Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Goodbye Mummy tummy, Hello Yummy Mummy!

When I was pregnant, I had a few people comment on how "it must be such a strange experience to have your body change so much" and "it must be weird to not be living in your own body" and my favourite at 37 weeks GA "you must be looking forward to getting your real body back" (ain't that the truth?!)

It's funny.  When I was in the late waddling stage of pregnancy, that last comment rung so true to me.  At 38 weeks, I was over the novelty of being pregnant and just wanted to meet our little man.  But then out popped Nathan, and well my pre-pregnancy body did not magically re-appear...  Instead I left the hospital looking and feeling like I was still 6 months pregnant.  On top of that, the IV fluids that I had received during labour resulted in some pretty sexy cankles and I couldn't fit into normal shoes for about a week.  Sigh.

You see, when I was pregnant, I felt that there was this amazing reason why my body was different, everchanging.  I was growing this amazing little being inside and well, that was pretty special.  But then I was left with the postpartum XL shell of myself that was not what I would define as my "real body".

And how do those Hollywood stars do it?  I can only think of Beyonce and Posh Spice at this moment.... Rumour has it that some of these stars have a C-section and get a tummy tuck immediately after... which I hear from my Plastic Surgery resident husband and his colleagues/staff that that is a no-no.  (I have to admit, the vain side of me was curious and I did inquire...)

So how am I getting my body back?  (Or should I say, "in shape" as maybe my post-baby body will be a bit different than say my wedding day body...)  I remember at about 37 weeks GA talking to a friend on the phone, a friend that had a 6 month old at the time.  She told me that she wasn't able to go to strollercize as that was the exact time that her little one napped.  A part of me thought "really?  you can't change his naptime to fit your schedule?" and also "what am i in for?  this baby is going to dominate my time?"  I laugh now (and she is probably laughing at me as she reads this...) Yes, really and yes, of course he dominates my time, and no I can't change his naptime to fit my schedule.  And what am I in for?  An umbelievably, amazing adventure that although has ups and downs, I would not change for the world!

I have learned through being a mum that adaptability is key and that things take time.  It took me 9 months (really just shy of 10) for my body to change to its current state, it certainly isn't going to be overnight that it changes back... The weight is coming off slowly so I am happy that we are at least going in the right direction.  With breastfeeding I can't go on a crash diet as my milk supply could go down.  And well, when are crash diets ever a good idea?  But man do those Herbal Magic commercials look inviting sometimes ....

So I made a plan... strollercize!  For about 3 weeks, we went to a drop-in strollercize class about 3x per week.  I felt amazing... but then due to changing and conflicting schedules - my desire to run around a gym and sweat versus Nathan's desire to sleep, Nathan's schedule won and we had to stop that plan.  :(

So now I have a goal and an adaptable plan to get me there.  Not sure about other breastfeeding mums, but I often feel hungry and while juggling my son in one hand (he is in a grabbing everything stage!) sometimes I find that I'm grabbing whatever is quickest and available.  Not the healthiest move SO.. I am now using the "myfitnesspal" app on my iphone to track my calories in and calories out ... I highly recommend it.  You can even scan food items in if they have barcodes....

And as for exercise, I have been walking and running.  This weekend I started a training program to run my first 10K.  I was getting into running prior to pregnancy but then morning sickness happened and with studying for my licensing exam and trying to stay afloat in my fellowship program, I wasn't as active during pregnancy as I would have liked.   So now I wake up early in the morning and run while my baby and husband are still asleep, or I run at night when my baby is asleep.  Running is so convenient and it feels great!  Now I'm trying to figure out a venue for my first 10K.  There is a run in Edmonton over Thanksgiving weekend but to be honest with you, I want to make a trip out of it and use this run as a celebration.  I'm keen on doing the Okanagan 10K over the Thanksgiving weekend as it's fairly close to where we live and hence easier for my husband's current residency schedule.  So I think that is what I shall do.  Celebrating with a few winery tours afterwards could be heaps of fun as well :)

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Crying babies, a sigh of relief

A few weeks ago I had quite the interesting day.  With starting my job as a staff physician in September there are things that I have to organize, a lot of things...  Besides just starting as staff as opposed to my past role of McSkut resident/fellow, I am also involved in starting an entirely new medical service here in Edmonton known as the Interventional Pulmonary Service (basically this service involves heaps of procedures, will act as a bridge between pulmonary doctors and thoracic surgeons, and a big portion of my job will be to stage patients with lung cancer).  Because of this, I have had to attend several meetings... meetings with other doctors, surgeons, nurses, administrative staff, meetings with people who used to be my bosses and who I am now supposed to call my "colleagues". Weird how that works.

Because I am on mat leave and my husband is finishing up his PhD currently, our 5 month old son Nathan often comes with me to these meetings.  We do not have family members here to help us with babysitting and we don't have a nanny.  In fact we are going down the whole daycare route and will be starting the transition in August .... and that is a whole other kettle of fish to talk about.  Something that I'm dreading to be honest.  Anyways... these days I take Nathan practically everywhere with me and I love it.  Don't get me wrong, I have gone for a pedicure alone, and I have gone to an occasional meeting alone but for the most part I take him along to the majority of these meetings.  Most times he is accepting of it, most times the people that I am meeting with are accepting of it (or maybe I just think that they are accepting of it...)  Regardless, this is what we do and I'm not sure I would change it even if Nathan's granny or grandma were here to help.  You see, I don't want work to take me away from him, especially when work doesn't really have the right to do that at this time ... I am on mat leave.  Besides, I don't think that work ever has the right to "take me away from" my child.  Life is about choices.  And I know I made a choice to go into medicine and I made a choice to start this career, my husband and I made a choice to have children.  I am also making a choice to bring my little boy along to these meetings.

Well on this particular day, this particular meeting was an important one.  It also just so happened that it was scheduled to occur at the same time as our last "New Moms' Network" potluck class.  But I figured no worries, we will do both... we will just be late for our Mom's class.  So Nathan and I planned as we always do pre-meeting.  We get to the hospital early, I make sure that he nurses just before the meeting, as usually he will either fall asleep or just be very content that I can rock him in my arms during the meeting.  This was not the case on this day.... I received an email exactly 5 minutes before the meeting was to start saying that the surgeon who had organized the meeting would need for it to be delayed by an hour.... And that's the way physician's lives run.  Of course it's not the way mums' lives run...  or not this mum's.  We try to keep a schedule, I like a routine, Nathan likes a routine.  But c'est la vie, right... So of course, Nathan was not very accepting of this new turn of events.  Throughout the meeting he chatted, he giggled then he fussed and he cried ... So there I was swaying him back and forth while talking about the resources that I would need for my job, etc.  Of course Nathan settled eventually but wow...

We then drove across town to our new moms' class that was just about over :(  I walked into the classroom and saw several moms nursing their babies, another mom changing her baby's diaper and heard the lovely sound of crying babies.  Okay, it's not the most lovely sound but at that moment on that day it was.  I let out a sigh of relief and just smiled at Nathan.  He smiled back and my heart melted, like it always does.  There was no place that I would rather be.  No place at all.  Amazing how that is.

I am not sure what other moms think of this.  I went home and thought about the day.  I thought about professionalism and what it means.  Is it unprofessional of me to bring my baby to these meetings?  I don't think it is.  Or maybe I don't care if it is.  I'm not sure.  It is such an interesting topic of discussion.  Those of you who live in Alberta may remember a story that was in the news several months ago.  A female municipal government representative had complained about one of her colleagues who had brought her baby to a meeting.  The complainer found that the complainee breastfeeding her child was distracting and unprofessional.

On that note, I would recommend this article by Anne-Marie Slaughter "Why Women Still Can't Have it All".

It's a long read, but it's a great article.  It brings up a lot of very good points.  I could talk about this article for days but I won't.  I hope you read it.  All I will say is that after that meeting and after reading this article, I thought to myself that I was okay with bringing my son along.  Since then we have evolved in how we do things.  Instead of driving the 30 min drive to the hospital and pre-planning down to the minute, all to have last minute schedule changes, I decided that this was silly.  I now do most meetings via teleconferencing and will go to the hospital only if it is completely necessary for a face-to-face meeting.  Often I try to schedule the teleconference meetings during Nathan's naptime but if he wakes up I can cuddle him, play with him, even nurse him, all while still being present at the meeting to discuss what needs to be discussed.  It likely wouldn't be ideal for everyone, but it's what works for us.

Would love to hear others' thoughts.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

A little bit about me. And why the blog?

I am in my mid-30s.  Feels so unbelievably weird to say that.  I am old and I have the beginnings of grey hair and wrinkles to prove it.

First and foremost I am a new mum to an amazing 5 month old little boy who is the centre of my world.  I am on mat leave with him and cherishing every cuddle, smile, coo, giggle... and the list continues on and on.  Yes, even for the most part loving those spit-ups, poo-namis, teething fussy moments, and sleepless nights.

I am a wife (of almost 3 years) to the most wonderfully caring and gentle man who is also the most intelligent, focused, yet easy going guy that I know.  He grounds me, tells me when I am being crazy, challenges me every day to be a better person.  He is my best friend and I love him dearly.

I am a dog owner.  Our golden retriever puppy is almost 2 years old and is one spicy little girl, hence her name Wasabi.

I am a physician.  After 27 years of school, I am finally done all of my training.  Long hall and I know that I will be a lifelong learner (blah blah blah) but at least now the exams are done and I can actually call myself a staff physician!

I am a domestic goddess wannabee.  I love to cook.  I love to bake, and try to bake healthy.  I love to try vegan recipes.  My hubbie is worried that I am walking a fine line and that one day, I will go all vegan on him.  But I love a good steak, not gonna lie.  When I say domestic goddess, I'm sure some of my friends are wondering, what the heck?!  One of my girlfriends did once ask me what had "gotten into me" and maybe it was the drinking water in Alberta that had "turned me into this".  (sorry Albertans, don't take offence).  I do not mean a Stepford wife.  I think of myself as an independent, free thinking woman but I do aspire to be that mum that can make cool cupcakes, bake that fondant cake in the shape of a car or train or turtle or whatever for my son's first birthday.  I want to have fun dinner parties, decorate our house for the holidays, have a Martha-esque garden.

Why the blog?

I never thought that I would be a "blogger".  I'm more of a "write it down in a journal" kinda gal.  I have a journal.  It's a pretty depressing book.  I have not written in it in 2-3 years.  I only wrote in it when I was upset or needed to vent, usually about a boy.   I think it was a journal of my single girl days.  I paid homage to my breaking of boys' hearts (ha!) and my heart being broken over the years (more of the latter really).

My lack of journal writing in recent years may be a result of being married now, I'm not sure.  Don't get me wrong, I love my husband oh so dearly but our marriage has not been perfectly wonderful all of the time.  I have been upset and have needed to vent on occasion but usually we talk about it ... hence the lack of journal writing in the last few years.

But I think it's time to bring back a writing venue for myself.  A less depressing place though.  My impending return to work in September (or should I say start of my career) is looming over my head and I'm not sure how it will all go.  I have always thought of myself as a career woman... that is, until I had our amazing little boy Nathan.  Now I'm wondering how I will balance things.  This blog is mostly for me, to sort through my challenges.  I am pretty sure though that I am not alone in this whole balancing act of being a good mum and having a career.   One of my female physician mentors posed an important question to me a few years ago.  She asked, "when you die, who do you think you will want to be remembered as first - the best mum or the best physician that you could possibly be?"

On that note, let the blogging begin...