Travel Essentials

We recently returned from a weekend trip to NYC. We drove to Toronto, then took a one-hour flight to New York. It was a quick trip but it was so much fun! These are a few items that we were so thankful for during our trip!

Firstly, we just started using our Fawn Design diaper bag and I have never owned a diaper bag that was so user friendly! It’s big, with so many compartments and can be used as a backpack or as a bag. The stroller hooks are perfect and hook on and off the bag easily. Plus it is so beautiful! You can buy it here.

These Aloe and Green Tea Face and Body wipes by J.R. Watkins smell and feel so incredible! It’s so nice after a being in the airport or on a flight to have something hydrating and refreshing to wipe your hands and face with! They also offer home care wipes as well as a men’s line and the ingredients are 98% natural! These are now a staple in our bag. You can buy them here.

I love L’occitanes products, and their products are all I use for my daily skincare routine. This Immortelle Precious Face Essential Mist is great for hydrating and toning on the go. It stays in my bag at all times! You can buy it here.

Lastly, we brought our travel sound machine by Dream Egg and used it every day and night. It has a battery backup that charged during the night while we were sleeping and then lasts 10-hours on one charge! It was fantastic in the hotel for helping drown out the never-ending New York noise and we hung it to the troller and used it on the go everyday for Sullivan’s naps. This sleep sound machine has 24 sounds, including 7 White Noise, 7 Fan Sounds, and 10 Nature sounds. Once we turned on the sound machine he fell asleep within ten minutes and had a 2+ hour nap each day. Thats a huge win on vacation in my opinion! You can buy it here.

Also huge thanks to Lynette from Serene Sleep Solutions for all of her tips for sleeping/napping while away on vacations. Her insight and experience as a Sleep Consultant allowed her to create a plan for us to assist in making the away-from-home experience as seamless as possible. Thanks Lynette! You can visit her site here.

Thanks for reading!

Julie

xox

Sullivan’s Nursery Tour

When I designed Sullivan’s first nursery at our old house it was all white and I loved it being we didn’t know if he was a boy or a girl. Once we moved to our new house when he was 9 months old, I wanted to fill his room with blue and all things boy. I found this wallpaper and I was obsessed, but didn’t feel like we needed to spend over seven hundred dollars to do one accent wall! This was our inspiration; not bad, eh? I am SO happy with how it turned out and at a fraction of the cost! (Under 70 dollars)

I painted the three walls Bright and Early (baby blue) and painted the accent wall Snow White by Benjamin Moore as a base.

I was very reluctant to get started on the stripes because I wasn’t sure if it was going to turn into a disastrous DIY project. One morning I decided I would just get it over with so I had Travis use our blue chalk line and snap several lines equal distance apart all the way up the wall. I had purchased a quart of Chantilly Lace and a Quart of Kensington Blue and began mixing a different colours of blue. I would pour a few drops of blue into a small bowl of white paint, then add bit more blue into the next bowl and so on but didn’t really stir each bowl until I had several bowls of paint with different shades of blue. I think not stirring each bowl and adding a few drops of water helped achieve the watercolour effect.

Travis left for work and Sullivan and I got to work! I used several two-inch sponge brushes and worked one line at a time. I wanted the lines to be a bit bigger than they were in the wallpaper and the brushes I chose worked perfectly. The entire process of painting the lines only took 1.5 hours! I was so pleasantly surprised.

Sullivan’s adorable “Sullivan” pillow and blanket are from our favourite small shop Tiny Bear Designs . The owner, Pam, is truly one of the sweetest people I have ever met and she has exceeded our expectations each and every time we have received something from her in the mail! She makes personalized items such as blankets, crib sheets, clothing, hats, pillows, aprons and so much more for your littles. The quality is amazing, attention to detail, general communication with her is fantastic and her turnaround time is great. There’s something so great about supporting a fellow Mama from Ontario! Love!

The bookshelf, end table, lamp and light fixture are all from Homesense. The picture frames are from Ikea and have the cutest detail on them. Linked here. The animal pictures are from Etsy and we have 8 of them. Linked here

The grow ruler sign is from a local small shop that we received as a shower gift. The chair is from Wayfair.

If you have any questions other please let me know!

Julie

Babymoon in Greece-Part III-Naxos

We got up early enough to watch the sunrise on Santorini before taking a cab to the port to head to Naxos. It was a beautiful sunrise and a short cab ride before we arrived back at the hectic port. Thankfully, we quickly boarded our Ferry which was another Hellenic Seaways called Nissos Samos. The ferry ride was 2.5 hours and it was super smooth. We were so shocked at how empty the ferries were throughout our travels. Literally HUNDREDS of empty seats. The ferry was very clean and beautiful with multi-levels. The only disadvantage of the high speed ferries is that you can only go while leaving and pulling back into port, as it is dangerous to be outside while traveling at full speed. All of the ferries had excellent Wi-fi and served food and drinks (some things were included in the VIP section but others were not.)

We decided to stay at an Airbnb in Naxos and chose a small Sea view apartment and couldn’t have been happier. It was very homey feeling but was very updated and was located literally STEPS from the the St. George Beach! It was such a beautiful spot; walking distance to the main town area and so many wonderful restaurants! A special thanks to our hosts Tony and Angelika for a great experience with Airbnb.

Naxos is quiet and very authentic feeling. While it doesn’t have the same highly photographed areas that you get in Mykonos and Santorini, you also don’t get the crowds or the higher prices. Naxos in general, was very affordable and significantly cheaper than the other two islands we visited. We enjoyed Nutella crepes every night after our supper for less than 2 euros as well as yummy cappuccinos. There were so many wonderful restaurants to choose from with our favourite being Su e Giu where the Italian food was delicious but the service was hit-and-miss. We also ate at Barozzi, Nissaki, and Mythodea. Barozzi had just opened a few nights before and it was a 3 minute walk from our AirBnb so we decided to try it out. The decor was very modern and the restaurant had two open air walls. The prices here were higher but it was so incredibly beautiful as well as delicious! The service was also impeccable. The next night we went to Nissaki which is a beautiful beachside restaurant. We watched the sunset from our table and enjoyed very tasty pastas. Our Last evening we went to Mythodea which has since permanently closed where the sunset was to die for however, the food was not fantastic.

Something that was unique to Naxos compared to the other islands is that the area where we stayed in Saint George was right at the Marina/Port area. We weren’t doing lots of stairs and instead were walking right beside the water and boats rather than looking down 600 stairs or so to see them.

We “made” breakfast in our room each day that we bought from the market just down the road. Greek coffee, Greek yogurt, honey, and fresh fruit. It wasn’t a lot but it was perfect and helped save a bit of money! We also bought water and snacks to bring to the beach. It was on the beach in Naxos at about 19 weeks pregnant that I felt Sullivan kick for the first time, it was so special!

Naxos is home to some beautiful ruins, we visited the Apollo Temple which is pictured below and is walking distance from Naxos town. It was so beautiful and not nearly as busy as the ruins we visited in Athens.

If you’re looking for excellent or high end shopping Naxos is not the place to go and unlike the other Greek islands we found most places closed for siesta. Naxos provided a very authentic Greek experience, while laying on the beach each morning we watched as an elderly Greek man who carried a small stool would go way out and sit on his stool in waist deep water and stare out towards the horizon while a group of Greek women would swim, dance and sing Greek music together, it truly felt like a European experience. There were also much less tourists here in fact I would say we saw few tourists. You would want to pick your time of year carefully while visiting Naxos though because we learned that most stores and restaurants close at the beginning of October because of the lack of tourism during October to May.

https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/12783254?guests=1&adults=1

We loved our time in beautiful Naxos and feel like we barely scraped the surface, next time we will hopefully delve deeper into the history and explore more of this large island in Greece!

Packing Tips for a Family Beach Vacation (With a toddler)

The task of packing for our trip to Punta Cana with a 1 year old was seemingly more overwhelming than packing had been in the past sans kids. Not only was it hard to picture everything that we could possibly need but also the added problem of how-in-the-world would we fit it into two suitcases.

We upgraded our flight package to allow for more checked baggage weight which was helpful and as it turned out, completely necessary. I started packing about two+ weeks in advance as I pulled all of our Spring/Summer clothes out of storage and washed it all. Sullivan only had a few pieces from last summer that he still fit which meant only one thing… shopping! ūüėÄ

We ordered him a heap of summer clothes from H&M, Carters, Hudsons’ Bay and Baby Gap as well as both Grandma’s found several items for him. We traveled with water shoes which turned out to be amazing for Sullivan in helping him keep sure-footed en-route to the pool/beach as well as on pool tile and in the sand.

Sullivan’s Navigator Babiators are from West Coast Kids and his swim set is from H&M Kids (sold out now)

We purchased our matching family swimsuits from Patpat. I was totally unsure of the quality based on the price when I ordered but was pleasantly surprised! Other than a strong smell when they arrived (which washed out perfectly), I couldn’t have been happier with how they turned out! Also, you can’t beat the price. I ordered mine in my regular size (Small) Travis’ in his regular size (Large) and for Sullivan, the smallest size they carried was a 2 Years so I ordered that for him and it fit great.

We packed a small first aid bag with a baby thermometer, Baby Tempera, band aids, and other assorted medicines that we thought we might need. We were thankful we did when Sullivan had a low grade fever the first morning after arriving.

We brought a full sleeve of diapers as well as about 20 swim diapers. We came home with several of each left but didn’t feel we overpacked.

Food was tough, not knowing how Sullivan would react to their food (and especially their milk) so we brought heaps. We packed 8 yogurt drinks, several small greek yogurt, 15 pouches, puffs, cheerios, crackers, animal crackers, Gerber baby cookies and Baby Mum mums. He ate pretty much everything we brought. We also packed four bottles for the plane rides. FOUR. 2 of milk and two of juice and water to help those little ears pop. We also brought Earplanes to help with this as well and although I have nothing else to compare it to, while all other babies on the plane were crying, Sully was all smiles. *We bought a pack of three which I would highly recommend as they are *very* easy to lose.

I love my Mossio packing cubes, I find that you can fit SO much more in your suitcase and it helps me stay organized while traveling. Normally, I use the merlot coloured cubes for me, navy for Travis and grey for Sullivan however this trip I used most of them in a different way. Once all of our clothes were washed and folded I laid them all out on the bed and started choosing coordinating outfits; one for Travis, one for Sullivan and one for myself (including accessories) and would put it all into one cube. I did this for most days as well as separate one cubes that included our dinner outfits. I love wearing coordinating outfits as a family so found this to be the most efficient way rather than sorting through our clothes each day and night tying to pick outfits. This way, I simply chose a cube based on whether we were doing a dress-up or dress-down day/dinner and everything was already chosen for me. Ahhhh, simplicity. (aka extreme organization) The ones we use are linked below.

https://www.amazon.ca/Mossio-Set-Packing-Cubes-Shoe/dp/B01M03O1QE

https://www.earplanes.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw7YblBRDFARIsAKkK-dKTAh1_joadN3SOZ5rpbFMrWnzneJRXUuNOTve9pv392PnIFmbMr5EaAsQpEALw_wcB

https://www.patpat.com/product/Ruffle-Striped-Family-Swimsuits.html?is_new_category=0

https://www.theshoecompany.ca/en/ca/product/elements-youth-boys-aqua-sock/871101077

https://www.westcoastkids.ca/original-sunglasses-navigator-mirror

Gruffalo First Birthday Party

After we bought “The Gruffalo” book by Julia Donaldson I read it to Sullivan and was inspired by the rich illustrations and comical story of a little mouse who out-smarts all of the other animals in the forest. I figured this would make a perfect theme for Sullivan’s first birthday party!

We began planning a few months ago, (aka me planning and Travis consenting ;)) I found Gruffalo cookie cutters on Etsy (linked below) which took several weeks to arrive from the United Kingdom and our party began to take shape.

I knew I wanted to make his cake myself and made the fondant characters a few weeks in advance giving them time to adequately dry (and to come up with a backup plan if they didn’t turn out.). For the cake I used a recipe that we’ve been using for several years for a Vanilla Poppyseed Cake with a Swiss Meringue Buttercream (via Sweetapolita) The Buttercream took MUCH longer to come together than it says in the recipe (there… I’ve given you fair warning!) https://sweetapolita.com/tag/swiss-meringue-buttercream/

The” Sullivan is One” cake topper is from Etsy.

The balloons/helium and kids candy were all from either Party City or Balloons Online. I will say the quality of the balloons wasn’t amazing as they all were sitting on the ground by the next morning.

Sullivan’s “1” sweater is from Jacadi (Sherway Gardens) and is my new favourite store for him!

Pinterest

Winter Family Photos

I love me some good Winter family photos however, with a baby this can be an interesting experience.  We got a beautiful snowfall in the end of November followed by a perfect plus 5 day which led to getting some good shots on our new property.

Sullivan’s whole outfit is from Baby Gap.

Travis sweater is RW&Co and jeans are Boss.

My top is from Grace & Lace and boots are Guess.

I die. His trapper hat and big blue eyes get me every time.

*Photos must not be used without permission.

Baby Essentials

There were several items that we found useful during our year and a half of parenthood but a few items that we thought were absolutely necessary!

  1. The Love to Dream Swaddle was definitely one of our favourite items for Sullivan.  We received two as gifts and bought more so that we would have two in every size for those inevitable midnight blowouts throughout his first 4 months.  Sullivan never wanted to be swaddled with his arms at his side and would always un-wrap himself and end up with his hands beside his face so these were the perfect solution.  They prevented the startle reflex and made the many nighttime diaper changes an absolute breeze with the two-way zippers.
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Love to Dream Swaddle

2.  This strolled has been phenomenal! The Bugaboo Donkey 2 is spacious and pushes like a dream which is fairly crucial in our ranging climate.  The bassinet was great when Sullivan was a baby and the transition over to the reclining seat was seamless and is extremely versatile.  Upright for looking around and reclining for nap time!  Forward-facing to check out the scenery and rear-facing to keep a close eye on Mommy and Daddy.  The possibilities are endless ESPECIALLY since you can pop out the side carrier and add a second seat (or bassinet)!  Perfect for a growing family. We still are using this stroller often!

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Bugaboo Donkey 2

3. This Hydrasense Nasal Aspirator is something that we think is very crucial for that first newborn cold.  I have a friend who told me that we needed to buy this before our new bundle arrived but because I’m stubborn and refused to believe that our baby would ever get sick, did not listen! (stupidly). When Sullivan got his first cold at 1.5 months it hit hard, in the middle of the night and it was all kinds of stressful.  He couldn’t breathe and if he was reclined AT ALL he would start choking on mucous.  We seriously considering bringing him into emerge but decided to wait it our and see if we could get in to see our Family Physician in the morning. Travis and I sat in the bathroom with the shower running for almost two hours hoping that the steam would break it up and it did help, for a few hours anyways.  Anyways, immediately after seeing our doctor in the morning Travis went to buy one of these and what a lifesaver!  After saline drops, you literally insert one end of the aspirator into the baby’s nose, and the other into your mouth and suck, hard!  Mucous-be-gone! At nearly 20 months, we still use it every time he’s sick!

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Hydrasense Nasal Aspirator

4. For newborns, the 4Moms- Mamaroo4 Plush was a lifesaver.  It allowed me to shower or get a few jobs done while the babe slept peacefully.  As Sullivan was a little bit older, he loved the music and mobile for entertainment and it was usually successful in putting him to sleep. Once Sullivan was big enough to roll we had to put it away but it was wonderful while we could use it!

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Mamaroo Plush

5. Dream Egg Sound Machine

We are obsessed with this sound machine, it has SO many sound options and the nightlight is awesome, just the perfect amount of ambient light. There’s 30,60 and 90 minute timer settings or you can toggle to continuous. There are 24 sounds including lullabies, nature, rain and fan sounds. The only thing I don’t like is that we didn’t get it until over a year and a half! It would have been the perfect amount of light/sound when I was nursing him when he was little.

6. The Halo Bassinest is life.  Pure newborn perfection.  The numerous settings, sounds, swivel, lights, and overall design sure made those first few (sleepless) months simpler and oh so convenient.

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Halo Bassinest-Premiere

7. The 4Moms- Breeze Playard has made travelling a breeze, pardon the pun.  While we have never used it as a playpen, it has been used countless times for naps and nights while visiting family or at hotels.  It folds with such ease it honestly takes less than a minute to set up/pack up.  The newborn insert was perfect when Sullivan was little and once he began sitting up and the insert was no longer suitable we put it away and just use the regular mattress pad which also doubles as your box.

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Breeze Playard

8. MAM Glow in the Dark Pacifiers- If your little one likes a soother at bedtime, after trying many, MANY soothers, this one is our favourite. The main reason we love it is because it glows in the dark which is amazing because when they lose it, instead of crawling around on your hands and knees to find it in the middle of the night you can see it immediately.

*All opinions are my own.*

*Most images via Google

Homemade Pizza (BBQ)

Summer evenings are perfect for pizza but turning the oven to 425 degrees for a half hour tends to heat our house up too much for it to be appealing.  Que BBQ pizzas.  I made homemade dough in the bread machine and rolled it out just like I would for normal pizza.  We brushed both sides with oil and laid them on the grill on high heat for about 3-4 minutes per side.

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Once both sides were cooked we added our sauce and toppings, turned down the heat to low and closed the lid for another 5-7 minutes.

The result is a delicious “wood-fire style” pizza and your house remains cool. You’re welcome. ūüėÄ

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Happy cooking!

-Julie

 

 

Babymoon in Greece-Part II-Santorini

We woke up early to take our high-speed ferry from Piraeus to Santorini.  We made a reservation on Hellenic Seaways and booked a VIP table for extra comfort being this was a fairly long ferry ride (4 hours and 45 minutes) and we weren’t sure what to expect or how busy the rest of the ferry would be.  We found navigating our way to the Ferry Terminal to be simple however finding our exact port proved to be slightly more difficult!  We found it with time to spare and found it to be a seamless process to board however we were a little nervous to leave our luggage unattended but apparently it’s common and less of a big deal than we thought it would be.  We found our table and enjoyed our departure from the Piraeus port out on the deck while the sun rose.  The journey was relatively smooth with two stops at Sifnos and Ios before our arrival at the Athinios Santorini Port.

Two words come to mind when describing the Santorini new port… Absolute Chaos.  It was nothing like we expected whatsoever.  We were anticipating a clean and picturesque welcome, similar to pictures we had seen without realizing that those pictures showed the Old Port, not the new one.  It was loud, dirty and hectic.  There were solicitors every five feet trying to get the business of tourists whether it be purchasing souvenirs or using their taxi to get to their hotel.  We quickly haggled with a cab driver for a reasonable price to get a ride to our resort.

Now, the reviews on the El Greco Resort in Fira were somewhat mixed at the time of booking but it was where we wanted to stay and was “resort style” which was something that we wanted for this part of the trip being we would be here for 4 nights. ¬†We had one of the few Junior Suites at the resort (totally worth it) with a large balcony on the second level. This resort was very special because it is located on a very narrow part of the island and from the balcony you could watch the sun rise out of the Aegean Sea in the morning and watch it set on the west side at night. ¬†These sunrises and romantic sunsets ¬†will forever be a part of our fondest memories of Greece.

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*Image taken from Google.

The pools here are lovely. There are 3 of them and although cold, were perfect and never busy.  The breakfast buffet was included in our stay and was very impressive.  Greek coffee with an expansive hot breakfast complete with Spanakopita, croissants and real Greek Yogurt were enjoyed tremendously during our stay.

The Suites are large, with a massive 2-head shower area, kitchenette, large cave-style bathroom, living room area, and bedroom.  As I already mentioned, there is also a large balcony.  Be warned, the beds are not comfortable, (this was conclusive throughout our trip) they are extremely hard and there were springs sticking in my ribs all night long.   The concierge at the resort were very helpful in making our dinner reservations for us ahead of time and making suggestions with regards to the best places to eat and with the best view of the caldera and sunset.

This resort is a pleasant 5 minute walk into the very authentic town of Fira but you have the added bonus of complete quiet at night because it isn’t located right amidst the action. ¬†This was perfect for us as we would enjoy a morning by the pool and then head into town for lunch, exploring, and shopping for the afternoon and then return to our room to get ready for our 7:00-8:00 dinner reservation back in Fira. ¬†There is also a grocery story between the resort and Fira where we purchased lots of bottled water and snacks, etc. ¬†Buying water gets expensive so we found it best to buy large bottles in cases at grocery stores and bring it with us during the day rather then buying it while we were out and about. ¬†That being said, we added up what we spent on water during our two weeks in Greece and it ended up being upwards of $500.00CAD. ¬†Staying hydrated isn’t cheap! ¬†Lunches ranged from 7-30 euros for both of us. ¬†7 euros would get you takeaway style gyros and 30 euros would get you a traditional greek salad, cappuccino, water, and personal style pizza or pasta. ¬†Dinner ranged between 50-80 euros on Santorini which would include water, bread to start, two main courses, and a dessert to share. ¬†These dinner restaurants were all on the hillside with a sunset and ocean view. ¬†Something to remember in Greece is that most restaurants bring items to the table that you have not ordered and leave them for you. ¬†If you leave them untouched you will not be charged for them but if you accept and consume the items they will add the items to the bill. ¬†These items are NOT complimentary unless they tell you that they are. ¬†We did have complimentary bread, a dessert tray and drinks brought to us on a few occasions but typically they are not complimentary. ¬† We enjoyed two excellent dinners at Volcano Blue where the service and food were wonderful as well as dinner at Rastoni where we had the best Baklava of our entire trip.

We spend some time at a coffee shop called Seasons in Fira where the Barista showed us how to make a proper greek coffee.  It was an educational experience and was a lot of fun for both of us! Here, they give you a tiny piece of dark chocolate when you buy a coffee or cappuccino.  Greek coffee is different than the coffee we are used to because they never put cream or milk in it. Also, it is such a fine grind that the grinds are not strained out of the coffee before drinking, rather they sit in the bottom of your cup when you are finished.  38315A70-823C-495E-A0F8-469CFCF1A752

Our last day in Santorini we decided to make the trip to Oia. ¬†As we looked into our chosen mode of transportation for the 15km journey we realized that taxis were few and far between on Santorini with the exception of at the port so we decided to take the bus. ¬†We walked into Fira where the {very busy} bus station was and joined the masses hoping to board one of the busses to Oia. ¬†The bus ride was less than 2 euros each however it was not a direct bus and took us all over the countryside (literally) before arriving in Oia. ¬†This was a less than pleasant ride and I ended up quite car-sick (winding roads, no air conditioning, lots of stop-and-go, no water and being five months pregnant likely didn’t help matters either). ¬†Once we arrived we were quite hungry so we found a spot to sit and relax and have a snack while my stomach settled. ¬†Our dinner reservation was at 7:30PM at Catch. ¬†We had a lovely table with a beautiful view of the sunset but to be quite honest, we were underwhelmed. ¬†There is a lot of hype surrounding Oia and while it is perfectly picturesque we found it to be so overly touristy that we didn’t get the same authentic Greek feel that we did in Fira. ¬†Perhaps this is because Fira is home to the old port so it has remained more authentic while Oia has become a tourist hotzone. ¬†That in mind, we did get some beautiful pictures in Oia with the stereotypical white buildings with their blue roofs and enjoyed the very high end main shopping street.

Our bus ride back thankfully, was a direct bus and was a great deal smoother (it was dark by now which helped I think).

Below is a photo of the stairs that lead to the Old Port. ¬†You can take a donkey or walk them if you choose, we did neither. Because…588 stairs.C806F06F-D76F-4B52-8DF2-33E7DFF2886E.JPG

The next morning we were up early to watch the sunrise before our taxi arrived to take us back to the Port Athinios to board our ferry to Naxos. A perfect end to our time in beautiful Santorini.

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Thanks for reading! Happy Travelling.

-Julie

Sullivan’s Birth Story

I had a wonderful pregnancy, I felt a little tired somedays but as a whole found it to be a wonderful experience. ¬†I prepared the best ways I knew how; by talking to other moms and by reading. Lots and lots of reading. ¬†Probably over-reading to be honest. ¬†I’m a firm believer that knowledge is power however in this case it was likely to my disadvantage as the more I read, the more fearful I became of the idea that I actually had to push this baby out of me.

I made a birth plan and planned for the most natural birth possible. My intention was clear; to avoid pain medication unless I got to a point where I truly could not handle it any longer and then I would get an epidural.

I did yoga, and stretching and we walked. We walked A LOT.  I was hoping to get labour going without the pending induction but to no avail.

I wrote Sullivan’s birth story quickly just a few days after he was born. ¬†It all felt like a blur, days blended from one into the next as we were overwhelmed with this new all-consuming love. ¬†I assumed (and as I had been warned) that the days following having a baby are exhausting and overwhelming however, I felt just the opposite. ¬†I was full of energy albeit, a little sore and SO. IN. LOVE. ¬†I was in love with my brand new, tiny, squishy and content little baby but also so in love with my husband who would forever be thought of from now on as; Sullivan’s Daddy.

Sullivan’s original due date was January 27th which was then adjusted based on my 20-week ultrasound to February 1st. ¬†Less than 4% of babies are born on their due date, however Sullivan was one of them! ¬†My OB-GYN discussed the option of being induced at one of our appointments before baby arrived as we considered the potential weather hazards that Northern Ontario can present at the end of January combined with speeding the 1.5hour drive to the hospital. She also stated that current literature suggests inducing at 39 weeks led to less c-sections compared to those who went overdue so with this in mind, if I didn’t go in naturally before January 27th, this would be my induction date as she was working that day/night.

I had cervical ripening done Friday night (January 26th) at 9 pm and I it (apparently) started working overnight. We awoke the next morning and ate a leisurely breakfast at the hotel in Sudbury while we waited for 8:30 to roll around so we could head into the hospital to be checked. ¬†I assumed they would need to do another round of cervical ripening in the morning when I went in to be checked because I had just been cramp-y overnight but nothing serious. ¬† Once we arrived and they checked me they said I was dilated 3cm and that I was in the very early stages of labour and that the Doctor would be coming in to break my water. ¬†I started contractions right away ‚Äúnaturally‚ÄĚ and felt very minimal pain all morning so when they came in at noon to offer me an epidural I felt very confident in my decision to tell them “no thank you!”

At 1pm they checked me again and I hadn‚Äôt progressed at all. They said Baby had moved down but that I hadn’t dilated any further and that we needed to get things moving so they put me on an Oxytocin drip. From 2pm-5pm was painful but nothing unbearable and the Nurses kept coming in to offer me gas and an Epidural and I refused again. At around 7PM I asked to be checked again and was only at 7cm. ¬† This was so defeating because the Nurse that had been with me all day (her name was also Julie) was leaving for shift change and we were in hard labour now. ¬†The new nurse’s name was Mel and she was so sweet but didn‚Äôt do much in the form of encouragement so that was a little unfortunate but Travis and my mom were both by my side and they were amazing! Travis was so supportive, he didn‚Äôt leave my side and was seriously so tuned in all day to my every need that I‚Äôm pretty sure he worked as hard as I did.

From 7pm to 9:30 pm was brutal, I wanted to give up and I vomited and then dry heaved with every contraction. The pain was indescribable and the pressure even worse and I really broke down so I asked to be checked again around 9:00pm and was still only 7cm.  This felt so discouraging and I felt frustrated as the Nurse.  At this point my nurse left for a break and the head nurse came in for about 15 minutes and instantly began coaching.  She instructed me to get on all fours and a few different things right away and although these things were incredibly painful it gave me the courage to go a little longer as she explained how these things would speed up the final few cm. We laboured until 10-10:30 and I asked to be checked again because I was getting the urge to push and the pressure was incredible!  She checked me once again and I was at 9cm.  Just hearing her say 9 meant that I was SO close to the finish line and that gave me a second wind.  Suddenly I had this strong feeling of confidence that I could do this and that we were SO close!

The next 15 minutes were such long, hard contractions in transition until I told my nurse that I had to push right now!  She checked me again and said that I was at a 9.5 and asked if I could just hold on for another three contractions that I would be able to push.  I agreed and after 3 more contractions and I started pushing involuntarily.  My nurse said  okay just let your body do what’s natural but don’t push any harder yourself. She checked me again and I was at 10cm and ready to go!

She called for the Doctor and before my Doctor came in I did 2 “practice” pushes with about 5 nurses and the resident that was working with my OBGYN. Pushing was probably the BEST feeling!(or the worst, depending on how you look at it but at least I finally left like I had some control!)

I pushed with every ounce of strength I had left in me. I only had two contractions worth of pushing before the baby’s head was out. ¬†This part was going quickly and I was SO thankful! ¬†I gave one another good push and he was stuck, his elbow was up beside his shoulders so after a quick adjustment I gave one final push and he was out and I cried my eyes out! In total I pushed for just over 10 minutes from when I started pushing without trying to push! He was born at 10:59 pm and was 7lbs 14ozs and 21.7″ long.

I was patiently waiting for someone to tell me whether it was a boy or a girl but no one said anything! With my upper body shoved between my knees our baby finally opened his legs and through my tears I said ‚ÄúTravis, it‚Äôs a boy!! You have a son!‚ÄĚ and then they put him on my chest and we did skin to skin. ¬†Fortunately I only needed one stitch from him getting stuck and we were able to cuddle while the Doctor did that.

It’s a special moment and one that is oh so unforgettable. ¬†It’s not a feeling that can be explained and the wave of emotions and love that overcomes you is like nothing else. ¬†Looking at my husband with love in my eyes and looking at our new baby boy with disbelief as if to say, “Is he ours? Did we make this perfect baby?”

Labour is something that needs to be experienced to truly understand.  After talking to many other women, listening to countless labour stories and becoming as educated as possible on the subject and I still felt utterly unprepared for the events of that day.  No one can prepare you for the pain, but no one can prepare you for the love either.  The best part is is that the memories of the love quickly overcome the memories of the pain and make us want to do it all over again!

Love. at. first. sight.

 

Thanks for reading!

-Julie