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To work or not to work?

That is the question.

My first day back should be July 4th….American Independence Day. Not sure if that’s a sign I should actually break free from the yoke of employment (and daycare drop off/pick up schedules) to be the primary influencer and educator to my young children in these highly formative years.

Why do I want to go back?

For the pay…to maintain our comfort. Except after paying for childcare, I’d be netting what we spend on food each month. And we’d likely have to find two day cares since the only one near us that takes both Nessness and Obiwan’s age groups already told me before Obiwan was born that there’s no chance he’d get a spot. That’s TWO drop offs and pick ups to coordinate. So I’d be paying a lot of late fees. I bet someone will always be sick as well. I guess there isn’t a lot of comfort in that sense. Plus in the 12 hours that the children will be awake, I’d only see them for three of them. An hour and a half would be used in meals. Thirty minutes in driving. Leaving one hour of real “together time”. The thought makes me sad.

And also for the “work from home” job. It’s been a god-send and a very enviable position to have. Short of having a home business, it’s not likely I’ll find something like this again. But going back to work so I can say I work from home isn’t exactly logical either.

Then Ms PR sent me this article on “Ten bad reasons to get a job” and well, I don’t really have a reason to go back to work. If I found my job thoroughly fulfilling and enjoyable then I can justify returning…but that’s not my case…so why is it so hard to decide? Even though the author gives me permission not to work, there remains a nagging voice that a modern, university-educated woman like myself should continue to work. Am I just waiting for my husband to affirm my inclination to dedicate this time to raising our kids?

Meanwhile, I talked to my manager and requested returning on a part time basis. Historically no one’s gotten this before. He said he’ll take it to the Director and HR. Will see what happens. And I will cross that final work/no work bridge when I get there.

Did you go back to work? Why/why not?

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Happy Birthday Dai Kow Fu!

My dear brother, I miss you. It’s been ten years. I’ve started telling Nessness about you, her Dai Kow Fu. She knows you’re born in the year of the ox. I think you’d have lots of fun with them. You’d be buying Nessness a lot of dahn-tat (egg tarts), A&W onion rings, and popcorn. You’ll probably have to negotiate with her over the last piece of century egg. And you’d probably be the one to buy her a Star Wars BB8 toy. Obiwan is still little but I can see you trying to make him laugh all the time. Oh and you’d get them Flames gear to balance out all the Oilers stuff their Daddy will get them. 😀

You’d be 32 now. Married maybe? I try not to imagine what your life could’ve been too much. I just wish you were here and that we can celebrate your birthday together. Nessness would probably want to be on your lap as you blow out the candles. Going to have some sushi for you today. And bubble tea.

Much love to you.

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And then there’ll be two

natural_parenting

That’s right…BB2 is delightfully on the way, expected July 11th so I’m over halfway there! I was nervous through the first trimester after our previous loss but the constant nausea/perpetual terrible taste in my mouth told me things were going well. Energy and appetite is great in second tri though I have GDM again so am watching my carb/sugar intake. I’m sad to have to limit my noodle intake. Am also praying I won’t be insulin dependent like I was with Nessness. We’re really thankful and excited otherwise.

Any thoughts on how to prepare for two?

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Loss

(Image not mine)

We got pregnant again and were expecting our second child in Spring 2016. Granted at week four there isn’t a whole lot there, but by week six there’s a heartbeat and buds for arms and legs and developing eyes and a lot of anticipation. Anticipation of the morning sickness, the growing bump, the first noticeable movements, picking names and a birth. Then anticipation of how Nessness will handle being a big sister, how they might play together, expanding the children’s rooms, thoughts of a minivan. Anticipation for new first baby smiles, baby cuddles, family cuddles, laughter and chaos. Anticipation.

We excitedly share with family. More anticipation.

Then at week seven, I saw some brown. It’s fine, lots of pregnant moms do. It’s nothing, everything is fine. But by the second day, the brown turned red. Bright bloody red. It was like a regular medium flow period. Day after day. Toilet bowl after toilet bowl. But I had no cramping. And all the online advice said it’s when you have blood and cramping that is likely a miscarriage. One lady bled for two weeks but still had a healthy full term baby. So I prayed. We all prayed and hoped baby was okay. “Baby” because that what a positive pregnancy test means to me. You don’t name tissue. You name a baby. You don’t anticipate and dream of a life together with tissue; you do that with a baby. A baby who will grow.

But they don’t tell you about the clots, the clumps, the big clumps. Every time I saw some I hoped that wasn’t baby. In the toilet bowl. Being flushed away. And nothing I could do about it. That was hard…nothing. I. could. do. The whole time being on vacation too. It was a crappy vacation.

When I came back I had an ultrasound lined up. There was a small bud visible but no heartbeat. It’s too early in your pregnancy to tell, the radiologist tells me. Then I see my doctor, “It’s likely an early miscarriage. The pregnancy would have ended about a week before the bleeding starts. And since this is so early, it’s not uncommon you didn’t have cramps. The bud you saw is a two millimeter size bump of trapped fluid but it should reabsorb into your body. Blood tests for HCG serum levels will confirm the miscarriage.” So I take a blood test. HCG serum level was at 48…it should be at least 7000 by now. And two days later, it has fallen to 19. My deflating heart crushed. All the anticipation gone. And to tell family that their anticipation has to go as well. Sucked. Just sucked. So that clump I saw one time…with a perfectly round, small, blueberry sized bubble on it…maybe that really was baby. In the toilet. Flushed away.

“20-30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage”
“It’s really common, many don’t even realize they were pregnant’
“It’s your body’s way of naturally handling a nonviable pregnancy”
“It’s technically not even a fetus yet”

None of that made me feel better. I don’t care about the medical facts…only that our anticipated BABY was no more. Her life that just began has ended. It’s not scientific but baby felt female. I also had a tragic dream while I was pregnant, of a baby girl who would never grow up to have her own children. So I will refer to baby as a girl here on in. (Side note, how can we accept that early pregnancies are only considered Life if it’s wanted? And if unwanted it’s just tissue? No, all human life should be valued because it is human. Period.)

Then I started wondering, could I have stopped this some how? My endocrinologist confirmed it wasn’t related to my thyroid. It’s not my age. It’s not because I should’ve rested more. It just happens. Because it just does. For many.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)

I am trying to be thankful. Thankful for the beautiful Nessness in our lives. Thankful we even got pregnant. I know that in itself is a miracle. Thankful the miscarriage completed naturally, that it wasn’t a later miscarriage and  and that I didn’t see a more developed baby come out. My heart breaks for moms who did. I’m still working on thankfulness but lately I’m also thankful I can drink wine and eat paté.

Once the miscarriage was confirmed by blood tests, I wrestled with how to give significance to a life that wouldn’t have been considered “life” in our culture. Am I supposed to pretend it never happened? Did the little life matter? And I wrestled with why this had to happen. Why did God give and take away? And I was reminded that this happens like why cancer happens or why bad things happen in general…this world is fallen and sin has permeated everything. Sin leaves a crimson stain. Wages of sin is death. But in Christ, a new sinless life awaits. And Baby has reached that already.

A good friend reminded me, “Your brother gets to meet this niece first!” And that brought bittersweet cheer to my heart. Yes. Praise God. Which means we’ll meet her one day as well. God knows and loves us before we’re knit together in our mother’s womb; He knows and loves and is with our second baby too. He made her and has a name for her. This is where I received some peace…she IS significant. She is our second. We will meet her one day (another item to be thankful for). She is loved.

Another friend shared how her mother in law had multiple miscarriages and how she named each one. I thought it was a beautiful way to honor their lives (no matter how short). I remember when we were picking Anessa’s name, we were considering “Hannah” for her middle name because it means “grace” and she was a woman of faith in the Bible. We decided on Grace in the end, but this time, I came across the Japanese version of Hannah, Hana, which means “Flower bud”, and thought it was perfect for reminding me of God’s grace, faithfulness and describing the little life I carried for a short while. We introduce Hanna. Our flower bud.

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The Reason for New Stress Wrinkles on My Face

12-13 months old

I became a working mom on April 6th. That happened far quicker than I would’ve wanted. But what can you do. Since then, the last month and a half was frenetic in juggling work, housekeeping and childcare. We didn’t realize you had to sign up for daycare or day homes as soon as you got a positive pregnancy test. So we were about two years behind on the wait list. There are very few spots for babies under 36 months…even less for those under 18 months. We were in a bind that needed a solution fast. My Aunt advised, “If you’re going to pay money for someone to care for your baby, pay a little more and have them clean your house too. Then when you’re off work you can really enjoy the time with her without thinking about when you’ll gave the next opportunity to mop the increasingly gummy floor or do laundry.” She has a point, a well-kept house does wonders for de-stressing my mind. And then I heard about this. OMG. We started looking for a nanny.

The nanny search process was much more stressful and discouraging than anticipated. I paid for a subscription to http://www.nannyservices.ca ….a great site connecting care givers to those needing care. As soon as I posted I had applicants coming in. Then I was scheduling interviews and sorting out who we could afford. We learned a lot in the process.

During this time I was also constantly trying to ask friends if they could watch Ness for a portion of the day. What a humbling process to keep asking for help. Week after week. And what a blessing to have the community we do. There was one day though, about a month into our search, days of furrowing my brows reading profile after profile, after our third round of interviews, and after the third nanny trial fell through, and after EVERYONE I contacted for help the following Monday couldn’t make it, I cracked and cried. I started to wonder if God was closing doors as a way of telling me to not work.

Hubs shared that he felt God was telling him to be patient as He was lining up the right nanny. And that if we were going to pray for God to provide the right nanny, then we should let Him provide in His timing. He also said maybe we need to speed up the whole process. We were taking one week to interview/trial/make offer….but maybe it needs to happen even faster than that.

Practically speaking, my Aunt said it’d be a good idea to hang onto my job right now so that Hub’s can build his new client-base, we can continue to get all the extended health benefits, I get a second mat leave (no I’m not pregs) to allow us to maintain at least one stable income. All good points. So we paid for a second month of the nanny subscription and posted again. We lined up interviews on Friday. Selected a couple to trial on Sunday. Made an offer on Monday. And she started yesterday!

WHAT RELIEF!

It’s the first time either of us have ever had any hired help for any kind of home stuff we’re capable of doing. The first day went well…and we’re praying for it to continue that way!

Question for Moms out there:
After you subtract the cost of a nanny ( including CPP, EI, Vacation pay, WCB) from your net income, what’s your threshold amount for it to be worth it to hire a nanny? What do you want your net take home amount to be?

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It Makes a World of Difference

If you’re having or have children and you have the option to move somewhere…move close to family. Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins….just aim to have family or people who are like family close by. It really makes a world of difference to have that support and help. I’m a few minutes’ drive from my Uncle’s family. On days I can’t get dinner together, we’re invited to their place. If I have a doctor’s appointment, I ask when my Uncle’s free to babysit and then I have my hassle free appointment. If my Aunt or Uncle is free in the evenings, Hubs and I can sneak out for a date (we supply snacks and Netflix.) And several times my Uncle has asked if I needed any groceries as he was on his way to pick stuff up. It’s such a blessing. SUCH. A. BLESSING.