One year has passed since my last update. Life happens so quickly, when settled in one place. Society has a different pace.
Since my last update I still had five more months of morning sickness and no energy at all. I mainly lived on the couch, unless I brought Chan to school or we were going to the park.
I was so happy, when Chan’s summer vacation started in the end of June, finally I could sleep in a bit longer in the mornings. I was ready for the little person within me to come out. I was tired of being tired and nauseous.
July 9th we went to a dinner picnic with friends on Trout Lake. One of our friends was my midwife Cora. Flo and I had plans to go raspberry picking the next day and asked her and a midwife friend of hers, if it was safe for me to do that trip (one hour one way), considering my close due date July 20th and the frequent Braxton hicks contractions. They both thought it to be not problem. Cora was going to a wedding the next day, the only day on which she would not be available for the birth.
That night I didn’t sleep well. At 2 am I was wide awake. I had some more Braxton hicks contractions, they came and went away, as usual, but something felt different. I couldn’t figure it out though and tried to go back to sleep. I remembered, that when Chan was born, I lacked sleep, because labour started at 7pm, I also lacked energy because I was throwing up anything I ate and I didn’t pee frequently enough and ended up not being able to anymore, which was extremely uncomfortable.
I did not want to make the same mistakes again and went to the bathroom, back to bed, catching myself timing the contractions. Ten minutes apart for an hour, then nothing. I got up and ate some yoghurt with granola. Back to bed. Again counting. Cora was leaving sometime after six and told me to call her, in case anything happened, so that she could cancel her trip to the wedding (in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island). I called her shortly after six and while talking to her, the contractions stopped. She had me call again in an hour. I did and again, the contractions stopped, while I was talking to her.
I didn’t believe, that my baby was coming that day. I was too alert, felt too good and the contractions were too light, this could not be it. I told Cora to go to the wedding.
Then I folded our laundry, I couldn’t sleep. Sometime later Florian woke up and then Chan. I tried to lay down again. Around nine the contractions were more regular and didn’t stop anymore, but they were still very light. Florian called Christine, my friend and doula for the birth, to let her know that this might be it. I was still in doubt. Florian got the pool ready with Chan and explained to him, that he was probably going to have a sibling soon.
Chan went out to play with his friend and Florian called our other midwife Katie, to let her know, that our baby was probably on the way. I still doubted it. I was too fit and present, this just couldn’t be it, could it?!
I wanted to clean the bathroom, since Florian didn’t have time over all the other preparations and I needed it clean. I got as far as the sweeping, then couldn’t do more.
Christine came at 10 am, I was having regular contractions, a bit stronger now, but still too light to take serious I thought and I told Christine, that she might had to go home again without a baby coming. She just looked at me with a smile, got ready and cleaned the bathroom for me.
Katie came at 11 am, the contractions were now good and strong and I finally realized, that I was going to have my baby for real. Katie was the best midwife ever. She asked me, if I wanted to be checked out or not. I did not want to (I remembered too well from Chan’s birth, how painful it was). Katie didn’t need to do an examination, she said it was enough for her to just watch me. I was still walking around and for each contraction found a spot to lean on or squat down and Florian and Christine put counter pressure on my back. They also gave me lots to drink and offered food and reminded me to use the bathroom. I loved it! Really, I enjoyed being in labour, feeling the contractions and imagining to get wide and open for my baby to come out. I love roses, wild roses and their smell. Christine reminded me to visualize a flower opening and that’s what I did.
After a while I was ready to get into the birthing pool and I was drifting up into a different space now, though still very present. Christine put calendula petals into the bath, which she had picked in the morning. Florian offered me drinks and cooled my face with a cloth and though the contractions were getting very intense I felt really good and happy and enjoyed every moment, until I thought I had to poop, but I was just starting to push. Katie wanted me to hold back, to avoid tearing. This was the hardest part of it all and I thought I could not do it. Holding back, when all your body tells you to do one thing and do it strongly, urgently, is almost impossible!
Christine got Chan back inside and all of them helped me stay focused to go through this extremely painful part. Chan covered his ears, but wanted to stay and watch and then he came out, his little brother Anuk Ari. Then though we didn’t know yet that he was Anuk, he was just our little baby boy.
Chan didn’t want to touch him he just watched while Anuk and I were recovering in the pool. Then he watched, when the umbilical cord was cut. When I was washing off and everybody had something to do, he wanted to hold his little baby brother and Florian helped him.
Anuk Ari was born July 10th at 1:18 pm in the water at home. He weight 3400g and measured 49cm. We found his name four days after his birth.
Summer with visitors
Two weeks after Anuk was born, we had my mother and my sister with her two year old staying with us. For Chan this was a very intense time. When Anuk was one week old, Chan got sick with a fever and we didn’t know, if he had caught the chicken pox. That meant, that he couldn’t get close to his new brother for an entire week. When the week was up, he not only had to share his baby brother with three more people, but he also had to share his grandma with his two year old cousin and he had to share his toys and his room.
Chan was very interested in his brother and wanted to help change him and dress him, and he washed him, when he took his first bath. When the first round of visitors had gone home, Chan went to summer camp and I enjoyed a week with Anuk before Florian’s parents came for a few weeks. They had lots of time for Chan and he didn’t have to share them except with Anuk. We went for a view walks and blueberry picking with them and I was happy not having to deal with the preparation of meals.
The summer passed very quickly. Flo took the very last opportunity to take Chan and his friend Ostara camping on Labour day weekend. Right after that it was time for Chan to start school, first grade French Immersion.
Such a big boy already! The teacher let us know with a note that she sent home, that in a few weeks she would not speak any english to the students anymore and in December they were not allowed to talk english to her anymore either! She also said, that all the kids will be fluent in french by the summer. I didn’t really believe it. I learned french for seven years and am hardly able to speak any. Chan should be fluent in the summer?
Well, after Christmas, I went to help out with the reading in the class and was amazed by the amount of french the kids already speak. I was also amazed by how good they are reading in french. Chan doesn’t speak much french at home. But now and then I catch him playing in french and singing french songs…
Chan celebrated his very first halloween and was super excited. At the Community Center halloween dance we went as a witch family, Chan chose the fabrics for our costumes, which Katie, our upstairs neighbour, sew into capes. For trick or treating he wanted to be a knight. He and Ostara went out candy hunting together and both had baskets too small for the amount of treasures they collected and both had an extra bag given by some pitying candy distributer. We let Chan devour his collection that night. As much as he could get down in one hour he was allowed to eat, the rest he had to exchange for toys. He looked a bit green around the edges when he finally gave in. The rest of the candy got weight and per 100g he could choose a small toy, in his case cars, naturally!
Of course we had to have a christmas tree, but none of us wanted a disposable one. We picked one in a pot. Chan decorated it a week before christmas and slowly some presents appeared under the tree. Most of them in the night of the 24th and as real canadians do, we opened them the 25th in the morning. Chan wanted to know, why Santa isn’t coming the night of the 24th in Switzerland, or rather, why he didn’t come on his birthday, december 6th. So we explained, that the old man can’t be everywhere in the whole world in one night and that’s why he goes to Switzerland first and then makes his way over to Canada.
We like the idea of the festival of lights and went to a solstice celebration at a community centre. Our tree should be a symbol of returning light rather than a christmas tree, but the holiday celebrations are a bit confusing for a child that hasn’t really celebrated any so far and here they are in their pompous glittering glory with the most important part: the gift opening.
Well, maybe we will be able to give these holidays a deeper meaning next year.
The new year
Here we are already in 2011. Ten years ago Florian and I left Switzerland on bicycles and we had no idea, that after all that time we would still not be back and might never be. We are quite settled in Vancouver now.
Anuk is sitting and rolling all over the place and we are looking forward to the day, his baby seat for the trailer arrives and we can take him for his very first bike ride. Chan keeps asking about a bike trip up a mountain and back and I can’t let go of a dream about riding through Mongolia and other parts of Asia. Settled life has nice qualities, but can get a bit tiring after a while.
There are no plans yet, I’m just saying.