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On Friday May 21st, 2010 at 7:38 am we finally got to meet Baby C – Owen Allan Campbell – after 39 long weeks of waiting 🙂  I truly could not imagine a more perfect birth story for Owen.  It was nothing short of amazing – everything we had hoped and planned and wished and prepared for…and then some!

It started the weekend of May 15-16th.  I had two nights of 3-4 hours of stronger-than-Braxton-Hicks contractions that were anywhere from 3-5 minutes apart.  I started to get really nervous, since Dale hadn’t yet arrived in Comox.   For any who missed it, our plan was to deliver at Gill and Brandon’s house in Comox with the same midwife who delivered Nate.  The last weekend of April, Dale, Nate Turner and I packed up the truck and drove from Cold Lake to Comox and then Dale flew back to Cold Lake to work for a few more weeks.   Anyway – so on Monday morning I called our midwife and asked her to check me to see where I was at and whether we should think about having Dale fly out earlier than his planned arrival date  of Friday.  Turns out I was 4cm and getting thin, so after some frantic phone calls and switching a West Jet flight, Dale hopped on a plane on Tuesday and the real waiting began.

After he got here I didn’t have any more strings of contractions and we were almost starting to second guess our decision to bump the flight up (which cost $200! LOL).  Thursday, the 20th, I started having regular Braxton Hicks in the late afternoon and they kept up all evening.  I was kind of thinking that things might happen soon but didn’t say too much.  Gill was just anxious that Baby not be born on Saturday since she was going to be away all day shooting a wedding.

When we went to bed Thursday I couldn’t sleep and just tried to relax.  Around 3 am Friday morning the contractions changed and were definitely stronger.  I timed them in bed for an hour and they were 3-5 minutes apart lasting 1-2 minutes.  At 4 I figured things were starting for real so I got up to have a snack and move around a bit.  At 5 Gill woke up and I gave her a heads up, so she went back to try to sleep for  while longer.  By 5:30 I was needing to consciously relax during the contractions so I woke Dale up and just before 6 we called the midwife and woke Gill and the two of them started to get the bedroom and birth pool set up.  This was about the time that I turned on my hypnobirthing “music”  but rather than listening to the Rainbow Relaxation track (which I don’t particularly like and didn’t find helpful during Nate’s birth) I chose to listen to my Birthing Affirmations, as I had been doing almost every night since late in the first trimester.

The midwife, Joanne (incidentally not the same midwife who delivered Nate – but wonderful nonetheless!), arrived at 6:15 and I don’t think she really believed that I was in active labour since I was still laughing and talking and moving fairly easily, but when she checked me I was 6cm.  I thought about trying to move around some more, but was really comfortable on the bed, listening to my Birthing Affirmations and playing solitaire between contractions on my iPhone.  Thank goodness for iPhones 🙂

Right around 7 am, Nate woke up and my contractions quickly started to get closer together.  I was ready to get into the birth pool but needed to use the bathroom first.  I had a little show and started to feel more downward pressure – getting into the tub was a wonderful change.  I had about two contractions and then felt a lot more pressure, so Joanne called the second midwife and told her to head over.  On the next contraction my water broke, which made us all laugh because it looked like a little bomb exploding in the water! LOL  Suddenly I was getting tons of pressure and with the next contraction our Baby was crowning.  Joanne had to rush around a bit to get a few last things set up and Gill almost missed the whole thing because she had taken Nate downstairs to eat breakfast.  This was the only point in labour when I got a bit freaked out, because I remembered the awkwardness and pain from pushing out Nate, but I concentrated on my Birthing Affirmations and the encouragement from the Dale and Gill and Joanne and gently pushed out his head on the next contraction.  Waiting to push out the body was the toughest part, but I breathed through it and in two pushes he had arrived 🙂  He arrived at 7:38 am and was a calm relaxed hypnobaby.

Nate came up to meet his baby brother minutes after he was born and was in love from the get go.  For the most part he is very gentle with Owen and helpful too.  He has been acting out with Mommy and Daddy though – so the changes are obviously getting to him.

Today Owen is a week old and still a very calm, easy-going baby.  He is sleeping 3 hour stretches at night and goes back to sleep easily after nursing.  We have figured out most of his cues and already it seems like he has been part of “us” forever.

Because of Owen’s easy birth, my recovery has also been remarkably easy.  I am feeling great; tired, but great!  Nursing hasn’t been nearly as difficult as it was for Nate and I either.  I’ve still had rather sore nipples, but I think that is to be expected.  I’m definitely less stressed about it all, which I’m sure is helping to make it easier too!

I can’t wait to share more about Owen as he grows 🙂

Or should I say, where to start again?

I haven’t actually posted in over a year (eek! has it really been that long??).  And I must admit that I miss it!  I am constantly thinking of things that would make great posts, but real life has simply kept me rather occupied as of late.

However, with the impending arrival of Baby Campbell #2, I am eager to step back up to the plate and continue the chronicles of life in our little household.  I am guessing that there will be lots of share…and perhaps not nearly enough time to do so.  But I would like to try!  If only because I am bound and determined to also publish monthly letters to this new babe, just like I did for Nate.

Speaking of Nate.  In case anyone missed it….he has apparently become a full fledged toddler!  This past week he officially turned two and a half.  That’s 30 whole months since he turned our lives upside down in the most wonderful way!  How did that happen?  Where did the time go?

Although the changes no longer seem to be coming at beak-neck speed, as they did when he was still a baby, he is most definitely developing his own unique sense of being.  Highlights as of late include:

1) He is 95% potty-trained.  Diapers to bed still, but FINALLY telling us when he needs to go potty instead of us constantly asking him if he needs to go (and sometimes dragging him when he says he doesn’t but we know he does);

2) He talks NON-STOP…and loudly at that!  (I could pretend he gets those traits from his handsome father…but we all know I’d be lying shamelessly).  He is essentially a little “me”, or as my mother would like to say (but kindly doesn’t) he is my “payback”.

3) He is all about independence and doing EVERYTHING himself.  Frustrating to deal with at times but also so gratifying to see!

4)  Along with independence, we are finally seeing creative play and the requirement to entertain him has lessened significantly.  So much fun to watch!

Yep, he is definitely growing up, little by little, right before our eyes.  The last few months have been a little bit trying in that Dale has been away on a domestic deployment (helping with the security for the Olympics and Paralympics) since early January.  Nate had a really tough time dealing with Daddy being gone this time, and his tired pregnant Mama had trouble keeping my head above water balancing work and home solo for 2 1/2 months.  I know it won’t be the last time I go it alone and that the next time there will be 2 little ones to worry about, but for the moment I am just exceedingly thankful that Dale will be home in less than 4 days!

So, that should about recap the goings on around here over the past few months.  I promise I will work on getting some pics posted in the near future 🙂

So…the big question is:   What in the world have I been doing if I haven’t been religiously updating my blog??

That’s a very good question.  I feel like I have been running around in circles like a chicken with my head cut off.  But in reality I think I have just been doing very normal, borderline boring, everyday things.  Going to work, coming home, playing with Nate, walking the dog, doing laundry, Skyping with the fam in Ontario and in BC, washing dishes, reading stories, changing diapers, packing lunches, buying groceries, talking on the phone with Dale, etc, etc, etc.

You woudn’t think that all of those things would take in excess of 16 hours a day, but apparently they do.  I know, I know.  It surprised me too!  But once you factor in 8-10 hours out of the house for work…the other 6-8 hours seem to fly by.

My good friend Barb pointed out the other day when we were chatting that my Facebook posts sounded like I was unhappy.  I don’t know about unhappy…because how can you really be unhapy when you live in a lovely home with your wonderful family, with plenty of fod to eat (not to mention lots of Timmies coffee) and when you are safe and sheltered and loved?  So am I unhappy – no, no really.  But I am definitely still adjusting to this new place and to the new routines.

I most certainly am still really missing Comox – mostly for the people, not the place (although I would kill for a trip to Starbucks and walk on the beach!)  I am so thankful for the fact that technology allows us to feel much closer than we really are.  Twice now I have scrapbooked with Gill (once with Laurel) over Skype.  It’s just way too cool to be able to chat and even see eachother across such a distance…for free even!  If you haven’t tried Skype with your distant loved ones, you need to soon!

I am starting to meet people here, too.  In fact I was out for dinner with Nate at a friend’s house last night and it was lovely!  Good food, great company, lots of conversation and thankfully, baby-friendly!  I a m having another acquaintance over for dinner on Tuesday night in hopes of making another friend.

But the time it takes to really settle in is no where near past.  I’m sure I have at least another few months of feeling like I don’t quite belong before this place will begin to really feel like home.  Before it will feel effortless to hangout with people here as opposed to feeling borderline awkward as you get to know them.

And in case you’re wondering why there is so much  “I” and not much “We” in this post, that would be because Dale has hardly been here since we moved between an 11 day trip to Quebec for a course and now an exercise in Central Alberta for 2 1/2 weeks.  He is feeling terrible about being gone so much, so I am trying to downplay my loneliness, but I’m not a very good actor!  I can’t wait until he is home and we can spend some time as a family here, to get involved in the community  little bit.

Thankfully Nate is thriving and seems blissfully unaware of the the angst around him.  He loves his new sitter Kim and all the kids there.  He loves the space in the new house.  He is still changing almost daily.  Some of the latest developments include:

– he loves to sit with his books and flip through the pages

– before bed he is happy to sit through 2-3 books while we snuggle on the couch

– he knows where his shoes/socks/slippers go and like to hold his feet out for you

– he has learned that he needs to sit on his bum in order to get his after-nap snack and as soon as he sees the sippy cup and cheerio box immediately plops himself down on the ground!

– he likes to help me feed Turner and gets really excited when I give Turner the “OK” to eat

– he knows how to go down the stairs backwards really well

– he is drinking cows milk from a sippy cup – no more bottle!

– he likes to groove and dance along with me when I play music on the iPod

– he has learned how to play peek-a-boo by putting his hands over his face, and laughs hysterically every time

– and I think he is finally saying something approximating “mom” (it sounds like “umm” – but I’ll take it!)

See – just typing all those things makes me insanely happy.  So I can’t say I’m unhappy.  Perhaps just still feeling a little unsettled.  Missing my friends, feeling confined to this house (no babysitter here yet!) and definitely not lovin’ the oil-driven economy of “stuff” here that is so vastly different from my beloved, environmentally conscious and people friendly Island.  Yes, that’s it:  happily unsettled in Cold Lake, Alberta.

The last two days of our road trip to Cold Lake were good…but very busy!  We are here now and although I am happy to have finally reached our destination and be finished with long days in the car, I am still not quite sure about how I feel to be living here.  I’m sure it’ll get easier with each passing day as the sights and sounds of Northern Alberta become more familiar.

To update you all on the last to days though, here are some pics!

The Calgary Zoo is a great zoo!  We had a tone of fun checking out all the animals with Josie, Trevor and their little boy Ben.  It was an absolutely perfect zoo day – early September, warm and sunny and at 9:30 it seemed like we were the only people there!  It was actually kind of cool in the morning and so all the animals (like this Red Panda) were moving about and even playing!  It was one of my best zoo experiences ever.

Seeing this Gorilla baby was definitely one of the highlights of the day.  Her motions in sleep looked so much like Nate’s it was unreal and totally adorable.  She looked to only be about 8-10 lbs, but was completely content curled up in the straw all by herself and I couldn’t resist taking about a million pictures.

The Snow Leopard was just chillin’ in her hammock.

Josie, Ben and Trevor were awesome zoo-visiting companions!  They just moved to Calgary a week ago and so totally understand the ups and downs of moving across the country with an infant!  I met Josie online through her Dad and her sister and we started communicating when she began reading my blog, we’ve kept in touch for months now and I’m super excited that we finally got to spend a day together and meet eachother’s significant others and little ones.  Thanks Josie!

After the zoo we were invited over to my cousin Heather’s house for dinner with her family and my cousin Wendy’s family.  It was our first time meeting Heather’s little girl Keira, and Wendy’s youngest boy David and their first time meeting Nate.  Dinner was great (we were so thankful not to be eating in a restaurant!!) and the kiddos all had fun stealing eachothers’ toys and playing in the playhouse and on the slide!  I’m sure you all know how challenging it can be to get a picture of 4 busy little bodies…so you’ll forgive the photo quality here!

Our 6th and final day on the road was a long one.  We left Calgary just before 7am and headed North to Edmonton to pick up Grandma Campbell (Dale’s Mom) at the Airport.  She is staying with us in Cold Lake for 10 days to help with Nate and the unpacking – for which we are exceptionally thankful!  After a quick stop for lunch in Fort Saskatchewan we pushed on Northeast towards Cold Lake.  The only other stop we made was to capture this photo-of-the-day overlooking the beautiful North Saskatchewan River:

The bright fall colours and lush view of the river valley were a welcome break from the seemingly unending fields of wheat and straight stretched of highway.

And now here we are in Cold Lake, anxiously awaiting a call from our Realtor telling us that we finally have possession of our house and the keys are ready to be picked up.  Unfortunately, even though our furniture and boxes will be delivered today, they are not coming to unpack us until Monday, so we still have 3 more days to wait things out in a hotel, which I could certainly do without.  On the bright side, we should have some time to paint the bedrooms this weekend and get at least that stinky chore out of the way.

So this concludes my road trip updates, but look for 1st Birthday post coming your way very soon…and new-house pics as soon as I can take some!

* Yet again the hotel internet wouldn’t work long enough last night to post this…grrr…so here it is today!

So this is the extent of my pictures from a very rainy and dreary day #4 of our move to Cold Lake.  Thought this one showed off rather well though how much crap accompanies a baby on a 6 day road trip!  I must give huge kudos to my husband for lugging it in and out of all the hotel rooms every morning and night!

Unfortunately a much anticipated gondola ride never happened today seeing as the mountains in Banff were socked in by clouds by the time Nate awoke from his morning nap.  Instead we wandered the streets of Banff in the (at times pouring) rain, then piles our wet selves back into the car for the trip to Calgary.

Luckily once we were settled in the hotel we were able to find a great coffee/playplace in the Northwest section of the city where Nate got to romp and climb and slide for over an hour before dinner.  After dinner we managed to squeeze in a quick visit with Dale’s cousin Sarah-Jane and her hubby Andrew before Nate needed to go to bed.

Tomorrow is a truly deserved day-off from driving.  Instead we are staying in Calgary for a trip to the zoo with a bloggy friend, Josie and her son Ben and then meeting up with my cousins for dinner – both of which I am really looking forward to!  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and I will have lots more photos to share, although depending on how the day progresses they may not get posted tomorrow.

Despite my super star traveller and the good times we’ve been having I am getting rather anxious for this road trip to be over because it means we’ll finally be in our new house in Cold Lake and that much closer to feeling at “home” in our new province.  Friday can’t come soon enough!

I know, I know.  I’m late with my update and some of you waited around all night last night waiting anxiously to hear how day #3 went.  I swear it’s not my fault – the internet was down at our hotel last night, so we were forved to entertain ourselves the old fashioned way.  You know – watching T.V. LOL

Anyway, better late than never!  Yesterday was supposed to be a short drive to Banff, but ended up taking longer than expected since we stopped a few times along the way and got stuck in some construction, but it wasn’t a bad day at all.  Nate napped well in the car, played hard at the parks and we ended the day with a relaxing dip at the Upper Banff Hot Springs.

We were hoping to take advantage of the great kids zone and waterpark at our hotel, but it wasn’t open early enough this morning for us to stop in before Nate’s nap and we’re headed into town shortly for some shopping, followed by lunch, a gondola ride and some walking!

But without further ado, here are some pics to satisfy your curiosity.

Nate eating lunch in the Rockies (a bit grainy because I had my ISO set too high…AGAIN)

Family pic with the gorgeous scenery of the Kicking Horse Canyon in the background

Entering Alberta…where (somewhat sadly) we are now “from”

Mountains in Banff at Sunset from the Upper Banff Hot Springs

Dale and Nate at the Hot Springs!

And as an extra special update for Auntie Gill…Nate is now saying “g” sounds, which means he’s likely well on his way to saying “Auntie Gill”!!

Another great day on the road!  I am so proud of my superstar traveller (Nate…not Dale, although he travels well too! LOL) who almost never fusses in the car and poops (without fail!) early in the morning before we put him in the carseat!  Nate slept in until 7 am, then accompanied Dale and I on a 30 min run through Hope.  Not as great as my usual Sunday morning run with the Yummies, but at least I got out there.  By 9:15 we were on the highway again and headed over the Coquihalla.  We made a quick mid-morning stop in Kamloops then pushed on to Salmon Arm for lunch and a romp in the park for Nate.  This was my only chance to take pics today.

Daddy and Nate walking in the park

Nate eating a banana – his favourite!

Checking out the pier.

Gorgeous views from the pier at Salmon Arm.

The weather was stunning today and we truly hope it stays this way for the rest of our trip.  It makes the rest stops much more enjoyable!  We made it Revelstoke around 3:30, checked into the hotel and hit Denny’s for dinner.  Nate happily munched on his mozza sticks and chicken nuggets, grapes and pineapple, all the while smiling and laughing and putting on a fabulous show for all the neighbouring tables.  He is a total ham!

After dinner we headed over to the Revelstoke Aquatic Centre, which was a great choice!  It is definitely the best Aquatic Centre I have ever seen.  The salt water pool was as warm as a bath tub and it even had this great little “river” area that was basically a figure 8 pool with angled jets that made the water flow like a river current.  They had a floater seat for Nate and we all floated happily around the “river” for quite a while. We also tried the giant twirling water slide, which Nate happily went down with Daddy and then cried when Mommy tried.  What is it about Dad’s anyways??

On our way back to the hotel Dale and I again decided that Revelstoke is definitely one of our favourite mountain it stops and we vowed that next time we drive through we’ll send at least two days here exploring.  The Columbia River Valley is beautiful and the town of Revelstoke is very pretty and well kept and I know we could fill a few days checking out the local sights.

Tomorrow we’re headed for Banff where we’re hoping to check out the Hot Springs and squeeze in a short hike.  But for now it’s off to snuggle down into bed with my husband 😉

After a sad but wonderful night saying goodbye to some of my best pals in Comox last night, the first day of our road trip got off to a bit of rocky start.  We meant to wake up at 5:15am in order to make the 8:30 ferry from Nanaimo, but the alarm didn’t go off and when we woke up at 6:30 all hope of making the ferry was gone.  Not a huge deal since we made the 10:40, but a bit of a kink in our plans.

Here’s a snapshot of the rest of our day;

Nate stretching his legs in the ferry terminal in Nanaimo

Checking out the Sea Otters at the Vancouver Aquarium especially for Auntie Gill

A baby beluga whale nursing….an amazing sight and an incredible photo capture!

Nate and Dale checking out the Jelly Fish tank

One of my favourite shots of the day!

We left the aquarium, had dinner in Chilliwack at Ricky’s where Nate totally charmed the wait staff and finished an entire kids plate of spaghetti, and made it to the hotel in Hope by 7pm.  Then we took a quick family dip in the indoor pool and plopped one very tired little man into bed!  Very very shortly his Mommy and Daddy are headed there too!  Not bad for our first day on the road.




Since Allison is so desperately trying not to focus on the fact that someone is coming back for a second look at her house (which is for sale) I thought I would provide some distraction in the form of an answer to her question, “When are you making a sibling for Nate? )

The short answer is not for quite a while. As in at least a few years. Preferably not until we can have another birth with a midwife…which is not very likely in Cold Lake. Because I can’t imagine having to go to a doctor and have a baby in a hospital after my wonderful home birth experience.

I have always wanted a decent spacing between babies anyway, mostly based on personal experience. My sister and I are 3 1/2 years apart in age and we are best friends. Of course as kids we fought just like all siblings – especially as teenagers – but even then we were best friends at heart. We stuck up for one another and defended eachother to our parents. And I’ve often thought that we were pretty perfectly spaced age wise. We were far enough apart in age that we had our own groups of friends and could easily have our own interests, but still close enough that we could play and hang out pretty happily.

I’m sure everyone has their own strong opinion on the spacing matter…and I imagine that those opinions are often based on personal experience with siblings, good or bad. I also want to make sure that I have time to spend enjoying Nate and that by the time a new baby arrives, Nate is old enough to be a bit more independent so that I can have that same kind of time to enjoy a new little life.

I know many of you have kids more closely spaced than that, so I’m interested to hear why you thought closer was better (if you chose the spacing!! Perhaps it wasn’t really planned that way! LOL)??

So the bottom line is there won’t be any babymaking going on ’round these parts for a while. That is, unless I forget to take my birth control pills yet again!