The Life of K

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Hitting My Stride

I've been back to work over a month now but I spent two weeks cruising the Caribbean with J and the kids. We had such a great time and I promise to write all about it. We dove right back into work and school so there hasn't been time to catch our breath let alone go through the hundreds of pictures or the loads and loads of laundry.

Going from the cruise ship back to reality was hard. No one was preparing our food or cleaning our house, work starts early, and it's cold. So cold.

With a real job comes real weekends. Time completely for me where I know I won't get called to a birth or have a million things that I could be doing. My weekends now need to include errands that I used to get done during the week, but the low level stress of always being ON is gone. It's a beautiful thing.

The kids are prepping their Valentine's Day cards and I'm sipping tea before Little K's dance class. I'm starting to prep for Little K's birthday party so there will be shopping for that. Life keeps going.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

My (not so) triumphant return to work

There's a certain comfort and familiarity that comes with returning to the same workplace, even after 6 years away. Thank goodness because they certainly were not prepared for my return.

I was not expecting a red carpet affair but things were a little more scattered than I'd hoped. Not on my end. Thanks to some planning (food prep and showering the night before) as well as help from J and the kids in the morning, I arrived at my agreed start time of 8 am. I called up to my manager. Emailed him. Waited.

The kids packing my lunch in the lunch bag they got for me..

Finally someone came to get me after 30 minutes. Not a big deal. But that was just the beginning of the waiting around I'd be doing my first week. Waiting to be signed in, waiting for an office, a computer, to log in, to figure out parking. So glad there are book shelves in the common room where people leave magazines and books that anyone can read. I found myself a good one!

Tea, new office supplies, and a fun book.

I know more than half the people in my group from before. Lots of people have come and gone (and come back), there's been a lot of shuffling between groups, but overall I would say I know about 75% of the people on my floor. I thought there would be a lot of awkward You're back! What's new? Me: "....." But it was okay. People seemed happy to see me, were sweet and very welcoming. Everyone new I met was great.

My manager wasn't in all week and no one knew where I'd be sitting. It wasn't until Thursday that I was told where my office would be... in another wing from the rest of my group. I don't have a pass because my security clearance may or may not have expired (no one seems to know for sure) so I need to have someone sign me in. I can wait for everything else, but it really bugs me having to put someone out just to get in to the building.

A long icy walk through the parking lot.

Then there's parking. The visitor parking in the lot in WAY in the back and $10/day. I found another lot a bit farther away and it's only $7.50/day. I still need to figure out a monthly pass. Thankfully the ticket I got on Tuesday was ripped up after a conversation with the parking guy.

Oh, did I mention that the weather was a little crazy? Lots of snow, freezing rain, more snow, huge puddles, ice.. it made for some really slow drives.

I spent most of my first week talking to people, reading a book I found in one of the common rooms, and using data on my phone to keep from going crazy. I haven't talked to my manager to confirm my hours (I want to work early so I can get the kids after school) or to tell him about our upcoming vacation (surprise!). Who knows when I'll get a pass and be able to log on to my computer.

My view.

Despite all of that, it felt good to be back at work. It was so nice having a routine and having people to talk to. And because I'm not able to do any work yet (I've read all sorts of directives and how-to's but all my stuff is on the computer) I didn't have the holy-crap-I-can't-remember-anything feeling that I'm sure is coming.

Plus having my weeknights free and my weekends actually mean something is really nice. Tomorrow I'm back to it and so is the rest of the family. It's our first week of our new schedule of J getting the kids to school in the morning and me picking them up. It means I work early and he works late. It'll be great if it works so we'll see how it goes!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Hello 2017

Happy New Year to all my friends, family, and readers!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Non-toy gift ideas for kids

Christmas is coming. It's coming so quickly. I can't believe how quickly actually since I've spent most of the last week in bed sick. Whatever bug this is has kicked my butt and I'm so grateful that I got most of my shopping done early because otherwise this would be a very anxious sick week.

Years ago I learned about the 4-gift rule where you give things according to the rhyme: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. The kids don't actually know about this.. it's more for me to reign in my spending.

Side note: I have an internal battle where I want to buy all the toys for the kids but hate all the stuff they have.
So every year I have to come up with an idea to fit the bit about something they need and that inspired this list of non-toy gifts for kids. There are so many things that probably won't make them squeal with delight upon unwrapping but are good, practical gifts. Think about the socks you always got as a kid. C'mon, didn't every kid get socks for Christmas??

Sippy cups/ water bottles
Bandaids - bandaids are expensive and kids LOVE them
Ice packs - these are used almost daily in my house
Snack cups
Cute snack/sandwich bags
Theme dishes
Glow light/ night light - IKEA has really cute critter ones that my kids love!
Photo album/book
Art for walls
Experience gifts - I have a big ol list of things to do in Ottawa
Art/craft supplies - new crayons or markers are like crack
Blanket - bonus points if you can knit or crochet one yourself
Sleeping bag

I feel like I'm missing a ton of things Tell me in the comments what you'd add!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My doula career... looking back

I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that I'm done with doula work. I was at an event last week and fumbled around when people asked what I did. Until last week, I worked as a doula. Now.. well, I'm just me.

I caught whatever bug the kids had and I'm hacking up a lung and battling intense headaches. I'm spending my days staying in bed as much as possible, thanking me-from-2-weeks ago for being so proactive with Christmas prep. I've done nothing around the house, but I've watched so many episodes of Gilmour Girls. I'm trying to catch up so I can watch the new ones.

This sick time has given me the opportunity to think and to reflect. I went back to look at my stats.. I kept stats for my doula work. It's good to do and now that I'm done there's a finality to it. These are my numbers.

I did my training in November 2012 and my first birth in April 2013. My last birth was last month, in November 2016. In those four years I attended 40 births. Nineteen of those were in 2016.

So 40 babies. You'd think it'd be about 20 boys and 20 girls, right? Well no. Twenty-five little boys and 15 girls. Crazy. And of those 40, 13 were cesarean births and I got to see 4 of them.

I spent most of my time at the Civic and Montfort but also went to the Queensway, the General, the Birth Center and Almonte. Some labours were marathons, some were more average (12ish hours), but the quickest labour, I was only gone for 3 hours!

I got to see babies born on beds, in tubs, into the water, and by incision. I was asked to cut the cord once, which was really cool, and held a minutes-old baby in the OR. I got to support some friends and even a family member.

Every labour was different and taught me something. Some were calm and serene and others were loud and crazy. Some went pretty much how you'd expect labour to go and some went so completely sideways that I needed help working through what happened.

On the postpartum side of things, I worked with 21 families and 28 babies (7 sets of twins). For some it was only one shift and others I saw multiple shifts over many months. I worked as a postpartum doula for 12 months, from December last year until now. I wasn't sure I'd like it but I did. I was able to go into the house and really make a difference. Plus postpartum shifts are scheduled, which is a sharp contrast to birth work, which happens any time.

I'm getting used to not being on call. It's nice. I've even left my phone at home when I went to get the kids from school! Last night I had a dream about my first day back to work. The countdown is on but at least there are so many fun things between now and work. Let's just hope I'm healthy to enjoy them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Change is in the air

Big changes around here. It's been a week now since I stopped working as a doula. That's right: I sold my part of the business back to my partners and I'm currently unemployed.

I keep waiting to miss it but right now all I feel is relief.

Everyone I tell seems shocked. Every time I share on social media another person asks why? I've met so many people in the last 5 years, people who know me as a mom because I met them through playgroups or kid activities or school. Or they know me as a doula because I met them at events or they are clients and invited me into their pregnancy, labour, or early postpartum.

I'm going back to my government job I tell them. And I watch as their view of me shifts. I'm not just a mom or a doula. I'm also a scientist. A biologist.

It feels weird to say because that was me from a long time ago. I've changed so much. It must feel weird for them too, to have me be something different that I've always been to them.

It's like when you find out someone's maiden name. Or that they use to live in a different city. Or any other big difference. Shifting realities.

My world is changing. My head is slowly wrapping around the fact that come January I will be at a desk for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I won't be woken up in the middle of the night contractions are 3 minutes apart. We need you now.

J and I are prepping the kids for the idea that mom will go to work just like dad. They don't know me as someone who works a regular 9-5 job either. Who's going to take us to school? Who's going to pick us up? Work in progress, kids.

We'll figure it out. We always do.

I admit: there are some things I am looking forward to. More money. Predictable work hours. No mid-night phone calls. No overnights in the hospital. Evenings and weekends free. Paid sick days. Coworkers to chat with.

There are definitely things I will miss, too. Getting the kids to school and picking them up. Doing Costco runs during the day. Sipping tea with Sandy in the afternoons. Squeezing an episode of tv between tasks. Helping new moms settle in to life with baby. Witnessing a life begin.

Life not only begins, life goes on. The season of my life is changing as it has before and will again.

I'm taking this month to sit. To relax. To enjoy. To plan. To prepare. To put away my doula things. To get ready for working life. To sink into the holidays in a way I haven't been able to do in the past few years.

In January I will put on my work shoes and walk into my new (old) life. But now I sit. I enjoy. I marvel at all I've accomplished over the last 5 years. I see how far I've come.

Here's to new beginnings, to change.