Step by Step

Originally Written Short Story, April 2021 for NYC Midnight Short Story Competition

Emily hiked the hem of her skirt a little higher up on her thighs in a desperate attempt to get her other leg up and over the windowsill. Christ, she felt like a whale. Whoever designed the fire escape certainly never considered the girl trying to bail out the window in a pencil skirt and four-inch heels. There was another loud bang at the door to her apartment.

“Emily? I know you’re in there!”

Shit. She was so late, and more importantly, she didn’t have the past three month’s rent for her landlord. With an almighty effort, she pushed the window screen aside and hoisted her other leg up and over the ledge. A loud ripping sound rang through the room, and she gasped. As she turned around to survey the damage to her rear end, the doorknob to her apartment started to turn.

“Emily? I’m coming in…”

“No! Don’t come in! I’m…I’m naked!” Emily shrieked frantically.

“Well can you please get…un-naked then? I need to speak with you.”

Emily sighed. She wriggled her bum backwards and heaved herself back into the apartment.

“Okay…come in.”

Her landlord opened the door cautiously and peered around the door like he was entering hostile territory.

“Hi Mr. Randolph!” Emily said brightly.

He furrowed his brow in disbelief, looking from her to the window and back again.

“Uh…hello there. Your rent is three months overdue Emily. And… wait, were you seriously just trying to get out the window?”

She shook her head emphatically.

“No, no! Just getting some fresh air.”

“Right… look, I really need your rent payments by the end of the week.”

She nodded solemnly, shimmying her skirt down from up around her thighs.

“And Emily…you’re going to have to fix that window screen.”

Son of a bitch. It hadn’t been her skirt that had ripped. It was the window screen.

Emily sat idly on the train, watching the world whizz by outside. To say that her life was in shambles didn’t quite capture it. Despite her very best efforts, she hadn’t worked full-time in nearly a year, her bachelor apartment was a dump, she had put on twenty-three pounds, and her idea of a love life was the one night stand she had had with the busboy at their local bar last weekend. Her phone trilled cheerfully.


“Emily, it’s Skye. You wanna grab a drink tonight?”

“Wish I could girl, I’m on my way to dinner at my moms.”

“Garbage. You just don’t want to see your lover boy from last weekend.”

“Ugh. Do you know that the poor guy actually gave me some million-year-old book of poems from his grandmother? Like we were in the fucking Notebook or something.”

“He did not. I’m not sure if that’s the sweetest or the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“Well, sweet or not, the guy had Cheeto crumbs in his bed. And he was sweaty. Really sweaty.”

“Say no more. I can live with Cheeto crumbs, but it’s a hard pass at sweaty.”

Emily laughed in spite of herself.

“Okay girl here comes my stop. You find us another bar, okay? I ain’t showing my face there ever again.”

“Emily sweetie! What’s kept you?”

She hardly recognized her mother, Margot; sharply dressed in fitted jeans, a crisp white tank top and gorgeous flowery pink kimono. For as long as she could remember, her mother had thought that any clothing that didn’t have a drawstring was high fashion. Love did weird things to people.

Margot had met her beaux John at bridge club six months ago and things had taken off quickly. Emily had to admit that he was very charming, in a Sean Connery sort of way, but it was still weird seeing her mother like this.

“Sorry Mom. Ran into a little snag on my way over.”

Margot clasped her arm tenderly as they started towards the kitchen.

“Oh, honey that’s okay; I’m just glad that you’re here. Let’s head outside, John and his son are barbecuing.”

“John’s son?”

“Yes, I mentioned that didn’t I? We thought it would be nice for you guys to meet.”

They made their way out the sliding doors and down the steps to the patio where John and a tall, thin man stood at the smoking barbecue.

“John, Dave, Emily is here!” Margot cheerfully announced.

As the two men turned to face them, Emily froze to the spot, her stomach dropping like a stone. There, standing on the back patio, holding her mother’s barbecue tongs, was the busboy from the bar.

As Dave turned to face her, his expression changed from a cheery smile to a look like Hannibal Lecter had just walked in for dinner. John jovially made his way over and gave Emily a hug.

“Emily! So glad to see you. This is my son Dave. Christ Dave, what’s wrong with you son,” John said, clapping his son roughly on the shoulder. “This is Emily, Margot’s daughter.”

Emily came to her senses first and extended her arm at ninety degrees.

“Nice to meet you Dave,” she said robotically, dully aware that her eyebrows were hovering somewhere up around her hairline.

“Uh, you too… it’s nice to meet you,” Dave said in high staccato.

The four of them stood in tense silence.

“So… shall we head inside? Steaks are done!” John said cheerily.

Emily was certain that at any moment someone was going to pop out from behind the couch with a camera and announce that they were on some reality show. Dave kept looking at her like some kind of panicked hostage trying to communicate something with his eyes, but she steadfastly avoided his gaze. Every time she caught a glimpse of him sitting at her mother’s dining room table, all she could picture was “The Night”. The dirty underwear in the corner of his bedroom, the questionable smell permeating throughout his apartment, the Cheeto crumbs. At least he seemed to be showing no obvious signs of perspiration tonight.

Part way through dinner, Dave excused himself and Emily seized the opportunity to casually follow him down the hall towards the washroom. As soon as the door opened, she placed her palm directly on his chest and pushed him back into the room, closing the door behind them. Dave yelped in surprise and looked genuinely scared.

“Okay, listen…there’s no need to say a word about what happened, alright? Let’s just forget the whole thing.”

Dave’s eyes were wide.

“Are you sure? If they’re going to be together, isn’t it bound to come out sooner or later?”

“Have you lost your mind? What would we tell them? That we got drunk off our asses and had a one-night stand? I don’t know about you, but that’s not typical dinner conversation for my mom and I, alright? We say nothing. Now let’s get back before they wonder what’s going on.”

Emily slipped out of the bathroom and closed the door behind her. As she came back into the kitchen, her mother had made her way over to stand behind John, with her arms around his

shoulders. Emily uneasily sat down, not liking the look of the scene. As Dave entered the room, still looking scared, John cleared his throat.

“So, you kids… we’re thrilled that you could both be here tonight, because Margot and I have some wonderful news to share.”

There was a pause for dramatic effect.

“We’re engaged!” Margot finally exclaimed, beaming with pride.

Dave looked from their parents to Emily with eyes the size of dinner plates.

“What?! So that makes us…”

“Shut up Dave! It doesn’t matter what that makes us…”

What was happening to her voice?

“But…but it’s wrong… isn’t that like… incest or something?”

“Why don’t I pour some more wine, anyone need a refill?” Margot asked weakly, making her way back over to the island and uncorking the nearest bottle she could lay her hands on.

“Incest? Would someone please enlighten me as to what the hell is going on here?” John asked, looking from Emily to Dave.

Dave looked like he was about to hyperventilate.

“Margot, Dad… you can’t get married. I’m sorry, but you just can’t.”

“Dave, can I please speak to you for a second…” Emily interrupted with clenched teeth, pushing her chair back roughly.

“Can’t get married?” John’s complexion was turning an interesting shade of puce. “Dave what in God’s name is wrong with you…”

But the words came spilling out of his mouth like word vomit before Emily could do anything about it.

“Emily-and-I slept-together-last-weekend.” Dave blurted out all in one breath.

Emily’s mouth gaped open like a fish as she looked at him in disbelief. John’s face had crumpled into an expression like he had just sucked a lemon.

“Son, you…you slept with your step-sister?”

Dave brought his hands to his head seemingly involuntarily.

“No! No! What’s wrong with you Dad! She’s not my, well…she wasn’t my…”

Margot’s eyes had widened to the point that her entire forehead had disappeared, and she was frozen in the “pour” position with a now empty bottle of wine in hand like she was having some sort of a stroke.

“Mom? Mom, are you okay? MOM, speak to me please, say something.”

“I think I forgot to take the cheesecake out of the freezer…” Margot said in a strangled voice.

“Wait so…do you mean to tell me, that you two are in some sort of relationship?” John stammered.

“NO,” barked Emily and Dave in panicked unison.

“Alright then,” John straightened his posture, “So, if it was just meaningless humping, then I don’t think we have a problem here.”

Emily winced; the man did not just use the word “humping”.

“If you’ll excuse me for a minute guys…I think I need some fresh air,” she said with as much dignity as she could muster, striding across the kitchen and out the front door.

The front door clicked open behind her, and she turned around to see Dave sheepishly step onto the front porch.

“I’m sorry about that…can I sit down?”

Emily sighed and loosely gestured to the step beside her.

“I’m not in love with you, you know. If that makes any of this better.” Dave said earnestly after a moment of silence. The words came as such a shock that Emily laughed out loud.

“That’s always nice to hear. Well, I’m not in love with you either. But I am sorry about all this. You’re a good guy, Dave. It’s not your fault that I’m such a disaster.”

She paused and then looked at him quizzically.

“So, if you’re not in love with me, then why on Earth did you give me some romantic old book of poems from your grandmother?”

Dave grinned.

“It’s not like it was an heirloom or something. It was just something I got stuck with in a box of trinkets that came from her house when she moved last year. What I actually wanted to give you was inside the book…did you even open it?”

Emily’s forehead creased in confusion, and she reached for her purse beside her. She hadn’t emptied her bag since last weekend, and if she remembered correctly, the book was still there. As she pulled out the worn paperback, and gently cracked it open, her mouth hung open. There sitting crisply inside the front cover, was five one-hundred-dollar bills.

“Why would you… but why?”

“I just felt bad for you, I guess. You were always talking about how you were so behind on your rent… and you always seemed to be so nice to other people. I just wanted to help you out a bit. I never actually meant for…what happened…to happen at all. And I sure as shit never thought you’d end up being my step-sister. But I’m not in love with you.” He reiterated holding up two fingers. “Scout’s honour.”

Emily shook her head with a rueful smile.

“I really can’t take this from you, you know.”

“Sure, you can. What are step-brother’s for!”

Mom Pack

Originally Written Short Story, January 2021 for NYC Midnight Short Story Competition

It was all supposed to have been a joke. Just a stupid, harmless joke. But now Rachel Albright was dead, and there was really no doubt that she had been the one that had killed her. Ellie exhaled deeply and glanced at the oven clock which cheerfully read 9:13am in bright blue fluorescence. Was it too early to start drinking?  

She stood from the island and made her way across the kitchen. The new house was absurdly large; she had told Dave this when they had taken the tour. But her husband was especially fond of flaunting their hard-earned wealth and prominence, and here they were. At least they were in good company. Wellton, California was a community like Ellie had never seen before. Everyone had money. Everyone. Even their stop signs seemed fancy somehow, with their beveled edges and deeper, more classy shade of red.

As she reached the wide sweeping staircase, the peaceful silence in the house was shattered by the frantic ring of her cellphone. Her heart skipped a beat.

She briskly made her way back into the kitchen and turned over her phone, wincing pre-emptively before she looked at the number. Sonia. Thank God, it was just Sonia. When she brought the phone to her ear, she intended to speak, but no words came out.

“Ellie…what the hell happened?”                                                                                         

A flood of hot tears was welling in her eyes.

“I don’t know,” she whispered hoarsely. “Nothing…I didn’t do anything… well, except for, you know… but that was it, I swear.”

“So, you just… that was all you gave her? Nothing else?”

“No. Nothing.”  

“Okay, well, try not to panic. Maybe the chick had other issues that we don’t know about. It probably had nothing to do with you. Just freaky bad luck, okay?”

Ellie took a deep, shaky inhale and let it go.

“You’re right…you have to be.”

“Listen, Rachel had it coming to her anyways. That little whore was sleeping around with half the town, and everyone hated her for those condo plans. There’s more than a few people around here that wouldn’t have been sad to see her get it.”

Ellie’s stomach churned uncomfortably.

“I better go. Thanks for having my back Sonia.”  

“Later, girl.”

As the phone clicked silent, Ellie leaned her elbows down onto the cool marble of the kitchen island and rested her head in her hands.

The moms of Wellton were a kind of high elite society that she could only have dreamed becoming a part of. They were simply flawless in every way. Well groomed, well dressed and impossibly gorgeous, they moved through the town like some kind of designer-clad wolf pack, simultaneously terrorizing and charming everyone in their path. Ellie, by contrast, had always identified as being quite average in every way. So, it had been a complete shock when the pack had happened upon her two weeks ago while she was out in her front garden. She took a deep breath and recalled the day.

Ellie had looked up at the mom pack on the sidewalk, clad in multi-colour lycra. Although they were all spectacular in their own right, she had taken the woman who had spoken to be the leader. She walked and spoke with a slightly different swagger than the rest. Her sleek blonde hair was slightly glossier, her cheekbones a little bit more defined, and her crystal blue eyes could have frozen fire.  

“Hey. You’re new here, right? What’s your name?”

“Um, hi! Yes, we’re new here. My husband just transferred from La Jolla. My name’s Ellie… well, Eleanor really, but nobody calls me that, and…”

The blonde had put a hand on her narrow hip expectantly.

“Ellie. My name is Ellie.”

She had paused briefly, her eyes giving Ellie the tiniest flicker up and down. Apparently approving of what she saw, she had spoken again.

“I’m Grace. This is Laurel, Sonia, Hallie, Meg and Jilly.” The women had each given a small wave in her direction. “We walk this neighbourhood Tuesdays and Thursdays after we drop the kids at school. You wanna join us on Thursday?”

Ellie had hardly been able to stand it.

“Oh… I’d really like to! Yes please!”

She had hated herself for her desperation.

“Cool. We meet at the park just around the corner. See you there around 10?”

Ellie exhaled, coming back to the present. Part of her deeply regretted that fateful day. If she had never met the mom pack, then none of this would be happening right now. Most likely, Rachel would still be alive. But if she had never met the mom pack, then she would never have joined their ranks. And that simply wouldn’t do either.

Hellbent on avoiding the news, Ellie spent the better part of the day vigorously decluttering and scrubbing every nook and cranny of her palatial home. But she couldn’t escape her. In every corner, in every cabinet, under every bed, was Rachel. Wellton wasn’t exactly a small town, but word about Rachel had traveled fast, and there wasn’t a soul that wasn’t talking about her.

Rachel Albright had been very well known, although not overly well liked in Wellton. She had been here on an urban planning contract to advise the city council on the best strategy for erecting a series of massive high-rise condominiums down by the water. Nobody was happy about the condos, and nobody had been happy about Rachel either. She was young, and insanely gorgeous. The mom pack harboured an especially passionate hatred for her. Most likely, Ellie gathered, because if it was possible, she was even more beautiful than they were. But what did any of that matter. She was dead now.

As Ellie folded cashmere sweaters, she replayed her last interaction with Rachel over again in her head. It had all just been for fun. Just a harmless initiation task, assigned to her by the mom pack as the newest member of their group. Rachel had been scheduled to deliver a big presentation on the new condo plan at City Hall yesterday afternoon. It was to be televised and was open for Wellton residents to attend. The moms had challenged Ellie to invite Rachel over for a coffee that morning and slip enough laxative into her drink that she would either miss the presentation entirely or better yet, embarrass herself in front of everyone. And that was exactly what she had done. It had just been a laxative for crying out loud, right out of her own medicine cupboard. But once Rachel had left Ellie’s house yesterday morning, she had never shown up for the presentation, and she had been found dead in her townhouse hours later.

Ellie was abruptly jolted from her thoughts by the harsh trill of her cellphone. A now familiar pit of dread churned in her stomach. Every ring of her phone, every creek of the floorboards, every passerby outside her window seemed to carry an ominous tone, as if someone had put the pieces of the puzzle together and was coming for her. She took a deep breath and pressed the phone to her ear.


“Ellie…it’s Laurel.”

She leaned her head back against the wall and closed her eyes with relief.

“Hi,” she said meekly.  

“Ellie…this is crazy. What are we going to do? I’m totally freaking out.”

“I know it is. Laurel…do you think…should I just phone the police?”

“Ellie,” Laurel interrupted, her voice high with confusion. “Have you been living under a rock? Have you seen the news?”

“No. I’ve been avoiding it.”

“They’ve just taken Grace’s husband Hank in for questioning. They found him with some poison called thallium at his work. The same poison that they found in Rachel’s medical exam.”

Grace’s husband Hank was a man befitting of the alpha mom. He was a highly sought-after plastic surgeon and owned a successful practice in Wellton. Just like his wife, he was drop dead gorgeous, one of the most beautiful men that Ellie had ever seen. As she watched and re-watched the media coverage of him being led from his practice with his hands cuffed behind his back that afternoon, she couldn’t help but think to herself that the man even looked good in handcuffs.

The only one who had been able to get a hold of Grace was Jilly, and apparently, she was a wreck. She had sent their two little girls off to their grandparents’ house in Sacramento to get away from the craziness in Wellton and was now desperate to get out of the house herself.

“She just needs to be out, you know?” Jilly had said earnestly. “She was hoping we could do your place tonight Ellie. It’s the furthest from downtown, and she thinks that people won’t know to look for her at your place with all those crazy cameras.”

Ellie had agreed to have the pack over that evening, against her better judgment. It seemed a bit odd to be socializing during a murder investigation, but what the hell. She paced around her house all evening wrought with nervous energy, snapping needlessly at her boys and obsessively checking the news for updates on Hank.

The initial findings from Rachel’s medical exam indicated thallium poisoning as the suspected cause of death. A tasteless, colourless, odourless poison, it was being rather graphically referred to on television as “the poisoners poison”; and Hank had been found with a ton of it.

Perhaps even more shocking than the thallium, was the latest report that there seemed to be some sort of illegitimate relationship between Rachel and Hank. An anonymous tip had come in that the two had been seen together a number of times late at night at both her townhouse and Hank’s practice, and while nothing had been confirmed yet, eager news outlets were already reporting that Hank had murdered Rachel to ensure that his indiscretions remained private.

Feeling sick to her stomach for Grace, and mortally ashamed of herself for her own relief, the only constructive thing that Ellie could think to do while she waited was to put two more bottles in the wine fridge. She wasn’t sure how much wine it would take to numb the pain of your husband poisoning the woman that he was cheating on you with, but she was certain that it was more than a glass or two.

Ellie had put her boys to bed early, and unceremoniously ushered Dave out the door to go watch the basketball game at his friend’s place. She waited with nervous anticipation for the pack to arrive and was hugely relieved when the doorbell finally rang.

For someone who’s personal life was crumbling, Grace still showed up dressed to kill in a knee length, black lace turtleneck dress and dramatic knee-high Chanel boots. Ellie was equal parts intimidated and infatuated with her.

As the pack assembled in Ellie’s living room, Grace made it clear that she was not interested in talking about Hank, nor Rachel.

“I’ll go back to my train wreck of a life tomorrow,” she said with a measured smile. “Tonight, I’d love to just relax for a bit.”

With the help of some alcohol, the mom pack settled into comfortable, light-hearted conversation. They had been at it for nearly an hour when Grace stood up wordlessly and made her way around the corner into Ellie’s kitchen.

The conversation turned to whether or not Laurel should consider lip implants, and as the moms debated the topic, Ellie absently traced the rim of her empty glass, thinking about Grace. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but there was something off about her tonight. Something about the coldness in her eyes. She seemed detached from the scene somehow, as though she were here in body, but absent in mind.  

The minutes ticked by and Ellie glanced towards the kitchen, then back to the girls, who had moved on to discussing the hot new gym teacher at the elementary school. She set her glass down, and stood, making her way in the direction that Grace had.

She came around the pantry wall into her kitchen and inhaled sharply. Grace was standing on the other side of the island staring directly at her with steely eyes. Sitting atop the counter, two inches from her right hand, was a bottle of Ex-Lax. Ellie looked from the bottle, back up to meet Grace’s piercing gaze.

            “You should throw this out Ellie. It’s past its expiration date. You wouldn’t want anyone to get sick.” Grace’s voice was smooth and emotionless, and Ellie felt the blood drain from her face.

A sickening realization washed over her as she recalled Grace asking for an Advil the last time that she had been in her kitchen. How she had carefully observed where Ellie had retrieved the pills; how she had been left alone when she had requested a specific vintage wine from Ellie’s cellar.

She could hear the banter from the living room and took a step backwards. Grace picked up two glasses of red wine sitting on the island and made her way across the kitchen towards her. Her steps were smooth and weightless, almost like she was floating.

            “Here,” she said, extending one of the glasses to Ellie.

Ellie looked from the glass to Grace, to the Ex-Lax, and remained motionless.

            “It’s rude not to take a drink when someone offers it to you.” Grace said coolly.

With shaking hands, Ellie reached out to take the glass.

            “But Hank…”

            “Hank is a cheating son of a bitch. You don’t have to worry about him. None of us do anymore.”

The two women said nothing for several moments; the silence sitting heavily between them. Grace took another step towards her.

            “Ellie, have you ever heard the expression…”

She leaned into her so close that Ellie caught the scent of vanilla in her lip gloss as her lips brushed her ear.

            “The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives,” she murmured in a sultry tone.

Grace paused a moment, and then reached down, took the wine glass from Ellie’s hand, and took a long, deep drink. An enchanting smile danced on her lips, but her eyes remained ice cold.

            “It’s a good thing that you’re part of the pack, right?” she whispered, pressing the glass back into Ellie’s hand.

As Ellie stood face to face with her, eyes locked on her leader, the natural order of things seemed to have been restored. Grace was their alpha, and both Hank and Rachel had gotten in between her and what she wanted. And Grace was a woman who always got what she wanted.

Dully aware that she was holding her breath, Ellie gave a tiny nod of her head. Grace leaned in and pressed her lips against her cheek with a rush of citrus perfume. She floated past Ellie, winking at her over her shoulder before disappearing around the corner. She may as well have been howling at the moon.

Weeks 2 – 4 (Carter)

Hi Friends,

Oh boy…well, here I am writing from my first class seat on the Struggle Bus! Our sweet, cuddly little Carter-Bee turned 1 month old this past week, and we have been having a really, really hard time over here with a whole bunch of stumbling blocks. BUT, before I get into all of that, let’s recap the last 3 weeks since we last touched base!


Sweet baby Jesus…. what we’ve learned from the past 4 weeks is that there is no way, literally, no way out of the baby feeding struggle. Breast, bottle, formula…nobody wins!!! With Austin, we struggled tremendously with breastfeeding, and it took us months of agony to finally arrive at our routine of exclusively pumping and settle into our routine. Carter and I have been on a completely different feeding journey, and have had our own unique struggles.

So, first of all, Carter has really picked up well on breastfeeding, and my sweet little man is actually doing a phenomenal job with the whole thing. I’m so proud of him for how well he’s done with it. The issues that we’ve been having have been mostly related to my inconsistent supply between breastfeeding and pumping (i.e. sometimes I have lots of milk, and he will feed really well and get enough from me, but oftentimes, I have hardly any milk, especially after I pump, and he won’t get enough and will be screaming hungry again a half hour later).

It wouldn’t be such a big deal that he’s hungry again a half hour later after a feed, except for two scenarios: overnight (when we’re riiiiiiiight on the brink of complete and total insanity from sleep deprivation at this point), and when he refuses to take a bottle for a top-up. We’ve been trying to do fairly regular top-ups with the bottle, but Carter really seems to struggle with the bottle, and frequently chokes, spits up and scares the hell out of me. So that really puts us behind the 8 ball when we want to do a bottle feed because I don’t have much milk, or we just want to be sure that he’s getting a full feed before bed.

We’ve been trying to get Carter to take a full bottle feed before we go to bed so that we make sure that his little tummy is full in hopes that we all might get a decent stretch of sleep. But, that doesn’t always work. So instead, we have to rely on a breastfeed session, which sometimes will do the trick for a few hours of sleep, and sometimes (many more times) it doesn’t, and he’s awake within an hour or two hungry again. Sigh.

So in summary (lol), breastfeeding is great (when it works), but it comes at the expense of our sleep, which is totally killing us. Breastfeeding is the exact opposite of everything that I try to cultivate in my life: routine, consistency and predictability. I know that it’s good for my sweet babies, and I love and cherish the cuddly time spent with them, I truly do. But I’m really getting to the end of my rope with the ups and downs of feeding. I’m totally desperate to do the right thing for my sweet babies, and if that comes at the expense of my own anxiety, then so be it. But right now, I really have no clue what we’re doing in terms of routine, and we’re just muddling through one feed at a time.

To finish up the feeding subject on a high note, all of this belly-aching being said, Carter is doing fantastic with his weight gain!! We had him weighed at his 1 month doctors appointment this week and he tipped the scales at 10 pounds 13 ounces (right on his 72 percentile curve that he’s been rocking for several weeks now)! So I guess moral of the story is that by hook or by crook… we’re getting the job done and little man is growing every day. Ultimately, that’s all that matters, so we’ll continue to muddle along feed by feed with this weird breastfeeding / pumping / bottle hybrid that we’ve got going on and see how we do!

Cold & Flu Season

If we ever decide to have more children (seriously questionable at this exact moment in time LOL), I am putting my foot down HARD and insisting that we time it so that our baby is born nowhere NEAR cold and flu season. Jeepers!

With Austin being in daycare, we’re totally exposed to most of these nasty cold and flu bugs, and our entire family (including my parents!) has been super sick on and off for the last few weeks straight. Most concerning for us of course was tiny little Carter, who came down with a terrible cold that peaked right on his one month day (January 27th). His breathing was so laboured and he was having such a difficult time feeding that by the end of the day when Matt got home, we decided to take the poor little guy over to the emergency room to get checked out and make sure that he was okay.

In hindsight, it was probably a mistake to go to ER because it was PACKED with people sick with cold and flu symptoms, and we ended up sitting with our tiny sick little baby in a crowded waiting room for over 5 hours, inhaling all of the germy goodness.


I was totally shocked that the hospital didn’t prioritize a newborn coming in sick, but I guess it was a crazy night for them (we did see an older man in pretty bad shape in the room across the hall from us when we did eventually get in after 5 hours), and plus the hospitals have all been dealing with this coronavirus scare that’s been going on right now, so I’m sure that boosted traffic a bit as well.

Long story short, we survived the waiting room, and finally saw a doctor. And of course, in true “Maytag repair man” style, by the time we saw the doctor, Carter had rebounded 150%, was bright eyed and bushy-tailed, happy and chatting away when the doctor came into the room.

*insert swearing here*

The doctor assured us that we did the right thing coming in, and that newborns struggling to breathe is no joke, so that made me feel a little better. We left with instructions to keep a close eye on him and come back if it got worse. Sigh.

Poor Austin also had a stomach flu and was home with my mom and I for 2 days this week (week 4 for Carter). He was vomiting overnight and had diarrhea as well… eeks. I THINK that we’ve managed to dodge and weave the stomach flu for now… although my own stomach has been a little bit turned this week as well… I’m really crossing my fingers that we can avoid that one. I just can’t imagine Carter vomiting and having diarrhea like that at his size.

All of this, combined with this coronavirus scare has really had us feeling like maybe it’s better if we just lay low for the next couple of months and avoid big crowded areas to try and stay healthy. Of course, I’m sure the biggest threat for all of us is really Austin’s daycare 😉

Next baby (if there is one) is a Summer baby. That’s final!!!

My Recovery

My recovery has been progressing well, although I am starting to get a little bit nervous that I’ve just crossed the 5 week mark, and I’m still feeling pain and soreness. I was hoping that all of this would be in the rearview mirror for me by this point, but unfortunately it isn’t quite yet. I know that we’re getting there though!

Starting somewhere in the 3.5 – 4 week mark I stopped feeling really sharp pain, and the pain changed to more of a general ache in my stomach / incision area. Admittedly, I’ve been a lot less careful with my movement ever since that point, so maybe that’s why I’ve been feeling more pain recently. I’m also thinking that some of the pain I’m feeling may be some abdominal muscle soreness, because it’s been several weeks that I’ve actively been working on NOT using my core muscles (quite the opposite of what I’ve been trained to do in the gym for all of those years!!), so maybe they’re a little bit lazy and need to get used to working again.

I saw my pelvic floor physiotherapist at the 4 week mark, and she was really happy with how my pelvic floor is functioning, how my incision scar was looking, and overall how my recovery was going, so I’m trying to hold onto that and believe the professionals when they tell me that I’m on the mend.

I’ve been getting incredibly frustrated the last little while with being so dependent on other people, and not being able to look after my babies the way that I want to while I’m trying to recover. I HATE not being able to drive the boys on my own right now because I can’t lift Austin and Carter’s carseat into the car, and although I’m so grateful for my mom coming over early on the weekday mornings to get Austin out of his crib for me and help get everyone into the car so that we can get Austin to daycare, I’m also totally desperate to have our own space as a family of 4 (something we haven’t had any of since Carter was born with the holidays etc), and to start figuring things out on my own.

I see my OB again this coming Monday (2 days away!!) for my postpartum check-up, and I’m hoping that she will confirm that my recovery has been going well, and that I’m close to being able to lift again. Here’s hoping!

Carter’s Milestones

It’s been so interesting watching Carter develop and change every day. It’s really taken me back to remembering Austin’s milestones and when he started to do various things as well. Carter was a bit more lethargic early on, possibly because he was a c section baby, but week 4 was a big one in terms of him being much more alert and awake!

Carter started his first development “leap” this week according to my Wonder Weeks app, which is the development of perception and really being able to focus in on objects and people. Coincidence or not, I really found this leap timing to be spot on in terms of him being especially cranky and fussy, and also the change in his perception! I was a bit worried before this leap because I hadn’t been able to get Carter to focus on my finger or follow my finger with his gaze (oh the dark places that Google took me to lol), but after this leap (part way through week 4) he’s definitely come a long way and really focuses well on things now!

Carter has been working diligently on his neck strength and is doing really great at holding his head up, especially on our chests. He’s not rock solid with this yet and still looks a bit like a bobble head sometimes, especially when he’s tired lol but we’re getting there!

My absolute favourite thing about our sweet little Carter-Bee right now are his crazy facial expressions. Right from early on, Carter has had this hilarious expressive face, and these big huge wide eyes that make him look completely horrified by something LOL I keep saying that it’s like he knows that he was born to a family with a very busy 2 year old as his big brother, and is permanently looking around like “oh holy sh*t!!”…hilarious.


Oi. I was so dreading this part while I was pregnant, and it’s every bit as hard as I knew it would be. We are so exhausted. I honestly don’t know what we’re going to do sometimes because I’m just physically not able to function anymore.

Carter isn’t doing terrible with sleeping, it’s just the nature of the beast. He will usually do at least a 2-3 hour stretch before waking up overnight, and the odd time he’s done 3 – 4 hours. I think once or twice he may have done 5 – 6 hours, but my exhaustion amnesia could be playing tricks on me there. He has been sleeping in the bassinet in our bedroom, which has been rough for Matt because he gets woken up all night and still has to go to work. Mind you, Matt has been great at getting up with me to help with feeds etc overnight anyways (thank goodness).

Looking back at Austin’s baby updates, he started more consistently doing longer sleep stretches for us around 6 weeks, which we’re coming up on with Carter but I’m honestly afraid to hope for it because it’s just too frustrating and disappointing when it doesn’t happen lol…

I’m trying as hard as I can to roll with the daily punches when it comes to sleep, but it’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s damn near impossible to keep up with Austin on a broken 5 hours of sleep every night, and I’m getting really concerned that he is going to start suffering because we’re not doing nearly as much with / for him as we used to.

“Just keep swimming” is my mantra when it comes to this (and everything really lol). I’m sure one day we’ll look back at this phase and laugh..hopefully that day is coming soon!!!

************************************************************************************So in general, as I’m sure you can pick up from this post, we’ve definitely been on the struggle bus this month, but we’re doing the very best we can, and I guess that’s all we can do. I know that it will get easier, we just need to keep moving forward!  My recovery period coming to an end will be an enormous milestone for us, as will getting a little more sleep more consistently. And hopefully both of those are just around the corner!

Lots of love, cheers to February and a new month!

Sara xo

The First Week (Carter)

Phew! What a complete and total whirlwind the last 12 days has been. I’m still trying to get my head around how 12 days has gone by since we became a family of 4.

As could be expected, the first week has been a roller coaster of really challenging days and moments, and really wonderful days and moments as well. Taking care of a newborn is H-A-R-D, and layering all of that responsibility on top of looking after Austin and trying to keep him happy has really been a test for Matt and I so far, but I think all in all, I can say that we’re surviving, and doing our best.

Our C-section was on Friday December 27th, which landed us right in the middle of those crazy in-between holiday days where you don’t remember your last name, you eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and you couldn’t tell someone what day of  the week it was if they had a gun to your head. That made things a little extra challenging for us with trying to get appointments for Carter booked, get discharged from the hospital, and manage all of the visitors in and out of our house over the rest of the holiday days.

Although I was still a little bit sore on Sunday December 29th, both Matt and I were anxious to get out of the hospital and get home to Austin. Austin came to visit in the hospital with his grandparents a couple of times, and it was totally heartbreaking for me to not be able to get out of bed and scoop him up like I normally would. I could tell that he was starting to get a bit confused with everything that was going on, and was really anxious to get home and start creating a small bit of normalcy for him.

There were two small complications with Carter that worried us a little bit, but both seemed like they could be overcome. First of all, Carter’s kidneys (which had been slightly swollen on all of my prenatal ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy) needed a follow-up ultrasound to make sure that the issue was resolved. This couldn’t be booked for a few days until Tuesday, so waiting around in the hospital for an extra 3 days  wasn’t really a good option. Secondly, poor little man was not showing good weight gain in the first few days of his life, and had lost nearly 9% of his birth weight by the end of day 2.

Feeding was a constant struggle for Austin and I right from the beginning of his life, and Carter and I have had similar (and also, different!) struggles this time around. In the hospital, Carter was very “mucousy” and seemed to have a little extra fluid and mucous buildup in his little body. We were told that this was really normal for C-section babies because they haven’t been “squeezed” through contractions (lol) and therefore the mucous doesn’t get expelled the same way as vaginally delivered babies. Carter was spitting up quite a bit, and his breathing was pretty rattly and mucousy as well, which totally freaked the hell out of me. Neither Matt nor I really slept at all the very first night of his life because we were both terrified that he was going to spit up and choke on it in his little bassinet. The mucous, unfortunately, also wreaked havoc on our first few days of attempted breastfeeding because it was hard for poor little man to breathe and eat at the same time with all of that extra gunk rattling around.

It seemed like Carter was doing pretty well with breastfeeding, it really did. He was much more agreeable to trying the whole thing than Austin was, that’s for sure! Austin would scream his little head off everytime I got near him to breastfeed. Carter wasn’t at all like that, but more seemed kind of listless and distracted while we were trying to feed. Most of the time early on, he would actually fall asleep while feeding, but we had picked up a few tricks of the trade from our first breastfeeding experience (re: fail), and were hand-expressing colostrum and giving it to Carter by syringe and / or by spoon. For that reason, I was feeling pretty confident that things were actually going pretty well…until I saw the huge drop in his weight after the first day. My heart just sunk like a stone.

After the first day and a half, Carter had dropped from 8lbs 15oz to 8lbs 6oz which was pretty scary for us. The nurses did reassure us that C-section babies usually come out a little puffy and full of extra fluids that I had had pumped into me during the surgery, so  their birth weights may be a little extra inflated. But still…it was a pretty tough blow. We had a lactation consultant come and see us in our hospital room, but unfortunately for her, she really picked the wrong time to come and see us, because she came in first thing in the morning after the night that we had been awake throughout, woke us and Carter up (after 8+ hours of trying to get him to sleep comfortably), and insisted that we try to feed him that instant, even though we had just finished a feed not more than an hour earlier (“it’s always time!!” was her now famous line….lol). Not surprisingly, the session with her in the room did not go well, and she then waltzed out of the room mid-feed claiming that “oh I think he’s just too sleepy to eat right now!” and left us with a screaming baby…again lol


Anyways, we made a follow-up appointment at the breastfeeding clinic for later that week, and kept on ploughing ahead with the discharge paperwork. Our nurse was a little bit out of it, and seemed to be very confused about everything that needed to be done to discharge us (she actually seemed to be pretty confused about a lot of things lol I can’t even count the number of things that she bustled into our room saying that she had “forgot to do”). Finally, somewhere around 4pm, we were cleared to leave the hospital, and started to shuffle our way out of there. And I really do mean “shuffle” because we were kind of just sent on our way with no mention of a wheelchair or any help for me! I ended up walking all the way through the hospital (very slowly) and out to the parking garage 48 hours after surgery!!

We made it back to our house after a bumpy and painful car ride for me, and Roy and Dianne had been cleaning our house like fiends while we had been in the hospital, and things were looking really good when we came home (much to my nesting relief lol). My parents arrived shortly after we got home as well with Austin, and I was so happy to see him and to be home with him. I found that first evening difficult getting on and off the couch or really doing much of anything, and pulled my stitches a bit at one point getting off the couch but Matt and our parents were all really helpful and pretty much brought me anything that I needed. Stairs (into our house and up and down to our bathroom) were really challenging for me too, but got better every time that I did them.

Similar to the way that we did it with Austin, Matt and I have been sleeping on the couch downstairs with Carter in his bassinet this week. We find it easier to be on and off the couch and closer to the kitchen / supplies for the immediate term, plus it’s just easier for me to get on and off the couch as opposed to climbing in and out of our super tall bed for the first few weeks as well. I think we are planning to move back upstairs to our bedroom the weekend before Matt goes back to work (gulp), and I’m looking forward to it… I’ve had enough of couch sleeping for a little while I think!

As with any newborn baby, the two biggest variables for us have been feeding and sleeping. Feeding has been a total emotional roller coaster, and so incredibly frustrating, just as it was with Austin. Although we had what I would call a decent start with breastfeeding, it’s a constant work in progress. Some feeds go so well, and I think, “man, we’re killing this!”, and others are so bad that I just want to scream and break everything in the house. I’ve been pumping again just like I did with Austin, and we’ve been offering top-ups with the bottle after every feed. Sometimes Carter takes the bottle like a hungry hippo, and other times, he can’t be bothered. We’ve been followed closely by our family doctor and by the breastfeeding clinic to monitor his weight gain, and so far I think we’ve been doing enough to keep everyone (including me) happy. He hit 8lbs 11oz by just past 1 week old, which I was thrilled by, and we just had him weighed again today (Wednesday January 8th) and he was up another 2oz to 8lbs 13oz. It’s hard for me to know how  much of this can be attributed to breastfeeding vs. to the top-ups that we’ve been giving him though…which  makes it hard to commit to one vs. the other. My nipples have been quite sore, and earlier in the week, I even had to throw out an entire bottle of milk that I had pumped because my poor nipple had cracked right in half and was gushing blood into the bottle, resulting in an entirely pink bottle. Talk about freaking out when I saw that lol… for now, I’m trying to breathe deep, and just keep on keeping on, one feed at a time. I find it overwhelming to look further ahead to our “long term” plan, so am trying really hard to go against all of my natural, type-A instincts, and to just go with the flow. Some days, and some moments, I do better at this than others. Sigh.

Sleep-wise, Carter hasn’t been doing too bad at all. Either that, or Matt and I are just used to sleep deprivation now, and can survive on 4 hours of sleep a night no problem lol our biggest issue has been that sometimes (usually during the middle of the night lol) Carter can take well over an hour to settle and go to sleep after a feed; which really cuts into the amount of time that we can sleep between feeds. He typically wakes up to feed about every 2 – 3 hours, but he’s gifted us a handful of 4 hour stretches overnight which have felt soooooo super good. Low expectations friends, low expectations. I know that this phase isn’t forever and that sleep will come again, so again, I’m trying not to freak out too much about how tired I am, and to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

My recovery has been a glowing, happy spot for me over the past 12 days. I can’t even begin to tell you what a huge, enormous, gigantic relief it is to me to have our C-section behind us, and to be recovering as well as I am so far (*touch wood*). As I wrote in Carter’s birth story, my healing has been so linear and straight forward, I’ve been meeting all of the milestones and checks and balances, my pain is decreasing every day and I’m able to do more and more each and every day. I’m almost entirely off pain medicine now (day 12), and am only taking 1 Aleve pill every 24 hours. The real challenge that remains for me is that I still have just over 4 weeks until I will be able to lift anything of significant weight (i.e. Austin)…. and really that is the biggest obstacle that we’re facing right now, because it severely handicaps us as a family that I can’t pick up Austin, or really get down on the floor and play with him too vigorously.

Poor Austin has had a tough first week adjusting to our new reality as a family of 4. There’s been a lot of things working against him: the remnants of the disastrous Christmas holiday schedule (eating, sleeping, everything has just gone out the window!), a really brutal, lingering cold, being back and forth to my parents house and being looked after by different people every day, and ultimately, a new little being to share our attention and love with. It’s all led to quite a number of tantrums, outbursts and really out of character behavior for our sweet little man, and it’s just breaking my heart into a million pieces. I would give anything to be able to pick him up, but have to settle for kneeling and seated hugs right now…when he’s willing to give them to me. Austin is really clinging to Matt right now, and seems to want as little as possible to do with me. Punishment for how much I’ve had to pull back from holding him etc? I don’t know… sigh. I could just sit down and cry about this all day and all night, but I know that that won’t help matters any, and so instead I’m just doggedly trying every minute of every day to be involved in whatever Austin is doing, to get excited about things that he is excited about, and to remind him as much as I can in every way how much I love and adore him. I’m not sure that any of it really counts for him, but I tell myself that it does, and that in 4.5 short weeks, this period will all be behind us, and he will never remember the awkward start that we had. This has certainly been the only downside of the C-section so far.

Our sweet little Carter-Bee (as I’m affectionately calling him lol) is just that: the sweetest, most docile little baby. I just love his sweet little face, and his wiggly little body so much! He’s really been so amenable to everything that we’ve put him through so far (lots of appointments back and forth to the hospital – including an ultrasound on his kidneys when he was only 4 days old! Eeks!) and all in all has made things pretty simple for us. He doesn’t seem to have the same set of pipes on him that Austin did as a baby, and has the saddest little cry ever that just breaks your heart. He doesn’t pull it out very often, but when he does, man oh man, get the tissues! Thankfully, the ultrasound of his kidneys went well, and the pediatrician didn’t notice any swelling at all, so that problem seems to have resolved itself with his birth.

Matt’s parents left for home at the very end of week 1 / very beginning of week 2, so for the past few days, we’ve been settling into our new routine as a family of 4. Matt goes back to work in another 4 days, and I’m freaking out just a tad about how I’m going to get Austin out the door to daycare with Carter in tow, and then take care of Carter all day all by myself… but once again, trying to take things one day at a time and not borrow anxiety from tomorrow. Today has enough all on it’s own 😉

Anyways – I think that that’s about it for our first week as a family of 4! I’m proud of Matt and I (more Matt than me to be honest – he’s really been a champion this week while I’ve been kind of useless at least for the first half of the week) for soldiering on and getting things done. Although the newborn phase is definitely kicking our ass, I feel like it may be kicking our ass slightly less than it did the first time around?! Carter seems happy, and I know that Austin is too (deep down sometimes lol)… so at the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.

Back next week with our second week update!

-Sara xo


Carter’s Birth Story

I am so thrilled, and so proud to share our sweet baby boy Carter Campbell Sidders with all of you, and to document the story of how he came into the world!

In typical fashion, our birth story took a few minor twists and turns along the way, but we made it in the end! From the very beginning, before we even got pregnant, we knew that this birth was going to be a planned c-section. I’ve worked so diligently at my recovery from Austin’s birth, and am really happy with where my pelvic floor / core have returned to. I’m not “perfect”, nor will I ever be, but all in all, that whole mess is a sleeping dog that we really need to let lie, and not disturb with another attempt at a vaginal birth. SO, that being said, I’ve been all-in on our planned c-section from Day 1, and have felt really positive about the whole thing all the way along.

Our c-section has been planned since I was about 22 weeks pregnant for Monday December 23rd, which really made us laugh because this poor, poor child… he doesn’t stand a chance at a birthday party! There really was no flexibility whatsoever with the dates; I guess 39 weeks is now officially considered full-term (as opposed to 37 weeks, which it used to be), and there’s a fair bit of research that shows that babies really benefit from staying in for every critical day up until 39 weeks, so there really wasn’t any wiggle-room for me to negotiate a slightly earlier or later date to dodge Christmas (and believe me – I tried!!). So, we sucked it up, and Monday the 23rd was our date.

My last day of work was Friday December 13th, and Matt’s parents Roy & Dianne arrived that weekend as well. They were coming for Christmas and for the first few weeks with little babe as well, so the timing worked out well. This entire pregnancy I’ve battled various symptoms, aches and pains, but miraculously, as soon as I was finished work, I started feeling like a million bucks!! My energy levels spiked through the roof, the nausea that I’ve battled on and off for the entire pregnancy finally lifted, and the aching in my hips and back started to alleviate a bit as well (although my back pain was something I did battle right up until delivery – especially when walking or sitting for too long). I guess I’m going to attribute some of that to the stress of work being lifted at last. My work was just insane for the last several months, and I was at work until after 5pm on my very last day before maternity leave. It never really “ramped down” for me, so I was one happy girl to walk out the door and dust my hands of everything on December 13th, that’s for sure.

I still had a lot of prep to do for Christmas the following week, so I spent Monday the 16th and Tuesday the 17th running all over the GTA like a mad-woman (I told you – energy levels, through DA ROOF) to different malls, stores and errands and got soooo much done. On Wednesday, things started to get interesting…

On Tuesday night overnight, Austin woke up puking. If there’s anything more heartbreaking than toddler throwing up… they’re so sad and scared and just want their mamas. Break my heart. Anyways, because of this, I kept Austin home with me on Wednesday. We then heard from his daycare that public health had come to visit / inspect the daycare and had officially declared an outbreak of Norwalk virus at the facility.


Austin unfortunately had all of the Norwalk symptoms. Diarrhea, vomiting, fever, loss of appetite… ugh. He stayed home with me for the rest of the week, and it was a bit of a blessing and a curse. I was so glad that I was off work and able to be with him and just cuddle him and make him feel better, but at the same time, that was the end of my crazy productivity for the week as well! I was getting a bit anxious that not everything was going to get done before December 22nd, but knew that my priority had to be getting Austin better, and so that was what I did.

My parent’s had their annual Christmas party on Friday December 20th, and Austin was mostly better by that point. We went, and I basically parked myself by the food all night and hung out haha #39weekspregnant. It was really hard for me to stay standing or sitting in one place for any period of time at this point with my back aches and pains, so I just did my best to be up and down as much as possible.

Overnight on Friday December 20th…I woke up feeling super nauseous and like I was going to vomit. I asked Matt to get me a puke bucket, but didn’t end up actually throwing up. It never dawned on me that I could be heading for trouble. I just assumed that I had eaten too much at the party, or maybe eaten something that didn’t agree with me.

Saturday morning, I woke up feeling pretty dreadful. I was super nauseous, but a different nauseous then I had had for almost the entire pregnancy. This was a “sick” nausea. All day I felt like I was going to throw up on and off, but couldn’t make myself do it. Matt and I took Austin on a little adventure downtown Burlington to get a cookie at his favourite bake shoppe and walk by a construction site downtown where there are bulldozers and excavators working (his fave lol), and the whole time I just felt like I was going to die. By the evening, I was on the couch and couldn’t even bring myself to help put Austin to bed. I knew at this point that something was up, and I was going to vomit for sure.

Sure enough, by about 9pm, I was vomiting up a storm. Normally one good vomit will make me feel a lot better, but this just kept coming and coming in these awful waves. Diarrhea kicked in shortly after as well, and that was when I realized: holy effing hell, I think I’ve got that Norwalk bug.

That Saturday night has to go down as one of the worst of my life – I wouldn’t wish that bug on annnnyyyyybody, no matter the evil you’ve done lol it was so vicious. At some point during the whole mess, I looked up (very pathetically) at Matt and said “there’s no way I can have a c-section like this!”. He reassured me not to worry about that for now, and to just survive the night.

By the morning, things had settled down, and although I was still feeling awful, weak and dehydrated, I wasn’t throwing up anymore. We phoned the labour and delivery floor at the hospital to tell them what was going on, and to ask what we needed to do for our c-section that at this point was supposed to be the very next day. I spoke with two really kind nurses, and after a few hours, finally heard back from them that they were going to delay our surgery until Friday December 27th, to give me time to recuperate and get rid of the bug. The charge nurse that I spoke to was so kind and reassured me that it was not uncommon for stuff like this to happen, and that they had had bit of an epidemic of Norwalk sweep through the hospital themselves, so not to worry. They also thanked us for calling and for not just showing up the next day, because they wouldn’t have done the surgery anyways.

I was so intensely relieved to not be undergoing surgery in my condition, but at the same time, I was also so disappointed to have to wait a few more days to meet little babe. Although our Christmas was going to be a disaster, it was a disaster that we had planned and looked forward to for several months, and we had always pictured little babe being a part of our Christmas this year. After processing the disappointment for a little while, I resigned myself to make the best of the situation, and on the upside, little babe would have a few extra days to develop and grow in utero, and that definitely wasn’t a bad thing. I also wouldn’t be recovering from major surgery on Christmas day, and there wouldn’t be as much pressure for us to get out of the hospital quickly to be home for Christmas. Onwards and upwards.

We did end up having a wonderful Christmas with Austin and our families. We spent Christmas Eve at my parents house for most of the day, then came home to sleep here. Austin was so excited about Christmas – so it was really nice that we could be here for / with him and make it special for him.

My parents came over in the afternoon on Christmas Day and we had a Christmas dinner at our place. The entire day, I was on pins and needles about going into labour spontaneously, or my water breaking, but thankfully little babe was a trooper and stayed put on the inside!

Boxing Day was all about trying to get back on even-keel after the crazy Christmas Day festivities. Nesting mode kicked in big-time, and I was frantic to try and get the garbage out of the house, and things tidied up as much as possible before we left for the hospital the following morning. Eeeks. Nerves started to kick-in big time at this point, and I started to get a little more anxious about the upcoming surgery. Thankfully, I was feeling great at this point, and ready to rock and roll in the morning.

At our pre-op appointment (back on Friday December 20th lol), I had been given instructions to take two showers prior to surgery and wipe myself down with an isopropyl alcohol solution to try and minimize the risk of infection. I had my first shower on the night of the 26th, and I actually used my breast pump for 15 minutes as well to start letting my body know that it was time to produce milk again, and hopefully get a jump start on my milk coming in. Shit was getting real.

The morning of the 27th was a gong show; as can only be expected with us! We probably slept in a little later then we should have to meet our timing, and ended up scrambling out the door about 10 minutes later then I had wanted to leave. It was probably good that we were running around like crazy people, because it took my mind off of the surgery, and it also took my mind off of leaving Austin, and all of the feelings that I was having around that. I had been nervous the entire pregnancy about disrupting my Austin’s little world with the arrival of his new brother. I’m so so excited to raise brothers, and I know that they will have so much fun growing up together, but at the same time, I figured that it would be hard on Austin to have to share the limelight and to have someone else at the centre of our universe along with him.

I picked Austin up one more time for the next several weeks (sniff sniff) and gave him a huge hug before Matt and I sprinted out the door.

Driving myself to the hospital to give birth when I wasn’t in labour was very surreal, and very different than the last time! Last time I couldn’t have told you one detail about the ride to the hospital, but this time Matt and I were nervously chatting away the whole time about everything from the Leafs to parenthood… we got to the hospital pretty much right on time, and bustled in and up to the labour and delivery floor only about 3 minutes late. Phew.

We checked in with the admission desk on the labour and delivery floor, and again I was struck by the total normalcy of it all as she breezily read through my medical information, asked me questions, processed insurance paperwork for our room…the whole time I kept bouncing my legs up and down thinking “doesn’t anyone know that I’m having a BABY today?! Like in matter of hours?!”. We finished up with admissions, and the super friendly nurse took us just around the corner to the “pre-op” room, where I had Matt take the picture below to get a shot of the “full” belly bump… I’ve been so so bad at taking bump pictures this pregnancy, so this was my guilty attempt to make up for it right at the end… eeks… 😐

We didn’t have to sit for too long before the sweetest nurse ever named Olivia came into the room and introduced herself as “my nurse” for our c-section. She was so lovely and sweet, and really put my mind at ease that everything was going to be just fine. She very  methodically went about pre-op things: verifying my information, giving me my hospital gown, getting my IV setup and fluids running and running through pre-op questions.

We had about an hour and 15 minutes to wait in the room in and amongst all of these things going on, and Matt and I got chatting about the Leafs and hockey standings, and if I remember correctly, were right in the middle of a spirited debate about the Eastern conference standings and playoff rankings, when Olivia came back into the room to tell us that it was time for me to come with her into the operating room, and that she would be back for Matt once they were ready to start the surgery.

As we say in our house: “it’s go time”.

It was a very short walk to the operating room; literally just down the hallway and through a set of double doors. Walking into the operating room, I actually said out loud “oh my god, this is terrifying!”. It looked like something out of a horror moving to me! The entire room was very stark, white and very bright. There was this tiny, very narrow little bed (that I’m sure my ass was hanging off of on either side attractively lol) with arms outstretched to the side, and these big scary trays of scalpels and scissors and other surgical paraphernalia all setup. The only thing that was somewhat reassuring was the little incubator over in the corner that indicated that a sweet little baby was about to come into the world in this room. Rather than someone was about to be dissected and sold for spare parts on the black market.

I had a seat on the edge of this narrow little bed and kicked my legs nervously waiting for more information. I hated that Matt couldn’t come with me for this part, but knew that it was my time to shine and keep my freaking cool as much as I could. I had literally visualized and practiced for this moment for months, and I knew that I needed to keep it together, or else I was going to get put under general anesthesia and miss the birth of my sweet little babe. And I didn’t want that at all.

We were waiting for just a few minutes for the anesthesiologist to arrive, and when she did, I was struck by how young (and very pretty!) she was. I also realized that the entire team of people in the OR (which consisted of my OB, Olivia, sassy nurse, a GP doctor to assist with the surgery, a nurse for little babe, and the anesthesiologist) were all women!! Matt ended up being the only male in the room (well, that is, until little babe arrived on the scene, but I’m jumping ahead of myself here ;)). GIRL POWER for all!

The anesthesiologist was very kind, and very matter of fact. She stood in front of me and explained exactly how she was going to administer the spinal injection, and what I should expect. I was totally freaking out at this point inside, but nodded along. I asked her if there was any chance that the spinal could interfere with my breathing, and she had to give me the textbook answer that “nothing is impossible”, but it was highly unlikely. Gulp.

Olivia came over to hold my shoulders still and gave me a pillow to hug while the anesthesiologist worked on the medicine. First she administered an injection that had freezing medication. She warned me that this stung and burned a little bit, and she was right, but it wasn’t anything too bad or that really affected me all that much. After that, she talked me through administering the spinal block, which I barely felt, except for some pressure on my back.

As she had promised, nearly instantly after getting the spinal block, my legs started to go tingly, warm and numb. At this point, my level of freak-out escalated a touch. I kept wiggling my toes to reassure myself that I could still move them…but then it kind of hit me that in the very immediate future, I wasn’t going to be able to move them anymore.

Enter Stage Left: beginnings of a panic attack.

The nurses moved very quickly after the medicine went in to swing my lower body up onto the bed, hang the drape across my chest, and start prepping for the surgery. The anesthesiologist stayed by my head and kept talking to me about what I was feeling, which helped somewhat. Within a matter of 2 – 3 minutes, I couldn’t feel my legs at all anymore, and probably no more than 1 minute after that, I lost the ability to move my lower body at all. If you’ve never felt a complete paralysis like this before, there’s no way for me to explain it to you except that it’s friggin’ scary. There’s something extremely unnatural about trying to move and not being able to, and it was wreaking havoc on me almost instantly. For some reason, I was super focused on the fact that I couldn’t wiggle my toes, and that was my number one concern. I probably said it out loud to the anesthesiologist 10 separate times; and she reassured me that that was completely normal, which didn’t do a lot to ease my mind.

My OB started working on cleaning my belly and other prep, and the entire time I was engaged in a full on battle against a massive panic attack. I started to feel that familiar hotness in my face and neck, and then the nausea started to creep in (the anesthesiologist said that this could be from the drugs, but I know that it was anxiety – I’ve been to this rodeo before). I told the anesthesiologist that I thought I was going to throw up, and that I was scared. She responded quickly and said that she would “take care of the nausea” right away with anti-nausea drugs. I also asked them for a cold cloth for my head and some ice for my neck. My OB at this point said that they were ready enough that someone could go and get Matt as well to help matters.

The anesthesiologist got me a small bowl for beside my face, and set me up with a cool cloth and a hospital glove full of ice (lol). Matt came into the room not more than 2 minutes later, and I was very glad to see him. The first thing  I said to him was “I can’t move my toes”… lol a combination of Matt, the ice / cool cloth, the anti-nausea drugs and some good old fashioned mother-effing grit and determination staved off the panic attack, and I started to feel a little better.

My OB started “testing” to make sure that I was completely frozen, and I told her that I could feel something sharp poke me at one point. She asked me again to tell her when I could feel the sharp prick, and I did…but I must have failed the test, because they went ahead with the surgery and I didn’t feel a thing!

Matt was a champ beside me, holding my hand,  re-positioning the glove-full of ice on and around my head and neck (lol) and just reassuring me that everything was going to be okay. I focused on my breathing, and watched the clock on the wall of the operating room as minutes began to tick by. The anesthesiologist told me that pretty soon, I would feel a ton of pressure on my belly when they were actually pulling the baby out, and I asked her how far away we were from that time. She said no more than 5 minutes, and I felt this huge enormous surge of confidence; we were almost there!

I think my OB and the doctor assisting with the c-section had a little bit of trouble getting little babe out of me (go figure – apparently my babies just don’t want to come out via any means LOL) and they were kind of tugging and pulling at various things on the other side of the drape. The anesthesiologist quickly said to me that there was a chance that they may need to give me a spray under my tongue that would make my uterus relax so that they could get the baby out a little easier. My OB made a joke on the other side of the drape that my abs were too tight to get the baby out (which is laughable at best given my current level of fitness lol), but then suddenly it felt like some progress was made, and my OB exclaimed “we don’t need it, we don’t need it!”. Not more than 1 minute later, I heard the most wonderful sound – a big, throaty cry from the other side of the drape.

Both the OB and the assisting doctor exclaimed that he was crying and he wasn’t even out yet, and they told Matt to get his camera ready for the picture! Matt stood up to take the first picture of our sweet little Carter, but at first when he stood up, he was confused because he didn’t know if he should be taking a picture of the surgery scene with all the blood and gore in the background (heh). The doctors laughed and joked that he had choked under the pressure, so they would set him up for another shot at the picture. He still seemed a bit confused so at this point I started yelping to “take the picture! take the picture!” and he finally did (he’s still confused as to why he was taking a picture of an open surgery scene LOL). I personally love the picture, it’s Carter’s first moments earthside! Matt still thinks it’s a little gruesome… 😉

At this point, I hadn’t yet seen Carter on the other side of the drape.  I could hear him crying, but hadn’t laid eyes on his sweet face. One of the nurses finally brought him around the drape and I got to see him…and I was totally overcome with emotion at how beautiful and perfect he looked. I know all mothers think their babies are perfect, but I truly felt looking at him in that moment that he was just the most perfect little baby ever, and I couldn’t believe how lucky we were that he was ours.

The nurses took Carter over to the little incubator to weigh him, do his tests and clean him up a little bit. Matt went over with them and I never took my eyes off of them. From that moment on, I completely forgot that I was wide-open on an operating room table, and time just flew. The nurses kept calling out times, and it seemed like they were trying to get through everything that they needed to do with Carter as soon as possible so that they could get him over to me for skin to skin, which I really appreciated.

Less than about 3 – 4 minutes later, the nurse brought Cater over to me on the operating table and positioned him on my chest. He had been crying pretty loudly the entire time since he had been born, but the exact instant that he made contact with my skin, he stopped crying and fell asleep instantly. I couldn’t believe it. I was very weepy the whole time (all happy tears this time!!), and just so happy.

Time started flying once Carter was on my chest. I think it ended up taking about another 20 – 25 minutes for them to finish closing me up and everything else that they needed to do, and then they transferred Carter and I over to a hospital bed, and began wheeling us out of the operating room and over to the recovery room. I still couldn’t feel my lower half at all, or wiggle my toes, and I was still pretty anxious about that, but having Carter to focus on made it all much more tolerable. I remember asking what time exactly the medicine went into my back, so that I could count down the three hours until I should be able to move again. I still had nearly 2 hours to wait!

We spent a little over an hour in the recovery room with our nurse Olivia. She gave me an injection of a blood thinning medication to prevent blood clots in my legs, but I couldn’t feel a thing because she gave it to me in my stomach, and I was still completely numb. While we were in the recovery room, we started to notice that Carter’s skin had a pretty red rash developing all over his back / arms / legs. That scared the bajesus out of me, and Olivia said that she hadn’t really seen anything like it before, but she would check with her charge nurse and have her come to take a peek at him. I was worried, but hoped that it would be nothing, and it turned out to be exactly the case. By about 2 days later, the rash was completely gone all on it’s own, and all was good.

After our time in the recovery room, Olivia and Matt wheeled us down the hall and around the corner onto the Maternal Child unit where we would be staying for the next couple of days. They initially put us in a double room (with nobody in the other bed) because the hospital was pretty full that night, but later on that night, another girl (who had had an emergency c-section) was supposed to join us in the room. Luckily for us, a single room had opened up late that night, and we were able to high tail it over to that room so that we had a bit more privacy. We had great nurses in the hospital (with the possible exception of our very last nurse, who although super sweet and kind, seemed a little fast and loose with the details and ended up discharging me from the hospital without a wheelchair lol…she was a bit all over the place!), and we had lots of help with breastfeeding, and moving around post surgery. In general, our experience in the hospital was just much more positive all around this time. I was really happy with our experience.

Reflecting on our birth experience with Carter, I really couldn’t be happier with how things all went for us in the hospital and leading up to it. Contrary to what it may seem like from the outside, our c-section birth has been truly healing for me in so many ways. I feel like this birth experience has helped me to regain a sense of control and more importantly, a sense of pride in myself for what I’ve been able to overcome to bring my sweet baby boys into this world. I feel this overwhelming sense of closure and contentness for both Carter and Austin’s births, and I feel like I’m finally ready, and willing, to turn the page on my first birth experience, and move forward with our lives without looking back. This has been something that I’ve struggled to do for months (and even years), so it truly feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off of my shoulders. I am so, so truly grateful.

I am 10 days post-surgery today, and I’m feeling better and better every single day. My healing has been very linear this time (compared to the slingshot roller coaster that it was last time!), and every single day I’m noticing a major step forward in how I’m able to move, and my pain levels. The one really challenging thing with my c-section this time, is that I’m not able to pick up my sweet boy Austin. I’m only 10 days into a 6 week stretch where I can’t lift him, and already I know that it’s going to be a really tough go. I’m trying to stay focused on showering Austin with love every other way I possibly can, and to just take it one day at a time and focus on the gratitude that I am healing well, and will be back to myself in 6 short weeks (or less!), and ready to move forward with getting fit and healthy again, and being the best version of myself for my boys.

I plan to continue with our weekly update posts, just as I did for the first several months of Austin’s life, because I love having the detailed record to look back on (and I dearly regret not keeping up with my weekly pregnancy updates for Carter’s pregnancy – so I owe it to him and to myself to keep up with his weekly updates now that he is here earthside!). I’ll be back shortly with our first week recap; it’s been a busy one, but I’m so proud of Matt and I for everything we’ve accomplished so far, and I know that there isn’t anything we can’t tackle together.

Lots of love,

-Sara xo

A Letter to my Second Born…


Hi Sweetheart,

I’m writing this letter to you on the night before you are born, and I just can’t believe that this day is here. Our journey together has been a wild, wild ride, and although it’s been a bit of a tough one for your mama, I’m so very sad to see this chapter come to an end tomorrow.

From the very beginning of our pregnancy, you’ve been such an easy little baby in there. You met all your checks and balances flawlessly, no medical complications, no trouble at all. You’ve gamely come along with me on camping trips in the Summer, trudged all over theme parks, soccer fields and our neighbourhood in hot, hot weather, put up with constant nausea that’s prevented me from eating as well as I should with you and exercising very much… and still, you keep on chugging along, growing and developing every day, wiggling and moving all the time to reassure me that you’re doing okay in there. I’m so grateful for you sweet boy. Thank you for putting up with less than ideal conditions in there, and for being such an easy-going little baby already.

I’ll be honest with you sweetheart, ever since the first day that I found out I was pregnant with you, I’ve been scared that I won’t be enough for you. That there won’t be enough of my love and attention to go around between you, your brother, your Dad and everyone else that we love. As we head into surgery tomorrow, it’s still my biggest fear of all. What I can promise you beyond a shadow of a doubt is that I will give you the very best that I have in every given moment, on every given day. It may not always be enough, but between your Daddy and I, I can promise you that you will never ever want for love. No matter how crazy life gets, I know that this is true.

A lot of people will try, but nobody will ever love you quite as much as I do. Even though it was tough, I cherish the last 9 months that we’ve spent together, and I miss them already (even though we still have 12 more hours :)). I guess it’s time for me to share you with the rest of our family, and with the world though, and I just know that you will steal everyone’s hearts and bring so much joy to our family. You are being born to a family so rich in love and laughter, and I can’t wait for you to meet everyone; you are already so entwined in the fabric of who we are, and we haven’t even seen your sweet face yet.

I am nervous about our c-section tomorrow, but I’m going into it with the mindset of a soldier, and I am bound and determined to be rock solid for you throughout whatever comes our way. I am putting 100% of my trust and my faith in the medical team, and I know that they will get you out of there quickly and safely (and hopefully a little less traumatically for you then the way your brother came into the world!!). I cannot wait until the surgery is over, and we can hold you.

Well, it’s getting late my love, and both you and I have a huge day tomorrow. It’s the first day of the rest of our lives!

Counting the hours until I can see your sweet face.

All my love, today and always,

Your Mama Bear xo 


22 Weeks (#2)

Well I’ve certainly fallen off the proverbial wagon in terms of keeping up with my weekly pregnancy blog posts this time around!! It’s been on my mind, but to be honest pretty much ever since I found out I was pregnant again, I’ve been in a constant state of survival mode, and finding a few minutes to sit down and write my weekly updates has been so tough!

Since I’ve missed so much ground from the first half of the pregnancy, I’ll sum it up for you in three words:

  • Nausea
  • Exhaustion
  • Delirium

I was sick for a reeeeeeallly long time with this pregnancy, and still am sometimes, but the constant nausea is finally starting to settle down, and I’m able to enjoy (most) food again… hurray!! I never realized what a bummer it would be for most foods to make you sick, but man it was hard!! I’m very much conditioned to turn to food as a source of comfort when I’m feeling down and out, and man did I ever feel down and out for a lot of those first 20 weeks… but the problem was that food made things much worse, not any better. I’m still not really doing that well with very sweet things (here’s lookin’ at you Timbits), and things heavy in dairy (no Drumstick Ice Cream cones this time around…noooooo), but in general, I’m feeling much better and much more functional now, thank the high holy lord.

My energy levels have been a constant challenge, and still are at this point in the pregnancy. I’ve never felt exhaustion like I felt at the start of this pregnancy, it was all I could do to get through a day or to the next point where I could lay down and close my eyes. Keeping up with Austin has been incredibly tough (seriously, I don’t know what the boy runs on, cause it sure ain’t an overly healthy diet of vegetables and green juice, but he just keeps going and going and going!!!), but I’ve been doing my best to not let my slow-ass hold him back from the fun things that he wants to do.

Recently, Austin’s taken more interest in my belly and has started piecing together when we ask him “who lives in Mommy’s belly?!” that it’s not just a “BAAAAAABY!!” but “Austin’s baby brahhhhhther!!!” and it just melts my heart. I hope that he adjusts well to Little Babe (our nickname for this little man LOL), but think we could be in for some rough times as things settle into new normal once he’s born… although Austin is a total wild animal at home and with people he knows, he’s quite shy and reserved in new situations and around new people, and I think it might take him a while to get his head around a new little human being part of his world. We’ll see though, I’m hopeful that a little bit of prep work will make things easier for him… fingers crossed.

Aside from my symptoms, I’ve been freakin’ HUGE this time around compared to last time (so much so that I haven’t yet taken a bump picture… I just feel like a whale!!). I look at pictures from 22 weeks last time and think damn! I hardly look pregnant! This time I feel like I look 40 weeks already, have been in maternity clothes for the past month or more (please shoot me – the pants haven’t gotten any better), and just in general look like someone’s inflated me like a helium balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Mmmmm Thanksgiving… ❤

I’m trying not to worry about it too much, my activity level has been much lower then it was when I was pregnant with Austin, for three main reasons: 1) I’ve felt like garbage, 2) I’ve been exhausted and fall asleep pretty much as soon as Austin does and 3) Every minute that I have awake / functional, I want to spend with Matt and Austin and not at the gym. I’m still teaching BodyPump once a week, so that’s my one saving grace, and am trying to do some free weight stuff at home once in a while to keep some sort of muscle tone under all this flab. I figure I don’t need to actually be “in shape”, I just need to be in the same area code as “in shape” so that I can find it again after all is said and done with my pregnancy! I did get totally suckered in to buying this fit pregnancy program that I haven’t even opened yet (seriously, $40 well-spent Sara), and maybe one day I’ll get around to doing a few workouts from that program lol

We had our anatomy scan a few weeks ago, and for the most part things looked good with Little Babe, but there was one kind of scary thing that our OB mentioned, which was that there was a bit of swelling in both of his kidneys, most likely just because his system wan’t mature yet, and the valves needed to grow / develop some more. Apparently it’s a common finding, especially for boys, but I’m still nervous about it, and hoping that at our next ultrasound (September 12th!), things are looking better and less swollen.

I’m not sure if it’s because I recognize the movements more clearly now that I’ve been pregnant before, but Little Babe seems to be soooo much more active in there than I remember Austin being at this early stage! It feels like he’s constantly darting around in there and kicking forcefully, which I always get a smile out of. Austin was less of a kicker and more of a “pusher”… he would always puuuuush his little legs against my stomach like he was trying to bust right outta there… so much so that I could clearly make out his little foot print through my skin LOL… we’ll see as Little Babe gets bigger and stronger how his movement patterns develop, but for now, he seems like very much of a “darter” LOL

This week I did actually have a kind of scary episode that landed me in the hospital on Thursday. I was at work when all of a sudden I had this crazy spell of black spots and couldn’t see at all for about 20 – 30 seconds… felt like I was going to pass out… so did the only logical thing, which was to stand up and walk outside to my car and drive away from the office lol… (I am, of course, kidding, that was probably the dumbest thing I could have done *insert eye roll here*). I drove myself over to the hospital to get checked out for any scary blood pressure issues or anything like that, and got sent right up to Labour & Delivery which was a bit scary, but they quickly checked me out once I got up there and assured me that it seemed like an isolated blood pressure dip, and that all looked good with Little Babe and with me at that point… so off I went, and onwards we go. Pregnancy is weird, I tell ya.

Anyways, the long -weekend is coming up, and I’m sooooo looking forward to a few days with Matt and Austin without having to deal with work… work has been slowly sucking the life out of me over the past few months, and I’m really feeling like I need a break these days. Hopefully the long weekends will keep me going until I take a week off in October, and hopefully THAT will get me through to December… 😀

Anyways, happy long weekend to all – hope you have a great one and I’ll see you back for 23 weeks next week (mark my words!).

-Sara & Little Babe



10 Weeks (#2)

Holy Catfish you guys… here we go again!

Life has been a crazy, beautiful, exhausting whirlwind, and I’ve fallen off the wagon in terms of my monthly Austin updates, but I’ve also come to terms with that and the fact that we’ve been busy living and enjoying every moment (or at least most moments ;)) with our little man, and that has made it challenging to find the time to regularly update on what we’ve been up to.

To add to the chaos… Matt and I found out that we were pregnant again in April! Ahhh! It happened much more quickly this time for us, only three months of trying compared to the seven it took with Austin, and I’ve found myself back on the crazy, upheaving ride that is pregnancy again ever since.

This first trimester has been extremely challenging for me, and has really pushed me to the brink several times. I’ve been sick this time around… nauseous like you wouldn’t believe, day in and day out. Eating has been a real challenge (although I’m still forcing it all down and ballooning up like you wouldn’t believe!), and my energy has been absolutely ZERO, so most days it’s been all I can do to make it to 7pm when Austin goes down for the night, and then pass out on the couch from 7pm until Matt wakes me up at 10pm to go upstairs for bed.

While the nausea has been beyond miserable, the absolute hardest part of this first trimester for me has been struggling to keep up with Austin and to be everything that he needs me to be when I’m not feeling well and have zero energy. My little monkey is 20 months now, and he is this complete Tasmanian devil of energy! The child never stops moving! He’s plucky and outspoken and full of spunk and I just couldn’t love him anymore if I tried, but sweet mother of all things holy, he takes energy, and I’ve been in extremely short supply of that these past several weeks!

Somehow (I’m honestly not quite sure how), we’ve survived the last 8 weeks, and this week (week 10), I’m starting to feel a little better in terms of nausea / energy. As I write this, I’m feeling a little nauseous, and definitely a little tired… but not like I was a few weeks ago. I’m hoping and praying that with the end of the first trimester juuuuuust around the corner (but who’s counting? ;)), I’ll start feeling the second trimester energy wave come on soon, and I can get back to feeling like myself again.

I’ve only had one ultrasound so far, our dating ultrasound which I did around 8 / 9 weeks. Little Babe looked good in there, and was measuring right on schedule for our conception date, it’s little heart rate was a strong 170 bpm!

With Austin, I was sure from Day 1 that he was a boy… and with this little Babe, I have a strong feeling that she’s a girl. It could be that I feel so extremely different with this pregnancy then I did my first, or maybe just a mother’s intuition, but I would bet a decent amount on this one being a girl. We’ll have to wait and find out for another 10 weeks! Ugh!

I have my next ultrasound on Monday June 17th, and I can’t wait… I always get nervous in between ultrasounds / appointments, and since this time I’ll be going with an OB, I won’t actually see her until closer to 20 weeks (which just seems cray-cray to me!). The reason that I’ll be going with an OB (the same OB that delivered Austin actually) is because this time around, I’ll be having a planned C-section from day 1. My poor body is still battling to come back from the horrific experience that it endured during our first vaginal delivery, and I’ve had several doctors, specialists and physiotherapists urge me to go the route of a planned C-section this time.

And I ain’t arguing.

I’m feeling extremely positive and (dare I say?) excited about my C-section this time around. I understand completely that a C-section isn’t the easy way out; it’s major abdominal surgery and it’s not something to be taken lightly… but if you recall from some of my posts late in my pregnancy with Austin, what I’ve always craved and envisioned for my sweet babies birthdays is calm, peace and love. Poor, sweet little Austin wasn’t lucky enough to get any of that when he was born, because he came out right in the middle of a horrific battle scene, with his mother dissociating from the entire room because she was so traumatized.

I am so hopeful for this birth that things will be different, and will be the calm, peaceful environment that I so wanted for Austin. I plan to be very proactive leading up to the surgery and to do everything I can to help set me up for a smooth recovery afterwards. A lot of people have warned me that “it’s a 6 week recovery you know…”, which makes me half laugh and half shake my head, because my injury from Austin’s birth is permanent, and life-long. I’m 20 months out now and still dealing with symptoms and complications that will likely only get worse with time. A surgical wound seems like a much preferable option for me.

ANYWAYS, aside from the nausea and the exhaustion, the other thing different about this pregnancy is that I feel like my belly is HUGE already! I’m barely able to conceal it at 10 weeks, whereas I really didn’t show at all until about 20 weeks with Austin. I pretty much don’t fit in any of my pants anymore, so it’s going to be a looooong haul with those mother effing maternity pants. Curse those damned things to hell.

We haven’t told any of our family yet at this point, mostly because I’m still really paranoid and freaked out that something will go wrong. I’ve had a lot of my friends go through terrible losses during pregnancy, and I just can’t stand the idea of getting everyone’s hopes up and then destroying them if something happens. I’d rather take that burden alone. I’m hoooping to wait until our next ultrasound on June 17th to tell anyone, but at this point, 11 days away, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to hide it for much longer (especially since I’m going to be in a wedding next weekend and will be wearing a very revealing bridesmaid dress lol). We’ll see which way the wind blows I suppose, and tell people when the time is right 😉

I guess that’s about it for this week! I’m almost to Week 11 now, and have got my eye on Week 12 / 13 as the official end of the first trimester, and hopefully the start of an exciting new one with decidedly less nausea and sleeping! 🙂 🙂

Chat soon!

-Sara & Little Babe



14 Months

Hello! Happy December!

As usual, the gigantic elephant that is the holidays has somehow snuck up on us all again, and here we are 18 days away from Christmas.

I could so easily freak out right now!

I don’t think I’ve ever been so unprepared for the holidays as I am this year, probably because I’m being run completely off my feet trying to do 4 full / part-time jobs right now, and I just don’t have a second to breathe most days. Between my actual job, teaching classes, selling Stella & Dot jewelry (a side gig I picked up because, you know, I was looking for something to do in my spare time?) and being the best mama I can be, I’ve really been burning the candle at both ends for the last month or so. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to slow down a little bit, but with the calendar absolutely jam packed for December already, it doesn’t look like that is going to happen anytime soon.

The good news, is that I’m so looking forward to all of the things that we have planned for December! We are going to get our Christmas tree this weekend at a cut your own tree farm (one of Matt’s traditions – BELIEVE me, I would take a fake tree ANY DAY over this real tree hodge podge), and I have some MEGA Christmas shopping to do this weekend in and amongst Matt’s work Christmas party and another little holiday get together on Sunday.

SO, on the Austin front, our little man continues to just be so much fun!

Walking (!!)

He took his first REAL steps just yesterday, and walked about 5 or 6 steps from the couch to his play structure, and back again! It is so beyond bizarre for me to see him teetering around in wide open space, I’m so not used to it! He still has a long way to go to be officially “walking”, but he’s definitely getting there! You should see the huge, gigantic grin on his face when he’s walking, it is honestly hysterical. He clearly knows that he’s doing something cool, and is pretty pumped about it!

I’m sticking with my initial prediction that he won’t actually “really” walk independently until about Christmas time, but it’s still so crazy exciting to see him starting! Austin has always been a little on the later side for some of the gross motor milestones (sitting, crawling, walking etc), so often I’m chomping at the bit for him to pick up these new skills so that we can get on to the next stage of fun. That being said, I think I’ve been pretty good at just rolling with it when it comes to walking and enjoying all of the fun we’ve had in his crawling / pulling up stage. Plus as my one friend told me, “enjoy the time before he walks, because you’re really up sh*t creek once he starts walking”….LOL


He continues to do so well at his daycare, and I just couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s really growing to love his teachers, which is heart warming and heart breaking at the same time (you’re only allowed to love MEEEEEEEEEE 😥 ), but we got the devastating news just the week that one of the teachers that he really likes is actually going to be moving to a different classroom! We are so sad about this, because she really seems to have a soft spot for Austin, and he just adores her…. sigh.

We did have one incident at daycare (I had to sign an “incident report”….!) where Austin actually chomped down and bit some other little person’s finger. The teachers felt kind of bad for him because they explained to me that Austin was off playing with a toy and someone crawled up to him and stuck their finger in the side of his mouth…. so while I do kind of understand WHY it happened, we’re trying to crack down on our little Jaws biting on anything he’s not supposed to at every turn!


14 Months

Hello and Merry Christmas to all! We’ve had a crazy busy holiday season this year and have had a house full for the last little while, so I’m sliding in a little late with this 14 month Austin update!

Austin had such a great Christmas. He was so happy all day yesterday, and even though he was way off his nap schedule, little man kept it together and was just the sweetest, happiest little guy. Matt’s parents have been down for the holidays, and we also had Matt’s youngest and middle brother and his girlfriend and their Golden Retriever here staying with us, so there have been lots of people around to play with Austin and love on him, and in true ham fashion, he has been loving every minute of it. We woke up at our house on Christmas morning, and then made our way over to my parents house for the afternoon and Christmas dinner.

For Christmas, my parents got Austin this stand alone plastic kitchen, and he just loved it; he probably spent over an hour playing with it yesterday (not bad for a guy who rarely devotes longer than a minute or two to any particular toy!!!). It just amazes me how independent he’s getting now, sometimes I’ll turn my head and catch a glimpse of him and it just hits me in the gut that he really isn’t a “baby” anymore, more and more he’s looking and acting like a little boy. I don’t know if that makes me want to sob or beam with pride. I guess, truth be told, it’s both.


Well folks, the day we’ve all been waiting for has arrived….Austin is officially a full fledged walking baby! Go Austin!

Just as I was starting to get a teeny bit nervous that he was a little behind the walking curve, he started getting super adventurous stepping off from wherever he was holding onto and taking one or two wobbly steps before falling. He did that for a few days, and then one Wednesday when I was working at home, he took the big leap and made it a few more steps for about 4 or 5 in total. I can’t think of many more things that warm my heart more than the look on Austin’s face when he started walking. He had this ENORMOUS Cheshire Cat grin on his face every time he would step away from the couch or wherever he was holding onto, and teeter for a few steps with his hands HIGH up in the air way above his head. I die. He clearly was having so much fun with this new found freedom that he kept pushing on with it, and it wasn’t more than week from that point that he was full on walking on his own.

The daycare staff seem to enjoy Austin’s walking style too (lol) because the first thing that they said when he came in and started walking for them was “He walks like he’s under arrest!” LOL, my dad gets a good laugh out of saying that he looks like he’s coming out of a bank hold-up…”Don’t shoot!”….. you get the picture!! He’s getting steadier and steadier every day, but still tumbles a lot, especially when he gets going fast (and Austin likes to get most places he’s going FAST).

A lot of people have told me that once they start walking, it becomes even harder to keep them out of trouble, but I’m actually finding the opposite….now that Austin is walking, he seems to be more content and proud of himself, and things have actually gotten (strike me down for saying it), maybe a little easier since then?!

I take it back, I take it back….please don’t strike me down karma gods…..!!!

Testing Limits

This has really been an enormous month for Austin in terms of cognitive development too. I can’t believe some of the things that he’s started doing these days. One of the new things that we’ve noticed is that he is actually testing limits and throwing mini temper tantrums when things don’t go his way or he wants to get our attention. We aren’t totally sure where he’s picked it up from, but can’t help but kind of laugh to ourselves, as long as he doesn’t get hurt in the process. The trademark “Austin Tantrum” involves throwing himself down on his back from whatever position he’s in (standing, kneeling, crawling, you name it), and tossing his head back so that it makes a big thud on the floor.

The first few times that he did this, we SPRINTED over to him if we weren’t already beside him and made a big fuss about it, but we quickly realized that he was doing it 100% on purpose, and if we didn’t react right away, he would actually stay in that position, and just wait for us to react before he would react. Some of the things that really set him off right now are:

-Taking anything from him that he wants and can’t have (read: my purse, the remote control)

-Preventing him from crawling into the dishwasher (I kid you not)

-Not picking him up the instant that he wants you to

-Putting him in his high chair when he doesn’t want to go

What can I say, life is tough for a 14 month old!? 😉 I actually get such a kick out of Austin’s sassy little personality, he is so strong willed, just like his mama, and seeing him learn to exert himself really makes me giggle. I’m trying to toughen up a little bit though and instill good habits in him so that we set ourselves up for later on in life…but man is it hard!


Things are really going great at daycare these days! Austin really seems to enjoy himself there, likes all of his teachers and doesn’t cry anymore when I drop him off, which is making me feel about a million times better about things, even though I still truly hate leaving him all day.

I’m so proud of Austin for how well he’s adjusted, and for everything that he’s learning at daycare. Our biggest challenge with daycare now is keeping our little man healthy. A lot of people warned me about germs at daycare, but I didn’t fully appreciate how rough it would be until we were right in the thick of it. Within about 3 weeks at daycare, Austin came down with a nasty bug, and basically still isn’t recovered from it 4 weeks later. He missed an entire week of daycare just before the holiday break because he was way too sick to go, and when I took him to the doctor, he diagnosed Austin with a case of RSV (basically a respiratory infection), and sent us home with two puffers. My poor sweet baby.

The puffers have helped a lot, and I thiiiiiiink that the end is near / here for this particular bug, but we also have him at home with us for the next week, so who knows what will happen once he goes back to daycare again. I H-A-T-E with a burning passion when Austin gets sick, it just breaks my heart into a million pieces, and it also makes life so difficult for me because I have to juggle taking care of him (priority #1A) and not getting fired (priority #9C)…..sigh.

We still haven’t done Austin’s 1 year vaccines or his flu shot this year because he’s been so sick that the doctor won’t give him any shots until he is better. I’m hoping that we can get him in to the doctor towards the end of the break and get those done, because it’s been weighing on me for a while now.



Austin is such a little parrot these days, it’s so super funny. His favourite words to repeat (or even say on his own actually!) are:



-Ohhhhh (emphasis on the drawn out “ooohhhhh”)

-Mama / Dada

-Ch (he loves to make the “ch” sound, and then beam at you with a huge grin, he thinks that sound is so funny – probably because we always make a big deal out of sneezing and go “ACHOOOOO” hahaha)

The daycare staff constantly tell us how much Austin babbles away all day, and we know it’s true because he does it here too! We all get such a laugh out of his sweet little “Martian Babble” as we call it, and I have a feeling that he’ll jump on that talking bandwagon sooner than later. For now, we’re quite enjoying the babble stage, and love getting into rip roaring debates with him over anything and everything!

I think that’s all for this month – it’s been a huge month in general for lots of things Austin related, and I just couldn’t be prouder of our little man for everything he’s accomplished this month. It truly just keeps getting better and better, even though I hate to be wistfully saying good bye to the “baby days”.

Wishing you and your families a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2019! I’ll be back shortly after the New Year for a bit of different chat about goal setting and some things that I hope to work on for myself in the new year.

-Sara xo