"Just One"

This was posted in our Chicken Shit group and I loved it so much that I asked Jeanette if I could post it here. I hope you like it as much as I do.

I disliked being pregnant. I originally wrote "hated" but there were some pluses to consider, so "disliked" seems more appropriate. I mean, I had a great looking pregnancy, only gaining 40lbs and establishing a very cute caboose, but inside I felt crummy. I was nauseous all the time, headaches, restless legs, moodiness...I remember one time standing on the stairs, holding a laundry bin, staring at my husband and trying to figure out how to wrap that bin around his neck. FURY and tears. I remember being exhausted all the time. I remember my friends stopped inviting me out, because they were single and awesome party animals. I remember being scared about whether I'd be a good mom or not. I never thought of myself as 'Mom'. Wait, do I want to be called 'Mommy', or 'Mum'?

I've been pregnant 4 times, with one awesome kid to show for it. I'm not complaining, my kid makes some moms playfully jealous...he, like yours, is perfect. Those three horrific losses gutted me, in the "painful-lost breath-heaving-sobs" way. The "I-can't-do-this-again" way. They are deeply personal experiences, and there are so many of us who have them. Gut-wrenching episodes of red-eyed murmuring.

As a way of therapy and to wind my way to the point of my writing, allow me to share my experience with you.

My first pregnancy was a thrilling thing! I couldn't believe how EASY it was! I know how many struggle. I was 32 years old, and I was going to be a mom (or mommy, still undecided). I scoured through books, I wanted to be perfect. The pregnancy was so painful, I was very sick and dizzy. I began spotting at 9 weeks but the doctor couldn't say what, if anything, might be wrong. Every week there were questions...what's happening? Will I lose the baby? At 17 weeks, exhausted and stressed, my baby's heart stopped beating, and my womb became a tomb. I had to have a D&C to remove the "products of conception", two D&C's actually since not only my mind and heart, but my body wouldn't let go...it tried to regrow the "leftover tissue". It was a "triploidy", a chromosomal issue.

It took a year to recover physically and mentally, during that time I made best friends with the early loss clinicians, they are amazing. I can't tell you how many times I cried in front of them, the really ugly cries. It sucked that they were located in the maternity ward. That the waiting room was shared with excited friends and family. Don't worry, that's no longer the case as they moved the department to a new floor...I guess they saw the cruelty.

Next pregnancy was a huge success, 42 weeks and a happy, healthy baby boy. Nothing big here, just lost a gallbladder, sprained a foot and grew hair in weird places.

Post-son, we talked a lot about having another child, what that means to us and to our son. I'm not going to lie, I thought about how scary pregnancy is with what I experienced, and the fact that I was now 3 years older (35). I also thought about how much money it costs to raise a kid, how much stress on the marriage, on my career, on my individuality (cause I'm not just a mom y'kno!).

Our hearts wanted another child, and we tried, and lost. Tried and lost. One at 12 weeks (I found out on my birthday that there was no heartbeat), and the other a blighted ovum.

And now I'm very close to getting to my point...thanks for sticking with me so far...recently my husband and I decided that one is enough, that our one is perfect (even in his tyranny), that one is okay. We had to deal with the "but he needs a sibling" statements and the, "who will he lean on when you guys pass away" questions from friends and family. And, of course, my mother's classic, "but I really want a granddaughter" *sigh*.

I wrangled with the "just one" thoughts for months before making our decision. We talked through our estate planning, and ways to compensate for the lack of sibling companionship, by spending more time with his cousins (they live close), and arranging lots of play dates... I reached out to other mommies I knew who had "just one", to hear of any regrets (none reported).

My point...
Whether it's a family with no kids, one kid, two kids, blue kids, we all just need support and kindness...

No. We are not having another child.
One and done.

To the friends and family of those who have tried and lost, or simply decided that they "did it right the first time" (rally-call of the one and done crew), please support the decision, it's sometimes not easily made and usually backed by some heavy heartaches.

And to the moms who have found themselves struggling with whether to have another or not, I completely understand the battle. Feel free to reach out.


Jeanette Diamond lives in Toronto, Canada. She enjoys creative writing in her spare time. She is happily married with one awesome son.

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MIT Breast Pump Hackathon

Ever wonder why breast pumps aren’t sleek and silent? Well, the folks at MIT sure did so they’ve decided to host a “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck Hackathon” this weekend.

The group consists of designers, engineers, scientist, lactation consultants, midwives and doulas with the sole goal of making a better breast pump.

I’m disproportionately excited about this.

I mean it’s just a breast pump.

But you know what? Anything to do with women and babies tends to lag behind in the technology department – breast pumps really haven’t really had a dramatic advancement since they were invented in the late 1800s – so this cool news.

My buds at weeSpring think so too so they are helping collect data from moms (and a few awesome pump-washing dads) to improve the whole pumping experience to pass along to the team.

The survey is only 11 short questions so if you have a moment, fill ‘er out because nothing beats hands on, boob pumping, feedback to give some insight.

I can’t wait to see what they come up with!! I hope it’s something that can wash itself and order pizza – that would be handy.

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Travelling with a Baby: some tips for flying

Every once in a while I’ll be asked what the tricks are to flying with a baby to which I answer, “I have no idea.” I could barely keep it together in a doctor’s office let alone a four-hour flight, so I never attempted it.

So when I read this post that Gemma had on her site, the sweetest digs, I asked if I could post it here so you guys could get some solid advice instead of me just screaming “Don’t do it!!!” (Just kidding, you'll be awesome.)

Let me know if you have tips too!


So now that we have done our trip to Florida over Christmas when Maya was 3 months, and our recent trip to Puerto Rico for my girlfriend’s wedding when Maya was 6 months (we got lucky with hot vacay’s this winter!), I feel like I can pass on some tips and tricks for flying with a baby. I’m definitely no expert, but both were long enough travel days and used different airlines, so I feel like we had a bit of variety in our experience. Some were nighttime flights, some were daytime ones, and all had connections.

I was definitely nervous before going, but in the end found it not to be too bad. Here was some of the stuff that worked for us.

 

 

Seats

When we booked our tickets, we chose a window and aisle seat fairly close to the back of the plane. We did this because the middle seat is always the last one selected, so we figured if there were by chance some empty seats on the flight, a middle one (especially near the back) is the most likely to be left open. On all the flights we went on we asked when we were checking in if the flight was full – and the answer was always yes. So we assumed that we would have someone sitting in between us and would just ask them if they wanted the window instead (and we would take the middle and aisle). Who’s going to *want* a middle seat over a window anyway, right? But just as a double check measure, when we got to the gate, we would go up and ask again if the flight was full. And you know what? For about half of our flights, it turned out it wasn’t entirely full, and they were able to do a little switcharoos and give us that empty middle seat. The extra room makes such a nice difference to give the baby somewhere to sit and move around. We even got Maya to fall asleep lying down in the seat on a few flights! So lesson learned? Always check again at the gate. Those folks seem to be able to have more control over the seat selection.

 

 

Boarding

This might seem obvious, but board the plane early to ensure that you get enough space in the overhead bins. All flights give priority boarding to first class travellers, but most will also allow families, elderly, and others who require assistance to board early. Take advantage of it. You really don’t want one of your bags in the overhead bin 10 rows behind you or something.

 

Sleep

We tried to get Maya to sleep anytime we were waiting around in the airport — connections, waiting for flight, etc. She is usually able to fall asleep in the stroller or the carrier if you walk around for long enough, so we took that time to just walk walk walk, until she had nodded off. We knew that sleeping on the plane would be more difficult, so it was important to catch as many zzz’s for her in the airport. Any schedule you might have at home for naptime sort of goes out the window when you’re flying, so for us we just tried to get her to sleep whenever we could. The more sleep, the happier the babe.

Once on the plane, we ended up getting her to sleep a few different ways. When we had the empty middle seat we would lie her down with some cozy blankets all around, and then give her a bottle and sing quietly until she nodded off. You obviously need to stay alert when they are sleeping like this though, as you can’t let them roll around! We also used the carrier and had her fall asleep in it, but we found it to be a bit uncomfortable to sit in after a while. Because of that, we would instead hold her facing outwards or inwards (whichever she preferred) and went to the back of the plane to bounce a little. I would just go and stand behind the bathrooms where the hosts/hostesses are. They were always super friendly. This usually made her sleepy and then we would go back to our seats, sit down carefully, and she would stay asleep. It’s not the best because then your arms aren’t really free to do anything else, but if you just want to put your head back and try to doze a little yourself, it’s not bad.

One of the things I totally would’ve used if we had the opportunity are those attachable bassinets that some airlines have. None of our flights had them, but if you are flying with a baby then I would definitely call the airline ahead of time and see if you can swing one of those. You sit up in the first row and the bassinet attaches to the wall in front of the seats. I think the weight limit is pretty limited (15 pounds rings a bell?), but it’s definitely worth checking into.

 

Take off/Landing

So funnily enough I was told by the stewardesses that I couldn’t wear the carrier during take-off, and then that wearing the carrier is a great position, and then getting absolutely no instruction – all depending on which airline I flew with. There clearly aren’t any hard and fast rules on this. For the most part, I think that holding the baby in an upright position (like a burping position) is the way to go – so wearing the carrier is actually perfect for this. Only once was I asked to take off the carrier — so I just undid the arm straps, but kept the middle all done up. Then during take off and landing I would just sing quietly to Maya in her ear. This seemed to distract her enough and she was happy as a clam. If your baby is a soother baby, I would pop one in as a distraction, and in case it helped with the ear popping. I also had a bottle at the ready, and wouldn’t have hesitated to adjust my holding position with her a bit to be able to pop it in, had she started to fuss. If you are breastfeeding, I would be ready to quickly get out a boob! The flight staff are going to be sitting down themselves during take off and landing and won’t actually be able to see you. I would do whatever works to calm your baby, as long as you are holding them securely in case of turbulence.

 

What to pack

In terms of what to have in your diaper bag, we kept it pretty simple: diapers + wipes with a portable changing pad, 1 big muslin blanket, 2 changes of clothes (layers so it was easy to put on/remove if the plane was hot or cold, or if things got messy), a couple of favourite toys, a soother, a couple of bibs, and several bottles (however many were required for the length of travel). We always put Maya in a clean diaper before boarding each flight, to try to minimize having to change her on the plane. Changing on the flight is do-able, but not the easiest in those small bathrooms.

We had the diaper bag with most of those things in it, plus the things that I wanted for myself on the plane (it doubled as my purse), so it was all at-the-ready. Then we had a small suitcase as the other carry-on with other things that we didn’t think we would need on the flight: one of the change of clothes, all of my pumping gear, extra formula, extra diapers, etc. That way you can have the diaper bag on the floor where you are sitting, and the other in the overhead bin, and don’t need to mess about on the flight trying to get things.

 

 

Bottle Feeding and Baby Food

Breastfeeding is obviously a lot easier if you’re travelling, but if that isn’t an option for you like it wasn’t for me, you’ll be happy to hear that with a bit of planning it really wasn’t a big deal to bottle feed during our travel. It wasn’t a problem in any airport we went through to have bottles that were already full with water, or to bring liquid formula. For when we did water, we just measured out the right amount of water in each bottle and sealed it. Don’t do bottles that are too huge, because you need to throw out what the baby doesn’t drink — no fridge to put it in and save for next time. Then we had pre-measured amounts of powdered formula in a plastic container (like this one) that were ready to mix in and shake. We didn’t want to have to rely on getting water from the hostesses during flights just in case we were in a pinch. If it were a long flight though, we could’ve done that. Since the water had been sitting out, it was at room temperature, which is how Maya drinks her bottles. If you needed to warm them up, I’m sure you could ask the hostess for some warm water to dunk the bottle into.

We also had some jars of baby food with us, and again this wasn’t a problem to take through security. Just get it out when you are going through the conveyor and the guards will run in through a test thing. No biggie. We tried to feed Maya actual food before boarding – we would just hit up an airport restaurant with a high chair. We figured it would just be too messy on the plane.

[Note: Mixie also has these bottles if you want to skip the separate formula containers. – Amy]

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One of my best tips? Travel with grandparents. Man those two can seriously help a girl out. I even got to read a gossip magazine or two like the BB (“before baby”) travel days. The best!


So I think that’s about it for tips and tricks on flying with a baby. I’ll do a part 2 travel post with our “go to” packing list, and other lessons learned. Stay tuned for that one!


Note: While the FAA doesn’t require a seat for your child, they do strongly recommend one. If there is turbulence or a runway emergency your arms just aren’t going to cut it so it’s recommended that all children use a child restraint from birth to 40 pounds. This can be an approved car seat (it needs to have “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft" printed on it) or a safety harness if your child is over 22lbs.

Listen, I totally recognize this is a large cost implication here. I know there are people that will squawk “well, then just don’t fly if you can’t afford the extra seat” but we all know that it's rarely that simple.

It’s just worth noting and something worth checking out. You can find some more information here and here.


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Gemma Bonham-Carter, author of ‘the sweetest digs’, is a crafty, flea market loving, DIY and interior design junkie and mama of one, based in Ottawa, Canada.  Join her as she chronicles her family's adventures (and misadventures...!) as they fix up their first house on a shoestring budget, and the life that happens in between projects. From DIY tutorials, crafts, decorating inspiration, room makeovers, and tales of raising her baby daughter, the blog is a one stop shop for great ideas and a laugh.

Check her out:

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