Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Doula Bag

I packed my doula bag today. My client's official due date is the 22nd of January, but if we go by her dates, it's the 15th. She's 100% sure of when she conceived, so I'd rather not take any chances. The 18 week routine ultrasounds can be up to 2 weeks off either way.

I'm not a big gadget fan when it comes to doula bags. I find that if you bring too many accessories, you tend to want to use them all even if the mom doesn't need them. In my experience, the mom gets forgotten amongst all the machinery and doo-dads. My goal is that throughout her labour she will feel that I am paying attention to her needs, rather than trying out whatever new doula fad is going around that particular month. I bring the necessary stuff, and even so, it seems really heavy and bulky to carry around! Here's what goes into my backpack:

*massage oils and massage tool (I prefer using my hands. It's warmer, and it grounds the mom)
*hot and cold packs, both microwaveable and the kind you crack to get the temp going
*water bottle
*essential oils
*rebozo (long scarf to help with back pain)
*fake flickering candles & holders
*hair ties
*disposable gloves
*deck of cards (it can get pretty long!)
*paperwork & birth plan
*The Birth Partner book by Penny Simkin
*enough food and cash for me to last a day
*change of clothes & toiletries for me
*other stuff if I think the mom might need it

The hospitals I work at already have showers, jacuzzis and birth balls. There are many positions and tricks you can apply using the walls, halls, stairwells, chairs, and the birth partner. I'm looking forward to this birth!

Monday, December 29, 2008

La Belle Province

I'm feeling a bit sad this week. No, sad isn't really the right word. Perhaps nostalgic, pensive, melancholy, or reminescent would better fit the bill.

When I first came to this province, I had no intention of staying. I was going to save up some cash, and hi-tail it back to Quebec to go back to school. A few months in, I met Rich, got married and the rest is history. Now, a marriage, 3 kids, a house and a business later, this is my home. I do miss Quebec, though. I miss the people, the language, the culture, the pride (even if it does come before a fall), the personality, the energy that vibrates the streets, the charm of it all, the food, the store hours and coffee shops...

When I lived in Quebec, I didn't understand what the fuss was all about keeping our traditions and culture alive. Now, I struggle with keeping my ancestral roots alive in me, and growing in my children. My daughters, who cannot pronounce "poutine" correctly, and who look at me blankly when I tell them that they are "tellement jolie" or to "arrĂȘte tes niaiseries!". I am told how lucky I am to be bilingual, and that it is so important to teach my children another language. There's only so much I can do without support.

I am very aware of how long it has been since my children have been to La Belle Province. It's been too long for me, too. I wait impatiently for spring so that I can tuck them into the car and make the drive, but it's frightening. I don't want to be disappointed or hurt if it means less to them than I hoped. Will they understand that this culture is embeded in their very fibres? Will they love the people as I do? Will they be proud of their ancestry, or will this be a trip that they will simply tolerate?

I want them to know Franglais, the shores of the Saint Lawrence, the smell of boiling sap in March, the heavy scent of fresh cut hay, the cobblestones, the stubbornness of a people that won't let go of it's origins, the pick-up games of hockey, cheese so fresh it squeeks between your teeth, the two-cheek kiss...

I want to go home.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Every year, we bake a birthday cake for Jesus and sing Happy Birthday. Here are some pics of the occasion. For some reason, Blogger uploaded them backwards, but maybe you can read from bottom to top!
Here's Graedon having enjoyed his piece of birthday cake.

Eva and Maddie blowing out the candle. Richard suggested using 2008 candles, but I vetoed that idea.

Icing the cake...notice the tell-tale pink smudge around Eva's lips. Tsk, tsk, tsk!

Waiting patiently...
My little taste-tester.

Merry Christmas!

Here's our family wishing you a Merry Merry Christmas! Much love, family, and many blessings in the New Year - the Pattersons

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What About the Kids?

I've been following the Davis' family blog for a while. They're considering Newlife school, too, and I'm always surprised (and happy) to read their entries because they seem to go through what we go through. Here's a link to something that pretty much explains how we feel about the question: What about the kids?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Funny Girl!

Last weekend Rich and the girls braved the weather to choose a tree at the local tree farm. As Rich was zipping up Maddie's coat, he told her, "You'll have to help me choose the right tree, okay?" Eva piped in with, "And I'll help you choose the left tree!!"

I love that kid!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

O Christmas Tree!

I love Christmas trees! It makes me curious to see what people deem worthy to display on the tree - after all, that's the most prominent decoration in the house at Christmas. I've seen all sorts of different themes - the Disney tree, the Edible tree, the We Love Our Pets tree, the Snowman tree, the Castoff Ornaments from Grandma's Last Yard Sale tree...mine's a mix of all of those! Personally, I like hand made ornaments. My mom and siblings and I used to spend hours making ornaments. 20 years later, Mom is still hanging the tissue/cardboard doves on the branches. They're looking a bit ratty, but the memories are great!

The girls and I made these during school. I did the prep work, cutting out cardboard stars and covering them with aluminum foil. They glued, spread, sprinkled, glittered and generally made a mess. We had fun, though!

Can you see the "Edible" and "Grandma Castoff" themes in the picture? :P Also, you can't see them very well, but my awesome neighbour made us cute cotton batting snowmen - they're hiding behing the branches on the right. Very sweet!

I'm still scraping dried glitter glue off the table top. Worth it, absolutely!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Life Stages

I remember when my family moved when I was in grade 4. I changed schools, and even though my new home was only about an hour from my old home, the mindset was completely different in my new class. At my new school, the other kids were "going out" with each other. I never really understood the expression, since they never went "out" anywhere, but nevertheless, that was what they called it. That was the beginning of the dating phase of my generation.

Next phase - getting serious. That was "going out", but you actually talked to each other and in a sense, owned each other. The previous "going out" didn't actually mean that you liked each other, or even that you wanted to be was just a social status thing that meant you were popular enough for someone of the opposite sex to circle the "yes" on the note that asked if you wanted to be their girlfriend or boyfriend.

When I was 17, a new stage developed - engagement. Yep, early as 17, couples were getting ready to tie the knot. My college roomie was first to do so. That was huge, and a few years later, I followed suit and married the best man I've ever known.

Now I'm 28 years old, and entering into a brand new life stage - divorce. Not me, personally (see paragraph above - Rich is awesome!), but it's becoming an increasingly normal thing for my friends to announce they're going Splitsville. I admit, I am a bit naive when it comes to these things. It has caught me off guard.

I understand and I support the need to leave an abusive relationship. I also encourage these couples to seek counselling (together or alone), and to mend their relationship if it is safe to do so.

I have a hard time, though, with the lies of it all - the comments like, "The kids will be happier if I'm happy", or "We've fallen out of love (see note below)" or, worse "He's emotionally abusive to me" when in fact, he's simply an inconsiderate jerk. That sucks, but let's call it as it is, no?

The next stage - remarriage. Ah, yes, the second chance that boasts a 70% divorce rate compared to the 50% (or is it higher, now?) of first marriages. The stress of blended families, court battles and restraining orders against jealous first wives. Fun.

I'm not trying to teach anything with this post. I'm not going to offer advice, or cite verses or quote Dr. Phil (cough, cough, trying not to roll my eyeballs). I'm just writing about something I wish wasn't an issue.

Here's the quote I mentionned above. I love it because it's true:

"Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish it's source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings." Anais Nin

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quit Yer Whining!

I've decided to quit belly-aching about school. Still think it's going to happen, and I still want it to happen, but I'm going to stop letting it get me down. If this isn't God's timing then I certainly am not going to mess with that. He is, after all, better equiped at running lives, mine included.

My mom and I were chatting about it all, and she told me point blank that I wasn't ready. I appreciated that - I know I'm not, and it was cool to have someone who loves me unconditionnally tell me that honestly, in love. I asked her why, and she told me that I needed to gain more experience in the birth area of life, grow my children more (Graedon is only 10 months), and that with the economics crisis, raising support would be extremely difficult. True, very true. So, I'm getting ready. Little by little, I am inching my way to a place and time in my life where midwifery school will be a realistic option for me and my family.

In the meantime, we'll see what happens.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Our Week in Pictures!

To show that I'm human...this is a picture of what happens when you accidently wash an entire cardboard dominoe game with an extra large load of laundry. That bowl shows how much mushed up cardboard I was able to shake off the clothes before they hit the dryer. There was about another bowlful in the lint trap, too! What a mess!

My mom and the kids had a fun day together. They made a sugar cube igloo and jelly candy penguins. Super cute!

Maddie had her last class of gymnastics until the New Year. Here she is receiving her certificate.

Maddie also "graduated` from School Readiness. She`s very proud of her certificate.

Hope you`re having a great week!

January Client!!

I have a January client! I drove 2 hours to her house, spent a couple hours with her and her hubby, and was hired to attend her birth and help her through it. I ended up having to spend the night away from home since I got caught in a snowstorm (the 50 kms/hr on the highway kind of storm), but it was worth it. She is a VBAC, so this is especially wonderful. I am a 2VBAC myself, so this is near and dear to my heart. New Brunswick, especially this area, has a high cesarean rate. VBACs are beginning to be encouraged, but elective cesareans are still very normal - which doesn't necessarily mean healthy.

I am honoured and so excited to be asked to be this woman's doula. I can't wait!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Job Shadow

Yesterday was a big day! I had the opportunity to job shadow with a certified-nurse midwife (CNM) in Presque-Isle, ME. She was incredibly gracious and generous with her time. After all, she certainly didn't have to accept to have me tag along with her all day, but with her clients' permission, I was able to sit and observe prenatals, consultations and general GYN appointments.

It was a pretty normal day, no unusual cases, nothing tragic or out of the ordinary. I don't think I learned anything new as far as care, but we did spend some time talking legality and schooling. Up until now, a midwife hasn't had to have a Masters degree to practice in Maine. In 2010, new midwives will have to have the extra schooling. Most states are starting to adopt that rule, and I'm not sure about Canada. A CPM doesn't have a Masters, and not necessarily a Bachelors, either. It all comes down to where I would want to practice.

If we go to Newlife, then I'd be able to get my associate's degree, possibly a bachelors. That would make me a CPM, provided I pass the NARM exam. This would limit me as to where I can practice. The laws are up in the air in NB right now, so I have no idea what I would need to practice here. In Alberta, for example, you must be a Certified Nurse Midwife to practice - no direct entry midwives are recognized.

So - I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, there is the CPM way - more holistic, shorter, intense, practical, my style but limited in the areas I can work. On the other hand, there is the CNM way - very medical, long & drawn out, very expensive, but better chance at working almost anywhere.

Honestly, I don't know if I can take 7 years of University. That's a long, long time to be sitting behind a desk. The schools in Canada use mostly case studies and fake patients. Nothing like palpating a plastic baby in a rubber belly. And, for the expense of it, when I'm finally done with my decade long study, who's to say I won't be totally burned out but obliged to work anyway to pay off the mountain of student debt?

Grrr...I'm too tired to think about this right now. :P

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ho Ho Ho Hum

'Tis the season! In my mind right now, there are a bunch of topics I'd like to broach - and yet, I'll try to stick to one! Good old Super Jolly Fat Man.

I only have one memory of actually believing in Santa Claus. It was Christmas Eve and my mom was tucking us snugly into bed. She must have been exhausted, for she uttered those famous Christmas Eve words, "If you don't shut your eyes and go to sleep, Santa won't come!!" Good times! I also used to believe that dinosaurs roamed the first floor of our house at night because as I lay with my arm under my head, I would hear the blood rush through the veins in my arm. My pulse sounds a lot like T-Rex foot steps. I digress.

Early in our parenting years, Richard and I decided that we wouldn't encourage the Santa myth. Already, Christmas has become such a stressful, commercial time of year that we felt that adding Santa to the mix would be taking away from what Christmas is supposed to be all about. This summer, our wonderful babysitter told the girls about him - perhaps playing the "Santa won't come" card? - and this led to a truthful, and gentle talk about Santa, Jesus' birth and Christmas. As we told our girls, Santa is a fun story but he is just pretend.

Some people don't agree with this - rather than dashing through the snow, we are dashing our children's Christmas memories and robbing them of a precious, essential childhood memory. I don't believe that. When my children are adults, I want them to remember Christmas as a celebration of our Saviour's birth, as a happy event like a birthday party, cuddling on the couch with Mommy and Daddy, participating in concerts and caroling, hot chocolate, visiting relatives and friends, etc. I want them to associate Christmas with Christ, his birthday with giving to others (and I don't mean stuff, I mean time, volunteering, charity, etc). Yes, there will be gifts, but they won't be the focus. Yes, Santa will be at the mall and on Christmas specials, but he will not be an idol. Yes, we will probably spend too much on diverse Christmas paraphanalia (spelling?), but we will try to keep it in line with our budget to discourage waste and excess.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 1, 2008

They Listen!

There are some days when I look at my kids and wonder whether anything I've tried to teach them has sunk in - and then, there are days like today. At the breakfast table, Maddie told me of a recent visit to visit Grammy Pat. Her two cousins (A & G), Eva and she had snuck into my 14 year old sister's room (L). L has a gumball machine and an impress collection of Beanie Babies, so you can understand the attraction. A, G & Eva helped themselves to the gumballs, and took one for Maddie, too. As Maddie put it, "I told them I didn't want it cuz it wasn't mine. That's stealing, and I didn't want you to be mad." My mother's heart just about burst with pride. She does listen to me!