, a baby starts nursing almost instantly. That was, obviously, not the case for me and C.

And so, 24 hours after my c-section, we gave the whole nursing thing a shot, and it was…awkward! Very awkward. Not, like, embarrassing or anything (you lose all shame sometime around 5cm dilation). Just clumsy. My milk hadn’t really come in yet, so after a few half-assed attempts to get a latch going, the nurse brought in some formula and a supplemental nursing tube (more on that later). After fumbling with the tube and spilling formula all over my jammies, we gave C some formula via a bottle and vowed to try again soon. I wasn’t worried yet, but I knew it was not the cosmic connection some ladies get with their little ones the first time they nurse.

The next day, we went home.

Those first few days at home are just a blur. It was evident from the start I’d have to get well acquainted with a breast pump (and evident shortly thereafter that the single pump I bought was woefully insufficient – DOUBLE OR BUST, Y’ALL). I did all the things you do to get your supply going. I pumped. I had a Guinness in the bath. I took the fenugreek and blessed thistle pills in maximum amounts (that will never not sound like something from a witches’ brew to me). Really, I just tried to make some sense of this new reality, and feed my kiddo.

I wasn’t panicking yet. C was nursing – sort of. I had milk – sort of. I was pumping on schedule – sort of. But I knew it wasn’t where it needed to be.

Thankfully, my midwives were still visiting quite frequently, and I’m forever grateful for their measured and calming presence in a time that was neither measured nor calm. On one of our visits, I vented my frustration that no matter how long I let C nurse for, he’d always clean off a bottle of formula right after – I never seemed capable of giving him enough. At that point she said something that would turn out to be incredibly helpful in the months ahead:

“Well, that may just be what he likes.”

It was one of the first times I realized a *large* part of this breastfeeding business was totally out of my hands. I’d have to learn that lesson a few times over in the weeks and months ahead, but that was the first time: That may just be what he likes.

Anyways, at the same meeting, she recommended I schedule a visit with a lactation consultant, and wrote a prescription for domperidone (that will never not sound like a fancy champagne to me).


Chapter 2: The LC

Shortly thereafter, the lactation consultant came a ‘callin (one tiny benefit to having major surgery that re-arranges your organs: people come to you!). I liked her. She was no-nonsense. She almost immediately diagnosed C with a tongue tie (top and bottom), and I was grateful to have another thing to “fix.” We had that corrected within the week or so, and I booked a follow-up appointment at the lactation clinic.

Unfortunately, fixing C’s tongue tie wasn’t the magic switch I realized I wanted it to be. It seemed a little more comfortable for me, but his intake was about the same. The domperidone? Also not a magic switch. I never had that “big moment” where my milk just started to flow. It seemed it was always going to be a low supply. It was becoming ever-more apparent that a magic switch to fix all my nursing struggles may not actually exist (in hindsight: duh).

At my next meeting with the LC, she brought out the thing I had been avoiding for the past two weeks: The aforementioned tubey thing, a.k.a: a supplemental nursing system.

Really, it’s a very basic device with a fancy name. It’s just a super small, soft tube. It works like this: while your baby is nursing, you sneak one end of the the tube into its mouth. The other end of the tube is connected to a bottle of milk or formula. So, all the sudden the baby is getting a much better flow of goods. And the idea is they’ll be more enthusiastic eaters as a result. It also keeps the baby on the breast rather than the bottle. And I almost hated to admit it, but it totally worked for C in that appointment. After measuring him post-feed, we saw that he not only got the supplemental stuff from the tube, but drank much more from my breast in a shorter period of time.

So, I worked at it. And I actually got pretty darn good at it too.

And lo, the Days of the Tubey Thing began.


Chapter 3: The Tubey Thing

After mastering the tubey thing, this became my basic schedule: C would nurse for about a half hour minimum, with the aid of the tube. After he was done, I’d pump for 15-20 minutes, and we’d clean the tube (with sterilized water and a syringe) to get it ready for the next round. Three hours later, we’d do it all again: He’d nurse, while also taking in the milk I’d pumped previously via the tube, and so it went:

Nurse. Pump. Rinse. Repeat.

Nurse. Pump. Rinse. Repeat.

Nurse. Pump. Rinse. Repeat.

Nurse. Pump. Rinse. Repeat.

Nurse. Pump. Rinse. Repeat.

Nurse. Pump. Rinse. Repeat.

In those early weeks, I somehow managed to do this process 5-6 times a day. The LC recommended I try for 8 times a day. HAHAHA — NO. I did not take that recommendation on account of a desire to retain some sanity. I also stopped feeling bad about sneaking some formula into that tube when I didn’t get a good pump in. (Fun side story: it was during these weeks that I watched so much Netflix that we were slapped with a surprise $250 overage fee, and Matt miraculously got that charge dropped after playing on the sympathies of our internet provider. But I watched all 6 seasons of Parenthood and can you really put a price tag on quality time with the Bravermans?)

Reading this, I realize it sounds insane. And it was. But I had a new deadline on the horizon: I decided that at my 5-week LC appointment, we’d *officially* assess the progress, and determine if all of it was worth it. After that appointment,  I’d pick a lane: keep aiming for the elusive “exclusively breastfed” title, or become a formula mom.

That 5-week appointment came up surprisingly quickly, and it was totally anti-climactic. We did the usual routine: feed and weigh, but at the end of the appointment all she basically said was “Welp, keep at it!”

Uhhh…that’s it?  That’s all you got? Yep. That was it.

She didn’t offer the definitive diagnosis I assumed we were working towards. It’s silly, but I expected her to say “keep at this for X amount of time, and I’m sure he’ll be exclusively breastfed by X!” But LCs are not all-knowing geniuses. They don’t possess some secret ability to predict the future. They don’t know your baby. They’re helpful, knowledgeable women who offer positive encouragement and good advice, but they don’t have any magic answers, either. Though I think it might be time they retire the “make your boob a burger” line.

(This is a gif from Jane the Virgin, which, for what it’s worth, was the best depiction of breastfeeding stress I’ve seen on TV! It’s also a warm, clever, witty show with lots of hunky dudes so really, you need to be watching it.)


SO, what was next? I’d hyped up that 5-week mark so much in my head, I felt a little unmoored once it was over. What was the next milestone? What was the plan? How many more feeding tubes must I buy from the weird old people pharmacy that sells an insane amount of differently shaped toilet seats?

I had no idea.

So, I just…kept at it.

Not because I was working towards some specific goal, not because I had a guarantee it would all become easier, just because, well, the whole silly system – tube and all – was actually working for us.

For the next two months, I did the nurse/tube/pump dance. I relaxed the schedule slightly, and still had to top up with formula every day, but I planned my life around it. It was utterly baffling to me that I actually did very well on a super rigid schedule. I, Julie, Patron Saint of Perpetual Lateness and Forgotten Appointments, found myself thriving by adhering to strict plan. I could actually still do all of the coffee/thrifting/restaurant eating I was accustomed to, I just had to time it to the minute. So that’s what I did! It also helped that C himself was a super chill baby, and he became clock-work predictable in his eating times.

This period also revealed to me that I am, fo sho, an IN-TRO-VEEEEEERT. Sure, I like to make jokes at parties and I’ve done my share of high school drama, but at the end of the day, I was totally OK with hibernating for January, February, and most of March (I live in Canada – those months are all “freezing-this” and “windchill-that”). I was also able to go deep, deep into a cave of introversion because I had two sisters that lived down the street, and they made sure to check in on me and make sure I showered. Truly though: my personality, C’s personality and the time of year that he was born were huge factors in making this particular arrangement work. If any one of those things were different, I could not have pulled it off, of that I am sure.

All that said, please don’t think it was all tickety-boo. I’d cry when I felt overwhelmed. I panicked when my domperidone prescription ran out while I was out of town. I’d throw the tube across the room when C wouldn’t cooperate. I resented women who could just whip out their tatas at the mall and feed their baby like it was the easiest thing in the world. I wanted to hurl all “breast is best” internet comments into the sun (WE GET IT—IT RHYMES). Things like C’s baptism and lunch felt insanely more complicated to plot out than they would’ve otherwise.

But still, through all that, it was working for us.

And then we decided to take a trip. On a plane. Far, far away. And that brings us to our next chapter:


Chapter 4: Pump it!

In April of 2015, when C was approaching the 3 month mark, Matt said he’d really like to visit his brother in Alberta in May. Alberta, for my American friends, is another province that’s a 4 hour plane ride away. As soon as we decided we wanted to go, I decided it was time to say buh-bye to the tube. I’d become fairly adept at it, but there was no way I was going to fool around with that nonsense thousands of feet in the air. And we’d had a good run! A better run that most, from what the internet tells me. So, the tubey thing was out, and the bottle was back in. Although C hadn’t had a bottle in a few months, he figured out what to do with them again very quickly. (The trick to that? Using the ultra-cheap basic bottles they gave him in the hospital at the very beginning. Relatedly, if anyone is interested in an extensive collection of expensive, unused fancy bottles, drop me a line.)

So, C was back on the bottle a few weeks before our trip. And much to my relief and surprise, the tube-training must’ve done it’s job, because he still liked to nurse! Oh, he was still incredibly slow and lazy about it, but that worked in our favour on a 4 hour plane ride.

By the time the plane lifted off, I’d successfully changed up our schedule to: 1) pump all the damn time to keep up my supply  2) nurse occasionally 3) otherwise bottle feed. If you find yourself in a similar position, my best piece of advice for making this schedule work is to get comfortable with pumping eeeeeverywhere. I have pumped on a plane, in the air port, in the back seat (AND front seat) of the car. Basically, I have pumped in all the places where Dr. Suess refused to eat green eggs and ham.

Now, of course it’s a bit of a drag to take a pump with you everywhere. Of course it’s annoying to have to google how to clean bottles on a plane. But at this point I started to reap the benefits of having a baby on the bottle: Dad can help, you can feed your baby in the car, and you don’t need to whip out your tatas if you just don’t feel like it.

I should also mention that even with all the pumping I was doing, C was still topped up with formula every day. I had long since moved past my whole “EBF” (exclusively breastfed) goal — and found myself in a much better mental space because of it.

That trip was great, and set the tone for how I’d feed C for the next five months. I gradually starting slowing down my pump sessions, and when summer rolled around, I was only pumping two or three times a day. Before fall arrived, I made the decision to stop pumping all together. I was coming up on 9 months, and I had made peace with the reality that my supply might run dry without the constant pumps.

So I stopped.

…And C kept nursing. For almost two more years.


Chapter 5: The Other Side

Yep! When C was around 9 months, I entered into the chillest phase of our nursing story.

C nursed whenever he wanted, mostly before bedtime, but everything else was formula, and a few months later, homo milk. He still loved his bottles, and my supply stuck around.

This was also around the time that C started to find his voice. I noticed that whenever he’d want to nurse, he started saying “a-er side? a-er side?” It took me a little while to decipher what he was actually saying: Other side. AHAHA.  That was obviously picked up from me always announcing that I was switching him from one side to another halfway through our nursing sessions. A lesson drilled into me in the early days.

To this day, that’s still what C calls anything boob-related. Bras. Bathing suit tops. Just this summer, we walked into Victoria’s Secret, and he immediately started exclaiming “OTHER SIDE! OTHER SIDE” as he pointed out all the bras. SO SILLY.

Anyways, that turned out to be the perfect name for this particular chapter in our nursing story, because I was finally on the other side of rigid scheduling and additional equipment to make it all work. I do not take it for granted, even for a minute. I know the only reason I even got to experience nursing like this was because he wanted to keep doing it. As ye olde saying goes: You can take a baby to the boob, but you cannot make it drink.

Am I proud of all the work I did to get to that point? Yes. I am. But I would’ve been just as proud of myself for choosing a different path. I chose to do what was best for me, and best for babe. For some ladies that’s EBF, for others it’s formula or exclusive pumping, and in my scenario, it was a little bit of everything.


That’s it.

I  was going to write a little bit about weaning, but that was really truly just a gradual process. It sort of took care of itself. I am assuming potty training will do the same, right? RIGHT? No? Eeesh. That’s another post all together.

In any case, to the brave soldiers that have made it to the end of this post, WELL DONE! I  award you three lactation cookies and a pumping bra that is really just a sports bra with holes cut out.

I think the last thing I’ll do is just compile a list of posts and stories that I found helpful back when I was in the thick of it. You’ll notice they span a range of tones, because for me, I really needed it all: I needed posts that let me revel in my sadness and mourn the experience I wasn’t having, posts that made me feel like it actually wasn’t that big of deal, and posts that made me laugh (BREASTFEEDING IS A SCAM). That way, if nothing in the above 10,000 words (I assume that’s what we’re at at this point)  was helpful or comforting to you, perhaps you’ll find something below that does the trick!

Thanks for reading all. I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes with baby #2. I will probably get around to that post sometime in 2025.



Other articles that are helpful and shorter than Illiad:

From Nicole Cliffe at the Hairpin: On Being Unexpectedly Crummy at Breastfeeding

From Kaelah at This Charming Life: I Gave Up Breastfeeding…and We’re all Happier Because of It

From Kelsey at Snappy Casual: Why I Quit Breastfeeding

Esther at Her View From Home: Love is Best

And, practically speaking, Pumping on a Plane!









The Happy Tech

February 21, 2017 — 15 Comments

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Just over two years ago, I went for an ultrasound.

I was nearly 8 months pregnant with my son, Connor, and things were going exactly as they should. I was round, I was comfortable, I was excited. This ultrasound—a purely precautionary measure recommended by our midwives after a very slight fender bender—was to be done at the walk-in clinic just minutes from my house. The clinic was, as almost all walk-in clinics are, unremarkable. Beige and windowless, never without the pall illumination of fluorescent lights overhead.

But when I think back to that ultrasound, I don’t remember the beige or the bland. I remember the Happy Ultrasound Technician. He was a small man, with wirey hands and thinning hair, but his eyes were bright, and his smile was big. From the moment the ultrasound began, The Happy Tech beamed. While the whole process was old hat by then—brace for the cold gel on my stomach, place the pillow in the small of my back— the man beside made that beige room light up.

“A Christmas miracle!!” He said.

“…Oh gosh, I hope not!”  (I was, after all, a good month from my due date).

“Even better then! A New Year’s baby!”

“Haha, let’s hope.”

“Such a blessing, such a blessing.”

Looking back, he didn’t diagnose anything, of course. That’s not what ultrasound techs do. But his warm congratulations, the way he ushered me out of the office, and his parting smile as I went on my way, reassured me that all was well. And it was.

I remember telling Matt about The Happy Tech. Commenting on his sweet demeanour, grateful for his pleasant presence. But the cynic in me had to wonder, just a little, why he was so happy. Was it his first day on the job? Did he have a baby coming himself? Maybe he just got a raise! Or ate a really good breakfast?

Nearly two years to that day, that question got its answer.

On January 3, the Happy Tech conducted a very different ultrasound. He did not greet an 8 month-expectant mother. He did not see a soon-to-be-born baby summersault across the screen. And he did not talk of Christmas miracles.

Instead, he greeted an 8 week-expectant mother. And things went very differently. He had to look closer, and search longer than he expected for what he wanted to find. In the end, he could only note not where things were, but where they should have been. He offered no blessing. He gave no smiles. He only looked away, as the woman beside him barely disguised the panic in her voice.

“…but everything is OK, right?”

“I…well…you will have to discuss the results with your doctor.”

He could not wish her well. He could not smile. He could only go back to his office, and listen to the muffled sobs of a confused conversation between the woman and his receptionist.

“But…when will I know?

The Happy Tech was not happy that day, of course, because he already knew.


1in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. These are the statistics you never bother to learn until you join the ranks of the 1. And only once I had, did I realize that that technician must encounter anxious eyes and empty screens almost as often as he does the opposite. At first, this made me tremendously sad. Comparing our happy meeting with the one that confirmed our miscarriage only heightened the sense of loss.

But that is not what it does for The Happy Tech, and that’s not what it’s done for me since.

Because here is what I’ve realized: It is only because of the darkness he must encounter, and the heartbreak he must bear witness to, that he is able recognize the wonder when he sees it. On that day two years ago, as he caught a glimpse of Connor rolling around the screen, he knew, more than I did, that the ultrasound monitor was a window into something miraculous: a mystery, a marvel, a blessing.

Of course our miscarriage broke our hearts. Of course it altered the vision of our family. Of course we grieve it still. But as I do that, I will try, everyday, to be a little more like The Happy Ultrasound Technician. I will not be defined by the dark days, instead, I will freely talk of miracles when I see them. I will fervently thank the Lord for grace he’s already bestowed. I will recognize the blessings in my life and remind myself to not take them for granted, not for a minute.

I will try, as he did, to make even the beige rooms bright.



The Lion Coat

January 26, 2016 — 2 Comments

Hand-made Coat from Tulip and Bunny // Julie Van Can

Hand-made Lion Coat from Tulip and Bunny // Julie Van Can

Hand-made Lion Coat from Tulip and Bunny // Julie Van Can

Ok guys. I promise, when I rebranded, it wasn’t to sleathily convert this blog into a mommy blog. I PROMISE. But, I do recognize that between this post and the one previous, I’m dancing dangerously close to that edge of mommy-blogdom. Much like Mufasa dangling over the edge of that fateful wildebeest-surrounded ridge. It’s just, THIS COAT. HOW CAN I NOT POST EXCESSIVE PICTURES OF THIS COAT? IT HAS EARS AND A TAIL. LIKE YOU WOULDN’T DO THE SAME.

Woof. Okay. I’m sorry. Coats with ears launch me into caps-lock mode. Anyways, about this coat: This is the coat that Aunt Robyn made from an old wool blanket. Robyn is my dear eldest sister, and she’s amazing. She makes things – beautiful things, and this coat is among them. Robyn is Chief Proprietor and Head Sewer in Charge over at the shop Tulip and Bunny. (Insta here, Etsy here). She’s currently testing some patterns for Big Little, a pattern shop, and this coat is the result. AND she’ll make you one if you want! I truly don’t know how she does it.*** Like, literally. I don’t understand. She has four kids at home.  One is still a tiny baby. Whaaaaaaaaaaa? (That is both the sound of me saying a prolonged “what?” AND the sound her tiny baby makes.)

Hand-made Lion Coat from Tulip and Bunny // Julie Van Can

Hand-made Lion Coat from Tulip and Bunny // Julie Van Can

Anyways, Connor turned 1 this past weekend, and the gift of this coat is just one of the many wonderful ways our family and friends showered this little man with love. I cannot believe I have a one year old. Like, he smoulders. How did that happen? One day he’s a little baby burrito and the next day he looks like he could be on the cover of Baby GQ. Geez! The circle of life! I could launch into caps-lock mode about it all over again but I think this post has enough of it. I’ll lay off the SHIFT key.

Happy birthday little lion man. WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH.


***When I texted Robyn to tell her I took some photos, she said she’ll look when she’s home from McDonald’s. So, that answers how she does it. That’s how we all do it, #amiright?

1.You will grab your lunch from the fridge, because you prepared it the night before. It will be delicious and well-balanced. It will hit every major food group. There will be a microwavable component. It will involve no less than three tupperware containers in varying sizes. It is the only lunch of this kind you will ever eat.

2. You will spend a long (too long) amount of time planning out your child’s outfit. He will, for the first time in his 11-month long life, be wearing matching socks.

3. You will wear a black blazer. It will be a black blazer you have scarcely worn before. It will make you feel very professional. You believe it will announce to all your colleagues that you are now very serious because you have a black blazer. If they have any questions, they should just ask the blazer. The blazer is in charge.

4. You will be early, so early, to drop your child off at daycare. You will smile too much at his caretakers to mask your intense panic and distress at the insane speed in which time passes. You will go to your car, and have a tiny cry.

5. You will get to work on time.

6. You will notice a run in your nylons. There will always be a run in your nylons.

7. You will walk right passed the coffee kiosk on the wall to your office. You will not buy a muffin because of your delicious, well-balanced lunch. You will notice, though, that they added new flavours since you’ve been gone. You will try to banish the words “Chocolate Raspberry” from your mind.

8. You will joke with all your colleagues about how your daycare has a webcam and WOULDN’T IT BE SO SILLY TO WATCH YOUR KID ON A WEBCAM ALL DAY WHO WOULD DO THAT NOT ME OBVIOUSLY.

9. You will try to login to the webcam.

10. You will unsuccessfully try login to the webcam.

11. You will demand that your husband, who has successfully logged into the webcam, text you screen shots of your child on the webcam.

12. You will do some work.

13. You will, at long last, log into the webcam.

14. You will see that your kiddo is smiling. You will smile, too.

15. You will log off the webcam.

16. You will do some more work.

17. You will reward yourself for all your hard work with a raspberry chocolate muffin.

18. You will do some more work.

19. You will pick up your child from daycare.

20. You will give him all the hugs. There is now a nation-wide hug shortage because of all the hugs that were given.

21. You will go home.

22. You will throw your nylons in the trash.

23. You will realize that you did it. That he did it. That we did it. And we’ll all be OK.




This is Not A Birth Story

December 19, 2015 — 16 Comments


I’m going to tell you a story. It’s a story about the day my son Connor was born. But this is not a birth story.

Oh, I wrote a birth story. 7 months ago, in fact. It’s 3500 words long – a good 500 words longer than most of the papers I wrote in my undergrad. But I’m not going to share that story. That story sits in my drafts folder, and may surface someday, perhaps as required reading in high school health classes everywhere, as the country’s most effective means of teenage birth control.

So, why did I write a Birth Story Novella if I didn’t want to share it? Well, originally, I thought I would share it. In the weeks leading up to Connor’s arrival, I read every birth story I could find in my internet universe. Blogger birth stories. Family birth stories. Friend birth stories. Friend-of-Friend birth stories. Home births, c-sections, water births. You name it. If you’re reading this, and wrote a birth story, I read it. And so, a few months after Connor was born, I figured I owed the internet our birth story. I mean, that’s what bloggers do, right? And writing a birth story is supposed to be healing! Cathartic! Magical, even!

So, I hunkered down, hospital charts in hand for reference, and wrote Connor’s birth story. I wrote about my 36 hours of labour. The tub labouring. The epidural. The oxytocin. The epidural failing. The saline injections. The 2.5 doses of lidocaine. The back labour. The midwives that began and ended their shifts during my labour. The 3 hours of pushing. The vaccuum. The moment when everyone in the room finally realized Connor wasn’t coming out on his own.

And, worst of all, I wrote about being strapped down to a table in the operating room, contractions still coming fast and furious, and realizing the spinal for my c-section wasn’t taking either.

“It’s not working. Oh God, Oh God, it’s not working.”

I wrote about the fear when I realized they’d have to put me completely under.

I wrote about the panic, the agony, the despair unlike anything I’ve experienced in my lifetime.

I wrote about how the first memory of my son is hardly a memory at all – a fleeting image – brief, and bleary. A hazy picture of Matt with a baby. “What is it? What is it?” I said, before drifting back to darkness.

I wrote about all of that, because that, technically, is Connor’s birth story. And that birth story sucks.

For a long time afterwards, I couldn’t think about it too much. It was too unfair that so many people held Connor before I did. That so many people heard his cries before I even awoke. That I wasn’t there for his first hours on this earth. That after all the work, all the suffering, I was robbed of the moment that was supposed to make it all worth while: A baby on my chest, my husband beside me, in on the world’s best little secret: that we were three.

Writing about those feelings wasn’t cathartic. It wasn’t healing and it wasn’t magical. It just made it all worse.

And so, after spilling 3500 + words on Connor’s birth story and feeling no better, I started thinking about the moments after that story ended. Because when Connor’s “official” birth story ended, this story began:

This story starts 36 hours after my first contraction. 12 hours after my epidural. 3 hours after Connor was delivered via c-section and 1 hour after I woke up and blacked out again. This is the moment I met my son. And it doesn’t matter who held him first or how he got here, because when my husband Matt put him on my chest for the first time, it felt like two pieces of a locket finally coming together.

This story continues when Matt handed me a phone, and I got to tell my mom, voice broken and cracked, that she and Dad had their first grandson. That his middle name was Thomas, after Dad.

This story gets even better when, after introducing Connor to a room full of people that will love him every minute of his life, the nurse turned of all the lights, wrapped Connor in a blanket, and tucked him right back into my chest. It was the complete reversal of the scene a few short hours earlier. Instead of blinding lights overhead, an operating room full of people I didn’t know, and a sleep that wasn’t natural at all, I had only the soft light lights of the city outside, an empty room, and four hours blissful sleep with my baby boy.

This is the story that matters, and one I’m privileged to live out, chapter by chapter, every new day I spend with Connor.



Birth stories can be beautiful, empowering, and full of memories to be cherished, but they can also be gruelling, disappointing, traumatic and awful. And I’ve finally realized that those stories are OK to forget.

I think I found it so hard to come to terms with with that last statement because we live in an age where people make playlists for their births. They bring in professional photographers to capture every minute. They pick out candles and hire doulas and plan a birth experience. And that’s not a bad thing! That’s good! But the undercurrent running beneath that sort of attitude—that a birth story is the most important moment in your life, and it will fulfill every expectation the internet puts out there—can make it incredibly crushing when you don’t get a story you want to remember. Thankfully, I’ve learned that there are always other stories worth remembering.

Those other stories everywhere. Like the story of a couple’s first glimpse of the sweet two year old they’ll soon bring home from an orphanage. The story a precious babe’s first night at home after months in the NICU.  The story of these three young foster children getting their adoption papers for Christmas. They’re not birth stories, but stories of beautiful beginnings all the same.


Once the clouds around my labour finally lifted, I not only had a new appreciation for the stories like the ones above; I was also finally able to hear, and appreciate, one more very important story from that day – the one from my husband.

Matt didn’t get to see Connor being born. He didn’t get to hold my hand for the final push. He heard Connor’s first cries only as muffled wails through hospital walls. But none of that tempered the unbelievable joy and relief he felt when the doctor rushed out to tell him “It’s a boy!”

Connor didn’t get to spend his first hours on this earth with me, but he did get to spend them with his Dad: skin-to-skin, head on heart.

Now isn’t that a beautiful story?




March 10, 2015 — 5 Comments

Well hello there long lost friends! Can I still call you my friends? Even though I haven’t texted, called, or blogged lately? Yes? Oh, that’s very kind of you. As most of you know, I do have a pretty great excuse for my little mid-winter blog hiatus, and his name is Connor.

connor blog

This little man stormed into our lives on January 22, 2015, and he’s amazing. I’ve opened up a draft post so many times since then – and nothing ever came of it for a few reasons 1) Time is no longer something I have in abundance and 2) There is just TOO MUCH to say. Parenthood is a wonderful and crazy and tiring and magical journey, and every time I tried to write about, it ended up a lot like this sentence – rambling and full of cliches that didn’t do justice to the experience. So, I’m going to put all of those thoughts on ice for a bit, and just say “hi!” from our new little family of three.

Lest this blog become a mommy blog, I’m going to point all of you to my instagram account for the baby picture spam. And spam there will be! Because he’s the cutest baby that ever was! (Sorry, I thought I could get through this post without doing that but turns out NOPE). But seriously, spring will be upon us soon, and my post-preggo thrift trips have already yeilded some great finds. So, stay tuned, stay warm, and I’ll see you all in a little while. 🙂