Scar tissue

Did you know that you can buy vaginal dilators on Amazon? Apparently that’s the best place to buy them, according to my doctor…

I went to my doctor for a routine pap today and asked about my misshapen vagina post-childbirth. I was pretty sure I had some scar tissue that was causing pain, and I wanted to make sure that’s indeed what it was, and not something more sinister. My doctor confirmed that I actually have quite a lot of scar tissue and granuloma from all of my stitches, and it has caused a lot of the previously soft and stretchy tissue to become hard and impliable. My doctor warned that it could be a problem for a second vaginal birth. She said that before exploring surgery to remove the scar tissue (which could of course cause more scar tissue), she recommended gradual dilation with special dilating cones. Cones you can get on Amazon.

I’m not willing to spend the $80 it would cost for these devices, especially since I don’t see myself using them regularly enough for them to work. I also don’t have any desire to use perineal massage to soften the tissue. I tried that a bit before birth and I hated doing it, and I tore badly anyway. So my vagina and I are at a stale mate.

I suppose I owe it to my sex life to try something, and I’m sure a looming second pregnancy would light a fire under my ass to take the stretching seriously. But for now I’m just frustrated that my stitches were done poorly and that I’m so scarred up.

The really big granuloma is from that one tear that was still gaping open between two stitches at my 6-week post-partum follow-up appointment. The one my midwife (whom I love in every capacity except for her ability to give stitches) said would heal eventually on its own. Yeah, with a giant bulbous scar…

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Dang birds!

Last night we heard a frantic kerfuffle behind our washer/dryer, which is in our walk-in closet off the bedroom. We assumed there was a mouse-fight in the walls. We live in an old house. These things happen…

This morning it started up again, but in addition to the scrambling sounds, we heard wild and crazed bird calls (link to a video clip at end of post). We pulled the washer/dryer out and saw the flexible drier vent pipe jiggle and bounce as a bird clearly ran back and forth inside the corrugated tube. It wasn’t trapped (the grated vent cover had fallen off (and landed 2 stories below)) but it didn’t want to leave. I jiggled the pipe and tapped on it with a screwdriver and yelled at the bird to get out, and it squacked back at me with indignance.

I worried that it had already somehow had time to build a nest and lay eggs and hatch them out and that I’d be killing a bunch of baby birds by removing the pipe. I also worried that the angry adult bird would fly out the end of the pipe and attack me as I removed it from the back of the dryer.

But none of that happened. It was just one frantic bird who didn’t want its newfound condo to be invaded by humans. It left the premises when I removed the vent pipe, and had only brought two twigs in so far in an attempt at making a nest. I shoved a towel in the open pipe and we’ll have to permanently fix the problem when we come back home after the long weekend.

Here’s a clip from my Instagram stories showing the wild and wacky sounds it was making!

This post is in response to a daily prompt.

5 awesome little things

I’m having a good day. Here are just 5 of the little things that I’m loving right at this moment.

  1. Avery was so happy when I picked her up from daycare. She and her daycare best friend were caught in an adorable loop of “bye”s and hugs when we were about to leave, and she sang to herself all the way home.
  2. After nursing her to sleep for her nap, I took about 20 minutes to just stare at her and kiss her forehead.
  3. I played with fresh playdough before it got sticky, snotty, slobbery toddler hands all over it.
  4. I baked a successful loaf of white sourdough bread – the white flour has been giving me trouble with rising lately, but this time I nailed it.
  5. It feels like spring outside. The air is warming, it’s rainy and dreary, and the earth smells fecund. My favourite kind of weather.

First period in almost 2-1/2 years

I’ve been expecting this. We night weaned a month ago, and I’d heard that breastfeeding at night keeps your prolactin levels up which can keep your period away. About 2 weeks into night weaning I started getting signs that I was ovulating – those old familiar signs that I used to get so excited over when we were TTC. And then today I got the first period I’ve had since my daughter was conceived in December 2015.

First, let me say how thankful I am that it was anticlimactic. I was worried that I’d have a horrible first period, with mammoth cramps and a monsoon-like flow. Instead, it came conveniently when I had my morning pee, and I didn’t feel a thing. I’ve always had really severe PMS cramping, likely because I had mild PCOS and cysts on my ovaries. I had some periods that I now know were really close to the pain of advanced labour contractions. So if this first post-partum period is an accurate representation of my future of periods, I’m a happy camper.

Despite the drama-free resurgence, I’m still feeling a lot of mixed emotions. It’s a symbolic end to the most meaningful time in my life so far – growing and nourishing my daughter as my body’s primary function in life (note: to each her own when it comes to what brings your life meaning). But I know that as she grows I’ll find more of my life’s meaning and purpose in raising her to be a well adjusted adult.

Getting my period also signifies a new beginning. I can now conceive again. We’re not trying for baby #2 for a long time still, but it feels different to be a fertile woman again. Being on my period is connecting me to the person I was before having a baby. I feel like I’m reclaiming my body as mine; it’s been primarily my baby’s for so long.

It’s a mixed bag of emotions, for sure. And even though I didn’t really experience any PMS this time, I still ate an entire chocolate Easter bunny because I always used to self-medicate my PMS with chocolate and wine. Old habits die hard.

Just another post about weaning from breastfeeding and #sleep.

Sorry to those followers who like to hear new stories about my goings-on. This is old news. We’re trudging through the challenging and sad territory of weaning from breastfeeding with a toddler who has only ever been able to sleep through breastfeeding.

It’s been about a month since we night weaned again (I say again because we night weaned a few months ago but that attempt only lasted two weeks). There have been two – maybe three – nights where I’ve broken down after hours of middle-of-the-night wakefulness and nursed my toddler back to sleep. Other than that, she only nurses twice a day – to sleep for nap, and to sleep at bedtime. She has handled the night weaning well for the most part, and doesn’t ask for milk through the night anymore. Thankfully, there really weren’t very many tears over the change. Occasionally when she’s having a rough time with a cough or congestion, an itchy rash, or being overtired she’ll ask politely for milk, but when I calmly say “no milk until bedtime” she doesn’t ask again. She has unlimited access to hugs, kisses and cuddles, as well as warm mint tea for that belly-warming feeling.

The first time we tried night weaning, she ended up sleeping through the night for the first time ever. I thought night weaning was our golden ticket to better sleep. I thought she was only waking so much at night because she had become conditioned to get milk at those times, and by de-conditioning her, she’d no longer wake. But last night, not unlike every other night this month, she woke up 5 times and stayed awake from 1am until 3am. And then she was up for the day at 4:30. She’s at daycare right now, but I’m just waiting for the call that she needs to come home early to sleep (she does half days and has her nap at home with me after lunch).

We’re just as exhausted as we were when she was an infant. It has me aching to spend a night in bed with her, letting her nurse freely through the night, so we all get a good sleep. But we keep hoping that eventually she’ll figure out how to fall back asleep without milk, and we don’t want to drag this process out by taking a step backwards.

This experience has reinforced my decision to not sleep train her using conventional methods – it’s right for some kids, not right for others. She’s the kind of kid who will stay awake ALL NIGHT LONG to get what she wants. In the crib, she would have cried for hours. In her toddler bed, she can get up and get a stuffed animal she wants, she can come and get me from my room without crying for me, she can easily remove or get another blanket… I’m happy we waited to try independent sleeping (without nursing or co-sleeping) until she was actually independent. I think she would have been awake just as much had we done it earlier, but she would have been a lot more distressed about it.

So life now is a waiting game, and we’re just trying to survive while we wait. We’re doing what we can to help her sleep – cuddles, reassuring cheek kisses, lots of rest through the day – but nursing through the night is no longer a tool in our toolbox. We want to see this through.

Wish us luck…

Words can’t describe

This kid is just so damn cute. I’m loving this age! Here’s the last 5 pics in my camera roll to illustrate my point, because words alone can’t describe how cute she is.

I really need to take the good camera out more often… My phone can’t keep up with the blur that is my toddler.

Countdown to TTC for baby #2: our timeline

My wife has started reminding me with increasing frequency that she wants another kid, and although we talk about it as something way down the road (“some day…”), there are a lot of moving pieces in our timeline and I think we need to be clear about all of the variables.

We’re still not planning to have another baby until I’ve finished my PhD, gotten a job, and have worked at that job long enough to be eligible for maternity leave. But the shortest estimated end-date for my PhD is about one year from today, and you only need to work about 3 months (600 hours) to qualify for maternity leave in my province. If I were lucky and got a job just a couple of months out of school, we could technically be birthing baby #2 a year and a half from now (*HARD GULP* – did not realize the shortest timeline was so short…).

And now for the longest (more realistic) timeline estimate. I would very much like to have baby #2 before I’m 35 – I already feel limited by my age when I’m too tired or stiff to keep up with my toddler (*side note: not all 35 year olds feel as old as I do and plenty of moms older than 35 can keep up with toddlers just fine). I’ll be 35 in July 2020. It takes 10 months to grow a baby from conception; therefore, I’d like to be working on conceiving baby #2 by early next fall (2019), which also happens to be about the time I hope to be starting a job. Yikes – when I lay it out like that we’re really cutting it close to the start of my future career. Sorry, future employer. And let’s hope I can actually find a job right away…

If we follow through on our plan for reciprocal IVF, it takes time to go through the planning, appointments, plus the 6-month sperm quarantine for a known donor. Let’s work backwards to see when we need to start the ball rolling:

June 2020 – Have baby #2. I’ll be about to turn 35, and Avery will be about to turn 4.

October 2019 – Conceive baby #2.

March 2019 – Put our donor’s sperm on ice and wait 6 months for him to get re-tested for STIs. Following testing, IVF can be done.

September 2018 – Start talking to our donor about going through the more intensive donor process for IVF, start researching reciprocal IVF.

So it looks like I have about 6 more carefree months before TTC research consumes my brain again! And I thought I was consumed by research on at-home insemination…. IVF is a whole new ballgame that I never thought I’d have to learn about. Maybe I can convince my wife to take the lead on research this time.

*Edit to say that I got my age wrong in the above calculations… I will be 32 this summer, not 33. Sheesh. So add a year to the longest possible timeline.