Welcome to andrea's blog. Here for no reason in particular.
May or may not be here tomorrow.

A peek inside the fish bowl.

<as of april 10, 2001>

Links. A random sampler:

> Cat scan. I'm not kidding.

> The Stress Relief Aquarium. Five minutes of fun. I can relate most to the "jostle" effect.

> Tick Tock Toys archives. Kids food packaging from way back. Some of it not very politically correct; like Chinese Cherry drink mix from Pillsbury. I also found my favourite childhood cereal, Boo Berry!

<< the collected list


<as of april 8, 2001>

> In this weekend's Saturday Night there was a piece of fiction by Lynn Crosbie called "THE HIGH HARD ONES." It's about an artist who becomes a hockey wife and it's a really entertaining read. Here's a snippit that I liked:

"I feel my former life pulling at me like a choke chain as I consider the banality of my days, my options. I received a pile of forwarded mail this morning, invitations to openings and shows, a stack of unpleasant reviews from a clipping service. I think of my old apartment on Toronto's College Street, of sitting in its cramped living room, sketching late into the night while one of the degenerates lay comatose beside me. I compare this image with another: Troy and I last night, sitting on our immense beige leather couch, watching a dvd of Saving Private Ryan. Troy dashing away tears and stating, "Ted Danson should get more work" with a ferocity that startled and embarrassed me. I realize I am losing myself here."


<as of april 5, 2001>

Still on the night-stand:

> The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood.

> dream journal and pen

> telephone (ringer is *off*)

> plush bunny

> a candy-scented massage bar from LUSH. Good for daily tummy-rubs.

> Vanilla body powder from the Body Shop. Ok, so I like walking around smelling like cookies. :)

<< past reading material

<Home again. friday april 13, 2001 – 9:50 p.m.>

I suppose I should call this entry "Mum's perspective." If you haven't read it, Mark offers a Dad's perspective on this too. :)

I hardly know where to begin! The past few days have been life-altering. When I left this house we were a family of three. Now we are four.

A new person now exists. And for good or for bad, she will make an impact on the people around her. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed by it all.

So I suppose I should start at the beginning.

I had told everybody that I was hoping to have this baby later than sooner. After all, I had so much stuff to do! I spent Monday running errands and playing Loop.

The closets? Oh they can wait. Organizing the baby clothes? Plenty of time! Little did I know that the next day would be The Day.

I had contractions for most of Tuesday. I didn't tell Mark right away because I didn't want him to worry. They were so mild and far apart that I really couldn't tell if they would lead to anything, but I packed my bag just in case.

The drive was a quiet one but I wasn't aware that it was because Mark was so focused on getting us there, and that his main concern was my giving birth on the road. It's not a possibility I considered for even a second but I suppose I was just as busy with my own thoughts. The sky was incredibly pretty. The sun was setting, and it was a lilac-coloured peppered with clouds... the kind of colour you would see on a painting and think looked fake.

I had control of the stereo and listened to Blur's" Coffee and TV" twice in a row. Loud. We were there in a matter of minutes.

The whole labour thing only lasted a few hours. In hindsight it went pretty quickly, but man, as I was lying there it wasn't going along nearly as fast as I would have liked.

But before I launch into the nitty gritty and my treatise on pain and pain management procedures, I would first like to outline a couple of the more positive aspects of my hospital stay:

Free food

Modern maternity wards keep a little kitchen stocked only for patients. My godsend. I raided it daily for juices, ice-cream, bagels, crackers and cheese, and fruit. The regular hospital food fit the stereotype of hospital food: bland, mushy, flavourless and overcooked. I don't think there was a single thing that was served to me that I could honestly say tasted good.


When in labour, enter deep hot water with lots of bubbles and strategically-placed massage jets. As contractions progressed I made the move into my own private jacuzzi, and it was great. I was only in there for about 30 minutes, and as it turned out it sped my labour along. I don't think anyone expected it to go the pace that it did.

When I had Emma I had an epidural that took exceptionally well. I couldn't feel anything from the waist-down and most of my labour was painless. I wasn't so lucky this time around.

The anesthesiologist was tied up in surgery when I was approaching the end of my pain threshold. Nurse Teena called (they are all equipped with cellphones nowadays) to find out when he 'd be available... the verdict came down, not for at least an hour.

At least? Could that be less than an hour? More? If so, how much more? I looked at the clock and tried to figure out how many more contractions I'd have to work through before I got the shot. I can't do math at the best of times, so I just figured, "lots."

I tried to make light of this. I think I said something like "Well, I guess there isn't anything we can do" and resigned myself to the fact that I was just going to have to seek relief by digging my nails into Mark's arm.

Mark was a real trooper through the whole thing. He fetched me anything I needed, held my hand and gave his support every step of the way. There was only one point when he got on my nerves.

As I laboured through every contraction the nurse gave me peppy pointers like telling me to "breathe easy," not to "focus on the pain," and "work with it." (I was only able to do the exact opposite of everything she told me; hyperventilate and think about nothing but the pain.)

Mark, stalwart and strong, sat by my bedside and chewed his gum LOUDER THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE ROOM.

Should I say anything or will I just look like a total bitch? I decided that I was the focus and that what I said should be done without question. But I didn't want Nurse Teena to hear me.

"Mark... your gum."
"Your gum. Spit it out. Now."

He rose and spit without a word. I was happy.

Meanwhile, contractions continued sans drugs. Imagine, if you will, dental surgery without the freezing, or someone knifing you in the abdomen.

I suppose everyone has a different tolerance for pain. Some are able to process it better, both physically and mentally. Let's just say mine is very low, and I was reduced to scraps at the get-go.

I watched the clock. An hour after the news about the delayed epidural Teena's phone rang. I could hear the voice on the other end, "He's done, he's coming now."

I felt like I now had a chance.

A long fifteen minutes later he dropped by.

"Sorry for the delay..."

"Oh, no problem." (That's me, polite even under extreme duress.)

He ran down the possible side-effects... paralysis and even death. I didn't care. Just give it to me!

I'll skip over the gory details, but I will mention that getting a needle in your spine is a very creepy ordeal. They tell you a hundred times not to move, "Don't move, now don't move. You don't want to move. You can't move, ok?"

And, as my luck would have it I had a huge contraction as I was getting the needle. And he also had to reposition it. Enough said.

The epidural didn't take. When I touched my left leg it was as if I was pawing a rump roast. I felt the rest of the contractions on my right side, and I felt the pushing part like I had no drugs at all.

In my pain-ridden state I said lots of ridiculous things and was very close to just giving up. I reached a point, physically and mentally, when I couldn't cope anymore. Fortunately that was the same time Sarah popped her head out.

Note to expectant mothers:

- The hospital is NOT a hotel. Bring your own soap. Same goes for towels. Hospital towels are not fluffy, and they have an uncanny ability to dry only small parts of your body at any time.

- Bring whatever other toiletries you use on a regular basis. Don't try to save space in your bag by paring down the number of products. I only brought my spray gel, thinking it would suffice. Had I brought my hair wax my coiff would have been more textured, less flat. Hey, it makes a difference.

- Bring your phonebook. There is nothing worse than lying in bed thinking you should be calling so-and-so and not remembering their number.

- Bring reading materials. Magazines are better than books, as they require less attention.

The cord was wrapped around her neck, and they jumped to cut it. I think in my stupor I said something like: "please save my baby!" Man. I wish I could erase that. Why could I have not been my cool and collect self? All that went out the window.

But the pain was worthwhile, because in the end we got this wonderful reward. They pulled her out and put her on my stomach. I dissolved into a puddle of tears. She was healthy, she had the right number of fingers and toes and she was ours.

She melts my heart. She has this great blonde brush-cut, deep dark blue eyes and the tiniest blonde eyelashes. Toes, nose, lips, ears ... every small part of her is immense in its cuteness. But the sweetest thing is her breathing. When she's hungry she'll bump against me and huff and puff with what only can be described as a snuffle-snort.

The rest of my stay in the hospital was uneventful. The nurses were all very nice, I slept and ate and waited impatiently to get back into my own world.

Mark picked us up from the hospital this morning. It took forever to get us signed out and home again. And when we walked into the house, each of us was that much different. I was a mother to a new person, Mark was a dad, Emma was a sister, we are a family of four now. I get misty just thinking about it, because being a family is the one thing which is the most important to me in this world.

I would like to thank everyone for the flowers you sent, and your wonderful calls and emails. It's so good to know you are all out there. I hope you will all be able to meet our little brood very soon.

Stay tuned for lots of updates.

My love and thanks to you all,