October 30, 2011

This One is for Me.

I am writing this blog post to stay focused.

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I am writing this blog post to help me resist the giant bowl of Halloween candy sitting in the next room.

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I am writing this blog post because I feel guilty for eating 5 pieces of candy already today. 

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I feel so guilty because today was the day I was supposed to start anew.

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I refuse to add today to the list of false starts. 

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I entered all of my food into My Fitness Pal. Obviously, I am over my daily quota.

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Regardless, it is entered. 

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My Fitness Pal tells me that if everyday were like today I would lose 1lb in 5 weeks. 

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Today, I will take that as a win, or rather a loss. I am still on the losing side and not on the gaining side. Good enough.

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For the rest of the night, I will drink water and stay strong while occasionally giving my dear hubby the evil eye as he munches on some Skinny Sticks. 

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Tonight is my night to be the pillar of strength.

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This blog post may have nothing to do with what you want to read, but has everything to do with what I need to write.

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Thanks for reading anyway.

October 26, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up - October 26, 2011

Overall weight lost: Not looking...

Weight lost this week: Not looking...

Work outs: Thursday - Strength (60 mins) & Cardio (20 mins) / Friday - Yoga (60 mins) / Saturday - Off / Sunday - Off / Monday - Workout @ Home (15 mins) / Tuesday - Strength (55 mins) & Walk/Run (60 mins) / Wednesday Off (Maddie Sick)

Accomplishments: The week started off strong. I managed to get 2 strength workouts in, which is more than I have been of late. In addition, I've been really excited to run again - isn't that weird? Sadly, Maddie woke up with a fever today and so I had to cancel my weekly run date with Katie. Hubby and I have been planning a weekly run date at my in-laws, but we still have yet to get out there and do it since we've been so busy this week. We'll try again for next week...

Dark Chocolate Guiness Cake with Bailey's Buttercream Icing

Challenges: This past week was a real good/bad example of black and white "dieting". I was off the rails this weekend, and then Monday I made this DELICIOUS cake for hubby's birthday. The Bailey's Buttercream icing has to be the most heavenly thing I have ever tasted. Needless to say, some was consumed during the baking process... 

The big problem I have with desserts is that I can completely live without them, but once I indulge two nights in a row, it quickly becomes a routine and here I sit CRAVING something sweet tonight. The up side is that there is nothing in our house that will satisfy this craving; the down side is that hubby is ready and willing to go out and buy something if I say the word. Good thing you can't buy a slice of the delicious cake anywhere nearby...

Thoughts: I am still focused on getting through our vacation without going hogwild. I think that daily exercise will be the key to staying focused all day. I'm hopeful that hubby will join me in the gym and take advantage of my folks staying in the condo with us. 

Stay focused. Stay focused. Stay focused.

October 24, 2011

This is My Bucket List

This is my entry in the Just Ask Bucket List Getaway Giveaway. Just Ask offers a breast and ovarian cancer screening and is encouraging people to share 15 things that I want to enjoy in my lifetime as a reminder to be aware of my health. Want to enter? Head over to TodaysMama.com to get the details. 

1. Take my girls to Australia to meet a few kangaroos and koalas and show them where I grew up. We will avoid the places their father frequented when he lived there as a wayward bound twenty-something.

2. Own a horse. After years of riding and competing, I would like to eventually have my own horse, preferably in my own barn in my own backyard with my own indoor arena... (and the list goes on).

3. Take a romantic trip to Paris with my husband. Have a picnic under the Eiffel Tower and stroll around St-Sulpice and the Luxembourg.

4. Visit a Christmas Market in Germany. I would love to drink a mug of mulled wine under a blanket of fairy lights and feel the magic of the season.

5. Lead a team of marketers on an exciting, cutting-edge project.

6. Further my education in the Marketing field. More importantly, make this a priority in the next 10 years. 

7. Have another baby. Boy or girl, it doesn't matter. Our family is not yet complete. 

8. Find the right opportunity to start teaching dressage again. Family aside, this is my passion in life.

9. Continue my path to healthy living and finally reach my goals. Be strong, fit, healthy and satisfied.

10. Compete at the Prix St. Georges level in dressage. Or at the very least, ride a horse that could teach me everything I need to know to compete at that level.

11. Be in a Hollywood movie - even if it is as an extra. Seriously, how cool would that be?

12. Become a yoga master (is that what it's called?). I love yoga. I love the stretching, the meditation, the control, the relaxation. I want to be able to do all the crazy poses that look impossible to almost everybody.

13. Find more time for photography. I want to capture more moments through my lens.

14. Maintain the perfect balance of work life, family life, and me time over the next 20 years to enjoy (almost) every moment while we live together in our family home. 

15. Watch my children learn from their mistakes, support each other, and grow to become happy, smart, and successful individuals.

October 19, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up - October 19, 2011

Overall weight lost: -63lbs

Weight lost this week: -3lbs

Work outs: Thursday - Work-out @ Home (15 mins) / Friday - Cardio (30 mins) / Saturday - Off / Sunday - Off / Monday - Off / Tuesday - Burn Workout (70 mins) / Wednesday - Cardio/Running (50 mins)

Accomplishments: This week I bought my first pair of big girl running shoes! I figured I needed them now that I am becoming a RUNNER. I went to the Source for Sports and they observed how I walked and found the right fit for me. I'm very happy with them, although I sure do hope they hold up given how much they cost! 

My new shoes after their first 5k.

Challenges: Today I set out to set a baseline time for a 5k run. Unfortunately, 25 minutes into the run one of the daycare volunteers came over to talk to me about Maddie and I hit the stop button on the treadmill. Unfortunately, there is no way to continue after you hit stop and so I had to reset the machine and lose my progress. I was pretty frustrated when I started back up. I was on my way to talking myself into stopping since I had lost my reason for running, but instead, I cranked up the pace and took out my frustration by running faster. I ran for another 15 mins assuming that I would have hit the 5k by then. The baseline will have to come another day.

Thoughts: I read a really good blog post by Sasha yesterday morning that really got to the core of where I am these days. I hope it inspires you too.

Rob - The Estrogenization of One Man

As a married man living in a house of all women (including the dog), I must admit I have been thinking about my increasingly disappearing masculinity.  The very fact that I am not deeply disturbed by my wife’s blog on giving birth naturally has left me somewhat concerned.

It is not that I would describe myself as the manliest of men or a particularly Alpha male.  I mean, while I like most of the rugged sports like hockey or football (except MMA – I just can’t get into that one for some reason) and always enjoy a good action movie, I have also always appreciated the other side of things like an unusual work of art or reading a variety of literature, with the exception of romance novels (at least for now...).  I have tried to think of myself as someone who balances an appreciation for all that the feminine side of the species brings to the table meanwhile maintaining a good dose of testosterone. 

I’m fully aware it’s not a competition, but with the birth of our second daughter this past year and the passing of the only other male presence in the house, our faithful old dog Tassie, I have definitely noticed the balance of power has shifted.   I can already see that the older our kids get, the more things are going to sway towards female-centred activities like dance classes, ballet, ringette, and so on.   Funny enough,  the question I find I’m asking myself is not what can I do to inject more masculinity into this family but rather, is more along the lines of how far this is going to go and will that even bother me?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that lots of girls and women love watching and playing sports like hockey and football.  I have been trying to convince Cate for almost two years that she wants to play hockey.  She says she does but I think it’s kind of like when you tell the slightly senile old man something nice just to shut him up.  The conversation usually goes:
Dad: “Cate, look the Senators are on TV”
Cate: “Cool, can I go put on my pink Sens jersey”
Dad: “Sure.  Cate – are you going to start skating this year and play some Timbits hockey when you turn 4”
Cate: “Okay….Dad – can we change the channel?  I want to watch a girl show.”

I guess what it seems to be coming down to is wondering whether this change is more related to reaching a point in my life where I can accept the fact that the interests of my family are more important than my own likes and dislikes.  Maybe it’s not really about masculine or feminine activities, rather, maybe it’s about wanting to do things that I know my wife and kids are going to enjoy and trying not to assign a gender.  
I know society went through that whole metrosexual thing a few years back, but I’m not sure that I’m ever going to be okay with letting my daughters give me a makeover or paint my nails.  Further, if we decide to have another child who ends up being a girl (it’s almost guaranteed at this point), I am still reserving the right to create some sort of “man cave” in the basement.  Overall, I think I have come to the conclusion that I’m okay with my own increasing estrogenization.
For all the other Dads out there living in a house of women, or Moms living in a house of men - What do you think? How have you handled this challenge? 
For the rest of you who haven’t faced this challenge yet - is this even still a big deal in the world we live in?
P.S. This blog has been edited by a woman before being posted.

October 17, 2011

Fulfilling Resolutions

This weekend I did something impulsive. Some might even call it crazy. This weekend, I signed up for my first 5k! Hubby and I, along with a few friends, will be running in the Resolution Run. I'm actually really looking forward to it. I think it will be magical to run along the Rideau Canal under the stars on New Years Eve. What a great way to cap off a year of fitness and healthy changes - who knew I would ever think I was capable of running 5K?

Pretoria Bridge at Dusk - Source

With my registration in, I need to start training. A good start will be to run outdoors since, to date, I've only ever run distances on the treadmill. I've been told that if I train at a 1% incline on the treadmill, then I shouldn't find it more difficult on the uneven terrain. I'm thinking that I will run indoors once a week (hopefully with my cheerleader Katie by my side), and then run outdoors once a week with hubby if we can find a sitter for the kids. We may end up actually driving out to my inlaws 30 mins away and run in their neighbourhood while they watch the kids... You do what you gotta do, I guess!

I'm also hoping that this will be good incentive to stay focused during our upcoming vacation, in addition to the many holiday celebrations just around the corner. I'm still struggling to find a happy medium with the food aspect (last week's cleanse days were a failure), but I figure if am focused on fitness then I'm not going to stray too far off from the healthy path. Katie wrote a great post today over on Losing it in Ottawa that talked about balance, rather than your typical black and white eating. This is something that Katie and I talk about on a regular basis . It makes so much sense when we're running side by side on the treadmill, but somehow becomes much more difficult to apply on a Friday night after listening to hours of whining from the kidlets. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to separate my emotions from eating, but I am certainly working on controlling it. 

October 16, 2011

There's a new kid in town

Hi everybody.

It’s the infamous, at least in my world, hubby who is often referenced here in lalaland. Laura has been asking me to write a post for probably somewhere in the neighborhood of four or five months and I must admit that the thought of putting my thoughts and views out there for all to read left me a bit apprehensive. I mean, will anyone care what I have to say and frankly, other than my family (I’m including friends as well), should anyone really give a crap what I have to say. So inevitably, I have taken an all too male gender typical response to things like this and procrastinated without actually saying that I wasn’t going to do it.

Laura: “Rob, are you going to write that blog post?
Rob: “I’m just about to go for a run, maybe when I get back.”
Laura: (An hour later) “Rob, are you going to write that blog now?”
Rob: “I don’t know what to write about and now I’m too tired. I promise I’ll think up something really good and write tomorrow.”

Repeat Monday but insert different excuse unless I’m feeling particularly lazy and then just repeat excuse.

It’s not that I don’t have opinions and nor is it that I don’t think I can
articulate them well. Those of you who know me, I think can attest to the fact that while I try to remain fairly PC, I am more than happy to jump in on a debate and have always tried to live my life with the following mantra: “If you know a little bit about a lot of things, you’ll always be able to get by.” In my teenage and university days, my mantra was actually: “If it doesn’t affect the price of beer and cigarettes, then who gives as shit”, but considering I don’t smoke anymore, hardly drink, have two kids, live in the burbs with a mortgage, and am middle-aged (when did that happen?), that just doesn’t seem appropriate. Rather, my hesitance has been centred on a couple of key things:

1 - I think my wife’s blog is fantastic, she is a great writer and I didn’t want to ruin the flow of it by adding another distinct voice. I know this sounds like a bit of a cop-out but I swear it’s not.

2 - I do have some reservations about putting my life out there. (Given the above comment, I guess I have come to accept this)

3 - I have been struggling with what to write about. The only things I write these days are; briefing notes (notice that this blog post reads a lot like a BN?), reports, spreadsheets and incredibly badly punctuated emails.

4 - If I find some things to write about that I think are interesting and would be relevant to this audience, I would want them to be funny and to be absolutely honest, most of stuff that I find funny is not really suitable for wide range of audience.

However, it’s Sunday morning and Laura was nice enough to get up with kids early even though this is something that I normally do and that got me thinking about how marriages and life in general are about compromise, trying new things, and doing the best you can with what you’ve got. So, since this is something that brings so much joy to my wife, the least I can do is share in the experience and you know what? I have actually really enjoyed putting my thoughts out there this morning and will make a commitment to come back and write again. I will give fair warning to those of you here to learn/discuss marketing, don’t read any of my posts. I’m sort of guessing they will be centred on family, sports, healthy (or not so healthy) living and maybe the odd funny thing that happens during the course of the day.

For those of you who know me, or frankly, even for those who don’t - please feel free to send me blog requests. I’m like blog karaoke, I’ll write the posts but I think it’ll be way more fun if we all have a few drinks and do it together.

Please submit your requests below.

October 12, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up - October 12, 2011

Overall weight lost: -61lbs

Weight lost this week: +4lbs

Work outs: Thursday - Cardio (50 mins) / Friday - Yoga & Cardio (80mins) / Saturday - Off / Sunday - Off / Monday - Off (Gym closed) / Tuesday - Off (Cate was sick) / Wednesday - Core Class (60 mins)

Accomplishments: My biggest accomplishment this week has been foregoing Diet Coke & coffee since Monday. I had also planned on cutting out Peanut Butter, but both days I NEEDED a scoop by the end of the day. 2 out of 3 ain't bad - right?

Yesterday hubby and I started a 9 day cleanse. This time we are really sticking to it (thus the restrictions on my favourite hunger quenchers). We made it through our first two Pre-Cleanse days and tomorrow will be starting the first of two back-to-back cleanse days. Thankfully, we have a date night booked for Friday night when hubby and I will go shopping for our Halloween costumes and leave Grandma to deal with the little ones. It's a safe bet to assume that our patience levels will be pretty low by then!

Thoughts: I am really trying to re-focus and set new goals. I'm also trying to convince myself that it is possible to lose or maintain weight while on vacation since we're getting ready for a 2 week stay down South at the beginning of November. I'm not willing to give up and allow myself to gain weight only to sabotage all the hard work I'm putting in right now. 

My question for you is: How do you keep your weight/eating/indulgences under control when you're on vacation?

October 10, 2011

Turkey, Pumpkins & The Captain's Lounge

Thanksgiving is our favourite holiday. We love it so much that we host dinner for our family every year and will not give it up to anyone else. It's a holiday without expectation (other than the turkey of course!). There are no gifts, no necessary decorations, and no long-winded stories of mystical creatures waiting until everyone falls asleep to come creeping around the house. 

Thanksgiving tradition in our house starts with the bird. Hubby is responsible for all things meat. He cracks a beer and begins to get the bird ready around 9AM. To clarify, by get it ready I mean that he takes it out of the packaging, covers it in bacon and put it in the oven (we buy the Butterball pre-stuffed cook from frozen, I mean, who really wants to stick their hand up the turkey's rear?). Hubby takes care of that bird all day - checking it, basting it with beer and replacing the bacon once it starts to dry out. I can tell you that his TLC is well worth it - that turkey is delicious! I think that overall, this has been our best Thanksgiving dinner ever. The food was scrumptious, the weather was perfect, and the company was fabulous, as always.

Could you add a little more bacon please?

On Sunday, we spent the day taking apart our basement. We have been in our house for almost 5 years now and we have not done anything with it. When we moved in, hubby nicknamed it "The Captain's Lounge". It's dark and dingy with wood panelling all over and plush forest green carpet. Nothing about it says "Hey kids, come downstairs and play!". My brother kindly offered to help with the dismantling (despite fighting off an illness) in exchange for accommodations and beer for the weekend. They got a great start, but there is still a lot of work to be done. We're going to take it one step at a time since we don't have a budget put aside for this project, but I'm optimistic we'll have it done by the Spring.

Welcome to The Captain's Lounge

Today, we joined our friends at Saunders Farm to give the kids some fun time outdoors. We were a little unprepared for the heat and the poor kids were all in long pants and long sleeve shirts! We took lots of water and shade breaks to make up for it. The girls had a blast playing together and I'm happy to say that Cate loved the jumping pillows (just like Mom & Dad). Maddie was pretty happy to see everything and I'm sure can't wait to explore everything when she's a little bigger. I think we'll be buying the season pass next year!

Overall, I think we found a great balance this weekend. One day for family, one day for renovation, and one day for fun. I decided late last week that this weekend's calories didn't matter. Hubby and I will both be starting a 9 day cleanse this week and so we let ourselves off the hook and it felt pretty good. Obviously we can't do this every weekend, but once in a while isn't terrible. 

Tomorrow is another day.

October 7, 2011

Home Alone

I have a little under three months left to my Maternity Leave and oddly enough, I'm okay with it. During my leave with Cate, I was really nervous about going back to work. Would I like what I doing? Would I trust the daycare provider? Would Cate be happy about the change? Was going back the right decision? 

After my first day back I knew I had made the right decision. I was a working mom. I needed my independence at the office in order to have to energy, enthusiasm, and patience to be a great parent. I'll admit that it a big part of it was our great daycare provider. We are so lucky to have found someone who seems to have an infinite amount of patience. She is calm and quiet, caring and fun. It didn't take Cate long to settle right into her new routine. 

When I became pregnant with Maddie, I knew that I would need to find a way to ensure that both kids could go to the same daycare, and more importantly, find a way to keep our beloved daycare provider. Together, we negotiated a schedule that mixed part-time and full-time care and allowed Cate to stay home with Maddie and I for the summer. This schedule gave me a bit of alone time with Maddie and also gave the daycare provider enough of an income to hold the spots for both girls when I go back to work in January. 

Due to a few unforeseen circumstances, Maddie has also started to go to daycare once a week. Although this is not what I planned, I am going to use the time to try to accomplish some of the many projects I intended to do this year - or at the very least, I tidy up the house and do the laundry while I catch up on my shows! And now, I go back to watching Grey's Anatomy...

October 6, 2011

October 5, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up - October 5, 2011

Overall weight lost: -65lbs

Weight lost this week: -5lbs

Work outs: Monday - Cardio (50 mins), Walk (60 mins) & Saunders Farm Workout (60 mins) / Tuesday - Circuit Training (75 mins) / Wednesday - Cardio (30 mins) / Thursday - Yoga @ Home (20 mins) / Friday - Yoga & Cardio (75mins) / Saturday - Off / Sunday - Off / Monday - Sprint Intervals (40 mins) & Power Yoga (60 mins) / Tuesday - Off (Sick) / Wednesday - Core Class (60 mins)

Accomplishments: This week I managed to take off the last of the weight I put on during my trip to NYC! 

The whole family has been fighting off a cold for the past couple of weeks, but it managed to get the best of me yesterday. Despite this, I still pushed on and got a few workouts in even though I wasn't feeling well. This in itself is an accomplishment - although I was a bit of a sweaty mess afterwards!

Thoughts: I am challenging myself to find the right approach to eating on weekends, while still managing to enjoy myself. This past weekend I walked the line successfully. I went to a fabulous party on Saturday night, had a couple glasses of wine, and a few munchies, but did not indulge, let alone over-indulge. I'll take each day as it comes.

October 4, 2011

Going there, naturally.

WARNING - This post expresses a personal perspective. Please keep an open mind. Also, I would love to hear your perspective on this topic - please share in the comments below!

Recently, a number of people have asked me how I feel about this since it's the talk of the town in our little suburb. Most of these people have no idea of my outlook on the birth process or of my past pregnancies and labours. In most cases, I struggled to form an opinion or respond coherently for fear of sounding too harsh/opinionated/granola (take your pick). In real life, (as opposed to blog life), I am a pretty neutral person. I avoid voicing opinions on hot topics and often would rather take a back seat and listen to what others have to say, soaking up all the information their arguments provide. 

In this case, I'm going to go there. 

While I would never consider broadcasting any of my birthing experiences over the Internet to strangers (I banned cameras in the delivery room until AFTER my girls were born), I'll admit that I share this woman's desire to inform women than birth is not a negative experience. In fact, I have completely glorified the labour and birth of both of my babies. I would do it over and over again for the empowerment that I felt during and after. For those who don't know me well, I promise that I am not a pain-seeking crazy woman.

I have not always felt this way. When I was in labour with Cate, the nurse asked me for my birth plan, and all I responded in between contractions was "EPIDURAL". Truth be told, I was woefully unprepared for labour, despite all the books I read and the thousands of episodes of A Baby Story I watched (remember I was on bed rest for half the pregnancy? - I am not exaggerating when I say thousands). I had visions of hours of laying in bed hooked up to a monitor, joking around nervously with hubby, and finally pushing awkwardly while the nurse told me when I was having a contraction and obnoxiously counted to 10. My only reason for holding off on the epidural was the embarrassment of being hooked up to a catheter while I was numb from the pain.

As it turned out, the actual labour was as far from that as possible. My water broke at 6pm. We packed and drove to the hospital expecting to be sent home or walk the halls as most first time parents do (so A Baby Story tells me). Got to the hospital at 7pm, still no contractions, and was put in a triage room during shift change. In a half hour, I went from nothing to one full on contraction that never ended. I had no coping mechanisms and they could not get the anaesthesiologist in the room quick enough. Finally, he or she (I was in so much pain that I really do not know) came and administered the drugs. I continued to roll around in pain waiting for it to work -  it did not. They gave me another dose - still nothing. It soon became clear that Cate was going to make her appearance any minute and so the nurse urgently called for any available doctor. Like magic, my wonderful family doctor appeared and Cate was born at 9:34pm. If you've done the math, my labour was a whole 3.5 hours long from the time my water broke to the time she was born. I was told afterwards that the anaesthesiologist was getting nervous that he/she would be the one delivering the baby - that would have been interesting!


Following Cate's birth, I had mixed emotions about how everything went. I was shocked that I essentially gave birth without drugs, but at the same time felt like the attempted epidural stole my thunder. I also felt like a victim during the labour, rather than a participant. On the bright side, I did manage to avoid the dreaded catheter.

When I found out I was pregnant with Maddie, I was bound and determined to be better prepared this time around. They say that it goes much quicker the second time and so I had visions of giving birth by myself on the floor of the bathroom at home alone. To be honest, this possibility pushed me to chose to give birth naturally and educate myself on coping techniques. This decision opened up a whole new outlook to the birth process and gave me options that I didn't have before. While I still chose to be followed by my family doctor and deliver in a hospital, I also laid the ground work with him to be released early so that I can rest and recover at home and enjoy our new addition. (In case it isn't clear, I truly despise hospital stays.)

The best information I received was in the book "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin. I read it 3 times during that pregnancy and soaked up different tools and techniques every time. I will warn you that this book is VERY graphic and a little granola for my liking, but if you can keep an open mind, it will teach you what you need to know. For those who've read it - No, I am still not convinced that you can reach an orgasm during childbirth and yes, horse lips works. (Did that just convince you to go buy the book -  or are you now afraid of it?)

In the final weeks of my pregnancy, I felt like a ticking time bomb waiting for my water to break at any moment. When the big day finally came, I didn't actually know it was happening. I woke up with a dull ache in my back -  not a big warning sign when everything aches all the time. After dinner, hubby and I headed to the hospital to get checked out since, this being Canada in February, there was a snowstorm on the way the next day and at the time, hubby worked about an hour's drive away from home and our house was another 40 mins away from the hospital - driving time alone was more than half the length of my first labour, let alone add the delay from a snowstorm. 

It turns out, that was the right decision and contractions started as we were in the triage room (talk about good timing!). This time was different. The contractions were spaced apart and steadily increasing and then decreasing. They were also all in my back. I was able to breathe through them and felt in control. We were brought to the deluxe room with the jacuzzi tub, and not yet being in enough pain to lose my modesty, I changed into my bathing suit and hopped in. Hubby and I hung out listening to tunes on my iPod while chatting and breathing through the still somewhat light contractions. This was good practice for later on. 

There was talk of breaking my water, but I asked them to hold off for a while since I knew that once it was broken, things would progress quickly. After all, I was managing just fine as it was. After a couple hours of slow and steady, the contractions started getting more intense and so I bravely told them it was time. The resident came in and broke my water around 10:45pm. I got back in the tub for a few minutes, until my back could no longer take it. The nurse desperately called for a doctor - any doctor (sound familiar?), but there was no way I was going to wait for someone in a white coat to show up. I was satisfied that I had made it to the hospital and even more so that there were two nurses in the room (one of them being my friend, who is not a labour and delivery nurse...). My family doctor once again appeared as the baby was being born and jumped right in to catch her. At 11:17pm Maddie was born, sunny side up. 


As planned, we packed up our tiny baby and headed home a mere 4 hours after she was born (the earliest the hospital's policy would allow us to do so). The snowflakes began to fall as we pulled into our driveway. We had successfully beat the snowstorm!

You may have read all of this and thought "Wow, great story, but let's get real here. I NEED DRUGS. Have you seen the size of a newborn?" or maybe it's "Where does she get off telling people not to use drugs. They're safe and available. What other decision is there?" The truth is, every birth is different. I can only share my experiences and shed light on the fact that you do not need to be a cloth-diapering, breastfeeding, all organic Mom-to-be followed by a midwife to consider a natural birth. Believe me, I am the first to take an advil when I'm feeling a little under the weather - I am a fan of drugs.

My hope in sharing this story with you, is that we, as childbearing women, can move beyond telling only the dramatic birth stories of incredible endless pain and emergency c-sections, and rather promote the empowering moments that we have all experienced, regardless of how our babies were born. 

Please do not take this as an insult to women who have had epidurals (remember, I was one too!). I have no idea if I would feel the same way if that first epi had worked; but today, I am glad that it didn't because I have learned so much more about myself and how strong I am. I just hope that more women can make this same discovery for themselves.

8 reasons why every pregnant woman should prepare for a natural birth.

1) Coping Mechanism - The need for coping mechanisms in labour is essential. I noticed that in my first pregnancy, I didn't fully absorb the advice since I didn't think I would actually need it. Even if you only use them for part of your labour -  you may be surprised by how much you can actually handle when you're focused and have the right tools to do so.

2) Epidural Malfunction - As I've learned, epidurals do not always work. They can be patchy, one-sided, or even completely useless. Prepare yourself to handle it without one. For those who don't know, epidurals are designed to take the pain of labour away, not the pain of delivery. 

3) Speedy Labour - Sometimes babies come in a bit of a rush. This often means a really intense labour - wouldn't it be good to be prepared for this possibility? 

4) Love Drug - I cannot begin to explain the state of euphoria that you get after having a baby. The endorphins are running wild and you cannot help but smile. There is a sense of calm and warmth that takes over. It's incredible. Better than any other drug out there (so I'm told...).

5) Side Effects - I've heard a number of first-hand stories of less than desirable side effects resulting from an epidural. These include chills, headaches, back pain, and extended numbness. While these are not common, they are also not uncommon. 

6) Early Release - By avoiding an epidural, you might have the opportunity to leave the hospital early. Believe me, sharing a bathroom with up to 3 other ladies who've just given birth is less than ideal, not to mention trying to get some sleep once you come down from the high of the birth with 4 crying babies in the room is almost impossible. Just because you request a private room, does not mean you're going to get one - You're definitely going to want out of there.

7) Empowerment - Once you've gone through natural birth, it's pretty easy to handle any other pain. Just keep thinking "If I can push a baby out without painkillers, I can handle getting my legs waxed (or insert other painful situation)". 

8) Bragging Rights - Let's be honest, playgroups for infants are really an opportunity to compare birth stories with other new moms. Don't you want to have the best one?