31 December 2013

31 Weeks: The End of a Year

We had a lovely, relaxing Christmas with Danny's mom and step-dad. Getting out of the house (and the city) to spend time in their cozy, river-side cottage home was just what we needed. It feels nice to be taken care of when you are used to doing everything yourself. I've been battling burnout from work lately (due to my pregnant state, not the task load), so a day or two away was really great.

The view!
I've appreciated my saved-up vacation days and the extra few days off my job offered this year. I wish I could say I've done a lot of productive things, but I've mostly relaxed, slept, and given myself some time to reflect and think ahead. Sometimes life just doesn't give you time for introspection.

2013. What a year of roller coaster ups and downs! The early part was taken up with my car accident, the search for a "new" used vehicle, sorting out insurance and therapy, Danny searching for a job after his layoff, then rejoining the workforce in May, with me working extra long hours at work that month. Right after that is when we conceived, and we found out for sure at the end of June. When we got back from our Nashville vacation, we dove into the thick of it with a family wedding, prenatal and therapy appointments (for my injuries), our "new" car dying, the long search for yet another vehicle ending in the surprise gift of our new car from friends. Then, our house nearly burned down days before the start-up of programs at work, and Danny started a new job. Between a busy fall schedule, appointments, and the clean-up efforts, months passed...until we decided to move and spent weeks packing before we ended up in our new home at the start of December. And here we are, still unpacking and trying to get settled as quickly as possible. We feel like we've hardly come up for air!

Little boots for little feet!
2014. My hopes for this new year is that life settles down a little. That my therapy appointments can ebb, then cease as I recover. That my work replacement is found and trained quickly. That things progress with Danny's job and he is assigned support. That in the next few weeks we are able to spend some quality time together before our little Shrimpy arrives. That everything goes smoothly with our delivery prep and the baby's arrival. That the baby will be healthy and strong. That we adjust okay to our new financial situation once I'm on maternity leave. That we settle quickly into a schedule and a balance with our little one. Really, I don't think I want anything more than that.

I think the greatest lessons I've learned this year are a bit hard to put into words. I've grown in thankfulness for the many blessings in our lives. In my appreciation of Danny, our family, and our extended web of friends. In perspective. In my spiritual walk. In forgiveness. In openness. I hope that these things keep growing in 2014 and beyond.

Lots of love from us to each of you as we transition to this new year!

30 Weeks at Christmas.

22 December 2013

A Drop of Christmas Thankfulness

Christmas always makes me think about how much I (and we) have, and how grateful I am for the people in our lives. I don't think that has ever been more true than this year as we prepare to start our little family. A friend commented today about how blessed our baby is to have parents like us, and a community of friends to help support and nurture this little life. I hadn't thought about that, to be honest. With all of our family so far-flung, I've been really sad when thinking about how rare it will be that our kiddo will get to see her extended family. We are so fortunate to have a large support system of friends here in the city, some with kids, some without, all with something to contribute to her in some way.

That said, I can't wait to introduce her to our parents and siblings and any other family she is lucky enough to have in her life. I hope that opportunities open up when we least expect it to see them and share in the joy of raising her.

And, of course, I am constantly reminded of what a blessing I have in Danny. His strength, support, kindness, and willingness to sacrifice for his family (and friends) are truly remarkable gifts. He is a "real man"; a wonderful partner, and soon-to-be awesome dad.

...and all that sappy jazz. ;)

Merry Christmas, family and friends! Please know just how much you are each loved and appreciated by us!

19 December 2013

29 Weeks: Deck the Halls with Boughs of - SLEEEEEEP!

How are Mama and Papa?
We are pooped out. Danny has been working three jobs, and we've been so busy trying to get ready for Christmas between paperwork crises and parties and all the rest of it. We appreciate our new bed soooo much, I can't even tell you. Thanks to the new mattress, I no longer have to sleep atop my Throne of Pillows. I can just sleep with a body pillow like a (mostly) normal person.

I had my last checkup with my regular doctor this week, as I'll be seeing an obstetrician from here on out, starting January 6. She said that everything was perfect (including my glucose test, YEAH!)...except I'm anemic. Despite my vitamin supplements! It didn't really surprise me; I have a lot of the classic signs, including fatigue, muscle weakness, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, and irritability. Hopefully I can modify my diet a little to get what I'm missing.

Speaking of diet, it looks like I have finally started to gain some weight, and rapidly! I have put on 6lb since my last appointment 4 weeks ago! That averages out to 1.5lb/week! Usually at this point, women put on only 0.5lb or 1lb per week. If I keep at it, I'll actually hit the "recommended" weight gain of 25lb.

How is Baby?
All in all, things are good. Shrimpy has flipped upside down, so now she has discovered the joy of repeatedly tapping on the bottom of my uterus (seriously, like 30 times in a row) or punching my bladder, or squirming around (which is the weirdest feeling!) Even with my squished stomach with its hormone-lax muscles making me almost lose everything I eat, I am so incredibly grateful for my healthy, totally standard pregnancy. And my bladder-punching baby!

One of the funniest things the baby does happens in the middle of the night. I will sleep for a few hours on one side, then cautiously turn over. I can't just flip over like before; this literally takes me about 20 to 30 seconds, as my bones and uterus and muscles have to move around and adjust to the new position. When I finally get to the new position, Shrimpy has a flail-attack with all limbs going at once. I always imagine gravity making her sink into one side while I'm sleeping, then I turn and she sinks down to the other side. It always makes me smile (through the discomfort).

Why No Pictures?!
I have pictures to share but haven't had a chance to scan them in yet. I'll post them soon! I finally got a few with my handsome baby daddy. Shrimpy might be getting her picture taken again in a few weeks too; a friend who has already visited my OB said that she routinely does 34 week ultrasounds just to make sure all is well. I am hoping we get to have another peek at our little one. Fingers crossed!

09 December 2013

27-28 Weeks: The Walking Punching Bag

Wowza, it has been a crazy few weeks! I feel like I am always saying that, but then again, it has been a whirlwind year. Sometimes I wish I could slow life down so I could get a handle on it. It's just whizzing by so quickly.

Weeks 25, 26, and most of 27 were a blur due to packing, then moving. We have now been living in our new home for a little over a week, and we just got our internet hooked up today. Between packing, then moving, working full time or more, waiting on the delivery of our new bed (!), and the installation of our internet/phone and a new washer, it's been rough. Poor Danny is just beat. We've slowed down our unpacking schedule a little to keep ourselves from burning out.

Photo evidence: papa is pooped.

We love our new apartment so far, besides ThunderFoot, our upstairs neighbor (aka "Thor"). Unfortunately, there is not a heck of a lot of soundproofing separating our two apartments. I guess Shrimpy will just drown them out with her siren-wail soon enough. Thankfully, we don't hear anything in our bedroom, so our sleep has been unaffected.

It is crazy to think that in 10 weeks to the day and hour, I'll have just finished up my last day of work and supper, and we'll begin the belly-watch as we wait for our little one to arrive. In 12 short weeks, our baby will probably be here!

I handed in the rough draft for my job ad today, and I am writing a job manual and prepping a training schedule. I can't even fathom that I'll be showing someone the ropes soon in order to leave for a full year! I have some anxiety about it all, but I'm trying to remember that I will probably not give a hoot once I'm at home with my baby!

Unreal. I'm pretty calm about pregnancy and prepping for the baby and delivery, but it's the whole taking the kid home part that I am a little freaked out about. They're going to give me a baby, and then I am going to be a parent. For the rest of my life. Forever. It's a weighty thing to process. It just doesn't sink in until you start to approach that day.

Good news: we got an insanely good price on a new mattress set (75% off!) so I am finally sleeping without my Fortress of Pillows. It is LOVELY.

Bad news: well, it's actually a good thing, technically. The baby has gone into Super-Attack mode. She literally kicked, punched, rolled, and pushed for about 24 hours straight yesterday. I don't think she slept or rested for longer than a few minutes at a time. No exaggeration. And now that she is a little stronger, it is getting painful and really uncomfortable! I love it and dread it at the same time. :)

Anyway, I should probably get back to the unpacking, so here are some photos for your viewing pleasure! We missed week 25 altogether due to packing up our old apartment. If you've seen week 24 or 26 pictures, you'll be able to tell that I really popped out between weeks 25-27!

Week 28!

28 November 2013

25 & 26: Zzz's, Please!

Yup, tired. Bone tired. Dog tired. All of the tireds. All.

Before my update, I'd like to share an example of me not thinking clearly lately. I thought a huge, bone-in, not-precooked ham would take about 1.5 hours to bake. We will be dining around 9:00pm this evening as we wait for our 9.7lb ham to cook. Good gracious. Hormones and sleep deprivation have roasted the logic centers of my addled brain!

We've been packing and prepping to move with every spare minute, and that has left us pretty depleted. Besides an extremely hectic schedule, part of my exhaustion is still lack of sleep (same ol' song and dance). Shrimpy has gotten into the habit of performing the traditional All-limbs Flail Dance right when mom settles down for sleep, meaning my belly is hopping and moving all over the place (she seems to be about as graceful as her parents!) She does a protest dance every time I turn over in bed too, so sleep is interrupted a lot.


I love all the movement, and I'm savouring this special time. I know that, very soon, things will get a little more cramped in there for my flail-dancer, and I won't get to see such wild movements anymore. This has been the nicest part of pregnancy, I think. Evenings and mornings with Danny, watching my belly move and change shape as Shrimpy explores her confines and performs sneak attacks on my squishy bladder and whatever other organs her tiny feet and hands can find to jab.

So, we move this Saturday. We have a few lovely friends who have volunteered to come out and give us a hand. I will try to stick to cleaning and remove my Micro-Manager hat and badge. I don't even have the energy for that now! Much to Danny's relief, I am sure. See? Old dog, new tricks. I even let him pack breakable things for this move. That's a leap in the right direction, methinks. *self back pat*

My cousin was in town this week and gave me a very thoughtful gift: a 'Townie' onesie (ha!) and a little 5 year, a-few-lines-a-day journal. I love the idea of giving it to this little baby someday when she's older and will enjoy flipping through all of the memories. Every time I receive a gift or purchase something new for the nursery, it makes it all more real. I picture her in every onesie and blanket. I can imagine her playing with each toy. It's just surreal to think that we'll be parents in just a few short weeks. Yeah, weeks! This Saturday marks my 27th week and the start of the third trimester, leaving only 13 to go!

I sent this video to my mom last week for two reasons: (1) because it was just sweet to watch this little one fight and grow (tears were shed), and (2) because, at 25 weeks, I was as far along as this mom was when her little man was born. That means that Shrimpy is right about the same size as this baby at the start of the video. I couldn't believe my eyes! Seeing that tiny, precious life on the screen was like a little peek inside my belly at our baby. Hopefully, our squishy stays inside for a lot longer yet (if she doesn't punch-kick her way out soon...!)

Sorry there haven't been many photos lately. Between the move and us being about as energetic as a pile of mashed potatoes, we haven't been taking many pictures. Hopefully we'll have a few to share after the weekend! I can envision the photo-documentation of the move: Danny next to a stack of boxes. Then an action shot of the box-mountain tipping while Danny's eyes bug out in surprise. Then Danny's legs poking out from under a pile of scattered boxes, cartoon-style...and Brandi in the background laughing (but also checking to see that Danny is still breathing).

And with that progression of brain-images, I bid you all adieu.

17 November 2013

24 and 25: Pain and Exhaustion (and Excitement!)

The default question you are asked when you are pregnant is, "how you are feeling?" Most of the time I give a half-truth, like, "oh, I'm doing okay," but the truth is, I have felt pretty terrible these last few weeks. Since I don't want to clutter my facebook feed with how I'm really feeling ('cause who wants to know that I'm stretching and paining and itchy and aching and oozing and all the rest of it?), I am going to vent it here, in near-anonymity.

Due to all that has been happening in our lives in the past several weeks, I've missed my physio, massage, and chiro treatments (for injuries sustained in a car accident in February) and that lack of treatment, combined with the excruciating hip pain, and the renewed/intensified ligament pain in my belly has left me in a bit of a state. Moving hurts, sitting hurts, and laying hurts. If there was an invention whereby I could just float on a soft cloud around my house and office at work, I'd totally buy it. Though with my luck, floating would hurt too, ha ha! As much as I love being pregnant, there is a little selfish part of me that just wants to sleep on my stomach for one night, dammit! Or to be able to stand up without nearly falling back down. My body just feels weak and fragile...not exactly how I imagined feeling while sustaining this beautiful life inside!

The internet tells me that most women have this sudden burst of energy in their second trimester and that they feel almost human again. I call bullshit. At least for me. In fact, I managed to actually get more tired and as I near my third trimester, the tired just keeps increasing. Lately, I tire more easily from things that are totally normal for most people. Things like grocery shopping in the evening after work, or walking a few blocks, or doing a few loads of laundry are enough to completely sap me of energy. Like enough to want to go to bed immediately. Now that we are packing to move, I get a few boxes done and I'M done. It's incredibly frustrating to someone like myself, as I am used to pushing past my body saying "no," but now I just don't have that ability. Danny has very kindly taken on our shared part-time job by himself. I feel guilty, but intensely grateful.

Because it's not all doom and gloom...really! I am enjoying all of the lovely parts of being pregnant. The kicking in my belly has gotten stronger and more frequent. I love it...whenever I feel a kick, I just smile to myself and savour the moment. Okay, except when the baby decides to go all ninja on my bladder, because I nearly peed my pants the first time that happened last week! She is super-strong for weighing less that two pounds! I am nearing trimester three, and I am excited about that. I can feel the changes in my body as it begins preparing for the final stages of pregnancy. Some of the changes are nice, like getting rounder, and starting to put on a little weight. Other changes, not so nice. But I won't go into those here, 'cause they're gross and my brother reads this blog!

I may have written this post just for myself, so congrats and thank you if you actually made it all the way through the good, the bad, and the ugly. In parting, here is a photo I took in week 24:

08 November 2013

23, Going on 24

First, the big news: we're moving! We started to realize that our cute downtown apartment might not be all that functional with the addition of an infant (think tons of stairs, on-street parking, and a kitchen on the top floor). We started casually and reluctantly looking for a place a few weeks ago and ended up finding the perfect spot. Selling points: a huge backyard, a driveway, no stairs, it's bright, the kitchen/living room are connected and open-concept, it's totally renovated, and we'll be paying only a little more per month. So, come November 30, we'll be packing up a truck (hopefully with a lot of help!) and moving into our new home.

I've noticed some big changes lately. Since I first realized I was feeling kicks, the baby has been kicking all.the.time! She seems to be most active in the morning and in the evening when I'm relaxing. Alas, she has discovered my bladder and seems to enjoy kicking it with all of her one-pound might (which is a lot more than I thought possible for such a tiny shrimp!) She also put up a stink a few mornings ago when I chose a sleep position she didn't like. She went crazy, kicking and flailing all over the place!

I feel pretty good most of the time, other than being really tired. My hips are my only real complaint at this point; most nights, I wake up in agonizing pain. Not even a mountain of pillows and a stack of folded-up blankets has helped, so Danny and I will be investing in a memory foam topper to soften our old, hard, ridgy bed (a new mattress is way out of our budget!) Moving in general has become more of an effort. My waddle has certainly arrived, and I find myself taking a lot more time getting out of bed, off the couch, out of the car, etc. Thankfully, Danny helps me a lot of the time (after pausing to laugh at me).

Pregnancy, with all of its weird side effects and ups and downs and fears and joys, is really a beautiful thing, and it can make your relationship with your partner all the more sweet. I am thankful every day that I've been blessed with such a kind, supportive hubby, who has taken joy in all of the changes along with me. I'd like to point out that he already did the bulk of the housework before, and he has even cooked for me when I've been too tired or sick to do so, or worked our shared part-time job on his own on the days I just can't do it.

I'm still pretty much all belly, but I felt better today after reading an article that explained first-time moms are more likely to have a smaller belly and, if you've got a really long torso like I do, you just have more room for the baby to grow upward, so your uterus doesn't need to poke out as much. As for my weight, I don't seem to have gained any on my body (despite effort!), but my belly seems to be happily rounding out more every day, so I think both baby and I are doing a-okay. I see the doctor again on the 19th, and I don't anticipate any news to the contrary. I think I just have a hungry, growing baby...maybe she has a "fat tooth" like mama! (Instead of a sweet tooth). Funny: my ribs seem to have completely disappeared this week!

And I close with this shot from last Saturday, first day of week 23:

I can still see my feet!

29 October 2013

22 Weeks: Things That Go Bump in the Night

We felt our little one kick on the outside of my belly for the first time early this morning. I had a pretty rough sleep, since my hips devolve into excruciating pain at night, so I was tossing and turning. I checked my alarm, and I had only 10 minutes to go before it was time to get up (6:50am...*whimper*). I ended up in a weird position and was rubbing my belly when I felt "POW!" I was startled, and kept my hand there. Sure enough, kick-kick, nudge, sliiide! I shook Danny's arm..."hey sweets, are you awake?" Snorts and shuffling and a muffled, "I am now." "I can feel the baby on the outside, wanna feel?!" And he put his hand out to be met by nada (of course). So I shifted around a bit and he tried again. This time, he got to feel two or three solid kicks. It put a smile on my face all day and my hand kept finding its way to my belly to see if I'd get lucky and feel it again.

I'm laughing at myself now, because I realized that I had been feeling strong kicks and movement for about three or four weeks, but I'd assumed it was my digestive organs in their new places. The kicks were so much stronger than the flutters and pops and tickles I'd been feeling, so I just didn't recognize them when they started. Now I know our baby is moving a lot!

It might sound weird, but I really feel more pregnant this week than before. I don't know if it's because of how tight my belly feels, or my new waddle (you should see me trying to get out of a car; it's comedy gold), or realizing there aren't many of my pre-pregnancy clothes I can wear now, but something just feels different and I like it a lot. The first few months are just so much guesswork and feeling sick, but now I feel like I can settle in and really enjoy the process.

Our good friends just had a beautiful little baby girl, and when I took her in my arms this week, I nearly started crying, because it made me think that in just a few months, it would be our turn to hold our own. Danny even took a turn and handled his first newborn-holding like a pro. It's been nice to see him get more and more excited, and offering to hold our friends' babies when we're together (there are a lot of them!) He's going to be such a good dad. I can't think about it or I cry (I cry about pretty much everything though nowadays!) Apparently impending parenthood turns people into total mush, because Danny and I are the biggest sap-bags now.

A little part of me keeps thinking, "but what if it really is a boy and we're wrong?" I guess we'll only know 100% for sure in a few months! For now, I'm dreaming of our little girl and all of the things we'll do together. It is so exciting to be building our own family!

Also...as nice as it was to feel early-morning kicks, we really need a new mattress so we can both sleep and I'll stop being in pain. Send up some prayers and happy thoughts that we will be able to get a new one! It would sure make our nights a whole lot more comfortable. :)

27 October 2013

And Also, the Toque.

22 weeks, and things are going well other than the terrible hip pain I get at night (seriously, the "what to expect" type websites really don't do it justice). I can't really complain other than that - I think I've been fortunate to have a pretty good pregnancy so far.

I think we will get some pictures taken of us around January. I wasn't going to, but it would be nice to have a few photos as keepsakes where I don't look like I've been trampled by a herd of shoppers on Black Friday. I seriously don't know when I'm gonna get my "pregnancy glow" but it sure hasn't showed up yet!

Also, this toque. Because, seriously, just look at it:

19 October 2013

21 Weeks: Bump Etiquette

I think my baby-bump has finally popped out enough that most people notice it. I never thought I'd be such a skinny mama, but Shrimpy has sucked the fat off these bones like crazy, though I'm eating all the time and not minding calories. Even with the doctor's reassurance, I still worry about it, because even if I gain 1lb a week now until birth, that's not the 25lb minimum that they recommend a mama gain.

Speaking of pregnant women and size, let me offer a word of advice to onlookers: we don't really like comments about our size that much, unless it's in admiration. For those of us who are struggling to keep weight on, we worry that we are not providing enough nourishment for our babies or getting enough ourselves, so comments like "are you sure you're even pregnant?" or "what belly? I look like that after supper" or "oh, not showing yet, hmm?" or "you must not be very far along," all of those are upsetting. We are already comparing ourselves to friends and other women on the internet, and feel bad mentioning we're worried because we think no other women will want to hear anything about how we're nervous about being too thin. I know people are just looking for something to say, but something like, "you look great" or "congratulations" or "when are you due?" are all easy conversation fillers.

On the flip side, I have friends who have gained more weight than anticipated, and I know they don't appreciate comments like, "wow, you're HUGE!" either. Just because we're pregnant, it doesn't mean we're not sensitive about our size. We're probably more so, because we're keenly aware that the health of our baby is directly tied to our health. And be aware that every woman carries her babies differently, so no two women will look alike at each stage of pregnancy. So just keep that in mind when talking to us hormone-riddled mamas. We need love and support more now than ever.

Okay, enough chiding. Here are my favourite pictures so far (from last night):

Mom's all dressed up for a friend's wedding! And she's wearing the
most ridiculous piece of clothing ever...maternity nylons!

Look at that handsome daddy!
Baby girl is going to be a knockout with genes like that. :)

16 October 2013

"Ohhhhh, we're halfway there..."

Yup, 20 weeks! This pregnancy has had its highs and lows, but things are going pretty well for baby and Shrimp Mama. I feel good most of the time now, which is a welcome change. A lot of the pregnancy-related anxiety of the first/early second trimester has ebbed off and I feel excited and positive. It might sound odd, but I actually feel very calm about everything, even delivery. I always thought I'd be afraid and dreading it, but I'm looking forward to every stage of this, even the painful parts, because it's beautiful in its own way. Knowing that my body is doing this incredible thing makes me feel powerful and capable of handling anything.

Shrimpy and mama's 20 week selfie.
I got back from my 20 week checkup a few hours ago, and we're doing great! My baby-sac (okay, that doesn't sound better than "uterus") was measuring perfectly for this stage, and the results from the measurements taken during the ultrasound were great as well. I asked my doctor about my weight gain concerns (I've gained only 1.5 lb since becoming pregnant, and all of that in the last month) and she said I had nothing to worry about; that it was normal (there is a very wide range of normal weight gain!) So I actually feel pretty worry-free at this point, and am just enjoying the ride.

Baby is moving a lot now; I feel her wiggling around a few times a day (sometimes it feels like a finger dragging along the inside of my skin, or like flutters, or a *pop!*). The doctor was laughing because Shrimpy kept swimming away when she was trying to measure her heartbeat. That's my squirmy kid! Just like her dad! Things like the ultrasound and feeling movement really helped make me feel more connected to my little shrimp (the first stages are so much guessing and mystery).

This week, the week that I am on stay-cation, is naturally the week that the fire restoration people fiiiiinally came in to do all the carpentry and painting after weeks of waiting. This hasn't helped the life-stress levels much, nor aided in me relaxing, but at least it is going to be done. We've been promised that they will be out of our hair (and house) by the end of the month. Tomorrow wouldn't be soon enough, but an approximate end-date is somewhat reassuring at this point. We're just so eager to get our house put back together and to be able to get to our nursery to start setting it up. If you look past me in the photo, you can see what a mess our living room is. That's all of the stuff displaced by the painting/carpentry/plastering project going on in our bathroom and main walkway. Sigh.

A little update on the Salvation Army stranger: she showed up at our house with the bassinet (it's really nice), a change table topper, a manly-coloured Moby wrap (which I have been wanting!), and even some soft blankies. I thanked her profusely, of course. We just feel so taken care of and surrounded by love. Just how I would want to feel while building our little family.

09 October 2013

Paying It Forward

I have said it a few times now, but I can't believe the sheer amount of generosity that has been shown to me and Danny in the past few months. 

Today after picking up some maternity clothes given to me by a friend, my friend Nancy commented that it was kind of cool how prego-mamas and moms of young kids all seemed to be a part of some underground network of sharing and helping each other. Literally a half hour later, we were standing in line at Sally Ann, and a mom approached me and said, "I noticed you're pregnant...do you need a bassinet? I have a beautiful one and I didn't want to give it to just anybody. I also have a change table topper! You're welcome to both!"

It really puts a smile on my face knowing that there is kindness like that out there. It makes me want to give too! I can't wait to pass along some of these things to someone else when the time comes. I've already been able to pass along maternity clothes, and it made me feel happy!

06 October 2013

19 Weeks, and a Whole Weekend Off!

Our ultrasound on Friday was awesome! I was so happy that Danny could be there this time around; I enjoyed watching his face while he got a first look at our baby on the screen. This ultrasound was so much more relaxed than my first one in the E.R. Shrimpy has grown so much in five weeks! It's a really intense experience watching the tech measuring your baby's head and little bones and belly, seeing the thin arms and legs moving all over the place (she could hardly get what she needed because Shrimpy was literally spinning around at one point). As far as we could tell (the tech isn't allowed to comment), everything looked normal - she said the weight was right where they would expect (just 9 oz of baby right now!)

Here's a little sneak peek!

Shrimpy's first picture day!
I used to inwardly roll my eyes a little at people who talked about the beauty of pregnancy and childbirth. I figured, "big deal, people do it every day." Buuut, once you are expecting a baby yourself, everything about your life changes. Way before the little one arrives, you already begin to factor a tiny dependent into every decision and thought for the future.This protective instinct rises up in you that you never knew you had, and you know you'd do anything to protect and provide for your baby.

And then there are the hormones. I just spent ten minutes crying while reading parents' birth stories on a local doula website (okay, I'm still leaking a little from the eyes). Just thinking about delivering and holding and nursing this baby makes me well up. Or thinking about what a great daddy Danny will be and how much he already loves our little one...gah. Tear City. I have always been a sensitive person, but this is a whole new thing for me!

Tonight we will be telling everyone the gender of our little one at a Gender Reveal Party hosted by some of our close friends. We are excited to share this part of the journey with so many of our near and dear. I'll post some pictures soon!

As for me, I am really looking forward to a scheduled week off of work starting with next weekend! I could really use a few days to digest everything and enjoy a bit of down time.

03 October 2013

What a Blur

It seems that the latter part of the summer and the fall have just blown by, and I haven't been able to just stop and relax into being a prego-mama. A part of the fire cleanup included an ozone machine in the apartment downstairs, which sucks oxygen (and smoke odour) out of the air. This also affected our apartment, so we stayed with a friend for about a week. Getting back into our apartment wasn't much of a relief; since our carpets and walls needed to be cleaned, we had to move half of our belongings into a guest room and leave many things packed. It's been a bit stressful, to say the least.

I've been wondering why I haven't gained any weight yet, and it just dawned on me that the reason is probably in the paragraph above. Stress, insomnia, and a busy schedule might be the culprit! The doctor wasn't concerned at my last appointment, but if I have still not gained anything by my next appointment, Operation: Chub Up will have to commence!

Our scheduled ultrasound is tomorrow morning, and we're really excited to see our little Shrimpy! I'm especially happy that Danny will be a part of it this time.  If Shrimpy is not feeling modest, we'll have the technician check for gender and seal the results to find out with our friends at a gender reveal party this Sunday. Two of our friends will get the results tomorrow and plan a little party around the results. Fun!

17 week belly!

18 week belly is about the same!

23 September 2013

17 Weeks, Guys!

I'm just a few weeks from the half-way point already and I can hardly believe it. I don't have a picture yet, but my belly popped way out in the last three or four days! Shrimpy is about 5-6 inches long from bum to head this week and growing rapidly. That part I can believe, because the pressure is making me waddle already! I am guessing I look pretty silly, since to anyone who doesn't know I'm pregnant, I probably look like a bloated skinny chick who is waddling to a washroom after one too many iced teas!

Though my doctor apparently never ordered my ultrasound a month ago when she was supposed to, it was receptionist to the rescue today; she made sure that my request was entered and followed up to let me know we'll likely have it on October 5. Which means that if Shrimpy cooperates that day, we're less than two weeks away from finding out if we're having a little dude or a little miss. Yay! We plan to have a gender-reveal party hosted by a friend, who will conceal a pink/blue center to a cake...we'll cut into it and find out with all of our friends around (and hopefully a speaker-phone on with some of our family members so they can find out live too!)

I forgot that a friend gave us a little sort of mic system for talking to your baby (you put the little pads on your belly and speak into the other end) so I'm sure Danny will be crafting some funny tunes for the teeny tyke soon!

I chose this past weekend to start working on the craft/storage room nursery transformation. Amazingly, it went from what you see here to a totally bare floor in two days of work (and with the help of a friend who did the heavy lifting!)

It had been like this pretty much since we moved in. I think the dead beetles I found
on the carpet spent more time on that floor than either Danny or I did!
Then we packed all of our accumulated baby gear inside and it now looks like this...

This kid isn't even born yet and owns more than lots of grown-ups do! Maybe Shrimpy will be
a creative messy person like his or her mama! HA, Shrimp Daddy, HA, I say!
...and everything that was in there before is now pretty much stacked in our living room and dining room, awaiting a new home. Hopefully we will have time to do that soon, because it's a jungle in here. A few more of these things will come out of the nursery, and it'll likely end up being the most spacious room in our little apartment!

I am going to show you something purely for the "awwww" factor. It was given to us by a sweet friend who is moving away soon and wanted to give us a gift now. The pockets! The ears! The softness! Seriously.

Polar bear or lamby? I can't decide.
Speaking of gifts, I just wanted to say how incredibly surprised and blessed we have been by friends and strangers stepping in to help us prepare for our little one's arrival. We have been given so many things that we needed totally out of the blue. We are so appreciative of everything that has been done for us.

I'll post a belly picture soon, but for now, adios!

18 September 2013

Mama Update

I had my second prenatal appointment today, and was poked and prodded and squeezed and squirted with jelly for the Doppler. Everything appears to be normal and healthy, though it turns out that I have gained zero weight so far and have actually lost a pound (apparently my fat cells haven't gotten the "we've been eating a lot of fries and ice cream" memo). So I decided that supper would be pizza dipped in ranch sauce. (Mom and in-laws, don't worry, I actually eat very healthy 80% of the time).

No real solutions offered for the insomnia other than trying chamomile tea and yoga, so I guess I'm pretty much waiting it out. And maybe adding warm baths to my bedtime routine.

My ultrasound should be sometime in the next three weeks - we can't wait to find out if Shrimpy is a boy or girl!

17 September 2013

The Once: "Marguerite"

I had heard the song "Marguerite" performed by The Once before, but I never really listened to the words until a few days ago. It's an incredibly sad song about a real-life young French noblewoman named Marguerite de la Rocque, who was marooned on the Isle de Demons (Isle of Demons) by a relative when he discovered her relationship with a ship-mate (she was unmarried). This sad song would have probably made me cry anyway, but in my hormonal state, the thought of this poor girl being pregnant and alone while stranded on an island (after losing her lover and maidservant), then losing her baby...well, my eyes were pretty soggy.

Try to keep a dry eye while you listen to Geraldine of The Once (one of my very favourite bands) perform this beautiful song! And check out this cool blog post that elaborates a little bit on Marguerite's story.

16 September 2013

Bump It Up!

I'm getting a cute little belly this week! My tummy gets itchy a lot - I think it must be from all of the stretching inside. Danny is very much enjoying all of the growth. He found out that the baby has begun to hear things this week, so I anticipate that Daddy's Silly Songs for Shrimpy will soon begin.

Mama's tired but enjoying the sweet little bump!

15 September 2013

Longing for a Drop of Vitamin Z

You will often hear pregnant women say that they are totally exhausted. This is most common in the first and third trimesters for a variety of reasons: hormonal changes, discomfort while sleeping (yes, even in the first month!), the nausea/hunger cycle, and when you get bigger, it takes more energy to carry that extra baby weight around, and more energy for your heart to pump all of the extra blood your body has produced. There is supposed to be this magical reprieve in your second trimester, when you have more energy and generally just feel better...

And then there is me. 20-year insomnia sufferer. I don't usually find myself wide awake for the whole night; I'll fall asleep eventually, after my thoughts finally turn off, then wake for a long stretch, then sleep, then wake, then sleep. And sometimes, I get to spend entire nights in a limbo, where I'm not fully awake or asleep. Those are the worst, I think. Though there are times it hits seemingly at random, the pattern is usually the same; it's periodic, lasts for weeks or maybe months, and sneaks up at the worst of times - usually when my hormones are out of whack, or when I am stressed out. I'm kind of both right now, so it's been Zombie City for the last month or so.

(1) Our car broke down and died while we were driving it. (2) We decided that now was a good time to learn to drive stick... and we live in one of the most hilly city areas probably in Canada. It's been an adventure. (3) I am an administrator for a large dance school and classes just started, so I have been flat out at work. (4) Three buildings by my home burned down about two weeks ago, and in the process, we were evacuated for a full day and night. We didn't know if we would have a home to go back to at the end of it. Thankfully, the firefighters were able to contain the blaze and our row of homes was saved. However, the repercussions of the clean-up will continue to affect us for several weeks yet, including being displaced again for a week or two very soon for clean-up purposes.

Basically, I feel like I'm running on fumes most days. I'm not nearly as mentally sharp as I normally am, I have a shorter fuse, and my energy levels are almost nil. I usually make it to the end of the day, tired, but able to function, but by the time I get home, I am barely forming sentences. Exercise has been out of the question. The messy storage/craft room that is going to be the nursery has not yet been touched, so baby things that we have accumulated dominate the rest of the house as they wait for a home. The house is often a mess, and I haven't cooked much (sadly, since I like food again!). Thankfully, I have a husband who still tells me that I'm beautiful (in my mumbling, messy-haired, purple-rimmed eye glory) and does his best to understand. He often does my share of the chores in addition to his own...and his full-time and part-time jobs. He's pretty much my hero.

I am hoping that the doctor can offer some sort of relief at my next appointment, but I am not holding my breath. I'm still holding out for some of that magical second trimester energy...if I can just get some sleep.

07 September 2013

525 Billion

I was talking to a friend last night about how we had originally intended to wait a little longer before starting a family and she said something that got me thinking. She said that when her little ones were born, she realized that they would have been completely different kids if she had conceived on a different day or in a different month. That made me want to go and look up some numbers...

Did you know that the average man produces around 525 billion sperm in his lifetime? That is potentially 525 billion different possibilities for half of a child's DNA makeup. And a woman is born with around 2 million egg follicles in her ovaries, with follicles dying every day as she ages. Just as the sperm are in competition to reach the egg first, egg follicles are in "competition" with each other too as they vie to be the egg released at ovulation. If you think of it that way, you are the very best of the best that your parents' cells could have created on the day you were conceived.

And Shrimpy would have been someone else entirely if we had waited to start trying until the spring! Though this was all a surprise adventure at the start, I couldn't be happier now at the timing of it all.

04 September 2013

Haircuts, Threats, and Bets

Direct quote from Danny's haircut on Monday (he was offering "helpful tips" on how I could more efficiently cut his hair):

"Argh! Just stop talking! I have hormones and scissors, so shut your mouth!" 

At least that's how he remembers it. I am sure it was much more loving than that.

Speaking of hair, we're both thick-haired beauties now, but I've been wondering if our little squishy will come out looking more like me as a baby, or Danny. Bets?

Exhibit A:
This is me in the hospital with my mom (look at that mop!)
A few months later - still rockin' the mop-top!

Exhibit B:
This is baby Danny at the hospital with his mom (a bit thin on top).
A few months later...still a bit on the bare side (pretty stinkin' cute though!)

03 September 2013

The Silver Lining

Since this is my first pregnancy, I pretty much read everything I can get my hands on about the process. And it seems to me that I have had nearly all of the possible symptoms of pregnancy. This entry started out as Pregnancy Symptoms: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, but I figured people didn't really need to know that I was gassy for a few months (whoops, see what I did there?) I did think it was funny that my "The Good" section had only one entry: "My boobs are huge!" But anyway, what I really wanted to talk about was this:

One symptom that blindsided me was Round Ligament Pain. It feels like a stabbing pain and/or prolonged ache in the lower part of your abdomen. For me, it has been mostly just over my pubic bone and on the right side, branching out from around my ovary, though the left side occasionally twinges too. It generally happens when I change position or move suddenly. I've had other aches and pains throughout, but this particular pain seemed stronger and unlike anything else. I hadn't yet heard of Round Ligament Pain, so I ended up in the E.R. this Sunday, scared that something serious was happening.

After being jabbed and giving urine and having every test done, the doctor said she'd like to do an ultrasound to make sure I didn't have any ovarian cysts (I have a history of these guys rupturing painfully). She wheeled the machine into the room and started looking around in my belly...and I got to see Shrimpy! It was more detailed than I thought it would be - I could even see the faint outline of the face and the heart. The doctor said, "oh look, he's waving at us!" Sure enough, that little arm was waving from side to side. I instantly started crying...he/she was so tiny and perfect. Seeing that little baby made me feel like the weight of three months' worth of worry had been lifted off.

On the way out, the doc told me that I was likely experiencing Round Ligament Pain, to take some Tylenol, and come back if the pain worsened. I felt a little silly having been so worried, but the silver lining to the pain and the long E.R. wait was that I got to see little Shrimpy. Totally worth it. I know it sounds silly, but this whole thing didn't feel real until I saw that tiny, cupcake-sized person floating and wiggling around. I'm gonna be a mama!

Sadly, I wasn't given a picture, but I'll get one at my scheduled ultrasound in a few weeks. I can't wait!

25 August 2013

The First 13 Weeks in Highlights

Weeks 1-2: I'm just going about my life, recovering from the biggest work week of my year. In case you didn't know already, doctors count the two weeks between your cycle and ovulation toward your pregnancy, even though you are not yet pregnant.

Week 3: The magic happens. Paranoia. Maternity pills!

Week 4: I want to eat all of the things all of the time. All of them. All of the time.

Week 5: Man, my boobs are really sore. Why does the entire world smell terrible? I need chicken wings RIGHT NOW! I guess this period will be a doozy. Heh heh...heh?

Week 6: I'm pregnant? I'm pregnant! Zzzzzzzzz

Week 7: Nausea. I can smell EVERYTHING, and it smells terrible! Onions are dead to me. And eggs, and cooking meat, and pretty much anything with more flavour than boiled chicken. I hate all food. My inner foodie rocks and cries in a dusty corner.

Week 8: My body says, "suck it up! You can hate all food if you like, but now you have to eat 8 times a day, including trips to the fridge at 3:30am. And you also need to pee every hour now, so get used to it, sucker."

Week 9: Grapes, blueberries, bananas, peanut butter and sliced apple toast, chicken nuggets, and repeat. All other food is on the hate list. Also, the time has come to build a pillow fort in my bed. Danny gets lonely, especially because his beard smells "weird" and "gross" to me and I don't want to kiss him.

Week 10: Okay, add Oreo blizzards, poutine, pulled pork sandwiches, and cereal to that "safe" food list. This pillow fort is AWESOME!

Week 11: Chicken nuggets. I want them. I want them so hard. Danny's beard is back in my good books...for now.

Week 12: Surprise! Shrimpy has a growth spurt. My pants suddenly don't do up even a little bit. My zippers all beg for mercy as I try anyway. We have a party at a friend's house (thanks, Bethany) to tell many of our near and dear about our exciting news via the magic of cookies. Then, a few days later...heartbeat!!! Let's tell everyone in the whole facebookverse RIGHT NOW. We feel like celebrities.

I ate most of these cookies within 3 days. The baby made me do it.
Week 13: My body says, "okay, I'll let you be kind of a normal human being again, but in return, you don't get to sleep anymore, even though you are exhausted all the time. HA! But I'm not unreasonable, so you get to eat eggs again. That's something, right? Right?" Attempted zzzzz.

And that brings me up to yesterday. Now I'm in my 14th week, which means I'll be 14 weeks along this coming Saturday. My little shrimp is now the size of a peach, according to the interwebs. The interwebs also tell me that I shouldn't be able to feel anything inside yet, but I swear I feel flutters almost every day, like the tiniest swimmer doing the backstroke around my little uterine swimming pool.

I also stole Danny's warm jogging pants today, but he doesn't know it yet. :)

23 August 2013

Who is Shrimpy?

We found out that we were pregnant when I was just about five weeks along. I immediately wanted to know everything that was going on, so while we were on vacation I bought a gigantic brick of a prego-book called "I'm Pregnant!" by Dr. Lesley Regan. When I got to the five week portion of the book, the page was dominated by a big picture of an embryo with a caption saying, "The embryo looks rather like an oddly shaped prawn, floating in a fluid-like bubble called the amniotic sac." I called out to Danny, "hey sweets, our baby looks like a shrimp!" And thus, our little baby-to-be's nickname was born. And "Shrimpy" has stuck, even though he or she has gotten much cuter since then!

18 August 2013

A Different Sort of Adventure

My husband, Danny, and I both studied Linguistics in university, the plan/dream being that we will one day be able to work with endangered languages abroad. There have been a lot of roadblocks in the way, so suffice to say that we foresee being in Canada a few years longer than anticipated. Maybe many more. It can be hard to see your goal way out there, off in the distance, while you toil away to reach it.

In June, we found out that I was pregnant. I had thought right away that I might have conceived, though I chalked it up to paranoia, since we were planning to start trying for a family in a year's time. Regardless, I started downing maternity pills within two days. Call it a Mama Spidey Sense or something. 

About three weeks later, after I started having some symptoms, I finally broke down and took a test before I left for work that day. Positive?! I looked from the test to my reflection in the mirror (as if she was going to tell me something different), then back at the test and back at the mirror. "Really?" Mirror Me just stood there, looking as stunned as I felt. "Whaaaat?"

So, still unconvinced, I ignored the test, wrapping it back up and stowing it under the sink. "It's almost expired," I thought, "so maybe it's a dud. I can't really be prego." I didn't tell Danny, who had already gone to work, because I didn't want to tell him that I might be pregnant over the phone. I asked him to pick up two tests on the way home that evening.

When I got home, my visiting sister-in-law and Danny kept urging me to use the tests, but I insisted on packing for our vacation the next day. Finally, not being able to put it off any longer, I marched off toward the washroom, armed with a full bladder and a healthy dose of skepticism. I emerged in a few minutes, the three tests fanned out in my hand, looking more than a bit freaked out. "I'm...uh, pregnant?!" Danny and I sat on the couch with stunned looks on our faces as my sister-in-law danced around the living room, jumping on the loveseat, screeching, crying, and laughing. "I'm gonna be an aunt! I'm gonna be a friggin' aunt!"


The shock has worn off, and we're really excited about what the next few years will hold. Our world adventures are still off in the distance, but for now, we are embarking on a different sort of adventure.