It’s Been a While

My last post was in August and it was about sleep. rest assured any of you who are concerned, we have not gotten Ruby out of our bed and she is still cosleeping with us. Sigh. On the plus side, if we time bedtime right, she will sleep a solid 12 hours straight. So theres that.

Lots has happened since my last post. I found out I’m pregnant (currently 17 weeks) I became a Childbirth Educator, I finished my birth trauma therapy (!!!!), and I’ve done a lot of soul searching and self discovery with this pregnancy. I might talk about it more later, or I might just keep that shit to myself, we’ll see. But what has really been pressing me lately, and what I’ve been really wanting to write about but haven’t gotten the chance to, is parenting.

It’s a freaking joy you guys. I know my education and my experience caring for children has well prepared me. I know that discovering a parenting philosophy that is not just backed by latest research, but is also respectful, slow, and joyous, has contributed significantly to my feeling like a successful parent. I can’t stress enough about how I hate the current view of parenting and children. Yes, that shit is hard. It’s a 24/7 job that requires you to be “on” all the time. But aren’t our kids worth that commitment? Its hard to be doing your best on minimal to no sleep. I know this. It’s hard to do your best when you’re lonely, your child doesn’t really talk back to you, or you don’t have friends/adult interaction for majority of the day/week. I totally get this. But I believe you can find joy in the loneliness and isolation. I believe you can do your vest best on no sleep. I’m going to share my top 3 views/positions on parenting with you that have changed and shaped how I parent and that give me peace and joy and an appreciation for the job I am doing and the child I am raising.

  1. TRUST

Just like in birth, we trust our bodies to birth our babies. In parenting we trust ourselves and our children. It’s simple but it’s profound, and it’s difficult to put into practice. This is because society has trained us to constantly question EVERYTHING. I trust Ruby. I trust that she will eat the food I offer her, and push her plate away when shes done. I trust that if she doesn’t like it, she will just eat more at the next meal. I trust that she knows her body the best. I trust she knows how to move her body in ways that feel good and right to HER. I am there for her (say, to spot her when she is climbing something challenging), but I do so with the foundation of trust that she knows what shes doing. This magical thing happens when you completely trust yourself and your child, your anxieties and worries and stresses melt away. You are able to parent in peace and you are able to slooowwww down and appreciate the things your child is doing in the moment without stressing about milestones or stages. I am human, I do have doubts and worries. Especially when I play the comparison game with other kids/parents. But whenever that sliver of doubt comes into my mind, I squash it with the giant word TRUST and forget about it.


Or, more politely, C the F D. Seriously. This is my biggest parenting strength and I truly believe it came from years of experience with children. The more chill you are about everything and anything, the more chill your kids will be and the less existent your kids’ behaviour issues will be. Kids thrive on reaction and attention. Why wouldn’t they? It’s the best way for them to figure out themselves and their world. It makes perfect sense for them to behave in ways that get the biggest reaction out of their parent/caregiver. So now you’re reading this and going ok then I’m doing my kid a disservice by never reacting to them, right? And my answer is no. Because thats where relationship and connection comes in and plays a huge part of their lives. Communicating, touch, and other bonding-relationship building things fill your child’s cup with the positive reaction/attention that they crave. So I’m not saying ignore your kids. I’m saying if your child is showing a behaviour you may look at as negative, calm down about it and be a loving, gentle parent to them instead. For example, it’s been chilly this month and I’m pregnant and simply did not take Ruby outside, like at all. This resulted in her craving to move and climb. She has this little fold up chair that was beside her kitchen. I look over and see her standing on it. I was super chill about this: “Oh you’re standing on there.” I could tell she wasn’t in any danger. Even if she was to fall off, which I trusted she wouldn’t, it wouldn’t be a big fall and she’d be okay. I looked over at her again after she made some kinda scared calls for me and I saw her standing on her kitchen. This is something she’s never done before, and I could tell she was scared. I could also tell that she wasn’t in immediate danger. She was stable and sturdy. I said “Oh wow what are you doing up there?!” In a very slow calm tone of voice. She clutched the top shelf and kinda yelled at me. I said “How are you going to get down?” She looked at me for help. I looked at the situation and could tell that she couldn’t get down on her own. I said, “do you need help down?” and she said “yes”. I put my arm around her and helped her down. I then told her that it wasn’t safe and that she shouldn’t go up there again-in a calm, non punishing more matter of fact tone of voice. (Even though I knew that she knew this) I asked her if she needed a hug (the connection part I’m talking about) and she said yes, I hugged her and then she went off to play. Now I believe this scenario would’ve been VERY different if I looked over to see her on top of the kitchen, jumped frantically off the couch, yelled OH MY GOD, and ran to her. For one, that would scare the living daylights out of her and potentially cause her to lose balance and get truly hurt. Two, what message does that send to her about trust and her body? If my mom doesn’t believe I can do things then I am unable to do them. And three, what a powerful reaction. Could you imagine being 18 months old and having the ability to render that kind of strong out of control reaction from an ADULT!? What a power trip. What a thrill. I believe that if I did react like that then she would keep finding ways to climb that kitchen to get that same reaction from me (and for the record, she can never attempted to, or climbed that kitchen since). And then her climbing would truly become dangerous because the motivation behind it would be to “see how bad mom can lose her shit over this” and not a “natural discovery over ones body and it’s abilities to climb”. I believe wholeheartedly, that if we as adults gain the self control to stay calm and relaxed with our kids, we can eliminate annoying negative testing behaviour. The behaviour that gets toddlers labelled as bullies or “bad” or the hitter or the biter. I am not saying it’s easy to accomplish this, and our kids will do things and put themselves in situations where our immediate reaction is to lose our shit. But if we are able to take a breath and a step back and gain control over our voices and our reactions, our kids are going to realize that the people in charge of raising them are confident and calm. And when kids are discovering themselves and their world and especially their emotions, things can feel big and scary and out of control. But if the big people around them are calm, they can be too.


I touched on this in the previous two points but I think that it needs it’s own point because it’s really important. When you have a baby, a pretty big sound bite lately has been about the bond. Skin to skin, feeding with love, showering your newborn with cuddles and kisses and everything else you can imagine to build that bond. Those are beautiful, important things, but it doesn’t end with infancy. The bond is building throughout your child’s entire life. It is the core of who they are in relation to you. It’s about your relationship. It’s about the level of respect you show to your child and people around them. It’s about communicating and observing your child. It’s definitely about consistent routines, limits, and schedules so that your child has a level of knowledge about their day, what they can and cannot do, and when/where things happen to them. This increases the child’s sense of security which is essential to the bond and the relationship. I’d say that toddlers need this more than ever. They are discovering the world in a whole new independent way and that can be very daunting. They need the security of their parent to fall back on. They need to know they can experience huge scary unknown emotions without shame or judgement from the people who are supposed to love them most. Toddlers especially need some control over their lives. They need routines, simple choices, and enforced limits so that they can navigate who they are, what they are doing, and what they cannot do. Setting limits is difficult with toddlers especially because they HAVE to challenge it. It’s in their being to do so. They MUST have a strong reaction to a hard limit. And the most confident thing that the parent can do is to calmly enforce that limit and allow the feelings that come from it. Kids need to know that they can feel safe in expressing their dislike of a limit to their parents without feeling scared of being punished for it. Of course, it’s a child’s job to discover the world around them, and it’s the parent’s job to ensure they are safe and that if there are things they shouldn’t be getting into, that they’re not accessible to the child. Example: It’s Rubys job to discover the toilet water. It’s my job to buy a safety lock and keep the toilet locked so she is unable to play in it. It’s counterproductive and inappropriate to leave it unlocked and then get upset with her every she goes for the toilet water. We set them up for success. We set up their environment with appropriate things to discover so that we minimize the amount of limits we need to set. This ensures that they do their job as children, and we do our jobs staying calm and confident and not annoyed/frustrated.


Now I’m not saying that I am perfect. I definitely have my days where I lose my cool and overreact. I absolutely have my days where I misjudge Ruby’s needs or lose track of time and cause her to be over tired/hungry. But these days are few and far between because the more I follow those three principles, the more I know Ruby as a person, the more joyful I find being her mom is, and the more confidently I am able to set limits, communicate with her, and stay calm. I find that these things take practice, patience, and grace. They don’t just come. We need to learn to apologize to our children and ourselves for bad days, and try hard to be better the next day. But believe me, when you put these things into practice, you may find your stresses floating away, you may find so much love and joy in yourself and your child and your job as a parent. And most importantly, you may find that this parenting job isn’t what they want you to believe it is. It can be beautiful and peaceful and relaxing and it can make you a better person. Not to mention the child you’re raising. You are most definitely making them kind, GOOD, people this world desperately needs. And there needs to be NO apology for that.



Transitioning to the crib day 2&3

Well yesterday went well. Similar to the first day. She took about half an hour to fall asleep for nap, but didn’t sleep too long. Bedtime was shorter to help her fall asleep but she did the same as the night before-only sleeping about 5 or so hours before crying hysterically. Cam said he heard her up and crying a bit a few times in the night but she ended up putting herself back to sleep which was great. She spent the rest of the night in our bed after the 5 hours but woke up early for the day and so was very tired today. Her morning nap was short-maybe 45 mins, but her afternoon nap was trickier because we were struck with a big thunder/lightning storm and the thunder woke her after about an hour. I knew she would never fall back asleep in her crib with the thunder so I brought her into my bed and she slept another hour and a half and could have slept even longer but we had to wake her for dinner. This afternoon was lovely though, we have a friend come visit so Ruby played lots, then while she was sleeping in her crib I was super relaxed. I was listening to the rain, chilling in my bed with my doula work, some zucchini loaf and oatmeal cookies and a cup of tea. It was so calm. A piece of time to myself that I needed. As I said, Ruby ended up waking from the thunder and since I was already in my own bed hanging out I figured it wasn’t really any harm for her to join me. She feel asleep pretty fast next to me and stayed sleeping so I was able to continue what I was doing and didn’t feel interrupted or annoyed and there was nothing else to really get done around the house at that time.


So far Ruby’s been rocked to sleep then put in her crib, nursed to sleep then put in her crib, or just laid down fully awake and played/chatted herself to sleep. I need to stay in the room at this point and stroke her/rub her back and keep laying her back down. So far all of this is working. I’m loving that she doesn’t need one specific way to fall asleep. It’s reassuring that she will eventually do it on her own. Now it’s just a matter of leaving her to do it on her own, which I really am in no hurry for. We only just started this and I think the patience and consistency have been key. We also communicate with her throughout it all. We tell her after dinner she is having a bath a nurse, then bedtime in her own bed. We keep the routine exactly the same every night so she has a sense of what’s to come next and the security that that brings. So far though, throughout this transition, I have been the one to put her down for bedtime and all naps, so tonight, as I am typing this, Cam’s putting her down to sleep. I nursed her in her room, then passed her off to Cam to help her fall asleep. It’s very important to us both that we are both able to do these things with her and that the responsibility is not solely on me. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes. I’m very hopeful it’ll continue being smooth.

Transitioning to the crib day 1

Sooooo the time has come to end co-sleeping. It’s been beautiful and frustrating and in a way healing, but a couple days ago at nap time I couldn’t get Ruby to sleep and was SO annoyed. Something needs to change. Cam and I needed to snuggle for once, I needed more space in the bed. Especially though, I needed Ruby to learn to fall asleep on her own. She big/old enough now that this is a skill I believe she should have. So recently she stopped nursing through the night and could sleep for 12 hours straight every night. I felt like it was time.


So we moved her crib (which had become a clothes rack) back to her own room the other day and started to positively reinforce that the crib was a fun/relaxing/good space to be in. Yesterday (Saturday) I told cam it was time for her to try out the crib. I nursed her at nap time and she fell asleep on the boob-something she only does about 40% of the time. I snuggled her and then I put her in her crib. She stayed asleep during the transition which shocked me. She didn’t sleep too long-only about 45 mins which is unusual for her, but she’s in a  new space.


Bedtime was a whole new story. We started bedtime routine earlier than usual as she was pretty sleep deprived during the day. Had dinner, she played while we cleaned up, then she had a bath, then brushed her teeth, then she nursed. Something I want to point out is that we have been communicating constantly with her about her sleep. Telling her that tonight she will sleep in her own bed. That it will be a change but we are here for her. She anticipated what was coming I believe. So after the nurse we took her to her room and put her in her crib. She happily went in and played with her stuffies. She seemed content so we left the room. We told her we would let her have some time to play and that we would come back if she needed us. She whined and cried a bit but it wasn’t consistent. We set a timer for 5 mins and once it went off her cry changed to a pretty desperate scream so I went in. I picked her up and calmed her down. We sat in the rocking chair and rocked for a long time. She kept wanting down and I talked her through it, telling her no and that if she didn’t want to be held then she can go back into her crib. She seemed to understand and eventually relaxed into my arms. She fell asleep after a long time and started stretching in her sleep to get more comfortable so I decided that was a good time to put her in her crib. I laid her down and she woke and freaked. I quickly picked her up again and she instantly fell asleep in my arms so then I quickly laid her back down  this woke her but she was still drowsy so I just stroked her face and it settled her right away. From there she was content but fighting sleep. She would sit up and play with any stuffy in her bed so i slowly started taking them out of the crib until she had two left. She wasn’t upset at all so I went with it. she’d sit up and without saying much, I’d just lay her back down. Eventually she stayed down and was just chatting and playing with her hair. She was doing exactly what she does in our bed at bedtime, just in her own crib. I stayed and sat beside the crib, reached my arms through the bars and patted/stroked/rubbed her face and back. Eventually she turned away from me, rolled to her back, and fell asleep. All in all it took an hour and a half from the nurse to her falling asleep. She stayed asleep for 5 straight hours, then woke and her screaming/crying woke us so I went in. Cam and I agreed that if she woke in the night I would get her and bring her to our bed so thats what I did. She fell asleep instantly in our bed and stayed asleep 5 more hours.


To me, this is an amazing start. Sometimes I forget how smart and capable babies are. This is a change for her but I know in my heart she is fully capable of handling it. With out support she can adjust and learn the skill of falling asleep on her own in her own space. It’s important to me that she has her own time, privacy, and space. When she gets older I want her to have naps and quiet time and I want her to be able to handle it on her own. I want my sisters to be able to put her down for naps when they babysit. This is a great beginning for some healthy sleep habits I think. And oh man it was so nice to have space in my bed and to cuddle with Cam all night.


Stay tuned for todays sleep-fingers crossed it goes just as smoothly.

What I’ve Learned in My First Year of Motherhood

Ruby-May will be 1 year old on the 7th of May. How the hell did that happen?? If you know, please tell me. She is a crazy, silly, fun, feisty, smart and loved little girl. She has blown our minds and shattered our worlds with her sweet sweet soul. I still can’t believe I’m a mom. And I still can’t believe that I actually gave birth. It’s just so wild to me that it happened. I’ve been thinking a lot about the personal growth I’ve done in the last year, thanks to our Ruby-May. I’ve changed SO much. I’ve put myself out there in the world in ways I’d be petrified to even think of before becoming a mother. And I have learned so much. Many things people told me about and warned me. But there are lots that I discovered on my own that I’m going to share with you today. Because maybe you’re about to give birth and think you know what to really expect in that first year (You read the book, right?), but you wanna hear from someone who is honest and just went through it. So, here goes:

  1. Your body will never be the same, and thats more than okay. “Getting my body back” is a phrase women use and I’ll be honest, it makes me sad. My body was in the best shape ever, before I got pregnant. Hence, why I got pregnant. Thanks Cam. I was healthy and fit. I ate pretty well and the 25 year old me really enjoyed being young and child free. I was pretty active (though I wasn’t one of those lovely ladies who worked out religiously) and I felt pretty strong. But growing Ruby’s body and pushing her out sunny-side up, completely changed the physical shape of me. My hips are way wider than they were before. My tummy is soft and pretty flabby and I have a few stretch marks. My boobs are stretched and “National Geographic” as Cam and I like to call them. It took a very long time for me to love this new body of mine, but I do. It’s impossible to get my body back because it didn’t really leave me. It grew and changed and thats really a good thing. I tried hard to focus on getting healthy, especially after becoming so weak from retained placenta. So now, I’m chasing around an almost toddler, we go on daily walks, have dance parties, have little mini yoga sessions, and I am on my feet constantly. I focus on eating hearty healthy meals, drinking water and most importantly, not beating myself up about the way I look.
  2. Just when you think you’ve got this parenting thing figured out, something new happens. An illness, 6 teeth within 2 months (yea, that happened and it sucked), a surprise surgery (hopefully that doesn’t happen to you), or maybe a surprise bout of post part depression. It’s important to have a plan for how you want to parent. Which philosophies you admire, what you know from your own family growing up, and what you’ve learned from friends. I think it’s important to have an idea of how you may want to start solids or a sleep routine or maybe your model of discipline. But remember to not be so black and white. Try things and if they don’t work, try something else. Raising a person is all about finding what works for yourself and your child. Read all the things, listen to other parents whose children are kind and appropriately well behaved, and grow and adapt. But most importantly, do not worry if something you had planned on doing doesn’t work out. For us it was sleep. I was huge on sleep. I prided the fact that Ruby could fall asleep on her own and be such a great self regulated sleeper. Then the 6 teeth came in like I mentioned earlier. For two months straight we were up every hour with a screaming, inconsolable baby. I’d put her to sleep in her own crib and then she’d be in our bed after her first wake up and stay there all night. This turned into her going to sleep in our bed at night but napping in her crib, then it turned into her napping in our bed AND going to sleep in our bed. And now we are a co-sleeping family and I’m dreading when we will need to sleep train her. Which is coming up here soon. The co-sleeping thing is something I don’t hate, and definitely don’t judge others for doing, I just never thought it would be us. But, it is. And it’s the only way any of us got any sleep. SO just remember. There is no right or wrong way to do things. As long as you learn who your child is, make informed decisions, and do what is right and happy for the whole family, you are doing it right. Thats all it comes down to.
  3. The Mompetition is real, but only if you let it be real. You know the moms who are sleeping well, who’s house is immaculate, who’s found time to do all the laundry AND that 30 minute workout session as well as prep dinner for the whole week? The ones you’re jealous of. And you don’t know why because you’re also happy for them. Well, we do not know what goes on in people’s homes and lives. Most of what we know from others is what they share on social media and 9 times out of 10 people share the best most lovely parts of their lives (I’m that 1 person who doesn’t show perfection all the time. If I did I’d be straight up lying). They don’t like to post that they had a 45 minute yelling match with their husband the other day, or that they too are struggling with feeling overwhelmed. We truly don’t know the ins and outs of other women’s lives and their personal journeys. And when it comes down to it, we are all in this together. We are all giving ourselves to these little people who repay us by pulling our hair out and biting our shoulders. The last thing we need to send our focus is on who is doing this mom job better because like I said earlier, there is no right or wrong way. We all have our children’s best interests in mind and our focus should be to support that. So give up on the competitive mom mind games. The patriarchy has been brainwashing us to hate each other and it’s time to go forth and stand up with love and support for one another. (although I’ve learned this, I still struggle with it)
  4. Finally, I’ve learned to overcome trauma. Or at least work on overcoming it. I’ve learned to try and find acceptance for what happened to me and allow myself to grieve. I’ve worked on honouring my feelings around sadness and disappointment and allow them to wash over me like that burning hot shower I took the other day when I was overwhelmed. I’ve learned that trauma hasn’t become me. It hasn’t become my identity or my story. It is part of my story and it is forever a part of who I am, but it isn’t me completely. I’ve also learned to find the good things within the bad situations. When I felt serious disconnect from Ruby, I did the things that bring mothers and babies closer. I slept with her, I did skin on skin, I bathed with her and envisioned I was birthing her in the tub. I observed her and allowed her to show me who she is. I responded to her the best that I could and made sure she knew I was there. Even when I wasn’t there mentally, I was still there physically. Because of that I’ve been able to solidify a bond with her that I missed out on at her birth and deeply wanted. Other lovely things have come from our rough start. My body awareness is strong. I know my body so well now and my intimate self is better than it has ever been. I’ve also found a passion for birth that I knew I had, but was buried inside me. My experience has given me a view on postpartum recovery that I could never have learned from reading a book. I FEEL for women now in a way I never have before. My level of compassion and empathy has soared. I want to give to mothers what I didn’t receive as a new mom. I’m not sure if I would have empathy on this level if it hadn’t been for our traumatic experience. I’ve learned to find gratefulness for my trauma, because it has lead me to this new life of serving women and their babies when they are most vulnerable and fragile, while also most powerful and strong. What a paradox to live in. I understand it completely now.
  5. Last, but not least, I’ve learned that dad’s really are superheroes. Or at least Cam is. Dad’s are almost always an afterthought. “How’s baby?, How are you?, oh yeah, How’s Cam?” It must suck to be forgotten like that. I know every family dynamic is different. For ours, I stay home and Cam goes to work. I struggle with not bringing home the bacon and I know he struggles with not seeing Ruby as much as he would like. But this is the dynamic we chose and it definitely is the right decision. But man, dads sometimes really get the short end of the stick. My best advice is to NEVR EVER EVER ask a dad if he’s babysitting the baby when the mom’s out. At least don’t ever ask Cam that question. I’ve learned right from the beginning that I can trust Cam and that he is equally as good a parent as I am. He is learning along with me and he is fully capable of raising Ruby. In July, I’ll be away for the weekend. The first time I’ll spend a night away from Ruby ever. I’m not scared of leaving her with Cam because I know things will be great. I am admittedly nervous about leaving her because I will miss the crap outta her and thats it. It has nothing to do with her not being taken care of by me. And that’s a really comforting thing. So allow your baby daddy to raise his child alongside you. Give him that beautiful opportunity. You’ll be getting a “break”, and you’ll let your child form a relationship with their dad that is oh so important.

Ruby-May’s Surgery

We are just over 4 weeks post operation and Ruby-May is doing amazing.

On April 3rd, we took her into the day surgery unit. I had been up since 3 am (expecting to give Ruby her last nurse feed) and was so scared/nervous/stressed. We said a very brief goodbye to her when one of the residents swiftly took her to the OR and went to find the family room to hang out for the next 4 hours. It was an excruciating 4 hour wait. Her surgeon came and talked to us, just under the 4 hour mark, and told us everything went wonderfully, she needed a blood transfusion, but that was normal and we can expect to see her in the ICU shortly. We were finally able to see her and I was expecting her to be super swollen, bloody and passed out. The swelling hadn’t started yet and she was very clean considering. She was extremely pale even her lips were white, and she wasn’t super active. She would whimper and whine and cry every so often, but mostly the morphine had her pretty sleepy. It was really hard for me to see her this way. Her incision made me pretty queasy and I was all around still really worried. The first 6 hours after surgery are the highest risk for neuro troubles, so her vitals were being checked every hour on the hour. Then, after 6 hours it was every 2 hours vitals check. Once we were out of the 6 hour window and she was responding well, I definitely felt more at ease. Earlier on when she was in the ICU, Cam and I decided to go out and get some lunch since we could relax a bit and it was an opportunity to leave her while she was still drugged up! That was nice, but we missed her so much. I had tried pumping that whole day during the times I’d usually nurse her so I wouldn’t get engorged but I wasn’t getting much milk. I became really uncomfortable and realized I had a blocked duct. I had one a few weeks prior and saw my favourite people at The Alex Breastfeeding Clinic and the doctor there was able to release the blockage. In the hospital though the pump wasn’t releasing it and it was getting so painful. This is where I’m reminded of how primal we mothers are. I had let stress and worry overcome me that whole day (and probably the day before too). I was exhausted, my back, shoulders, and neck were hard as rocks, resulting in a bad stress headache. I was emotionally drained and it was becoming clear in the way I kept breaking down crying throughout the day. Cam and I had decided that it would be best for me to go home that night and have Cam stay with Ruby in the hospital. It would be the only night where she wouldn’t wake to nurse and it would allow me to get some proper rest and take care of myself. This decision was difficult because it felt SO selfish. But then I quickly kicked myself and said no. I need to take care of myself for Ruby. I need to be in a healthy space. I want my children to be aware of their mental and physical health and what kind of example am I setting if i don’t take care of my own mental and physical self.

So. I went home, ate, drank lots of water, and slept 5 straight hours. In the morning I woke up, boob still blocked, and had a long hot shower. I was ready to see my girl. Everything was going well, and Ruby was having a textbook recovery. She was moved to the Neuro recovery where we stayed until Thursday afternoon. We were home for dinner.

Everything just went so well. I look back now and honestly often forget that it even happened. She still has some stitches but they’re melting away every day. Her head is so perfectly round. I couldn’t have imagined it to look like this. I didn’t realize how oblong it was until the made it round. Modern medicine is incredible. We are so thankful we were given this opportunity to have it done and so glad we did it. I’m amazed her recovery was so swift and non complicated. We got our funny, crazy, happy, girl back after only a few days. Truly amazing.

I thrived off the lovely messages from all our family and friends. I couldn’t have gotten through those days without it. If you were one of the people sending us love, please know it did not go unnoticed and it was so appreciated.

Sagittal Craniosynostosis

About a month ago Ruby caught a cold. It was a snotty and painful and resulted in a barky cough. She woke up in the middle on the night on friday night/saturday am and by sunday it hd gotten much worse. We ended up taking her to the children’s hospital because of the sound of her cough. They diagnosed her with croup, gave her a steroid and sent us home. The cough got significantly better but she was still very sick. On tuesday night we tried to feed her but she didn’t have an appetite at all. I tried to latch her twice in the middle of the night and she bit me hard both times so I figured she needed to rest and to let her sleep. She was waking on and off every few hours after that. I ended up needing to pump because I was getting so engorged and she wouldn’t nurse. We spent all of wednesday morning on the couch where she was extremely lethargic, pale, and sleepy. She kept flopping her head on my shoulder and it seemed at times she was struggling to breathe. I was worried. I kept trying to feed her some pumped milk from a bottle (something we haven’t done in months) and she ate about 1.5 oz which, in and 11 hour time frame is just an unacceptable amount of nutrition. I called Health Link and they advised we take her right away to the children’s hospital again. So Cam finished up what he was working on, rushed home, and by around 4 we went to emerg. They took us in right away and started Ruby on and IV for fluids, blood tests, x-ray, heart rate monitor, and they stuck a bag to her vagina to catch urine for a sample (less invasive than a catheter) Ruby was PISSED. So mad. After a few hours of the fluids she perked up a bit but was still very sick. Her oxygen levels were great but her heart rate was very high and her lungs sounded “crackly”. Her x-ray came back showing possible pneumonia and so she was treated for it with an antibiotic. They ended up transferring us to Peter Lougheed at around 2:30 am. They blocked Ruby’s IV and allowed us to drive her there ourselves so we didn’t have to wait for an ambulance. On the way there though Cam started to feel sick. He had to pull over to barf, and if any of you know Cam well, you know that he’s a big puker and this isn’t completely out of the ordinary. He was clearly having a hard time and feeling so sick. I grabbed him by the shoulders and loudly said, “I’m sorry you don’t feel good but I need you to PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER! We’ve got bigger things on our hands right now.” And he did. He breathed through it and we made it to the hospital. I’ll add that we had been up all evening/night with Ruby and didn’t eat lunch or dinner so we both were starving.


PLC was great, they were expecting us and had a room ready. Once we got there and kinda settled, Cam and I decided it was best if he went home to get some rest since he was expecting to work the next day. Our room in paediatrics had a crib and a bed and that’s it so there wen’t room for all 3 of us anyways. I tried my best to get some rest with Ruby but it was difficult with nurses and doctors coming and going. I was scared and exhausted and having hard time keeping track of time and remembering everything that was happening to Ruby. By the wee hours of the morning I started to get stomach cramps. I frantically called a nurse in to hold ruby so I could run to the washroom. Ruby was still attached to an IV and I couldn’t bring her with me anywhere-not that I wanted to. I started to get super sick and I knew right away that it was the stomach flu. By about 7 am I called my mom and asked her to bring me some food/drinks/and a change of clothes etc. She ran to my house and saw that Cam was still in bed and phoned me, I told her to wake him and get him to work, thinking he had overslept, but alas, he had the flu too. He had been up all night barfing. Thankfully, my mom was able to take the day off work and come be with us in the hospital. She hung out with Ruby the whole day while I was sick in bed unable to move.


I’m telling this part of the story because of two reasons. First, I find it hilarious. It’s one of those events as a parent that you will remember for the rest of your life. By the time it was all said and done in the hospital, Cam, Ruby, and I all laid up in our bed moaning and groaning. It was a sight. My mom offered to stay the night that night and we didn’t even have the energy to respond. We were pathetic, sick, helpless people. It was awful at the time, but now looking back it’s freaking hilarious.   The second reason is, if we hadn’t taken Ruby to PLC when we did, we would have never found out about Cranio Synostosis.

Ruby’s blood tests came back fine, she was septic which apparently was what they were worried about (??) She did have quite a bad ear infection so they sent us home with amox and wished us well. However, the paediatrician who was in duty during our stay came and chatted to me. He checked Ruby out many times and kept genie-in-the-lamp-rubbing her head. She was pretty pissed about this and made it known with screams and cries. he asked me if anyone has ever said anything about her head. I told her about her instrumental birth, the MRI for her hematoma, and her history with torticollis. He told me it appears to him that her two back skull plates have fused prematurely, meaning, as her brain and head grow, it will be restricted in the side/back. Her two front plates and the one plate at the very back were all separated like normal, but the other two were fused. He promptly asked if he could refer us to a specialist at the Children’s who would give us more answers. I agreed, though slightly annoyed. I asked if her head issue had anything to do with her being sick and he said oh no it’s just something he noticed. I Just thought, ok well thats being put on the back burner for now, I have more important fish to fry.


We had our appointment with he specialist who is a plastic surgeon. He took one look/feel of her head and agreed, she has  Sagittal Craniosynostosis. He told us all about it. He said it doesn’t have any impact on her brain/growth/development/health. It’s purely an issue about looks. He couldn’t tell us what she would look like as an adult or even an older child, but said her forehead would be even more prominent and the back of her head will narrow and be pointy. He said this “deformity” is completely spontaneous. I asked if it had to do with her birth or her torticollis and he said no. It was most likely fusing while I was pregnant with her. He said theres no real explanation and it’s not hereditary or genetic. It affects 1 in 2000 babies and Ruby’s form is mild-moderate. That being said he recommended we do the surgery. He reassured us that he does about 4-6 of these surgeries a month and the greatest risk is blood loss, so they prepare with blood for a transfusion. Now the surgery itself is very invasive. They essentially cut her head from ear to ear, open up her scalp, the take off the top of her skull. He then physically bends and reshapes her skull using his hands. He may saw off a bit of bone in order to open up the plates again and make more space. He will also use dissolving plates and screws to help achieve his shape. This information is equal parts fascinating and horrifying. He reassured us that he’s been doing this for 9 years and hasn’t had one case of death or brain damage. The babies spend 4 hours in surgery, 1 day in ICU, then 5 days in hospital. Then they are sent home with tylenol for pain management. He said they bounce back incredibly fast. Their incision usually heals after 2 weeks and then hair grows back over the scar in time. isn’t that just incredible?!


We’ve debated and have made the hard decision to go through with the surgery. My greatest fear would be if we said no and in 13 years she comes home from school crying because some jerk kids made fun of her big funny shaped head. I would be heart broken. There is a window when it comes to this surgery and it’s closing fast on us. She will be 11 months old and the doctor said he doesn’t do the surgery on babies older than 12 months. So we needed to act quickly.


I obviously have a lot of emotions about this. Im terrified. I feel ashamed for some reason. I also feel lucky that we were at PLC the exact time we were and were given this opportunity. I always knew Ruby’s head was very large and a bit oblong, but I always figures it was from the damn forceps and in time would round itself out. All the doctors and nurses we’ve seen in the last 9 months have never mentioned anything about her head shape or her plates. We would never have known if it wasn’t for our hospital visit. So in ways I do feel thankful. But I am still so scared. I’m very worried. I feel confident about our decision and I do trust this surgeon, but this is my baby. She’s so brilliant and sweet and gorgeous and I don’t want her to go through this invasive surgery. I don’t want her to be in pain. This has been a very difficult time for me, emotionally, JUST as my self-care was great and my mental health was strengthening. I feel constantly knocked over by something. Ruby’s first year of life has been the most emotionally and physically taxing year of my life and I do wonder when we will ever catch a break.

I am not a religious person, but I do know some of my reader and friends are. If you pray and or even believe in the power of positive thought and energies, please, send them our way. I promise I’ll take good care of them with much appreciation.

A little update

I’ve been off social media now for a month. I will admit I occasionally go on Facebook on my computer, briefly. And I deleted my instagram account and the app off my phone, but shortly signed back in and added my account to our iPad to occasionally scroll through. I surprised myself in that I haven’t wasted a lot of time on it. I’ll go in, check a few of my family and favourite follows, and re-read some of my own posts, then turn it off and find something to do. I’ve been so good at checking myself. So yay pat on the back for me. April 11 is 100 days from Jan 1st and that is still my goal.

So since being off I’ve noticed a few things.

  1. I have WAY more time. I can get shit done. I wash our dishes or actually nap during the day. I’m not up for 2 hours straight in the middle of the night looking at my phone. Its actually SO nice.
  2. I am happier. I have no one to compare my life to, thus am starting to feel good and content with what I got.
  3. Ruby’s milestones aren’t shared and plastered all over the place. The kid has done a lot since Christmas (crawling, pulling to stand, trying to walk, saying mamma) She also had a scary stint in the hospital and was pretty sick (along with Cam and I too) for a few days. I found myself not needing attention/feedback from others. I also don’t have any urge to brag about her development or about her in general.

All in all it feels really nice. I’m considering keeping off insta for a long time. I guess we’ll see after the 100 days but yea, i feel good.


As far as my mental health, I had a great discussion with my breastfeeding doctor (Dr.C) I mentioned her before and how incredible she was at the beginning of motherhood for me. She basically put in my referral for perinatal mental health program. She also offered to take on my prenatal care and be on call when I go into labour if I was to become pregnant again. She gave me so much reassurance that second births tend to heal bad firsts and that I’m much more likely to have a positive and healing experience if the doctor delivering is someone I know and trust and have a relationship with. She is definitely one of those people. Words can’t describe how freeing and reassuring hearing that was. I felt so supported and cared for. For her to offer to not only take me on as a patient for prenatal care, but for me to be bale to call her when I go into labour and essentially be my midwife doctor, it was just such lovely news. Just that reassurance alone has put my mind at ease. I’m currently on a 12 week wait list to see a counsellor for mental health, more specifically, PTSD and I am ok with that wait as I’m feeling quite good these days.