Matchy Matchy
by Karla ° Sunday, January 28, 2007
Straight from a local retail sales rack and an online ebay auction, Mom and Son duo look surprisingly lame in their matching winter apparel.

While mom sports a floor length faux shearling jacket, baby Nate is rockin’ his unshapely faux suede bunting bag that is also large enough to fit a Guatemalan sea cow.



Today a huge barrier was broken down. For the first time since Ava died, I finally held another baby and was not overcome with jealous rage and burning tears.

Meet my four month old Nephew and my bra strap.


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Earmuffs
by Karla ° Friday, January 26, 2007

Dear Gerber

Thank you for understanding that some breastfeeding mothers need nursing pads. I discovered my need for them the hard way. While standing in a check out line with a shrieking baby I noticed the clerk glancing at my boobs. I was all like, yeah dude, I'm totally rocking this new cleavage thing, glad you like it. But then we exited the store and my husband discreetly pointed out that the front of my shirt was soaked with two breast milk bull’s-eyes.

For the most part, I like your products. The easy grip baby shampoo bottles are a wonderful innovation when it comes to not dropping wet and slippery things on my baby’s head, and the Oatmeal baby lotion smells heavenly and does a great job at masking suspicious dirty diaper smells.

I am miffed however, as to why your nursing pads are made with tree bark and sawdust. They are irritating and abrasive and this is most annoying because - have you ever tried to scratch an itch on your own nipples? Didn’t think so.

I know that centuries ago before the invention of fiberglass insulation, sawdust was used to insulate homes, but my nipples aren’t cold – they are wet. Perhaps I should let the guy up the street know of your product the next time he puts his trash out – sans pants - in the middle of the winter. Maybe his nipples get cold?

I have heard that materials with natural polymers like cotton are quite the innovation when it comes to softness and dryness, but since I am a lowly consumer, you probably don’t care about my ideas. Maybe you could enlist a company spy to scope out the production line over at the JOHNSON'S® Nursing Pads factory for ideas. At least their pads have a silent, rustle free design. Your breast pads crinkle and crackle. This is most embarrassing when I lay my baby’s head against my breast and it sounds like I have stuffed my bra with shopping bags.

Additionally, the concept behind your patented LeakSafe Design™ blows. These are quite possibly the most hugeified Mother of all Nursing Pads known to mankind. I have yet to meet a woman who needs protection from leaky nipples from her belly button to her clavicle. Apparently you know of these ladies. Next time the Freak Show Circus comes to town, I will be sure to attend and see this phenomenon for myself. In the meantime, my dog is enjoying his new earmuffs.

Thank you kindly for your time.

Lactationally yours,

Karla




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Pants are Not Optional
by Karla ° Thursday, January 25, 2007
Ever since Ava died, Mark and I knew it was time for a new direction in our lives. It was one of the first things I thought of when they turned off Ava’s life support machine and my mind hasn’t changed on the matter one bit. We want a fresh start, a new chance at life, anywhere but here - this home of shattered dreams and painful memories.

At first we only considered our options within Canada, but then we realized that the world is not flat and we would not fall off the earth and land into a black hole of nothingness where everyone stands on their head and speaks fuckinese if we venture outside the borders of the Great White North. And so Mark started applying to jobs in the UK, Australia and the US.

Our ticket to a new life was unexpectedly handed to us on a silver platter a couple of weeks ago. Mark was offered a job in Manhattan. A good, no – make that a freaking fantastic job opportunity that came with a nice padded salary and would do wonders for his professional career. It also came with good benefits – the kind that doesn't cause us to blow smoke out our ears and do backwards cartwheels in concentric circles out of frustration at his current benefits situation. And what did we go and do? We turned it down.

The logic?

We would have had only three weeks to pick up and move our lives out of the country, and that felt all but overwhelmingly impossible with a newborn. I would have had to live here alone with the baby until we managed to rent or sell our home and find a place to live in New York. The timing couldn’t have been worse.

I don’t know if we made the right decision at this point in time or not, but it’s done. Hindsight is a 20/20, apparently.

So when the dust settles, and we adjust to life with a baby, the world will become our playground once again.

Because a big move is a likely possibility in our near future, it would be awesome if you could share with me a little about where you live and what it’s like to raise a family, or what the job market is like, whether or not milk expensive and if you have to shovel snow and will everyone laugh at me if I say ‘eh’ after every sentence and do your neighbours wear pants?


I wonder what 'whaaaaaaaaa' sounds like with an Aussie accent?

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A Wonderful Place called Cyberspace
by Karla ° Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Where else can I get virtually instantaneous feedback to ease my overly paranoid brain and receive confirmation that I have birthed a run of the mill standard kidlet when it comes to his combustible bum rocket and spit up habits? Thank you for the advice, truly. I like the feeling or normalcy.

I also must thank two very special blog friends of mine for the wonderful gifts I recently received.

Cuppa has sent me an adorable figurine to represent my December baby along with the cutest little bibs. As a mom to a Christmas baby as well, Cuppa understands how special it is to have a birth at that time of year. Although we have never met, I have “known” Cuppa since December of 2004. In fact, I believe it was her husband, AC’s blog, that was the first blog I became fan of.

When Ava died, Cuppa connected with me and stood by my side sending encouraging emails and special surprises to my door step. Her support and compassion was pivotal to my healing and I do not know a single person on this planet that I have never met in real life that I hold so much adoration and respect for. The pedestal she stands on is mighty high. She is such an extraordinary and inspirational lady.

And speaking of extroardinary people - Heather has sent me these two wonderful gifts. Heather and I have had the fortunate opportunity to meet in real life and as someone who has also experienced the traumatic loss of a child; we shared an instant bond and connection. I considered Heather to be one of the most grounded humans ever, until she took flight and went sky diving, and then I thought she was the bravest human ever with a unique way of surrounding your entire being with kindness and warmth. She has just returned from a second trip to Africa on a mission to end hunger. If you haven’t read about her journey, you are missing out.

Marisa over at city mouse tees has so kindly sent my whole family gifts. The baby yoga set is quite the serious accoutrement of rapturous cuteness.

And of course, I couldn’t end this without sending my sincere thank you to the unending flow of emails I have received congratulating my family on Nate’s birth. Thank you for your kindness. I’m still working at responding to each and every one of them, so please don’t feel slighted if you haven’t received a response.

I don’t know what I did to deserve such an outpouring of tear-jerking kindness, but my heart is inflated and deeply touched. Truly, thank you.

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Spit Happens
by Karla ° Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Nate has recently started spitting up alot. He’s always had a bit of spit up after he eats, but recently it seems to be getting worse, like more voluminous with instantaneous ejection out of his mouth after every feed.

When he eats, we start off with the cross cradle hold and switch to something that is a mix between the football and cradle position, because I am stubborn like that and refuse to believe that the happy and smiling moms in breastfeeding pictures and centuries of tried and tested positions are comfortable. It is exactly the second that I sit him upright to burp him that his meal comes right back up and lands in equal parts on the front on his sleeper and my sleeve. And then my mommy panic alarm goes off because I don’t know how much he is keeping down versus spitting up. I wish my boobs printed out a lactating spreadsheet of consumption to study and troubleshoot.

And I know the whole kid poo thing has been a topic so overused it is beyond boring now, but maybe you can help this lactating apprentice out. What constitutes diarrhea and how much water is too watery? It’s not like breastfed baby poos are solid. They are the colour of mustard mixed with a hint of chocolate and sometimes they are wet, and sometimes they are wetter. Sometimes they even explode up the backside of his diaper. Recently his poopy diapers have decreased from 10 or more a day to maybe 5 or 6.

After scouring all of the breastfeeding books I own and then spinning down the information spiral that is google, I have come to the conclusion that I have no conclusion because the information on the internet scares the bejesus out of me.

So, I have come beg for your feedback and experience with spit up and baby poo. Is my baby normal, sorta kinda normal, or a slushy poo/spitting anomaly?

Because I just had to shell out $1200 for a surprise hospital bill, I have nothing to offer but this picture of eternal cuteness as payment for your advice.


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Goofjuice
by Karla ° Saturday, January 20, 2007
Weeks of sleep deprivation has finally taken its toll on my ability to string together words from the English language coherently without sounding like a goofjuice grenade exploded in my face.

This morning I yelled at the dog to get his crotch out of my nose.

I am quite certain that this Freudian slip has absolutely nothing to do with any sort of unconscious desire harboring deep in my psyche.

At least Nate doesn’t mind Samson being all up in his kool-aid.

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Thoughts on:
by Karla ° Friday, January 19, 2007

Sleep:
I feel like a new woman today. My body appears to be recovering from a bout of self inflicted Chinese Torture by means of nap deprivation and I had a total of seven random hours of blissful slumber in a 24 period. That is the most sleep I have had in weeks.

Pets:
The animals are adapting well, if you call the cats’ indifference to another human life form in the house adjusting and using Costco bones and mozzarella cheese as a means of distracting the dog attention away from the baby. When Samson does get a little too turned on by the smell of dirty diapers however, Sebastian the cat steps in and hisses and spits and swats violently with his razor sharp cat claws that I keep forgetting to trim. I have finally found justification in my neglectfulness.

Evolution:
I am starting to wonder how come the marvels of evolution missed the boat on equipping babies with a snooze button. How blissful would it be if you could push their little noses and reset their hunger clock for nine more minutes because yes – an extra 540 seconds of sleep really is that important.

Tough Love:
When Nate was in the NICU the nurses asked if they could give him a pacifier. I was still determined to breastfeed and knew that might impact the transition onto the breast, but he just looked so helpless that we wanted to do whatever we could to make him comfortable. Also, I wouldn’t allow them to supplement him with formula and insisted on expressed colustrum only while he was still attached to his feeding tube of sugar water. The least we could do for the poor kid was let him satisfy his need to suck while he hung out all by himself in his lonely little isolate. And satisfy his sucking reflex he did. When flailing arms prevented him from keeping a finger in his mouth, he sucked that little paci like a champ.

Once Nate’s feeding tube finally came out, learning to breastfeed was quite easy for us, and I am forever indebted to his night nurse (who just happened to be getting certified as a lactation consultant) to help us get things started. All the hospitals lactation consultants were on Christmas holidays and after unsuccessfully latching him to my breast in the beginning, we were finally able to make the transition by first using my finger and a lactation aid (a feeding tube attached to a dropper of colustrum) and then eventually transferring him to my breast with the lactation aid until he mastered how to use his new food source on his own. At that point I thought I had a brilliant baby on my hands when he seemed to be able to coordinate the different mouth muscle required to breastfeed versus suck on a pacifier, but as turns out, he is a product of humanity and follows the path of least resistance because recently his latch has been suffering from me sticking a pacifier in his mouth when I can’t make him stop crying. I have resorted to tough love and banned all pacifiers until we perfect his latch, unless of course his hissy fits and grief-stricken crying sends me crumbling a slow painful death to child torture hell first, at which point Mark can feel free to get some sleep and resume stuffing artificial nipples in his mouth.

Surprises:
I am trying to remain calm and see past the red haze of panick exploding out of my head lately because holy fuck, Mark’s benefits did not cover my six day hospital stay when Nate was born. I know. Wah wah, what’s the big deal right?

Had we known, we would have been better prepared financially. Our government pays for Ward rooms here, but insurance through your place of employment almost always covers semi-private rooms, which is what I stayed in. Apparently, Mark’s place of employment is one of the only companies that doesn’t provide hospital coverage. I would have shared a bathroom with three other woman instead of one had I known we would be paying out of pocket. Also, I would have at least gotten my money’s worth and threw a postpartum tantrum over being served grilled cheese sandwiches three nights in a row, including Christmas dinner, made with rubber condom flavored cheese and gremlin ass.



You have to admire Samson's determination to fit in.

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Burrito Baby
by Karla ° Thursday, January 18, 2007
Wholesomeness, innocence and swirling enchantment secured with love in a savory baby burrito.



Refried burrito beans can be found in the diaper.

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McGramma's in the House
by Karla ° Sunday, January 14, 2007
My nipples feel much better now thank you. Not perfect, but at least I’m not on the verge of wishing they would fall off of my body and die a quick and painless death by means of atrophying on the floor by my feet.

The strain of sitting in a cushioned rocking chair for hours and hours and endless hours of nursing, cuddling and shooshing has started to eat away at my adult brain - just a little. Don’t get me wrong, watching Nate suck his fingers (the poor kid was born with a blister from sucking his hand so much in-utero) and studying my face with the most studious intent a newborn can muster is unbelievably wondrous and super rad, but I am human and I like to be stimulated, by you know, stuff other than milky spit up and kid farts.

I was just itching to get out of the house yesterday because, good gravy miss daisy, I actually had a shower, and curled my lashes, and put on expensive mascara. It would have been a crying shame to let those precious three minutes of primping go to waste.

And so my big Saturday night out was a trip to the corner store with a husband and a baby in tow. The ride out of the driveway and up the hill and around the corner was glorious and liberating, even if it was only to bat my lashes at some bored high school kid while he rang up a bag of Doritos.

Today, my mom arrived to help change poopy diapers, provide adult conversation during the daylight hours when Dad is at work and cook meals more complex than a bowl of cereal.

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The Purple People Eater - In the Flesh
by Karla ° Thursday, January 11, 2007

A husband contemplating what will be said in the eulogy he is preparing to deliver about the long lost sex appeal of my purple breasts and a kidlet deep in thought about how to squeeze out yet another gas bubble.

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Purple People Eater
by Karla °
In the past week:

My baby has put on another pound and now weighs a whopping 8 lbs.

We celebrated Christmas with my family and they were finally able to meet and hold Nate.

I attended a breastfeeding support group and it was the first time in my life that I have whipped out a nip in front of 15 other woman so a Lactation Consultant could examine them for signs of
thrush.

It turns out that Nate does indeed have a loaf of bread baking in his tiny baby mouth. Thrush - a yeast infect for peke’s sake, (most likely from the course of antibiotics he was on for 48 hours after he was born) and he passed it onto my nipples. I’m mortified. I’ve never had a yeast infection in my entire life, you know, down there, and now I have one in my nipples. After I nurse him, it feels like someone is using my nipples for dart shooting practice. The prickling shooting pain makes my eyes roll to the back of my head after each and every feed, all 11 of them. Sometimes it helps to curl my toes and whimper.

We started treatment with Gentian Violet last night and holy blotchiness, that stuff stains something fierce. Essentially, you dip a q-tip in the solution, let baby suck on the q-tip, and then feed him. His nursing then transfers the Gentian Violet to my nipples, which means both of us are being treated for the infection, which is a must because otherwise, we would just keep passing the infection back and forth. Nate now looks like a purple people eating vampire and my nipples are the freakiest shade wine plum you have ever seen. They have ceased to resemble anything any normal earthling's boobs should look like and could quite possibly attain citizenship in another galaxy. Also, because I flunked holding objects in hand 101, I spilled the bottle all over my hands last night, which in conjunction with the circus freakshow nipples, kind of makes it look like I might be turning into a lactating Barney.



Nate, before his mom stained his entire face purple

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Treasure
by Karla ° Monday, January 8, 2007
Yesterday I had exactly 57 minutes to myself before my little nursing barracuda would begin shrieking at the world for his third lunch. Thinking I needed a change of scenery from staring at the four gold tinged walls of my bedroom where I put in a minimum of five hours of nipple time and an equal amount of time sleeping a day, I jumped at the opportunity to breathe outside air and made a mad dash to Wal-Mart to stock up on pampers and walk amongst people more than 20 inches tall that do not poo in their pants 10 times a day.

Leaving the house and entering the real world again was entirely underwhelming and while cruising the aisles of rollbacks and falling prices I just wanted to be home snuggled up next to my son.

I managed to work through my baby withdrawal long enough to grab diapers, dog bones to be used as a means of baby fascination diversion and a t-shirt with a dangerously plunging neckline because the novelty of my new mammiferous chest has not worn off one bit. Even though I live in yoga pants and my hair looks like I volunteered my head to a boy scout for knot tying practice and I hang out all day with someone who respects me only for what my boobs have to offer, I may as well enjoy their burgeoning swolleness while it lasts.

So help me if I find myself panicking that I might be missing out on life's greatest treasure when the two of us are apart.

He is the only living entity on planet earth who can demand snuggle time on my chest while my morning coffee gets cold without sending me into fits of crusty grumpiness.

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Mr. Fussy Pants
by Karla ° Friday, January 5, 2007
Anne Geddes' baby models are either sedated or not human. Or she is a whimsical goddess that casts magic spells to prevent raging baby fussy faces of maximum distress and impedes new parent's with novice camera skills from illegal copyright infringement of her photographs.

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I just have to ask
by Karla ° Wednesday, January 3, 2007
I have a hunch that even if I ask the question, I already know the answer, but humour this novice momma because clearly, my grade 11 Home Economics project of carrying around an egg that slept in a refrigerator and hung out in my locker while I went for smoke breaks did nothing in terms of preparing me for the insane fear that my newborn might stop breathing.

On New Year's Eve, Mark and I found ourselves in the emergency room because my brain is officially hardwired on newborn observation pilot mode setting now that Nate does not have a trillion monitors attached to his body to tell me if his breathing and oxygen saturation levels are adequate.

When Nate was first admitted to the NICU and I wasn’t allowed to hold him, it didn’t take long before the readings from his monitors infiltrated the sanity center of my brain and had me trained like a meth addicted lab monkey to depend on them for concrete reassurance that he was OK. I knew once he was removed from them that I would totally have baby probe withdrawal without the little alarm above his head to sound when the numbers weren’t perfect.

And like the recovering NICU monitoring addict that I am, withdrawal did indeed set in and I diligently set out to count little Nate’s respiration rate on a regular basis. When they seemed struggled and his breath count was far too high, I panicked. And oh what a bad parent I am because he was only in a onsie and while Mark and I had our frenzied spaz of a freak out, we didn’t even take the time to dress the poor kid before rushing off to the ER and opted instead to grab a mountainous pile of blankets to cover him with because oh my god, if he was having trouble breathing surely there was no time to stuff his flailing baby arms and legs in a sleeper and fumble with those bedeviled and impossible clasps before heading out the door.

After arriving at the ER and finding out that his oxygen levels were at 98%, even in his car seat, I felt exactly two million trillion times better and made a mental note to see if we can order an oxygen saturation whatchamacallit
on ebay.

Of course, as it turns out Nate was fine and like the fools that we are, we rushed him to the ER because he had a snuffly nose, which apparently, is normal, but just in case we were referred to the pediatrics clinic for a quick follow up given what we had been through.

The pediatrician was a gentle soul with swanlike grace. He made goo goo and ga ga noises and funny faces at Nate while peering at his little chest heaving up and down. He reassured us that our baby is the picture perfect image of health and normalness.

So that just begs the question - when does believing he is just fine sink in? I swear it’s not the round the clock hypertasking and maneuvering between feedings and diaper changes that sends new parents into a dizzying spiral of sleep deprivation, but the constant state of persistent worry that tugs at your heart like an unrelenting itch that you just can't reach to sooth.

Does it ever go away? Really?

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