Thursday, 31 May 2018

My Babies!

As I mentioned, my mom has been in Edmonton visiting My Babies. This is why she wasn't at The Cottage for the long weekend. It feels like it has been forever since I got a chance to see Mike, Aimee, Avery, and Maya. I think the last time was summer last year, so we are edging towards a year. That is a long time, babies become different people sometimes in days. It is great to see photos when mom goes, which she always puts on her blog. Here are the posts from her recent trip out west to see her grandkids:
- Intro Post, tons of photos, tons of smiles
- Out and About, lots more pictures, you can see how mobile they are now
- Duck Photos, short post, great shot of Maya
- Final Posts, photos really show how much Maya has grown, and Mike (probably Aimee) shows me up by remembering Mom's birthday and getting her a cake.

I may not see them often, and I worry that my niblings don't know or remember who I am, but Mike makes sure she has them say 'Hi' to me whenever I call. We don't talk on the phone often but when we do there is usually a point where Mike is getting the kids to, 'Say Hi to Aunty Chris' which is always adorable because it isn't easy to pronounce. (When we were little Mike called me 'teen' because he couldn't say 'Christine'.) I think 'Ch' part is hard for babies. I miss them so much, it is always adorable to hear them try. Then there was this recent phone exchange with Mike:
Me: Ok, I gotta go. I love you.
Mike: Ok, talk to you later.
Me: Hey! Tell me you love me. (This is a normal thing I do at the end of a call with him, he usually relents and does it. I take my forced affection when I can get it.)
Mike: ...
Me: Tell me you love me.
Mike: (Away from the phone) HEY, KIDS, come here. Tell Aunty Chris she's stinky.
Chorus of two little voices: Aunty Tiss your stinkyyyy.
Me: Ok, fine, that works. I love you. Bye. (I guess I will take forced insults from my babies when I can get it too.)

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Motherhood - Epidural

Excerpts from New York Times article 'Get the Epidural' by Jessi Klein

No one ever asks a man if he’s having a “natural root canal.” No one ever asks if a man is having a “natural vasectomy.”

“What are you trying to win?” What was I trying to win? I thought about it and realized — nothing. There’s nothing to win.

“There is science showing all the risks of an epidural!” Well, again, I am not a doctor, but I do have the internet.

There are so many debates in this life in which there is some evidence of one thing and also some evidence of the other. At such a point, you just have to decide to believe in and do what is best for you. So here’s a radical idea: Why not do the thing that makes you happy?

There is so much pressure on women around birth and labor and mothering to do it this way or that way. It’s so easy to believe the notion that having a baby demands complete and total self-abnegation, and anything short of that is not enough.

If you’re worried that skipping the pain of childbirth means you’re somehow cheating your baby, or yourself, you’re not. Because the truth is, life offers more than enough pain that you will not be able to skip. 

Yup, give me the epidural! There has never been any question in my mind, if I am ever giving birth I will be getting the epidural and any other pain killers/drugs they can throw my way. I like modern medicine - I like making pain go away.

I have heard the positives from the other side, friends and acquaintances that wanted/tried/had a drug-less birth or some variation. For the most part their reasons made sense. Rarely are these people conspiracy-theory hippies, or self-flagellating mommy-martyrs, though sometimes. For the vast majority they made (or tired/planned to make) a personal choice based on what was important to them.

What is great from all my conversations on the topic is that this seems to be very much a personal choice and an understanding that there are reasons to make the decision either way. Some pregnancy or parenting subjects have strong reactions, judgement, and opinions about right/wrong, unlike what the article suggests, I don't get the feeling that the choice to get an epidural is one of those.

Those who have been through it: Please share in the comments if leading up to birth, during, or afterwards friends, family or event strangers were sharing strong hurtful opinions about your choice to have or decline an epidural?

I am inclined to say, and have said, to someone planning on forgoing an epidural, "Are you crazy? What about the pain? I would totally get all the drugs!" Which I hope isn't viewed as hurtful, it is the same response I would give someone who is suffering through a headache and not taking an Advil. It is an expression of awe at someone else' pain tolerance and not a judgement about the choice they are making for their body.

In my experience, the most common reason against getting an epidural has been the ability to walk afterwards instead of waiting until the drugs wear off, and with that a faster departure from the hospital. Personally I love hospitals so that reason doesn't apply to me. Also I just absolutely hate pain, I used to take Tylenao 3s (from my high-school wisdom teeth removal) to get my legs waxed. Hit me up with the drugs! But you do you.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Birthday Kittens

ERin and Anne emailed me this for my birthday. 
Makes me want another kitten real bad.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Eeek, Oops

So, forgot Mom's birthday yesterday. It isn't that I forgot that it was her birthday - May 20th is pretty ingrained in my head - it was that I was at The Cottage and didn't know the date. Got back today and oops, it is the 21st. Hope the cute Mother's Day post made her smile and she forgives me.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Away From It All

Escape To The Beach
Long Point, May 2018
Photo by me, taken on my phone

Sunday, 13 May 2018

No Enough Of My Mother

After spending the last few months in Spain, and now visiting Mike, Aimee, Avery, and Maya in Edmonton for a few weeks, it seems like I haven't see Mom much since our Africa trip in January. I wanted to make a Mother's Day post and went looking for a photo on my computer - I only have the shots from Africa, and I didn't take many of people. I understand the thrill of the animals and wanting all the amazing pictures of them, but it is sad that I don't have many of us - the time spent together with friends and family is really important and I am just not documenting it as much as I should. (See photo on right that I got - Mom taking photos at Blyde River Canyon.)

So, Happy Mother's Day Mom! I love you and I miss you, and I am so glad we got to spend our first big visit to Africa together. In honour of that, here are some baby/parent pictures from that trip.

Unless noted, photos are taken by me (and not edited) please click to see larger. All from our trip in January 2018:

Parents and Baby African Penguins
The young ones are fuzzy, not as cute as expected, 
fully grown is adorable though.

 Two Little Dassies with Their Mommy
Cute rodent thing found on Table Mountain, closest relative is an elephant.

 Baby Baboon Runs to the Grown Ups (By Jason)
It was estimated that this little guy was only a couple of days old, so tiny.

 Young Impala Nursing (By Jason)
They very violently nursed! 
It did not look pleasant, the mothers were not pleased.

 Mother Peacock Watches Over Her Baby (By Jason)
Never seen a baby peacock before, 
there were a bunch, very interesting and quite cute.

 A Wee Elephant Stays Close For Protection
The baby elephants were the best, most large herds had at least one.

 A Zebra Foal (By Jason)
My Mom has better shots on her blog, he stayed close to his mom.

 Two Tiny Black Velvet Monkeys and Their Mother
These were 'my monkeys' because I often saw them from the bus 
and no one believed me.

Saturday, 12 May 2018


My event is six weeks away!

We did get some things done in advance this year, but it doesn't feel like we got enough things taken care of. There will still be a mad rush over the next month and a half to finish everything in time.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Doctor Numbers

Flying home today and I still keep thinking about the intercom call for a doctor that happened on our flight down. It seems like such a strange policy. And for sure it is some type of policy because airlines have procedures for everything. I decided I wanted to look at the numbers:

Cooling My Feminist Jets
So, I had been very happy/surprised that it was a female doctor answering the call. Turns out, not that rare. There is probably still a wage gap, and possibly still a 'senior position' gap, but the gender gap for Canadian doctors has shrunk considerably. 41% are female; 59% are male. Two thirds (64%) of family physicians under age 35 are female.

What About Specialists
Almost half of the over 83,000 Canadian doctors are specialists of other disciples, instead of Family Medicine. Students in medical school in Canada will experience many fields of medicine and decide on their specialty during 3rd or 4th year. After that choice, residency training can be anywhere from 2 years (Family Medicine) to 6 years (Neurosurgery). Most specialties are a 5 year program. So they have the medical base, but a specialist can really be pretty specialized, and there are 37 specialties available in Canada. Would a urologist be that much help to someone who fainted in a plane?

Seems Like A Long Shot
Based on the total population of Canada there is only about 1 doctor for every 500 people. The plane we were in seats 100. That is a 0.2% chance there would be a doctor on board. When looking at people who fly, mainly those who can afford to fly, than doctors would be more likely to be on board a plane while the general population less so - this increases the chance. Often planes would be larger than the jet we were one, increasing the passengers to maybe 200. Huge planes can have more than 600 seats (in a two-tiered class configuration. Actually 800 in single-class, but I have never seen that.) I still don't like the odds, or many I don't like the fact that they are relying on odds.

Improve Your Odds
If they had asked "Is there a doctor or nurse on board" that would really improve the chances of a generally trained health care professional. There are lots of different types of nurses, including those in advance nursing practice, like nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists. There are 4 times as many nurses as doctors in Canada.

Source information:
Look at me citing things like a good girl who went to university and grad school!
- Canadian Institute For Health Information
The Canadian Medical Association
- University of British Columbia Medical School
- AirBus Corporate Site, Aviation Blogs

Further Reading:
I am like my own Wikipedia article here. If you found this as fascinating as me, the likelihood of that might be small, then these are some interesting international articles on the same topic:
- July 2017 - ABC News (Australia) - Is there a doctor on board? What happens during a mid-air medical emergency
- March 2017 - The Telegraph (UK)What really happens during a medical emergency at 35,000 feet
- January 2017 - Singapore Medical JournalWhat to do during inflight medical emergencies? Practice pointers from a medical ethicist and an aviation medicine specialist
- April 2013 - Quartz (USA)What it’s like to be the “doctor on board”, and why airlines shouldn’t be relying on them