Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Liliane - Part 1

I know it's been ages since I last posted but I have a good excuse! Miss Liliane Nicole Piercy Arbour came into this world on Tuesday October 16th at 11:22 PM. I have so much to write about since our lives have totally changed in the last two weeks but we'll start at the beginning.
Tuesday morning we got a call at 7AM from the hospital to tell us to come and get induced. My due date was October 14th and because of the whole diabetes thing, my doctor didn't want me to wait too long, hence the quick induction. We took this picture just before we left - one last tummy image:

We got to the Birthing Centre at the hospital (around 9AM), we were shown to our room and once we were all installed and I changed into my gown, I was hooked up to a monitor so they could check the baby's heartbeat for a while. I just relaxed while all this was going on and Stéphane went off to organize our private room and deal with all the paperwork, etc. Our nurses were very, very sweet and the Centre itself is very calm and modern so we were feeling confident. It was a little weird to look around the room and think that we wouldn't be leaving it without a new baby!
I was on the monitor for a while because they noticed that the baby's heartbeat was slowing down from time to time and they wanted to make sure that everything was fine before proceeding. My doctor was not on call that day but she came by to say hello and to introduce me to the doctor that would be looking after me. After a couple of hours on the monitor, the doctor decided that the best induction would be via the drip. This option meant that they had more control over the labour which was important given the heartbeat situation. Once we had decided that is what we were doing, we had some time to eat a little since I wouldn't have another chance for quite a while. Stéphane went off to get a sandwich and some soup that we shared and after that, I was hooked up to the drip. By this time it was about noon. At first I didn't feel much of anything. I read the newspaper, wrote in my journal and made some phonecalls. Like I said, I was feeling very secure in the hands of the medical personnel and although I knew what was coming, I wasn't afraid. I think that psychology plays a huge role in getting through a traumatic event like childbirth and I felt like I was both physically and mentally prepared.

Here we are during this first phase:

I finished the newspaper but just barely as the contractions started heating up from that point on. As they got more and more intense, I tried different positions: sitting on the ball worked well. My water broke naturally (I don't know why but I was happy about that) and we just spent the afternoon getting through the contractions as they came. I tried to pee at one point but couldn't. But that's how I discovered that standing up and walking helped a lot. I was still hooked up to the heartrate and contraction monitor, but I was able to stand for a while.

Unfortunately, her heartrate started falling again so when I was about 5cm, I had to get back into bed and lie on my side with an oxygen mask to try and improve the situation. Most of my labour was in my back so lying on my side was completely painful and horrible but you do what you have to do! At this point another doctor had taken over and he came to let us know that we should be prepared for a C-section. The nurse actually shaved me and removed my nailpolish from my toes (weird, right?) and I signed a release form and everything, just in case. We were scared but on the other hand, we just wanted the baby to be OK. They took me off the drip to give the baby a chance to recuperate and Stéphane anxiously (although I didn't realize it) watched her heartrate. They actually took the other monitors off me as well (what a relief) because by this time I had an internal monitor for her heartrate (little tube that stays stuck to the baby's scalp via her hair) so I was actually free to move around.

The funny thing is that even though I was off the drip, my body kicked in and continued the contractions on its own. Now this is where I started to really see why giving birth has such a bad reputation :) I walked off every contraction standing up with the help of Stéphane who counted the seconds of each one out loud for me. We did this for about two hours by the end of it I was actually dilated to 10 cm. We were relieved that we had avoided the C-section and I was happy that at least I was getting somewhere! Julie said that it was time to start pushing so I got back in bed and gave it my best shot. The thing about pushing is that you are on your back and when I said that all my pain was in my back, I really, really meant it. I just couldn't even concentrate on the work that had to be done to push her out because it was completely overwhelming. Julie checked to see how far along the baby was and since she had a ways to go, we decided that it was time for an epidural.

I have to say, that epidural saved my life. It worked instantaneously and I had about a half an hour of pain free rest that I used to recuperate and get ready for the job ahead. By the time I started feeling the pressure to push again, I was euphoric from the lack of pain and I felt like I could do anything. I was about 9:45PM by this point. Julie and Stéphane coached me and I pushed for about an hour. The pain of course comes back but it was at least different than the pain of contractions. Long story short, the doctor came in near the end and yelled me through it (he wasn't very strong on the ol' bedside manner) but afterwords I realized that it was tense because my baby girl had her cord around her neck and meconium (newborn baby poop) on her. He did an episiotomy (from which I think my husband will never recover) to get her out quick and they cut the cord in a hurry so unfortunately Stéphane didn't get to do it.

When they put her squirmy little body on my bare chest, I can't really describe the emotions. It feels like an emormous achievement by that point because you've been working so hard for so long just to get to that moment. It feels like a huge responsibility and it just feels wonderful, all at the same time. She stayed on me while they stitched me up and did all the other fun stuff (I thought that once she came out that the pain was over but no!) and our new little family headed over to our room in the maternity ward at about 1AM or so.

Sorry about the boob display in this picture - by this point I didn't even notice what body parts were being exposed anymore...

So that's the whole birth story. I could not have gotten through it without the amazing nurses at the hospital but mostly I could never have done it without the love and support of my husband. He was a rock through the whole thing - calm, quick to do whatever I asked, assertive with the staff when necessary, asking questions I was too afraid to ask or too much in pain to ask. My hero.
Speaking of which, he has the magic touch to get our daughter to sleep so I should now stop typing and get to bed while I can. I'll post part 2 tomorrow hopefully with more photos.

Monday, 15 October 2007

New Post #2! Tummy Photos from Last Week

I have been meaning to post these photos all week but I got a little caught up in baby preparation... Stéphane took these photos on Sunday before Thanksgiving - one of the last beautiful sunny fall days around here. We walked around our neighborhood and got inspired. Here are the results!

Actually, before we did that, we stopped for brunch after church on Bernard Street in Outremont. It was a truly beautiful afternoon and we just enjoyed watching the people, drinking our coffee and soaking up our last few days together as a family of two :)

Now here are the tummy pix:

Then we took these ones with the self-timer on the digital camera on our front balcony:

I think now that my baby belly has been well and soundly documented!

Baby Room Before and After

So this was Stéphane's office a few months ago...

And this is our baby room as of yesterday!

This our dear friend André who brought us and installed for us these fabulous roman blinds for the baby room. Not only stylish, it's completely opaque and makes the room feel finally finished! Love it! We still need a few more things for the walls - it's a little empty looking right now. But everything else is good to go.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

A Lot To Be Thankful For

On Monday we spent Thanksgiving with Stéphane's parents and sister Danielle and her husband, André. No turkey for us, we went out for brunch! Thanksgiving isn't celebrated here in Quebec quite like anywhere else in Canada... Who needs turkey anyway when you can have blueberry pancakes! We had a lovely time together and Stéphane and I got more baby gifts!
On veut vraiment remercier tout le monde: Ma et Pa, Danielle et André, Nathalie (la marraine), Christian et Jonathan, Mélanie et Mathieu - vous êtes tellement généreux! On adore nos supers beaux cadeaux! Voici ce qu'on a eu:

Pack and Play! Portable bed/play pen...

A baby carrier...
A baby monitor

And a whole bunch of lovely sleepers, onesies, bath towels, blankets and other treats.

Les fiers grandparents...

And the parents-to-be!

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Last Day of Work and New Furniture

First I should mention that I had my weekly doctor appointment on Thursday and I am apparently dilated 1 centimeter. Now that doesn't actually mean much but it's sort of fun to know that my body is getting itself ready for what is coming. We'll see where we're at next Thursday!

I can hardly believe that I'm done working now... for the next 50 weeks! I had a great day yesterday, it was pretty relaxed. I brought fresh bagels and cream cheese for the office (always a good way to start the day) then finished up as many of my files as I could while transferring information to Paul, the guy who is replacing me. It's great because I know he's going to do a wonderful job and I am really leaving with a peaceful feeling.

A few of us girls went out for lunch at our favorite celebration spot, the ultra-cheesy resto Trois Amigos!

I'm going to miss you guys!
On Friday I also got a surprise delivery of a yummy bouquet of flowers from a legal firm that I deal with a lot. How sweet is that? Of course I took a picture:

Then Stéphane brought these home from work! They do a draw to give away the flowers from the reception desk at the end of every week and Stéphane charmed them into "drawing" his name since it was my last day of work and he knows what a nut I am for fresh posies :)
Love it!

This morning our crib and change table were delivered. The guys put together the crib on the spot and Stéphane put the change table together. You can see the finished product here:
Such a handy guy! I tried to nap while he was slaving away on this - I'm a little knocked out after my big, energetic day yesterday.
The dresser is a little late- they will probably deliver that on Tuesday or Wednesday. Once that gets here I'll finally be able to really put things away! In the meantime we'll get the crib set up and start stocking the change table with all those diapers... Then all we need is a rocking chair and we're done!
Tonight we're heading out to the movies with our friend Pierre. He has a pass for 3:10 to Yuma so we're going western! I really wanted to see it so I'm glad although Stéphane isn't super excited. He really wants to see "Into the Wild" but we'll do that on Monday. It's all about compromise, right?
Cold and rainy here in Montréal today, much more like fall. I'm really looking forward to this week. There are plenty of things to do around here but I also want to indulge a little in a pedicure, maybe a movie, lunch with friends, napping, whatever. I have a couple of things to get for the hospital so I'll finish that as well. I'm so hoping that our daughter doesn't have any plans to arrive early! If she's anything like her two parents, I highly doubt that :) She's doing lots of squirming and poking around these days. I suspect she's had the hiccups a couple of times although it's hard to tell.
That's it for today!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Another Shower and Baby Prep Continues...

So the day after our anniversary celebrations, I got hit with a sore throat and stuffy nose and even ended up staying home from work on Wednesday. We went to our second and final pre-natal class on Wednesday night which was really informative and we both left there feeling almost confident about everything to come.

I felt a little better on Thursday so I went back to work and it's a lucky thing I did! My amazing co-workers surprised me with a shower on Thursday afternoon at work. Someone was taking pictures of me as I realized what was happening but I haven't seen them and I'm sure I look ridiculous. Picture a very pregnant woman with a flushed, chubby face gasping and laughing in surprise and embarassment to not be better dressed.... That's how I looked.

We got some excellent presents: a swing, a gorgeous diaper bag, an adorable sleeper and even some luxury bath and shower products just for me! Plus they made a cake out of many, many size 1 diapers. Here are some photos of the loot:

The yellow sleeper outfit is from a writer than I work with who very, very sweetly had that sent to the office for me. It's hard to see in the photo but there's ducks all over it and a hat as well. Thank you again Sharon!

On Friday morning I had my first non-stress test at the hospital. Because of my almost-gestational diabetes, I have to go in weekly for a non-stress test until the baby is born. Basically I sit a in a big, comfy chair with my feet up, I get a monitor strapped to my tummy so we can hear the heartbeat and I have to click a button everytime she moves. The idea is to track her heartbeat when she moves. So far I've had two of these tests and, not to brag, but my daughter has done brilliantly :)

On Saturday our friend Manon came over with her daughter Luanna to give us her bassinette and a bunch of other stuff. Manon and Stéphane put the bassinette together while Luanna and I hung out and helped by taking things to the garbage or recycling. At least now if we have the baby before the furniture arrives, we'll have a place to put her!

Afterwards Manon and Luanna stayed for coffee and croissants although Luanna was happier with grape juice :)

On Sunday Stéphane and I took a Red Cross First Aid class all day. It was officially First Aid for Children, but we covered adults as well. It was super interesting and Stéphane and I both passed the exam, no problem. We are now certified for three years! As an added bonus, I now feel better about my choking phobia. I can not only help someone who is choking, I know what to do if my kid is choking AND I can do the Heimlich on myself if I have to! I know it's weird but I've wanted to know how to do that for ages.

Monday night we went to what will probably be the last time for a while. We saw a new documentary called "Québec sur ordonnance" which is a Michael Moore-style exposé of how Quebecers are taking too many pills and how the pharmaceutical companies are evil, etc. It was pretty good but the cocktail after was more fun. We went with our favorite premiere pals: Brigitte and Caroline. A lovely evening!

Tuesday night I went out for dinner with some gal pals - Julie my pregnant friend and lovely Caroline that I haven't seen for ages. We all used to work together and have kept in touch over the last year or so. Caro gave us an adorable outfit for next summer - I'm looking forward to it already! We chatted about everything (OK, mostly baby stuff) and enjoyed our tapas and virgin mango cocktails.

So tonight was exciting as well because our pal Jonathan came over and after we fed him a little dinner, he and Stéphane put up the chandelier in the baby room! Here are some photos:

We're so thrilled to finally have that done - thank you Jonathan! Once the furniture arrives this weekend, we will finally be able to finish setting the room up (and putting all of our gorgeous presents away!) and I'll post some pictures of the whole transformation.

That's about it for the moment. Another Dr. appointment tomorrow so we'll see where things are at. Friday is my last day at work... for almost an entire year! Hard to imagine but I am looking forward to being off now. I'm hoping baby doesn't have any plans to arrive early because I will need next week to finish getting ready and do some resting!
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