Diary flashback: @ 7 months pregnant

Went to Yoga today and had a great class. What was way too easy in September was totally challenging today. I’m in very good spirits despite any silliness around me. I just can’t wait to meet her and hang out; feed her and dress her and bathe her. Hey I guess motherhood IS like playing Barbie. Especially when it’s a girl. I’ve somehow gotten my heart set on the name Raquel, even though J’s been rooting for that name for months. It’s grown on me and now I just love the uniqueness and the joy of the ‘el’ ending. Raquel Zara. So lovely.

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They wanted to induce me… I said no.

9 months pregnant, belly

It’s strange to look back on pregnancy now. It seems like a distant dream even though it was less than 2 months ago.

As with most labor stories, mine was not without a little bit of drama.

I was 8 days late, my amniotic fluid had been pronounced “low” and the OB was basically ordering me to be induced. I told the doctor I wouldn’t do it, and he was not pleased! But I had done my research and I knew that Low Amniotic Fluid scenarios are over-diagnosed and imprecise. I just KNEW my baby was fine and it made no sense to me that my body would be running out of fluid. That being said, I was not going to let it go beyond 48 hours, and my midwives agreed. Monday was the cut-off for a natural labor.

As much as I was glad I had gone with my own instincts, the doctor HAD scared the crap out of me and I was desperate. My husband and I both were pretty freaked out. If nothing happened by Monday I would get induced.

The next day, Sunday, my hubby thought I should try castor oil, the age-old trick for getting labor going. As he put it, “sitting around doing nothing isn’t getting us anywhere.” I found that quite amusing.

We had tried walking, sex, hot wings, and every other thing they say will make babies come. But nothing had worked. And it was getting frustrating. I thought I would be pregnant forever. And for some reason, taking castor oil just seemed like a waste of time. But I had to give it a shot. So out came the shot glass!

With dread (it has s reputation for being more than a little unpleasant), I took the first dose in the early afternoon. Jason came home with a beautiful present for me some time around 4 (some women get a ‘push’ gift, I got a ‘thanks for trying this nasty castor oil stuff’ gift) and AMAZINGLLLLLY, by dinner time I was in labor!!!

They were regular, kinda painful contractions, three minutes apart.

Were they real?! I was still in disbelief for some reason. I thought it was a false alarm or just cramping from the castor oil. But they stayed, and got worse! Hurray!

The midwives came over at 8 and watched me closely to see how much pain I was in. This was how they could tell how far along I was.

As the night progressed they hurt more and more. We played scrabble and I had a contraction every time it was my turn! Jason and I were sharing letters so he took the turns… The midwives said we should head to the hospital around midnight, so that’s what we did. They thought I would have the baby by 3 am. Boy were they wrong…

The drive to the hospital… was slow.

My husband had to drive snail pace because every bump on the road was like torture. Contractions! Ouch! We arrived at around midnight.

Once we were there it got pretty intense. Lots of pacing, a little puking, and zero sleep. At 3 am the midwives broke my water to speed things along but instead it slowed things down. My contractions had become incredibly painful and long but they were becoming less effective. Who knows why…. I guess stuff like that just happens.

They could feel the baby’s head. But I was stuck at 7 cm dilation. That’s when the midwives recommended I get Pitocin to speed things up. They called it “augmenting” — and by the time they recommended that I was about ready to throw in the towel with the whole ‘natural’ thing. To be fair, I think i would have continued with au natural if things hadn’t slowed. It was quite discouraging. After getting through 12 hours of natural labor, you kind of want to cross the finish line that way.

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With them recommending IV fluids and Pitocin I figured I might as well get some pain relief…. and it was the best decision I could have ever made….epidural here I come!

Sweet Jesus it was the best feeling ever to not feel those contractions anymore. And as for the needle… they could have put it in my eyeball at that point. I really didn’t care. I just. Wanted. Relief. So yeah, I caved!! But only because they were cramping my style with the augmentation stuff (it meant I had to stay in bed… which made the pain a lot worse than when I was walking around.)

From 6 am to noon I lay in bed blissfully dilating from 7 to 8 to 9 to (ding!) 10 cm. The nurse came in and told me it was time to push but I couldn’t feel my legs or butt or any contractions at all, so I had to wait until the epidural was lowered. At around 1 pm I started the pushing. Legs up to my ears and seventeen people (it seemed) standing around my mostly numb lower half. My husband was on my right side, pushing along with me and I found that so helpful and comforting! There was none of that swearing and punching and squeezing his hand til the bones broke… I loved him the whole way through.

At 2:45 she was born. The sensation of having a human slide out of you … unbelieeeevably surreal.

She didn’t even cry, she just coughed a bit, looked around, and cozied into my chest as I held her for the first time. She was so beautifully perfect… alert… and calm. She looked at her dad, looked at me, and seemed quite happy with life on the outside.

10 weeks later, she’s still that perfect, alert, and calm little baby. She knows exactly what she wants, and we try our best to give it to her. The entire experience continues to be life altering in the most wonderful, beautiful way!

Will this baby eat leeks soup?

A review of Bringing up Bébé by Pamela Druckermana.k.a. Why you’ll never catch a Parisian mother with a Ziploc bag of Cheerios….

I should start by saying I’m a total francophile. I pretty much adore the language, the land, the people, and the snobbish culture that has endured and persisted despite global sophistication killers like le Big Mac and Paris Hilton. More than anything, I love the way they dress their babies… those knits!

So it’s no surprise that I’m a little taken with this book that spills the secrets of french-style parenting. A book that, incidentally, might help us all bring up better behaved, less bratty babies — and therefore preserve our sanity.

Think… a leisurely glass of wine at the end of the day because you can, not because you have to…

Bringing up Bébé is about how the french (once again) do things a little bit different, and maybe a little bit better. The book introduces crazy ideas like:

  • Parents enjoying long adult conversations while their children play quietly. (Mon Dieu!)
  • Birthday parties where 5-year-olds sit patiently at tables waiting for their slices of cake.
  • Babies who sleep through the night at just 2 or 3 months old.
Yeah, these certainly got my attention. And then more:
  • Kids that act more grown up: The idea that kids don’t need you to applaud and entertain them at every second. Kids can learn autonomy, and will be more self-sufficient if they understand that while they ARE the centre of your universe, their universe is not the only one. Mommy needs mommy time.
  • Civilized meal time: Eating is about flavor, taste, and the experience — not just food in, food out. French babies have a snack time once per day (4:00) and eat better because they aren’t noshing from morning to night.
Do I plan to be a french-type mom? Uhh.. yeah. There is nothing so far that turns me off the idea, I’ll say that much! So probably yes, in many ways, I will strive to have a food-appreciating, parent-respecting, sophisticated child. Yes indeed. Yes please.

This is an interview with the author of Bringing up Bébé, Another article here, from the Wall Street Journal

and here, from New York Times

In other news…. Wish me luck! We may have a bébé ourselves by the time I post next. Somehow I think I’ll probably sneak one more in under the wire though. Hard to believe the pregnancy journey is nearly complete and the parenting one is just beginning. My first three months seems like a lifetime ago…. Time is about to start flying, isn’t it??

9 months pregnant belly with 9 days left….

What’s your parenting spirit animal?

I’ve never related to bears before. Squirrel, sure. Industrious beaver maybe. Fast wild cat, definitely at times.

But recently it’s the polar bear that keeps creeping up in my mind; that playful tumbler, with her solemn expression of dutiful living, and that commitment to motherhood through anything – just 100% pure protection, nurturing, teaching, and cozy cuddling…. love ’em!

Pregnancy weight gain
Lean, mean, mamma machine

I even love what I’ve been affectionately referring to as my polar bear layer.

Before getting pregnant I weighed about 107 pounds. Now, I weigh 150! Ok, it’s true – I’m giving birth in less than 3 weeks (hear that baby? Not a day later! ok?!) so I’m about at my maximum weight gain but the crazy thing is – I don’t feel fat. I don’t feel like I’ve gained a huge amount of weight other than “the bump” which is taking up a large portion of my smallish body right now, and the layer on my legs and arms that makes them just a bit more thick and taut then they were before. Could be water, could be fat stores – but it’s not wiggly jiggly. And speaking of which. Guess how much weight polar bears gain in pregnancy? Wait for it…… yeah….. around 400 pounds.

I’ve just hit term today (37 weeks) and for the last few days I’ve had this tremendous urge to eat, like biologically my body knows that this is a crucial time for foraging because my baby bear’s coming soon and I will need the stored resources to feed her.

It’s so cool.

I think it’s made me a bit more relaxed about the weight gain, and even the pressure to be a perfect mom. Polar bears are instinctual providers, fierce protectors, and also maintain that good-natured ability to roll around in the snow with their little one. Why overthink parenting when the most important things are really quite simple. Eat, sleep, play.

Anyway, here’s a list of some other pregnancy spirit animals (or totem animals) and their qualities. Which one are you?

Bear

  • Bravery
  • Peace
  • Resurrection
  • Powerful
  • Benevolence
  • Sovereignty
  • Motherhood
  • Duality
Mother Bird 
  • Love
  • Safety
  • Growth
  • Healing
  • Security
  • Provision
  • Nurturing
  • Protection
  • Satisfaction
  • Compassion
  • Self-sacrifice
Turtle 
  • Order
  • Creation
  • Patience
  • Strength
  • Stability
  • Longevity
  • Innocence
  • Endurance
  • Protection

Dolphin

  • Grace
  • Playfulness
  • Transcendence
  • Gentleness
  • Harmony
  • Intelligence
  • Contentment
  • Friendship
  • Community
  • Resurrection
  • Generosity
  • Power

Squirrel

  • Energy
  • Play
  • Prudence
  • Balance
  • Socializing
  • Preparation
  • Resourcefulness

Memories of First Trimester a.k.a. worrying and googling

The first 3 months of pregnancy are terrifying. They just are. There’s something about carrying such a precious pearl around in a vessel that a) doesn’t close, and b) is subject to some degree of rough and tumble, that makes it all quite anxiety-ridden.

I was scared the tiny little thing wouldn’t be able to hang on. And I was scared that my period, which had always been a tsunami of cramps and bleeding anyway, would be stronger than this new little poppyseed-sized life growing inside me.

On top of all that, I worried about the things that can go wrong.

The things that (thanks to the Internet!!) mostly you never heard of until you became pregnant.

Ectopic pregnancy (My earliest Google obsession. I had a pain in my side!). Miscarriage (so common!). Placenta problems (previa? placement?).  Miscarriage. Implantation problems. Miscarriage. Spotting. Miscarriage, cramps, and miscarriage.

Thankfully I was one of the lucky people who had lots of spotting that turned out to be nothing wrong. But at the time, believe me, I thought the worst. And I Googled every goddamn thing I could think of. The color of the spotting, the frequency, the timing, the meaning of ev.er.y.thin.g. Safe to say I wanted this baby, and I somehow felt safer if I was googling 24 hours a day. Arming myself with information.

Now that I’m in my 8th month, I don’t have as much fever about everything. I feel her, my little one, moving and grooving along with me in the various stages of my day, and I know she’s going to be fine. What a miracle.

In the past I may have been a careless person in some ways, drinking too much at times, certainly not airing on the side of caution. But as my pregnancy progressed, it’s like I became better and better at being gentle and careful and not overdoing it. My body became her vessel. If I had my time back I don’t think I’d change a thing.

What to expect in the Third Trimester

So I’m almost there…. and I’d be convinced I was giving birth to a traffic cone/small bear if I hadn’t seen that ultrasound.

Other than waking up unable to breathe right, pins and needles in my hands, and the sensation that my hips have been glued into some sort of cro-magnon position, I sleep fine!

No, sleep isn’t coming that easy, but it’s worth it, just to feel that small elbow, knee, foot. The sensation makes me almost weep with happiness.

And while it’s true that the things happening or not happening in the washroom are becoming more relevant than things that happen or don’t happen in the bedroom….I don’t really care!

I fantasize about nursery colors, rocking chairs and the importance of zoo animals….

Standing is like holding a small microwave. Sitting is like Jabba the hut. Lying down is like being under a bowling ball.

I’ve mastered this facial expression: Give-me-that-seat-cant’-you-see-how-fucking-pregnant-I-am.

The word MuuMuu comes to mind when considering what  to wear….

I used to be civilized. Nowadays, whimpering, farting, sighing, and grunting, are all fair game….Pant removal is the second best part of my day. Bra removal is the first.

Not. Much. Longer. Right? Promise?

More memories of First Trimester

It was a hard secret to keep, sort of. Ok it wasn’t really. I’m a Scorpio woman… I LOVE secrets.

It was a Friday in late June (the 19the actually) that I got a positive pregnancy test – a full week before my period was due. I just knew.

The line was so faint that I kept looking at it every ten minutes, trying to discretely look at it in different lights (natural light is the worst, fluorescent is the best) to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating those faint pink lines. I took another test the next day to be sure and it was even PINKER!

My husband I went for sushi that day and I leaned over the table and whispered it into his ear….. “I’m pregnant…” but I don’t know who was more in shock, me or him. The rest is history (and here’s some of the highlights)

…3 weeks pregnant 

Friday June 22, 2011

Out for hot wings and perusing the “what to expect” app. Today, baby is the size of a …. Poppyseed!

Reading about how the little ball of cells burrows, and wondering how something without flippers or goggles or any other sort of swimming device can figure out how to travel just the right distance and then make its home in just the right place. We’ve both always been biology buffs, and this is like the ULTIMATE in fascinating biology.

When the waitress brought the bill she asked “are you pregnant?” Ha! Can you believe it? This was certainly the first person to have guessed it and I’m definitely not showing yet! She said she had seen us looking at baby-stuff on our phones (pretty astute, and very sweet). Then she pointed out that she had brought us 3 lollipops with our bill.

So adorable… Baby’s first present.

4th week 

Saturday June 22, 2011

Ok so the eating thing has started. It’s weird.

Cravings so far? Avocado.

Avocado with a spoon for breakfast, Avocado sandwich at lunchtime, Avocado Milkshake with dinner (yes, it exists, at Pho!)

(Editor’s Note: 2 days later  avocado became gross and I haven’t had it since.)

5th week 

Thursday June 30, 2011

Beginning my 6th week.  Both of us want things to go faster because from poppyseed to orange seed just isn’t enough progress. C’mon mini! But as our “what to expect” app reminds us… it’s a lot of work becoming a baby.

At my grandparents the other day my cousin David and I discovered  their amazingly tasty kosher milk and set it down in the middle of the table with desert. Inadvertently, we had a sort of ‘milk toast’ to the news they didn’t know yet. I got a big kick out of it.

I can’t imagine that hiding it for very long though. Even now, before showing or barfing or much of anything… I feel like a roly-poly girl with a secret.

(And my god… these boobs!)

6th week 

July 5, 2011

Only 3 weeks until the first scan, and hopefully good news so that we can tell a few people. Jason is of course amazing and trying to figure out what the hell I want to eat. Lettuce? Gross. Rice? God no. Celery? Yes please! Chili? Oh god, don’t even talk about it.

My most recent favorite thing: summer sausage on onion bun bread. With mustard. (Editor’s Note: 2 days later this was no longer palatable and we had to toss a pile of summer sausage in the trash because the smell, even in the fridge, was making me queasy)

On the weekend I got my nails done, then we went for a 4 hour bike ride, and went swimming. Too much? Decided to take it easy yesterday and we got into bed at 4:30 and watched The Notebook and cried our faces off. It’s a movie about true love.

Guess I’m feeling pretty sucky-face right about now…. So lucky.

7th week 

July 17, 2011

Week 7 and a bit, and it’s still not easy to believe that this is real. On most days I can eat once or twice without wanting to toss my cookies but generally – the eating is not going so well. Sleeping on the other hand… is going spectacularly!

Despite eating less than a budgie, my pants don’t fit anymore. Not a single pair.

We’ve successfully dodged (straight up lied mostly!) friend’s inquiries. They still think we’re ‘trying.’ They should have figured out that a Scorpio and an Aries don’t try, they just DO IT! (Errr, figuratively.)

Next time around we probably won’t be as vocal about our impending quest for a mini-human. I didn’t realize how much pressure it would be and that when we did get pregnant, that we’d want to wait the 3 months to make sure everything was safe and sound. I’ve found myself not wanting to jinx it, for one thing, and also not wanting to tell anyone that would probably be more devastated than me to find out if for any reason something went amiss.

I can’t believe how many people go through the worst. I really can’t. I read about all of them on the baby forums and ugh… so heartbreaking. Also the people I know personally that have been through the most brutal things when it comes to pregnancy. But for all the horror stories I hear, thankfully most are told by moms. Even when it doesn’t work sometimes, it usually works eventually.

10th week 

August 16, 2011

For the last month our baby has gone from an orange seed to a lime to a large plum. We’re calling him/her ‘butter tub’ today… long story… involving lobster and a ramekin of melted butter!

I’ve been in a nauseous, hyper-vigilant, exhausted daze for the past weeks. Some spotting (sorry TMI) has had me completely and utterly nervous but it’s apparently very normal AND an 8 week ultrasound showed a baby with a heartbeat and a cute little shape and some sort of hands and feet  — you’re on your on way kiddo!

Jason’s been feeding me fruit and soup and whatever else I consider possibly palatable or can even entertain the idea of. He’s also been as tired as I am, which has been great for some lonnnnnng evenings in bed with True Blood, Game of Thrones, Masterchef, Chopped, and (shame!) America’s Got Talent. Whatever is on… we’ve mastered an Olympic level of cuddles, snacks, and naps. It’s kind of awesome.

My husband… my love… has been a heaven-sent prince. So wonderful (I love you!!!).

Grasping the fact that this is OUR baby… A mix of our DNA, genes, cells… and yet a being all-complete on her own….is dumbfounding.

I’ve definitely had some signs that this baby is going to take after dad…. namely… I swear that certain colors, fabrics, and patterns make me completely nauseous. That is SO Jason! What baby is grossed out by a weird shade of green? She also seems to not like super-hot showers. The only times I’ve felt certain that she moves were when I was in hot water. I swear I can feel her scramble when it’s too hot. (Sorry for trying to hard boil you, baby.)

I love being pregnant. I can’t wait for her to kick and hiccup and head-butt me in the bladder. I can’t wait to dance with her and sing to her and teach her words and see her face when she tries blueberries for the first time.

This Friday we get the 12 week ultrasound, which will be the green light to tell the world.

11th week 

August 19, 2011

The last two days have soothed my budding mommy-heart. On Wednesday we went to meet our Obstetric team at Sunnybrook, and oh boy… were they ever fantastic. From the doctors to the nurses to the support staff, everyone was such a high caliber of awesome.

When we were getting the examination the doctor brought out a Doppler, which looks a bit like a fisher price karaoke machine, and after a few seconds of searching around on my belly, we heard the most amazing heartbeat. We also heard the baby kick pretty fiercely! It was the best sound ever imaginable.

Then yesterday we went for an ultrasound and saw the real thing. Beautiful perfect head, arms, legs, heart, belly. It’s so… unreal. My womb looks like a really cozy place though… I don’t think I’d mind taking a little 9-month vacation there either. No wonder they come out full of energy and ready for life!

Only 6 more months left – is that even possible? It’s moving SO fast now.

My belly is a garden, and from what I’ve seen so far – it’s doing a really, really good job of growing stuff! Baby’s growing ahead of schedule by five days.

First Trimester COMPLETE! Grow baby grow!