Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Henry James: A Birth Story

It's been 2 weeks since the labour and delivery that brought us our beautiful, chubby, snuggly chunk of baby on the morning of August 14th. About time that I tell his birth story.

At almost a week overdue, I was starting to lose my sanity.  I was drinking copious quantities of raspberry leaf tea and doing squats and lunges in front of the TV with no results, so I decided to step things up a bit.  Our doula, who is also a registered acupuncturist, had been doing some preparatory acupuncture, and at this point, she agreed it was time to get serious. So at six days overdue, I had induction acupuncture and was told to stay active that day.  I headed to the gym for some elliptical action and barely sat down all day.  I also saw my doc and had a membrane sweep.  I was fairly confident that all of these efforts, combined, would soon bring me my baby boy.

Sure enough, at 2:30 am, I woke up with mild contractions and a sense of anticipation and crossed my fingers that it wasn't all in my head.  By 3:30 I was sure, and woke up the Hubs, who started timing.  By 6:30, Lilah's grandparents had arrived to feed her breakfast and take her to daycare, and our doula walked in the door around the same time.  By 7:30, my contractions were about three minutes apart and were lasting about a minute. It was time to head to the hospital.

The car ride to the hospital seemed to take forever, and I remember hitting a few bumps in the road while I was mid-contraction.  So painful.  We made it to the hospital and checked in around 8.  Apparently, it was a very busy Tuesday morning, and I lucked out and got the very last room.  The woman who delivered her baby half an hour after me had to do it in an assessment room with only a curtain separating her from the rest of the room.  Word to the wise: don't be afraid to moan and groan your way through contractions while checking in at the hospital.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease.  I was ushered directly into that last delivery room based on the noises coming from deep within me.

Luck was definitely on our side this time.  Things just went so... smoothly.  Doors opened for us, elevators were ready and waiting, and things lined up just the way they were supposed to.  Such a different experience from the one I had with Lilah.

This time, I got my natural, unmedicated, uncomplicated labour and delivery and the whole thing took just seven hours from start to finish.  Henry was born at 9:30 am, just an hour and a half after we arrived at the hospital, and the whole affair was just so beautiful and messy and uninhibited.  As a naturally reserved person, I surprised myself, and if I hadn't been in the midst of it; if I had been just a bystander walking down the hallway of the maternity wing around 9 that morning, I would have thought to myself, "Who's the screamer in room 15?"  The only word to describe it is primal.  And for me, that was perfect.  Just like the beautiful baby boy who was deposited into my arms at the end of it all.

Perfection in a tiny package.

That's 9lbs, 7.7 oz, by the way!

Big sister Lilah thinks he's pretty great too:

Little White WhaleLive and Love...Out Loud

Saturday, August 25, 2012

3 Moments.

11 Days ago this happened:
3 years, one month, 22 days ago this happened:
And exactly 5 years ago this happened:
 The 3 best moments of my life.
Little White WhaleEssence of Now

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Guest Post: Motherhood, Take 2

Another one of my fave Vancouver mommy bloggers is stopping by to give me a hand with this whole bringing home another baby thing.  Bruna of Bees With Honey gets it - she's done it more than once and now has three beautiful girls and a happy household to show for it.  Here's her best advice for a second run at motherhood:

Motherhood, Take 2



When you have Baby #1, it’s immediately out-numbered. There are two parents to one child. Although your life is forever changed by having ababy, you’re able to tag team with husband to do the things you need to do like take a nap, clean house a bit or have a shower. There is always one of you free to look out for baby.  When baby #2 comes along, it’s one parent for each child. The tag teaming becomes much more challenging with a little person and a baby demanding your undivided attention. It’s amazing how quickly hubby and you will find a way to creatively balance caring for two while still trying to fulfill your own personal needs and wants at the same time. Be a good team together and you’ll go places!


Every baby is different 

The things that worked with your first child may have to be chucked out the window with your second. No two babies are the same and if you luck out and have a really docile baby #2, consider yourself lucky. Baby and parenting books provide many bits ofadvice. What may have worked with baby #1 may not work for baby #2. Don’t let it make you doubt your mothering expertise. You will find a way to please #2 by simple trial and error like you did with baby #1. Having babies who end up being so very different from each other adds spice to mothering. Celebrate your babies’ differences! Don’t let it get you down.

No More Napping when Baby Naps

With one baby, you can still nap when it naps. Once baby #2 shows up, afternoon napping becomes a figment of your imagination only. If ever you manage to get both kids napping at the same time, you’ll feel as if you’ve won a lottery.  The chances it happens are one in a million. 


Keeping Up with Household Chores

Once you begin caring for two little ones, keeping up with household chores becomes very challenging to say the least.  Don’t let your inability to do it all make you feel incompetent. No one can do it all. Don’t try to be superwoman and overexert yourself to keep an immaculate abode. It’s not worth it.  Your house will always need to be cleaned but your children will only be little for a short while. Enjoy every moment you have with them.

Giving Each Child an Equal Amount of Attention

Child #1 may or may not go through an adjustment period once baby #2 comes home. Having been the centre of attention and the apple of mommy’s eye for so long, she may find it difficult to share parental attention with her new baby brother – at first – or she may not.  You won’t know until it happens.  Invite child #1 to take on a helping role in caring for baby #2. Emphasize the importance of being a big sister and celebrate her new role in the family. Try your best to set aside some time for child #1 and you to do something special without baby even if it’s only reading a book or colouring or playing a short game.  Child #1 will appreciate any amount of un-divided attention she gets from either parent. Whatever you do, don’t feel guilty if you can’t give your first the same amount of attention as you once did. Lilah will eventually get used to the new family way and then feel as if she didn’t know any better.

Time with your Spouse

You’ll be tired. You’ll be grumpy. You’ll lack sleep. As hard as it feels at first, you’ll eventually get used to it.  Find ways to still spend time with your hubby once you both settle in to a groove with the new family circle.  He may or may not feel somewhat invisible to you once baby #2 shows up and you both become busier.  Take advantage of willing babysitters and try to get out for short bouts of time if only to talk over a cup of coffee. Keep those communication lines open and honest.

It’s the Simple Things that Will Matter the Most 

As with becoming a mother for the first time, you’ll find becoming a mother all over again will make you appreciate even more the little things in life. Things like hubby letting you sleep in, having a shower,getting out of the house and having adult conversation end up being wonderful treats once you’re a busy mama of two. Although you’ll be busier and have less time for yourself, you’ll cherish every moment you have with your little ones while they’re little because you know just how fast they grow up. The sacrifice is well worth the reward.

When all is said and done and people give you their advice on parenting multiple children, what matters most in the end is what is in your heart. Follow your motherly instincts and rely on your experience. No one knows your children better than you and don’t you forget that!
Thank you so much for sharing your tips, Bruna. They are both thoughtful and practical, and I really appreciate the support and advice from mamas like you who have gone before.

So we know she gives great advice, but also? What a beautiful family this lucky lady has!  You can read more about their adventures and Bruna's thoughts on motherhood here.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ten Things I'd Forgotten About Having a New Baby

I'm breaking the rules for this weeks Listicle.  I am completely consumed by this tiny new being and this new way of life that he brings with him.  And I hope the List Master will forgive me for saying this, but in my opinion, new baby smell trumps new car smell any day!

Ten Things I'd Forgotten About Having a New Baby

1. How little sleep you actually get, and what sleep deprivation can do to your brain.

2.  That smell of absolute deliciousness. Even before they've had their first bath.

3.  Fluid retention and cankles.

4.  That I may want to throttle the Hubs when he asks if this is the first time the baby has woken to feed, when in fact it is the fourth.  But that all will be forgiven the moment he hands me a icy cold glass of water while I'm nursing, makes me a sandwich, or takes the baby from me at 4 am when my poor boobs just can't take any more and I need half an hour of sleep.

5.  That "sleep when the baby sleeps" isn't always possible.  There are other things to be done, like eating, showering, laundry, and this time around, there's also a big kid to look after.

6.  The hormone dip that occurs around day 3 after baby is born and reduces you to tears over the fact that the one pair of pants that fits you right now is in desperate need of a wash.

7.  That there is nothing as rejuvenating as 10 minutes to yourself to shower.

8.  Planting kisses on tiny hands and feet.

(Yes, those are flowers and butterflies on his bassinet sheets. Second child syndrome.)

9.  How long it takes for the belly to recede, and how pregnant you still look even a week after your tenant has vacated. 

10.  That friends and family are absolutely amazing.  There have already been so many gifts and offers of food and play dates for Lilah.  And our fridge has never been so stocked!  It reminds me how fortunate we are and makes me want to be a better friend/neighbour/relative when it's our turn to give back.

Friday, August 17, 2012


The first time I looked into his eyes
I fell in love again.
Tuesday, August 14, 9:33 am

Essence of Now

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Guest Post: Myth Busters

As you know, I get by with a little help from my friends.  Bloggy friends, that is!  I've asked some of my favourite bloggin' mamas to pitch in their two cents on making the transition from one child to two.

This week's guest poster is none other than Bianca of Bits of Bee.  Bianca is totally rockin' the mama of two gig, plus she works full time, makes time for herself, and always looks great doing it!  When I read her post, The Truth About Two, I knew I had to hear more on her thoughts about two kids - and this time she's dishing on having a boy.  Welcome, Bianca!


Myth Busters – The Truth About Boys

I’m so honoured to be a guest on Lilahbility this week, and as Amanda is settling into life with her beautiful little prince, I thought this would be the perfect time to fill her in on the changes she might face as a newbie to the wild and wonderful world of “boy”.

I too had a girl first, and was nervous about the changes that might come with having a boy. I constantly worried about making the switch from princesses and tea parties, to trucks and mud pies, and what on earth would I do with those Boy Bits?  Well I’m here to tell Amanda that it’ll be different, yes, but it’ll also be worth the wild ride. Here are some things I have discovered so far about having a boy:

1) While it is true that you are more likely to get pee-sprayed by the boy bits, you don't need the peepee teepee (fabric triangle sold in stores, with the purpose of covering up the bits while you switch to a fresh diaper). I have survived on skill alone, and have yet to get pee in the eye.

2) While it is very likely for your boy to steer away from your daughter’s baby dolls and opt instead for blocks and balls, you don't need to do a major toy overhaul. I suggest you encourage him to play with the toys that are available, and buy things only as he develops his own interests.

3) This might not be a scientific fact, but I can say from talking to many friends with boys, and from my own experience thus far, that potty training does take longer with boys. My daughter was completely out of diapers (day and night) by her 2nd birthday. My boy on the other hand is 2.5, and is far from being a regular potty user.

4) While the assumption is that boys are big toughies, the truth is, they're more emotional than you think! My boy is much more of a whiner and crier than my girl was, and my girl was definitely an emotional baby.

5) They've got the moves. I’m surprised by my boy’s agility. Not to say that my girl is clumsy, but my little guy can fly down the street on his run bike like a pro – weaving through tight spaces and taking corners with precision. He also has “moves like Jagger” as he likes to tell us regularly.

6) They're big cuddle bugs. My boy loves nothing more than hugs, snuggles and kissed with mama. Something wonderful to look forward to!

7) They're fearless - get out the Band Aids! My girl was always very cautious. She would slowly stick her toe into the water at lakes or pools. She would move like a snail when climbing a new obstacle, and would reach for my hand when entering new territory. But my boy, he moves at mach speeds, climbing fearlessly on everything he can.

8) Would you like some whine with your wine? Boys whine, and from my experience and from what my other mama friends have said, they can out-whine any girl on the block.

9) They really do become mama's boys. While there may have been a time in my life when I would make fun of a boy for being a “mama’s boy”, I’m now loving the favoritism. Nothing soothes him more than mama, and for now, I don’t mind one bit.

10) Get used to saying: “Take your hand out of your pants!” Naturally, they discover their bits at an early stage, and as a result, they regularly assume the Al Bundy position.

It’s going to be different, it’s going to be new, and it’s going to be totally fun. Enjoy every minute of it, and a big congratulations mama!

Thanks so much for sharing your tips, Bianca.  I'm already staring to climb this steep learning curve.  More to come on Baby Boy very soon!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

10 Things My Parents Did Right

My family has had its fair share of dysfunction.  But even as a child of divorced parents and various step-parents, I certainly recognize several things my parents did right.  Now that I'm a parent myself, I can appreciate these things and more:

1.  Both parents taught me the value of hard work.

2.  My mom, true to her Libra roots, always had that work-life balance thing under control, and she led by example.

3.  Both parents encouraged my various athletic endeavours, and I grew up knowing that what my body is capable of is so much more important than what it looks like.

4.  My mom always used the proper names for male and female anatomy and made it clear that I should never be ashamed of my body nor any of its functions.

5.  My dad was financially able to provide me with many opportunities, which is a large part of what landed me in the fortunate position in which I find myself today, but he always provided just enough to do something, and never enough to sit around doing nothing.

6.  They were generally scary enough that I didn't misbehave (too much), but approachable enough that I could talk to them.

7.  They allowed me to follow my own interests and didn't try to live out their own dreams through me.

8.  They remained civil and did their best not to make disparaging comments about each other to their children.

9.  Both parents have ended up in beautiful, loving relationships, and they model what love and commitment should look like on a daily basis.

10. Above all else, they loved me, and I never, ever doubted that.  Ever.

Go visit the Listmaster for more retrospective parenting tips!

Friday, August 10, 2012


Now is...

Waiting for baby (who, by the way, is now three days late - but who's counting?)

Seeking shade for an afternoon snack.

Dressing up in leftover beads and rainbows from the Pride parade.

Sunset beach picnics.

Helping Mommy make her shopping list.

Sidewalk chalk.

Walking to Starbucks with Daddy.

Ice cream dates with special friends.

Summer is now, and now is good.

Essence of Now
Follow me on Instragram @Lilahbility

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Guest Post: You Might Be a Mother of Two...

I am both honoured and excited to share today's guest post with you.  Lisa is not only the brains, voice, and typing fingers behind one of my favourite blogs, Schwartz Chronicles, she is also a personal friend and an all-around supportive, positive person.  Lisa and I go way back - before kids and even before marriage, to the days when we overshared in the bar after too many drinks instead of oversharing  on the internet.  (That's right, the pre-blogging days!) I always enjoy reading Lisa's take on motherhood, and I knew when I asked her that she would offer a fresh perspective on becoming a mommy of two.  The post below did not disapoint!

I was thrilled when Amanda asked me to write a guest post about making the transition from being the mother of one to being the mother to two. So many thoughts ran through my head.  I had ideas.  I had pieces of advice.  I had snippets of memories of things I had forgotten.  One thing I remember clearly, as if it happened yesterday, was waking up one morning not too far into being a mother to two and thinking, Oh my, I forgot how little sleep you get.   There may have been an f-bomb at the beginning of that thought.  But in the whole scheme of things, the lack of sleep doesn’t last long and is worth it because there is nothing quite like that newborn smell and those special snuggles shared in the quiet of the night.

Shamelessly stolen from Jeff Foxworthy’s, “You might be a redneck,”  You might the be the mother of two if……

1.  You might be the mother of two if the sound of a child crying doesn’t quite rattle you the same as it did when you had one.

2.  You might be the mother of two if going to the grocery store by yourself ranks right up there with a visit to the spa.

3.  You might be the mother of two if getting both kids to nap at the same time feels like a victory worthy of a gold medal.

4.  You might be the mother of two if you stretch the truth about the age of your youngest child to make a family outing more affordable (i.e. Disney Character Breakfast. Does it make it o.k. if he was two when we made the reservation?).

5.  You might be the mother of two if your oven timer has become a turn taking timer and you almost forget what the timer was meant to do.

6.  You might be the mother of two if taking care of one child feels like a break.

7.  You might be the mother of two if you often utter the phrase, “Could the two of you stop tormenting each other.”

8.  You might be the mother of two if the kids have been asleep for hours, Treehouse is still on and you don’t even notice.

9. You might be the mother of two if you can’t remember the last time you closed the door to use the bathroom or went to the bathroom alone.

10.  You might be the mother of two if at the end of the day a hug, a kiss and a snuggle fills your heart with love and makes it all worth while.

I can’t wait to meet the newest addition to the Lilahbility family.  Do you have any “you might be the mother of two” one liners to add?

Go stop by Schwartz Chronicles and see what Lisa and family have been up to this summer  and while you're there, you can check out Captain Canada's wonderful photos of their amazing adventures.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Confessions of a Massively Pregnant Crazy Woman

This is a Monday Listicle on a Tuesday, so clearly I am late.  That seems to be a general theme in my life these days, seeing as today is baby #2's due date, and there is very little indication that he is planning to show up for his own party anytime soon.  Like his older sister was three years ago, he is content to hang out a little longer on the inside.  I'm going to chalk it all up to the fact that I give good womb.  There are worse things in life, I do realize.

Remember a couple weeks ago, when I was all Zen about waiting for baby to arrive?  Well, I'm doing my best to stay in that headspace, and I'm certainly not as manic as I was around this time with Lilah, but hormones, heat, and chasing after a three-year-old are doing things to my brain.  I think I might be turning into that crazy pregnant lady again.  Here are my confessions:

1.  Yesterday I called the Hubs to pick us up in his car because I could not walk three more blocks with Lilah.  In my defense, we had gotten on the wrong bus on the way back from Science World, got stuck on said bus for an extra 15 minutes due to construction, the bus was crowded and cooking in the heat and humidity, Lilah was complaining that she was thirsty and had to poop, and I'd already walked several long blocks after getting off the bus. Aaannnd the last three blocks would have been uphill.  (Okay, a slight incline, but still...)

2.  The other day, I sneeze-peed. That was a new experience for me, and not one with which I am altogether comfortable.

3.  I haven't been sleeping well at night, and last night the Toopy & Binoo theme song taunted me by playing itself over and over again in my head all. night. long.

4.  As much as I want to enjoy Lilah's last moments as an only child and make them special for her, I'm falling down on the job a bit.  Fatigue, heat, and hormones are making it challenging to always be as patient as I would like to be.

5.  Right now, I easily weigh as much, if not more than, my 6'2'' husband. 

6.  The skin over my abdomen is stretched so tight that if this baby doesn't come out the traditional way soon, I am convinced my skin may just tear open.

7.  As uncomfortable as it is, I'd be  more than willing to let my doc get all up in my lady biznaz at my next appointment if it brings me any closer to meeting this little guy.

8.  My feet are dirty, sweaty, and stinky all the time.  The only shoes I can fit my swollen feet into right now are cheap rubber flip-flops, which make them sweat like crazy and pick up all kinds of dirt.  I have to bathe my feet every night before getting into bed.

9.  I no longer fit into any of my maternity pants, so I'm alternating between three or four summer dresses.  It's getting a little old.

10.  People keep accusing me of having had conversations with them of which I have zero recollection.  Either it's one giant conspiracy, or I really am losing my mind!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Guest Post: Tips on Two

Today I have the honour of hosting Andrea of Mama in the City.  She writes one of my favourite Vancouver mommy blogs, and I have always felt that we had quite a bit in common.  I have enjoyed following her transition from mama of one through her second pregnancy and now watching her blossom as a mama  of two: her adorable preschooler, Benjamin, and a six-month-old bundle of deliciousness named Josie.  Not only has she been there, done that as a mom, she is also a labour & delivery nurse.  So I figured who better to ask for advice on making the transition from one child to two?  Here's what she shared:

I have been the mom through two newborns so far and I've definitely enjoyed the ease of baby number 2. I don't know how many times I was warned by people that the second baby was so much more of an adjustment than the first. In my experience these people were fortunatley wrong and bringing the second baby into our family went much smoother than the first. I can even say that I enjoyed the newborn stage so much more the second time around. Maybe because I really understood how fast it would tick by.

Sure there were frazzled moments where I dripped milk all over the place and held a red crying baby. Since I had already been through these kinds of baby experiences before I knew that all hard moments have a time limit and eventually pass. Now my newborn is 6 months old and I'm in the full swing of things as a mother to two.

Soon our dear Amanda will be welcoming her baby boy and Lilah will be an older sister; I've got a few tricks for her so she can stay on top of the transition of adding a new tiny family member.

Before Baby

Stock up on some basics like toilet paper and paper towels now. Having a few extras in the house will help you out immensely once that new baby boy moves in! If you have any special occasions happening in the first month you bring baby home, go and get those pressies and cards now. Stash them away and your future self will thank your tired new mama self in a big way.

If you can find the time, get your hair done. In fact, do all that personal self care while your bump is still burgeoning. Not only will you feel good, you will also look awesome in all of the photos of your birth. A win win situation for you.

Don't spend too much time getting anxious or losing sleep over preparing for the baby. Newborns do not actually need much; if you've got milk on tap you are golden. Having your partner run out for diapers is no big deal and most newborn essentials can really be found in your home. Plus there is the chance for on line shopping during those midnight feeds.

Bringing Baby Home

When we were bringing Josie home from the hospital we were able to arrange an extra day at day care for our son. For a short time it was just the new baby in our apartment and that moment felt relaxed and not rushed or stressful. We also chose to keep him in day care twice a week even though I was on maternity leave. I can't express how helpful this was for me and I'm so grateful that we were able to do this. It gave me time where I could just focus on discovering the new baby. We did our healthy baby visits during those daycare days and had friends over to meet the baby. In the early weeks it gave me a chance to actually sleep when the baby slept.

If people offer to bring you food always say yes. However, don't feel obliged to say yes to every visitor in the first weeks at home with your baby. I found by 4 weeks I was able to easily have a friend pop over without it being a huge deal.

Any family member or friend that offers to take Lilah out of the house will hold a special place in your heart. I had some really nice moments in the first few weeks at home with just the new baby because of this. My girlfriends had him over for play dates, off for swimming adventures, and even just some nearby playground fun. It felt so good to know he was having some special attention while I nursed and snuggled with the baby in my bed. It's not too early to book those playmates now.

The Maternity Nurse Advice

Now for me to put my nurses hat on! Don't rush your post partum recovery, instead relish the sweet fleeting newborn days. If there is ever a time to truly slow down and rest and recover, it is after you have a baby. Don't feel the pressure to put on your 'pre baby' jeans and head out on a bunch of errands. Allow yourself the time to lounge in soft stretchy clothing and lay in bed feeding your baby. Your body has gone through the amazing feat of growing a baby, birthing a baby and deserves a chance to recover guilt free.


If you didn't learn to breastfeed in a side laying position with your first, try to do it this time around. This position gives you the chance to rest and is more relaxing over all. For the most part, most repeat new mothers tell me that breastfeeding is much easier with each subsequent baby and I found this to be true with myself.

I'm so excited to hear about Amanda's journey of welcoming her second baby. Do you have any other tips for her on becoming a mother of 2?

Thanks so much to Andrea for sharing her thoughts and experiences. (Oh, and did I forget to mention her husband also takes gorgeous photos?)  I really appreciate the advice as I enter a new stage of motherhood.  And if you haven't already checked out Andrea's blog, you should swing by Mama in the City to wish her a happy birthday!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Saying Goodbye

Last week, we had to say goodbye to some very dear friends who are moving back to Australia.  For two years, they have been just across the courtyard from us and now they will be across the world, on a whole other continent.  To say that we are sad about the void they are leaving behind doesn't even begin to cover it. 

We did, however, manage to cram in some pretty amazing moments on their last night here.   The plan was a picnic dinner in the park, but the real highlights came spontaneously.

Running and climbing and wrestling,

streaking through the spray park in the buff (okay, that one was just the three-year-olds),

hugs and kisses all around,

And of course, lots and lots of smiles.

Goodbye, sweet friends.  You will be dearly missed. You taught each of us so much in the last two years, not least of which was to expand Lilah's definition of family.  She will grow up knowing that families don't necessarily have to consist of one mommy, one daddy, and their kid(s), but beyond that, and even more importantly, she now knows that friends, good friends, are the family you get to choose for yourself.

We are going to miss the moments we shared, but know that, even though you are far away for now, there will be many more of these moments to come.

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
~~Omar Khayyam


Little White WhaleLive and Love...Out Loud


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