The Duelling Realities Of Motherhood

I come home much later than usual. People got stuck in traffic coming in to work and I had to stay behind to give my report. I was also caught in heavier traffic coming home, thanks to back-to-school, I guess, hence the lateness of my arrival home.

When I come in, Rina has already gone on the bus for school and Ben is getting ready to leave and drive Béatrice to pre-school. He has decided he will do some computer work at a café before getting the girls back home (Rina is only doing half-days this week, full days begin next week).

There is a certain relief in knowing that I will be able to fall asleep after a night shift, to an absolutely quiet, empty house. At the same time, I am unnerved: I didn’t get to see Rina before going to school and I barely saw Béa before she left. That constant pulling and tugging at the mama’s heart. The everlasting dichotomy between enjoying this time for myself and missing my children. My heart is raw at this new, yet very familiar struggle.

The girls are 2 and 4. I’ve felt this emotional tug-of-war from the moment Rina has taken her very long-awaited first breath in the delivery room and it is something I still struggle with on an almost daily basis. I have a feeling this is something I will have to battle my entire life. The constant struggle between being an individual and being a mother, between being a mother and being a wife, between being a mother and being a Crossfitter, between being a mother and being a nurse.

There’s no point to this post, I just wanted to share how I feel. Time to go to bed… in my very quiet house.

Growing Up

That face!

That face!

This little lady has spent her entire day wearing big girl underwear (except for her nap) and has had zero “accidents”. She’s growing up so fast and I’m realizing that I don’t have a baby anymore. I remember clearly during the middle of the night breastfeeding sessions, wishing I’d be done with all those interrupted nights and now, although those moments are rare, I’ll admit, I sometimes find myself missing that closeness one experiences during those cherished moments of motherhood. Thinking back, I don’t think I have a single picture of me nursing Béa and although I probably wouldn’t post it on here, it was something I was very proud of, just because I was never successful at it with Rina. I wish I had one now to immortalize that accomplishment.

As if on cue, Rina (who is sick with a little cold and tonight) woke up a few hours after she fell asleep and called out to me. I met up with her upstairs and she asked if I would cuddle with her as she curled back up into her bed. I obliged her and she fell asleep in no time in my arms, something she rarely did as a baby. She was always my free-spirited child, my independent one from the get-go.

As they grow older and more independent, those cuddle times become more and more precious. Don’t tell them, but I always take a huge smell of their hair when they let me cuddle them. My babies might be growing up, but to me, they’ll always be my babies.


The Story Of Béa

A year ago today, I gave birth to our 2nd bundle of joy. Here’s the low down on how it all happened…

December 6 2012. It was 0600 and all was quiet in the house. Everybody was still asleep except for me and I thought I would seize the opportunity to go have a quiet hot bath. I was 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant with a sore back so this moment was golden. As I was relaxing in the tub, I started having contractions. I had had Braxton-Hicks on and off for some time already so I wasn’t really worried at the beginning. These contractions however, were slightly stronger than my “usual” Braxton-Hicks so I got out of the bathtub and started the timing app on my phone. They were all 30-40 secs long and were all 5 minutes apart. I figured I would wait until our appointment with our doctor that same morning to see what she would recommend. We got through our normal morning routine with me having regular contractions every 5 minutes until our 0900 appointment with the doctor. As she was going through our appointment, I had to stop to answer her questions whenever I would have a contraction, but I was fine afterwards. She strongly recommended we go back home, grab our stuff and make our way to the hospital without any delays.

I was in labour! Naturally! I was thrilled my body had know how to start labour on its own, without needing to be induced. I was a little less thrilled that my bag wasn’t even packed! I threw some stuff together quickly (much easier to know what to bring the 2nd time around) and we drove on to the hospital. It was the MOST UNCOMFORTABLE CAR RIDE EVER even if it was only about 10 minutes! I was glad to be able to get our of the car and get moving through the contractions. We were admitted quickly and I was place in a room with all our stuff.

I got examined throughout the day, but I wasn’t dilating very fast. I remember being at 5cm for most of the day. I kept labouring with consistent contractions every 5 minutes ALL. DAY. LONG! Ben was with me as well as Rina and Aunty Sandy came to visit too. It was nice to have them all there, but during the contractions, I just wanted some silence so I could focus on my breathing and it was hard to achieve with all these people in the room.

Around dinner time, Ben went back home with Rina to figure out a sitter for Rina for the night. That was a bit stressful as Aunt Sandy was working a night shift and we had nobody to help out. Since we live in the main floor of a house, we asked our landlord (who lives upstairs) if she didn’t mind keeping an eye on Rina overnight. Ben left her with the baby monitor and promised to be back in the morning to get her up. That took about 4hrs as Ben had to give Rina some dinner, bathe her, put her to bed and come back to the hospital. I was lucky enough to delay my epidural and was allowed to labour in the shower. That was a true godsend! The hot water was constant and I could just sit there with the hot jet on my back. I had a family friend visit with me and she stood in the doorway of the bathroom. We chatted for a few hours, with me going quiet only when a contraction would come. I have to say, that was the best part of my labour. I just wish Ben could have been there with me.

When Ben finally came back to the hospital (around 2100), I stepped out of the shower and after discussing with my doctor, we decided to get the epidural in so she could go and rupture my membranes to try to speed up the process. I got the epidural in around 2200 and the doctor ruptured my membrane. The labour progressed rapidly from then on. At this point, I had been labouring for 15.5hrs. That was already 3.5hrs longer than I had with Rina and we still had no baby 😦

The epidural wasn’t really effective and the pushing was a lot more painful than it had been with your sister. I think I started pushing around 2230 and I could feel EVERYTHING. I will admit to letting a few swear words out in French to blow off some steam and some of the pain, but I was still wanting to see everything in the mirror they provided. Ben, on the other hand, just kept focusing on me, not wanting to peek at all! I didn’t care, I just wanted him to be there, next to me.

After a very long day and 18hrs of hard work, you finally appeared in our lives. You were born December 7 at 0030 and will forever share a birthday with your big sister! You were perfect and we were thrilled to finally get to meet you. Your Dad and I debated for a little bit about whether your name should be Béatrice or Zoé and we quickly settled the issue. You were a Béatrice and Zoé became your middle name. I even got to give you the breast for a little bit before the doctor had a serious discussion with us. Once again, my placenta wasn’t coming out and she didn’t want to delay the extraction as I was already bleeding a lot. I remember asking the doctor if it was serious and she replied with no muss nor fuss a very resounding “yes”. I knew from her answer and the frown on her face that she was getting worried and I passed you along to your Dad. I had to focus on trying to push that placenta out.

After 20 minutes of unsuccessful pushing and bleeding, she called in the OB/GYN and I was wheeled into the OR for a manual extraction. The OR was literally across my room in the hall and while I was being wheeled away, I felt 2 huge gushes of blood run out of me. Now, I was getting worried. I said goodbye to Ben and once in the OR, I just mentioned to the OB/GYN to do his thing and get me back to my husband. I could feel the blood pouring out of me and I just didn’t want Ben to be alone with the girls. The OB/GYN just replied that I was in good hands and not to worry, I would be back with Ben shortly.

I was given a lovely sedative and quickly drifted off to the wonderful la-la-land of conscious sedation. I woke up in time to see the OB/GYN showing me my mangled placenta. I will spare you the details, but it wasn’t pretty to look at. He had managed to remove it all and gave me 7 spanking new stitches while I was under to repair the tear I had endured during labour. I was grateful for that.

I was then wheeled over to the recovery room and I was not feeling good at all. I was dying of thirst like I had never been before. I found out later on that I lost over 2 L of blood, hence why I was so thirsty. My blood pressure was very low and I remember seeing it plummet at 82/44 at one point. I was given fluid replacements and I needed supplemental oxygen as well to keep my saturation up. I could tell Ben was getting worried next to me. It was now 0430 in the morning and he needed to go back home to Rina, but the LDR nurse told him he couldn’t leave me alone on the Mother-Babe Unit. I told him they had nurses there to take care of me, that it was a load of BS and to go home and get some rest and take care of Rina.

I finally was better enough to be transferred to MBU and I sent Ben back home. I couldn’t get up to feed you, but I couldn’t get up to feed you throughout the rest of the night so I rang my bell whenever you wanted to be fed and a nurse came and handed you over to me. Breastfeeding was established quickly and without any hitch and I was so happy for that. I don’t remember much from that day, other than I was not allowed to get up until that evening because of my low blood pressure. I also had a low hemoglobin (83, my normal was 140) so I was dizzy a lot and slept for most of the day when you didn’t need to be fed.

The next morning, I was finally allowed to get up for longer than going to the washroom and I had a shower on very wobbly legs. I was faint, but I was alive and we had a perfectly healthy new baby girl. We were now a family of four and Ben had his girls with him!

To be completely honest with you, I don’t remember much of your first 4 months of life. With my hemoglobin so low, the night feeding and Ben being back at work full speed, it was extremely hard to get through the days. Every day that ended was a blessing as we had made it one more day without any incident. The past year hasn’t been easy at times, but I wouldn’t change any bit of it because of the family we have.

I can’t believe you are already turning one! I truly don’t have a baby anymore: you give me “high fives”, you are “furniture walking” and pulling yourself up like it’s nothing, you have 5 teeth already, you love to dance, you are a beautiful darling girl and when you set your mind on something, you are very determined. I love your smiles and giggles, I love how you could eat the house down, I love your hugs and kisses and I am totally smitten with you. The same goes for your Dad. He truly adores you and you just ham it up for him!

Happy birthday my sweet BeZU! Take your time growing up, I feel like I can’t keep up with how fast you are turning into a little girl. I love you with all my heart and cannot imagine our lives without you in it.


Maman Xxo

P.S. You can read all about Rina’s birth here.

I got my baby back!

Sweet, Sweet Rina,

Let’s just say that it’s been  week really high in emotions for both your Dad and I. I made my return to work last Thursday and that part of things went really well. Although I still feel a bit disoriented at times around the unit (there’s been many changes since I left), it also felt like riding a bike at times as things were coming back to me.
The hard part was (obviously), not being to able to see you. You were also VERY MUCH under the weather for the past 3 days: not sleeping, drooling insane amounts of spit, not eating and barely drinking (you were down to about 10oz/day). I was getting worried about you and just wanted to make sure you wouldn’t dehydrate. You gave your Dad and amazingly rough time with barely sleeping 5hrs/night while I was working my night shifts and, I have to say, he really impressed me with keeping his cool with you as he’s also sick (laryngitis). I’m pretty sure I would’ve cried a few times had I been home to deal with you.
He called me last night at work and after he told me about your status, I told him to bring you to the ER and I went to meet you there. My team was really nice and they allowed me to take my break so I could be with you all in the ER. You showed up at the perfect time as you were in and out of the ER within 1hr as there barely was anyone there! I guess living in a small(er) town can have its advantages at times! It turns out, you have a pretty bad case of thrush (oral candida infection). I thought I’d seen some in your mouth yesterday, but wasn’t sure and you wouldn’t let me have a proper look. Anyway, the doctor gave us a prescription and we now have to keep giving it to you for the next 14 days. Already, you’re feeling better and you’ve had 220z of milk today and ate little bits of bread. You’re still drooling at times, but not as bad.
I came home this morning and your Nanny showed up shortly after to take care of you. Feeling confident that you were in good hands (she really is doing a good job with you and you seem to have worked your charms on her too!), I crashed into bed, put my earplugs in, my eye mask on and managed to sleep uninterrupted for 5hrs! When I woke up, I removed my earplugs and could hear you laughing and having a great time with your Nanny! I have to say, it was heavenly music to my ears!
As for you, you’ve been asleep for the past 30mins without a peep coming out of your room. I just hope that you get a good night of sleep as you really deserve it (and so does your Dad).
All’s well that ends well for my 1st set back at work! I’m now off for the next 4 days and it will be good to get my cuddles on with you and your Dad!
Mom & Dad Xxo


Sweet Rina,

Today was my last day on maternity leave and I have to go back to work tomorrow. We had a wonderful day together, you took 2 naps and you were just the best behaved baby all day, which made things a lot easier for me to deal with. Your Dad surprised us and came home extra early from work and even had flowers for me. I guess it wasn’t a big secret that I am struggling with having to leave you tomorrow.
Everything was fine until we put you to bed. You won’t go to sleep, you’ve been crying (more like howling) your little eyes out and even though you are exhausted, every time we put you down, you just start howling again. All I can say is, I know how you feel. I don’t really want this day to end either and maybe if neither of us go to sleep, it won’t. Hang in there little Monkey, it will get better and even though I may not see you at all tomorrow, I will be thinking of you lots and will come see you 1st thing when I get in tomorrow evening.
In the meantime, get some sleep and please be nice to your Nanny tomorrow!
Mom & Dad Xxo

Oh. My. Muscles!

Sweet Rina,

I’ve started a new workout today. It’s called ChaLean Extreme. I was looking for something to do when I’m at home with you because it’s a bit hard to find time to go to the club and hop on the spinning bike when your Dad is free to look after you. Anyhow, I was contemplating doing P-90, which builds you up to P-90X, but after checking things out with your Dad, he recommended I start with the ChaLean Extreme since it is lower impact and therefore, my shins could heal and not suffer from it.
I did my 1st workout this morning and already I can say: OH. MY. MUSCLES!!! I could go on and name all the muscles that are sore right now, but it would be a very exhaustive list! Let me just tell you my back, upper arms, legs and butt are already sore. Thank goodness tomorrow is supposed to be a rest day! It feels good to be sore though; it’s not a soreness that prevents me from moving around. It’s the kind of soreness that reminds me I have muscles I haven’t used in a very long time and they’re being re-awakened!
I’ve also spent a big part of the afternoon with your Nanny to try to get her used to your schedule and see where we keep your clothes, food and dishes in the house. I feel confident that you’ll be well taken care of and you even gave her a kiss before she left! You’re such a flirt! As for me, I think I’m ready to go back to work on Thursday. I won’t lie, I’m still dealing with my issues about leaving you, but I think I’ll do ok. If only my face could calm down and stop breaking out, I’d feel a bit better, but I guess that’s how I’m expressing my stress! Lovely!
We’ve had a very quiet family weekend last weekend. I’ve put up the Christmas decorations and the Christmas tree. I was a bit afraid you’d go play in the tree so I only put lights in it, but so far, you don’t really care about it! You are such a good baby girl!
Sleep well my love!
Mom & Dad Xxo

1 week

My sweet Rina,

One week from now, I will come home to a sleeping baby after being at work for my 1st day back. I don’t know how it’ll go or how I’m gonna feel when I come home and I’m really trying not to anticipate it. I’ll try my best to just go with the flow. In order to do so, I’ll have a little bit of you with me on that day. I treated myself to a nice necklace with an imprint of your pinkie finger on the medallion. I got the medallion from a friend of mine who does wonderful jewellery on Etsy. You can see her wonderful display here. Hopefully, having that medallion close to my heart will help me get through the day. I’ve taken a picture of it, but it really doesn’t do justice to the quality of her work.

My best attempt at a picture of the pendant

To help me deal with it all and since I can’t run because of my shins, I’ve taken up spinning again. I go to the club when your Dad has some down time and he can supervise you while I get on the bike. I’ve been going for the past 2 days and I’ve found a nice little workout that gives you RPM guidelines so I make a playlist on my phone with music in the same RPM range and go at it following the workout guidelines. I find it helps to be out of the house and exercising when the weather has been pretty crappy (typical fall weather for the west coast) lately. I really need to be out and doing stuff, otherwise, I notice that I get in a real funk. At least, it’s a healthy way to cope I guess!
As for you, you are having a hard time with your teething again and would not go to bed tonight. You ended up falling asleep 40 mins later than usual. Let’s just hope you’ll have a decent night of sleep!
Mom Xxo


Sweet Rina,

I go back to work in 9 days and last night, I had a bit of a meltdown. I know it will be good for the 2 of us that I go back to work, but it doesn’t mean it’s not breaking my heart. I’ve tried to explain it to your Dad who wasn’t fully getting the picture by telling him the following:
I’ve prepared for your arrival for 9 (and a half, in my case) months, I’ve been with you every moment of your life for the past 11 1/2 months. I haven’t missed a sneeze, a yawn, a smile or a cry. I was there for every. single. moment.
I’ve isolated myself from friends (your bedtime is awfully early, therefore, I don’t go out anymore), and I’ve pretty much focused all my time making sure you were happy, content, fed and growing into the wonderful little girl you’re slowly becoming. Now, I go back to work. When you hurt yourself and cry “Mama!”, sometimes, I won’t be there to comfort you and you’ll have to be comforted by your Dad or your Nanny. I may miss a few of your firsts (I really hope I get to be there when you first start to walk, or anything else for that matter) and it’s a bit hard to accept from a type-A person like me, but it will be alright. There are days where I won’t see you at all, thanks to the long 12hrs-shifts I do at work, but it won’t mean I’m not thinking of you. You can be sure I will go kiss you in your sleep whenever I get home. There are other days where I will be dog tired after being up for 24 hrs thanks to my 1st night shift every set, but it will be alright. You will continue to grow and smile and be the happy baby you are, the only difference is I won’t be with you for every. single. moment.
But it will be alright because I love you and, hopefully, I’ve done a good job showing you how much I do when I was with you for every. single. moment.
When you were born, I thought staying at home for a year would feel like forever. Forever is ending in 9 days. I’m not the first nurse/mom to go back to work after a full year of maternity leave. I am, however, YOUR mom and although I know you and I will both be fine, right now, I’m not. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go dry my tears.
I love you with all my heart sweet angel!
Mom & Dad Xxo

11 months!

Sweet Rina Bear!

Today, you are 11 months old! I cannot believe how time has flown by. I can still remember some days in those first few months where I was wondering if you’d ever stop crying. I was wishing for time to fly then and now, I wish I could stop it so I could stay with you just a little bit more before going back to work. Funny how, a few months ago, I was overwhelmed by the idea of having to cook on top of taking care of you and now, not only do I cook on a daily basis, I also do a ton of chores, exercise and play with you!

Not only are you crawling, you are also trying to walk upright all by yourself. I see you spreading out as wide as you can between the couch and the coffee table, trying out your balance attempting to let go and then changing your mind. Then, your turn and look at me and I give you a smile and encourage you to go for it and you finally let go of either one of the furniture to fully go to the other. How I’m lucky to witness those moments on a daily basis. I cherish these times with you.

You haven’t had it easy this weekend at all with spiking up fevers up to 39.9°C and yet you still managed to dance a little and play and cuddle with your Dad and I. And tonight, while I was bathing you, I noticed another tooth coming through your lower gum. That makes 7 in all and you’re not even a year old! No wonder you haven’t been sleeping well!

I’ve also come to realize over the weekend that I’ve become of the age where I start worrying about my parents. You probably don’t understand that principle yet, but you will too, one day. In the meantime, I will watch you learn and grow, but sometimes, I wish I could freeze time and ask you to take things slow. There really is no rush for you to grow up!

Happy 11 months my gorgeous angel!


Mom & Dad Xxo

1 month to go…

Sweet Rina Bear!,

We are already November 1st. Which means, in exactly a month from now, I go back to work… I try not to think about it too much and until then, I also try to make the best of our time at home together. To do so, we went for a short walk at Thetis Lake today. We mainly stuck around Lower Thetis as my back was in pain from carrying you. Hopefully, it was just a fluke and I’ll still be able to carry you on my back in our carrier because I really love going hiking with you! You weren’t complaining, but I could tell you were not enjoying the hike as much as you usually do. Poor munchkin, you’re still stuffed up from your nasty cold. So much so, that I’ve resorted to smother Vicks Vaporub on your chest to try to help you out as the Salinex only lasts for about 5 mins. I sure hope you feel better soon.

I love how luscious the moss is again after some rain!

Just playing around with some effects... I quite like this one!

Here's the original

Lower Thetis under a clouded sun

Upper Thetis under an Arbutus tree

See? You look sooo thrilled! NOT!

Sleep well little angel!


Mom & Dad xxo