Category Archives: Pregnancy

Shattered

Back in the summer, when I was in the middle of a crisis of confidence with my PhD dissertation (which, if I’m being honest, hasn’t really ended, but I’m at the stage now where I have to just get over myself and finish the damn thing), I spent a lot of time blogging about how conflicted I was feeling about going back to the clinic and starting to try for a 2.0.

At the time, I wrote this:

And so my reticence about going back to the clinic is not just about whether or not we are truly ready for a 2.0 (because I know we can’t ever really be ready in the same way one can never really be ready for a first baby- you just have to go ahead and have one and cope with what comes), or about how we will balance two children and two academic careers, or about how E. will adjust to being a big brother.

What it’s really about is I’m opening myself up to failure again, and, what’s worse, opening myself up to failing at something at which I’ve already passed.

It’s as though failing to have a 2.0 would not only be a failure in its own right, but it would also colour/darken the triumph that is E.

I wouldn’t have really passed infertility after all. I would have somehow squeaked through the first time without the gods noticing, but my greed at trying again would ultimately catch me out. As though the universe would take back my shiny certificate I earned with E.’s birth and rip it up, shaking its head. “You didn’t really pass, Turia,” the universe would say. “You bought yourself some time for a while. But in the end you’ve failed.”

That was what I was the most afraid of.

It’s happening.

I really believed after we had E. that we had FIXED things. Yes, it took 35 months, and IUIs and IVFs and FETs, and there were many, many heartbreaking BFNs before we got there, but when we did a long protocol IVF and transferred blastocysts, it WORKED.

I got pregnant.

I gave birth to a live, healthy baby.

And I honestly believed the second time around would be easier.

Because we KNEW now, or so I thought, what we had to do.

We knew what my body needed.

I absolutely believed that one of the two blastocysts that had been frozen and waiting for us at the clinic for three years was going to be E’s younger sibling.

They were from the same cycle, you see.

The cycle that WORKED.

When both FETs failed this fall, it really shook my confidence. But Q. and I talked about it, and we agreed that it hadn’t been exactly the same.

E. was the product of a fresh cycle.

So we waded in again.

We did exactly the same thing we did to get E.: a long protocol IVF with a five day transfer of two blasts.

And it WORKED.

We felt vindicated. We’d been RIGHT. We knew what my body needed.

And then I had an ultrasound where I learned that there wasn’t going to be a baby in September and my whole world came crashing down.

I don’t know anything anymore.

I don’t know if this loss was a fluke, if we were so unlucky as to have that blastocyst grow into a baby who was never meant to be.

Worse, I don’t know if E. was a fluke, if somehow he squeaked through unnoticed, but there’s something hitherto unrecognized in my body that will cause me to kill any future babies should I be so foolish as to try to keep growing them.

All I know is any confidence I had in myself, in my body’s ability to nurture and carry a baby, has been shattered, possibly irrevocably.

I was GOOD at being pregnant, you see.

I had almost no complications with E.

I carried him to thirty-nine weeks and four days.

I still felt good in the last week of my pregnancy.

I looked freakin’ amazing pregnant.

I had a fast, unmedicated labour and delivery, with very few physical repercussions.

I was able to successfully breastfeed my son, even through the MSPI issues and his later rejection of all day feeds, for thirteen months.

I was NORMAL.

I’d held on to that, all through the summer while I wrestled with my emotions, all through the fall and the FETs, all through December and the IVF grind, all through January and February, until I wasn’t allowed to believe it any longer.

All right, I told myself, I suck at getting pregnant. But that’s the hard part. I have a perfect track record with being pregnant.

One for one.

Now it’s one for three.

I didn’t blog much about the embryo that never got further than the gestational sac.

I thought about it, a lot actually, but I never wrote much down.

But if it had been the only embryo that implanted, I would have counted it as a loss.

I would have had a positive beta.

The numbers might not have doubled properly.

I might have known before that first ultrasound that things weren’t going to turn out well.

But I would have been pregnant.

It would have been a loss.

I thought about that, after the first ultrasound, but I didn’t say much to anyone else.

I had the other baby to concentrate on.

“The good baby” is what the ultrasound tech called it at that first appointment.

Except it wasn’t a good baby either, in the end.

The day after it happened my father called me. I tried to explain to him how I was feeling, how I could cope with E. being an only child but that if that was how it was going to turn out, I wished so much that we had never even tried to further expand our family, that we had been content with him as an only, that we had saved ourselves this pain and heartbreak.

“Well, Turia,” said my father, “surely it’s better to have actually tried. Everyone fails at something in their life, and you’ve done really well up until now.”

He’s right. I haven’t failed at very much before now.

But he doesn’t get it either.

There is a great gaping chasm between failing at something because I haven’t worked hard enough, or haven’t done enough research, or haven’t put enough thought into it, and failing at something when I have done everything in my power to make it work, have altered my life for months on end to give it a chance to work, have wished with all my heart that it would work, and, worst of all, have failed at it when it has already worked once before.

I thought I knew things.

I don’t know anything anymore.

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Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, A matter of faith, Anxiety Overload, Family, Grief, Loss, MSPI, Nursing, PhD, Pregnancy, Second Thoughts, Siblings

One week and counting? (plus belly pic)

How far along? Thirty-nine weeks. Now I can tell people when they ask when I’m due, “Next week!”

Sleep: Bump’s change in position is definitely affecting the bladder as I’m now up to at least two trips to the loo per night, and sometimes three (usually at 12.30, 2.30 and 4.00). Other than that I’m sleeping pretty well, although I am waking up for good most mornings a touch before 6.00, which seems excessive. 

How am I feeling physically? It just seems insane to be saying this, but I am still feeling generally fantastic. I know people say that first-time mums need to reach the stage in the pregnancy where they are so uncomfortable they just want the baby to come out, and that means they’re not worried anymore about labour and the birth. I have totally NOT hit that stage. My ankles are doing better this week, and although I make a lot of noise when I try to do simple things (apparently I feel I need sound effects to help me get off the couch), I’m still managing to get around pretty well. Yesterday I walked all the way down to a lunch date and then most of the way home again, which was probably a good six kilometres or so. And today I walked the forty minutes to my midwife appointment and then home again.

There are signs that things are gearing up. The cramping is becoming much stronger and more consistent and is especially bad in the early evening and at night. It’s strong enough now that sometimes I catch my breath and have to stop what I’m doing to concentrate on it. I was getting frustrated with the cramping until my mucous plug started coming out on Tuesday, and then I decided it’s obviously accomplishing something. I figure anything now makes actual labour easier!

Had a midwife appointment today with my backup midwife, who didn’t seem to have the same sense as my primary that I was likely to go early. Everything looks great- she didn’t suggest an internal check, so I don’t know what impact the cramps are having. Fundal height was 36 cm. Bump’s heart beat was 148. My bp was right in its usual range, etc. etc.

How am I feeling emotionally? Starting to really fret about labour and the birth, so I’m spending a lot of time reminding myself that my body knows what to do and I have to just trust it. Like I said above, I’m not sick of being pregnant yet, which means I’m still finding the whole concept of childbirth rather terrifying. I’m also feeling a bit overwhelmed by the reality that bump could come literally any day now- Q. and I still find it ridiculous that we get to become responsible for a BABY when we know NOTHING.

What have I done this week to get ready? Mostly last-minute little things. I bought a cheap sleep nursing bra and will wait until after the birth to buy any more. Picked up undies that can be tossed away after the post-partum period (who says pregnancy ain’t glamorous?!). Picked up the painting my friend made for bump which now has nice new glass in the frame and looks fantastic (hopefully we’re going to put things on nursery walls tomorrow). I’m nearly finished prepping my prefolds- need to do one more wash tonight. I’ve stripped and put away the fitteds my friend gave us. The crib mattress turned up on Tuesday (finally). I packed my hospital bag. I really did finish everything I had to do at the uni (and passed all three of my translation exams- hurrah!). We did survive our trip to I.KEA (which is an exhausting place to visit even when not pregnant), so Q. is going to be spending the weekend assembling flat-packed furniture in his new study. I got the bits and pieces I needed to finish my obsessive organizing in the nursery. Put it this way: if we start to go overdue, I’m going to need to come up with something else to keep myself busy! I keep putting things on my to-do list and crossing them off!

Best moment? Been a good week overall. Probably learning I’d passed all three exams was the highlight. The lowlight is this issue involving Q. is becoming more problematic and may well come to a head today or tomorrow. If you all could spare a moment to fervently hope that reason will triumph over mindless petty bureaucracy, that would be appreciated. I’m pretty angry he’s having to deal with this at all, especially at this point in time (when the man stops whatever he’s doing and stares at me with concern if I so much as breathe funny- it is too endearing).

Movement? Pushes, wiggles and hiccups. Not too much bladder or cervix bouncing, for which I am grateful. Hoping bump won’t drop the rest of the way until s/he is ready to start making his/her exit.

What I miss? Having energy in the evenings- we had a friend over for dinner, and once he left I told Q. we weren’t doing any more entertaining- I just crash as soon as the cramps start up.

What I’m looking forward to? Getting the carpet in our basement (tomorrow!), which means the renos will be officially done.

Milestones? 7 days and counting…

And here’s the most recent belly pic (38w3d):

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Filed under Belly Pics, Pregnancy, Week-by-week

Still having a perfect pregnancy

How far along? Thirty-eight weeks. My goodness we are getting close!

Sleep: Slept through the night a couple of times. Woke up to use the loo once a couple of times. Woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep a couple of times, the worst one being when I woke up at 4 the morning of my German translation exam (which I still managed to pass despite my bleariness. I was a mess by that evening). Pretty much as it has been. 

How am I feeling physically? Still generally good. The ankles are definitely having problems now, and I pretty much bid them adieu as soon as I put socks on. I’m not that speedy anymore.

Some signs that things are starting to get moving: I’m getting loads more Braxton-Hicks and they are starting to be much stronger. Not painful, but noticeable. Get some cramps from time to time, especially first thing in the morning. Bump has dropped down and fixed his/her head in my pelvis (midwife rated him/her at 3/5 at the home visit this morning), so I get a fair amount of bouncing/scraping on my cervix. Bump is also thinking about shifting from my left side to the middle of my uterus, although s/he hasn’t commited to this yet.

The rest of the visit today went really well. BP was 100/68 and I have “the pulse of a marathoner”. Bump’s heartbeat was 152. Fundal height has levelled off at 35 cm, but she wasn’t concerned because bump has dropped since last week’s appointment. She did say that she doesn’t think I’m having a giant baby (of course I want to use this as an excuse to run out and buy newborn covers and prefolds, but I am strongly resisting this urge- there will be time to get them once bump is on the outside). Also said she didn’t think I’d be seeing my due date (eek! We really need bump to stay inside for another week as we can’t get the carpet in our basement before next Friday).

How am I feeling emotionally? Excited that things are starting to get close. Frustrated that Q. is suddenly having to deal with a ridiculous administrative matter that could get quite messy right at this critical point. Nervous that bump might come any day- really would like another week!

What have I done this week to get ready? We put up the shelves in the closet in the nursery (which was quite the experience as the closet did not have a single straight line in it ANYWHERE), so I was able to clear a whole lot of stuff off the change table and put it away. I bought some post-partum supplies- still need some cheap undies and one cheap nursing bra, so will try to get to that this weekend. We’re also hitting up IK.EA this weekend, so that will sort out my remaining storage needs. Our crib mattress still isn’t here, which is troubling me, but we have a friend who can lend us an emergency Moses basket if necessary. I’ve started running through my to-do list of house stuff- getting all the finances in order, etc. The renos are SO close to being finished. Q. has done a great job on the basement- it’s unrecognizable.

Best moment? Again, it’s been a good week overall. This isn’t baby related, but we had a friend over for dinner last night whom I haven’t seen in seven years, so it was wonderful to get caught up. I love it when you can just start gabbing like no time has passed.

Movement? As I said above, bump is thinking about shifting to the middle, but isn’t committed. Still getting lots of pushes and wiggles and the inevitable hiccups.

What I miss? Blue sky. What a ridiculous ‘spring’. We better have the best May flowers in history. I only just managed to take in my friend’s painting to get the glass replaced yesterday- two weeks after she mailed it- because of all the rain.

What I’m looking forward to? Having everything tied up at the uni, which should be the case as of this afternoon. Having all the renos completed and the house back to normal. And then hopefully some time to spend with Q. before bump appears!

Milestones? 14 days until my due date… but how many until bump is here?

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Filed under Pregnancy, Week-by-week

We made it.

How far along? Thirty-seven weeks. Full term- woo hoo!

Sleep: Had two nights this week where I slept all the way through, which was insane. Of course that meant last night I woke up at 3 and remained awake (stewing over a school thing that had happened that day) until well past 5. I think I then dozed off again, but I’m definitely not at my best today. I’m still waking up at some point most nights to kick out the extra pillows, so my body still can’t decide how to get comfortable. 

How am I feeling physically? Generally still pretty good. I had some wicked heartburn one day (I think caused by french fries), and I’m getting a feeling of pulled muscles down in my hip flexor area when walking, especially if I start moving too quickly. I think that’s the relaxin at work. I had a dentist appointment this week and ended up having to have the hygenist work while I was on my side, as during the initial exam I realized very quickly that if I stayed on my back with my head lower than my heart I was going to either pass out or vomit, or possibly both. I tried to help Q. clear some things out of the basement (the renos continue) the other day, and got exhausted after four or five trips up the stairs. I keep hitting things (frying pan handles, doors, etc.) with the belly, as I clearly have no sense of spatial awareness and how much room I’m now taking up. So little things like that remind me that I need to watch my activity. But in general, I still feel fantastic.

How am I feeling emotionally? Good. I have a lot of school stuff on my plate this week and early next week, so I’m concentrating on that. The vast vast majority of the baby stuff is now organized to a point that I can live with it, even if it isn’t how I want things to be. Once Q. puts up the shelving in the closet that will help, and then I need one trip to I.KEA to get more of the storage boxes we’re using, and I’ll be sorted. I’m still happy being pregnant, but I am getting very curious to meet our baby.

What have I done this week to get ready? We finished our childbirth classes. The last class was about babies and was SO useful. I wish we had spent more time on that and less on labour preparation. We had our hospital tour. It is a gleaming brand-new facility, so it was very impressive. Hopefully we’ll be spending very little time there, but it is nice to know all the options available if things change. There is one room set up for a waterbirth which they call the ‘midwife room’. It is quite funny- they are obviously still figuring out how best to share their space with the midwives who have hospital privileges there, and although it is quite a progressive hospital, there is still a sense that the midwives do crazy things. I washed more baby stuff on the weekend. The only thing I have left to do at the moment is strip the diapers my friend sent me, but I’m refusing to do that until I have the storage organized and I can put them away properly. I bought two more crib sheets and a couple more 0-3 sleepers, and ordered the last couple of bits and pieces we needed online. The only thing left to buy are our prefolds, and I’m holding off until we figure out whether or not Q.’s mum has bought them already.

Best moment? An addition to last week- I then got ANOTHER package that same day from friends who live out west. She is a very talented artist and she’d sent the baby a giraffe she’d made from pastels. Unfortunately the glass didn’t survive the mail, so I need to take it in to a frame store to get it fixed, but it is GORGEOUS and so special.

This week nothing in particular stands out. It’s been a good week overall.

Movement? The usual story. Wiggles and pushes. Not many kicks, although s/he is starting to press more frequently on my cervix. Still complains if I am late with providing food. But generally it is such a chilled baby.

What I miss? Running. At the end of the month my sister is running the 10k that Q. and I ran last year, and I am SO jealous.

What I’m looking forward to? Getting the home renos done. Q. is really close now- the nursery is done except for the shelving in the closet, the study is done, and it’s just the main part of the basement that needs to be finished. Then we’ll have to sort out carpet, but that’s it. I hate having chaos in the home, so I’m really looking forward to getting everything organized and tucked away. Ideally we should be totally finished by the start of May. So bub needs to keep cooking!

Milestones? Full term. How awesome is that?!

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Less than a month to go!

How far along? Thirty-six weeks.

Sleep: Still waking up once a night for the loo, but now it seems to be closer to 5 am, which means I don’t always get a great sleep before the alarm goes off. I’m still tossing my extra pillows out of the bed…and then really noticing it in my hips in the morning. So my body can’t figure out what it wants. Our stressed cat avoided sleeping with us the first night the crib was assembled, but was back to normal the next night. She’s taken to sleeping on my hip in the wee hours of the morning, which she never used to do. Still super clingy and needing reassurance, I guess, but the good news is she’s not pulling out her fur in the same way. After the really bad patch she pulled during the baby shower she’s obviously settled down again, and the fur is starting to regrow. 

How am I feeling physically? Not too bad. Definitely noticing the extra weight and size if we go for a long walk, and rolling over in bed takes a lot of effort, but other than the usual rib pain and slightly swollen ankles, I’m still feeling pretty good. The ankles are ok if I can manage to avoid wearing socks, which I’m trying to do whenever I’m at home. I’m focusing on listening to my body and trying not to do too much- the Braxton Hicks get very strong when I overexert myself.

How am I feeling emotionally? I think I’ve come down off of the baby shower high from last week, but I still feel pretty good emotionally. I was glad to get as much organizing done as I managed last weekend, as it was really starting to stress me out having all this baby stuff spread over the entire house. I’m still not happy that the nursery isn’t perfectly finished, but I have enough sense to recognize that this is my type-A personality coming through, and that it isn’t really a big deal at this point. I know I just want to organize to make myself feel like we are completely and utterly prepared for the baby (and because I will then never be organized again!). And chances are if I get everything finished by the end of this week, I’ll then go overdue!

What have I done this week to get ready? What didn’t we get done this week?! The crib is assembled. The nursery is finished, except for the shelving in the closet (which I think Q. is going to sort out this weekend), and all the baby stuff is now in there rather than in our living room. I washed everything we’d received (although I have more stuff to do now that I’ve had a couple of packages arrive), and sorted all the clothes and linens. I added to my lists of what we still need to get pre-baby, and what we can wait on until bump arrives. We had our breast feeding class. We would have finished our childbirth classes, but our instructor was unwell, so we’ve still got one more week left with those.

Best moment? Probably getting packages in the mail. One was expected and had the various things I’d ordered online (diaper covers, change table pads, cloth wipes, pail liner, etc.). The other came this morning and was a surprise- my friend had said she would send me her old cloth diapers, which in itself was amazing, but the box also had new onesies and home-made burp cloths and a wooden rattle hand-made by her husband and all sorts of goodies! I feel like it’s Christmas!

Movement? Still the usual predictable bump. Wiggles like CRAZY if I am late with food. Falls asleep if I’m out and about. Likes to push on my ribs. Has precise active times during the day, but must be super quiet at night as I’m sleeping right through, and usually bump is asleep if I make a loo trip.

What I miss? Spring. We keep having warmer days and then another cold snap. We’re clearly making progress, but this winter has been so much longer than last year. I’m really ready to see our trees start blooming.

What I’m looking forward to? Our hospital tour is this weekend. Ideally we’re not going to be there for more than a few hours, but I’m keen to see the facilities so at least I’m not labouring in a strange place.

Milestones? Less than a month until my due date!

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Keep the assvice coming! (plus a belly pic)

I am loving all the comments and the feedback- it is super useful, and not too contradictory, which is SO helpful. Thank you all!

I will be going out to get a couple more crib sheets and a couple more sleepers before bub arrives, but it looks like you all think I can hold off on more clothes shopping until we see how big bub is. Perfect. I have been SO restrained with shopping (I have bought a total of two onesies for the baby- both as presents for Q.), so I think my head might explode if I don’t get to go and coo over some sleepers.

Can receiving blankets double as burp cloths if they are folded a couple of times, or should I really be getting actual burp cloths? Many of you are swearing by the burp cloths, and I’ve  been assuming my receiving blankets would work ok.

A couple of you asked about mattress covers. I’m about to order two of these vinyl-free pads. I ordered three of their vinyl-free change pads and I was waiting to see what they were like- and they are awesome! Super light and no off-gassing at all. I think I might get a couple more of the change pads too, as we want one for the diaper bag, one for the diaper station in the living room, and one for the change table…and that means we don’t have any spares. 

With diapers, I’m planning on buying one box of newborns and one of size 1s, and then using them until the cord stump falls off and the meconium is through the baby’s system. Then we’ll move to cloth (and I’m happy to wax lovingly about my new stash if anyone is curious).

What about nursing bras? When do I go and get measured for them? I know I should have at least one on hand pre-baby, but I’m confused about when I can make a good guess as to what size I’ll need.

Any other assvice you can think of is appreciated. Seriously. Q. and I are so ignorant about the most basic things. I can’t believe they’re going to just let us come home with a baby.

Here’s a crib shot:

And finally, here is the latest belly pic (at 35w6d). The other day we had a classic bon mot from Q.: “Remember when your belly caught up to your boobs, and we thought that was exciting?” Yep. The belly is waaay out in front now (and still super high).

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Shopping for baby- assvice needed!

Wow, did we ever have a productive weekend!

On Friday Q. finished the nursery. I was out at the uni, and came home to all the tape pulled up and the room tidied and all the light switches and things put back on. That night we moved the rocking chair and change table in there. I kept finding Q. wandering around in the nursery all weekend. And I spent a fair bit of time sitting on the rocking chair, just imagining what is to come.

I know I need to take pictures, but the nursery isn’t finished yet, in that it’s not properly organized and it still has a bunch of stuff in it that should be in the basement but can’t go down there until the basement renos are done and the dust is gone. So I’m torn between taking a picture of one corner to show you all the colour, or just holding off on pictures until we’re completely organized.

We assembled the crib on Friday night as well. It fits in our room (just), which is great, as it means we’ll then only have to transition bump to his/her own room at six months, and not to a new bed as well. Plus we didn’t have to buy a bassinet or anything. It was quite an adventure. I wouldn’t say our instructions were wrong, but they weren’t exactly clear, and we did originally put a few things in upside down. No wonder they’re trying to restrict the sale of drop-side cribs- we made a couple of mistakes, and we are generally pretty competent people! The crib mattress isn’t here yet, but that’s ok because we’re not planning on putting it in until the baby arrives- we don’t want to give our cats an excuse to try and climb in. Right now they can tell the base isn’t solid, and they’re not at all interested in the slats.

Over the weekend I washed everything that we’ve been given for the baby- hand-me-downs and shower presents. And I got everything baby-related out of the living room, except for the stroller in its box. So the chaos in the house is now confined to the basement (even if the nursery isn’t how I would like it, it isn’t chaotic anymore), which makes me SO much happier. I do love my organizing.

Yesterday we had our breast feeding class. It was pretty intense- three hours in an airless room with a MILITANT attachment parent instructor. Q. and I have agreed to take what we can from it, and to ignore the bits that aren’t going to work for us. I think it was useful, but the reality is you can’t know what is going to happen until you’re actually trying to get your baby onto your breast. At least we have a sense of what the latch is supposed to look like, and Q. can help me check things.

Some of you may have picked up from this blog that I like to be organized. And I LOVE lists. They make me so happy. So it may not surprise you that after I washed all the baby stuff and put it away, I then sat down and made an inventory of what we have. (Yes, my name is Turia, and I’m obsessed with order and lists…) But I thought I’d pick your brains about whether or not I need to go out and buy anything else before the baby comes.

Here’s what I’m thinking: we don’t know what we’re having, and we don’t know how big it will be. Once we switch to cloth diapers (after the umbilical cord comes off), bump will probably go up a size quickly because the diapers make for a bigger butt. I have no problem with sending Q. out on an emergency onesie and sleeper shop, but I’d rather not have to do that immediately after birth. So I’d love some assvice from you- how much should I have on hand to make sure we’re covered for the first couple of days? And how much should I build towards if I want to do laundry every couple of days, or even twice a week?

Currently we have:
1 crib sheet- this clearly isn’t enough. Should I have four?
16 receiving blankets and 2 burp cloths- This seems like a good stash to start with, yes?
7 hooded towels- The child has more towels than I do…and they are all so cute!

Onesies:
1 newborn
8 0-3 months
2 2-4 months
2 3 months
4 3-6 months
6 3-9 months
1 6 months

Sleepers:
1 newborn
2 0-3 months
3 3-6 months
3 6 months

My gut says that I need more crib sheets, and probably a couple more sleepers, and that we should stock up on sleepers and onesies once the baby is actually here. But I would love some feedback!

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Entering the final countdown…

How far along? Thirty-five weeks.

Sleep: Mostly this week I’ve slept well. I had one early morning wakeup, but I think that was because I was excited about the baby shower. Interestingly, I’m now starting to wake up with my extra pillows shoved out of the bed or moved away from where I’d carefully placed them the night before. When I first switched to using these pillows, I’d wake up in the morning and it was obvious I hadn’t moved at all during the night. So either I’m sleeping in a more disrupted fashion now, or the pillows just aren’t as comfortable, or it’s a combination of the two. I’ve also had a couple of nights when I didn’t wake up to use the loo- it shocked me when the alarm went off! 

How am I feeling physically? Great! Apparently I look great too, or so every single person at the baby shower felt they had to tell me (over and over again). Honestly, it is quite funny to be this far along without any real complaints. I do still have a bum in my ribs, and I’m noticing my legs swelling more frequently in the evenings, but that’s about it. I am getting very tired very quickly. I told Q. the other day that I think I’m not far from the point of becoming a “one outing a day” kind of girl. If we’re out shopping for any length of time, that does me for the rest of the day. I am managing to cook a bit more frequently, since Q. is so swamped with the nursery/basement renos, and I even got to vacuum part of the house pre-baby shower. I’m still laughing about the fact that my abdominal muscles fooled my midwife into thinking the baby was on the right side…I honestly haven’t been paying them any attention other than the exercises we do in yoga and boot camp. But I do try not to let the belly ‘hang out’, so maybe that’s helped keep some tone.

How am I feeling emotionally? Fantastic. I am so high on all the pregnancy hormones coursing through my veins. I love everything about my life right now. It doesn’t hurt that it’s finally spring here, which always gives my mood a major boost. I’m still worried about aspects of labour, birth and baby care, but I’m not fretting over them all that much. I’m having too much fun listening to bump’s hiccups and finding random baby bits to have Q. poke. Honestly, I’m probably sickening to random passers-by.

What have I done this week to get ready? We are really making progress now. The nursery should be painted by the end of this week, although the closet will still lack shelves. We were given an insane amount of stuff at our baby shower, and I’ve now gone online to buy a few of the things I know we still need (love shopping online- price comparison without tiring out my feet!). So by the weekend I should be able to start sorting and organizing and getting the furniture out of my study, and the presents out of the living room, and the hand-me-downs out of the basement. I’m definitely trying to nest, even with five weeks still to go.

On that note, I could use some assvice: crib sheets and receiving blankets- how many of each do I want to have if I don’t want to be doing laundry every single day? What about onesies and sleepers? Am I going to get another flood of baby clothing when the baby comes out and people know whether we have a boy or a girl?

Best moment? The baby shower. It was SO much fun. I felt a bit like I did after our wedding- too many people to see, so I didn’t actually catch up properly with anyone. But other than that, I had a blast. It was amazingly organized by my sister and my friend, and the baby ended up spoiled beyond all reason. I’ve just been feeling very loved over the last couple of weeks, and the baby shower really solidified that. So many people are just so damn excited about this baby- it’s contagious.

Movement? All normal and usual. Still on the left side, still sticking his/her butt in my ribs, still kicking away if I’m later with food than s/he would like, still utterly sacked out at night. It has this ridiculous habit of stopping moving as soon as Q. puts his hand on the belly. Also still gets hiccups on a daily basis- they seem to be caused by the tiniest things- if I eat, change positions, if the baby changes positions, if a cat sits on my belly, if the alarm goes off, etc. etc.

What I miss? My feet! I realized this week I can’t see them any more unless I really bend over to look!

What I’m looking forward to? Our breast feeding class this Sunday, and the final childbirth class on Tuesday. I need to ask about swaddling, as one of my friends was told at her childbirth classes that apparently we’re not supposed to swaddle anymore. Shows what I know.

Milestones? By next week there will be less than a month to go!

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Spoiled rotten

First up, an administrative update. I had a midwife appointment this morning, and once again, everything was absolutely perfect. My fundal height was back where it ought to be (at 34 cm), BP was on the higher end for me, but still very low, heart rate was great, baby is still head down, etc. The funny thing was she thought for the longest time the baby was on my right side, but I thought s/he was still on my left. I was right- it turns out I have great abs, and that was fooling her! She took a look at my whole chart and just admired it for a moment- said I’ve been impeccably well behaved throughout and everything all the way along has just looked wonderful. I said Q. deserved a lot of the credit given he’s been feeding me so well.

It remains a deep irony that I have turned out to be really really good at being pregnant. At the baby shower, I basically had this conversation thirty times:

Guest: You look amazing!

Me: Thanks! I feel fantastic, actually.

Guest: No, seriously. You look SO good. No one would believe you’re having a baby in a month or so! You can’t even tell you’re pregnant from behind/It’s all belly and nothing else/You barely look like you’ve gained any weight/ etc. etc.

I have always been a bit wary of compliments while pregnant because I think we all know that the socially acceptable thing to tell a pregnant woman is that she looks great, even if she’s gained a million pounds and is swollen beyond recognition. Because pregnant women have enough body issues as it is- they don’t need people saying “Wow, you’re huge!” or “Gee, you’ve stacked on the weight, haven’t you?”. Mind you, I have friends who have had people say the rudest things to them. And I have to admit that it is hard to believe that EVERYONE is just being polite when you have the above conversation thirty times in one day.

And the truth is, I really do still feel absolutely fantastic. I am probably someone I would have hated when I was in the depths of treatment. I try not to be smug, and I NEVER take this pregnancy for granted, but I walk around our neighbourhood with this idiotic grin on my face and this glow, and I know that I just look SO DAMN HAPPY. I get the guilts when I think about it, because I remember how much I loathed seeing women like me when I was souped up on hormones or mourning yet another negative beta. But I can’t help it. I think I’m pumped full of oxytocin, to judge from the Braxton Hicks and the leaking colostrum, and I’m just filled with love, for this baby, for Q., for my life.

—–

A cat update: We did a leg check late last week, and the fur was growing back over her bald patch. She is still stressed, but I think she’s managing to cope a little better right now without resorting to the self-harming behaviour. That said, both of them were completely wigged out by the baby shower (although they did spend most of Sunday trashing the tissue paper I left out for them and climbing in and out of the various boxes). Q. should have the nursery painted by the middle of this week, which means I’ll be able to start washing and organizing, and we can get all the stuff out of the living room and out of the basement, which should help the cats settle down. There’s still a lot of work to do in the basement, but they don’t spend much time down there, so they should feel a bit more secure. Extra-stressed cat has taken to sleeping on the third shelf of our linen closet- she obviously feels safe and tucked away in there, so I’ve told Q. we’re supposed to pretend we can’t see her when we open the door to get anything.

——

The baby shower was amazing. My sister and my best friend from high school/undergrad hosted and organized, but we had it at my house (which was a good thing in retrospect as I have no idea how we would have trucked the presents home otherwise). They did a PHENOMENAL job in organization and execution. Q. went to the pub with the menfolk while the shower was going on, and then they all came back to join us for pizza and nibbles and sweet things afterwards, and our friends with kids came along for the dinner part too (we made the shower kid-free simply because there could have been over 10 little ones, and that would have led to chaos).

We played baby shower bingo while I opened presents, and they’d bought plain white onesies that people were encouraged to decorate with markers and paints (all non-toxic). They got us started on an alphabet book too, although we still have a few letters that need doing, so we might make baby visitors do one until it’s complete. We played the game where you can’t say the word ‘baby’ (I was doing well and then got distracted). They had everyone sign a book with advice and thoughts for Q. and I. There was tons of great food (my best friend made the most spectacular cupcakes- I will upload a photo when I’ve got a moment), and a great mix of people (friends and family).

The baby was spoiled beyond all reason. Seriously- I sat down on Sunday and made a list of what Q. and I really needed to buy before the baby comes, and it was ridiculously short. Let’s keep in mind here that thus far the sum total of what we’ve bought for this baby is the crib. We do still need to get a dresser, and there are a few cloth diaper things left on the list (as I think most people were a bit hesitant to get too gung ho on the cloth diapers in case we chucked it in three weeks after the baby arrived. The two women who came who are cloth diapering both gave us really useful presents, so that was great.) But otherwise, I’ve literally written down things like: 1 fitted crib sheet; 1 travel change pad.

Honestly, it was overwhelming. Some people there did know how hard we had to fight to get this pregnancy, and I think they were just overjoyed by the chance to support us and the baby. The most obvious example of this were my mother and stepfather who bought us our stroller, and yet STILL turned up at the shower with a bag full of goodies (including the stroller’s rain cover and bug cover and a whole heap of baby clothes and books). One set of my aunts and uncles bought us our travel crib (we wanted the Ba.by Bjo.rn) AND three fitted sheets to go with it. That’s a huge present! I didn’t think they knew about our struggles, but my aunt said something that made it clear that she either put two and two together, or my Mum has been gabbing.

A good friend gave us a change table. We weren’t planning on buying one, but we were super happy to accept a hand-me-down- I figure we can use it for diaper and linen storage, and then get a smaller dresser for clothes. It is basically in mint condition as his sister-in-law’s baby was too wiggly to use it. Then he emailed me a couple of days before the shower to ask if we also wanted a gorgeous wooden rocking chair that his family gave them when their first daughter was born. Their daughters are now 11 and 8 and they don’t have room for the chair in their house. I cried when I saw the photo- it is exactly the sort of thing I wanted but felt would be too much of a splurge to buy or ask for. And then when he turned up with the change table and the rocking chair, he’d also bought us a brand new change pad and storage boxes.

It just went on and on like this. I think I opened presents for an hour. And I know that some people had told my mum and sister that they just wanted to get us a little present and they were waiting until the baby came to go wild…and yet they’d be turning up with multiple onesies and books and receiving blankets. My sister and her boyfriend have given us a session of newborn photography with her friend who is a professional photographer. My talented aunts and friends brought homemade things for the baby- wool dryer balls, little slippers, and a beautiful cross-stitch of teddy bears that will hang in the nursery.  My mum found the shawl my grannie made for her, which she used to bring me and my sisters home from the hospital, and we were all wrapped in it for our christenings. Now she’s given it to me. I tear up just thinking about the connection- that once I was small enough to be wrapped in something made with so much love by my grannie, and now my own child will soon be wrapped in it as well.

There are no words to express my gratitude- to my sister and my friend for organizing it, to my friends and family for being so unbelievably generous. We are SO lucky, Q. and I. And this baby is going to be born into a world just filled with people who love him/her already.

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Filed under Emotions, Family, Friends, Pregnancy

Six weeks and counting…

How far along? Thirty-four weeks.

Weight gain: 24 pounds (this is based on the scale at my endocrinologist, which had me at 28 pounds this morning and has consistently been four pounds over my scale at home). Still on track for a total weight gain of somewhere around 27-30 pounds. Holding steady at a weight gain of exactly a pound a week, even with all the ice cream I’ve been consuming. Can’t complain about that!

Sleep: I actually slept right through the night one day this week (which was completely unexpected). Of course I then had a night where I woke up at 3 and didn’t get back to sleep until well after 5. I think the pillows have done about all they can do for my hips at this stage- the right is starting to feel sore again in the mornings. The latest bump pic (see post below) helps to explain why I’m sleeping as well as I am- I’m carrying so high that bub isn’t bugging my bladder. Some women at my prenatal yoga class are six or eight weeks behind me and are going to the loo four times a night!

How am I feeling physically? Still remarkably good. The ladies on my online birth club have now started the “sick of being pregnant” thread. I feel guilty reading it, because the truth is, I still feel awesome. Sore hips, yes, and some serious rib issues if bub sticks his/her butt up in there, but that’s pretty much it. The snow has melted away (again), and I’m back in my shoes, and doing a lot of walking. Everything takes more effort, but I honestly can’t say that I’m all that uncomfortable. No stretch marks (knock wood), although the belly button is definitely now a full outie. Q. did turn around a chair in our front hall so I can sit to put my boots and shoes on. I don’t have the heart to tell him that it’s really just as easy to put them on while standing up- in both cases it’s the bending to get the laces tied or the zippers done up that causes the discomfort (due again to the rather high bump).

How am I feeling emotionally? This is another reason why I think I feel good physically- I just feel fantastic emotionally. I am really loving being pregnant right now. A part of me is starting to worry about labour and the birth, mostly about the incredibly TINY risk of a stillbirth (because I’m infertile and we worry about these sorts of things), but most of me is just loving having bump wriggle around, and watch Q. press his head to my belly to see if he can hear the heartbeat. I love it when random people I encounter during my week make guesses about the gender (the girl guesses are seriously outweighing the boy guesses).  I love that I feel so healthy and vibrant even though I’m an utter slowpoke and get wiped out so much more easily. I love that my husband has looked after me so well- I’ve never felt more cherished.

In short, I am finally, really truly believing that we are having this baby, and I think all the excitement and anticipation that I bottled up for so many months is starting to spill out.

What have I done this week to get ready? This week I feel like we made HUGE progress in getting ready. We got all the furniture moved out of the nursery (so my study and the basement are now quite chaotic and Q. has nowhere really to work). We chose paint and bought all the supplies. Q. has now washed the walls and finished all the sanding except for the ceiling. He figures he’ll get the primer and one coat of colour on the walls before the baby shower, in case people want to come and look at it.

I booked a hospital tour. I was a bit worried that I’d left it too late when we were at our childbirth classes and another girl said she couldn’t get in to her hospital until the 3rd of May (she’s due the same week as us), and she’d called several weeks ago. But my hospital must have more options, so we’re booked in a couple of weeks.

I signed up for a few more yoga classes as I’ve just been having too much fun with them and I’ll miss all the ladies I’ve met if I stop now. My friends in the class (who are all due the same week- there are four of us) all have passes that run out at the end of April, so I bought enough classes to keep going to yoga until then.

Our crib is finally in, and my parents are going to pick it up on their way in to the baby shower. That’s right- I am now so pregnant that I have a baby shower THIS WEEKEND! Un-freakin-believable. I am SO excited.

Best moment? Practicing labour comfort techniques with Q. at our childbirth class. He was stroking my back while I practiced breathing through a contraction, and it was like his hand was a heat pad. I could just feel his love for me coming through. It was the most amazing sensation- it made me feel so secure and cherished and safe.

Movement? More feet in the ribs this week, and possibly a butt as well on the left side. Still has regular patterns, which meant bub gave me a scare this morning when I didn’t get any recognizable movement until close to noon, even with a snack and concentrating on my belly. Bump had a busy day yesterday, so was clearly zonked this morning as the movement’s gone back to a more normal routine. It really is a very chilled baby though- it almost never wakes up (or is awake) when I go to the loo in the night, and it usually doesn’t wake up in the morning until Q. and I are fully awake and chatting. It still HATES it when I lie on my left side- I guess since it hangs out on that side usually it must be feeling squished.

What I miss? Nothing other than the usual comes to mind this week.

What I’m looking forward to? My baby shower, which is on Saturday!

Milestones? I think bub’s lungs are now fully developed and ready to go.

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Filed under Pregnancy, Week-by-week