Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Night sky nursery

On a few occasions over the past couple of weeks,  I've caught M standing by himself in the nursery.  Sometimes he's just there in the middle of the room, looking around as if making sure that everything is in place for Chalupa Batman's arrival.  Other times, usually at night, he'll be standing there in the dark with the mobile on, listening to a lullaby while watching the night light play across the ceiling.  When I wander in to see what he's up to, he rubs my belly and talks to CB, asking him to hurry up and get here so that he can enjoy the space we've made for him.

When we started talking nursery decor, we both knew that we didn't want to go full-on "baby boy blue".  But (being space nerds) we both loved the idea of an accent wall with an outer space theme.  Over time this kind of morphed into a simpler "night sky" idea, with the rest of the room keeping to more neutral tones.  While I'm no Pinterest-worthy photographer, here are a few shots of our former junk room /new favourite room in the house.

Can you spot the Little Dipper?

Soon to be evicted suffocation hazards fluffy friends.

The wall opposite the crib, where the real shit goes down.

The next photo is a great idea from one of my baby showers.  All of my friends wrote messages on the inside of diapers to give me a laugh when I'm up at 3am changing a stinky baby and wondering what has become of my life.  Unbelievably, I've resisted the urge to peek so far.

I've been assured none of these will make me cry.

Future bedtime stories.  With a little East Coast flair!

A little name hint!  Plus curtains made by my MIL.

And finally, my absolute favourite thing in the entire room is this painting that was done by my sister, an incredibly talented artist who is wasting her time on high schoolers passing on her knowledge as a high school art teacher.  When I told her about the "night sky" idea, she created this beautiful watercolour.

Now with bonus beagle!!

So there you have it!  Tomorrow is my due date.  I know anything can happen, but at this point I'm pretty convinced Chalupa Batman is staying put for a little while yet.  Despite my best efforts in getting out for 30 to 60 minute daily walks, he hasn't even dropped and the only real "sign" of labour I've had was a chunk of my mucous plug that came out last week but has surely replenished itself by now.  If nothing happens over the weekend my OB will do a membrane sweep on Monday in the hopes of getting something started.  I think I'm ready to get this show on the road!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Home Stretch

Well friends, it is Thursday morning exactly one week before my due date.  On the recommendation of quite a few friends, I finished up at work last week so right now I'm at home, sitting on my butt on the couch enjoying what are probably the last few days of sanity that I'll have for a while.

On the one hand, it feels very weird and old-fashioned to send M off to work with a kiss while I stay home.  On the other, it's been nice to have a bit of time to attend to various chores at a leisurely pace and get some much-needed things done that might otherwise be neglected in the coming weeks (i.e. getting Buddy's nails clipped, having my bangs trimmed, replacing those stoopid pot lights in the kitchen that seem to burn out with annoying frequency, etc).  I've also been doing a bit of cooking and baking to help stock the freezer so that we won't be subsisting on cereal and canned soup once the baby arrives.  Who knew I was such a goddamn domestic goddess?

Sort of like this, except pregnant and in dog-hair covered yoga pants.

I guess it's good that I still have a to-do list around the house, because otherwise I think I'd be really freaking bored waiting for Chalupa Batman to make his appearance.  This kid seems to be in no hurry.  Which is frustrating, since he's clearly running out of room in there and I keep telling him how much more comfortable he would undoubtedly be on the outside where he's not all squished up.  At our 35 week ultrasound a month ago, he was sitting in the 75th percentile and already weighing an estimated 6 pounds 5 ounces.  I can't help but be reminded of a friend of mine who, after giving birth to her son, confided that he came out of her "like the fucking Kool Aid man".

That wall will be my vagina.  OH YEAH!

In my most fervent hopes of avoiding this, at my weekly checkup on Monday I asked whether the size of the baby would have any bearing on how far overdue they'd let me go if it came to that.  Unfortunately, they have no problem with letting me squeeze a 10-pound turkey out of my v-hole.  They will, however, possibly induce earlier due to my "advanced maternal age", so high fives for being an old mom for a change.

Otherwise, the last couple of weeks of pregnancy have been not as terrible as I'd been led to expect.  I'm sleeping ok and can achieve some semblance of "comfort" with strategically placed pillows.  The biggest new annoyance has been fluid retention, which to be fair has not been very bad at all in the grand scheme of things.  I've seen some fellow bloggers whose ankles have disappeared entirely, whereas for me I just seem to get a nice indent where my socks have been.  The water retention has actually been worse in my hands.  I stopped wearing my wedding rings weeks ago, and now when I wake up in the morning my fingers feel tight and the joints are painfully stiff and creaky.  It subsides a fair bit throughout the day, but it's a not-so-nice preview of how I'll probably feel when I'm 70 or so and my family history of arthritis really kicks in.

I leave you for now with what may be my last bump picture, from 38 weeks.  

I swear there are nursery pics coming, we just have a final wall that's waiting for M to put up a shelf and painting before the big reveal.  Rest assured, were CB to arrive today we're ready for him.  

Famous last words, right?

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Navel gazing

My belly button looks so weird right now.  At 37 weeks, it's pretty much completely flattened out and, as Lilee so eloquently noted in a previous post, it bears a striking resemblance to a cat's asshole.  The part that used to be inside now makes a wide, smooth, hairless orbit around the tiny pucker of navel that's left.  Above it, the crowning glory of my belly button piercing scar (an ill-considered result of a post-breakup rebellion in my 20s) has been stretched into two horizontal lines, making it sort of look like I have three tiny belly buttons all in a row.  I thought about posting a picture, but trust me when I say I'm doing you a favour by not.

With that out of the way, the title of my post actually refers to all of the thinking I've been doing about the upcoming big event.  (BOOM!  Double entendre, bitches.)  Most of it is fairly standard stuff for first time moms, I assume.  Things like wondering how I'm going to handle childbirth (spoiler: with drugs).  How are we going to adjust to having a teeny tiny life to take care of, while initially having no idea how to do it?  How are we going to deal with sleep deprivation?  With the change in our relationship dynamic?  With immense amounts of poop and puke?  Are we going to be good parents?  Are we going to want to go back to our old lives?  Are we really ready for this???

Then there's the other stuff.  The donor egg stuff.  I find myself thinking more and more about how I'm going to deal with having a baby that isn't biologically mine.  The fact is that most of the time, I don't even think about it.  When Chalupa is beating me up from the inside out, or when I hear his little heartbeat on the Doppler at the OB's office, it doesn't even enter my mind.  But every now and again, the thought strikes me like a splash of cold water to the face: this baby isn't mine.  When I talk to M about it, he seems to have a hard time understanding what I mean.  I don't think it the sense that I feel disconnected from Chalupa, or that I'm not acknowledging the importance of my role in bringing him into this world.  I mean it in the most basic, factual, cellular sense.  He's not my son.  Not biologically.  There is another woman's child growing inside me right now, and every once in a while the sheer absurdity of that situation needs to be acknowledged by my brain.

Again, most of the time this issue doesn't even faze me.  I've felt pretty much at peace with our decision to use donor eggs and haven't really second guessed it.  But every once in a while I wonder if it will somehow colour the way I feel about Chalupa once he's here.  Will I bond with him immediately, or will it take some time?  What if we don't ever bond the same way we would have if we were biologically related?  What if it totally screws him up for life?  I find myself hoping that he strongly resembles M so that he/I won't have to deal not only with other people asking who he looks like, but wondering that himself/myself.  I just hope that we haven't set him up for a  lifetime of feeling like he doesn't belong, or that he's different somehow.

Sometimes I wonder if I'll be able to be completely accepting of him.  For instance, what if he has some kind of physical feature or personality trait that I don't like?  Worse, what if he has a disability or chronic illness?  Will I respond unconditionally the way a genetic mom would, or will I resent the donor and blame her instead of just accepting it the way I might if Chalupa was purely made up of genes from M and I?

Then there are the really crazy thoughts.  The ones where I imagine that the clinic screwed up and fertilized the donor's eggs with the wrong sperm, and we'll find out someday (somehow) that he isn't related to either of us.  Or we'll find out immediately in the delivery room if, say, he comes out the wrong colour or something.  I totally don't mean that in a racist way, I just mean that it would likely be the only way for us to know right off the bat if something was not quite the way it should be.  What the hell would we do then?  

Well, OK, maybe that last one is a little bit over the top.  But I feel like the rest are pretty legit donor egg mom worries.

I've read enough donor egg blogs to know that pretty much everyone seems to feel like these worries fly right out the window once their baby arrives.  Of course I hope it'll be the same for me.  But just...what if it's not?

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Pregnancy brain: It's really a thing

I am a smart person.  I was a straight A student all through school and university, and I've won more than a couple of academic awards in my day.  I once had friends refuse to read the multiple choices on Trivial Pursuit cards when they were playing against me, claiming it would make the game more fair.

I say this not to humblebrag (although technically, I guess I'm just normal bragging).  I say this to set the stage to illustrate just how freaking dumb I've become in the past couple of weeks.  While I had always read about "pregnancy brain fog", I kind of never believed it was really a thing.  I mean yeah, pregnancy changes your body in tumultuous ways, but your brain?  Maybe after the baby comes and you're functioning on a huge sleep deficit, but surely just being pregnant couldn't have the same effect.  Or could it?

Exhibit A:  Last weekend while in Ottawa for one of my baby showers, I plugged the wrong address into Google Maps.  Twice.  For one friend, I had written down her address wrong and I had to call her only to have her open her front door at a house directly across the street.  For the other, I put a totally made up address into my phone, resulting in several wrong turns and an inadvertent trip across the border into Quebec before we finally reached our destination.

Exhibit B:  On the trip back to Toronto, we stopped at a highway rest stop to grab some food.  I went to Tim Horton's and ordered two hot chocolates and a toasted bagel.  I paid, took our hot chocolates, and left.  Only about five minutes later, after I'd bought some gum at another store, did I realize that I was bagel-less and went back to retrieve it.  Thankfully, this is Canada, and it was still there on the counter waiting for me.

Exhibit C:  This morning M and I were about to enjoy our traditional Sunday morning waffles.  Usually I make some kind of fruit topping to go with them, like hot cinnamon apples or fresh cut strawberries.  This morning it was going to be a warm banana pecan topping, made of sliced bananas sauteed with a bit of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  I grabbed the nutmeg from my spice rack and shook a generous amount over the bananas as they bubbled in the pan...and realized my mistake as the scent of chili powder wafted up at me instead.  Bananas, meet garbage.  My husband came in and patted me on the head like an idiot child.

I rest my case.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Lazy ass bullet point post

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned.  It has been almost 3 weeks since my last blog post.

In my defence, it's been a busy couple of weeks.  First we had to finish our prenatal classes, then we spent the better part of the next two weekends painting and organizing the nursery (almost done!).  And I've been useless in the evenings.  My boss chose a spectacular time to go off and have surgery on his torn ACL, leaving me in charge for the next few weeks as he recuperates.  5pm onward generally looks like this: get home, walk dog, make dinner, put on cozy pants, eat dinner, park ass on couch, and zone out with Netflix until bedtime.  I keep waiting for that "burst of energy" the books all tell me I'm going to get that will kick my nesting instinct into gear, but it hasn't happened yet.  Instead, I mostly feel like this:

I'm not lazy.  I'm just very motivated to do nothing.

The third trimester has definitely given me a new appreciation for some of life's simpler pleasures.  Things like rolling over in bed with ease, or tying up one's winter boots without sounding like an asthmatic warthog.  Before anyone craps on me, I'm not complaining.  I'm ecstatic to be lucky enough to be in the position of sounding like an asthmatic warthog.  But it's also safe to say that pregnancy does some pretty effed up shit to your body that no amount of reading and research can prepare you for.  And I haven't even gotten to the labour part yet!

Likely due to in part my new level of laziness, combined with the fact that I'm really really boring right now, I honestly don't even have much to blog about.  I've managed scrounge together the following bullet points:
  • Despite the fact that I'm still squeezing into my normal winter coat (and don't think my zipper doesn't HATE me for it), I apparently now look pregnant enough to the general public to get offered seats on crowded public transit.  I've yet to take anyone up on their offer, mostly because I've only been on for short rides, but it's pretty cool to see that common human decency isn't totally dead.  M thinks I should have fun with it and scowl back and say, "I'm not pregnant."  My husband can be a real jerk.
  • Applying for maternity leave benefits is a giant pain in the ass.  I'd been warned that every time someone in my organization applies for mat leave, it's like she's the first woman to ever become pregnant at work EVER.  Hilariously, there are three of us due within a few months of each other and we've all been told completely different things.  By the same HR rep.
Business Cat would probably just want to eat my placenta. 
  • I have two baby showers coming up over the next two weekends, one in Ottawa (where I used to live a few years ago and still have a bunch of girlfriends) and another one here in Toronto.  For the Toronto one, two separate friends approached me offering to host, and not wanting to exclude anyone I suggested perhaps they could plan it together.  It was a particularly genius move on my part, since one of them is the disorganized artsy type and the other one is Type-A overachiever organized.  They may both kill me yet.
  • I'm really really enjoying poking myself in the belly and trying to figure out what parts of Chalupa Batman are what.  I still have no frigging clue.  I have no idea how a nurse can look at me for 6.5 seconds and put a Doppler smack dab on his heartbeat, or poke me with a finger and tell me where his head is.  It's voodoo, I tell you.
That's it for me!  Hopefully soon I'll be in a position to share a few nursery pictures.  I think I'm finally feeling like we're somewhat prepared!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

There's always one

Every class I've ever taken has always had one.  You guys know who I'm talking about.  That person.  The one who monopolizes the discussion or asks a bajillion questions, completely derailing the class while oblivious to the fact everyone else is rolling their eyes because they're tired/hungry/have somewhere else to be and just want that person to shut the eff up.

Within moments of her (20 minute late) arrival at prenatal class this past weekend, I knew Harriet was that person.  Perhaps it was the way she strolled in with her pregnant daughter, completely interrupting the nurse instructor to regale us with the tale of why they were late rather than apologizing and seating themselves quietly.  Or perhaps it was the fact that she was a 50-something year old woman wearing a children's-style knit winter cap in the form of a cow, complete with ear flaps, side strings and bright yellow knitted horns.  

Sorta.  Except much less cute.

Harriet (about whom we would all learn waaaaay too much in the coming hours) came to class as the support person for her daughter Emma, who was having her first child without a dad on the scene.  But lucky us, Harriet also seemed to think that the nurse teaching the class could benefit from some real, honest-to-goodness birthin' stories from Harriet's own labours some 25 years ago.  Literally every time the nurse started a new topic, Harriet had something to say.  Most of which could be filed into the "useless" category, cross referenced with "too much information".

For instance, we all had the joy of picturing Harriet's perineum as she told us that she had an episiotomy with Emma but tore naturally with her second birth, since she delivered her son in 1.5 hours flat.  We also learned all about her genetic disorder which meant that they were considering cord blood banking for Emma's unborn baby.  Other pearls of wisdom were dispensed in shorter, more colourful bursts.

Harriet on nesting:  "I made 12 quarts of raspberry jam!"

Harriet on inducing labour:  "I tried castor oil.  It just gave me the runs."

Harriet on breastfeeding:  "I didn't do it, and the nurses really made me feel like shit about it."

The weirdest revelation came towards the end of the day, when the nurse was talking about sleeping arrangements.  Now, keep in mind this question could (and probably should) have been asked along the lines of "So, are there any specific legal requirements regarding where a baby should sleep?".  But no, that wouldn't have disclosed an uncomfortable amount of personal detail, so what Harriet really asked was, "So, are there any legal requirements about where a baby should sleep?  Because we were told that a baby needs its own separate bedroom, and if it doesn't have one then Child Protective Services can come and take it away.  Is that true?"  Quite leaving aside the question of why you're having ANY discussions about CPS taking your child away before you've even given birth to it, would you not want to keep that particular nugget of information to yourself?

I have to give credit where credit is due, though.  Harriet wasn't all bad.  On one of our coffee breaks she ran to the nearby Tim Horton's and came back with a big travel container of coffee and enough donuts for everyone, just to celebrate all our babies and her first grandchild.  It's hard to be too pissed off at someone when you're stuffing your face with an apple fritter they just bought for you.

The end result of Harriet's constant interruptions (on top of just generally making everyone else in the class irritated and uncomfortable) was that we didn't get to cover everything that was on the schedule for that day.  Lucky for us...we have a second day coming up this weekend!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Third trimester update  Tomorrow I'll be 30 weeks pregnant.  On the one hand, it feels like time is flying by and there's no way we're going to be prepared in time for Chalupa Batman's arrival.  On the other, it kind of feels like I've been pregnant forever.  I'm so used to this little guy kicking around inside me that it's almost become commonplace, and I sort of forget what it was like to have a normal sized body.

Pretty weird for someone who never thought she'd ever manage to become pregnant in the first place.

While I've never really been one for the "weekly bumpdate" sort of post, I thought I'd at least go through some of the big stuff for posterity's sake.  As of right now I've gained about 21 pounds, most of it belly but with a little extra in the hips and thighs too.  I had actually gained a bit more, but a three-day bout with the stomach flu over Christmas took care of some of the extra cookie weight and got me back on track.  I've so far managed to avoid fun stuff like swollen hands and feet, and can still wear my wedding rings unless I get really overheated or something.  I've also been lucky enough to not get any stretch marks so far, and I'm hoping I might be able to skip these entirely.  Neither my mom nor sister got them during their pregnancies (and my mom had twins with my sis and brother), so I'm hoping I'm the winner of the genetic lottery in at least one department!

CB is on the move pretty regularly, and is often at his most active just when I'm settling down to sleep.  Clearly, this is just a taste of things to come.  He's strong enough now that M can actually watch my belly shimmy and shake, which is both mesmerizing and extremely weird.  Also weird: stuff leaking from your nipples.  I woke up one night with a wet cleavage and thought, "Wow, I drooled all the way down there?" before realizing that no, the moisture trail was coming from my breast and oh sweet merciful crap it's coming from my nipples!!!  I imagine my reaction as being similar to how a teenage boy feels when waking up from his first wet dream.  Sure, it's totally normal, but ewwwww.

Symptom-wise I'm feeling pretty good, although I'm definitely starting to experience some aches and pains from time to time.  Mostly it's just mild back pain if I sit too long at work, so I've been trying to get out for walks at lunchtime on days it hasn't been insanely cold (read: virtually never).  I'm still sleeping OK as well, although I sense my time like this is growing short.  A few times now I've woken up with hip pain from lying on one side too long, and of course rolling over is an ordeal in and of itself.  Luckily, for the most part my bladder is still managing to hold out all night (as well as when it's under duress like laughing or sneezing) so that's an unexpected bonus.  Of course now that I've said this I'm virtually guaranteed to pee myself tomorrow.

As we hurtle towards the end of this pregnancy, M and I are finally getting our crap together and starting to do some preparation.  Last weekend we picked up a bunch of baby stuff from a friend including a bassinet, diaper genie and baby swing, and this weekend we're planning on painting the nursery in addition to attending our first childbirth class.  We still have to pick up some big ticket items like a crib, car seat and stroller, but we've mostly settled on the makes and models we want so it's just a matter of actually going out and buying them when we have some time.

The one question that I keep getting the most right now is, "Are you getting excited?"  I'm never quite sure how to answer.  I mean, I know the obvious (and expected) answer is a resounding "Yes!" but if I'm being honest, that doesn't really describe how I'm feeling.  Excitement is certainly part of it, but there's also a whole other mishmash of fear/anxiety/nervousness/doubt/incredulity that comes along with it.  It seems like all anyone wants to talk about is how difficult those first few weeks with a new baby can be, and how you can never be fully prepared for them.  The expectation of insanity and sleep deprivation and crazy hormonal mood swings makes it difficult for uber-practical me to lapse into carefree daydreams about snuggles and lullabies and sweet-smelling baby skin.  I guess the best way to think of what's to come is the same way lots of people have described it: a roller coaster ride.  It's going to be scary and exhilarating and quite unlike anything either of us has experienced ever before.

I leave you with my 30 week bump picture.  Surprise surprise, I'm wearing stripes.  I've decided to see if I can make it to the end of my pregnancy with only striped bump photos, without repeating any outfits.  Lofty goals have I!