Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Perfect Moment Monday - when all is quiet

Yay, I finally managed to write another PMM post! Not that I haven't experienced perfect moments in the past few months... I would have loved to write about our son's third birthday at the beach in Holland - or how after a week-long challenging camping trip in the very hot south of France, our baby started enthusiastically kicking his legs and gave me the biggest smile when we opened our front door and he realized we were back home - or our eldest son's first (pre-)school day, how he was almost running to school, that's how excited he was.

The following Perfect Moment is however not the Perfect Moment I intended to write about. Two days ago I remembered a moment and I thought that would be my November Perfect Moment. I should have made a note though. Because when I wanted to write about it yesterday, I had no idea what it was I wanted to write about anymore! I remembered another pretty perfect moment, but I wanted to write about the first one... so I didn't write one yesterday.

But then after I'd put our 3-year old to bed and sat in the semi-dark bedroom, hearing him softly getting comfortable under the covers, and watching the baby sleeping in his crib across from my chair, I knew that it didn't matter that I forgot the other moment, I had to write about this one.

This Perfect Moment I am experiencing every night, no matter if I've had a good or a bad day, if I'm tired (most of the time) or still full of energy (very very rarely these days). Even if I just (almost) lost my patience with all the things my son tried again that evening to delay bedtime - when I'm in that chair (which is very comfy btw), and all is quiet, and I look at my two sons - one asleep, curled up in his crib, the other one still rotating his lovey like a helicopter above his duvet before Mr Sandman takes over - I am filled with immense joy and gratitude, for these two boys, for being their mother. Sometimes I feel like staying there with them the entire night, just watching them sleep...


On the 4th Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join. Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. What Perfect Moment have you recently been aware of? Visit Write Mind Open Heart and share your comment love.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Trying to get out of the mud

I'm hesitant to start writing again. It's been such a long time... I've been reading all the blogs I follow, but mostly on my phone, and even though many times I'm thinking I should write a comment, it only rarely happened. I thought I would have more me-time once our oldest would start preschool and the baby would go to the sitter. That I would go out and find new work projects. But there was so much to unclutter first - the apartment, the admin, but especially my head... (I started playing Su.doku again, does that make any sense...?)

Our toddler has changed into a preschooler. It's amazing how a child can grow in such a short period of time. He loves it. It also wears him out (he goes there four days a week, of which two days are full days including 'cantine' and the two other days he has lunch at home), so it's good that he can recharge his batteries during the 2-week school holidays that will start this weekend.

Routine has changed too. We now cannot linger around in the morning, the school doors close at 8:40... If I'm lucky, hubby can walk our son to school and then take the bus to work. But more often than not he's either on a business trip or has an early morning meeting, so I'm left to drop off both kids. I don't do this by car or public transport. I don't walk either. I'm Dutch, so I do this by bike. But Holland is flat, and where we live it's not. I cannot afford an electric bike, so you get the idea where I get my work-out from every day (oh, and yes, after three of four times I decided I don't need to bother taking a shower before I drop the kids off...). First it's downhill to school (with a portion uphill too - either at the very beginning or at the very end, depending on which route I take), then back uphill to the sitter (she's in the complete opposite direction of the school, but I didn't want to start searching for a new sitter again when I'm very satisfied with this one - but yeah, organization-wise it's not the greatest solution). Then relatively flat back home (and to the shower).

It looks like this:

The baby is changing a lot too. He's sitting up by himself, army crawling and slowly getting on hands and knees (he makes about three to four moves before he goes back to army crawling). He eats everything you give him (all still pretty much in the baby food area) and is wearing the clothes his brother wore when he had already celebrated his first birthday (the baby is exactly nine months today). He is showing some signs of separation anxiety, but still smiles at everything. But of course no-one can make him laugh like his brother can.

There are many blog posts brewing in my head. It is my intention to finally write them down and bring this blog back to live. One step taken. I'm slowly getting there, now getting some paid work in would be nice too. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012


My two kids have been kicking my ass these past few weeks. I've composed many blog posts in my head but there was never a time when I had enough energy to turn them into something real.

So... I guess I'm resorting to some bullet points before I will write something eloquent again (which might not be before September).

The highlight:
  • Celebrating the toddler's 3rd birthday at the beach. It was gorgeous weather and there were enough adults present that there was always someone to run after the toddler or cuddle with the baby, so mommy had a great relaxing day too. 

The good:
  • Our three-week vacation in Holland. Better weather than predicted, bike fun with the kids and seeing the toddler fall in love with the sea.
  • Meeting fellow blogger Valery
  • Starting the baby on solids - and especially being able to go to the market and buy all the great summer fruits and veggies and turning them into baby food! So far he loves carrots, green beans, zucchini, peach, nectarine and apricots. 
  • Switching from breast to bottle. After initial refusal (which made me a bit nervous, because he had taken the bottle occasionally before without problems and now that I wanted to start the switch he didn't want to anymore - but it only lasted a few days). Still nursing mornings and evenings but very briefly. Seems the baby's now getting frustrated with how much effort it takes to get something out of the breast, while the bottle is quickly gulped down.
  • Apart from the teething episodes (see below), the baby is slowly starting to sleep longer stretches at night. 
  • My sister and her family arriving in the area (and staying for a few weeks).
Edit: the switching from breast to bottle should actually be under its own header called 'bittersweet'. The switch is complete now. I'm happy it wasn't such a struggle as with our first one, but still have very mixed emotions about being done with it. 

The bad:
  • Baby's tooth #1 and #2 breaking through. Lots of horrible screaming, especially at night. And I'm thinking #3 is on its way too, because he's still very fussy and refused to eat his veggies two days in a row.
  • Toddler deciding a good way to get his mom's attention is to start wetting his pants again... (at the sitter's he is completely dry, all the time). I've started with reducing time he can watch videos on my phone, but I think I need to take more drastic measures - taking away his pacifier (yes, he still has one, ugh) might work better.
  • Toddler being wide awake at 6:30 am, tugging at my arm and telling me to get up because it's light outside, after a night where the baby would have woken me up at least three times.
  • General sleep deprivation - I just don't want to be this tired anymore.
While most of the French have now gone on summer holidays, we're staying here until the 21st, when we will go camping for ten days near the Mediterranean (giving the toddler some more sea/beach time). My sister will be in the area until the 17th. She has done a home-exchange with people in the area and that house has a pool, which is great. I'm a little nervous about the camping, with the baby still not sleeping through the night (how on earth am I going to give him a warm bottle in the middle of the night...? will the kids be able to take an afternoon nap in a tent? etc) but also looking forward to some real family time again.

I have this idea about doing a blog post series about cultural differences. Hope to start that sooner than later, but I won't promise anything...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Perfect Moment Monday - Mont Blanc

Is it still Monday somewhere in the world? Hawaii maybe? I do have a few excuses though for being late: we're on vacation so kids are with me 100% of the time; hubby left his laptop at home so he used mine in order to try to avert too much work crises (yep, hubby doesn't have much of a vacation...). His laptop arrived by courier yesterday evening, so now I can blog again while the baby sleeps and the toddler plays.

One of the things I absolutely love about the city we live in is that on a clear day you can see the alps from the edge of our neighborhood. It always puts a smile on my face and I feel lighter, as if I can't just see those beautiful snow-capped mountains, but also breathe in the fresh mountain air. This only happens a few days a year, and on even less occasions it is clear enough that you can also see the Mont Blanc, Europe's highest mountain.

A few weeks ago it was a bright and sunny day, but it felt a bit hazy. So you can imagine my surprise when I arrived at the lookout point and not only saw the mountain range but also the Mont Blanc. It wasn't super clear, and many people probably missed it that day, but the faint outline was definitely there.

Seeing the Mont Blanc from the city is always very special to me. People might say that it is difficult to know which one is the Mont Blanc if you have never seen it before. But it isn't. Hubby and I like to compare seeing the Mont Blanc to meeting your life partner. Even if you've never seen it / met him/her before, you know it the moment you do. If you're not sure, it's not the Mont Blanc.


On the 4th Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join. Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. What Perfect Moment have you recently been aware of? Visit Write Mind Open Heart and share your comment love. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On demand

Yes. A post about breastfeeding. Not about the controversial Time Magazine cover though. Just about my kids and me.

Breastfeeding these days is supposed to be on demand. Which I'm all for, but I'm not good at. I'm a schedule kind of girl. On demand throws me off. It makes me sit down (often, very often), and do nothing, except feeding my baby, while to-do lists remain long. It's OK though, this will not last for years.

My baby demands to nurse somewhere between every 2-4 hours. Having a bigger brother running around means he gets distracted a lot while nursing, which leads to demanding to nurse more often because he didn't get a lot of milk in the previous session. We only get to the 4 hours when we're on the go, never at home. There are people who say that my kid is feeding out of boredom, and I should get out of the house more, so the on-demand will be more spaced out. But there is stuff that needs to be done, sometimes, at home, and I can't be on the go 24/7.

My pediatrician thinks once a baby has reached a certain weight, he/she should be able to get by with 4 to 5 feeds a day. Yeah, right, on a bottle maybe, not on a breast, or at least not on mine (or at least not my kids). With baby #1 these kind of comments made me very nervous, now I just shrug them off. Even though I would love to have a kid that only demands every 4-5 hours, mine are not that way and I also understand very well that breastfeeding is not just about food. I can count on it that every time I have to clean the baby's stuffed nose in the middle of the night, he will want to nurse afterward. For comfort, and to be able to fall back asleep. I think that's perfectly OK (even I sometimes curse silently saying it was only 1.5 hrs ago that he last nursed), and I will give the evil eye to anyone saying that babies snacking for comfort are starting a bad habit and will be snacking on chocolate and/or chips in front of the TV later in life when they're bored or sad.

In the whole discussion about breastfeeding and on-demand there is however not a lot of thought about how it has to be a situation that is best for baby AND mommy. With my first baby I was so focused on 'breast is best' and that you should exclusively breastfeed for the first six months that I completely lost sight of myself. My son wanted to nurse all the time, day and night. Except for about a month when he ended up in our bed around midnight every night, he slept in his own room, which meant I was up at least three times a night. He didn't gain much weight between three and five months, which made my pediatrician suggest to start supplementing with formula, which freaked me out and made me ask a second opinion with a breastfeeding specialist at the hospital. This doctor said nothing was wrong and suggested I should nurse even more, which basically would have meant having my son latched on 24/7. I sought advice everywhere and didn't know how to form my own opinion anymore. I now wish someone had told me to look for the balance between what was right for baby and me, but I'm not sure I would have listened (I'm sure my mom did say something like that), the baby was all-important to me. I only found myself again after a few therapy sessions (and the baby starting solids, finally the bottle around 7 months, and sleeping better at night).

So even before the arrival of baby #2 I decided to do things differently. He's sleeping in a co-sleeper next to me, so even if he wakes three times a night (which he does), I don't have to get up, and even though it's tiring, it's nothing compared to the to-and-fros I did with #1. He's a big boy (bigger than his brother) and packing on the pounds as he should, so now my pediatrician compliments me for getting these results by exclusively breastfeeding. But two days ago I did start giving him a bottle of formula before putting him down for the night in an attempt to have him sleep better at night. Waking up three times a night, wanting to nurse every time, is just too much for me. Don't say it's a growth spurt, those don't last for three weeks. It might be due to his stuffed nose, or maybe he's already teething, or maybe he just wants to cuddle up to mommy at night, or…  We'll probably never know. I just can't get to the point of exhaustion I had the first time, especially not with a toddler running around - who usually wakes up around 6/6:30 am just when the baby's fallen back asleep, making sure I don't get any sleep past 5:30 am… The first night with bottle didn't make any difference. We'll see how the coming nights will be. Otherwise he's such a happy baby - and didn't make any problems with the bottle at all. He still wants to nurse before falling asleep at night, even with his tummy full of formula, which makes me smile (for naps I can just put him down, but at night he wants to nurse to sleep - which is often a challenge with his big brother coming in and jumping on the bed) and hope that he will continue to nurse until six or seven months (I say this because his brother, who took two months before finally accepting the bottle, rejected the breast pretty quickly after discovering it required much less effort to get milk from a bottle than from my breast). Yes, I will wean him. I admire the women who can/want to nurse their children for 2-3 years, but that is just not for me.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The bracelet

My mom used to wear this bracelet

First, there were only two 'coins' on it, one with my sister's name on the front and her birthday on the back, and one with my name and birthday. Then years later she added the heart to represent her stillborn son. When my nephew was born, he got a coin too, next to my sister's, and almost four years later one was added for my niece. The last one my mom added was for our first son.

When my mom died, we talked a bit about what to do with the bracelet. It had been such a part of her, that we briefly considered having her wear it and take it with her into the grave. But it had too much meaning to do so. Incorporating it into the gravestone was also discussed - but the chances that it would get stolen were too big, so we abandoned that as well. Until we came up with a better idea, my dad kept it safe.

My dad recently had a sixth coin with our second son's name and birthday added to the bracelet, and when we saw each other over Easter, he gave it to me and asked to alternate it with my sister.

I won't wear it because it's not my story that it represents, but my mom's. I liked the idea of exchanging it with my sister, but at first I didn't really know what to do with it, I didn't want it just sit in its box and being forgotten until I would hand it to her.

But now I think I know. Today is my sister's birthday. So this morning I opened the box, I took the bracelet in my hand and looked at that oldest coin, the one with my sister's name and birthday on it and thought what that birth (a healthy girl after stillbirth and miscarriage, born on a day people in Holland remember the death from WWII) and that girl has meant to my mother for all those years.

My mom and sister, on the beach in Holland, probably somewhere in the early 1990s
And it made me tear up, because I miss my mom so much.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Perfect Moment Monday - Rich

Another Perfect Moment about my children... 

After hitting publish on my previous post I realized I would have liked to add how extremely happy and grateful I am for my two boys, and that I don't take having them for granted at any moment.

We went back home to Holland over the Easter holiday (although there isn't really a home there anymore, my parents' condo is up for sale, my dad now lives more at his girlfriend's place and cleaned out a lot of stuff - we stayed there and had lots of room, but it felt cold and empty) - mainly so my two grandmothers would have a chance to see our youngest son and of course to see other family members and friends - and to stock up on all the Dutch goodies we love some much and can't get here in France (peanut butter, chocolate sprinkles, licorice, etc).

It was a full and busy week. The kids were often not in bed before 10 pm because of travel or dinner with friends, etc. The 11-hour drive back home was with a fully packed car (I even bought a new bike!) and even though the boys were champs, it was pretty tiring for everyone. So the next day we took it easy at home (except for hubby, who had to go to work again). When I'd put the toddler down for his afternoon nap, the baby and I went to sleep as well. An hour later the toddler came into our room, climbed into the big bed, snuggled up with me, and promptly fell asleep again. The baby stirred a bit in his co-sleeper, so I put a hand on his stomach to keep him calm and so he wouldn't fully wake up. I suddenly felt so incredibly rich with my two boys at my side, sound asleep in the comfort of their mommy's presence. I didn't mind at all that I was now wide awake, I was so happy. I savored that moment, nothing else mattered.


On the 4th Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join. Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. What Perfect Moment have you recently been aware of? Visit Write Mind Open Heart and share your comment love. The next Perfect Moment Monday event will be on May 28.

Friday, April 20, 2012

How many children?

This post came about after a prompt from St Elsewhere a few months ago... The idea has finally taken on enough form that I think I can write it down, even though I'm not sure I have a final answer yet.

In St Elsewhere's prompt there were three questions:

Q. How many children do you want?
Q. what issues/factors drive this 'number'?
Q. Has the number of children you wanted changed through your TTC journey? Would you rather leave this number question open and say as many as we can?

I will try to answer them as a whole.

Before we even started TTC I always dreamt of having four children, and maybe two of those would be twins. We'd have a fun and loving family. Never a dull moment. Then we started TTC and it didn't go as planned. After trying naturally for about two years, and then six failed IUIs, my dream of four children had been changed into the desperate cry to have at least one living and healthy child.

Then IVF #1 was a success. A breezy pregnancy which resulted in a healthy baby, love and happiness and the adrenaline rush of wanting to do this again. Soon. And so many people were saying that probably my body would know what to do now, and we wouldn't need IVF anymore for baby #2, #3 and who knows, #4 (which was still a desire, but I'd lost quite a few years during the TTC and IF battle so I wasn't sure if I wouldn't be too old by that time). But, when usually (or at least according to the books) life with baby becomes easier after the first three months, mine became a sleep-deprivation hell. I lost myself and I couldn't imagine wanting to go through that again. Maybe I wasn't made for this. Maybe I should be content with one child.

But of course it got better, and looking back I thought there might be things I could do differently with a second baby. So we started TTC again. But no luck the natural way, and we didn't want to waste too much time, so after a few months, we were sitting in the RE's office again. IVF#2 was a go. The first attempt was cancelled midway because of my mother's passing. The second attempt went OK, but when lying in the recovery room after ER I told myself "I never want to do this again", so much stress, so much uncertainty. Two beautiful embies were transferred, one was frozen. Since IVF#1 had been a success I thought this time around it would work too. And the dream of four children was suddenly back: twins from IVF#2 and then another child from a subsequent FET... How wonderful would that be?

Well, it didn't happen. I got a BFN from IVF#2 and the dream of four children immediately changed back into the realization that maybe I should be content with one child. 

I didn't have high hopes for the FET a few months later. But this one stuck around, and was pregnant with a second son. Another great pregnancy. Two boys. I couldn't be happier. When I gave birth to him I thought I would have this feeling of "now my family is complete. Our family building is over" like I heard some women say. But I didn't. Not that there was a feeling that I immediately wanted to do this again. No, there was just love, an immense amount of love for this new and tiny human being, nothing more and nothing less.

I let go of the dream of four children. But three children is still a question mark. In two years I'll be 40. I find that quite old to be a new mom again. And that thought I had in the recovery room after ER does come back to me every now and then, I was so adamant about it, "never again".  I wouldn't mind being pregnant again though. I absolutely love being pregnant. The first few weeks after birth? Getting used to the sleepless nights again? I'd gladly skip that. And handling three kids while hubby is away on a week-long business trip, while I already lose my patience too often with two? And thinking that now, maybe, it would work the natural way? And I'm still apprehensive of the months to come with this new baby, who's now three months old - the time when it all started going downhill for me with our firstborn. I know the two boys are quite different, and I'm a lot better prepared, but still...

So, I guess the jury is still out. It's too soon to make a final decision. However, one decision has been made in my mind: no more IVF. If we were to have a third child, then it would have to be a natural miracle.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Perfect Moment Monday - bedtime

Evenings in our household have become quite a challenge lately as our toddler has decided it is the best moment to get some alone time with mommy and daddy. Usually around dinner time the baby's witching hour will start. So often I nurse while eating (and trying not to spill anything on him) and urging our toddler to eat something too - which if it's not lasagna, risotto, sausages or french fries is more or less impossible. Then when dinner is done, it's time to prepare the toddler for bed (while the baby is still/again screaming). Hubby (when he's not away for business) usually takes charge of getting him into his PJs, brushing his teeth etc. but I have to do story time. At that point he will have told us at least five times already that he doesn't want to go to bed - "Je veux pas dormir mamam" has become his new mantra.

Once we've read one or two stories, I have to sing him a song, at least twice. Then he wants me to remain seated on the sofa next to his bed. When I get up after five minutes and leave the room, he will either start crying or get out of bed too. This is repeated several times… (and I've tried different techniques and they don't make much difference, the only thing is that if I get angry, he just laughs at me) and usually it takes an hour before he finally goes to sleep [I assume this is just a phase and is all due to the arrival of the baby, before that the toddler's bedtime routine was very easy].

Then I have to put the baby to bed, which compared to the routine described  above, is quite simple - change diaper, put him in PJs (usually that's already done), nurse, burp, swaddle, put him down in co-sleeper.

One day last week I was dead tired, had lost patience a few times with the toddler, before he had finally given in and went to sleep, and I was craving a little me-time before I would crash and go to sleep myself. The baby, whom I'd put down already, was crying, so I went to our bedroom to give him back his pacifier. I wanted to leave the room again, but he spit the paci out, looked at me (the way only babies can) and started 'talking'. It was just the two of us, the craziness of the previous hours gone and he completely calmed me down. After a few minutes he just closed his eyes and went to sleep.

Despite my fatigue I went to bed smiling that evening. It was my Perfect Moment.


On the 4th Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join. Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between. What Perfect Moment have you recently been aware of? Visit Write Mind Open Heart and share your comment love. The next Perfect Moment Monday event will be on April 23.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Let the voting begin...

If you read my previous post you know I'm participating in the Limerick Chick Contest hosted by Lori at Write Mind Open Heart. Voting is now open for the second round, which includes my entry.
Vote for your favorite one (mine of course, ahem) by Saturday morning (MST) here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Limerick Chick Contest

It's time for The 6th Annual Limerick Chick Contest hosted by Lori Lavender Luz at Write Mind Open Heart.

This is the second year I'm competing and here's my entry:

If you're feeling lost in a foreign city
But don't want to drown yourself in self pity
Then go to your blog and say
"I'm very far away"
And turn chagrin into something charming and witty

If you want to enter yourself, you only have until tomorrow, February 29, 10 pm MST, to do so.

Voting starts on March 4th (please vote for me!)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Perfect Moment Monday - Kisses

I've been a bad blogger lately, even a worse commenter. Life has been taken up by baby, sleep (or lack thereof) and to-do lists getting longer. But I want to look into PAIL, keep being part of the Thoughtful Thursday Intelligentsia, get inspiration for a limerick to enter the Limerick Chick Contest before it's too late (only two days to go, jikes!), and of course continue my 2012 resolution of partaking in Perfect Moment Monday.

This weekend we drove to the mountains to meet up with a woman who was my BFF from kindergarten through elementary school. Then our lives took different turns and we last saw each other about 16 years ago. Last year we connected again through FB and when she said she would be 'only' 2.5 hr drive away for a short skiing holiday this weekend, we decided to meet up. It would also be a nice opportunity to give our toddler a bit fun in the snow.

That opportunity came on Sunday morning, when I put the toddler and myself on skis and did two runs on the baby lift with him. Of course there was hardly any control on his side - hanging in his mother's arms instead of standing on his feet, especially in the lift - but he did enjoy the speed. Then hubby took him for two runs on the sled, and then he'd had enough. I was ready for a break too as pulling toddler up while trying not to fall out of the lift is quite some work!

I picked my son up, asked if he had enjoyed it. He nodded and then showered me with kisses. A perfect moment, which made the whole trip worthwhile.

What Perfect Moment have you recently been aware of? Visit Write Mind Open Heart and share your comment love.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Birth story

Sorry for the delay, but I finally have some quiet time to sit down and write this story while I’m vacationing at my SIL’s with the kids (while hubby is away for business) and their teenage daughters are entertaining our toddler while the baby is asleep. (I hope it's coherent, I haven't reread it yet...)

After about three days of lots and lots of (sometimes painful) BH contractions and losing my mucous plug, things seemed to getting serious in the early morning of Monday, January 23rd. I first thought they were still BH contractions, as I mainly felt them in my lower abdomen, but they did come in more regular intervals and seemed to be getting stronger too. The previous days the contractions were mainly there when I was lying in bed and would subside when I would get up and/or take two Spasfon tablets. This time however they remained strong, even after changing position, taking Spasfon, and taking a warm bath. I had been up since 4 am and around 5:30 am we decided that this was the real thing, and moved into gear to get the toddler off to the neighbors and ourselves to the hospital about an hour later. We arrived at the hospital just before 7:30 am, just in time for a shift change. We were greeted by a midwife and student midwife who checked how far along I was: 3 cm dilated. Not that far, but we were allowed to stay and brought into a pre-L&D room, where I was put on monitoring for the first hour and then left to ourselves. After a total of two hours they did another cervical check: 5 cm dilated – off to the L&D room.

I had told the midwife that I wanted to see how things were progressing whether or not to ask for an epidural. With the birth of our first son I had taken an epidural after about 20 hrs of labor, when things were not progressing as they should and I was completely exhausted. The first dose had worn almost off by the time I was fully dilated, so I was able to feel everything (or so I thought, but more on that later…) when it was time to push, and I’d like to have that same experience this time.

I was very lucky that it wasn’t a busy day at all and the midwife came to check on me very regularly. The first part of labor I’d been sitting on a big exercise ball, with my hands on the bed and was handling the contractions pretty well up until about 6 cm when they changed in intensity. Just when I was thinking ‘next time the midwife comes in, I will probably ask for the epidural’, she came in, proposed a different position (on all fours on the bed, with a smaller exercise ball to lean on), which was wonderful, so we continued the natural way. I was still laboring at a pace of about 1 cm per hour, not very fast (and I was certainly not getting the 5-6 hr labor as everyone was saying is pretty common for a second baby), but steady. Every time things were getting tough the midwife proposed something else and helped me through it. As I was having quite some back contractions she had also put some acupuncture needles in my back (I’m not really sure if they did anything, and in the end she took them out because I was lying on my back and they were bothering me) and showed my husband the pressure points on my lower back, so he was helping a lot too.

When I was about 8-9 cm dilated the contractions became quite unbearable, but I was not going for the epidural anymore, I had such a good team around me, and was still feeling in pretty good shape, so we were set for an all-natural birth! However the end was really, really tough, I won’t lie. I felt a slight urge to push and told the midwife so. She told me I could push, but somehow I didn’t really dare to, so she wondered if I really felt the urge, that we could also wait a little, but I just couldn’t bear breathing the contractions away anymore, I just wanted this baby to come out! They told me to pull my legs towards me, but at that point I didn’t have much strength left and would have preferred if I could have put my feet up against something/someone. It took quite a few pushes before the head came out – the first few I didn’t have enough strength to make them last long enough. The midwife made me feel the top of the baby’s head as encouragement, but I was just one ball of pain. At one point (when the head was crowning) it hurt so much I was screaming like in the movies and asking the midwife what the hell she was doing when she replied: “I’m not doing anything, it’s the head that’s coming out”. They urged me to keep pushing to get the shoulders out as well, but I just needed to take a break and gather my strength to push again. Apparently the cord was around the baby’s neck – hubby told me later the midwife removed it in one swift motion. Encouraged by hubby and the two midwives I did manage that final push that got the shoulders and then the rest of the body out. The midwife handed me a bit of a limp and bluish baby that didn’t cry much, but once on my chest everything was perfect. It was Monday, January 23rd, 2:54 pm, our second son (3640 g and 53 cm) was safely in my arms after 11 hours of labor.

Despite the feeling that I didn't push as well as I could have, the midwife was very impressed with the way I did it and wanted to know where I'd taken my birthing preparation classes, because she said it didn't happen very often that a woman was able to push while breathing out (and not blocking my breath, like I'd done with baby #1, which was very effective, but as the preparation midwife had told me, especially for a second baby, not so good for your body - with a chance of pushing other organs too much down).

The placenta and membranes came out OK as well and after that they had to stitch two minor tears, which was a bit uncomfortable as I think she didn’t wait quite long enough for the local anesthetic to take effect.

After about two hours we were wheeled to our room in the maternity ward, where we stayed until Thursday morning (standard procedure in France). The first few nights were a bit rough, since he was constantly demanding to be fed and the colostrum didn’t seem to satisfy him, so we complemented two or three times with a little bit of formula. Once my milk came in this problem was over (not that he didn’t demand to be fed anymore) and in the first week he gained about 600 g and the second week another 500 g.

In the hospital
We’re adjusting pretty well to a life as a family of four. Our toddler is very sweet with the baby but also needs his fair share of attention, which he sometimes demands by throwing tantrums or being otherwise disobedient, which is all pretty normal I guess.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Perfect Moment Monday - hey mommy

The moment when he opened his eyes and looked at me like "hey, I know that voice, that's my mommy". In love for the rest of my life.

Our second son and little FET miracle, born today at 14:54 (2:54 pm) CET. Birth story to follow soon.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quick update

I had intended for my next post to be about the two blog awards I recently received, but that one is taking too much time (as I want to inform the other bloggers etc. beforehand, and don't seem to have the time for it at the moment).

So instead a quick update on the pregnancy front. I'm currently 39w3d pregnant, everything still going well and not much going on, except for lots and lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, especially this afternoon and evening, and just hoping that this baby won't make us wait as long as our first one did (who was 10 days late).

Hubby and toddler put together the playpen on Sunday, after which our toddler climbed in, laid on his back and started fake-crying like a baby, haha.

I thought we had made a decision regarding the name, but then hubby started to question it again this weekend, without of course coming up with an alternative. We listed some names and read them out to our toddler, but he was too busy with his toys, food or youtube video to pay attention and give us any kind of clue (and anyway, if it should come from the youtube videos he'd probably say "mickey mouse" or "caillou"). But I think it'll be OK. We have one favorite and two backups, in case when the baby is born we think the name doesn't fit him.

On Monday I cleaned the apartment from top to bottom (too bad dust always reappears so quickly) and yesterday I filed away a year's worth of administration. Seems like I'm nesting (or just getting long overdue tasks done). Fun stuff...

So, in other words: we're ready!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Maybe this one will not be the spitting image of his dad...

Me, 1 day old (back in 1973)

Baby #2, 32w u/s 4D scan

Saturday, January 7, 2012


On Tuesday, December 27 I was sitting on the couch when I suddenly realized that there was more room between my breasts and my belly, and it was easier to breathe. I also felt more pressure on my bladder. My only conclusion was that the baby must have dropped!

My feeling was confirmed yesterday during my last regular OB appointment of this pregnancy, at 37w4d: baby's head is now really down in my pelvis, cervix is shortened and I'm one finger dilated. So we both hope that this one will come around my due date and not let us wait another 10 days.

BP and fundal height were fine but I didn't get the measurements. Weight +2 kg from last checkup, so I'm now at a total weight gain of +11 kg since the first checkup at 9 weeks, or +13 kg since pre-FET.

My strep B test came back positive, so I will need an antibiotics drip during labor and delivery to minimize the risk of transfering it to the baby.

Got my final blood test (toxoplasmosis) just after the consult and went home with a bloody shirt sleeve...

In other preparing for baby news: I got the stroller out of storage, washed and cleaned the various parts, put it back together and added the wheelyboard for our toddler to stand on. The bookcase with our administration and office stuff is now in our bedroom and the chest of drawers with toys moved from the living room to the kids' bedroom, with a dressing part on top of it (same system) and rearranged some other stuff in that room.

Finally as proof that my bump looks indeed different, a belly shot from yesterday (37w4d):