On the move

Wintertime!

The week before we were scheduled to leave Sioux Lookout for my maternity leave adventure, the weather had decidedly turned wintery. Our beach transformed into a blanket of white and patches of ice floated in the shallow bay. Abandoning our stroller, we continued our daily walks with Henry snuggled into the adorable snowsuit given to him by our neighbours.

Sunset over the beach

Our snow-covered beach
Snowy Ada

Walking before the snow…
Switching it up for the ErgoBaby carrier

Despite the changing seasons, our loose ‘routine’ at home remained the same. Our Sioux Lookout days slipped by, melting into one another – lines blurring between days of the week. I no longer was ruled by my iPhone calendar, ringing with reminders of rounds, clinics and ER shifts. Days were filled with visits with our neighbours, baking, walks, laundry, cleaning and nursing Henry on the couch. Life was pretty simple!

Streeeetch!!!! Sporting the newborn booties from Julia & Travis ๐Ÿ™‚

Although I was enjoying my time at home, the challenges of breastfeeding accentuated by the chronic sleep deprivation was starting to take a toll on me. I began to quietly dread the evenings, recognizing their inevitable fall into night. My apprehension for the nighttime brewed like a storm gathering strength in the distance. For some reason, the challenges of motherhood somehow seemed more unmanageable in the darkness. Often, I felt like nursing Henry was more akin to a wrestling match as I tried to hold down his arms, get him onto the breast as he clawed my chest, correct his latch and nurse him all the while I curled my toes and clenched his little head in pain. Even worse was the infuriating process of getting him back to sleep after nursing and changing him. I would rock him with vigour, knowing that every minute that passed was one less minute of sleep for me and one minute closer to the time that I would have to restart the process of nursing, changing, burping, often re-changing and putting him back down to sleep. In those moments of frustration, when Henry’s swaddle blanket became my tear-soaked handkerchief, I felt like a terrible mom. Wasn’t I supposed to cherish this time with him instead of trying to stifle the urge to leave him to scream while I walked away? Yet despite how terrible the night was, every morning, as the sun rose spilling light across the pine boughs and into our bedroom, with Henry (and often Ada too) snuggled close to my chest, I felt as if I couldn’t possibly love someone more than I loved this little being. Now, with much support from my midwifery and physician friends, breastfeeding has greatly improved and although the nights still seem long and challenging, they are significantly more manageable.

Nursing with Ada who is ALWAYS nearby – especially when Henry cries

Before our departure to Southern Ontario, we hosted one last Sioux Lookout potluck. For those living in urban glory of multiple restaurants boasting different ethnic foods and eateries open past 6pm, going out to eat is an obvious source of entertainment and social interaction. In Sioux Lookout, however, dinning opportunities are VERY limited (think: greasy Chinese, canteen food at the curling club and fried chicken!). Instead, our social gatherings are always in the form of amazing potlucks and our farewell feast was no exception. We ate and drank while Henry was passed around, surrounded by amazing friends who have already fallen in love with our little guy. We will be sad to leave our amazing Sioux Lookout community for a few months!

Our first family outing to Cedar Bay in Sioux Lookout when Henry was almost 4 weeks old

Before Henry had even been born, Blake and I had loosely planned out my maternity leave – we were hoping to spend the first few weeks at home in Sioux Lookout, followed by six weeks in Southern Ontario to see our families and then the last two months in Revelstoke, BC. With the trailer and car packed, Blake, Henry, Ada and I set off for Thunder Bay, embarking on the first leg of our trip. Before this, the longest distance that Henry had ever travelled was the 5 km it took to get into town from our house!

Our 5-hour car ride to Thunder Bay was thankfully uneventful and after a few days of errands in the big city of Thunder Bay, Blake dropped Henry and I at the airport for our flight to Toronto. Henry, again, was a gem and slept the entire flight. I couldn’t have been more grateful! Our first flying experience went off without too much trouble thanks to helpful strangers who gave encouraging words and carried my luggage ๐Ÿ™‚

The 6am Porter flight from ย Thunder Bay to Toronto

On the ground in Toronto, we met my Mom and immediately started on our whirlwind of visits with friends and family. I am so excited to introduce Henry to our families!

-An Addendum!-
I have to say that I am lucky to parent with Blake – although he claims babies are not his ‘thing’, he is a fantastic father. Jiggling Henry to sleep and tossing him around are his specialties ๐Ÿ™‚ He supports me in many ways through the tough moments when I’m a wreck. Whether it’s a gentle hand on my back when I’m nursing or feeding Henry a bottle of breastmilk while I sleep, I so deeply appreciate his help. I couldn’t imagine parenting alone.

Blake also adds a bit of comedic relief – his parenting style is a bit different than mine! Often I will walk by the kitchen and do a double take as Henry has been set down on the counter while Blake is playing nerf guns with our next door neighbours (Hunter – 6 and Brooks – 3). One time, I asked Blake to put pants on Henry and found him on the couch, perfectly content, in a pants straightjacket! Another time, Blake had just cut his hair and presented me with a baby in a wig ๐Ÿ™‚

Henry sporting a big mop of (Blake’s) hair ย ๐Ÿ™‚

Pants up to his chin!
Henry chilling on the couch with Blake

What a cutie – a three and a half weeks old

Photoshoot wearing the cutest knitted outfit made by Blake’s Grandmother for him when he was a baby

Wearing the booties I bought for him when I was in Inuvik – they’re made from sealskin and arctic hare
Relaxing at home

Hanging out with our neighbours – I’m filing Henry’s nails while Blake plays with Ada and the kids

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