Friday, February 29, 2008

To Paisley: One Month Old

Today is your due date and it's hard to believe that you have already been here for a month. People told me while I was still pregnant that once you arrived we would have a hard time remembering what our life was like before you existed. In some ways that is true but there other days, quick moments, where I look at you in your bassinet or hear you cry and I am still caught a little off guard. A new person who belongs to you, is part of you, is sometimes too much to really grasp.

This month has easily been the most monumental of my life. From the moment they passed you to me and your Dad and I looked into your eyes, to that first night in the hospital when they brought you in at 2 am and I was still doped up and exhausted and thought you were mentally handicapped because you couldn't keep your eyes straight - you have changed me. I had heard so often that it takes days, even months for women to bond with their babies and that it was a myth that it happened immediately. So, I was prepared to feel somewhat apathetic when I first held you. Paisley, I loved you the second I first saw you and felt such a strong desire to protect you and keep you safe that I thought my heart was going to explode.

Before I had you I liked to sleep - a lot. I was always someone who needed eight hours and if I was tired enough I would cry, get angry and if push came to shove, I would have quit a job rather than go into a work with no sleep. Now, I wake up every two hours to feed you and believe it or not, it is a joy. I feel grumpy when I first hear you cry but by the time I have you in my arms and I am looking down at your little face I am cooing and smiling and genuinely happy to see you. I've never been happy to see anyone at 4:00 in the morning. We go into the nursery and I feed you while I sing you songs. I have developed an impressive repertoire of children's songs and when I run out I resort to reading you magazine articles in a sing-song voice. I figure I've got some time before you understand what I'm actually saying. It feels good to know that I am feeding you and my singing seems to calm you but it also calms me. Being your Mom has taught me patience and a gentleness that I've never really had to tap into before.

You and I hang out during the day and as I walk around the house trying to get odds and ends done I narrate. "Mommy is going to have some cereal isn't she? Yes, she is." It feels a bit funny sometimes but it makes sense to talk to you and hearing my voice makes you happy. You'll probably grow up to be that annoying kid who always speaks in the third person but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

This month has held many firsts for you. You had your first bath and although you didn't really like it you tried to be cooperative. You have started making eye contact and we can tell that you know who we are and that you at least like us. You make little elephant sounds now and I think it's your way of trying on this new voice that you've only just discovered. You reached 8 lbs this month and we were so chuffed that you were growing well and were healthy. You slept in your bed for the first time and you slept in our bed for the first time and I can tell you that it didn't take you long to determine which you preferred. As soon as you lie down next to your Mom or Dad and are cuddled up between us you fall into a deep sleep. And so do we because it feels so good and so right to be a family.

Having a baby makes you think a lot about your own life and who you are as a person. Having you has made me want to be better, to set goals for myself and achieve them because I know that you will be watching. It has made me more determined to be the person I have always wanted to be because suddenly, all the things I do or don't do, they really matter.

I think you and I are going to be good friends and I am excited for all the things ahead of us. This world has so many wonderful things to offer and we each have a lot of growing to do.


Friday, February 15, 2008


I feel like I am usually a positive person but this will not be a positive post. Today was my 30th birthday and it sort of sucked. I was home alone with Paisley for most of the morning and tonight I am too tired to really do much of anything. None of my clothes fit properly and I feel fat and ugly and old. I also happen to feel like a dairy cow these days. There aren't any big celebrations and I can't really have a drink and my facebook account was hacked into. If some robot wants me to post "pimp-ass ring tones" on the walls of every person I know, did it really have to be done on my birthday?

Your 30th birthday is a big one. I had always promised myself that I would so something really BIG for this birthday. For Brian's 30th we climbed Fuji. I wanted to be either in a plane going somewhere spectacular or jumping out of a plane. I don't want to sound too pissy because I do realize that having a baby is pretty big and that Paisley is the best birthday present I could have ever asked for - I get that. But she doesn't come in wrapping paper and she isn't an activity that has made me feel young and cool like I needed to.

I am fully aware that how I am feeling is largely due to hormones and having been in my house for two weeks straight. That is why I am going to pretend today didn't happen and focus on tomorrow. Tomorrow will be good. My brothers are coming from Edmonton to meet the baby and we are having a small birthday celebration at my parents house. I will be surrounded by the people I love and who love me, and I will feel better I'm sure. And I'll be just as 30 as I am today.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008


As a diabetic I have lived the last year of my life in 2-hour intervals. I always have to know what time I ate, how many units of insulin I took and then test my sugars two hours after each meal. My life with Paisley is lived in increments of 3 to 3.5 hours. She feeds every 3 hours roughly which takes about 40 minutes. I used to take my "bedtime" insulin before I went to sleep and then test in the morning when I woke up. Since day and night are indistinguishable from one another and I no longer have a bedtime or a wake up time the whole exercise has become a bit of a farce. At night I sleep for two hours between feeds and during the day I try to get little things done (like a load of laundry or a shower) between feedings. I have found it incredibly difficult to balance both schedules and have found myself missing meals, eating dinner at 11:00 at night and sleeping through countless blood sugar readings. While being a new Mom is going very well, being a diabetic Mom is harder than I thought it would be.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

How Things Have Changed...

It is a cliché to say that life after a baby will never be the same, but after knowing Paisley for only one week I have to say that it is indeed true. Already my life has changed and I have gained a new perspective on many things…I understand things in a way that I didn’t before and see old things from a new perspective.

I now understand how my parents must have felt when they first met me. I always knew they loved me but I never really understood how much until now…

I now understand why people steal the children they cannot access and how painful it must be to not be able to see your child whenever you want…

I can sympathize with those crazy Christians who want to protect their children from the evils of the world. While our definition of evil may differ I can understand how you would not want such purity and innocence to be exposed to the realities of today’s world…

I love Brian more than anything but I have never before experienced such a deep, selfless love. She is reliant on me for life and I have never before been so important and so humbled all at once…

Hours can be spent just watching her, she is so perfect and with every little twitch of her mouth or gurgle, I fall even more in love…

I looked at Paisley today and I suddenly realized how it must have felt for my Mom when I so casually left home at 18. I remember her shock when I told her I had chosen a university 15 hours away and declared I was getting the "heck out of there". It wasn't her that drove that decision but a strong desire to get out into the world and be independent. I now know how it must have felt and how hurt she must have been. My heart aches for the woman who dropped off her first born and drove away, to go home to an empty bedroom and memories of me as a baby and as a child. How lonely she must have felt...

I feel more vulnerable than I ever have. I have always felt things strongly and I have come to realize that without knowing or without meaning to, this baby is going to break my heart...

One week in and I am already lost in her. She has become the centre of our family and the joy in my world. Just wait until she can actually do something.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Paisley Elizabeth Knox West

On January 31st at 1:44pm I became a Mom to the most perfect little girl I have ever seen. She was early and so unexpected that I refused to believe I was in contractions for at least five hours but she came anyway and I couldn't be happier.

I went into labour on the afternoon of January 30th. I was so tired all day and getting increasingly mad at myself for being so lazy when there was so much to be done. By the time Brian arrived home from afternoon classes I was in agony but insisted that it was probably just bad gas. I sent him to the store to secure some relief and only after that didn't work and the pain intensified to what surely would have been the worst gas in human history, I demanded to be taken to the hospital. We packed the hospital bags that we had been meaning to pack for weeks and headed to the hospital (where a part of me was still sure they would tell me it was a false alarm). They checked me out and sure enough, I was having contractions and was dilated 3cm.

Labour is a normal (and very useful) part of having a baby but when said baby is breech and has her head tucked neatly under your ribs instead of in your pelvis, it raises some major concerns. They tried to stop the labour by giving me morphine (Hallelujah!) and while that worked to slow things down they were still progressing. The Doctors were really torn about whether or not to c-section right away...I, on the other hand, was not. Brian and I repeatedly asked the doctors to proceed since I was probably going to be sectioned within the next 2 weeks anyway and I had already been in labour for 12 hours. They eventually concluded that they had no choice and assured us we would be next in line for the operating room.

We waited another agonizing 4 or 5 hours after that due to an emergency twin c-section and while I wandered in and out of my morphine haze, Brian managed to sleep for a few presumably uncomfortable hours on the hospital room floor. Soon enough they brought Brian his booties and surgical hat and we were rolled into the delivery room. The whole procedure didn't last longer than half an hour. At the point at which the doctors grabbed the baby's feet and started to pull her out Brian was invited to stand up and look over the drape. I will never forget the look of wonder on his face and the tears that started to well up as soon as he saw his little girl. We were both crying and when I heard her cry and knew that everything was okay, I completely lost it. They cleaned her up and handed her to Brian who took her to me and the two of us held our baby together for the first time. Words cannot describe how that felt - to know that this new little person was half of me and half of him and that we were embarking on this new journey together was without a doubt the biggest moment of my life.

The baby was originally named Hannah after my Grandma who passed away last year. Grandma was my best friend and a huge influence in my life and so I wanted to honour her by giving my baby girl her name. After calling her Hannah for a couple of days though it just didn't seem to fit. The name Hannah will always make me think of my Grandma and the more I thought about it the more I realized that this new baby was a new person and deserved her own name. My Grandma was one of the most interesting, funny and special people I have ever known and I thought it best to leave the name with her. It was hard to call my Mom and tell her that we had changed her mind but as always she was very understanding and she made me feel much better when she said "Grandma would have killed herself laughing about this!" and she's right. That the way Hannah was.

Paisley is the name of the Scottish town where my Grandma is from. My great-grandma lived there, my grandparents were married there and I was baptized there so it has a lot of significance for me. Not to mention that Brian and I loved the name and as it turns out, she looks like a Paisley.

Because of my diabetes Paisley had some struggles in the hospital with her blood sugars. The first two days were long as we struggled to get 3 good sugar levels in a row. Each test required a heel poke which hurt her and Brian was getting increasingly frustrated (and protective) with every poke. Each time we got a bad sugar we would have to start back at square one. Eventually though we did get it and her little pancreas woke up and realized it was on its own. She had some jaundice as well which necessitated another 24 hours in the hospital. It was long but she was a tough little cookie and we came home yesterday afternoon - 5 days since Brian and I first arrived in the maternity ward.

I can't believe how quickly we have fallen in love with her and how it almost feels as though she was always here. For 29 years I lived without her, and now that she's here, it sort of all feels like a blur. It could be hormones or a severe lack of sleep but it's just as likely that sometime between January 30th and today, I have truly become a Mom.