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All In Hand

Gordon's arrival - story and pics

Miss Vicky Thu Oct 12, 2006

Well, here he is, our Gordon:

He made a rather dramatic entrance on Sunday afternoon. That morning we were at Hintonburg Park with my brother and his girls (they were in town for Thanksgiving weekend), when I started getting contractions. They were frequent and intense. So we decided to high-tail it up to the Civic. We got checked in and checked out. Pumpkin was still breech, so they started to prep me for a c-section while I had fun dealing with labour. The Webgeek and my Mom were great supports. Unfortunately, Pumpkin decided the scheduled 3pm surgery wasn't soon enough, and I found myself being wheeled into the OR before the epidural took effect. They put me under, and I woke up shortly afterwards to the news that I had a healthy baby boy.

Scary, yes. But those folks at the Civic are real stars. It was amazing the way they mobilized. And they made an effort to keep me calm and reassured while they did what they needed to do to make sure both of us made it through the process safe and sound. And we were really impressed with the staff of the special care unit (where Gordon spent his first night) and the mother and baby ward. They did an amazing job helping us get adjusted, helping me learn the finer points of breastfeeding (OK, the rudimentary points of breastfeeding), walking us through the battery of tests and hurdles we needed to get through during our 72 hours in the hospital - all in a very unintrusive manner, which I really appreciated.

It's been great to be home. Winston is curious about the new arrival, but has already decided it's his job to make sure he's OK. So now our challenge is to make sure he knows it's OUR job. He seems to be adjusting fairly well, though. He has snuck a few kisses here and there, but has been very gentle.

I imagine the Webgeek will have his perspective to add. But in the meantime, here are some pics:

Here's the Webgeek learning the joys of the "chest nap":
They seem to be getting this one down.

And me looking hospital-haggard, but pretty darned happy:

Sure was worth it, though!

Proud granny, who was fantastic through the delivery and a real help before and after birth:

And finally, in his carseat, ready to head home to the Finishing School:


... And Baby Makes Three

The Webgeek Mon Oct 9, 2006

Gordon Ross Smallman Denny was born Sunday October 8th and 2:27 pm.

Weighing in at a slight but healthy 5lbs, 8oz. he and Mom are doing fantastic. I'm only home briefly to grab essentials. SO we'll fill all of you in on details later.


Miss Vicky Fri Oct 6, 2006

So I had all kinds of intentions of blogging issues this week. There's so much going on - from the development news in Westboro (not just the Jeanne d'Arc now, but an application for a "minor variance" on Richmond for a 9 storey development where 6 storeys is the maximum, an end run around the so-called development freeze in the area), to the LRT shenanigans, to the impending opening of my campaign office, to the CBC's Think Ottawa forum at Carleton last night... but life has been slowly taking over this week. I have kept up a busy campaign schedule, but we've had more than our share of reminders that Pumpkin's arrival is imminent.

Tuesday we had a lengthy episode of false labour, so we have been on high alert all week, and were really looking forward to the weekly check-in at the Civic to see how things were progressing. Had an ultrasound, and wouldn't you know it, Pumpkin's been following in the footsteps of his Olympian cousinand practicing his acrobatic skills. At 39 weeks, he has flipped to breech position. My doctor tried what is called a "version", which basically involves an attempt to physically manipulate the baby around from the outside. No luck, unfortunately. Apparently Pumpkin is stubborn (wonder where he got that trait from?) as well as acrobatic.

So, we've scheduled a c-section for Wednesday and are hoping the baby will flip back to the head-down position in the meantime. Either way, it looks like we'll have a new addition to the household next week.

No need to make the inevitable joke about the baby's flip-flopping being symbolic of his political parentage. My doctor has already cracked that one!


Miss Vicky Tue Oct 3, 2006

The new Ethiopian restaurant has opened up on our little block of Wellington West. This is a great addition to the international fare currently available in a 30 second radius from our house - Helen's Cuisine (Lebanese) at the Melrose Grocery, Pnomh Penh (Cambodian), Spring Roll House (Vietnamese).... oh, and the KFC. It's located between the IBEW office and the GT Boutique, in the former location of Ocean. Decor is stripped down and simple, the service is friendly, and the food is fantastic. We had the vegetarian sampler and a stewed lamb dish; it comes served on a large piece of injera (a spongy flatbread, kind of like a sourdough crepe), with some extra injera and a wet nap. If you've never had Ethiopian cuisine before, be prepared - you eat it with your hands, using the injera to scoop up bits of stew and salad. So not only is it incredibly tasty, it's fun, too!

We'll be back. Probably a lot.

Meme: 5 Things Feminism has done for me

Miss Vicky Mon Oct 2, 2006

This meme comes courtesy of Progressive Bloggers, an idea cooked up by pamused and others to combat the current attacks on the Status of Women Canada, one of the many government agencies and programs that were recently cut by the Harper government. You can read the background on the ProgBlog site, as well as Pamused's blog, so I won't wade into that debate right now (although I am contemplating a Dear John (Baird) letter, so watch this space).

So here they are, the 5 things feminism has done for me:

1) Great Role Models. I cannot even count the number of women who have struggled, broken through barriers, forged new paths, and served as sources of inspiration to me. But I'll focus on one: my Mom. She met my dad when she was in her last year of high school, became pregnant (with me), and got married right away. She had 3 kids in quick succession, struggling as a young mother while my father finished his education and started his military and medical career. Eventually she decided to go back to school... and became a physician. Now, this may not sound like a huge deal to younger people today, but back in the 70s, it was. She taught me how important it is to honour one's self when making life decisions, even if it takes one away from prescribed and seemingly normal paths. She had given up a lot of hopes and dreams when she started a family so early, and our early family life wasn't easy - neither was the pressure she got from traditionally-minded relatives and others when she decided to become a doctor. But she did it, and was happier for it, and I admire her for making what must have been an incredibly difficult decision. I am also grateful that she supports me in my own choices about balancing career and family right now; we have a really close relationship and this brings me no end of joy.

2) Choices. I've always felt that I can actively pursue my dreams, whether it was acting, academics, politics, writing. I've never felt that my choices were limited, not by my gender anyway. I'm still cognisant, however, that the routes to achieving some of the things I'd like to achieve may be more difficult or involve more obstacles because of my gender. But I've never felt that I couldn't try.

3) Great men. I know so many amazing guys - guys who aren't threatened by strong women, or ambitious women, or successful women, or articulate women. Guys who have supported me and other women in our struggles. Guys who understand power relations - including their own privilege - and who don't mind being taken to task for the occasional blind spot or slip. Guys who Get It. I know we have feminism to thank for that - now an entire generation has grown up with women in the work force, familiar with the concepts advanced by feminist theorists and thinkers over the last century. It can only get better.

4) Partnership. I suppose this is related to numbers 2 and 3, but it deserves a category of its own. It took me a while to find him, but the Webgeek is indeed one of those Guys who Get It. He's not only fully supportive of me, my passions, my politics and my goals, but WANTS to be a stay-at-home Dad. And I think he's going to kick ass at it. I would certainly have thought twice about trying to balance motherhood and running for city councillor if I did not have a partner who wants to make this work as much as I do.

5) Maternity and Parental leave Kind of an obvious one for me right now. It is so important to have access to programs like the federal government's EI support for pregnancy and parental leave, not to mention the top-up that my union negotiated with my employer. And it's even better than I can split the EI leave with the Webgeek, so we know that one of us can be home with the baby for the first year or so of his life. Of course, parental leave is just the beginning - in North America we have yet to follow the example of some European countries in establishing employment policies that encourage flexibility and help people balance work and family (without sacrificing income). And too many women are not eligible for EI and thus receive no income support if they take time away from their jobs to stay home with their baby. So while I am grateful for what feminism has achieved here in Canada, I know we cannot afford to become complacent or assume that there is nothing left to do.

It's not hard to find evidence that we have yet to achieve equality, that we have more work to do. That's why I don't mind referring to myself as a feminist, despite the rather negative connotations that have been foisted upon the term by folks who would undo everything equality-seeking women (and men!) have achieved. And that's why I continue to be active in organizations like Equal Voice or support the work of many groups whose funding is under question along with the administration of SWC. It's why I go to every Take back the Night march, and write about women's issues on my blog. Feminism has also taught me that power relations are complex, and that the search for equality must extend beyond one's own identity and issues - that's why I became involved in the fight for equal marriage, have spoken out against racial profiling, and gotten involved in other issues that don't affect me directly but are part and parcel of breaking down all kinds of barriers and striving for equality in our society as a whole.

Now, blogging tradition would have me tag 5 people. But I think I will just encourage my Faithful Legion to post their 5 things here or on their own blogs - and let the staff at Progressive Bloggers know so they can add you to the ever-growing list.

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