Baby A’s Birth Story

IMG_3178

Baby A was born November 30 at 9:06 a.m., weighing 8 lbs 3 oz and measuring about 20 inches long. He had an Apgar score of 9 at one minute and five minutes, and came into this world enveloped in love, excitement, and peace.

THE DAYS BEFORE

We woke up early on Sunday to take care of the last remaining household tasks we could get at – cleaning up the kitchen, making sure beds had fresh linens, and some basic sanitizing and scrubbing. We also had to pack for everyone because we had been up doing laundry until the night before, then pack up the car and make sure our cat sitter had the keys to our house and mailbox. It was an incredibly rushed morning and we still ended up leaving three hours later than we would have liked. M napped for about half the drive, and we thankfully hit clear weather the whole way through.

When we arrived in Winnipeg we went right to the hotel and found out that the free upgrade we’d earned for sharing our reservation on social media was very much a HUGE upgrade – from a basic queen room to a full suite! Having our sleeping space separate from the living and eating area was perfect with a toddler in tow, and we made good use of having a dining table. We ordered food in that night, and I went to bed early while Matt and a very-wired M stayed up in the living room watching TV.

The next morning Matt had to do some troubleshooting. We’d realized we’d forgotten M’s luggage at home the night before, meaning she had absolutely no clothing. He headed off to the mall and got her a new wardrobe, which was an unwanted expense, but necessary given that we were going to be in town for a week. She also scored a Paw Patrol suitcase out of it so she was quite thrilled. When he got back we grabbed lunch at the hotel, then they went swimming while I snuck in another nap. My mom and her fiancé showed up in the early evening, having road tripped through the States, and we all went out for dinner before bed.

Processed with VSCO with x4 preset

At 2 a.m. M started coughing, hard. She’d been kind of sick on and off for a few weeks, and was suffering with this awful hacking cough, but this was a new level of rough. I went out into the living room to stretch out for a few minutes, hoping she’d drink some water and feel better, but literally the moment I walked back through the bedroom door chaos had broken loose. Right when Matt sat her up to try to relieve the cough, she had thrown up, and she was miserable. She’s only thrown up maybe three times in her life and she was panicking. Worse yet, her getting sick made Matt sick and it was an utter disaster unfolding in the hotel bathroom.

Matt kicked me out and told me he’d handle it, and the two of them had a shower, he cleaned up the bathroom and then I snuggled M while he went out to try to find meds at 3 a.m. With some Advil and a bit of honey for her throat she managed to fall back asleep with him for awhile, then woke up coughing again – I switched her over to my bed and eventually she fell asleep, albeit fitfully, until morning. It wasn’t exactly the relaxing last morning of sleeping in we’d hoped for, as we had to drag everyone out of bed and check out by 11, and we felt terrible for M, though she was doing better by morning.

With a quick round of coffee and muffins we all travelled out to our rental AirBnB, unloaded the cars, and had just enough time for a stop by the pharmacy for supplies – in case we were admitted that evening – and a bit of lunch. Matt and I left M behind with her grandparents and set out toward the hospital.

FIRST HOSPITAL CONSULTATION

Unfortunately, we didn’t really know where we were going. We’d been past the hospital before and knew where the campus itself was but finding the women’s hospital was confusing. By the time we sorted it out, parking presented a problem – the parkade closest to the building was full, and it was about five minutes until our scheduled appointment leaving me totally upset and flustered because I did not want to have anything rescheduled at this point. Matt decided to ditch the car in front of what we figured was the women’s hospital, with a plan to keep running out to feed the meter every 30 minutes. But then we didn’t know where to actually enter the hospital. We went into ambulatory care, down several flights of stairs, only to find out that admitting was upstairs from a nurse who was unimpressed with our questions. I arrived at the desk a sweaty mess, leading the clerk to take immediate pity on me when I saw her and blurted out “I’m from Ontario and have no idea what I’m doing here.” She brought us back into the room and handled our paperwork.

Admitting done, we stepped into the fetal assessment unit, which was a bit of a zoo. As we’d later discover, like many other parts of that hospital, it was small, and busy. They handed me a pager and sent us back out to the main waiting area and that’s when I started to tear up, sitting there beside Matt, finally catching my breath after trying to find my way around a different province and a strange hospital while feeling all the pressure of knowing the next day, we’d be having a baby. Matt looked at me and asked if I was okay and all I could do was shake my head no, not wanting to cry in front of a room full of strangers. He commented that the space looked like a bus terminal – it really did – and the thought that kept running through my head was “I am not supposed to be here.” I missed our bright, new hospital at home, I hated that I didn’t know who I was going to meet or what was going to happen next, and I felt so very unsettled.

The pager buzzed just as Matt stepped out to feed the meter again and I reluctantly walked back to the unit, not wanting to go anywhere without him. As I was directed to another hallway he appeared at the same time as a very bubbly, friendly person who turned out to be an ultrasound tech. We were thrilled to find out that we were going to get one last peek at the baby, and as soon as the screen flicked on all of those worries and the doubt and the bad feelings went away. Our last ultrasound locally had been kind of weird – there were two new techs handling it and they didn’t say much or show us anything. This time we got a great peek at baby, saw his little face, watched him kick at the wand, and found out that he was estimated at eight pounds already, at 37 weeks, five days. Seeing him on the screen drove home the fact that we were going to really meet him the next day, and I was suddenly elated.

As the tech was doing the scan a man was popping in and out of the room asking me quick questions about our genetic history. After a few questions, I figured out that he was our doctor – the physician my own doctor specifically referred us to, and sends all her local patients to, because this guy is supposed to be the best of the best. I’d poked around a bit on internet reviews before leaving for Winnipeg and talked to a few friends who’d been risked out of town and had him as a doctor. The consensus from a lot of people was that his bedside manner was lacking, but his intelligence and expertise was unmatched.

For us, we actually really, really liked him. With all his questions out of the way he came in and sat down and introduced himself, explaining that he hadn’t done so before because he wanted to call hematology before they closed for the day. He took more of a brief family history, and explained, mostly to the medical fellow who was with him, a bit about hemophilia and the tainted blood crisis that lead to hemophiliacs contracting HIV and AIDS in the 1980s. He offered one more time to let me try a VBAC versus the scheduled Caesarean, noting that in his view, it doesn’t make sense to automatically section all carriers or potential carriers. But we were already there, and we didn’t want to have to sit and wait in Winnipeg – and pay for lodging during that wait – which was something we’d already discussed with my doctor at home, so we all confirmed the plan for surgery and went ahead as expected.

I found that the doctor didn’t have bad bedside manner – rather, he was just kind of quirky, to me. You could tell he had a strong interest in finding good outcomes for his patients, and was committed to teaching his students, too, and that didn’t leave a whole lot of space for hand holding. While he wasn’t someone I felt like I connected with on a personal level I felt extremely safe in his care, and he showed us warmth and compassion in subtle ways, making sure we felt comfortable and informed. The whole reason we were seeing him was for his knowledge, and we felt very secure in that.

The tech printed us off a few photos of our boy, and with instructions to arrive at the hospital at 7 a.m. the next day for a 9 a.m. C-section. We went back to the AirBnB and met up with our family, then set off for one last dinner – my mom excitedly told our server we were having a baby the next day – and returned to the basement apartment. I took a shower that night knowing I’d have to be up early the next day, and tried to get myself to sleep despite the anticipation and excitement that had taken over my body and mind. Our long, long journey to baby was about to be over, and I couldn’t wait.

NOVEMBER 30 – BIRTH DAY

I woke up early on the 30th, not needing my alarm. I was alone in one of the bedrooms – M and Matt had slept out on an air mattress in the living room to ensure that I could get one last round of decent sleep, if possible. I navigated around the house in the dark, not wanting to wake anyone else. Clothes on, one last check of the hospital bags, rousing Matt and waiting for him to shower, then we were out the door. It was cold and crisp and dark outside and it felt like we were some of the only people in the world as we got into the car and started driving from the suburbs to downtown.

I cued up First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes as Matt steered the car toward the hospital:

This is the first day of my life
Swear I was born right in the doorway
I went out in the rain suddenly everything changed
They’re spreading blankets on the beach

Yours is the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you
Now I don’t know where I am
I don’t know where I’ve been
But I know where I want to go

And so I thought I’d let you know
That these things take forever
I especially am slow
But I realize that I need you
And I wondered if I could come home

We both felt the emotion and the rush of knowing that, after a year of trying, after three losses, after so much sadness, and then the anxiety of waiting and worrying with this guy, hoping we would be able to meet him – we were within hours of his arrival.

At the hospital, we knew where to park and where to check in, although there was a brief moment of worry when the admitting clerk couldn’t find us on the surgery list. She sent us up to triage after finding our details and taking down the details of our request for a private room, but neither of us were actually listening and ended up on the wrong floor at day surgery. We had to ask for directions and reroute ourselves up one more floor. At triage they sat me down and started asking questions until my answer to “why are you here” was “I’m having a C-section” at which point they realized I needed to be in an entirely different area and moved me over to a place where, honestly, I’m not sure what normally happens. There were a bunch of beds in curtained off sections, a handful of nurses, and a bathroom. A different set of nurses gave me a gown to put on, took my clothes and started an IV, then kicked us out to a patient lounge to sit and wait.

Matt started to get visibly nervous at this point. He paced the lounge room and complained about the TV, which was playing a very loud sportscast that was just too much for him to bear at that early hour with his nervous energy fully engaged. Eventually he asked a clerk if he could have the remote, and when it turned out that the remote was missing, he climbed up on a chair and unplugged the TV from the wall, exhaling in relief as he sunk into a chair.

Soon after, as Matt was in a washroom putting on his own scrubs, I heard the already familiar sound of our doctor’s voice and realized that it was go time. Everything around me sped up, quickly. I met the anesthesiologist, who told me that he’d be treating me “like a normal patient” having assessed all the risks of hemophilia and my potential carrier status. The doctor went over informed consent with me, a nurse handed me a cup full of liquid to neutralize my stomach acid, Matt appeared in the doorway wearing too-large scrubs, and suddenly we were all moving down the hall. We briefly stopped in a prep room where Matt disappeared again to ask the nurses for a cup of juice so he wouldn’t faint, then I found myself being guided into the operating room.

At our hospital, the OR is a separate area of the hospital, but here, it was just another room within the delivery wing, and that felt strange to me, literally walking myself into the place where my baby would soon be born knowing that there were women giving birth all around me. Matt later told me that as he sat in the hallway waiting to be called in, a woman was screaming in pain – as I was being prepped, the nurses told me “Your husband is frantically pacing outside.”

In the OR, I was introduced to the rest of the medical staff, and helped hoist myself up onto the bed for the spinal anesthetic. I told the anesthesiologist he had his practice down to an art – every sensation he said I’d experience, I experienced immediately after he said I would. I couldn’t remember what getting the spinal was like, when I had M, and was feeling a bit nervous about it this time, but the doctor braced me at the front, the needles went in, and although it hurt a bit, it was quick, and I felt strangely calm as soon as it was done. I used the last bit of feeling in my legs to stretch out on the table, pushed one arm off to either side, and settled into the heavy, dull sensation.

Every bit of worry I had faded away. I have never felt so calm in my life. I felt quiet, relaxed, and finally, finally assured that everything would be fine. I can’t explain why it happened but I am so grateful that my anxiety let go at that point. I looked up at the lights over the table – seaglass shades of green and blue and white – and breathed deeply as I smelled the disinfectant being applied to my body and felt the nurses touching my stomach. When I had M, I was terrified. I hated the disengaged feeling; not knowing what was happening, not being able to feel my body. This time it felt like I had turned myself over to what was supposed to happen. It felt like I could just sink into the process and trust that all would be well. Something deep inside me knew that I was, in fact, exactly where I was supposed to be.

Matt came in and sat down on a chair beside my head – a pre-emptive measure for the guy who seemed on the verge of fainting all morning – and the OR crew started the audio tape, explaining who I was and what they were doing. It was quiet and peaceful and moved so quickly. In what seemed like minutes, the anesthesiologist advised me that I’d be feeling a lot of pressure: “You can’t push him out, so we’re going to push him out for you.” I mostly felt that sensation toward my ribs where I had a nurse on each side putting what felt like all their weight on my body.

And then A cried. Matt also cried, grasping my hand and saying, with such joy, “That’s him! That’s him!” Me, I still felt nothing but utter peace and calm. Of course it was him. Of course he was here. It was the way things were supposed to be, all along. How could I have ever thought differently?

The medical team asked Matt if he wanted to stand and look at the baby, then countered themselves with “Ehhhh… unless you feel like you might faint?” He asked me if he could look – I had banned him from peeking at M before I could, but this time that peace was enveloping me so much that I gave my blessing and he immediately shot up over the surgical drape to look, reporting back that the baby was absolutely beautiful. A nurse towelled him off quickly and brought him around the other side of the drape – the minute the doctor told Matt it was time for skin to skin he ripped off his scrub top and grabbed A, holding him tight as he brought him close to my face.

Processed with VSCO with 2 preset

He looked like M, but different. Heavier, squishier, not as dark. Matt was emotional but I still felt tranquil, just happy to lie back and drink in a long look at A. The medical team soon asked Matt if he wanted to help weigh A, and he jumped at the opportunity. I laughed when the nurse carefully led him around the surgical drape, sternly instructing, “Do NOT look over there. And don’t touch anything blue.”

Around this time, I started to feel a bit nauseated, for the first time since surgery began. The anesthesiologist said he could adjust things (and told me it was probably partially due to my uterus being out of my body which didn’t really help with my feeling of illness) and I thankfully felt better shortly thereafter, but then the exhaustion kicked in. He told me it was likely a combination of medicine, coming down from the rush of surgery, and post-birth hormones, and I decided to just lean into it and shut my eyes while everyone bustled around me. I felt no sense of urgency as they finished surgery and Matt returned with A in his arms. Everyone gave me their assurances that surgery had went very well, and the room cleared out, leaving a few people left to log roll me over onto the bed they’d use to wheel us to recovery.

A was placed in my arms and latched on as we were in the hallway between the OR and the recovery room. When the nurse expressed her amazement at that, I said, “That’s nothing – my daughter latched right away in the OR!”

We were the only ones in recovery and I laid back with A while Matt called our parents. My dad was actually in surgery at the same time, in Ottawa, so we held off on making any public announcement until we could talk to him later that afternoon. I still felt dozy, but being allowed to eat a bit of food and drink some juice helped, and I was eager to get going out of recovery. I was thrilled to find out that my doctor asks the nurses to take out the catheter right away for his C-section patients. Most people wait for 12 to 14 hours, the nurse explained, but he asks for them to be taken out in recovery to encourage women to have to get up and move faster. One of my big concerns, going into another Caesarean, was how long I’d be stuck in bed, so I was definitely on board with that plan. I could move my own legs to help with the removal, which impressed the nurse, and the feeling came back to my lower body quite quickly. By the time they wheeled us out to the elevator to take us up to our room, I was able to scooch myself over from the recovery stretcher to the hospital bed, bit by bit, without any assistance.

The rest of the day was busy, loud, and disconcerting especially compared with the peace of birth. We were in an incredibly small shared room, with roommates who were not exactly the most courteous people in the world, and it was utterly packed especially when M and her grandparents came to visit. That didn’t matter, though, when I saw how thrilled M was to meet her baby brother. Soon after they came to visit, hematology came down and let us know that A’s clotting factor was perfectly normal, meaning he is not a hemophiliac.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

I spent a lot of that day feeling a bit out of sorts, to be honest, after surgery was over and A was in our arms. When I had M, the Caesarean was the culmination of a long hard labour, and so I felt like I had done a lot of work to get her out even though it was ultimately a surgical birth. With A, I walked myself into the operating room and came out less than an hour later with a brand-new baby. I kept telling Matt that it was crazy to me that he was real. I had barely had time to process our sped-up delivery plan, barely had time to think about what the surgery would be like, and then it happened and there was this tiny little person in our lives. It felt like something that happened to me, rather than something I participated in. That feeling faded quickly, though, and this time around I really have no regrets or misgivings about the birth itself. Even though it turned out to be a precaution that didn’t necessarily need to be taken, given that he is not a hemophiliac, I’m glad that we took the safest route, and I am so thankful that all my anxiety finally fell away the moment my feet hit the threshold of the operating room.

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

When the sky darkened, Matt went out to get our bags from the car and I had my first moment alone with A. I pulled him in close to my body and he rested his warm head on my chest. It felt positively blissful. Every part of my body rang with happiness in that minute, and I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and completeness.

Before we had A, a lot of friends told me that their scheduled repeat C-sections were a dream compared to previous unplanned Caesareans. For me, that very much held true. This was the right birth for us, for our baby, and for our situation, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

 

Posted in Parenting & Baby | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The Birth We’ll Have (Not Necessarily The Birth We Want)

Greetings from snowy Winnipeg!

IMG_3125

To make a long, convoluted story a little bit shorter…

I went into pregnancy as a fairly normal, low-risk case. Shortly after I switched into the care of the doctor who was originally going to deliver the baby (because prior to that I was seeing a family doctor who does not deliver babies), we talked about a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) versus a repeat C-section. I was nervous about a VBAC but wanted to try, and after ticking all the right checkboxes — not planning to have sixteen kids, long healing time between pregnancies, previous C-section related to positioning only — I was deemed a good enough candidate to give it a shot.

Then the Thunder Bay genetics department sent over the “how to handle the delivery of a potential hemophiliac baby” checklist and all of a sudden my doctor was talking about the potential of sending me out of town to deliver. In an effort to not have to do that, we agreed on a scheduled C-section to remove a lot of the risk (the ideal situation is a drama-free, fast, no intervention vaginal birth; if you can’t do that, a C-section is preferable to an long, traumatic, and/or intervention-requiring vaginal birth, and so my doctor was basically going to be sending me to the OR if things went sideways at all). They were unsure about ordering in Factor 8 product but the lab said they could, and then sent over a list of, like, 30 different products. My doctor called hematology in Thunder Bay to find out what we needed.

And then. Then hematology said, basically, “Nuh-uh, if you want to be safe she has to go to Winnipeg because there’s a pediatric hematology unit right there, and they can test baby’s cord blood immediately, which is way faster than what you can do locally, and they’ll have everything on hand in case of issues.” So I got that voicemail message with my doctor’s personal cell number and “please call me immediately” that threw everything for a loop again.

So now I’m having a scheduled C-section and I have to deliver out of town. And it all happened very quickly — I talked to my doctor last Saturday; the clinic called me that Tuesday and told me I had a pre-op appointment for November 29, one week later, with the surgery scheduled for the 30th. I wasn’t even supposed to go on leave until December 2, and have the originally scheduled local Cesarean on December 9, not to mention that the baby’s due date was the 15th, and when this all started I was hoping to maybe have a baby by Christmas!

Needless to say, the last week was spent scrambling around. I had to get in touch with a bunch of people to set up logistics, make sure we had a cat sitter, take M out of preschool for all of this week and arrange those details, close out everything at work, apply for my leave, get the nursery as finished as it was going to get, move M into her big girl room, get our bedroom as set up as it’s going to get… there are so many things I wanted to clean and organize that are not getting done, and I’m upset about how incredibly messy our basement is right now particularly because that’s where our houseguests aka my mom and her partner will likely be staying when we get home from here.

And all of that scrambling kept my brain very occupied. I didn’t really get the chance to even wrap my head around the fact that the baby will be here on Wednesday. As we drove to Winnipeg last night (we came early to beat bad weather) I started to realize just how much processing I have not done. This feels like something that is happening to me, versus something that I’m involved in. It’s crazy to me that we are staying in a hotel in a different city to have a baby, with a new care team, a hospital we’ve never been to, policies and procedures that are not our own… I know that it’s the safe thing to do, but it’s truly mind-boggling to consider. Add in the fact that WE ARE HAVING A BABY and that I’m having surgery again and I feel pretty damn unprepared.

The good thing is that I’ve at least been through some of this before. Having had M via an unplanned C-section I think I feel better equipped to roll with all of these punches this time around — if this were my first kid I would probably be panicking a lot more! And, on the upside, now that we’re here and in a hotel room and off work and away from the house, what’s done is done, I can’t do anything more, and so I can’t worry about the touch up paint that didn’t get done or the unpacked boxes or the toys that didn’t make it to the Salvation Army. We’re here, we get a bit of family time before it all goes crazy again, so we may as well embrace it.

So that’s what’s going on with us. It’s definitely not the last week before baby I was expecting!

Posted in Parenting & Baby, Pregnancy | Tagged , | 2 Comments

M is Three

My little big girl,

I’m not allowed to call you my baby anymore, according to you. “I’m a BIG GIRL, Mama” is the response, and when I try to explain that you’re still my baby you firmly disagree, aided by the fact that there is an actual baby waiting in my belly. Maybe a month ago you came and laid down beside me after your bath and I marvelled at just how physically big you actually are, all legs stretching out and a body that never stills itself until you are completely locked into sleep. That’s the only time that you still look like my baby, actually, when you are snuggled up, quiet, breathing deeply with your thumb half in your mouth.

M3

All those glimpses of personality we saw emerging, almost from day one, are real parts of a real person, now. As a tiny baby you were frustrated when you couldn’t move, couldn’t talk, couldn’t get to where you wanted to go and tell us what you wanted to say. Now you are able to express those opinions in great, loud detail, and you make sure we know exactly what you want to do, how you feel, and how much you want to do things by yourself. Every weekday when you come in from school I laugh at how you fling your boots off of your feet, madly kicking at the air until they go flying.

At the same time you love to be a helper. It’s one of your favourite roles to take, at home and at preschool. You help your teachers with the younger kids, you pick up messes, you are utterly enamoured with Kii-go the fish. At home you want to fold laundry, cook dinner, build things and decorate things and get the woodstove going. You’re intensely proud of your accomplishments, and have mastered the art of being proud of yourself. I’m glad you’re proud, because we are, too. And you’ve been telling me that you are going to be the one to change baby brother’s diapers, so…

M3-1

On Mondays and Wednesdays I watch you trying to skate. The program doesn’t give the kids any aids to get up on the ice and you’ve been at it for a month, still trying to get your feet under you. You had one terribly frustrated day, but other than that, you’re content to keep trying, and when that doesn’t work, you’re just as content to make snow angels on the ice and try to entice the other kids to join you in your knee-scooting away from the teachers. When you toddle out into the stands you always want to know what sticker you got on your helmet, and to tell us that you “skated really, really hard today!”

At 2, 3, 4 a.m., I often hear your little feet hit the floor, running toward my room. You climb into bed with me and say, “I’m just bisiting you, Mommy.” And then you kick your freezing cold feet into me, snore in my ear, and gradually take over the entire bed until I lift you up and out to your own bedroom again. It drives me nuts but at the same time I love those quiet, dark moments, knowing that when you need comfort and warmth, you are secure in the knowledge of where to find it.

M3-2

Three years ago today we were all waking up out of a trying several days, and seeing your face made it all worthwhile. I cried a lot in those early days, not out of sadness, but because I loved you so much that my heart couldn’t bear it. Now we’re getting ready to do it all again with your brother, and I am so grateful to you for making me a mama, for showing me my own bravery, for teaching me the ways of motherhood so that I can do it all over again.

m3-4

At age three you love dinosaurs, mothering your stuffies, noodles, raiding the snack drawer I put in the fridge for you, NOT wearing jeans, stickers, a whole range of terrible children’s TV, babies, taking care of the cats, birthdays… and we love you. So much.

Always,

Mama

Posted in Parenting & Baby | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Rainbow Christmas Tree

One of the things I mull over every year is the colour scheme for our Christmas tree. Ever since we bought our house and started getting farmed trees instead of hacking one down in the bush, I’ve enjoyed creating something ridiculously colour-coordinated and Martha Stewart-y. You can see how our trees have evolved since our first one in 2012 (top left) to the crazy newborn adventure in 2013 (top right) to the pink theme in 2014 (bottom left) and last year’s reprisal of pink, with some blue/teal and black for an accidental Frozen theme (bottom right).

Christmas Trees

So this year I was experiencing my usual Christmas ornament shopping delight, standing in the aisles at Canadian Tire, swooning over the gorgeous rose gold and copper decorations. I know it’s kind of crazy to buy new ornaments every year but I can’t resist. What I didn’t factor in, though, was the opinions of a soon to be three year old. I showed her the rose gold beauties and asked if we could do the tree in that colour this year, and she said yes, much to my delight. And then she added, “… and green! And orange! And red! And blue! And purple!”

Note to self — CHRISTMAS IS NOT FOR YOU, SHAYLA.

Okay. So we looked at the display trees in the store — a purple and gold one, a dark navy and silver one, traditional red and green, and the mixed metallics and copper look of my Christmas dreams.

Original-Birds-Party-Handmade-Holiday-Party-Slide-6-Sparkling-Gold-Centerpiece_s4x3.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.966.725

[HGTV]

And the rainbow coloured tree. M liked the rainbow coloured tree. So I put the rose gold ornaments back to make room for the rainbow glitter-spackled reindeer she wanted, then the rainbow glitter-spackled bottle brush tree “for my aminals” and then the glittery green stegosaurus ornament, and the orange and blue and pink and yellow ribbon stuffed acrylic balls, and the pink knitted elephant. She left a literal trail of glitter through the store.

think we have ornaments in every colour built up over the last four years so I don’t actually need to buy anything (except a new tree skirt, I realized as I read last year’s blog about our tree). Part of me is hoping I can corral the rainbow into a fun ombre style, if M will partake, because I think they look really neat:

Rainbow-Tree-71

[Lines Across]

But if not, whatever — M is delighted just to decorate and I know it’s going to be another busy holiday with a new baby on board. We’ll see how it ends up!

Posted in Home & Garden, Life | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Master Bedroom: We’re Almost There!

Allow me to trot out these horrible photos once again — this was the room dubbed ‘The Scary Room’ when we bought this house in 2013:

Office Collage

Originally destined to become an office, it sat so long as an unused/storage room that it’s now becoming our master bedroom thanks to our growing family and our desire for, eventually, a larger bed. It is going to be so weird to actually use this room.

As a quick rundown, here’s what has happened in this new master bedroom thus far:

  • Matt reconfigured a bit of framing and drywalled the affected walls — the two exterior-facing walls are not in super-awesome shape but we left them as-is, and honestly, they look better just with new paint alone. The big difference is that where you see the shelves beside the closet is now the closet, and the former closet was torn out and is just regular walls now. It basically switched sides.
  • Those wooden shelves on the wall came out. They’re going to become part of the closet!
  • The hideous cheap orange-y laminate is gone, revealing the original hardwood underneath. We will eventually be refinishing it, but not now (it’ll happen when we do the rest of the rooms with hardwood, too).
  • The walls were primed and painted with Beauti-Tone Porcupine Quill, which was grabbed from a swatch book on a whim. It’s a beautiful colour that morphs between brown and gray and green and I really like it.
  • We bought baseboard, crown, and casing.

The biggest change, though, has to be the ceiling. Matt worked on it over the weekend and it’s shocking what a difference it has made. The old ceiling was terrible, falling apart popcorn stucco. Matt got the idea to install wood planks over it. He installed strapping boards first, then knocked each board into place individually, nailing it up with an air nailer. The original plan was to (eventually) paint it white but we are kind of loving the wood look and may stain it or whitewash it instead. Either way it’s not happening ’till spring so we have time to think about it!

MasterCeiling

The gaps around the edges will be covered by the crown molding. I think it’s going to look great — it already looks about a million times better than it did when we moved in, and it’s not in its final form! With the trim installed it’ll look that much better, and when the floors are eventually stained and we sort out the ceiling colour I think it’s going to be fantastic.

In terms of getting moved in pre-baby, it’s a matter of cutting, painting, and installing all of the trim, hooking up the new ceiling light, installing the closet drawers and rods (doors are on that big long ‘eventual’ list), cleaning the floor, and bringing in our existing furniture. We need nightstands and a shade on the window, but I’m not feeling any huge sense of urgency on that in the next few weeks.

Hopefully I’ll be able to share a bigger, as-complete-as-it-gets picture soon!

Posted in Home & Garden | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment