Why I Might Be “One and Done”

Growing up, I was never the girl who thought she would be the traditional “get married, get a kid-friendly job, have kids” type. My first dozen years were spent in a fairly traditional family environment in Russia, where that was pretty much exactly what women did, and had I stayed in Russia, I probably would have ended up on that track. But my subsequent and most formative years were spent in the US, where women could be anything they wanted and having kids was an option, not a given.

When I met Mr. Carrot, I met someone who shared my love for travel and exploration, and living in a major metropolitan area, we had plenty of adventure to pick from. With enough planning and saving, we managed to take some amazing overseas vacations, and our jobs were demanding and engaging enough that we generally felt like our lives were pretty complete. We bought a condo right outside our city, we formed a circle of friends that gave us plenty of weekend plans to consider, and we fell into a comfortable rhythm of being our own people and a young professional couple enjoying the kid-free life.

Mr. Carrot always wanted to have kids, but let me set the pace on that question. And for a long time, the answer was “no.” Not “not right now” or “I’m not ready yet”  - it was a solid “no.” As much as I loved kids, I didn’t feel any twinges to have my own. I could come up with a litany of reasons why I didn’t think we were ready logistically, but I was also always rational enough to know that you never really can be ready. My deciding factor wasn’t readiness, it was my own instinct – I just didn’t feel like kids were something I wanted to do. A lot of people rolled their eyes when this subject would come up – “you’ll get there eventually” and “insert name of commonly uttered phrase about having kids here.”

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Super Simple DIY Nursery Letters

I have developed an obsession with Paper Source and seek out excuses to pick out beautiful pieces of paper whenever I can. My favorite craft project so far has been these letters for the nursery. It’s so very simple, takes no talent, and with all of the gorgeous paper to choose from, you can easily create something quite special and lovely!

What I used:

I chose this quilt paper because it offered so many designs in one… making the letters look far more involved then they really were.

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Life with a Feeding Tube

Before D, I had never given a thought to feeding tubes, and most of my exposure was sensational – like, hearing about prisoners being force-fed during a hunger strike. I had a tour of the NICU when I was in the hospital before D was born, which was my first exposure to feeding tubes on anyone (specifically nasal-gastric or NG tubes). D had his NG tube placed on his first day of life – it started out going through his mouth, and later they switched it to his nose – both of which just went down the back of his throat to his tummy.

10 days old

Most infants will either get breastmilk or formula through their feeding tube, and some families choose to switch to a diet of blended food when their LO is bigger. The formula is either put in the tube through a syringe, or using a pump to give the dose at a slower rate. Often, babies/kids on feeding tubes need to eat at a slower rate to better tolerate the food, and for a while D was “eating” 20 out of 24 hours every day – a “bottle” given over 5 hours, with a 1 hour break before the next one started.

When D failed his 2nd swallow study and it became clear that he would need to eat via a feeding tube for an extended period of time, we had two choices:

  • Keep the NG tube
  • Get a G (gastrostomy) tube surgically placed

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Breastfeeding: Weaned at 16 months

If someone told me, during those early newborn months, that I would breastfeed Julia until she was 16 months old, I would have cried. I know the tears would’ve fallen, because hearing that would have felt like a horribly cruel joke. Our journey was so rough at the beginning that I’m still shocked we made it this far.

I wanted to talk about this earlier, but it would’ve meant saying that I was pregnant, and I wasn’t ready to let that cat out of the bag quite yet. I’m not sure being pregnant was the reason she stopped breastfeeding, but I definitely think it contributed to her weaning.

When she turned one, I introduced whole cow’s milk and gave it to her in a straw cup after she woke up and after she nursed. Little by little, I started offering the cow’s milk before I nursed her, and little by little, she stopped asking to breastfeed after those naps. She was too interested in playing instead of nursing—who can blame her? Toys are fun!

I was 10 weeks into my pregnancy, and Lil’ Bunny was 16 months, when—out of the blue—she didn’t ask to nurse at night for the first time ever. I knew that was the beginning of the end.

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Getting ready for the first day of preschool

For the last three years I have sent each of my kids to their first days of preschool. I was talking to a mom who was recently sending her triplets off to college, and she called it their launch. I laughed a bit at the term she used because I really felt those first days of preschool were our own little mini launch. I was sending my kids onto their next adventure, and it was one that they would have without me nearby. I can only imagine what this mom, who is sending her now fully grown “babies” off into the world, was feeling. I know the beginning of preschool was enough to give me butterflies in my stomach and feel that bittersweet twinge of our children growing right before our eyes. I feel like those early days are a huge transition for our little ones and us (I won’t lie, there may have been some ugly crying in the parking lot after dropping of my youngest for her first day). So here are some of the things we did to prepare for the big day.

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Postpartum anxiety

I got up at 1am to feed Charlotte. While I was nursing her I checked Facebook, and my feed was filled with local news stations reporting that a killer had escaped from prison. The prison is about two hours from our house. My heart was racing and I was convinced that he was on our back deck. I made my husband check every door and window to make sure they were locked while I sat on the couch and cried. Images flashed through my mind. I knew he was going to break into our home and kill us. My husband couldn’t calm me down, and I sat there trembling and awake until the news reported he’d been caught.

I already had an emergency appointment scheduled with my psychiatrist, but this was the first time I could say to myself, “okay, THIS isn’t normal. It isn’t just hormones. You need help.”

I had our daughter on a Tuesday morning and felt wonderful. I knew to expect a hormone crash. I had one with Chloe, but my crash was tears of joy. I cried because I was happy. I couldn’t believe how happy I was! We were a family of three and my life was absolutely perfect. This time, by day 3, I was sobbing uncontrollably and I didn’t know why. I was happy that we have a healthy daughter. Two daughters! I was glad to be home with my husband and girls. But I couldn’t figure out why I was crying so much or why I constantly felt on edge.

I have a history of anxiety and depression, so I went into both pregnancies knowing that I was at a higher risk for PPD and PPA. I’ve been on medication before and routinely see a psychiatrist. I was weaned off meds when we decided to TTC both kids. My psychiatrist met with my husband and I, and discussed what could happen if I wasn’t on meds. He said I could be ‘protected’ during pregnancy, but I kept regular appointments with him so we could regularly evaluate my anxiety. He said he wouldn’t hesitate to put me back on a pregnancy-safe med if I needed it. My husband was coached on what signs to look for — my biggest trigger is lack of sleep — and I signed a form stating my husband could talk to my doctor without me present. If he was going to be in the lookout for problems, I needed him to be able to call my doctor on my behalf.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

My pantry is filled with cans of pumpkin. They were less than half price at the grocery store last week, and I don’t think non-pumpkin-lovers realize how difficult it is to find in the off-season. So I grabbed a few (massive) cans, and am determined to try as many pumpkin recipes as possible.

The cookies I like best are crunchy on the outside, and chewy closer to the middle. Nearly all of my favourite recipes result in this texture, and I wouldn’t change them for the world. However, the other cookie-eater in the house likes soft cookies. Not underbaked…more like pillowy. Cakelike. So in an effort to satisfy Mr. O’s cookie texture preference, and to fulfill my pumpkin dreams, I baked these.

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