Beckett Adam Millard – BAM!

Beckett Adam Millard was born on Tuesday August 16th at 4:41am.

It did not go the way I imagined and it was perfect.

Sunday the 14th of August I checked off the last thing on my “Get this done before the baby comes” list – new loungey pajamas for after the birth.  We had a barbecue with friends and I stayed up extra late that evening listening to Orion play a magical instrument called a Hang.  He mentioned that it had played a large part in the birth of a friend’s baby and we joked about him calling on labour.

Earlier that day Laura (she created our incredible wedding ceremony) called us wondering if the baby had come.  She said he had come to her in a dream the night before.  We didn’t have confirmation that it was a boy, however many women in my life had already sensed it was a boy – myself included.

12:30am rolled around and I’m up with cramping. I went downstairs around 3:10 to express my discomfort to Adam who was still up (night owl) and POP the water breaks.  Labour is on.  Surprisingly I didn’t feel anxious but a sense of calm and excitement.  What would this experience be like?

At about 5am we decide to walk the sea wall and by 7am Karen, our Doula has arrived and is ready to go.   We realize that today is the only day that all of our siblings (less Seth in Japan) will be together in Vancouver.  They gather at our home and it’s game on.  Sarah, camping with Natalie in the Okanagan gets in the car and starts to drive.

Labour must be different for everyone.  Time passed both quickly and slowly.  I spent ten hours in my house breathing in deeply through my nose and saying “aaaaaaahhhh” in a low register.  Supported primarily by Karen, Thea and Adam who all “aaaaahhhhhed” right along with me we stood, laid down on the couch, got in the bath and slowly walked around the house in a daze.   Michael, Orion and Emily drifted in and out of the room or hung out in the back yard.

By early afternoon my body was asking me to push but I wasn’t fully dilated.  I was exhausted after only a few hours of sleep the night before and felt that now was the time to go to the hospital to meet my midwife (the plan was to stay at home as long as possible and birth sans medications at St Paul’s).

At the hospital they explained to me that my blood pressure had shot up, I was exhausted, the baby was sunny-side up and his heart was beating too quickly for comfort.  I had been in labour for 14 hours. They suggested drugs.  I said yes.

So there I was, hooked up to an IV, an epidural, a catheter and a vaginal heart rate monitor (best way to monitor the baby’s heart accurately). I’m the kind of person that doesn’t even take Tylenol.  It was a little surreal.

I realized after the fact that I was probably calmer than everyone else in my family.  I was in the centre of it all with all of the information, making the decisions.  Karen was incredible at communicating what was going on to my sibs who then let the soon-to-be grandparents know (all of them anxious in Ontario).

Finally, after 24 hours of labour and the baby’s heart rate dropping every time I had a contraction the doctor and midwife agreed – time for a caesarian section.

Throughout my pregnancy I refused to read the chapters in the books about c sections.  My mother had very quick labour experiences and I was certain that this would be my path as well.  Thankfully, the prenatal course we took explained what happens during a c section, how many people are in the room etc.

This was the only moment that I felt disappointed and cried.  Throughout the entire experience I felt confident in my decisions, yes to epidural, yes to oxytocin, yes to another popsicle.  I knew that a c section was the correct choice, it was incredibly frightening to hear the baby’s heart rate drop.  I was upset because I thought my body and I were in partnership.  I thought we had a deal to work together to push this little soul out into the world.  Where had we gone wrong?

By the time I was ready to go in the OR I was half asleep.  I had never experienced surgery but didn’t have the energy to be nervous.  At 4:41am Dr Matenko pulled our baby from my abdomen and Adam exclaimed “IT’S A BOY.”

Joy. Pure joy.

We spent half an hour with our new baby in the OR as they stitched me up.  Adam sang The Banana Boat song, I shielded his little eyes from the blinding OR lights;  then I was whisked to recovery and Adam went with our child to the room.

Instead of feeling disappointed that I didn’t get to be with my baby right away, I welcomed the half hour I spent in recovery.  I needed some time to integrate what had happened – I was a mom.  A human being had been pulled from my body.  Woah. I loved that Adam got to spend skin-to-skin time with our son.

Beckett also got to enjoy some music care of Auntie Em while waiting for me to arrive.  Michael caught some of it on video.  Heart wrenching.

And so Beckett Adam Millard had arrived.  We spent the next four days in the hospital due to my blood pressure being elevated.  We had incredible care and learned invaluable lessons from our nurses – breastfeeding 101 at 2am in the morning of special note.

Life had changed.  The world was new.  I remember looking out the window at the hospital, across the park to the mountains and realizing that we get the honour of showing Beckett many things for the first time.

And now, five months in I can’t imagine life without him.  Being a mother has made me look at who I am in a whole new way.

What DO I stand for?  How do I want to leave the planet for my son and his children?  Where do Adam and I need to do work on our relationship so Beck learns about healthy partnerships?

So that’s the story.  I’m loving being a mom.  It’s fun, it’s challenging and it’s incredibly rewarding.  I think I needed to write about the birth in order to make space for me to start sharing about what I’m learning about as a mom.  If you’ve made it this far (big post) thanks for reading.

XO Chlo

Oh hi.

Well hello blog.

It’s not that I’ve forgotten about you.  It’s more that I know the content of you will be shifting now that I’m a mama on mat leave.  I was a little nervous about that.  I caught myself saying things like “Ugh, I don’t want to turn my blog into a mommy blog.”  But guess what?  I’m a mom now and so by default this will be a mommy blog.

I’m over it.

Get ready friends, I’m about to get started again.  It’s time for some catch up and some honesty and reflection.

Nice to be back.

XO Chlo

 

Failing forward. Not so scary after all.

Something you should know about me is that one of my greatest fears in life is that you will all figure out that I’m not really qualified to do the things that I’m doing in my life and at work – that one day someone in a meeting will suddenly have the proof they need and will exclaim “AHA, I knew you were a fraud Chloe Gow-Jarrett and now your mediocrity will be unveiled! You don’t deserve your fabulous job or your fabulous friends and family!”  Is your inner voice as dramatic as mine?

How this shows up is defensiveness  and this results in not working in partnership.  I’m so worried the person I’m supposed to be partnering with is going to discover I don’t REALLY know what I’m doing that I end up protecting myself.  Then, because I’m so busy protecting myself from being found out, I can’t actually contribute what I know.  Talk about thoughts creating reality!  Gross.

I have been experiencing this when working with Celeste (don’t worry, I asked her if I could write about this) at work.  Celeste is quick and can see the big picture in a heartbeat – she asks tonnes of questions and asks them in rapid fire succession.  I sometimes experience this as “Woah, Celeste doesn’t think you know what you’re doing.  What else have you missed?  You’re not doing your job.  Why didn’t YOU think of that?”   I feel grilled when in reality, Celeste is asking questions that provide clarity – this is how she learns, but I make it mean I’m not good enough.

Last week in a meeting Celeste was looking for answers and I ended up lying.  Seriously.  Just to get her off my back.  Just so she wouldn’t find me out.  After the meeting,  one of my team members said “Ummm, Chloe we DON’T have alignment on that.”  It was true and I knew it.  I went home stewing.

I was so embarassed, I was ashamed – so I ‘fessed up.  No biggie.  I  wrote an email and told Celeste my experience.  I took responsibility and let her know that I lied.  Asked her if we could chat the next day so I could make sure we were both clear and complete.

Ironically the word of the day email that was in my inbox that evening was “Judas – one who betrays.”  Nice.

Here’s the bottom line: I could have just forgotten about it.  I could have just rode the lie out and Celeste wouldn’t have even noticed but that wouldn’t have had me learn or restore my integrity.   I see clearly how pointing out breakdowns gets me further.  For the first time in my life, I’m really ENJOYING making mistakes.  If I immediately take responsibility for my blunders, people don’t get pissed, they help me see what I could do differently next time – I get to develop a new way of being when I’m in a similar place again.

I will always be working on getting over those fears that have me choose to be stingy instead of a contribution and now I’m enjoying this process, rather than feeling embarrassed.  I don’t know everything and if I pretend to know everything, I don’t get to learn.

Instead of protecting myself from people finding out what I don’t know, I’m choosing to contribute what I do know.

XO Chlo


Questions.

Why would maternity line designers EVER design dresses that you can’t easily wear a bra under?

Why does my baby wait until bedtime to bust a move in my uterus and stays incredibly still when soon-to-be aunties want to feel the kicks?

Why does having to sleep on my left or right side seem like sleep prison to me?

Why do I have to pee 3 times a night no matter how much or little water I drink?

Why do women on the street like me more, now that I’m obviously pregnant?

How is it possible that in some ways, I already feel like I know things about the tiny soul inside me?

Mother’s Day

A whole new meaning to Mother’s Day this year thanks to this little one:

SHIFTED – the drama, the excitement, the details!

Aaron Vidas called me early this year and said “Let’s do another SHIFTED in May.”  I agreed and then most likely got off the phone, took a nap and promptly forgot about it.  The first trimester was a haze of napping and wishing I was napping.

I knew from the beginning that I was going to have to be really clear about what I was committed to on the project or face breakdowns in my integrity with Aaron.  I let him know that I was pregnant (woohoo!) and that work was busy (building a retail training strategy takes brain power), so I was going to step back.  He was leading the charge.

Now it sounds easy and clean and like I handled it with maturity, grace and leadership, but inside my head, this is what was happening:

Ugh, you are so lazy Chloe.  SHIFTED was your baby, your creation, one of the things you were most proud of.  Get off your pregnant ass and get involved.  Not being a part of the planning of the event means you’ve lost SHIFTED forever.  It’s not yours any more.  What are you? A one hit wonder?

I am often secretly very mean to myself.

Instead of being clear in my commitments to Aaron, I just simply ignored him and talked to everyone else about  how I needed to be clear.  Aaron would call; I would ignore.  He would text; I wouldn’t reply.  I knew that when my husband emailed me saying “GET IN TOUCH WITH VIDAS”  that it was time to get in communication, not only with Aaron, but more importantly with myself.

SO…I took a look at the beliefs I was secretly harbouring and made some changes.  I gave up feeling badly about not being involved.  I gave up feeling like not being involved in this SHIFTED would mean I would lose it forever.  I got proud of my choice to stand for balance in a new way and health in my pregnancy.  I shifted to seeing that through letting GO of SHIFTED, Aaron would be freed up to make it even better than the first one.

And we talked and decided on weekly calls when he needed my consult.   We got to celebrate and get clear and I got to move from judgement and guilt to integrity and excitement.

So my friends, if you live in Vancouver, I’ve got an event to tell you about…

SHIFTED takes place Thursday, May 5th at District 319.  All $39 of the ticket price will go DIRECTLY to building the Abi Adi school in Ethiopia.

You will invest in yourself through listening to our incredible, successful speakers talk about the challenges they’ve faced on the way to their dreams AND you will invest in the lives of young Ethiopians.

I will be there, proud and inspired.

Check out our line up.

Buy your tickets.

Spend 18 minutes getting a taste of SHIFTED  by watching David Bentall from last September’s event:

XO Chlo

Too cool…

I travelled to Chicago for work last month.  Whenever I travel and run development work I always learn so much about myself.  When I am surrounded by people taking on their biggest fears it inspires me to look again at myself and what I need to take on.  Especially when I’m traveling, I find it easier to gain awareness because I’m outside of my normal environment.

Here is what I discovered, it’s not pretty friends.

I realized that I was not fully experiencing my pregnancy because I don’t want to be like everyone else.  Gross.  EVERYONE gets excited about pregnancy.  EVERYONE thinks it’s a miracle.

When we were planning our wedding I dreaded dress shopping.  I hated being around all the swooning soon-to-be-brides, gushing over the frills and fanciness of dresses that all looked the same to me.

I scoff at the trends that sweep lululemon  staff- hobo wallet? No way!  Silver Tiffany rings?  Ugh.  The current Nike Free obsession? PASS.   If EVERYONE has it, I don’t want it.

What I realized last month was that I’d spent the first 13 weeks of my pregnancy pretending like I’m too cool to get excited.  Too cool to get emotional when I think about being a mom and Adam being a dad.  I haven’t let myself really feel all of the emotions because EVERYONE feels all of the emotions.

So I came clean with Adam.  I told my sisters.  I talked about it with my friends at work.  I let myself cry while reading a birth story in a book.  And biggest win? I bought a Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon T for our unborn child (with some light prodding from a few friends). It was the first step in accepting this is real and exciting.

And then, on Valentine’s Day, we heard the baby’s heartbeat.

From concept to reality in that moment.  I am building a tiny body and soul in my own body.  This tiny being was created by Adam and I.  Every choice I make right now impacts who this baby will be.  I am responsible for so much more.

So I’m getting over it.  Everyone gets excited because it IS a miracle. Being present is a struggle for me sometimes because I get so caught up in my “I’m different than you” version of looking good.

Wow. WOW.  I’m pregnant.

XO Chlo