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!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Conversations with a 5-year-old about pregnancy

My niece didn't seem super impressed when she was first told a few months ago that I was expecting a baby.  As the only child on our side of the family, both my sister and I assumed that she was just pouting about having to share attention with a baby at some point.  But then she asked my sister one of those questions that only a kid could come up with.  She asked her why I didn't want to be an auntie anymore.

You can imagine, then, that I felt even worse when I had to disappoint her by telling her that she wasn't going to get the girl cousin that she wanted.  I think I managed to save that one though, telling her that it was good that I was having a boy because then I could keep doing all my "girl" activities with her.  She apparently liked that.

I know.  Give an auntie a break.

By the time I arrived for Christmas, she seemed to have come around even more and was joining in the fun of tossing around baby names and feeling up my belly.  She was lucky enough to catch a few kicks, which she seemed excited about, and of course she had a few questions too.  At one point I was looking at one of my pregnancy apps on my phone, and she was curious about the diagram of the 28-week fetus in utero.  I enlarged the pic and decided to do my part for edumacation, explaining to her that this was what the baby looked like while it was inside me.  She pointed out the umbilical cord and wanted to know what it was, so I explained that it was connected to the baby's belly button and it was how I shared what I was eating and drinking with the baby so that it could grow bigger.

This idea clearly resonated with her, and on a couple of occasions she would comment while I was eating or drinking something, "You're sharing a cookie with the baby!" or "The baby is sharing your water!"  Then, one morning I was letting her play with my makeup as I sipped my one daily cuppa joe.  I caught her looking at me quizzically in the mirror, and she stated, more than a little accusingly, "You're sharing coffee with the baby.  Why would you DO that??"

Way to get a head start on judging pregnant ladies, kid.

Something else that was pretty cute was when she asked whether the baby could hear her.  I said yes, so a couple of times when Chalupa Batman was sleeping and she wanted to feel him kick, she'd press her face right to my belly and intone a deep "WAAAAAKE UUUUUP".  She would also adorably say goodbye to him by pressing her hands on either side of my belly, getting up close and whispering a tiny "goodbye!"

Finally, on the second last day of my visit, she asked the question that we all knew was coming.  I was keeping her occupied in her playroom while my sister was cooking dinner.  Out of nowhere she asked, "How did you get the baby in your belly?  Did you buy it at the store?"  I stifled a laugh while thinking how inadvertently close to the truth she was, and told her that was a great question to ask her mom and dad.

Monday, 29 December 2014


Holy crap, it's been one hell of a busy holiday!

M and I arrived at my parents' place late on the 23rd after a much delayed flight.  Christmas Eve was filled with visits to various friends and family to drop off gifts.  On Christmas Day I got up bright and early to go to my sister's house so I could enjoy the insanity of my niece opening up all her presents from Santa, and then I headed back to my folks' place for our own gift opening followed by turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  On Boxing Day my parents hosted brunch for some of their friends, and then on the 27th there was a huge extended family gathering at my aunt's place.  Finally, since this will be my last visit home before Chalupa Batman's arrival, yesterday my mom threw me a small baby shower attended by some aunts, female cousins and a few friends.

Whew!  I'm tired out from just typing that.

Anyway, that's my excuse for not having a chance before now to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.  No matter what may or may not be happening in your uterus at this moment, I hope you've had a wonderful holiday surrounded by friends, family, warmth and love.  Oh, and cookies.  Lots and lots of cookies.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Poppin' fresh

I think I'm starting to figure out how this guy feels:

Well, OK, so strangers haven't started poking me in the tummy yet, but I have had a couple of people (luckily, semi-close friends) ask if they could rub my belly.  Since both of them were very supportive during the bad days, I let them have a go.  But I'm not planning on making a habit of it!

I guess what all of this means is that I've started to look more and more pregnant.  Which is interesting, because it means that all of a sudden people seem to only have this one thing to talk to me about.  In general, it takes one of two routes.  People who know me a little bit better have been alternately telling me how awesome I look or (jokingly) slagging me for not having a bigger belly, whereas other people (mostly co-workers I don't know so well) just give me this weird smile and a sing-song-y "So how are you feeee-ling??"  Lucky for them I'm feeling pretty good, because I doubt they'd seriously want to hear something like, "Oh, well, this morning I found something leaking out of my nipples.  Is that normal?" (Answer: yes, but I don't actually have any nipple leakage.  Yet.)

Anyway, I've been lax in posting headless bump pics, so here are a couple for anyone who's interested.  And yes, it has become painfully clear to me that it seems like my entire wardrobe consists of stripes.

21 weeks

24 weeks.  Definitely rounded out!

I had my 24 week checkup with my OB today, and was given a letter declaring me "in good health and able to travel" just in case Air Canada decides to give me any flak in a couple of weeks.  M and I are headed back east to see my family for the holidays this year, and I'm seriously counting down the days!

Monday, 1 December 2014

2nd Blogiversary

What a difference a year makes.

Last year in my first blogiversary post, I lamented the fact that I was feeling left behind, as almost half of the bloggers I was following were now either pregnant or parenting.  This year, that statistic has risen to almost 80%.  For a lot of people, it's been an awfully good year.

I'm one of them.  You might not be.  And maybe now you're one of the ones who's feeling left behind.

This post is for you.

I want you to know that you're not forgotten.  I want you to know that I remember all too well how it feels to read or hear about yet another pregnancy announcement.  To feel that bittersweet mix of happiness for someone else, tinged with more than a little sadness for yourself.  To blink back your tears until you can make it to a bathroom somewhere and let it out, just a little, only to bottle it back up again so you can head back to your desk or party or wherever it is you are without people knowing you've been crying.

To wonder if it will ever be you.

I remember all too well how it feels to grieve over and over again, month after month, year after year.  To ride the roller coaster of each new cycle from excitement to fear to disappointment, and wonder if you'll know when it's time to get off.  To question whether you'll have the strength to do so when it is.

To have hope become an enemy.

I wish I could tell you that it's all going to work out how you want it to, and that your BFP is just around the corner.  I wish I could tell you that you just have to do a few more cycles, or try IVF, or try a donor or a surrogate, and you'll get your wish.  But we both know I can't do that.  No one can.  All I can tell you is that, a year ago, I was in that same place.  I was starting to think that it would always be someone else's turn, and that it would never be mine.  And then, for a little while, it got even worse.  And then I became one of the lucky ones.

I hope with every single fibre of my being that someday it'll be you.  If I've been remiss in not saying it before, let me say it now: I'm still with you.  I haven't for one second forgotten what it feels like.  No matter what this journey holds for you, know that you're not alone.  

Everyone here is ready to go
It's been a hard year with nothing to show
From down this road
It's only on we go, on we go
Everyone here is ready to go
It's been a hard year, and I only know
From down this low
It's only up we go, up we go 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

That one time I went to prenatal yoga

I am not a bendy person.  Despite many years of dance and martial arts classes, I have and never will be able to do a split.  While other girls were extending their legs up by their ears, I was struggling to get mine to 90 degrees.  As a result, yoga and I have never been friends.  I've tried a couple of different classes, but while everyone else is smiling contentedly and breathing into their poses, I'm huffing and puffing and sweating and shaking as I fight frantically not to topple over.  I've never found anything even remotely relaxing about it, so despite how good it's supposed to be for you, I gave up trying.

A little while ago my work friend Maya signed up for a new yoga studio close to our office.  She started bugging me about coming to a lunchtime prenatal class with her as a way of using up some of her free guest passes, and after a few weeks of putting her off I finally ran out of excuses.  I figured it had been a couple of years since I'd last tortured myself with yoga, so I was due for another round.  (Side note:  No, Maya is not pregnant, although her partner is currently in the middle of a 2WW after their most recent FET.  The prenatal class was just conveniently timed.)

In my limited yoga experience, I'd discovered that the stereotype of the crunchy granola hippie yoga instructor was usually a myth.  Not this time.  Either that, or the universe had just been saving up.

The teacher started off by introducing herself as a former finance professional who'd given up the rat race to become a naturopathic doctor, yoga teacher, and lactation consultant. 

Then she casually mentioned that she was a mom of two, and that she was still breastfeeding her 4 and a half year old daughter.

Look, I think it's really great that there are so many different parenting choices available today, and I plan on trying really hard not to judge others just like I hope they won't judge me when the time comes. But this?  Fuck this.  I'm totally judging this.

With this horrifying image still fresh in our minds, we started class.  And it was actually ok.  Tougher than I thought it would be for a prenatal class, but definitely not the worst class I'd ever done.  I was even starting to think that I could actually see myself doing it again.

And then we got to the cool-down meditation.  Rather than the usual "concentrate on your breath, clear your mind, connect with your baby" relaxation that I was counting on, the instructor walked us through some top-level hypnobirthing earth mother goddess stuff.  Amongst other things, we were encouraged to "feel the beauty of each contraction" and envision our cervixes "opening like a flower to the warm rays of the sun".  Now, I know I haven't given birth yet, but I've read an awful lot of birth stories and for the life of me I can't remember any of you guys talking about how beautiful your contractions felt.  So clearly, you were all doing it wrong.  I'm also pretty sure that "cervix opening like a flower" is code for "3rd degree perineal tear", in which case I'll pass.  

Either way, at that point I had one eye open scanning the room to see if anyone else was trying as hard as I was not to laugh. 

Cervix opening like a what now?

So yeah.  I don't yoga so good.

Otherwise, there's not much to report around here.  I hit 22 weeks on Friday, and I'm feeling good.  Chalupa Batman has begun regular disco sessions in my uterus.  And yet we've still made no progress on names, or the nursery, nor have we bought anything or really done a single thing to prepare.  Eep.